The 24 mm Tankbüchse 41, also known as the Tb 41, is a Swiss anti-tank rifle. Originally designed as a gun turret for tanks and as the successor to the Pzaw-Bk 38, the Tb 41 was designed to provide rapid fire and reduce the chances of survival for those on the receiving end to a bare minimum. The weapon was later modified for use as an anti-tank weapon for use by infantry, the role in which it the weapon prominently served in.
Development of the Tb 41 started when some 1939-pattern tanks were purchased from Czechoslovakia; while the tanks were armed with 20mm cannons which were deemed to be powerful enough, the Swiss wanted something more powerful. As such, the Swiss government sent a request down to W+F Bern to produce the weapon; design of the weapon was overseen by a certain Adolf Furrer.
While originally designed for use in light tanks and as a defense against light tanks, it was later found that the Tb 41 could be used as an anti-tank gun for the infantry, and modifications were made for them to be used in that capacity; these were usually mounted in fortresses. Some Tb 41s were also mounted on motorboats. While these were produced, the Tb 41s were never actually used in combat; they simply acted as a "deterrent" of sorts and as a means of defense. A total of 3,581 were produced until 1945.
The Tb 41 is a recoil-operated anti-tank rifle originally designed for rapid fire which left no chance of survival against those on the receiving end. As with most designs by Adolf Furrer, the weapon incorporated a toggle lock into its action; the action of the Tb 41 was actually based on the older Lmg 25 which Furrer also designed.
The weapon has a large muzzle brake which is very effective in minimizing recoil. The weapon's charging handle is actually a pivoting lever located at the top of the rifle, which when pulled, pulls both the barrel and toggle lock together. The weapon is usually fired from a wheeled mount, although it can be removed from said mount and fired from a tripod; the entire operating crew is required to participate in order to do this properly. The weapon may also be mounted on the mount of a MG 11 machine gun with a special adaptor.
When on the wheeled mount, the weapon can be lugged around by car, motorcycle, bicycle or even by a two-man crew. The weapon itself is very heavy; weighing in at 164.2 pounds (74.5 kilograms) unloaded. It can be disassembled into two (still somewhat heavy) pieces, the barrel and the receiver casing. The weapon has two types of sights; a 2× optic and iron sights. The iron sights are essentially enlarged versions of the iron sights as used on Swiss rifles like the K31 and Schmidt-Rubin.
The weapon is crewed by a team of seven people. Along with the crew, 120 rounds of armor-piercing and 40 rounds of explosive ammunition were carried; these were transported in two crates (one containing 30 rounds of armor-piercing ammunition while the other contains 30 rounds of explosive ammunition) and four backpacks (totaling sixteen magazines, of which two contained explosive rounds).
The weapon feeds from five- or six-round magazines, with five-round magazines containing explosive ammunition and six-round magazines containing armor-piercing ammunition; this was done in order to prevent mixups on the field. The magazine is inserted on the right hand side of the rifle. When the weapon is empty, the bolt locks open and the magazine is automatically ejected out the side of the gun.
When mounted in a tank, the weapon's magazine faces upwards, with a small sprung hatch being built into these light tanks for the sole purpose of reloading the weapon. When used as an anti-tank rifle, the weapon is rotated 90° to the right. When on the tripod mount, the weapon can be disconnected from one of the tripod legs to allow for full traverse; the weapon also has a small shoulder stock that can be attached once the weapon is in that position. The shoulder stock perfectly balances the weapon and allows it to stand upright without any support with the magazine inserted; if not inserted, the gun will tip downwards towards the muzzle.
- Pzaw-Bk 38, the predecessor to the Tb 41