Talking about the relevance of small-caliber anti-aircraft installations today is not necessary. If there is an assault aviationthat means, anti-aircraft artillery is also needed, capable of fighting it. If you look at modern air defense systems, it becomes clear that even a huge number of missile weapons of the most diverse classes of cannon weapons does not cancel.
Aviation in World War I proved its own, if not efficiency, then consistency. And at the beginning of the 30-s began its rapid development. Increased speed and range, there were all-metal aircraft and aviation reservation. In general, the airplane, so clumsy and frankly ridiculous, suddenly turned into a combat aircraft. Very serious weapon.
These circumstances demanded urgent solutions from the designers of anti-aircraft weapons. What the armed forces of the First World War were armed with was already hopelessly outdated. The use of rifle-caliber anti-aircraft machine guns sharply limited the area of destruction of the aircraft in terms of range, as well as by the effect of the attack. The plane received a huge number of hits, but returned to the airfield and after a short repair was again ready to perform combat missions.
The tasks assigned to the designers could solve small-caliber automatic anti-aircraft guns (from 20 to 50 mm) or large-caliber machine guns. It was these installations and anti-aircraft guns that later became the main opponents of attack aircraft.
Paradoxically, a story about light anti-aircraft automatic guns must be started from an instrument that was released by a country not officially participating in a war, but nevertheless used by all warring countries.
1. 20-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun "Oerlikon". Switzerland
The gun was born in 1927 year. Manufacturer - Swiss concern "Oerlikon". But to talk about the development of this particular concern of the gun will not be correct. "Oerlikon" implemented in the metal design development company SEMAG.
The designer of this tool is a talented German design engineer Reinhold Becker. And the gun itself was developed in the years of the First World War. In his own factory, Becker even fired this cannon in 1914. The gun was used cartridge caliber 20 × 70 mm, the rate of fire reached 300 shots per minute. Subsequently, this instrument was given the name "Oerlikon F".
The new gun has been used as an aviation and anti-aircraft modification, but the novelty did not have any noticeable impact on the course of hostilities. In Switzerland, the gun turned out to be because of the Versailles Treaty. Officially, the Germans simply could not modify the cannon.
SEMAG (Seebach Maschinenbau Aktien Gesellschaft), using Becker’s work, modernized the gun. In the year 1924 released a version for a more powerful cartridge 20 × 100 mm with a slightly increased rate of fire, which now reaches 350 rounds per minute. This gun was offered as an anti-tank or light infantry support weapon. But the gun did not win success, but in stories remained as "Oerlikon L".
Well, the third attempt to create a gun, made already by engineers "Oerlikon", "Oerlikon S". The cartridge has again become stouter, 20 × 110 mm, had a higher initial projectile speed (830 m / s), which was accompanied by an increase in the mass of the structure and a decrease in the rate of fire to 280 rounds per minute.
Today it sounds rather strange, but the S model was really a serious anti-tank weapon at that time. She could hit any existing at that time (1927 year) tank. In this case, the model was used, like the previous ones, in aviation and air defense.
All guns "Oerlikon" their "descendants" have the same principle of operation and a similar device. This tool is different in that the mechanism of production of a shot helps a large annular spring around the barrel. Between themselves, the guns differ only in minor changes in the design, the initial velocity of the projectile and the rate of fire.
The Oerlikon can be called the progenitor of all small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery (MZA) and the most massive weapon of this type. According to some experts in the world of these tools, including modifications, it was released from 500 to 800 thousands of units
1. Versatility and ease of use.
2. Reliability design.
3. The presence of a huge range for such a caliber ammunition.
5. The possibility of modernization for any use.
1. Difficulty in production.
2. Too small caliber, which does not provide guaranteed defeat of the aircraft.
3. The range of fire did not provide the necessary efficiency when working with bomber aircraft. The guns were already firing at the spent aircraft.
2. 20-mm Flak 30 automatic anti-aircraft gun, model 1930, Germany
Developed by Rheinmetall. For the first time she fought in Spain as part of the Condor Legion. As an anti-aircraft gun, the gun worked from the platform, but was also used as a field gun. In this case, the shooting was carried out from the wheels.
The gun was used not only as an anti-aircraft gun, but also as a field one, using a special high-explosive fragmentation projectile. It was on these tools that the target position prediction systems were used for the first time. True, they were quickly abandoned because of the complexity of the application. But even without this, the guns were quite normal until the end of the war.
For its time, the gun was good. However, by the 1940 year, aviation overtook the guidance system. Increasing the speed of the aircraft created problems with aiming. There was another serious problem. Ammunition was supplied in 20-charging stores, in which shells were often delayed.
1. Versatility, the ability to use as an anti-tank gun.
2. Shooting stability.
3. It became the basis for the production of tank guns KwK 30.
1. Low rate of fire.
2. Difficulty in production and operation.
3. Mass delays in the submission of shells.
3. 37 mm Flak 36 anti-aircraft gun. Germany
Also the development of "Rheinmetall", but somewhat later, in 1936 year This gun already belongs to the medium anti-aircraft guns.
The history of the development is very interesting. Rheinmetall developed the Flak 18 anti-aircraft gun in Switzerland at the start of the 30s. The development of tools was carried out by order of the USSR. We even made 44 guns (index 2K) according to German drawings at the plant in Podlipkah.
And Flak 36 is a further upgrade to Flak 18. A hydraulic brake was introduced into the mast design, the two-axle wagon was replaced with a single-axle, a new sight was installed. The gun actually became more versatile, although it had the same combat characteristics as the Flak 18. Ammunition for anti-aircraft guns were fed in 6-shell clips.
The gun was produced until the end of the war. It was the main means of destruction of low-flying aircraft. Used on different chassis, installed on ships, including submarines. The main drawback of the system was the tendency of the turning mechanism to jamming. Therefore, the calculation should have had enough power to work on this gun.
1. Sufficiently large effective ceiling.
3. Can be used on different chassis.
4. The effectiveness of shells.
1. Difficult to produce.
2. Large settlement (7 people).
3. Low rate of fire.
4. 20-mm anti-aircraft gun Flak 38. Germany
Most researchers view this weapon as an upgrade to the Flak 30 already mentioned by us. However, this is still another gun, despite the external similarity.
Speaking of Flak 30, we mentioned the fact that by the year 1940 the Germans realized that it was not effective against high-speed aircraft 30-I. It was necessary to increase the rate of fire of the gun. The company "Rheinmetall" at that time was engaged in other tools, so the solution to the problem was transferred to the company "Mauser".
With the external similarity of guns, Flak 38 inside was completely new. "Mauser" solved the problem of jamming the feed mechanism of shells and increased the rate of fire of the gun. At the same time left unchanged bed and aiming system. 38-I had a rate of fire at 420-480 per minute. The gun was produced in huge quantities (more than 100 thousand units) and had twin and quad modifications.
1. High rate of fire.
3. The possibility of easy disassembly and assembly for transportation, for example, on horseback.
1. The use of old systems of supply of ammunition and bed.
2. Weak projectile.
5. 20 mm / 65 Breda Mod. 1935. Italy
As the name implies, the creator of the 20 / 65 cannon-Mitraliera anti-aircraft gun, model 35, was the Breda company from the city of Brescia.
If the Italians wanted to create a universal weapon, it must be admitted, they succeeded. The gun was originally intended for firing at both ground and air targets. In "Breda" created a weapon that could move on almost everything that drove, floated or walked.
The cannon was placed on a biaxial trolley and was easily transported even by a light truck. In combat, the calculation (3 man) rolled the gun on the positions without much effort on their own. Even the carriage of guns on horseback was provided. In addition, like all Italian, the gun is quite normal to disassemble the 4 node and transported on breeches or hands.
The ammunition was located in the 12-shell tray, which were fed by loaders. And the gun fired not only high-explosive, but also armor-piercing shells. For anti-aircraft high-explosive shells used a sensitive fuse, which guaranteed the rupture of ammunition even with light contact with the aircraft. In case of miss, the projectile was equipped with a self-liquidator.
The gun was loved by soldiers of several armies at once: Italian, German, American, British, French ... Many armies gladly used captured guns for installation on armored vehicles. And the coast of Italy was guarded by modernized guns of the 35 model, which are better known as the 39 model. The 39 model was distinguished by a stationary pedestal.
1. Universal (VET and air defense).
2. Small weight, convenience when moving and transporting.
3. The possibility of disassembling the nodes for manual or pack transport.
4. Reinforced projectiles for both air defense and anti-tank guns.
We believe that they are not.
6. 20-mm gun "Type 98". Japan
When a normal European sees the 1938-mm “Type 20” cannon adopted in 98, he has a feeling of unreality of what he saw. On the one hand, the archaic on wooden wheels, strange for a normal gun bed, a strange "machine-gun" magazine on top of the barrel. And on the other hand? Excellent combat performance, versatility and ability to work in almost any conditions.
The gun was originally designed as a universal. Designers laid in the system a lot of opportunities. Even the wooden wheels of the cart had their meaning. The gun could be carried on horse-drawn carts, not to mention light trucks or passenger cars. In addition, the possibility of disassembling the instrument into parts for the carriage of carrying a calculation or carriage on horses was also provided for.
Understanding that the main drawback of this gun is the low rate of fire, the Japanese created an anti-aircraft gun for this model. But their number was not great.
Ammunition, reinforced projectiles, with large for this caliber armor penetration, were located in the shop for 20 pieces. The store was located on top of the gun barrel. Calculation, depending on the tasks performed, 2-3 person.
1. Easily transported by any tractor or horse.
2. Could change position in battle without the use of traction forces calculation.
3. The possibility of firing both from the wheels and from the platform.
4. Versatility (VET and air defense).
5. Large ceiling effective fire due to a powerful projectile.
6. Easy to disassemble the nodes and was going to calculation.
1. Outdated carriage.
2. Low rate of fire.
7. 25-mm Hotchkiss Mle 1938 automatic gun. France
The French were all sad. It is difficult to say on the basis of what, but the French military department decided that all the tasks of the air defense system could be solved by large-caliber machine guns 13,2-mm and 75-mm guns of the 1897 model.
Nevertheless, the company Hotchkiss nevertheless developed automatic anti-aircraft guns in 1932 year. True, they were exported. Only the war in Spain, more precisely, its results, pushed the French military to purchase anti-aircraft guns. In 1938, the gochkis began to enter the army.
25-mm Hotchkiss Mle 1938 automatic cannon (Mitrailleuse de 25-mm sur affutuniversel Hotchkiss Modele 1938) was installed and transported on a single-axis carriage. Hotchkiss Mle 1939, which is a heavier and more stable tool for use in stationary positions. Both samples had the same ballistic characteristics and fully complied with the requirements of the military.
The guns were versatile, i.e. could be used as anti-aircraft guns and as anti-tank. Accordingly, various ammunition was created: fragmentation, fragmentation, incendiary, armor-piercing and armor-piercing tracer. So an armor-piercing projectile (weight 0,28 kg, initial speed 870 m / s) normal pierced 30-mm armor at a distance of 300 meters. It was enough to solve any problems of pre-war time.
Here we just have to make a small digression. The fact is that many readers confuse Hotchkiss Mle 1938 and Hotchkiss SA34 / SA37 anti-tank gun. These are completely different guns using different ammunition. SA34 / SA37 use the much more powerful 25x194R projectile.
The gun was limited in practical rate of fire by using a carob shop on 15 shells. The magazine was mounted on top of the barrel.
In the 1940 year, the twin installation version Mle 1940J was released. But in general, France has missed time. At the time of the invasion of Germany in the 1940 year, the troops were 1103 guns of all modifications. To stop the German aviation, or even just really, such an air defense could not withstand it. Perhaps if there were more of these very good guns, the advantage of the Luftwaffe would have been leveled.
1. Lightweight with the ability to transport light trucks.
2. Universal (PTO and air defense).
3. Good ceiling.
4. The double-barreled version of the gun, quite significantly raising the combat characteristics.
1. Artificially limited rate of fire through the use of the store.
2. Short barrel length.
8. Colt-Browning М1А2. USA
To be historically fair, the forerunner of all automatic anti-aircraft guns automatic anti-aircraft guns was the American gunsmith John Moses Browning. After all, in fact, he developed the first anti-aircraft gun back in the 1924 year. The gun, manufactured by Colt's Patent Firearms Mfg Co (g. Harford), Browning even personally presented. This was the reason why, despite the resistance of the military, the gun was adopted in 1927 year (37-mm М1 on the carriage М3).
By the way, from here and some confusion in the name of the gun. 37-mm Browning М1А1, 37-mm Colt М1А1 and even 37-mm Colt-Browning М1А1 are called cannon in various sources.
This happened because after the death of Browning (1926 g) the gun was almost forgotten. And remembered only in 1938 year. It was then that the production was transferred to the company "Colt", which made some changes to the design.
The upgraded weapon received the index M1А2. And the predecessor in 1940 was already replaced by 40-mm Bofors М1.
So, what is the "Colt-Browning" M1A2.
Automation tools created "Colt" using the ideas of Browning. The barrel is movable with a vertical wedge gate. Ammunition from the cage (10 shells) continuous. Cooling the barrel water, using a special pump. With air cooling, the gun could do the maximum up to 100 shots.
Instrument guidance was carried out either manually or hydraulically. The hydraulic drive carried out automatic guidance according to the PUAZO data.
Since the gun was quite heavy, the cart had disc wheels with pneumatic tires. Transportation was carried out by a three-axle truck. It was possible to bring the weapon to the combat position in 2 minutes. However, instrument guidance required 12 minutes already.
The practical rate of fire of this gun 110-120 shots per minute. The gun went through the entire Second World War. By the way, it was precisely this weapon that was opposed by Japanese aviation in Pearl Harbor. 7200 units were released for 1938-42 years.
The advantages of weapons:
2. Good maximum ceiling.
3. Not a bad range.
1. Weak PF projectile.
2. Sophisticated manual guidance system.
2 Low rate of fire.
9. 20-mm gun "Polsten" model 44 Poland - Great Britain
We treat readers with another art-detective. We love this thing. The fact is that this anti-aircraft gun was created in Poland, but was put into service in the UK. It will be about the English (Polish) automatic anti-aircraft gun "Polsten".
It makes no sense to describe the design of the instrument itself. This is already recognized and described above "Oerlikon". But the Oerlikon is so technologically advanced that it sometimes amazes even the designers of weapons. It is its manufacturability in production.
The history of this gun really began in Poland. The excellent gun "Oerlikon" was simply impossible to produce in Polish factories. The complexity of the design and the large number of necessary details prevented (Oerlikon consisted of 250 details). Therefore, the designers were given the task of making production possible.
The project was almost finished, but the occupation began. It is no secret that in such situations there are always people who can evacuate the right people, no matter what. In short, the developers of the instrument, along with the documentation, were in Britain. Where, by some lucky chance, they also met with Czech gunsmiths, who also miraculously found themselves on the shores of Albion. Moreover, the meeting took place in the office of the famous British arms firm Sten, known for its fairly good submachine gun.
This is an international team and finalized the Polish project. “Oerlikon” in a technological and inexpensive version became “Polsten”. To understand the amount of work done by designers, it is enough to say just one digit. The gun, while retaining all the advantages and combat characteristics of the Oerlikon, consisted of only 119 parts instead of 250!
Yes, about the name of the gun. Why "Polsten"? The answer is simple - Polish Wall.
The gun was launched in March 1944 series. Immediately after this, Britain stopped the release of the Erlikon. Many of the elements, especially the supports, were similar to the Erlikonov one. And the use of this gun is fully consistent with the "Oerlikon".
Visually, the Polsten is different from the Erlikon. Designers abandoned the drum shop. We have already mentioned the problems with loading this store and using it in battle. In the "Wall" designed a new store. Now the shells were in a vertical box magazine on 30 shells. And the shells in the store were placed in two piles.
Thus, the British army was armed with two guns of the same type - the Oerlikon and Polsten, which ended the war.
The advantages and disadvantages are almost the same as those of the Oerlikon, with the exception of the high manufacturability of the production process.
10. 40-mm Bofors L60. Sweden
Writing about this tool is quite difficult for two reasons. First, this gun fought in all armies, on both sides of the front. Secondly, the authors' personal love for this particular gun. Indeed, one of the greatest successes of the designers of that time was the 40-mm cannon of the Swedish concern Bofors.
The gun was ordered to the concern by the Swedish government in 1928 after the Pom-Pom guns purchased from the British Vickers. The Vickers cannons turned out to be quite picky and thin. And the shooting range did not suit the Swedes.
The first version of the Bofors L-60, presented by the concern in 1929, also did not strike with its characteristics. The problem was the bolt mechanism. Too heavy and not allowing to maintain a high rate of fire. But already in 1930, the designers solved this problem by dividing the mechanism into two. The first to extract the spent cartridges, the second to feed the next projectile.
The gun was "brought to mind" in the 1932 year. All customer requirements have been met. The gun was originally produced in two versions - sea, double-barreled, and land (for installation on the chassis), single-barreled.
Paradoxically, the first Bofors L60 installations were installed not on Swedish ships, but on light cruisers in the Netherlands (HNLMS "De Ruyter"). After the first batch (5 installations), the Dutch bought a few more. Thus began the triumphal march of these cannons in the armies of the world.
In 1935, the guns adopted the armies of the Belgian, Polish, Norwegian and Finnish armies. In the year 1936 - Sweden (after all). And there was a lack of production capacity in Sweden and the production was also organized in Poland.
In 1937, the British modernized Polish guns and adopted their own licensed version - QF 40-mm Mark I. This gun was made in the UK, Canada and Australia.
In the US, the gun also liked. However, it could not be put into service without a corresponding "refinement" there. The metric system and manual assembly interfered. American engineers have made many changes to the design of weapons and ammunition to adapt them to a truly mass production, and also replaced the air cooling scheme with water and added an electric drive to quickly turn the installation. The official designation of the American version of "Bofors" - 40-mm Automatic Gun.
You can endlessly write about this tool. It is enough that, for example, the American Lockheed AC-130 ground support aircraft, the destroyers and boats are still armed with L60 guns. Moreover, there is a tradition in the US Armed Forces - it is obligatory to report every plane that Bofors has shot down to the Chrysler Corporation with the serial number of the gun!
Why did Victor Hammar and Emanuel Jansson (designer of Bofors) like the military? First of all, automation. Automatic guns based on the use of recoil force according to the scheme with a short recoil of the barrel. By the way, a quick change of the trunk was provided in case of overheating.
L60 was equipped with a modern for those times aiming system. Horizontal and vertical gunners had reflex sights, the third member of the calculation was behind them and worked with a mechanical computing device. The sight was powered by a 6V battery.
The towing of the gun was made by an ordinary truck.
Finishing a cursory story about this gun, let us say, during the Second World War, the total number of various modifications produced by Bofors L60 cannon exceeded 100 000 units.
1. Excellent automation.
3. Damage done
Worth a search, probably ...
11. 37-mm gun 61-K model 1939 year. the USSR
Continuing the theme of "Bofors". The Soviet 37-mm gun of the 1939 model of the year was developed using the technical base of the Swedish ZAP Bosphorus L60. The gun was created by the decision of the Red Army GAU by the designer M.N. Loginov. During the Great Patriotic War, it was this weapon that was the main one in the air defense system. In addition, especially in the first period of the war, 61-K was often used as an effective anti-tank weapon.
37-mm ZAP 61-K is a single-barrel, fully automatic small caliber gun. All processes are automated in the same way as the base model. Manually made only the filing of cartridges in the store, aiming and pointing guns. Automation works by moving the trunk.
The gun was transported using a truck or any other tractor at speeds up to 60 km / h. Calculate 7 man. Total released 22 600 guns.
The gun went through the whole war with honor and ended with her participation in the victory salute in Berlin. Soviet anti-aircraft gunners treated this weapon with great respect. A battle path gun 61K continued for a long time in the postwar period.
1. High rate of fire.
2. Good ceiling.
3. Ease of use.
1. Lack of contactless fuse from the projectile.
12. 25-mm gun 72-K model 1940 year. the USSR
The next USSR anti-aircraft gun can be called the grandson of the Bofors L60. It's about 25-mm 72-K guns or (second name) 25-mm automatic anti-aircraft gun model 1940 of the year.
Many researchers of anti-aircraft guns of the Second World War often criticize this weapon because of the use of a rather heavy laft and a rather late (in time) appearance. To be honest, I don’t even want to answer these charges. It is enough just to see the combat path of this gun and the time of service.
The need for this weapon arose because a “hole” appeared on the regimental level in the air defense of the Red Army. Heavy machine gun DShK - gun 61K. A smaller caliber gun was needed. She became 72-K. It was this gun that successfully landed low-flying and diving German aircraft.
Structurally, the new 25-mm gun was a reduced copy of the 37-mm 61-K. Modernization of this gun lasted almost constantly. What ultimately resulted in the creation of a fairly perfect sample.
A total of 4 860 units of this weapon were produced. Calculate 6 man. The gun was in service with the SA before the ZSU-23-2 (the first half of the 60-s) was adopted for service.
1. Good initial projectile speed.
2. Reliability and reliability.
3. High rate of fire.
1. Heavy carriage.
Small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery played a huge role during the Second World War. Already during the war guns were improved and modified in response to the emergence of new aircraft. Most of the samples created at that time, either in the original or in a modernized form, continue military service today.
If we consider the loss of aviation during World War II, it turns out a curious fact. Most of the aircraft of the warring countries were destroyed precisely by small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery! The gunners eventually (in our opinion) outplayed the aviators.
We are waiting for your opinion on which guns were the best. Yes, there is something to choose from.