British guns



In autumn 1915 British 10th (Irish) Division had only three Field Artillery Brigades (LXVII, LXVIII) with 24 – 18 pdr field guns, 8 – 4.5 inch howitzers, but no mountain gun. In 1915 during the heavy fightings with the Bulgarian Army near Kosturino, Bulgarians captured 8 – 18 pdr. field guns. During the rest of the war they  captured also 3 trench mortars (one was destroyed), 11 Vickers (5 unserviceable) and 13 Lewis (7 unserviceable) machine guns, but I found no evidence of using British captured guns by the Bulgarian Army.


Between November 1915  and January 1916  the British Salonika Army received :

-     the divisional artillery of 22nd, 26th, 27th and 28th Division;

-     three mountain batteries (2nd, 5th, 7th) with six 2.75 inch pack guns each;

-     three batteries with 4 horse drawn 60 pdr Mk. I guns (13th, 18th, 20th Heavy Batteries);

-     one section of 6 inch Mk. VII guns (43rd Siege Battery) with two pieces with tracked Holt gun tractors;

-     nine naval guns removed from the naval defences of Alexandria and Mudros : four 6 inch Mk. XI and two 4.7 inch formed the 84th Siege Battery, while one 6 inch Mk. VII and two 4 inch guns formed an ad-hoc battery manned by Naval personnel;

-     three 13 pdr anti-aircraft guns;

-     the first two cars of 6th Armoured Motor Battery (the last two cars came later).


Originally the Royal Field Artillery of 10th, 22nd, 26th, 27th & 28th Divisions was organised with three brigades of three batteries with 4 (10th, 22nd, 26th) or 6 (27th and 28th) 18pdr guns and the fourth with three (CXXIX/27th and CXXX/28th) or four (LVII/10th, CI/22nd and CXVII/26th) batteries of four 4.5 inch howitzers. The batteries were lettered A to C or D with some exceptions concerning the two Division composed mainly by Regular Army unit, i.e. 27th (I, XIX, XX, CXXIX Brigades) and 28th Division (III, XXXI, CXXX, CLXVI Brigades) :

–     I Brigade: 11, 98 (broken up on 28 December 1916), 132 (renumbered 98 on 28 December 196), 133 (to CXXIX Brigade on 25 July 1916);

–     III Brigade: 18, 22 (to CXXX Brigade from 19 to 25 July 1916), 62, 365 (broken up on 11 August 1917);

–     XIX Brigade: 39, 95 (to CXXIX Brigade on 25 July 1916), 96, 131;

–     XX Brigade: 67, 99, 148 (battery broken up on 27-Dec-16), 364 (to CXXIX Brigade on 25 July 1916);

–     XXXI Brigade: 69, 100, 103 (broken up on 25 December 1916), 118 (to CXXX Brigade from 19 to 25 July 1916);

–     CXXIX Brigade: (from 25 July 1916) 95 (battery broken up on 27 December 1916), 133, 364 (renumbered 95 on 27 December 1916);

–     CXXX Brigade: (from 19 to 25 July 1916) 22, 118, 149 (broken up on 28 December 1916);

–     CLXVI Brigade: 75, 149 (to CXXX Brigade from 19 to 25 July 1916), 366, 367 (broken up on 28 December 1916).


In July 1916, the artillery of the five divisions was regrouped so that each had four brigades, each of 3 – 18 pdr batteries, each of six guns, and one 4.5 inch howitzer battery, called D (Howitzer) Battery, of four guns.


In August 1916 the artillery of the British Salonika Army was considerably strengthened. On 6 August 73rd and 74th Anti-Aircraft Sections arrived. On 10 August 1916, 4th (Highland) Mountain Brigade came from Egypt, but with only two of its three batteries, the Argyllshire and the Ross & Cromarty batteries, each of four 2.75 inch guns. At the same time 2nd, 5th and 7th Mountain batteries, each of six 2.75 inch guns, were grouped together into 3rd Mountain Brigade RGA. Finally By mid August 143rd and 153rd Heavy Batteries, each with four 60 pdr Mk. I horse drawn guns, and 127th, 130th, 132nd, 134th and 138th Siege Batteries, with four 6 inch, 26cwt howitzers each, arrived.


Thus at the end of August 1916 the British Salonika Army had:

-     60 field artillery batteries with 360 – 18 pdr guns;

-     16 field howitzers batteries with 64 – 4.5 inch howitzers;

-     5 mountain batteries with 26 – 2.75 inch guns;

-     5 heavy batteries (horse drawn) with 20 – 60 pdr Mk. I guns;

-     5 siege batteries (with wheeled FDW gun tractors) with 20 – 6 inch, 26cwt howitzers;

-     1 siege section (with tracked Holt gun tractors) with 6 inch Mk. VII guns;

-     5 anti-aircraft sections with 10 – 13 pdr guns;

-     9 naval guns (1 – 6 inch Mk. VII, 4 – 6 inch Mk. XI, 2 – 4.7 inch, 2 – 4 inch).

All ammunition vehicles were mechanichal transport.


In November 1916 the British Salonika Army received another mountain battery (Bute Battery, Highland Mountain Brigade), two 6 inch, 26cwt howitzers batteries and two 60 pdr Mk. I guns batteries, along with the 82nd Heavy Artillery Group headquarters.


In December 1916 the 60th (London) Territorial Force Division arrived with its nine 18 pdr guns batteries and three 4.5 inch howitzers batteries. In addition the British Salonika Army received three Medium Trench Mortar Batteries with 4 – 2 inch ‘Toffee Apple’ mortars each.

During the winter the divisional artilleries were reorganised into three brigades, each of two six-guns 18 pdr batteries and one four-guns 4.5 inch howitzer battery. The all-gun brigades (July and December 1916) were : III (28th Division), XIX (27th Division), LIV (10th Division, then 28th replacing III), C (22nd Division) and CXIV (26th Division). A fourth brigade was to consist of three four-guns 18 pdr batteries, later to be converted into mountain batteries. This conversion had been promised for over a year, but sufficient mountain batteries for the purpose were never provided. Therefore the Argyllshire, Ross & Cromarty and Bute Mountain Batteries RGA were temporarly attached to the three divisions of the XVI Corps for instruction in work as divisional artillery.

In March 1917 an Artillery Training School was formed at Salonika.


In May and June 1917 the 60th (London) Territorial Force Division, 7th and 8th Mounted Brigades (less Derbyshire Yeonmary) and 209th Siege Battery and one section of 292nd Siege Battery (6 inch, 26 cwt howitzers) left for Egypt, while 6th Armoured Motor Battery was sent to Mesopotamia.


On August 1917 one section of 43rd Siege Battery with two 6 inch guns Mk. XI, 134th and 205th Siege Batteries with eight 6 inch, 26 cwt howitzers and 181st Heavy Battery with four 60-pdr Mk. I guns were sent to Palestina. In November 1917 a 6 inch Mk. XI taken from 84th Siege Battery and placed on a wheeled mounting was added to 43rd Siege Battery. In August 1918 a second 6 inch Mk. XI was added, bringing the battery again up to five guns.


On September the 10th (Irish) Division left Macedonia with its divisional artillery (48 – 18 pdr guns and 12 –4.5 inch howitzers).


In January 1918 the artillery of the British Salonika Army was reinforced again. During the winter general Milne had requested some 9.2 inch guns to smash Bulgarian concrete dagouts. This was refused, but in January 1918 he received 424th Siege Battery with four 8 inch howitzers with tracked Holt gun tractors, along with 12 Newton 6 inch trench mortars. After the arrive of the first Greek contingent, he received also 320th, 322nd and 445th Siege Batteries from Egypt soon followed by 395th Battery from Mesopotamia. This meant an increase of 16 tractor-drawn 6 inch, 26 cwt howitzers.

During 1918 84th Battery’s 6 inch guns were emplaced in the entrenched camp around Salonika and the 4.7 inch guns were attached to the Serbian Army.


On 14th September 1918 British Salonika Army had:

24 – 2.75 inch guns mountain (6 batteries);

193 – 18 pdr guns (48 batteries);

48 – 4.5 inch howitzers (12 batteries);

44 – 60 pdr. Mk. I guns (11 batteries);

3 – 6 inch Mk. VII guns ;

4 – 6 inch Mk. XI guns;

32 – 6 inch howitzers, 26 cwt (8 batteries);

4 – 8 inch howitzers Mk VI (1 battery);

2 – 4.7 inch guns (half battery);

2 – 6 inch naval guns (half battery);

12 – 13 pdr, 9 cwt A.A. guns;

21 – 13 pdr, 6 cwt A.A. guns;

12 – 2 inch ‘Toffee Apple’ trench mortars;

112 – 3 inch Stokes trench mortars;

35 – 3.7 inch trench howitzers;

12 – 6 inch Newton trench mortars.

Most of the anti-aircraft guns were mounted on Thorneycroft lorries but at least in one section they were on an experimental field carriage with hinged axles.


General Remarks:

2.75 inch = 70mm QF mountain guns

13 pdr = 76.2mm A.A. guns

18 pdr = 84mm QF field guns

4 inch = 102mm naval guns

4.5 inch = 114mm QF field howitzers

4.7 inch = 120mm guns

60 pdr. = 127mm QF heavy guns

6 inch = 152mm QF heavy field howitzers and naval guns

8 inch = 203mm heavy howitzers

9.2 inch = 233mm heavy guns





18-pdr gun in the Struma


6-inch howitzer at Barakli

Jum’a in the Struma Valley