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US Tank Gun Development


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Lucius_Stertinius #21 Posted Jan 06 2013 - 14:22

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View PostHammer_757, on Jan 05 2013 - 21:43, said:

good stuff Chief! I could always see that there was nomenclature difference for the 3" and 76mm and the separation became obvious after a while. But, I always wondered if it was planned or just us (Americans) not agreeing on standard or metric.
Oddly enough, I just finished a paper on US Tank Destroyer doctrine (ah, the joys of professional military education).  The 3" was originally chosen because there was a surplus of 3" guns, as the 3" deck gun on US submarines was being replaced, and some Anti-Aircraft units were transitioning from 3" to the 90mm.  So the M10 GMC ended up with modified surplus 3" AA guns.  This was different from the 75mm gun of the M3 GMC and towed guns of the other Tank Destroyer battalions (and the M3 Lee and M4 Sherman), which was derived from the French Mle.1897 field gun.  This occasionally caused problems when the M10s were attached to the divisions - they'd request ammo and fuel and receive 75mm and gasoline instead of 3" and diesel.

The 75mm was chosen partially on the belief that the tank's primary role was infantry support.  So they were expected to be firing lots and lots of HE.  Because of that, the requirement was that the barrel last 5,000 rounds before replacement.  The high-velocity 76mm, and 3" guns couldn't meet that requirement.  In actual practice, the tanks and TDs did fire much more HE as ad-hoc artillery, and the TDs and 76-equipped Shermans would wear out the barrels.  The Army also didn't want any gun that extended much beyond the front of the tank, because the barrel could get damaged crossing ditches.

Army Ground Forces (AGF) were also a bit leery of accepting anything Barnes and the Ordnance Corps offered them.  A lot of the prototypes offered weren't reliable enough or significantly better than the current production for AGF to accept into production.  However, in Barnes' defense, the Ordinance guys took it on themselves to adapt the 90mm gun to the M10 turret (T71).  Although the Army didn't accept for production as the M36 for over a year, at least it was ready by September of 1944.

Anyway, about this memo.  The memo is from MG G.M. Barnes, who was chief of the Ordnance Department's Technical Division, and was instrumental in the development of both the early US rocket program and the ENIAC computer (A engineer geek!).  The memo is to MG L.H. Campbell, head of the Ordnance Department, Barnes' boss.  So why October?  The deficiencies with the 76 were already known to Eisenhower by July.  But Congressional inquiries into the problem didn't begin until spring of 1945, after the Battle of the Bulge.  My guess is that Barnes, being the sharp guy he was, knew there'd be a witch-hunt and wanted to make sure Ordnance wasn't tagged with the blame.

Edited by CaptBigMoney, Jan 07 2013 - 07:04.


lostwingman #22 Posted Jan 06 2013 - 14:36

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View PostXlucine, on Jan 05 2013 - 19:14, said:

I wanna 90mm on the M10
That's basically an M36 then.


Anyway really interesting find Chieftain! I can't wait for your next find.

Xlucine #23 Posted Jan 06 2013 - 15:40

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View Postlostwingman, on Jan 06 2013 - 14:36, said:

That's basically an M36 then.

At tier 5  :Smile_glasses:

storrmdemon #24 Posted Jan 06 2013 - 17:23

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You are a Gentleman and a Scholar and i salute you

CrunchyCruncher #25 Posted Jan 06 2013 - 18:08

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While there's pretty clearly political butt-covering going on in both memos, it reads as a pretty good match for everything I've seen before, which suggests that Ground Force was 100% clear that they had enough tank gun to do the job... right up till they started screaming for a gun that'd do something about those damn Tigers and Panthers.

To be fair, the last thing you want when you finally have a good supply of something that works well on the way is to allow the 'better thing' to disrupt your supply of the thing that's working well.

These questions of 'what's good enough, and is the thing claimed to be better actually better?', and 'how disruptive is it going to be to introduce something better?' are fundamental operational questions in many areas, from IT to manufacturing... it's no surprise that they were huge challenges in the Second World War, and that especially in retrospect, some decisions look like terrible mistakes.

The_Chieftain #26 Posted Jan 06 2013 - 20:02

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View PostCaptBigMoney, on Jan 06 2013 - 14:22, said:

Oddly enough, I just finished a paper on US Tank Destroyer doctrine (ah, the joys of professional military education).

I'm curious, can you send me a copy?

You at CGSC?

Nihtwaco #27 Posted Jan 07 2013 - 19:07

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Howdy Folks

This Backs up everything I have heard First hand from ordnance officers and end user tank commanders who served in WWII Gen McNair was the bottleneck between end users and the production and design side folks. He was Chief of Army Ground Forces and the primary proponent of the TD force idea. If all production had gone into tanks with the best available guns in each caliber range and end use purpose type things would have gone much smoother for the guys out at the sharp end.  More 105mm Howtzer eguiped tanks for infantry support many more high velocity guns up front at an earlier date. More pressure on the Manufacturing end to improve AP Shell performence Throughout the war. End results much Closer to what we see in game at each tier rather than the Poor loadouts many of the troops had to use.

Keep digging for these gems.

admiraldoug #28 Posted Jan 08 2013 - 11:57

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View Postlostwingman, on Jan 06 2013 - 14:36, said:

That's basically an M36 then.

It's exactly what the M36 was

Lucius_Stertinius #29 Posted Jan 09 2013 - 02:35

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View Postadmiraldoug, on Jan 08 2013 - 11:57, said:

It's exactly what the M36 was
Technically, that's exactly what an M36B2 was.  The M36 was built on the M10A1 chassis (which, in turn, was based on the M4A3).  The M36B1 was actually a 90mm turret on a true M4A3 hull in the rush to push anything with a 90mm out the door.


View PostNihtwaco, on Jan 07 2013 - 19:07, said:

Howdy Folks

This Backs up everything I have heard First hand from ordnance officers and end user tank commanders who served in WWII Gen McNair was the bottleneck between end users and the production and design side folks. He was Chief of Army Ground Forces and the primary proponent of the TD force idea. If all production had gone into tanks with the best available guns in each caliber range and end use purpose type things would have gone much smoother for the guys out at the sharp end.  More 105mm Howtzer eguiped tanks for infantry support many more high velocity guns up front at an earlier date. More pressure on the Manufacturing end to improve AP Shell performence Throughout the war. End results much Closer to what we see in game at each tier rather than the Poor loadouts many of the troops had to use.
On the one hand, you had the US AGF, that didn't want anything that wasn't reliable and/or would disrupt production.  On the other hand, you have the Germans that chased every other project from the Good Idea Faerie.  If I can build 2,000 Shermans a month, but I have to go down for a month to re-tool for a better version, that better version needs to be worth at least 2,000 Shermans.  And the US was having trouble replacing tank losses in France already (most of which were due to Panzerfaust and AT guns, not panzers).

Beausabre #30 Posted Jan 17 2019 - 04:55

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Several points

1) A recurring legend among TD veterans is that the 3-inch in the M10 "was a naval weapon" . It was not, so I am interested by the poster who said that the naval 3-inch (presumably the Mark 10 family) was considered as the basis for an AT weapon, To quote the Navweaps site "During World War II this weapon was extensively used on smaller warships such as destroyer escorts, submarines and auxiliaries along with many merchant ships with about 14,000 guns being produced between 1940 and 1945." With such demand, it seems like navy requirements would swallow up the 200 or so released by the submarines going to the 4/50 inch (from WW1 destroyers converted to escort ships mounting six 3-inch), the 5/51 inch (from battleships replacing their secondary low angle guns with the 5/38 inch dual purpose weapon) and ultimately the purpose designed submarine 5/25 "Wet Gun" (Mark 17).

I'll quote from Wikipedia (I know, I know, but in this case it's correct) for the TD weapon's lineage (it was based on the M3 AA gun as the poster noted). It could be that along the line the description "Coast Artillery" (The Cosmoliners had responsibility for AA since 1917, presumably if they could engage moving targets in two dimensions, they could do so in three) was garbled to "Navy"


 

M1898[edit]

The M1898 was the first of the new 3-inch guns developed. It was manufactured by Driggs-Seabury and was on an M1898 "masking parapet" retractable carriage, conceptually similar to the disappearing carriages of the larger guns. 111 of these weapons were emplaced 1899–1905. The carriage could only be retracted when the gun was at a particular train angle (in most installations 90° off the emplacement axis in either direction), thus it provided no concealment in action. Eventually the retraction feature was disabled, with the modified carriage designated M1898MI. The weapon was in any case small enough that the risk of observation from the sea was minimal.[4] Most or all of the M1898 guns and carriages were removed from service in 1920 due to obsolescence and probably the manufacturer's bankruptcy.[5][6]

An unusual emplacement for the M1898 guns was at Fort Mott, New Jersey, near Fort Delaware. Two guns were in a massive casemated emplacement named Battery Edwards, converted from an 1870s magazine. At this location it was determined that the minefields needed maximum protection.[7][8]

 

M1902[edit]

The M1902 was functionally similar to the M1898, but was manufactured by Bethlehem Steel and was on a non-retractable pedestal carriage. 60 of these weapons were emplaced 1903–1910.[9] It was not the same weapon as the 3-inch M1902 field gun.

M1903[edit]

The M1903 was a slight improvement on the M1902 with the bore lengthened from 50 calibers to 55 calibers for increased range. References vary as to whether the bore was lengthened or not, but the increase in overall length supports that it was. The weapon was manufactured by Watervliet Arsenal and was on a non-retractable pedestal carriage. 101 of these weapons were emplaced 1904–1917.[10]

Basis for anti-aircraft guns[edit]

The 3-inch gun M1917 was a World War I-era US-made anti-aircraft gun based on the 3-inch gun M1903. It was designed for a fixed mounting and remained in service, primarily at Coast Artillery installations, through World War II. It was determined that the weapon was too heavy and had too much recoil for mobile mountings, so a new weapon based on the lighter and less powerful 3-inch gun M1898 was developed, designated the 3-inch Gun M1918. This was the standard US anti-aircraft gun until replaced by the 3-inch gun M3 in 1930. There is some controversy as to whether any seacoast guns were actually converted into anti-aircraft guns in the development of these weapons

 

 

 



Beausabre #31 Posted Jan 25 2019 - 17:56

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"It certainly seems that MG Barnes didn't work and play well with the infantry branch (the using service)"
 
He was a saint compared to Ripley in the Civil War https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Wolfe_Ripley
or Crozier in the Kaiser War. Read Signpost of Experience https://www.amazon.com/Signposts-Experience-USA-Retired-Artillery-1918-1927/dp/1499673779 by the Chief of Field Artillery MG Snow about what it was like to deal with him (Snow's attitude, he told his subordinates, was "If the fighting men want elephants, we get them elephants").

 
For a book damning the Ordnance Corps. root and branch, up one side and down the other, front and back, from its foundation to today, read "Misfire: The Story of How America's Small Arms Have Failed Our Military" https://www.amazon.com/Misfire-Story-Americas-Failed-Military/dp/0684193590 As a US Army officer, I didn't want to believe it, bit the evidence is incontrovertible. I should have known better, I was around when we were armed with the M73/M219 coax.

 

 


The_Chieftain #32 Posted Jan 25 2019 - 18:20

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Out of interest, are you working your way through every one of my articles? How long is this taking you?

YANKEE137 #33 Posted Jan 26 2019 - 00:12

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If you can ever get into Aberdeen Proving Ground, they have (or had-I visited there in the 70's) some amazing things lying around. Among other jobs they tested soviet tanks and took them apart. I was thrilled to see two M4 duplex drive tanks with T23 turrets and 76mm guns just rusting away in a holding area. Stacks of T-55/62 turrets (all sand colored). They had M47 tanks in use as test beds for various things. A heap of hundreds of 37mm brass (lot 1942). It was like candyland.

Edited by YANKEE137, Jan 26 2019 - 00:13.





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