Ordnance Quick-fire 17-pounder gun

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by stolpi, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Picked up this picture and caption on the internet (World War II Daily: DDay to VEDay - Page 54)

    Pictured: Private W.G. Lourie examines a German Jagdpanther which was put out of commission by the first shot from an Ordnance Quick-Fire 17-pounder gun of the 6th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, in the Reichswald; Germany - March 16, 1945

    Never heard of a Quick -fire 17-pounder gun before. Could anyone comment on this?
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    It's just a normal 17 Pdr.
    Ordnance QF 17-pounder - Wikipedia

    QF explained here.
    Glossary Firing (QF)

    The term 'QF' originated with the late 19th century introduction of field guns firing rounds comprising propellant packed in brass cartridges (with a shell fitted to their mouth) that were loaded through the breech with the cartridge case providing obturation. This method, coupled with the introduction of buffer/recuperator arrangements for controlling recoil, provided high rates of fire hence 'QF'. Subsequently most QF cartridges had two or more cloth bags, containing propellant, in the metal cartridge case. See the various gun data sheets attached to the 'Guns' page for more details about charges for specific guns.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
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  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Thanks Owen - I already had visions of a 17-pounder with an ammo-loading system like a Bofors AA-gun. :unsure:
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The 6th Anti Tank Regt was a 2nd Cdn Corps unit. Does anyone have the War Diary of the Anti-Tank Regt for this period (Feb/March 1945)

    Edit: found it myself.

    According to the War Diary two Panthers (= Jagdpanthers) and a Mk III SP gun (Stug) were KO'd. One at Dammershof on 11 Feb by a M-10 SP 17-pounder of the 56 btty, 6th Anti Tank Regt CRA, while supporting the advance of the 160 Bde, 53rd Welsh Division, inside the Reichswald. Another Jagdpanther and a Stug were KO'd next day, 12 Feb 45; the Churchill tanks of 9 RTR unfortunately accounted for a Canadian M-10 on that date. The attached report claims another Tiger SP and Mk III SP knocked out on the 13th (see also: VERITABLE: 15th Scottish & 43rd Wessex Divisions in the Reichswald battle (Feb 1945)).

    6th AT Regt Cdn 0.jpg

    There is also an annex attached to the War Diary with an account by Capt J.C. Whalley of the operations of the 56 btty (17-pounder- M10's):

    6th AT Regt Cdn 1.jpg 6th AT Regt Cdn 2.jpg 6th AT Regt Cdn 3.jpg 6th AT Regt Cdn 4.jpg 6th AT Regt Cdn 5.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    M-10 TD Reichswald.jpg
    A 17-pounder M-10 Tank Destoyer in the Rhineland
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
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  6. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    If I may, that appears to be an Achilles, or 17pdr M10; a Commonwealth variant armed with a QF 17-pouinder...with its telltale muzzle break.
    Great updates
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  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Purely as a side note: Swiper seems pretty convinced that Achilles was a postwar name, which didn't really gain currency until fairly recently.
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  8. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Around 1,650 M10s were received by the British during the war, of these 1,100 were converted to the 17 pdr Achilles version by the end of the war. 124 M10s had been converted by D-Day and the number of conversions post D-day increased. By the end of 1944 816 M10s had been converted.
    The 17 pounder required a counterweight fitted behind the muzzle break. This gave the Achilles a distinctive appearance compared to the M10 and there were attempts to disguise this by painting the brake and counterweight.
    Matt would appear to be correct.

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  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    This seems to be confirmed by the War Diary, which talks about the "17-pounder M-10".
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Yes, I've not seen a wartime reference to Achilles, though I tend to be Normandy rather than later. Did we keep them on post-war, or did we have to bury/sink them under Lend-Lease?
    Sexton is another one which falls into this category, it's always been variations on 25pdr SP Ram in the war diaries.

    Sexton is in use in 1951, but what we would know as Archer is still 17 Pdr SP Valentine. 'Achilles' and Firefly are long gone from service...
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Pictures of the KO'd Jagdpanthers, belonging to the s.Heeres Panzerjägerabteiling 655, at the edge of the Reichswald south of Cleve:

    1. Jagdpanther KO'd at Dammershof by the Canadian 17-pounder M-10.
    20150512105857.jpg 20150512110407.jpg

    2. From the intact right sprocket wheel this must be another Jagdpanther.

    I have not 'located' the picture below yet, which also was taken near Cleve. Looks like a church spire in the background almost hidden from view behind the bush (maybe Hau; then there is also the report of the 4/7 Dragoon Guards having KO'd a Panther near 'Tiger Corner' hard east of Materborn).

    For more details of the s.Heeres Panzerjägerabteilung 655 see VERITABLE: 15th Scottish & 43rd Wessex Divisions in the Reichswald battle (Feb 1945)
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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  12. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    June 1944 - A typical A/Tk Regiment would have 4 Batteries, 2 x Towed 17 Pdr Batteries, 1 x Achilles and 1 x M10 Battery. The M10 Battery was replaced by a second Achilles Battery as more vehicles became available.

    3in SPM M10 conversions to 17pdr
    Month Conversions
    May 1944 98
    June 1944 81
    July 1944 69
    August 1944 70
    September 1944 112
    October 1944 126
    November 1944 152
    December 1944 82
    January 1945 86
    February 1945 95
    March 1945 30
    April 1945 18
    Total 1,017

    The Americans were concurrently up gunning their M-10's from the 76.2 to a 90mm cannon, designated as the M-36. Over 700 were completed. No new hulls were manufactured after January 1944

    It remained in British service well into the 1950's first with Royal Artillery units and later with some Royal Armoured Corps regiments, and they also remained in Canadian use for some time as well as being in Belgian use into the 1950's and as late as the 1970's in Denmark. Israel and several other European armies also used them.

    "Perhaps the most successful action of the Achilles was conducted by B troop, 245th Battery, 62nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery attached to the Hamilton Light Infantry during Operation Charnwood. South of Buron, a counterattack by a mixed force of Panzer IV and Panther tanks of the 12th SS Panzer Regiment was defeated by Achilles and 17-pounder anti tank guns of 245th Battery, 62nd Anti-tank Regiment. Thirteen German tanks were destroyed in one of the most successful antitank engagements of the campaign, for the loss of four self-propelled guns and a further four damaged."
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  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Sorry, I'll rephrase that: I have not seen a 17 Pdr M10 referred to as an Achilles in wartime documentation. Indeed, Bovvy says:

    I suppose it's possible the Canadians christened the Wolverine but forgot to tell anyone else aboot it.

    Don Juan's book on the A30 identifies the SP 17-pr Valentine as the SP1 and the A30 SP (as opposed to the A30 Cruiser Challenger) as the SP2. Crucially, he states that SP2 had been christened Avenger I by the end of January 1945. Given that SP1 and SP2 were competitive designs, the name Archer may also have come in at this time.

    As background, the REME staff history has a table of technical documentation issued against vehicles. Although it was published in 1951, it almost certainly preserves the wartime designations:
    SP 17-pr A30
    SP 17-pr Valentine
    Harry Hopkins
    Locust T9E1

    Shermans and M10s are lumped together as 'American Medium Tank Series' which must include the Ram as it's not mentioned anywhere.

    The point is that the names are freely used, but there are no names for the SP equipments.

    A similar table for armaments includes entries for:
    17 pr M10
    17 SP A30
    25 pr SP
    17 pr (Tank) (presumably in the Firefly)
    17 pr SP Valentine
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  14. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan


    I've repeatedly hacked at this, and the more armoured records I dig through the more evidence presents itself. Even oddball non-official, but period correspondence makes no mention of this at all. But some units (and maybe a smattering of first hand accounts) refer to them as 'Fireflies', go figure - just to throw that wee curveball in there. Sort of as 'Tiger' is 'German tank' to many Brits.... and 'Sherman' is 'British or American tank' to Germans) by 1944, there is evidence of anything with a turret mounting a 17 Pounder may be called 'Firefly' by troops in the field, and some units.

    Current link to scribbles is below, eventually I'll get round to citing the whole thing.
    M10 17 Pdr and Valentine 17 Pdr SP

    Funnily enough all this 'Archer' business appears to start some point after the late 1980s as before M10 17 Pdr was pretty common etc, and as above there are a few variants. Although I've yet to see the hodgepodge 'M10C 17 Pdr' appear in any period documentation. You often see 'SPs' anyway, which is seen by War Diarists and IOs as being bloody clear on what they're talking about (despite some units - but not really within Batteries - mixed M10s and M10 17 Pdr).

    Re-reading Mark Hayward's book on Firefly recently (highly recommended) he explores the unofficial, official nature of Firefly's name and its rapid near-universal adoption (bar one unit who call them Mayflies). A longer term goal is to track down exactly where these phrases started emerging in publications, I'd wager as late as early 2000s with a flashy collector's shorthand adopted. Its worth remembering quite a lot of debunking of these names is going on nowadays, 'Brodies', 'Pixie Suits', etc. Nomenclature whackamole.
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  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I kind of suspect the modeling world might play a part in this possibly puzzling post-war nomenclature.
    I associate first learning the names with buying Tamiya etc. kits as a kid.
    Speculative, but I could see some marketing department picking up the punchier nicknames from wherever, and running with them.
  16. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Idler and Swiper

    Agreed, there is much conflicting information on this subject. This from another forum:

    "These names were something created in the British Department of Tank Design as part of a general naming scheme for British and US tracked vehicles. They never caught on outside the department and you wont find any contemporary sources using them. In fact, even manuals for these vehicles do not use these names.
    If you want to use the proper British names for these vehicles, they were simply
    SP, 3-inch, M10
    SP, 17-pr, M10

    "The name "Achilles" was however not a wartime designation; at the time the vehicle was called 17pdr M10, or 17pdr SP M10, or even occasionally, "Firefly"."
    2. The Achilles (units 44,155, 223) supposedly had additional armour added, during the conversion from M10 (3in gun) to Achilles with 17Pdr.
    Not as a rule. I'm aware of one or two pictures of 17-pr M10s with add on armour, but the bulk were just plain old US M10s with a different gun.
    Incidentally the original US vehicle was prepared for bolt-on armour from production, hence all the bolts on the front (all) and side (only early production vehicles). It appears to have been used very rarely.
    British names
    ‘Wolverine’, was the British name for the above unconverted M10’s in British service, but Achilles I/II was the official British name for unconverted M10’s, aka. 3in SP Wolverine. "

    What is interesting is the differing philosophies between Britain and the U.S. in the deployment of the same armoured vehicle. Clearly seen as a 'mobile anti-tank weapon' in Commonwealth application and as a 'tank destroyer' by the U.S.. The distinction, as I interpret it, is the degree to which tank destroyers are deployed in a more offensive vs defensive role.
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Archer and Avenger would certainly have been more convenient and clearer names tp bandy about in meetings than 'SP 17-pr A30 SP2'. Whether and when they reached the troops is another matter. There may also have been a different culture in the RAC and RA, with the former used to named vehicles whilst the latter only cared about the gun and the fact that they didn't have to push it about.

    Achilles may well have appeared around the same time as Avenger. Picking up from Canuck's post where Achilles = vanilla M10, the logical naming convention ought to have been:
    M10 = Achilles I
    M10A1 = Achilles II
    M10 17 pr = Achilles Ic
    M10A1 17pr = Achilles IIc
    As was done with Shermans. Given the confusion, it might be difficult to establish whether one or both M10 models were regunned.

    I nearly said 'Fireflied', but that would be silly as the M10 (possibly and/or M10A1) conversion was the MAYFLY. I've seen it in some 7 Armd Div-related war diaries; almost certainly 65 A/Tk Regt but you'll have to wait until I can dig it out again.
    The context in which Firefly and Mayfly were mentioned led me to believe they weren't so much vehicle names, more project titles for the conversions and/or the conversion kits themselves. I'm afraid I haven't dug any deeper than this, it's obviously well buried as Mark Hayward's book is the only place I've seen Mayfly mentioned. The story is most likely to be on Don Juan's hard drive, I reckon.
    I will see if I can find the Mayfly references tonight...
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  18. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Seems a fair place to put this.
    Splendid little propaganda film on M10's introduction.
    'Are you troubled by tanks?'

  19. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Once you see one, you start seeing them everywhere ... o_O

    M10 17-pounders in the opening stage of Veritable. Two Valentine 17-pounders are moving in front of them.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
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  20. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Lads, sorry to backtrack a few years in the thread, but I have a question that I guess will sound strangely familiar to those acquainted with the thread about the 3.7 incher in the AT role:

    Why, if even in its "Pheasant" configuration the 17-pounder proved to be "the father of all ATGs" (excluding His Highness the 88, of course), did the 6-pounder stay in production? Square-mindedness or fear of a supply crisis due to the need of too much re-tooling back in Blighty?
    Last edited: May 5, 2017

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