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  #1  
Old 13-10-04, 21:55
Doug Knight Doug Knight is offline
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Default 17 pounder anti-tank gun

Hi
Can anyone confirm/deny that the 17-pounder anti-tank gun was manufactured in Canada. It would have been after WW2 - probably in the late 1940's. I know of a photo captioned the "17-pounder line at Canadian Arsenals". The files at the National Archives are caught in their endless Access Review.

Thanks

Doug Knight
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  #2  
Old 14-10-04, 01:21
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Default None?

I have no information on any 17-pounder production by GM of Canada, Oshawa/Regina Industries Limited, Regina/Border City Industries Limited, Windsor during 1940-45. RIL and BCI produced the 6-pounder of course between them, but never apparently the 17-pounder.

I wrote the RIL story a while back when researching the Regina Assembly Plant of GM of Canada that was turned over to munitions production in July 1941, and it is regrettable in my opinion that they never got around to 17-pounder production; with contracts running out/cancelled from 1944 for the obsolete 6-pdr., the factory was doomed and closed in 1945 for good. Had the war continued the vital contracts might have materialised.
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Old 14-10-04, 04:19
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Default 17pdr gun

The 17pdr was being produced in Australia in the early half of 1943. I'm surprised that it should go into production here and not also in Canada. What was the source of the 17pdr guns fitted to Sherman Fireflies?

See AWM pic 029418
Physical description: Black & white
Summary: FORT GELLIBRAND, WILLIAMSTOWN, VIC. 1943-03-02. MR. L.W. BROCKINGTON, KC, BA, LL.D, SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE BRITISH MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, (THIRD FROM RIGHT), AND OFFICIAL PARTY INSPECTING THE NEW 17-POUNDER ANTI-TANK GUN WHICH IS UNDERGOING PROVING TESTS.
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Old 14-10-04, 11:15
Richard Notton
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Default Re: 17pdr gun

Quote:
Originally posted by Tony Smith
The 17pdr was being produced in Australia in the early half of 1943. I'm surprised that it should go into production here and not also in Canada. What was the source of the 17pdr guns fitted to Sherman Fireflies?
Hanno is our man for this; as I understand it the 17pdr tank gun is not a "simple" fit of the barrel tube but some substantial mods were done to shoe-horn the thing in, isn't the whole breech assembly rotated 90 degrees? Also I think the source of all VC Fireflies and their guns was GB since the Americans were never interested in the 17pdr so the modified gun was fitted to a standard M4A4, as delivered, over here. Hence perhaps why there was never enough of them.

There are some paradoxical things in tank gunnery, the 17pdr would sometimes not penetrate where a lesser gun would; simply as the velocity was so great the round shattered on impact and again trials showed for some engagements this was true also of the 2pdr against the American 37mm. Some types of 17pdr ammo was also desperately inaccurate although very potent, the chances of a first-round hit being slim indeed.

R.
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Old 14-10-04, 16:24
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Default Model

For a good 1:32 scale model of the 17-pounder gun, see :
Thread

I have never seen any reference to Canadian 17-pounder wartime production on reflection by any company. This is the list of files I found in the National Archives site:
Archives List of Files for 17 Pounder Gun

Note no reference to contracts, although the first listed file might have something to say in that regard.

Last edited by David_Hayward (RIP); 14-10-04 at 16:31.
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  #6  
Old 14-10-04, 23:40
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Default Another picture



I have one of the breech covers, that rounded bit with the lever on top of the breech.



And this one towed by a Field Artillery Tractor No.8 (Aust), a Ford FGT.

This picture and a lot of others came from a 1950s recruiting album Euan found. I've made several pages from these in various categories. There are links on each page.
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  #7  
Old 15-10-04, 00:48
Richard Notton
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Default Re: Another picture

Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Webb

I have one of the breech covers, that rounded bit with the lever on top of the breech.
Excellent picture.
Now I have looked quite closely at the period film of 17pdrs in action in (probably) Tunesia, although we've seen it several times there is only a second or two.

I have no idea if its a rapid or panic shot they have necessarily taken and so the trails have not been dug-in or otherwise secured as may be required; even perhaps the terrain precludes the trails from getting a good grip.

What is very apparent though is that the gun aimer gets a very wild ride and most certainly wouldn't have his eye to the eyepiece, I've seen the film several times and on firing the gun jumps at least a foot into the air and about 6 feet back, whereupon the rest of the crew rush into view to re-lay and re-load, doubtless knowing a safe distance through experience. Its almost impossible to see plainly but, of course, this may well have been the interim 25pdr carriage mounting, but doesn't look like it.

If anyone has real data it would be interesting, however, it occurs to me, in a bit of mental reverse engineering, the 17pdr may well have been a fierce thing to fire being just over 2 tons and having a performance largely similar to the PAK 43/41, as far as I can deduce from the ballistics charts, however, it is about a third of the weight of these on FLAK 18 carriages.

R.
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Old 15-10-04, 01:47
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Default Another image

This pic is from the AWM, showing another FGT No 8. Details:

ID Number:
141907


Maker:
Herald Newspaper

Physical description:
Black & white

Summary:
Melbourne, Vic. 1943-10-30. An Australian made 17-pounder anti-tank gun being towed along a city street during the Miles of Munitions Parade through the city.

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  #9  
Old 15-10-04, 13:25
Wayne Henderson Wayne Henderson is offline
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Default 17 pdr

The 17 pdr that jumped and rolled back was not layed properly. The 17pdr is a very heavy gun, heavier than a pak and just as deadly with the right projectiles used. 231mm+ ap at 1000 yds with the latter APDS round.

The Australian built example also featured a "jockey" wheel or caster on the trail. Odd to see the #8 pulling the 17 with a firing platform attached, that aint no Pheasant! Something new for the files.

Great 25 pdr pics supplied by Keith too but these are set up shots only. Note small things like spade covers still on, sheild positions, too much clothing etc.
My favorite is the pit with the parelelubumbumbum and the loud speaker, this was typical 2/7th stuff.
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  #10  
Old 15-10-04, 18:31
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Default Re: Re: 17pdr gun

Quote:
Originally posted by FV623
Hanno is our man for this; as I understand it the 17pdr tank gun is not a "simple" fit of the barrel tube but some substantial mods were done to shoe-horn the thing in, isn't the whole breech assembly rotated 90 degrees? Also I think the source of all VC Fireflies and their guns was GB since the Americans were never interested in the 17pdr so the modified gun was fitted to a standard M4A4, as delivered, over here.
I'm not an artillery guy, but do know the 17-pdr gun fitted to Sherman tanks and M10 SP Guns differed quite a lot from the towed guns. The former were the Mark IV and V, and apart from having a horizontal sliding breech (vs. vertical on the latter), they had an entirely different cradle as well. Read more about the various 17 pounder guns here.

H.
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  #11  
Old 15-10-04, 18:34
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Default Re: 17 pdr

Quote:
Originally posted by Wayne Henderson
Great 25 pdr pics supplied by Keith too but these are set up shots only. Note small things like spade covers still on, sheild positions, too much clothing etc.
My favorite is the pit with the parelelubumbumbum and the loud speaker, this was typical 2/7th stuff.
You like 'em more like this?

Source: http://www.junobeach.org/e/4/can-tac-art-tfp-e.htm

Members of "B" Troop, 5th Field Regiment, firing 25-pounder near Malden, Holland, 1 February 1945. From left to right: Sergeant Jack Brown, Bdr. Joe Wilson, Gunners Lyle Ludwig, Bill Budd, George Spence, and Bill Stewart.
Photo by Michael M. Dean. Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada, PA-146868.
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  #12  
Old 15-10-04, 19:42
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Default re firing platform

According to Ian Hogg the first 100 17pdrs were mounted on 25pdr carriages. The reason being that the split trail carriage for the 17 pdr had not been produced in time for shipment to Africa to meet the threat of the German Tiger tanks. These units were airlifted to Africa. Wether they had firing platforms included or not I don't know. The first Tiger to be destroyed in Africa was nailed by a 6pdr.
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Old 15-10-04, 20:47
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Default Re: re firing platform

Quote:
Originally posted by Art Johnson
The first Tiger to be destroyed in Africa was nailed by a 6pdr.
Which IIRC was a bit of a lucky shot which only jammed the turret and the crew bailed, this is of course the Bovington Tiger:
http://www.tankmuseum.co.uk/tiger.html

R.
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  #14  
Old 16-10-04, 01:06
Richard Notton
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Default Re: 17 pdr

Quote:
Originally posted by Wayne Henderson
The 17 pdr that jumped and rolled back was not layed properly. The 17pdr is a very heavy gun, heavier than a pak and just as deadly with the right projectiles used. 231mm+ ap at 1000 yds with the latter APDS round.
Well, certainly potent it was when the round shattering problem was overcome, but I have a problem with the weight according to what I have trawled up, perhaps you could help.

Best I can find is the 17pdr being given at bit over 2 tons (4,624lb) on the split-trail carriage of which the barrel is a bit over 16cwt (1,822lb), however the 88mm PAK is given at some 6 tons on the conventional trail carriage and 8 tons on the 4 wheel FLAK variant.

I can't see the 17pdr as a lump of metal weighing 6 tons or more and being towed by the M-C C8 that weighs 3T 8cwt. The 3.7" weighed 9 tons and was hauled often by the almost 10.5 ton Albion CX22S.

Bit puzzled here.

R.
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  #15  
Old 16-10-04, 03:11
Wayne Henderson Wayne Henderson is offline
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Default Pak Weight

The Pak I was refering to was the Pak 40 type which is an anti-tank gun similar to the 17 pdr in role. The Pak 40 pulls in at around 1500Kg where the 17 pdr a mere 3040kg. The calibers are a bees dick apart. (1.6mm in Canadian). The 88 Flak was not a Pak but an AA gun used in a role it was never intended for. Those bloody Germans were always cheating.
But you could, in theory, have a Pack of Flak of Ack Ack.
Weight of a 88 Flak in towing position, not including helmets, was around
7200kg, yes a lot heavier than a 17 pdr.

The 17pdr fitted to a 25 trail was known as a Pheasant and also produced in small numbers in Australia, but mainly as a test platform. The gun behind the #8 GT appears to have the split trail and carries a firing platform, which their is no mention of in the Parts Manual.

What's that white stuff on that 25 pdr? That looks like the same stuff used against Australian 17 pdr crews in Korea.
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Old 16-10-04, 04:19
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Default 88mm Pak 43/41 L/71

There was a version of the 88 which was a pure anti-tank gun. This was the 88mm Pak 43/41 L/71 which tipped the scales at 4350kgs.These were very rare guns. Only two German Divisions in Normandy had them. The first was the 21st Panzer division which had 24 guns, and the 716th Division which had two guns. As luck would have, Canada's Sherbrooke Fusiliers and the North Nova Scotia Highlanders faced both of these divisions, along with 12th SS Pz Div. on the 7th of June 1944.

Note that the 88mm L/71 was the version of the 88 which was mounted in the King Tiger (Tiger II).
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Last edited by John McGillivray; 16-10-04 at 17:01.
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  #17  
Old 17-10-04, 07:48
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Default Re: Pak Weight

Quote:
Originally posted by Wayne Henderson
The Pak I was refering to was the Pak 40 type which is an anti-tank gun similar to the 17 pdr in role. The Pak 40 pulls in at around 1500Kg where the 17 pdr a mere 3040kg. The calibers are a bees dick apart. (1.6mm in Canadian).
Ah, I see where you're coming from. Yes indeed, in calibre the 17pdr is quite comparable to the PAK 40 and is a heap heavier. I was coming from the "grunt" performance angle, if you will, where the 17pdr is close to the 88mm PAK 43 and 43/41 derived from the 88mm AA gun. Against these it is a lightweight.
Quote:
The 88 Flak was not a Pak but an AA gun used in a role it was never intended for. Those bloody Germans were always cheating.
But you could, in theory, have a Pack of Flak of Ack Ack.
Indeed so and when looking at the ballistics tables the 3.7" somewhat out-classed it, had we ever been allowed to use it thus. If I understand it right, the later 3.7" with Probertised barrels and chambered for the 4" naval case were hugely more potent.

I wish I could find again the library book read years ago that carried two plates showing the staff orders that made it a court marshal offence to engage ground targets with 3.7s and required gun crews to record the date, time and serial number of each round and the target engaged.

Of course Hans von Lucks also had to take his pistol to an intransigent Luftwaffe lieutenant who flatly refused to re-train his AA guns on the advancing tanks of operation Goodwood, he was asked if he'd like the Iron Cross now or later. Von Lucks relates this on the longish and detailed analysis made of Goodwood by the army probably in the early 60's or before; it is still used for training I understand. It is presented and narrated by the actual commanders on both sides. It is not on public release (of course) but I do have a (poor, but highly watchable) tape copy.

R.
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  #18  
Old 17-10-04, 20:38
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Default

If one was to make a comparison of the British A/T guns vs. the German guns based only on calibre, ( i.e. 2 pdr vs. the 37mm, 6 pdr vs. the 50mm, 17pdr vs. the 75mm) then the British guns are much heavier than the German equivalents. However, if the comparison is based on performance, and the ability to punch holes in armour (i.e. 2 pdr vs. the 50mm, 6 pdr vs. the 75mm and the 17 pdr vs. the 88mm) then it is the British guns which are smaller and lighter then the German equivalents.


Quote:
Indeed so and when looking at the ballistics tables the 3.7" somewhat out-classed it
The comparison of the 3.7” (94mm) AA gun to the 88mm Flak 36 in terms of performance is as followers:

Weight of HE rd.: 12.9kg (3.7”) vs. 9kg (88mm)
Maximum range – horizontal: 18,800m vs. 14,815m
Maximum range – vertical: 12,000m vs. 9,900m
Effective ceiling: 9,760m vs. 8,000m

Quote:
I wish I could find again the library book read years ago that carried two plates showing the staff orders that made it a court marshal offence to engage ground targets with 3.7s and required gun crews to record the date, time and serial number of each round and the target engaged.
This must be from very early in the war. From the history of the 2nd Cdn HAA Regt. the 3.7” guns were first used in a ground role starting in North Africa. By mid 1944 until the end of the war the 3.7” guns in NWE and in Italy were used almost exclusively against ground targets. In a ground role, I mean as field artillery. The 3.7’ guns were most often used in a counter battery role, shooting air bursts over German artillery, flak and mortar positions; with their fire being directed by FOOs, air OPs, and by Ground radar. From the period 7 Aug. to 31 Dec. 1944 2HAA fired a total of 56,959 rds. Only 406 rds were fired in an AA role.

In mid 1943 the guns of 2HAA were fitted with “Middle-East” sights which allowed the 3.7” guns to engage ground targets by direct fire. The gun crews did practice anti-tank drills, including live fire, before their deployment to Normandy. Because the 3.7” AA guns were deployed well in the rear, along with the field and medium artillery, they were seldom (if ever) called upon to engage tanks.

Quote:
If I understand it right, the later 3.7" with Probertised barrels and chambered for the 4" naval case were hugely more potent.
The British had two Heavy AA guns, the 3.7” and the 4.5”. The 3.7” Mk 6 was a cross between these two guns. It was the 4.5” gun re-lined down to 3.7”. It fired the 3.7” shell using the 4.5” cartridge. It had an effective ceiling of 40,000 feet.

Quote:
Of course Hans von Lucks also had to take his pistol to an intransigent Luftwaffe lieutenant who flatly refused to re-train his AA guns on the advancing tanks of operation Goodwood, he was asked if he'd like the Iron Cross now or later. Von Lucks relates this on the longish and detailed analysis made of Goodwood by the army probably in the early 60's or before; it is still used for training I understand. It is presented and narrated by the actual commanders on both sides. It is not on public release (of course) but I do have a (poor, but highly watchable) tape copy.
This story is told in Hans von Luck’s book “Panzer Commander”. The use of the 88mm flak in the anti-tank role is over stated. Most 88mm flak guns were crewed by the Luftwaffe. They saw their primary role as air defence, with that of field artillery as their secondary role. Anti-tank warfare was a very distance third. The 88mm flak guns were usually deployed too far to the rear to be able to engage tanks. Allied tanks would have to make a very deep penetration through the German lines, as happened during ‘Goodwood’, before they would encounter 88mm flak guns. Most Luftwaffe gun crews, when confronted by Allied armour, would quickly take their guns out of action and move them further to the rear. They would only engage Armour as an act of desperation. The guns themselves were too large, with a very high profile, to be easily hidden. They were not very useful in the ambush role.

This is bore out by the facts in the field. The 88mm guns of all types (flak, Pak, Tigers and SPGs) only accounted for 18% of the British and Canadian tanks KOed by gun fire in Normandy. The percentage of American tanks KOed by 88's in Normandy, is most likely even lower than this. The German 75mm guns were the real tank killers. Most reports of 88’s and Tiger Tanks were simply cases of mis-identification. To many Allied soldiers, every German gun was an 88, and every German tank was a Tiger. An example of this is found on the Juno Beach web site.

http://www.junobeach.org/e/4/can-tac-art-ger-e.htm

On this page there is an image of an “88”. Of course the gun showed in the photo is not an 88, but is a 75mm Pak 40.

In North Africa the 88’s were able to be used more effectivelly in the anti-tank role, because the British tanks which were equipped with the 2 and 6 pdr guns, lacked a good HE round. They had to close to within MG range to engage the German 88’s. This all changed with the introduction of the American 75mm gun on the Grants and Shermans. These tanks could stand off out of the 88’s effective anti-tank range and lobe HE rds into the German gun positions.

Last edited by John McGillivray; 17-10-04 at 22:14.
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  #19  
Old 18-10-04, 10:09
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Default Shell types

I think another reason the 3.7"AA was not used as an anti-tank weapon was the non-availability of any armour piercing projectiles, either of the solid shot type of any of the various shaped charge AP types. Mike Calnan might be able to elaborate here on this.
As far as I know, there were only two projectiles for the 3.7", a HE bursting round and a HE shrapnel round.
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  #20  
Old 18-10-04, 23:44
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Default 3.7" AP Shot

There was an AP shot for the 3.7” AA gun. (see below). The 3.7” gun was also developed into an anti-tank gun known as the 32 pounder. However, only two of the towed guns were built. The 32 pdr was also mounted in the Heavy assault Tank, Tortoise (A39)

There is a bizarre reference to the use of the 3.7” AP Shot in the Anti-aircraft role in the history of the 2nd Cdn HAA Regt. As followers:

“There was once, during the stay at Dunkirk, the suggestion that two troops (E and A) should also take on AA duties; these troops deployed radar and command posts accordingly. The purpose was mainly to help the Bofors guns get on target, and it was suggested that one gun of each HAA troop would fire AP shot every ten seconds and then the Bofors guns could fire along the line of that tracer. To everyone's great relief, this, scheme was soon forgotten, and there quickly faded from mind the mental images of great lumps of shot falling through the roofs of neighbouring command posts or crashing into friendly French villages. The AA role was left to the Bofors gunners alone,…”
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Old 23-10-04, 21:44
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Default 17pdr at Longue Pointe

This morning I made a visit to the museum at the Longue Pointe depot in east end Montreal. It is a nice little museum with a collection of weapons, uniforms, etc. Outside there are two 25 pdr guns, a 155mm howitzer, a 17pdr. and a 6 pdr A/T guns. There is also a 40mm Bofors and two American made 90mm AA guns.

In addition there are three tanks on the grounds. A Centurion with a 20pdr gun, a 76mm M4A2 Sherman and a Russian tank (maybe a T72).

I tried to read the markings on the 17pdr to see where it was made. The data plate has been removed. It is difficult to read the markings on the Breech due to the thick paint. What I could make out was a follows:

B/R No L/ ?????
R.O.F. C? FL 5595
(the letter after the "C" may be an F or a T)

I would guess that “R.O.F.” may be the abbreviation for the manufacture’s name. Any suggestions?

The two 25 pdr’s were marked on their breeches as follows:

S.I.C. 3.42 & S.I.C. 5.42

S. I.C. would stand for Sorel Industries of Canada with the numbers being the dates of manufacture as March 1942 and May 1942.

The 155mm howitzer was also made by Sorel Industries in 1956.
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  #22  
Old 23-10-04, 21:58
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Default Re: 17pdr at Longue Pointe

Quote:
Originally posted by John McGillivray
I would guess that “R.O.F.” may be the abbreviation for the manufacture’s name. Any suggestions?
John,

ROF stands for Royal Ordnance Factory, there were a number about during that period, not certain at present on "C" or possibly "CT", but notable ones were N = Nottingham, W = Woolwich, L = Leeds, etc.

Richard
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  #23  
Old 23-10-04, 22:46
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Default Upside down L

Thank you Richard,

So this 17pdr was made in the UK. I don’t think that Canada would have been importing British guns if they were manufacturing them here.

I thought that the letter after the “C” was an “F” or a “T” with part of the letter obscured by paint. However, I now think that it was an upside down “L”.

John
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Old 23-10-04, 23:33
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Default Re: Upside down L

Quote:
Originally posted by John McGillivray
I thought that the letter after the “C” was an “F” or a “T” with part of the letter obscured by paint. However, I now think that it was an upside down “L”.
John,

I have been through the ROF establishments and of the three that were in places starting with C, two of them were ammo fillng factories, the third is more promising although all I know is that it produced weapons and being near steelworks it seems logical...Cardiff. If I am correct, they probably used CF to avoid confusion with other Factories.

All guess work so far of course!

Richard
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  #25  
Old 25-10-04, 03:56
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Default Royal Ordnance Factory Cardiff

I have found two references to the manufacturing of guns at R.O.F. Cardiff.

“It was originally established in 1940 as a Royal Ordnance factory, manufacturing field guns and other weaponry.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/uk_news/wales/2305833.stm

“THE Atomic Weapons Establishment in Cardiff began its life as a Royal Ordnance factory in 1940. During World War II, it played a vital role, manufacturing anti-tank weapons. At the peak of wartime production, there were more than 3,000 employees, 90 per cent of them women, turning out more than 1,700 guns a month.”

http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc0...yword=&teaser=
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