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Towed TD units and 3-inch ammunition stowage

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by GaryJKennedy, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. GaryJKennedy

    GaryJKennedy New Member

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    A question was posed on another forum re Towed TD units and how much ammunition was carried at Platoon level.

    Under the May43 T/O the Towed TD Platoon consisted of a HQ and two Gun Sections. HQ had four Jeeps and a 1.5-ton truck towing a 1-ton ammunition trailer, while each Section had two guns, each with a halftrack prime mover. The halftrack had to carry the 10-man gun detachment (commander, gunner, 7 cannoneers and driver), their equipment, the gun equipment, MG and ammn, probably camo nets and undoubtedly some amount of 3-in ammn. The question was how many rounds were they supposed to carry under the 'official' stowage system?

    A reference data booklet over on Manuals shows the 1-ton trailer as carrying a total of 32 rounds of 3-inch ammn but was drafted for an SP unit so gives no info on towed guns.

    Obviously artillery type units would largely be firing from established positions so ammn could and would be brought up and stockpiled. For the TD units though they were expected to be responsive to enemy assaults so would have to carry more than eight rounds per gun on a single trailer. The SP M10 could carry 54 rounds for the 3-inch, and a Platoon of four M10s added a trailer with a further 32 rounds (as outlined in the link) and both Towed and SP TDs had further ammn held up at Battalion level. It would be interesting to know what the ready round amount for a single towed 3-inch gun was. The 'vehicle, armored, utility' (M39?) is listed as carrying 42 rounds of 3-inch ammn and 9 personnel, so one less than the halftrack it was scheduled to replace.

    Thanks,

    Gary
     
  2. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Gary,

    Each gun nominally had available 34 rounds with it and 36 in battalion trains. The four guns in a platoon had 136 rounds. Thirty-two were in the ammunition trailer and 102 in the four halftracks...so 25.5 rounds per halftrack. :D

    Seriously, it remains a mystery. I know when Jay Karamales did the A2D2 study at SAIC and interviewed the TD personnel, the towed guys all remarked that fitting all the men, their gear, and the ammo into the halftrack was a nightmare. I suspect they stowed part of the basic load in the 1.5-ton truck and probably had two dozen rounds in the prime mover.
     
  3. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Member

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    Makes sense.... A halftrack does not have much interior space. It must have been like traveling in a sardine can for a full rifle squad with weapons, ammo and gear.

    Which volume of the A2D2 study contains the TD veteran interviews?

    Slightly off topic.... I was in an M7A1 105mm the other day and began wondering how the crew managed to fit inside with all their ammo and gear. Must have been a tight squeeze during movements, especially when under fire.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I honestly don't recall. Probably volume 2, since that contained the detailed analysis of Mortain.
     
  5. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Member

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    Rich, Many Thanks.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Crap, I just realized what the problem was. The TD Battalions used the Ammunition Trailer M10, which carried not "32", but "72" rounds of 3" ammunition. It is a misprint in various secondary sources. Thus, the battalion trains carrier 36 rounds per gun = 432 rounds in 6 trailers = 72. The TD Platoon ammunition trailer also carried 72 of the 136 rounds with the Platoon and the 64 remaining rounds were carried 16 in each halftrack.
     
    George Patton likes this.
  7. GaryJKennedy

    GaryJKennedy New Member

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    Thanks Rich, good to see a number for it. I swapped a couple of emails with the tankdestroyer.net owner and he has a nice set of pics up there for the earlier M3 GMC. That had two ammn bins at the rear, each holding 20 rounds of 75-mm, plus a further 19 rounds stowed 'somewhere' under the troop compartment. Not the same beast I know, but handy to know (especially given my USMC interest).

    I noticed in FM18-15 there were effectively two vacant seats when an M3 halftrack was towing a 3-inch gun, so perhaps they had a similar ammn bin set up or racking for a couple of dozen rounds. I couldn't find an online copy of FM18-17 in case it had anything else. Also looked for any of those overhead photos of halftracks you sometimes see, showing the layout, but couldn't find one in the towed TD role.

    Cheers

    And Wild DUKW, how do you just happen to find yourself in an M7A1?! Rough commute ;>

    Gary

    Stop press, thanks, that would explain it, I couldn't see a capacity for the M10 in terms of 3-inch rounds
     
  8. WILD DUKW

    WILD DUKW Member

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    Rough commute? No,.... I think I would use an M18 Hellcat for that. It would have a much better chance of keeping up with traffic and just enough armor to play "bumper cars" without doing anything but scratch the paint. :)

    Dropped by a local military museum recently that has an M7A1 and managed to talk my way onto it. Always wanted to get inside, and as luck would have it the museum director was in a generous mood that day. (Brought my own step ladder just in case he said yes and it came in handy.)
     

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