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

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Richard Anderson
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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 » 25 Oct 2019 20:35

MarkN wrote:
25 Oct 2019 12:35
Do you have any evidence that a single 3" HAA was sent to the Russians? Better still some idea of exactly how many rather than a punt at "hundreds"?
Yes, 22 of them, but from Admiralty stores, not War Office. :lol: The guns were 12-pdr 20cwt QF HA, although whether Marks I, II, III, or IV is not mentioned. They were sent, along with 12 spare barrels, according to SUPPLIES TO THE U.S.S.R. DESPATCHED BETWEEN 1ST OCTOBER, 1941, AND THE 31ST MARCH, 1946 as found in Hansard HC Deb 16 April 1946 vol 421 cc2513-9 https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hans ... assistance
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Re: What prevented the QF 3.7-inch AA gun being used in the Anti Tank role.

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Oct 2019 20:55

MarkN wrote:
25 Oct 2019 17:26
Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 14:00
According to Routledge AAA 1914-55
(table VII p 27) In Nov 1938 there were 373 3-in 20cwt equipments in service world wide and
(p 50) "about 500" in stock as substitutes for more modern equipment 40mm & 3.7-in)
Total - around 873
87 were lost at Dunkirk
C. 8 lost in Norway
Net 698

By 1943 all had been replaced in AA Command less for some defending airfields.

P 179 There were enough 3" guns lying around in 1943 to equip three HAA Regiments (58,71 & 80th) for Op Torch. (108 guns) As I pointed out 103HAA - and probably other HAA regiments earmarked for Op Overlord were ordered to be ready to deploy with 3" guns.

This implies a few hundred in stock.

The Churchill tank saga illustrates my point about lack of will and urgency.
My query was how many went to Russia and is there any evidence to support that number?

Back on page 3 of this thread, Richard Anderson and myself presented some data on how many 3" HAA guns were manufactured, converted and in use.

Does Routledge offer any more information on the 500 "in stock" as this appears to be simply an assumption based upon not knowing the location of those manufactured but not showing on the in service list. Were they really in stock?

The maximum total number in service hovers around 500 in mid-1940 - as if the 500 in stock were never touched. Why is that so when HAA guns were in desperately short supply? Perhaps 30 were touched when converted. But why only 30? Nevertheless, that provides you with a perfect canvas to show they were poorly managed. But it is based on the assumptions that they actually existed and were in a useable state. Saying they were sent to Russia would be a great argument if true. Is it?
Routledge just says that the War Office held a stock of about 500 3 -in guns to issue pending production of 3.7in and 40mm guns. The Army also increased in size. By Aug 1939 around one third of the 700 HAA guns in AA Command were 3-in 20cwt and only 80 of the 220 Light AA guns were new 40mm bofors with 117 3-in 20cwt employed as LAA.

The AA Command Armament state 5 June 1940 lists includes 225 3-in as HAA and 114 as Light AA, declining to 177 and 35 by June 1941 (100 x 3" taken out of service) then to 106 and 8 in Jan 42 (another C.100 in the second half of 1941) and 72 and 6 by June 42 (30 taken out of service). (p 397 table LXVI) by this time there were 1425 x 3.7-in and 957 x 40mm in AA Command. I suspect the 72 x 3" were two regiments of guns earmarked for anti tank or expeditionary force use. Note that that was enough guns for two of the three regiments that deployed to North Africa. So the balance may have come from the WO stocks.

200 x 3-in 20 cwt guns were removed from the AA Command during the time that there was a critical shortage of anti tank weapons and obsolete 2 pdr production was continued at the expense of 6 pdr. Just these weapons alone, ignoring what serviceable equipment might be in the WO stock, could equip at least 15 batteries each of 12 guns - five anti tank regiments @36 guns. two for each corps in the Eighth Army and one as an Army asset. Or one battery of twelve for each of the Anti tank Regiments in the desert. Op Crusader and the Gazala Battle might have played out differently.

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

Post by MarkN » 25 Oct 2019 23:06

Richard Anderson wrote:
25 Oct 2019 20:35
Yes, 22 of them, but from Admiralty stores, not War Office. :lol: The guns were 12-pdr 20cwt QF HA, although whether Marks I, II, III, or IV is not mentioned. They were sent, along with 12 spare barrels, according to SUPPLIES TO THE U.S.S.R. DESPATCHED BETWEEN 1ST OCTOBER, 1941, AND THE 31ST MARCH, 1946 as found in Hansard HC Deb 16 April 1946 vol 421 cc2513-9 https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hans ... assistance
Quite so. The myth that hundreds of the British Army's precious 3" HAA guns were sent to Russia when they could have been plinking Rommel's pantsers in the desert is just that, a myth. A myth that can be exposed with a 5 minute google search.

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

Post by MarkN » 25 Oct 2019 23:28

Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 20:55
Routledge just says that the War Office held a stock of about 500 3 -in guns to issue pending production of 3.7in and 40mm guns.
Depending on the precise timeframe he is writing about, either those 500 were the ones actually in service by May 1940 or he was mistaken.

There is no evidence to suggest 500 in service and 500 in stock circa 1940. Although nigh on 1,000 were originally manufactured, it would appear about half were removed from "stock" during or after WW1.

I suspect the 500 in stock is actually a reference to the total remaining in the Army inventory of which some were in service and some stored on the outbreak of war. Those stored all coming into service by mid-1940.
Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 20:55
The Army also increased in size. By Aug 1939 around one third of the 700 HAA guns in AA Command were 3-in 20cwt and only 80 of the 220 Light AA guns were new 40mm bofors with 117 3-in 20cwt employed as LAA.

The AA Command Armament state 5 June 1940 lists includes 225 3-in as HAA and 114 as Light AA,
The numbers l posted on page 3 for the end of June were 226 and 126 respectively.

Add to that the number lost in Belgium/France and those sold or serving overseas and you get to about 500.
Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 20:55
... declining to 177 and 35 by June 1941 (100 x 3" taken out of service) then to 106 and 8 in Jan 42 (another C.100 in the second half of 1941) and 72 and 6 by June 42 (30 taken out of service). (p 397 table LXVI) by this time there were 1425 x 3.7-in and 957 x 40mm in AA Command.

200 x 3-in 20 cwt guns were removed from the AA Command during the time that there was a critical shortage of anti tank weapons and obsolete 2 pdr production was continued at the expense of 6 pdr.
Indeed, as l posted on page 3 there was a gradual reduction of the number held by Anti-Aircraft Command. But what happened to them?
Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 20:55
Just these weapons alone, ignoring what serviceable equipment might be in the WO stock, could equip at least 15 batteries each of 12 guns - five anti tank regiments @36 guns. two for each corps in the Eighth Army and one as an Army asset. Or one battery of twelve for each of the Anti tank Regiments in the desert. Op Crusader and the Gazala Battle might have played out differently.
Carefully comparing the dates one can see some tally with HAA units moving overseas. Not all the guns were being taken out if service, they were changing command. However, the largest chunk taken away from AA Command were those whose mountings were needed for the 3" UP project. The tubes free'd up in this process were the ones allocated to the Churchill carrier project.

In effect, when looking for 'surplus' 3" HAA guns, the only ones are those that were allocated to the Churchill carrier project. About 100 tubes becoming gradually available from early 1941 onwards. In otherwords, they were being moved to ATk duties.

I looked into this some time ago and am posting off the top of my head as l am currently in a hotel over 1,000 miles from my documents and harddrives. So apologies for errors and forgetfulness. The conclusion l came to then was not that issue/idea had been missed completely, nor that it had been thought about and ignored, but that the solution chosen was different (mount in tank chassis not on trailer). As that solution became ever more bogged in the morass, 6-pdr and 17-pdr guns were coming into service. Middle East command had a number of mobile 3" HAA guns which they could have taken upon themselves to convert. But they didn't. And they don't seem to have given it a moments thought.

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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 » 26 Oct 2019 00:25

Um, the 12-pdr 20cwt QF HA in Navy stores were earmarked for use in 79 DD's of the A-I classes (only the 14 C & D class were completed with them, the others were fitted in place of the second bank of torpedo tubes beginning in early 1940), the 62 S-class submarines, the 52 U-class submarines, the 22 V-class submarines, and the 4 P-611-class submarines. Then there were the 22 sent to the USSR. That accounts for roughly 241 of the 877 (553 Mark I, 186 Mark II, 27 Mark III and 111 Mark IV) held by the Admiralty as of September 1939. Insofar as I can tell, all the rest were used as armament for DEMS.

That leaves the 431 in Army service. As of 5 June 1940, 339 of those were with AA Command. At the end of June there were 362. The remaining 69-92? A number were in Malta and the Middle East, c. 24? South Africa c. 8? Lost in France? In any case, there were simply not that many available for any other use.
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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 Oct 2019 12:13

Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 14:00

P 179 There were enough 3" guns lying around in 1943 to equip three HAA Regiments (58,71 & 80th) for Op Torch. (108 guns) As I pointed out 103HAA - and probably other HAA regiments earmarked for Op Overlord were ordered to be ready to deploy with 3" guns.
That's interesting. Any reason given for why these HAA Regiments were to deploy overseas with the 3" gun?
We know it can't have been because there was a shortage of the 3.7" gun.

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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 Oct 2019 12:29

Richard Anderson wrote:
26 Oct 2019 00:25
That leaves the 431 in Army service. As of 5 June 1940, 339 of those were with AA Command. At the end of June there were 362. The remaining 69-92? A number were in Malta and the Middle East, c. 24? South Africa c. 8? Lost in France? In any case, there were simply not that many available for any other use.
The pretty reliable wwiiequipment.com gives 431 3" guns pre-war, 27 added in September-October 1939 and 3 in 1940.

The number of 3" guns in service with AA Command declined by 210 between June 1940 and December 1941.

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

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Oct 2019 12:51

Gooner1 wrote:
28 Oct 2019 12:13
Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 14:00

P 179 There were enough 3" guns lying around in 1943 to equip three HAA Regiments (58,71 & 80th) for Op Torch. (108 guns) As I pointed out 103HAA - and probably other HAA regiments earmarked for Op Overlord were ordered to be ready to deploy with 3" guns.
That's interesting. Any reason given for why these HAA Regiments were to deploy overseas with the 3" gun?
We know it can't have been because there was a shortage of the 3.7" gun.
The rationale was that the 3" gun was lighter and considered easier to deploy. There were problems deploying the 3.7" gun on D Day in 1944. The gun carriage was not designed to be unloaded from a landing craft onto a beach. The weak spot was the pintle that attaching the axle assembly to the carriage. many of these broke during landings. These could be fixed and the 3.7 was fine when ashore.

It seems a dubious rationale to keep 3-in 20 cwt guns as a convenience for AA Command when there was a critical shortage of high velocity guns 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 » 28 Oct 2019 16:53

Gooner1 wrote:
28 Oct 2019 12:29
Richard Anderson wrote:
26 Oct 2019 00:25
That leaves the 431 in Army service. As of 5 June 1940, 339 of those were with AA Command. At the end of June there were 362. The remaining 69-92? A number were in Malta and the Middle East, c. 24? South Africa c. 8? Lost in France? In any case, there were simply not that many available for any other use.
The pretty reliable wwiiequipment.com gives 431 3" guns pre-war, 27 added in September-October 1939 and 3 in 1940.

The number of 3" guns in service with AA Command declined by 210 between June 1940 and December 1941.
Why, yes, as I posted nearly a year ago now, which post may be found on page 3 of this very thread, to which post MarkN referred all to three days ago. :o

"Exactly. It appears that the total conversions of 3" 20cwt QF HA Marks I, II, III and IV guns from naval to army service totaled 431 prewar, at least 359 in the Great War, with another 27 converted September-October 1939 and 3 more in 1940. A total of 191 mobile carriages were also produced prewar, with 86 more in 1940 and 184 in 1941 (UK only, some carriages and possibly conversions were manufactured in India until 1943). That is out of a total of 596 Mark I, 198 Mark II, 44 Mark III, and 144 Mark IV manufactured. Of those, 553 Mark I, 186 Mark II, 27 Mark III and 111 Mark IV remained in service as of September 1939. I think the idea that 982 were originally manufactured is the source for the conflated notion that "1,000 were in storage" in 1939. No, 877 were in service, of which 431 were in Army service."

Do I need to re-post it every couple of days so that some new poster doesn't feel the need to rehash them again? 8O

And, to be absolutely clear, the "27 converted September-October 1939 and 3 more in 1940" were of 3" 20cwt QF HA guns of various marks from naval to army service. The total number of 3" 20cwt QF HA guns manufactured were 596 Mark I, 198 Mark II, 44 Mark III and 144 Mark IV in service, of which 553 Mark I, 186 Mark II, 27 Mark III and 111 Mark IV remained as of September 1939. Those figures from the pretty reliable navweaps.com.

Also to be absolutely clear, the number of these in Army service as of September 1939 is a subset of the total number manufactured and of the total number remaining as of September 1939., which was 877, not sufficient for the supposed "1000 3" guns which were withdrawn and shipped to the USSR or mounted on DEMS merchant ships". The number shipped to the USSR was "22" not "thousands". The number mounted on DEMS was 877-22-461-241 = c.153.

If there were "hundreds" of Army service guns laying about they are part of the 461 in Army service (all eventually on mobile carriages), minus the c. 95 lost in France and Norway, the 50 allocated to the Churchill gun carrier project, and whatever number were allocated for use by Vickers in the 77mm HV development (I suspect something c. 10).

Are we all clear on the numbers now?
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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 » 28 Oct 2019 16:59

Sheldrake wrote:
28 Oct 2019 12:51
Gooner1 wrote:
28 Oct 2019 12:13
Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2019 14:00

P 179 There were enough 3" guns lying around in 1943 to equip three HAA Regiments (58,71 & 80th) for Op Torch. (108 guns) As I pointed out 103HAA - and probably other HAA regiments earmarked for Op Overlord were ordered to be ready to deploy with 3" guns.
That's interesting. Any reason given for why these HAA Regiments were to deploy overseas with the 3" gun?
We know it can't have been because there was a shortage of the 3.7" gun.
The rationale was that the 3" gun was lighter and considered easier to deploy. There were problems deploying the 3.7" gun on D Day in 1944. The gun carriage was not designed to be unloaded from a landing craft onto a beach. The weak spot was the pintle that attaching the axle assembly to the carriage. many of these broke during landings. These could be fixed and the 3.7 was fine when ashore.

It seems a dubious rationale to keep 3-in 20 cwt guns as a convenience for AA Command when there was a critical shortage of high velocity guns in the anti tank role.
Perhaps because a gun like this: Image was not seen by the RA as an effective high-velocity antitank gun given it had the same attributes they poo-pooed regarding the German 88mm. High silhouette, difficult to emplace and conceal, and etcetera?
"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 MarkN » 28 Oct 2019 18:05

Gooner1 wrote:
28 Oct 2019 12:29
The pretty reliable wwiiequipment.com gives 431 3" guns pre-war, 27 added in September-October 1939 and 3 in 1940.

The number of 3" guns in service with AA Command declined by 210 between June 1940 and December 1941.
Did you conclude/deduce anything from this or were you just repeating information already posted for the sake of it?

For example, if the Army had 431 pre-war and added just 30 to the total, how did they have about 500 by May 1940?

What happened to the 210 guns that disappeared from the AA Command orbat over that 18 months? Where did they go?

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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 Oct 2019 18:18

Richard Anderson wrote:
26 Oct 2019 00:25
That leaves the 431 in Army service. As of 5 June 1940, 339 of those were with AA Command. At the end of June there were 362. The remaining 69-92? A number were in Malta and the Middle East, c. 24? South Africa c. 8? Lost in France? In any case, there were simply not that many available for any other use.
26 June 1941, AA Command had 362 (226 HAA and 136 LAA). At the same time, the Egyptian army had 36, the South African army had 8 and the Maltese 8 too. Elsewhere around the world, the British Army or its 'affiliates' had another 76 of which 24 were knackered Naval Mk.I.

The BEF had taken 120 to France/Belgium. Sheldrake has posted (l think from Farndale) 85 were lost. I think it was more than that, but hey ho!

362 + 85 + 52 = 499

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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 Oct 2019 18:28

Gooner1 wrote:
28 Oct 2019 12:13
That's interesting. Any reason given for why these HAA Regiments were to deploy overseas with the 3" gun?
Contrary to some peoples' myths, they were still very much in use, and considered useful, as AA guns in field formations.
Gooner1 wrote:
28 Oct 2019 12:13
We know it can't have been because there was a shortage of the 3.7" gun.
"We know..." ??? Do we?

Is this shortage, or lack of shortage, simply a Gooner1 opinion or one defined by the powers that be at the time?

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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 » 28 Oct 2019 18:36

MarkN wrote:
28 Oct 2019 18:18
Richard Anderson wrote:
26 Oct 2019 00:25
That leaves the 431 in Army service. As of 5 June 1940, 339 of those were with AA Command. At the end of June there were 362. The remaining 69-92? A number were in Malta and the Middle East, c. 24? South Africa c. 8? Lost in France? In any case, there were simply not that many available for any other use.
26 June 1941, AA Command had 362 (226 HAA and 136 LAA). At the same time, the Egyptian army had 36, the South African army had 8 and the Maltese 8 too. Elsewhere around the world, the British Army or its 'affiliates' had another 76 of which 24 were knackered Naval Mk.I.

The BEF had taken 120 to France/Belgium. Sheldrake has posted (l think from Farndale) 85 were lost. I think it was more than that, but hey ho!

362 + 85 + 52 = 499
:lol: Yep. It seems pretty obvious that more than a few employed by the Army were not guns converted for Army service, but were simply ex-Navy guns manned by the Army, which would have had no earthly use in Army hands as an "effective high-velocity antitank gun".
"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 Tom from Cornwall » 28 Oct 2019 19:32

I think you'll find it all explained here (health and safety alert - lots of gratuitous smoking of pipes and cigarettes!):

https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item ... 1060006340

They don't make films like that anymore. :lol:

Regards

Tom

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