WW2 Artillery Terminology

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by Buck-Compton, Jul 20, 2022.

  1. Buck-Compton

    Buck-Compton Junior Member

    Hello All,

    I'm currently busy reading Canadian world war 2 war diaries. Now I'm halfway an artillery regiments war diary. I've come across a load of abbreviations of which I have hard time figuring out what they mean. For some I can assume what they mean but for most I don't. I was also unable to find anything on the internet that could help me understand this.

    conc areas -> Concentration Area? Is this the same as what we in NATO terminology would call a Tactical Assembly Area?
    M or Mike targets
    DF Tasks -> I read somewhere this is similar to a final protective fire. Guns are allways laid out at these targets when the guns aren't in use.
    HF Tasks
    HF Plan
    Moreps -> I believe this means Mortar Report but I'm not sure and unaware what the importance and goal of this report would be within combat operations.
    CB Targets
    A Echelon -> I have seen this term in Artillery and Armoured war diaries. Anyone have a clue what this is?
    RT Communications

    Looking forward to your replies!


    Dave55 likes this.
  2. Derek Barton

    Derek Barton Senior Member

    Mike Target - to be fired on by all guns in a regiment.
    DF Tasks - Defensive Fire Tasks. A group of targets pre-registered and numbered to be fired in defense of the supported troops (usually at night). Each gun would have a list of targets with firing data so that in the event of an attack they could be layed and fired by being given the target number by the Command Post. One target would be selected as the DF SOS target. This target would be layed on when not engaged in any other shoot. The command DF SOS to the guns would result in fire being instantly brought down.
    HF Tasks/Plan - Harrasing fire, usually on areas of possible enemy activity such as crossroads.
    CB Targets - Counter Battery or Counter Bombardment targets. Fire brought down on known or suspected enemy gun positions.
    A Echelon - Personnel and vehicles required for maintenance and supply at sub unit level i.e. Battery. They ferry supplies from B Echelon at Regimental HQ to the sub unit. A Echelon is usually located in the wagon lines under control of the Battery Captain (BK) (Bty 2i/c) and the BQMS.
    I think I know the others but I'll let someone with more knowledge answer.
    PackRat, Owen, Dave55 and 2 others like this.
  3. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    From the end:

    RT - radio telephony. Radio comms
    A Echelon - supply vehicles travelling with the guns (as opposed to B Echelon which was further back) Abbreviations and Terms
    CB - counter-battery, suppressing enemy artillery Counter battery Observation in North Africa
    Moreps - believe you are right. Mortars were the biggest problem, as they could not be spotted like guns. They were a major nuisance and needed to be suppressed.
    HF - Harassing Fire, a programmed fire task on a specific area suspected to contain Germans
    DF - Defensive fire (I think), a programmed fire task on a specific area
    Mike Target - combining all the guns in a regiment on a single target
    Conc areas - I believe you are right.

    Royal Artillery Methods in World War 2

    All the best

    PackRat, Dave55 and 4jonboy like this.
  4. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Ended up more or less duplicating the above post.

    Everyone knows what an Uncle Target is: An old git and a slow typist.
    Mike Target is his son and Victor his grandad.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2022
  5. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    A Division could bring down fire from its three Regiments with 72 guns.
    There were also independent Artillery units called AGRA (Army Group Royal Artillery) who would supplement the Divisional fire with Field, Medium, or Heavy guns.
    Gunfire would be directed and corrected by Observers either in static positions OP = Observation Post, mobile FOO=Forward Observation Officer or AOP= Air Observer Post
    They could call in fire from any number of guns from a single round to a full Army Group if necessary.
    They were Commissioned Officers as they carried such heavy responsibility.
    When an observer called for fire he simply asked for Gun Fire from his guns or concentrations which were coded as Mike (Regiment), Uncle (Division), Victor (Corps), William (Army) and Yoke (Army Group).
  6. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member

    If you are going to read many Artillery war diaries, could I suggest you get hold of a copy of my book, Royal Artillery Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations.

    You can PM me if you need any detailed explanations.

    Owen, Charley Fortnum and Chris C like this.
  7. Buck-Compton

    Buck-Compton Junior Member

    Hello all,

    Thank you for your answers allways good to know what I'm looking at.

    Does anyone know if Canadian artillery regiments had some sort of logbook of fires they shot?

    Cheers Remi
  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Hi all,

    Sorry Remi, I have no idea about any logbook of fires.

    I wanted to ask a question related to Remi's earlier ones: could a Mike target be fired by medium guns as opposed to 25-pounders? I have one source saying some mediums were fired, and another one mentioning a Mike target, and I wonder if they could be the same thing.

  9. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    "Concentrations of observed fire" 1943 just refers to Regimental, Divisional, Group and Corps concentrations, being Mike, Uncle Yoke and Victor respectively. Group concentrations were to be "conducted by exactly the same methods as divisional concentrations". The 1944 document just describes Mike targets as 'regimental concentrations' and there's no distinction made between Field, Medium and Heavy Regiments as far as I can see.

    Chris C likes this.
  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Thanks, Gary!
  11. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Phil, I shall have to look up your book as it might prove useful.

    For anyone interested in the Royal Artillery in WW2
    This is a link (I thought that we had lost it) which I frequently refer to. The list of contents covers most subjects.
    It may be dated, possibly over technical for many, taking hours, days or even weeks to absorb but what a legacy for future students of Artillery in WW2.
    Long may it be available online.

    Royal Artillery Methods in World War 2

    Looking for a Unit /Regiment or Battery, uniform identification, insignia or guns etc.
    Royal Artillery in World War 2 - The Royal Artillery 1939-45
    Uncle Jack likes this.
  12. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member

    Uncle Target

    PM me if you want a copy, I have about 30 in storage, available at less than market cost.

    idler and Chris C like this.
  13. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Mist over Dartmoor

    Don't like to disappoint you but I have a copy coming for less than a cup of coffee and a cake.
    I will mention it to my colleagues and a few bookshops I intend to visit in a week or two.
    Christmas is coming (so my adult kids tell me).
    Have you tried hawking them around RA Associations and Military History Groups?

    I am hoping to go to the National Arboretum soon perhaps I should give you a mention in the bookshop.
    Don't know what they are like, never been there.
    The carpark prices are enough to put you off and it's too far to walk from Tamworth.
    They are all geared up for associations to visit by coach.
    Trying to get one of my lads to drive me there and dump me at the entrance.

    I've given up on my book for now. I want to rewrite it, adding more detail in parts, or perhaps explore another medium like video.
    Some years ago it was suggested that I sit and read it to a camera and post it on YT with a few pictures.
    I have lots of pictures now, so might spend the winter giving it a try.

    My father in law had a book published privately. When he died we cleared the house and found over a hundred in boxes in the attic. Taught me a lesson regarding publishers and printers.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2022
  14. op-ack

    op-ack Senior Member

    Too be honest, I gave up trying to sell them ages ago. I know what you mean about publishers, my working document, which is turning into a encyclopaedia of the Royal Regiment, is over three times the size of the published version, but will never be published as there isn’t enough interest. I have, however, lodged a copy with the Regimental archives at Larkhill.

    I am always happy to help with enquiries regarding terminology and abbreviations. So, if in doubt, please ask.


Share This Page