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Armstrong RBL 9-pr

Fig. 1: RBL 9-pr after restoration by Army Workshops, Papakura (see more images below).

The 9-pr was introduced in 1862 for the Royal Horse Artillery. It saw no service in New Zealand until 1885 when the Government bought 18 of them at 100 pounds each to equip the local volunteer artillery. In a deal typical of the way our politicians have always treated the defence forces, they took the cheap way out. The equipments were well and truly obsolete; they had been superseded first by the RML equipments of the 1870s and secondly by the BL (see note) equipments introduced in 1880. The dates of manufacture are still easily readable: guns 1862, carriages 1874. As the 9-pr came from Thames it was probably one of 'A' Battery's guns from Auckland.
Note:    Armstrong equipments were denoted by 'RBL' after the introduction of BL equipments in 1880 to distinguish the two types.

Fig. 2: Complete RBL equipment still in use for firing salutes in Canada.

CONSTRUCTION: All parts of the gun and carriage except the wheels were of wrought iron. The piece is built up of an 'A' tube over which is shrunk a breech piece, a trunnion ring, and three intermediate coils. The breech piece is threaded to the breech screw and slotted to take the vent piece.

Fig. 3: RBL 9-pr. (Click image to enlarge)

Fig. 4: Breech screw. (Click image to enlarge)

Fig. 5: Vent piece. (Click image to enlarge)



AMMUNITION: Cartridges: Propellant charges for all Armstrong guns except the 100-pr (7-inch), were one eighth the weight of the standard projectile. Those for the 7-inch were somewhat less.
Shell: Common, segment, and shrapnel were used.
Shot: Solid shot were used for practice. Case, which were 'tin' cylinders filled with balls, were effective up to 300 yards against enemy infantry.

Fig. 6: Tangent sight. (Click image to enlarge)

Fig. 7: Screw sight. (Click image to enlarge)

Restoration of the Waiouru 9-pr

RBL 9-pr before restoration
Fig.8: This photo was taken outside the Thames RSA before the gun was properly restored. A crude attempt has been to repair the wheels by substituting the spokes and felloes of old cart wheels for the originals. Fortunately the original naves were retained.

Fig. 9: RBL 9-pr in neglected state outside the Thames RSA. Had they been kept painted, the wheels would not have deteriorated to such an extent.

Fig. 10: Rear view of RBL 9-pr after restoration. See also Fig. 1 above.

WL Ruffell

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