Valentine 17 pdr SPG [Archer]

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Orwell1984, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Unfortunately I don't have photos inside the fighting compartment of Archer. The nearest equivalent is from the Centurion Mk 3 manual printed in Bill Munro's The Centurion Tank (2005) which gives the idea of the recoil guard. It is bolted onto the unrecoiling parts of the cannon and the breech is inside it.

    One can also try to figure out the fastening of the recoil guard of the the 17 pdr in the Firefly (the white parts belong to the recoil guard) from the photo in the chapter Test 12 from here

    Of course if the safety device in the Archer is only a deflector shield (designed only to catch ejected shell cases), then it is difficult to take sides but that system would have been inheritedly dangerous and when firing the cannon elevated the recoil would have been fatal to driver's back rest if it was not possible to push it down.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
  2. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Hello Gary
    thanks a lot for the link!
    Much interesting info there.

  3. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen any primary source reference to the driver having to vacate his seat during firing, so it might be one of those cases where there is only evidence of absence, i.e. no original document is going to say "the driver is safe to remain in his seat when firing the 17 pdr."

    Considering the vast pile of BS that attends British WWII tank design (e.g. "incurable" Covenanter cooling, Challenger steering, 15mm Besa "whip") it wouldn't surprise me at all if this is yet another myth.
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  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

  5. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    I tried to find out photos of the breech end of the 17 pdr of Archer but no avail. The best I found were photos on 1:35 plastic scale model

    if accurate they imply that Archer had a proper recoil guard and so IMHO the driver could stay on his seat during firing.
    Orwell1984 likes this.
  6. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Below is a photo of a document dated April 1945. Various Anti-Tank units were visited and discussions had about what improvements could be made to the vehicles/units.

    It looks like the driver could stay in his seat when the gun fired.

    One of the things asked for was a collapsible driver’s seat as the current seat was fixed and if the driver was injured/wounded it was hard to extract him.

    Only decent photo that I could find showing the breech/seat was of a model being built.



    DSCF0063  driver  ed  te.jpg archer seat.jpg
  7. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Excellent stuff Danny. Thanks for posting. I've ordered the Valentine SPG handbook posted above so will post any relevant info from when it arrives.
  8. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Hist 078.jpg From Dick Taylor's Valentine books Hist 080.jpg Hist 081 n.jpg
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  9. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    This is an old P D Dyer plan from Bellona. Clearly the recoil would only reach the driver if the hydraulics fail.

    Hist 086.jpg
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  10. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Clearly a shorter man would be preferred for the driver role. Off topic but were there height restrictions for British tank crew?
  11. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Nine seconds into this film and you can see how much recoil there is inside the Archer. Blink and you will miss it though.

    Archer Firing in “Goch Grabbed”


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  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The prominent RED on the ammo boxes in the first scene suggests they're firing the reduced charge HE, so the recoil probably isn't as fierce as normal, but it does give a good impression of the limit of its recoil.

    OT but still AT: later on, there's a nice shot of a Loyd carrier with the 6-pr's side shields mounted on the side - not seen that before.
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  13. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    Think that footage is of a "pepperpot", i.e. every available gun firing during a barrage. This seems to be what Archers were mainly engaged in during this stage of the war.
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  14. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member


    I have seen it a few times and I remember wondering what they were but never bothered looking too deeply into it.

    However recently the exact location this burning carrier at Fontenay is being researched and the large dark object difficult to explain away


    I was just trying to figure out what is was when I remembered I viewed this film this morning and saw the plates on the side of a carrier so I came back over to re-view and found another reply had explained everything.
    I believe the dark(ringed) object is one of these plates and the small triangles at the top are the same as can be seen on the bottom of the plates on the Goch film.

  15. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

  16. Seroster

    Seroster Canadian researcher Patron

    Danny, is there any chance of getting the whole of this document?

    As I'm looking at other documents which don't say anything about a need for the driver to vacate his seat, I'm pretty skeptical about it. On the other hand I can understand if some drivers were afraid to stay in their seats. It would be cold consolation that something was wrong with the 17 pounder gun, if a fault led to the driver dying.

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