What Caliber Guns Were VT Fuses Available For?

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serfCharlemagne
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What Caliber Guns Were VT Fuses Available For?

Post by serfCharlemagne » 09 Feb 2021 06:13

I'm trying to find out what calibers of artillery the VT proximity fuses were available for, particularly during the Battle of the Bulge, but the online sources I'm finding are either unspecific or seemingly contradictory. One site says they were available in large quantities for all calibers of artillery by the Bulge, while others say that they were available for "heavy" or "high velocity" (seemingly supersonic from the anecdote) shells, apparently ruling out 105mm and possibly 155mm. Does anyone have sources for what calibers used proximity fuses by what time?

Bonus points if you can say whether VTs were available for U.S. Army AAA units (not just U.S. Navy and British home defense) and if so what calibers - i.e. did Bofors or M15 CGMC have VT or only the 90mm?

EwenS
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Re: What Caliber Guns Were VT Fuses Available For?

Post by EwenS » 09 Feb 2021 13:33

There is a section in Friedman’s “Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns and Gunnery” about mainly naval applications of the proximity or VT fuse. As the war went on there were a whole range of VT fuses, each given a different number, to fit different calibre shells or as improvements on previous models. Fuse numbers ranged from Mark 32 to Mark 60. So we have fuses for the following weapons:-

RN:- 4”, 4.5” and 5.25”
British Army:- 3.7”AA
USN:- 3”/50, 5”/38, 5”/54, 6”/47
US Army:- 90mm AA

During WW2 and for a while thereafter the 3” was the smallest calibre shell that could be fitted with a VT fuse. There was definitely no VT fuse for the 40mm Bofors. It was one reason why in the immediate post-war period the USN upgraded its medium AA from quad 40mm mounts to automatic twin 3”/50.

There were serious security concerns about using VT fuses in field artillery lest it fall into enemy hands. It was for that reason that it’s use was not authorised over the Continental European landmass until late 1944. Somewhere I recall seeing photos of a row of shellbursts above a ridge line attributed to 105mm VT fused shells. Ref here to them for 105mm and the need for special shells to accommodate VT fuses.
http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/10 ... ition.html

I hope that this helps.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: What Caliber Guns Were VT Fuses Available For?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Feb 2021 20:51

From memory, the VT fuze had been considered for use by Allied field artillery in late 1944. I don't recall the exact date scheduled. However it was released for use shortly after 16 December 1944. Regular use during and after the Ardennes offensive occurred. The previous secrecy meant the artillery and infantry commanders were unversed in the best applications. There were faux pas like using it vs defenders in masonry buildings or entrenchments with overhead cover.

OpanaPointer
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Re: What Caliber Guns Were VT Fuses Available For?

Post by OpanaPointer » 09 Feb 2021 20:54

EwenS wrote:
09 Feb 2021 13:33

There were serious security concerns about using VT fuses in field artillery lest it fall into enemy hands. It was for that reason that it’s use was not authorised over the Continental European landmass until late 1944. Somewhere I recall seeing photos of a row of shellbursts above a ridge line attributed to 105mm VT fused shells. Ref here to them for 105mm and the need for special shells to accommodate VT fuses.
http://www.usarmymodels.com/ARTICLES/10 ... ition.html

I hope that this helps.
I recall a quote from Patton praising "that shell with the funny fuze." Don't remember the source but I suspect it was "THE BITTER WOODS: THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE" by John S. D. Eisenhower.
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