View Full Version : 3in 20cwt AA and 3.7in AA not found?
October 4th, 2006, 06:45 PM
Sorry in advance if I'm being dense, but I can't find these AA guns in the OOB. The only British AA Bty I can find is the 40mm Bofors (#64)
I did find a 3in gun empl (#395) but it's a fortification, despite the photo of a towed 3in AA.
I would think these would be quite standard pieces with their longevity and widespread use, that even includes a direct fire AT role on occasion.
I have the upmost respect for the comprehensive work you guys do, so I'm thinking there must be an explanation I'm not aware of.
October 4th, 2006, 07:16 PM
Why? - well the only AAA weapons modelled in this game are those which have on board AAA sights and are used to shoot at individual aircraft weaving about at low altitudes.
Those weapons are director-controlled pieces which fire barrages at medium and higher level to take on formations of level bombers. So - not battlefield weapons.
October 5th, 2006, 02:17 PM
Thanks for your prompt response. If youíd allow me to be ďdevilís advocateĒ for a moment, then perhaps Iíd better understand why the 3in. 20cwt AA and its successor the 3.7in. are MIA.
In the OOB the Germans have the Ju88, He-177, He111 et al, which are designated in the OOB as ďlevel bombersĒ. The Brits have the Lancaster (which carries 22x500lb eggs) this is clearly not a ground attack aircraft expected to fly low and weave (Dambusters raid excepted). So if we have level bombers in the OOB shouldnít we have a widely issued weapon designed to counter them?
What about Para drops where Iím assuming the Ju52 will be flying straight and level and probably quite high. Wouldnít it be more realistic to have FlaK guns other than only the Bofors to defend yourself with?
As for the long range issue, arenít many AAA ranges in SP easily 3 or 4 KM across the map (not including elevation); where the 3/3.7in sights would function well?
Arenít planes on the SP map actually flying straight and level for the most part, because they are actually in their attack run?
I understand that both the 3in and 3.7in had optical sights. If these guns could not engage close targets Ė in the air Ė then does anyone know their minimum range?
I read something re: German 88mm AAA:
Heavy antiaircraft artillery cannot be used against planes flying at altitudes of less than 1,200 feet directly over the battery.
Is there a way to put a min. range on AAA, similar to indirect fire having a min. range?
The Germans have the 8.8cm FlaK 18 and 36 in their OOB. They also have the AT version and the Gun Empl in the OOB. Why should the RAF boys face 8.8cm FlaK, while the Luftwaffe doesnít have to worry about 3.7in FlaK?
SPWAW has the 3in in its OOB (disclaimer: I would not use SPWAW as a benchmark, that belongs to SPWW2 :-) but SPWAW must have some rationale for its inclusion.
Additional info I discovered about these guns during a little research:
ē 3in used the same carriage as the Bofors, but were mounted on other carriages/vehicles.
ē Apparently the 3in was also issued in a ďlow-levelĒ version.
ē 3in and 3.7in were often used for indirect fire
ē They were only very occasionally used for ATk purposes. Eg. Tobruk and other desert battles.
ē The 3.7in gun was considered an excellent AAA, and was superior to its German counterpart - the 88mm Ė in an AA role. However, the 3.7 was much more cumbersome than the 88.
ē The 3in had a ROF of 25 rounds a min, the 3.7in a ROF of I think 10/12 RPM.
You guys have more experience and knowledge than I, so I will respect your decision, but I thought it interesting to bring these issues up.
October 6th, 2006, 09:27 AM
"What about Para drops where Iím assuming the Ju52 will be flying straight and level and probably quite high."
As I recall about 350' was the norm for Fallschirmjager. This page (http://home.freeuk.net/johndillon/Paras.htm) supports this height.
October 6th, 2006, 10:58 AM
Thanks for that info. I wasn't sure about the drop altitude. I think in my minds eye I was
thinking about Operation Market Garden where they were dropped from far higher;
in fact this was part of the early problems scattering them too far and wide.
Then there are the gliders, here's a quote regarding Op. Market Garden:
"From this operation there were three glider pilots slightly wounded while making landings. Gliders
were cut at 900í to 2500í at 120 mph indicated. The high altitude of some of the planes was due to the formation becoming stacked up.
Flak encountered: heavy and light, moderate and accurate user Veghel, Uden, Volkel, and north of LZ."
I have read that the US 82nd Airborne established a drop altitude of 600ft during WWII.
In any case I'm not sure of the relevance, because it remains that the planes will be flying staight and level,
not "weaving" and the chances are they'll be over 20 hexes away (1 KM, or 3,281 Feet)
So can British 3in and 3.7in AAA engage targets on a 6KM by 7KM SP map? And why or why not?
I guess the question is about the type of sights used by these guns and there minimum range.
Clearly SPCamo have allowed the 88mm FlaK guns in SP, so how are there sights so superior to the Brit sighting system.
Perhaps the answer is to remove the 88mm FlaK gun from the German OOB to even the playing field and make things fair.
If Heavy AA is not allowed then shouldn't that include the 88?
Thanks for the feedback.
October 6th, 2006, 11:37 AM
88 is there to be used as on-map direct-fire support weapon, mainly Anti-Tank. It is not there to shoot at enemy aircraft. The reason it is called FlaK 18 or FlaK 36 is to differentiate it from the pure same-caliber tank killers, like 88mm PaK 44. However the purpose of these guns in-game is exactly the same, mainly to blast matildas, t-34s, Kvs, etc.
October 6th, 2006, 02:56 PM
OK, got it. I was under assumption that the 88 FlaK had the ability to shoot down planes.
So this means if the 3in and 3.7in were included in the Brit OOB, they would only have a direct and indirect fire role.
In that case, I could see some situations where they may make an interesting addition to a battle. There are other weapons that would work just fine, but part of the point of OOBs is to provide diversity and historical accuracy, particularly in historical scenarios.
October 7th, 2006, 09:16 AM
Do a little more research and present your results to the developers here. Maybe theyīll include 3in AA and 3.7in AA in the next episodes of WinSPWW2 to come. Or just use mobhack yourself and make units you see fit for GB.
October 7th, 2006, 03:43 PM
The only time 3.7 inch was used for direct support was in the breakout from Tobruk. They were also used in d/f mode by the Germans against a particular landing (canadian?) in the Sheldt estuary (germany liked the gun and used any captured ones, and had an ammo manufacturing line for them). Some may have fired in d/f mode in the rear areas in France 40 as well.
Ahah - the germans used them to defend Walcheren Island Walcheren (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/46/a4466946.shtml)
The 3.7 inch gun had precisely no sights fitted. Non, nada, zilch. I have seen a picture of one used in detached mode at Tobruk harbour - where the Australian(?) gunners had brazed a rough and ready AAA wheel ring sight to the bore.
The 3.7 inch AA gun only had pointer dials to follow from the central director for barrage fires. Direct (e.g AT) fire was done firing pairs of guns following the director sights in the rare circumstance of some of these things firing direct. The gun was sen as a theatre AA asset - for use in rear areas to protect areas against high altitude bombing.
It was very heavy, as it employed powered elevation etc, and needed to be emplaced on a solid platform, in cases where it was to stay about for a while - it was preferred to lay a concrete base for this. it was also rather big, and hence not easy to hide if used tactically. (In fact - the majority were the semi-mobile mk 2, as these were strategic assets - and this required a concrete base to be bolted down to).
The 2 guns used to support the breakout from Tobruk were moved into place to overwatch the are of operations during the preceeding night, to use darkness to hide the emplacing. They seem to have been used for direct fire HE support, not as ATG.
In the far East, once the Japanese air threat had virtually disappeared, the 3.7 inch AA guns were used as additional artillery. Limitations (not modelled in SP) were the extremely flat trajectory which meant they really could only engage targets in LOS (e.g. hilltops say). If needed, then just add a 25 pdr battery, and call it a "3.7 AA battery" (rename it in the sceanrio editor) or just assume some of the 25pdr in the XIV army locker were actually 3.7 firing as arty. Effects will be similar for game purposes.
As to why we dont bother with high level bomber AA guns firing in barrage mode:
- use of level bombers is extremely rare. (the level bomber class was really only introduced for "flying artillery" scenario use e.g in the Normandy attacks).
- The use of level bombers over the front lines will be well out of range of any medium and higher calibre guns, which woud be way back covering divisional and higher operational or strategic targets (railheads and so on).
- There is no way to code for director-only barrage fire. It could be done, but it is not worth the time and effort, as any such guns would be dead weight unless the opposition brought level bombers to the party, and even if they did - the bombers will be there and gone in a move or 2. As I stated above - the level bombers are there for scenario designers to use in specific tactical-use scenarios where loads of bombers prepared the battlefield. In all these cases, having special heavy AA (which would not be there, or the bombers would not be used so) and the code would be worthless additions so that maybe 1 of 60 odds bombers just might be hit.
Paratroop transports can be engaged by e.g 37mm guns (regular AAA) as they are not flying at super-high bomber altitudes. And any folks left dangling under silk hankerchiefs will be gleefully shot at by all available riflemen etc as they drop..
October 7th, 2006, 10:09 PM
Thanks for this additional info. Andy. I found it quite tough to dig up solid references to these guns. But I now have a better understanding of where they fit in history and in SP.
January 11th, 2009, 02:09 PM
MOBhack, I know this is an OLD thread, but I feel I must address a number of misunderstandings you have about the 3.7 inch Vickers HAA gun.
Direct fire sights WERE fitted a as a standard component on SOME mounts. There are photos of 3.7 HAA gun crews firing the guns at practice targets at Malta. The Fittings are clearly purpose built. You'll note that the 88 has the Traverse and Elevation crewman facing the gun mount to the side of the gun mount (facing the trunnion side from the left). Under director control they did this and under direct fire control they did this, that's where the controls were. Adjustments MUST be commanded by the Gun Captain. The 3.7 has the T and E crewman sitting in seats facing the Directer dials with their backs to the target. BUT, when under direct fire control they move around to the other side of the director dial and can still reach their T and E controls (not wheels, but two handles fitted like a sort of bicycle pedal arrangement (look at a 40mm Bofors).
Direct fire shoots were RARE early on in the war. The Tobruk example is one. In one case a Tiger unit was able to penetrate british lines back to the area of where a 3.7 HAA unit was still setup, they did NOT survive the encounter. The 3.7 Vickers gun outranged the Tigers and the battery was able to dispatch them completely.
Later on, prepatory to D-Day, various units conducted direct fire shoots AND the mounts along the coast of England also had Direct fire sites fitted for both AA defense AND for surface defense.
The final MK VI mounting WAS too big for mobile use however mobile mounts were used in mobile form earlier on. There were multiple types of mounts for mobile and fixed use with inland fixed mounts not having the direct fire sights (or left in units stores).
The next interesting thing that's missing is that the 3.7 guns that DID go to Normandy were in fact MORE used for indirect fire roles than direct or AAA roles. Why? They could fire under director control, had a VERY good time fuze system that could be set preceisely and FAST allowing airbursts with a more substantial rate of fire than other artillery could effect (fixed ammunition, automatic fuze setting on the gun mount, a higher rate of fire as designed and in some mounts, a power rammer).
The reason we don't hear about very many 3.7 HAA engagements against german ground forces is because the size of the 3.7 mandated that it was treated as a weapon for the AGRAs and NOT to be pushed down to the lower front line battalions. The range that they had also meant (They're guns of course) that to engage indirect targets, they're NOT going to be near the front line. Since they were to the rear, they didn't see themselves confronted by local german heavy counter attacks AND the germans never had any breakthroughs into British rears in teh later part of the war, more or less being on the defensive most of the time. We don't see them in North Africa much, because in the early part of the war, North Africa was the red headed stepchild to British forces deployments, defense of the home front had priority.
A friend of mine in Texas who works for Lockheed Martin managed to get a good bit of data and history on these guns and researched all of these points. IF you'd like to see the more precise details I can dig them up on my harddrive.
January 12th, 2009, 09:17 PM
One thing you might check with your friend, Tigers didnt appear in North Africa until the Turnisian Pocket formed so wernt avilbale for assaults on Tobruck.
Best Regards Chuck.
January 13th, 2009, 10:47 AM
I remembering from memory as to the actual date/time of the engagement, but it was certainly tigers in North Africa. I had assumed from memory it was tobruk, but, thinking about the time line, you are right.
Well, found the photos but I'll also write Derek and ask if he has the writeups on what he found from unit histories. As I said, I found the photos of the guns he sent me but not the research materials (aside from a hard to read letter from a veteran who crewed the guns).
I'll write out the letter here. Intersting, I had mis-rememberd that it was in North Africa. It was apparently in Nijmegan. Must have been after the Market Garden op or on the tail end of it when the Allies knocked around on the island opposite the Germans.
I don't know that I can be much help to you about the 3.7 AA in AT role.
We operated in an AT role against german tiger tanks in the Reischwald forest, near Nigjmegan in Octoer 1940 [prob 1944] using 3.7s.
I was not on the guns then, being observation officer in the AA operations room, and also in the OP in Nijmegan stadium in a fox hole(?) [unreadable line] the gun-flashes from the German tanks. The shells whistled past the OP BOX like express trains.
As far as training for AT role, the lads said they were presented with armour piercing shells and told to "get on with it" and happily fired away as instructed by the Ops Room, which of course relayed direction, range & elevation etc. Sorry thats all I can tell you.
January 13th, 2009, 11:34 AM
IIRC in the netherlands oob theres a 3.7 inch inf gun for DF and IF
January 13th, 2009, 12:38 PM
British weapons can be confusing.
Is that the 3.7" HAA gun? Or is that the early limited pattern 3.7inch infantry howitzer that was obsolete by the middle of the war? If the range isn't around 18,000 yards, then its probably not the 3.7 HAA vickers.
Ordnance, Q.F. 3.7-inch How Mk 3 on Carriage Mk 4P
The 3.7-inch How was designed before WW1 but did not enter service until about early 1917, and was used in Palestine and East Africa with both British and Indian mountain batteries, although the first users were probably the Hong Kong & Singapore battery with the Imperial Camel Corps in Palestine. Between the wars they were used on the NW Frontier of India and developed a reputation for accurate and consistent shooting. During the 1930's they were also used in light batteries in regular British infantry divisions. Designed as pack artillery they could be disassembled and carried by mules or towed by short draught (no limber). In the 1930's they were further adapted for vehicle towing, the Mk 2P carriage. During WW2 they had some use in European and African theatres and initially with airborne batteries, being generally but not entirely replaced by 75-mm M1, 3.7-inch How batteries accompanied 1 Cdo Bde across the Rhine at Wesel in 1945. However, they were most widely used in Burma, mainly by Indian mountain batteries but also by British field and light batteries, and continued to serve on India's NW Frontier. A few were also used in Guadacanal by RNZA and New Guinea by RAA. Production was transferred to India and during WW2 798 carriages and 805 ordnances were manufactured there together with some 2.7 million HE rounds. A HEAT anti-tank shell was specifically developed and produced for use in Burma.
Ahh, found a good data point on Nigels Page.
As the war progressed the air threat decreased and both heavy and light AA units were used in the field role. HAA batteries equipped with the 3.7-inch HAA gun had long range (18,600 yards at full charge), unrestricted top traverse and were typically handled as medium artillery, and often used for CB tasks. Their high rate of fire and time fuzes were an added bonus, the latter were particularly useful. In Italy statistics reveal that many HAA regiments fired only a few thousand rounds at air targets but perhaps 50 times as many at ground targets! Most of this fire was indirect although HAA units were not officially issued with the necessary fire control equipment until late 1944. A reduced charge was introduced for ground fire in order to reduce barrel wear.
One problem was that AA guns were designed to fire short bursts at infrequent targets. However, in the field role, particularly 3.7-inch when firing as part of a fireplan, they were required to fire for periods of a few hours. This caused equipment failure and the guns got so hot that paint on the barrels blistered and on one occasion at least the barrels were visibly drooping. A second possible issue was that 3.7-inch HAA shells had been designed to produce quite large fragments to maximise damage to aircraft. This meant that a burst produced fewer and bigger fragments that needed to create battlefield casualties. Of course this didn't matter too much when neutralisation was required.
In the final months of the war in NW Europe HAA brigades were used as AGRAs in major fire plans.
January 13th, 2009, 01:30 PM
Came across this in my files. It was posted by J.McGillivray on the old AFV-News forum back in March 2004:
I have done some more digging and have found more information about the use of the 3.7 in AA gun in the ground role. In particular I came across a copy of ‚ÄúA History of 2 CDN HAA Regt 1939 ‚Äď 1945‚ÄĚ which was published in Soesterberg, Holland in Aug. 1945.
By late in the war the 3.7 in AA gun had three types of ammunition, HE, Shrapnel and AP. They were equipped with telescopic sights, and the crews had training in both direct and in-direct ground fire.
‚ÄúHitherto the regiment had been concerned only with AA firing. By this time, however, the use of HAA units in the ground role had been considerably developed. The German 88 mm had been so employed to good advantage in the Spanish Civil war, and in Africa; the gunners with the 8th Army had also on occasion used their 3.7 guns against enemy columns and concentrations. The School of AA Artillery had produced the first drills for the 3.7 equipment in the ground role and these drills were taught to the Regiment by a visiting IG during October.‚ÄĚ (1942)
‚ÄúDuring the summer (1943), guns were modified by the addition of ‚ÄėMiddle East‚Äô sights ‚Äď telescopes that permitted the more accurate engagements of tanks and close targets;‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúGun detachments practised for one day at Beachy Head anti-tank ranges on 27 Jan, (1944) with sad results to the ranges. 3.7‚ÄĚ AP shot was not available, and plugged ammunition was used instead, on the theory that, with no fuzes, the HE rounds would not burst. As it was the gaines could not be removed, and shock of impact detonated a high proportion of rounds, practically destroying the very elaborate tank runs built by the Canadian School of Artillery.‚ÄĚ
2 HAA Regt landed in France on the 6th of August, and their first shoot occurred in the early morning of 8th Aug. as part of the fire plan for Operation Totalize. Between 8 Aug. and 31 Dec. The 24 guns of 2HAA fired a total of 56,959 rds. Of this only 406 rds were fired in the AA role. By the end of April the Regiments ammunition expenditure reached 112,678 rds. The guns were often used in the counter battery role where they fired air bursts over German artillery, mortar and flak positions.
96 3.7‚ÄĚ guns were used in the fire plan for Operation Veritable, which made them the third most numerous gun type after the 25 pdr (576) and the 5.5‚ÄĚ (248). On only the pre-arranged Tasks they fired a total of 48,420 rds.
The history of 2HAA contains one bizarre reference to the planned use of AP shot as followers:
‚ÄúThere was once, during the stay at Dunkirk, the suggestion that two troops (E and A) should also take on AA duties; these troops deployed radar and command posts accordingly. The purpose was mainly to help the Bofors guns get on target, and it was suggested that one gun of each HAA troop would fire AP shot every ten seconds and then the Bofors guns could fire along the line of that tracer. To everyone‚Äôs great relief, this scheme was soon forgotten, and there quickly faded from mind the mental images of great lumps of shot crashing through the roofs of neighbouring command posts or crashing into friendly French villages. The AA role was left to the Bofors gunners alone,‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
The problem with the gun mount of the 3.7‚ÄĚ gun was that when fired in the near horizontal position the whole gun could slide backwards and ‚Äú‚Ä¶guns slewed badly out of line‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ, especially if the ground was soft or muddy.
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