History Of Marine Artillery

Further Reading Links




United States Marine Corps

History Division

Tun Tavern: (excerpt from , copyright 2001 Marion F. Sturkey)

Ask any Marine. Just ask. He will tell you that the Marine Corps was born in Tun Tavern on 10 November 1775. But, beyond that the Marine's recollection for detail will probably get fuzzy. So, here is the straight scoop: In the year 1685, Samuel Carpenter built a huge "brew house" in Philadelphia. He located this tavern on the waterfront at the corner of Water Street and Tun Alley. The old English word tun means a cask, barrel, or keg of beer. So, with his new beer tavern on Tun Alley, Carpenter elected to christen the new waterfront brewery with a logical name, Tun Tavern.  Tun Tavern quickly gained a reputation for serving fine beer. Beginning 47 years later in 1732, the first meetings of the St. John's No. 1 Lodge of the Grand Lodge of the Masonic Temple were held in the tavern. An American of note, Benjamin Franklin, was its third Grand Master. Even today the Masonic Temple of Philadelphia recognizes Tun Tavern as the birthplace of Masonic teachings in America.  Roughly ten years later in the early 1740s, the new proprietor expanded Tun Tavern and gave the addition a new name, "Peggy Mullan's Red Hot Beef Steak Club at Tun Tavern." The new restaurant became a smashing commercial success and was patronized by notable Americans. In 1747 the St. Andrews Society, a charitable group dedicated to assisting poor immigrants from Scotland, was founded in the tavern.  Nine years later, then Col. Benjamin Franklin organized the Pennsylvania Militia. He used Tun Tavern as a gathering place to recruit a regiment of soldiers to go into battle against the Indian uprisings that were plaguing the American colonies. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Continental Congress later met in Tun Tavern as the American colonies prepared for independence from the English Crown.  On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned Samuel Nicholas to raise two Battalions of Marines. That very day, Nicholas set up shop in Tun Tavern. He appointed Robert Mullan, then the proprietor of the tavern, to the job of chief Marine Recruiter -- serving, of course, from his place of business at Tun Tavern. Prospective recruits flocked to the tavern, lured by (1) cold beer and (2) the opportunity to serve in the new Corps of Marines. So, yes, the U.S. Marine Corps was indeed born in Tun Tavern. Needless to say, both the Marine Corps and the tavern thrived during this new relationship.  Tun Tavern still lives today. And, Tun Tavern beer is still readily available throughout the Philadelphia area. Further, through magazines it is advertised to Marines throughout the world.

"Artillery lends dignity to what would other wise be a vulgar brawl."

Peter The Great


During the Battle of Vera Cruz in 1913, more than 55 Medals of Honor were awarded.  Smedley Butler won one of his two Medals of Honor during this engagement.


The first Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor was Corporal John F. Mackie because of his heroism at the Battle of Drewry's Bluff. The battle occurred on May 15, 1862 on the James River while trying to break a CSA blockade and attack Richmond, Va.

With the building of Ironclads, the role of Marines on board ship gradually shifted from sharpshooter to ARTILLERYMAN.


Marine Corps Artillery

 The origin of the Marine Artilleryman dates from November 1853.  Archibald Henderson, then Commandant of the Marine Corps, wrote the Secretary of the Navy recommending that Marine Landing force units be equipped with artillery.  The first artillery piece Marines received was the 3 inch field gun.



Marines served as artillery for a time with Washington's Army in 1777.  The Corps, being mainly designed as infantry, considered artillery more of a curiosity than an actual profession of arms.  Commandant Archibald Henderson,  as mentioned above, wrote the Secretary of the Navy and stated, "The artillery drill, especially that of light artillery, would be highly beneficial in case of landing a force in a foreign country."

Commandant  Henderson sent 1st Lieutenant Israel Greene to West Point in 1857 to receive training as an Artillerist.  Navy General Order of 7 June 1859 stated that Marines would be employed as full gun crews under their own Officers and could also be used by other Commanding Officers  as part of ordinary gun crews but that other Commanding Officers be careful not to assign Marines except in cases of necessity.

The first school of instruction was established by General Order #1 in May 1891. During the Spanish-American War, one company of Marines was formed as an artillery unit equipped with 3" rapid fire guns.  Again in China, July 1900, Marine Artillery was use in the form of 3" guns.

After the Spanish-American War, the United States was now a colonial power with interests beyond our shores.  To provide rapid deployment, the Corps formed an Advance Base Battalion in 1911.  The Battalion included a battery of 3" guns.  In 1914 a Battalion was formed consisting of three Batteries of 3" guns.  The battalion was stationed at Vera Cruz during the landing.  The first use of artillery in combat was in the Dominican Republic at La Trencheras 27 June 1916.

The first full regiment was organized on 3 January 1918.  It was the 11th Marine Regiment.  On 15 January 1918, the Regiment was redesignated as the 10th Artillery Regiment.

During World War Two, the corps required larger guns so the first 155mm Howitzer Battalion was formed.


    Marine Artillery
With the Burnside

3" Rapid Fire with Caisson


The French 75.  This piece was the innovative artillery weapon of its day.

Many of today's weapons are derived from this piece.

105mm Towed Howitzer

The work horse of three wars.

Most 0811's were taught on this Piece


155mm Towed

This weapon again saw action in three wars.


8" Towed

Mostly used in WW II and Korea


75 Pack Howitzer

Used again in three Wars


8" Self Propelled

Mainly used in Vietnam



US Army

This was the last in a long line of Self Propelled.

The Crusadre was to heavy for the modern Army so the project was scraped.


120mm morter

The Dragon Fire 120 mm heavy mortar is for the US Marine Corps. It is capable of using rifled or smoothbore 120 mm ammunition. Like all mortars it is a high-angle-of-fire weapon used for indirect fire support. Dragon Fire is also effective in a counter-battery role.


High Mobility Artillery Rocket System

New to the Corps is the Mobile Rockets System known as


 It contains six rockets with a 50 mile range.

Basically the same as the MLRS but lighter and fewer rockets.

The M777a2

State of the art of the light weight artillery piece

It has on board GPS and data systems

Can fire 4 rounds the 1st minute and then 2 rounds/min sustained fire

or until the breach temperature gauges are in the red.