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RFA Vernacular

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I'm currently reading the war diary of Lt. Col. R.G.A. Hamilton (Master of Belhaven) and in it he refers to something called a "Jack Johnson."

It's obviously a reference to a particular type of shell fired by the Germans but I was wondering if anyone can clarify exactly how large these shells were and what type of explosive charge we would be talking about.

Likewise, which kind of German gun would fire such things as "whizz bangs"?

Thanks,

S.

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What you should do is search under 'Arms' in Paraphernalia. Lots of posts there concerning these shells, but basically a 'Jack Johnson' was an H.E. howitzer shell which burst in a cloud of black smoke; name taken from a famous Black American boxer of the period. A whizzbang was any type of flat trajectory field gun shell, usually the German 7.7cm H.E.

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I believe Jack Johnson was the first African-American boxer to win the Heavyweight Championship of the World, so a celebrity name of his day .. beating the first Briton to win the Heavyweight title, Bob Fitzsimmons in 1907, and the Canadian world champion Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia in 1908... the name was being used for such large black smoke shell bursts within a few weeks of the start of the war

http://www.boxingtreasures.com/jack-johnson.html

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Thanks all for the advice. I also came across "pip-squeaks" in the text but it didn't take too much imagination on my part to work out that one!

S.

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Not to be confused with Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, which was the nickname for the commonest medal trio!

Both derived from a strip cartoon in one of the tabloids of the day.

Ron

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