Australian troops training with 18pdr Mk IV

Australian troops training with 18pdr Mk IV

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Australian troops training with 18pdr Mk IV

Australian troops training on an 18pdr Mk IV field gun (with Mk IV carriage). Note the ammunition carriage to the left, with the spaces for shells visible.

Post by shane1967 » 06 Jun 2007, 11:57

No real idea about 18 Pdr use in Australia, other than I think they were the standard field artillery piece durinthe inter war period.

Again, regarding medium artillery I would need to say this is not an area I have a great deal of knowledge. 17 pdrs were manufactured in the late war years in Australia. Not sure if they were use operationally in the SWPA. They certainly were in Korea. I have seen reference to the arrival of some 5.5 in medium guns. I will need to go searching in my files.

Post by Leon57 » 06 Jun 2007, 15:53

Post by JonS » 07 Jun 2007, 00:51

Sure, replacing the wooden for pneumatic is feasible, but was it worthwhile? I'd expect they upgraded all the ones they were using, and just left the rest in storage.

There is, for example, in Farndales "Years of Defeat" a photo of a wooden wheeled . 6-in or 60-pr (I forget which right now) being used in action in the Western Desert. Not ideal, obviously, but better than nuffink.

Incidentally, the cover of that book has a painting of the action at .. Hoogeheim (or sumfink like that) in France/Belgium in 1940 that prominently features a pole-trailed 18-pr in action in an A-Tk role. See here, although it's a bit hard to make out the detail given the image size. (Yes, "JI Sowden" is me ) That particular action is given some prominence in the text, and is accompanied by a detailed map.

Post by JonS » 07 Jun 2007, 00:54

Post by Leon57 » 08 Jun 2007, 15:16

Post by Leon57 » 12 Jun 2007, 09:01

I've examined more than 200 pages with a photos and some other stuff from "Australian War Memorial" site and I've found a lot of interesting photos of Australian and South African artillery and some answers to my questions. Only total volume of pages with photos I've saved is about 20 megabytes. This job has taken some time but I don't regret about that!

1. Now I can assert that Australians had both 18pdr MkII and MkIV that were modernized by replacement of wooden wheels with pneumatic tyres in 1938-39 (some photos dated 1939 still show 18pdr guns with wooden wheels). There are a photos which show modernized Australian 18pdr MkIVP guns both in Australia and North Africa in 1940. I've even found an rare photo that shows 18 pdr MkVP gun (with split trail carriage!) in action (WESTERN DESERT, 1941-06)! Unfortunately I can't say whether gunners are Australians or the British as they wear typical uniform and helmets.
At the same time I was meeting only "18pdr MkIIP" guns photos made in Australia (or near) and some guns were still in use as high-mobile coastal defense guns in 1943-44 (along with US 155mm M1918A1 mobile guns). Judge by many photos, Australians really used Ford Marmon Herrington trucks as gun-tractor for 18pdrs!

2. I've also found some photos of Australian-made 17pdr antitank guns and I read that only 128 17 pdr guns were built in Australia till the end of war! But I have found no mentions that these guns saw an action in WW2. The info I've found say only of 2pdr and 6pdr (both MkII and MkIV) guns.

3. I have met no mentions (photos) of 5.5" guns in Australian service during the WW2! So I think Australians didn't use them. But they used something better than 5.5"! I've fount many photos of 155mm M1A1 "Long Tom" that was used by Australian artillety since 1945.

BTW: Some things that I have seen in the photos are really surprising for me, for example:
Rare photo of ex-Italian 4.7cm antitank gun in Australian service in Malaya!
A loading of 40mm Bofors AA gun into C-47 (even with unmounted barrel)!
I was a bit surprised that many photos show 75mm M1A1 howitzers with wooden wheels in Australian service, etc.

18pdr MkIVP and some other guns in Commonwealth artillery?

Post by Leon57 » 02 Jun 2007, 11:47

Anyone knows whether "18pdr MkIVP" guns

nigelef/18pdrsheet.htm saw service with Canadian, Australian and South African artillery? Or "18 pdr MkI,II" (with pole trail, recoil system on top of the gun barrel and pneumatic tyres instead of wooden wheels) were still in use till these guns (and 4.5" howitzers) were replaced with 25-pdrs?

Post by David W » 02 Jun 2007, 15:20

I can't help with the Canadians, but I can look up some stuff on the South Africans & Australians later.

Post by JonS » 04 Jun 2007, 04:00

Non-operationally: probably.
Operationally: probably not.

Note, however, that the 18-pr was used operationally during Op CRUSADER in late 1941. It was used as an A-Tk weapon however, rather than as a fd gun.

Post by shane1967 » 04 Jun 2007, 04:40

I agree with Jon S above that the 18 pdr IVP was used in the A Tk role. A summary of arty holdings within 7 Aust Div dated 30 April 1941 identifies 24 18 pdr IVP.

Another Appendix in the above document deals with approximate receipts of equipment during April 1941. It notes the receipt of 11 18 pdr IVP by 2/5 Aust Fd Regt as:

18 Apr 41 2
21 Apr 41 6
23 Apr 41 3

Shane Lovell
Canberra, Australia

Post by Leon57 » 04 Jun 2007, 10:45

Post by shane1967 » 04 Jun 2007, 14:31

7 Aust Div and the Syrian campaign are not something I have looked at closely. The above information comes from the HQ RAA 7 Aust Div war diary.

I will have to look at 9 Aust Div to answer your question.

I have certainly never seen any mention of 18 pdrs being returned to Australia.

Post by David W » 05 Jun 2007, 00:01

15th Battery 2/8 Field Regiment R.A.A is showing 12 x 18Pdrs @ 31/03/41.
(I have always treated this entry with suspision, because as has already been mentioned, the 18Pdrs were anti tank artillery, not field. I suspect that this should read 18/25Pdrs). Shane, your comments would be appreciated.

Conversely, one each of the batteries from 2nd & 1st S.A anti tank Regiments, are showing 16 x 18/25pdrs (each) @ ??/11/41. These are more probably straight 18Pdrs.

Post by Leon57 » 05 Jun 2007, 08:32

Post by David W » 05 Jun 2007, 08:44

I,m sorry, I should have made myself clearer.

What I meant to say is. " The 18Pdrs issued to anti tank units (& others) in the Western Desert in WWII, were done so because of a lack of 2 Pdrs & as a stop gap until the 6Pdrs arrived". This in no way reflects upon their WWI usage, or field gun capabilities.

Post by Leon57 » 05 Jun 2007, 09:48

Post by JonS » 05 Jun 2007, 10:09

Leon, the 18-prs really were issued as A-Tk guns in the Western Desert in 1941. I suspect that they just fired HE rounds, with no fuze inserted.

"The 18-pr was used by the BEF in 1940 and was also used that year in North Africa and in very small numbers in Hong Kong, Malaya, Borneo and Burma in late 1941 and early 1942."
Unfortunately, Nigel omits any mention of the 18-pr in the A-Tk role.

Also, perhaps Tony Williams might have some info on the ammo.

18/25-prs would NOT have seen any service oin A-Tk Regts.

Post by Leon57 » 05 Jun 2007, 11:30

Post by JonS » 05 Jun 2007, 12:56

Post by shane1967 » 05 Jun 2007, 14:20

Again agree with Jon S. For example:

AWM52 4/1/13 HQ RAA 6 Aust Div

CRA conferred with G1 regarding suggested change in orgainisation of 1 Aust A/Tk Regt. The suggested change was the substitution of sixteen 18 pdr guns in lieu of 16 A/Tk guns.

Post by Leon57 » 06 Jun 2007, 07:41

I suspect it is a collusion (joke)!

BTW: When reading the "Official Histories – Second World War" that are uploaded on "Australian War Memorial" I've found an interesting pre-war photo of Australian 18pdr MkIV but with wooden wheels!
See: Volume I – To Benghazi (1961 reprint), Chapter 1 – Between the Wars
The link to pdf file: . ers/01.pdf
It means that Australians unlike New Zealanders (if to trust RNZA site!) could also have 18pdrs MkIVP in Australia! Why not? I think that replacement of wooden wheels to pneumatics was feasible work even for prewar Australian industry! Or am I mistaken?

Also, I have slightly changed a topic name to expand a discussion theme without overloading of the forum by numerous small topics.
I wonder: did Australians use 4.5" guns (not howitzers!) and later 5.5" guns/howitzers and 17pdr AT guns in WW2? I think NO but.


QF 1 pounder Edit

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 1 pound (0.45 kg) 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. This "auto cannon" fired explosive rounds (smokeless ammunition) at 450 rounds per minute. The Boers used them against the British, who, seeing their utility, bought guns from Vickers, which had acquired Maxim-Nordenfelt in 1897. [3] [4]

During the First World War, it was used in the trenches of the Western Front against aircraft.

QF 1½ pounder Edit

The first naval pom-pom was the QF 1.5-pdr Mark I, a piece with a calibre of 37 mm (1.46 in) and a barrel 43 calibres long. This was trialed in the Arethusa-class light cruisers HMS Arethusa and Undaunted, but did not enter full service, being replaced instead by a larger weapon, the QF 2-pdr Mark II (see below).

The QF 2-pounder Mark II was essentially a scaled-up version of the QF 1 pounder Maxim gun produced by Vickers. It was a 40 mm calibre gun with a water-cooled barrel and a Vickers-Maxim mechanism. It was ordered in 1915 by the Royal Navy as an anti-aircraft weapon for ships of cruiser size and below. The original models fired from hand-loaded fabric belts, although these were later replaced by steel-link belts. This "scaling-up" process was not entirely successful, as it left the mechanism rather light and prone to faults such as rounds falling out of the belts. In 1915, sixteen 2-pounders were mounted in armoured lorries as the Pierce-Arrow armoured AA lorry. In 1918, one example of this weapon was experimentally mounted on the upper envelope of His Majesty's Airship 23r. [5]

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. All were scrapped by 1944.

  • Calibre: 40 mm L/39
  • Total length: 96 inches (2.4 m). [6]
  • Length of bore: 62 inches (1.6 m). [6]
  • Rifling: Polygroove, plain section, 54.84 inches (1.39 m), uniform twist 1 in 30 inches (0.76 m), 12 grooves. [6]
  • Weight of gun & breech assembly: 527 lb (239 kg) [6]
  • Shell Weight: 2 lb (980 g). HE.
  • Rate of Fire: 200 rpm
  • Effective Range: 1,200 yd (1,000 m)
  • Muzzle Velocity: 1920 ft/s (585 m/s)

Some 7,000 guns were made. The gun was also used by the Japanese as the 40 mm/62 "HI" Shiki. The Regia Marina also used it from the Great War throughout World War II, although it was superseded in the 1930s as a primary AA weapon on Italian warships by more modern guns such as the Cannone-Mitragliera da 37/54 (Breda). [7]

The Royal Navy had identified the need for a rapid-firing, multi-barrelled close-range anti-aircraft weapon at an early stage. Design work for such a weapon began in 1923 based on the earlier Mark II, undoubtedly to use the enormous stocks of 2-pounder ammunition left over from the First World War. Lack of funding led to a convoluted and drawn-out design and trials history and it was not until 1930 that these weapons began to enter service. Known as the QF 2-pounder Mark VIII, it is usually referred to as the "multiple pom-pom".

The initial mounting was the 11.8 to 17.35 ton, eight-barrelled mounting Mark V (later Mark VI), suitable for ships of cruiser and aircraft carrier size upward. [8] [9] From 1935, the quadruple mounting Mark VII, essentially half a Mark V or VI, entered service for ships of destroyer and cruiser size. These multiple gun mounts required four guns and were nicknamed the "Chicago Piano". [6] The mount had two rows each of two or four guns. Guns were produced in both right- and left-hand and "inner" and "outer" so that the feed and ejector mechanisms matched.

Single-barrelled mounts, the Mark VIII (manual) and Mark XVI (power operated), were also widely used, mainly in small escorts (such as the Flower-class corvettes) and coastal craft (especially early Fairmile D motor torpedo boats). The Mark XVI mounting was related to the twin mounting Mark V for the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon and the "Boffin" mounting for the Bofors 40 mm gun. Magazines ranged from 140 rounds per gun for the eight-barrelled mount to 56 rounds for the single mounts. [10] This large ammunition capacity (1,120 rounds) gave the eight-barrelled mount the ability to fire continuously for 73 seconds without reloading. A high velocity (HV), 1.8 lb (820 g), round was developed for the pom-pom, just before the Second World War, which raised the new gun muzzle velocity from 2,040 ft/s (622 m/s) to 2400 ft/s (732 m/s).

Many older mountings were modified with conversion kits to fire HV ammunition, while most new mounts were factory built to fire HV ammunition. A mount modified or designed for HV ammunition was given a '*' designation for example a Mk V mount modified for HV ammunition would be a Mk V*. [10]

The United States Navy also considered adopting the pom-pom gun prior to its entry into the Second World War, and conducted a series of trials between their own 1.1" gun, the U.S. Army 37 mm Gun, the Vickers 40 mm pom-pom, and the Bofors 40 mm:

Among the machine guns under consideration were the Army's 37-mm and the British Navy's 2-pounder, more commonly known as the "pompom." The decision soon narrowed to a choice between the Bofors and the British gun. The British were anxious to have their gun adopted, and the fact that British aid would be readily available in initiating manufacture was put forward as an argument in favor of its selection. The 2-pounder, moreover was giving a good account of itself on British ships. On the other hand, there was the distinct disadvantage that the gun was designed for cordite powder, and no manufacturing facilities for the production of this ammunition were available in the United States. Thorough study revealed that the gun could not be converted to take American powder. 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. [11]

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. [12] The MK IV Director with a Gyro Rate Unit and Type 282 radar [13] was a great advance and was introduced on the King George V-class battleships. In January 1941, HMS Illustrious′s Mk VIII (HV) mountings performed flawlessly firing 30,000 rounds with very few stoppages. [12] When HMS Prince of Wales was attacked and sunk by Japanese aircraft near Singapore, the subsequent report judged that a single 40 mm Bofors gun firing tracer was a more effective anti-aircraft weapon [14] [15] than a multiple pom-pom in director control, as the pom-poms did not have tracer ammunition and the pom-pom ammunition had deteriorated badly in its ready use lockers, while the Type 282 radar units also failed in the equatorial heat. [16] [17] In the same action, the Commissioned Gunner of HMS Repulse spent the whole action running from one pom-pom mount to another trying to keep them operational due to the faulty ammunition. The pom-poms on Repulse shot down two of the four confirmed kills made by Force Z, [18] while Prince of Wales ' pom-poms did record hits on enemy aircraft. [19]

The Royal Navy judged the pom-pom's effectiveness to range from about half that of the Bofors, per gun, against torpedo planes to about equal against Kamikaze attackers. [20] It was a ubiquitous weapon that outnumbered the Bofors gun in Commonwealth naval service [21] up to the end of World War II and it shot down many Axis aircraft. Later innovations such as Remote Power Control (RPC) coupled to a radar-equipped tachymetric (speed predicting) director increased the accuracy enormously and problems with the fuses and reliability were also remedied. The single mountings received a reprieve toward the end of the war as the 20 mm Oerlikon guns had insufficient stopping power to counter Japanese kamikaze aircraft and there were insufficient numbers of Bofors guns to meet demand.

  • Calibre: 40 mm L/39
  • Shell Weight: 2 lb. (980 g) or 1.8 lb. (820 g) for High-Velocity (HV) round
  • Rate of Fire: 115 rpm fully automatic
  • Effective Range: 3,800 yards (3,475 m) or 5,000 yards (4,572 m) HV
  • Effective Ceiling (HV): 13,300 feet (3,960 m)
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,040 ft/s (622 m/s) or 2400 ft/s (732 m/s) for HV [22]

The QF 2-pounder Mark XIV was the Rolls-Royce 40 mm cannon, which had been developed by Rolls-Royce as a competitor to the 40 mm "Vickers S" gun as an aircraft weapon. The latter was the more successful design, and found some use as an anti-tank weapon. A reworked version was adopted by the Royal Navy as a weapon for Motor Gun Boats, being adopted in the Fairmile C type as well as British Power Boat Company 60- and 70-foot type MGBs. It had a semi-automatic horizontally sliding breech block and was shipped on a manually trained pedestal mount. The weapon was not a success and of the 1,200 ordered only some 600 were delivered. It was initially replaced in various MGBs by single 20 mm Oerlikon cannon in order to make good, being ultimately succeeded in the large quick-firer role later in the war by the 57 mm Molins 6-pounder gun, the British Army's QF 6-pounder gun anti-tank gun with an auto-loader.

The Forgotten Wargames Army: XIVth Army in Burma (Part 4 – Royal Artillery)

Here’s the last of my Burma stuff for the time being namely some elements of the Royal Artillery.

You might be wondering why I need to have model artillery, as the artillery will ordinarily be flippin’ miles away and only represented on table by Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) and by the effects of fire (unless you’re playing the frankly odd Flames of War, of course). That’s certainly the case with my usual rules, Battlefront: WWII, though I must confess to having built up quite a large collection of artillery pieces, due in part to having inherited a large number of such models from a friend’s collection, but also due to us putting on some bloody enormous games that encompassed the artillery gun positions on table!

Part of the Bishenpur ‘Gun Box’ at our Bovington 2011 game

For Burma I have the perfect excuse to collect artillery, as it was often the case during that campaign that artillery units would find themselves directly in the front line, defending fortified ‘boxes’ against enemy attack. One such example was the ‘Gun Box’ at Bishenpur, during the Battle of Imphal. This contained a 25pdr Field Regiment, a 3.7-inch Mountain Battery, a 40mm Light AA Battery, a 6pdr Anti-Tank Battery, a 5.5-inch Medium Artillery Section and a 3.7-inch Heavy AA Section and came under repeated close infantry attack during the battle. Part of this featured in our 1st Battle of Bishenpur game at The Tank Museum, Bovington in 2011 and there are numerous other examples of Gunners having to directly defend their guns during the war against Japan, so the models do come in handy.

Although it’s not remotely my cup of tea, the fact that the Flames of War game-system requires you to have artillery on table does mean that they produce a lot of interesting artillery and gun-tractor models that might not otherwise be available. Bless ’em…

Above: A Field Battery of 25pdr guns deployed and ready to fire. At full-scale, a Field Battery would consist of eight guns, divided into two Troops of four guns. However, I wargame at a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, so each gun model here represents 2 real guns and the battery therefore consists of four gun models.

Each Troop Commander would typically deploy forward as a Forward Observation Officer (FOO), leaving a Troop Gun Position Officer (GPO) behind to command the Troop’s gun detachments. Similarly, the Battery Commander would typically deploy forward to liaise with the CO of the infantry battalion they were supporting, leaving a Battery GPO behind to command the Battery.

Units with a full scale of motor transport would typically use Universal Carriers as Observation Post (OP) vehicles for the FOOs, but units on a light scale of transport might use Jeeps or even mules to carry the necessary radios, batteries, field-telephones and cable-spools. Many Field Regiments became ‘Jungle Field’ Regiments (consisting of 3.7-inch Mountain Howitzers and 3-inch Mortars) while the campaign was fought in the dense, mountainous jungle of the Burma-India border. However, they transitioned back to a heavier scale of motor transport following the defeat of the Japanese offensive at the Battle of Imphal in 1944, in anticipation for the Operation CAPITAL counter-offensive into central Burma, where the road network was far more extensive and where the terrain was far more suited to mechanised warfare.

The vehicles here are marked for the 136th (1st West Lancashire) Field Regiment RA, which was the senior Field Artillery Regiment of the 7th Indian Infantry Division (‘Golden Arrow’), as indicated by the 󈧮’ serial on the red-over-blue RA Arm-of-Service Sign. The divisional badge for 7th Indian Division was a golden arrow on a black disc. Note that Field Artillery and Anti-Tank units did not apply markings to their guns. The reason you see marked guns in museums is because this did become common practice AFTER the war. AA units by contrast, commonly applied the full array of markings to their guns.

The battery is indicated by the smaller blue square marking, which has one quadrant (here the lower-left quadrant) coloured red. The position of the red quadrant shows the seniority of the battery within the regiment – 1st Bty top-right, 2nd Bty bottom-right, 3rd Bty bottom-left and 4th Bty top-left, so this is the regiment’s 3rd Battery. The white letter indicates the Troop (in this case ‘F’ Troop – the 3rd battery of a Field Regiment would have ‘E’ & ‘F’ Troops, so the other Troop will have the same marking with ‘E’ instead of ‘F’). The Carrier has ‘RF’, which indicates the Troop Commander’s OP Vehicle for ‘F’ Troop.

The chaps at the back, huddled around a map-table and signaller, wearing red cap-bands and collar-tabs came with the Flames of War 25pdr Battery set as an ‘Artillery Staff Group’. I’ve actually painted them as an infantry brigade tactical headquarters, hence the red staff officer bands and tabs.

An OP Carrier of an unknown Field Artillery unit in Burma, 1945. Note the radio antenna bracket and the cable-spool mounted at the rear. Note also the very large Allied Star that was applied to XIVth Army vehicles in 1945.

These models are all by Flames of War and the Carriers are lovely little models of the OP Carrier variant, with a radio in the back, radio-antenna mount on the side and a telephone cable-spool on the front (my apologies for being lazy and not sticking an antenna on them!). Note that the Flames of War come usefully supplied with two gun-barrels, enabling them to be modelled either as the Mk I without muzzle-brake or the Mk II with muzzle-brake. The vast majority of 25pdrs in Burma had the Mk I barrel, so I’ve used these here. Note also that the Quad tractors in Burma were far more likely to be Canadian-built CMP types, rather than the Morris C8 Quads shown here, but I’m not aware of anyone making a CMP Quad in 15mm.

Some more Royal Artillery for Burma, but this time it’s a Troop of 40mm Bofors Guns from the 7th Indian Infantry Division. In reality a Troop consisted of six guns and there were three Troops per LAA Battery, for a total of 18 guns per Battery and 54 guns per Regiment. However, many batteries were reduced in strength to 12 guns either by removing a Troop from each Battery or by reducing each Troop in the Battery to four guns. My two models here represent a reduced-strength Troop of 4 guns at 2:1 ratio.

I should also mention that many AA guns in Burma were 20mm Hispano, Polsten or Oerlikon types, rather than 40mm Bofors.

As with most things in XIVth Army, the organisation of Light AA and Anti-Tank units changed quite dramatically as the war progressed, based on the nature of the terrain, enemy tactics and the ability of XIVth Army’s strained logistical system to supply units in the field. At the start of the war, the 7th Indian Division had the standard organisation of separate LAA and AT Regiments namely the 122nd LAA Regt RA (with three LAA Batteries) and the 6th Indian AT Regt IA (with four AT Batteries). In August 1943 these units were replaced by the combined 24th LAA/AT Regt RA, which had two batteries each of LAA and AT.

This move to condensed and combined LAA/AT Regts was repeated right across XIVth Army. Their flexibility was increased even further by the AT gun detachments adding a 3-inch mortar to their weapon-load on a semi-official/unofficial basis, thus turning them into AT/Mortar Batteries. In most cases these regiments were split into separate units again in preparation for the advance into Burma and 24th LAA/AT Regt RA therefore became 24th AT Regt RA in September 1944 (being replaced in May 1945 by 8th Indian AT Regt IA) and was joined by 3rd Indian LAA Regt IA.

In terms of markings, note that unlike Field Artillery and AT units, LAA units tended to paint the markings on their guns. I’ve absolutely no idea what the Arm-of-Service serial was for an LAA/AT Regt, so I’ve simply given them 󈧳’, which was the serial for an infantry division’s LAA Regt (the AT Regt used 󈧲’). The Battery markings were much the same as the Field Battery markings mentioned above (note that the upper-right quadrant here is red, indicating the 1st Battery of a regiment), except that they had three Troops per battery, so the 1st Battery would have A, B & C, the 2nd Battery D, E & F and so on. AT Batteries also had three Troops (of four guns each).

The Troop is served by a pair of Morris CDSW 6ࡪ Field Artillery Tractors. These vehicles were introduced during the 1930s to tow the 18pdr Mk IV Field Gun and 4.5-inch Howitzer then standard in the British Army. However, they were steadily replaced by the Morris C8 Quad in the Field Artillery role and were then relegated to tow the 40mm Bofors Gun, before being replaced by the Bedford QLB or CMP 3-Ton Trucks. In Burma they tended to be replaced by lighter CMP 4ࡪ 15cwt Trucks or Dodge Weapons Carriers, but I’ve stuck with the CDSW here, simply because I like the models.

Markings are the same as the guns, except for the yellow weight-class disc. The split number indicates a tractor (either towing a gun or a trailer) – the top number (10) is the weight class when towing and the lower number (6) is the weight class when ‘travelling light’. Engineers would place a similar disc on the approach to a bridge. A vehicle could only then cross the bridge if the weight class displayed on their disc was equal to or lower than that of the bridge. This simple system is still used by NATO today.

Extended specification

  • Gun
    • Length: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
    • weight: 9 cwt
    • Rifling: 18 grooves (Mks I, II, IV)
    • Twist: 1 in 30 (Mks I, II, IV)
    • Barrel Life: 12,000 to 15,000 rounds
    • Carriage
      • weight: 24 cwt (Mk V 27 cwt)
      • Width: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
      • recoil: 41 inches fixed (carriage Mk I, II) 26 - 48 inches variable (carriage Mk IV, Mk V)
      • Elevation: -5° to +16° (carriage Mk I & II with pole trail), +30° (carriage Mk III box trail), +37°

      (carriage Mk IV box trail & Mk V split trail)

        • Traverse: 4.5° left and right (Carriage Mk I - IV) 25° left and right (carriage Mk V)
        • Gunshield: proof against shrapnel and rifle fire (500 yds)
        • Limber
          • Capacity: 24 shells
          • weight: 14 cwt

          Variants [ edit | edit source ]

          Mark I [ edit | edit source ]

          25-pounder field gun of 153rd Field Regiment (Leicestershire Yeomanry) during a practice shoot in the mountains near Tripoli in the Lebanon, 7 June 1943.

          Known officially as the "Ordnance, Quick Firing 25-pounder Mark I on Carriage 18-pr Mark IV", or "Ordnance, Quick Firing 25-pounder Mark I on Carriage 18-pr Mark V" and commonly called the "18/25-pounder". The Mark I was a 25-pounder barrel and breech in the modified jacket of an 18 pounder gun, as a 'loose liner'. The jacket provided the interface to the 18 pounder carriage. The earliest versions retained 18-pounder type elevation sights but later ones had Probert pattern calibrating sights on the right side of the saddle. The Mark IV P, carriage was a box trail, Mark V P, was a split trail. These conversions of the 18-pounder first entered British service in 1937. A few were lost in the Norwegian campaign and 704 in France, leaving about the same number in UK's global stocks. They served in North Africa (until about late 1941) and India. This mark of 25-pounder was limited to charge 3 due to its 18-pounder carriage.

          Mark II [ edit | edit source ]

          The Mark II, fitted to the Mark I carriage was the standard gun during World War II. They were built in Australia and Canada but mostly in UK. Deliveries (from UK production) started at the beginning of 1940 and first entered service with a Canadian regiment stationed in UK during May 1940. No Ordnance 25-pr Mk 2 on Carriage 25-pr Mark 1 were lost in France. This gun fired all charges, 1 - 3 and Super. In 1942 it was decided to fit a muzzle brake to the gun. This was to eliminate the instability caused when firing the 20 lb AP shell with Charge Super at direct fire low elevation angles. To preserve the gun's balance on the trunnions a counterbalance weight was also fitted, just in front of the breech ring. These modifications did not lead to a change in the gun's nomenclature. Eventually all guns serving in Europe were so converted.

          Mark II/I [ edit | edit source ]

          In 1946 a programme was introduced to modify the gun's breech ring by morticing the rear corners. A corresponding modification was made to the rear corners of the breech block. This was to reduce the instances of cracking the ring.

          Mark III [ edit | edit source ]

          The Mark III ordnance was a Mark II with a modified receiver to prevent the rounds from slipping back out when loading at high angles. It was introduced in January 1944.

          Mark III/I [ edit | edit source ]

          This was a Mk III gun with the same modification to the ring and block as for the Mk II/I above'.

          Mark IV [ edit | edit source ]

          The Mark IV was identical to the Mark III/I, and featured the modified ring and a paired block from new.

          Short, Mark I [ edit | edit source ]

          A Short 25-pounder in New Guinea in 1944.

          The 25-pounder Short Mark I, or Baby 25-pr, was an Australian pack gun version of the 25-pounder, first produced in 1943. This was a shortened version of the standard 25-pounder, mounted on the Carriage 25-pr Light, Mark 1. The Baby was intended for jungle warfare and was only used by Australian units in the South West Pacific theatre of World War II. The gun could be towed by a jeep or broken down into 13 sections and transported by air. During the New Guinea campaign the gun was manhandled up steep jungle tracks where trucks could not operate.

          Carriages [ edit | edit source ]

          Mark I [ edit | edit source ]

          The Mark I carriage was the first real 25-pounder carriage. Later in World War II some guns had a double shield, two shields separated by spacers, to improve protection. It had Probert-pattern calibrating sights, but with the range indicator wrapped into the distinctive cone that rotated against a fixed reader arm.

          Jury axle [ edit | edit source ]

          In Burma artificers of 129 Jungle Field Regiment developed a local modification to use a Jeep axle and wheels to produce a narrower wheelbase (by about 20-inches) and some minor modifications to the trail, it was called the Jury Axle. Tests in action showed the gun was stable, it was first reported to GHQ India in October 1943. It appears that it was also used without its shield, and the gun could be disassembled for transport in pieces by Jeep. Ε]

          Mark II [ edit | edit source ]

          The Mark II carriage was basically the War Office approved formalisation of the Jury Axle version of the Jury Axle 25-pounder. Changes from the original included a narrower shield, a new narrower track platform (No 22) and modified Jeep wheels.

          Mark III [ edit | edit source ]

          The Mark III carriage, also narrow, was a further development of the Mark II carriage to provide joints that enabled the trail to be cranked for "upper register" (high-angle) fire and used with the cranked "dial sight adaptor" previously adopted for high-angle fire. The cranked trail meant that a trail pit did not have to be dug. It entered service soon after World War II. High-angle fire had been introduced in Italy and used increments to charges 2 and 3 to give the 25-pounder seven charges.

          Mark IV [ edit | edit source ]

          The British did further work on the Australian designed short 25-pounder, enabling it to fire charge Super. One or 2 prototypes were produced and the carriage was officially designated the Mark IV, but never went into production.

          Ammunition [ edit | edit source ]

          Loading 77 mm HV ammunition into a Comet tank

          17-pounder rounds being loaded into a Sherman Firefly

          The 17-pounder used two types of anti-tank ammunition. Armour Piercing, Capped, Ballistic Capped (APCBC) ammunition could penetrate 130 mm of armour at 500 metres and 119 mm at 1000 m at a 30-degree angle. Armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) could penetrate 204 mm of armour at 500 m and 185 mm at 1000 m at a 30-degree angle, Δ] Ε] Ζ] allowing it in theory to penetrate the armour of even the German King Tiger heavy tank. However the smaller (sub-calibre) tungsten core of APDS was considered less accurate than APCBC ammunition at ranges beyond 1,000 yards due to rounds which fell short of the target creating much less visible impact. It was thus harder for the gunner to spot the 'fall of shot' and correct his aim. The APDS was also considered to cause less damage to an enemy tank - if it did penetrate the armour - but the sub-calibre tungsten steel core tended to destabilise after penetrating armour and ricochet around inside the armoured target causing crew casualties. APCBC ammunition was standard APDS shot was used for about 6% of the average load of a 17-pounder equipped British tank. Most sources agree that APDS was not available on D-Day itself but reached Normandy in increasing amounts by the end of June or early July 1944. It was available for the breakout battle from Normandy and the advance to the Netherlands and Germany.

          The HE shell initially developed for the 17-pounder lacked power. Due to the high-powered cartridge the shell walls had to be thicker to stand the stresses of firing, leaving less room for explosive. Reducing the size of the propelling charge for the HE shell allowed the use of a thinner-walled and more powerful shell.

          The 17-pounder produced a very large muzzle flash due to the large amount of propellant in its cartridges. Muzzle blast was also significant, described by crews of the anti-tank gun variant as resembling a hard slap on the chest.

          NZEF Ordnance 1914-1915

          New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Badge, 1916-1919 (Robert McKie Collection 2017)

          From the turn of the twentieth century, the New Zealand Army had transformed from small permanent militia and volunteer force, into a modern citizen army, organised for integration with a much larger British Imperial Army. When New Zealand entered the First World War, the New Zealand Army did not have a Regular or Territorial Army Ordnance Corps from which to expand into a wartime Ordnance organisation. The creation of a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps had remained a topic of discussion and indecision. Still, appetite to make a decision lacked until the war necessitated the formation of a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps as a unit of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF).

          Ordnance functions in support of the New Zealand Forces had since 1907 been a civil/military responsibility under the control of the Defence Council with duties divided between the civilian Defence Store Department and the Royal New Zealand Artillery[1]

          • The Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance): Responsible for Artillery armament, fixed coast defences, and supplies for Ordnance, and
          • The Director of Stores: Responsible for clothing and personal equipment, accoutrements, saddlery, harness, small-arms and small-arms ammunition, machine guns, material, transport, vehicles, camp equipment, and all stores required for the Defence Forces.

          As this created a division of roles and responsibilities, there were many calls for the establishment of a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps along the lines of

          • The Army Ordnance Corps, established in Britain in 1895,
          • The Australian Army Ordnance Department, established in 1902, and
          • The Canadian Ordnance Corps, established in 1907.

          On 27 December 1907, James O’Sullivan head storekeeper of the Defence Sores Department was confirmed as the Director of Stores, with the Rank of Honorary Captain in the New Zealand Staff Corps.[2] [3] Further progress was made on the creation of an Army Ordnance Corps in 1913 with the selection and appointment of Brigade Ordnance Officers (Territorial) in each district with the intent of forming a Central Ordnance Depot to support each Brigade Camp during the 1913 camping season. Under the Director of Equipment and Stores,[4] a fortnight course of instruction on Ordnance duties was conducted at Alexandra Barracks in January 1913 for the selected Brigade Ordnance Officers. In the field during the 1913 Annual Camps, each Brigade Ordnance Officer was allocated a staff of 2 clerks and 4 issuers, who were also selected before the camps and had undertaken training on Ordnance duties.[5] [6] ]

          From an Ordnance perspective, the1913 camps were a revolution in New Zealand’s Ordnance planning. For the first time, The issue of camp equipment was effectively managed with issues direct from Brigade Ordnance Depots directly to Regiments as they marched in. Issues were based against set scales, removing any doubt as to quantities taken into use and ensuring units were not holding excessive equipment and obviating any losses that were a feature of the previous system of direct consignment in small lots. On the completion of the camps, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants assembled all equipment for return or made the necessary arrangements to rectify deficiencies without any delay. To facilitate the closing of camp stores accounts, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants were placed under the orders of the Brigade Supply Officer. They would if necessary remain post the departure of their Regiments, remaining until the completion of checking and adjusting of accounts for rations and equipment. The Brigade Ordnance Officers would then ensure the return of all camp equipment to the respective mobilisation stores.[7] An organisational success, the 1913 Ordnance Depot concept was carried over for use in the 1914 camps. The significant difference between the 1913 and 1914 camp’s was that they were to be much larger Divisional camps. To manage the increase of dependency, the size of the Ordnance Depot Staff was increased to 6 clerks and twelve issuers.[8] Moreover, some of the regional Defence Storekeepers participated as the camp Ordnance Officers[9].

          Based on many of the logistical lessons learned by the British Army in the Anglo/Boer war, the British Army published their doctrine for the provision of Ordnance Services to the British Army in the 1914′ Ordnance Manual (War)’. The concept of operations for British Ordnance Services was that they were to be organised depending upon the general nature of operations and lines of communication. Arranged within convenient distances of Corps and Divisions, Ordnance Depots would be located to allow units to draw their stores and ammunition from that source. If lines of communication became extended, the establishment of intermediate, advanced, and field depots on the lines of communication was authorised. The composition of Ordnance Depots was to consist of personnel of each trade, of sufficient numbers necessary for the operation of a small ordnance depot and workshop.[10] Assistant Directors Ordnance Services (ADOS) would be responsible for each Corps, with Deputy Assistant Directors Ordnance Services (DADOS) accountable for each Division.[11]

          The doctrine Britain had in place at the beginning of the First World War was for forces to be fully equipped with everything necessary to enable them to undertake operations. [12] Included in the plan was the daily maintenance of Combat Supplies,[13] [14] but no provision for the replacement of weapons, equipment or clothing was allowed. Re-equipment would happen upon the withdrawal of forces for rest[15]. New Zealand’s contribution as part of the British Empire was to be the NZEF based around an Infantry Division and a Mounted Infantry Brigade. Given the doctrine, New Zealand’s Ordnance requirements were minimal and would initially consist of no more than a DADOS, A Senior NCO clerk and a box of Stationary.[16]

          Detailed in Section 5 of General Order 312 of August 1914, the initial establishment of the NZEF was 1 Officer, 1 Clerk and a horse.[17] The NZEF DADOS was New Zealand Staff Corps Honorary Captain William Thomas Beck, Defence Storekeeper for the Northern Districts. [18] [19] Beck was an experienced military storekeeper, who had been a soldier in the Permanent Militia before his appointment as Northern Districts Defence Storekeeper in 1904. Beck was the Officer in charge of the Camp Ordnance for the Auckland Divisional Camp at Hautapu near Cambridge in April 1914 so was well prepared for the role of DADOS.[20][21][22]

          The Senior Non-Commissioned Officer assisting Beck was Norman Joseph Levien.[23] A general storekeeper, Levien enlisted into the 3rd Auckland Regiment immediately on the outbreak of war, appointed as a Temporary Sergeant and transferred to the Ordnance Department as the I.C. of Stores and Equipment, assisting in equipping troops for overseas service. Beck and Levien embarked with the main body of the NZEF, departing Wellington for England on the troopship TSS Maunganui on 3 December 1914.[24]

          The main body of the NZEF was initially destined for England, but the Canadian Expeditionary Force had suffered an exceptionally bitter winter on Salisbury Plain resulting in a change of plans for the main body of the NZEF to spare them the rigours of an English winter. Diverted to Egypt and disembarking on 3 December 1914. The New Zealanders would join with the Australians as the ‘Australasian Army Corps’.[25] The Corps comprised two divisions the 1st Australian Division, and the New Zealand and Australian Division. Based at Based Zeitoun Camp on the outskirts of Cairo, the New Zealanders trained and acclimatised to the local conditions, with preparations made for potential operations against the Ottoman Empire. The New Zealanders would see their first action in February 1915 when Ottoman forces raided the Suez Canal.

          New Zealand Supply Depot Staff at Zeitoun Camp, 1915. Note Ordnance solder front row 3rd from left. National Army Museum of New Zealand

          By 10 December Beck had established himself as the DADOS of the NZEF with an Ordnance office and a shared depot with the Army Service Corps at Zeitoun Camp. NZEF Order No 9 of 10 December 1914 stated that all indents for Ordnance Stores, including petrol and lubricants were to be submitted to the DADOS Ordnance Depot.[26] Beck and had much to work ahead to bring the New Zealand units to scale and come to terms with the British Ordnance Systems. Britain had maintained occupation forces in Egypt since the 1880s and as such had peacetime Ordnance depots in Alexandra and Cairo.[27] To understand the British systems and how best to utilise them Sergeant Levien was attached to the British Ordnance Corps Depot at the Citadel in Cairo to study the Ordnance systems in use and the Ordnance procedures the New Zealand Forces would have to adopt.[28]

          Divisional Order 210 of 28 December transferred the following soldiers to the Ordnance Depot

          • Private Walter John Geard,[29]
          • Private Arthur Gilmore,[30]
          • Private Gavin Hamilton,[31]
          • Private Lewis Crozier,[32]
          • Private Horace Frederick Lofts,[33]
          • Private Joseph Roland Henderson.[34]

          Rue de la, Porte Rosette, Alexandria, Egypt. Public Domain

          By March 1915 Levien had secured premises for a New Zealand Ordnance Depot and warehouse at No. 12 Rue de la Porte Rosette and a warehouse at Shed 43, Alexandra Docks. From these premises, the New Zealand Forces would be provided support before and during the Dardanelles campaign. The Australians established a similar Depot at Mustapha Barracks and in No 12 Bond Store on Alexandra Docks.[35]

          On 3 April 1915, Beck received a boost to his DADOS organisation. Commissioned to 2 nd Lieutenant, Thomas Joseph King, a qualified accountant, transferred into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.[36] King was appointed as the Officer in Charge of the Ordnance Depot at Zeitoun Camp,[37] and Levien, also promoted to 2 nd Lieutenant assumed the position of Officer in Charge of Equipment, Small Arms and Accoutrements (SAA) and Clothing.

          Order No 122 promoting King and Levien into the NZAOC on 4 April 1915 Lieutenant Thomas Joseph King, New Zealand Ordnance Corps in Egypt.National Army Museum of New Zealand

          Early in January 1915 planning began for operations in the area around the Dardanelles, with the ambitious goal of forcing the Ottoman Empire out of the war. Now well known as the Gallipoli Campain, the Australians and New Zealanders were committed to being critical participants in the planned amphibious assault and ground offensive. The Ordnance plan for the campaign included the establishment of an Ordnance Base Depot in Alexandria, and a floating Ordnance Depot set up on the cargo ship the ‘SS Umsinga’. The Umsinga was fitted out in the U.K. with all the Ordnance Stores required, all carefully laid out by vocabulary with detailed plans produced to locate the stock quickly. With Lieutenant Colonel McCheane in command as the Chief Ordnance Officer, he had a complement of one hundred and fifty men of the AOC to manage the stocks.[38]

          The invasion fleet loaded with the ANZAC, British and French concentrated off the Island of Lemnos from 10 April. The assault would be at two locations on the morning of 25 April. The British 29 th Division would land at Cape Helles on the southern tip of the Gallipoli Penisula, and the ANZACs at locations on the west coast of the Peninsular that would become known as ANZAC Cove. The Division of the landing force made the concept of having the ‘Umsinga’ as the offshore ordnance Depot unworkable. To rectify the situation, the ‘S.S. Anglo Indian’ became the second floating Ordnance Depot. Half the stocks of the ‘Umsinga’ were cross-loaded to the ‘Anglo Indian’ on the night of 23/24 April, with British Ordnance Officer Major Basil Hill appointed as Chief Ordnance Officer on the Anglo Indian, along with haft the AOC men from the “Umsinga”.[39]

          The 1 st Australian Divison started landing at around 4 am on the morning of 25 April, followed by the Australian and New Zealand Division several hours later. Soon after the beachhead was secured but still under considerable enemy fire, the ‘Anglo Indian’ drew close to the shore and started to cross-load Ammunition and other Ordnance Stores for transfer to an Ordnance dump established at the southern end of the beach. Lt Col J.G Austin,[40] the 1st Australian Division DADOS, supervised the unloading of the lighters into the Ordnance dump and established forward ammunition dumps close to the front lines.[41]

          Supplies on the beach at ANZAC Cove 1915. Athol Williams Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

          As DADOS of the Australian & New Zealand Division, Beck landed with Godley’s Headquarters at ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.[42] Lieutenant Colonel Fenwick, ADMS, another New Zealander, was part of the Headquarters landing party describes the events on that day: [43]

          “We were all ready to land but were kept waiting and waiting until about 9.00 a.m. Some barges were moored alongside and a string of boats outside of these on the starboard side. Colonels Braithwaite, Chaytor and Manders, Major Hughes and Captain Beck and I got into the first boat. We were frightfully hampered by our kit – overcoat, revolver, glasses, map case, haversack, three days rations, firewood, Red Cross satchel, water bottle – like elephants. It was a certainty that we would drown if we got sunk. After waiting, a steam picket boat came along in charge of a very fat rosy midshipman. He took our string of boats in tow, and we were off. Our boat grounded about 50 feet from the shore and we all hopped out. Of course, I fell into a hole up to my neck. I could hardly struggle ashore and when I did the first thing I saw was Beck sitting on a stone, roaring with laughter at us. Billy Beck was the first New Zealander of Godley’s force (New Zealanders were serving in the Australian Division) to get onto Gallipoli”.

          The landings were not as successful as planned with the Ottoman troops providing a more robust defence than expected the campaign soon developed into stalemated trench warfare. By July the Island of Lemnos 40 miles from the peninsula had become the logistics hub supporting the campaign. The Ordnance command structure underwent a shakeup, the DOS for the entire campaign was Colonel Perry of the AOD, ADOS’s were made responsible for Ordnance support in the individual Corps areas of Helles and ANZAC Cove, Lt Col Austin assumed the position of the ANZAC Corps ADOS. The much larger “S.S. Minnetonka” was charted to act as depot ship, making regular round trips from Lemnos, Helles and ANZAC. The “‘ Umsinga’ and ‘Anglo Indian’ continue to support their respective areas as ammunition tenders.

          Ordnance Depot Shrapnel Gully, Gallipoli. Alexander Turnbull Libary

          Beck remained as the DADOS of the Australian & New Zealand Division with staff Sergeant Major Elliot Purdom, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant of the Auckland Mounted Rifles transferred into the division headquarters to be his assistant. For the next three months, Purdom would assist Beck with the strenuous work of landing and organising stores and managing the depot staff. It would appear that he was also a bit of a character and The Hawera & Normanby Star, 24 June 1916 had this to say about Captain Beck’s service at Gallipoli:[44]

          “Finally, there was Captain William Beck, an ordinary officer. “Beachy Bill” was in charge of the store – a miserable little place – and whenever he put his nose out of the door bullets tried to hit it. The Turkish gun in Olive Grove was named after him, “Beachy Bill.” The store was simply a shot under fire, and Bill looked out and went on with his work just as if no bullets were about. He was the most courteous and humorous, and no assistant at Whiteley’s could have been more pleasing and courteous than the brave storekeeper on Anzac Beach. General Birdwood never failed to call on Captain Beck or call out as he passed on his daily rounds, asking if he were there, and they all dreaded that someday there would be no reply from a gaunt figure still in death. But Captain Beck was only concerned for the safety of his customers. He hurried them away, never himself.

          Back in Egypt, with reinforcements arriving from New Zealand, King remained fully occupied at the Zeitoun Ordnance Depot. Ensuring new drafts of troops were brought up to scale and troops departing for ANZAC cove were fully equipped, on 2 May, King received additional assistance in the form of Trooper Reginald Pike. Pike 39 years old and a veteran of the Boer war was promoted to Temporary Sergeant and appointed as Ordnance Clerk. Pike would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war.[45]

          By mid-July, illness was taking its toll on Beck and Purdom. During August both men were transferred to the hospital in Alexandria, after some time in Alexandra, both would be invalided back to New Zealand.[46] Levien embarked for the Dardanelles on 2 August to replace Beck as DADOS, with King taking over the management of the Alexandra Depot on 12 August. At ANZAC Cove Private Arthur Gilmour transferred into the NZAOC as acting Sergeant on 24 August.[47]

          On 6 October Levien and King, both received promotions to Lieutenant[48]. King took over as DADOS of the Division and Levien was appointed the Chief Ordnance Officer at Sarpi camp, with responsibility for re-equipping the depleted Australian & New Zealand Division. Having been in action since April, the Division required some rest and reorganisation. From mid-September 1915, most of the depleted division withdrew to the Island of Lemnos. Spending seven weeks at Sarpi Camp, the Division returned to the Gallipoli peninsula in early November with King remaining as DADOS. November also saw the promotion of Acting Sergeant Gilmour to Sergeant.

          By mid-October, it was apparent that the situation in the Dardanelles had become hopeless, with operations against the enemy reaching a stalemate and offensive options exhausted. After extensive planning, evacuation orders were issued on 22 November. Starting on 15 December, withdrawing under cover of darkness, the last troops departed ANZAC Cove and Suvla Bay by dawn 20 December, with the final evacuations of the French and British forces at Helles completed by 9 January.

          Returning to Egypt the Australians and New Zealand Division regrouped, and with enough New Zealand reinforcements now available to form a third Brigade, the NZEF became a standalone New Zealand Division. The bulk of the Australian and New Zealand forces separated, but the Mounted Rifle Brigade joined with the Australians to establish the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division, which would remain in the Middle East for the remainder of the war. Elements of the New Zealand Division detached for operations against the Senussi in Western Egypt, returned to the Division in February and by March the New Zealand Division started to depart for France, joining the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.

          Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC. Auckland Museum/Public Domain

          From late 1915 the need for a more robust NZAOC was recognised, and expansion of the NZAOC as a unit of the NZEF began in December with Private Frank Percy Hutton[49] and Sergeant Kenneth Bruce MacRae[50] transferred into the NZAOC. On 1 February 1916 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, who had previously served as Commanding Officer of the Pioneer Battalion was transferred into NZAOC and appointed New Zealand Division, DADOS and Officer Commanding of the NZEF NZAOC.[51] Also on 1 January Staff Sergeant Geard who had been with Ordnance since December 1914 formally transferred into the NZAOC.[52]

          The NZAOC would officially become a unit of the NZEF in February,[53] with a commensurate influx of personnel transferred into the NZAOC, including

          • 2nd Lieutenant Alfred James Bond,[54]
          • Company Sergeant Major William Henchcliffe Simmons,[55]
          • Company Sergeant Major William Hall Densby Coltman, promoted to Acting Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor),[56]
          • Temp Sergeant Edward Cullen Little,[57]
          • Corporal John Goutenoire O’Brien,[58]
          • Corporal John Joseph Roberts
          • Private Clarence Adrian Seay, [59]
          • Sergeant Charles Ingram Gossage,[60]
          • Armourer Charles Alfred Oldbury.[61]

          On 22 March Sergeant MacRae was commissioned as a 2 nd lieutenant

          A wounded Herbert with Lieutenant Colonel A.B. Chaytor April 1916.National Army Museum of New Zealand

          King and Levien would not travel with the Division to France. King was struck down with Enteric (typhoid) fever and would be invalided back to New Zealand on 10 May. King would remain in the Military, initially taking up a posting in the Defence Stores and transferring into the NZAOC on its formation in New Zealand in 1917. Levien oversaw the closing down of the Alexandra depot, disposing of the vast stockpile of stores that had accumulated over the year. Levien would embark for England in May 1916, taking up the post of NZEF Chief Ordnance Officer in the U.K.

          Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


          [1] “Defence Forces of New Zealand Report by the Council of Defence and by the Inspector-General of the New Zealand Defence Forces for the Year 1907.,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representives ( 1907).

          [2] “Personal,” Otago Daily Times, Issue 13786 (1907).

          [3] “Director of Ordnance Stores,” Dominion, Volume 9, Issue 2741 8 April 1916

          [4] The Director of Stores title was changed to Director of Equipment and Stores early in 1911

          [5] “H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand for the Period 28 June 1912 to 20 June 1913,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representives (1913).

          [6] “Territorials,” Evening Star, Issue 15018, 29 October 1912.

          [7] “H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand for the Period 28 June 1912 to 20 June 1913.”

          [8] “H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand Fir the Period 20 June 1913 to 25 June 1914,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representives (1914).

          [9] “Auckland Territorials,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15594 28 April 1915.

          [10] Ordnance Manual (War), War Office (London: His Majesties Printing Office, 1914), Appendix 1.

          [13] Rations, water, fuel, ammunition, and animal feed

          [14] Ordnance Manual (War), Page 4, Para 9.

          [15] P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018), Page 13.

          [17] “Troopships Embarkation Orders Daily Field States and a Large Chart of ‘New Zealand Expeditionary Forces – Personnel’ as at 1 June 1915),” Item ID R23486740, Archives New Zealand 1914-1915.

          [18] “Main Expedition,” Evening Post, Volume LXXXVII, Issue 73, 23 September 1914.

          [19] “Officers of Dominions Contingent,” Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8951, 24 September 1914.

          [21] “The Hautapu Camp,” Waikato Argus, Volume XXXV, Issue 5575, 4 April 1914.

          [22] “Camp Preparations,” Evening Post, Volume LXXXVII, Issue 22 27 January 1914.

          [23] “Norman Joseph Levien,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1924.

          [24] “William Thomas Beck,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [25] the ‘Australasian Army Corps’. The designation Australian and New Zealand Army Corps’ was soon adopted and abbreviated to ANZAC, but would not enter the common vernacular until after the Gallipoli landings.

          [26] “Appendices to War Diaries, I – Lxii,” Item ID R23486739, Archives New Zealand 1914-1915.

          [27] Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), Page 211.

          [29] Geard would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war “Walter John Geard “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [30] Gilmour would remain with Ordnance for the duration of the war “Arthur Gilmour “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [31] Worked At Alexandra Depot until returned to New Zealand in October 1915 “Gavin Hamilton,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [32] Promoted to Sergeant 18 February 16, returned to NZ Aug 1917 “Lewis Crozier,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [33] Transferred to NZASC October 1917 “Horace Frederick Lofts,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [34] Transferred to NZASC 25 February 1916 “Joseph Roland Henderson,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [35] John D Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army (Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps Committee, 1989), Page 43.

          [36] “Grants of Temporary Rank, Appointments and Promotion of Officers in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force,” New Zealand Gazette, No 81 8 July 1915.

          [37] “Thomas Joseph King,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1946.

          [38] Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services, Pages 221-23.

          [40] Lt Col Austin was a British Army Ordnance Department officer on secondment to the Australian Army as DOS before the war and served with the AIF on Gallipoli as the DADOS 1 st Australian Division.

          [41] Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army Page 45.

          [42] Christopher Pugsley, Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story (Auckland [N.Z.]: Sceptre, 1990, 1990).

          [43] Glyn Harper, Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, First World War Centenary History (Auckland, New Zealand: Exisle Publishing Limited, 2015, 2015).

          [44] “Brave New Zealanders,” The Hawera and Normanby Star, Volume LXXI, Issue LXXI,, 24 June 1916.

          [45] “Reginald Pike,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [48] “Grants of Temporary Rank, Appointments and Promotion of Officers in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (Europe),” New Zealand Gazette, No 5, 20 January 1916.

          [49] “Frank Percy Hutton,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [50] “Kenneth Bruce Macrae,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [51] “Alfred Henry Herbert “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [53] “Road to Promotion,” Evening Post, Volume XCI, Issue 29, 4 February 1916.

          [54] “Alfred James Bond “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [55] “William Henchcliffe Simmons “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [56] “William Hall Densby Coltman “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [57] “Edward Cullen Little “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [58] “John Goutenoire O’Brien “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [59] “Clarence Adrian Seay “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [60] “Charles Ingram Gossage “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          [61] “Charles Alfred Oldbury “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by ROLAND1369 » 07 Mar 2020, 01:48

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 18 Mar 2020, 21:10

          Thanks a lot for your help, ROLAND1369 . a sorry for my late answer..

          Do you have any information about this weapon ? It is in my archives labeled as Beyer Peacock bomb thrower.

          I looking for in the net but with no results except that Beyer Peacock was a British manufacturer of locomotives.

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by ROLAND1369 » 24 Mar 2020, 23:12

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 05 May 2020, 17:44

          I found these images on Getty website archive

          According to photo caption, Vickers workshops.
          Can somebody identify the guns ?

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 24 May 2020, 12:38

          Well, here another image from the same source.
          An 152mm 6in British naval gun used from a railcar during Boer War. Any idea about the exact model ?

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 17 Jun 2020, 23:23

          I am not sure about this gun. I think an 152mm 6in Mk.VII field gun. Is the big handwheel of the left side typical of this model ?

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 19 Nov 2020, 16:01

          I found this image on Ebay. According tophoto caption, Creta.
          I think the gun is, probably, an 152mm 6in gun. Mk.VII . Somebody ?

          Does somebody have any list of the all British coastal defences in Creta in May 1941 ?

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 08 Dec 2020, 12:54

          Well, here another image from Ebay. I think the same gun and localization.
          Any idea ?

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 23 Dec 2020, 00:14

          Well, I hope to have more lucky with my next question.

          Are these 4.5in (114mm) AA guns (either Mk.I-III-IV) ?

          Image from Vickers Barrow-in-Furness archive

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 31 Dec 2020, 11:35

          Are this gun a British 18pdr (83mm) gun or an 75mm ex-US M1917 gun ?
          Are this wheel metal disc model and the pattern of the pneunatic tyres an indicator of his US origin ??

          Re: Id. british gun

          Post by Sturm78 » 12 Jan 2021, 19:46

          Can somebody identify this coastal gun. I am not sure if British or not.
          According to photo caption, Timor so perhaps Dutch.

          Watch the video: Australian Prototype Jungle Carbine Enfields (May 2022).