Can A Mauser Tankgewehr Really Take Out a British Mark IV Tank…Let’s See
A while back, I wrote an article about the world War I German rifle, the Mauser “T-Gewehr”, (in English: “Tank Rifle”). Since the introduction of the British Mark IV Tank on the battlefield, it literally scared the living crap out of the German troops. Never had they seen anything like it before, but after the initial shock, the German war machine did everything they could to fight back against them.
And one of the first weapons they invented, was the worlds first anti-tank rifle, or “Tankgewehr”. Basically, what it was, was a very large scale Mauser bolt action rifle, that fired a 13.2 millimeter solid steel core projectile (bullet). I was designed to penetrate the armor on the Mark IV and cause casualties inside the tank and it was pretty effective, while the Germans were busy making tanks of their own.
The folks at Forgotten Weapons had this to say about it:
The Tankgewehr antitank rifle was developed by the Mauser company and adopted by the Imperial German military as an emergency measure to counter the introduction of tanks to the WW1 battlefield. The question is, did they really work? Could a 13.2mm AP bullet from a Tankgewehr really perforate the armor of a British tank? Well today we find out!The armor on a British tank was steel plate of 6mm, 8mm, and 12mm thickness, through-hardened to Brinell 440-480. We have replicated this with a plate of AR450 (ie, Brinell 450) armor, which we will be shooting at a distance of 50 yards. The ammunition we are using is original 1918 production German AP, and the rifle is a Tankgewehr captured by Allied troops late in the war and brought home as a souvenir.
I always felt that the Germans were way ahead of their time in engineering, especially when it came to weapons production. In both World War I and World War II, the German arms manufacturers were masters of weapons making and made some of the deadliest war machines that the world had ever seen, sadly for them, they were made too late during the war to make any real difference for them.