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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RFA - jobs of the 10 men of a 13/18 pounder in 1914


tarzanakid

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For accuracy in the current (3rd) WW1 novel I'm writing , can anyone tell me:

1)Were the three drivers (outriders) usually actual gun crew members or did they go back with the horses to the rear when the gun was in action until needed as replacements etc?

2) some pics show two men riding on the gun limber & some nobody riding on it - which was more usual & what did those two do in action?

3) I'm confused as to the difference between the gun limber (24 rounds) & the ammunition wagon (38 rounds) as they look similar. Were both brought into line with the gun in action or did the ammo wagon wait at the rear with the horses until the limber rounds used up? How many horses pulled the 38 round ammo wagon & was it driven by men on the seat or on saddles? Were there also larger ammo wagons for the guns ie 4-wheel ones (& if so, how many horses?)

4) which members of the 10 man team had their own individual horse?

5) did these arrangements change as the war progressed?

6) I have the usual Osprey books but can members recommend the best books on the such typical detail as the questions I'm asking and also the best giving technical details of the 13/18 pounder guns as used in WW1.

Thank you, Bob

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Hello Bob

The following is extracted from the handbook in Johnboy's post, but may be easier to read:

Gun Drill for 18-pounder field gun

Positions when mounted:
1 and 10 on their horses, and when limbered up usually on the left of the gun and wagon leaders respectively.
2 and 3 on the gun limber.
4 on the wagon of the firing battery.
5 and 6 on the wagon limber.
7 and 8 on the first-line wagon limber.
9 on the first-line wagon.
2, 4, 6 and 8 on the near side.
3, 5, 7 and 9 on the off side.

Positions in action:
1 kneels on the right side of the trail, just in front of the trail handles.
2 sits astride on the seat on the right side.
3 sits on the seat on the left side.
4 kneels behind 3, or behind 2 if the wagon is on the right of the gun or at limber supply.
5 kneels in rear of the wagon on the side nearest the gun.
6 kneels in rear of the wagon on the side farthest from the gun.
7, 8 and 9 remain with the first line wagon. They assist in the supply of ammunition and replace casualties in the firing battery as ordered.
[10 is the corporal, who remains with the wagons ready to replace no.1 if required.]

General duties in action:
1 is responsible for the entire service of the gun.
2 attends to the breech mechanism, range indicator, clamping gears and brake, lowers and raises the shield, attends to the fuze indicator on the shield when required, and mans the right wheel forward when the trail has to be lifted.
3 lays, fires, attends to the releasing lever of the brake, and assists 2 to raise and lower the shield.
4 loads, assists in setting fuzes when required, attends to aiming posts when in use, and mans the left wheel forward when the trail has to be lifted.
5 sets fuzes and supplies ammunition.
6 attends to the fuze indicator, and assisats in supplying ammunition.

The following is from the corresponding handbook for the 13-pounder:

Gun Drill for 13-pounder field gun

The detachment:
The detachment consists of nine men, together with two horse-holders, Nos. 10 and 11. In each section an extra horse-holder, numbered 12, is required for the section commander. The senior non-commissioned officer is 1, and is in charge of the sub-section. He rides on the left of the lead driver of the gun, except at “Detachment Front”, when he is on the right of the detachment.
The next senior is 7, and is the coverer. The active numbers are Nos. 1 to 6, and are mounted men. The reserve numbers are Nos. 8 and 9. They are dismounted men and are carried on the limber of the first-line wagons.

Positions when mounted:
For drill and manoeuvre “Detachments Right Rear” will be the normal and the positions of the men of the detachment are as when dismounted with the following exceptions.
1 will be on the left of the lead driver of the gun. 6 and 7 on the left of the centre and lead drivers respectively of the firing battery wagon. 8 and 9 on the limber of the first-line wagons, 8 on the near side, 9 on the off. The horse-holders 10 and 11 between 2 and 4, and 3 and 5. respectively.

Positions in action:
1 kneels on the right side of the trail, just in front of the trail handles.
2 sits astride on the seat on the right side.
3 sits on the seat on the left side.
4 kneels behind 3, or behind 2 if the wagon is on the right of the gun or at limber supply.
5 kneels in rear of the wagon on the side nearest the gun.
6 kneels in rear of the wagon on the side farthest from the gun.
7 (the coverer), 8 and 9 remain with the first line wagon. They assist in the supply of ammunition and replace casualties in the firing battery as ordered.

General duties in action:
1 is responsible for the entire service of the gun.
2 attends to the breech mechanism, range indicator, clamping gears and brake, lowers and raises the shield, attends to the fuze indicator on the shield when required, and mans the right wheel forward when the trail has to be lifted.
3 lays, fires, attends to the releasing lever of the brake, and assists 2 to raise and lower the shield.
4 loads, assists in setting fuzes when required, attends to aiming posts when in use, and mans the left wheel forward when the trail has to be lifted.
5 sets fuzes and supplies ammunition.
6 attends to the fuze indicator, and assisats in supplying ammunition.

Note that the drivers of the gun and wagon teams were not part of the gun detachments, although they might help with ammunition supply during an action.

The ammunition wagons were limbered vehicles drawn by six horses and, as with the guns, the drivers rode the near-side horses. One of the two wagons per gun accompanied the gun into action (the "battery wagon") and the other remained to the rear until required (the "First line wagon").

Ron

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  • 2 weeks later...

Johnboy, Ron - brilliant stuff - thanks a bunch. Everything I need there!

Bob

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