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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:59 PM   #51

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Originally Posted by Belisarius View Post
The real tragedy was that the superb 3.7" QF AA gun never had an anti-tank round designed for it.
They did but i dont think it came into service till about 43 or 44 by which time the 6pdr and 17pdr AT guns made it redundant. They also got a telescopic sight which would have made them useful AT guns but because we were on the offensive in Italy they mostly ended up being used as indirect fire artillery on German positions.

The crews on the 3.7 QF were trained in the AT role when it was first introduced but first of all it was too big and heavy to be really effective you couldnt move it around the battlefield and secondly sustained fire at low elevation tended to demolish the gun mounting so the weapon became useless.
Still they could do it and did so at Tobruk and a few other places if i remember right, i doubt the crew of a Panzer 2 that caught a 3.7" shell were going to complain about it only being HE as it dismantled their vehicle. The point ws more that it had been decided for tactical reasons in the British military that the heavy AA guns would be retained at the rear under divisonal control, that meant the chances of them being anywhere a tank approached except under the most exteme circumstances would be very rare, front line fighting would be done by the 2pdr which was small, easily concealed, could be used by one or two men in an emergency and could kill all current armoured vehicles with ease.
Thats why AT training for the crews was discontinued in about 38 or 39, it was seen as being wasted effort when the crews had higher priorities in stopping bombers, particularly when you consider how rare and valuable a 3.7" gun was in the early years.

Of course all this predates fighting in the desert where the 2pdrs limited range and inability to hide on a flat desert meant it could be taken out from long range but there you go.

By coincidence the 3.7" was dismounted and rebuilt on a split trail carriage to make the 32pdr anti-tank gun in the later war years. Even lightened by most of its weight it was still immobile and too heavy to be used outside the test range although they did consider using it in the ultra-heavy Tortoise breakthrough tank.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:30 PM   #52

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I wasn't aware that Red Army tank crew fought in the Spanish Civil War but there were a few "volunteers"

I'm not sure it classifies as "operating" though
Well they certainly saw it as useful for gaining practical experience with their use.

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You mean the T-34 ?
And KV-1

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Britain formed an experimental mechanized force in the inter war years, arguably the world's first armored division, but didn't proceed with the concept
Very much so.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:53 PM   #53

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The 2 pdr could penetrate all Axis tanks armour at normal combat range during the Battle of France
That does not change fact that this calibre AT guns were already obsolete during battle of France. French fielded medium tanks which could not be penetrated by these weapons frontally at normal combat ranges.

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37 mm PAK 36 peneration at 500 yards, 31 mm/ 22mm at 1000 yards

2 pdr peneration at 500 yards, 37mm/ 27 mm at 1000 yards
As I said slightly better.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #54

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One of the best tank engines developed in WW2 was the British Meteor engine, fitted to the Cromwell, Comet and Centurion. this was a development of the famous Merlin aero engine.
Right, development. Which meant striping engine of all complicated gadgets like supercharger, replacing light alloys with steel, redesigning it for low octane fuel and other changes. And this engine became available only to late war designs.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:23 PM   #55
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=arras;1278814]That does not change fact that this calibre AT guns were already obsolete during battle of France. French fielded medium tanks which could not be penetrated by these weapons frontally at normal combat ranges.
in 1940/41 British 2 punder was much beter AT gun that German opponent 37mm Pak36.
German Army was forced to use captured Russian gun 45mm M1937 to fil the gap.
Only presence of 88mm German guns saved their skin in many battles starting from Battle of France, Africa and Barbarossa.

Click the image to open in full size.
Russian 45 mm anti-tank gun M1937, displayed in Finnish Tank Museum in Parola.

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German soldiers with the 3.7 cm Pak 36 anti-tank gun in Belgium, May 1940.

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German 3.7 cm Pak 36
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Old December 6th, 2012, 01:46 AM   #56

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in 1940/41 British 2 punder was much beter AT gun that German opponent 37mm Pak36.
It had some 15% better penetration, that is all. It was better but I would not call it "much". Look at penetration data redcoat provided. In fact difference was marginal for all practical purposes and in other aspects, both weapons were very similar.

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German Army was forced to use captured Russian gun 45mm M1937 to fil the gap.
Only presence of 88mm German guns saved their skin in many battles starting from Battle of France, Africa and Barbarossa.
That just confirms, that these weapons were obsolete. Already during battle of France, French medium tanks had 40+mm frontal plate and soon, medium tanks and up were getting 60+mm of frontal plate. Germans were uparmouring their Panzers with additional 20-30mm armour plates for example (over original 30mm) in 1940-41. Soviet T-34 had 70mm of effective frontal protection (40mm but sloped).
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Old December 6th, 2012, 03:43 AM   #57

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That does not change fact that this calibre AT guns were already obsolete during battle of France. French fielded medium tanks which could not be penetrated by these weapons frontally at normal combat ranges..
It can't be classed as obsolete if it can penetrate all of the enemies tanks armour, the fact that it couldn't penerate some Allied tanks armour is an irrelevence.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 03:57 AM   #58

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It can't be classed as obsolete if it can penetrate all of the enemies tanks armour, the fact that it couldn't penerate some Allied tanks armour is an irrelevence.
On May 26th 1941, German battleship Bismarck was successfully torpedoed by British biplane torpedo bomber. That probably makes biplanes not obsolete by 1941.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 04:09 AM   #59

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On May 26th 1941, German battleship Bismarck was successfully torpedoed by British biplane torpedo bomber. That probably makes biplanes not obsolete by 1941.
The meanings of the word 'obsolete' are as follows:

No longer in use or no longer of any use.

Neither meaning can be applied to the 2 pdr in 1940 or even the Fairey Swordfish in 1941

ps; The Fairey Swordfish remained operational in the anti-submarine warfare role until May 1945, sinking 27 U-Boats, the last in December 1944.

Last edited by redcoat; December 6th, 2012 at 04:19 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 04:20 AM   #60

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The meanings of the word word 'obsolete' are as follows:

No longer in use, or no longer of any use.

Neither meaning can be applied to the 2 pdr in 1940 or even the Fairey Swordfish in 1941

ps; The Fairey Swordfish remained operational in the anti-submarine warfare role until May 1945, sinking 27 U-Boats, the last in December 1944.
Afghans were reported to use matchlocks against Russians in the Soviet-Afghan war. Muskets are not obsolete by your logic then.

Swiss guard still use pikes mind you.
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