AA guns in field gun role on Gothic Line

Discussion in 'Italy' started by HAARA, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Thought I'd post this pic that I came across in 'Anti Aircraft Guns' by Peter Chamberlain and Terry Gander (1975), showing the AA on the Gothic line. AA guns were in demand for this role by the US troops because of its range. The amount of ammo lying around is indicative of the engagements undertaken. 76th HAA who were in the front line here from July 44 to April 45 fired 112,819 rounds, which equates to 1,100 3 ton trucks to shift these, which was rarely less than a 50 mile round trip, in trucks that in many cases originated from the 'Torch' invasion of North Africa in December 42.

    As an aside, I'd be interested to know where the original of this image is held. I've drawn a blank on the internet so far, and am unable to identify it at IWM - so if anyone recognises it and its source I'd welcome your assistance!

    Attached Files:

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  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I wonder how many of those gunners retained their hearing into old age ?
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Every WW2 Gunner I've met through work has had a hearing aid and repeatedly said "What?" to me.
  4. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    They did have ear plugs, but whether they wore them was a different matter. Apparently there were hard and soft versions, and I have an account of an argument between two HAA gunners as to which was the better! Also, an account of a gun's No 1 not wearing them, and being too close to the muzzle when the gun was fired, leaving him visually and aurally disorientated, and unable to continue in the role, having to hand the No 1 role to a Bdr.

    Interesting in the film I posted on another thread, 'An AA film worth watching' is the sequence where when the guns are fired, items fall over in the control room. A letter in my possession describes trying to write at night with a candle (the only illumination possible to avoid detection) and that each time the gun adjacent fired, the candle was extinguished.

    I don't think any of us can appreciate what it must have been like.
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  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  6. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Not only Artillery Gunners were deaf - but many Tank wireless /ops also even when wearing their earphones to understand what was going on as the 6

    pounder was less than one foot from the left ear and tended to bang now and again

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  8. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    HAARA, I think these two attachments may help you out. Its from THE LONDON SCOTTISH in the Second World War 1939-1945 By
    C.N. BARCLAY. Has you can see by the contents page, its some coverage of any one Battalion in any Regiment.


  9. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Thanks Stu, much appreciated. Is any credit given to the copyright for the photograph?
  10. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    HAARA, In short- no for that illustration in question. Please see the first attachment, it lists the ones that are. I've also attached a map of the 3rd Battalions movements in North Africa, Sicily & Italy 43-45.


    CCF10032016_0002 (3).jpg
  11. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique


    Sorry for side-tracking this thread somewhat but I`m interested in Lt.Col. Hume Victor Kerr who was with the London Scottish in the early part of the war. I`m wondering if the illustration on page 204 per your attached files shows him with the Queen and gives any more details of the others in the photo?. I ask as I`ve seen a picture of him before standing next to a 3.7 with H.M wearing his kilt but never seen it with the caption.

    Also, and just curious here, does it mention him much in this book as I`ve been researching his army service in general?


  12. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    379/101 HAA, looking at the INDEX page, your man is mentioned on five pages.253,254,268,279 & 271 of Chapter X1V. Not sure when he became Lt Col, he has the rank of Major on the pages that I've scanned. Some kind of answer on page 271 may be, when he received instructions to take over command of the 101st H.A.A., Regt.

    Further more to your question of page 204, its the 2nd Battalion so he's not going to be on that Illustration. I've checked all the others & for some strange reason, he's not on any of them that I can see. If you can show a me a picture of him that you have, then I will gladly have a look in the book.

    Hope these scans can help you out.

    CCF12032016_0001.jpg CCF12032016_0001.jpg CCF12032016_0002.jpg CCF12032016_0003.jpg
    CCF13032016.jpg CCF12032016_0004.jpg

    I've got a feeling he's on one of them, but the caption does not mention him by name.
  13. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique

    Hello again Stu,

    Thanks very much indeed for taking the time and trouble to do this for me. The information is very helpful. My interest with KERR lies with his time in the 101st so I invariably refer to him as a Lt.Col., which of course he was not with the London Scottish.

    Attached is part of the picture I have showing the main group of officers and H.M. the Queen. I`ve had trouble crushing down the original photo to a reasonable size for upload to sent just the important section. To the left of the group they are looking at a 3.7 which I feel is probably in Hyde Park. It will be interesting to see if this is in the book. Maj. KERR is centre with the gasmask bag.

    Thanks again,


    Attached Files:

    • KERR.jpg
      File size:
      388.9 KB
  14. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    John, no problem with helping you out.. Its looks like your man may have gone for a cup of tea, or something stronger..


    Happy days. ;)

  15. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique


    Thanks again for the additional scan.

    Yes, I think he was probably photographed late on her tour of the guns that day. In that image it looks like H.M. has the same outfit on, although I can`t see the London-Scottish badge pinned on her left lapel. No doubt that was a little souvenir acquired later on her walk around.

    Seems highly likely that both the photos were taken on 31st July 1940 when (according to Page 254 of the book you scanned), the Queen visited 298 Bty commanded by Major. H.V. Kerr.

    Good work.
  16. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    John, one more name to add from your post 13. Brigadier S.K. Thorburn, O.B.E., M.C., 3RD Battalion, November 1939 - August 1940.
    See attachment below.

    On the illustration I've provided, It will take some zooming in on the picture of the London Scottish badge pinned on HM left lapel, but it is there. No where near as clear as yours.

    CCF15032016_0001 (3).jpg

    Correction of post No
  17. 379/101 HAA

    379/101 HAA Ubique


    Thanks again for all the help and the trouble you`ve gone to in scanning these pages.

    So sorry to the other folks for hijacking this thread somewhat, but I`ve certainly progressed a little with my man, Major Kerr.


  18. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    John, no trouble at all. Pleased I could assist in a small way. I've received more information from the forum than I've given.
    Has a more knowledgeable forum member said to me in a recent conversation, if there is no answer on here, then there isn't one!

    Keep hijacking in a polite way I say..


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