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Some Gunner Pr0n

 We brought up the DeBange interrupted screw breech a couple of days ago, and SezaGeoff forwarded a picture he took of a US version that he shot at the Watervliet Arsenal museum (well worth the visit if you are ever in the Albany, New York, area - check the website, their hours are restricted).

His pictue is of an 8inch breech block for the M110-series guns.



About the only difference between this breech and that I showed earlier from HMS Belfast is the shape of the "mushroom" having gotten more angular, the obturation disk having gotten smaller due to better materials, and those two bumpers that serve to keep the powder from laying up flat against the primer hole - so that the flame from the primer will do a better job of lighting off the igniter pad on the base charge. In other words, DeBange got it mostly right.

M110A2 breech in the closed position, ready for inserting the primer.  Except this is a museum gun...

Here we see a view of the M110A2 sitting at Motts Military Museum - with the breech closed, and you can see the firing lock.  It is in the "load" position, meaning the lock is down low, exposing the primer chamber.  You inserted the primer (which basically looked like a large blank cartridge, which, in a sense, it is) and you then pulled the lock up and turned it to lock it in place.  Hooked your lanyard to the lever, made sure no one was in the path of recoil, and then pulled the lanyard when you wanted to let someone far away know how much you hated them.

Now, just the breech blocks are heavy, much less a whole gun, and I've not got internal storage (nor will the Army give me a gun, dammit - it's not like they're *using* them or anything) - so, for the Castle Holdings, we had to satisfy ourselves with a firing lock, to represent the guns.  This lock was used on both the 203mm and 155mm guns, and is probably still used on the M777.



The lanyard is just representative.  This one is waay too short to get you out of the path of recoil on these guns!

4 Comments

During Gunners Mate "A" school at Great Lakes, they showed us film clips of a German 800mm (31.5 inch) railroad cannon used during WWII. Hard to imagine a piece so big you could crawl into the breech on your hands and knees. Even worse to imagine being on the recieving end of an 800mm round.
 

That would be Schwerer Gustav or Dora.  Heavy railway guns.  Somewhat insane concept, really.  250 men taking 3 days to assemble the gun when it gets to where it is going to operate?  2500 men to lay track for it?  Two flak battalions to protect it?  And a major general to command one gun? 

Rate of fire only 1 round every 45 min. besides all of that.

 

 

 
Joe:
Agreed on Gustave and Dora. Huge waste of assests. The Nazis
were good at that, which was bad for them, but good for us.
A cautionary tale for all modern leadership.

  John:
I'm sooo glad you expained that skimpy lanyard. I was thinking,
"Boy, you gonna be kissing that breech if you pull that thing."

 
@Prim, about the skimpy lanyard: The Semi-Sweety tells me she has just gotten a free gun, and it being a Clerke .32 revolver, it is worth every penny she paid for it.

That seems to be the kind of piece which should only be fired when clamped to the bench, with a VERY long lanyard tied to the trigger, and pulled from behind a large thick oak tree.

At least her other piece is a perfectly good Smith, which I helped her to pick out.