RE: US M1918 Caisson for the "French 75mm"

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Ralph Lovett
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Tue May 08, 2018 4:21 pm

This is the most recent work on my US M1918 Caisson. It is now painted in the US Army two color camouflage. This is the pattern that was applied at the factory to US Caissons and Limbers:

http://www.lovettartillery.com/US%20M%2 ... ration.htm

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Ralph Lovett
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Wed May 09, 2018 7:20 am

Stunning!

You can just feel the regular army types yearning to paint it over with a single color.... :D
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Ralph Lovett
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Wed May 09, 2018 2:15 pm

Oh yes, the regular army does not understand Cubist inspired camouflage. Even recently when Fort Sill's Field Artillery Museum painted some of the WW1 Era pieces in similar patterns, the command thought it was some sort of revolt.

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Wed May 09, 2018 2:59 pm

Ralph Lovett wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 2:15 pm
Oh yes, the regular army does not understand Cubist inspired camouflage. Even recently when Fort Sill's Field Artillery Museum painted some of the WW1 Era pieces in similar patterns, the command thought it was some sort of revolt.

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Ralph
Indeed - was down there recently, and when you come around the corner, you really wonder if some crazed art students snuck over the fence at some point - garish in that hyper-groomed military post environment. :thumbup:
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Wed May 09, 2018 9:33 pm

The current curator --Gordon Blaker has done a great job of preserving and displaying the artillery at Fort Sill. I am aware that he took a hit about painting many of the German artillery pieces correctly in disruptive camouflage. I advised him on this and he stuck to the research. Good fellow.

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Sun May 13, 2018 7:54 pm

When I was the curator at the FA Museum I was ordered to paint a Dazzle Camouflaged limber and 75mm gun at the Artillery School O.D. by our commander, who stated very dismissively that, “Everyone knows guns are supposed to be O.D.” I tried explaining that it was an effort to hide the materiel from observers in balloons five miles away and not from General Officers standing five feet away also got no positive effect. Showing him original artifacts painted that color had no effect, and the pieces got painted O.D.

Gordon has indeed done a great deal in preserving the original patterns of German artillery pieces, although not without battles and having to hide certain pieces when certain generals visit.
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Sat May 19, 2018 7:27 am

Our city has a couple of these M1918s that they've moved to a frontier era reconstructed fort on the edge of town, but which they have repainted some years ago to sort of a mustard like color, which I'm told was the correct color for them. It's sort of an odd location for them, but it works okay as they're not part of the display at that location, only located there.

When I was a kid they were in a big city park and I used to play on them frequently. They were painted OD at the time.

Startling to see the camouflage scheme that applies to them.
Pat

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Sat May 19, 2018 11:48 am

Couvi:

Speaking of Sill officers with a limited understanding of old guns, wasn't it you who told about the retiring officer who wanted to shoot a field gun of some sort at bales of straw until the issue was escalated to a higher level and killed off?
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Mon May 21, 2018 7:43 pm

Yesssss! Why???? :(
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Mon May 21, 2018 8:01 pm

I was trying to prompt you to recount it.
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Tue May 22, 2018 6:03 am

Joseph Sullivan wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 8:01 pm
I was trying to prompt you to recount it.
Well, if you insist!

Well, this was in the time when the old souls roamed the earth, and the was Chief of Staff at Fort Sill and the Post Commander were crazy. The Post Commander wanted to take a couple of reproduction Civil War cannon and shoot them for the visitors to watch. He picked place next to the Golf Club, which was about a half a mile long, forgetting the hundreds of live-fire artillery ranges on Fort Sill. At the other end was I-44. He had seen us shoot at firepower demonstrations and we dead-centered the target every time. At the demonstrations we used a juiced target with about a pound of C-4 wired to it. We fired a blank and the EOD guy in the tower would count, ”one thousand and one” and blow the target. As a result, it was beautiful and we never missed. So, the General was convinced we could achieve a ‘First Round Hit’ every time.

The General wanted to stack up hay bales and shoot at them. The guys with the 10-PDR Parrott rifle packed up and went back to Dallas, so that left the Fort Sill gun crew. The civilians on the crew could quit, but the military guys could be ordered to shoot it anyway, and they had no way out of it. I got called into Chief of Staff’s office to brief to him why we didn’t want to shoot there. As he stared at the map, his words were, and I quote, “Tell me exactly what happens when the ball hits the hay bales.” I replied, “Nothing, Sir. I keeps going at 800 feet per second.” He looked down at his map and said, “So, you are telling me that in about two seconds it will cross the Interstate?” I replied, “Yes, sir.” Very excitedly he said, “Oh, no! We are not going to shoot that shot! ! !” That is when I said, “Sir, might I suggest we put the General’s Mercedes behind the hay bales.” To which time he pointed to the door and screamed, “Get the f*ck out of my office!” We never shot the shot.

Several years later we were at a firepower demonstration and I had my crew at the position of ‘At Ease,’ waiting for the thing to start. In the Civil War enlisted saluted with the hand farthest from the officer and palm outward like the French. I heard someone shout my name and I turned around and there was Major General Former Chief of Staff saluting me Civil War style with his left hand. I returned his salute and he came over and shook my hand and told the other general officer standing next to him, “This guy saved my career!” He is an Alpha Hotel, but, so am I, so I got along well with him.
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Tue May 22, 2018 2:49 pm

Good story Couvi. I like it.

This is a link for the page of original photos of the M1918 Limber and Caisson:
http://www.lovettartillery.com/US_Artil ... es_Ph.html

Notice that all of the wartime era photos show the limber, caisson, and gun with the two color camouflage and the 1927 photo taken at Fort Myer shows them without camouflage. By the way, it is called two color camouflage because black and white are shades, not colors. Only the green and yellow are considered as colors.

R/
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Tue May 22, 2018 7:58 pm

Ralph Lovett wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 2:49 pm
Good story Couvi. I like it.

This is a link for the page of original photos of the M1918 Limber and Caisson:
http://www.lovettartillery.com/US_Artil ... es_Ph.html

Notice that all of the wartime era photos show the limber, caisson, and gun with the two color camouflage and the 1927 photo taken at Fort Myer shows them without camouflage. By the way, it is called two color camouflage because black and white are shades, not colors. Only the green and yellow are considered as colors.

R/
Ralph
Ralph,

After WWI the decision was made, due in impecuniosity of the sitting Congress, to camouflage only that materiel that was going to continue in service and to paint the remainder olive drab. So, the 3-inch Gun, 4.7-inch Gun, etc., were left in the one-color scheme and equipment that was to see combat was painted in the four-color camouflage. Later budget cuts reduced this to zero and everything was painted one color.

Are you familiar with the pamphlet Painting Instructions for Camouflaging of Ordnance Vehicles-0. P. No. 1867, GPO, 1918? This is sort of the final word in the WWI camouflage discussion.

My research indicates that the colors, matched to original artifacts, are:

Green FS 34138 30%

Yellow FS 13618 30%

Cream FS 33711 30%

Black FS 37038 10% (Interline)
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Thu May 24, 2018 3:35 am

Couvi,
I do not have a copy of Painting Instructions for Camouflaging of Ordnance Vehicles-0. P. No. 1867, GPO, 1918 but I might be able to find it at Library of Congress. The camouflage scheme I have used on the M1918 is the earlier Two Color pattern (colors of Green, Yellow, with White and Black shades) that I believe was most common for US pieces in service in Europe in 1917-18. This pattern is also illustrated in the American Car and Foundry book on the production of the M1918 Limber and Caisson. I understand that the Two Color pattern was updated by the very end of the war, changing white to cream. Would you agree that the Green, Yellow, Cream, and Black pattern was found in the very late war and Inter-War era, whereas the Two Color pattern was the earlier US Army camouflage pattern?
I believe I have some other references on this subject but will need to dig around and see what I can find. I have also posted a few other period photos of the US M1918 Limber and Caisson with camouflage applied.
During WW1 in Europe, there were also French artillery pieces, limbers, caissons and other wagons brought directly into US service. These had a mix of French single colors and camouflage patterns including a pattern with Black, Green, Cream and Brown. A surviving example is the French 75mm mle/97 at West Point: http://www.guns.com/2017/10/24/west-poi ... 00-photos/ My French manufactured limber for the 75mm mle/97 has French unit marks and another variation of the French camouflage pattern with Green, Brown, and Black painted over Horizon Blue with Orange primer: http://www.lovettartillery.com/French_7 ... imber.html
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Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:56 pm

Couvi wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 6:03 am

Several years later we were at a firepower demonstration and I had my crew at the position of ‘At Ease,’ waiting for the thing to start. In the Civil War enlisted saluted with the hand farthest from the officer and palm outward like the French. I heard someone shout my name and I turned around and there was Major General Former Chief of Staff saluting me Civil War style with his left hand.
I"m not sure that I follow. What was the standard salute at that time?
Pat

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Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:32 pm

Pat Holscher wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:27 am
Our city has a couple of these M1918s that they've moved to a frontier era reconstructed fort on the edge of town, but which they have repainted some years ago to sort of a mustard like color, which I'm told was the correct color for them. It's sort of an odd location for them, but it works okay as they're not part of the display at that location, only located there.

When I was a kid they were in a big city park and I used to play on them frequently. They were painted OD at the time.

Startling to see the camouflage scheme that applies to them.
That color would be "Field Drab."
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Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:57 pm

Pat Holscher wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:56 pm
Couvi wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 6:03 am

Several years later we were at a firepower demonstration and I had my crew at the position of ‘At Ease,’ waiting for the thing to start. In the Civil War enlisted saluted with the hand farthest from the officer and palm outward like the French. I heard someone shout my name and I turned around and there was Major General Former Chief of Staff saluting me Civil War style with his left hand.
I"m not sure that I follow. What was the standard salute at that time?
Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States – 1861, War Department, Philadelphia, J.G.L. Brown, 1861

https://books.google.com/books?pg=PA40& ... &q&f=false
ARTICLE XXIX.
HONORS TO BE PAID BY THE TROOPS.

254. Courtesy among military men is indispensable to discipline. Respect to superiors will not be confined to obedience on duty, but will be Salutes extended to all occasions. It is always the duty of the inferior to accost or to offer first the customary salutation, and of the superior to return such complimentary notice.

255. Sergeants, with swords drawn, will salute by bringing them to a present--with muskets, by bringing the left hand across the body, so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder. Corporals out of the ranks, and privates not sentries, will carry their muskets at a shoulder as sergeants, and salute in like manner.

256. When a soldier without arms, or with side-arms only, meets an officer, he is to raise his hand to the right side of the visor of his cap, palm to the front, elbow raised as high as the shoulder, looking at the same time in a respectful and soldier-like manner at the officer, who will return the compliment thus offered.

257. A non-commissioned officer or soldier being seated, and without particular occupation, will rise on the approach of an officer, and make the customary salutation. If standing, he will turn toward the officer for the same purpose. If the parties remain in the same place or on the same ground, such compliments need not be repeated.
Somewhere I have seen where the soldier approaching an officer salutes with the hand furthest from the officer, but I cannot find it.
Couvi

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Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:55 pm

An interesting discussion of the roots of the distinctive WWI camo in French Cubist art:

https://gizmodo.com/why-no-one-used-cam ... 1640792670
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:39 pm

This is the only effort at camouflage prior to WWI that I have ever seen. They are trying to make it difficult for the observer to determine exactly what he is seeing.

Image

The Lincoln Gun, the first 15-inch Rodman Gun, mounted at Fort Monroe during the US Civil War.

http://www.starforts.com/monroe.html
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Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:30 pm

Couvi wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:57 pm
Pat Holscher wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:56 pm
Couvi wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 6:03 am

Several years later we were at a firepower demonstration and I had my crew at the position of ‘At Ease,’ waiting for the thing to start. In the Civil War enlisted saluted with the hand farthest from the officer and palm outward like the French. I heard someone shout my name and I turned around and there was Major General Former Chief of Staff saluting me Civil War style with his left hand.
I"m not sure that I follow. What was the standard salute at that time?
Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States – 1861, War Department, Philadelphia, J.G.L. Brown, 1861

https://books.google.com/books?pg=PA40& ... &q&f=false
ARTICLE XXIX.
HONORS TO BE PAID BY THE TROOPS.

254. Courtesy among military men is indispensable to discipline. Respect to superiors will not be confined to obedience on duty, but will be Salutes extended to all occasions. It is always the duty of the inferior to accost or to offer first the customary salutation, and of the superior to return such complimentary notice.

255. Sergeants, with swords drawn, will salute by bringing them to a present--with muskets, by bringing the left hand across the body, so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder. Corporals out of the ranks, and privates not sentries, will carry their muskets at a shoulder as sergeants, and salute in like manner.

256. When a soldier without arms, or with side-arms only, meets an officer, he is to raise his hand to the right side of the visor of his cap, palm to the front, elbow raised as high as the shoulder, looking at the same time in a respectful and soldier-like manner at the officer, who will return the compliment thus offered.

257. A non-commissioned officer or soldier being seated, and without particular occupation, will rise on the approach of an officer, and make the customary salutation. If standing, he will turn toward the officer for the same purpose. If the parties remain in the same place or on the same ground, such compliments need not be repeated.
Somewhere I have seen where the soldier approaching an officer salutes with the hand furthest from the officer, but I cannot find it.
Thanks!
Pat

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