Friday 22 June 2012

Guns, Guns ... and even more Guns!

Whilst I was on my recent cruise I came across a number of artillery pieces in different locations. As a collection, they are quite eclectic ... but I am sure that some of my regular blog readers will find them of interest.

Akureyri, Iceland: The 'Peace Guns'
I found these two cannons under some trees near the local Folk Museum. According to a nearby notice they were made in Sweden for the Danish Army in 1864 for use against the Prussians during the Schleswig-Holstein War, but were delivered too late to be used. They were sold to Iceland in 1925, and the barrels were half buried and used as bollards in Akureyri's harbour. They remained in use until 1988, when they were dug up, restored, and mounted on locally constructed gun carriages. They are now used to fire blank charges to mark important events.

It is apparent from looking at the open end of the barrels that both guns were given hexagonal rifling. It is also apparent that they were both fitted with sights and some form of percussion ignition, and that they have suffered some damage whilst being used as bollards.

Bergenhus Festningsmuseum (Bergen Fortress Museum), Norway: 7.5cm GebK M.11
This mountain howitzer is one of 36 supplied by Erhardt of Dusseldorf to the Norwegian Army in 1910. Several were captured during the German Invasion and were used until 1945 by German mountain artillery units stationed in Norway.

The howitzer weighed 509kg in action and could fire a 6.5kg 75mm shell up to 6,900m. It could be broken down into six separate loads to enable it to be transported.

Stavanger, Norway: Decorative pieces
I found several old smooth-bore cannon barrels mounted on ancient-looking reconstructed gun carriages in two different locations in Stavanger. Three were located at the base of the Valberg Tower (the former fire-watching and observation tower used by the City's Guard) ...

... and two more next to a statue of Vice Admiral Thore Horve (a senior officer of the Royal Norwegian Navy during the Second World War) in the 'Old Town' district of Stavanger.

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