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15pdr BLC anti-aircraft gun in Cape Town

October 22 2009 at 11:45 PM
  (Premier Login nuyt)
Forum Owner

Would this be a one off and unique piece?
See here:
http://www.network54.com/Forum/330333/thread/1256155274/guns+in+Capetown

 
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Jacques
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Cape Town Coastal Defence Batteries

October 23 2009, 4:01 PM 

Nuyt,
Unfortunately I cannot answer your question but what I can say is that the guns in picture are on exhibition at Fort Wynyard, previously the base for The Cape Garison Artillery (Kaapse Vestings Artillerie) a reserve AA regiment of the S.A Defence Force. They have contact details on their website and I am sure that someone there will be able to help you. See:

http://www.cgamil.co.za

You might be interested to know that, at last the residents of Cape Town and their local government have woken up and are now doing what they can to save the remnants of fortifications and gun emplacements in and around that beautiful city.

When next you're in Cape Town you might want to check out what's termed "the highest density of gun sites in the world" - According to Brigadier General (Rtd.) John Del Monte of the South African Military History Society. Cape Town reportedly now also has the oldest working coastal battery in the world - Hout Bay's East battery of eight 18 pounder Finbanker guns was built in 1783. There is also the Chavonnes Battery with a pair of "extremely rare" 1880's Canet 75mm breech loading guns in their possesion - Do you know anything about these?

http://chavonnesmuseum.co.za

Of more relevevance to this forum is Fort Wynyard, a WW2 era coastal defence battery within easy walking distance of the Victoria & Albert Waterfront and adjacent to the Green Point Stadium. This fort is to be upgraded immediately and will be re-opened (May 2010) as a living museum and major tourist attraction. See the June 2009 newsletter of the S.A. Military History Society (Suid Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging) at:

http://samilitaryhistory.org/9/c09junne.html

There are also contact details and someone here should be able to give you more details on that strange looking 15 Pounder.
Regards,
Jacques



 
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(Premier Login nuyt)
Forum Owner

Thanks

October 23 2009, 6:47 PM 

so they will keep the museum after all!

 
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(Login Jacquesjvv)

"Skinny Liz"

September 20 2011, 9:04 AM 

Hi Nuyt,

Found this quite by chance at the SAMHM last week, from a magazine article by Lt. W.M Bisset, SAN and titled "South Africa's First Anti-Aircraft Guns":

Two 15 pounder Armstrong BLC's (breech loading cannons) were converted for use in an anti-aircraft role during the early days of WW1 by Captain C.L. Gransden and his team of armament artificers at Fort Knokke, Cape Town. The main problems which had to be surmounted was the designing of a new carriage capable of elevation far beyond the standard 16 and of withstanding the recoil because the gun alone weighed around 900 pounds (457 kilogram) and its normal recoil through its field cradle was 3' 6" (1060 mm). The first gun converted had a maximum elevation of 60 and the second had it improved to 71.

"Skinny Liz", as this peculiar piece was named, accompanied the 1st Infantry Brigade to Walvis Bay in December 1914 for the invasion of German South West Africa and was initially mounted on the foc'sle of the S.S. GAIKA (Union Line, 6 300 tons) ready for use "should an enemy aeroplane appear". The only record of shots fired in anger at an enemy aircraft is contained in an official report on 2 Battery, South African Mounted Rifles which describes an unsuccessful engagement with a troublesome German "Taube" monoplane. The report adds that one of the recoil springs broke each time a round was fired. See also:

http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol053sm.html

"Skinny Liz" was employed in its dual role throughout the German South West Campaign "with considerable success" (I.V. Hogg and L.V. Thurston: British Artillery Weapons and Ammunition 1914-1915, pg. 74) but it would seem that its weight and lack of success in its anti-aircraft role may have led to the decision not to use the conversion in another theatre of war.

Regards,

Jacques.

 
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(Premier Login nuyt)
Forum Owner

Very interesting!

September 20 2011, 9:38 AM 

Baie Dankie Jacques!

 
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