What was the towing pintle of a 3.7" AA Gun

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Sheldrake, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Accounts of the D Day landings include the comment that towing pintles broke when trying to disembark3.7" guns.

    Trux has posted material that mentions this twice

    But what bit broke? Does this refer to the joint between the wheeled axle and the carriage/platform?
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I would interpret it as the tractor's 'hook' breaking. I assume the gun's towing eye was forcing itself through the clamp/lock at the top.
  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Spot on Idler.

  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Don't forget the bonus point for calling the lorry a 'tractor'!
    Rich Payne likes this.
  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    It was actually the other way round I think. The records show that the guns were unserviceable because of the failed pintle so it must have been the towing eye on the end of the gun's drawbar that failed.

    However it is the towing pintle that was reported as having failed not the guns axle pintle.

  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Presentation1.jpg I found a picture of a 3.7" gun kit and have numbered the options for the pintle that broke. If I google pintle and towing I find pages offering me towing hooks.

    However,I find it hard to believe that that damage to points 1 or 2 would prevent a determined detachment from bringing the gun into action. It ought to be possible to jury rig something with ropes to attach the gun to tractor. I can see how taking the joint at 3 outside its normal limits might leave the gun immobile. But is this the Pintle?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
    Dave55 likes this.
  7. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Neither 'pintle' nor 'towing pintle' appear in the 1937 'Manual of Driving and Maintenance for Mechanical Vehicles (Wheeled)'. The glossary jumps from 'pinking' to 'piston rings'. The towing equipment is referred to as the 'Drawbar attachment' or 'Drawbar hook' . Was 'pintle' a U.S. term that was adopted later ? The manual has plenty of information on recovery and there was a lot of experience of towing artillery off-road. I can't imagine that a weakness in the hook attachment wouldn't have come to light earlier with field guns.
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    As the bogey is steerable, is it safe to assume it has a rigid connection to the plaform? If so, 2 looks like the weakest hinged point - it's either that or the horizontal hinge at 2.5.

    The difference with field guns is that the 3.7 is a four-wheel flat bed - it's less limber and less a limber.
  9. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Over here pintle hitch means both sides of the contraption, the hook and the ring. The pintle hook is on the towing vehicle and the pintle ring is on the trailer. We also routinely call either component a pintle hitch as well.

    Sorry, I'm not being much help figuring out what broke.
  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    I don't work at your speed folks but I have found two references in the REME WW2 1951 Volume 2.

    Sheldrake's Option 3 seems to be innocent but both Options 1 and 2 were guilty.

    Page 266.
    '...serious damage was caused by weakness in design which showed up under travelling conditions more severe than those for which they were designed.... An outstanding case in the early operations of 21 Army Group was in the breakage of pintles of the 3.7" AA guns. The trouble developed in N. Africa and CMF and was never fully overcome. It became a serious factor in the Normandy landings through the difficulty in unloading these equipments from landing craft..... Temporary repairs were effected by welding to enable the equipments to be towed to a workshop where temporary repairs were carried out.'

    Page 270.
    'The two principal failures of the transporting carriage were the fracture of the pintle on the front of the platform and the plunger of the engine draft connector part 2, both of which occurred when the equipments were being used over rough country or during landing from landing craft.'

    Precise definition of 'plunger of the engine draft connector part 2' is unknown. Engine draft connector seems to be the drawbar.

    'Pintle' seems to have changed its meaning over the years.

    timuk likes this.
  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Presentation 3.7 gun bits 2.jpg
    Thank you for your comments and the additional information.

    Looking at the picture of the model and your quote I am more convinced that it is to do with the joint at 3.

    I wonder if the technical name for the axle assembly might be "engine draft connector" Its the assembly that connects the equipment to the draft engine. It isn't a limber.

    Even though military technical terms occasionally mangle the English language, the objects connecting 1 and 2 are a draw bar and draw bar extension.

    Object 4 fits the description of "the pintle on the front of the platform." Object 5 looks as it might include something that fits the description of "plunger"

    When the gun comes out of action the platform is elevated on the jacks.Object 4 is rotated through 90 degrees to the vertical. Object 5 is raised. The "engine draft connector/front axle assembly" is positioned so that the L sections on 4 and 5 make an enclosed box. The wheeled plunger in 5 is inserted into the over the pintle 4 and then secured in some way with the hand wheel on 5 and the clip on 4. The result looks like a joint that would be fine for deploying a heavy gun onto hard standing but break on rough ground.

    If someone has the user handbook or gun drill book they could confirm/disprove this hypothesis

    This is really helpful even though I have not been persuaded yet.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Still thinking.

    One snippet:
    From British Artillery 1914-19.
    When the siege howitzers and heavy artillery which had previously been drawn by large teams of horses were moved by steam traction engines or petrol tractors they were fitted with engine draught connectors.

    This suggests the engine draught connector was an item which connected the gun to the engine, or tractor, for towing, or draught. A drawbar in lay terms.


    When the old horse drawn 6" howitzers were converted for motor traction they were fitted with 'extended draught connectors'. Trux made an early Matador and 6" howitzer in this configuration. I thought the term was familiar.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    From WO169/1497 - 211 Med Bty in Greece in 1941 there are a couple of remarks that refer to tail eyes:

    24 March 1941 ATALANTI
    About 5 miles outside LAMIA “B” Troop “D” Sub. Gun No. L191 broke the steel strip which holds the Tail Eye...

    18 April 1941
    “D” Sub-Section Trail Eye completely broken from Trail. Great difficulty experienced in lashing to A.E.C.

    It certainly looks like there were a variety of terms in use in the RA.


  14. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    A photo showing object 4 and 5.



    H 31848  edit merge 2.jpg

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