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The Pak 43 was the most powerful anti-tank gun of the Wehrmacht to see service in significant numbers, also serving in modified form as the 8.8 cm KwK 43 main gun on the Tiger II tank, to the open-top Nashorn, and fully enclosed, casemate-hulled Elefant and Jagdpanther tank destroyers.
The Pak 43 (Panzerabwehrkanone 43 and Panzerjägerkanone 43) was a German 88 mm anti-tank gun developed by Krupp in competition with the Rheinmetall 8.8 cm Flak 41 anti-aircraft gun and used during World War II.
The improved 8.8 cm gun was fitted with a semi-automatic vertical breech mechanism that greatly reduced recoil. It could also be fired electrically while on its wheels. It had a very flat trajectory out to 914 m (1,000 yd), making it easier for the gunner to hit targets at longer ranges as fewer corrections in elevation were needed. In addition to this, the gun's exceptional penetration performance made it able to frontally penetrate any Allied tank to see service during the war at long ranges, even the Soviet IS-2 tanks and IS chassis-based tank destroyers. The gun's maximum firing range exceeded 15 kilometers (9 miles).
There were 578 88mm Pak in German army service on 1 October 1944 and 829 on 1 January 1945.