3.7mm anti aircraft cannon a missed opportunity

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
#1
Bt general consent most British military historins agree that the stabndard British anti tank gun in 1939-41 -the 2 pounder was a poor creature when deployed against Nazi tanks like the Panzer Mark IV onwards.
And the Boyes anti tank rifle was an even bigger joke against German armour.
However, the British 3.7 inch anti aircraft gun could have enjoyed the same penetrative successes of the Nazi 88mm anti aircraft gun which proved so devastating against allied tanks .
So why ware these guns never widely deployed in the anti tank role?.
It was not until the arrival of the 17 pounder gun that British and Commonwelth tnakers enjoyed something like parity with the 88mm armed Nazis so why was the 3.7 inch so underused as a tank killer by the Brits and Empire troops?:deadhorse:
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,927
Dispargum
#2
According to Wiki:
The 3.7 inch was too big and heavy for use in forward areas
The carriage was designed for firing at high elevation angles. Firing at low elevation angles exposed the carriages to too much wear and tear
The 3.7 inch was usually deployed with corps and army HQs that were too far in the rear and rarely came under enemy tank attack

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QF_3.7-inch_AA_gun
 
May 2011
13,889
Navan, Ireland
#6
Bt general consent most British military historins agree that the stabndard British anti tank gun in 1939-41 -the 2 pounder was a poor creature when deployed against Nazi tanks like the Panzer Mark IV onwards.
And the Boyes anti tank rifle was an even bigger joke against German armour.
..................
The British 2pdr anti-tank gun as a perfectly good anti-tank gun in 1939-40 it was just left 'behind' by improving 'armour technology'.

The British replaced it with the excellent 6-pdr-- which was its in turn 'left behind' as armour developed to be replaced the equally excellent 17-pdr.

As I understand it the problem was the British were very 'compartmentalised' in their thinking-- an Anti-tank gun is to destroy tanks, an Anti--aircraft should shoot at aircraft, a howitzer is just that, what do you want an anti-tank round for-- its not designed for that?

In the reality of war versatility was incredibly valuable and the German 88 was a prime example of this, the British pushed the brilliant 25 pdr howitzer into the anti-tank role but only after crews begged for an antitank shell because they were being forced by circumstance into that role.

The Flak 88 was not a good anti-tank gun-- to high a silhouette, no crew protection etc-- but it worked and was better than the alternatives at hand,its a testament to German ingenuity and common sense.

Or was it just luck? one of the great dangers of insisting on 'versatility' in your equipment is the danger that it becomes 'neither fish nor fowl' . One of the reasons for the 'poor' performance of the FAA aircraft in the early war --usually blamed on the RAF with considerable justification-- was the RN's insistence on aircraft being 'multi-role' as a result 'jack of all trades and master of none'.

With hindsight with a different carriage the British 3.7 inch could have been a good 'all purpose' gun but the British design culture at the time was 'why don't you let be design a purpose built anti-tank gun?' which they continually did.
 
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pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,050
#7
The British over specialization. the 2 pdr was good anti tank (in period) but the lack of good he performance made British tanks poor all rounders. Even the 6 pdr had poor he performance overall, leading to the 75mm replacing it. The 88mm in the desert benefited from some factors, poor British doctrine & tactics, poor British HE, and frequent good visions for longer range encounters.
 
May 2011
13,889
Navan, Ireland
#8
The British over specialization. the 2 pdr was good anti tank (in period) but the lack of good he performance made British tanks poor all rounders. Even the 6 pdr had poor he performance overall, leading to the 75mm replacing it. The 88mm in the desert benefited from some factors, poor British doctrine & tactics, poor British HE, and frequent good visions for longer range encounters.
Was the 6-pdr poor? I was under the impression it was a perfectly adequate weapon--- but like the 2-pdr before it was overtaken by technology as armour improved-- the Germans started with 37 mm weapons (inferior to the 2-pdr I believe)-- then went to 50 mm (not sure how that compares to the 6-pdr) and then 75mm and 88mm (anti-tank not the Flak 88), the British the 17-pdr which had excellent performance-- but were developing the 20-pdr.

The Germans were fortunate that their 'wisdom' of having a dual purpose weapon such as the 88 Flak available.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,050
#9
Was the 6-pdr poor? I was under the impression it was a perfectly adequate weapon--- but like the 2-pdr before it was overtaken by technology as armour improved-- the Germans started with 37 mm weapons (inferior to the 2-pdr I believe)-- then went to 50 mm (not sure how that compares to the 6-pdr) and then 75mm and 88mm (anti-tank not the Flak 88), the British the 17-pdr which had excellent performance-- but were developing the 20-pdr.
The 2 pounder was an good in weapon in the AT role but totally ineffective outside of that. Not criticizing it's AP performance.

6 Pounder was a good anti tank weapon, it's performance against other targets with HE was not great. Not the huge gulf like the 2 pounder where it's basically only effective in the AP role.

Tanks spend remarkably little time fighting other tanks. British tanks early-mid war were just limited in their ability to perform other roles, because their main weapons were just not good multi role weapons, the 2 pounder virtually useless outside the AP role, the 6pdounder just Poor.,

And facing AT guns a good HE round/performance was pretty important.
 

Vaeltaja

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
3,689
#10
Was the 6-pdr poor? I was under the impression it was a perfectly adequate weapon--- but like the 2-pdr before it was overtaken by technology as armour improved-- the Germans started with 37 mm weapons (inferior to the 2-pdr I believe)-- then went to 50 mm (not sure how that compares to the 6-pdr) and then 75mm and 88mm (anti-tank not the Flak 88), the British the 17-pdr which had excellent performance-- but were developing the 20-pdr.
2-pdr - or 40 mm gun - was pretty much identical to the German 37mm Pak 36, perhaps with slight edge but this ain't visible in all the sources. Performance from various sources are notoriously difficult to compare with one another but essentially they both fired roughly the same weight shell at the same muzzle velocity. 6 pounder (or 57 mm gun) is again about the same as the 50mm gun (especially the long barreled 50L60). Main advantage for the Western allies with both guns (well, with all anti-tank guns) was that special AP projectiles were quite readily available for the Allies while they remained rare for the Germans.