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Remembered Today:

A Mountain Battery's animals - each carried what?


michaeldr

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I'm looking for information on a how a British Mountain (or later Pack) Battery carried their gun or howitzer.

The information which I already have relates to the Indian version and states that the weapon was broken down into parts and carried by 8 mules.

It's what each mule carried that I would like to know.

I understand that the barrel was in two parts – so carried on two mules?

Then there would be.............? Which parts were carried by the other six animals?

Please oblige and correct this layman's following assumptions:

two wheels, probably on one mule,

the breach,

the trail,

the ammunition was in pouches, 4 rounds to a pouch, two pouches to a mule; so how many of the eight were ammunition mules?

Anything else?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Michael

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The 10 pounder mountain gun was split across four mules. There are photos. Breech end of barrel and breech 1 mule, Carriage 1 mule, Muzzle end of barrel 1 mule, Wheels 1 mule any other mules were presumably carrying tools, ammunition, officer's shaving kit etc. The 3.7 in Pack Howitzer was split between six mules but apart from barrel end and breech 1 mule and rest of barrel 1 mule I don't know how they were distributed.

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Looking at another post-war article (which I probably should have read before making my OP [sorry]),

I see a diagram for the 3.7 Howitzer with the loads for each of the mules indicated by initials, which are as follows:

SL, CH, WA, CA, PI, TR, CR & BR

SL = ?

CH = Chase

WA = Wheels & Axel

CA = Carriage

PI = Pivot

TR = Trail

CR = (Recoil) Cradle

BR = Breach

Can anyone correct my guesses, fill-in the gaps, or amplify any of the above?

Thanks in advance

Michael

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From The Military Mule In The British & Indian Army published byThe British Mule Society 2006:

2.75 inch Gun (screw gun) 10lb shell - 6 mules

wheels and axle

recoil cradle

trail front

trail rear

breech

chase

3.7 inch howitzer (screw gun) 20 lbs shell - 8 mules

carriage

wheels and axle

pivot

cradle

trail legs

shield and slipper

breech

chase

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10 Pounder Mule Team

10 Pdr Mule Team

Indian Mule Artillery

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From The Military Mule In The British & Indian Army published byThe British Mule Society 2006:

2.75 inch Gun (screw gun) 10lb shell - 6 mules

wheels and axle

recoil cradle

trail front

trail rear

breech

chase

3.7 inch howitzer (screw gun) 20 lbs shell - 8 mules

carriage

wheels and axle

pivot

cradle

trail legs

shield and slipper

breech

chase

However this does not match with the information (and photos) in Allied Artillery of World War One (Hogg)

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Michael

Thought you might appreciate this. Apologies for the overprint but it is one I've earmarked for another purpose.

Tim

post-53823-0-88055600-1365439118_thumb.j

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An Indian Gunner in an Indian Mountain Battery (wearing a fantastic side arm) complete with mule.

(another photo from my collection)

Sepot

post-55476-0-89709200-1365444193_thumb.j

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From The Military Mule In The British & Indian Army published byThe British Mule Society 2006:

2.75 inch Gun (screw gun) 10lb shell - 6 mules

wheels and axle

recoil cradle

trail front

trail rear

breech

chase

This appears to be a muddled parts list (it didn't have a recoil cradle) for the earlier 2.5 Inch Rifled Muzzle Loading Seven Pounder Mountain Gun (the original "screw gun") replaced by WW1 This did require 6 mules

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Tim and Sepoy,

very many thanks for posting you most interesting photographs

Centurion,

You may be interested in the following which is from the same article as the diagram above

MountainBatteryMuleLoadsquote_zpsa7d2ee99.jpg

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Any Member in the north of England SHOULD visit the British in India Museum;

http://www.new.fibis.org/archives/315

There are many mountain gunner items displayed.

Harry

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There seems to be considerable confusion here. The break down and carriage of the 10 pounder was carefully designed to allow it to be unstrapped from the mules and assembled within 150 seconds (2½ minutes). There were problems much as described with the earlier 2.5 inch gun. The breakdown as described does seem more appropriate to the earlier gun (for example the two part trail).

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An improved 10 pounder BL Mountain Gun

(photo from my collection)

Sepoy

That's a 2.75 inch mountain gun - can see why it would be called the improved 10 pounder as it was the same barrel from what I can tell

I have manuals for the 10 pounder, 2.75 inch gun and 3.7 inch howitzer if anyone would like copies. The 10 pounder also carried by highland pony by the three batteries of the 4th Highland Mountain Brigade both in the UK and in Gallipoli.

From the manuals;

10 pounder

Gun chase mule

Gun breech mule

Axle Mule

Wheel Mule

Carriage Mule

Then you have others, such as the ammunition mule, wheel and axle mule (spare wheel and spare axle tree etc)

2.75 inch gun

Wheel and axle mule

Trail, front part, mule

Trail, rear part, mule (would also carry the shield)

Recoil cradle mule

Breech mule

Chase mule

Plus ammunition mule, pioneer mule etc

3.7 inch howitzer

Breech mule

Chase mule

Wheel and axle mule (carrying both wheels)

Trail, front part, mule

Trail, rear part, mule

Pivot mule

Cradle mule

Slipper mule (including two shields)

Then others, including ammunition mule, pioneer mule, ammunition shield mule (which also carried shields)

Also bear in mind that for all of these mules carrying gun/howitzer parts, there would be a duplicate 'relief' mule. Plus additional baggage and ammunition mules

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Rob

I was using the original title used in a WW1 period photograph album.

I would be most interested to see the manuals and have sent a PM

Cheers Sepoy

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  • 2 years later...

The following link contains a number of photographs showing the various loads carried by pack mules, mainly for the 3. 7 inch mountain howitzer. {Sadleir-Jackson Brigade, Troitsa, 1919 (near Archangel, Russia))

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?query=pack%20mule%20Troitsa&items_per_page=20

Also some photographs of pack mule models

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/search?query=Pack%20mule%20MOD

Click to enlarge, and for some of the models you will see there are additional views of the same model.

From the IWM collection.

Handbook of the q.f, 3.7-inch mountain howitzer, mark I, 1921. Contains text relating to the loading of mules, but not the illustrative plates which were issued separately.

http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/MAIN:SLV_VOYAGER210104 (catalogue entry ( Download may be somewhat slow)) State Library of Victoria

Cheers

Maureen

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Going back to the original posting (which I can't believe I missed!) the only British Army mountain gunners were the TF group, 4th Highland (Mountain) Brigade, RGA. Other mountain gunners were Indian Army gunners who used mules for transport. Before and after the brigade was mobilized they used Highland Ponies. When they were posted to the 29th Division for Gallipoli, they suffered losses and these lost ponies were replaced by mules. By the time they had fought in Egypt and moved to Salonika in August 1916, all of the animals were mules.

post-2067-0-39140800-1455657455_thumb.jp

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Post mobilization, pre-Gallipoli:

post-2067-0-07826200-1455657609_thumb.jp

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mike,



you are of course, quite correct in your above posts re the Highland mountain gunners,


and I must now confess that my op here was a bit of a cheat really.



At the time I was actually seeking information which would help me with some preliminary remarks at the dedication service for the new memorial to the men who died, not in the Great War, but in 1922



Thanks to RobL, to Dick Flory, and to others here, I think I made a decent stab at explaining, albeit briefly, what a Pack Battery was – see post No. 49 here http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=62331&hl=haifa&page=2


And my thanks now to Maureen and yourself for adding to this thread.



Best regards


Michael


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  • 10 months later...

Sorry I'm a bit late on this post, but I have to respond to Mike's assertion that ' the only British Army mountain gunners were the TF group, 4th Highland (Mountain) Brigade, RGA. Other mountain gunners were Indian Army gunners  who used mules for transport'.

 

As I've explained to Mike (gently) at various times over the last 10 years, the British Mountain Batteries (the 3rd Mountain Brigade, RGA comprising Nos 2, 5 and 7 Mountain Batteries served on the Western Front in 1915 and thereafter in Salonika) were manned by British officers and gunners. The drivers were Indian and used mules for transport. This had been the case in India for all of the British Mountain Batteries (Nos 1 to 10) since 1889.

 

The Indian Mountain Batteries (those other than as mentioned) were indeed, as stated by Mike, manned by British officers, Indian gunners and drivers and which also used mules for transport.

 

The grandfathers of both Mike and me served as officers in the Bute Mountain Battery in Salonika at the same time in 1918. My grandfather served in the unit after having been a (British) gunner in No 7 MB on the Western Front and who had been subsequently commissioned in the field.

 

Regards,

 

Liam Thomas

 

 

 

 

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