British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Richard Stone
Member
Posts: 660
Joined: 21 Mar 2020 23:27
Location: USA

British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by Richard Stone » 14 May 2023 15:29

The short attached article, written by a British officer, praises the fire support his unit received from US artillery during a difficult period of the 1944 France campaign.

The article is part of a letter the office wrote shortly after the action. The officer does not identify his unit, the date of this action, or the US artillery units that aided him, but it appears the US artillery used the 'Time On Target' (TOT) method that included participation of a number of M-12 SP 155mm guns.

The article was printed in the August 1945 edition of the USA professional military reference magazine ‘Military Review’.

Combat Notes - Mil Review Aug 1945 US Artillery Aids British.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 8233
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 14 May 2023 20:34

I am fairly sure this is 7th AD and its retreat back from Villers Bocage 14/6/44.

LineDoggie
Member
Posts: 1265
Joined: 03 Oct 2008 20:06

Re: British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by LineDoggie » 15 May 2023 01:01

Only 100 M12 were ever produced

74 were rebuilt in Feb 44 for use in operations overseas
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10032
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 May 2023 01:15

So many 'vague' items in that. The line about "and it was one that could only be ordered by an American General." Make little sense in standard US artillery doctrine. Assuming the sentence is factual then Im wondering what the circumstances were that required a generals approval?

Equally interesting is the firing of artillery cross Army boundary. How the communications link worked is one question. Another is how the common survey was established. I can recall in a 1985 exercise the complications in doing a cross boundary cannon shoot with the Japanese Self Defense Force & US Marines.

Aber
Member
Posts: 1105
Joined: 05 Jan 2010 21:43

Re: British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by Aber » 21 May 2023 08:50

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 May 2023 01:15
So many 'vague' items in that. The line about "and it was one that could only be ordered by an American General." Make little sense in standard US artillery doctrine. Assuming the sentence is factual then Im wondering what the circumstances were that required a generals approval?
Also posted in the UK section where Sheldrake linked to

https://battleofthebulge.org/2014/07/11 ... an-harner/
987th FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION IN WORLD WAR II

The battalion’s first party landed at King Green Beach in the British Gold Beach sector, about 20 miles east of the U.S. Army’s Omaha Beach, in late morning of 7 June, and took up its first combat position three miles inland, one mile south of Ryes, Normandy, attached to the British 50th (Northumbrian) Division. The war had begun for the 987th. The rest of the battalion came ashore in the next few days.

The next move for the battalion was to the outskirts of Bayeaux where it was assigned to 5th AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery), British 2nd Army. The 987th supported the British forces in their effort to capture Caen. On 30 June 1944, the 987th reverted to U.S. Army command and was attached to V Corps, First Army as corps artillery.

Gary Kennedy
Member
Posts: 992
Joined: 28 Mar 2012 18:56

Re: British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by Gary Kennedy » 21 May 2023 12:37

To be honest, I'd be surprised if a British Infantry Battalion officer would be well versed in the techniques and doctrines of US Field Artillery; his day job was quite consuming and his normal association would be with an RA FOO.

Gary

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 10032
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 21 May 2023 14:55

That extract clarifies it for me. In US doctrine the battalion was filling the Reinforcing Mission. Separate battalions in the corps or army artillery group assigned the reinforcing mission would link their communication to the artillery unit they were reinforcing, usually a division artillery group. Either to the group HQ, or to a specific battalion. Since Separate battalions were not expected to put FO on the ground the FO of the reinforced unit would usually have his commands run through the US battalion Fire Direction Center, then to the reinforcing battalion. Direct link to the FO was practical, but direct control done less often. I can recall it being done in my service, but who the FO was addressing was so transparent it was near irrelevant. You had a call sign you addressed the CoF to, but who specifically was shooting the mission could be often unknown.

In this case the Brit FO was more likely communicating his call for fire to either his regiment, or via AGRA CP which translated it into US artillery language. The essential points in the call for fire of both nations were similar & would have been simple for the staff at the Regiment or ARGA to convey the necessary information.

If the attachment of the US battalion the AGRA was planned long ahead, then it would be practical to have the US Fire Direction section trained in Royale Artillery procedures, thus decreasing the friction in transmitting the CoF from the FO.

Sean Oliver
Member
Posts: 171
Joined: 14 Sep 2007 18:18
Location: Wisconsin USA

Re: British Infantry Unit Receives US Artillery Fire Support - France 1944

Post by Sean Oliver » 04 Jul 2023 15:43

Could be the US were firing on their own targets directly adjacent to the UK unit boundary, and the writer could observe the results. Or perhaps the US guns were contacted by the UK unit via the usual unit liaison links and arranged an impromptu one-time stonk on a map point within the British unit boundary. No survey or elaborate comms needed. (?)

Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”