‘Big gun (just finished firing) being covered up prior to moving’ | National Library of Scotland

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12in Gun on Railway Mounting. The gun and carriage weighed 221 tons, and fired a shell weighing 850 lbs.

As shown in this image, some of the guns used during the conflict were so big that they could only be moved around on railway lines. The men in the photograph are unfolding the tarpaulin to cover the gun and protect it from any adverse weather conditions. It may also have been used to camouflage the gun from enemy reconnaissance.

Railway artillery was ideal for deployment during ‘the Great War’ because of the static nature of the fighting (spur-lies generally had to be specially laid for firing positions).

The type of mounting in the picture was introduced in January 1918.

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT. A big gun (just finished firing) being covered up prior to moving.’

Original URL: http://digital.nls.uk/first-world-war-official-photographs/pageturner.cfm?id=74548078

Resource Type : image

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Cite : 'Big gun (just finished firing) being covered up prior to moving' | National Library of Scotland (http://digital.nls.uk/first-world-war-official-photographs/pageturner.cfm?id=74548078) by J.W. Brooke licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/scotland/)

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About Richard Marshall

Richard Marshall is studying for a doctorate in the literature of ancient Rome at Wadham College, Oxford, and is a tutor for Ancient History at St Benet’s Hall. In addition to Classics, he has a long-standing interest in the tactics and material culture of the British Army, especially of the period spanned by the Cardwell Reforms and First World War. He has a large collection of original uniform and equipment items used for teaching and research purposes, and is currently exploring the evolution of British military clothing and accoutrements in response to changes in fashion and warfare for eventual publication. He previously worked as a cataloguer for the Oxford University Great War Archive.
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