Dungog’s World War 1 Krupp field gun now has brand spanking new wheels.
The gun, which sits proudly guarding Dungog RSL Club, was given to the people of Dungog in 1922.
It’s had a few places of residence over the years but in 2015 was given a special display area and was officially unveiled by Rear Admiral Murray Forrest, AM, RAN (Rtd) just prior to Anzac Day last year.
But the only thing missing were the correct wheels.
Dungog RSL Sub-branch vice president Jim Olsen said the gun was refurbished in 2014 and then taken up to Dungog Menshed where it was sandblasted and measurements taken for the new wheels.
“Jeff Bunt did all the restoration and painting of the gun,” he said.
“It really came up well but it took over 13 months for the wheels to be made.
“Neville and Bradley Bale dressed the wheels and they look great.
“It would have been good for it all to have been finished for last year’s Anzac Day service, but it is certainly ready for this year.”
The German 77mm M96 field gun was one of hundreds of German and Turkish guns brought to Australia after World War 1 and distributed by state trophy committees to localities, towns and suburbs.
Along with the local war memorial, the gun serves as a reminder of what Australian soldiers had endured and achieved through four hard years of war.
History of the gun
The field gun was made by Krupp in 1913 at Essen, Germany. It was a model G, registration number 34.
The said gun is listed in a book in the library at the Royal Australian Artillery National Museum “National Register of Foreign Guns”.
The field gun is a piece of artillery used in the field with army and is also called a close support gun.
Such a gun must be mobile and cannot fire a heavy shell. It must be capable of rapid change of target.
Until the 19th century there had been little development in artillery and the gun would have been recognised by a gunner from a period 200 years before.
Guns were muzzle loaded – that is the powder was poured into the barrel and pushed down with a ramrod and wad placed over the powder and the shot rammed down on that.
If round shot was used another wad would be inserted to keep the shot from falling out.
After the experience of the Crimean War (1853-1856), rifled beach loading guns on steel carriage became universal by 1885 and dramatic improvements in fuses and powder were made as well.
During WW1 (1914-1918) the Germans placed great emphasis on the mobility and rate of fire of their field artillery of which the classic piece was the celebrated 75mm.
This was an excellent gun with high muzzle velocity and capable of a sustained rate of fire of over 15 pounds per minute with experienced crew. The gun was capable of firing with accuracy 10,000 metres.
The gun’s weight in firing position 958/943 kilograms and the weight of projectile 6.5/6.35 kilogram.
The gun shield has taken a direct hit from some sort of projectile. The mode of traction was horse-drawn.
The gun and other captured pieces were called a trophy. In 1919-20 the trophies became an act of parliament. There were three trustees, one military, two local government and three prominent citizens.
The gun and parts were made by a special process of fresh water steel making. This method has given long life and generally the gun is free of rust and could be said to be in good order.
The gun is painted in German flat grey, the same as the 75mm in the war museum in Canberra.
A replica of the original wheels – 12 spoked, boots and hubs have been made by a wheel wright in Canberra.