Forgotten Weapons and The T124E2 AT Gun

2015-03-20 23_27_06-T124E2 76mm High Velocity Antitank Gun - YouTube

The second Forgotten Weapons video to feature really big guns, the embedded flick below shows a T124E2 AT (anti-tank) gun firing. These weapons were the last of the towed American AT guns, with less than a hundred made, although the Soviet Union – and its successor the Russian Federation – continues to use towed AT guns to the present day.


The T124E2 was a towed 76mm anti-tank gun based on the M41 Walker Bulldog’s M32 (formerly T91) tank gun. With standard APC shot, it fired a 14.56 pound projectile at 3,200 ft/s, capable of penetrating 122mm of rolled homogenous armor at 30 degrees inclination at 1,000 yards. Using the more advanced HVAP shot, it fired a 7.13 pound projectile at 4,139 ft/s, capable of penetrating 208mm of RHA inclined at 30 degrees at 1,000 yards. Finally, with M331A1 HVAP-DS (discarding sabot) ammunition, it fired an 8.22 pound projectile at 4,125 ft/s. With this performance, the weapon was very capable of perforating WWII-era Russian armor beyond a kilometer, but against the newer IS-3, IS-4, T-54 and T-55 tanks, it was decidedly marginal. After the T124E2, the United States would transition to man-portable anti-tank weapons such as recoilless rifles developed at the end of the Second World War.

Two other videos exist of what I can only assume is the same T124E2 (most likely the only one in civilian hands) in an earlier stage of restoration, as it has a different gun shield:


The second video illustrates the excellent reason for the introduction of the string firing method.

Over at LovettArtillery.com, pictures of another T124E2 can be seen, this one with an intact firing lever.

AT guns were historically more dangerous to tanks than other tanks; their lower silhouette and better camouflage would make for a nasty surprise for any tanker. Though, as these videos illustrate, the great muzzle flash would certainly help give away a carefully-concealed position!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    Standard Operating Procedure with the big Recoiless rifles was to employ decoy charges to create flash and smoke in different locations. Geoff Who notes there is one heck of a blast when any cannon fires.

  • Will

    Makes me smile!!!!

  • Zebra Dun

    Absent a first shot kill the odds of the Anti Tank gun surviving the encounter was 3 to 1 in favor of the tank.
    Hence shoot and scoot, something a towed gun cannot do at speed.
    Tactics dictated abandoning the gun until it was safe to go back and recover it.
    The M-274 with an M-40 aboard was a small package tank destroyer/assault gun being low stature and unusual silhouette and could displace almost invisibly the one shot kill was aided by the .50 cal spotting rifle.
    It had less armor than the T-124 unless you counted the thickness of Marine dogtags.

    • marathag

      M56 in 90mm had a bit of kick to it though, not being recoilless

      • Zebra Dun

        Jesus!
        Nice recoil damper device.
        Did they call the trigger man a gunner or a victim?

  • skusmc

    “although the Soviet Union – and its successor the Russian Federation – continues to use towed AT guns to the present day”

    What!? I had no idea of this, and I love this kind of stuff. If you guys could do a piece on these designs that would be awesome.

  • PedroMDK

    Love that fireball!

  • Pete Sheppard

    Sweet!

  • Lance

    Aww the fun of a BIG gun before missiles took over. Now buy one and show us your Nathaniel F!

  • Aaron E

    I didn’t know there was a Mosin-Nagant AT gun!

  • ghost

    Do not want to be on the receiving end.

  • ghost

    We had both towed artillery and SPATs. The SPATs were shoot and scoot. At the time the SPATS were the Airborne’s armor.

  • IIRC, the 76mm gun (with improved APDSDU projos, an *automatic* burst capability, and a large ammo carousel) was the basic gun for one of the proposed Sheridan replacements for the airborne armor. A burst of three rounds in about 1.5 seconds, all of which had a good chance of going through a T72’s armor. Lost out to the M8 AGS, which subsequently got canceled as part of the “Peace Dividend” right as it was just going to enter full production (they had already printed the TMs and FMs, established the MOS school, and had scheduled the first full class, in fact…)