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Post Info TOPIC: One mystery solved?


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One mystery solved?
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A few months ago I posted some photos from ebay showing a large mystery artillery piece.  It seemed to be a Schneider design (per Roger's careful analysis), and one person suggested it was a French 240mm howitzer.  Later, I found another ebay photo of what looks like the same gun; this photo was apparently taken in the US after WWII.


Well, while perusing Ian V. Hogg's "Allied Artillery of World War One" I discovered that he shows a photo of what seems to be the same gun.  He indicates that it is the US 9.5 inch howitzer M1918.  He says that this gun was designed by Schneider (per a contract with the US govt)and that one was built by Schneider in France before the war ended.  Eventually a prototype was built in the US (under license), but only after the war ended.  Hogg states that this first US version blew up the first time it was fired, but that eventually production was perfected.  He doesn't say how many were built, but does imply they were in service with the US Army. See attached photos.


Score one more for the Landships Forum.



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mysteryM218.jpg (64.1 kb)
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Legend

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Nice one, Jon! I've got that book, I was going to post about it a while ago but forgot... D'oh!


They certainly do appear to have been with the US Army; I posted an image of a US postcard showing one of them (bottom of page):


http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=63528&subForumID=169814&action=viewTopic&commentID=4421348



-- Edited by Roger Todd at 17:51, 2006-03-12

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Roger, thanks for bringing your earlier post to my attention; sorry I missed it.  Does the gun in the picture you mentioned have a stubbier barrel?  Anyway, I quess the new question is what is the official designation for this gun, 240mm or 9.5 inch?  I wouldn't be surprised if Hogg got it wrong.  And Matt, sorry about doubting your info. 

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Legend

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The barrel certainly does look stubbier, but I think it's either perspective, or poor drawing skills!


As for designation, you (and anyone else with Hogg's book) will notice that it seems to have been referred to as the 240mm Howitzer. Now on the face of it this seems odd, seeing as Americans use Imperial measurements (oh the irony), but it does seem to have been the case. There was a later 240mm howitzer, much better known, which had both static and SP mounts, and which always also seems to have been referred to as a 240mm howitzer (and not just by Hogg, but wherever I've seen references to it). Maybe because the Imperial measurement was awkward to use, I don't know. The 8in howitzer, for example, was always the 8in, not the 203mm. And as far as I know, the later 280mm (Atomic Annie) was never the 11in but always the 280mm. Who knows why? I'm sure someone here does!


D'oh, another mystery!



-- Edited by Roger Todd at 18:15, 2006-03-12

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Legend

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Ah ha I've written about this gun


Britainís answer, deployed in 1915, was a 15 inch (375mm) howitzer; these also had a name each one being known as a Granny. Initially crewed in France by the Royal Marines (they had been in part a scheme of Winston Churchillís whilst First lord of the Admiralty) they were not viewed with favour by the Army who regarded them as wasteful of resources when more mobile railway guns could fire a bigger shell further with about the same sized gun crew. The United States Army joined the war in 1917 and decided that they too should have a big howitzer and so ordered a 240mm gun from a French company. Unfortunately it had a tendency to blow itself to pieces when fired. Much remedial work was required to the design and it wasnít deemed safe for use until 1924, five years after hostilities had ended.


This appears to have been another case of the French armaments industry off loading  on their allies stuff the French forces rejected . The US seem to have been vunerable to this ( Chauchat, Nieuport XVIII, etc.). As I understand it having finally got the gun to work the US Army declared it obsolete about a year later.



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Legend

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Yes, it was useless to them. However, they then went and developed their own 240mm howitzer, which appears to have been very successful. But why the different usage of imperial and metric measurements? Another example: I don't think I've ever seen the 155mm gun referred to as anything other than the 155mm gun - certainly not as the 6.1-inch, or whatever's closest. How come?

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Corporal

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Roger, thanks again for reminding me to check responses to old posts.  I found a copy of "Standard Guide to US WWII Tanks and Artillery" as quoted by Matt, in my collection (D'oh!).  Here is the page associated with the 240mm How.  Note the sexy travelling carriages of the modernized version, and the barrel length.



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Untitled-144sm.jpg (118.2 kb)
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Legend

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No worries, I'm always forgetting what I have - that page you scanned is excellent, BTW. I've got a magazine somewhere with photos of the 280mm mortier (similar carriage) on the old-style transporter wheels, all big spokes etc. And yeah, it's a long barrel, and seen from much the same angle as that colour postcard (so it's definitely a dodgy drawing!).


Here's a link to a superb Czech kit of the subsequent homegrown US 240mm howitzer, it gives a very good idea of how it looks: http://www.hauler.cz/item_list.php?lang=cz&pageNum_item_info_Recordset=5&category_id=5&item_id=HLP72006



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