More vehicle kit/stowage questions

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Chris C, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    What would towing cables issued to British armoured vehicles be made of? Were they made of braided metal wire, or a fibre?

    I have been puzzling over the supposed inclusion of a 2" mortar on the Archer. If I had to hazard a guess currently, it would be that the circular bracket and platform on the right front side here in my picture would have held the mortar if it had been issued - but maybe it never was, as I haven't seen it in any photos. (It would have been used to fire parachute flares.)

    Right front brackets P1040853.JPG

    Finally I am a little puzzled by the contents of a couple of the storage bins. (This is going off of an official stowage list that I received from the Tank Museum.) I suspect these lists were what was provided with each vehicle but not necessarily expected to be fit in the same bins after a crew received their vehicle.

    For instance, the right centre storage bin was supposed to contain 4 haversacks and 4 groundsheets, and the larger bin behind it had 4 packs each containing a greatcoat, 4 blankets, and the track adjusting tool. I'm not sure what a crewman would use a haversack for as opposed to a pack? And I also assume that these would not fit back into the bins once they were filled with personal items.

    Right Side Stowage.jpg
  2. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Does it just say 2" mortar or is there more to the description as I believe there were 2 types, the M.L. (muzzle loading) which is the type you see infantry using but I think there was another type that is more like a smoke discharger - I think its the M3 - a while ago I got a manual for the 2" mortar assuming it was the infantry one but it was something totally different.

    In terms of packs - servicemen normally got issued 2 packs - the haversack is the small pack usually worn on the back on active service and the large pack which is usually only worn out of the line on the back in which case the small pack is moved to the hip - so if this is saying 4 large packs and 4 small packs per Archer it seems sensible and to tie in with the 4 man crews issue
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  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    That is a good question and thank you for the prompt as it has encouraged me to look at the sheets right away. It is listed as:

    Ordnance, M.L. 2 ins. Mortar Mk. VIIII

    and also listed (fascinating, I'm sure):

    Bomb M.L. 2 in., Illuminating, with Parachute (In Carriers) x18
    Brush Cleaning Bore, 2in. Bomb thrower, Mk. I

    As an aside the crew would have been happy with a smoke discharger as the Archer came with two smoke generators (Generator, Smoke No. 8) which meant the point of origin of the smoke was the vehicle itself.

    Thanks for your info about the packs; I didn't know that there was one pack mostly used out of the line.
  4. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    The 2-inch mortar should be the standard ML version, they were added to Anti-tank Btys during 1943 on the scale of one per two guns. They were shown on the weapons list for a 17-pr SP Bty you found a while ago as I recall, still two per Tp even though they'd dropped to three guns. They were to be used for illumination as your list of amn indicates.

    There was a 1944 issue of the 2-inch mortar manual, that covers the various marks (II, VII and VIII) but it doesn't seem to be available in pdf for either free or purchase.

    The M3 version that AB64 mentions is indeed a different item, looks more like a large shotgun, the barrel 'breaks' and allows a bomb to be loaded like a cartridge rather than dropped down the barrel. Having a look at the RA Notes, No.3 (para 132) does say that the 2-in bomb thrower could be issued in lieu.

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  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I knew the mortar was supposed to potentially be there. It's more of a puzzle that I haven't identified any in photographs - and do you suppose I'm right in identifying those bits on the vehicle as intended to hold the mortar?
  6. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    In the earlier WEs the 2-inch is shown as either on a Tp HQ vehicle (the 3-ton lorrries carrying amn in the case of the M10) or in the third vehicle of each Section of two guns (for towed 6-pr and 17-pr guns). I've not seen it specified but I would have thought that in the SP Valentine Tps the 2-inch mortars would be in the load of the Tp HQ 3-tonners, in the same manner as for the M10 Tps.


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