Building Italeri's 155mm M1 Howitzer
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Ammunition for the 155mm

These technical manual images are a good resource for diorama builders who want to go all out in dressing up their artillery scene. Many thanks to Kurt Laughlin for providing this information to me. Click on each image to open a larger version in a new window.

I used the AFV Club 155mm and 203mm Howitzer Round and Storage Cases, as well as Verlinden's 155mm ammo set and fiberboard tubes from Tiger Model Designs. Unfortunately, the AFV Club set's decal sheet has post-WWII markings. Based on these TM illustrations, I was able to get a private party to produce some accurate decals for both HE and smoke rounds and the two sizes of stowage cases in both metal and fiberboard.

The HE (high explosive) shell was the most frequently used by the 155.

The lifting ring was unscrewed and replaced with the fuze.

There is a rope grommet seen on the left end of the shell, presumably to keep the shells from clanging together during shipment. This was removed prior to loading. Later during the war a rubber grommet replaced the rope type.

155mm HE and gas shells
The bottom shell is shown with the fuze in place. 155mm smoke shells
Shells were typically shipped in either crates or pallets. At 95 lbs. per shell, loading and unloading these would be quite a chore. Cranes were obviously used with the pallets when moving them from ship to vehicles. At the ammo dump they were likely broken down and loaded separately into trucks. A 2 1/2 ton truck would carry up to 55 shells to the front. It would be a very rare instance if the pallets actually went to the front as well. Ammo pallet
The fuze. 155mm fuze
This is the fuze crate for the M51A3 seen above. There were 25 fuzes to a crate. Fuze crate
There were several sizes of cloth charge bags. They could be untied and the smaller bags removed to reduce the firing distance of the shell. 155mm charge bags

This plate shows the color markings used to differentiate shells. The two metal canisters at lower right were used for propellant charges for the 155.

The taller can is the M14, which measured 37.75" long by 6.38" in diameter. It held two M3 charges.

The shorter can is the M13, which measured 27.75" long by 7.38" diameter. This held one M4A1 charge.

Color coding for containers
Here is a nice detail image of the M13 canister and the markings printing on it. M13 metal canister
Propellant charges in fiberboard tubes were shipped in boxes, crates, or bundles with cloverleaf caps secured together by a metal rod. Charge bundle
Bundles were crated in this manner for shipment. Bundling crate
This is the TM's packing data for projectiles and charges. Packing data

Background on the 155mm Howitzer
Overview of the Model and References
Building the Howitzer Assembly
Building the Carriage Assembly
Painting and Accessories
Pictures from the Technical Manual
155mm Ammunition
Pictures of Museum 155mm Howitzer
Diorama: "Mail Call for the Sons of Thor"


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter