Today we take a look at Iain McCallum’s Blood Brothers: Hiram and Hudson Maxim: Pioneers of Modern Warfare – a book deserving a place in everyone’s firearms library. Most people don’t realize that Hiram Maxim […]
What’s more badass than a quad Maxim? A quad pom-pom? That’s for pansies: try 2-pdr Chicago Piano, a 40 mm OCTUPLE Vickers Pom-Pom AA mount used on British naval vessels in WW2. Next stop – Larsen JL-12 All-Steel Attack Plane with a battery of 30 Thompsons pointing downward…
Those 88 guns are impressive if you can fire them all at once at 1200 rounds/sec, you’re also out of ammo after 5 sec. And you’re shooting 7.62 Tokarev, what means you better don’t fly more than 600 ft of the ground if you actually want to kill someone. Explains why this experiment didn’t take, and people went to cluster bombs instead. In the meantime,those watercooled maxims can keep firing for minutes at a time if you have enough belts, with a lethal range well in excess of a 1000 yards.
Of course the system has a lot of disadvantages, actually way to many disadvantages to even begin to think it as an effective weapon. It is however, like many other things seen at this page, interesting.
About it being able to put both quad Maxim and .50 to shame, think about it like comparing traditional artillery howitzers and guns to rocket artillery. The guns can keep pounding and pounding the target with explosives, but you need a lot of guns to deliver the short time momentum och one rocketstrike.
An interesting thought would be to compare the actual weight of the load of shot this 88 gun monster sends down in, say five seconds then, and compare it to what say an Il2 Sturmovik achives with its twin 7.62 and 23mm guns.
Interesting how Soviet propaganda of the time chose to illustrate the weapon as being operated by a crew of tough-looking, clean-cut young men at a critical point in the defence of Moscow, with the Germans virtually knocking at the gates of the capital. The reality is that a great many AA batteries were served by women, who gave a very good account of themselves. This freed up more male soldiers for front-line infantry duty. Throughout the war, the same practice was applied to many other support units and even some front-line units.
On another note, I think the most effective multi-barrel light AA weapon of the Second World War was the U.S. Navy’s water-cooled quadruple 40mm Bofors automatic gun. It was powerful, reliable, accurate, had a high rate of sustained fire and could incorporate electronic lead-computing gun sights ( Mark 14 and 15 ) as well as localized fire-control directors ( Mark 51 and GFCS Mark 63 ) ; the weapon was also capable of being integrated into the parent vessel’s radar-directed fire-control system ( Marks 3, 22, 25, 28, 34, etc. ) for even greater lethality.
Do you suggest that every last of the real AA gunners on Moscow roofs was a grimy unshaved trench devil? Or, as your argument unfolds, there weren’t one AA battery (of hundreds) that wasn’t operated by women?
The point I’m trying to make is that to call the presence of reasonably groomed male soldiers at an AA battery _propaganda_ is the same as calling a photo of reasonably groomed smiling male American pilots propaganda – after all, there was a women air corps, pilots weren’t happy all the time, and there were mechanics in dirty overalls just next to them. Propaganda.
I think you may have seriously misunderstood what I was getting at. Please read my commentary again carefully. You will realize that all I was trying to say was that female gunners played a significant role in Soviet AA units, and that they gave a very good account of themselves. By the same token, Soviet propaganda probably chose the illustration of determined-looking, clean-cut young men for the photograph in question because it seemed the most inspirational at a time of great national travail.
The images of smiling, clean-cut young male pilots of the U.S. Army Air Corps, widely publicized to the unfortunate exclusion of deserving women pilots and the unacknowledged ground crews upon whose diligence and skill the lives of aircrews depended, are also a case in point of public relations and inspirational propaganda superceding stark reality.
All governments, regardless of ideology, affiliation or creed, will seek to garner the support of the public through various means of propaganda when deemed necessary. We need to be acutely aware that the advent of the Internet and high-speed blogging have not diminished propaganda one iota ; rather, new and much more subtle forms of it have come into being as adaptations to this brave new world of instantaneous communications.