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Number of men in a 1916 Machine Gun Company?


glassblower

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Hi

 

Could you help me, please? I'm looking at the 90th brigade machine gun company which took part in the 1st July assault on Montauban. I found reference on the web to a brigade MG company having 10 guns with a crew of six men per gun, therefore around 60 men per company.

 

A first-hand account of the 90th Company MGC's action on 1st July written by a Captain Leslie Grundy tells of 150 men of the unit being given rum rations prior to the attack. There's a large difference between the two numbers 60 vs 150 which has me puzzled.

 

Thanks for any help.

GB

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Thank you, David. I tried looking on Chris Baker's site but couldn't pinpoint it. That has all the answers I require.

 

Regards

GB

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Hello GB

 

In fact there were 16 guns per company, not 10. They were organised in four four-gun sections. Chris's website gives you the full breakdown.

 

Ron

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The diary for 90 MGC is a little vague but in late June it mentions having 50 men and adds that 50 men were (or were to be) attached. A few days later 50 men were attached for carrying parties. Not sure if that makes 100 or the 150 as in post#1?

TEW

 

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Each Machine Gun Corps Company consisted of an HQ, 4 sections of 4 guns and a Transport section. The War Office issued regulations as to the strength of units of the new Machine Gun Corps in October 1915 (WO 24/909/142). More relevant to our history are the details of August 1916 (WO 24/911/351/77) whereby an MGC Infantry Company had a total strength of 154 (only 4 more than a year before):

 

 

            Machine Gun Company                                                          offr     OR      Tot

            (4 sections of 4 Vickers Machine guns)                   Tot Str.   10       144      154

 HQ     Major or Captain, Captain or Subaltern, CSM, CQMS,

            Transport-Sergeant, Artificer, Shoeing-Smith, Saddler,

            4 Signallers (incl 1 Corporal), 8 Range-takers, 8 Scouts,

            3 Drivers, 1 Storeman, 2 Cooks, 2 Batmen, 2 Privates RAMC 2       36        38

4 sections,       2 Subalterns, 2 Sergeants, 2 Corporals, 16 Privates, 5

                        Drivers, 2 Batmen.                                                        8        108      116       

                      

Similar regulations detailed for October 1917 (WO 24/913/501/87) increased the total to 187 by increasing the number of privates in sections from 16 to 24.

 

 

Thanks to Ronald Clifton via Bob Alexander  (though Chris Baker has clearly used the same records)

(In a letter written in May 1917 it was noted that the 123 Coy MGC (41 Div) had '200 men'. This must have been general figure, albeit the new October regulations records an increase.)

Edited by JulianB
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21 hours ago, Ron Clifton said:

Hello GB

 

In fact there were 16 guns per company, not 10. They were organised in four four-gun sections. Chris's website gives you the full breakdown.

 

Ron

 

19 hours ago, TEW said:

The diary for 90 MGC is a little vague but in late June it mentions having 50 men and adds that 50 men were (or were to be) attached. A few days later 50 men were attached for carrying parties. Not sure if that makes 100 or the 150 as in post#1?

TEW

 

 

6 hours ago, JulianB said:

Each Machine Gun Corps Company consisted of an HQ, 4 sections of 4 guns and a Transport section. The War Office issued regulations as to the strength of units of the new Machine Gun Corps in October 1915 (WO 24/909/142). More relevant to our history are the details of August 1916 (WO 24/911/351/77) whereby an MGC Infantry Company had a total strength of 154 (only 4 more than a year before):

 

 

            Machine Gun Company                                                          offr     OR      Tot

            (4 sections of 4 Vickers Machine guns)                   Tot Str.   10       144      154

 HQ     Major or Captain, Captain or Subaltern, CSM, CQMS,

            Transport-Sergeant, Artificer, Shoeing-Smith, Saddler,

            4 Signallers (incl 1 Corporal), 8 Range-takers, 8 Scouts,

            3 Drivers, 1 Storeman, 2 Cooks, 2 Batmen, 2 Privates RAMC 2       36        38

4 sections,       2 Subalterns, 2 Sergeants, 2 Corporals, 16 Privates, 5

                        Drivers, 2 Batmen.                                                        8        108      116       

                      

Similar regulations detailed for October 1917 (WO 24/913/501/87) increased the total to 187 by increasing the number of privates in sections from 16 to 24.

 

 

Thanks to Ronald Clifton via Bob Alexander  (though Chris Baker has clearly used the same records)

(In a letter written in May 1917 it was noted that the 123 Coy MGC (41 Div) had '200 men'. This must have been general figure, albeit the new October regulations records an increase.)

 

Thanks Ron, TEW & Julian for your very helpful information.

 

Just one more question....... would the officers & men on HQ's strength have been in the front line?

Edited by glassblower
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I've just downloaded the diary for 86th Bde.  MGC for 1/7/16.

It names each man for each gun of every section. Then some extras. They had 4 sections with 4 guns each. Each gun has a Lt. or 2/Lt. in charge, 1 NCO + 7 men, one of which is either a signaller or officers' servant. That makes 128 manning guns.

 

HQ staff was two officers and 1 OR. 1 OR at Bde. HQ and then groups under;

CSM -13, CQMS -6.

Total 152. No idea what these 13 + 6 were doing.

Night before, HQ and remaining guns moved into the line. Doesn't say where but it's probably not the front line, a support dugout would be my guess.

6 guns were allotted to 2 infantry battalions.

TEW

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2 hours ago, glassblower said:

Just one more question....... would the officers & men on HQ's strength have been in the front line?

Some would, some wouldn't. Either the CO or the 2i/c would normally have been close to the sections, as would the signallers, range-takers, scouts and most of the batmen. The CQMS, transport-sergeant, shoeing-smith, saddler, drivers, storeman and cooks would probably be behind the front line, although not very far away.

 

Ron

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No, the lieuts/2nd lieuts commanded the sections. The actual guns would each be commanded by an NCO (sergeant or corporal).

 

Ron

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Again, thanks to everyone for your help with this.

 

The CWGC records ten men of the 90th Company MGC died 1st-3rd July 1916. I feel there may be a small number more but they will be attachments to the unit from any of the four infantry battalions of the 90th Brigade. I need now to trawl these battalions on CWGC to see whether mention is made of attachment to the unit.

 

GB

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Ron,

The 86 Bde.  MGC diary seems pretty clear in it's list of dispositions. EG. No. 1 Section is shown in four blocks (guns) numbered 1-4. Each block shows a Lt. 2/Lt. Then an NCO followed by 7 ORs.

So, they show 4 junior officers and 4 NCOs to the section.

That's repeated for the other 3 sections.

Only 2 officers on HQ. Perhaps this was unusual and just for 1/7/16?

TEW

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It was probably a temporary arrangement. The War Establishments I have (covering the whole war) all show ten officers per company, i.e. two at HQ and two per section, except those for Salonika which have 14 officers, i.e. two at HQ and three per section. (There are a couple with five sections and 12 officers.)

 

Ron

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