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French Gunner Zen

 I've actually seen one of these guns. The Aberdeen Proving Ground museum has one (it may have since been moved to Fort Lee, but it was still at APG last year, unlike most of their collection).  It had some battle damage, too.  Bullet spangs and fragment scars.  IIRC however, they came about when we captured the gun from the Germans.  Ah, the breathless narration...  H/t, Kevin.


8 Comments

They don't look that mobile to me but I'm sure they spoke well.
 
In comparison to the towed versions, they were mobile.  Compared to current standards of mobility (or even the standards of one year later in the war) they were not very mobile.

 
I’ve only seen a German railway gun and a few smaller ones here at Fort Lee. The Ordnance Museum artifacts are still in storage until if or when they get a facility built. Doesn't mean this French gun isn't here, I just haven't seen it.
 
 Looks like the ground guides (?) were holding on to some kind of rope, like they were walking a dog or something.  Either that, or it's a tow rope for pulling out trail vehicles and they were keeping it out of the treads.
 
Sweet. 

Not bad for 1940.  Remember the majority of FA remained horse-drawn.  If memory serves, the US Army had begun the transition to full mech/motorized forces in 1940.  The Brits went full motorized after Dunkirk (I could be mistaken, but I don't think so.)  The "herrenvolk" and their allies used horses right up to the end.
 

My artillery unit mechanized itself in the early 20's for a exercise by using local borrowed trucks from a moving company. In a report held by the unit’s museum, the exercise showed what a drastic difference mechanization made. Mobilizing to the site was cut by a 1/3rd , manpower reduction was significant and costs for fuel was less than fodder for the horse. The report recommended that the army take a serious look at mechanization of all of the army.
Not to long ago they were renovating the parade square and when dug it up, they found the bases of the hitching posts for the horses.
 

 
But did they really go around bulldozing over trees as a matter of course?

I also have to wonder how well the French dealt with "shoot'n'scoot"* in terms of accuracy.



*And here I thought that was some new-fangled shock&awe concept. ;-\
 
Casey, only us tread heads are allowed to bulldoze trees. We don't want the FA getting to big an idea about itself.