Hunting tigers with Pheasants

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Marcus Kwa
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Hunting tigers with Pheasants

Post by Marcus Kwa » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:16 am

Tiger hunting with Pheasants?
Introducing the ‘Pheasant’ the first incarnation of the famous 17 pounder anti-tank gun! When the allies encountered the first Tiger tanks in Africa in 1942 nothing they fielded at that time could effectively take these big cats on. The 17 pounder gun itself was available but the production of its carriage was lagging behind. As a stop gap measure some 17 pounder barrels were fitted onto 25 pounder carriages (incidentally that was also how the 25 pounder field gun concept started out: being fielded on the 18 pounder field gun carriage……): enter the 25/17 pounder, code name ‘Pheasant’. Some 150 units were produced.
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At this early stage of the war only AP (solid) shot would have been available (depicted by CyberHobby in its ‘British Ammo set’), some APC (capped) rounds might have been issued later in 1942 but at that time most Pheasants were probably already converted to 'full' 17pdr's.
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The round is pictured beside a Tiger I 88 round for comparison.

Generally the riveted 25 pounder carriage could sustain the abuse of the high velocity gun quite well. The first supplies of ammunition however did seem to suffer from accuracy issues and the solid shot projectiles prone to shatter on surface hardened armor plate. The later introduced cap prevented it from shattering at oblique impact angles.
The ‘Pheasant’ is certainly not the most refined looking gun, but this ugly duckling would profile itself as a potent tank killer and was a great boost for morale.

The model
Unfortunately I have not found any surviving examples yet for research, I assume that the 25/17’s produced would have been converted to ‘full’ 17 pounders when enough carriages came available. A possible surviving, partly dismantled, example was up for sale some years ago (possible example as the barrel features the later muzzle brake).

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Though the breech is missing the connection of the barrel to the slide and the length of the barrel are clearly visible. Note the large offset of the breech backwards to counter the mass of the barrel.

As one looks closely to the production 17 pounders the barrel slide and cradle are virtually identical. And with some minor adjustments the new barrel and slide could be fitted into the 25 pounder cradle. Main external (visible) change to the 25 pounder carriage was the firing mechanism which, due to the breech being much further backwards, was mounted on an extension arm bolted to the gun cradle.

My breech and barrel are based on the three 17 pounder examples at the Airborne museum in Oosterbeek near Arnhem. The 17 pounders on display in Oosterbeek were fielded by the British para’s during operation ‘Market Garden’ and were transported in gliders. Quite a feat as the 17 pounder is a big beast of a gun! Due to all guns showing battle damage more details are visible than on intact or restored examples.
The breech was made from 3mm thick plasticard and the barrel was acquired from Mark and Gill (Comet barrel).

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Dimensions of the breech. I photographed and measured the complete guns, so if someone wants the measurements just PM me!

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Breech from plasticard, the big hole on the side is for the locking bolt to fasten the threaded barrel into the breech.

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The modified Armortek Comet barrel. The rear part was 38mm diameter aluminium tube. The transition cone was made by car filler. Eventually the barrel will be lengthened by some 40mm and the distinctive clamped counterweights added. Not evident in the photo is the nice distant taper of the Armortek barrel.

The completed barrel will be some 700mm long.

The muzzle brake was also made of plasticard, modelled on the Armortek Comet muzzle brake. Initially I wanted to use the Armortek muzzle brake and just enlarge and square off the brake’s circular vents but the aluminum appeared to be quite resilient to my efforts …… and as I found out the early 17 pounder muzzle brakes were of a different type……. Most notable on these early brakes is the ‘flat’ nose instead of the more common dome shaped nose. A good example of the early flat nosed muzzle brake is one on the Duxford 17 pounder.

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The gun slide is the standard 25 pounder slide as supplied in the 25 pounder kit, ordered together with the Comet muzzle brake and barrel from Armortek especially for this project. Adapted of course to fit the enormous barrel. The front barrel clamp will be moved to the very front edge of the slide and the rear clamp is widened to fit the 17 pdr barrel chamber section.

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The original 25pdr forward clamp is removed and ground flush (still working on it!), the fuller on the side was continued. The other side will be cut out completely over its full length as the larger recoil tubes were visible on the 17pdr

The angle grinder is at the ready, time to cut some material from the gun slide!!!! Keep you posted!!

Regards,

Marcus

Ian Rodney
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Re: Hunting tigers with Pheasants

Post by Ian Rodney » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:16 pm

Hi Marcus,

Excellent coverage on converting the 25 PDR gun barrel into upgrading to the 'Pheasant' 17 pounder barrel etc.
Enjoying your ongoing studies of the Pheasants story, watching with great interest.

Although I'm happy to stick with my 25 PDR Upgrades for the moment, it's nice to see what one can do to follow alternative ways of converting our kits.

Looking forward to your next instalments!

Cheers Ian
from Glasgow

Marcus Kwa
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Re: Hunting tigers with Pheasants

Post by Marcus Kwa » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:54 am

Wanted to trial fit the 17pdr barrel earlier but the 25pdr barrel seemed not to want to be separated from its carriage...... :roll: Had to soak the connection in penetrating oil for some time.

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Barrels side by side to show the size difference!

In the mean time I finished the counterweight for behind the muzzle brake. This one is in styrene but I am working on one in aluminium. For the time I have only added bolts on one side.

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17pdr. barrel fitted

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Ready to shoot-up some Tigers!

Well almost: firing mechanism is still missing!

Marcus

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Dave Dibb (Armorpax)
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Re: Hunting tigers with Pheasants

Post by Dave Dibb (Armorpax) » Sat Apr 16, 2016 4:02 pm

Hi Marcus,

Fantastic! I am more an more tempted by the Pheasant.

Best regards

Dave
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Ian Rodney
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Re: Hunting tigers with Pheasants

Post by Ian Rodney » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:41 pm

Hi Marcus,

That's great to see the 17 PDR barrel along side the 25 PDR barrel.
Interesting project you are making going over to the 17 PDR get up.

Cheers
Ian

Marcus Kwa
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Re: Hunting tigers with Pheasants

Post by Marcus Kwa » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:49 pm

It seems there will be a 25 pounder anti tank gun available from Armortek this summer!!!
That can only be a 25/17 pounder or Pheasant!! Yay!!!

Marcus

Michael Cecil
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Re: Hunting tigers with Pheasants

Post by Michael Cecil » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:40 pm

There is a restored example of a Pheasant at the Armour & Artillery Museum in Cairns, Australia. It was imported from the restorer in the UK.

Australia also built an interim version of the 25/17-pdr using a lengthened welded 25-pdr trail, before manufacturing the conventional 17-pdr split trail.

Mike

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