3.7in AA gun NOT used as AT gun

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

  1. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Tiger first used in action in September 1942 and Panther in July 1943. The 'hysteria' over these tanks was brief, confined to one front and a curiosity of the summer of 1944.
  2. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Accuracy and the risk of counter-battery fire may also have been factors it seems. N.B. the 40mm Bofors was at least trialled in North Africa in an anti-tank role too.

    More on the 3.7in AA in a field gun role can be found here – page left.

    Edit: Just found this - Use of the 3.7″ AA Gun in the Ground Role

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  3. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place.... Patron

    Interesting referenced documents, but slightly off topic. These two refer to using the 3.7" AA Gun in the ground role as field artillery rather than in an Anti Tank role of the thread title.

    I have not seen the 70 Div comments in the 8th Army lessons learned document. It is interesting. The use of 3.7" HAA as medium artillery by the Tobruk garrison seems to have been missed by Pemberton (Development of artillery tactics and equipment, 1951). However, Routledge (History of AA) mentions that in the last two months of the siege troops of HAA would be brought forwards for shoots under command CRA 9 Australian Div to supplement the limited medium artillery in the garrison. The comments about anti tank use of AA weapons in the 70 Div document refers to the 40mm bofors rather than 3.7".

    The Canadian report mentions field firing with the two standard AA fuzes No 199 (Time= gunpowder train) and No207 (Mechanical time = clockwork) These are both only suitable for airburst shoots. Neither has a graze or point detonating action. Quite reasonable for an AA Shell. You don't want the ones that don't go off in the air to go bang when they land. Heavy AA in the ground role had different effects than medium artillery.
    TTH likes this.
  4. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that...

    As clearly indicated, I was responding to Don Juan’s post addressing the deployment of H.E. against ground targets in Italy. As you have evidently discovered, the file that I linked to at Héritage includes a report of such use which may be of interest to Don Juan and others.

    Does it? Or does it merely draw attention to an important limitation of the lighter weapon?
    Don Juan likes this.
  5. Listy

    Listy Active Member

    British intelligence were expecting the Germans to use 100 ton tanks during Sealion. I'm still trying to find out where that intel came from, but I have the end report. The answer was to emplace HAA with grazing fires and plugged rounds on the buffs above likely beaches.

    The net result would be they'd have murdered the few Tauchpanzers that made it ashore.
    Chris C likes this.
  6. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    A few extracts from the DRAMA report on 59th HAA regt relating to 3.7" HAA guns:-

    On 28 and 29 Oct 1941 detachments of the regt fired anti-tank practice on the Okehampton ranges using guns removed from GS19 and GS20.

    (There seemed to be a rolling AT training program using 3.7" HAA guns for the AA gunners in the 59th during late 1941/early 1942).

    ...and in Italy in 1944:-

    The regt was also to be prepared to engage the enemy on the ground from the Leghorn HAA sites. Target information was passed to btys. Provision was also made for the emergency deployment of one 3.7 from 167
    Bty to be sited as an anti-tank gun for the defence of the canal bridges North of Leghorn.

    ...also used against shipping:-

    On 24 Apr LH2 and LH10 engaged sea targets and were congratulated by Comd 203 Fixed Defences who informed the regt that two enemy vessels had been sunk during the attack on Leghorn Harbour.
  7. DavidW

    DavidW Well-Known Member

    On 28 and 29 Oct 1941 detachments of the regt fired anti-tank practice on the Okehampton ranges using guns removed from GS19 and GS20.

    My home town!
    SteveDee likes this.
  8. HAARA

    HAARA Well-Known Member

    Lucca, Italy, 2 April 1945

    "Tanks received two rounds gun fire from all troops at noon, and another similar bombard of one round gun fire 10 minutes later."

    Extract from 76th HAA Regiment news sheet, "The Daily Round"
  9. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Would this unit have been using 3.7" guns at Salerno? 14th September, 1943 - 56 Division. This is from Hugh Pond's book.

    At one stage General Graham told his Commander Royal Artillery:
    "I have every rifle man in the line, even the men from the beaches. I have only one squadron of tanks as my reserve and the enemy is nearly through on the fronts of two battalions. What can you do? It is up to you, otherwise I've nothing but the worst happening to us."
    The gunners responded magnificently. All the reserve ammunition was brought in from the shore; thirty-six heavy anti-aircraft guns were positioned to fire in a ground role. Although they had never practiced it before, they were most successful, and at the end of the day the general commented:
    "It was the gun that saved us."​

    Oddly though, wikipedia's list of the OOB of 56 Division doesn't list a HAA regiment, only a LAA.
  10. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    57 HAA Regt RA landed at Salerno (as part of 12 AA Bde) - and its war diary records that at 1330 on 12 September 213 HAA Bty 'B' tp was deployed in a field role.

    I'll have a look tomorrow and see if there are any mentions of A Tk action.


    Chris C likes this.
  11. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    From WiKi - Operation Avalanche

    Chris C likes this.
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    I expect there might have been some but I'm not too focused on that - more curious whether they would have been using the 3.7" guns, whether against infantry or tanks. Earlier in that section the author writes "the Germans mounted yet another tank-infantry attack from Battipaglia" though whether that was before, after, or during what I posted previously, I'm not sure.
  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Chris,

    Yes, 57th HAA Regt were equipped with 24 x 3.7" guns.

    Looking at the appendices for Sep 43, it appears that 213 HAA Bty were in sp of 46 Div from 11 - 26 Sep and fired 93 rds A.A. and 640 in Fd role; 214 HAA Bty were in sp 56 Div from 9 - 30 Sep and fired 434 A.A. and 2923 rds in Fd. role; and 215 HAA Bty were in sp 56 Inf Div from 9 - 30 Sep and fired 294 rds in A.A. role and 1983 rds in Fd. role.

    I think there may also have been other 3.7" regiments at Salerno (9th and 87th as far as I can make out).

    I hope that helps.


    Chris C likes this.
  14. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Thank you, Tom!
  15. idler

    idler GeneralList

    From Agar-Hamilton's and Turner's The Sidi Rezeg Battles:

    3.7 SRB.jpg
    davidbfpo and Juha like this.
  16. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Served as "9,4 cm Flak M.39 (e)" along the Atlantikwall in coastal batteries as dual purpose gun
    MKB 2.jpg
    and was quite popular
    MKB .jpg
  17. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    One for when TNA reopens: CAB 106/524

    Tobruk: account of engagement between 277 battery, 68th. Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment and enemy tanks 1942 June 20, by Lieutenant R. V. Crane.
  18. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    There is some very interesting material on that roll.

    It has kept me fairly busy for a few weeks ploughing through it frame by frame. Just when you think its just dross left, up pops a goody.

    I know some old and bold internet warriors will be pleased to know there is even a few pages on the legendary 3" anti-tank carrier based on the Churchill chassis.
  19. George Blake

    George Blake Member

    Whilst this is an older thread, I thought it'd be best here than starting a new one. Here is an example of a British 3.7 inch armour piercing round Mk 5T shown alongside its German 88mm equivalent. Unfortunately I can't really contribute anymore information to this thread but I thought a visual comparison might be helpful to someone.

    3.7 inch 1.JPG 3.7 inch 2.JPG 3.7 inch 4.JPG
    Chris C, ltdan and Owen like this.
  20. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    seems to be a 8,8 cm Pzgr.39 (APCBC) L/56
    for comparison purposes:
    achtacht klein.JPG

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