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Remembered Today:

Classification of Turkish Artillery


johnshep

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In the Turkish Machine Guns at Gallipoli thread (page 27, post 395 - Classic Threads), Michaeldr posted an image showing the various symbols used on Ottoman maps denoting artillery pieces with a helpful summary of their likely interpretation. I think these symbols are those appearing in the Ottoman 1:5,000 maps. See details below:

OttomanMilitaryMapSymbols.jpg

The interpretation he gives is:

17:- Howitzer/Shell [second thoughts on this one; the Turkish word is Obüs, so go with Howitzer and ignore the ref to 'shell']

18:- Howitzer/ Mortar [likewise in this case the Turkish is Havan Topu, so go with Mortar instead of 'Howitzer']

19:- Field Gun

20:- Mounted Gun/Cannon

21:- Heavy Field Gun and Naval Cannon

22:- Aircraft Gun/Cannon [I would guess that this should be Anti-Aircraft Gun]

I would like to attempt a reconciliation between this information and that given in a list supplied by the Turkish General Staff in which they detail gun positions but broadly speaking classify the guns simply as Mt QF (presumably quick-firing mountain guns) and Fd QF (presumably quick-firing field guns). Can anyone help me with the classifications of nos 17,18, 20,21 and 22 - i.e. which are mountain guns and which are field guns?

Also as a matter of interest, what is the rate of fire for 'quick-firing' guns?

Any guidance would be much appreciated.

John

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Guest Bill Woerlee

John

My reading of it is as follows:

17 - 10.5cm Howitzer

18 - 12cm mortar

19 - FA Battery, Mantelli

20 - Mountain Battery, ordinary

21 and 22 are pretty well as you have described.

Hope that helps a little.

Cheers

Bill

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In the Turkish Machine Guns at Gallipoli thread (page 27, post 395 - Classic Threads), Michaeldr posted an image showing the various symbols used on Ottoman maps denoting artillery pieces with a helpful summary of their likely interpretation. I think these symbols are those appearing in the Ottoman 1:5,000 maps. See details below:

The interpretation he gives is:

17:- Howitzer/Shell [second thoughts on this one; the Turkish word is Obüs, so go with Howitzer and ignore the ref to 'shell']

18:- Howitzer/ Mortar [likewise in this case the Turkish is Havan Topu, so go with Mortar instead of 'Howitzer']

19:- Field Gun

20:- Mounted Gun/Cannon

21:- Heavy Field Gun and Naval Cannon

22:- Aircraft Gun/Cannon [I would guess that this should be Anti-Aircraft Gun]

I would like to attempt a reconciliation between this information and that given in a list supplied by the Turkish General Staff in which they detail gun positions but broadly speaking classify the guns simply as Mt QF (presumably quick-firing mountain guns) and Fd QF (presumably quick-firing field guns). Can anyone help me with the classifications of nos 17,18, 20,21 and 22 - i.e. which are mountain guns and which are field guns?

Also as a matter of interest, what is the rate of fire for 'quick-firing' guns?

Any guidance would be much appreciated.

John

A few comments. I think I have seen the Turks use Obues (sorry, no Umlaut) for a shell and a gun, like "mortar" is used for a gun and somewtimes a Mortar (shell).

Generally I think you have it. The symbols are close to German symbols for artillery for the period that I see on German documents. But not identical, except for the field gun.

Typically, mountain guns were very similar to field guns of the period; perhaps a lighter carraige, a shorter barrel, often the same or close caliber.

Supposedly QF guns could fire 8-15 rounds a minute, possibly a bit more. The French 75, for some mechanical reason, could fire a bit quicker than the German 77. Mostly that was not important, people would usually not fire that fast. With their ammo and other materiel problems, I doubt if the Turks ever tried to fire that quickly.

I was just reading Prigge's book (L. von Sanders' adjutant) and he described mountain guns being used by the Turks as AA artillery. Perhaps like the Brits using 13 pounders, a bit lighter than std. field-guns..

Bob Lembke

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John

These are from a translation of Turkish order of battle produced in Cairo and corrected to 30th January 1917 by Intelligence section of E.E.F. hope it helps. Photographed at kew.

Hope they help

Cheers

Dominic

and #2

post-3023-1249979300.jpg

post-3023-1249979376.jpg

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Thanks to Bob and Dominic - those were both incredibly helpful posts.

Prompted by the conventional sign for the Mantelli gun, I think I may have read somewhere that their rate of fire was much slower than the QF - something like 3 rounds a minute. I assume this is something to do with the method of loading the gun?

John

PS Dominic - just as an aside, does the tannoy at Salisbury station still pronounce 'Salisbury' the way you have written it?

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Hi John

Glad to help and yes you do still get that tannoy voice occasionally-but only if the mechanized BBC english woman voice is broken! Attached is the other page of the turkish symbols-I like the remount and balloon ones!

Cheers

Dominic

post-3023-1249990148.jpg

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Domsim,

You are a champion! Thank you for those images. Do you have the title and TNA Reference Number? I would like to add it to my list of books to read on my next visit in 2010 or 2014 (not being facetious, budgeting and all that for a trip from Australia).

Can I add more to the description of "mountain guns". A mountain gun was designed to go where "field guns" and other towed guns could not go by being quickly broken down into pack horse, mule and even man packed loads, so a barrel, the trunnions, axle, wheels, the trail and on more modern guns the recoil mechanism. This link is to Wikipedia image of a RML 2.5 inch mountain gun being assembled, probably the same type of guns went ashore at Anzac Cove with the Indian Army Mountain Gun Battery.

Though the 2.5 inch gun probably fired unique ammunition, more modern mountain guns were designed to share ammunition with field guns, though often at lower "charge" (reduced number of propellant bags) to reduce and account for the lower stresses that a mountain gun could handle.

An infantry gun differed in that it fired unique low velocity ammunition from a gun with a much shorter barrel. For those that may recall images of the Japanese in WW2 pushing or pulling small guns into combat, these are infantry guns, though I don't know of any types that existed in 1914. The other distinguishing characteristic between a mountain gun and an infantry gun is the range, a mountain gun fired close to "conventional gun" range and is aimed and adjusted in the same way as "conventional artillery, an infantry gun fired line of sight.

Cheers,

Hendo

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Hi Hendo

The document reference is CAB 45/106 and title is as attached picture. It is not actually a translation but an OOB put together from intelligence sources. It is in the cabinet papers because it is the section of papers to do with the production of the British Official Histories-this is vast resource for all theatres in WW1 and includes original letters and diaires used in the production of the British Official Histories. If you go to the National Archive catalogue website, type in the above reference and then browse you will see what I mean.

If you are a Gallipoli researcher another thing for your reading list at Kew is document

AIR 1/2317/223/21/108 (A Short history of Turkish Operations in the Great War, including the Dardanelles Campaign. 1914-1918).

It contains 2 files of a translation of the Turkish Official History of the Dardanelles campaign (ground war) done by a Lt. Col. H.M. Cornwall. Not really my area but I had a look through it a couple of years ago but I took no photos unfortunatley! I did post this reference on a thread a couple of years ago.

Hope this helps

Cheers

Dominic :D

post-3023-1249995514.jpg

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Can I add more to the description of "mountain guns". A mountain gun was designed to go where "field guns" and other towed guns could not go by being quickly broken down into pack horse, mule and even man packed loads, so a barrel, the trunnions, axle, wheels, the trail and on more modern guns the recoil mechanism. This link is to Wikipedia image of a RML 2.5 inch mountain gun being assembled, probably the same type of guns went ashore at Anzac Cove with the Indian Army Mountain Gun Battery.

I guess I forgot what might be the 2nd (and original) form of mountain gun, a very light gun often 2-3" and firing a low-charge round, with the gun easily broken down to packable loads. I have also heard of these called "pack-guns". I would imagine that the larger type might also break down, but the components would not be that easily packed by many modes of transport.

Though the 2.5 inch gun probably fired unique ammunition, more modern mountain guns were designed to share ammunition with field guns, though often at lower "charge" (reduced number of propellant bags) to reduce and account for the lower stresses that a mountain gun could handle.

An infantry gun differed in that it fired unique low velocity ammunition from a gun with a much shorter barrel. For those that may recall images of the Japanese in WW2 pushing or pulling small guns into combat, these are infantry guns, though I don't know of any types that existed in 1914. The other distinguishing characteristic between a mountain gun and an infantry gun is the range, a mountain gun fired close to "conventional gun" range and is aimed and adjusted in the same way as "conventional artillery, an infantry gun fired line of sight.

"Infantry gun" had two distinct meanings in the Great War context. I agree that I don't know of any that existed in 1914, but the French and the Austrians developed low velocity 37 mm guns about the size of a bulky MG and mounted on a tripod. The Americans adopted the French 37 mm and there is a famous photo of one in action. An American e-friend has one of the Austrian guns; a German dealer had a photo of an Austrian gun and two-man team, it had Suetterlin writing on the face. The dealer described it as "Czech". I could see that it was in fact Slovene. An American bought it for quite a bit, and I e-mailed him with a translation, roughly: "More work for the widow-maker". The fellow turned out to be a friend of friends, and he was restoring one. He also has a fully restored, firing, and licensed MG 08/15.

The second meaning was the German "Infanterie=Geschuetz", one name for a (sometimes) modified fieldgun (usually) used for close support of the infantry. The concept was pioneered by Sturm=Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr). In the last 1 1/2 years of the war most active infantry regiments on the West Front had one or two of these. 50 batteries were especially set up, but more were supplied from field gun regiments. Usually 77 mm field pieces, occasionally 105 mm howitzers. Sometimes the gun was modified, smaller wheels, perhaps a shorter barrel, sometimes other modifications. They were also used for anti-tank purposes.

I looked at the symbols that were posted; they are not identical to the German symbols, but those for light guns are close and for the field gun the same.

Bob

Cheers,

Hendo

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Dominic

Once again, thanks very much for the additional information - I can tell you it has fairly set things alight for me this end and had I not been off on my travels tomorrow, I would have been heading for TNA. Your information touches on matters considered recently in several other threads and will move things forward there too I'm sure.

Just to whet my appetite, can you recall whether you found any maps and/or sketches with the CAB 45/ series? The correspondence in CAB 45/241ff refers to maps and sketches but they are not to be found in the parent files. I had failed to trace them at TNA and Woolwich and come to the conclusion that they had either gone to a private collector or been scrapped.

Bob and Hendo

Thanks for the input concerning the guns - its all beginning to make more sense now.

John

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Dominic,

I must also join the others with my thanks for your posting of the 3 pages of Turkish order of battle. A revelation to have the penny drop with the notation to the machine gun symbol, "Machine gun Company"

With the investigation into the Esat Pasha, 4th August map, I had pondered the lack in numbers of machine gun positions indicated at the Nek and Baby 700.

It should have been obvious, but taking the machine gun symbols on the map to represent single, or dual, gun emplacements, I became fixated on that line of thought. The symbols to represent each Regiments machine gun company now makes perfect sense, and will explain why the various machine gun emplacements are not shown, merely indicating the identity each Regiments machine gun section at each particular location.

Working on the principal that each Regiment's machine gun unit had eight machine guns, this now puts more reliance on C.E.W. Bean's estimate to the number of guns that fired onto the Nek during the 3rd L.H. Bde's charge. It also to some extent conforms to the British intelligence to the number of Turkish machine guns thought to be arranged for that roll, as set out in the various versions of orders for the assault on Baby 700, particularly "Operational Order No. 1".

I am eternally grateful, it just takes a post of reliable information such as yours to jolt the brain back into gear.

Jeff

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Jeff;

I must also join the others with my thanks for your posting of the 3 pages of Turkish order of battle. A revelation to have the penny drop with the notation to the machine gun symbol, "Machine gun Company"

I noticed it before, but I did not think of mentioning it, but the "machine gun symbol" is very unlikely to actually be for "a machine gun company". Just compare it with the other symbols, or for that matter, most systems used by other armies, like I experienced centuries ago in the context of the US Army. The symbol is the symbol for a gun. Units are almost always the rectangles, as the others are.

With the investigation into the Esat Pasha, 4th August map, I had pondered the lack in numbers of machine gun positions indicated at the Nek and Baby 700.

It should have been obvious, but taking the machine gun symbols on the map to represent single, or dual, gun emplacements, I became fixated on that line of thought. The symbols to represent each Regiments machine gun company now makes perfect sense, and will explain why the various machine gun emplacements are not shown, merely indicating the identity each Regiments machine gun section at each particular location.

Some Pals are having a discussion of Turkish MGs at Gallipoli on another thread. Some one was insisting that the TOE of a Turkish Division had each of three infantry regiments having a MG company. I posted a quote (translated) from Major Prigge, Liman von Sanders' Adjutant, stating clearly that each Turkish division had three infantry regiments, one squadron of cavalry, one regiment of field guns, and one machine gun company. That is one MG gun company per division. Possibly three in theory, I don't know, but one in practice. The Turkish Army had lost a lot of equipment in the Balkan Wars, and had not replaced much of it. The symbol chart lists "bridging battalion". In 1915 the Turks did not have one bridging pontoon. All lost in the Balkans, and not replaced.

Working on the principal that each Regiment's machine gun unit had eight machine guns, this now puts more reliance on C.E.W. Bean's estimate to the number of guns that fired onto the Nek during the 3rd L.H. Bde's charge. It also to some extent conforms to the British intelligence to the number of Turkish machine guns thought to be arranged for that roll, as set out in the various versions of orders for the assault on Baby 700, particularly "Operational Order No. 1".

I do not know where "eight MGs" comes from. The Turkish MG company had four MGs in the unit, and, ideally, one spare in the wagons, but someone thought that that was unlikely. A German MG company of the time had six guns (except Jaegers, who had 12); in 1916 they started to go to 12 per company. I don't think that the Turks ever rose over four, but I am not sure. But not at Gallipoli. The Turks had very, very few MGs, especially at the time of the landing. Prigge describes how over time they captured more and more MGs and MG ammo, first giving them to German sailor MG crews who had lost their Maxims, and then being able to form more Turkish MG companies. April 25 the Turks only had a handful of MGs at Gallipoli, and given Liman von Sanders' defensive strategy, I doubt that a single one was emplaced along the water line. Or, possibly 1, 2, 3, but probably not. The Turks had many more artillery pieces than MGs, probably more than 10 times as many.

I am eternally grateful, it just takes a post of reliable information such as yours to jolt the brain back into gear.

Jeff

Bob Lembke

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Bob and Jeff,

I agree with the symbol being for the MG company, as it was also used in that way by the Germans pre-war.

To suggest that unit symbols must be enclosed by a rectangle is presumptive and applying more modern practices (though not current, which use rectangles, squares, quadrafoils and "diamonds for untis depending on whether they are allied, neutral, unkown and enemy - Mil Std 2525C). Different nations applied different symbols for the same thing, in different contexts, which is why it is always a fascinating battlefield intelligence analysis task if they are not known pre war when marked maps are captured.

Bob, I was also the one who posted that the Turkish Army authorised a MG Company per Regiment, but as you say not all Regiments had them, indeed by the time of "The Nek" more than one Company per Division could be expected as the Ottomans rationalised MG needs in other locations.

The problem with employment is we often apply more modern concepts, which in part result from the portability of LMG and GPMG like the M60 and L7/MAG58 of about 30 pounds with a belt of ammunition attached. All up a MG08 weighed 120 pounds plus with ammunition, it was not a gun that could be put in front line trenches, it needed a trench of infantry, in front, to provide it protection, whilst it provided the direct support the infantry required. But more importantly as a valuable and crucial Regmiental and Divisional asset, they would have been the subject of close supervision by Regiment commanders, whilst also being able to quickly respond to the Regiment commanders orders in the day pre battlefield telephone and radio. I imagine losing an MG in those days would have been like artillery losing a gun, humiliating and often resulting in that commanders commision being lost.

Cheers,

Hendo

PS: Jeff, thank you so much for the text on MG use in 1916, I apologise for not responding to your email earlier.

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Thanks Bob,

You are correct to point out my erroneous statement of a Turkish machine company having eight machine guns, and you have beaten me to it with making a correction to that.

In my hast to to thank Dominic for the Turkish order of battle, and reference to the Esat Pasha map, I should have stated the eight machine guns of the 'two' Turkish Regiments holding the forward positions at the Nek, the 18th & 72nd Regiments.

The map shows both these regiments positioned there, the 18th holding the first line of trenches, the 72nd further up on Baby 700 in support.

The machine gun company of the 72nd is shown having guns at the head of Monash Valley and further up on Baby 700, over to the left at the head of Malone's Gully, reportedly two, which accords with the British intelligence. So it can be firmly established that the 72nd Regiment did have a machine gun company.

The 18th Regiment is shown on the map just by its symbol, no machine gun positions, but from Turkish sources, plus the recent post on the Australian Light Horse forum by Steve Becker, it is stated that this regiment also had a machine gun company. (1/3 18th and Machine Gun Company).

This section of the Turkish defence was allotted to the 19th Division, but the 18th Regiment belonged to another division and was attached to the 19th Div. This would account for both Regiments within the 19th Div having machine gun companies, tho with the 18th I have no firm evidence for that other than that of machine guns from Baby 700 firing on the charge.

I suppose I should apologise for putting this up on a topic concerned with Turkish artillery, and rightly placed it back in the machine gun topic, but it's too late now, I've done it.

Hendo,

No trouble with that, just as long as the information has been of assistance. I should have remembered the 1916 Field Pocket Book long before this, yet another example of old age catching up with me, although not to be to hard on myself, probably just a case of trying to deal with to many things at the one time.

Jeff

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Dear all

I'm glad the photos were useful and have prompted such enthusiasm-its nice to know your lone trawls through obscure material are also useful to other people!

John- I have not really looked at any material in CAB45 in any depth yet-my interest is in the Ottoman Army in the Hejaz and East Jordan. I only really stumbled on all this when doing some word searches on the NA catalogue search engine. I am planning to go up to Kew on Saturday so will try and have a look at some bits and pieces if i have time.

Cheers

Dominic

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As starter of this thread, everyone is entirely forgiven for going off at a tangent on MGs if they could please, please give me some pointers as to where 12 Divisions MGs were on August 21. (Now I shall have to forgive myself!).

John

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Mates,

Jeff is correct all four Regts of the 19th Div had a MG Company.

The Bean map page 609 Vol 2 AOWH has markings of five MG s known to be in the area of Baby 700 and the Nek.

All are shown as single MG's and not in pairs or are they?

Two are shown at the Nek and two in the Baby 700 area while one is shown on the Chess board.

Now were these all from the 18th Regt and 72nd Regt?

Where were the four guns of the 27th Regt?

Where were the four guns of the 57th Regt?

S.B

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Philip,

Thank you for that excellent link,

Cheers,

Hendo

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Mates,

Jeff is correct all four Regts of the 19th Div had a MG Company.

The Bean map page 609 Vol 2 AOWH has markings of five MG s known to be in the area of Baby 700 and the Nek.

All are shown as single MG's and not in pairs or are they?

Two are shown at the Nek and two in the Baby 700 area while one is shown on the Chess board.

Now were these all from the 18th Regt and 72nd Regt?

Where were the four guns of the 27th Regt?

Where were the four guns of the 57th Regt?

S.B

Steve,

Thank you for that. I believe Bean has marked individual machine guns on that map. The problem with interpreting the Ottoman maps is that the symbol .l. represents the MG Coy, in the case of MAJ Sefik Bey's map from the morning of the landing he has represented the two sections of the company each with their own symbol. As I have said in a previous post, maneouvre, mobility and the uncertainty that applied on the day of the landing no longer apply, once the realities of trench warfare applied I have no doubt machine guns were placed where they could best provide support to the Ottoman infantry, it would have been pointelss massing them at that point and having runners going to and from passing requests for fire support back to them.

However with my own experience working with a Sustained Fire MG Platoon (Vickers) and talking to my father who served as a No#1 in a Vickers PL leads me to believe they Ottomans probably had one of the companies in depth, in a defilade position firiing enfilade onto a number of targets from distances over 1200ms.

I would suspect the same issues for locating ANZAC Vickers and Maxim's would apply, no one would put a valuable MG up in say Quinns Post, but a MG or MG's placed of to a flank could provide exceptional enfilade fire to support the guys in the post, from a distance.

Cheers,

Hendo

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