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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Artillery questions?


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Could some one please help answer the following:

a) what would have been a usual expenditure of shells fired by a gun per day and thus over a year.Obviously this may have differed depending on the type of gun used?

b)How long per day would a gun be fired.I think I read somewhere that it was about 2 hours per day?Would this have been when fighting was intense or during a quieter period



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There are no simple answers except to say that averages are likely to be highly misleading.

It depends on:

when in the war (the overall state of ammo supply).

what was going on where on the W Front (there were always quiet areas) for various reasons.

what the GHQ and individual Army/Corps/Division policies were at any particular time.

the nature of operations in a particular area.

how the Germans were behaving in a particular area.

There were overall constraints based on overall ammo supply, itself based on predicted usage. This used averages, which is fine at the GHQ planning level. However, a production figure based on averages of gun numbers and ammo expenditure does not mean that all guns fire the same. Stockpiling for major (ie Army level) operations would effect daily expendiutre everywhere, until the operation started when it leapt up where the action was.

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Bow, perhaps we could come at this from a different direction. Do you have a particular reason for asking?


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In the 'Gunner' in 1920, there was a correpondence on the maximum number of shell fired in a day...usually by battery hence 7th Bty claimed 3230 rounds fired 22nd feb 1917 and 66th Bty a similar total - often with guns being repaired during the day as springs etc were replaced......

.another one.. C/156th Bde fired 3216 rounds in 11 hours Nov 13th 1916 .. with 5 guns in action

in 1916 7th Heavy Artillery group was using 100 tons a day...

14th divisional artillery (11th Aug-2nd Oct 1916) with up to 48 guns (usually 5 out of action) .. 18pdrs fired 386,404 rounds.(=3551 tons!) ..4.5 howitzers fired 96,195 rounds (=1503 tons)

the highest rate being 46th Bde (19th Aug) fired 4981 ... 18pdr rounds and (415/gun) and 1922 from howitzers (480/gun)

19th Corps 18pdrs were averaging 477 rounds a day at 3rd Ypres late July 1917...and its howitzers 446 rounds a day

249th Siege Bty (8inch) fired 2035 rounds 20th sept 1917 (5.40am-9am) ...2235 in 24 hours .. one gun fired 513 rounds..

from that few.... 400-500 rounds a day per gun it looks like when things were busy (for the RFA)!


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