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

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

Post by MarkN » 16 Nov 2019 15:55

Don Juan wrote:
14 Nov 2019 22:48
But this, which I assume is from here, just shows how the Germans used their weapons as part of a combined arms team in a methodological attack. Even if the British had brought forward the 3.7" AA gun, I don't see them knitting it in with 2 pounders, 6 pounders, 25 pounders, CS tanks, standard tanks, medium machine guns and motorized infantry in a seamless coordinated whole.
The American (aka United Nations) observer is depicting a German division-level attack on a brigade-level (or smaller) box. Look at the ratio of arms the Germans employ and the width of the frontage and consider the ratio of attacker to defender.

The British way of doing things was indeed somewhat different - especially during CRUSADER. They sent armoured brigade groups (ie. Armoured brigade with a bit of all arms attached) against a divisional position. Complete reversal of attacker/defender ratio. Then look at the use of their own arms: Scott-Cockburn launches his three pantser regiments into the anti-tank screen at el Gubi as if he's running the 2.30 at Haydock Park. Doesn't bother to give his field artillery, anti-tank artillery or infantry any task at all. I'm sure he would have put a troop of 3" or 3.7" reroled HAA gunners to excellent use picking up discarded donkey walloper fag butts.

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

Post by MarkN » 16 Nov 2019 16:12

Don Juan wrote:
15 Nov 2019 12:10
Interesting that the attacking German tank force moved forward at 15 mph, which was the top speed of the Valentine. The British armoured Brigades insisted on the Crusader over the far more reliable and durable Valentine precisely because they thought the latter was too slow to be the main tank of the armoured brigades.
The German pantsers were 'universal' in that they performed both the roles that the British had separated: cruiser and infantry.

The British created different doctrine for the cruiser pantser formations to their infantry pantser units. They had a completely dufferent mindset and never the twain shall meet.

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

Post by MarkF617 » 17 Nov 2019 18:35

I thought stugs were used to support infantry to make a breakthrough and panzers used to exploit the breach and breakout into the enemies rear. This is exactly how infantry tanks and cruiser tanks are supposed to be used.

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

Post by Gooner1 » 18 Nov 2019 12:32

Don Juan wrote:
15 Nov 2019 12:10
"The 88-mm, although a very effective antitank gun, is included in the box primarily to protect the "soft-skinned" vehicles from air attack."

Well fancy that!
I fancy that to be just a US interpretation!

Certainly the orginal British report(s) in the Notes From Theatres of War makes no mention of the 88 being primarily to protect the softskins from air attack. Not that I can find anyway.
"If the opposition attacks the German left flank, the troops on the left of the box at position "B" fall back to position "C." If the opposing tanks pursue, they not only are engaged frontally by the German tanks from position "C," but are caught in the flank by the antitank and antiaircraft guns protecting the left side of the box. The tanks of the German right flank at position "B" then swing around and engage the attackers in the rear."

This shows that the German method of dealing with enemy tanks was not, as the British believed, to outrange them frontally with their "superior" tank guns, but to manoeuvre so as to subject the enemy tanks to AT fire from their flanks.
How does it show that?

The British believed they were being outranged by the enemy tank guns because they were.

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

Post by MarkN » 18 Nov 2019 16:08

Gooner1 wrote:
18 Nov 2019 12:32
Don Juan wrote:
15 Nov 2019 12:10
"The 88-mm, although a very effective antitank gun, is included in the box primarily to protect the "soft-skinned" vehicles from air attack."

Well fancy that!
I fancy that to be just a US interpretation!

Certainly the orginal British report(s) in the Notes From Theatres of War makes no mention of the 88 being primarily to protect the softskins from air attack. Not that I can find anyway.
Hmmmmm.
The following report is from a lecture by a British colonel who recently returned from the Middle East where he commanded the artillery of a corps in the Western Desert. His lecture was based on both personal experience and intelligence reports.

a. Composition of German "Box" (Moving Defense Area)

The box is the part of the column which is inside the solid line in sketch C. The box varies in size, but if an armored battalion is the basic unit, it might contain the following combat troops, in addition to the service elements:
One battalion of motorized infantry, usually carried in half-tracked, lightly armored vehicles;
One battalion of 50-mm antitank guns;
One battalion of 88-mm antiaircraft-antitank guns;
One battery of 150-mm close-support infantry guns, sometimes on self-propelled mounts;
One battalion of field artillery.

On the move or in the attack, the guns within the box are disposed as shown in sketch C. Infantry guns and field guns are usually kept in the box only when the defensive is assumed.

In size, the box is approximately 2 miles deep and has a front of 800 yards. The 88-mm gun, though it has proved a very effective antitank gun, is primarily included in the box to protect the lightly-armored vehicles from air attack.

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

Post by Gooner1 » 19 Nov 2019 11:52

MarkN wrote:
18 Nov 2019 16:08

Hmmmmm.
The following report is from a lecture by a British colonel who recently returned from the Middle East where he commanded the artillery of a corps in the Western Desert. His lecture was based on both personal experience and intelligence reports.

a. Composition of German "Box" (Moving Defense Area)

The box is the part of the column which is inside the solid line in sketch C. The box varies in size, but if an armored battalion is the basic unit, it might contain the following combat troops, in addition to the service elements:
One battalion of motorized infantry, usually carried in half-tracked, lightly armored vehicles;
One battalion of 50-mm antitank guns;
One battalion of 88-mm antiaircraft-antitank guns;
One battery of 150-mm close-support infantry guns, sometimes on self-propelled mounts;
One battalion of field artillery.

On the move or in the attack, the guns within the box are disposed as shown in sketch C. Infantry guns and field guns are usually kept in the box only when the defensive is assumed.

In size, the box is approximately 2 miles deep and has a front of 800 yards. The 88-mm gun, though it has proved a very effective antitank gun, is primarily included in the box to protect the lightly-armored vehicles from air attack.
Spot the difference

"I) Composition of the "box". - A typical force employed with a battalion of tanks would be:-
1 battalion of infantry.
1 battery 5-cm ATk. guns.
1 battery 8.8-cm. guns.
1 troop 5-cm ATk. guns on S.P. mountings.
1 battery 10.5-cm. gun-howitzers.
Tank ground crews, reserve petrol, etc.

In the open desert such a force would normally advance in "box" formation, as shown in diagram <>. A.A. and anti-tank guns are disposed to cover front and flanks, while field artillery and infantry move inside the "box". If the column takes up a defensive position, the "box" is apparently two miles deep on a frontage of 800 yds."

NOTW No. 10

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

Post by MarkN » 19 Nov 2019 14:25

Gooner1 wrote:
19 Nov 2019 11:52
Spot the difference
There are many differences. That's what happens when the same story gets repeated by different people. Ever played chinese whispers?

Your NOTW No.10 is the product of a long chain of different people writing, amending, rewriting and editing.

Here's a brief excerpt from IB Vol.1 No.1....
The clever tactics of the Germans, rather than the 88 itself, have been responsible for much of the gun's success.

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

Post by MarkN » 21 Nov 2019 21:07

I've been waiting patiently for poster Gooner1 to use his favoured source to provide the answer to the thread's original question. It seems it will not be forthcoming. So, from NFTW (Notes From Theatres of War) No.10
4. Use of AA guns in an anti-tank role
Only two minor actions have occured between anti-aircraft guns and tanks in the recent operations. In one, some 3.7-in guns had a shoot at tanks with inconclusive results; and in the other, German tanks were taken on at 1,500 yds range, and one was knocked out. These guns are not used regularly against tanks because of their lack of mobility and of suitable sights, and because of the time taken to bring them into action. They were also in demand for their primary function of AA defence.

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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 » 21 Nov 2019 22:38

MarkN wrote:
21 Nov 2019 21:07
I've been waiting patiently for poster Gooner1 to use his favoured source to provide the answer to the thread's original question. It seems it will not be forthcoming. So, from NFTW (Notes From Theatres of War) No.10
4. Use of AA guns in an anti-tank role
Only two minor actions have occured between anti-aircraft guns and tanks in the recent operations. In one, some 3.7-in guns had a shoot at tanks with inconclusive results; and in the other, German tanks were taken on at 1,500 yds range, and one was knocked out. These guns are not used regularly against tanks because of their lack of mobility and of suitable sights, and because of the time taken to bring them into action. They were also in demand for their primary function of AA defence.
Thirty-nine pages before the other shoe dropped. It may be a record. :lol:
"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 Gooner1 » 22 Nov 2019 13:13

MarkN wrote:
21 Nov 2019 21:07
I've been waiting patiently for poster Gooner1 to use his favoured source to provide the answer to the thread's original question. It seems it will not be forthcoming. So, from NFTW (Notes From Theatres of War) No.10
4. Use of AA guns in an anti-tank role
Only two minor actions have occured between anti-aircraft guns and tanks in the recent operations. In one, some 3.7-in guns had a shoot at tanks with inconclusive results; and in the other, German tanks were taken on at 1,500 yds range, and one was knocked out. These guns are not used regularly against tanks because of their lack of mobility and of suitable sights, and because of the time taken to bring them into action. They were also in demand for their primary function of AA defence.
How flattering that you should be so eagerly awaiting my replies :thumbsup: but I think most of the disadvantages of the 3.7" were already covered in the first page of this thread, indeed the first post.
Though since we're in the spirit to rehash, I suspect the second minor action mentioned above was 292 HAA Battery
"12th June
Troop used in role of field arty under orders from C.P 76 rounds were fired against enemy columns consisting of tanks, armoured cars, lorried infantry and M.T.
Section 3 engaged 3x 88mm guns which took up positions at ranges of 2600-4000 yds. A direct hit was secured on the nearest, using open sights and the other two withdrew. During the day the Troop destroyed 1x 88mm gun and one A.V.F and inflicted damage on two tanks (probably destroyed) and M.T. "

The 3.7" gun an awesome bit of kit, expensive, well engineered and very powerful yet if ever threatened by enemy armour its best defence was to send a 'volunteer' from the crew forward with a Boys anti-tank rifle. Not the best bit of British thinking.

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

Post by MarkN » 22 Nov 2019 19:14

Gooner1 wrote:
22 Nov 2019 13:13
How flattering that you should be so eagerly awaiting my replies
Patience and eagerness are quite different things.
Gooner1 wrote:
22 Nov 2019 13:13
The 3.7" gun an awesome bit of kit, expensive, well engineered and very powerful yet if ever threatened by enemy armour its best defence was to send a 'volunteer' from the crew forward with a Boys anti-tank rifle. Not the best bit of British thinking.
I don't think anybody has ever questioned the technical merits of either the 3" or the 3.7" AA guns - and certainly not their hitting power.

What has been at the forefront of this debate - here and elsewhere - has been the myth regarding their availability. The fixation on perpetuating those and other historical falsehoods to provide the startpoint for whining merely serves to suffocate genuine debate and historical understanding.

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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 2019 11:36

MarkN wrote:
22 Nov 2019 19:14
What has been at the forefront of this debate - here and elsewhere - has been the myth regarding their availability. The fixation on perpetuating those and other historical falsehoods to provide the startpoint for whining merely serves to suffocate genuine debate and historical understanding.
The availability of HAA guns up forward with the troops can be decided on the stroke of a pen. :roll:

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

Post by reedwh52 » 27 Nov 2019 22:53

The principal reason that the 3.7” gun was not used for anti-tank work was lack of availability for its primary purpose let alone availability for experimental purposes. There were not available units to met existing requirements when the theater assets were 44% of requirements.

In an appreciation written on January 20, 1942, it was noted that heavy AA regiment requirements were for 34 regiments (i.e. battalions); The number of Heavy AA Regiments to be available by April 1, 1942 was 15 for the command which spanned far more than the Western Desert. (per Auchinleck “On 1st November, 1941, the area covered by my Command included Syria, Cyprus, Palestine and Trans-Jordan, Egypt, the Sudan, part of Eritrea, and Aden. The spheres of influence of the Command included Turkey and the Balkans, Crete, Libya, part of French Equatorial Africa, and Arabia. Iraq and Persia were transferred to my Command early in January 1942, the remainder of Eritrea in February, and Malta in March”)

In addition to the Western Desert, Middle East Command was required to prepare for defensive actions in case Germany invaded Turkey or Turkey went over to the Axis.

from No. 38177 Despatch on operations in the Middle East 1941 Nov.1-1942 Aug.15, by General Sir Claude J.E. Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief, the Middle East Forces [http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/L ... /38177.pdf

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Nov 2019 05:57

Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Nov 2019 22:38
MarkN wrote:
21 Nov 2019 21:07
I've been waiting patiently for poster Gooner1 to use his favoured source to provide the answer to the thread's original question. It seems it will not be forthcoming. So, from NFTW (Notes From Theatres of War) No.10
4. Use of AA guns in an anti-tank role
Only two minor actions have occured between anti-aircraft guns and tanks in the recent operations. In one, some 3.7-in guns had a shoot at tanks with inconclusive results; and in the other, German tanks were taken on at 1,500 yds range, and one was knocked out. These guns are not used regularly against tanks because of their lack of mobility and of suitable sights, and because of the time taken to bring them into action. They were also in demand for their primary function of AA defence.
Thirty-nine pages before the other shoe dropped. It may be a record. :lol:
I have some references for these actions, and others where the weapon was deployed for At gunnery but nothing entered the kill zone. But thread is not really about the stated subject, so I thought why bother.

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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 2019 13:03

reedwh52 wrote:
27 Nov 2019 22:53
The principal reason that the 3.7” gun was not used for anti-tank work was lack of availability for its primary purpose let alone availability for experimental purposes. There were not available units to met existing requirements when the theater assets were 44% of requirements.
That reason, that requirement and indeed the primary purpose of heavy anti-aircraft guns (which cannot have been the actual shooting at enemy aircraft) should be immune from criticism?
In an appreciation written on January 20, 1942, it was noted that heavy AA regiment requirements were for 34 regiments (i.e. battalions); The number of Heavy AA Regiments to be available by April 1, 1942 was 15 for the command which spanned far more than the Western Desert. (per Auchinleck “On 1st November, 1941, the area covered by my Command included Syria, Cyprus, Palestine and Trans-Jordan, Egypt, the Sudan, part of Eritrea, and Aden. The spheres of influence of the Command included Turkey and the Balkans, Crete, Libya, part of French Equatorial Africa, and Arabia. Iraq and Persia were transferred to my Command early in January 1942, the remainder of Eritrea in February, and Malta in March”)

In addition to the Western Desert, Middle East Command was required to prepare for defensive actions in case Germany invaded Turkey or Turkey went over to the Axis.

from No. 38177 Despatch on operations in the Middle East 1941 Nov.1-1942 Aug.15, by General Sir Claude J.E. Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief, the Middle East Forces [http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/L ... /38177.pdf
"Of the numerous problems of the Midlle East Command two ranked high above all others: to destroy the enemy in North Africa and to secure the northern flank.
I had always conceived the former to be my prime task ..."

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