You are asking questions which would take an essay or an MA dissertation to answer properly .MarkN wrote: ↑17 Dec 2018 23:13As I wrote in my previous post, I acknowledged your information regarding 103 Hvy HAA as being new to me and for which I know nothing else about. I was not disagreeing or disputing your information. My research and knowledge on the subject is limited to those fighting a war not those in Home Command training for a invasion that didn't come. As we have previously discussed, RA matters were distinctly different between Home Command and Middle East Command.
Interesting you mention German "heavy tanks". It was in early 1941 that the WO put out a circular to commands that the Germans then had three "Heavy" tanks in use: Mk.V, Mk.VI and MK.VII. According to the circular, the 2-pdr could penetrate the frontal armour of all pantsers up to the Mk.V - although only at ranges under 300yds for the Mk.V. It could not penetrate the frontal armour of the Mk.VI or Mk.VII at all.
As we know, these pantsers didn't exist. However, I do not believe it is a coincidence that the decision to put ex. 3-inch HAA tubes into Churchill tanks to deal with "Heavy tanks" was taken in the same time frame. It seems the need for HAA guns in an ATk role was directed at dealing with a threat which did not exist. The 2-pdr was deemed capable of dealing with the pantsers which did exist: Pz.I to Pz.IV.
Was it just a single HAA regiment in Home Command thus reroled? If so, hardly a great vote of confidence in the necessity to rerole HAA assets.
If I understand the history correctly, HAA gunners were trained between the wars in their AA role but also as a stopgap ATk asset. But this practice ended in 1938ish(??) due to cost restrictions!!! If true, the doctrinal understanding of a subsidiary ATk role would be in the DNA. At some point after the war had begun, this practice was reintroduced. In North Africa, it was imperative that HAA units serving in field formations be competent in this respect and were issued with the appropriate ammunition. But as I posted earlier, this was not part of a dual role concept but as a last ditch self defence mechanism. Only after el Alamein part 1 did serious thought at command level be given to HAA guns being given a specific ATk task - and even then it was in the sense of a last line of defence.
Was the write up regarding 103 Hvy HAA along the lines of training for a task or, as in the desert, a last ditch self defence mechanism?
The story of the AA organisation is a rather British story of the undesirable side effects of re-organisation in the name of efficiency. In 1938 AA Command was established as a separate Branch of the Royal Artillery. It was part of the air defence of Great Britain - to protect against the threat of mass bombing. In the expansion all frills,such as dual training or event transfers between AA and Field were dropped. In the context of 1938 it seemed like a good idea.
103 became a Home Forces reserve unit in mid 1941 specifically to provide a mobile defence against heavy German armour. It does tie in with Brooke's Diary entries expressing his anger at the poor show by the Gunners in extracting a digit regarding offering an effective anti tank capability. He also leaned on Beaverbrooke to expedite production of an 3.7" AP round - which happened in September. It did not matter whether the Heavy tanks Brooke worried about existed or not. The significance is that he reached for heavy AA as a solution.
I don't know any other regiment than 103. I know of 103 because I have an extract from their history because they landed on Sword Beach on D Day.
Converting a UK based Heavy AA Regiment to a mobile dual role wasn't straightforward. AA Command operated from mainly static positions. There wasn't enough transport to move the whole unit. Nor was the unit trained to move tactically or even live in the field. In 1939-41 the priority was to have the maximum number of HAA guns defending against the blitz. Everythign el;se was secondary. When the war developed in the allies favour, the Army set up a training centre to convert Heavy AA units to operate with the field force.