Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

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Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby cmpman » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:20 am

While home on holidays this summer (I am currently working in Kandahar Airfield as a contractor) I started collecting together the bits and pieces to try and assemble a C1 howitzer, which is basically the American 105 howitzer but manufactured by Sorel Industries in Canada back in the mid 50s. I headed out to the local mil scrapyard and found the majority of the carriage, and I already had a Cdn recoil mech. My recoil mech was made by Otis Elevator of Canada in 57. I actually found more than I expected to in the scrapyard, but unfortunately many of the smaller bits and pieces like bushings, gearbox covers, and many of the larger nuts and shims were not found. But I guess if it were easy, someone would have done it already.

Here are a couple shots of some of the stuff I found. I have some more photos, but I am back in a tent in Kandahar and internet service is very poor.
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Anyway, I am itching to get started on this project when I get home in a month, and I have a couple questions for those in the know. I have the axle and also found the left and right hubs, as well as the hand brake assys, but I do not have the brake shoes themselves. Were these shoes similar to any of the military trailers of that era, and are the shoes available anywhere? They look a lot like some of the Ben Hur trailer setups, but those style of trailer are not that common up here, and parts for them are even rarer. I have managed to find the hubcaps for the hubs: they are the same as the M series 1-1/2 ton trailers currently in use.

If anyone is interested I'll try and get more photos up in the coming days, but trying to upload photos out here is like watching paint dry.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby dwing » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:01 pm

Nice project. I hope all goes well. It looks like you have your work cut out, but also looks like you have resources to some honey holes for parts.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby geargrinder » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:23 pm

Thanks for posting photos of your project. it is
interesting to have a look at the individual
pieces instead of the usual view of a
assembled one.
Good luck!
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby airborne-53 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:49 am

hello
look like WWII US made rebuild by sorel in 1957 ?
great project , no torch cut !!!!
no others elevation gear available ?
thanks
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby cmpman » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:42 am

it is interesting to have a look at the individual pieces instead of the usual view of a assembled one.

Maybe so: I would have preferred it not so quite apart. One good thing was we loaded it by hand, so minimal size was best. A few of the pices had to be carried 30 feet across other scrap....was fairly tiring. Luckily there were 3 of us.

Look like WWII US made rebuild by sorel in 1957 ? great project , no torch cut !!!! no others elevation gear available ?


All the parts like the main cradle or any cast parts all have SIL (Sorel Industries Limited) castings on them, so they did in fact make a large portion, if not all, of the guns. Sorel built 25 pdrs during the war, and post war made about 300+ of the 105s for Canada. Someone told me they made the 155 towed for us as well: I will have to have a look at some of the 155 monuments and see what markings are on them.

Canada originally purchased about 36 US made 105s for the Korean war to tide over until Sorel could get into production. The Canadian guns were designated the C1. The 36 US made guns were designated C2 until they were later run through Sorel and modified to C1 standard. I cannot say what those mods were since the bulk of the part numbers in the Canadian parts manual are US Nato stock numbers. I have seen carriages with US WW2 data plates on them, but the tube and breech were Cdn.
Later, in the 90s, Canada had a number of the C1s converted in Europe to C3 standard, which visibly have much longer barrels and muzzle brakes. However time and the extra load has taken it's toll and many of these guns are now experiencing critical fatigue.

There are two more sets of elevation gears in the scrap yard, but the owner is only selling everything off as sets. The elevation gears were matched sets, so I had to do a bit of scraping to find the numbers on them. Luckily I brought along a friend who was a weapon tech in the CF, so he was able to identify the best parts to select for my gun.

Here are a couple more shots of some of the parts.
Here is a shot of everything tossed into the back of the truck:
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A shot of the shields all laid out:
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A shot of the recouperators. I only got one of these, the other went to a collector in Alberta. Mine came with it's history book, which was kind of nice. Turns out it was BLR'd from the artillery base just a couple miles from me for a very minor issue. My weapon tech buddy knew many of the signatures in the book.
Image
Last edited by cmpman on Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby R Cubed » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:27 pm

Good project you have there, how is it progressing? lets have some more pics. You are lucky to have an uncut recouperator my one has had a hole burnt in the gas chamber and the end thread cut off hydraulic ram, if you have some pics of this bit and the two nuts which go either side of the fixing plate on the carriage this would be of help to me.

Good luck keep at it.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby cmpman » Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:09 pm

It has been progressing quite nicely. I have made a few more trips to the salvage yard and found some of the brass bushings I was looking for, along with some of the special larger nuts such as the one which holds the towing bracket to the trail. Last weekend I found these buried under the grass.
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The lower shields are spare to my requirements so will go to the guy who got the other recoup mech. I was quite happy to find the larger upper shield as these were discarded many years ago when we went to the 11-20 tires on our guns.

I have pretty much found all my axle parts with the exception of the brake shoes and hardware. All the seals, bearings, the two large castellated nuts for the wheel bearings, and even the brake pivot shafts were found on ebay at reasonable cost. I have assembled the axle without the brake shoes for now. Besides, there are no hills here in Manitoba anyway.
I also picked up a pair of M35Cdn rims and 11.00 X 20 tires which will have to do for now. Canada has not used the 9.00-20 tires for over 25 years so those are getting hard to come by up here. Perhaps I'll pick up a pair at the next MVPA convention.
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Below are some of the inspection and property marks found on top of the axle.
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The pintle bar has been sandblasted along with the trial hinge pins. Amazing how well the threads turn out after having been buried in the ground or subject to the weather for almost 40 years. I am now just waiting on some 4" bronze thrust washers for between the pintle bar and the axle. I found something close that will just have to be lathed a bit to match perfectly.
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Next step after the pintle bar has been assembled will be to blast, paint and install the top carriage assy. I still have some feelers out for the brass bushings that go onto it.

Re your photo requests, I can help with the recoil mech threads, but I still have to source those trunnion nuts myself. A tip for the recoil mechanism thread is that it is 1-1/16-12, and can use the same castellated nut as the wheel bearing adjusting nuts.
The carriage cradle trunnions are 1-7/8"-16tpi thread. I have found almost the identical nut on ebay but in lh thread. The search for rh thread is still in progress.

I'll try and snap some photos of the recoil mech front tomorrow when it is light out. Winter is fast approaching in these parts, so I think that I will have to be satisfied with just accumulating parts and pieces for the next 5 months, as it will be far too cold to sandblast or paint.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby cmpman » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:31 pm

This could be a suitable replacement for the trunnion nuts. These are a jam nut used on hydraulic shafts. The thread is correct ( 1-7/8-16) the thickness is bang on at 1/2", only thing wrong is that they are only 2-1/2 wide as opposed to the 3" width of the original nut.
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I found them here: http://www.reidsupply.com/detail.aspx?itm=VE-307 but they may well be available locally as well. I'll research it a bit more. They are manufactured by enerpac (their part numbers are listed on the link I gave) so they should be able to be ordered from any hydraulic shop.
Last edited by cmpman on Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Howitzer Recoil Mech and Recoup Rebuild?

Postby dwing » Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:51 am

How are people rebuilding their recoil mechanisms? Do you have the specialty spanner wrenches, etc? What about recharging the nitrogren? thanks for the guidance.
If your gun doesn't leak oil, it's time for a bigger gun.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby cmpman » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:01 am

I shouldn't need to rebuild mine, it just needs a minor repair. It was replaced because of a leaking filler plug according to the tag. It should have been a simple first line repair. Not sure why it was changed...perhaps it was part of the upgrade from M2A2 to the M2A5 recoil mechanisms. If I really needed the tools I could likely arrange the loan of them.....the nearby base still use these guns in modified form.

As to the nitrogen fill, I dealt with the filler kits enough years in the military....in fact I was turning some back in to the supply system just a couple months ago during my last contract in Afghanistan. They are a fairly simple affair of a nitrogen regulator and a hose with the correct fitting to match the accumulator. I have the quick release tool for doing the drawbacks, and a simple chain hoist is also needed. I recall modifying one of these kits when I was still military to fill the LAV suspensions back when they first came out and before the proper filler was available.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby cmpman » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:16 pm

Managed to make some room in the main workshop and have made a bit of progress. I polished up the shafts a bit on the trunnion and on the trail pins, and am temporarily assembling the trunnion using just a steel shim for now to give the needed spacing. I highly recommend an engine crane for lifting the trunnion as it would otherwise be another hernia operation that I don't really need.

Here is the trunnion being dropped onto the axle.
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While prepping the trail pin bushings for the pins, I noted that one grease hole did not line up with the bushing hole. It would have been hard to grease this one in service. I considered merely drilling a new hole through the bushing and also re-cutting the grease channels at the flanged end of the bushing to line up, but in the end the bushing popped out with reasonable effort. I had knocked out a towing ring bushing off a bent up trail at the scrapyard last week and it took a tremendous amount of effort, so I wasn't sure what to expect on this one.
As well in this photo you can see the traces of red paint from where the artillery had painted the required 3/4" red circles around the grease points. Later, washers were added behind the grease nipples and they were painted red, but I am going to go back to the early method of just painting right on the castings.
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Here you can see the clean area which shows just how far out the bushing was.
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Next on the list is to make the retaining nut for the trunnion to the axle. The stock nuts are too thick, and half was just about where I wanted it. I started trying to cut it on the lathe, but that was not working so well, so I went to the tried and true method of cutting disks on an angle grinder. Once in half I dressed it on the lathe. Next steps will be to weld a backing washer onto the nut to turn it into kind of a flange nut. A locking setscrew goes through the washer onto the trunnion bracket so the nut rotates with the trunnion in relation to the axle.
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Below is the trunnion on the axle with the trail pins in place and the main carriage pin installed temporally. I still need to find the upper carriage bushings before I can install that portion of the gun.
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With the requirement for more minor parts, and just about the end of the sandblasting and painting up here in Canada, I think this project will have to go into storage until the spring. That will give me some time to scare up a few more parts and pieces, as well as to tackle the challenge of the barrel.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby TopKick » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:29 am

Looking good so far! 8)
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby P40NWarhawk » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:29 am

You are soooooooooo lucky to have a place/resource you can get the parts for your 105mm How.. What is the chance of puchasing the parts that are lift over or that ones you don't have any use for so that I may build one also? I have my own machine shop and I'm in the Seattle/Tacoma Washington area 360-893-5189/425-890-7168.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby cmpman » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:59 am

The place I got mine from has the remnants of one left. Most of the main components are there. There are two trails (both bent but could be repaired) the axle, hubs and drums, the pintle, the upper carriage, the elevating arcs, and the cradle are all there along with some minor parts. If you PM me I can give you his contact info. Note that all this is in Canada (about 100 miles North of North Dakota) so it is hard to say what customs problems you would have with items like these.

I have had to widen my search for some of the missing parts. I recently bought a stripped telescope storage case (mounts on the front shield) from England which is costing more to ship than it was to buy. I lucked into getting the elbow scope bracket from a surplus place in the US, but still have to find the panoramic scope mount for inside the case.
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Re: Canadian C1 105mm Howitzer

Postby dwing » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:57 am

Looking very good. It is great to see a project come to life on a thread like this.

I think a point was made earlier in this thread that should not be underestimated. One needs a lifting system of some type when working with artillery. An overhead hoist is ideal, but a "cherry picker" is needed at a minimum.
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