3.7cm TAK Rheinmetall in starrer Räder–lafette
TAK anti-tank 1

In hindsight, the German High Command took the threat from the new Tank weapon with surprising complacency, in effect trusting that their ordinary weaponery could, with improved tactics, still be able to hold its own. (Only one really dedicated AT weapon was introduced early, and that was the 13mm T-Gewehre, which by the way was not very effective nor popular among the troop.) In the summer of 1918 all this proved to be wrong, as the allies used tanks in masses for real effect for the first time. This experience finally unnerved the German High Command, and several crash programmes were started to quickly find a new AT weapon for use in ranged defence against tanks.

TAK anti-tank 2

The two firms of Krupp and Rheinmetall were both asked to produce designs of light AT guns using the tubes of the 3.7cm revolving guns and the carriage of the 7.7cm leichte Minenwerfer. Out of this came, among other designs, the 3.7cm TAK Rheinmetall in starrer Räder–lafette.

TAK anti-tank 3

It was a gun on a fixed wheel carriage, with the 809mm long tube fixed to the carriage, without any recoil system. The gun had mechanisms for elevation (-6 degrees to +9 degrees) and traverse (21 degrees). The fixed iron sights allowed for firing up to 2,600m. The muzzle velocity was 506 m/sec. Emplaced, the gun itself weighed 175kg. The gun fired solid armour-piercing 0.46kg shells (with or without a tracer). These shells could penetrate 15mm of armour plating at a distance of 500 meters. The gun could be pulled by one horse, and on the battlefield by four men dragging it in harnesses. The design was simple enough to mass produce, and orders were given for 300 of this gun, soon raised to 1,020. The plan was to issue 32 guns to each Minenwerfer Batallion. When the war ended some 600 guns had been issued to the troops, where it had proved its worth on the front: it was stable in firing, and it proved accurate.