Development of the gun began in 1940, as it was foreseen that a more powerful gun than the 37mm would be needed. A prototype was complete by September 1941 and the anti-tank gun entered production in 1942. The anti-tank guns reached frontline troops in 1943, in time for the Italian campaign and later the campaign in Northwest Europe.
Despite its much increased performance, the AT gun did not readily gain popularity among the military US branches. The infantry branch considered it too heavy and too large, while the tank destroyer arm (borne out of US doctrine of massed tank destroyer counterattacks against blitzkriegs) rejected it as it preferred more mobile self-propelled weapons (like the M10). Eventually, the TD branch was forced to accept them.
It went on to have a relatively short service life as commanders preferred to employ self-propelled tank destroyers. The M5 Gun 76mm suffered high losses during the Battle of the Bulge, and requests were made to convert the towed AT guns into self-propelled tank destroyers. It gradually was phased out and by the end of the war, 2500 76mm anti-tank guns had been produced.
In real life 3rd Armored and 4th Armored did not have a Towed Anti-Tank Battalion attached during the Normandy Campaign. 635th Tank Destroyer Battalion served with the 1st Infantry and the 2nd Infantry during the Normandy Campaign.
The M5 76mm is the US's best AT unit, possessing good penetration power and a high rate of fire. However, it is slightly let down by its mediocre accuracy of 5 (though this is somewhat balanced by its ROF). It can also fire moderately effective HE shells.
The gun will still struggle against Panthers at maximum range (with penetration chances in the low digits to zero, depending on the type), but the situation improves as the Panther nears closer. It is therefore advised to hold fire until the big cats are within range before shooting, as long-range penetration is far from guaranteed. It should be noted that veteran crews manning the M5 Gun 76mm (from US 3rd Armoured) can fire shells at an amazing rate, adding to their lethality.
Artillery and enemy airpower remain the most dangerous threats to anti-tank guns, but HE shells from tanks can also knock out guns.
M5 76mm is 1st Infantry heaviest anti-tank weapon since the Division does not have M10 or up-gunned Sherman tanks.
This page was last edited on 24 March 2019, at 19:35.
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