US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

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Richard Stone
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US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Richard Stone » 19 Feb 2022 20:15

The attached short article discusses the reuse by the US Army M12 Self Propelled Guns units of recaptured French 155mm ammunition. The ammunition was recaptured during the October 1944 period and served to aid ammunition resupply for the M12 units during the following months.

This version of the article was printed in the March 1945 edition of the USA professional military reference magazine ‘Military Review’.

BattExp - Mil Review March 1945 - French 155mm Ammunition.png
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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 19 Feb 2022 22:54

Richard Stone wrote:
19 Feb 2022 20:15
The attached short article discusses the reuse by the US Army M12 Self Propelled Guns units of recaptured French 155mm ammunition. The ammunition was recaptured during the October 1944 period and served to aid ammunition resupply for the M12 units during the following months.

This version of the article was printed in the March 1945 edition of the USA professional military reference magazine ‘Military Review’.

BattExp - Mil Review March 1945 - French 155mm Ammunition.png

Interesting stuff. Thanks for the post.

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 20 Feb 2022 06:19

The M12 is the only American weapon that could fire it.{/quote]

{quote]The latter would not fustian in the "Long Tom" because of difference in rotating bands, but was ideal for the M12.
Yes multiple secondary sources state the M12 was initially equipped with the 155mm M1917/1918 gun. & Hogg states 74 were sent to European June 1944. Later a entire different chassis was outfitted with the 155mm M1 gun & labeled the M40. Multiple secondary sources also place the 155mm M101 HE ammunition projectile as the standard HE round for both the 155mm M1 Gun and the 155mm M1917/1918 Gun. A bit more digging reveals the TM 9-345 Technical Manual 155mm Gun Material M1917, M1918 And Modifications show the 155mm M101 HE ammunition as standard for that cannon. So I'm wondering what was the difference in the driving bands of the French made ammunition that would be accepted by the M1917/1918 cannon on the M12 & not by the 155mm Gun M1 on the M1 chassis? Both accept the same 155mm M101 ammunition.

I recall some other articles about firing captured 155mm cannon ammunition from US cannon & am off to search out that again.

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 20 Feb 2022 09:09

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
20 Feb 2022 06:19
So I'm wondering what was the difference in the driving bands of the French made ammunition that would be accepted by the M1917/1918 cannon on the M12 & not by the 155mm Gun M1 on the M1 chassis? Both accept the same 155mm M101 ammunition.

I recall some other articles about firing captured 155mm cannon ammunition from US cannon & am off to search out that again.
Good question.

TM 9-1901 Artillery Ammunition confirms the 155mm HE M101, AP M112, HE Mk IIIA1, Gas and Smoke M104 were used in both the M1917 and M1/M1A1. 155mm Gas and Smoke Mk VIIA1 and VII were only used in the M1917/17A1/18M1.

Perhaps the French projectiles were the same as the MK VIIA1 and Mk VI? Oddly enough the MK VIIA1 and Mk VII bodies appear superficially similar to the Mk IIIA1, so it is unclear why the difference.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Feb 2022 02:28

I recall the 155mm Howitzer M1 was supplied with the M102 and M107 HE ammunition. Perhaps that was incompatible with the gun a the reverse. If thats the case the writer of the article may have misunderstood the difference & wrote "Long Tom" instead of reffering to the howitzer.

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 21 Feb 2022 04:09

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2022 02:28
I recall the 155mm Howitzer M1 was supplied with the M102 and M107 HE ammunition. Perhaps that was incompatible with the gun a the reverse. If thats the case the writer of the article may have misunderstood the difference & wrote "Long Tom" instead of reffering to the howitzer.
As the resident practitioner of the combat arm that "adds dignity, to what would otherwise be an ugly brawl” any random thoughts on how much compatibility there was (if any) between the other US standard FA calibers (75mm and 105mm) and those of their French equivalents?
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 21 Feb 2022 17:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 Feb 2022 14:01

I'd have to spend some time at the books. My first thought is none. But...

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 Feb 2022 16:56

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2022 14:01
I'd have to spend some time at the books. My first thought is none. But...
About the only one I can think of aside from the 155mm guns and howitzers would be the 75mm guns. The M3, M2, M1917, M1916, and M1897A4 were all chambered for the same round. They would work in French guns chambered the same as well as in the British 75mm QF gun.

In a much smaller sense of artillery, some 20mm rounds as well as 40mm rounds were compatible with British guns.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 21 Feb 2022 17:21

Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Feb 2022 16:56
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2022 14:01
I'd have to spend some time at the books. My first thought is none. But...
About the only one I can think of aside from the 155mm guns and howitzers would be the 75mm guns. The M3, M2, M1917, M1916, and M1897A4 were all chambered for the same round. They would work in French guns chambered the same as well as in the British 75mm QF gun.

In a much smaller sense of artillery, some 20mm rounds as well as 40mm rounds were compatible with British guns.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2022 14:01
I'd have to spend some time at the books. My first thought is none. But...

Thanks to you both. Anyone know the disposition of the ~500 assorted 75mm pieces the US provided to the British in the 1940 "after Dunkirk" arms shipments? Expect that by 1943-44, any guns that had not been expended would have been replaced by British standard weapons in the field artillery and towed AT roles...

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Feb 2022 19:15

Yes, the Ordnance, QF, 75mm Mk 1. Their fate is obscure. Some were installed as light coastal artillery & remained there until declared obsolete in 1945. The US did provide its halftracks with 75mm guns mounted to Britain as LL, so its possible some of the Ordnance, QF, 75mm Mk 1 had their barrels removed for replacements on the SP version. One third hand source stated a few were given to the Free French.

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 Feb 2022 02:04

daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Feb 2022 17:21
Thanks to you both. Anyone know the disposition of the ~500 assorted 75mm pieces the US provided to the British in the 1940 "after Dunkirk" arms shipments? Expect that by 1943-44, any guns that had not been expended would have been replaced by British standard weapons in the field artillery and towed AT roles...
That's a good question, especially since it was more than 500 involved. The initial Cash and Carry sales in 1940 were for 500 M1897 and 395 M1917. Another 170 M1916 were Lend-Leased, probably all in 1941. AFAIK only the M1897 would be suitable as replacements in the T12 GMC.

I suspect that they were simply kept in Britain to equip local defense batteries, but that is just a guess.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by daveshoup2MD » 23 Feb 2022 04:15

Richard Anderson wrote:
23 Feb 2022 02:04
daveshoup2MD wrote:
21 Feb 2022 17:21
Thanks to you both. Anyone know the disposition of the ~500 assorted 75mm pieces the US provided to the British in the 1940 "after Dunkirk" arms shipments? Expect that by 1943-44, any guns that had not been expended would have been replaced by British standard weapons in the field artillery and towed AT roles...
That's a good question, especially since it was more than 500 involved. The initial Cash and Carry sales in 1940 were for 500 M1897 and 395 M1917. Another 170 M1916 were Lend-Leased, probably all in 1941. AFAIK only the M1897 would be suitable as replacements in the T12 GMC.

I suspect that they were simply kept in Britain to equip local defense batteries, but that is just a guess.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
22 Feb 2022 19:15
Yes, the Ordnance, QF, 75mm Mk 1. Their fate is obscure. Some were installed as light coastal artillery & remained there until declared obsolete in 1945. The US did provide its halftracks with 75mm guns mounted to Britain as LL, so its possible some of the Ordnance, QF, 75mm Mk 1 had their barrels removed for replacements on the SP version. One third hand source stated a few were given to the Free French.
There's a passing reference in Rearming the French to the British offering (and transferring) various pieces of US-sourced equipment to the French for the 1944-45 metropolitan/liberated manpower formations (as opposed to the ANFA agreement divisions, equipped and sustained by the US). If the guns sent to the UK in 1940-41, according to Richard's figures, totaled 1,065, even at 50% availability four years later, that would be better than 530 guns - which, on paper at least, would be enough for the equivalents of 29 FABs at 12 guns each and 29 cannon companies a six each, which looks like enough for nine light divisions and then some.

Which was - roughly - what the French were saying they could raise from the M/LMP. The reality was bit different of course, but it does seem like if all parties could have agreed it would have expedited matters, at least for the (somewhat) provisional French forces containing the remaining German Atlantic garrisons and on the Alpine front.

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 24 Feb 2022 05:28

Richard Anderson wrote:
21 Feb 2022 16:56
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Feb 2022 14:01
I'd have to spend some time at the books. My first thought is none. But...
About the only one I can think of aside from the 155mm guns and howitzers would be the 75mm guns. The M3, M2, M1917, M1916, and M1897A4 were all chambered for the same round. They would work in French guns chambered the same as well as in the British 75mm QF gun. ...
Yes the 75mm. M1897 & M2, M3, M4 & M6 cannons chambered the same M48 HE projectile. Still not sure if the propellant case was the same. Probably, but these details can unexpectedly vary.

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Feb 2022 06:50

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
24 Feb 2022 05:28
Yes the 75mm. M1897 & M2, M3, M4 & M6 cannons chambered the same M48 HE projectile. Still not sure if the propellant case was the same. Probably, but these details can unexpectedly vary.
Yes, the exact same case was used in the 75mm M1897A2 and A4, the M1916, and the M1917, the M2 (Tank), the M3 (Tank), and the M4 (Aircraft). They all used the M18 "brass" or M18A1 steel propellant case. All were fully compatible, but the same complete rounds were not used in all guns.

APC M61 and HE M48 were issued for use in all guns.
CS M89 was issued for use with the M2 and M3.
CS M64 was issued for use with the M1897, M2, and M3.

The cases for the Howitzers M1, M1A1, M2, and M3 were different (M1B1A2 brass or M5A1B1), although there was some commonality between projectiles.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: US Use Of Recaptured French 155mm Artillery Ammunition - October 1944

Post by Knouterer » 22 Mar 2022 10:02

From Dick Taylor, Firing Now!, p. 110:

"When the 75 mm (tank gun) was first used in training in North Africa by the British in early 1942, it was found that some of the HE rounds of WWI vintage (and so presumably the M1) had deteriorated badly over the years and exploded in the breeches, with some fatalities. The fuzes were identified as the problem component, and they were replaced with ones from a stock of 90,000 newer French fuzes captured in Syria from the Vichy forces."
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