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17-Pounder Mk. I (Aust.) Anti-tank Gun

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The 17-pounder (76.2 mm) was one of the most powerful anti-tank guns of World War II and provided the punch for the Sherman Firefly.

The great advances made in tank armor during World War II drove a corresponding increase in the penetrating power of anti-tank guns.  Britain began the war with the 2-pounder (40 mm) gun and introduced a 6-pounder (57 mm) in early 1942.  The capabilities of both were soon eclipsed by the development of the German Panther and Tiger tanks.

The British Ordance Select Committee decided in April 1941 that it would take a 3-inch gun firing a 17-pound projectile at 2,700 ft/sec to penetrate 120-150 mm of face-hardened armor at 800 yards.  The resulting gun was accepted for production in the spring of 1942 and saw combat for the first time in Tunisia at the end of 1942.

A Morris C8 or Guy “Quad Ant” was often used to tow the anti-tank gun.  Other versions of the
17-pounder were mounted in British self-propelled guns and tanks, including the well-known Sherman Firefly.

History of the Artifact
This gun is one of 128 made in Australia.  The gun was manufactured by the Maribyrnong Ordnance Factory while Charles Ruwolt Pty Ltd acted as the project manager for the various components of the carriage.  Australia was the only other country to make the 17-pounder, and some pieces saw service in Korea with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR).

Did you know?
In reaction to the appearance of Tiger tanks in the Tunisian campaign, the British rushed the 17-pounder into the field using the 25-pounder carriage.
General Statistics
Crew:  7
Width:  7 ft 4 in
Length:  12 ft 1.5 in
Height:  5 ft 7 in
Weight:  6,520 lb
Bore:  3” (76.2 mm)
Length of Bore:  13 ft 9.45 in (55 caliber)
Traverse:  60 degrees (30 degrees to each side)
Armament
High explosive, armor piercing, armor piercing capped, armor piercing ballistic capped, and armor piercing discarding sabot 76.2 mm ammunition.