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

6-pounder Anti-Tank Gun

The Ordnance, Quick Firing 6-Pounder 7-cwt Gun was an anti-tank weapon used in Canadian anti-tank units (notably the Anti-Tank Platoons of Infantry Battalions) during the Second World War.

The 6-pounder was a relatively small gun that could be pushed by its crew when necessary. It was towed by a Universal Carrier, and could be brought into action quickly. The gun fired both a variety of Armour Piercing and High Explosive rounds, and could be used to engage not just armoured fighting vehicles, but also soft-skin vehicles, enemy entrenchments, and buildings. Just before the Normandy landing, small amounts of Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot ammunition was issued, though in very small quantities; these rounds had much improved armour penetration abilities.

The 6-Pounder replaced the early 2-pounder (40mm) anti-tank gun in use at the start of the Second World War. (The official designation included the weight of the gun barrel - 7cwt - in order to distinguish it from other 6-pounder guns used for anti-aircraft and coastal defence duties). By July 1944, the 6-pounder was proving inadequate against the bulk of German medium and heavy armour; against the frontal armour of heavier tanks like the Tiger or Panther, the 6-pounder was all but useless.

In Italy, some Canadian infantry battalions withdrew the 6-pounders in favour of creating "tank hunting" platoons armed with the PIAT. It was with one of these tank hunting units which Private Ernest "Smokey" Smith performed deeds for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Ammunition

The 6-pounder first saw action in British service in May 1942 at Gazala in North Africa. It made an immediate impact as it was able to penetrate the armour of any German or Italian tank then in service. In a celebrated action, the 6-pounder guns of 2nd Rifle Brigade destroyed more than 30 enemy vehicle during the battle of Alamein. However, the Germans began to field increasingly heavier tanks beginning in 1943, including the Tiger and the Panther. The standard 6-pounder ammunition was insufficient against the frontal armour of these new vehicles, though still effective when presented shots from other facings.

The situation was improved by the development of more sophisticated ammunition, particularly Armour-Piercing, Composite Rigid (APCR) and Armour-Piercing, Discarding Sabot (APDS) shot, which was available from 1944. The latter was particularly successful giving the gun the capability to knock out a Tiger 1, head on at 1,000 meters.

  • Armour Piercing Mark 1T to Mark 7T - solid steel projectile with tracer.

  • Armour Piercing Capped Mark 8T - capped solid steel projectile.

  • Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic Capped Mark 9T - capped solid steel projectile with both ballistic cap and protective cap.

  • Armour Piercing Composite Rigid Mark 1T - Tungsten core with light alloy body.

  • Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot Mark 1T - Tunsgen core with discarding sabot.

  • High Explosive shell Mark 10T - HE with No. 243 fuze and a tracer.1

    Ammunition Performance and Data

    Ammunition Type

    Shot Weight
    lbs

    Muzzle Velocity
    fps

    Maximum Range
    yards

    Weight in Action
    lbs

    Penetration
    see note

    HE

    6

    2700

    5500

    3521

    nil

    AP

    6

    2693

    5500

    3521

    74mm/1000m

    APCBC

    7

    2775

    5500

    3521

    88mm/1000m

    APCR

    4

    3528

    5500

    3521

    90mm/1000m

    APDS

    3.2

    4050

    5500

    3521

    146mm/1000m

    Note: armour penetration given at 30 degree angle against homogenous plate.2


    6-pounder on exercise in England, Sep 1942. LAC Photo.


    The low silhouette of the 6-pounder is shown to good advantage of
    this shot taken of a 2nd Anti-Tank Regiment gun in the UK in 1942. PAC Photo.


    6-pounder on the proving range at the Dominion Engineering
    Works plant, May 1942. LAC photo.

 

Surviving example photographed at The Military Museums in Calgary, 2006.

Notes

  1. Henry, Chris. British Anti-Tank Artillery 1939-45 (Osprey Publishing Ltd., Elms Court, Oxford, UK, 2004) ISBN 1841766380 p.41

  2. Data from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare (Columbia House, New York, NY, 1978) p.1117


canadiansoldiers.com 1999-present