The standard anti-tank gun of Germany’s forces in September 1939 was the 3.7cm PaK, which is often but apparently erroneously referred to today as the PaK 36 or PaK 35/36. This was an excellent weapon that first saw real action in the Spanish Civil War, but by the hostilities of 1940 it was largely obsolete as tank armour was now thick enough to resist it.
Replacements like the PaK 38 and PaK 40 were on their way, but the numerous 3.7cm guns were still used until they could be withdrawn, increasingly in secondary roles, garrisons or for training.
One attempt to improve its potency and prolong its life was the stielgranate 41, a fin stabilised hollow charge rocket propelled grenade that was fitted into the muzzle of the gun. A special propellant cartridge was fed into the chamber which threw the grenade at the target when fired. This did improve the destructive power of the weapon but was not without drawbacks and in the long term the higher calibre weapons remained the way ahead.
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