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Contents Introduction ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 2 O.V.S.A.C. Study No.8 JAN-MAR 2004 ................................................................................................................................ 3 Heavy Guns of the Royal Navy ........................................................................................................................... 13 4.7-in Naval QF on “Scott” Carriage ........................................................................................................ 13 6-in QF on Rail Carriage ...................................................................................................................................... 19 O.V.S.A.C. Study No.17 Jul-Sep 2006 .......................................................................................................... 23 A 3-pr Hotchkiss QF on a recoil-controlled embrasure mount. Note the yoke and pistol grip trigger. ...................................................................................................................................... 30 6-pr Hotchkiss QF .......................................................................................................................................................... 34 4.7-inch Naval QF Mark I to IV ...................................................................................................................... 38 O.V.S.A.C. Study No. 22 Oct-Dec 2007 .............................................................................................................................. 46 The breech mechanism of a Hotchkiss QF gun. Note the pistol grip trigger and actuation crank. ................................................................................................................................................. 52 6-pr Hotchkiss QF .......................................................................................................................................................... 57

I NTRODUCTION Thank you very much MC Heunis that we could include your three Study Reports on Armoured Trains during the Anglo Boer War in this final edition of our Nongqaitrilogy on War-, Ambulance-, Hospital-, Railways Police-, SA Constabulary-, Military- and SAPS-trains. Your contribution has enhanced our knowledge on this most interesting subject – Hennie Heymans.


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ORANJE VRIJSTAAT ARTILLERIE CORPS H I S T O R I C A L

S T U D Y

A N D

R E - E N A C T M E N T

O.V.S.A.C. S TUDY N O.8

G R O U P

JAN -M AR 2004

MONSTER GUNS OF THE ANGLO-BOER WAR Introduction Shortly after the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War British forces in South Africa realised they were fighting an enemy with better and heavier guns than their own. As it would be several weeks before the heavy ordnance of the Royal Garrison Artillery “Siege Train� could arrive from England, drastic measures had to be taken to get heavy guns into the field. This precarious position, combined with the threat that the four forts around Pretoria posed, gave rise to the appearance of some of the heaviest artillery pieces that the Southern Hemisphere ever saw. The Pretoria Forts and Their Armament The internally (Uitlander) supported Jameson Raid at the start of 1896 brought the Transvaal Government to the shocking realisation that Pretoria, the seat of their government, was extremely vulnerable to invasion and that its defenders were inadequately armed. This led to numerous counter measures being taken, the most important of these, the decision in March 1896 to shut the capital off with a ring of forts. By the time war broke out in October 1899 this plan was only partially realised with four forts, Fort Klapperkop, Fort Schanskop, Fort Wonderboom and Fort Daspoortrand completed to defend the main approaches to the city. Two ammunition magazines at Pretoria, the Groen Magazijn and the Centrale Magazijn (complete with a parapet and garrison) as well as a fort at Johannesburg, were The inside of Fort Schanskop shortly before its completion. also completed. Contemporary European fortification principles dictated the design and construction of the forts. Of the four, three were built according to the designs of German engineers and representatives from Krupp, while Fort Daspoortrand was P.O. BOX 26771, LANGENHOVENPARK, 9330, SOUTH AFRICA KRUPPGUN@YAHOO.CO.UK

WWW.HEILBRONCOMMANDO.COM


4 built according to a design by French engineers, representatives of Schneider & Co. One German military observer of the time was quoted to have said that he travelled all the way to South Africa to see forts that he could have seen in Germany. To close the gaps between the strongholds, the forts were to be supplied with long range garrison artillery. Major PE Erasmus, of the Staatsartillerie, proposed that each of the larger forts should have three heavy guns. One would resist frontal attacks, while two more were to be mounted on the sides of the fort to cover the flanks, to deliver enfilade fire in support of neighbouring forts and to support fire in front of the fort. To counter close-in attacks two lighter guns were also proposed for each fort.

A drawing signed by Major Erasmus and dated 15 April 1899 showing one of the fort armament plans.

By the time Major Erasmus made this recommendation, six 75mm QF and four 155mm BL guns, later known as the “Long Toms”, were already on order from Schneider & Co. In the same month (April 1897) that this order was landed at Lourenço Marques (Mozambique), the plans were changed and it was decided that each fort should have two 155mm guns, two 75mm guns and two 37mm Maxims. This proposal was approved and on 14 May 1897 six more 155mm guns and ten 75mm guns were ordered. Delivery of this order was prevented by the outbreak of war.

In the end the forts did not play their intended role during the war, but they posed enough of a threat to the British to force them to drag extremely cumbersome siege artillery over many miles to Pretoria, thereby congesting their lines of supply and delaying their advance. To the Front The Transvaal’s acquisition of large calibre guns was no particular secret. Newspapers reported on it and therefore the general public and the British secret service agents in South Africa knew about it. However, for some reason the British were under the impression that the four 155mm pieces were guns of position and that they would be permanently installed in the forts. When the long-awaited war came, the Corps Vesting Artillerie (Fortress Artillery Corps) took these heavy-weights with them to the front and soon the British were greatly surprised by the Boer "secret" heavy guns firing at them at ranges far superior to their own artillery and from positions thought to be inaccessible to heavy ordnance. The Long Toms were not the only heavy guns in Boer hands as four 120mm Krupp QF howitzers also arrived before the outbreak of hostilities and later proved to be one of the best guns of the war. In summary, at the outbreak of war, the Transvaal had the following heavy ordnance: •

4-off

120mm Krupp QF howitzers


5 • • •

4-off 1-off 1-off

155mm Schneider 6.3-in RML howitzer 8-in SBML mortar

(Creusot) BL siege guns

Except for the two obsolete muzzle loading pieces, the Boer heavy guns became both feared and famous during the conflict. The Long Tom in particular became legendary with many a story (and a couple of fables) remaining to this day. Outranged by Boer artillery in the opening stages of the war, British artillery in the field was at a distinct disadvantage. In reply to the Long Tom and 120mm Krupp the Royal Artillery could only answer with regular field guns, the 5-in BL howitzer and two antique 6.3-in RML howitzers: • •

18-off 2-off

5-in BL howitzer on Mk II carriages 6.3-in RML howitzer on 40-pr RML carriages

Captain Scott Saves the Empire Originally it was thought that Britain’s heavier artillery would only be needed for the “final” attack on the Pretoria forts and no allowance was made for heavy guns in the field. When it was finally discovered that the Boers had sent their fortress guns to the front and that they could easily out-gun anything the British army could throw at them, drastic measures had to be taken. The heavier guns of the Siege Train would provide an answer to the Boer guns, but they were not due to arrive in South Africa until early 1900. To fill the gap, the land forces turned to the Royal Navy (RN) who came to their rescue in the form of Captain Percy Scott of the HMS TERRIBLE. Scott was the RN’s foremost gunnery expert and his innovative approach to solve the problem proved that he was blessed with initiative too.

The HMS TERRIBLE. After landing most of her guns and crew she was paralysed and had to be tied up in harbour.

The TERRIBLE and her sister vessels carried a selection of naval guns which were quickly removed and mounted onto sturdy carriages of wood and metal which had been hastily designed and built. The first guns arrived in Ladysmith hours before it was encircled, while the remainder made their way to relieving forces on the Natal, Southern and Western Front. Due to their weight the guns had to be drawn by oxen giving rise to the name “cow guns”. Manned by their naval crews, the sailors of the Naval Brigades and their large guns were an unusual sight hundreds of miles away from the nearest ocean. The larger naval guns deployed ashore were: • •

19-off 1-off

4.7-in QF guns on improvised carriages 6-in QF gun on an improvised carriage


6

After the Relief of Ladysmith, the sailors were slowly returned to their ships, but many of the guns were handed over to the army and remained in the field with the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) until the end of the war. These were generally not new guns and all had fired 200-300 rounds when they were taken ashore. With an average life of 700 rounds, guns often lost most of their rifling and became more or less smooth bore. As they became worn, they were usually replaced and for this reason very few RGA companies fought the entire war with the same guns. Some of the naval guns left for China in 1900 where they were used equally successfully in the Boxer Rebellion. Enter the Siege Train Initially the Siege Train which accompanied the Army Corps to South Africa consisted of only two companies which were to be used during the planned “final” attack on Pretoria. Their armament consisted of eight 6-in howitzers and four 4.7-in guns. After this plan was upset by the Boers who took their “guns of position” into the field, the RGA had the unexpected task of relieving the Royal Navy in the field. In this role they saw action long before they would be required to deal with the fortifications of Pretoria. This proved to be such a large undertaking that no less than eleven additional companies were shipped to South Africa with a further local addition in the form of the Cape Garrison Artillery (CGA) manning guns removed from the Cape’s fixed coastal defences.

Officers of the RGA posing with a 6-in howitzer of the Siege Train.

After their arrival some companies were used to relieve the besieged garrisons in Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking and in this role, they served as field artillery on the various fronts. Later, after the Boer defence of Pretoria did not materialize, the heavy guns were used to garrison strongholds only because “they were there” and therefore never saw action in their intended role as siege artillery.

The guns employed by the companies of the RGA and the CGA were: • 24-off 4.7-in QF guns on 6-in howitzer carriages • 2-off 4.7-in QF guns from the Cape fixed defences • 18-off 5-in BL guns on 40-pr RML carriages • 2-off 5-in BL guns from the Cape fixed defences • 12-off 6-in BL howitzers • 4-off 6-in QF guns from the Cape fixed defences • 1-off 9.2-in BL gun on rail mounting (from the Cape fixed defences) • 2-off 9.45-in BL howitzers Although unwieldy and cumbersome, the heavy guns of the siege artillery were to provide useful assistance to the British forces in the field. This applied particularly to Buller’s forces in Natal and later the Eastern Transvaal where the Boers were holding relatively fixed positions. Later, when more mobility was


7 required for fast moving columns chasing Boer guerrilla fighters, the heavy guns were less prominent. The Boer Heavies 120mm Krupp QF Howitzer (Schnellfeuer-Haubitze L/10) Calibre

120 mm (4.7-in)

Weight of gun

450 kg (992 lb)

Weight of gun & carriage

1010 kg (2227 lb)

Weight behind the gun team

1816 kg (4000 lb)

Ammunition

Common, shrapnel & case

Weight of shell

15.9 kg (35 lb)

Range: Percussion

5760 m (6300 yards)

Although this was a howitzer, it outranged both British horse and field artillery. It was easily identifiable by its stubby howitzer barrel and horizontal sliding breech block system which opened to the right. A cartridge case was used for obturation, i.e. to prevent the escape of gases to the rear, which also allowed for a quicker rate of fire. Since the gun was still mounted on a rigid carriage without a recoil system, it is better described as a quick loading or rapid firing howitzer.

A Krupp factory photograph of the 120mm Krupp QF howitzer and limber.

To enhance stability the barrel was mounted low on the carriage, while the carriage had relatively small wheels spaced wide apart. This assembly proved extremely strong, yet lightweight. It was a trouble-free piece, which could be transported over very uneven terrain without capsizing. It demanded little attention and proved to be an immensely powerful gun which could spread a particularly effective spray of shrapnel. The use of smokeless powder made it ideal for Boer camouflaged gun tactics. The only known drawback of this gun, mainly due to its rigid carriage, was that it had the tendency to jump into the air when fired and in extreme cases even capsized. One can only imagine the frustration when a gun of this size had to be turned back onto its wheels while under fire from the enemy. Compared to other ordnance of this caliber, shell weight was also light.


8

Only four howitzers were imported in 1896 and although probably not originally intended, some were installed in the Pretoria forts as an interim measure. During the Siege of Ladysmith two were damaged during raids, one beyond repair. To replace it an exact copy was manufactured by Mr. Uggla at the NZASM (Dutch South African Railway Company) workshops in Pretoria. After the war this gun, inscribed: “Made by ZASM Workshops Pretoria to replace gun blown up by English night of 11.12.99 Ladysmith”, was found north of Belfast and shipped to England. 155mm Creusot BL (Canon Lang de 155 m/m sur Affut de Siege) Calibre

155 mm (6-in)

Weight of gun

2489 kg (5485 lb)

Weight behind gun team

6200 kg (13670 lb) approx.

Ammunition

Common

Weight of shell

43 kg (94 lb) 41 kg (90 lb)

Range: Percussion

9880 m (10800 yards)

shrapnel

case

This was the most famous gun of the Anglo Boer War. Better known as the “Long Tom”, it became an internationally recognisable symbol of Boer resistance. Commonly referred to as Creusot guns, the four pieces were actually manufactured by Schneider & Co. at Le Creusot in France. Although the guns were ordered with the intention of using them in the fixed defences of Pretoria, the Long Tom was mounted on a siege carriage, which made it ideal for use against a besieged enemy. Too heavy to be a typical field gun, the Boers still managed to haul them into the most astounding sites with the help of twenty or more oxen and many human hands, ropes, picks and shovels. The gun was of 1877 design equipped with a De Bange interrupted screw breech system. Being an older model, it still used black powder in bagged charges, which made its position extremely difficult to hide and necessitated thorough cleaning at regular intervals. Its sight was only marked to 7500 m, but its maximum range was around 9900 m. Under certain ideal conditions and firing from elevated positions, as the Boers often did, it achieved ranges of up to 11000 m. For its siege role it was mounted on a rigid travelling carriage onto which a second pair of wheels, in the form of a simple limber, was fitted. The carriage was further equipped with two sets of trunnion blocks, one set for travelling and a second for firing. Before it could be fired the barrel had to be hoisted into place with the help of a large tri-pod and a block and tackle. Due to its weight the gun had to Long Tom showing the barrel in travelling position. be mounted on a fixed wooden platform before use. To reduce recoil a cylinder was mounted to the platform, while the gun was returned to its firing position after each shot by ramps placed behind the wheels. Later some of the guns were mounted on train trucks or used without firing platforms, but this limited their field of fire.


9

A Long Tom outside Mafeking showing the gun in its firing position and mounted to a wooden platform.

The main drawback of the Long Tom was its black powder propellant charge. Ammunition problems at the start of the war also limited its efficiency and it was not until May 1900 that the defective fuzes were rectified. After they ran out of ammunition or became useless during the guerrilla war, the Boer crews destroyed all four guns at: • • • •

Komati Poort on the Mozambican border, 22 September 1900 Letabadrift near Haenertsburg, 18 October 1900 Rietfontein near Lydenburg, 16 April 1901 Feeskop outside Haenertsburg, 30 April 1901

The British managed to capture one gun intact during a night raid outside Ladysmith, but due to its size they could only remove the breech screw and damage the breech and muzzle with gun cotton. The gun was sent back to Pretoria where a replacement breech screw was manufactured and the damaged piece of muzzle removed. After this incident the gun became known as “De Jood” (The Jew). After their destruction most of the remains of the four guns were collected and shipped to Britain, where the “circumcised” muzzle end of The Jew was recently discovered in a storeroom at the Woolwich Royal Artillery Museum. The relic was generously donated to the Haenertsburg Long Tom Memorial where it is today displayed with other remains, including the breech end of one Long Tom. The Jew’s captured breech screw is today on display at the Siege Museum in Ladysmith, while an original gun sight can be seen at the Lydenburg Museum in the Eastern Transvaal.


10 6.3-in RML Howitzer Calibre

6.3-in (160 mm)

Weight of gun

18 cwt (914 kg)

Ammunition

Common

star

case

Weight of shell

72 lb

11 lb

49 lb 14.5 ozs

Range: Common

4000–4500 yards (3658–4115 m)

This gun was a typical howitzer with a large calibre and short barrel. It was mounted on a wheeled travelling carriage originally manufactured for a 40-pr RML gun. The construction of this mounting resembled field gun carriages but due to the howitzer’s short barrel it could achieve a larger elevation of around 30 degrees on this carriage. Earlier RML equipment fired loose-fitting projectiles with projecting studs which slotted into the rifling. This system had proved unsatisfactory as excessive windage caused erosion in the bore. To overcome this, it was necessary to devise some means of preventing the forward escape of gasses when the gun was fired. After several experiments, in 1878, a copper gas-check, in the shape of a cup placed between the shell and the cartridge, was found to be the best solution. Apart from preventing windage it was found that the gas-check also increased the range of the gun. At that stage the gas check was not fitted to the base of the shell but rotated independently. After it was suggested that it might, by being fixed to the shell, also be used to impart rotation, the studs on the shell were dispensed with and the gas-check became the driving band. With no studs on the projectile it was also possible to revert to a shallow polygroove rifling system, consisting of 20 grooves 0.1-inch deep and 0.5-inch wide, while the twist increased from one turn in 100 calibres to one in 35 at the muzzle. In Britain the 6.3-in howitzer came into service in 1878 and was the first gun to make use of this development.

The Boer 6.3-in howitzer looking out over Johannesburg.

On Boer side a single 6.3-in formed part of the Transvaal’s pre-Jameson Raid armoury. Bought from the Cape Colony, it arrived in Pretoria from King Williams Town on 7 April 1882. It reportedly fired the salute at President Paul Kruger’s first inauguration in May 1883 and saw service in the Njabel campaign under Commandant HPN Pretorius; later CO of the Staatsartillerie. Unlike most of the Transvaal’s other obsolete RML guns, it was not posted at one of the steel forts in the Northern Transvaal, but remained in Pretoria and was probably used for training. Transvaal ammunition orders specified the use of common, star and case shells as well as Boxer time fuzes of 15 and 30 seconds.

No evidence could be found suggesting that this gun saw action during the Boer War and it was found abandoned in the fort at Johannesburg on 31 May 1900. A list from the Pretoria Archives: “Guns, ammunition etc. in the Fort Johannesburg” compiled by “Genl. Marshall C.R.A.” in June 1900, identified this gun as a Mk I gun, No. 33, manufactured at the Royal Gun Factory (RGF) in 1879. The gun was


11 captured complete with its carriage and limber, all made at Woolwich, as well as 50 fuzes, 180 common shells and 90 case shots. After its capture it was used as the one o’clock gun in Johannesburg. Today this gun rests outside the Ladysmith Town Hall next to a similar British gun. More on these under the section Heavy Guns of the Royal Artillery. 8-in Bailey Pegg & Co. SBML Mortar During the early 1880’s the Transvaal conducted a number of small internal campaigns against native tribes, many of these ending up in mountain sieges. To assist, a howitzer and a SBML mortar of 8-in was bought from the Cape Colony. In Boer hands the mortar was dubbed “Seeppot” (Soap pot), because of its resemblance to the big three-legged pots that were used to make soap, and also the large volumes of smoke it produced when fired. During the Boer War this antique piece saw service outside Ladysmith and was probably used to fire star shells at night. The only known photo of the mortar was taken on Vaalkop outside Ladysmith and close inspection thereof revealed that it originated from a British gun founder, Bailey Pegg & Company (BP & Co). Both WO32/7028 and a letter in the Pretoria Archives identified this specific mortar as No.16.

The Boer 8-in mortar and crew on Vaalkop outside Ladysmith. Note the mortar bed sans its wheels.

The piece was mounted on a wooden mortar bed with removable wheels, which had to be taken off before it could be fired. On 5 June 1900 it was found abandoned in Pretoria and after the war, shipped to England where it was allocated to the City of Manchester. It is not known whether it survived. At least two similar non-Boer 8-in BP & Co. mortars survived in South Africa. No.24 (1855) today guards the entrance of Fort Klapperkop in Pretoria, while No.4 (1849), is kept at the SA National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg.


12 Heavy Guns of the Royal Artillery 5-in BL Howitzer on Mk II Carriage Calibre

5-in (127 mm)

Weight of gun

9 cwt (457 kg)

Weight behind gun team

48 cwt 1 qtr 26 lb (2 463 kg)

Ammunition

Lyddite

Weight of shell

50 lb (22.7 kg)

Range: Percussion

4900 yards (4480 m)

Guns sent to South Africa:

39

Rounds fired:

9790

The abolition of common shell for British field guns caused a demand in the field for some form of artillery with greater shell power. After attempts failed to use normal field guns with reduced charges to achieve curved fire, it was decided to form field howitzer batteries. These first units, organized in 1896, were armed with the 5-in BL howitzer.

A 5-in BL field howitzer and limber loaded on a rail truck for transport.

Shortly before the 1899-1902 war, lyddite was introduced as the new bursting charge for heavy guns. Initial press reports stated that the mere concussion of its explosion was enough to kill any enemy in the vicinity. These exaggerated reports caused many to expect too much of lyddite in South Africa where, in addition, it was found that lyddite shells often failed to detonate. Although some success was achieved when the 5-in Howitzer was able to get close and engage targets such as trenches, it was soon found to be greatly overrated. The 5–in howitzer had some interesting features, including an early recoil system. Since this primitive buffer only allowed a short recoil of six inches, the gun had to be used in conjunction with drag shoes. Elevation was by trunnion gearing with a crank fitted to the right trunnion and operated by a long screw and nut turned by the elevation hand wheel.


13 Muzzle velocity was between 402 and 782 feet per second (depending on the charge) - noticeably slower than that of field guns and thereby illustrating one of the differences between a howitzer and a gun. As a field howitzer it was found to be too heavy, while the shell was too light and the range too short. Five barrels of this design, minus breech mechanisms etc., were recently discovered at the Free State town of Kroonstad. One of these (numbered 43 and dated 1898) was bought at a scrap yard and can today be seen at the Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park. The remaining four barrels were found doing duty as garden fence posts and are currently being relocated to the Military Museum in Bloemfontein. 6.3-in RML Howitzer As mentioned earlier, the 6.3-in howitzer came into service in the British Army in 1878. At the outbreak of the Boer War two guns were sent from Port Elizabeth in the Cape Colony to Ladysmith shortly before the siege of the town commenced. During the siege the pair was dubbed “Castor and Pollux” and became famous for damaging the Long Tom on Middle Hill, subsequently forcing the Boers to move it to Telegraph Hill. A few days later the Long Tom got its own back by scoring a direct hit on Castor, necessitating the replacement of its breast transom. In total the two howitzers fired 765 rounds during the war, mainly in defence of Ladysmith and were therefore a welcome addition to the town’s defences. Today one of the pair, No. 48, still guards the entrance to the Ladysmith Town Hall. Its trunnion inscriptions identify it as a Mk I gun manufactured at the RGF in 1879.

One of the two 6.3-in howitzers resting outside the Ladysmith Town Hall.

Next to this gun stands No. 33, the captured Boer gun from Johannesburg. It is suspected that one of the original British pair, “Castor” or “Pollux” were replaced with the captured Boer gun, possibly due to the damaged incurred by the Long Tom’s direct hit. Heavy Guns of the Royal Navy 4.7-in Naval QF on “Scott” Carriage Calibre

4.7-in (120 mm)

Weight of gun

2 tons 2 cwt (2118 kg)

Weight of gun carriage packed

6 tons (6096 kg) approx.

Ammunition

Common, lyddite & shrapnel

Weight of shell

45 lb (20.4 kg)

Range: Percussion

9800-12000 yards (8960-10973 m)

Time fuze

6500 yards (5940 m)

Guns taken on land:

19 (2 more taken from Cape fixed defences)

Rounds fired:

11299


14

A 4.7-in naval gun on a wooden beam platform.

Captain Scott designed both a wooden beam platform as well as mobile carriages for the naval 4.7-in. The first two guns, originally intended for HMS Philomel, were taken from the stores and mounted to beamed platforms before being sent to Ladysmith, arriving hours before the town was encircled. In Ladysmith, where there was no requirement to move the guns around much, this simple platform was quite adequate and the guns played an invaluable role in the defence of Ladysmith as its range could counter the Boer Long Toms.

The majority of the naval 4.7-in guns were mounted to wheeled travelling carriages of a simple construction. Large timber beams were used to form the trail to provide stability with their weight and to prevent the gun overturning on recoil. Drag shoes were also used, and the carriage was sometimes attached by cable to a strong point in front of the gun to help control recoil. Rail truck mounted 4.7-in guns also made their appearance, one, the "Lady Randolph Churchill", was employed by Buller’s forces on the Tugela. On its mobile carriage the 4.7-in performed well with the army in the field. Weighing more than the Long Tom and with all its weight bearing on only one pair of wheels, it was more difficult to move than its Boer adversary. On occasion as many as 32 oxen were required to move the 4.7-in, while its weight also caused one or two temporary bridges to give way under these heavy guns.

Contemporary drawing of the “Lady Churchill”.

Although cumbersome to displace, the guns were invaluable to provide an answer to Boer long-range artillery. It was also claimed, especially by the Royal Navy, that the 4.7-in was the gun which saved Ladysmith. Even if this was a slightly exaggerated claim, there is no doubt that the moral value of the naval guns was of great importance to the besieged garrison. Even with a shell weight half that of the Long Tom, the Boers learned to be cautious of the 4.7-in gun. With the arrival of the Army Corps, some 4.7-in guns were handed over to the RGA while others were returned to the navy to see action in China. The guns remaining in South Africa continued their service throughout the war. No longer concentrated as in the earlier battles, they were rather split into ones and twos to accompany various mobile columns as they hunted the Boer commandos. Some were allocated to fortified posts in the occupied Transvaal and Orange Free State. One such gun, the “Lady Roberts” was captured from its RGA detachment at Helvetia on 29 December 1900. Due to the swampy terrain and fire from other fortified points, the Boer captors were unable to remove the gun’s ammunition wagon. Without ammunition it could not be used against its former owners and it was later A 4.7-in mounted to a “Scott” travelling carriage. destroyed with dynamite near


15 Roossenekal in the Eastern Transvaal. The capture of this gun was a moral victory for the Boer commandos and news thereof travelled widely. The event was even celebrated in the form of a folk song, written by the Transvaal’s State Secretary, FW Reitz. 6-in Naval QF on “Scott” Carriage Calibre

6-in (152 mm)

Weight of gun

7 tons 8 cwt (7518 kg)

Weight of gun carriage packed

11.5 tons (11685 kg) approx.

Ammunition

Common & shrapnel

Weight of shell

100 lb (45.4 kg) approx.

Range: Percussion

15000 yards (13720 m) at 28 degrees

Guns taken on land:

1

Rounds fired:

200

After the 4.7-in guns were sent to the front, Captain Scott received an urgent request from General Buller for a naval gun with an even greater range. This request came on a Wednesday, by the following Monday a 6-in gun was ready for dispatch, mounted on a field carriage. The gun joined Buller’s Natal Field Force in February 1900, shortly before the battle for Tugela Heights and the Relief of Ladysmith. Tugela Heights saw the heaviest artillery duels fought in the southern hemisphere until the Falkland Wars in the 1980’s. In Natal ranges of up to 15000 yards were reported for this gun, but it proved to be too heavy for its field carriage and was subsequently only used from a rail mounting.

The 6-in on its “Scott” travelling carriage.

Guns of the Royal Garrison Artillery 4.7-in QF on 6-in Howitzer Carriage Calibre

4.7-in (120 mm)

Weight of gun

42 cwt (2134 kg)

Weight of gun carriage packed

86 cwt (4369 kg)

Weight behind gun team

98 cwt (4978 kg)

Ammunition

Lyddite

shrapnel

Weight of shell

46 lb 9 ozs

45 lb

Range: Percussion

10000 yards (9140 m)

Range: Time fuze

6000 yards (5490 m)

Guns sent to South Africa:

24

Rounds fired:

3035

(20 kg)


16 This gun was the same gun as the 4.7-in used by the Royal Navy, but mounted on a 6-in howitzer carriage. One of the two original Siege companies dispatched with the Army Corps was equipped with four of these while other RGA Companies later sent to South Africa also made use of version and the naval guns already in the field.

The 4.7-in on a howitzer carriage. An odd-looking combination.

were Train guns, this

The 6-in carriage mounted gun was preferred above the naval version as it weighed nearly a ton less. Although the gun was sometimes used with 40-pr recoil scotches, this 16foot-long high velocity piece was not designed to be fired from a howitzer carriage and it was said to be “lively in action”!

The gun was equipped with a three-motion breech mechanism, which was considered better than the electrical single-action mechanism of the naval guns. Electrical firing often proved unsatisfactory in the field. Differences in the weights of common and shrapnel shell caused them to range differently, which presented operational difficulties for the crews. In transport it was towed, muzzle forward, by as many as 24 oxen and guided by hand, with a small limber at the rear. Two examples with “improved carriages” had the limbers forward. It could also be towed by traction engines, but this development was not viewed with favour by all as the traction engine heavily relied on a supply of fuel and water, while there was always the chance of “breakages to machinery”. 5-in BL on 40-pr RML Carriage Calibre

5-in (127 mm)

Weight of gun

40 cwt (2032 kg)

Weight of gun carriage packed

74 cwt (3759 kg)

Weight behind gun team

89 cwt (4521 kg)

Ammunition

Common, lyddite, shrapnel & palliser

Weight of shell

50 lb (22.7 kg)

Range: Percussion

10500–11000 yards (9600–10060 m)

Range: Time fuze

5400 yards (4940 m)

Guns sent to South Africa:

18 (2 more taken from Cape fixed defences)

Rounds fired:

5480

The 5-in BL gun was introduced for Her Majesty’s forces after a 50-pr steel BL gun was proposed in 1881 for both land and naval service. The gun was manufactured entirely of steel and had a ring carrier, pad obturator and twenty grooves of rifling. The gun was sighted up to 8700 yards for a full charge of propellant and had a chamber capacity of 504 cubic inches. The following years saw progressive models being introduced, each with certain alterations, differing


17 mainly in construction, firing mechanisms.

but

retaining

the same breech-closing, obturating and

Designed for both land and naval use the guns were fitted to various types of fixed mountings and wheeled carriages. In the case of the guns sent to South Africa, these were the same 40-pr RML wheeled travelling carriages used by the 6.3-in RML howitzer. On the field carriage the 5-in gun was considered to be accurate to 7000 yards, fairly accurate to 8500 yards and, according to the RAI Proceedings, serviceable up to 11000 yards. During the Boer War it was found that the recoil checking arrangements of the 40pr RML field carriage were inadequate for such a large gun. There were no brakes or recoil scotches initially, and on occasion guns turned completely over in recoil. Later, after Cape brakes were fitted and recoil scotches provided, control improved. The brake hand wheel shaft of a surviving gun in Pretoria is marked “CAR(riage) SIEGE RML 8” 70CWT HOW(itzer)”, indicating that these were also retrofit items taken from other existing equipment.

No.593 today at the Union Buildings, looking out over Pretoria.

Although this arrangement had the same shell power, a lower muzzle velocity and were not as accurate as the 4.7-in on the 6-in howitzer carriage, the weight behind the 5-in gun team was slightly less than that of the 4.7-in. Compared to the Long Tom its range could size up, but its shell weight was about half. Batteries equipped with the 5-in felt that the greater simplicity of the carriage, the nominal superiority of the shell and their familiarity with the equipment, gave it preference. During the war alternative transport methods were experimented with and resulted in the use of traction engines, oxen, mules and horses. The horse drawn arrangement, referred to a “galloper”, saw the gun pulled by a team of twelve large artillery horse, four abreast. Of the twenty guns that saw action in South Africa during the war, four are known to have survived in this country. Two of these can be seen at the Union Buildings in Pretoria (No.593, Mk.V, EOC, 1890 and No.546, Mk.IV, RGF, 1889); one at the South African National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg (No.540, Mk.IV, RGF, 1889); and the fourth at the War Museum of the Boer Republics in Bloemfontein (No.548, 1889). All are mounted on Mk. II carriages (No.139, 1880; No.140, 1880; No.52, 1876 & No.138, 1880) manufactured at the Royal Carriage Department (RCD). Investigation by Mr. David Martin indicated that the guns at the Union Building were two of the pieces used by the 16th Battery Southern Division, RGA. Today their exact day to day use during the war can be traced after Mr. Martin published the Battery’s war diary (See sources, “Duelling with Long Tom”). Both guns will be restored by the Department of Public Works in the near future and members of the O.V.S.A.C. were approached to act as consultants.


18 6-in BL Howitzer Calibre

6-in (152 mm)

Weight of gun

30 cwt (1524 kg)

Weight of gun carriage packed

69 cwt 3 qtrs 8 lb (3 547 kg)

Weight behind gun team

85 cwt 0 qtrs 2 lb (4 319 kg)

Ammunition

Common & shrapnel

Weight of shell

120 lb (54 kg)

Range

5200 yards (4760 m)

Range on siege carriage

7000 yards (6400 m)

Guns sent to South Africa:

12

Rounds fired:

55

The 6-in howitzer was introduced for use with the Siege Train in 1898. At the outbreak of war in 1899, eight of these guns were the equipment of one of the two Siege Train companies initially sent to South Africa. This gun was of a newer design than the 5-in howitzer and had a more modern hydraulic and spring recoil mechanism as well as a parallel interrupted triple motion screw breech. Designed with siege operation in mind it was normally fired from a platform to which a further tension hydraulic buffer was “A” battery RGA with 6-in howitzers on firing platforms. attached. In this configuration, it had an elevation of 35 degrees. If greater elevation was required, the wheels were removed and the carriage placed directly on the platform. An additional siege carriage was then placed on top of the normal carriage which enabled it to achieve an elevation of 70 degrees. Guns of this size were becoming too heavy for draught animals and therefore the guns and limbers were fitted with attachments for the usual horse or oxen teams as well as traction engine draught. A further advantage of using traction engines was that they could be used to lay the heavy guns. In South Africa the need for this type of gun did not arise. With mobile warfare waged in the open veldt, the platform proved to be more of an encumbrance. It was also discovered that the gun could be used without the platform and therefore it could be dispensed with. There are no reports of the top carriage being used operationally. The howitzer’s ammunition was heavy

A surviving 6-in at the RA Firepower Museum, UK.


19 and its range short. Charges of various sizes were used to vary the trajectory. During the war, in 1901, a lighter 100 lb shell was introduced, which increased its range to 7000 yards. Guns of this design saw service well into the First World War. 6-in QF on Rail Carriage Calibre

6-in (152 mm)

Weight of gun

7 tons 8 cwt (7518 kg)

Ammunition

Common & shrapnel

Weight of shell

100 lb (45.4 kg) approx.

Range: Percussion

12000 yards (10970 m)

Time fuze

6500 yards (5940 kg)

Guns sent to South Africa:

none (4 taken from Cape Coastal Armaments)

Rounds fired:

317

This was the same gun as used by the Royal Navy. The Royal Naval Dockyard at Simonstown, assisted by the Cape Government Railways, mounted two guns on rail mountings. This arrangement allowed the guns to be fired broadside to the line, and they appear to have been successful. Guns of this calibre fired a few rounds at Magersfontein, while one gun was also towed to Fourteen Streams before the Relief of Mafeking. During the last year of the war they were used on several occasions in the Orange Free State.

Two 6-in guns on railway carriages on the Western Front, photographed at Kimberley.

The guns were normally fired at ranges from 3000 yards to 12000 yards. Larger angles of elevation could also be achieved by using firing sidings which were inclined upwards to the front. Common shell and shrapnel were fired and in the words of a contemporary report: “the burst of a 100-pound shrapnel appeared to leave little to be desired�.


20 9.2-in BL on Railway Carriage Calibre

9.2-in (234 mm)

Weight of gun complete

22 tons (22352 kg)

Ammunition

Common

Weight of shell

380 lb (172 kg)

Range: Common

14000 yards (12800 m)

Guns sent to South Africa:

None (1 taken from Cape Coastal Armaments)

Manned by the Cape Garrison Artillery, this gun was dismounted from the Cape Town defences and placed upon a railway truck. Nicknamed “Kandahar”, it was the only one of its kind sent to the front. Due to its size and congested railway lines its progress was very slow. It got as far as Belfast in the Eastern Transvaal, but was too late for the action at Bergendal/Dalmanhuta on 27/28 August 1900.

The massive 9.2-in BL “Kandahar” gun on its railway carriage.

9.45-in BL Howitzer Calibre

9.45-in (240 mm)

Weight of the gun

1990 kg (4387 lb)

Weight of the breech

160 kg (353 lb)

Weight of gun and carriage

7010 kg (lb)

Elevation range

+40° to +65°

Ammunition

Common

Weight of Common shell Range

128 kg (282 lb) 7000 m (7650 yards)

Muzzle velocity

283 m/s (928 fps)

Guns sent to South Africa:

2

Rounds fired:

1


21

In November 1899, SKODA Works of Pilsen - then still part of Austria, was manufacturing four 240mm mortars on mobile mountings. When Britain discovered that a German agent was negotiating to purchase these, it was feared that they might end up in the hands of the Boers. British agents in the form of Vickers Sons and Maxim Limited (VSM) quickly moved in and, by February 1900, a deal was struck. Shortly thereafter British artillery officers were sent to Pilsen to learn the workings of the guns and a company was despatched to South Africa in order to receive them. On 20 March 1900 the mortars (Model 98 L/9, Serial Nos. 604-607), with carriages and mountings complete, were delivered and shipped to the UK. In the UK the mortars were re-made by VSM and renamed to 9.45-in howitzers before two were dispatched to South Africa. The Skoda howitzer was equipped with a hydraulic and spring recoil system with a recoil of 320 mm. It was fired from a platform or mortar bed and the The impressive 9.45-in on its siege platform. barrel and bed had to be mated before it could be used. Once dismantled, the barrel and firing platform were hauled by separate teams of horses or oxen. In South Africa long range transportation was mainly by rail. After arriving in South Africa, the two howitzers were slowly moved up north towards Pretoria, awaiting orders to be employed against the Pretoria forts. Since the Boers destroyed most of the bridges while retreating through the Free State, the British were forced to leave large quantities of stores and ammunition at temporary supply depots along the way. On 7 June 1900 one of these, at Rooiwal (Roodewal) north of Kroonstad, was raided by General CR de Wet’s commandos and after its capture, set alight. In the words of De Wet himself, the explosions caused by the big shells going off in the night were the prettiest fire works display one would ever see! Destroyed artillery shells at Rooiwal station. After all this, the service of the howitzers was not required. Arriving in Johannesburg on 2 June 1900, they were in full readiness to be deployed against the Pretoria defences, but fired only one round, when a picquet on a hill outside Pretoria was attacked. The officer in command had been waiting for weeks for the opportunity to fire a shot and when he spotted the enemy, he promptly supported his comrades by firing a shot over their heads at the approaching Boers who wisely decided to call off the attack.


22 When trouble started in China, the Skoda howitzers were sent to assist in quelling the rebellion. Once again, their crews were to be disappointed as Peking was captured without their aid and they returned to England without having had the opportunity to prove their worth. Skoda presented a mortar of this calibre to the public at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. Although semi-obsolete by World War I standards, 48 were still used in the Great War, some in Turkey during the Battle of Dardanelles. By then transportation was by means of wheeled tractors. MC Heunis Onderofficier, Corps der Artillerie Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Dr. Vladislav Krátký of the SKODA Museum, Pilsen, in the Czech Republic for his valuable assistance and information. A special word of thanks also to Mr. David Martin for his assistance and continued interest in the research and restoration of the 5-in guns at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Sources: • Breytenbach, JH: Die Geskiedenis van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog - Vol 1, Die Staatsdrukker, Pretoria, 1969 • Changuion, L: Silence of the Guns, The History of the Long Toms of the AngloBoer War, Protea Book House, Pretoria, 2001 • Cloete, PG: The Anglo-Boer War A Chronology, JP van der Walt, Pretoria, 2000 • Commandant General & Government-Secretary: Incoming Letters, Transvaal Archives, 1882 to 1899 • Comparato, FE: Age of Great Guns, The Stackpole Company, Harrisburg, 1965 • De Wet, CR: Die Oorlog Tussen Boer en Brit, Tafelberg Publishers, Cape Town, 1999 • Hall, DD: Guns in South Africa 1899-1902, Part 2 to 5, SA Military History Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1 to 3 • Hall, DD: The Hall Handbook of the Anglo-Boer War, University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 1999 • Martin, D: Duelling with Long Toms, Impression print Limited, London, 1988 • Murrell, JA: Steam Road Transport, Military Modelling Magazine, Vol. 19 No. 4, April 1989 • Ploeger, J: The Fortifications of Pretoria, Military Historical and Archival Services Publication No. 1, Government Printers, Pretoria, 1968 • Preller, GS: Historiese Opstelle, Van Schaik, Pretoria, 1925 • Pretorius, JL: Ons Suidafrikaanse Militaire Tradisie, Die Brandwag, 28 June 1910 • War Office Documents, Public Records Office - Kew London and Pretoria National Archives Photo Collections Consulted: • South African National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg • Voortrekker Monument Research Centre, Pretoria • War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein


23

ORANJE VRIJSTAAT ARTILLERIE CORPS H I S T O R I C A L

S T U D Y

A N D

R E - E N A C T M E N T

O.V.S.A.C. S TUDY N O .17

G R O U P

J UL -S EP 2006

RAIL MOUNTED GUNS OF THE ANGLO-BOER WAR Introduction After we received a request for information on rail mounted guns from the SA Railway History Group, we decided to compile a dedicated study piece on the subject. The result, our biggest issue to date! Background History At the turn of the 19th century trains were the fastest and most efficient mode of land transport available to man. In South Africa’s vast open spaces, the railway systems of the British colonies and the Boer republics were to become one of the most strategic elements of the Anglo-Boer War. With the aid of a railway map, one can today easily follow most military operations of the war. During the first year of the war both sides relied heavily on the railways to transport their troops, guns, horses, supplies, ammunition and countless other items of war material. For this reason, the initial British offensive closely followed the rail system and most of the early battles were fought in proximity to the track. After Robert’s columns had captured the towns and railway infrastructure of the Boer republics the burghers that were left in their wake realised that the thousands of miles of unguarded track were the main artery of the British war effort and a weak point in their opponent’s armour. Because most of their supplies were imported and had to be brought up to the interior from the colonial ports, the British Army was completely dependent upon the railways. As these supplies had to be transported on mostly a single track over many miles, every break in the line meant that much needed material would not reach the troops in the veldt. Many Boer commandoes became expert train wreckers and rail breakers, sometimes destroying several miles of track at a time. After seeing the havoc, it caused in their communication and supply lines the British command realised their mistake and more effort was put into the safeguarding of the railways.

The effect of a Boer train wrecker.

The Armoured Train One of the measures taken by armoured trains. Even before (CGR), the Natal Government embarked on the construction

the British to protect their railways was the use of the outbreak of the war the Cape Government Railways Railways (NGR) as well as the Rhodesian Railways of armoured trains. The CGR and the NGR each built

P.O. BOX 26771, LANGENHOVENPARK, 9330, SOUTH AFRICA KRUPPGUN@YAHOO.CO.UK

WWW.HEILBRONCOMMANDO.COM


24 five trains, while three more were assembled by the Rhodesians at Bulawayo. These early armoured trains usually consisted of two or more trucks with steel plated sides with loop-holes, which were marshalled before and after a locomotive, which were sometimes also protected with armour plating. Initially strategists only saw the armoured train as a means of giving small sections of troops more mobility and not as a means of safeguarding the track. For this reason, armoured trains were usually only deployed in a reconnaissance role or in support of other troops during offensive operations. The disasters at Kraaipan and Frere however quickly identified their vulnerability to artillery and showed that they could not be sent out without a cavalry screen. British troops soon came to refer to Two early “death trap” armoured trains with infantry on board. them as death traps and the presence of prominent war correspondent Winston Churchill at the Frere incident ensured a great deal of negative publicity which quickly turned to resentment against the armoured train. It was only later in the war that the principle role of the armoured train shifted to the defensive role. By then almost twenty armoured trains were in use, some assembled from captured equipment formerly belonging to the Transvaal’s Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoormaatschappij (ZASM) and the Oranje Vrijstaat Spoorwegen (OVSS). In its new role the armoured train played an important part and was mainly used to patrol vulnerable parts of the lines and to stand guard over work parties performing maintenance tasks or repairs after Boer attacks. As the role of armoured trains developed, so did their armament. Initially armoured trains only carried machine guns and, in some cases, light mountain or naval artillery, but experience showed that heavier guns with longer ranges were required to be effective. Typically, at the outbreak of the war only 3 or 6-pr guns were used, whereas later in the war 12-prs were also employed. Since armoured trains were usually constructed from existing equipment the guns mounted on them were not originally designed for armoured train use. The guns were usually obtained from military depots, coastal defence batteries and even from ships of the Royal Navy’s Cape Squadron. The Big Rail Guns Shortly after the outbreak of the Boer War British forces in the field realised, they were fighting an enemy with better and heavier guns than their own. As it would be several weeks before the heavy field and siege ordnance of the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) would arrive from England, the British had to take drastic measures to get more and heavier guns to the front. This precarious position, combined with the threat that the Boer forts around Pretoria and in Johannesburg posed, gave rise to the appearance of some of the heaviest rail guns ever seen in those days. The most accessible source of guns, in particular heavy guns, was the Royal Navy (RN) who came in the form of Capt. Percy Scott of the HMS Terrible. The Terrible and her sister vessels carried a selection of naval guns which were quickly removed and mounted on field and rail carriages. Initially Scott provided long


25 12-pr guns from HMS Powerful, mounted on wheeled field carriages, as well as two 4.7-inch guns, taken from stores, mounted on beamed platforms for the defence of Ladysmith. After this Scott employed the men and equipment of HMS Terrible and other ships at Durban to defend the approaches to the town; his naval force consisting of 450 men with 30 guns and an armoured train. The guns consisted of two “4,7s”, sixteen “Long 12s”, two 12-pr 8 cwt naval landing guns, one 9-pr, two 3-prs, two Nordenfelt guns and four Maxims. Most of these guns would have been mounted on wheeled field carriages, but it is suspected that some of the smaller 3-pr and Nordenfelt guns were fitted to the armoured train. The first large gun to be mounted on a rail wagon appeared in January 1900 when a “4.7” on a railway truck was requested by the Natal Field Force. Scott supplied the required gun and mounting. Three more mountings of this description were made later and these saw service against the Boer positions at Pieter’s Hill. Similarly, two 6-inch guns were put on railway trucks by Capt. Paul and Mr. Beattie of the CGR, at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Simonstown. Lastly, but certainly not the least, a 9.2-inch gun of the Cape Garrison Artillery (CGA), removed from the Cape’s fixed coastal defences, received the same treatment to become the largest gun of the Boer War. Although a heavy gun mounted on a rail truck and used from a normal straight track has a very limited field of fire, the heavy rail guns did prove useful to the British forces in the field during the early part of the war. This applied in particular to Buller’s forces in Natal where the Boers were holding relatively fixed positions. Later in the war, when more mobility was required, the large rail guns were only of use in cases where they could be moved rapidly to hot spots to assist field forces. After being landed the naval guns were all manned by their “Jack Tar” naval crews. After the relief of Ladysmith these sailors were slowly returned to their ships. Many of the guns however stayed in service on land and were handed over to the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA), some remaining in service until the end of the war. As the naval guns were generally not new pieces when they were taken ashore (most had fired 200-300 rounds out of an average life of 700) the guns often lost most of their rifling during the first few months on land. As they became worn, they were usually replaced and for this reason very few RGA companies fought the entire war with the guns they had received from the Navy. The following naval, coastal defence and army guns are known to have been mounted on rail carriages: • • • • • • • • • •

.303-inch and .450-inch Maxim-Nordenfelt/Vickers-Maxim MG 1-inch Nordenfelt MG 37mm Maxim-Nordenfelt/Vickers-Maxim AG (Pom-pom) 3-pr Hotchkiss QF 3-pr Nordenfelt QF 6-pr Hotchkiss QF 12-pr 12 cwt QF 4.7-inch QF 6-inch BL and QF 9.2-inch BL

Following, each of the above types are discussed in more detail:


26 .303-inch

and

.450-inch

Maxim-

Nordenfelt/Vickers-Maxim MG

The Maxim, the world’s first true machine gun (MG), was named after its American born inventor, Hiram Maxim. In 1884 Maxim moved his operations to Britain and by 1888 had merged with the Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited (NG&ACL) to form the Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited (MNG&ACL). Between 1887 and 1889 Maxim re-designed the breech lock and crank mechanism of his machine gun to fire newer progressive-burning powders and light bullets. In 1896 Vickers and sons bought MNG&ACL and in October 1897 the name was officially changed to Vickers, Sons & Maxim Limited (VSM).

A Maxim on a pedestal aboard a British naval vessel (left) and mounted to an armoured train (right).

Although Britain bought Maxim’s first three water cooled “perfect guns” for testing purposes in 1887, the Crown only officially adopted the Maxim in 1891. After it was approved it saw service in the Navy and Army and was to become one of the most feared weapons ever invented. One Boer War photograph shows Maxim’s “Extra Light” air cooled gun also being used on board an armoured train. It is unknown whether this gun was originally ordered by a British unit or if it was a captured Boer gun1. The Maxim gun consisted of Maxim’s patented recoil operated mechanism firing through a water-cooled barrel; the mechanism being fed by a flexible belt filled with cartridges. The gun used the recoil, generated by the previous round, to actuate its mechanism, which loaded, fired and ejected the next round as long as the trigger was held back. Early Maxim guns weighed around 40 lb and had a theoretical rate of fire of 450 rounds per minute. Ammunition for the first Maxim guns consisted of the .45 Gatling-Gardner round. It was also converted to fire other 10/11mm ammunition, the best known of these the 577/450 Martini-Henry round. The round itself differed from standard rifle ammunition in having a cupro-nickel bullet, while the cartridge case was solid drawn with a special strengthened head. Known as the .450 Maxim, it had the word “MAXIM” stamped on its head to distinguish it from normal rifle ammunition. After the world-wide adoption of small calibre smokeless ammunition, Maxim guns were redesigned to fire .303-inch black powder and smokeless Cordite cartridges, all adopted by Britain between 1890 and 1893. 1

See OVSAC Study No. 6 for further information on Boer Maxim guns.


27 The Maxim saw service mounted on a large variety of wheeled cavalry and infantry carriages, tripods as well as fixed pedestal type naval and garrison mountings. A large number of guns were equipped with a shield to protect the operator. Guns mounted on armoured trains usually had naval or garrison type cone or pedestal mountings and possibly even wheeled carriages and tripods. The Boer War saw the first wide spread use of Maxim guns by both sides. However, due to limited tactical knowledge of the weapon it did not come to its full right during this conflict and it was only during the Russo-Japanese and First World Wars that its full destructive power became evident. The use of black powder made the older Martini-Henry chambered guns unpopular in the veldt, but on board an armoured train this would not have been much of a draw-back. 1-inch Nordenfelt MG In 1877 the Swedish engineer Thorsten Nordenfelt acquired the patent rights to a multi-barrelled, hand-cranked machine gun designed by a fellow countryman, Helge Palmcrantz. Under Nordenfelt’s name this gun was produced and marketed with great success from his Carlsvik plant near Stockholm. In 1886 Nordenfelt relocated to Britain where the Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited (NG&ACL) was formed. Exploiting his patents in Britain, the company prospered. In 1888 NG&ACL was officially merged with the Maxim Gun Company Limited to form Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited (MNG&ACL). Competing against Maxim’s automatic recoil operated machine gun; Nordenfelt’s hand cranked machine gun was soon rendered obsolete. Nordenfelt however refused to admit that the heyday of manual operated machine guns was over and in 1890 he resigned from MNG&ACL and sold his shares back to the company. Later Nordenfelt pursued another recoil-operated machine gun design, which resulted in MNG&ACL conducting a Restraint on Trade court case against him. The court ruled in favour of MNG&ACL and the name Nordenfelt subsequently faded from the arms industry.

A two-barrelled 1-inch Nordenfelt mounted on a cone. Note the ammunition hopper on top of the gun.


28 The Nordenfelt gun’s principle role was to act as an anti-torpedo boat weapon and for this purpose it was mostly employed aboard naval vessels and by coastal defence installations. In Britain various models with two, four and five barrels, firing 1-inch and .450-inch projectiles were adopted in this role. The gun consisted of two or more barrels arranged horizontally. Nordenfelt’s patented hand-cranked mechanism loaded, fired and ejected the rounds as long as the crank was actuated, causing the breech mechanism to go backwards and forwards. It could fire single rounds or volleys. For its anti-torpedo boat role, the gun fired an armour piercing round. This consisted of sharp pointed steel bullet surrounded by a brass envelope. The round was fixed to a brass cartridge case filled with black powder. Ammunition was fed into the gun by means of gravity from a top-loading hopper. The guns were usually mounted to fixed conical mountings that gave all round fire for use on board ships and at fixed coastal defences. Some guns appeared mounted on small wheeled carriages and were used as naval landing guns.

Mafeking’s 1-inch Nordenfelt machine gun in the extreme outpost trench. Note the tangent sights.

The best-known use of Nordenfelt guns in the Boer War was during the Siege of Mafeking when the town’s garrison made use of a 2-barrelled 1-inch calibre gun. This gun was mounted on a naval cone and most probably originated from one of the armoured trains used in the town during the siege. A similar gun, or as a Boer source called it “a twin-barrelled maxim”, was captured by the Boers from Mafeking’s second armoured train when it came to grief at Kraaipan on 12 October 1899. It is not known whether the Boers also captured ammunition for it or if they ever used it. Official British lists on captured guns make no mention of its loss and it is not sure if it was ever re-captured. Mounted on an improvised wheeled carriage and moved close under the cover of darkness, the 1-inch Nordenfelt gun that remained in Mafeking was able to engage the mighty Long Tom in January and March 1900. A second source of Nordenfelt guns was Capt. Scott’s naval force. In November 1899 his force had two “Nordenfelts” at Durban, but no further detail on their calibre and use are known. The Nordenfelt was truly obsolete by the outbreak of the Boer War, but as a stop gap measure, they did come in handy as armament on board armoured trains and in the defence of Mafeking.


29 37mm

Maxim-Nordenfelt

/

Vickers

Maxim

AG (Automatic Gun)

The “Pom-pom” was simply a large copy of the Maxim machine gun firing a larger calibre projectile at a reduced rate of about 300 rounds per minute. In 1885, after the Royal Navy requested a quick firing (QF) gun to protect their warships from torpedo boats, Maxim up-scaled his rifle calibre gun to fire an existing 1pr cartridge. The Pom-pom operated similar to the rifle calibre gun and also had a water jacket surrounding the barrel and a pistol grip style trigger. To enable the operator to elevate and traverse the heavier gun it was equipped with a shoulder-piece or yoke attached to the back of the gun housing.

A Pom-pom aboard an American naval vessel (left) and mounted on an early pattern armoured rail truck (right). The truck was simply a 4-wheel goods wagon with additional side plating and a sun awning.

Ironically the British Army, against the advice of MNG&ACL’s military advisor, at first ignored the Pom-pom. Although it was originally designed as an anti-torpedo boat gun for static mounts on ships and at naval installations, the Boers imported 22 guns mounted on wheeled field carriages. Most Boer guns were also fitted with a shield, which proved extremely helpful against infantry and machine gun fire. After the Pom-pom’s effectiveness was appreciated, the British Army reversed their previous rejection of the weapon and fifty were ordered (some sources mention 57), of which 49 were shipped to South Africa. It could not be confirmed, but it is suspected that all the guns used in the Boer War were ordered mounted on wheeled carriages, while naval guns were generally mounted on fixed cone mountings. The most common ammunition used on land were black powder filled cast iron shells fitted with nose percussion fuses and fixed in brass cartridge cases. Looped cloth belts each containing 25 or 50 rounds were used to feed the gun. The original steel armour piercing rounds, developed for the gun’s intended naval use, were also used on land and were probably used by the Boers against armoured trains. Pres. Kruger once said to Gen. Van Rensburg that he should have more faith in the Lord, and the big Maxim that can “…shoot an armoured train to pieces.” To propel its shells, smokeless powder was used which made the gun almost invisible to its enemies. The smoke from the bursting black powder projectiles on the other hand enabled gunners to determine range and guide their shots. The fate of some of the captured Boer Pom-poms remains a mystery to this day. One possible clue is the revised numbering of a surviving British Pom-pom in the UK. Originally, this gun was No.2363, delivered in March 1900, but after the war it was re-numbered to No.55 and marked 1903. Could it be that captured Boer guns that were still serviceable were incorporated into the British Army and were re-numbered? If so, it is possible that captured Boer guns might have seen action mounted on British armoured trains.


30 3-pr Hotchkiss QF Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss was an American born inventor who became a skilled designer in the family’s engineering business with a passion for weapons. After failing to interest the US Government in his designs he moved to France where he set up the Hotchkiss Company in 1867. His first factory was located close to Paris where he began producing weapons and explosives for the French Government. By the late 1870s to 1880s his light quick firing (QF) guns were approved for naval service in a number of countries, including Britain and the US. The 3-pr Hotchkiss was one of the first QF guns introduced into the Naval Service and was adopted in 1885 as auxiliary armament on board Royal Navy vessels for defence against torpedo boat attacks. The British Army in turn adopted it for Land Service to form part of the armament of forts and coastal defence positions.

A 3-pr Hotchkiss QF on a recoil-controlled embrasure mount. Note the yoke and pistol grip trigger. Although some surviving guns are marked as “3-pr BL” (breech loader) these were true QF ordnance. The term quick fire is applied to guns, which are loaded at the breech, but which “constitute a different class because they use a brass cartridge case to carry the charge” and to create a gas tight seal. BL on the other hand came to describe guns where the charge was loaded in separate cloth bags and where obturation (gas seal) was achieved by means of a breech mechanism. This 47mm calibre gun was made entirely of steel and consisted of a tube, around which was shrunk a jacket prolonged at the breech to receive the breech mechanism. The length of the bore was 40 calibres (40x47mm=1880mm). Closure was by means of a vertical sliding wedge breech block, operated by a crank handle. Obturation was achieved by the brass cartridges which expanded into the chamber when fired, thus making a gas tight seal. The shell was fired by means of a hammer firing pin built into the hollow breech block; the hammer being cocked on closing the breech and released by means of a trigger mechanism. For Naval Service guns this mechanism consisted of a finger trigger in a brass pistol type guard. On opening the breech, the used cartridge case was automatically extracted and thrown clear to the rear. On Naval Service guns elevation and training were achieved by means of a shoulder-piece attached to the left side of the breech or the cradle of the carriage, while Land Service guns were fitted with an elevating screw and socket. The gun fired a projectile of 3¼ lb that could penetrate the vitals of a torpedo boat, which were in those days already protected by coalbunkers. Ammunition


31 loading was by hand, being made easy by the rigid case. The cases were either turned or solid drawn. The principle of fixed ammunition (where the cartridge case and projectile were fixed together), combined with the rapid action breech mechanism, enabled a trained crew of three men to maintain a rate of 20 to 30 rounds per minute. The propellant was originally gunpowder, but this was soon replaced by smokeless cordite. For their naval role the guns were sighted with a ‘speed’ tangent sight on the right-hand side of the breech and a speed fore-sight which fitted into a socket on the gun. The vertical bar of the speed tangent sight was graduated up to 3,400 yards, while the crosshead was marked with a ‘knots per hour’ and a ‘degrees deflection’ scale. On land normal tangent and conical fore-sights would have been used, if available. Although only sighted to 3,400 yards, the gun had a maximum range of approximately 4,000 yards, but its engagement range against torpedo boats was more in the order of 1,000 yards. Early examples had no recoil control and were mounted on pedestal mountings and later on elastic mountings. Improvements in hydraulics then led to pistons being used to control recoil. On these models the barrel had a piston on either side of the barrel and moved in a cylindrical sleeve. The two stationary mountings in use with British forces were officially denoted as: • •

Ordnance QF 3-pr Hotchkiss gun – 5 cwt 1885, Mark I (NS) on carriage, garrison, QF recoil, 3-pr Mark I Ordnance QF 3-pr Hotchkiss gun - 5 cwt, Mark I* (NS) on naval mounting

Muzzle end (left) and breech end (right) of a 3-pr Hotchkiss QF mounted on a recoil control cone mounting, preserved in the collection of Fort Nelson in Hampshire. Note the pistons and cradle.

A Hotchkiss pricelist of ‘Rapid firing guns’ described the stationary carriages of the 3-pr or “47 mm high power” gun as follows: • •

Pivot carriage with elastic stand and shield. Recoil carriage with automatic return action, with shield and accessories.

A number of guns, denoted as Mark II (LS), were fitted to travelling carriages for use by coastal artillery as movable armament for landwards defence. Although torpedo boat development had made the 3-pr Hotchkiss QF semi-obsolete by the time of the Boer War, a number of Royal Navy ships serving in South African waters were still equipped with these guns. On 8 November 1899 Capt. Scott marched out of Durban with two 3-prs, but only one of these was a naval gun. By 10 April 1901 the naval 3-pr had fired 1,120 rounds. Later, as the Naval Brigades


32 were withdrawn and their places filled QF guns were taken over by the Army.

by men of the RGA, two 3-pr Hotchkiss

A 3-pr Hotchkiss QF with recoil cylinders mounted on an early pattern armoured train truck (as described under the Pom-pom section). Note the shield and the shoulder yoke attached to the cradle.

A second source of 3-pr QF guns in South Africa was the Natal and the Cape colonies. By June 1899 there were seven 3-pr Hotchkiss QF guns in the colonies, but a number of these were on wheeled carriages as used by the Natal Naval Volunteer Hotchkiss Detachment (Walker's Maritzburg Battery). A further seven “3pr QF” guns were taken from the Cape’s fixed defences, but it is not certain whether these were Hotchkiss or Nordenfelt-made guns or what type of carriages they were mounted on. Seeing that they originated from the Cape’s fixed defences, they probably were mounted on rigid, elastic and recoil-controlled cone or embrasure mountings. The 3-pr QF still saw action until well after World War I after which the remaining guns went into armament stores or were used as saluting guns or field guns for landing parties. When World War II broke out a good number were installed as main armament on small ships for coastal forces. These included torpedo and gun boats as well as harbour defence motor launches. Today a number of guns of this design are still being used for ceremonial and training purposes.

A Royal Navy’s 3-pr Hotchkiss QF gun with its naval crew. This gun is also equipped with a shield and recoil cylinders.


33 3-pr Nordenfelt QF Hotchkiss’ main rival in the manufacture of light QF guns for the British Government was the Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited. After NG&ACL’s amalgamation the guns were supplied by MNG&ACL (1888-1896) and thereafter by VSM (1897 onwards). Although differing quite a bit in detail, the Hotchkiss and Nordenfelt guns appeared similar. Since Hotchkiss and Nordenfelt guns had performed equally well during trials, both were accepted into Naval and Land Service. Some sources say the Navy preferred the Hotchkiss, while the Army preferred the Nordenfelt.

A 3-pr Nordenfelt QF on an elastic cone mounting fitted to an armoured 4-wheeled goods wagon truck.

The 3-pr version of Nordenfelt’s QF guns was introduced for Land Service in 1889 as a coastal defence gun and as moveable armament for forts. According to one source a number of guns also saw service aboard naval vessels. Officially the gun and it mounting was denoted as: •

Ordnance QF 3-pr Nordenfelt - 4 cwt 1889 - Mark I (LS) on carriage, garrison, QF recoil, 3-pr Mark I

In construction the 3-pr Nordenfelt gun was similar to the 3-pr Hotchkiss and had the same calibre of 47mm. Visually it differed in having a longer bore, 45.4 calibres long, while its sighting brackets and slots were carried on the lefthand side of the gun. The breech mechanism, although similar in operation, differed somewhat in construction and function. To fire the gun a lanyard was used which connected to a trigger in a trigger bracket. Elevation was by means of an elevating mechanism which attached to the trigger bracket, no shoulder yokes being used. Ammunition was the same fixed brass cartridge rounds as used by the Hotchkiss gun. The sighting arrangement of the gun consisted of a steel tangent sight fitted with a removable range strip graduated in yards and a crosshead furnished with a screw deflection leaf with two degrees of deflection to either side. To further compensate for deflection, the socket for the tangent site on the breech of the gun was set at an angle of two degrees. The fore-sight consisted of a steel acorn point and a steel pillar which fitted into a socket on the left-hand side of the gun.


34

Her Majesty’s Armoured Train No.21 during the Boer War. Was this a Hotchkiss or a Nordenfelt gun? The long barrel points to a Nordenfelt. Note the blockhouse style corrugated iron armour plating!

As mentioned under the previous section on 3-pr Hotchkiss guns, seven “3-pr QF” guns were removed from the Cape’s fixed defences, but it could not be confirmed how many of these were Nordenfelt and how many were Hotchkiss guns. However, photographic evidence indicates that some 3-pr Nordenfelt QF guns were used during the war, probably originating from the Cape’s fixed coastal defences. 6-pr Hotchkiss QF The 6-pr Hotchkiss QF gun came into service shortly before the 3-pr Hotchkiss QF. Like its smaller compatriot the 6-pr was used by both the Navy and Army.

A 6-pr Hotchkiss QF on a recoil-controlled cone mount. Note the piston and spring arrangement.

The 6-pr gun was simply a larger (57mm calibre) version of the 3-pr and had the same quick action breech mechanism which fired a 6 lb projectile with the charge contained in a brass cartridge case fixed to the shell. Like the 3-pr, the gun was made entirely of steel and consisted of a tube, around which a prolonged jacket was


35 shrunk. The jacket was secured to the tube by a locking ring screwed to the front of the jacket, while the prolonged rear section of the tube carried the breech mechanism. The calibre of the bore was 57mm, with a length of 40 calibres. The breech wedge and sights were of the same design as that of the lighter 3-pr, some parts being interchangeable between the two calibres. A Mark I* with a different re-cocking lever existed, but in 1890 all guns were altered to this standard and subsequently all guns were re-designated as Mark I. The Mark II was an Army gun which could also be converted to fit naval mountings. Officially they were denoted as: • •

Ordnance QF Hotchkiss 6-pr gun - 8 cwt 1885 - Mark I (NS) on carriage, garrison, 6-pr Hotchkiss, non-recoil Mark I Mark II (LS) on carriage, garrison QF recoil, cone Mark I & II or Recoil, saddle Mark I & II

The Royal Navy supplied one gun of this design during the Boer War. By 10 April 1901 it had fired 1,100 shells. No further detail is known, but it was probably fitted to an armoured train. It was taken over by the Army when naval personnel were withdrawn from the field. During World War I 6-prs were still in use on light cruisers. After 1919 many were used as saluting guns until the outbreak of World War II when they were again hurriedly installed on small ships and at coastal defence positions.

Was this the Royal Navy’s single 6-pr QF gun?

Although the quality of this photo is not very good, the recoil cylinders and bore of a gun can be identified protruding from the armoured truck in the centre of the photo. Was this the Navy’s 6-pr? Also note the wheeled and tripod mounted Maxim guns which belonged to this armoured train.

In the Ottawa War Museum in Canada a Hotchkiss QF gun, which is said to originate from the Boer War, can be seen mounted on a Krupp style field carriage. The origin of this gun and its history could however not be confirmed.


36 12-pr 12 cwt QF (“Long 12”) As torpedo boats evolved and their striking ranges increased, defence guns also had to be improved. For this reason, a 12-pr gun, manufactured by Sir WG Armstrong’s Elswick Ordnance Company (EOC), was introduced in 1894. It was used by the Royal Navy as an anti-torpedo boat gun and was also adopted by the Army as a coastal defence gun.

The 12-pr 12 cwt QF Mark I gun on a garrison Mark I mounting without a shield, Tilbury Fort, Essex.

This 3-inch (76.2mm) calibre, 40 calibres long gun was of a built-up construction consisting of steel tubes and a jacket with Elswick section polygroove rifling. Closure was achieved by means of a single motion screw breech mechanism that fitted into the jacket, but without extractors. Obturation was achieved by the use of a brass cartridge case which expanded into the chamber when fired. To extract the spent cartridge a member of the detachment was provided with a hooklike implement with which the case was jerked from the chamber. This worked reasonably well as extractors were only fitted near the outbreak of World War II. Firing was by means of a firing pin mounted axially through the breech. Ammunition consisted of common, shrapnel and case shell weighing 14 lb. Its common shell had a range of 9,000 yards, while the time shell could be fired 4,500 yards. Although a cartridge case projectile and case were not fixed and were loaded separately; the filled with 2 lb of cordite propellant.

between 12 and fuzed shrapnel was used, the cartridge case

The 12-pr 12 cwt was mounted on a recoil control pillar mounting with an oil and spring (hydro-spring) buffer with a 12-inch recoil length. The majority of naval guns had shoulder yokes to assist in elevation and training of the gun. The official nomenclature for this gun and mounting was: •

Ordnance Quick Firing 12-pr QF 12 cwt. Calibre 3-inch. Common to both services 1894 on pedestal mounting QF Mark I, II & III for coastal defence.

Up to 10 April 1901 the Royal Navy had landed 30 guns of this type, by which time they had fired 23,594 shells. Between June 1899 and June 1902, a further 18 guns were dispatched to South Africa and these fired 6,143 rounds. When the Navy crews were withdrawn from the field, 33 guns were handed over to the Army. A large number of these were converted for field gun use by mounting them on improvised wheeled carriages, but the rest were mounted on armoured train wagons to act as gun trucks. With a longer barrel (and range) than the Army’s 12-pr 6 cwt field guns, they were soon referred to as the “Long 12s”. The 12-pr still saw service in the naval and anti-aircraft role during World War I, while some were resurrected during World War II for use on merchant ships.


37

The “Old Pattern” 12-pr gun truck. This standard bogie wagon carried two shielded 12-pr 12 cwt guns casemate style in opposite corners of the truck. Other variants also had a shrapnel-proof roof.

The “New Pattern” 12-pr gun truck. Between 11 and 13 Boer War armoured trains were provided with gun trucks of this pattern. Mounted in this turret arrangement on a bogie wagon, the 12-pr 12 cwt gun had a horseshoe shaped shield and allround traverse. It also had two blast-proof magazines, each holding 100 rounds of ammunition, at either end of the truck as well as a quick collapsing sun awning.


38 4.7-inch Naval QF Mark I to IV The first 4.7-inch QF gun was a 40-pr “Pattern M" gun invented by Armstrong’s Elswick Ordnance Company (EOC) in 1886. It was submitted to the Admiralty and after going through exhaustive trial, resulted in the development of a 45-pr version with the same calibre. The 45-pr version was adopted in 1888 as main armament for small vessels and merchant cruisers and as secondary armament on board larger Royal Navy vessels. Later the Army also used the 4.7-inch for coastal defence batteries and also as field armament.

A 4.7-inch QF gun mounted on a central pivot pedestal carriage in a coastal defence enclosure.

Various Marks followed, but all of these were similar and of a built-up construction. The Mark I was an Elswick Pattern "P", Mark II was Pattern "Q" and Mark III was Pattern "T". The Mark I was constructed of an A tube, a jacket, five B hoops, a screwed securing ring and a breech ring. The interrupted screw breech block had a conical fore part and was taken up by the jacket. The Mark II differed principally in having three B hoops and a short C hoop screwed onto the jacket. The Mark III differed by having a B hoop, two B tubes and a shorter C hoop. The Mark IV was partially wire wound with a B tube, jacket, a very short C hoop and a breech ring. The breech block was taken by a breech bush screwed into the A tube. All Marks originally used a three-motion screw breech. Weapons designated with the letter "A" indicated a modification to the three-motion breech mechanism while the letter "B" indicated a conversion to a single motion breech mechanism. British naval guns that had the breech ring altered to suit Army field mountings were given a single star in the designation. In all 154 Mark I, 91 Mark II, 338 Mark III and 584 Mark IV were manufactured. Several transfers of guns took place between the two Naval and Land services. A grand total of 776 guns were built specifically for the Navy, while an additional 110 were transferred to the Navy from the Army. Ammunition consisted of common and shrapnel shells weighing around 45 lb each. The common shell was filled with Lyddite. Fitted with a percussion fuse shells had a range of 9,800 yards, while the time fuse had a range of 6,500 yards. As with the 12-pr 12 cwt a cartridge case was used to achieve obturation, but the projectile and case were not fixed. Firing was by means of electric fuse. The guns were mounted on central pivot pedestal mountings with cradle and hydrospring recoil assistance. The mounting was a combined pivot and clip racer, called a pivot plate. Some were mounted on land protected with a 3-inch plate and a bullet proof hood. The Mark III guns had a special carriage for high parapets.


39 Many attempts were also made to fit 4.7- inch guns on field carriages for use by the Army’s Siege Train. The gun was usually referred to as: •

Ordnance Quick Firing 4.7-inch Mark I to III 41 cwt (Mark IV 42 cwt) on central pivot pedestal mounting Mark I, I*, II, III and IV with cradle and hydro-spring recoil.

On l6 January 1900, while Gen. Buller’s forces were engaged at Spion Kop, Gen. Barton requested a naval “4.7”, mounted on a railway truck to shell a Boer position. The Natal Government Railways provided a truck and Capt. Scott had it strengthened with timber before mounting a gun on a beam platform similar to those provided for the Ladysmith guns. The platforms of the Ladysmith guns consisted of timber beams, 3.7 meters in length, in the shape of a cross to give it equal stability all round. On the rail mounted version, the cross members were cut shorter for movement through railway tunnels and was secured to the truck by chains. Lady Randolph Churchill fired the first round from this gun and it was subsequently named after her.

“Lady Randolph Churchill”, the first of four-rail mounted 4.7-inch QF gun used at Pieter’s Hill.

Because of the amount of energy absorbed by the gun’s hydraulic cylinders, very little recoil energy was transmitted to the truck. Consequently, the gun was stable enough to be fired at right angles to the railway line. Extra stability had to be given to the gun if it was used off the railway truck. This was done by supplying a movable beam which could be bolted on the mounting. Gen. Buller preferred the rail mounted gun to the wheeled version as the gun’s recoil system absorbed the firing stresses, and being rigidly mounted, the gun mounting did not move on firing, which allowed a rapid rate of fire. The wheeled gun was also more cumbersome to displace, on occasion as many as 32 oxen being required. By 10 April 1901 21 guns of this design had been landed by the Navy and had fired 11,299 shells. Two more guns were taken from Cape defences, while a further 24 were sent to South Africa between June 1899 and June 1902. Of these numbers only four 4.7-inch guns are said to have been mounted on rail trucks, the majority doing service on wheeled carriages as improvised field guns. With the arrival of the Army Corps, 19 guns were handed over to the Army while some were apparently returned to the Navy to see action in China. In 1900 a heavier 4.7-inch model “B” was introduced to replace the guns extemporised by the Navy during the Boer War. The Army also introduced a new coastal defence gun, the Mark V, during the same time. During the early part of World War I ten guns were removed from minelayers and were adapted for antiaircraft fire to be used during the London defences. Numerous guns of this calibre were also manufactured for export by Elswick and Vickers and these armed the ships of nations like Italy, Spain, Japan and the US; a few Italians guns still being employed on capital ships as late as World War II to fire starshells.


40 6-inch BL and QF

An Elswick 6-inch QF gun on an armoured pedestal mounting.

The 6-inch QF was the largest QF gun in British service. It started off as an Elswick 100pr gun in 1890. After trials it was adopted by the Royal Navy as the Mark I and was the first gun in British service to make use of Armstrong’s wire wound construction. The Mark II, manufactured at the Royal Gun Factory (RGF), followed in 1891 and the Mark III, another EOC gun, soon thereafter. Mark I & II guns saw service on Cape Fleet vessels like the HMS Doris, Terrible, Powerful and Forte.

In 1895 another class of QF gun, the QF Converted (QFC) was introduced. These guns were converted from existing 6-inch Mark III, IV and VI BL guns which had been in service since the 1880s and consisted of the following: • • • • •

6-inch QFC Mark III/IV and III/VI. EOC guns converted from 6-inch BL Mark IV and VI guns. Used to replace 6-inch BL Mark III, IV and VI guns. 6-inch QFC Mark II/IV and II/VI. RGF guns converted from 6-inch BL Mark IV and VI guns. Used to replace 6-inch BL Mark III, IV, and VI guns. 6-inch QFC Mark I/IV and I/VI. EOC guns converted from 6-inch BL Mark IV and VI guns. Used to replace 6-inch BL Mark III, IV, and VI guns. 6-inch QFC Mark III/III. EOC guns converted from 6-inch BL Mark III guns. Used to replace 6-inch BL Mark III, IV and VI guns. 6-inch QFC Mark II/III. RGF guns converted from 6-inch BL Mark III guns. Used to replace 6-inch BL Mark III, IV and VI Guns.

As mentioned before the 6-inch QF was of a wire wound built-up construction, while the older 6-inch BL guns were still of a normal built-up construction consisting of hoops and a jacket shrunk onto an A tube. Closure was affected by means of a single motion parallel screw breech. The gun’s ammunition consisted of common and shrapnel shell weighing approximately 100 lb. Fitted with percussion fuse, shells had a range of 12,000 yards, while the time fuse allowed a maximum range of 6,500 yards. The QF gun used a cartridge case, but the projectile and case were not fixed and were loaded separately. The BL guns employed a separate cartridge bag. In both cases cordite propellant was used. The 6-inch guns were mounted on a central pivot pedestal type mounting, similar to that found on the 4.7-inch gun, but with twin recoil cylinders mounted underneath the barrel. In February 1900 Gen. Buller requested a naval gun with a greater range than the 4.7-inch for his final attack on Pieter’s Hill. Capt. Scott removed a 6-inch QF (Mark I or II) from the HMS Terrible and mounted it on an improvised wheeled field carriage. This gun proved to be too heavy for its field carriage and was subsequently re-mounted on a rail truck. By 10 April 1901 it had fired approximately 200 shells. No further detail is known. Similarly, two 6-inch guns were put on rail mountings by Capt. Paul and Mr. Beattie, Locomotive Superintendent of the Cape Government Railways at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Simonstown. The guns were installed on their pedestal mountings and fixed to strengthened bogie wagons. In this arrangement they could however


41 only be fired fore-and-aft at an angle of no more than 16-20 degrees from the railway line. Improved traverse could be obtained by the use of specially laid curved sidings. In this form the two guns fired at the Boer positions at Magersfontein, while one gun also saw action at Fourteen Streams before Mafeking was relieved. Some sources state that they were also in action in the Transvaal during April and May 1900 and that four guns were at the invasion of Pretoria.

The first two 6-inch guns on rail mountings photographed at Kimberley after the siege was lifted.

Later one 6-inch gun mounting was converted to be fired broadside to the line. The modification consisted of two pivoted girders at each side which could be swung out to act as stabilisers to allow the gun a 360-degree field of fire. The engineers in charge claimed that the gun could be brought into action within five minutes. Attached to No.2 armoured train, it was used on several occasions in the Orange Free State up to the end of the war; either with the armoured train or as a surprise addition to strengthen strategic points likely to come under Boer attack. In the latter case the conspicuous gun was brought up into position under cover of darkness and left there. A total of four 6-inch guns was taken from the Cape Coastal Armaments and these fired 317 rounds during the war. Originally 6-inch BL Mark IV, VI, VII or VIII guns were used for coastal defence, but some of these were replaced with QFC ordnance. The 6-inch BL Mark IV and VI, introduced in 1889, for instance, were replaced with a QFC gun. The heavier Vickers-made 6-inch BL Mark VII and VIII, introduced in 1898, however stayed in service as a BL gun, making it difficult to determine exactly which type of gun was used in South Africa. Some sources described the Cape guns as QF ordnance, while other refer to them as BL. If they were QF guns these probably would have been QFC pieces. On its rail mounting the 6inch gun could be fired at ranges up to 12000 yards, but larger angles of elevation could be achieved by using firing sidings which were inclined upwards towards the front. In the words of a contemporary report: “the burst of a 100-pound shrapnel appeared to leave little to be desired�. The converted 6-inch mounting showing the stabilising girders.


42 9.2-inch BL Mk IV The 9.2-inch BL gun was developed from 1879 and the Mark I first introduced by the Army as a coastal defence gun in 1881. Several Marks following thereafter which were used by both the Army and the Navy. The gun was of a typical built-up construction and was equipped with a single motion interrupted screw breech. Coastal defence guns were mounted on various Barbette sliding (Mark I, IA, IB, II, III and IV), high angle (Mark V) or disappearing (Mark I and II) mountings. Ammunition consisted of common shell weighing approximately 380 lb, equipped with percussion fuses with a rage of around 14000 yards. The propellant charge was supplied in bags and the sealing of gases at the breech was affected by pads fixed to the face of the breech screw. According to a list of British Victorian artillery the British Army used the 23ton 9.2-inch Mark IV gun as a coastal defence gun at Table Bay and the 22-ton Mark VI at Simons Town. During the Boer War one gun of this calibre was taken from a fort at Cape Town (Fort Wynyard?) and mounted on a Type U7 well wagon by the Cape Government Railways at their Salt River workshops. Being the forerunner of future rail guns used in both World Wars, this was the heaviest weapon mounted on a railway wagon up to that date. The gun was mounted fore and aft with only limited traverse. To bring it into action its crew had to lower heavy screw jacks on either side of the truck. The wagon was further equipped with a built-in ammunition hoist to lift the 380-pound shells into the breech. After completion the gun was test fired successfully over False Bay from the beach below Elsie’s Peak running on a spur off the main line between Sunny Cove and Glencairn. Considering that South Africa’s rail gauge was only 3 ft 6-inches, this was a remarkable achievement.

The massive “Sir Redvers” 9.2-inch BL gun mounted on a Type U7 well wagon photographed at Naauwpoort.

Originally the name “Sir Redvers”, after Gen. Sir Redvers Buller, was painted on the gun’s sliding cradle, but this was later changed to “Kandahar”, after Lord Roberts of Kandahar. The gun was intended to be used against the Pretoria fortifications, but when Pretoria was not defended by the Boers the 9.2-inch travelled as far as Belfast in the Eastern Transvaal where it arrived too late for the action at Bergendal/Dalmanhuta on 27/28 August 1900. Lt Col Sir EPC Girouard, Director of Railways for the SA Field Force, wrote: “This gun unfortunately never succeeded in getting an opportunity to fire on the enemy.” The gun was manned by gunners of the Cape Garrison Artillery. Guns of this design remained the standard coast defence armament up to 1951.


43 The Boer 155mm Creusot BL Rail Gun This was probably the most famous gun of the Anglo Boer War. Its official French name was Canon Lang de 155 m/m sur Affut de Siege, but during the war it became known as the “Long Tom”. Commonly referred to as Creusot guns, the four pieces were actually manufactured by Schneider & Co. at Le Creusot in France.

Long Tom as it appeared in its intended role, mounted on a shooting platform inside Fort Schanskop. Note the recoil cylinder and ramps used to reduce recoil and return it to its firing position.

The gun was of 1877 design equipped with a De Bange type interrupted screw breech system with asbestos pads for obturation. Although the guns were ordered with the intention of using them in the fixed defences of Pretoria, the Long Tom was mounted on a siege carriage, which made it ideal for use against a besieged enemy. For its siege role it was mounted on a rigid travelling carriage. Due to its weight the gun had to be mounted on a fixed wooden platform before use, but was later sometimes used without the platform with less efficiency. To reduce recoil a cylinder was mounted to the platform, while the gun was returned to its firing position after each shot by ramps placed behind the wheels. Being an older model, it still used black powder in bagged charges to fire its projectiles. Ammunition consisted of 94 lb common shells with percussion fuse, 90 lb shrapnel with time fuse and case shot. Although the gun’s sight was only marked to 7,500m, its maximum range was around 9,000m. Under certain ideal conditions and firing from elevated positions, it achieved ranges of up to 11,000m. After the outbreak of the Boer War a problem with the time fuses was discovered which were only successfully overcome around May 1900. The use of black powder necessitated thorough cleaning at regular intervals. Shortly before the fall of Pretoria two Long Toms were mounted on train trucks by Mr. Uggla, a Norwegian engineer, at the ZASM workshops in Pretoria. At least one of these was carried on a captured Natal Government Railways truck. The front of the trucks were armoured with 1inch thick steel plates with sand bags stacked in front of it to provide added protection. Although this limited the gun’s traverse to approximately 30 degrees, it

A Long Tom mounted to a captured N.G.R. rail wagon.


44 simplified the transport of the heavy piece and made the use of the cumbersome firing platform unnecessary. The gun truck was complimented with further trucks that housed the crew and carried ammunition and other stores, making it a true gun train. One gun was sent to Volksrust, but did not see action on its rail mounting and was removed from the truck. After being tested the second gun truck saw action at Rhenoster River in the Northern Free State (25 May 1900), at Elansfontein during the Battle of Kliprivierberg (29-30 May 1900) and at Irene outside Pretoria (2-4 June 1900). Its truck was the last to leave Pretoria before the British occupation of the capital. During the Boer retreat along the eastern railway line the gun truck was used extensively during the Battle of Diamond Hill/Donkerhoek (10-12 June 1900), at Wilger River Bridge (14 June 1900), around Middelburg (July 1900) and the Battle of Bergendal/Dalmanutha (21-27 August 1900). After Bergendal the gun was removed to Godwan River and from there to Baberton for repairs at a mine workshop. After the repairs were completed it was towed to Nelspruit and from there to Hector Spruit where it was unloaded before being towed to Komati Poort by road.

The second rail mounted Long Tom, without sand bags. Note the recoil cylinder and ramps.

After the Long Toms ran out of ammunition or became useless during the guerrilla war, the Boer crews destroyed all four guns at: • • • •

Komati Poort near Mozambican border, 22 September 1900 (armoured train gun) Letabadrift near Haenertsburg, 18 October 1900 Rietfontein near Lydenburg, 16 April 1901 Feeskop outside Haenertsburg, 30 April 1901

After their destruction most of the remains of the four guns were collected and shipped to Britain. MC Heunis Onderofficier, Corps der Artillerie


45 Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the following people for his assistance: • Brig. Hennie Heymans of the South African Railway History Group. • Col. Koos Erasmus Sources: • Breytenbach, JH: Die Geskiedenis van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog, Vol. 1, Die Staatsdrukker, Pretoria, 1969 • Changuion, L: Silence of the Guns, The History of the Long Toms of the AngloBoer War, Protea Book House, Pretoria, 2001 • Cloete, PG: The Anglo-Boer War A Chronology, JP van der Walt, Pretoria, 2000 • Cordery, RG: Victorian Artillery Data - Later Breech Loading Artillery, Colonial Wargaming Website, www.colonialwargames.org.uk • Cordery, RG: Victorian Artillery Data - Quick Firing Artillery, Colonial Wargaming Website, www.colonialwargames.org.uk • Commandant General & Government-Secretary: Incoming Letters, Transvaal Archives, 1890 to 1899 • Comparato, FE: Age of Great Guns, The Stackpole Company, Harrisburg, 1965 • Erasmus, K: Staatsartillerie der ZAR Long Tom-kanonne, Private, 2005 • Goldsmith, DL: The Devil’s Paintbrush: Sir Hiram Maxim’s Gun, Toronto, 1989 • Hall, DD: Artillery at Mafeking, Unpublished manuscript, SA National Military Museum Library, Johannesburg • Hall, DD: Guns in South Africa 1899-1902, Part 2 to 5, SA Military History Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1 to 3 • Hall, DD: The Hall Handbook of the Anglo-Boer War, University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 1999 • Moore, D: List of Artillery in Use During the Victorian Period, Palmerston Forts Society Website, www.argonet.co.uk/education/dmoore/index.htm Ploeger, J: The Fortifications of Pretoria, Military Historical and Archival Services Publication No. 1, Government Printers, Pretoria, 1968 • Wilson, HW: With the Flag to Pretoria, 2 Volumes, Harmsworth Brothers Ltd, London, 1900-1902 • Unknown: In Memoriam N.Z.A.S.M., Dutch South African Railway Company, De Bussy, Amsterdam, 1909 • Unknown: The Organisation and Use of Armoured Trains, Bulletin of the Railway History Group, No.81, October 2005 • War Office Documents, Public Records Office - Kew London and Pretoria National Archives • Lombard, PS: Uit die Dagboek van ‘n Wildeboer, Bienedell Uitgewers, Pretoria, 2002 Photo Collections Consulted: • • • •

South African National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg Voortrekker Monument Research Centre, Pretoria War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein Cannon Rest Collection, United States.


46

ORANJE VRIJSTAAT ARTILLERIE CORPS H I S T O R I C A L

S T U D Y

A N D

R E - E N A C T M E N T

G R O U P

O.V.S.A.C. S TUDY N O. 22 O CT-D EC 2007 HOTCHKISS & NORDENFELT GUNS OF THE ANGLO-BOER WAR Introduction After our study piece on rail guns, we decided to compile a dedicated study on the origins and Boer War use of the mostly unknown Hotchkiss & Nordenfelt guns. Background History Hotchkiss and Nordenfelt were two of the best-known European arms manufacturers of the late 19th century. Although both manufactured similar weapons and competed on the same international market, the two firms had very different histories. The American born Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss grew up in a family of designers. His father and brother were both inventors and had a business that manufactured their own patented articles. In 1856 Benjamin designed a rifled field gun that was sold to the Mexican government. With his brother, Andrew, he also invented a projectile for rifled artillery as well as a highly successful percussion fuze. During the American Civil War more Hotchkiss shells were fired from rifled artillery than any other type of US-made munitions. In the wake of the Civil War the US government showed little interest in new arms and therefore Benjamin moved to France in 1867 to set up a munitions factory named Hotchkiss et Cie. at Viviez near Rodez. Here he began producing weapons and explosives for the French Government, some of his products seeing service during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. During this time Hotchkiss invented an improved metallic cartridge case and made several improvements in firearms and artillery. In 1875 he opened a factory at Route de Gonesse in Saint-Denis close to Paris. Hotchkiss became famous for designing a revolving-barrel machine gun and also made a revolving gun that destroyed a boat during Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss, the trials. Known as the Hotchkiss gun this revolving father of the Hotchkiss Company. artillery piece hit the ship with 70 shots out of the 119 fired. By the late 1870s several of his revolving and single shot “rapid firing” (quick firing or QF) guns were approved for naval service in countries like Britain, Russia and the US. By 1882 Hotchkiss had branches throughout Europe and was reputed to be one of the world’s leading arms and artillery engineers. In 1885 when Hotchkiss died, he was working on a machine gun design. After his P.O. BOX 26771, LANGENHOVENPARK, 9330, SOUTH AFRICA KRUPPGUN@YAHOO.CO.UK

WWW.HEILBRONCOMMANDO.COM


47 death the Hotchkiss Company continued his personal ambition to develop an automatic gun and produced the first working model in 1892. This gun was adopted by the French Army in 1897 and by 1914 had developed into one of the best gas actuated, air-cooled machine-gun designs in the world. It was adopted for service in Britain, France, the US and Japan and was used extensively in World War I, remaining in service until World War II. During the 20th century the Hotchkiss Company grew to become one of the largest and most important mechanical engineering companies in France. At the turn of the 19th century the company further diversified into making components for motor cars and later complete vehicles. Their products included cars, trucks multi-wheel drive military vehicles, jeeps and even light tanks. The company exists to this day, but the Hotchkiss name has since disappeared after several amalgamations. Compared to Hotchkiss, Nordenfelt had a much more turbulent history in the arms industry. In 1877 the Swedish industrialist Thorsten Nordenfelt acquired the patent rights to a multi-barrelled, hand-cranked machine gun designed by a fellow countryman, Helge Palmcrantz. Under Nordenfelt’s name this gun was produced and marketed with great success from his Carlsvik plant near Stockholm.

Thorsten Nordenfelt posing with one of his multi-barrelled, hand-cranked machine guns.

In 1886 Nordenfelt relocated to Britain and with a select group of investors formed the Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited (NG&ACL). Exploiting his patents in Britain, the company prospered and settled on a 10-acre site at Erith. Their fortune however was short lived because a recoil operated machine gun, designed by Hiram Maxim of the Maxim Gun Company Limited, had appeared on the scene. Nordenfelt’s overseas agent, Basil Zaharoff, saw the Maxim gun at trials and realised that it rendered their crank operated guns obsolete. Zaharoff set about to merge the two competitors, which was no easy task as Nordenfelt refused to admit that the heyday of manual operated machine guns was over. The merger was announced in 1887, but it still took a year of negotiations before the two companies were officially joined on 17 July 1888 to form the Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company Limited (MNG&ACL).

The merger of the two competitors never dissolved the distrust between the former competitors and early in 1890 Nordenfelt resigned from his position as managing director of MNG&ACL, thus leaving only Maxim, Vickers and Zaharoff in control. After selling his shares back to the company, Nordenfelt pursued another recoiloperated machine gun design, which resulted in MNG&ACL conducting a long Restraint on Trade court case against him. The court ruled in favour of MNG&ACL and the name Nordenfelt subsequently faded from the arms industry. Apart from Maxim machine guns manufactured by MNG&ACL, the following Hotchkiss and Nordenfelt guns were used during the Anglo-Boer War: .303-inch Hotchkiss MG The Hotchkiss machine gun (MG) was based on a design by Captain Baron A. Odkolek von Augeza of Vienna. After Benjamin Hotchkiss passed away his firm purchased the Odkolek patents and developed and improved the design. The first working model was introduced in 1892 and in 1895 trials started. By 1897 the gun was adopted for use by the French Army. Subsequently, in 1898, Hotchkiss was able to offer an export model for international sales.


48

New Zealand Hotchkiss MG battery during the Boer War. Note three of the guns are mounted on shields and the fourth on a tripod. Inset: the distinctive lines of the Hotchkiss MG, a very futuristic look for the 1890s.

In contrast with Maxim’s recoil operated and water-cooled gun, the Hotchkiss MG was gas actuated and air cooled and was the first machine gun to incorporate a gas piston in a cylinder under the barrel. The gun had few parts making it simple and easy to take apart and maintain. The barrel was quick and easy to change; an operation performed with a special wrench after approximately every 1,000 rounds. The gun fired from an open bolt position, a design today used in most machine guns, but a novelty back in the 1890s. The gun was fed by means of metal cartridge strip clips. The motion of the piston-actuated operating rod functioned the bolt mechanism and worked a sprocket feed mechanism which drew the clip through the action from left to right. After its last round had been fired the empty feed strip was ejected automatically, leaving the bolt open in the rearward position. When a new strip was fed into the gun it triggered the release forward of the bolt and firing resumed. Although reliable and easy to feed continuously with a three-man team, the individual strips each held only 24 rounds of ammunition. The Hotchkiss had a rate of fire of approximately 450 rounds per minute (with the French 8x50mm Lebel round) and a maximum effective range of around 3,800 meters. Firing was usually in successive bursts of 10 to 15 rounds and the gun could sustain continuous firing of about 120 aimed shots per minute. Being air cooled, the gun had a heavy thick-walled chamber and five radiator fins or cooling rings which formed a readily recognizable feature. During long continuous firing the temperature of the barrel could rise to around 400°C. At this point the barrel would be dark red in color, but dissipated heat as fast as it was generated. By 1900, two basic tripod mountings were in use with the gun. The tripod fitted under the gun and could be moved with the gun. Although the gun proved reliable in use, the most common complaint against the Hotchkiss was its heavy weight. The metal magazine strip was also considered by some as a design flaw. This problem was only corrected during World War I when a 249-cartridge belt was introduced. The same basic design, with some minor alterations, led to the M1900, the M1908 and later to the well-known M1914.


49 1-inch Nordenfelt MG This gun was an example of the early hand-cranked machine guns manufactured by NG&ACL and later, after the amalgamation, by MNG&ACL. The gun’s principle role was to act as an anti-torpedo boat weapon and for this purpose it was mostly employed aboard naval vessels and for coastal defence. In Britain various models with two, four and five barrels, firing 1-inch and .450inch projectiles were adopted in this role during the 1880s. The “Gun, machine, Nordenfelt, 1-inch” consisted of two barrels arranged horizontally. Nordenfelt’s patented hand-cranked mechanism loaded, fired and ejected the rounds as long as the crank was actuated, causing the breech mechanism to go backwards and forwards. It could fire single rounds or bursts. For its antitorpedo boat role, the gun fired an armour piercing round. This consisted of sharp pointed steel bullet surrounded by a brass envelope. The round was fixed to a brass cartridge case filled with black powder. Ammunition was fed into the gun by means of gravity from a toploading hopper that held 20 rounds. Top: A drawing showing the 1-inch Nordenfelt MG on its cone mounting. Right: Mafeking’s 1-inch Nordenfelt. Its cone was fitted to a wheeled cart to act as an improvised field carriage.

The guns were usually mounted on fixed cone mountings that gave all round fire for use onboard ships and at coastal installations. Some guns had ¼-inch thick shields. Sighting was by means of a dovetailed foresight and a tangent rear sight graduated to 1900 yards. The best-known use of a Nordenfelt MG in the Boer War was during the Siege of Mafeking when the town’s garrison made use of a 2-barrelled 1-inch calibre gun. This gun was mounted on a naval cone and most probably originated from one of the armoured trains used in the town during the siege. A similar gun, or as a Boer source called it “a twin-barrelled maxim”, was captured by the Boers from Mafeking’s second armoured train when it came to grief at Kraaipan on 12 October 1899. It is not known whether the Boers also captured ammunition for it or whether they ever used it. Official British lists on captured guns make no mention of its loss and it is not sure if it was ever re-captured. Mounted on an improvised wheeled carriage and moved close under the cover of darkness, the 1inch Nordenfelt gun used in Mafeking was able to engage the mighty Long Tom in January and March 1900. A second source of Nordenfelt guns was Capt. Percy Scott’s Royal Navy guns. In November 1899 his force had two “Nordenfelts” at Durban, but no further details on their calibre and use are known. Although it was obsolete by the outbreak of the Boer War and Colonel Baden-Powell considered it to be of little use, it did come in handy as a stop gap measure on board armoured trains and as armament during the defence of Mafeking.


50 1-pr Hotchkiss QF The 1-pr Hotchkiss was designed for defence against torpedo boat attacks. Although referred to as a “rapid-firing” gun in contemporary literature, this was a true QF gun. The term “quick fire” is used for guns that are loaded at the breech and that use a brass cartridge case to carry the charge. The brass cartridge case forms a gas tight seal by expanding into the chamber when fired. The 1-pr had a calibre of 37mm and was manufactured from oil-tempered steel. It consisted of a tube, around which a jacket was shrunk that was prolonged at the breech to receive the breech closing mechanism. The breech consisted of a hollow rectangular wedge that moved vertically in a mortise cut through the jacket. Inside the hollow breech block a hammer firing pin was carried that was automatically cocked when the breech was closed; the breech mechanism actuated by a crank handle. The hammer was released by a trigger mechanism, normally a finger trigger mounted in a bronze pistol style grip with a trigger guard. On opening the breech, the used cartridge case was automatically extracted and thrown clear to the rear.

1-pr Hotchkiss on a fixed naval or garrison mounting. Note the shoulder yoke and pistol grip trigger.

The gun fired a projectile of 1 lb; that being the smallest explosive shell allowed under the Rules of War as formalized in the late 19th century. Ammunition loading was by hand, which was made easy by the rigid brass cartridge case. The gun used fixed ammunition; in other words, the cartridge case and projectile were fixed together. This, combined with the rapid action of the breech/trigger mechanism, enabled a quick rate of loading and firing. The propellant originally would have been gunpowder, but this was soon replaced by smokeless powders like cordite. For sighting the gun, it was equipped with a tangent back sight on the right-hand side of the breech and a fore-sight which fitted into a socket ring that was shrunk onto the gun tube near the muzzle. A Hotchkiss catalogue of the period makes mention of “Naval Non-Recoil Mounts”, “Hotchkiss” and “Elswick Recoil Mounts”, “Pivot Carriages” and a mountain carriage for the 1-pr. The naval non-recoil mount was a fixed, rigid pedestal or cone mounting, while the Hotchkiss and Elswick non-recoil mounts were probably elastic mountings or hydraulic pistons mountings that were used to control recoil. On fixed mountings elevation and training were achieved by means of a shoulder-piece attached to the left side of the breech, while wheeled mountain or field carriage mounted guns were fitted with an elevating screw and socket.


51

Mafeking’s 1-pr Hotchkiss QF, shown with a shoulder yoke fitted and mounted on a field carriage with an ox wagon axle and wheels. Interestingly a Maxim machine gun cavalry carriage was used as a limber.

Only one gun of this design is known to have been used during the Boer War, namely in Mafeking during the siege. According to Major Panzera, BadenPowell’s artillery commander, this specific piece was captured from Portuguese colonial forces. In a dispute over Manicaland a Portuguese force from Mozambique, armed with several “quick-firing guns of the most modern description”, clashed with the Rhodesian Pioneer Column of the British South Africa Company on 14 May 1891. In the action that followed the Portuguese were defeated and a fort at Massi-Kessi was captured as well as a Hotchkiss quick-firing gun. Was the Mafeking Hotchkiss the Massi-Kessi Hotchkiss gun? Guns of this design were used by Portuguese colonial forces in Africa and the mounting of the Mafeking gun shows definite resemblance to the carriages of Portuguese colonial guns. In British hands the same gun saw action against the Matabele in 1893 and 1896.

A Portuguese 1-pr Hotchkiss QF gun mounted on a wheeled field/mountain carriage with a shield, photographed in Angola in 1907.

Although this was a QF gun, it did not make up for its poor range and light shells, which had a very small material effect on their target. Still this little gun was considered by Baden-Powell as the Mafeking garrison’s best gun. Some British War Office lists (WO32/8111) refer to a 37mm QF single-loading Hotchkiss gun that was captured from the Boers near Lydenburg on 26 April 1901, but since the Boers possessed no Hotchkiss guns of their own, this probably was a 37mm Krupp QF gun of a similar design.


52 3-pr Hotchkiss QF The 3-pr Hotchkiss was introduced into the British Naval Service (NS) in 1885 to replace the 1-inch Nordenfelt. It was mainly used as auxiliary armament on board Royal Navy vessels for defence against torpedo boat attacks. The British Army in turn adopted it for Land Service (LS) to form part of the armament of forts and coastal defence positions. Although some surviving examples are marked as “3-pr BL” (breech loader) they definitely were QF ordnance. As described under the 1pr, the term quick fire is applied to guns, which are loaded at the breech, but which use a brass cartridge case to carry the charge and to create a gas tight seal. BL on the other hand came to describe guns where the charge was loaded in separate cloth bags and where obturation (gas seal) was achieved by means of a breech mechanism.

The breech mechanism of a Hotchkiss QF gun. Note the pistol grip trigger and actuation crank. The 3-pr was a 47mm, 40 calibre long (40x47mm=1880mm) version of the 1-pr with the same tube and jacket arrangement. It was equipped with the same quick loading vertical sliding wedge breech block and firing hammer design. For Naval Service guns and on naval landing guns (as used by Colonial forces in South Africa) the trigger mechanism consisted of a finger trigger mounted in a brass pistol grip. The 3-pr fired a projectile of 3¼ lb that could penetrate the vitals of a torpedo boat, which were in those days already protected by coalbunkers. Ammunition was fixed and loading was by hand, being made easy by the rigid case. This allowed a trained crew of three men to maintain a rate of around 20 to 30 rounds per minute. The shell cases were either turned or solid drawn. For their naval role the guns were sighted with a ‘speed’ sight on the right-hand side of the breech and a speed fore-sight which fitted into a socket arm on the jacket. The vertical bar of the speed tangent sight was graduated up to 3,400 yards, while the crosshead was marked with a ‘knots an hour’ and a ‘degrees deflection’ scale. On land normal tangent and conical fore-sights were used. Although only sighted to 3,400 yards, the gun had a maximum range of approximately 4,000 yards, but its engagement range against torpedo boats was more in the order of 1,000 yards. Early examples had no recoil control and were mounted on pedestal mountings and later on elastic mountings. Improvements in hydraulics then led to pistons being used to control recoil. On these models the barrel had a piston on either side of the barrel and moved in a cylindrical sleeve, thus doing away with the need for trunnions. A number of guns retained their trunnions and were fitted to


53 travelling carriages for use by naval landing parties and landward defences by coastal garrisons. The different types of guns and carriages in use with the Royal Navy were officially denoted as: • • •

Ordnance QF 3-pr Hotchkiss gun - 5 cwt, Mark I (NS) on carriage, garrison, QF recoil, 3-pr Mark I Mark I* (NS) on naval mounting Mark II (LS) on travelling carriage.

On Naval Service guns elevation and training were achieved by means of a shoulder-piece attached to the left side of the breech or the cradle of the carriage, while Land Service guns were fitted with an elevating screw and socket.

Muzzle end (left) and breech end (right) of a 3-pr Hotchkiss QF mounted on a recoil control cone mounting, preserved in the collection of Fort Nelson in Hampshire. Note the pistons and cradle.

Although torpedo boat development had made the 3-pr Hotchkiss QF semi-obsolete by the time of the Boer War, a number of Royal Navy ships serving in South African waters were still equipped with these guns. After it was realised that Boer artillery outranged most of the British army’s field guns, the Royal Navy was requested to supply detachments to assist on land. On 8 November 1899 Royal Navy personnel marched out of Durban with 30 guns, but only two were 3-prs, one of these being a naval gun and one probably a garrison gun. By 10 April 1900 only a single 3-pr was mentioned as being in use on land, by which time it had fired 1,120 rounds. Later, as the Naval Brigades were withdrawn and their places filled by men of the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA), two 3-pr Hotchkiss QF guns were taken over by the Army. A second source of 3-pr QF guns in South Africa was the Natal and the Cape colonies. In June 1899 there were already seven Colonial 3-pr Hotchkiss QF guns in the country, some of these mounted on wheeled carriages as used by the Natal Naval Volunteer Hotchkiss Detachment (“Walker’s Maritzburg Battery”). A further seven “3-pr QF” guns were taken from the Cape’s fixed defences, but it is not known whether these were Hotchkiss or Nordenfelt-made guns; or what kind of carriages they were mounted on. Seeing that they originated from the Cape’s fixed defences, they probably were Land Service Nordenfelt guns mounted on cone or parapet mountings. Guns fitted to fixed mountings, taken from ships and fixed coastal defences, were usually mounted to armoured train trucks or installed at permanent defensive positions. Wheeled naval landing and moveable defence guns on the other hand were used as makeshift field guns.


54

A 3-pr Hotchkiss QF gun on a hydraulic recoil mounting fitted to an armoured train truck. Note the recoil cylinders, shield and the shoulder yoke attached to the recoil cradle.

The best known of the 3-pr Hotchkiss guns that saw action during the war was the wheeled guns used by the Natal Naval Volunteer Hotchkiss Detachment, also referred to as "Walker's Maritzburg Battery". These guns were mounted on naval landing field carriages without any recoil buffer systems. Shortly after the outbreak of war two guns and their crews found themselves locked up in the besieged Ladysmith. Because of their relative short range, the small 3-prs were unable to return the fire of the much larger Boer guns surrounding Ladysmith, but after the Boer attack on Caesar’s Camp/Wagon Hill/Platrand (6 November 1899), Sir George White, commanding officer of Ladysmith, noted that during the battle the volunteer Hotchkiss detachment played a useful role.

Natal Naval Volunteers and one of their 3-pr Hotchkiss QF guns on its naval landing field carriage photographed in Ladysmith during the siege, probably on Platrand at Caesar’s Camp or Wagon Hill.


55 The Boers did not possess any Hotchkiss guns at the outbreak of the war, but did consider importing some. In 1891 the Commandant-General of Transvaal, Piet Joubert, visited the Hotchkiss works at St. Denis in France and in October 1893, following a request by the French Consul at Pretoria, Hotchkiss & Co. sent the Transvaal Government a pricelist of their “rapid firing guns”. On this list the three types of carriages for use with the 3-pr or “47 mm high power” gun was described as: • • •

Pivot carriage with elastic stand and shield. Recoil carriage with automatic return action, with shield and accessories. Naval landing carriage with limber and accessories.

Public Records Office (PRO) document WO32/8111 states that the Boers captured one 3-pr QF Hotchkiss in Natal. According to the Cape Times of 17 October 1900, Captain Walker of the Natal Volunteers handed this specific gun over to the Middlesex Regiment on 30 September 1900 after his detachment completed their term of service. The very next day (1 October) the Middlesex Regiment was ambushed by a Boer force between Dundee and Vryheid, while escorting a convoy over De Jagers Drift on the Blood River. The men of the Middlesex Regiment were totally unacquainted with the working of the gun, and after firing only one shot the breech mechanism got the better of the new crew and the gun fell silent. This enabled the Boers to surround the escorting force and subsequently the entire convoy fell into their hands. It is not known whether the Boers were able to use the gun after its capture. Conflicting reports exist on the exact date and location of the British recovery of the captured gun. One contemporary publication states that on 6 March 1901 General French reported the re-capture of the Hotchkiss, "taken from the Natal Volunteers many weeks before", near Piet Retief in the South Eastern Transvaal. This report also featured in the Cape Times of 7 March 1900. Official records (WO 32/8111) state that it was recovered by Col. Dartnell at Mariental. WO32/7028 supports this and mentions that the Mariental gun was "handed over to Natal Government" after it’s re-capture. If compared to larger QF guns used during the Boer War, the 3-pr Hotchkiss was not very effective. The fact that it was a QF gun using smokeless powder did not make up for its poor range and light shells, which had a very little effect on their target. Although not of much value, Hotchkiss guns helped to arm armoured trains and defend Ladysmith during the most vital part of the siege, i.e. the attack on Caesar’s Camp/Wagon Hill. The 3-pr QF still saw action until well after World War I after which the remaining guns went into armament stores or were used as saluting guns or field guns for landing parties. When World War II broke out a good number were installed as main armament on small ships for coastal forces like torpedo and gun boats as well as harbour defence motor launches. Today a number of guns of this design are still being used for ceremonial and training purposes. One surviving example at a naval cadet station in Johannesburg is mounted on a field carriage manufactured by Sir W.G. Armstrong. These light wheeled carriage guns are sometimes used in "gun-run" A surviving 3-pr Hotchkiss QF gun on a wheeled naval landing tournaments. carriage. Note the hand elevation wheel behind the breech.


56 3-pr Nordenfelt QF Although Nordenfelt was better known for his multi-barrelled machine guns, NG&ACL also manufactured light QF anti-torpedo boat guns. After NG&ACL’s amalgamation the guns were supplied by MNG&ACL (1888-1896) and later by VSM (1897 onwards). Since Hotchkiss and Nordenfelt QF guns had performed equally well during trials, both were accepted into Naval and Land Service. Some sources suggest that the Navy preferred the Hotchkiss, while the Army preferred the Nordenfelt.

A 3-pr Nordenfelt QF on a wheeled parapet carriage as used by the Cape Garrison Artillery.

In Britain the 3-pr Nordenfelt QF gun was introduced for Land Service in 1889 as a coastal defence gun and as moveable armament for forts. According to one source a number of guns also saw service aboard naval vessels. Officially the gun and it mounting was denoted as: •

Ordnance QF 3-pr Nordenfelt - 4 cwt 1889 - Mark I (LS) on carriage, garrison, QF recoil, 3-pr Mark I

In construction the 3-pr Nordenfelt was similar to the 3-pr Hotchkiss and had the same calibre of 47mm. Externally the Nordenfelt differed in having a longer bore, 45 calibres long (45x47mm=2115mm), while its sighting brackets and slots were carried on the left-hand side of the gun. The breech mechanism, although similar in operation to that of the Hotchkiss, differed somewhat in construction and function. To fire the gun a lanyard was used which connected to a trigger in a trigger bracket. Elevation was by means of an elevating mechanism which was attached to the trigger bracket, no shoulder yokes being used. Ammunition was the same fixed rounds as used by the 3-pr Hotchkiss. The sighting arrangement of the gun consisted of a steel tangent sight fitted with a removable range strip graduated in yards and a crosshead furnished with a screw deflection leaf with two degrees of deflection to either side. To further compensate for deflection, the socket for the tangent site on the breech of the gun was set at an angle of two degrees. The fore-sight consisted of a steel acorn point and a steel pillar which fitted into a socket on the left-hand side of the gun. As mentioned before, seven “3-pr QF” guns were removed from the Cape’s fixed defences, but it is not known how many of these were Nordenfelt guns or what carriages they were mounted on. Photographic evidence however indicates that the 3-pr Nordenfelt QF guns used during the Boer War were fitted to a cone mount (aboard armoured trains) and also on the “carriage, QF, 3-pr travelling (Mark I)” parapet carriage, which was designed for road travel only and not field use.


57 6-pr Hotchkiss QF The 6-pr Hotchkiss QF gun came into service shortly before the 3-pr Hotchkiss. Like its smaller compatriot the 6-pr was used by both the British Navy and Army.

A 6-pr Hotchkiss QF on a recoil-controlled cone mount. Note the piston and spring arrangement.

The 6-pr gun was simply an up-scaled version of the 3-pr Hotchkiss and had the same quick action vertical dropping breech mechanism. It fired a 6 lb projectile with the charge contained in a fixed brass cartridge case. Like the 3-pr, the gun was made entirely of steel and consisted of a tube, around which a prolonged jacket was shrunk. The jacket was secured to the tube by a locking ring screwed to the front of the jacket, while the prolonged rear section of the tube carried the breech mechanism. The calibre of the bore was 57mm, with a length of 40 calibres. The breech wedge and 4000-yard bronze sights were of the same design as that of the lighter 3pr, some parts being interchangeable between the two calibres. A Mark I* with a different re-cocking lever existed, but in 1890 all guns were altered to this standard and subsequently all guns were re-designated as Mark I. The Mark II was an Army gun which could also be converted to fit naval mountings. Officially they were denoted as: • •

Ordnance QF Hotchkiss 6-pr gun - 8 cwt 1885 - Mark I (NS) on carriage, garrison, 6-pr Hotchkiss, non-recoil Mark I Mark II (LS) on carriage, garrison QF recoil, cone Mark I & II or Recoil, saddle Mark I & II

The Royal Navy supplied one gun of this design during the Boer War. By 10 April 1901 it had fired 1,100 shells. No further detail is known, but it was probably fitted to an armoured train. Later in the War it was taken over by the Army when naval personnel were withdrawn from the field and replaced with men from the Royal Garrison Artillery. During World War I 6-pr Hotchkiss guns were still in use on light cruisers. After 1919 many were used as saluting guns until the outbreak of World War II when they were again hurriedly installed on small ships and at coastal defence positions.


58 75mm (12½-pr) Maxim-Nordenfelt QF This gun was never officially adopted by the Royal Artillery, but it nonetheless saw service on both sides during the Boer War and was regarded as one of the best field guns of the war.

Jameson’s second 75mm Maxim-Nordenfelt QF gun No.4115. Note the fixed ammunition being loaded.

The 12½-pr Maxim-Nordenfelt QF gun consisted of a 75mm calibre steel barrel with an interrupted screw type breech. It was a pioneer of recoil controlled quick firing field guns as it was equipped with a rudimentary recoil system with two hydraulic buffers. It was also equipped with a traversing system, something very few field guns of the period had. The gun was mounted on a light but sturdy steel field carriage with two axletree mounted seats. The carriage track width was slightly larger than its wheel diameter which, combined with the low mounting of the gun on the carriage, made the assembly extremely stable. The gun’s ammunition consisted of common, shrapnel and case shells with copper driving bands. The projectiles were fitted to the brass cartridges, i.e. single-piece or fixed ammunition, while the cartridges were loaded with smokeless powder. The ammunition and fuses were either imported from Germany by Maxim-Nordenfelt or made under licence to a German design. On Boer side the Transvaal Staatsartillerie had three guns of this design. Their first gun, serial No.4116, was captured from the Jameson Raiders in 1896. This was one of two specifically ordered by the British South African Company for the Raid. The second gun, No.4115, was left behind at Bulawayo. In 1897 the Transvaal imported a further two guns of this design from MNG&ACL, No.4381 and No.4408. These were Mark M guns mounted on wheeled field carriages (gun No.4381 on carriage No.2277 and gun No.4408 on carriage No.2585). By May 1899 all three formed part of the armoury of the Johannesburg fort. During the Anglo-Boer War the two imported guns (Nos.4381 & 4408) were captured by British forces at Elandslaagte on 21 October 1899. After their capture they saw action against the Boers in defence of Ladysmith. The third Boer gun, Jameson’s captured gun No.4116, was dispatched to the Rhodesia-Transvaal border at the start of the war until November 1899, when it was ordered to the Mafeking area. After the siege of Mafeking was lifted No.4116 saw actions at the Battle of Kliprivier Berg and even later at the Battle of Donkerhoek and at Bergendal (Dalmanuta). On British side Jameson’s second gun, No. 4115, that stayed behind in Bulawayo during the Raid, saw service with Lt-Col. Plumer’s Rhodesian column. In a strange twist of fate, the two Jameson guns met on opposing sides in the Metse Mashoane Valley in February 1900. A further four guns of this design (No. 4383, 4405, 4406 and 4407) were dispatched to Boxall at the Cape in February 1900 for use by the volunteer battery of the City of London Imperial Volunteers. They were obtained specifically for service in South Africa and later appropriated for movable armament. Up to 31 August 1900 the British guns fired 1,495 rounds.


59 After the war the two Boer guns that were captured at Elandslaagte were shipped to England. Maxim-Nordenfelt’s order book contains a 1902 note next to Nos.4381 and 4408: “Guns now in posession of British Govt”. British War Office documentation state that one of these was issued to the Officer Commanding of the 11th Regiment, District Exeter (Devon Regiment) on 15 July 1904. What became of Jameson’s gun, No.4116, is not clear and whether it was recovered by British troops during the Boer War is still uncertain. War Office documentation suggests that this specific gun may have been blown up at Haenertsburg as amongst the remnants of carriages found there, one “may” have belonged to this gun. Boer sources however make no mention of this type of gun being destroyed at Haenertsburg and it might still be hidden somewhere in the Eastern-Transvaal. After the Anglo-Boer War Plumer’s gun, No.4115, returned to Northern-Rhodesia where it later took part in the German East African campaign of the First World War. In 1918 this gun was captured by the famous German commander General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck when he invaded Northern-Rhodesia. After its capture the Germans damaged the breech and tipped the gun over an escarpment in front of the military police camp at Kasama. After the Great War No.4115 was retrieved and mounted in front of the officer’s mess at the same camp. Several years later they were found by a former crew member in the abandoned camp. After he restored the guns, they were mounted outside the Kasama Government offices. The gun’s current whereabouts is unknown. Fortunately, both the Elandslaagte guns survived and can still be viewed today. No.4381 is held by the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, currently at Catterick in Northern Yorkshire, while No.4408 rests at the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich. Both guns are beautifully preserved and are still mounted on their original carriages. Unfortunately, plaques incorrectly identify both guns as Jameson’s re-captured field piece.

No.4408 at Woolwich. Note the interrupted screw breech block, recoil cylinder(s) and the elevation and traversing hand wheels. The front and rear sighting brackets are off-set to the right of the breech.

Two of the CIV guns, No.4383 and 4405, also survived and can today be seen in front of the Honourable Artillery Company’s HQ at Armoury House, London.


60 75mm Maxim-Nordenfelt QF Mountain Gun This was a lighter mountain gun version of the 75mm MNG&ACL QF field gun.

The 75mm Maxim-Nordenfelt QF mountain gun showing its short barrel and light carriage.

It had a similar interrupted screw single motion breech mechanism and recoil cylinders, but the barrel was shorter and it was mounted on a light mountain carriage. The gun could be broken up in four loads and together with the ammunition, ring, common and case shells, was carried on the backs of mules. The Transvaal firm TW Beckett & Company imported one gun of this design (serial No.4541, mounted on carriage No.3625) during 1898 for trials, hoping to interest the Transvaal Government. Initially the Transvaal Government was not interested, but in 1899 the gun was bought from Beckett. Since only a few rounds of ammunition were imported for testing purposes it is doubted whether the gun saw action during the Boer War. British forces found it “blown to pieces” at Hectorspruit on 24 September 1900 and it was “not brought in”. The same pattern gun was also to be supplied to the Cape, but no further detail is known. In the early 1900s the 75mm mountain gun was further developed by VSM. Thirty of the VSM guns were bought by the British Government in 1901 and designated “Ordnance Quick Firing 2.95inch Mark I”. They were intended for use with native batteries in the colonies and saw service in World War I with Nigerian and Sierra Leone troops during the campaign to capture German Cameroon, where they were transported by native bearers. A further ninety guns of this design were used as pack howitzer in the Philippines by the United States Army. Left: A 1901 made Vickers gun at Fort Nelson, Hampshire, resembles its MNG&ACL predecessor.

76mm Hotchkiss QF


61

This is one of the unknown British field guns of the Boer War. Also described as a 13-pr it was presented to the 2nd Brabant’s Horse.

The 76mm Hotchkiss QF and its crew of Brabant’s Horse photographed during the Anglo-Boer War.

The October 1893 list of Hotchkiss guns in the Pretoria Archives describes this gun as a 76mm “high power rapid firing gun”. In construction it was similar to other Hotchkiss QF ordnance with a built-up steel barrel and a vertical sliding breech block. The gun was mounted on a steel field carriage with wooden wheels. Ammunition consisted of common, shrapnel and case shot. This specific gun was used in defence of Wepener and at Jammersberg Drift and the Free State Artillery gunners opposing it described it as “a very dangerous weapon”. Until recently this interesting piece could be viewed outside the East London City Hall. Unfortunately, an underhanded move by a city official saw to it that this priceless piece, as well as an older experimental 12pr Armstrong RML, was dumped at a scrap yard! Artillery enthusiasts rose to the occasion and ensured that the remains of the pair was salvaged and placed in the care of a local army regiment. The official was apparently also fired. The pair will hopefully one day be restored to their former glory. This is an extremely rare example of Hotchkiss’ early QF field artillery and should be preserved at all cost. The work of a city official. Note the breech block on the Hotchkiss as well as the axle mounted seats.

MC Heunis Onderofficier, Corps der Artillerie


62 Sources: • Breytenbach, JH: Die Geskiedenis van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog – Deel.1, Die Staatsdrukker, Pretoria, 1969 • Carter, A: The Hotchkiss Jeep Story, Andy’s Military Jeep Pages web-site, http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Jeep_Man/hotchkis.htm • Cloete, PG: The Anglo-Boer War A Chronology, JP van der Walt, Pretoria, 2000 • Commandant General & Government-Secretary: Incoming Letters, Transvaal Archives, 1882 to 1899 • Comparato, FE: Age of Great Guns, The Stackpole Company, Harrisburg, 1965 • Cordery, RG: Victorian Artillery Data - Quick Firing Artillery, Colonial Wargaming Website, www.colonialwargames.org.uk • Duffy, M: Hotchkiss Guns, First World War.Com Website, http://www.firstworldwar.com/atoz/mgun_hotchkiss.htm • Goldsmith, DL: The Devil’s Paintbrush: Sir Hiram Maxim’s Gun, Toronto, 1989 • Hall, DD: Artillery at Mafeking, Unpublished manuscript, SA National Military Museum Library, Johannesburg • Hall, DD: The Hall Handbook of the Anglo-Boer War, University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg, 1999 • Hensman, H: A History of Rhodesia, William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh & London, MDCCCC • List of Changes, HM Stationery Office, Various, South African National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg • Lombard, PS: Uit die Dagboek van ‘n Wildeboer, Bienedell Uitgewers, Pretoria, 2002 • Lucking, AJ: What Happened to Jameson’s Guns? RA Journal, Autumn, 1998 • MER: Oorlogsdagboek van ‘n Transvaalse Burger te Velde, Nasionale Boekhandel, Cape Town, 1947 • MNG&ACL/VSM: Order Book, MOD SATIC, Leeds • Moore, D: List of Artillery in Use During the Victorian Period, Palmerston Forts Society Website, www.argonet.co.uk/education/dmoore/index • Muller, WH: Herrinneringe van Die Anglo-Boere Oorlog van 1899-1902, Unpublished manuscript, War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein • Power, T: The French Connection, Texas Gun Collectors Association Website, http://tgca.net/french_connection_ii.htm • Tylden, G: Further Notes on Early Rhodesian Military Units and Early Rhodesia's Weapons, SA Military History Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2 • Unknown: Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss Biography (1826-1885), Made How Website, www.madehow.com/inventorbios/86/Benjamin-Berkeley-Hotchkiss • Unknown, Hotchkiss et Cie, Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia web-site, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotchkiss • Unknown, Hotchkiss M1914 Machine Gun, Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia web-site, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotchkiss_M1914_machine_gun • War Office Documents, Public Records Office, Kew London and Pretoria National Archives • Wilson, HW: With the Flag to Pretoria, 2 Volumes, Harmsworth Brothers Ltd, London, 1900-1902 Photo Collections Consulted: • • • • • •

Cannon Rest Collection, United States Elliot Collection, Cape Archives, Cape Town Mafikeng Museum South African National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg Voortrekker Monument Research Centre, Pretoria War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein.


63 INDEMNITY & © | VRYWARING & ©

End | Slot Dear reader Please note that in this quasi-historical magazine we make use of various sources and consequently it is obvious that the document contains various diverse and personal opinions of different people and the author of the Nongqai cannot be held responsible or be liable in his personal capacity. Geagte leser Vir hierdie kwasiehistoriese tydskrif maak ons van verskeie bronne gebruik en bevat die dokument uiteraard uiteenlopende en diverse persoonlike menings van verskillende persone en die opsteller van die Nongqai kan nie in sy persoonlike hoedanigheid daarvoor verantwoordelik of aanspreeklik gehou word nie.

Brig. Hennie Heymans: No 43630K (B) © HB Heymans 2019.

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Nongqai Vol 10 No 4A (3)  

A Monthly electronic magazine with focus on the history of Police, Defence, Intelligence & National Security in South Africa. (This is part...

Nongqai Vol 10 No 4A (3)  

A Monthly electronic magazine with focus on the history of Police, Defence, Intelligence & National Security in South Africa. (This is part...

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