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Drummy

IWM's 13 Pdr - First Shot

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I note the 13 Pdr in the IWM's collection formed part of the 50th Anniversary commemoration's in 1964, I wonder if IWM will undertake something similar with this historic exhibit in their 100th Anniversary?

IWM description:

The QF 13 pdr Horse Artillery Gun was manufactured as a result of the deliberations of a Committee set up as the war in South Africa was drawing to a close, and was intended to provide the Horse Artillery with the best modern gun that could be made. After studying numerous proposals, the Committee recommended an amalgam of the best features from Vickers and Woolwich Arsenal, and the 13pdr Gun was introduced into service in 1904.This particular 13-pdr Gun was taken to Belgium on 15 August 1914, as the No 4 gun of "E" Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, It came into action on 22 August 1914, where it fired the first British round of the First World War on the Western Front, near Binche, about ten miles from Mons. The gun was then in action throughout the retreat from Mons. During 1914, the gun took part in the Battles of the Marne, the Aisne and Ypres, and then in most battles of 1915-17, including action at the Second Battle of the Ypres, Neuve Chapelle, Loos, Battles of the Somme, Hill 60, First and Second Battles of Cambrai, Lens and Arras. In 1918, it was involved in the retreat of the Fifth Army, but later took part in the British advance, and was one of the last guns in action, finally accompanying the Battery to Germany. In 1964, this gun was taken again to Belgium, where one of its original crew fired a blank round on the fiftieth anniversary of its first shot. Five years later, in July 1969, the gun took part in a similar commemorative ceremony at Bray.

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Very interesting post, my questions are, how do they track the movements of individual pieces of artillery?, did they have serial numbers (apart from parts numbers) and if so where was it located?.

khaki

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Wonder how much of it is original. Not a subject I know anything about, but from its history, it seems to have been pretty well used during WW1, so what would the life expectancy of the barrel of 13 pounder have been; was it determined by usage (ie rounds fired) or inspection, and if one was found to be too worn for continued use, would the barrel have been replaced/reworked (as I believe was the case with larger pieces), or would the whole gun have been scrapped as no longer serviceable/beyond economic repair ?

NigelS

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I'm rather confused by this description, as I thought the whole point of the 13 pdr at IWM is that it's the 'Nery Gun', and is shown damaged as it was at Nery in 1914, with damaged wheel, chunks out of the shield, damaged barrel etc, I wonder if they mean the 18 pdr or another 13 pounder they have

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I got this confused when I started my research but the barrel is not the gun, it's the piece. The gun is defined as the whole assembly and it is the assembly which carries the reference number. There are a number of examples in the AA Section Diaries from Salonika of a gun having a piece replaced and returning to duty with the same reference number. The barrel is the significantly-wearing part and they were designed to be replaced easily. On the 13-pdr and 18-pdr they screwed onto the breech-block, for example.

There was and probably still is a nominal barrel-life related to "effective rounds fired." QF guns were relatively unusual in that rounds fired was a constant because the charge could not be varied. Larger guns, where the projectile and charge were separate, had tables to calculate the wear from the actual charge used so the effective number would almost certainly be lower than the actual rounds fired. It wasn't an automatic process and guns might have to keep going after their nominal life had ended for simple practical reasons. On the other hand, if there were problems with a gun then it was possible to take an impression of the bore to determine the degree of wear at different parts of the bore and it could be condemned on that basis.

Keith

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This discussion reminds me of Trigger's description(in "Only Fools and Horses) of his original Brush and how he had preserved it. :D

Gun barrels wear out,through use,and I would doubt it's the original,assuming the piece's War service is correct.

George

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Fogort to add, that this exhibit is now on display at IWM North at Trafford Park, I think it has some damage to the shield. Has any forum members any further details about the 1964 commemorations in general, I would imagine large numbers of veterans were still around at the time.

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Ah, that explains it then - different weapon to the badly damaged 13 pdr on display at IWM London

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here is a photograph of the Breech of a 13 Pr.

John

post-1365-0-57375200-1308749815.jpg

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I got this confused when I started my research but the barrel is not the gun, it's the piece. The gun is defined as the whole assembly and it is the assembly which carries the reference number. There are a number of examples in the AA Section Diaries from Salonika of a gun having a piece replaced and returning to duty with the same reference number. The barrel is the significantly-wearing part and they were designed to be replaced easily. On the 13-pdr and 18-pdr they screwed onto the breech-block, for example.

There was and probably still is a nominal barrel-life related to "effective rounds fired." QF guns were relatively unusual in that rounds fired was a constant because the charge could not be varied. Larger guns, where the projectile and charge were separate, had tables to calculate the wear from the actual charge used so the effective number would almost certainly be lower than the actual rounds fired. It wasn't an automatic process and guns might have to keep going after their nominal life had ended for simple practical reasons. On the other hand, if there were problems with a gun then it was possible to take an impression of the bore to determine the degree of wear at different parts of the bore and it could be condemned on that basis.

Keith

Certainly at one time the barrel was "the tube",barrel and breach was " the piece" and with a carriage the whole thing was "the equipment" (see Hogg's History of Artillery). The tube and breach had numbers and the rounds fired had to recorded as these had to be tested after a certain number.

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Thanks, C. Looks like I'm no longer confused but remain a little befuddled. :)

Keith

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Just for anyone curious, the very first British shot of the war was fired by a 4" gun on HMS Lance on 5th August, I believe the gun is still in the IWM but the name of the gunlayer has long since been lost. It would be interesting to see if this piece goes on prominant display for the 100th anniversary. A good bit of info is on the following site;

http://3dhistory.de/wordpress/?page_id=376

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