British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

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Fatboy Coxy
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British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 21 Aug 2019 21:27

Hi all

Can we have a discussion on the pro’s and con’s of the British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer, regarding its use in ww2.

The gun was a success in WW1, and upgraded in the 1930’s with calibrating sights, and to allow vehicle towing, pneumatic tyres and improved brakes. It was used to equip medium regiments, 8 in a battery, 2 batteries per regiment. It began to be phased out late 1941 for the 5.5-inch medium gun, which provided greater range.

In the European and North African theatres, distance would be all important, but maybe in Malaya and later in Burma, this might have been less of an issue.

In relatively confined terrain, ie jungle, woods, hilly country, might the 6-inch howitzer prove to be easier to manoeuvre than the heavier 5.5-inch gun, and given they both had a ten-man crew, can I assume it offered better man handling capacity, or was it just too big for that?

Secondly with a much shorter barrel, 7ft 3in, as opposed to 13ft 9in for the 5.5-inch, I presume it could operate in a smaller clearing?

However, the 5.5-inch had a maximum elevation of 70 degrees, able to drop a big shell over a relatively short distance, which could be useful in jungle terrain, I can only find a 45-degree elevation mentions for the 6-inch

On the back of all this, I had wondered why part, if not all of the 6th Medium Regiment RA, wasn’t deployed into Malaya in 1941, where they had a chronic shortage of artillery, or whether terrain was considered an issue then

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Fatboy Coxy

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Andy H
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Re: British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

Post by Andy H » 31 Aug 2019 22:11

Hi

The gun was considered obsolete and as you say the 5.5 was coming to the fore in 1941.
Also as you state its range was outclassed by the 5.5 and everywhere except the Far East, this was a real issue.

The guns were used in 1945 to support the crossing of the Irrawaddy in Burma. Its use was mainly because of its 100 pound shell
fired at point blank ranges, against heavily fortified Japanese positions, which were almost invulnerable to anything but a point
blank shell from a 5.5 or above.

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Andy H

Fatboy Coxy
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Re: British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 03 Sep 2019 17:19

Andy H wrote:
31 Aug 2019 22:11
The guns were used in 1945 to support the crossing of the Irrawaddy in Burma. Its use was mainly because of its 100 pound shell
fired at point blank ranges, against heavily fortified Japanese positions, which were almost invulnerable to anything but a point
blank shell from a 5.5 or above.
Hi Andy

I thought they were brought back into service because of some premature shell bursts in the barrel of the 5.5's

Surely they wouldn't deploy these in close range, firing over open sights? they cant be easy to maneuverer due to their weight, and the crews would be exposed to enemy fire?

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Fatboy Coxy

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Sheldrake
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Re: British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Sep 2019 20:41

Fatboy Coxy wrote:
03 Sep 2019 17:19
Andy H wrote:
31 Aug 2019 22:11
The guns were used in 1945 to support the crossing of the Irrawaddy in Burma. Its use was mainly because of its 100 pound shell
fired at point blank ranges, against heavily fortified Japanese positions, which were almost invulnerable to anything but a point
blank shell from a 5.5 or above.
Hi Andy

I thought they were brought back into service because of some premature shell bursts in the barrel of the 5.5's

Surely they wouldn't deploy these in close range, firing over open sights? they cant be easy to maneuverer due to their weight, and the crews would be exposed to enemy fire?

Regards
Fatboy Coxy
134 medium Regiment demolished a Japanese bunker position in the east wall of Mandalay with a 5.5" gun at 300 yards range. A heroic moment.

6" Howitzers were brought back in SEAC in late 1944/ early 12945because of the problems with prematures with 5.5", eventually solved by not using the 100lb round. According to Pemberton four regiments were equipped with the 6", but there were problems with spares and maintenance of this obsolete equipment. The artillery group which supported the Irrawady crossing near Myinimu in Feb 1945 had 80 guns including eight 6" howitzers.

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Urmel
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Re: British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

Post by Urmel » 22 Sep 2019 15:35

In the Middle East they were replaced by 4.5" and US 155mm Schneider C, not the 5.5" I believe?

https://rommelsriposte.com/2011/06/15/8 ... uary-1942/
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

Post by T. A. Gardner » 23 Sep 2019 05:42

The 60 pdr or 6" 26 cwt howitzer in WW II saw service with the British through 1941 by the end of which it was considered obsolete and almost entirely relegated to training and home defense. There were 176 in service with the BEF in France and another 45 in reserve there. Most of these went into German service as the 15.2cm sFH 412(e). The Belgians, Dutch, Portuguese, Greeks, Estonians, and Italians all had some in service too.
Russia ended up with a few from WW 1 but don't appear to have made much use of them.

There were some in use in North Africa and Eritrea through 1941 as well.

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Urmel
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Re: British 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer

Post by Urmel » 23 Sep 2019 07:33

The ones in North Africa are listed in my link.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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