British "75mm AT gun"...

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David W
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by David W » 03 Jun 2012 00:10

Agreed, but then it's not reboring but inserting
Yes, of course! :)

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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by OldBill » 04 Jun 2012 07:27

According to "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare" (V6,p669) production of the 75mm M1917 was the only one of the three US produced 75mm weapons to reach any significant production during the war. After the war, production of all three (the US designed M3" M1916, the French M1897 and the British 18pdr chambered in 75mm, called the M1917) was continued. No numbers are given, I may have the figures in some notes stored somewhere I took from the book "Signposts of Experience" (General William Snow, 1940) which details the US efforts to field a decent artillery arm during WWI and later. I'll see what else I can dig up for hard numbers, no promises though, this isn't easy info to come across....

Just found this : http://archive.org/stream/storyofordnan ... 4/mode/2up

About midway down the page it tells of orders for 1,427 carriages "of the British type", whether the entirety of those orders were filled I've not found. Nonetheless, we do know they continued production after the end of the war, and the amount they initially planned to build.

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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Urmel » 05 Jun 2012 00:20

dor1941 wrote:nuyt and Manuferey

Bless you both for posting the photos of these 75mm guns in the Med/ME.

Now if I only had a N.Z. or S.A. anti-tank gunner to confirm their use in Crusader (or perhaps Eighth Army's ammunition records for Nov-Dec 1941) then I'd be happier than Churchill after 2nd Alamein! :D

Good work! 8-)

David R
This maybe of interest, although it does not quite address the timeframe, but note no reference to French 75mm anywhere but the Free French, and the 6 Italian 75/27 with 5 NZ Brigade. It is of course possible that any French 75mm guns with the New Zealanders had been handed to the French at this stage.

http://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/20 ... uary-1942/
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Urmel » 05 Jun 2012 00:21

dor1941 wrote:
David W wrote:
All of the action reports for Murphy's regiment-7th NZ Anti-Tank-refer only to 18pdrs and 2pdrs. Italian 75/27 guns were used by British and Polish troops in Tobruk at the time, but apparently not outside the fortress.
Agreed.
Only you had better add the Aussie bush artillery to your list as well! :wink: :)


Absolutely! 8-) No slight intended (in fact, I substituted Polish in place of my initial "Dominion" and still mucked it up!) :oops:
Wouldn't worry. By the time of CRUSADER there was no Aussie artillery left in Tobruk so you were quite right. ;)
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Knouterer » 21 Jul 2012 11:16

To get back to the original question: In 1940, the British first bought from the USA 395 M1917 guns. This was a copy of the British 18pdr made by Bethlehem Steel but in the (French) 75 mm calibre which the Americans had adopted as standard. When the British requested more, Roosevelt approved the sale of 500 M1897 guns (mostly or all French made with the original spoked wheels, apparently), overriding the objections of the military (one US officer remarking that in case of sudden mobilization "everybody who was a party to this deal could expect to be hung from a lamp-post").
As 25-pdr production picked up and the threat of invasion receded many of these guns were passed on the home guard.

The 75 mm A.T. gun was a different weapon. There is a description (plus pictures) of it in K.R. Gulvin: "Kent Home Guard - A history" (1980). Shortened 3" barrel and breach on modified 4.5" how carriage. Range 10,450 yds, shell 12.5 lbs, muzzle velocity 2.500 fps (if correct, that's much higher than the abovementioned 75 mm and in fact the normal m/v of the 3in 20 cwt AA gun).

Here are a few pics of men of the Southern Railway (28th Kent) HG battalion firing them at the Hythe Ranges in 1943. The carriage seems very different indeed from the 4.5" how and has a split trail.

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news- ... /138601773

By the way, the "75 mm" does not necessarily imply reboring, relining or rebarreling, the British were fairly cavalier with calibre designations. The 77 mm of the Comet tank had the exact same calibre as the standard 17 pdr (76.2 mm), and the 3" mortar was in fact 81 mm or about 3.2".

Gerard
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Clive Mortimore » 21 Jul 2012 17:00

Knouterer wrote:To get back to the original question: In 1940, the British first bought from the USA 395 M1917 guns. This was a copy of the British 18pdr made by Bethlehem Steel but in the (French) 75 mm calibre which the Americans had adopted as standard. When the British requested more, Roosevelt approved the sale of 500 M1897 guns (mostly or all French made with the original spoked wheels, apparently), overriding the objections of the military (one US officer remarking that in case of sudden mobilization "everybody who was a party to this deal could expect to be hung from a lamp-post").
As 25-pdr production picked up and the threat of invasion receded many of these guns were passed on the home guard.

The 75 mm A.T. gun was a different weapon. There is a description (plus pictures) of it in K.R. Gulvin: "Kent Home Guard - A history" (1980). Shortened 3" barrel and breach on modified 4.5" how carriage. Range 10,450 yds, shell 12.5 lbs, muzzle velocity 2.500 fps (if correct, that's much higher than the abovementioned 75 mm and in fact the normal m/v of the 3in 20 cwt AA gun).

Here are a few pics of men of the Southern Railway (28th Kent) HG battalion firing them at the Hythe Ranges in 1943. The carriage seems very different indeed from the 4.5" how and has a split trail.

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news- ... /138601773

By the way, the "75 mm" does not necessarily imply reboring, relining or rebarreling, the British were fairly cavalier with calibre designations. The 77 mm of the Comet tank had the exact same calibre as the standard 17 pdr (76.2 mm), and the 3" mortar was in fact 81 mm or about 3.2".

Gerard
Hi Gerard

The guns manned by the Southern Railwaymen are third of the US Army 75mm trio sold to Britian. They are 75 mm M1916 A1, or 75mm "S" MkII*. Most photos of the M1916 show it with the US deigned recoil system that had a spring recuporator mounted on top of the barrel. The M1916 A1 had a French designed recoil system where the recuporator mounted with the cylinders below the barrel. A very rare gun in US service and even rarer in British service. What an excellent set of photos.

Clive
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Knouterer » 21 Jul 2012 21:14

Hello Clive,

Well, you learn something every day ... a bit of googling seems to indicate you're right, I did find the story about the cut down 3" AA barrels a bit improbable, among other things because there wouldn't have been any suitable ammo around for the AT role.

Do you have any idea how many M1916A1 (or M1916MI) guns the British got?

Finally, a page from an amusing website for quick reference of various US 75 mm guns in British service:

http://www.juniorgeneral.org/JClick.php?UID=1968

Cheers,

Gerard
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Clive Mortimore » 21 Jul 2012 22:06

Knouterer wrote:Hello Clive,

Well, you learn something every day ... a bit of googling seems to indicate you're right, I did find the story about the cut down 3" AA barrels a bit improbable, among other things because there wouldn't have been any suitable ammo around for the AT role.

Do you have any idea how many M1916A1 (or M1916MI) guns the British got?

Finally, a page from an amusing website for quick reference of various US 75 mm guns in British service:

http://www.juniorgeneral.org/JClick.php?UID=1968

Cheers,

Gerard
Hi Gerard

The concept of using the 3 inch AA gun on a field carriage, 18 pdr or 4 inch How, seems feasible but in 1940 General Sir Fredrick Pile, commander of the AA command, was not going to let any of his guns go anywhere, he did not have enough guns of any calibre to defend the British skies. The various coastal artillery batteries would not have let their 12 pdr guns go, again this would have been a fantastic anti-tank gun in 1940. The 3 inch AA gun and the 12 pdr coast gun both had the same heritage from the Royal Navy's 12 pdr gun from the late 1800's. There was a armour piecing shot for the 3 inch gun, this possibly came from its joint army and navy development before the first world war. The navy's 3 inch guns always being dual purpose AA and surface weapons.
The American's 3 inch anti-tank gun was a 3 inch AA gun barrel on the 105mm How carriage. The US 3 inch AA gun was developed from their 3 inch coast gun/naval gun, so they done what could have been made in Britain. The British opted for a new design, the 17 pdr, instead of kitbashing what they already had.

As a ex-gun fitter with only basic understanding of ballistics, I am confused about the cut down 3 inch gun barrel retaining the same muzzle velocity. The expanding gases pushing on the shell in a long barrel help increase its velocity. Reduce the barrel length and those gases no longer expand inside an enclosed space to speed up the shell but escape into an open space only disturbing any lose soil in front of the gun. The shell having left the barrel at a lower speed than in its uncut version.

I do not know how many M1916s were sent to Britain out of the 810 that were built (Ian Hogg, British and American Artillery of WW2).

This is just a thought about calling the American 75mm guns anti-tank guns when they were issued to the Home Guard. The Home Guard was basically an infantry militia. Giving them field guns would have placed them under the umbrella of the Royal Artillery. Calling them Anti-Tank guns meant they could remain under infantry control as both the artillery and infantry had anti tank guns. I know later in the war Home Guardsmen manned many anti-aircraft guns and coastal guns but these remained as artillery units with the Home Guard attached to them.

As for the link to the junior general site, did you notice the name of the person who drew the guns? They are some that I drew. :) :)

Yours

Clive
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Knouterer » 22 Jul 2012 13:27

Nice colourful drawings. :) The book on the Kent HG also has a front view of one of those guns on the beach and when I compare it to a picture of the M1916 (late version) in ian Hogg's "Allied Artillery of World War One" (page 50), it's clearly the same gun. A recognition feature is the complex upper carriage, which was one of the factors that delayed production during WWI.

It may also be the reason that someone thought it might serve as a (substitute) AT gun, because it permitted (in combination with the split trail) a traverse of not less than 45°, compared to only 6°for the (original) M1897 and 4° for the M1917.

Regarding the mythical HG gun mentioned before, I'm sceptical. The barrel of the 3" AA gun is more than twice as heavy as that of the 4.5" how, and the recoil was also without a doubt much more fierce, I doubt the carriage could have withstood it. Unless a much weaker propellant charge was used, but then the purpose of the whole exercice becomes unclear.

Secondly, both guns remained in service until at least 1944, so no reason to start cutting them up.

Thirdly, I do not claim to be an expert, but cutting down the barrel of a high velocity gun like that would have, I imagine, a number of negative consequences, such as a huge muzzle flash and blast (undesirable in an AT gun), increased barrel (muzzle ?) wear and a loss of accuracy, considering that the ammo was optimized for a long barrel.

Just my thoughts,

Gerard
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Jul 2012 13:28

Well, you learn something every day ... a bit of googling seems to indicate you're right, I did find the story about the cut down 3" AA barrels a bit improbable, among other things because there wouldn't have been any suitable ammo around for the AT role
Hi Gerard

The concept of using the 3 inch AA gun on a field carriage, 18 pdr or 4 inch How, seems feasible but in 1940 General Sir Fredrick Pile, commander of the AA command, was not going to let any of his guns go anywhere, he did not have enough guns of any calibre to defend the British skies. The various coastal artillery batteries would not have let their 12 pdr guns go, again this would have been a fantastic anti-tank gun in 1940. The 3 inch AA gun and the 12 pdr coast gun both had the same heritage from the Royal Navy's 12 pdr gun from the late 1800's. There was a armour piecing shot for the 3 inch gun, this possibly came from its joint army and navy development before the first world war. The navy's 3 inch guns always being dual purpose AA and surface weapons.
And yet....the idea DID progress....just on a different - "mount" :wink: The recently-discussed...Gun Carrier, 3in, Mk I, Churchill (A22D) :D
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Paul_G_Baker » 22 Jul 2012 13:48

phylo_roadking wrote:And yet....the idea DID progress....just on a different - "mount" :wink: The recently-discussed...Gun Carrier, 3in, Mk I, Churchill (A22D) :D
Not to forget the ones recorded as having been mounted on the 17pdr carriage, Phylo! :wink: :wink:
Paul

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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Jul 2012 14:42

Indeed!
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Clive Mortimore » 22 Jul 2012 16:16

phylo_roadking wrote:
And yet....the idea DID progress....just on a different - "mount" :wink: The recently-discussed...Gun Carrier, 3in, Mk I, Churchill (A22D) :D
Hi Phylo

Very true but that was the whole gun and recoil system not a cut down gun and a new mounting and recoil system.
Paul_G_Baker wrote: Not to forget the ones recorded as having been mounted on the 17pdr carriage, Phylo! :wink: :wink:
Hi Paul

The gun with no "offical nomenclature or formal approval and was never authorised or recognised by the Ordnance Board. No Handbook or offical publication has ever been seen. According to some reports 25 guns kept in Britain for Home defence while the other 25 were sent to the Middle east, but there is no record of their employment there." (Ian Hogg, British and American Artillery of WW2) I have never seen a photo of one. I am not saying they were not built but with no photo or anything offical about them. Their exsistance is does seem to been similar to that of the Loch Ness Monster.

Clive
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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by Paul_G_Baker » 22 Jul 2012 17:16

Clive Mortimore wrote: Hi Paul

The gun with no "offical nomenclature or formal approval and was never authorised or recognised by the Ordnance Board. No Handbook or offical publication has ever been seen. According to some reports 25 guns kept in Britain for Home defence while the other 25 were sent to the Middle east, but there is no record of their employment there." (Ian Hogg, British and American Artillery of WW2) I have never seen a photo of one. I am not saying they were not built but with no photo or anything offical about them. Their exsistance is does seem to been similar to that of the Loch Ness Monster.

Clive
Found on http://208.84.116.223/forums/index.php? ... 267&st=20:
Pemberton, The Development of Artillery Tactics and Equipment (the War Office official historical monograph published 1950, I think we can assume it was reviewed for accuracy), pg 127, dicussing the anti-tk situation in April 1941:

"With the introduction of 17-pr and the provision of high velovity shot for all Brtish anti-tank guns, the advantages so long enjoyed by the Germans were about to be taken from them. But the immediate military situation was serious and something had to be done to tide over the interval that must elapse before production of the 17-pr got into its swing. With this object in view, 100 old 3-in 20-cwt AA guns were collected, provided with a special 12 1/2 lb shot, and mounted half in Churchill tanks and half on 17-pr carriages, the production of which was in advance of that of the guns. The Churchill mounting was handicapped by its small internal traverse - only 7 degrees - and the guns so mounted were allotted for home defence only. Of the remaining 50 on 17-pr carriages, 25 were allotted to the Middle East and 25 to Home Forces."
At least Pemberton seems to think they were a bit more substantial than "Nessie"! :wink: :wink:

Probably they were all re-barreled with the correct weapon as soon as production caught up - and there's always the chance that those intended for the ME were sunk en-route....
Paul

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Re: British "75mm AT gun"...

Post by phylo_roadking » 22 Jul 2012 17:52

Very true but that was the whole gun and recoil system not a cut down gun and a new mounting and recoil system.
Paul and I discussed this both on and off the board at the time. It "looks" (there are pics) like the MkI (or I*) 3" 20cwt and recoil system was mounted on a redesigned but quite simple pedestal mount inside the Gun Carrier's "armour box"...with a little round mantlet mounted on the gun so that it just overlapped the edges of the hole in the box's armoured front face! :P Not a lot of time (equals money, after all!) seems to have been spent designing the new mount... :P
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