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Post Info TOPIC: The Lewis in Belgium and Russia - A Partial Answer.


Legend

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The Lewis in Belgium and Russia - A Partial Answer.
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Both these subjects have been raised in days gone by. Have managed to get a look at a copy of Easterly's improbably named The Belgian Rattlesnake, and it throws some light on the Lewis in Belgian and Russian hands. It doesn't clear everything up, but gets us a bit further forward.

Lewis's first 4 prototypes were made by the Savage Arms Co. of New York in Sep 1911.

(As previously discussed), Lewis set up Armes Automatiques Lewis in Belgium in Nov 1912 after promising trials with several European armies and an invitation from the Belgian government. Belgium's interest seems to have been in the Lewis as an aircraft gun, and the first air-to-ground use of a machine gun in Europe was the trial with the Belgian Air Force.

AAL's offices were in Antwerp, but the most obvious place for the factory was Liege, where the Belgian state armaments factory Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre was already established. However, Lewis was unhappy with its proximity to the German border, realising the possibility of invasion and fearing the plant would easily fall into German hands. He was also concerned that some Belgian but pro-German directors of Fabrique Nationale were on the board of the German parent company, Deutsche Waffen und Munitions Fabriken. (See this on DWM and FN: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Waffen_und_Munitionsfabriken ) That was solved by buying their shares at inflated prices, though it was suspected that a director sent a prototype to Germany.

Lewis had had talks with BSA as early as 1913, with a view to mass production and the eradication of some faults. Two trial examples were commissioned and an order for 50 placed in April. In the meantime, the Belgian govt had ordered 50 guns from AAL. On advice from one of Lewis's co-directors, work was transferred from Liege to Antwerp on July 17th 1914. Five Lewises were delivered to the Belgians on August 2nd, the day after the German invasion, and Belgium had ordered a further 124 by August 14th.

However, on the 15th all AAL staff evacuated to England. Lewis himself remained in Antwerp until the 29th, when the Royal Naval Division arrived.

Apparently, 15 Lewises were "sent to Belgium" (presumably from BSA) and, it is claimed, were in use by the Belgian IV Division in the defence of Namur, the first use in battle. They are also said to have been used during the sorties from Antwerp. (What is interesting about that is that the IV Division was separated from the rest of the Belgian Army and fell back towards the French. They were then sent via land and sea to Antwerp to rejoin the main body, so those might have been the same weapons.)

I know this isn't crystal clear, but it does seem to support my theory that the number of Lewises in Belgian hands was very small, maybe only 20. Some of them must have been the ones fitted to Belgian armoured cars.

All production for the British Army was at BSA from then on. The Belgians subsequently adopted the Chauchat, and it doesn't seem as if they received any further Lewises.

Now it gets very interesting. The Savage Arms Co. offered to manufacture Lewises for the Canadian Army, and received an order for 500. Savage began to manufacture both Air and Ground versions and spares, and the USA took a belated interest, ordering 3 guns.

Which brings us to Russia.

Despite the ubiquitous assertion that Russia had large numbers of Lewises, there is grave doubt. There are some photos of Russian Morane-Saulnier aircraft sporting Lewises, and it is believed that a few were supplied by BSA before the War. The British Ministry of Munitions makes no mention of deliveries to Russia, but any supplied might have come from the War Office via the RFC.

In December 1916 The Russian Naval Air Service ordered 200 British Lewises, and the Russian Imperial Government ordered 10,000 in January 1917. The numbers involved would seem to indicate that the former were for aircraft and the latter for ground use. Meetings were held to discuss the order, but Easterly makes no mention of any deliveries. And, of course, the Revolution began in March of the same year. It seems unlikely that BSA could produce so many weapons in such a short time or that GB would be prepared to divert so large a number from her own Army. On top of which, GB would hardly be willing to supply arms of any kind to the Soviets. For the same reason, Savage and AAL do not seem to have responded to Russian enquiries.

There are some Lewis Manuals, printed in October 1918, in Russian and English/Russian, but I can only imagine that they are in some way connected with the Allied Interventions or intended for the White Russians, since supplying the Soviets would have been unthinkable. Wikipedia is unclear on the subject, saying that nearly 6,000 or possibly two lots of 6,000 might have reached Russia. The problem is that I have never seen a photograph of a Lewis in Russian service. Easterly shows a photo of a group of exceptionally unattractive Communist guerrillas (male and female) with an assortment of weapons including one early Lewis and half-a-dozen drum magazines. Surely, if thousands of Lewises were in service with the Imperial forces there would be some evidence. As mentioned in the previous thread, I think the Lewises used in the Civil War came from foreign troops, perhaps supplied to the Whites and captured by the Reds.

My assessment: Belgium - about 20; Russia - ?

Feel free to argue.

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Commander in Chief

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James H wrote:
On top of which, GB would hardly be willing to supply arms of any kind to the Soviets. For the same reason, Savage and AAL do not seem to have responded to Russian enquiries....
...There are some Lewis Manuals, printed in October 1918, in Russian and English/Russian, but I can only imagine that they are in some way connected with the Allied Interventions or intended for the White Russians, since supplying the Soviets would have been unthinkable.

Hi James,

interesting reading!
Supplying the Soviets: wasn't there some about the Mosin-Nagant rifles made by Westinghouse too, I think that batch was hold back when the soviets took over.
And again..a little of topic, I just can't leave it...the Dutch army had a device for their Lewis guns, for training. A simulator, attached on the gun with a little crank and rattle making the noise of a firing gun. All to save blank ammo...


-- Edited by kieffer on Friday 20th of August 2010 08:13:57 AM

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two pictures of Belgian Lewis guns.
One on lieutenant Henkart's car, one on a Farman.

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Legend

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A Lewis and Madsenin a Russian Armourers workshop this is probarbly a train car and maybe part of the the Czech legion.... Colts are also visible in some of the photos from this site as well as Adrian helmets and mortars etc....

http://web.mac.com/czechlegion/TheCzechLegion/Introduction.html


Cheerswink



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Legend

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Further reading in what is a very complicated book:

Germany seems to have had some Lewises pre-War, but didn't take a great deal of interest. Later they were very impressed with it, but didn't bother to produce any because they captured enough to equip themselves - according to British estimates, 10,000+. Many Lewises changed hands several times.

Easterly says that the Germans captured some Lewises as early as 1914. That couldn't have been from the B.E.F., si it must have been from the Dunkirk Squadron, the Belgian ACs, or the Belgian IV Division.

He also shows a "Russian Infantry Model Lewis" - it has "Russian" stamped on it in several places - and it's the 1914 Model, so presumably not a pre-War model. But then the story just peters out. Easterly says "the use of the Lewis in Russian service, as both ground and aircraft armament, is sparsely documented." However, accounts of the Northern Intervention do mention Lewises in British, U.S., and Russian hands.

Incidentally, the Lewis did not see service with the AEF. It was only issued to Marines, and the weapons were confiscated when the men arrived in France, which was highly inconvenient because they had trained with them in America. This seems to have been the result of some antagonism towards Lewis himself. They got Chauchats instead. That would mean that the Lewis in the HT American Infantry set shouldn't be there.

As regards firing from the hip, which has already been questioned, The Tactical Deployment of Lewis Guns says, "during 1917 a number of instances have occurred of its successful and unsuccessful use, both with and without a sling. The Lewis gun, fired from the hip, is less effective than the Chauchat - a weapon which is about half its weight, fires more slowly, and has more portable ammunition - but at times it has undoubtedly proved useful." A U.S. soldier can be seen here attempting not very convincingly to prove that the Lewis is "light enough to be held while firing": http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=77510



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Legend

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Sorry, Ivor, we seem to have leapfrogged.

The photo and the mention of Adrians has confused me somewhat. AFAIK the Czechs in French and Italian service had the Adrian (and we've discussed the Russian Adrian at great length elsewhere).

More digging required. Shall report back.

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Legend

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Hi James I have certainly read accounts ofthe USA using the Lewis in Russia during the intervention there are several medal winners who are specifically sited as using this gun during the actions involved, this has always seemed somewhat at odds to me especially with the insistance that the US didnt use this weapon...

*Phillips, Clifford F.

Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Clifford F. Phillips, First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism while serving with Company H, 339th Infantry, 85th Division (Detachment in North Russia), in action near Bolshieozerke, Russia, April 2, 1919. With a few men and two Lewis guns, First Lieutenant Phillips held the enemy counter attack for an hour until reinforcements arrived. He constantly encouraged and inspired his men by the example of heroism he set, refusing all aid when seriously wounded, to avoid weakening his small effective forces.

General Orders No. 95, War Department, 1919

Born: at Gage County, Nebraska

Home Town: Falls City, Nebraska

Pratt, Robert M.

Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Robert M. Pratt, Corporal, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism while serving with Company M, 339th Infantry, 85th Division (Detachment in North Russia), in action near Enitsa, Russia, October 17, 1918. In an attack on an enemy strong point, Corporal Pratt led his Lewis gun crew in a gallant dash in the face of enemy fire, 80 yards ahead of the other members of his platoon. His section delivered an accurate and enfilading fire, which forced the enemy to retire. This act enabled his company to capture the entire enemy position.
General Orders No. 16, War Department, 11920Born: at Ashton, Michigan

Home Town: Detroit, Michigan

Bell, Charles J.

Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Charles J. Bell, Private, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism while serving with Company B, 339th Infantry, 85th Division (Detachment in North Russia), in action near Tulgas, Russia, November 12, 1918. After the blockhouse in which he and several other comrades were stationed had been hit by a high-explosive shell, killing two and wounding five, and himself had been so severely wounded as to be blinded in one eye, Private Bell continued to remain at his post and fired his Lewis gun until relieved. This continued under heavy shell fire.

General Orders No. 108, War Department, 1919

Born: at Louisville, Kentucky

Home Town: Louisville, Kentucky


Grahek, Matthew George

Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Matthew George Grahek, Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism while serving with Company M, 339th Infantry, 85th Division (Detachment in North Russia), in action near Obozerskaya, Russia, September 29, 1918. Sergeant Grahek voluntarily went forward about 150 yards in advance of our line, exposed to heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, and rescued a wounded comrade. Again, on April 1, 1919, near Bolshieozerke, Russia, he advanced alone with a Lewis gun against enemy snipers concealed in a ditch and routed them.

General Orders No. 19, War Department, 1920

Born: at Germany

Home Town: Detroit, Michigan


Grobbel, Clement A.

Citation:

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Clement A. Grobbel, Corporal, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism while serving with Company I, 339th Infantry, 85th Division (Detachment in North Russia), in action near Emtsa, Russia, November 4, 1918. When attacked by a largely superior force, in order to deliver a more effective fire, Corporal Grobbel voluntarily left his trench and took up a position on top of the railroad bank. Although exposed to heavy machine-gun fire, he held his position and fired his Lewis gun until the enemy was repulsed. The conduct of this noncommissioned officer was an important factor in the successful defense of the position.

General Orders No. 14, War Department, 1920

Born: at Warren, Michigan



http://www.homeofheroes.com/members/books/dsc/03_DSC-NRussia.doc

More info involving Corporal Pratt's lewis gun teamhere...

http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/download/csipubs/chew.pdf


Cheerswink



-- Edited by Ironsides on Friday 20th of August 2010 03:03:54 PM

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Legend

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Hi James,

Quite a few sources say the US Army didn't use the Lewis on overseas service at all. That seems to be wrong.

This page http://www.oryansroughnecks.org/lewis.html about the 107th Infantry Regiment of the 27th (New York) Division certainly talks about using the Lewis - and says other units did as well:

In U.S. Army units that used the Lewis Gun it was an organic part of the 59 man infantry platoon. The platoon's 4th section was an automatic riflemen section consisting of a sergeant, 2 corporals (each in charge of two guns), 4 Lewis gunners (pfc's) and 8 riflemen (pvts). In an assault the firepower of the Lewis was greatly appreciated and very effective.
Interestingly, the article states that the .303 British round was used. Perhaps this was because the 27th Division, together with 30th were the American II Corps, operating as such in close co-operation with the British in the 100 Day Campaign against the Hindenburg Line.

There are some pictures of that action under http://www.borrowedsoldiers.com/gallery.html, including Doughboy of the 119th Infantry aiming a Lewis Gun. Naturally my favourite from that suite is Australian Digger leading a tank through Bellicourt - there are 42 interesting photos there, including armour and artillery.

Regards,

Steve

P.S. I notice the same Lewis gunner is being claimed by both the 107th Regiment and the 119th. Well, that's one way to stretch out armaments.


-- Edited by Rectalgia on Friday 20th of August 2010 06:17:03 PM

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Legend

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The order restricting the U.S. Lewis to aircraft use came from Pershing. Gen. William Crozier did not approve of the weapon. Some sources say that Crozier disliked and/or resented Lewis, but others say ihis view was based purely on its performance. What this biog http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Crozier_%28artillerist%29 doesn't tell you is that Crozier was the subject of an inquiry after the War and was relieved of his duties for incompetence.

The pic of the 2 Americans with the Lewis is quite well-known and has been used in the past to claim that U.S. troops had the Lewis. However, the man with the gun is wearing leggings, which suggests it's a training shot. Easterly is adamant that no Savage-made guns were isued to the Army or Marines. After the War (and Crozier's removal) the USA adopted the lewis in large numbers, so it's no surprise that it's mentioned a lot in Russia.

However, it's believed that a few Lewises might have been smuggled from America to France and that some Americans got hold of .303 Lewises from British stores, so it's possible that some did see unofficial action.


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Legend

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Hi JamesI dont dought that that is true and its clear that Lewis was not liked by the officer concerned who seemed to havehad avendetta againsthim and the adoption of his machine gun...
However four of the five citations I listed are from 1918with three of them before the armistice and a forth on the 12th november 1918, this isnt the original source though that i remember..it may beI first saw these as articles(or an article)in the New York Times, at least one man cited in the doc is a British soldier...
I guess its possible the guns were supplied by the British in north russia,I dont think there is any confusion with other automatic rifles such as the chauchat as i have seen similar citations listed naming that weapon in US service for actions on the western front....
I would agree that the lewis gunner in the pic is not in action and maybe not evenat the front after all its not loaded and someone had to be there to take the pic... but thenI think we've discussed that one before....
My point is though, and i dont want to labour it, that the lewis is recorded as being used even if it was in an unofficial capacityand this must have been in some numbers certainly more then the belgians appear to have had...
The question then arisesdid the British supply their White Russian Allies with some at this time as well? assuming that the Lewises were supplied by Britain to US troops in the first place, asit seems they are the only ones with a genuine supply....

Cheerssmile


-- Edited by Ironsides on Saturday 21st of August 2010 12:02:00 AM

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An Article from the NYT on Lewis...

Cheerssmile



-- Edited by Ironsides on Saturday 21st of August 2010 12:01:25 AM

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Legend

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Well, that testimony is interesting Ivor - throws a little more light on things, though for sworn evidence it certainly contains a lot of conjecture/opinion. But it seems that's the way the US Senate Committee on Armed Services like to conduct its inquiries. Heh, I loved it when the good Senator tried to make the point to the Savage Arms Corp witness that the (limited availability) .30-06 Lewis ("American ammunition") was "of course" superior to the (formerly readily available) British .303 and received the reply "That is a question. It (the .303) is shooting very well. It is killing people on the front." My words in itallics. The point being the US troops weren't receiving US LMGs at all.

Without doubt elements of the US 27th Division (at least) used the Lewis in joint-force operations in the final 100 days of WW1 and there is something to suggest those were British .303 guns and possibly, like the French 75s and the Chauchat LMGs, a case of allies "stripping themselves" to bring the fresh US troops "up to specification" for participation on an equal footing for the hard-driving advances characterising that phase of the war. The full story is still emerging of the American II Corps (27th and 30th Divisions), perhaps the most integrated of the US landforces participating in the allied offensives.

US troops had already participated in a joint-force operation (a fully-integrated operation with US platoons embedded within AIF companies) in the Battle of Hamel - 4 companies, 2 each from the 131st and 132nd Regiments of the US 33rd Division - against General Pershing's wishes. That was a limited affair, over in a single day but presumably sufficient for the American commanders and the Imperial high command to appreciate the pace and hitting-power needed for US infantry to both "keep up" (or to forge ahead, as was their inclination) and to protect themselves against excessive casualties while so doing.

No matter which way it is cut, models sets showing US troops with Lewises, in the context of use on the Western front, cannot be written off out of hand. They may have been atypical, the primary sources may not be in evidence, but we have seen indications too strong to ignore. And of course it seems very definite in relation to the Russian intervention.

P.S. A brief account of II Corps formations and operations is given in http://www.oryansroughnecks.org/second_corps.html. It is noted elsewhere - http://www.oryansroughnecks.org/jackson2.html (photo caption)
27th Division soldiers take a break. Note that ALL their clothing and equipment is British issue.
The only way an observer would have known these men were American would have been attitudes and accents
- so maybe the US uniform and Lewis gun combination would be a little less likely than seemed at first blush.

-- Edited by Rectalgia on Saturday 21st of August 2010 06:06:35 AM

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The foto of the Farman probably dates to 1912; the test with lts Nelis and Stellingwerf . they fired at some white blankets on the ground and were threatened with a court martial for the destruction of army property !

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Legend

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US Lewis Gun Citations Western Front... 27th Division August/September/October 1918.... forgotI had this one....

Private John ward
Sergeant Frances L Larkin
Mess Sergeant Hendricus Wipprecht
Corporal Alvin Swenson
Richard Reed(no rank)
Edward s dimmick(no rank)
Harry Cundy(no rank)
Salvatore Scarpati(no rank)
Mechanic Jens A Jenson
JohnJ O'Donnell(first class)used two guns one destroyed
Sergeant Harry P Egeling
Corporal Harold ? kennedy
Mechanic ElmarM Blekely
Philip E Hubbard(first class)
William Knight(first class) using a lewis gun as an Automatic rifle
George A Cole(first class)

No sure if thats all in this news report....

Cheerssmile



-- Edited by Ironsides on Saturday 21st of August 2010 02:47:40 PM

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Looked this up this morningsome patents for the Lewis...


Cheerssmile

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cdr wrote:

The foto of the Farman probably dates to 1912; the test with lts Nelis and Stellingwerf . they fired at some white blankets on the ground and were threatened with a court martial for the destruction of army property !



Hi Carl,

somewhere I read that the Belgian Lewis guns all had the small stock, a letter S was stamped on it. I don't know if that's true, as the exact number of guns seems to be some kind of mystery it sounds a bit funny that the type is known.
Army property as you mentioned: they must have had some register on behalf of all the weaponry in use, as armies all over the world have the habit to register and name everything, being very picky when things are missing or wrongly used. But may be archives were lost during one of the two wars?


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Anyone know anything about the Slavo British Legion, apparantly a British raised andled Russian force in north russia, fully equipt by the British.....


Cheerssmile

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Legend

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In view of the above, I resile somewhat. Easterly's book is labyrinthine, but he is adamant that no Lewises saw official service with the AEF.

Most of the 400 in existence were handed in before the USMC embarked for Europe. 110 were taken on board but were confiscated on arrival and "locked in a French warehouse."

It was the U.S. Navy that first ordered Lewises, and they were the Ground version. The Army later changed its mind and ordered weapons from Savage, and at the Armistice (acc. to Easterly) the US had "over 2,500 Ground-type Lewises on the inventory. none of which had seen action."

I can only assume that any Lewises that saw action in US hands on the Western Front were British.

Easterly doesn't mention the Intervention at all (as far as I can see). But since there were British, Canadian, Australian, and American troops involved, one would expect Lewises to be amongst their weapons, and Ivor's references are indisputable. Should we assume, considering the scant evidence of any purchase of Lewises by the Imperial government, that the Lewises described came with the Allied Intervention forces?

P.S. I've only googled the Slavo-British legion, but it sounds most interesting. A General Ironside seems to have been involved.

-- Edited by James H on Monday 23rd of August 2010 12:05:18 PM

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Legend

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I would sayits likely the Lewis gun were supplied by the British on the western front at least to the US 27th Division and if the Russians had them they were supplied by the British(well they had one but no date on the pic) , let me refrase that... it seems most likely that the Russians had the Lewis and that it was supplied by the British dispite thepaucity of evidence.... the question remains when did they first get it in quantity and how?....
Andwhere did the US troops in north Russia get their guns?

"In June(1919), British supplies finally arrived including six 18 pdr batteries, 2 4.5 Howitzer batteries, a good number of Vickers and Lewis Guns.

from this article

http://hubpages.com/hub/Dispatches-From-the-Front--South-Russia--1919

Lewis Guns ....2,743

but then that is south Russia 1919

http://hubpages.com/hub/Churchills-Private-War-British-Intervention-in-South-Russia--1919

However it seems they did not know how to use this gun and had to be taught to do so by the British mission...

Cheerssmile

-- Edited by Ironsides on Monday 23rd of August 2010 05:16:27 PM

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Legend

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Here is a 1919 book about the US 27th Infantry Division. At a (very) quick glance it doesn't seem to add much enlightenment about the source of the Lewis Guns but it certainly mentions their use of them. And it was written befor "the mists of time" descended. Maybe some closer reading is warranted - it's more about the sacrifices than the other detail though.

http://www.archive.org/stream/27thdivisionstor00unitiala#page/n1/mode/2up

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Legend

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Thanks for the link I will have a close look at that, heres another news article which gives some more details of citations involving lewis guns in the 27th Division..

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Legend

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Thanks, there's at least four of those gallantry medal awards to Lewis gunners. Interesting - looks like some received both US and Imperial awards for the same actions ("double medalling"). I may have misread - the British awards would be written up in the London Gazette, regardless of the citations reported in the NYT. Except for the Military Medal. The (British) citations for late war MMs are notoriously hard to find. Possibly the NYT citations are the only ones there are in some MM cases.

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More Americans with British equipment.

This time a man with a Lee-Enfield No 1 Mk III* from the 132nd Infantry Regiment, US 33rd Division which saw action at Hamel (4 July 1918) where they operated (as noted earlier) in platoons within the Australian battalions. This picture was taken later, 12 August, and shows Pte Harry Shelley being awarded the DCM (British) by King George. Picture and information from http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=135393 - and it seems he later received the US DSC for the same action (so they did 'double medal'). The award is also pictured in History's Greatest War but with several small inaccuracies in the caption.

This is not absolute further evidence of the use of loaned Lewis's by the Americans but operating with complete (but scattered) platoons (and referencing the information about platoon organisation in the 27th Division mentioned earlier above) they must have - no way would there be a separate American ammunition resupply provided in such a rapid push as was Hamel. And they probably would have been fighting in their own uniforms by the look. SO Lewis gunners in American Uniforms on the Western front seems to be back on the table, by implication at least.

Note Pte Shelley carries the rifle in the American (not British) 'slope arms' position. The British slope has the rifle on its side, bolt handle uppermost and is carried a little lower (forearm parallel to the ground). Don't think I would relish marching a mile or two in the American position, especially with bayonet fixed.

-- Edited by Rectalgia on Friday 27th of August 2010 09:55:57 AM

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Legend

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Good find private shelley rings a bell maybe i read his account somewhere... looks like were finally getting to the bottom of this....


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Legend

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Heres an extract from "The Handbook of Ordnance Data" Nov 15 1918...

http://www.archive.org/details/handbookordnanc00unkngoog


Cheerswink

-- Edited by Ironsides on Tuesday 22nd of February 2011 12:33:30 AM

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Legend

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There's rather more in America's Munitions 1917-1918, page 227 & ff. I don't "open it" at that page in the above link - far too much fascinating detail to be seen on the way - but the slide control down the bottom will allow rapid location if preferred.

Now, none of these publications makes mention of the equipment arrangements made for II Corps which, since it was "embedded" (as we might say today) with the British is the "forgotten army", as far as virtually all of the contemporary US treatment of US military topics is concerned. Forgotten, as indeed US historians seem to have realised relatively recently and are still in the process of making right.

Good Lord, these Archive.org things will actually read these books aloud. It's sort of like getting a bed-time story from Stephen Hawking.

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Legend

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I thought the entry in the Ordnance hand book was usefull as it has a cut of date is concise and to the point...

In this book by Crozier theresabout a hundred pages dealing with MGs and the ins and outs of the Lewis/Crozier case there is some quite usefull info but difficult to extractand one wonders why so much......

http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924030758829


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-- Edited by Ironsides on Monday 21st of February 2011 11:44:21 PM

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Legend

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Ironsides wrote:

I thought the entry in the Ordnance hand book was usefull as it has a cut of date is concise and to the point...

In this book by Crozier theresabout a hundred pages dealing with MGs and the ins and outs of the Lewis/Crozier case there is some quite usefull info but difficult to extractand one wonders why so much......


Lewis made some serious charges of bias against him, indeed of malice, on the part of just about everybody but in particular by and of the leadership of the Ordnance Department (Crozier). Those charges were made in public, came on top of much other criticism of America's progress in gearing up to support a massive expeditionary effort in a theatre she had long forsworn but for which there was significant domestic sympathy but for both sides of the war - and certainly Lewis's charges could not be dismissed out of hand.

Maj Gen Crozier's book sets out to demonstrate the scope of the Ordnance Department's challenge and to praise its (his) achievements ("and [I] shall try to make it appear whether the Ordnance Department met its responsibilities well, or [if] better action could have been taken under the circumstances."). It does not suit his purpose to gloss over the detail of the Department's engagement with Lewis and particularly not to omit exhaustive coverage of the proceedings of the Inquiry of the Military Committee of the Senate into the matters raised and which largely supported the Chief of Ordnance (Crozier) and the Board of Inquiry to recommend on the adoption of "machine rifles" for the army.

It is fashionable to sneer (or at least look askance) at America as the "litigious society" yet the propensity of that country to air its dirty linen in public pre-dates the relatively easy access to anti-establishment court judgements which is so noticeable from the later part of the 20th century. This disconcerting introspectiveness might be seen by those of us in more conservative societies as the most endearing feature of the U.S.A. But in Crozier's case I think it was clearly self-serving. The extent of his coverage of the Lewis-gun matter perhaps reveals how deeply it disturbed him (or is meant as a distraction from deeper concerns in other matters, which possibility has to be raised in the absence of sufficient study but may well be unfair and unjustified accordingly).

Good heavens, I started boring even myself before I was half-way through. Sorry.

-- Edited by Rectalgia on Tuesday 22nd of February 2011 06:57:27 AM

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Commander in Chief

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Rectalgia wrote:


Note Pte Shelley carries the rifle in the American (not British) 'slope arms' position. The British slope has the rifle on its side, bolt handle uppermost and is carried a little lower (forearm parallel to the ground). Don't think I would relish marching a mile or two in the American position, especially with bayonet fixed.


Well, here a doughboy walking and one with a bayonet, slope arms position, though not on parade but standing guard.
The French on the march, that's 'bravoure' I think, dust on the uniforms and kepi but may be these men hadn't 'seen the elephant' yet. Carrying their rifle rather high on the shoulder.
The British soldier had it easier I guess, he certainly had seen the elephant and his rifle too, no other way to carry it back I presume.
Then, as it was all about Lewis guns in US service: training walking fire here.

Regards, Kieffer



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Legend

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Testing the Lewis Gun 13/14 June 1916 including wet and dry sand in magazines, NYT article 19th sept 1916.
The Secound gun is the standard Springfield manufactured Benet Mercier or Portable Hotchkiss...

Crozier mentions this test but not any specific detailshe impliesit was "Unofficial", on pg 137 "Ordnance and the World War"

added "orders" from "United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919: policy-forming documents American Expeditionary Forces." part 3

Cheerssmile

-- Edited by Ironsides on Tuesday 22nd of February 2011 04:14:40 PM

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Legend

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A lewis in White russian Service RCW.... no other info

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Dreama

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Stlealr work there everyone. I'll keep on reading.

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