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|One of the best Heavy
MG AA weapons of WWII, the Bofors 40mm Model 1936 is still in service
in some nations. This weapon was used on almost every US and UK
warship of WWII and was a very potent AA gun. The Germans also
used the Bofors design to develop the 40mm Flak 28 and the Japanese
copied a British Army type Bofors captured at Singapore to produce the 40mm Type 5.
In 1941, BuOrd contracted for USA manufacturing. First shipboard installation in the USA was in the summer of 1942. Total USA production was about 39,200 weapons. The Gridley class destroyers were the only first-line destroyers in the USN not to receive this weapon. Early versions used friction-coupled drives, which rapidly wore out due to salt contamination. Later versions built in the USA used hydraulic-coupled drives which eliminated the problem.
Naval single mounts were air cooled, naval twin and quadruple mounts were water cooled. A modification kit is now available to increase the rate of fire to 180 rounds per minute and the magazine capacity to 20 rounds in a banana feeder fed by standard 4 round clips.
The Mark 51 director system gave the USA weapons unmatched accuracy. For example, half of all Japanese aircraft shot down between 1 October 1944 and 1 February 1945 were credited to the Bofors/Mark 51 combination. See the article on the Mark 51 director at our Technical Board.
The Mark 1 is a left-hand weapon and the Mark 2 is a right-hand weapon. Unless otherwise noted, the data that follows is for the USA Mark 1 and Mark 2 versions, but weapons built by other nations had similar performance.
|Designation||40mm/56 (1.57") Mark 1 and Mark 2|
|Ship Class Used On||Almost all|
|Date Of Design||1941|
|Date In Service||1942|
|Gun Weight||about 1,150 lbs. (522 kg)|
|Gun Length oa||98.4 in (2.499 m) (overall)|
|Bore Length||88.6 in (2.250 m)|
|Number Of Grooves||16|
|Length Of Rifling||USA: 75.85 in
German: 76.06 in (1.932 m)
|Chamber Volume||28.3 in3 (0.464 dm3)|
|Rate Of Fire||120 rounds per
minute per barrel nominal
140-160 rounds per minute when horizontal (gravity assist)
|Weight of Complete Round||USA - 4.75 lbs.
UK - 4.88 lbs. (2.21 kg)
Others - N/A
|Projectile Types and Weights||USA
HE - 1.985 lbs. (0.900 kg)
AP - 1.960 lbs. (0.899 kg)
|Bursting Charge||USA - 3.39 oz. (96 g)|
|Overall Length||USA - 17.62 in
UK - 17.75 in (45.1 cm)
Others - N/A
|Propellant Charge||USA - 0.694 lbs.
UK - 0.719 lbs. (0.326 kg)
Germany - 0.668 lbs. (0.303 kg)
Japan - 0.661 lbs. (0.3 kg)
|Muzzle Velocity||USA Marks 1 and 2:
2,890 fps (881 mps)
UK Mark NI: 2,720 fps (829 mps)
Germany Flak 28: 2,801 fps (854 mps)
Japanese Type 5: 2,953 fps (900 mps)
|Working Pressure||USA - 19.5 tons/in2
UK - 19.68 tons/in2 (3,100 kg/cm2)
Others - N/A
|Approximate Barrel Life||USA - 9,500 Rounds
UK - 10,000 Rounds
|Elevation||With 1.985 lbs.
HE Mark 2 Shell
|With 1.960 lbs.
AP M81A1 Shell
|Range @ 10 degrees||6,844 yards (6,258 m)||6,466 yards (5,913 m)|
|Range @ 15 degrees||8,227 yards (7,523 m)||7,580 yards (6,931 m)|
|Range @ 20 degrees||9,295 yards (8,499 m)||8,389 yards (7,671 m)|
|Range @ 25 degrees||10,103 yards (9,238 m)||8,959 yards (8,192 m)|
|Range @ 30 degrees||10,691 yards (9,776 m)||9,358 yards (9,358 m)|
|Range @ 35 degrees||11,057 yards (10,111 m)||9,568 yards (8,749 m)|
|Range @ 40 degrees||11,208 yards (10,249 m)||9,618 yards (8,795 m)|
|Range @ 45 degrees||11,133 yards (10,180 m)||9,492 yards (9.679 m)|
|AA Ceiling||22,299 feet (6,797 m)||N/A|
|Notes: Most USA produced ammunition was set to detonate at 4,000-5,000 yards (3,700-4,570 m) so as to minimize damage due to "friendly fire." British rounds self-destructed at 3,000-3,500 yards (2,700-3,200 m) but this could be increased to 7,000 yards (6,400 m) in some ammunition types.|
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Later model 20MM and 40MM guns.