The Ordnance Revolution Of The Last Quarter Of The 19th Century.

If you look at artillery of the American Civil War and the Artillery of the First World War they are nothing alike.  A typical field artillery piece of the American Civil war would be fully familiar in all respects to an artilleryman from the 18th Century and even the 17th Century or earlier.  There would be some improvements in the carriage and fittings, but the basic piece and how it was fired would be something that the gunner from the army of Gustavus Aldolphus would have no problems with.  Forty years later and that gunner would have no clues as how the gun was fabricated or operated.

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Weird Ordnance, Tactical Flexibility And Using What You Have

This post is the result of a couple of encounters with one of those weird pieces of ordnance that came out of the late 19th Century.  I’m going to post the links in reverse  order to which I encountered them, starting with this tumblr post of a small metal pillbox used for anti tank purposes on the Hindenburg Line  on the  Western Front in WW1

. Here’s the post.

Now the author of the blog couldn’t find out much about what the things was, but in  the weird sort of coincidences that the internet creates I had actually run into the cupola and it’s ordnance in a completely different setting.  The cupola is called a Fahrpanzer and they were designed to be portable emplacements in fortifications.

I know about the Fahrpanzer because last week or so I encountered this on Pinterest.

The picture came from this wonderful artist on Deviantart who did a series of illustrations for a book in Romania, where most of the Fahrpanzers were sold by the German company that built them, for various fortifications.

During WW1 the Fahrpanzers in Romania were more or less obsolete, pointing in the wrong direction(toward the Russians), dismantled for their guns and lost in the turmoil of WW1  and I just saved the picture in my ordnance folder assuming that the Fahrpanzer was just another one of those obscure pieces of European ordnance that was good for curiosity purposes, but not much else.  Then I saw the post above where at least two(the picture in tumble post show two different Fahrpanzers if you look at them closely, one is missing the builders plate on the back), and probably a lot more were emplaced on the Hindenburg Line as antitank guns, a role that they are actually well suited for as long as the armor of the tank is not very thick, which all the armor on all the tanks of WW1 was.

Here’s a stack of Fahrpanzer links.

First of all, the technical drawings from the Copenhagen military museum who apparently have the only 37mm Fahrpanzer.

Click to access Taarnet.pdf

Click to access Taarn_indvendig.pdf

Click to access Taarn_detaljer.pdf

Click to access Ammunition.pdf

The Bulgarian Military museum has a 53mm(or 57?) Fahrpanzer

The Athens military museum has two apparently

Some pics I found on google.

Some Fahrpanzers in deployment.

In a war that already the favored the defensive, the Fahrpanzer would actually be a nasty piece of ordnance even if the gun was obsolete.  It the black powder gun was replaced by a more moderns weapon, the fact that these things could be brought up, dug in and once emplaced, almost impossible to hit with the direct fire weapons of WW1 tanks and requiring a direct hit from over head by a howitzer or mortar. Now that I see them I’m not surprised that the Germans, short on both resources and men in 1917 pressed these things into service. Which almost certainly made the Tommy’s, Doughboy’s and Frenchy’s jobs just that much harder.  Such was WW1.

Defending Europe From An Invasion From The Sea

This post from War History showed up on my Facebook timeline.  It’s a small album of pictures of the Atlantik Wall built by Nazi Germany to stop an Allied invasion. The defense failed. The Atlantik Wall was a huge effort on the part of the Wehrmacht using some 600,000 workers.  Massive concrete bunkers and gun emplacements were built all up the Atlantic coast.

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Using The Right Tools

One of the things I like least about many movies, TV Shows and anime is that supposedly expert military or police forces will bring the wrong tools for the job they are expected to do. Here’s a case in point.  This is from the anime Bubblegum Crisis, which was produced in the late 1980’s.  The bad guys are humanoid robots loaded with advanced weaponry and armored with exotic materials.  The heroes, or heroines in this case are four ladies with heavily armored power suits.  Typical anime stuff.  Here’s the opening sequence.

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Not Making The Wrong Choices

This interesting article on the M6 tank showed up on my Facebook timeline.

The M6 is one of those military options that the US Army pursued and then dropped.  Through 1940 and the beginning of the war the US Army initiated these various armored vehicle and self propelled gun project as stopgaps and in response to evolving doctrine. As the war progressed and these various vehicles proved to be redundant, the programs were reduced to a barely sustained level and then canceled altogether.  So if the question is ever asked why the US didn’t design a heavy tank, the answer is that they did. Then the Armored forces decided that the gains were not worth the resources.

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