Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

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Sheldrake
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 13 Oct 2021 10:11

T. A. Gardner wrote:
13 Oct 2021 03:32
Sheldrake wrote:
12 Oct 2021 23:59
T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Oct 2021 19:01
The British opted for the 25 pdr because they saw it as a combination artillery piece and antitank gun trying to get a quart out of a pint pot.
Mocketh not the supposedly puny 89mm calibre 25 pounder.

German Italian or Japanese troops on the recieving end of three rounds gunfire from a British field artillery regiment did not ignore the incoming on account of its poor fragmentation pattern and weak HE charge. They hit the dirt or became casualties.

The poor fragmentation pattern and weak busrting charge allied with vaccurary made for a barrage or concentration that could be approached with confidence by friendly forces. Germans could not understand how the British could follow up their artillery fire so closely with infantry. The Eberbach papers include a report by Heinz Harmel(?) explaining British tactics by inventing non lethal "glass shells" which allowed the British troops to get to close enough to assault before the defenders recovered.

The 25 pounder is probably the best close support artillery piece of the 20th century - and maybe beyond that.

THe desgtructive power of 105mm ammunition is overrated. If you want to cause serious hurt to dug in troops or armoured vehicles the minimum calibre is 150mm.
Yea, but the Russians and Americans are both firm believers in the concept that there is never enough overkill in firepower...
Hmm,

Agreed. Thats the kind of thinking that delivered the Davie Crocket Weapon System...
Image
The battalion level Nuke. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Croc ... ar_device)

My reference was to the effectiveness of the 25 pounder as a close support weapon, where it offered the right balance between damage to the enemy while minimising friendly casualties. Without wishing to evoke a national sterortyle, minimising friendly fire casualties was never a big issue for either the Soviet or Ameircan armies. :D

Sure, post WW2 the major armies adopted 105mm, but during WW2 88mm was good enoiugh. No one considered the 8.8cm 88mm HE round as in effective. Modern thinking considered 105mm to be ineffective against hard targets. So please remind me, what extra tactical benefits do 105mm 37 pounder rounds bring over 89mm 25 pounder ones?

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Gooner1 » 13 Oct 2021 11:51

Sheldrake wrote:
12 Oct 2021 23:59
The 25 pounder is probably the best close support artillery piece of the 20th century - and maybe beyond that.
Not bad for a gun that was originally a Great War vintage 18-pdr with a relined barrel and pneumatic tyres on the carriage.
THe desgtructive power of 105mm ammunition is overrated. If you want to cause serious hurt to dug in troops or armoured vehicles the minimum calibre is 150mm.
I think you mean 5.5" calibre? :milsmile:

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Gooner1 » 13 Oct 2021 12:01

Interesting the British also appeared to have pursued interest in a 105mm (4.1") gun-howitzer.

A Royal Artillery Committee was presented with the design of one in 1924 and also a 3.9" (100mm) gun-howitzer in 1924 which were intended to replace both the 18-pdr gun and the 4.5" howitzer. The designs were rejected apparently because they couldn't achieve the desired range of 15,000 yards, though no doubt their expense also played a part.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Cult Icon » 13 Oct 2021 12:59

Shieldrake, the constant claims of Allied troops that they are being bombed by "88mm" is a labeling error, just like how they keep on claiming that the Panzer IV is a "Tiger".

The 88mm guns equipped Anti-aircraft units which was their first priority.

The worn out, improvised/ late war German army's artillery force was predominantly 75mm, 105mm calibers/captured artillery pieces supplemented by heavy guns. In the early-mid war, where standardized, larger, and better equipped inf divisions was more the norm, the mainstray was the 105 and 150. The majority of German infantry guns was 75mm as well, supplemented by 150mm platoons.

In the early-mid war the most common artillery shell would be the 105, in the late war it would be either the 75 or 105.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by nuyt » 13 Oct 2021 16:06

Gooner1 wrote:
13 Oct 2021 12:01
Interesting the British also appeared to have pursued interest in a 105mm (4.1") gun-howitzer.

A Royal Artillery Committee was presented with the design of one in 1924 and also a 3.9" (100mm) gun-howitzer in 1924 which were intended to replace both the 18-pdr gun and the 4.5" howitzer. The designs were rejected apparently because they couldn't achieve the desired range of 15,000 yards, though no doubt their expense also played a part.
Yes, the 105mm calibre for field guns was in fashion in the 1920s. If you read artillery journals of several nations you will find lots of references to trials. The Germans had the Rheinmetall 105mm L30, sold to Turkey (and maybe Bulgaria), Krupp sold hundreds of 105mm L40 and L42 field guns through Bofors, to the Swiss, the Dutch, the Siamese, the Persians, the Hungarians plus a prototype in 107mm to the Soviets. The French had their Schneiders, while the eastern Europeans had Skodas (owned by the former). When the Dutch held trials they had offers from Bofors, HIH (Rheinmetall) and Bethlehem Steel. The latter company was unsuccessful on the export markets... The Boforses were sound weapons, backed up of Krupp's research and aftersales.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Oct 2021 18:16

Sheldrake wrote:
12 Oct 2021 23:59
T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Oct 2021 19:01
The British opted for the 25 pdr because they saw it as a combination artillery piece and antitank gun trying to get a quart out of a pint pot.
Mocketh not the supposedly puny 89mm calibre 25 pounder.

German Italian or Japanese troops on the recieving end of three rounds gunfire from a British field artillery regiment did not ignore the incoming on account of its poor fragmentation pattern and weak HE charge. They hit the dirt or became casualties.

The poor fragmentation pattern and weak busrting charge allied with vaccurary made for a barrage or concentration that could be approached with confidence by friendly forces. Germans could not understand how the British could follow up their artillery fire so closely with infantry. The Eberbach papers include a report by Heinz Harmel(?) explaining British tactics by inventing non lethal "glass shells" which allowed the British troops to get to close enough to assault before the defenders recovered.

The 25 pounder is probably the best close support artillery piece of the 20th century - and maybe beyond that.

THe desgtructive power of 105mm ammunition is overrated. If you want to cause serious hurt to dug in troops or armoured vehicles the minimum calibre is 150mm.
This touches on a number of other items claimed for Brit artillery doctrine/hardware. In the terminology I was trained in theres a difference in seeking "Suppression" or "Neutralization". Above is described the defense suppressed continually as the attacker closes to very near the enemy and the bursting projectiles. That is the reputedly weak 25lbr round can keep the enemy heads down while impacting on target, but the effect does not linger with the defenders resuming exposure to fire their weapons. Where I read German accounts of this sort of fire support theres a subtle difference. The artillery fires briefer, and ceases sooner, before the assault teams are as close to the objective. That is the Germans in these descriptions were depending on the larger rounds to have a lingering 'keep you head down' effect on the defenders. "Neutralization" in the lexicon I was trained in.

In the US Field Artillery Journal of the 1920s theres some articles on testing the effects of assorted ordnance. In the case of light and medium artillery they were using high speed photography and counting holes in canvas to judge the density and patterns of projectile fragments. Theres also some remarks on the effect on earth and concrete defenses. For the US Army the 105mm howitzer round seems to have been a compromise between the volume of the 75mm rounds, and lower RoF/weight on target of the 4.7" or larger rounds. The later devised Effects tables reflect this.

What I don't see in anyones analysis is consideration of temporary hearing damage & general concussion. Sometimes theres a vague allusion to disorientation of stunning of defenders from artillery fires, but I've not encountered much beyond that.. In the last decade I've become a bit more aware of this after servicing hearing and brain damaged veterans from explosive overpressure. Between talking to the Iraq/Afganistan war vets, and trawling back through the 20th Century literature I'm convinced the temporary and permanent effects from the overpressure of projective detonations is as or more important to suppressing or neutralizing defenders. Not just in gross overpressure of individual or single detonations, but also from number of detonations.

Anyway it looks a lot like the US Army was searching for a series of compromises between effect on target, weight, ammo supply, & other considerations, & I suspect the Germans were following a similar route to the 105mm projectile & howitzer.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Oct 2021 18:30

nuyt wrote:
11 Oct 2021 20:51
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Oct 2021 21:37
We digress as is usual. To get back on track I need to take a look at my copy of Hogg & see what alternatives the Germans might have manufactured. Any further thoughts on this general topic ?
Hogg is not enough, outdated and written too much from the British perspective (though he does his best).

I can only repeat that a different approach to the calibre issue could have been interesting.

I am reading 9cm allover.

Germany develops a 9cm gun howitzer as main divisional artillery weapon. They have two options: the 9cm Rheinmetall (sold to China in the 1920s as the Solothurn 9cm to camouflage its origin) and the late 1920s Bofors 9cm (a Krupp design as the company was controlled by Krupp until 1933, after that a more covert relationship continued). The Wehrmacht turns the two designs into a successful hybrid Rheinmetall/Krupp production model by the mid 1930s and the Germans have a similar weapon as the British 25pdr (9cm). ...
Do you have Rate of Fire information for these two weapons?

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Oct 2021 18:56

nuyt wrote:
13 Oct 2021 16:06
Yes, the 105mm calibre for field guns was in fashion in the 1920s. If you read artillery journals of several nations you will find lots of references to trials. The Germans had the Rheinmetall 105mm L30, sold to Turkey (and maybe Bulgaria), Krupp sold hundreds of 105mm L40 and L42 field guns through Bofors, to the Swiss, the Dutch, the Siamese, the Persians, the Hungarians plus a prototype in 107mm to the Soviets. The French had their Schneiders, while the eastern Europeans had Skodas (owned by the former). When the Dutch held trials they had offers from Bofors, HIH (Rheinmetall) and Bethlehem Steel. The latter company was unsuccessful on the export markets... The Boforses were sound weapons, backed up of Krupp's research and aftersales.
Further back than that. By the mid nineteenth century most nations had settled on around 3"-4.2" or 75mm-105mm as their largest field artillery, mostly because that was the largest caliber they could use and still have a reasonable degree of horse mobility on the battlefield. The US Army used 3", 3.67", and 4.2" guns (10, 20, and 30 pounders) in the ACW as their largest field pieces, the British Armstrong guns were 3" and 3.75", the Krupp steel guns of the Franco-Prussian War were 7.5cm and 9cm, and so on. However, improved metallurgy allowed larger calibers with relatively lighter weights in howitzer designs in the second half of the century, so the larger 4.2"-4.7" rapidly became popular as a field howitzer. The U.S. experimented with a 3.8" and 4.7" howitzer, the British had their 4.5" howitzer, and the Germans the 10.5cm howitzer (in its second iteration by 1916).

Fundamentally, the reason the US Army Westervelt Board recommended the 105mm howitzer development was because they were impressed by the versatility of the German piece.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by T. A. Gardner » 13 Oct 2021 21:21

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2021 18:30
Do you have Rate of Fire information for these two weapons?
Rate of fire is really a poor measure of artillery, except maybe in a direct fire role. What matters is how much ammunition you have on hand and can expend on a target.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by nuyt » 14 Oct 2021 15:04

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2021 18:30

Do you have Rate of Fire information for these two weapons?
Sorry, my books are in storage.
Here is some info on the Bofors 90mm from the Overvalwagen Forum (from a contemp. Dutch mil. magazine):

breech is quarter-automatic (opening by hand, closing automatic)
hydro-pneumatic breaks
split trail with 56 degrees sidewards range
2 vertical equilibrators
same axis as with 10 cm field gun though without liquid
10 kg grenade
625 m/sec velocity
14 km range
1675 kilo weight
The article compares the piece with the Schneider 85mm, concludes that the performance of the French piece is higher but at a price: with 1970 kilo too heavy and unacceptable for main armament of divisional artillery.

Feedback on its performance welcome. Note this is data from a prototype tested around 1929 and the weapon was not further developed nor produced.

The Rheinmetall 9cm L31 had a range of 11km and a weight of 1400kg, see here: viewtopic.php?f=101&t=162448&start=15
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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Oct 2021 19:50

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2021 18:16
This touches on a number of other items claimed for Brit artillery doctrine/hardware. In the terminology I was trained in theres a difference in seeking "Suppression" or "Neutralization". Above is described the defense suppressed continually as the attacker closes to very near the enemy and the bursting projectiles. That is the reputedly weak 25lbr round can keep the enemy heads down while impacting on target, but the effect does not linger with the defenders resuming exposure to fire their weapons. Where I read German accounts of this sort of fire support theres a subtle difference. The artillery fires briefer, and ceases sooner, before the assault teams are as close to the objective. That is the Germans in these descriptions were depending on the larger rounds to have a lingering 'keep you head down' effect on the defenders. "Neutralization" in the lexicon I was trained in.
There is a relationship between the weight of fire and duration of neutralisation. This was studied at some length by the 21st Army Group OR Section in 1944-45, and post war by both sides in the cold war in respect of the effects of nuclear weapons. Some data points are around 5-10 minutes for some of the heavy artitllery barrages in the Rhineland and 45 minutes-ish for the aerial bombardment in Op Goodwood and Op Cobra. By this time British fire plans involved multiple regiments and extensive safety distances. However, the OR sections also speculated that attacks would be more effective with lower levels of HE but followed up from closer jumping off points.

Wartime experience from both world wars was that infantry assaulting from within 100 yards were likely to catch German defenders before they had recovered from the bombardment. This is where the limited lethality of the 25 Pounder was an advantage. Check the minimum safe distances for different types of HE rounds. It was accepted that the infantry would lose around 3-5% to friendly fire as the, sacrificial cost of success.

The Germans never got this. This is apparent from the 1918 German instructions for artillery in the assault, which suggests they never tried this in practice. It is why Harmel, when asked to report on the situation on Hill112, waffles on about British barrages ending with a flurry of dummy grenades.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Oct 2021 23:06

Sheldrake wrote:
14 Oct 2021 19:50
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2021 18:16
This touches on a number of other items claimed for Brit artillery doctrine/hardware. In the terminology I was trained in theres a difference in seeking "Suppression" or "Neutralization". Above is described the defense suppressed continually as the attacker closes to very near the enemy and the bursting projectiles. That is the reputedly weak 25lbr round can keep the enemy heads down while impacting on target, but the effect does not linger with the defenders resuming exposure to fire their weapons. Where I read German accounts of this sort of fire support theres a subtle difference. The artillery fires briefer, and ceases sooner, before the assault teams are as close to the objective. That is the Germans in these descriptions were depending on the larger rounds to have a lingering 'keep you head down' effect on the defenders. "Neutralization" in the lexicon I was trained in.
There is a relationship between the weight of fire and duration of neutralisation. This was studied at some length by the 21st Army Group OR Section in 1944-45, and post war by both sides in the cold war in respect of the effects of nuclear weapons. ...
I looked over some of the US studies of artillery effects from the 1920s & later. There was clearly a school favoring the compromise in the 105mm projectile. They seem to have been looking at the effect of multiple rounds over limited time, such as the number on target in 30 seconds or 60 seconds. Fragmentation density (Two cm fragments were favored as optimal.) and the effect on entrenchments and other light cover were argued for. What I don't have is the companion infantry doctrine for the use of lighter supporting weapons covering the assault. The HMG & MMG, the automatic rifle, mortars, light infantry guns, ect...

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Oct 2021 23:28

T. A. Gardner wrote:
13 Oct 2021 21:21
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2021 18:30
Do you have Rate of Fire information for these two weapons?
Rate of fire is really a poor measure of artillery, except maybe in a direct fire role. What matters is how much ammunition you have on hand and can expend on a target.
ROF connects to the number of rounds on target in the time available. In WWII or later terms there is a critical window in the first 30 to 90 seconds of a a artillery or mortar attack when largest number of losses occur. Losses of personnel drop off substantially after the first minute or half minute. The larger weight of metal on target by the 60 or 90 second mark the larger the casualties and 'shock' effect. Theres several ways to get to that effect & having a high RoF weapon is one of them. Where the RoF of the lighter cannon is high enough it can place more weight of ammo on target per time increment than the larger caliber cannon.

Other advantages to getting the necessary number of rounds down rage quickly are the reduction of time to local the firing position. The longer you screw around shooting the more opportunity someone has to locate you and organize counter battery fires.

None of that is particularly my opinion or estimate. Its boilerplate tactics from the Basic and Advances course at the FA School. The effects tables & casualty or damage guides revolved around the combination of projectile and RoF.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Oct 2021 23:33

nuyt wrote:
14 Oct 2021 15:04
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2021 18:30

Do you have Rate of Fire information for these two weapons?
Sorry, my books are in storage.
Here is some info on the Bofors 90mm from the Overvalwagen Forum (from a contemp. Dutch mil. magazine):

breech is quarter-automatic (opening by hand, closing automatic)
hydro-pneumatic breaks
split trail with 56 degrees sidewards range
2 vertical equilibrators
same axis as with 10 cm field gun though without liquid
10 kg grenade
625 m/sec velocity
14 km range
1675 kilo weight
The article compares the piece with the Schneider 85mm, concludes that the performance of the French piece is higher but at a price: with 1970 kilo too heavy and unacceptable for main armament of divisional artillery.

Feedback on its performance welcome. Note this is data from a prototype tested around 1929 and the weapon was not further developed nor produced.

The Rheinmetall 9cm L31 had a range of 11km and a weight of 1400kg, see here: viewtopic.php?f=101&t=162448&start=15
Thanks. I'll assume for the moment the RoF was similar to the 25lbr.

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Re: Alternative Artillery of the 20th Century

Post by T. A. Gardner » 17 Oct 2021 02:51

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Oct 2021 23:28
ROF connects to the number of rounds on target in the time available. In WWII or later terms there is a critical window in the first 30 to 90 seconds of a a artillery or mortar attack when largest number of losses occur. Losses of personnel drop off substantially after the first minute or half minute. The larger weight of metal on target by the 60 or 90 second mark the larger the casualties and 'shock' effect. Theres several ways to get to that effect & having a high RoF weapon is one of them. Where the RoF of the lighter cannon is high enough it can place more weight of ammo on target per time increment than the larger caliber cannon.

Other advantages to getting the necessary number of rounds down rage quickly are the reduction of time to local the firing position. The longer you screw around shooting the more opportunity someone has to locate you and organize counter battery fires.

None of that is particularly my opinion or estimate. Its boilerplate tactics from the Basic and Advances course at the FA School. The effects tables & casualty or damage guides revolved around the combination of projectile and RoF.
The US got around that earliest by using Time On Target salvos. Then the first salvo of shells all land on the target simultaneously. After that, ROF really doesn't matter that much as the target goes 'turtle' and it's really hard to destroy it and it's already pinned in place.

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