A question of Artillery calibre

Discussions on the fortifications, artillery, & rockets used by the Axis forces.
User avatar
adrian
Member
Posts: 39
Joined: 11 May 2002 03:46
Location: Boree Creek, Australia

A question of Artillery calibre

Post by adrian » 14 May 2002 04:33

This may have been covered before but I will ask anyway. How did the powers that be settle on 105mm,150/155mm etc etc? It seems to be these universal type of calibre's appeared prior to WW2 and continue to this day. I know the US army adopted 105mm as their standard field piece calibre about 1938 but how did they come to this size? The Italians had 102mm (4in), the USSR 76.2mm and 122mm, the Brits 25pdr and so on.

Did the Wehrmacht settle on 105mm for any particular reason? Or is it merely a 'upping the ante' exercise over the French with their 75mm field pieces?
:wink:

best regards,
adrian

Gwynn Compton
Member
Posts: 2840
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 22:46
Location: United Kingdom

Post by Gwynn Compton » 15 May 2002 09:11

Ultimately the idea was merely upping the gun to blast a bigger hole in your enemies fortifications. But I imagine it got to the point where they realised "this is just getting silly now" and thus in the First World War, the German's developed siege guns for attacking forts, but these siege guns were not designed for normal battlefield use.

The bigger and tougher your fortifications, the bigger the gun needed, but I imagine that once you start reaching your 155mm guns, your already making pretty big holes at a fairly efficient rate.

I always thought that the weights of the British Guns roughly translated into equivilents of the continental French and German models. But this might be wargaming corrupting my thinking.

Logan Hartke
Member
Posts: 1226
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 18:30
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by Logan Hartke » 15 May 2002 18:27

Gwynn Compton wrote:I always thought that the weights of the British Guns roughly translated into equivilents of the continental French and German models. But this might be wargaming corrupting my thinking.

It is corrupting you. The 25pdr was approx an 88 and the Soviets used a 76.2 and 122 as standard. The French used a 75/105 combo, as did the Germans, but the Americans used entirely 105 standard (excluding pack howitzers and the big guns). I believe the Italians primarily used 75s and 100s.

Logan Hartke

Logan Hartke
Member
Posts: 1226
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 18:30
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by Logan Hartke » 15 May 2002 18:46

As for their effectiveness, that is arguable. I think that on average, the British 25pdr guns didn't have the power of their contemporaries. The Russian guns were simple and effective. Also, the Russians, unlike the Germans, were smart enough to pick one gun and build thousands of them. The Germans had too many designs and were constantly building and inventing more. Apparently they never heard the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". This lead to many sterling designs that out-performed anything the Allies had (the German flak 88 had a longer range than the American 155 "Long Tom"). Unfortunately, it was a severe misallocation of resources and it resulted in overly-complicated and large weapons becoming the "standard". Also the Germans had a severe lack of motorization for their artillery, the majority of it still being horse-drawn throughout the entire war. The German never were happy with having 6 or more 105mm designs; they always wanted the entire set. It's like a kid collecting baseball cards. An American artillery book could cover the entire run of American artillery pieces (anti-tank and AA included) in about 20 entries. By comparison, Ian V. Hogg's German Artillery of World War Two requires entries numbering into the triple digits to do the same job. One way to gauge the effectiveness and reliability of these designs is to remember that over one hundred countries still use WWII-era American or Soviet artillery-an acheivement to be very proud of.

Logan Hartke

Marion L. Anderson
Member
Posts: 17
Joined: 09 May 2002 22:07
Location: Bellflower. Ca U.S.A.

Post by Marion L. Anderson » 15 May 2002 21:18

I would like someone who is very well acquainted with British Calibers to explain the pounder size to me, as it doesn't make any sense to me in this day and age. When the old guns were used and all were lead/iron round shot it did make a good deal of sense but these days I can't see any real value in it as the actual shot is not lead/iron. It is easy to figure the old British gun size as the weight of lead or iron in any spherical size is directly proportional to its diameter. However these days it is impossible as the actual slug is not spherical. M.L. Anderson
WW-II NAVY

User avatar
Christian Ankerstjerne
Forum Staff
Posts: 13518
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 14:07
Location: Denmark

Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 15 May 2002 21:30

Hi Marion, welcome to the forum!

76.2mm is exacty 3 inches, so maybe it an old measurement...

Christian

Logan Hartke
Member
Posts: 1226
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 18:30
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by Logan Hartke » 15 May 2002 21:40

Marion L. Anderson wrote:I would like someone who is very well acquainted with British Calibers to explain the pounder size to me, as it doesn't make any sense to me in this day and age. When the old guns were used and all were lead/iron round shot it did make a good deal of sense but these days I can't see any real value in it as the actual shot is not lead/iron. It is easy to figure the old British gun size as the weight of lead or iron in any spherical size is directly proportional to its diameter. However these days it is impossible as the actual slug is not spherical. M.L. Anderson

That's very understandable. There's no way to convert them. You just have to know the equivelant measurements from experience. From reading, I know that the 17pdr is approx. 77mm and the 25pdr is approx. 88mm. I don't know what the 32pdr is or what the 21pdr is. The 2pdr is approx. 40mm and the 6pdr is approx. 57mm.

I hope that helps.

Logan Hartke

User avatar
adrian
Member
Posts: 39
Joined: 11 May 2002 03:46
Location: Boree Creek, Australia

Post by adrian » 15 May 2002 23:01

G'day all,
An informative couple of replies, but I still miss the point on why the certain calibre was settled apon.

With reference to the British system of 25 pdr,17pdr etc etc it does in fact refer to the actual weight of shot. Off the top of my head I believe that the US M2A2 105mm of the same vintage had a 32pdr weight. But the British diverged from the 'weight' system when it came to their medium and big guns eg the 5.5in Mdm Gun (weight shot 82 or 100 pd) or the 7.2in Hvy.

I would like to question a claim made above that the 25pdr was not as effective as the 105 pieces of the other powers. Surely it must of had some effect - Rommel was particulary cautious of them for instance. And 25pdrs lasted well into the 70's and early 80's with a number of world armies (Sth Africa used them in Angola as late as 1983).

best regards,
adrian

Logan Hartke
Member
Posts: 1226
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 18:30
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by Logan Hartke » 15 May 2002 23:31

But the actual size of the shell was smaller and therefore was less effective (if you blow up less stuff, you're less effective). The American 105 also had nearly equal range for having the wider shell. Also, the American 105 was less complicated than nearly any other country's gun except the USSR.

Logan Hartke

James
Member
Posts: 72
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 02:37
Location: u.s.a.

Post by James » 16 May 2002 02:11

Is it just coincidence that the standard Russian infantry rifle, the Moisin-Nagant, was 7.62mm caliber i.e., exactly one-tenth of their artillery piece?

User avatar
adrian
Member
Posts: 39
Joined: 11 May 2002 03:46
Location: Boree Creek, Australia

Post by adrian » 16 May 2002 03:48

Coincidence I think! The Russians standard was 7.62mm in pistol,SMG,rifle, MMG. Obviously the pistol round was different to that of the rifle round but I think it was a case of ruthless standardization overall. Compared to other armies (Britain notably -.303,9mm,.38,7.92mm,30 cal,50cal etc) the Russian only had 3 types of cartridge to make and handout! 7.62 pistol,rifle and 12.7 for HMG's. Makes sense logistically doesn't it?
As to the Artillery, well 3in is a nice round sort of a number isn't it!?

best regards,
adrian

Logan Hartke
Member
Posts: 1226
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 18:30
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by Logan Hartke » 16 May 2002 07:17

The Americans only had the .45, the .30cal pistol (M1 Carbine), .30cal, and .50cal.

The Germans had the 9mm, 7.92mm, and 7.92 Kurz. That's if you don't count the normal German assortment of captured, confiscated, and experimental weaponry used (9mm Steyr, 9mm Browning HP, etc.).

Didn't the Brits only have the 9mm Parabellum, .45, 9mm HP, 9mm, .30cal, .303, 12.7... oh, wait, I see you point about the Brits.

Logan Hartke

User avatar
Oleg Grigoryev
Member
Posts: 5051
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 20:06
Location: Russia

Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 16 May 2002 08:33

in regards to Russian artil;ery calibres

20mm - (Shvak)
23 mm VYa
37mm (the original German door-knocker) later upgraded to 45mm
57mm - ZiS 2 AT gun
76 mm F-22, F-22USV, ZiS-3 also AA gun of 1927 type
85mm AA gun
100 mm BS-3 AT gun (late in the war)
122 A-19 canon
122 D-30 howitzer
152 mm howitzer
152 mm howitzer-canon
203 mm howitzer
also 120mm mortar and 160 mm mortar were classified as artillery

also in regards to cartridges you forgot 14.5 mm for AT rifles and 7.62 x 39 of 1943 type.

Logan Hartke
Member
Posts: 1226
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 18:30
Location: Illinois, USA

Post by Logan Hartke » 16 May 2002 17:48

That's still not that many when you realize that it only takes 10-14 guns to name off all of the USSR's artillery pieces that service during WWII. Also, it must be remembered that not all of those were being used at the same time. At any one time, you only had around 10 gun types to service and keep ammo to - not bad.

The US Army in Europe had these...
(the USN had the 20mm Olerikon, but the US Army hardly used any)
a few 37mm AT guns
37mm AA guns (halftrack-mounted)
40mm Bofors AA gun
57mm AT gun
75mm tank gun
75mm pack howitzer
76mm tank gun
3inch AT guns
90mm AA gun
105mm pack howitzer (same shell, though I believe)
105mm howitzer
155mm "Long Tom"
155mm howitzer
8" gun
8" howitzer
240mm gun
also the 107mm heavy mortar

Logan Hartke

User avatar
David Lehmann
Member
Posts: 2863
Joined: 01 Apr 2002 10:50
Location: France

Post by David Lehmann » 16 May 2002 21:47

The French Army used not only 75 mm guns in 1939/1940 :

25 mm AT
47 mm AT

25 mm AA
75 mm AA

field artillery :
75 mm gun (that also did well as AT gun)
105 mm gun
155 mm gun
and even heavier I think, 194 mm or such like this

mortars :
60 mm
81 mm

Maginot Line used also
37 mm AT
50 mm, 75 mm and 135 mm mortars

And I have probably forgotten several ones

Return to “Fortifications, Artillery, & Rockets”