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  #1  
Old 03-07-20, 18:24
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is offline
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Default New Zealand Field Artillery question

Field artillery used by New Zealand during the Second World War was, I assume, the 'Ordnance QF 25-pdr. Mk.2 on carriage, 25-pdr Mk.1.'

Were they manufactured in NZ or procured from overseas sources (Canada/UK/Aust)?

Mike
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  #2  
Old 03-07-20, 22:54
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Lynn Eades Lynn Eades is offline
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Mike, We made 3 inch mortars, Mills bombs, built bodies for trucks, built Beaverettes, built Carriers, (1060?), but until WWII we were at the teat of mother England (is it ok to say that?) We were suddenly weaned off under duress and a shortage of gauges and skilled gaugemakers was the first problem.
As with Australia, heavy industry was centered around the railways. I don't believe we produced any artillery. (I am the wrong person to answer this)
When I was a kid, my Dad talked about making a pelting machine for pelting rocks at the moon....
You obviously need a copy of Jeff Plowman's book "Armoured Fighting Vehicles of New Zealand 1939-59"
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  #3  
Old 03-07-20, 23:09
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is offline
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Thanks, Lynn, always get a chuckle from your amusing phraseology.

I have a copy of Jeff's book on AFVs, but I don't remember him venturing into artillery.

So local production is unlikely, which means the RNZA must have procured their guns from elsewhere.

Regards

Mike
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  #4  
Old 04-07-20, 05:00
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Lynn Eades Lynn Eades is offline
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Mike, I gained my heavy trailer license towing a 5.5 gun with an Australian Mk V. Inter 6x6, (4th Med Bty) however my knowledge of artillery has more to do with the electric brakes of the 5.5 than of the gun itself. (ex RNZEME mechanic, hence the Bluebell bit) Someone else needs to chime in.
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  #5  
Old 04-07-20, 11:37
Russell Boaler Russell Boaler is offline
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I'm with Lynn on that one I don't think that NZ manufactured artillary peices during WW2. Instead we sourced it from wherever we could... UK, Au, Canada... we weren't fussy. I have seen some photos recently of some trial carriages that we made to suit existing guns (post WW2 I think) but they only ever got to prototype phase and as far as I know never went into production.
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  #6  
Old 04-07-20, 16:23
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is offline
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Thanks Gents, I'll take that as enough to go with.

New Zealand had three infantry divisions, I think. If that is correct, then NZ would have needed 24 field guns x 3 Regiments x 3 Divisions = 216 plus operational reserve plus training establishments, so probably around 300 field guns that had to be sourced from somewhere.

Lynn - the 5.5-inch BL How was reportedly a very nice medium gun, but I have not looked into its use very much. Aust used the same gun (started arriving in 1943) and post war used the Mack NR as the tractor until the Inter F1 6x6 (what you are calling a Mk.5) came along. It was probably a bit much for a 4x4 Inter to handle safely.

Thanks

Mike
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  #7  
Old 04-07-20, 21:32
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Lynn Eades Lynn Eades is offline
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Mike, I believe the 5.5 gun was too much for the 6x6 Inter. I remember having to drive through the red line of the rev counter to get the combination rolling. That's on the flat and we have hills.
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So many questions....
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  #8  
Old 05-07-20, 11:52
dcrfan dcrfan is offline
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Our original gun tractor for 5.5 was Scammell Pioneer.

I agree NZ imported all our artillery but did modifications like retrofitting 3' guns to Valentines so they could view HE..
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  #9  
Old 05-07-20, 21:01
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Dan, While I was with the 1 Inf Bde. Gp Wksps LAD. (Ngaruawahia Military Camp 1971 to 74)) 4 Medium Battery had 6 x 5.5" guns, 6 x 6x6 International gun tractors and one Pioneer Scammell. I don't believe we ever had enough Scammells to have one as a tractor for each gun. I think earlier on there were Matadors as gun tractors. I'm not sure.
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So many questions....
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  #10  
Old 06-07-20, 10:44
Rob Beale Rob Beale is offline
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Hi All

NZ had limited Artillery in the country prior to WW2.
Most was from WW1 with 18 pdr, 4.5" howitzer and the 3.7" mountain gun.

Some heavier calibre guns were in country, primarily for fortress troops at the major ports. Russell mentions experimental carriages, which I think are early war attempts to mechanise heavy guns.

The 2nd NZ Div went overseas in 3 echelons largely equipped with WW1 style uniforms, webbing and rifles. They eventually assembled in Egypt once the 2nd Echelon were released from UK where they landed in the post Dunkirk period.
The Div was equipped with heavy weapons, artillery, equipment and vehicles there from British stocks. They fought in Greece, Crete, Egypt through to Tunisia, and then in Italy ending in confrontation with Titos forces in Trieste.

The 2 NZ Divisional Artillery comprised 3 field regiments, an anti tank regiment and a light anti aircraft regiment. I don't think they formed Medium regiments overseas in WW2.

The 3 NZ Div was formed in Fiji as garrison troops were reinforced with additional battalions as the threat from Japan increased. They had a similar organisation to the 2 Div Arty when they served in the Solomon campaign.
Man power shortages resulted in a 2 brigade organisation plus some Div units. I believe they kept the third field regiment. (The 6 pdr AT guns were landed to deal with Japanese destroyers and barges in case of counter attack!)

Home defence forces did get medium artillery with 5.5" guns, and Matador and Scammel artillery tractors. Likewise heavy anti aircraft batteries had 3.7" AA guns. Troops at home were mobilised for much of 1942 with 7 Brigade as the mobile force, while most other brigades were based on Territorial Battalions in their home areas. Variously organised as North, Central and South areas then 1st, 4th and 5th Divisions, then reverting back to areas!

There was a paper division in Egypt 6 NZ Div with a HQ that transmitted signals to and fro, vehicles marked with the Kiwi, and three training battalions numbered 31, 32 and 33.

In the Korean war 16 Fd regiment was deployed with a Transport Unit,
meanwhile 4 NZ Div was formed based on Territorial units to be ready to deploy to the middle east if Mother Britain called!

I was told when on a course in Waiouru that in the 1950s the full Div artillery formed up in Waiouru camp and headed out on State Highway 1 north past the three volcanoes to Turangi at the south end of Lake Taupo, then headed west and south down the other side of the mountains and back to Waiouru, As the lead elements arrived, many hours later, the tail of the divisional artillery train was just leaving!

That is to the best of my memory from decades of reading histories and hearing old soldiers stories told by them or retold by others.

Any corrections will be gratefully received!

Rob
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