Royal Armouries

3.7 Inch Anti-Aircraft Gun

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Detail of a 3.7 Inch Anti-Aircraft Gun, 1943 - xix.840

3.7 Inch Anti-Aircraft Gun, 1943 - xix.840

  • Detail of a 3.7 Inch Anti-Aircraft Gun, 1943 - xix.840

    3.7 Inch Anti-Aircraft Gun, 1943 - xix.840

Date: 1943 | Object number: XIX.840

3.7 Inch Anti-Aircraft Gun

Description

Collection no. XIX.840
Date 1943
Calibre (mm) 94
Barrel length (m) 6.54
Weight (kg) 8,120
Projectile weight (kg) 12.7
Range (m) 9,754
Crew 9
Fire rate 8 per minute

Reach for the sky

During the grim nights of the Blitz the skilled crews of the 3.7-inch anti-aircraft guns worked closely with their spotters who scanned the sky and directed their searchlight.

All the ammunition for these anti-aircraft batteries along part of the South Coast was supplied directly from Fort Nelson. These guns gave a sense of hope and of fighting back to the civilian population awaiting the fall of Hitler’s bombs.

The ‘three-seven’ was Britain’s main defence against German bombers during the Second World War. It was the British answer to the famous German ‘88’ but better. It fired more rounds in a minute and to a greater height. Over two thousand were built.

Technological advances during the Second World War improved anti-aircraft guns. In 1934 when Vickers devised this gun, sound, eyesight and muscle power were used to try and hit targets. By 1944, radar, electricity and improved fuzes made this more likely, particularly against the V1 flying bomb. Both mobile and static versions existed and near Fort Nelson a four-gun battery helped to defend Portsmouth.

The 3.7-inch, like the ‘88’, was later used against tanks and ground targets. It remained in service until 1959 when guided missiles replaced such anti-aircraft guns …Rommel’s tanks… run into British 3.7-inch AA guns, being (finally) used as anti-tank weapons.

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