Loudspeaker Gun Control

When a battery of guns is deployed there is usually quite some distance between each gun and there is a need for co-ordination between each site. Usually there is a command post that commands the entire battery and until very recently field telephone lines were used to communicate with each battery from a central switchboard. The problem with traditional field telephones is that someone needs to go and answer them, however when in operation there was rarely a spare hand available to use a traditional handset. By World War Two loudspeakers were used that relayed the words of the commander to the battery. These early patterns only allowed one way communication, but by the 1970s the design had been updated and it is one of these later examples we are looking at today:

The front is dominated by a large speaker grille from which the sound would emminate. Above this is a green storage bag:

Turning the speaker unit round we can see that this bag extends the full depth of the speaker unit:

A quick release tab is fitted to the top:

Note that the webbing portion of this speaker is dated 1973. Inside this bag is a telephone handset so that the gun crew can speak with the battery commander if they need to:

Also within the bag and protected from the elements like the handset are the controls:

The interior of the loudspeaker has the electronic parts of the device and they are pretty simple with the speaker itself taking up most of the housing:

The loudspeaker’s designation is printed in white on the rear of the unit, together with an NSN number:

One comment

  1. The WW2 “Apparatus Loud-Speaking” range of gun control telephones did permit two-way communication, and there was a button on top of the speaker unit to signal the control unit. I would imagine you had to bellow into the loudspeaker though – but with a 25 pdr close by that was probably normal practice. (Some of the “blast proof” speakers had an additional set of terminals for connection to a wireless set (e.g. the WS 19 in the Sexton S.P. Gun) as well as being usable with the standard control unit (no amplifier, it used a “Power Microphone” with a heavy-duty carbon insert powered from a lead-acid battery and a multi-output transformer to feed several gun position loudspeakers). I’ve seen both 4 and 6 position versions, plus a cable set that allowed one operator to use two of the control telephones as a single unit.

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