Jump to content

Mystery 25 Pdr Sight Carrier - FV3802?

Recommended Posts

I have a very interesting 25 Pdr sight carrier that I’m trying to identify.  My belief is that it may have been the prototype carrier for the ill fated FV3802.  It is very different to the Probert range cone/laying/sighting system employed on all other 25 Pdr variations, including towed or self propelled.  It has no markings or broad arrow but is clearly marked as 25 Pdr.  The carrier is attached by a large wing nut arrangement to the mount & the same method is used to keep the carrier in its special to type case.  I’m sure also that it had a light fitting as the cable is still present.  This makes me suspect SPG, running the light from the vehicle electrics.  The open sight is on a spring loaded hinge which is pushed down when fitted to the gun to extend the foresight, but pulled back when returned to its case.  The A/S & TE scales are in degrees & yards, so predates later mils systems/conversions etc.  I checked the Garrington gun as I thought it may have been from that, but it’s definitely not.  There appears to be nothing else that fits the bill except the 1950’s prototype  FV3802 based on a shortened Centurion tank (5 road wheels plus sprocket & idler as opposed to 6).  I have been unable to find a photo showing the inside of the barbette unfortunately.  If I could, this would confirm my suspicions or allow me to rule it out.  If anyone has any information or thoughts I’d be very interested to hear what they have to say!

Edited by Tranter
Spelling mistake!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Tranter changed the title to Mystery 25 Pdr Sight Carrier - FV3802?

A bit more information:  The case was made by Grundy Ltd of Teddington (now defunct).  It’s stencilled as such on the lid.   Also, the case is stencilled No31 D/S Carrier.  I can find no reference anywhere to this designation.  The method of mounting the case is the same as the later 25 Pdr Steel No 9 dial sight case.  If the sight carrier is in fact for the FV3802 it would have been mounted on the barbette in a similar manner to the way the No9 dial sight case attached to the standard 25 Pdr shield,  (The FV3802 probably stored the dial sight in the same way).  I further suspect that the wooden inserts in the case were to house a field clinometer.  The only one that fits is the No 2 MK I as shown below.  The first photo below shows the FV3802 with what seems to be the standard 25 Pdr muzzle brake, but a totally different recoil arrangement to standard pieces.  I have researched the registration 09 BB 53 & it is the only recorded FV3802 registration, which pretty much confirms only one prototype ever made.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

The range dials of these things often have the manufacturer and date.  It is very well designed and made, so a lot of effort has gone into it. If I made it, I would be proud enough to put my name on it!  Hard to believe there were not a few made, but this is the first one I have ever seen.

Your theory of it being a prototype makes sense if it were made in the tool room of a Government ordnance factory.  If a production item, it would have had IPL / catalogue part numbers on it, an official designation and maybe a production serial number.  

When was the No.2 field clinometer introduced?  That may give an indication of date?

There are some odd things in obscure Brit artillery optics.  I found a circa 1915 made No.8 dial sight that fits numerically between the standard issue Goerz based No.7 (18Pr, 4,5in How, earlier 25Pr, etc) and the No.9 for guns post 1941 you have photographed, but seems to fit in an entirely different mounting bracket.  Its closest relative is the No.10 dial sight made in WW2, although the No.10 is designed to fit the same mounting socket as the No.7 and No.9.  Although undated, the No.8 had a broad arrow and makers name (defunct a long time ago) and used a bit of die casting. The only reason I could see why the No.8 was made was for mass production dirt cheap or to dodge the Goerz patents maybe.  I have never seen another one, nor any reference to it despite it being in the main number sequence for dial sights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your input.  I’ve been over the sight carrier with a fine tooth comb & found absolutely nothing regarding maker/serial number/production number etc.  It must have been made as a prototype in an Ordnance factory as you suggest.  There certainly are some oddities in Brit Artillery optics.  You mention the No 10 & although on this carrier the sight bracket is basically the standard bracket it won’t take a No10 as the circular rotational eyepiece part impedes on it.  I can therefore only assume it was for the No9.  (Much too late for the No7!  The No8 is interesting, as well, I haven’t ever seen one!  I’ve written my findings on my carrier. It’s a bit long winded but may be of interest.  I’m still attempting to get more info on the No2 clinometer.












Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, a magnificent piece of research.  I hope someone out there can provide some answers on where this dial sight carrier fits into the scheme of things.  There must be a consolidated list of the various No. / Mk. designations of optical equipment somewhere, if for no other reason than to prevent gaps and overlaps in the nomenclature.

Finding a gun carriage with the corresponding mounting interface would be good...

The List of Changes is the only information source I can think of, but not sure how conscientious they were about it from the 1930s onwards.  My area of interest is more WW1, and even then the LoC was a bit hit-and-miss as the war went on.

Some pics of the No.8 dial sight for your info.P9141081.thumb.JPG.6f17a00615ee2ebb4b77325d8f27576a.JPG



Link to comment
Share on other sites

That’s a very unusual dial sight.  I see what you mean about the way it mounts.  I’m not familiar with Newton & Wright at all.  I’d love to find one!  Thank you for your kind comments regarding my research.  It’s still ongoing so if I find any more info I’ll post it on here.  I agree there has to be a list of all MK’s, variations & modifications somewhere.  The LoC’s seem a bit scant and patchy.  When I first received the carrier I fully expected to find an O.S. number, but no such luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...