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....


  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

    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:

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

    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 :-)

    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

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

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

  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 [ ] 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.

  4. check out the most coastal gun defenses in just about anywhere I have seen, the Atlantic island of Saint Helena, where they imprisoned Napoleon, it has the most historic artillery that I have seen in one place...