German artillery


#1

Many WW2 era German guns have a special explosive device mounted to destroy the gun in the event of pending capture. Does anyone know what this is called and how it works ?


#2

It is the “Sprengpatrone Z”. It is a charge in a cylindrical shaped steel container with a standard thread (M 10x1) for a simple pull fuze with a length of safety fuse. It had to be inserted into the chamber and the breech was to be half closed then the fuse lighter had to be set off.
All guns had their own charge adjusted to the bore diameter. The one for 37mm guns had a diameter of 35mm for example and there existed real huge ones for the big guns.
The smaller guns had usually a separate steel container fixed to the shield and contained the charge and a small round box with the time fuse arrangement and a one page instruction flyer.


#3

Alex, any pictures? I can’t find any.


#4

Here a container from an auction (for a rediculous price):

premium-militaria.de/product … NEW–.html

Here another one (and more realistic price), should be the one for 37mm guns:

collect-militaria.com/index/ … ge1310.htm


#5

And here an excerpt from the flyer which is inside the tin can together with the time fuze. That should clarify.


#6

Thanks. Did anyone else besides Germany keep these demolition charges attached to their artillery?


#7

I was told by an US tanker that they keep thermite grenades. These would be placed at the breech if it was nexessary to abandone the tank.


#8

By the way.
The German Bundeswehr at least still had some years ago cylindrical thermite charges on their tanks to be inserted into the chamber if the vehicle had to be abandoned. Once such a charge was used the main gun became one solid piece.


#9

I don’t know if the UK had special explosive charges for destroying guns. In the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 many 25 Pounders were destroyed by putting a live shell in the muzzle, fuze first and then, using a LONG lanyard, fire another shell from the breech in the normal way. This burst the barrel and the very heavy recoil damaged much of the mounting as well.

gravelbelly


#10

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Here are some more Sprengpatronen Z. These are available in different calibers and stored by the gun.
The biggest charge is the Z 500 (500mm dia.) probably made for the Dora.

These is the tin for fuse,blasting cap and igniter, mostly stored in the lid of the container. That is the reason for the containers odd shape.

Here is the thermite grenade mentioned above

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#11

[quote=“genkideskan”]<

These is the tin for fuse,blasting cap and igniter, mostly stored in the lid of the container. That is the reason for the containers odd shape.

[/quote]

The items placed inside the tin do not belong there, just the coil of safety fuse withe the fuse lighter and the detonator as placed below the tin lid were part of the kit.