US Civil War Union Army Railroad Gun - the Siege of Petersburg
About this creation
This is my first version of a US Civil War Union Railway Gun used in the Siege of Petersburg (Virginia) to secure the rebel controlled railroad. From about 1864-1865, the city of Petersburg, Virginia was a hub for four railway line that would connect to Richmond, Virginia - the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Confederacy's General Lee had made a line of fortifications that extended from Petersburg to Richmond to protect the Confederate's capital city and its railway lines from Union forces. The Union's General Grant had ordered a siege of Petersburg and securing of Confederacy railway lines with the objective to starve the capital of the Confederacy. The siege lasted for over nine months with heavy losses on both sides and ended with the fall of Richmond. The Civil War marks the first use of railroads for war time combat missions - where trains were designed and fitted for wartime combat missions. Combat train car designs were often one of a kind experiments.
My military train railway gun car is a Union artillery battery car. The Union artillery battery train car was based on a Confederate design - the Brooke-Minor artillery battery car. The Confederate Brooke-Minor railway gun was made at the request of Confederate General Robert E Lee and had no side protection and carried an Army Seacoast 32 pounder rifled cannon. It had seven railroad axles. It was pushed up front by a Locomotive engine. On June 29, 1862, the Confederate general John Magruder reported deploying the Confederate Brooke-Minor artillery battery car against Union forces as his forces advanced from Richmond along Williamsburg Road towards Federal forces at Savage Station, Virginia. Observer Confederate General Lafayette McLaws bemoaned that the limited targeting ability of this gun - made it slightly more than a nuisance to the Union forces - who quickly learn to get out of its limited aiming range.
My Union Army version of this artillery battery car uses the cannon and mini figures from The Lone Ranger Cavalry Builder Set (Lego # 79106). The cannon tilts up and down but only shoots forward ( historically the gun carriage was set on rail built into the artillery battery car which help it absorb recoil when firing ). The Union soldier who has a pistol standing on the rear of the railway gun car is the guard to protect the gun crew from Confederate snipers; the union soldier guarding the gun crew is on a 2x2 turntable so he can easily swivel to protect his gun crew. A Lego Technic pin is used as a railway coupler so it can be towed by a locomotive engine. Initially, I designed this car initially with four fixed railroad wheel axles side by side (no bogie plate is use). While this Railway gun car was able to transverse a full circle of track with four sets of railroad wheels - it came with a price - high rolling resistance. I later changed the car to two sets of railroad wheel to reduce the rolling resistance. Another solution would be put allow each railroad wheel axle to rotate/turn independently.
Below is a rear operational top view of this railway gun
Below is a more menacing front view of this railway gun
The locomotive coupler successfully allowed a train to push and pull the Railway Gun Car at the Charm City LUG group meeting on June 26, 2013.
Under Union Inventor-General Hermann Haupt of the the U.S. Military RailRoad (USMRR aka Union Army Railroad), the Union Army made the other specialty trains cars for the war effort: a hospital car, mess/food car, supply depot car, cassion+cannon carrier, steel plated armored cars with gun ports with swivel mounted rifled cannons, and hot-air observation balloon cars. The Union Army made several variation of the armored car with gun and rifle ports. Confederate raiders reportedly were able to destroyed at least one of these Union armored cars during the Siege of Petersburg.
This car is now part of my Civil War Union Military Railroad Train which also has a *Dictator* Siege Mortar Railway Mortar Car(inspired by and build along the same lines as the moc design of Matthew Hocker).