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Butner Battery

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by Nicelyb, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Nicelyb

    Nicelyb Member

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    During my research of the 270th FA Bn. ETO I ran across a few entries in some AARs that referred to round counts of Butner Batteries. I tried to find out more of the Butner Batteries and best I can make out is that they were Axis artillery pieces used by the Allies. Mostly during the lean years when the Americans ran short of gas and ammo in the ETO. Anyone know about these Batteries?
     
  2. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    couldn't have been that many or much ..seems it would be hard to resupply/move/etc
    ..lean years? they had a lot more than the Germans
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I am not 100% sure where the term "Butner Battery" came from, probably from Brig. Gen. Henry W. Butner who commanded the 1st Field Artillery Brigade in the Great War, but it specifically referred to the use of French-built Schneider Mle1917 Canon de 155mm by US Field Artillery in 1944/1945. I know the 739th FA Battalion maintained a four-howitzer battery of them for a while, and they were widely used by the FA of the 12th Army Group, although more frequently, the ammunition was used, fired from the 155mm Howitzer M1 with firing corrections worked out by Ordnance.

    Captured German pieces were also widely used, the Third Army the week of 29 October noted that the XX Corps fired about ten times the number of round from captured pieces than American pieces and the roughly 11,000 rounds fired were more than half those fired by the entire Army.

    The reason was that by 22 October 12th Army Group was forced to impose strict rationing on artillery ammunition, especially all types of 105mm. The fighting in Normandy was much more severe than expected, while things like the great June storm and the delay opening Cherbourg restricted unloading, running down stocks on the Continent to very low levels. Combine that with reduced production orders in late 1943 and early 1944 and they ended up with major shortages of artillery ammunition through the fall and winter of 1944.
     
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  4. Nicelyb

    Nicelyb Member

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    Rich. Thanks for the reply. Great info! I assumed the “Butner” part came from the unit being activated at Camp Butner in NC. Who really knows?
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Using captured stocks of weapons (with ammo, of course) was fairly common in WW2. Both the Germans and the Soviets "borrowed" each others weapons/ammo and used them until the supply of ammo ran dry. This allowed them to build up stocks of their own ordinance. Some examples:

    Germany used scads of the soviet 7.62 gun/howitzer that they captured. They also captured huge numbers of their opponent's 120mm mortar-liked it so much that they started building their own copies.

    The Red Army would use captured German tanks as long as possible. They valued the Mk IV so much that they kept them running with spares scavenged from knocked out MK IVs. They used Panthers if they could get a running one but would abandon it as soon as it ran out of gas or broke down.

    At times in N. Africa, Rommel had more British trucks than German ones.

    By the way Rich, where did 3rd Army get the ammo for those German guns? I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the guns were ones abandoned by the Heer at Falaise. Was it captured stocks in Eastern France that couldn't get through thanks to Allied air interdiction?
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2020
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Quite a few of the Armee-Munitions-Lagern (AML) in France were overrun intact as were the weapons during the breakout.
     
  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well,, it's a bit circular really, since Camp Butner was named for General Butner, who died in 1937. He was fairly prominent in prewar FA circles.
     
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  8. Nicelyb

    Nicelyb Member

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    All my research is based around the 270th FA Bn., but in Oct ‘44 the Bn fired 311 American 240mm shells and 709 shells from the Butner Btry. That is the only month that I could find where they listed Butner numbers.
     

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  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The allies overran a lot of German artillery in France in 1944, and some stocks of artillery ammunition./ The Germans did not have as much ammunition as the US or British Armies were accustomed to use.

    The US ran short of artillery ammunition in winter 1944. Their scales of reserves were less than the British. One solution was to borrow a couple of hundred 25 pounder guns from the British. I suspect they would make use of any German artillery and ammunition they they could find.

    The US Army used 155mm French artillery - it was the ordnance of the M12 SP.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  10. Nicelyb

    Nicelyb Member

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    Reading thru an AAR from XX Corps for the period of Oct ‘43 thru May ‘45 and they list the below numbers for the number of rounds fired by the Corps artillery units:

    US Ammunition: 1,707,416
    Other US ammo used in FA role: 150,826
    Other Allied ammo: 8,647
    Captured enemy ammo: 42,002
     
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  11. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    This puts into the topic into context. C85% US ammunition, 9% AAA and chemical battalions, Captured German 5% British 1%
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    There were no "reserve scales" for US artillery ammunition. There was anticipated consumption, based on theater recommendations, which were broadly correct to expereince. The issues were delayed unloading, limited port capacities, and reduced production of certain types, which affected the monthly flow and forced rationing.

    AFAIK, 100, not a couple of hundred, 25 pdr were used as an expedient to replace catastrophic artillery losses in the Ardennes, not as a solution to the ammunition shortage.

    Those were guns, not howitzers. The M12 used the 155mm GPF Mle1918, not the 155mm Mle M1917, which was a howitzer.
     

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