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"Creeping Artillery Barrage" save the day at Gettysburg..?

Discussion in '"What if..." Discussions' started by 5fish, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    I have a simple thought about Gettysburg an a "what if".

    .My thought is: What if the confederacy had develop the "Creeping Artillery Barraged" that was develop in WW! by the British. They had the knowhow and the artillery may not have been best suited for it but it could have done the job. Plus, the union army would have had no knowledge of the concept so the union army would have been caught off guard.

    If Lee would have use the artillery tactic of a "Creeping Barrage" would that have made a difference in Pickett's charge?


    Could it have saved the day for Lee that July day in 1863..
     

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  3. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    No. (Obligatory extra words to make the response long enough.)

    Ole
     
  4. YankeeDiv

    YankeeDiv Cadet

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    I think it was only effective in WWI because of the smokeless shells. Within the first barrage or two, the field of view would be sufficiently smoky, and the spotters probably wouldn't be able to see what they were hitting. That's a big reason why they weren't able to tell that the majority of their shots were flying overhead as well during the actual battle.
     
  5. dvrmte

    dvrmte Major

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    That is about what McClellan planned in the Peninsula Campaign. Maybe a slower-r-r-r-r- version. Move forward under protection of the heavy guns and take position by position.


    Sincerely,
    dvrmte
     
  6. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    So negative you are at least you could explain why??

    Think no new technology would have been needed by the confederates. Only a new way of looking at and using of artillery tactics, it was within the capableness Lee's army.

    The smoke would not be an issue you pick a spot to start the bombardment and every three minutes adjustment the aim. It can be done using math of that day.

    Pickett's charge would have started out within the first minutes of the start of the artillery assault so when Pickett's charge hit Cemetery hill the union army would have still been recovering form the earlier artillery assault.

    It's a thought if some artillery man could have had the forth sight to created the idea back then. We would be speaking with a southern twang, today.
     
  7. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Draw a horizontal line on your living-room wall. Back off to the opposite wall. Throw something and try to hit that line. Walking up to it isn't going to change the basic, physical difficulty ... the gun did not stay in place. For every shot, it had to be re-aimed. That, by itself, prohibits the walking barrage.

    And understand that the Rebs were shooting up-hill. All they could see was that line on your wall. Union guns, on that line, could see very clearly what they were shooting at. They also had to re-aim after every shot, but they could clearly see where the last one landed.

    It remains that there were enough guns on that line to slaughter advancing Rebs. And they really couldn't be silenced.

    Ole
     
  8. bankerpapaw

    bankerpapaw First Sergeant

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    Creeping Barrage

    The smoke made it impossible to see.
    Question: Was it after the battle that the Rebs realized
    they were over-shooting the Yankee positions?
     
  9. The Iron Duke

    The Iron Duke First Sergeant

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    To add onto what Ole has already stated, it should be remembered that they were using breach loading artillery in World War 1 as opposed to muzzle loaders. Plus, the barrage itself was based upon timetables. If the infantry moved too fast or too slow it threw everything off.

    To be able to coordinate all the needed variables when the Confederates had no such experience with such a tactic is expecting a lot.

    I believe the creeping barrage was actually a French invention at Verdun.
     
  10. Jamieva

    Jamieva Sergeant

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    And the creeping barrage used radios heavily for the advancing units to tell the artillery if they were behind or ahead of schedule.

    The technology just wasn't there to make this work.
     
  11. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    I look it up and it was the Bulgarians in 1913 but few cared then...I pasted in the following:

    A slowly moving artillery barrage acting as a defensive curtain for infantry following closely behind, the Creeping/Rolling Barrage is indicative of the First World War, where it was used by all belligerents.
    Invention:

    The creeping barrage was first used by Bulgarian artillery crews during the siege of Adrianople in March 1913, but the wider world took little notice and the idea was invented again in 1915-16, in response to both the static, trench based, warfare into which the initially swift movements of the First World War had stalled, and the inadequacies of existing artillery barrages.


    The Somme:

    Apart from Adrianople in 1913, the Creeping Barrage was first used at The Battle of the Somme in 1916, at the orders of Sir Henry Horne; its failure exhibits several of the tactic's problems. The barrage's targets and timings had to be arranged well beforehand and, once started, could not be easily changed. At the Somme, the infantry moved slower than expected and the gap between soldier and barrage was sufficient for German forces to man their positions once the bombardment had passed.Indeed, unless bombardment and infantry advanced in almost perfect synchronisation their were problems: if the soldiers moved too fast they advanced into the shelling and were blown up; too slow and the enemy had time to recover. If the bombardment moved too slow, allied soldiers either advanced into it or had to stop and wait, in the middle of No Man's Land and possibly under enemy fire; if it moved too fast, the enemy again had time to react.


    I listed the link below for it is a short condense look at the creeping Barrage...


    http://europeanhistory.about.com/od/worldwar1/p/prcreepingb.htm

    Enjoy, I believe Lee could have done it...well maybe??
     
  12. wilber6150

    wilber6150 Brigadier General Moderator

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    Now if the artilllary would have been instructed to shoot across the diagonal, they would have had a better chance to hit something rather then just overshooting the union troops..
     
  13. 5fish

    5fish 2nd Lieutenant

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    What if the Creeping Barrage would have been used by Hood at Franklin, TN.??

    Maybe focus his artillery in one area of the union line and just maybe with the Creeping Barrage, Hood army could have breeched the union line before they finished those bridges,,,
     
  14. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    Hood did not have the artillery to make that much of an impact on the Union lines, if nothing else.
     
  15. whitworth

    whitworth 2nd Lieutenant

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    Even a loyal neo-confederate can't win a battle

    While what-ifs are interesting, no one can change what happened in the Civil War. The Confederacy lost at Gettysburg. Their infantry, their cavalry, their artillery were all defeated.
    And at 150 years or so, no one is going to win the war for the Confederacy.

    The Confederacy did lose the war; Lee did surrender at a place called Appomattox. Even loyal and diligent neo-confederates cannot grasp victory from defeat.
     
  16. Elennsar

    Elennsar Colonel

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    Here's a what if. What if you actually contributed something to the discussion instead of saying how the Confederacy was defeafted and it would be impossible for any what if to work because it was historically defeated?
     
  17. Stonewall1982

    Stonewall1982 First Sergeant

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    Agree with Elennsar!

    But as to contribtute to the discussion, I think Lee could have done it but not at Gettysburg. The reason that I think that is because Gettyburg was such a large battle, for him to coordinate it with guns that had no recoil action, troop movements as large as Picketts Charge, and no experience in that maneuver. If it had been tried on a smaller battle, then yes I think perhaps it would have been sucessful.
     
  18. TerryB

    TerryB Captain

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    Anything "new" has to be practiced. I don't think you could think up the idea then go do it. You would need to expend way too much ammunition to perfect the technique, and the CSA barely had enough ammo for a three day fight at G'burg. They failed to capture any to replace what they had. So say they did have a huge surplus of ammo and did a lot of practicing to hone their skills. Someone is going to spill the beans. We read in the Richmond Daily, "General Lee has been busily at work perfecting, etc., etc." So the element of surprise is lost because newspapers printed everything that came across their desks and civilians and soldiers both talked way too much to anyone who would listen.

    Check this out. When the first tanks were used in WWI, no one expected much success, so the gap they opened up was not exploited. No one had thought that any large number of reserves should be ready to exploit the gap. Same with the great German offensive of 1918. They used gas, which worked in Russia because of the prevailing winds. It did damage in France, but when the winds shifted back to their normal patterns, the gas blew back on the Germans. You could go on and on, in that every innovation at some point failed to make the big breakthrough. Whatever the arty was able to do in WWI, the generals undid by being willing to keep up the offensive in the hopes that attrition would bleed the other guy dry first. The verdict of history is that arty in the ACW was very effective on the defensive, not so much on the offensive.
     
  19. gary

    gary 1st Lieutenant

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    About the only Civil War era gun capable of providing a creeping barrage would be the mortar. Regular howitzers would have a lot of trouble because of inconsistent fuses which and did result in the shells overshooting the Union positions. A howitzer by contrast plants the ball where you want it and if it doesn't roll away, will explode where it lays. The problem with those old howitzers is that their rate of fire is limited by their design - muzzle loading blackpowder which requires swabbing out before recharging with powder.

    The other trouble with mortars is that they will draw off resources (horses and men) from other batteries. Second, they need to be dug in so they won't be subjected to direct counter-battery fire.
     
  20. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Complete hooey, Gary. But we'll get into that later.

    Meanwhile, in the navy, you get bracketed. The next barrage is on your head. One short, one long. Ooooops. The walking barrage was feeling your way to the target. The trick was to get the gun back to where it was and wind up the elevation. The booger jumped considerably, so getting it back where it was took some doing.
     
  21. Borderruffian

    Borderruffian 2nd Lieutenant

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    Just to put a point on it: Artillery properly laid and adjusted falls along the short axis of the gun target target line generally creating a clustered horizontal sheaf, much better for walking fire/barrage.

    Naval Gunfire due to it's mounting and elevation and deflection limitations as well as being on sometimes moving, some times not vessels tends to be fired in a way that causes it to fall along the long axis of the Gun Target Line creating a narrower sheaf in a roughly vertical orientation to the target,

    Mortars being a high angle weapon tend to cluster their rounds on a short axis like the artillery but do have tendecy depending on the crew and the powder charge to drop rounds along the gun target line within the sheaf clusters.


    There thats from my wages of a misspent youth.

    I can also tell you how to field strip and clean an M16, M60 or 249 SAW if you like.
     

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