3.7in AA gun NOT used as AT gun

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

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Geoff, on the latter that was part of Operation Greenline's bombardment, that was not for ATK purposes but aiding to the general bombardment, assuming the target is correct but the two formations are wrong!
  2. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    I was quoting the relative page in the diary as a whole....so that it could be verified.....The page is copied from the Regimental diary and the point is that the 3.7 HAA guns were used in an anti-tank role..which is the purpose of this topic to decide if the guns were used for this purpose....The correctness of the two Divs they were supporting later on is neither here nor there....I can only quote what is written... The diary also stated that it was "fire support"......nothing else
  3. Over Here

    Over Here Junior Member

    The most highly mechanized in what sense? Trucks, artillery tractors? Certainly not in tanks. And a small army is much cheaper to mechanize isn't it, compared to a large one? Didn't do much in 1940 did it? Only Montgomery's 3rd Division was able to run away intact. To judge from the German photos of largely undamaged abandoned equipment, including by the way, quite a number of 3.7" AA guns, it was a complete debacle at the end.

    We all know the German armoured divisions were all-arms divisions, including tanks, mechanized infantry, artillery, anti-tank guns etc. Miniature armies in effect, which gave them far greater flexibiility and autonomy in action. Of course they also had support from an airforce that seems to have been more interested in winning the war, than winning it by themselves, or trying to.

    The fundamental problem seems though to have been psychological: complacency, rigidity and poor training. Some of the same problems that have led to economic defeat in peacetime. The clipping reproduced in post 124 above shows what the level of mentality was: idiots in Whitehall fighting paper wars over administrative "turf". Reminds me of Fuller's recounting of the seven memos that had to be exchanged over 14 days in 1926 to get the CIGS issued a pair of dividers! He goes on to detail the farce that was the Experimental Brigade, bureaucratically stranged at birth just as the previous incarnation had been in the early 1920s.

    Getting back to guns though, Vickers had the gun the 8th Army needed in production in the 1930s, a 75mm high velocity, but being a "general purpose" gun it didn't fit into the little boxes that the the R.A. apparently insisted their guns conform with.

    Here's the gun: https://imageshack.com/a/6jTz/1

    The Dutch and the Turks bought some.

    The type of ammo is practically irrelevant where the 3.7AA gun was concerned, at least until 1943. Any German tank before the TIger I that was hit by a shell of that size and velocity would be shattered, and so would the crew.

    The talk in posts 112 and 120 about the orbat and the navy and protecting Alexandria etc is all very nice, but what resources did the Luftwaffe have devoted to attacking Alexandria? They didn't even have enough to support the AfrikaKorps. Andif I'm not mistaken RN ships were equipped with AA guns, as well as the ability to steam out and maneouvre to avoid bomb attacks.

    A meaningless argument, particularly so since if Rommel broke through at El Alamein, the navy would be packing their bags and steaming out for Malta, and not long after Malta goes and then Gibralter, the Med and Suez. Next with Turkey on side, Germans roll up the Middle East and India is done. "for want of a nail the kingdom was lost", almost. Orbat, the Navy, bah....17 pounders being built on one shift and weekends off...(Post 107)

    No one is pretending that the 3.7AA gun was ideal for the role, or would have been anything more than an improvised stopgap intended to prevent disaster while digits were extracted from orifices elsewhere.

    Stumbling through until sheer weight of numbers gradually tipped the scales.
  4. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    I thought that this topic was " 3.7 in AA gun NOT used as AT gun " or have I missed something ??
  5. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    The 3.7 was not an anti-tank gun. It was far too large. It would not have lasted 5 mins exposed in the front line. I am always amazed at this desire to 'copy' the Germans simply for the sake of it.
  6. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    Dear M Kenny

    The 3.7 was used as an anti-tank gun....Not very often as it was mainly used after D Day in the ground role, but the gunners were trained to use it in an anti-tank role....My father served with the 90th H A A and he survived as did most of the regiment of around a thousand men....So not only are you wrong on that point you are also wrong in that the german 88 had a much larger silhouette than the 3.7... The 3.7 could also out range any German tank except the Tiger...which mainly broke down

    But pity the British didnt copy the German panzers, like the Panther instead
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Hold on, we're going round in circles again...

    The 3.7 - at least in its mobile form - had some self-defence, direct fire anti-tank capability. To what extent this was designed-in, e.g. sights, I don't know.

    We have tactical manuals for and accounts of its employment in the anti-tank role on the range and in the field. What we lack are clear statements that tanks were actually engaged or hit - personally, I think that would have been interesting enough for the units involved to have recorded it, so 90 HAA's war diary might prove fruitful.

    The wisdom of its deliberate use as a front-line anti-tank gun is another [what-if] question...
    Paul Reed likes this.
  8. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    Dear Idler,

    I agree with you. But the photos and documents that I have quoted speak for themselves.....and in warfare chaos rules and its anti-tank role was I think more of the kind of "need at the time and place" rather than planned. But everyone has their own theory on this. I have put forward material to back up the claim that it was used in an anti-tank role and more than once. I do also do not doubt my Fathers words on the matter

    I will also quote from an article from The Daily Express 19th Feb 1945

    " The 90th Hvy AA Regt RA veterans of the Battle of Britain,veterans of Hellfire Corner , is now in North West Europe with the BLA. Now it is more than AA it is anti everything which is German,in the sky,on the ground or on the water.
    The men who serve its 3.7 guns share its fire tasks which were previously given to 25 Pdrs.Since the 90th came into BLA on July 6 it has fired 100,000 rounds mostly at field targets,tank and troop concentrations"

    I do not concern myself with theories or supposition but fact....
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Without going through the whole thread again, I'm sure I posted on here a couple of years ago a page from a HAA war diary stating the unit engaged tanks just outside Boulogne-sur-Mere in May 1940
  10. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    It is a fact that the lack of air targets meant the 3.7 was used in the ground bombardment role. over 1 million 3.7 rounds were fired in NWE. 1944-45. This compares with 13 million 25 pdr rounds and les than 1 million 75/17 pdr/6 pdr rounds combined. More than half of 3.7 rounds were expended in 1945 and by this time a German tank was as rare as a German aeroplane. The 3.7 was a huge heavy monster and I can not see anyone putting them into the front line for direct fire. Which AA manuals recommended front line positioning? The only way would be if there was a breakthrough where tanks got in the rear. I have no doubt the rear area AA guns did engage tanks (and other targets) with indirect fire but not over open sights except in extreme emergency situations. The gun was just not designed for that and if ever anything fitted the phrase 'breaking windows with golden guineas' it was the 3'7 in the AT role. It was simply not needed and any AA position under ground attack without the cover of infantry (with AT assets) was doomed.
    The AA unit was diary should give locations so we can see how far forward they got.
  11. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Which is tanks coming to the guns.
  12. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    Dear M Kenny,

    I do not adhere to your thesis or your suppositions......This is your own personal ideas and as such be solely regarded as just that...fiction
  13. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    I am sorry you have taken it personally but until I see hard evidence of AT engagements over open sights by an advancing AA unit(i.e. not an emplaced unit engaging a German penetration into the rear or by indirect fire) then it is all supposition.
  14. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    And the photo I showed of the gun firing and the regimental diaries writing about anti tank engagements......Yes I do regard your comments as fiction....and you have shown no documents to back up your weird ideas
  15. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Direct fire is not the same thing as indirect fire. I earlier showed you the ammo consumption figures and said the 3.7 was used to engage ground targets. No dispute there.


    There is no evidence of direct 'line-of-sight' engagement of German tanks nor am I aware of any German penetration that could have caused such an action.

    You clearly have become worked up over this issue and I advise a moment of reflection before future postings
  16. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    And your premise is based on which documents that you have produced ???....Its your own personal theory ....and is just that...
  17. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    By July 20 the Bayeux-Tilly road was a bit behind the front line and any AT deployment would be as a backstop in case of a German penetration. The was not even the remotest chance of a German penetration that far so no engagement could possibly have taken place. Throughout the thread a number have posters have pointed out the 3.7 was designated as a 'last-stop' if there was a German penetration towards the beaches but it never happened. Being told you are to be the last line of AT defence does not mean you actually became AT troops.
  18. Geoff.Maple

    Geoff.Maple Member

    And again and again its Your opinion of the facts.....which is backed up with no documentation.

    Tilly itself changed hands 17 times.....Your making up the story to suit yourself.....
  19. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    You are getting the distillation of several decades of looking into the actions in Normandy. I have a lot of documentation as to both Commonwealth and German actions down to troop. section level. I do know what I am talking about and for you to introduce a claim the 3.7 was used in the direct fire AT role (note the phrase and stop confusing it with indirect bombardment)you will have to produce something resembling solid evidence. If you gave me a date or location then it would be a tremendous step forward.
  20. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    That was June.
    The date you gave for Tilly was July 20. Tell me how many times Tilly changed hands in July?

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