7.5 cm Leichtgeschütz 40 Recoilless Gun

Country of OriginGermany
TypeRecoilless Gun
Caliber75.000 mm
Length750.000 mm
Weight145.000 kg
Ammunition Weight5.83 kg
Rate of Fire8 rounds/min
Range6.800 km
Muzzle Velocity350 m/s


ww2dbaseThe 7.5 cm Leichtgeschütz 40 recoilless guns, made by Rheinmetall, were initially named LG 1, but were renamed in order to conform to the standard German weapon naming convention that included the year of design. They fired existing 7.5-centimeter ammunition originally manufactured for other field and anti-tank guns, thus preventing logistic issues associated with the introduction of a new gun; however, this decision meant that the benefits typically associated with recoilless guns could not be fully realized. They first saw combat in Crete, Greece with German paratroopers, and remained popular with paratroopers for the remainder of the war. A small number of Luftwaffe (Air Force), Waffen-SS, and Army mountain units units used these weapons as well. 450 of them were built between 1941 and 1944.

Source: Wikipedia ww2dbase

Last Major Revision: Apr 2010

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
7 May 2013 01:19:48 AM

During the Second World War the Wehrmacht had a whole range of guns, rockets and mortars with which to provide close support for the infantry. While the 7.5cm LeFK18 issued to Infantry Regiments was a perfectly adequate artillery piece when manned by gunners who could be relied upon to use it well, it had never been intended to be deployed in any other way than in the conventional indirect supporting fire role. It had a respectable range (9,425m) but was slightly too heavy (1,120 kg in action) for Infantry gunners, who needed to stick it well forward, often firing over open sights, to manhandle easily around the battlefield.

Artillery is basically restricted by basic physics, the bigger the shell, and/or the greater the range the more propellant needed; the more propellant, the stronger the breech needs to be; the stronger the breech, the heavier the gun. Similarly, the lighter the gun, the more violent is the recoil. Hence artillery designers constant need to maintain a balancing act between weight and ballistics.

The 7.5cm LG40 recoilless gun was an attempt to create a light-weight gun with a longer range than the standard issue Infantry gun. This type of gun dealt with the inevitable recoil througha completely different principle. Instead of absorbing the recoil within the gun by means of recoil cylinders, weight and movement of the gun itself, the recoilless gun overcame recoil by venting waste gases through nozzles on the breech which, in theory, made it potentially an ideal weapon to replace the Infantry gun (and perhaps also the 7.5cm LeGebIG18 mountain gun issued to Mountain Divisions) except for two small problems. The first is the vented gas. Hot, moving at speed, it made the gun impossible to stand behind while firing, and stirred up a considerable cloud of dust which rather spoilt the effect of camouflage. The second problem was that these guns used more propellant than conventional artillery; about five times as much. By 1944 Germany was short of virtually everything, and propellant was too scarce to be wasted on tactically embarrassing clouds of hot gas and dust. Therefore the recoiless gun was confined to take a back seat, useful only by airborne troops who needed something light for transportation purposes, but too expensive for use by anyone else.

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