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dmckay

WWII American anti-aircraft?

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What was considered the best or most effective American ship AA weapon in WWII?  Like the 76mm, 28mm, Bofors, etc. Just curious!   

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7 minutes ago, dmckay said:

What was considered the best or most effective American ship AA weapon in WWII?  Like the 76mm, 28mm, Bofors, etc. Just curious!   

5"/38 cal DP guns, hands down, then you can mostly work down in caliber from there.

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Well from the vets I've talked too the dp 5 inch

 Everything else was 2 short ranged, Even though they could sure put out a lot of firepower from the 40mm bofers

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1 hour ago, dmckay said:

What was considered the best or most effective American ship AA weapon in WWII?  Like the 76mm, 28mm, Bofors, etc. Just curious!   

    Most effective in what respect? Rounds per kill, total kills period, effective destruction of aircraft upon hits, ease of maintenance and total uptime of the platform?

Edited by Alabamastan

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Bofors and all that were fine until late in the war where Kamikazes became an issue.  But the 127mm/38 DP guns were the best.  They also were able to take the VT fused shells for even better aircraft killing power.

 

The USN had old 76mm guns to help improve AA power because 20mm / 40mm, etc. were insufficient late in the war.  Apparently the USN didn't get as many 127mm/38 guns as it wanted as the improvement for the 76mm guns began as a result, at least according to NavWeaps.  These were also the shells smallest enough that could still have VT fuses.  You find lots of these guns on Des Moines & Salem in the game but those Cruisers and these AA guns missed the war.  For DM & Salem, the 76mm makes up a SIGNIFICANT amount of their AA.

 

But again, the revamped 76mm missed the war so for the US, the best AA guns were the 127mm/38 DP guns.  You compare them to other DP guns of the war, nothing gets close to what they could do.  VT fuses made the advantages even stronger.

1 hour ago, silverdahc said:

Well from the vets I've talked too the dp 5 inch

 Everything else was 2 short ranged, Even though they could sure put out a lot of firepower from the 40mm bofers

Even at night it wasn't safe to attack.

Would you like to fly through that sh*t?

 

I remember reading a while back an account from aboard either Zuikaku or Shokaku.  It was the Battle of Coral Sea and some planes that returned from their attacks on the USN were recovered.  One of their pilots off a bomber (torp or dive bomber, can't recall) had to be helped off the plane.  He wasn't injured but he his nerves went to sh*t.  The issue was the gauntlet of AA he had to fly through.  That was May 1942 before the USN got really into the "Let's do the Anti-Aircraft Meta!"  So the sh*t the Japanese were trying to fly through by 1943 on was crazy.  Couple that with dwindling Japanese air power and increased Allied air power, on top of dwindling Japanese aircrew proficiency, increasing Allied aircrew proficiency, and new Allied aircraft like Hellcats, Corsairs... It gets pretty bad.

 

It doesn't help that the USN was throwing radar on anything and everything, so the early war surprise air attacks were not happening anymore.  Hell, half the point of the Japanese plans for the Battle of the Philippine Sea in 1944 were to use the superior range of their aircraft and surprise the Americans from afar, but that didn't work anymore with the abundance of radar and of course, far superior American fighter CAPs.

 

So those Japanese aviators flying through all that demand respect.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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Early-war USN AA was nothing particularly remarkable. I'm talking Dec 1941 up to about mid-1942. After that it started to exponentially increase in effectiveness. The 12.7mm heavy MGs were too light for ship AA (effective range and "stopping power" were inadequate by 1941) and the 28mm was mediocre, having many of the same problems the Type 96 and other similar guns had in addition to a lack of reliability. That is simply an awkward calibre: too small to be a truly effective medium AA gun and too heavy to be a truly effective light AA gun. Fast forward several months and the "holy trinity" of 20mm, 40mm, and 5"/38 + proximity fuses and great fire control created a deadly combination. The 3"/50 gun that came extremely late was very impressive, but never got to prove itself during the war.

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In the first half of the Pacific War, the 20mm was considered quite effective as an AA weapon.  It had good deterrent value-- that is it could upset the aim of an attacking plane or damage it causing it to abort its attack.  That changed with the Kamikaze.  Now a weapon that could obliterate a plane was needed and the 20mm was considered incapable of doing this.  That put the 5"/38 and 40mm as the preferred guns.  With VT fuzing, the 5"/38 was very effective but it's size and weight limited the number that could be put on a ship.

The 3"/50 automatic was the answer to that, but it came into service just as the war ended and never got a chance to prove its worth.  One twin 3"/50 could replace a quad 40mm mount as the size and weight were about equal.  It would remain in service into the 70's with the USN.

In fairness, most navies in 1939 - 40 were using the .50 machinegun (Japan had a 13mm, the US a .50, and the British used .50 Vickers) and a 25 to 40mm AA gun as their intermediate weapon.  It was in heavy guns that navies varied the most.  There was a plethora of 3" to 5" guns for AA use in service by various navies in 1939-40.  The RN had the misfortune to not have developed a truly dual purpose AA gun for their destroyers, a serious deficiency that they spent nearly the entire war trying to rectify.  Another RN problem was they had developed their AA weapons just a bit too early.  The Vickers quad .50 and 40mm pompom were both good designs for the 30's.  Yes, the later had mechanical issues, but that wasn't uncommon with large, complex mounts of the time.  By 1940 the .50 had become nearly worthless while the 40mm lacked the necessary velocity and range to really be truly effective.

Japan lacked both the R&D resources as well as production capacity to replace their 13mm and 25mm AA guns with anything better.  They were pretty much forced to use these obsolescent designs right to the end of the war.

The other thing that really improved US AA fire was the quality of their directors and gunsights.  Even the 20mm got a lead computing Mk 14 gyro gunsight.  These made US naval AA guns far more effective than their counterparts in other navies still using simple optical sights.  This was a big downfall of RN systems that relied on a number of different directors, many of which were rather slapdash arrangements trying to solve the inadequacies of early models.

For example, the US went with the Mk 14 gyro sight on a dummy mount for directing their 40mm guns.  The biggest deficiency of this system was it didn't allow for blind fire at night as it lacked radar.  The British went with a variant of the Dutch Hazemeyer system, first developed in 1939 (yes, the Dutch had developed radar too... see the Dutch Philips company) that tied a on-mount fire control system with radar to twin 40mm guns.  This eventually developed into the STAAG mount by 1944 -45, an 18 ton monstrosity that was usually referred to as "The antlered beast" by ship's crew for its propensity to always be broken down in one way or another.  It proved too heavy, too complex, and too temperamental to stand up to shipboard service.

Well, starting to ramble so maybe more later...

 

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By far was the radar guidance of the guns. The radar guided guns, of the 40 mm and 127 mm variety were by far more effective then their unguided breathren

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59 minutes ago, 1An0maly1 said:

By far was the radar guidance of the guns. The radar guided guns, of the 40 mm and 127 mm variety were by far more effective then their unguided breathren

The USN didn't have blindfire / radar control for 40mm guns operationally in WW 2.  That is a postwar development.  The RN did with their Hazemeyer and STAAG twin 40mm mounts but these were pretty close to universally reviled by ship's crew for their complexity, endless maintenance requirements, and propensity to be broken down.

"Ach!  Eye see ta' antler'd beastie is eel again..."

WNUS_4cm-56_mk12_Hazemeyer_pic.jpg

That's the Hazemeyer mount.

 

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On 12/16/2018 at 12:48 PM, AdmiralPiett said:

Early-war USN AA was nothing particularly remarkable. I'm talking Dec 1941 up to about mid-1942. After that it started to exponentially increase in effectiveness. The 12.7mm heavy MGs were too light for ship AA (effective range and "stopping power" were inadequate by 1941) and the 28mm was mediocre, having many of the same problems the Type 96 and other similar guns had in addition to a lack of reliability. That is simply an awkward calibre: too small to be a truly effective medium AA gun and too heavy to be a truly effective light AA gun. Fast forward several months and the "holy trinity" of 20mm, 40mm, and 5"/38 + proximity fuses and great fire control created a deadly combination. The 3"/50 gun that came extremely late was very impressive, but never got to prove itself during the war.

According to navweps the 28mm was just fine by the time the reliability issues were fixed(though by that time they were largely replaced with 40mm on pretty much all combat vessels)

when they worked they had a high enough RoF to be effective and the caliber was sufficient for the task as well.

they had explosive filler and it was deemed in 1934 a single hit would result in a forced landing.

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_1-1-75_mk1.php

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The post-war Russian twin and quad 25mm guns seemed like nice equipment by WW2 standards but were outdated by the time they entered service. If the 28mm gun could have developed into such a system it would have been useful as a short-mid range AAA to complement the 40mm Bofors or 3"/50 RF.

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3 hours ago, Lampshade_M1A2 said:

The post-war Russian twin and quad 25mm guns seemed like nice equipment by WW2 standards but were outdated by the time they entered service. If the 28mm gun could have developed into such a system it would have been useful as a short-mid range AAA to complement the 40mm Bofors or 3"/50 RF.

It was a good system once it was fixed so it could be reliable, but the 20mm guns being smaller mounts had more flexibility in where they could be mounted, meanwhile the 1.1”/28mm system takes up about as much space a space a dual bofors.(slightly more if I’m not mistaken) so while they ended up being a good system stand alone, in the larger picture the mix of 20 and 40mm guns was the best for large front line combatants.

I’d say back line patrol vessels/converted vessels/merchant marine/etc they’d have been fine if there was a limited supply of the 20s and 40s.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SC-1-class_submarine_chaser

replacing the colt .30s and replacing them with a 1.1” on these i think would have been a solid upgrade. Cheap and easy assuming there was room

Edited by JohnPJones

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