WWII British anti-tank gun used in Dunkirk found over 800 miles away in Polish village
Eighty years after the start of World War II, history fans have found the barrel of a British WWII anti-aircraft gun used during the Battle of Dunkirk
Produced in 1938 at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Nottingham, the QF 3.7-inch AA cannon was discovered in the village of Dzierżno in southwest Poland where a German anti-aircraft battery armed with captured British weapons was stationed during the war.
The first prototype for this type of cannon appeared in 1936. Serial production began two years later and, by 1941, they made up most of Britain’s anti-aircraft cannons.
According to the Relic Exploration and History Association, which found the weapon, it was probably captured by the Germans near Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940.
Flanked by two massive German armies, British troops in France came under heavy attack, forcing them to retreat to Dunkirk where they held out alongside French allies until being evacuated by British fishing boats and private vessels.
Being able to move closer into the beachfront shallows than larger craft, the little boats acted as shuttles to and from the larger ships, lifting troops who were queuing in the water, many waiting shoulder-deep in water for hours.
The completely intact cannon discovered in the Polish village was one of thousands of weapons left behind during the evacuation.
After the fall of France, many of these guns ended up in German hands.
The cannon became part of a battery stationed close to Katowice, that was meant to defend the nearby Germans’ weapon factories.
A spokesman for the Relic Exploration and History Association said: “The barrel probably got here as a result of being captured near Dunkirk during the so-called French campaign conducted by the Germans in 1940.
“This cannon was part of a 6-gun battery stationed in Pyskowice, whose main task was to defend the German arms factory in Gliwice.”