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25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:34 pm
by Corktip100
Hi All,

Specifically, I'm thinking about the use of 25 pounders as a support option in the Blitzkrieg book. Technically, they'd be 18/25 pounders, but the reason I ask is that I have found a couple of references to "field guns" being used in the front lines as stop-gap anti-tank guns.

Michael Heyworth's book Hazebrouck 1940 has a reference to the 1st Bucks being supported by 2 pounders and field guns during their stand at Hazebrouck. There's another book, The Road to Dunkirk by Charles More, that talks about field guns in support of the infantry battalions.

There are rules for the French 75s, but no mention of BEF 18/25 pounders. Were they ever actually used in the front line, or was there a choice made to leave them out?

Not that I have a vested interest or anything...

Image

Many thanks!

Dave

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:51 pm
by Munin
The main book lists the L28.8 25 pdr gun as AP 8, HE 7. The CoCulator/Consolidated Arsenal puts it at List 5. I know these weapons were pressed into service as anti-tank guns, and especially in the Western Desert campaigns there are numerous accounts of them engaging enemy tanks over open sights. The Transvaal Horse Artillery's "last stand" at Sidi Rezegh during Operation Crusader is a good example. I know French field guns were pressed into an ad hoc anti-tank role during the Blitzkrieg, and I'd suspect the same was true of British guns as well.

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:43 pm
by Arlequín
The Blitz Book for the first time factors in availability as well as game effect. On that basis 'stop-gap' 18/25 pdrs should be one support slot higher than they cost out that imo.

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:00 pm
by Corktip100
Thank you for the info. I'm going to take Arlequin's advice and treat an 18/25 pounder as list 5.

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:45 pm
by Groupe_Franc
At risk of clouding the issue, I wonder whether the Consolidated Arsenal AP value for the 25 pdr is for the Western Desert with some form of Heat round (or the like). Did the 18/25 pdr in France in 1940 have a Heat round? I'll admit that I don't know either way. The French 75mm (presumably with Heat) has an AP of 5.

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:07 am
by poiter50
I doubt either weapon had a HEAT round as such, perhaps a solid AT round with reasonable penetration but HE against those early tanks was devastating, causing warping or buckling of the armoured plate.
Groupe_Franc wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:45 pm
At risk of clouding the issue, I wonder whether the Consolidated Arsenal AP value for the 25 pdr is for the Western Desert with some form of Heat round (or the like). Did the 18/25 pdr in France in 1940 have a Heat round? I'll admit that I don't know either way. The French 75mm (presumably with Heat) has an AP of 5.

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:07 am
by Arlequín
The French 75mm Field Gun had an APHE (not HEAT) round, that had been designed just before the Great War. AP 5 is about right, as it had only slightly better penetration (40mm) than the German 3.7cm (29-34mm). The French round did however explode after it had penetrated, or typically caused spalling in lieu of penetration.

The 25pdr started the war with a solid AP-Tracer round. Penetration from one source is given as 62mm at 500 yards, but at oblique angles the shell often shattered. Based on equivalencies, that should make it at least AP 7 compared to the German 37mm and French 75mm. The main rule book has AP 8 for the capped rounds used after 1940.

The 40mm Bofors guns in the mixed light anti-aircraft/tank units, also had a solid AP round available. Anti-tank work was the stated secondary role of British field artillery, a role employed in earnest in 1940.

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:36 am
by Corktip100
That's good info. Hadn't considered a Bofors, but might invest in one.

For the 18/25 pounder I had assumed they would be firing standard HE, on the basis that against the early Panzers up to (and maybe including) the early Panzer IVs, a 25 pounder shell would pretty much do the job.

Re: 25 Pounders in Chain of Command

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:36 am
by Arlequín
The majority of their rounds were HE and they would indeed be enough for most vehicles. Solid shot could pass right through some and while casualties and damage would still result, the effect was much less than if the shot passed through just one side and then flew around inside the vehicle until its energy was spent.