I have previously posted some views on the Matilda II at this link. While going through the appendices to the war diary of 21. Panzerdivision, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, I came across the results of firing trials with various German guns against the Matilda II, which show quite nicely how the one-time queen ofthe battlefield have moved towards obsolescence.
How to read
Some notes to help interpretation:
- Indication (Anzeige) I interpret as ‘success’
- Pz.Gr. is a tank round
- I presume that the writer of the memo made errors in the tank/anti-tank round designations
- Gr.40 (should be 39) is the standard model round for tank guns and anti-tank guns. It contained a small amount of HE filler for better after-armour effect.
- Gr.41 (should be 40) is a tungsten-core round with better effect but no HE filler.
- Pz.Gr.38 normal (should be Rot/red) is the standard anti-tank round of the short 7.5cm tank gun, capped and with HE filler.
- Pz.Gr.38 red (should be HL for Hohladung) is a hollow charge round only available for the short 7.5cm tank gun in the Panzer IV at the time
- l.F.H.18 is a light field howitzer, and was the standard artillery piece of the Wehrmacht. Comparable to the US 105mm or the British 25-pdr.
- ‘Special ammunition’ for this gun was hollow-charge. This was not allowed to be used during Operation CRUSADER by order of Hitler.
- Panzerbüchse 41 is a heavy anti-tank rifle.
Trial Firing on Mark II on 19.3.42 on the firing range of I./Panzerregiment 8
1.) Assembly and explanation of types of ammunition
2.) Firing at 600m with target at acute angle
5cm tank gun with Pz.Gr.41 on turret, also on wheel assembly
5cm tank gun with Pz.Gr.40 on turret
7.5cm Pz.Gr. normal on turret
7.5cm Pz.Gr. 38 red on turret
Panzerbuechse 41 on turret and lower hull
5cm anti-tank Gr.40 on turret, also on wheel assembly
5cm anti-tank Gr.41 on turret
7.5cm HE round on tracks
l.F.H.18 HE round on tracks
l.F.H.18 Pz.Gr. on turret
l.F.H.18 with special ammunition on turret
Turn the Mark II facing frontally.
Against the front all weapons that had indication from the side.
3.) Following this advance of all weapons to 400m
Fire on the front turret by all weapons in the same order as before. After this advance of all weapons with no indication to 200m.
At this range also indication by 2cm tank gun with Pz.Gr.40 and 41.
The original document is attached below. Comments and corrections more than welcome.
German report on firing trials results against Matilda II, 19 March 1942. War Diary 21. Panzerdivision Anlagen.