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Index Ordnance Quick Firing 6 Pounder

The Ordnance Quick Firing 6 Pounder (57mm) Anti Tank Gun was developed as a replacement for the earlier 2 Pounder (40mm) gun and first saw service in North Africa in 1942.

The 6 Pounder was a towed weapon and served by a crew of 6.  With an effective range of 1500m against earlier German tanks such as the Stug III and Pzkpfw IV, it was outmatched by the armour of the heavier Tiger tanks where penetration could only be achieved within 100m of the tank.  An Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS) round was introduced from 1944 onwards which offered better penetration at longer ranges.

Adopted for Airborne use to provide a potent anti tank capability a number of changes were made particularly to the trailing arms.  The gun and its tow vehicle, the Airborne Jeep, could be deployed inside the Horsa Glider.  Resupply of ammunition was by parachute containers.

The 6 Pounder was heavily used in Operation Market Garden and accounted for a number of enemy vehicles, with Sgt Baskeyfield earning a Victoria Cross for single handedly destroying German vehicles with one such gun.


by Jon Baker

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Gary Archer said:

With standard Armour Piercing Shot, penetration of the heavier German tanks could only be guaranteed at close ranges. However, with the introduction of Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (APDS) in June 1944 the 6 Pounder was given a new lease on life. The tungsten core of the APDS round was held in a light alloy sheath which fell away after firing allowing the tungsten 'dart' to continue to its target at speeds of over 3,800 feet per second. This enabled it to penetrate and destroy even the heavier Tiger and Panther tanks at realistic battle ranges. The Airborne 6 Pounders went into battle with a mixed load of 42 rounds per gun consisting of 27 rounds of APDS and 15 rounds APCBC (Armour Piercing Capped Ballistic Capped).

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