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> best AAA ?, not included light guns, and over 100 mm
Iamandi
Posted: December 28, 2004 08:56 am
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So, in ww2, who was the king, and who was in descrescent order the others...

8,8 Flak german
94 m.m. (3.7 inch) brittish
90 m.m. USA
? Italy
? Japan
85 m.m. Soviet Union

Had french an AAA like this writed above?
Some good technicall data, i think is needed.
Anyone try to solve this?

Iama
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Jeff_S
Posted: December 28, 2004 07:59 pm
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How would you like us to choose the king? Just technical parameters? Or effects in operational use? That takes factors like target detection, fire control and operational doctrine into account.... it is more than just the weapon. I have a very high opinion of the German 8,8cm but it had many chances to shine. The US was not usually defending fixed targets against sustained air attack, and never faced real strategic bombing. I think of the air-ground war in Russia as also being more about close air support and small calibre AAA (German 2cm and 3,7cm for example). (I'm sure the readers of this forum will point out some examples where I am wrong about this :D )

Also do you want us to look only at the weapons in their AA role? Much of the German 8,8cm Flak is in its AT role. Should it get points for that?

Also just to complicate things, you may want to consider naval AAA too. The American naval 5 inch gun was much more important as AAA than against ships or land targets. With a proximity fused shell it was murderously effective against Japanese air attacks in the Pacific.

I would say just drop the Japanese from the list. Their AAA was terrible, from the small-calibre weapons on up to the largest. If you were Japanese your best hope was some Zeros protecting you.

To start the argument I submit in this order, weapons only, in an AAA role:

British 3.7 inch (94mm)
German 8,8cm Flak
US 90mm
Russian 85mm
Japanese 75mm Type 4 (waaaaay down the list)

I don't know anything about Italian or French heavy AAA, sorry.
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: December 28, 2004 09:23 pm
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Well, the Italian Cannone da 90/53 (90mm - the lenght of the barrel is indicated by the number of calibres, 53 in this case) was among the very best guns in its class. It was equal to the famous German 8,8cm Flak. Some say that it was even better.
There's a small article at http://www.comandosupremo.com/Cannone9053.html

I agree with Jeff's order, at least in what concerns the 1st gun in the list, the superb 3.7 inch gun built by Vickers. I recall an curious story about the adoption of this gun by the Portuguese Army in the early Forties: when the members of the Portuguese technical corps in Spain (formed almost exclusively by officers from the Artillery branch) returned to their country, full of praise about the German gun - a few batteries were commanded by Portuguese volunteers - recommending its immediate adoption, the dictator Oliveira Salazar, an astute and cunning men, sent a "buying party" to the U.K. asking for a "gun better than the German 8,8cm AA cannon, for the same price". The British gun was actually more expensive but the Portuguese at the end managed to obtain new guns for a real bargain price. The gun was superb and the same officers who had claimed for the introduction of the German design were so impressed that one of them became involved in the local production of accessories and ammunition for the British 3.7inch, known locally as Peça AA 9,4cm m/940.
The gun had a respectable rate of fire for an heavy AA weapon: 10/12 rpm, using manual loading or 25 rpm, using automatic loading.
The maximum range in AA fire was 12.000 m (the same of the Italian gun mentioned above) and 18.000 m in the ground fire role.

Ruy
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Iamandi
Posted: December 29, 2004 06:21 am
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Automatic loader for a big gun like a 94 m.m.? At that time? How?

Iama
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Jeff_S
Posted: December 29, 2004 05:47 pm
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QUOTE (Ruy Aballe @ Dec 28 2004, 09:23 PM)

The gun had a respectable rate of fire for an heavy AA weapon: 10/12 rpm, using manual loading or 25 rpm, using automatic loading.

12 rpm with manual loading of a high velocity 94mm shell? :o I pity the gun crews, especially in a hot climate like North Africa. AAA is traversing quickly and firing at high elevations too... it's not like banging away at a spot on the map, like with a howitzer.

Thanks for the info and the anecdote. That website on the Italian army was very interesting.
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: December 29, 2004 07:25 pm
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QUOTE
12 rpm with manual loading of a high velocity 94mm shell? ohmy.gif I pity the gun crews, especially in a hot climate like North Africa. AAA is traversing quickly and firing at high elevations too... it's not like banging away at a spot on the map, like with a howitzer.


Jeff, I was talking about the British 3.7inch AA gun (MK.I and Mk. III) as used by the Portuguese Army, not the Italian gun built by Ansaldo, the Cannone da 90/53.
As for the firing rate, I am using data from an article - "Antologia da Artilharia Antiaérea em Portugal" - published in the issue of April/June 2002 of the magazine Revista de Artilharia (i.e., Artillery Review, a military periodical published on a tri-monthly basis in Lisbon; no ISSN).

The rate indicated was the one reached and maintained by the best trained heavy AA artillery crews in the country, namely the men who served in the elite unit whose mission was the defence of Lisbon, the R.A.A.F. (Regimento de Artilharia Antiaérea Fixa), based at Queluz. Their degree of proficiency with the gun was a mark set to be followed by others. The capability of the powerful AA network – D.A.A.L., Defesa Antiaérea de Lisboa, with 150 firing stations and 90 observation and guidance posts - built around the capital was further reinforced in 1943 when the army got mobile radar units (known as Radar de Tiro AA nº3 Mk VII) for fire direction purposes. The units equipped with the 9,4cm guns also had Sperry No.2 predictors.

As a last anecdote, it is also interesting to note that some efforts were made to use the big AA 3.7inch guns for ground fire, in the AT role. During a short period, there was some concern in military and government circles about a possible Spanish onslaught, a fear induced by the histrionic, Mussolini-like declarations of Franco’s foreign affairs minister, Serrano Suñer… Given the shortage of effective anti-tank weapons, a group of Portuguese technicians designed a special round for AT work, with a tungsten-cored projectile, to be used in the 3.7inch guns as an emergency measure. The range in the ground level firing mode was reduced, but the new AT projectile was able to pierce every tank around... Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, and thinking of what tanks the Spanish Army had by then (PzKpwf. I, T-26’s and later a handful of PzKpwf. IV and Stugs), it is easy to see that the powerful round was pure overkill! B)

Ruy

P.S.: Iama, I will post some photos of the 3.7inch gun asap, including one of the breech mechanism.
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Iamandi
Posted: December 30, 2004 06:32 am
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Thanks, Ruy. Is just too high rate to believe... But i think was a superb gun, if can fire such rapid fire...

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Ruy Aballe
Posted: December 30, 2004 11:00 am
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What rate, Iama? The one with auto loader or the manual one??

Ruy
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: December 30, 2004 11:15 am
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QUOTE
For defence against tanks the Germans frequently made use of their 'famous' (some say dreaded) '88' (8.8-cm FLAK), an equipment designed primarily for the anti-aircraft role but modified for use in both the field and anti-tank roles. It was indeed dreaded by men who had endured its shells - especially the air-burst variety!

But the British had a better gun than the 88; it was the QF 3.7-in anti-aircraft gun. This equipment could have been as easily modified as its German counterpart (a few were later modified for the field role), but the British would not divert any 3.7s from the AA defence of vital points or areas, e.g. North African ports, despite the fact that they had twice as many 3.7s as the Germans had 88s. The Germans had exactly the same problems as the British, but dealt with them more realistically - to the everlasting sorrow of the 'tankies'.


The problem of AA vs. AT role, with a comparison between the German 8,8cm Flak and the British 3.7inch gun. The quote is from an article by W.F. Ruffell. The complete article (on the development and history of the famous British 25pr gun, can be found at http://riv.co.nz/rnza/hist/25pr.htm
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: December 30, 2004 11:24 am
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I forgot to add a obvious detail: the British gun was designed from the start as a fast firing heavy AA weapon, hence its correct designation QF (Quick Fire) 3.7inch Mk I (et alli).
The auto loader was fitted only to the Mk.III.

Ruy
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Iamandi
Posted: December 31, 2004 08:55 am
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Is the first contact (first time reading such thing) with such a device - autoloader - mounted on heavy gun - guns from ww2. Ruy, is about rapid rate of fire from autoloader. You had some pictures with this device? And some detailed action steps? Thanks!

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Iamandi
Posted: December 31, 2004 09:57 am
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"'Longhand,' the last of the 3.7s. With automatic ammunition feed, it could reach a rate of fire of 60 rpm. However, within weeks of its being approved the guided missile, made it obsolete. "

This is the mechanism? But 60 rpm at 94 m.m. caliber is ... verri fast!
Picture is from link from above.

Iama

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Ruy Aballe
Posted: December 31, 2004 10:48 am
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I forgot an important detail in my last post: I should have written "from the Mk.III on", because the auto loader system was fitted from that version onwards. Some Portugeuse guns - a few mobile Mk.IIIA and quite several mounted on a fixed plinth - had it, so I can ask a friend to scan the original manual, if available, and to made some photos of the gun itself.
I can post photos made by him of what I suppose is the QF 3.7inch MK.I, as preserved in a Military museum - I would love to locate one of the guns modified for the AT tests, though... By the way, the mobile guns of the Portuguese army ended up by being used for direct ground fire work in Angola and Guinea in the 60's, using a special HE round.

As for your last post, the answer is no, this is not the auto loader fitted to earlier versions of the gun. The "Longhand" is a post-war development and the last of the heavy AA guns developed in the U.K. Yes, the firing rate is truly amazing for a gun of its size, but it represented an evolutionary step from similar systems used in smaller guns. It should be noted that the British had an enfatuation, since long, for semi-auto loading systems fitted to AA guns. The Vickers Armstrong company began experimentation in this field as early as the mid-Twenties.

Ruy

This post has been edited by Ruy Aballe on January 09, 2005 11:08 pm
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Jeff_S
Posted: January 05, 2005 07:29 pm
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QUOTE (Ruy Aballe @ Dec 29 2004, 07:25 PM)
The capability of the powerful AA network – D.A.A.L., Defesa Antiaérea de Lisboa, with 150 firing stations and 90 observation and guidance posts - built around the capital was further reinforced in 1943 when the army got mobile radar units (known as Radar de Tiro AA nº3 Mk VII) for fire direction purposes. The units equipped with the 9,4cm guns also had Sperry No.2 predictors.

As a last anecdote, it is also interesting to note that some efforts were made to use the big AA 3.7inch guns for ground fire, in the AT role. During a short period, there was some concern in military and government circles about a possible Spanish onslaught, a fear induced by the histrionic, Mussolini-like declarations of Franco’s foreign affairs minister, Serrano Suñer… Given the shortage of effective anti-tank weapons, a group of Portuguese technicians designed a special round for AT work, with a tungsten-cored projectile, to be used in the 3.7inch guns as an emergency measure. The range in the ground level firing mode was reduced, but the new AT projectile was able to pierce every tank around... Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, and thinking of what tanks the Spanish Army had by then (PzKpwf. I, T-26’s and later a handful of PzKpwf. IV and Stugs), it is easy to see that the powerful round was pure overkill!  B)

Do you know who provided the radars? Were they home built in Portugal? My uneducated guess would be yes... in 1943, I would not expect there to be lots of spare industrial/technical capacity for building fire direction radars.

A tungsten core 94mm high velocity round, against a PzKw I or T-26?!? :o If I was a gunner, I would be tempted to hold my fire in the hopes that I could get two tanks with the same round. If they cooperated, and drove in formation, you could just maybe do it :P
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Ruy Aballe
Posted: January 08, 2005 11:09 pm
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The radars were supplied by the British, and assembled locally. The lack of spares prompted the local production of some reverse engineered parts (some claim than even complete sets were made in this way), so your guess is at least half correct! ;)

QUOTE
I would be tempted to hold my fire in the hopes that I could get two tanks with the same round. If they cooperated, and drove in formation, you could just maybe do it tongue.gif


As for the PzKpwf I or T-26 vs. the tungsten core round, I almost can bet that a single round was more expensive itself than the Spanish tanks... so I would probably follow your advise if I was a gunner! :D
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