Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This is coolbert:


One of the most successful weapons systems of modern times just has to be the Bofors gun. Originally developed in the 1920’s STRICTLY as an anti-aircraft-artillery [AAA]. Fires a 40 mm round [comes both in the L/60 and L/70 versions].

Has been and even NOW is being used for AAA applications. BUT has also been employed in other roles, quite successfully too!! Ground to air [AAA], air to ground [close air support], and now as the main gun for combat fighting vehicles [CV90]!

Employed extensively by the U.S. Navy during WW2 in the AAA role. The famous “pom-pom” gun.

Look at that photo. One of the most famous photos of WW2? U.S. Navy AAA gun somewhere in the Pacific theatre. Maybe under attack by kamikaze? Crew chief yelling instructions over the dim. Pile of expended shells in front of the dual AAA guns. Loaders feeding clips of rounds into the guns, additional full clips being forwarded by handlers.

Also used by the U.S. Navy in Vietnam aboard riverine craft. Used in the direct fire mode at shore targets by Monitor class vessels. Clear the way for landing parties in an impressive manner.

"River bank troop landings were supported at close range by 'Monitors' –armoured landing craft that replaced the troop carrying area with weapon turrets and a rounded bow. The Monitors were armed with 40mm cannon and a wide range of smaller weapons such as machine guns and 20mm cannon."

Used currently by the U.S. Air Force aboard the AC-130 gunship. The air-ground attack role here! Being replaced by a more modern 30 mm “Bushmaster” gun. Variants of the AC-130 continue to use the L/60 in the meantime.

"L/60's are still used in the United States Air Force's AC-130 gunships in the air-to-ground role"

"The variant carried aboard the C-130 fires an armor-piercing shell called the APFSDS, short for Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot. The AC-130 carries about 256 rounds of ammunition, and the L60 cannon can fire shots singly or at rates up to 120 rounds per minute."

Crew members of the AC-130 loading a clip of fresh rounds into the 40 mm cannon. Bang-bang, shoot-em’-up, YOUR DEAD!!

Here you see the deadly duo currently found on the AC-130. 40 mm cannon on the left, 105 mm howitzer on the right.

Improved, modern versions of the 40 mm round are available. Swedish 3P ammo. Programmable, pre-fragmented, proximity. The 40 mm L/60-L/70 continues to be the smallest round still available that can accommodate a proximity fuze.

"A proximity fuze (also called a VT fuze, for "variable time") is a fuze that is designed to detonate an explosive automatically when the distance to target becomes smaller than a predetermined value or when the target passes through a given plane."

"the 40mm shell . . . the latest versions have a '3P' round . . . As well as the normal proximity function"

"the fuze can operate in five other modes":

* "gated proximity (fuze only activated close to the target to avoid premature detonation)"

" gated proximity with impact priority (a slight delay in activation to provide the opportunity for a direct hit)"

* "time function (for air burst fire to provide a Shrapnel effect against surface targets)"

* "two impact functions with variable delay."

The much improved and advanced 40 mm round is also being used in the latest and greatest Swedish designed combat vehicle, the CV-90.

"In the Swedish Army Combat Vehicle 90 there is a cartridge fed, automatic version of the L/70 gun installed . . . New armour piercing and programmable ammunition have also been developed."

The CV-90 can be configured as a combat vehicle to support infantry, an armored tank-defeating vehicle, a mobile AAA, etc. All-purpose and deadly.

I have a distinct feeling that the Bofors 40 mm round originally developed solely as a round for AAA applications is going to be around for some time to come.




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