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Remembered Today:

Granatwerfer Projectile Source?


new3.2

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Several weeks ago I did a trench mortar display in Baltimore.  Today I was contacted by a staff member of a county museum in New York.  Looking at mine, he decided the "thing" in their basement was a German GW 1916.  They want to use it for a GW display and would like to find a projectile (none of mine are for sale), and do not know where to find one.  So are there reproduction or original ones available in the UK?  I am going to the International Ammunition Collectors show next week but have never seen any for sale there.  Any suggestions?  Thanks.

new3.2

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I know a dealer who will have one but don't think you can ship to US?

 

TT

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My late and much-missed friend Tony Edwards (TonyE) was a regular attender of the international event in Baltimore. If I remember correctly what he told me several years ago, any Granatenwerfer/Granatwerfer 16 of uncertain status should be treated with great care and suspicion.  Following a horrific accident at the Pattern Room some years ago, a number of GrW16s in other museums and collections were inspected and found to (also) contain a live blank propellant cartridge in the base of the bomb mounted on the spigot launcher.  So it might be wise to advise the New York museum to have any GrW16 bomb it acquires thoroughly checked out, in particular before fitting the projectile to the launcher.

 

Edited by SiegeGunner
Amendment because I didn't in fact 'remember correctly'.
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TT- thanks for the reply, and you touch on the same question I wondered about.  Trying to find definite information about importation of an inert, antique projectile is quite a dead-end street.  The cartridge collectors show I mentioned has people from all over the world bringing all types of projectiles and collector ammunition for sale at the show.  I do not understand how it all works.  Thanks SG-  Good advice, one has to look up the male end of the tube to see if the primer in the projectile has been indented (fired).  The problem is to get the projectile apart to remove a live 7.92 mm primer.  One could always fire it (joke).  Through 4th Gordons, I met Tony E. at the St Louis show.  What a terrible loss his death was.

Ken 

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On 09/04/2017 at 01:23, new3.2 said:

  One could always fire it (joke). 

Ken 

 

Not always.

 

I know a collector in the south of England who has done just that. He obtained a 7.92 blank fitted it into a Message Grenatenwerfer and fired it from his garden onto farmland. It went about 300 metres and it took him hours to find it!

 

:o

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I might take the liberty of adding a similar anecdote to the one Gunner Bailey, but on a different scale. In an early

test firing of a prototype for the Paris Gun, the shell was fired, but could not be found. It was eventually, but it was 

miles further downrange, and probably on private property. They had tried to calculate where the shell would go,

but had not properly compensated for the fact that the shell largely left the athmosphere and for that reason

experienced less aeriodynamic  (sp) drag, and went, if I remember, possibly 10 miles further. (Just thought that 

that might have been man's first flight in space, of a sort.) I think in some firings the shell went as much as 40 miles

up, and the earth rotated about 40 miles when the shell was in the air.], so you actually aimed far to the side.

 

My grand-father was an Explosives Captain and worked with the 30.5 cm mortars and the 42 cm howitzers (the "Big

Berthas") in Belgium in 1914 and Russia in 1915, and later worked in ammunition production, and family oral history

stated that he worked on the very secret "Paris Gun" as well.

 

Pardon the OT but I thought it sort of fitted in and would have been interesting. Just searching for a projectile, but

this time 10 miles further down the road.

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Thanks to all who replied to this topic.  Many great stories.  To stray even further from this topic, the first time I fired my rifled 3.6" Span/Am mortar at an artillery range, it was loaded with a reduced charge.  The projectile was to land in front of the 1000 yard berm; however it was still climbing as it sailed over the berm.  No idea how far it went down range.

Ken

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21 hours ago, bob lembke said:

...

I think in some firings the shell went as much as 40 miles

up, and the earth rotated about 40 miles when the shell was in the air.], so you actually aimed far to the side.

...

Yes, but the shell wasn't free of the Earth as a frame of reference. It was launched with the same intrinsic velocity as the rest of the rotating landscape, including the target area. I'd think the main problems were the unknowns relating to atmospheric density and windspeed at the top of the trajectory, where their influence was highest because residual KE and momentum were at their lowest values.

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Mike;

 

You are right. I read what I cited in the sole book I know of written about the Paris Gun, which my father had bought when I was a child, a book written about 1928 by an American. ((Warning: That book has been translated into German, and when l last checked the German edition costs many times the cost of the original; don't pay the high price for the German edition, thinking that the German edition is a different book. I almost did.)

 

Since my childhood I have studied engineering for seven years, and the physics I have acquired since easily refutes what the author wrote in 1928, and what made sense to me when I was ten. But when I wrote the above about the rotation of the earth I was working out of the part of my brain that recalled what I read as a child; my engineering/physics part of my brain did not get involved. 

 

However, the other assertion, that the shell went much further down the test range than expected since the test range types did not work into their calculations the thinner or almost absence of air at the greater altitudes, which a man-made object had probably never reached, still processes well in the engineering corner of my brain. But of course the story also depends on the historical source I was consulting. 

 

Incidentally, while poking about my materials a couple of days ago, I found another 200 pages of material I had done on German heavy artillery, especially before the Grest War, when they were developing, in secret, the great siege guns, that I have entirely forgotten researching and writing; I really had get writing. Besides the 600 page timeline on FW, I have a 700 page timeline on "family history", which includes the development of heavy artillery related to my grand-father (he started as a Prussian heavy artillery sergeant in the early 1880's, ending as an Explosives Major a. D. In 1919. ), and Gallipoli, related to my father's service there. 

 

I I had better get writing. 

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8 minutes ago, bob lembke said:

I read what I cited in the sole book I know of written about the Paris Gun, which my father had bought when I was a child, a book written about 1928 by an American.

 

I have 'The Paris Gun' by H W Miller, published in the UK in 1930 by Harrap.  Is that the same book, Bob?

 

 

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I may be relying on 15 year old memory, or possibly 40 year old memory. Probably the latter. But I think so. The name seems familiar ( I remember a common name), and 1930 is close to my remembered 1928. Possibly it was published in the US in 1928, and then in the UK and in Germany, the latter in translation. 

 

A a journey into World Cat and/or a ebooks.com would solve the question. 

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The fact that the sole book on the Great War that my father seemed to have (aside from some personal materials, like his Militaerpass and his Pionier manual) was a book on the Paris Gun is a very weak corroboration of my memory of oral history that grandfather worked on the shells for the Paris Gun. He did work two years on the shells for the 39.5 and 42 cm guns. My father read a lot but did not keep books. 

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11 hours ago, SiegeGunner said:

 

I have 'The Paris Gun' by H W Miller, published in the UK in 1930 by Harrap.  Is that the same book, Bob?

 

 

I did bother going into WorldCat, and the book has been produced in 24 editions (in English, the last I think in 2012), and

WorldCat lists 234 libraries that hold it. My memory, which is actually from something like 40 years ago, or even more, even

possibly from when I was a child, was that it was published in 1928. But it seems that it was first published in 1930 in

both the US and UK. My memory was that Miller was a Yank, but I may be wrong, most editions and reprints seem to have

been done in the UK, where I am sure there is much more interest in the topic. 

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Thanks, Bob.  I don't think I've looked at 'The Paris Gun' for a good many years, so perhaps it's time for me to re-visit it. 

 

Re the Granatenwerfer 16, later designated as the Granatwerfer 16, and also known as the Priesterwerfer (because the original design was by a Hungarian priest), it was a relatively compact spigot-mortar that could also be used in direct-fire mode, which made it even more versatile as an infantry weapon.  Did your father's units use them? 

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My father's unit wanted every man's burden to only be about 45 lbs or less. The Wex, fueled, weighed 43 lbs, I think. They used captured French Chauchault MGs that were about 20-25 lbs, it was worn hanging from the shoulder from two rifle slings clipped end to end. And they made their own mortars at the flame regiment's workshop company in France, where they also made FW parts. 

 

Mostly by by severely lightening the base, they were able to get the mortar down to about 40 lbs. But I think it was a conventional 60 mm tube mortar, not a spigot mortar. Another man carried a backpack with six or 12 mortar rounds. 

 

And and a large percentage of the men were grenadiers, typically carring six stick grenades and four egg grenades in pouches made from sand sacks under the armpits. No rifle allowed the grenadier to perform better. And he had the P 08 and perhaps a "razor-sharp" short spade. 

 

No rifles. One reason my father and other men killed their company commander was that he wanted to have them carry rifles. But there were other good reasons. 

 

If if possible they wanted to attack by themselves, without infantry in the assault itself. They did not trust most infantry (Storm Battalion Rohr excepted), and the infantry did not understand their complex tactics to enable them to get safely within FW range of the enemy's first line. In a larger attack they often had to have accompanying infantry. If time was available they sometimes were able to train the local infantry in their tactics. 

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