Category: artillery

More numbers I found in the Maxse papers at th…

More numbers I found in the Maxse papers at the IWM.

So what we’ve got here are from after action reports of the Third Battle of Ypres. Lots of thinking and analysis went into the campaigns of 1916 and 1917 to try and find a better method of fighting for the next year. 
This sort of data was collected yearly and sent out to army and corps commanders along with a many other bits and pieces of data.

So we’ve got ammunition used by XVIII (18th) Corps between June and November 1917. Spoiler, it’s a lot. For example 2.6 million 18 pounder shells of all type in four months in just ONE corps. Somewhere around 4.5 million shells of all type for the corps during Third Ypres.

Then it’s road building material. Given the number of shells being lobbed by each side the roads in each area were obliterated during an attack and damaged each and every day. Repairing the roads to allow for the transport of supply was an extremely high priority. As you can see in four months the ONE corps used over 59,000 tons of stone and 65,000 wooden sleepers on road building.

Next is 18th Corps postal service for the whole of 1917. Over 20,000,000 letters and 1,000,000 parcels from the UK to 18th Corps and 15,000,000 letters back to the UK. This gives an average of 60,000 letters a day, or four letters per day per soldier.

And finally is numbers of guns (meaning everything larger than rifles) replaced between mid-June and and the start of November. They’re losing a lot of Lewis guns, not surprising, but they’re also losing as many 18 pounders as they are Vickers which did surprise me.

German officers examining a captured heavy F…

German officers examining a captured heavy French howitzer, June 1918.

The result of a direct hit to a French battery…

The result of a direct hit to a French battery.

A French 240mm heavy gun named Jeannette, capt…

A French 240mm heavy gun named Jeannette, captured at Terny-Sorny by the  German 64th Infantry Regiment, during the Spring Offensive, 1918.

French gunners handling a new 145 mm naval g…

French gunners handling a new 145 mm naval gun at Hardecourt-aux-Bois, 22 October 1916.

German troops examining a captured French  lon…

German troops examining a captured French  long-range gun with which Laon was bombarded. It was captured at Pargny where the Germans crossed the Somme on 24th March 1918.

A French Schneider 155 mm gun flooded and co…

A French Schneider 155 mm gun flooded and continuing to fire near Rheims, May 1917. 

German troops by a captured 14.5 cm heavy Fr…

German troops by a captured 14.5 cm heavy French gun at Mareuil, 25 June 1918.

French gunners manning a 80 mm short gun at …

French gunners manning a 80 mm short gun at Bois des Buttes, near Pontavert, 22 August 1915.

Not a lot of uniform going on there.

Workers stacking 380mm naval shells for ship…

Workers stacking 380mm naval shells for shipment at a munitions factory.

I’d assume they’re men of the South African Native Labour Corps. They could be colonial French workers, but I don’t know if there’s a French equivalent.