ammunition is a blanket term used to describe a wide variety of munitions
developed during the Second World War.
beginning of the war, armour piercing ammunition (which had been in use
from the First World War) consisted of a simple hardened steel projectile
which used kinetic energy along to pierce armour. Ammunition was always of
fixed (also referred to as Quick Firing) type; ie one-piece ammunition
with a projectile attached to a cartridge case. The round operated in the
traditional method; a primer in the base of the round was struck by a
weapon's firing pin, igniting the propellant in the base of the cartridge.
variations of AP ammunition were developed.
Piercing Capped (APC): the head of the projectile was protected by a cap
which absorbed the initial impact on striking the target.
Piercing Capped Ballistic Capped (APCBC): As for APC, but with an
additional cap to improve the performance of the projectile's flight. As
solid shot rounds were found to shatter on some types of improved armour
as the Second World War progressed, APCBC was developed to redress this
problem. "The cap absorbed the initial impact while the main projectile
entered the armour."1
As armour on
German tanks became increasingly thicker, the need to upgrade anti-tank
capability increased. The simple expedient of using larger guns was not
easily accomplished, given multiple concerns such as weight of the gun,
retooling factories to build new weapons, restrictions on turret ring size
and the ability to mount larger guns on tanks, etc. Improved munitions,
however, brought respectable improvements in armour penetration
Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR): was an improvement on standard solid
shot in which a projectile of smaller calibre than the gun but made of
denser metal (such as tungsten) was used. The tungsten core was
surrounded by an alloy of lighter metal that was disposed of when the
projectile impacted the target.
Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS): APDS increased the capabilities of
APCR by using a light sheath ("sabot") of metal around the tungsten core
of the projectile, which through a combination of centripetal and
aerodynamic force stripped off the round right at the muzzle of the gun,
lowering the drag of the projectile in flight and increasing its
Henry, Chris. British
Anti-Tank Artillery 1939-45 (Osprey Publishing Ltd., Elms Court,
Oxford, UK, 2004) ISBN 1841766380 p.40