The United States Naval Railroad Batteries in France - 1922

Front Cover, The United States Naval Railroad Batteries in France, 1922.

Front Cover, The United States Naval Railroad Batteries in France, 1922. GGA Image ID # 17e0575907

Naval Historical Center, The United States Naval Railroad Batteries in France, © 1922, 1988, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., Soft cover, 97 Pages, 0-945274-00-9, 940.4'144.

During the period from September 6, 1918, until the signing of the armistice five United States naval batteries, each composed of one 14-inch 50-caliber gun carried on a special railway mount attached to ammunition and auxiliary cars, bombarded German bases and positions behind the lines in France with remarkable efficiency and important results.

These guns were more powerful than any others in use at the front, and played a prominent part in destroying railway and supply bases and generally in hampering concentration behind the German lines, besides lowering the enemy’s morale. They thus contributed materially to the victory of the allied forces.



Part I. — The Story of the Batteries.

  • General introduction
  • The general idea not new
  • Origin of the United States naval railway batteries
  • Designing and construction
  • Shipment to France
  • The military situation in France
  • The naval guns in action
  • Summary of firings
  • Method of firing
  • Effects of the firing
  • Casualties
  • The end of hostilities

Part II. — Notes and Addenda.

  • Personnel of the Bureau of Ordnance
  • Description of gun and mount
  • Award of the contracts
  • Completion of the mounts
  • Congratulations on the success of the tests
  • Arrangements for transportation
  • Dangers of voyage
  • Difficulties of assembly work
  • Start of the first guns
  • The guns welcomed by the people
  • The first test in France
  • General firing orders of the French general staff
  • Signals between airplanes and the naval batteries
  • Effects of the firing
  • The guns at Meuse-Argonne
  • The order that ended the war
  • Nature of the gunnery work done by the United States naval railway battery in France
  • Log of United States naval railway batteries


This monograph on the United States naval batteries in France has been divided into two parts for the sake of convenience.

Part I is meant to tell the plain story of the batteries in not too extended form and without the addition of too much detail of a technical nature, while Part II contains the professional and technical matter and other details necessary for a complete understanding of all phases of the undertaking.

No attempt has been made to write history, in the sense of apportioning praise or blame or of drawing final conclusions. The sole intention has been to put the reader in possession of a plain story, from authentic sources, of an enterprise of which not only our Navy but all Americans may well be proud.

Those who desire to study in greater detail the activities of our naval batteries will find the requisite material in the files, open and confidential, of the Navy Department, particularly of the Bureau of Ordnance.

The compilation of this monograph was done by Lieutenant Commander Edward Breck, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, who conferred with a number of participants in the enterprise; and the Bureau of Ordnance has kindly reviewed and approved it.

D. W. Knox,
Captain, U. S. N. (Retired), Officer in Charge,

Historical Section, Navy Department.

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

  • LC Control No.: 87083346
  • Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
  • Main Title: The United States naval railway batteries in France.
  • Published/Created: Washington, D.C. : Naval Historical Center : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1988.
  • Related Names: Naval Historical Center (U.S.)
  • Description: xiii, 97 p., [24] p. of plates : ill.; 23 cm.
  • ISBN: 0945274009
  • Notes: Reprint. Originally published: Washington : G.P.O., 1922. (Publication (Office of Naval Records and Library, Historical Section); no. 6)) With a foreword by Joseph Metcalf III; introduction by Ronald H. Spector. Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Subjects: World War, 1914-1918 --Naval operations, American. World War, 1914-1918 --Campaigns --France. Railway artillery --France.
  • Series: Publication (United States. Office of Naval Records and Library); no. 6.
  • LC Classification: D589.U6 U55 1988
  • Dewey Class No.: 940.4/144 19
  • Geographic Area Code: n-us--- e-fr---
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