When the mania for "shell gun" mounting in o ij planes was at its peak on the Continent and the revival of interest in air-borne cannon made the military authorities of all countries review what armament their own air forces had available, the American Armament Co., of New York City, announced in 1033 the development of a 37-mm automatic cannon designed primarily for aviation armament.
I he director of the company, Mr. I. J. Miranda, and its chief engineer, Mr. B. I\ Joyce, who claimed to have designed the weapon, not only jnade many trips abroad to interest major powers seeking just such an automatic arm but also made many claims for their weapons that were seized upon by writers for various aviation magazines and ordnance publications. Mr. W. S. Shackleton, of London, who was the firm's foreign representative, also published numerous articles on the virtues of this 37-mm automatic aircraft cannon.
The air-cooled, clip-fed weapon used long recoil for operation, and its rate of full automatic fite was f)0 shots a minute, with a ridiculously low muzzle velocity of 1,200 feet a second. This is not surprising when the mechanism is examined closely and compared with others already in existence. For. notwithstanding the manufacturing claim that the mechanism was new in principle and was designed "just for aircraft," it goes back to World War 1, being nothing more or less than a conversion lor air use of the Puteaux cannon developed both in the United States and abroad.
The first country to become interested in the gun was Poland. It was not impressed by the low muzzle velocity and contracted with the Ameri-
can Armament Co. on the condition that the speed of the projectile be substantially increased. The Polish Government posted a bond with a neutral agent equal to the cost of manufacture and demonstration of the weapon. This would be turned over to the company if the tests were successful. The agreement stipulated that muzzzle velocity and ballistics would be im-
proved. At the trials in Poland in competition with the antiquated C. O. W. gun, then made by the Vickers Co., the English-made weapon consistently outshot the American product. It was also demonstrated that the muzzle velocity
had not been increased one particle and the Poles ordered return of the bond. The next venture was with Italy with results that were comparable with the earlier failure.
About the only real accomplishment of the weapon was to mislead the American public into thinking this country had an automatic aircraft
cannon that was superior to that of any other country in the world. Practically every aviation magazine or ordnance publication contained artists' conceptions of huge aircraft armed with the gun, firing both from fixed positions in the wings and in power-driven turrets. In reality, little or no improvement over the Puteaux, of which it was a close copy, can be found.
The limited number that were manufactured were made in two models. M and The M represented a weapon adapted for turret or movable use. The F was for fuselage or fixed installations.
To fire the American Armament cannon, the chambering of the first round requires the efforts of two men. It is a very clumsy operation since the breech must be opened by a special tool which moves the pinion on the breech operating shaft. After the cartridge is chambered, it is fired by percussion, a striker hitting the firing pin a smart blow. The barrel and its extension then recoil together a distance greater than
the over-all length of the loaded round. At this
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