The Bofors Gun

BoforsGun

The author has provided a comprehensive study of the 40mm Bofors and its applications. As a
 reliable and relatively low cost weapon, it will probably continue in use for years to come. 
The excellent selection of photographs, including full colour, very effectively enhances the text 
and the ammunition has also been covered. The latter is important in a weapon of this type 
because it provides optimized shells for specific targets, including shells designed to penetrate 
modern armour. The importance of specialist ammunition is often overlooked and the 
continuing development has maintained the currency of the Bofors.

 

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NAME: The Bofors Gun
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 290414
FILE: R1969
AUTHOR: Terry Gander
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES:  259
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: 
ISBN: 1-78346-202-7
IMAGE: B1969.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ouvhgbh
LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: A curious factor of British artillery procurement is the number of weapons 
of all types and sizes that were either partly the product or completely the product of developers 
in other countries. The list is long and these weapons and components that were licensed 
manufactured for British Forces in the most part became famous and performed very well. 
It is never-the-less odd that a country with such a long experience of designing and manufacturing 
weapons for centuries should have become dependent on the creativity and engineering expertise 
of foreign companies and individuals.

The British service revolver from Webley or Enfield continued in production during WWII 
and the copies of German early submachine guns were rapidly replaced by the Sten gun, but 
the Browning FN 9mm pistol was to become the favoured handgun of British Service personnel 
and the standard military rifle continued to be the bolt action Lee Enfield with its US designed 
bolt. During WWII, large quantities of US weapons came into use because demand was 
exceeding supply from British production, but it remains that many weapons were licensed 
manufacture, albeit in some cases with design enhancements introduced in Britain.

The Vickers heavy machine gun was the licensed build Maxim that was also produced under 
license by many other countries. The Lewis machine gun was still in use as a light anti-aircraft 
weapon, for defence on some multi-seat aircraft and by ships and some army vehicles. Vickers 
did continue to make the K gun which was in the same category as the Lewis gun. The famous 
Bren gun was basically a licensed version of an outstanding Czech design, but it was in the 
heavier automatic weapons that license building was very strong. The Oerlikon 20 mm canon 
designed in Switzerland was to become the popular choice for ships, aircraft, combat vehicles 
and as a static anti-aircraft weapon. This design was also used or licensed by many other 
countries. The Bofors came into a class of its own.

Britain had produced a very effective light anti-aircraft gun in the form of the Vickers two pounder. 
This weapon was initially designed for use by the Royal Navy and was supplied in several 
different mounts. Most commonly, four or eight two pounders were installed on a power operated 
mount. This was to be widely used on RN warships, including coastal patrol boats through to 
battleships. Some of these weapons were supplied for use by the Swedish Navy, but Sweden 
was not as happy with the design and Bofors was given the order to make a Swedish equivalent. 
The result was the 40mm Bofors.

This famous gun has been used around the world and continues to form an important part of 
many countries automatic artillery. Most commonly, it is found as a single gun mount in armoured 
vehicle turrets, on warships of all sizes and types, on trailer mounts and in static positions. It 
has proved to be highly reliable and lethal.

The first 40mm Bofors were mounted on manual mounts were the gun was trained and laid by 
hand, using cranks. The sights were relatively basic websights but a trained gun crew could 
effectively take on a variety of surface and aerial targets. Where many weapons by that time of 
its debut were using belt and magazine feeds for the ammunition. The Bofors employed clips,
 often clips of four shells, which could be carried by one man and dropped into an open feed 
hopper to be fed under gravity, although some crews believed that the rate of fire could be 
increased by applying pressure to each clip.

Since the first introductions and extensive service during WWII, the Bofors has be updated by 
mounting it on powered mounts and turrets and adding radar for gun direction. In this type of 
installation, the Bofors guns are frequently mounted in pairs on armoured vehicles, to provide 
a very effective mobile anti-aircraft gun system that is self -propelled and capable of integration 
into groups of anti-aircraft guns to provide depth of defence against fast moving targets. In 
addition, these update Bofors systems can also be used against surface targets, forming a 
relatively low cost multi-role weapon system on land and at sea. The Bofors can also provide 
a very effective weapon with rotary canon and 105mm howitzers as a gunship weapons suite 
in a transport aircraft such as the C-47 and C-130 gunship adaptations.

The author has provided a comprehensive study of the 40mm Bofors and its applications. As a
 reliable and relatively low cost weapon, it will probably continue in use for years to come. 
The excellent selection of photographs, including full colour, very effectively enhances the text 
and the ammunition has also been covered. The latter is important in a weapon of this type 
because it provides optimised shells for specific targets, including shells designed to penetrate 
modern armour. The importance of specialist ammunition is often overlooked and the 
continuing development has maintained the currency of the Bofors.