WW2 US Artillery Ammunition

With the new AFV Club 155mm Long Tom and 8-inch Howitzer how no one makes ammunition for the and also gun crews and tools and associated equipment so one can make a proper firing diorama of the guns in action, I believe this would also extend to the models of the M12, M40 and M1 155mm howitzer models too, and a load for the M4HST ammo box.

There is the AFV Club ammo, which is close to how WWII ammo was marked. Basically leave the white stripe off the powder canisters and you are good.

105mm ammo as well.

There is this crew set.

A few kits come with comes with US crews.

There are a few in resin as well.


Listed as Korean war, but would also work for Pacific Theater WWII.

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The new AFV Club WW2 versions of the Long Tom and the 8-inch, both include a very good set of gun implements - rammers, loading trays, sponge, etc.


never saw powder marked like that in the bottom photo. Plus the bags just look wrong, and I’ve shot white bag powder made in 44 and 45. The guy in the middle looks like he’s setting the time on a fuse. The one photo near the top looks about like what you’d expect for a Long Tom. They set pretty high (breech). It’s also interesting to see them using the bell adapter on the ramming staff. Most used are a flat hat shaped piece, but the bell adapter was issued to every gun. It’s used to punch a round out of the tube. I’d like to see how that’s done on the Long Tom. Can be dangerous.
The M2a2 crew is not really right. You don’t have ruck sacks and things hanging on your back. It’s a dangerous place between the trails (USMC). The guys in their winter gear are not too bad, but still don’t like wearing a great coat in there.

 The AFV 155/8" is really for something out of the sixties. And they are not complete. They look like the lack the date of manufacture, and lot numbers.  I took care of the powder bunker as well as the projos, and just can't remember the white band, but your probably right. There is (or was) a lot number on each powder tube. Only reason I remember this is that we had contact powder lots as well as contact projo lots we kept apart from the normal use stuff. They were always used in the danger close to friendlies. About once a week! Everyday, the ammo crew would go thru each projo bunker and powder bunker doing an inventory. When tey got down to less than 300 rounds
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hit the wrong button!

When they got down to less than 300 rounds total, they would have folks in the rear find a new contact lot. The old contact lot would then be replaced with a new one under priority. At one time they even had a contact fuse lot number, but that was done away with.

I was a Navy Gunner’s Mate and we do things differently, but I am sure the markings on the ammunition pieces are the same with different names according to the branch of service and time period. I also know the info like lot numbers and so forth might be different. I have recently found a photo in a book of a loaded M23 Ammunition Trailer (I will have to post it) and it shows that the powder charges were in a triple packing tube with the projecties stored underneath with lift rings in the nose (just like being palletized) and the fuses stored in a box on the front of the trailer body. This is the kind of thing I wish they would make along with fuse wrenches, gunner’s quadrants and all those special and normal tools that would be carried on the prime mover and kept near the gun during firing for breakdowns and maintenance. In addition to the loading / ramming crews (such as those made by Hobby Fan), I would think you would have personal preparing the propellant charges and installing fuses to keep the gun servixed with ammunition for missions.

a triple powder pack is new to me, but not saying they didn’t as well. On a land based gun; one man is tasked with keeping the powder and projo’s stashed. I did that, and yet every morning the ammo section came by and did their own inventory. By all rights the section chief should be the one setting the time on fuses, but that I also never saw. I cut the powder charges, and the section chief handed them over to me (well he was good for that job). Why I cut the powder charges was that I wanted it done my way. Others could have done just as well, but they had their own mess to deal with. My section chief (actually the only one I had on three guns) was grossly incompetent. By all rights he’s supposed to check the gunner before the shot and make sure the powder charge is correct at the sametime. I taught everybody how to cut powder, and that chief never could get it right! Not rocket science. WWII guns still used the level protractor for the quadrant, but we had all that built into the sight by the time I showed up. How they managed the protractor without getting killed is something I can’t figure out.

A typical 155 howitzer starts out with nine to eleven men to crew it. One guy is sent right away to what was known as service battery; even though they did not have a gun. They work in the rear getting ammo and powder resupplied to the field. Another guy is sent to the ammo section in the field. They actually get the ammo to the guns. You’ll almost always have a guy lost to KP or guard duty, and now your starting to get thin on man power. Five to seven is the norm. When we shot H&I’s, we took our time (usually 300+ shots), and would rotate positions a lot. I usually loaded, but often filled in for the AG or gunner when they had problems. Usually the “runs” or with the AG, his shoulder started hurting him. I once or twice was on a four man crew with top coming by to run the field phone. A four man crew can’t shoot the gun. Have been in crews with a First LT. as gunner and a cook on the phone. Those guys got caught standing around. I once was the third man on a three man crew, and they had to call the piece out. The Div. General and our Colonel went to Chu Lai’s replacement depot a snatch a dozen infantrymen. They just get upset when you have to call a piece out because you can’t shoot it.

I spoke of my Colonel several times in the past. Let me tell you upfront; he was top notch. Kinda strict, but also loved his kids. More than once he cancelled a medvac and hauled a bloody mess to the hospital cause he wasn’t waiting. I’ve only seen three or four that would do that. I saw him step off his slick on 219, and take command while his chopper took half of us to the 312th hospital. Not only did he step off the chopper, but I handed him a good M16 covered with blood and my personal 28 mag bandolier. I told him it was kinda messy looking but Fred always kept a good gun. He thanked me! Then I reached in my pocket and handed him three mags for his 45, and told him he might need these. He did well while the bad guys regrouped and licked their wounds. Knew he was gonna be just fine as an infantry platoon was five minutes out. Then we were gone. He was that kind of a man.


I scanned this photo from the Squadron/Signal book “155mm Long Tom Gun In Action” by David Doyle:


Very interesting. The above powder can 3-pack looks a lot like the 105mm round 3-packs in the AFV Club 105mm Ammo set.

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Yes I noticed, I wonder what the actual dimensions are for the 155 and 8 inch? But this is kind of what I was talking about. I would think that each gun would have a supply near it for missions. I want to build my 155 in a firing position with a full gun crew and ammo / tools for it. At least that is my “fantasy” in a perfect world…lol ( and there would probably be a pile of spent packing tubes near by too)

Cool post Gary, thanks for sharing it. Your Col. sounds like a real good man/////My Dad worked at APG for almost forty years and one of the guys he used to work with was in a Long Tom arty unit in WW2 under Patton, but I was too young when I met him and my Dad is too old to remember the things he said now…
oh well…My first ship was BB62 and we had 30-40 per 5 inch mount and 50-76 per 16 inch turret…I was in the 5in/38 battery by the way back in my screaming seaman days.

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Talking about 155mm ammo…



Thank you I forgot about that web site…I thought it had been taken down. I wish someone would update it though.

is that ship the New Jersey? If so, the NJ shot in my area a couple times (actually 20 miles east of us, but we were in the area when they shot). I help blow a dud 16" round that still had the data painted on it! Made in 1944.

We had quite a bit more ammo on hand after we learned a valuable lesson in Feb.68. At that time we ran out of ammo, and was down to one gun (limping). We had a projo bunker with roughly 150 standard HE rounds in it (100 fused up). And another group of the same that contained about sixty four rounds reserved for contact missions (close support). Outside that bunker were two or three small bunkers with thin skinned rounds in them for Cofram, WP, and illumination rounds. Maybe 50 Cofram, and 40 WP, plus another sixteen or so illumination rounds. Then there was a ready rack out front that had well over a hundred rounds in it (probably 128 rounds). Fuses were kept apart from the rounds in another small bunker because the fuse is dangerous. The ready rack had everything fused up with PD fuses except for about thirty rounds. Never fused up the thin skinned stuff, and most of the time it was a timed fuse. The powder bunker was pretty crammed, but still easily had easy access. There of course was white bag, green bag and a contact lot of each type. Interestingly; we almost never removed the empty canisters, but simply refilled them with new stock. Contact powder was completely replaced. I went in there about ten in the morning and did my business everyday. No one went in there but me unless it was a fire mission, and I then would tell them what to take. Normally we used the ready rack first, as it was the easiest to re-supply. We shot 80% PD fuses, and 20% timed fuses (565, 563, and I think M119’s). The 563 must have been old because once we ran out of them we didn’t see them anymore. HE was what we shot 85% of the time, but SF and the CAV were kinds were fond of WP. I shot the very first Cofram ever used in combat, and truthfully we thought it was way over hyped. It was a game changer, and the inventory went from 20 rounds to fifty over night. SF was rather fond of it.

Being in an independent arty unit made you the guest for for anybody looking for warm bodies. Some guys hated this, but I liked it as it kept you busy and made time fly. I’ve shot for all the big players in I-Corp many times, and did OP’s with too many of them. I thought for quite a long time that there was one of them I’d never shot with (1st CAV AM), but then thinking about it I shot several times with them. I shot mostly with SF, 196th infantry, 1st Armored CAV, and the 101st Airborne. Still I shot for Marines every now and then (when they drifted into range due to poor map reading skills). Crazy to think about how bad the map reading skills were all over. The only good ones were with the 101st.


yes Gary BB62 is the New Jersey (she is a museum at Camden NJ now). More interesting info too thank you very much.

never seen anything like that! We need a kit

they were blowing intell targets for SF, and the shoot was going to be done by a heavy cruiser that had the range (Boston? or Newport news?). They were told the had an appointment with something code named “big boy” at about four in the afternoon on a Sunday. Came to a hill top and the folks got into a heated argument with the Navy on whether or not they would reveal their location on the radio (A No No). Finally somebody chimed in and said to move out three hundred yards. There was a valley with two or three hay stacks and a bamboo hut. Where’s the target? The first shot was roughly 400 yards south as predicted. Adjusted the next round to hit the hay stack furthest away. It blew up for three minutes. Then the next one was similar to be followed by the dud round (actually two duds in a row). The hut blew up next and the last haystack came about after we moved again. The rounds were 1944 manufacture, as you could still read much of the paint! Turns out we were shooting at their max range, and the rounds came in flat and skipped about an eighth of a mile without exploding. Nothing a glob of C4 with a five minute fuse couldn’t fix. Yet I can’t remember the explosions. That was out a little west of Tam Key and the French Prison. I hated that valley, and the first time I went thru there I was told I was nuts for even thinking about it. I was the only guy there with anytime in an FDC, and the rest was a learning curve. Nothing good ever came to me back there, and I went thru there three times. One guy won the CMH a couple hundred yards north of the road, and there has to be at least a dozen and a half silver stars handed out like jelly beans there. Just unfriendly neighbors there


This might be a dumb question, but does the 155mm howitzer fire the same ammo as the 155 cannon?

Here’s a nice WWII color photo of an ammo dump in England for some color and marking reference

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No…According to Wikipedia at least :roll_eyes: