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Post Info TOPIC: Mounting for De Stefano carriage


Legend

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Mounting for De Stefano carriage
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I'm considering an article for Landships II on the Naval guns used by the Italian Army in WW1.

These were often mounted on the somewhat bizarre looking De Stefano carriage. However, there

was also a mounting/platform that the De Stefano carriage sat on during firing. This was a pair of rails with a wooden construction which 

permitted traverse (not sure how).

Does anyone have drawing(s) of this bedding or even reasonable images? 

I have a recollection I've seen a cross-sectional image somewhere but can't find it again.

It doesn't make sense imho to just talk about the transport carriage and ignore the firing platform.

Regards,

Charlie

While I think of it - does anyone know how the De Stefano carriage was braked when it rolled back into battery after

firing? There had to be a fairly substantial braking system with multi-tons of carriage rolling down the inclined rails.

 



-- Edited by CharlieC on Tuesday 16th of March 2021 10:57:56 PM



-- Edited by CharlieC on Tuesday 16th of March 2021 11:35:04 PM

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Legend

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Thought this image might make the point that the De Stefano carriages and their guns

required enormous effort to put together and move. In the image, which I found in the NARA

archive, the barrel of a 305/17 howitzer has been lifted by a couple of cranes. There seem to be

two teams of men - one twisting the barrel around to line up with the carriage and a second to pull

the De Stefano carriage underneath the barrel. Bet these guys earned their pasta that day.

Charlie

 



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Field Marshal

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Charlie,

The 1/72 model of the 305/17 DS shows the placement of the carriage on rails complete with recoil cylinders and a central fixing.

Attached are pics of the model and a sketch showing the X-section.

It's quite possible that the gun wasn't fired when fitted with road wheels - these were only used to move the weapon from one fixed position to another.

Tony



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Legend

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Thanks for that.

My question about braking the carriage when it rolled back down the rails is answered - from the model there were two hydraulic (I presume) buffers on the

inside of the rails that stopped the carriage when it rolled back.

I think there may have been steel strips embedded in the wooden beams the rails sat on - I can't see the rails with 20-odd tons of carriage sliding easily

on a wooden beam.

Yes - the cingoli were removed when the carriage was pulled onto the rails (attached) - the attached image is a 305/17 but I've seen similar images of

the 254/40 gun as well.

There must have been a substantial anchor underneath the wooden platform but that's still a mystery. 

The more I study the De Stefano carriage the more impressive it is. The Italians produced a universal carriage and firing system for a number of different heavy guns

without the dramas of digging big holes in rock for bedding boxes (looking at you Skoda/Krupp) or recoil pits for the gun barrel (Schneider) or needing multi-tonnage of

soil to fill boxes to stop the gun flipping over backwards (Vickers) or needing half a forest to construct a massive wooden structure to embed the gun (Saint-Chamond)  

Regards,

Charlie

 



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Field Marshal

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Charlie,

I've been in touch with Louis Vargas who has produced the road version in 1/35th scale - I am awaiting its arrival.

He has replied as follows:

To make the firing position the following is needed:

1)  side platform (steps);

2)  elevation platform;

3)  asymmetrical pulley;

4)  rails and sleepers;

5)   recoil assist bar;

6)   front platform/sleeper;

7)   recoil cylinders;

8)  front rail tension/spacer lever;

9)   four wheels.

He says that he has some of those parts already drawn, but he is so swamped that he may take a few weeks to get to it with a preliminary price of $40 which I will buy.

If you want to make a model, then the parts photographed of the 1/72nd model should suffice, together scaling off the sketch where the underground bit is shown.

The following pic from the 1/72nd Italian kit might also help.

622842Saumur2013271.jpg

Tony

 

 



-- Edited by Tonys on Saturday 27th of March 2021 10:33:53 AM

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Corporal

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Hi Charlie,
Yeah, this is a most fascinating monster. I have attached Tony's last image in a higher resolution. It is a drawing (not sure who made it or how accurate it really is...?) showing the pivot placed underneath the front platform and a lot of other details. So, the De Stefano carriage must also have had a rather large underground anchor! 

This scratch-building article is very interesting: https://www.onthewaymodels.com/articles/BPowers_Italian_Obice_305mm_DS_scratchbuild.htm



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Legend

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Thanks Steen

I've been trying to piece together enough information for an article for Landships II on the De Stefano system.

I don't think it's been recognised that the De Stefano system was a very cheap way to mobilise Naval guns and

heavy howitzers. Compared to the enormous cost of the Skoda siege howitzers the Austro-Hungarians used

and the logistical problems moving and emplacing the Skoda howitzers the De Stefano system looks very elegant.

Perhaps there are documents in Italian which describe the De Stefano system but I've never seen anything referenced.

Even contemporary artillery journals like the US Field Artillery Journal makes hardly any mention of the De Stefano system. 

The quality of contributions of most articles in English may be judged by the observation that most authors can't seem to figure

out which way round the gun trailers were towed in spite of the towing hitches being obvious in some images (they were towed with

the steerable wheels at the front).

Charlie



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Field Marshal

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Charlie,
The DS carriage for the 254/40 gun looks a lot different in that it would appear that the carriage is very close to the ground.
Do you think that this carriage was able to be grounded before firing?
Tony

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Legend

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I don't think so - the Naval guns 203/254/305 seem to have been treated like Schneider did with the French Naval barrels - they added a

ring with trunnions since only coastal defence guns have trunnions, on board guns use cradles. So without recoil absorption firing a 10inch gun

from a grounded chassis could be pretty disastrous. It seems as if there are variations between the De Stefano carriages for different guns, the carriage for

the 305/17 howitzer is quite different from the 254/40, but it seems they all have the same track so the mounting with inclined rails would fit all of the De Stefano guns.

My guess, without evidence so far, is that the recoil rails' inclination was varied depending on the type of gun. It would be nice to see a manual for the De Stefano system

but no such thing appears to be on line.

Charlie



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Field Marshal

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Charlie, perhaps if you talk to Giorgio Briga of GBModelli, he might be able to point you to reference material?

Tony



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Field Marshal

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There is also the army artillery museum in Torino.



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Field Marshal

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RE: De Stefano carriage
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While looking for more info on the 210/8 D.S. I'm building, I came across a reference that some of these mortars had been captured, although nothing seems to have come of them.  However, this pic seems to show a D.S. carriage with a 202 mm German gun on it.

 



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Field Marshal

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RE: Mounting for De Stefano carriage
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Steen,

Thanks for the better drg.  I have checked out the drg against the scale bar drawn in the bottom LHS and against the (known) length of the barrel.

This means that a model - including the rails - would be 362 mm long and 135mm high in 1/35th scale.  Impressive size!

My travelling version kit hasn't arrived yet from Louis Vargas in the USA for comparison purposes, but when he gets the "in battery" amendment kit produced, this should be a very good-looking model.

Tony



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Charlie,

Here is another photo of a D.S. carriage.  This one is on Facebook and has been described as a 203/45 D.S.

Looking at the size of the brute, I think it is a 254/40, also the breech block would appear to have been changed from the naval gun..  The low centre of gravity is in direct contrast to the 305/17 D.S.

Can you confirm which gun it is?

Tony



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Field Marshal

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Charlie,

Looking for reference material has been challenging.

It would seem that the main reference book is - "L'artiglieria italiana nella grande guerra" - do you have this?

If not, the one copy in the world is available via Abebooks.com from a seller in Oz. $79-45 USD, plus postage if you're interested.

Tony

 

 



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Legend

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Don't have the book - did a quick search a while ago and figured it was long out of print and unlikely to be available.

The book seller is in my backyard (almost) it's in Ashmore, a suburb of the Gold Coast, I'll give them a call later when they

are open.

Thanks for that

Charlie

 



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Legend

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Tonys wrote:

Charlie,

Here is another photo of a D.S. carriage.  This one is on Facebook and has been described as a 203/45 D.S.

Looking at the size of the brute, I think it is a 254/40, also the breech block would appear to have been changed from the naval gun..  The low centre of gravity is in direct contrast to the 305/17 D.S.

Can you confirm which gun it is?

Tony


 Best guess it's a 254mm - the 203mm was a cruiser gun and looked quite different - it was a more modern gun compared to the 254mm so it didn't have the massive reinforcement rings around the breech because the steels used were much stronger. The question is which 254mm - there was a 254mm/30 from the 1880s and the 254mm/40 from the 1890s - it looks shorter than the 254/40 (attached) so perhaps the 254/30 gun. The 254mm gun was a British EOC design and was developed, mostly for export, from the 1880s.

The carriage didn't have to accomodate the recoil of the barrel in the 254mm de Stefanos since the trunnions sat on the carriage without a cradle - the 305mm/17 had it's own recoil system so the carriage was necessarily fairly high to permit high angle fire and have enough clearance for the recoil.  

Charlie

 



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Legend

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Finally found an image of the 203mm de Stefano (attached).

It seems that the dimensions of the carriage were different for each type of gun - the 203mm carriage looks longer

than the 254mm. I guess with the height of the carriage and that the barrel was high in the carriage meant that 

keeping the weight distribution even across the axles was very important. I know the towing speeds would have been

pretty slow but dragging these things around mountain roads would have required a lot of care and skill. 

Charlie

 



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Corporal

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It seems that the book mentioned above is available for free on the net at this address:
https://issuu.com/rivista.militare1/docs/vol-i_narrazione_doppio-testo_low

Unfortunately, there is only one image in the book and that is of a fellow in uniform. 300 pages of Italian text with no illustrations or photos of guns... 

Sorry, I have just realized that this is a different book; vol 1 of a series with thousands of pages...



-- Edited by Steen Winther on Friday 7th of May 2021 05:21:43 PM

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Steen Winther wrote:

 300 pages of Italian text with no illustrations or photos of guns... :blahblah


 Do you need help translating it? I can read it with no problem, just tell me what you want to find :D



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Legend

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The on line book is the first volume of the official history of the Italian Army in WW1 (it was published in 1927 by the Ministry of Defence). This volume sets the historical context of the development of the Army from about 1870 to 1914 before the Italian entry into WW1. My understanding of Italian is pretty limited but it seems to be a high level description of the organisation of the Army and the campaigns fought.

Charlie

 



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Interesting.

I do have something similar: "Forte Dossaccio di Oga" by Leonardo Malatesta. He uses the first chapter to talk about the Italian preparations prior to WW1. The rest of the book is concentrated on a single fort history, but still I appreciated the first chapter as it is something always overlooked and just abbreviated as "Italians were ill prepared".

I do plan on buying more of his books (he made, I guess, more than 20 books on WW1). If I find anything interesting, I'll let y'all know it!



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Field Marshal

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There are several volumes of this monumental work available online - this link can get you to most of the volumes: https://issuu.com/rivista.militare1/docs/vol.v_tomo_2.bis-documenti-parte1-t

 



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Hello!
I can´t add anything, but I´ve got a photo in my collection.

ital. 30,5cm Haubitze 305-17.JPG



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Best regards, Andy

https://www.feldgrau-forum.com/forums/



Field Marshal

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I attach the instruction sheets of the 1/35th Luis Vargas model of the Obice da 305/17 De Stefano.

This model arrived in South Africa on 27th Feb, Post Office denied a month ago that it never arrived, and was in my post box this week!!!

Anyway, I thought that the instructions would be of interest to show how the real one was constructed.  For instance, I didn't know there was a hinged panel to allow for high-elevation shoots.

Haven't started building it, but it looks a real beauty.  Can't wait for his Obice 203/45 D.S. !!



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Legend

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Thanks for that.

I think the hinged panel was to provide a working floor to load the gun. It's probable that like most other heavy howitzers

it had to be loaded at close to zero elevation. The floor seems to have been folded away before elevating the gun. The howitzer

had a restricted firing arc 19.5 deg to 65 deg (Kosar) so the floor would need to be folded away after loading before each shot. 

Regards,

Charlie

 



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Field Marshal

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There must also be provision for disengaging the elevating mechanism as you can see photos showing a rope hanging down from behind the muzzle swell to quickly lower the barrel to speed up reloading.



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