Sunday, 27 March 2016

Holidays and Historic Guns

Hopefully hobby time will improve as I'm now on school holidays. But first, family time!  I live in a fairly "old" city by Australian standards (established 1847, Maryborough is one of the oldest in Queensland and was a major port in the 1880s).  While giving my 2 year old a ride on the local miniature steam trains, I wandered over to look at the obligatory "gun in the park."  In most Queensland towns it is a 40mm Bofors or 17pdr artillery from WW2, and whilst the Nordenfelt guns are nothing that special, the 5" BL in the middle is something I don't see often.

The Nordenfelt in the foreground (No. 6675) is interesting only in that it has a double barrel rather than the usual triple or quad barrels.   I presume only fires a heavy rifle calibre (.45 or .50 or thereabouts?)

The furthermost Nordenfelt is a single barrel. 
The second Nordenfelt (1.5") is much bigger than the twin mount.

However the 5" BL is one I've never seen elsewhere. As you can see it comes with a Vavasseur mount (?) which suggests it is a dedicated coastal defence gun.  Back in the 1880s the "Russian Peril" was a thing for us Aussies, far from the Mother Country.


It has a 16lb charge and a 50lb projectile.

Range an optimistic 4100m over open sights....

Quality worksmanship from the Royal Carriage Dept 1887, "Ex-d at RCD Woolwich"


Looking out over the Mary River....

Anyway, after repeat visits to park, pool, and various family activities hopefully I will have time to clean out my shed and resume hobby activities tomorrow....

6 comments:

  1. Splendid post Mike! Yes Nordenfelts came in "larger calibre/less barrel" configuration, with the more well known multi barrelled versions being of small arms size
    http://pauljamesog.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/nordenfelt-gun.html

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    1. Ironically, the twin barrel from the pics went on the same colonial gunboat as the ones in Bundaberg I remember playing on as a kid:

      http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/bundy-guns-were-for-colonys-defence/2111293/

      They're all purpose-made coast defence stuff from 1880s, not WW1 spares....

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    2. I think you might need to do a guest post at my other blog where I have a series going on Australian Colonial defences and associated weapons :-)

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    3. Sadly I live in a bit of a "dead zone" so far as military interest goes. Fort Lytton in Brisbane is probably the nearest of interest with its river chain, buried bunker system and disappearing guns

      http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/fort-lytton/

      ...but I suspect it would be rather pathetic compared to NSW/Sydney defences....

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  2. This is a stone's throw away from me:

    http://silverhawkauthor.com/artillery-preserved-in-canada-9f-nova-scotia-halifax-york-redoubt_449.html

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  3. Quite a collection of varnished steel, brass, and bronze. The last fort I visited, Fort Worden on the Puget Sound, had almost no guns at all in any of the remaining emplacements but a whole lot of overgrowth, and overall was kind of an underwhelming experience.


    The Spanish Meroka CIWS [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meroka_CIWS ] is a surprisingly similar modern equivalent; the biggest drawback to the multi-barrel weapons of the late 19th century such as the various types of Gatling, Nordenfelt, Hotchkiss, and Gardner manufactured guns seems to have been their reliance on manual operation - the gunner(s) got tired and/or cranking (operating) the weapon skewed it off target beyond short ranges no matter how solid the mounting.

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