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ex-USMC Mark VII 3-inch landing guns to the NEI (and Australia)

September 5 2016 at 10:17 PM

To the members of this forum, but especially Nuyt:

In past years I have corresponded with Nuyt on American military and naval weapons and related equipment purchased by the Dutch, particularly to arm the KNIL. Some of it was intended for Dutch Guiana (now Suriname) and the Dutch Caribbean islands, and some of it ended up there anyway after the Japanese had invaded and captured the NEI. But some of the weapons involved were on their way to Java and elsewhere in the NEI in February-March 1942, and were thus diverted at the last minute, usually to Australia. There it went initially to the Dutch evacuated from the NEI and later almost all of it got transferred to the various Aussie armed services (a somewhat different example would be the Dornier Do-24 flying boats).

One of the purchases, for which I cannot yet find any trace in the United States, involved the former U.S. Marines Mark VII 3-inch landing gun, which did see considerable use by the American marines in the so-called Banana wars in Central America and the Caribbean islands, as well as in China. This mark of landing gun was originally intended for two classes of American battleships, but its ammunition limbers proved too heavy for use as a landing gun and it was relegated to the U.S. Marine Corps. It served exclusively as an American marines’ gun until sometime during the 1930s, when the navy declared it obsolete for such service.

At some point, most or many of these 50 guns, made originally in the 1909 to 1911 interval to a German Ehrhardt design, became available for export to the NEI. Someone—I don’t know if the Americans (more likely) or the Australians—converted them to high-speed configuration for truck towing by the addition of Martin Parry running gear and American steel wheels mounting pneumatic tires. The only surviving examples that I know of are a pair in Australia, both high-speeded. I understand that part of a third has been recovered from some remote location in Oz.

This topic was broached nearly three years ago in this forum, specifically November 30, 2013, to wit: “Apparently the NEI bought the complete storage of US navy 3 inch 1911 landing guns. Some ended up in Australia, proof the guns were at least en route to the Indies in feb 42.”

So, can anyone shed light on these guns, for example, how many in fact were purchased? The Dutch did not buy them all, because at least a handful were still in naval storage in the Philippines in late 1941. Did any reach the NEI? Are—or at least were—there such survivors in Indonesia?

A color image of such a Mark VII landing gun in Oz appears here:

Thanks for any help.


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