Ordnance Quick-fire 17-pounder gun

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

  1. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Did The ROK have 57 mm ATGs? IIRC the only had 37 mm ATGs in June 1950. 57 mm should have been able to hole T-34 from rather short distances. 500m ?
    And e.g. Centurion and 20 pdr were excellent equipment without need to look the Nazi technology after the war.

    PS Check the facts, 57mm M1 ATG, firing AP round penetrates T-34/85 front @ 320m according to Yugoslav tests.
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  2. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Re 1 I can't find any 17 pdr v 6 pdr controversy in contemporary documents. RA Anti tank Regiments in Infantry Divisions in Normandy were equipped with a mix of these equipments. The reports from operations in Normandy was varied, predictably by the terrain. 50 Div in the Bocage thought the 6 pdr fine, while other formations reported the value of the 17pdr in more open country. Serving towed equipment with no more protection that Wellington's gunners was jolly risky. The SP Gunners seemed especially pleased with their lot.

    Re 2 There is some politics behind the Isgny trials. The US Army had spent some time developing their own 76mm gun. Lots of egg on face if it turned out that the British had a better gun. Lo and behold the 17 Pdr was too inaccurate. Though if the problem was KO ing tanks, it might be better to have a gun that penetrated if it hit than one that hit twice as often but did not penetrate!
  3. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    KMAG_cover.jpg KMAG_1.jpg KMAG_2.jpg

    Korean War Prefered Allied weapons?


    Tank-infantry coordination took care of the undergunned ROKA defenses, although maybe lack of gunner training also played a part in the débacle.

    The Centurion and related developments, luckily, kept rolling with wartime momentum during peacetime, and were more than ready by the time this new conflict started; no need to mess with foreign jet or heavy armour technology here.

    Believe me, I'm a fan of this chariot ;)
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  4. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    I wrote "controversy" just to give a name to the friendly discussion we are having here. I know there was none in those days, as the frontline Tommy simply had to do with whatever he had at hand, excessive bloodshed or not, and that was an order! :salut:

    Yes, I know, and I took them with a pinch of salt when I read them before linking. That is why I focused on the report from the first test, and I guess I forgot to mention further focusing, this time on the M1 57mm (a.k.a. 6-pounder) results; sorry, as it would have made my point clearer.
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  5. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Hello Warlord
    Firstly, thanks a lot for the scans
    I doubt that better ATGs would have helped the ROKA much at Uijongbu Corridor. 2 battalions plus some arty (short barrel 105 mm howitzer) against a better trained and equipped division is usually a foregone conclusion. In fact the 105 mm M67 HEAT penetrated glacis of T-34/85 if side angle is less then 20deg according to Yugoslav tests but did the ROKA have HEAT ammo for its howitzers? And when the first US Army unit arrived its 105 mm M2 battery was impotent against T-34/85s. Badly stored ammo?
    My some 45 years old notes from the US Army official history say that the ROKA had 140 37 mm ATGs at the eve of the war but clearly either I haved made an error while taking notes or there is a mistake in the book.

    And off topic, British were happy with their jet engines and were not very interested in German jet engine technology, USA opted to base their jet engines to licence-produced British jets, not German ones. SU rely German jets only until the Labour governmet sell them RR Derwents and Nenes. Only French utilized German jet technology, Snecma Atar jet engine family began its life under leadership of ex-BMW jet-engine team.
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    That isn't quite the whole picture. There was continual discussion within the Royal Regiment of Artillery about the equipment organisation and tactics for anti tank artillery. Anti tank defence involved anti tank gunners dueling with tanks. Every infantry attack needed to be supported by anti tank guns or risk being thrown back by armoured counter attacks. The records from Normandy include a lot of feedback about the performance of the anti tank guns, and the shortcomings of their tractors. The Gunners really liked the M10. Their suggestions for improving the equipment were to add overhead cover and a co-ax MG - more or less asking for Fireflys. The army went to some length to give their troops confidence in the equipment. As many as possible of 50 Division's Anti tank gunners attended a firepower demonstration before D day showing the effectiveness of the 6 pdr APDS round against German tank hulks.
  7. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Well, with the KMAG in place, I highly doubt the ROKA would have received unusable ordnance; maybe outdated, but not non-operative.

    Besides, IMHO, and according to some very wise militarymen, sweat saves blood; better to push/dig in a worthy artillery piece, than to have to face a steel steamroller with a blowpipe!

    Well, what was the logic behind Operation Paperclip then... Von Braun and the rockets that took us to the moon ahead-of-schedule?
  8. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Well, there must have been a very good reason for arming new armour (or up-gunning existing one) with the 17-pounder instead of the much more numerous 6-pounder, and it was performance. Gunners knew their business, and they asked for more and more 17-pounders in all configurations; the 6-pounder with special ammo also did the trick under certain circumstances, but the top of the wish list had "17-pounder" written all over.
  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Not according to the documentation in the national archives. The SP versions of the 17 Pdr was very welcome. Towed equipment much less so.
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  10. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I concur on much of this, furthermore if it was all about 17 Pounder - how come after the addition of Valentine 17 Pdr SP that we saw the retention of a 6 Pounder Troop in each Battery?

    Simple answer, 6 Pounder continued to fulfil a valuable role on many levels, this is clear from a plethora of source material at all levels.
  11. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    6 pdr wasn't a blowpipe, it could penetrate the frontal armour of Pz IV, StuG III and IV and smaller AFVs from at least 750 yards and the side armour of all German tanks, StuGs and JgPzs with its standard AP-ammo. And manhandling a 3 tons 17 pdr in difficult terrain was extremely difficult.

    Von Braun's team had nothing to do with jet engines. In rocketery and aerodynamics Germans had much to give. IIRC Lippisch was also one of those transported to the USA and his delta idea was the base from which F 102 and 106 was developed. Maybe also some of German helicopter designers even if US had Sikorsky and his first helicopters were already in production.
  12. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    I agree with the view that the 6-pdr was retained because it was effective against most targets that were likely to be encountered and was far easier to deploy effectively than the 17-pdr was. Also, and IIRC, Churchill tank units retained a high ratio of 6-pdr armed tanks in Normandy because it was a more effective anti-tank weapon than the 75mm.

    As I understand the situation, 17-pdr production was increasingly diverted to tank and self-propelled mounts, so much so that fifty 3-inch AA guns were apparently mated to surplus 17-pdr carriages for home defence. With the proliferation of mounted 17-pdrs and other armoured support, more effective anti-tank ammunition for the field artillery, together with air support, I suspect that the likelihood of a single 6-pdr going head-to-head with a Panther or Tiger would have been pretty remote.

    Note also that the American forces classified the towed 90mm as “not desired to be produced for, or shipped to, the European Theater of Operations” in March 1945. As with the 17-pdr, I suspect the availability of self-propelled mounts was key to this decision, and being half as heavy again as the 17-pdr, manhandling it must have been a chore.
  13. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    The US liked the 6 pounder though and sent over many thousands of the American version to both the US and British armies as the M1 57mm.
  14. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    IIRC any mating of 3" guns to 17 pdr carriages was an expedient ordered in July 1941 to counter any heavy tanks landed by the Germans, pending the development of 17 pdr. By 1943 there was no-need to bother with the 3" 20 cwt as an anti tank gun, or any point in training anti tank gunners in an equipment they would not use.

    6 Pdr guns occasionally did face Tigers and Panthers.

    Here is an extract from a report by Lt Vaughen, who commanded four 6 pounder guns of C Troop of 217 battery 55 Anti tank Regiment on 1st July 1944 supporting the Tynside Scottish (TS) . This took place SW of Caen against a sustained attack launched by the "Der Fuhrer battlegroup" II SS Panzer Corps at the end of Operation Epsom.

    Gripping stuff eh? Vaughen was awarded an MC, Sgt Hall the DCM and Bdr Sparrow the Croix de Guerre. This report ought to dispel any doubts about the confidence of the Gunners in the 6 pdr and their willingness to take on what they identified as Tiger and Panther tanks with the 6 pdr.

    A week later the same unit was given two SP guns on the Valentine chassis for trial and inspection. The report dated 23 July gives some firm views on the value of the 6 pdr, and limitations of the towed 17 Pdr.


    A heroic action by a US Army 57mm detachment achieved an mobility kill on a Pz V of KG Peiper outside Trois-Ponts.

    The first Tiger knocked out by the allies was shot up by 6 pdrs and one interpretation of the fate of Michael Wittman at Villers Bocage has him stopped by a mobility kill by a 6 Pdr.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
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  15. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    I take your point Sheldrake but in the dark recesses of what passes for my mind I seem to recall that when production of 6-pdr carriages outstripped gun production the Canadians mated 2-pdrs to some of the excess 6-pdr carriages and used the resultant hybrid for training, so perhaps the same was the case here.

    While your July 1941 date fits well with what I discovered about the availability of the 3” 20cwt, the 17-pdr pilot models were only ordered in July 1941 according to Ian Hogg. The 17/25-pdr hybrid was of course a consequence of the unavailability of the correct carriages still in late 1942 and these figures suggest that carriage production only began to outstrip gun production in 1944. This suggests to me that the 3” 20cwt/17-pdr was a later innovation. I stress that this is merely deduction and speculation on my part and if anyone has evidence and photos then please share.

    N.B. I certainly wasn’t trying to suggest that 6-pdr gunners never faced Panthers or Tigers, clearly they did. Four guns acting in concert, in close terrain, with their flank refused by other guns is a very different proposition to the sort of duel that Warlord seems to envisage. Your combat report illustrates very well what could be achieved with teamwork and courage.

    Approaching this discussion from a different angle, I wonder how many Panthers and Tigers that there would have been on the western front at any one time, and what the likelihood was of actually encountering one following the break-out from Normandy. I understand that around 6,000 Panthers and 1,350 Tigers were produced. Many would have been deployed to the Russian and Italian fronts, at any time a number would have been receiving maintenance or battle repairs or have been held in reserve, and many would already have been lost by D-Day. How many would have been destroyed by the Allied air and ground forces in the months following the invasion? Perhaps I’m wrong, but I suspect that while 6-pdr gunners (and their 57mm M1 counterparts) did sterling work, over such a broad front many may never have even seen a Panther or Tiger in anger.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017
  16. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Re 3" 20 cwt guns on 17 pdr carriages.

    The figure of 50 towed equipments fits with a matching 50 to be mounted on a tank chassis as SP guns, ordered sometime in 1941. (possibly after unimpressive demonstration to Brooke inn July 1941. This project overran and was beset by inter-arm arguments over whether the tracked version was RA or RAC. The 50 referred to may be the defined deliverables from this project. However, by the time they were completed the 17 pdr was already in production and the project pointless.

    Re chances of encountering a Panther or Tiger tank.

    #1 The Germans did lose a lot of these tanks in Normandy - mostly either destroyed by their own crews or by AP shot fired by ground forces.

    #2 The chances of facing Panther and Tiger tanks was low in the US 1st Army but quite high in the British 2nd Army and Canadian 1st Army in July-August 1944. Allied strategy was to draw the German Armour to the Caen sector. The action in Lt Vaughan's report was part of Op Epsom 26 June -2 July). In this action four divisions from 8th and 30th British Corps faced battle groups from 1st 2nd 9th 10th and 12th SS Panzer Divisions, the 2nd, 21st and Panzer Lehr Army Panzer divisions and the 501st and 502nd SS Heavy tank battalions. Over the next five weeks the German armoured schwehrpunkt of Panzer Gruppe West was the target for a series of Anglo-Canadian attacks in the Caen sector.

    After the breakout the Germans struggled to rebuild their forces. However, where there armour was there would be panthers and at critical points Tigers. There were Panthers and Tigers at Arnhem, on the airborne corridor and at Aachen. The armoured battles in Lorraine featured lots of panthers, but also Pz IV and stug.
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList

    In Normandy, you were basically as likely to meet a Panther as a Pz IV as the panzer regiment of a standard panzer div had a battalion of each; they weren't that special.
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Slightly less likely. 21st had two Pziv battalions and 10 SS one Pz IV and one StuG.

    The Germans thought the Panther a liability in Normandy. It was too big for the narrow roads and difficult to traverse the turret in the bocage.

    These constraints did not apply in the open country between Caen and Falaise.
  19. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    The Chiefs of Staff committee authorised the release of the 100 guns, being removed during the conversion of 3” 20 cwt to the U.P. Weapon, to the War Office for use in tanks in March 1941. According to Mark Tonner’s article an order was given to Vauxhall for 100 Churchill Gun Carriers 25 July 1941, subsequently reduced to 24 apparently, before finally being changed to 50. While the towed 3” would appear to be the 50 gun balance, logically they couldn’t have been ordered in July 1941 as all the guns were earmarked for the Gun Carriers at that time and the 17-pdr carriages were not even in production.

    The sense that I get is that when the guns became available the War Office was naturally keen to make use of them and received authority for their use in tanks. They became available for other uses only after the Churchill Gun Carrier was considered unsuccessful and the order reduced in December 1941; and for towed use only when carriages became available. When the decision to mate the 3” gun to the 17-pdr carriage was taken isn’t clear to me but the evidence so far available suggests to me that it was no earlier than 1943, and probably in 1944. I have seen various vague accounts of these weapons before in secondary sources, all unreferenced, and have yet to see a photograph, so I will keep an open mind until I see some evidence.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
  20. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    Thank you for the clarification. I find this matter one of the more opaque and dispiriting in British weapons development.

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