Warning: The originals photos, texts, films, music, etc ... of the period previous to 1921 year -see the Act of the US Congress about it - have no copyright and belong to the public domain. However, those same pictures, I process this blog, when I restore and paint the pictures, then the right of modification is produced, ie that are protected by full copyright law, in this case mine. Of course there are many more laws in the world, declared in the public domain photographs (which is the topic at hand), in very later dates to the aforementioned (Example: WWII, Korea, etc ...) .

Monday, April 23, 2012

German Anti-Aircraft Platoon, Gruson-Hotchkiss 37-mm Revolving-Cannon of five barrels.

Improvised German Anti-Aircraft Gruson-Hotchkiss 37-mm Revolving-Cannon (Five barrels).

The Hotchkiss cannons of 37-mm of five barrels were manufactured under license by the German Company Gruson in the late nineteenth century. This company was later acquired by Krupp in 1893.

Originally used by the German Navy in the fight anti-torpedo, were ceded to the army, as obsolete equipment, at the beginning of the Great War. Initially used in trench warfare were later adapted to anti-aircraft fire, for the defense of Observation Balloons against enemy aircraft.

British and American pilots called them "Flaming Onions" by the barrier* effect provided of the ten barrels of the two cannons that formed the Platoon** and the disconcerting luminosity of tracer ammunition, sometimes capable to dissuade and almost always distract the mission of the Allied Flyers.

 * The two guns of the Section were capable firing about 100 rounds per minute.
** Two Platoons of two guns each  formed the Anti-Aircraft Battery.

Linnk: Gallery of Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon Photographs


 I enclose an article of  THE NEW YORK TIMES of February 3, 1918, related to this subject.


Germans Shoot Whirling Clusters of Fire Balls to Unnerve Their Enemies.

Special Cable to The New York Times.

LONDON, Feb. 2.—An extraordinary device of Prussain ingenuity was described by Major W. A. Bishop of the Royal Flying Corps at a banquet given in his honor by the Canadian Club. Major Bishop received in one day the Victoria Cross and the Distinguished Service Order. He is credited with having brought down forty-seven enemy airplanes—nine of them within two hours—and two observation balloons. His description of the ‘flaming onions’, as the new missiles are called by British aviators, was as follows:

“Tho Huns have a new device now with which they try to unnerve British airmen. We call these ‘flaming onions’. The ‘onions’ are shot upward from some kind of mortar, the intention being to direct them immediately into the path of the advancing platoons of aviators. I don’t know just how they are made or how they are managed; but if a bunch of them is fired at you while you are flying over the enemy lines the first thing you see is a big cluster of six or eight whirling balls of fire coming at you from below. They rise very rapidly—as fast as shrapnel. The bomb on exploding releases these clusters of fire balls, which instantly burst into flame”.

They all rotate rapidly, giving off flames, so that each of the balls seems to have a potential diameter of five or six feet of fire. They whirl rapidly about a common centre, with a lateral spinning motion, spreading out apparently by centrifugal force from some common hub or centre to which they are held in some way. The whole cluster has an apparent radius about as great as the spread of your plane from tip to tip.

“The Huns manage to shoot these ‘flaming onions’ to a considerable altitude, and the allied fliers, when they see a bunch coming, have to dodge them or duck them as best they can by side-slipping, diving, swerving suddenly, or looping the loop.”

Major Bishop said he did not think the Germans had succeeded in doing much actual execution with this pyrotechnic device, but ho added:

“When you are well up and far within the Boche lines and you see one of these roaring aerial conflagrations mounting toward you, spurting fountains of fire in a big sort of spiral fifty
or sixty feet across, it is somewhat disconcerting”.


Published: February 3, 1918
Copyright © The New York Times

Web Link:


Cañón antiaéreo improvisado alemán Gruson-Hotchkiss de 3,7-cm y cinco tubos rotatorios.

Los cañones Hotchkiss de 37-mm de cinco tubos fueron fabricados bajo licencia por la compañía alemana Gruson a finales del siglo XIX. Esta compañía fue posteriormente adquirida por Krupp, en 1893.

Originalmente fueron utilizados por la marina alemana en tareas de lucha anti-torpedos. Posteriormente, una vez iniciada la Gran Guerra, fueron cedidos al ejército, el cual los consideró, al igual que la marina, como material de guerra obsoleto.

No obstante, en un principio el ejército los utilizó como apoyo en los combates de trincheras y también como refuerzo en fortificaciones. Más tarde fueron adaptados para tiro antiaéreo, dotándolos de un soporte de amplia base, así como de carros para el transporte del cañón y las municiones. Se destinaron esencialmente a la defensa antiaérea de los Globos de Observación contra los ataques de la aviación enemiga, la cual consideraba dichos Globos de Observación como objetivos prioritarios.

Los pilotos británicos y americanos llamaron a este tipo de cañónes "Cebollas Llameantes", por el efecto barrera* que proporcionaban los diez tubos de los dos cañones que formaban la Sección** y por la luminosidad desconcertante de su munición de proyectiles trazadores, capaces algunas veces de disuadir y casi siempre de distraer la misión de los pilotos aliados.

* Los dos cañones de la Sección eran capaces de realizar cerca de 100 disparos por minuto.
** La Batería Antiaérea estaba compuesta por dos Secciones de dos cañones cada una (un total de 20 tubos de 3,7-cm).

Linnk: Gallery of Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon Photographs

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