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View Full Version : AA Proximity Fusing (!)



XyZspineZyX
12-02-2004, 01:21 PM
I've been slowly making my way through a book titled "Dauntless Helldivers" by Harold Buell, a US dive bomber pilot.

In his account at the battle of Santa Cruz (part of the early Guadalcanal ops by Enterprise), Buell talks about what it was like being on the carrier while it was under attack:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
My gunner Eiswald and I had left our Dauntless quickly after tie-down as enemy aircraft at altitude were about to start their dives on the ship. I ran across the flight deck to the starboard side forward gun mount, which was located just outside and slightly above my stateroom. Here I had a ringside seat for the action as Japanese pilots pressed home their attacks. All of the Big E's AA batteries were firing furiously, and several of the enemy planes were hit and were falling or exploding in the air. In addition to our fire, the South Dakota was also putting up an impressive mass of AA fire from her screening position about one thousand yards off our starboard bow. Japanese aircraft were being shot down at al altitudes and points of the compass in a display of AA fire superior both in volume and accuracy to any previous battle effort of a US task force.

I asked the gunnery officer in the gun mount where I had taken refuge about the great shooting going on around me. He told me about a new proximity-fused shell that was being used for the first time. (As I recall, about every fifth or sixth shell fired had the fuse.) Marked with a painted projectile head, it would go off automatically as it passed a target if within twenty five feet of it. These shells really made a difference and were a well-kept secret until the end of the war.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Anyway, this AA proximity fusing thing surprised me as I thought that only the Germans had this tech and that only late in the war on 88's. I'm not surprised that I was mistaken but I am surprised at the technology existing so early. So I have a few questions about it:

1) How did this fusing work? (If I had to guess, I'd imagine that perhaps it used some sort of magnetic field variance detector? Perhaps some kind of inductance circuit?)

2) What size AA could this stuff be fitted on? From Buell's account, I'd guess that he took refuge in a 40mm battery and would guess that this would be the minimum caliber that would have such proximity fused shells.

3) Who else used prox fusing in their AA? If it was a secret for the US all through the war, does this mean that the Japanese didn't employ prox fusing? If this is true, I wonder if the game models prox fusing at all?

XyZspineZyX
12-02-2004, 01:21 PM
I've been slowly making my way through a book titled "Dauntless Helldivers" by Harold Buell, a US dive bomber pilot.

In his account at the battle of Santa Cruz (part of the early Guadalcanal ops by Enterprise), Buell talks about what it was like being on the carrier while it was under attack:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
My gunner Eiswald and I had left our Dauntless quickly after tie-down as enemy aircraft at altitude were about to start their dives on the ship. I ran across the flight deck to the starboard side forward gun mount, which was located just outside and slightly above my stateroom. Here I had a ringside seat for the action as Japanese pilots pressed home their attacks. All of the Big E's AA batteries were firing furiously, and several of the enemy planes were hit and were falling or exploding in the air. In addition to our fire, the South Dakota was also putting up an impressive mass of AA fire from her screening position about one thousand yards off our starboard bow. Japanese aircraft were being shot down at al altitudes and points of the compass in a display of AA fire superior both in volume and accuracy to any previous battle effort of a US task force.

I asked the gunnery officer in the gun mount where I had taken refuge about the great shooting going on around me. He told me about a new proximity-fused shell that was being used for the first time. (As I recall, about every fifth or sixth shell fired had the fuse.) Marked with a painted projectile head, it would go off automatically as it passed a target if within twenty five feet of it. These shells really made a difference and were a well-kept secret until the end of the war.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Anyway, this AA proximity fusing thing surprised me as I thought that only the Germans had this tech and that only late in the war on 88's. I'm not surprised that I was mistaken but I am surprised at the technology existing so early. So I have a few questions about it:

1) How did this fusing work? (If I had to guess, I'd imagine that perhaps it used some sort of magnetic field variance detector? Perhaps some kind of inductance circuit?)

2) What size AA could this stuff be fitted on? From Buell's account, I'd guess that he took refuge in a 40mm battery and would guess that this would be the minimum caliber that would have such proximity fused shells.

3) Who else used prox fusing in their AA? If it was a secret for the US all through the war, does this mean that the Japanese didn't employ prox fusing? If this is true, I wonder if the game models prox fusing at all?

berg417448
12-02-2004, 02:45 PM
I believe it was a radio proximity fuse.

hobnail
12-02-2004, 02:51 PM
The Allies had developed quite sophisticated proximity fuses by the end of the war. Do a search for VT fuzes and you'll turn up alot of info (VT=Variable Time, which was a deceptive name given to the fuze to hide their true nature).

The British extensively used the VT fuze in defeating the Buzz Bomb threat using AA batteries. It was also adapted for use in artillery shells for airbursting but was held back for fear of it falling into NME hands.

berg417448
12-02-2004, 02:53 PM
This may help...it contains some history:

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq96-1.htm