Talk:BL 15-inch howitzer

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Lede[edit]

I fear that most of the following is entirely incorrect:

"Winston Churchill describes the events that led to the production of this weapon and its role in the subsequent development of the tank in Chapter IV of The World Crisis, 1915. Churchill concluded the howitzer was difficult to employ since it was transported in eight sections on giant caterpillar tractors. When he saw the tractors, he asked if one could be modified to cross a trench while carrying a mounted gun and troops. According to Churchill, The development of test vehicles using this concept contributed to the development of the tank."

For a start, The World Crisis, Vol. II: 1915 starts at chapter XIV. There appears to be no discussion of the development of the tank or the 15-inch howitzer in this volume, neither does it seem that the phrase "The development of test vehicles using this concept contributed to the development of the tank" appears. The actual fourth chapter in the book, chapter XVII, deals with the aftermath of the Gallipoli landings and the resignation of Lord Fisher over Churchill's insistence on further naval operations. There is, however, a mention of the single 15-inch howitzer intended for the Dardanelles on p. <Edit> 1434 1424. In case the first volume was meant, The World Crisis, Vol. I: 1911-1914 chapter IV relates to events in 1911 and 1912, well before the gun was invented or tracked armoured vehicles were widely considered.

And anyway, as far as I know the 15-inch howitzer was always pulled by the Daimler-Foster artillery tractor, a four-wheeled tractor whose 105 hp Daimler engine powered the first tanks. MinorProphet (talk) 16:39, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

So, I hunted around the tinternets for a bit: Churchill's involvement in the development of the tank is related in Men, Ideas, and Tanks: British Military Thought and Armoured Forces, 1903-1939 by J. P. Harris, p. 17, but a careless reading could easily result in the mangled account in the lede.
Here is another possible source for the interesting conflation of accounts in the lede: Tanks: An Illustrated History of Their Impact by Spencer Tucker, p. 11. This unreferenced book claims that Bacon produced a design for a "caterpillar tractor" and that 30 of them were constructed and that the War Office tested one in May 1915.
This, however, is itself apparently a mis-reading of the account given by JFC Fuller in Tanks of the Great War, at the start of chapter II:
"While Lieutenant-Colonel Swinton and Captain Tulloch were urging their proposals, a third scheme was brought forward by Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon in connection with which the Secretary of State, in January 1915, ordered trials to be carried out with a 105 h.p. Foster-Daimler tractor fitted with a bridging apparatus for crossing trenches. At about the same time similar trials were made with a 120 h.p. Holt caterpillar tractor at Shoeburyness in connection with Captain Tulloch’s scheme. Both experiments proved a failure."
Therefore: Churchill was involved in the genesis of the tank (as is well-known), but this had nothing to do with the 15-inch gun which was transported on 11 (not 8) trailers pulled by three Daimler-Foster wheeled artillery tractors, and any connection between the tank and the howitzer or its 4-wheeled tractor <edit> (apart from its 105 hp engine and transmission) </edit> appears to be almost certainly entirely mistaken. MinorProphet (talk) 18:28, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
I do not have access to any of the mentioned text, but you sound like a serious student of history. Please correct the article as you see fit. Rcbutcher (talk) 06:15, 24 March 2017 (UTC)