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WW1 Military Motors - 1916 set x 50 cards


Lancashire Fusilier

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Lancashire Fusilier

A dismantled Royal Garrison Artillery ( RGA ) 9.2 Howitzer ' En Train ', with a Holt 75 Tractor hauling the Vickers Howitzer Travelling Carriages along a timbered plank road, somewhere on the Western Front.


The planked road has been laid alongside a former light railway line, the remnants of some of the light rail track can still be seen.


Interestingly, a 4-wheeled Limber has been added to the usual 3 carriage convoy, linked behind the Carriage & Cradle's Travelling Carriage, this being the first photograph I have seen of a 4th transport being added to a Travelling Carriage convoy.



LF




IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.


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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

George,

An interesting photograph, and I am wondering if the Howizter may have been shifted by nearby shelling of the area, as the right hand base of the Dirt Box has also been dislodged ?

Regards,

LF

Yes I wondered that, but their shells are all in a nice row suggesting either they weren't just hit or that the gun is functional and ready to go?

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A dismantled Royal Garrison Artillery ( RGA ) 9.2 Howitzer ' En Train ', with a Holt 75 Tractor hauling the Vickers Howitzer Travelling Carriages along a timbered plank road, somewhere on the Western Front.

The planked road has been laid alongside a former light railway line, the remnants of some of the light rail track can still be seen.

Interestingly, a 4-wheeled Limber has been added to the usual 3 carriage convoy, linked behind the Carriage & Cradle's Travelling Carriage, this being the first photograph I have seen of a 4th transport being added to a Travelling Carriage convoy.

LF

IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

I have seen this photo before, it is a pity that the right hand side is non too clear, my first thought was that it was a "limbered" wagon hitched up, I now notice a passenger just sitting on the second "trailer" and what appears to be the draught pole running between the two...but the detail is a bit blurred. Ever noticed these photographers never considered that others would like to see more detail !!!!!!!!

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Looking again at post #4174.....just noticed the earth box. The box is built up from panels, the sides are in halves and joined. Note the outer panel has the lower half displaced, the level of the earth inside would appear to have run out of the gap.....I now wonder if this might have been a near miss.

#4177......could this be a cable laying limber ?????

George.

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Lancashire Fusilier

The photographs showing the 3 parts of a dismantled 9.2 Howitzer already loaded onto their Vickers Travelling Carriages and successfully ' En Train ', is only part of the overall picture, and does not show the tremendous manpower that was required to manhandle the various extremely heavy parts of the Howitzer onto their Travelling Carriages, which was often undertaken in the most atrocious battlefield conditions.


In the next 2 photographs, we see men of the 124th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, hauling a 9.2 Howitzer on it's Travelling Carriage to a new position, this being done in the quagmire conditions of the Passchendaele battlefield, near the village of Pilkem ( Pilckem ) just North of Ypres in the West Flanders region of Belgium, with the photographs being taken on 14th September 1917, mid-way through the Battle of Passchendaele fought from July to November 1917.


Off to the far left, can be seen standing horses, which are likely waiting for the Travelling Carriage to be hitched-up, as due to the quagmire conditions which were usually unsuitable for a heavy Holt 75 Tractor, the Howitzer's Travelling Carriages seen in these photographs, were probably horse-drawn.


Also of note, the stockpile of heavy Howitzer shells neatly lined up in the mud.



LF




IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.


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Lancashire Fusilier

This photograph again showing the same 9.2 Howitzer being moved in the Passchendaele quagmire, as in the previous post. Interestingly, the Howitzer's Carriage, Cradle and Barrel have been loaded onto a Vickers Travelling Carriage still assembled, presumably doing away with the need for an additional Travelling Carriage normally used for the separate Barrel, giving the men of the 124th Siege Battery RGA one less Travelling Carriage to load and haul.

Also of note, the common wheelbarrow seen on the right.

LF

IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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Hi LF,

A contingent of 30+ needed to manhandle the gun into position.

To the left of the photo is a pile of "bagged charges" in their containers, in the second photo, by the wheelbarrow. I think they were possibly tin......no sparks !!

Really heavy going in this sort of terrain.

After all that heaving and pulling, the next job would be to clean all the mud off those shells.

An interesting variation, this photo from the AWM site shows guns emplaced with one set of transporting wheels attached, obviously firmer ground.

George.

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Lancashire Fusilier

An excellent detailed photograph showing men of the Royal Garrison Artillery, hauling their dismantled 9.2 Howizter's Carriage and Cradle on it's Travelling Carriage into position to link with the Travelling Carriage loaded with the Howitzer's Barrel, in preparation for moving their Howitzer forward.

Again, we can see the enormous manpower needed to both load and manhandle these extremely heavy Howitzer parts into position.

This photograph was taken on 5th September 1917, near the town of Wieltje, which is just a few miles N.E. of Ypres in the West Flanders region of Belgium.

LF

IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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On hard standing, no mud and under cover, it took less people to assemble the gun...this is Crystal Palace in the 20's.

The barrel being readying for insertion, as the dolly wheels rode up the carriage the front wheels were clear of the ground, the chap in the foreground is working the wheel that enabled the transport carriage to traverse a few degrees either side of centre. The operation required the chaps to work in unison, the elevating wheel and barrel position had to be spot on to avoid damage to the slides on the barrel......when this was done in the field as shown by the earlier photo's is nothing short of amazing.

George

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Lancashire Fusilier
Two additional photographs, giving more details of the dismantled 9.2 Howitzer at the Wieltje emplacement shown in the previous post.

On the left in the first photograph, we can see the Vickers Travelling Carriage loaded with the Howitzer's Barrel and a second Travelling Carriage carrying the Howitzer's Carriage and Cradle, and to their right, is the Holt 75 Tractor which will haul them. In front of the Holt 75 Tractor is the 3rd Travelling Carriage, which will carry the Howitzer's Bed.

In the foreground, is the light railway track which would have been used to deliver shells and other supplies to the emplacement, and to the right, is the netting used to camouflage the Howitzer's Gun Pit.

On the distant horizon, can be see the outline of a WD Light Rail Petrol-Electric Tractor hauling wagons loaded with troops.


LF



IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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Lancashire Fusilier
In this photograph, again taken at the Wieltje 9.2 Howitzer emplacement, we can see further details of the 3rd Vickers Travelling Carriage and the rear of the Holt 75 Tractor shown in the previous post.

This photograph, gives some nice details of the Howitzer parts carried on the ' Bed ' Travelling Carriage, which included the Howitzer's disassembled Dirt Box stacked in sections, and also the Howitzer's Gunners can be seen hauling heavy beams up onto the Travelling Carriage, which are either part of the Howitzer's Bed or possibly some of the Howitzer's Holdfast Beams ?


LF



IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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Hi LF,

These look definitely like the beams for the holdfast, their size is comparable to the drawings from the manual, I have seen (all) these photo's as they were part of my original research.

Others from the AWM site were helpful as well.

These photographs are interesting in that they show the axles stowed under cover, they have the towing hitch / steering assembly for engine traction.

It also looks as if there is another barrel transporter under the tarp, what seems to be the "nose" that housed the gears for the winching mechanism just poking out.

The shells also have the wooden battens for handling.

So far this is the only photo I have seen that include the beams as a load. But the length would preclude another part of the gun transports being attached. Nothing is ever definate to conclude, but there is a possibility that the bed and beams could be transported as a load, as there is photographic evidence of the "train" consisting of barrel and carriage only.

But one can only wonder of the sheer effort required in these conditions.

George.

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Lancashire Fusilier
A hauling gear winch, encased in a metal chain guard housing, was fitted to the howitzer barrel's travelling carriage, and was used when mounting the howitzer's barrel into the howitzer's cradle, or dismounting the barrel from the howitzer's cradle.

It consists of an endless chain which, by means of sprocket wheels, imparts motion to a larger endless chain to which the howitzer's barrel is connected.

Two rods, one on each side, are attached to a crossbar used for connecting the rear of the barrel's travelling carriage to the howitzer's carriage, and securing it in place while mounting or dismounting the howitzer's barrel.

In the attached photograph, showing details from the photograph in post #4184, the metal chain guard housing is marked with an arrow.


Also attached, is a technical drawing taken from a 9.2 Howizter's Service Handbook, showing details of the howitzer barrel's hauling gear winch.


LF




IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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Lancashire Fusilier

The 9.2 howitzer travelling carriage's hauling gear winch assembly.

LF

This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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Lancashire Fusilier

So far this is the only photo I have seen that include the beams as a load.

But one can only wonder of the sheer effort required in these conditions.

George,

I was particularly pleased to see the beams being loaded onto the howizter's ' Bed ' travelling carriage as shown in post 4187, and although this is the only photograph I have seen thus far showing the loading of the beams onto a travelling carriage, I shall continue to look for any others.

And yes, what a great effort was needed to disassemble a 9.2 howitzer, load it onto the travelling carriages, transport it, and then reassemble the howitzer, all often done under the most difficult battlefield conditions.

Regards,

LF

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Lancashire Fusilier
This photograph illustrates the re-assembling of the 9.2 Howitzer, which commences with the ground at the new emplacement site being excavated to take the Howitzer's ' Bed ', which is made up of the various Holdfast Beams. The Holdfast Beams are then ' dug in ', levelled and secured in place, after which, the travelling carriage holding the Howitzer's Carriage and Cradle, is manoeuvred into position and location points in the Howitzer's Bed are aligned with corresponding location points in the Howitzer's Carriage, with the Carriage then being lowered into position atop the Howitzer's Bed and secured to the Bed.
The Travelling Carriage holding the Howitzer's Barrel is then wheeled into position and secured to the Howitzer's Carriage, then using the endless chain winch attached to the barrel, the barrel is then hauled into position and carefully aligned inside the Howitzer's Cradle.
LF
This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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LF,

The manual goes to great lengths describing the assembly, though the sketches could be a bit clearer.....the US version, (there is a British one too) does give scale drawings of the different transport arrangements......these were what I used to base the model on......next (long term) project, to depict the gun being assembled.....though I need 30 to 40 figures in different poses and wearing different clothes.....quite a mix some of these guys are wearing.

I've trawled through pretty much what IWM and AWM have in their photo collections, plus the collection for the Holt....I came up with much the same as you.....

George

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Lancashire Fusilier

Whilst this photograph was taken in the safe and sterile environment of the then new Imperial War Museum building located in the Crystal Palace on Sydenham Hill, rather than the very dangerous and difficult conditions of the Western Front battlefields, it does give some good details of the process used to roll the Vickers Travelling Carriage carrying the Howitzer's Barrel into position, and then using the endless chain winch, haul the barrel into position inside the Howitzer's Cradle.

Also of note is the metal chain guard housing the endless chain winch, and the Vickers Travelling Carriage's massive 60 x 6 inch 14 spoke wheels each weighing 336 lbs.

The dismantled 9.2 Howitzer shown in this photograph, was the first 9.2 Howitzer sent to the Western Front ( Flanders ) in October 1914, hence it's nickname of ' Mother '. This particular 9.2 Howitzer saw continuous service on the Western Front throughout WW1, and at the end of WW1 was moved to Cologne, Germany with the Occupation Forces, before being selected to be the Imperial War Museum's permanent 9.2 Howitzer exhibit.

Although this photograph is undated, we can estimate the period that the ' Mother ' 9.2 Howitzer was installed at Crystal Palace based on it being at the 10th Siege Battery's Camp at Wahn near Cologne, Germany in early 1919, and the new Imperial War Museum opening at Crystal Palace on 9th June 1920.

After being on display at the IWM Crystal Palace from June 1920 to 1924, it was then moved to the new IWM building at South Kensington, and then in 1936, it was again moved to the current IWM building in former Bethlem Royal Hospital on Lambeth Road, London, which opened on 7th July, 1936, and where ' Mother ' remains on view today.

LF

IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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I wonder where these transporting units ended up ???

The photo is actually reversed, not uncommon, I have seen other examples of photo's back to front.

The winch gear cover is on the opposite side (it was offset) and the breech ring is also reversed....the hinge points for the breech should be on he right as seen from the loading end, here they are on the left side.

Of note, the brake arms could be dis-connected and folded back out of the way when the carriage was offered up to insert the barrel.

As I mentioned before, "anoraks rule".

George.

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The photo is actually reversed, not uncommon, I have seen other examples of photo's back to front.

Fascinating stuff, this.

David

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Lancashire Fusilier

The photo is actually reversed, not uncommon, I have seen other examples of photo's back to front.

George,

At least the IWM got the photograph the right way around in post #4184.

Regards,

LF

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Lancashire Fusilier

Fascinating stuff, this.

David

David,

I also think so, and here is another photograph, which appears to be the right way around, of the ' Mother ' 9.2 Howitzer being re-assembled in the then new Imperial War Museum located at the Crystal Palace, with the new IWM being opened by King George V on 9th June, 1920.

The Howitzer's Vickers Travelling Carriage would have been used to transport the dismantled 9.2 Howitzer from the 10th Siege Battery's Camp at Wahn near Cologne, Germany to the Crystal Palace, sometime in the Spring of 1919.

This photograph, also gives a good view of the IWM interior at the Crystal Palace.

Regards,

LF

IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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I think there were four or five in the original series.

Another intriguing "fact", the upper oil filled buffer absorbed recoil, the lower cylinder was air filled and returned the barrel after firing, hence the guns have an air compressor mounted permanently. There was a connector under the barrel that mated with the lower cylinder via a slipper. As the barrel could not be withdrawn with this fitting in place, being too large to pass through the cradle, the slipper had a slot and key to disconnect the barrel from the slipper. The two bars at the extreme front of the cradle supported this slipper when the barrel was to be withdrawn. These are clearly seen in the photo, there are two rods and a cross bar.

When the barrel was fitted, the rods and cross bar were disconnected.

The gun was very well designed, a lot of ingenious bits and pieces to make it possible to be dismantled.

The MkII did service with the BEF in France 1940.

In making the kit, I managed to learn quite a lot about the gun and its construction.

I thought that this example now in the IWM was returned to the UK and used for trials in the UK.

George.

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Lancashire Fusilier

This photograph, gives excellent details of the re-assembled 9.2 Howitzer nicknamed ' Mother ', being readied for the 9th June 1920 opening of the new Imperial War Museum, then housed at Crystal Palace, London.

LF

IWM This image is reproduced strictly for non-commercial research and private study purposes as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.

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