Monday, 11 July 2016

Henschel 129 vs KV-1

"Report
By staff engineer Hezner and chief engineer Schilling on experimental firing of 30 mm shells at Russian KV-1 tanks by the 1st assault squadron (Eastern front).

Objective: to determine the penetrative capability of the 30 mm AP shells and their effect on heavy Russian tanks. Summarize experience of using the automatic MK 101 gun on the Hs 129 aircraft and the specifics of attack.


Experimental firing:

The first trial against a Russian KV-1 tank (44 tons) at Barvenkovo scheduled on May 27th, 1942, was delayed due to bad weather. The trial was reattempted at dinnertime on May 28th. After 12 attacks from the air, not a single hit was scored (see attachment). All present had the opinion that the misses were caused by pilots who were poorly trained at shooting at individual targets and defects of the weapon. The defects of the MK 101 include poor loading of ammunition from the drum. after a correction of the drum and replacement of the loading mechanism, the defects were corrected.

On May 28th, after dinner, a KV-1 tank standing at Ocheretino was fired upon. 15 attacks from the air were performed and ___ hits were made by the same pilots as the ones at Barvenkovo. The training of pilots regarding firing on single targets was mentioned again due to a low hit rate (17%).

Summary of results:
The trials showed that:
  1. 30 mm shells from the MK 101 gun have sufficient penetrative capability to be able to suppress heavy Russian tanks without extra armour from a range of 400 meters, including:
    1. T-34 at an angle of between 60 and 90 degrees from the armour plate.
    2. KV-1 at an angle between 80 and 90 degrees from the armour plate.
  2. The MK 101 fires quickly enough (240 RPM) to achieve a hit with suppressing fire. Defects in feeding ammunition are now known and can be corrected.
    The metallic surface of the bottom of the plane will be reinforced to protect from gases generated by firing the MK 101 gun.
  3. The Hs 129 has sufficient precision that, according to the opinion of those present, it can be used at a maximum approach angle of 30 degrees at a range of 400 meters or closer. At a lower distance, the angle has to be reduced to allow a safe exit from the dive. The choice of a successful angle depends on training of the pilots, thickness and position of the armour, visibility and movement of the tank, and the air defenses.
    Continue trials with KV-1 and T-34 tanks and discover what damage the 30 mm shell does to the inside of the tank. Also establish other ranges and angles from which a hit can be achieved.
    Regardless of the findings of further trials, the use of 30 mm armour piercing shells in the MK 101 cannon in the Hs 129 airplane is recommended.
...

Results of firing trials on May 28th against a KV-1 tank at Barvenkovo
Attacks
Angle of attack
Minimum height
Shots fired
Range*
Hits
1-4
~15 degrees
30-60 m
15 (gun jammed)
800-500 m
-
5
~25 degrees
50 m
6 (gun jammed)
1000-700 m
-
6-8
11-17 degrees
40-60 m
13 (gun jammed)
-
-
9-12
30-35 degrees
15-40 m
Gun jammed
-
-

Results of firing trials on May 28th after dinner against a KV-1 tank at Ocheretino
Attacks
Angle of attack
Minimum height
Shots fired
Range*
Hits
1-5
11-17 degrees
15-20 m
21 (gun jammed)
700-300 m
4
6-11
13-25 degrees
20-30 m
27
1000-400 m
3
12-15
24-32 degrees
12-30 m
24
800-350 m
5

* The range was estimated from the ground, as the Hs 129 airplane with special equipment for these measurements did not return from the front.

Part hit
Penetration
Depth
Notes
Turret
Yes
106 mm
Impact at 80 degrees
Turret
No
70 mm
Fragments of shell in opening
Rivet head on turret
No

Ricochet
Track
No

Ricochet
Turret
No
50 mm
Fragments of shell in opening
Turret
No
?
Shell torn apart in opening
Hull
No
82 mm
Fragments of shell in opening
Drive sprocket
No

Ricochet
Upper rear
Yes
2 mm
Penetration in the rear. Insignificant effect on armour plate behind screen.
Hull
No
60 mm
Impact at 60 degrees, fragments of shell in opening
Turret
No
40 mm
Fragments of shell in opening
Turret
Yes
120 mm
Impact at 90 degrees. The shell hit a weld seam.

Translated by Ilyukhin
Translation verified by Engineer-Lieutenant-Colonel Mikhin."

7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Stupid question: why did they not put this gun on ground vehicles as well?

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    Replies
    1. I think there was a project to put it on the Luchs, but vehicles with low caliber autocannons were going out of fashion by then.

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    2. Luchs was only planned with a 20mm kwk and a 50mm in a different turret, the 30mm is a WoT thing. was to why not on ground vehicles, 1 is ammo, the type of ammo used was some what rare and expensive, the gun could not penetrate the front of the KV or T-34, just the roof, sides and rear, the Germans did used the 30mm MK103 (upgraded MK101) in the AA role

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  3. Hello Peter, very interesting. That website is a goldmine, thank you for the translation. Could you explain more what is meant by "Fragments of shell in opening"? Does it mean that projectile broke apart and pieces were left in the crater?

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