Interesting question raised regarding the serviceability of the guns. Old Tom points out that average life for the barrel was 7,000 rounds for a gun, 10,000 rounds for a howitzer. The ammo preparation for the Somme for the field guns was 1,000 rounds, the bombardment planned for 4 days, then extended to 6 days. At that rate of fire guns would have needed a new barrel per month.
On 23/12/2010 at 00:51, Old Tom said:
In addition to the points Centurion has made it should be remembered that an artillery equipment comprises broadly the gun (or ordnance), the recoil system, and the carriage. The ordnance wore and its condition was monitored as a result of firing, barrel life varied howitzers having, in general a longer life than guns, typical values were of the order howitzers 10,000 rounds, guns 7,000 rounds. Recoil systems suffered if not properly maintained; hydraulic buffers leaked and if not replenished allowed excessive recoil causing damage and deterioration of springs. Much of this was repairable by Ordnance workshops. At one stage the workshops of 4th Army were changing 200 sets of springs per day. Carriages could be damaged by enemy fire. Over a 6 week period the workshops of 4th Army repaired some 1,600 field guns and howitzers and declared several hundred beyond repair. Over the period equipments were firing an average of 2 to 4,000 rounds per equipment.