S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com ORDNANCE Continuation Page 0 keywords =" ordnance Aberdeen Proving Ground Jarrett Churchill Yuma tank armor track history self-propelled artillery gun cannon rifle recoil HARP Maryland airplane bomb shell cartridge casing ammunition ammo FLZ Franz Langenhan Zella Mehlis Kropatschek Werndl Steyr Gras Lebel Colt Woodsman Comet Authenticast sabot ">

Updated:   28 Sep 2018; 18:45  ET
[Page created 18 Dec 2006;

[original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/ordnanc0.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/ordnanc0.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


ORDNANCE Continuation Page 0


This continues on ORDNANCE Continuation Page 1.

Please refer to the HELP section on Continuation Page 3.


On the main Ordnance page:
  "Jeep" vs. "GP"   new.gif (11 Jan 10)
  Unindexed ORDNANCE APOCRYPHA, below

On this Continuation Page 0:
    (combined here from the Main Page and Continuation Pages 1 and 2 on 18 Dec 2006).

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 1:

(Moved from Ordnance Page 2 on 12 Feb 2002).

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 2:

On Ordnance Continuation Page 3:
  CALIBER (Calibre).
  Anzio Annie
  Russian Armor

On Ordnance Continuation Page 4:
  Drake Cannon
  Coastal Defense Guns at Fort Casey
  M274 Mechanical Mule
  M2-M3-M4 MEDIUM TANK SUSPENSIONS (01 Mar 2015) new.gif (01 Mar 2015)
  M3 Medium Tank - Lee vs. Grant (01 Mar 2015) new.gif (01 Mar 2015)

On the Atomic Cannon Page:
  Atomic Cannon CQ (Seek You = HELP!)

On the Atomic Cannon Continuation Page 1:
  Atomic Cannon in Asia!

Ordnance Models Page.

On Ordnance Continuation Page 3:

Newton's Orbital Cannon
Jules Verne Moon Gun
    and harsh reality:
Paris Gun
Valier-Oberth Moon Gun
5 inch HARP Gun
7 inch HARP Gun
Babylon Gun
Jules Verne Launcher (the Hunter Gun)
Chinese Supergun

Comet Metal Products Authenticast Models Page.

- WWII tank ID plates and nameplates available on cont. page 2!

note-rt.gif - Les Canons de l'Apocalypse (The Cannons of the Apocalypse) is a site covering all the giant guns of WWI and WWII; it is absolutely incredible!  The only catch is that it is seulement en français (entirely in French).  The Google translation is awful; if you can struggle through in French, give a go; otherwise just use the cannon shells at the top and bottom (left is back, right is forward) to navigate and enjoy the fabulous pictures.  You'll find the Paris gun, Big Bertha, the K-5 and K-12, Dora, our 280, and the HARP and Saddam (Bull) guns, and far more!

As noted on the main Ordnance page, army ordnance buffs should visit the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground@ off Routes 40 and I95 just south of Havre de Grâce and the Susquehanna River Toll Bridge - very much worth the time (and allow plenty of that, in proportion to your interest!).  There are (or were) acres of tanks and armored vehicles, domestic and foreign, of all eras, Anzio Annie, a 280mm Atomic Cannon, a 16" coastal defence gun, a V1 buzz bomb and a V2 rocket, and a great indoor museum with a fine small arms collection!  This fabulous museum is an absolute must for the ordnance devotée!  More about the Museum and its history is on the main Ordnance page.

Entrance to the Museum is from the main gate on Route 40 just south of Aberdeen and one rides in along an "Avenue of Tanks", the center strip of a divided highway.  Among the more classic WWI, WWII, and later vehicles, are this 1941 M3A1 General Grant* (the British General Lee* was a similar tank without the high .50 cal. turret atop the middle 37mm turret) and a 1942 M4A4 Sherman, plus, just for comparison, an M4 sitting outside the Roberts-Glad VFW Post 1727 in Aitken, Minnesota:

@ - Much of the collection has been moved to Ft. Lee, Virginia, where (in typical Army fashion) the Museum has been renamed the Ordnance Corps Training and Heritage Center(!); call ahead.   new (24 Mar 2015)

41 M3A1 at APG Ord Museum  42 M4A4 at APG Ord Museum  M4 at Aitken, MN
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photos - left and center / Aitken Independant Age - by permission - right)

Note that the return rollers on the M3 are centered above the vertical-volute-spring bogies (as also applied to early M4s) while those on the Aitken M4 are offset to the rear and that the APG M4A4 has the later horizontal volute spring suspension; these show the three distinct types applied to the M4-series.  All this and more is spelled out in detail and in more pix at M2-M3-M4 Medium Tank Suspensions on Ordnance Page 4, showing the progression of M2/M3/M4 Medium Tank suspension systems. rev.gif (24 Mar 2015)

M3 Grant vs. Lee
(Photo captioned 28 Feb 2015 by SB,iII after Wikipedia - all rights reserved)

* - Uh, oh!  Icks (1945, pp. 52 & 111/140 - see Ordnance Bibliography on Page 3) reverses these and says the American tank with the third turret was a Lee and the British tank was a Grant - that's not how I remember it nor how the Museum labelled it.  Well, Icks is right and the Museum and I are just plain wrong - the American tank was the Lee and the British version was the Grant and it's all spelled out, at M3 Medium Tank - Lee vs. Grant on Ordnance Page 4. rev.gif (24 Mar 2015)

This is the APG Ordnance Museum from the air, looking north; the main building is in the upper left, the "Avenue of Tanks" along the road from the main entrance is out of sight at the bottom left, the 16" coastal defence gun (marked "A") in the lower left center, and Anzio Annie ("B") and the Atomic Cannon ("C") just off the image to the left as marked.

APG Ord Museum
(altered from Ordnance Museum Foundation Photo)

Here is Anzio Annie (the 280mm German "Leopold" K5 railroad gun - see also below) before she came to APG:

Anzio Annie (Leopold) RR Gun
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photo)

and as she sits on a scrap of track now:

Anzio Annie (Leopold) RR Gun at APG   Anzio Annie (Leopold) RR Gun at APG
(Ordnance Museum Foundation Photos)

[More on Anzio Annie on Page 3.]

See also the The Patton Museum of Calvary and Armor at Ft. Knox in Radcliff, Kentucky; it features the evolution of Armor and includes exhibits of armored vehicles.


[What follows from here has been moved from the Main Ordnance Page on 18 Dec 2006.]

Driving past Eisenhower (formerly Salisbury) Park on Long Island on 11 May 2002 on my way to document the demise of the Meadowbrook Club and RR Station, I spotted a new emplacement of an M-42 Duster twin 40mm AA gun (on the M-41 light tank chassis); this is on Merrick (Post) Avenue, just south of Stewart Avenue, across from 1-800-FLOWERS, looking NE:

M-42 Duster Ike Pk
(11 May 2002 photo by and © S. Berliner, III 2002 - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on picture for larger image]

My favorite gun of all was that M-42 Duster; you sat in the open turret but handled it like a handgun!  Ca. 1954, the guns were firing oddly, erratically, sometimes giving a very wide horizontal spread of shells at the target, and I was given the enviable task of finding out why.  The Twin 40 handles like an over-sized double-barrel pistol; you sit inside the mount and the guns shoot where you point them.  Then you just drive away.  Great fun and nobody gets hurt (not in the testing, anyway).  Well, I couldn't figure out what was going on so I poured Dye-Kem, a machinist's blue dye used for marking steel, down the right barrel and ran a firing test with me down-range in a bunker just in front of the target butt.  I had a gunner run off a few rounds in alternating rapid fire, first the left gun, then the right gun.  Lo and behold, the holes in the target paper were all blue on the left and clean on the right!  Subsequent dynamic analysis showed that the suspension was well tuned for running but swung right when the right gun fired and then overcompensated left when the left gun fired, building up quite an oscillation in lateral torque, so much so that the guns ended up firing across each other.  Problem solved!

On that M-42 Twin 40 test, I had the great pleasure of having to sit at the target to observe those blue-dyed shells impacting the target paper; I sat in a reinforced bunker only a few yards in front of the target.  The sound of those rounds coming in directly overhead, small as they were (only 1½" diameter), and thunking into the backdrop, gave one pause; it helped to have a lot of faith in whomever had designed and built the bunker!

I also had to run firing tests with the M-42's turret lined 180° (to the rear), over the engine compartment, testing new muzzle blast deflectors (the very ones shown in the 2002 photo, above).  Well, they worked fine; the engine suffered no damage.  However - - - , the pioneer tools stored on the fender looked rather odd; the wooden handles of the axe, shovel, and pick-mattock had turned to splinters!   rev (24 Mar 2015)

Muzzle blast had many odd effects.  I had the dubious honor to run bore-sighting tests on the M65 280mm Atomic Cannon.  In bore sighting, you align the barrel optically on a target at exactly 0º elevation.  Before we fired, we taped cross hairs over the muzzle (there are fine grooves on the muzzle for the purpose).  Naturally, after every shot, some yo-yo (me) had to go out and tape new cross hairs over the muzzle, and all that some 8' to 10' above the ground.  Well, the blast from that monster cannon was so great that I sank all the way up to my knees in fine silt created from hard packed clay by the shock waves.

Shock waves were also my introduction to the Proving Ground.  On my very first morning on base, I was sent from the D&PS headquarters to the T&SPA office, where I had to fill out some form.  As I put pencil to paper, a 76mm Skysweeper AA gun let loose right outside the window.  The combination of my start and the desk jumping totally smashed the whole end of the pencil.

We tested the reaction of things to massive shock waves with a "Shock Tube", a huge pipe with one end closed and a big diaphragm inside.  Hydrogen and oxygen (as I recall) were introduced behind the diaphragm and ignited, bursting the diaphragm and sending a shock wave down the tube.  It was aimed eastward across Chesapeake Bay, and the Army regularly had to pay reparations for broken windows and crockery over on the Eastern Shore.

There was also a "Sabot Gun", a cannon (a giant mortar, really), some 6' in diameter, into which we WALKED carrying many huge silk bags of propellant grains.  The "sabot" (wooden shoe), an immense cylinder of wood, split longitudinally and open at one end, carried an aerial bomb; it was lowered by a crane into the open mouth of the gun, over the propellant.  When fired at an extreme elevation, just shy of vertical, the monster gun fired the sabot nearly straight up, and the sabot split apart near the apex of the steep trajectory, allowing the bomb to fall back as if launched from a bomber but saving the cost of many flights.   rev (15 Jul 2015) No, this "gun" was NOT the Little Davidmortar of WWII!  That was a 36" (914mm) mortar used for test firing aerial bombs during World War II, one of the largest caliber guns ever built, having a larger calibre than Germany's 31½" (800mm) Schwerer Gustav/Dora railway guns.   new (28 Sep 2018)

[End of what was moved from the Main Ordnance Page on 18 Dec 2006.]

[What follows from here has been moved from Ordnance Continuation Page 1 on 18 Dec 2006.]


We used to drive test vehicles to the neighhboring Churchill test course to beat the bejasus out of them.  One day an M-48 Patton tank nosed into a mudhole at just such an angle that a wave of mud washed right over the nose and the open driver's hatch, slamming my hapless driver back into the hull and nearly drowning him.  It took a lot of scraping to free him.  Another time, I was conning an M-18 Hellcat down Route 40 at its top speed (60mph, the fastest heavy armored vehicle made) when the right track broke a link; the track sheared off the entire sponson (that portion of the hull that overlaps the track) and the vehicle slewed wildly around before halting - hair-raising, to say the least!  Once, I had to take a class of West Point cadets over the Churchill course as part of their Ordnance indoctrination; fiendish as ever, I chose a short-wheelbase Dodge 3/4-ton 4x4 truck for the trip.  By the time my maniac driver (our drivers were all fearless Tennessee hillbilly hot-rod racers) got through, we had scrambled yeggs in back instead of prim and proper cadets.

When I left my position at Aberdeen, I had to account for all Government property signed out to me.  Everything was just fine until they discovered I'd run off with an old M-26 Pershing tank and a Boeing B-29 Superfortress!  That took quite a bit of explaining and proof.  How does one prove that one DOESN'T have an M-26 or a B-29?  Well, I took the inspector out on the test range and we probed in the mud until we found the hull of what was left of my M-26 target vehicle after high-explosive antitank round testing and a serialized engine block that was all that was identifiable of the Superfort after I got through with AA round tests on it!

Ca. 1954, there was an absolutely ancient gentleman working at Watervliet Arsenal, just north of Albany, New York, whose sole task was to straighten rifled gun barrels (we're talking 8" to 16" here - inches, not caliber).  Drilling out a barrel blank causes all sorts of stresses and then rifling it makes things even worse.  The barrels turn into multi-ton pretzels!  This little old man had an overhead electric crane, a pair of giant tongs, two pair of roller trunnions, and a steam hammer.  He'd pick up a barrel, which might be some 18" to 24" or so in diameter at the breech end and 30' to 40' long, with the crane, move it to the trunnions, sight along the barrel, move the trunnions together or apart (I forget how) to suit, sight again along the barrel, grab it with the tongs and rotate it in the trunnions until the sag was on top, gently bring the hammer down, push the inverted sag just beyond the barrel's elastic limit, and release it.  After one or two more sightings and springings, the barrel would be straighter than if it had been done by engineers with instruments.  Don't forget that there were no office computers or lasers, then.  His salary was far less than any form of automation would have cost the taxpayer.

In a similarly unorthodox vein, there was a laborer at Aberdeen Proving Ground in the early '50s who was rated as an unheard of GS1 civil servant.  It was a category invented specially to keep him employed.  He was around 6' 6" tall and weighed about 350 to 400 pounds of solid muscle.  He couldn't read or write but, ohmigawd, could he lift!  His only job was to pick up and carry around, single-handedly, 280mm atomic cannon shells, which stood some 5' to 6' high and must have weighed about 750 to 1,000 pounds.  His miserable salary was far less than all sorts of mechanical handling equipment would have cost the taxpayer.

GE made an armored boxcab locomotive in Oct-Nov 1918, too late to see service in France and I didn't seem to know anything about it!  As a railroad nut, as well, and especially as an early boxcab locomotive "expert" (freak?), I should.

Well, I finally ran across a photo of that 1918 Army unit, on page 140 of "Diesel Locomotives: The First 50 Years - A Guide to Diesels Built Before 1972, by Louis A. Marre, Railroad Reference Series No. 10, Kalmbach Publishing Corp., 1995, ISBN 0-89024-258-5.

Further, a correspondent reports that one of the Canadian National Railroad's early diesel locomotives may have ended up pulling an armored train during WWII on the West Coast of Canada; he's not sure if it's one of the two boxcab engines in a rail museum south of Montréal (which I'd visited many years past, couldn't find hide nor hair of recently, and finally located at St. Constant/Delson - check my BOXCABS page for news).  However, a Canadian correspondent writes that it just ain't so; we shall see.

[End of what was moved from Ordnance Continuation Page 1 on 18 Dec 2006.]

[What follows from here has been moved from Ordnance Continuation Page 2 on 18 Dec 2006.]

Whil(e)(st) working for T&SP (the Tank and Self-Propelled Artillery Section) of D&PS (Development and Proof Services) at APG (the Aberdeen Proving Ground), I had occasion to test an M-48 Patton II tank, with a 1,250HP V-12 engine and an Allison cross-drive transmission, on the main test track at 120°F in the SHADE {!!!}.  This was done by dragging against a gigantic, rubber-tired Traction Dynamometer truck, itself powered by TWO of the same 1,250HP engines, with an instrumented drawbar between the two vehicles.  Because the cab of the dyno truck was directly behind the radiators of the tank, we had two huge Chrysler Airtemp air conditioners roaring at full capacity to keep the cab vaguely habitable.  What with one 1,250HP V-12 in front and two behind and the two big Airtemps overhead, it was somewhat less than quiet in the cab!  To top off all that, on one test, the tank stalled cold and no efforts to budge it availed, not even using the full 3,750HP of both vehicles in either forward or reverse!  We finally had to dismount, in that searing heat, and look for ourselves and found, to our amazement, that the tracks had peeled the over-heated asphalt paving right off the underlying concrete and wrapped it around, jamming the tracks solid!  It took an enormous amount of labor (someone else's!) to undo that mess.

WOW!  Here's a pic I found on line of that very rig:   new (16 Mar 2016)


The one or two Airtemps were mounted through the rear wall of the dyno cab, not on top.

[End of what was moved from Ordnance Continuation Page 2 on 18 Dec 2006.]

See Ordnance page 2 for

See Ordnance page 3 for Russian Armor, with a link to a Dutch site and a Kiev museum with a twin-122mm-turreted armored railcar,
    and HELP!, where I post inquiries (or offers) solely at my own discretion.

The ORDNANCE page had to be split; this is a continuation of the ORDNANCE Main Page and, in turn, continues on ORDNANCE Continuation Page 1, ORDNANCE Continuation Page 2, and ORDNANCE Continuation Page 3.

[Continued on Ordnance Continuation Page 1).]

prevpage.gif  =   frstpage.gif    nextpage.gif
of this series of Ordnance pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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