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jeffmorgan_947
03-01-2010, 10:13 PM
Hi All. I took these photos recently while in South Wales, the antiaircraft gun stands at the the roadside as you drive into the Welsh city of Swansea and is a reminder of the terrible damage suffered by the city during the 1941 blitz. When looking at this supurb piece of artlliery,it always begs the question why the 3.7 was never used in the anti tank role as the Germans did with their 88mm. The only reason i can make out is that the mobile mounting for the gun was to heavy? but in a static position, say, around the perimiter at Tobruk,they would have given the Africa Korps a few problems

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/3179/sdc10041v.th.jpg (http://img521.imageshack.us/i/sdc10041v.jpg/)


http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/7716/sdc10038j.th.jpg (http://img705.imageshack.us/i/sdc10038j.jpg/)


http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/1770/sdc10037h.th.jpg (http://img694.imageshack.us/i/sdc10037h.jpg/)


http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/9868/sdc10036fd.th.jpg (http://img199.imageshack.us/i/sdc10036fd.jpg/)


http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/486/sdc10035.th.jpg (http://img213.imageshack.us/i/sdc10035.jpg/)

ImpStarDuece
03-01-2010, 10:18 PM
Stolen from wwiiequipment.com:


Many sources state that the 3.7" anti-aircraft gun either couldn't or wasn't used in an Anti-Tank role, this is false. Up until 1938 it had been standard practice for anti-aircraft crews to be trained in a direct fire role, this was dropped due to reduce costs and quicken training. There are multiple reports of the weapons being used against tanks and other direct fire roles, I have also come across the 1944 handbook for direct fire with 3.7" anti-aircraft guns. There was both a SAP and an AP rounds produced during the war for the 3.7" guns and as around 1/3 of a million of these rounds were made it seems very unlikely that the guns were incapable of firing them.

There is no doubt that the 3.7" anti-aircraft gun was not used in an Anti-Tank role to the same degree as the German Flak36, there are many reasons for this - chiefly the weight of the gun and the wish to use the guns in their intended anti-aircraft role aslo that the 25 Pounder was perfectly capable of dealing with the majority of German tanks. Penetration wise the 3.7" anti-aircraft gun was superior to the German Flak36 and with an auto reloader it was a weapon a tank would not like to come across, but at over 20,000lb in weight the Flak36 was clearly easier to handle in the field.

jeffmorgan_947
03-01-2010, 10:29 PM
One other factor, Prolonged firing in the low elevation position would place a strain on the mounting and recuerating gear,so the gun would have to be redesigned for the anti tank roll

Waldo.Pepper
03-02-2010, 03:03 AM
Jeff your earlier missive ...


Originally posted by jeffmorgan_947:
When looking at this supurb piece of artlliery,it always begs the question why the 3.7 was never used in the anti tank role as the Germans did with their 88mm. The only reason i can make out is that the mobile mounting for the gun was to heavy?

... I think is largely correct.

Consider this passage from page 50 of Anti-Aircraft Guns by Chamberlain and Gander.

"In the event the equipment was too heavy and could only be classed as 'semi-mobile', and as production delays built up one the carriage, some other less specialised firms were called upon to build less complex static mounts to be used for home and overseas defence of priority targets. (For example Tobruk which you also mentioned.)

The gun that the British used over open sites (in a dual role like the German 88) was the 25 pounder. Which did a pretty good job.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/WaldoPepper/book/37001b.jpg


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v516/WaldoPepper/book/37002b.jpg

Phil_K
03-02-2010, 05:25 AM
As far as I'm aware the 3.7 was used in the direct fire role occasionally in Tunisia and Italy to supplement artillery bombardments, but not really in the anti-tank role.

The 25lb.-er was a relatively poor anti-tank gun from what I've read. It certainly didn't give the kind of battlefield results that the 6lb.-er did.

jeffmorgan_947
03-02-2010, 07:38 AM
Remember that the 3.7 is classed as a 32lb-er,and equipped with the right A/T ammunition and auto loader [ with which the British 3.7 was standard ]they would have been much feared by German tank crews, but of course this is all hindsight,speculation, or what ever you would like to call it,and as someone has pointed out the British 25lb-er was a very good weapon. I wonder if tests where carried out after the war with the 3.7 given the post war soviet threat?

Xiolablu3
03-02-2010, 12:09 PM
If tanks broke through and there was a 3.7mm gun around. I am sure they would use it.

The problem is that these guns are purely defensive.

You cannot 'break through' with an 88mm.

It takes about 10 minutes to set up.

Waldo.Pepper
03-02-2010, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by Phil_K:
The 25lb.-er was a relatively poor anti-tank gun from what I've read. It certainly didn't give the kind of battlefield results that the 6lb.-er did.

Agreed. As an A/T weapon a purpose built weapon is almost always going to be superior. Even those versions of the German 88 that were specifically developed into purpose build AT guns were better than the original 88 Flak gun. (lower profile etc.)

In the anti armor role the 25 pounder was considered more effective firing as a field gun. But under the right conditions, at close enough range the 25 could be quite effective. Speaking from memory here, but had the gun had a HESH round during the war it may have developed a better reputation as a proper AT weapon.
The development of the 17 pounder supposedly curtailed such plans, IIRC.


Originally posted by jeffmorgan_947:
I wonder if tests where carried out after the war with the 3.7 given the post war soviet threat?

I would suggest perhaps that the 3.7 fell out of favor for the same reason that the 25 pounder did in the postwar NATO world. Standardization, of caliber and ammunition.

Kurfurst__
03-02-2010, 04:47 PM
Originally posted by jeffmorgan_947:
When looking at this supurb piece of artlliery,it always begs the question why the 3.7 was never used in the anti tank role as the Germans did with their 88mm. The only reason i can make out is that the mobile mounting for the gun was to heavy? but in a static position, say, around the perimiter at Tobruk, they would have given the Africa Korps a few problems

I suppose there are couple two main reasons why it was seldom used in this role. First, the gun was unavailable in sufficient numbers at the start of war, and with the LW roaming over Britain, the few guns available stayed at home, while in Africa where the Panzers were probably few was available. There were no pre-war experience with using AAA against tanks, and little training for it, while the Germans developed training and doctrine for it in Spain, and modified the gun for direct firing purpose (ie. the "88" could also fire without being deployed, had the proper sights, and most importantly the crew was trained for it). The gun itself was also twice as heavy as the Flak 36, and wiki also claims that the organisation was different, as opposed to the German Army, the British Army organised these guns to much higher levels, and with the general lack of initiative from lower ranking officers that was so typical of the very conservative British Army, I guess it just rarely occurred to anybody so high up that these guns could be used for ambushes and direct fire support as well.

In any case, AAA guns are not very ideal for tank busting. Of course they are potent in the role, but the profile is much higher, and they are easy to spot. They are also much more expansive than simple ATGs were - the German's own 88 cost almost 3 times as more than their 7.5cm ATG, which could get the job done just as well, and sometimes even better because it was much more easier to hide..

M_Gunz
03-02-2010, 05:07 PM
With the profiles of those AAA I think you would only want to engage beyond effective range of
the enemy you were firing on or be in one heck of a position like a solid defilade. If the gun
is just sitting up in the open then IMO it would be better to move it away ASAP if enemy tanks
or arty shells started to close in.

jeffmorgan_947
03-02-2010, 09:52 PM
Thanks All for the responce,hope you liked the selection of photos.and just to round off on the suject of the British 3.7, it was not until the introduction of the British Centurion tank in the mid 50's with its 20pdr L7 gun,this superb piece of ordenance giving the Centurion the destinction of being the best tank in the world for 10-15 years. [sorry if the subject is drifting away from aviation].......JM