United States. Army. Ordnance Dept.

Handbook of artillery : including mobile, anti-aircraft and trench matériel online

. (page 11 of 19)
Online LibraryUnited States. Army. Ordnance DeptHandbook of artillery : including mobile, anti-aircraft and trench matériel → online text (page 11 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ment fastenings are fastened on the exterior of the chest and foot-


board, and accommodate rifles, blankets, "and the customary tools
and accessories.

The chest is constructed of steel and is provided at the rear with
three doors. The interior of the chest is subdivided by two steel
plates into three main divisions, access to each being at the rear.

Each division is separated by cross plates into four rows of com-
partments, the lower two rows of each division being subdivided into
smaller compartments to accommodate a total of eight high ex-
plosive and eight shrapnel shells.

The two upper rows of the two outside divisions are constructed
to accommodate a total of 16 powder charges, each protected by
tin containers.



The two upper rows of compartments in the middle division accom-
modate a tray for small stores, such as cotton waste, pins, pliers, and
other small tools; and 2 fuze boxes, each containing 14 fuzes. The
fuze boxes occupy the upper row of compartments.

The powder-charge containers and the shell are retained in place
in the chest by quick-release straps, and the shells are withdrawn
from the compartments by withdrawing straps and blocks, identical
with those on the ammunition wagon.


A door is provided at the rear of the chest for each main com-
partment. The two outer doors are of armor plate and have hinges
at the bottom edges, and when opened hang down vertically from
the chest. A small armor-plate apron is hinged to each door at its
upper edge. The aprons hang vertically from the door when each
door is opened, and form an extension toward the ground, thereby
giving additional protection for the personnel serving the gun.
When the door is in closed position, the aprons fold down over the
outside of the door and are retained in position by latches fastened
to the upper part of the chest, which engage steel hand grips riveted
to the aprons.


The middle compartment is equipped with a steel door which is
hinged at the upper edge, and when opened, rests over the top of the
chest: The spring latches with thumb lift grips are riveted to the
door which engage suitable latches on the lower edge of the chest
when the door is in the closed position. Two small clips which extend
over the edge of the side, at the lower sides, act as retainers for the
outer doors when they are closed.

In operation the middle door is first opened, thereby removing the
clips which bear against the outside doors, allowing the outer doors
to be swung open. In closing the chest the two outer doors are
closed first.

Handrails, protected by leather, are provided on either side of the
chest, and extend above the chest. They engage suitable brackets
riveted to the chest, to which they are fastened by pins. By the
removal of the retaining pins, the handrails may be dismounted from
the chest.

The exterior of the chest is fitted with implement fastenings and
straps, the front plate having spring catches for three rifles. Three
grip straps are fastened to the upper edge of the chest at the front,
to assist the personnel in riding on this vehicle.

Three leather pockets, one on the rear middle door and one on
either side of the chest, are provided for carrying fuze and limber

A wooden locker for carrying fuzes is fastened by steel straps to the
top of the chest on the left side. The locker is equipped with a lift
lid, hinged at the front and provided with a hasp and thumb lock at
the front. The interior is constructed to carry 15 fuzes. Two
blankets, which serve as a seat cushion, are strapped to the top of
the chest at the front, and the soldiers' personal equipment is strapped
at the rear.

Each side of the chest has riveted thereto a steel bracket, which
extends below the chest body, and is provided with an opening
through which the axle passes.

The frame which supports the ammunition chest consists mainly
of two side rails, two middle rails, and the connecting cross rails.

The middle rails are connected at the front of the frame to form a
seat for the wooden horse pole. The outer rails converge slightly at
the front, and with the middle rails form a support for the wooden
platform and footboard. Two of the cross rails extend across the
frame, directly beneath the edges of the chest, giving a solid support
to which the chest is fastened. The other cross rail extends across
the extreme front of the frame and is fitted with hooks for the support
of two singletrees. A wooden horse pole, equipped with a neck yoke
bar, is provided.

Forward of the chest a wooden footboard and platform is fastened
to the upper side of the frame. The boards have staples for the


accommodation of leather straps, which secure rope lashings, shovels,
and other similar equipment to the footboards.

On the under forward right side of the frame a -case is provided to
carry a holo. On the left side of the frame, in a corresponding posi-
tion, a case is provided, to carry a water brush.

Suspended from under the wooden .platform, on the left side, is a
box containing 3 pounds of grease. Under the right side of the
platform, fastenings are provided to carry two cans containing
lubricating oil.

A pintle, which engages the lunette on the draft pole of the ammu-
nition wagon, is provided in the frame at the rear.

In each side rail at the rear a hole is provided which forms a bearing
for the axle. The steel axle bracket on the sides of the chest corre-
spond with these holes, and form a solid bearing for the axle, which
is held in place by keys.

Wheels of the wooden type, 56 inches in diameter, having steel tires
3 inches in width, are provided. An adjusting collar and linchpin
screws the wheel to the axle. Protection against the ingress of dirt
and foreign matter is provided by a dust cap which fastens over the
end of the hub box.

Drag washers to assist in the maneuvering of the vehicle are pro-
vided on each wheel.

The wheels and axle of the limber are interchangeable with those
on the ammunition wagon. No brake is provided on the ammunition

wagon limber.

Weights, dimensions, etc.

Weight of limber, empty pounds. . 1, 416

Weight of limber, loaded and equipped do 2, 632

Weight of wagon and limber; empty - - -do . . 3, 148

Weight of wagon and limber, loaded do 6, 188

Weight of limber only, with wagon limbered up, empty do 1, 486

Weight of limber only, with wagon limbered up, loaded .. do 2, 730

Weight of limber pole at position of center tug hole with wagon limbered up,

loaded, without men pounds . . 14

Weight of limber pole at position of center tug hole with wagon limbered up,

loaded, with 2 men on limber only y pounds . . 35

Weight of limber pole at position of center tug hole with wagon limbered up,

loaded, with 2 men on limber and 2 men on wagon pounds . . 25

Length of limber with pole feet . . 14. 166

Length of limber without pole do .... 5. 5

Length of limber and wagon, overall do 22. 687

Length between axles of limber and wagon do . . 8. 25

Height of limber to top of handrails do 5. 666

Height of limber, handrails removed do .... 4. 895

Width of limber, maximum do 6. 291

Wheel track of limber inches . . 63

Diameter of wheels of limber do 56

Diameter of turning circle of limber and wagon feet . . 23. 5


Recent experience indicated the necessity of artillery of larger
caliber than the 75 millimeter, having a longer range and better
characteristics, yet mobile enough to permit its use by combat divi-
sions. This necessity led to the adoption of the 155 millimeter
caliber corresponding to 6.10-inch artillery. The importance of this
155-millimeter howitzer is evident when it is realized that it is the
largest weapon at the present time that can be used by combat
divisions, and is especially valuable for use against captive balloons,
counter battery firing, and interdiction.

The type of 155-millimeter howitzer carriage adopted is known by
the French as the 155 millimeter Court Schneider, model of 1917, and
by the United States as the 155-millimeter howitzer carriage, model of
1918 (Schneider). The howitzers manufactured in the United States


are also distinguished from those made in France by the designation
"Model of 1918." The American materiel differs from the French
in having a straight shield instead of a curved one, rubber instead
of steel tires, a slightly different firing mechanism, and several other
minor changes. The howitzer is mounted on a carriage having a
single trail composed of two pressed steel flasks. At the front end
these are connected by the axle housing and at the rear by a fixed
spade. The carriage embodies many ingenious features designed
to reduce the weight and insure stability.

The recoil mechanism is of the hydropneumatic type, the sleigh
recoiling with the howitzer. In recoiling the liquid is forced from one
side of the piston to the other though a variable orifice which grad-
ually closes until the howitzer is brought to a stop. The return of
18322820 14 (207)



the howitzer into battery is effected by the expansion of the air com-
pressed during recoil. The length of recoil . is practically constant,
and in order to allow the howitzer to be fired at high elevations
without digging in the trail, the trail is made of a curved shape.


By sliding transversely along its axle the howitzer is capable of
traversing through a total angle of 6. Its maximum elevation is
approximately 42. It fires a 95-pound projectile with a muzzle
velocity of about 1,480 feet per second to a maximum range of about
12,300 yards. Separate loading ammunition is employed. By the
use of the reduced powder charges, shorter ranges are reached with


steep angles of fall and with less wear on the gun. Its life, before
relining is necessary, is approximately 7,000 rounds.

The entire equipment is motorized and the equipment for each
howitzer includes a carriage limber, used when traveling to support
the trail, three caissons or ammunition vehicles, and a number of
ammunition, repair, and supply trucks.



The 155-millimeter howitzer, model of 1918 (Schneider), is of the
hydropneumatic long-recoil type, which may be used for direct fire,
but was specially designed for indirect fire. On account of its high
trajectory it is able to direct shells on targets inaccessible to field
guns of limited elevation.

This howitzer has given satisfactory results in actual service and
has proven to be superior to other howitzers of similar caliber. It
has a muzzle velocity of 1,480 feet per second and attains a maxi-
mum range of 12,300 yards, the projectile weighing approximately
95 pounds.

A maximum rate of fire of four rounds per minute may be attained,
but heating as well as difficulty of preparing and serving of ammuni-
tion by the gun crew renders such rate impossible for any length of
time, however. The normal rate of fire is two per minute.

The howitzer is mounted on a sleigh and rigidly secured by a
breech key and a holding-down band. The sleigh contains the
recoil mechanism which permits long recoil and insures stability at
low elevations. When the gun is fired, the sleigh recoils on bronze
slides on the cradle, which is a U-shaped steel' plate and rests on the
trunnion bearing of the trail.

This howitzer may be elevated from zero to 42 by means of the
elevating mechanism. The traverse is 52.5 mils to the right and left,
the carriage sliding on the axle and pivoting on the spade, which
prevents the carriage from recoiling when the gun is fired. The cus-
tomary shield affords protection for the gunners from shrapnel and
flying fragments.

In traveling position the howitzer is retracted and locked to the
cradle, the cradle locked to the trail, the spade revolved and secured
to the bottom of the trail. The lower end of the trail rests on the car-
riage limber, which is used to carry its proportionate share of the
load of the howitzer and carriage in traveling position. The limber
is equipped with a connecting pole for motor traction. The carriage
and limber wheels are rubber tired and considered able to negotiate
any roads suitable for field artillery.

This materiel consists of:

The 155-millimeter howitzer and carnage, model of 1918

(Schneider) .
The 155-millimeter howitzer carriage limber, model of 1918

(Schneider) .
The 155-millimeter howitzer caisson, model of 1918 (Schneider).




The howitzer, carriage, and limber are of the French design and
were manufactured in the United States.

The caisson is of American design and manufacture. This materiel
is used with motorized batteries, and a full complement of tractors
and trucks is provided for the transportation and service of the

The cart, model of 1918, and reel, model of 1909M1, described
with the 75-millimeter materiel, are also used with this materiel.

Weights, dimensions, ballistics, etc.

Weight of howitzer, including breech mechanism pounds. . 2, 690

Caliber inches. . 6. 10

Total length f'o .. 91.0

Weight of projei tile pounds . . 95

Weight of maximum powder charge do .... 8

Muzzle velocity of shell i'eet per second . . 1, 476

Muzzle velocity of sharpnel:

Minimum do. ... 666

Maximum do. ... 1, 434

Maximum range of shell yards . . 12, 250

Maximum range of shrapnel do 10, 700

Weight of howitzer and carriage, iully equipped pounds. . 7, 600

Weight of carriage complete, but without equipment do 4, 729

Diameter of carriage wheels inches. . 53

Width of carriage track do 60

Normal length of recoil do .... 51. 30

Elevation to 42 20

Maximum traverse (3 (52^ mils; right and 3 (52^ mils) left;.

Weight of limber, completely equipped pounds. . 1, 440

Diameter of limber wheels inches. . 42. 82

Width of limber track do 61

Turning angle of 155-millirneter howitzer, limber and carriage limbered

degrees . . . 52




The howitzer is of the built-up type and consists of a tube and
having a jacket shrunk over its rear half. The breech end is equipped
with a counterweight which is fitted with leveling plates to be used
with a gunner's quadrant when setting elevations. Below the breech
recess is the bridle which couples the gun to the sleigh and on the
forward end of the howitzer a holding down band also functions to
secure the tube to the sleigh.

The breech mechanism is of the plastic obturator type with an
interrupted screw type breechblock. The breechblock is hinged at
the right and by means of one motion of the breech lever can be ro-
tated and swung clear of the breech.

The forward mushroom-shaped head of the breechblock is equipped
with a flexible asbestos ring known as the obturator pad. The gas
check pad or plastic obturator is composed of a mixture of one part
asbestos and three parts nonfluid oil, contained in a canvas cover-
ing. The pad is protected by the front, rear and small split rings.
A steel filling-in disk is placed between the gas check pad and the
breechblock. On firing, the asbestos ring is compressed and acts as
a gas check to prevent the leakage of powder gases back through the
breech. The asbestos pad, by its shape, causes the split rings to
spread when pressure is applied on the mushroom head. It has
sufficient resiliency to resume its original form after firing.

The firing mechanism is of the French percussion primer type.
The primer is fired by means of the firing pin driven forward by a
hammer operated by the lanyard. The firing pin is supported in
the firing mechanism block, which is unscrewed each time a new
primer is inserted. A safety device is used in connection with the
firing mechanism block, which makes it impossible to unlock the breech
while the block is in position, or to insert the block while the breech
is unlocked. The firing mechanism block is interchangeable with
those used in the following weapons:

155-millimeter gun, model of 1918 (Filloux).
8-inch howitzer (Vickers Mark VI and VIII^).
240-millimeter Howitzer, model of 1918 (Schneider).

The recoil mechanism is of the hydropneumatic long recoil type.
With this howitzer the type of recoil is known as constant, i. e., the
length of recoil is not shortened at high elevations. The sleigh
contains the recoil mechanisms and serves as a support for the





howitzer, being secured to it by the breech lug ana the nolding
down band. On recoiling, howitzer and sleigh move on the cradle
fastened to the trunnions of the carriage, the piston rods remaining

A mixture of glycerine and water (boiled) is used in the recoil brake
and to that mixture caustic soda is added for the counterrecoil mech-
anism. The gas used in the counterrecoil mechanism may be either
air or nitrogen.

Nitrogen is always used when available, as it has no corrosive action
on the mechanism. The energy of recoil is absorbed by the friction
of the liquid while passing through the openings in and around the
recoil piston and by the compression of the nitrogen in the cylinders.
The howitzer is returned to battery by the energy stored in the com-
pressed nitrogen which forces the liquid out and reacts against the
counterrecoil piston. When in battery, the initial nitrogen pressure
is approximately 485 pounds per square inch, which is sufficient to
hold the howitzer in battery at all angles of elevation. Gages are
provided to indicate both the quantity of liquid and nitrogen pressure.
Suitable pumps are provided with the materiel for pumping in
liquid and air. Cylinders of compressed nitrogen are carried to
replenish the supply of nitrogen.

The cradle is secured in the trunnions of the carriage and supports
the sleigh during recoil. To the underside of the cradle are fastened
two elevating arcs; thus the howitzer is elevated by means of the
handwheel located on the left side of the carriage, and elevations from
to 42 20' may be obtained.

The traverse of the carriage is obtained by the traversing mechanism
causing the carriage to slide on the axle, the trail pivoting on the
spade. The movement is 3 each side of the center, or a total of
105 mils. The movement is obtained by means of a traversing nut
rigidly fastened to the axle, causing a traversing screw to travel
carrying the carriage along the axle. The carriage travels along the
axle on rollers mounted on Belleville springs. When the gun is
fired, the springs are compressed and the carriage rests on the axle.
A lock is provided for relieving the strain on the traversing and
elevating mechanisms when traveling. Two traversing handwheels
are provided, one on each side of the carriage.

The wheels are of wood, 1,350 millimeters (53 inches) in diameter
and are fitted with solid rubber tires. The carriage is equipped
with a pair of brakes acting directly on the rubber tires. An armor-
plate shield for the protection of the personnel against small arms
and shrapnel fire is also provided.

Sighting is accomplished by means of a quadrant sight, panoramic
sight, and peep sight.




The quadrant sight, model of 1918 (Schneider), is mounted on
the left trunnion of the carriage. It is used for laying the piece in
elevation. The angle of site mechanism is combined with this sight.
Mounted on the top of the quadrant sight is the United States pano-
ramic sight for laying the piece in traverse. An extension bar is
provided for use with the panoramic sight to enable the sight to be
raised enough to see over the shield or other obstructions in direct

The peep sight, used only in direct fire, or in emergency, may be
mounted on the quadrant sight in place of the panoramic sight.

Two complete sets of night-sighting equipment are provided for use
when firing at night. When not in use these equipments are packed
in cases provided for that purpose and carried on the carriage limber
The night lighting equipment consists principally of a chest, an aiming
lamp, an azimuth lamp, a portable lamp, and the necessary cables
and fixtures.


The 1 55-millimeter ho witzer carriage limber is a two-wheeled vehicle
employed to support the trail of the carriage when traveling. This
limber consists of a built-up steel frame mounted on wheels and axle.
It has no chests and provides no seats for the personnel.

The pintle is riveted to the extreme rear end of the frame and
serves as a bearing for the lunette of the carriage when the howitzer
is limbered. Additional support for the trail is provided by a trail
rest riveted in front of the pintle and on which the fifth wheel of the
trail bears.

Hooks are provided for carrying a picket rope, and small boxes
for carrying grease and the night lighting equipment are secured on
the frame.

A prop is provided on the front of the frame for holding the limber
up when not en route. The standard short pole with the lunette for
motor traction batteries is provided, or the long pole may be sub-
stituted for horse-drawn equipment.

The wheels are of wood construction, 1,240 millimeters (48.82
inches) in diameter, with solid rubber tires.

Weight and principal dimensions.

Weight of limber empty pounds . . 1, 227

Weight of limber completely equipped do. ... 1, 440

Weight of limber and carriage, limbered do 8, 930

Weight on ground under each wheel, with carriage limbered do 1, 380

Weight of each wheel do 335

Diameter of wheels inches. . 48. 82

Width of track do 61

Turning angle of limber and howitzer carriage, limbered degrees. . 52

NOTE. The weight of this carriage limber equipped with horse pole is practically
the same as with motor pole.

18322820 15


^- i ^



-C-T L,_. -





OF 1918.

The 155-millimeter howitzer caisson is a two-wheeled spring sup-
ported vehicle for the transportation of ammunition. Normally it
is a motorized vehicle, two caissons forming a train drawn by one
tractor. However, by removing the connecting pole and substitut-
ing the standard pole the front vehicle of the train can be converted
into a horse-drawn caisson limber. Any caisson in the battery


except the caisson equipped with the hand reel can be so converted
into a caisson limber. The caisson carries 14 complete rounds of
ammunition and 2 extra powder charges for the 155-millimeter

The chest is made up of the lower and upper chest body and rear
plate, which is of armor plate. The chest is divided into an upper
and lower compartment, the opening between them forming a space
for the axle, pole socket, pintle bracket, and houses the fuze box
and oil can.




The upper compartment is arranged for the transportation of
8 projectiles and 16 powder charges. Powder is served to the
caissons in fiber containers, each containing 2 powder charges. The
container is fitted with an air-tight joint metal cover and base. The
lower compartment is arranged for the transportation of 6 projectiles.
The upper chest door when closed forms a cover for the chest and is
held open by door props. When open, this armor plate door serves
as a shield for the cannoneers.

The lower compartment is also provided with an armor plate door
hinged to the bottom of the chest body, and has an armor plate
apron hinged to its edge. When open, the lower chest door and
apron hang down, forming a shield for the cannoneers. When
closed, this door forms a cover for the lower compartment; the apron
doubles back against the lower chest door and is latched in place.

Both compartments are provided with loose diaphragms, by the
use of which the caisson can be made available for transporting any
of the following types of shells :

155-millimeter common steel shell, Mark I;
155-millimeter common steel shell, Mark II;
155- millimeter sharp nel, Mark I;
155- millimeter common steel shell, Mark IV;
Semisteel shell, Mark XVII.

Only one type of shell can be carried in the same compartment at
one time. When carrying either common steel, gas, or shrapnel, the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryUnited States. Army. Ordnance DeptHandbook of artillery : including mobile, anti-aircraft and trench matériel → online text (page 11 of 19)