I just ran across a transcript I did for the Naval Historical Office and thought I'd put it up. Thanks to Opana who put me in touch with them. U.S. NAVAL RAILWAY BATTERIES -: In France :- WITH AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES Rear Admiral Charles P. Plunkett, U. S. Navy, Commanding Office Op-09B Ser5325P09b99 12 August 1970 Dear Mr. Clarke: Thank you for your kindness in making available to us for copying Admiral Plunkett's excellent speech on the U.S. Naval Railway Batteries and the fine selection of photographs of these very effective guns. Through the kind offices of Yeoman Gupton, we have copied the speech and plan to place a copy of it in the Navy Department Library so that researchers and historians will have this excellent material available. We checked our photographic coverage on the subject and found that we already had the prints in our files. Nevertheless, we thank you for extending to us the courtesy of copying these in case we did not have them. As a token of our appreciation, we enclose a set of lithographs depicting some of the highlights of the U.S. Naval history. We hope you can put them to good use. Sincerely yours, H. A. VADNAIS, Jr. Acting Head Curator Branch Mr. William O. Clarke 1548 Great Falls Street McLean, Virginia 22101 Blind copy to: Accession (with speech) Accession file 93 (with speech) Ordnance file (with speech) Orig: Mr. Vadnais, Op-09B99, WNY Bldg 220, Ext 32005 Typd: YNC J. Byrd, Op-09B99, WNY Bldg 220, Ext 32005 INTRODUCTION This little resume' on the work of the U. S. NAVAL RAILWAY BATTERIES operating 14 inch 50 caliber guns on railway mounts in France, under the direction of the American Expeditionary Forces, has been prepared in view of the numerous inquiries made by the men of the Batteries for a little digested summary of the Navy's effort to assist in bringing about an expeditious termination of the war of DEMOCRACY :vs: AUTOCRACY. It has been prepared only for the information of men of the Naval Batteries, and, of course, no portion thereof is for publication. This should prove to be a very valuable little reminder in later years, as it pertains to OUR share in the NAVY'S first FLEET of LAND SHIPS, which, in view of the splendid results achieved in the first attempt, should warrant a continuation of the NAVY's work along this line. STAFF Rear Admiral Charles P. Plunkett, U. S. Navy, Commanding Officer, U.S. NAVAL RAILWAY BATTERIES. ------------- Commander Garret L. Schuyler, U.S.N. Gunnery and Orientation Officer. Lieutenant Commander Joel W. Bunkley, U. S. N. Executive and Orientation Officer. ------------- Supply Department and Pay Corps. Lieutenant Commander Frank Baldwin (P.C.) U.S.N. in charge. Ensign Francis L. Gaffney (P.C.), U.S.N.R.F. Asst. to Supply Officer. Ensign Gerald A. Eubank (P.C.) U.S.N.R.F. Asst. to Supply Officer. Pay Clerk Oscar E. Anderson U.S.N.R.F. Medical Corps Lieutenant Commander C. S. Stephenson (M.C.), U.S.N. in charge Transportation Officer. Ensign Thomas J. LeBlanc, U.S.N.R.F. -1- All guns of the U.S. Naval Batteries are U.S. Navy Mark IV Mod. 1. 14 inch 50 caliber B.L.R's of 2800 ft. sec. initial velocity, the gun cars, etc, being specially designed for them. These guns, weighing approximately 98 tons, fire a projectile weighing 1470 lbs., the weight of a good-sized touring car, at a range of about 28 miles, and, with a 1070 lb. projectile, is capable of shooting over 35 miles. This range is practically twice as great as that of any other gun used on the Western front by any country, with the exception of the German "Big Bertha", which latter gun, as is now well-known, was nothing but a freak and was used more for its moral effect than on account of the material damage of which it was capable. Having seen the damage done by the "Big Bertha", I am in position to say that it did no more damage than an ordinary five or six inch gun. However, an examination of the various targets fired upon by these 14 inch guns, after the Germans evacuated, has disclosed that the damage wrought by these weapons of destruction was terrible and their accuracy marvelous. From an interrogation, also, of Russians and other prisoners recently released by Germany, after cessation of hostilities, we are informed that the moral effect of our guns on the Germans was far greater than that which the "Big Bertha" had on the French, and furthermore, that the Germans were in great awe of and, in fact, regarded with fear and superstition shells the size of a box car sounding like an express train coming through the air which landed with fearful havoc so far behind -2- their lines that it was inconceivable to them how a gun could be built that could hurl them such a distance. Also, from the mobility of the guns, they were led to believe that the Allies had hundreds of these guns with which they were destroying their vital supply railroads and main lines of communication, simply demoralizing them; and this belief was further impressed upon them from the fact that each gun belched forth a ton of solid destruction every three minutes. Could you blame them? An interesting phenomenon was noticed in a ten-acre turnip field, far behind the lines. A projectile landing in the middle of the field uprooted practically every turnip in the lot, leaving them clear of earth. This should also furnish some idea as to the destructive charge with which these shells were loaded. At Laon, where Battery No. 1 fired many rounds, the French inhabitants who remained after the Germans evacuated stated that one shell landed in a German Cinema while a moving picture was going on. All that could be found of forty of the Germans who were present was their identification tags, while the balance, sixty, were all terribly mangled. There was, of course, nothing left of the Cinema. Also, in the same town, one projectile landed on a supply train in motion, derailing same, and lifting a couple of box cars up bodily and depositing one of them on the storehouse platform nearby - of course , smashing up both cars.