Thursday, March 03, 2005

The British 3.7in AA gun compared to the German 88mm guns

The British 3.7in AA gun never really played a part in the anti-tank battle during the critical period. My guess is that the Anti-Aircraft establishment was strong, and took steps to be sure not to lose control of their guns. The mounting was not suitable for the anti-tank role, even less so than the German 88mm FLAK36, which was on a pedestal mount with an improvised shield. The 3.7in gun lacked a suitable sight and ammunition. Meanwhile, the 88mm FLAK36 had been used in the anti-tank role as early as 1940 and perhaps before that. When the 88mm FLAK41 entered service, it was clearly a dual-purpose gun, as the mounting had a low silhouette, and had an integral shield. It still maintained its AA role, as it was pivoted very far back on the piece, so that there was little need for clearance beneath the barrel. The 88mm FLAK36 was the best weapon the Germans had against the Inf. Mk.II Matilda, which was largely impervious to the lesser guns, although with special ammunition, the 50mm PAK38 could defeat them. Robert Crisp's Stuart, in November 1941, was easy pickings for a 50mm PAK38, as its armor was much thinner.

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