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Artillery and Ammunition 1 month 2 weeks ago #79225

  • Neville_C
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75 mm Krupp QF rounds on display at the Magersfontein Museum.

Left to right:
Common (possibly made at Begbie's, Johannesburg)
Grape-shot ? (with tin plate head - probably made at Begbie's)
Shrapnel

With fragments of 75 mm Krupp ring-segment shell in foreground.

The second image is a detail, taken from "Boer Ammunition (Shells, etc.) and Rifles in charge of Chief Magazine Master and Staff", and shows further examples of the first two shells, together with a round believed to have been manufactured at Begbie's for use with captured British 15-pdr guns. Indeed, it is possible that all three of these shells were made at Begbie & Co., Johannesburg. Note the friction tube resting on the powder charge in the foreground.


With thanks to MC Heunis.






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Artillery and Ammunition 1 month 2 weeks ago #79226

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The commonest Boer shell is the pom pom, the 37mm Maxim Automatic Machine Gun. Boer artillerists typically fired these in bursts of 3-5 rounds from a belt of 25 shells. Range 2750m. Each shell is like a grenade, being a 1lb cast iron projectile with a black powder bursting charge and percussion fuse. They were used with great effect on the Upper Tugela, esp. at Spioenkop where two pom poms played havoc on the summit (the pom pom on Twin Peaks went out of action from 10 am on the day of the battle). The British called them nick-names like "buck up" or "Hell's bells" [.."and buckets of blood" being implied]. The British brought pom poms of their own out to South Africa, though against a dispersed and concealed enemy they had less psychological or physical impact.

The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
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Artillery and Ammunition 1 month 2 weeks ago #79231

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Young Staatsartillerist, with belt of VSM 1-pdr pompom shells over his shoulder.
Damage to one end of the belt, with the loss of two loops, explains the reduced number of rounds (23 of 25).

Note the standing artillerist on the left, holding a captured British Lee-Metford, with 1888 pattern bayonet fixed.




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Artillery and Ammunition 1 month 1 week ago #79235

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Vickers Sons and Maxim, Limited: Their Works and Manufactures, 1898, p. 90.
“Naval Landing Carriage and Limber for the 37-mm gun”.

Second photograph: "Cronje's Pom-Pom captured at Paardeberg, Majuba day, 1900".
Note: the gun appears to have been stripped of almost every removable part (even the elevation screw is missing). Is this the work of souvenir hunters, or sabotage by Cronje's men in an attempt to render the pompom unusable? I suspect the former.









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Artillery and Ammunition 1 month 1 week ago #79240

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A staged photograph of a Transvaal Staatsartillerie VSM 1-pdr in action (reverse inscribed "De Beer, Commandant / Trenches, Margarsfontein [sic]"). Commandant Jacobus Frederick (Tollie) de Beer holds a Krag Rifle.

And another of a ZAR pompom at Mafeking, with the title "TRANSVAAL NORDENFELD-MAXIM / MAFEKING, 1900". Note the drawing of the British soldier on the shield, next to the sighting hole, to remind the artillerist what he should be aiming at..!










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Artillery and Ammunition 1 month 1 week ago #79241

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Drawing of the 1-pdr Common Shell (Treatise on Ammunition, 1902, p. 307), together with a photograph of a Pointed Shell, brought home as a souvenir by Joe Chamberlain.





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