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Remembered Today:

Tank Gunnery Instruction


Captain Dave
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Was reading the book "Tank Battles in WW1" and within it gives information on how they trained their gunners in the use of the tanks main armament. Basicaly the Army and esp the Arty wouldent let them on their ranges due to the damage and so on, so they liased with the Navy and installed sponsoons on ships. Into the water they go and spend hours shooting at floating targets while the ship pitches and rolls etc.

While this may seem like a strange idea, I thinks it was brilliant for the conditions of the time and possibly even today. I have been wandering around work boring people who will listen with this titbit of information, and people are quite surprised and impressed by the logic behind it. (then they mumble an excuse and leave)

Anybody else think it's brilliant, or a were they wasting their time training in this fashion.

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What an interesting training technique!

It would certainly make sense training to shoot from a moving and pitching platform.

I have just discovered that a man that I am researching spent time as a Gunnery Officer in the Tank Corps. I wonder if he spent time at sea?

Regards

Dave

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It does kind of make sense in away, but seems a lot of agro just to train someone like that. Dave where do you work, ?? I would love to ring up and talk to some of your work mates, i could do with a good laugh :lol::lol:

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In the sense of replicating the pitching and/or rolling motion, a good idea. Short of actually trying to use real tanks on stereotypical front line replicas, it would be hard to replicate this type of motion otherwise. I would think the technique would improve gunnery skills. IIRC, tank crews trained at Bovington did get practice at trying to fire the 6 pdrs in terrain that was pretty up and down. Mitchell describes this in his book. Having trained in this way, it is worth noting that several major tank battles took place on ground that was relatively flat, certainly compared with the archetypal terrain of Third Ypres for example.

Robert

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Guest Pete Wood

At the aerial gunnery school, they did something similar. The school had a miniature railway. The airman sat in a wheeled trolley (like the ones the miners fill, underground, with coal) and, as the trolley built up speed downhill, he fired his machine gun at targets along the route.

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Dave where do you work, ?? I would love to ring up and talk to some of your work mates, i could do with a good laugh :lol::lol:

Ha! I also bring my model tanks to work and show people.

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Was reading the book "Tank Battles in WW1" and within it gives information on how they trained their gunners in the use of the tanks main armament. Basicaly the Army and esp the Arty wouldent let them on their ranges due to the damage and so on, so they liased with the Navy and installed sponsoons on ships. Into the water they go and spend hours shooting at floating targets while the ship pitches and rolls etc.

While this may seem like a strange idea, I thinks it was brilliant for the conditions of the time and possibly even today. I have been wandering around work boring people who will listen with this titbit of information, and people are quite surprised and impressed by the logic behind it. (then they mumble an excuse and leave)

Anybody else think it's brilliant, or a were they wasting their time training in this fashion.

Does your book give any more detailed reference as a source for this supposed training method?

Having never come across it in any PE or oral history interview, I am a bit unsure as to whether it is correct.

I do know tank gunners trainied at the Naval Gunnery School at Whale Island, Plymouth and that rolling, pitching platforms mounting 6 pounder guns were built (on land) at the Tank Gunnery School at Merlimont (as there is an interview and photos at the IWM).

I'd be interested in some sources to investigate further.

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The 6 pounder gun mounted in the sponsons was an RN weapon so RN training makes sense. The tank itself originated in the Admirality.

It was also used by the RGA in defended ports in an anti torpedo boat role and was capable of very high rates of fire

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The 6 pounder gun mounted in the sponsons was an RN weapon so RN training makes sense. The tank itself originated in the Admirality.

It was also used by the RGA in defended ports in an anti torpedo boat role and was capable of very high rates of fire

Yes, but my question is did they really have to go to sea to get training from the Navy?!

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Does your book give any more detailed reference as a source for this supposed training method?

Having never come across it in any PE or oral history interview, I am a bit unsure as to whether it is correct.

I do know tank gunners trainied at the Naval Gunnery School at Whale Island, Plymouth and that rolling, pitching platforms mounting 6 pounder guns were built (on land) at the Tank Gunnery School at Merlimont (as there is an interview and photos at the IWM).

I'd be interested in some sources to investigate further.

The book is Tank battles of WW1, by Bryan Cooper. Pub by The Garden City Press, 1974.

The quote comes from pg 18 where one of the first crew members describes his experiences. Yes they were sent to Whale Island in Porstmouth and then;

"There we were temporarily transfered ot the Navy. It was winter and we went to sea on a destroyer. It's action was supposed to represent the rolling and pitching of a tank. It was so rough at sea that when it was our turn to fire at a target towed by another ship they had to strap us to the gun."

There are some amusing storys of the first training tanks which were canvas mounted on wood that the crew had to carry around pretending they were in a tank.

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Dave

The AWM "Search our Database" has a classification for "Dummies". So I'm right at home.

This 1 is for deception, not training. 1918

ooRoo

post-3-1096947260.jpg

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The book is Tank battles of WW1, by Bryan Cooper. Pub by The Garden City Press, 1974.

Thank'ee, Cap'n. I will take a look.

I had thought we might have a little more in the way of a reference from Mr Cooper!

Bryn

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It is quite possible that the dummy tank illustrated was being used for deceiving the Germans. Dummy tanks were used in an area away from the main attack or to draw fire in an infantry attack. The camoflague pattern is typical of the early Mk Is in 1916.

Robert

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