Egyptian Krupp

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Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 01 May 2013 12:30

Greetings all.

I'd be grateful for advice on the calibre and estimated shot weight (in British parlance) of this Egyptian army field piece. I'm assuming it's a Krupp but am not sure whether it is too big to be a 6.5 cm.

Additionally, do artillery cognoscenti think that the eight men arranged around the gun and limber would be sufficent to haul the gun by hand? Or is it possible that the other five men have been arranged at the rear simply for photographic neatness, and that their additional weight would be necessary move the piece?

Many thanks,
JF
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby Mark A. Reid » 01 May 2013 13:41

Hello JF;

I should say at the outset that I am certainly not an artillery expert. As a former infantry-type all I know is that I used to hate passing by them when they were firing, what a horrendous racket!

I'm not sure to which Krupp you are referring but here is a list of the Krupps used by the Egyptian Army in the latter part of the 19th century;

7.5 cm Krupp Quick-Firing Gun - This was part of the C/73 series and was used by the Horse Artillery. It could also be broken down and carried by mules or camels, both of which were used in the Sudan during the 1880's. Common shell weighed 13 lbs. 8 ozs. while a Shrapnel round weighed 11 lbs.

8.8 cm Krupp Quick-Firing Gun - This type was used by Egyptian Field Batteries and was, on at least one occasion, mounted on barges by the 3rd Garrison Battery and pulled up the Nile to destroy dervish boats.

9 cm Krupp - This was part of the C/73/88 series and wasn't adopted by the Egyptian Army until 1893.

I seem to recall that the crew consisted of only five men, but have also seen that photograph of the eight Egyptian gunners man-handling their gun and limber across the parade square with another five looking on from the rear. Once the guns were unhooked from their team and limber then it was up to the gunners to move it into its firing position. In deep sand or soft ground this must have been challenge enough but I can't see them being able to pull it long distances especially if the limber was full.

An example of the 7.5 cm Krupp is on display at Fort Nelson just outside Portsmouth, or at least was last October. It is in beautiful condition and the Museum also holds a few other artillery-related items brought back from Tel-el-Kebir. Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 01 May 2013 15:11

Thanks for that summary.

My reference to 6.5 cm was taken from

The Egyptian Army
1880-1900 By Doug Johnson at <http://www.savageandsoldier.com/sudan/Egyptian_Army.html> ) Originally appeared in S&S Vol VIII, No. 1)

"At this time the artillery was armed with seven pounder mountain guns and small caliber Krupps. Despite the lightness of the guns, the batteries were designated Field Batteries, a term used throughout the rest of the Century......
The field artillery continued to use 6.5cm Krupps up through the Dongala campaign. These were carried on four mules (or camels) but also had a shaft that could be attached to the gun trail for draught (Headlam, p. 243)"

I guess 6.5 cm could be a misprint for 7.5 cm.

If the image is of the guns Johnson describes, then it occurs to me that the reference may have been to the gun alone as opposed to the limber and gun as shown in the photo I posted, That does appear to have been set up for human draft in its entirety.
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby Mark A. Reid » 01 May 2013 15:49

Hello JF;

Glad to have beeen of some help.

The Doug Johnson article is excellent and is probably the best summary to date of the Egyptian Army of the 1880's but, like you, I believe the reference to a 6.5 cm Krupp is suspect. A quick look for any other reference to a Krupp gun of this calibre gave a zero return, although there was a 6 cm. Mountain Gun produced in the early 1870's, I believe. Any 6.5 cm gun in the Egyptian Army of this period was almost certainly one of the brass mountain guns cast at the Cairo Arsenal and used extensively in the war against Abyssinia in the 1860's but starting to disappear by the mid-1880's. It may be that the word " Krupp " simply became synonymous with an artillery piece and was applied to any gun. The Metric System was unfamiliar to many English-speaking writers of the 19th ( and 21st! ) century and even the sometimes pedantic Lord Wolseley makes reference to a 9 cm Krupp being fired by the Egyptians in 1884 when, of course, there was no such gun.

The photo of the Egyptian gunners depicts a Krupp gun, the breech is a give-away, and it is almost certainly either a 7.5 cm or a 8.8 cm example. As the men are wearing their blue uniforms I would take a guess and say that it was taken at the Artillery Depot, either at the Barrage Barracks or Abassayieh Barracks, in Cairo. Certainly on campaign during the 1880's and 1890's the artillery was pulled or carried by horse, mule or camel, depending on the terrain, and not man-packed.

Maybe one of our artillery experts can shed light on the efficacy of trundling a gun around the parade square? It sounds like just the sort of activity for young soldiers!

Cheers,

Mark
ps: By the way, the photo above my name, to the right, is that of a be-medalled Egyptian Artillery Gunnery Instructor. The artillery were generally regarded as the most professional branch of the post-1882 Army ( I refuse to employ that greatly over-used word " elite. " They were just good and they knew it. )
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 01 May 2013 22:26

Yes. that all seems to make sense. Interesting that that an attachment for drawing guns by hand might be supplied simply to exercise the men. I suppose if the animals all died or were killed -both possible in the dangerous southern borderlands- there had to be a drill to move the guns nonetheless and the need for practice- whatever the long term limitations of that option.

Mark A. Reid wrote: I refuse to employ that greatly over-used word " elite. " They were just good and they knew it. )


That sums up the concept well- though, of course, with eight words not one. It'll never catch on.
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby GrantRCanada » 02 May 2013 00:37

jf42 wrote:... this Egyptian army field piece ....
.... is it possible that the other five men have been arranged at the rear simply for photographic neatness ...

The wording of your post suggests that you are referring to a photograph of the gun and crew, yet I am seeing no image. Did you intend to post the photo?
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 02 May 2013 07:02

Well spotted, Grant. Thanks. That was a little test I was running yesterday. Lack of sleep had nothing to do with it.

Egyptian FIeld Artillery.jpg
Egyptian FIeld Artillery.jpg (91.9 KiB) Viewed 1475 times
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby Mark A. Reid » 02 May 2013 13:13

Thanks JF, and Grant, I thought it was that image. This was part of a two-page spread entitled " Type of the Egyptian Army " that appeared in one of the illustrated papers, possibly The Navy & Army Illustrated?

If I can be so bold as to make a request ... I have this page that features the Artillery but would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be able to provide a scan of the other page that depicts the Infantry. Can anyone assist, please?

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 02 May 2013 13:47

Mark,

I took the image from here:

http://www.savageandsoldier.com/sudan/E ... myPic1.gif

and the accompanying infantry images are here:

http://www.savageandsoldier.com/sudan/E ... myPic2.gif

Hope that helps.

To return to my initial question:

A) Might the gun in the picture posted above be thought of as equivalent to a 12-pdr, more or less- and

B) Eight men would almost certainly not be sufficient to draw both guns and limber any significant distance. However, might gun and limber separately- with infantry assistance, perhaps- be had hand-drawn if the need arose?
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 02 May 2013 14:43

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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby Mark A. Reid » 02 May 2013 18:11

Hello again;

Thanks for the link JF, most kind of you.

I wonder if any Members have a copy of the original page, by any chance? I was able to acquire the Artillery page but have been looking for the " matching " Infantry page for some time now. I would be very grateful to hear from anyone who does.

Regarding your questions;

A) Yes, I think that the 7.5 cm Krupp would equate roughly to the 12 pdr. considering the weight of the its projectile, 11-13 lbs..

B) I have never read an account of Krupps being pulled into action by soldiers in Egypt or the Sudan. Even for hastily-despatched " task forces " that included a single small mountain gun, it was broken down and carried by camel or mule. When the objective was reached it was dismounted and re-assembled before being man-handled into a firing position. The narrow, metal-clad wheels of the Krupp were designed for metalled European roads and would quickly have become bogged down in the terrain of the Sudan, I would imagine.

During the 1880's the Egyptian Artillery were very much to the fore and at the Battle of Giniss were, in fact, the first troops into the dervish positions. I can think of no occasion when the infantry were ever required to withdraw guns in a " difficult situation " but I will certainly stand corrected if someone can think of one. As you note, eight men would be hard pressed to keep over 1,000 kgs. in motion over sand and rock, even on level ground.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 09 May 2013 08:05

Mark, a belated thanks for your comments.
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby roconn » 10 May 2013 19:35

jf42:

If you remember a posting & pix from Mike Snook a year or more ago when he was travelling about the Sudan and happened across a Krupps still parked outside the Tamai (?) Police Post although much of the carriage was gone it was mounted on some agricultural machinery wheels -- but it certainly was a Krupps breechloader.
rgds

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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby jf42 » 10 May 2013 21:09

Yes, thanks. I've just had another look at it. If that relic is all that remains of a Krupp 7.7 cm, it looks considerably smaller calibre than the barrel on the piece in my OP, so perhaps that gun was an {EDIT 8.5 cm} 8.8 cm after all.
Last edited by jf42 on 11 May 2013 12:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Egyptian Krupp

Postby Mark A. Reid » 10 May 2013 22:05

Hello again;

Good memory, Roconn, I must have another look at it. If my memory serves me, it wasn't Mike Snook but someone else and it was photographed at Tokar. Certainly the Egyptian Artillery took a few 7.7 cm guns to Tokar in 1891 and this may very well be one of them, albeit with new wheeels!

I should go and have a look now to refresh my failing memory.

Cheers,

Mark
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