AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

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AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby minoru genda » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:14 pm

Hello. Maybe someone can help me. How different are naval guns and land based guns?
I understand, tank guns for example are high velocity guns good for penetration. Field artillery on the other hand is good for long range bombardment but not very useful versus tanks. 75mm AT guns are different than 75 mm field guns. Then there are the AA guns that I believe are similar than AT guns, like the German Flak 88 that was used versus both aircraft and tanks, but not for bombardment.
OK, now, in what category are the naval guns? Naval guns are good for long range bombardment but also need good penetration power. They seem to me like dual purpose guns. Questions are: How different is a 5.9 inch naval gun vs. a 5.9 field artillery gun? I imagine in the end all this depends on shell weight, velocity, and bursting charge, but what I want to know what is the philosophy behind these guns. Thanks.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby lwd » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:43 pm

minoru genda wrote:Hello. Maybe someone can help me. How different are naval guns and land based guns?
I understand, tank guns for example are high velocity guns good for penetration. Field artillery on the other hand is good for long range bombardment but not very useful versus tanks. 75mm AT guns are different than 75 mm field guns.

Unfortunatly it's not any where near this neat
Then there are the AA guns that I believe are similar than AT guns, like the German Flak 88 that was used versus both aircraft and tanks, but not for bombardment.

But the 88 was used on ships as well and was used for bombarment.
OK, now, in what category are the naval guns? Naval guns are good for long range bombardment but also need good penetration power. They seem to me like dual purpose guns. Questions are: How different is a 5.9 inch naval gun vs. a 5.9 field artillery gun? I imagine in the end all this depends on shell weight, velocity, and bursting charge, but what I want to know what is the philosophy behind these guns. Thanks.

I'm not an expert but here's at least something for other to shoot at.
The army back then divided it's artillery into two catagories guns and howizters (well two and half there were also gun howitzers). The howitzers tended to fire at lower velocities and higher arcs and carry a larger burster. Guns tended to fire at higher velocities and flatter trajectories. The latter thus made for better AT and AA guns in general. Note that especially toward the end of the war shaped charges started making the howitzers better vs tanks. Furthermore the bigger guns could destroy a tank with HE rounds.

Now as to naval artillery it from what I've seen was typically heavier than army guns with the extra weight used to gain barrel life, velocity, and/or shell weight.

Looking for instance at the US 4"/50 (pre war) at:
http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_4-50_mk9.htm
the gun weights in at 2.725 tons (2.769 mt) and the round at 62.4 - 64.75 lbs. (28.3 - 29.4 kg) with a MV of 2,500 fps (762 mps) to 2,900 fps (884 mps) (depending on mark)
The US 105mm howitzer at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M101_howitzer
2,260 kg (5,000 lb) and a MV of 472 m/s (1,548 ft/s) and a shell weight of ~19 kg
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Bgile » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:49 pm

There is no sure fire way to say a "naval gun" always equates to a certain type of army gun, because there is some crossover. Generally speaking though, the 8.8cm AA gun is similar to many naval guns, i.e. high velocity and flat trajectory. Beyond that, it's whether you use AP, AA, HE ammo, etc.

A 5.9" naval gun probably has similar ballistics to a 155mm Gun (not howitzer) in the army, such as the USA "Long Tom". The army gun probably wouldn't have AP ammo available to it. A howitzer is a lower velocity high trajectory gun generally not found in the navy.

edit: LOL lwd beat me to it in much greater detail.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Brett » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:16 am

Hi

AT guns use high MV for both penetration and flat shooting trajectory that compensates for mis judging range and also reduces the lead need to hit a moving target. The idea it to penetrate side armour. Also it helps with 1930' technology to over match the armour, which means using a shell with a diameter greater than the armour. Now days a long slender rod is fired at great MV but back in 1930's it was generally solid shot.

Artillery is traditionally divided into gun and howitzer. The main difference is a gun normally uses a fixed round so elevation is the only way to adjust range so very flat trajectory at close range and stepper up to 45 degree theoretical maximum thought the shell at the end falls at even a stepper trajectory. Howitzer often use multiple charges so can use a multitude of trajectories depending on the range. This gives “plunging” fire so good for dropping into dug in positions. Also idea for shells that explode in the air as shrapnel can get into dugouts. Nowadays the 105mm howitzer has blurred the line with gun like M/V. The 130mm Russian piece based on the 130mm naval barrel is still king of long range mobile artillery as more than one general found out. The 155mm Nato “Long Tom” is the last of large land based guns. I believe a howitzer is still available in that diameter as well.

Naval guns generally use a fixed charged even though on the larger guns bags are used so theoretically variable charges could be used. The big issues in the 1930’s was calculating point of impact and variable charges was just a bridge to far. The naval gun needed long range and short travel time so were generally high M/V. Endless debate comes from high velocity versus low velocity for the main guns but even the “slow” ones still fired at much higher velocity than howitzers. Deck hits were the goal of slower heavy shells so in the Pacific ocean with clear skis and flat seas this is a good idea but not so sure in the dark and stormy oceans of the north. Actually a tank is quite vulnerable to step howitzer fire as the top armour is quite light hence airborne cannons destroying a lot of tanks in WW2 in Russia.

Some countries attempted to standardise guns across navy and army so lines get blurred. I believe that the first tank guns were naval guns with naval vessels in 1918 suddenly finding their guns disappearing for tank use.

The biggest and sadly often repeated mistake is the belief that naval fire power will destroy enemy positions. At Gallipoli the British were banking of the big guns doing the job. Um? Did not work for at least two reasons. Naval guns came in a low trajectory so were not effective at hitting dug outs, especially those hiding behind a hill. The second is designing a shell to handle the forces required for a high velocity launch means reduced explosive component so less blast effect compared to say a howitzer shell. No doubt heavy off shore bombardment is a good thing compared to not having it but given the choice between nine 8” cruiser guns and nine 8” howitzers all ground troops would go for the howitzers.

Ballistics and shell design is a fascinating area as often it is a reflection of a country’s view of the world rather than practical study what is required. The twenty-five pounder is still the best size for an infantry support weapon but lost out in Nato due in large part to USA thinking that big is better. It incidentally the twenty-five pounder is near enough the same diameter as the feared 88 Flak gun but with a much lower MV. 88mm was upto WW2 a common diameter as this gave a shell with usable explosive power but not excessive weight. The 105mm is much lighter to it predocessors due to modern materials such as alloyies and steels.

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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby lwd » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:26 pm

Brett wrote:...Artillery is traditionally divided into gun and howitzer. The main difference is a gun normally uses a fixed round so elevation is the only way to adjust range so very flat trajectory at close range and stepper up to 45 degree theoretical maximum thought the shell at the end falls at even a stepper trajectory. ...

I don't think that this is correct. The larger guns tended to use seperate ammo just like howitzers. The difference physically is that howitzers usually have shorter barrels. The rounds differ in that howitzer rounds usually have larger bursters. Howitzers are also optimized for indirect fire but have shorter range than guns.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Bgile » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:40 pm

lwd wrote:
Brett wrote:...Artillery is traditionally divided into gun and howitzer. The main difference is a gun normally uses a fixed round so elevation is the only way to adjust range so very flat trajectory at close range and stepper up to 45 degree theoretical maximum thought the shell at the end falls at even a stepper trajectory. ...

I don't think that this is correct. The larger guns tended to use seperate ammo just like howitzers. The difference physically is that howitzers usually have shorter barrels. The rounds differ in that howitzer rounds usually have larger bursters. Howitzers are also optimized for indirect fire but have shorter range than guns.


lwd,

I think what he was referring to is that howitzers routinely use different powder charges for different ranges. Naval guns seldom do that.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby lwd » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:26 pm

Bgile wrote: ... I think what he was referring to is that howitzers routinely use different powder charges for different ranges. Naval guns seldom do that.

But larger artillery pieces such as the 155mm and 175mm guns do. Some of the naval guns did as well. I seem to recall the British using "supercharges" for their 15"guns in some cases and I believe there was a recomendation that US battleships use a reduced charge to increase deck penetration at some ranges.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Brett » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:19 am

Hi

Like all terms there is the usual muck up and non standardisation and also I can be wrong :shock: It is my understanding that a howitzer is a gun that uses multiple charges to achieve a variety of shell decent angles while a gun uses a fixed charged (either combined with the projectile, sperate charge or as bags). A large naval gun generally used bag charges but apart from the mentioned supercharges, normally for coastal batteries? I have not heard much use been made on ships of the line. Probably due to the limited evaluation angle of guns. In WW1 it is rare for a battleship gun to be raised much above twenty-five degrees in most navies. After that turrets would either modified for higher angles (resulting in an argument between the British and USA during the twenties) or were designed with up to forty-five degree angles for battleship guns and even higher for cruisers but in the cruiser case the aim was for AA not plunging fire.

Hitting a target using high MV round fired at high elevation is decidedly tricky as wind speed, barometric pressure, etc, means unless you have a weather bureau around the shell would miss by decent margin. The 180mm USA land gun had excellent range but if you actually wanted to hit something then you used the 210mm howitzer barrel that could be mounted on the same tank platform and came in closer. Hence, the use of shorter barrels. The German 70mm infantary gun is described as a gun due to fixed shell even though the tube was very short and coudl fire at high elevation. But no doubt somewhere is a tome of knowledge that will dispute that.

The sad fact for the invading troops at Gallipoli was Turkish troops and artillery were placed behind ridge lines so were immune from fire from the large naval guns. As for the super charges and accuracy from what I gathered the Germans and British duelled across the channel with a nil all score line. The British used 14” naval guns from memory and I am not sure what the Germans used. In WW1 the Germans were the masters of ultra long range artillery but the British replied with high angle 15” guns in monitors. Not sure what the upshot of these battles were. I get the feeling that a lot of money was invested by both sides to get a moral rather than actual victory.

The strangest besat was the multi charged (by that charges fired in series) super guns built by the Germans in WW2 to make life miserable for London but air power put paid to that attempt. The latest design for ultra high rate is now a gun with multiple bullets loaded in the one tube with computer controlled circuits setting them off. For high fire as fast moving targets this looks promising but would not like to be around if something goes wrong.

Cheers Brett
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Bgile » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:52 am

There is quite a difference between dueling cross channel, where you are shooting at something that you have to hit directly to destroy and naval vessels shooting at each other where a high angle hit anywhere on the ship can do tremendous damage. I'm not going to repeat our various debates about long range gunnery here, but I'm convinced it was possible to employ effectively and so were the US and Japanese navies at least. That is why gun elevation was increased over time until it reached 45 degrees. A recent study by Jurens and Fischer indicated that it wasn't unreasonable to think one could get hits on a Yamato size target at 35,000 yds often enough to make the attempt given the chance.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby lwd » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:50 am

Ok lets look at some on line definitions. Here are those on the first page of the following google.
http://www.google.com/search?q=definiti ... =firefox-a
Quote followed by source.
...
# A howitzer is a type of artillery piece that is characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small explosive charges to ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howitzer
# A cannon that combines certain characteristics of guns and mortars. The howitzer delivers projectiles with medium velocities, either by low or high trajectories. JP 1-02
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/howitzer
# A type of cannon which had a short barrel used to hit fix targets that are hidden.
www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm
# a short cannon used to fire projectiles at high trajectories.
www.nps.gov/goga/historyculture/glossary.htm
# A cannon whose length varies from 5 to 10 calibers with carriages designed to permit greater elevation than a gun. A howitzer is intended to fire shells horizontally or at higher angles. Described by diameter of shell, 8 inch, 5 and 1/2 inch, etc.
www.forts.org/glossary.htm
# A cannon which fired hollow projectiles and was generally lighter and shorter than its solid-shot cousins. ...
civilwar.org/education/history/glossary.html
# Shell-firing artillery piece of medium length, firing its projectiles with a lighter charge -- and, hence, a lower velocity -- than a gun of equivalent caliber. ...
www.history.navy.mil/cannons/cannons55.html
# short-barrelled cannon designed for high-angle fire.
www.lib.mq.edu.au/digital/lema/glossari ... terms.html
# A relatively shorter-barreled cannon with a chamber at the base of the bore, designed to take a smaller charge. ...
mo21infantry.tripod.com/cwterms.htm
# a short cannon, intermediate between the gun and mortar.
www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems ... -gloss.htm
...

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&clie ... d=0CBYQkAE
A relatively short cannon that delivers shells at a medium muzzle velocity, usually by a high trajectory.

http://www.answers.com/topic/howitzer
how·it·zer (hout-sr)
n.
A relatively short cannon that delivers shells at a medium muzzle velocity, usually by a high trajectory.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/howitzer
a short cannon used to fire projectiles at medium muzzle velocities and with relatively high trajectories

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/howitzer
...Hovitzers barrel is about/ more than 15times the bore. IE 100mm(4 inc) howitzer has about 1500mm barrel(about yard and a half for those who still live in middle ages.. 8) ) Gun has barrel lenght more than 25times the bore. ..

http://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/4-448.aspx
The above is a forum discussion with a lot more comments. I extracted only a small part you may find support for your position there as well.
a short gun for firing shells on high trajectories at low velocities.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-howitzer.html
a short cannon, larger than a mortar, firing shells in a high trajectory
...
A relatively short cannon that delivers shells at a medium muzzle velocity, usually by a high trajectory.

http://www.yourdictionary.com/howitzer
# (n.) A gun so short that the projectile, which was hollow, could be put in its place by hand; a kind of mortar.
# (n.) A short, light, largebore cannon, usually having a chamber of smaller diameter than the rest of the bore, and intended to throw large projectiles with comparatively small charges.

http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/howitzer/
This one seems a bit off to me but ... perhaps it's oriented more at early period ones.
1. A cannon that combines certain characteristics of guns and mortars. The howitzer delivers projectiles with medium velocities, either by low or high trajectories. JP 1-02.
2. Normally a cannon with a tube length of 20 to 30 calibers; however, the tube length can exceed 30 calibers and still be considered a howitzer when the high angle fire zoning solution permits range overlap between charges. JP 1-02. See also gun; mortar.

http://www.allwords.com/word-howitzer.html
The final one http://www.audioenglish.net/dictionary/howitzer.htm mentions only muzzle loaders.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby lwd » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:52 am

For anther example the US army had both 155mm guns and howitzers in WW2. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/155_mm_Long_Tom
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M114_155_mm_howitzer
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Bgile » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:43 am

The current M777A2 155mm lightweight howitzer in service has a maximum range of 25km, so the distinction between gun and howitzer is kind of hazy these days.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Brett » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:00 am

Sort of confirms the confusion on the term. And as mentioned the current 105mm is a very powerful piece and quite light compared to its forefathers. To me a howziter is weapon with various zone charges designed to shoot in the upper registers but accept that is not a technical definition in many books.

As for ulta long range shooting the record at sea is either held by the German 11" or British 15" at a reasonablely short range, compared to theortical maximum range of guns. Also, especially the 11" is a high velocity weapon and the 15" was not to shabby in the MV rating either. The much vaulted super heavy 16" shells used by USA through lack of opportunity to the best of my knowledge were never tested in battle conditions. Even with the best range finders, optical, or radar you are predicting the location of the ship at extreme range and it might not be there. Your target zone is only really the deck so you soft spot is more than likely not much more than between 100-130 feet wide and unless the ships is heading to or from you. What is possible was never achived in practice and even the long range shots appear more a favourable statistical probablity compared to a reasonable expectation. Goodness knows more than enough rounds were fired at closer range that missed the target.

To give some idea of the challenge the USA airforce over Japan when using the B29 bomber at designed height managed to miss just about everything so went in at a much lower height. I could be wrong but would not a shell fired at a target at 44,000 metres with an elevation of 45 degress reach a height of around 33.3% of that, say 14,666 metres? Even at half that height (assuming my trig is out) you would have to be predicting wind speed and pressure at many height levels. The lower the trajectory the less windspeed directions and pressure layers you would need to consider. Remember ground speed wind and direction might be vastely different at height. My reading on ground artilery practice a critical component was the weather bureau service. Not an easy thing to achieve at sea under battle conditions.

I personally hold the view that theortically the idea of going through deck armour makes sense but the best way to disable your opposite number is with a low flat trajectory that widens your hit zone. Ok, I accept that hitting deck armour and bouncing off is not an effective hit but then again nor is repeatly straddling your opponent while glancing blows from them cannoned deck fittings around your ship taking at sensitive things, like exposed AA crews and radar and optical range finders.

Cheers Brett
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby Bgile » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:47 am

The US 16"/50 and the British 15"/42 had approx the same muzzle velocity.

You can talk all you want about B-29s and wind, but the fact is it was proven to my satisfaction that hits were likely at ranges greater than Scharnhorst actually did in 1940. It's convenient for you to believe that wasn't possible in 1945 or any other time and we won't agree. There is no point in repeating the same arguments over and over.
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Re: AT guns vs. Artillery guns vs. Naval guns

Postby alecsandros » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:50 am

Brett's making a very good argument about long range hits.

Indeed, the various pressure, temperature and wind speed coming at each atmospheric layer are not predicatable from a battleship. IF the layers are uniformaly distributed for the given battle-space, THAN a correction to the firing soultion can be made, and repeated hits are probable.

BUT IF the layers are not uniformaly distributed, than every salvo will be a shot in the dark. It can hit, but you can't measure the probability, as there are to many variables which you wouldn't know.
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