S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com ORDNANCE Continuation Page 3 keywords = ordnance Aberdeen Proving Ground Jarrett Churchill Yuma tank armor track history self-propelled artillery gun cannon rifle caliber calibre recoil HARP Maryland airplane bomb shell cartidge casing ammunition ammo FLZ Franz Langenhan Zella Mehlis Kropatschek Werndl Steyr Gras Lebel Colt Woodsman Comet Authenticast sabot

Updated:  10 Feb 2017; 18:45 ET
(Created 04 Feb 2000)
{most missing images restored 03 Feb 2003}
[Ref:  This is ordnanc3.html   (URL http://home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/ordnanc3.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

  Continuation Page 3


The ORDNANCE page has had to be split; this page is a continuation of the main ORDNANCE page, Ordnance Continuation Page 1, and Ordnance Continuation Page 2.

INDEX (truncated):

On the main Ordnance page:

On the Ordnance Atomic Cannon Page:

On the Ordnance Continuation Page 0:

(combined here from the Main Page and Continuation Pages 1 and 2 on 18 Dec 2006).
new.gif (18 Dec 06)

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 (19 Dec 06)   Coastal Defense Guns at Fort Casey
  M274 Mechanical Mule (31 Oct 2008)
  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)

Ordnance Models Page:

Comet Metal Products Authenticast Models Page.


The word CALIBER ("calibre" in British English) has two related meanings.  The first has to do with the nominal bore diameter of a gun while (whilst) the second has to do with the length of a gun in diameters; thus a 5"-50 naval gun has a nominal inside diameter of 5" and is fifty times that diameter in length or 20' 10" (250") long.

Some representative calibers (bores) are presented here: rev.gif (24 Apr 2014)

										Rev.:  24 Apr 2014
  .118            2.9972                Daisy "mini" BB
  .177            4.4958       Pellet   BB
  .218            5.5372                Bee
  .22             5.588        Target
  .223            5.6642                Zipper
       0.23622            6
  .25             6.35
       0.25591    6.5                   NATO Round
       0.27559            7
  .30             7.62         Rifle
  .303            7.6962       Enfield
  .32             8.128
  .35             8.89
       0.35433            9    Police
  .357            9.0678       Magnum
  .375            9.525        Magnum
  .38             9.652        Police
       0.43307           11             Gras
  .44            11.176        Magnum
  .45            11.43         ACP
  .475           12.065        Magnum   Weatherby
  .50            12.7          MG
       0.59055           15    G
  .60            15.24         AC/MG
       0.7874            20    AC/AA
       0.98425           25    G
       1.1811            30    G
       1.37795           35    G
       1.4567            37    AT
       1.5748            40    AA
       2.95276           75    G/H
 3               76.2          G
       3.45              87.6  G        British 25-pounder
       3.46457           88    AA/AT    German "88" FlaK 36
       3.5433            90    AT
       4.13386          105    H/G
       4.7244           120    AA
 5                      127    N
                        128    AT       German "Sturer Emil"
 6              152.4          N
       6.10236          155    G
       6.88976          175    G        "Baby" Atomic Cannon
 7              177.8          N
 8              203.2          H/G
 9              228.6          N
       9.44882          240    H/G      SPH and prototype Atomic Cannon
10              254            N
11    11.02362          280    G        Anzio Annie/Atomic Cannon
12              304.8          N
14              355.6          N
16              406.4          N
18              457.2          N        Yamato & Musashi (only)
21              540            G        German "Mörser Karl" modified
24              600            H        German "Mörser Karl"
31              800            G        German "Schwerer Gustav/Dora" - largest gun ever used in combat
35              890            G        Russian Tsar Cannon
72            1,828.8          Mortar   US Army bomb-in-sabot test mortar (APG)@

where AA = Anti-Aircraft, AC = Aircraft,
      ACP = Automatic Colt Pistol, AT = Anti-Tank,
      G = (long) Gun, H = Howitzer (short gun),
      MG = Machine Gun, and N = Naval.

How could I ever have omitted the dread German "88"?  Here it is in the towed FlaK 36 (Flugabwehr Kanone - "plane-against cannon") AA version, which was used as-is as an AT gun with such devastating results in the North African campaign when we put up M3/M5 Stuart light tanks with paper-thin armo(u)r against them:


Later tank-mounted and self-propelled versions were equally deadly against the M3 Lees/Grants and M4 Shermans.  It wasn't until the Brits and Canadians used their 17-pounder in modified Churchills ("Black Prince"?) and Ram IIs (Shermans) and we came out with our long-barreled, high-velocity 76.2mm and 90mm tank guns towards the end of the European campaign (Normandy and on) that we achieved parity. rev.gif (10 Feb 2017)

Now, we need to cross-reference British guns designated by the weight of their round; that WWII 17-pounder is/was a 3"/76.2mm gun and the 25-pounder is a 3.45"/87.6mm gun.  On 05 Sep 2000, Ed Magnani sent me a copy of a table of U. S. Naval guns (from the Bluejacket's Manual, USN, 1917, Fifth Edition), in which the 3" gun projectile weight was 13 lbs. and the 6-, 3-, and 1-pounders were (logically enough), 6.0, 3.2, and 1.0 lbs., respectively.  The Fort Nelson Librarian obligingly offered this:  "'pounders' began as a term in the late 17th century to replace names like falcon and saker etc.  It was a bit more logical and relied on the principle that a bore of given size would fire a spherical iron ball [solid shot] of a certain weight which, with allowance for fit [windage] and manufacturing tolerances, could be assumed to be constant.  The tradition continued after this direct link was lost in the second half of the 19th century with the introduction of rifling and 'cylindro-conoidal' projectiles.  This was because it remained a convenient way [at least to the British] of identifying a gun and indeed differentiating two maybe completely different kinds of gun that happened to have the same calibre, but {the term} is no longer in use."  However, we still don't have the actual diametral equivalencies.  Ed Magnani advised of an undated Arco reprint of Jane's Fighting Ships - 1914, which tabulates U.S., British, and German naval guns.   rev.gif (24 Apr 2014)

@ - that 6' diameter sabot gun is (was) for real; we used it at Aberdeen Proving Ground ca. 1954 to launch aerial bombs from the ground without requiring aircraft.  It was dropped to 0° and we walked into the barrel carrying bags of powder (LOTS of bags)!  Then it was elevated to 90° and a huge wooden sabot containing the test bomb was lowered into the barrel, it was canted to a minimal angle off vertical and fired off.  You could easily watch the sabot drop off and the bomb climb upwards, hesitate, arc over, and head downwards.  Very impressive, indeed! (24 Apr 2014)

Anzio Annie

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

Anzio Annie has an interesting story.  I received a reminiscence from (the son of) an Anzio veteran who served with the 540th Combat Engineers and was blown 200 feet by a K5(E) shell.  According to him, the gun was captured and the barrel blown and he took pictures before and after (which I hope to get and reproduce here).  However, he also claims the barrel was marked "BETHLEHEM, PA", which I find a wee bit hard to believe and to which I think Krupp might take exception, unless he's confusing a K5(E) with a recaptured 155mm gun or 8" howitzer.

Here is the "official" 05 Jun 01 Ordnance Museum (APG) version of the story (virtually verbatim):

There were two guns that made up the German K-5 RR battery that shelled the Anzio Beachhead.  "Robert" and "Leopold" were the names the Germans gave the two guns.  Together, they composed "Anzio Annie."  When the Allies broke out of the Anzio Beachhead, the guns were moved to Civitavecchia, located just north of Rome.  There "Robert" and "Leopold" were spiked with explosives and blown in place.  On 07 Jun 1944, the 168th Infantry Regiment of the 34th Division captured the guns.  Leopold was the less damaged piece and was moved to Naples and embarked aboard the liberty ship Robert R. Livingston and shipped to APG.  The fate of "Robert" is somewhat hazy; the best guess is that it was scrapped in Italy after the war {if anyone has better information, please supply it, with provenance}.  In February of 1946, two more K-5 RR guns were brought to APG from Germany.  Parts off those two guns were put on Leopold and the gun was tested at APG.

In 1950, however, those two K-5s, along with a 600mm Mortar called "Karl", a 420mm "Big Bertha", and a 21cm Czech gun, were scrapped before the Museum Director, Colonel {G. Burling} Jarrett could rescue them.

End of narrative.  Read it and weep!  (My sincere appreciation to APG for this narrative.)

The good Dr. Robinson confirms that "both Leopold and its partner Robert were captured in late 1944" and adds that "a crew member, Albert Saurerbier, destroyed the elevating generator and breech with explosives.  It is presumed Robert was disabled as well.  However Robert (perhaps another) seems to have seen action later (with Margaret) in W. Italy."  Dr. R.'s ref.:  "Anzio Annie - She was No Lady", pub.by R. J. O'Rourke.


See below for stories about my .22 Colt Match Target Woodsman and about my .177 FLZ pistol.  FLZ is named for Franz Langenhan, in Zella Mehlis, Austria.  I got the FLZ pistol from a cousin who was an interrogation officer in the U. S. Army in Germany during WWII and "exchanged" it for a pack of American cigarettes with a Wehrmacht offizier.  Several years later, wandering into Far Rockaway (LI, NY), I found a nearly identical piece in a pawn shop, but it was a long rifle in terrible shape.  For $5, it soon departed in my company and, after Dad and I disassembled it with a pipe wrench and replaced the piston gasket, shooting bullet-shaped, finned zinc pellets, it could fire through some 20 issues of war-time LIFE magazine!

As an ROTC student, I joined (briefly) the Pershing Rifles drill team and wanted something heavy with which to practice fancy drill.  In the old Bannerman shop at 501 Broadway in Manhattan (well before they moved out to Blue Point, Long Island), I located a huge military rifle up near the top of a display wall that caught my fancy; after the ancient old salesman clambered up and back with it, I bought it, added a WWI sling, and walked up Fifth Avenue and into the New York Public Library with this "cannon" slung over my shoulder (I DID remove the bolt)!  In the Reference Section, it turned out to be an 1881 Kropatschek; serial number A25116, marked on the left side of the receiver: "Mle 1878 MARINE", "MANUFACTURE DE Mr DE WERNDL", and "Steyr-Autriche", chambered for the 11mm Gras cartridge; it was the black-powder immediate predecessor of the Lebel, the world's first smokeless powder military rifle. [This rfle was donated to the Ordnace Museum in Ft. Lee.; they already had one but it was a rusted hulk.] rev.gif (28 Feb 2015 and 10 Feb 2017)

Per the Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc., the Bannerman Store at 501 Broadway closed in 1959 as did the storage facility on Bannerman Island; the Bluepoint store operated from 1959 to the early 1970's. rev.gif (10 Feb 2017)

I haven't (yet) found my pictures of the rifle but here are an almost-identical Portuguese Model 1886 and, just to show how precisely every part was serialized, two views of the trigger, with S/N {A251}16 stamped on one side and a proof mark on the other: rev.gif (10 Feb 2017)

(doctored to remove extraneous detail by and © 2017 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)

(cropped from old photos by and © 2017 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)

Those are my early-'50s Army Ordnance Association and succeeding American Ordnance Association membership pins for comparison [the AOA(s) were then variously called the Defense Preparedness Association, the American Defense Preparedness Association, and now the National Security Industrial Association].

You can read all about the Kropatschek at Keith Doyon's incredible MILITARY RIFLES (ca. 1865-1888).

Actually, the Kropatschek was the second rifle that caught my eye; the first was a Civil War era Brown, perhaps .50 caliber, which was unique in that it had a removable breech block with quarter-turn threads, just as on cannon, and a handle at the very rear end that looked for all the world like one on a bolt.  I turned it down, for all its uniqueness, because it was too short for drill!  Like the fish that got away or the antique car you didn't preserve!

At that time, or a year or two later to be more precise (ca. 1954), I had that heavy-barreled Colt Match Target Woodsman .22 semi-automatic noted above, with a carry permit and a sport blade front sight.  The gun was purchased from a store in Yonkers and mailed to me when I lived in southeastern Nassau County; it was held for pick-up at the main Post Office in Far Rockaway.  Unfortunately, that is in Queens County, which happens to be in New York City, which happens to have it's own version of the Sullivan Law, which meant I couldn't retrieve the gun!  Eventually, I was able to get NYPD Blue (the term hadn't been invented yet) to issue me a "Detective's Permit", good only for a few hours, that let me get the gun and carry it in its box across the county/city line into Nassau.  I was (and may yet be) a crack snap shooter and popped many a stone off quarry walls and such.  There is a good bit about my adventures in the northern Adirondack area and Plattsburgh with that pea-shooter on my Adirondacks page.  It was necessary in those days, in order to maintain a Nassau County carry permit, to shoot periodically with a registered gun club.  I found this requirement onerous and when, one day while carrying in a closed hip holster on a village street, I found a weirdo tailing me, I sold the piece and turned in my permit permanently.

Ca. 1954-56, I wandered around the area east of Troy, New York, over towards the Taconic Range, along the Poestenkill and the Wynantskill streams in my spare time.  On the north side of one of them, in a heavily-overgrown mini-flood-plain in unposted land, I found an abandoned 1938 Chevrolet sedan rusting away (it even had saplings growing through the rotted-out floorboards!).  There being a high ridge immediately north of the car to catch ricochets, I proceeded to blow out the tires which, miraculously, still held air, and then to shoot out the windows and the headlights and the tail lights and the mirrors and so on, with my trusty Woodsman.  Well, after there was no glass whatsoever left on the vehicle, I turned to cutting the hubcaps off by stitching the rims with .22s!  Then I cut off the front axle hub grease caps the same way.  Running out of ideas, I wrote my initials in the doors in 0.22" wide line-weight letters.  The mullions between the vent panes and the main door glass on the front doors disappeared in this manner, as did the radio aerial and the mirror stems and tire valve stems.  At times, I had to stop to let the barrel cool and often to run back to Troy or a local store to buy dozens boxes of .22LR cartridges; wow, did I ever run through cartridges!  By rough estimate (then, not now with my trick memory), I poured over 100 boxes of shells into that car!  There were endless things to shoot - cutting the hood panels away was tricky and cost dearly but that left the valve cover available to cut away.  Spark plug ceramics are a great precision target, as are the distributor cap leads and carburetor links.  When the sun was right, shooting out the instruments on the panel from behind the car, through the tiny rear window, was quite a blast (pardon the pun).  The fenders got neatly sectioned and the ornaments were removed intact by cutting the sheet metal from around them!  And, of course, the Bakelite-like material on the steering wheel just begged to be chipped away, as did the upholstery, etc.  I can't begin to remember what else I did to that poor car but I kept at it for TWO years, until there was't anything left a .22LR could pierce!  Incidentally, I was up that way in Jul 1999 and couldn't even find the field, let alone the car.

Not strictly to do with Aberdeen Proving Ground and Ordnance, the Mercury Cosmopolitan in the photo of my old Jag was the "locale" of two great stories (or so I think).  That was the car in which we were riding when we hit a sharp bump and the passenger in the left rear seat made a most peculiar noise, a sort of "YIP", followed by a low moan which he kept repeating, louder and LOUDER and LOUDER!  On stopping precipitously, we found the poor guy with the broken forward end of the left rear spring protruding through the floor pan and seat cushion into his private regions!  Early that Spring, the owner, who lived in the same civilian BOQ as I, parked the car behind the BOQ while he took off for a long weekend; what he'd forgotten was that he'd left a deer's head from a recent hunt in the trunk and the weather turned very hot.  The sweet smell that quickly emanated from the car as quickly became unendurable as the sun beat down!  We finally took a crowbar to the trunk and the sight and smell were (fortunately for you) indescribable!


First, and foremost, Lt. Col. Robert J. Icks (edited by Phillip Andrews), TANKS AND ARMORED VEHICLES, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1945 (9" x 12' long-format), profusely illustrated and, at the time, perhaps the most authoritative reference available.

Icks wrote other books and I have several German books, plus the Authenticast and MiniTanks catalogs and old (Korean-vintage) Army technical manuals listing all the vehicles in service, if I ever unpack far enough to find them.

"TANKS ARE MIGHTY FINE THINGS", Wesley W. Stout, Chrysler Corporation, 1946, promotional book about tank production.

"Panzer", Ferdinand Maria von Senger und Etterlin, Athenäum-Verlag, 1958 (the "bible") added.gif (10 Feb 2017)

More citations to follow (especially when I find my copies).

Russian Armor

A stranger sent me the URL of Henk Timmerman's Dutch site featuring the "National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War" {whew! - really - it was the "Great Patriotic War Museum" before} in Kiëv, Ukraïne.  This was simply incredible; I had never known of it before!  Henk also features the Kubinka Tank Museum, as well as many other AFV museums. rev.gif (new URLs - 10 Feb 2017)

While not a Russian armor nut, I did grow up during WWII and to see a collection with the T-27 (a Vickers-Armstrong Carden-Lloyd type), T-28 (a derivative of the Christie BT), T-34, JS-I, JS-III, etc., and even an armored railcar with two turrets from the T-10*, a Volga gunboat with a T-34/85 turret, and a Yak-9 blew me away!

* - The T-10 is the Korean conflict successor to the JS-III,
which dates it to the mid-'50s or early '60s - NOT WWII!
Odd, indeed, unless it was a WWII car with the T-10 turrets grafted on later for some weird reason
[not too many armo(u)red railcars used after WWII].

I had the temerity to think Henk or the Museum were wrong about the JS-I!  I thought it was very clearly a JS-II but was dead wrong.  The KV chassis had vertical sides and frontis and rear and a T-34/85-type turret (which, if I recall correctly, was specifically created for the KV and then put on the T-34 chassis).  The JS-I had the rectangular KV chassis but with sloped sides.

Unfortunately, most of my ordnance books are packed away and inaccessible so I could not document this but I thought I remembered these vehicles well - wrong after 55 years.  Henk did look it up and even sent photos of PST models to show the differences.  I also looked up the QualityCast (ex-AuthentiCast) line of Soviet tanks to double check.

I still have a balsa model I made, ca. 1945, of a KV-122 (from a KV-I kit) with a homemade turret, supposedly that of a JS-I, which looks nothing at all like any of these.  I knew where the model was and dug it out and took this photo to let you, dear readers, puzzle this one out:

KV-122 Model
(photo of ca. 1945 model 06 Jun 01 by and © 2001 S. Berliner, III -all rights reserved)

Kinda hard to do when the turret did not turn up anywhere (oooh, what treasures did, though!).  On this heavily-customized model, the driver's vision hatch hinges upward and the baffled engine compartment grilles are removable and were to have fine screeing installed (never happened).  Except for a heavy load of dust (which shows the turret was there not so very long ago), it's held up rather well for a 55 year old balsa model.  The chassis measures 10" (25.4cm) long.  Wonder where the turret went?  As a salve to my wounded pride, the turret WAS a JS-II turret (more or less - what can a kid get from a poor photo?)!

I found these old (ca. '58) photos 23 Jan 2002; they weren't well focused but they do show the turret:

JS-1 front ca.58 JS-1 rear ca.58
(cropped from photos by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.)

Regardless, these Kiëv and Kubinka sites are a must for armor (and ordnance) fans!  I couldn't find it then but Kubinka even has one of the giant Nazi Maus prototypes and a Karl-Gerät heavy self-propelled mortar (Mörser Karl)!  Direct URLs are Kiev and Kubinka. rev.gif (10 Feb 2017)

Speaking of old armor and museums, there's a new one down at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississppi, the Armed Forces Museum; where they have a neat armor collection, including an M5 Stuart, M4A1 Sherman flame-thrower tank, an M42 Duster twin 40mm AA tank (the model I tested at APG), and Ser. No. 004 M1 Abrams main battle tank.  But the pièce de résistance in my book is their T2E2 (later M2A2) light tank, "Mae West" (for its twin turrets), left behind after the (in)famous pre-war Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941:

(cropped from photo of ca. 1941 T2E2-cum-M2A2 at AFM, Hattiesburg - from AFM site - all rights reserved)

It's supposedly the only one left, or at least the only in operating condition, and was a direct predecessor of the M2A4 and M3/M5 Stuart series.


a.k.a. Hilfe!  Au Secours!  Ayuda!  Aiuto!  Ajuda!  Hulp!  Hjälpa!  Hjælpe!  Segít!  Auttaa!  Ops!  Tetsudau!  Pomoci!  Pahzhaloostah!  Helpi!
(moved from Ordnance page 2 once-and-for-all 26 Feb 01)

Here is where I post inquiries (or offers) solely at my own discretion:

[Material about the Drake gun/cannon moved to Drake Gun/Cannon on continuation page 4.] (19 Dec 2006)

The ORDNANCE page has had to be split; this page is a continuation of the main ORDNANCE page, Ordnance Continuation Page 1, and Ordnance Continuation Page 2.

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