.75 Caliber

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.75 Caliber

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The 1.1"/75 caliber gun was an American anti-aircraft weapon of World War II, used by the United States Navy. The name means that it had a bore diameter of 1.1 in (28 mm) and barrel caliber of 75 (1.1 inches × 75 = 82.5 in (2.1 m)). The gun was designed to replace the M2 Browning and four barrels were required to duplicate the rate of fire. The first shipboard installation, in 1939, was quickly nicknamed the Chicago Piano, possibly because it was the size of a baby grand piano and looked a little like a baby grand without its lid. The name also references the "tommy guns" used by gangsters in Chicago. By 1941, these guns had been mounted on destroyers, cruisers, battleships, aircraft carriers, and some auxiliary ships. Nearly a thousand guns had been produced before production shifted to more reliable shipboard anti-aircraft machine guns in 1942. Quantities were minimal; one mount for a destroyer, two mounts for pre-1930s battleships, and four mounts for North Carolina–class and newer battleships. On at least some ships they were director-controlled. The gun was very unpopular with its crews; it was said that due to its tendency to jam, the only way to fire one was to position a gunner's mate on his back underneath the mount, equipped with an assortment of wrenches and hammers to clear them. It was replaced by the 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon cannon or the 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors gun whenever possible, but served until the end of the war on some ships. A twin Bofors gun was about the same weight, and was a much more powerful gun. The air-cooled Oerlikon had similar effective range and rate of fire with considerably less weight. The Oerlikon could not sustain fire for as long as the water-cooled 1.1–inch, but six Oerlikons could be installed for the weight of a single 1.1–inch quad mount.

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