Friday, August 1, 2008

[Image] The 2/28th and the R.H.A load a captured Italian 149mm gun.

Tobruk, Libya, 18th September, 1941.

Men of the 2/28th and the Royal Horse Artillery.

This photo is a good demonstration of the resourcefulness of the Australians and English at Tobruk. The gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) utilising infantry of the 2/28th Battalion to load a captured Italian 149mm Field Gun.

These guns whilst large were quite unreliable, as alot of the Italian equipment was found to be. Note the stone "sangar" in the foreground. These low walls of stone were what was built to shelter troops from fire when the ground was too rocky to effectively 'dig in'.

The other things of interest for me in this photo is the long lanyard attached to the gun running back to the sangar. Pulling this long cord allowed the gunners to fire the cannon from a safe distance. The unreliable nature of Italian ordinance meant that to stand near the gun when firing it could mean instant death.

The other thing that amuses me is sense of urgency in the men running away from the gun to the shelter of the sangar. They have obviously seen what happens when an Italian large caliber shell misfires. Note the physical size of the shell in the sangar in the foreground. The explosion from one of these would be devastating.

image 020652 Australian War Memorial.

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