What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Richard Anderson » 27 Nov 2018 04:17

Urmel wrote:
26 Nov 2018 22:42
Don Juan wrote:
26 Nov 2018 22:16
Looking back at the whole thing, the sudden catastrophic explosion of tanks was such a new and unprecedented phenomenon, that the British initially thought that the Germans had developed a new kind of shell, which they posited used Thermite. But NOTHING had changed from previous battles.

They then did some research, and correctly concluded that the reason was due to unprotected ammunition, and firstly instituted a ban on carrying loose ammunition in the turret, and then implemented the fitting of armoured bins.

But they never asked, at least officially, why they hadn't seriously encountered this problem prior to Operation Crusader. I think 2 RTR lost about 12 or 13 Cruiser Mk.IV's to spontaneous detonations in the space of a few minutes.

The only explanation can be reckless over-stowage of ammunition. It's Beatty at Jutland all over again.
This is a very impressive bit of deduction.
Indeed, it also calls into question, yet again, what was in the mind of U.S. Army Ordnance after the British first raised the problem with them in December 1941. Despite the warning and request by the British that the new Medium Tank M4 be designed with improved armor stowage, it was two-and-half years before better ammo stowage was designed and another six months before a tank with it was built...and six more months before tank with the improved features went into battle.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Don Juan » 27 Nov 2018 11:30

Here's a remarkable passage from the Report on Operations of 7Armd Bde, written by (or at least on behalf of) George Davy and issued on 28 Dec 41:

Davy1.jpg

What is fascinating is that this indicates that Davy believes that the only dangerously ignitable substance contained in a tank is petrol. There is no hint that Davy knows that stowed ammunition can be dangerous, which is remarkable for somebody who began their career in the Royal Artillery. And if you don't think that stowed ammunition is dangerous, then there is no reason why you wouldn't want to carry as much as possible, is there? It is clear from his "Battle Memorandum" prior to the commencement of Operation Crusader that Davy thought that he was on a search and destroy mission:

Davy2.jpg

Unfortunately, in stacking their tanks with ammunition, both Davy and Scott-Cockburn doomed their respective formations to destruction before the operation even began. I also suspect that the only reason Gatehouse did not follow suit was that 37mm ammunition was much thinner on the ground than 2 pounder. Indeed, it may be the case that if 2 pounder ammunition had been available in sufficient quantity during earlier operations, then the kind of events that occurred during Operation Crusader might have happened much earlier.

Whether Scott-Cockburn and Davy stacked up with ammunition on their own initiative is debatable, as Blagden confirmed that there was an official initiative to almost double the ammunition in the Cruiser Mk.IV, so it is clear that the general drift was towards drastically increased ammunition levels.

There are really only two possibilities here. The first is that there was an almost complete ignorance of the dangers of surplus ammunition stowage across the entire Royal Armoured Corps. The second is that at least some people knew what was going on, and all the talk about Thermite shells, and the laborious testing to establish causes for detonations was a smoke screen to cover what was, in effect, gross negligence. Either way, it is easy to see why the preference was not to re-examine these events, and instead to stick to slating the Crusader and 2 pounder, and enhancing the reputation of the Panzer III.
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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Gooner1 » 27 Nov 2018 13:20

Don Juan wrote:
27 Nov 2018 11:30
Either way, it is easy to see why the preference was not to re-examine these events, and instead to stick to slating the Crusader and 2 pounder, and enhancing the reputation of the Panzer III.
Well, we have now learned that the 2-pdr was actually more dangerous to British tanks than German ones. :(

Note Blagden's "It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is a serious condemnation ofthe weapon.

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Don Juan » 27 Nov 2018 13:28

Gooner1 wrote:
27 Nov 2018 13:20
Well, we have now learned that the 2-pdr was actually more dangerous to British tanks than German ones. :(

Note Blagden's "It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is a serious condemnation ofthe weapon.
No, I don't think so. It is notable that from when they first arrived in the desert the Germans employed demolition teams to destroy enemy tanks. This suggests that they recognised their tank and anti-tank guns as being disabling, rather than destroying weapons.

Similarly the 2 pounder was, in effect, only a disabling weapon. The attempted British solution to this quandary appears to have been to carry more ammo.
"The demonstration, as a demonstration, was a failure. The sunshield would not fit the tank. Altogether it was rather typically Middle Easty."
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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Urmel » 27 Nov 2018 15:09

Gooner1 wrote:
27 Nov 2018 13:20
Note Blagden's "It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is a serious condemnation ofthe weapon.
I think that's a non sequitur. It could simply be a case of the high rate of fire, and tank crews preferring to saturate the enemy with rounds, rather than aiming carefully and making every last round count.
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

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Gooner1 » 27 Nov 2018 16:04

Urmel wrote:
27 Nov 2018 15:09
I think that's a non sequitur. It could simply be a case of the high rate of fire, and tank crews preferring to saturate the enemy with rounds, rather than aiming carefully and making every last round count.
I've read accounts by experienced tank and anti-tank gunners that their preferred tactic was to blaze away with the 2-pdr at as fast a rate as possible in order to damage/scare the enemy tanks away.
They clearly had little faith that any of their rounds would count.

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by MarkN » 27 Nov 2018 16:55

Don Juan wrote:
27 Nov 2018 11:30
Here's a remarkable passage from the Report on Operations of 7Armd Bde, written by (or at least on behalf of) George Davy and issued on 28 Dec 41:
This is becoming a serious myth-busting thread. :lol:
Don Juan wrote:
27 Nov 2018 11:30
What is fascinating is that this indicates that Davy believes that the only dangerously ignitable substance contained in a tank is petrol. There is no hint that Davy knows that stowed ammunition can be dangerous, which is remarkable for somebody who began their career in the Royal Artillery. And if you don't think that stowed ammunition is dangerous, then there is no reason why you wouldn't want to carry as much as possible, is there? It is clear from his "Battle Memorandum" prior to the commencement of Operation Crusader that Davy thought that he was on a search and destroy mission:
Over the past couple of years or so, I know a number of people have got a bit upset with the degree of criticism I have made of British commanders, their competence and their performance. My comments are not random ideas plucked out of thin air, they are based upon reading primary documentation and analysing it myself. Some may interpret the words differently. Some may chose to believe myths created and disseminated widely post-war. I think most just go with whatever nonsense they find on wiki or the wider internet. It is welcome to see that others are also able to do their own analysis and make up their own minds rather than be blindly mislead down false paths.

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by MarkN » 27 Nov 2018 17:03

Gooner1 wrote:
27 Nov 2018 16:04
Urmel wrote:
27 Nov 2018 15:09
Gooner1 wrote:
27 Nov 2018 13:20
Note Blagden's "It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is a serious condemnation ofthe weapon.
I think that's a non sequitur. It could simply be a case of the high rate of fire, and tank crews preferring to saturate the enemy with rounds, rather than aiming carefully and making every last round count.
I've read accounts by experienced tank and anti-tank gunners that their preferred tactic was to blaze away with the 2-pdr at as fast a rate as possible in order to damage/scare the enemy tanks away. They clearly had little faith that any of their rounds would count.
Still, it was a bit dishonest of you to claim Blagden had reached the same conclusion as you based upon other reading, wasn't it?

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Gooner1 » 27 Nov 2018 17:50

Don Juan wrote:
26 Nov 2018 19:26
Well the Ordnance Board estimate given in the second table that Mark posted was 57mm at 500 yards. It wouldn't surprise me if the 37mm had the best penetration as it was the only one of these rounds which was ballistically capped. My understanding for the 7.5cm L/24 is that 500m was about the limit for its accuracy, against tanks at least.
The estimated penetration means little if the AP shot keeps shattering against the armour plate.

FWIW, projectile weights in kg/HE shells filler grams:

5cm L/42 2.06/166
37mm - 0.87/39
2-pdr - 1.08/ :roll:

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Gooner1 » 27 Nov 2018 17:55

MarkN wrote:
27 Nov 2018 17:03
Still, it was a bit dishonest of you to claim Blagden had reached the same conclusion as you based upon other reading, wasn't it?
What's dishonest? British tankers - bloody bravely, it should be added - loaded their tanks up with extra 2-pdr shells, because the gun was such a POS that it could not be relied on to knock out enemy tanks with the (generous) amount already carried.

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by MarkN » 27 Nov 2018 18:29

Gooner1 wrote:
27 Nov 2018 17:55
MarkN wrote:
27 Nov 2018 17:03
Still, it was a bit dishonest of you to claim Blagden had reached the same conclusion as you based upon other reading, wasn't it?
What's dishonest? British tankers - bloody bravely, it should be added - loaded their tanks up with extra 2-pdr shells, because the gun was such a POS that it could not be relied on to knock out enemy tanks with the (generous) amount already carried.
Doubling down on misquoting and/or misdirection does not help your argument. :roll:

You have formed your opinion and conclusions from what you have previously read. Good for you. The bravery of the tankers is not being questionned here.

The dishonesty is all yours in your misquoting of Blagden. He does NOT condemn the 2-pdr in any way in the paragraph posted by Don Juan. Nor does he offer any explanation of why the decision was made to significantly overload the tanks with 2-pdr ammunition. He simply states that it happened and that it had been "found necessary". So, ...
Gooner1 wrote:
27 Nov 2018 13:20
Note Blagden's "It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is a serious condemnation ofthe weapon.
... is a dishonest claim by you. It is you projecting your own opinion.

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Urmel » 28 Nov 2018 07:21

Don Juan wrote:
27 Nov 2018 11:30
It is clear from his "Battle Memorandum" prior to the commencement of Operation Crusader that Davy thought that he was on a search and destroy mission:
Of all the ridiculous stuff coming out of CRUSADER, Davy's 'Battle Memorandum' tops it.
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

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Gooner1 » 28 Nov 2018 12:12

MarkN wrote:
27 Nov 2018 18:29
The dishonesty is all yours in your misquoting of Blagden. He does NOT condemn the 2-pdr in any way in the paragraph posted by Don Juan. Nor does he offer any explanation of why the decision was made to significantly overload the tanks with 2-pdr ammunition. He simply states that it happened and that it had been "found necessary". So, ...
Comprehension fail on your part. There is no misquoting Blagden. "It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is merely a statement of fact. Why "It has been found necessary .." is open to interpretation.

Of course the Cruiser regiments could have been loading up on 2-pdr in order to support the infantry :roll:
Or add their weight to an artillery barrage :roll:

Or, more reasonably, that the gun and its shot were just no damn good.

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Don Juan » 28 Nov 2018 13:01

I think more and more that the crucial difference between the British and the Germans was in how they viewed the efficacy of their tank and anti-tank weapons. For the Germans the paradigm seems to have been that the 5cm guns were, for the most part, disabling weapons. For the British, the paradigm was that the 2 pounder was a destroying weapon. This helps to explain why, for example, the Germans liked to engage at close range - it put disabled enemy tanks more in reach of their demolition teams, who were the real tank destroyers.

If Andreas is correct that the British were achieving more mobility/temporary kills, then this means, counter-intuitively, that the British were actually out-performing the Germans on the battlefield. The British were not being beaten by the German tanks or anti-tank gunners - they were being beaten by the demolition and recovery teams.

The problem was not in the British tanks or the 2 pounder, nor necessarily in the plans and tactics, nor even in the field commanders. The problem was in the fatal paradigmatic idea that the 2 pounder was a destroying weapon.

And when after Operation Crusader the British found out how few German tanks they had actually destroyed, the penny still didn't drop. They became disillusioned with the 2 pounder because it wasn't the destructive weapon they had assumed it to be. Hence the calls to carry more ammunition and bring in the 6 pounder. The Germans did not experience this arc of emotional trauma, as they had never had any illusions about the destructive capability of their 5cm guns.
"The demonstration, as a demonstration, was a failure. The sunshield would not fit the tank. Altogether it was rather typically Middle Easty."
- 7th Armoured Brigade War Diary, 30th August 1941

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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by MarkN » 28 Nov 2018 18:31

Gooner1 wrote:
28 Nov 2018 12:12
MarkN wrote:
27 Nov 2018 18:29
The dishonesty is all yours in your misquoting of Blagden. He does NOT condemn the 2-pdr in any way in the paragraph posted by Don Juan. Nor does he offer any explanation of why the decision was made to significantly overload the tanks with 2-pdr ammunition. He simply states that it happened and that it had been "found necessary". So, ...
"It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is merely a statement of fact. Why "It has been found necessary .." is open to interpretation.
Not interpretation but speculation.
Gooner1 wrote:
28 Nov 2018 12:12
Of course the Cruiser regiments could have been loading up on 2-pdr in order to support the infantry
Or add their weight to an artillery barrage
Or, more reasonably, that the gun and its shot were just no damn good.
Which is your speculation then opinion.
Gooner1 wrote:
27 Nov 2018 13:20
Note Blagden's "It has been found necessary to enormously increase the amount of 2-pdr carried" is a serious condemnation ofthe weapon.
Blagden does not seriously condemn the weapon. It is you dishonestly projecting your own opinion onto Blagden.

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