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Soviet vs. US vs German Artillery

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by Wolfy, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    A second problem that relates here is the other equipment that the artillery battery has, particularly its transportation. Much of the the German artillery particlarly late in the war was virtually immobile having no transportation to speak of. The aforementioned Volksartillerie Brigades were this way. They barely had sufficent equipment to place their batteries into static positions for an initial offensive or defensive operation. Once things became fluid these units either could not advance with the army to support them or were overrun in if the defense failed to hold.
    The Soviets generally gave their artillery sufficent transport to move their guns forward in an offensive even if they couldn't completely keep up. The US and British obviously had sufficent transport to give their artillery offensive mobility.
    This difference acts operationally as a force multiplier for each artillery unit. That is, a US self propelled artillery battalion could easily move where it was needed and support the units it had to whatever the battle situation might be. Motorized artillery likewise could usually be where it was needed. Horse drawn batteries were far more problematic. These couldn't keep up with a mechanized battle. They were just too slow and relatively immobile. Batteries that had barely enough transport to move their guns let alone ammuntion, manpower, and other equipment were of little value once the battle became fluid.
    So, a single self-propelled 105mm battalion might be worth several 208mm gun battalions that were only semi-mobile in modern warfare. This was because the 105 battalion was where it was needed and in range to fire far more frequently than the 208 battalions were.
     
  2. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Flexibility and response speed is often overlooked by amateurs, until one realizes that 50% of artillery casaulties were inflicted at the first thirty seconds of the fire before the victims recovered from shock and moved to cover. A short barrage that is timely do more damage than a long barrage that is late.
     
  3. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    Flexibility and response speed is often overlooked by amateurs, until one realizes that 50% of artillery casaulties were inflicted at the first thirty seconds of the fire before the victims recovered from shock and moved to cover. A short barrage that is timely do more damage than a long barrage that is late.
     
  4. appweid

    appweid recruit

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    Hitler launched the War against countries with a greater industrial capacity than Germany. This did not at first impact the German war effort because the Soviet Union was a NAZI ally. It did after he invaded the Soviet Union and declared war on America. The Soviets had a massive industrial capacity. At the onset of Barbarossa, the Soviets moved their war plants east to the Urals beyond the range of the Luftwaffe after the Germans were stopped before Moscow (December 1941). By 1943 these plants were back on line churning out massive quantities of artillery. You are correct that the Red Army as not fully motorized at the onset of the War. (Either were the Germans.) One of the principal items America shipped to the Soviets as part of Lend Lease were trucks (laden with spam and other supplies). These trucks were arriving in large numbers by 1943 changing the dynamic on the Eastern Front. The Red Army became a mobilized force that the Germans could only dream of.

    http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/cou/us/aod/ll/cou/sov/ship/llcss-sou.html
     
  5. Rangi

    Rangi New Member

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    Another factor for the Allied successes in artillery was explained to me by a US general who said that US artillery was deliberately made simple with fewer working parts (though the artillery was still very accurate) so that damaged or worn out parts could be replaced immediately in the field by mobile workshops which carried a full range of spare parts. He said a gun could be back in action in minutes - this may be an exaggeration so can any confirm or deny? It would certainly give the Allied forces a far greater preponderance of delivered shells than mere number of guns would imply since German guns were so highly engineered that they had to be transported back to a distant workshop for repair.
    Over-elaboration was the case for many German bits of gear: the extremely effective ME 262 jet had only a 12 hour service limit before its engine had to be completely rebuilt. And German tanks were "high maintenance".
    Yet another factor that added greatly to allied artillery effectiveness was the use of "stonk" and "murder" patterns of laying down artillery. These were copied later by the Russians, as they were extremely effective ways of maximizing fire power and of blunting the V attacks by heavy German tanks.

    Finally, can anyone explain why artillery is so overlooked by commentators. Bombing by aircraft seemed to be the preferred method of attacking cities even though bombs cause buildings to explode, thus blocking roads and streets with debris and rubble that the PBI (GIs in the US) had to fight their way through and which impeded supporting tank and mobile artillery movement. Artillery, on the other hand tended to make buildings implode, so causing far less road-blocking rubble.
     
  6. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    Very true.

    This is a matter of practicality during war. You have so many troops, so many tanks, so many artillery pieces, and so many planes. However more importantly you have only so many tons of supplies you can bring to the front each day. Supply is always the limiting factor dictating what an army can accomplish. Consider that every bomb flown from airfields in the rear is now empty space in your supply trucks and trains that can now be reallocated.

    In addition by using planes to bomb a city you are freeing up that much of your artillery to fire on enemy troops in the field. Which are too spread out to be effectively bombed.


    As to why it's overlooked. It's simply not sexy enough. Think of any war movie you've seen. How many of them were focused on an artillery unit.
     
  7. freebird

    freebird Member

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    The artillery was the elite branch of the Tsars army, and later Soviet.
    The Soviets were the only nation to field artillery divisions, and the Soviet Shock Armies were artillery heavy.


    Quite so. ;)


    British equivalent would be the 5.5" medium gun I believe.
     
  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I have pondered this one, particularly when reflecting on my wife's commentary on my decision to plough the furrow of Gunner oriented battlefield tourism ;)

    The top three reasons are:-

    #1 Artillery is intangible and creates less of an impact in the media. Photographs and films do not capture the effects of artillery fire. Here is what George Blackburn wrote about a Mike Target shoot - the response of a 24 gun field regiment firing as one unit

    #2 The hardware isn't as sexy as aircraft or tanks. Look at the bookshelves and the computer games. Its world of tanks rather than world of artillery and there are probably more books about the tanks of the first world war, which were a gimmick and sideshow than artillery which was the dominant arm.

    #3 A few calm words into the wireless or telephone is not seen as sexy or warror-like compared to running at someone carrying a pointed stick or firing small arms.
     
  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I came across this long ago.

    The reference to the "British System" below (which is also pretty much every system in use at the time, except for the American system) is a grid system. Quite simply, a grid system is where some simple equations are used to compute the target as if the earth is flat and all points are at the same altitude. Since the earth isn't flat and all points are not as the same altitude, you needed trained observers and spotting shells to walk into your target before firing for effect. This has the downside of alerting the enemy that an artillery barrage will soon be falling on their heads. The enemy takes cover and casualties are dramatically reduced.

    The Americans used the same grid system on unknown ground, but during any pause in movement. had plentiful surveying units that computed every piece of ground ahead of the line, converted them to the tape system mentioned below, and then you could drop your barrage on target with no warning at all. It was that precise when conditions were right.

    American Artillery Practices

    Americans used the British system, but with a very significant innovation. They pre-computed the firing data for a HUGE number of variations of wind/temperature, barrel wear, elevation differentials, etc. Then for each possible variation, they created a separate calibrated tape measure. Along the tape was printed the gun laying information instead of distance marks. When a firing mission came in, the plotting officer would simply go to a filing cabinet containing the hundreds (thousands?) of these tapes and pull out the correct one for the current meteorological and situational factors. Then the tape would be laid out between the two grid points on the map (the battery's and the targets) and the firing data would be read from the printing on the tape. Apparently there were some other fudges that got thrown in to make the firing even more accurate.

    Net result was that there were about three minutes elapsed time from the initial fire support call until shells were making the enemy duck. And the firing was almost as accurate as spotted fires. Ergo, very responsive explosions exactly where they are wanted.

    Again, a drawback to the American system is that it requires very accurate and detailed maps (say showing individual farm buildings for instance) which must be plentifully supplied to troops at all levels. However, given the availability of such maps then American artillery could be hellacious.

    I might guess that temporary lack of such maps may be a reason why certain obvious movements were tardy during the pursuit across France. How would you feel about moving into an area where your artillery could not fire (because the forward troops as well as the artillery had no maps with appropriate grid marks)?

    The tape measure system was not the only innovation of the Americans, as there were several others that followed directly from the simplicity of the tape usage.

    Since the grid system was so easy to use for calling in fires, it was standard doctrine to train all officers in it (and many enlisted men as well). In fact the technique was so easy, that an otherwise ignorant enlisted man could be readily walked through the procedure over radio (and was on more than one occasion) when all his officers had fallen.

    Another trick of the Americans was the Time on Target mission (TOT). With this one, every battery in range was told the grid coordinates of the target and time when all shells were to initially land at the target. Each battery did its normal firing computation and then calculated the time to "pull the lanyards" by backing off the time-of-flight from the target time. TOT was particularly nasty because the initial shell from every gun landed virtually simultaneously before any defender could take cover. It took too much effort for the Germans to care much for such a technique, and the British were not accurate enough to make the technique particularly useful. Very nasty and only Americans could pull it off.

    Another innovation of the Americans was their ability to obtain accurate fires extremely quickly from a LARGE number of firing batteries. Because of the simplicity and elegance of the tape system, almost any battery in range could fire on any target in any direction. All they had to do was get a request from another firing HQ or even just listen in on other battalion radio nets ("Hey, Red Bravo Two, we have a situation at grid coordinates such and so").

    This system was formalized by having a fire mission request being kicked "upstairs" if warranted for a suitably attractive target. The firing artillery battalion might contact the division which then might also request support from corps. Ostensibly, the inclusion of the division support added an additional three minutes to the fire mission, and including corps assets added three minutes yet again. There apparently was one case in Italy of a piper cub pilot (an artillery spotter) calling in no less than five corps level missions in one hour (this extremity of fire concentration was of course EXTREMELY uncommon, but certainly not unheard of).

    Such relatively spontaneous massing of fires was absolutely not true of the German system which required a careful pre-plotting by surveyors to figure out where things really were on the map. In some sense, all American batteries wind up in general support (can fire for anybody). Consequently a given fire request may pick up extra "idle" batteries to thicken the fires. And during emergencies, any battery in range could leap into the fray to save a Yank ground pounder's tail.

    Beyond the above "standard" organizational doctrine, apparently Americans were quite capable of concentrating fire support on as large a scale as needed. I'll offer an example from the German counter-attack at Mortain in August of 1944. Three American infantry companies were trapped by the Germans on top of a hill overlooking the valley that Mortain lies within (this was a bottleneck that a major part of the German attack had to pass through, if it was going to cut off Patton's breakout). The American infantry held out for something like two days against the better part of a panzer/panzer grenadier division that desperately wanted the lousy Yanks off of the hill. The only problem seems to have been that some twelve and a half battalions of Uncle Sam's artillery could be called on in the instant by the infantry, anywhere on the highly visible countryside for miles around. This not only prevented all daylight movement by the German attack, but completely thwarted any attack on the infantry itself, even at night. To imagine the effect of being a German attacking up that hill, think of being on a football field with some fifty to one hundred 20-odd pound TNT explosions going off around you EVERY second (some two hundred guns each firing every 3 to say 8 seconds). Another way to think of it is to say that, in some sense, you might expect to have a shell land within touching distance of you every 15 seconds or so. Yep, I don't think the US needs to bow to anybody when it comes to an ability to deliver impromptu concentrated fires. :-< :-< [dead Jerry's]

    BTW as a side note, no artillery gun anywhere (in the US Army at any rate) ever fired more than about 800 rounds in any day (Trevor Dupuy, Search for Historical Records of High Rate Artillery Fire in Combat Situations, 1978). This was the extreme high, and a more typical high for any given battery is likely to be on the order of several rounds per gun per day. Apparently logistical limits more than anything tended to prevent firing a larger number of missions.

    No doubt more than one German officer assumed he'd have at least the first 15 or 20 minutes of his surprise attack free of defensive artillery fire. And when the artillery did start to come in, he'd expect to be warned by the initial spotting rounds. Instead he found he was under immediate fire placed directly on his men while many were still crossing the start line. I'm sure it appeared to more than one German that the Americans must have known when and where such attacks were coming. No wonder some Germans were impressed with American artillery.
     
  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but this is a bit of a mess I'm afraid. First, the U.S. Army used exactly the same sort of map as the British. In fact, "American" maps in the ETO and MTO were usually British maps printed by the American Map Service. See http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-welcome.php

    Sheldrake will have a field day with this, but first, it was not a "calibrated tape measure". It was a Graphical Firing Table, which was a modified "slide rule" (AKA "slipstick"), which was an analog computer first developed by Isaac Newton to do complex mathematical calculations. It also was not a process of just anyone getting on the phone or radio and asking for some artillery rounds to be fired. It required trained observers and frequently faltering or failed attacks or defenses could be attributed to the loss of trained observers and or their commo equipment.

    Nor was the TOT an American invention. In the British Army it was codified as a MIKE, UNCLE, and VICTOR shoot. The first was a regimental shoot (24 guns), the second a divisional shoot (72 guns) and the last a corps shoot (upwards of 216 guns). TOT's were also know as "serenades" in the MTO and were simply the massed fires of available batteries, calculated so all initial rounds fired arrived at about the same time. That was nothing unique, but the speed of calculation and flexibility was only matched by the British artillery system (which actually could be faster in response time due to different command protocols). In the American system, typically an infantry regiment was supported by a single direct support 105mm battalion, with each company assigned a DS battery. Any calls for fire by more than the DS assigned required it being "kicked up" the chain of command to the DIVARTY commander, who usually had his 155mm divisional GS battalion and one or two reinforcing artillery groups. In attack, it was also typical that a 105mm separate battalion or two would be attached as DS to reinforce the main effort. However, an American "call for fire" was a request, which was prioritized by the division and/or corps artillery commander who assigned assets as available and as they decided was appropriate. A British call for fire was an order, within certain limits. In the American system, an FO was typically a junior battery officer, whereas in the British system typically he was the battery commander, which was a philosophy that ran up the chain of command.

    Enough for now...
     
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  11. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    I read somewhere that the Soviets had actually artillery divisions, a different set-up or arrangement for artillery than the West, including Germany, used.
     
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Yes, the difference is in that tape system explained in the text, and how that could be employed without having to figure out each new mission. You had each possible mission already equated and on file and on tape so you didn't have to use the analog slide rule. That is... if... you were on ground that you had held for some days. If not, you used the same grid system technique as the British or Germans, firing shells, and correcting until you were on target. It just speeded up the process.

    I think also, you miss some extra guns in the system. Each battalion had it's own Cannon Company on call for the two rifle companies on the line - two companies on the line, one in reserve. And in the normal status, you had two battalions forward and one in reserve with that 3rd Cannon Company standing by for the other two battalions, so you actually three cannon companies to support four rifle companies. A dozen guns pre-sighted for a relatively short length of line - and that before you had to call up to Regiment or Division.
     
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  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Ahhhhh my work is done....

    Rich said most of what i would say on this ;)

    The British principle is that artillery should be commanded at the highest level, but control delegated to the lowest level that can do so.

    The clever bit about the artillery techniques that emerged during WW2 was the front end, the direct support element of the battery commander and his troop commanders and their teams of signalers, technicians and drivers.

    The battery commander, a major and sub-unit commander and the captain troop commanders, were often as senior to the infantry and armoured officers they supported and usually senior to the subordinate company (at battalion/level or platoon commanders . They brought tactical as well as technical expertise. Tactical information passes over the artillery command net one level below the infantry or armoured supported arm. The BC in direct support of a battalion planning some mission would bid for fire at priority call for a period of time and an ammunition allocation. Requests for fire passed upwards by un authorised observers would be treated as orders, as long as they conformed to SOP without the second guessing by the FDC that sometimes happens under the US system. if the OP calls for proximity 5 rounds fire for effect it would be rare for the FDC at regimental level or artillery cell at divisional level to change the fire order, unless the round would fall somewhere unsafe. The assumption was that the OP knew their business and was in the best position to judge what was needed.

    As a young officer my instructors in gunnery included American and Australian Vietnam veterans. Their comment about the US system was that in theory it would work just as well, but in practice the relationship of the observer and FDC was different. Making a request encourages deliberation by the FDC. If the FOO with a patrol orders 5

    The British system did not spring from clever doctrinal analysis, but seems to be an unintended consequence of some organisational changes in 1939-41. In the 1930s a field artillery battery had four guns, commanded by a major, organised into two sections with the battery captain in charge of logistics and the wagon lines. Fire control wasn't very different to the German system at the start of the war.

    By 1939 the Army needed to expand rapidly and it was easier to build guns and train gunners than train battery commanders and artillery technicians and there was a shortage of radios and other communications equipment. There was also an awareness that four field guns was too small a fire unit to be much use on a 1940s battlefield.

    In 1939 the RA adopted a 12 gun battery structure organised into three four gun troops. http://nigelef.tripod.com/fdregt40.htm This was formed by combining two four gun batteries and adding four extra guns and gunners. This increased firepower by 50% and freed up a battery commander to be used elsewhere. The 12 gun battery had two Troop Commander OPs and a battery commander. Two batteries formed a 24 gun regiment grouped three -per division or one per brigade. The 1940 campaign highlighted the weakness of this organisation. It was hard for two batteries to support three units in the brigade. The battery command and observation team ended up being continuously regrouped being run ragged and not developing settled relationship with an affiliated battalion. In October 1940 it was decided to restructure the 24 gun regiment into three, eight-gun batteries, each formed of two troops commanded by a captain. This increased the number of BC and OP parties and radios by 50% creating a third direct support group for each brigade. This is the 1944 structure http://nigelef.tripod.com/fdregt44.htm

    Around the same time the Gunners experimented with radio and command procedures that could allow the fire of regiments or the divisional artillery group as a single battery. The key figure was Brigadier HJ (Hatchet Jack) Parham the CRA of the 38th Division. His first demonstration used flawed calculations which resulted in rounds falling on the VIP viewing stand and some high ranking casualties - but was sufficiently impressive that an amended version was adopted.

    From 1941 the RA had a lavish, if not top heavy, command and control organisation but giving the British very flexible drills and lot more tactically aware eyes backed by more communications equipment than available to a German or Soviet equivalent.
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear...no, sorry, I guess i have to go ahead and say it. Whoever wrote that didn't have clue about what he was saying. There were no "tape systems" either as he "explained it" or in reality. What there were was hundreds of pounds of written firing tables compiled for variables of range, wind, barrel wear, temperature, and so on. The graphical firing table compiled that information, in a slightly simplified form on a device that resembled a slide rule. In conjunction with a graphical site table and wind cards, it allowed the "calculator" in the Fire Direction Center to calculate the necessary information to pas to the firing batteries quickly. The basic data was compiled by the Ballistics Research Laboratory at Aberdeen from range data, but Fort Sill and Frankford Arsenal actually designed and manufactured the firing tables.

    Here are some good photos of GFT from World war II: http://www.mccoys-kecatalogs.com/KECollection/GraphicalFiring/K&E_GF_1.htm

    Here is the history of the GFT development by the US Army:

    http://www.ardec.army.mil/organizations/wsec/fcstd/ftab/FTaB_History.pdf

    Here is the mathematics of the GFT in the US Army:

    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/826735.pdf

    Nor did you need to be "on the ground for some days" to use a GFT or any other form of firing.

    115. PURPOSE OF AND NECESSITY FOR SURVEY.---a. The purpose
    of artillery survey is to gather topographic data of the
    proper character and in the proper amount to enable battalion
    and higher headquarters to assign targets, and batteries
    to compute firing data.
    b. Regardless of the type of map available, field artillery
    units must be trained to build up firing charts of a scale and
    accuracy comparable to a 1:20,000 fire-control map. Survey
    is the only means of effecting this.
    * 116. PRIMARY DATA TO BE OBTAINED.-The primary data
    to be determined and plotted on the firing chart are some or
    all of the following:
    a. An initial point, which serves as an origin (starting
    point) of the survey operations.
    b. An orienting line, defined in paragraph 124 e.
    c. One or more place marks which are points whose coordinates
    and altitudes are known. These points are used
    as origins for battery survey work.
    d. Observation posts, base point or points, check points,
    and other points for reference and control.
    e.Targets. The accurate location and plotting of targets
    is a continuing process, 'to the end that eventually the chart
    shows the locations of all known targets of importance in the
    area which it embraces.
    I. Battery positions. These may be located directly by the
    battalion survey operations or, more usually, determined by
    the various battery surveys and their coordinates reported.
    g. A declinating station, defined in paragraph 120 c (7).
    ...
    121. SURVEY PLANS.--a.. (1) The brigade commander, in
    formulating his survey plan with the assistance of the brigade
    survey officer, must consider the division plan of action and
    the part the artillery is to play in furtherance of the division
    mission. He must decide-
    (a) What type of map or map substitute is to be used as a
    firing chart for the units of the brigade.
    (b) How much survey is necessary to accomplish the artillery
    mission.
    (2) In general the brigade survey detail should locate-
    (a) An initial orienting point in each regimental area.
    (b) Points suitable for registration, reference, and control.
    (3) If time permits and the regimental and battalion survey
    details are available, complete survey should be accomplished
    before the arrival of the batteries in the position area.
    (4) The brigade survey officer should continue to coordinate
    and to improve the survey of the units of the brigade as
    long as the positions are occupied. He should continue to
    locate distant points in front of and in rear of positions of
    units of the brigade so as to be ready for displacement either
    to the front or to the rear.
    (5) If possible, an orienting line, or lines, should be established
    by the brigade survey officer for the coordination of
    the various units.
    b. The regimental commander with his survey officer must
    plan to carry forward with dispatch the control needed by the
    battalions. Initial points, if not provided by brigade, must be
    established by regimental survey. From these points the
    regiment must provide at least one point for each battalion.
    c. (1) The battalion commander, in formulating his survey
    plan with the assistance of his reconnaissance officer, must
    consider the complete battalion survey, with base pieces, observation
    posts, visible reference points, suitable base point or
    points, and control points by which targets may be restituted-
    all accurately plotted to a known scale in their proper
    relation one to the others. He must decide-
    (a) How much of the complete survey is necessary to
    accomplish the mission.
    (b) How much of that which is required is already at hand
    in the form of topographic data previously plotted.
    (2) The following considerations have a direct bearing on
    his survey plan:
    (a) Mission of the battalion.
    (b) Maps, photos, and other topographic information available.
    (c) Whether registration is unlimited, limited, or prohibited
    by weather, battle conditions, or orders.
    (d) Whether adjustments requiring accurate orientation
    of observing instruments are anticipated.
    (e) Time available for survey.
    (3) The instructions of the battalion commander may
    include-
    (a) What is to be used as a firing chart; map, mosaic, or
    grid sheet.
    (b) Whether battery survey details will work directly under
    the battalion reconnaissance officer or independently.
    (c) Identification on the ground of base, check, and reference
    points.
    (d) Which survey requirements are to be given priority,
    both as to time and accuracy.
    U 122. PRIORITY AND PROCEDURE.--Survey is of major importance
    in assuring the delivery of accurate fire at all times
    regardless of darkness, fog, or other unfavorable weather conditions,
    and when registration is restricted or prohibited. The
    procedure and priority of survey operations vary with the
    kind and amount of topographic data already at hand and
    with the mission; that is, whether observed-fire or unobserved-
    fire mission will be required and whether registration
    is unrestricted, restricted, or prohibited. Regardless of the
    initial type of firing chart and initial survey operations, a
    complete survey should eventually be made and a complete
    firing chart constructed.

    No, I didn't. Cannon Company was an asset of the Infantry Regiment and evolved from its initial inception in 1940. Originally it was a mirror of the German, a firing battery consisting of two 105mm and six 75mm pieces, but it was decided to make them self-propelled. That was fine since it allowed the regimental commander to assign two 75s to each battalion while keeping the 105mm under his control as reinforcing fires and also allowed them to be used as "assault guns". However, McNair didn't like the "waste" of the additional maintenance manpower or the weight of the vehicles, so in 1943 Cannon Company became six towed 105mm howitzers. The problem was in the field no battalion commander really knew how to make use of them. They were too heavy to be manhandled like the little German 7.5cm le.IG, so the usual solution was to use the Company as a firing battery under the regimental commanders control, but in practice they were often included in the DIVARTY firing plan. Postwar they were replaced with 4.2" mortars.
     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    This is an excellent answer. I remember reading somewhere that artillery was the infantryman's best friend. I don't pretend to know the technical aspects of artillery, but from what I have read, the position of the forward observer allowed fire to be directed where it was needed. It was more accurate than planes and less vulnerable than tanks.
     
  16. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Didn't the US Army use a "pool" system to group their artillery at corps or even army level and this allowed for a concentrated barrage to be brought to down in support of divisional attack?
    Couple this with the American fire control and you have a deadly combination of fire power.
     
  17. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    In mid 1943, based upon initial experience in North Africa and Sicily, the U.S. Army elected to discontinue the regimental organization for non-divisional combat support units such as Field Artillery and Engineers, making all the battalion separate and converting the former regimental headquarters to group headquarters. Under the new system, battalions were either attached directly to divisions or to groups and a typical group could direct two to four battalions. Typically, an army corps might have two to four groups attached. The intercommunication between the various headquarters was key to allowing the massing of fire, along with the simplified survey and fire direction techniques, including the graphical firing tables, and was developed beginning in 1929-1931 at the Field Artillery School.
     
  18. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Thanks Rich, I have a few friends who I chat with over in the states and they are ex-US Army, I recall having some great discussions with them on the way the US Army organized their Infantry divisions prior to WWII.
     
  19. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

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    The US and UK might have not used as many artillery pieces as the Russians, but were much more sophisticated in making more out of less. The Russians used mass quantities of guns to just flatten everything in front of them, while the Western allies developed sophisticated fire control, targeting, etc to hit specific targets.
     
  20. Andy235

    Andy235 Member

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    As far as duds, I have heard exactly the opposite. Many German shells were made by forced labor and were of poorer quality, particularly by 1944-1945. At least this is what I thought. I could be wrong.
     

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