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Re: Interesting

August 29 2015 at 4:07 PM
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Nelson  (no login)
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Response to Another one in OZ


> Thanks, so a grand total of 36-40 of these guns may have been purchased by the NPC, that’s interesting....I guess the former US Marines’ guns came with their stockpile of ammo as well... It must have been a substantial order (especially if highspeeded) and no doubt documented...I’ll check if I can find any leads in my files. >

From what I conclude, you wrote the above before going into your files. Important: What is the basis of your prelim estimate of 36 to 40 Mark VII marine landing guns moving into Dutch hands c1940? In fact, the USN had purchased a total of 50 of these landing guns designed by Rheinische and built by American & British Mfr. Co., in two contracts specifying 25 units each, during the years 1909–1912, give or take. The third surviving Mark VII you located in Oz, serial No. 1153, is definitely part of the second lot ordered.

I have since checked my own files to ascertain more precisely how many Mark VII 3-inch (76mm) landing guns were available in American outposts in the Far East as war clouds gathered. The answer is 10: six stored at Cavite Navy Yard in Manila Bay, and the final four actually in marine service in Peking (likely moved later to Shanghai). It may well be that the Mark VII landing guns purchased by the Dutch did not even include those ten, but the lot sold moved directly from the States. I’ve been giving a deal of thought to WHO high-speeded the “Dutch” guns, and WHEN, and my money is on the Americans as part of the conditions set by the purchaser. It would make sense that the Dutch in the NEI would have required high-speeded artillery pieces, and their conversion was more readily done back in the U.S. of A. By the time these pieces were diverted to Australia, the Diggers had enough on their minds, and the plethora of different types of guns arriving at dockside would have been mind-boggling. Would the Aussies have asked, “By the by, the Dutchies just gifted us N-number of American naval landing guns. You got some of those conversion kits so’z we can modernize them? And ammo, too. Lotsa ammo.” Well, maybe, and could my guess be stone-cold wrong? Absolutely.

> Wasn’t there another type of US landing gun with the recuperator mounted on top of the barrel (a De Bange invention if I recall?). That was a very modern looking gun for the time and preceding Rheinmetall designs of the 1920s. >

Well, yes, no, yes, and uncertain. Starting with your first and third points, the U.S. Navy finally got the modern landing gun it wanted, the Mark XI, in 1916, virtually too late for it to see any real use. Its design was a collaboration between the navy, which laid out its needs, and the gun’s manufacturer, Bethlehem Steel. Which is to write that this piece was not bought off the shelf from Bethlehem, as were the woefully inadequate Mark IV landing gun and the later Mark XII mountain gun, the latter seeing rather little use by the marines. The Mark XI design included such niceties as a vertical sliding wedge breech mechanism, a better panoramic sight than on the Mark VII, and a split-trail field carriage (Mark VI). The no part is the recuperator was hung under the barrel; ‘twas the recoil cylinder atop the barrel. Not sure of your point about Rheinmetall, unless you mean the German company’s general ordnance designs of the 1920s, which did come after the design and adoption of the Mark XI landing gun in 1916, even before the U.S. had become a belligerent in World War I. See Gene Slover’s website on the Mark XI landing gun, which provides graphics and will answer most of your questions.

Want to correct partially one of my previous statements. I wrote that the U.S. Navy differentiated between a field gun and a landing gun on the basis of muzzle velocity alone. Not correct sensu stricto, because those different muzzle velocities were generated by different 3-inch rounds: the Mark I and Mark I mod 1 used smaller rounds than the later Marks IV, VII, and XI, i.e., such ammunition was not interchangeable.


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