FIELD GUN BARRAGE
The Warbirds Over Wanaka Warhorse re-enactor group has been keeping it’s ‘powder dry’ since the disappointment of the cancellation of the 2020 Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow.
The re-enactors are now all fired up to attend next Easter’s Airshow with their tribute to the role of field guns in WWII - a ‘barrage’ from at least six field guns and other armaments. This might be the largest gathering and mass firing of field guns in the Southern Hemisphere in decades.
One or two 25-pounders have been a regular sight at Warbirds Over Wanaka for many years, primarily as part of the Warhorse static display. Since 2014 at least one of the guns has been fired across Lake Wanaka to start the community lakeside aerial display on Good Friday.
The display will involve the guns being rolled out to form a battle line down the crowd line. The command will be given and the guns will be fired one after the other, reloaded and fired again and again giving airshow visitors a glimpse of what it would have been like for the Allied forces engaged in such famous battles as El Alamein and Monte Casino.
Re-enactor group spokesman Darryl Brewer says the ‘barrage’ will be quite a logistical exercise getting all the guns in position as quickly as possible and firing.
“The guns will fire one after the other to start with but then they’ll just fire again as soon as they’re ready so it will then just be a big wall of noise, just like it was during the big battles of WWII,” says Darryl.
The 25-pounder was the major allied field gun during the Second World War. At El Alamein for instance there were some 800 guns deployed. The 25-pounder was introduced just before the war started and was used by armed forces throughout the Commonwealth, including the New Zealand Army, for many decades afterwards.