Vickers 3.7" H.A.A. guns used in field role, Sicily July 1943

Discussion in 'Italy' started by HAARA, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    I came across this very detailed description of A.A. guns of 76th H.A.A. Regt being used in a field role in Sicily in July '43. This was the first time the Regt had used their guns in this way, and it's interesting to read the difficulties of keeping the guns level, especially as it seems that they were not dug into gun pits to minimise the opportunity of these being seen from the air by enemy aircraft. Also, that the guns should fire at a slower rate than that at which they were capable, being QF, as it was thought that this would give the enemy valuable information of disposition and strengths.

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  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Great stuff. Where did you find it?

    The 3.7" Gun was used in the field role from sicily on wards. It had a good ground range and was more use early in an amphibious expedition than a 5.5" medium gun which could not help to defend against air attack.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  3. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    It's in the 76th HAA War Diary for July 43. The guns were used both as AA and field in Sicily. Once on the mainland in September they were back to AA role, but also spent time practising field shooting. They were subsequently designated to a field role in support of US 5th Army from July 44 until the end of the war. If you are interested in this there's an account of the regiment's time in Italy in "Ever Your Own, Johnnie. Sicily and Italy, 1943-45"
  4. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Given the many threads on the use of 3.7" gun in a field role and it's suitability as an A/Tk weapon, I thought this snippet from the history of the London Scottish would be of interest:

    London Scottish - p.287.JPG

    The history contains a full account of the 3rd Bn's war as an HAA regt (97th), at much greater length than in many other regimental histories which seem to relegate their respective AA units to a subsidiary description.


    HAARA likes this.
  5. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    97th HAA Regt were also present at Bari on the night of the 2 December raid, so, as with 76th HAA Regt, were also being used as AA weapons. The 76th effectively converted to a field role in July '44 in support of IV Corps of the US 5th Army (as noted above), remaining in this role until May '45, moving from south of Pisa to Massa. 236 Battery alone fired 34,000 shells in field support during this period.
  6. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    As I read further along, it becomes obvious that the 97 HAA Regt had an eventful time - Bari as you say, then over to the Cassino front with both 5th and then 8th Army, both in an AA role and also in a field role (including 4000 rounds on the night of 11/12 May in support of Operation "Honker"). Interesting account - much recommended.



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