Delay Will Be Paid For In Australian Lives!
The Australian Army’s attempts to obstruct the introduction of the Owen Gun was identified and noted when Minister Frank Forde (Minister for the Army) called a conference of all parties on 24 November 1941.
Bluntly he told them that the Government would tolerate no more delays and no more obstructions. Production of an efficient gun had to begin:
… quickly and in sufficient numbers. Delay will be paid for in Australian lives.
Forde was satisfied that Australian set backs in Crete demonstrated the Army’s
urgent need for a Sub Machine Gun. He felt that the British Sten Gun was much inferior to the Owen Gun.
The Loss of Crete.
The information that Minister Forde had received referred to the loss of Crete. That was due to the German tactics of deep infiltration and in the case of the Battle of Crete the Germans used the pinnacle of infiltration storm troops by the use of parachute regiments from the Air. The Allied force on Crete with no Anti Aircraft guns, no air cover, and not enough section firepower suffered badly as 274 Australians were killed, 507 were wounded and 3100 were captured, including most of the 2/1st, 2/7th and 2/11th Battalions. New Zealand losses for Greece and Crete were 962 killed, 2000 wounded and over 3000 captured.
The Loss of Singapore.
At that time he made the statement he did not know that within a few months of advocating the manufacture and supply to the troops of the Owen Gun
“… quickly and in sufficient numbers. Delay will be paid for in Australian lives”, that a further ill equipped force would suffer a similar fate against the infiltration tactics of the Japanese Forces. 18,067 Australians were lost, dead, wounded and captured at the fall of Singapore. Again supply of machine tools had been orchestrated and Owen Guns had been blocked from supply to the troops.
With losses of Australian lives such as these two examples, and the continued obstruction from the Australian High Command, why was no one admonished or put on trial for causing these losses?
A submachine gun (SMG) is a firearm that combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol, and is usually between the two in weight and size.
Early experiments were made by converting shoulder stocked pistols such as the Mauser Model 1896, Luger 1908 and the Colt 1911a1 from semi to fully automatic. These automatic weapons firing pistol rounds were developed during World War I, by Italy, Germany, and the United States. The first dedicated sub machine gun designs were developed in the later stages of World War I to offer an advantage in trench warfare.
The Australian High Command and Public Servants Were Responsible! Why Let Them Off the Hook? Why Blame Others?
Why was it so important for these people in high government positions to be defended by the writer Kevin Smith in the” Owen Gun Files”, and why did he feel it necessary to manufacture his spin in scapegoating Evelyn Owen and the Wardell brothers.?He derides Evelyn Owen for plagiarism and in his book the ‘Owen Gun File’ his opening paragraphs states.
“The Origin of the Species
“A strong argument can be advanced that almost all design is either consciously or subconsciously derivative and, in the field of conscious derivation perhaps no better example can be found than that of the design of automatic firearms. In this class of weapons close examination will usually show that most models possess various components or systems which are similar or identical to corresponding items in earlier designs.
The Owen Gun was not an exception to this rule, and it can be argued that its design and development were influenced by four other submachine guns — its design by the Italian Beretta M18 and the German MP 18,1 and its development by the American Thompson and the British Sten.
The Beretta M18 was itself a direct descendant of a light machine gun which had been designed by A.B. Revelli immediately before the outbreak of the First World War. This gun had been patented in the United States in 1915 and was manufactured for the Italian Army by three factories, one of which was located in the Italian town of Villar Perosa from which the gun eventually took its name.
The gun had been designed to provide a light portable automatic weapon suitable for use by alpine troops in the border region between Austria and Italy, and in fact is probably more accurately described as a heavy automatic pistol with an extended magazine.
At the time of its design virtually all fully automatic weapons used standard military rifle cartridges and Revelli no doubt concluded that it was the lock mechanisms and barrel cooling systems made necessary by the use of these cartridges which produced the problems of excessive size and weight that made the guns virtually immobile.
As a consequence the Villar Perosa had been designed to use not the Italian Army’s standard rifle cartridge but its standard 9 mm Glisenti pistol cartridge, a decision which in addition to making the use of an air cooled barrel feasible, also allowed the elaborate positive breech locking mechanisms to be replaced with the much simpler and lighter “inertia lock” system.
This system, which is also known as the “blow back” system, is based on the study of how a mass overcomes its inertia ‘ when subjected to an external force. Applied to firearm mechanisms this study in its simplest form shows that when the force generated by the expansion of gasses within a cartridge case is applied equally to a light bullet at one end of the case and the much heavier bolt at the other, not only will the bullet begin to move earlier than the bolt but it will also move more rapidly — a set of circumstances which allows the bullet to leave the barrel, and for the pressure within the gun to drop to a safe level, before the bolt has travelled far enough to open the action.
Whilst in the case of the Villar Perosa the movement of the bolt was also retarded by a device to prevent the firing of a cartridge before it was fully chambered, the use of the “inertia lock” in combination with a carbine length barrel and pistol ammunition has usually led to it being regarded as the first submachine gun.
The gun itself consisted of two separate bodies each fitted with a magazine and joined together with a spade grip and trigger arrangement at the rear, and it is in the arrangement and style of the magazine that the origins of two features of the Owen can be seen.
The first of these is the vertical configuration which was dictated by the necessity to keep the gun as close to the ground as possible, thus eliminating an under body location, and to keep the width to a minimum, thus precluding horizontal fixing.
The other, and possibly more important feature, was the use of the double staggered column arrangement of cartridges within the magazine. At the time of its design all automatic pistols employed magazines where cartridges were held in a single vertical column, however, with the gun’s voracious appetite for ammunition (at a cyclic rate of 1200 rounds per minute) and with the aim of keeping the length of magazines to a reasonable minimum, it had been decided to employ the system devised by Mauser for use in their rifles where the cartridges were held in a staggered double column with an alternating feed; that is where the uppermost round in the magazine alternates from one side of the magazine to the other as the cartridges are removed from it.
For a variety of reasons, not the least of which was apparently that its limitations in respect of range and accuracy had not been fully understood, the Villar Perosa appears to have eventually lost favour with the Italian Army and, presumably in 1917, the original Villar Perosa factory and the firm of Pietro Beretta in Brescia were called upon to develop a more compact, light and practical weapon utilizing a single body.
Both firms produced workable models, however it was the design of Tuillio, Marengoni of the Beretta works which was to become the more favoured of the two. This model, known as the M 18 from the date of its first issue, utilized the basic Villar Perosa full automatic action, barrel, receiver and magazine which were fitted with a new trigger mechanism and then mounted on a conventional timber stock.
This model was used during the final stages of World War 1 and through the Second World War and details of its design would have been known to, and no doubt specimens of it held by, various Army schools and museums in Australia at the time of the design of the Owen in its final form.
The alpine border region of Italy was of course far from being the only scene of activity involving the Central Powers of Austria and Germany at that time and, for perhaps the greater part of the War, the most destructive conflicts took place in France and Belgium.
These conflicts took the form of a war of attrition fought out over a series of trench lines which were reputed to have extended from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border, and produced new tactics and weapons to cope with the new form of warfare. One of the many requirements was for a light and highly manoeuvrable rapid firing weapon with a substantial magazine capacity which would be suitable for use in the confined spaces encountered in the trenches.
The German Army had met this requirement to a certain extent by taking the 9 mm Luger pistol in its 8 inch barrel Artillery Model configuration and replacing its 8-cartridge capacity magazine with a coil or “snail” magazine holding 32 cartridges.
In view of the developments which were to take place over the next 25 years certain aspects of this coil magazine should be examined, and perhaps the foremost of these is that of capacity.
The standard German Army pistol was the Luger Model 1908 which was issued with two magazines, one in the pistol itself and the other in a special pocket attached to the standard holster. Each of these magazines held 8 cartridges and, no doubt in an effort to reduce wastage of stray rounds, pistol ammunition was packaged in lots of 16 cartridges. The capacity of the coil magazine was therefore calculated in multiples of these packages with two of them giving the capacity of 32 rounds.
The magazine itself was not entirely successful as not only did the loading of the cartridges in a single column arrangement against quite strong spring pressure necessitate the use of a loading tool, but experience in the field showed that it had a marked tendency to jam. This latter problem was however partially overcome when the original conical bullet was replaced with one of a parabolic shape.
Whilst this weapon went quite some distance in the satisfaction of a need, it did not satisfy the design specification which had been issued by the German Army in 1916, and it was not to be until the following year that a successful design to meet that specification was evolved.
This design was the work of Hugo Schmeisser who at that time was an employee of the Theodor Bergmann Waffenfabrik of Suhl and it is generally ‘believed that it was influenced at least to a certain extent by the study of a captured Villar Perosa gun which had been made available by the Army for that purpose.
Due to the intense demands being made upon Germany’s war industries at the time, Schmeisser’s design was kept as simple as possible and consisted of a tubular body with an “inertia lock” mechanism mounted on a timber stock. To avoid the time loss and expenditure of valuable man hours in tooling UP for new components, the barrel was that of the standard Artillery Model Luger pistol and the magazine was the by then widely used 32-round capacity coil type with an adaptor unit to facilitate its use in the new gun.
In view of the effect that the use of this magazine was to have on the second of Owen’s designs, it should be noted that the butt of the Luger is set at an angle to the centre line of the barrel and the magazine platform is shaped so that although the magazine within the butt is itself at an angle to that centre line, the cartridges within the magazine are parallel to it. As a consequence, when attached to the gun in a horizontal form the magazine has to stand at an angle to the barrel in order that its contents will lie parallel to the barrel centre line and facilitate feeding.
The new gun was fitted with a perforated barrel jacket for ease of handling and was a well-made weapon in very much the traditional manner.
No attempt was made to allow for the selection of automatic or repetition firing, although with the much more practical cyclic rate of fire of some 400 rounds per minute it was possible for an experienced operator to fire single rounds.
By the early months of 1918 the gun, which was to be known as the Maschinen Pistole (MP) 18,1, was in limited production and although a certain amount of conjecture exists in regard to the manner in which the Army intended to use it, it seems most likely that its existence, like that of the new “storm troops” who had been specially trained for the forthcoming “Spring Offensive”, was kept as secret as possible.
The Spring Offensive, which nearly succeeded in driving the British Army back to the Channel coast, eventually waned and seven months later, after a major Allied offensive, hostilities ceased with the signing of the Armistice. However whilst at first sight it would appear that in the confusion of those last months the new weapon had been overlooked, it is obvious that its potential value had been recognised by those who used it or had been confronted by it.
Indeed this recognition was such that under the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty the manufacture of such weapons in Germany was prohibited, and the use of those existing weapons not acquired by the Allied powers was restricted to police forces.
Shortly after the war the Bergmann firm was absorbed by the Lignose consortium and as the Bergmann designs were at that time taken over by the C.G. Haenel company, also of Suhl, it is not surprising to find that in 1921 Hugo Schmeisser joined that firm as its designer and chief engineer.
Apparently during the early years of his association with Haenel requests were received from some police departments for the replacement of the unreliable coil magazine and Schmeisser responded by producing a straight box magazine and a new housing which secured it to the body at right angles.
Once again this magazine was designed to hold 32 cartridges and for compactness departed from the previous single column of the coil magazine and employed the staggered double column arrangement.
However the bolts of the guns which were altered had been made for use with a single column magazine, where cartridges are presented very much on the centre line of the chamber to the barrel, and as a consequence they were quite unsuitable for use with an alternating feed system as had been used in the Villar Perosa or the Beretta M18.
The bolt itself is of course a reasonably complex and costly item to manufacture and, no doubt principally in the interests of economy, it was decided to retain it in its present form and adapt the staggered double column arrangement to suit it.
This decision, which was to prove to be a most unhappy one that would affect numerous other designs in the subsequent years, involved bringing the uppermost round in the new style magazine into the same position in relation to the chamber of the barrel as would have occurred with the single column magazine, and was achieved by the use of shoulders to restrain the double column short of the magazine mouth and present one cartridge at a time on the centre of it.
This “double staggered column with central feed” arrangement had several disadvantages, most of which had their origin in the magazine spring.
The first of these was that the compression of two columns of cartridges into one necessitated the use of a magazine spring of such strength that once again the gun was burdened with the necessity to use a loading tool to fill it. Whilst this was to be regarded as a serious disadvantage in derivations of the design in future years it is quite possible that, at the time the decision was made, the use of such a tool was not viewed as unusual, as a similar device had been required for use with the coil magazine and even the standard Luger pistol had a combination tool which was used to compress the magazine spring and facilitate loading.
The second disadvantage lay in the fact that, despite efforts to strengthen them, in time the lips of the magazine reacted to the high pressures experienced with fully loaded magazines and became distorted, a situation which inevitably led to problems of stoppages due to incorrect feed.“
Kevin Smith’s researched material is quite educational and informative but in just a few places strategically and with forethought and planing applies incorrect information to spin to his purpose.
Where he states, “The Owen Gun was not an exception to this rule and it can be argued that its design and development were influenced by four other submachine guns — its design by the Italian Beretta M18 and the German MP 18,1 and its development by the American Thompson and the British Sten.“
“This model was used during the final stages of World War 1 and through the Second World War and details of its design would have been known to, and no doubt specimens of it held by, various Army schools and museums in Australia at the time of the design of the Owen in its final form.” ” and it is in the arrangement and style of the magazine that the origins of two features of the Owen can be seen.”
Smith’s Accusation was Defamation, But Who is he Trying To Protect?
These statements are rubbish as at the outbreak of the war in 1939, the only known examples of submachine guns that existed in Australia was a First World War trophy in the Small Arms School at Randwick which was an original ‘Bergmann’ MP 18-I. Earlier in that year a ‘Schmeisser’ MP 38, had been seized by Customs in Sydney from the luggage of a German passenger and was held by the New South Wales Police in Sydney. Early in 1940 the Chief Instructor of the Small Arms School, Captain Latchford, bought an American Thompson gun from a planter in the Soloman Islands, and used it for instructional purposes. Although the Thompson Gun was described in the British Textbook of Small Arms of 1929, no gun of this type had been into Australia prior to that time. Evelyn Owen had began his quest to invent, design and manufacture a sub machine gun in 1931, as he was at that time only 15 years old, many obstacles were obviously in his path. No finance, no tools, no ammunition, no materials, no factory other than his fathers shed. A much greater obstacle was that 1931 was sixty years before the information age. He had never seen one of these sub machine gun he was supposed to have copied. They were not in the Museums of his day, the best he could expect would be a poor image that he had no way of copying in a library book. No Scanners or Photocopiers. Even if he had been able to study their designs with the very basic manufacturing equipment available to him reproducing those complicated accurately machined parts would have been an impossible feat. To compensate, he had to invent and simplify the basic mechanism to a level which would make his gun possible for him to make. The one piece bolt was one of those ideas.
Kevin Smith also inserts these words into his text above,
“In view of the effect that the use of this magazine was to have on the second of Owen’s designs, it should be noted that the butt of the Luger is set at an angle to the centre line of the barrel and the magazine platform is shaped so that although the magazine within the butt is itself at an angle to that centre line, the cartridges within the magazine are parallel to it. As a consequence, when attached to the gun in a horizontal form the magazine has to stand at an angle to the barrel in order that its contents will lie parallel to the barrel centre line and facilitate feeding.”
Action and Re Action, Theorised by Newton and Proved by Maxim.
He makes it seem that Evelyn Owen was an arch copyist of other people’s patents, when in fact in all designs as he has described cannot ever be patented. As patent officers in any patent office in the world will not allow a patents registration that just acknowledges a law of Natural Science. Just because all use a system of retarded recoil, ‘action equals re-action’, it does not mean that there is a lack of innovations and invention. When anyone wants to apply a sprung loaded magazine carrying the same product to a parallel bolt, the angle of approach has to be the one that works. If Kevin Smith had followed the Engineering sciences instead of his Architectural classes, Smith would have noticed that the angle of the Luger magazine is actually far more pronounced than on the Owen Gun. Every firearm such as these have to have an angle, but depending on the relationship of the magazine loading platform and feeding lips will depend on what precise angle that is.
In fact we will show in following chapters that there are many differences between “the design by the Italian Beretta M18 and the German MP 18,1 and its development by the American Thompson and the British Sten.” Almost every one of those differences is a great improvement and it will be shown that most of the Owen Guns innovations predate the development of the Sten Gun, and that the Sten Gun was subsequently altered to copy the features of the Owen Gun with the design of the Austen. However, as all the firearms listed by Smith had an irrevocable flaw, no modifications to the design was possible, until they began with another design. This was the F1 which was more of a copy of the Owen Gun then anything else, but for many reasons which could fill another book, was just not as good.
As the evidence of planned delays and obstructions on the introduction of the Owen Gun, which was detrimental to the Australia’s survival and cost thousands of young Australians their lives, is now at hand, I propose to bring these people to trial. You the readers will be the Judge, Jury and by your actions, execute change to Australia’s future to ensure that this sad history is not repeated. I will be the (for the first time) the prosecution and Mr Kevin Smiths book the Owen Gun File will be the defence.
Next Chapter the Accused.
Maxim of Thucydides that
“The strong do as they wish, while the weak suffer as they must?
Meaning the voice of the powerful sets all precedents as in the quote from Adam Smith
“Policy making in England,” the principle architects of policy, in his day the merchants and manufacturers made sure that their own interests were most peculiarly attended to, however grievous the effect on others, including the people of England. Unfortunately this maxim plays out in all time and in all places. The full meaning of these quotes will be plain when the following information is supplied on the missuse of government power.
The Owen Gun War Crime Trial
Why is a Rifle a Rifle and not a Gun? Well a Rifle has rifling within their barrel that spins the bullet, Where a Smooth bore musket or a shot gun has a smooth cylinder called the bore inside the barrel of the gun.
Does a handgun have rifling? The answer is invariable ‘yes’. However, even though both revolvers and pistols (semi-automatics) have rifling they are both handguns. Maybe the terminology ‘Rifle’ has stuck to long arms because with rifling they are more accurate than a shotgun or a hand gun.
A Sub Machine Gun is called a Gun, but it has rifling and all Machine Guns have rifling, but are always referred to as a gun. Artillery began as smoothbore cannons and have always been referred to as a ‘Gun’. Generally, all artillery has rifling except for some modern tank guns which are smoothbore and fire fin guided projectiles which only protrude after they leave the muzzle then guiding the missile to the target. Most Mortars are smoothbore but are generally referred to as Mortars and not Guns, even though they are really guns. If you get stuck on the meaning of a word or are interested use the link to Glossaries attached to this site.
To listen to a story or to read a book, the writer, either has to presuppose that the reader or listener has the required background knowledge to understand where the scene is set or supply that information himself. When the story or book is set, not just in other places ,but in other times of history the writer has to inform the reader on what were the norms and standards of those times . So that the reader can form an opinion on the characters, placing the players behaviour in the balance, judging for themselves on the guilt or innocence of the parties.
To advance the truth we have to ask several questions
“Why was a Sub Machine gun urgently needed by Australia in World War Two?”
“Why did Britain and Australia (The Allies) lose the first 2 ½ years of World War Two?”
“Why did the Allies win the last three years of World War Two?“
The quick answer to all questions is “Firepower”.
To explain the answers to all questions in a short synopsis, which will be expanded with more complete information in the following pages;
Is that, the enemy had superior equipment and tactics not just in air superiority but in infantry tactics. They had made much better use of the lessons taught so expensively in the last few months of World War One.
General Oskar von Hutier had conceived and trained the “Stormtrooper” tactics called “deep infiltration';
which Germany and Japan had practised to perfection between the World Wars.
The Static Lines of Defence.
Britain and Australia planned to fight World War Two with the same infantry tactics of World War One, static lines of defence. France had spent nearly its whole defence spending on the static ‘fixed in concrete’ Maginot line. Australia had been planning the Brisbane Line since 1912 and intended to rely on it again in 1942.
All British and Australian (Allies) land forces were under equipped, (under gunned) to counter “Deep Infiltration” tactic, the only tactic which could combat or counter this tactic was superior section/ rifle squad fire power. The full development of ‘Deep Infiltration’ was called ‘Blitzkrieg’.
The Allies (Britain and Australia) armies smallest military unit was the section or Rifle squad of eight men. They were equipped with the Lee Enfield .303 Rifle. Their Generals considered that the riflemen were the main arm and supported them within by a two man team operating a Light machine gun, a Bren or a Lewis gun. The Bayonet was the only official close quarters defence. When the enemy were in your trench it was too late for grenades. The British and Allied Generals still had an ingrained idea, from the last Century of the ‘Thin Red Line’ and thought that a bullets only purpose was to keep the enemies heads down until the men could get in close with the bayonet. Then the enemy were supposed to run away and disperse. It was nonsense in World War One and it was nonsense in World War Two. In confined conditions such as trenches, dugouts, fox holes, jungle redoubts, there was no room to use a six foot long pike. This was the combined length of the Lee Enfield Rifle and its 1907 pattern bayonet.
My Grandfather spent four years on the Western Front, when he had to go, ‘Over the Top’, he left his rifle (of which he was very fond)& bayonet behind and took a short entrenching shovel sharpened on three sides. It was like a battle axe, he and many others found it much more suitable for the medieval hand to hand combat of the trenches. It could be used to stab or chop. It could not get stuck and need life costly time removing it.
In these almost primeval underground trench battles imagine the effect of one man with a sub machine gun at a range of ten feet, game over.
The New Tactics
The Germans and Japanese instead organised their sections to support their main arm the machines guns and equipped each section with two belt fed light machine guns such as the MG 34 and the MG42 .They also equipped the section with at least two sub machine guns such as the MP 38 or the MP 40 (sometimes more) and invariable a man with a sniping rifle. They were highly mobile units which had more firepower than a company of allied riflemen of the World War One era. This section could carry out the “Deep Infiltration” attack by using the technique of “Fire and Movement”. One part of the section could move, to outflank or surround the enemy while receiving covering fire from the other part of the section that would be using at least one light machine gun and sub machine guns to lay fire on the enemy positions as soon as the moving part of the section stopped and commenced fire. Then they would move in on the other flank, once both sections were close enough, they would rush into the positions using as much firepower as they had. Firearms which could be swung around in confined conditions were ideal.
Success Once the Balance of Firepower Was Corrected.
Once the Australian and British equipped their sections/rifle squads with this additional firepower they could defend themselves on all sides against “Deep Infiltration”. They could set up the light machine guns where they could use the best fields of enfilade fire, and the sub machine guns being more mobile could defend the rear and flanks from close quarter attack.
Once this additional firepower was utilised and well practised in defence, the tables were turned. The Allied troops needed little incentive to ‘return the compliments’ and take their enemies tactics and firepower to the offensive. Once this was achieved, they never suffered another major reverse.
Why Were Owen Guns Held Up? Why Were They Not Issued In 1941?
Yes, They Could Have Been Supplied in Early 1941.
Before this could happen Australia young soldiers had to wait 2½ years suffer 20,000 deaths 40,000 wounded and have 12,000 men captured in Malaya and put to work in the Japanese death camps. Not all of these casualties were due to that lack of firepower, but as when a murderer is on trial do we hang him for one murder, or ten murders or a thousand murders, it has no bearing on the guilt itself, one is too many. Every man is important, his life is the only one he has.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
No man is an Iland,
intire of it selfe,
everyman is a peece of the Continent,
a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea,
Europe is the lesse,
as well as if a Promontorie were,
as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were;
any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to
know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee… By Jonne Donne
One man’s loss of life is enough to hang for.
This is why the men on the ground were desperate for Owen Guns, as more importantly than the tactics, or winning the war, the single significant difference was the sub machine gun, the enemy had them and our men did not. They all knew that the Sub Machine gun was the significant factor for their own personal survival and the survival of their mates.
Britain and Australian fighting men knew that they were ill equipped and felt they were treated as cannon fodder by their leaders, during the early years of World War Two once this was rectified, nothing could stop them.
The Beginnings of Deep Infiltration.
Towards the end of World War One infantry tactics altered, this change was further developed during all the wars between the World Wars such as the Spanish Civil War and Japan’s invasion of China. Both Germany and Japan used these wars to test new equipment and infantry tactics.
In World War One from October 1914, to March 1917, on the Western Front, position warfare became more and more rigid, immovable, and futile. To “attack” meant to lose twice or three times as many men as your opponent, with no considerable gain in ground, and no decisive effect on anything except your own cannon-fodder. The armies were locked in a solid continuous line of trenches, in which they were pounded and obliterated by an even heavier hail of shells.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, when Russia defeated by Germany, allowed Germany to concentrate on the Western Front defended by the Allies of Britian’s Commonwealth, France, and a small contingent of Belg’s. Ludendorff, the co-dictator of Germany and supreme military commander, insisted on occupying Russia. This huge mistake tied up over one million troops in Russia and Romania. Another million troops and 3,000 artillery pieces were shipped to the Western Front, to the field of Flanders. From November 1917 to March 1918, German strength on the Western Front increased from 150 to 208 divisions and included 13, 832 artillery pieces.
Defence In Depth.
At this time in the war, military formations of the belligerents were similar. German divisions consisted of about 10,600 men, British 12,000, and French 13,000. The newly arriving American divisions were over twice as large at 28,105 men. Eventually, these American troops would be vital in saving the Allied cause and winning the war.
By this time in the war, a complex system of trenches and machine gun posts arranged in depth had evolved. All battle trenches were connected together with communications trenches which led to the rear areas. In front of the trenches were deep belts of barbed wire. The British defence system was based on a captured German manual. (Information on the “British” always included their allies, the Anzacs, Canadians, and Portuguese.) The British copied the letter and not the spirit of the German system. The British believed the machine gun supported the infantry while the Germans more realistically believed the infantry supported the machine gun. The new defence system had a Forward Zone manned by one third of the available troops. Two to three miles back, and manned by one third of the infantry and two thirds of the artillery, was the Battle Zone of a depth of 2,000 to 3,000 yards. The balance of all forces were in the Rear Zone four to eight miles behind the Battle Zone. This system was not as efficient as the German system which allocated two thirds of the troops for counter attacks. France was nearing the end of its manpower resources, so the artillery was their most important arm. The French wisely held their front lightly and kept most of their troops in the main position out of artillery range.
The certainty of not coming back alive.
” As soon as our line, set on its jolting way, emerged, I felt that two men close by had been hit, two shadows fell to the ground and rolled under our feet, one with a high-pitched scream and the other in silence like an ox. Another disappeared with a movement like a madman, as if he had been carried away. Instinctively, we closed ranks and pushed each other forward, always forward, and the wound in our midst closed itself. The warrant officer stopped and raised his sword, dropped it, fell to his knees, his kneeling body falling backwards in jerks, his helmet fell on his heels and he remained there, his head uncovered, looking up to the sky. The line has promptly split to avoid breaking this immobility.
But we couldn’t see the lieutenant any more. No more superiors, then… A moment’s hesitation held back the human wave which had reached the beginning of the plateau. The hoarse sound of air passing through our lungs could be heard over the stamping of feet.
– Forward! cried a soldier.
So we all marched forward, moving faster and faster in our race towards the abyss. “ Henri Barbusse, Le feu (Fire), Paris, Flammarion, 1916.
The Shock Troops.
From March 1917, to March 1918, positional trench warfare was still in full flower, but some of the factors that caused its partial decay, or its change into a new shape, became apparent. One factor was the tank, another more important, was a new method of defence, which inevitably developed into its opposite, a new tactical method for infantry advance. The defensive method was known as “elastic defence” or “defence in depth”; the second developed from it, and was adopted because of this success, it was called the tactic of “infiltration in attack.”
What brought about victory was simply a rethinking of tactics in conjunction with the new technologies.
This was the outcome of the ‘Storm Troop’ infiltration tactics evolved on the Russian Front and later transplanted to the Western Front.
In our minds we have the picture of serried lines of advancing troops, marching with hunched shoulders as to ward off the rain or drizzle, which was in reality bullets, marching over No Man’s Land. Everybody’s mental picture of World War I, eventually was changed replaced by small parties of highly trained and motivated shock troops, amply armed, moving independently of each other, utilising ground and cover, and pouncing on weak spots, thus forcing the gate ajar to admit the more regimented units which followed.
The breakthrough came when someone thought of a different method of pushing the assault forward.
Practice On The Russian Front.
In September 1917 the German Army sought to capture Riga from the Russians; they had attempted this before and had been bloodily repulsed, but Riga was the Queen of the Baltic and would be a great morale booster for the Germans, if it could be taken. It would be a considerable setback to the Russians if they lost it. The Russians, of course, had no intention of parting with it and had prepared an immensely strong defensive position. The German attacking force was numerically inferior, and thus all the book solutions said that an attack must fail. The officer in charge of the attacking force, the German 8th Army, General Oskar von Hutier, had radically different ideas.
Von Hutier devised the technique of infiltration; instead of throwing solid lines of men against the defences, small independent groups would move stealthily across No Man’s Land, probing the defences, ease their way in where the line was weakest, and then fan out behind to take troublesome redoubts from the rear. This was to be done with the assistance of artillery fire, but not the blunderbuss approach of week long bombardments and rolling barrages. Von Hutier’s artillery commander was Colonel Bruchmuller, another man who had an independent mind and was prepared to abandon the textbook approach when it appeared to be wrong. Instead of formal programmes, Bruchmuller’s control of artillery stressed flexibility, and an approach tailored to suit the problem in front of him. He would use rolling barrages, concentrations, smoke, gas, shrapnel in combinations and permutations, placing concentrated fire on specific targets such as communications networks, headquarters, rallying points, quite arbitrarily and in a manner which rapidly disoriented his opponents.
Bruchmuller produced 750 guns and 550 mortars to accompany von Hutier’s approach to Riga, which had to begin by crossing the Dvina river. The guns were split into two groups, IKA (Infanterie Kampfzug Abteilung) and AKA (Artillerie Kampfzug Abteilung). IKA guns were for infantry support and were provided with ammunition in the proportion of four fifths high explosive and one-fifth gas. AKA guns were for countering Russian artillery and headquarters areas, and used a proportion of one-quarter explosive and three quarters gas.
The battle began at 0400 hours on 2nd September with all the guns hammering the Russian artillery positions, three batteries of 15cm howitzers being specially detailed to bombard command posts and communications points. At 0600, the AKA continued their pounding while the IKA group turned their attention on to the Russian infantry defending the river line. This bombardment continued until 0910 hours, shifting from target to target and from explosive to gas and back again in a bewildering sequence, all the time at hurricane intensity. At 0900, the AKA group joined in, each AKA battery leaving one gun to “stoke up” the gas clouds enveloping the Russian artillery targets.
At 0910, all the guns switched to a massive rolling barrage which dwelt on the Russian infantry positions until the German assault troops had crossed the river, and then rolled forward into the defensive zone. After it came von Hutier’s troops in small parties, probing, bypassing, enfilading and enveloping.
The operation was a complete success and vindicated the theories of von Hutier and Bruchmuller. German’ casualties were relatively light, mainly confined to engineers and pioneers operating the river crossing. The intense bombardment and the concentration of gas entirely unnerved the Russians, many of whom fled, and within 24 hours Riga was safely in German hands.
As a result both von Hutier and Bruchmuller were removed from the east and sent to the Western Front, where their tactics were repeated to give the Germans their astonishing success in the offensive of April 1918.
German General Ludendorff drew up plans (codenamed Operation Michael) for a 1918 general offensive along the Western Front. This Spring Offensive sought to divide the British Empire and the French armies in a series of feints and advances. The German leadership hoped to strike a decisive blow against the enemy before significant United States forces could be deployed. Before the offensive even began, Ludendorff made what may have been a fatal mistake by leaving the elite Eighth Army in Russia and sending over only a small portion (a million men) of the German forces from the east to aid the offensive in the west.
Operation Michael opened on 21 March 1918, with an attack against British Empire forces, towards the rail junction at Amiens. It was Ludendorff’s intention to split the British Empire and French armies at this point. German forces achieved an unprecedented advance of 60 km. For the first time since 1914, manoeuvre had returned to the battlefield.
Each offensive was preceded by the concentration of vast numbers of troops and artillery. In Operation Michael, 69 German divisions were massed against 32 British divisions, and in some places the British were outnumbered four to one.
In the Lys Offensive, 9 German divisions attacked 3 British divisions. Twenty two divisions were massed against five in the Second Battle of the Marne. Artillery was massed in levels never before seen. For comparison, in 1915 at Loos, artillery pieces averaged one per 60 yards. In the 1918 Operation Michael, one gun was placed on average every 12 yards. Continuing this trend, the Soviets in World War II massed artillery one gun per every 3 yards.
In contrast to earlier offensives, artillery bombardments were brief and shocking. The enemy artillery was first eliminated with shells and poison gas. Enemy headquarters, communication centres, and supply depots were targeted. Forward trenches were then devastated, machine gun posts being prime targets. Trenches of the Battle Zone were then bombarded. During Operation Michael, the British massed 30% of their troops on the front line. Instead of the desired effect of stopping the attack with overwhelming firepower, the troops were annihilated by artillery fire. In the sector of the XVIII Corps, only 50 of 10,000 front line troops survived the bombardment and subsequent attack.
1918 the first mass use of the Sub Machine Gun.
The German stormtroopers attacked immediately after the bombardment. In contrast with the standard infantry units used at the beginning of the war, the men were equipped with a wide variety of weapons, not just the standard bolt action rifle. Wire cutters and explosives engineers created gaps in the barbed wire belts. Grenade throwers, flame throwers, machine gunners, and mortar crews infiltrated enemy positions. Three or four waves of infantry followed. The attacking troops had no fixed objectives and left pockets of resistance for supporting troops to deal with. Success, not failure, was reinforced. The stormtroopers carried with them the first widely used sub-machine gun, the MP-18. The new sub-machine gun was light and easy to handle, and had much greater firepower than a rifle. It could be swung into action quickly in the confined conditions of the trenches and dugouts. Infiltrating troops often advanced beyond artillery range, leaving their flanks vulnerable. Since most artillery was too bulky to be brought forward in the attack, light trench mortars and machine gunners protected the flanks. The great German offensives were also supported by air power. Seven hundred and thirty German planes were massed against 579 Allied planes in Operation Michael.
The new word was “deep infiltration.” This means that their army does not attack strung and in a line. It maintained contact all the time between its advanced units and its main forces. It does not hit like a fist, but like long probing fingers with armoured finger nails. Each separate claw seeks a weak spot; if it can drive through this weak spot, it does not worry about its flanks, or about continuous communications with the forces following it. It relies for safety upon surprise, upon the disorganisation of its opponents due to the fact that it has broken through to the rear of their position and left them exposed to mopping up operations.
British and French trenches were defeated using these novel infiltration tactics. Up to this time, attacks had been characterized by week long artillery bombardments and continuous front mass assaults. However, in the Spring Offensive, the German Army used artillery briefly and infiltrated small groups of infantry at weak points, attacking command and logistics areas and surrounding points of serious resistance. These isolated positions were then destroyed by more heavily armed infantry. German success relied greatly on this tactic.
The front line had now moved to within 120 kilometres of Paris. Three super heavy Krupp railway guns advanced and fired 183 shells on Paris, causing many Parisians to flee the city. The initial stages of the offensive were so successful that German Kaiser Wilhelm II declared March 24 a national holiday. Many Germans thought victory to be close; however, after heavy fighting, the German offensive was halted. The Germans had a brilliant new stormtrooper tactics that avoided the trenches and sent small units on preplanned raids deep behind the lines to control and communication centres. That worked very well but the Germans, lacking tanks or motorized artillery, were unable to consolidate their positions. The British and French learned that they had to fall back a few miles and the Germans would be disorganized and vulnerable to counterattack. By the standards of the First World War, Operation Michael was a great success. The Germans penetrated 40 miles, took 975 guns, and inflicted 300,000 casualties, but eventually the German attacked stalled from exhaustion.
The Allies had spent the years 1915, 1916, 1917 bludgeoning themselves on the German defences with little to show for it. The Germans spent the winter of 1917/1918 retraining their Army in what was now widely accepted as the best new way to conduct positional warfare.
The basic battlefield unit was no longer to be the company or battalion, but the squad. Each squad was no longer just a group of riflemen, but a combined arms formation of machine gunners, grenadiers and flamethrower troops supported by a few riflemen.
The von Hutier tactics (infiltration tactics) called for special infantry assault units to be detached from the main lines and sent to infiltrate enemy lines. They were supported by shorter and sharper (than usual for WWI) artillery fire missions targeting both the enemy front and rear, bypassing and avoiding what enemy strongpoints they could, and engaging to their best advantage when and where they were forced to, leaving decisive engagement against bypassed units to following heavier infantry. The primary goal of these detached units was to infiltrate the enemy’s lines and break his cohesiveness as much as possible. These formations became known as Stosstruppen, or shock troops, and the tactics which they pioneered would lay the basis of post-WWI infantry tactics, such as the development of present day fire teams.
Not Needed By the Allies.
This new way of thinking was only vaguely recognized by the Allies, who during the three years of trench warfare had increased the battalion firepower from two Medium Vickers Machine Guns with additional Lewis Light Machine Guns, but who did not re-train their men in a way which extracted the greatest advantage from these new weapons. The Allied failure to see the real change behind the German actions was to curse them for the rest of the war and to ensure that they started the next war so far behind the eight ball, that it took two and half years of military disasters before they could learn and turn defeat into success.
Technological Advances Ensured German Success.
The Light Machine Gun
One of these, which had appeared well before von Hutier’s success, was the light machine gun. The original machine guns used in the early part of the war were almost all based on the Maxim design, heavy water cooled belt fed weapons requiring two or three men to move and operate them. These were ideal for defensive positions, where they could sit on their tripods behind a breastwork and spew out bullets for hours on end without stopping for anything, but to have a new belt inserted into the breech or cool water in the tank. This sort of weapon was a liability in the attack; the three or four men carrying the gun, tripod, water can and ammunition made an obvious group which became a prime target for snipers. Their speed of advance was slow, and they took time to set up their gun and commence firing once their objective was reached. What was needed, as General Haig himself pointed out in the summer of 1915 when he was Commander, First Army, was “A lighter machine gun, with tripod and gun in one part… “
The answer was already there, in the shape of the Lewis Gun; developed in America but totally ignored. It had been put into manufacture in Belgium and Britain and supplies began reaching the British Army in France in July 1915. This firearm could be carried by one man, was fed from a flat drum magazine containing 47 cartridges, or a larger 72 round magazine and could even be fired from the hip while advancing. The idea was taken up by other combatants and such designs as the Light Hotchkiss, the Bergmann, the Chauchat, the Dreyse and the Madsen appeared in large numbers throughout the remainder of the war.
The light machine gun, then, allowed the infantry to take its fire support along in the assault and it eventually came to overshadow the heavy machine gun.
The Sub Machine Gun
Von Hutier’s “Storm troops” needed something even more portable; his tactical theory demanded heavy firepower from every man, much more than could be easily delivered by a conventional rifle. Every man could not carry a light machine gun, from considerations of weight, bulk and ammunition supply. Something different was needed, and this led to the sub-machine gun. Due to the fact that in the attack neither side could ever get enough machine gun ammunition (.303 or 8 mm Mauser ammunition) to supply the light machine guns and the Germans realised that at close range less than 100 yards or mainly less that Sub Calibre Ammunition 9 mm Parabellum or 7.62 x 25 Mauser pistol ammunition would kill or disable any opponent. More relevantly more of the ammunition could be carried by the one man operator, and as it was smaller and lighter, more of it could be man carried to support him. Additionally the smaller sub-machine guns could be swung around and bring fire to bear in the confined circumstances of trenches and dug outs.
The first sub-machine gun had been under development since some time in 1916, however there was no official military demand for it, since no military mind had visualized such a weapon. Hugo Schmeisser, chief designer for the Theodor Bergmann Company of Berlin, was a far seeing man who began work, he was sure that once he had an operating weapon the army would find a use for it. The resulting “Bergmann Maschinen Pistole 18″ was an extremely simple weapon which fired standard 9mm Parabellum pistol cartridges (1250 fps with 7 ½ inch barrel) from a 32-shot helical”snail” magazine inserted into the side of the gun. It could be quickly changed. It fired at a rate of about 400 rounds per minute and was sighted for a maximum range of 200 m (220yd) though in practice it was to be used at much shorter distances. Weighing less than 9 pound 4 ounces unloaded, it was only 81cm (32inchs) long, a handy and easily operated weapon which gave the individual soldier immense firepower. Armed with these weapons the Storm Troopers of von Hutier’s 18th Army on the Western Front made savage inroads into the Allied lines in the spring of 1918. The Allies did not adopt the sub machine gun, it was too late in the war for them to organise and tool up factories to manufacture them. Nonetheless, they were well aware of the possibilities of infiltration and once they had absorbed and contained the German advance, they, in their turn, moved on to the offensive, using the Lewis and other light machine guns in the same sort of tactics, only they had more of everything now the American had arrived. That a frontal attack could now succeed where for four years it had failed was simply due to the German advance having disrupted and melted their tight defensive line and allowing the Allies the opportunity to move forward. Once the wedge had been inserted, assisted by tanks and concentrated artillery fire, the German line began to crumble and suddenly mobile warfare returned to the Western Front.
The new assault tactics had broken the stalemate, it had won battles but lost the war.
In the next war, tanks and other armoured vehicles allowed decisive exploitation of the infiltration breakthrough, deep into the enemy’s rear areas. The sensational methods of blitzkrieg had their roots in the stormtrooper tactics of 1918.
In the post-WW1 years, as the armies of the world were run down from their wartime strength and lapsed into their normal peacetime obscurity, the lessons of the war were reviewed; some were learned, many were forgotten. The weapons which had appeared were also reviewed, and more notice was taken of the hardware than of the theories which had accompanied it. Although much of the wartime equipment had to stay in use for economy’s sake, the soldiers and the designers saw that virtually everything in use in 1918 was obsolete, and that new weapons would be needed for the future. Of course the Allies did not know what they were, so blundered on regardless.
The Owen Gun War Crimes Chapter Five Part Two
More than likely Evelyn Owen would have heard about the direct hit on the South Hallsville School, at Canning Town in the East End of London, where 400 civilians perished. However, it is not likely that Evelyn Owen would ever know the real details but the impact of this story would have seeped through and added to the unremitting worry of what happens when its our homes and our families. When it is Australia’s turn to enter the maelstrom?
As this ‘Owen Gun’ story is a controversy of betrayal which impacted like the skittles on thousands of Australians, we have to examine what and who we blame for these tragedies that occur in war and affected so many. As calling it the ‘Peoples War” and their ‘Finest Hour’ does not cover the conscience once all the detail such as above are related.
Army Officers Who Opposed The Owen Gun:- Individually Responsible For Australian Losses Due To Lack Of Section Fire Power?
Yet who should carry the blame for these and similar disasters, are we not individually responsible for our own actions, even in war. The people blame the Germans, or blame Hitler, in Australia they blamed the Japanese or the Japanese Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo, or the Emperor of Japan Hirohito. The real blame of what caused the overall World War tragedy could have been truly laid somewhere entirely different. Others, maybe more bitter laid the blame at their own side as above the Councillor who lost the transport order. The overworked Balloon squadron failure to raise the Barrage Balloon, the Councils lack of railing on the Tube Station steps. Is it right that only the losers are held responsible for War Crimes and the winners give medals to those few whose guilt is much worse?
Throughout history the victors always hang the losers and write the history books.
Shouldn’t we ask? Who judges the winners for the war crimes of pride, sloth, inactivity, and sabotage who may not actually work for the enemy, but just as certainly due to greed and pride do not mind advancing their own careers by sending untold thousands to their early graves.
After World War Two the victors USA and the British Commonwealth realising that the massive improvements of communications made world leaders more accountable than ever before made the decision, to place the German officers and senior civil servants on public trial.
The Nuremberg trials were a series of trials, or tribunals, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany after its defeat in World War II. The trials were held in the city of Nuremberg, Germany, from 1945 to 1946, at the Palace of Justice. The first and best known of these trials was the Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which tried 22 of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany. British War Cabinet documents, released on 2 January 2006, have shown that as early as December 1944, the Cabinet had discussed their policy for the punishment of the leading Nazis if captured. British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill had then advocated a policy of summary execution in some circumstances with the use of an Act of Attainder to circumvent legal obstacles, and was only dissuaded from this by talks with U.S. leaders later in the war.
In late 1943, during the Tripartite Dinner Meeting at the Tehran Conference, the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, proposed executing 50,000–100,000 German staff officers. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, aghast, sarcastically joked that perhaps 49,000 would do. Churchill denounced the idea of “the cold blooded execution of soldiers who fought for their country.” However, he also stated that war criminals must pay for their crimes, and that in accordance with the Moscow Document which he himself had written, they should be tried at the places where the crimes were committed. Churchill was vigorously opposed to executions “for political purposes.”
In 1945 the idea of an International Military Tribunal was unprecedented. Creating a forum to legitimately try enemy prisoners under a fair legal system had never been attempted, and many questioned whether World War II was the time to attempt it. The governments of the Allies and France believed that a trial, following an established legal system, was a better option than military execution without due process. Consequently, the IMT was formed to try Nazi war criminals.
The indictments were for:
Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace
Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace War crimes.
The general impression in people minds today over 60 years later is that the War Criminals were sentenced to death for organising the Death Camps, the despicable murder and treatment of prisoners, and in some cases that was the truth. So how could they be compared to Allied officers whose only guilt was the perceived advancement of their careers and promotion opportunities. The answer to that questions is that the majority of Germans that were tried were not Prison Camp SS guards, but were people that had never seen bloodshed. They were office workers, journalists, judges, architects, union leaders who had found themselves on the wrong side and whose nation had sanctified their behaviour, deplorable as it was.
The following information is supplied not to support them in any way, in fact personally if I was on the jury consider that death by hanging was too good for most of them. I only have some sympathy for Speer as he was condemned for organising slave labour but how one can judge this differently from the Allies use of Conscription and the ‘Bevan Boys’ enforced labour in British Coal Mines which lasted until well into the 1950s brings the trials into even more disrepute. This book is a history of the crimes that were committed against Australian soldiers who fought and died ill equipped, defenceless due to the misdeeds of their older superiors officers. To judge those people fairly we have to appreciate the state and times that the world was in and how war crimes were perceived during the 1940s by the people who lived through it.
In the most famous trial, the first one, 24 of the senior German soldiers, diplomats, judges, senior ministers and businessmen. When the proceedings concluded, a dozen Nazis were sentenced to death by hanging, three were sentenced to life imprisonment, and four received sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. Three others were found not guilty.
Martin Bormann Successor to Hess as Nazi Party Secretary. Sentenced to death in absentia.
Karl Dönitz . Sentenced to 10 years. Leader of the Kriegsmarine from 1943, succeeded Raeder. Initiator of the U-boat campaign. In evidence presented at the trial of Karl Dönitz on his orders to the U-boat fleet to breach the London Rules (sinking of merchant and passenger ship), Admiral Chester Nimitz stated that unrestricted submarine warfare was carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from the first day that nation entered the war. Dönitz was found guilty of breaching the 1936 Second London Naval Treaty.
Hans Frank. Sentenced to Death. Reich Law Leader 1933-1945 and Governor-General of the General Government in occupied Poland 1939-1945.
Wilhelm Frick. Sentenced to Death. Hitler’s Minister of the Interior 1933-1943 and Reich Protector of Bohemia-Moravia 1943-1945.
Hans Fritzsche. Acquitted. Popular radio commentator, and head of the news division of the Nazi Propaganda Ministry.
Walther Funk. Life Imprisonment. Hitler’s Minister of Economics. Succeeded Schacht as head of the Reichsbank.
Hermann Göring. Sentenced to Death. Reichsmarschall, Commander of the Luftwaffe 1935-1945, Chief of the 4-Year Plan 1936-1945, and several departments of the SS. Second only to Hitler in the Nazi hierarchy during the last years of the war. Committed suicide the night before his execution.
Rudolf Hess. Sentenced to Life Imprisonment. Hitler’s deputy, flew to Scotland in 1941 in an attempt to broker a peace deal with Great Britain. After trial, committed to Spandau Prison; died in 1987.
Alfred Jodl. Sentenced to Death. Wehrmacht Generaloberst, Keitel’s subordinate and Chief of the O.K.W.’s Operations Division 1938-1945.
Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Sentenced to Death. Highest surviving SS-leader. Chief of RSHA 1943-45, the central Nazi intelligence organ. Also commanded many of the Einsatzgruppen and several concentration camps.
Wilhelm Keitel. Sentenced to Death . Head of Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) 1938-1945.
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Major Nazi industrialist. C.E.O of Krupp A.G 1912-45. Medically unfit for trial (died January 16, 1950). The prosecutors attempted to substitute his son Alfried (who managed Krupp for his father during most of the war) in the indictment, but the judges rejected this as being too close to trial. Alfried was tried in a separate Nuremberg trial for his use of slave labour, thus escaping the worst notoriety and possibly death.
Robert Ley. Head of DAF, The German Labour Front. Committed Suicide on 25 October 1945, before the trial began.
Baron Konstantin von Neurath. Sentenced to15 years. Minister of Foreign Affairs 1932-1938, succeeded by Ribbentrop. Later, Protector of Bohemia and Moravia 1939-43. Resigned in 1943 due to dispute with Hitler.
Franz von Papen. Acquitted Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and Vice-Chancellor under Hitler in 1933-1934. Ambassador to Austria 1934-38 and ambassador to Turkey 1939-1944. Although acquitted at Nuremberg, von Papen was reclassified as a war criminal in 1947 by a German de-Nazification court, and sentenced to eight years’ hard labour.
Erich Raeder. Life Imprisonment. Commander In Chief of the Kriegsmarine from 1928 until his retirement in 1943, succeeded by Dönitz.
Joachim von Ribbentrop. Sentenced to Death . Ambassador-Plenipotentiary 1935-1936. Ambassador to the United Kingdom 1936-1938. Nazi Minister of Foreign Affairs 1938-1945.
Alfred Rosenberg. Sentenced to Death. Racial theory ideologist. Later, Minister of the Eastern Occupied Territories 1941-1945.
Fritz Sauckel. Sentenced to Death. Gauleiter of Thuringia 1927-1945. Plenipotentiary of the Nazi slave labor program 1942-1945.
Dr. Hjalmar Schacht. Acquitted. Prominent banker and economist. Pre-war president of the Reichsbank 1923-1930 & 1933-1938 and Economics Minister 1934-1937.
Baldur von Schirach Sentenced to 20 years. Head of the Hitlerjugend from 1933 to 1940, Gauleiter of Vienna 1940-1943.
Arthur Seyss-Inquart Sentenced to Death Instrumental in the Anschluss and briefly Austrian Chancellor 1938. Deputy to Frank in Poland 1939-1940. Later, Reich Commissioner of the occupied Netherlands 1940-1945.
Albert Speer. Sentenced to 20 Years. Hitler’s favourite architect and close friend, and Minister of Armaments from 1942. In this capacity, he was ultimately responsible for the use of slave labourers from the occupied territories in armaments production.
Julius Streicher Sentenced to Death. Gauleiter of Franconia 1922-1940. Publisher of the weekly newspaper, Der Stürmer.
The death sentences were carried out 16 October 1946 by hanging using the standard drop method instead of long drop. The executioner was John C. Woods
This was just the beginning Albert Pierrepoint fame due to his family dynasty of hangman, was disappointed, as Nurenberg was in the American sector he did not have the opportunity to utilise his preferred long drop method in the most publicised trial. However he still managed to hang 200 from the subsequent war crime trials held in the British sector. This did not count the subsequent 1600 US trials and the Russian and French sector trials. Albert Pierrepoint also won the honour of hanging William Joyce, (nicknamed Lord Haw Haw) for Treason. He had committed the crime of radio broadcasting for the Germans. It was a rather dubious sentence as Joyce had been born in New York and never naturalised as British, but the mood of the times was very severe.
Under the wartime legislation many spies or other (as information has still not been authenticated and released) were disposed of at the Tower of London and buried on Tower Green without trial. Even an Admiral of the Fleet, Admiral Sir Barry Domville ( Book title Admiral to Cabin Boy) ex Chief of Naval Intelligence, whose crime was to be a leader of a right wing political group was jailed without trial for most of the war. Thousands of others, whose crime was that they disagreed with the war against Germany and saw the real enemy as Communist Russia were also interred without trial. So if Adolf Hitler scientist had made the atomic bomb first and the war had gone the other way the grounds for War Crime trials would have been present. The difference being that the Germans and Japanese would not have seen any reason to have expensive time consuming show trials, and would have disposed of their opposite numbers quietly with no fuss.
Although the International Military Tribunal had its flaws, it at least provided the Nazi defendants with a modicum of justice by virtue of the simple fact that they were allowed a trial. The Allies overcame the urge to indiscriminately execute every prisoner they took, and instead decided to subject them to the rule of law. Critics of the Nuremberg trials argued that the charges against the defendants were only defined as “crimes” after they were committed and that therefore the trial was invalid as a form of “victors’ justice”. The undoubted flaws rightly continue to trouble the thoughtful.
Chief Justice of the United States Harlan Fiske Stone called the Nuremberg trials a fraud. “(Chief US prosecutor) Jackson is away conducting his high-grade lynching party in Nuremberg,” he wrote. “I don’t mind what he does to the Nazis, but I hate to see the pretense that he is running a court and proceeding according to common law. This is a little too sanctimonious a fraud to meet my old-fashioned ideas.”
The main Soviet judge, Nikitchenko, had taken part in Stalin’s show trials of 1936-1938.
One of the charges, brought against Keitel, Jodl, and Ribbentrop included conspiracy to commit aggression against Poland in 1939. The Secret Protocols of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939, proposed the partition of Poland between the Germans and the Soviets (which was subsequently executed in September 1939); however, Soviet leaders were not tried for being part of the same conspiracy. Instead, the Tribunal falsely proclaimed the Secret Protocols of the Non-Aggression Pact to be a forgery. Moreover, Allied Powers Britain and Soviet Union were not tried for preparing and conducting the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran and the Winter War against Finland, respectively.
As the London Charter definition of what constituted a crime against humanity was unknown when many of the crimes were committed, it could be argued to be a retrospective law, in violation of the principles of prohibition of ex post facto laws and the general principle of penal law were ignored.
The trials were conducted under their own rules of evidence; the indictments were created ex post facto and were not based on any nation’s law; the ‘tu quoque’ defence was removed. Which means the defence of proving that your accuser is as guilty as yourself. It is sometimes referred to as ‘The You Too’ defence and some claim the entire spirit of the assembly was “victor’s justice”. The Charter of the International Military Tribunal permitted the use of normally inadmissible “evidence.” Article 19 specified that “The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence… and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value”. Article 21 of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT) Charter stipulated:
“The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United Allied Nations, including acts and documents of the committees set up in the various allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and the records and findings of military and other Tribunals of any of the United Allied Nations”. This style of law which was quite foreign to English law principles has now pervaded the Tribunals set up in Australia to persecute the State Anti-Discrimination legislation.
The ‘You Too Defence’ Had To Be Ignored. As All Sides Are Always As Guilty. All Covered Up The Truth.
One of the famous examples of accuse your enemy of what you are guilty of occurred during the trial.
The chief Soviet prosecutor submitted false documentation in an attempt to indict defendants for the murder of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn forest near Smolensk. However, the other Allied prosecutors refused to support the indictment and German lawyers promised to mount an embarrassing defence. No one was charged nor found guilty at Nuremberg for the Katyn Forest massacre. In 1990, the Soviet government acknowledged that the Katyn massacre was carried out, not by the Germans, but by the Soviet secret police.
Freda Utley, in her 1949 book “The High Cost of Vengeance” charged the court with amongst other things double standards. She pointed to the Allied use of civilian forced labour, and deliberate starvation of civilians in the occupied territories. She also noted that General Rudenko, the chief Soviet prosecutor, after the trials became commandant of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. (After the fall of East Germany the bodies of 12,500 Soviet era victims were uncovered at the camp, mainly “children, adolescents and elderly people.”) That was why the ‘You Too’ defence had to be ignored.
All of the above also applied to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals and again in those trials the most popular defence was, ‘I was just following orders’ .
If the perpetrators, of the Owen Gun War Crimes, whose names will appear in the chapters of evidence to come were challenged and compared with those who stood trial at Nuremberg almost to a man they would appear to be shocked, horrified at the comparison. Like a chorus with all their modern day sympathisers they would chant in unison that they were ‘only following orders’. Only one man at the very top would not have been able to use that defence, but the Germans and Japanese used that defence. Officers in Australia procrastinating the implantation of the Owen Gun could not have used that defence as in the German and Japanese instances. As German and Japanese officers would have been shot for disobeying orders, where in the Australian context there was no formal order and the death penalty was never threatened. We hear that defence in the 21st Century everyday from our public servants, ‘I’m only doing my job’. ‘I know its wrong, but my family has to eat’, ‘I’m only following orders’,’Everybody has a mortgage to pay,’ from local government officials to the police.
The Warrior Code. “I’m Only Following Orders”.
In The Art of War, written during the 6th century BC, Sun Tzu argued that it was a commander’s duty to ensure that his subordinates conducted themselves in a civilised manner during an armed conflict. The trial of Peter von Hagenbach by an ad hoc tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire in 1474, was the first “international” recognition of commanders’ obligations to act lawfully. Hagenbach was put on trial for atrocities committed during the occupation of Breisach, found guilty of war crimes and beheaded. Since he was convicted for crimes “he as a knight was deemed to have a duty to prevent,” Hagenbach defended himself by arguing that he was only following orders. It is seen as the first trial based on this principle where the defence of following orders was put forward. Of course in international law that defence fails.
The defence was most famously employed during the Nuremberg Trials, after which the Principle is named and all that used it were condemned if not to death, to long prison sentences.
Before the end of World War II, the Allies suspected such a defence might be employed, and issued the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), which specifically stated that this was not a valid defence against charges of war crimes.
Thus, under Nuremberg Principle IV, “defence of superior orders” is not a defence for war crimes, although it might influence a sentencing authority to lessen the penalty.
Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl and other defendants of the Nuremberg trials unsuccessfully used the defence during their trials.
“The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility. Based on this principle international law developed the concept of individual criminal liability for war crimes which resulted in many executions of Germans and Japanese soldiers.
At the Nurenberg Trial which the winning Allied countries tried the losers of World War Two, the German almost to a man blamed their superior or Adolf Hitler and used the defence that they were only carrying out orders. This was dismissed by the Trial Judges and they found that under ‘Common Law’, every man is responsible for his actions, that they could have chosen to run away rather than commit war crimes.
The ‘Common law ‘argument against the Nuremberg defence is that if the individual knows (‘mens rea’) or is aware that his actions are against the laws of humanity, then they have the guilt and should be punished. Of course on that basis all warfare of any description could be classified as actions against the laws of humanity but then International Law takes into account the Warrior Code.
The customary law of war exists, and has existed, since time immemorial; the use of treaty to codify what is allowed and what is prohibited is merely its modern expression; just as the common law in the English-speaking nations has forbidden murder. Common law murder has been under the pain of death, since its inception, without a word on the statute-books proscribing murder in many of the common law countries up to the present day. The idea that there are certain expectations of those practising the profession of arms among the civilized nations has been ingrained in many cultures—including those of Europe, East Asia even Bushido, the warrior code of Japan, the Middle East for example Saladin, the Arabian/Islamic exemplar of knightly virtue, respected and honoured across the battle-lines by the Crusaders, and other civilizations. In particular, the culture of Europe gave rise to the concept of chivalry, the code of honour regulating the conduct of knights, men-at-arms, and in later days, in more modern forms, soldiers. Traditionally, in Europe and elsewhere, the obligation of the warrior is to levy war upon all those who bear arms against him, his brothers-in-arms, his commander, and his nation, using whatever means at his disposal are necessary and honourable for the task, and not using those which are dishonourable or perfidious, but in so doing, to save and to defend the innocent, the weak, and the helpless; to bring succour to the wounded, comfort to the dying; to spare from the rigours of war those who do not present a threat, not bearing arms against him; to give quarter, and to treat with humanity and military dignity the enemy soldier who has yielded, or is incapacitated; and, above all, to protect women and children from the sword.
The idea that a warrior owes a duty not just to his nation, or his army, but also to his common humanity is a concept as old as civilization itself is. Over the millennia, civilization has remembered with respect those warriors who were courageous in battle and merciful to those they defeated, regardless of whose banner under which they fought, while history regards with infamy those warriors, regardless of their military success, who willingly discarded the very honour and respect that they may have earned in battle through their atrocities committed upon civilians or cruelties visited upon vanquished foes. No warrior has been regarded as a man of courage for slaughtering of the weak or innocent, for his pillages or sacks, or for brutalities and barbarities he visited upon his foes; therein lies no honour or glory, only senseless cruelty. This indicates that just as the law against murder in the common-law nations is established not by statute, but by history, custom, the human condition, and by being immanent in Nature, so too is the law of war, and so too has it always been.
Why Were Those Responsible for Slaughtering the Weak Not Put on Trial in Australia?
When the Australian Officers knowing that their countrymen were in dire need of additional section fire power yet purposely with forethought and planning delayed the manufacture of the Owen Gun. Those who committed written sabotage against their own men, whose only excuse could be to advance their personal careers and promotion could not use any of the Nurenberg defences and even if they did by precedent they would have been condemned, all the same. While they pontificated, battalions of young men with six weeks training with broomstick were being sent to fight an Army that had been in constant battle practice since 1931. The young men went willingly believing that their superiors were doing their bit to equip them, thousands needlessly went to their deaths or Japanese Prison Camps because they did not have enough firepower to prevent the Japanese from encircling their defensive positions then rushing in on them. Those officers knew the problem and yet kept delaying. Instead of putting them on trial they promoted them one culprit up to Field Marshal. Books have been written in their defence such as ‘The Owen Gun Files’ by Kevin Smith which raises every excuse to shift the blame. Those young Australians needlessly killed were an atrocity just as important as any discussed at Nuremberg and Tokyo and those officers should have stood on trial for those deaths winners or losers “tu quoque” or “You Too”. As these War Criminals were not the skittles of war they were not the overworked councillors who lose the paperwork or the Barrage Balloon operators who are exhausted in a battle zone, they sat at home and effectively disarmed Australians who had to stop lead with their bodies so that they could polish their backsides in an Army office in Australia. Kevin Smith in the “The Owen Gun Files” claims that they were following orders, just doing there jobs. He writes as and sounds as a public servant sounds remote and clinical and blames everyone else. As usual William Shakespeare’s uses the pen to cut words sharper then any sword to apportion the reckoned blame, for all those legs and arms and heads chopped off in battle Act IV Scene 1 The English Camp at Agincourt. The Welsh discuss the blame of war.
KING HENRY V
” me thinks I could not die anywhere so contented as in the king’s company; his cause being
just and his quarrel honourable.
That’s more than we know.
Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know enough, if we know we are the kings subjects: if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.
But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at such a place;’ some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection.
KING HENRY V
So, if a son that is by his father sent about merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the
imputation of his wickedness by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a servant, under his master’s command transporting a sum of money, be assailed by robbers and die in many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant’s damnation: but this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services. Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to the arbitrement of swords, can try it out with all unspotted soldiers: some peradventure have on them the guilt of premeditated and contrived murder; some, of beguiling virgins with the broken seals of perjury; some, making the wars their bulwark, that have before gored the gentle bosom of peace with pillage and robbery. Now, if these men have defeated the law and outrun native punishment, though they can outstrip men, they have no wings to fly from God: war is his beadle, war is vengeance; so that here men are punished for before-breach of the king’s laws in now the king’s quarrel: where they feared the death, they have borne life away; and where they would be safe, they perish: then if they die unprovided, no more is the king guilty of their damnation than he was before guilty of those impieties for they which are now visited. Every subject’s duty is the king’s; but every subject’s soul is his own. Therefore should every soldier in the wars do as every sick man in his bed, wash every mote out of his conscience: and dying so, death is to him advantage; or not dying, the time was blessedly lost wherein such preparation was gained: and in him that escapes, it were not sin to think that, making God so free an offer, He let him outlive that day to see His greatness and to teach others how they should prepare.
‘Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill upon his own head, the king is not to answer it.
William Shakespeare’s says it all with the words of King Henry “ every subjects soul is his own”, “wash every mote out of his conscience.” Those officers “have on them the guilt of premeditated and contrived murder”, and as we present the evidence against the accused you may also believe that they should have shared the same reward as the German officers at Nuremberg.
The Owen Gun War Crimes Chapter Five Part One
It has been suggested that a good title for this book would be, ‘The Owen Gun War Crimes’, but as this is just one of the beginning chapters its too early to decide on a title. For sure War Crimes were committed and the innocent died, due to them. Still, it is for the reader to decide the guilt or innocence of the participants.
This book is a history of the crimes that were committed against Australian soldiers who fought and died ill equipped defenceless due to the misdeeds of their older superior officers. To judge those people fairly we have to appreciate the state and time that the world was in and how war crimes were perceived during the 1940s
War has a roll on affect, like skittles or ten pin bowling, one person affected, in some way makes a decision which rolls on and affects millions of people. War changes people, some for the better and some for the worse. Depending on their position the affect can roll on to affect millions of people. In the Owen Gun history the decisions that certain people made impacted on the youthful generation of Australians that either went out to fight a war, or those that stayed at home to worry about them.
What was in the mind of Evelyn Owen in 1940 when he made the decision, to join the Australian Army? The Australian newspaper stories and Cinema Newsreels would have been describing the events occurring in Britain. Any intelligent person could relate those scenes to Australia knowing that it would be only a matter of time before it too would take its turn and come under attack.
With the advantage of looking back through history we can see that Evelyn Owen would have been far better employed designing firearms, for others to use rather than square bashing his way though recruit training, and preparing to go to war with his brothers in the same way his forefathers had gone to the First World War. At that time as he had no hope of seeing the fruition of his firearm inventions, he wanted to play his part in defending Australia in any way he could. His motivation would be to do anything he could to prevent the madness that was destroying the ‘Old World”, demolishing his world, and the world of all the people he cared about. Millions of other young men felt the same way, but a few had their own agenda’s, they had careers, promotion and power to consider. That’s okay as long as they do not send thousands of other young people to their deaths to enhance that career.
As we get older we realise that it is not ideas that rule the world but that the world rules a man’s ideas through or from the information that he is allowed to receive. Events and actions are infinitely more powerful motivating factors in influencing the formation of people ideas and opinions than a mere desire to follow a certain philosophy that they may have had all of their lives. Just with the near miss of a bomb can change a lifelong pacifists into a militant and in another person and place a militant into a pacifist. Sometimes the bomb does not have to be real, media is a powerful force in its negative and positive affects. Many times it is what they do not report that has the maximum roll on effect. The people who report these actions have a large responsibility and in many areas have to accept the blame for the dissemination of misinformation, or the reverse, removing the truth by failing to include the true picture to even the people closely affected by it. For example.
In the World at War Evelyn Owen would have had no knowledge of the Bethal Green Tube Station tragedy as that was covered up for 65 years. It was a roll on affect not unlike skittles or ten pin bowling. 173 mainly women and children died in that disaster but it was caused not by a German bomb but by the new sound of a new type of rocket battery operated by the Royal Artillery, a new invention on an old idea.
Peter Patch will never forget, aged 16, being crushed into a ball and the last glimpse of his beloved 17-year-old sister, Iris.
Nor will he ever forget his father’s anguished words to his mother after finally tracking down Iris to a makeshift mortuary: “She’s gone, girl.” that’s all he could say.
Jimmy Haynes still sees the faces of the dead children he had to load on to the lorries: “I was only 16 and I wasn’t a big lad so they told me to carry out the little ones. I didn’t talk about it for years.”
Alf Austin, then 12, will always remember being pinned against a jagged concrete wall by a mass of dying people until a burly lady in uniform plucked him to safety. He will always remember, too, the only time he ever saw his father in tears.
Most people’s response will be: “The what?” The abiding impression is of the wartime East End, its incessant bombing, interspersed with sing-songs and visits from the late Queen Mother.
The Bethal Green Tube Disaster is all the more tragic because of the horrors the victims had already endured. And yet, it did not involve German bombs. It was not a heroic example of London’s “Blitz spirit”. It did not even involve a Tube train; there were none running.
In total, 173 people – mostly women and children – were asphyxiated in an accident so shocking that it was 63 years before the public was allowed to know most of the truth.
Even now, some of the details are uncertain.
The Roll on Affect. Taught Australia What They Could Expect.
The East End of London was a place of deprivation and gritty stoicism almost unimaginable in today’s cosseted society.
“Home” was a loose term. The “home” you had in 1939 was, very often, a pile of rubble by the end of 1940. And the “home” you had in the day was entirely different from the place where you went to sleep.
“I think we’d been bombed out four times by 1943,” says Alf Austin.
“I remember my mother coming out of the shelter after one bomb and the only thing standing was the kitchen dresser. All she could say was: ‘My China!'”
Peter Patch remembers a royal visit after his family lost their first home. “We were just hanging around and then the Queen Mum turned up,” says Peter. “She asked us lots of questions.”
Millions of city children were evacuated to the countryside, but other families chose to stay together and take their chances.
Basic Anderson shelters were built in every garden, but the London authorities discouraged sheltering in the Underground in case people refused to resurface, a hypothetical condition known as “deep shelter mentality”.
Public opinion – reinforced by thousands of deaths at ground level – soon overcame the patronising theories of the Whitehall mandarins, and the Tube quickly became a popular sanctuary.
In the East End, the newly built Bethal Green station could fit up to 5,000 people. The Central Line track was still being laid there and the tunnels had no trains, so it could be fully converted into its own subterranean town.
Alf Austin tells visitors “Down this side, they built a hall over the tracks and we had theatricals and the odd wedding party,” he shouts fondly above the din of a train.
The council built a hospital and even a library down here. Chemical loos and a canteen were installed and, eventually, the tunnels were lined with thousands of bunk beds. “We must have spent years sleeping down here,” he reflects.
A routine soon developed. At the first sign of an air raid, each family would send someone to the “Bundle Shop”, a left luggage depot where everyone stored their bedding. Today, it is Nico’s Cafe, where Alf Austin still likes to meet his chums for a bacon sandwich.
“One of you would pick up the bundle of bedding and then get down to the platform to grab a decent place, while Mum or Dad would round up the little ones and come on behind. Once everyone was safely down below, a lot of the dads would then go back up to get on with their work.”
Alf’s father drove his lorry through the Blitz. Peter’s father, who worked for the local power company, raced around bombsites disabling the gas and electricity supply. At 16, Jimmy Haynes was just old enough to be an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) messenger, running errands for the emergency services.
On the night of March 3, Alf and his family knew an air raid was on the way. “The radio went off the air at five to eight and that was always a sign. There’d been a raid on Berlin a few days before, so we knew we’d be getting Hitler’s revenge.”
Alf’s parents told him to run on ahead to the Tube with his Aunt Lil. Alf’s mother had just had a baby and would need a little longer to get there.
Peter was a 12-year-old schoolboy, too. His mother had sent him on ahead with his sister Iris, 17, and his cousin Barbara, seven.
Jimmy Haynes met another ARP messenger called Jack and they set off to report for duty at the fire station on Roman Road.
Hundreds of people were below ground when the air raid siren sounded at 8.17pm. The numbers quickly increased as pubs and cinemas emptied out.
There was only one entrance to the Tube, from the street – a flight of 19 rough steps leading down to a landing.
There, people turned right and walked down another seven steps to the ticket hall. From there, a set of escalators led to the platforms and safety 80ft below ground.
That first set of steps was lit by a single 25-watt bulb. An earlier rain shower had made them slippery and there was no central rail.
But most people knew the place well. For many, this had been a bedroom for years. People were used to forming an orderly queue, however terrifying the mayhem above.
What happened next, however, is a source of official debate.
Over the road from the entrance, a searchlight was in operation. Half a mile beyond that, in Victoria Park, an anti-aircraft unit was preparing to fire a new rocket weapon for the first time.
According to a subsequent official report, there were no enemy aircraft in the area. The records of the Royal Artillery’s 26th Searchlight Regiment, which Alf has obtained from the Public Records Office, state that “a small number of enemy aircraft” were nearby.
Either way, at 8.27pm, the Victoria Park battery let rip with its new rockets.
The noise nearly knocked Jimmy Haynes off his feet. On that top stairwell, it caused chaos. “It made a great ‘whoosh’. We’d never heard anything like it,” says Alf.
“People started shouting, ‘It’s a bomb!’ There was screaming and a great shove.”
According to the official report, a woman on the first landing tripped while carrying a baby and a bundle of bedding.
An elderly man then tripped over her. Before they could get up, others were falling over them.
The landing was soon a pile of bodies and it was a case of human skittles all the way back to street level.
Adults fell helplessly on children. There were screams, then groans, then whimpers and then nothing. Piled ten deep, people just ran out of breath.
Protective arms thrown around tiny bodies squeezed the life out of them.
Down in the bowels of the station, around 1,000 people were bedding down as usual. None of them had a clue what was unfolding above.
But up at street level, three buses had just screeched to a halt, disgorging yet more people wanting shelter. Some found themselves treading onto a floor of human bodies.
The official magistrate’s report, which would not be made public for years, describes it as follows: “The stairway was converted from a corridor to a charnel house in ten to 15 seconds.” Of the 173 dead, over 60 were children.
A few steps short of the landing, Alf Austin was carried forwards and then suddenly forced upwards by the crush.
“I was pushed against the wall with my head and chest sticking above everyone. I was terrified.
“This big ARP lady, Mrs Bramley, I’ll never forget her, she just waded in, put her hands under my arms and pulled me out. Then she just told me to get down below and not say a word about what had happened. And I didn’t.”
Peter was further back up the stairs. As the crowd surged forward, he remembers crouching, while Iris and Barbara remained standing.
“I curled up in a ball. I could see Iris. I could touch her. But I couldn’t talk to her.”
He can’t remember how long he stayed in that position but, eventually, he was pulled out by a policeman.
“He brought me up and there were all these bodies laid out along the pavement but I didn’t know what was going on.
“He told me just to go over and take shelter under the railway arch and stay there. So I stayed there until the next morning when I went home.”
Only then did Peter’s father learn that Iris and Barbara would never be returning. His mother kept Iris’s coat until her dying day.
The same steps are still there, one of several entrances. With commuters and shoppers weaving around them, Peter and Alf show the exact steps where they were standing. It is all so tragically ordinary. There is nothing here to suggest a deathtrap.
Jimmy had been ordered to go to the station to help with “a terrible accident”. He found a swift but thorough clean-up operation under way.
“We were just told to lay out the bodies and then load them on to lorries,” he recalls.
“One or two near the bottom were still alive. But most of the faces, they were all purple and mauve.”
The Evidence of Disaster Was Washed Away, So Were Many Others.
There were very few injured people. People were either suffocated or they walked away relatively unscathed.
“I do not think I saw a single case of a fractured ribs, which is extraordinary,” the police surgeon told the coroner’s inquest.
Ivy Breen, then 25, was one of a handful with lasting physical injuries a partially paralysed face. What really troubled her for the rest of her life, though, were the sounds of that night and the memory of her tiny nephew, Barry, who died in her arms.
Alf Austin emerged from the Tube the next morning along with thousands of people who were still unaware of their lucky escape.
“They’d washed away all the evidence,” he recalls. The papers were not allowed to report the tragedy, they were not allowed to identify the station or print any details about rocket launches, let alone stories of panic.
The official account was simply that a woman had tripped with a baby and others had fallen on top of her. To this day, the questions persist.
Could We Blame The Germans Or The Britons For This, Who Apportions the Blame?
Why were people used to the terror of the Blitz suddenly spooked by friendly fire against an uncertain target? Why were there no police on duty at the top of the steps? Where were the railings? If the rockets were merely being tested, why do it over the East End?
A year later, the Bethal Green Corporation was successfully sued for negligence by Mrs Anne Baker, who lost her husband and 14-year-old daughter (she received £950 compensation for the loss of her husband and £250 for her daughter).
Similar awards were later paid out to all the bereaved families. The Mayor of Bethal Green and her husband fled the area, broken and vilified. Railings were installed and the steps were painted. But there was still no reference to the chaos induced by the rockets.
“It was wartime and they had to hush all that up,” says Alf.
The bomb-battered East End of the day was a close-knit community. “Everyone knew someone involved,” says Alf.
“I remember going back to school and there was only one of the Morgans left.”
A look at the Book of Remembrance shows why: George and Florence Morgan of 7, Cleary Place had perished along with three of their children.
Peter remembers the double tragedy of poor Maud Thomas. “I was at school with her son, Jamie. He died in the Tube and a week later her daughter was killed by a car in the Roman Road. That was all her children killed.”
Alf Austin feels for George Jones , husband of Lil and father of Vera, seven. “My dad had to identify them. He could only tell it was Vera by her little shoes. George was fighting in North Africa but they wouldn’t let him home. They told him he had nothing to go back to.”
Ivy Breen died a few years ago but her daughter, Sandra Smith, 60, says she never really got over it. Little Barry’s wooden Tommy gun is a treasured family heirloom.
“It’s so important that people know what happened, what they all went through,” says Sandra.
Yet It Was Unreported At The Time.
All this was not reported Evelyn Owen and his contemporaries would not know of this particular incident but the stories of grief and foreboding created urgency and a sense of purpose that it should not happen to their loved ones in Australia.
The most images and impressions that would have been given to Evelyn Owen would have been of the ‘Peoples War’, ‘Their Finest Hour’, the dogged resistance of the civilians in the blitz, putting up with the worst conditions imaginable. He would not have known that the British Anti Aircraft Guns actually killed more Londoners than German air crews as all that hot shrapnel had to come down somewhere. It was although, a great comfort to the masses of civilians that some resistance was being made no matter how poor the actual results.
Evelyn Owen like millions of other young men of his generation joined up as they desperately wanted to keep any fighting that had to be done away from their homeland.
In the Owen Gun betrayal people were changed by war, those changes like the skittles impacted on other people some of whom were needlessly killed due to a lack of firepower, in hundreds of defensive actions when they were under mass attacks. Some changes were positive and won though eventually saving thousands of other lives. They that strived to make other men hurry and make those important decision saved countless thousands that other wise would have been lost.
The World at War introduces a certain stiffening of peoples inner resolution, they realise that ‘Loose Lips Sink Ships’, or ‘Loose Lips Lose Lives’ and that bad decisions lose even more of them in war, as the stakes are high, the cost is human life. The blame for those wrong decisions are cut with the firmness of a surgeons knife and forgiveness is forgotten.
One civilian forgets to black out a window, producing a twinkling light, a German Heinkel bomber 22,000 ft above is lost. He has missed his targets but sees the light realises he is over the city of London drops his bomb load and heads for home.
The Bomb drops on the residential area of Canning Town, Custom House East End of London, 80 are killed and 32 still missing, hundreds more are injured and add to the overfull hospitals. Six hundred of the homeless tired and shocked with nothing but the clothes they stand up in are taken to a disused school, as many children had been earlier evacuated to the country South Hallsville School which was called an ‘Evacuation Centre. In reality it was a temporary shelter from the elements certainly not a bomb shelter. They were kept there almost under lock an key. The ARP wardens would not let them leave, until they were found alternative accommodation billeted with relatives or with anyone who had spare room. There was no facilities, no beds, no proper toilets or baths, a mattress on the floor and nowhere comfortable to sit where they could quietly express the grief over their loved ones and the loss of their homes. They should have only been there less than 24 hours. Buses were supposed to arrive and take them to their next destination, to somewhere comfortable and safe, but the buses never came. At the Local City Council the Councillor responsible for signing the paper work for the utilization of the buses had lost the paperwork in the disarrayed piles of papers on his desk. He was very busy, he thought people did not appreciate how busy he was. He felt rather sorry for himself, and that might have been the reason he did not try that hard. On the third night the 13th of September 1940, the voluntary Auxiliary Air Force Leading Aircraftsman who was responsible to wind up Bevin the Barrage Balloon, (the people named each Barrage Balloon after a famous politician, as they considered them all full of wind, Blimps was another nick name) was having a bad night. He had not had slept in a bed since the night of the 9th of September and he was exhausted. The winch that let out the cable had a tangle on the winch drum it got stuck before Bevin was half way up. The Barrage Balloon had been moved to be up over the school to obstruct the German bombers, so they couldn’t risk tangling with the cables this made them fly over 4000 ft or around them. The Auxiliary LAC man whose team had dwindled to one man due to the weeks of continual bombing has instead of fixing the cable or reporting it to his ‘hard to find’ superior, just left it. Many people didn’t think they did any good anyway, as released bombs did not fall directly downwards they had a diagonal path. Some were even dropped by parachute and were called “Land Mines’ they were delayed action bombs. At around the same time that the Auxiliary LAC man was climbing into bed, above him another person was having a problem. A German pilot who had dropped his main stick of bombs over the London Docks had the last one stuck in the bomb bay doors. His chances of returning and landing in that condition was very slight, so he gained height climbing for a few minutes and then dived as steep as he dared when he got down to 4000 feet. He banked up pulling himself out of the dive, the inertia released the loose bomb. He never saw Bevin the Barrage Balloon, before he turned into the east and set a course for home, as it was still hundreds of feet below him. The Bomb as it had left at a very steep angle continued its course directly into the South Hallsville School killing four hundred civilian mainly women and children. The blame and finger pointing, between the Council and Balloon Command continued for weeks. The government blamed the Germans for bombing a civilian Evacuation Centre and made a propaganda 5 minute Newsreels for the cinema matinees.
Part Two, The Betrayal Begins.
War is very rarely caused by a single act of aggression. In fact, it is so rare, I cannot think of a real one. Not the sinking of the Maine, or the attack on Pearl Harbour or the German reported attack by the Poles on Germanies Border Post on the 1st of December 1939. War is caused by the forces which motivate people, either into preparing for war, building up aggressive tools of war, or conversely but just as powerful, by reducing the defences and disarming the nation. As we have observed over the last sixty years with NATO and the Warsaw Pact, when two opposing forces are armed to the teeth, strangely, we have peace. When we have a country disarming, and a civilisation which is beginning to crumble and its neighbours embark on building a war machine, then war is imminent, you can put money on it! Then we have War and have to sacrifice the generations.
In December 1941 Australia’s cotton wool world of false security disappeared like the morning mist, it awoke to the stark realisation that unless they all personally took part in its defence they could only expect invasion, subjection and death. They had seen what had occurred elsewhere and felt that they were now in the queue to take their turn. Australians had a large part of the worlds natural resources and virtually no capacity, both industrial or human, to defend it with.
Wars are caused by people for many different reasons. I used to believe it was to make money for the industrialists, but have since concluded that the motivating power brokers for war have all as much money as they ever would need in ten lifetimes. It is power that motivates the deathly diabolical war dance . If these people wanted more money, they only had to print it. They own the Clearing House Bank in every country in the world. No, it is not money, it is power that is the fuel for war, if it is not the expansion of it, then when it is a lack of it, like a vacuum, it implodes sucking in power to replace it like a double acting steam engine. War gets poor peoples’ minds off their grim existence, the thought of having no existence at all purges all ideologies. If a politician wants job security, he has to find a war. If his country is divided, nothing will unite it like an invasion. War will galvanise the country and make everyone face in the same direction, that is the way politicians seek to answer their worst internal problems with war.
In the 1930s the British Empire was crumbling in a similar way to the current slow disintegration of its inheritors the American Empire. In 1931 Evelyn Owen began to design a sub -machine gun or to describe it more correctly ‘The Owen Machine Carbine’.
World War One and World War Two could fairly be described as the Two Wars of British Succession. They have often been described as the same war with just a truce in-between the open warfare. Hostilities never really stopped, just a twenty year ceasefire. The combatant countries all manoeuvred to succeed territory and influence from the diminishing Empire. Prior to these wars, Britannia truly ‘Ruled the Waves’. Britain had an industrial boiler room that exported to the world, since Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar in 1805, the wooden walls of oak had dominated the high seas and with sea power effectively controlling the world. The Brits were first in the age of steel ships, first in the age of steam, first in the oil fired steam turbine engine, they built the first aircraft carriers.
Two factors occurred;
1), Competition in Naval sea power from Germany, Japan and the United States and
2), Britain had become an importer of goods instead of an exporter.
Britain began to export the machines that manufactured their own industries, one example was when the Shanghai Cotton trading share market opened in the early 1920s the Cotton Industry of Lancashire terminated almost overnight. Cotton grown and manufactured in India and China was traded in Shanghai and exported to the world. The Mill towns of the North of England starved. Britain the country that made everything from a Battleship to the shirt on your back found itself struggling for its economic survival.
The third world could make it cheaper, no longer could Britain afford to produce Battleships that were out classed before they hit the slipway and were obsolete before sea trials were completed. Countries with larger labour populations and easy access to huge natural resources were gaining the ascendancy.
Even so, prior to World War Two Britain had navel bases in the all of the most strategic places, the Mediterranean Sea was an English lake with Gibraltar at one end and Suez Canal at the other, Malta and Cyprus in between. Aden held the Straits of Hormuz nothing could happen in the Persian Gulf without their say so and the same applied from Hong Kong to Singapore, from Diego Garcia to Ascension Island and to the Falkland Islands all the worlds trade routes were dominated by British bases. They did not own the Panama Canal but with Island bases the Brits could oversee all of its traffic. From the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Lahore Britannia Ruled the Waves. Germany and Japan were not the only country’s that were covetous, the United States could see the fall and decline and was manoeuvring itself to gain from Britain’s decline. The United States was the winner of both of the Wars of Succession. Britain and the Commonwealth was the real long term losers.
Unfortunately Adolph Hitler understood perfectly the fall and decline of the British Empire and wanted a large slice of the pie. His failing was he didn’t have a crystal ball and could not see what the future would bring to his 1000 year Third Reich. He never really understood or appreciated the skill of the greatest strategist of his time Franklin D. Roosevelt who was President of the USA from march 1933 until his death in April 1945. Hitler wanted revenge for World War One this blinded him to almost everything else, all of his energy was directed, to training his whole nation for war, and he used that momentum to take his country out of the last World Depression.
He was obviously helped and assisted by his financiers, but he knew that the same psychological forces that worked on a nation, would work on the world.
Both Hitler and Franklin D Roosevelt knew that if the world faced war often enough, people would unite to repel it. Both wanted to be the last man standing, that the world would turn to. They knew that when people unite in a community, a village, a nation, or united nations, that they, by the nature of human history, sacrifice their individual right, their individual power over their lives, they surrender it for the common good to hopefully gain greater community security. While Britain slumbered through the 1930s the contestants contrived and played the cards they had been dealt by there financiers.
During the depression of the 1930s Franklin Delano Roosevelt proceeded to unite his country, the United States of America in the same way but in a less obvious manner. It was easier for him, as he appeared only to be reacting to the new bad guy on the block Adolph Hitler. Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ had never worked. It was like trying to borrow money from a bank to pay the debt to another bank, and finding out that they are both the same bank, and the debt just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and that they own all the money anyway and you cannot get any, so the borrower starts pulling his house down and pays the bank with bricks until there are no bricks left.
By 1937, Roosevelt like the current US President, had run out of bricks, he had run out of ideas to remain in power and to advance his career opportunities. He had no other option than to find an enemy! At the same time, he had to be seen to be the humanitarian. He had to be the injured party, one false move and the American people would remove him. ‘Overseas wars’, were not popular at all with the people of the United States. Franklin D. Roosevelt (commonly referred to as FDR) had to be careful about who he picked as an adversary as the American people were a conglomeration of nations from all over the world. There was a great resistance within his country against the United States involvement in another European War. So maybe he thought, ‘who do we have the least of?’ We might have less Mongolians but they could hardly be called a threat, but the Japanese now, we haven’t got many Japanese in America, have we, they could be a threat, couldn’t they?
The roots of the Second War of the British Succession were planted in the end of the first war in 1918, but in the early thirties, the stage was set and the players in the show were learning their lines. It was during naval manoeuvres of 1932 that an American aircraft carrier, slipping past picket destroyers north east of Oahu, had attacked Pearl Harbour in a dawn raid, and sank all the warships anchored there. (Did anyone know that someone from Tokyo was filing a long report about it?)
Why a book or a History of the Owen Gun, from Ron Owen?
Well first of all let me say that we have no evidence that the Owen’s of Wollongong, New South Wales are direct relatives to the Owen’s of Manchester and North Wales. However we do know that the name Owen commenced with one person who was the son of Nail of the Nine Hostages, County Tyrone (Land of Owen) and Inishowen (Island of Owen) in Ireland are named after him, but that was 1600 years ago. Except for the adopted, all Owen’s born are his direct descendants.
I suppose, I always found it fascinating that another Owen was so similar in his interest in firearms and things that go bang. With over thirty five years in the firearm trade, I have had many people ask if there was any blood connection with Evelyn Owen. One I will never forget was under the impression that the inventor of the Owen Gun was a Lady Evelyn Owen and I had to show a photograph of him with the gun, before the customer would believe that he had been misinformed.
The photographs of Evelyn Owen was another reason for me to be interested in him as his features remind me of my family members as I have compared photographs of him with my family and for me personally (highly likely only apparent to me) the resemblance is incredible.
Of course my interest increased when I found that John, Henry and Thomas Owen all were cannon makers for Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth the First. Was it true that certain interests were hereditary? I have actually viewed and touched cannons made by these men so many hundreds of years ago. (one was recovered from the Mary Rose) Not just admiring there workmanship but appreciating what they wanted themselves from their art form.
The Owen brothers art form or Owen hereditary skills is definitely not what this book is about.
This book is the story of the life and times of the Owen Gun, the why, where and when, how it worked why it worked and why many opposed its introduction. It is a story of struggle, the struggle of a young man with the best of motives and the struggle of a country that had the best of motives. It could have been a rags to riches story but sadly that was not to be, as we all seem to be eventually betrayed by what we work for most, our country and our nation.Even our country has gone from rags to riches, been betrayed and is quickly returning to rags again.
Many people make the great mistake of believing that guns kill and if they did not exist the world would be a safer place. If that were true we would all attack them with a fury but is not true, people kill people, if there were no guns they would make something worse either by nano or nuclear, if they want to stop people killing people they would have to remove that capacity at birth as people kill people. They are very good at it, firearms are only one of hundreds of tools, that people kill with. They do not understand that guns, are tools and are also just as capable in saving life, and that is magnified by the fact that one gun can save the life of many, and many guns can save the lives of millions. All that is relative is what side you are on. If Australia had no capacity to manufacture guns in World War Two or had no guns at all the Japanese would have had no opposition in New Guinea they would have landed on the Australian mainland. The only language spoken in Australia today would have been Japanese, there would not have been a base for the Americans to fight back from, this countries huge natural resources would have been quickly diverted to assist the Japanese war effort. The Australian people as were all the people that fell under the Japanese Co Prosperity Sphere were completely disposable, in Northern China besides using the people for bayonet practice they used them en-mass for experimentation in germ warfare. So no one can argue that guns do not save lives, if we did not have them Australia and the Australian people would not exist to day. It is just a shame that they did not have more of them, as more men died from the lack of them. In fact if Australia had been heavily armed prior to World War Two the Japanese might have chosen to put more effort into conquering India.
The Owen Gun saved many thousands of lives and would have saved many thousand more if it had been introduced earlier. If this book succeeds in anything, if it only informs people so that the mistakes are all not made over and over again, as all too often the macabre dance of history repetitively and rhythmically beats the drums of war.
World at War
“Parable of the Young Man and the Old”:
So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went, And took the fire with him, and a knife. And as they sojourned, both of them together, Isaac the first-born spake, and said, My Father, Behold the preparations, fire and iron, But where’s the lamb for this burnt-offering? Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps, And builded parapets the trenches there, And stretched forth the knife to slay his son. When lo! an angel called him out of heaven, Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, Neither do anything to him. Behold, A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns; Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him. But the old man would not so, but slew his son, And half the seed of Europe, one by one.
By Wilfred Owen.
War is Peace, and Peace is War.
People hate war, hate the loss of millions and hate the waste of war. Sometimes war is not just war, often it is survival. Many cannot see that, as many millions die in wars, as many die, in the name of peace. For those who want peace have to be prepared for war. Those that don’t, do not die peacefully. The only true peace is death, war is death, so peace is war. An unfortunate fact of the human species.
Does God give equal glory to those that were sacrificed for War or Peace ? There is no earthly glory good enough, for those who gave their greatest gift, their lives, so that others may live. For them, save a place inside of you, and save a backward glance, as you go through your life, for you can see places they can no longer go. There is no shame, to feel love for those who made that great sacrifice. Hold on, to what they gave you, and the examples they have showed, so their death is remembered, until your own. When people have been secure for a generation and say ‘peace at any price’. When they have forgotten that someone else has to fight, so they may live, spare one second to remember those quiet heroes who were sacrificed on the alters of peace, in wars gone by.
Australia lost over 39000 sons, husbands and fathers during World War Two. This is a staggering toll exacted on a country with a very small population. Subsequent betrayals and loss of freedoms might never have happened had these young men (or their sons) come home. As we’re now invaded (without protest), it’s hard to imagine a time these days when young Australians would willingly sign away their very lives for an ideal of saving their country. Their sacrifices should not be judged by the state of the nation today. Their courage and gallantry is as unfamiliar to us as their convictions of fighting for freedom’s cause. Spare them two minutes of remembrance at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day and read on, find where those people came from and what moulded there resolution.
The World that the Owen Gun was conceived into. What made the Owen Gun so important for Australia in World War Two?
William Shakespeare wrote in ‘As you like it’
“All the World’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”
As this story of the ‘Owen Gun’ of ‘ Evo Owen’ and all the other characters is a drama which everyone must learn from, the stage has to be set. To know how important the play is, the reader has to realize what was going on at the time of this drama. Australia and all the people in it were fighting for their lives. If Japan had succeeded in occupying Australia no one was under any illusions, they all knew that there lives would be very temporary. Local populations or Prisoners of War were of very little value to the Japanese, Japan was not short of people, just short of food, so they worked them with a diet below the starvation rate which ensured that death was just a matter of time. People do not vote for war or want war, war is forced upon them as ultimately and in this instance it was total war, the only alternative was extinction.
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will all, one by one, become an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
Armoury 4 – Guns for Sale – Page 4 of 5 pages
At Owen Guns, we have several secure armouries storing thousands of rifles and guns for sale. If you are interested in any of these firearms, please note the make and serial number and send an email to us at email@example.com. We will reply with a photo of the rifle and purchase details.
A list of the firearms in Armoury 4 (130RO – Page 4 – current at 30/7/09)
|MANUFACTURER||MODEL||ACTION||CAL.||SERIAL NO.||MAG CAP|
|BARTON & CO||UNKNOWN||BR||12||8635||2|
|CUSTOM MADE||POWER HEAD||Power Head||12||GB18557Q1||1|
|WEBLEY & SCOTT||MARK 3||AIR||177||10845||1|
|HOLLIS & SON||DOUBLE BARREL||BR||12||38738||2|
|RIVER SIDE||DOUBLE BARREL||BR||12||5946||2|
|VINAMAX (FRAME ONLY)||54||SA||7.62||3200457||8|
|XSD (FRAME ONLY)||213||SA||9||15011482||8|
|STEYR (FRAME ONLY)||12||SA||9||6713C||8|
|NORINCO (FRAME ONLY)||NP28||SA||9||503336||15|
|PHOENIX (FRAME ONLY)||HP22||SA||22||4076836||10|
|HIGH STANDARD||Supermatic Citation||SA||22||1211710||10|
|ENFIELD||TC20||Frame only||Fr only||JR001||Fr only|
|HOLLIS & SON||DOUBLE||BR||12||103557||2|
|SMITH & WESSON||586||RV||38||AUV6771||6|
Armoury 4 – Guns for Sale – Page 3 of 5 pages
At Owen Guns, we have several secure armouries storing thousands of rifles and guns for sale. If you are interested in any of these firearms, please note the make and serial number and send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will reply with a photo of the rifle and purchase details.
A list of the firearms in Armoury 4 (130RO – Page 3 – current at 30/7/09)
|MANUFACTURER||MODEL||ACTION||CAL.||SERIAL NO.||MAG CAP|
|HARRINGTON&RICHARDSON||Norcester Mass USA||BR||12||A409163||1|
|ENFIELD ARMS||PEPPER POT||REPEATER||22||90742||6|
|LITTLE WONDER||SINGLE BARREL||BO||410||105G19||1|
|HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON||1900||BR||12||A14920||1|
|HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON||1900||BR||12||A279236||1|
|WALKER & CO||UNKNOWN||BR||12||77L||2|
|ITALIAN||DRAGOONS||CAP & BALL||44||2594||6|
|C.G. BONEHILL||DOUBLE BARREL||BR||12||103741||2|
|HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON||UNKNOWN||BR||12||A68139||1|
|SMITH & WESSON (DEACT)||VICTORY||SA||38S&W||640568||6|
|LAKEFIELD ARMS LTD||Mark 2||BO||22||57949||5|
Armoury 4 – Guns for Sale – Page 2 of 5 pages
At Owen Guns, we have several secure armouries storing thousands of rifles and guns for sale. If you are interested in any of these firearms, please note the make and serial number and send an email to us at email@example.com. We will reply with a photo of the rifle and purchase details.
A list of the firearms in Armoury 4 (130RO – Page 2 – current at 30/7/09) follows:
|MANUFACTURER||MODEL||ACTION||CAL.||SERIAL NO.||MAG CAP|
|ANCION J&CO||1840 1860||BREAK||12GA||GR17||2|
|OWEN ENFIELD||TC10||SEMI A||9MM||89||30|
|WEBLEY & SCOTT||Junior||AIR||177||1058||1|
|GECADO||22||BREAK||177||NO NUM 16||1|
|J LLOYD||Double Barrel||BR||12||9018||2|
|J O MEYNE||Double london||BR||12||7150||2|
|C G BONEHILL||The Donmack||BR||12||130327||2|
|HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON||THE WONGA||BR||16ga||A133603||1|
|LITHGOW||No.1 Mk 111||BO||303||75205||10|
|LITHGOW||No.1 Mk 111||BO||77-54||15469||10|
|HARRINGTON & RICHARDSON||NA||RV||32||456164||6|
|KANGAROO GUN||SINGLE BARREL||BR||12||YY898||1|
|Harrington & Richard||1900||BR||12||A43819||1|
|Harrington & Richar||THE STANDARD||BR||12||A953231||1|
|Harrington & Richar||NILVIZ||BR||12ga||A198460||1|