M1 40 MM Anti-Aircraft Gun

The M1 40 mm Anti-Aircraft Gun (Bofors)

Known as the Bofors, this light antiaircraft gun was originally developed in Sweden and was adopted by many other countries. The U.S. Army used the M1 during World War II. It was designed to be fired with the wheels raised, the carriage lowered to the ground, and the outriggers spread for stability.

The Standard in Anti-Air Defense

The Bofors was the standard anti-aircraft gun system for Allied nations during World War II. After the war, many other nations acquired the weapon system for their air defense network. At its peak, the Bofors was exported and licensed to almost 100 operators around the world. It remains in service in many nations today.

Developed in Sweden, the Bofors was a stationary to semi-mobile anti-aircraft air defense weapon. The initial production units were capable of firing over 23,000 feet, with revised variants capable of firing up to 41,000 feet. Initial production variants fired at a rate of 120 rounds per minute, while the updated versions exceeded 300 rounds per minute.

Toward the end of World War II and after, the Bofors design was licensed to both the United States and Britain. More than 25 variants were produced, with total units produced exceeding 150,000. At least 60,000 L/60 variants were produced before the war ended in 1945.

Today, the Bofors is still used in nations around the world, including the United States. Most recently, 40mm L/60 variants have been fitted to AC-130U "Spooky II" gunships. Fitting of the Bofors to AC-130s began in 1970 with the first production AC-130A. The AC-130U is the last gunship variant to use the Bofors, and subsequent models will use a 30mm GAU-23 cannon instead.

Quick Facts & Specifications (M1)

Weight: ~4,350 - ~11,350 pounds (Varies)
Dimensions: 20'8" - 21'4" L, 5'11" - 7'7" W, 6'3" - 7'10" H (Varies)
Firing Range: ~7.75 miles
Caliber: 40 mm
Rate of Fire: 120 - 330 RPM (Varies)
Crew: 4
Variants: 27
Number Built: 60,000+
Origin: Sweden
Service History: First True AA Gun, 1922
First Produced, 1930
UK Adaptation, 1937
Refitted for Airborne Application, 1970
Service Continues

 

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Author: The Kid

A junior Military Historian. In 2018 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History. I'm also a professional student, specializing in Cold War era military history and American aviation history. I have composed several publications over the last four years, and continue to publish writings and photos to various journals, publishers, and blogs - including this one.

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