Weapons

Small Arms

Bayonets | Pistols  | Rifles
Submachine Guns

Thompson Submachine Gun
Sten Gun
C1 Submachine Gun

Light Weapons

Light Machine Guns

Lewis Gun
Bren Gun
C2 LMG
C9 LMG

Machine Guns

Colt Machine Gun
Vickers Gun
C5 General Purpose MG
C6 General Purpose MG
M2 .50 calibre

Light Anti-Tank Weapons

Boys Anti-Tank Rifle
Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank
Bazooka
M72 SRAAW (L)
Carl Gustav
Eryx

Mortars

2-inch Mortar
3-inch Mortar
3-inch Stokes Gun
6-inch Newton Mortar
9.45-inch Newton Mortar
C3 81mm Mortar
M19 60mm Mortar

Ordnance

Anti-Tank Guns

106mm Recoilless Rifle
2-pounder Anti-Tank Gun
6-pounder Anti-Tank Gun
17-pounder Anti-Tank Gun
TOW Missile

Guns

18-pounder Gun
25-pounder Gun
60-pounder Howitzer
C1 105mm Howitzer
C3 105mm Howitzer
LG1 C1 105mm Howitzer

Anti-Aircraft Guns

3.7-inch Gun

Grenades

Hand Grenades
No. 69 Grenade
M61 & M67 Grenade
Rifle Grenades
Grenade Launchers
Anti-Tank Grenades
No. 68 Grenade

Ammunition
Small Arms & Light Weapons

.303 Mk VII
5.56mm
7.62mm NATO
Pistol Ammunition
PIAT Ammunition

Ordnance

106mm Ammunition
Armour Piercing
Armour Piercing Composite Rigid
AP Discarding Sabot
High Explosive Anti-Tank
High Explosive, Squash Head

Terminology

Fixed ammunition
Proximity Fuze

Armour Piercing (AP)

Armour Piercing ammunition is a blanket term used to describe a wide variety of munitions developed during the Second World War.

At the 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.

In time, variations of AP ammunition were developed.

  • Armour Piercing Capped (APC): the head of the projectile was protected by a cap which absorbed the initial impact on striking the target.

  • Armour 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 performance.

  • Armour 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.

  • Armour 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 penetrative capabilities.

Notes

  1. Henry, Chris. British Anti-Tank Artillery 1939-45 (Osprey Publishing Ltd., Elms Court, Oxford, UK, 2004) ISBN 1841766380 p.40


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