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

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7722
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Dec 2019 02:10

MarkF617 wrote:
16 Dec 2019 20:33
There's mobile and there's mobile. Moving a battery from one site to another and leisurely seytting ip is one thing, manoeuvring in the face of the enemy and quickly setting up is quite another.
We seldom, almost never, had a 'leisurely' set up. Emplacement of individual cannon & & a battery had strict time limits measured in minutes for a full battery with kit, and seconds for emergency missions. re: 'Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation Standards' circa 1980-2000. I dunno, maybe the the Germans or Brits of WWII were more leisurely at emplacing cannon.

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4245
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

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

Post by Urmel » 18 Dec 2019 20:34

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Dec 2019 01:54
Urmel wrote:
17 Dec 2019 19:08
Gooner1 wrote:Somehow I reckon 'beyond effective range' of a 94mm AP round is likely to be well beyond visual range too :D
Wow. You really are that clueless. No, in a duel fought at 7,500 yards with a howitzer battery mounted on a platoon of tanks the 3.7” will lose.
For that target, a group of SP howitzers at that range I'd use a mix of point detonating fuzes settings and air bursts. I'd order a burst of 3 to six rounds per cannon, observe the impacts & make a correction. That would be using range tables/calculations. no reference to direct fire sights. A accurate volley of airbursts over open topped SP cannon, AT guns, & any other AFV with a open top, entrenched cannon is usually effective. This works with any cannon that has time fuzes for the ammunition. Otherwise you you depend on saturating the target area with impact fuzed HE and play the percentages until she direct hits occur.

There plenty of examples of field artillery using that technique against tanks, SP cannon, other vehicles, infantry, or anything else visible but beyond the range of direct fire sights.
They’re not open-topped. They’re tanks. Panzer IVD. Armoured on top. Unless you achieve a direct hit they laugh at you. They’re also not stationary. You are. But thanks for playing.
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

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7722
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Dec 2019 00:23

Urmel wrote:
18 Dec 2019 20:34
...

They’re not open-topped. They’re tanks. Panzer IVD. Armoured on top. Unless you achieve a direct hit they laugh at you. They’re also not stationary. You are. But thanks for playing.
Thats fine, the airburst encourage the commanders to get their head down inside the tank. The impact fuzes are for the direct hits. Im drawing primarily off the British experience here. As described in the Journal of Royal Artillery, the US Field Artillery Journal, & assorted AARs passed made available to me. In much of 1941 the field artillery regiments in the Western Desert had a problem in that several were overrun by Axis take units. Remedial measures were varied, but at the core was saturating the leading tank units with HE fires as soon as a accurate range could be established. A ordinary regiment of 25lbs firing 8 rounds each would cover the target area with 192 rounds inside a minute. I think Sheldrake may have some detailed information of the emergency ROF for the 25lbr & possibly for the the AT drills by the FA regiments.

Getting back to the PzK IVD. I've ridden about the Mojave desert as a artillery FO on tanks. Can categorically say observation from inside sucks. With binoculars & riding on the loaders hatch I could ID target in seconds. if the tank commander had time to scan with his bio we could be on target very quickly. Even with the commanders telescopic sights of the M60 or M1 it was problematic picking out camouflaged or entrenched targets at anything but close range. Even spotting our supporting batteries, where I had accurate map locations was slow. You may feel brave enough to think you will keep your head out the hatch while HE is incoming, but I've seen what normal densities of artillery fires will do in spreading those two cm bits of steel around. Good luck.

User avatar
Urmel
Member
Posts: 4245
Joined: 25 Aug 2008 09:34
Location: The late JBond

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

Post by Urmel » 19 Dec 2019 01:21

We're talking past each other. Unless you really think that in a duel of stationary unprotected 3.7" guns against howitzer-equipped mobile German tanks operating turret down the 3.7" gun will win. I mean, be my guest.

Because that's what we are talking about here. Not 25-pdr regiments against tanks.
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

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

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

Post by MarkN » 19 Dec 2019 02:03

Urmel wrote:
19 Dec 2019 01:21
We're talking past each other. Unless you really think that in a duel of stationary unprotected 3.7" guns against howitzer-equipped mobile German tanks operating turret down the 3.7" gun will win. I mean, be my guest.

Because that's what we are talking about here. Not 25-pdr regiments against tanks.
I appreciate you and the Host - Allied Sections are talking generically about possible actions and effects of various weapons, but can we try and place those ideas in the context of poster Gooner1's offering.

He seems to be claiming that a battery of HAA in the same box would have made a difference. Perhaps a battle winning difference. I suspect they would have made no difference at all. They would have presented 8 more targets for the German gunners to pick off.

I suspect the answer lies in who the German gunners were and what tactics they were using. The excerpt from Balls of Fire does not say who the gunners were. Poster Gooner1's approach seems to indicate that he knows who they were - hence his belief that HAA guns would have made a difference. He has yet to respond to my enquiry.

Who do you two think they were? And do you think HAA guns in the British position would have made a difference to the engagement and outcome?

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7722
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Dec 2019 05:24

MarkN wrote:
19 Dec 2019 02:03
...
I appreciate you and the Host - Allied Sections are talking generically about possible actions and effects of various weapons, but can we try and place those ideas in the context of poster Gooner1's offering.

He seems to be claiming that a battery of HAA in the same box would have made a difference. Perhaps a battle winning difference. I suspect they would have made no difference at all. They would have presented 8 more targets for the German gunners to pick off.
The AA cannon have more accurate range finders & sights at range than the 25lbrs, or the German tanks. Advantage at range goes to the AA guns on that point.

Hull down is not always practical for tanks. I suspect average ground will be neutral here. The tanks get to move about, but the Pz IVD did not have a practical ability to shoot accurately on the move & particularly at ranges beyond a few hundred meters.

A "box" has been referred to, which I'm interpreting as a prepared position, which implies the AA guns are entrenched & camouflaged. The tanks are moving, when not halting to shoot. Advantage to the AA guns on that point.

Ammo? What would be the basic load with the AA battery? For howitzers on similar caliber its 80 to 100 rounds of HE per cannon & a similar amount in the division ammo train. What the 3.7" regiments had I can't say. Conversely the Pz IVD carries less. again I'm unsure & the 55 rounds that pops to mind may not be correct.

More important is RoF. If trained for AT missions the AA guns can be significantly faster, both in volume fires and shoot-correct-shoot precision fires.

What the Germans bring along matters. Deploying a detachment of 12 howitzers or other medium artillery in a masked position behind some ridge or other allows suppressive fires on the 'box' & its howitzers AA guns, AT guns, ect...

Gooner1
Member
Posts: 1826
Joined: 06 Jan 2006 12:24
Location: London

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

Post by Gooner1 » 19 Dec 2019 12:19

MarkN wrote:
17 Dec 2019 18:05
Who won the engagement?
Great reply! No other insights, like the rather obvious one that with a battery of heavy A/Tk 10th Indian Brigade no longer need to use their artillery as ersatz anti-tank guns?

Artillery being released to do artillery things already has the potential to change the dynamics of the battle markedly.

Go on see if you can think of anything else.

Gooner1
Member
Posts: 1826
Joined: 06 Jan 2006 12:24
Location: London

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

Post by Gooner1 » 19 Dec 2019 12:31

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Dec 2019 00:23
Getting back to the PzK IVD. I've ridden about the Mojave desert as a artillery FO on tanks. Can categorically say observation from inside sucks. With binoculars & riding on the loaders hatch I could ID target in seconds. if the tank commander had time to scan with his bio we could be on target very quickly. Even with the commanders telescopic sights of the M60 or M1 it was problematic picking out camouflaged or entrenched targets at anything but close range. Even spotting our supporting batteries, where I had accurate map locations was slow. You may feel brave enough to think you will keep your head out the hatch while HE is incoming, but I've seen what normal densities of artillery fires will do in spreading those two cm bits of steel around. Good luck.
Excellent.

At what sort of distance do you think you could have spotted a big gun like the 3.7" neither moving nor firing, not dug-in but at least rudimentarily camouflaged on a quite crowded battlefield?

I suspect that that would be well within the killing distance of the 3.7.

Gooner1
Member
Posts: 1826
Joined: 06 Jan 2006 12:24
Location: London

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

Post by Gooner1 » 19 Dec 2019 12:38

MarkN wrote:
17 Dec 2019 18:53
How does this connect with the engagement during the Gazala battle or the more general discussion about 3.7-inch HAA doing ATk work?
First twelve seconds should answer that. What I saw was that the 3.7 wasn't that big seen from the front and how remarkably it reminded me of the 88.
Seeing the telescopic sight attachment was very interesting too.

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

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

Post by MarkN » 19 Dec 2019 13:37

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Dec 2019 05:24
The AA cannon have more accurate range finders & sights at range than the 25lbrs, or the German tanks. Advantage at range goes to the AA guns on that point.

Hull down is not always practical for tanks. I suspect average ground will be neutral here. The tanks get to move about, but the Pz IVD did not have a practical ability to shoot accurately on the move & particularly at ranges beyond a few hundred meters.

A "box" has been referred to, which I'm interpreting as a prepared position, which implies the AA guns are entrenched & camouflaged. The tanks are moving, when not halting to shoot. Advantage to the AA guns on that point.

Ammo? What would be the basic load with the AA battery? For howitzers on similar caliber its 80 to 100 rounds of HE per cannon & a similar amount in the division ammo train. What the 3.7" regiments had I can't say. Conversely the Pz IVD carries less. again I'm unsure & the 55 rounds that pops to mind may not be correct.

More important is RoF. If trained for AT missions the AA guns can be significantly faster, both in volume fires and shoot-correct-shoot precision fires.

What the Germans bring along matters. Deploying a detachment of 12 howitzers or other medium artillery in a masked position behind some ridge or other allows suppressive fires on the 'box' & its howitzers AA guns, AT guns, ect...
My mistake for using the word "box". The narrative from Balls of Fire says nobody in the position was dug in.

The narrative states the pantsers parked up outside ATk range, waited for the 6-pdr ATk guns to be eleminated, then the 25-pdr Field guns and only when they were satisfied that was complete, the pantsers and infantry rumbled forward to take the position.

It is almost a carbon copy of what they did at El Duda 6 months earlier except for one minor tweek: they waited a bit further away. At El Duda, the British position only had 2-pdr ATk guns. To be out of 6-pdr ATk and 25-pdr line of sight ATk gunnery range, they would have stood off a bir further.

What the Germans bring along certainly does matter and they have a range of tools in their box.

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

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

Post by MarkN » 19 Dec 2019 13:49

Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 12:19
MarkN wrote:
17 Dec 2019 18:05
Who won the engagement?
Great reply! No other insights, like the rather obvious one that with a battery of heavy A/Tk 10th Indian Brigade no longer need to use their artillery as ersatz anti-tank guns?

Artillery being released to do artillery things already has the potential to change the dynamics of the battle markedly.
If the Germans were standing off outside 25-pdr line of sight ATk range, then why were the 25-pdr being used as "ersatz antictank guns"? Why weren't they "released to do artillery things"?
Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 12:38
MarkN wrote:
17 Dec 2019 18:53
How does this connect with the engagement during the Gazala battle or the more general discussion about 3.7-inch HAA doing ATk work?
First twelve seconds should answer that. What I saw was that the 3.7 wasn't that big seen from the front and how remarkably it reminded me of the 88.
Being able to see the HAA guns is a complete red herring in this discussion. If the German FOOs can spot the 6-pdrs to pick them off, and then spot the 25-pdr to pick them off too, spotting the bigger, taller HAA gun in the same position isn't going to present an impossible task. Is it?

What you mean by 12 seconds, l have no idea.

But back to my original, and l believe the most important question. What/who picked off the various British guns and thus allowed the pantsers and infantry a relatively free run at the position?

Gooner1
Member
Posts: 1826
Joined: 06 Jan 2006 12:24
Location: London

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

Post by Gooner1 » 19 Dec 2019 14:06

MarkN wrote:
19 Dec 2019 13:37

The narrative states the pantsers parked up outside ATk range, waited for the 6-pdr ATk guns to be eleminated, then the 25-pdr Field guns and only when they were satisfied that was complete, the pantsers and infantry rumbled forward to take the position.
"At seven o'clock heavy shelling started, and sixty tanks slowly approached the 4/10th Baluch, making use of the ground, hull down. They halted beyond effective anti-tank range, and all our six-pounders were knocked out of action without being able to retaliate with success. The 4th Field Regiment was slowly destroyed. Our guns were obliged to use their ammunition sparingly. Should they fire shells at too great a range for accuracy, or wait till the German tanks came near enough to hit with effect? If the guns did wait, they were exposed to terrible fire, for their positions were exposed. One by one, slowly, systematically, the field guns were blown up.

The Panzers didn't just wait :roll: They were active participants in the destruction of the anti-tank guns and 25-pdrs.

It is almost a carbon copy of what they did at El Duda 6 months earlier except for one minor tweek: they waited a bit further away. At El Duda, the British position only had 2-pdr ATk guns. To be out of 6-pdr ATk and 25-pdr line of sight ATk gunnery range, they would have stood off a bir further.
You have already forgotten that you learned that the tanks were the prime killers of the anti-tank guns at Ed Duda. Not the artillery.

Almost certainly the same here. The artillery suppressed whilst the direct fire from the tanks killed.
Being able to see the HAA guns is a complete red herring in this discussion.
:lol:
If the German FOOs can spot the 6-pdrs to pick them off, and then spot the 25-pdr to pick them off too, spotting the bigger, taller HAA gun in the same position isn't going to present an impossible task. Is it?
No it won't be an impossible task, the problem for the Germans is that if their Panzers only spot the 3.7s when they are within its killing zone then
they are in big trouble. :milsmile:

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

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

Post by MarkN » 19 Dec 2019 15:01

Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 14:06
The Panzers didn't just wait They were active participants in the destruction of the anti-tank guns and 25-pdrs.
Where does it say the pantsers were involved in the shelling phase?

I agree, it is a reasonable assumption that the 75mm KwK 37 guns of the Pz.IV were used. It was very much the norm. But where they the only guns doing the shelling?

However, and more importantly, were they shelling with indirect or direct fire and from what distance?
Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 14:06
You have already forgotten that you learned that the tanks were the prime killers of the anti-tank guns at Ed Duda. Not the artillery.
You have already forgotten that the documentary evidence does not allow such a statement to be made. It is just your opinion that you have contrived to elevate to hustorical fact status.

Moreover, and despite my hint earlier today, the stand off range if the two engagements is different. The 20mm guns at El Duda could have done damage whilst standing off. Could the do so outside the range of a 6-pdr?
Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 14:06
Almost certainly the same here. The artillery suppressed whilst the direct fire from the tanks killed.
Where does the text say any British guns were taken out by "direct fire from the tanks".

Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 14:06
No it won't be an impossible task, the problem for the Germans is that if their Panzers only spot the 3.7s when they are within its killing zone then they are in big trouble.
The very first time the Germans encounter HAA dug in to plink tanks, they are likely to take casualties. The second time, and all subsequent, they'll be standing off outside HAA ATk effective range until satisfied they can move forward. That's how they did things. They adapted very quickly to the greater range of the 6-pdr over the 2-pdr as evidenced by the passage from Ball of Fire.

Gooner1
Member
Posts: 1826
Joined: 06 Jan 2006 12:24
Location: London

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

Post by Gooner1 » 19 Dec 2019 15:28

MarkN wrote:
19 Dec 2019 15:01
Where does it say the pantsers were involved in the shelling phase?

I agree, it is a reasonable assumption that the 75mm guns of the Pz.IV were used. It was very much the norm. But where they the only guns doing the shelling?

However, and more importantly, were they shelling with indirect or direct fire and from what distance?
I have to do all the thinking for you?

800-1000yards (600 yards minimum) puts the tanks out of effective range of the 6-pdr and 25-pdr. The 5cm of the Panzer IIIs and indeed the machineguns of the tanks are still effective at this range (so of course they would be firing). 500-1000 yards further and they wouldn't be in effective range.


The very first time the Germans encounter HAA dug in to plink tanks, they are likely to take casualties. The second time, and all subsequent, they'll be standing off outside HAA ATk effective range until satisfied they can move forward. That's how they did things. They adapted very quickly to the greater range of the 6-pdr over the 2-pdr as evidenced by the passage from Ball of Fire.
Yes, the Panzers will stay at least 2,000 yards away. If under uncomfortably effective fire and not dug-in, the 3.7s can also move. Preferably under cover of smoke laid by artillery (those not being used as ersatz anti-tank guns).

The Germans ability to adapt wasn't always in evidence, see Alam Halfa.

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

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

Post by MarkN » 19 Dec 2019 17:58

Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 15:28
MarkN wrote:
19 Dec 2019 15:01
Where does it say the pantsers were involved in the shelling phase?

I agree, it is a reasonable assumption that the 75mm guns of the Pz.IV were used. It was very much the norm. But where they the only guns doing the shelling?

However, and more importantly, were they shelling with indirect or direct fire and from what distance?
I have to do all the thinking for you?
:roll:

Thinking?
Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 15:28
800-1000yards (600 yards minimum) puts the tanks out of effective range of the 6-pdr and 25-pdr. The 5cm of the Panzer IIIs and indeed the machineguns of the tanks are still effective at this range (so of course they would be firing). 500-1000 yards further and they wouldn't be in effective range.
We can each and all speculate what weapons were shelling the British position as the narrative you posted doesn't specify which?

We can each and all speculate whether "shelling" includes or not direct fire weapons such as the Pz.lll KwK 39 orthe Pz.ll 20mm cannon as the narrative you posted doesn't specify whether it dies or not.

We can each and all speculate what effect each weapon actually achieved on the battlefield.

Your post is making no effort to understand what happened historically. Your post is a blatent attempt to mislead others. You have a preconceived answer that you are trying to push.

Is that thinking?

Do you have any evidence that any of the 6-pdr or 25-pdr guns were "killed" by either Pz.lll or Pz.ll guns?
Gooner1 wrote:
19 Dec 2019 15:28
The very first time the Germans encounter HAA dug in to plink tanks, they are likely to take casualties. The second time, and all subsequent, they'll be standing off outside HAA ATk effective range until satisfied they can move forward. That's how they did things. They adapted very quickly to the greater range of the 6-pdr over the 2-pdr as evidenced by the passage from Ball of Fire.
Yes, the Panzers will stay at least 2,000 yards away. If under uncomfortably effective fire and not dug-in, the 3.7s can also move. Preferably under cover of smoke laid by artillery (those not being used as ersatz anti-tank guns).
How is it possible for the HAA guns to move but not the 6-pdr or the 25-pdr guns? Why didn't the 25-pdr fire smoke so the whole position could withdraw?

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”