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Re: Lighten up

October 17 2015 at 6:46 AM
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Nelson  (no login)
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Response to Lighten up!


> Lighten up! >

Hey, give me some slack! I think "As regards the photo, clearly taken from a movie—look, there’s bearded Brad Pitt under that very broad-brimmed hat..." is pretty light.

Regarding the remainder of that sentence and paragraph: "...the mortar shown is quite old and certainly a deal larger than 150mm (6 inches), when you compare the bore with the physical features of the men grouped around it. The report you quote mentions rounds 8 or 9 inches—203 or 230 mm—in diameter when their shattered fragments were reassembled. The trunnions on the piece are clearly located just behind the breech, as on the 8-inch mortar used in the American Civil War about 40 years before (note the wooden quoin used to elevate the latter piece at the muzzle)."

Do you agree (I hope) that the Boer mortar in the photo you posted is larger than 150mm, likely 200–230mm? The U.S. 8-inch (203mm) mortar I put up is the Model 1841, still used in the Civil War two decades later.

> OK, it turns out that it took a bit longer than forty years, and it wasn't until the war in Vietnam that the US military saw value in a portable short range automatic weapon that could provide high-volume suppressive fire support....Perhaps the Nordenfelt Maxim 1-pounder pompom was just way ahead of its time. >

I disagree: the Maxim-Nordenfelt (wish you would get it right) 1-pounder pompom was a gun of its time, the natural and next larger step after the Maxim automatic gun of rifle (or infantry) caliber. Both the Brits and Boers got pretty good at moving big guns in the rough country of the Transvaal, but in very difficult terrain of course they had to settle for a smaller gun. Same with the Americans in the Philippines: although a larger gun was often needed for a task, the nature of the terrain and the vegetation of the tropical forest or jungle restricted the artillery support to small mountain guns. All of those soldiers accepted the reality that a larger gun meant a heavier mount, with the greater difficulty in its movement. What was not acceptable for many armies, including those of Britain and the U.S., was a heavy mount carrying a small gun firing light rounds with a limited range, e.g. the 1-pounder pompom. And they were an expen$ive investment. Sure, 70 or 80 years later, better metallurgy and more modern technology permitted much smaller and lighter guns of like caliber to accomplish the identical task for which the old 1-pounder pompom did not truly fill the bill.

As regards the cross-chest ammunition bandoleers carried by British Commonwealth troops versus the waist ammo belts of the Americans, I have noticed the diff, but I don't know the answer. Contrary beliefs in the accessibility of rounds when engaged in action? The 19th century fear in the U.S. of giving its troops too much ammunition lest they squander it? An area for Jacques research, say I.


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