With the French artillery on the Western Front

155mm_Field Gun

A 155mm Field Gun in use with US army in 1918

Further extracts from the diary of Captain Twomey from 58 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, on attachment to the French Artillery for a week:

In the afternoon we went back to MONEREN with the Commandant to choose a position and an O.P. for one Battery for the time when they will draw behind the Maginot Line. Actually the reconnaissance had been previously done by the Lieutenant Officer Orienteur who accompanied us. The whole thing seemed the least bit laid on for our benefit – the motions of doing a reconnaissance were gone through!!

The idea is that the Battery in WALDWIESSTROFF will go back first and get into action then the other two will withdraw straight back behind the Maginot to somewhere in the neighbourhood of KLANG – leapfrogging in fact. I have an idea that it is to happen in the not too distant future. The French are itching to lure the Bosche on under the guns of the Maginot.

While in MONEREN we looked over the position of a 155mm (6inch) gun section in action in the edge of the village. It is a most impressive gun with a split trail. The trails were well straddled and the spades well dug in and pegged down. The legs of the trail are about 18inches across vertically and with a large pit dug between them to allow the breech to come down at extreme elevation an admirable gun pit with the maximum of protection is formed and the gun recoils into it. It shoots up to 25000 meters and has a traverse of 30 degres each way. This means that at extreme range it covers 25 Kilometers (about 15 miles) in breadth of the enemy country, which makes you think. The shell is about 43 Kilos. Date of manufacture 1936.

See TNA WO 217/7

Wargunner has much more on the 58 Medium Regiment and a full transcript of Captain Twomey’s Diary, together with images of the area described as it is today.

Contemporary footage of French heavy artillery:

Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: