Same Size Different Round

A row of seven large tanks lined up with their long guns pointing up at an angle, as if saluting.

When we identify a weapon as, say, an 88mm gun, or a 7.92mm machine gun, we’re talking about the calibre, or, put simply, the size of the hole at the end of the barrel. Unfortunately, as we can see from our incompatible Tiger guns, just giving a gun’s calibre doesn’t necessarily make clear which ammunition you can use in it.

There are two other factors that can help us tell guns and their ammunition apart.

One is the length of the barrel. This is expressed in multiples of the calibre, and written as L/x.  The KwK 36 fitted to the Tiger I is an L/56 gun (88 x 56 = 4928mm), whereas the Tiger II’s KwK 43 is an L/71 weapon (6248mm).

The other factor to consider is the ammunition itself. The calibre and the length of the cartridge case, which contains the propellant, are the two important dimensions here. The KwK 36 used 88 x 571mm shells, whereas the KwK 43 needed longer 88 x 822mm rounds.

Read more here at The Tiger Tank Blog

88mm round comparison

The 88 x 571mm shell fired by the Tiger I (L) alongside an 88 x 822mm round from the Tiger II.

8.8 cm KwK 43 and 8.8 cm Pak 43

Tiger I

Tiger II

King Tiger (Tiger II)

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