Ordnance QF 2-pounder

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Summary

The Ordnance QF 2-pounder is a British anti-tank gun developed in 1936 by Vickers. It is chambered in 40×304 mmR cartridges. The gun proved very effective in the opening years of World War II, able to sufficiently counter most Axis tank threats. It was only starting 1942 in the North African campaign that the 2-pounder began to become obsolete due to the increasing armor on German tanks. It was replaced in standard service by the OQF 6-pounder.

Game Usage

The 2-pounder is a very powerful gun for use in the reserve ranks. It is more deadly than the usual 37 mm in American and German service, yet has a very fast reload rate. The only gun beating it in power at this level is the Soviet 45 mm cannons, but those suffer from a longer reload rate.

Guns of comparable performance

Users

Ammunition

Ammunition Penetration in mm @ 90° Type of
warhead
Velocity
in m/s
Projectile
Mass in kg
Fuse delay
in m:
Fuse sensitivity
in mm:
Explosive Mass in
TNT equivalent
in g:
Normalization At 30°
from horizontal:
Ricochet:
10m 100m 500m 1000m 1500m 2000m 0% 50% 100%
Shot Mk.1 AP/T 80 79 61 46 32 21 AP 853 1.1 N/A N/A N/A -1° 43° 30° 25°
Shell Mk.2 4 3 3 3 3 3 HE 687 1.3 0.4 0.3 85 +0° 11° 10°
Shot Mk.1 APCBC/T 74 72 64 58 48 43 APCBC 853 1.2 N/A N/A N/A +4° 42° 27° 19°

History

Development

The construction of the gun was made in a multi-purpose function as an anti-tank gun and a tank armament. This utility had the gun accepted in October 1935 as the 2-pdr Mark IX, for reasons of economy and efficiency, in both roles. After the gun was developed, a carriage was needed to move the gun. Vickers developed the Carriage Mark I that was produced in limited quantities before being succeeded by the superior Carriage Mark II by Woolwich Arsenal. Both carriages had their pros and cons though; the Vickers model was rapidly deployable, but offered limited traversing while the Woolwich model had a full 360 degree traverse, but required some steps to prepare for firing.

The 2-pounder proved superior to the usual 37 mm guns being developed at the time, such as the German 37 mm KwK 36 gun, but it was heavier and bigger than the guns. A huge drawback for the 2-pounder gun at the time was the absence of a high-explosive shell. No high-explosive shell was produced for the gun, which meant bad news to its role as a tank armament, forcing tanks armed with the 2-pounder to use machine guns when encountering enemy infantry. The lack of high-explosive shell also made it difficult to engage anti-tank guns and their crew, resulting in many British tanks being unable to easily resist the oncoming fire by anti-tank guns.

Service Life

The 2-pounder began seeing service in the Royal Artillery in 1938, five field brigades were converted into anti-tank regiments. During the Battle of France, the 2-pounder was employed in anti-tank regiments of infantry and armoured divisions. First combat with the 2-pounder was during the German invasion of Belgium in the Belgium Army. The 2-pounder was used from then all the way to the conclusion of the Battle of France, which saw the Allied retreat at Dunkirk. The many 2-pounders left behind in the hasty retreat were captured by the German military, whom used it under the designation 4.0 cm Pak 192 (e) or 4.0 cm Pak 154 (b) (e for England-made and b for Belgium-made).

After the Battle of France, the 2-pounder became the prioritized anti-tank weapon despite the development of the 6-pounder in order to standardize on a proven equipment. This delayed the production of the 6-pounder until November 1941, which forced the British artillery and tank units to rely on the 2-pounder in the upcoming North African Campaign. This worked well, supplemented with a 25-pounder gun-howtizer as a heavier artillery piece, until the Germans began improving their tank designs. Until then, the 2-pounder was used in a variety of different mounts, ranging from towed, on tanks, and even from the back of trucks.

When the 2-pounder was finally replaced with the 6-pounder by mid-1942, the 2-pounder was relegated to the Home Guard in British homelands, where they served in reserves. The 2-pounder saw longer usage in the ongoing war in the Pacific, where it performed much better against the lighter armored Japanese tanks and was received favorably. Thus, the 2-pounder and the equipment mounting the weapon were used in the Pacific theater up until December 1945. Many vehicles using the 2-pounder during the war were either removed from service or upgraded to take the larger 6-pounder.

Further Improvements

When the 2-pounder started becoming inadequate in late 1941, developments were done in an attempt to improve its penetration capabilities. A late-war project for the gun meant to give the gun better performance with unique ammunition was the Littlejohn adaptor, which fired specially-designed shells at a higher velocity in a squeeze-bore design. While these were used on several Tetrarch tanks late in the war, other advances in anti-tank weaponry made this unnecessary.

Images

Videos

Operation of the 2-pounder breech in the Matilda tank at Bovington)





Additional information (links)