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"Creusot Long Tom 155mm Gun with Boer Crew" Topic

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Tango0113 Jun 2019 3:44 p.m. PST

"In the late 19th century the two Boer republics in Southern Africa, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (known as the ‘Transvaal') maintained almost no regular military forces, and relied on calling out civilians as a militia when needed. However they were aware of the hostile attitude of their neighbouring British colonies, and after the farcical Jameson Raid in 1895 they realised they needed better protection. As a result they bought some very good, modern artillery pieces from various European countries, and these included four enormous siege guns of 155mm calibre from Schneider, which were made at Le Creusot in France, and nicknamed ‘Long Toms'. Purchased in 1897, they were installed in four new forts built to protect the Transvaal capital Pretoria, but when hostilities broke out in 1899 they were removed and sent to various sieges instead. In 1900 all four were concentrated for the only time, at the Battle of Bergendal, and after that defeat they were scattered, still being used in the field until their ammunition ran out, at which point they were destroyed to avoid them falling into British hands.

In 1899 the only uniformed forces the Transvaal had were some police and their regular artillery corps, the Staats Artillerie. These were the men that crewed the Long Toms, and photos show them in action wearing their proper uniform, but none of the figures in this set look to be wearing it. However as the war went on the gunners increasingly wore ordinary civilian dress, which in any case was not so different, so this is what Strelets have depicted, although we would have liked to have seen a mix, which does seem to have been common. Everything about the costume here is typical of the Boers, with simple brimmed hats of various styles, jackets and trousers. Three of the men are in shirt sleeves, so could actually have a uniform jacket close by, and one wears a waistcoat, which again was common. A couple of the men have a rifle slung on their back, and several have revolvers or knives on their belt, but there is little in the way of bags or other kit, which is what you would expect of such men, so we have no problems with the accuracy of this crew…."
Full review here


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