Camel artillery on the march

Camel artillery on the march

Artillery support for the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade was provided by the Hong Kong and Singapore (Mountain) Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The Battery was equipped with six mountain guns, each of which was designed to be broken down into its separate parts and loaded on to six pack mules (or in this case, camels) for transportation, an arrangement clearly illustrated by the photo above. The camel in the right foreground is carrying the gun barrel while the camel in front of it has the gun's axle strapped lengthways to the saddle frame covering its hump. The other four camels in the photo are carrying the remaining main components of the gun - wheels, recuperator, pole trail, and gun-shield.

Although originally intended for use on narrow mountain trails which were impassable for standard horse-drawn or motorised field artillery, the principle behind the design of the mountain guns applied equally as well to the operational conditions under which the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade would fight: any artillery support attached to the Brigade could not be allowed to slow down the speed or restrict the five-day range of the camels that the cameliers rode in the desert. And in 1916 the only way to guarantee that was to use artillery pieces that could be carried by other camels.

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