Firing The Pak 40, Most Powerful Anti-Tank Gun of WWII

The 75 millimeter Pak 40 anti-tank gun was a German anti-tank gun developed during WWII from 1939-1941. PAK is the abbreviation for “Panzerabwehrkanone.”

Initially, the development of the PAK-40 was assigned low priority, but in 1941, the priority was greatly amplified following the German invasion of the USSR and the appearance of the heavily armored new Soviet tanks such as the T-34 and KV-1.

The first prototype guns were delivered to German troops in November 1941.

In April 1942, the Heer, the land forces of the Wehrmacht, had 44 guns in service; by 1943, the PAK-40 formed the majority of German anti-tank weaponry.

7,5 cm Pak 40 in Albania in 1943 - Bundesarchiv CC-BY-SA 3.0
7,5 cm PAK-40 in Albania in 1943. Photo Credit.

The PAK-40 was the prevailing German anti-tank weapon until the end of the war and was supplied by Germany to its allies. Some of these guns were captured and used by the Soviet Army.

After World War II, the PAK-40 anti-tank gun continued to service several European armies, including Romania, Czechoslovakia, Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, and Norway.

The German Wehrmacht produced around 20,000 PAK-40s for the ground troops and about 3,500 more were used to equip tank destroyers.

The PAK-40 fired a 75 mm armor piercing shell to an effective distance of about a mile in a direct firefight.

It was relatively lightweight given its effectiveness and made a powerful pressure shock when fired.

The PAK-40 had enough energy to defeat just about any Allied tank except the late-war Russian heavy armor and heavily armed tanks.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.