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Remembered Today:

Mystery turret / telescope / guns


pb43
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Hello,

I have just joined, as a keen military historian and aviation enthusiast. i also buy negatives and prints of aviation and military subjects, I have the attached pic, which i think could be a rangefinder for coastal artillery. Does anybody have any ideas?

 

I can't get the image to upload (error code 200).    It can be found at maryevans .com search for 13496375

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Hi pb43. Welcome to the forum. I have attached the image to assist our experts who maybe able to give an opinion. I also reverse searched the photograph and it took me to the Coast Defence Study Group Facebook page, though I was unable to find the post. If you don't have any luck here that might be your next port of call. Failing that the Ordnance Society are very helpful if you email an enquiry. 

I would say they are naval guns in an experimental setting, coastal defence role or being calibrated... just a thought. 

Kind regards

Gunner 87

 

F62C0D2C-1509-4680-B86C-8F9D0A4F5261.jpeg

Edited by Gunner 87
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2 hours ago, Gunner 87 said:

Coast Defence Study Group

Thanks. I asked the Coast Defence Study Group about a year ago, probably why you didn't find it. I cannot reconcile the lightweight structures attached to the "barrels", this surely cannot be a working gun. Also the windows in the turret would shatter with the blast when fired. All in all very odd!

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Me think's it could be an early astronomical telescope

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9 minutes ago, RaySearching said:

Me think's it could be an early astronomical telescope

possibly, but most astronomical telescopes are oriented in the polar plane

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On 30/07/2022 at 07:52, pb43 said:

Thanks. I asked the Coast Defence Study Group about a year ago, probably why you didn't find it. I cannot reconcile the lightweight structures attached to the "barrels", this surely cannot be a working gun. Also the windows in the turret would shatter with the blast when fired. All in all very odd!

Hi pb43. Just an observation but I wonder if those windows are actually false, as in painted on?? A very intriguing image and structure......

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On 30/07/2022 at 03:21, pb43 said:

which i think could be a rangefinder for coastal artillery.

With two telescopes it would provide strerographic capability and therefore could provide a mechanism to measure the distance to an object. It seems overkill for military use as I would think at that size it would measure ranges probably well beyond the range of coastal artillery.

plp-190320p090.jpg

German WW1 Stereographic Range Finder

Going off the astronimcal use theory ... could it be used to measure distances to celestrial objects ? 

 

 

Edited by ianjonesncl
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1 hour ago, ianjonesncl said:

With two telescopes it would provide strerographic capability and therefore could provide a mechanism to measure the distance to an object. It seems overkill for military use as I would think at that size it would measure ranges probably well beyond the range of coastal artillery.

plp-190320p090.jpg

German WW1 Stereographic Range Finder

Going off the astronomical use theory ... could it be used to measure distances to celestial objects ? 

 

 

For astronomical objects the scopes would be far too close. Opposite sides of the planet is barely sufficient.

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11 hours ago, pb43 said:

For astronomical objects the scopes would be far too close. Opposite sides of the planet is barely sufficient.

Hi pb43. This is the answer... kind regards. Gunner. 

@ianjonesncl

@RaySearching

9B902783-DED4-432C-8579-8BCB6EBBDE39.jpeg

Edited by Gunner 87
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The Royal Marine Artillery were responsible for gunnery aboard ship and so their depots had practice batteries ashore to teach the skills necessary.  This image  is an earlier example to the turret at Eastney  and located at their barracks in Chatham, Kent

image.jpeg.960f6149302465a47e918452ea525e6f.jpeg

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Brilliant research Gunner87.  Not something that I have ever seen before, but blindingly obvious now that the caption is seen.  The gun drill facilities at Chatham and Eastney seem to reflect the different calibre guns that RMA gunners might find themselves operating.  I imagine that the substantial height of the large drill turret reflects the through deck activity feeding the guns.  The lowermost part would be the magazine with its various sealable doors and hoists, then the mid level as the hoist continues its journey upward, and finally the turret crew at the top. I’m intrigued by the gangways running alongside the gun barrels and can only imagine that they are to facilitate cleaning.

I’d not heard of the RMA being responsible for all the ships gunnery before, but I suppose that’s possible.  My limited understanding has been that the RMA traditionally crewed X-Turret on capital ships, along with a set proportion of the deck guns and those in barbettes just above the seaboard.  Perhaps @horatio2and @KizmeRD can comment further, I would love to learn more.

NB.  I wonder if any trace of the structures remains.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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26 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Brilliant research Gunner87.  Not something that I have ever seen before, but blindingly obvious now that the caption is seen.  The gun drill facilities at Chatham and Eastney seem to reflect the different calibre guns that RMA gunners might find themselves operating.  I imagine that the substantial height of the large drill turret reflects the through deck activity feeding the guns.  The lowermost part would be the magazine with its various sealable doors and hoists, then the mid level as the hoist continues its journey, and finally the turret crew at the top. I’m intrigued by the gangways running alongside the gun barrels and can only imagine that they are to facilitate cleaning.

I’d not heard of the RMA being responsible for all the ships gunnery before, but I suppose that’s possible.  My limited understanding has been that the RMA traditionally crewed X-Turret on capital ships, along with a set proportion of the deck guns and those in barbettes just above the seaboard.  Perhaps @horatio2and @KizmeRD can comment further, I would love to learn more.

NB.  I wonder if any trace of the structures remains.

Hi Frogsmile. It would appear RMA Eastney Barracks are now housing and Fort Cumberland next door is an archeological / protected site. Looking at photographs from a group that entered Eastney, or what was left of the military site, there was no sight of the Drill Turrett. 

Edited by Gunner 87
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1 hour ago, CharlesPeter said:

The Royal Marine Artillery were responsible for gunnery aboard ship and so their depots had practice batteries ashore to teach the skills necessary.  This image  is an earlier example to the turret at Eastney  and located at their barracks in Chatham, Kent

image.jpeg.960f6149302465a47e918452ea525e6f.jpeg

no image and invalid URL

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24 minutes ago, Gunner 87 said:

Hi Frogsmile. It would appear RMA Eastney Barracks are now housing and Fort Cumberland next door is an archeological / protected site. Looking at photographs from a group that entered Eastney, or what was left of the military site, there was no sight of the Drill Turrett. 

It would be asking too much that such things might be preserved I suppose.  

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@Gunner 87a brilliant find - excellent research.

I felt it did not look like an operational gun. It does look a little strange with the support structures underneath. 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ianjonesncl said:

@Gunner 87a brilliant find - excellent research.

I felt it did not look like an operational gun. It does look a little strange with the support structures underneath. 

 

 

 

I think you’re right in a sense that it was not an operational gun in terms of live firing.  I suppose it was a little like a simulator to practise loading drills only.  The structure under the barrels does look odd and must be to support the weight, which of course on a ship is supported in an entirely different way by being factored into the ships elongated superstructure.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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20 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

It would be asking too much that such things might be preserved I suppose.  

It would make a fantastic interactive display at a museum!!

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1 minute ago, pb43 said:

It would make a fantastic interactive display at a museum!!

Yes I agree and am really curious as to what the inside looked like.  It seems to me to be designed to replicate a main turret on a capital ship (perhaps a Dreadnought).  I wonder if the guns are 12” or bigger.

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6 hours ago, Gunner 87 said:

Hi pb43. This is the answer... kind regards. Gunner. 

@ianjonesncl

@RaySearching

9B902783-DED4-432C-8579-8BCB6EBBDE39.jpeg

Thanks very much I can give the info to Tom at Maryevans to amend the entry.

Just now, pb43 said:

Thanks very much I can give the info to Tom at Maryevans to amend the entry.

Any chance of a workable link?

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2 minutes ago, pb43 said:

Thanks very much I can give the info to Tom at Maryevans to amend the entry.

Any chance of a workable link?

https://rmhistorical.com/DAPShowFile.php?id=1931

 

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8 minutes ago, Gunner 87 said:

Great image.  You can see the size of the projectile and alongside it the tubular charges.  These latter were what caused such damage when magazine and intermediate doors were left open to facilitate rapid loading and flash 🔥  travelled down the hoists to ignite them.   There’s a famous VC for a RMA Major who flooded his own turret to prevent further damage.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

I’d not heard of the RMA being responsible for all the ships gunnery before, but I suppose that’s possible.  My limited understanding has been that the RMA traditionally crewed X-Turret on capital ships, along with a set proportion of the deck guns and those in barbettes just above the seaboard.  Perhaps @horatio2and @KizmeRD can comment further, I would love to learn more.

It was usual for major warships (cruisers & battleships) to have one main armament turret run by 'Royals' (including both RMA & RMLI) and in general this was 'X' turret (but not always as some ships adopted quirky turret naming conventions). Regardless of lettering, it was usual for the marines to man the penultimate turret from the stern. On four turret ships, the foremost turret was 'A', manned by naval ratings belonging to the fo'catle division, the 'B' manned by the top division. The two aft turrets had the Royal Marines in 'X' and the quarterdeck division in 'Y'. 
 

MB

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47 minutes ago, ianjonesncl said:

@Gunner 87a brilliant find - excellent research.

I felt it did not look like an operational gun. It does look a little strange with the support structures underneath. 

 

 

 

I have a feeling that the gangways alongside the barrels are actually to provide access to hydraulic rails that simulated gun recoil so that the reloading drill was practised as realistically as possible.  I don’t think simple cleaning would have justified such an elaborate structure.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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11 minutes ago, KizmeRD said:

 

It was usual for major warships (cruisers & battleships) to have one main armament turret run by 'Royals' (including both RMA & RMLI) and in general this was 'X' turret (but not always as some ships adopted quirky turret naming conventions). Regardless of lettering, it was usual for the marines to man the penultimate turret from the stern. On four turret ships, the foremost turret was 'A', manned by naval ratings belonging to the fo'catle division, the 'B' manned by the top division. The two aft turrets had the Royal Marines in 'X' and the quarterdeck division in 'Y'. 
 

MB

Excellent explanation MB, thank you.  With all that in mind it doesn’t make sense to me that the RMA was responsible for all gunnery as suggested earlier in the thread.  My understanding is that although they contributed to the gunnery onboard, their primary role was to support RMLI shore parties with dismountable guns carried by each ship.  The idea being that a naval formation would always have the capacity to disembark a small land force to either support the Army or act independently where circumstances demanded it.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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4 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

My understanding is that although they contributed to the gunnery onboard their primary role was to support RMLI shore parties with dismountable guns carried by each ship.  The idea being that a naval formation would always have the capacity to disembark a small land force to either support the Army or act independently where circumstances demanded it.

Very true, but they had also had an important secondary role to play when the ship was away from land and the ship’s company was closed up for action stations - they were required to man one of the turrets. Mostly trained RMA in the turret crew and RMLI for ammunition handling.

MB

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