EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Great Ordinance Divide

I'm not in a tearing rush to get a "turn of the previous century" game on the table. I have lots of bits and bobs to work on for other projects and I'm over due with various yard and garden chores. But I figured it wouldn't hurt to source a few things and narrow down the time frame. After leaning briefly close to WWI, I`ve been leaning back towards late 19thC or very early 20thC.   I did managed to confirm that a Lithograph of a Boer War 4 wheeled, gas powered, 1 man, motor machine gun vehicle was real not an imagining of the artist and sorted a few things but when I started trying to figure out when gun shields were introduced, I've hit an "uhoh".

I really like the look of Boer Ware era field guns but one of the secret attractions  of the period is that I would finally have a period and scale that fits the old Crescent 18pdr  that's been around since before I can remember.

Well, thinks I, surely the one must have taken awhile for one to replace the other. After all, it took decades for rifled breechloaders to replace muzzle loaders and there were still upgunned WWII tanks (Centurions) in service with the Canadian Army when I joined the services in the early '70's. Well, I was sort of right, apparently there  was 1 battery of unmodified 15 pdrs used in East Africa during WWI, just one, in the whole world. The gun shield is a very visible mark of difference between late 19thC and 20thC artillery. It was also an insignificant one. 

I'm just not a very technical  guy so my brain tends to doze off when I start reading stats and the brain flips a switch and routes these things onto a bypass so while I knew that the French 75 had a reputation for rapid fire and knew vaguely that WWI guns had recoil absorbers above or below the barrel, I never really thought about it. The key development was of course the introduction of a recoil absorption mechanism when the famous French 75 was introduced in 1898. There were other developments but this was the key one that allowed a field gun to fire faster than a bolt action rifle. It was such an important development that all nations who could, adopted new  field guns and modified existing ones while they were waiting. Alas (for me) it appears to have been a relatively quick and easy adaptation and it totally changed the look of the guns. So, even assuming that Oberhilse and the rest can't afford the latest and greatest, I appear to have a fairly narrow window for mixing the two styles of gun and need to deal with one being about twice as effective as the other.

There is another problem. While I can probably track down enough Crescent 18 pdrs for my WW1 needs and Berlin Zinnfiguren has Shieldkrot`s 77mm FK96, no one seems to make a 1/43rd Boer War vintage 15 pdr BL or a 75 or 77mm Krupp Bl or anything even remotely looking like either. I really don't want to  teach myself to make gun carriages and turn barrels on a make shift lathe. So far, about the closest offering that I`ve seen so far would be a S&S ACW 3" ordinance rifle for the 15 pdr or a 10lb Parrott for the Krupp, and that only because I have no eye for detail on machines but who is to say that surplus American artillery didn't find its way to Atlantica? Especially if I want to do some 1880's games? Something to think about anyway.


  1. Ross Mac,

    Is this Britains Cannon that is on sale on eBay what you are looking for?


    I have seen 'Chinese' copies of the Crescent 18pdr on sale in sets of cheap toy soldiers, and these might provide a basis on which you could scratch-build a 15pdr gun.

    Good luck with your search.

    All the best,


  2. Thanks Bob. That's an interesting gun, a 15 pdr gun barrel with a gun shield but no recoil thingie. I had to break out Andrew Rose's book on Toy Soldiers to track it down. The pictures in there make it look a little small for the 54's it was built to go with so just possible smalle enough for a big 40mm gun. I'll have to keep my eye out for one with more reasonable postage. I do have 2 Britain;s guns appropriate for the Boer War but they are to obig for field gins for the 40's. The search goes on!

  3. I don't know if this will be of any help, but I read that Irregulars is creating a 42mm Really Useful Guns range. A 14/4/12 posting on their news section has a picture of some of the barrels they are working on

    1. Thanks Steve, I had looked at Irregular but missed that bit of news. I'll have to wait and see what comes out. The 20mm version has what I'm after so we'll see.