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Dear sir,

To settle an old argument one way or the other we need an expert opinion. Question is this: During WWII was there a tank or armored vehicle that could take a hit from a 155 shell—be it high explosive, armor piercing, etc.—and survive?

Thank you,


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Dear John,

The average main battle tank (e.g. M-48 or T-54 and up) would be badly damaged by a 155mm howitzer high explosive shell hit, and a lucky direct hit on the turret may knock it off its race. Wouldn’t do the crew any good either, but it would probably not penetrate or demolish the tank. A chart showed the standard 155mm capable of penetrating 68-110mm of armor at 1,500 meters, while its Soviet equivalent of the time, the 152mm gun, could penetrate 66-113mm of armor. The Soviets, however, developed an armor piercing round that gave the 152 the ability to penetrate 185-308mm of armor, a direct hit from which was capable of disemboweling a Panther, Tiger or Elephant—hence the nickname the self-propelled SU-152 got after its debut at Kursk, ”Zveroboi” (fighter of wild beasts).



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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