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BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby gambadier on 20 Jan 2013 10:55

6 inch Gun Mk 19 only equipped heavy batteries. There were no heavy batteries in N Africa until the Torch landings in 1943, these btys were equipped with 7.2 in How.

6 inch Guns were widely used for coast defence. Obviously these guns were mounted on coast artillery mountings not field carriages. Top traverse on a field carriage was only a few degrees, clearly unsuitable for coast defence where rapid traverse of perhaps 180 degrees was required. Coast btys RA with 6 inch were in Palestine and Egypt. There were also a few in the RM MNBDO, these were on mobile mountings with wide traverse.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby Clive Mortimore on 20 Jan 2013 22:08

gambadier wrote:6 inch Gun Mk 19 only equipped heavy batteries. There were no heavy batteries in N Africa until the Torch landings in 1943, these btys were equipped with 7.2 in How.

6 inch Guns were widely used for coast defence. Obviously these guns were mounted on coast artillery mountings not field carriages. Top traverse on a field carriage was only a few degrees, clearly unsuitable for coast defence where rapid traverse of perhaps 180 degrees was required. Coast btys RA with 6 inch were in Palestine and Egypt. There were also a few in the RM MNBDO, these were on mobile mountings with wide traverse.


Could this barrel in question be a Royal Marine weapon not an army one? http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=111267&p=1584034&hilit=Arrol+Withers#p1582927 a consice account of the Royal marines on Crete can be found http://www.naval-review.co.uk/issues/1945-3.pdf

Or is it from 15 Coastal Regiment who were on the island? http://www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/coast/page13.html

I remain confused about what a mobile coast regiment is? Which 4 inch gun was issued to the regiment? And mobile 12 pdr? Which 12 pdr gun? Both the 4 inch and the 12 pdr were mounted on trucks but as far as I know they remained on UK soil.

Not sure which unit this barrel blonged to but to be honest I think the barrel in the photo had been removed from its mounting in a futile attempt to evacuate it back to Eygpt.

There appears to be many unanswered questions.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby gambadier on 21 Jan 2013 10:21

The reliable history of UK coast defence arty is Maurice-Jones' book. He has 15 Coast Regt RA (3 batteries) and a couple of RM MNBDO batteries RM in Crete. All four 6-inch were at Suda Bay and appear to have been manned by 15 Coast. All guns were destroyed before the batteries moved to evacuation areas. There was some very limited engagement of land targets.

Dismounting a 6-barrel is a non-trivial task, coast arty officers were competant, they would not attempt evacuating a barrel not forgetting that Suda is on the N coast and any evacuation was obviously going to be from the South coast. What they should and may have evacuated were instruments, in fact RATM No 2, summer i940 IIRC, said that when guns are abandoned/destroyed, instruments were to be evacuated if at all possible. Of course some of the coast arty instruments may have been a bit too large.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby gambadier on 21 Jan 2013 10:55

mariandavid wrote:A Battery four 6" guns . This was a mobile, not a fixed coast regiment, so it is safe to assume that its guns were likely to have been the Army not the Navy model.


What do you mean by Navy model? Coast artillery was a Royal Artillery responsibility for several centuries until 1956, it had nothing to do with the Navy, not least because the army was equipped by the MGO and the navy by the Admiralty. The basic coast version of 6 inch was Mk VII ordnance. This was tried on a field carriage in WW1 but was unsuccessful (basically too heavy and the carriage restricted elevation too much). Instead the Mk XIX ordnance was developed, it was lighter than the Mk VII, together with of the same carriage as for 8-inch Mk VI onwards. Between the wars the carriage was upgraded for mechanical traction, as was 8 inch. Mk VII in coast artillery service was upgraded to Mk XXIV by changing the breaches. The barrel was still a heavy one compared to Mk XIX.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby Claudio_C on 27 Jan 2013 08:02

Thanks to all and sorry for my long delay, but I had an heavy bereavement ... My lovely wife died :cry: :cry:

However the question is still open ... Nobody know other info ... The two autors statements are wrong ?!?
Let me know ...

Bye

Claudio C.

P.S.: For me is also intersting look the info reported on the just saied KFG D50/E ... and posted on this forum many time ago ... may be can help on this issue ...
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby gambadier on 27 Jan 2013 10:34

Given that 6 inch field was not retained in field service and its carriages almost certainly transferred to the new 7.2 inch How, then the question of what happened to the 6 inch Mk XIX ordnances is a good one. There were a reasonable number, there's nothing to suggest they were converted to 7.2 (and this seems highly unlikely - probably impossible). They might have been scrapped, but using them in mobile coast arty mounts (which don't seem to have to existed before WW2) would seem logical. It would probably need research in UK national archives unless there is some documentation in the Clavell Libray at Firepower! in Woolwich.

Very sorry to hear of the loss of your wife, my condolences to you and your family.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby mariandavid on 28 Jan 2013 05:03

From 1939 on the Admiralty transferred to the Army 6-inch naval guns, surplus to requirements as stability in many warships was at risk with the addition of LAA and radar in their upper structures. Several of these were assigned to war-raised coast artillery regiments and emplaced (essentially by simply pouring concrete around the base) at various ports providing emergency defenses where there were previously no medium guns. I believe (still trying to track this down) that several were assigned to the Mediterranean. However those of the regular 15th Coast Artillery Regiment were army guns, and as you say, reasonably mobile, hence my distinction.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby mariandavid on 28 Jan 2013 05:05

Claudio: My sympathies and condolences also for the loss of your beloved wife.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby gambadier on 28 Jan 2013 06:28

From Maurice-Jones, dealing with the consequences of the fall of France:-

"It was decided to surround Great Britain from the Orkneys to the Outer Hebrides with a ring of coast defence batteries which would cover every probable and possible landing place, be it port, harbour, bay, cove inlet, or open beach, very much as had been attempted in the days of Napolean. This of course entailed a tremendous expansion of coast-artillery, an expansion beyond even the wildest dreams of anyone before the war. The first necessity and most formidable problem was the finding of guns. There was scarcely any reserve of coast-defence armament held by the Ordnance Department, but luckily and wisely the Royal Navy had kept in store a great assortment of guns and mountings from the ships that had been scrapped after the First War. From this providential supply, 6 inch, 5.5 inch, 4.75 inch, and 4 inch guns were issued in great number for what were now named "Emergency Coast Batteries" and which were to protect minor ports and cover every threatened beach of Great Britain. Ammunition for these guns was also produced from naval sources, but quantites were very meagre, averaging only about 50 rounds per gun."

He then deals with the other probelms: fire control equipment, and officers and men, noting that initially the latter were provided by RN and RM but GHQ Home Forces sorted out army manning fairly quickly, including using men of heavy and medium regts evacuated from Dunkirk. Installation of the emergency batteries was in 7 instalments Jun 40 - Jan 41 totalling 153 batteries. 6 inch guns were used from Littlehampton to Lossiemouth (138 guns). Most batteries were 2 guns, although some in Kent had 3 or 4 (3 guns needed 4 offrs & 135 ORs) one or two minor ports had two btys, eg 6" and 4". Batteries including 6" were also sent to Iceland and Faroes. Emergency btys were grouped in regts under command of the Commander Corps Coastal Artillery in each Corps HQ with a coastline.

The strength of these batteries started reducing in Jan 43, notably beach defence batteries were handed over to Home Guard or placed in 'care and maint'. There's nothing to suggest that, apart from Iceland and Faroes, any of the ex RN guns were used overseas.

To put the 6"numbers in perspective, on 3 Sep 39 the defended ports had 89 6" and 32 9.2" in UK and 94 & 28 overseas (excluding Australia, S Africa, etc)
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby mariandavid on 28 Jan 2013 17:00

Yes I have the book and there is nothing in the other sources to contradict him. My only reservation is with your:

""The strength of these batteries started reducing in Jan 43, notably beach defence batteries were handed over to Home Guard or placed in 'care and maint'. There's nothing to suggest that, apart from Iceland and Faroes, any of the ex RN guns were used overseas.""

Maurice-Jones does not distinguish by anything other than calibre and type; and I have at least one source that states that naval 6-inch guns were to be deployed to Sicily and Italy in 1943 (that makes sense by the way since these were interim placements that would not operate with dedicated fire-control systems) - but on balance I agree with you.

Which, dragging it back to the question initially asked - the only case I can find of any army 6-inch guns being in 'action' in the Mediterranean is the case I cited of the four weapons at Suda Bay.
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Re: BL 6in gun Mk.19 in North Africa ?!?

Postby Claudio_C on 01 Feb 2013 10:12

Thank for your clouseness in this my difficult moment ...

But return on this issue ... I think we are in a stalemate ... and I start to think that the two autor say wrong thing ...
In fact they specific that spoke of Mk.XIX gun (not generic 6in gun) ... one say generically of "Middle East employ", other specific "North Africa" ... :-?
Howeever, in this weekend, I try to read again and better what they write ... and after I post these quotes ... Hope that can help ...

On the other hand, for me is very usefull if somebody have saved the Mk.XIX picture posted in this forum many time ago and taken from KFG D50/E ... like I linked in other post in this same room ...

Thanks to all
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