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M1 240mm gun

Discussion in 'Weapons used During WWII' started by bronk7, Nov 23, 2019.

  1. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ...out of over 40 years of reading about WW2, I don't recall ever seeing anything on the US M1 240mm gun ....of course, there couldn't have been that many units compared to standard arty...

    bold /etc mine

    ....if the fortifications are hardened, doesn't it usually take a ''very near'' miss or direct hit to greatly affect the fortification--- even with 500 lb airplane bombs? -so what would be a significant difference between smaller arty and the 240mm on hardened fortifications for non-direct hits [ which would be the majority of rounds fired, yes? ]

    ...the longer the range the greater probability of missing the target? this appears to be much more complicated to ''aim'' compared to the smaller pieces....[ I was a mortar man, so I have ''some'' knowledge on indirect fire/etc ]
    ----there is one gunner for a mortar..how many for the 155mm? how many for the 240mm?? it appears to have more than 2 mechanisms/wheels...are these all for elevation and deflection? with more than 1 gunner = more chances of error
    = less accuracy takes away from greater destructive force-?

    ..were they a ''waste'' of industrial, man, and logistic power? a la the vengeance weapons?

    ..is this it in the picture and if so, what's the tank for? power?
    WWII US Army Heavy and Medium Field Artillery
    240 mm Howitzer M1 Field Gun
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
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  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  3. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    I like the rapid burst fire of one round per minute! Actually that is pretty good for a 240MM .
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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  5. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    As of 8 May 1941, there were:

    Fifteen 240mm howitzer battalions in the ETO - the 265th, 266th, 267th, 269th, 270th, 272nd, 277th, 278th, 538th, 539th, 551st, 552nd, 553rd, 697th, and 698th.
    Five 240mm howitzer battalions:in the Pacific - the 543rd, 544th, 545th, 778th, and 779th.

    So 20 of the 307 separate Field Artillery battalions deployed. So perhaps not "many" in the total, but certainly "many" compared to many of the other wartime armies.

    It was calculated by Ordnance that to achieve a 90% probability of a single penetration of a 5" thick reinforced concrete pillbox would require firing 40 240mm howitzer rounds at 8,000 yards...or 1,900 4.5" gun rounds or 600 155mm howitzer rounds or 300 155mm Gun HE or 100 155mm Gun AP round.

    The 240mm howitzer was well liked for its accuracy and hitting power, but its weight and time in and out of action was less desirable.

    War is a waste of industrial, man, and logistic power.
     
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  6. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    .....thank you for the stats...very good ....yes, I was thinking it takes a lot more time to set up, emplace, ready, aim, etc the 240mm--so, that also is a disadvantage ..less rounds fired - more time...good call
    ..war is necessary sometimes ....
     
  7. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    hahahahah---..I agree--for a 240mm
     
  8. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    thank you .....
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Close as I could get on a cell phone and oxycodone.
     
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  10. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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  11. harolds

    harolds Member

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    It strikes me that this weapon wouldn't be much use when the battle lines are fluid. It might have been useful in positional warfare such as before the West Wall but one can see that it's cumbersome and would take time to emplace. Also remember that at the same time we had the 8" howitzer that also was quite accurate (with a good crew) and was more mobile. The range on both guns is about equal. The U.S. Army kept the 8" how. and got rid of the 240 because it really probably couldn't do anything the 8" couldn't do and the latter was easier to get into action. I mentioned "a good crew" because the secret of getting the most accuracy out of these weapons was in the consistency of the ram. This wasn't easy because they were hand-rammed and the ramming crew had to practice a lot together in order to ram the projectiles consistently.
     
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  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    IIRC the larger the bore the higher the echelon, in general. This implies that the 8" guns would be controlled by the Army or Divisional level controllers. (Wiki says "The gun was assigned to non-divisional battalions that were under the control of GHQ Reserve. Eight battalions were organized trained and equipped.")
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much, although the devil is in the details as always. Basically, the U.S. Army grouped artillery as battalions assigned to divisions or as non-divisional "separate" battalions. Non-divisional battalions were typically attached to Field Artillery Group Headquarters and then in turn the Groups were attached to a Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters, but in practice the brigade typically ended up acting as the artillery headquarters for an army...but as always, there were exceptions. The most significant one for this discussion was the 32d Field Artillery Brigade, which was assigned to First U.S. Army and the 33d FA Brigade assigned to Third U.S. Army. FUSA and TUSA used them as heavy artillery brigades, attaching to them all the 8" gun and 240mm howitzer battalions assigned to the army.

    Typically, in most operations a division would have additional field artillery attached to it depending on the mission, the norm was one additional 105mm howitzer battalion and one 155mm howitzer battalion for reinforcing the fires of the divisional artillery but it could be more. It some cases a lot more. For the crossing of the Moselle in September for example, the 5th ID had placed in support three field artillery groups with eleven battalions, including the 203d FA Group, 33d FA Brigade with two 240mm howitzer, two 8" howitzer, and one 155mm gun battalion.
     
  14. harolds

    harolds Member

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    The 8" howitzer Bns were considered a Corps asset. The 240mm How. could have been corps or army asset.
     
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    All non-divisional Field Artillery were army assets. They were assigned to an army by theater command and attached by the army to corps and divisions as required. No, it was unlikely to find an 8" howitzer or gun, or 240mm howitzer battalion attached to a division, but they would often be in support. The flexibility of the American organization meant that FA groups and battalions could be directly attached to corps or divisions as required by the tactical situation. Their fires could also be massed essentially at will depending on observation, communications, and range. Two of perhaps the best known instances of this were the defense of Dom Butgenbach in December 1944, when the 26th Infantry of the 1st ID was supported by as many as 15 FA battalions, including 8" and 240mm howitzer battalions. The other was the 2d Ranger Battalion defense of Hill 400 on 6-8 December 1944, when 1st Lt. Howard K. Kettlehut of the 56th FA Battalion, 8th ID, called in 18 battalions of Field Artillery, including all four divisional battalions, as well as separate 155mm howitzers and guns, 8" howitzers, and 240mm howitzers, to support about 350 Rangers.
     
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  16. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..excellent!....since you mentioned the Moselle, I got my book Three Battles:Arnaville, Altuzzo, and Schmidt--and it's right there..
    ...page 60 :FO for the 240mm guns fired on buildings that concealed an under ground radar station and barracks....all building except one were ''destroyed''....I would think so!!
    ...page 111:
    ''provide general support along the entire II Corps front''
    ...page 177:
    '''for the 240mm howitzers and 8 inch guns which were most effective against the prepared defenses of the Gothic line.....'''
    --and about 3 more pages on the 240mm's

    ...this is a US Army in WW2 book-- Special Studies--very nice with excellent maps/etc..this one I bought...I just picked up another US Army in WW2 book on the Ardennes yesterday at the library

    ....
     
  17. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..thank you = great and interesting info ....I'll be looking for Dom Butgenbach in the Ardennes book--
     
  18. harolds

    harolds Member

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    When I was in an 8" howitzer battery we were constantly referred to as, "The corps commander's hip pocket artillery". I think corps level was the ideal level for these heavy artillery assets. Keeping them as an army reserve could mean that they wouldn't get where they were needed in a timely manner. IIRC, during our drive through France in the late summer/fall of '44, the heavy arty was left behind and thus couldn't be used against the West Wall when we hit it.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    If there were more of them, you would be right, however with only 315 being produced, not so much. Not to mention that these guns were a pain to move, and could take up to 8 hours to emplace, the Corps would have left them behind on their own accord. As it was, a quick advance was thought to punch through the Siegfried Line. When that did not come off, the 240s were right there firing away.
     

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