Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Big Gun - Rock Hill, S.C.

Sue and I have passed by an old abandoned American Legion Post in Rock Hill several times now. Each time we do I always mean to get out and have a closer look at the Vickers 6551-A anti-aircraft gun that sits outside of the old brick building. There are literally hundreds of such guns, cannons and the like displayed at the thousands of VFW’s and American Legions across the country. And I have always been fascinated with each and every one.

This one was most likely assembled from an original pre-war Vickers, and then outfitted with an automatic fuse igniter at a later date. The nameplates; or nomenclature; on the gun bear me out as far as the dates are concerned. The gun was manufactured in the opening years of the war, and then refitted in 1943. The latest plate affixed to the weapon bears the year 1943.

Most likely this gun came from duty on the Carolina coast after the War had ended. It probably did see some action, as the U-boats were only 10 miles off shore and sinking ships off Cape Hatteras on a regular basis at the time. These guns could fire at surface vessels as well as aircraft. 

When the war ended and the government found itself with a surfeit of weaponry, much of it found its way to the local VFW’s and Legion halls which dot the land. They make impressive markers. Actually, I would love to have this baby in the back yard. I know just where I’d put it, right off the brick patio on the lawn. Man, that would be something!

Here's picture of a fully manned and ready Vickers in the early days of World War Two;

And for more information about this weapon, which played such a large part in the war, go to;

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