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Koenig

Help needed on old VAOS/List of Equipment under War Office Control

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Dear all!

 

I am new to this forum and have to admit I am not only German (and therefore have to apologize for my poor English), but as well not really interested in military vehicles. But it looks like some of the participants of this forum might be able to help with respect to a quite peculiar topic.

 

I try to verify at what point of time some special measuring equipment listed in Section W10 of the V.A.O.S. and provided by Swiss suppliers (i) got Store Ref. Nos. assigned, (ii) was actually introduced into service and (iii) was listed for the first time in the VAOS respectively in the List of Equipment and Stores Subject to War Office Control.

 

The Store Ref. Nos. are lower than those of W10-equipment introduced into service during WW2. That might indicate these are pre-war orders put on hold during the war because the Swiss suppliers were afraid to support the Allies, while the Axis Armed Forces stood at their border. For that reason I am looking for a British Army publication giving not only the Store Ref. Nos., but as well the date/period in which they were assigned. I have no idea where to search by now besides the List of Changes (which I scanned, but found no entry prior to 1956, although these items shine up in the 1954 ed. of the List of Equipment and Stores Subject to War Office Control [LoESWOC]).

 

The production in Switzerland started in February 1945 and the shipping documents of the manufacturer date from May 1945 to Dec 1945. For that reason I am looking for the 1937 (and 1948) edition of the VAOS and/or for a an edition of that period of Section W10 of the LoESWOC. I assume handwritten amendments will show, when this equipment got Store Ref. Nos. assigned/was released for issue to the units. I checked the Imperial War Museum, the National Army Museum, the National Archives and several smaller museums including the Museum of Science/REME, but no or only small progress. The same with the Nottingham Pattern Room. So I would appreciate very much any hint which library/museum/collector keeps a 1937 and/or 1948 edition of the VAOS Section W 10 or of the LoESWOC covering that period.

 

I checked with DLO and the NAA whether there are any sealed patterns, but all sealed patterns have been disposed in the mid-seventies.

 

So I would be very grateful for every information where to find a copy of the aforementioned publications or any other document on W10 amendments and W10-Store Ref. Nos. assigned for the first time in the period from 1938 to let's say 1954.

 

Best regards and greetings from Germany

 

Th. Koenig

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Dear all!

 

I am new to this forum and have to admit I am not only German (and therefore have to apologize for my poor English), but as well not really interested in military vehicles. Th. Koenig

 

Welcome to the Forum & you soon will be interested in MV's if you hang around here :-D

 

I'm sure Clive wll be along soon to answer your question

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Unfortunately I have very few wartime VAOS none are W10.

 

I have some editions of W10 but they are the later publications i.e. COSA. That of course means that they are NSNs preceded by the old VAOS prefix merely used to give the Domestic Management Code.

 

Although VAOS in all its forms started after the Crimean War, the allocation of a stores vocabulary numbers only seems to have happened at the very end of WW2. Myself & other VAOS enthusiasts have never been able to pin down the precise time that the numbers came in. I suspect it was a rather woolly time span like the introductions of NSNs & the phasing out of VAOS by COSA. At one stage there were still VAOS but comprising NSNs & no VAOS numbers!

 

I can understand how you want to pin down the date for items. But the problem is that it was not necessarily chronological. Once the VAOS section & group is defined there are usually a some code letters to identify the manufacturer. The final bit of the vocabulary code is the manufacturer's own part number. Sometimes these were chronological or based on some whim of the manufacturer.

 

So looking at a VAOS code with lower numbers does not necessarily mean it is earlier in manufacture that an item with a longer code.

 

You will be lucky to find a wartime VAOS. Such VAOS & their catalogues would have the code in the top left:

57

Vocabulary

????

 

Immediate post war VAOS would have a W.O. Code No. ??? on the top right. I am afraid there is no obvious logic to their structure or as they were later designated Army Code No.

Catalogues of VAOS were compiled in WO Code No.12123

 

Groucho publications do reprints of many wartime publications including VAOS. He has changed to his name. I went to this link but, he seems to have changed it & you can't view what he has got without registering.

 

http://www.robvanmeel.nl/index.php

 

You may get some help if you join:

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MilitaryManualCollectorsClub

 

The only other thought is, given the contents of W10, is it possible it could also have something the RAF or RN could have used? If it was in RAF use then the numbering was much more likely to be chronological. It would be listed in the relevant Vocab of Air Publication No.1086. But if it was in RN use then heaven help us all. RN part numbers are chaotic, logical in places then very illogical for most of it!

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Thanks a lot Mr. Elliott!

 

With a view to what I am aiming at your remarks are not a success, but nevertheless a progress.

 

My origins are in the RAF collector's scene and I assumed the British Army vocabulary to be as precise and straight forward as RAF AP 1086 and the system AP 1086 is based on. Unfortunately the instruments my research deals with have been used by the Army only. So no chance to date them by their RAF listings.

 

According to what I learned I agree the allocation of alphanumeric Store Ref Nos. in the British Army is a matter of the fourties/WW2 and early cold war, in parts of the thirties/pre-war era. Before that period obviously the verbal description as given in the List of Changes was sufficient.

 

But when scrutinising the amendments to the VAOS/the List of Changes I found hints on the 1937 and 1948 edition of the VAOS. Furthermore obviously the categories like W10 existed for a longer period of time. Thus may be the old editions of the VAOS used only the grouping by Sections and subsections (like W10) identifying all individual items of that (sub)section by verbal descriptions only as given in the List of Changes, later on amended by the Store Ref Nos as a second and more convenient method of identifying an item. In that case all items already existing, when the Store Ref Nos were introduced, got a Store Ref. No assigned and this No. not necessarily followed the original chronology of introduction.

 

But it would serve my purposes to find an earlier edition of the VAOS and/or LoESWOC, showing the introduction of that items as a handwritten amendment. As the they were produced and shipped in 1945 and show up in the 1954 LoESWOC the first "official introduction" in the 1956 edition of the VAOS W10 can't be the notification of the first introduction into service.

 

So I will carry on looking for the 1937 edition of the VAOS W10 as this bound books amended by hand other than looseleaf publications should have survived at least in some copies. So I have "simply" to find one such copy - challenges are made to be mastered!

 

Thanks again and regards

 

Th. Koenig

 

 

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Well I suppose the RAF having been around for less time, could just jump in with a system, without the evolutionary problems that beset the Army & goodness know how the RN keeps track of things, when identical components end up with different part number because they are used in different systems!

 

VAOS Vocab sections & subsections seem to have exist well before part numbers were allocated. The problem with collecting documents like VAOS is that they are large & bulky, so difficult to put in a pocket. There would be relatively few in number & tend to be kept in stores where they would be under lock & key. They would not be issued to troops in the numbers like training manuals & thus not end up in lofts that get cleared out when some old soldier dies. In many peoples eyes, unlike a training manual, VAOS stuff is considered boring & discarded!

 

I would join:

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MilitaryManualCollectorsClub

 

Out of interest you might enjoy this sales catalogue link, there are no VAOS sections attributed to the items, but it certainly makes interesting reading. Good luck in your searches.

 

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=83019

 

There are a few articles on various stores systems on site, here:

 

http://www.hmvf.co.uk/pdf/EarlyArmyPartnos.pdf

 

http://www.hmvf.co.uk/pdf/NATOparts.pdf

 

http://www.hmvf.co.uk/pdf/RAFPartNumbers.pdf

 

http://www.hmvf.co.uk/pdf/ArmyandNavyStoresNumbers.pdf

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Been doing some digging & chatting, W10 was not around in 1937, was introduced to absorb some existing groups like W1, V2, V3 . Anticipating a big take up allocations straight into W10 were in 5 digits rather than the earlier 4 digits. I have a few scanned pages of the 1956 revision. Can you give me the part number & see if it is listed on what I've got.

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Thanks for your kind offer, Clive!

 

I already have the complete 1956 revised edition of W10, so no need to send me scans (Have made a set of copies at the National Army Museum).

 

Your information on W10 not existing in 1937 is interesting. In case the items I look for would have been listed in 1937 they would have been listed in Section V2. I found several hints on V2. But obviously for some time V2 and W10 existed in parallel and so I had no clear picture of the origin and the span of time related to that two subsections.

 

Any idea, when W10 was introduced?

 

Might be senseful for me to go back the National Army Museum and check all List of Changes from 1936/1937 to 1943 regarding the intro of W10 and skipping V2 equipment to W10 - found some items skipped that way in the LoC in 1943 and following years. But may be most of those items were forwarded to W10 earlier than 1943 (From 1943 onwards up to 1958 I checked each and any issue of the LoC, but found nothing but the publication of the 1956 revised edition of W10 although the 1954 ed. of the List of Equipment and Stores Subject to War Office Control already comprised the same items and their Store Ref. Nos.!)

 

Thanks as well for the links you gave. Have checked most of them already before posting here. And in fact your articles made me posting here. More than obvious you have thorough knowledge of the British Armed Forces logistics and stores numbering system and this fact gave hope to find additional information here. Anyhow the hint on V2 is helpful.

 

Regards

 

Th. Koenig

 

 

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What is the vocab reference for the item you are interested in? If you don't want to reveal it fully, what is the bit in front of the last 4 or 5 digits? It may be that another code from a full or obsolete section is immediately after W10. That would help trace back the item to another earlier VAOS & perhaps reveal its original point of introduction.

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Sorry! In case I conveyed the notion, I tend to make a secret out of the Store Ref. Nos. I am interested in: This is definitely not my intention. I just tried to prevent you from putting some effort in sending scans I already have. See the individual Nos. below.

 

Front up I should explain that this topic is part of a bigger project dealing amongst other aspects with the question how (volume and procedures) Switzerland sold war material to both the Axis and the Allies. Most of this stuff were optics, watches and special tools like lathes. As the old purchase contracts and shipping documents ended up in the bin, the approach is to establish on the one hand when where those things produced and when were there introduced into services and somewhere in between they must have arrived in the UK. So W10, titled "Compasses, WATCHES, SURVEY and Drawing Instruments" covers a lot of typical Swiss war exports.

 

As the publication of the revised version of W10 from 1956 in the LoC of August 1956 starts with the preface "The above-mentioned section of the V.A.O.S. has been revised from the 1937 (Reprinted 1948) edition and is hereby promulgated as the 1956 edition" draw my attention to the obviously existing 1937 edition, which should be amended by hand with all intros for at least the period 1937 to 1948.

 

Against this background I found:

 

Range Meter W10/VC 7542

Stereoscop W10/2048

Watches, Wrist, Waterproof (w.w.w.) W10/VB10025 to 10037

Watches, General Service Trade Pattern (G.S.T.P.) W10/VB10042 to 10052 [earlier designation VC 7392 for the whole category GSTP, while in 1956 edition each maker got his own Store Ref. No.]

Watches, Wristlet, A.T.P. W10/10053 to 10072 [earlier designation VC 7471]

 

Watches G.S. Mk. II (Mainly Swiss makes) VC 7216

 

The VB and VC respectively as leading letters might indicate these articles were listed in former times in section V2 Surveying and Drawing Instruments and Watches or V3 Flash Spotting, Sound Ranging and R.A. Survey Stores. The same applies to many Stopwatches, all originally designated to be VC.

 

While nearly all watches GSTP and ATP were made by suppliers by now longer existing the watches w.w.w. are very interesting with respect to several aspects: A substantial portion were made by major Swiss watch companies still existing today, thus allowing to establish the production date and the date they were prepared for dispatch. Although shipped from May 1945 onwards (Production in late 1944 and early 1945) they have got assigned lower W10 Store Ref Nos. than the GSTP and ATP, which were shipped and issued during WW2 (GSTP and ATP could be exported easily as they were not subject to the German "Geleitschein-System" due to their low quality). The w.w.w. were of higher quality and used the same works/works of the same class as the RAF navigational wristwatches 6B/159. For the export of 6B/159 and w.w.w. from Switzerland into other countries than Germany and Italy a German permission ("Geleitschein") was asked, but not issued (as the Germans knew from shot down Lancasters etc. very well, which watches the navigators used). So they were exported by some suppliers under deception, while other suppliers stood back at least until May 1945. May be the reason was, the Swiss were afraid to provoke the Germans, may be at the end of 1944 the need of accurate watches in the RAF declined, while the Army was back on the continent and in need for precision timepieces. To judge on each of these thesis is easier knowing the date, the Store Ref. Nos were assigned.

 

Best regards and thanks for your efforts!

 

Th. Koenig

 

 

 

 

 

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Koenig, I have to congratulate you in your depth of knowledge & enthusiasm in trying to untangle all this for your project which is most intriguing. I'm afraid I have no V section VAOS. So it looks as if the expanded W10 was created for not just new items but V items reclassified by adding W10 to the front. Although I can't see why VC 7471 couldn't have been re-classed just as W10/VC 7471? I have a scan of 1943 VAOS sections, but I expect you have that ok. I am now intrigued as I have a wartime New Zealand VAOS catalogue to stores accounting & I want to see how they handled the V & W sections, but can't find it amongst all my stuff that I am moving into a larger room!

 

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Dear Mr. Elliott

 

Firstly I have to admit a typo: The watches ATP were re-listed (?) as W10/VB10053 subsequent (I left out the two letters VB).

 

I assume they were not re-listed as VC, because in the beginning different watches served different purposes. For example the Watch, Non magnetic W.T. was part of a wireless set as "normal" watches of the time didn't stand the magnetic fields of a wireless set. In the thirties watchmakers invented springs with better antimagnetic features, so "normal" watches could be used with wireless sets and so the Watches Non-Magnetic were declared to be obsolete and the G.S. Mk. II took that part over. So probably some originally specific equipment was grouped into the broader section VB instead of VC or other subsections. May be the intro of W10 was made for the same grounds.

 

Regarding copies of the VAOS sections: I would be interested in both copies of the 1943 British Army definitions as well as of the RNZAF version (overall grouping plus V and W including subsections). I tried to get a copy of the British Army VAOS grouping at the National Army Museum, but run out of time and had to leave before everything was done. I have by now only one Australian copy of Section V with its subsections, but I am not really able to date it. I assume it was early WW2, but that's an educated guess, no reliable fact. So in case you find the time to scan those pages I appreciate that a lot. But please don't hurry (In case your are interested in that Australian copy: Please don't hesitate to ask).

 

Do you know which organisation was responsible for assigning Store Parts Nos. in WW2 and where it was located?

 

Best regards

 

Th. Koenig

 

 

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The overall supply of equipment & ordnance was responsibility of the Ministry of Supply. For aircraft it was the Air Ministry until 1940 when the Ministry of Aircraft Supply was formed. This continued until MoAS was amalgamated into the MoS in 1946. But in 1959 aircraft stuff became the responsibility of the Ministry of Aviation.

 

I have a 1943 piece of infra-red stuff which still has the stores label on it, marked Ministry of Supply. What I don't know is whether the MoS selected part numbers or whether depots handling certain classes of stores did. I suspect MoS would lay down the group structure vocabs but the detail of particular items would be chosen by the particular ordnance depot for the allocation of part numbers for which they would be responsible for distributing.

 

For example I have a 1943 Vocabulary Sections & Subsections for AFVs, B Vehicles Cranes etc published by Central Ordnance Depot Chilwell.

 

I'll email you the the VAOS sections it is 12 pages.

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If I understand the query correctly, a department of REME is responsible for assigning part numbers to items new to service.

 

 

COD Chilwell is a RAOC Depot, not REME.

 

Incidentally part numbers (NSNs) are now allocated by computer at the National Codification Bureau, Glasgow

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every time a new device is brought into service they rationalise the parts list and and see what is alrady in service and use that one.

 

Yes, I believe now that something like 80% of components in new equipment already have a NSN allocated. This helps the services of course & it is something that manufacturers go out of their way to achieve, if it can shown that a major part of any new equipment will already be in the supply chain it will make the new equipment more saleable. Apart of course from the costs to the manufacturer in getting a component codified!

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Hi,

I am coming new to this topic, and I cannot contribute, rather only ask a question.

Thomas Koenig states "Watches, Wristlet, A.T.P. had DMC's under W10 as W10/VB10053 to VB10072 [earlier designation VC 7471]"

This means there are/were 20 manufacturers in the series W10/VB100053 to W10/VB10072.

Does anybody have a listing of these - DMC and corresponding manufacturer?

Regards,

Rob

 

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Hi Koenig,

I'm sorry I' can't help you with your VAOS questions, like you and Clive, I too have been trying to track down various sections from the VAOS and the post war REVoS, bbut to no avail. It would appear that no-one seen fit to keep copies of all these items.

I wanted to ask a question about 'List of equipment and stores subject to War Office control ', I presume it was the copy at the IWM that you accessed? I've been meaning to traipse up there to have a look through this myself and wondered if you took copies of the contents listings of this book and if so, would you be happy to share these? 

 

Just trying to avoid a trip if what I need isn't actually listed in the contents? 

 

Pete

 

PS Before the rest of you decide to tell me how old this thread is... I have noticed, but it never hurts to just ask!

 

Edited by Old Git

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