Re: Voegel turntable

lru29
 

Time in and out of action for a Voegel turntable was really an
irrelevant factor since they were largely used only in long term
static firing positions such as the Atlantic Wall and the siege of
Leningrad, where there wasn't much urgency to get them setup really
quickly. In historical context, the Germans had used far, far more
complex and labor and material intensive firing platforms for
railguns and other heavy guns in the First World War, compared to
them the Voegel was labor cheap and easy to handle, which is why the
Germans were fond of it in WWII.
As for the Panama Mounts, the majority of the ones used were the
concrete type, which were already built and in position, you simply
wheeled the 155mm GPF or later 155mm M1 up onto the firing platform.
The moble Panama mount never did see much use, its use was mostly in
the Pacific by units such as the Marine Defense Battalions. And
compared to the heavy cumbersome naval 7", 5" and 3" mounts that
they had had to deal with at the beginning of the war, the mobile
mount was rather easy to deal with in the long run.

--- In railwaygun@..., "Gordon Angus Mackinlay"
<gam47@b...> wrote:
The gentleman wrote : "Does anyone know how long it typically took
to set up
a Voegel
turntable use for German Railroad guns ?"

Its rather like asking how long is a piece of string!, as I wrote
in a
previous posting, the Voegel turntable was a complex piece of
ineffective
equipment. Many variables must be taken into consideration.

Firstly, this was not a piece of equipment designed for mobile
warfare, it
was designed for use in fairly static locations, from which it was
not
required to be move on a regular basis.

As with any engineering task, its only as good as its workforce.
The German
Pioneer troops did not have specialised units for this task, so
any form of
engineering unit would be allocated the task. So its installation
would be
a case of trial and error.

Whilst I have seen a training film showing its installation, I
have never
actually read a handbook of instruction.

Making an educated guess I would say it would need a pioneer
troops platoon
(ie field engineers) tasked, some 45 men to level the ground,
place ballast
down, install drainage, lay the turntable, and run a branch line
onto the
table. Since they would have to be using hand tools and simple
lifting
devices, and allowing that all component pieces fitted together in
the
correct manner (ie. had not been damaged in previous use), ground
structure
was perfect, and Mr Murphy did not turn up! Twenty to thirty
hours would
be a reasonable estimate, of course then the gun and carriage
would have to
be run across each setting of the table to bed in the table
components. So
add another five to ten hours on. In total, between twenty five
and forty
hours, in a European summer with long periods of daylight, three
to four
days.

This is in the case of a weapon capable of 360degree fire, if you
just
wanted to put the turntable down for a training illustration ie.
not to be
fired, and the gun just static, ten hours (plus) approximate would
be
realistic. Also you must remember that these turntables were not
mass
produced, but, individually manufactured items (unlike say the
components of
the Bailey Bridge).

You could equate it with the US Army Coast Defence Corps Panama
mount for
the 155mm gun (two variants, for the M1917 and the M1) - these in
the main
were static gun positions and the gun came to the position, There
was
however, a mobile Panama mount, this massive and complex
(basically a piece
of junk) steel device would according to the handbook take some
forty hours
to assemble (and if the gun had been fired from it, a unknown
amount of time
to disassemble).

When supplied to the Royal Australian Artillery in WWII, the M1917
155mm gun
(which was a very efficient weapon) was issued to semi-mobile
coast defence
batteries (of two guns each), they needing mobile Panama mounts.
Whilst a
couple of such arrived in 1942, the RAA coast defence personnel
put their
think caps on and came up with a much more effective mount (using
less
steel, and cheaper to manufacture in bulk). This was a very
impressive
device, so much so that when examined by US CAC officers (and
those from the
USMC Defense Battalions), they requested the same from the US. To
no avail,
I am always totally bewildered by the US CAC. It took the best
graduating
officers from West Point, all with engineering degrees (and science
degrees), but, was on the outbreak of WWII a truly inefficient arm
of
service. The various volumes of The US Army in World War II (the
Green
Books) are extremely critical of the corps in all aspects!

The Australian use of the 155mm and their Panama mount is
described in KIDD
Reg, NEAL Ray. The 'Letter' Batteries the history of the 'letter'
batteries
in world war II. Self published, Sydney, 1998. HB, xiv, 415p.,
photos, maps,
drawings, index.
A fascinating military and technical history.

Yours,
G/.

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