The first production model of the 6-pounder series was the Mk. I which saw limited service. The 6-pounder fired 57 mm shells at a maximum range of up to 4,678.6 meters.The elevation of the gun ranged from -5 degrees to +15 degrees while the gun could traverse 90 degrees left or right. The total weight of the 6-pounder was about 1,143 kilograms while the total length was 2.8 meters.The muzzle velocity of the 6-pounder was 834 meters per second with a regular armor piercing round and to operate efficiently, the 6-pounder required a crew of six. The 6-pounder could penetrate up to 68 mm of armor protection at a distance of 914 meters.
To ease mobility, the 6-pounder was equipped with two wheels with ribber tires and a blast shield to protect the crew somewhat from enemy fire. The Mk. I 6-pounder was also equipped with a L/50 type barrel.
The first variant of the 6-pounder series was the Mk. II and it was equipped with a brand new L/43 type barrel which was lighter for easier transportation. The downside of the shorter barrel was that the Mk. II had a slower muzzle velocity than the original Mk. I, but this was disregarded as being an Aanti-tank gun, it was most lifely to see combat at close ranges.
The Mk. II was the first mass production variant of the series and it was followed by the Mk. III variant which was fundamentally an Mk. II 6-pounder, but modified so that it could be mounted in tanks. The Mk. IV variant featured an L/50 type barrel and sported a muzzle break. The Mk. V, like the Mk. III was a tank gun variant of the Mk. IV. The final final British variant of the series was Molins Class QFM model which was modified for use in aircraft. This variant was fully automatic. The Molins Class may have been the last British variant of the series, but the 6-pounder series lived on in the American artillery arsenal. The first American variant the M1 Anti-Tank Gun which was fundamentally a Mk. II with an L/50 type barrel. It was followed by the Gun Motor Carriage T48 which was the same as the M1 only it was modified for use on the M3 Half-Track. Some 6-pounders were even equipped with Mk. III carriages so they could be put into gliders like the Airspeed AS.51 Horsa.
The 6-pounder was first developed in 1938 because of the need to replace the desperately outclassed Ordnance QF 2-pounder. Despite being first developed in 1938, it began service in 1941 due to delays in distribution. The 2-pounder's 40 mm round was useless when combating newer and newer German tanks and adding to the problems, the 2-pounder was a stationary gun since it was mounted on a tripod. When the 6-pounder was introduced, it saw immediate success in North Africa and it continued to serve the British until the 1960s. It even saw extensive use with the Americans in their campaigns in Europe. Through Lend-Lease some 6-pounders saw service on the Eastern Front with the Soviet Union.
- ↑ Lüdeke, Alexander. Weapons of World War II. Parragon Books Ltd. (2007), Page 160
- ↑ http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=469
- ↑ http://www.wwiiequipment.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=74:6-pounder-anti-tank-gun&catid=40:anti-tank&Itemid=58