The Wz. 35 was a rifle designed around an extremely powerful tungsten ammunition, which was later copied by the Germans. Had a superior design to the contemporary genre, such as a brake mouth extremely efficient, which reduced 65% of the recoil of the gun. Although the concept of anti-tank rifle be approaching obsolescence, this weapon was capable of penetrating all tanks used in the invasion of Poland in 1939. Taking advantage of these qualities, of the approximately 6,500 produced was incorporated into the German army and used in the Russian campaign, as the PZB 35 (p).
AmmunitionEditIn late 1920s the Polish General Staff started the development of a light anti-tank weapon for the Polish infantry. In 1931 Lt. colonel Tadeusz Felsztyn from the Institute of Armament Technology in Warsaw started the first tests of various low-calibre cartridges. After the tests of a German-made Hagler bullets proved the possibilities of such ammunition in perforation of steel plates, the National Ammunition Factory in Skarżysko-Kamienna was ordered to develop its own 7,92 mm bullet with the muzzle velocity of over 1000 metres per second. After a series of tests, a new DS bullet was proposed.
The DS ammunition was based on a standard 7,92 mm bullet used by both the Mauser rifles Model 1898 (wz.98) and its Polish variant karabinek wz.29 . The length of the cartridge was extended to 131,2 mm and the overall weigth reached 64,25 g. After an additional series of tests the initial copper cartridge case was replaced with a case made of brass (an alloy of 67% of copper and 23% of zinc).
A unique feature of the kb ppanc wz.35 was, that instead of using penetrating cores made of tungsten or other hard metals, DS bullet had leaden core in a steel coating, just like ordinary rifle bullets. Its core was not penetrating the armour, but it was flattening on an armour plate, transferring its kinetical energy. The key to success was very high bullet velocity. As a result, the bullet was punching a cork in an armour, about 20mm of diameter, which was more, than rifle caliber.
Simultaneously to the development of the ammunition, a young graduate of the Warsaw University of Technology Józef Maroszek was ordered to prepare an anti-tank rifle. On August 1, 1935, the Committee of Equipment and Armament officially ordered the rifle and in October the first tests of the new weapon started.
The rifle was based on the successful construction of the Mauser rifle, a standard pre-WWI infantry weapon. The gun-lock was modified to sustain higher pressure of the new bullet and the muzzle was extended significantly. The first tests carried out in Brześć and Pionki showed that the new weapon was capable of perforating a 15mm steel plate from the distance of 300 metres. Similar results were reached after firing at a deflected steel plate. Initially the new muzzle could only sustain up to 30 shots, after which it had to be replaced with a new one. However, this drawback was soon corrected and the final prototype could fire approximately 300 shots. The committee accepted the new design on November 25, 1935, and in December the Ministry of Military Affairs ordered the delivery of 5 rifles, 5000 bullets and a set of spare muzzles for further tests.
After the tests carried out by the Centre of Infantry Training in Rembertów proved high effectivity and reliability of kbk ppanc wz.35, the Ministry ordered 7610 rifles to be delivered to the Polish Army by the end of 1939. It is uncertain how many rifles were actually produced, but it is often estimated that there were more than 6500 pieces delivered by September 1939.
The rifle was the main anti-tank weapon of an infantry platoon. Each infantry company and cavalry squadron was to be equipped with three rifles, each operated by a team of two soldiers. Additional anti-tank teams were to be created at a later stage. Although the weapon was successively introduced to the units, it remained a top secret. The rifles were kept in closed wooden crates, each marked with a number and a notice do not open; surveillance equipment. The teams were trained in secret military facilities just before the war, starting from July 1939, and then had to give an oath that they will preserve the secret.The rifle was carried by the leader of the two-man rifle team on a carrying strap. The other member of the squad was his aid and provided him with cover while he was reloading. The weapon was usually fired from prone supported position with the bipod attached to the barrel. However, it could be also used in other positions, like prone unsupported and crouch. The effective range was 300 metres and the weapon was effective against all German tanks of the epoch (those being Panzer I, II and III, as well as Czech-made LT-35 and LT-38) at 100 metres. At up to 400 metres it could destroy all lightly-armoured vehicles. It could penetrate 15mm of armour, sloped at 30° at 300m distance, or 33mm of armour at 100m. What is interesting, an Italian manual stated maximum penetration as 40mm.
Despite well-established opinion, the Karabin przeciwpancerny wz.35 was extensively used during the Polish Defence War of 1939 by most Polish units. After Poland was overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union, large quantities of this weapon were captured. The Germans pressed it into service as Panzer Buchse 35 (polnisch) (PzB 35(p)), and sped up works upon their own simplified, one-shot anti-tank rifle Panzer Buchse 39 (PzB 39). According to some sources, the Germans however replaced DS bullets in a captured ammunition with their own 7,92mm bullets with a hardened steel core from the PzB 39. Also, several features of the Polish rifle, most notably a lock, were used in development of the Soviet Simonov 14.5 mm anti-tank rifle .
In 1940 Germany sold approximately 800 Polish rifles to the armed forces of Italy, who used it in combat until the end of World War II.
- Model: Wz ppanc 35 kb, kb RH (Urugwaj)
- Caliber: 7.92 mm x107 DS
- Length: 176 cm
- Barrel length: 120 m
- Weight: 9.5 kg
- Mechanism: Repetition of bolt
- Projectile: Solid, tungsten, 14.579 grams
- Penetration: 15 mm to 30 to 300 meters or 33 mm to 100 meters.
- Charger: 3 cartridges
- Range: 400 m (useful)
- Speed mouth: 1275 m / s
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