3.7in AA gun NOT used as AT gun

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Owen, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    I think we know all know why the 3.7 was'nt used as AT on a regular basis, it's just a question of if, when, how and why, the same as the German 88mm.The 3.7 had to be towed by the Matador 4x4 Tractor the same as Med Arty because of the weight, but it could and did trasverse soft ground (thats why Fairground people used them). so it would have to be dug in, ok if you new when and where the tanks were coming and had the AP ammo. As to getting the guns away if you looked like being overrun, it's the same as any Heavy Arty, if theres time ok, if not you dissarm the gun and go.
    P.S. On the 27th July 44 at Ondefontaine, my fathers, 5.5 Med gun Bty (Brewed Up) 3 German tanks.
    Rob D.
    von Poop likes this.
  2. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Here's a battery (partly visible) operated by Egyptian army personnel. The guns are linked to their battery Director.


    Egyptian soldiers manning 4-inch, anti-aircraft as 3 soldier operate the gun's rangefinder, at training camp in the desert. - Heliopolis, Egypt; July 1940

    What guns are these???
    Bodston likes this.
  3. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Great picture, although it looks a bit Heath Robinson, It's a shame more 3.7's wen't SP in NW Euroupe in WW2, it would have made it much more flexible for the crews rather than towing.
    Rob D
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

  5. penance

    penance Member

    Hi All,
    New to this topic and not had time to read it all, I wa diected here from the Tobruk thread.
    Sorry if i am repeating stuff already mentioned.
    The 3.7" was used in At and field role.
    A pic of my grandfathers battery fireing the 3.7" in field role

    That was at Tobruk area, Jan '41.
    My Grandfather also spoke of action in the AT role with the 3.7, reckoned it made hell of a mess of the target. Tho he did also mention they were overun and had to scupper the guns, just taking the Matadors.
    Also his regimental diaries mention a lot of field role use of the 3.7 during the Italy campaign. A fair amount in counter battery use.

    Again, sorry if i have gone over old ground, but with the above picture and the info from the horses mouth I am certain that the myth of the 3.7 not being used for AT is just that, a myth.
    Drew5233 and Owen like this.
  6. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Hi Penance
    Just a bit more on this. While just looking through the 2 AGRCA War Diaries the other day for research for the book,for OP "VERITABLE" 8-02-45 they state in the Order of Battle that 3 HAA Regiments with a total of 72 Guns (another report says 96 Guns) will be used in the GROUND ROLE for this operation.
    Rob D
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  8. penance

    penance Member

    Rob, Thanks for the info.

    Owen, I have quite a few more pictures from his collection but that is the only one of the guns in action.
    At some point I will start a thread with the pics in.
  9. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Thats a great picture, love to see more! your very lucky that your grandad left them for you, I have very few of my fathers time in WW2 and none showing the Regiments Guns. It brings home how exposed they were to the enemy in the Desert Campaign with no cover at all. Wonder how far away the Wagon Lines were.
    Rob D
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

  11. penance

    penance Member

    Guys, will hopefully scan a few more over the next few days and will start a new thread to put them in.

    Im guessing the guns were set up that way as it was part of the push to Tobruk, Jan 41. So they would of had pre laid targets and time to set up properly.
    Za Rodinu likes this.
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Thanks Penance (for what?), here are a few rep points in advance to get you going :)
  13. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Just to chip in on this thread - found this British Pathe - INVASION SCENES movie clip - at 35sec there is some footage of 3.7 AA firing at ground target
    Bodston and Owen like this.
  14. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Just reviving this thread with something I read recently [not anti-tank more Field Artilery] I have been reading local WW2 histories (Middlesbrough, River Tees estuary, Redcar & Saltburn on the coast)- particularly Coastal and AA Defences and have read that a plan existed for the eight heavy AA batteries in the "Tees Gun Defended Area" to fire on defined areas of beach in the event of a German invasion.
    These batteries (two 4.5inch and six 3.5inch) were about 3 to 5 miles from their target beaches.
    Source for this information is quoted as "War Office, Tees Fire Command plan 1943" from the book "Defence of the UK; North Yorkshire & Cleveland; Volume 1, Redcar"
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've read in a BEF diary that they used 3.7's in the AT role in France during 1940. I must find the page and post it on here.
  16. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    A friend of mine's grandfather clearly said to me that his Regiment definately fired at tanks using their 3.7" guns in Italy, I asked him several weeks before he died and he was sharp as anything.

    Unfortunately the Regiment's number escapes me.
  17. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi everyone.
    Extracted from the war diaries of 94th HAA Regt in North Africa.

    On the 8th August 1942, the Brigade Commander, Brigadier P.G. Calvert-Jones, visited the Regiment to observe 292nd Battery demonstrate the capabilities of the 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun the anti-tank role.

    On the 4th September 1942, the regiment practised Operation JUPITER, where, in the event of an overwhelming assault, all 40 of the AA brigade’s 3.7 inch guns would be withdrawn to form a defensive anti-tank screen on ‘Skinners Ridge’ near Alam Shaltut.

    On the 25th and 26th September 1942, tanks which had been recovered from the battlefield were taken to Alam Shaltut. These tanks were used as targets during a four day, brigade anti-tank (AT) shoot starting on the 27th September 1942. The live firing exercise was to be attended by General B.L. Montgomery and members of his general staff.

    This photo from my fathers collction just might be REME engineers salvaging what they could out of captured Italian M14-41 tanks before they were used at the AT shoot.


    Firing accuracy was going to be especially challenging as the guns would be still on their wheels and not fixed to the ground.

    October 1942 (pre 2nd Battle of El Alamein) carried on from the previous month with regular practise AA firing and live AT firing at Alam Shaltut.

    I have found nothing stating that their guns were actually used in anger in the AT role, but this suggests there was definately a lot of practise in its application. And it must've been significant enough for Monty and his staff to turn up.

    Hope this helps
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've read in a BEF diary that they used 3.7's in the AT role in France during 1940. I must find the page and post it on here.

    It wasn't a diary it was a book: Dunkirk the Great Escape by A J Barker Page 54

    ... As a precaution one of Guderian's three Panzer Divisions was pulled back into reserve. Guderian, who's original intention had been to send one division to Dunkirk, one to Calais and the third to Boulogne, now had to revise his plans. Believing as always that speed was of the essence, without waiting for permission he despatched the one Panzer Division which was ready to move to take Boulogne. On the way it ran into strong resistence by the French, and by the British anti-aircraft gunners whose weapons were positioned on the heights above the port and used as anti-tank guns in the same way as the comparable German 88mm guns.

    Now to find out what AA units were at Boulogne ?
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From CAB 106/236 Report on anti-aircraft defences at Boulogne, 1940 May, by Lieutenant Colonel C. A. Hillyard.


    For some extraordinary reason they made no effort to attack the Troop of 4 Heavy AA Battery (2 Hvy AA Regt) near by, but merely called on them to surrender. THis they refused to do and actually fired at and apparently destroyed two enemy tanks that were stationary on the road by the Fort (Fort De La Creche).


    I'll add more when I get the regiments diary and the battery one if it exists.
  20. 26delta

    26delta Senior Member

    New Zealand pressed the 3.7-inch into service for coastal defence. It had slightly better range and reload speed than the 6-inch naval guns that were used during most of WW2.

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