A look at one of the early replacements for the horse

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Pat Holscher
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While this was regarded as an improvement at the time, I think it helps demonstrate why horse artillery remained viable.

Btry E, 2nd Bn, 148th FA Rgt, Wyoming Army National Guard in Germany, 1918.

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<font size="1">Photograph published here by permission of the Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources. Copying is strictly prohibited.</font id="size1">

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Pat Holscher
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Can anyone identify that truck?

Pat
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Originally posted by Pat Holscher
Can anyone identify that truck?

Pat
Something about the cowling makes me thing Renault....

Todd H.
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Originally posted by Todd
Originally posted by Pat Holscher
Can anyone identify that truck?

Pat
Something about the cowling makes me thing Renault....

Todd H.
Thanks. It does have a certain Renault like look to it.

In looking at that truck, it occurs to me the primarily advantage of early motorized artillery must have been that you didn't have to take care of the transportation while not using it. This artillery tractor does not appear likely to have been much speedier than than the horse, and I'd guess it was less mobile. Of course, you could probably also carry things in the back that would add to its utility.

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Gee, I would have figured it for a Mack, since they have the radiator behind the engine, and a sloped hood, but upon looking into it, it does seem to be the Renault 4X4 Heavy Tractor (5 ton).

A friend of mine has a Holt 1918 tractor with US markings on it, and it isn't much of an improvement over this truck, though in the mud of Flanders I'm sure it was. The thing is HUGE! The cylinders must be 4-6' across. What a behemoth, with the front "steering" wheel and everything and the darned thing actually runs! But it sure did cut down on the numbers of dead and exhausted horses!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our Victory to our Horses"

Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada, 1543
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Gordon,

The traction does seem to be the Renault 4X4 Heavy Tractor (5 ton). The gun is a French 155mm Gun (GPF). The GPF is Grande Puissance Filloux or (Captain) Filloux’s High Pressure cannon. This was a very effective gun and in WWII we used some mounted on tracked carriages for Field Artillery and on wheels as a Coast Artillery weapon.

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Pat,

The vehicle is a "Tracteur Renault 15 Tonnes" (type de Tracteur lourde). It is one a series a similar Heavy Tractors built by French firms. Another almost identical vehicle is a "Tracteur Latil TAR 15 a 4" built by Latil which is distiguishable from the Renault by the louvres on the radiator housing.

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Thanks for all the replies.

A book has recently been published on the cross country road trip by the US Army that Eisenhower had something to do with. I guess it is pretty good. Has anybody read it? The trucks, I suspect, were not all that far removed from this type, although lighter vehicles no doubt were used. What a trip that must have been.

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A further query, anybody have any idea about the horsepower of this truck. Surprisingly low, I'm guessing.

Remarkable the advance in automobiles between WWI and WWII. Many weapons used in WWI were still in use in WWII, and the artillery piece, as noted by Couvi, would have been a prefectly viable weapon some twenty odd years later. The truck, however, would have been a dinosaur by that time.

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SOme would suggest that thing was a dinosaur from the moment it hatched on the drawing board. Can you imagine the heat for the driver and passengers right behind that radiator?

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Originally posted by Joseph Sullivan
SOme would suggest that thing was a dinosaur from the moment it hatched on the drawing board. Can you imagine the heat for the driver and passengers right behind that radiator?

Joe
That does look like a pretty miserable arrangement.

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Originally posted by Pat Holscher
A further query, anybody have any idea about the horsepower of this truck. Surprisingly low, I'm guessing.

Pat
However rated, the horsepower was probably ludicrously low, but with its long-stroke, low revving engine, it doubtless produced torque to burn.

Step Tyner

"The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a soldier."
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Originally posted by Step Tyner
Originally posted by Pat Holscher
A further query, anybody have any idea about the horsepower of this truck. Surprisingly low, I'm guessing.

Pat
However rated, the horsepower was probably ludicrously low, but with its long-stroke, low revving engine, it doubtless produced torque to burn.

Step Tyner

"The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a soldier."
Man, I'll bet that's true.[:D] The term "artillery tractor" would no doubt have been particularly applicable.

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Somewhat related to this, I just started reading Pete Davies "American Road", about the cross country truck convoy the US Army undertook after WWI. I'm just in the early part of the book, but it is quite illuminating on how litter there was in the way of good roads at that time. No wonder the Army did not leap to motorization.

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And then there was the early alternative to mounted infantry:

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British military bicycle.

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You know, as a long time cyclist, I look at that old baby and have two thoughts:

a) It is pretty much what I grew up with and rode all over creation without a second thought;

b) NO GEARS -- just imagine pushing that through rough terrane and up hills. Give me today's (or ten years ago's) mountain bikes. Much better suited for the purpose -- but then, of course, they didn't have anything like mountain bikes at the time...

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Originally posted by Pat Holscher
And then there was the early alternative to mounted infantry:

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British military bicycle.

Pat
Originally posted by Joseph Sullivan
You know, as a long time cyclist, I look at that old baby and have two thoughts:

a) It is pretty much what I grew up with and rode all over creation without a second thought;

b) NO GEARS -- just imagine pushing that through rough terrane and up hills. Give me today's (or ten years ago's) mountain bikes. Much better suited for the purpose -- but then, of course, they didn't have anything like mountain bikes at the time...

Joe
I do quite a bit of cycling with a mountain bike in the Summer, and knew that you ride quite a bit also, I was curious as to your thoughts on this.

I had the same reaction. The thought of using it in difficult terrain with no gears is agony!

I read a while back an article that the Swiss bike troops were being issued a brand new modern mountain bike, replacing their old single geared bike which had been around for decades. According to the author, the troops were all upset about the old bike being replaced. Well, I don't buy it for a second. I'll bet they were overjoyed to get a bike with gears and that didn't weigh a ton.

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Pat,

The Japanese used enormous numbers of bicycles in the invasion of Singapore. The can go places, especially in rough jungle terrain, that horses and mules can't.

The German Army used large numbers of bicycle mounted troops to accompany Panzer units, since both had a speed of about 12 MPH.

One of the Black infantry units was tested as bicycle troops in the late 19th Century. They were used as riot troops in Cuba after the Span-Am War.

Couvi

<i>"Cavalier san Cheval"</i>
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The African American 25th Inf. tested the bicycle on a march from Missoula Montana to St. Louis in 1897. There is a PBS video "The Bicycle Corps" and a book or two on the subject.

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Originally posted by Bob Rea
The African American 25th Inf. tested the bicycle on a march from Missoula Montana to St. Louis in 1897. There is a PBS video "The Bicycle Corps" and a book or two on the subject.

Bob Rea
I've seen that documentary, and it caused me pain just to see where they had ridden. Imagine, riding in wool uniforms, often across country, and, if I recall correctly, with full length infantry rifles.
Originally posted by Couvi
Pat,

The Japanese used enormous numbers of bicycles in the invasion of Singapore. The can go places, especially in rough jungle terrain, that horses and mules can't.

The German Army used large numbers of bicycle mounted troops to accompany Panzer units, since both had a speed of about 12 MPH.

One of the Black infantry units was tested as bicycle troops in the late 19th Century. They were used as riot troops in Cuba after the Span-Am War.

Couvi

"Cavalier san Cheval"
Indeed, the speed of the Japanese advance in Souteast Asia is at least partially attributable to bicycle use. It worked very well for them.

German infantry reconnaissance units, which were also horse mounted, came to rely on the bicycle more as the war closed, and the horse less. This is not to say they quit relying on the horse, they did not. However, the bicycle became increasingly useful as Germany retreated into Germany itself, as the road system was so much better, and they were familiar with all the roads, that they had to rely on the cross country ability of the horse less. And, of course, a bicycle does not have to be fed.

Motorcycle use also increased for the same purposes, although the motorcycle had the disadvantage of requiring gasoline.

It's an odd thought to think of the Japanese juggernaut of 1942 relying on bikes, or the German blitzkreig bike and horse mounted, but they were.

On bikes, I've seen some photos of Swiss troops using them, heavily laden with all the gear that armies hand out, and assault rifles, and it makes it clear to me that, given a choice between a bicycle or a horse, in the ear in which both were used, I'd go with a horse. Being a bicycle trooper looks miserable.



Pat
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