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dutch coastal arty, 180mm

October 28 2016 at 11:54 AM
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sergei  (Login serg12)

 
Hello!
I failed to find any data (range, elevation, shell weight, entered service time etc) about 180mm pieces on the Java.
I would be grateful if someone could help me on this matter.

 
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Nelson
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Re: Dutch coast artillery, 180mm

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November 11 2016, 6:10 PM 

Sergei,

As you likely know, the standard large coast artillery in Dutch service in the NEI consisted mainly of various models of Krupp and Bofors 150mm guns. Late acquisition, however, included fewer than a dozen Bethlehem Steel 7-inch (178mm, more commonly expressed as 180mm) guns originally installed in two late classes of American predreadnoughts. These broadside guns were emplaced on pedestal mounts in hull casemates, as seen in USS Vermont sometime during the early 20th century (she has her original livery and masts).

[linked image]

Because these guns when made were designated in the English common system, I’ll provide that datum first, and the metric equivalent in parentheses.

The USN Mark II (later Mark 2) 7-inch/45caliber BLR weighed 12.8 short tons (13 tonnes) and although considered marginally a rapid-fire weapon, could deliver only four rounds/minute. Little wonder, as its projectiles weighed 165 pounds (74.8 kg). Lying between the true RF maximum of the 6-inch (152mm) gun and the true BLR of 8-inch (203mm) bore, the 7-inch gun was neither fish nor fowl, and quickly disappeared in the subsequent dreadnought generation. There were, however, substantial numbers of these guns placed into storage, and such pieces saw WWII service in both American and Dutch hands.

The projectile length, in various marks, varied from 23.64 to 23.73 inches (60.1 to 60.3 cm); the propellant was normally 58 pounds (26.3 kg) of SPD, achieving a reasonably good 2700 ft/sec (823 m/sec) of muzzle velocity (much higher, and severe bore erosion began to occur, much shortening barrel life). On its original pedestal mount, with a maximum elevation of 15°, typical for the time, the gun reached 16,500 yards (15,090 m) as an effective range. By any standard, however, a 7-inch gun was a powerful weapon, and restricting its maximum effective range to 15 km meant a real waste. So, what to do about it? That remains a thorny question.

The Dutch in the NEI didn’t have much time and they knew it. Not only that, but much/most of the American export ordnance matériel arrived late in the game, shortening the available installation time even more. Most of the eleven Bethlehem 7-inch guns the Japanese captured when they arrived in Java were not installed; two at Ceribon were partially so; three on Madoera Island were completely or almost completely done. From evidence seen in other former Dutch colonies, for example in Suriname, ex-American naval guns are installed on their original pedestal mounts, implying that any battle (against raiders or U-boats) would be at relatively short range. The Dutch last-ditch fortress on Madoera may have involved modified mountings, permitting these ex-Yankee 7-inch (180mm) naval guns greater elevation and range. I am merely suggesting this, and do NOT know it for a fact. Nuyt may know.

Stored 7-inch naval guns saw brief WWII service in emergency coast artillery batteries on the American coasts, emplaced as was until better and longer-range batteries could be built; such guns saw longer service in the hands of the Marine Defense Battalions on several Pacific islands.

Nelson

 
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Nelson
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weight equivalence

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November 11 2016, 7:05 PM 

Sergei,

In the third paragraph of my previous posting, I wrote, “The USN Mark II (later Mark 2) 7-inch/45caliber BLR weighed 12.8 short tons (13 tonnes)...” Clearly, the 12.8 must be long tons for the metric equivalence to work.

Nelson

 
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Sergei
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oh

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November 12 2016, 4:41 PM 

I was confused when i started to read a new great book 'The Allied Defense of the Malay Barrier' by Mr.Womack. Where i have found for myself a lot of new information. There was a mention about 180mm (not a 178mm!) guns but without comments where do they come from. I was even more confused because a scheme in this book show 180mm batteries on the java (where AFAIK the biggest guns were 6"). I guessed that maybe they have dutch origin...
Thanks for detailed response Nelson!

 
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Nelson
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a bit more

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November 15 2016, 6:02 PM 

Sergei,

Your two major assumptions are correct: (i) The largest guns in the NEI of European origin were 150mm pieces (mostly older Krupp guns, but one modern Bofors twin mount). (ii) Such guns were emplaced mainly on Java. There were also a goodly number of older Krupp 120mm (4.7-inch) quick-firing guns used in coast defense batteries. As regards

> There was a mention about 180mm (not a 178mm!) guns but without comments where do they come from. >

I daresay that 180mm versus 178mm is a case of splitting hairs. Both 178mm and 180mm are commonly seen as legit metric translations for 7-inch guns. Likely some writers find 178 an awkward number, when the rounded-off 180 is easier to use, and both are equally acceptable among the naval ordnance fraternity.

I commend Japanese Monograph No. 68, “Report on Installations and Captured Weapons, Java and Singapore”, prepared by two Japanese field grade officers—one ordnance, one heavy artillery—in 1942, and translated by the U.S. Army postwar, which included actual interviews with these IJA officers, both of whom had survived the war. In that report, the useful information is provided not only within the main body of text, but also in tabular form and on a diagrammatic map of Java. Interestingly, in the textual portion and on the map, the metric equivalence of the American 7-inch gun is 180 mm, but in the table, it is given as 177.8 mm. The important things for you in this report are (a) There is no gun size available in the Java coast defenses between the U.S. ex-battleship 7-inch tertiary gun and the European 150mm guns. (b) There is no seacoast gun on Java in excess of the U.S. 7-inch gun. So, there is no other 180mm gun that has slipped through the cracks. The ex-USN 7-inch gun is precisely what we’re discussing here, and is the gun referred to in Tom Womack’s recent book.

If this postwar monograph is not readily available to you, here are the pertinent excerpts:

page 71: “The [Java] fortresses are small, and practically all of them are equipped with old types of guns of less than 180-mm caliber.”

page 72 (map): Ceribon is shown as Cheribon, having two 7-inch (180mm) and three 75mm guns; Modoeng Fortress is on Madoera Island, having three 7-inch (180mm), one 150mm gun [twin mount], three 75mm guns, etc. There are no other 180mm guns specified on this map of Java.

page 73: “Cheribon Fortress: Construction was not completed. In addition to two 7-inch guns that were in the process of being installed, various fortification materials, all in good condition, are stockpiled near this site. Three 75-mm guns had already been installed, but they were totally destroyed.”

page 75: “7-inch American Bethlehem Gun: This gun was manufactured by the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1906 or 1907. It is an old type of gun, and cannot be regarded as an efficient weapon. It is believed these guns were recently purchased from America. In the Modeong Fortress on Madoera Island three of these guns have been completely installed and one partially installed. In Cheribon there are two guns of this type partially installed. Accessories to this type of gun were distributed to various fortresses. The breechblock is of the Rheinmetall-Borsing type, with a sealing gasket. The bore has been defaced considerably. There are no shields or telescopes. Although these guns are of an old type, the caliber is large and the tube is long. They can, therefore, be regard as having considerable power.”

page 76 (table): Type, 7-inch American Bethlehem gun; Quantity, eleven; Caliber, 177.8mm; Tube length, 46 calibers [officially USN, 45 calibers]; Maximum range 15,500 meters; Remarks: “Three completed. At least eight others partially assembled. Accessories are scattered.”

pages 79 and 80: It appears from the conclusions made by these two Japanese officers that there was some question of how much 7-inch ammunition had yet arrived from the United States. IF the quantity was small, the officers recommended one gun be sent to the ordnance technical branch in Japan for additional study as to its suitability as a fortress artillery piece. IF the ammunition quantity was adequate, the recommendation was for immediate emplacement as fortress guns in the Southern Theater.

There remains NO doubt that these 7-inch/178mm/180mm guns were one and the same, had an American origin, and had previously been mounted in predreadnought battleships of the U.S. Navy.

Nelson

 
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Sergei
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Thanks again!

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November 17 2016, 9:52 PM 

Yes, you're right. It seems that a map come from the monograph No68 (p72), without remarks on the true gun caliber.

 
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Alice
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two questions

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November 20 2016, 10:27 PM 

I have two questions on your recent postings, Nelson.

In your first one you mention two classes of American pre-dreadnoughts mounting 7-inch guns (non-main guns). In Antony Preston's "Battleships of World War I: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of all Nations 1914/1918 (published 1972), I can find only one class of such ships with 7-inch guns, the Connecticut Class (two 2 x 12in turrets; four 2 x 8in turrets; 12 x 7in in port and starboard broadside batteries; 20 x 3in similarly arranged). The Connecticut Class consisted of six battleships: CONNECTICUT, LOUISIANA, VERMONT, KANSAS, MINNESOTA, and NEW HAMPSHIRE, and their general description appears on pages 234-235. In the following class, on pages 236-237 of Preston, are the first true U.S. dreadnoughts, SOUTH CAROLINA and MICHIGAN. The only thing that occurs to me is that the Connecticut Class was maybe divided into two subclasses? No other U.S. battleship class mounted 7-inch guns, at least that I can find.

In your second lengthy posting, you refer to the 7-inch guns as tertiary. In this case, I think that designation is not correct. IMO, tertiary guns are smaller -- 5in, 4in, 3in --and there is usually a bit of a jump in size between the secondary and tertiary guns. Again, IMO, both the 8-inch and 7-inch guns, because of their negligible bore difference, must be considered secondary. Of course, having both 8-inch and 7-inch guns, with the need for two closely different ammunition supplies, highlights the silliness so often of pre-dreadnought battleship design.

 
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Nelson
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Re: two questions

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November 21 2016, 4:31 AM 

Alice,

Thanks for your two questions, which raise interesting points. To the initial one:

> In your first [posting] you mention two classes of American pre-dreadnoughts mounting 7-inch guns...I can find only one class of such ships with 7-inch guns, the Connecticut Class...The only thing that occurs to me is that the Connecticut Class was maybe divided into two subclasses? >

The answer to your first question is yes and no. Yes, the Connecticut class did have two subclasses, but no, that is not the reason I declared two classes of American predreadnoughts mounting 7-inch guns in broadside. It is often of value to specify the hull numbers of warships to get a more complete picture of what was happening, viz.:

Connecticut (BB 18)
Louisiana (BB 19)
Vermont (BB 20)
Kansas (BB 21)
Minnesota (BB 22)
New Hampshire (BB 25)

Whoa, already you can see that BBs 23 and 24 are missing from the lineup. And what is New Hampshire (BB 25) doing with a hull number three different from its immediate class predecessor, Minnesota (BB 22)? Okay, a quick review: With the original Connecticut class progressing, as a money-saving move, the navy laid down two “smaller Connecticuts”, Mississippi (BB 23) and Idaho (BB 24). They were nearly 70 feet shorter (382 feet versus 450 feet) and 3000 tons lighter (13,000 tons versus 16,000 tons). Although they mounted the same number of 12-inch and 8-inch guns in the same configuration as in the Connecticuts, they mounted four fewer 7-inch guns and eight fewer 3-inch guns. As a result, they also had less power, less speed, less range, and poorer seakeeping qualities than their slightly older cousins, relegating the latter to lesser duties. In the era of the true dreadnought, the U.S. Navy hardly needed warships that seemed suspiciously like the coastal battleships of the 1890s. Six years after their completion in 1908, the navy sold the warships to Greece, where they became Kilkis and Lemnos, respectively. Both ships served happily in the quieter and more restricted waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Both retired ships were sunk by Stuka dive-bombers in April 1941 (even though Lemnos had been divested of all or most of her armament to serve in coast artillery batteries).

As a result of the unsat nature of the Mississippi class battleships, a sixth and final Connecticut class battleship, New Hampshire, was authorized; she was the final American predreadnought built. The first two and the last four Connecticuts differed enough that they are seen to be two subclasses, but not enough that the four Vermonts are generally considered to be a separate class by most big ship naval historians. Thus we have eight U.S. battleships mounting 7-inch broadside guns, the six Connecticuts and the two Mississippis. I have attached a .jpg image of Idaho, clearly showing her shorter length and fewer casemated 7-inch guns than in the Connecticuts (see the photo in my first posting). Her cage or lattice mainmast has just been added.

[linked image]

To your other point:

> In your second lengthy posting, you refer to the 7-inch guns as tertiary. In this case, I think that designation is not correct. >

I see your point and in fact kinda agree with you, given nearly the same bores of the 8-inch and 7-inch guns. But there is more than one scheme for divvying up shipboard armament. In addition to main/primary, secondary, and tertiary, one sees main/primary, intermediate, secondary, and tertiary. Except for the largest and smallest guns aboard, one may almost pick and choose where to put each size of gun. For example, what to consider 6-inch guns, which are entirely excluded in your posting? In The Complete Encyclopedia of Battleships, published a decade after the Preston book that you cite, Tony Gibbons describes the Mississippi class battleships so: “...armament was also largely unchanged [from the Connecticuts], though the tertiary battery had to be reduced in number.” Because both the 7-inch and 3-inch guns had been diminished in numbers, Gibbons evidently considered the 7-inch guns to be tertiary armament.

> Of course, having both 8-inch and 7-inch guns, with the need for two closely different ammunition supplies, highlights the silliness so often of pre-dreadnought battleship design. >

Not only silly but possibly deadly for the ship mounting both. The water spouts made by exploding 8-inch and 7-inch projectiles could hardly be differentiated at a substantial distance, making fire control for these guns a baffling endeavor.

Nelson

 
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Jim Broshot
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Japanese Monograph 68

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November 25 2016, 6:08 AM 

Japanese Monograph 68 "Report on Installations and Captured Weapons, Java and Singapore, 1942"

Can be found and downloaded from Hyperwar


http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Japan/Monos/pdfs/JM-68/JM-68.pdf

 
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Nelson
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Re: Japanese Monograph 68

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November 25 2016, 2:02 PM 

As always, good find. Hope you had an enjoyable Turkey Lurkey day, as I did.

[linked image]

Am not putting my name below, to avoid the obvious implications.

 
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Nelson
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photo of USN 7-inch gun emplaced on Bora Bora

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December 11 2016, 4:54 AM 

Sergei et alia,

In my previous postings, I have made reference to the Mark I and Mark II 7-inch BL guns installed in the broadside batteries of certain American predreadnought battleships. After these ships had been declared obsolete and scrapped, the 7-inch guns went into storage and thereafter in World War II saw service in harbor and coast defense batteries. One example on the U.S. west coast was two-gun Battery Zeilin at San Diego, CA, originally manned by American marines and transferred to the army’s Coast Artillery in late December 1941. The battery served until its deactivation sometime in 1943, when modern coast defense batteries were completed and manned.

In the Pacific islands, a foursome of 7-inch guns protected Bora Bora, a French protectorate garrisoned by U.S. forces beginning in early 1942. These guns were, as elsewhere, installed on their original pedestal mounts used in the early 20th century predreadnoughts. The Dutch in the NEI had but limited time in late 1941/early 1942 to finish their own defenses, and thus the former American 7-inch guns—published sources designate them variously as 180mm or 178mm guns—whose emplacement was completed (only on Madoera Island) before the Japanese captured the islands, almost certainly also saw installation on their original pedestal mounts. Such a configuration would have restricted their maximum range to 15,500 meters. The Bora Bora guns survive in situ and a photo of one them appears below.

[linked image]

Nelson

 
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Manx Kat
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ranges in yards or meters

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December 19 2016, 3:45 PM 

Maths were never my strong suite, so can someone clairify the different range figures given in these posts? 16500 yards, 15,090 meters, 15,500 meters? I think the answer must lie in maximum range versis maximum effective range. Am I close?

 
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Jim Broshot
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Re: ranges in yards or meters

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December 22 2016, 6:46 AM 

I think Nelson got his range figures from one of Friedman's books.

But here are some numbers from Campbell's NAVAL WEAPONS OF WORLD WAR TWO for the 7inch Mark 2 gun as a coast defense gun for maximum range: 16,500 yards (15,090 meters) at 15 degrees of elevation.

Friedman in U S NAVAL WEAPONS gives the same range but calls the gun the Mark 1.

And Friedman in NAVAL WEAPONS OF WORLD WAR ONE gives no ranges but breaks the gun types down into

Mark I (prototype) - 1 built

Mark II (Mod 0, Mod 1 and Mod 2) - 111 built (including 20 for the Marines and 18 for the Army to be mounted on a track mount)

 
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Nelson
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Re: ranges in yards or meters

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December 22 2016, 11:33 AM 

Guys,

> I think Nelson got his range figures from one of Friedman's books. >

The 16,500 yards or 15,090 meters for the USN Mark II 7-inch/45cal gun on its original pedestal mount, permitting 15° max elev, came from the Naval Weapons website, which does reference both Campbell and Friedman. See

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_7-45_mk2.php

The 15,500 meters originated with the two Japanese officers who examined the Allied ordnance matériel on Java in 1942, duly translated in Monograph No. 68. Whether this figure came from the Dutch or was an estimate by the Japanese, I’m not certain. The difference between 15,090 and 15,500 meters is 410 meters or 448 yards or one-quarter mile, not much to quibble about. Normally, there is a not inconsiderable difference between the effective maximum range and the actual maximum range of a particular gun, thus a mere 410 meters is hardly such.

That written, my uncle served for part of WWII with D Battery, 8th U.S. Coast Artillery. That unit was armed with four 155mm GPF rifles (Grande Puissance Filloux, named for its designer, Col. Louis J.F. Filloux, French Army). As with others, my uncle said that the GPF was highly accurate to ten miles or a bit more, but then its accuracy fell off rapidly with any additional range attempted. The Tanignak collection includes a nice shot of the GPF on a 360° Panama mount, which adapted the French field gun to an American coast artillery piece having greater and quicker traverse, in order to track fast-moving enemy warships.

[linked image]

Nelson

 
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Nelson
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an error corrected and a bit more info

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December 28 2016, 11:14 PM 

Although the chat has strayed a good deal from the ex-USN 7-inch or 180mm rifles sent to Java, any error made in this forum needs correcting. A friend informed me off-forum that the image of the Panama mount I attached in my previous posting actually shows a 270° mount, not the 360° standard mount that I specified. When first designed as a temporary or emergency solution to emplace the French GPF 155mm field gun as a coast artillery piece, the Panama mount encompassed a full circle (360°). It quickly occurred that in most situations, the full circle, wherein the split trail of the gun swiveled around to the front and pointed the gun to the rear, was not necessary. Indeed, in not a few wartime photos of 360° Panama mounts, sandbags have been laid across the midpoint of the circle, both to protect the gun crew and serve as a traverse check to prevent the carriage from being rotated unnecessarily far. The immediate answer was a half-circle or 180° Panama mount, with the truncated side facing the water, and one sees frequent examples of such a configuration. Far more rarely built was the 3/4-circle or 270° Panama mount, where the gun in question saw emplacement on a point of land and had to cover more than a planar seafront, but one that “turned the corner” and made necessary the extra quarter-circle.

The best known examples of the 270° Panama mount occurred at the top of a sandy bluff at Fort Funston, HD San Francisco, and named, at least unofficially, Battery Bluff. Because of the severe erosion of the face of the bluff, today those four Panama mounts lie in pieces at its foot.

The 270° Panama mount whose image I included in my previous posting is one of four Panama mounts in the late 1930s emergency battery that protected Sitka Sound and Sitka Naval Air Station. The battery stood on Makhnati Island, the seaward terminal island connected to Japonski Island by a causeway a bit less than two miles in length and crossing seven islands. After war began, Battery Construction 292 for two 6-inch BL rifles reaching 27,000 yards (15+ miles)—versus 19,000 yards (10.8 miles) for the GPF—was undertaken in the same area of Makhnati Island, and in fact required the removal of GPF guns Nos. 2 and 3 and their Panama mounts. Such construction was unusual, in that the army wished to have use of the entire emergency battery until its successor was completed—at a safe, tactically distant site. The limited amount of suitable land available, likely impacted by muskeg and bog forest so prevalent in SE Alaska and NW British Columbia, made this less than ideal solution necessary.

A photo, taken on the same occasion as shown on the one I previously posted, reveals both No. 4 gun mount of the GPF 155mm gun battery and No. 2 shielded 6-inch gun of new Battery Construction 292, appears here:

http://www.sitkaww2.com/harbordefenses/harbordefenses.html

Nelson

 
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