Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Number of shells at the Battle of Messines Ridge


Beselare

Recommended Posts

I have read several estimates as to how many shells were fired during the week bombardment prior to the 7th June offensive at Messines. For example, 2.8m shells fired from 2,233 and 3.2m shells fired from 3,200 guns (this is a big difference). Does anyone have a reliable source for how many shells/guns were used?

Many thanks

Bob Findley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Gary Sheffield's Forgotten Victory, my notes, another slight variation.

Preparations were careful, water pipes and railway were laid to supply 600,000 gallons per day and 144,000 tons of ammunition

for the Army’s 2,266 guns.(3,500,000 shells were fired)

Old Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From Volume 2 of the British Official History for 1917, pp49: "2,230 guns and howitzers against 630" for the number of British guns vs. German. Mr Sheffield's figure reflects the total number of guns assembled, rather than used, but I don't think 36 guns out of over 2000 makes much difference!

Further: "The expenditure of artillery ammunition for the three corps during the bombardment period from the 26th May to the 6th June amounted to over 3.5 million shells (3,561,530), the cost of which was estimated at £17,500,000 ..."

A footnote on that page lists the actual number of rounds fired per type of gun, probably a little more detail than you want, but pages 41 to 49 of this volume go into considerable detail about the British bombardment and the German response.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Farndale's 'History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery quotes exactly the same as the figures posted in Robs reply - whether he took the figures from the official history I don't know but I would think so. In any event

those figures are more than likely the definitive number used during the battle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello all

Rob's figures come from that massive compilation most of us simply call Statistics, page 480.

The British OH says that there were 2,266 guns: 1,158 18-pounders, 352 4.5-inch howitzers, and 756 heavy guns and howitzers.

The field artillery was organised in 64 brigades (including 23 Army Field Artillery Brigades), grouped as two groups for each divisional sector, each group having two sub-groups of six batteries. The heavy artillery into 40 bombardment and countery-battery groups, of which 12 were for counter-battery work.

And the total cost (at 1917 prices, of course) is estimated at £17,505,453 18s 8d.

Ron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the total cost (at 1917 prices, of course) is estimated at £17,505,453 18s 8d.

Ron

You do have to admire the 18/8d!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To all responders:

Many thanks everyone for sorting out the correct facts. I can now put that part of my brain to rest.

Regards to all

Bob Findley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...