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"Japanese A/A Guns" from Intelligence Bulletin

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   Report on Japanese antiaircraft guns captured on Guadalcanal, from the Intelligence Bulletin, April 1943.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on foreign tactics and equipment published for Allied soldiers. In most cases, more accurate data is available in postwar publications.]



When the Americans captured the Guadalcanal airfield, they found that the Japanese had left behind three types of antiaircraft guns. These were naval guns, set up on shore. They included twelve 75-mm antiaircraft guns, one 25-mm pom-pom, and one 13.2-mm machine gun. The 75-mm weapons, on naval-type mounts, were emplaced in a triangular formation, each side about 4,500 yards in length. The pom-pom and the machine gun were found in separate positions along the shore.


The 75's (see fig. 1) were in three batteries, each consisting of four guns. They were emplaced in open pits with sandbag revetments, and had 360-degree traverse and 75-degree elevation.

Each gun has two telescopic sights, one mounted on each side of the mount with a traversing handwheel on the right and an elevating handwheel on the left of the mount. Lateral deflection, vertical deflection, slant range, and super elevation are all set on a series of drums, disks, and dials on the left side of the mount.

The slant-range drum has two scales. The outer is graduated from 0 to 7,000, and the inner from 100 (opposite the 0 on the outer scale) to 300 (opposite 6,000 on the outer scale). This drum is turned by a small handwheel.

The lateral-deflection drum turns on a spiral, and is graduated from 0 to 200.

[Japanese 75-mm A/A gun.]
Figure 1.—Japanese 75-mm A/A gun.

The superelevation curves are on a disk, operated by another small handwheel.

The gun also has an open sight mounted on a drum. The controlling handwheel moves only the vertical sight.

There were no directors at any of the gun sites, but at each was a navy-type coincidence range finder with a 68-inch base.

The guns fire high-explosive shells which have 30-second mechanical time delay and percussion fuzes. The weapons have no fuze setters, as ours have. Instead of fuze setters the Japs used a manual two-piece tool. One piece, a long plier-like tool, holds the fuze by its bottom ring, below the graduations. The other piece, shaped like a truncated cone with handles on each side, fits over the fuze nose and engages the lug on the side of the fuze. The fuze is set by holding it with the first tool and rotating the second tool. It is not clear how the fuze-setting is obtained.


This gun is a Hotchkiss type, gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed weapon (see fig. 2). It consists of three 25-mm cannon mounted side by side on a naval-type, three-gun pedestal mount. The gun fires armor-piercing and tracer shells from a 15- or 20-round vertical box magazine, which fits into the top plate of the receiver. The sighting is on the same general principles as that of the 75-mm gun described above.

[Japanese 25-mm pom-pom gun.]
Figure 2.—Japanese 25-mm pom-pom gun.


This weapon is a 13.2-mm (52-caliber) Hotchkiss type, gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed antiaircraft machine gun, mounted on a naval-type pedestal mount. It is fed by a 30-round semicircular magazine which fits into the top of the receiver. The gun has a shoulder stock and pistol grip. Antiaircraft sights are mounted on the gun. They are composed of a front-ring antiaircraft sight and a rear sight: the latter consists of a small vertical rod with a ball tip. This weapon is the standard heavy antiaircraft machine gun.


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