Monday, 19 January 2015

AA Guns vs Ground Targets

AA guns aren't exactly ideal in an AT role. They're big and bulky, which leads to them getting spotted and destroyed. They are, however, a suitable last-ditch effort against tanks or infantry that have broken through. General Heinz Gaedcke shares my views.

DTIC A160512

But before they are found and destroyed, how well they can perform. The Flak 36 is one of the most famous guns used in this manner. Here is a penetration chart, both against armour and concrete.

Tactical and Technical Trends #8

Whoever was converting millimeters to inches must have had a long day, and this is the first time I've ever seen a 70 degree attack angle (usually it's 0 or 30 from vertical, rarely 45 or 60), but nevertheless, this is a valuable table.

The penetration of the larger 105 mm AA gun is also recorded.

Tactical and Technical Trends #30


Of course, AA guns also have HE shells as well as AP. 

Tactical and Technical Trends #40

Comparing these figures with Soviet HE, it can be seen that the increase in caliber also does not result in a large increase of shrapnel along the line of flight, instead expanding out laterally. The German 88 mm HE shell, with its burst area of ~30 by 11 meters, is inferior to the Soviet 76 mm HE shell, which manages 30 by 15 meters.



Now on to less famous weapons, low caliber automatic ones. As Gaedcke mentions, these were also used against ground targets. Here is another table with the performance of some of these guns.

PAM 30-60-1 Vol. 3 Pt. 1

This particular data is for AA guns in self propelled mounts, but towed versions also existed. The first is a Soviet weapon, mounted on the ZSU-23-4 vehicle. The second is a Czechoslovak twin AA gun. The M1A2 is an American gun (not to be confused with the M1A2 on the Sherman), which is combined with two .50 cal heavy machineguns. The last is another Soviet gun, similar to the towed S-60, but in this case there are two guns on one mount. Despite the small magazine capacity, the gun is still fully automatic.

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