Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

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daveh
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Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by daveh » 24 May 2008 12:49

Listed in http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=1263 detailing captured AT guns used by the Germans there is this entry:
4.0 cm PAK 154 (b) (ex british 2 pounders used by the Belgian Army)


The only other mention I have seen of the 2 pdr in Belgian use is this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordnance_Q ... at_Service
The (2 pdr) gun first saw combat during the German invasion of the Low Countries, with the Belgian Army


I have not seen any mention of a 2pdr AT gun in the TOE for Belgian units in May 1940. Given that fact and given the quality and numbers of the Con de 47 antichars SA-FRC, 47mm AT gun, available in May 1940 it seems unlikely that any 2pdrs were purchased prior to May 10th 1940. Is this correct?

However given the existence of the 4.0 cm PAK 154 (b) designation there seems to be evidence for the use of the 2 pdr by the Belgians:

Were any British 2 pdrs handed over to Belgian units during the 18 day campaign?
If so, by what British unit, to which Belgian units, when, where and in what numbers?
Any references available to the Belgian purchase or use of 2 pdrs?
Any photos of 2pdrs in Belgian use?

Any help will be much appreciated

Daveh

peter u
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by peter u » 24 May 2008 14:12

Hello Daveh,

In the past I was a collector of May 1940 campagne - and pre 1940 Belgian army pictures.
I had a rather big collection, I have never seen a picture of a British 2pdr AT gun as a part of the Belgian army.
Neither have I ever heard this story before (the Belgian army having British 2pdr AT guns at their disposal).

- That the British army would have given these AT guns to Belgian army units after May 10 1940 seems to be very, very unlikely to me.
Although the British army was oure allie, they communication wasn't always what it should be.
Read: - The BEF didn't trust the Belgian army.
- Perhaps some Belgian soldiers used a British 2pdr AT gun that a BEF unit had left behind.
But once again this seems to be a very, very unlikely story.
And if and I write if, this would have happend it sure wouldn't have been a large scale operation.

I'am going to follow this thread closely!

Cheers,
Peter
Last edited by peter u on 24 May 2008 15:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Michael Emrys
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by Michael Emrys » 24 May 2008 14:32

peter u wrote:I'am going to follow this thread closely!


Me too. I don't have any definite information, but I have to wonder if those guns weren't just some that were abandoned by the BEF in Belgium during the retreat and the Germans just assumed for some reason that they had been provided to the Belgian army by Britain.

Michael
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peter u
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by peter u » 24 May 2008 15:13

Michael Emrys wrote:
peter u wrote:I'am going to follow this thread closely!


Me too. I don't have any definite information, but I have to wonder if those guns weren't just some that were abandoned by the BEF in Belgium during the retreat and the Germans just assumed for some reason that they had been provided to the Belgian army by Britain.

Michael


Michael, that sounds like a very logical explaination.

P

daveh
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by daveh » 24 May 2008 15:36

Given the errors that Wikipedia is prone to I was happy to ignore that source. However the existence of a Fremdengerat number meant that at least the Germans believed they had Belgian 2 pdrs and hence my question.

Could the German listing simply be an error in their intelligence? if so it would be interesting to know why the Germans thought the Belgians had 2pdrs.

I must admit my initial thoughts were like Michael Emrys i.e. that the Germans found some abandoned 2pdrs in or near areas that Belgian Army units had passed through/ fought in and assumed they were left by those Belgian units. However odd things do happen and I want to be sure (as ever one can be) that there were no Belgian 2 pdrs. Given the fact that someone (i.e. peter u ) who has studied the Belgian Army for much longer and in greater depth than I also greatly doubts the existence of Belgian 2pdrs pretty well settles the matter for me...until the next post! :D

Moving from the small 2pdr to the large... BL 9.2 in Howitzer MkII or as the Germans called it the 23.4 cm H 545 (b).
Again I have no artillery unit listed as having such a weapon. Was this a case of a WW1 weapon once used by the Belgians in or soon after WW1 and being listed by German Intelligence in 1940 though not in front line service? Or did the Belgians actually use it in the 18day campaign, in which case what unit?

Thanks for the interest and help Daveh

peter u
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by peter u » 24 May 2008 17:01

Hello daveh,

I'am not a specialist in Belgian artillery of WW2 but I sure know for a fact that the Belgian army used older weapons to arm their troops in the big mobilization of August 1939.
One must not forget that the Belgian government blew up his army till it had 1.000.000 soldiers in May 1940
Ofcourse this enormous amount of soldiers couldn't be armed with modern equipment, so everything still in the depots was used to arm them.
So it is certainly possible that some artillery unit with a low combat value was armed with WW1 artillery pieces.

These low combat value units (third reserve, railroad guards,CRI,...etc) are the most difficult once to research, not much is written about them.


Succes with your reseach!!!

Peter

nuyt
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by nuyt » 28 May 2008 23:06

Fascinating!

I am speculating about another source of these guns in Belgium, rather than the Belgian army.

The Dutch East Indies Army had ordered a number of the Vickers Command Tanks, armed with 2 pounders, with the Familleureux factory, the one that also built some Vickers tractors. Delivery was supposed to start around the date of the German invasion, so it is not unlikely that a similar number of these guns were present at the factory, in order to be installed in the tanks. But these would not have been anti-tank mounts but just vehicle mounts.
See also here:
http://www.overvalwagen.com/vickerstanks.html

Just speculating.....

daveh
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by daveh » 29 May 2008 13:24

Thanks for the interesting idea Nuyt, it is always fun to speculate :D

From your link I see that the order for these 2pdr gunned VCL command tanks was placed sometime in 1939. Do you happen to know when?

I ask as I was wondering would the British have supplied 2pdrs then needed for her own army. After all at the outbreak of war the British confiscated 49 tanks of a K.N.I.L. order (the Light Tank Mark III, nicknamed "Dutchmen") so it seems unlikely they would have shipped 2pdrs to help fulfill another order abroad.

peter u
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by peter u » 29 May 2008 17:56

nuyt wrote:Fascinating!

I am speculating about another source of these guns in Belgium, rather than the Belgian army.

The Dutch East Indies Army had ordered a number of the Vickers Command Tanks, armed with 2 pounders, with the Familleureux factory, the one that also built some Vickers tractors. Delivery was supposed to start around the date of the German invasion, so it is not unlikely that a similar number of these guns were present at the factory, in order to be installed in the tanks. But these would not have been anti-tank mounts but just vehicle mounts.
See also here:
http://www.overvalwagen.com/vickerstanks.html

Just speculating.....


:idea:
This could be the explaination!

Cheers,
Peter

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Michael Emrys
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by Michael Emrys » 30 May 2008 12:37

But that would mean that the Germans would have to find mounts for them to be used in the AT role, wouldn't it? And how would they do that, and would it be worth the trouble for them? I doubt that they would have found the performance of the 2pdr very impressive in light of their own 50mm which was coming on line roughly about the time that this conversion would have been made.

Michael
Incoming fire has the right of way.

peter u
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by peter u » 31 May 2008 11:02

Hi Michael,

The German army of WW2 wasn't as modern like the common myth.
A lot of German army units were equiped with oldfashoined material, specially those defending static positions and "Dritte Welle" regiments.
After the "Westfeldzug" the German army created depots all across Belgium and they recuperated as much as possible of the Belgian army "beute" material as they could.
So if they had found those 2pdr AT guns in a factory, there is no doubt in my mind that the German army would have found a use for them.
That the German army weaponsadministration gave a code# to these 2pdr guns can be regarded as evidence that they were taken up in the German army arsenal.

Cheers,
Peter

nuyt
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by nuyt » 31 May 2008 11:34

Exactly, everything the Germans found received a number, the administration must have been quite accurate. But that list Daveh quoted from is far from complete I suspect. For instance other guns captured in Holland received numbers as well, like the more than 100 hard hitting 5cm Siderius and Hembrug casemate anti-tank guns and as faar as I can remember the Bofors 37mm anti-tank gun. The 5cm guns seem to have been scrapped completely. But the 37mm was only in use in the 36 Dutch armoured cars (Landsverk and DAF). This proves the Germans also listed anti-tank guns that were in use with vehicles (they should because they needed to organise the supply of ammo). Now that we are speculating anyway: A Rotterdam shipyard was preparing a second batch of DAF M39 armoured cars (M40) and were in the process of licence building the Bofors/Landsverk turret to go with it. I am not sure that they finished any of those cars in time, but maybe the Germans captured the stock of 12 Bofors 37mm at that factory as well...?


Back to Belgium: the quote "ex british 2 pounders used by the Belgian Army" needs some checking. Maybe this is an interpretation by an author who did not know what to do with this listing either?

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Michael Emrys
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by Michael Emrys » 02 Jun 2008 14:48

peter u wrote:Hi Michael,

The German army of WW2 wasn't as modern like the common myth.
A lot of German army units were equiped with oldfashoined material, specially those defending static positions and "Dritte Welle" regiments.


Indeed.

After the "Westfeldzug" the German army created depots all across Belgium and they recuperated as much as possible of the Belgian army "beute" material as they could.
So if they had found those 2pdr AT guns in a factory, there is no doubt in my mind that the German army would have found a use for them.


Possibly. But see below.

That the German army weaponsadministration gave a code# to these 2pdr guns can be regarded as evidence that they were taken up in the German army arsenal.


Undisputed that the Germans did catalogue everything they captured. Whether they would have used the 2pdrs as mobile AT guns is possibly another matter. They might have toyed with putting them into permanent emplacements, as they did with a lot of captured artillery. Or they might have simply put them into storage and never got around to using them at all.

Michael
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peter u
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by peter u » 02 Jun 2008 21:17

Hello Michael,

These "Belgian" 2pdr AT guns are indeed a mystery.

In my collection I have only one photoalbum left.
It is a photoalbum of a member of the 225 ID, this 225 ID member is working in a "Beute-Lager" in Roeselare for Belgian artillery pieces.
Because of this intresting thread I checked the photoalbum this evening.
On one of the many pictures he took of the Belgian artillery pieces, you can see a line up of C47 Belgian AT guns.
In this line up their is one 2pdr AT gun.
In all the research that I have done, I have never heard of a Belgian AT unit that was armed with a 2pdr AT gun.
- This is just speculation ofcourse, but could it be that the German weapons administration made a mistake and thought that these 2pdr's that ended up in the Beute Lager of Roeselare were Belgian versions of this weapon?

Cheers,
Peter

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Michael Emrys
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Re: Belgian 2pdr AT guns?

Post by Michael Emrys » 03 Jun 2008 01:27

Hello peter,

Could you tell me a little about the "Beute-Lager" in Roeselare please? This is something I am not familiar with. Is it like an armory or artillery park?

A thought I am having is that the Belgian Army might have obtained a few examples of the 2pdr for testing, but never issued them to fighting units, or did so on a very limited scale. But once again I am forced to speculate as I truly know nothing at all about this affair save what I have read here in this thread.

But I do love a good mystery. :D

Michael
Incoming fire has the right of way.

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