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  • #76
    Originally posted by johns624 View Post
    i believe that at least part of the reason for our large coast defenses was our isolationist policy up until WW1. We were primarily concerned with defense, rather than power projection.
    The amount of coastal guns along the Channel coast during WW2 ( apart from at Ports ) was due solely to the threat of invasion and rapidly dispersed when the threat no longer existed. lcm1
    'By Horse by Tram'.


    I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
    " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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    • #77
      The Mk V carriage for the 9.2 inch BL was limited in elevation to about 12.5 degrees but in 1918 these began to be replaced with the Mk VI carriage which had an elevation of 35 degrees and improved hydraulic loading. By 1941 this was completed Allied Artillery of World War One Hogg.
      BTW these guns were officially designated as Counter Bombardment Guns and the 6 inch guns as Close Defence Guns
      Hogg points out that The History of Coast Artillery in the British Army is missing the high angle 9.2 guns
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #78
        Everyone who is bashing the design of the Abbott Quad, aka the 16 12" mortars in 4 pits of 4 tubes, is missing a few things.

        1) The designers of the system Did know what they were doing.

        2) If you've ever been in one (I have), you'll realize how utterly massive the construction of a single pit is, and how difficult it would be to destroy one with a single shell.

        3) An AP shell for a Battleship Main Gun does not run 2000lbs of explosive, more like 31lbs for a 14" shell up to 41lbs for the 16"/50cal of the Missouri. This bursting charge would be devastating to the immediate area of the impact, but would really serve to crack concrete, not obliterate the pit. You'd need multiple impacts to succeed with this method.

        4) The size and design of the pits was the minimum necessary to fit all 4 mortars and have their shells clear the lip on the way out. You're talking about a BB having to hit a point roughly the size of the back half of a Destroyer, that it cannot actually see. If you look at Jutland, you'll see how few hits were obtained by Battleships firing on Battleships that they could see. Imagine trying to hit a far smaller target (about the size of a BB's quarterdeck) that you cannot actually see from the spotting tops.

        5) The Magazines were located in Front of the pits, meaning that to pierce the magazine, a BB would first have to locate the battery, then hit a nondescript piece of ground in front of the battery, pierce through dirt, gravel, and rock layers, before finally being able to penetrate the thick concrete and reach one of several separate armored magazines. If the shell went into the pit and hit the back wall, it would do minimal damage aside from causing some casualties (easily replaced by ground troops) and gouging holes in the concrete/berm.

        6) The pits needed to run 4 mortars apiece in order to fit the entire system into as small an area as possible. At the time of their construction, the technology to do a ToT barrage was in its infancy. There wasn't the ability for 16 pits spread out over a square kilometer to coordinate their fire both accurately and with timing. The accuracy of a mortar was such that you planned to attack a BB with a barrage of 16 pieces fired at once, with the intent of 2-3 shells striking the target within the beaten zone. These shells were in the 1,000lb range, and striking top armor could be utterly devestating. The pieces would then be serviced while the command crew (in a separate facility connected by telegraph to the stations and the gun pits) prepared a firing solution on a new target. 16 Pieces were in a square of X size, meaning that when fired with the same solution you would get a beaten zone of X size to compensate for any inaccuracies in individual pieces.
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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        • #79


          For those interested in coastal artillery in action, the above book makes for an interesting read,

          Conflict Across the Strait: A Battery Commander's Story of Kent Defences, 1939-45 by B E Arnold.

          Blurb on the book:
          From the cover: “This book is an authentic account illustrated with over one hundred pictures of the defence of the Kent coast, written by a Battery Commander of Coast Artillery. The majority of the contents are restricted to those frightening years 1939-45, when the enemy was on our doorstep and we were only half ready and less than half armed!

          The author begins his story during those halcyon days before the War when, as a member of the Royal Artillery Territorial Army, he practised each Sunday on the 9. 2 inch guns at Citadel Battery, Dover. It never occurred to him at the time that he would shortly be standing by those same guns with H. E. shells on the hoists instead of the usual sand filled ones.

          For most of the War the author was in charge of various batteries around the harbour and on the white cliffs above. He recalls graphically the tragedy of the allied soldiers who were snatched from the beaches of Dunkirk and brought back home on a flotilla of small boats.

          He tells of his concern regarding the shortage of weapons and ammunition at his batteries, and how he talked a ship’s captain into going back to the French beaches to collect some of the abandoned equipment.

          There is a chapter on the German batteries built along the cliffs between Blanc Nez and Gris Nez with the express purpose of bombarding the Channel Ports. When these guns were operational, Dover became known in the world press as “Shellfire Corner” and by continuous shelling and bombing, the old port and town was fast disappearing.
          Worthwhile for the description of training and methods and the collection of photographs it contains.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by CarpeDiem View Post


            For those interested in coastal artillery in action, the above book makes for an interesting read,

            Conflict Across the Strait: A Battery Commander's Story of Kent Defences, 1939-45 by B E Arnold.

            Blurb on the book:


            Worthwhile for the description of training and methods and the collection of photographs it contains.
            http://www.amazon.com/Conflict-Across-Strait-Commanders-Defences/dp
            Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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            • #81
              Originally posted by Bwaha View Post
              Does Gibraltar still man its guns?
              I think that it is purely ceremonial nowadays, by the RM, but even those things pass in time so I could be wrong lcm1 ( Ex RM )
              'By Horse by Tram'.


              I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
              " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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              • #82
                My old man cut his Military teeth as a Territorial artilleryman on the 6in and 9.2in coastal guns on the North-East coast from Tynemouth to Scarborough. During WWI his mother was by the coast at Hartlepool when the German battlecruisers came calling and hurled shells over her head into the town and took on the local coastal battery, doing some damage and causing a few casualties, and generating some widespread panic among the civilians.

                The big problem with coastal guns is their lack of mobility, and their vulnerability to plunging fire from heavy naval guns - that was my dad's take anyway.

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                  I think that it is purely ceremonial nowadays, by the RM, but even those things pass in time so I could be wrong lcm1 ( Ex RM )
                  I believe that it's the Royal Gibraltar Regiment (T) that mans them today.

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                  • #84
                    9.2 inch would be a fairly difficult target for a ship. First they were mostly on clifftops, so the ship was looking up at them. Next these guns did not use direct laying (ie there were no optical sights on the gun), they were controlled from the plotting centre deep underground, which got its data from radars and OPs, this meant that the gun pit was set back somewhat from the cliff edge making it even more difficult for a ship to engage it. From the point of view of aiming at the gun, the vertical component wasn't more than a few feet, and the gun pit itself was only 35 feet in diameter so the mean point of impact for plunging fire needed to be in the right place to overcome normal dispersion (which increases with range).

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                      Everyone who is bashing the design of the Abbott Quad, aka the 16 12" mortars in 4 pits of 4 tubes, is missing a few things.

                      1) The designers of the system Did know what they were doing.

                      2) If you've ever been in one (I have), you'll realize how utterly massive the construction of a single pit is, and how difficult it would be to destroy one with a single shell.
                      ...
                      All true!


                      Just last summer I was at the fortifications in Sandy Hook, NJ and I got to go in one of these mortar pits. It was pretty amazing, with rail road tracks to move the ammo and VERY THICK walls of concrete etc.! I have some pics but they don't convey the massive nature of the defenses.


                      It looked like a pretty good system for the time/technology.
                      Battles are dangerous affairs... Wang Hsi

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                        I believe that it's the Royal Gibraltar Regiment (T) that mans them today.
                        Thank you j6, it could well be so. lcm1
                        'By Horse by Tram'.


                        I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                        " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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                        • #87
                          Sandy Hook, NJ mortar pits from the air. The entire structure is something like 100 yards/meters square.



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