Extracts from the forthcoming book “KUMARAMANGALAM – His Life and Times”
About the guns then in use we have a wonderful description by Major General Rajendra Prakash, VSM in his article entitled ‘Indian Artillery in World War I’. He says, “The artillery of the British Indian Army between 1858 and 1935, whether in those units officered by British officers or in those that were fully Indianised, consisted only of Indian mountain artillery regiments.” Between the 1880s and 1960s these mountain regiments had only one type of mountain guns in service which had evolved in design over a period of time from the original 2.5-inch rifled muzzle loading (RML) gun. The barrel of these guns could be unscrewed into ‘two bits’ such that these bits could be mounted lengthwise on either side of a suitably designed saddle on the back of a large and sturdy ‘mountain artillery’ mule which is capable of carrying this load even over a rough terrain. On coming into action the two portions of the barrel were joined together by a threaded ‘junction nut’ and hence the mountain gun was described by Rudyard Kipling in 1890 as the ‘screw gun’.
Out of the 2.5-inch RML (1879 - 1916) a 10-pounder gun evolved which was in use from 1901 to 1918. A 2.75-inch breach loading gun was evolved which was in use from 1914 to 1919. This ‘screw gun’ ultimately evolved into the 3.7-inch howitzer which was introduced in 1915 and saw service well into the 1960s.