The Los Lunas anti-aircraft gun
A long-standing tradition in the United States, and in many other countries as well, is to have memorials that recognize the contributions of a particular city or town to the various military conflicts in which residents of the city or from the village fought, were injured or gave their lives.
Military equipment, especially cannons, rifles, tanks, and other obvious weapons of war, were frequently chosen, along with obelisks or statues representing the municipality’s contribution to the war effort. It is difficult to travel through the towns and villages of Europe without seeing these monuments, often in the spotlight on the central square of the town and some of which commemorate events as distant as the Middle Ages. Many small towns across the United States have similar memorials.
While these memorials were highly valued in the United States from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars through World War II, they became less popular with the controversies surrounding the Vietnam War.
Nowadays, individuals are more frequently recognized as distinct from the conflicts themselves. A notable local example is the naming of the park on South Route 314 for Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient Daniel D. Fernandez.
History and details of the anti-aircraft gun
The United States had fielded 3-inch (75 millimeter) anti-aircraft guns prior to World War II. However, after World War I, as aircraft became a much more effective military weapon, the military became interested in a more capable anti-aircraft weapon.
On June 9, 1938, she issued a development contract providing for new weapons, including one of a slightly larger caliber (3.5 inches or 90 mm), which she believed to be the largest possible size still capable of being used. manually loaded while the barrel was formed at high altitude. In 1940 an advanced version of the 90mm design was standardized as the 90mm M1.
After a few hundred M1s were completed, several improvements were added to produce the 90mm M1A1, which was accepted on 22 May 1941. The M1A1 included an improved mount and spring-loaded rammer on the breech, resulting in that the gun could fire up to twenty high-explosive projectiles per minute, each weighing about 20 pounds. These guns could engage targets flying up to 30,000 feet.
Initially, these projectiles required a direct hit to explode. During later phases of the war, proximity fuses, which had been developed and tested at Kirtland Army Air Field (now Kirtland Air Force Base) in Albuquerque, were added to improve the weapon’s effectiveness.
Several thousand of these anti-aircraft guns were available when the United States entered World War II, and the M1A1 was the standard anti-aircraft gun for the rest of the conflict.
During the war, the Coast Artillery Corps adopted the 90mm M1A1 to supplement or replace the aging 3-inch guns in the Continental United States (CONUS) Harbor Defense Commands and United States Territories. Artillery groups were usually organized with four 90 mm anti-aircraft guns and two smaller 37 mm or 40 mm anti-aircraft guns each.
Typically, two of the 90mm guns were on fixed mounts and two were in towable configurations. Mounts for at least 90 batteries of two fixed guns each, plus mobile guns, were built at CONUS, Panama, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and elsewhere.