Probably the most famous and most feared gun of World War II, the German 88 had a reputation second to none. Designed originally as an anti-aircraft weapon it was first used against tanks, with devastating effect, during the Spanish Civil War and became the mainstay of Rommel’s anti-tank defences in North Africa. Even so it was a large, cumbersome arrangement, hard work to handle and difficult to hide. In 1943 a new version of the 88, featuring a two-piece barrel was developed with the intention of creating tank and anti-tank guns that shared the same ammunition. This appeared as the PaK43 on a low-slung, four-wheeled carriage and as the KwK43 in the Tiger II heavy tank. However production of the field carriage for the anti-tank version was slow and, in order to meet demand from the Russian Front a simplified model was built using existing components. The result was a massive gun on a split-trail, two-wheeled carriage which, inevitably, was difficult for the crew to handle.
The Tank Museum’s PaK 43/41
The Tank Museum’s PaK 43/41 gun was donated by the School of Infantry, Warminster (Wiltshire) in September 1996. It had stood for decades outside of
the barracks. Once at the museum, it was noticed that the barrel was moving violently from side to side when towed. The decision was model to restore the gun.