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Library Query 030808

Library Query 030808

A trawler ready for action.
What kind of weapon?
Is this a normal number of men for a gun crew?
Any comments gratfully received.
This is an improved version of the original photo which is in a very poor condition.
The improvements have been carried out by poppacal to whom I send my thanks.

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Hi Dave thanks but i wish i could have done more with it but it was in a bad state
Brian C.
 

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Almost certainly a 12 pounder which looks very similar to the Mk5 gun in the Imperial war museum ( although that gun has a shield fitted). This gun could date from WW1 and have been stored for further use.
They were referred to as 12 pounder, 12cwt guns as they fired a 12.9 pound shell and weighed 12 cwt ( a CWT being 112 lbs - so why call it a hundred weight) they were also a 3" gun as that was the bore size.
The height of the breech of this weapon indicates a DP gun with a max elevation of 70 degrees which gave maximum ranges of 12,000 yards as a surface gun and a little under 20,000 feet when in the AA role. Note the inverted 'U' shaped tube in front of the gun, this is a firing arc limiter and stops the guns crew in a moment of intense firing hitting the front of their own ship.
This would be a full gun crew :
The Ocifer to the right would be the gun captain.
The guy close to the guns left side with the hand wheel is the pointer, he elevates the gun,
on the other side is a similar wheel and chappie, he is the trainer who turns the gun horizontally.
The guy bent down in front of the gun captain is paicking a shell up from the ready use rack - a ring of shells surrounding the gun, each projectile weighed about 12.9 lbs but the complete round weighed about 23 lbs with it's fixed cartridge.
The guy of the officers right hand side is in the act of passing a round ( you can just see it's nose)
The round is passed to the loader at the back of the gun, he obviously places the shell in the open breech,
With him is the breech operator - he opens and closes the breech
also with the breech opertaor would be a guy to clear the hot spent cartridge cases - in the USA he is referred to as the hot case man - not sure what he is called in the UK but he wears gloves!
The three guys on the left are unlikely to be part of the guns immediate crew, they are most likely the magazine crew for passing ammo from the magazine
 

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Similar set up in 1950s DEMS Defence Course. The captain of the gun, in local control, gave range and deflection and observed the fall of shot, he also identified the target as being that of the enemy, very important for MN gun crews. The "layer", who in our case sat on the right side of gun , received the range from the capt and depressed his telescope to the required range, then elevated the gun to bring his horizontal cross hair onto the target. The "trainer" who sat on the left side of gun wound his telescope to the left or right to set the deflection and then brought his vertical telescope cross hair onto the target. The breech worker stood on the right hand side of gun facing away from the direction the gun was pointing to work the breech block lever. The othe four were ammunition numbers who brougt the rounds from the ready use locker and punched them up with a closed fist. (if fist not closed breech block would chop fingers off) Lastly the fuse setter for anti aircraft work, the two fuse settings were 7000yds, long barrage, 4000yds short barrage. The gun was fired by the layer electronicly or by breech worker with lanyard. The rate of fire with a well drilled and physically fit RN gun crew was about ten rounds per minute. With a MN gun crew it was about half. A gun on a merchant ship had a magazine of 40 rounds, in our case with fixed QF ammunition weighing 57lbs, the projectile or shell was 33lbs. I think our gun was a 4inch QF of early mark but similar to the one in picture
 

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Excellent description David, 33lbs is the weight of a 4" , the reason I think this is a 12 pounder - look at the guy with the shell - very small and he does not appear to be lifting anything like 57 lbs,
 

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You are correct Steve definate 12 pounder 3inch. I think we trained on both 3inch and 4inch along with Bofors 40mm and Oerlikon 20mm. I really enjoyed the course but thank god we were never called upon to use them in anger.
 

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