Monday, December 17, 2012
The artillery situation in early May 1941
Due to having to make a hasty withdrawal from Greece, a tremendous amount of the Middle East artillery resources were lost. Both the 6th Australian Division and the New Zealand Division lost all their artillery. There had also been three British medium regiments and they had also lost all their guns. Since the Middle East had been short of guns, particularly modern guns, making up the loss was going to be difficult. On 20 May 1941, there were five Australian field regiments in reserve in Egypt that actually had guns. The guns included 36 new 25pdr guns, 59 18pdr guns, some of which were in poor condition, and 24-4.5in howitzers. The old system had been to have mixed field regiments with the 18pdr gun and 4.5in howitzer in their inventory. The 25pdr was a "gun-howitzer", so it replaced both the World War One-vintage 18pdr gun and the 4.5in howitzer. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.