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RodB

Mountain batteries at Anzac

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RodB

I'm finding it difficult to work out precisely what versions of mountain guns were used at Anzac. I have references to 21st and 26th Indian Mountain Batterys, and to an Argyle battery. I also have references to confusion over who was firing shells, as apparently the Turks were firing the same 10 pounder shells as the British forces had, because they had got some ancient guns from New Zealand years before. I also have a photograph of a museum QF 2.95 inch mountain gun that claims it was at Gallipoli.

Now, as I understand it the Indian army used the 2.75 inch screw gun, which fired a 12.5 lb shell (are my factoids correct here ? seems a heavy shell for 2.75 inch). The 2.95 inch also fired a 12.5 lb shell.

Would the Indian batteries have been using the 2.75 and others (who were they ?) using the 2.95 ? And where does the alleged 10 pounder fit in ?

Quite apart from the fact that the shrapnel they fired was useless in the circumstances...

thanks

Rod

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michaeldr

Rod,

In the 'No.85 - Winter 1997' edition of 'The Gallipolian' (the journal of The Gallipoli Association) there is an article, first written in 1916, by Major A. C. Fergusson (later Colonel and CMG, DSO.) describing his service on Gallipoli with the 21 (Kohat) Mountain Battery

His following story suggests that they (and the Turks) were both using 10 pounders

"In the early days we were often told we were firing at our own troops. Sometimes these allegations were wrong but investigation proved bodies of our own 10 pounder shell sometimes in places where our own guns could have put them, but also in places where they could not possibly have put them.

One day Campbell was walking along a trench when an Australian told him to hurry as Turks were shelling it, and pointed to the body of a shell which had just fallen. Campbell went and looked at it and found a shell with marks to show that it had been made at Cossipore and filled at Rawul Pindi, and the scoop of the shell showed that it had come from right outside our line. He phoned down to me and I went and satisfied myself that it could not possibly be ours."

[Fergusson then goes on to give the same story as you do, about the old 10 pdrs guns sent to New Zealand from the UK, the BGRA refusing to accept delivery and NZ then selling them on to the Turks.]

Surely there could only have been this confusion if both were using 10 pdrs?

There is another bit here http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...30&hl=kohat

which ties in with your "the shrapnel they fired was useless in the circumstances..."

Mike Morrison aka CSMMo is the forum's expert on the Highland Batteries and this will no doubt catch his eye very soon

regards

Michael

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CSMMo

Yes, this caught my eye!

The Indian Mountain Batteries were outfitted with the new 2.75 in Mountain Guns, but I'm not sure if they arrived at Gallipoli with them. The Argyll Mountain Battery wasn't in the ANZAC sector, but was primarily (after the landing and the first fire missions to the east), along with the Ross & Cromarty Mountain Battery, in and around Gully Ravine. As they were mobile, they moved around a lot.

I tend to think the Indian Mountain Brigade came with 10 pounders, both by the comments above and the fact that the Argyll & Ross Batteries, having been worn down to a single four gun battery by death, disease and loss of serviceable guns, were re-outfitted prior to the Suvla Bay landings with replacement guns (the old 10 pounders) which the Royal Navy "found" in the hold of a ship in the area which were earmarked for the Indian Army. By the time of the evacuation, the Argyll & Ross Batteries were still firing 10 pounders, but the Indian Army mountain gunners were firing 2.75 in. mountain guns (complete with recoil systems, which the 10 pounders didn't have). The Argyll & Ross Mountain Batteries didn't receive the 2.75 in. guns until after the evacuation - in Egypt. The Indian Army mountain Brigades were to up-gun to the 3.7 in. Mountain Gun before the war ended.

According to Dale Clarke's British Artillery 1914-1919, Osprey Press, 2004, the 2.75 was introduced into service in 1914 and went to France with the Indian Mountain Brigade that served there until it was (quickly) found to be unsuitable for WF useage. If that (unnamed in the book) brigade transferred to Gallipoli, they would likely have taken their 2.75 in. guns with them.

There is also some writing that makes one assume that the first 2.75 in. rounds were 10 pounders as the 12.5 pound round is referred to as an addition/improvement.

As you can see, I am reduced somewhat to surmise, for which I apologize, but there just isn't much writtten about the RGA Mountain Brigades - a situation I am slowly attempting to correct as far as the Highland Mountain Gunners is concerned.

The 2.75 is known as BL 2.75 while the 2.95 is known as a QF 2.95. I don't have any reference to it's use except "to defend coaling stations" (Clarke, 2004)

The short answer - there were 10 pounders and 2.75 in. mountain guns at Gallipoli, the ANZAC area probably only saw 2.75 in. guns and the Helles (until July 31, 1915) and Suvla Bay (from the opening of that sector on 6-7 August) probably only saw 10 pounder mountain guns.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but I hope it is helpful.

Mike Morrison

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Hoplophile

Prior to the war, the standard mountain gun for the Territorial Force mountain batteries, the mountain batteries of the British Army and the mountain batteries of the Indian Army was the 10-pounder, which had a bore of 2.75 inches. Shortly before the start of the war, some of the 10-pounders were improved by the fitting of a new breech mechanism and the provision of a carriage with a recoil mechanism. To avoid confusion, these new weapons were known as 2.75-inch mountain guns. Though able to fire ammunition that had been built for the old 10-pounder, the 2.75 mountain gun was (thanks to its new breech mechanism and carriage) also capable of firing shells that were somewhat heavier. Thus, a new 12.5-pound shrapnel shell was designed for it.

The 2.95-inch mountain gun was produced by Vickers as a private venture. It became available in 1901, which was the same year that the 10-pounder was adopted by the British Army. While some 2.95-inch mountain guns were purchased for use by the local defense forces of various African colonies, none were acquired for the use of the mountain batteries of the Territorial Force, Regular Army or Indian Army.

Only ten of the 2.75-inch guns were on hand at the outbreak of the war and, as far as I know, none had been issued to operational units until after the outbreak of the war. As only eight additional 2.75-inch guns were manufactured during the first year of the war, no more than eighteen were available ot the British Empire as a whole at the time of the Gallipoli landings. All eighteen of these, moreover, were issued to the three Regular Army mountain batteries (the 2nd, 5th and 7th) that served with the British Expeditionary Force in 1915.

As subsequent issues of 2.75-inch guns did not take place until 1916, it follows that both of the mountain artillery brigades that served at Gallipoli - the 4th Highland Brigade of the Territorial Force (assigned to the 29th Division) and the 7th Indian Mountain Brigade of the Indian Army (assigned to the ANZAC Corps) - were armed with 10-pounder mountain guns.

Now that all of the mountain artillery units that served with British Empire forces at Gallipoli are accounted for, I suspect that the references to 2.95-inch mountain guns at Gallipoli that pop up every now and then are the products of misunderstandings. In particular, I suspect that the culprit is the placard placed on the 2.95-inch mountain gun on display at the US Army Ordnance Museum at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. (While the good people who run this museum do an superb job of preserving and displaying artillery pieces, the quality of their explanatory materials is not always of the same calibre.)

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Pete1052

When I was at the museum at Aberdeen Proving Grounds several years ago I was surprised to see a Model 1861 Springfield rifle musket labeled as a "Model 1861," with the quotation marks apparently implying that such a model did not exist. The collection of 19th century small arms there is impressive, but nothing is said of the role of the U.S. Army Ordnance Department in changing arms production from manual techniques to precision manufacturing using machine tools.

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RodB

Thanks for straightening me out on that cobbers. Bruce - I was the muppet who added the reference to Gallipoli to the wikipedia QF 2.95 inch page. I had assumed that when a museum goes to the expense of making up an nice metal placard for an exhibit, they have adequately researched the info they put on it. I have now expunged all references to Gallipoli from the QF 2.95 inch wikipedia page. There seems to be a similar issue in the Australian War Memorial's placard for its 25 cm Minenwerfer exhibit - the placard describes it as 24.5 cm. Can this be correct ?

I understand that musem managers are usually university educated, and hence familiar with "getting the facts right" but I suppose if they are given false info from a source they have no reason to doubt then they are at risk of incorrect display info.

Having said that, I do detect a casual attitude among academics to modern military facts - as if they matter less than say precisely how a bloke discovered on a melting glacier was killed a thousand years ago.

Rod

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Hoplophile

The German Army of WWI measured the bores of artillery pieces in centimeters. The heavy field howitzer, for example, had a bore of 149 or so millimeters, but was officially designated as the '15 centimeter howitzer'. Thus, I would not be surprised if the '25 centimeter Minenwerfer' had a bore that was slightly smaller. Of course, there's the issue of exactly how the bore is measured ...

The point here, of course, is not to carry a calliper in your pocket every time you visit a museum, but to be wary of technical information provided by museum placards, photo captions and the like.

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CSMMo
Prior to the war, the standard mountain gun for the Territorial Force mountain batteries, the mountain batteries of the British Army and the mountain batteries of the Indian Army was the 10-pounder, which had a bore of 2.75 inches.

Hoplophile - Thanks for that very interesting post. I was under the impression that the only mountain guns in the British Army during this period were Indian Army and the Territorial Force's 4th Highland Mountain Brigade - so armed because of their potential pre-war role of home defense of The Highlands.

Am I confused in my nomenclature? When you say Regular Army, are you referring to the units in the Indian Army or were there more? I checked General Farndale's work and he mentions the 2nd and 7th as elements of the Indian Army - no mention of a 5th (not that there aren't some errors in that work).

Thanks for taking a look at this.

Mike Morrison

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RodB

Can I confirm that the weapon used at Gallipoli was the 1901 mountain 10 pounder screw gun, the old version with no recoil mechanism ? References all point to 10 pounder ammunition. My sources indicate that the 2.75 inch was delayed and was only just being introduced in 1914, and as a "modern" weapon it apparently was tried in France first where predictably it was not what was needed, and was apparently shipped off to Salonika. I understand the 2.75 inch could fire 10 pounder shells but was designed for the 12.5 - presumably the range tables would be for the 12.5 shell too ? I realise that Gallipoli was a lower priority for ordnance than the Western Front. So it points to all the mountain guns being the older model(s) - 1901 ?

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michaeldr

I suppose I'm not the first person to realise that Gallipoli was reserved for whatever obsolete crap ordnance the Empire could find

No, and you're in very good company Rod

quote from APPENDIX I

STATEMENT ON ARTILLERY

BY BRIGADIER GENERAL SIR HUGH SIMPSON BAIKIE,

EX-COMMANDER OF THE BRITISH ARTILLERY AT CAPE HELLES.

"The Gun History sheets of some of them showed they had been used at the Battle of Omdurman, seventeen years before, and had been in use ever since. After the big British attacks of 6th and 7th August, their ammunition began to run short. On demand about 500 or 700 rounds were sent up from Mudros—on arrival each shell was found to be of only 40 lb. weight, whereas former shells were of 50 lb. weight. Their fuses were also of new pattern, which existing fuse keys would not fit and, to crown all, no range tables had been sent for this new pattern of shell. In spite of continual letters and telegrams to the War Office, when I left Helles in September no new pattern fuse keys or range tables had ever arrived from England; consequently these shells remained stacked on the Peninsula while the Batteries only fired occasionally for want of ammunition!

On another occasion, when we were in the greatest straits for 15-pr. ammunition, many hundreds of rounds arrived at Helles, which on being landed were discovered by my Staff only to be suitable for the Ehrhardt R.H.A. guns in Egypt, no such guns being in the Dardanelles.

As for heavy artillery, practically speaking, there was none! Only one 6-inch Howitzer Battery (4 howitzers) and one 60-pr. Battery (4 guns) were in action at Helles up to July when four more guns of the latter calibre were landed. Unfortunately, however, the 60-prs. were of little use, as the recoil was too great for the carriages and the latter broke down beyond repair by our limited resources after very few rounds. At the beginning of August only one 60-pr. gun remained in action. Consequently, we had no heavy guns capable of replying to the Turkish heavy guns which enveloped us on three sides, and from whose fire our infantry and artillery suffered severely."

full text is to be seen here http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22021/22021...-h.htm#Page_279

regards

Michael

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RodB

I can understand the low priority for modern ordnance - if the Western Front was lost the war was lost. The example of the 40 pound 5-inch shells points to logistics overload leading to oversights. They were in fact a new model, replaing the old 50 pound shells. It seems the logistics capabilities of the Empire had reached its limits in the new technological era - the old slow-moving slow-thinking bureaucracy was now out of its depth, as I think Rosenthal, Baikie and Hamilton highlight in their reports.

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Bryn

The following account states that the Indian batteries consisted of 10-pdr guns. Thought I'd include the whole thing as it's bound to be as interesting to some others as it is to me.

Greets Aussies: Indian Battery

Reveille 1 Feb 1933 p10

IN a letter to "Reveille" from Army Headquarters, Melbourne, dated January 9, Major-General J. H. Bruche mentions that a card conveying the best of wishes for Christmas and the New Year had been received from "all ranks 6th (Jacob's) Mountain Battery R.A." This battery, General Bruche explains, was formerly known as the 26th Mountain Battery, and took part in the Landing at Anzac, and every year, on behalf of the personnel a card was sent to Australia to keep up the bond established at Anzac.

The Diggers are never likely to forget the heroic men of the 21st and 26th Indian Mountain Batteries, which from first to last supported them at Anzac.

On the eve of its departure from Egypt early in April, 1915, the Anzac Corps was strengthened by the addition of the 7th Indian Mountain Artillery Brigade, then forming part of the force guarding the Suez Canal. Its batteries, each armed with six 10-pounder guns, were the 21st (Kohat) and the 26th (Jacob's). The 26th had originally been raised by an officer named Jacob in Beluchistan.

At 10.30 a.m. on April 25, the 26th Battery began to land at Anzac, and the subjoined account, taken from our Australian Official History, gives a vivid picture of its initial experiences.

"When the battery landed," says Dr. Bean. "the small guns - wheels. trail, and two parts of the barrel packed on a string of mules - wound up through the steep scrub of the Razorback, where it was ever afterwards camped, to a point on the 400 Plateau, close behind the crest. Rafferty's platoon of the 12th Bn., coming from the fight at Fisherman's Hut to escort the guns, met them on the beach. The escort, originally fifty, was now reduced to Rafferty, a sergeant, and sixteen men. Nevertheless it marched with the battery to the plateau, and there, with three guns on either side of the head of White's Valley, at five minutes before noon, Jacob's Battery opened fire.

"According to the plan, this battery was to support from that position the attack of the 11th and 10th Bns. on Battleship Hill and Scrubby Knoll. The commander of the battery, Capt. H. A. Kirby, went forward to the firing line of the infantry at the head of Owen's Gully to direct the shooting of his guns. Down the slopes south of Scrubby Knoll - which the 10th were to have been attacking - almost opposite the plateau, he could see the Turks moving through the scrub. As the best means of supporting the Australian infantry on the plateau, he turned the fire of his six small guns upon the slopes of the Third Ridge.

The mere sound of Kirby's battery close behind them came to the Australian infantry like a draught of cool water to one perishing from thirst. From end to end of the line it brought fresh heart to the men. But it could not last long. Although the position of the guns was screened from the Turks immediately ahead, Battleship Hill and the main heights to the north looked down upon it almost as the gallery of a theatre looks upon a stage. The battery had scarcely made its appearance there when the Turkish battery in the folds of the main ridge was turned upon it. From then onwards the shrapnel seemed to concentrate upon these guns, and upon the parts of the line about them. The British officers of the battery carried our their work exactly as if there were not a shrapnel shell in the air. Capt. P. C. Chapman was wounded in the forehead and shoulder. He was sent away and died in Egypt. Jemadar Dulla Khan, an Indian officer, was wounded. Ammunition was running short. At 1.7 p.m. Colonel Parker (the brigade commander) sent a message to Kirby in the front line telling him to come back to the guns. Kirby left Capt. Whiting to observe, and went to the battery."

Between 1 and 2 o'clock another Turkish battery joined in, and the position was raked by a cross-fire from two directions. As the infantry line in front was gradually being reduced in numbers, the Indians became anxious for the safety of their guns. Rafferty's escort was now a mere 12, so Kirby, with Sgt.-Major Piggott (an old British soldier, serving with the 5th Bn., who died of wounds next day), collected what men they could from the valleys.

At 2.25 the Turkish shrapnel and rifle-fire became so intense that Kirby, who had been wounded in the head, decided to withdraw the guns to cover. The Turkish fire being far too deadly for him to bring up the mules, he ordered the guns crews to drop part of the equipment and to run the guns back off the plateau by hand. On the beach the battery was reorganised, but it was found that there were only sufficient personnel left to man four of its six guns. Kirby, after working until he fainted through loss of blood, was sent off to a hospital ship, but next day he "deserted" back to his battery.

The Kohat Battery (21st) landed at 6 p.m. That night two of its guns, with two of the 26th's (under Lieut. F. N. C. Rossiter), were taken up to Plugge's Plateau and emplaced on its almost perpendicular edge, thus constituting a four-gun battery, which fired on the heights of the main range north of the New Zealand front. The remaining guns of the 21st, placed near the lower end of Shrapnel Gully, provided a second battery firing against the same heights. The other two active guns of the 26th, under Capt. Whitting, were next day sent to a spur on Bolton's Ridge, on the right flank, where they overlooked Gaba Tepe.

On April 27, when the two divisions of the corps were completely ashore and working under their own commanders, Jacob's Battery (26th) was allotted to the N.Z. and A. Division, and the Kohat (21st) to the 1st Aust. Division. All the Kohat guns were now emplaced in Shrapnel Gully, though two were shortly afterwards transferred to Bolton's Ridge to fire south, east, or north. Rossiter's section of the 26th still remained on Plugge's Plateau, while Whitting's was moved to another position on Bolton's. The two unmanned guns, with the assistance of some drivers from an Australian ammunition column, were got into action (under Major J. E. L. Bruce, R.A., who was killed on May 29) on Walker's Ridge. All the guns of this battery, like the four of the 21st in Shrapnel Valley, fired north or north-eastward. mainly against positions facing the N.Z. and A. Division, the two of the 21st on Bolton's being the only mountain guns which really covered targets in front of the 1st Aust. Division.

After the evacuation these batteries were sent to Mesopotamia. Capt. Kirby, now a lieut.-colonel with the D.S.O., M.C., commands the North Irish Coast Defences. Whitting, also a lieut.-colonel and D.S.O., M.C., is at present in command of the 3rd Medium Brigade, R.A., at Longmoor, England. Rossiter (M.B.E., M.C.), is, we understand, still on the active list, holding the rank of major.

'Greets Aussies: Indian Battery', in Reveille RSS&AILA, NSW Branch, Sydney. 1 Feb 1933, p10.

That the Indian batteries at Anzac had 10 pdr guns is also stated in another article from 'Reveille': Hobbs, Sir T. 'A Gunner's Reflections: Gallipoli Campaign', in 'Reveille', 31 March 1932, p29, 66, 67.

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CSMMo

To any artilleryman, "first round downrange" is important - even in training - because of the artilleryman's dedication to timely, effective fire in support of the battle plan.

That said, I am amazed once again, at the level of knowledge and the resources possessed and freely shared on this forum. Chris Baker may not even see this topic, but I hope he is duly proud of what he created. It is unparalleled.

I have been trying to determine artillery (particularly the mountain guns) participation in invasion day activities at Gallipoli in all sorts of publications. I was able to determine that the first round downrange in the southern (Helles) Sector was fired around 2:00 PM by the Ross & Cromarty Mountain Battery from the vicinity of the old light house. The shell casing was kept and remained in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, home of the left section, Ross Battery, for decades (now missing). And now I find that Jacob's Battery fired first round downrange at ANZAC just before noon. General Farndale's otherwise excellent work, The Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base, 19141-18 states that no guns were even ashore until the next day. Infantrymen often make fun of the artillery which is their prerogative, but when they hear the guns open up in their support, they love them one and all.

I doubt I would ever have had access to "Reveille" or that input as well as the fine history provided by Hoplophile, so Bryn, Bruce (and all the other contributors), thank you.

That account captures the life of the mountain gunners, which didn't change much during the entire campaign - manhandle their "screw guns" into the most difficult locations, fire, and receive almost immediate and deadly Turkish counter battery fire. Move them again, often as single guns, often to places the animals couldn't go. It's a story that mustn't be forgotten and needs to be accurately told.

Thank You,

Mike Morrison

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Bryn

Another 'Reveille' article; this one later in the campaign, as The Apex was not taken till the August fighting:

INDIAN MULE BATTERIES

Work at Anzac

The valiant work of the Indian mule batteries at Anzac is well remembered by the Diggers. The part that one of these batteries played in the obliteration of a Turk blockhouse on the Apex is recounted by "AFY" in the April number of The Gunner:

"To the 'Apex' (a very unhealthy spot) all water, rations, etc., had to be carried on mules for two or three miles from the sea. Trenches were dug where possible between the rocks, nevertheless when shrapnel and H.E. burst on this rocky spot it was not healthy.

"At dawn one morning we were horrified to see a small blockhouse on the top of the knife-edge which had sprung up in the night, and very soon realised that this was high enough to sweep our communication road, and contained three or four machine guns which made communications in daytime almost impossible. We erected high sandbag barricades to protect the mule transport and troops, but a:r.1ost as fast as these bags were erected they were cut by machine gun fire. Many men and mules were killed before we could find a remedy.

"The Navy decided to try to knock over the blockhouse from the sea, but the first two shells, having burst in our front trench, causing several casualties, this was abandoned as soon as possible. Batteries could not get a clear range and matters became desperate, when I was sent for and told I must send out a demolition party that night to try to destroy the blockhouse. I was told I must not go myself but detail an officer and six men for the job. I knew this meant death to everyone. The Turks patrolled the valley between the apex and the knife edge. and to climb down and then up the steep face was an impossibility. It was a ghastly task to have practically to sentence a fellow officer and six stout lads to death and not go myself. I dared to argue with the brigadier over this, and finally he consented to my second and myself tossing up. My second lost the toss. It was one of the most miserable moments of the war for me and I had something to say about it to the G.S.O.I.

"An hour later, just before dusk, a mere boy saluted me and asked if I was the sapper officer and said he had to report to me. He had a detachment of a Indian Mule Battery with one gun and he had been ordered to knock out the blockhouse.

"I thought at first he was 'pulling my leg,' and asked him to explain. He said he had instructions to take his orders from me and I could show him the best position to do his job at dawn. Realising he was serious although so very young, I soon learned that he knew his job. I asked him to report again in half an hour, when it would be dusk, and we might creep up the side of the hill without being observed.

"In due course, the little party arrived. The fine white teeth of the Subadar shone in the dusk, and each man, carrying a section of the gun or ammunition, followed me in single file in absolute silence. I led the way over a zig-zag course until we reached a small plateau without even a blade of grass for cover. But by now it was dark and no objective could be seen. We proceeded to cut a small trench or pit below this little plateau, ready to drop the gun for shelter if shelling started before the job was carried out at dawn. Then the gun was assembled and I gave the direction as nearly as I was able. We put up a few sandbags round the gunners' legs for protection against M.G. fire, and collected a bundle of hay to camouflage the gun. Ten shells only were available and no calculations were necessary.

“Then we waited for dawn. It seemed like weeks when at last there was a chuckle from the gunner above, and this was the signal that he had at last got a glimpse of his objective. Daylight develops rapidly in those parts, and, in desperation, I asked the young officer if it was not time to start, as once we were spotted we should get hell from the Turkish batteries. But this quiet youngster, almost apologetically, said he would like to wait a bit longer to give his gunners every chance to sight, and he did not want to risk making a bad job of his work.

"Still we waited. The blockhouse seemed so close and we could see movement around it. Fearing this boy might think I'd got the wind up - and I suppose I had, knowing the situation - I felt responsible for their safe return. But still we waited; then after what seemed hours, but probably was not more than ten minutes, suddenly our heads seemed nearly blown off. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine shells followed in rapid succession, every one a bull. Sandbags, sleepers, men and machine guns burst in all directions. Marvellous shooting - only a little pile of rubbish was left in a few moments and then, as the tenth shot rang out, a rain of shrapnel descended upon us. Like lightning, the gun crashed almost on top of us into the trench and in shorter time than it takes to tell, the barrel, wheels, axle, ramrod, etc., were seized, and in extended order these fine fellows made a dash for it. Not one of us was hit and the blockhouse was not rebuilt.

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Hoplophile
I was under the impression that the only mountain guns in the British Army during this period were Indian Army and the Territorial Force's 4th Highland Mountain Brigade - so armed because of their potential pre-war role of home defense of The Highlands.

Am I confused in my nomenclature? When you say Regular Army, are you referring to the units in the Indian Army or were there more? I checked General Farndale's work and he mentions the 2nd and 7th as elements of the Indian Army - no mention of a 5th (not that there aren't some errors in that work).

There were two types of mountain batteries in India: units in which the gunners were British and units in which the gunners were Indian. The former batteries were units of the British Army that were 'temporarily' assigned. The latter were units of the Indian Army. The picture is complicated by the fact that the British mountain batteries rarely served outside of India. At the outbreak of the war, for example, eight of the nine mountain batteries of the British Army were serving in India. (The one serving outside of India was stationed in Egypt.)

British mountain batteries had numbers that ran from '1' through '9'. The numbers of Indian mountain batteries ran from '21' through '32'.

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RodB

Gallipoli narratives refer to Indian gun crews. Which ties in with 21st and 26th being Indian Indian Army.

A bit more - I have 2 photos of mountain guns.

10pounderMountainGunEastAfricaBrightened

The first appears to be the 10 pounder, correct ? But it is labelled as being in East Africa, and the gunners appear to be African.

IndianArmyMountainGunTimesHistoryVolumeX

The second is with an Indian crew but I don't recognise the gun. The barrel appears shorter than the 10 pounder and the trail tapers whereas the 10 pounder had a square box trail, correct ? Is this the old 2.5 inch screw gun ?

cheers

Rod

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CSMMo

Here is a photo of the 10 pounder mountain gun ca. 1915

post-2067-1191730982.jpg

and the 2.5 in. mountain gun, taken last year at Firepower. (Sorry - that's as big as I could get it and still upload it.)

post-2067-1191731452.jpg

Hope this helps.

Mike Morrison

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RodB

Thanks for those Mike. They seem to confirm that my photos are indeed of the 10 pdr and 2.5 inch. Could you email me the full image of the 2.5 so I can blow it up to study the trail ?

thanks

Rod

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CSMMo

Certainly, Rod. PM your email address and I'll send it off.

Mike Morrison

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RodB
I suppose I'm not the first person to realise that Gallipoli was reserved for whatever obsolete crap ordnance the Empire could find

No, and you're in very good company Rod

quote from APPENDIX I

STATEMENT ON ARTILLERY

BY BRIGADIER GENERAL SIR HUGH SIMPSON BAIKIE,

EX-COMMANDER OF THE BRITISH ARTILLERY AT CAPE HELLES.

"... On another occasion, when we were in the greatest straits for 15-pr. ammunition, many hundreds of rounds arrived at Helles, which on being landed were discovered by my Staff only to be suitable for the Ehrhardt R.H.A. guns in Egypt, no such guns being in the Dardanelles...."

full text is to be seen here http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22021/22021...-h.htm#Page_279

regards

Michael

Dale Clarke states that the Ehrhardt QF and the BL 15 pdr fired the same 14 pound shrapnel shell, and that the Ehrhardt used QF separate loading ammo. As far as I understand it, that means a brass case containing the propellant charge, separate from the shell. Was there no way to improvise these charges (remove the propellant and place it in bags... ?) to the BLC 15 pdrs on Gallipoli, which presumably used a similar charge but in bagged form ? Or was it simply gunnery doctrine that any field modifications to the charge would result in dangerous and/or hopelessly inaccurate shooting and hence not to be considered ? Or is Clarke wtong about them using the same shell ?

cheers

Rod

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CSMMo
Dale Clarke states that the Ehrhardt QF and the BL 15 pdr fired the same 14 pound shrapnel shell, and that the Ehrhardt used QF separate loading ammo. As far as I understand it, that means a brass case containing the propellant charge, separate from the shell. Was there no way to improvise these charges (remove the propellant and place it in bags... ?) to the BLC 15 pdrs on Gallipoli, which presumably used a similar charge but in bagged form ? Or was it simply gunnery doctrine that any field modifications to the charge would result in dangerous and/or hopelessly inaccurate shooting and hence not to be considered ? Or is Clarke wtong about them using the same shell ?

cheers

Rod

They had all kinds of problems with ordinance at Gallipoli. This from the 10th Divisional Artillery War Diary 31 Aug 1915 at Suvla Bay: "{15} Heavy Battery fired experimental rounds on 30th inst., with a view to reducing excessive recoil. A buffer liquid of Glycerine and water was tried, and also a reduction of charge from 9 lb 12 oz. to 9 lb. 7 oz., 9 lb. 5 oz. and 9 lb. 4 oz. None of these made any appreciable difference. Further experiments are to be tried, with a mixture containing an increased proportion of glycerine. The ammunition sunk on 17th inst. Has been recovered, dried in the sun, and tried by 57 F.A.B. Results so far have been unsatisfactory, as cartridges failed to ignite, or hung fire for considerable periods. Further trials will be made when more complete drying has been carried out."

Between trying to match weapons with ammunition and types of ammunition that were required with what was available, missing fuze keys, etc. etc. Part of the hazards of being a "Forgotten Front", I suppose.

As far as answering your question specifically, I'll leave that to the amazing members who actually understand all that!

Mike Morrison

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bushfighter

Rod

Brig-Gen C.A.L. Graham's: "The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery" (Gale & Polden 1957) is very readable & enjoyable, if you can obtain a copy.

He records that the 7th Indian Mountain Artillery Brigade, comprising 21st Kohat Mountain Battery (Frontier Force) & 26th Jacob's Mountain Battery, sailed from Karachi on 17 September 1914.

The Brigade landed in Egypt & spent six months in the Canal Line defences at Kantara & Ismailia.

"During this period shields for the 10-pr. guns were made up in the workshops of the Suez Canal Company, & proved a very satisfactory addition to the equipment." (Very similar to our discussion in: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...t&p=777561).

Each battery took 56 mules ashore on landing to support the ANZAC. Because of confusion & lack of infantry (support troops landed away from the allotted beach) 26th Jacob's Mountain Battery was deployed to cover the leading infantry, attracted heavy enemy fire, & lost 17 casualties before being withdrawn to a more suitable position.

21st Kohat Mountain Battery landed about 1830 hours on a beach covered with wounded & under constant enemy fire. HMS Bacchante stood close in & smothered a Turkish battery at Gaba Tepe which was enfilading the beach from 600 yards range. This allowed the Kohat battery to get off the beach.

"The Turkish battery at Gaba Tepe, known as "Beachy Bill", which later enfiladed our front line as well as the beach was never finally silenced, & its neutralisation occupied one of Captain Rawson's guns more or less permanently. One day a shell off the line burst over one of our mule dug-outs, killing twenty mules & wounding twenty; it also killed the salutri & wounded eight drivers.

The batteries were under rifle, machine-gun & artillery fire by day & often by night during the whole period the Brigade was in the peninsula.

The drivers behaved splendidly throughout & never failed to bring up ammunition from the beach where it was stored.

The shrapnel broke up badly, the resin being too hard, & recourse was had to boiling the shell before use, which produced the desired effect. The 10-pr. was ill-adapted for the work required , the configuration of the ground & the short ranges demanding the use of a howitzer, & so the cartridge was cut in two to make half-charges, which were used on many occasions until it was found that the star shell cartridge could be used instead. Improvised range tables were used."

During the withdrawal 26th Jacob's Mountain Battery was the last artillery unit to leave Anzac.

AMMUNITION EXPENDED AT GALLIPOLI:

Kohat Battery 12,248 rounds

Jacob's Battery 9,135 rounds

Whilst Graham is obviously proud of the Indian Mountain Gunners' record & writes accordingly, it does appear that whilst Divisional Artillery had many problems & sometimes did not fire, the Indian Mountain Gunners offered a "Can Do" approach, improvising where necessary.

(Graham also lists the 16 additional Indian Army Mountain Batteries that were raised during the Great War.)

Harry

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RodB

Thanks for that Harry. So improvisation of charges was allowed... so I'd still like to find out exactly why the Ehrhardt ammo couldn't be used in some form. On the same topic of the Indian batteries, I have here a photograph from the Australian War Memorial archive, which is captioned : "A group of unidentified Indian gunners with a gun near the 1st Battalion's rest camp at the foot of White's Valley, Gallipoli Peninsula. The gun is most likely a captured Turkish 7.5 cm M05 (M04) mountain gun. May 1915". Looks to me like a 10 pounder. Why would they be wasting time with a captured gun, which looks like they have gone to the trouble of protecting. Also - what is the man on the right doing with what looks like a handspike ?

IndianGunnersWith10pounderGallipoliMay19

Rod

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pjjobson
Thanks for that Harry. So improvisation of charges was allowed... so I'd still like to find out exactly why the Ehrhardt ammo couldn't be used in some form. On the same topic of the Indian batteries, I have here a photograph from the Australian War Memorial archive, which is captioned : "A group of unidentified Indian gunners with a gun near the 1st Battalion's rest camp at the foot of White's Valley, Gallipoli Peninsula. The gun is most likely a captured Turkish 7.5 cm M05 (M04) mountain gun. May 1915". Looks to me like a 10 pounder. Why would they be wasting time with a captured gun, which looks like they have gone to the trouble of protecting. Also - what is the man on the right doing with what looks like a handspike ?

IndianGunnersWith10pounderGallipoliMay19

Rod

I'm not a Mountain Gun expert by any means, but I would think that it is a rammer not a handspike. As to the actual piece, I have no idea I'm afraid, but I look forward to being instructed!

Cheers

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scott9189

My partner's grandfather was in the Ross Mountain Battery. He was decorated and mentioned in dispatches.. His name was John or Ian Macleod from the town of Garenin on Lewis. He spoke fluent Gaelic. His nickname was Ian "glass" because their blackhouse was one of the first to have glass in the windows.

How can we find out more about this gentleman? Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you

Scott morrison

Toronto

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