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The first gun to be called a pom-pom was the 37 mm Nordenfelt-Maxim or "QF 1-pounder" introduced during the Second Boer War, the smallest artillery piece of that war, it fired a shell one pound in weight accurately over a distance of 3,000 yd (2,700 m).
The barrel was water-cooled, and the shells were belt-fed from a 25-round fabric belt, the Boers used them against the British, who, seeing their utility, had the design copied by Vickers, who were already producing Maxim guns.
An advanced weapon when introduced, by the outbreak of World War II advances in aircraft would have made it obsolete but for the introduction of the high-velocity round and new director designs, it was intended that the curtain of fire it threw up would be sufficient to deter attacking aircraft, which it did, but was hampered by the ineffective Mk III director.
was a great advance and was introduced on the King George V-class battleships.
Surviving weapons were brought out of storage to see service in World War II, mainly on board ships such as naval trawlers, Motor Boats and "armed yachts", it was used almost exclusively in the single-barrel, unpowered pedestal mountings P Mark II (Royal Navy nomenclature gave mountings and guns their own distinct Mark numbers) except for a small number of weapons on the mounting Mark XV, which was a twin-barreled, powered mount.
These were too heavy to be of any use at sea, and were therefore mounted ashore. Some 7,000 guns were made, the gun was also used by the Japanese as the 40 mm/62 "HI" Shiki.
A mount modified or designed for HV ammunition was given a '*' designation; for example a Mk V mount modified for HV ammunition would be designated Mk V*.officially designated the QF 2-pounder (QF denoting "quick firing") and universally known as the pom-pom, was a 40-millimetre (1.6 in) British autocannon, used as an anti-aircraft gun by the Royal Navy.The name came from the sound that the original models make when firing, this QF 2-pounder was not the same gun as the Ordnance QF 2 pounder, used by the British Army as an anti-tank gun and a tank gun; they shared only the projectile weight of 2 pounds.Another consideration was muzzle velocity: The pompom had a relatively low velocity, 2350 feet per second as compared with 2830 for the Bofors, the success of the pompom in action was more than offset by the proved qualities of the Bofors in the hands of a number of powers who were using it, and the Bureau decided to join that group.Shortly after the Bureau's selection of the Bofors, British naval officials also decided to adopt the gun.