Topic: German Siege Gun - World War I

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Kawaroa Park, New Plymouth

Krupp 21 cm Siege Gun

Krupp 21 cm Seige Gun, Nr 342, 1915

 New Zealand Government war trophy presented to New Plymouth Borough in 1920

After World War I a number of German weapons captured during the war were distributed to communities around New Zealand . The type of trophy depended on the size of the community. Larger towns/cities were presented with large-calibre artillery pieces (New Plymouth), medium-sized towns with field artillery  (Hawera, Stratford, Eltham and Manaia ) or trench mortars (Inglewood, Waitara and Patea), and smaller centres and other local bodies with machine guns (Opunake) 

Many of these weapons were destroyed during World War II when the prospect of invasion by Japanese forces was very real.  Eltham's field gun, for instance, was buried at Taumata Park but recovered in the 1983 (see Topic below) and several south Taranaki machine guns were recovered from a well at Kakaramea in the 1980s. Inglewood's German trench mortar (minenwerfer) was displayed on the war memorial but disappeared without trace some time in the late 1960s.

Local folk-law records that New Plymouth's siege gun was captured near Baupame, France, at the end of August 1918 by D Company of the 3rd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade. It was installed at Kawaroa in 1920 although there was considerable controversy over it as it was, even then, a sadly depleted remnant of the original weapon. The present (2013) truck(?) wheels were added in the 1990s and are not original

A now-legendary 'firing' of the howitzer with explosives one night  In the early 1960s by three local youths was recorded in 2001 (See Documents below).

The siege gun arrived in New Plymouth on 20 December 1920 and was to be placed in Kawaroa Park (See TDN 21 Dec 1920)

Further Reading about New Zealand's Artillery Heritage

Great Guns - The Artillery Heritage of NZ.

Cooke, Peter & Ian Maxwell, 2013


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German Siege Gun - World War I

City:New Plymouth
German Siege Gun - World War I by Ron is Copyright Act 1994