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"Remote Control Device for Antitank Guns" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on a remote-control device for antitank guns is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 8, Sept. 24, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The British have for some time recognized the limitations of voice control of antitank fire during the din of a modern battle. The disadvantages are:

(a) Orders may not be heard at all.

(b) Orders may not be understood, resulting in delay and perhaps confusion when repeated.

(c) Orders may be misunderstood and wrong data applied to sights.

(d) In any chain of precision operations, the more minds under stress, the more chance of error.

In certain of their antitank guns, the NCO observing the bursts himself applies range corrections to the sight, and, while leaning over the gunner to do so, shouts deflection (or lead) corrections in his ear. This method of fire control is satisfactory when there is no dust. The gunner has only two things on his mind - the target and the lead - and need never lose sight of his target.

Dust stirred up by muzzle blast, however, has proved a great hindrance to good fire control during direct fire at moving tanks. Modern high velocities and muzzle brazes have aggravated this handicap, and it is often necessary for the chief of section (or other officer or NCO observing) to move to the windward flank in order to observe the bursts.

Several disadvantages are at once introduced by such a procedure:

(a) Voice control is necessary for both direction and range correction.

(b) The spotter is removed to a greater distance, thereby greatly increasing all the inherent disadvantages of voice control.

(c) Either the gunner must put on range corrections, taking his eyes and mind off the moving target, or a third gun-crew member is necessary.

(d) The spotter has a tendency to turn towards the gun while giving orders, taking his eyes off the target.

With a view to overcoming these difficulties, the British have recently conducted experimental tests with an improvised remote-control device for antitank firing attached to a 25-pounder (3.45-in) field gun. The observer (chief of section) was posted 4 yards to the windward flank. By means of a small apparatus having two small wheels, one for direction corrections and one for range corrections, and each connected to the appropriate components of the sight by a flexible cable, he was able to apply the desired corrections, leaving the gunner free to concentrate on following his target.

Despite the fact that the experimental equipment was rather crude, inasmuch as it had been made in one day, the experiment was a success, and there was no necessity for any shouting of orders. The British are now proceeding with the development of this remote-control apparatus.


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