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Old 09 July 2013, 02:46 AM
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Military G.I. stops German tank with rifle

Comment: This is the story that my dad told me. During the battle of the bulge a
sentry at a crossroad stopped a german tank by shooting down the barrel of
the tanks cannon. Which hit the fuse of the shell in the cannon or by
jamming the shell in the cannon by wedging in between the shell and the
side of the barrel. Supposedly it was in stars and stripes that the guy
got a medal for facing down a tank with only a rifle and winning.
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  #2  
Old 09 July 2013, 03:56 AM
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I could swear seeing this in a movie, but for the life of me I cannot remember any details, nor can I find anything about it with Google.

In a somewhat related case of almost-ostension, searching for it I did find an instance of a Syrian rebel destroying a tank by throwing a grenade down the barrel. Of course, a grenade could have done tremendous damage whether or not the tank's gun was loaded, so the two cases are similar but not really comparable.
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Old 09 July 2013, 04:01 AM
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Immediately after firing down the barrel of the main gun, the man was cut down by one fo the two machine guns also mounted on the tank.

Even assuming the first option is possible (I would imagine the fuse doesn't arm until the round is fired so that a dropped round wouldn't explode inside the turret), how would you know? It isn't like the GI would be so accurate that he'd know that he actually hit the fuse. And if he was close enough to be sure (IE, right in front of the cannon), the blast down the barrel would most likely kill him too. And for the latter, while a jammed barrel can explode/burst when fired, I doubt that a (copper?) and lead bullet 3/10 of an inch in diameter would be enough to jam a round over 10 times its diameter (and about 1,000 times the mass*). It might damage the barrel, but I'd expect the bullet to be smashed by the much more massive tank round.

*Numbers are for 30-06 150 gr vs 9.4 gk 88mm.
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Old 09 July 2013, 04:14 AM
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Good story, but given the state of the German army during the Battle of the Bulge I'd guess that if there's any truth at all to it the actual situation was probably just that the tank was out of fuel and out of ammo.
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Old 09 July 2013, 05:25 AM
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Would a bullet even have enough energy to activate the fuse on a HE round? That'd be the only possibility - I can't see how such a small amount (150 grains = 9.7 grams or just over a third of an ounce) of material could jam the round in the barrel.

Did the 9.4gk 88mm ever use a sabot-style penetrator instead of an HE round?
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Old 09 July 2013, 06:10 AM
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I really, really doubt that a single rifle bullet would be able to set off a tank shell, especially since IIRC the shell didn't arm until after it fired.
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Old 09 July 2013, 06:54 AM
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Shooting down the cannon barrel usually only makes the tank angry. You have to hit it right on the knee to make it surrender.
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Old 09 July 2013, 07:04 AM
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I wonder if there is a grain of truth in that a German tank was taken out by a single rifle grenade? While still quite weak compared to a tank's armor, there is a possibilty that a rifle grenade could have found a weakened or vulnerable spot.
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