More artillery rounds fired in Korean war than in W.W. II?

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Mar 4, 2003.

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    17th FA Bn
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 87
    (3/20/02 5:20:38 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All More artillery rounds fired in Korean war than in W.W. II?
    On a program on the history channel last week they said "More artillery rounds were fired in the Korean war than in W.W. II even though W.W. II lasted twice as long" (this is not an exact quote, but close enough among friends).

    I find this statement hard to believe because:

    1. In Korea the U.S. army had only 8 or so divisions and the marines only one in action. Add to this the equivalent of 3 or so allied divisions. The Republic of (South) Korea had about the same number of troops but much less artillery. After the first year of the war the commies had virtually no artillery, relying on mortars for heavy fire support. Even early in the war the North Koreans never had a lot of artillery.

    2. Contrast the above with W.W. II. The U.S. Army had 100 or so divisions (counting all the Infantry, armour, airborne, and mountain divisions.) The USMC had 6 or 7 divisions. Each of these divisions would have had 4 artillery battalions. Added to this the Army had as many independent artillery battalions as there were artillery battalions organic to the divisions. The U.S. was noted for it's generous use of artillery to support the infantry man on the front line. In additions to this the Germans, British, Japanese, and especially the U.S.S.R. had huge numbers of the artillery.

    Could it be that the history channel was wrong? If so I will lose my faith in TV

    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3135
    (3/22/02 8:23:43 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: More artillery rounds fired in Korean war than in W.W. I
    I don't know, 17th, lets think about it...

    First little artillery compared to Europe was used in the Pacific, or even in the CBI, mostly a small arms/mortar/naval support and aircraft bombing war....

    Second, we didn't commit a lot of artillery to Africa, so we REALLY didn't use much until Sicily and Italy in '43 on...

    But Sicily was mostly naval support, and mobile warfare, didn't really get to use much except the few Priests, probably. Plus we used the TDs as indirect fire support a lot, probably don't count them in the total as artillery, even though that's how they were used...

    In Italy where the fighting was more fixed, probably used a lot, with fixed Divisional and and battalion fire...

    But the most would have been used right after Normandy, in the hedgerows, and even then, after Cobra, until about the Rhine it was pretty mobile, and not a lot of concentrated arty until the lines stabilized...THEN began the accounts of the Germans complaining that we used too much artillery, around the Huertgen/Bulge/Aachen, so REALLY only at best about 10-12 months or so, at that, when US artillery in action heavily...not much when the war was mobile....

    Now on the OTHER hand, the Russians used a crapload on the Eastern Front from 41-45...find it hard to believe that wouldn't throw it out of whack...maybe the History Channeol meant US only?

    In Korea, we had quite a bit both in the Pusan perimeter, probably not a lot during the pursuit after Inchon to the 17th parallel,but then from 50-53 pretty stagnated lines in the mountains around the 38th parallel...I could believe a LOT of artillery was used there...

    I dunno, MAYBE...if you discount the Russians in WWII...

    But then comparitively, the Japs didn't use that much, the Germans were actually pretty miserly with it (taught that you don't waste precious expensive shells on a sniper for example, when a patrol with "cheaper" men could do the job...) and the Brits probably didn't use much compared to the US...

    Could very well be right....HHHhhmmmm....

    "Don't hear him call you an @sshole, hear WHY he's calling you an @sshole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1872
    (3/22/02 8:30:02 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: More artillery rounds fired in Korean war than in W.W. I
    Lose your faith in TV? Say it ain't so, Joe!

    OTH.....I'm with you 17th. Sounds fishy to me.

    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 400
    (3/22/02 11:07:21 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: More artillery rounds fired in Korean war than in W.W. I
    There were HUGE stockpiles of guns and ammunition after WWII. I wouldn't doubt for a minute that a crap load of it got sent to the Korean conflict. When I got there, seemed every duce and a half had an arty piece towed behind it.

    There was such a glut of ammo, when in tank training at Ft Knox, they continued hauling the 90mm out to us on the firing line of M-46's/47's with flat-bed trailers and stacking it up behind each tank to shoot up. This went on for a solid week we were on line - probably had been going on before and went on after we left. We were told it was to clean out the ammo bunkers of the old stuff so fresh could be brought in. Got so bored shooting at the 4x8' white silk targets at 2500 to 5000 yds, we began shooting at the 2x4 hubs used to hold them up!

    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3166
    (3/25/02 9:24:06 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: More artillery rounds fired in Korean war than in W.W. I
    ...and another thing...

    I've seen many references to the WEIGHT of rounds fired, not just # of rounds...

    At the beginning of WWII the standard field peice for every army was 75mm or equivalent....even at the end of the war, the standard all over was only 105mm or equivalent...but especially in the US and Russian armies it was creeping up to 155 and 8", but still not standard....

    By Korea, especially in the fixed line areas, probably the standard size was in pure WEIGHT of explosive thrown, that could be another factor...

    And Kdub has an excellent point about the leftover WWII stuff...the spigots did NOT get turned off right after the war, even though the manpower was severely hampered before Korea, we had tons of materiel left from WWII, the problem was getting it to Korea at first, but when it was there, probably not a lot of restraint on using it....

    If you figure the heaviest artillery use in WWII by Americans was from 6-44 to 5-45, that's only 11 months, and not every month was heavy....just from 50-53, LOTS more potential for Arty it just might be true...

    If you look at small arms ammo expenditure, it was creeping up, and I KNOW more .30 cal was fired in Korea than all of WWII, for example, so it MAY be the same for artillery...

    SOMEWHERE the pure numbers are available, if we dig, all that stuff is recorded SOMEWHERE....

    Sometimes I really miss Ron Wee, he would have ALREADY dug it out by now and put this whole thing to bed...remember the way he used to always do that and end all these cool hypothetical discussions with the stupid FACTS?
    "Don't hear him call you an @sshole, hear WHY he's calling you an @sshole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    17th FA Bn
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 89
    (3/26/02 9:11:25 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Korean war ammo shortages
    My dad was in an artillery battalion in the Korean war. The 17th field artillery battalion (hence my screen name), with 8" towed howitzers, in 1951 and 52. Next month will mark the 50th anniversary of his triumphant return from Korea, triumphant because he returned with out a scratch, but a deep hatred of really cold weather, he never complains about a hot day. Not only did he survive Korea but also 50 years of marriage come August!

    When my dad was first in Korea they were the only heavy artillery unit there, the rest being 105mm, and 155mm battalions. His first day with the unit they were in down town Seoul in a school yard firing at the attacking Chinese. He has told me stories of blasting away with tremendous amounts of ammo at targets such as Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill. He has shown pictures of some of the hill tops they blasted into a moon scape, and yet when out infantry attacked the Chinese came out of their holes, dug in like ants.

    Other times he said they had severe ammo shortages. Many times he said they were limited to 6 rounds a day. Korea is much farther away than Europe, and when you get there the road and rail systems was very primitive in 1950-53. Add to this the mud in the spring and the snow in the winter, and resupply was an extremely arduous task.