Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

U.S. Naval Railway Batteries 

To France and Back 


111-SC-29390: 14-Inch Railway Gun.  Men greasing the slide to receive the rifle at U.S. Naval Railway Battery, St. Nazaire, France.   Photographed by Corporal L.H. McLaughlin, SC, August 1, 1918.    U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.    Archival photograph taken by Mr. James Poynor.

Railway battery Sailors grease the slide of a 14" gun during assembly in St. Nazaire, France, 1 August 1918.


111-SC-29413: 14-Inch Railway Gun.  U.S. Naval Railway Battery leaving yards for the front, St. Nazaire, France.  Photographed by Corporal L. H. McLaughlin, SC, August 1, 1918.    U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.    Archival photograph taken by Mr. James Poynor.

An assembled 14" gun leaves St. Nazaire, France for the front, August 1918. Each battery was composed of a self-sufficient train complete with workshops and ammunition, fire control/communication, and sleeping cars.


111-SC-29507: 14-Inch Railway Gun. 14-inch shells on flat car.  These shells are put in the ammunition car with a chain hoist, for use of the U.S. Naval guns at Thierville, Meuse, France.  Photographed by Sergeant First Class Morris Fineberg, SC, October 29, 1918.    U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.    Archival photograph taken by Mr. James Poynor.

A battery's 14" shells, which had to be moved with a chain hoist, on a flatcar during operations at Thierville/Meuse, France, 29 October 1918. The batteries' personnel made every attempt to retain U.S. Navy clothing; in this case, however, army-issue denim fatigues and trench helmets are being worn.


111-SC-28506: Lieutenant R. Savin, U.S. Navy Railway Battery, Thierville, Muese, France.  Photographed by Sergeant First Class Morris Fineberg, SC, released October 29, 1918.    U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.    Archival photograph taken by Mr. James Poynor.

Lieutenant R. Savin, U.S. Navy Railway Batteries, Thierville/Meuse, France, October 1918. Savin is wearing the U.S. Navy forest green uniform normally worn by naval aviators.


Naval Railway Battery, Monrovia, France, 1918.

Inspection of battery equipment at St Nazaire, France, by Rear Admiral Charles P. Plunkett (U.S. Navy Railway Artillery commander) and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt, August 1918.


Navy railway battery

A 14" railway gun in action, Thierville/Meuse, France, autumn 1918.


Naval Railway Gun

Post-war display of a 14" naval railway gun on the seafront at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, circa 1920.


Recruiting Poster: What the Navy is Doing: Navy Guns Helped the Army to Win

Period Navy recruiting poster spotlighting the Naval Railway Batteries.


World War I-era 14-inch naval railway gun displayed in Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard.

Surviving 14-inch/50-caliber naval rifle on railway carriage on display in Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard. This gun was employed by the Naval Railway Batteries deployed to France during World War I (Arevalo/NHHC COD).

Published: Fri Aug 10 08:00:12 EDT 2018