Skip to main content

Full text of "America's Munitions 1917-1918: Report of Benedict Crowell, the Assistant ..."

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for general ions on library shelves before il was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

Il has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often diflicult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parlies, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the plus We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a b<x>k is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 

countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means il can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's hooks while helping authors ami publishers reach new audiences. You can search through I lie lull text of this book on I lie web 
at |http : //books . qooqle . com/| 

ojzy S 






f i 

-- s s : s . § i 

I % 1 1 ° i ; 

s fe » * = 5 * .i 

"1 SSI 

8 sis 

_Oj jSS.SS.! 

America's Munitions 





*7°y 6 




Washington, D. C, December 24, 1918. 

Dear Mb. Crowell: American munitions production, which for 
some time has been in your charge, played an important part in the 
early decision of the war, yet the very immensity and complexity 
of the problem has made it difficult for this accomplishment to be 
adequately understood by the public or in fact by any except those 
who have had occasion to give the matter special study. As the 
whole people have been called upon to make sacrifices for the war, 
all the people should be given an opportunity to know what has been 
done in their behalf in munitions production, and I therefore ask 
that you have prepared a historical statement of munitions product- 
tion, so brief that all may have time to read it, so nontechnical that 
all may be able readily to understand it, and so authoritative that 
all may rely upon its accuracy. 
Cordially yours, 

Newton D. Baker, 

Secretary of War. 
Hon. Benedict Crowell, 

The Assistant Secretary of War. 

Washington, D. C, May 10, 1919. 

Dear Mr, Secretary: Responding to your request, I transmit 
herewith a brief, nontechnical, authoritative history of munitions 
production during the recent war. The several chapters have been 
prepared in the first instance by the officers who have been directly 
responsible for production, and have been assembled and edited, 
under my direction, by Hon. Robert J. Bulkley, assisted by Capt. 
Robert Forrest Wilson and Capt. Benjamin E. Ling. Capt. Wilson 
has undertaken responsibility for the literary style of the report, and 
has rewritten the greater part of it, consulting at length with the 
officers who supplied the original material, and with officers of the 
statistics branch of -the General Staff, in order to insure accuracy. 

Maj. Gen. C. C. Williams, Chief of Ordnance; Brig. Gen. W. S. 
Peirce, Acting Chief of Ordnance; Maj. Gen. C. T. Menoher, Chief of 
Air Service; Maj. Gen, W. M. Black, Chief of Engineers; Maj. Gen. 
W. L. Sibert, Chief of Chemical Warfare Service; Maj. Gen. H. L. 
Rogers, Quartermaster General; Mr. R. J. Thorne, Acting Quarter- 
master General; Maj. Gen. G. O. Squier, Chief Signal Officer; Brig. 
Gen. Charles B. Drake, Chief of Motor Transport Corps; and Maj. 
Gen. W. M. Ireland, the Surgeon General, have cooperated in the 
preparation of the material transmitted herewith. 

Special acknowledgment for the preparation and correction of the 
several chapters is due to the following officers: 

The ordnance problem, Col. James L. Walsh. 

Gun production, Col. William P. Barba. 

Mobile field artillery, Col. J. B. Rose. 

Railway artillery, Col. G. M. Barnes and Maj. E. D. Campbell. 

Explosives, propellants, and artillery ammunition, Col. C. T. Harris 
and Maj. J. Herbert Hunter. 

Sights and fire-control apparatus, Col. H. K. Rutherford and Maj. 
Fred E. Wright. 

Motorized artillery, Col. L. B. Moody and Lieut. Col. H. W. Alden. 

Tanks, Lieut. Col. H. W. Alden. 

Machine guns, Col. Earl McFarland and Lieut. Col. Herbert 

Service rifles, Maj. Lewis P. Johnson and Maj. Parker Dodge. 

Pistols and revolvers, Lieut. Col. J. C. Beatty and Maj. Parker 

Small arms ammunition, Lieut. Col. J. C. Beatty, Maj. Lee 0. 
Wright, Maj. A. E. Hunt, and Capt. C. J. Evans. 


Trench warfare material, Lieut. Col. E. J. W. Ragsdale, Capt. J. R. 
Caldwell, Capt. R. D. Smith, and Lieut. J. T. Libbey. 

Miscellaneous ordnance equipment, Lieut. Col. S. H. MacGregor, 
Maj. Bashford Dean, Capt. A. L. Fabens, and Capt. James S. Wiley. 
The aircraft problem and airplane production, Lieut. Col. George 
W. Mixter. 

The Liberty engine and other airplane engines, Lieut. H. H. 
Emmons, United States Navy. 

Aviation equipment and armament, Lieut. Col. E. J. W. Ragsdale, 
Maj. E. Bradley, Capt. Robert D. Smith, Capt. H. E. Ives, and 
Lieut. John M. Hammond. 

The airplane radio telephone, Col. C. C. Culver and Lieut. Col. 
Nugent H. Slaughter. 
Balloons, Capt. H. W. Treat. 

The Engineers in France, Lieut. Col. J. B. Cress and Capt. C. Beard. 
Military railways, Col. J. M. Milliken and Mr. S. M. Felton. 
Engineer activities at home, Lieut. Col. J. B. Cress and Lieut. Col. 
R. W. Crawford. 

Sound and flash ranging and searchlights, Lieut. Col. J. B. Cress 
and Maj. W. D. Young. 

Toxic gases, Col. M. T. Bogert, Col. W. A. Walker, Lieut. Col. 
E. M. Chance, and Lieut. Col. William McPherson. 

Defensive gas equipment, Col* Bradley Dewey and Lieut. Col. 
A. L. Besse. 
Subsistence, Lieut. Col. J. H. Adams and Capt. S. B. Johnson. 
Clothing and equipage, Lieut. Col. F. A. Ellison and Capt. W. H. 

Miscellaneous quartermaster undertakings: Music, Maj. George H. 
Richards; fuel, oil, and paints, Mr. J. Elliott Hall; brushes, Capt. 
T. W. S. Phillips; rolling kitchens, Capt. J. G. Williams and Mr. 
M. A. Dunning; tools and tool chests, Mr. W. F. Fusting and Mr. 
M. E. Moye; hardware, Lieut. Col. H. P. Hill and Mr. William A. 
Graham; factory enterprises, Lieut. Col. H. P. Hill; shoe fitting, Col. 
F. A. Ellison; meat cutting, Dr. W. O. Trone; packing, Capt. R. H. 
Moody; horses and mules, Maj. A. Cedarwald. 

Motor and horse-drawn vehicles: Motor vehicles, Col. Fred Glover; 
horse-drawn vehicles, Maj. A. Volgeneau. 

Medical and dental supplies, Lieut. Col. J. P. Fletcher and Capt. 
W. G. Guth. 
Salvage, Col. J. S. Chambers and Capt. F. C. Simpson. 
Mr. W. L. Pollard, Mr. Aaron Rachofsky, and Lieut. J. J. Cameron 
have rendered very valuable assistance in assembling data concerning 
quartermaster activities. 

Cantonments and camps, and miscellaneous construction, Maj. 
W. G. Maupin. 


Signal Corps material, Brig. Gen. C. McK. Saltzman and Capt. 
Donald MacGregor. 

The accuracy of all statistics and direct statements of fact has been 
checked and approved by the statistics branch of the General Staff, 
under the direction of Maj. W. R. Burgess. 

Respectfully submitted. 

Benedict Cbowell, 

The Assistant Secretary of War, 

Director of Munitions. 
Hon. Newton D. Baker, 

Secretary of War. 


Except in one or two instances, this account of the production of 

munitions in America for the war against Germany and her allies 

contains nothing about secret devices invented during the period 

under discussion. When the necessity for silence with respect to 

vital matters brought about a voluntary censorship in American 

publications, the land was filled with rumors of new and revolutionary 

developments in war materiel, particularly of new weapons of offense. 

It is fair to the American public to-day to state that such rumors were 

not without foundation. American inventiveness rose splendidly 

to the emergency. The expected American offensive in 1919 would 

have had its ''surprises " in numbers, some of which might well have 

proved to be decisive. Certain of these inventions had been put in 

large production before the armistice was declared, others had been 

carried to an advanced experimental stage that insured their success. 

Since the value of these innovations as part of the Nation's permanent 

military assets depends largely upon their secret nature, it would be 

obviously unwise to mention or describe them at this time. 

The Director of Munitions wishes to acknowledge the debt of 
America, so far as the production of munitions is concerned, to the 
Navy for its cooperation in industrial matters at home and its strong 
aid in the safe transport of munitions to France, and to all the other 
Government departments, each one of which contributed in numerous 
and important ways to the success of the munitions enterprise. The 
debt also extends heavily to the War Industries Board, its functions 
of creating facilities for manufacture, opening up new sources of raw 
materials, allocating materials, decreeing priorities, fixing prices, and 
acting as purchasing agent for the allies, making it the national 
industrial clearing house through which the War Department could 
work without waste effort. Acknowledgment is made to such essen- 
tial agencies as the United States Railroad Administration, the 
United States Fuel Administration, the War Trade Board, and the 
United States Food Administration, and to all official or volunteer 
activities looking to the conservation and mobilization of our national 
resources. Without this entire cooperation the history set forth in 
these pages would not be what it is. 



Book I— Ordnance. 

UJTRR 1. The ordnance problem 21 

2. Gon production 38 

3. Mobile field artillery 56 

4. Railway artillery 91 

6. Explosives, propellants, and artillery ammunition 103 

6. Sights and fire-control apparatus 135 

7. Motorized artillery 148 

8. Tanks 154 

9. Machine guns 158 

10. Service rifles 177 

11. Pistols and revolvers 187 

12. SmaU^nns ammunition. __ 191 

13. Trench-warfare material 200 

14. Miscellaneous ordnance equipment 221 

Book II — Thb Air Service. 

haptkr l. The aircraft problem 235 

2. Airplane production 239 

3. The Liberty engine 265 

4. Other airplane engines 281 

5. Aviation equipment and armament 294 

6. The airplane radio telephone 323 

7. Balloons 331 

Book III — The Engineer Corps, 

^haptkr 1. The Engineers in France 34T 

2. Military railways 367 

3. Engineer activities at home 375 

4. Sound and flash ranging and searchlights 383 

Book IV— Chemical Warfare. 

Chapter 1. Toxic gases 395 

2. Gas defense equipment 410 

Book V — Quartermaster Activities. 

Chapter 1. Subsistence 435 

2. Clothing and equipage 453 

3. Miscellaneous quartermaster undertakings 475 

4. Motor and horse-drawn vehicles 496 

6. Medical and dental supplies 511 

6. Salvage 517 

Book VI — The Construction Division. 

Chapter 1. Cantonments and camps 535 

2. Miscellaneous construction 548 

Book VII— The Sional Corps. 

Cbafter 1. Signal Corps material 567 









As our war against German y recedes in to 'the past its temporal 
boundaries become more sharply defined, and it assumes the char- 
acter of a complete entity — a rounded-out period of time in which 
the United States collected her men and resources, fought, and shared 
in the victory. 

As such it offere to the critic the easy opportunity to discover 
that certain things were not done. American airplanes did not 
arrive at the front in sufficient numbers. American guns in certain 
essential calibers did not appear at all. American gas shells were 
not fired at the enemy. American troops fought with French and 
British machine guns to a large extent. The public is familiar with 
sack statements. 

It should be remembered that the war up to its last few weeks — 
up to its last few days, in fact — was a period of anxious suspense, 
during which America was straining her energies toward a goal, 
toward the realization of an ambition which, in the production of 
munitions, dropped the year 1918 almost out of consideration alto- 
gether, which indeed did not bring the full weight of American men 
And materiel into the struggle even in 1919, but which left it for 
1920, if the enemy had not yet succumbed to the growing American 
power, to witness the maximum strength of the United States in the 

Necessarily, therefore, the actual period of hostilities, between 
April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, was devoted in this country 
to laying down the foundations of a munitions industry that should 
bring about its overwhelming results at the appointed time. What 
munitions of the more difficult sort were actually produced in this 
period might almost be termed casual to the main enterprise — pilots 
of the quantities to come. 

The decision to prepare heavily for 1919 and 1920 and thus sacri- 
fice for 1917 and 1918 the munitions that might have been produced 
at the cost of any less adequate preparation for the more distant 
future, was based on sound strategical reasoning on the part of the 
Allies and ourselves. 

On going back to the past we find that on April 6, 1917, the United 
States scarcely realized the gravity of the undertaking. There was 
* general impression, reaching even into Government, that the Allies 


14 amebica's munitions. 

alone were competent to defeat the Central Powers in time, and that 
America's part would be largely one of moral support, with expand- . 
ing preparation in the background as insurance against any unfore- 
seen disasters. In line with this attitude we sent the first division 
of American troops to France in the spring of 1917 to be our earnest 
to the governments and peoples of the Allies that we were with them 
in the great struggle. Not until after the departure of the various 
foreign missions that came to this country during that spring did 
America fully awake to the seriousness of the situation. 

All through the summer of 1917 the emphasis upon American 
man power in France gradually grew, but no definite schedule, upon 
which the United States could work was reached until autumn or 
early winter, until the mission headed by Col. Edward M. House 
visited Europe to give America place on the Supreme War Council 
and in the Interallied Conference. The purpose of the House 
mission was to assure the Allies that America was in the war for all 
she was worth and to determine the most effective method in which 
she could cooperate. 

In the conferences in London and Paris the American representa- 
tives looked into the minds of the allied leaders and saw the situa- 
tion as it was. Two dramatic factors colored all the discussions — 
the growing need for men and the gravity of the shipping situation. 
The German submarines were operating so effectively as to make 
exceedingly dark the outlook for the transport on a sufficient scale 
either of American troops or of American munitions. 

As to man power, the Supreme War Council gave it as the judg- 
ment of the military leaders of the Allies that, if the day were to be 
saved, America must send 1,000,000 troops by the following July. 
There were in France then (on Dec. 1, 1917) parts of four divisions 
of American soldiers — 129,000 men in all. 

The program of American cooperation, as it crystallized in these 
conferences, may be summarized as follows: 

1. To keep the Allies from starvation by shipping food. 

2. To assist the Allied armies by keeping up the flow of materiel 
already in production for them in the United States. 

3. To send as many men as could be transported with the shipping 
facilities then at America's command. 

4. To bend energies toward a big American Army in 1919 equipped 
with American supplies. 

In these conferences sat the chief military and political figures of 
the principal European powers at war with Germany. In the Supreme 
War Council were such strategists as (Jen. Foch for the French and 
Gen. Robertson for the British, Gen. Bliss representing the United 
States. The president of the Interallied Conference wms M. Clemen- 
ceau, the French prime minister. Mr. Winston Churchill, the minister 


of munitions, represented Great Britain, while Mr. Lloyd-George, 
the Prime Minister of England, also participated to some extent in 
the conferences. 

Out of bodies of such character came the international ordnance 
agreement. It will be apparent to the reader that this agreement 
must have represented the best opinion of the leaders of the principal 
Allies, initiated out of their intimate knowledge of the needs of the 
situation and concurred in by the representatives of the United 
States. The substance of this agreement was outlined for Wash- 
ington in a cabled message signed by Gen. Bliss, a document that 
had such an important bearing upon the production of munitions 
in this country that its more important passages are set down at this 

The representatives of Great Britain and France state that their production of 
artillery (field, medium, and heavy) is now established on so large a scale that they are 
able to equip completely all American divisions as they arrive in France during the 
year 1918 with the best make of British and French guns and howitzers. 

The British and French ammunition supply and reserves are sufficient to provide 
the requirements of the American Army thus equipped at least up to June, 1918, pro 
vided that the existing 6-inch shell plants in the United States and Dominion of 
Canada are maintained in full activity, and provided that the manufacture of 6-inch 
howitzer carriages in the United States is to some extent sufficiently developed. 

On the other hand, the French, and to a lesser extent the British, require as soon 
as possible large supplies of propellants and high explosives: and the British require 
the largest possible production of 6-inch howitzers from now onward and of 8-inch and 
9.2-inch shell from June onward. 
In both of these matters they ask the assistance of the Americans. 
With a view, therefore, first to expedite and facilitate the equipment of the Ameri- 
can armies in France, and, second, to secure the maximum ultimate development of 
the ammunition supply with the minimum strain upon available tonnage, the represent- 
atives of Great Britain and France propose that the American field, medium, and heavy 
artillery be supplied during 1918, and as long after as may be found convenient, 
from British and French gun factories; and they ask: (A) That the American efforts 
■hall be immediately directed to the production of propellants and high explosives 
on the largest possible scale; and (B) Great Britain also asks that the 6-inch, 8-inch, and 
9.2-inch shell plants already created for the British service in the United States shall 
be maintained in the highest activity, and that large additional plants for the manu- 
, kcture of these shells shall at once be laid down. 

In this way alone can the tonnage difficulty be minimized and potential artillery 
development, both in guns and shells, of the combined French, British, and American 

armies be maintained in 1918 and still more in 1919. 


This agreement had a profound effect upon American production 
of munitions. Most important of all, it gave us time; time to build 
manufacturing capacity on a grand scale without the hampering 
necessity for immediate production; time to secure the best in design; 
time to attain quality in the enormous output to come later as opposed 
to early quantity of indifferent class. 

In the late autumn of 1917, shortly after Russia collapsed and 
withdrew from the war, it became evident that Germany would 


America's munitions. 

seize the opportunity to move her troops from the eastern front and 
concentrate her entire army against the French and British in 1918. 

This intelligence at once resulted in fresh emphasis upon the man- 
power phase of American cooperation. As early as December, 1917, 
the War Department was anticipating the extraordinary need for 
men in the coming spring by considering plans for the transport of 
troops up to the supposed limit of the capacity of all available 
American ships, with what additional tonnage Great Britain and the 
other Allies could spare us. It is of record that the actual dispatch 
of troops to France far outstripped these early estimates. 

Then came the long-expected German offensive, and the cry went 
up in Europe for men. England, "her back against the wall," 
offered additional ships in which to transport six divisions over and 
above the number of troops already scheduled for embarkation, 
agreeing further to feed and maintain these men for 10 weeks while 
they were brigaded with British units for final training. After the 
six additional divisions had embarked there was still need of men, 
and the British continued their transports in our service. The high 
mark of shipment was in July, when 306,000 American soldiers were 
transported across the Atlantic, more than three times the number 
contemplated for July in the schedule adopted six months earlier. 


























_^^^ _. 





Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. OoL Nov. Deo. 



The effect of this stepping up of the man-power program upon the 
shipment of supplies was described by Lieut. Col. Repington, the 
British military critic, writing in the Morning Post (London) on 
December 9, 1918, in part as follows: 

* * * they (the British war cabinet) also prayed America in aid, implored her to 
send in haste all available infantry and machine guns, and placed at her disposal, to 
her great surprise, a large amount of transports to hasten arrivals. * * * 

The American Government acceded to this request in the most loyal and generous 
manner. Assured by their Allies in France that the latter could fit out the American 
infantry divisions on their arrival with guns, horses, and transport, the Americans 
packed their infantry tightly in the ships and left to a later occasion the dispatch to 
France of guns, horses, transport, labor units, flying service, rolling stock, and a score 
of other things originally destined for transport with the divisions. If subsequently — 
and indeed up to the day that the armistice was signed — Gen. Pershing found himself 
short of many indispensable things, and if his operations were thereby conducted un- 
der real difficulties of which he must have been only too sensible, the defects were 
not due to him and his staff, nor to the Washington administration, nor to the resolute 
Gen. March and his able fellow workers, but solely to the self-sacrificing manner in 
which America had responded to the call of her friends. 



























The really amazing thing which America did was to place in 
France in 19 months an army of the size and the ability of the Ameri- 
can Expeditionary Force. The war taught us that America can 
organize, train, and transport troops of a superior sort at a rate which 
leaves far behind any program for the manufacture of munitions. 

109287°— 10 2 


It upset the previous opinion that adequate military preparedness is 
largely a question of trained man power. 

When the war touched us our strategical equipment included plans 
ready drawn for the mobilization of men. There were on file at the 
Army War College in Washington detailed plans for defending our 
harbors, our coasts, and our borders. There were also certain plans 
for the training of new troops. 

It is worthy of note, however, that this equipment included no 
plan for the equally important and equally necessary mobilization 
of industry and production of munitions, which proved to be the 
most difficult phase of the actual preparation for war. The expe- 
rience of 1917 and 1918 was a lesson in the time it takes to determine 
types, create designs, provide facilities, and establish manufacture. 
These years will forever stand as the monument to the American 
genius of workshop and factory, which in this period insured the 
victory by insuring the timely arrival of the overwhelming force of 

America's resources in the form of America's munitions. 


Washington, May, 1919. 




*•-.•» »• i- 



To arm the manhood called to defend the Nation in 1917 and 
1918, to make civilians into soldiers by giving them the tools of the 
martial profession — such was the task of the Ordnance Department 
in the late war. 

The off-hand thought may identify ordnance as artillery alone. 
It may surprise many to know that in the American ordnance 
catalogue of supplies during the recent war there were over 100,000 
separate and distinct items. Thousands of the items of ordnance 
were distinctly noncommercial, meaning that they had to be designed 
and produced specially for the uses of war. 

While the principles of fighting essentially have changed not one 
whit since the age when projectiles were stones hurled by catapults, 
nearly every advance in mechanical science has had its reflection in 
warfare, until to-day the weapons which man has devised to destroy 
the military power of his enemy make up an intricate and an im- 
posing list. When America accepted the challenge of Germany in 
1917, part of the range of ordnance had already been produced in 
moderate quantities in the United States, part of it had been de- 
veloped by the more militaristic nations of the world in the last 
decade or quarter century, and part of it was purely the offspring 
of two and one-half years of desperate fighting before America 
entered the great struggle. Yet all of it, both the strange and the 
familiar, had to be put in production here on a grand scale and in 
a minimum of time, that the American millions might go adequately 
equipped to meet the foe. Let us examine the range of this equip- 
ment, seeing in the major items something of the character of the 
problem which confronted the Ordnance Department at the outset 
of the great enterprise. 

Starting with the artillery, there was first in order of size the baby 
two-man cannon of 37 millimeters (about an inch and a half) in the 
diameter of its bore — & European development new to our experience, 
so light that it could be handled by foot troops in the field, used for 
annihilating the enemy's machine-gun emplacements. 

Then the mobile field guns— the famous 75's, the equivalent in 
size of our former 3-inch gun, the 155-millimeter howitzer, the 


22 America's munitions. 

French 155 millimeter G. P. F. (Grand Puissance Filloux) gun of 
glorious record in the war, and its American prototypes, the 4.7-inch, 
5-inch, and 6-inch guns — all of these employed to shell crossroads 
and harass the enemy's middle area. 

Beyond these were the 8-inch and 9.2-inch howitzers and the 
terrific 240-millimeter howitzer, for throwing great weights of destruc- 
tion high in air to descend with a plunge upon the enemy's strongest 

Then there were the 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and 14-inch guns on 
railway mounts, for pounding the depots and dumps in the enemy's 
back areas. These weapons were so tremendous in weight when 
mounted as to require from 16 to 24 axles on the car to distribute 
the load and the recoil of firing within the limits of the strength of 
standard heavy railway track. 

All of these guns had to be produced in great numbers, if the 
future requirements of the American forces were to be met, produced 
by the thousands in the cases of the smaller ones and by the hundreds 
and scores in the cases of the larger. 

These weapons would be ineffective without adequate supplies of 
ammunition. In the case of the mobile field guns this meant a 
requirement of millions of shell or shrapnel for the incessant bom- 
bardments and the concentrated barrages which characterized the 
great war. The entire weight of projectiles fired in such an historic 
engagement as Gettysburg would supply the artillery only for a few 
minutes in such intensive bombardments as sowed the soil of 
Flanders with steel. 

The artillery demanded an immense amount of heavy equipment — 
limbers, caissons, auto ammunition trucks, and tractors to drag the 
heavy and middle-heavy artillery. Some of them were fitted with 
self-propelled caterpillar mounts which could climb a 40° grade or 
make as high as 12 miles an hour on level ground. These, the 
adaptations to warfare of peaceful farm and construction machine 
traction, for the first time rendered the greater guns exceedingly 
mobile, enabling them to go into action instantly upon arrival and to 
depart to safety just as soon as their mission was accomplished. 

Then, too, this artillery equipment must have adequate facilities for 
maintenance in the field, and this need brought into existence another 
enormous phase of the ordnance program. There must be mobile 
ordnance repair shops for each division, consisting of miniature 
machine shops completely fitted out with power and its transmission 
equipment and mounted directly on motor trucks. Then there must 
be semiheavy repair shops on 5-ton tractors, these to be for the corps 
what the truck machine shop was to the division. Each army head- 
quarters called for its semipermanent repair shop for artillery and 
still larger repair shops for its railway artillery. 


And in addition to all these were the base repair shops in France, 
which were erected on a scale to employ a force three times as large 
as the combined organizations of all the manufacturing arsenals of the 
United States in time of peace, having a capacity for relining 1,000 
cannon and overhauling and repairing 2,000 motor vehicles, 7,000 
machine guns, 50,000 rifles, and 2,000 pistols every month. This 
equipment of artillery and its maintenance organization implies the 
flow from American industry of enormous quantities of repair 
parts and spare parts to keep the artillery in good condition. 

Coming next to the more personal equipment of the soldier, we find 
the necessity confronting the Ordnance Department to manufacture 
shoulder rifles by the million and cartridges for them by the bil- 
lion. The great war brought the machine gun into its own, requiring 
in the United States the manufacture of these complicated and ex- 
pensive weapons by the tens of thousands, including the one-man 
automatic rifle, itself an arm of a deadly and effective type. 

Simultaneously with the mass employment of machine guns in the 
field came the development of the modern machine gun barrage, the 
indirect fire of which required sighting instruments of the most 
delicate and accurate sort, and tripods with finely calibrated elevating 
and traversing 'devices, so that the gunner might place the deadly 
hail safely over the heads of his own unseen but advancing lines 
and with maximum damage to the enemy. These thousands of 
machine guns required water jackets to keep their barrels cool and 
specially built carts to carry them. 

The personal armament of the soldier also called for an automatic 
pistol or a revolver for use in the infighting, when squads came in 
actual contact with soldiers of the enemy. These had to be pro- 
duced by the hundreds of thousands. 

The requirements of the field demanded hundreds of thousands 
of trench knives, murderous blades backed by the momentum of 
heavily weighted handles, which in turn were protected by guards 
embodying the principle of the thug's brass "knucks" armed with 
sharp points. 

Then there were the special weapons, largely born of modern trench 
-warfare. These included mortars, ranging from the small 3-inch 
Stokes, light enough to go over the top and simple enough to be 
fired from between the steadying knees of a squatting soldier, to the 
great 240-millimeter trench mortar of fixed position. The mortars 
proved to be exceedingly effective against concentrations of troops, 
and so there was devised for them a great variety of bombs and shell, 
not only of the high explosive fragmentation type, but also contain- 
ing poison gas or fuming chemicals. Great quantities both of mor- 
tars and their ammunition were required. 

From the security of the trenches the soldiers first threw out 
grenades, which burst in the enemy's trenches opposite and created 

24 America's munitions. 

havoc. From the original device were developed grenades of 
various sorts — gas grenades for cleaning up dugouts, molten-metal 
grenades for fusing the firing mechanisms of captured enemy cannon 
and machine guns, paper grenades to kill by concussion. Then 
there were the rifle grenades, each to be fitted on the muzzle of a 
rifle and hurled by the lift of gases following the bullet, which passed 
neatly through the hole provided for it. The production of grenades 
was no small part of the American ordnance problem. 

In addition to these trench weapons were the Livens projectors, 
which, fired in multiple by electricity, hurled a veritable cloud 
of gas containers into a selected area of enemy terrain, usually with 
great demoralization of his forces. 

Bayonets for the rifles, bolos, helmets, periscopes for looking safely 
over the edges of the trenches, panoramic sights, range finders — these 
are only a few of the ordnance accessories of general application. 

Then those innovations of the great war — the tanks — the 3-ton 
"whippet," built to escort the infantry waves, the 6-ton tanks, most 
used of all, and the powerful Anglo-American heavy tanks, each 
mounting a 37-millimeter cannon and four machine guns. 

The war in the air put added demands upon ordnance. It required 
the stripped machine gun firing cartridges so rapidly that their ex- 
plosions merged into a single continuous roar, yet each shot so nicely 
timed that it passed between the flying blades of the propeller. 
There had to be electric heaters for the gun mechanisms to prevent 
the oil which lubricated them from becoming congealed in the cold of 
high altitudes. The airplane guns required armor-piercing bullets 
for use against armored planes, incendiary bullets to ignite the hydro- 
gen of the enemy's balloon or to fire the gasoline escaping through the 
wound in the hostile airplane's fuel tank, and tracer bullets to direct 
the aim of the aerial gunner. Other equipment for the airman in- 
cluded shot counters, to tell him instantly what quantity of ammu- 
nition he had on hand, and gun sights, ingeniously contrived to 
correct his aim automatically for the relative speed and direction of 
the opposing plane. These were all developments in ordnance 
brought about by the great war, and in each case they involved 
problems for the production organization to solve. 

Then there were the drop bombs of aerial warfare, of many grada- 
tions in weight up to 500 pounds each, these latter experimental ones 
forecasting the day when bombs weighing 1,600 pounds would be 
dropped from the sky; then bomb sights to determine the moment 
when the missile must be dropped in order to hit its target, sights 
which corrected for the altitude, the wind resistance, and the rate of 
speed of the airplane; and then mechanisms to suspend the bombs 
from the plane and to release them at the will of the operator. 

The list might be stretched out almost indefinitely — through pyro- 
technics, developed by the exigencies in Europe into an elaborate 


system; through helmets and armor, revivals from medieval times 
to protect the modern soldier from injury; through the assortment 
of heavy textiles, which gave the troops their belts, their bandoleers, 
their haversacks, and their holsters; through canteens, cutlery for the 
mess in the fields, shotguns, and so on, until there might be set down 
thousands of items of the list which we know as modern ordnance. 

It will be noted that the most important articles in this range are 
articles of a noncommercial type. In other words, they are not the 
sort of things that the industry of the country builds in time of peace, 
nor learns how to build. Many other war functions came naturally 
to a country skilled in handling food supplies for teeming populations, 
in solving housing problems for whole cities, and in managing trans- 
portation for a hundred million people; there was at hand the re- 
quisite ability to conduct war enterprises of such character smoothly 
and efficiently. Yet there was in the country at the outbreak of war 
little knowledge of the technique of ordnance production. 

The declaration of war found an American Ordnance Department 
whose entire commissioned personnel consisted of 97 officers. Only 
10 of this number were experienced in the design of artillery weapons. 
The projected army of 5,000,000 men required 11,000 trained officers 
to handle every phase of ordnance service. While a portion of this 
production would have to do with the manufacture of articles of a 
commercial type, such as automobiles, trucks, meat cans, mess equip- 
ment, and the like, yet the ratio of 07 to 11,000 gives an indication 
of the amount of ordnance knowledge possessed by the War De- 
partment at the outbreak of war as compared to what it would 
need to equip the first 5,000,000 men for battle. 

The Government could obtain commissary officers from the food 
industry; it could turn bank tellers into paymasters, or convert 
builders into construction quartermasters; find transportation officers 
in the great railway systems, Signal Corps officers in the telegraph 
companies, or medical officers in professional life. But there was no 
broad field to which ordnance could turn to find specialized skill 
available. The best it could do was to go into the heavy manu- 
facturing industry for expert engineers who could later be trained 
in the special problems of ordnance. 

Prior to 1914 there were but six Government arsenals and two 
large private ordnance works which knew anything about the 
production of heavy weapons. After 1914, war industry sprang up in 
the United States, yet in 1917 there were only a score or so of firms 
engaged in the manufacture of artillery ammunition, big guns, rifles, 
machine guns, and other important ordnance supplies for the allies. 
When the armistice was signed nearly 8,000 manufacturing plants in 
the United States were working on ordnance contracts. While 
many of these contracts entailed production not much dissimilar to 

26 America's munitions. 

commercial output, yet here is another ratio — the 20 or more original 
factories compared with the ultimate 8,000 — which serves as an 
indication of the expansion of the industrial knowledge of the 
special processes incident to ordnance manufacture. 

When we found ourselves in the war the first step was to extend 
our ordnance knowledge as quickly as possible. The war in Europe 
had developed thousands of new items of ordnance, many of them 
carefully guarded as military secrets, with which our own officers 
were familiar only in a general way. As soon as we became a 
belligerent, however, we at once turned to the allies, and they 
freely and fully gave us of their store of knowledge — plans, specifi- 
cations, working models, secret devices, and complete manufacturing 

With this knowledge at hand we adopted for our own program 
certain French types of field guns and howitzers and British types of 
heavy howitzers. The reproduction of the British types caused no 
unusual difficulties, but the adoption of French plans brought into 
the situation a factor the difficulties of which are apt not to be 
appreciated by the uninitiated. 

This new element for consideration was the circumstance that the 
entire French system of manufacture in metals is radically different 
from our own in its practices and is not readily adapted to American 

The English and the American engineers and shops use inches and 
feet in their measurements, but the French use the metric system. 
This fact means that there was not a single standard American drill, 
reamer, tap, die, or other machine-shop tool that would accurately 
produce the result called for by a French ordnance drawing in the 
metric system. Moreover, the French standards for metal stocks, 
sheets, plates, angles, I-beams, rivet holes, and rivet spacing are far 
different from American standards. 

It was discovered that complete French drawings were in numerous 
cases nonexistent, the French practice relying for small details upon 
the memory and skill of its artisans. But even when the complete 
drawings were obtained, then the American ordnance engineer was 
confronted with the choice of either revolutionizing the machining 
industry of the United States by changing over its entire equipment 
to conform to the metric system, or else of doing what was done — 
namely, translating the French designs into terms of standard 
American shop practice, a process which in numerous cases required 
weeks and even months of time on the part of whole staffs of experts 
working at high tension. 

Nor do the French know the American quantity-productionmethods. 
The French artisan sees always the finished article, and he is given 
discretion in the final dimensions of parts and in the fitting and 



assembling of them. But the American mechanic sees only the part 
in which he is a specialist in machining, working with strict tolerances 
and producing pieces which require little or no fitting in the assem- 
bling room. Consequently, in the translating of French plans it was 
necessary to put into them what they never had before, namely, 
rigid tolerances and exact measurements. 


Figure 1. 
Expenditure of Artillery Ammunition in Modern Battles. 





Rounds of artillery ammunition expended. 


Chiclnuftftnga. . 



1S63 . 

Gettysburg. . . . 






| 39,000 






■ 134,400 




■ 274,380 





■ 197,000 

1915. . 
1916. . 
1917. . 
1918. . 

Messlnes Ridge. 
St.Mihiel . 




United States. 




* Artillery preparation lasted 35 minutes. ' Artillery preparation lasted 4 hours. 

* Artillery preparation Intermittent 7 days. 

One of the most striking developments of the present war has been the great increase 
in the use of artillery to precede infantry action in battle. This is illustrated by a 
comparison of the expenditure of artillery ammunition in characteristic battles of 
recent wars with that in important battles of the present war. The special features 
of the several battles should be kept in mind. Chickamauga was fought in a heavily 
wooded region; Gettysburg and St. Privat over open farm land. The latter battles, 
together with Nan Shan, and all the battles of the present war considered below, 
involved artillery preparation for assault upon armies in defensive position. The 
expenditures, therefore, are roughly comparable. 

The high mark of the use of artillery in offensive battle was reached at the Somme 
and Messines Ridge, before the effective use of tanks was developed. 

When an army of 100,000 men expands and becomes an army of 
3,000,000, it becomes a job just 30 times bigger to feed the 3,000,000 
than it was to feed the 100,000. A soldier of a campaigning army 
eats no more than a soldier of a quiet military post. The same is 
true approximately in the case of clothing an army. But the army's 
consumption of ammunition in time of war is far out of proportion to 
its numerical expansion to meet the war emergency. 


amekica's MUNITIONS. 

For instance, an Army machine gun in time of peace might fire 
6,000 rounds in practice during the year. This was the standard 
quantity of cartridges provided in peace. Yet it is necessary to 
provide for a single machine gun on the field in such a Trar as the 
recent one 288,875 rounds of ammunition during its first year of 
operation, this figure including the initial stock and the reserve 

FlGUBE 2. 

Rates of Artillery Fire Per Gun Per Day in Recent Wars. 


1854-1856, Crimean. 

1859, Italian 

1861-1865, Civil 

1866, Austro-Prossian. 

1370-71, Franco-Prussian. . . 

1904-5, Russo-Japanese 

1912-13, Balkan 


September, 1914 

Jan. l-Oct. 1, 1918 

Jan. 1-Nov. 11, 1918 

Jan. l-Nov. 11, 1918 

Jan. 1-Nov. 11, 1918 


British and French. 

Austrian v 



I Prussian 







United States. 



Approximate rounds per gun per day. 


■ 4 

I 2.2 

■ 4 


■ '35 

* Siege of Sebastopol. 

' Field gun ammunition only. 

The rates are based upon total expenditure and average number of guns in the 
hands of field armies for the period of the wars. 

A large part of the heavy expenditure of artillery ammunition in the present as 
compared with other modern wars can be attributed to the increased rate of fire made 
possible by improved methods of supply in the field and by the rapid-fire guns now 
in use. In wars fought before the introduction of quick-firing field guns, four or five 
rounds per day was the greatest average rate. Even this was reached only in the siege 
of Sebastopol, where armies were stationary and supply by water was easy, and in 
the American Civil War, which was characterized by advanced tactical develop- 
ments. The guns of the allied armies in France fired throughout the year 1918 at a 
rate about seven times greater than these previously high rates. 

supply as well as the actual number of rounds fired. Thus the 
machine gun of war increases its appetite, so to speak, for ammuni- 
tion 4,700 per cent in the first year of fighting. 

In the case of larger weapons the increase in ammunition con- 
sumption is even more startling. Prior to 1917 the War Department 
allotted to each 3-inch field gun 125 rounds of ammunition per year 



for practice firing. Ammunition for the 75-millimeter guns (the 
3-inch equivalent) was being produced to meet an estimated supply 
of 22,750 rounds for each gun in a single year, or an increased con- 
sumption of ammunition in war over peace of 18,100 per cent. 

Thus when a peace army of 100,000 becomes a war army of 
3,000,000 its ammunition consumption becomes not 30 times greater, 

Figure 3. 









Anstao-Prussian .. 

Basso-Japanese. . 

Balkan , 






| Prussian 

Austrian , 



Bulgarian , 

British and French. 

Rounds expended during war. 

I 15,326 

| 98,472 

■ 817,000 
H 954,000 

■ 700,000 


In one month. * 







United States. 



■ 1,950,000 
M 8,100,000 

III 81,070,000 

* Average, year ended Nov. 10, 1918. * Year ended June 30, 1884. * Year ended Nov. 10, 1918. 

The industrial effort necessary to maintain modern armies in action may be measured 
to a certain extent by their expenditure of artillery ammunition. European wars of 
the past 100 years were for the most part decided before peace-time reserves had been 
exhausted. The American Civil War, however, required for its decision an industrial 
mobilization at that time unprecedented, which, like the use in that war of intrench- 
ments by field armies, was more truly indicative of the trend of modern warfare than 
were the conditions of the more recent European wars. 

but anywhere from 48 to 182 times 30 times greater — an increase far 
out of proportion to its increase in the consumption of food, clothing, 
or other standard supplies. Modern invention has made possible and 
modern practice has put into effect a greatly augmented use of 
ammunition. Figures 1, 2, and 3 show graphically how ammunition 
expenditure has increased in modern times. 

30 America's munitions. 

Another circumstance that complicated the ordnance problem 
was the increasing tendency throughout the great war to use more 
and more the mechanical or machine methods of fighting as opposed 
to the older and simpler forms in which the human or animal factor 
entered to a greater extent. 

At the time the United States entered the war the regulations 
prescribed 50 machine guns as the equipment for an infantry divi- 
sion. When the armistice was signed the standard equipment of a 
division called for 260 heavy machine guns and 768 light automatic 
rifles. Of the heavy machine guns with a division, only 168 were 
supposed to be in active service, the remainder being in reserve 
or in use for anti-aircraft work. However, the comparison in the 
two standards of equipment shows the tendency toward machine 
methods in the wholesale kil l ing of modern warfare and indicates 
the fresh demands made upon the ordnance organization to procure 
this additional machinery of death. Moreover, when the fighting 
came to an end the A. E. F. was on the point of adding to its regi- 
mental and divisional equipment a further large number of auto- 
matic rifles. 

The day of the horse was passing in the great war as far as his 
connection with the mobile artillery was concerned, and the gasoline 
motor was taking his place, this tendency being accelerated particu- 
larly by America, the greatest nation of all in automotivity. Trucks 
and tractors to pull the guns, motor ammunition trucks displacing 
the old horse-drawn caissons and limbers, even self-propelling plat- 
forms for the larger field guns, with track laying or caterpillar mounts 
supplying not only mobility for the gun but aiming facilities as well; 
these were the fresh developments. Some of these improvements 
were produced and put in the field, the others were under develop- 
ment at the signing of the armistice. The whole tendency toward 
motorization served to complicate ordnance production in this 
country, not only in the supply of the weapons and traction devices 
themselves, but in the production of increased supplies of ammunition, 
since these improvements also tended to increase the rapidity with 
which bullets and shell were consumed. 

The total cost of the ordnance alone required to equip the first 
5,000,000 Americans called to arms was estimated to be between 
$12,000,000,000 and $13,000,000,000. This was equal to about half 
of all the money appropriated by Congresses of the United States 
from the first Continental Congress down to our declaration of war 
against Germany, out of which appropriations had been paid the 
cost of every war we ever had, including the Civil War, and the 
whole enormous expenses of the Government in every official activity 
of 140 years. To equip with ordnance an army of this size in the 


period projected meant the expenditure of money at a rate which 
would build a Panama Canal complete every 30 days. 

Above are sketched some of the difficulties of the situation. In 
our favor we had the greatest industrial organization in the world, 
engineering skill to rank with any, a race of people traditionally 
versatile in applying the forces of machinery to the needs of mankind, 
inventive genius which could match its accomplishments with those 
of the rest of the world added together, a capacity for organization 
that proved to be astonishingly effective in such an effort as the 
nation made in 1917 and 1918, enormous stores of raw materials, 
the country being more nearly self-sufficient in this respect than any 
other nation of the globe, magnificent facilities of inland transporta- 
tion, a vast body of skilled mechanics, and a selective-service law 
designed to take for the Army men nonessential to the Nation's 
industrial efforts for war and to leave in the workshops the men 
whose skill could not be withdrawn without subtracting somewhat 
from the national store of industrial ability. 

It only remains to sketch in swift outlines something of the accom- 
plishments of the American ordnance effort. In general it may be 
said that those projects of the ordnance program to which were 
assigned the shorter time limits were most successful. There never 
was a time when the production of smokeless powder and high ex- 
plosives was not sufficient for our own requirements, with large 
quantities left over for both France and England. 

America in 19 months of development built over 2,500,000 
shoulder rifles, a quantity greater than that produced either by 
England or by France in the same period, although both those 
countries in April, 1917, at the time when we started, had their 
rifle production already in a high stage of development. (See fig. 4.) 
However, the Franco-British production of rifles dropped in rate in 
1918 because there was no longer need for original rifle equipment 
for new troops. 

In the 19 months of war American factories produced over 
2,879,000,000 rounds of rifle and machine-gun ammunition. This 
was somewhat less than the production in Great Britain during the 
same period and somewhat less than that of France; but America 
began the effort from a standing start, and in the latter part of the 
war was turning out ammunition at a monthly rate twice that of 
France and somewhat higher than that of Great Britain. (See fig. 4.) 

Between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, America produced 
as many machine guns and automatic rifles as Great Britain did in 
the same period and 81 per cent of the number produced by France; 
while at the end of the effort America was building machine guns and 
machine rifles nearly three times as rapidly as Great Britain and 
more than twice as fast as France. (Fig. 4.) When it is considered 

32 America's munitions. 

that a long time must elapse before machine-gun factories can be 
equipped with the necessary machine tools and fixtures, the effort 
of America in this respect may be fairly appreciated. 

Prior to November 11, 1918, America produced in the 75-milli- 
meter size alone about 4,250,000 high-explosive shell, over 500,000 

Figure 4. 

Production op Rifles, "Machine Guns, and Ammunition, France and United 

States Compared with Great Britain. 


Machine guns and machine rifles: P«* cent of rate foe Great Britain. 

Great Britain . 10, 947 ■HHinVi 100 

France 12,126 msmmsmsmmmsmsmsmm 111 

United States. 27, 270 nWnMnWnVMHHnVHn 249 


Great Britain . 112,821 msmmssmsmsmsmsmm 100 

France 40,522 wsmsmm 36 

United States. 233,562 wsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmsmms^ 207 

Rifle and machine-gun ammuni- 
Great Britain . 259,769,000 wusmsmswsm—m 100 

France 139,845,000 m—swswm 54 

United States. 277,894,000 w—swsmsmmswms^sm 107 


Machine guns and machine rifles: p «" c «"* •* »»«• f«* <3r«u Britain. 

Great Britain . 181,404 wswswm—smswswm 100 

France 229,238 wsmswsms^smsmswmsm 126 

United States. 181,662 mmmmsmsmsmmm 100 


Great Britain . 1,971,764 ^smssmsmsmmsmsmm 100 

France 1,416,056 w—smsmmm 72 

United States. 2,506,742 msmmsmsmsmsmmsmmmm 127 

Rifle and machine-gun ammuni- 
Great Britain . 3,486,127,000 ■■■«■ 100 

France 2,983,675,000 ■■■■■h 86 

United States. 2,879,148,000 hhh^ 83 

British and French production of rifles during 1918 was at a lower rate than had been 
attained because there was no longer need for original equipment of troops. 

gas shell, and over 7,250,000 shrapnel. Of the high-explosive shell 
produced 2,735,000 were shipped to France up to November 15, 
1918. In all 8,500,000 rounds of shell of this caliber were floated — 
nearly two-thirds of it being shrapnel. American troops on the 
line expended a total of 6,250,000 rounds of 75-millimeter ammunition, 


i E*SS=5 

£ s ? «IIi 


largely high-explosive shell of French manufacture drawn from the 
Franco-American ammunition pool. American high-explosive shell 
were tested in France by the French ordnance experts and approved 
for use by the French artillery just before the armistice. 

In artillery ammunition rounds of all calibers America at the end 
of the war was turning out unfilled shell faster than the French and 
nearly as fast as the British; but, due to the shortage in adapters 
and boosters, a shortage rapidly being overcome at the end of the 
war, the rate of production of completed rounds was only about 

Production of Artillery Ammunition, France and United States Compared 

with Great Britain. 


[Types forme in A. E. F.) 
Unfitted rounds: p «" cent of rata for Great Britain. 

Great Britain 7,748,000 wsmsmmmmmmmsmmsmmmmmm 100 

France 6,661,000 bbbbbebbsbsseebeeeeeebbsbsi 86 

United States 7,044,000 MBSS«««SHiHi 91 

Complete rounds: 

Great Britain 7,347,000 wsmmsmsmmsmsmsmsmswsmmsmsmsm 100 

France 7,638,000 wms^msmmmmsmmmmtsms^smmm 104 

United States 2,712,000 ■bsssssseb 37 

Unfilled rounds: Per cent of rate for Great Britain. 

Great Britain 138,357,000 mmsmmsMmmmmmammmmmm 100 

France 156,170,000 mmsmmmsmsmsmsmsmmsmsmsmsmtmssm m 

United States 38,623,000 wsmsmssm 28 

Complete rounds: 

Great Britain 121,739,000 wsmsmsmasmsmmsmmmsmsmss^^ 100 

France 149,827,000 m^msmmsmsmsms^smsmsmmm^s^m^smm 123 

United States 17,260,000 bees 14 

one-third that of either Great Britain or France. In total produc- 
tion during her 19 months of belligerency America turned out 
more than one-quarter as many unfilled rounds as Great Britain did 
m the same time and about one-quarter as many as came from the 
French munition plants. In completed rounds alone did America 
lag far behind the records of the two principal allies during 1917 and 
1918. (Fig. 6.) 

The production of completed rounds of artillery ammunition was 
gaining rapidly, beginning with the early summer of 1918, and in the 
month of October was approaching half the rate of manufacture in 

109287°— 19 3 

84 America's munitions. 

Great Britain or in France. Figure 6 shows graphically the rate at 
which the artillery ammunition deliveries were expanding. 

In artillery proper the war ended too soon for American industry 
to arrive at a great production basis. The production of heavy 
ordnance units is necessarily a long and arduous effort even when 
plants are in existence and mechanical forces are trained in the work. 
America in large part had to build her ordnance industry from the 

Complete Rounds ow Artillery Ammunition Produced for the Army Each 
Month Dubinq 1918 (Figures in Thousands of Rounds). 

Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. 

ground up — buildings, machinery, and all — and to recruit and train 
the working forces after that. The national experience in artillery 
production in the great war most like our own was that of Great 
Britain, who started in from scratch, even as we did. It is interesting, 
then, to know how Great Britain expanded her artillery industry, and 
the testimony of the British ministry of munitions may throw a new 
light on our own efforts in this respect. In discussing artillery in the 


war the British ministry of munitions issued a statement from which 
the following is an excerpt: 

It ia very difficult to say how long it was before the British army was thoroughly 
equipped with artillery and ammunition. The ultimate size ol the army aimed at 
in continually increased during the first three years of the war, bo that the ordnance 
requirements were continually increasing. It is probably true to say that the equip- 
ment of the army as planned in the early summer of 1915 was completed by Septem- 
ber, 1916. Ab a result, however, of tho battle of Verdun and the early stages of the 
battle of the Somme, a great change was made in the standard of equipment per 
division of the army, followed by further increases in September, 1916. The army 
was not completely equipped on this new scale until spring, 1918. 

Comfletk Units or Mobile Artillery Produced von the Akmy Each Month 

Feb. Mar. Apr. May. June. July. Aug. Sept. 

Thus it took England three and a half years to equip her army 
completely with artillery and ammunition on the scale called for at 
the end of the war. On this basis America, when the armistice came, 
had two years before her to equal the record of Great Britain in this 

As to the production of gun bodies ready for mounting, the attain- 
ments of American ordnance were more striking. At the end of the 

36 America's munitions. 

fighting America had passed the British rate of production and was 
approaching that of the French. In totals for the whole war period 
(Apr. 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918) the American production of gun 
bodies could scarcely be compared with either that of the British or 
that of the French, this due to the fact that it required many months 
to build up the forging plants before production could go ahead. 

In completed artillery units the American rate of production at 
the end of the war was rapidly approaching both that of the British 
and that of the French. In total production of complete units in 
the 19 months of war, American ordnance turned out about one- 
quarter as many as came from the British ordnance plants and less 
than one-fifth as many as the French produced in the same period. 
Figure 8 represents visually America's comparative performances 
in the production of gun bodies and complete artillery units. 


FlGUBE 8. 

Production op Artillery, France and United States Compared with Great 


Oun bodies (new): Per cen * °* ™ to for Great Britain. 

Great Britain 802 hhhimphi 100 

France 1,138 hi^hhhmmh 142 

United States 832 ■mmmhb104 

Complete waits: 

Great Britain 486 wm—am—a——m—am\W 

France 659 ■nMHMMHH 136 

United States 412 bhhhm85 


Oun bodies (new): Per eent «* rato for Great Britain. 

Great Britain 11,852 ■hh^^hhIOO 

France 19,492 Mammmmam—mmm—mmm——mlbt 

United States 4,275 hmb 36 

Complete units: 

Great Britain 8,065 ■hh^^hmIOO 

France 11,056 mmmhhmhh137 

United States 2,008 MM 25 

Stress has sometimes been laid upon the fact that the American 
Army was required to purchase considerable artillery and other 
supplies abroad, the latter including airplanes, motor trucks, food 
and clothing, and numerous other materials. Yet, balanced against 
this fact is that every time we spent a dollar with the allied govern- 
ments for ordnance, we sold ordnance, or materials for conversion 
into munitions to the allied governments to the value of five dollars. 



The inter-allied ordnance agreement provided that certain muni- 
tions plants in the United States should continue to furnish supplies 
to the allies, and that additional plants for the allies should be built 
up and fostered by us. Thus, while we were purchasing artillery 
and ammunition from the allies we were shipping to them great 
quantities of raw materials, half-completed parts, and completely 
assembled units, and such war-time commodities as powder and 
explosives, forgings for cannon and other heavy devices, motors, and 
structural steel. The following table shows the ordnance balance 
sheet between America and the allied governments: 

Purchase and tales from Apr. £, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918. 

Purchases: By Army Ordnance Department from Allied govern- 
ments 1450,234,256.85 


By Army Ordnance Department to Allied governments 200, 616, 402. 00 

By United States manufacturers other than Army Ordnance 
Department to Allied governmen ts '. 2, 094, 787, 984. 00 

Total 2,295,404,386.00 

The credit for the ordnance record can not go merely to those men 
who wore the uniform and were part of the ordnance organization. 
Rather it is due to American science, engineering, and industry, all 
of which combined their best talents to make the ordnance develop- 
ment worthy of America's greatness. 


The sole use of a gun is to throw a projectile. The earliest pro- 
jectile was a stone thrown by the hand and arm of man-wither in 
an attack upon an enemy or upon a beast that was being hunted for 
food. Both of these uses of thrown projectiles persist to this day; 
and durirfg all time, from prehistoric days until now, every man who 
had a projectile to throw was steadily seeking for a longer range 
and a heavier projectile. 

The man who could throw the heaviest stone the longest distance 
was the most powerfully armed. In the Biblical battle between 
David and Goliath, the arm of David was strengthened and length- 
ened by a leather sling of very simple construction. Much practice 
had given the young shepherd muscular strength and direction, and 
his longer arm and straighter aim gave him power to overcome his 
more heavily armed adversary. 

Later, machines were developed after the fashion of a crossbow 
mounted upon a small wooden carriage which usually was a hollowed 
trough open on top and upon which a heavy stone was laid. The 
thong of the crossbow was drawn by a powerful screw operated by 
man power, and the crossbow arrangement when released would 
throw a stone weighing many pounds quite a distance over the walls 
of a besieged city or from such walls into the camps and ranks of 
the besiegers. This again was an attempt by mechanical means to 
develop and lengthen the stroke of the arm and the weight of the 

With the development of explosives, which was much earlier than 
many people suppose, there came a still greater range and weight of 
projectile thrown, although the first guns were composed of staves of 
wood fitted together and hooped up like a long, slender barrel, wound 
with wet rawhide in many folds, which, when dried, exerted a com- 
pressive force upon the staves of the barrel exactly as do the steel 
hoops of barrels used in ordinary commercial life to-day. 

This, the first gun, sufficed for a long while until the age of iron 
came. And then the same principle of gun construction was fol- 
lowed as is seen in that historical gun, the "Mons Meg," in the castle 
at Edinburgh. The barrel of that gun is made of square bars of 


iron, placed lengthwise, and similar bars of iron were wrapped hot 
around the staves to confine them in place and to give more resisting 
power than was possible with the wooden staves and the rawhide 

Thus, all during the age of iron, gun development went steadily 
forward. Every military power was always striving by the aid of 
its best engineers, designers, and manufacturers to get a stronger 
gun, either with or without a heavier projectile, but in every case 
striving for greater power. As a special development we find in 
March, 1918, the now famous long-range gun of the Germans, which 
was at that time trained upon Paris, where it successfully delivered 
a shell approximately 9 inches in diameter, punctually every 20 
minutes for a good part of each day until the gun was worn out. 
This occurred after a comparatively small number of shots, probably 
not more than 75 in all. The rapid wearing out was due to the 
immense demands of the long range upon the material of the gun. 
The Germans in the shelling of Paris used three of these long-range 
weapons and 183 shells are known to have fallen in the city. 

The Germans evidently calculated with great care and experience 
upon the factors leading up to this famous long-range type of gun, 
which had an effective shooting distance of approximately 75 miles, 
which range, in the opinion of our experts, it is now quite easy for an 
experienced designer and manufacturer to equal and excel at will. In 
fact, one would hesitate to place a limit upon the length of range that 
could be achieved by a gun that it is now possible to design and build. 
In this connection it is interesting to note that the great French ord- 
nance works at Le Greusot in 1892 produced the first known and well- 
authenticated long-range gun, which was constructed from the design 
of a 12-inch gun, but bored down to throw a 6-inch projectile. And 
instead of the usual 8 miles expected from the flight of a 6-inch shell 
this early Greusot long-range gun gave a range of approximately 21 
miles with a 6-inch projectile, using a 12-inch gun's powder charge. 

Closely connected with the development of the gun itself, and a nec- 
essary element of the gun's successful use, is the requirement that the 
weapon itself be easily transported from point to point, where its 
available range and capacity for throwing the projectile can be 
made of maximum use. This requires a gun carriage which has 
within itself various functions, the primary one being to establish 
the gun in the desired position where it can be made most effective 
against the enemy. Then, too, the gun carriage must have stability 
in order to withstand, absorb, and care for the enormous recoil 
energies let loose by the firing of the gun. It is obvious that the 
force which propels the projectile forward is equal to the reacting 
force to the rear, and in order to care for, absorb, and distribute to 
the earth this reacting force to the rear the carriage must have 

40 America's munitions. 

within itself some very peculiar and important properties. To this 
end there is provided what is known as a "brake, " which permits the 
gun, upon the moment 6f firing, to slide backward bodily within the 
controlling apparatus mounted upon a fixed carriage. 

The sliding of the whole gun to the rear by means of the mechanism 
of the brake is controlled, as to speed and time, by springs, by com- 
pressed air, by compressed oil, etc., either all together or in combina- 
tions of two or three of these agencies; so that the whole recoil 
energy is absorbed and the rearward action of the gun brought 
to rest in a fraction of a second and in but a very few inches of 
travel. The strains are distributed from the recoil mechanism to 
the fixed portion of the carriage that is necessarily anchored to the 
ground by means of spades, which the recoil force of each shot sets 
more firmly into the ground, so that the whole apparatus is thus 
steadily held in place for successive shots. 

In mobile artillery, again, rapid firing is a prime essential. The 
75-millimeter gun of modern manufacture is capable of being fired 
at a rate in excess of 20 shots a minute — that is, a shot every 3 seconds. 

Rarely however, is a gun served as rapidly as this. The more 
usual rate of fire is 6 shots a minute or 1 about each 10 seconds, and 
this rate of fire can be maintained in the 75-millimeter gun with 
great accuracy over a comparatively long period. 

The larger guns are served at proportionately slower rates, 
until as the calibers progress to the 14-inch rifles, which have been 
set up upon railway mounts as well as on fixed emplacements 
for seacoast defense, the rate of fire is reduced to one shot in three 
minutes for railway mounts, and to one shot a minute for seacoast 
mounts, although upon occasions a more rapid rate of fire can be 

Under rapid fire conditions, the gun becomes very hot, owing to 
the heat generated by the combustion of the powder within the gun 
at pressures as high as 35,000 pounds per square inch or more, which 
are generated at the moment of fire. This heat is communicated 
through the walls of the gun and taken off by the cooling properties of 
the air. Nevertheless, the wall of the gun becomes so hot that it 
would scorch or burn a hand laid upon it. The rapid fire and heating 
of the gun lessens the effective life of the weapon, due to the fact 
that the hot powder gases react more rapidly on hot metal than 
they do upon cold metal; hence a gun will last many rounds longer 
if fired at a slow rate than if fired at a rapid rate. 

It may be helpful to keep in mind throughout that the sole pur- 
pose of a gun is to fire a projectile, as was stated at the very begin- 
ning of this chapter. All other operations connected with the life of 
a gun, its manufacture, its transportation to the place where it is to 
be used, its aiming, its loading and all its functions and operations 
are bound up in the single purpose of actually firing the shot. 


Consider now for a moment, the life of, let us say, one of the 14- 
inch guns. 

In the great steel mills it requires hundreds and perhaps thousands 
of workmen to constitute the force necessary to handle the enor- 
mous masses of steel through the various processes which finally 
result in the finished gun. 

From the first operation in the steel mill it requires perhaps as 
long as 10 months to produce the gun ready for the first test. 
During the 10 months of manufacture of one of these 14-inch 
rifles there has been expended for the gun and its carriage approxi- 
mately $200,000. Of course, while it requires 10 months to make a 
final delivery of one gun after its first operation is commenced, it 
should be remembered that yet other guns are following in series and 
that in a well-equipped ordnance factory two and perhaps three 
guns per month of this kind can be turned out continuously, if 

Remembering now that it requires 10 months to produce one such 
14-inch rifle and that its whole purpose is to fire a shot, consider now 
the time required to fire this shot. As the primer is fired and the 
powder charge ignited the projectile begins to move forward in the 
bore of the gun at an increasingly rapid rate, so that by the time it 
emerges from the muzzle and starts on its errand of death and destruc- 
tion, it has taken from a thirtieth to a fiftieth of* a second in time, 
depending upon certain conditions. 

Assuming that a fiftieth of a second has been taken up and that 
the life of a large high-pressure gun at a normal rate of firing is 150 
shots, it is obvious then that in the actual firing of these 150 shots 
only three seconds of time are consumed. Therefore, the active life 
of the gun, which it has taken 10 months to build, is but three 
seconds long in the actual performance of the function of throwing 
a shot. 

However, after the gun has fired its life of 150 shots it is a compara- 
tively simple and inexpensive matter to bore out the worn-out liner 
and insert a new liner, thus fitting the gun again for service, with an 
expenditure of time and money much less than would be required in 
the preparation of a new gun. 

As the size of the powder charge decreases, a progressively longer 
life of the walls of the bore of a gun is attained, so that we have had 
the experience of a 75-millimeter gun firing 12,000 rounds without 
serious effect upon the accuracy of fire. Large-caliber guns, such 
as 12-inch howitzers, with the reduced powder charge required for 
the lower muzzle velocities employed in howitzer attack, have retained 
their accuracv of fire after 10,000 rounds. 

From the fact that when in action guns are served with ammunition, 
aimed, fired* and cared for by a crew of men carefully trained to 

42 America's munitions. 

every motion involved in the successful use of the gun, it is most 
essential that the design and the material shall be such, both as to 
calculation in the design and as to manufacture in the material, as 
will insure the maintenance of the morale of the crew that serves the 
gun. Each man must be confident to the very last bit of fiber 
in his make-up that his gun is the best gun in the world, that it 
will behave properly, that it will protect him and his fellow soldiers 
who are caring for the welfare of their country, that it will respond 
accurately and well to every demand made upon it, that it will not 
yield or burst, that it will not shoot wild, but that it will in every 
respect give the result required in its operation. 

To this end it has for generations been known that the require- 
ments of manufacture of ordnance material, particularly for the body 
of the gun, are of the very highest order and call for the finest 
attainable quality in material, workmanship, and design. 

It is well known and admitted that the steel employed in the 
manufacture of guns must be of the highest quality and of the finest 
grade for its purpose. It requires the most expert knowledge of the 
manufacture of steel to obtain this grade and quality. Until re- 
cently this knowledge in America was confined to the Ordnance 
officers of the Army and of the Navy and to a comparatively small 
number of manufacturers — not more than four in all — and only 
two of these manufacturers had provided the necessary equipment 
and appliances lor the manufacture of complete guns. 

Until 1914 the number of guns whose manufacture was provided 
for in this country as well as in the countries of Europe, excepting 
Germany, was very small. It might be stated that the sum total of 
guns purchased by the United States from the two factories men- 
tioned did not exceed an average of 55 guns a year in calibers of 
from 3-inch to 14-inch, and that the stock of guns which by this 
low rate of increase of manufacture had been provided for us was 
pitifully small with which to enter a war of the magnitude of the 
one through which this country has just passed. 

The two factories in question not having been encouraged by 
large purchases of ordnance material, as were similar industries in 
Germany, were not capable of volume production when we entered 
the war. But at the same time the gun bodies produced by these 
concerns at least equaled in quality those built in any other country 
on earth; so that while the big-gun-making art was in existence in 
this country and was maintained as to quality, it was most insuffi- 
cient as to the quantity of the production available. 

When the United States faced the war in April, 1917, arrange- 
ments were at once entered into to obtain in the shortest space of 
time an adequate supply of finished artillery of all calibers required 
by our troops and to get this supply in time to meet our men as 


they should set foot on the shores of France. Many thousands 
of forgings for guns, and finished guns too, had been ordered by 
the allies of the few gun makers in this country; and these makers 
were, at the time we got into the conflict, fully occupied for at least 
a year ahead with orders from the French and English ordnance 
departments. All of this production was immediately useful and 
available for the combined armies of the allies, and so it was 
allowed to go forward, the forgings preventing a gap in the output of 
the finished articles from the British and French arsenals which were 
then using the Bemifinished guns made in the old factories in exist- 
ence in this country in April, 1917. 

Some idea of the volume of this production in this country will 
be gained from the following table showing material supplied to the 
allies between April, 1917, and the date of the signing of the armis- 
tice, November 11, 1918. 

Guns of calibers from 3-inch to 9.5-inch furnished to the allies 1, 102 

Additional gun forgings furnished to the allies tubes. . 14, 623 

Shell and shell forgings furnished to the allies in this period pieces. . 5, 018, 451 

In supplying all of this material from our regular sources of manu- 
facture in this country to the finishing arsenals of the allies we were 
but maintaining our position as a part of the general source of supply. 
The plan of the French and British ordnance engineers at the out- 
break of the war in 1914 was to build their factories as quickly and as 
extensively as could possibly be done. By the time the United States 
entered the war all of these factories were in operation and clamoring 
for raw material at a rate which was far in excess of that which could 
be supplied by the home steel makers in Great Britain and France. 
Consequently their incursions into the semifinished ordnance material 
supplies in the United States were necessary. In sending these 
large quantities of our own materials abroad, when we needed them 
ourselves, we were distinctly adding to the rate and quantity of the 
supply of finished ordnance for the use of our own Army in the field 
as well as being at the same time of inestimable value to the allies. 
This was because the French and British had agreed to supply our first 
armies with finished fighting weapons while we were giving them the 
raw materials which they needed so badly. 

The four gunmakers in America meanwhile were t>eing expanded 
into a total of 19 makers. All of these 19 factories during the month 
of October, 1918, were practically in full operation. Many of them 
were producing big guns at a faster rate than that for which the plants 
had been designed. In the month of October, 1918, with 3 of the 19 
factories yet to have their machine-tool equipment completed, there 
were produced 2,031 sets of gun forgings between the calibers of 
3-inch and 9.5-inch, which is at the rate of upward of 24,000 guns a 
year. This figure, of course, does not indicate anything of the gun- 


America s MinsrmoNS. 

finishing capacity of the country; yet this expansion may be con- 
trasted to the fact that our supply of finished guns prior to 1917 
amounted only to 55 weapons a year. 

Monthly production of finished cannon, ranging in size from 15 millimeters to £40 milli- 
meters, at the various machining and assembling plants. 1 



















3-inch antiaircraft 




ifiR-milllmet** hnwitz«r 






155-milliniAtAr gun L 

8-inch howitzer 




24Q.mflltmAt?i'hnw1tr ( ?r. . 




































3-inch antiaircraft 




IfiA-TnillirnatAr howitzer- , . . , 


155-mllliniAtAr gun. _ . 

8-inch howitzer*. 



240-millimeter howit*«r 










Monthly production of cannon forgings. 




























ifiK-rninnnet«r howHzfr - 























76-Tni]HmAter. . . 
























iftfi-TnliiirnctAr howitzer. 




240-milUmeter howitzer T . , . 










i Carriages! recuperators, and sights had to be added to these cannon to males them complete units 
ready for service. 


Oar chain of gun factories, that were making this remarkable 
production, were built as follows: 

One at the Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, Mass., near Boston, 
for the manufacture of rough machined gun forgings of the larger 
mobile calibers. This factory was entirely built and equipped on 
Government land with Government money and is splendidly able 
to produce rough machined gun forgings of the highest quality at 
the rate of two sets a day for the 155-millimeter G. P. F. rifles, and 
one set a day of the 240-millimeter howitzers. 

At Watervliet Arsenal, Watervliet, N. Y., large extensions were 
made to the existing plant that had always been the Army's prime 
reliance for the finishing and the assembly of guns of all calibers, 
including the very largest. This plant was extended to manu- 
facture complete four of the 240-millimeter howitzers each day, and 
two a day of the 155-millimeter G. P. F. guns. 

At Bridgeport, Conn., there was constructed a complete new factory 
by the Bullard Engineering Works for the United States to turn out 
four 155-millimeter G. P. F. guns a day. 

At Philadelphia, the Tacony Ordnance Corporation, as agents for 
the Government, erected complete a new factory officered and manned 
by experts well-trained and experienced in the difficult art of the 
manufacture of steel and gun forgings. On October 11, 1917, the 
grounds for this great undertaking had been merely staked out for 
the outline of the buildings. Seven months later, on May 15, 1918, 
the entire group of buildings, comprising a complete steel works from 
making the steel to the final completion of 155-millimeter gun forgings, 
was entirely erected at a cost of about $3,000,000. This difficult and 
rapid building operation was carried through successfully during the 
extraordinarily severe winter of 1917-18. On June 29, 1918, the first 
carload of gun forgings was accepted and shipped from this plant, 
so we have the marvelous enterprise of building a complete steel 
works from the bare ground forward to the shipment of its first 
forgings in a total elapsed time of only eight and one-half months. 

At another, the works of the Midvale Steel Co. in Philadelphia, 
large extensions were made to enable some of the larger guns to be 
produced, to be finished later at the Watervliet Arsenal. 

At the Bethlehem Steel Co.'s plant, Bethlehem, Pa., as early as 
May, 1917, orders were placed and appropriations allotted for 
expansions to this enterprise to enable a rapid output of a larger 
number of gun forgings and finished guns. 

Large extensions were made at the works of the Standard Steel 
Works Co., Burnham, Pa., to increase their existing forging and 
heat treating facilities, so that at this plant two sets of 155-milli- 
meter howitzers and one set of 155-millimeter gun forgings were 
produced each day. 

46 America's munitions. 

At Pittsburgh, Pa., tho plants of the Heppenstall Forge & Knife 
Co. and the Edgowater Steel Co. were extended so as to provide for 
the daily production at the first plant of forgings for one 3-inch 
antiaircraft gun and one 4.7-inch gun, and at the second plant of 
forgings for one 155-millimeter G. P. F. gun and one 240-millimeter 
howitzer per day. 

At Columbus, Ohio, the Buckeye Steel & Castings Co. in combina- 
tion with the works of the Symington-Anderson Co. at Rochester, 
N. Y., had their facilities extended to provide for the manufacture 
each day of six sets of forgings for the 75-millimeter guns. 

At the Symington-Anderson Co. in Rochester, N. Y., there was 
provided a finishing plant for the 75-millimeter gun with a capacity 
of 15 finished guns per day. 

At Erie, Pa., one of the most remarkable achievements in rapid 
construction and successful mechanical operation was performed by 
the ereotion of a plant that was commenced in July, 1917, and out 
of which the first production was shipped to the Aberdeen Prov- 
ing Grounds in February, 1918. The American Brake Shoe & Foun- 
dry Co. built and operated this plant as agents for the Ordnance 
Department, and much credit is due them for their energy and 
organizing capacity. 

It is doubtful if history records any similar enterprise in which 
guns were turned out in a plant seven months from the date of 
beginning the erection of the factory. This plant was laid out to 
manufacture 10 of the 155-millimeter Schneider^ type howitzers a 
day, and before the signing of the armistice it had more than fulfilled 
every expectation by regularly turning out up to 15 howitzers a 
day, or 90 a week. 

At Detroit, Mich., the Chalkis Manufacturing Co. adapted an 
existing plant, and additional facilities were erected for the manu- 
facture of three of the 3-inch antiaircraft guns each day. 

At Madison, Wis., the Northwestern Ordnance Co. erected for 
the United States an entire new factory, beautifully equipped for 
the manufacture of four guns a day of the 4.7-inch model. 

At Milwaukee, Wis., the Wisconsin Gun Co. put up for the Govern- 
ment an entirely new works capable of finishing six 75-millimeter 
guns each day. The plants at both Milwaukee and Madison 
acquitted themselves very well and gave us guns of the highest 

At Chicago, the Illinois Steel Co. expanded existing facilities 
to produce more of the necessary electric furnace steel, which was 
foiged into guns at several works producing gun forgings, both for 
the Army and Navy. 

At Indiana Harbor, Ind., the works of the Standard Forgings Co., 
whose sole business had been the volume production of forgings with 


steam hammers and hydraulic presses, were expanded to the enor- 
mous degree of producing each day 10 sets of gun forgings for the 
155-millimeter howftzer and 25 sets a day for the 75-millimeter gun. 
It should be stated that this was a triumph of organizing ability and 
that this factory was one of our main reliances for these guns. 

At Gary, Ind., the American Bridge Co. created what is perhaps 
the finest gun-forging plant in the world, comprising four presses 
from 1,000 tons to 3,000 tons forging capacity and all the other nec- 
essary apparatus for the production each day of two sets of 155- 
millimeter G. P. F. guns and the equivalent of one and one-half sets 
a day of the 240-millimeter howitzers. 

. At Baltimore, Md., the plant of the Hess Steel Corporation was 
enlarged from its peace-time capacity and caused to produce at three 
times its normal rate the special steels required for gun manufacture. 

It will become evident that the collection of machinery, buildings, 
and equipment necessary to produce these guns in the short space of 
time required and at the rate of production stipulated, was an enor- 
mous task in itself. It required the production of vast quantities of 
raw materials and the congregating in one place of large numbers 
of men capable of undertaking the exceedingly intricate mechanical 
processes of manufacture. The success of this plan and its carrying 
out is due largely to the loyalty of the manufacturers who unselfishly 
came forward early in 1917 and agreed at the request of the Ordnance 
Department to turn over their plants, lock, stock, and barrel, to the 
requirements of the department; agreed also to undertake the manu- 
facture of products totally unfamiliar to them; agreed likewise 
to lend all of their organizing ability and great material resources 
to the success of the plants which the United States found necessary 
to build in the creation of a new art, in new locations and in an 
extent theretofore undreamed of. 


Steel, of course, and steel in some of its finest forms is the basis of 
gun manufacture. The word "steel" for the purposo of producing 
guns means much more than is ordinarily carried by the word in its 
everyday and most commonly accepted use. Only steel of the very 
highest quality is suitable for gun manufacture, as was indicated previ- 
ously when attention was directed to the complete reliance which the 
operating crews must place in their guns and the severity of the uses 
to which the big guns are put. 

Let us take a hasty trip through a big gun plant, watching the 
processes through which is finally evolved from the raw materials one 
of our hardy and efficient big guns. 

Entering an open-hearth furnace building at one of our big gun 
plants, we find two large furnaces in which the raw materials are 

48 America's munitions. 

charged. Each of these furnaces is 75 feet long and 15 feet wide, 
and in them in a shallow bath or pool lies the molten steel. The 
pool is about 33 feet long by 12 feet wide and approximately 2$ feet 
deep. This pool, or "bath" as it is termed, weighs approximately 
60 tons and is composed of pig iron and well-selected scrap steel 
from previous operations. 

The furnace is at all times during the operation of melting these 
raw materials in the bath kept at such a high temperature that the 
eye may not look within at the molten mass without being protected 
with blue glass or smoked glass, exactly as when looking at the 
noonday sun. The eye can see nothing in the atmosphere of the 
bath in which the steel is being melted and refined because the 
temperature is so exceedingly high that it gives a light as white as 
that of the sun. 

After 12 or 15 hours of refining treatment in this furnace the metal 
is tested, analyzed in the chemical laboratory, and, if found to be 
refined to the proper degree, it is allowed to flow out of the furnace 
on the opposite side from that through which it entered. Flowing 
out of the furnace the entire charge of 60 tons finds its way into a 
huge ladle which is suspended from a traveling crane capable of 
safely carrying this greaf weight. 

The ladle is then transferred by the crane to a heavy cast-iron 
mold which is built so as to contain as much of the 60 tons of molten 
metal as is required for the particular gun forging under manufacture. 

The mold, which we have before us now on our imaginary trip 
through the gun plant, will provide an "ingot" from the molten 
metal that will be 40 inches in diameter and 100 inches high. On 
top of this ingot is a brick-lined so-called "sinkhead." This sink- 
head is that portion of the molten metal that has been allowed to 
cool more slowly in the brick lining than the ingot does in the cast- 
iron mold proper. The ingot with the sinkhead will weigh approxi- 
mately 60,000 pounds. 

This sinkhead is to insure greater solidity to the portion of the 
ingot which is used for the gun forging. Only that part of the ingot 
below the sinkhead enters the forging. The sinkhead itself is cut off 
while hot under the press in a subsequent operation and afterwards 

Next the ingot is placed under a 2,000-ton forging press which 
handles ingots up to 45 inches in diameter. There it is forged into a 
square shape after coming from the mold in an octagonal form. 
Previous to its being put under this press, however, a careful chemical 
analysis has been made of the ingot to determine that it is satis- 
factory for gun purposes, and then before being put under the press 
the whole ingot is heated in the charge chamber and fired either by 
a gas or oil flame. 





1,500' F»hr«nhBlt or until a bright yellow color, uniform in m 

* TUBE FOR A 12-INi 



The forging press used for the larger caliber guns, such as 14-inch 
and 16-inch, is of a 9,000-ton weight capacity. 

After the ingot forging has been reduced from squareness to a 
cylindrical shape under the press, it is allowed to cool, then taken to 
the machine shop, where it is turned and the hole through which 
the projectile ultimately will pass is bored into it. This hole is 
somewhat smaller than the diameter of the projectile, because in 
die finishing operation, when the gun is assembled finally and put 
together, the hole must be within one-one-thousandth of an inch of 
the diameter required, which is all the tolerance that is allowed 
from the accuracy to which the projectiles are brought. Otherwise 
the accuracy of the gun in firing would be injured and the reliability 
of its aim would not be satisfactory. 

During all of these operations with the ingot, the steel is largely 
in the soft condition in which it left the forging press. As is well 
known, steel is capable of taking many degrees of ' ' temper.' ' Temper 
is an old term that no longer is quite descriptive of the condition 
desired or obtained, but it is sufficiently expressive of the condition 
desired for the purposes here. This condition is one of a certain 
degree of hardness — greater than that ordinarily carried by the soft 
steel — combined with the greatest obtainable' degree of toughness. 
This combination of hardness and toughness produced to the proper 
degree resists the explosive power of the powder and also causes the 
wear on the gun in firing to be diminished and made as slight as 

To effect this combination of hardness and toughness it is neces- 
sary to take the bored and turned tubes of the guns and suspend 
them by means of a specially made apparatus in a furnace where they 
are heated for a period of perhaps eight hours to a temperature of 
approximately 1,500° F, or a bright-yellow oolor, uniform in every 
part of the piece. . 

After being subjected to this treatment for the time mentioned, 
the tube is then conducted by means of a traveling crane ap- 
paratus to a tank of warm water in which it is dipped and the 
heat rapidly taken from it down to a point of practically atmos- 
pheric temperature. This " quench' ' as it is called, produces the 
required degree of hardness called for by the ordnance officers' 
design; but the piece has not yet got the required degree of tough- 
ness. This toughness is now imparted to the hard piece by heating 
it once more in another furnace to a temperature of approximately 
1,100° F., or a warm rosy red, for a period of perhaps 14 hours. 
From this temperature, the piece is allowed to cool naturally and 
slowly to the atmospheric temperature. 

The ordnance inspectors at this point determine whether the piece 
has the required properties in a sufficient degree, by cutting from the 

109287°— 19 4 

50 America's munitions. 

tube a piece 5 inches long and | inch in diameter. The ends of this 
piece are threaded suitably for gripping in a machine. The piece is 
then pulled until the half-inch stem breaks. The machine registers 
the amount of force required to break this piece and this gives the 
ordnance engineer his test as to the degree of hardness and tough- 
ness to which the piece has been brought by the heat treatment 
processes just described. 

A satisfactory physical condition having been determined by 
pulling and breaking the test pieces described, the whole forging is 
sent to the finishing shop where it is machined to a mirror polish on 
all its surfaces. The diameters are accurately measured and the f org- 
ings assembled into the shape of a finished gun. 

In this process there is required a different kind of care and accu- 
racy. Up until this time the care has been to provide a metal of 
proper consistency and quality. From this point forward the manu- 
facture of a gun requires the machining and fitting of this metal into 
a shape and form so accurate that the full strength of the gun and 
the best accuracy of fire may be attained. 

To explain how and why hoops are placed upon the gun tubing 
and how the various hoops are shrunk from the outside diameter of 
the gun will require a "few lines. 

Cannon are made of concentric cylinders shrunk one upon another. 
The object of this method of construction is twofold. The distinctly 
practical object is the attainment throughout the wall of each cylinder 
of the soundness and uniformity of metal which is more certainly to 
be had in thin pieces than in thick ones; the other object is more 
closely connected with the theory of gun construction. 

When a hollow cylinder is subjected to an interior pressure the 
walls of the cylinder are not uniformly strained throughout their 
thickness, but the layer at the bore is much more severely strained 
than that at the outside. This can be readily seen if we consider a 
cylinder of rubber, for example, with a bore of 1 inch and an exterior 
diameter of 3 inches, which are about the proportions of many guns. 
If we put an interior air pressure on the cylinder until we expand the 
bore to 2 inches, the exterior diameter will not thereby be increased 1 
inch. But supposing that it were increased as much as the bore, 
that is, 1 inch, we would have the diameter, and therefore the cir- 
cumference, of the bore increased 100 per cent, and the circumference 
of the exterior increased 33 J per cent. That is, the layer at the bore 
would be strained three times as much as that at the exterior, and the 
interior layer would commence to tear before that at the exterior 
would reach anything like its limit of strength. The whole wall of 
the cylinder therefore would not be contributing its full strength 
toward resisting the interior pressure, and there would be a waste of 
material as well as a loss of strength. 


Let us now consider, instead of our simple cylinder, a built-up 
cylinder composed of two concentric ones, the inner one of a bore 
originally a little greater than 1 inch, and the outer one of exterior 
diameter a little less than three inches, originally; so that when the 
outer one is pressed over the inner one (its inner diameter being origin- 
ally too small for it to go over the inner one without stretching) the 
bore of the inner one is brought to 1 inch, and the exterior of the outer 
one to 3 inches. We now have a cylinder of the same dimensions as 
our simple one,but in a different state; the layers of the inner one being 
compressed and those of the outer one extended. 

If now we commence to put air pressure on the bore, we can put on 
a certain amount before we wipe out the compression of the inner 
layer, and bring it to a neutral state, and thereafter can go on putting 
on more pressure until we stretch the inner layer 100 per cent beyond 
the neutral state, as before; which would take just as much additional 
pressure as the total pressure which we employed with our simple 
cylinder. We have therefore gained all that pressure which is neces- 
sary to bring the inner layer of our built-up cylinder from its state of 
compression to the neutral state. If we have so proportioned the 
diameter of junction of our inner and outer cylinders and so gauged 
the amount of stretching required to get the outer one over the inner 
one that we have not in the process caused any of the layers of the 
outer one to be overstrained, the gain has been a roal one, attained by 
causing the layers of the outer cylinder to make a better contribution 
of strength toward resisting the interior pressure. This is the theory 
of the built-up gun. 

The number of cylinders employed generally increases, up to a 
certain limit, with the size of the gun, practical considerations govern- 
ing; and the "shrinkage," or amount by which the inner diameter 
of the outer cylinder is less than the outer diameter of the one which 
it is to be shrunk over, is a matter of nice calculation. Roughly 
speaking, it is about one and one half one-thousandths of an inch for 
each inch of diameter, varying with the position of the cylinder in 
the gun; and its accurate attainment, throughout the length of the 
cylinder of a large gun, is a delicate matter of the gun-maker's art 
and the machinist's skill. 

The method of assembly is to have the cold tube set upright and 
prepared for a circulation of water within the bore of the tube to 
keep it cool. Then the hoop, whose inside diameter is smaller 
than the outside diameter of the tube on which it is to be shrunk, 
is measured and carefully heated to a temperature of approximately 
450° F., or just about the temperature of a good oven for baking or 
roasting. This mild temperature so expands the material in the hoop 
&&t the difference of diameter is overcome and the hot hoop is ex- 
panded to a larger inside diameter than the outside diameter of the 

52 America's munitions. 

cold tube on which the hoop is to be placed. Next the hot, expanded 
hoop is placed in position around the breech end of the tube, and 
slowly and carefully cooled, so that in contracting from the high tem- 
perature to the low ordinary temperature, the hoop shrinks toward its 
original diameter and thus exerts an inclosing pressure or compressive 
strain upon the breech end of the tube. 

Now when the gun is fired the tube tends to expand under the 
pressure and this expansion is resisted, first by the compressive 
force exerted by the shrunken hoop and later by the hoop itself, 
so that the built-up system is stronger and better able to resist 
the explosive charge of the burning powder than would be the case 
if the gun were made in one piece and of the same thickness of 

This brief explanation will show why so many pieces are provided 
for the manufacture of the finished gun and the reason for the large 
number of machine tools and machining operations necessary in 
order to carry forward the manufacture of the finished article. Some- 
times one or more of the outer cylinders are replaced by layers of 
wire, wound under tension. 

Both our 4.7-inch gun, model 1906, with which our troops have 
been equipped for a long time and which throws a projectile weighing 
45 pounds a distance of about 6 miles, and the French 75-millimeter 
(2.95-inch) gun, successfully used by the French since 1897, were 
designed to be drawn by horses, and the guns are best used when 
drawn by teams of 6 or 8 horses. As the horse has a sustained pulling 
power of only 650 pounds, it is obvious that the weight to be drawn 
by the team of 6 horses must not be more than 3,900 pounds. So 
there is every incentive for making mobile artillery of this kind as 
light as possible, consistent with the strength required {or the work 
to be done. Thus the pulling power of the horse coupled with his 
speed has been the limiting factor in the design and weight of mobile 
field artillery. 

As one of our foremost United States ordnance engineers once 
said, "the limited power of the horse is what has governed the 
weight of our artillery/ ' and that "if Divine Providence had given 
the horse the speed of the deer and the power of the elephant, we 
might have had a far wider and more effective range for our mobile 

One of the answers of the United States ordnance engineers to 
this problem, as developed in the recent war, has been the production 
of a tractor to replace the horse, and this tractor has the speed of 
the deer and the power of the elephant. The most powerful tractors 
are mounted on track-laying devices and are colloquially known 
as caterpillars. One of these powerful caterpillars, on which is 
mounted an 8-inch howitzer with a range of 6 miles, which is 


22 £ 

£o s- 


manned and operated by only two men, and which can go up hill 
and down hill, over broken brushwood, trees, etc., was recently 
given a severe test at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Here it was 
sent through a dense wood in which it bumped square into a live 
locust tree that was 17 inches in diameter at the bottom. This tree, 
almost the tallest in the wood, was prostrated by the attack of the 
tractor, which rode over it and then emerged from the wood, took up 
its position, and fired its shot almost in as short a time as that which 
it takes to tell of the deed. Truly the power of the elephant and 
the speed of the deer has been brought to the aid of the ordnance 
engineer for any future warlike operations. 

The number of workmen employed in gun production at once in 
this country totaled 21,329, and fully that many more are estimated 
to have been employed in the manufacture of gun carriages and fire- 
control instruments. Consequently in turning out the complete 
big guns there were fully 42,000 workmen engaged by the month 
of October, 1918. Furthermore, these men became so skilled in 
their work that it may be said that the difficult art of gun making 
has become firmly established in this country and that the United 
States may now and at any time in the near future rely on this 
trained body of artisans for the finest kind of gun-metal manu- 









The chance observer might assume that once the Ordnance Depart- 
ment had succeeded in putting in production the cannon of various 
sizes described in the preceding chapter the battle of providing 
artillery was as good as won. But such was not the case. Even 
after the ponderous tubes had come finished from the elaborate 
processes of the steel mills, the task of the ordnance officers had only 
just begun. Each one of these guns had to be rendered mobile in 
the field and it had to be equipped with a mechanism to take up the 
retrograde shock of firing (the "kick") and to prevent the weapon 
from leaping out of aim at each discharge. 

Mobility to a gun is given by the carriage on which it rides. The 
device which absorbs the recoil and restores the gun to position is 
called the recuperator (in the case of the hydropneumatic French 
design) or the recoil mechanism. Carriage and recuperator, or recoil 
mechanism, together are known as the mount. 

The forging, boring, reinforcing, machining, and finishing of the 
gun body is not half the battle of manufacturing a modern military 
weapon; it is scarcely one-third of it. No ordnance officer of 
1917-18 will ever forget the heartbreaking experiences of manufac- 
turing the mounts, a work which went along simultaneously with the 
production of the cannon themselves. The manufacture of carriages 
often presented engineering and production problems of the most 
baffling sort. As to the recuperators, a short analysis of the part 
they play in the operation of a gun will indicate something of the 
nature of the project of building them in quantities. 

The old schoolbook axiom that action and reaction are equal has a 
peculiar emphasis when applied to the firing of a modern piece of 
high-power artillery. The force exerted to throw a heavy projectile 
7 miles or more from the muzzle of a gun is equally exerted toward 
the breach of the weapon in its recoil. Some of these forces handled 
safely and easily by mechanical means are almost beyond the mind's 

Not long ago a touring car, weighing 2 tons, traveled at the rate of 

120 miles an hour along a Florida beach. Conceive of such a car 

going 337 miles an hour, which is much faster than any man ever 

traveled; then conceive of a mechanism which would stop this car, 



going nearly 6 miles a minute, stop it in 45 inches of space and half 
a second of time, without the slightest injury to the automobile. 
That is precisely the equivalent of the feat performed by the recuper- 
ator of a 240-millimeter howitzer after a shot. 

Conceive of a 150,000-pound locomotive traveling at 53.3 miles an 
hour. The action of the 240-millimeter recuperator after a shot is 
equivalent to stopping that locomotive in less than 4 feet in half a 
second without damage. 

The forging for the 155-millimeter howitzer's recuperator is a 
block of steel weighing nearly 2 tons — in exact figures, 3,875 pounds. 
This must be bored and machined out until it weighs, with the acces- 
sory parte of the complete recuperator placed on the scales with it, 
only 870 pounds. It is scarcely fair to a modern hydropneumatie 
recuperator to say that it must be finished with the precision of a 
watch. It must be finished with a mechanical nicety comparable 
only to the finish of such a delicate instrument as a navigator's 
sextant or the mechanism which adjusts the Lick telescope to the 
movement of the earth. No heavy articles ever before turned out 
in American workshops required in their finish the degree of micro- 
scopic perfection the recuperators called for. 

We adopted from the French, the greatest of all artillery builders, 
four recuperators — one for the 75-millimeter gun, one for the 155- 
millimeter gun, another for the 155-millimeter howitzer, and the 
fourth for the 240-millimeter howitzer. These mechanisms had 
never been built before outside of France. Indeed, one could find 
pessimists ready to say that none but French mechanics could build 
them at all and that our attempt to duplicate them could end only 
in failure. Yet American mechanical genius "licked" every one of 
these problems, as the men in the greasy overalls say, and did it in 
little more than a year of time after the plans came to the workshops. 
There was not one of these beautiful mechanisms, in France the 
product of patient handiwork on the part of metal craftsmen of deep 
and inherited skill, that eventually did not become in American 
workshops a practical proposition of quantity production. 

The problem of building French recuperators in the United States, 
in short, may be regarded as the crux of the whole American ordnance 
undertaking in the war against Germany, the index of its success. 
It presented the most formidable challenge of all to American indus- 
trial skill. There were men whose opinion had to be considered and 
who were convinced that it was impracticable to attempt to produce 
French recuperators here. Although the superiority of these recoil 
devices in their respective classes were universally conceded, Germany 
had never been able to make them, while England, with the coopera- 
tion of the French ordnance engineers freely offered, did not attempt 
them. The French built them one by one, as certain custom-built 


58 America's munitions. 

and highly expensive automobiles are produced. When American 
factories proposed to produce French recuperators not only but to 
manufacture them by making parts and assembling them according 
to the modern practice of quantity production, the ranks of the skep- 
tics increased. 

Yet, as we have said, the thing was done. The first of these recu- 
perators ever produced outside of the French industry were produced 
in America and manufactured by typically American quantity 

The first of these recuperators to come into quantity production was 
that for the 155-millimeter howitzer. Rough forgings began to be 
turned out in heavy quantities by the Mesta Machine Co. in the spring 
of 1918, while the Watertown Arsenal, the other contractor, reached 
quantity production in rough forgings in September, 1918. At their 
special recuperator plant at Detroit the Dodge Bros, turned out the 
first finished 155-millimeter howitzer recuperator in July, 1918, and 
went into quantity production with them in September, producing 
495 in the month of November alone, and turning out up to the end 
of April, 1919, the great number of 1,601 of them. 

Next in order of time to be conquered as a factory problem was the 
155-millimeter gun recuperator. The rough forgings at the Carnegie 
Steel Co., the sole contractor, were in quantity production in the 
spring of 1918. The first of these recuperators finished came from 
the Dodge plant in October, 1918; and although 30 issued from the 
plant and were accepted before the end of the year, quantity produc- 
tion may be said to have started on January 1, 1919, when the factory 
began producing them at the rate of more than four a day. In March 
the high mark of 361 recuperators was reached, and the total pro- 
duction up to the end of April was 880. 

The heavy 240-millimeter howitzer recuperator was third to come 
into quantity production. The rough forgings were being turned out 
in quantity in the spring of 1918 by the Carnegie Steel Co., while the 
Watertown Arsenal, the other contractor, produced a number of these 
rough forgings in August, 1918. The two contractors for finiftbing 
and turning out the complete recuperators were the Otis Elevator Co., 
at its Chicago plant, and the Watertown Arsenal. The arsenal pro- 
duced the pilot recuperator in October, 1918. In January the Otis 
Elevator Co. produced its first four, while quantity production began 
in February, 1919, both contractors that month sending out 19 recu- 
perators, a number which may be regarded as good quantity when 
the size of this mechanism is taken into consideration. Both plants 
together in April turned out the large number of 89 recuperators for 
the 240. 

Last to come through to quantity production was the hardest of 
the four to build, the one that promised to defy American industry 


to build it at aD — the 75-millimeter gun recuperator. The two con- 
tractors for the rough forgings for this recuperator were the Carbon 
Steel Co. and the Bucyrus Co. The Carbon Steel Co. was in large 
series production of them in the spring of 1918, and the Bucyrus Co. 
reached the quantity basis of manufacture in October, 1918. In that 
month alone both contractors together turned out 1,305 sets of 

The machining and finishing of the 75 recuperator was in the hands 
of the Rock Island Arsenal and the Singer Manufacturing Co., which 
built a costly plant especially for the purpose at Elizabethport, N. J. 
The first recuperator of this size to appear and be accepted under the 
severe tests came from the arsenal in October. Thereafter the pro- 
duction ceased for a while. The contractors indeed built recuperators 
in this period, but the recuperators could not pa& the tests. The 
machining and production of parts seemed to be as perfect as human 
skill could accomplish, but still the devices would not function per- 
fectly. Adjustments, seemingly of the most microscopical and 
trivial sort, had to be made — there was trouble with the leather of the 
valves and with oil for the cylinders. These matters, which could 
scarcely cause any delay at all in the production of less delicate 
machinery, indicate the infinite care which had to be employed in the 
manufacture of the recuperators. At length the producers smoothed 
out the obstacles and learned all the secrets and necessary processes, 
and then the 75-millimeter recuperators began to come — 2 in Jan- 
uary, 1919, and then 13 in February, 20 in March, and 23 in April. 

It should be remembered that by quantity production in this par- 
ticular is meant the production in quantity of recuperators of such 
perfect quality as to pass the inspection of the Government and to be 
accepted as part of .our national ordnance equipment. In this 
inspection the Government was assisted by French engineers sent 
from the great artillery factories in France which had designed the 
recuperators and which until the successful outcome of the American 
attempt were their sole producers. Such inspection naturally 
required that the American recuperators should be the equals of their 
French prototypes in every respect. 

Because the production of French recuperators stands at the sum- 
mit of American ordnance achievement, here at this point, before 
there is given any account of the manufacture of field artillery, the 
theme of this chapter, a performance table is inserted to show the 
records written by the various concerns engaged in making these 



j, fi 


erica's 1 

I s ! 


5 s . 1 

g» i 

5 3 S 



I P! 

. r 

I s ! 

| g s 

• S« i 

1 h_ 



ii P! 


S 1 

S» 1 



» II 


; ~ 


ss s 


f . 

1 jj 


3 ; 5 




1 ' 

S! S 


P "* 



:- - 

: : 



I T 


SS .1 

3 | S 




Ji S3i 

: : 

§ a s 


ii ! 
ii ! 



u ■« 



8 8 s 



: : ; 



1 *! 

- r 


8 S " 

S : £ 




> i 

|i " 


S 1 ; 

3 ; 

ii i 

: . 

i " 


l; s 

s 8 ;' 

S« I 


t 8 M 






4 -|. 


: : 

t I 

i S 

: : 


" : ■ 


1 Ji 



■■i ; 





In discussing here, therefore, the production of field artillery in 
the war period, we are concerned chiefly with carriages and recuper- 
ators, for they offered the major difficulties. Since the production 
of gun bodies for these various units has been taken up in the preced- 
ing chapter, such reference to them as is necessary will be brief. 
For the sake of additional clearness in the mind of the reader in- 
expert in these things, the line should be sharply drawn between 
field artillery and the so-called railway artillery, which was also 
mobile to a limited degree. The mobile field artillery consisted of 
all rolling guns or caterpiller guns up to and including the 240- 
millimeter howitzer in size; and also included the antiaircraft guns 
of various sizes. All mobile guns of larger caliber than the 240- 
millimeter howitzer were mounted on railroad cars. 

The list of the mobile field artillery weapons in manufacture here 
during the war period was as follows: 

The little 37-millimeter gun, the so-called infantry cannon, one of 
which two husky men could lift from the ground — a French design; 

The 75-millimeter guns — three types of them — the French 75, 
adopted bodily by the United States; our own 3-inch gun redesigned to 
the French caliber; and the British 3.3-inch gun, similarly redesigned; 

The 4.7-inch gun of American design; 

The 5-inch and 6-inch guns, taken from our coast defenses and 
naval stores and placed on mobile mounts; 

The 155-millimeter gun, a French weapon with a barrel diameter of 
approximately 6 inches; 

The 155-millimeter howitzer, also French; 

The 8-inch and 9.2-inch howitzers, British designs, being manu- 
factured in the United States when war was declared; 

The 240-millimeter howitzer, French and American; and, finally, 

The antiaircraft guns. 

In modern times, but prior to 1917, the United States had designed 
types of field-artillery weapons and produced them in quantities 
shown by the following tabulation: 


2.95-inch mountain gun 113 

3-inch gun 544 

4.7-inch gun 60 

5-inch gun 70 

6-inch howitzer 40 

7-inch howitzer 70 

Total 897 

A comparison of this list with the enumeration above of weapons 
put in production during the war against Germany indicates that 
we greatly expanded our artillery in types. That we were able to 
do this at the outset and go ahead immediately with the production 
of many weapons strange and unknown to our experience, without 

62 America's munitions. 

waiting to develop models and types of our own, is due solely to the 
generosity of the governments of France and Great Britain, with 
whom we became associated. We manufactured in all eight new 
weapons, taking the designs of three of them from the British and of 
five from the French. 

It might seem to the uninitiated that the way of the United States 
to a great output of artillery would be made smooth by the action of 
the British and French Governments in agreeing to turn over to us 
without reservation the blue prints and specifications that were the 
product of years of development in their gun plants. Yet this was 
only relatively true. In numerous instances we were not able to 
secure complete drawings until months after we had entered the 
war, due to the practice of continental manufacturers that intrusts 
numerous exact measurements to the memories of the mechanics 
working in their shops. Consequently it required several months to 
complete drawings, and when we received them our troubles had 
only begun. 

First there came the problem of translating the plans after we re- 
ceived them. All French dimensions are according to the metric sys- 
tem. A millimeter is one one-thousandth part of a meter, and a meter 
is 39.37 inches. An inch is approximately 0.0254 meter. Thus to 
translate French plans into American factory practice involves hun- 
dreds of mathematical computations, most of them carried out to 
decimals of four or five places. Moreover, the French shop drawings 
are put down on an angle of projection different from what is used 
in this country. This fact involved the recasting of drawings even 
when the metric system measurements were retained. When it is 
considered that such a mechanism as the recuperator on the 155- 
millimeter gun involves the translation of 416 drawings, the fact 
that the preparation of French plans for our own use never took 
more than two months is remarkable, particularly so since it was hard 
to find in the United States draftsmen and engineers familiar with 
such translation work. 

Once our specifications were worked out from the French plans, it 
then became necessary to find American manufacturers willing to 
bid on the contracts. The average manufacturer would look at these 
specifications, realize what a highly specialized and involved sort of 
work would be required in the production of the gun carriages or 
recoil mechanisms, and shake his head. In numerous instances no 
such work had ever before been attempted in the United States. 

However, as the result of efforts on the part of the Government 
an increased capacity for producing mobile field artillery was created 
as follows: 

At Watertown, N. Y., the New York Air Brake Co., as agent for 
the United States, constructed a completely new factory to turn out 


25 gun carriages a month for the 75-millimeter guns, model 1916 — 
the American 3-inch type modified to the French dimensions. 

At Toledo^ Ohio, increased facilities were put up at the plant of 
the Willys-Overland Co. to manufacture a daily output of 17 French 
75-millimeter gun carriages, model 1897. 

At Elizabethport, N. J., the Singer Manufacturing Co. erected for 
the Government a complete new factory for finishing daily 17 French 
75-millimeter recuperators. 

At New Britain, Conn., the plant of the New Britain Machine Co. 
was adapted and increased facilities were created for the manufacture 
of two 3-inch antiaircraft gun carriages a day. 

At Detroit, Mich., Dodge Bros., as agents for the Government, 
erected an entirely new factory, costing in the neighborhood of 
$11,000,000 to give the final machining to the rough-machine forg- 
ings for five recuperators daily for the 155-millimeter gun and to 
machine completely the parts for twelve recuperators daily for the 
155-millimeter howitzer. Their huge new plant for this purpose 
established a record for rapidity of construction in one of the most 
severe winters of recent history. 

At the plant of the Studebaker Corporation at Detroit, facilities 
were extended for turning out three carriages a day for the 4.7-inch 

At Flainfield, N. J., extended facilities were created at the factory 
of the Walter Scott Co. for manufacturing 20 carriages a month 
for the 4.7-inch guns. 

At Worcester, Mass., at the plant of the Osgood Bradley Car Co. 
increased facilities were built for. the daily manufacture of five 
carriages for the 155-millimeter howitzers. 

At Hamilton, Ohio, at the works of the American Rolling Mill 
Co., extensions were made to provide for the manufacture each day 
of three carriages for the 155-millimeter howitzers. 

The plant of the Mesta Machine Co., at West Homestead, Pa., 
near Pittsburgh, was extended to the enormous capacity of turning 
out the loggings for 40 recuperators a day for the 155-millimeter 

Extensively increased facilities were made at the shops of the 
Standard Steel Car Co., at Hammond, Ind., for the daily output of 
two carriages for the 240-millimeter howitzers. 

Increased facilities were created in the plant of the Otis Elevator 
Co., Chicago, HI., for the finish machining of the equivalent in 
parts of two and one-half reouperators a day for the 240-millimeter 

Large extensions were made to the plant of the Morgan Engineer- 
ing Co., Alliance, Ohio, for the manufacture monthly of 20 improvised 
mount© for the 6-inch guns taken from the seacoast fortifications. 

64 America's munitions. 

The facilities of the United States arsenals at Watertown, Mass., 
and at Bock Island, 111., for the manufacture of field-gun carriages 
and recuperators were greatly increased. 

This carriage construction for the big guns required the closest 
kind of fine machine work and fittings where the brake or recuperator 
construction entered the problem, and the great plants built for this 
purpose of turning out carriages and recuperators were marvels for 
the rapidity of their construction, the speed with which they were 
equipped with new and intricate tools, and the quality of their output. 

Every mobile gun mount must be equipped with a shield of armor 
plate. The size of the artillery project may be read in the fact that 
our initial requirement for armor for the guns ran to a total of 15,000 
tons to be produced as soon as it could be done. Now, we had no 
real source for getting armor in such large quantities, because the 
previous demands of our artillery construction had never called for 
it. The prewar manufacturers of artillery armor were three in num- 
ber — the Simmons Manufacturing Co., of St. Louis; Thomas Disston 
& Sons, of Philadelphia; and the Crucible Steel Co. To meet the 
new demand two armor sources were developed — the Mosler Safe 
Co. plant of the Standard Ordnance Co. and the Universal Rolling 
Mill Co. The process of building this armor had been a closely 
guarded secret in the past, a fact entailing extended experiments 
in the new plants before satisfactory material could be obtained. 

The new artillery program required the manufacture of 120,000 
wheels of various types and sizes for the mobile carriages. The Rock 
Island Arsenal and two commercial concerns prior to the war had 
been building artillery wheels in limited quantities. One com- 
pletely new plant had to be erected for the manufacture of wheels, 
while seven existing factories were specially equipped for this work. 
We had to develop new sources of supply of oak and hickory and to 
erect dry kilns especially for the wheel project. 

The largest order for rubber tires in the history of the American 
rubber industry was placed as one relatively small phase of the 
artillery program, the order amounting to $4,250,000. Rubber tires 
on the wheels of all the heavier types of artillery carriages, so that 
the units might be drawn at good speed by motor vehicles, was 
essentially an American innovation. No tires of this size had ever 
been manufactured in this country. Consequently it was necessary 
for the firms who got the orders to build machinery especially de- 
signed for the purpose. 

With practically all of the manufacturers of the American metal- 
working industries clamoring for machine tools, and with some 
branches of the Government commandeering the machine-tool shops 
in whole sections of the country, it is evident that the necessity for 
the heavier types of machine tools required by the manufacturers of 


artillery material offered a weighty problem at the outset. la fact, 
the machine-tool supply was never adequate at any time, and the 
shortage of this machinery hampered and impeded to a great degree 
the speed of our artillery production. 

The Nation was raked with a fine-toothed comb for shop equip- 
ment. The Government went to almost any honorable length to 
procure this indispensable tooling. For instance! when the Dodge 
plant at Detroit was being equipped to manufacture the 155-milli- 
meter recuperators, the Government agents discovered trainloads of 
machinery consigned to the Russian government and awaiting 
shipment. These tools were commandeered on the docks. One 
huge metal planer had dropped overboard while it was being lightered 
to the ocean tramp that was to carry it to a Russian port. Govern- 
ment divers fixed grappling hooks to this machine, and it was brought 
to the surface and shipped at once to the Dodge plant. 

The 3-inch gun which we had been building for many years prior 
to the war was a serviceable and efficient weapon ; but still we were 
unable to put it into production immediately as it was. Our earliest 
divisions in France, under the international arrangement, were to be 
equipped by the French with 75-millimeter guns; while we, on this 
side of the water, reaching out for all designs of guns of proven worth, 
expected to manufacture the 75 's in large numbers in this country. 
The French 75 in its barrel diameter is a fraction of an inch smaller 
than our 3-inch gun, the exact equivalent of 75 millimeters being 
2.95275 inches. Thus, if we built our own 3-inch gun (and the British 
3.3-inch gun, as we intended) and also went ahead with the 75-milli- 
meter project on a great scale, we should be confronted by the 
necessity of providing three sorts of ammunition of almost the same 
size, with all the delays and confusion which such a situation would 
m l>lj* Consequently we decided to redesign the American and 
British guns to make their bores uniformly 75 millimeters, thus 
simplifying the ammunition problem and making available to us in 
case of shortage the supplies of shell of this size in France. 

With all of the above considerations in mind, it is evident now, 
and it was then, that we could not hope to equip our Army with 
American-built artillery as rapidly as that Army could be collected, 
trained, and sent to France ; and this was particularly true when in 
tiie spring of 1917 the Army policy was changed to give each 1,000,000 
toen almost twice as many field guns as our program had required 
prior to that date. Consequently, when on June 27, 1917, the Secre- 
tory of War directed the Chief of Ordnance to provide the necessary 
artillery for the 2,000,000 men who were to be mobilized in 1917 and 
the first half of 1918, the first thought of our officers was to find 
outride supplies of artillery which we co'hld obtain for an emergency 

109287°— 19 5 


66 America's munitions. 

that would not be relieved until our new facilities had reached great 

We found this source in France. The French had long been the 
leading people in Europe in the production of artillery, and even the 
great demands of the war had not succeeded in utilizing the full 
capacity of their old and new plants. Two days later, on June 29, 
1917, the French high commissioner, by letter, offered us in behalf 
of France a daily supply of five 75-millimeter guns and carriages, 
beginning August 1, 1917. The French also offered at this time 
to furnish us with 155-millimeter howitzers; and on August 19, 1917, 
the French Government informed Gen. Pershing that each month, 
beginning with September/he could obtain twelve 155-millimeter Fil- 
loux guns and carriages from the French factories. 

Before the signing of the armistice 75-millimeter guns to the num- 
ber of 3,068 had been ordered from the French, and of this number 
1,828 had been delivered. Of 155-millimeter howitzers, 1,361 had 
been ordered from the French and 772 delivered before November 
11, 1918. Of 155-millimeter guns, 577 had been ordered from the 
French and 216 delivered previous to the granting of the armistice. 

From British plants we ordered 212 Vickers-type 8-inch howitzers, 
and 123 had been delivered before the armistice had been signed; 
while of 9.2-inoh howitzers, Viokers model, 40 of an ot*der for 132 had 
been completed. In addition to this, 302 British 6-inch howitzers 
were in manufacture in England for delivery to us by April 1, 1919. 
These figures, with the exoeptipn of those relating to the order for 
British 6-inch howitzers, do not include the arrangements being made 
by this Government during the last few weeks of hostilities for addi- 
tional deliveries of foreign artillery. 

As to our own manufacture of artillery, when we had conquered all 
the difficulties — translated the drawings, built the new factories, 
equipped them with machine tools and dies, gages, and other fixtures 
needed by the metal workers, and had mobilized the skilled workers 
themselves — we forged ahead at an impressive rate. When the armis- 
tice was signed we were turning out 412 artillery units per month. 
Compare this with Great Britain's 486 units permonth in the fall of 1918 
and measure our progress, remembering that England had approxi- 
mately three years' head start. Compare it with the French monthly 
production of 659 units per month, and remember that France was 
the greatest artillery builder in the world. When it came to the gun 
bodies themselves we obtained a monthly output of 832, as against 
Great Britain's 802 and France's 1,138. And our artillery capacity 
was then, in the autumn of 1918, only coming into production. 

In the war period— April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918 — we pro- 
duced 2,008 complete artillery units, as against 11,056 turned out by 


France and 8,065 completed by Great Britain in the same period. 
In those 19 months we turned out 4,275 gun bodies, while in the same 
months France produced 19,492 and Great Britain 11,852. 


The smallest weapon of all the field guns we built was the French 
37-millimeter gun, the diameter of its bore being about 1$ inohes in 
our measurements, the figure being 1.45669 inohes. This was the 
so-called infantry field gun, to be dragged along by foot soldiers when 
they are making an advance. Its chief use in the war was in breaking 
up the German concrete pill boxes, machine gun nests, and other 
strong points of enemy resistance. In service it was manned by 
infantrymen instead of artillerists, a crew of eight men handling each 
weapon, the squad leader being the gunner. One of the men of the 
crew was the loader, and he was likewise able to fire the piece. The 
other six men served as assistants. 

The 37-millimeter outfit as it exists to-day consists of the gun, with 
a split trail, mounted on axle and wheels. By means of a trailer 
attachment on the ammunition cart it can be drawn by one horse 
or one mule. The ammunition cart itself is merely a redesigned 
machine-gun ammunition vehicle. The wheels and axle can easily be 
removed and left a short distance in the rear of the* place where it is 
desired to set up the gun. The whole outfit weighs only 340 pounds 
and is about 6 feet long. 

The gun rests on its front leg which is dropped to form a tripod with 
the two legs of the split trail. The gun proper can be removed from 
the trail and the sponge staff can be inserted in the barrel through 
the opened breech. Two men can bear this part of the weapon in 
advancing action. Two other men are able to carry the trail, when 
its legs are locked together, while the four other members of the 
squad bring along the boxes of ammunition. 

The ammunition cart holds 14 ammunition boxes, each containing 
16 rounds. A spare-parts case, strapped to the trail, contains a mis- 
cellaneous assortment of such parts as can readily be handled in the 
field. A tool kit in a canvas roll is also transported on the cart, along 
with entrenching tools and other accessories. 

Equipped with a telescopic sight for direct fire and a quadrant, or 
collimating sight, for indirect fire, great accuracy is obtained by this 
small piece of artillery. The length of the barrel of the gun proper 
is 20 calibers, which means that it is 20 times 37 millimeters in 
length, or about 29 inches. The length of the recoil when the gun is 
fired is 8 inches. 

Two types of ammunition were provided for this gun at first; but, 
*s the low-explosive type was not so effective as desired, it was 

68 America's munitions. 

abandoned entirely in favor of the high-explosive type contained in 
a projectile weighing 1J pounds. This projectile is loaded with 240 
grains of T. N. T. and detonated by a base percussion fuse. The range 
of the gun is 3,500 meters, or considerably more than 2 miles. Only 
three to six shots from this gun were found to be necessary to demolish 
an enemy machine gun emplacement or other strongly held position. 

In the great war the 37-millimeter gun found itself and proved its 
usefulness. The original model had been designed at the Puteaux 
Arsenal in France in 1885; but it was not until after 1914 that the 
weapon was produced in quantities. 

In this country we took up the production of 37-millimeter guns in 
October, 1917. While our shops were tooling up for the effort, 620 
of these weapons were purchased from the French and turned over to 
the American Expeditionary Forces. For the purposes of greater 
speed in manufacture our executives took the gun apart and divided 
it into three groups, known as the barrel group, the breech group, and 
the recoil group. Additional to these, as a manufacturing proposi- 
tion, were the axle and wheels and the trail. 

The barrel group went to the Poole Engineering & Machine Co., of 
Baltimore, Md., who subcontracted for some of the parts to the Mary- 
land Pressed Steel Co., of Hagerstown, Md. The breech group was 
manufactured by the Krasberg Manufacturing Co., of Chicago. The 
C. H. Cowdrey Machine Works, of Fitchburg, Mass., turned out the 
recoil mechanisms. The axles and wheels were built by the Inter- 
national Harvester Co., of Chicago. The trails were turned out by 
the Universal Stamping & Manufacturing Co., also of Chicago. 

When crated for overseas shipment, the gun, ammunition cart, and 
all accessories, weighed 1,550 pounds and occupied about 15 oubio feet 

of space. 

The first delivery of completed 37-millimeter guns from our fac- 
tories was made in June, 1918, and at the cessation of hostilities manu- 
facturers were turning out the guns at the rate of 10 per day. Be- 
tween June and November 122 American-built 37-millimeter guns were 
shipped abroad, and more were ready to be sent over when the armis- 
tice was signed. The gun had been so successful in. use abroad that 
our original order of 1,200 had been increased to 3,217 before the 
signing of the armistice, including the 620 purchased from the French. 

The various groups of this gun were shipped to the plant of the 
Maryland Pressed Steel Co., Hagerstown, Md., for assembly and were 
there tested at a specially built proving ground, 8 miles from the 


Three 37's were issued to each infantry regiment, making one for 
each battalion. The required equipment for a division was, therefore, 
12 weapons. 


Figures on S7-jnUlimeter gun production. 

Guns procured from the French Government # . 620 

Guns ordered manufactured in United States, October, 1917 1,200 

Increase in order, September, 1918 1, 397 

Total number ordered in United States 2, 597 

Total number of guns completed prior to the signing of the armistice 884 

Guns delivered for overseas shipment prior to the signing of the armistice 300 

Guns shipped to various camps in this country 26 

Guns shipped to other points in this country 4 

On hand at HagerBtown Arsenal, proof fired 425 

Completed and ready for proof firing 129 


Next in order in the upward scale of sizes we come to the 75-milli- 
meter gun, which was by far the most useful and most used piece of 
artillery in the great war. In fact the American artillery program 
might be divided in two classes, the 75's in one class, and all other 
sizes in the other, since it may be said practically that for every gun 
of another size produced we also turned out a 75. In number the 75's 
made up almost half of our field artillery. The 75-millimeter gun 
threw projectiles weighing between 12 and 16 pounds and it had an 
effective range of over 5£ miles. 

We approached the war production of this weapon with three types 
available for us to produce — our own 3-inch gun; its British cousin 
the 3.3-inch gun or 18-pounder; and the French 75-millimeter gun, 
with its bore of 2.95275 inches. The deoision to adopt the 75-milli- 
meter size and modify the other two guns to this dimension, giving us 
interchangeability of ammunition with the French, was an historic 
episode in the American ordnance development of 1917. 

While in 1917 the French with their excess manufacturing capacity 
began work on our first orders for 1,068 guns of this size to supply our 
troops during the interim until American factories could come into 
production, we were preparing our factories for the effort. Roughly 
speaking the 75 oonsists of a cannon mounted on a two-wheeled sup- 
port for transportation purposes. This support also provides a 
means for aiming: by suitable elevating and traverse mechanisms. 
As previously plained, a recoil mechanism is also provided to 
absorb the shock of firing, allowing a certain retrograde movement 
of the cannon and then returning it in position for the next shot — 
returning it i ' into battery/ ' as the artillerists say. By its recuperator 
device the field gun of to-day is chiefly distinguished from its brother 
of the latter part of the nineteenth century. Without a recuperator 
the gun would leap out of aim at each shot and would have to bo 
pointed anew; but one with a recuperator needs to be pointed only at 
the beginning of the action. 

When we entered the war we found ourselves with an equipment 
of 544 field guns of the old 3-inch model of 1902. This gun had a 

70 America's munitions. 

carriage provided with the old-style single trail. By 1913, however, 
we had been experimenting with the split trail and it had been 
strongly recommenced by our ordnance experts; and in 1016 we had 
placed orders for nearly 300 carriages of the split-trail type, which 
had come to be known as Model 1916. Of these orders 96 carriages 
were to come from the Bethlehem Steel Co., and the remainder 
from the Rock Island Arsenal. 

Meanwhile for some time the Bethlehem Steel Co. had been 
engaged in turning out carriages for the British 3.3-inch guns. Here 
was capacity that might be utilized to the limit; and, accordingly, 
in May, 1917, we ordered from the Bethlehem Co. 268 of the British 
carriages. At the same time we ordered from the same company 
approximately 340 of our own Model 1916 carriages at a cost of 
$3,319,800. A few weeks later the decision had been made to make 
all our guns of this sort conform to the French 75-millimeter size, 
and these British and American carriages contracted for in May 
were ordered modified to take 75-rmiliimeter guns. The carriages 
needed little modification and the guns not much. Subsequently, 
in rapid succession we placed orders with the Bethlehem Steel Co., 
calling for the construction of an additional 1,130 of the British car- 
riages, all of them to be adapted to 75-millimeter guns. 

Next it was the concern of the Ordnance Department to find other 
facilities for manufacturing carriages for these weapons. The 
artillery committee of the Council of National Defense located the 
New York Air Brake Co. as a concern willing to undertake this work; 
and in June, 1917, this company signed a contract to produce 400 
American model 1916 carriages at a cost of $3,250,000. 

By December we had the drawings for the French carriages of 
this size and made a contract with the Willys-Overland Motor Car 
Co. to produce 2,927 of them. The table at the end of this section 
shows the production attained at these various plants. 

The manufacture of carriages for the 75's produced concrete 
results, as our factories here were turning them out for us at the rate 
of 393 per month when the fighting ceased, and our contract plants 
in France were making 171 per month. In all we received from 
American factories 1,221 carriages. At the rate of increase we 
would have been building 800 carriages per month by February, 1919. 

It may be said we were thoroughly impressed with the difficulties 
attached to the transplanting to this country of the manufacture of 
French 75-millimeter recuperators. It was a question whether this 
device could possibly be built by any except the French mechanics 
trained by long years in its production. At first it seemed that we 
could secure no manufacturer at all who would be willing to assume 
such a burden. Not until February, 1918, were complete drawings 
and specifications of the recuperator received from France. At 

jn hai been used by the French Army since 1697. and was t 
tiers or 5hra a Dne| a we.sning IG pounds a distnce'of'9,000 me 

,1 5 1 
5 s.S 

g sis 




length the Singer Manufacturing Co., builders of sewing machines, 
consented to take up this new work, and on March 29 the company 
contracted to produce 2,500 recoil systems for the 75-millimeter gun 
carriages. In April, 1918, the Rock Island Arsenal was instructed 
to turn out 1,000 of these recuperators. 

The production of gun bodies for the 75-millimeter units was 
quite satisfactory. The Bethlehem Co., the Wisconsin Gun Co., 
the Symington-Anderson Co., and the Watervliet Arsenal were the 
contractors who built the gun bodies. Gun bodies of three types, 
but all of the same 75-millimeter bore, were ordered — the American 
type (the modified 3-inch gun), the British type (the modified 
3.3-inch gun), and the French type. 

Our ordnance preparation would have given us enough 75's for the 
projected army of 3,360,000 men on the front in the summer of 
1919, together with appropriate provision for training in the United 
States. Of the 75's built in this country, 143 units were shipped 
to the American Expeditionary Forces before the armistice went 
into effect. Meanwhile the French had delivered to our troops 
1,828 units of this size. The total equipment of 75's for our Army 
in France from all sources thus amounted to 1,071 guns with their 
complete accessories. 


75-mm. gun carriage, model 

75-mm. gun carriage (French) . 
75-mm. gun carriage (British), 

75-mm. gun carriage limber 

(British), complete. 
75-mm. gun carriage limber, 

model 1918. 
75-mm. gun caisson, model 1918. 

75-mm. caisson limber, model 

75-mm. cannon, model 1916. .. 

75-mm. cannon (French). 
75-mm. cannon (British). 


took Island Arsenal ... . 
rthlehem Steel Co 
uw York Air Brake Co. 
lllys-Overland Co 

Bethlehem Steel Co 



\ American Car & Foundry Co. 

/Bethlehem Steel Co 

^American Car & Foundry Co. 
/Bethlehem Steel Co 

American Car & Foundry Co. 

Symington- Anderson Co 

Wisconsin Gun Co 

Watervliet Arsenal 

Bethlehem Steel Co 

/Symington-Anderson Co 

\ Wisconsin Gun Co 

Bethlehem Steel Co 



















pleted at 
of ar- 
























Nov. 11, 






up to 

April 17, 



















In the 4.7-inch field gun, model of 1906, America took to France a 
weapon all her own. It was a proven gun, too, developed under 
searching experiments and tests. There were 6Q of these in actual 
service when we got into the war. The 4.7-inch guns, with their 
greater range and power, promised to be particularly useful for 
destroying the enemy's 77-millimeter guns. 

72 America's munitions. 

The carriage model of 1906 for the 4.7-inch gun is of the long recoil 
type, the recoil being 70 inches in length. The recoil is checked by 
a hydraulic cylinder, and a system of springs thereupon returns the 
gun to the firing position. The gun's maximum elevation is 15 
degrees, at which elevation, with a 60-pound projectile, the gun has a 
range of 7,260 meters, or 4J miles. With a 45-pound projectile a 
range of 8,750 meters, or nearly 5} miles, can be obtained at 15 
degrees elevation. It is possible to increase this range to about 
10,000 meters, or well over 6 miles, by depressing the trail into a hole 
prepared for it, a practice often adopted on the field to obtain greater 
range. The total weight of the gun carriage with its limber is about 
9,800 pounds. 

An order for 250 of the 4.7-inch carriages was placed with the 
Walter Scott Co., at Plainfield, N. J., July 12, 1917, upon the 
recommendation of committees of the Council of National Defense, 
who were assisting the Ordnance Department in the selection of 
industrial firms willing to accept artillery contracts. Of the 250 
ordered from this concern, 49 were delivered up to the signing of 
the armistice. 

The Rock Island Arsenal had also been employed previously in 
turning out 4.7-inch carriages; and the capacity of that plant, 
although small, was utilized. Under the date of July 23, 1917, the 
arsenal was instructed to deliver 183 carriages. Late in December, 
1917, the Studebaker Corporation was given an order for 500. On 
September 30, 1918, Rock Island Arsenal was given an additional 
order for 120 carriages, while the Studebaker order was reduced to 
380. Additional plant facilities had to be provided at both the 
Walter Scott Co. and the Studebaker Corporation. 

Up to December 12, 1918, a total of 381 carriages of the 4.7-inch 
type had been completed and delivered. These carriages included 
the recoil mechanism. In the month of October, 1918, alone, 113 
were produced, and this rate would have been continued had the 
armistice not been signed. 

Cannon for the 4.7-inch units were turned out at the Watervliet 
Arsenal and the Northwestern Ordnance Co., Madison, Wis. De- 
liveries from the Watervliet Arsenal began in June, 1918, totaling 
120 up to December, while the Northwestern Ordnance Co., starting 
its deliveries in August, had completed 98 by December. 

Up to the 15th of November, 64 complete 4.7-inch units had been 
floated for our forces overseas. 

Forgings for the 4.7-inch gun cannon were made by the Bethlehem 
Steel Co. and the Heppenstall Foqge & Knife Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Owing to the great difference in cross section between muzzle and 
breech end of the jacket, great difficulty was experienced in the 
heat treatment of these forgings, particularly on the part of manu- 




facturers 'who had had no previous experience in the production of 
gun forcings. 

In order to produce enough forgings to supply the finish-machining 
shops, an order for 50 jackets was later given to the Edgewater Steel 
Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., where the jackets were forged. These were 
then sent to the Heppenstall Forge & Knife Co. for rough machining 
and finally returned to the Edgewater Steel Co. for heat treating. 
An order for 150 jackets was also given to the Tacony Ordnance 
Corporation. > 

Shortly before the signing of the armistice, the jacket was rede- 
signed so that the heavy breech end was forged separately in the 
shape of a breech ring. This design, however, was not produced. 

It was desired to develop a 4.7-inch gun carriage having the 
characteristics of the split-trail 75-millimeter gun carriage, model of 
1916, so that greater elevation and wide traverse obtained. 
The Bethlehem Steel Co. was given a small order for 36 carriages of 
their own design prior to the war, and their pilot carriage had been 
undergoing tests at the proving ground. The design was, however, 
not sufficiently advanced to be used in the war. 


4.7-Inch gun carriage, model of 1906 

17-inch gun-carriage Umber 

4.7-inch gun caisson 

4.7-lncA < n""«" 


'Rock Island Arsenal 

Studebafcer Corporation 

[Walter Scott Co 

'American Car & Foundry Co. 

i Maxwell Motor Co 

I American Car & Foundry Co. 

[Ford Motor Co 

[Northwestern Gun Co 

i Watervliet Arsenal 



at the 
of armi- 










up to 

April 17. 


Sixteen of these units, also 48 which were previously on hand, were 
floated for overseas up to November 11, 1918. 


In the war emergency America sought to put on the front every 
pound of artillery she could acquire from any source whatsoever. 
Accordingly, before any of the manufacturing projects were even 
started, the Ordnance Department conducted a preparedness inven- 
tory of the United States to see what guns already in existence we 
might find that could be improvised for use as mobile artillery in 
Prance. The search discovered a number of heavy cannon that 
could serve the purpose — part of them belonging to the Army, these 
being the guns at our seacoast fortifications; part belonging to the 
Navy, in its stores of supplies for battleships; and part of them being 

74 America's munitions. 

the property of a private dealer, Francis Bannerman & Son, of New 

The guns for this improvised use were obtained as follows: 

From the Coast Artillery, a branch of the Army, we obtained 
ninety-five 6-inch guns, 50 calibers in length, and twenty-eight 5-inch 
guns, 44.6 calibers; from the Navy stores came forty-six 6-inch guns, 
ranging from 30 to 50 calibers in length; from Francis Bannerman 
& Son, thirty 6-inch guns, 30 calibers long. This was a total of 199 
weapons of great destructive power, waiting only suitable mobile 
mounts to make them of valiant service on the western front. It was 
the task of the Ordnance Department to take these guns and as 
swiftly as possible mount them on field artillery carriages of an 
improvised type that could be most quickly built. 

Minor changes had to be made on many of the guns obtained in 
this manner in order to adapt them for use on field artillery carriages. 
The various seacoast guns were retained as they were in length, 
because it was planned to return them eventually to the fortifications 
from which they had been taken. The Navy guns, all of the 6-inch 
size, were shipped to the Watervliet Arsenal to be cut down to a 
uniform length of 30 calibers. 

The need for speed in manufacture demanded that the carriages 
for these guns should be of the simplest design consistent with the 
ruggedness required for field operations and the accuracy necessary 
for effectiveness. When tests of the first carriages produced wero 
made it was found that requirements had been more than met. 

Orders were placed on September 24, 1917, with the Morgan 
Engineering Co., of Alliance, Ohio, for 70 mounts for the 6-inch 
units. A few days later this number was increased to 74, while on 
the 28th of September, 1917, the same company was given an order 
for 18 additional 6-inch gun mounts and 28 mounts for the 5-inch 
guns. Orders for limbers were placed with the same company on 
December 1. 

It was soon discovered that big transport wagons would be required 
to carry the long 6-inch seacoast guns separately because of their 
great weight. On February 15, 1918, the Morgan Engineering Co. 
was ordered to build these necessary transport wagons. 

Difficulties in securing skilled labor, necessary materials, and tools 
delayed production of these mounts, but the eighteen 6-inch gun 
mounts ordered September 28, 1917, were completed in March, 
1918, while the twenty-eight 5-inch gun mounts ordered on the same 
date were finished in April. In August, 1918, the seventy-four 
6-inch gun mounts were turned out. The production of an addi- 
tional order for thirty-seven 6-inch gun mounts was just beginning 
when the armistice was signed. 



The 6-inch gun carriage, bearing the gun, weighs about 41,000 
pounds. A maximum range of over 10 miles can be obtained by 
this weapon. The complete 5-inch gun unit weighs about 23,500 
pounds and has a maximum range of more than 9 miles. In under- 
standing the difficulties that faced the Ordnance Department in 
building carriages for these guns, it should be recalled that these 
big weapons were originally built for fixed-emplacement duty and 
were therefore much heavier than mobile types. This fact com- 
plicated the problem of designing the wheeled mounts. They proved 
to be more difficult to maneuver than the lighter types of guns. 











prior to 

Nov. 11. 

floated for 









It is a testimonial to the adaptability and skill of American 
industry that we were able to duplicate successfully in this country 
the celebrated 155-millimeter howitzer, before 1917 built only in 
the factory of its original designer, the great firm of Schneider et 
Cie., in France. This powerful weapon is a fine example of the French 
gun builders' art, in a country where the art of gunmaking has been 
carried to a perfection unknown anywhere else. 

The 155-millimeter howitzer's history dates back to the nine- 
teenth century. In its development the French designers had so 
strengthened its structure, increased its range, and improved its 
general serviceability, that in 1914 it was ready to take its place as 
one of the two most-used and best-known weapons of the allies, the 
other being the 75-millimeter field gun. 

As thus perfected the howitzer weighs less than 4 tons and is 
extremely mobile for a weapon of its size. It can hurl a 95-pound 
projectile well over 7 miles and fire several times a minute. The 
rapidity of fire is made possible by a hydropneumatic recoil system 
that supports the short barrel of the gun and stores up the energy 
of the recoil by the compression of air. With the gun pointing 
upward at an angle of 45 degrees, the recoil mechanism will restore 
it into battery in less than 13 seconds. The carriage of the gun is 
extremely light, being built of pressed steel parts that incorporate 
many ingenious features of design to reduce the weight. The shell 
and the propelling charge of powder are loaded separately. 

76 America's munitions. 

The American-built 155-millimeter howitzer was practically identi- 
cal with that built in France. Any of the important parts of the 
American weapon would interchange with those which had come from 
the Schneider factory. We equipped the wheels of our field carriage, 
however, with rubber tires, and gave the gun a straight shield of 
armor plate instead of a curved shield. 

In the spring of 1917 we bought the plans of the howitzer from 
Schneider et Cie. and began at once the work of translating the speci- 
fications into American measurements. This work monopolized the 
efforts of an expert staff until October 8, 1917. 

In order to facilitate the reproduction here, we divided the 
weapon, as a manufacturing proposition, into three groups — the 
cannon itself, the carriage, and the recuperator or recoil system — 
and placed each group in the hands of separate contractors. There 
was, of course, the usual difficulty in finding manufacturers willing 
to undertake production of such an intricate device and who also 
possessed machine shops that had the equipment and talent required 
for such work, and in procuring for these shops the highly specialized 
machinery that would be necessary. 

The American Brake Shoe & Foundry Co., of Erie, Pa., whose 
magnificent work in building a special plant has been described in 
the preceding chapter, took an order in August, 1917, for 3,000 
howitzer cannon and by October, 1918, was producing 12 of them 
every day. The company turned out its first cannon in February, 
1918, approximately six months after receiving the contract, having 
in the interim built and equipped a most elaborate plant. It is 
doubtful if the annals of industry in any country can produce a feat 
to match this. 

In fact, the production of cannon by the Erie concern so out- 
stripped the manufacture of carriages and other important parts for 
the howitzer that it was possible by September, 1918, for us to sell 
550 howitzer bodies to the French Government. When the armis- 
tice was signed on November 11, 1918, the company had completed 
1,172 cannon. 

In November, 1917, we placed orders for 2,469 carriages for this 
weapon, splitting the order between the Osgood-Bradley Car Co., 
of Worcester, Mass., and the Mosler Safe Co., of Hamilton, Ohio. 
Then followed a long battle to secure the tools and equipment, the 
skilled mechanical labor, and the necessary quantities of the best 
grades of steel and bronze, an effort in which the contracting com- 
panies were at all times aided by the engineers of the Ordnance 
Department. All obstacles were overcome and the first carriages 
were ready for testing in June, 1918. When the armistice was 
signed 154 carriages had been delivered, and production was moving 
so rapidly that one month later this number had been run up to 230. 



The limbers were manufactured by the Maxwell Motor Car Co., 
which had orders to turn out 2,575 of them. The first deliveries of 
limbers came in September, 1918, and seven a day were being turned 
out in October, a total of 273 having been completed by the day of the 
armistice. A month later the number of completed limbers totaled 

It was in the making of the recuperator systems that the greatest 
problems were presented. No mechanism at all similar to this had 
ever been made in this country. No plant was in existence here capa- 
ble of turning out such a highly complicated, precise, and delicate 

Finally, after much Governmental search and long negotiation, the 
Dodge Bros., of Detroit, motor car builders, agreed to accept the 
responsibility. In this effort they built and equipped the splendid 
factory, costing $10,000,000, described elsewhere. 

This howitzer recuperator is turned out from a solid forging, 
weighing 3,875 pounds, but the completed recuperator weighs only 
870 pounds. Each cylinder must be bored, ground, and lapped to 
a degree of fineness and accuracy that requires the most painstaking 

Difficulties of almost every sort were experienced with the forgings 
and other elements of the recuperators. The steel was analyzed 
and its metallurgical formulas were changed. The work of machining 
proceeded favorably until the very last operation — that of polishing 
the interior of the long bores to a mirrorlike glaze and still retaining 
the extreme accuracy necessary to prevent the leakage of oil past 
the pistons. Suoh precision had been theretofore unknown in 
American heavy manufacture. Until the many processes could be 
perfected, the deliveries were held back. 

Even with the delivery of the first recuperator, difficulties did not 
vanish. This mechanism has no adjustments which can be made 
on the field, but depends for its wonderful operation upon the extreme 
nicety of the relation of its parts. It required the alteration of cer- 
tain small parts before the first trial models could be made to function. 
However, all obstacles and difficulties were finally overcome, and 
in the plant that had been erected dining the bitter cold of one of 
our severest winters, and with practically entirely new machinery 
and workmen, production got under way, and the first recuperator 
Was delivered early in July, 1918, nine months after the contract 
was signed. Production in quantity began to follow shortly after 
that month, and by November an average of 16 recuperators a day 
was being turned out. Of the 3,120 recuperators contracted for, 
898 had been finished when the armistice was signed, and this 
quantity was increased to 1,238 one month later. 

78 America's munitions. 

The steel required for the recuperators in these 155-millimeter 
howitzers, and also for those of the 155-millimeter guns, Was of 
special composition; yet all the forge capacity in this country was 
being utilized in other war manufacture. New facilities for the 
manufacture of these f orgings had to be developed by increasing the 
capacity of the Mesta Machine Co. of Pittsburgh, until it could meet 
our requirements. The Government itself contracted for these 
f orgings and supplied them to Dodge Bros. 

Each howitzer required some 200 items of miscellaneous equip- 
ment, such as air and liquid pumps and other tools. These were 
purchased from many sources, and many of these contractors had 
just as much difficulty with the small parts as the larger firms had 
with the more important sections of the howitzers. 

Many of the problems involved in turning out the complete unit 
could not be known or understood until they were met with in actual 
manufacture. Mechanical experts representing Schneider et Cie. 
were on hand at all times to help solve difficulties as they arose. 

The Government turned to France for an auxiliary supply of car- 
riages for the American-built howitzers, placing orders for 1,361 with 
French concerns. Of this number 772 had been completed when the 
armistice was signed, and the French expected soon to turn out the 
carriages at the rate of 140 per month. It might also be noted here 
that we placed an order in England for 302 British 6-inch howitzers, 
a piece very like the French howitzer. The British contract was to 
be completed April 1, 1919. 

The various parts of the 155-millimeter howitzer were assembled 
into complete units and tested at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. 
After being assembled and tested, the whole unit was taken apart 
and packed into crates especially designed for overseas shipment. 
One crate held two howitzer carriages with recuperators in less space 
than would have been occupied by one carriage on its wheels. 

It will be noted that the first gun body of the 155-millimeter how- 
itzers made in this country was delivered in February and the first 
recuperator in July. Before the recuperators were ready, the other 
parts of the howitzer had been proof-tried by using a recuperator of 
French manuf acture. 

During the months of August and September, 1918, the first regi- 
ment equipped with 155-millimeter howitzers was made ready at 
Aberdeen. The big weapons were packed and on the dock for ship- 
ment overseas when the armistice was signed. These first ones were 
to be followed by a steady stream of howitzers. All arrangements 
had been made to assemble units and crate them for overseas at the 
Erie Proving Ground at Port Clinton, Ohio. 



None of the 155-millimeter howitzers built here reached the Ameri- 
can Expeditionary Forces, but French deliveries of the weapon up to 
the signing of the armistice totaled 747. 


iss-mm. howitzer carriage 

155-mm. carriage replacement 

•mm. howftser carriage. 


155-mm. howitzer carriage limbers 


155-mm. howitzer caisson 

155-mm. howitzer cannon 


Osgood Bradley Car Co. 
do . 


American Rolling Mill Co. (old Mosler 
6afe contract). 

Rock Island Arsenal 

Maxwell Motor Co 

Rock Island Arsenal 

Ford Motor Co 

American Brake Shoe & Foundry Co. . 







Nov. 11, 






Apr. 17, 






The reproduction in the United States of the French 155-millinieter 
G. P. F. (the French designation) gun presents much the same story 
as that of the howitzer of equal size — a story of difficulties in trans- 
lating plans, writing into them the precision of finishing measure- 
ments that the French factory usually leaves to the skill of the 
mechanic himself, difficulties in finding manufacturers willing to un- 
dertake the work, and then of providing them with suitable raw 
materials and machinery, and, above all, of locating the necessary 
skilled mechanics. 

This strange, big monster of a weapon is of rugged design. The 
entire unit weighs 19,860 pounds. The gun has the extremely 
high muzzle velocity of 2,400 feet per second, a rate of propulsion 
that throws the 95-pound projectile 17.700 yards, or a little more 
than 10 miles. 

The wheels of the carriage have a double tread of solid rubber tire. 
By an ingenious arrangement a caterpillar tread can be applied to 
the wheels in a few minutes whenever soft ground is encountered. 

The center of gravity of the unit is low. The wheels are of small 
dimensions and the cradle is trunnioned behind in such a fashion as 
to reduce the height of the cannon. The carriage has a split trail, 
which allows for a large clearance for recoil at a high elevation 
and a large angle of traverse. The carriage when traveling is sup- 
ported on semielliptical springs, as is also the carriage limber. 

Two large steel castings make up the carriage of this unit. The 
bottom part of the carriage is supported by the axle, which carries 
the two sections of the split trail upon the hinge pins. The top part 
of the carriage is supported by and revolves upon the bottom car- 
riage and carries in trunnioned bearings the recuperator. The prin- 

80 America's munitions. 

cipal difficulty in carriage manufacture was to obtain in this country 
the extremely large steel castings of light-section, high-grade steel. 

The carriages, 1,388 in number, were ordered in November, 1917, 
from the Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co. The first delivery of 
carriages was made in August, 1918, and in the last week of October 
they were being turned out at the rate of seven a day. Up to the 
armistice date 370 had been produced, of which 16 had been sent 

We also placed orders in France for 577 of these carriages, of which 
216 had been completed upon the signing of the armistice. The 
American monthly rate of production of carriages in October was 162. 

The 155-millimeter gun itself is far from being simple to manufac- 
ture. It is of considerable length and is built of a number of jack- 
ets and hoops to give the required resistance to the heavy press- 
ures exerted in firing, this being a high-velocity gun. Except for 
a slight change in the manner of locking the hoops to the jacket, our 
gun is identical with that of the French. 

Orders for 2,160 cannon were given to the Watervliet Arsenal and 
the Billiard Engineering Works, at Bridgeport, Conn., in November, 

1917. The Bullard Engineering Works had to construct new build- 
ings and to purchase and install special equipment, and the Water- 
vliet Arsenal had to extend its shops and also purchase and install 
much additional machinery — a job that took time at both places. 

The first deliveries of cannon came from Watervliet Arsenal in 
July, 1918. During October 50 cannon were delivered, and it seemed 
certain that by early in 1919 the projected eight cannon per day 
would be the rate attained. We shipped 16 of the cannon overseas. 
By November 11 we had received 71 cannon, a number increased to 
109 by December 12. 

Limbers in the same quantity as carriages were ordered from the 
Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Co., which produced a limber to ac- 
company each one of its delivered carriages. This limber has an 
extremely heavy axle, similar to the automobile front axle. Its size 
and weight caused difficulty in obtaining it as a drop forging. 

To Dodge Bros, was assigned the task of producing the recuperators 
for this gun in their special plant. The 155-millimeter gun recu- 
perators, however, were made secondary to the production of the 
recuperators for the 155-millimeter howitzers, which were the easier 
of the two sorts to build. 

Forgings were available and work started on recuperators in April, 

1918. No rapid completion of these intricate mechanisms was pos- 
sible, however, as the first forgings encountered many delays in their 
machinings. In the cycle of operations, with everything speeded up 
to the limit, more than three months must elapse from the day the 
recuperator forging is received to the day when the completed mech- 
anism can be turned over to the inspector as an assembled article. 

5 = 
5 * 



It was in October, 1918, that the first 155-millimeter gun recu- 
perator was delivered. The factory expected to reach a maximum 
capacity of 10 a day. The company built 12 more by December 1. 
After the armistice was signed the company's order was reduced to 
880, which had all been completed by May 1, 1919. 

In order to have recuperators available for use for the units shipped 
from the United States minus these mechanisms, 110 rough-machined 
recuperator forgings were shipped to France, where the work of 
machining and completing was done. 

The translation of the French plans for this weapon furnished one 
of the most difficult pieces of work undertaken by the Ordnance 
Department. Without counting in the gun pieces, the carriage and 
limber is made up of 479 pieces, while the recoil mechanism itself has 
372 pieces. A total of 150 mechanical tracings had to be made by 
our draftsmen for the carriage and test tools; 50 for the carriage 
limbers; 142 for the recoil mechanism; 74 for the tools and acces- 
sories; or a total of 416. It was extremely difficult to secure drafts- 
men who could do this work, and the translation, accomplished in a 
few weeks, is regarded as a remarkable achievement. 

The cannon for this gun were tested at the Erie Proving Grounds 
and there packed for overseas shipment. We had many cannon and 
carriages awaiting shipment when the armistice was signed, the plan 
being to send them to France, where they would be equipped with 


155-mm. gun carriage, model 

155-mm. gun carriage limber. 

model 1918 (Filloox). 
Ufaum gun cannon proper... 


Minneapolis Steel & Machin- 
ery Co. 

Ballard Engine Works 

Watervliet Arsenal 






completed completed 

Nov. 11, 





Apr. 17. 






Nov. 11, 






In the early days of the war the British designed an 8-inch field 
Howitzer that proved itself on battle fields in France. Great Britain 
loaded her own plants with orders for this weapon and then turned 
to the United States for additional facilities. The Midvale Steel & 
Ordnance Co. at Nicetown, Pa., was manufacturing this unit for the 
British at the time we entered the war. 

On April 14, 1917, exactly eight days after we had formally 
announced our purpose of warring with Germany, an order for 80 
°f these 8-inch howitzers was placed with the Midvale Steel Co. It 
**s understood that production on our order was to be begun upon 

109287°— 19 6 



the completion of the British contract on which the Midvale Co. 
was then engaged. The order included the complete units, with 
carriages, limbers, tools, and accessories, all to be built in accordance 
with British specifications. 

Contracts for the trails were sublet by the Midvale Co. to the 
Cambria Steel Co ; for the wheels, to the American Road & Machinery 
Co.; for the limbers and firing platforms, to the J. G. Brill Co.; and 
for the open sights, to the British-American Manufacturing Co. 
Panoramic sights for these guns were furnished by the Frankford 

So satisfactory did the production proceed that on December 13, 
1917, the first of the 8-inch howitzers was proof-tried with good 
results. Early in January, 1918, the complete units began to come 
through at the rate of three a week, increasing to four a week in April 
and to six a week in May. 

A subsequent contract with Midvale brought the total number of 
howitzers ordered from that plant up to 195. These weapons, all of 
the model known as the Mark VI, were all produced and accepted 
before the signing of the armistice, 96 of them being shipped over- 
seas, with their full complement of accessories. Each completed 
unit cost in the neighborhood of $55,000. These weapons throw a 
200-pound projectile 11,750 yards. 

The progress of the war moved so swiftly, however, that there soon 
was need for artillery units of this same size but with longer range. 
Accordingly, a new design, known as the Mark VIIIJ, was brought 
out, having a range of over 13,000 yards. On October 2, 1918, we 
placed with the Midvale Co. an order for 100 of these 8-inch howitzers, 
specifying carriages of the new, heavier type. 

When we entered the war the Bethlehem Steel Co., at Bethlehem, 
Pa., was producing for the British Government a howitzer with a 
bore of 9.2 inches. The Bethlehem Co. expected to complete these 
British contracts in July, 1917. The 9.2-inch howitzer was approx- 
imately the same size as the 240-millimeter howitzer which we were 
getting ready to put into production. However, in our desire to 
utilize every bit of the production facilities of the country, we 
ordered 100 of the 9.2-inch howitzer units from the Bethlehem Steel 
Co. and placed additional orders for 132 of these units in England. 
The British concerns delivered 40 howitzers before the armistice 
was signed. 




Model 1917. 


8-incli howitzer... 


9.2-inch howitzer . 


Midvale Steel Co... 


Bethlehem Steel Co. 



Nov. 11, 




to Apr. 

17, 1919. 









The scheme of production of the French 240-millimeter howitzers 
was entirely aimed at the year 1919; since even if American heavy 
manufacturing establishments had not been loaded with war orders, 
it would have been well-nigh impossible to turn out this mighty 
engine of destruction in quantities in any shorter period of time. 

Although approximately the same size as the British 9.2-inch 
howitzer (the exact diameter of the bore of the 240 being 9.45 
inches) and only a little larger than the 8-inch howitzer, the French 
gun was far more powerful than either. The 8-inch and the 9.2-inch 
howitzers had ranges in the neighborhood of 6 miles, while their 
shell weighed from 200 to 290 pounds. The 240, on the other hand, 
hurled a shell weighing 356 pounds and carrying a bursting charge 
of between 45 and 50 pounds of high explosive. Its range was 
almost 10 miles. 

We produced the 8-inch and the 9.2-inch howitzers to fill the 
gap during the two years which must elapse before we could get into 
quantity production of the 240. The French and British govern- 
ments in the fall of 1917 asserted their ability to equip our first 30 
combat divisions in 1918 with heavy howitzers, so that if our pro- 
duction came along in the spring of 1919 it could meet the require- 
ments of the war situation. 

Consequently we planned to equip our first army of 30 divisions 
with 8-inch and 9.2-inch howitzers in equal numbers of each. Our 
second army of 30 divisions should be wholly equipped with 240- 
millimeter howitzers; and our expected production of these, being 
heyond our own contemplated needs, would serve to replace such 
8-inch and 9.2-inch howitzers as had been lost in the meantime. 

As we adapted it from the French Schneider model, the 240-milli- 
meter howitzer consisted of four main parts — the howitzer barrel, 
the top carriage, the cradle with recoil and mechanism, and the 
firing platform. Each of these four parts had its own transportation 
wagon and limber drawn by a 10-ton tractor. The weapon was set 
up with the aid of an erecting frame and a small hand crane. 

Each of the main sections is composed of numerous smaller as- 
sembled parts made up of various grades of iron and steel and raw 
materials, all requiring the greatest precision in their manufacture 
and all having to pass rigid and exacting tests for strength and 

The production of even one of these enormous weapons would have 
been a hard job for any American industrial plant, but to manufac- 
ture over 1,200 of them, and that within the comparatively limited 
time allowed and under the abnormal industrial and transportation 
conditions then prevailing, was a task of tremendous difficulty and 

84 America's munitions. 

On September 1, 1917, an order was placed with the Watertown ' 
Arsenal for 250 carriages for the American 240's, to be turned out 
complete with the recoil mechanism, transportation vehicles, tools, 
and accessories. To show the size of the job, an allotment of 
$17,450,000 was set aside to cover the estimated expenses at the 

Well equipped as the Watertown Arsenal was said to be at the time 
for the production of heavy gun carriages, it was found necessary, in 
order to handle this job, to construct a new erecting shop that had 
a capacity practically as large as all the other buildings of the plant 
put together. The number of employees at the arsenal was increased 
from 1,200 to more than 3,000. 

The greatest difficulty experienced was in obtaining the large 
number of heavy machine tools required, and experts were sent out 
to scour the country in an effort to locate these tools wherever they 
might be available. Raw materials could not be procured in suffi- 
cient quantities, while numerous transportation delays impeded the 

Finally, in October, 1918, the pilot carriage was completed and 
sufficient progress had been made on the entire contract to assure 
production of the required number of units in the early part of 1919. 

A second carriage contract (Nov. 16, 1917) went to the 
Standard Steel Car Co., of Hammond, Ind. This called for the 
delivery of 964 carriages complete with transportation vehicles, 
limbers, tools, etc., but not with recuperators. These the Otis 
Elevator Co., of New York, undertook to deliver. 

The Standard Steel Car Co. is one of the most important builders of 
railway cars, freight and passenger, in the country, and it possessed 
a large and well-equipped plant. Nevertheless, the company was 
compelled to construct several additional buildings and practically 
to double the capacity of its huge erecting shop in order to prepare 
adequately for the tremendous task undertaken. 

As a means to save time, subcontracts were immediately placed 
with more than 100 firms throughout the East and Middle West for 
the production and machining of as many as possible of the com- 
ponent parts needed by the Standard Steel Car Co. Wherever prac- 
ticable, the subcontractors working on similar contracts for the 
Watertown Arsenal were retained by the Indiana company, so that 
better prices might be obtained, parts standardized, and the whole 
production greatly facilitated. 

Once the work was well under way the ramifications of this one 
contract, with its subcontracts for parts, materials, tools, building 
construction, etc., extended throughout practically the entire indus- 
trial facilities of the eastern and central sections of the country. 


As in the case of the contract given the Watertown Arsenal, there 
were many difficulties in obtaining tools and raw materials. In a 
large majority of cases allocations, partly of iron and steel products, 
had to be obtained through the War Industries Board. When 
allocations had been granted, priority orders had to be secured, as 
the producers of these materials were already overworked with 
Government orders of varying impedance. 

With the pilot carriage complete in the early part of October, pro- 
duction on all the main parts had progressed by November to such 
an extent that a large output of finished carriages was assured for 
December and thereafter, had not the signing of the armistice inter- 
vened and ended the necessity for further expedition of the work. 

Orders for howitzer bodies were placed as follows: 


Bethlehem Steel Co., Nov. 21, 1917 237 

Edgewater Steel Co., Oct. 24, 1917 175 

Tacony Ordnance Corporation, Nov. 14, 1917 175 

Watertown Arsenal, Nov. 10, 1917 80 

American Bridge Co., Mar. 31, 1918 800 

The Watervliet Arsenal on November 20, 1917, was instructed to 
do the machining of forgings so as to turn out 250 gun bodies for 
the 240-millimeter howitzers, and three months later this order 
was doubled. On November 7, 1918, an additional 660 were ordered 
from Watervliet, making a grand total of 1,160 howitzer cannon 
of this caliber ordered machined and completed at the Watervliet 
Arsenal. The arsenal contracted to reach an output of 100 cannon 
a month and deliver the last of the 1,160 not later than September 
30, 1919. 

It was found necessary to erect an entirely new shop for the ma- 
chining of these howitzers. This shop was completed in May, 1918. 
During the war period $13,164,706 was spent or allotted to the Water- 
vliet Arsenal for increasing its f acilities. Forgings were furnished to 
the arsenal by the Government, but the forging situation was never 
a delaying factor in the production of 240-millimeter howitzers. 

In all, 158 sets, of 1,467 ordered, were delivered up to December 
12, 1918. The pilot howitzer was delivered by the Watervliet Arse- 
nal to the proving ground on August 24, 1918. 

In the summer of 1918 the Watertown Arsenal contracted to build 
252 additional recuperators for these howitzers. Work was started at 
once in the shops, and, though additional facilities had to be prepared 
and much new equipment added, the production of the first recu- 
perator was begun without delay. It was found that th^ planing 
equipment at the arsenal was not sufficient to handle the work, and 
therefore a great deal of the rough planing was done by subcontractors. 

The Watertown Arsenal was to furnish its own forgings, but it was 
quickly found that an additional source of supplies was required. 



The Carnegie Steel Co. had been given an order on December 27, 1917, 
for 1,300 recuperator forgings, and some of these were sent to the 
Watertown Arsenal. 

The first recuperator was completed October 28, 1918, and 16 had 
been finished up to December 31, 1918, when 280 forgings were in 
the process of machining. 

To handle its order for 1,03^ recuperators, the Otis Elevator Co., 
of New York, found it necessary to rebuild a plant which it owned in 
Chicago. Forgings were furnished by the Government. 

On May 1, 1918, the Otis Elevator Co. started its rough machining. 
Hard spots were found in the metal, causing great trouble at first, 
but this difficulty was overcome by changes in the heat treatment. 
The Carnegie Steel Co. was then instructed to rough-machine the 
forgings before sending them to the Otis Elevator Co. An order was 
also given to the Midvale Steel Co. to rough-machine 24 forgings. 
Early in November, 1918, the Otis Elevator Co. finished its first 

One 240-millimeter howitzer unit was completed at the time of 
the signing of the armistice, out of a total of 1,214 contracted for; 
but had war conditions continued, the expectation was for a monthly 
capacity of 80 unite by 1919. Actual deliveries are given below: 


240-mm. unit, complete, except how- 

240-mm. howitzer carriage units, ex- 
oept recuperators. 


Rammer trucks 

Shot trucks 

240-mm. howitzer cannon 


jwatertown Arsenal . . . 
Standard Steel Car Co . 

Dodge Manufacturing Co. 


Watervliet Arsenal 




Nov. 11, 







Apr. 17, 








1 Carriage alone. 

* Carriages with recuperators. 


The American development of antiaircraft artillery had, previously 
to 1917, been confined almost exclusively to the task of designing and 
constructing stationary units of defense for our coast fortifications. 
It was naturally expected that it would be at those points that we 
would first, if ever, have to meet an attack from the air. Very little 
attention had been paid mobile artillery of this sort. 

Before April, 1916, the Ordnance Department had designed a high- 
powered 3-inch antiaircraft* mount for the fixed emplacement at coast 
fortifications. The gun on this meunt fired a 15-pound projectile 
with a muzzle velocity of 2,600 feet a second. It is still to-day the 
most powerful antiaircraft weapon of its caliber. Between May, 1916, 




and June 18, 1917, orders for 160 of these mounts were placed with 
the Watertown Arsenal and the Bethlehem Steel Co. Up to April 
10, 1919, a total of 116 of these had been completed and sent for em- 
placement at the points selected. 

By the end of 1916, however, it was foreseen that it would be neces- 
sary to provide antiaircraft artillery of a mobile type as part of the 
equipment for any field forces that might be sent abroad. Since that 
contingency seemed entirely possible at that time, and as it appeared 
to be impossible to provide a suitable design that would have a suffi- 
cient period of time in which to get proper consideration and test, it 
was decided to improvise a simple structural steel design that would 
permit quick construction and on which a 75-millimeter field gun, 
that was already in production, could be mounted. 

This design was completed May 1, 1917, and an order for 50 placed 
with the Builders Iron Foundry. Deliveries on these were made 
during the fail of 1917, and the carriages were at once shipped to 
France for equipment with French field guns and recuperators that 
had been already procured for the purpose. 

In its mobility the improvised antiaircraft gun mount was far from 
perfect. It was necessary to disassemble it partly and mount it on 
trailers. The need for a mount that could be moved easily and 
speedily had been realized before our entrance in the war, and a de- 
sign embodying these qualities was completed as early as December, 

This truek was designed to be equipped with the American 75- 
millimeter field gun, model of 1916. Before the drawings were com- 
pleted an order for the pilot mounts of this type was placed with the 
Rock Island Arsenal. The war came on, and it was decided not to 
wait for a test of the mounts before starting general manufacture. 
Accordingly the New Britain Machine Co., in July, 1917, was given 
an order for 51 carriages. No further orders were placed for car- 
riages of this sort, as it was not thought best to go too heavily into 
production of an untried mount. 

It may be noted here that our first 26 antiaircraft guns were 
mounted on White l£-ton trucks. 

It was also realized that the field guns with which these mounts were 
to be equipped did not have the power and range that the war expe- 
rience was showing to be necessary. The only reasons that the field 
guns of the 75-millimeter caliber were used in this way was because 
they were the guns most quickly available and because the French 
were already using them for this purpose. 

To meet the need of more powerful antiaircraft weapons, a need 
becoming more pressing each day, a 3-inch high-powered antiaircraft 
gun was designed and mounted on a four-wheel trailer of the auto- 
mobile type. This mount permitted elevations of the gun from 10 

88 America's munitions. 

degrees to 85 degrees and also allowed for "all around" firing. An 
order for 612 of these carriages was given to the New Britain Machine 
Co. in July, 1917, shortly after the contract for the 51 truck mounts 
had been placed with that concern. 

Because of the urgency of the situation it was necessary to con- 
struct these carriages without the preliminary tests on a pilot car- 
riage. This, of course, is a very undesirable practice, but under the 
existing conditions no other procedure would have been practicable. 
The French antiaircraft auto truck mount, which had the French 
75-millimeter field gun with its recuperator placed upon a special 
antiaircraft mount, was not adopted at the time, because, in July, 
1917, the whole question of the possibility of constructing French 
recuperators in this country was still entirely unsettled. It was im- 
perative then that we develop our own designs. 

All of the 51 truck mounts for the antiaircraft guns were delivered 
during the fall and early winter of 1918, and 22 of them were in 
France before December, 1918, 

Delivery of the first carriage for the 3-inch high-powered gun 
mounted on the trailer carriage was made in August, 1917. It had 
been rushed ahead of general production in order to be given some 
sort of a test. No further deliveries were made, but manufacture 
reached a point where production in quantity could begin. 

A representative of the Ordnance Department was sent to France 
and England in December, 1917, to gather all the information possible 
on antiaircraft artillery. As a result of his investigations it was deter- 
mined that it would be best to procure the greater part of our fire- 
control equipment in France, since the instruments developed there 
were in some cases of a highly complicated nature and their manu- 
facture entirely controlled by private parties. Orders were placed for 
enough of these instruments for the equipment of the first 125 bat- 

Meanwhile, fire-control instruments of various types were in the 
process of development in this country; but, as they were largely 
based upon theoretical construction derived from study of the 
French practices, it was deemed best not to manufacture any of these 
instruments in quantity, as better instruments of French design were 
available. Drawings of the French instruments were brought back 
by the Ordnance officer on his visit to France and were available in 
this country in the spring of 1918, when manufacture of some of them 
began in the United States. 

At the signing of the armistice our forces in France were equipped 
almost wholly with antiaircraft artillery loaned to us and supplied 
by the French. This, of course, does not include the 101 improvised 
and truck mounts completed during 1917. Production here, how- 





ever, bad. reached such a point that shipment of material would have 
begun in. quantity in January, 1919. 

The estimated requirements of antiaircraft artillery for 2,000,000 
men in 48 divisions is only 120 guns. Other material, of course, 
would have been required previously for defense of depots, railheads, 
etc., dependent in a great measure upon the activities of German 
bombers. It is estimated that about 200 guns would have sufficed 
for this purpose. 

To summarize, 50 of the so-called improvised 75-millimeter anti- 
aircraft guns and mounts had been ordered and completed up to the 
time of the signing of the armistice; 51 of the 75-millimeter antiair- 
craft mounts, model of 1917, had been ordered and 46 completed; 
while 612 of the 3-inch antiaircraft trailer carriage mounts, model of 
1917, had been ordered, of which 1 had been actually delivered at the 
nignirfcg of the armistice, the balance to come at the rate of 26 per 
month starting in December. 

Artillery — Production of complete units, by months. 
[Deliveries in the United States on U. S. Army orders only.] 







































































76-mm. gun, model 1897 — 

75-mm. gun, model 1910 

75-mm. gun, model 1917 — 
75-mm. antiaircraft gun 

4.7-inch {ran 











155-mm. nowitser 


6-inch seaooast gun. 

165-mni. gnn 


a-inch howitzer. 


9-2-mch howitzer* 


240-mm. howitser 


8-inch seaooast gun. 

10-inch seacoast gun. 

13-inch gun 



12-moh seaooast mortar 

















i Project complete. 

* No deliveries made by Bethlehem Steel Co. on IT. 8. Army orders until after signing of the armistice 
because of priority given to British orders placed before the American declaration of war. 

By " complete units " is meant gun body complete, carriage, and recoil mechanism 
or recuperator. Units are given as complete when their component parts were com- 
plete, although the actual assembly of these parts at a common point, testing, and 
final delivery usually required from two weeks' to two months' additional time. 

The 5-inch, 6-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch seacoast guns and the 12-inch seacoast 
mortars were taken from the fortifications and modified for use with mobile carriages, 
all above 6 inches for railway mounts. 

The 75-millimeter gun, model 1897, was the approved model for active service in 
France. Model 1916 and model 1917 were used for training purposes both in the 
United States and in France. 



Production of mobile artillery (complete units), Apr. 7, 1911 ', to Nov. 11, 1918. 
[Including all produced for France and Great Britain in United States.] 


75-mm. guns (or British 18-pounder) 

3-inch and 76-mm. antiaircraft guns 

4.6-inch howitzers 

4.7-inch guns 

166-mm. (5-inch and 6-inch seaooast guns') 

165-mm. howitzers 

7-lnch guns on caterpillar mounts 

Railway artillery. 

Heavy howitzers 


1 Does not include 51 improvised mounts for which guns were furnished by French. 

> Includes sixteen 155-mm. guns and carriages shipped without recuperators, 

* Built for the Marine Corps. 

« Includes sixteen 8-inch howitzers built far the Marine Corps. 




As soon, as war was declared against Germany the Ordnance 
Department, in its search for an immediate equipment of strong 
artillery, surveyed the ordnance supplies of the country and dis- 
covered some 464 heavy guns which might be spared from the 
seacoast defenses, obtained from the Navy, or commandeered 
at private ordnance plants where they were being manufactured 
for foreign Governments. There were six guns of this last-named 
class — powerful 12-inch weapons which had been produced for the 
Chilean Government. It was seen that if all, or if a large part, 
of these guns could be made available for service in France, America 
would quickly provide for herself a heavy artillery equipment of 
respectable proportions. 

The guns thus available for mounting on railway cars ranged in 
size from the 7-inch guns of the Navy to the single enormous 16-inch 
howitzer which had been built experimentally by the Ordnance 
Department prior to 1917. The list of these guns according to 
number, size, length, and source whence obtained was as follows: 

Number of guns. 



Source whence obtained. 





Seacoast defenses. 


In manufacture for Chile. 
Seacoast defenses. 

« ** 




150 (mortars) 

In addition to these there was the 16-inch howitzer, 20 calibers 
in length, which had been built by the Ordnance Department before 

The expression 14-inch gun, 50 calibers, means that the gun has 
a barrel diameter of 14 inches and that the gun body is fifty times 
the caliber of 14 inches, or 700 inches (58 feet 4 inches) long. 

The Ordnance Department conceived that the only way to 
make these guns available for use abroad would be to mount them 
on railway cars. These guns were not vital in the defense of our 
coast under the conditions of the war with Germany, but it was 


92 America's munitions. 

evident that they would make a valuable type of long-range artillery 
when placed on satisfactory railway mounts. 

Mounting heavy artillery on railway cars, however, was not an 
idea born of the recent war. The idea was probably originally 
American. The Union forces at the siege of Richmond in 1863 
mounted a 13-inch cast-iron mortar on a reinforced flat car, this 
being the first authenticated record of the use of heavy railway 

In 1913 the commanding officer of the defenses of the Potomac, 
which comprise Forts Washington and Hunt, was called upon to 
report on the condition of these defenses. In reply, he advised 
that no further expenditure be made on any one of the fixed 
defenses, but recommended that a ''strategic railroad" be built 
along the backbone of the peninsula from Point Lookout to Wash- 
ington, with spurs leading to predetermined positions both on 
Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River, so placed as to command 
approaches to Washington and Baltimore. 

Further, he recommended that 4 major-caliber guns, 16 medium- 
caliber guns, and 24 mine-defense guns be mounted on railroad plat- 
forms, with ammunition, range finding, and repair cars making up 
complete units, so that this armament could be quickly transported 
at any time to the place where most needed. He suggested that this 
scheme be made applicable to any portion of the coast line of the 
United States. His argument was based upon the fact that guns in 
fixed positions, of whatever caliber, violate the cardinal military 
principle of mobility. 

The nations engaged in the war now ending developed to a high 
stage the use of heavy artillery mounted on railway cars, bringing 
about a combination of the necessary rigidity with great mobility, 
considering the weight of this material. 

Railway artillery came to be as varied in its design as field artillery. 
Each type of railway mount had certain tactical uses and it was not 
considered desirable to use the different types interchangeably. The 
three types of cannon used on railway mounts were mortars, how- 
itzers, and guns. It was not practicable to use the same type of 
railway mounts for the different kinds of cannon. Moreover, these 
mounts differed radically from the mounts for such weapons at the 
seacoast defenses. 

The three general types of railway mounts adopted were those 
which gave the gun all-around fire (360-degree traverse), those which 
provided limited traverse for the gun, and those which allowed no 
lateral movement for the gun on the carriage but were used on curved 
track, or epis, to give the weapons traverse aim. 

The smaller weapons, such as the 7-inch and the 8-inch guns and 
the 12-inch mortars, were placed on mounts affording 360-degree 


traverse. The limited traverse mounts were used for the moderately 
long-range guns and howitzers. The fixed type of mount was used 
for long-range guns only, and included the sliding railway mounts, 
such as the American 12-inch and 14-inch sliding mounts and the 
French Schneider & glissement mounts. 

The work of providing railway artillery — that is, taking the big, 
fixed-position guns already in existence within the United States and 
similar guns being produced and designing and manufacturing suit- 
able mounts for them on railway cars — grew into such an important 
undertaking that it enlisted the exclusive attention of a large sec- 
tion within the Ordnance Department. This organization eventually 
found itself engaged in 10 major construction projects, which, in 
time, had the war continued, would have delivered more than 300 
of these monster weapons to the field in France and, to a lesser 
extent, to the railway coast defenses of the United States. 

As it was, so much of the construction — the machining of parts, 
and so on — was complete at the date of the armistice, that it was 
decided to go ahead with all of the projects except three, these 
involving the mounting of 16 guns of 14-inch size, 50 calibers long, 
the production of 25 long-range 8-inch guns, 50 calibers, and their 
mounting on railway cars, and the mounting of 18 coast-defense, 
10-inch guns, 34 calibers long, on the French Batignolles type of 
railway mount. 

Inasmuch as it will be necessary in this chapter to refer frequently 
to the barbette, Schneider, and Batignolles types of gun mounts for 
railway artillery, it should be made clear to the reader what these 
types are. 

The barbette carriage revolves about a central pintle, or axis, and 
turns the gun around with it. When it was decided to put coast- 
defense guns on railway cars, the guns were taken from their em- 
placements, barbette carriages manufactured for them, and the whole 
mounted upon special cars. The barbette mount revolves on a sup- 
port of rollers traveling upon a circular base ring. In the railway 
mount the base ring is attached to the dropped central portion of the 
railway car. The barbette railway mount is provided with struts 
and plates by which the car is braced against the ground. 

The Schneider railway mount is named after the French ord- 
nance concern Schneider et Cie, who designed it. In this mount the 
gun and its carriage are fastened rigidly parallel to the long axis of 
the railway car. Thus the gun itself, independently of any move- 
ment of the car, can be pointed only up and down in a vertical plane, 
having no traverse or swing from left to right, and vice versa. In 
order to give the weapon traverse for its aim, special railway curved 
tracks, called epis, are prepared at the position where it is to be 
fired. The car is then run along the curve until its traverse aim. is 

94 America's munitions. 

correct, and the vertical aim is achieved by the movement of the 
gun itself. In the Schneider mount there is no recoil mechanism, 
but the recoil is absorbed by the retrograde movement of the car 
itself along the rails after the gun is fired. This movement, of course, 
puts the gun out of aim, and the entire unit must then be pushed 
by hand power back to the proper point. 

In the Batignolles type, gun and cradle are mounted on a so-called 
top carriage that permits of small changes in horizontal pointing 
right and left. Thus with the railway artillery of the Batignolles 
type also, track curves, or epis, are necessary for the accurate aim- 
ing. The Batignolles mount partially cushions the recoil by the 
movement of the gun itself in the cradle. But, in addition, a special 
track is provided at the firing point and the entire gun car is run 
on this track and bolted to it with spades driven into the ground 
to resist what recoil is not taken up in the cradle. The unit is thus 
stationary in action, and the gun can be more readily returned to 
aim than can a gun on a Schneider mount. . 


The conditions under which the war with Germany was fought 
virtually precluded any chance of a naval attack on our shores 
which would engage our fixed coast defenses. The British grand 
fleet, with the assistance of fleets of the other allies and America, 
had the German battle fleet securely bottled. On the other hand 
there was the prowling submarine able at all times to go to sea and 
even to cross the ocean, and some of the latest of these submarines 
were armed with long-range medium-caliber guns. It was not 
beyond possibility that some sort of an attack would be made on 
our shores by submarines of this character, yet it was safe to believe 
that these craft would keep well out of range of the guns at our 
stationary coast defenses. 

To protect our coast from such attack the Ordnance Department 
conceived the plan of mounting heavy guns on railway cars. They 
might then be moved quickly to places on the seacoast needing de- 
fense. For this purpose the Navy turned 12 of its 7-inch rifles over 
to the Ordnance Department for mounting. Meanwhile our ord- 
nance officers had designed certain standard railway artillery cars, 
known as models 1918, 1918 Mark I, and 1918 Mark II, for 7-inch 
and 8-inch guns and 12-inch mortars, respectively. These cars all 
had the same general features. 

The model 1918 car was selected for the converted 7-inch Navy 
rifle. The rifle was mounted on a pedestal set on the gun car in 
such a manner as to give all-around fire, or 360-degree traverse. 
The pedestal mount permitted the gun to be depressed at an angle 


suitable for firing from high places along the coast down upon the 
low-lying submarines. 

Contracts for the various parts for these cars and the pedestal 
gun mounts were let to concerns engaged in heavy steel manufacture, 
but the assembling was done by the American Car & Foundry Co., 
of Berwick, Pa. Twelve of the 7-inch rifles were so mounted. As 
this equipment was intended exclusively for use in this country, the 
gun cars were equipped with the American type of car couplings. 


For the 8-inch guns taken from seacoast fortifications the Ord- 
nance Department designed a barbette mount giving complete, 360- 
degree, traverse, thus providing for fire in any direction. There were 
96 such guns available for railway mounts. Orders for 47 gun cars 
with carriages for mounting the weapons were placed with three 
concerns — the Morgan Engineering Co., of Alliance, Ohio, the Harris- 
burg Manufacturing & Boiler Co., of Harrisburg, Pa., and the Amer- 
ican Car & Foundry Co., of Berwick. Two of the three contractors 
found it necessary to provide additional facilities and machine-tool 
equipment at their plants in order to handle this job. 

The first railway mount for the 8-inch gun was completed and 
.sent to the Aberdeen Proving Ground for test in May, 1918. In 
early June the test had shown that the weapon was efficient and 
entirely satisfactory. Before the end of the year 1918 a total of 
24 complete units, with ammunition cars for standard-gauge track, 
shell cars for narrow-gauge track, transportation cars, tools, spare 
parts, and all the other necessary appurtenances of a unit of this 
character, had been completed. Three complete 8-inch units were 
shipped overseas before the armistice was signed. 

When the armistice came the Harrisburg company had delivered 
9 of these mounts and the Morgan Engineering Co. an equal number, 
making 18 in all. The former concern had reached an output of 
5 mounts per month and the latter 10 per month. 

An interesting feature of this mount is that it can be used either 
on standard-gauge or on narrow-gauge railroad track. The narrow 
gauge adopted was that in standard use in the fighting zones in 
France, the distance between the rails being 60 centimeters, or the 
approximate equivalent of 24 inches. Each gun car was provided 
with interchangeable trucks to fit either gauge. The artillery train 
necessary for the maneuvering of the weapon was also similarly 
equipped to travel on either sort of track. 

As a rule the longer the barrel of a cannon, the greater its range. 
The 8-inch seacoast guns thus mounted were 35 calibers in length, that 
is, thirty-five times 8 inches, or 23 feet 4 inches. The requirements 
of our forces in the field in France called for guns of this same size 

96 America's munitions. 

but of longer range. Consequently an 8-inch gun of 50 calibers — 
that is, 10 feet longer than the seacoast 8-inch gun — was designed, 
and 25 of them were ordered. This project came as a later develop- 
ment in the war, the guns being intended for use abroad in 1920. 
The railway mounts for the weapons had not been placed in pro- 
duction when the armistice came. Because of the incomplete status 
of this project in the autumn of 1918, the whole undertaking was 


There were at the seacoast defenses and in the stores of the Army 
a large number of 10-inch guns of 34 calibers. Of these 129 were 
available for mounting on railway cars. It was proposed to mount 
these weapons on two types of French railway mounts — the Schneider 
and the Batignolles. 

The project to mount 36 of these weapons on Schneider mounts 
was taken up as a joint operation of the United States and French. 
Governments, the heavy forging and rough machining to be done 
in this country and the finishing and assembling in the French shops. 
The American contractors were three. The Harrisburg Manufac- 
turing & Boiler Co. undertook to furnish the major portion of the 
fabricated materials for the carriages and cars. The Pullman Car 
Co. contracted to produce the necessary trucks for the gun cars, 
while the American Car & Foundry Co. engaged to build the ammu- 
nition cars. 

Eight sets of fabricated parts to be assembled in France had been 
produced before the armistice was signed. Gen. Pershing had 
requested the delivery in France of the 36 sets of parts by March 
2, 1919. After the armistice was signed there was a natural let- 
down in speed in nearly all ordnance factories, but even without the 
spur of military necessity the contracting concerns were able by 
April 7, 1919, to deliver 22 of the 36 sets ordered. Had the war 
continued through the winter there is little question but that all 36 
sets of parts would have been in France on the date specified. 

The 10-inch seacoast gun, Batignolles mount project, was placed 
exclusively in the hands of the Marion Steam Shovel Co., of Marion, 
Ohio. It had been proposed also to mount 12-inch seacoast guns 
on this same type of equipment, and this work, too, went to the 
Marion concern. There were to be produced 18 of the 10-inch 
units and 12 of the larger ones. 

The Marion Steam Shovel Co. had had a large experience in pro- 
ducing heavy construction and road-building equipment. The 
concern encountered numerous difficulties at the start in translating 
the French drawings and in substituting the American standard 
materials for those specified by the French. These difficulties, 
combined with struggles to obtain raw materials and the equipment 

' Hurling pro|BctJl8 parallel to 




a of hurling a 700-pound shall 25 miles. 



for the increased facilities which had to be provided at the factory, 
so delayed production that no mount for either the 10-inch or 12- 
inch guns had been delivered at the time of the armistice. The 
first mount of these classes — one with a 12-inch gun — reached the 
Aberdeen proving ground about April 1, 1919. The 10-inch proj- 
ect, calling for 18 mounts, was canceled soon after November 11, 
1918. The work on the dozen mounts for 12-inch guns, however, 
had progressed so far that the Ordnance Department ordered the 
completion of the entire equipment. 

As lias been stated, the Government found in this country six 
12-inch, guns being made for the Republic of Chile. Their length 
of 50 calibers gave them a specially long range. It was decided to 
place the Chilean guns on a sliding mount. In a mount of this type 
the retrograde movement of the car along the track as and after 
the gun is fired takes up and absorbs the energy of fire. 

The first sliding railway mount used on the allied side in the great 
war was of French design. But our manufacturers had so much 
trouble with French designs that when the project came up of mount- 
ing the Chilean guns in this fashion it was decided that it would be 
quicker to design our own mount. Consequently the French design 
was taken in hand by our ordnance engineers and redesigned to con- 
form to American practice, with the inclusion in the design of all 
original ideas developed by the Ordnance Department in its creative 
work during the war period up to that time. The manufacturers 
who looked at the French design of the sliding railway mount esti- 
mated that it would take from 12 to 18 months before the unit could 
be duplicated in this country and first deliveries made. They looked 
at the American design and estimated that they could build it in 3 

It was decided to build three mounts of this character and thus 
have a reserve of one gun for each mount to serve as replacement 
when the original guns were worn out. Contracts were placed 
in the early summer of 1918, and all three mounts were delivered 
before the armistice was signed, the first mount being completed 
within 85 days after the order was placed. For these mounts the 
American Bridge Co. furnished the main girders or side pieces, the 
Baldwin Locomotive Co. built the railway trucks, and the Morgan 
Engineering Co. manufactured the many other parts and assembled 
the complete units. The speed in manufacture was made possible 
by the fact that the plant engineers of the three companies helped 
the ordnance officers in designing the details. With such intimate 
cooperation, the concerns were able to begin the manufacture of com- 
ponent parts while the drawings were being made. 

All three weapons with their entire equipment, including supplies, 
spare parts, ammunition cars, and the whole trains that make up 

109287°— 19 7 

98 amebica's munitiohs. 

such units, were ready for shipment to France in November, 1918. 
Each mount as it stands to-day is 105 feet long and weighs 600,000 
pounds. The load of the gun and the peak load put on the carriage 
when the gun is fired are so great that it requires four trucks of 8 
wheels each, 32 car wheels in all, to distribute the load safely over 
ordinary standard-gauge track. 


In years past the Ordnance Department had procured a large num- 
ber of 12-inch mortars for use at seacoast defenses. These great 
weapons are 10 calibers in length, or 10 feet in linear measure- 
ment, the diameter of the barrel being just an even foot. Of the 
number stationed at, the coastal forts and in reserve it was decided 
that 150 could be safely withdrawn and prepared for use against 
Germany. When Gen. Pershing was informed of the proposal, he 
asked that 40 of these weapons mounted on railway cars should be 
delivered to the American Expeditionary Forces for use in the planned 
campaign of 1919. In order that there might be an adequate supply 
of them, the Ordnance Department let contracts for the mounting 
of 91 of these mortars on railway equipment, a project which would 
give the United States a formidable armament and still provide a 
reserve of 59 mortars to replace the service mortars on the carriages 
after repeated firing had worn them out. 

This job proved to be one of the largest in the whole artillery pro- 
gram. The entire contract was let to the Morgan Engineering Co., 
of Alliance, Ohio. In order to handle the contract, a special ordnance 
plant, costing $1,700,000 for the building alone, had to be constructed 
at the company's works at Alliance. The work was so highly special- 
ized that machine tools designed for the particular purpose had to 
be produced. The Government itself bought these tools at a cost of . 
$1,800,000. Although work on this plant was not started until De- 
cember 10, 1917, and although thereafter followed weeks and weeks 
of the severest winter weather known in recent years, with all the 
delays in the deliveries of materials which such weather conditions 
bring about, the plant was entirely complete on June 1, 1918, not 
only, but the work of producing the mounts had started in it long 
before that, some machines getting to work as early as April. 

The gun car used for mounting the mortar carriage was of the same 
design as that for the 7-inch and 8-inch guns, except that each truck 
had six wheels. The carriage built upon this car was of the barbette 
type, and it allowed the gun to be pointed upward to an angle as 
high as 65° and provided complete traverse, so that the mortar could 
be fired in any direction from the car. A hydropneumatic system 
for absorbing the recoil of the mortar after firing was adopted. This 
recuperator in itself was a ^Motllt problem for the manufacturer to 



s61ve, being the first hydropneumatic recuperator of the size ever 
built in this country. 

In spite of the weight and elaborate character of this unit it was 
put into production in an astonishingly short space of time. The 
pilot mount came through on August 22, 1918, less than nine months 
after the spade was first struck in the ground to begin the erection 
of the ordnance plant. By the end of August the pilot mortar had 
successfully passed its firing tests at Aberdeen, functioning properly 
at angles of elevation from 22 degrees to 65 degrees and in any direc- 
tion from the mount. While this unit was put through hurriedly for 
these tests, the preparation for the rest of the deliveries was made on 
a grand scale, looking toward quantity production later on. When 
the armistice was signed, every casting, forging, and structural part 
for every one of the 91 railway mounts was on hand and completed 
at the works of the Morgan Engineering Co., and thereafter the 
process was merely one of assembling, although in a unit of such size 
the assembling job alone was one of great magnitude. Even at the 
reduced rate of production -incident to the relaxation of tension 
after the armistice was signed, the company delivered 45 complete 
units to the Government up to April 7, 1919, or five more than Gen. 
Pershing said he would require during the whole campaign of 1919. 
Careful estimates show that if the war had continued the company 
would have delivered the mounts at the rate of 15 per month begin- 
ning on December 15, 1918, a rate which would have completed the 
entire project for 91 mounts by the middle of June, 1919. 

As in the case of the 8-inch railway guns, the 12-inch mortars were 
provided with interchangeable wheel trucks allowing the unit to 
travel and work either on standard-gauge track or on the 60-centi- 
meter, narrow-gauge track of the war zone in France. 


The War Department did not have any 14-inch guns which could 
be spared from the seacoast defenses for use abroad. The Ordnance 
Department, therefore, inaugurated the project for the construction 
of 60 guns of 14-inch caliber. For the construction of such guns 
complete new plants were required, as all available facilities were 
already taken over for other projects considered more important. 
This contract was to have been turned out by the Neville Island 
ordnance plant. The Navy Department in May, 1918, expressed 
willingness to turn over to the Army certain 14-inch guns, 50 calibers, 
then under construction and of which it was estimated that 30 would 
be completed by March, 1919. 

It was decided to place some of these 14-inch guns on American 
sliding railway mounts, and 16 such mounts were ordered from the 
Baldwin Locomotive Works, deliveries to begin February 1, 1919. 
The 16 units were to be delivered prior to April, 1919, but du& to tfce 

100 America's munitions. 

signing of the armistice work was suspended on the contracts, since 
the mounts were designed for use in France. The contract was 
canceled in March, 1919. 

The Navy itself placed five of these guns on railway mounts of 
another design to be operated in France by naval forces on shore. 
Eleven such mounts were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works 
under the supervision of the Navy Ordnance Bureau, ^and six of 
them were afterwards turned over to the Army. 


Without discussing here the 12-inch howitzers, 20 feet long, which 
the Ordnance Department ordered produced and mounted on 
railway trucks, a development for use abroad in 1920, we come, 
finally, to the largest weapon of all in the railway artillery program, 
the 16-inch howitzer, the barrel of this mighty weapon being 26 
feet 6 inches long. The American 16-inch howitzer had been forged 
out and finished prior to the date of America's entrance into the war. 
It was proposed to place this weapon on a railway mount and make 
it available for use on the western front. 

The Ordnance Department completed the design for the mount 
on February 10, 1918. In order to turn out the unit in the shortest 
possible time, the project was placed with three manufacturers, 
each of whom was to produce different parts. The American Bridge 
Co. received the order to build the structural parts, the Baldwin 
Locomotive Works contracted for the trucks, while the Morgan 
Engineering Co. undertook to assemble the unit and also to build 
the top carriage and other mechanical parts. The contractors did 
a speedy job in producing the mount for this howitzer. 

In nearly all railway artillery of this size it is necessary to provide 
bracing when the gun is set up in position for firing. The 16-inch 
howitzer mount was unique in that the weapon could be fired from 
the trucks without any track preparation whatsoever. An exhaus- 
tive test at the Aberdeen proving grounds demonstrated that this 
piece of artillery ranked with the highest types of ordnance in use 
by any country in the world. 

In the meantime orders had been placed for 61 additional howitzers. 
The American Expeditionary Forces asked that 12 of these enormous 
weapons be sent overseas as soon as they could be produced, a job 
which would have extended over a period of months,, if not 
years. Since none of the additional howitzers had been produced 
when the armistice was signed, the project of building mounts for 
them never got under way. The pilot howitzer and mount were not 
shipped abroad. 

In the design of railway equipment for high-angle weapons such 
as howitzers, two loads must be considered by the builders in order 
to provide a gun car of sufficient strength to hold its freight. One 





projectile being I 

jaded Into the 16-Inch ho»lt; 
urnsy of approximately 1 3 m 


This vlaw shows howltier In 

fcAILWAY AMlLLEfcY. 101 

of these loads, the lighter one, consists merely of the ordinary weight 
of the gan and its carriage upon the car wheels. The other load, the 
so-called firing load, consists of the weight of the unit plus the addi- 
tional weight of the downthrust of the howitzer when it recoils. In 
the case of the 16-inch howitzer the firing load is 748,231 pounds. 
The weight of 748,231 pounds must be distributed along the tracks 
by the numerous sets of wheels at the instant the gun is fired. 

The mount for the howitzer is so constructed that this load is 
partly taken up by the slide of the gun car along the track. In 
addition, the howitzer is equipped with a hydraulic recoil cylinder. 
Thus the unit has a double recoil system. The car trucks in the tests 
comfortably transmitted, through a series of equalizer springs, 
this enormous load upon an ordinary rock-ballast track, without 
any distortion to the track or roadbed or impairment to the working 
parts of the unit. After each discharge the whole huge mount moves 
backward along the track for a distance of 20 or 30 feet. 

Each railway artillery project called for the manufacture of a great 
equipment of ammunition cars, fire-control cars, spare-parts cars, 
supply cars, and the like, a complete unit being a heavy train in itself. 
Such armament-train cars, together with numerous other accessories 
and necessary equipment, were designed by the Ordnance Depart- 
ment and produced for each mount. In all, 530 ammunition cars 
were produced up to April, 1919. Most of them were shipped abroad, 
but 118 were retained for use in this country. Since the overseas 
cars were to be used with French railway equipment, it was necessary 
to fit them out with French standard screw couplers, air brakes, and 
other appliances for connecting up with French railway cars. 

The matter of traction power for these gun and armament trains 
near the front set a problem for the Ordnance Department to solve. 
It was out of the question to use steam engines near the enemy's lines, 
since the steam and smoke would betray the location of artillery 
trains at great distances. The Ordnance Department adopted a 
gas-electric locomotive of 400 horsepower to be used to pull railway 
artillery trains at the front, and was on the point of letting a contract 
to the General Electric Co. for the manufacture of 50 of them when 
the armistice was signed. 



It seems fitting at this point to say something about the Neville 
Island ordnance plant, on an island in the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, 
which would have produced weapons of the character of those used 
with railway mounts and would have turned them out in large 
numbers had the armistice not come to put an end to this enormous 
project. The plant was being erected for the Government by 
the United States Steel Corporation without profit to itself. The 

102 America's munitions. 

estimated cost of this plant when finished was $150,000,000. Designed 
to supply the needs of the Army for artillery of the heaviest types, 
the Neville Island plant was being constructed on such a scale that 
it would surpass in size and capacity any of the famous gun works of 
Europe, including the Krupps. 

It was being equipped to handle huge ordnance undertakings, 
such as the monthly completion of 15 great 14-inch guns and the 
production of 40,000 projectiles monthly for 14-inch and 16-inch 
guns. The plans of the Government contemplated the production 
of 14-inch gun3 to the number of 165 in all and their shipment to 
France in time to be in the field before May 1, 1920. An initial order 
for 90 of these weapons had been placed at the arsenal while it was 
being erected. 

Besides 14-inch guns the plant was being equipped to turn out 
16-inch and even 18-inch weapons. The immense size of the machin- 
ery necessary for such production can be understood when it is noted 
that an 18-inch gun weighs 510,000 pounds and a 14-inch gun 180,000 
pounds. It requires from 12 to 18 months to produce guns of this 
size, yet Neville Island was being developed on a scale to build hun- 
dreds of them simultaneously. The entire plant was to cover 573 
acres and was to employ 20,000 workmen when in full operation. 

At the signing of the armistice work was suspended at Neville 
Island, and four months later the whole project was abandoned. 

1 Bets, fabricated parts. 


The Interallied Ordnance Agreement of the late fall of 1917, 
supplying to the United States as it did French and British artillory 
and other heavy ordnance supplies until the developing American 
ordnance industry could come into production, nevertheless called 
upon the United States to produce heavily the explosives and pro- 
pellents that are of such major importance to a modern army. 
These commodities were needed by the armies of France and Great 
Britain more than any other sort of ordnance which America could 

The result was an enormous production of propellants and explo- 
sives in the United States during the period of American belligerency, 
no other prime phase of the ordnance program being carried to such 
a stage of development. The reader will clearly see the distinction 
between propellants and explosives. The propellant is the smokeless 
powder that sends the shell or bullet from the gun; the explosive is 
the bursting charge within the shell. 

To realize the expansion of the American explosives industry 
during the war period, consider such figures as these: America in 19 
months turned out 632,504,000 pounds of propellants — the powder 
loaded into small-arms cartridges or packed into the big guns behind 
the projectiles to send them against the enemy. In those same 19 
months France produced 342,155,000 pounds of propellants and 
Great Britain 291,706,000 pounds* The American production was 
practically equal to that of England and France together. 

In those 19 months we produced 375,656,000 pounds of high 
explosives for loading into shell. In the same 19 months England 
produced 765,110,000 pounds of high explosives and France 702,- 
964,000 pounds. America was below both France and England in 
total output, but in monthly rate of output America had reached 
47,888,000 pounds as against France's 22,802,000 pounds and Eng- 
land's 30,957,000 pounds. Our rate of manufacturing propellants 
at the end of the fighting was up to 42,775,000 pounds as against 
France's 17,311,000 and England's 12,055,000, 

Figure 9 shows graphically the achievements of America in manu- 
facturing propellants and explosives. 


104 America's munitions. • 

In the production of artillery ammunition a comparison with 
France and Great Britain shows that our monthly rate in turning 
out unfilled rounds of ammunition at the end of the war was 7,044,000 
rounds, as against 7,748,000 rounds for Great Britain and 6,661,000 
rounds for France. In producing complete rounds of artillery 
ammunition, our monthly rate at the signing of the armistice was 
2,429,000 rounds while that of Great Britain was 7,347,000 rounds 
and that of France 7,638,000 rounds. 

Figure 9. 

Production op Smokeless Powder and High Explosives, France and 
United States Compared with Great Britain. 


Smokeless powder: Poonds> hr^rfimfcrG^Mi*. 

Great Britain 12,055,000 BMB 100 

France 17,311,000 ihhhhi144 

United States 42,775,000 mmm^mmmmmammmm^mmmammm ZSS 

High explosives: 

Great Britain 30,957,000 MHHi 100 

France 22,802,000 ■■■■■■174 

United States 43,888,000 ■■■■■■■i 142 

Smokeless powder; Pounds< P«rc«t of rate for Grert Britain. 

Great Britain 291,706,000 mmm ^ mmmmm iQO 

France 342,155,000 mmbmbbbhm 117 

United States 632,604,000 mmmmmammmmmmmm^mammmmm 217 

High explosives: 

Great Britain 765, 110, 000 hhihhhb 100 

France 702,964,000 ■hhmm92 

United States 375, 656, 000 mihh 49 

In the 19 months of our participation in the war our production of 
unfilled rounds in ammunition was 38,623,000 rounds, while that of 
France was 156,170,000 rounds and that of Great Britain 138,357,000 
rounds. In that time we had produced 17,260,000 complete rounds, 
while France had produced 149,827,000 rounds, and Great Britain 
121,739,000 complete rounds. 

The entrance of the United States into the war found the existing 
American explosives manufacturers operating to the very limit of 
their capacity in production for the allied governments and for 
general commercial purposes. 


Since the outbreak of the war in 1914 the explosives business in 
this country had increased enormously and the trained men familiar 
with manufacturing operations and conditions in this highly special- 
ized and extremely dangerous industry had fallen short of meeting 

When we entered the war, therefore, it became necessary at once to 
distribute this limited force of experts as equitably as possible and to 
put chemists, engineers and other specialists in the various plants 
under the supervision of this trained personnel so as to produce in 
as quick a time as possible a vastly enlarged force of competent 
operators and supervisors for the production of explosives. 

Summed up, the problem that faced the Ordnance Department 
was, while maintaining the current great production of explosives, 
to expand enormously the facilities for further production* to pro- 
vide personnel for operating these expanded facilities, to build up 
entirely new manufacturing plants for making both propellants and 
high explosives, and in addition to all of this, to bring into existence 
huge loading plants. 

In all, 53 new plants for making explosives and propellants and for 
loading these were undertaken at a cost of approximately $360,000,- 
000. When the armistice was signed a very large part of this con- 
struction work had been completed and was in an efficient state Qf 
operation. , 

How creditably this reflects upon America can be understood when 
it is made plain that in addition to the development of production 
there was also to be worked out the very intricate question of design, 
not only of the plants themselves but also of their products, which 
required an exceptional degree of technical skill and thorough control. 

Prior to our entry into the war the Ordnance Department had 
depended upon ammonium picrate, known in the Army vernacular as 
explosive "D," as a bursting charge for our high-explosive shell. 

During the progress of the European conflict the British had devel- 
oped an explosive they called amatol, which is a mixture of trinitro- 
toluol — T. N. T. — and ammonium nitrate. As this had proved to be 
entirely satisfactory in actual service on European battle fields, and 
as ammonium nitrate could be produced here in large quantities, we 
adopted it. 

The Ordnance Department eventually put into effect a standard 
policy for the use of high explosives. Every effort was being made 
to conserve the supply of T. N. T., and consequently this explosive 
was specified for the shell of smaller calibers only. The standard 
piling scheme was as follows: T. N. T. for shell between and including 
the calibers of 75-millimeter and 4.7-inch; amatol for shell of calibers 
between 4.7-inch and 9.2-inch, including the latter; ammonium 
picrate, or explosive D, for shell of 10-inch caliber and higher. While 

106 America's MuircTioars. 

these were the standards the scheme was not always fallowed rigidly. 
As a matter of fact amatol was loaded into shell of all sizes and so 
was T. N. T., although explosive D was never used in shell smaller 
than those Jot the 10-inch guns. These departures from standard 
practice were due to the necessity for keeping certain plants in pro- 
duction and to other special causes and exceptional circumstances. 
Production of large quantities of T. N. T. and ammonium nitrate 
was the first big problem to be solved by the high-explosives section 
of the Ordnance Department. All the work of the explosives sec- 
tion can be subdivided under four group heads — raw materials, pro- 
pellents, high explosives, and loading. 


The first steps taken in the endeavor to meet the need for raw 
materials were to increase greatly the available means for obtaining 
toluol, phenol, caustic soda, sodium nitrate, sulphuric and nitric 
acids, ammonia liquor or aqua ammonia, and to attempt to provide 
a substitute for cellulose in case a shortage of cotton should render 
its use necessary. 

How to increase the supply of toluol, the basic raw material from 
which T. N. T. is made, was the greatest and most pressing of all 
the problems in regard to the existing raw materials. Before the 
war the sole source of this ingredient was from by-product coke ovens. 
The monthly capacity of these ovens in 1914 was, approximately, 
700,000 pounds. By April, 1917, when we stepped into the conflict, 
this capacity had been increased to 6,000,000 pounds a month. 

By the time the armistice was signed our efforts for greater pro- 
duction had been carried on so successfully that the supply had been 
increased to 12,000,000 pounds a month, and the average cost of this 
was only 21 cents a pound. This tremendous increase of production 
not only took care of all demands for commercial purposes and per- 
mitted the shipment of about 11,000,000 pounds to the allied Gov- 
ernments, but was more than ample to take care of our own entire 
explosives program, leaving a stock on hand December 1, 1918, of 
17,000,000 pounds. 

A few details of how this tremendous increase in production was 
brought about through the energies of the officials charged with 
this task and the most efficient and whole-hearted cooperation of 
patriotic business concerns are interesting. 

Three general sources existed from which toluol was obtained: 
first, from the by-product recovery coke ovens; second, by the strip- 
ping or absorbing of toluol from carbureted water and coal gas; and 
third, by the cracking or breaking down of oils. 


In augmenting the supply of toluol through the first process, con- 
struction of additional by-product coke ovens by the following big 
steel companies was arranged: 


Toluol capac- 
ity per year. 

Jones A Langhlin Steel Co., Pittsburgh, Pa 

The Slow-Sheffield Co., Birmingham, Ala 

- -— - Pa 

ham, Ala 

lUiney-WoodCo.JSwedeland, fa ~ 

The Seaboard By-Product Co.. Jersey City, N. J. . . 
Pittsburgh Crucible Steel Co., Midland, Pa 

2306! 064 
2,019 556 

The total cost of these additional ovens was about $30,000,000, 
which was met by private capital after contracts for the purchase 
of the product had been made, insuring a secure return on the invest- 
ment. Production was to begin in 1919. 

In addition to this there was arranged construction for 320 addi- 
tional ovens at the following places: 

-— — II.. ■ .J , 


Date of 



time of 

Doimer Steel Co., Buffalo, N. Y 

May, 1918 
July, 1918 
Sept., 1918 
July, 1918 
May, 1918 


Mar.. 1920 

Rirrninfrhft«n ^n^e f^>-. m'nninFtufcm, Ala 

Oct.. 1919 

Domestic Coke Corporation, Fairmont, W. Va 

Nov.. 1919 

Domestic Coke Corporation. Cleveland'* Ohio 

Feb., 1920 

International Coal Products Corporation, Cllnchfield, Va 

Aug., 1919 


From these sources the monthly production of toluol in 1920 
would have been increased by 600,000 pounds a month. 

While all these arrangements for vastly increasing the supply of 
this chemical in 1919 and 1920 were being made, technical experts 
of the Ordnance Department stimulated production by visiting 
existing by-product coke ovens and advising as to changes and 
alterations in the plants, both in regard to equipment and methods 
of operation. 

Investigations Were made ^arly in the summer of 1917 on the possi- 
bility of recovering toluol by stripping illuminating gas, and a report 
was made on this subject in October, 1917. Construction of the 
necessary plants to carry out this plan was begun late in November, 
and the first plants were in operation in April, 1918. This was con- 
sidered a remarkable record, in view of the fact that the operating 
personnel for the purpose had to be established and trained in this 
entirely new line of activity. 

In this connection it is extremely interesting to note that the 
American people in 13 of the largest cities of the country played an 
unconscious part in contributing to the successful termination of 

108 America's MmsrrnoiTS. 

the war by using artificial gas of considerably less heating power, as a 
result of the removal of the toluol for explosive purposes. For 
example, in New York City, due to the extraction of toluol, the 
artificial gas there was reduced in heating value approximately 6 
per cent and the candlepower lowered from 22 to 16 because of this 
stripping process. 

Contracts for taking the toluol from artificial gas were made with 
companies in the following cities : New York and Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Boston, Mass.; New Haven, Conn.; Albany, N. Y.; Utica, N. Y. 
Elizabeth, N. J. ; Washington, D. C. ; Detroit, Mich. ; St. Louis, Mo. 
New Orleans, La.; Denver, Colo.; and Seattle, Wash. 

The total cost of the installations made for this purpose in these 
cities in connection with the gas plants was about $7,500,000. 

For the production of toluol by cracking crude oils or petroleum 
distillates, three processes of the many submitted were officially 
approved and contracts awarded for operation. 

The first and most important of these was that of the General 
Petroleum Co. of Los Angeles, Calif. Under their scheme a yield of 
6 per cent toluol was obtained from a petroleum distillate, of which 
there was a large quantity available, by treatment under tempera- 
ture and pressure. To facilitate production of toluol by this means, 
two large plants, one at Los Angeles and the other at San Francisco, 
were erected at a cost of approximately $5,000,000. These plants 
have a monthly capacity of 3,000,000 pounds of toluol and their 
construction destroyed all possibility of a shortage in this vital raw 

Another process was that known as the Rittman process, evolved 
by a scientist of the Bureau of Mines. This scheme, which called 
for producing toluol from solvent naphtha or light oils by cracking 
under high pressure and temperature, was finally demonstrated to be 
capable of operation under war conditions, and production had just 
started at a plant on Neville Island, Pittsburgh, Pa., at the time 
of the signing of the armistice. 

A third process was that known as the Hall process, by which 
toluol was also obtained by cracking ^solvent naphtha under high 
pressure and temperature by another, different, mechanical system. 
This scheme was in operation on a small scale during 1918 at the 
Standard Oil Plant, Bayonne, N. J. 

Phenol, one of the essentials in the manufacture of picric acid, 
was another raw material, the production of which was greatly 
augmented. At the time of our entry into the war the monthly 
production amounted to 670,000 pounds, while in October, 1918, it 
had been increased to 13,000,000 pounds. In December, 1917, the 
price of phenol as fixed by the War Industries Board was 46 cents 
a pound, while Government contracts in force a year later had reduced 
this figure to 31 cents a pound. 


The price of sulphuric acid jumped from $14 a ton to $60 a ton 
early in the war, while nitric acid advanced from 5{ cents a pound 
to 10 cents. The shortage of sulphuric acid was met by the erection 
of both chamber and contact plants in all high-explosives factories 
built for or under direction of the Ordnance Department. 

Both pyrites and sulphur were used at the beginning of the war, 
but the submarine warfare stopped the importation of the pyrites 
from Spain, and therefore sulphur deposits in Texas and Louisiana 
were depended upon. A destructive storm in the early part of 1918 
temporarily curtailed the production from Louisiana deposits, but 
repairs were made in time to prevent its effect being felt by the 
acid manufacturers. 

The submarine also had the effect of lessening the importations 
from Chile of sodium nitrate, which prior to the war were depended 
upon entirely in the production of nitric acid. It became necessary, 
therefore, to develop other methods of production. After investiga- 
tions a plant for, the fixation of nitrogen under what is known as a 
modified Haber process was erected at Sheffield, Ala., while a plant 
for the same purpose using the cyanamide process was erected at 
Muscle Shoals, Ala. 

Both of these were equipped for the oxidation of ammonia to nitric 
acid, each using a different process. When the armistice was signed 
these plants were just coming into production. The existence of 
these two nitrate plants insures the independence of this country in 
its supply of commercial nitrogen, either for peace or for war. 

There were also in course of erection, though not in operation on 
November 11, 1918, great plants for the extraction of nitrogen from 
the air, at Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio, but construction on these 
two plants, each of which was to cost $25,000,000, was stopped when 
the armistice was signed. 


In army usage the term "propellant" includes both smokeless 
powder and black powder. 

At the outbreak of the European war, the producing capacity in 
this country for smokeless powder was approximately 1,500,000 
pounds a month. By the time the United States got into the war 
this capacity had been increased from 25 to 30 times, and under the 
explosives program laid down by us it was indicated that even this 
capacity would hav9 to be greatly increased. 

The increase in the production of smokeless powder was helped 
by the construction of two of tha largest smokeless-powder plants in 
the world — one known as the Old Hickory Plant, located almost on 
the site of Andrew Jackson's old home at Nashville, Tenn., and the 
other at Nitro, near Charleston, W. Va. 

110 America's munitions. 

The Old Hickory Plant was the larger and more complete of 
the two. It is probably the biggest plant of its kind in the world" 
and is entirely self-contained; in other words, the plant actually takes 
the crude, raw cotton and, producing both the acid and solvents used, 
puts it through every process until the final product is attained. 

Nine powder lines were planned for this enterprise, each with a 
capacity of 100,000 pounds per day, although developments from the 
early operations indicated that the ultimate production of the plant 
would reach 1,000,000 pounds a day. 

The estimated cost of this huge undertaking was in the neighbor- 
hood of $90,000,000. Negotiations were begun in October of 1917 
and led to a contract with the du Pont Engineering Co., under which 
this concern was to construct the plant and operate it for a six 
months' period after its completion. 

Operation of the first powder line in the plant was to start Sep- 
tember 15, 1918, or seven and one-half months after the signing 
of the contract. Ground was broken March 8, 1918, and work was 
pushed so efficiently and successfully that on July 1, 1918, the first 
powder line was put in operation, 75 days ahead of the schedule 
called for in the contract. 

Some idea of the magnitude of this enterprise can be realized in the 
statements that the plant covers an area of 5,000 acres and that in 
addition to the powder plant proper there was built a city, housing 
twenty odd thousand people, complete with schools, churches, 
and all other elements that go to make up a town. There was also 
built in connection with the plant a number of subprocess plants for 
the manufacture of purified cotton, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, diphe- 
nylamine, and other chemicals used in powder manufacture. Each 
of these was an undertaking of no little size in itself. 

Operation of the plant during the four and one-half months pre- 
ceding the signing of the armistice showed a production in excess of 
contract requirements. On November 11, 1918, the plant was over 
90 per cent complete and about 50 per cent in operation. At that 
time 6,000,000 pounds of powder over and above contract expecta- 
tions had been produced, the total capacity having reached 423,000 
pounds a day. 

The second powder plant, located at Nitro, is somewhat smaller 
than the Old Hickory Plant. It has a capacity of 625,000 pounds of 
smokeless powder a day. It was built under the direction of D. C. 
Jackling, director of United States Government explosive plants, by 
the Thompson-Starrett Co., of New York. The contract was dated 
January 18, 1918, and ground was broken February 1. A contract 
for the operation of the plant was signed with the Hercules Powder 
Co., and at the time of the armistice the output was running approxi- 










tely 109,000 pounds a day, with the expectation of early and 
speedy increase. As in the case of the Old Hickory Plant, a large 
village and many subprocess plants were constructed in connection 
with this enterprise. 
! When the war began smokeless powder was dried by the circula- 

! tion of warm dried air for a long period of time over the damp pow- 
I der as it came from the solvent recovery house. This process required 
from six weeks for small-caliber powder to nine months for large- 
{ caliber powder. This time-consuming method being obviously im- 
practicable in war, the Ordnance Department authorized the So- 
called water-drying process. This consists in the immersion of the 
powder as it comes from the solvent recovery house in warm water 
for varying periods up to 72 hours, the water then being expelled 
by filtration or centrifugal force and the surplus external moisture 
dried off by hot air. By this method the time of drying was reduced 
to 4 days for the small-caliber powder and to 22 days for powder for 
the larger caliber guns. 

Just prior to the signing of the armistice an entirely new drying 
process had been experimentally tried out. This was known as the 
j Nash or alcohol-drying process. The preliminary tests indicated 
that this method was a great improvement both in safety and in the 
reduction of cost. The indications were that drying could be reduced 
from days to hours by this new method. The Nash process also in- 
sured apparently a more uniform and tougher grade of powder, both 
of which characteristics were greatly to be desired. 

In spite of the rise in price of labor and of almost everything else, 
the cost of powder was being reduced. At the beginning of the war 
cost figures were 80 cents a pound for small-arms and 53 cents a 
pound for cannon powder. When the armistice was signed these 
costs had been reduced to 62 cents for small-arms powder and 41J 
cents for cannon powder. 

At the time of the signing of the armistice there was on hand ap- 
proximately 200,000,000 pounds of smokeless powder. 

It early became evident that the supply of cellulose, even though 
all available sources of supply were utilized to the utmost, would 
nevertheless be insufficient to meet our vast production program. 
For years it had been rumored that the Germans in the manufacture 
of their smokeless powder had been using, with great success, cellu- 
lose produced from wood pulp. Following out this idea, experimental 
work was undertaken in an effort to develop cellulose that could be 
produced from wood pulp in suitable physical form for nitration 
and which would meet the chemical requirements. 

In the southern and southwestern portions of the United States there 
are large tracts of land from whiqh timber has been removed and there 

112 America's munitions. 

are also vast acreages of swamp lands. Processes developed by the 
Ordnance Department had in view the idea of taking as much of these 
lands as possible for farming and reforesting and utilizing the tree 
stumps thereon. These stumps contained quantities of turpentine 
and resin that could be recovered and the resultant pulp after proper 
treatment could be prepared m suitable form as cellulose for nitra- 
tion purposes. 

The question of black powder, while an important one, did not 
present many difficulties excepting one, the necessary supply of 
potassium nitrate. This was because Germany was the principal 
source of the potash. It was thought that sodium nitrate might 
possibly have to be used as a substitute. Experimental work 
along these lines indicated that by using certain precautions, this 
substitution, if necessary, could be made, although it was never 

Black powder of ail grades for military purposes was being pro- * 
duced at the rate of 840,000 pounds a month, at a cost of 25 cents a 
pound, at the time the armistice was signed. At that time there 
was on hand 6,850,000 pounds of black powder. 

If the war had continued the United States could have produced 
during the year 1919 more than 1,000,000,000 pounds of smokeless 
powder. Two-thirds of this would have been available for our over- 
seas forces and the balance would have gone to the allied govern- 
ments. This rate of production would have amounted to about 
seven times the quantity of explosives normally manufactured in 
peace times. 


In addition to solving the problem of producing a sufficient quan- 
tity of propellant powder there was also the problem, just as important, 
of assembling this powder into fixed ammunition, or loading it into 
bags. The Frankford Arsenal and commercial cartridge factories, 
after expansion, were enabled to take care of the expanded small- 
arms program. But it became necessary for the Government to 
erect and operate several great bag-loading plants. These were 
located at Woodbury, N. J., Tullytown, Pa., and Seven Pines, Va. 

The ordinary cartridge fired from the rifle is familiar to most 
people. The projectile is fitted into the metal case in which the ex- 
plosive force is contained. Projectiles for big guns are made along 
similar lines, until the 4.7-inch gun is reached. Up to and including 
guns of this caliber the projectile is fired with what is known as fixed 
ammunition — that is to say, the shell itself is fixed into a metal 
container which holds the powder. 

Guns above the caliber of 4.7 inches, however, are fired with 
unfixed ammunition — that is, the powder is loaded in silk bags, 


the projectile placed in the gun, and a number of bags, depending 
upon the size of the charge necessary, put into the breach of the gun 
behind the projectile. Hie powder is then ignited and the big shell 
ejected by the gases generated. 

From the mills the powder is shipped to the bag-loading plants 
in bulk. The silken bags are manufactured in huge quantities by 
industrial plants and forwarded to the bag-loading plants, where 
are also daily received large quantities of metal and fiber containers, 
into which are loaded bags packed for overseas shipment not to 
be unpacked again until they have reached the battle field. 

Filling the bags is a precise and delicate operation. Chances 
can not be taken or averages struck. Errors may mean the pos- 
sible loss of battles. A battery commander who has figured his 
range and who is about to drop a number of high-explosive shell 
on an enemy battery must know exactly how much powder he has 
behind his charge. If more powder is in the bag than he calculates 
on, he will overshoot his mark; if less, the shell instead of dropping 
upon an enemy battery may explode in midst of his own advancing 

The three bag-loading plants the Government constructed at 
Woodbury, Tullytown, and Seven Pines were built to load bags 
that were to be used in firing guns from 155-millimeter caliber up to 
a caliber of 10 inches. The estimated average capacity of each 
plant was 20,000 bags a day, but as a matter of fact a maximum 
capacity of 40,000 bags a day at each plant had been reached before 
the signing of the armistice. Two shifts a day were used at these 
plants most of the time. In each shift there were approximately 
3,500 operatives, most of them women. 

At each of these plants, which are located in comparatively 
isolated points, because of the dangerous work, special housing 
facilities had to be constructed. For example, at Tullytown there 
were 70 bungalows, 13 residences for officers and executive heads, 
and six 98-room dormitories, while at Woodbury 19 great dormitories 
were built to house workers. 

The number of buildings at Tullytown is 215. They range from 
guardhouses to electrical generating stations for power and light. 
Besides this construction there are between 22 and 30 miles of railroad 
track laid at each of these points. The extremely dangerous nature 
of the work makes it necessary to store not more than 400,000 pounds 
of explosives in a single building, and where powder is stored the 
buildings are at least 350 feet apart. 

Up to the time of the'signing of the armistice there were loaded 
into small-arms ammunition 19,741,500 pounds of powder; there were 
109287°— 19 8 

114 America's munitions, 

assembled into fixed ammunition approximately 33,000,000 pounds 
of smokeless powder; and there were assembled into bags, properly 
packed for shipment, approximately 32,300,000 pounds of smokeless 


When Europe was plunged into the great war in August, 1914, the 
American production of trinitrotoluol for commercial purposes 
amounted to approximately 600,000 pounds a month of varying 
grades of purity. This quantity was almost entirely consumed in 
the making of explosives for blasting purposes. When we entered 
the war this production had been increased to 1,000,000 pounds a 
month, exclusive of that which was being used here commercially. 
Under pressure of our own war-time needs the production of this 
highly important explosive chemical had been run up to 16,000,000 
pounds a month at the termination of hostilities in November, 1918. 

During the early stages of the war the average price of T. N. T. for 
military purposes was $1 a pound. Largely, however, because of the 
tremendous quantity production and enormous economies effected by 
reason of this, and despite the scarcity of raw materials, and notwith- 
standing the greatly increased labor cost, this price had been reduced 
at the time of the signing of the armistice to 26$ cents a pound. 
There were in the course of erection at the time of the armistice, 
two great Government T. N. T. plants — one at Racine, Wis., that 
was to have a capacity of 4,000,000 pounds a month, and one at 
Giant, Cal., with a capacity of 2,000,000 pounds a month. 

During the war three grades of T. N. T. were produced. Grade I 
was used for booster charges — that is, those charges which initiated 
the explosive wave in the main shell charge. Grade II was used as 
a shell filler; while Grade III was utilized with ammonium nitrate in 
producing amatol. 

In view of the fact that high explosives were produced in such 
enormous quantities and that it was necessary to carry on these tre- 
mendous manufacturing operations with an inexperienced force, the 
toll of life taken in the production was remarkably small. Only two 
explosions of any magnitude occurred in plants where explosives 
were manufactured and both of these took place in T. N. T. produc- 
ing plants. One of these happened at Oakdale, Pa., in the plant of 
the Aetna Explosives Co. in May, 1918. This cost the lives of 100 
persons. The other took place on July 2, 1918, at Split Rock, N. Y., 
in the plant of Semet-Solvay Co., where 60 people lost their lives. 
At the time of the explosions neither of these plants was operating 
on War Department contracts. 


Before the great war about 58,000,000 pounds of ammonium 
nitrate used in the manufacture of commercial explosives were being 
produced annually in this country, at an average cost of about 12 
cents a pound. By January, 1917, the commercial explosives manu- 
facturers had extended their facilities so that they had increased their 
production by 1,700,000 pounds monthly. This expansion, however, 
was insufficient to meet our demands, and a Government ammonium 
nitrate plant was erected at Perryville, Md. This plant was operated 
under the supervision of the Atlas Powder Co., who also cooperated 
in its erection. 

It did this manufacturing under the Brunner-Mond process that 
was developed in England under the patents of Capt. Freeth. 
Under this process ammonium nitrate is produced by the double 
decomposition of ammonium sulphate and sodium nitrate. 

In December, 1917, the Atlas people detailed several technical men 
to go to England and study the Brunner-Mond process as carried on 
there. In 1918 these men returned to the United States and prepared 
designs as a result of the information they had gained abroad. 

Ground was broken for the plant at Perryville March 8, 1918, and 
it was in production by July 15. This plant is a large one, of excel- 
lent construction, and absolutely fireproof, as is necessary because of 
the nature of the work conducted in it. Because of the type of the 
building the rapidity of its construction may well be classed as phe- 
nomenal. Even while the plant was being put up, experimental 
work of a highly technical nature was being carried on. 

At the time of the signing of the armistice production of ammonium 
nitrate at the Perryville plant had reached 452,000 pounds a day, and 
this was greatly in excess of that being obtained at the English plant 
of a similar size that had been in operation for months before ground 
had been broken for our American plant. 

Each of the Government-owned nitrogen fixation plants at Muscle 
Shoals, Ala., and Sheffield, Ala., was also equipped to produce am- 
monium nitrate by neutralization. Our total capacity from all 
sources at the time of the signing of the armistice was 20,000,000 
pounds monthly. Ammonium nitrate is the one material in the 
field of explosives that shows an increase in price over that of nor- 
mal times. The average cost of this substance used for military 
purposes was 17} cents a pound. There were on hand 60,500,000 
pounds of ammonium nitrate on November 11, 1918. 

Picric acid as such is not used by this country directly for military 
purposes. But it is one of the raw materials used in producing 
ammonium picrate, or explosive D, and in the manufacture of the 
poisonous gas known as chlorpicrin. 

116 amebica's munitions. 

Picric acid is, however, the main explosive used by the French, who 
had placed enormous contracts for this material with explosives 
manufacturers prior to the entry of the United States in the war. 
Because of our purchase of early large supplies of ammunition and 
guns from the French Government, to be largely paid for by picric 
acid, large contracts were entered into by our Government for this 
explosive, which was produced here in accordance with French speci- 
fications and subject to joint inspection by our officers and the 

In November, 1917, we were turning out 600,000 pounds of picric 
acid monthly, and a year later this had been increased to a monthly 
production of 11,300,000 pounds; the average cost was 56 cents a 

To insure production quickly for the needs of the times, threeGovern- 
ment picric-acid plants were authorized. One of these was located 
at Picron, near Little Rock, Ark., to be operated by the Davis Chemi- 
cal Corporation; another was located at New Brunswick, Ga., to be 
operated by the Butterworth-Judson Corporation; and the third was 
located at Grand Rapids, Mich., for operation by the Semet-Solvey Co. 
All of these contracts were made on a cost-plus basis. Each of these 
plants was to have a capacity of 14,500,000 pounds of picric acid a 
month. The plant at Picron in Arkansas was the only one that had 
started production before the signing of the armistice. 

Ammonium picrate, otherwise known as explosive D in our Army 
annals, is produced by the ammoniation of picric acid, and because 
it is more insensitive than picric acid and is less liable to form sensi- 
tive salts with metals it is used as the explosive charge for all armor- 
piercing projectiles. 

Our average monthly production of ammonium picrate in May, 
1917, was 53,000 pounds, and this had been increased without the 
erection of any Government plants to a monthly capacity in Novem- 
ber, 1918, of 950,000 pounds. There was on hand at the time of the 
signing of the armistice 6,500,000 pounds of this explosive, the average 
cost of which was 64 cents a pound. 

Tetryl, on account of its high cost and the lack of manufacturing 
facilities for its production, was not used except a3 a loading charge 
for boostera. It is more sensitive than T. N. T. and has a higher rate 
of detonation. 

Only two companies, the du Pont Powder Co. and the Beth- 
lehem Loading Co., manufactured tetryl. Expansion of these two 
plants increased the monthly capacity of 8,700 pounds in December, 
1917, to 160,000 pounds in November, 1918, while its cost was re- 
duced from $1.30 a pound to 90 cents a pound. 


This increased capacity, however, was not in excess of our explo- 
sives requirements, and there was authorized by the Government the 
erection of a plant at Senter, Mich., that was to be operated by the 
Atlas Co., and which was to have a monthly capacity of 250,000 
pounds. This plant had not reached production when the armi- 
stice was signed. 

The Aetna Powder Co. at the time we entered the war was manu- 
facturing for the Russian Government tetranitroanitine that was to 
be used in the loading of boosters and fuses. This company's plant 
at Nobleston, Pa., was destroyed by an explosion. Ordnance officers 
learned that this material was equal to tetryl as a military explosive. 
Consequently a contract was entered into with Dr. Bernhardt 
Jacques Flurschein, the holder of the patent, rights, to have 
manufactured T. N. A. for our own uses. A Government plant was 
authorized for erection on the ground of the Calco Chemical Co., 
Bound Brook, N. J., to be operated by that concern. Production at 
this plant was to be on a cost-plus basis, the estimated cost of the 
material being 70 cents a pound. When the armistice was signed, 
about 8,000 pounds of T. N. A. had been produced, but none had 
been utilized. 

Mercury fulminate, a very sensitive and powerful explosive, was 
used only in caps, primers, detonators, etc., as a means of initiating 
detonation, on account of its own high rate of detonation. The 
three plants operating in this country to produce this explosive for 
commercial purposes, the du Pont Co., Pompton Lake, N. J., the 
Atlas Powder Co., Tamaqua, Pa., and the Aetna Powder Co., Kings- 
ton, N. Y., expanded their facilities sufficiently to meet our program. 
Their average monthly production in 1918 was 50,000 pounds at a 
cost of $3.21 per pound, and there was on hand in November, 1918, 
330,900 pounds of this explosive. 

In the early stages of the war to meet the apparent shortage of 
T. N. T. and ammonium nitrate then existing because of our enormous 
explosives program, it was necessary to develop an explosive for 
trench warfare purposes that could be used for filling hand and 
rifle grenades, trench-mortar shell, and drop bombs. To meet this 
need, the Trojan Powder Co., of Allentown, Pa., submitted a nitro- 
starch explosive. After exhaustive investigations and complete 
tests, this explosive was authorized for use in loading the hand and 
rifle grenades and the 3-inch trench-mortar shell. 

Development of a nitrostarch explosive for commercial purposes 
had been under consideration aid investigation by two other large 
experienced manufacturers for a number of years, but the difficulties 
incident to the production and purification of nitrostarch were such 
that their efforts had met with little success. 

118 America's munitions. 

The Trojan Powder Co., operating under secret process, solved this 
problem, and all nitrostarch explosives used were produced by this 
company, although another nitrostarch explosive known as "grenite, " 
which was produced by the du Pont Co., was tested and authorized 
for use. 

Our country was the only Government that used nitrostarch 
explosives during the war, and the development of this explosive 
made the loading problem easier and made possible the use of 
materials that were available and whose cost was low. The aver- 
age cost of this explosive was 21.8 cents a pound. In July, 1918, 
the average monthly production of nitrostarch was 840,000 pounds 
and this had been increased by November, 1918, to 1,720,000 pounds 
a month. 

There were loaded with nitrostarch explosive 7,244,569 defen- 
sive hand grenades; 1,526,000 offensive hand grenades; 9,921,533 
rifle grenades and 813,073 three-inch trench-mortar shell. At the time 
of the signing of the armistice there was on hand of this explosive 
1,650,500 pounds. 

The du Pont Go. developed an explosive called lyconite, and 
this was authorized for use in the loading of drop bombs. 

Anilite, a liquid explosive used by the French, was thoroughly 
investigated and improvements were made in it to render its use 
safer, but development had not progressed far enough to warrant 
authorization for its use prior to the signing of the armistice. 

Chlorate and perchlorate explosives were also investigated and 
several types developed that were considered entirely satisfactory for 
use, but these never got into production before the end of the war. 


When we entered the war the quantity of field artillery ammunition 
on hand was considerably less than a single month's supply, basing 
our rate of expenditure on the estimated rate for November, 1918. 
Thero were no facilities of any degree of magnitude available to 
take care of our projected program for filling the high-explosive 
shell necessary for use by our overseas forces. 

Consequently it became necessary at once to plan and to develop 
the resources of the country for the production of metallic parts, 
such as the shell proper, the fuse, boosters and adapters, as well as to 
design and build entirely new plants and to train completely new forces 
for the loading of the shell with the high explosives. 

The explosion of an H. E. shell is really a series of explosions. The 
process of the burst is about as follows: The firing pin strikes the 
percussion primer, which Explodes the detonator. The detonator is 
filled with some easily detonated substance, such as fulminate of 


75A*Af TYPE 


#n or 



Primer (brast) 


mercury. The concussion of this explosion sets off the charge held 
within the long tube which extends down tho middle of the shell and 
which is known as the booster. The booster charge is a substance 
easily exploded, such as tetryl or trinitroaniline (T.N. A.). The ex- 
plosion of the booster jars off the main charge of the shell, T. N. T. or 
amatol. This system of detonator, booster, and main charge gives 
control of the explosives within the shell, safety in handling the shell, 
and complete explosion when the shell bursts. Without the action 
of the booster charge on the main charge of the shell, the latter would 
be only partially burned when the shell exploded, and part of the 
main charge would thus waste itself in the open air. 

The shell used by our Army before the war had been largely of the 
base-fuse type. Interchangeability of ammunition with the French 
required that we adopt shell of the nose-fuse type. The boosters and 
adapters that went with this type were unfamiliar to our industry. 

The adapter is the metallic device that holds the booster and fuse 
and fastens them in the shell. The adapter, therefore, is a broad 
ring, screw-threaded both outside and inside. The inside diameter 
is uniform, so as to allow the same size of booster and fuse to be 
screwed into shell of different sizes. The outside diameters of the 
adapters vary with the sizes of the Bhell they are made to fit, the rings 
thus being thicker or thinner as the case may require. Fuses of 
several sorts are employed by the modern artillerist; and with shell 
equipped with adapters, any fuse may be inserted in the field right at 
the gun. 

Unexpectedly the manufacture of boosters and adapters proved to 
be much more difficult than it appeared to be at the start, and the 
shortage of these devices was a limiting factor in the American pro- 
duction of shell. 

On May 1, 1917, drawings and specifications were sent to the prin- 
cipal manufacturers of ammunition and ammunition components 
inviting bids on 3-inch ammunition. These bids were opened on 
May 15, 1917, and after full discussion with the Council of National 
Defense orders were placed for 9,000,000 rounds of 3-inch shell and 
shrapnel ammunition. The bids for shell and shrapnel ammunition 
for all the other calibers of guns and howitzers we had on hand then 
were about to be asked, when the French mission to this country 
arrived; and the sending out of proposals was deferred, while dis- 
cussion ensued as to changing our 3-inch and 6-inch artillery to 75- 
millimeter and 1 55-millimeter calibers, so as to make our ammunition 
interchangeable with that of the French. This decision was made 
June 5, 1917. 

There then took place much discussion and consideration of the 
French ammunition. The French had several distinct types of shell, 


ranging from the very thin walled high capacity kind to the thicker 
walled types. The French specifications were radically different 
from our own or those of the British. The steel shell in the French 
practice was subjected to a drastic heat treatment, which did not 
seem necessary to us for the thicker walled types of shell. 

The French fusing system also was entirely different from that used 
by our service. French fuses were carried separately, and the adapter 
and the booster casing were screwed permanently into the shell. 

Our decision to adopt French types of ammunition made it neces- 
sary to rearrange all our plans, and to obtain drawings of the shell, 
boosters, adapters, and fuses from France. This caused much 
negotiating, and a considerable amount of time was consumed in 
getting the necessary specifications and drawings here. 

As a result of recommendations from French officials against pro- 
duction in this country during 1917 of the so-called "obus aMonge" 
and the semisteel type of shell, no attempt was made to produce these 
for the 155-millimeter guns and howitzers during the first year of the 
war, but as a result of new recommendations and investigations of 
our officers in France in the spring of 1918 both of these types of 
shell were put into quantity production here. When the armistice 
was signed they were being turned out in such quantities that it 
appeared that there was sure to be an ample supply on hand in the 
early spring of 1919. 

Radical differences of manufacture existed between the French and 
British in the matter of specifications and methods of production. 
Large quantities of British ammunition had been made in this 
country, and we had adopted the British 8-inch howitzer, so that it 
appeared we should use British practice in the manufacture of shell. 
Manufacturers claimed that great delay would result in the produc- 
tion of shell here if the heat treatment and hydraulic tests were in- 
sisted upon as the French specifications called for, and investigation 
proved this to be essentially true, as no facilities for heat treating and 
hydraulic testing existed. 

The upshot of the entire matter was that it was decided to use 
French dimensions and shell for the 75-millimeter and 155-millimeter 
calibers so as to obtain uniformity of ballistics, but to permit Ameri- 
can metallurgical practice to obtain in the manufacture. Shells made 
under these specifications were tested by the French commission in 
France. The verdict on these shell can be summarized in this quota- 
tion from their report : 

To sum up, from the test of 10,000 cartridges of 75 millimeter, it may be concluded 
that American ammunition is in every way comparable to French ammunition and 
that the two may be considered as interchangeable. 

Our designs for shrapnel and time fuses had been proven to be 
entirely satisfactory, and they were continued as they were. In fact 


it was generally agreed that ours was the best time fuse used on the 
allied side during the war. That our decision in the matter of continu- 
ing production of shrapnel and time fuses was warranted, is borne out 
by the fact that we obtained early deliveries in sufficient quantities 
to meet requirements. 

In the use of the adapters and boosters, which introduced an en- 
tirely new component to our service in shell making, we had had no 
experience, and subsequently met with great difficulties due to this 
lack of experience. Delays were encountered because in this part 
of shell manufacture it was generally necessary to await information 
from France whenever difficulties were encountered, or to conduct 
experiments before we could proceed. 

When we began receiving our bids for 3-inch gun ammunition 
there were comparatively few factories in the United States that 
were able to turn out complete rounds of ammunition. There were 
many factories, however, capable of turning out one or more of the 
shell components. It was necessary to place orders for complete 
rounds of ammunition with those factories that could furnish them, 
and have the remaining components manufactured separately, and to 
provide assembling plants. To get as many factories as possible on 
a production basis in anticipation of the future large orders for ammu- 
nition that must necessarily follow with extension of operations by 
our field forces, orders for our initial quantities of ammunition were 
distributed as widely as possible. 

To prevent confusion and loss of time because of the scramble for 
steel f orgings and other raw materials it was decided that the Govern- 
ment would purchase all raw materials as well as furnish components 
for ammunition. 

How successful we were in getting into quantity production on 
ammunition after the numerous and large obstacles in the early 
months of the war can be indicated best by the fact that of the 
11,616,156 high-explosive shell for 75-millimeter guns machined up 
to November 1, no less than 2,893,367 passed inspection in October; 
while of the 7,345,366 adapters and boosters for 75-millimeter guns 
that had been machined up to the 1st of November, 2,758,397 passed 
inspection in October. 

The figures for the 4.7-inch and 155-millimeter guns and howitzers 



Kind of ammunition. 

sive shell 
accepted up 
to Nov. 1. 



adapters and 
boosters ac- 
cepted up to 


i For use in 4.7-inch and other sizes. 



Ammonium picrate or explosive D upon which this country had 
depended almost entirely up to the time of our entry into the war was 
forced into the shell under hydraulic pressure. The adoption of the 
point-fused shell and an explosive for shell filling new to this country, 
namely, amatol, made necessary the provision of new methods for 
shell loading and the expansion of plant facilities for these new 
methods capable of loading the vast and tremendous numbers of shell 
required in modern warfare. As a result of reports, following 
investigations by our officers of methods used abroad, various new 
shell-loading plants were built in the United States. 

The names, location, and output of the shell-loading plants in our 
country are as follows: 


T. A. Gillespie Loading Co 



Poole Engineering & Machine Co. 

United States Arsenal 

Sterling Motor Car Co 

American Can Co 

Atlantic Loading Co 

Bethlehem Loading Co 



duPont Engineering Co 


J. D. Evans Engineer Corp 



Morgan. N.J 


Runyon.N. Y 

Texas, Md 

Rook Island, 111 

Brockton. Mass 

Kenilworth, N. J 

Amatol, N.J 

Mays Landing, N.J 

New Castle, Del 

Redington , Pa 

Penniman, Va., O plant. 
Pennlman, Va.. D plant. 
Old Bridge, N.J 








It was found necessary in the early stages of the war to fill all shell 
with T. N. T., regardless of cost, until there could be built the required 
and properly equipped plants for the mixing and loading of amatol. 

Two methods for loading T. N. T. were adopted. The one most 
largely used, however, was the casting method by which the chemical 
was brought to a molten condition in a steam jacketed kettle and 
poured into the shell. To do this two operations were usual. First, 
the shell was filled approximately two-thirds full with the molten 
material, and then as soon as a crust was formed this was broken 
through and the second filling took place. This process was necessary 
to prevent the formation of cavities in the filling charge. Such cavi- 
ties cause breakdowns, resulting almost invariably in incomplete or 
entire failure of detonation. 

The ammonium nitrate first produced in this country during the 
war was of such a character that proper densities could not be 
obtained when mixed with T. N. T. to form amatol. This difficulty 
was overcome after much investigation, and proper methods were 
outlined for the ammonium nitrate manufacturers, with the result 





> Si 



that Grade III ammonium nitrate was produced as a sharp, hard 
crystal at a setting point of not less than 290° F. This was found 
to be perfectly satisfactory. 

The so-called 50-50 amatol, composed of 50 parts ammonium 
nitrate and 50 parts T. N. T., is loaded into shell by a casting method 
similar to that used in loading T. N. T. alone. 

The so-called 80-20 amatol, composed of 80 parts ammonium 
nitrate and 20 parts T. N. T., was originally loaded cold, by hand, and 
then followed up with mechanical pressing. As a substitute for this 
method, which is accompanied by a certain element of danger, the use 
of hot 80-20 amatol, was resorted to in England. This was tamped 
by hand to the proper density, it being more compressible than cold 

As this is an exceedingly tedious method of operation it was 
entirely done away with in England, except for large shell, by the use 
of what is known as the horizontal extruding machine. With this 
machine the British were able to load 80-20 amatol with great 
success into the 75-millimeter shell and higher calibers up to 8 

This machine took a mixture of T. N. T. and ammonium nitrate in a 
jacketed hopper, so that the temperature might be maintained, and 
the hopper fed it down through a funnel upon a screw that was 
placed against the shell by counterweights to give the proper density. 
One of these machines was imported here from England, but, as it was 
unsatisfactory from a construction standpoint, new and satisfactory 
machines were built on the same principles of construction in our 
own amatol loading plants. 

Experimental work with these machines was carried on at the 
Government testing station Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, N. J., and the 
du Pont Experimental Station, Gibbstown, N. J., as well as experi- 
mental plant operations at the Morgan plant of the T. A. Gillespie Co., 
Parlin, N. J., and the Penniman plant of the du Pont Co., Penniman, 
Va. All difficulties of the operations were overcome so satisfactorily 
that the greater portion of the loaded shell was produced by this 

The metal parts as received at the shell-filling plant are inspected 
and cleaned to remove all traces of foreign matter such as grit or 
grease before being sent to the loading room. After being loaded the 
shell are again inspected. At intervals a split shell is loaded and 
then taken apart and examined, so that any loading defects may be 
found quickly and conditions remedied, before any large quantities of 
shell are produced. 

The cavity left in the amatol by the tube of the extruding machine 
is filled with molten T. N. T., and a cavity is produced in this T. N. T. 

124 America's munitions. 

into which the booster fits. This is necessary in order to provide for 
complete detonation. The booster cavity is produced either by the 
use of a former, which upon removal leaves a cavity of the proper 
size, or by plunging the booster into the shell filling before this is 
cooled, or by drilling out a cavity for the booster after the filling has 
been thoroughly cooled. 

A large number of rounds of ammunition of all calibers had also 
to be loaded with a fiashless compound that was inserted in the pro- 
pelling charges, so that the discharge of the guns would not betray 
their positions to the enemy at night, while a smoke compound was 
inserted in a large quantity of shell so that each missile of this char- 
acter might be located after firing to determine the accuracy of the 

Coordination of manufacture of metallic parts so as to cause the 
proper quantities of shell, fuse, and boosters to be produced without 
leaving any incomplete rounds that would have to be held awaiting 
other components caused the greatest difficulty. 

The magnitude of the task of providing the necessary shell compo- 
nents in the tremendous quantities required can be better appre- 
ciated by a realization of the fact that the various parts of each com- 
ponent must be made to fit each other properly and perfectly. 
Gauging had to be resorted to frequently in the process of manufac- 
ture to make certain that there was perfect interchangeability of 
parts of each component to prevent any waste of time in selecting 
parts to fit each other. 

The complete components, too, must themselves be made with 
equal care and scrupulous attention to make certain that they 
fit properly. Thus, the booster had to be made in such a fashion 
and with such precision and accuracy that it would fit perfectly into 
the shell as well as into the booster cavity in the shell filling into 
which it is screwed and also at the same time accommodate the fuse 
which screws into the booster. 

This extreme accuracy made necessary a large number of gauges, 
which had to be designed at the same time as, and in coordination 
with, the design of the component. For example, in a complete 
round of artillery ammunition, 80 dimensions must be gauged. 
To standardize the gauges used for these 80 dimensions, 180 master 
gauges are required, while the actual number of different gauges used 
during the various stages of manufacture of a complete round is over 


Government inspectors required over 200 gauges in their work of 
inspecting and gauging the finished components for the shell, so in 
all about 800 gauges were used in the process of manufacturing a 
complete round of artillery ammunition, to insure interchangeability 


of parts, proper fit for the projectile in the gun, and perfect functioning 
of the various parts. 

All fixed ammunition was assembled at the shell-filling plants, 
making it necessary to install at these points storage capacity and 
equipment to handle the propellant powder as well as to fill the high- 
explosive shell. Boosters and fuses were loaded at separate plants 
and shipped to the shell-filling assembly places to be packed for ship- 
ment with the shell for transportation overseas. 

The cost of a loaded 75-millimeter shell with the fuse and propellant 
charge ready to be fired is about $11. Such a shell contains a little 
over 1J pounds of high explosive, which costs $1. The loading and 
assembling of the complete round costs $4. 

A loaded 155-millimeter shell complete with fuse costs about $30, 
exclusive of the propellant charge of powder, which is loaded sepa- 
rately. A shell of this caliber holds about 14} pounds of high 
explosive, which costs $10, while the loading and assembling costs $4. 

The 75-millimeter and 155-millimeter shell were used in the greatest 
quantities on the European battle fields, and at the time of the sign- 
ing of the armistice our American loading plants were concentrating 
on filling ammunition for guns of these two calibers; 

The nature of the work carried on at these shell-loading plants, 
of course, made the danger of a disaster ever present. Prior to our 
entry into the war an explosion at the Canadian Car & Foundry Co.'s 
plant, Kingsland, N. J., resulted in the entire destruction of the plant 
with large loss of life. 

In October, 1918, the Morgan plant of the T. A. Gillespie Co., 
South Amboy, N. J., was wiped out by an explosion in which about 
100 employees lost their lives. Plans for rebuilding this plant, had 
progressed far when the armistice was signed. In the fall of 1917, 
40 people were killed in an explosion at the Eddystone Loading Plant, 
Eddystone, Pa. 

For the successful carrying out of our program for the production 
of vast quantities of explosives and propellants, as well as shell 
loading, the women of America must be given credit, on account 
of the highly important part they took in this phase of helping to 
win the war. Fully 50 per cent of the number of employees in our 
explosive plants were women, who braved the dangers connected 
with this line of work, to which they had been, of course, entirely 
unaccustomed, but whose perils were not unknown to them. 

In connection with the production of shell themselves, the Ameri- 
can Ordnance Department* adopted certain changes of design which 
were not only radically different from what we had known before 
the war but were interesting for the way in which they were brought 
about and for the results they accomplished. 

126 America's munitions. 

The modern shell as we knew it before the war was simply a metal 
cylinder cut* off squarely at the base and roundly blunted at the nose. 
The shell is zoned with a so-called rotating ring, a circular band of 
copper which by engaging the rifling channels of the gun gives to 
the shell the whirl that keeps it from tumbling over and over and 
thus holds it accurately on its course in flight. 

In the proof-firing of the 6-inch seacoast guns it was discovered 

that their fire was none too accurate; and the American ordnance 

engineers began studying the shell to see if the fault lay there. Que 

of these experts was Maj. F. R. Moid ton, who before accepting a 

commission in the Army had been professor of astronomy at the 

University of Chicago. Maj. Moulton began a study of the 6-inch 

shell; and soon it was discovered that the mathematics which 

could chart the orbits of comets could also deal with the flight of 
projectiles, calculate the influences of air resistance and gravitation, 

and eventually work out new, scientific contours for offsetting these 

influences as much as possible. 

Maj. Moulton first dealt with the inaccuracy of our 6-inch shell. 
He discovered the cause in the rotating band. Although but a slight 
portion of this band was upraised above the surface of the shell's 
circumference, yet the enormous force exerted upon the projectile to 
start it from the gun actually caused the cold copper to "flow" 
backward. The result was that when the shell emerged from the 
muzzle of the gun it bore around its sides an entirely unsuspected 
and undesirable flange. This flange not only shortened the range of 
the shell by offering resistance to the air, but it was seldom uniform 
all the way around, a condition giving rise to the idiosyncracies of 
our 6-inch shell as they were fired at the target. 

The remedy for this was a redesigned rotating band, making it 
somewhat thicker in front. The "flow" of the copper could thus be 
accommodated without causing any detrimental distortion to the 
projectile. When this improvement was made the 6-inch shell became 
as accurate as any. 

But Maj. Moulton was to make an even greater contribution to the 
6-inch shell. This shell, like those of our other types, was square 
ended at the base. Maj. Moulton in his new design tapered in the 
sides somewhat, making the shell "boat ended." He elongated the 
nose, bringing it out to a much sharper point. The result was the 
first American "streamline" design for a shell. Shell of this new 
model were built experimentally and tested.- The 6-inch gun could 
fire its old shell 17,000 yards, while the streamline shell went 4,000 or 
5,000 yards farther — 2 or 3 miles added to the range of an already 
powerful weapon by the application of brains and mathematics. 


FlOUlUE 10. 

Improvement of Field Guns Since the Napoleonic Wars. 



Early rifled guns 

Later rifled guns ... . 
Early quick flrera. . , 
Modem quick firers. 

1863-1870. . . 
About 1900. 

Feet per second. 



Smooth bores 

Early rifled guns — 
Later rifled guns — 
Early quick flrera. . . 
Modern quick flrers . 

About 1900. 



Early rifled guns 

Later rifled guns 

Early quick flrers 

Modern quick firers . . 
With streamline shell. 

1815-1850 .. 
1879-1893. . . 
About 1900. 
1914-1918. . . 

The limiting factor in the development of light field guns has always been the 
continuous hauling power of 6 horses, which is about 4,000 pounds. The gun has 
been as powerful as possible within the limits of this weight, which includes the 
carriage and limber as well as the cannon itself. Improved technique and materials 
have reduced the necessary weight of the cannon from 1,650 pounds in 1815 to about 
800 pounds to-day, permitting the use of weight for recoil mechanism and shield of 
armor plate without exceeding the limit. 

The 800-pound nickel-steel gun of 1918 fires as heavy a projectile (12-15 pounds) 
as the 1,650-pound bronze gun of the Napoleonic wars. The improved material per- 
mits a more powerful propellant charge, which results in greater muzzle velocity, a 
flatter trajectory, and longer maximum range. The latter is due in part also to im- 
proved shapes of projectiles and the introduction of rifling. The efficiency of artillery 
is further increased by the introduction of high-explosive bursting charge. The 
modern 75-millimeter shell contains about 1.76 pounds of high explosive as against 
about 0.5 pound of black powder in shell prior to 1893. 

The French were experimenting with streamline shell. We adopted 
the French streamline 75-millimeter shell and put it into production, 
calling it our Mark IV shell. Our regular 75-millimeter shell, known 
as the Mark 1 1900 shell, had a maximum range of 9,000 yards. The 



Mark IV shell proved to have a maximum range of 12,130 yards, 
giving an increase in range of well over a mile. America up to April 
3, 1919, turned out about 524,000 of these streamline shell. 

The French also built shell of semisteel, steel to which iron was 
added. It was claimed that these shell, by bursting into fine frag- 
ments upon exploding, were more effective against troops than all- 
steel shell, because the fragments of the latter were larger. We 
adopted this shell also and produced it experimentally. In contour 
it was a compromise between the old cylindrical shell and the extreme 
streamline type and was easier to make than the latter. 

Artillery ammunition, complete rounds — Acceptances in United States and Canada on 

U. S. Army orders only. 

[rigures in thousands of rounds.] 









































Oaliberffor American Ex- 
peditionary Force program. 

75-mm, mm H. V* T r T T 










75-mm. ran &as. 







75-Tmn, a t A . shifipTiAi . , . 



4,7-ljich fniTi Ff r k , 






4.7-inch gun, shrapnel — 
5-inch 8. C. gun H.E 











6-Inch S. C. gun H. E . . .. 














155-mm. Howitzer H. E. 1 . 





155-mm. shrapnel 


8-inch howitzer H. E 


9.2-inch howitzer H. E . . . 



340-mm. howitzer H. E . . 


8-inch S. C gun H. E . . .. 




10-inch S. C. gun H. E... 














3,062 2 Km 



-, ~>.>* 

Calibers for use in United 
States only. 

2.95-inch mountain gun 









2.95-lnch mountain gun 





3-inch F. G. H. E 


















3.8-inch howitzer H. E . . . 


3.8-lnch howitzer shrapnel 
4.7-inch howitzer H.E... 









4.7-inch howitzer shrapnel 




6-inch howitzer H. E 







6-inch howitzer shrapnel. 

































i All thick w ailed type; not all supplied with iuses. 

• Shrapnel only. 


The following table lists the name of each manufacturer of the 
various types and sizes of shell for big guns and states the quantity 
turned out by Bach: 

MO. 000 


Saskatchewan Bridge 4 Iron Works. alooM Js= Saa- 




3-inch aatiatmafl tkmpael. 

fiymiiiBton Midline Corpora tlm, Rochester, N". Y 

75-mtlHmatT antiaircrafl Uftt-aptoiit* tkell. 

1, OSS, 099 





1 00 







7S-ml!Umtlir onilolma/l thnjmtl. 
Te-miUimttcr fat and UfK^xplattct tlutl. 


1,9V?, 149 

Amerieui Intarn>UonalCorpora[;oii, Nsv Vnk Ul) .. . 





Worthlagton Pump UuhlDeCo , New Votk Otv 

The Canadian AlhVCaaJrr.r rt Co . Tnrontn. Ontario. . . . 


1.' HII 



The Canadian Crocker W!.i»>i.^t I'stiier.nea.i'nlar.o 


The Electric Steel 4 MetalO. . VtelUnd. Ontario 


ion, ooo 

1 -'-J '""> 

II. 438 





too, 000 

1. W0. 000 

61, 701 






ordered to 

Nov. 1, 



accepted to 

Nov. J, 



ordered to 


7&*tilUmtttr fat and MglKtptotltt thtO— Oonttinwd , 

I, 179,000 






i, mo, ooo 



r .-30,000 





7 ^ a 78 


IS-mlUinuter fitUyun ihrapntl. 

tee. 039 
wo, 001 


4, 908. Ml 







ti a 








/M-fli4Hifiuta , JU>icU«rJU#A-npIt>riE>e(itU,Jfvli I.tfptfl. 

VH 1,000 

n. 1(1 


662. «7 







wo, ooo 


i*(-ti»(/Iimrftr hwltur Mji-mrfotiw A*", i/bit / V, 

an, ooo 

too, ooo 




lltl, ooo 

mo[ ooo 



ISO. 000 


too. 000 





800. OuO 




81, WO 




166-mBUmeter howitzer high-explosive shell, Mark IV, 
type 2>— Continued. 

Standard Sanitary, Pittsburgh, Pa 

HoMen Morgan Thread Co., Toronto, Ontario.. 

E. Leonard & Sons, London, Ontario 

Otis Fenson Elevator Co., Hamilton, Ontario.. 
Dominion Copper Products, Montreal, Quebec. 

Garon Bros.. Montreal, Quebec 

Potter & Johnson. Pawtucket, R. I 

Blsooe Motor, Jackson, Mich 

Hudson Motor, Detroit, Mich 

Munition A M. N. (Ltd.), Sorel 

John Bartram Sons, Dundas, Ontario 



ordered to 

Nov. 1, 


ISS^mUUmeUr howitzer gat sheU. 

American Rolling Mills, Middletown. Ohio 

Mid vale Steel & Ordnance Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 

American Radiator Co., Washington, D. C 

Wilson Foundry A Machine Co.. Pontiac, Mich. 
Rathbone Sard & Co., Aurora, 111 

166-mtiUmeUr gun highrexpiosive shett, Mark III, type B. 

Standard Steel Car Co. , Pittsburgh, Pa 

Whittaker Gleasner Co., Portsmouth, Ohio 

Standard Forging Co.. Indiana Harbor, Ind 

Mead Morris & Co., Gloucester, Mass 

Twin City Forge A Foundry Co., Stillwater, Minn. . . . 

Chicago Rig. Equipment Co., Chicago, 111 

Minneapolis Steel & Machine Co., Minneapolis, Minn. 

International Arms & Fuse, Bloomfleld, N.J 

North American Motors, Pottstown, Pa 

Potter & Johnson, Pawtucket, R. I 

Templer Motor Co.. Cleveland, Ohio 

New York Air Brake Co., New York City 

Jackson Munitions, Jackson, Mich 

Pullman Co., Pullman, 111 

New Home Sewing Machine Co., Orange, Mass 

ISS-mUUmeter gun high-explosive theU, Mark V, type D. 

Symington Chicago Corporation, Chicago. HI 

American Rolling Mills. Middletown, Ohio 

Milton Manufacturing Co., Milton, Pa 

Whittaker Olessner Co., Portsmouth, Ohio 

Dominion Foundry it Steel Co., Hamilton, Ontario. 

Winslow Bros., Chicago, 111 

Grant Motor Car Co., Cleveland, Ohio 

Cribbon Sexton Co., Chicago, 111. 

166-miUimeter gun gat shell. 

Bethlehem Steel Co., South Bethlehem, Pa 


American Radiator Co., Washington, D. C 

Whittaker Glessner Co. . Portsmouth, Ohio 

American Car & Foundry Co., New York City. 

155-miUimeter gun and howitzer shrapnel. 

Dayton, Ohio, Production Co., Dayton, Ohio. . . 

Wm. Wharton, jr.. Philadelphia, Pa 

Bartlett-Hayward Co., Baltimore, Md 

Frankiord Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa 

SMnch howitzer sheU. 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa 

Hydraulic Pressed Steel Co., Cleveland, Ohio . 

8.8-inch howitzer shrapnel. 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa 

Hydraulic Pressed Steel Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 


accepted to 

Nov. 1, 















36 f 00p 













ordered to 

Nov. 1, 






accepted to 

Nov. 1, 














310, 130 











tfUnck shell. 

National Tube Co., Christie Pks. Works. 

United States Government 

Buffalo Pitts Co., Buffalo, N. Y 

Twin City Forge, Stillwater, Minn 

4.7-inch antiaircraft shell. 

National Tube Co. . Christie Pks. Works 

Maritime Manufacturing Co.. Montreal, Quebec . 
Spartan Manufacturing Co., Montreal, Quebec.. 

Darling Bros., Montreal, Quebec 

Alberta Foundry & Machinery Co., Alberta 

4.7-inch antiaircraft shrapnel. 

The B. W. Bliss Co., Brooklyn. N. Y 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa 

National Tube Co.. Christie Pks. Works 

Alberta Foundry & Machinery Co., Alberta. 

4.7-inch drill projectile. 
Grand Rapids Brass Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 
4.7-inch gun gas shell. 

Milton Manufacturing Co., Milton, Pa. 
American Radiator Co., Buffalo, N. Y. 

4-7-inch gun shrapnel. 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa. . . . 
Bartlett-Hayward Co., Baltimore, Md... 
National Tube Co., Christie Pks. Works. 
Metal Production Co., Beaver, Pa. 

4-7-inch howitzer shell. 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa 

4.74nch howitzer shrapnel. 

Bartlett-Hayward, Baltimore, Md . . . 
Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa. 

4.7-inch gun high-explosive shell. 

National Tube Co., Christie Pks. Works 

Allegheny Steel Co., Pittsburgh, Pa 

The E. W. Bliss Co., Brooklyn, N. Y 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa 

Milton Manufacturing Co. , Milton. Pa 

Hydraulic Pressed Steel Co., Cleveland, Ohio 

Darling Bros. , Montreal, Quebec 

Spartan Machine Co., Montreal, Quebec 

Kobb Engineering Co., Amherst, N. J 

Motor Trucks Co., Brentford, Ontario 

P. Ly all & Sons, Montreal, Que bee 

Steel Products Co., Huntington, W. Va. . .• 

ArmstrongCk. Co., Lancaster, Pa 

Campbell Howard Machine Co., Sherbrooke, Quebec . . . 

Thurlow 8teel Works, Chester, Pa 

Bell Manuacturing Co., Fairmont, Ind 

Buffalo Pitts CoTTBuflalo, N. Y ; 

Indiana Fiber Co. . Marion, Ind 

Canadian Westinghouse Co., Hamilton, Ontario 

Ry. Ind. Engineering Co., Greensburg, Pa 

Sherbrooke Ironworks, Sherbrooke 

Bridgeport Project Co., Bridgeport, Conn 

American & British Manufacturing Co., Bridgeport, 



ordered to 

Nov. 1, 




accepted to 


















Maritime Manufacturing Co., St. Johns, New Bruns- 
wick. ................................................ 

Alberts Foundry <fc Machinery Co., Alberta 













ordered to 

Nov. 1, 






















accepted to 

Nov. 1, 






















84ne& fan and howitzer high-explosive and gat shell. 

Carnegie Steel Co.. Pittsburgh. Fa 

Root 4 Vandervoort Engineering Co.. East MoHne, 111 . 

Wagner Electrical <& Manufacturing Co., St. Louis, Mo. 

McMyler Interstate Co. . Cleveland, Ohio 

Pouak Steel Co., New York City 

Curtis & Co., St. Louis, Mo 

MIdvale Steel & Ordnance Co., Philadelphia, Pa 

Standard Steel Car Co., Butler, Pa 

Pressed 8teel Car Co.. Pittsburgh, Pa 

Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co., Pitta- 
burgh. Pa. 

Willys Overland Co., Toledo, Ohio 

Motor Products Corporation, Detroit, Mich 

British War Mission. Munsey Building, Washington, 

Imperial Munitions Board. Ottawa 

Pofiak Steel Co., New York City 

American Steel Foundry Co., Chicago, 111 

Dominion Steel Foundry Co.. Hamilton, Ontario 

Canada Cement Co., Montreal, Quebec 

British Fordnes (Ltd.), Toronto, Ontario 

Dominion Bridge Co., Montreal, Quebec 

Standard Forging Co., Chicago, 111 

Pressed Steel Car Co., Pittsburgh, Pa 

Wm. Wharton, Jr.. A Co., Philadelphia, Pa 

Dominion Foundries & Co. (Ltd.), Hamilton, Ontario. . 

American Brake Shoe & Foundry Co., New York City. . 

Maritime Manufacturing Corporation, St. John, New 

9.B4nch howitzer high-explosive shell. 

Russell Motor Oar Co. , Toronto, Ontario. 

St. Lawrence Bridge Co., Montreal 

United States Ammunition Corporation, Poughkeep- 
sie, N. Y, 

Fisher Motor Co., Orilla, Ontario. 

Canadian Bridge Co., Walkersville, Ontario. 

BjO-mWimeter high-explosive shell. 

Carnegie Steel Co., Pittsburgh, Pa 

Curtis & Co. Manufacturing Co., St. Louis, Mo 

American Car & Foundry Co., New York City 

American Steel Foundries Co., Chicago. Ill 

ScuUin Steel Co., St. Louis, Mo 

A. F. Smith Manufacturing Co., East Orange, N. J. 

Motors Truck (Ltd.), Brentford, Ontario. 

Laclede Gas Light Co., St. Louis, Mo 

5-inch seacoast gun shell. 

Cleveland Crane & Engineering Co., Wickliffe, Ohio.. 

McMyler Interstate Co., Cleveland, Ohio , 

Milton Manufacturing Co., Milton, Pa . 

Machine Products Co.. Cleveland, Ohio , 

A. J. Vance & Co., Winston-Salem, N. C 

Twin City & Foundry Co., Stillwater, Minn 

A. B. Ormsby Co. (Ltd.), Toronto, Ontario , 

P. Tyrall Construction Co., Montreal 



ordered to 

Nov. 1. 










accepted to 

Nov. 1, 





6-inch stacoast gun shell. 

Frankf or d Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa 

Bethlehem Steel Co., Bethlehem, Pa 

Columbian Iron Works, Chattanooga, Tenn 

The Pressed Steel Car Co. McKeesport. Pa 

Standard Steel Car Co., Hammond, Ind 

Anniston Steel Co., Annlston. Ala. 

Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing Co., Pittsburgh, 

Wm. Wharton, jr.. Easton, Pa 

The Southern Machinery Co., Chattanooga, Tenn. 






















ordered to 

Nov. 1, 


















accepted to 

Nov. 1, 




































ordered to 




accepted to 

Nov. 1, 



ordered to 

Nov. 1. 



accepted to 

Nov. 1, 


10-inch seacoast gun shell. 
American Car & Foundry Co., New York City 
















Carnegie Steel Co., PittsfmrglL Pa ." 

f^rnegifl flteel Co., Mnnhall, Pa 

IS-rnch seacoast gun shell. 
Carnegie Steel Co., McKees Rocks, Pa 

Watertown Arsenal. Watertown, Mass 

Washington Steel <fc Ordnance 'Co., Giesboro Manor, 
D. cTT ! 



Rtandwl Gorging 0>.,Chicftgo, TH 

Bethlehem Steeltto., Bethlefiein, Pa 

American Olay Machine Co., Bucyros, Ohio 


l+rinch seacoast gun sheU. 
Carnegie Steel Co., MoKees Rocks, Pa. 



Watertown Arsenal, Watertown. Mass 

Washington Steel *' Ordnance (£>., Washington, T). c 


16-inch seacoast howitzer shell. 
Washington Steel & Ordnance Co., Washington, D. C. 



At the threshold of the war with Germany we were confronted 
with the problem of providing on a large scale those instruments of 
precision with which modern artillerists point their weapons. As 
mysterious to the average man as the sextant and other instruments 
which help the navigator to bring his ship unerringly to port over 
leagues of pathless water, or as those devices with which the surveyor 
strikes a level through a range of mountains, are the instruments 
which enable the gunner to drop a heavy projectile exactly on his 
target without seeing it at all. 

The old days of sighting a cannon point-blank at the visible enemy 
over the open sights on the barrel of the weapon passed with the 
Civil War. As the power of guns increased and their ranges length- 
ened, the artillerists began firing at objects actually below the horizon 
or hidden by intervening obstacles. These conditions necessarily 
brought in the method of mathematical aim which is known as 
indirect fire. 

In the great war indirect firing was so perfected that within a few 
seconds after an aviator or an observer in a captive balloon had 
definitely located an enemy battery, that battery was deluged with 
an avalanche of high-explosive shell and destroyed, even though 
the attacking gunners were located several miles away and hills and 
forests intervened to obscure the target from view. With the aid of 
correlated maps in the possession of the battery gunners and the 
aerial observer, a mere whisper of the wireless sufficed to turn a tor- 
rent of shell precisely upon the enemy position which had just been 
discovered. So accurate had indirect artillery fire become that a steel 
wall of missiles could be laid down a few yards ahead of a body of 
troops advancing on a broad front, and this wall could be kept mov- 
ing steadily ahead of the soldiers at a walking pace with few acci- 
dents due to inaccurate control of the guns firing the barrage. 

The chief difference between the old and the new methods of artil- 
lery practice is the degree of precision attained. At the time of the 
Civil War the artillery was fired relatively blindly, reliance being 
placed upon the weight of the fire regardless of its accuracy and its 
effectiveness; but modern artillery has recognized the importance of 
the well-placed shot and demands instruments that must be marvels 

. 135 

136 America's munitions. 

of accuracy, since a slight error in the aiming at modern ranges means 
a miss and the total loss of the shot. Such uncanny accuracy is 
made possible by the use of those instruments of precision known as 
fire-control apparatus. The gunner who is not equipped with proper 
fire-control instruments can not aim correctly and is placed at a 
serious disadvantage in the presence of the enemy. These instru- 
ments must not only be as exact as a chronometer, but they must be 
sufficiently rugged to withstand the concussion of close artillery fire. 

Equipment classified under "Sights and fire-control apparatus" 
comprises all devices to direct the fire of offensive weapons and to 
observe the effect of this fire in order to place it on the target. 
Included in this list are instruments of a surveying nature which 
serve to locate the relative position of the target on the field of battle 
and to determine its range. For this purpose the artillery officer 
uses aiming circles, azimuth instruments, battery commander tele- 
scopes, prismatic compasses, plotting boards, and other instruments. 
Telescopes and field glasses equipped with measuring scales in them 
are also employed in making observations. 

Instruments of a second group are attached directly to the gun to 
train it both horizontally and vertically in the directions given by the 
battery commander. These devices include sights of different types, 
elevation quadrants, clinometers, and other instruments. The intri- 
cate panoramic sight which is used especially in firing at an unseen 
target is one of the most important instruments of this group. 

Still another set of instruments comprises devices such as range 
deflection boards, deviation boards, and wind indicators which, 
together with range tables and other tables, assist the battery com- 
mander to ascertain the path of the projectile under any condition of 
range, altitude, air pressure, temperature, and other physical influences. 
When it is understood that the projectile fired by such a weapon as 
the German long-range gun which bombarded Paris at a distance of 
70 miles mounts so high into the air that it passes into the highly 
rarified layers of the air envelope surrounding the earth and thus into 
entirely different conditions of air pressure, it can be realized how 
abstruse these range calculations are and how many factors must be 
taken into account. The fire-control equipment enables the artillery- 
man to make these computations quickly. 

In addition to the above items many auxiliary devices are needed 
by the Artillery, notable among these being the self-luminous aiming 
posts and other arrangements which enable the gunners to maintain 
accuracy of fire at night. This whole elaborate set of instruments 
is supplied to the field and railway artillery — the big guns — and in 
part to trench-mortar batteries and even to machine guns, which 
in the latter months of the war were used in indirect firing. 


Still another group of pointing instruments is used by antiair- 
craft guns against hostile aircraft to ascertain their altitude, their 
speed, and their future location in order that projectiles fired by the 
antiaircraft guns may hit these high and rapidly moving targets. 
Sights are also used on the airplanes themselves to aid the pilot 
and the observer in the dropping of bombs and in gunfire against 
enemy planes or targets. One of these sights corrects automatically 
for the speed and direction of the airplane. 

Fuse setters, which enable the gunner to time the fuse in the shell 
so that the projectile moving with enormous speed explodes at 
precisely the desired point, were required in large numbers. 

The responsibility for the design, procurement, production, in- 
spection, and supply of the above equipment to the American Ex- 
peditionary Forces was lodged in the Ordnance Department. The 
effectiveness of the artillery on the field of battle depended directly 
on the fire-control equipment furnished by this bureau. 

The optical industry in this country before the war was in the 
hands of a few firms. Several of these were under German influence, 
and one firm was directly affiliated with the Carl Zeiss Works, of 
Jena, Germany; the workmen were largely Germans or of German 
origin; the kinds and design of apparatus produced were for the 
most part essentially European in character; optical glass was pro- 
cured entirely from abroad and chiefly from Germany. 

It was easier and cheaper for manufacturers to order glass from 
abroad than to develop its manufacture in this country. Educa- 
tional and research institutions obtained a large part of their equip- 
ment from Germany and offered no special inducement for American 
manufacturers to provide such apparatus. Duty-free importation 
favored and encouraged this dependence on Germany for scientific 

With our entrance in the war the European sources of supply 
for optical glass and optical instruments were cut off abruptly and 
we were brought face to face with the problem of furnishing these 
items to the Army and Navy for use in the field. Prior to 1917 only 
three private manufacturers in the United States had built fire- 
control apparatus in any quantity for the Government. The Bausch 
& Lomb Optical Co., Rochester, N. Y., had made range finders and 
field glasses for the Artillery and Infantry, and gun sights, range finders, 
and spy glasses and field glasses for the Navy; the Keuffel & Esser 
Co., Hoboken, N. J., had produced some fire-control equipment for 
the Navy; the Warner & Swasey Co., Cleveland, Ohio, with J. A. 
Brashear, Pittsburgh, Pa., had furnished depression-position finders, 
azimuth instruments, and telescopic musket sights to the Army. 
The only other source of supply in this country had been the Frank- 
ford Arsenal. 

138 America's munitions. 

Prior to 1917 the largest order for fire-control equipment which our 
Army had ever placed in a single year amounted to $1,202,000. The 
total orders for such instruments placed by the Ordnance Department 
alone during the 19 months of war exceeded $50,000,000, while the 
total orders for fire-control apparatus placed by the Army and Navy 
exceeded $100,000,000. 

To meet the situation, existing facilities had to be increased, new 
facilities developed, and other, allied, industries converted to the pro- 
duction of fire-control material. 

Quantity production had to be secured through the assembling of 
standardized parts of instruments which heretofore had either never 
been built in this country or only in a small, experimental way. A 
large part of the work had of necessity to be done by machines 
operated by relatively unskilled labor. The manufacturing tolerances 
had to be nicely adjusted between the different parts of each instru- 
ment, so that wherever less precise work would answer the purpose the 
production methods were arranged accordingly. Only by a careful 
coordination of design, factory operations, and field performance 
could quantity production of the desired quality be obtained in a 
short time. Speed of production meant everything if our troops in 
the field were to be equipped with the necessary fire-control apparatus 
and thus enabled to meet the enemy on even approximately equal 

To accomplish this object a competent personnel within the Army 
had to be organized and developed; the Army requirements had to be 
carefully scrutinized and coordinated with reference to relative ur- 
gency; manufacturers had to be encouraged to undertake new tasks 
and to be impressed with the necessity for whole-hearted coopera- 
tion and with the importance of their part in the war; raw materials 
had to be secured and their transportation assured. These and other 
factors were faced and overcome. 

Although American fire-control instruments did not reach the front 
in as large numbers as were wanted, great quantities were under way, 
and we had attained in the manufacturing program a basic stage 
of progress which would have cared for all of our needs in the spring 
and summer of 1919. Incidentally there has been developed in this 
country a manufacturing capacity for precision optical and instrument 
work, which, if desired, will render us independent of foreign markets. 
At the present time there exists in this country a trained personnel 
and adequate organization for the production of precision optical 
instruments greatly in excess of the needs of the country. One of the 
problems which we now have to consider is the conversion of this 
development brought about by war-time conditions into channels of 
peace-time activity. 


At the present time American manufacturers are in a position to 
make instruments of precision equal to the best European product, 
and the industry will continue, provided there is an adequate market 
for its product. Such a market will exist if the universities and com- 
mercial laboratories of the country will obtain scientific apparatus 
from American manufacturers rather than import it from abroad as 
has heretofore been the custom. 

In April, 1917, the most serious problem in the situation was the 
manufacture of optical glass. Prior to 1 9 1 4 practically all of the optical 
glass used in the United States had been imported from abroad; 
manufacturers followed the line of least resistance and preferred to 
procure certain commodities, such as optical glass, chemical dyes, 
and other materials difficult to produce, direct from Europe rather 
than to undertake their manufacture here. The war stopped this 
source of supply abruptly, and in 1915 experiments on the making of 
optical glass were under way at five different plants — the Bausch & 
Lomb Optical Co. at Rochester N. Y. ; the Bureau of Standards at 
Pittsburgh, Pa.; the Keuffel & Esser Co. at Hoboken, N. J.; the 
Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. at Charleroi, Pa.; the Spencer Lens Co. 
at Hamburg, Buffalo, N. Y. 

By April, 1917, the situation had become acute; some optical 
glass of fair quality had been produced, but nowhere had its manu- 
facture been placed on an assured basis. The glass-making pro- 
cesses were not adequately known. Without optical glass fire- 
control instruments could not be produced; optical glass is a thing 
of high precision and in its manufacture accurate control is required 
throughout the factory processes. In this emergency the Government 
appealed to the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution 
of Washington for assistance. 

This laboratory had been engaged for many years in the study of 
solutions, such as that of optical glass, at high temperatures and had 
a corps of scientists trained along the lines essential to the successful 
production of optical glass. It was the only organization in the 
country with a personnel adequate and competent to undertake a 
manufacturing problem of this character and magnitude. Accord- 
ingly, in April, 1917, a group of its scientists was placed at the Bausch 
& Lomb Optical Co. and given virtual charge of the plant; its men 
were assigned to the different factory operations and made responsi- 
ble for them. By November, 1917, the manufacturing processes at 
this plant had been mastered and large quantities of optical glass 
of good quality were being produced. In December, 1917, the work 
was extended, men from the Geophysical Laboratory taking practi- 
cal charge of the plants of the Spencer Lens Co. and of the Pittsburgh 
Plate Glass Co. 


The cost to the Geophysical Laboratory of contributing to the Gov- 
ernment the solution of the optical glass problem amounted to about 
$200,000, but the results attained surely more than justified these 
expenditures. These results could not have been attained, however, 
without the hearty cooperation of the manufacturers and of the Army 
and Navy, which assisted in the procurement and transportation of 
the raw materials. An ordnance officer was in charge of the Roch- 
ester party from the Geophysical Laboratory and was responsible for 
much of the pioneer development work accomplished there. It was 
at this plant, that of the Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. at Roch- 
ester, that the methods of manufacture were first developed and 
placed on a production basis. The Bureau of Standards aided in 
the development of a chemically and thermally resistant crucible 
in which to melt optical glass; also in the testing of optical glass, 
and especially in the testing of optical instruments. The Geological 
Survey aided in locating sources of raw materials, such as sand of 
adequate chemical purity. 

By February, 1918, the supply of optical glass was assured; but 
the manufacture of optical instruments was so seriously behind 
schedule that a military optical glass and instrument section was 
formed in the War Industries Board and took charge of the entire 
optical instrument industry of the country. Through the efforts 
of its chief, Mr. George E. Chatillon, of New York, the entire industry 
was coordinated. By September, 1918, the production of fire- 
control instruments in sufficient quantities to meet the requirements 
of both the Army and Navy during 1919 was believed to be assured. 

To the accomplishment of this result the Ordnance Department 
contributed most effectively. The information and long experience 
of Frankf ord Arsenal in instrument manufacture and in the work of pre- 
cision optics were placed at the service of contractors; trained officers of 
the Ordnance Department were stationed at the different factories; in 
many factories these officers rendered valuable aid in devising and 
developing proper and adequate factory operations, in establishing 
production on a satisfactory basis, in securing the proper inflow of 
raw materials, in devising testing fixtures, in establishing proper man- 
ufacturing tolerances, and in testing the performance of the assembled 
instruments. Schools for operatives in precision optics were estab- 
lished at Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa., at Rochester, N. Y., 
and at Mount Wilson Observatory, Pasadena, Cal. To many con- 
tractors financial aid had to be extended. The fire-control program 
required, in short, all the available talent and resources of the 
country to carry it to a successful finish. 

The general procedure adopted by the Ordnance Department was 
to assign the more difficult instruments to manufacturers who had 
had experience along similar lines. To others, who had produced 


articles allied only in a distant way to fire-control instruments, less 
intricate types of instruments were awarded. In certain instances 
the optical elements were produced by one firm, the mechanical 
parts by another, the final assembly of the instrument being then 
accomplished by the latter. 

Because our Army had adopted a number of French guns for 
reproduction here, it became necessary to build sights for these 
weapons according to the French designs. This gave us much trouble, 
not only because of the delay in securing samples and drawings from 
France, but because of the difficulties in producing articles from 
these French drawings by American methods and with American 

The most intricate of these French sights was the Schneider quad- 
rant sight. It was used with the French 155-millimeter gun, the 
155-millimeter howitzer, and the 240-millimeter howitzer. The 
structure of this sight was highly complicated, and extreme accuracy 
was required at every stage of production. These sights were put 
into production by the Emerson Engineering Co. of Philadelphia, 
the Raymond Engineering Co. of New York, and by Slooum, Avram 
& Slocum of New York. 

The design of this sight was received from France early in 1918, 
yet it was the 1st of November — 10 days before the armistice Was 
signed — when the first Schneider sight was delivered to the Army; 
but at all times the progress made was as rapid as could be expected. 
A total of 7,000 Schneider quadrant sights Was ordered, which meant 
a year's work for 1,000 men* Of this order 3,500 sights were to be 
manufactured by the Schneider Co. in France and the rest by the 
three firms in this country. On November 11 the American facto- 
ries had delivered 74 sights and since that time over 560 have been 

The amount of labor involved in the case of Schneider quadrant 
sights is shown by the fact that while the raw material for it cost about 
$25, the finished sight is worth about $600. In order to expedite pro- 
duction the Government extended financial assistance to some of the 
factories to aid in the procurement and installation of additional 
equipment. On November 11 the number of these sights completed 
was short of requirements for installation on completed carriages by 
about 400, but the rate of progress which had been attained in pro- 
duction would have overtaken the output of gun carriages by 
January 1, 1919. 

Another difficult task was the construction of telescopic sights for 
the French 37-millimeter guns, the "Infantry cannon ,, which we 
adopted for reproduction in this country. Here again we encoun- 
tered the same difficulty of adapting French plans to our methods. 
The original contract was placed with a firm which had had no ex- 

142 America's munitions. 

perience with optical instruments of precision, but no other company 
was available for the work. When by May, 1918, this concern had 
produced only a few sights the contract was taken from it and placed 
with a subcontractor, the Central Scientific Co., of Chicago, who had 
been building mechanical parts for the sights. In this plant the 
complete force had to be educated in the art before any production 
could begin. When the armistice was signed the gun factories had 
produced 884 of the 37-millimeter guns, but only 142 telescopic 
sights had been completed. The rate of production of these sights 
by the Central Scientific Co. was such, however, that the shortage 
would have ceased to exist shortly after January 1, 1919. 

The French design for the telescopic sight for the 37-millimeter 
gun used on the tanks was also adopted by the Army. Here again 
difficulty was experienced in manufacture, but excellent progress 
was made especially by one firm (Burke & James of Chicago, HI.), 
and the output in adequate quantities was assured for 1919. The 
French collimator sight for the 75-millimeter gun presented diffi- 
culties to the manufacturer, especially in the optical parts. These 
were, however, overcome by the Globe Optical Co., who furnished 
the optics to the Electric Auto-lite Corporation and to the Standard 
Thermometer Co. of Boston, with the result that at the time of 
the signing of the armistice the production of these sights was 
progressing well. 

Periscopes from 20 inches to nearly 20 feet in length were produced 
in quantity. These periscopes enabled the men in the front-line 
trenches to look over the top with comparative safety. The long 
periscopes were used in deep-shelter trenches and bomb proofs. 
The production of the short-base periscopes and also of the battery 
commanders' periscopes by the Wollensak Optical Co., Rochester, 
X. Y., and of the 3-meter and 6-meter periscope by the Andrew J. 
Lloyd Co. of Boston, Mass., was progressing at such a rate that the 
needs of the Army for 1919 would be met on time. 

At the outbreak of the war the policy followed by the Ordnance 
Department was to place orders for standard fire-control apparatus, 
such as range finders of different base lengths, battery commander 
telescopes, aiming circles, panoramic sights, musket sights, and 
prismatic compasses with firms of established reputation and expe- 
rience. The result was that when requests from the Army in France 
came for instruments of new design, new sources of manufacture 
had to be sought out and these organizations educated in the methods 
of precision optics. Such a procedure necessarily caused delay, but 
it was the only course of action left. Wherever possible part of the 
total contract was awarded to an experienced manufacturer, so 
that some production was assured. 












The records show that the experienced manufacturers overcame 
the difficulties encountered and had obtained in general a rate of 
output which was satisfactory at the time of the signing of the 
armistice. Thus the Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. had delivered 
large numbers of range finders of base lengths of 80 centimeters, 1 
meter and 15 feet, and battery commanders' telescopes; Keuffel 
& Esser had made many prismatic compasses and a few range 
finders; the Spencer Lens Co. had produced aiming circles in quan- 
tity; the Warner & Swasey Co., with J. A. Brashear of Pittsburgh, 
had furnished large numbers of the valuable panoramic sights with 
which much of the artillery fire is directed. Much credit is due the 
above organizations for the efficient manner in which they placed 
the manufacture of these items on p, high-speed production basis. 
Frankford Arsenal proved to be a most reliable source of supply for 
battery commander telescopes, panoramic sights, azimuth instru- 
ments for, 3-inch telescopes, plotting boards, and other ordnance 
fire-control instruments. 

The manufacture of many other types of instruments was under- 
taken in this country. Among these the French sitogoniometer, a 
device which assists the battery commander in obtaining data for 
the direction of fire, was successfully produced by the Martin- 
Copeland Co. of Providence, R. I. ; quadrant sights for the 37-milli- 
meter gun by the Scientific Materials Co. of Pittsburgh; lensatic 
compasses and Brunton compasses were furnished by Wm. Ainsworth 
& Sons of Denver, Colo.; prismatic compasses by the Sperry Gyro- 
scope Co. of Brooklyn, N. Y.; telescopes for sights on antiaircraft 
carriages by the Kollmorgen Optical Corporation of Brooklyn; 
altimeters, gunners' quadrants, elevation quadrants, and aiming 
stakes by the J. H. Deagan Co. of Chicago, 111. ; panoramic telescopes 
and fuse setters by the Recording & Computing Machines Co. of 
Dayton, Ohio; battery commander telescopes by Arthur Brock of 
Philadelphia; tripods for fire-control instruments by the National 
Cash Register Co. of Dayton, Ohio. Optics for different sights were 
furnished by the American Optical Co. of Southbridge, Mass., and 
by the Mount Wilson Observatory of Pasadena, Calif. These and 
other organizations entered into the task and devoted their energy 
to the production of equipment desired by the Government. 

At no time during the fighting did our artillery units have a 
sufficient supply of fire-control instruments. This was due to the 
fact that we were not able to secure in Europe the amount of this 
equipment required to take care of our needs while our own industry 
was being developed. 

With almost a total lack of optical glass in this country, with an 
equal lack of factories and workmen familiar with military optical 
instrument-making, we were suddenly called upon to produce about 



200 different types of instruments in large quantities. These 
included many new designs of fire-control apparatus made necessary 
by new artillery developments both among the allies and in our own 
factories, by the adoption of trench warfare in place of open war- 
fare, by the development of weapons for use against aircraft, by the 
extension of indirect fire-control methods to weapons which for- 
merly had been fired by direct sighting, and by the use of railway and 
seacoast artillery. 

While we did not solve all the difficulties in this development, 
we had met and conquered the worst of them, and we were making 
such great strides in production when the war ended that all the 
requirements of the Army would have been met early in 1919. It 
has been a source of inspiration to witness the high sense of patriotic 
duty and cooperation shown by the manufacturers which made 
possible the remarkable expansion of the optical glass and instru- 
ment industry in the United States during the period of the war. 

The following table shows the principal items of sights and fire- 
control apparatus, the firms that did the work, the quantity of the 
various kinds of instruments ordered, and the deliveries made up 
to November 11, 1918, and to February 20, 1919: 


Aiming circle, model 1910 


Aiming stakes for machine gun . . 
Aiming posts, field artillery 


Aiming devices 

Angle of site instruments 


Azimuth instruments, model 1910 
Azimuth instruments, model 1918 
Boards, gun deflection 

Boards, Pirie deviation 

Boards > plotting 

Boards, Pratt range 

Boards, range deflection 

Boards, rocket 


Chronographs, Aberdeen 

Clinometers, machine-gun. 


Clinometers, machine gun, model 

Compass, lensatic 

Compass, prismatic 

Compass, tiunsit,pocket, Branton. 

Cylinders, cannon pressure 

Depression position finders, 

Electrical equipment for aiming 



Spencer Lena Co., Buffalo, N. Y 

Frankford Arsenal. Philadelphia 

J. C. Deagan Co., Chicago. Ill 

Metropolitan Manufacturing Co., De- 
troit, Mich. 

Dahlstrom Metallic Door Co., James- 
town, N. Y. 

National Vitaphone Corporation, 
Plainfleld, N. J. 

Atwater Kent Manufacturing Co., 

Blair Tool Machine Co., New York City 

Warner A Swasey Co., Cleveland, Ohio 

Spencer Lens Co. , Buffalo, N. Y 

Premier Metal Etching Co., New York 

Metauograph Corporation, New York 

MoFarlan Motor Co., Connersville, lnd. 

F. F. Metftger, Philadelphia, Pa 

Oorham Manufacturing Co., Provi- 
dence, R. I. 

Liquid Carbon Co., Chicago, 111 

Precision Thermometer Co., Phila- 
delphia, Pa. 

Leeds Northrup Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Atwater Kent Manufacturing Co., 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

Central Scientific Co., Chicago, HI 

F. F. Metzger, Philadelphia, Pa 

Wm. Ainsworth & Sons, Denver, Colo. 
Sparry Gyroscope Co., Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Keuflel & Esser Co., Hoboken, N. J . . 
Wm. Ainsworth & Sons, Denver, Colo. 

Wilton Tool Co., Boston, Mass 

Pratt- Whitney Co. Hartford, Conn.; 

J. A. Brashear, Pittsburgh. Pa. 
Line Material Corporation, Milwaukee, 




















Deliveries to— 

Nov. 11, 










Feb. 20, 



















Eleotrie lighting devices.. 



Glass, optical, lbs. 


Goniometers, model 1917. . . 

Levels, longitudinal, S-inch . 

Levels, longitudinal 

Levels, right 

Levels, testing. 

lighting devices for field car- 

Night firing boxes for machine 

Periscopes, battery commander's. 
Periscopes, mirror 


Periscopes, rifle, model 1917. 

Periscopes, S m. deep, shelter. , 
Periscopes, 6 m. deep, shelter . . 
Periscopes, trench, No. iO , 

Plane tables 

Protractors, Alidade . 


Protractors and straightedges . 





Quadrants, elevation. 


Quadrants, gunner's . 




Quadrants, range. 

Do . 

Range finders, 80-cm 


Range finders, 1-meter 

Range finders, 15-foot 

Range finders, 9-foot 

Recording thermometers 

Rules, battery commander's. 

Rules, elevation, slide, model 1918 . 
Rules, Hitt-Browne, roc machine 

Rules, musketry 


Rules, slide 

Rules, slide, model E . 



Guide Motor Lamp Co., Cleveland, 

Delta Electric Co.. Marlon, Ind 

Novo Marm torturing Co., New York 

American Ever-ready Works, Long 
Island City, N. Y. 

Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., Charleroi, 

Spencer Lens Co., Buffalo. N. Y 

Bausch & Lomb Optical Co., Roches- 
ter, N.Y. 

Btoane & Chase Manufacturing Co., 
Newark, N. J. 

Young & Bona, Philadelphia, Pa 

Arthur Brook, ir., Philadelphia, Pa. . . 

Electrio Auto-lite Corporation, 
Toledo, Ohio. 

Carlson- Wenstrom Co., Philadelphia, 

Globe Machine & Stamping Co., Cleve- 
land. Ohio. 

New Method Store Co., Mansfield, 

Delta Electrio Co., Marion, Ind 

J. R. Young Co. (Penn Toy Co.), Pitts- 
burgh. Pa. 

Seneca Camera Co., Rochester, N. Y. . . 

Oneida Community. Oneida, N. Y. . . . 

John W. Browne Manufacturing Co., 
Detroit, Mich. 

A. J. Lloyd Co., Boston, Mass 


Wollensak Optical Co., Roohester, 
N. Y. 

Plan Manufacturing Co., Norwood, 

MetaUograph Corporation, New York 

Wm. Ainsworth A Co., Denver. Colo.. 

Frankford Arsenal. Philadelphia, Pa. . 

Eugene Dietsgen Co., Chicago, III 

Whitehead Hoag Co.. Newark, N. J. . . 

Celluloid Co., New York. N. Y 

Keuffel & Esser Co., Hoboken. N. J. . . 

Recording & Computing Machine Co., 
Dayton, Ohio. 

J. C. Deagan Co., Chicago, 111 

International Register Co., Chicago, 111. 

Central Scientific Co., Chicago, 10 

J. C. Deagan Co., Chicago, Ifl 

Gorham Manufacturing Co., Provi- 
denoe, R. I. 

Talbot Reel Manufacturing Co., Kan- 
sas City. Mo. 

Slooum. Avram & Blooum, Newark, 
N. J. 

Bausch & Lomb Optical Co., Roches- 
ter, N. Y. 

Keuffel & Esser Co., Hoboken, N. J... 

Bausch A Lamb Optical Co., Roches- 
ter. N. Y. 


Keuffel & Esser Co., Hoboken, N. J... 

Bristol Co., Waterbury, Conn 

Wescott Jewel Co., Seneca Falls, N. Y. 

Stanley Rule & Level Co., New Brit- 
ain, Conn. 

J. E. SJostram Co., Detroit, Mich 

U. S. Infantry Association, Washing- 
ton, D. C. 

Taft-Pieroe Manufacturing Co., Woon- 
socket, R. I. 

MetaUograph Corporation, New York. 

J. H. Weil Co., Philadelphia, Pa 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa..| 


13o, 861 







































Deliveries to— 

Nov. 11. 














Feb. 20. 
























































100287°— 19 10 




Roles, 2-foot. 


Rules, tine, for machine guns. 

Rules, 3-foot 

Rules, boxwood 


Rule, zigzag 

Sights, antiaircraft, model 1917. . . 


Sights for antiaircraft carriages. . . 

Sights, telescopes, for antiaircraft 

Sigh ts, telescopes, for goniometers 

Sights, optics, for altimeter tele- 
scope, model 1917. 

Sights, bomb 

Sights, bore 


Sights, panoramic, for machine 

Sights for 19176-inch gun carriages. 
Sights, luminous 

Sights, luminous, for machine 

Sights, panoramic, model 1917... 



Sights, panoramic, model 1915... 
Sights, panoramic, for 8-inch gun. 

Sights, quadrants, Schneider 



Sights, telescopic, rifle, style B . . . 

Sights, telescopic, rifle, 5A, 
mounted on rifle. 

Sights, telescopic, rifle, model 

Sights, telescopic, rifle, model 

Sights, optics for telescopic, rifle, 
model 1918. 

Sights, telescopic, 37-mm. In- 
fantry gun. 

Sights, telescopic, for 37-mm. In- 
fantry gun. 

Sights, telescopic, for 37-mm. gun, 

Sights, optics, clinometer, for 37- 
mm. gun. 

Sights,telescopic, for 37-mm. tank 

Sights, optics for telescopic, for 37- 
mm. gun. 

Sights, quadrant, for 37-mm. gun 

Sights for 75-mm. gun , 


Sights, master, for 75-mm. gun. . 


Stanley Rule & Level Co., New Brit- 
ain. Conn. 

Lufkfn Rule Co. t 8aginaw, Mich 

Upson Nut Co., Cleveland, Ohio 

Chapin-Stephens Co., Pine Meadow, 

Clapp Eastman Co., Cambridge, Mass. 

L. S. Starrett Co., Athol, Mass 

Stanley Rule & Level Co., New Brit- 
ain. Conn. 

Lufkin Rule Co., Saginaw, Mich 


Recording & Computing Machines Co. , 
Dayton, Ohio. 

New Britain Machine Co., New Brit- 
ain, Conn. 


Kollmorgen Optical Co., Brooklyn, 


Mount Wilson Observatory, Pasadena, 


Globe Optical Co., Boston, Mass 

Benjamin Electric Manufacturing Co., 

Chicago, 111. 
Poole Engineering & Machine Co., 

Hagerstown, Md. 

Buffalo Forge Co., Buffalo, N. Y 

Atwater-Kent Manufacturing Co., 

Philadelphia, Pa. 
Scientific Materials Co., Pittsburgh, 

Recording 4 Computing Machines Co., 

Dayton, Ohio. 
Radium Luminous Material Corpora- 
Watson Luminous Ounsight Co., 

New York. 
Warner <k Swasey Co.. Cleveland, Ohio 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa. . 
Recording ii Comp 
Co.. Dayton, Ohio. 

ipnia, f 


Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia. Pa. . 

Recording & Computing Machines 
Co., Dayton. Ohio. 

Emerson Engineering Co., Philadel- 
phia, Pa. 

Raymond Engineering Co., New York 

Slocum, Avram & Slocum, New York 

Winchester Repeating Aims Co., New 
Haven, Conn. 



Warner & Swasey Co., Cleveland, 

Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N. Y. 

Central Scientific Co., Chicago, 111 

Universal Optical Co., Providence, 


Globe Optical Co., Boston, Mass 

American Optical Co., South Bridge, 

Burke & James Co., Chicago, 111 

American Optical Co., South Bridge, 

Scientific Materials Co., Pittsburgh, 

Electric Auto-lite Corporation, To- 
ledo, Ohio. 

Standard Thermometer Co., Boston, 

Electric Auto-Lite Corporation, To- 
ledo, Ohio. 

Standard Thermometer Co., Boston, 











































Deliveries to— 

Nov. 11, 























Feb. 20, 




































Sights, optics for model 1901, for 

75-mm. gun. 
Sights, model 1918, for 75-mm. gun. 
Sights, shanks for telescopic, 

model 1918, for 75-mm. gun. 
Sights, for 3-inch gun, model 1916. 

Sights, peep, for 3-inch gun. 

Sights for 3-inch gun 

Sights, model 1916, for 3.8-inch 

howitser carriage. 
Sights, peep, for Schneider quad- 


Sights, peep.for 4.7-inch gun 

Sights, for 1.7-inch gun 


Sights for 5-inch improvised gun 

Sights for 6-inch improvised gun 

SlghtsTdial, 8-inch howitser. 

Sights, clinometer, 8-inch how- 

Rocking bar, 8-inch 

8ights,lens for master, for 75-mm. 


Squares, sine 

Squares, sine, for machine gun . . . 

Stan's, sighting 

Staffs, Jacob's, for field glass sup- 

Tapes, steel, 5 feet 


Tapes, steel, 60 feet 

Tapes, steel 

Tapes, metallic linen 

Telescopes, azimuth instrument, 

model 1918. 
Telescopes, battery commander's. 


Telescopes, battery commander's, 

Telescopes for panoramic 4 and 

10 power. 

Telescopes, periscopic 

Tripods for machine-gun sights.. . 



Globe Optical Co., Rochester, N. Y... 

Ansco Co., Binghamton. N. Y 

American Standard Motion-Picture 

Machine Co., New York. 
Peerless Printing Press Co., Palmyra, 

Standard Thermometer Co., Boston, 

Frankfort Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa. . 

Electro Auto-lite Corporation, To- 
ledo, Ohio. 


Carlson-Wenstrom Co., Philadelphia, 

Emerson Engineering Co., Philadel- 
phia, Pa. 

Blair Tool & Machine Co., New York 


Arthur Brock, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa. . 


Central Scientific Co., Chicago, Hi 

Martin Copeland Co. , Providence. R. I. 
MetaUograph Corporation , New York. . 
Clapp Eastman Co., Cambridge, Mass.. 

Colson Co., Elyria, Ohio 

McFarlan Motor Co., ConnersvUle, Ind. 

Justus Roe & Sons, Patchogue. N. Y . . 

Lufkin Rule Co., Saginaw, Mich 




Spencer Lens Co., Buffalo, N. Y 

Bausch & Lomb Optical Co., Roch- 
ester, N.Y. 

Arthur Brock, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa. . . 

Central Scientific Co., Chicago, 111 

Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, Pa.. 

Naitonal Cash Register Co., Dayton, 

Recording* Computing Machines Co., 
Dayton, Ohio. 

Kennel A Esser Co., Hoboken, N.J... 

Herschede Hall Clock Co., Cincinnati, 






























Deliveries to— 

Nov. 11, 













Feb. 20, 




















Complete motorization of field artillery and its ammunition supply 
is almost certain to be one of the far-reaching and highly important 
results of our chantry's experiences in its participation in the war. 

Practically all field artillery was of the horse-drawn type previous 
to our entry into the war, but with the evolution and perfection of 
the heavier siege artillery, 5-ton, 10-ton, and even heavier, traction 
engines were brought into play as means of motive power for the 
big guns and howitzers, with such success that the horse in the field 
artillery operations was being supplanted to a large degree by me- 
chanical power. 

Strictly speaking, the foundation for this departure had been laid 
before 1917, in the Mexican campaign of 1916 and in experiments 
that had been conducted at the Bock Island Arsenal. Insufficiency 
of funds, however, had prevented the experiments from being either 
thorough or extensive. 

A consideration of the difficulties that vehicles of all sorts had to 
contend with in the battle areas of Europe made it evident at the 
outset that two general types of motor carriers would be required 
by the Army so far as ordnance was concerned — one type for far- 
advanced work, for hauling artillery over the worst possible kind of 
shell-torn and water-soaked earth, and the other for bringing up 
ammunition, supplies, equipment for repairs and the like in less 
advanced zones and areas, but over roads and country that had 
been cut and hacked and made almost impassible by the activities 
of the contending forces. 


The standard four-wheel-drive commercial trucks, modified to 
meet the special needs of the service, were adopted immediately after 
war began, while experimental work was put under way to develop 
a standard type that would set this country far in advance of all 
others in this line of activity. 

A total of 30,072 of the four-wheel-drive trucks was ordered, and 
before the armistice 12,498 of this number had been completed, 
while 23,499 had been turned out by the 31st of January, 1919. 

In round numbers, 25,000 of these trucks were to be equipped with 
bodies for the hauling of ammunition, and the balance with special 


s of artillary supply. 

body equipped with lultabls machinery and tooli (or 

capable of being mount 




bodies and equipment suitable for artillery supply and repair, for 
repair of equipment, and for heavy mobile ordnance. 
Special bodies were manufactured by these concerns: 

American Car A Foundry Co., Berwick, Pa. 

J. G. Brill Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 

Hale & Kilburn Corporation, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Dumbar Manufacturing Co., Chicago, III. 

Pullman Co., Pullman, 111. 

Kuhlman Car Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 

C. R. Wilson Body Co., Detroit, Mich. 

Insley Manufacturing Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 

Lang Body Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 

Heil Co., Milwaukee, Wis. 

Variety Manufacturing Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 

J. E. Bolles Iron A Wire Co., Detroit, Mich. 

The first contract for these trucks was placed on August 18, 1917, 
and 9,420 were shipped to the American Expeditionary Forces 
overseas by the date of the armistice. 

It required considerable time to work out and perfect all the details 
of the special bodies and equipment, as most of these were exceedingly 
complicated, and in a number of cases there were as many as 700 
items of equipment on a single truck. 

Representatives of the allied governments were not hesitant in 
asserting that the line of artillery repair trucks developed for our 
Army was the most complete and well worked out in detail that 
any army ever received. 

These manufacturers did the work of turning out the special 

Nash Motors Co., Kenosha, Wis. 
Four-Wheel-Drive Auto Co., Clinton ville, Wis. 
Mitchell Motor Car Co., Racine, Wis. 
Premier Motor Corporation, Indianapolis, Ind. 
Kissel Motor Car Co., Hartford, Wis. 
Hudson Motor Car Co., Detroit, Mich. 
National Motor Car Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 
Paige Motor Car Co., Detroit, Mich. 
Commerce Motor Car Corporation, Detroit, Mich. 
White Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 
Dodge Motor Car Co., Detroit, Mich. 

About 4,000 of the 5,000 special body type of trucks were delivered 
before the middle of December, 1918. 


There were developed five different types of four-wheeled trailers. 
Each type, being for a particular use, required a special study and 
individual design, with all the consequent specially prepared machines 
and specialized shop work. 

150 amekica's munitions. 

For antiaircraft service, a l£-ton and a 3-ton trailer were worked 
out; for the 75-millimeter field gun, a special 3-ton trailer; for the 
mobile repair shops, a 4-ton trailer; and for the small tank, a special 
10- ton trailer. 

By the middle of December, 2,157 of these trailers had been 
delivered of the 4,847 that had been ordered and put in production. 

Concerns engaged in turning out trailers were: 

Sechler & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio. 
Trailmobile Go. of America, Cincinnati, Ohio. 
Ohio Trailer Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 
Grant Motor Car Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio. 

It might also be stated at this point, too, that two special types of 
passenger motor vehicles were designed and built. One of these was 
for staff observation and the other for reconnaissance. Nearly all of 
the total of 2,250 that were ordered of these two types were completed 
by mid-December, 1918, delivery of them having started in the month 
of April, 1918. 


It was found after a comprehensive study of the needs of the 
various branches of ordnance and the requirement of the big guns 
that five sizes of caterpillar tractors would be required — of capacities 
of 2£ tons, 5 tons, 10 tons, 15 tons, and 20 tons. 

Commercial types of machines of the 15-ton and 20-ton sort, with 
only slight alterations, were found to be suitable, but special designs 
were made for those of 2£-ton, 5-ton, and 10-ton capacity. Our 
experience in Mexico and the experiments at the Rock Island Arsenal 
had taught us the need of the special designs of machines of those 

In all, 24,791 of these five types of caterpillar tractors were ordered. 
The 5- ton machine reached production in the summer of 1918 and 
the 2£-ton machine in the fall. By the end of the following January, 
5,940 of the tractors had been delivered. Manufacturers who had 
orders for the caterpillar tractors were: 

Holt Manufacturing Co., Peoria, 111. 
Chandler Motor Car Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 
Reo Motor Car Co., Lansing, Mich. 
Maxwell Motor Car Co., Detroit, Mich. 
Federal Motor Truck Co., Detroit, Mich. 
Interstate Motor Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 

Throughout the production of tractors during the war period 
there was continuous and persistent experimentation, and satisfac- 
tory solutions of many of the problems were being reached at the 
time of the signing of the armistice. 

Self-propelled caterpillar gun mounts were the subject of the most 
important of these experiments. The self-propelled caterpillar gun 


mounts differ from the ordinary caterpillar tractors in that they have 
the guns mounted directly on them, the guns forming an integral 
part of the entire machine. Six types of these were being developed, 
and 270 had been ordered when the armistice came. 

A 2£-ton tractor mounting a 75-millimeter gun and a 5-ton tractor 
containing a gun of the same size were far along the road to success 
in their first state of development. 

Development of caterpillar cargo carriers or caissons for bearing 
supplies over any sort of terrain, no matter how rough the going might 
be and regardless of whether there were roads or not, was so far along 
the pathway of success that two sizes were about to go into production 
on November 11. 

A 2^-ton ammunition trailer, a 2-ton 1 1-inch trench mortar trailer, 
and a 4.7-inch antiaircraft gun trailer were also in development, but 
not in production, at the time of the signing of the armistice. 

So successful were the experiments with new types of four-wheel- 
drive trucks and tractors that orders for what would probably 
have proven the best type of four-wheel-drive truck and the best 
type of four-wheel-drive tractor ever produced had been placed, but 
the signing of the armistice forced cancellations of these orders. In 
the course of the experiments, all types of American four-wheel-drive 
vehicles were examined and two of the best French types. 

The purchase of $365,000,000 worth of trucks, trailers, and tractors 
was obligated in about 3,000 separate orders. 


In Europe, the French had been the only people to experiment 
with caterpillar mounts for guns. They produced the St. Chamond 
type, but this had not gone far beyond the experimental stages. 

Prior to the early months of 1918, our own efforts along this line 
consisted in the building of one caterpillar mount, self-propelled by 
a gasoline engine and carrying an antiaircraft gun. Around this 
nucleus an ambitious caterpillar program was built. 

An 8-inch howitzer was placed on this antiaircraft caterpillar mount 
and fired at angles of elevation varying up to 45°. Maneuvered over, 
difficult ground, the machine withstood the firing strains and road 
tests in a highly satisfactory manner. 

As a result of the success of these tests, orders were placed for three 
more experimental caterpillars to mount 8-inch howitzers. Tests of 
two of these completed units were so gratifying that it was felt they 
warranted quantity production. Accordingly, orders were placed for 
50 units of the 8-inch howitzer caterpillars to cost about $30,000 
apiece, for 50 caterpillar units mounting 155-millimeter guns, and for 
250 units mounting 240-millimeter howitzers. 

152 America's munitions. 

The Standard Steel Car Co., Hammond, Ind., was to produce the 
240-millimeter howitzer caterpillars, the Harrisburg Manufacturing 
& Boiler Co., Harrisburg, Pa., was to turn out the 8-inch howitzer 
caterpillars, and the Morgan Engineering Co., of Alliance, Ohio, was 
to produce the 155-millimeter gun caterpillars. 

Mountings for the 8-inch howitzer and 155-millimeter gun were 
practically identical. Both utilized many of the standard Holt 
caterpillar parts. The only real change was in the carriage for the 
155-millimeter gun. This was made sufficiently sturdy to carry higher- 
powered guns. A 194-millimeter gun is now being machined in 
France, and when finished it will be shipped to this country to be 
mounted upon the 155-millimeter caterpillar mount for experiment. 

The 240-millimeter howitzer mounts were of two types — one follow- 
ing closely the St. Chamond type of the French and the other being 
a self-contained unit designed by Ordnance Department engineers. 
The self-contained type is a single unit that mounts both the 
power plant and the howitzer and for which it is necessary to provide 
additional cargo-carrying caterpillars to haul ammunition and fuel. 
Two units make up the St. Chamond type. One mounts the gun 
and electric motors; the other, a limber, mounts the power plant 
and carries ammunition. 

In the battle area the St. Chamond type had the peculiar advan- 
tage that the power-plant unit could be run to shelter and be avail- 
able for a rapid advance or change of location of the gun mount as 
the situation might demand. With the self-contained unit a direct 
hit by the enemy would put both gun and power plant out of com- 

Contracts for the caterpillar mounts called for the completion of 
the entire program not later than February, 1919. All the firms 
engaged on the work of production were putting forth every effort 
when the armistice was signed and there was every reason to believe 
deliveries would be as scheduled. The termination of hostilities 
caused all contracts to be reduced. Provisions have been made for 
only enough caterpillars of each type to provide for further experi- 
mental work. 

Twenty mounts equipped with caterpillar treads and mounting 
7-inch Navy rifles were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Co. for the 
Navy Department. These were so successfully operated that orders 
were placed for 36 similar units for the use of the Army, but since 
the signing of the armistice this order has been cut to 18. 

The great gun on a caterpillar mount fires its death-dealing pro- 
jectile, and almost before the shot has reached its destination the 
caterpillar mount has moved the gun to another point. With motor 
still running the gun is fired again and once more quickly moved 









Speclil body with tools for miking minor motor repairs, 


limber In one load and two 3-inch 





on to another location, so that the enemy's artillery is unable to get 
its range. 

Ordnance motor production table. 






Not. 11, 















Jan. 31, 







Floated to 

Nov. 11. 





U4on antiaircraft machine gun 

3-incli field gun 

4-ton shop bodies 

4-ton shop chassis 


3-inch antiaircraft 





F. W. D. chassis 

Nash chassis 

Ammunition bodies 

Ammunition mountings 

Artillery repair 

Artillery supply 

light repair 

Dodge chassis 

Commerce chassis 

Machine-gun body, mounted on Commerce or White 

1-ton chassis 

1-ton supply 

White chassis 

"ftft flfl nn ftiggft m** 

Staff observation 

Equipment repair 

H.M.R.B. trucks 
























































The tank, more than any other weapon born of the great war, may 
be called the joint enterprise of the three principal powers arrayed 
against Germany — America, France, and Great Britain. An Ameri- 
can produced the fundamental invention, the caterpillar traction 
device, which enables the fortress to move. A Frenchman took the 
idea from this and evolved the tank as an engine of war. The 
British first used the terrifying monster in actual fighting. 

There is a common impression throughout America that the British 
Army invented the tank. The impression is wrong in two ways. 
The French government has recently awarded the ribbon of the 
Legion of Honor to the French ordnance officer who is officially hailed 
as the tank's inventor. His right to the honor, however, is disputed 
by a French civilian who possesses an impressive exhibition of draw- 
ings to prove that he and not the officer is the inventor. As this is 
written a lively controversy over the point is in progress in France. 
Wherever the credit for the invention belongs, the French were first 
to build tanks, building them only experimentally, however, and not 
using them until after the British had demonstrated their effective- 

In the second place, it was not the British Army which adopted 

them first in England, but the British Navy. The tank as an idea 
shared the experience of many another war invention in being 
skeptically received by the conservative experts. The British Navy, 
indeed, produced the first ones in England; but to the British Army 
goes the glory of having first used them in actual fighting and of 
establishing them in the forefront of modern offensive weapons. 

Brought forth as a surprise, the tanks made an effective d6but in 
the great British drive for Cambrai. Later the enemy affected to 
scoff at their usefulness. The closing months of the tanks' brief 
history, however, found them in greater favor than ever, and they 
were used by both side3 in increasing numbers. 

Up to the beginning of the summer of 1917 there was little accurate 
information in this country regarding the tanks. Somewhat hazy 
specifications then began to come from Europe about the designs of 
the different tanks at that particular time in use on the battle front, 
but these specifications were exceedingly rough and sketchy, consist- 
ing in the main of merely the fact that the machines should be able to 


TANKS. 155 

cross trenches about 6 feet Vide, that each should carry one heavy gun 
and two or three machine guns, and that their protection should 
consist of armor plate about five-eighths of an inch thick. 

With these facts as a guide, two experimental machines were 
decided upon, and work on them was begun immediately. With these 
machines it was determined to test the relative advantages of a 
specially articulated form of caterpillar tractor with, wheeled trac- 
tion, making use of very large wheels, and to develop the possi- 
bilities between the gas-electric and steam systems of propulsion. 

In September, 1017, decision had been made to supply the American 
Army with two types of tanks — one the large sue, typical of that used 
by the British and oapable of containing a dozen men, and the other 
a smaller one patterned after the Frenoh two-man model and known 
as the Renault. In September one of our officers charged with 
tank production was dispatched to Europe for a more intimate 
study of the machines used abroad and for the purpose of getting 
more detailed information respecting the merits of the various 
types of tanks, as well as to make arrangements for sending specimens 

The decision to equip the American forces in Europe with tanks of 
two sizes was made only after thorough and somewhat protracted 
conferences with British, French, and American officers in Europe. 
Complete drawings and samples of the small tank were obtained from 
the French and shipped to this country. As all of the drawings 
were made in accordance with the metrio system of measurements, 
it was neoessary before anything could be done toward actual pro- 
duction to remake the drawings, as the machine shops here were 
not equipped to use the metric system. 

The large British tank had been successful in its operations on 
the battle front, but its very decided limitations, recognized by 
British authorities, caused our officers to think it best to redesign 
the large tank in preference to copying the existing big British tank 
with its limitations. 

General "fighting" specifications for the big tank were laid down 
by the British general staff at the conference at British headquarters 
at which American officers were present. It was agreed that this 
big tank, known as the Mark VIII, should be of Anglo-American 
design and construction. Arrangements were made for producing 
1,500 of this type. To do this, Great Britain and the United States 
entered into a working agreement that provided for England to 
furnish the hulls, guns, and ammunition, while the United States 
was to furnish the power plant and driving details of the monster. 
Roughly speaking, each tank would cost about $35,000, of Which 
$15,000 represented the American part of the. job, on which some 72 
contractors, were at once engaged. About 50 per cent of the work 

156 amekica's munitions. 

on these tanks had been completed when the armistice was signed, 
and the first units were undergoing trials. 

It was confidently expected that ail of the 1,500 contracted for 
would have been completed by March, 1919. While these Anglo- 
American tanks were in the process of construction there were also 
being built here 1,450 ail-American tanks of the large English type, 
and for this ail-American tank 50 per cent of the work had also 
been done at the signing of the armistice. 

In December, 1917, a sample French tank of the Renault type 
reached this country along with detailed drawings and a French 
engineer. Much difficulty then ensued in getting American concerns 
to take on production of this machine, because of the difficult nature 
of its manufacture. Considerable time, too, was taken up in chang- 
ing the drawings from the French metric dimensions to the American 
dimensions, and this involved redesigning many parts. 

In the manufacture of the armor built for the Renault type of 
tank the French made no attempt to adhere to simple shapes, and 
for this reason practically a new source of supply for this kind of 
armor had to be developed. Contracts for 4,440 of the Renault type 
of tanks were finally made. The approximate cost of each one of 
these machines was $11,500. Manufacturing activities for the va- 
rious parts had to be divided up among more than a soore of plants, 
so that many plants were turning out parts for these machines, while 
the assembling was done at only three plants, which also made a por- 
tion of the parts. 

The three assembly plants were the Van Dorn Iron Works, of 
Cleveland, Ohio; the Maxwell Motors Co., of Dayton, Ohio; and the 
C. L. Best Co., also of Dayton. 

Finished machines of this type started to come through in Octo- 
ber. When the armistice was signed 64 of these 6-ton Renault tanks, 
each designed to carry two men and a machine gun, were completed, 
while up to the end of December the number of those finished 
amounted to 209, with 289 in the process of assembly. There is 
every reason to believe that had the armistice not been signed, the 
entire original program would have been completed by April. 

During the summer and fall of 1918 our tank program had been 
augmented by the development of two entirely new types of tanks. 
One was a two-man tank weighing 3 tons, built by the Ford Motor 
Co. and costing in the neighborhood of $4,000. This tank, mounting 
one machine gun, has a speed of about 8 miles an hour. Of this 
type 15 had been built; and, up to the 1st of January, 1919, 500 
were to have been finished, after which they were to have been 
turned out by the Ford Co. at the rate of 100 a day. 

The other new tank developed was a successor to the French Re- 
nault, designed for production in great volume. This tank was 



to carry three men, instead of two, as the original Renault machine, 
and mount two guns, one a machine gun and the other a 37-milli- 
meter gun. Some Renault tanks were equipped with 37-millimeter 
cannon instead of machine guns. Cost of production of this machine 
would have been very much less than that of the original Renault, 
while the weight of the machine would have been substantially the 
same and its fighting power much greater. 

An outlay of about $175,000,000 was projected in the tank pro- 
gram, but this, of course, was greatly reduced upon the signing of 
the armistice. This outlay would have included, besides the cost 
of the machines, expenses at various plants for increased facilities 
for operation. 




Mark I 


Mark 8 A. A. component*. 
Mark 8 U. S. complete.... 





Nov. 11, 






Jan. 31. 



to Nov. 
11, 1918. 


i Immediately upon signing of the armistice, production was slowed down as rapidly and as much af 

* Approximately 50 per cent of the production work on components for these 1,500 tanks had bean com- 
pleted by Nov. 11. 


The machine gun is typically and historically an American device. 
An American invented the first real machine gun ever produced. 
Another American, who had taken British citizenship, produced 
the first weapon of this type that could be called a success in war. 
Still a third American gave to the allies at the beginning of the 
great war a machine gun which revolutionized the world's conception 
of what that weapon might be; while a fourth American inventor, 
backed by our Ordnance Department, enabled the American forces 
to take into the field in France what is probably the most efficient 
machine gun ever put into action. 

The machine gun as an idea is not modern at all. The thought 
has been engaging the attention of inventors for several centuries. 
The idea was inherent in guns which existed in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, but they should be called rapid-fire guns rather 
than machine guns, since no machine principle entered into their 
construction. They usually consisted of several gun barrels bound 
together and fired simultaneously. 

The first true machine gun was the invention of Richard Jordon 
Gatling, an American, who in 1861 brought out what might be termed 
a revolving rifle. The barrels, from 4 to 10 in number, were placed 
parallel to each other and arranged on a common axis about which 
they revolved in such a manner that each barrel was brought in 
succession into the firing position. This gun was used to some 
extent in our Civil War and later in the Franco-Prussian War. 

In 1866 Reffye, a French inventor, brought out the first mitrail- 
leuse — a mounted machine gun of the Gatling type towing a lim- 
ber and drawn by four horses. It had 25 rifled barrels and could fire 
125 shots per minute. The weapon, however, during the Franco- 
Prussian War, turned out to be a failure for the reason that it proved 
an excellent target for the enemy's artillery and was not sufficiently 
mobile. Accordingly the French government abandoned it. 

Sir Hiram S. Maxim, who was American born, in 1884 developed 
a machine gun which operated automatically by utilizing the force 
of the recoil. This gun was perfected and became a serviceable 
weapon for the British army in the Boer War. The Maxim gun 
barrel was cooled by the water-jacket system. When the water 


became hot it exhausted a jet of steam which could be seen for long 
distances across the South African veldt, making it a mark for the 
Boer sharpshooters. This defect was remedied in homemade fashion 
by carrying the exhaust steam through a hose into a bucket of water 
where it was condensed. This Maxim gun fired 500 shots a minute. 

Meanwhile in this country the Gatling gun had been so improved 
that it became one of our standard weapons in the Spanish-American 
War. Later on it was used in the Russo-Japanese War. 

The Colt machine gun also existed in 1898. This was the inven- 
tion of John M. Browning, whose name has been prominently asso- 
ciated with the development of automatic firearms for the last 
quarter of a century. 

In England the Maxim gun was taken up by the Vickers Co., 
eventually becoming what is known to-day as the Vickers gun. In 
1903 or 1904 the American Government bought some Maxim machine 
guns which were then being manufactured by the Colt Co. at Hart- 
ford, Conn. 

In no war previous to the one concluded in 1918 did the machine 
gun take a prominent place in the armaments of contending 
forces. The popularity of the earlier machine guns was retarded 
by their great weight. Some of them were so heavy that it took 
several men to lift them. All through the history of the develop- 
ment of machine guns the tendency has been toward lighter 
weapons, but it was not until the great war that serviceable 
machine guns were made light enough to give them great effective- 
ness and popularity. Such intense heat is developed by the rapid 
fire of a machine gun that unless the barrel can be kept cool the gun 
will soon refuse to function. The water jacket which keeps the gun 
cool proved to be the principal handicap to the inventors who were 
trying to remove weight from the device. The earliest air-cooled 
guns were generally unsuccessful, since the firing of a few rounds 
would make the barrel so hot that the cartridges would explode 
voluntarily in the chamber, thus rendering the weapon unsafe. 
The Ben6t-Merci6 partly overcame this difficulty by hiving inter- 
changeable barrels. As soon as one barrel became hot it could be 
quickly removed and its cool alternate inserted in its place. 

These conditions led to the development of machine guns along 
two separate lines — the heavy type machine gun, which must be 
capable of long sustained fire, and the automatic rifle, whose primary 
requisite is extreme lightness. These requirements brought the ulti- 
mate elimination from ground use in France and in the United States 
of guns of the so-called intermediate weight as being incapable of ful- 
filling either of the above requirements to the fullest degree. 

The machine gun produced by the American inventor, Col. I. N. 
Lewis, was a revelation when it came to the aid of the allies early in 

160 America's munitions. 

the great war. This was an air-cooled gun which could be fired 
for a considerable time without excessive heating, and it weighed 
only 25 pounds, no great burden for a soldier. The Lewis machine 
gun was hailed by many as the greatest invention brought into 
prominence by the war, although its weight put it in the intermediate 
class, with limitations as noted above. 

Along in the first decade of the present century the Ben6t-Merci6 
automatic machine rifle was developed. This was an air-cooled gun 
of the automatic rifle type and weighed 30 pounds. light as this 
gun was, it was still too heavy to be of great service as an automatic 
rifle, since a strong man would soon tire of holding 30 pounds up to 
his shoulder, and it was therefore in the intermediate class. 

The Germans had apparently realized better than anyone else the 
value of machine guns in the kind of fighting which they expected 
to be engaged in, and therefore supplied them to their troops in 
greater numbers than did the other powers, having, an early report 
stated, 50,000 Maxim machine guns at the commencement of hos- 
tilities. The Austrian Army had adopted an excellent heavy type 
machine gun known as the Schwarzlose whose chief feature lay in the 
fact that it operated with only one major spring. 

Such was the machine-gun situation, although incompletely set 
forth here, at the beginning of the great war. The nations, with the 
exception of Germany, had been slow to promote machine gunnery 
as a conspicuous phase of their military preparedness. In our Army 
we had a provisional machine-gun organization, but no special offi- 
cers and few enthusiasts for machine guns. We were content 
with a theoretical equipment of four machine guns per regiment. 
The fact was that in no previous war had the machine gun demon- 
strated its tactical value. The chief utility of the weapon was sup- 
posed to lie in its police effectiveness in putting down mobs and civil 
disorders and in its value in other special situations, particularly 
defensive ones. 

The three years of fighting in Europe before the United States was 
drawn in had demonstrated the highly important place which the 
machine gun held in modern tactics. Because of the danger of our 
position we had investigated many phases of armed preparedness, 
and in this investigation numerous questions had arisen regarding 
machine guns. The Secretary of War had appointed a board of five 
Army officers and two civilians to study the machine-gun subject, 
to recommend the types of guns to be adopted, the number of guns 
we should have per unit of troops, how these guns should be trans- 
ported, and other matters pertaining to the subject. Six months 
before we declared war this board submitted a report strongly recom- 
mending the previously adopted Vickers machine gun and the imme- 
diate procurement of 4,600 of them. In December, 1916, the War 


Department acted on this report by contracting for 4,000 Vickers 
machine guns from the Colt Co. in addition to 125 previously ordered. 

The Vickers gun belongs to what is known as the heavy type of 
machine gun. The board found that the tests it had witnessed did 
not then warrant the adoption of a light-type machine gun, although 
the Lewis gun of the intermediate type was then being manu- 
factured in this country. "The board, however, recommended that we 
conduct further competitive tests of machine guns at the Springfield 
Armory, in Massachusetts, these tests to begin May 1, 1917, the 
interval being given to permit inventors and manufacturers to prepare 
equipment for the competition. 

The war came to us before these tests were made. On the 6th day 
of April, 1917, our equipment included 670 Ben6t~Merci6 machine 
rifles, 282 Maxim machine guns of the 1904 model, 353 Lewis ma- 
chine guns, and 148 Colt machine guns. The Lewis guns, however, 
were chambered for the .303 British ammunition and would not take 
our service cartridges. 

Moreover, the manufacturing facilities for machine guns in this 
country were much more limited in extent than the public had any 
notion of then or to-day. Both England and France had depended 
mainly upon their own manufacturing facilities for their machine 
guns, the weapons which they secured on order from the United 
States being supplementary and subsidiary to their own supplies. 
We had at the outbreak of the war only two factories in the United 
States which were actually producing machine guns in any quantity 
at all. These were the Savage Arms Corporation, which in its factory 
at Utica, N. Y., was nearing the completion of an order for about 
12,500 Lewis guns for the British and Canadian Governments, and the 
Marlin-Rockwell Corporation, which had manufactured a large num- 
ber of Colt machine guns of the old lever type for the Russian Gov- 
ernment. The Colt factory in the spring of 1917 was equipping 
itself with machinery to produce the 4,125 Vickers guns, the order for 
4,000 of which had been placed the previous December by the War 
Department on recommendation of the Machine Gun Board. None 
of these guns, however, had been completed when the United 
States entered the war. The Colt Co. also held a contract for 
Vickers guns to be produced for the Russian Government. 

It was therefore evident that we should have to build up in the 
United States almost a completely new capacity for the production 
of machine guns. Nevertheless, we took advantage of what facilities 
were at hand ; and at once, in fact within a week after the declaration 
of war, began placing orders for machine guns. The first of these 
orders came on April 12, when we placed a contract with the Savage 
Arms Corporation for 1,300 Lewis guns, which, as manufactured by 

109287°— 19 11 

162 America's munitions. 

that corporation, had by this time been overhauled in design and 
much improved. This order was subsequently heavily increased. 
On June 2 we placed an order with the Marlin-RockweU Corporation 
for 2,500 Colt guns, these weapons to be used in the training of our 
machine-gun units. 

In this connection the reader should bear continually in mind 
that throughout the development of machine-gun manufacture we 
utilized all existing facilities to the limit in addition to building up 
new sources of supply. In other words, whenever concerns were 
engaged in the manufacture of machine guns, whatever their make 
or type, we did not stop the production of these types in these plants 
and convert the establishments into factories for making other 
weapons; but we had them continue in the manufacture in which 
they were engaged, giving them orders which would enable them 
to expand their facilities in their particular lines of production. 
Then when it became necessary for us to find factories to build Brown- 
ing guns and some of the other weapons on which we specialized, 
we found new capacity entirely for this additional production. 

Since we sent to France the first American division of troops less 
than three months after the declaration of war, they were necessarily 
armed with the machine guns at hand, which in this case proved 
to be the Ben6t-Merci6 machine rifles. • 

Meanwhile the development of machine guns in Europe had been 
going on at a rapid rate. The standard guns in use by the French 
Army were now the Hotchkiss heavy machine gun and the Chauchat 
light automatic rifle, both effective weapons. Upon the arrival of 
our first American division in France the French Government ex- 
pressed its willingness to arm this division with Hotchkiss and 
Chauchat guns; and thereafter the French facilities proved to be 
sufficient to equip our troops with these weapons until our own 
manufacture came up to requirements. 

The 1st of May, 1917, brought the tests recommended by the 
investigation board, these tests continuing throughout the month. 
To this competition were brought two newly developed weapons 
produced by the inventive genius of that veteran of small-arms 
manufacture, John M. Browning. Mr. Browning had been associated 
with the Army's development of automatic weapons for so many 
years that he was peculiarly fitted to produce a mechanism that 
could adapt itself to the quantity production which our forthcoming 
effort demanded. Both the Browning heavy machine gun and the 
Browning light automatic rifle which were put through these tests 
in May had been designed with the view of enormous production 
quickly attained, so that their simplicity of design was one of their 
chief merits. After the tests the board pronounced these weapons 
the most effective guns of their type known to the members. The 





Browning heavy gun with its water jacket filled weighs 36.75 pounds, 
whereas the Browning automatic rifle weighs only 15.5 pounds. 
These May tests also proved the Lewis machine gun to be highly 
efficient- The board recommended the production of large numbers 
of all three weapons; the two Brownings and the Lewis. The board 
also approved the Vickers gun, which weighs 37.50 pounds, and we 
accordingly continued it in manufacture. 

The first act of the Ordnance Department after this report had 
been received was to increase greatly the orders for Lewis machine 
guns with the Savage Arms Corporation, and the second to make 
preparation for an enormous manufacture of Browning machine guns 
and Browning automatic rifles. Mr. Browning had developed these 
weapons at the plant of the Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing 
Co., of Hartford, Conn., which concern owned the exclusive rights to 
both these weapons under the Browning patents. This company at 
once began the development of manufacturing facilities for the pro- 
duction of Browning guns. In July, 1917, orders for 10,000 Brown- 
ing machine guns and 12,000 Browning automatic rifles were placed 
with the Colt Co. It should be remembered that the Colt Co. 
was in the midst of preparations for the production of large num- 
bers of Vickers machine guns; and the Government required 
that the Browning manufacture should be carried on without inter- 
ference with the existing contracts for Vickers guns. This require- 
ment necessitated an enormous expansion of the Colt plant to take 
care of its growing contracts for Browning guns. The concern pre- 
pared to make the Browning automatic rifle, the lighter gun, at a 
new factory at Meriden, Conn. 

In its arrangements with the Colt Co. the Government recognized 
that its future demands for Browning guns would be far beyond the 
capacity of this one concern to supply. Consequently, for a royalty 
consideration, the Colt Co. surrendered for the duration of the war, 
its exclusive rights to manufacture these weapons, this arrange- 
ment being approved by the Council of National Defense. Mr. 
Browning, the inventor of the guns, was also compensated by the 
Government for weapons of his invention manufactured during the 
war. In the arrangement the Government acquired the right to 
manuf acture during the period of the emergency all other inventions 
that might be developed by Mr. Browning — an important considera- 
tion, since at any time the inventor might add improvements to 
the original designs or bring out accessories that would add to the 
efficiency or effectiveness of the weapons. 

It may also be added that throughout this period Mr. Browning's 
efforts were constantly directed toward the perfection of these guns 
and the development of new types of guns and accessories. His 
services along these lines were of great value to the War Department. 

164 America's munitions. 

When these necessary preliminary matters had been settled the 
Ordnance Department made a survey of the manufacturing facilities 
of the United States to determine what factories could best be set 
to work to produce Browning guns and rifles, always with special care 
that no existing war contracts, either for the allies or for the United 
States, be disturbed. 

By September this survey was complete, and also by this time we 
had definite knowledge of the rate of enlargement of our military 
forces and their requirements for machine guns. We were ready to 
adopt the program of machine-gun construction that would keep 
pace with our needs, no matter what numbers of troops we might 
equip for battle. As a foundation for the machine-gun program, in 
September, 1917, we placed the following orders: 15,000 water- 
cooled Browning machine guns with the Remington Arms-Union 
Metallic Cartridge Co., of Bridgeport, Conn.; 5,000 Browning aircraft 
machine guns with the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation, of New Haven, 
Conn. ; and 20,000 Browning automatic rifles with the Marlin-Rock- 
well Corporation. In this connection it should be explained that 
the Browning aircraft gun is essentially the heavy Browning with 
the water-jacket removed. It was practicable to use it thus 
stripped, because in aircraft fighting a machine gun is not fired con- 
tinuously, but only at intervals,. and then in short bursts of fire too 
brief to heat a gun beyond the functioning point. 

At the same time these orders were placed the Winchester Re- 
' peating Arms Co., of New Haven, Conn., was instructed to begin its 
preliminary work looking to the manufacture of Browning automatic 
rifles; and less than a month later, in October, an order for 25,000 
of these weapons was placed with this concern. Then followed in 
December an additional order for 10,000 Browning aircraft guns to 
be manufactured by the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation. A contract 
for Browning aircraft guns was also given to the Remington Arms- 
Union Metallic Cartridge Co. 

Before the year ended the enormous task of providing the special 
machinery for this practically new industry was well under way. The 
Hopkins & Allen factory, at Norwich, Conn., had been engaged upon a 
contract for military rifles for the Belgian government. Before this 
order was completed the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation took over the 
Hopkins & Allen plant and set it to producing parts for the light Brown- 
ing automatic rifles. Even this concern, however, could not produce 
the parts in sufficient quantities for the Marlin-Rockwell order, and 
the latter concern accordingly acquired the Mayo Radiator factory, 
at New Haven, and equipped it with machine tools for the production 
of Browning automatic-rifle parts. Such expansion was merely 
typical of what went on in the other concerns engaged in our machine- 
gun production. Immense quantities of new machinery had to 











be built and set up in all these factories. But still the Ordnance 
Department kept on expanding the machine-gun capacity. The 
New England Westinghouse Co., of Springfield, Mass., in January, 
1918, completed a contract for rifles for the Russian government and 
was at once given an order for Browning water-cooled guns. For 
reasons which will be explained later, the original order for Browning 
aircraft guns, which had been placed with the Remington Arms Co., 
was later transferred to the New England Westinghouse Co. at their 
Springfield plant. 

As soon as otfr officers in France could make an adequate study of 
our aircraft needs in machine guns, they discovered that in the three 
years of war only one weapon had met the requirements of the allies 
for a fixed machine gun that could be synchronized to fire through the 
whirling blades of an airplane propeller. This was the Vickers gun, 
which was already being manufactured in some quantity in our 
country, and for which three months before we entered the war we 
had given an order amounting to 4,000 weapons. On the other 
hand, the fighting aircraft of Europe were also finding an increased 
need for machine guns of the flexible type — that is, guns mounted 
on universal pivots, and which could be aimed and fired in any 
direction by the second man, or observer, in an airplane. The best 
gun we had for this purpose was the Lewis machine gun. 

For technical reasons that need not be explained here, the Vickers 
gun was a difficult one to manufacture. The Colt Co., which was 
producing these weapons, in spite of their long experience in 
the manufacture of such arms and in spite of their utmost efforts, 
had been unable to deliver the finished Vickers guns on time, either 
to the Russian government or to this country. However, by expand- 
ing the facilities of this factory to the utmost, by the month of May, 
1918, the concern achieved a production of over 50 Vickers guns 
per day. Doubtless, because of these same difficulties, neither the 
British nor the French governments had been able to procure Vickers 
guns as rapidly as they expanded the number of their fighting air- 
craft, and consequently when we entered the war we received at 
once a Macedonian cry from the allies to aid in equipping the allied 
aircraft with weapons of the Vickers type. An arrangement was 
readily reached in this matter. Our first troops in France needed 
machine guns for use on the lines. Our own factories had not yet 
begun the production of these weapons. Accordingly, in the fall of 
1917, we arranged with the French high commissioner in this country 
to transfer 1,000 of our Vickers guns to the French air service, receiv- 
ing in exchange French Hotchkiss machine guns for Gen. Pershing's 
troops. # 

Now while the demands of the allied service had brought forth only 
the Vickers machine gun as a satisfactorily synchronized weapon, 


we, shortly after our entry into the war, had succeeded in developing 
two additional types of machine guns which gave every promise of 
being satisfactory for use as fixed synchronized guns on airplanes. 
One of these, of course, was the heavy Browning gun, stripped of 
its water jacket; but because this was a new weapon, requiring an 
entirely new factory equipment for its production, the day when 
Brownings would begin firing at the German battle planes was re- 
mote, indeed, as time is reckoned in war. 

On the other hand, our inventors had been improving a machine 
gun known as the Marlin, which was, in fact, the old Colt machine 
gun, Mr. Browning's original invention, but now of lighter construc- 
tion and with a piston firing action instead of a lever control. In 
the face of considerable criticism at the time, we proposed to adapt 
this weapon to our aircraft needs as a stop-gap until Brownings were 
coming from the factory in satisfactory quantities. We took this 
course because we were prepared to turn out quantities of the Marlin 
guns in relatively quick time. As has been said, the Marlin resembled 
the Colt. The Merlin-Rockwell Corporation was already tooled up 
for a large production of Colt guns, and this machinery with slight 
modifications could be used to produce the Marlin. 

We decided upon this course shortly after the declaration of war, 
and there followed a severe engineering and inventive task to develop 
a high-speed hammer mechanism and a trigger motor which would 
adapt the gun for use with the synchronizing mechanism. But 
then occurred one of those surprising successes that sometimes bless 
the efforts of harassed and hurried executives at their wits' end to 
meet the demand of some great emergency. The improvements 
added to the Marlin gun eventually transformed it in unforeseen 
fashion into an aircraft weapon of such efficiency that not only our 
own pilots but those of the French air forces as well were delighted 
with the result. 

When it was proposed to adapt the Marlin gun for synchro- 
nized use on airplanes, the Ordnance Department detailed officers 
to cooperate with the Marlin company in its efforts. For tech- 
nical reasons of design the original gun apparently had little 
or no adaptability to such use. Many new models were built only 
to be knocked to pieces after the failure of some feature to 
perform properly the work for which it was designed. Neverthe- 
less the enthusiasm of the company for its project could not be 
chilled, and it continued the development until the gun finally 
became a triumph in gas-operated aircraft ordnance. 

In the latter part of August we were using the Marlin gun at the 
front, and cablegram after cablegram told us of the. surprisingly 
excellent performances of this weapon in actual service. It. is 

Ire for long period* ol lime provided its water supply is properly maintained, 
,nd is adaptable to indirect barrage (Ire. It It used by the British and U. S. 
orces and in modified form by the Germans. 



heavy type, gas ope 
Ihot In synchroniif 

ram the Coll gin 

ly gas-operatad gun 



sufficient* here to quote one of these messages from Gen. Pershing, 
dated February 23, 1918: 

Martin aircraft guns have been fired successfully on four tripe 13,000, 15,000 feet 
altitude, and at temperature of minus 20° F. On one trip guns were completely 
cove^d ice. Both metallic links and fabric belts proved satisfactory. 

(Cartridges are fed into the fixed aircraft guns inserted in belts 
made of metallic links which disintegrate as the guns are fired.) 

On November 2, 1918, just before the armistice was signed, Gen. 
Pershing cabled as follows, in part: 

Martin guns now rank as high as any with pilots, and are entirely satisfactory. 

The French government tested the Marlin guns and declared them 
to be the equal of the Vickers. In order to meet the ever-increasing 
demands of the Air Service for machine guns capable of synchroniza- 
tion, the original order for 23,000 Marlin guns, placed in September, 
1917, with the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation, was afterwards in- 
creased to 38,000. Along in 1918 the French tried to procure 
Marlins from this country, but by that time the Browning production 
was reaching great proportions, and the equipment at the Marlin 
plant was being altered to make Brownings. 

The original order for Lewis guns, placed with the Savage Arms 
Corporation, had contemplated their use by our troops in the line; 
but when it became evident that the available manufacturing capacity 
of the United States would be strained to the utmost to provide 
enough guns for our airplanes, we diverted the large orders for Lewis 
guns entirely to the Air Service. This action was confirmed by 
cabled instructions from Gen. Pershing. For this flexible aircraft 
work the weapon was admirably adapted. 

To the machine-gun tests, May, 1917, the producers of the Lewis 
gun brought an improved model, chambered for our own standard 
.30-caliber cartridges, instead of for the British .303 ammunition, 
with some 15 modifications in design in addition to those which had 
been presented to us before, and some added improvements in con- 
struction and in the metallurgical composition of its materials. 
From our point of view, this new model Lewis was a greatly improved 
weapon. The fact should be stated here that the Lewis gun, as so 
successfully made for the British service by the Birmingham Small 
Anns Co., had never been procurable by the United States, even in a 
single sample for test. 

The Lewis accordingly became the standard flexible gun for our 
airplanes. The Savage Arms Corporation was able to expand its 
f acilities to fulfill every need of our Air Service for this type of weapon, 
and therefore we m&de no effort to carry the manufacture of Lewis 
guns into other plants. Before 1917 came to an end the Savage 
oompany was delivering the first guns of its orders. 

168 America's munitions. 

During the difficulties on the Mexican border the United States 
secured from the Savage Arms Co. several hundred Lewis guns made 
to use British ammunition. In order to be sure that the guns would 
be properly used, experts from the factory were sent out to instruct 
the troops who were to receive the guns. Ordnance officers* also 
went out on this instruction work and established machine-gun 
schools along the border. The troops did not find the guns entirely 
satisfactory, in spite of expert instruction that they received from 
men from the factory. The trouble with the guns at this time was 
due to the fact that the company making them in the United States 
had been engaged in the manufacture of machine guns for a short 
time only and had run into several minor difficulties in the design 
and manufacture, difficulties which caused considerable trouble in 
operating the guns in the field, and which were subsequently cor- 
rected in the 15 changes mentioned above. The machine-gun schools 
which were established on the border taught not only the mechanism 
of the Lewis gun, but also those of the other types of guns with which 
the various troops were armed. The first thing that these schools 
developed was the fact that much of the trouble which had been 
encountered in machine guns was undoubtedly due to the fact 
that our soldiers were unfamiliar with the operation of the weapons. 
In fact, at that time we had few experts in the operation of any make 
of machine guns. 

Soon after the establishment of machine-gun schools on the border 
it became apparent that the system of instruction devised by our 
ordnance officers had gone a long way toward overcoming the diffi- 
culties which the Army had encountered in the use of machine guns. 
The advantage of these schools was so marked that on the outbreak 
of the war with Germany the Ordnance Department established a 
machine-gun school at Springfield Armory. The first class of this 
school consisted of a large number of technical graduates from tho 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other such schools. 
These men were employed as civilians, and were taught the mechan- 
ism of machine guns in a theoretical way in as thorough a manner as 
could possibly be done, and were given an opportunity to fire the 
guns and find out for themselves just what troubles were likely to 
occur. Many of these men were afterwards commissioned as officers 
in the Ordnance Department and were sent to the various canton- 
ments throughout the United States to establish schools of instruc- 
tion in the mechanism of the various machine guns. 

After this class of civilians had been graduated from the Spring- 
field school, a number of training-camp candidates were instructed 
and were afterwards commissioned. When the full success of this 
school was realized, it was enlarged and expanded, and it instructed 
not only civilians and training-camp candidates, but also officers of 


the Ordnance Department, who were trained as armament officers, 
instructors, etc. Later the school was still further expanded to 
include a large class of enlisted men for duty as armorers. In all, 
over 500 officers were instructed at the Springfield school. 

When the war with Germany ceased, the graduates of the Spring- 
field Armory machine gun school were found in almost every line of 
endeavor connected with arms, ammunition, and kindred subjects. 

Now, let us look at the first results of the early effort in machine- 
gun production. Within a month after the first drafted troops 
reached their cantonments we were able to ship 50 Colt guns from 
the Mariin-Rockwell Corporation to each National Army camp, 
these guns to be used exclusively for training our machine-gun units. 
Before another 39 days passed we had added to the machine-gun 
equipment of each camp 20 Lewis guns of the ground type, and 30 
Chauchat automatic rifles which we bought from the French. (The 
Lewis ground gun was almost identical with the aircraft type, except 
that its barrel was surrounded by an aluminum heat radiator for 
cooling, a device not needed on the guns of airplanes because of the 
latter^ shorter periods of fire.) Also, in the autumn of 1917 we were 
able to issue to each National Guard camp a training equipment con- 
sisting of 30 Colt machine guns, 30 Chauchat automatic rifles, and 
some 50 to 70 Lewis ground guns. 

At the beginning of 1918 our machine-gun manufacture was well 
under way. Such was the industrial situation at this time: the 
Savage Arms Corporation was producing Lewis aircraft machine 
guns of the flexible type; the Mariin-Rockwell Corporation was manu- 
facturing large quantities of Marlin aircraft machine guns of the syn- 
chronizing type; the Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. was 
building Vickers machine guns of the heavy, mobile type; and anum- 
ber of great factories were tooling up at top speed for the immense 
production of Browning guns of all types soon to begin. Meanwhile 
we kept increasing our orders as rapidly as conditions warranted. 

By May, 1918, the first 12 divisions of American troops had 
reached France. They were all equipped with Hotchkiss heavy 
machine guns and Chauchat automatic rifles — both kinds supplied 
by the French government. During May and June, 11 American 
divisions sailed, and the heavy machine-gun equipment of these 
troops was American built, consisting of Vickers guns. For their 
light machine guns these 11 divisions received the French Chauchat 
rifles in France. After June, 1918, all American troops to sail were 
supplied with a full equipment of Browning guns, both of the light 
and heavy types. Part of these Brownings were issued to the troops 
before they sailed, and the rest upon their arrival in France. 

The Savage Arms Corporation built nearly 6,000 Lewis guns of the 
ground type before diverting their manufacture to the aircraft type 

170 America's munitions. 

exclusively. On May 11, 1918, this concern had built 16,000 Lewis 
guns for the American Government, of which more than 10,000 were 
for use on airplanes. By the end of July the company had turned 
out 16,000 aircraft Lewis guns, not to mention 6,000 of thd same sort 
which it had built and supplied to the American Navy. By the 
end of September we had accepted over 25,000 Lewis aircraft guns. 
On the date of the signing of the armistice approximately 32,000 of 
these guns had been completed. 

By the first of May, 1918, the Marlin-Rockwell Corporation had 
turned out nearly 17,000 Marlin aircraft guns with the synchronizing 
appliances. Thirty days later its total had reached 23,000. On 
October 1 the entire order of 38,000 Marlin guns had been com- 
pleted, and the company began the work of converting its plant 
into a Browning factory. 

On May 1, 1918, the Colt Co. had delivered more than 2,000 
Vickers guns of the ground type. Before the end of July this out- 
put totaled 8,000, besides 3,000 Vickers guns which were later con- 
verted to aircraft use. In addition the Colt Co. had undertaken 
another machine-gun project of which nothing has been said before. 
This concern had completed manufacture of about 1,000 Vickers 
guns for the Russian government. At this time the aviators at the 
front began using machine guns of large caliber, principally against 
observation balloons and dirigible aircraft. The allies had developed 
an 11-millimeter Vickers machine gun for this purpose, which means 
a gun with a bore diameter of nearly one-half inch. The Ordnance 
Department undertook to change these Russian Vickers guns into 1 1- 
millimeter aircraft machine guns. This undertaking was successfully 
carried through by the Colt Co., which delivered the first modified 
weapon in July and had increased its deliveries to a total of 800 
guns by November 11, 1918. 

When the fighting ceased the Colt Co. had delivered 12,000 heavy 
Vickers guns and nearly 1,000 of the aircraft type. As was men- 
tioned before, a considerable quantity of Vickers ground guns had been 
subsequently converted to aircraft use. The production of ground- 
type Vickers ceased on September 12, 1918, by which date the 
manufacture of Browning guns had developed sufficiently to meet 
all of our future needs. Thereafter the Colt plant produced the air- 
craft types of Vickers guns only. We shipped 6,309 Vickers ground 
guns overseas before the armistice was signed, besides equipping six 
France-bound divisions of troops with these weapons in this country, 
making a total of 7,653- American-built Vickers in the bands of the 
American Expeditionary Forces. Later, we planned to replace these 
weapons with Brownings, turning over the Vickers guns to the Air 


But America's greatest feat in machine-gun production was the 
development of the Browning weapons. These guns, as has been 
noted, were of three types : the heavy Browning water-cooled gun, 
weighing 37 pounds, for the use of our troops in the field; the light 
Browning automatic rifle, weighing 15.5 pounds, and in appearance 
similar to the ordinary service rifle, also for the use of our soldiers 
fighting on the ground ; and, finally, the Browning synchronized air- 
craft gun of the rigid type, which was the Browning heavy machine 
gun made lighter by the elimination of its water-jacket, speeded up 
to double the rate of fire, and provided with the additional attachment 
of the synchronized firing mechanism. Let us take up separately 
the expansion of the facilities for manufacturing these types. 

In the first place, the Colt Co., which owned the Browning rights, 
in September, 1917, turned over to the Winchester Repeating Arms 
Co. the task of developing the drawings and gauges for the manu- 
facture of Browning automatic rifles on a large scale. The latter 
concern did a splendid job in this work. Early in March, 1918, the 
Winchester Co. had tooled up its plant and tinned out the first 
Browning rifles. These were shipped to Washington and demon- 
strated in the hands of gunners before a distinguished audience of 
officers and other Government officials, and their great success as- 
sured the country that America had an automatic rifle worthy of her 
inventive and manufacturing prestige. By the first of May the 
Winchester Co. had turned out 1,200 Browning rifles. 

The Marlin-Rockwell Corporation attained its first production of 
Browning rifles inr June, 1918, by which time the Winchester Co. 
had built about 4,000 of them. Before the end of June the Colt Co. 
added its first few hundreds of Browning rifles to the expanding 
output. By the end of July the total production of Browning rifles 
had reached 17,000, produced as follows: 9,700 by Winchester; 5,650 
by Marlin-Rockwell; and 1,650 by Colt's. Two months later this 
total had been doubled — the exact figure being 34,500 Browning 
rifles — and on November 11, 1918, when the flag fell on this indus- 
trial race, the Government had accepted 52,238 light Browning 
rifles. Of these in round numbers the Winchester Co. had built 
27,000; Marlin-Rockwell, 16,000; and Colt's, 9,000. 

But these figures give only an indication of the Browning 
rifle program as it had expanded up to the time hostilities ceased. 
When the armistice was signed our orders for these guns called for 
a production of 288,174, and still further large orders were about to 
be placed. As an illustration of the size which this manufacture 
would have attained, we had completed negotiations with one 
concern ^hereby its factory capacity was to be increased to produce 
800 Browning rifles every 24 hours by June of 1919. After the armi- 

172 America's munitions. 

stice was signed we canceled orders calling for the manufacture of 
186,000 Browning automatic rifles. 

Of the 48,082 of these weapons sent overseas, 38,860 went in bulk 
on supply transports, while the rest constituted the equipment of 
12 Yankee divisions which carried their automatic rifles with then! 

The Colt Co. itself developed the drawings and gauges for the 
quantity manufacture of the Browning gun of the ground type. It 
will be remembered that the New England Westinghouse Co. was the 
first outside concern to begin the manufacture of these weapons. 
The New England Westinghouse Co. received its orders in January, 
1918, and within four months had turned out its first completed 
guns, being the first company to deliver these weapons to the Gov- 
ernment. By the first of May it had delivered 85 heavy Brownings. 

By the middle of May the Remington Co. came into production of 
the heavy Brownings. The Colt Co., which was required to continue 
its production of Vickers guns, was also retarded by the duty of 
preparing the drawings for the other concerns who had contracted 
to make heavy Brownings; and this factory, the birthplace of the 
Browning gun, was not able to produce any until the end of June. 
By this time the Westinghouse Co. had turned out more than 2,500 
heavy Brownings, and Remington over 1,600. 

By the end of July the production of Browning machine guns at 
all plants had reached the total of 10,000; and two months later 
26,000 heavy Brownings were in the hands of the Government. In 
the following six weeks this production was enormously increased, 
the total receipts by the Government up to November 11 amount- 
ing to about 42,000 heavy Browning guns. In round numbers 
Westinghouse produced 30,000 of these, Remington 11,000, and 
Colt about 1,000. 

We shipped in all 30,582 heavy Brownings to the American Expe- 
ditionary Forces, 27,894 going on supply ships and the rest in the 
hands of 12 divisions of troops. 

These shipments actually .put in France before the armistice was 
signed enough heavy Brownings to equip completely all the American 
troops on French soil. However, at the time these supplies were 
arriving the fighting against the retreating German Army was at 
its height, and there was no time for the troops on the line to exchange 
their British-built and French-built machine guns for Brownings, 
nor to replace their Chauchat automatic rifles with light Brownings, 
of which there Was also an ample supply in France. 

A report of the Chief Ordnance Officer, American Expeditionary 
Forces, as of February 15, 1919, shows that, except for antiaircraft 
use, Vickers and Hotchkiss machine guns with troops had been almost 
entirely replaced by heavy Brownings on that date, and that Chau- 
chat automatic rifles had been replaced by light Brownings. 




Whan the armistice was signed we had placed orders for 110,000 
heavy Brownings and were contemplating still further orders. We 
later reduced these orders by 37,500 guns. 

Because the Marlin aircraft gun had performed so satisfactorily, 
and because our facilities for the manufacture of this weapon were 
large, the production of the Browning aircraft guns had not been 
pushed to the limit, which latter action would have interfered with 
the production of the Marlin gun at a time when it was most essen- 
tial to obtain an immediate supply of fixed synchronized aircraft 
guns. Only a few hundred Browning aircraft guns had been com- 
pleted before the close of the fighting. In its tests and performances 
this weapon had been speeded up to a rate of fire of from 1,000 to 
1,300 shots per minute, which far surpassed the performances of 
any synchronized gun then in use on the western front. 

By the spring of 1918 it became evident that we would require a 
special machine gun for use in our tanks. Several makes of guns 
were considered for this purpose and finally discarded for one reason 
or another. The ultimate decision was to take 7,250 Marlin aircraft 
guns which were available and adapt them to tank service by the 
addition of sights, aluminum heat radiators, and handle grips and 
triggers. The rebuilding of these guns at the Marlin-Rockwell plant 
when the armistice was signed was progressing at a rate that insured 
the adequate equipment of the first American-built tanks. 

Meanwhile the Ordnance Department undertook the production 
of a Browning tank machine gun. This gun was developed by taking 
a heavy Browning water-cooled gun, eliminating the water jacket 
and substituting an air-cooled barrel of heavy construction, and 
adding hand grips and sights. The work was begun in Septem- 
ber, 1918, and the completed model was delivered by the end of 
October. Before the armistice was signed five sample guns had been 
built, demonstrated at the Tank Corps training camps, and unani- 
mously approved by the officers of the Tank Corps designated to 
test it. After a test in France, the report stated: "The gun is by 
far the best weapon for tank use that is now known, and the 
Department is to be congratulated upon its development." An 
order for 40,000 Browning tank guns was given to the Westing- 
house Co. This concern, already equipped for the manufacture of 
heavy Browning guns, was scheduled to start its deliveries in Decem- 
ber, 1918, and to turn out 7,000 tank guns per month after January 1, 
1919. After the signing of the armistice, however, the order was 
out down to approximately 1,800 guns. By March 27, 1919, the 
company had delivered 500 Browning tank guns, and the order for 
the remaining 1,300 was thereafter canceled. 

After the entrance of the United States in the war the armies on 
both sides developed a new type of machine-gun fighting, which 

174 America's munitions. 

consisted in indirect firing, or ^ying down barrages of machine-gun 
bullets. This required the development of special tripods, clinom- 
eters for laying angles of elevation, and other special equipment; 
and speedy progress was being made in the quantity production of 
this matfiriel when the war came to an end. 

In a complete machine-gun program not only must the guns 
themselves be built, but they must be fully equipped with accessories, 
such as tripods, extra magazines, carts for carrying both guns and 
ammunition, feed belts of various types, belt-loading machines, 
observation and fire control instruments, and numerous other acces- 
sories the manufacture of which is absolutely essential but usually 
unseen by the public. The extent of our work in accessories is 
indicated by a few approximate figures of deliveries up to the sign- 
ing of the armistice: nonexpendable ammunition boxes, 1,000,000; 
expendable ammunition boxes, 7,000; expendable belts, 5,000; non- 
expendable belts, 1,000,000; belt-loading machines, 25,000; water 
boxes, 110,000; machine-gun carts, 17,000; ammunition carts, 15,000; 
tripods, 25,000. 

The aircraft machine guns also required numerous accessories, some 
of them highly complicated in their manufacture. This special 
equipment consisted in part of special mounts for the guns, synchron- 
izing attachments, metallic disintegrating link belts, electric heaters 
to keep the guns warm at the low temperatures at the high alti- 
tudes of the aviator's battle field, and many other smaller items. 

Not only our own forces but the allied armies as well were enthusi- 
astic about the Browing guns of both types, as soon as they had seen 
them in action. The best proof of this is that in the summer of 1918 
the British, Belgian, and French Governments all made advances to 
us as to the possibility of the United States producing Browning auto- 
matic rifles for their respective forces. On November 6, a few da^s 
before the end of hostilities, the French high commissioner requested 
that we supply 15,000 light Browning rifles to the French Army. 
We would not make this arrangement at the time because we thought 
it inadvisable to divert any of our supplies of these guns from our own 
troops until the spring of 1919. when we expected that our capacity 
for making light Brownings would exceed the demands of our own 
troops. Our demand for the lighter guns, incidentally, was far 
greater than we had originally expected it to be. As soon as the 
Browning rifle was seen in action the General Staff of our Expedi- 
tionary Forces at once increased by 50 per cent the number of auto- 
matic rifles assigned to each company of troops, and we were manufac- 
turing to meet this augmented demand when the war ended. By 
spring of 1919 we expected to be furnishing light Brownings to the 
British and French Armies as well as to our own. 






Both types of Browning guns proved to be unqualified successes 
in actual battle, as numerous reports of our Ordnance officers overseas 
indicated. The following report from an officer, in addition to carry- 
ing historical information of interest to those following our machine- 
gun development, is typical of numerous other official descriptions 
of these weapons in battle use: 

The guns [heavy Brownings] went into the front line for the first time in the night 
of September 13. The sector was quiet and the guns were practically not used at all 
until the advance, starting September 26. In the action which followed, the guns 
were used on several occasions for overhead fire, one company firing 10,000 rounds 
per gun into a wood in which there were enemy machine-gun nests, at a range of 2,000 
meters. Although the conditions were extremely unfavorable for machine guns on 
account of rain and mud, the guns performed well. Machine-gun officers reported 
that during the engagement the guns came up to the fullest expectations and, even 
though covered with rust and using muddy ammunition, they functioned whenever 
called upon to do so. 

After the division had been relieved, 17 guns from one company were sent in for 
my inspection. One of these had been struck by shrapnel, which punctured the 
water jacket. All of the guns were completely coated with mud and rust on the 
outside, but the mechanism was fairly clean. Without touching them or cleaning 
them in any way, except to run a rod through the bore, a belt of 250 rounds was fired 
from each without a single stoppage of any kind. • 

It can be concluded from the try-out in this division that the gun in its operation 
and functioning when handled by men in the field is a success. 

The Browning automatic rifles were also highly praised by our 
officers who had to use them. Although these guns received hard 
usage, being on the front for days at a time in the rain and when the 
gunners had little opportunity to clean them, they invariably func- 
tioned well. 

On November 11 we had built 52,238 Browning automatic rifles in 
this country. We had bought 29,000 Chauchats from the French. 
Without providing replacement guns or reserves, this was a sufficient 
number to equip over 100 divisions with 768 guns to the division. 
This meant light machine guns enough for a field army of 3,500,000 
men. In heavy machine guns at the signing of the armistice we had 
3,340 of the Hotchkiss make, 9,237 Vickers, and 41,804 Brownings, 
or a total of 54,627 heavy machine gttns — enough to equip the 200 
divisions of an army of 7,000,000 men, not figuring in reserve weapons. 

The daily maximum production of Browning rifles reached 706 
before our "manufacturing efforts were suddenly stopped, and that of- 
Browning heavy machine guns 575. At the peak of our production 
a total of 1,794 machine guns and automatic rifles of all types was 
produced within a period of twenty-four hours. 

Based upon our output in July, August, and September, 1918, we 
were producing monthly 27,270 machine guns and machine rifles of 
all types, while the average monthly production of France was at 
this time 12,126 and that of Great Britain 10,947. 



In total production, between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, 
we had turned out 181,662 machine guns and machine rifles, as against 
229,238 by France and 181 ,404 by England in that same period. 

One of the important features which contributed to the success of 
the machine-gun program was the cordial spirit of cooperation which 
the War Department met from the machine-gun manufacturers. 
Competitive commercial advantages weighed not at all against the 
national need, and the Department found itself possessed of a group 
of enthusiastic and loyal partners with whom it could attack the vast 
problem of machine-gun supply. Without these partners and this 
spirit, the problem could not have been solved. The United States, 
starting almost from the zero point, developed in little more than a 
year a machine-gun production greater than that of any other coun- 
try in the world, although some of those countries had been fighting 
a desperate war for three years and building machine guns to the limit 
of their capacity. 

Acceptances of autoTnatic arms, by months, in United States and Canada on United 

States Army orders only. 






























Ground machine 

Browning heavy . . 













Vicknra flflld 











Lewis field . 



Lewis caliber -303 



Aircraft machine 















6,250j 219 
2, 629; 4,342 








Lewis flexible 

Vickers caliber .30. 











Vickers 11-mm 





Tank machine 


Marlin.. 7 





Automatic rifles. 
Browning light. . . . 













17, WW 










i Modified from aircraft, not included in total. 


Although in the 19 months of American belligerency in the great 
war we had sent to France upward of two million soldiers, each 
rifleman among them as he stepped aboard his transport carried his 
own gun. This weapon, which was to be his comrade and best 
friend in the perilous months to come, was an American rifle, a rifle at 
least the equal of any in use by soldiers of other nations, a rifle manu- 
factured in an American plant. It may have been one of the 
dependable Springfield rifles. More likely, it was a modified 1917 
Enfield, built from a design British in fundamental character, but 
modified for greater efficiency by American ordnance officers after 
the actual entry of the United States in the great struggle. 
When it is considered that even a nation of such military genius as 
France, especially skilled as she was in the construction of military 
weapons, was three years developing her full ordnance program, 
even though working at top speed, the rifle production of the United 
States stands out as one of the feats of the war. 

The story of the modified 1917 Enfield, which was the rifle on which 
the American Expeditionary Forces based their chief dependence, 
is an inspiring chapter in our munitions history. To get this weapon 
we temporarily forsook the most accurate Army rifle the world had 
ever seen and straightway produced in great quantities another one, 
a new model, that proved itself to be almost, if not quite, as servicable 
for the kind of warfare in which we were to engage. It is the story 
of triumph over difficulties, of American productive genius at its 

America, since the dajs of Daniel Boone a nation of crack shots, 
was naturally the home of good rifles. Hence, perhaps, it is not 
surprising that the United States should be the nation to produce 
the closest shooting military rifle known in its day. This was the 
United States rifle, model of 1903, popularly called the "Spring- 

The Springfield rifle had superseded in our Army the Krag, which 
we had used in the Spanish-American War. In that conflict the 
Spanish Army used a rifle of German design, the Mauser. Our 
ordnance officers at that time considered the Krag to be a more 
accurate weapon than the Mauser. Still we were not satisfied with 
the Krag, and, after several years of development, in 1903 wo brought 

109287°— 19 12 }77 

17S America's munitions. 

out the Springfield, the most accurate and quickest firing rifle that 
had ever come from an araenal. 

There was no questioning the superiority of the Springfield in point 
of accuracy. Time after time we pitted our Army shooting teams 
against those of the other nations of the earth and won the inter- 
national competitions with the Springfield. We won the Olympic 
shoot of 1908 over England, Canada, France, Sweden, Norway, 
Greece, and Denmark. Again, in 1912, we won the Olympic shoot 
against England, Sweden, South Africa, France, Norway, Greece, 
Denmark, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. In 1912 the Springfield 
rifle, in the hands of Yankee marksmen, won the Pan American 
match at Buenos Aires, and in 1913 it defeated Argentina, Canada, 
Sweden, and Peru. In all of these matches the Mauser rifle was 
fired by various teams; but the Springfield never failed to defeat 
this German weapon, which it was to meet later in the fighting of 
the great war. 

Altogether the Springfield rifle defeated the military rifles of 15 
nations in shooting competitions prior to the war, and in 1912, at 
Ottawa, an American team firing Springfields set markmanship 
records for 800 yards, 900 yards, and 1,000 yards that have never 
been broken. Much is to be said for the men behind these guns, but 
due credit must be given to the rifles that put the bullets where the 
marksmen aimed. 

Such was the history of this splendid arm when the United States 
neared the brink of the great conflict. But as war became inevitable 
for us and we began to have a realization of the scale on which we 
must prosecute it, our ordnance officers studying the rifle problem 
became persuaded that our Army could not hope to carry this 
magnificent weapon to Europe as its chief small-arms reliance. A 
brief examination of the industrial problem presented by the rifle 
situation in 1917 should make it clear even to a man unacquainted 
with machinery and manufacturing why it would be humanly impos- 
sible to equip our troops with the rifle in developing which our 
ordnance experts had spent so many years. 

The Model 1903 rifle had been built in two factories and only two — 
the Springfield Armory, Springfield, Mass., and the Rock Island 
Arsenal at Rock Island, 111. Our Government for several years 
prior to 1917 had cut down its expenditures for the manufacture of 
small arms and ammunition. The result was that the Rock Island 
Arsenal had ceased its production of Springfields altogether, while 
the output of rifles from the Springfield Armory had been greatly 

This meant that the skilled artisans once employed in the manu- 
facture of Springfield rifles had been scattered to the four winds. 
When in early 1917 it became necessary to speed up the production 
of rifles to the limit in these two establishments those in charge of 


the undertaking found that they could recover only a few of the old, 
trained employees. Yet even when we had restaffed these two 
factories with skilled men their combined production at top speed 
could not begin to supply the quantity of rifles which our impending 
Army would need. Therefore, it was obviously necessary that we 
procure rifles from private factories. 

Why, then, was not the manufacture of Springfields extended to 
the private plants ? Some ante bellum effort, indeed, had been made 
looking to the production of Springfields in commercial plants, but 
lack of funds had prevented more than the outlining of the scheme. 

Any high-powered rifle is an intricate production. The 1917 
Enfield is relatively simple in construction, yet the soldier can dis- 
mount his Enfield into 86 parts, and some of these parts are made up 
of several component pieces. Many of these parts must be made with 
great precision, gauged with microscopic nicety, and finished with un- 
usual accuracy. To produce Springfields on a grand" scale in private 
plants would imply the use of thousands of gauges, jigs, dies, and other 
small tools necessary for such a manufacture, as well as that of great 
quantities of special machines. None of this equipment for Spring- 
field rifle manufacture had been provided, yet all of it must be 
supplied to the commercial plants before they could turn out rifles. 

We should have had to spend preliminary months or even years in 
building up an adequate manufacturing equipment for Springfields, 
the while our boys in France were using what odds and ends of rifle 
equipment the Government might be able to purchase for them, 
except for a condition in our small-arms industry in early 1917 that 
now seems to have been well-nigh providential. 

Among others, both the British and the Russian Governments in 
the emergency of 1914 and 1915 had turned to the United States to 
supplement their sources of rifle supply while they, particularly the 
British, were building up their home manufacturing capacity. There 
were five American concerns engaged in the production of rifles on 
these large foreign orders when we entered the war. Three of them 
were the Winchester Repeating Anns Co., of New Haven, Conn.; the 
Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Co., of Dion, N. Y.; and 
the Remington Arms Co. of Delaware at its enormous war-contract 
factory at Eddystone, Pa., later a part of the Midvale Steel & Ord- 
nance Co. These concerns had developed their manufacturing 
facilities on a huge scale to turn out rifles for the British Government. 
By the spring of 1917 England had built up her own manufacturing 
facilities at home, and the last of her American contracts were nearin£ 

Here, then, was at hand a huge capacity which, added to our 
Government arsenals, could turn out every rifle the American Army 
would require, regardless of how many troops we were to put in the 

130 America's munitions. 

But what of the gun that these plants were making — the British 
Enfield rifle ? As soon as war became a certainty for us the Ordnance 
Department sent its best rifle experts to these private plants to study 
the British Enfield in detail. They returned to headquarters without 
enthusiasm for it; in fact, regarding it as a weapon not good enough 
for an American soldier. 

A glance at the history of the British Enfield will make clear some 
of our objections to it. Until the advent of the 1903 Springfield, the. 
German Mauser had occupied the summit of military-rifle supremacy. 
From 1903 until the advent of the great war these two rifles, the 
Mauser and the Springfield, were easily the two leaders. The British 
Army had been equipped with the Lee-Enfield for some years prior 
to the outbreak of the great war, but the British ordnance authorities 
had been making vigorous efforts to improve this weapon. The En- 
field was at a disadvantage principally in its ammunition. It fired a 
.303-caliber cartridge with a rimmed head. From a ballistic stand- 
point this cartridge was virtually obsolete.' 

In 1914 a new, improved Enfield, known as the Pattern '14, was 
brought out in England, and the British Government was on the point 
of adopting it when the great war broke out. This was to be a gun 
of .276 caliber and was to shoot rimless, or cannelured, cartridges 
similar to the standard United States ammunition. The war threw 
the whole British improved Enfield project on the scrap heap. 
England was no more equipped to biiild the improved Enfields than 
we were to produce Springfields in our private plants. The British 
arsenals and industrial plants and her ammunition factories were 
equipped to turn out in the quantities demanded by the war only the 
old "short Enfield" and its antiquated .303 rimmed cartridges. 

Now England was obliged to turn to outside sources for an addi- 
tional rifle supply, and in the United States she found the three firms 
named above willing to undertake large rifle contracts. Having to 
build up factory equipment anew in the United States for this work, 
England found that she might as well have the American plants 
manufacture the improved Enfield as the older type. To produce 
the 1914 Enfield without change in America and the older-type 
Enfield in England would complicate the British rifle-ammunition 
manufacture, since these rifles used cartridges of different sizes and 
types. Accordingly, the British selected the improved Enfield for 
the American manufacture, but modified it to receive the .303 rimmed 

This was the gun, then, that we found being produced at New 
Haven, Hion, and Eddystone in the spring of 1917. The rifle had 
many of the characteristics of the 1903 Springfield, but it was not 
so good as the Springfield in its proportions, and its sights lacked 
some of the refinements to which Americans were accustomed. Yet 


even so it was a weapon obviously superior to either the French or 
Russian rifle. The ammunition which it fired was out of the question 
for us. Not only was it inferior, but, since we expected to continue 
to build the Springfields at the Government arsenals, we should, if 
we adopted the Enfield as it was, be forced to produce two sizes of 
rifle ammunition, a condition leading to delay and unsatisfactory 
output. The rifle had been designed originally for rimless ammuni- 
tion and later modified; so it could be modified readily back again 
to shoot our standard .30-caliber Springfield cartridges. 

It may be seen that the Ordnance Department had before it three 
courses open, any one of which it might take. It could spend the 
time to equip private plants to manufacture Springfields, in which 
case the American rifle program would be hopelessly delayed. It 
could get guns immediately by contracting for the production of 
British .303 Enfields, in which case the American troops would carry 
inferior rifles with them to France. Or, it could take a relatively 
brief time, accept the criticism bound to come from any delay, how- 
ever brief such delay might be and however justified by the practical 
conditions, and modify the Enfield to take our ammunition, in which 
case the American troops would be adequately equipped with a good 

The decision to modify the Enfield was one of the great decisions 
of the executive prosecution of the war — all honor to the men who 
made it. 

The three concerns which had been manufacturing the British 
weapons conceded that it should be changed to take the American 
ammunition. Each company sent to the Springfield Armory on 
May 10, 1917, a model modified rifle to be tested. The test showed 
the weapons still to be unsatisfactory, principally because they had 
not been standardized. Standardization was regarded as an es- 
sential for two reasons, one of them a matter of practical tactics in 
the field and the other relating to production speed. 

To begin with, the soldier on the battle field is his own rifle 
repairman. His unit usually has on hand a supply of weapons 
damaged or out of commission for one reason or another. If, there- 
fore, any part of the soldier's rifle is broken or damaged, he # can go 
to the stock of unused guns on hand and take from another rifle 
the part which he requires; and it will fit his gun, provided there 
has been standardization in the rifle manufacture at home. But 
if the guns have not been standardized and each weapon is a filing 
and tinkering job in the assembly room of the factory J then the 
soldier in the field is not likely to be able to find a part that will 
fit on his gun; and his rifle, if damaged, goes out of commission. 
Or, if he finds a part which fits but does not fit perfectly, his gun 
may break as he fires it, and be himself may suffer serious injury. 


In the second place, standardization is essential to great speed 
in production. If one plant producing rifles encounters a shortage 
in any of the parts of the gun, it can send to another plant and 
secure a supply of these parts, a favorable condition in manufacture 
that is impossible if the weapon has not been standardized. The 
value of standardization in speeding up manufacture, however, is 
best shown in the actual records of rifle production during the war. 
The fastest mechanic in any of the three Enfield factories before 
1917 had set an assembly record of 50 rifles in one working day for 
the British gun. After we had standardized the Enfield the high 
assembly record was 280 rifles a day, while the assemblers in the 
plants averaged 250 rifles a day per man when the work was well 

The Enfields sent to the Springfield Armory test were not stand- 
ardized at all, but were largely hand fitted. Little or no attempt 
had been made to obtain interchangeability of parts among the 
rifles turned out by the three plants. Even the bolt taken from 
one company's rifle would not enter the receiver of another com- 

The Ordnance Department was confronted with the dilemma of 
approving and issuing a weapon pronounced unsuitable by its own 
experts and thus obtaining speedy production, or of delaying until 
interchangeability was established. It chose the latter course. 

On July 12 a second set of rifles had been tested. These came 
more nearly up to our ideas of standardization, but were still not 
entirely satisfactory. Nevertheless we decided to go ahead with 
production and improve the standardization as we went along. 
The Winchester and Dion plants elected to start work on that 
understanding, but Eddystone preferred to wait fof the final require- 
ments. Hion afterwards decided to postpone production until the 
final specifications were adopted. It would have been well if the 
same course had been followed at the Winchester plant, for word 
came later from Europe not to send over rifles of Winchester manu- 
facture of that period. The final drawings of the standardized and 
modified Enfield did not come from the plants until August 18. 
Six days later the thousands of dimensions had been carefully 
checked and finally approved by the ordnance officers, and after 
that production started off in earnest. 

The wisdom of adopting the Enfield rifle and modifying it to 
meet our requirements instead of extending the manufacture of 
Springfields was almost immediately apparent, for in August, almost 
as soon as the final drawings were approved, the first rifles were 
delivered to the Government. This was possible because the modi- 
fications which we adopted did not require any fundamental 
changing of machinery. 


The principal equipment of these plants was in place and ready 
to begin manufacturing Enfields at once; and while the changes in 
the rifle were under discussion, the manufacturers were producing 
their gauges and small tools as each modification was decided upon. 

While we did not succeed in attaining, nor did we attempt to 
attain, in fact, complete standardization and interchangeability of 
the parts of the Enfields, we did all that was practicable in this 
direction, several tests showing that the average of interchange- 
ability was about 95 per cent of the total parts. 

Meanwhile we were building up the working staffs of the Rock 
Island Arsenal and Springfield Armory and speeding the production 
of Springfields. Before the war ended the Bock Island Arsenal, 
which was making spare parts for Springfields, reached an output 
equaling 1,000 completed rifles a day, while the Springfield Armory 
attained a high average of 1,500 assembled rifles a day in addition 
to spare parts equaling 100 completed rifles daily. 

The Eddystone plant finished its British contracts on June 1, 
Winchester produced its last British rifle on June 28, and Hion on 
July 21, 1917. Winchester delivered the first modified Enfields to us 
on August 18, Eddystone on September 10, and Ilion about October 28. 

The progress in the manufacture was thereafter steadily upward. 
During the week ending February 2, 1918, the daily production of 
military rifles in the United States was 9,247, of which 7,805 were 
modified Enfields produced in the three private plants, and 1,442 
were Springfields built in the two arsenals. The total production 
for that week was 50,873 guns of both types, or nearly enough for 
three Army divisions. La spite of the time that went into the stand- 
ardization of the Enfield rifle, all troops leaving the United States 
were armed with American weapons at the ports of embarkation. 

Ten months after we declared war against Germany we were pro- 
ducing in a week four times as many rifles as Great Britain had 
turned out in a similar period after 10 months of war, and our pro- 
duction was then twice as large in volume as Great Britain had at- 
tained in the war up to that time. By the middle of June, 1918, we 
had passed the million and one-half mark in the production of rifles 
of all sorts, this figure including over 250,000 rifles which had been 
built upon original contracts placed by the former Russian govern- 

The production of Enfields and Springfields during the war up 
to November 9, 1918, amounted to a total of 2,506,307 guns. 
Of these 312,878 were Springfield rifles produced by the two Govern- 
ment arsenals. We had started the war with a reserve of 600,000 
Springfield rifles on hand, and in addition stored in our armories 
and arsenals were 160,000 Krags. These latter had to be cleaned 
and repaired in large part before they could be used. From the 

184 America's munitions. 

Canadian Government we purchased 20,000 Ross rifles. The deliv- 
eries of Russian rifles totaled 280,049. This gave lis a total equipment 
of 3,575,356 rifles. Since approximately one-half of the soldiers of 
an army as actually organized carry rifles, the number of rifles pro- 
cured in all by the Ordnance Department was sufficient to arm both 
for fighting and for training an army of 7,000,000 men, disregarding 
reserve and maintenance rifles. 

The Enfield thus became the dominant rifle of our military effort. 
With its modified firing mechanism it could use the superior Spring- 
field cartridges with their great accuracy. The Enfield sights, 
by having the peep sight close to the eye of the firer, gave even 
greater quickness of aim than the Springfield sights afforded. In 
this respect the weapon was far superior to the Mauser, which was the 
main dependence of the German Army. All in all to a weapon that 
made scant appeal to our ordnance officers in a few weeks we added 
improvements and modifications that made the 1917 Enfield a gun 
that for the short-range fighting in Europe compared favorably with 
the Springfield and was to the allied cause a distinct contribution 
which America substantially could claim to be her own. 

Standardization not only made possible the ultimate speed with 
which our rifles were produced but, together with the care of the 
Government in purchasing raw materials and in drawing contracts, it 
saved a great deal of money in the cost of these weapons. The 
British had been paying approximately $42 apiece for Enfields pro- 
duced in the United States. The modified Enfields cost the Govern- 
ment approximately $26 each. Thus in the total production of 
2,202,429 modified Enfields, we saved $37,441,293 compared with 
what this weapon had cost in the past. 

Both the Springfield and the 1917 Enfield rifle possessed advan- 
tages of accuracy and speed of fire over the German Mauser. It is 
true that the Mauser fired a heavier bullet than that of our standard 
ammunition and sent it with somewhat greater velocity; but at the 
longer fighting ranges the Mauser bullet is not so accurate as the 
United States bullet. Due to its peculiar shape, the Mauser bullet 
is apt to tumble end over end at long ranges — " key-holing," the 
marksmen call it — particularly when the wind blows across the 
range. Such tumbling causes a bullet to curve as a baseball thrown 
by a g°°d pitcher, destroying its accuracy. 

Early in our fighting with Germany we captured Mauser rifles and 
hastened to compare them with the Springfields and modified 
Enfields. We found in the American rifles a marked superiority 
in the rapidity of fire, the quickness and ease of sighting, and in 
the accuracy of shots fired. The accuracy was due not only to our 
standard Springfield ammunition, but also to the greater mechanical 
accuracy in the finish of the chamber and bore of the American 


rifles. The rapidity of fire of the American guns was due to the 
position and shape of the bolt handle, which is the movable mecha- 
nism on the rifle with which the soldier ejects a spent shell and throws 
in a fresh one. 

How we developed this bolt handle is an interesting story in itself. 
In 1903, when we brought out the first Springfield rifle, we decided 
to abandon the old carbine which had been carried by our Cavalry 
regiments and, by making a rifle with a comparatively short barrel, 
furnish a gun which could be used by both Infantry and Cavalry. 
The original bolt handle of the Springfield, like the one on the present 
Mauser, had projected horizontally from the side of the chamber. 
It was found that this protuberance did not fit well in the saddle 
holster of the cavalryman, but jammed the side of the rifle against 
the leather of the holster, with frequent injury to the rifle sight. 
For this primary reason the rifle designers bent the bolt handle 
down and back. This modification incidentally brought the bolt 
handle much nearer to the soldier's hand as he fingered the trigger 
than it had been before. The Enfield design had carried this devel- 
opment even farther, so that the bolt handle was practically right 
at the trigger, and the rifleman's hand was ready to pull the trigger 
the instant after it had thrown in a new cartridge. 

Let us see what effect this design of the bolt handle had in the 
recent war. The Mauser still clung to the old horizontal bolt 
handle well away from the trigger grip. Some of our best riflemen 
practiced with the captured Mausers and, firing at top speed with 
them, could not bring the rate of shooting anywhere near up to 
the marks set by the Enfields and Springfields. One enthusiast 
has even maintained that the speed of the Mauser is not over 50 
per cent of that of the 1917 American rifle, but this may be an 
underestimate. On such a basis the result was that under battle con- 
ditions with equal numbers of men on a side the Americans had in 
effect two rifles to the Germans one. 

To put it another way, by bending back the bolt handle we had 
placed two men on the firing line where there was only one before; 
but the added man required no shelter, nor any clothing, nor rations, 
nor water, nor pay. Although he sometimes needed repairing, he 
did not get sick, nor did he ever become an economic burden nor 
draw a pension. His only added cost to the Government was an 
increased consumption of cartridges. 

When American troops were in the heat of the fighting in the sum- 
mer of 1918, the German government sent a protest through a neu- 
tral agency to our Government asserting that our men were using 
shotguns against German troops in the trenches. The allegation was 
true; but our State Department replied that the use of such weapons 
was not forbidden by the Geneva Convention as the Germans had 



asserted. Manufactured primarily for the purpose of arming guards 
placed over German prisoners, these shotguns were undoubtedly in 
some instances carried into the actual fighting. The Ordnance 
Department procured some 30,000 to 40,000 shotguns of the short- 
barrel or sawed-off type, ordering these from the regular commercial 
manufacturers. The shell provided for these guns each contained a 
charge of nine heavy buckshot, a combination likely to have murder- 
ous effect in close fighting. 

Such was the rifle record of this Government in the war. The 
Americans carried into battle the best rifles used in the war, and 
America's industry produced these weapons in the emergency at a 
rate which armed our soldiers as rapidly as they coul4 be trained for 
fighting. Success in such a task looked almost impossible at the 
start; but that it was attained should forever be a source of gratifi- 
cation to the American people. 

Rifle production to Nov. 9, 1918, 


Before August, 1917 

Aug. 1, 1917 to Dec. 31, 1917. 










September ^. 


Nov. 1-9, 1918 




















































Note.— Eddystone, Winchester, and Ilion plants turned out the United States rifle, caliber .30, model 
1917, popularly known as the Enfield, while the Springfield Armory and the Rock Island Arsenal pro- 
duced the United States rifle, caliber .30. model 1903, popularly known as the Springfield rifle. The 
months marked by a drop in the production at Springfield and at Rock Island were months in which 
the components manufactured were not assembled Sut were used for spare parts. 





MODEL 1905. 






The American pistol was one of the great successes of the war. For 
several years before the war came the Ordnance Department had been 
collaborating with private manufacturers to develop the automatic 
pistol; but none of our officers realized until the supreme test came 
what an effective weapon the Colt .45 would be in the hand-to-hand 
fighting of the trenches. In our isolation we had suspected, perhaps, 
that the bayonet and such new weapons as the modern hand grenade 
had encroached upon the field of the pistol and revolver. We were 
soon to discover our mistake. In the hands of a determined Ameri- 
can soldier the pistol proved to be a weapon of great execution, and 
it was properly feared by the German troops. 

We had long been a nation of pistol shooters, we Americans, but 
not until the year 1911 did we develop a pistol of the accuracy and 
rapidity of fire demanded by our ordnance experts. The nations of 
Europe had neglected this valuable arm almost altogether, regarding 
it principally as a military ornament which only officers should 
carry. The result of Europe's neglect was that the small-caliber 
revolvers of the Germans and even of the French and English were 
toys in comparison with the big Colts that armed the American 

America owed the Colt .45 to the experiences of our fighters in the 
Philippines, and to the inventive genius of John Browning of machine- 
gun fame. Li the earlier Philippine campaigns our troops used a .38- 
caliber pistol. Our soldiers observed that when the tough tribesmen 
were hit with these bullets and even seriously wounded they frequently 
kept on fighting for some time. What was needed was a hand 
weapon that would put the adversary out of fighting the instant he 
was hit, whether fatally or not. We therefore increased the caliber 
of the automatic pistol to .45 and slowed down the bullet so that 
it tore flesh instead of making a clean perforation. These improve- 
ments gave the missile the impact of a sledge hammer, and a man 
hit went down every time. 

Moreover, in this development great improvement had been made 

in the accuracy of the weapon, the 1911 Colt being the straightest- 

shooting pistol ever produced in this country. Even the best of the 

older automatics and revolvers were accurate only in the hands of 


188 America's munitions. 

expert marksmen. But any average soldier with average training 
can hit what he shoots at with a Colt. The improvements in the 
automatic features brought it to the stage where it could be fired by 
a practiced man 21 times in 12 seconds. In this operation the refcoil 
of each discharge ejects the empty shell and loads in a fresh one. 

Only a few men of each infantry regiment carried pistols when our 
troops first went into thetrenches. But in almost the first skirmish 
this weapon proved its superior usefulness in trench fighting. Such 
incidents as that of the single American soldier who dispersed or 
killed a whole squad of German bayoneteers which had surrounded 
him struck the enemy with fear of Yankee prowess with the pistol. 
The " tenderfoot's gun," as the westerners loved to call it, had come 
to its own. 

By midsummer of 1917 the decision had been made to supply to 
the infantry a much more extensive equipment of automatic pistols 
than had previously been prescribed by regulations — to build them 
by hundreds of thousands where we had been turning them out by 
thousands. In February, with war in sight, realizing the limi- 
tations of our capacity then for producing pistols, the Colt auto- 
matic being manufactured exclusively by the Colt's Patent Fire- 
arms Manufacturing Co. at Hartford, Conn., and for a limited period 
by the Springfield Armory, we took up with the Colt Co. the propo- 
sition of securing drawings and other engineering data which would 
enable us to extend the production of this weapon to other plants. 
This work was in progress when in April, 1917, it was interrupted 
by the military necessity for calling upon every energy we had in 
the production of rifles. 

In order to supplement the pistol supply, although the Colt auto- 
matic was the only weapon of this sort approved for the Army, the 
Secretary of War authorized the Chief of Ordnance to secure other 
small arms, particularly the double-action .45-caliber revolver as 
manufactured by both the Colt Co. and the Smith & Wesson Co. 
These revolvers had been designed to use the standard Army caliber- 
.45 pistol cartridges. The revolver was not so effective a weapon 
as the automatic pistol, but it was adopted in the emergency only to 
make it possible to provide sufficient of these arms for the troops at 
the outset. 

At the start of hostilities the Colt Co. indicated that it could tool 
up to produce pistols at the rate of 6,000 per month by December, 
1917, and could also furnish 600 revolvers a week beginning in April. 
As soon as funds were available we let a contract to the Colt Co. for 
500,000 pistols and 100,000 revolvers, and to the Smith & Wesson 
Co. one for 100,000 revolvers. Although these contracts were not 
placed until June 15, in the certainty that funds would eventually 
be available both concerns had been working on the production of 
weapons on these expected contracts for many weeks. 


When the order came from France to increase the pistol equip- 
ment, in addition to efforts to increase production at the plants 
of the two existing contractors we made studies of numerous other 
concerns which might undertake this class of manufacture. The 
proposal to purchase .38-caliber revolvers as a supplementary supply 
was abandoned for the reason that any expansion of this manufacture 
and of that for the necessary ammunition would be at the expense of 
the ultimate output of .45s and ammunition therefor. 

In December, 1917, the Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge 
Co. was instructed to prepare for the manufacture of 150,000 auto- 
matics, Colt model 1911, at a rate to reach a maximum production of 
3,000 per day. Considerable difficulty was experienced in obtaining 
the necessary drawings and designs, because the manufacture of 
these pistols at the Colt Co. plant had been largely in the hands 
of expert veteran mechanics, who knew tricks of fitting and as- 
sembling not apparent in the drawings. The result was that the 
drawings in existence were not completely representative of the 
pistols. Finally complete plans were drawn up that covered all 
details and gave interchangeability between the parts of pistols pro- 
duced by the Remington Co. and those by the Colt Co., which was 
the goal sought. 

During the summer of 1918 in order to fill the enormously in- 
creased pistol requirements of the American Expeditionary Forces, 
contracts for the Colt automatic were given to the National Cash 
Register Co., at Dayton, Ohio ; the North American Arms Co., Quebec ; 
the Savage Arms Co., Utica, N. Y.; Caron Bros., Montreal; the Bur- 
roughs Adding Machine Co., Detroit, Mich. ; the Winchester Repeating 
Arms Co., New Haven, Conn. ; theLanstonMonotypeCo., Philadelphia, 
Pa.; and the Savage Munitions Co., San Diego, Calif. 

All of these concerns, none of which had ever before produced the 
.45-caliber pistol, were proceeding energetically with their prepara- 
tions for manufacture when the armistice came to cancel their con- 
tracts. No pistols were ever obtained from any except the Colt's 
Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. and the Remington Arms- 
Union Metallic Cartridge Co. 

Difficulty was experienced in securing machinery to check the 
walnut grip for the pistols, and to avoid delay in production the 
Ordnance Department authorized the use of bakelite for pistol grips 
in all the new plants which were to manufacture the gun. Bakelite 
is a substitute for hard rubber or amber, invented by the eminent 
chemist Dr. Baekeland. 

At the outbreak of the war the Army owned approximately 75,000 
.45-caliber automatic pistols. At the signing of the armistice there 
had been produced and accepted since April 6, 1917, a total of 643,755 
pistols and revolvers. The production of pistols was 875,404 and 



that of revolvers 268,351. In the four months prior to November 11, 
1918, the average daily production of automatic pistols was 1,993 
and of revolvers 1,233. This was at the yearly production rate of 
approximately 600,000 pistols and 370,000 revolvers. These pistols 
were produced at an approximate cost of $15 each. 

Production of pistols and revolvers to Dec. SI, 1918. 

Apr. 6 to Dec. 29, 1917 

January, 1918 

February, 1918 

March, 1918 

April, 1918 


June, 1918 


August, 1918 

September, 1918 

October, 1918 

November, 1918 

December, 1918 






U. M. C 






















Smith & 



Total re- 



Total pis- 
tols and 




Prior to the war with Germany the Ordnance Department, in pro- 
viding .30-caliber ammunition for our Army rifles and machine guns, 
had thought in terms of millions and had placed its ammunition orders 
on that scale. But when hostilities were at hand and steel and 
walnut were being assembled into rifles to arm the indefinitely in- 
creasing millions of Yankee soldiers that we would send and keep on 
sending to Europe until victory, was ours, small-arms ammunition 
stepped out of the million class and became an industry whose units 
of production were reckoned by the billion. 

The war increased the human strength of the American Army ap- 
proximately thirty times. That ratio of increase was carried over 
into a production of ammunition for rifles and machine guns. The 
story of ammunition in the war is the story of a three-billion output 
forced from a hundred-million capacity. In this effort we find 
another of those frequent industrial romances which the war pro- 
duced in America; for, when called upon to do more than an indus- 
trial possibility, as we regarded such things in 1917, the contriving 
executive and organizing ability and the skillful hands of the ammu- 
nition industry made good. 

Our .30-caliber ammunition capacity in the United States prior to 
the war was about 100,000,000 cartridges per year. We actually 
produced in the war period the huge total of 3,507,023,300 small- 
arms cartridges. Pushed at feverish haste, such expansion naturally 
recorded its mistakes and its failures; but none of these was fatal or 
irremediable. The fact will always remain that a difficult art was 
enlarged in time to take care of every demand of the American Army 
for small-arms ammunition, and that no military operation on our 
part was held up by lack of this ammunition. Hence it is submitted 
that the production of small-arms cartridges was one of the genuine 
achievements of our Ordnance Department. 

Let us consider first the production of the .30-caliber service 
ammunition, which may be regarded as the standard product of the 
ammunition industry. This was the ammunition used in our two 
service rifles, the Springfield or United States model of 1903 and the 
United States model of 1917, which is a modification of the British 
rifle, pattern 1914, and in most of the maohine guns which we fired 


192 America's munitions. 

in France, although we used the 8-millimeter cartridge with theChau- 
chat machine rifle. When the war broke out we had on hand approxi- 
mately 200,000,000 rounds of .30-caiiber cartridges. Most of these 
had been manuf actured by the Government at the Franfcf ord Arsenal, 
which was, in fact, practically the only plant in the United States 
equipped to produce this ammunition in any appreciable quantities. 

For some years prior to the war, however, the Government had 
adopted the policy of encouraging the manufacture of Army ammuni- 
tion in private plants. This was done by placing with various con- 
cerns small annual orders for this type of ammunition. These orders 
were usually in the neighborhood of 1,000,000 rounds each. The 
purpose of such orders, insignificant as they were, was to scatter 
throughout the principal private ammunition factories the necessary 
jigs, fixtures, gauges, and other tooling required in the production 
of cartridges for Army rifles and machine guns. These small orders 
might also be expected to educate the operating forces of the private 
plants in this manufacture. By this means the Government hoped 
to have in an emergency a nucleus of skill and equipment which could 
be quickly expanded to meet war requirements. 

As a further means of stimulating interest in this peace-time under- 
taking the Ordnance Department conducted each year a sort of com- 
petition among the private manufacturers of small-arms ammunition. 
The output of each factory accepting the Government orders was 
tested for proper functioning and accuracy; and those cartridges 
which won in this competition were used as the ammunition shot in 
the national rifle matches. Thus the winning concern could use its 
achievement in its advertising. 

But these educational efforts on the part of the Government failed 
to create a capacity that was anywhere* near to being adequate to 
meet the demands of such a war as that into which we were plunged 
in the year 1917. We had built up no large reserves of ammunition, 
and the orders placed with private manufacturers had been so 
small that they had resulted in virtually no factory preparation at 
all for great quantity production. To all practical purposes the 
entire ammunition manufacturing capacity of .30-caliber cartridges 
in 1917 was encompassed within the walls of the Frankford Arsenal. 

There was, however, in the ammunition industry a fortunate condi- 
tion existing when we entered the war. For some time numerous 
American concerns had been working on the manufacture of car- 
tridges for both the British and the French Governments. The 
cartridges being turned out under these contracts were not suitable 
for our use, being of different caliber than those taken by American 
weapons, and this meant that the machinery in existence could not 
be converted to the production of American ammunition without 
radical and time-consuming alteration of tools, etc. However, car- 


tridges are cartridges, regardless of their size; and the manufacture 
which was supplying France and England had resulted in educating 
thousands of mechanics and shop executives in the production of 
ammunition. Consequently, when we went into the war, we had the 
men and the skill ready at hand; we needed only to produce the 
tools and the machinery in addition to the raw materials. 

Yet this in itself was a problem. How should we meet it f Three 
courses seemed to be possible for the Government. In the first 
place, we could build from the ground up an immense Government 
arsenal having an annual capacity of 1,000,000,000 rounds, or ten 
times that of the great Frankford Arsenal. Or we could interest 
manufacturers in a project of building a private cartridge factory 
capable of producing 1,000,000,000 rounds per year. Both of these 
methods were predicated on the assumption that the existing car- 
tridge factories had their hands full with orders. The third plan was 
to place our cartridge demands with the existing ammunition plants 
and let them increase their facilities to take care of our orders. 

As soon as the early orders had been given and all available capac- 
ity had been set going, this problem engaged the study and attention 
of the Ordnance Department. In the early fall of 1917 a meeting 
of the manufacturers of small-arms ammunition was held in Wash- 
ington to discuss the matter. Principally on account of the diffi- 
culties in providing a trained working force for a new GovernmeAt 
arsenal or private plant, the opinion was unanimous that the existing 
concerns should expand in facilities and trained personnel to handle 
the cartridge project. Out of this meeting grew the American Society 
of Manufacturers of Small Arms and Ammunition. Thereafter until 
the close of the war this society or its committees met about once 
every two weeks to discuss problems arising in the work. The 
officers of the Ordnance Department in charge of the ammunition 
project attended all of these meetings. The result of such coopera- 
tion was gratifyingly shown not only in the standardization of manu- 
facturing processes in the various plants but also in the output of 

The success of this effort is best shown in the production figures 
in the period from April, 1917, to November 30, 1918. In that 
time the United States Cartridge Go. turned out 684,334,300 rounds 
of our caliber-.30 service ammunition; the Winchester Repeating 
Arms Co., 468,967,500 rounds; the Remington Arms-Union Metallic 
Cartridge Co., 1,218,979,300; the. Peters Cartridge Co., 84,169,800; 
the Western Cartridge Co., 48,018,800; the Dominion Arsenal, 
502,000; the Frankford Arsenal, 76,739,300; and the National Brass 
& Copper Tube Co., 22,700,400. 

This production record to some extent was made possible by a 
leniency on the part of the Ordnance Department which we had 

108287°— 19 13 

194 ambrioa's MtnrrnoNS. 

not displayed before the war. When we could take plenty of time 
in ammunition manufacture our specifications for cartridges were 
extremely rigid. It soon became apparent that if we adhered to 
our earlier specifications we would limit the output of cartridges. 
It was found in a joint meeting of ordnance officers and ammuni- 
tion manufacturers that certain increased tolerances could be per- 
mitted in our specifications without affecting the serviceability of the 
ammunition. Consequently new specifications for our war ammuni- 
tion were drawn, enabling the plants to get into quantity production 
much more quickly than .would hare been possible if we had not re- 
laxed our prewar attitude. 

The ordinary service cartridge consists of a brass cartridge case, a 
primer, a propelling charge of smokeless powder, and a bullet made 
with a jacket or envelope of cupronickel inclosing a lead slug or core. 
Cupronickel is a hard alloy of copper and nickel. Steel would be the 
ideal covering for a bullet beoause of its cheapness and availability, 
but steel has not been used because it is liable to rust and to destroy 
the delicate rifling of the gun barrel. Cupronickel is a compromise, 
being strong enough to hold the interior lead from deforming, but 
not so hard as to wear down excessively the rifling in the gun barrel. 

Even as we entered the war the long continued fighting in Europe 
had created a shortage in cupronickel, and by the time the armistice 
came it was apparent that this shortage would soon become so acute 
that we would have to find a substitute for cupronickel. This short- 
age had already occurred in Germany, where the enemy ordnance 
engineers had produced a bullet incased in steel which in turn was 
clothed with a slight covering of copper. The soft copper coating 
kept the steel from injuring the gun barrel. We ourselves were 
experimenting with copper-coated steel bullets when peace came, and 
would have been prepared to furnish a substitute had cupronickel 
failed us. 

Some of the earliest ammunition sent to our forces in France 
developed a tendency to hang fire and to misfire; and a liberal quan- 
tity of it, amounting to six months' production of the Frankford 
Arsenal, was condemned and withdrawn from use. This matter was 
aired fully in the newspapers at the time it occurred. It developed 
that the faulty ammunition had been produced entirely in the Frank- 
ford Arsenal and that the cause of the trouble was the primer in the 

The primer in a cartridge performs the same function that the flint 
did on tiie old-fashioned squirrel guns — it touches off the explosive 
prapellant (Charge. Zftat wheveas the flint sent only a spark into the 
powder, the modern (primer produces a long, hot flame. 

The primers in the ammunition manufactured at the Frankford 
Arsenal had given ordinarily satisfactory results in 12 years of peace- 
tune use. The flame charge in this j>rimer contained sulphur, 


potassium chlorate, and antimony sulphide. Produced under normal 
conditions, with plenty of time for drying, this primer was satisfac- 
tory. But sulphur when oxidized changes to an acid extremely cor- 
rosive to metal parts, and oxidized primers are liable not to function 
perfectly. Heat and moisture accelerate the change of sulphur to 
acid,- and if there happens to be bromate in the potassium chlorate 
of the priming charge, the change is even more rapid. 

An investigation of the Frankford Arsenal showed that these very 
elements were present. Because of the haste of production of car- 
tridges, too much moisture had been allowed to get into the arsenal 
dry houses. The potassium chlorate was also f ound to contain appre- 
ciable quantities of bromate. 

The condition was remedied by adopting another primer composi- 
tion. And then, to play doubly safe, the Government specifications 
were amended to prevent the use of potassium chlorate containing 
more than 0.01 per cent of bromate. 

However, this condemned ammunition was but a trifling fraction of 
the total output or even of the production then going on. The 
primers used by the various private manufacturers of ammunition 
functioned satisfactorily. 

While we were not rigid in our specifications for the bulk of the 
service ammunition, in one respect we were most meticulous, and this 
was in respect to the ammunition used by the machine guns mounted 
on our airplanes. For these weapons we created an A-l class of 
service .30-caliber cartridges, since it was highly important that there 
be no malfunctioning of ammunition in the air. Every cartridge of 
this class had to be specially gauged throughout its manufacture. 
This care resulted in a slower production of airplane cartridges than 
that of those for use on the ground, but we always had enough for 
our needs. 

Until We went to war with Germany our Army had known only 
the cartridge firing the hard-jacketed lead bullet. But we entered 
a conflict in which several novel sorts of small-arms projectiles were 
in familiar use; and it became necessary for us to take up the manu- 
facture of these strange missiles at once. These included such spe- 
cial types aa tracer bullets to indicate the path of fire in the air, 
incendiary bullets for setting on fire observation balloons, hostile 
planes, and dirigible airships, and, finally, armor-piercing bullets for 
use against armor plate with which airplanes and tankB are equipped. 
We had developed none of these in this country before the war, ex- 
cept that in the Frankford Arsenal our designers had done some 
little experimental work with armor-piercing ammunition, in fact 
carrying it to the point of an efficient design. 

One of the first acts of the Ordnance Department was to send an 
officer to visit the ammunition factories of France and England to 
study the methods of manufacturing these special types of bullets. 


These friendly nations willingly gave lis full information at first hand 
with respect to this complicated manufacture, which we were thus 
enabled to begin in September, 1917. Special machinery was 
required for loading the tracer bullet and also for producing the 
incendiary projectile. We adopted British practice for both of these. 
We ourselves were well equipped to begin the production of armor- 
piercing bullets, for which we had previously solved the problems 
of design; yet the production of metals to be used in this missile 
required some further experimental work. By February, 1918, 
however, our production of armor-piercing bullets was well under 
way and by the time the war came to an end we had produced 
nearly 5,000,000 of them. 

The tracer bullet which we manufactured contained a mixture of 
barium peroxide and magnesium and in flight burned with the 
intensity of a calcium light. These bullets were principally used by 
machine gunner* of aircraft, since in the air it is impossible to tell 
where machine-gun projectiles are going unless there is some 
device enabling the gunner to see the trajectory of the bullets. 
This is doae by inserting tracer bullets at intervals in the belts 
of cartridges fed into the machine gun. The common conception 
of a tracer bullet is one that leaves a trace of smoke in its flight; 
whereas the truth is that our tracer and the British tracer were 
practically smokeless, the gunner observing the direction of aim by 
following the bright lights of the tracer bullets with his eye. These 
lights were plainly visible in the brightest sunlight. Although the 
slight quantity of the flaming mixture burned but a few seconds, it 
was sufficient to trace the flight for 500 yards or more from the muzzle 
of the machine gun. 

The tracer bullet consisted of a cupronickel shell, the nose of 
which contained a leaden core to balance the bullet properly. The 
rear chamber of the bullet held a cup containing the mixture of ba- 
rium peroxide and magnesium. The rear end of the bullet was left 
slightly open, and through this opening the mixture was ignited by 
the hot flame of the propelling powder discharge. 

An entirely different principle was used in the construction of the 
incendiary bullet. This bullet was also incased in cupronickel; 
but the incendiary chemical, which was phosphorus, was contained 
in a chamber in the nose of the bullet. A serrated plug held the 
phosphorus in its chamber, and behind this plug was. a solid plug 
of lead coming flush with the base of the bullet and soldered thereto. 
On one side of the missile was a hole drilled through the cupronickel 
into one of the grooves of the serrated plug. This hole was stopped 
by a special kind of solder. The heat of friction developed in the 
infinitesimal space of time while the projectile was passing through 
the gun barrel served the double purpose of melting out the solder 

198 America's munitions. 

for aircraft use. While we had done considerable experimenting 
along both lines, no satisfactory types had yet been developed. 

There was another class of small arms for which we also had to 
produee ammunition on a war scale. Our automatic pistols and 
revolvers demanded .45-caLiber ball cartridges. In normal times 
the FranMord Arsenal had been almost our sole producer of these 
cartridges, and it had attained an«annual output of approximately 
10,000,000 rounds of them. This quantity was nowhere nearly ade- 
quate for our wjlt needs, especially after the decision to equip our 
troops much more numerously with pistols and revolvers than had 
formerly been the case. 

Consequently it was necessary for us to develop additional manu- 
facturing facilities for .45-caliber ammunition. We did this by plac- 
ing orders with some of the same manufacturers who were developing 
the .30-caliber production. Because it was necessary for us to give 
preference always to the rifle and machine-gun ammunition, the 
manufacture of pistol cartridges was not carried through as rapidly 
as some other phases of the ammunition program. However, a 
satisfactory output was reached in time to meet the immediate 
demands of our forces in the field, and this production was expand- 
ing and keeping ahead of the increased needs for this sort of car- 
tridges. The total war production of .45-caliber ammunition by 
the various factories was as follows: 

United States Cartridge Co 75,600,000 

Winchester Repeating Arms Co 46,446,800 

Remington Arms-Union Metallic Cartridge Co 144,825,700 

Petew Cartridge Co 55,521,000 

FranMord Arsenal 12, 849 200 

Early in 1918 our Air Service field forces saw the need of a machine 
gun of larger caliber than the quick-firing weapons in general use. 
The flying service of the principal allies had developed an 11-milli- 
meter machine gun for use in attacking the captive balloons of the 
enemy. This gun fired a projectile only slightly less than one-half 
inch in diameter. To meet this new demand our Ordnance Depart- 
ment found at the Colt factory about 1,000 Yickers machine guns 
which were being built on order for the former Russian Govern- 
ment. The department took over these guns and modified them to 
take 11 -millimeter ammunition, and that step made it necessary for 
us to produce machine-gun cartridges for these new weapons. 

We at once developed a modified French 1 1-millimeter tracer incen- 
diary cartridge, which in later use proved to be highly satisfactory. 
In an experimental order the FranMord Arsenal turned out about 
100,000 of these cartridges, while at the time the armistice was signed 
the Western Cartridge Co. was prepared to produce this class of • 
ammunition on a large scale. 

with black nosei - 
lervlce cartridges. 

fttfALL-AltftfS AMtfUtflTIOtf. 199 

Certain American concerns before April, 1917, had been producing 
8-millimeter ammunition for the French government for use in its 
machine guns. When we entered the war our Ordnance Department 
found it necessary to continue the manufacture of these cartridges 
for the machine guns obtained from the French. Up to November 
30, 1918, a total of 269,631,800 rounds had been produced under our 
supervision. These cartridges were manufactured by the Western 
Cartridge Co. and by the Remington Arms Co. at its Swanton 
plant. # 

How well and amply we were producing ammunition for our ma* 
chine guns and rifles is indicated by the fact that our average monthly 
production, based upon our showing in July, August, and September, 
1918, was 277,894,000 rounds as against a monthly average for Great 
Britain of 259,769,000 rounds and for France of 139,845,000. 

Our total production of machine-gun and rifle ammunition during 
the 19 months of warfare was 2,879,148,000 rounds, while in that 
period England produced 3,486,127,000 rounds and France 
2,983,675,000, but it must be remembered that they had been keyed 
up to that voluminous production by three years of fighting and that 
our monthly production rate indicated we would soon far surpass 
them in quantities. 

The following table shows how our total production of ammuni- 
tion for all small arms, including machine guns, rifles, pistols, and 
revolvers, grew month by month during the war. 


Nov. 30, 1917 166,102,792 

Dec. 31, 1917 351, 117, 928 

Jan. 31, 1918 573, 981, 712 

Feb. 28, 1918 760, 485, 68? 

Mar. 31, 1918 1, 021, 810, 95e 

Apr. 30, 1918 1,318,298,492 

May 31, 1918 1,616,142,052 

June 30, 1918 1,958,686,784 


July 31, 1918 2,306,999,284 

Aug. 31, 1918 2,623,847,546 

Sept. 30, 1918 2, 942, 875, 786 

Oct. 31, 1918 3, 236, 896, 100 

Nov. 80, 1918 3,507,023,300 

Dec. 31, 1918 3,741,652,200 

Jan. 31, 1919 3,940,682,744 


like many of the^>ther war implements produced by the Ordnance 
Department for use in France, the weapons employed in fighting 
from the trenches were entirely novel to American industry; and in 
the production of them we find the same story of the difficulties in 
the adoption of foreign designs, of the development of our own 
designs, of the delays encountered and mistakes made in equipping 
a new industry from the ground up, but, finally, of the triumphant 
arrival at quantity production in a marvelously brief time, consider- 
ing the obstacles which had to be overcome. 

When the movements of armies in the great war ceased and they 
were held in deadlock in the trenches, the fighters at once began devis- 
ing weapons with which they could kill each other from below ground. 
For this purpose they borrowed from the experience of man running 
back to time immemorial. They took a leaf from the book of the 
Roman fire-ball throwers and developed the hand grenade beyond 
the point to which it had been brought in the European warfare of 
the last century. They called upon an industry which had once 
existed solely for the amusement of the people, the fireworks in- 
dustry, for its golden rain and rainbow-hued stars for signals with 
which to talk to each other by night. Other geniuses of the trenches 
took empty cannon cartridges and, setting them up as ground mortars, 
succeeded in throwing bombs from them across No Man's Land into 
the enemy ranks. They even for a time resurrected the catapult 
of Trojan days, although this device attained no great success. 
But from all such activities new weapons of warfare sprang, crude 
at first, but later refined as only modern science and manufacture 
could perfect them. 

America entered the war when this development of ordnance nov- 
elties had reached an advanced state. It became necessary for us, 
then, to make a rapid study of what had been done and then go 
ahead with our own production either from foreign designs or with 
inventions of our own. 

To this end in April, 1917, a few days after we declared war with 

Germany, the Trench Warfare Section was organized within the 

Ordnance Department and given charge of the production of these 

novelties. The section did not entirely confine itself to trench-warfare 



materials, since one of its chief production activities was concerned 
with the manufacture of the various sorts of bombs to be dropped 
from airplanes. Also, at the start of its existence it had charge of 
the production of implements for fighting with poison gas and flame. 
Although in large part this phase of its work was taken away from it 
in the summer of 1917 and was later placed under the jurisdiction of 
the newly organized Chemical Warfare Service, the Trench Warfare 
Section continued to conduct certain branches of gas-warfare manu- 
facture, in particular the production of the famous Livens projectors 
of gas and also the manufacture of the portable toxic-gas sets for 
producing gas clouds from cylinders. 

All in all, the Trench Warfare Section was charged with the respon- 
sibility of. producing some 47 devices, every one of them new to 
American manufacture and some extremely difficult to make. The 
backbone of the program consisted of the production of grenades, 
both of the hand-thrown and the rifle-fired variety, trench mortars, 
trench-mortar ammunition, pyrotechnics of various sorts, and bombs 
for the airplanes, with their sighting and release mechanisms. 

In the production of these new devices there arose a new form of 
cooperation between Government and private manufacturers under 
the tutelage of the Trench Warfare Section. The manufacturers en- 
gaged in the production of various classes of these munition novelties 
joined in formal associations. There was a Hand Grenade Manu- 
facturers' Association, under the capable leadership of William 
Sparks, president of the Sparks-Withington Co., of Jackson, Mich.; 
the Drop Bomb Manufacturers' Association, headed by J. L. Sinyard, 
president of A. O. Smith Corporation, Milwaukee; the Six-inch 
Trench-mortar Shell Manufacturers' Association, R. W. Millard, 
president of Foster-Merriam Co., Meriden, Conn.; the Rifle Grenade 
Manufacturers' Association, under the leadership of F. S. Briggs, 
president of the Briggs & Stratton Co., Milwaukee, Wis.; and the 
Livens Projector Manufacturers' Association. A similar association 
of manufacturers engaged in army contracts existed in the production 
of small-arms ammunition ; but in no other branch of the Ordnance 
Department was the development of such cooperation carried on to 
the extent of that fathered by the Trench Warfare Section. 

The existence of these associations was of inestimable benefit in 
securing the rapid development, standardization for quantity manu- 
facture, and production of these strange devices. Each association 
had its president, its other officers, and its regular meetings. These 
meetings were attended by the interested officers of the Trench 
Warfare Section. In the meetings the experiments of the manu- 
facturers and the short-cut methods developed in their shops were 
freely discussed; and, if modifications of design were suggested, such 

202 amekica's munitions. 

questions were thrashed out in these meetings of practical techni- 
cians, and all of the contractors simultaneously received the benefits. 
The Trench Warfare Section produced its result* under the handi- 
cap of being low in the priority ratings, many other items of ordnance 
being considered in Washington of more importance than the trench- 
fighting materials and therefore entitled to first call upon raw mate- 
rials and transportation. In the priority lists the leader of 47 trench- 
warfare articles, the 240-millimeter mortars, stood twenty-second, 
and the others trailed after. 


The first of the trench-warfare weapons with which the rookie 
soldier became acquainted was the hand grenade, since this, at 
least in its practice or dummy form, was supplied to the training 
camps in this country. To all intents and purposes the hand grenade 
was a product of the war against Germany, although grenades had 
been more or less used since explosives existed. All earlier grenades 
had been crude devices with only limited employment in warfare, 
but in the three years preceding America's participation in the war 
the grenade had become a carefully built weapon. 

The extent of our production of hand grenades may be seen in 
the fact that when the effort was at its height 10,000 workers were 
engaged exclusively in its manufacture. The firing mechanism of 
the explosive grenades which we built was known as the Bouchon 
assembly. In the production of this item 1$ of every 20 workers 
were women. In fact no other item in the entire ordnance field was 
produced so exclusively by women. Incidentally, at no time during 
the war was there a strike in any grenade factory. 

For a long time in the trenches of France only one type of hand 
grenade was used. This was the so-called defensive grenade, built 
of stout metal which would fly into fragments when the interior 
charge exploded. As might be expected, such a weapon was used 
only by men actually within the trenches, the walls of which pro- 
tected the throwers from the flying fragments. But, as the war 
continued, six other distinct kinds of grenades were developed, 
America herself contributing one of the most important of them; 
and during our war activities we were engaged in manufacturing all 

The defensive, or fragmentation, type grenade was the commonest, 
most numerous, and perhaps, the most useful of all of them. An- 
other important one, however, was that known as the offensive 
grenade, and it was America's own contribution to trench warfare. 
The body of the offensive grenade was made of paper, so that the 
deadly effect of it was produced by the flame and concussion of the 
explosion itself. It was quite sure to kill any man within 3 yards 
of it when it went off, but it was safe to use in the open offensive 


movements, since there were no pieces of metal to fly back and hit 
the thrower. 

A third development was known as the gas grenade. It was built of 
sheet metal, and its toxic contents were effective in mstVing enemy 
trenches and dugouts uninhabitable. A fourth, a grenade of similar 
construction, was filled with phosphorus, instead of gas, and was 
known as the phosphorus grenade. This grenade scattered burning 
phosphorus over an area 3 to 5 yards in diameter and released a 
dense cloud of white smoke. In open attacks upon machine-gun 
♦nests phosphorus grenades were thrown in barrages to build smoke 
screens for the attacking forces. 

As a fifth class there was a combination hand and rifle grenade, 
a British devioe adopted in our program. The sixth class of grenades 
was known as the inoendiary type. These were paper bombs filled 
with burning material and designed for use against structures in- 
tended to be destroyed by fire. Finally, in the seventh class were 
the thermit grenades, built of terneplate and filled with a compound 
containing thermit, which develops an intense heat while melting. 
Thermit grenades were used principally to destroy captured guns. 
One of them touched off in the breech of a cannon would fuse the 
breech-block mechanism and destroy the usefulness of the weapon. 

All of these grenades exoept the inoendiary grenades used the 
same firing mechanism, and the incendiary grenade firing meohanism 
was the standard one modified in a single particular. 

The earliest Amerioan requirement in this production was for 
defensive grenades, of the fragmentation type, Our first estimate 
was that we would need 21,000,000 of these for aotual warfare 
and 2,000,000 of the unloaded type for practice and training work 
But, as the war continued and the Amerioan plans developed in 
scale, we saw we would require a much greater quantity than this; 
and orders were finally plaoed for a total of 68,000,000 live grenades 
and over 3,000,000 of the practice variety. 

By August 20, 1917, the Trench Warfare Section had developed 
the design and the drawings for the defensive grenade. The first 
contract — for 5,000 grenades — was let to the Caskey-Dupree Co. 
of Marietta, Ohio. This concern was fairly entitled to such pre- 
ference, because the experimentation leading up to the design for 
this bomb was conducted almost entirely tft its plant in Marietta. 

Next came an interesting industrial development by a well-known 
American concern which had previously devoted its exclusive energy 
to the production of high-grade silverware, but which now, as a 
patriotic duty, undertook to build the deadly defensive grenades. 
This was the Gorham Manufacturing Co. of Providenoe, R. I. This 
firm contracted to furnish complete, loaded grenades, ready for 
shipment overseas, and was the only one to build and operate a 

204 America's munitions. 

manufacturing and loading plant. Elsewhere oontraots were let 
for parts only, these parts to converge at the assembling plants 
later; and such orders were rapidly placed until by the middle of 
December, 1917, various industrial concerns were tooling up for a 
total production of 21,000,000 of these missiles. 

The grenade which these contractors undertook to produce was 
an American product in its design, although modeled after grenades 
already in use at the front. Its chief difference was in the firing 
mechanism, where improvements, or what were then thought to be 
improvements, had been installed to make it safer in the hands of the 
soldier than the grenades then in use at the front. This firing 
mechanism with its pivoted lever was, in fact, a radical departure 
from European practice. The body of this grenade was of malleable 
iron, and the grenade exploded with a force greater than that of 
any in use in Prance. 

The remodeling of factories, the building of machines, and the 
manufacture of tools for this undertaking, pushed forward with 
determined speed, was completed in from 90 to 120 days, and by April 
almost all of the companies had reached the stage of quantity pro- 

And then, on May 9, 1918, came a cablegram from the American 
Expeditionary Forces that brought the entire effort to an abrupt 
halt. The officers of the American Expeditionary Forces in no 
uncertain terms condemned the American defensive grenade. The 
trouble was that in our anxiety to protect the American soldier 
we had designed a grenade that was too safe. The firing mechanism 
was too complicated. In the operation required to touch off the 
fuse five movements were necessary on the part of the soldier, and 
in this the psychology of a man in battle had not been taken sufficiently 
into consideration. The well-known story of the negro soldier 
who, in practice, threw his grenade too soon because he could feel 
it "swelling" in his hand, applies to most soldiers in battle. In using 
the new grenade the American soldier would not go through the 
operations required to fire its fuse. Cases came to light, too, showing 
that in the excitement of battle the American soldier forgot to 
release the safety device, thus giving the German an opportunity 
to hurl back the unexploded grenade. 

As the result of this discovery all production was stopped in the 
United States and the ordnance engineers began redesigning the 
weapon. The incident meant that 15,000,000 rough castings of 
grenade bodies, 3,500,000 assembled but empty grenades and 1,000,000 
loaded grenades had to be salvaged, and that on July 1, 1918, the 
production of live fragmentation grenades in this country was repre- 
sented by the figure zero. Some of the machinery used in the pro- 
duction of the faulty grenades was useless and had to be replaced by 


new, while the trained forces which had reached quantity production 
in April had to be disbanded or transferred to other work while the 
design was being changed. 

By August 1 the new design had been developed on paper and 
much of the new machinery required had been produced and in- 
stalled in the plants, which were ready to go ahead immediately with 
the production. It is a tribute to the patriotism of the manufac- 
turers who lost time and money by this change that little complaint 
was heard from them by the Government. 

In the production of hand grenades the most difficult element of 
manufacture and the item that might have held up the delivery of 
completed mechanisms was the Bouchon assembly. There was an 
abundant foundry capacity in the United States for the production 
of gray-iron castings for grenade bodies, and so this part of the pro- 
gram gave no anxiety. The Bouchon assembly threatened to be 
the choke point. In order to assure the success of defensive-grenade 
production, the Precision Castings Co. of Syracuse, N. Y., and the 
Doehler Die Castings Co. of Toledo, Ohio, and Brooklyn, N. Y., 
worked their plants 24 hours a day until they had built up a reserve 
of Bouchons and screw plugs and removed all anxiety from that 
source. The total production of Bouchons eventually reached the 
figure 64,600,000. 

The first thought of the Ordnance Department was to produce 
grenades by the assembling and quantitative method; that is, by the 
production of parts in various plants and the assembling of those 
parts in other plants. But, due to delay in railway shipments and 
difficulties due to priorities, it was discovered that this method of 
manufacture, however adaptable it might be to other items in the 
ordnance program, was not a good thing in grenade production; and 
when the war ended the tendency was all in the direction of having 
the assembly contractors produce their own parts either by purchase 
from subcontractors or by manufacture in their own plants. 

The orders for the redesigned grenades called for the construction 
of 44,000,000 of them. So rapidly had the manufacturers been able 
to reach quantity production this time that a daily rate of 250,000 to 
300,000 was attained by November 11, 1918, and by December 6, 
less than a month after the fighting stopped, the factories had turned 
out 21,054,339 defensive grenades. 

It should be remembered that the great effort in ordnance produc- 
tion in this country was directed toward the American offensive ex- 
pected on a tremendous scale in the spring of 1919. Had the war 
continued the fragmentation grenade program, in spite of the delays 
encountered in its development, would have produced a sufficient 
quantity of these weapons. 


Special consideration is due the following-named firms for their 
efforts in developing the production of defensive grenades: 

Caskey-Dupree Co., Marietta, Ohio. 
Spacke Machine & Tool Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 
Stewart-Warner Speedometer Co., Chicago, 111. 
Miami Cycle & Manufacturing Co., Middletown, Ohio. 
American Radiator Co., Buffalo, N. Y. 
International Harvester Co., Chicago, 111. 
Doehler Die Castings Co., Brooklyn, N. Y. 
Precision Castings Co., Syracuse, N. Y. 

The American offensive grenade was largely the production of the 
Single Service Package Corporation of New York, both in the devel- 
opment of its design and in its manufacture. The body of this 
grenade was built of laminated paper spirally wound and water- 
proofed by being dipped in paraffine. The top of this body was a 
die casting, into which the firing mechanism was screwed. Prac- 
tically no changes were made in the design of this weapon from the 
time it was first produced, and the production record is an excellent 

Our earliest thought was that we would need some 7,000,000 of 
these grenades and orders for that quantity of bodies were placed in 
January and March, 1918, with the Single Service Package Corporation. 
Then it became necessary to discover factories which could produce 
the metal caps. The orders for these were first placed with the 
Acme Die Castings Co. and the National Lead Casting Co. for 3,375,000 
castings from each concern. But these companies failed to make 
satisfactory deliveries, and in May, 1918, a contract for 5,000,000 
caps was let to the Doehler Die* Castings Co. which reached quantity 
production in August. After that the Single Service Package Corpora- 
tion, the chief contractor, forged ahead in its work and on November 
11 was producing the bodies for offensive grenades at the rate of 
55,000 to 60,000 daily. By December 6, 1918, the Government had 
accepted 6,179,321 completed bodies. The signing of the armistice 
brought to an end a project to build 17,599,000 additional grenades 
of this type. 

The production of gas grenades offered some peculiar difficulties. 
We set out at first to produce 3,684,530 of them. By January, 1918, 
the engineers of the Ordnance Department had completed the plans 
and specifications for the American gas grenade, and on February 12, 
an order for 1,000,000 of them was placed with the Maxim Silencer 
Co., of Hartford, Conn. 

The gas grenades were to be delivered at the filling plants complete 
except for the detonator thimbles, which seal both gas and phosphorus 
grenades and act as sockets for the firing mechanism. It was seen 
that the construction of these thimbles might be a choke point in the 
construction of grenades of both types, and orders were early placed 


for them — 1,500,000 to be delivered by the Maxim Silencer Co. ana 
an equal quantity by the Bassic Co., of Bridgeport, Conn. On De- 
cember 6, 1918, these concerns had produced 1,982,731 detonator 

The body of the gas grenade is built of two sheet-metal cups welded 
together to be gas-tight. Since, when we started out on this pro- 
duction, we did not know what kind of gas would be used or at what 
pressure it would be held within the grenade, we set the specifications 
to make grenade bodies to hold an air pressure of 200 pounds. The 
welding of the cups frequently failed to hold such pressure, so that the 
rejections of gas-grenade bodies under this test ran as high as 50 per 
cent. But in June, 1918, the gas for the grenades had been devel- 
oped, and we were thereupon able to reduce the pressure of the 
standard test to 50 pounds. Under such a test the bodies readily 
passed inspection. 

In September, 1918, we let additional contracts for gas grenades — 
500,000 to the Evinrude Motor Co., of Milwaukee; 500,000 to the 
John W. Brown Manufacturing Co., of Columbus, Ohio; and 400,000 
to the Zenite Metal Co., of Indianapolis. 

On November 11 gas grenade bodies were being produced at the 
rate of 22,000 per day, and the total production up to December 6 
was 936,394. 

The phosphorus grenade was similar to the gas grenade in con- 
struction. The plans and specifications for this weapon were ready 
in January, 1918. In February the following contracts were let: 
Metropolitan Engineering Co., Brooklyn, N. Y., 750,000; Evinrude 
Motor Co., Milwaukee, 750,000; Zenite Metal Co., Indianapolis, 
500,000. On December 6, 1918, these concerns had delivered a total 
of 521,948 phosphorus grenade bodies. 

The difficulties which had been experienced in the production of 
gas grenades were repeated in this project. The Evinrude Co. was 
especially quick in getting over the obstacles to quantity production. 
The Metropolitan Engineering Co. was already engaged with large 
orders for adapters and boosters in the heavy-gun ammunition manu- 
facture for the Ordnance Department and found that the order for 
phosphorus grenades conflicted to a considerable extent with its 
previous war work. The matter was thrashed out in the Ordnance 
Department, which gave the priority in this plant to the adapters 
and boosters, with the result that this firm was able to make only a 
small contribution to the total production of phosphorus grenade 

The development of thermit grenades was still in the experimental 
stage when the armistice was signed. There was no actual produc- 
tion in this country of grenades of this character. In October, how- 
ever, the development of the grenade in design had reached a stage 



where we felt justified in letting a contract for 655,450 die-casting 
parts to the Doehler Die Castings Co., at its Toledo plant, and for an 
equal number of bodies with firing-mechanism assemblies to the 
Stewart- Warner Speedometer Corporation at Chicago. 

The incendiary grenade not only did not get out of the development 
stage, but even a perfected model was regarded as of doubtful value 
by the officers of the American Expeditionary Forces. Nevertheless, 
the Chemical Warfare Service was of the opinion that such a grenade 
should be worked out, and an order for 81,000 had been given to the 
Celluloid Co., of Newark, N. J. Experimental work was progressing 
satisfactorily when the armistice was signed. 

When the war ended, we were adapting to American manufacture 
a combination hand and rifle phosphorus grenade, borrowed from the 
English. The body of this grenade was built of terneplate and it had 
a removable stem, so that it could be thrown by hand or fired from 
the end of a service rifle. The American Can Co. built 1,000 of these 
to try out the design and strengthen the weak features. 


Dummy hand grenade 

Practice hand grenade 

Defensive hand grenade . . . 
Offensive hand grenade . . . 

Gas hand grenade 

Phosphorus hand grenade. 
Thermit hand grenade 

Completed to 
Nov. &, 1918. 






Completed to 
Feb. 1, 1919. 









Note.— In above figures all grenades are unloaded with the exception of those sent overseas, which were 



In the construction of our rifle grenades there was another unfor- 
tunate experience due to a faulty design. The rifle grenade fits in a 
holder at the muzzle of an ordinary service rifle. When the rifle is 
fired the bullet passes through a hole in the middle of the grenade, 
and the gases of the discharge following the bullet throw the grenade 
approximately 200 yards. Any man within 75 yards of an exploding 
rifle grenade is likely to be wounded or killed. The rifle grenade is 
used both as a defensive and offensive weapon, since the firer is well 
out of range of the exploding missile. 

In developing a rifle grenade for American manufacture our 
engineers adopted the French Viven-Bessiere type. The French 
service ammunition is larger than ours, and it was therefore neces- 
sary to design our grenade with a smaller hole. But in the anxiety to 
produce this weapon in the shortest time possible the models were 
not sufficiently tested, and no consideration was taken of the differ- 
ence in design between a French bullet and an American bullet. The 
result was that the French grenade did not function well with our 






ammunition, due to the splitting of the Springfield bullet as it passed 
through the grenade. The result was that in May, 1918, several 
months after the manufacture of this grenade had been in progress, 
the entire undertaking was canceled pending the development of 
new designs; and 3,500,000 completed grenades had to be salvaged. 

The original contract for rifle grenades had been let to the West- 
inghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. of Pittsburgh. This called for 
the production of all parts by the Westinghouse Co. and the assem- 
bling of them in the Westinghouse plant to the number of 5,000,000 
grenades. But there was such a diversity of material employed in 
the manufacture of rifle grenades that succeeding contracts were let 
for parts and for assembling separately. 

After the rifle grenade had been redesigned new contracts were let 
for a total of 30,115,409 of them. In August, a few weeks later, 
the daily production of these grenades in the various plants had 
reached a total of 130,000 and by the end of October the daily pro- 
duction * as 250,000. The goal toward which this production was 
aiming was the expected spring offensive of the American Expe- 
ditionary Forces in 1919. We should have met this event adequately 
because, while only 685,200 American rifle grenades had actually been 
shipped overseas when the fighting ceased, we had 20,000,000 of them 
ready for loading at that time and the production was already heavy 
and constantly increasing. 

Special consideration is due the following-named firms for their 
efforts in developing the production of rifle grenades: 

Westinghouse Electric <fc Manufacturing Co., Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Briggs & Stratton Co., Milwaukee, Wis. 

Holcomb & Hoke, Indianapolis, Ind. 

Stewart- Warner Speedometer Corporation, Chicago, 111. 

Cutler-Hammer Manufacturing Co., Milwaukee, Wis. 

American Radiator Co., Buffalo, K. Y. 

Link-Belt Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 

Doehler Die Castings Co., Brooklyn, N. Y. 


America entered the war nearly two years after the Germans had 
made their first gas attack. In those intervening months gas 
warfare had grown to be a science in itself, requiring special organi- 
zations with each army to handle it. 

The employment of toxic gas had developed along several lines. 
The original attack by the Germans upon the maskless Canadians at 
Ypres had been in the form of a gas cloud from projectors, these latter 
being pressure tanks with nozzle outlets. For some time the Germans 
continued the use of gas solely by this method. Retaliation on the 
part of the allies quickly followed. However, the employment of 
gas cloud attacks involved great labor of preparation and was 

109287°— 19 14 

210 America's munition's. 

absolutely dependent upon certain combinations of weather condi- 
tions. In consequence, the launching of a gas attack in this form 
could not be timed with regard to other tactical operations. There- 
fore the allies were put to the necessity of developing other means 
of throwing toxic gases, and this they did by inclosing the gas in 
shell shot from the big guns of the artillery, in grenades thrown 
by hand from the trenches, and — most effectively of all — by the 
agency of an ingenious invention of the British known as the Livens 

The Livens projector was deadly in its effect, since it could throw 
suddenly and in great quantity gas bombs, or drums, into the enemy's 
ranks. It is notable that although the British used this device with 
great success throughout much of the latter period of the war, and 
though the French and Americans also adopted it and used it freely, 
the Germans were never able to discover what the device was that 
threw such havoc into their ranks, nor were they ever able to produce 
anything that was similar to it. The Livens projector remained a 
deep secret until the close of hostilities, and the Government offices 
in Washington, where the design was adapted to American manufac- 
ture, and the American plants producing the parts, were always closely 
guarded against enemy espionage. 

Without going into details of the construction of the Livens pro- 
jector it may be said that it was usually fired by electricity in sets of 
25 or multiples thereof. The drums, which were cylindrical shell 
about 24 inches long and 8 inches in diameter, were ejected from long 
steel tubes, or barrels, buried in the ground resting against pressed- 
steel base plates. At the throwing of an electric switch a veritable 
rain of these big shell, as many as 2,500 of them sometimes, with 
their lethal contents, would come hurtling down upon the enemy. 
The Livens projectors could throw their gas drums nearly a mile. 

The projector was entirely a new type of munition for our manufac- 
turers to handle. The Trench Warfare Section of the Ordnance 
Department took up the matter late in 1917 and by May, 1918, had 
designed the weapon for home manufacture. Early in June the 
contracts were allotted for barrels and gas drums, or shell. The 
production of barrels was exclusively in the hands of the National 
Tube Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., and the Harrisburg Pipe & Pipe-Bending 
Co., of Harrisburg, Pa. These companies reached the production 
stage in August, 1918, and completed about 63,000 barrels before the 
armistice was signed. Their respective plants reached a daily pro- 
duction rate of approximately 600 barrels per day. 

Somewhat later in the spring of 1918 the contracts for base plates, 
on which the barrels rest when ready for firing, muzzle covers, and 
for various other accessories were closed. Over 100,000 base plates 
were produced by the Gier Pressed Steel Co., of Lansing, Mich., and 

2 I 

a J 



the American Pulley Co., of Philadelphia, Pa. The Perkins-Campbell 
Co., of Philadelphia, built the muzzle covers, 66,180 of them. 
Cartridge cases were manufactured by Art Metal (Inc.), of Newark, 
N. J., and the Russakov Can Co., of Chicago, the former producing 
288,838 and the latter 47,511. 

The Ensign-Bickford Co., of Simsbury, Conn., produced 334,300 
fuses for Livens shell; the Artillery Fuse Co., of Wilmington, Del., 
assembled 26,000 firing mechanisms; the E. I. du Pont Co., at its 
Pompton Lakes (N. J.) plant, manufactured 20,000 detonators, and 
487,350 detonators were produced by the Aetna Explosives Co., at 
Port Ewan, N. Y.; while the American Can Co., at Lowell, Mass., as- 
sembled 256,231 firing mechanisms. 

Shear wire pistols were used in the operation of the Livens pro- 
jector. The Edison Phonograph Co., of Orange, N. J., produced 
181,900 of these, and the Artillery Fuse Co., of Wilmington, Del., 
11,747. The adapters and boosters of the shell were all built by the 
John Thompson Press, of New York. The Waterbury Brass Goods 
Co., of Waterbury, Conn., made the fuse casing. Adapters and 
boosters to the number of 334,500 were turned out by the former, and 
299,900 fuse casings by the latter. 

The manufacture of gas drums for the projectors was delayed for 
some time because of difficulties in welding certain parts of the 
drums. Acetylene and arc welding processes were tried out, and a 
good many shell were made by such welding; but the lack of expert 
welders for these processes, and the rejections of shell due to leakage 
in the welded joints, caused the manufacturer to turn to fire welding, 
the process for which had been developed by the Air-tight Steel Tank 
Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa. At the time the armistice was signed the 
welding problem had been overcome and the production was going 
forward at a rate to meet the requirements of the expected fighting 
in the spring of 1919. The shell delivered were produced as follows: 

By the Federal Pressed Steel Co., of Milwaukee, Wis., 5,609; by 
the Pressed Steel Tank Co., also of Milwaukee, 20,536; by the Air- 
tight Steel Tank Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., 600; by the National Tube 
Co., of Pittsburgh, 27,098; by the Truscon Steel Co., of Youngstown, 
Ohio, 19,880. The entire Livens shell program, as it existed in 
November, 1918, called for the production of 334,000 shell. 


The production of trench mortars was not only an important part 
of our ordnance program but it was an undertaking absolutely new 
to American experience, Not only did we have to produce mortars, 
but we had to supply them with shell in great quantities, this latter 
in itself an enterprise of no mean proportions. 


Some seven different types of mortars were in use when we came 
into the war. Our ordnance program contemplated the manufacture 
of all seven of them, but we actually succeeded in bringing only four 
types into production. These four were the British Newton-Stokes 
mortars of the 3-inch, 4-inch, and 6-inch calibers, and the French 240- 
millimeter mortar, which had also been adopted by the British. As 
usual in the adoption of foreign devices, we had to redesign these 
weapons to make them adaptable to American shop methods. We 
encountered much difficulty throughout the whole job, largely be- 
cause of insufficient information furnished from abroad, and because 
in spite of this handicap we had to produce mortars and ammunition 
that would be interchangeable with French and British munitions 

The first one of these weapons which we took up for production 
here was the 3-inch Newton-Stokes. The first contract for the manu- 
facture of mortars of this size was placed with the Crane Co., of Chi- 
cago, on November 8, 1917, for 1,830 mortars. This concern at once 
arranged with the Ohio Seamless Tube Co., of Shelby, Ohio, for the 
drawing of steel tubes for the mortar barrels. This latter concern, 
however, was already handling large contracts for the Navy and for 
the aircraft program, and these operations took priority over the 
mortar contracts. But the Crane Co. took advantage of the interim 
to build the accessories for the weapons — the tripods, clinometers, 
base plates, and tool boxes. In the spring of 1918 the company re- 
ceived the first barrel tubes and began producing completed weapons. 
But when these mortars were sent to the proving ground the test- 
firing deformed the barrels and broke the metal bases. Finally it was 
decided that the propelling explosive used was not a suitable one for 
the purpose. Another was substituted. The new propellent per- 
mitted as great a range of fire without damage to the mortar in firing. 

The Crane Co. was eventually able to reach a production of 33 of 
the 3-inch mortars a day, and up to December 5, 1918, it had built 
1,803 completed weapons, together with the necessary tools and 
spare parts. In the early fall of 1918 an additional contract for 677 
of these mortars was placed with the Crane Co. and another for 2,000 
mortars of this size with the International Harvester Co;, of Chicago. 
Neither of these two latter contracts ever came to the production 

A few days after the original contract for 3-inch mortars was let 
the Trench Warfare Section took up the matter of producing ammu- 
nition for these weapons. Two sorts of shell were to be required — 
live shell filled with high explosive and practice shell made of 
malleable iron. The original program adopted in November, 1917, 
called for the production of 5,342,000 live shell for the 3-inch mortars 
and 1,500,000 practice shell. 






The plan was adopted of building these shell of lap-welded, 3-inch 
steel tubing, cut into proper lengths. The contracts for the finished 
machined and assembled shell were placed with the General Motors 
Corporation at its Saginaw (Mich.) plant, with H. C. Dodge (Inc.), 
at South Boston, Mass., and with the Metropolitan Engineering Co., 
of Brooklyn, N. Y. In order to facilitate production, the Govern- 
ment agreed to furnish the steel tubing. For this purpose it ordered 
from the National Tube Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., 1,618,920 pieces of 
steel tubing, each 11 inches in length, and from the Allegheny Steel 
Co., at Brakenridge, Pa., 2,332,319 running feet of tubing. These 
tube contracts were filled by the early spring of 1918. 

The railroad congestion of February and March, 1918, held up the 
delivery of tubing, but the assembly plants utilized the time in tool- 
ing up for the future production. All the plants thereafter soon reached 
a quantity production, the Geneial Motors Corporation in particular 
tuning up its shop system until it was able to leach a maximum 
daily production in a 10-hour shift of 35,618 completed shell. 

The casting of malleable iron bodies for the practice shell of this 
caliber was turned over to the Erie Malleable Iron Co., of Erie, Pa., 
and to the National Malleable Castings Co., with plants at Cleveland, 
Chicago, Indianapolis, and Toledo. The former concern cast 196,673 
bodies and the latter 1,015,005. The Gorham Manufactuiing Co., of 
Providence, R. L; the Standard Parts Co., of Cleveland, Ohio; and 
the New Process Gear Corporation, of Syracuse, N. Y., machined 
and assembled the practice shell. When the armistice wa3 declared, 
these three contracts weie approximately seven-tenths complete. 

We were dissatisfied with our 3-inch shell, for the reason that 
they tumbled in air and were visible to the eye. The French had 
developed a mortar shell on the stream-line principle which was 
invisible in flight and had twice the range of ours. Had the war 
continued the Trench Warfare Section would have produced 
stream-line shell for mortars. 

The second mortar project undertaken was the manufacture of the 
240-millimeter weapon. This was the largest mortar which we pro- 
duced, its barrel having a diameter of approximately 10 inches. It 
proved to be one of the toughest nuts to crack in the whole mortar 
undertaking. The British designs of this French weapon we found 
to be quite unsuited to our factory methods, and for the sake of 
expediency we frequently modified them in the course of the develop- 
ment. The total contracts called for the production of 938 mortars. 

It was obvious that the manufacture of this and of other larger 
mortars would fall into three phases. The forging of barrels, 
breechblocks, and breech slides was a separate type of work, and we 
allotted the contracts for this work to the Standard Forging Co., of 
Indiana Harbor, Ind. The machining of these parts to the fine 

214 America's munitions. 

dimensions required by the design was an entirely separate phase of 
manufacturing, and we placed this work with the American Laundry 
Machine Co., of Cincinnati. Still a third class of work was that of 
assembling the completed mortars, and this contract went to the 
David Lupton Sons Co., of Philadelphia, who also engaged to manu- 
facture the metal and timber bases and firing mechanisms. These 
big mortars had to have mobile mountings, and the contract for the 
mortar carte we placed with the International Harvester Co., of 
Chicago. These contracts weie signed in December, 1917. 

The Lupton plant had difficulty in securing the heavy machinery 
it needed for this and for other mortar contracts, its machinery 
being held up by the freight congestion. Early in 1918 the American 
Expeditionary Forces advised us to redesign the 240-millimeter 
mortar to give it a stronger barrel. Consequently all work was 
stopped until this could be done. The first mortars of the new 
design to be tested were still unsatisfactory with respect to the 
strength of the barrels; and as a consequence the Standard Forging 
Co. urged that nickel steel be substituted for basic open-hearth steel 
as the material for the barrels. This change proved to be justified. 

There was also trouble at the shops of the American Laundry 
Machine Co., its equipment not having the precision to do machining 
of the type required in these weapons. Accordingly a new machining 
contract was made with the Symington-Anderson Co., of Rochester, 
N. Y., which concern was eventually able to reach a production of 
20 machined barrels per week. 

In all we produced 24 of the 240-millimeter mortars in this country. 
Certain of the parts were manufactured up to the total requirements 
of the contracts, but others were not built in such numbers. The 
International Harvester Co. built all 999 carts ordered. 

The production of shell for these big mortars was another difficult 
undertaking. After consultation with manufacturers we designed 
shell of two different types. One of these was a shell of pressed 
plates welded together longitudinally; and a contract for the produc- 
tion of 283,096 of these was placed with the Metropolitan Engineering 
Co. The other form was that of two steel hemispheres welded to- 
gether. The Michigan Stamping Co., of Detroit, undertook to build 
50,000 of these. 

These shell contracts were placed in December, 1917. The Michi- 
gan Stamping Co. had to wait five months before it could secure and 
install its complete equipment of machinery. It was September 
before all of the difficulties in the Detroit plant's project could be 
overcome and quantity production could be started. The concern 
eventually, before and after the signing of the armistice, built 9,185 
shell of this type at a maximum rate of 56 per day. 

Greater promise seemed to be held forth by the Metropolitan 
Engineering Co.'s project to build shell of pressed-out plates, elec- 


trically welded. The Government undertook to furnish the steel 
plates for this work and secured from the American Rolling Mills 
Co., of Middletown, Ohio, a total production of 6,757 tons of them. 
The Metropolitan Engineering Co. had great difficulty in perfecting 
a proper welding process; and the concern lost a great deal of money 
on the contract, yet cheerfully continued its development without 
prospect of recompense in order that we might have in this country 
the knowledge of how to build such shell. In all, including produc- 
tion after the armistice was signed, the Metropolitan Engineering 
Co. built 136,189 shell bodies of this size at a maximum rate of 987 
per day. 

During the summer of 1918 a single-piece shell body of the 240- 
millimeter size, produced by a deep-drawing process, was worked out. 
A contract for 125,000 of them was given to the Ireland & Matthews 
Manufacturing Co., of Detroit, Mich. The armistice brought this 
contract to an end before it had produced any shell of this new and 
most promising type. 

Early in 1918 we received the first samples of the 6-inch trench 
mortar. By April all the plans were ready for American production. 
Again this work was divided by types. The National Tube Co., of 
Pittsburgh, contracted to build 510 rough forgings of mortar barrels 
at its Christy Park plant. The Symington-Anderson Co. undertook 
to machine these barrels. The David Lupton Sons Co. agreed to 
assemble the mortars, as well as to produce the metal and timber 
bases for them. 

The first machined barrels reached the Lupton plant in June and 
found bases ready for them. But, as the assembling was in progress, 
the American Expeditionary Forces cabled that the British producers 
of mortars had changed their designs, and that we must suspend 
our manufacture until we also could adopt the changes. The altered 
plans reached us some weeks later; yet, nevertheless, we were able 
to make good our original promise to deliver 48 of the 6-inch Newton- 
Stokes mortars at the port of embarkation in October, 1918. 

Meanwhile we had increased the contracts by an additional require- 
ment of 1,577 mortars of this size. The National Tube Co. eventually 
reached a maximum daily production of 60 barrel forgings. The 
Symington-Anderson Co. machined the barrels finally at a 33-per- 
day clip. As many as 1 1 proof-fired guns per day came from the 
David Lupton Sons Co. 

An interesting fact in connection with the production of shell for 
the 6-inch mortars is that they were built principally by American 
makers of stoves. The 6-inch mortar-shell bodies were of cast iron 
instead of steel, and thus were adaptable to manufacture in stove 
works. Each shell weighed 40 pounds without its explosive charge. 
Such shell were used at the front for heavy demolition purposes. 

216 America's mxtottions. 

The contracts for these shell were placed in March, 1918. The 
Trench Warfare Section was immediately called upon to secure favor- 
able priority for the pig iron required for this purpose. The various 
stove works did not have the necessary machinery for building these 
shell, and so a special equipment in each case had to be built. At the 
tests the first castings which came through the foundry were found 
to leak, and this required further experiments in the design, holding 
up production until July, 1918. 

Because of the many troubles encountered in this work the various 
stove makers in the summer of 1918 formed an association which they 
called the Six-inch Trench-mortar Shell Manufacturers' Association. 
This association held monthly meetings and its members visited the 
various plants where shell castings were being made. The United 
States Radiator Corporation, the Foster-Merriam Co., and the 
Michigan Stove Co., were especially active in improving methods 
for making these shell. 

The various concerns producing 6-inch mortar shell and the 
amounts turned out were as follows: 

Foster Merriam Co., Meriden, Conn 33, 959 

U. S. Radiator Corporation, Detroit, Mich 240, 700 

Globe Stove A Range Co., Kokomo, Ind 17, 460 

Rathbone, Sard A Co., Albany, N. Y 97,114 

Michigan Stove Co., Detroit, Mich 100,000 

The following concerns shortly before the armistice was signed re- 
ceived contracts for the production of 6-inch mortar shell, orders 
ranging in quantity from 50,000 to 150,000, but none of these con- 
cerns started production: 

Wm. Crane Co., Jersey City, N. J. 
Frontier Iron Works, Buffalo, N. Y. 
Henry E. Pridmore, (Inc.), Chicago, 111. 
Best Foundry Co., Bedford Ohio. 
McCord & Co., Chicago, 111. 

It was not until July, 1918, that the plans were ready for the 4-inch 
Newton-Stokes trench mortars. The American Expeditionary Forces 
estimated that they would require 480 of these weapons. A total of 
500 drawn barrel tubes was ordered from the Ohio Seamless Tube Co., 
of Shelby, Ohio. This concern was able to ship one-fifth of its order 
within 10 days after receiving it. The barrels were sent to the Rock 
Island Arsenal for machining. The Crane Co., of Chicago, held the 
contract for building the bases, tripods, spare parts, and tools, and 
also for the assembling of the completed mortars. This factory was 
already equipped with tools for this work, since it had been building 
similar parts for 3-inch mortars. Consequently, the Crane Co., in 
August, almost within a month of receiving its contract, was pro- 
ducing completed 4-inch mortars and sending them to the Bock 
Island Arsenal for proof firing. The Ohio Seamless Tube Co. reached 





a high daily production of 83 barrel f oigings per day; the Rock Island 
Arsenal, 10 machined barrels per day; and the Crane Co., 19 assembled 
mortars per day. 

We planned to build only smoke shell and gas shell for the 4-inch 
mortars. Large contracts for various parts of these shell were 
placed and the enterprise was gaining great size when the armistice 
was declared, but no finished smoke shell and only a few gas shell for 
4-inch trench mortars had been produced. The contracts for the smoke 
shell were let in October, 1918, and work had not started further 
than the procurement of raw material before the armistice came. A 
large number of contractors expected to produce the parts for the 
4-inch gas shell, and considerable of the raw materials were actually 
produced; but only one of the machining and assembling contractors, 
the Paige-Detroit Motor Car Co., actually completed any of these 
shell, and production at this plant did not start until December 5, 

Production of trench mortars and trench-mortar ammunition. 






240-mUUmeter (9.45 inches) 


to Nor. 11, 







to Feb. 1. 










3-Inch a ve 

3-incJh practice 

4-incli gas 

4-lncIi smoke 

64nclih , ve 

240-mfflimeter (9.46 inches). 

to Nov. n f 
1918 (un- 



to Feb. l, 
1919 (un- 






Another extensive project in the trench-warfare program was the 
manufacture of the so-called toxic gas sets. Each set consisted of 
a one-man portable cylinder equipped with a nozzle and a firing 
mechanism. Each set was ready for firing as soon as it was placed 
in position. 

In August, 1918, the toxic-gas-set project was taken up by the 
Trench Warfare Section. Contracts for cylinders were awarded to 
the Ireland-Matthews Manufacturing Co., of Detroit, Mich., who 
produced 13,642 cylinders, and to the American Car & Foundry Co. 
at its Milton, Pa., plant, which concern turned out 11,046 cylinders. 

218 America's munitions. 

The Pittsburgh Reinforcing, Brazing & Machine Co. produced 
9,765 valves for the cylinders in two months after receiving the 
contract. The Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co., of Stamford, 
Conn., which received the contract for nozzles on September 5, 1918, 
manufactured 20,501 of them before the armistice was signed; and 
J. N. Smith & Co., of Detroit, Mich., who did not receive their con- 
tract until September 26, built 3,252 nozzles before the fighting 
stopped. The Liquid Carbolic Co., of Chicago, and the Ruud Manu- 
facturing Co., of Pittsburgh, had the contracts for the firing mech- 
anism; but none of these was produced because at the time the 
armistice was signed the firing mixture to be used with the cylinders 
had not been developed. 

In connection with the production of materials for gas warfare the 
Ordnance Department also designed several types of containers 
for the shipment of poison gas, these including not only the portable 
cylinders but larger tanks and even tank cars. 


A few years ago, when we allowed the adventurous American boy 
to blow off his fingers and hands by the indiscriminate use of explosives 
in celebrating the Nation's birthday, we had an extensive fireworks 
industry in this country. But the spread of the sane Fourth reform 
had virtually killed this manufacture, so that when we entered the 
war there were only three or four plants in the United States making 
fireworks. These concerns kept the trade secrets closely guarded. 
However, as we approached the brink of hostilities it was evident 
we would have to build up a large production capacity for the pyro- 
technics demanded by the various new types of fighting which had 
sprung into existence since 1914. Fireworks were extensively used 
principally for signaling at night and as an aid to aviators in the dark. 

One of the men to foresee this need was Lewis Nixon, who had 
long been in the public eye and was known especially for his advo- 
cacy of an American merchant marine. He organized a pyrotechnics 
concern known as the Nixon Fulgent Products Co., built a plant at 
Brunswick, N. J., and was ready to talk business with the Govern- 
ment when the war began. 

Also there had long been m existence that perennial delight of 
children and adults alike known as Paine's Fireworks, whose spec- 
tacular exhibitions are familiar to most city dwellers in the United 
States. This concern had its own manufacturing plant, which was 
ready to expand to meet Government war requirements. 

In addition, two other concerns of the formerly declining industry 
were ready to increase their facilities and produce pyrotechnics for 
war purposes. These were the Unexcelled Manufacturing Co., of 
New York, and the National Fireworks Co., of West Hanover, Mass. 


The four concerns proved to be able to meet every war requirement 
we had. 

Prior to the war some few military pyrotechnics had been procured 
by the Signal Corps, the Coast Artillery, the Engineer Corps, and 
also by the Navy; but on September 27, 1917, the design of all Army 
pyrotechnics was centralized in the Trench Warfare Section. 

Much, experimentation was necessary before specifications could be 
prepared, since the entire fire-signaling field had long been in confu- 
sion. We had made our own designs and were proceeding with pro- 
duction in the spring of 1918, when the American Expeditionary Forces 
made the positive recommendation that the entire French program 
of pyrotechnics be adopted by the United States. This meant a 
fresh start in the business, but nevertheless pyrotechnic devices were 
developed to meet all of our needs. These devices included signal 
rockets, parachute rockets, signal pistols and their ammunition, 
position and signal lights, flares, smoke torches, and lights to be 
thrown by the V. B. discharger, the French device attached to the 
end of the rifle in which a rifle grenade fits. 

At the outset of our efforts we started to build signal rockets, 
position lights, rifle lights, signal lights, and lights for use with the 
Very signal pistol. The Very signal pistol, which we adopted first, 
had the caliber of a 10-gauge shotgun, and ite cartridges resembled 
shotgun shells in appearance, although containing Roman candle 
balls of various colors instead of leaden shot. The orders from 
abroad in the spring of 1918 changed the caliber of the Very pistol to 
25 millimeters and brought into our requirements some 16 different 
styles of star and parachute cartridges. In addition to these, there 
were required about 20 styles of star and parachute cartridges for 
the French V. B. discharger. The recommendations from France 
brought in 13 new styles of signal rockets, as well as smoke torches, 
wing-tip flares for airplanes, parachute flares for lighting the ground 
under bombing airplanes, and also 12 styles of cartridges for a new 
35-millimeter Very pistol for the use of aviators. 

After we received these instructions there was great uncertainty 
here as to the quantity of each item that should be produced; and 
this matter was not settled until August 5, 1918, when an enormous 
program of requirements was issued. At first it seemed that the 
Government itself must build new factories to take care of these 
needs, but a careful examination showed that the existing facilities 
could be expanded to take care of the production. The placing of 
contracts in this undertaking was under way when the armistice 
stopped the work. 

The following table indicates the size of the pyrotechnic undertak- 
ing and also what was accomplished. AH of this production came 
from the plants of the four companies which have been named. In 
addition to the fireworks themselves, accessories were produced by 



a number of other concerns. The Japan Paper Co., New York City, 
manufactured and imported from Japan approximately 3,000,000 
paper parachutes. The Remington Arms Co., New Haven, Conn., 
built about 2,500,000 10-gauge signal-pistol cartridges, except for the 
stars they contained. The Empire Art Metal Co., College Point, 
N. Y., produced nearly 2,000,000 Very pistol cartridge cases. The 
Winchester Repeating Arms Co., Bridgeport, Conn., supplied nearly 
5,000,000 primers for these cartridges. Rose Bros. & Co., Lancaster, 
Pa., produced 65,600 silk parachutes for Very cartridges. Cheney 
Bros., South Manchester, Conn.; D. G. Dery (Inc.), AUentown, Pa.; 
Stehli Silk Corporation, New York City; Sauquoit Silk Co., Phila- 
delphia; Lewis Roessel & Co., Hazleton, Pa.; Schwarzenback-Huber 
Co., New York City; and the Duplane Silk Corporation, Hazleton, 
Pa., produced a total of 1,231,728 yards of silk for parachutes to 
float airplane flares. The parachutes themselves for the airplane 
flares, a total of 28,570 of them, were manufactured by the Duplane 
Silk Corporation; Folmer-Clogg Co., Lancaster, Pa. ; and Jacob Ger- 
hardt Co., Hazleton, Pa. The Edw. G. Budd Manufacturing Co., 
Philadelphia, built 41,020 metal cases for the airplane flares. 


Signal rockets 

Position lights 

Rifle lights 

Signal fights 

V. B. cartridges 

Very cartridges, 25-millimeter . 

Smoke torches 

Wing-tip flares 

Airplane flares 



2,072 000 








Completed to 
Nov. 8, 1918. 









Completed to 
Feb. 1, 1019. 









We also contracted for the production of many thousands of Very 
signal pistols. Before the original program was canceled the Rem- 
ington Arms Co. had produced 24,460 of the 10-gauge pistols in con- 
tracts calling for a total output of 35,000. 

In August, 1918, we let contracts for 135,000 of the 25-millimeter 
pistols and for approximately 30,000 of the 35-millimeter pistols. 
The A. H. Fox Gun Co. completed 4,193 of the smaller pistols and the 
Scott & Fetzger Machine Co. turned out 7,750 of them. Other con- 
cerns which had taken contracts but had not come into production 
when the armistice was signed were the National Tool & Manufac- 
turing Co., the Doehler Die Castings Co., the Hammond Typewriter 
Co., and Parker Bros. 

Considerable experimental work of an interesting nature was 
carried out looking toward the development of incendiary devices. 
Three types of flame projectors, flaming bayonets, an airplane 
destroyer, incendiary darts, and the smoke knapsack were among the 
projects undertaken. Owing in large measure to changes in require- 
ments by the American Expeditionary Forces none of these devices 
was actually turned out on any considerable scale. 


The miscellaneous ordnance equipment of the American soldier in 
the recent war — that is, articles which he carried with him and 
which added to his comfort, his safety, or his efficiency as a fighter — 
while in many respects identical with the equipment used by our 
troops for many years, at the same time contained several novelties. 

In the novelty class were helmets and armor. There is a wide- 
spread impression that helmets and body armor passed away with 
the invention of gunpowder and because of that invention. This 
impression is not at all true. Body armor came to its highest devel- 
opment long after gunpowder was in common use in war. The six- 
teenth century witnessed the most extensive use of armor; yet at 
that time guns and pistols formed an important part of the equip- 
ment of every army, and even a weapon which is generally fancied 
to be ultramodern, the revolver, had been invented. 

The fact is that not gunpowder but tactics caused the decline of 
armor. Not that armor was unable to stop many types of projectiles 
shot from guns, but that its weight hampered swift maneuvering, 
caused it' to be laid aside by the soldier. The decline of armor may 
be said to date from the Thirty Years' War. The armies in that 
period, and particularly that of the Swedes, began making long 
marches for surprise attacks, and the body armor of the troops was 
found to be a hindrance in such tactics. Thereafter armor went out 
of fashion. 

Yet it never completely disappeared in warfare. Gen. Rochambeau 
is said to have worn body armor at the siege of Yorktown. Great 
numbers of corselets and headpieces were worn in the Napoleonic 
wars. The corselet which John Paul Jones wore in his fight with the 
Serapis is preserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 
The Japanese army was mailed with good armor as late as 1870. 
Breastplates were worn to some extent in the Civil War in the United 
States, and an armor factory was actually established at New Haven, 
Conn., about 1862. In the museum at Richmond, Va., is an equip- 
ment of armor taken from a dead soldier in one of the trenches at 
the siege of that city. There was a limited use of armor in the Franco- 
Prussi&n War. Some of the Japanese troops carried shields at Port 
Arthur. Helmets were worn in the Boer War. A notorious Aus- 


222 America's munitions. 

tralian bandit in the eighties for a long time defied armed posses to 
capture him because he wore armor and could stand off entire squads 
of policemen firing at him with Martini rifles at close range. 

Thus it can not be said that armor, in coming into use again in the 
great war, was resurrected; it was merely revived. In its static con- 
dition during most of the four-year period, the war against Germany 
was one in which armor might profitably be used. This opportunity 
could scarcely be overlooked, and indeed it was not. Everybody 
knows of the helmets that were in general use; yet body armor itself 
was coming into favor again, and only the welcome but unexpected 
end of hostilities prevented it, in all probability, from becoming again 
an important part of the equipment of a soldier. 

As a consequence of the attenuated but persistent use of armor by 
soldiers during the past two centuries and of the demand of the aristo- 
cratic for helmets and armor as ornaments, the armorer's trade had 
been kept alive from the days of Gustavus Adolphus to the present. 
The war efforts of the United States in 1917 and 1918 demanded a 
wide range of human talents and special callings; but surely the 
strange and unusual seemed to be reached when in the early days of 
our undertaking the Engineering Division of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment sought the services of expert armorers. 

Through the advice of the National Research Council, which had 
established a committee of armor experts, the Ordnance Department 
commissioned in its service Maj. Bashford Dean, a life-long specialist 
in armor, curator in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an institution 
which, learning of the Government's need, at once placed at its dis- 
posal its wonderful specimens of authentic armor, ite armor repair 
shop where models could at once be made, and the services of Maj. 
Dean's assistant there whom he had brought from France, Daniel 
Tachaux, one of the few surviving armorers, who had inherited 
lineally the technical side of the ancient craft. 

It may be said that there were but two nations in the great war 
which went to the Middle Ages for ideas as to protective armor — 
ourselves and Germany. The Germans, who applied science to 
almost every phase of warfare, did not neglect it here. Germany 
at the start consulted her experts on ancient armor and worked 
along lines which they suggested. The German helmet used in the 
trenches was undoubtedly superior to any other helmet given a 
practical use. 

The first helmets to be used in the great war were of French manu- 
facture. They were designed by Gen. Adrien, and 2,000,000 of them 
were manufactured and issued to the French Army. These helmets 
were the product of hasty pioneer work, but the fact that they 
saved from 2 to 5 per cent of the normal casualties of such a war as 
was being fought at once impelled the other belligerents to adopt 



the idea. Great Britain, spurred by the necessity of producing 
quickly a helmet in quantity, designed the most simple helmet to 
manufacture, which could be pressed out of cold metal. 

When America entered the war she had, naturally, no distinctive 
helmet; and the English type, being easiest to make, was adopted to 
fill the gap until we could design a more efficient one ourselves. 
Consequently 400,000 British helmets were bought in England and 
issued to the vanguard of the American Expeditionary Forces. Our 
men wore them, became accustomed to them, and came to feel that 
they were the badge of English-speaking troops. The British helmet 
thus became a habit with our men, one difficult to change, a fact 
which mitigated against the popularity of the more advanced and 
scientific models which we were to bring out. 

Now, the British helmet possessed some notable defects. It did 
not afford a maximum of protective area. The center of gravity 
was not so placed as to keep the helmet from wobbling. The lining 
was uncomfortable and disregarded the anatomy of the head. It 
was vulnerable at the concave surface where bowl and brim joined. 

It is not an astonishing circumstance that some of the earlier helmets 
worn by the men-at-arms of the days of knighthood possessed certain 
of these same defects, notably, that they were apt to be top-heavy 
and uncomfortable. Only by centuries of constant application and 
improvement were the armorers of the Middle Ages able to produce 
helmets which overcame these defects and which embodied all of the 
principles of defense and strength which science could put into 
them. The best medieval helmets stand at the summit of the art. 
It was the constant aim of the modern specialist, aided by the 
facilities of the twentieth century industries, to produce helmets as 
perfect technically as those rare models which are the pride of 
museums and collectors. 

Certainly in one respect we had the advantage of the ancients in 
that we have nowadays at our disposal the modern alloy-steels of 
great resistance. An alloy of this kind having a thickness of 0.036 
of an inch is able to stop at a distance of 10 feet a jacketed, auto- 
matic pistol ball, .46 caliber, traveling at the rate of 600 feet a 
second. This was important not only from the standpoint of helmet 
production, but from the further inference that body armor of such 
steel might still be profitably used. The records of the hospitals in 
France show that 7 or 8 of every 10 wounded soldiers were wounded 
by fragments of shell and other missiles which even thin armor plate 
would have kept out. The German troops used body armor in large 
numbers, each set weighing from 19 to 24 pounds. In this country 
we believed it possible to produce body armor which would not be 
difficult to carry and which would resist the impact of a machine-gun 
bullet at fairly close range. 

224 America's munitions. 

The production of helmets, however, was our first concern; and 
in order to be sure of a sufficient quantity of these protective head- 
pieces, we adopted the British model for production in the United 
States and went ahead with it on a large scale. For the metal we 
adopted after much experimentation a steel alloy with a high per- 
centage of manganese. This was practically the same as the steel of 
the British helmet. Its chief advantage was that it was easy to 
work in the metal presses in existence and it required no further 
tempering after leaving the stamping presses. Its hardness, how- 
ever, wore away the stamping tools much more quickly than ordinary 
steel sheets would do. 

While we adopted the British helmet in design and substantially 
in metal used, we originated our own helmet lining. The lining was 
woven of cotton twine in meshes three-eighths of an inch square. 
This web, fitting tightly upon the wearer's head, evenly distributed the 
weight of the two-pound helmet, and in the same way distributed the 
force of any blow upon the helmet. The netting, together with small 
pieces of rubber around the edge of the lining, kept the helmet away 
from the head, so that even a relatively large dent could not reach 
the wearer's skull. 

It is an interesting fact that the linings for the American helmets 
were produced by concerns whose ordinary business was the manu- 
facture of shoes. There were 10 of these companies taking such con- 
tracts. Steel for the helmet was rolled by the American Sheet & 
Tin Plate Co. The helmets were pressed and stamped into shape by 
seven companies which had done similar work before the war. These 
concerns were: 

Contractor. Delivered. 

Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Co., Philadelphia 1,150,775 

Sparks, Withington Co., JarkBon, Mich 473, 469 

Crosby Co., Buffalo, N. Y 469,968 

Bossett Corporation, Utica, N. Y 116,735 

Columbian Enameling & Stamping Co., Terre Haute, Ind 268. 850 

Worcester Pressed Steel Co., Worcester, Mass 193, 840 

Benjamin Electric Co. , Des Plaines, 111 33, 600 

Total . 2,707,237 

The metal helmets and the woven linings were delivered to the 
plant of the Ford Motor Co. at Philadelphia, where they were painted 
and assembled. The helmets were painted in the olive-drab shade 
for protective coloring. While on dull days such objects could not 
be discerned at a great distance, in bright weather their rounded sur- 
faces might catch and reflect sunbeams, thus betraying the positions 
of their wearers. To guard against this, as soon as the helmets were 
treated to a first coat of paint fine sawdust was blown upon the wet 
surface. When this had dried, another coat of paint was applied, 
and a noureflective, gritty surface was thus produced* 


We began receiving substantial quantities of finished helmets by 
the end of November of the first year of the war. On February 17, 
1918, practically 700,000 had been shipped abroad or were ready for 
shipment at the ports of embarkation. Later in the spring of 1918, 
when we began sending men to France much beyond our earlier 
expectations, the orders for helmets were greatly expanded. In July 
the total orders reached 3,000,000, in August 6,000,000, and in Sep- 
tember 7,000,000. This would give us enough to meet all require- 
ments until June, 1919. * 

When the armistice was signed the factories were producing more 
than 100,000 helmets every four days, and were rapidly approaching 
the time when their daily output would be 60,000. The Government 
canceled all helmet contracts as soon as the fighting ceased, having 
received up to that time a total of 2,700,000 of them. 

While this manufacture was going on we were developing helmets 
of our own. Major Dean went to France to collect information 
dealing with the actual needs of the service and to present numerous 
experimental models of helmets for the comment and criticism of the 
General Staff. In numerous cases these models were accepted for 
manufacture here in experimental lots. 

In all we developed four models which seemed to have merits recom- 
mending their adoption. The first distinctive American helmet was 
known as model No. 2. The Ford Co. at Detroit pressed about 1,200 
of these helmets. The helmet, however, was similar in appearance 
to the German helmet, and for that reason was disapproved by the 
American Expeditionary Forces. 

Helmet model No. 3 was of a deep-bowl type, but it was rejected 
when the Hale & Kilburn Co., of Philadelphia, after a great deal of 
experimentation, found that the helmet was too deep for successful 
manufacture by pressing. 

Model No. 4 was designed by the master armorer of the Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art. It was also found too difficult to manufacture. 

Helmet No. 5 was strongly recommended by American experts, but 
was not accepted by the General Staff. It was designed by the armor 
committee at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in conjunction with the 
Engineering Division of the Ordnance Department. Hale & Kilburn 
undertook to manufacture these helmets, which were to be painted, 
assembled, and packed by the Ford Motor Co. at its Philadelphia 
plant. Various component parts of the helmet were sublet in experi- 
mental quantities to numerous manufacturers. 

The No. 5 helmet, complete, weighed 2 pounds, 6} ounces. It 
combined the virtues of several types of helmets. It gave a maxi- 
mum of protection for its weight. It was comparatively easy to 
produce. This helmet, with slight variations, was later adopted 

109287°— 19 15 

226 America's munitions. 

as the standard helmet of the Swiss Army. The latest German 
helmet, it is interesting to note, was approaching similar lines. 

We also produced helmets for special services — one with a visor 
to protect machine gunners and snipers, and another, known as 
model 14, for aviators, it being little heavier than the leather helmet 
which airmen wore in the war and twenty times as strong a defense 
for the head. A third special helmet, known as model 15, was for 
operators of tanks. It was provided with a neck guard of padded 
silk to stop the lead splasl which penetrated the turret of the tank. 
The Ordnance Department turned out 25 of these in 10 days and sent 
them by courier to France for a test. 

The Germans issued body armor only to troops holding exposed 
positions under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire; but such use was 
distinctly valuable, as was shown by captured German reports. 

The Engineering Division of the Ordnance Department devel- 
oped a body defense including a light front and body plate, these 
together weighing 9} pounds. One lot of 5,000 sets was manu- 
factured by the Hale & Kilburn Corporation. The linings of these 
plates were of sponge rubber, and they were made by the Miller 
Rubber Co., of Akron, Ohio. All of these sets were shipped abroad 
for testing; but the report was not favorable, as the American sol- 
dier did not wish to be hampered with armor. He had learned to 
wear his helmet, but he had yet to be convinced of the practical value 
of body armor. 

We developed a heavy breast plate with thigh guards, weighing 
27 pounds, which stopped machine gun bullets at 150 yards. An 
experimental lot of these were completed in 26 days by the Mul- 
lins Manufacturing Co., of Salem, Ohio. These were also shipped 
abroad for test. 

A few defenses for arms and legs were prepared which, although 
light in weight, would protect the wearer from an automatic-pistol 
ball at 10 feet. About 70 per cent of the hospital cases in France were 
casualties caused by wounds in the arms and legs. These defenses, 
however, were rejected on account of their impeding to a certain 
degree the movements of the wearer. 

Our development in armor also produced an aviator's chair weigh- 
ing 60 pounds. It would protect the pilot from injury from below 
and from the back, withstanding armor-piercing bullets fired at a 
distance of 50 yards. Since the piercing of the gas mask canister 
by a bullet might result in the death of the soldier by admitting gas 
directly into the breathing system of his mask, the Ordnance Depart- 
ment designed an armored haversack for the gas mask and its canis- 
ter, this haversack incidentally serving as a breast defense. 



Another large ordnance operation was the production of bayonets 
for the service rifles. The British bayonet had proved to be highly 
satisfactory in the war; and, since it was already designed to fit the 
Enfield rifle, which we had adopted for our own, we took the British 
bayonet as it was and, with only one slight alteration, set out to 
produce it in this country. 

The Government found both the Remington Arms-Union Metallic 
Cartridge Co. at its Bridgeport, Conn., works, and the Winchester 
Repeating Arms Co. building these bayonets for the English Gov- 
ernment. The latter's bayonet needs by 1917 were being well sup- 
plied by home manufacture, and this permitted us to buy approxi- 
mately 545,500 bayonets which had already been manufactured 
for the British. 

The Ordnance Department at once started out these two concerns 
on contracts for bayonets for the American Government, Remington 
with total orders for 2,820,803 bayonets and Winchester with orders 
for 672,500. Remington delivered in all 1,565,644 bayonets and 
Winchester 395,894. This was a total of 1,961,500 bayonets. 

The totid production of 1917 rifles was about 2,520,000. These 
figures indicate that we were short over 500,000 bayonets at the 
time hostilities ceased; and as a matter of fact this shortage had 
already become acute, especially in the training camps. 

The bayonets had not come as rapidly as we had expected, because 
to produce them at the rate originally planned would have interfered 
with the more essential production of rifles by these same companies. 
Accordingly in 1918 additional contracts for bayonets were made. 
Landers, Frary & Clark, of New Britain, Conn., engaged to manu- 
facture 500,000 bayonets, and the National Motor Vehicle Co., 
255,000. These latter contracts, however, were suspended after the 
armistice was signed. The additional orders had made it certain 
that there would be no bayonet shortage by the spring of 1919. 

While this production was under way we were also manufacturing 
bayonets for the model 1903 Springfield rifle. The Springfield 
Armory produced 347,533 of these and the Rock Island Arsenal 
36,800. In addition the Springfield Armory delivered 50,000 bayonet 
blades as spare parts. 

We not only had to provide bayonets but also the scabbards 
to hold them in. The scabbard of the 1917 bayonet was of simple 
manufacture and there were no difficulties in securing sufficient 
quantities. The Jewell Belt Co. delivered 1,810,675 of them; Graton 
& Knight delivered 1,669,581; while the Rock Island Arsenal pro- 
duced 3,000. This gave us a total of 3,480,000 scabbards, a quantity 
greatly in excess of the production of either bayonets or rifles. 

228 ambrica's munitions. 

A new weapon which had come into use during the great war as 
part of the soldier's individual equipment was the trench knife. The 
question of making such knives was taken up by the Government 
with various manufacturers throughout the country and they were 
given a general idea of what was required and, in conjunction 
with the Ordnance Department, were requested to develop details. 
The design submitted by Henry Disston & Sons, of Philadelphia, 
received the most favorable consideration. This knife was manu- 
factured and known as model 1917. It was a triangular blade 
9 inches long. The triangular blade was deemed the most efficient 
because of the ease with which it would pierce clothing and even 
leather. This knife was slightly changed as regards handle and given 
a different guard to protect the man's knuckles, and was known as 
model 1918. These knives were sent abroad in large quantities to 
be used by the American Expeditionary Forces. Landers, Frary & 
Clark produced 1 13,000 of these knives and the Oneida Community 
(Ltd.), Oneida, N. Y., 10,000. 

On June 1, 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces made an 
exhaustive test, comparing the various trench knives used abroad. 
The four knives tested were as follows; United States, model 1917; 
Hughes; French; and British knuckle knife. These tests were made 
to determine the merits of the different knives as to the following 

(a) Serviceability — ability to carry in hand and function other 

(b) Quickness in action. 

(c) If the soldier were knocked unconscious, would knife drop 
from hand ? 

(d) Suitability to carry in hand when crawling. 

(e) Probability of being knocked out of hand. 

(f) Weight, length, shape of blade. 

(g) Shape of handle. 

It was found that the model 1917, although a satisfactory knife, 
could be improved. Therefore the trench knife known as Mark I 
was developed partially by the American Expeditionary Forces and 
partially by the Engineering Division of Ordnance. This knife was 
entirely different from the model 1917, having a flat blade, metal 
scabbard, and a cast-bronze handle. It was a combination of all 
the good points of all the knives used by the foreign armies. 

The Government placed orders for 1,232,780 of the new knives. 
Deliveries were to have begun in December, but before that time 
peace had come and the orders had been reduced to 119,424. The 
new model knives were to have been manufactured by A. A. Simons 
& Son, Dayton, Ohio; Henry Disston & Son, Philadelphia; Landers, 
Frary & Clark, and the Oneida Community (Ltd.). All contracts 
were canceled except the one with Landers, Frary & Clark. 


_l • 
u. u. 

X ui 


UJ m 












































Another new article in the equipment of our soldiers was the 
trench periscope, a device enabling a man to look over the edge of 
the trench without exposing himself to fire. The ordinary periscope 
was merely a wooden box 2 inches square and 15 inches long, with 
an inclined mirror set at each end. Production was commenced in 
October, 1917, by two companies, and 81,000 were delivered by the 
middle of January. In August, 1918, an additional lot of 60,000 
was ordered, but the deliveries of these were slow. 

An even simpler periscope was merely a mirror about three inches 
long and an inch and a half wide which could be placed on a bayonet 
or a stick and set up over the trench so that it gave a view of the 
ground in front. A total of 100,000 of these was delivered before 
the end of July, 1918, and 50,000 additional ones before November. 
Further facts about periscopes are set down in the chapter in this 
report relating to sights and fire-control apparatus. 

At the beginning of the war all textile equipment, such as cartridge 
belts, bandoleers to carry ammunition, haversacks, pack carriers, 
pistol holsters, canteen covers and similar material were supplied in 
woven material. Only two concerns in this country could manufac- 
ture articles of this quality. They were the Mills Woven Cartridge 
Belt Co., Worcester, Mass., and the Russell Manufacturing Co., 
Middletown, Conn. Although these two concerns practically doubled 
their output and worked day and night to supply the material, the 
demand was too great, and belts and carriers were designed to be 
stitched and sewn and not woven. Equipment made in this manner 
is inferior to the woven article. However, the Mills Woven Cartridge 
Belt Co. produced approximately 3,200,000 of these articles and the 
Russell Manufacturing Co., 1,500,000. Large producers of the 
stitched and sewn material were the Plant Brothers Co., Boston, 
Mass. ; R. H. Long Co., Framingham, Mass. ; L. C. Chase Co., Water- 
town, Mass. 

For the Browning automatic rifle and the Browning machine gun 
there were specially designed belts and bandoleers. The rifleman had 
his own special belt, and his first and second assistants had their own 
individual belts, and the assistants also had two bandoleers each, one 
right and one left, which were carried across their shoulders. These 
were manufactured in quantities by the following manufacturers: 

R. H. Long Co., Framingham, Mass 175,000 

Plant Bros., Boston, Mass 75, 000 

L. C. Chase Co., Watertown, Mass 20, 000 

Many small articles of textile equipment were produced in immense 
quantities. There were approximately four and a half million 
canteen covers produced prior to November 1. Large contracts 


230 America's munitions. 

were placed with the following concerns: Perkins-Campbell Co., Cin- 
cinnati, Ohio; Brauer Bros., St. Louis, Mo.; L. C. Chase Co., Water- 
town, Mass.; Miller-Hexter Co., Cleveland, Ohio; Powers Manufac- 
turing Co., Waterloo, Iowa; R. H. Long Co., Framingham, Mass.; 
Bradford Co., St. Joseph, Mich.; Galvin Bros., Cleveland, Ohio; 
Progressive Knitting Works, Brooklyn, N. Y. 

Approximately four and a half million haversacks were produced 
and delivered prior to November 1, 1918. Large manufacturers 
producing these were as follows: Canvas Products Co., St. Louis, Mo.; 
Bock Island Arsenal, Bock Island, HI.; Plant Bros., Boston, Mass.; 
Simmons Hardware Co., St. Louis, Mo.; B. H. Long Co., Framing- 
ham, Mass.; Liberty, Duigin (Inc.)) Haverhill, Mass.; Wiley, Bick- 
f ord & Sweet, Hartford, Conn. 

It is impossible here to enumerate the entire range of ordnance 
munitions produced, outside of the development of guns and their 
ammunition; but their manufacture, in orders that ordinarily 
amounted to the millions of individual pieces, engaged the activities 
of a large number of manufacturers of the United States. 

The Government ordered about 1,200,000 axes to be used in trench 
operations, of which 661,690 were delivered. Bags of all sorts for 
horse feed, grain, rations, and supplies totaled in their deliveries 
about 2,250,000. The Government received 809,541 saddle blankets; 
about 3,750,000 carriers for entrenching shovels, axes, and picks; 
nearly 4,450,000 covers for the breech locks of rifles; over 1,000,000 
currycombs; 76,230 lariats; 727,000 entrenching picks; nearly 
4,750,000 first-aid pouches, and over 2,000,000 pouches for small 
articles; 234,689 Cavalry saddles; 134,092 Field Artillery saddles; 
15,287 mule saddles; 482,459 saddle bags; nearly 1,800,000 entrench- 
ing shovels; 2,843,092 spur straps; 70,556 steel measuring tapes 
each 5 feet long. 

These figures selected at random from thousands of miscellaneous 
items indicate to some extent the scale on which America went into 
the war. 

The old model 1910 American wire cutter, although efficient in 
times past, was not capable of cutting specially constructed manganese 
wire which the Germans used. Therefore it became necessary for 
this country to develop a better cutter. A meeting of the plier 
manufacturers of the country was called and the question was put 
before them. The spirit of cooperation of the American . manu- 
facturers was evident, inasmuch as over 90 per cent of the manufac- 
turers attended the meeting. 

The model submitted by Kraeuter & Co., Newark, N. J., was 
adopted and 5,000 were manufactured and sent to France. Although 
this was the best cutter developed in this short time, it was evident 




that it was not the right article, and the Engineering Division of 
Ordnance continued experimenting to make a more satisfactory one! 
In this connection a one-hand wire cutter was developed by the 
William Schollhorn Co., of New Haven, Conn. This cutter was a 
very efficient and satisfactory article, and, although it was never 
adopted by the American Army during the war, it is worthy of con- 
sideration. The American Expeditionary Forces eventually sent 
back drawings and sample of the French wire cutter, which was 
developed abroad and known as model 1918. This was a large, 
two-handed cutter. Production was started. The article was 
found difficult to manufacture, but the manufacturers undertook it 
with a will and production was well under way when the armistice 
was signed. 

The mess equipment of the soldier included the following items: 
meat can, condiment can, canteen and cup, knife, fork, and spoon. 
These articles were practically the same as the Army had always 
used, with one exception — the meat can. Advice was received from 
the American Expeditionary Forces that the meat cans in which the 
soldiers' food was placed by the cooks of the various organizations 
were not large enough to hold the portions that the American dough- 
boys needed when they were fighting at the front. Although pro- 
duction was well under way with various American manufacturers 
on the old model, a new model can was designed which was half an 
inch deeper. The American manufacturers immediately, with a 
great deal of trouble to themselves, changed their dies and tools and 
manufactured a new meat can which was larger than the old. 
Thousands of cans were turned out daily. 

. Production data. 



American Can Co. , New York City 

Tin Decorating Co., Baltimore , ltd 

Gotham Can Co., Brooklyn, N. Y 



Stureis & Burns. Chicago 

Landers. Frary <fc Clark, New Britain, Conn 

Rock Island Arsenal. Rock Island, m 

Wisconsin Metal Products Co., Racine, Wis 

Acklln Steel Co. .Toledo, Ohio 

Cleveland Metal Products Co. , Cleveland. Ohio 

WMttaker, Glesaner Co., Wheeling, W.Va 



3, 553, MO 


























America's munitions. 

Production data — Continued. 



Aluminum Co. of America. Pittsburgh 

Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Conn 

J. W. Brown & Co., Columbus, Ohio 

Wheeling Stamping Co., Wheeling, W. Va . 

Edmunds <fc Jones Co., Detroit, Mich 

Rock Island Arsenal 










Aluminum Co. of America, New York . . 

Landers, Frary & Clark 

Aluminum Goods Co., Manitowoc, Wis. 

J. W.Brown Co...., 

Buckeye Aluminum Co., Wooster, Ohio 
Rock island Arsenal 




2,370 000 













American Cutlery Co., Chicago 

Landers, Frary & Clark 

Rock Island Arsenal 

International Silverware Co . . . 
Hinckley Manufacturing Co. . . 















R. Wallace & Co., 

Wallace Bros 

Rock Island Arsenal 

Charles Parker Co., Meriden. Conn. 
Wm. B. DurginCo., Concord, N. H 







R. Wallace & Co 

National Enameling <fe Stamping Co 

Wm. B. DurginCo 

Charles Parker Co 










When the United States entered the war against Germany in 1917 
there was no phase of her forthcoming industrial effort from which so 
much was expected as from the building of airplanes and equipment 
for aerial warfare; yet there was no phase of the immense undertaking 
in which the United States was so utterly unprepared. In many 
other branches of the work of providing materiel for a modern army, 
however inadequately acquainted America might be with the develop- 
ments which had gone on in Europe since 1914, yet she had splendid 
resources of skill and equipment which could quickly turn from the 
pursuits of peace to the arts attending warfare. But there was no 
large existing industry in the United States which could turn easily 
to the production of airplanes, since such airplanes as were known 
in Europe in 1917 had never been built in the United States. 

It seems difficult now for us to realize how utterly unlearned we 
were, both in official and technical quarters, in the design, the pro- 
duction, or the use of aeronautical equipment in those early days of 
1917. Here in America mechanical flight had been born; but we 
had lived to see other nations develop the invention into an industry 
and a science that was a closed book to our people. In the three 
years of warfare before American participation, the airplane had been 
forced through a whole generation of normal mechanical evolution. 
Of this progress we were aware only as nontechnical and distant 
observers. Such military study of the progress as we had conducted 
was casual. It had, in fact, brought to America scarcely a single 
basic fact on which we could build our contemplated industry. 

When the United States became a belligerent no American-built 
airplane had ever mounted a machine gun or carried any other than 
the simplest of necessary instruments. Such things as oxygen ap- 
paratus, electrically heated clothing for aviators, radio-communica- 
tion with airplanes, landing and bombing flares, electric lighting 
systems for planes, bomb-dropping devices, suitable compasses, 
instruments for measuring height and speed, and the like — in short, 
all the modern paraphernalia that completes the efficiency of combat 
airplanes — these were almost entirely unknown to us. 

The best of the prewar activities of America in this line had 
produced some useful airplane engines and a few planes which the 
countries then at war were willing to use only in training of aviators. 


236 America's munitions. 

Within the Army itself there was small nucleus of skill around 
which could be built an organization expert and sophisticated. We 
had in the official files no adequate information as to sizes, capacities, 
and types of planes or engines, or character of ordnance, armament, or 
aeronautical appliances demanded by the exacting service in which 
our young birdmen were soon to engage. Even the airplanes on 
order in April, 1917 (over 350 of them), proved to be of such anti- 
quated design that the manufacturers of them, in the light of their 
increased knowledge of war requirements a few months later, asked 
to be released from their contracts. 

Nor was there in the United States any industry so closely allied 
to airplane manufacture that its engineers and designers could turn 
from one to the other and take their places at once abreast of the 
progress in Europe. There was little or no engineering talent in the 
United States competent to design fully equipped military aircraft 
which could compete with Europe. Our aircraft producers must 
first go to France and England and Italy, and ground themselves 
in the principles of a new science before they could attempt to pro- 
duce their own designs or even before they could be safe in selecting 
European designs for reproduction in this country. 

The first consideration of the whole program by the Joint Army 
and Navy Technical Board indicated a figure of 22,000 as the number 
of airplanes, including both training and battle types, which should 
be furnished for the use of the Army during the 12 months following 
July 1, 1917. This figure represented the determination of America 
to play a major part in aerial warfare. It was not possible for the 
board to realize at that time all of the problems which would be 
encountered, and the figures indicated confidence in the ability of the 
industrial organizations of the United States to meet a difficult situa- 
tion, rather than an exact plan under which such production might 
be developed. 

It is probable that it was not fully realized that the production of 
this program, with the proper proportion of spare parts required for 
military operations, meant the manufacture of the equivalent of about 
40,000 airplanes. 

Without an industry then, and with little knowledge or under- 
standing of the problems of military aerial equipment, we faced the 
task of securing the equivalent of 40,000 airplanes in 12 brief months 
beginning July, 1917. 

In one respect we were in a degree prepared in professional skill 
and mechanical equipment to go ahead on broad lines. This was in 
the matter of producing engines. The production of aviation engines 
in America had, indeed, been comparatively slight, but in the auto- 
mobile industry had been developed a vast engine-building capacity. 
The detail equipment of automobile shops was not entirely suited to 



aviation engines, but, nevertheless, it furnished the basis for the 
future successful production of the liberty engine and the other 
engines called for by the air program. 

America succeeded, once the requirements were known, in producing 
the various accessories of aerial warfare. It was necessary first to 
learn from foreign sources what these accessories were and how they 
should be built; but as a rule it was possible to adapt American 
production resources to the problem, and the difficulties experienced 
were rather those of determining requirements and the exact adapta- 
tion of the various articles to specific airplanes. 

The achievements of America in aircraft production during the 
war period may be summarized as follows: 

In our 19 months of warfare we outdid any one of the belligerent 
nations in Europe in the production of airplanes in its first 19 months 
of intensive production. In our second year of war we nearly equaled 
the record of England in her third. 

At the end of the effort, after our designers had saturated them- 
selves in the science and were abreast of the developments of Europe, 
they produced several typical American airplanes which gave promise 
of being superior to any that Europe was turning out. 

We created one of the three or four best airplane engines, if not the 
best of all, that the world had seen, and produced it in great quan- 
tities. We took a standard but complicated aero-engine from Europe 
and not only duplicated it in quantity here but turned out a finer 
product than the original French makers had been able to obtain with 
their careful and more leisurely methods. 

In the steel cylinders of all the aero-engines we built was a capacity 
for producing some seven or eight million horsepower, an energy 
equivalent to one-fifth of the commercially practicable water power 
of the United States. The Liberty engines built could alone do the 
work of the entire flood of Niagara and have a million horsepower to 

In three years of warfare the allies had been able to develop only a 
single machine gun that could be successfully synchronized to fire 
through a revolving airplane propeller. In 12 months of actual effort 
America produced two others as good, both susceptible of factory 
quantity production. 

We developed new airplane cameras. We carried to new stages 
the science of clothing aviators. We developed in quantity the wire- 
less airplane telephone that stilled in the ears of the pilot the bedlam 
of wind and machine guns and engine exhaust and placed him within 
easy speaking radius of his ground station and his commander in 
the air. 

We built balloons at a rate to supply more than our own needs. 

238 amebica's munitions. 

When the shortage of linen threatened the entire airplane output 
of the nations opposing Germany, we developed cotton wing fabric 
that not only substituted for linen, but proved to be better; and in 
producing a liquid filler to m^ke this fabric wind-tight we established 
on a large scale an entirely new chemical industry in the United 

Such were the high points in the history of America's aircraft pro- 
duction for war. The details of the developments which led to 
these results are set forth on the following pages. 

1 1 



Sketchy and incomplete as was our knowledge of airplane con- 
struction in the early days of 1917, it was no more hazy than our 
notion of how many planes to build. What would constitute 
overwhelming superiority in the air? 

As an indication of the rapidity with which history has moved, it 
may be stated that in January and February of 1917 the Signal Corps 
dismissed the feasibility of building 1,000 planes in a year of con- 
struction. This seems now to us a ridiculously low figure to propose 
as representative of American resources, but in the early weeks of 
1917 the construction of a thousand airplanes appeared to be a for- 
midable undertaking. In March, when war was inevitable, we raised 
this number to 2,500 planes within 12 months; in April, when war 
was declared, we raised it again to 3,700. 

But once we were in the war, through the exchange of military 
missions our designers were taken into the confidence of the aviation 
branches of the French, British, and Italian Annies and shown then 
for the first time a comprehensive view of the development of the 
war plane, both what had been done in the past and what might be 
expected in the future. As a result our Joint Army and Navy 
Technical Board in the last week of May and the early part of June, 
1917, recommended to the Secretaries of War and the Navy that a 
building program be started at once to produce the stupendous total 
of 19,775 planes for our own use and 3,000 additional ones, if we were 
to train foreign aviators, or approximately 22,000 in all. This was a 
program worthy of America's industrial greatness. Of these pro- 
posed planes, 7,050 were for training our flyers, 725 for the defense 
of the United States and insular possessions, and 12,000 for active 
service in France. 

Such was the task assigned to an industry that in the previous 12 
months had manufactured less than 800 airplanes, and those consist- 
ing principally of training planes for foreign governments. 

The expanding national ambition for an aircraft industry was also 
shown by the mounting money grants. On May 12 Congress voted 
$10,800,000 for military aeronautics. On June 15 an appropriation 
of $43,450,000 was voted for the same purpose. Finally on July 24, 
1917, the President signed the bill appropriating $640,000,000 for 


240 America's munitions. 

aircraft. This was the largest appropriation ever made by Congress 
for one specific purpose, and this bill was put through both Houses 
within the period of a little more than a week. 

The figure 22,000, however, scarcely indicates the size of this under- 
taking, as we were to realize before long. We little understood the 
infinite complications of fully equipping battle planes. Lacking that 
invaluable experience which Europe had attained in three years of 
production, we had no practical realization of the fact that for each 
100 airplanes an equivalent of 80 additional airplanes must be pro- 
vided in spare parts. In other words, an effective fighting plane de- 
livered in France is not one plane, but it is one plane and eight-tenths 
of another; which means that the program adopted in June, 1917, 
called for the production in 12 months of not 22,000 airplanes but 
rather the equivalent of 40,000 airplanes. 

Let us set down the inventory of the Government's own resources 
for handling this project. 

The American Air Service, which was then part of the Signal Corps, 
had had a struggling and meager existence, working with the old 
pusher type of planes until in 1914 an appropriation of $250,000 was 
made available for the purchase of new airplanes and equipment. 
Shortly after this appropriation was granted, five officers were sent to 
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a course in aeronautics. 
When the war broke out in Europe in August, 1914, these men con- 
stituted the entire technically trained personnel of the Air Service of the 
United States. By April 6, 1917, we had 65 officers in the Air Service, 
an enlisted and civilian personnel of 1,330, two flying fields, and a 
few serviceable planes of the training type. 

This equipment may be compared with that of Germany, France, 
and England at the time they went to war. Germany is believed to 
have had nearly 1,000 airplanes in August, 1914; France had about 
300; and England barely 250. America's 224, delivered up to April 
6, 1917, were nearly all obsolete in type when compared with the 
machines then in effective service in France. 

No sooner had the United States embarked upon the war than the 
agents of the European manufacturers of airplanes descended upon the 
Aircraft Board in swarms. France and Italy had both adopted the 
policy of depending upon the private development of designs for their 
supplies of airplanes, with the result that the builders of each country 
had produced a number of successful types of flying machines and an 
even greater number of types of engines. On the assumption that 
the United States would adopt certain of these types and build them 
here, the agents for the Sopwiths, the Capronis, the Handley-Pages, 
and many others proceeded to demonstrate the particular excellences 
of their various articles. Out of this confusion of counsel stood one 
pertinent fact in relief — the United States would have to pay con- 
siderable royalties for the use of any of these European devices. 


As to the relative merits of types and designs, it was soon apparent 
that no intelligent decision could be reached in Washington or any- 
where but in Europe. Because of our distance from the front and the 
length of time required to put the American industrial machine into 
operation on a large scale, it was necessary that in advance we under- 
stand types and tendencies in aircraft construction, so that we might 
anticipate aircraft development in such special designs as we might 
adopt. Otherwise, if we accepted the types of equipment then in use 
in Europe, by the time we had begun producing on a large scale a year 
or so later we would find our output obsolete and out of date, so 
rapidly was the aircraft art moving. 

Consequently, in June the United States sent to Europe a commis- 
sion of six civilian and military experts, headed by Maj. B. C. Boiling, 
part of whose duties was to advise the American War Department as 
to what types of planes and engines and other air equipment we should 
prepare to manufacture. Also, in April the Chief of the Signal Corps 
had cables sent to England, France, and Italy, requesting that avia- 
tion experts be sent at once to this country; and shortly after this 
we dispatched to Europe more than 100 skilled mechanics to work in 
the foreign engine and airplane plants and acquire the training that 
would make them the nucleus of a large mechanical force for aircraft 
production in this country. 

But while these early educational activities were in progress, much 
could be done at home that need not await the forthcoming reports 
from the Boiling mission. We had, for instance, in this country sev- 
eral types of planes and engines that would be suitable for the training 
fields which were even then being established. The Signal Corps, 
therefore, bent its energies upon the manufacture of training equip- 
ment, leaving the development of battle aircraft to come after we 
should know more about that subject. 

It was evident that we could not equip an airplane industry and 
furnish machines to our fliers abroad before the summer of 1918; and 
so we arranged with France for this equipment by placing orders with 
French factories for 5,875 planes of regular French design. These 
were all to be delivered by July 1, 1918. 

In the arrangement with the French factories we agreed to supply 
from the United States a great deal of the raw materials for these 
machines, and the contract for furnishing these supplies was given to 
J. G. White & Co. of New York City. This concern did a creditable 
job, shipping about 5,000,000 feet of lumber, much necessary machin- 
ery, and a multitude of items required in the fabrication of airplanes, 
all to the value of $10,000,000. 

The total weight of the shipments on this contract was something 
like 23,000 tons, this figure including 7,500 tons of lumber. The 
other tonnage consisted of tubing of steel, brass, copper and alumi- 

109287°— 19 10 

242 America's munitions. 

num; sheets of steel, copper, lead, and aluminum; as well as bar 
steel, tool steel, structural steel, ball bearings, crank shafts, turn- 
buckles, radiator tubes, wire, cable, bolts, nuts, screws, nails, fiber 
cloth, felt, and rubber. All of this was in addition to approxi- 
mately 1,000 machine tools, such as motors, lathes, and grinders. 

The orders for French planes were divided as follows: 725 Nieuport 
training planes, 150 Spad training planes, 1,500 Breguet service 
planes; 2,000 Spad service planes; and 1,500 New Spad or Nieuport 
service planes. The decision between the New Spad or Nieuport 
service planes was to be made as soon as the New Spad could he 
tested. These planes were to be delivered in specified monthly 
quantities increasing in number until the total of 1,360 planes should 
be placed in our hands during the month of March, 1918, alone. The 
contracts were to be concluded in June with the delivery of the final 
1,115 planes. We also contracted for the manufacture of 8,500 
service engines of the Renault, Hispano and Gnome makes, all of 
these to be delivered by the end of June. 

When the armistice ended the fighting, we had produced a total of 
11,754 airplanes in America, together with most of the necessary 
spare parts for about one-third of them. 

While a large part of the American airplanes built in the war 
period were of the training type rather than the service, or battle, 
type, nevertheless it was necessary that we have a large equipment 
of training planes in order to prepare the swiftly expanding per- 
sonnel of the Air Service for its future activity at the front. The 
nations associated with us in the war, however, had produced their 
training equipment prior to our participation as a belligerent, and 
at the time we entered the war the French, British, and Italians 
were producing only enough training planes to maintain their train- 
ing equipment and were going in heavily with the rest of their air- 
plane industries for the production of service planes. 

With these considerations in mind, the reader may make an 
interesting comparison of British and American plane production, 
the British figures being for both the British Army and the British 
Navy, whereas the American figures are for the American Army 
alone. In the following table of comparison the British figures 
are based on the Lockhart Report of November 1, 1918: 

Comparative rate of airplane production — British and United States Army. 

Calendar year. 


Army and 



1915, Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. 

1916, Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. 

1917, Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. 

1918, Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. 







i Experimental. 

* 1,476 built in last seven months only. 

* Inclusive of 135 secured by Engineering Department. American total 12,837 U October production 
bad continued through November and December. 


Broadly stated, and without reference to types of planes produced, 
these figures mean that the United States in her second year of the 
war produced for the American Army alone almost as many airplanes 
as Great Britain in her third year of the war built for both her army 
and navy. In October, 1918, factories in this country turned out 
1,651 planes, which, without allowing for the monthly expansion 
in the production, was at the rate of 20,000 planes per year. As- 
suming no increase in the October rate of production, we would have 
attained the 22,000 airplanes in 23 months after July 1, 1917, the 
date on which the production effort may be said to have started. 
Our production of fighting planes in the war period was 3,328. 

On the day the armistice was signed we had received from all 
sources 16,952 planes. Of these 5,198 had been produced for us by 
the allies. We had 48 flying fields, 20,568 Air Service officers, and 
174,456 enlisted men and civilian personnel. These figures do not 
mean that we had more than 17,000 planes on hand at that time, 
because the mortality in airplanes is high from accidents and ordinary 
wear and tear. 


Once we had started out on this enterprise we soon discovered that 
the production of airplanes was something more than a mere manu- 
facturing job. With almost any other article we might have made 
our designs, given orders to the factories, and rested in the security 
that in due time the articles would be forthcoming. But with air- 
planes we had to create the industry; and this meant not only the 
equipping of factories, but the procurement and sometimes the actual 
production of the raw materials. 

For instance, the ideal lubricant for the airplane motor is castor oil. 
When we discovered that the supply of castor oil was not nearly suffi- 
cient for our future needs, the Government itself secured from Asia 
a large quantity of castor beans, enough to seed more than 100,000 
acres in this country and thus to provide for the future lubrication for 
our motors. This actual creation of raw materials was conducted on 
a much larger scale in the cases of certain other commodities used in 
airplane construction, particularly in the production of lumber and 
cotton and in the manufacture of the chemicals for the "dope" with 
which the airplane wings are covered and made air-tight. 

An airplane must have wings and an engine with a propeller to 
make it go; and, like a bird, it must have a tail to make it fly straight 
and a body (fuselage) to hold all together. Part of the tail (the 
rudder) moves sideways and steers the airplane from left to right; 
part moves up and dow*n (the elevators) and makes the airplane go 
up or down, and parts of the wings (the ailerons) move up and down 
and make the airplane tip from side to side. All of these things must 
be connected to the controls in the hands of the pilot. The front 

244 America's mvnttions. 

edges of the wings are raised above the line of flight; and when the 
propeller driven by the engine forces the wings through the air, the 
airplane is lifted and flies. 

All of the airplanes built for the United States during the war were 
tractor biplanes. In a plane of the tractor type the propeller is in 
front and pulls the machine. The biplane is so called because it has 
two planes or wings, one above the other. The biplane has been the 
most largely used of all types in war for two reasons : first, the struts . 
and wires between the planes form a truss structure, and this gives 
the needed strength; and second, there is less danger of enemy bul- 
lets wrecking a biplane in the air because its wing support is greater 
than that of the monoplane or single-winged machine. 

Since the airplane can lift only a limited weight, every part of the 
mechanism must be as light as possible. An airplane engine weighs 
from 2 to 3 pounds per horsepower, whereas an automobile motor 
weighs from 8 to 10 pounds per horsepower. The skeleton of the 
airplane is made of wood, mostly spruce, with sheet-steel fittings to 
join the wood parts together, and steel wires and rods to make 
every part a truss. This skeleton is covered with cloth, and the 
cloth is stretched and made smooth by dope. 

Wood, sheet steel, wire, cloth, varnish — these are the principal 
components of an airplane. As raw materials they all seem easy to 
obtain in America. And so they are in peace times and for ordinary 
purposes. But never before had quality been so essential in an 
American industry, from the raw material up to the finished prod- 
uct — quality in the materials used, and quality in the workmanship 
which fashions the parts. But combined with this quality we were 
forced to produce in quantities, bounded only by our own physical 
limitations, and these quantities must include not only the materials 
for our own air program but also some of the principal raw materials 
used by the airplane builders in France and England, specifically, all 
of the spruce which the allies would require and, later, much of the 
wing fabric and dope for their machines. 

Quite early it was apparent to us that we had on our hands a 
problem in spruce production which the Government itself must 
solve, if the airplane undertaking were not to fail at the outset. 
When we entered the war linen was exclusively used for the covering 
of wings; and it developed almost immediately that the United 
Kingdom was practically the sole source of linen. But the Irish 
looms could not begin to furnish us with our needs for this commodity. 
Later on came up the question of supplying dope and castor oil. 
Finally, during the last months of the war, it became necessary for 
us to follow up the production of all classes of our raw material, 
particularly in working out a suitable supply of steel tubing. But 
our great creative efforts in raw materials were confined to spruce, 
fabric, and dope. 


The lumber problem involved vast questions of an industrial and 
technical character. We had to conduct a campaign of education in 
the knowledge of aircraft requirements that reached from the loggers 
themselves in the woods to the saw-mill men, to the cut-up plants, 
and then followed through the processes of drying and sawing to the 
proper utilization of the lumber in the aircraft factories. 

In working out these problems, while we drew heavily upon the 
experience in Europe, yet we ourselves added our own technical 
skill to the solution. The Signal Corps was assisted by the forest 
products laboratory at Madison, Wis., and by the wood section of 
the inspection department of the Bureau of Aircraft Production. 
The United States Forest Service contributed its share of technical 
knowledge. At the end of the war we considered that our practice 
in the handling of aircraft lumber was superior to that of either 
France or England. 


Each airplane uses two distinct sorts of wood — first, the spruce or 
similar lumber for the wing beams or other plane parts; and second, 
mahogany, walnut, or other hardwoods for propellers. In each case 
the Army production authorities were involved both in securing the 
lumber and in educating manufacturers to handle it properly. 

In an ordinary biplane there are two beams for each lateral wing, 
eight beams to the plane. These form the basis of strength for the 
wings. Because of the heavy stresses put upon the airplanes by 
battle conditions, only the most perfect and straight-grained wood 
is suitable for these beams. All cross-grained or spiral -grained 
material, or material too coarse in its structure, is useless. 

Spruce is the best of all woods for wing beams. Our problem was 
to supply lumber enough for the wing beams, disregarding the other 
parts, as all other wood used in the manufacture of planes could be 
secured from cuttings from the wing-beam stock. At the beginning 
we built each beam out of one piece of wood; and this meant that the 
lumber must be extra long, thick, and perfect. Until we learned how 
to cut the spruce economically we found that only a small portion of 
the lumber actually logged was satisfactory for airplanes. An average 
sized biplane uses less than 500 feet of lumber. In the hands of 
skilled cutters this quantity can be worked out of 1,000 feet of rough 
lumber. But in the earlier days of the undertaking as high as 5,000 
feet of spruce per plane were actually used because of imperfections 
in the lumber, lack of proper inspection at the mills, and faulty 
handling in transit and in the factories. 

We also used certain species of fir in building training planes. This 
wood is, like spruce, light, tough, and strong. The only great source 
of supply of these woods was in the Pacific Northwest, although there 
was a modest quantity of suitable timber in West Virginia, North 
Carolina, and New England. 

246 America's Mtramoire, 

While at first we expected to rely upon the unaided efforts of the 
lumber producers, labor difficulties almost immediately arose in the 
Northwest to hinder the production of lumber. The effort, too, was 
beset with difficulties of a physical nature, since the large virgin 
stands of spruce occurred only at intervals and often at long distances 
from the existing railroads. By the middle of October, 1917, it 
became evident that the northwestern lumber industry unaided could 
not deliver the spruce and fir; and the Chief of Staff of the Army 
formed a military organization to handle the situation. On Novem- 
ber 6, 1917, Col. Brice P. Disque took command of the Spruce Pro- 
duction Division of the Signal Corps, this organization later being 
transferred to the Bureau of Aircraft Production. 


When Col. Disque went into the Northwest he found the industry 
in chaotic condition. The I. W. W. was demoralizing the labor forces. 
The mills did not have the machinery to cut the straight-grained 
lumber needed and their timber experts were not sufficiently skilled 
in the selection and judging of logs to secure the maximum footage. 
The whole industry was organized along lines of quantity production 
and desired to avoid all high quality requirements insisted upon by 
the Government. 

One of the first acts of the military organization was to organize 
a society called the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen, the 
" L. L. L. L.," to offset the I. W. W. propaganda, its platform being, no 
strikes, fair wages, and the conscientious production of the Govern- 
ment's requirements. On March 1, 1918, 75,000 lumbermen and 
operators agreed without reservation to give Col. Disque power to 
decide all labor disputes. The specifications for logs were then 
standardized and modified as far as practicable to meet the manufac- 
turers' needs. We arranged financial assistance that they might 
equip their mills with the proper machinery. We instituted a system 
of instruction for the personnel. Finally, the Government fixed a 
price for aircraft spruce that stabilized the industry and provided 
against delays from labor disputes. 

While these basic reforms were being instituted our organization 
had energetically taken up the physical problems relating to the work. 
We surveyed the existing stands of spruce timber, built railroads con- 
necting them with the mills, and projected other railroads far into the 
future. We began and encouraged logging by farmers in small operas 
tions. By these and other methods employed, the efficiency of this 
production effort gradually increased. 

In all, we took 180,000,000 feet of aircraft lumber out of the north- 
western forests. To the allies went 120,000,000 feet; to the United 
States Army and Navy, 60,000,000 feet. 

Yet when we had resolved the difficulties in the forests only 
part of the problem had been met. Next came the intricate indus- 


trial question of how to prepare this lumber for aircraft use. We 
possessed little knowledge as to the proper methods of seasoning this 
timber. The vast majority of woodworking plants in this country, 
such as furniture and piano makers, had always dried lumber to the 
end that it might keep its shape. We now were faced with the tech- 
nical question of drying lumber so as to preserve its strength. The 
forest products laboratory worked out a scientific method for this 
sort of seasoning. Incidentally they discovered that ordinary com- 
mercial drying had seldom been carried on scientifically. The country 
will receive a lasting benefit from this instruction carried broadcast 
over the industry. 

In the progress of our wood studies we discovered a method of 
splicing short lengths of spruce to make wing beams and in the later 
months of the production used these spliced beams exclusively at a 
great saving in raw material The use of laminated beams would 
probably have become universal in another year of warfare. 


The flying surfaces of an airplane are made by stretching cloth 
over the frames. When we came into war it was supposed that 
linen was the only common fabric with sufficient strength for this 
use, and linen was almost exclusively used by the airplane builders, 
although Italian manufacturers were trying to develop a cotton 
fabric. Of the three principal sources of flax, Belgium had been 
cut off from the allies, Russia was isolated entirely after the revolu- 
tion there, and Ireland was left as the sole available land from which 
flax for airplane linen could be obtained. 

As late as August, 1917, England assured us that she could supply 
all of the linen that would be needed. It rapidly became evident 
that England had underestimated our requirements. An average air- 
plane requires 250 yards of fabric, while some of the large machines 
need more than 500 yards. And these requirements do not take 
into consideration the spare wings which must be supplied with each 
airplane. This meant a demand for millions of yards put upon the 
Irish supply, which had no such surplus above allied needs. 

For some time prior to April 6, 1917, the Bureau of Standards at 
Washington had been experimenting with cotton airplane cloths. 
Out of the large variety of fabrics tested several promising experi- 
mental cloths were produced. The chief objection to cotton was that 
the dope which gave satisfactory results on linen failed to work with 
uniformity on cotton. Therefore, it became apparent that if we 
were to use cotton fabric, we should have to invent a new dope. 

Two grades of cotton airplane cloth were finally evolved — A, which 
had a minimum strength of 80 pounds per inch, and B, with a mini- 
mum strength of 75 pounds per inch. Grade A was later universally 

248 America's munitions. 

adopted. This cloth weighed four and one-half ounces per square 

We placed our first orders for cotton airplane fabric in September, 
1917 — orders for 20,000 yards — and from that time on the use of 
linen decreased. By March of 1918 the production of cotton airplane 
cloth had reached 400,000 yards per month. In May the production 
was about 900,000 yards; and when the war ended this material was 
being turned out at the rate of 1,200,000 yards per month. Starting 
with a few machines, our cotton mills had gradually brought 2,600 
looms into the .enterprise, each loom turning out about 120 yards 
of cloth in a week. A total of 10,248,355 yards of cotton fabric 
was woven and delivered to the Government — over 5,800 miles of 
it, nearly enough to reach from California to France. The use of 
cotton fabric so expanded that in August, 1918, we discontinued the 
importations of linen altogether. 

There was, however, danger that we would be limited in our output 
of cotton fabric if there were any curtailment in the supply of the 
long-staple sea-island and Egyptian cotton of which this cloth is 
made. To make sure that there would be no shortage of this material 
the Signal Corps in November, 1917, went into the market and 
purchased 15,000 bales of sea-island cotton. This at all times gave 
us an adequate reserve of raw material for the new fabric. 

Cotton proved to be not only an admirable substitute for linen 
but even a better fabric than the original cloth which had been used. 
No matter how abundant the supply of flax may be, it is unlikely 
that linen will ever again be used in large quantities for the manu- 
facture of airplane wings. 

Thus, as the airplane situation was saved by the prompt action 
of the Signal Corps in organizing and training the spruce industry, 
so again its decision to produce cotton fabric and its prompt action 
in cornering the necessary cotton supply made possible the uninter- 
rupted expansion of the allied aviation program. 

The wings of an airplane must not only be covered with fabric, 
but the fabric must be filled with dope, which is a sort of varnish. 
The function of the dope is to stretch the cloth tight and to create 
on it a smooth surface. After the dope is on the fabric the surface 
is protected further by a coat of ordinary spar varnish. 

We found in the market two sorts of dope which were being fur- 
nished to airplane builders of all countries by various chemical and 
varnish manufacturers. One of these dopes was nitrate in character 
and was made from nitrocellulose and certain wood-chemical solvents 
including alcohol. This produced a surface similar to that of a pho- 
tographic film. The other kind of dope had an acetate base and was 
made from cellulose-acetate and such wood chemical solvents as 


The nitrate dope burned rapidly when ignited but the acetate type 
was slow burning. Thus in training planes not subject to attack by 
enemy incendiary bullets the nitrate dope would be fairly satisfactory, 
but in the fighting planes the sloW-burning acetate dope was a vital 
necessity. Up to our participation in the war the dopes produced in 
the United States were principally nitrate in character. 

It was evident that we should make our new dope acetate in char- 
acter to avoid the danger of fire. But for this we would require great 
quantities of acetone and acetate chemicals, and a careful canvass of 
the supply of such ingredients showed that it would be impossible for 
us to obtain these in anything like the quantities we should require 
without developing absolutely new sources of production. 

Already acetone and its kindred products were being absorbed in 
large quantities by the war production of the allies. The British 
Army was absolutely dependent upon cordite as a high explosive. 
Acetone is the chemical basis of cordite; and therefore the British 
Army looked with great concern upon the added demand which the 
American aviation program proposed to put upon the acetone supply. 

We estimated that in 1918 we would require 25,000 tons of acetone 
in our dope production. The British war mission in this country sub- 
mitted figures showing that the war demands of the allies, together 
with their necessary domestic requirements, would in themselves be 
greater than the total world production of acetone. 

There Was nothing then for us to do but to increase the source of 
supply of these necessary acetate compounds; and this was done by 
encouraging, financially and otherwise, the establishment of 10 large 
chemical plants. These were located in as many towns and cities, as 
follows: Collinwood, Tenn.; Tyrone, Pa.; Mechanicsville, N. Y.; 
Shawinigan Falls, Canada; Kingsport, Tenn.; Lyle, Tenn.; Free- 
mont, Mo.; Sutton, W. Va.; Shelby, Ala.; and Terre Haute, Ind. 

But it was evident that before these plants could be completed the 
airplane builders would be needing dope; and therefore steps were 
taken to keep things going in all the principal countries fighting Ger- 
many until the acetate shortage could be relieved. In December, 
1917, we commandeered all the existing American supply of acetate 
of lime, the base frgm which acetone and kindred products are made. 
Then we entered into a pool with the allied governments to ration 
these supplies of chemicals, pending the era of plenty. Our agency 
in this pool was the wood-chemical section of the War Industries 
Board, whereas the allies placed their demands in the hands of the 
British war mission. These two boards allocated the acetate chemi- 
cals among the different countries according to the urgency of their 
demands. Since it was evident there might be financial losses in- 
curred as the result of the commandeering order or in the project of 
the new Government chemical plants, the British war mission agreed 

260 America's munition's. 

that any deficit should be shared equally by the American and 
British Governments. It was also agreed we should not have any 
advantage in prices paid for acetates of American origin. Under this 
arrangement we were able to produce 1,324,356 gallons of fabric dope 
during the period of hostilities, without upsetting any of the Euro- 
pean war-production projects. Had the war continued, the output 
from the 10 chemioal plants in which the Government was a partner 
would have cared for all Amerioan and allied requirements, allowing 
the production of private plants to go exclusively for the ordinary 
commercial purposes. 


The actual building of the airplanes gave a striking example of the 
value of previous experience, either direct or of a kindred nature, in 
the quantity production of an article. What airplanes we had built 
in the United States — and the number was small, being less than 800 
in the 12 months prior to April, 1917 — had been entirely of the train- 
ing type. These had been produced principally for foreign govern- 
ments. But this slight manufacture gave us a nucleus of skill and 
equipment that we were able to expand to meet our own training 
needs almost as rapidly as fields could be equipped and student avia- 
tors enlisted. The training-plane program can be called a success, 
as the final production figures show. Of the 11,754 airplanes actually 
turned out by American factories, 8,567 were training machines. 
This was close to the 10,000 mark set as our ambition in June, 1917. 

There are two types of training planes — those used in the primary 
instruction of students and those in the advanced teaching, the 
latter approaching the service planes in type. The primary plane 
carries the student and the instructor. Each occupant of the 
fuselage has before him a full set of controls which are interconnected 
so that the instructor at will can do the flying himself, or correct the 
student's false moves, or allow the student to take complete charge 
of the machine. These primary planes fly at the relatively slow 
speed of 75 miles per hour on the average and require engines so 
reliable that they need little attention. 

For our training planes we adopted the Curtiss JN-4, with the 
Curtiss OX-5 engine, and as a supplementary equipment the Standard 
Aero Corporation's J-l plane, with the Hall-Scott A-7-A engine. 
Both of these planes and both engines had been previously manu- 
factured here. The Curtiss equipment, which was the standard at 
our training camps, gave complete satisfaction. The J-l plane was 
later withdrawn from use, partly because the plane itself was not 
liked, partly because of the vibration resulting from this Hall-Scott 
engine, it having only four cylinders, and partly because of the 
uncertainty of the engine in cold weather. 

L_ - 


It was evident that at the start we must turn our entire manu- 
facturing capacity to the production of training planes, since we 
would need these first in any event, and we were not yet equipped 
with the knowledge to enable us to make intelligent selections of 
service types. 

In taking up the manufacturing problem the first step was to divide 

the existing responsible airplane plants between the Army and Navy, 

following the general rule that a single plant should confine its work 

to the needs of one Government department only. There were, of 

course, exceptions to this rule. This division gave to the Army the 

plants of the — 

Curtias Aeroplane <k Motor Corporation, Buffalo, N. Y. 
Standard Aircraft Corporation, Elizabeth. N. J. 
Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation, Ithaca, N. Y. 
Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif. 
Sturtevant Aeroplane Co., Boston, Mass. 

The factories which fell to the Navy were those of the — 

Curtifls Aeroplane & Motor Corporation, Buffalo, N. Y. 

The Burgess Co., Marblehead, Mass. 

L. W. F. (Lowe, Willard & Fowler) Engineering Co., College Point, Long 

Aeromarine Engineering & Sales Co., New York. 
Gallaudet Aircraft Corporation, New York. 
Boeing Airplane Co., Seattle, Wash. 

Of these concerns, Curtiss, Standard, Burgess, L. W. F., Thomas- 
Morse, and Wright-Martin were the only ones which had ever built 
more than 10 machines. 

These factories were quite insufficient in themselves to carry 
out the enterprise. Therefore it became necessary to create other 
airplane plants. Two new factories thereupon sprang into existence 
under Government encouragement. The largest producer of auto- 
mobile bodies was the Fisher Body Co., at Detroit, Mich. The manu- 
facture of automobile bodies is akin to the manufacture of airplanes 
to the extent that each is a fabrication of accurate, interchangeable 
wood and sheet-steel parts. The Fisher organization brought into 
the enterprise not only machinery and buildings but a skilled organ- 
ization trained in such production on a large scale. 

At Dayton, Ohio, the Dayton-Wright Airplane Corporation was 
created. With this company was associated Orville Wright, and 
its engineering force was built up aiound the old Wright organiza- 
tion. A number of immense buildings which had been recently 
erected for other purposes were at once utilized in this new under- 

As an addition to these two large sources of supply, J. G. White & 
Co. and J. G. Brill & Co., the well-known builders of street cars, 
formed the Springfield Aircraft Corporation at Springfield, Mass. 

252 America's munitions. 

Also certain foi ward-looking men on the Pacific coast created in 
California several airplane plants, some of which ultimately became 
satisfactory producers of training planes. 

At this point in the development we were not aware of the great 
production of spare parts that would be necessary. Yet we did 
understand that there must be a considerable production of spares; 
and in order to take the burden of this manufacture from the regular 
airplane plants, and also to educate other factories up to the point 
where they might undertake the construction of complete airplanes, 
we placed many contracts for spare parts with widely scattered 
concerns. Among the principal producers of spares were the 

The Metz Co., Waltham, Mass. 

Sturtevant Aeroplane Co., Jamaica Plains, Mass. 

Wilson Body Co., Bay City, Mich. 

West Virginia Aircraft Corporation, Wheeling, W. Va. 

The Rubay Co., Cleveland, Ohio. 

Engel Aircraft Co., Niles, Ohio. 

Hayes-Ionia Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 

For a long time the supply of spare parts was insufficient for the 
needs of the training fields. This was only partly due to the early 
lack of a proper realization of the quantity of spares that would be 
required. The production of spares on an adequate scale was ham- 
pered by numerous manufacturing difficulties incident to new 
industry of any sort in shops unacquainted with the work, and by 
a lack of proper drawings for the parts. 

As to the training planes themselves, with all factories in the 
country devoting themselves to this type exclusively at the start, 
the production soon attained great momentum. The Curtiss Co. 
particularly produced training planes at a pace far beyond anything 
previously obtained. The maximum production of JN-4 machines 
was reached in March, 1918, when 756 were turned out. 

Advanced training machines are faster, traveling at about 105 
miles per hour ; and they carry various types of equipment to train ob- 
servers, gunners, photographers, and ladio men. For this machine we 
adopted the Curtiss JN-4H, which was substantially the same as the 
primary training plane, except that it carried a 150-hoisepower 
Hispano-Siiiza engine. We also built a few "penguin?," a kind 
of half airplane that never leaves the ground; but this French method 
of training with penguins we never really adopted. 

The finishing school for our aviators was in France, where the 
training was conducted in Nieuports and other fighting machines. 

In July, 1918, we reached the maximum production of the advanced 
training machines, the output being 427. As the supply of primary 
training planes met the demands of the fields, the production was 



reduced, since the original equipment, kept up by only enough 
manufacture to produce spares and replacement machines, would 
suffice to train all of the aviators that we would need. 
The actual production of training planes by months was as follows: 






















6H, 8-4B 

and C, E-l, 




1918— Continued. 
























6H, S-4B 

and C, E-l, 





It was not until we took up the production of fighting, or servioe, 
airplanes that we came into a full realization of the magnitude of 
the engineering and manufacturing problems involved. 

We had perhaps a dozen men in the United States who knew 
something about the designing of flying machines, but not one in 
touch with the development of the art in Europe or who was com- 
petent to design a complete fighting airplane. We had the necessary 
talent to produce designs and conduct the manufacture of training 
planes; but at the outset, at least, we were unwilling to attempt 
designs for service planes on our own initiative. At the beginning 
we were entirely guided by the Boiling mission in France as to types 
of fighting machines. 

In approaching this, the more difficult phase of the airplane 
problem, our first act was to take an inventory of the engineering 
plants in the United States available for our purposes. With the 
Curtiss Co. Was Glenn Curtiss, a leader of airplane design, and sev- 
eral competent engineers. The Curtiss Co. had been the largest pro- 
ducers in the United States of training machines for the British and 
had had the benefit of assistance from British engineers, and so 
possessed more knowledge and experience to apply to the service- 
plane problem than any other company. For this reason we selected 
this plant to duplicate the French Spad plane, the story of which 
undertaking will be told further on. 

Qrville Wright, the pioneer of flying, was not in the best of health, 
but was devoting his entire time to experimental work in Dayton. 

254 America's munitions. 

Willard, who had designed the L. W. F. airplane and was then with 
the Aeromarine Co.; Chas. Day, formerly with the Sloane Manufac- 
turing Co., and then with the Standard Aero Corporation; Starling 
Burgess, with the Burgess Co., of Marblehead, Mass.; Grover C. 
Loening, of the Sturtevant Co.; and D. D. Thomas, with the Thomas- 
Morse Co., were all aviation engineers on whom we could call. One 
of the best experts of this sort in the country was Lieut. Commander 
Hunsaker, of the Navy. In the Signal Corps we had Capt. V. E. 
dark, who was also an expert in aviation construction, and he had 
several able assistants under him. 

The Burgess factory at Marblehead, the Aeromarine plants at 
Nutley and Keyport, N. J., and the Boeing Airplane Co. at Seattle 
were to work exclusively for the Navy, according to the mutual 
agreement, taking their aeronautical engineers with them. This 
gave the Army the engineering resources of the Curtiss, Dayton- 
Wright, and Thomas-Morse companies. 

Quite early we decided to give precedence in this country to the 
observation type of service plane, eliminating the single-place fighter 
altogether and following the observation planes as soon as possible 
with production of two-place fighting machines. This decision was 
based o^| the fact, not always generally remembered, that the 
primary purpose of war flying is observation. The duels in the air 
that occurred in large numbers, especially during the earlier stages 
of the war, were primarily to protect the observation machines or 
to prevent observation by enemy machines. 

The first service plane which we put into production and which 
proved to be the main reliance of our service-plane program was the 
De Haviland-4, which is an observation two-place airplane propelled 
by a Liberty 12-cylinder engine. As soon as the Boiling mission began 
to recommend types of service machines, it sent samples of the planes 
thus recommended. The sample De Haviland was received in New 
York on July 18, 1917. After it had been studied by various officers 
it was sent to Dayton. It had reached us without engine, guns, arma- 
ment, or many other accessories later recommended as essential to a 
fighting machine. Before we could begin any duplication the plane 
had to be redesigned to take our machine guns, our instruments, and 
our other accessories, as well as our Liberty engine. 

The preliminary desiraing was complete, and the first American- 
built De Haviland model w i as ready to fly on October 29, 1917. 

Figure 11 does not tell quite the complete story of De Haviland 
production, since in August and September, 204 De Haviland planes 
which had been built were shipped to France without engines and 
were there knocked down to provide spare parts for other De Havi- 
lands in service. These 204 machines, therefore, do not appear in 
the production total. Adding them to the figures above, we find 



g JJ 



z 2 1 

1 il 

5 II 
* | 


2 2-" 

s se 


a s'l 


a S 

5 I 


that the total output of De Haviland airplanes up to the end of 
December, 1918, was in number 4,587. 

The production of the model machine only served to show us 
some of the problems which must be overcome before we could se- 
cure a standard design that could go into quantity production. 
Experimental work on the De Haviland continued during December, 
1917, and January and February, 1918. The struggle, for it was a 
Da HiVitAND^ Airplanes Phoducbb Each Month Dueino 1918. 

Apr, May. Juno. July. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Due. 

struggle, to secure harmony between this English design and the 
American equipment which it must contain ended triumphantly on 
the 8th day of April, 1918, when the machine known as No. 31 was 
completely finished and established as the model for the future De 
Havilands. The characteristics of the standard American De 
Haviland-4 were as follows: 

Endurance at 6,500 feet full throttle, 2 hours 13 minutes. 

Endurance at 6,500 £ee( h*lf throttle, 3 houre 3 roinutee. 

Ceiling, 19,500 feet. 

256 America's munitions. 

Climb to 10,000 feet (loaded) 14 minutes. 
Speed at ground level, 124.7 miles per hour. 
Speed at 6,500 feet, 120 miles per hour. 
Speed at 10,000 feet, 117 miles per hour. 
Speed at 15,000 feet, 113 miles per hour. 
Weight, bare plane, 2,391 pounds. 
Weight, loaded, 3,582 pounds. 

Endurance here means the length of time the fuel supply will 
last. The ceiling is the maximum altitude at which the plane can 
be maneuvered in actual service. Ground level means only far 
enough above the ground to be clear of obstructions. 

The first De Havilands arriving in France were immediately 
put together, such remediable imperfections as existed were cor- 
rected then and there, and the machines were flown to the training 
fields. The changing and increasing demands of the service in- 
dicated the advisability of certain changes of design. The foreign 
manufacturers had brought out a covering for the gasoline tanks, 
making them nearly leak-proof, even when perforated by a bullet. 
In the first De Havilands the location of the principal gas tanks 
between the pilot and the observer was not the best arrangement 
in that the men were too far apart from each other so that, if the 
machine went down, the pilot would be crushed by the gas tank. 
Also the radius of action was not considered to be great enough, 
even though the later machines of this type carried 88 gallons of 

As a result the American aircraft designers brought out an improved 
De Haviland known as the 9-A. This carried a Liberty-12 engine; and 
the main differences between it and the De Haviland-4 were new 
locations for pilot and tanks, their positions being changed about, 
increased gasoline capacity, and increased wing surface. The ma- 
chine was a cleaner, more finished design, showed slightly more 
speed, and had a greater radius of action than the De Haviland-4 
which it was planned to succeed. We ordered 4,000 of these new 
machines from the Curtiss Co., but the armistice cut short this 

The difficulties in the way of producing new service planes on a 
great scale without previous experience in such construction is clearly 
shown in the attempts we made to duplicate other successful foreign 
planesi On September 12, 1917, we received from the aviation 
experts abroad a sample of the French Spad. We had previously 
been advised to go into a heavy production of this model and had 
made arrangements for the Curtiss Co. at Buffalo to undertake the 
work. This development was well under way when in December a 
cablegram was received from Gen. Pershing advising us to leave the 
production of all single-place fighters to Europe. As a result we 
canceled the Spad order, and after that we attempted to build no 
single-place pursuit planes. 


At the time this course seemed to be justified. The day of the 
single seater seemed to be over. The lone occupant of the 
single seater can not keep his attention on all directions at once; 
and as the planes grew thicker in the air, the casualties among flyers 

But the development of formation flying restored the single-place 
machine to favor. The formation had no blind spot, thus removing 
the principal objection to the single seater. The end of the war 
found the one-man airplane more useful than ever. 

Our concentration here, however, was upon two-place fighters. 
On Atigust 25, 1917, we received from abroad a sample of the Bristol 
fighting plane, a two-seat machine. The Government engineers 
at once began redesigning this machine to take the Liberty-12 
engine and the American ordnance and accessories. The engine 
which had been used in the Bristol plane developed 275 horsepower. 
We proposed to equip it with an engine developing 400 horsepower. 

The Bristol undertaking was not successful. The fact that later 
in the airplane program American designers successfully developed 
two-seater pursuit planes around the Liberty-12 engine shows that 
the engine decision was not the fault in the Bristol failure. There 
were repeated changes in the engineering management of the 
Bristol job. First the Government engineers alone undertook it; 
then the Government engineers combined with the drafting force of 
the airplane factory; finally the Government placed on the factory 
the entire responsibility for the job, without, however, permitting 
the manufacturer to correct any of the basic principles involved. 
All in all, the development of an American Bristol was most unsatis- 
factory, and the whole project was definitely abandoned in June, 1918. 

The fundamental difficulty in all of these attempts was that we 
were trying to fit an American engine to a foreign airplane instead 
of building an American airplane around an American engine. It 
was inevitable that this difficulty should arise. We had skill to 
produce a great engine and did so, but for our earliest models of 
planes for this engine we relied Upon the foreign models until we 
were sufficiently advanced in the art to design for ourselves. We 
were successful in making the adaptation only in the case of the De 
Haviland and then only after great delay. 

But eventually we were to see some brilliantly successful efforts to 
design a two-place fighter around the Liberty-12. We had need of 
such a mechanism to supplement the De Haviland observation-plane 
production and make a complete service-plane program. 

On January 4, 1918, Capt. Lepere, a French aeronautical engineer, 
who had formerly been with the French Government at St. Cyr, 
began experimental work on a new plane at the factory of the Packard 
Motor Car Co. By May 18 his work had advanced to a stage where 

109287°— 19 17 


America's munitions. 

the Government felt justified in entering into a contract with, the 
Packard Co. to provide shop facilities for the production of 25 experi- 
mental planes under Capt. Lepere's direction. The result of these 
efforts was a two-place fighting machine built around a Liberty 
engine. From the start this design met with the approval of the 
manufacturer and engineers because of its clean-cut perfection. 

The performance of the Lepere plane in the air is indicated by the 
following figures: 

R. P. M-=revolutions made by propellers in a minute. 


10,000 feet. 
15,000 feet. 
20,000 feet. 




R. P. M. 

Miles an 


P. M. 

min. sec. 

10 35 

19 15 


J, 520 



Here at last was a machine that performed brilliantly in the air 
and contained great possibilities for quantity production, because it 
was designed from the start to fit American manufacturing methods. 
We placed orders for 3,525 Lepere machines. Norie of the fac- 
tories, however, had come into production with the Lepere on 
November 11, 1918. Seven sample machines had been turned out 
and put through every test. It was the belief of those in authority 
that at last the training and technique of the best aeronautical 
engineers of France had been combined with the Liberty, probably 
the best of all aerial engines; and it was believed that the spring of 
1919 would see the Yankee fliers equipped with American fighting 
machines that would be superior to anything they would be required 
to meet. 

Nor were these expectations without justification. The weeks and 
months following the declaration of the armistice and extending 
through to the spring of 1919 were to witness the birth of a whole 
brood of new typically American designs of airplanes of which the 
Lepere was the forerunner. In short, when the armistice brought 
the great aviation enterprise to an abrupt end, the American industry 
had fairly caught that of Europe, and America designers were ready 
to match their skill against that of the master builders of France, 
Great Britain, Italy, and the central powers. 

The Lepere 2-seated fighter was quickly followed by two other 
Lepere models — one of them, known as the Lepere C-21, being 
armored, and driven by a Bugatti engine, and the other a triplane driven 
by two Liberty engines and designed to be a day bomber. Then the 
first American designed single-seat pursuit planes began making their 
appearance — the Thomas-Morse pursuit plane, its 164 miles an hour 
at ground level, making it the fastest airplane ever tested by our Gov- 

a I 


eminent, if it were not the speediest plane ever built; the Ordnance 
Engineering Corporation's Scout,- an advanced training plane; and 
several others. In two-seater fighting planes there was the Loening 
monoplane, an extremely swift and advanced type. There were 
several other new two-seaters designed experimentally in some in- 
stances and some of them giving brilliant promise. 

Perhaps the severest and most exacting critic of aviation material 
is the aviator who has to fly the plane and fight with the equipment 
at the front. Brig. Gen. William Mitchell, then a colonel, was sent to 
France in 1917. He became in succession chief of the air service of 
the First Army Corps, chief of the air service of the First Army, and 
finally chief of the air service of the American group of armies in 
France. He commanded the aerial operations at the reduction of the 
St. Mihiel salient, where he gained the distinction of having com- 
manded more airplanes in action than were ever assembled before 
under a single command. At St. Mihiel there were 1,200 allied planes 
in actidn, including, with our own, French, English, and Italian planes. 

Gen. Mitchell, therefore, is a high authority as to the relative merits 
of air equipment from the airman's standpoint. In the spring of 1919, 
after a thorough investigation of the latest types of American planes 
and aerial equipment at the Wilbur Wright Field at Dayton, he sent 
to the Director of Air Service, Washington, D. C, the following tele- 
gram under date of April 20, 1919: 

I recommend the following airplanes in the numbers given be purchased at once: 
100 Lepere 2-place corps observation, 50 Loening 2-place pursuit, 100 Ordnance Engi- 
neering Corporation 1-place pursuit, 100 Thomas-Morse 1-place pursuit, 50 TJ8D9-A 
day bombardment, 700 additional Hispano-Suiza 300-horsepower engines, 2,000 para- 
chutes. All of the above types are the equal of or better than anything in Europe. 


Now, let us see some of the specifications and performances of these 
new models. The USD9-A, being the redesigned and improved 
De Haviland 4, may be given a place as a latest model. It is a two- 
place bombing plane of the tractor biplane type, equipped with a 
Liberty 12 engine and weighing 4,872 pounds, loaded with fuel, oil, 
guns, and bombs, and with its crew aboard. With this weight its 
performance record in the official tests at Wilbur Wright Field in 
Dayton was as follows: 

Speed (miles per hour): 

At ground 121. 5. 

At 6,500 feet 118. 5. 

At 10,000 feet 1 15. 5. 

At 15,000 feet 95.5. 


To 6,500 feet, time 11 minutes 40 seconds. 

To 10,000 feet, time 19 minutes 30 seconds. 

To 15,000 feet, time 49 minutes. 

Service ceilings (feet) 14,400. 

260 America's munitions. 

The Lepere C-ll, a tractor biplane equipped with a Liberty 12 
engine, Packard make, weighing with its load aboard 3,655 pounds, 
performed as follows in the tests at the Wilbur Wright Field: 

Speed (miles per hour): 

At ground 136. 

At 6,500 feet 130. 

At 10,000 feet 127. 

At 15,000 feet 118. 


To 6,500 feet, time 6 minutes. 

To 10,000 feet, time 10 minutes 35 seconds. 

To 15,000 feet, time 19 minutes 15 seconds. 

Service ceiling (feet) 21,000. 

Endurance at full speed at ground (hours) 2.5. 

The Lepere carries two Marlin gups synchronized with the propeller 
and operated by the pilot and two Lewis guns operated by the ob- 
server. A total of 1,720 rounds of ammunition is carried. 

The Loening monoplane, a tractor airplane equipped with an 
Hispano-Suiza 300-horsepower engine and representing, loaded, a 
gross weight of 2,680 pounds, its military load including two Marlin 
and two Lewis machine guns, performed as follows at the Wilbur 
Wright Field: 

Speed (miles per hour): 

At ground 143.5. 

At 6,500 feet 138.2. 

At 10,000 feet 135. 

At 15,000 feet 127.6. 


To 6,500 feet, time 5 minutes 12 seconds. 

To 10,000 feet, time 9 minutes 12 seconds. 

To 15,000 feet, time 18 minutes 24 seconds. 

Service ceiling (feet) 18,500. 

The Ordnance Scout with a Le Rhone 80-horsepower engine, 
weighing, loaded, 1,117 pounds, is an advanced training plane. In its 
official test at Wilbur Wright Field it performed as follows: 

Speed (miles per hour): 

At 6,500 feet 90. 

At 10,000 feet 83.7. 

At 15,000 feet 69.8. 


To 6,000 feet, time 8 minutes 30 seconds. 

To 10,000 feet, time 17 minutes 40 seconds. 

To 14,000 feet, time : 43 minutes 20 seconds. 

The Thomas-Morse MB-3 pursuit plane, a tractor biplane equipped 
with an Hispano-Suiza 300-horsepower engine, weighing, including 
its crew but without military load, 1,880 pounds, in unofficial tests 
at Wilbur Wright Field, performed as follows: 

Speed, at ground level (miles per hour) 163.68. 

Climb , to 10,000 feet 4 minutes 52 seconds. 


The Thomas-Morse pursuit plane is armed with two Browning 
machine guns synchronized with the propeller and carries 1,500 
rounds of ammunition. 

Uncertain as we were originally as to types of pursuit and obser- 
vation planes to produce in this country, we were still more un- 
certain as to designs of night-bombing machines. These relatively 
slow weight-carrying planes were big and required the motive 
power of two or three engines, with the complications attendant 
upon double or triple power plants. They really presented the most 
difficult manufacturing problem which we encountered. Until the 
summer of 1918 there were only two machines of this type which we 
could adopt, the Handley-Page and the Caproni. We put the 
Handley-Page into production, not because it was necessarily as 
perfect as the Caproni, but because we could get the drawings for 
this machine and could not get the drawings for the Caproni, owing 
to complications in the negotiations for the right to construct the 
Italian airplane. 

We were not entirely satisfied with the decision to build Handley- 
Pages, because the ceiling, or maximum working altitude which 
could be attained by this machine, was low; and, 12 months later, 
when we were in production, we might find the Handley-Pages of 
doubtful value because of the ever-increasing ranges of antiaircraft 

We secured a set of drawings, supposed to be complete, for the 
Handley-Page in August, 1917; but twice during the following 
winter new sets of drawings were sent from England, and few, if any, 
of the parts as designed in the original drawings escaped alteration. 
The Handley-Page has a wing spread of over 100 feet. Therefore, 
it was evident from the start that such machines could not have the 
fuselage, wings, and other large parts assembled in this country for 
shipment complete to Europe. We decided to manufacture the parts 
in this country and assemble the machines in England, the British 
air ministry in London having entered into a contract for the crea- 
tion of an assembling factory at Oldham, England, in the Lancashire 
district. When it is realized that each Handley-Page involves 
100,000 separate parts, the magnitude of the manufacturing job 
alone may be somewhat understood. But after they were manu- 
factured, these parts, particularly the delicate members made of 
wood, had to be carefully packed so as to reach England in good 
condition. The packing of the parts was in itself a problem. 

We proposed to drive the American Handley-Pages with two 
Liberty 12 engines in each machine. The fittings, which were ex- 
tremely intricate pieces of pressed steel work, were practically all to 
be produced by the Mullins Steel Boat Co. at Salem, Ohio. Con- 
tracts for the other parts were placed with the Grand Rapids Air- 

262 amebica's munitions. 

plane Co., a concern which had been organized by a group of furniture 
makers at Grand Rapids, Mich. 

All of the parts were to be brought together previously to ocean 
shipment in a warehouse built for the purpose at the plant of the 
Standard Aero Corporation at Elizabeth, N. J. The Standard Aero 
Corporation was engaged under contract to set up 10 p9r cent of the 
Handley-Page machines complete in this country. These were to 
be used at our training fields. 

Again, in the case of the Handley-Page, the engineering details 
proved to be a serious cause of delay. We found it difficult to install 
the Liberty engines in this foreign plane. When the armistice cut 
short operations, 100 complete sets of parts had been shipped to 
England, and seven complete machines had been assembled in this 

None of the American-built Handley-Page machines saw service in 
Prance. There had been great delay in the construction of the assem- 
bling plant in England, and the work of setting up the machines had 
only started when the armistice was signed. The performance table 
of the Handley-Page shows its characteristics as follows: 

Speed at ground level, 97 miles per hour. 
Climb to 7,000 feet, 18 minutes 10 seconds. 
Climb to 10,000 feet, 29 minutes. 
Ceiling 14,000 feet, 60 minutes. 

On its tests 390 gallons of gasoline, 20 gallons of oil, and 7 men were 
carried, but no guns, ammunition, nor bombs. 

After a long delay, about January 1, 1918, tentative arrangements 
had been made with the Caproni interests looking toward the pro- 
duction of Caproni biplanes in this country. These machines had a 
higher ceiling and a greater speed than the Handley-Page. Capt. 
d'Annunzio with 14 expert Italian workmen, bringing with him 
designs and samples, came to this country and initiated the redesign- 
ing of the Caproni machine to accommodate three Liberty engines. 
The actual production of Caproni planes in this country was limited 
to a few samples which were being tested when the armistice was 
signed. The factories had tooled up for the production, however, 
and in a few months Capronis would doubtless have been produced 
in liberal quantities. 

Tke performance of the sample planes in two tests is shown by the 
following figures: 

Speed at ground level . 

Climb to 6,500 feet 

Cimb to 10,000 feet.... 
Climb to 11,200 feet.... 
Climb to 13,000 feet.... 

Test 2. 

100 miles per hour 

16 minutes 18 seconds . 
33 minutes 18 seconds . 
49 minutes 

103.2 miles per hour. 
14 minutes 12 seconds. 
28 minutes 42 seconds. 

46 minutes 30 seconds. 




As we had produced fighting planes built around the Liberty 
motor, so, too, in the night-bombing olasa American invention, with 
the experience of several months of actual production behind it, was 
able to bring out an American bombing plane that promised to super- 
sede all other types in existence. This machine was designed by 
Glen L. Martin in the fall of 1918. It was a night-bomber equipped 
with two Liberty 12-cylinder engines. The Martin spread of 75 feet 
gave it a carrying capacity comparable with that of the Handley- 
Page. Its speed of 118 miles an hour at ground level far exceeded 
that of either the Caproni or Handley-Page, and it was evident that 
its ceiling would be higher than that of the Caproni, the estimated 
ceiling of the Martin being 18,000 feet. The machine never reached 
the state of actual quantity production, but several experimental 
models were built and tested. Being built around its engine it re- 
flected clean-cut principles of design, and its performances in the air 
were truly remarkable for a machine of its type. The following table 
shows the results of the preliminary tests of the Martin bomber: 

Speed at ground level , 
Climb to 6,500 foet.... 
Climb to 10,000 feet . . . 
Climb to 15,000 feet... 
Total weight.. <. 

113.3 miles per hoar . . , 
10 minutes 45 seconds . 
21 minutes 20 seconds . 

9,683 pounds. 

Test 2. 

118.8 miles per hour. 

7 minutes. 

14 minutes. 

30 minutes 30 seconds. 

8,137 pounds. 

The total delivery of airplanes to the United States during the 
period of the war was 16,952. These came from the following sources : 
United States contractors, 11,754; France, 4,881; England, 258; 
Italy, 59. 

Figure 12. 

TJ. S. Squadrons at the Front. 

A squadron is equipped with from 15 to 25 planes. 

Apr. 30, 1918 3 

May 31, 1918 12 

111116 30,1918 13 

July 31, 1918 14 

Aug. 31, 1918 26 

Sept. 30, 1918 .... 32 

Oct. 31, 1918 43 

Nov. 11,1918 45 

Estimates of aircraft strength on the front were always uncertain, 
due to variations in the estimates of the number of planes in a 
squadron. The standing of the United States in aeroplanes at the 

264 America's munitions. 

front is indicated in the estimate of the American Air Service as of 
November 11, 1918. The figures of this estimate are as follows: 

France 3, 000 

Great Britain 2, 100 

United States *.. 860 

Italy GOO 

Total 6,560 

These figures represent fighting planes equipped ready for service, 
but do not include replacement machines at the front or in depots 
or training machines in France. 

Fiouu 13. 

Comparison Enemy Planes Brought Down fir U, S. Forces and U. S. Planes 
Brought Down by the Eneky. 

The actual strength of the central powers in the air is at this time 
not definitely known to us. Such figures as we have are viewed with 
suspicion because of the two methods of observation in reporting an 
enemy squadron. This may be 24 planes to a squadron, that number 
representing the planes in active service in the air. But each squad- 
ron had a complement of replacement planes equalling the number 
of active planes, so that the squadron could be listed with 48 planes. 

However, as some indication of the relative air strengths of the 
central powers we have a report from the chief of the Air Service of 
the American Expeditionary Forces showing that on July 30, 1918, 
Germany had 2,592 planes on the front and Austria 717. 





The Liberty engine was America's distinctive contribution to the war 
in the air, and her chief one. The engine was developed in those first 
chaotic weeks of preparation of 1917, when our knowledge of planes, 
instruments, and armament as then known in Europe was still a 
thing of the future. The manufacture of engines for any aeronau- 
tical purpose was one which we might approach with confidence. 
We possessed in the United States motor engineering talent at least 
as great as any in Europe, while in facilities for manufacture — in 
plants which had built our millions of automobile engines — no other 
part of the world could compare with us. Therefore, while waiting 
word from Europe as to the best type of wings, fuselages, instruments 
and the like, we went ahead to produce for ourselves a new, typically 
American engine which would uphold the prestige of America in 
actual battle. 

Many Americans have doubtless wondered why we built our own 
engine instead of adopting one or more of the highly developed 
European engines then at hand ; and no doubt our course in this vital 
matter has sometimes been set down to mere pride in our ability 
and to an unwillingness to follow the lead of other nations in a science 
in which we ourselves were preeminent — the science of building light 
internal-combustion engines. But national pride, aside from giving 
us confidence that our efforts in this direction would be successful, 
had little other weight in the decision. There were other reasons, 
and paramount ones, reasons leading directly from the necessity for 
the United States to arrive at her maximum aerial effort in a mini* 
mum of time, that irresistibly compelled the aircraft production 
organization to design a standard American engine. Let us examine 
some of these considerations. 

If there was anything to be observed from this side of the Atlantic 
with respect to the tendencies of aircraft evolution in Europe it was 
that the horsepowers of the engines were continually increasing, these 
expansions coming almost from month to month as newer and newer 
types and sizes of engines were brought out by the European inven- 
tors. It was evident to us that there was not a single foreign engine 
then in use on the western front that was likely to survive the test of 
time. Each might be expected to have its brief day of supremacy, 
only to be superseded by something more modern and more powerful. 


266 America's munitions. 

Yet time was an element to which in this country we must give 
grave consideration. To produce in quantities such as we were 
capable of producing would ordinarily require a year of maximum 
industrial effort to equip our manufacturing plants with the machines, 
tools, and skilled workmen necessary for the production of parts. 
The finished articles would under normal circumstances begin coming 
in quantity during the second year of our program. It would have 
been fatal to " tool up" our plants for the manufacture of equipment 
that would be out of date by the time we began producing it a year 

The obvious course for the United States to adopt, not only with 
engines but with all sorts of aeronautical equipment, was to come into 
the manufacturing competition not abreast with European progress 
but several strides ahead of it, so that when we appeared on the field 
it would be with equipment a little in advance in type and efficiency 
of anything the rest of the world had to offer. 

This factor of time was a strong element in the decision to produce 
a standard American engine, since with the possible exception of the 
Rolls-Royce there was no engine in Europe of sufficient horsepower 
and proved reliability to guarantee that it would retain its service- 
ability for the necessary two years upon which we must reckon. 
There was no other course that we could safely adopt. 

But there were other conditions that influenced our conclusion. 
We believed that we could design and produce an engine much more 
quickly and with much better results than we could copy and produce 
any approved foreign model. This proved to be true in actual ex- 
perience. Along with the production of Liberty engines we went into 
the quantity manufacture of a number of European engines in this 
country; and the experience of our engineers and factory executives 
in this work was anything but pleasant. Among others we produced 
in American factories the Gnome, the Hispano-Suiza, Le Rhone, and 
the Bugatti engines. 

Now European manufacture of mechanical appliances differs from 
ours largely in the degree to which the human equation is allowed to 
enter the shop. In continental practice much of the metallurgical 
specifications and also of the details of mechanical measurements, 
limits of requisite accuracy, variations which can be allowed, 
etc., are not put on paper in detail for the guidance of operators, but 
are confided to the recollections of the individual workmen. A ma- 
chine comes in its parts to the assembly room of a foreign factory, and 
after that it is subject to adjustments on the part of the skilled work- 
men before its operation is successful. It must be tinkered with 
before it will go, so to speak. Nothing of the sort is known in an 
American factory. When standard parts come together for assembly 
the calibrations must have been so exact that the machine will 


function perfectly when it is brought together; and assembling be- 
comes mere routine. Thus when we came to adopt foreign plans and 
attempt to adapt them to our practices, we encountered trouble and 

Thirteen months were required to adapt the Hispano-Suiza 150- 
horsepower engine to our factory methods and to get the first engine 
from production tools, while eight months were similarly spent in pro- 
ducing the Le Rhone 80-horsepower engines. Both of these engines 
had been in production in European factories for a long time, and we 
had the advantage of all the assistance which the foreign manufac- 
turers could give us. 

These experiences merely confirmed the opinions of American 
manufacturers that the preparations for the production of any 
aviation engine of foreign design — if any such suitable and adequate 
engine could be found — would require at least as much time as to 
design and tool up for the production of an American engine. When 
to this was added the necessity of waiting for several weeks or 
months for a decision on the part of our aviation authorities, either in 
the United States or in Europe, as to which of the many types of engines 
then in use by the allies should be put into production here, procuring 
and shipping to this country suitable samples, drawings, and specifi- 
cations, negotiating with foreign owners for rights to manufacture, 
etc., there was but one answer to be made on this score, and that was 
to design and build an ail-American engine. 

Another factor in the decision was that of our distance from 
France, a fact making it necessary for us to simplify as much as pos- 
sible the problem of furnishing repair parts. At the time we en- 
tered the war the British air service was using or developing 37 
different makes of engines, while France had 46. Should we be lured 
into any such situation it might have disastrous results, if only because 
of the difficulties of ocean transportation. Germany was practically 
concentrating upon not more than 8 engines. The obvious thing for 
us to do was to produce as few types of engines as possible, thus 
making simpler the problem of manufacturing repair parts and 
shipping them to the front. 

With these considerations in mind, the Equipment Division of the 
Signal Corps in May of 1917 determined to go ahead with the design 
and production of a standard engine for the fighting forces of the 
aviation branch of the Army. In the engineering field two men stood 
out who combined in themselves experience it? designing internal- 
combustion engines which approached nearest to combat engines, 
with experience also in large quantity production. 

J. G. Vincent, with the engineering staff of the Packard Motor Car 
Co., had for approximately two years been engaged in research work, 
developing several types of 12-cylinder aviation engines of approxi- 

268 America's munitions, 

mately 125 to 225 horsepower, which, however, were not suitable 
for military purposes because of their weight per horsepower. This 
work had resulted in the acquirement of a large amount of data and 
information which would be invaluable in the design of such an 
engine as the one proposed; and also had resulted in the upbuilding 
of an efficient experimental organization. He had also had wide 
experience in designing internal-combustion motors for quantity 

E. J. Hall, of the Hall-Scott Motor Car Co., for eight years had been 
developing and latterly producing several types of aeronautical 
engines, which he had delivered into the service of several foreign 
governments, including Russia, Norway, China, Japan, Australia, 
Canada, and England. He had also completed and tested a 12- 
cylinder engine of 300 horsepower, which, however, was of too great 
weight per horsepower to be suitable in its form at that time for 
military purposes. He had thus acquired a large experience and 
fund of information covering the proper areas and materials for engine 
parts, and proper methods of tests to be applied to such engines, and 
in addition he had general experience in quantity production. All of 
this information and experience was of invaluable assistance not only 
in designing the new engine, but in determining its essential metal- 
lurgical and manufacturing specifications. 

These two men were thus qualified in talent and in practice to lay 
down on paper the lines and dimensions of the proposed engine, an 
engine that would meet the Army's requirements and still be readily 
capable of prompt quantity production. They had in their hands 
the power to draw freely upon the past experience and achievement 
of practically the entire world for any features they might decide to 
install in the model power plant to be produced. And this applied 
not only to the patented features of American motors, but also of 
foreign engines; for each man had exhaustively studied the leading 
European engines, including the Mercedes upon which Germany 
largely pinned her faith up to the end of the war. 

With respect to American motor patents, an interesting situation 
had arisen in the automobile industry. The leading producers of 
motor cars were in an association which had adopted an arrangement 
known as the cross-licensing agreement. Under this agreement all 
patents taken out by the various producers (with a few exceptions) 
were thrown into a pool upon which any producer at will was per- 
mitted to draw without payment of royalties. 

A similar arrangement was adopted with respect to the Liberty 
engine, except that the Government pledged itself to pay an agreed 
royalty for the use of patents. Thus the engineers designing the 
engine might reach out and take what they pleased regardless of 
patent rights. The result was likely to be a composite type embracing 


the best features of the best engines ever built. Theoretically, at 
least, a superengine ought to result from such an effort. 

The ideal aviation engine should produce a maximum of power with 
a minimum of weight; it must run at its maximum power during a 
large proportion of its operating time, a thing that an automobile 
motor seldom, if ever, does for more than a few minutes at a time; 
and it should consume oil and fuel economically to conserve space 
and weight on the airplane. 

Such was the problem, the design of an engine to meet these require- 
ments, that confronted these two engineers when they were called to 
Washington and asked to undertake the work. 

There have been so many versions of the story of how the Liberty 
engine was designed and produced in its experimental models that 
it is fitting that the exact history of those memorable weeks should 
be set down here. 

The engine was put on paper in the rooms occupied by Col. E. A. 
Deeds at the Willard Hotel in Washington. Col. Deeds had been 
the man of broad vision who, by taking into consideration the ele- 
ments of the problems enumerated above, determined that America 
could best make her contribution to the aviation program by produc- 
ing her typically own engine. He had proposed the plan to his asso- 
ciate, Col. S. D. Waldon, who had thereupon studied the matter and 
agreed entirely with the plan. The two officers persuaded Messrs. 
Hall and Vincent to forego further efforts on their individual devel- 
opments and to devote their combined skill and experience to the 
creation of an ail-American engine. The project was further taken 
up with the European authorities in Washington, and it was sup- 
ported unanimously. 

In these conferences it was decided to design two lines of combat 
engines. Each should have a cylinder diameter of 5 inches and a 
piston stroke 7 inches long; but one type should have 8 cylinders and 
the other 12. The 8-cylinder engine should develop 225 horsepower, 
as all the experts believed then, in May, 1917, that such a motor 
would anticipate the power requirements as of the spring of 1918, 
while the 12-cylinder engine should develop 330 horsepower, as it 
was believed that this would be the equal of any other engine de- 
veloped through 1919 and 1920. Every foreign representative in 
Washington with aeronautical experience agreed that the 8-cylinder 
225-horsepower engine would be the peer of anything in use in the 
spring of 1918; yet, so rapidly was aviation history moving that in- 
side of 90 days it became equally clear that it was the 12-cylinder 
engine of 330 horsepower, and not the 8-cylinder engine, upon which 
we should concentrate for the spring of 1918. 

With these considerations in mind Messrs. Hall and Vincent set to 
work to lay out the designs on paper. With them were Col. Deeds 

270 America's munitions. 

and Col. Waldon, the officers to insist that nothing untried or experi- 
mental be incorporated in the engines, the engineers to direct their 
technical knowledge by this sine qua non. The size of the cylinders, 
5 by 7 inches, was adopted not only because the Curtiss and the 
Hall-Scott Companies, the largest producers of aviation engines in the 
United States, had had experience with engines of this size, but also 
because a new and promising French engine, the Lorraine-Dietrich, 
had just made its appearance in experimental form, and it was an 
engine approximately of that size. 

On May 29, 1917, Messrs. Vincent and Hall set to work. Within 
two or three days they had outlined the important characteristics of 
the engine sufficiently to secure — on June 4 — the approval of the 
Aircraft Production Board and of the Joint Army and Navy Technical 
Board to build five experimental models each of the 8 cylinder and 
the 12 cylinder sizes. 

The detail and manufacturing drawings of the two engines were 
made partly by the staff of the Packard Motor Car Co., under Mr. 
O. E. Hunt, and partly by an organization recruited from various 
automobile factories and put to work under Mr. Vincent at the Bureau 
of Standards at Washington. Due credit must here be given to Dr. 
S. W. Stratton, the director of that important governmental scientific 
bureau. The Liberty engine pioneers woke him up at midnight and 
told him of their needs. He promptly tendered all the facilities of 
the Bureau of Standards, turning over to the work an entire build- 
ing for use the following morning. Thereafter Dr. Stratton gave 
the closest cooperation of himself and his assistants to the work. 

While the detail drawings were being made, the parts for the 10 
engines were at once started through the tool rooms and experimental 
shops of various motor car companies. This work centered in the 
plant of the Packard Co., which gave to it its entire energy and won- 
derful facilities. 

Every feature in the design of these engines was based on thoroughly 
proven practice of the past. That the engine was a composite is 
shown by the origin of its various parts: 

Cylinders : The Liberty engine derived its type of cylinders from the 
German Mercedes, the English Rolls-Royce, the French Lorraine- 
Dietrich, and others produced both before and during the war. The 
cylinders were steel inner shells surrounded by pressed-steel water 
jackets. The Packard Co. had developed a practical production 
method of welding together the several parts of a steel cylinder. 

Cam shafts and valve mechanism above cylinder heads: The 
design of these was based on the general arrangement of the Mercedes 
and Rolls-Royce, and improved by the Packard Motor Car Co. for 
automatic lubrication without wasting oil. 

Cam-shaft drive: The general type as used on the Hall-Soott, 
Mercedes, Hispano-Suiza, Rolls-Royce, Renault, Fiat, and others. 





Angle between cylinders: In the Liberty the included angle between 
the cylinders is 45°. This angle was adopted to save head resistance, 
to give greater strength to the crank case, and to reduce periodic 
vibration. This decision was based on the experience of the Renault 
and Packard engines. 

Electric generator and ignition: The Delco system was adopted, 
but specially designed for the Liberty to provide a reliable double 

Pistons: The die-cast aluminum-alloy pistons of the Liberty were 
based on development work by the Hall-Scott Co. under service 

Connecting rods: These were of the forked or straddle type as used 
on the DeDion and Cadillac automobile motors and also on the 
Hispano-Suiza and other aviation engines. 

Crank shaft : A design of standard practice, every crank pin oper- 
ating between two main bearings, as in the Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, 
Hall-Scott, Curtiss, and Renault. 

Crank case: A box section carrying the shaft in bearings clamped 
between the top and bottom halves by means of long through bolts, 
as in the Mercedes and Hispano-Suiza. 

Lubrication: The system of lubrication was changed, this being the 
only change of design made in the Liberty after it was first put down 
on paper. The original system combined the features of a dry crank 
case, such as in the Rolls-Royce, with pressure feed to the main 
crank-shaft bearings and scupper feed to the crank-pin bearings, as 
in the Hall-Scott and certain foreign engines. The system subse- 
quently adopted added pressure-feed to the crank-pin bearings, as 
in the Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza, and other engines. 

Propeller hub : Designed after the practice followed by such well- 
known engines as the Hispano-Suiza and Mercedes. 

Water pump: The conventional centrifugal type was adapted to 
the Liberty. 

Carburetor: The Zenith type was adapted to the engine. 

As the detailed and manufacturing drawings were completed in 
Washington and Detroit they were taken to various factories where 
the parts for the first engine were built. 

The General Aluminum & Brass Manufacturing Co., of Detroit, 
made the bronze-back, babbitt-lined bearings. 

The Cadillac Motor Car Co., of Detroit, made the connecting rods, 
the connecting-rod upper-end bushings, the connecting-rod bolts, and 
the rocker-arm assemblies. 

The L. O. Gordon Manufacturing Co., of Muskegon, Mich., made 
the cam shafts. 

The Park Drop Forge Co., of Cleveland, made the crank-shaft 
forgings. These forgings, completely heat treated, were turned out 

272 America's munitions. 

in three days, because Mr. Hall gave the Cleveland concern permission 
to use the Hall-Scott dies. 

The Packard Motor Car Co. machined the crank shafts and all 
parts not furnished or finished elsewhere. 

The Hall-Scott Motor Car Co., of Berkeley, Calif., made all the 
bevel gears. 

The Hess-Bright Manufacturing Co., of Philadelphia, made the 
ball bearings. 

The Burd High-Compression Ring Co., of Rockford, HI., made the 
piston rings. 

The Aluminum Castings Co., of Cleveland, made the die-cast alloy 
pistons and machined them up to grinding. 

The Rich Tool Co., of Chicago, made the valves. 

The Gibson Co., of Muskegon, Mich., made the springs. 

The Packard Co. made all the patterns for the aluminum castings, 
which were produced by the General Aluminum & Brass Manufactur- 
ing Co., of Detroit. 

The Packard Motor Car Co. used many of its own dies in order to 
obtain suitable drop forgings speedily, and also made all necessary 
new dies not made elsewhere. 

As these various parts were turned out they were hurried to the 
tool room of the Packard Co., where the assembling of the model 
engines was in progress. 

Before the models were built, however, extraordinary precautions 
had been taken to insure that the mechanism would be as perfect as 
American engineering skill could make it. The plans as developed 
were submitted to H. M. Crane, the engineer of the Simplex Motor 
Car Co. and of the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, who had 
made a special study of aviation engines in Europe, and who for 
upward of a year had been working on the production of the Hispano- 
Suiza 150-horsepower engine in this country. He looked the plans 
over, and so did David Fergusson, chief engineer of the Pierce-Arrow 
Motor Car Co. Many other of the best experts in the country in the 
production of internal-combustion motors constructively criticized 
the plans, these including such men as Henry M. Leland and George 
H. Layng, of the Cadillac Motor Car Co., and F. F. Beall and Edward 
Roberts, of the Packard Car Co. 

When the engineers were through, the practical production men were 
given their turn. The plane and engine builders examined the 
plans to make sure that each minute part was so designed as to make 
it most adaptable to quantity production. The scrutiny of the 
Liberty plans went back in the production scale even farther than 
this; for the actual builders of machine tools were called in to exam- 
ine the specifications and to suggest modifications, if necessary, that 
would make the production of parts most feasible in machine tools 
either of existing types or of easiest manufacture. 


Thus scrutinized and criticized, the plans of the engine were the 
best from every point of view which American industrial genius could 
produce in the time which was available. It was due to this ex- 
haustive preliminary study that no radical changes were ever made 
in the original design. The Liberty engine was not the materializa- 
tion of magic nor the product of any single individual or company, 
but it was a well-considered and carefully prepared design based on 
large practical aviation-engine experience. 

On July 4, 1917, the first 8-cylinder Liberty engine was delivered 
in Washington. This was less than six weeks after Messrs. Hall and 
Vincent drew the first line of their plans. The same procedure was 
even then being repeated in the case of the 12-cy Under engine. By 
the 25th day of August the model 12-cy Under Liberty had success- 
fully passed its 50-hour test. In this test its power ranged from 301 
to 320 horsepower. 

As an achievement in speed in the development of a successful 
new engine this performance has never been equaled in the motor 
history of any country. No successful American automobile motor 
was ever put in production in anything under a year of trial and 
experimentation. We may well beUeve that in the third year of wdr 
the European aviation designers were working at top speed to improve 
the motive power of airplanes; yet in 1917 the British war cabinet 
report contains the following language: 

Experience shows that as a rule, from the date of the conception and design of an 
aero engine, to the delivery of the first engine in series by the manufacturer, more 
than a year elapses. 

But America designed and produced experimentally a good engine 
in six weeks and a great one in three months, and began delivering it 
in series in five months. This was* due to the fact that we could 
employ our best engineering talent without stint, to the further fact 
that there were no restrictions upon our use of designs and patents 
proved successful by actual experience, and to the fact that the 
original engine design produced under such conditions stood every 
expert criticism and test that could be put upon it and emerged 
from the trial without substantial modification. 

As soon as the first Liberty models had passed their official tests 
plans were at once made to put them in manufacture. 

The members of the Aircraft Production Board chose for the chief 
of the engine production department Harold H. Emmons, an attor- 
ney and manufacturer of Detroit, Mich., who, as a lieutenant in the 
Naval Reserve Force, was just being called by the Navy Department 
into active service. 

The production of all aviation engines, for both Army and Navy, 
was in his hands throughout the rest of the war. He placed 
orders for 100,993 aviation engines of all types, which involved 

109287°— 19 18 

274 America's munitions. 

the expenditure of $450,000,000 and more of Government funds. 
Of these 31,814 were delivered ready for service before the signing 
of the armistice. The United States reached a daily engine produc- 
tion greater than that of England and France combined. 

In August, 1917, it was intended to manufacture both engines, the 
8~cyhnder and the 12-cylinder, and an agreement was reached with 
the Ford Motor Co. of Detroit to produce 8-cylinder Liberty engines 
to the number of 10,000. But before this contract could be signed 
the increasing powers of the newest European air engines indicated 
to our commission abroad that we should concentrate our manu- 
facturing efforts upon the 12 alone, that being the engine of a power 
then distinctly in advance in the rapid evolution of aviation engines. 
The engine production department, therefore, entered into contracts 
for the construction of 22,500 of the 12-cylinder liberties, and the 
first of these contracts was signed in August, a few days after the 
endurance tests had demonstrated that the 12-cylinder engine was 
a success. 

Of this number of liberty engines the Packard Motor Car Co. 
contracted to build 6,000; the Lincoln Motor Co., 6,000; the 
Ford Motor Co., 5,000; Nordyke & Marmon, 3,000; the Gen- 
eral Motors Corporation (Buick and Cadillac plants), 2,000; while 
an additional contract of 500 engines was let to the Trego Motors 

Early in the Liberty engine project it became apparent that one 
of the great stumbling blocks to volume production would be the 
steel cylinder, if it were necessary to machine it out of a solid or 
partially pierced forging such as is used for shell making. This 
problem was laid before Henry Ford and the engineering organization 
of the Ford Motor Co., at Detroit, and they developed the unique 
method of making the cylinders out of steel tubing. One end of 
the tube was cut obliquely, heated, and in successive operations 
closed over and then expanded into the shape of the com- 
bustion chamber, with all bosses in place on the dome. The lower 
end was then heated and upset in a bulldozer until the holding- 
down flange had been extruded from the barrel at the right place. 
By this method a production of 2,000 rough cylinders a day was 

The final forging was so near to the shape desired that millions 
of pounds of scrap were saved over other methods, to say nothing 
of an enormous amount of labor thus done away with. The devel- 
opment of this cylinder-making method was one of the important 
contributions to the quantity production of liberty engines. 

It was evident that in the actual production of the Liberty engine 
there would continually arise practical questions of manufacturing 
policy that might entail modifications of the manufacturing methods, 
while our aviation authorities in Europe could be expected to advance 






suggestions from time to time that might need to be embodied in 
the mechanism. Consequently it was necessary to create a perma- 
nent development and standardization administration for the Lib- 
erty engine. Nor could this supervision be located in Washington, 
because of the extreme need for haste, but it must exist in the vi- 
cinity of the plants doing the manufacturing. 

For this reason the production of the Liberty engine was centered 
in the Detroit manufacturing district, since in this district was 
located the principal motor manufacturing plant capacity of the 
United States. James G. Heaslet, formerly general manager of the 
Studebaker Corporation and an engineer and manufacturer of wide 
experience, was installed as district manager. The problems incident 
to the inspection and production of the liberty engine were placed in 
charge of a committee consisting of Maj. Heaslet (chairman) ; Lieut. 
Col. Hall, one of the designers of the engine; Henry M. Leland; 
C. Harold Wills, of the Ford Motor Co. ; and Messrs F. F. Beall and 
Edward Roberts, of the Packard Motor Car Co. With them were 
also associated D. McCall White, the engineer of the Cadillac Motor 
Co., and Walter Chrysler, of the Buick Co. 

The creation of this committee virtually made a single manufactur- 
ing concern of the several, previously rival, motor companies en- 
gaged in producing the Liberty engine. To these meetings the ex- 
perts without reservation brought the trade secrets and shop proc- 
esses developed in their own establishments during the preceding 
years of competition. Such cooperation was without parallel in the 
history of American industry, and only a great emergency such as the 
war with Germany could have brought it about. But the circum- 
stance aided wonderfully in the development and production of the 
Liberty engine. 

Moreover, the Government drew heavily upon the talent of these 
great manufacturing organizations for meeting the special problems 
presented by the necessity of filling in the briefest possible time the 
• largest aviation engine order ever known. Short-cuts that these firms 
might have applied effectively to their own private advantage were de- 
vised for the Liberty engine and freely turned over to the Government. 
The Packard Co. gave a great share of its equipment and personnel 
to the development. The most conspicuous success in the science 
of quantity production in the world was the Ford Motor Co., which 
devoted its organization to the task of speeding up the output of 
Liberty engines. In addition to the unique and wonderfully effi- 
cient method of making rough engine cylinders out of steel tubing, 
the Ford organization also perfected for the Liberty a new method 
of producing more durable and satisfactory bearings. Messrs. H. M. 
and W. C. Leland, whose names were indissolubly linked with the 
Cadillac automobile, organized and erected the enormous plant of 

276 America's munitions. 

the Lincoln Motor Co. and equipped it for the production of the 
Liberty, at a total expense of approximately $8,000,000. 

Balanced against these advantages brought by highly trained tech- 
nical skill and unselfish cooperation were handicaps such as perhaps no 
other great American industrial venture had ever known. In the first 
place, an internal-combustion engine with cylinders of a 5-inch bore 
and pistons of a 7-inch stroke — the Liberty measurements — was 
larger than the automobile engines then in use in this country. This 
meant that while we apparently had an enormous plant — the com- 
bined American automobile factories — ready for the production of 
Liberty engines, actually the machinery in these plants was not large 
enough for the new work, so that new machinery therefore must be 
built to handle this particular work. In some cases machinery had 
to be designed anew for the special purpose. 

To produce every part of one Liberty engine something between 
2,500 and 3,000 small jigs, tools, and fixtures are employed. For large 
outputs much of this equipment must be duplicated over and over 
again. To provide the whole joint workshop with this equipment was 
one of the unseen jobs incidental to the construction of Liberty 
engines — unseen by the general public, that is — yet it required the 
United States to commandeer the capacity of all available tool shops 
east of the Mississippi River and devote it to the production of jigs 
and tools for the Liberty engine factories. 

Then there was the question of mechanical skill in the factories. 
It soon developed that an automobile motor is a simple mechanism 
compared with an intricate aviation engine. The machinists in or- 
dinary automobile plants did not have the skill to produce the Liberty 
engine parts successfully. Consequently it became necessary to edu- 
cate thousands of mechanics, men and women alike, to do this new 

It was surprising to what extent unfriendly influence in the United 
States, much of it probably of a pro-German character, cut a figure 
in the situation. This was particularly true in the supply factories* 
furnishing tools to the Liberty engine plants. Approximately 85 per 
cent of the tools first delivered for this work were found to be inac- 
curate and incorrect. These had to be remade before they could be 
used. Such tools as were delivered to the Liberty plants would 
mysteriously disappear, or vital equipment would be injured in 
unusual ways; in several instances cans of explosives were found in 
the coal at power plants ; fire-extinguishing apparatus was discovered 
to be rendered useless by acts of depredation; and from numerous 
other evidences the builders of Liberty engines were aware that 
the enemy had his agents in their plants. 

Difficulty was also experienced in the production of metals for the 
new engines. The materials demanded were frequently of a much 
higher grade than the corresponding materials used in ordinary auto- 


mobile motors. Here was another unseen phase of development 
which had to be worked out patiently by the producers of raw 

Difficulties in transportation during the winter of 1917-18 added 
their share to the perplexing problems of the engine builders, while 
at times the scarcity of coal threatened the complete shutdown of 
some of the plants. 

Under such obstacles the engine-production department forced the 
manufacture of the Liberty engine at a speed never before known 
in the automotive industry. In December, 1917, the Government 
received the first 22 Liberty engines of the 12-cylinder type, durable 
and dependable, a standardized, concrete product, only seven months 
after the Liberty engine existed merely as an idea in the brains of 
two engineers. These first engines developed a strength of approxi- 
mately 330 horsepower, and this was true also of the first 300 Liberty 
engines delivered, these deliveries being completed in the early spring 
of 1918. 

When the liberty engine was designed our aviation experts believed 
that 330 horsepower was so far in advance of the development of 
aero engines in Europe that we could safely go ahead with the pro- 
duction of this type on a quantity basis. But again we reckoned 
without an accurate prophetic knowledge of the course of engine 
development abroad. We were building the first 300 Liberty engines 
at 330 horsepower when our aviation reports informed us from over- 
seas that an even higher horsepower would be desirable. Therefore 
our engineers "stepped up" the power of the Liberty 12-cylinder 
engine to 375 horsepower. Several hundred motors of this power 
were in process of completion when again our observers in France 
advised us that we could add another 25 horsepower to the Liberty, 
making it 400 horeepower in strength, and be sure of leading all of 
the combatant nations in size and power of aviation engines during 
1918 and 1919. This last step, we were assured, was the final, definite 
one. But to anticipate possible extraordinary development of engines 
by other nations, our engineers went even further than the mark 
advised by our overseas observers and raised the power of the Liberty 
engine to something in excess of 400 horsepower. 

This enormous increase over the original power of the Liberty 
engine required changes in the construction, notably in increasing 
the strength of practically all of the working parts, including the 
crank shaft, the connecting rods, and the bearings. The change also 
resulted in making scrap iron of a large quantity of the jigs and special 
tools employed in making the lighter engines. A still further change 
had to come in the character of some of the steel used in some of the 
parts, and this went back to the smelting plants, where new tod better 
methods of producing steel and aluminum for the Liberty engine 
had to be developed. 

278 amebica's munitions. 

Thus while there were no fundamental changes in the design of the 
engine, the increase of its power required a considerable readjustment 
in the engine plants. Yet so rapidly were these changes made that 
on the first anniversary of the day when the design of the Liberty 
engine was begun — May 29, 1918 — the Signal Corps had received 
1,243 Liberty engines. In this achievement motor history was 
written in this country as it had never been written before. 

From a popular standpoint it may seem that the Liberty engine 
was radically changed after its inception, but such an assertion is 
entirely unwarranted; for in the fundamental thing, the design, 
there was but one change made after the engine was laid down on 
paper in May, 1917, namely, in the oiling system. The original 
Liberty engine was partially fed with oil by the so-called scupper 
system, whereas this later was changed to a forced feed under com-* 
pression. The scupper feed worked successfully, but the forced feed 
is foolproof and was therefore installed upon the advice of the pre- 
ponderance of expert criticism. 

It is also true that in working out certain practical manufacturing 
processes some of the original measurements were altered. But this 
is a common experience in the manufacture of any internal-com- 
bustion engine, and alterations made for factory expediency are not 
regarded as design changes, nor are they important. 

The delivery of 22 motors in December of 1917 was followed by 
the completion of 40 in January, 1918. In February the delivery was 
70. In March this jumped to 122; then a leap in April to 415; while 
in May deliveries amounted to 620. 

The quantity production of Liberties may be said to have started 
in June, 1918, one year after the engine's conception in Washington. 
In that month 1,102 motors of the most powerful type were delivered 
to the service. In July the figure was 1,589; in August, 2,297; in 
September, 2,362. Then in October came an enormous increase to the 
total of 3 ,878 Liberty engines. During the month before the armistice 
was signed the engine factories were producing 150 engines a day. 

In all, up to November 29, 1918, 15,572 Liberty engines were 
produced in the United States. In the disposal of them the American 
Navy received 3,742 for its seaplanes; the plants manufacturing 
airplanes in this country took 5,323 of them; 907 were sent to various 
aviation fields for training purposes; to the American Expeditionary 
Forces in France, in addition to the engines which went over installed 
in their planes, we sent 4,511 Liberty engines; while 1,089 went to the 
British, French, and Italian air services. 

Some of jbhe earliest Liberties were sent to Europe. In January, 
1918, we shipped 3 to our own forces in France. In March we sent 
10 to the British, 6 to the French, and 5 to the Italians. By June 7 
the English tests had convinced the British air minister that the 
Liberty engine was in the first line of high powered aviation engines 


and a most valuable contribution to the allied aviation program. 
The British air minister so cabled to Lord Reading, the British 
ambassador in Washington. Again on September 26 the British air 
ministry reported that in identical airplanes the Liberty engine 
performed at least as well as the Rolls-Royce engine. Birkight, who 

Liberty Enoinks PmODUCBD Each Month Dtthing 1018. 

July. Aug. Sept. Oct Nov. Dec. 

designed the Hispano-Suiza engine in France, declared that the Lib- 
erty engine was superior to any high-powered aviation engine then 
developed on the Continent of Europe. 

A more concrete evidence of the esteem in which this American 
creation was held by the European expert lies in the size of the orders 
which the various allied Governments placed with the United States 

280 America's munitions. 

for liberty engines. The British took 1,000 of them immediately 
and declared that they wished to increase this order to 5,500 to be 
delivered by December 31, 1918. The French directed inquiries as 
to the possibility of taking one-fifth of our complete output of Liberty 
engines. The Italians also indicated their intention of purchasing 
heavily for immediate delivery. 

This increased demand for the engine had not been anticipated 
in our original plans, as we had no idea that the allied Governments 
would turn from their own highly developed engines to ask for Liberty 
engines in such quantities. The original program of 22,500 engines 
was only sufficient for our own Army and Navy requirements. As 
soon as the foreign Governments, however, came in with their 
demands we immediately increased the orders placed with all the 
existing Liberty engine builders, and in addition contracted to take 
the entire manufacturing facilities of the Willys-Overland Co. at 
its plants in Toledo and Elyria, Ohio, and Elmira, N. Y. We also 
engaged the entire capacity of the Olds Motor plant at Lansing, 
Mich. In addition we had subsequently contracted for the pro- 
duction of 8,000 of the 8-cylinder engines. Thus the number of 
engines which would have been delivered under contract, if peace 
had not cut short the production, would have been 56,100 engines of 
the 12-cylinder type and 8,000 of the 8's. 

The foreign Governments associated with us in the war against 
Germany showered their demands upon us for great numbers of the 
American engines, not only altogether because of the excellence of 
the Liberty, but because partially their plane production exceeded 
their output of engines. Mr. John D. Ryan, Director of Aircraft 
Production, verbally agreed to deliver to the French 1,500 Liberty 
engines by December 31, and further agreed to deliver motors to the 
French at the rate of 750 per month during the first six months of 
1919. The British had already received 1,000 Liberty motors, and 
this order was increased with Mr. Ryan personally by several thou- 
sand additional engines to be delivered in the early part of 1919. 
When the armistice was signed the Liberty engine was being produced 
at a rate which promised to make it the dominant motive power of 
the war in the air before many months had passed. 

The engine was originally named the " United States Standard 
12-cylinder Aviation Engine." In view of the service which it prom- 
ised to render to the cause of civilization, Admiral D. W. Taylor, the 
chief construction officer of the Navy, suggested during the early part 
of the period of production that the original prosaic name be dis- 
carded and that the engine be rechristened the "Liberty." Under 
this name the engine has taken its place in the history of the war as 
one of the most efficient agencies which was developed and employed 
by this country. 


The production of the Liberty engine so captured popular attention 
that the public never fairly understood nor appreciated the extent 
of another production enterprise on the part of those providing 
motive power for our war airplanes. This was the supplementary 
manufacture of aero engines other than those which bore the proud 
appellation of "Liberty." 

Let the production figures speak for themselves. In those 19 
months, starting with nothing, we turned out complete and ready for 
service 32,420 aero engines. Of these thousands of engines less than 
one-half — the exact figure being 15,572 — were Liberty engines. 
The rest were Hispano-Suizas, Le Rhones, Gnomes, Curtisses, 
Hall-Scotts, and some others, a total of 16,848 in all — built largely 
for the training of our army of the air. 

This production would have been even more notable had the war 
continued, for at the date of the signing of the armistice the United 
States had contracted for the construction of 100,993 aircraft engines. 
Of these 64,100 were to be Liberty engines, so that the total plan of 
construction of engines other than the Liberty would have produced 
about 37,000 of them. The total cost of carrying through the com- 
bined engine project would have been in the neighborhood of 

While at the outbreak of the war American knowledge of mili- 
tary aviation may have been meager, still it was evident from 
the start that we would be able to go ahead with certain phases of 
production on a huge scale without waiting for the precise knowledge 
of requirements that would come only from an exhaustive study of 
the subject in Europe. In the first place we knew that we must 
train our aviators. For this purpose there was at the start no par- 
ticular need of the highly-developed machinery then in use on the 
western front. The first aircraft requirement of the early training 
program was for safe planes, regardless of their type, and motive 
power to drive them. Later on, when we were better prepared, would 
come the training that would afford our aviators experience with 
the fighting equipment. So at the start there was no reason why 
we should not proceed at once with the construction of such training 

machines as we knew how to build. 


282 America's munitions. 

An aviation program for war falls into these two divisions — the 
equipment required for training and that required for combat. 
While our organization, particularly through the Boiling commission 
which we had sent to Europe, was making a study of our combat 
requirements and while we were pushing forward the design and 
production of the Liberty engine, we forthwith developed on an 
ambitious scale the manufacture of training planes and engines in 
this country. 

The training of battle aviators, on the other hand, also separates 
into two parts, the elementary training and the advanced training. 
The elementary training merely teaches the cadet the new art of 
maintaining himself in the air. Later, when he has mastered the 
rudiments of mechanical flight, he goes into the advanced training, 
the training in his fighting plane, where he requires equipment more 
nearly of the type used at the front. 

For the elementary training we had some good native material to 
start with. The Curtiss Airplane Co. had been building training 
planes and engines both for the English and Canadian air authorities. 
This was evidently the most available American airplane for our 
first needs. The Curtiss plane was known as the ' ' JN-4 " and it was 
driven by a 90-horsepower engine called the Curtiss "OX." In the 
production of this equipment on the scale planned by the Signal 
Corps, the embarrassing feature, the choke point, was evidently 
to be the manufacture of the engine. The Curtiss plant at Buffalo 
for the manufacture of planes could be quickly expanded to meet 
the Government demands ; but the Curtiss engine plant at Hammonds- 
port,. N. Y., could not develop the production of "OX" engines up 
to our needs and at the same time complete the orders which it was 
filling for the English and Canadian air services. 

Consequently, contracts were awarded to the Curtiss Co. for its 
capacity in the production of "OX" engines, and then the American 
aviation authorities came to an agreement with the Willys-Morrow 
plant at Elmira, N. Y., for an additional 5,000 of these motors. 
Ordinarily it would require from five to six months to equip a plant 
with the large machine tools and the smaller mechanical appliances 
necessary for such a contract as this. But the Willys-Morrow plant 
tooled up in three months and was ready to start on the "OX" 
manufacturing job. 

If speed in production was required at any point in the aviation 
development it was here in the manuf aclwre of the elementary train- 
ing planes and engines. Without training material, no matter how 
many aviation fields we set in order nor how many student aviators 
we enlisted, the movement of our flying forces toward the front could 
not even begin. And here entered an interesting engineering and 
executive problem that had to be worked out quickly by those in 



5 ; 

o f 



charge of our aircraft construction. If it were plotted on paper, the 
curve of requirements for aircraft training material would climb 
swiftly to its peak during the first six or eight months of the war and 
then decline with almost equal swiftness until it reached a low level. 
In other words, we must produce the great number of training ma- 
chines in the shortest time possible in order to put our thousands of 
student aviators into the air at once over the training fields; but when 
this training equipment had been brought up to initial requirements, 
thereafter our needs in this direction could be met by only a small 
production, since the rate of wastage of such material is relatively 
low. Once our fields were fully equipped, the same apparatus could 
be used over and over again as the war went on, with little regard to 
the improvements of the type of battle planes, so that the ultimate 
manufacture need be large enough only to keep this equipment in 

It soon became evident that the production of Curtiss planes and 
engines, even under the heavy contracts immediately placed, would 
not be sufficient to take care of our elementary training needs; and 
the aviation administration began looking around for other types of 
aircraft that would fit into our plans. The experts in all branches 
of war flying which the principal allied nations had sent to the United 
States, warned us against the temptation to adopt many types of 
material in order to secure a quick early production. If the training 
equipment were not closely standardized in types, it would result in 
confusion and delay, both in training the aviator to fly and in pre- 
paring him for actual combat. Such had been the experience in 
Europe; and we were now given the benefit of this experience, so 
that we might avoid the mistakes which others had made. We were 
advised to adopt a single type of equipment for each class of training; 
but if that were not consistent with the demands for speed in getting 
our service in the air, then at the most we should not have more than 
two types either of planes or engines. 

In the elementary training program it was evident that we could 
not equip ourselves with a single type of plane, except at considerable 
expense in time. Consequently we went ahead to develop another. 

We found a training airplane being produced by the Standard 
Aero Corporation and known as the "Standard-J." The company 
had been developing this machine for approximately a year, 
and its plant could be expanded readily to meet a large contract. 
For the engine to drive this plane we adopted the Hall-Scott "A7A." 
This was a four-cylinder engine. It had the fault of vibration common 
to any four-cylinder engine, but it was regarded otherwise by experts 
as a rugged and dependable piece of machinery. The Hall-Scott Co. 
was equipped to produce this motor on an extensive scale, since at 
the time this concern was probably the largest manufacturer of 


aviation engines in the United States, with the possible exception of 
the Curtiss Co. The engine had been used in airplanes built by the 
Standard Aero Corporation, the Aero Marine Co., and the Dayton- 
Wright Co. Therefore the Joint Army and Navy Technical Board 
recommended the Standard-J plane and the Hall-Scott A7A engine 
as the elementary training equipment to alternate with the Curtiss 
plane and engine. 

The Government placed contracts with the Hall-Scott Co. for 1,250 
engines, its capacity. But, since a large additional number would 
be required, a supplementary contract for 1,000 A7A's was given to 
the Nordyke & Marmon Co. The Hall-Scott Co. cooperated with 
this latter concern by furnishing complete drawings, tools, and other 
production necessities. 

When it came to the advanced training for our aviators, more 
highly developed mechanical equipment was required. There 
must be two sorts of this equipment. The advanced student must 
become acquainted with rotary engines such as were used by the 
French and others to drive the small, speedy chasse planes, while 
he must also come to be familiar with the operation of fixed cylinder 
engines, possessing upwards of 100 horsepower. These latter were 
the engines in commonest use on observation and bombing planes. 
For each type, the rotary and fixed, we were permitted by our 
policy to have two sorts of engines in order to get into production 
as quickly as possible, but not more than two. 

Here again we had to survey the field of engine manufacture and 
select closely, at the same time making in point of speed approxi- 
mately as good a showing as if we had adopted every engine with 
claims for our consideration and had told manufacturers of them 
to produce as many as they could. 

In this case of rotary engines, our aviation representatives in 
Europe advised the production here of Gnome and Le Rhone motors. 
There were two models of the Gnome engine, one developing 110 
horsepower and the other 150. The Le Rhone engine produced 
80 horsepower. The Boiling commission had recommended that the 
Gnome 150 be used in some of our combat planes. 

In the spring of 1917 we were producing a few Gnome 110 horse- 
power engines in this country. The General Vehicle Co. at some 
time previously had taken a foreign order for these engines. But 
neither the Gnome 150 nor the Le Rhone 80 had been built in the 
United States, both of these having been developed and used exclu- 
sively in France. The first recommendations from our observers 
in France advised us to produce 5,000 of the more powerful Gnome 
150's and 2,500 Le Rhone 80's. 

. The production of Gnome engines in this country forms a good 
illustration of the manner in which aircraft requirements at the 


front were constantly shifting, due to the rapid evolution of the 
science of mechanical flight. Our officers did not hesitate to over- 
rule their previous decisions, if such a course seemed to be justified, 
even at the cost of rendering useless great quantities of work already 
done and material already produced. This has been shown in the 
case of the Liberty engine. At the start we set out to build Liberty 
8-cylinder engines on a large scale, only to discontinue this work 
before it was fairly started; but later on we again took up a Liberty 
8-cylinder project on almost as great a scale as had been planned 

So with the production of the heavy 150-horsepower Gnome 
engine. Our European advisors were first of the opinion that we 
should go heavily into this production. Consequently the equip- 
ment end of the Signal Corps projected a program of 5,000 of the large 
Qnome engines. Such a contrttbt was entirely beyond the capacity 
of the General Vehicle Co., which had been building the lighter 
Gnomes. So the Government entered into negotiations with the 
General Motors Co. to assume the greater burden of this undertak- 
ing. Under the pilotage of the aircraft authorities, an agreement 
was reached for the industrial combination of the General Motors 
Co. and the General Vehicle Co. The former concern brought its 
vast resources and numerous factories into the consolidation; while 
the latter furnished the only skilled knowledge and experience 
there was in the United States in the art of making rotary engines. 
This seemed to be a great step in our progress and an achievement 
in itself; but just as the undertaking of the construction of large 
Gnome engines was about to be started, events in Europe had caused 
our observers there to revise their first judgment, and we received 
cabled instructions recommending that we discontinue the devel- 
opment of the Gnome 150. 

The entire program for Gnome ISO's was canceled, and thereafter 
the General Vehicle Co., with its relatively small capacity, was called 
upon to produce as many of the small Gnome 110's as it could. As 
a matter of record the production of these engines amounted to 280 
in number. 

The Signal Corps found it difficult to induce manufacturers in this 
country to undertake the construction of foreign designed engines at 
all. The plans and specifications of mechanical applianoes furnished 
by foreign engineers and manufacturers are so different from ours 
that trouble is invariably experienced in attempts to use them here. 
Successful concerns in this country naturally hesitated to pick up 
contracts on which they might fail and thus tarnish their reputations. 
Our advisors in Europe were insistent that we should produce Le 
Rhone engines in quantity in the United States, yet it was hard to 
find any manufacturing concern willing to undertake such a develop- 

286 America's munitions. 

ment. Nevertheless, the production of Le Rhone engines proved to 
be one of the most successful phases of the whole aircraft program. 
Its story illustrates the obstacles encountered in adapting a foreign 
device to American manufacture, and it also shows how American 
production genius can overcome these handicaps. 

It was only after strenuous efforts on our part that the Union 
Switch & Signal Co., of Swissvale, Pa., a member of the Westinghouse 
chain of factories, was induced to take Up the Le Rhone contract. 
This project called for the production of 2,500 rotary Le Rhones ot 
80 horsepower each. Let us see how the manufacturers took this 
totally unfamiliar machine and went about it to reproduce it in this 

, One might think that it would be necessary only to take the French 
drawings, change the metric system measurements to our own scale 
of feet and inches, and proceed to* turn out the mechanism. But 
it was not so simple as that. We did receive the drawings, the speci- 
fications, the metallurgical instructions and the like, but these we 
found to be unreliable and unsatisfactory from our point of view. 
For instance, according to the French instructions the metallurgical 
requirements for the engine crank-shaft called for mild steel. This 
was obviously incorrect; and if an error had crept into this part of 
the plans there was no telling how faulty the rest of them might be. 
So from the metallurgical standpoint alone this became a laboratory 
job of analysis and investigation. A sample engine had been sent 
to us from France. Every piece of metal in this engine was exam- 
ined by the chemists to determine its pioper constituents, and from 
this original investigation new specifications were made for the steel 

The drawings of the engine were quite unsatisfactory from the 
point of view of American mechanics. They were found to be 
incorrect, and there were not enough of them. Consequently this 
required another study on the part of engineers and a new set of 
drawings to be made up. All of this fundamental work monopolized 
the time of a large force of draughtsmen and engineers for several 
months, working under the direction of E. J. Hall and Frank M. 
Hawley. The engine could not be successfully built without this 
preliminary study, yet this is a part of manufacture of which the 
unitiated have little knowledge. 

The production of the Le Rhone engine might have been materially 
delayed by these difficulties, except for the organizing ability of the 
executives handling the contract. While the metallurgists were 
specifying the steel of the engine parts and the engineers were draft- 
ing correct plans, the factory officials, with the assistance of the 
engine production division of the Air Service, were procuring ma- 
chinery and tooling up the plant for the forthcoming effort. By the 



time this equipment was installed the plans were ready, the steel 
mills were producing the proper qualities of metal, and all was 
ready for the effort. The Gnome-Le Rhone factories in France sent 
one of their best engineers, M. Georges Guillot, and he assisted in 
the work at the Union Switch & Signal Co. So rapidly was the whole 
development carried out that the first American Le Rhones were 
delivered to the Government in May, 1918, considerably less than a 
year after the project was assumed by the Union Switch &' Signal 
Co., which concern had not received the plans of the engine until 
September, 1917. By the time the armistice was signed the company 
had delivered 1,057 Le Rhone engines. Subsequent contracts had 
increased the original order to 3,900 Le Rhones, all of which would 
have been delivered before the summer of 1919, had the coming of 
peace not terminated the manufacture. Although France is the home 
of the rotary aviation engine, M. Guillot has certified to the Aircraft 
Board that these American Le Rhones were the best rotary engines 
ever built. 

When it came to the selection of fixed cylinder engines for our 
advanced training program, all of the indications pointed to a single 
one, the Hispano-Suiza engine of 150 horsepower. This was a tried 
and true engine of the war, tested by a wealth of experience and found 
dependable. France had used the engine extensively in both its 
training and combat planes. In 1916 it had been brought to the 
United States for production for the allies, and when we entered the 
war the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation was producing Hispano- 
Suizas in small quantity. By the early summer of 1917, however, 
the motor had fallen behind in the development of combat engines 
because of the increasing horsepowers demanded by the fighting 
aces on the front, but it was still a desirable training engine and 
could, if necessary, be used to a limited extent in planes at the front. 

The plane adopted by the American aircraft authorities for this 
type of advanced training was known as the Curtiss "JN 4H." It 
was readily adapted for the use of the Hispano-Suiza 150-horsepower 
engine. Contracts for several thousand of these engines were placed 
with the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, and up to the signing 
of the armistice 3,435 engines were delivered. Before we could start 
the production of this engine it was necessary for the Government 
to arrange with the Hispano-Suiza Co. for the American rights to 
build it, this arrangement including the payment of royalties. Inci- 
dentally it 4s interesting to note that royalty was the chief beneficiary 
of the royalties paid by the American Government, King Alfonso of 
Spain being the heaviest stockholder of the Hispano-Suiza Co. 

Although our policy permitted us to produce a second training 
engine of the fixed cylinder type, no engine other than the Hispano- 
Suiza was taken up by us. A number presented their claims for 

288 America's munitions. 

consideration, but they were one and all rejected. Among these were 
the Curtiss engines "OXX" and "V." A few of both of these had 
been used by the Navy, but neither one seemed to the Signal Corps 
to meet the requirements. The Sturtevant Co. had developed a 
135-horsepower engine and built a few of them, while Thomas Bros., 
at Ithaca, N. Y., had taken the Sturtevant engine and modified it 
in a way that they claimed improved it, although the changes had 
not substantially increased the horsepower. This engine was rejected 
on the ground that it was too low in horsepower to endure as a useful 
machine through any considerable period of manufacture, and also 
because it was too heavy per horsepower to accomplish the best 

To sum it up, our training program was built around the above 
named engines — the Curtiss "OX" and the Hall-Scott "A7A" for 
the elementary training machines ; the Gnome and Le Rhone, for the 
rotary engine types of planes in the advanced training; and the 
Hispano-Suiza 150-horsepower, for the advanced training in fixed- 
cylinder-engine machines. Between the dates of September 1, 1917, 
and December 19, 1918, we sent to 27 fields 13,250 cadets and 9,075 
students for advanced training. They flew a total of 888,405 hours 
and suffered 304 fatalities, or an average of 1 fatalty for every 
2,922.38 flying hours. At one field the training fliers were in the air 
19,484 hours before there was 1 fatality; another field increased this 
record to 20,269 hours; while a third made the extraordinary record 
of 1 casualty in 30,982 flying hours. 

Although we do not possess the actual statistics, the best unofficial 
figures show that the British averaged 1 fatality for each 1,000 flying 
hours at their training camps, the French 1 for each 900 flying hours, 
while the Italian training killed 1 student for each 700 flying hours. 
These figures are significant, although varying conditions in the types 
of training programs may account to some extent for the wide differ- 
ences in numbers of casualties at American as compared with allied 
training camps. 

But while we were producing engines for the training airplanes, 
both elementary and advanced, we were not staking our whole 
combat program on the Liberty engine alone, although we expected 
that engine to be our main reliance in our battle machines. Our 
organization, both at home and abroad, was on the alert continually 
for other engines that might be produced in Europe or the United 
States and which would be so far in advance of anything in use by 
the air fighters in Europe in 1917 as to justify our production of them 
on a considerable scale. One of these motors which seemed to 
promise great results for the future was the Rolls-Royce, which had 
even then, in 1917, taken its place at the head of the British airplane 


Considerable difficulty was experienced in reaching a satisfactory 
arrangement with the Rolls-Royce Co. We expected to duplicate 
this engine at the plant of the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co., at Buffalo, 
N. Y., but the British concern objected to this arrangement on the 
ground that the Pierce-Arrow people were commercial competitors. 

It was several months before we could agre^on a factory and arrive 
at a contract satisfactory to both sides. Meanwhile the Liberty 
engine had scored its great success, and the expected ehormous 
production of Liberties tended to cool the enthusiasm of our aircraft 
authorities for the Rolls-Royce, as it was evident that the Liberty 
itself would be as serviceable and as advanced in type as the British 

The Rolls-Royce Co. wished to manufacture here its "190," an 
engine developing from 250 to 270 horsepower; and for this effort 
it was prepared to send to the United States at once a complete set 
°f Jig 3 ? gauges* and &U other necessary tooling of a Rolls-Royce 
plant. With this equipment ready at hand the company expected 
to produce about 500 American-built Rolls-Royce engines before the 
1st of July, 1918. 

But so rapidly was the evolution of aircraft engines going ahead 
that even during the time of these negotiations it became evident 
that something more than 250 horsepower would soon be needed in 
the fighting planes on the Western front. We therefore abandoned 
the Rolls-Royce model 190 and started negotiations for the 270- 
horsepower engine, the latest and most powerful one produced by 
the Rolls-Royce Co. But for this engine the British concern could 
not furnish the tooling, which would have to be made new in this 
country, and this would reduce the schedule of deliveries. As a 
result no American-built Rolls-Royce engine was ever made. 

Another disappointing experience in attempting to produce a 
foreign designed motor in this country was the project to bring the 
manufacture of Bugatti engines to the United States. When our 
European aircraft commission arrived in France, the first experi- 
mental Bugatti engine had just made its appearance. It was ap- 
parently a long step in advance of any other motor that had been 
produced. This French mechanism was a geared 16-cylinder engine. 
It weighed approximately 1,100 pounds and was expected to develop 
510 horsepower. It seemed to be the motor to supplement our own 
Liberty engine construction. Although heavier than a Liberty, it 
was much more powerful. The first Bugatti engine built in France 
was purchased by the Boiling commission and hurried to the United 
States with the urgent recommendation that we put it into produc- 
tion immediately and push its manufacture as energetically as we 
were pushing that of the Liberty engine. 

100287°— 19 19 

290 America's munitions. 

The Signal Corps acted immediately upon this advice and prepared 
to proceed with the Bugatti on a scale that promised to make its 
development as spectacular as that of the Liberty. The Dusenberg 
Motor Corporation, of Elizabeth, N. J., was even then tooling up for 
the production of Liberty engines. We took this concern from its 
Liberty work and directed it to assume leadership in the production 
of Bugattis. The Liberty engine construction had been centered 
in the Detroit district. We now prepared to establish a new aviation 
engine district in the East, associating in it such concerns as the 
Fiat Plant at Schenectady, N. Y., the Herschell-Spillman Co., of 
North Tonawanda, N. Y., and several others. For a time the 
expectation for the Bugatti production ran almost as high as the 
enthusiasm for the Liberty engine, but the whole undertaking ended 
virtually in failure, a failure again due to the tremendous difficulty 
in adapting foreign engineering plans to American factory production. 

This was the story of it. In due time the sample Bugatti engine 
arrived, and with it were several French engineers and expert mechan- 
ics. But, once set up, the Bugatti motor would not function, nor was 
it in condition to run; for, as We discovered, during its test in France 
a soldier had been struck by its flying propeller. His body had been 
thrown twice to the roof of the testing shed, and the shocks had 
bent the engine's crank shaft. Then, too, we learned for the first 
time that the design and development of this engine had not been 
carried through to completion and that a great deal of work would 
be required before the device could be put into manufacture. The 
tests in France had developed that such a fundamental feature as the 
oiling system needed complete readjustment, and this was only in- 
dicative of the amount of work yet to be done on the engineering 
side of the production. We did our best with this engine; but to 
redesign it and develop it so that it could pass the severe 50 -hour 
test demanded by our Joint Army and Navy Technical Board was the 
work of months, and after that the tooling up of plants had to be 
accomplished. The American Bugatti was just getting into produc- 
tion when the armistice was signed, a total of only 11 having been 

As we have seen, we were already building several hundred His- 
pano-Suiza 150-horsepower engines for our training planes. Soon 
after the arrival of our aircraft commission in France we were advised 
to go into the additional manufacture of the latest Hispano-Suiza 
geared engine of 220-horsepower. Consequently the Washington 
office at once arranged with the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, 
which was building the smaller Hispano-Suizas, to undertake the 
production of this newer model also. The preparations for this 
manufacture had gone on in the Wright-Martin plant for a consider- 
able period of time when further advice from Europe informed us 



that the Hispano-Suiza 220 was not performing successfully on account 
of trouble with the gearing. This fact, of course, canceled the new 
contract with the Wright-Martin Co., the incident being another of 
those ups and downs with which the undertaking was replete. 

Along in the summer of 1918 the Hispano-Suiza designers in 
Europe brought out a 300-horsepower engine. By this date the 
development of military flying had made it apparent that engines of 
such great horsepower could be used advantageously on the smaller 
planes. However, the engine plants of the allied countries were 
already taxed to their capacities by their existing contracts, and the 
demands of these countries for high-powered engines could not be 
supplied unless we in America could increase our maufacturing 
facilities even further. 

In following out this ambition, we placed contracts for the pro- 
duction of 10,000 Hispano-Suiza 300-horsepower engines. Of these, 
5,000 were to be built by the Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation. 
To enable this company to fulfill the netf contract we leased to 
it the plant owned by the Government in Long Island City 
which had formerly been owned by the General Vehicle Co. The 
other 5,000 of these engines were to be built by the Pierce-Arrow 
Motor Car Co. at Buffalo. We also contracted for the entire manu- 
facturing facilities of the H. H. Franklin Co., of Syracuse, N. Y., 
to aid both the Wright-Martin Corporation and the Pierce-Arrow 
Co., in this contract. The first of these high-powered Hispano- 
Suiza engines were expected to be delivered in January, 1919, but 
this project, of course, was interrupted by the armistice. 

To summarize the complete engine program of the aviation develop- 
ment, the total contracts for engines provided for the delivery of 
100,993 engines. These were divided as follows: 

OX 9,460 Hispano-Suiza: 150-horsepower. . 4,000 

A7A 2, 250 Hispano-Suiza: 300-horsepower. . 10, 000 

Gnome 342 Bugatti 2,000 

LeKhone 3,900 Liberty-12 56,100 

Lawrence 451 Liberty-8 8,000 

Hispano-Suiza: 180-horsepower. . 4, 500 

The delivery of aviation engines of all types to the United States 
Government, engines produced as part of our war program, were as 
follows, by months: 

July, 1917 66 

August, 1917 139 

September, 1917 190 

October, 1917 276 

November, 1917 638 

December, 1917 596 

January, 1918 704 

February, 1918 1,024 

March, 1918 1,666 

April, 1918 2,214 

May, 1918 2,517 

June, 1918 2,604 

July, 1918 3, 151 

August, 1918 3,625 

September, 1918 3,802 

October, 1918 5,297 

Total 28,509 


amebica's munitions. 

The production by types was as follows to November 29, 1918: 

OX 8,468 

Hispano-Suiza 4, 100 

Le Rhone 1,298 

Lawrence 451 

Gnome 280 

A7A i 2,250 

Bugatti 11 

Liberty 15,572 

At the signing of the armistice the United States had produced 
about one-third of the engines projected in its complete aviation 

Of the output of training engines to November 29, 1918, the various 
airplane plants took 9,069 for installation in planes, 325 (all of these 
being Le Rhone rotaries) went to the American Expeditionary 
Forces in France, 515 (all of which were Hispano-Suizas) were taken 
by the Navy, a single A7A model was sent to one of the allied coun- 
tries, while 6,376 engines were sent directly to the training fields. 

Of the combat engines produced to November 29, 1918 (which 
classification includes all of the Liberties, the two more powerful 
types of the Hispano-Suiza, and the Bugatti engine), 5,327 went to 
the various airplane plants for installation in planes, 5,030 of them 
were sent directly to the American Expeditionary Forces, 3,746 were 
turned over to the Navy, 1,090 went to the several allied nations, and 
941 were taken by the training fields. 

The shipment of aviation engines to Europe, however, does not 
imply the immediate use of them by our airplane squadrons at the 
front. In this report shipment to the American Expeditionary 
Forces means the shipment of engines from the American factories 
producing them. As a matter of fact several months usually elapsed 
from the dispatch of an engine from an American shop until it actually 
reached the Air Service in France, and even then another month 
might be required to put the engine into actual service. As a result, 
of the 5,000 and more aviation engines sent to France by the American 
engine producers, outside of those installed in their planes, less than 
3,000 are recorded in the annals of the American Expeditionary 
Forces as having been received by them up to the end of December, 
1918, the missing 2,000 being in that period either somewhere in 
transit or in warehouses on the route to their destination. 

It is of interest to note what makes of foreign engines were used 
by our airmen in the war operations. An appended table shows the 
list of those received, their names, their rated powers, the numbers 
received month by month, and the totals. The records of the 
American Expeditionary Forces show that the squadrons in all 
received from all sources 4,715 aviation engines up to the end of the 
year 1918, but it should be borne in mind that this figure does not 
include more than 2,000 engines, principally Liberties, recorded on 
this side of the Atlantic as having been shipped to the Army abroad. 
Of the 4,715 engines noted as received, 2,710 were Liberties. 



None of the foreign engines used by our pilots even approached 
the Liberty in power. The nearest in power were a Renault and an 
Hispano-Suiza, both rated at 300 horsepower. 

Table of engines received from foreign sources in American Expeditionary Forces monthly. 

Name and horsepower. 














Hispano Suiza 180 







Hlspano Suiza 220 





Hispano Suiza 300 


Ttamiilt ISO. 






Renault 300 








Le Rhone 80 



Le Rhone 120 


















Ralmson 230. . . . , 









Fiat 300 


Gnome 150 






Peugeot 220. 


Bearamore 160 
















On one of the early days in the great war a Russian aviator, 
aloft in one of the primitive airplanes of that time, was engaged in 
locating the positions of the enemy when he chanced upon a German 
birdman engaged in a similar mission. 

In those ancient times — for they seem ancient to us now, although 
less than five years have elapsed — actual fighting in the air was 
unknown. The aviators had no equipment for battle; indeed, it 
was doubtful if the thought had occurred to either side to keep 
down the enemy's aircraft by the use of armed force borne upon wings. 
In the first months of aviation in the great war the fliers of both sides 
recognized a sort of noblesse oblige of the air, which, if it did not make 
for actual friendship or fraternizing between the rival air services, 
at least amounted to a respect for each other often evidenced by an 
innocuous waving of hands as hostile flying machines passed each 

But now the wounds of war had begun to smart; and when the 
Russian saw the German flier going unhindered upon a work that 
might bring death to thousands of soldiers in the Czar's army, a 
sudden rage filled his heart, and he determined to bring down his 
adversary, even at the cost of his own life. Maneuvering his craft, 
presently he was flying directly beneath the German and in the same 
direction and was but a short distance below his enemy's plane. 
Then, with a pull on his control lever, the Russian shot his machine 
sharply upward, hoping to upset the German and to escape himself. 
The result was that the machines collided, and both crashed to the 
ground. This was probably the first aerial combat of the war. 

It seems strange to us to-day that the highly complicated and stand- 
ardized art of fighting with airplanes was developed entirely during 
the great war and, indeed, was only started after the war had been in 
progress for several months. Yet such was the case. At the begin- 
ning of the war there was no such thing as armament in aircraft, 
either of the offensive or defensive sort. It is true that a small 
amount of experimentation in this direction had occurred prior to 
the war and also in the early months of fighting, but it was not until 
the summer of 1915 that air fighting, as it is so well known to the 
entire world to-day, was begun. 


In this country we had successfully fired a machine gun from an 
airplane in 1912, while at the beginning of the war the French had a 
few heavy airplanes equipped to cany machine guns. Yet in August, 
1915, Maj. Eric T. Bradley, of the United States Air Service, but then 
a flight sublieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps, frequently flew 
over the lines hunting for Germans; and his offensive armament 
consisted of a Lee-Enfield rifle or sometimes a 12-gauge double- 
barreled shotgun. 

The aviators in those pioneer days usually carried automatic 
pistols, but the danger to one side or the other from such weapons 
was slight, owing to the great difficulty of hitting an object moving as 
swiftly as an airplane travels. The earlier planes also packed a 
supply of trench grenades for dropping upon bodies of troops. Another 
pioneer offensive weapon for the airplane was the steel dart, which 
was dropped in quantities upon the enemy's trenches. Great num- 
bers of these darts were manufactured in the United States for the 
allies, but the weapon proved to be so ineffective that it had but a 
brief existence. 

It is said that before the pilots carried any weapons at all the 
first war aviators used to shoot at each other with Very pistols, 
which projected Roman candle balls. The start of air fighting 
may be said to have come when the Lewis machine guns were 
brought out for use in the trenches. Presently these ground guns 
were taken into the planes and fired from the observers' shoulders. 
Then for the first time war flying began to be a hazardous occupatioi) 
so far as the enemy's attentions were concerned. 

It was soon discovered that the machine gun was the most effective 
weapon of all for use on an airplane, because only with rapid firers 
could one hope to hunt successfully such swiftly moving prey as 
airplanes. It had become patent to the strategists that it was of 
supreme importance to keep the enemy's aircraft on the ground. 
Hence invention began adapting the machine gun to airplane use. 

The swiftest planes of all were those of the single-seater pursuit 
type. It was obviously impossible for the lone pilot of one of 
these to drop his controls and fire a machine gun from his shoulder. 
This necessitated a fixed gun that oould be operated while the pilot 
maintained complete control of his machine, and such necessity was 
the mother of the invention known as the synchronizing gear. 

This ingenious contrivance, however, did not come at once. 
Most of the war planes were of the tractor type; that is, that they 
had the engine and propeller in front, this arrangement giving them 
better maneuvering and defensive powers in the air than those pos- 
sessed by planes with the rear, pushing propellers. The first fixed 
machine gun was carried on the upper plane of the biplane so as to 

296 America's munitions. 

shoot over the arc described by the propeller. With the gun thus 
attached parallel to the line of flight, the pilot needed only to point 
the airplane itself directly at the target to iiave the gun trained on its 
objective. But such an arrangement proved to be unsatisfactory. 
A single belt or magazine of cartridges could, indeed; be fired from 
the gun, but there was no more firing on that trip, because the pilot 
could not reach up to the upper plane to reload the weapon. 

So the fixed gun was brought down into the fuselage and made to 
fire through the whirling propeller. At first the aviators took their 
chances of hitting the propeller blades, and sometimes the blades 
were, armored at the point of fire, being sheathed in steel of a shape 
calculated to cause the bullets to glance off. This system was 
not satisfactory. Then, since a single bullet striking an unprotected 
propeller blade would often shatter it to fragments, attempts were 
made to wrap the butts of the blades in linen fabric to prevent this 
splintering, and this protection actually, allowed several shots to 
pierce the propeller without breaking it. 

This was the state of affairs on both sides early in 1915. The French 
Nieuports had their fixed guns literally shooting through the pro- 
pellers, the bullets perforating the blades, if they did not wreck them. 
As late as February, 1917, Maj. Bradley, who was by that time a 
flight commander in the British service, worked a Lewis gun over the 
Bulgarian lines with the plane propellers protected only by cloth 

All of this makeshift operation of fixed machine guns was 
changed by the invention of the synchronizing device. This is an 
applianoe for controlling the fire of the fixed gun so that the bullets 
miss the blades of the flying propeller and pass on in the infinitesimal 
spaces of time when the line of fire ahead of the gun is clear of obstruc- 
tion. The term "synchronizing" is not accurate, since that word 
implies that the gun fires after each passage of a propeller blade across 
the trajectory. Suoh is not the truth. The propeller revolves much 
more rapidly than the gun fires. The device is also called an "inter- 
rupter," another inexact term, since the fire of the gun is not inter- 
rupted, but only caused at the proper moments. Technicians prefer 
the name "gun oontrol" for this mechanism. 

Who first invented the synchronizer is a matter of dispute, but all 
observers agree that the Germans in the Fokker monoplanes of 1915 
were the first to use it extensively. Not until some time after this 
did the allies generally install similar devices. Some have attributed 
the original invention to the famous French flier, Roland Garros. 

Two types of synchronizers were developed, one known as the 
hydraulic type and the other as the mechanical. In operation they 
are somewhat similar. In each case there is a cam mounted on the 
engine shaft so that each impulse of the piston actuates a plunger. 


The plunger passes on the impulses to the rest of the mechanism. In 
the meohanical control the impulse is carried through a series of rods 
to the gun, causing the latter to fire at the proper moments. In the 
hydraulic control the impulse is transmitted through oil held at a 
pressure in a system of copper tubes. The hydraulic synchronizer is 
known as the Constantinisoo control, oommonly called the "C. C." 
after the military fashion of using initials. This was the device 
copied for American planes in the war. 

In April, 1917, we knew practically nothing about the use or manu- 
facture of aircraft guns. We had used airplanes at the Mexican 
border, but not one of them carried a machine gun. The Lewis gun, 
which is a flexible type of aircraft weapon pointed on a universal 
pivot by the observer in a two-place plane, was being manufactured 
by the Savage Arms Corporation for the British Government; but we 
had never made a gun of the fixed type in this country, nor did we 
know anything about the construction or manufacture of synchro- 

One special requirement of the aircraft machine gun is that it must 
be reliable in the extreme. It is bad enough to have a gun jam on the 
ground, but in the air it may be fatal, for little can be done there to 
repair the weapon. A jam leaves the gunner to the mercy of his 
adversary, so in the production of aircraft armament there must be 
not only special care iy. the manufacture of the guns, but the ammu- 
nition, too, must be as perfect as human accuracy can make it. The 
cartridges must be either hand-picked and specially selected from the 
run of service ammunition, or else manufactured slowly and expressly 
for the purpose, with minute gauging from start to finish of the 

Another requirement for the aircraft gun is that it must function 
perfectly in any position. On the ground a machine gun is fired 
essentially in a horizontal position, but the airman dives and leaps 
in his maneuvering and must be able to shoot at any instant. 

Aircraft guns are subject to extreme variations of temperature, 
and so they must be certain to function perfectly in the zero cold of 
the high altitudes, regardless of the contraction of their metal parts. 

Then, too, such guns must be able to fire at a much greater rate 
than those of the ground service. Five hundred shots per minute is 
regarded as sufficient for a ground gun, but aircraft guns have been 
brought up to a rate of fire as high as 950 to 1,000 shots per minute. 
The Browning aircraft gun, never used by us, but in prooess of de- 
velopment when the armistice was signed, had been speeded up to 
1,300 shots per minute, with all shots synchronized to miss the blades 
of the propeller. 

The rate of fire in the air can not be made too swift. Suppose an 
airplane were flying past a long, stationary target, such as a bill- 
board, at the relatively slow speed of 100 miles an hour. Assume on 

298 America's munitions. 

this plane a flexible machine gun aimed at the billboard at right 
angles to the line of flight. If this is a fast machine gun, it may 
shoot 880 times a minute, at which rate the shots will come so fast that 
the explosions will merge into a continuous roar. Yet the bullets 
fired at such a rate from a machine moving at even such low speed 
will be spaced out along the billboard at intervals of 10 feet. But 
most of the fighting planes traveled much faster than 100 miles per 
hour. Thus it is entirely possible for two antagonists in the air to 
aim with complete accuracy at each other and both to pass unscathed 
through the lines of fire. The faster, therefore, the aircraft gun 
fired, the better the chances of bringing down the enemy plane. 

The Lewis gun, invented by Col. Lewis, of the United States Army, 
was the weapon most generally used by the allies as the flexible gun 
for their airplanes, operated on a universal mount which permitted 
it to be pointed in any direction. The Lewis aircraft gun was the 
ground gun modified principally by stripping it of the cooling radiator 
and by the addition of a gas check to reduce the recoil. The Lewis 
was fed by a drum magazine, a more desirable feed for flexible guns 
than any belt system. The German flexible gun, the Parabellum, had 
the unsatisfactory belt feed. 

The Viokers gun was the only successful weapon of the fixed type 
developed in the war before we became a belligerent. We were 
manufacturing Vickers guns in the United States prior to April, 1917; 
but when the Signal Corps faced the machine-gun problem, in Sep- 
tember, 1917, it found that the Infantry branches of the Army had 
contracted for the entire Vickers production in this country. 

Accordingly, the equipment division of the Signal Corps, in the face 
of marked opposition, took up the development of the Marlin gun as an 
aircraft gun of the fixed type. This gun, however, proved to be 
extraordinarily successful and was regarded by our Flying Service 
and by the aviators of the allies to be the equal of the Vickers in 
efficiency. Because of this development, when there came the need 
' of tank guns, in June, 1918, the Aircraft Board, which had succeeded 
the Signal Corps as the director of aerial activities, was able to supply 
7,220 Marlin machine guns within two weeks for this purpose. 

The first order for Marlin guns was placed on September 25, 1917; 
and over 37,500 of them had been produced before December, 1918. 
The Marlin-Rockwell factory began producing 2,000 guns per month 
in January, 1918, and increased this rapidly until as many as 7,000 
guns were built in one month. The Marlin gun shoots at the rate of 
600 to 650 shots per minute and is fed by a belt of the disintegrating 
metal-link type. 

As to Lewis guns, which we adopted as our flexible weapon, 
more than 35,000 of them were delivered to the Air Service up to 
December, 1918. In February, 1918, the Savage Arms Corporation 
built 1,500 of them, increasing their monthly deliveries until in the 


month of October, 1918, they turned out 5,448 of these weapons. The 
Lewis gun which the British had been using carried 47 cartridges in 
its magazine. A notable accomplishment of the manufacture of 
Lewis guns for our use was to increase the capacity of the magazine 
to hold 97 cartridges. 

In our De Haviland-4 planes we installed two Marlin fixed guns, 
each firing at the rate of 650 shots per minute, equipping the weapons 
with Constantinisco controls to give the plane a maximum fire of 
1,300 shots per minute through the blades of a propeller whirling at 
a rate as high as 1 ,600 revolutions per minute. Four fixed guns have 
also been successfully fitted to one plane and timed so that none of the 
bullets struck the propeller blades. 

At the time the armistice was signed the rate of production of special 
aircraft ammunition, a classification including tracer bullets, incen- 
diary bullets, and armor-piercing bullets, exceeded 10,000,000 rounds 
per month. 

The original estimate for the quantity of ammunition our Flying 
Service should have was later greatly increased because the squadrons 
at the front began installing as many as four guns on a single 
observation plane. 

Although different aviators had their own notions about the 
loading of ammunition belts, certain sequences in the use of the three 
types of special ammunition were usually observed. First usually 
came the tracer cartridge, which assists the gunner in directing his 
aim; then two or three armor-piercing cartridges, relied upon to 
injure the hostile engine or tap the gasoline tank; and finally one or 
two incendiary cartridges to ignite the enemy's gasoline as it escaped, 
sending him down in flames. Such a sequence would be repeated 
throughout the ammunition belt or magazine container. 

The belts for the fixed guns carry a maximum of 500 rounds of 
cartridges. The belt which we furnished to our fliers at the front 
was made of small metallic links fastened together by the cartridges 
themselves. As the gun was fired and the cartridges ejected, the 
links fell apart and cleared the machine through special chutes. The 
total production of such belting in this country amounted to 59,044,- 
755 links. Although the links are extremely simple in design, the 
great accuracy required in their finish made production 'of them a 
difficult manufacturing undertaking. The production and inspection 
of each link involved over 36 separate operations. It actually cost 
more to inspect belt links than to manufacture them. 

We produced 12,621 British unit sights for airplane guns and sent 
1,550 of them overseas. We also bought an adequate number of 
small electric heaters to keep the gun oil from congealing in the cold 
of high altitudes. 

A novel undertaking for our photographic manufacturers was the 
production of the so-called gun cameras which are used to train 

300 America's munitions. 

airplane gunners in accuracy of fire. Target practice with a machine 
gun in an airplane is dangerous to the innocent bystander; and it 
was found to be impracticable; moreover, to tow suitable targets 
for actual machine-gun fire. Consequently, quite early in the war, 
the air services of the allies adopted the practice of substituting 
cameras for the machine guns on the practice planes. 

One of these gun cameras, invented by Thornton Pickard, of Alt- 
ringham, England, imitated in design a Marlin aircraft machine gun; 
and in order to make a picture with it, the gunner must go through 
the same movements that he would employ in firing a Marlin gun. 
Thus, if the gun were pointed directly on the target, the target 
would appear squarely in the center of the picture taken; and this 
showed the gunner's accuracy as well as if he had fired cartridges 
from the actual weapon. 

These gun cameras were of two sorts. One type took a single 
picture each time the trigger was pulled. Those of the other sort 
took a nuiqber of pictures automatically at a speed approximately 
that of the firing of a machine gun. This latter type was much the 
same as a moving picture camera, the resulting film being a string 
of silhouettes of the target, each exposure showing whether the aim 
of the gunner was exact at the instant the picture was taken. 

In September, 1917, the Eastman Kodak Co. began the develop- 
ment of a camera gun of the "burst" or automatic moving-picture 
type. After our authorities had seen the model, the Navy ordered 
a number of them, while the Air Service placed increasing orders for 
these instruments until 1,057 had been produced and delivered to the 
Government by November, 1918. This camera was not used in the 
fixed airplane guns, but was designed to train the operators of the 
flexible Lewis gun. The camera exactly replaced the ammunition 
magazine on a Lewis gun. 

Of the single-shot gun cameras 150 were delivered during the hos- 
tilities. This design was obtained from Canada and duplicated here. 

The use of the so-called Bromotype, paper in gun cameras was 
one of the interesting phases of this development. As everyone 
acquainted with photography knows, a picture is made ordinarily 
by exposing a sensitized plate or film, developing the latter to 
make a negative, then exposing sensitive print paper to the light 
that comes through the negative, thus reversing the lights and 
shadows and creating a positive in the exact semblance of the sub- 
ject photographed. A concern in Cleveland, Ohio, the Positype Co., 
produced Bromotype paper which could be exposed directly in the 
camera, coming out of the developing process as a positive without- 
the intervention of a film or plate negative. 

Bromotype paper is much more highly sensitized than ordinary 
print paper, so that it may be adequately exposed in an instantaneous, 


high-speed snapshot. The exposure is then developed in the ordi- 
nary way in the dark room, the familiar negative image appearing 
on the surface in the ruby light of the lantern. At this point the 
special developing process enters. The paper negative, without 
being fixed, is immersed in a bath of chemicals that dissolves away 
the sensitized surface that has been oxidized by the light from the 
camera lens — that is, the image — leaving on the paper only the 
unoxidized, or unexposed, parts of the sensitization. The paper 
now presents an unbroken white surface. It is then redeveloped 
by a special solution, and the picture in its true values of light and 
shade thus comes into existence. The entire development and 
finishing of thir paper requires only 2H to 3 minutes. 

Under this system, of course, only one finished print of each 
exposure can be made; but the airplane gunners needed only one 
print to show their aim. Positype paper was thus admirably 
adapted for use in the airplane gun cameras; and because of its 
cheapness and the simplicity and rapidity of its use, it was rapidly 
supplanting film at the training camps in this country when the 
armistice was signed. 


The American production of bombs to be dropped from airplanes 
was not started so soon as production in some of the other branches 
of ordnance development, due to numerous difficulties encountered 
in working up the design of this new materiel. Although aerial 
bombing was steadily increasing in effectiveness and magnitude when 
hostilities ended, yet this kind of fighting was a development that 
came relatively late in the war; and the lack of perfected standards 
at the time this country became a belligerent helped to impede our 

Some of the bombs first designed and put into production were 
later rejected by our forces in France, as they had become obsolete 
before being shipped overseas. We managed to manufacture a great 
quantity of unloaded bombs by the time the armistice was signed, 
enough, in fact, to provide for the Army's needs during another year 
of warfare. These had to be loaded with explosives before they were 
ready for use. We lacked adequate facilities for loading bombs with 
explosives, although these facilities were being provided rapidly when 
the war ended. The result was that the thousands of completed 
American bombs remained unloaded, while practically all the bombs 
used by our fliers in France were of foreign manufacture. 

Military science had had some small experience with aerial bomb- 
ing prior to the great war. Italian aviators had dropped bombs of 
an ineffective sort during Italy's war in Africa. When Mexico was 
having a civil war in 1914 American air-sailors of fortune on one side 
or the other dropped bombs on troops from their planes. 

HIS, JkMBBlEc/fc JLLJ^l 



jr. tat ^iuu -wear hk- ursr. ttbut n iuuuiuk Itanium^ hl 

ttti*.«- *lr» ., 

jt x» eonfun mc jam ag p d bands- hj*oe. ii*f- 

T*n uuf oadnr me innraHBEivt rfari w ■!!! 
mn if all jirro»araiix xt -hie- arnutL damage dime 

if ~*wmrrr WyV mit IT id* ian nun Gsnnairr xmcl 3| 

u r fdu n e c rfp^m* nestd i»andfc- Tin- inpnfnl ^aenfib sue :IM * 

& band: :nud imiiadirr dm mare 14: Tecmst n*t- mnmit m lima* 

( dan* ion. tut daFxru?n*a£ obobbc i*r n*f> «an*ii*amr ~ 

«\? w ri T^^ nrfn— nh n^r ic qthi i. IKHni 






oan* max. tut oseTrucunti obobbc i*r -m* «an*ii*amr miffiiiB^ 
.^jj jl; if bx. ccsreediic'r^ drfsmti inck ic amy t inimi inHt wxrw 

^ sm^miMf fliirrucH bxic im viia; 701: an Rirmnr ax Titf uxiiwc 4 

xu aznuant it& iiecm ai»p*r* liif ground lit* snar* a: xut i»omi J| 

mj BIlC Hi* ff U ' . WHM* if BT ITIIIC OH Tilt ruTlTTig TTnagfU mfuwm 

w< if figrm Tih- rma<r apnnairaiiur at enemy ^bt^'i draw Tint 

_v liaa£ lie are lit ainfuaifr je tiirerLrr id»rm litf oi»j< 

* Tint init if tut i»ani: * fys * ft 7>Hrni»uii: rurvt - TTuf 




tut airman* tn» ac irem "nrniKii* 11** i»omi 3, 
a £ £ iiat t»*«i sii-n innx ft sraiAoiiflr^ irnx- -a* int qi 
t^.^Tj* cf n* 1 «om 1 nitrrsass ic* raniir" r- *h«ol in^nrat sr- 
n. "nr-nmruni. ir ^ei i^ry iarfnarc His; n*t ?nnrs* -x ii±f Tnigm u 
fiiiarurr d «»vnv ar c mnlL at ji ikshj* liif invalid, r. i** iuliinr' 
il ft '^sru'tL "mi* ZSenrt. i wrrmrifF f^nd^m linn armnii* i»arr 
trfTTT^mr Jfc at an ax^imed uixr~ 17- mni jtninii^ nt liif iwn : 

Tut Jin*"?; >3ni:»iur nxa^hniSE vcrf ftjinTTr*°c vtll g^frrg. ^- tti^ 

armmrj lino. iiii£ i»~ex. i»r«si:ii± earlier n: in* vhi. "^"iiif srant a: 
liit di»er; Zliir' 1 "!****!!- i^.iniT^es sv-jn^L iih i^nr nr^nmii^ or si^-r^ 
ami irreierrfrc 11 niiraiiiH tirf u^ o: iuii£25siLifi sirbs ^rhiri -sutt 
Lac ir^fTifd aiic xqsuJi^l or hht Tiifin^. xiif i» ^aiff 
of i«qhii tr-PTTprrr vat rrnEiaentiir" ^rf«iflr ar» iad 

*z* a::'iBfe*L ii ite^ia air si»»»d an£ fn^enrai oc 

*i«f "ifirj??i vifc jl Inif thl ntHm ax tifnini'ti xi; vt»iii£ t»i: 3^*; 

IT* aa^rn**L t 2sm«L sir^L ie?v^L bul 5rnn»L f^-asanrT rr rn^ 

3Li^-il. t^T TTg- " oris, ant irrinvx at iitf Hiri. ^.:"imidf ^ r jmii!n&. 

■mr jl in* Tun^c r^ifr* k liif Z»mx: irin jLart 3—-^. rix ^mana^r 

11 l k l», >.tt** — '••iiT ia^.iriSk 'P^T'tTrrc nx roxirartt Tiiar*£ rr ft>f 

JCT2HBII!?!: Z^?r»iirnii^in xai pr;»:iu~*L f ? •» rf iiifnx TTitf iai rf 

J *sarA k. 1 1 . a." Z^r*^ ~Z jtx Iry il tlannarj . 1 1^ 1 s. I^iosr it -a* 
— : *ac MiLnniimuL nnnmra ^^r* 1^ *a_ n- xat Hd&OL J**iann£rmuii 
T^natt and it ~n& G rT T- TigTr "A.amf ai'«.H w nig Tx ^^twgf rmnv^m 




? Has 



>, made from a converted 3-inch irUEIer 


called for 15,000 sights. By December 12, 1918, these concerns had 
completed a total of 12,700 of them. 

Airplane bombs are shaped so as to offer the least possible resist- 
ance to the' air. They have fins on their tails to steady them lest 
they tumble over and over. On the smaller types of bombing planes, 
such as the De Haviland-4, the bombs were usually carried under- 
neath the lower wings or under the fuselage, hanging horizontally 
by hooks or fastened by bands around the bodies of the bombs, 
according to their type. The bombs were dropped by a quick- 
release mechanism operated by a small lever within the fuselage. 
The production of these release mechanisms, of which several types 
were made, was one of the troublesome jobs in connection with the 
airplane bombing. 

All bombs are carried on the planes either suspended under the 
wings or fuselage of the plane or in a compartment in the fuselage. 
The manner of carrying and the design of the release mechanism is 
determined by the type of plane used. Since the weight-carrying 
capacity of the planes is limited, release mechanisms must be designed 
with a view to lightness as well as safety. These mechanisms are 
so designed that the observer can release any desired number of 
bombs either as a salvo or in a " trail fire," and the order of releasing 
must be so arranged that the balance of the plane will be disturbed 
as little as possible; that is, if bombs are carried under the wings 
they should be released alternately from each wing. All bombs are 
fitted with a safety mechanism which enables the observer to drop 
them either " armed' ' or "safe," i. e., so that they will explode or 
not as desired. An occasion might develop where the aviator would 
have to get rid of his bombs over his own lines. These various 
points are all taken care of in the design of the release mechanism 
and are controlled by the observer with an operating-control handle 
placed in the observer's cockpit. 

All of the bombs used by our fliers and by the fliers of the other 
nations at war were of three distinctive types — demolition bombs, 
fragmentation bombs, and incendiary bombs. 

Our Ordnance Department built demolition bombs in five different 
weights: 50 pounds, 100 pounds, 250 pounds, 500 pounds, and, finally, 
the enormous bomb weighing 1,000 pounds — half a ton. The most 
frequently used demolition bombs, however, were those of the 100- 
pound and 250-pound sizes. The demolition bombs were for use 
against ammunition dumps, railways, roads, buildings, and all sorts 
of heavy structures where a high-explosive charge is desired. These 
bombs had a shell of light steel which was filled with trinitrotoluol — 
T. N. T., as it is more commonly known — or some other explosive of 
great destructive power. The charge was set off by a detonator held 
apart from the dangerous contents of the bomb by a pin. As the 

304 America's munitions. 

bomb was released by the mechanism the pin was automatically 
drawn out, and the detonator slid down into position so as to explode 
the bomb the instant it struck its object. 

The first contract let for drop bombs of any type was given to the 
Marlin-Rockwell Corporation of Philadelphia in June, 1917. This 
contract was for the construction of 5,000 heavy drop bombs of the 
design known as the Barlow, and also for 250 sets of release mechan- 
isms for this bomb. We were able to go ahead with the production 
of this bomb at this early date since it was the only one of which we 
had completed designs and working drawings when we entered the 
war. In November, 1917, this order was increased to 13,000, and in 
April, 1918, to 28,000. 

The Barlow bomb, however, was destined never to cut any figure 
in our fighting in France. The production was slow, due to the 
necessity of constant experimentation to simplify a firing mechanism 
which was regarded as too complicated by the experts of the War 
Department. Finally, in June, 1918, when 9,000 of these bonibs 
and 250 sets of release mechanisms had been produced, a cablegram 
came from the American Expeditionary Forces canceling the entire 

Meanwhile, the final type of demolition bomb, known variously as 
the Mark I, II, III, IV, V, or VI, depending upon its size, had been 
developed here. In December, 1917, a contract for 70,000 of the 
size known as Mark II, weighing 25 pounds, was given to the Marlin- 
Rockwell Corporation. But in June the American Expeditionary 
Forces informed us that this bomb would not be of value to the Air 
Service abroad because of its small explosive charge, and the con- 
tract was cut down to 40,000 bombs, which number the Army could 
use in training its aviators. By the end of November, 1918, bomb 
bodies of the Mark II size to the number of 36,840 had been completed. 

By the end of March, 1918, we had developed here a series of 
demolition bombs that promised to meet every need of our Air Service 
abroad in projectiles of their class. We let contracts for the manu- 
facture of 300,000 of the 50-pound Mark III size, these contracts 
being reduced later to a total of 220,000. The manufacturers 
were the A. O. Smith Corporation, an automobile parts concern 
of Milwaukee, Wis.; the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Co. of 
Philadelphia; and Hale & Kilburn of Philadelphia. Six months 
later the A. O. Smith Corporation had reached a production of 1,200 
of these bombs a day, and completed their contract in October. 
Both the other concerns also completed their contracts in the autumn 
of 1918. 

The A. O. Smith Corporation had tooled up their factory so as to 
become one of our largest producers of airplane bombs. In addi- 
tion to the contract already mentioned, during 1918 this concern 
received orders for approximately 300,000 demolition bombs of the 


f thsio two bombs weighs 1,000 pounds and Carrie; 570 pound! of explosive. 
ir weighs 550 pounds and carries 280 pounds of explosive. They are both made 
vy cast-steel nose and pressed metal rear Body. 



100-pound (Mark I) size. By November 11, 1918, they had turned 
out 153,000 of these and had developed a capacity for building 7,000 
drop bombs daily. Another large manufacturer of drop bombs was 
McCord & Co., of Chicago, a concern which in 1918 received orders 
for nearly 100,000 bombs of the 250-pound, 550-pound, and 1000- 
pound sizes. By the day the armistice was signed this concern 
had produced 39,400 completed bombs. These bombs were the 
heaviest and largest ones intended for use by our service abroad. 

The fragmentation bombs differ from the demolition bombs in 
that they have thick metal walls and consequently smaller charges of 
explosive. They throw showers of fragments like those of high- 
explosive artillery shell. The demolition bombs contain, on the 
other hand, the maximum possible amount of explosive and produce 
destruction by the force of explosion. Fragmentation bombs always 
have instantaneous firing mechanisms, while demolition bombs are 
usually provided with delayed fuses, allowing them to penetrate the 
target before explosion. 

The fragmentation bombs produced by the Ordnance Bureau 
were smaller than the demolition type, the size most commonly used 
weighing 24 pounds. These bombs had thick cases and were con- 
structed so that they would explode a few inches above the ground. 
As the bombs reach a velocity downward of over 500 feet per second, 
the mechanism had to operate to an accuracy of less than one- 
thousandth of a second. They were designed for use against bodies 
of troops. 

The fragmentation bombs were a late development in this class of 
work. The timing device to explode the bomb at the proper dis- 
tance from the ground was undertaken by three concerns. The con- 
tracts for approximately 600,000 of these devices were let in July, 
1918. The John Thomson Press Co. of New York City completed 
its contract for 100,000 mechanisms by the end of October, 1918. 
The National Tool & Manufacturing Co. of St. Louis completed its 
contract for 100,000 shortly after the armistice was signed. The 
Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co., Stamford, Conn., which had 
contracted to build approximately 400,000 of these devices, had 
turned out 150,000 by the end of November, 1918. Other concerns 
which manufactured various parts for the fragmentation bombs 
were the American Seating Co. of Grand Rapids, Mich., makers of 
school desks and seats, and the Dail Steel Products Co. of Lansing, 

Some idea of the quantity of fragmentation bombs in our program 
may be gained from the fact that the contract for the Cordeau- 
Bickford fuse used in the fragmentation bomb, let to the Ensign- 
Bickford Co. of Simsbury, Conn., called for the manufacture of 
550,000 linear feet of fuse, or more than 100 miles t>f it. The con- 

109287°— 19 20 

306 amebica's munitions. 

tracts for fuse were placed in August and September, 1918, and the 
Ensign-Bickford Co. finished up the job on November 7, four days 
before the armistice was signed. 

The Government discovered that 3-inch shell rejected for various 
reasons could be remachined and used to make these airplane frag- 
mentation bombs. The various arsenals had a large supply of them 
in storage. In August and September, 1918, contracts were let t>o 
large numbers of concerns to convert over 500,000 of these shell 
into fragmentation bombs, and by November 30, nearly 21,000 of 
the new bombs had been delivered. 

These bombs, made from the 3-inch shell, as far as the machining 
of the bodies is concerned were turned out in various quantities 
by the following firms: 

Vermont Farm Machinery Co., BellowB Falls, Vt. 
Richmond Forgings Corporation, Richmond, Va. 
Bethlehem Steel Co., Bethlehem, Fa. 
Consolidated Car Heating Co., Albany, N. Y. 
S. A. Woods Machine Co., South Boston, Mass. 
Westfield Manufacturing Co., Westfield, Mass. 
Wheeling Mold & Foundry Co., Wheeling, W. Va. 
A. P. Smith Manufacturing Co., East Orange, N. J. 
Watervliet Arsenal, Watervliet, N. Y. 
Keystone Machine Co., York, Pa. 
McKiernan Terry DriU Co., Dover, N. J. 

The nose-firing mechanism for these bombs was produced by the 
Yale & Towne Manufacturing Co., Stamford, Conn.; the National 
Tool & Manufacturing Co., St. Louis, Mo. ; and the John Thomson 
Press Co., New York City; while the rear cap stabilizer assemblies 
were produced by the Dail Steel Products Co., Lansing, Mich., and 
the American Seating Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 

The last item on the bomb program to come into production was 
the fragmentation bomb Mark II-B, which was an exact copy of the 
British Cooper bomb, the most effective bomb of this type in use by 
the allied nations. Contracts for this bomb were not let until August 
17, 1918, to the Lycoming Foundry & Machine Co., of Williamsport, 
Pa., and the Paige-Detroit Motor Car Co., of Detroit, Mich. The 
former company by December 1 was producing these bombs at the 
rate of 500 per day and the latter was just coming into quantity 
production the first week in December. 

When the United States entered the war no satisfactory incendiary 
bombs had yet been produced by any country, and consequently a 
long period had to be given over to experimentation before quan- 
tity production could be attained. We produced two types of in- 
cendiary bombs, the first being of the scatter type, designed for 
use against light structures, grain fields, and the like, and the second 
of the intensive type, for use against large structures. Later on in 




our program we abandoned the manufacture of the scatter type 
incendiary bombs on cable instructions from abroad, as it was found 
that the wet climate made a bomb of this type of little value. The 
American intensive bomb, while it had not yet come up to our ideal 
and was in process of evolution during its manufacture, nevertheless 
was regarded by our officers as more effective than any other bomb 
of its type in existence, since it produced a larger and hotter flame. 

Our intensive incendiary bombs weighed about 40 pounds each and 
contained charges of oil emulsion, thermit, and Metallic sodium, a 
combination of chemicals that burns with intense heat. These bombs 
were used against ammunition depots or any structures of an inflam- 
mable nature. The sodium in the charge was designed to have a 
discouraging effect upon anyone who attempted to put out the fire 
of the burning charge, since metallic sodium explodes with great 
violence if water is poured upon it. 

Of the scatter bombs we built 45,000 before abandoning the manu- 
facture, an action taken in September, 1918. When hostilities ceased 
we had out contracts for 122,886 of the intensive bombs and about 
86,000 of them had been delivered ready for loading. 

One of the large manufacturers of incendiary bombs was the 
Conron-McNeal Co., of Kokomo, Ind., manufacturers of skates. The 
company had to equip its plant with new machinery especially for 
handling this novel manufacturing enterprise. In all, they produced 
50,000 bombs and were turning them out at the rate of 400 per day 
when the armistice was signed. This concern was the pioneer in the 
manufacture, the subsequent contractors profiting by the experience 
of the Conron-McNeal Co., and consequently being able to obtain 
quantity production more quickly than the Kokomo plant had been 
able to reach it. The Globe Machine & Stamping Co., of Cleveland, 
Ohio, built 30,000 bombs and 36,400 firing mechanisms before hos- 
tilities closed, and eventually reached a production rate of 500 bombs 
and 1,000 firing mechanisms per day. Parrish & Bingham, also of 
Cleveland, produced 13,000, and were turning them out at the rate of 
400 daily when the production was stopped. The C. R. Wilson Body 
Co., of Detroit, built 42,562 of the intensive bombs and reached a 
daily production of 500. The New Home Sewing Machine Co., of 
Orange, Mass., manufactured 20,000 firing mechanisms for the scatter- 
type bombs. 

One of the interesting phases of the bomb manufacturing pro- 
gram grew out of the necessity for target practice for our aviatoiB. 
For this work we built dummy bombs of terra cotta, costing about a 
dollar apiece. Instead of loading these bombs with explosive, we 
placed in each a small charge of phosphorus and a loaded paper 
shotgun shell, so that the bomb would eject a puff of smoke when 
it hit its object. The aviators could see the smoke puffs and thereby 
determine the accuracy of their aim. 

308 America's munitions. 

The Gathmann Ammunition Co. of Texas, Md., was the first con- 
tractor for dummy bombs, building 10,000, which were delivered in 
the spring of 1918. In the spring and summer of 1918, the Atlantic 
Terra Cotta Co. , the New Jersey Terra Cotta Co. , both of Perth Amboy , 
N. J., and the Federal Terra Cotta Co. of Woodbridge, N. J., each 
built 25,000 of these bombs. In September additional contracts 
for 50,000 dummy bombs were given to each of these three concerns, 
while another contract for 25,000 went to the Northwestern Terra 
Cotta Co. of Chicago. By the end of November these concerns had 
delivered nearly 34,000 of the 175,000 bombs contracted for, and 
were turning them out at the rate of 1,300 per day. 

The Essex Specialty Co. manufactured 10,000 phosphorus rolls 
for dummy bombs, and the Remington Arms-U. M. C. Co. supplied 
10,000 shotgun shells for the first bombs produced. Later the Rem- 
ington Arms Co. produced 100,000 shotgun shells for dummy bombs. 


In four days of the final drive of the Yankee troops in the Argonne 
district the American photographic sections of the Air Service made 
and delivered 100,000 prints from negatives freshly taken from the 
air above the battle lines. This circumstance is indicative of the 
progress made by military intelligence from the days when a com- 
mander secured information of the enemy's positions only by sending 
out patrols, or from spies. The coming of the airplane destroyed 
practically all possibility for the concealment by day of moving bodies 
of men or of military works. Mere observation by the unaided eye 
of the airmen, however, soon proved inadequate to utilize properly 
the vantage point of the plane. The insufficient and often crude and 
inaccurate drawings brought in by the airplane observer were early 
succeeded by the almost daily photographing of the entire enemy 
terrain by cameras, which recorded each minute feature far more 
accurately than the hitman eye could possibly do. The airplane, to 
quote the common saying, had become the eye of the Army, but 
the camera was the eye of the airplane. 

This development in military information-getting from start to 
finish was entirely the product and an evolution of the great war. 
When the war broke out in 1914 there were no precedents for the 
military photographer to go by, nor had any specialized apparatus 
ever been designed by either side for this purpose. As a result the 
first crude makeshifts were rapidly succeeded by more and more 
highly developed equipment. 

At the outset of the war, before antiaircraft guns were brought to 
efficiency, it was possible for the observation planes of the British, 
the French, and the Germans to fly at low altitudes and take satis- 
factory pictures with such photographic appliances as were then in 
common use. But as the "Archies" forced the planes to go higher 


in the air, special equipment had to be designed for longer distance 
work under the adverse conditions of vibration and speed, such as 
exist on airplanes. It is a tribute to the photographic technicians of 
the world that they were able to produce at all times equipment to 
meet these increasing demands. 

As the airplanes moved into higher altitudes, longer focus lenses 
had to be employed, special dry plates developed, and special color 
filters provided to overcome the haze created by humidity in the 
long spaces between the cameras and the ground. When the war 
ended, cameras were in common use taking photographs at an altitude 
of 4 miles with such microscopic fidelity as to show even where a 
single soldier had recently walked across a field. 

The American Army came into the war almost innocent of any 
information at all on the subject of war photography. Such tech- 
nical information as the allied nations had developed during the war 
had been most carefully guarded from us and all other neutral 
countries, with the result that what information we had was of a 
meager and conflicting sort. 

Although in the early months of our participation in the war the 
Signal Corps, which then had charge of all phases of aerial warfare, made 
large purchases of motion-picture cameras, hand cameras, and view 
cameras, it was not until the end of 1917 that our officers were able 
to begin their real development of aerial photography. By this time 
we had received much valuable information from the foreign high 
commissions and samples of their earlier apparatus. Aerial photog- 
raphy had become one of the leading activities of the air service. 
Thus in April, 1917, the British service made 280,000 pictures at the 
front, and a great part of all flying was done to secure photographs. 
Moreover, the art was advancing at such a pace that practices in 
approved use one week at the front appeared likely to become 
obsolete the next, as new methods and new equipment superseded 
the old. 

For years America had been second to none as a photographic 
country, and it was to be expected that this country would make 
notable contributions to the new science. It may indeed be wondered 
why, with the experimental laboratories and the skilled technicians 
at our command, we did not start at once to develop our own aerial 
designs and equipment. Our officers, however, felt that such a course 
would be likely to duplicate much of the work already done by the 
allied countries, who stood ready then to furnish to us the results of 
their experiences. While original research work might result in the 
invention here of certain equipment of superlative merit, yet we 
would be sure, in the course of such an undertaking, to adopt methods 
which had been tried and discarded by the allies and which we our- 
selves would have to discard when experience had proven them to 
be without value. 


The information in our hands in December, 1917, showed that the 
British system of air photography differed radically from that of the 
French. The French cameras made a relatively large negative, 18 
by 24 centimeters in dimension, on a glass plate. The magazines of 
the French cameras held 12 plates, and extra magazines were car- 
ried in the plane. These cameras were fitted with lenses of rela- 
tively long focus — 20 inches. Three operations were necessary to 
make an exposure. The photographer must change the plate, set 
the focal plane shutter, and press the release. When the negatives 
were developed, fixed, washed, and dried, prints were made by 

The British used a smaller-sized plate, 4 by 5 inches in size. Their 
cameras were equipped with the only lenses available in England in 
the early part of the war — lenses of relatively short focus, ranging 
from 8 to 12 inches in this respect. Instead of making contact 
prints from these plates, the British made enlargements, measuring 
6£ by &£ inches. In the earlier period of our development of aerial 
photographic apparatus, we were in the same position as the British 
as regards lenses. We had no adequate supply of long-focus lenses. 
Consequently we followed the British designs of cameras and adopted 
the British system almost explicitly in the training of aerial pho- 

It had been our first thought to use films to a great extent on the 
front, since America was the country which had perfected the pho- 
tographic film, and was therefore, presumably, best equipped in skill 
to adapt it to war uses. But plates had been used practically exclu- 
sively by the British, the French, and the Italians; and it appeared 
wisest to follow their experience at first, though all agreed that film, 
with its small bulk and weight, would be greatly superior for air- 
plane use. 

The Photographic Experimental Department of the Air Service, 
which was organized in January, 1918, had as its major problems 
the design and test of aerial cameras and all their parts and acces- 
sories. Equally important with this problem was that of sensitive 
plates, papers, color filters, and photographic chemicals. The corps 
of photographic and optical experts, into whose hands these matters 
were placed, early secured the active cooperation of the chief manu- 
facturers of photographic apparatus and materials in this country. 
In the laboratories in Washington, D. C, Langley Field, Va., and 
Rochester, N. Y., comprehensive development work was inaugurated, 
leading ultimately to perfection of new designs of cameras and the 
development of plates and other photographic materials equal or 
superior to any available abroad. 

The first airplane camera which it was decided to put into pro- 
duction in America was a dose copy of the British type "L" which 


use had proven to be one of the best mechanisms employed at the 
front. The operation of this camera was semiautomatic, the operator 
having nothing to do except to press the shutter-release to keep the 
camera at work. The operating power was derived from a small 
windmill or air propeller driven by the rush of air past the plane. 
The automatic mechanism changed the plate and set the shutter after 
each exposure. Because of the situation with respect to lenses these 
cameras were constructed to use lenses of 8-inch to 12-inch focus, 
and the English 4 by 5 plate. Some 750 of these cameras were con- 
structed. They played an indispensable part in the training of 
nearly 3,000 aerial photographers in this country. They were also 
used by our bombing squadrons at the front. 

At the same time it was generally agreed that we should plan to 
follow the French practice as soon as lenses of greater focal length 
could be manufactured in this country. Increase in focal length was 
becoming imperative, because aerial photographers were being com- 
pelled to make exposures from much greater heights than in the 
earlier part of the war. For the sake of those unacquainted with 
photography it may be stated here that lenses of short focal lengths 
will not record the details of objects a great distance away from the 
camera, the longer-focus, rarer, and more expensive lenses being 
required for distance work. 

As a basis for the design of cameras of longer focus a sample of 
the 20-inch focus camera used by the French had been sent to this 
country by the American Expeditionary Forces. The first camera 
authorized of this focal length was similar in general character to this 
French camera. It was constructed on the unit system, each part — 
shutter, camera body, lens cone, and magazine — being of standardized 
dimensions. It was understood that these standard dimensions were 
to be followed in all subsequent cameras both in this country and in 
the countries of the allies. 

The idea constantly put before all designers of aerial cameras has. 
been that of the automatic type, in the use of which the observer or 
pilot will have a minimum of work. Late in 1917 the Photographic 
Section of the Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces, secured 
the rights for the manufacture of an ingenious design of automatic 
plate camera invented by Lieut. DeRam, of the French Army, and re- 
quested that this be put in production. In this camera the magazine, 
which carries 50 plates, 18 by 24 centimeters in size, rotates between 
each exposure, while the exposed plate is removed from the front of 
the pile and carried to the back. After some study here of the 
incomplete model, this camera was redesigned in such form as to fit 
it for methods of American manufacture. It was made semiautomatic 
in operation; that is, the work of the observer or pilot consisted 

312 America's munitions. 

merely in releasing the shutter at will, a fresh plate always being in 
place. At the time of the armistice 200 of these cameras were 
rapidly approaching completion. 

Meanwhile experiments were actively pushed in the matter of the 
utilization of film. Various difficulties and problems had to be solved 
before film could be considered practical. Considerable time was 
consumed in overcoming the peculiar static electrical discharges which 
occur on film in cold, dry regions, such as in high mountains or the 
upper atmosphere, and fog the sensitive surface by their light. The 
film camera finally decided upon was based on a fundamental design 
by the Folmer & Schwing organization of the Eastman Kodak Co. 

This camera, known as the "K" type, carries a film on which 100 
exposures, 18 by 24 centimeters in dimension, can be made at one 
loading. The film is held flat by an ingenious device. The film strip 
passes over a flat perforated sheet behind which a partial vacuum is 
set up by a suction, or "Venturi," tube extending outside the body 
of the airplane. The camera is entirely automatic, and is driven 
either by a wind turbine of adjustable aperture or, in war planes, by 
electric current from the heating and lighting circuit. The observer 
in the airplane needs only to start the camera and regulate its speed 
according to the speed with which the airplane is passing over the 
ground below, and the camera thereafter will, of itself, take pictures 
at such intervals as to map completely the terrain under observation. 

In conjunction with the use of film in cameras came the question 
of handling the film in the dark-room; that is, the ordinary manipula- 
tions of developing, fixing, washing, and drying — a serious problem 
when the large dimensions of the film, its length, and difficult charac- 
teristics in handling are taken into consideration. This problem was 
attacked and a film developing, handling, and drying machine was 

Some 200 of these automatic film cameras were on order at the 
close of the war. Altogether over 1,100 airplane cameras of all types 
had been and were about to be delivered when the armistice came. 
These were built by the Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester; the Burke 
& James Co., Chicago; the G. E. M. Engineering Co., of Philadelphia; 
and Arthur Brock, jr., of Philadelphia. 

One of the most serious problems in aerial photography is the 
proper mounting of the camera in the plane. Not only does the 
plane travel at great speed, which makes necessary exceedingly short 
exposures and therefore highly sensitive photographic materials, but 
the motor causes a continuous vibration which, communicated to the 
camera itself, would be fatal to obtaining sharp pictures. 

The experimenters of the Air Service carried out a long, extensive, 
and most interesting investigation at Langley Field to make clear 
the whole question of preventing the vibration of the airplane camera. 


The scientists worked out a method of making the camera itself 
record the vibrations communicated to it by the plane when the 
box was not held by a proper vibration-neutralizing suspension. 

The plan adopted was to send up a camera thus mounted on an 
airplane, focus it on a light on the ground below, open the shutter, 
and take a time exposure from the swiftly-flying plane. The result, 
of course, was a streak, or trail, written on the plate by the point 
of light below, the jagged or wavy character of this trail indicating 
the vibrations of the camera and determining the proper principles 
of a suitable mounting. 

The first thought was to do this work at night, as the British had 
done, when the light below would pierce the darkness distinctly. 
But night flying is hazardous, and a better plan was called for. Nor 
would the proposal to use an extremely strong light in broad daylight 
do, because, while the light would indeed be photographed continu- 
ously across the plate, so also would the surrounding ground, and the 
general result would be a fogging or blurring of the outlines of the 

Finally the problem was solved by conducting the aerial experi- 
mental work over woodland in the late afternoon. A strong, reddish 
light was placed in the woods so as to be visible from above. The 
surrounding green foliage supplied a frame of sufficient contrast to 
the light to make its impression distinct on the plate. To emphasize 
the contrast, the camera lens was covered with a reddish colored ray 
filter, and this brought out sharply the outline of the streak. 

These tests resulted in the design and production of new and 
unique camera mountings which successfully stopped all vibrations 
of the camera. 

A problem on whioh it was necessary to have the closest coopera- 
tion of the plane designers was that of installing the large 20-inch 
focus cameras in the airplane. There is little room at best in a plane, 
and the demands for armament, wireless, and bombing space all 
had to receive attention. In the American service a distinct advance 
was made in the design of a special plane intended primarily for 
photographic reconnaissance. Several of these planes, which were 
the most completely equipped for photographic purposes of any 
designed during the war, were built and would have been put into 
quantity production in the late fall of 1918. 

Parallel with this development of apparatus went studies of the 
sensitive materials and methods of photography from the air. 
Because of the swift motion of the plane extremely short exposures 
are imperative. Consequently, the most advanced technique of 
instantaneous photography had to be applied. The cooperation 
of various plate manufacturers was obtained, who brought out 
especially for the Government several new plates which showed on 

314 America's munitions. 

test to be superior to any which had appeared in the war on either 

As an airplane rises higher and higher in the sky, the moisture of 
the intervening atmosphere between the machine and the ground 
creates a haze which makes aerial photography above a certain 
height unsatisfactory and even impossible with the naked lenses as 
used on the ground. The problem of finding the best means for 
piercing aerial haze occupied the attention of a corps of experts 
working both in the laboratory and in the field. The solution lay in 
the use of special color filters of general yellow hue which obscured 
the bluish light characteristic of haze. Filters of new materials 
specially adapted to airplane use were made available as a result of 
this study. 

Field equipment of quite new and special design for performing 
photographic operations had to be designed and built. Among the 
most interesting of these developments was the photographic truck 
or mobile photographic laboratory. This consisted of a specially 
designed truck and trailer containing all the equipment necessary 
for the rapid production of prints in the field. The truck body was 
equipped with a dynamo for furnishing the electrical current required 
for lights and drying fans, while each unit was provided with an 
acetylene generator for emergency use, if the electrical apparatus 
should break down. The mobile dark room carried on the trailer 
of each unit was equipped with tanks, enlarging camera, printing 
boxes, and qther necessary apparatus. In all, some 76 of these 
field laboratories were constructed. 

While the development of apparatus and new materials was from 
a popular standpoint in many ways the most interesting phase of 
the work of the photographic scientists, nevertheless it should be 
remembered that the great problem in this, as in all other fields of 
American endeavor, was to produce the supplies in tremendous 
quantities. In October, 1918, we shipped overseas 1,500,000 sheets 
of photographic printing paper, 300,000 dry plates and 20,000 rolls 
of film. We also sent 20 tons of photographic chemicals. These 
were merely the principal items in the consignment. Besides paper, 
plates and chemicals, the field force required developing tents, trays, 
printing machines, stereoscopes, and travelling dark rooms, to name 
only some of the principal items. Much of the material already 
on the market was not suitable for the purpose, a fact requiring 
the production of specially manufactured supplies. 


It is interesting to consider that without fireworks, and particu- 
larly some of the familiar forms of them used to celebrate the Fourth 
of July, war flying Would have lost much of its efficiency. Night fly- 
ing would have been well-nigh impossible, while day flying would 






have had to invent substitutes for fireworks had the latter not been 

The squadron fields near the front were kept as dark as possible at 
night for obvious reasons. The first inkling that a squadron com- 
mander might have of the approach of one of his aviators at night 
would be the sudden appearance high in the air of a green or red or 
white Roman-candle ball. This would be the signal inquiring if the 
landing field were clear. A pyrotechnic star of a predetermined 
color, shot from the ground, would answer the homing birdman; and, 
if the signal Were in the affirmative, he would descend through the 
sheer blackness, unable to see clearly, yet confident that he would 
make his landing safely. 

As the plane neared the ground suddenly under one of the wings 
a flare of dazzling power would commence to burn, for a few seconds 
flooding the field with light. In that brief space of time the plane 
would have made its landing, and soon field and quarters would again 
be obscured under the protecting blanket of darkness. 

Every service airplane at the front was equipped with one or more 
signaling pistols. In appearance these weapons were more murder- 
ous than the "gat" carried by a desperado of the movies, but, like 
the prize bulldog with the undershot jaw, they were more deadly in 
looks than in deeds. Their formidable-appearing cartridges were 
larger than the shells used in shotguns, resembling the latter almost 
identically in appearance; but every one of these shells contained 
only a Roman-candle ball and a sufficient charge of powder to eject 
the star a good distance into the air. The sound of the discharge was 
a mere whisper of the shattering roar that might be expected from 
such a redoubtable piece of ordnance. These aviation pistols were 
similar to the Very signal pistols used in the trenches. 

The stars shot were three colors, red, green and white, and the 
color of a cartridge's star was painted on the end of the shell This 
base was also ridged with a different pattern for each color, so that 
the aviator at night could feel with his fingers and tell the color of 
the cartridge without seeing it. 

Codes of numerous messages were worked out in different combi- 
nations of these three colors. The stars were quite visible in broad 
daylight, too, and were used for many signaling purposes. They 
indicated the position of enemy troops or the presence of hostile 
aircraft, they called for help from other airplanes, and they signaled 
squadron orders when the machines were flying in formation. 

But the signal pistol had a more sinister use. If the pilot were 
driven down in enemy territory, it became his duty to destroy his 
machine. In some cases the signal pistol was used effectively to 
set airplanes on fire under such conditions. The pilot had only to 
open his gasoline tank and fire a Roman candle ball into the escaping 
fluid. In other cases when the aviator landed amid enemy troops 

316 America's munitions. 

he was able to hold them at bay with his signal pistol until his plane 
was burned beyond the possibility of salvage. 

While we manufactured Very pistols in this country, all of those 
actually used by our fliers in France were purchased abroad. 

Night-flying is one of the most hazardous duties of the aviator, the 
chief danger being in landing. The fields well back of the front were 
usually brightly illuminated by flood lights at night, but those nearer 
the enemy were left in darkness, as a rule, to protect them from the 
attacks of hostile aircraft. The aviator at night can usually see the 
ground faintly, but he is unable to make an accurate judgment of the 
distance of his machine above the ground. This danger was greatly 
alleviated when the wing-tip flares were invented. The wing-tip flare 
consisted of a small cylinder of magnesium material in a metallic 
holder, one flare being fitted under each lower wing of the plane. 
Each flare was controlled by a push button in the pilot's cockpit. 
Pressure on the button sent an electric spark into the magnesium and 
touched it off. 

When the descending pilot at night judged that he was near the 
ground he pushed one of the buttons. Immediately the flare ignited 
and burned for about 50 seconds with the brilliant light of 20,000 
candle power. Being hidden by the wing, this light did not dazzle 
the eyes of the aviator, but the reflection from the under surface of the 
wing lighted up the field for an adequate distance in all directions. 

Another important use of pyrotechnics occured in those enterprises 
known as night-bombing raids. Since both sides kept their vulner- 
able ammunition dumps and their important buildings completely 
unlighted at night, even though the night raider knew he was in the 
general vicinity of his objective, hits from bombs dropped from aloft 
were almost accidental. To enable the night bomber to see his target 
the interesting piece of pyrotechnics known as the airplane flare was 
invented. This was a great charge of magnesium light held in a 
cylindrical sheet-iron case nearly four feet long and half a foot in 
diameter, the exact dimensions being 46 inches by 5 inches. The 
flare weighed 32 pounds. Within the cylinder was not only the 
magnesium stick but also a silk parachute 20 feet in diameter. The 
entire cartridge was attached to the airplane by a release mechanism 
similar to those holding the drop-bombs. 

When over his objective at night the pilot or observer touched a 
button and the entire cartridge, iron case and all, dropped from the 
plane. A pin wheel on the lower end of the case was instantly spun 
by the rush of air, and the resulting power not only ignited the mag- 
nesium but at the same time detonated a charge of black powder 
sufficient in force to eject from the case the flare and its tightly rolled 
parachute. The parachute immediately opened ; and the burning flare 
descended slowly, flooding a large area of the ground below with a 
light of 320,000 candlepower, this light burning for about 10 minutes. 


Such a light not only enabled the bomber to drop his destructive 
missiles accurately, but it was found by experience that it dazzled the 
eyes of antiaircraft gunners below and made their aim inaccurate. 
The light of this flare was so strong that it was possible for the airplane 
above to obtain photographs of good detail on the darkest of nights. 

We were just starting to produce these flares when the war ended. 
In fact the actual production of pyrotechnic supplies in this country 
was small, the American Expeditionary Forces depending almost 
exclusively for these supplies upon French and British sources. 


When the commander of an airplane squadron sends an aviator 
into the high altitudes, he sends him into climate that much of the 
year is colder and more severe than any known on earth, even at the 
North Pole. Not only is the temperature of the air likely to be many 
degrees below zero at the heights which war planes attained, but the 
flier must face this bitter cold in the gale of wind that is never blowing 
less than 100 miles per hour. 

Consequently when we trained a corps of aviators to fly at alti- 
tudes of 18,000 to 20,000 feet above the western front, it was neces- 
sary for us to design and manufacture for them the warmest clothing 
ever made. They were dressed more warmly than any Polar explora- 
tion party that ever set forth, more warmly in fact than any other 
class of men in the world. For we not only gave them the protection 
of all the fine wool, leather, and fur that they could wear without 
hindering their movements, but in addition we literally wrapped 
them in flexible electric heaters. 

The first purchases of aviators' flying clothes were made by the 
coordinated action of the Council of National Defense and the 
Quartermaster's Department. It was soon apparent that the design 
of such clothing was a special matter which the aviation authorities 
themselves should control, and purchases thereafter were all made 
by the Bureau of Aircraft Production. There were no standard 
styles at the time, so it became necessary for us to develop our own 
equipment. This development resulted in an output for the flier 
that became standard. 

In moderate weather the flier wore upon his head a woolen hood, 
or helmet, extending well down over the forehead to the eyes, and 
around the neck to the shoulders. In cold weather, or for high- 
flight work, this headgear was augmented by a silk helmet of double 
thickness, having between its layers an electrically heated pad con- 
nected by copper wire to the electric generator on the plane's engine. 
Outside of this was worn a soft leather helmet lined with fur, extend- 
ing down over the back of the head, covering the ears and cheeks, 
and fastening under the chin. Then the face was entirely covered 

318 America's munitions. 

with a leather face mask lined with wool and having an opening for 
the eyes, over which were worn a pair of goggles. When the pilot 
was also required to operate the radio system, in place of the fur-lined 
helmet he wore the radio helmet. This was of leather and resembled 
the other in appearance, but it contained the receiver of the wireless 
telephone, enabling the flier to hear what was spoken to him in an 
ordinary tone of voice several miles away. 

In addition to this equipment the aviator who went up to the great 
heights wore the oxygen mask. This was of rubber, and, besides 
supplying oxygen, it contained a transmitter, allowing him to speak 
as well as to hear by wireless. 

Over the body was worn a one-piece flying suit extending from the 
feet to the throat, belted and buttoned tight at the ankles and wrists. 
The outer material of this suit was waterproof, and when it was 
buttoned on there were no gaps through which the air might pene- 
trate. This suit was lined throughout with fur. 

It was a considerable problem to find a fur of extreme warmth 
with a pelt strong enough to withstand rough usage and still not be 
too great in bulk, and purchasable at a price not too extravagant. 
After the furs of many beasts had been examined and tested, it was 
determined that the hide and fur of a Chinese Nuchwang dog met 
these requirements better than any other. We were making so 
many of these suits that we required all of the dogskins we could 
get, not only in this country, but in China. Merely the final pur- 
chase of these pelts before the armistice was signed was for nearly 
500,000 of them, and that many dogs in an interior Chinese province 
gave up their lives that the American aviation warfare might 

With its waterproof outer surface and its furry lining, it might seem 
that such a garment would be warm enough for any work. But the 
aircraft authorities of the United States were not content until they 
had installed between the fur and the outer covering thin, flexible, 
electric-heat units connected by silk-covered wire with the dynamo 
on the engine. Similar heating pads were placed in the gloves and 
moccasins of the fliers. 

On their hands, besides the electrically heated gloves, the fliers 
wore gauntlets of muskrat fur, these extending well up the arms and 
being of special design which allowed the fingers of each glove to re- 
main in a fur-lined pocket or to be withdrawn from the pocket with- 
out removing the gloves from the hand. Over the electrically heated 
moccasins were worn leather moccasins extending well up the calf of 
the leg and lined with heavy sheep wool. These were fastened with 
straps and buckles. Thus clad, our aviators were acknowledged gen- 
erally to be the most warmly and efficiently equipped of any at the 


Besides these special garments for warmth, the fliers required many 
other items of clothing, such as sweaters, leather coats, fur-lined coats, 
helmets, and many styles of goggles. 

The total cost of air clothing, provided or in course of manufac- 
ture on November 11, 1918, was over $5,000,000. Some of the 
major items in round numbers were 50,000 fur-lined flying suits 
(at $36.25), 100,000 leather helmets, an equal number of leather 
coats, costing anywhere from $10 to $30 each, and over 80,000 
goggles at $3.50 apiece. 


Even to-day the veteran of the air squadron scoffs at the new- 
fangled outfits of oxygen masks and tanks carried in an experi- 
mental way on some of the high-flying planes at the western front 
when hostilities ceased. Nevertheless, had the war continued a few 
months longer, it is probably true that the oxygen apparatus would 
have been included in the indispensable equipment of every airplane 
in the front areas. Such a development, had it occurred, would 
have been due largely to the efforts of the American Aircraft Service. 

Many aviators who have gone into high altitudes, fought there, 
and lived to tell about it, doubt the necessity of oxygen-supplying 
apparatus, since they themselves returned safely without it. Never- 
theless the experiments conducted by the Bureau of Aircraft Pro- 
duction demonstrated conclusively that the flyer artificially supplied 
with oxygen in the high altitudes is much more efficient than one 
who is without it. These experiments were conducted in a room 
which duplicated the conditions at high altitudes. At 19,000 
feet the pressure of the atmosphere is one-half the atmospheric 
pressure at sea level. The lack of pressure in itself causes no 
appreciable physical or mental reaction; but the reduced pressure 
at 19,000 feet means that in a given amount of air there is only one- 
half the oxygen that there is in a similar amount at sea level. The 
lack of oxygen is serious. 

Experienced aviators were placed in an air-tight chamber 
under the observation of Government scientists. The air in this 
chamber was then exhausted until it corresponded to the atmos- 
phere at the 19,000 feet level. The subjects were then set at small 
mechanical tests, such as the pushing of certain buttons when dif- 
ferent colored lights were turned on, these tasks requiring a degree 
of mental concentration. In this and similar tests it was discovered 
that not only do the subjects lose accuracy in the attenuated air, 
but their movements become conspicuously slower. In the parlanoe 
of the pilot they become "dopey." More than one returning aviator 
has confessed to this feeling when at a high altitude. 

320 America's munitions. 

When the British analyzed their air casualties during the first 
year of the war they found that 2 of each 100 fliers in the casualty 
list were killed or hurt hy the enemy, 8 of them owed their misfor- 
tune to defects in the planes, while the other 90 came to the hospital 
or the grave because of themselves, their carelessness or recklessness, 
their physical failings, and all other things which may be summed 
up in the human equation. A thorough study on the part of the 
British disclosed the fact that practically all of the flying personnel 
was suffering from what became known as oxygen fatigue, caused by 
flying so many hours each day in altitudes where there was not 
enough oxygen to feed the body properly. 

Before the war broke out the aviation record was 26,246 feet 
above sea level. In January, 1919, this record had been lifted 
nearly a mile, the high point being an altitude of 30,500 feet. Early 
in the war pilots at the 7,000 feet level could laugh at antiaircraft 
fire, and few machines ever went above 10,000 feet. Thus with the 
first equipment the ' ' ceiling " — that is, the average high level to which 
every day flying goes — was about 12,000 feet. 

When the war closed, a pilot was not safe under the 15,000 feet 
level, due to the development of antiaircraft guns, and the safest 
machine had become that which could fly highest. The aviators 
were demanding a working ceiling of 18,000 feet, and were obtain- 
ing it, too, from the latest type of planes. It was evident that 
the reduced oxygen at this ceiling was responsible for casualties 
among the fliers, and we could expect the ceiling to be pushed even 
higher as antiaircraft guns became more powerful. The need of 
oxygen equipment was plainly indicated. Even at 18,000 feet the 
aviator relying upon the normal oxygen supply at that altitude, while 
he may feel perfectly fit, is actually slow to judge distances, to aim 
his guns, to fire them, and to maneuver his plane. 

The first oxygen apparatus was designed for the British Air Service 
and was made at the plant of de Lestang in Paris. The demand for 
the apparatus was so great that an automobile was constantly kept 
waiting at the factory that as soon as each set was finished it could 
be rushed straight to the front. The first British squadron which 
used oxygen equipment reported that its men gave six times the 
service of any other British squadron. 

Our Air Service adopted the Dreyer oxygen apparatus, which was 
the original device produced by the British. We found it to be a 
hand-made appliance, but under our direction we adapted it to Ameri- 
can methods of manufacture. The British apparatus was built to 
supply oxygen to one man only. We changed it to take care of two 
men. The model received was too heavy; we reduced the weight. 
Finally we added improvements to make it more efficient and reliable 
and redesigned it to meet American factory methods. 






Such an equipment has to be entirely automatic in its operation 
and as reliable as human ingenuity can make it. The Dreyer device 
embodies several instruments all of which must work perfectly under 
widely varying conditions. In use its tanks will contain oxygen 
under pressure ranging from 100 pounds to 2,250 pounds per square 
inch, yet the mechanism must deliver the oxygen to the aviator 
at a constant rate regardless of its tank pressure. Then the whole 
apparatus is subjected to temperatures that may be as high as 80° 
above zero or as low as 30° below. It must function evenly in the 
atmospheric pressure at any altitude up to 30,000 feet, delivering 
more oxygen as the atmosphere thins. Such was the problem of 
manufacture. Yet, taking up the work in January, 1918, we turned 
out six complete equipments by May 3, 1918, sending them over- 
seas by special messenger for actual test on the front. Twenty-eight 
days later we shipped 200 sets. By the end of the war we had built 
5,000 complete oxygen equipments. Of this number 3,600 had been 
sent to ports of embarkation awaiting shipment, and over 2,300 of 
these had been shipped overseas. In October we had reached a 
production rate of 1,000 sets per month. 

Some of the difficulties of this production may be read in the 
description of the complicated character of the apparatus. The 
equipment consists of a small tank or tanks, the pressure apparatus, 
the tube leading from the reservoir, and finally the face mask cover- 
ing the mouth and nose. The mask has combined with it either the 
interphone, a mechanism which cuts off the roar of the engine from 
the ears of the passengers and allows the pilot and observer to talk 
freely with each other, or in certain cases the receiver of the radio 
telephone or telegraph. 

The flow-regulating apparatus consists of five parts. In front of 
the pilot is a high-pressure gauge to indicate the supply of oxygen 
in the tank. In the tank there is a high-pressure valve with an 
upper chamber which compensates for the temperature. There is 
also a shut-off valve, hand operated, which can be set to provide a 
flow of oxygen to one man, to two men, or to none at all. Then there 
is a regulating valve operated by an aneroid barometer which adjusts 
the oxygen flow to the altitude, the flow increasing as the machine 
goes higher. Finally in the pilot's view there is a flow indicator 
consisting of a small fan wheel which tells the aviator that the oxygen 
is actually flowing. 

The mask presented a difficult problem, as it must be big enough 
to contain the radio receivers and still enable the aviator to see and 
work. Yet the mask must keep its adjustment in a gale of wind 
at least 100 miles per hour in velocity. 

The actual use of the equipment on the front was just starting 
when the armistice was signed. We sent across to France a special 

109287°-— 19 21 

322 America's munitions. 

division of experts to take charge of the installation of these equip- 
ments on the planes. At the close of hostilities we required all 
military planes flying above an altitude of 10,000 feet to be equipped 
with oxygen apparatus. This class included day bombing, pursuit, 
and chassfi planes, and a certain number of night bombing planes, and 
Army and corps observation planes. 

. . » ■. 

■'•■ ■ *** 

bomb sight on Oe Hoviland 4. Lower r 



Electrical science was called upon to furnish marvels and prodigies 
indeed during the recent war as aids to the American arms, but in no 
respect did it respond in more successful and spectacular fashion than 
it did when asked to produce a wireless telephone system that would 
make possible the transmission of human speech to and from moving 
airplanes. It is doubtful if any other branch of science enlisted for 
war work produced any instrument or mechanism so far in advance 
of what was known before the war as the airplane wireless phone 
was in its class. 

To be sure, we had the radio telephone some time before America 
entered the war or even before the war broke out in Europe in 1914. 
Ever since the scientists began experimenting with wireless electricity 
it has been axiomatic that, at least theoretically, whatever you can 
do with wires you can do without wires. And so following the 
development of the wireless telegraph came the production of the 
wireless telephone, and the invention had been so perfected in 1915 
and 1916 that in the United States Navy's official test at the Arlington 
Station, across the Potomac River from Washington, human speech 
sent out by the transmitters there was heard simultaneously at the 
Eiffel Tower in Paris and at the Government's own wireless station 
in Hawaii. 

But there is a vast difference between using the wireless telephone 
in the quiet of the radio rooms aboard ship or in the shore stations 
and using it amid the roar of the powerful engine propelling an 
airplane. The equipment, too, that had been used on the ground 
was altogether too cumbersome to go into the fuselage of an airplane. 

As early as August, 1910, American genius had successfully accom- 
plished wireless telegraph transmission from airplane to ground, and 
! in October of the same year the idea of aerial fleet command by 
i telephone was conceived and plans for its development discussed by 
Army officers on duty at the International Aviation Tournament at 
Belmont Park, Long Island. In 1911 a message was successfully 
transmitted from an Army airplane over a distance of 2 miles. In 
1912 the Signal Corps had increased the distance to 50 miles. Two 
years later, in the Philippine Islands, a message had been success- 
fully received on an airplane in flight over a distance of 6 miles. 


324 America's munitions. 

In 1915 the Aviation Section entered upon a definite plan of 
development of aircraft wireless at the Signal Corps Aviation School, 
San Diego, Calif. This plan was based upon the Belmont Park 
idea and discussions, with the vbice-^commanded tactical air fleet as 
the ultimate goal. The airplane had changed from the pusher to 
the tractor type, with the noise of the motor of the latter driven 
back by the blast of the propeller into the face of the aviator. The 
airplane wireless problem was thus quite completely changed. Under 
these new conditions, however, the development was entered upon, 
and it has since been continuous. In October a spring-driven dicta- 
phone was taken into the air and a record of speech made in the 
noise of the motor. This was contemporaneous with the successful 
long-range experiments in radio telephony at Arlington, referred to 
above. A study of this dictaphone record convinced the aviation 
officers that the idea of the radio telephone for airplanes was en- 
tirely practicable. Experiments during the fall and winter with va- 
rious means of driving the wireless power plant resulted in a decision 
to develop the air fan as a source of power rather than the gear or 
belt system. 

This development continuing through 1916, transmission by tele- 
graph from airplane was accomplished up to 140 miles, means for 
receiving in the noise of the motor were worked out, and a message 
successfully telegraphed between airplanes in flight. The radio 
telephone was under construction, and in February, 1917, the voice 
was first transmitted by telephone from airplane to ground. Like 
Alexander Graham Bell's first wire telephone, the apparatus was 
crude. But the door was unlocked and ready to be opened upon the 
new field of development. 

When on May 22, 1917, Gen. Squier, the Chief Signal Officer of the 
Army, called upon the scientists to develop at once an airplane tele- 
phone, he was not only introducing them into what was to many of 
them a new field, but he was asking them to produce what the science 
of Europe had been unable to create in nearly three full years of 
acquaintance with the successful ground system, although the needs 
of airplane fighting demanded this invention as they demanded 
almost nothing else. 

It will thus be seen that when we began this development as a 
war measure we had a considerable basis of experience to work 
upon. The Army had established the foundation of operation on 
the airplane, made a study of the tactical requirements, and knew 
what it wanted. The Western Electric Co. in 1914 and 1915 had 
conducted extensive experiments with the radio wireless telephone 
at a ground station at Montauk, Long Island, and had played an 
important part in the long-range experiments at the Arlington 
station. There had been wireless voice communication before this 


time, but the apparatus and systems perfected at Montauk set the 
standard on which all subsequent development was built. The 
French Scientific Mission and other officers of the allies had arrived 
and enabled us to check up what had been done abroad and to con- 
firm or modify our ideas of the tactical requirements. 

At the conference with Gen. Squier in May was Col. Rees of the 
Royal Air Force of Great Britain; Col. C. C. Culver, United States 
Army, then a captain; and F. B. Jewett and E. B. Craft, respectively 
the chief engineer and the assistant chief engineer of the Western 
Electric Co. 

At this meeting Gen. Squier outlined the future of the part the air- 
plane was to play in the war, and pointed out how invaluable would 
be a successful means of communication between battle planes when 
flying in squadron formation. Mr. Jewett had received his commis- 
sion as a major in the Signal Corps, and he was ordered to take charge 
of the work of developing radio communication for aircraft. 

Capt. Culver had taken part in the 1910 experiments and discus- 
sions, and since 1915 had been conducting the Army development of 
airplane wireless at the aviation school at San Diego, Calif. He 
was detailed to work with Maj. Jewett and his engineers, bringing 
to their assistance the result of his experience and the point of view 
of the trained military man and the aviator. 

The first development was carried on in the laboratories of the 
Western Electric Co. on West Street, in New York. Men and mate- 
rials were drafted from every department of the company, and the 
laboratories were soon seething with activity. In a few weeks the 
first makeshift apparatus was assembled, and the first practical test 
of a radio phone on an airplane was made at Langley Field at Hamp- 
ton, Va., less than six weeks after the Signal Corps had given the 
go-ahead. Three employees of the Western Electric Co. on that day 
established telephone communication between an airplane in flight 
and the ground. A few days later the first apparatus produced suc- 
cessful communication between planes in the air. 

It is not possible here to go into a technical description of the 
wireless telephone. The most vital part of the apparatus, however, 
and the essential factor in airplane wireless telephone communication 
is a vacuum tube containing an incandescent filament, a wire mesh 
or grid, and a metal plate. By means of electrical current the wire 
filament is heated to incandescence. The tube has the property of 
receiving the energy of the direct current of a dynamo and, through 
the medium of the wireless antennae, of throwing it out into space as 
a high-frequency alternating current. Such is the sending tube. A 
modification of the same tube picks up from the antenna the high- 
frequency alternating vibrations from another sending apparatus and 
transforms them into direct current, carrying the sound waves of the 
human voice along with them. 

326 America's munitions. 

The design of the radio apparatus itself was relatively simple for 
the experts who had undertaken the work, for the company bad 
already developed some highly successful forms of vacuum tubes, and 
it was an easy matter for these technicians to assemble tubes with the 
necessary coils, condensers, and other apparatus of the transmitting 
and receiving elements and produce a system of such small compass 
that it could be carried on an airplane. But working this apparatus 
under ordinary conditions in the quiet laboratories and in a swift- 
moving and tremendously noisy airplane were two different proposi- 

One of the first problems was to design a comfortable head set which 
would exclude all undesirable noises and admit only the telephone talk. 
A form of helmet was finally devised with telephone receivers inserted 
to fit the ears of the pilot or observer. Cushions and pads adjusted 
the receiver to the ears, and the helmet fitted close to the face so as 
to prevent as far as possible the transmission of undesirable sounds 
either through the ear passages or through the bony structure of the 
head, these bones acting as a sort of sounding board. The designers 
finally developed a helmet that solved this portion of the problem. 

Not only was it necessary to exclude the roar of the engine and the 
rattle of the machine gun from the ears of the men receiving the radio 
communication, but it was also necessary to filter out these sounds 
from the telephone transmitter. Every person who has ever shouted 
into a telephone knows how sensitive the ordinary telephone trans- 
mitter is to extraneous noises. It requires no wide stretch of the 
imagination to hear in fancy how an ordinary transmitter would 
behave when beside the exhaust of a 400-horsepower Liberty engine. 
A brilliant line of experimentation conducted by one of the scientists 
at the laboratory resulted in a telephone transmitter or microphone 
which possessed the extraordinary quality of being insensitive to 
engine and wind noises and at the same time highly responsive to the 
tones of the human voice. 

With the receiver and the transmitter perfected the scientists 
thought that the problem of airplane telephoning was solved; but 
nevertheless three months of hard work were required before the 
entire system could be adjusted and put in such shape that it might 
be considered a practical device for everyday use. 

The question of weight was of utmost importance, and a structure 
that would adequately house and protect the delicate parts of the 
mechanism from the vibration and jars of flying and landing and at 
the same time not be too heavy for practical use on the plane was a 
difficult problem in mechanical design. Day after day the inventors 
took the mechanism up in flying machines and brought it back 
night after night for more work in the laboratory. 



This was a period, however, of rapid progress. Officials appearing 
on Langley Field from time to time witnessed informal demonstra- 
tions of this development. In August Mr. Baker, Secretary of War, 
and Gen. Scott, Chief of Staff, listened to a conversation being carried 
on in the air, and some six weeks later Brig. Gen. Foulois witnessed a 
similar demonstration and from the ground directed the movements 
of the airplane in flight. The experimental apparatus had reached 
such a state of efficiency that on October 16, at Langley Field, com- 
munication by voice was carried on between airplanes in flight 25 
miles apart and from airplane to ground over a distance of 45 miles. 
By September cables had been sent abroad telling of the progress 
made in this country on the development of this apparatus. Our 
officers abroad were skeptical and could not believe that this country 
could outdistance the scientists of the allies who had had three years 
of war experience to draw upon. By October the designers had 
brought the system to a perfection where they were willing to risk 
its use in actual war flying, and Col. Culver took to the American 
Expeditionary Forces in France several trunkloads of the apparatus 
to acquaint those abroad with what had been done and to test the 
apparatus under service conditions. Meanwhile the development 
work continued in this country. Early in December the operation 
of the apparatus was exhibited in an official test at the Morraine 
Flying Field at Dayton, Ohio. 

A large number of military and civilian officials not only of our 
own country but of the allies had been invited to witness this test. 
It must be remembered that at this time even those who had heard 
about the progress being made were skeptical of the possibilities of 
the successful adaptation of the radio telephone to airplane work. 
The designers of aircraft never look with favor upon additional 
equipment which may clutter up the machine with trailing wires 
and the like and possibly compel alterations in standard lines. The 
pilots, also, do not usually give a friendly reception to new equip- 
ment for their planes. 

The exhibitors at Dayton planned to have two planes in the air at 
once, so that the officials might listen in on their conversation at a 
ground station located on the top of a hill near the flying field. By 
hard work the inventors got their equipment installed, and just at 
dark on the evening before the day of the trial one machine equipped 
with wireless went up into the air and held successful communication 
with the ground. 

The next morning when the official party arrived the members 
viewed the apparatus in the planes while the inventors explained 
what it was expected to do. The visitors were then conducted to the 
station on the hill, where those who were putting on the show had 
rigged up a megaphone attached to the wireless receiver so that every- 
one could hear without putting on a head set. 

328 America's munitions. 

The attitude of some of the officials, particularly those from the 
foreign nations who had had experience in war flying, was skeptical, 
if not bored. The planes left the ground, and when the machines 
had gone up so high that they were but specks in the sky the receiver 
began emitting the premonitory noises that indicated that the men 
in the planes were getting ready to perform. Suddenly out of the 
horn of the loud-speaking receiver came the words: " Hello, ground 
station ! This is plane No. 1 speaking. Do you get me all right V ' 

Looks of amazement came over the faces of all those who had 
never heard the wireless phone in operation before. Soon came 
the signal from plane No. 2, and then the demonstration was on. 
Under command from the ground the planes were maneuvered over 
much of that part of the country. They were sent on scouting ex- 
peditions and reported what they saw as they traveled through the 
air. Continuous conversation was carried on, and finally, upon com- 
mand, the planes came back out of space and landed as directed. 

From that moment there was nothing but enthusiasm in all quar- 
ters for the radiophone upon airplanes. It was no longer a question 
whether the device would work or was any good, but a question of 
how soon the company could start manufacture and in what quanti- 
ties the device could be produced. 

The demonstrations Col. Culver had been conducting in France 
began, too, to bear fruit. Both the British and the French had 
developed experimental apparatus by this time and this was examined 
and tested. Then cablegrams began to arrive from abroad requi- 
sitioning the American apparatus in large quantities — convincing 
evidence that it had greater promise than any other. 

But still difficulties were ahead, for at this stage the wireless tele- 
phone consisted of afew experimental parts builtby hand. Itremained 
a heavy task to standardize the equipment and perfect the multi- 
tude of designs and drawings that must be in existence before quantity 
manufacture could begin. All sorts of mechanical details slighted in 
the experimenting and taken care of by makeshift devices had to be 
worked out as practical manufacturing undertakings. It was 
another case of day-and-night work to put the mechanism into condi- 
tion for production. The factory of the Western Electric Co. is in 
Chicago but its drafting rooms and laboratories are in New York. As 
soon as any detail was finally worked out the drawings were taken by 
messengers and rushed to Chicago where the work of producing the 
manufacturing tools had begun. Only the fastest passenger trains 
between New York and Chicago were patronized in this part of the 

As every detail was perfected it had to be checked by actual test in 
the field, so that the company's engineers were almost constantly in 
the air. One of these experts made 302 flights himself; and a total 


of 690 flights, of a combined duration of 484 hours, was required in 
the experimental stage of the mechanism. 

Immediately after the official trial in December the Government 
ordered thousands of sets of the radio telephone. In spite of the 
enormous detail involved in making ready for production, the first 
systems were turned out early in 1918, well ahead of the delivery of 
the airplanes in which they were to be used. 

All through this development the designers had to confine their 
activities within limits set by the producers of the aircraft. This in 
itself created some puzzling problems. For instance, a constant 
current of electricity must be supplied to heat the filaments of the 
vacuum tubes and to operate the transmitter. A simple way to 
provide this current would seem to be to connect a dynamo with the 
driving shaft of the airplane engine, but the airplane constructors 
would not allow any such connection with the engine. Current 
could be supplied from storage batteries, but the planes were already 
loaded down with all the gear they could carry, and the use of heavy 
batteries was out of the question. Therefore it was the task of the 
phone designers to supply a dynamo plant that would not add appre- 
ciably to the weight of the plane. This was done by installing on the 
outside of the plane a wind propeller, which was driven by the rush- 
ing air and had power enough to turn the dynamo. 

The dynamo must deliver a constant and unvarying voltage to 
the radio phone, if its operation is to be possible, yet a wind propeller 
on the airplane would be driven by air rushing by at speeds varying 
from 90 or 100 to 160 miles per hour, the latter figure being the speed 
of a diving plane. This meant that the wind propeller, and hence 
the armature of the dynamo, would revolve at a speed varying from 
4,000 to 14,000 revolutions per minute. It would seem to be impos- 
sible to procure current at a constant rate from a dynamo varying 
so widely in its speed of operation; yet one of the experts engaged 
in this enterprise solved the problem, and the dynamo thereafter per- 
formed always in a most steady going and dependable manner. 

Incidentally as a sort of by-product of the undertaking the special 
transmitter and helmet may be employed as a means of communica- 
tion between the pilot and observer in a two-seated machine. When 
the helmet is used for this purpose, the wireless is not employed at 
all, but the head sets are connected by wires so that notwithstand- 
ing the fact that one can not hear himself talk because of the noise 
on the plane the pilot and observer can converse over the telephone 
with ease. Then at any time by throwing a switch they can con- 
nect themselves with the radio apparatus and talk with the men in 
another plane 3 or 4 miles away or to their squadron headquarters 
on the ground. 

330 America's munitions. 

One good result of the airplane telephone was to speed up the 
training of aviators in this country and to make that training safer. 
But the primary object of the wireless phone was to make it possible 
for the leader of an air squadron at the front to control the move- 
ments of his men in the air. For this purpose extra-long range was 
not required, and the distance over which the machines could talk 
was purposely limited to 2 or 3 miles so that the enemy could not 
overhear the conversation except when the planes were actually 
engaged in fighting each other. 

The Navy made use of the wireless telephone sets in the seaplanes, 
and here the range of the equipment was made greater. The Navy 
also adopted a modified form of the set for the 110-foot submarine 
chasers. The subchasers hunted the submarines in packs, and by 
means of the radio telephone the commanders of the boats kept in 
constant touch with each other, thereby greatly increasing the effec- 
tiveness of their operations. 

Altogether there were produced for the Army airplanes about 3,000 
combined transmitting and receiving sets of the radio telephone and 
about 6,500 receiving sets alone. 


When Stephen Montgolfier and his brother Joseph, in November, 
1782, sent a sheep, a rooster, and a duck into the sky, lifted by a 
paper bag inflated with hot air, these Columbuses of ballooning could 
scarcely foresee the importance that their invention was to have 
in the great war 135 years later. To the humble observation 
balloon in France rather than to his dashing hero of a cousin, the 
airplane, must go the chief credit for that marvelous accuracy which 
long-range artillery attained during the great struggle. 

The balloon itself was spectacular enough once its true character 
was known. The fact that the American production of observa- 
tion balloons during our 19 months as a belligerent was a complete 
and unqualified success makes the story of ballooning in France of 
particular interest to the American reader. 

After the animals of the Montgolfier barnyard had made their 
ascent, two friends of the brothers, M. Pilatre de Rozier and Girond 
de Villette, essayed to be the first human beings to take an aerial 
flight, ascending to a height of 300 feet and returning to earth sound 
of limb and body. Thereafter and until the great war in Europe 
the balloon remained the awe of the circus and country fair grounds 
and the delight of the handful of sportsmen who took up the adven- 
turous pursuit; but, except for a limited use of captive balloons in 
our Civil War and in the siege of Paris, in 1870 and 1871, the balloon 
had no important military use. 

The hot-air balloon never could have become of great value to 
armies. In the first place, it would descend when the balloon 
cooled off. This defect was overcome by the use of lighter-than-air 
gas. Moreover, the free balloon was subject to the whims of the 
breezes. To overcome this characteristic the balloon must be 
fastened by a cable or propelled by a portable engine. It was 
obvious, however, to military experts that a stationary observation 
post anchored thousands of feet in the air would be ideal in war 
operations; yet for all of this obvious need, until the great war mili- 
tary science had perfected nothing better than the spherical balloon. 
The spherical, anchored to a cable, bobbed aloft in the gales and 
zephyrs as a cork does on the ocean waves. Although there had been 
some experimentation with kite balloons before 1914, it was not 
until the great war had been in progress for some months that the 


332 America's munitions. 

principles of stream-line shape were applied to the captive balloon; 
and the kite balloon, the well-known "sausage," made its appearance, 
to be the target for enemy aerial operations and the chief dependence 
of its own Artillery. 

The term "kite balloon" effectively describes the captive observa- 
tion balloon as we knew it in the war. It rides the air on the end 
of its cable much in the manner of an ordinary kite, and some of the 
early "sausages" even flaunted steadying tails such as kites carry. 
These principles applied to the captive balloon gave to its observa- 
tion basket a stability unknown by the pioneer aeronauts under their 
spherical bags. 

In the first stages of the war the Artillery relied principally upon 
airplanes for firing directions. But, while the airplane observers 
could locate the targets fairly well, they frequently lost touch with 
their batteries because of the difficulty of sending and receiving 
wireless or visual signals upon their swiftly moving craft. This dis- 
advantage brought the captive balloon into use, gradually at first, 
but before the end of the war on a scale which had practically. dis- 
placed the airplane as a director of gun fire. The balloon came to 
be the very eye of the Artillery, which, thanks to the development 
of this apparatus, reciprocated with an efficiency beyond anything 
known before in the history of warfare. 

Sitting comfortably aloft, the observer in the kite balloon basket 
had the whole panorama of his particular station spread before him. 
His powerful glasses could note accurately everything transpiring in 
a radius of 10 miles or more. He was constantly in touch with his 
batteries by telephone and not only could give by coordinated maps 
the exact location of the target and the effect of the bursting shell, 
but could and often did supply most valuable information of enemy 
troop movements, airplane attacks, and the like. He was a sentinel 
of the sky with the keen, long-range vision of the hawk. He played 
a part less spectacular than the scout airplane with its free and 
dazzling flights, but his duties were not less important. 

Nor did he suffer from ennui during his period aloft. When a kite 
balloon went up it became the subject of alert attention by the 
enemy, because it was up there on hostile and damaging business. 
Long-range high-velocity guns turned their muzzles on it, and planes 
swooped down upon it from dizzy heights, seeking to pass through 
the barrier of shell from antiaircraft guns and get an incendiary 
bullet through the fabric of the gas bag, an eventuality which meant 
the ignition of the highly inflammable hydrogen gas, the quick 
destruction of the balloon and perhaps of the luckless occupants of 
the basket as well, unless they could get away in their parachutes. 

Only quick work could save the men in the basket in such a case. 
From the time the gas leaped into flame until the explosion and fall 
of the balloon there was an interval of rarely over 15 or 20 seconds. 


The pilot of the airplane could dodge and slip away from the guns, 
but not so the pilot of the kite balloon anchored to a windlass from 
2 to 5 miles behind his own lines. He had to take what was coming 
to h i"* without means of defense. He must carry on his scientific 
calculations unconcernedly and in his spare moments experience the 
questionable pleasure of watching on some distant hill the flash of 
an enemy gun trained upon him and then of waiting the 20 or 30 
seconds for the whizzing messenger to reach him, the while he pon- 
dered on the accuracy of the enemy gunner's aim. 

While the artillery on both sides paid considerable attention 
to the observation balloons, the fact was that few of them were 
brought down by direct shell hits. The diving airplane with its 
incendiary bullets was a far more deadly enemy to the ballon than 
the ground artillery. Certain pilots in all the air services made a 
specialty of hunting sausages, the nickname given to kite balloons 
because of their shape. In the 17 days between September 26 and 
November 11, 1918, our Army lost 21 balloons, of which 15 were 
destroyed by enemy planes and 6 by enemy shell. But it may be 
noted that our aviators and artillery exacted a toll of 50 German 
balloons in the same period and on the same front. Of 100 balloons 
lost at the front, an average of 65 were destroyed by enemy attacks 
and 35 by natural wear and tear. 

The German general staff so strongly appreciated the work of the 
allied kite balloons that in its system of rating aviators it ranked a 
balloon brought down as the equal of one and one-half planes. 

The average life of a kite balloon on an active sector of the western 
front was estimated to be about 15 days. Some of them lived only a 
few minutes. One American balloon passed unscathed through the 
whole period of American activity on a busy sector. While ordinarily 
five or six months of nonwar service will deteriorate the balloon 
fabric, there are many cases of useful service longer than this. 

When the war broke out Germany is said to have had about 
100 balloons of the kite type. France and England had few of 
them. The German balloon was known as the Dracham. Its gas 
cylinder of rubberized cotton cloth was approximately 65 feet long 
and 27 feet in diameter, the ends being rounded. To give it a kite- 
like stability in the air a lobe, which was a tube of rubberized fabric, 
of a diameter approximately onerthird of the diameter of the main 
balloon, was attached to the underbody of the ggas bag as a sort of 
rudder, which curved up around the end of the balloon. This lobe 
was not filled with gas, but the forward end of it was open so that 
when the balloon rose the breeze filled the lobe with air. The 
inflated rudder then held the Drachen in line. The lobe automatically 
met the emergency. In calm, windless weather the balloon needed 
no steadying and the lobe was limp. Let the gale blow, and the lobe 

334 America's munitions. 

inflated and held the nose of the Drachen into the wind. As a 
further stabilizer three tailoups, with mouths open to the breeze, 
were attached 10 feet apart on a line descending from the rear of the 
balloon. In a strong wind these helped to keep the contrivance from 

The tailcup was made of rubberized fabric, circular in shape, about 
4 feet in diameter, and about 2 feet deep when inflated by the breeze. 
It looked like an inverted umbrella, and was attached to the tail end 
of the balloon for exactly the same purpose and with the same effect 
as the tail attached to a kite. 

The Drachen type of balloon was still in the experimental stage 
here and in Prance and England when the Germans swept over 
Belgium. The Drachen balloon was clumsy and relatively unstable 
in high winds, yet its importance to the Artillery could not be 
ignored by the allies. The results of its work daily became more 
apparent. The first effort of the allies was to improve the Drachen 
to give it greater stability and permit it to go to higher altitudes. 
While this work was going on, Capt. Caquot, of the French Army, 
produced a kite balloon so superior that it quickly superseded what 
had been in use. Germany clung to the Drachen for a time, but 
finally abandoned it for the Caquot principles of design. 

The earlier balloons of the sausage type had been merely cylinders 
with hemispherical ends. Now for the first time, in the Caquot 
model, appeared a captive that was sharply stream lined. Stream 
lines are lines so curved as to offer the least possible resistance to the 
medium through which a mobile object, such as a yacht, an automobile, 
or an airship, moves. The Caquot gas bag was 93 feet long, as com- 
pared with the Drachen's 65 feet of length, yet its largest diameter 
was only 28 feet, being but a foot thicker than the pioneer German 
type. The Caquot, as all balloons developed in the war, was made 
of rubberized cotton cloth. Its capacity of 37,500 cubic feet of 
hydrogen gas lifted the mooring cable, the basket, two observers, 
and the mass of neoessary equipment, and in good weather the 
balloon could ascend to a maximum altitude of over 5,000 feet. 

The principal innovation in the design of the Caquot balloon was 
the location of the baJloonette or air chamber within the main body 
of the gas envelope. This chamber was in the forward instead of 
the rear part of the bag and along the bottom of the envelope. It 
was separated from the gas chamber by a diaphragm of rubberized 
cotton cloth, which was sewn, cemented, and taped to the inner 
envelope somewhat below the "equator" or median line from the 
nose to the tail of the gas bag. 

When a balloon of the Caquot type is fully inflated, the diaphragm 
rests upon the underbody of the gas envelope, and there is no air in 
the balloonette. Then, as the balloon begins to ascend, at the 
higher levels the surrounding air pressure is reduced and the gas in 





the balloon expands. This expansion would normally burst the 
envelope when the balloon is at a high altitude, except for a safety 
valve which pops at the danger point and relieves the pressure. 
Also, when the balloon is anchored it gradually loses gas, since no 
fabric can be made entirely gas-tight. A flabby balloon in a gale of 
wind is dangerous to the men in the basket. This flabbiness might 
be expected to increase, too, as the balloon was hauled down into 
the heavier air pressures. 

It was to overcome this flabbiness that the interior balloonette 
was first invented, but the new location not only accomplished this 
end but increased the stability, lessened the tension on the cable and 
allowed an almost horizontal position of the balloon itself. As the 
balloon rises the wind blows into the balloonette through a simple 
scoop placed under the nose of the balloon. This forces up the dia- 
phragm and compensates for any loss of gas from the envelope above. 
If the day is calm and no air is driven into the balloonette, there is 
no danger from a flabby balloon anyhow, and hence no need for the 
air chamber. The thing is automatic. 

The Caquot was equipped with lobes of rubberized fabric to act 
as rudders. These lobes, which were spaced equidistantly around 
the circumference of the rear third of the balloon, filled with wind 
when wind was blowing and there was need of rudders. In calm 
weather the lobes, particularly the two upper ones, hung loosely, 
resembling elephant ears. On account of this characteristic the 
Caquots were nicknamed "elephants" by the soldiers. 

The Caquot maintained its stability without tailcups, and its 
construction caused it to ride nearly horizontally and direotly above 
its mooring, regardless of winds. In this position it put much less 
strain on the anchoring cable than the old-fashioned sausage. This 
balloon has been operated successfully in winds as high as 70 miles 
an hour, so that apparently no gale could keep it on the ground. 

When we went into the war both our Army and Navy were 
practically without observation balloons, and we knew little about 
their construction, although we had been watching the develop- 
ments in Europe. One local National Guard organization had 
taken to the Mexican border a locally designed captive balloon, 
the gift of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., of Akron, Ohio. 

In April, 1917, the total production capacity of the United States 
was for only two or three military observation balloons in a month. 
But when the emergency came the various concerns whose plants 
were adaptable to this class of manufacture — the list including the 
Goodyear and Goodrich organization? at Akron, the United States 
Rubber Co., the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., the Connecticut 
Aircraft Co., and the Knabenshue Manufacturing Co. — all joined 
wholeheartedly with the Signal Corps to solve our balloon problems. 

336 America's munitions. 

One of these problems was the production of balloon cloth, £oa 
which there had never been any commercial call in this country 
Such cloth obviously must be of cotton, for in cotton we had ora 
largest supply of textile raw material. The cloth must be closely 
woven, smooth, and strong, to serve as. a base for the rubberizing 
process. The standard balloon cloth should have a weave of approx- 
imately 140 threads to the inch both ways. In our vast cotton 
industry only a few milk had ever made such a cloth, and then only 
in small quantities. In fact we found only a few looms in existence 
capable of weaving such cloth, which must be from 38 to 45 inches 
wide. A single loom could turn out only an average of ten ywurds 
of this cloth in a day. Our balloon program was to call for mil- 
lions of yards of high-count cloth, and this meant the construction 
of thousands of new looms, as well as the training of hundreds of 

Naturally our cotton manufacturers were reluctant to undertake 
such a production, and their fears were justified when we found that 
the earliest deliveries of balloon cloth were frequently as high as 67 
per cent imperfect. By the middle of 1918, however, the mills had 
so perfected their methods that the Wastage amounted to only 10 
per cent of the cloth woven. This wastage was largely caused by 
"stubs," knots, and other imperfections which prevented an even 
surface for rubberizing. Because of the lives which depended upon 
having perfect balloon cloth, the fabric was literally inspected inch by 
inch, and hundreds of men and women had to be educated especially 
in this inspection work. 

The development of the new art of weaving balloon cloth was an 
achievement of no mean degree. In April, 1917, all of our cotton 
mills put together could produce only enough cloth to build two 
balloons a week. In November, 1918, our looms were turning out 
cloth sufficient for 10 balloons a day, an expansion in the industry 
amounting to 3,000 per cent in 19 months. This expansion pro- 
ceeded at a rate that always kept us a little ahead of the military 
schedule. To produce 10 balloons a day the cotton mills had to 
turn out 600,000 yards of special cloth a month. In addition to 
the small army of weavers, this production called into service 3,200 

Had the war continued another year, we would have reached our 
goal of 15 complete new kite balloons produced every day. Our 
complete project of balloons and dirigibles of all types called for a 
total output of 20,000,000 yards of balloon cloth. Had we reached the 
quantity production planned, we would have been able to supply 
not only our own needs but also all of the balloon needs of the allies 
in Europe. America had the raw materials necessary for the whole 
anti-German balloon program. 



BALLOONS. 337 • 

As it was, we supplied to France and England a considerable 
number of balloons when the materials shortage in those countries 
was becoming acute. The foreign users of this American made 
equipment reported that it was equal to the best European product. 
It should have been. No war material was ever manufactured more 
conscientiously than this. In addition to the painstaking care of 
the producers, from start to finish a large force of inspectors watched 
every step in the construction of each balloon, and when America 
sent a balloon to the front it was right for the work it had to perform. 

The weaving of the cloth was but the first step in the production 
of the balloon fabric. The fabric of the balloon envelope resembles 
a sandwich in its construction, there being a thin film of specially 
compounded rubber between two plies of the cotton cloth. The 
outer ply of the cloth is cut on the bias. This method prevents any 
long straight tear down the grain of the fabric. The threads of the 
inner ply are set at an angle of 45° to those of the outer ply, thus 
distributing strain sufficiently to stop a "snag" practically where 
it starts. 

The cotton cloth alone can not resist the seepage of gas, and, there- 
fore, it is necessary to rubberize it, the rubber film being really the 
gas-resisting envelope. In this rubberizing process the cloth must be 
run through the spreading machine 30 to 35 times in order to build 
up the thin rubber film without a flaw in it of any kind. The outside 
ply of the balloon fabric is "spread," that is, painted with a rubber 
compound containing a coloring matter. This compound makes the 
fabric waterproof; it gives also protective coloring to the balloon 
when in the air, making it less visible to the enemy; and, finally and 
most important, this coloring absorbs the actinic rays of the sun 
which are so fatal to the life of rubber. In some of the fabric the rubber 
film itself was colored to withstand both the heat and ultra-violet 
rays, thus both protecting the rubber and reflecting the heat which 
would otherwise expand the gas in the balloon. 

While in general we adopted the European standards of construc- 
tion, we had to develop our own rubber compounds and cures as well 
as our various fabrication processes. The latest reports we received 
from the front stated that the American fabric not only was successful, 
but that it had an added characteristic which was a direct means of 
saving life. It was discovered that the American fabric burned 
more slowly than the European balloon fabric, giving the men in 
the observation basket more time to get away in the parachutes 
when the balloons were destroyed by hostile attack. 

When we went into the war we had never built a windlass for a kite 
balloon. The ability of the American manufacturer solved this 
problem as it did almost every other problem in the development of 

109287°— 19 22 

338 America's munitions. 

war instruments. Steam was the motive power first used for wind- 
lasses, but before the fighting came to an end America had developed 
both gas and electric windlasses which were thoroughly efficient. 

The best known type of gasoline windlass was that having two 
motors, one to turn the cable drum controlling the balloon's ascent 
and descent, and one for moving the windlass itself along the road. 
A record pull-down speed of 1,600 feet a minute, or more than 
three times the speed of the fastest passenger elevator, has been 
attained by the gasoline windlass. 

The electric windlass, while pulling down the balloon at the slower 
rate of 1,200 feet per minute, was smoother in operation. The 
mobile windlass would move on a road under its own power at 20 
miles an hour and could tow the balloon in the air at the rate of 
5 miles an hour, or even faster if necessity demanded. 

To play on the safe side at the start, we adopted a satisfactory 
windlass that had been developed in France. It was difficult to 
manufacture this entirely French machine with American materials 
and methods; yet James Cunningham, Sons & Co., of Rochester, 
N. Y., succeeded in obtaining a delivery of four complete windlasses 
per week. 

In addition to this windlass we designed two of our own. One of 
these was the product of the United States Army Balloon School 
and was manufactured by the McKeen Motor Car Co., of Omaha, 
Nebr.; the other windlass was designed and manufactured by the 
N. C. L. Engineering Co., of Providence, R. I. Both were put into 
quantity production, assuring us a sufficient number of the best 
windlasses ever manufactured. 

The first cable used to hold the balloon captive was approximately 
a quarter-inch in diameter, weighed 1 pound for each 8 feet of length 
had a breaking strength of 6,900 pounds, and was made of seven 
twisted strands of plow-steel wire, containing in all 133 separate 
wires. This cable, while it accomplished the original purpose, was 
early seen to have fine possibilities of development. The ob- 
servers in the basket must be kept in constant communication 
with the Artillery and their own windlass and this communication 
could best and most efficiently be obtained by means of the telephone. 
The balloon telephone, as first used, was an entirely individual unit 
with its own separate Cable from the basket to the ground. In this 
way communication was indeed established, but only at the cost of 
a decrease in possible altitude, increased cable resistance, and the 
necessity of an extra windlass for winding and unwinding the tele- 
phone cable. 

Previous to the entrance of the United States in the war, pre- 
liminary experiments in France were being made with the view of 
putting the telephone wires in the center of the main cable, thus 
doing away entirely with the second cable and windlass. But there 






had never been developed a satisfactory cable of this construction. 
American inventiveness at the John A. Roebling Sons Co. and the 
American Steel & Wire Co. was set to work on this problem with the 
result that not only was a satisfactory cable developed but a steady 
production was attained, 50,000 feet per week being delivered regu- 
larly by the John A. Roebling Sons Co. alone. This new cable con- 
sisted of 1 14 separate wires of special steel besides the telephone center 
of 3 copper wires properly insulated and armored. The specifications 
demanded a breaking strength of 7,200 pounds while the actual test 
of the finished Roebling cable showed 8,250 pounds. 

Another of the balloon problems was the supply of hydrogen gas. 
Before the war only a little hydrogen was used in this country, the 
element being a by-product in the manufacture of commercial 
oxygen. We met the additional demand for millions of cubic feet 
of hydrogen for our balloons by establishing Government gas plants 
and expanding privately owned plants already in existence. There 
were two methods of supplying hydrogen to our balloon units at 
home and abroad. One of these was by furnishing portable plants 
which would generate hydrogen at the place where it was to be used. 
The other was to take the hydrogen from the stationary plants, 
condense it by pressure in steel cylinders, and ship it to points of 
demand. By far the greater part of the gas which we used not only 
in this country but in France was produced at the permanent supply 
stations and shipped in cylinders. Each cylinder held about 191 
cubic feet of gas under a pressure of 2,000 pounds per square inch at 
68° F. temperature. When the war ended we had placed orders for 
172,800 of these cylinders, of which 89,225 had been delivered and 
were in use. We developed a manifold filler which would take the 
gas from 12 to 24 cylinders at the same time and quickly inflate a 
kite balloon, a speed of 23 minutes for a complete inflation having 
been reported from one training camp. 

In the production of portable hydrogen generators we had to 
produce not only the machine but the chemicals required in the pro- 
cess. We adopted the ferrosilicon and caustic soda process by which 
it was possible to produce 10,000 cubic feet of hydrogen per hour in a 
field generator. There was plenty of caustic soda to be had, but 
high grade ferrosilicon, a production of large electrolytic furnaces, 
was scarce, because of its heavy consumption in the steel industry. 
We procured, however, 2,482 tons of it for our generators, of which 
over 2,360 tons were supplied by the Electro-Metallurgical Sales Cor- 
poration alone. 

An interesting feature of the gas supply in the field was the use of 
" nurse balloons." The nurse balloon was simply a large rubberized- 
fabric bag with a capacity of 5,000 cubic feet of gfe. It was used for 
storage of gas, and the observation balloons were fed from it. We 
have not received the exact figures of the quantity of gas used by 

340 America's munitions. 

the entire Balloon Service; but, as one item alone, private manufac- 
turers previous to the signing of the armistice produced and delivered 
17,634,353 cubic feet of hydrogen and were in position to meet prac- 
tically any demand for the gas. This figure is only a small part 
of the total, since it does not include the hydrogen produced in the 
permanent Government stations or by the field generators. 

Hydrogen itself, while the lightest of cheap gases, and therefore 
the one universally used in balloons, has the grave fault of being 
dangerous to the balloonist. When mixed with the air it is highly 
explosive, if touched off by a spark of fire or electricity. For years 
balloonists have dreamed of a gas light enough to have great lifting 
power, but which would not burn nor explode. There was such a 
gas known to chemistry, and this was helium, discovered first in 
spectroscope examinations of the corona of the sun, but later found 
by chemists to exist rather freely in the atmospheric envelope of the 
earth. Although one of every 100 parts of air is pure helium, it was 
not until comparatively recent years that this light nonexplosive gas 
was discovered in our atmosphere. 

Now helium was rare and expensive, and until the United States 
entered the war no one had considered its production as a commercial 
possibility. Up to two years ago the total world production of helium 
since its discovery had not been more than 100 cubic feet in all, and 
the gas cost about $1,700 per cubic foot. 

It had been discovered that certain natural gases issuing from the 
ground in the United States contained limited quantities of helium. 
The question was whether we could extract this helium in sufficient 
quantities to make its use practical. The Signal Corps, the Navy, 
and the Bureau of Mines combined in a cooperative plan to develop 
a practical helium production. By adopting a method of obtaining 
the helium from liquefied gas produced in the processes of the Linde 
Air Products Co. and the Air Reduction Co., and also by the Norton 
process, we attained astonishing success in this enterprise. 

On the day the armistice was signed we had at the docks ready 
for loading on board ships 147,000 cubic feet of helium. At its pre- 
war value this gas would have been worth about $250,000,000. On 
November 11, 1918, we were building plants which would produce 
helium at the rate of 50,000 cubic feet per day, and the cost of obtain- 
ing it had dropped from $1,700 per cubic foot to approximately 10 

None of this gas was actually used in the war, but its production 
by our chemists was hailed as the greatest step ever taken in the 
development of ballooning. It now seems to have opened a new era 
in lighter-than-air navigation. In war helium will nullify the incendi- 
ary bullet which destroyed so many balloons and airships. In peace 
it brings the possibilities of new types of construction of dirigible 


airships, since its use eliminates entirely all of the frightful dangers 
from lightning, static electricity, or sparks and flames from gasoline 
engines or any other souroe. 

The Army and Navy cooperated in the production of balloons. 
The Army furnished the balloon cloth to the Navy. Navy balloons 
had two automatic safety valves for the expanding gas, one on each 
side of the balloon a third of the way back from the nose and just 
above the equator; while the Army held to the French and British 
idea of a single valve in the nose itself. The Navy adopted a Caquot- 
type balloon which rides at an angle of about 25° to the horizontal 
and is somewhat smaller than the Army model. The Navy used 
these balloons as spotters for submarines and mines. They were 
towed on cables from the decks of war ships, and were connected with 
the ships by telephone. 

The use of parachutes with balloons is a comparatively recent de- 
velopment, the man who first successfully descended to earth in a 
parachute being not only still active and enthusiastic over aerial 
development, but being in fact the chief inspector of all United States 
Army balloons and parachutes. This is Maj. Thomas S. Baldwin, 
known the world over as Capt. "Tom" Baldwin, hero of innumerable 
aerial exploits of all kinds under all conditions and in all parts of the 
world, and at present chief of the United States Army balloon inspec- 
tion. The Yankee balloon observer in France went up to his obser- 
vation post in the security of knowing that the equipment on which 
his life depended had been O. K.'d by men who knew the business 
from beginning to end. 

The parachute as it is known at the county fair and the parachute 
used in the recent war were far apart in type, the latter embody- 
ing all the improvements that the world's aeronautical experts could 
add to it. The need for parachutes developed when hostile aviators 
began shooting down the sausages. At fust the one-man parachute 
was used exclusively, the men in the basket leaping overboard the 
instant their balloon was fired over their heads. Any delay on their 
part would be fatal, since the entire bag would be consumed in 
15 or 20 seconds and the observer would then be unable to leap 
out of the falling basket. When the individual parachutes were 
used, the maps and records in the balloon basket were usually lost. 

To overcome these difficulties, the designers invented the basket 
parachute. This was considerably larger than the individual para- 
chute, and to operate it the balloonists pulled a cord which cut the 
basket away from the balloon entirely. The spreading parachute 
overhead then floated the basket, with the men themselves and all 
else it contained, safely and quickly to the ground. 

Although hundreds and even thousands of ^parachute jumps 
occurred during the war, there were few fatalities from this cause. 

A I 

342 America's munitions. 

During all the time our forces were at the front only one of our men 
was killed as the direct result of a parachute drop. In that particular 
instance the burning balloon fell on top of the open parachute, 
setting it on fire and allowing the observer to fall unprotected the 
rest of the distance to the ground. One of our observers was known 
to make four jumps from his balloon on the same busy day, and 
another leaped thrice in four hours. In the Argonne offensive 30 
balloon jumps were made by our men. 

As to the safety of our parachute equipment, the only complaint 
from the Yankee balloonists at the front was that they were too safe. 
The man who is escaping from a German airplane nose-diving at him 
with a machine gun spitting fire is in a hurry and does not wish to 
be detained by a parachute which floats him too slowly to the earth. 

In the rigging of each kite balloon there are about 2,000 feet of 
rope of different sorts. There was a shortage of proper cordage in 
the United States at first, and the French thought they could furnish 
this rigging to us. But this attempt proved to be unsuccessful, and 
we were forced to develop a cordage manufacture in this country of 
high quality and great quantity. We did this so swiftly that there 
was no serious delay to the balloon production. 

Up to November 11, 1918, we produced over 1,000 balloons of all 
kinds, 642 of these being of the final Caquot type which we adopted. 
This production included many propaganda balloons for carrying 
printed matter over the lines into the enemy's country. We sup- 
plied several target balloons for gun practice on our aviation fields. 
We developed new types of parachutes and built acres of canvas 
hangars for balloons. We produced 1,221,582 feet of steel mooring 
cable. These are only the major items in the balloon enterprise, and 
do not include hundreds of others of less importance. 

The balloon production was one of the most important and suc- 
cessful of all our war projects. Although we had a limited knowledge 
of the subject in the beginning, our balloons stood the hard test of 
actual service and could bear comparison in every way with the best 
balloons of Europe, where the art of balloon building had been in 
existence for many years. Once our production actually started, 
we never had any shortage of balloons for our own Army ; and soon we 
would have been in a position to produce the observation balloons 
for all of the armies fighting Germany, if called upon to do so. 



Balloon production figures. 



produced to— 

Supply balloons 
produced to— 


produced to— ' 

produced to— 

Nov. 11, 

Mar. 1, 

Nov. 11, 

Mar. 1, 

Nov. 11, 

Mar. 1, 

Nov. 11, 

Mar. 1, 

Goodyear Tin A Robber Co., 
Akron, Ohio — ........ . . 












{ *5 

( »53 

/ l3 
\ M 







B. F. Goodrich Rubber Co., 
Akron, Ohio - T .-. T . 


Connecticut Aircraft Corpora- 
tion, New Haven . Conn ... 


United States Rubber Co., 
East Cambridge, Mass 

Knabenshne Manufacturing 
Co., East Northport, Long 










French-American Balloon 
Co., St. Louis, Mo 


Scott-Omaha Tent A Awn- 
ing Co., Omaha, Nebr 







New York Tent 'A Awning 
Co., New York 

Follemer-Clogg A Co., Lan- 
caster. Pa 

1 ! ' 


Bickford Bros., Rochester, 
N. Y 

1 ' ! 


Firestone Tire A Rubber Co. , 




Columbia Mills (Inc.), Wilkes- 
barre, Pa 



Total manufactured 

Total shipped to ports 





1 l6 
\ MO 

I '216 




1 256 


Total shipped to camps, etc . . 



i l * 

\ «12 
I '215 

L 44* 



— i Target. 

» Spherical. 




McKeen Motor Qar Co„ Omaha, Nebr 

Chris 1>. Schramm A Son, Philadelphia, Pa 

Jas. Cunningham <Sr Sons Co., Rochester. N. Y 

N. C. L. Engineering Corporation, Providence, R. I. 
Deloies Hoisting Co., New York 

Total manufactured 

Total shipped to camps and depots. 
Total shipped to ports 

Produced to— 

Nov. 11, 







Mar. 1, 




John A. Roeblings Sons Co., Trenton, N. J. 
American Steel A Wire Co., Worcester, Mass. 

Total manufactured 

Total shipped to ports 

Total shipped to camps and depots 





Balloon production figures — Continued. 



Oxygen Gas Co., Kansas Clty,)fo 

Southern Oxygen Co., South Washington, Va 

International Oxygen Co., New York. 

talker Refining Co., Austin, Tex 

Tarrifville Oxygen & Chemical Co., Tarrifville, Con. 

Louisiana Oxygen Co., New Orleans 

Kentucky Oxygen Com Louisville, Ky 

Burdett Oxygen Ca, Chicago 

Total produced... 
Total shipped overseas - 
Total shipped to camps. 

Produced to— 




477; 600 



Cubic feet. 






904 576 


11,847, 9» 



National Tube Co., McKeesport, Pa 

Harrisburg Pipe & Pipe Bending Co,, Harrisburg, Pa. 
Tlndel-MorrisOo., North Eddy stone, Pa 

Total manufactured 

Total to ports 

Total to camps and warehouses . 











In describing the activities of the Engineers, we are carried to the 
front itself, into the zone beaten by enemy fire, where machine-gun 
bullet, bursting shell, and deadly gases have brought sudden death 
and painful wounds to many members of the technical services. A 
large proportion of the Engineers are combatant troops, constituting 
in the American Expeditionary Forces about 8 per cent of the total 
combatant troops engaged. These troops, trained and equipped to 
march and fight as Infantry, demonstrated their fighting qualities 
during the war on numerous occasions, both when used as Infantry 
to increase the rifle strength of that arm and when fighting as En- 
gineers to obtain possession of terrain as a preliminary to the exercise 
of their technical art in its organization. 

From the day the first sector was taken over by American troops 
in November, 1917, until the Meuse River was passed and the enemy, 
in flight, sought an armistice to save his armies from destruction, 
the combatant Engineers — the "sappeurs" of French soldier lore 
and song — fought and bled in a manner never to be forgotten. Rail- 
road engineers, nominally considered noncombatant, at Oambrai 
dropped their tools to take arms and stand stubbornly shoulder to 
shoulder with their British brothers with whom they were learn- 
ing to work under the special conditions of the front. From 
Cantigny to Chateau Thierry, Engineer troops fought as well as 
worked, and often not only advanced with the Infantry under or 
through the barrage, but actually led the first wave, to demolish or 
remove the obstacles placed in its path. Through the days when 
from March 21, 1918, until July 18, 1918, the German army made 
its rapid plunges toward Paris until checked and thrown back 
across the Marne at Chateau Thierry, the sapper troops fought 
and worked with the Infantry of their divisions, enduring the same 
dangers, privations, and hardships, and winning equal honors and 

In the drive at St. Mihiel and through the Argonne, the combatant 
Engineers played a conspicuous part. Advancing with the tanks, 
they made possible the passage of many difficult points for these 
lumbering monsters, against which was directed a particularly 


348 America's muistitions. 

destructive fire. Using elongated torpedoes of high explosive, known 
as Bangalore torpedoes, they prepared passages for the Infantry- 
through the broad barbed-wire entanglements, echeloned in depth 
by numerous separate lines, each to be breached and passed before 
the objective could be gained. In this work the Engineers reduced 
the machine-gun nests that hindered their operation, cleaned up the 
strong points that delayed the advance of the ; tanks they were 
assisting, and threw extemporized footbridges across the streams 
which barred the further advance of the Infantry. 

The combatant Engineers did their part in the winning of the 
reconquered ground as well as the lion's share of its organization 
for the defense and the maintenance of the communications behind 
it. In this last respect alone, the Engineers, as combatant troops, 
opened across No Man's Land the first communications practicable 
for the light field artillery, which pressed forward immediately behind 
the Infantry troops to their support and protection. 

Filling in trenches, removing wire entanglements, building trestles 
across wide mine craters, searching for and rendering inoperative 
treacherous mines and traps of extreme ingenuity and destructive- 
ness, the sapper found a wide field for the exercise of his functions. 
Shattered and obliterated by four years of shelling and mining, 
trenching, and countermining, the "roads" across No Man's Land 
existed only on the map; and as they retreated the Germans demol- 
ished and obstructed the highways behind the old front from which 
they had been driven, with the thoroughness and attention to detail 
for which they are noted. As our Infantry advanced, upon their 
heels, literally speaking, came our Engineers, to attack the problem 
of providing for the Artillery and supply trains a means of following. 
From the standpoint of the road builder in civil life, their methods 
were crude in the extreme, but for the military purpose and the 
pressing immediate needs, their road building achievement was 
adequate. The Engineers sometimes reopened abandoned quarries, 
and sometimes started them where none had existed before, to obtain 
a supply of road metal, which supply was sometimes supplemented 
and in some cases replaced by the use of d6bris from ruined villages 
and shattered farmhouses. From demolished structures many useful 
materials were extracted and adapted to the military purpose by 
the Engineers. Where bridge and trestle timbers were lacking, 
deserted buildings — in one case the tower of a mined church — filled 
the need. Where shell hole or crater yawned a remnant of a stable 
wall might be pulled down by ropes and man power, and broken up 
to fill the void. 

Through the dense woods the soft forest floor offered no support 
even to the light artillery, and miles of corduroy and brush path 


were built to permit the guns to advance to the reinforcement of the 
attack. In many places the tactical situation admitted of insufficient 
time to build even the crudest paths, and then the Engineers fell to 
and assisted artillery and supply wagons to get through and over the 
bad spots, replacing guns on the road where they had run into the 
ditch, righting and reloading combat wagons when they had turned 
over in shell holes or deep ruts. 

While thus engaged the sapper troops were subjected to the fire 
of enemy artillery seeking to prevent the advance of the supporting 
guns, and, further, they were working within the zone of combat 
enemy aviators, the rattle of whose deadly machine guns, as they 
plunged at low altitude toward a busy working party, was as much 
to be dreaded as the high-explosive bombs which they dropped. 

Behind the combatant Engineer troops, extending through the 
service of supply to the base ports and across the ocean to the United 
States was an organization of technical noncombatant supply and 

The work of these production, construction, and supply depart- 
ments of the Engineer service in France was organized in the Ameri- 
can Expeditionary Forces under the administration of three divisions 
of the office of the Chief Engineer. These were the division of mili- 
tary engineering and engineering supplies, the division of construc- 
tion and forestry, and the division of light railways and roads. 


The division of military engineering and engineering supplies was 
charged with the procurement, standardization, and distribution of 
all classes of supplies used by Engineer troops. During the 19 months 
of warfare this division handled 3,225,121 tons of supplies, storing 
them and distributing them from immense depots aggregating 25 
acres of covered storage and over 756 acres of open storage. This 
service was further charged with the current investigations into new 
developments of the art of military engineering, and with the develop- 
ment, operation, and administration of certain technical branches of 
the American Expeditionary Forces, such as electrical and mechanical 
troops, water-supply troops, searchlight regiments, etc. 

At its seven storage depots in the base, intermediate, and advance 
sections, this division had in service 23 locomotive cranes, mostly of 
15 tons capacity and capable of handling an enormous amount of 
freight and material at warehouses and cars. The following table of 
principal items of engineer material shows the kinds and quantities 
of supplies which were received in France for issue through this 
division up to December 15, 1918: 


amekica's munitions. 

Table of engineer supplies received in France. 


General machinery 

Iron and steel products 

Hardware and nand tools 

Railway rolling stock 

Railway motive power 


Track materials and fastenings . . 
Automotive transportation, etc. 

Horse-drawn transportation 

Building materials and supplies. 







Explosives and accessories 

Unit accountability 

Engineer supplies 

Miscellaneous office supplies 

Floating equipment ana accessories . . 

Material and tools for locomotive and 

car repair and erection shops 

Total United States 











Tools and equipment. 

Mac h inery 

Office supplies and equipment 

Auto and truck supplies 

Track and ties 

Locomotives and cars 

Water supply, machinery 

Water supply, supplies 

Electric service, machinery. . . 

Electric service, supplies 

Construction materials 

Boats and barges 

Motorcycles and bicycles 

















General engineer supplies 

Cement from American Expedition 

ary Forces mills 





Total European sources 

Total United States and Eu 
ropean sources 









To facilitate the procurement of supplies in the existing world 
markets, this division established in Paris a purchasing board, having 
branches in England, Switzerland, and Spain. When the war ended 
this board had accomplished the tremendous task of buying over 
1,800,000 tons of engineer supplies, with a total value of $205,242,728. 
In addition to this material, our own country furnished over 1,500,000 
tons, with a value of $248,993,322. France sold to us through this 
board 1,234,968 tons, valued at $134,393,870, and England 396,000 
tons, valued at $56,145,818. In Switzerland, purchases consisting 
principally of sectional barracks and technical equipment, totaled 
96,867 tons, with a value of $14,643,410. Purchases from Spain 
amounted to only 797 tons, with a value of $59,630. 

Much work was done in standardizing supplies of all classes, so 
that quantity-production methods could be used in their fabrication, 
thus promoting economy and stimulating the rapidity of supply. 

In the procurement of cement for the use of the American Expe- 
ditionary Forces, the Engineers dealt successfully with a problem of 
large magnitude and importance. By contract with English and 
French mills, by direct purchase for specific jobs from local mills, 
and by their own manufacturing operations, the Engineers secured 
enough cement to supply the demands for construction both at the 
front and in the % S. O. S., as the service of supply was generally 
known. Three large cement mills were leased ffom the French 



owners and operated by special troops organized in the United States. 
To certain other French mills the Engineers furnished labor and 
materials in return for a certain proportion of their output. It is 
estimated that about 215,000 tons of cement were thus procured, 
representing a total cost of about $7,000,000. 

The Engineers operated shops at various points near the front in 
which were manufactured standard material for dugout, trench, and 
emplacement construction, such as concrete beams, concrete slabs for 
overhead protection against high-angle shell fire, trench frames, re- 
vetment material, trench duck boards, mine and gallery timbers, 
knock-down bunk sets, etc. 


The division of construction and forestry was charged with all con- 
struction work in the service of supply, and also with the procuring 
of forest products for the American Expeditionary Forces. At the 
signing of the armistice its organization totaled 150,823 men, of whom 
about 127,000 were constantly engaged in production work. Using 
standardized building plans, this force performed a huge amount of 
construction work in France. 

It was assumed that one-third of the American troops in France 
would have to be housed in new buildings erected specially for the 
purpose. Thus accommodations for about 750,000 men had to be 
built at the rate of 16 barracks, each 20 by 100 feet in size, for every 
1,000 men. Contracts were let to British and French contractors for 
23,000 demountable barracks, this order being based on the ultimate 
probable size of the Expeditionary Forces. During August, Septem- 
ber, and October, 1918, these barracks were being received at the rate 
of 1 ,000 per month. To supplement a supply of even such magnitude, 
our own type of barrack was developed to be built with lumber fur- 
nished by the American forestry forces in France. One cantonment 
project involved the construction of 500 barracks, accommodating 
55,000 men. A total of 1 1 ,862 barracks were erected for the American 
Expeditionary Forces in France, representing 225 miles of length, if 
all the barracks were placed singly end to end. 

It was the policy of the American Expeditionary Forces to provide 
hospital room sufficient to give beds, if necessary, to 15 of every 100 
American soldiers in France. On this basis the Engineers set out to 
provide hospitals with a total of 280,000 beds. Of these, 139,000 beds 
were in hospitals taken over from the French, 25,000 beds being 
added to this capacity by new construction. In entirely new base, 
camp, evacuation, and convalescent hospitals, 116,000 beds were 
ultimately made available for the casualties of the American Expe- 
ditionary Forees, requiring the erection of 7,700 hospital barracks of 
special type, all of which would have totaled 127 miles in length if 

352 America's munitions. 

placed singly end to end. As to the progress of this construction, 
on November 14, 1918, there were 190,356 beds occupied in American 
hospitals in France, but all 280,000 beds originally specified were 
ready and available. 

The base hospital plants were complete municipalities in them- 
selves, and had capacities varying from 1,000 to 6,000 beds. These 
units were built where nothing had existed before but little French 
rural communities, devoid of the improvements and modern con- 
veniences with which we in this country are so familiar. To establish 
a modern military hospital, capable of caring for the varied casualties 
and illness arising from action and abnormal living conditions, it 
required the construction of roads, sidings, unloading platforms, 
sorting and classification buildings, operating rooms, surgical and 
medical wards, dormitories, morgues, cemeteries, complete water sup- 
plies, fire protection systems, sewage and garbage disposal plants, 
recreation buildings, electric light plants, and all that goes to make 
complete a modern installation for the care of the wounded and sick. 
Many of the camp and evacuation hospitals required construction of 
the same character, but differing in magnitude. 

The Engineers developed port facilities at St. Nazaire, Bordeaux, 
La Pallice, Marseilles, Brest, and at less important harbors. In 
general, at these places the existing facilities were expanded to meet 
the needs for the debarkation of troops and the unloading and shipment 
of supplies. Originally 23 ship berths were placed at our disposal by 
the French. The Engineers expanded this equipment to a total of 89 
berths, with authorized projects for 160 berths by June, 1919. Our 
overseas shipments grew from 20,000 tons in July, 1917, to 1,000,000 
tons in October, 1918, but the port expansion kept abreast of this 
development. Fifty-eight 300-ton lighters were built by Engineer 
troops with French timber, and twenty-six 500-ton lighters with 
American timber. The Engineers constructed seven derrick barges 
with lifting capacities ranging from 30 to 100 tons. 

The existing French railroads running from the base ports to the 
advanced zone were quite inadequate, so that it was necessary to 
supplement their facilities with many miles of new track and other 
construction, including important storage, classification, arrival, and 
departure yards, warehouse tracks, engine terminals, water points, 
and repair shops. At Bassens, St. Sulpioe, Miramas, and Montoir, 
enormous storage depots were constructed to handle the supplies 
entering France for our forces. The American-built railroad yards at 
these points were comparable in magnitude and completeness to the 
important yard developments undertaken in this country in recent 
years by the large railroad systems, the yards at St. Sulpioe having a 
trackage totaling 147 miles of single track. Those at Bassens and 
St. Sulpioe were virtually completed during the war, while the con- 



struction at Miramas was well under way at the signing of the armis- 
tice. At St. Sulpice the project was designed on the basis of receiving, 
storing, and forwarding the supplies for 1,000,000 men for 30 days. 
The others were of like magnitude. 

At Nevers, in the intermediate Section, a condition existed requir- 
ing the construction of six miles of new double-track line, with a 
bridge over the Loire River 2,190 feet long. This piece of construc- 
tion is known as the " Nevers Cut Off." It relieved the railroad con- 
gestion at this important point. 

At Is-sur-Tille, in the advance section, was built a regulating 
station at which train loads of supplies and troops were dispatched 
to points where needed. Still farther toward the front, at Liffol-le- 
Grand, was another and smaller regulating station, controlling troop 
movements and the distribution of munitions and subsistence. 
Both of these projects were entirely new and were in useful operation 
when the war terminated. 

In addition to the above projects, many storage yards, hospital 
tracks, ordnance depot yards, aviation center tracks, and construc- 
tion tracks were laid out and built. In all 937 miles of single track 
were laid, thus fulfilling in the equivalent the prediction that to sup- 
ply an American Army at the front we should have to build a double- 
track railroad from the French coast to the trenches. 

Storage depots, remount depots, and veterinary hospitals erected 
by the Engineers proved entirely adequate for the needs of the 
American Expeditionary Forces at all times. A grand total of 535 
acres of covered storage was built or acquired, of which about 482 
acres was new construction. Space was provided in remount depots 
for 29,000 animals, and it was projected to accommodate 48,700 ani- 
mals had it been necessary. Veterinary hospital space was provided 
for 17,250 sick animals. Each veterinary hospital required much 
special construction, such as concrete dipping tanks for the treatment 
of mange, operating rooms, exercising paddocks, hay sheds, living 
quarters for attendants and veterinary surgeons, and administration 

At Gievres, in connection with the important storage depot built 
there, was constructed the third largest refrigerating plant in the 
world. This plant, built by the Engineers from plans prepared by 
experts, was capable of caring for 5,200 tons of meat at once, and of 
producing 250 tons ofice per day. Another, similar plant at Bassens 
had a capacity for 4,000 tons of meat. 

Miscellaneous construction work in France covered many fields of 
activity. The question of adequate water supply was ever present, 
and in most places where hospitals, depots, shops, or warehousing 
plants were built, a water supply development was incidentally 
necessary. Many systems were installed complete from the col- 

109287°— 19 28 

354 America's munitions. 

lection of the water at its source to its distribution to the points 
of consumption, while in some other cases only extensions and 
ameliorations of existing systems were undertaken. Water supply 
in the service of supply was placed under as fine and complete a 
system of bacteriological inspection and examination as is customary 
under more normal conditions. At Tours, Vierzon, St. Nazaire, and 
Dijon, where unfavorable bacteriological conditions existed, arrange- 
ments were entered into with these municipalities whereby the 
existing water supplies were chlorinated by the American water 
supply service. 

At Is-sur-TiHe was built a mechanical bakery at which 500,000 
pounds of bread, fresh for immediate shipment to the troops at the 
front, could be produced in one day. Another such plant was built 
and put into service at Neufchateau, and at Liffol-le-Grand it was 
proposed, and plans had been prepared, to construct a third plant for 
400,000 pounds of bread per day, but this project was canceled just 
after the armistice. In addition to these plants, bakery capacity for 
240,000 pounds per day was provided at the base ports. 

Oil storage was provided for 175,000 barrels of oil and gasoline. 
The large plants, with tanks having a capacity of 25,000 barrels each, 
built with enduring concrete foundations and equipped with con- 
nections and pumping plant for the loading of tank cars destined for 
the front, rivaled in size the installations at large refineries of this 

For the operation of these many plants numerous power develop- 
ments were undertaken, and a total of 5,000 kilowatts of new power, 
being provided for at the time of the armistice, was canceled. Plants 
of the capacity of 750 kilowatts each, providing 3,500 kilowatts of 
electric power in all, were in operation when the armistice was signed, 
not to mention numerous smaller units installed at various points 
where needed. 

Ordnance repair shops were erected, as were also assembling plants 
for ordnance material, and heavy gun-mounting plants. Repair 
shops of enormous extent were established near the front, equipped 
with machine-tool equipment for the repair and maintenance of 
tank and motor transport material. Schools for the line and staff were 
constructed, the first and largest being at Gondrecourt and Longres. 
Laundry plants, salvage depots, aviation assembly plants, sewage 
disposal plants, refuse incinerators, mechanical repair shops, loco- 
motive assembly plants and locomotive round-houses were placed 
at convenient points. At Chalmdray and at Colombey-les-Belles, 
both within a short day's automobile ride of the front, were the 
tank and air-service repair depots, each one covering many acres 
of ground and each provided with full equipment for any job of 
manufacture or repair in their respective fields. 






The forestry work of the American Expeditionary Forces was devel- 
oped to meet the heavy demands of our armies for forest products 
of all kinds. The first move in this direction was the dispatch to 
France of the Tenth Engineers, a f oresty regiment of two battalions. 
This was in September, 1917. By the spring of 1918 we had recruited 
and trained the Twentieth Engineers, a forestry regiment of 10 bat- 
talions. Later additional forestry troops were sent across. Shortly 
before hostilities ceased all these troops were consolidated into a 
single regiment of 13,000 men, known as the Twentieth Engineers. 
To this force were added negro service troops to the number of 9,000, 
making 22,000 men engaged exclusively in the work of cutting down 
French forests and turning them into lumber required by our forces. 

At first we had difficulty in supplying the necessary machinery. 
Until the sawmills came the forestry troops were engaged in building 
camps and hewing out railroad ties. In January, 1918, the machine 
equipment began to arrive. In February our troops cut about 
3,500,000 feet of lumber; while in October the cut for the single 
month had reached the enormous figure of 50,000,000 feet. When 
the war ended we were expanding our forestry operations in France 
to produce 1,000,000,000 feet of lumber in a year. 

The lumber produced by our sawmills in France up to November 
30, 1918, would build completely enough barrack buildings 20 feet 
wide to stretch out to a distance of 600 miles if placed end to end, 
quarters enough for 3,107,600 men. In addition to this output the 
railroad ties •produced would build 1,091 miles of standard-gauge 
railway and the small ties for the 24-inch track would build a double- 
track railroad behind 185 miles of trenches. 

Just the posts and poles produced, if all cut into 6-foot posts, 
would be sufficient to support a wire fence, with posts one rod apart, 
reaching one-third of the distance around the earth. The piling, if 
stood end to end, would make a flagpole 362 miles high. The cord- 
wood produced would make a rack 1 yard wide, 1 yard high, and 600 
miles long. 

The sawmill machinery installed to accomplish such a production 
comprised 30 mills of 20,000 feet per day capacity, 56 mills of 10,000 
feet per day capacity, and 92 smaller mills capable of producing ties 
and rough limber. 

In the base and intermediate sections a large amount of work 
was necessary in the maintenance of the existing roads and highways, 
and in the construction of new roads in the vicinity of the various 
new projects. Experienced road engineers, drawn from civil life 
and commissioned as officers of the Army, were put in charge of this 
work, and specialist engineer troops and labor battalions were assigned 
to them. Quarrying the rock, grading the road, surfacing it, and 
maintaining it in good condition thereafter — all these duties fell 
within the province of the engineers. 

356 America's munitions. 


The light railway and road regiments of engineers attached to 
the armies at the front, while their duties did not carry them so far 
or so much into the zone of enemy fire, may be considered as combat- 
ant units, since they operated with and in support of combatant 
troops in the field. To the light railway regiments were assigned the 
construction, operation, and maintenance of the light railroads of 
60-centimeter gauge (about 24-inch gauge). A great quantity of 
such trackage was used during the war. These narrow-gauge rail- 
roads, capable of being operated under extreme conditions of grade 
and curvature, and powered with light steam and gasoline locomo- 
tives, were essential to the proper supply of a stabilized sector. 
They were the lines of communication between the railheads of the 
broad-gauge system and the dumps and depots within the front 
sectors. At the very front, sometimes within a few hundred meters 
of the German lines, these light railroads were operated by hand or 
animal traction, while further back the gasoline locomotive, less con- 
spicuous than the steam engine, came well within range of the enemy's 
light field pieces. In periods of activity and during an advance 
these railroads did a tremendous service, not only in transporting 
troops, munitions, materials, and subsistence stores, but in affording 
a means of bringing up rapidly a certain class of railway artillery 
adapted for use upon 60-centimeter gauge trucks. Built of light 
rail and steel ties assembled in portable sections, this track was easily 
destroyed by shell fire, and such was often its fate, yet it was but 
short work for the engineers to replace broken sections with new 
material, a work frequently done under heavy fire. Engineer troops 
suffered many casualties in this service. 

In cooperation with the Engineer Department in the United States, 
a practical, efficient, and standard type of narrow-gauge motive 
power and rolling stock was developed by American manufacturers. 
This material was shipped to France knocked down, and was assem- 
bled and set upon the rails at Gondrecourt, where a plant for this 
purpose had been established. Up to November 30, 1918, there 
had been built and placed in operation 538 miles of 60-centimeter 
track, with 347 steam and gasoline locomotives furnishing motive 
power for the operation of 3,281 cars of different types. 

The road-building regiments in the zone of the armies built and 
maintained the roads immediately behind the front. Equipped 
with modern road-building machinery and motor trucks, these regi- 
ments maintained the roads in shape to handle the abnormally dense 
and heavy traffic incidental to operations at the front. The Army 
road troops were recruited from among men accustomed in civil life 
to road building, quarrying, and construction operations. They 
usually worked well within sound of the enemy guns, and frequently 




under their direct fire. During the advances made from the stabilized 
line of June, 1918, these regiments improved and perfected the hasty- 
roads thrown across No Man's Land by the sapper regiments of the 
fighting divisions, so that transport of supplies and troops could be 
maintained to the advancing armies. To furnish materials for this 
construction many quarries were opened or taken over from the 
French road service. A total of 42,000 cubic meters of rock was 
quarried and prepared for use in quarries operated exclusively by 
American engineers, while in quarries jointly operated with French 
forces 75,000 cubic meters were produced. 


A vitally important part of the work of Engineer troops was the 
making and reproduction of the many maps required for the conduct 
of tactical and strategic operations by the American Expeditionary 
Forces. A highly specialized regiment was organized to conduct the 
topographic surveying operations, map reproduction, and printing 
work in France. Many of the officers of this regiment had been 
formerly connected with the American Coast and Geodetic Survey 
and the Geological Survey, and they were well qualified for the work 
of war-map making. At Chateau Thierry a portion of this organ- 
Nation rapidly nmjped to a large scale the new region in which the 
theater of operations suddenly found itself, thus supplementing the 
excellent small-scale map which was in existence for the whole of 
France, but which was not sufficiently precise for the conduct of 
our artillery fire. This work was done under pressure, but it con* 
tribnted its share to the later American successes in that locality. 
These troops also were charged with furnishing to the Artillery the 
mathematical azimuths and coordinates, on the basis of which artil- 
lery indirect fire was executed. 

The maps in use even on stabilized fronts were in a constant pro- 
cess of revision and change. The data and information on which 
these changes and revisions were based were constantly pouring in 
from the photographic branch of the air service, from the intelli- 
gence service, the Artillery, and from the sapper regiments at the 
front. Consequently new maps had to be prepared continually 
and furnished to all the organizations and officers concerned with 
their use. Then, too, an Army as large as ours required an impres- 
sive amount of field printing in order to distribute its orders and 

As soon as our forces reached France it was apparent that the 
French map-production plant could not take care of our needs. 
The Chief of Engineers in the United States thereupon ordered the 
purchase of equipment for a base printing plant large enough to 
take care of all the map printing for an army of 1,000,000 men. 

358 America's munitions. 

The special machinery ordered in the United States for this plant 
did not arrive in France during 1917, and so the American Expedi- 
tionary Forces purchased abroad five large rotary lithographic presses, 
several type presses, and a number of linotype machines and other 
printing equipment. 

The base printing plant was established at Langres, France. In 
the spring of 1918 the American equipment arrived, and thereafter 
the base printing plant was able to print not only the current maps 
required but also the base maps which the French had been supply- 
ing. In addition, during the heavy fighting in July and August, 
1918, our printing plant supplied to the Seventh and Eighth French 
Armies the base maps of their fronts. 

The demands for maps and printing steadily increased until the 
base printing plant grew to have a working force of 35 officers and 
750 men. From July 15 until September 15, 1918, the plant worked 
continuously 24 hours a day to turn out the work required. By 
this time the shop had 10 rotary lithographic presses, 4 linotype 
machines, and several job presses, printing each month an average 
of over 1,200,000 lithographic impressions and 500,000 sheets of 
printed matter. In November the plant turned out 1,900,000 litho- 
graphic impressions and over 1,000,000 sheets of type work. 

To supplement the base printing plant we had at each army 
headquarters an advanced printing shop to supply maps when they 
were needed within a few horn's. At the base printing plant we 
had a department for making relief maps, which work had* been 
done for us previously by the French Government. 

The equipment for military map making was enriched during this 
period by an invention of Maj. James N. Bagley, United States 
Engineers, called the aerial cartography or map camera. The 
Bagley camera's three lenses at the height of 5,000 feet could photo- 
graph a strip of territory 3 J miles wide. 


The science of building military bridges is an old one. When 
war with Germany was declared the United States had developed 
its heavy ponton equipment, which was standard in design and yet 
which had changed but little since the Civil War. As soon as we 
formally took the step to send troops against Germany the Engineers 
ordered great quantities of this equipment and by the latter part 
of 1917 had plenty of it ready to go overseas. Our deliveries to 
France, however, were hindered by the shortage in ocean tonnage, 
particularly after we had begun to use every available ship for the 
transport of men. 

Meanwhile the efforts of the Engineers were being directed to the 
development of standard ponton equipment strong enough to carry 




tanks and the ponderous artillery of the present day. The old pon- 
ton bridge was first strengthened to carry loads of 5 tons on each of 
two axles spaced 10 feet or more apart. The standard prewar 
equipment would support only 3 tons similarly spaced. 

The next step was to develop a bridge that would hold up axle 
loads of 10 tons with a distance of 12 feet or more between axles, 
although in actual use this bridge showed itself capable of supporting 
a load of li tons concentrated on one axle. As soon as these devel- 
opments were made, the plans were mailed to the American Expe- 
ditionary Forces, so that the Engineer Corps abroad could provide 
the beams and metal parts at its own mills and shops in France. 
When the fighting ceased, the Engineers were designing a raft capable 
of transporting the heaviest portable ordnance then under manufac- 
ture in the United States. 

In 1917 the Engineer Department made designs for a standard 
sectional steel bridge, consisting of short latticed steel truss sections 
capable of being assembled to form trusses varying by increments of 
11 feet up to a maximum span of about 90 feet. Two of these trusses 
with the span mentioned were capable of supporting a load of 30 tons, 
and they could be erected in a matter of hours over abutments pre- 
pared in advance or extemporized from the ruins of a demolished 
structure. These bridges had been manufactured in quantity in this 
country and were ready for shipment when the armistice was signed. 

In the Argonne push Army bridge troops repaired and replaced 
the bridges destroyed by the retreating enemy as fast as material 
and labor could be provided at the points needed. For this work 
much heavy timber was utilized, and, in general, trestle structures 
were erected as best meeting the conditions of relatively soft crossings 
and soft river bottoms. 

The fighting in the French terrain with its numerous narrow but 
deep streams and canals indicated to us the desirability of a portable 
floating footbridge. Such a bridge was designed and produced by 
the Engineers in France. Many of the crossings of ttie Meuse River 
and near-by canals under machine-gun and artillery fire from the high 
hills on the eastern side were made possible by the use of these bridges. 


While camouflage has existed in nature since the beginning of time, 
its application to warfare on a grand, scientific scale was almost 
solely a development of the great war. Camouflage, due to the great 
developments of aerial observation and aerophotography, as well as 
of air bombing and indirect artillery fire, became a vital necessity for 
every branch of the service, far back in the rear as well as at the 
front. Any materiel or personnel the position of which was observed 
was at the mercy of the enemy, but, further, such observation might 
betray strategic plans. The need for camouflage became universal. 

360 America's munitions. 

Camouflage organization was carefully developed for both the field 
and the factory, while one of the most important duties, that of 
instruction, was carried out in Army and corps schools and artillery 
camps, where thousands of officers and men were taught both the 
necessity and the methods of camouflage. 

Our undertakings in this direction were based largely upon the 
methods developed by the French and British. In one respect cam- 
ouflage was a matter of quantity production. This was in the manu- 
facture of material used for concealing guns, roads, and other strategic 
locations which fall under the eyes of enemy observers on the ground 
or in the air. 

In this work the British did nothing without the most careful 
scientific investigation, including the aerial photography of all their 
materials used, while the French relied more on their innate artistic 
sense of color and form. The camouflage material produced in quan- 
tity by the British consisted principally of burlap cut in strips about 
1 inch wide and 12 inches long, colored in the desired hues with 
oil-emulsion paint. For artillery cover this was knotted in fish nets 
and chicken wire. The French for this purpose used raffia, a common 
product of Madagascar, whose natives use it largely for making their 
fantastic garments. The raffia was dyed and then knotted on nets 
and wire in the French camouflage factories. 

After a careful study we adopted the British system and used 
burlap. Our Engineers made this decision because of the impossi- 
bility of finding permanent dyes for raffia and because raffia is more 
infllmablHhJ: burlap an/scarcer and higher in price. 

The first demand for camouflage material which we received 
embraced coverings for guns, sniper's suits, dummy heads, silhouettes, 
and some airplane hangar covers. In order to supply this material 
at the outset the engineering forces abroad leased a factory building 
in Paris and turned out a sufficient quantity with a working force of 
30 enlisted soldiers and 100 French women. 

But, as the American troops at the front increased in number, the 
demands for camouflage material became rapidly heavier. Battery 
positions of some types required about 4,000 square yards of camou- 
flage cover. Aviation hangar covers were demanded in large num- 
bers, and each one was a special order due to the varying conditions 
of terrain encountered. It became evident that we needed a vast 
increase in our camouflage-factory space. 

In January, 1918, the Engineers secured about 20 acres of ground 
in Dijon, Haute Marne, a city on the main supply line north through 
the regulating station at Is-sur-Tille. They started to erect build- 
ings immediately, and within 20 days this plant began turning out 
material. By November the Dijon factory numbered about £0 
buildings, including blacksmith and machine shop, a sewing shop, 


a paint shop, laboratory, and a toy shop where dummies and sil- 
houettes were made. The factory turned out artillery cover at 
the rate of 50,000 square yards per day. 

The total output of camouflage cover for all purposes required 
about 3,000,000 square yards of burlap per month. When the 
fighting stopped the American Expeditionary Forces were using 
camouflage materials to the value of $1,500,000 monthly. 

By new methods of manufacture, we succeeded in reducing the 
weight of fish-net covers. We designed two important field devices, 
one being an improved frame and set for mobile artillery protection, 
this equipment being later adopted by the British, and the other 
an umbrella machine-gun cover having special advantages. The 
central camouflage works of the American Expeditionary Forces 
at Dijon was declared by unprejudiced observers to be the best 
equipped and most efficient of any on the western front. 

When the Dijon camouflage plant was projected it was expected 
that the American forces would require great quantities of camou- 
flaged observation posts, silhouettes, dummy heads, snipers 1 suits, 
and other concealing devices. It was for this production that the 
toy shop at Dijon was erected, this shop being a kind of studio for 
the painters and sculptors connected with the Fortieth Engineers, 
which was the camouflage regiment. These various devices for de- 
ceiving the enemy, however, were used principally in the stagnant 
action of the trench warfare deadlock. By the time American 
forces came into the war in large numbers the struggle had become 
one of movement in which the trenches were left far behind. Also, 
American troops found themselves largely in sectors which were well 
wooded and therefore provided plenty of secure observation. The 
result was that there was never a great use on the part of American 
troops of these clever and interesting exploits in camouflage with 
which the public is familiar. 

One of the best observation posts was the imitation of a tree 
trunk made of armor plate and set up in advanced positions during 
the night. Both the British and the French made considerable 
use of these. The British tree consisted of an oval shell of manganese 
steel. This was covered with tin, crimped in imitation of bark, 
and further camouflaged with paint and plaster and natural bark. 

When it was desired to set up such a post a camouflage artist would 
surreptitiously make a faithful sketch of the tree trunk to be dupli- 
cated in armor plate. This sketch was then taken back to the 
workshop, where the spurious tree was built in exact duplication. 
The metal tree was built to rest on a base with hinges holding it 
down on one side. During the night two saps, or trenches, would be 
dug to the natural tree selected. Workers in one of these trenches 
would fell the branchless stub and carry it back out of the way. 
The armor plate tree would be drawn up in the other trench. The 

362 America's munitions. 

base would be set in place, and then the whole tree was raised on 
its hinges by means of ropes until it was upright and as life-like 
as artistry could make it. Inside the tree was a flight of iron steps 
leading to a seat in the upper part of the trunk. At this seat were 
peepholes and a stand for the phone which was connected up with 
the exchange at the adjoining trench. The sap, covered over, 
served as the gallery leading back to the trench. 

The American camouflage force built only a single one of these 
trees, using it as a training device. Such objects were useless in 
an advancing movement, since, under such circumstances, they 
would play an important part only a short while and would then 
be left far in the rear. 

The Dijon factory, however, turned out a number of small observa- 
tion posts for use at the edges of shell holes. These were known to 
our troops as beehives and to the English soldiers as domes. Each 
one was built of light metal and covered with chicken wire and 
plaster. It was camouflaged with paint and bits of grass to simulate 
the appearance of the surrounding terrain, often being studded with 
tin cans or old shoes to make it appear to be an accumulation of 
rubbish. The favorite way of making the peephole for a beehive 
was to cover with gauze a hole cut in the bottom of an old shoe, 
which was then fastened to the observation post. 

Another device built by the Dijon factory was the trench periscope. 
This was built and set up to look like an ordinary stick, thrown down 
casually upon the ground. For periscopes, too, we also used 
imitation stakes placed naturally in the barbed-wire entanglements. 
The British on occasions used imitation trench telephone poles to 
mask their periscopes. 

The Dijon shop turned out large number* of silhouettes and 
dummies. They were drawn from life by artists at Dijon and then 
out out from ordinary wall board. Soldiers of the Fortieth Regiment 
posed as models for these silhouettes. All sorts of postures were 
employed, but nearly all of them represented soldiers in the act of 
climbing out of a trench or running, gun in hand, towards the enemy. 
The uniforms were painted in neutral shades, but the faces and hands 
were highly colored to be visible at considerable distances during the 
gray and mist of dawn, when silhouettes were usually employed. 

The object of these dummy heads and silhouettes was to draw the 
fire of the enemy so as to make him reveal his strength and positions. 
The usual method of use was to place a number of silhouttes, possibly 
several dozen of them, in shell holes out in front of the trenches. 
The silhouettes were mounted so that they could be made to stand 
erect instantly whenever the ropes were pulled from the trenches. 
At the appointed moment the ropes would all be pulled at once, and 
the appearance to the enemy would be that of a raiding party start- 
ing out at top speed. 


The British troops called this operation the Chinese attack. The 
Germans made no extensive employment of it. The silhouettes 
nearly always fooled the enemy, as indeed they would deceive any- 
body in such light and under such circumstances, The British 
were often amused to read in the German communiques that these 
Chinese attacks were regarded by the enemy as the real thing. More 
than one such " repulse " of silhouettes has gone down into the German 
records as a local success. On one occasion the Germans took a 
Chinese attack so seriously that they concentrated troops against it 
with the result that the British were able to gain considerable ground 
at the points weakened on both sides of the pseudo attack. 

The Dijon factory made a thousand or so silhouettes, as well as a 
large number of dummy heads, these latter devices to draw the fire 
of snipers. These simulacra, however, had their principal use at the 
training schools in France, since they were peculiarly adapted to 
trench warfare, and by the time the American forces reached the 
front in strength the war of movement was in progress. 

Several thousand sniper suits were turned out at Dijon. These 
suits were made of burlap, resembling in appearance the teddy-bear 
pajamas which little children wear. They were colored to match the 
terrain, either painted to resemble rocks or fitted with a grasslike 
covering. An adjunct to this suit was the cloth cover for the sniper's 

Sniper suits were so deceptive that they would protect a man 
from observation even at short distances, and if exceptional care 
were used in the making of one, a man could conceal himself so 
effectually that an observer might step on him before seeing him r 
An American camouflage officer upon his return from France brought 
a sniper's suit with him and found a novel but practical use for it 
when he was invited to go duck hunting with a party of sportsmen. 
The other hunters stayed in their blinds, but the officer in the sniper 
suit went out in the open and shot more ducks than all the other 
gunners together were able to bring down. 

The Dijon camouflage factory also turned out a large number of 
covers for the so-called Bessenaux hangars for airplanes. These 
hangars were large tents set up at aviation fields near the front. It 
was soon found to be impracticable to attempt to camouflage such 
tents by day, as they gave plenty of indication of their position in 
spite of the best efforts at concealment on the American and allied 
sides. However, the great danger at aviation fields came at night 
when the German bombing planes were abroad. Even on a dark 
night a white tent proved to be a good mark for the hostile airmen. 
Consequently the attempt was made to camouflage Bessenaux han- 
gars at night only. It was found impracticable to paint the tents 
themselves, sinoe the waterproof canvas would not take the paint 
readily. The solution was a large cover of burlap. This was painted 

364 America's munitions. 

in broken patches of color, much as artillery was painted in camou- 
flage. At the factory such covers were spread out on the ground and 
painted with floor brushes dipped into water color. 

All machinery at Dijon, with the exception of two lathes, two drill 
presses, and a shearing machine, was designed and built at the plant 
itself. The work of providing camouflage cover required enormous 
quantities of burlap to be cut up into strips. The English camou- 
flage shops used stationary knives and a machine operated by a 
crank. American Engineers at Dijon designed a power-driven 
cutting machine with a large number of circular, whirling knife 
blades. The invention of this machine increases the production ef 
burlap strips 900 per cent with the same f oroe. The engineers at the 
plant also designed paint tanks and special machinery that would 
mix 4,000 gallons of color in a day. 

There were about 1,000 French women employed in this plant. 
The executives paid great attention to their welfare. A speoial 
nursery, the "Creche," was built for their children. American Red 
Gross nurses cared for the babies during the time their mothers 
were at work. Many of the women employed were refugees driven 
from once comfortable homes. Their children fattened up with 
the good food provided by the army mess, and the mothers were 
correspondingly happy. Entertainments were frequently provided 
for the operators of the factories. The artists at the shop worked 
during their leisure moments and eventually produced the scenery 
and equipment for a genuine Yankee circus, animals and all, the 
menagerie, however, being made principally of papier m&ch6 with 
human operatives inside the beasts. The first performance of the 
circus was given on Thanksgiving Day, 1918, and the audience was so 
delighted that it demanded a repetition. After three encores of this 
sort it was suggested that performances be given in Dijon, a city of 
upward of 50,000 population, with admittance charged. This ad- 
vice was followed, and the circus made such a hit that the Engineers 
were able to turn over to the French orphan fund a considerable sum 
of money. 


The foregoing account gives in a broad way an idea of the scope 
of activities and the achievements of the Engineers during the 
19 months of actual warfare in France. To furnish the organization 
of technical troops and specialists which made all this possible, 
the original Engineer Arm of the United States Army was increased 
to 131.5 times its prewar strength, and the proportion of Engineer 
troops relative to the total forces was increased from 1.6 per cent 
to 10.8 per cent. To accomplish this, a heavy demand was made 
upon the technical professions and upon the industries of this 


country. In filling this demand most necessary assistance was 
given by the engineer societies and the engineering journals, whose 
patriotic work demands the highest praise. 

In situations requiring special knowledge almost alwayB there 
could be found some specialist capable of adapting himself and 
his work to the military needs. Engineer officers for the combatant 
regiments were younger members of the technical professions, who 
were sent to the training camps provided for the purpose and there 
given the essentials of strictly military knowledge. This training 
was later supplemented by courses in Engineer and line schools 
located in France. The training officers of the regiments were 
supplied from the Corps of Engineers, these men having both the 
military and technical knowledge fitting them for the command. 
The diversity of education and experience necessary in all branches 
of the Engineer service may be understood by a consideration of 
the duties of the different units sent to France during the war — 
specialist units, in addition to the strictly combatant divisional 
regiments, who also numbered among their commissioned and 
enlisted personnel many technical specialists of high attainment. 

We had, for instance, seven railway construction regiments, two 
railway construction battalions, one regiment and five battalions 
for railway maintenance of way, two battalions for maintenance 
of railway equipment, four regiments and one battalion to operate 
our main military railways in France, three regiments to operate 
the light railways in France and their repair shops, two regiments 
for operating the regular railway shops, two regiments and six 
battalions for constructing buildings and other general construction 
work, two regiments for storing and transporting Engineer supplies, 
a forestry regiment, a light railway construction regiment, a regi- 
ment for building roads, a water supply regiment, a mining regi- 
ment, a quarrying regiment, a technical regiment for handling 
surveying, sound ranging, and location of enemy positions by means 
of special apparatus, three survey and printing battalions, two 
railway transportation battalions, an electrical and mechanical 
regiment, several companies to operate cranes, a camouflage service, 
five inland waterway companies, five ponton trains, a ponton park, 
a railway transportation and stores battalion, and a searchlight 

Utilizing and applying the new knowledge and scientific achieve- 
ments of recent years, drawing upon the fund of experience acquired 
by the Regular Army in its theoretical studies and past wars, making 
available the vast amount of technical skill which has assisted this 
Nation to its present commercial and industrial status, the Engineers 
of the United States Army worked and fought, planned, and accom- 
plished in France a work which in magnitude exceeds any similar 


undertaking recorded in American history. From base port to first 
waves of an assault upon the enemy's position, Engineer troops have 
been constantly in action first to last and have "carried on" always 
with the high ideals of the profession and with the motto of the Corps 
of Engineers, "Essayon*" before them. 


In establishing contact between our great bases of supply on 
the French coast and interior points, as well as with the fighters in 
the various fields of operations, the Department of Military Railways 
of the Engineer Corps found it necessary to provide thousands of miles 
of railway track ranging from the standard gauge down to the narrow 
60-centimeter type built right up to the border of No Man's Land, to 
construct and ship across seas thousands of almost every kind of freight 
cars, to build hundreds of locomotives and transport them to Europe, 
to provide in addition fabricated track that oould be laid under heavy 
shell fire, and hospital trains that could care for our wounded. 

It was on July 10, 1917, that Gen. Pershing cabled stating that the 
French had asked for 300 looomotives and 2,000 kilometers of track, 
in addition to numerous items of acoessories that go with an order of 
this size. Delivery of the locomotives was requested by October 15, 
1917, and of the track by December 31, 1917. 

It was ascertained that the American Locomotive Works had built 
consolidation engines for France of an entirely satisfactory type, and 
that similar locomotives for the use of British forces on French soil 
had been turned out by the Baldwin Locomotive Works. After the 
decision to adopt the consolidation type of locomotive, which is 
generally used in freight service in the United States, arrangements 
were made at once with these two concerns to build 150 looomotives 

The consolidation locomotive weighs 166,400 pounds, and is about 
the heaviest that can be used in France. It has one pair of engine 
truck wheels and four pairs of drivers. The engine is just as large as 
it is possible to use within the French tunnel and platform clearances. 
The type sent to France was, however, not nearly so large nor so heavy 
as the general run of freight engines used here. 

The order for 150 engines was placed with the Baldwin concern on 
July 19, 1917, and the first locomotive of this order was ready for 
shipment on August 10, 1917, just 20 working days elapsing between 
the date of the placing of the order and the day when the first engine 
was completed and all set up ready for shipment. 

This is believed to have established a new record for locomotive 
construction in the United States and probably in the world for an 


368 amebica's munitioks. 

engine of this size. All the other locomotives in this order were 
delivered promptly — 36 of the Baldwin engines being freighted from 
the factory in August, 71 in September, and the final 43 in October, 
Of the locomotives ordered from the American Locomotive Works. 
133 were freighted in October and the remaining 17 in November. 

On account of differences in the details of construction the original 
price fixed for the locomotives turned out by the American Loco- 
motive Works was $51,000 each and for those of the Baldwin Works 
$46,000 apiece. "Advance payments on these engines reduced the 
price by $1,000 each. 

Changes in the painting and other small details resulted in a saving 
of $60 additional on each locomotive built by the Baldwin Works 
and $400 on each engine turned out by the American Works, so that 
the net cost of each Baldwin locomotive was $44,940, and of each 
American locomotive $49,600. 

After much consideration, and after this initial order had been dis- 
posed of, it was determined that the Baldwin type of engine should 
be made the standard, and all subsequent orders for engines went to 
the Baldwin Works. 

As orders were placed from time to time with the Baldwin people, 
reductions were made in price, so that the last engines of the total of 
3,340 ordered from this concern were obtained for $37,000 each. 
Orders for 1,500 of these engines eventually were canceled without 
cost to the United States Government. The saving effected by the 
reduction in price on the engines ordered, using the original price as 
a basis of comparison, was $22,989,385. 

There were shipped in all to the American Expeditionary Forces 
1,303 locomotives, of which 908 had been put into service by Novem- 
ber 11, 1918. 

During the sevefe winter weather of 1917-18 and the simultaneous 
shortage of motive power on American railways, 142 of these consoli- 
dation engines built for the American Expeditionary Forces were 
turned over to the American railways to help out a critical situation 
in this country. It was possible to use these engines here by making 
changes in the couplers and some other slight additions to meet the 
requirements of our safety appliance laws. 

At the time these engines were turned over to the Railway Admin- 
istration we were producing locomotives for France much more 
rapidly than it was possible to provide tonnage to transport them 
overseas. These locomotives were in service helping out the trans- 
portation facilities in this country an average of 6 months and 28 
days each before being recalled for shipment to France. They earned 
profits for the Government while in service for the Railroad Admin- 
istration at the rate of 32.3 per cent a year. 

5 'i 

6 I s 


o H 




It might also be noted that the Director General of Military Rail- 
ways was appointed custodian of undelivered locomotives ordered 
by the Russian government from the Baldwin and American Works. 
In January, 1918, a total of 200 of these Russian locomotives was 
purchased, and the engines were converted to meet American 
requirements by a change in the gauge from 5 feet to 4 feet, 8& 
inches, and a change in the coupling system to meet our standard. 
The price of these was $55,000 each. The Baldwin Works turned 
its 100 over to the Railroad Administration between February 3 and 
May 20, 1918, and the American Works made its deliveries between 
February 19 and May 30, 1918. 

The combined cost of these locomotives was $11,000,000 and their 
total rental revenue from the railroads was $2,585,475 up to Decem- 
ber 31, 1918, or 23.5 per cent of the cost price, or at the rental 
rate of 29.8 per cent per annum. 

Orders for 90,103 freight cars to be used by the American Expe- 
ditionary Forces were also placed with American contractors. Of 
these the orders for nearly half — 40,915 cars, in exact figures — had 
been placed just before the armistice, and these contracts were 
canceled at slight cost to the Government. Up to the end of the 
year 1918 a total of 18,313 freight cars had been shipped overseas, 
nearly all of these cars being of the 60,000-pound size. Close bar- 
gaining in the purchase of these cars resulted in a saving of $15,737,633 
under the prices originally quoted. 

For the first time in history American locomotives were shipped 
across the Atlantic stacked in ships on their own wheels. In our 
normal foreign trade, and even in the early locomotive shipments 
to the American Expeditionary Forces, both engines and cars had 
been disassembled at the seaboard and their parts put up in pack- 
ages for convenient and economical loading on ships. Each of the 
first locomotives sent to France was crated in 19 packages, while the 
parts for an ordinary box car were put up in 26 packages. 

On October 29, 1917, however, Gen. Atterbury called attention to 
the fact that the English were shipping locomotives across the 
Channel on their own wheels and stated that it would result in 
very great economies of time, money, and man power if such an 
arrangement could be made for shipments from the United States. 
Manufacturers of the locomotives, however, advised against this. 
So did our own embarkation people and the Shipping Control Com- 
mittee. Efforts were unsuccessful to get car ferries from the Key 
West and Habana line and from Quebec for the transport of loco- 
motives on their own wheels over the ocean. 

Finally, however, after numerous efforts to get ships with large 
hatches the ore steamer FeUore was loaded with 33 locomotives on 

100287°— 19 24 

870 America's munitions. 

their own wheels, packed in baled hay. This steamer sailed May 
18, 1918, and its arrival in France resulted in the following cable 
from Gen. Pershing: 

Shipment of erected locomotives transmitted on the Feltore very satisfactory. Boat 
completely discharged of locomotives and cargoes in 13 days with saving of 15 ship's 
days in unloading "the 33 locomotives erected as compared with same number of loco- 
motives not erected and further saving of 14 days of erecting forces. Observations of 
Capt. Byron, who came with these locomotives, show that by loading locomotives in 
double tiers, placing cab parts and tools, now in separate packages, within tender 
space and fire boxes, 40 to 45 locomotives can be loaded. 

Subsequently the steamers Cubore, Firmore, and Santore were as- 
signed to the task of carrying these engines over on their own wheels. 
The total number of locomotives that went abroad in this manner 
was 533. After the signing of the armistice we sold the French Gov- 
ernment 485 locomotives, of which 142 had been shipped up to Jan- 
uary 1, 1919. 

Efforts were likewise made to ship over freight cars already set 
up but this was also met with much objection. Finally, 1,000 cars 
were built to go over complete but the signing of the armistice 
stopped the shipment. The saving in the cost of shipping locomo- 
tives on their own wheels amounted to $775 for each one, and an 
average of $20 a car would have been saved by sending the car's over 
on their own wheels. But, in addition to this, the cost of erection 
on the other side, amounting to $800 for each locomotive, should also 
be added to the saving. 

The number of cars actually shipped overseas for the American 
Expeditionary Forces, if made into one solid train, would be 140 
miles long. 

In August, 1918, there came a call from abroad to produce loco- 
motives at the rate of 300 a month and freight cars at the rate of 
8,200 monthly. Machinery for getting this production was started 
at once and was so effectual that during the months of September and 
October and up to the signing of the armistice engines were actually 
being produced and shipped from the Baldwin Locomotive Works 
at this rate. . This company was turning out the greatest number of 
locomotives ever produced by any one company in the same length 
of time. 

• Arrangements for increasing production of freight cars to meet 
every possibility of tonnage facilities on the ocean were also made, 
and had the armistice not been signed we had planned to produce 
during the month of December 11,000 complete freight cars and to 
maintain this production rate until we had filled all orders from 
Gen. Pershing. 

On our first purchase of rails, amounting to 102,000 tons, the price 
paid was $38 a ton for Bessemer steel and $40 a ton for open-hearth 
steel, as against a price of $59 a ton that the Russians were paying and 


Capacity In tailors 2,500. in pounds 22,000. Length over end sills 22 (eel 1J ii 





prices between-$54.36 and $61.87 that were being paid by the French. 
There was a saving in this item of approximately $2,040,000 as com- 
pared with the prices paid by the Russians and of $1,938,000 com- 
pared with the prices paid by the French. 

In connection with our first purchase of this steel rail, it should be 
stated that the Lackawanna Steel Co. and the United States Steel 
Products Co. agreed to sell us rail on this basis. Orders were placed 
with these companies, but not with two other companies — the Cam- 
bria Steel Co. and the Bethlehem Steel Co. — who declined to accept 
the price offered. 

All subsequent orders for steel rail were on the basis of $55 and $57 
a ton for Bessemer and open hearth, respectively, which figure was 
established by the War Industries Board pursuant to the Government 
policy to stabilize industry by establishing fixed prices alike for all 
purchasers — the Government itself, the allies, and the public. 

A total of 937 miles of standard-gauge railway track was laid in 
France with material shipped from this country. 

A big money saving was effected by changing the design of the 
freight cars asked for by our overseas forces. Their original call was 
for 17,000 four-wheel cars of the French type, these varying from 10 to 
20 tons capacity per car. Our investigations here convinced us that 
the American type of car with 30-ton capacity could be used on the 
French railroads. Consequently we recommended that 6,000 of the 
30-ton American-type cars be sent abroad instead of smaller-capacity 
French cars. Our recommendation was approved by officers abroad, 
and as a result there was a saving of $12,640,000 in the cost of this 
initial order of cars. From that time all cars shipped from the United 
States were of the American 8-wheel type, a fact which resulted in a 
saving of approximately $189,600,000 over what it would have cost 
to build and ship the lighter French cars. 

Had the light French type of cars, as originally suggested, been 
adopted, 270,309 cars would have been required instead of 90,103 
cars, and probably twice as much tonnage would have been neces- 
sary to transport these cars overseas. 

Most of the steel rails were purchased from the Cambria Steel Co., 
the Lackawanna Steel Co., the Bethlehem Steel Co., the United States 
Steel Products Co., and the Sweets Steel Co. Raised pier, gantry, 
and locomotive cranes were turned out by the several crane builders 
in proportion to their ability to produce. The Standard Steel Car 
Co. made millions of dollars' worth of metallic parts for freight cars, 
and the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. produced rails and bars. As pre- 
viously mentioned, the Baldwin Locomotive Works got the bulk of 
the orders for locomotives, although the American Locomotive Co., 
the Vulcan Co., the H, K. Porter Co., and the Davenport Locomotive 
Works also made locomotives for our Expeditionary Forces. 

872 America's munitions. 


Ambulance trains were called for by Gen. Pershing in his cablegram 
of July 15, 1917. It was stated in this message that plans for these 
ambulance trains would be furnished by the Surgeon General of the 

To build these ambulance trains, with their complicated designs 
and specialized equipment, in this country would have entailed 
lengthy delay and very heavy expense, as after they had been con- 
structed it would have been necessary to knock them down for ship- 
ment. With this fact in mind our officers here took up the question 
with Sir Francis Dent, of the British railway commission, who was 
in this country at the time. He stated that ambulance trains built 
by the London & North Western Railway, which had proved 
wholly satisfactory in three years of service, could be turned out by 
that same concern there quickly if the English design were adopted 
for our Army. 

After considerable discussion and consideration the English design 
was followed, and orders for our ambulance trains were placed abroad. 
Up to December 7, 1918, there had been completed for our Army 19 
of these trains, with a total of 304 cars, and there were in the course 
of completion at that time or under order 29 additional ambu- 
lance trains. 

Information from England shows that it was indeed the part of 
wisdom to order these ambulance trains abroad, as figures from 
England stated that the first 14 of these trains were produced at a 
cost to us of £3,845 per car, including repair parts. This means that 
at the present rate of exchange the cost of each coach was $18,302.20, 
while to have built these cars in this country, knocked them down, 
and shipped them overseas would have cost $40,000 each. 


The urgent necessity for narrow-gauge railway equipment for our 
armed forces in Europe was first brought home to us when Gen. 
Pershing cabled on July 15, 1917. In this message he asked for large 
quantities of 60-centimeter locomotives, cars, and track. The types 
requested were entirely new in this country. 

Specifically, there were required 195 60-centimeter strain locomo- 
tives with a low center of gravity and with a maximum of 3$ tons 
axle load; 126 40-horsepower gasoline locomotives; 63-20-horse- 
power gasoline locomotives; and 3,332 freight cars of various types, 
including box cars and flat cars of 10-ton capacity, tank cars, and 
dump cars. To aid in the building of this new equipment many 
photographs and designs brought over from France were used. 
It was decided to build the 10-ton cars fitted with small 4-wheel 






trucks at each end, rather than to make them of the 4-wheeled type, 
as with this construction they would be better adapted for the 
rounding of short curves. 

In turning out the different kinds of locomotives for the 60-centi- 
meter railways new designs were made in order to produce loco- 
motives that would run with equal facility in either direction. 
For the gasoline locomotives, designs of types similar to standard- 
gauge engines, a few of which had been in the service in this country, 
were made, and orders were placed with the Baldwin Locomotive 
Works for the first lot. 

The first steam locomotives were delivered by the builders on 
October 3, 1917, and the first gas locomotives on November 7, 1917. 

Orders for the freight cars for these narrow-gauge railways were 
placed with a number of the larger car-building companies of the 
country. The first of these cars were delivered November 24, 1917. 

When the armistice was signed a total of 1,841 locomotives and 
11,229 cars of the narrow-gauge type had been ordered and 427 
locomotives and 6,134 cars completed. Up to the 11th of Novem- 
ber 361 of the locomotives and 5,691 of the cars had been ship- 
ped overseas. 

Of the 361 locomotives sent to France, 191 were steam engines, 108 
had 50-horsepower gasoline engines, and 62 had 35-horsepower 
gasoline engines. Of the 5,691 cars that went to the Expeditionary 
Forces prior to the signing of the armistice, 600 were box cars, 166 
were tank cars, 500 were flat cars, 1,555 were 8-wheeled gondola cars, 
330 were dump cars, 100 were artillery truck cars, 970 were motor 
cars, 180 were inspection cars, 300 were hand cars, and 990 were 
push cars. 

For the construction of the narrow-gauge railroad used in the 
combat areas behind the front line trenches a special type of fab- 
ricated track was designed. This consisted of short sections of rail 
bolted to steel crossties. The American narrow-gauge railway was 
so arranged that it could be packed in knockdown shape to save 
shipping space. Most of this track was in 5-meter lengths, although 
many shorter sections were used. All, however, were in multiples 
of 1{ meters, accurately sawed so as to insure absolute fit of in- 
termediate sections when shell fire made replacement necessary. 
Vast quantities of curved track, as well as innumerable switches 
and turnouts, also were built. 

In all about 605 miles of fabricated narrow-gauge steel track were 
purchased and 460 miles shipped to France. All but 192 miles of 
the fabricated track was built at the Lakewood Engineering Co., 
near Cleveland. The balance was obtained through the United 
States Steel Products Co. The cost of the straight track was about 
(7,400 a mile, while the cost of the curved sections was $8,000 a mile. 

374 America's munitions. 

Much of this narrow-gauge track that went to France was manu- 
factured at the rate of between 5 and 6 miles of completed track 
a day. 

Great quantities of the fabricated track produced by the Lake- 
wood Engineering Co. were loaded upon camouflaged steamers in 
Cleveland in May, 1918, and sent direct to France, via Lake Erie, 
the Well and Canal, and th>e St. Lawrence River. 


A vast quantity of motorized or portable equipment was required 
by the Engineer units of the American Expeditionary Forces and 
this had in the main to be furnished under the supervision of the 
Engineers in this country. The extent to which this material was 
produced is shown by such items as 6,923 trucks of all kinds, 2,082 
portable buildings, 124 portable shop and material trucks, 51 port- 
able pile drivers, 90 electric storage trucks, 6,006 boilers, and 3,504 
dump cars. Two-thirds of this equipment was shipped overseas be- 
fore the armistice was signed. 

The development of mobile shops was one of the most interesting 
phases of this branch of engineering work. Quite early in the war, 
when we began the construction of the great base shops in France, 
we developed these portable machine shops, blacksmith shops, 
carpenter shops, and storeroom shops in demountable truck bodies, 
to be used for general service in the field. The shops were so con- 
structed that they could be entirely closed up when the Unit was in 
motion; but when the shop was ready for use the sides and ends 
of the inclosing structure were lowered, forming work tables when 
the shop was left on the truck chassis. If the shop were entirely 
demounted, these sides and ends, let down, formed extensions of 
the floor. With this arrangement a wide range of general repair 
and construction work could be handled on the spot on short notice. 
If it were necessary for the shop to stay in one place for several 
days or weeks, the body could be demounted, and the truck chassis 
was then used for transporting materials to and from the shop. 

Each portable shop contained about 800 different items of tools 
and equipment. Each was mounted on a 5J-ton truck. The 
portable machine shop contained a workbench, a drill press, a port- 
able electric drill, a grinder, and a 14-inch lathe, these being operated 
by an electric power plant carried on the truck; and it also had an 
equipment of necessary small tools and supplies, including an oxy- 
acetylene welding outfit. 

The portable blacksmith, plumbing, and tin shops each contained a 

workbench, forges, hoists, pipe-fitting machines, a shear and punch, 

vises, and a welding and cutting outfit, together with a power plant 

and switchboard and the necessary small tools and supplies. The 

portable carpenter shop contained boring machines, a drill press, a 

bench grinder, a workbench, a saw bench, a winch, power plant and 

switchboard, small tools and supplies. 


376 America's munitions. 

A complete machine shop on wheels cost the Government about 
$8,500. The carpenter shop cost $7,600. As supply units for the 
portable shops, the Government built 30 material trucks, each 
containing about 600 items of tools and supplies. These -material 
trucks cost $6,100 apiece. 

Another successful development of this nature was the portable 
photolithographic press truck, already referred to in the account of 
the American Expeditionary Forces' lithographic equipment. These 
automobile presses, which were at our front soon after our troops 
went into the trenches, were able to print and distribute lithographic 
sketches and maps within 12 hours after the original sketches were 
submitted for reproduction. The French and British armies also 
had mobile photolithographic units which were much less portable 
than ours and much slower in operation. The best time made by 
the French and British outfits was four days for the same work. 

We also supplied to the Engineering forces abroad special water 
sterilizers and water tanks, mounted on trucks. The Engineers put 
small job-printing shops on trucks and photographic dark rooms on 
trucks for use in the field. 

They equipped trucks with derricks, capstans, and wrecking ma- 
chinery. They furnished automotive road sprinklers and oilers, as 
well as trucks with special dump bodies for highway work. 

They developed a light, portable pile driver unlike anything used 
theretofore in commercial work. This machine was -constructed of 
structural steel and had a total weight of 4 tons. It was mounted on 
a truck drawn by horses or mules, and the pile driver itself was oper- 
ated by a 25-horsepower gasoline engine. The pile driver could be 
used within 16 minutes after its arrival at any point. 

One development of this sort, the mobile clam-shell derrick, is 
worth noting. This unique piece of machinery was built by the 
Winther Motor Truck Co., of Kenosha, Wis. When the American 
Expeditionary Forces issued a requisition for 120 clam-shell derricks 
mounted on motor trucks, no such piece of equipment was in exist- 
ence anywhere on earth. The Winther Co. volunteered to attempt 
to produce the machine. By giving a wider tread of rear axle to the 
Winther motor truck, the company could provide a suitable vehicle, 
but, search as they might, they could not find a derrick of sufficient 
power to operate a half-yard clam shell and also light enough to 
mount on a 7-ton truck. No such derrick existed. The company, 
therefore, without knowing anything about the manufacture of der- 
ricks, put its engineering force to work to produce a design. This 
design was developed in two weeks, and the derrick built from it was 
less than half the weight of any derrick of equal capacity. After 
being perfected, the mobile derrick in tests showed that it could move 




350 cubic yards of sand or gravel per day or 500 or 600 tons of coal. 
One man could operate it and the motive power was a 4-cylinder 
gasoline engine. 

The Engineering Department approved this design and ordered 

•s 32 such dlam-shell units. Nine of these were delivered before the 

£i armistice was signed. The company has continued production of 

[' these derricks with a view of selling them to road builders and 

excavators in civil life. 

For use of the various Engineer units we manufactured 1,610 tool 
wagons and shipped most of them to France. Because of the rough 
nature of the shell-torn ground over which these wagons must be used, 
we designed each to be uncoupled and operated as two 2-wheeled 

The development of mobile industrial units mounted on motor trucks 
is likely to have a profound effect on American industry in the future. 
For instance, the special derrick or crane trucks which we built are 
almost certain to be adopted in commercial use. The locomotive 
crane has always been a useful machine, but its chief use has been in 
hahdling heavy materials which were being loaded on or off railway 
cars. A crane which can be moved rapidly to places where railway 
tracks are not located should be of almost equal importance. An 
accompanying illustration shows in operation one of the derrick 
trucks which we built for overseas use. 

In the same way the mobile pile drivers designed by the Engineer 
Corps should be of great future service in road building in this country. 

The various machine shops which were built for war purposes will, 
in their duplications and adaptations, undoubtedly serve a useful 
purpose in future commercial activities in this country. The increased 
use of motive power on farms has created a demand for machine re- 
pairs. The day may come when the traveling machine shop will be a 
familiar sight on our rural highways. 

The Engineer troops required a great quantity of hoisting ma- 
chinery. Our purchases in this respect amounted to 700 cranes, 
mostly of the locomotive type, and 886 hoisting engines, at a total 
cost of $4,996,000. About two-thirds of this equipment was sent to 
France and installed at the ports of debarkation and at depots. The 
rest was used at the shipping points in this country. This machinery 
was of great aid in the rapid handling of materials at tidewater. 

A vast amount of small tools and construction material was required. 

Some 21,000 tons of barbed wire, shipped abroad to be used prin- 
cipally in the construction of entanglements in front of American 
battle positions, were manufactured principally by the United States 
Steel Products Co., Jones & Laughlin, the Gulf States Steel Co., 
and the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., although several other firms also 
supplied barbed wire. 



The Engineering Department ordered in the United States, during 
the fighting, equipment and supplies which cost approximately 

We furnished in all 85,120 steel shelters of various sizes, of which 
38,320 were of the individual type which could be carried by one 
man. The steel used in these individual shelters was about one-eighth 
of an inch thick. 

There may be expected to be great incidental benefit to future 
American industry from improvements and inventions brought out 
by American military engineering in 1917 and 1918. 

One important work, for instance, which the Engineer Department 
undertook was that of standardizing the requirements for paints and 
varnishes. At the outset our Army needs ran into 29 shades of color 
in 315 different paint and varnish mixtures. Without affecting any 
of our camouflage projects or other important undertakings, we re- 
duced the number of shades required from 29 to 16 and brought the 
total number of commodities down from 315 to 99. This reduction 
in the range of commodities will be of great use to the paint and var- 
nish industry in the future. 

At the beginning of the war the mechanical rubber industry had 
but few standard specifications. The Engineers, after considerable 
research, developed 30 standard specifications for mechanical rubber 
goods, which class included such materials as hose, packing, and 
sleeves. The representatives of the rubber industry verbally stated 
that the Engineer Department in this short time did more good to 
the trade than it had been able to accomplish for itself in the previous 
three or four years of effort. Immediately after hostilities stopped 
rubber concerns began asking the Engineer Department for its stand- 
ard specifications. 

In the manufacture of hardware and kitchen utensils there was 
also considerable standardization done, and changes in manufacturing 
methods were recommended which were put into effect by the pro- 
ducers. All spun goods were eliminated, and the industry confined 
itself to straight stamping, which meant a reduction in labor. A 
standard cobalt coating for enamelware was developed by which the 
industry conserved about 30 tons of nitre per month and made a more 
durable and satisfactory enamel coating, with the result that to-day 
the Army is purchasing its vast quantities of enamelware subject to 
certain tests, whereas, in the past, practically all this material was 
bought purely upon the manufacturers' statements. The shortage of 
tin was of considerable importance. Upon the recommendation of 
an Engineer officer enormous quantities of cafeteria trays were coated 
with zinc and large amounts of tin thereby conserved. The finished 
tray was entirely satisfactory and gave essentially the same service 


as that plated with tin. Horseshoe nails, formerly a variable product , 
were standardized and tested, and methods were devised by which 
the Army was enabled to control their quality. 

Before the war there was no standard rating for internal-combus- 
tion engines, each manufacturer rating his motors according to his 
own ideas. Our studies of small engines of the type used for driving 
pumps or operating wood-working and metal-working machines 
resulted in many improvements, which have been adopted by the 
manufacturers of internal-combustion engines. Out of these studies 
came the so-called army rating, a standard which is bound to result 
in the more careful rating of commercial engines. 

The Engineer Department brought out a modification of the design 
of the existing line of gasoline-driven shovels by applying caterpillar 
traction to the larger sizes, thus doing away with the labor required 
to plank up and block shovels that move on wheels. 

When we entered the war, the explosive trinitrotoluol was standard 
for our Army for mining and demolition purposes. The Bureau of 
Mines, in cooperation with the Engineer Department, developed an 
explosive which is cheaper than T. N. T. and promises to replace it 
for engineering operations. 

We also improved the devices commercially used in electrical deto- 
nation of distributed charges, our improved detonators being more 
certain and reliable than anything in use. 

Commercial machines for detonating as many as 250 standard 
No. 8 caps were developed for the Panama Canal, but the machines 
in common use had seen little improvement for 25 years. As a result 
of the development by the Engineer Corps, a machine capable of 
detonating 120 caps was obtained, weighing no more than the 30-cap 
commercial blasting machine and costing slightly less. 

A second machine was developed, capable of exploding 500 caps, 
at a price not greatly above the price of a 30-cap commercial machine. 
Mining engineers who saw this development stated that it would have 
a high commercial value, as these improved machines would make 
electric blasting more positive and dependable than any other form 
of detonation, as well as making it possible to set off a large series of 
charges simultaneously. The Panama Canal machine weighed 35 
pounds and cost $126. Our 500-cap machine weighed 30 pounds 
and cost $35. The du Pont 30-cap machine weighed 25 pounds and 
cost $25. Our small machine weighed 20 pounds, cost $22.50, and 
would fire 120 caps. 

In addition to this there might be mentioned other projects 
developed primarily for war purposes but which will be available 
for the industrial uses of peace. These included portable well- 
drilling outfits of a new type, alcohol stills of a small size for the 
utilization of waste products in small units, sound reducers on the 

380 America's munitions. 

exhaust pipes of gasoline engines, air strainers to minimize the 
chances of dust and grit entering gasoline engines. When the war 
ended we were working on the problem of hastening the setting of 
concrete and were also studying the production in this country of 
photographic colors and tone chemicals formerly secured only from 

In general, mention should be made of the exhaustive tests in 
many industries conducted by the Engineer depot and by special 
detachments of Engineers. Tests were made of hundreds of pieces 
of apparatus, and these tests led to many improvements in American 
manufacture. Illustrating how these tests were regarded by individual 
concerns, the Cleveland Tractor Co., after a test of its equipment 
conducted by Army Engineers, stated: "Our people consider this 
test to be the most valuable ever undertaken by this company." 
This is indicative of benefits scattered throughout American industry 
by the engineering war tests. 

While practically all of the research work' which resulted in the 
developments and improvements noted was conducted by Engineer 
officers while on duty at the General Engineer Depot in Washington, 
since the transfer of the functions of the General Engineer Depot to 
the Division of Purchase, Storage and Traffic, November 1, 1918, 
much of this research work has been and still is being carried on by 
the latter division. 

For handling Engineer materials there were established the. General 
Engineer Depot at Washington, D. C, embarkation depots at South 
Kearney, N. J., and Norfolk, Va., and shipping depots at Baltimore, 
Md v Philadelphia, Pa., Jacksonville, Fla., New Orleans, La., and 
Mobile, Ala. In addition, subdepots were organized at all of the 
divisional camps and cantonments. 

The war demanded the production in America of quantities of 
precision instruments. These were required not only by the Ord- 
nance Department for the equipment of artillery with sights and 
indirect fire-control apparatus but also by the Engineer Corps, the 
Signal Corps, the Bureau of Aircraft Production, and the Medical 
Department. These instruments were such things as aneroid barom- 
eters, pocket compasses, measuring tapes, surveyors' equipment 
generally, map-drawing outfits, draftsmen's supplies, and so on. For 
a large period of the war the procurement of precision instruments 
was in the hands of the General Engineer Depot. Later, when the 
War Department's supply activities were being consolidated, the 
purchasing of precision instruments, except the highly technical 
sound-ranging devices, was taken over by the Director of Purchase 
and Storage, the organization of the General Engineer Depot going 
along in the transfer. The development and the production of 


searchlights and sound-ranging apparatus remained in the hands of 
the Engineer Corps. 

In April, 1917, there were probably not more than a dozen recognized 
American manufacturers of high-grade precision instruments. As an 
indication of the expansion of manufacturing capacity required by 
the war, one concern, the Taylor Instrument Cos., of Rochester, 
N. Y., which had manufactured in peace times watch-pocket com- 
passes at the rate of 15,000 a year, were called upon to turn them out 
at the rate of 10,000 weekly to fill an order for 200,000 of them. In 
order to handle this contract the Taylor Instrument Cos. built a new 
factory building in 20 days. A certain type of aneroid baiometer 
required by the exigencies had never before been produced in America. 
The Taylor Instrument Cos. succeeded in producing 1,240 of these 

The Lufkin Rule Co., of Saginaw, Mich., was called upon to manu- 
facture 700 band chain measuring tapes for surveying, graduated 
throughout according to the metric system, and also 1,240 special 
outfits for repairing such tape. These band tapes when broken are fas- 
tened together by tiny rivets, which are produced by special machinery. 
Because of the inability of the machine-tool industry, swamped as 
it was with war demands, to produce the special rivet-making ma- 
chines, it was necessary to reduce in the specifications for repair outfits 
the quantity of metal rivets for each kit from 4 ounces of rivets 
to 2 ounces. 

Field artillery required a precision instrument known as the mini- 
ature telescopic alidade of the Gale type. It is unlikely that 150 of 
these instruments had been made in the United States during 10 
years, yet the Artillery demands called for the production of 1,110 
of them. The W. & L. E. Gurley Co., of Troy, N. Y., not only manu- 
factured half of this order, but, in order that the Government might 
obtain a sufficient supply of these instruments, it turned over to a 
competing firm, the Eugene Dietzgen Co., of Chicago, the lenses, 
prisms, hermetically-sealed bubbles, and other parts for 555 in- 

The Army required large numbers of hand tally registers to be 
used by checkers and observers. The Benton Manufacturing Co., of 
New York, had been making less than 15,000 registers of this sort in 
a year, yet it increased its facilities and turned out 62,000 of them 
for the Army within two months. 

The Army required 35,000 complete sketching outfits for the use 
of military observers. The contents of these outfits were manufac- 
tured by a dozen different concerns. 

Drawing instrument sets were produced by the Eugene Dietzgen 
Co. Each set included a pair of proportional dividers. Our drafts- 
men had always obtained their dividers from Europe. The divider, 

382 America's munitions. 

which nearly everyone has seen, appears to be a simple device, yet 
it must be made with the utmost precision, or else it is valueless. 
In manufacture it goes through more than 100 distinct factory oper- 

Marching compasses for troops were made by the Sperry Gyro- 
scope Co., of Brooklyn, N. Y., the quantity in manufacture being 
over 200,000 instruments. 

Many other delicate instruments of most difficult manufacture, 
whose description is too technical to be set down here, were pro- 
duced successfully in America during the war period. 

re pm- 



ii it -a' 







In childhood we were enthralled by the tales of those magic persons 
whose keen hearing could detect even the whisper of the growing 
' grass. As camouflage developed, modern warfare yearned for such 
supernatural gifts of sense that troops might detect the unseen 
presence of the enemy. Accordingly Science, the fairy godmother 
of to-day's soldiers, raised her wand, and lo, the Army wls equipped 
with the wonderful ears of the fairy tale, uncanny no longer, but a 
ooncrete manufacturing proposition. 

Artillery practice nowadays abhors the wasted shot. The time 
when cannon fired in the general direction of the enemy, and hoped 
to hit something, passed when the long-range rifles and howitzers, 
with their marvelously accurate sighting instruments, came into 
existence. Whole books have been written on the subject of point- 
ing a modern cannon in the modern way. A great proportion of 
our industrial effort in the recent conflict was devoted to the sole 
end that we might aim our artillery accurately. 

For instance, to this end almost exclusively was devoted the 
enormous production of aircraft material. The observer in the 
airplane or balloon trusted not to his eyes but to the finer sight 
of the photographic camera; and this again occasioned a large war 
industry — the production of cameras and their operation in the 
field, which included the production of finished photography in the 
field dark rooms. But, as the airplane and aerial camera were 
perfected, camouflage was undertaken as a protection from dis- 
covery from aloft; and so might be brought in another chapter — 
the production of camouflage material and the work of camouflage 
experts in the field. Presently camouflage succeeded in baffling the 
camera to a great extent, and this made necessary the development 
*of instruments that could detect the location of the enemy by sound. 
Since the unaided ear was not keen enough to supply the desired 
information, applied science came to the rescue with the various 
devices embraced in the general classification of sound-ranging 
equipment. The production of this equipment was under the 
direction of the Engineer Department of the Army. * 

In three classes of military work we needed hearing refined to the 
razor-edge. With keen enough ears we could detect those sub- 
terranean operations of the enemy known as mining; with ears of 


384 . America's munitions. 

that sort we could detect and locate the positions of hostile cannon; 
and still again we could employ such sensitiveness of hearing to find 
in the darkest sky at night the hostile raiding airplane. 

One of these long-distance ear drums which man invented for 
himself as an aid to his military operations was known as the geo- 
phone. The first geophone used by the western powers in the war was 
invented by the French. It was a simple mechanism. The device 
or drum which received the sound waves and magnified them con- 
sisted of a small closed box with a oonfined air space. This box 
was weighted with a leaden disk to give it the required inertia. 
The geophone was placed upon the ground and the vibrations of 
the earth were communicated through the medium of the confined 
air space. The sounds then reached the listener's ears via a rubber 
tube and an ordinary stethoscope horn. By means of this device 
the slightest vibrations of the ground were rendered audible. 

The geophone was used to detect enemy mining operations. The 
listener placed the weighted box on the floor of an underground 
gallery or on solid earth or rook. If the enemy were burrowing in 
the ground anywhere within a distance of 75 yards the geophone 
would tell about it. In order to enable the listener to know in what 
direction the sounds oame, two geophone boxes were provided, one 
connected with each ear. By placing the boxes a small distance 
apart from each other and them moving them until the vibrations 
in both ear horns were equalized, the listener could tell approxi- 
mately in what direction the enemy mining operation was located. 

Geophones were used by both sides, and so effective did they prove 
to be that it is reported that they were largely instrumental in 
stopping mining operations altogether. If an enemy mine were 
located by one of these devices, a counter mine could be started at 
once and carried through, usually with disastrous results to the 
hostile miners. 

As our first step in the production of geophones, we adopted the 
French device; but later on we developed an instrument with nearly 
one-third greater range than the French geophone had. This im- 
provement was developed by the Engineers and bureau specialists at 
the Bureau of Standards in Washington with money provided by the 
Engineering Department. We produced the improved model in 
sufficient quantities to meet the requirements of the American Ex- 
peditionary Forces. 

We also developed an electromechanical geophone that could be 
connected up by wire to a central listening station some distance 
back from an exposed location. The sound-receiving boxes or 
microphones were placed out in No Man's Land and hidden under 
trash or earth. They were so sensitive that they would not