World War 2, Australia, Western Australia, Mosman Park, Buckland Hill, Heavy Anti-Aircraft, 1943


View of 3.7 inch Heavy Anti-Aircraft gun on static mount under camouflage gun at Buckland Hill

Historical information

The 3.7 inch Anti Aircraft gun Mark 2 ordnance on Mark 3 chassis is a mobile, purpose built weapons platform. The weapon features a four wheel, towed platform for transportation. In the firing position the chassis is lowered to the ground and supported by four outriggers with pads which level the gun into the correct firing position. In the firing position the ordnance has 360 degree rotation and 80 degrees elevation. The gun has a semi-automatic, horizontal sliding breech block and employs an autofrettaged barrel featuring a loose liner jacket. The gun comes equipped with automated receiver elevation and azimuth controls



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Contextual Information

When Vickers began production of the mobile 3.7-inchAnti aircraft gun, to meet the British orders of 1937, it was soon apparent that the rearmament programme called for higher output. Vickers were asked to design a simpler, static version for use in Britain and bases overseas. This was done by eliminating the running gear, legs and jacks, and arranging for a base plate on the mounting to be bolted and levelled to a holdfast set in concrete. The height of the mounting had to be raised, the trunnions moved forward and a rear balancing-weight substituted for springs.
This counterweight counteracted the muzzle preponderance of the gun and cradle due to the trunnions being displaced to the rear. The counterweight is an iron casting attached to the rear of the cradle by a supporting beam and two supporting arms. The iron casting contains several compartments containing approximately 920 lb (420 kg) of lead.
The decision to manufacture the 3.7-inch anti-aircraft gun in Australia was made as a result of Imperial Defence Conference in May/June 1937 as a contribution to Empire defence. In October 1937 the Munitions Supply Board sent two of its officers, including Mr V. Parker, the Assistant Manager of the Ordnance Factory, to England to study the manufacture of the 3.7-inch gun, and at the same time the purchase of machine tools and plant was authorised. The first production order for 130 guns was received from the Army on 22 March 1939. Ten months after receiving the drawings the Ordnance Factory turned out its first gun in May 1940. This was the beginning of the factory’s large scale contribution to the stock of weapons used in the war of 1939-1945. In August 1940 four guns were shipped to Darwin. Others were sent to Britain and set up in Hyde Park, London where they played their part in defending the city in the great raids of 1940. Other guns were sent to Singapore, only to be captured by the Japanese.
Production of eight guns per month was achieved by January 1941, increasing to 12 in February 1941, 16 in December 1941, and eventually 22 in June 1942. The guns cost £7,500 ($15,000) each as against £10,000 ($20,000) in Britain. A total of 600 fixed mounting guns were produced.

Australian Army Museum of Western Australia

Australian Army Museum of Western Australia

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