Cailitz Nk-38

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Cailitz Nk-38
NK VZ. 38
Nkm wz38 FK.jpg
The gun in light infantry configuration
Type Anti-air and anti-tank automatic cannon
Place of origin  Nekor
Service history
In service 1938 -
Used by Nekor Defense Force
Production history
Manufacturer Cailitz Industries
Produced 1938 - 1958
Weight 57.6 kilograms (127 lb)
Length 2,015 millimetres (79.3 in)
Barrel length 1,476 millimetres (58.1 in)
Width 202.5 millimetres (7.97 in)
Crew 3 to 6 depending on configuration

Shell 20x138 mm
Shell weight 320g
Caliber 20 mm
Action blowback
Rate of fire 320-350 rpm
Muzzle velocity 856 metres per second (2,810 ft/s)
Effective range 5,000 metres (5,500 yd)/7,000 metres (7,700 yd)
Feed system box/drum

The Cailitz Nk-38 (Nejtěžší Kulomet, literally heaviest machine gun) is a automatic cannon chambered in 20x138 mm and was used as both an anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapon by the Nekor Defense Force. It was used in a "light" infantry configuration, as well as a vehicle armament and in fixed positions. It has since been replaced by more modern weapons.

History and design

In early 1930s the Nekorian Army was looking for a modern anti-tank and anti-air weapon to replace outdated equipment remaining in service. It was determined that a replacement weapon should be able to preform both antiaircraft and antitank duties, thereby saving both time in development, money and logistical strain. Several foreign designs were tested, but were found unsuitable for Nekorian needs. Most notably, they could not suit both AT and AA roles well. In 1935, the Antigel AD, which was being developed for the Nekorian Air Force was tested for this role, but was found lacking as well in terms of portability. At this point a bid for an indigenous design meeting the Nekorian Army's needs was issued.

By 1937, Cailitz had produced a working model which it believed would suit the needs of the Army. Initial tetss were pormising and techncial issues were worked out before the end of the year. During tests it showed excellent penetration capabilities: it could penetrate 40 mm of steel armor at 200 meters distance. It was found better than the competing foreign products as an anti-tank weapon and anti-air gun. However, usage as aircraft weapon was discouraged due to low firing rate and the new weapon was found slightly too heavy for infantry and cavalry use. Because the test results were satisfactory, in May of 1938 that year the Nekorian Army ordered several additional units constructed for further tests.

As an anti-tank weapon for infantry use the gun was to be mounted on two types of mountings. The light mounting consisted of a simple tripod, whereas the heavy mounting utilized a split trail carriage which had suspension and metal wheels with rubber tires. In addition, a specialized antiaircraft sight was developed. With these improvements, the Cailitz cannon was accepted into service as the NK VZ. 38.

The first 100 units were ready by the end of 1938. These weapons were issued to support elements of infantry and armor formations within the Nekorian Army, as well as independent mobile anti armor and antiaircraft batteries, generally with 8 weapons per battery. In addition, it was used on several light tanks and tankettes.

The Cailitz Nk-38 utilizes blowback operation. The barrel was fixed with a muzzle brake with a flame suppressor. The weapon was fed either with small box magazines for 5 or 10 rounds, or drum magazines for 15 or 100 rounds. The specially-designed 20x138mm ammunition was produced in several configurations: armour-piercing tracer, incendiary tracer, as well as training round and training tracer round, as well as time-fused shells for antiaircraft use.

Due to advances in armor technology, the Cailitz Nk-38 quickly lost its prominence as an anti-armor weapon but continued to serve as a compotent anti-aircraft weapon for many years,being fully replaced in the 1970's by the Antigel ADM and later the Antigel AD-35. In its anti-armor role it was eventually replaced by the Antigel Komár wire guided antitank missile.

Cailitz also utilzied the 20x138 round in its upgrade to the Cailitz PAP-33, the Cailitz PAP-41

Distance (m) Thickness (mm)
Hardened Steel
100 20
200 18
300 17
400 15
500 13
300 25
400 23
500 20



See also

  • Antigel SAWS - A modern missile system designed for short range defense against aircraft and armored threats. It is utilized by the Zavatsky Dravec infantry fighting vehicle.