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Edselman

Strange History: 20mm Machine Gun

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Nkm wz38 FK.jpg
Before World War II, Poland developed a 20mm "machine gun" called the Nkm wz.38 FK. The full name is najcięższy karabin maszynowy wzór 38 Fabryka Karabinów, translates to "the heaviest machine gun." There were other fast-firing 20mm guns at the time, such as the Oerlikon 20mm Cannon, but I'll talk about this one because it was designated a machine gun an was designed like a machine gun. It was primary used in an anti-tank and anti-aircraft role. At the time it was developed, it was the best 20mm autocannon in Europe. 

Image result for Nkm wz.38 FKImage result for Nkm wz.38 FK

It was to be used by the infantry, but with some difficulty due to the weight of the weapon. It could fire 320-350 rounds a minute and was loaded with either box magazines for 5 and 10 rounds or drum magazines for 15 and 100 rounds. The Polish army ordered hundreds of such guns but only 55 were ever produced. They caused some difficultly as new mountings had to be produced to accommodate them. Some of them were mounted in TK-3 and TKS tankettes (small tanks) and there were plans to mount them in light and amphibious tanks. They could penetrate 13mm of hardened steel at 500m and 20mm of hardened steel at 100m, it could penetrate lesser steel in greater amounts. With the tankettes, they played a tank destroyer role and were capable of taking out most German tanks of 1939, including the Panzer IV (though only one proven example of this, cool story behind it actually). A disadvantage was that the small size of the tankettes didn't allow them to carry a lot of ammunition. I couldn't find any information on how effective it was as an AA gun. Of the 55 produced- 40 were mounted on tankettes and nobody really knows what the remaining 15 were used for, my guess would be they were used with the infantry in an AA or AT role. 

Image result for Nkm wz.38 FKImage result for Nkm wz.38 FKImage result for Nkm wz.38 FK

Panzer IV knocked out by a 20mm-armed TKS tankette

Panzer+Regiment+11+1+leichte+division+Prinz+von+Ratibor+Poland+polish+campaign+warsaw+panzer+iv.jpg

More information on the gun at these links:

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.weu1918-1939.pl/20mm-nkm-wz-38-fka/&prev=search

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nkm_wz.38_FK

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=http://www.weu1918-1939.pl/20mm-nkm-wz-38-fka/&prev=search

Edited by Edselman
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It makes me think of the heavy gun (looked about 20mm) brought up by the Germans early in the assault on the town near the end of Saving Private Ryan.  Nasty weapon.

Any word on the rate of fire?

 

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3 minutes ago, iDuckman said:

It makes me think of the heavy gun (looked about 20mm) brought up by the Germans early in the assault on the town near the end of Saving Private Ryan.  Nasty weapon.

Any word on the rate of fire?

 

Mentioned it in the wall of text: 320-350 rpm. That's kind of theoretical though, because the loading system gave at most a 100 round drum and I have no idea how long it took to reload another magazine/drum, but still fairly fast for a 20mm gun of this time. Later models of 20mm AA guns like Oerlikon did surpass this rof. 

Edited by Edselman

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Oh, I see it.  That's pretty good.  I didn't check your links - do any survive?

 

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4 minutes ago, iDuckman said:

Oh, I see it.  That's pretty good.  I didn't check your links - do any survive?

 

Not that I know of, but most likely not. There isn't even any record of any being captured by the Germans. 

 

Well . . . I guess they got a few from knocked out tankettes but those were most likely scrapped by the Germans.

 

*I went and checked, there are some examples in museums, but none are in working order

Edited by Edselman

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WOT mascot the Panzer II Luchs has one-upped the Polish with the 3cm MK 103 autocannon.  420 rpm.  I don't know why this aircraft cannon is on a tank in WOT, I haven't heard the justification for it yet.  One of the most fun tanks in the game, and one of the cutest.

maxresdefault.jpg

Edited by Sventex
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