Mysterious automatic cannon

Mysterious automatic cannon

Joined: July 20th, 2004, 4:40 pm

August 13th, 2005, 4:50 pm #1

Please help ID these automatic cannon in service with the Dutch Forces in Indonesia, late 1940s.
First picture is an old friend. A group of Dutch soldiers posing with a belt fed auto-cannon (snelvuurkanon) in Medan, Sumatra, 1947. Is it ex-Japanese? From an aircraft maybe? Calibre looks like 15-20mm? (source Louis Zweers, Strijd om Deli)

Next are two pictures from a book by Van Holst Pellekaan on Dutch Navy volunteers during the Indonesian Independence War (late 1940s). Shown are two Dutch Navy patrolcraft fitted with a 3,7cm gun which seems to be automatic. It had a crew of three. What was it?


Any info appreciated,
Nuyt
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Joined: July 20th, 2004, 4:40 pm

August 13th, 2005, 7:21 pm #2

I forgot I had this picture that someone from the States sent me last year:


AAC? These were the guys that made the Marmon-Herrington tank guns...see the MH tank pages on http://www.overvalwagen.com/tanks.html

Hans Heesakkers was looking into this I think. Were these the same guns?
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Joined: September 10th, 2004, 4:39 am

August 13th, 2005, 10:09 pm #3

I googled American Armament Corporation, and found out they were responsible for the M4 37mm aircraft cannon in the P-39; furthermore, these is a Paul Costner listed in the Dutch Submarine Commader's section of the Dutch Subamrine site who was "General Director Europe of the American Armaments Corporation" sometime before his death in 1931. Curiouser and curiouser.

Susan
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Joined: September 10th, 2004, 4:39 am

August 13th, 2005, 11:18 pm #4

I called an older gentleman I know, Gordon Douglas, who is quite knowledgeable about US ordnance, and he says it is probably the M4 P-39 gun extemporized by the USN for use on PT boats as a "barge buster". Apparently there were hundreds of these guns available c.1943, which were given a mounting that would bolt on to the foundation of a 20mm Oerlikon. M/v would be around 2200 fps with a relatively short cartridge. Gordon told me he didn't have a picture handy to send me, but thought there was one in John D. Bulkely's book "At Close Quarters", recently reissued by USNI.
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Joined: July 20th, 2004, 8:06 pm

August 14th, 2005, 8:53 am #5

I forgot I had this picture that someone from the States sent me last year:


AAC? These were the guys that made the Marmon-Herrington tank guns...see the MH tank pages on http://www.overvalwagen.com/tanks.html

Hans Heesakkers was looking into this I think. Were these the same guns?
I have not much more to add than the 37 mm AA-gun M 1 was the US standard light AA-gun just prior to WW 2 but that these were soon replaced by the 40 mm Bofors.
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Joined: July 20th, 2004, 4:40 pm

August 14th, 2005, 9:41 am #6

I called an older gentleman I know, Gordon Douglas, who is quite knowledgeable about US ordnance, and he says it is probably the M4 P-39 gun extemporized by the USN for use on PT boats as a "barge buster". Apparently there were hundreds of these guns available c.1943, which were given a mounting that would bolt on to the foundation of a 20mm Oerlikon. M/v would be around 2200 fps with a relatively short cartridge. Gordon told me he didn't have a picture handy to send me, but thought there was one in John D. Bulkely's book "At Close Quarters", recently reissued by USNI.
HI Susan,

Thanks for that info, indeed very interesting!

Meanwhile I found some more leads.

It was Bob Lamoureax who sent me the advertisment of AAC. He said they had close links with Johnson automatics. Both companies were heavily involved in arming the Dutch after 1940.

For their M-H guntanks (3-man and 4-man) hundreds of AAC 37mm cannon were needed. By mid 1941 the Netherlands Purcasing Commission had placed orders for at least 304 of those guns. Delivery would start in August 41, so several dozen might have been delivered to the Indies before March 42.
We known already that in the end many of the M-H tanks were scrapped by the US Govt, so that's one other way how these guns (which according to Hans Heesakkers were indeed dual purpose) might have become available as "barge busters". Does someone have that picture of the US PT boat?

The Dutch Navy acquired 18 Harbour Defence Motor Launches (as seen on picture number 2) from someone in Australia, I think after the war in 1945 or 46. Well, fact is they sailed them over from Sydney to Java. Were these guns on board already or fitted on arrival in Java?

On another account the NPC had received a licence for exporting 23 pieces of 37mm automatic cannon as early as 1940 (info Ness). Were these AAC guns? We don't know, only info we have is that they were 20 cal long (which seems to short for the pictures). The AAC tank guns were 44 cal I believe?

So many questions, so little time!

Kind regards,
Nuyt
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 7:07 pm

August 14th, 2005, 9:50 am #7

Please help ID these automatic cannon in service with the Dutch Forces in Indonesia, late 1940s.
First picture is an old friend. A group of Dutch soldiers posing with a belt fed auto-cannon (snelvuurkanon) in Medan, Sumatra, 1947. Is it ex-Japanese? From an aircraft maybe? Calibre looks like 15-20mm? (source Louis Zweers, Strijd om Deli)

Next are two pictures from a book by Van Holst Pellekaan on Dutch Navy volunteers during the Indonesian Independence War (late 1940s). Shown are two Dutch Navy patrolcraft fitted with a 3,7cm gun which seems to be automatic. It had a crew of three. What was it?


Any info appreciated,
Nuyt
25 september 1940 the Royal Dutch Navy ordered 40 37 mm guns and 80.000 rouns ammo. Costprice $848.000,=.
The guns were called "3,7 cm Semi Automatic Anti-Aircraft Gun on Naval Pedestal Mounts". All guns reached Java in time (the last approx June 1941). The guns were produced in the Rahway factory and the ammo in the Derry factory. Most if not all the guns survived the war and were re used during 1945-1950 as the main armament of the "R.P." (Regionale Patrouille)-boats.
The R.P. boats were formed by several types e.g. British Harbor Defence Motor Launches (RP 101 - 118), U.S. Higgins (RP 119-130 and 134-137).
Finally 8 Higgins and 10 H.D.M.L. were handed over to the new Indonesian Navy, most or all had the old A.A.C. 37 mm guns.
The guns were also adapted for the Marmon Herrington 3 and 4 men tanks, however none of these reached Indonesia.

All the best Hans Heesakkers
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Joined: July 20th, 2004, 4:40 pm

August 14th, 2005, 9:56 am #8

Hi Hans, thanks for that. Solves a couple of questions!

Do you know how those 40 guns were used in 1941? Were they all placed on vessels? I noticed many NEI bases and harbours in 1942 had several 3,7cm guns in their defences.
KNIL authors never explained them, or if they did, suggested these were the old 19th century bronze guns (this fitted of course in the myth that the NEI forces were ill-equipped).

I am now tempted to assume taht (some of) these may actually have been the quite modern automatic AAC guns?

Kind regards,
Nuyt
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Joined: July 20th, 2004, 4:40 pm

August 14th, 2005, 9:44 pm #9

I browsed Jan Visser's site on the RNL Navy in WW2 and found out the Gouvernementsmarine had 6 ships using 2 37mm guns each. Also the 6 Alor class boats had 2 each, Nautilus had one. No reference to make or specifics of the guns. Jan?
Tarakan Naval Air and Ambon Navy bases in 1941 had 2 37mm guns each...(NICJ).
If these were indeed all AAC guns the total would be 29 37mm guns of 40 pieces....where was the rest?
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 7:07 pm

August 15th, 2005, 2:31 pm #10

25 september 1940 the Royal Dutch Navy ordered 40 37 mm guns and 80.000 rouns ammo. Costprice $848.000,=.
The guns were called "3,7 cm Semi Automatic Anti-Aircraft Gun on Naval Pedestal Mounts". All guns reached Java in time (the last approx June 1941). The guns were produced in the Rahway factory and the ammo in the Derry factory. Most if not all the guns survived the war and were re used during 1945-1950 as the main armament of the "R.P." (Regionale Patrouille)-boats.
The R.P. boats were formed by several types e.g. British Harbor Defence Motor Launches (RP 101 - 118), U.S. Higgins (RP 119-130 and 134-137).
Finally 8 Higgins and 10 H.D.M.L. were handed over to the new Indonesian Navy, most or all had the old A.A.C. 37 mm guns.
The guns were also adapted for the Marmon Herrington 3 and 4 men tanks, however none of these reached Indonesia.

All the best Hans Heesakkers
p.s.:
1. the AAC tankguns were 37mm L44 but the naval version was 37mm L50, so the tube was 22,2 cm longer, several photographs do confirm a longer tube.
2. the naval sources say the H.D.M.L. boats were taken over from the R.N. in Singapore.
2. Dutch navy had ordered a new patrol boat, in september 1949 12 were being built in the Netherlands and were to be put in service during 1950. They were intended as military help for the new Indonesian Navy. A displacement of 245 tons, 37,5 m long, diesel engined and max speed of 12 nots. Armed with 2 .50 mg's and a 37 mm gun (the AAC most likely).
The Historical Naval section in Den Haag (The Gague) has no information concerning the pre war period, exept a copy of the contract.

All the best Hans H.
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