What Is an MM Ordnance Company?

Lt. Fred Kent wrote this explanation sometime in 1944 or 1945, surely never imagining that more than 70 years later it would be read so widely.

Let me familiarize the reader with the status and function of a Medium Maintenance Ordnance Company such as ours in the hierarchy of the Army.

First of all, we were designated as Army troops, meaning that the orders delineating the chain of command to which we were to respond and the military units to which we were to provide ordnance service emanated from the headquarters of the Army to which we were assigned. For example, upon being sent to Great Britain as part of the European Theater of Operations, we were assigned to the 1st Army and then in turn, the 1st Army Ordnance Officer assigned us to the 84th Ordnance Battalion HQ for administration. He also specifically designated the military units in our area for which we were to provide ordnance maintenance. Then, on going into France as a part of the Invasion, we were reassigned to a different Battalion HQ for administration, and our responsibilities changed to providing back-up ordnance maintenance for the 2nd and the 29th Infantry Divisions (they had their own ordnance companies) and to other separate artillery and engineering battalions participating in the invasion.

Before describing the nature of our operations, let me explain the meaning of “Medium Maintenance” in the name of our Company. Medium Maintenance represents the level or echelon of maintenance that we perform. First and Second echelon maintenance are the simplest levels of ordnance maintenance, capable of being performed by the using troops. Third and Fourth echelon maintenance, or medium maintenance—the levels that we performed—represented repair by the more difficult tasks or  assemblies, such as replacing an engine, transmission or differential, or recharging or replacing the recoil mechanism on an artillery piece. Fourth and Fifth echelon maintenance was performed by Ordnance Heavy Maintenance Companies and by Ordnance base shops, where they would completely rebuild the engines, transmissions and differentials.

In regard to function, it was our mission to provide ordnance maintenance and supply to the field troops that were assigned to us for operations. Our company comprised 7 officers, 1 warrant officer, and 168 enlisted men. It was made up of four platoons: The administrative platoon consisted of the company HQ, company supply, and the mess sections. The automotive platoon provided for the inspection and maintenance and replacement of jeeps, staff cars, trucks, and light and medium tanks in the hands of the combat troops. The armament platoon consisted of three sections: the small arms section inspected, maintained and reissued pistols, carbines, rifles, automatic rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns, flare guns, and light mortars in the hands of the using troops; the artillery section inspected, maintained and reissued artillery from the 75mm mortar up to the 155mm gun, as well as artillery mounted on tanks; and the instrument section inspected, maintained and reissued watches, binoculars, and the artillery fire control instruments such as the various optical sights. Lastly, the ordnance supply platoon kept an inventory of spare parts for issue to the troops we served as well as to our own platoons.

For a full  description of U.S. Army Ordnance in WWII, see “Flaming Bomb,” a small booklet covering the history of Ordnance in the ETO.  https://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/ordnance/index.html

This booklet was one of the series of G.I. Stories published by the Stars & Stripes in Paris in 1944-1945. 

Comments
  1. Tammy Sharp says:

    My dad is still living and we are only now getting fragmented details, he was in search and rescue 127 ordinance co. MM
    He was a welder before joining.
    I would love details on any and all info available. My dad was wounded, temporarily paralyzed from an air attack but never reported it for the safety of others.
    I just need direction, I’m attempting to have him awarded with a Purple Heart for all he’s been through that we are only now 70 years later, learning.

    • Andrea says:

      I hope you got my email. Please write back and we will try to help you.

    • Mark Dupont says:

      Tammy, I do know how to get an entire roster of where your dad was every day he was in the war. I contacted a gentleman who has access to the morning reports that provide a daily accounting of what a platoon did. My grandfather was in the 130th medium maintenance company and I was able to find so much 76 years later

      • Andrea says:

        Mark, I’m not sure Tammy will see your reply. She’d have to be looking back at that section of my blog to see it. You may have noticed that I responded to her nearly two years ago and offered to help, and I also sent her an email, but she never responded.

  2. James Cateron says:

    I’m looking for any information such as the chain of command and all the places where the unit was during WW2. My father is no longer with us, but he was in the 255th Medium Maintenance. In Europe. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrea says:

      We will get back to you soon, after we do a little research.

    • Justin Osborne says:

      Hello James, My Grandfather Charles C. Osborne was the Company Commander of the 255th and I have some information for you. As I am sure you know, the Company landed on Utah Beach 76 years ago today, June 12, 1944
      You can call my office at 402-463-1377

    • Andrea says:

      James, this is Andrea from the blog WWII Tracings. You had asked us last month for any information about the 255th Medium Maintenance Company. This morning I received this comment via my blog. Justin has information for you so you might want to call him. Please reply to me at sutcliff@shentel.net and let me know that you received this and also let me know if Justin had information you wanted. Thanks! Andrea
      “Hello James, My Grandfather Charles C. Osborne was the Company Commander of the 255th and I have some information for you. As I am sure you know, the Company landed on Utah Beach 76 years ago today, June 12, 1944
      You can call my office at 402-463-1377”

  3. Jim Law says:

    Hello I have a postcard from my (now deceased)Dad to his sister dated Feb 3, 1944. It reads that he was in the 395th Ord. Co. (MM). I believe he was in the Pacific Theater at this time, but cannot find anything more.
    Any help with dates, locations or the Division he was part of would be a great help. Thank you very much, Jim Law

  4. Sarah Lelly-Mosier says:

    Hello! I am looking for information on the 108th Ordnance MM Company. My grandfather was part of this unit 1942- 1945 and I have recently found a very detailed scrapbook that he made from his time in the War. I would love to share the pictures with others in his company. Hoping to connect. Thanks!

    • Andrea says:

      Hi, Sarah, you are one of several people now who have asked us for information about other Medium Maintenance Ordnance companies in WWII, and I’m sorry to say we can’t be of much help–however, I have found a bit of information about the 108th which I will share with you shortly. The challenge is that there were about 2,200 Ordnance units of all kinds in WWII, with 325,000 enlisted men and 24,000 officers. And there seems to be no one place that records the history of all of them.
      We had to learn about my father’s 111th unit the hard way–by contacting surviving members of the unit and finding children and grandchildren of the men who had died. We were lucky in that my father had kept an invitation to a 1948 reunion of the unit, which included names and addresses of all the men in the unit at the end of the war. We used Internet searches to find people.
      The five survivors we found by 2014 and the 55 families of the men we have since been in touch with provided us with whatever photos and information they had, which helped us put together our own history of the unit. It has been immensely rewarding but a lot of work.

      I would love to help the families of other Medium Maintenance units to connect. So I am thinking of expanding this section of my blog to include inquiries like yours, with contact information, so that others doing Internet searches will find this blog and share information. It is a long shot but it could work over time. In fact, several of our 111th family members found us by doing just such a search.

      Would you like me to include any of your information about the 108th and your contact information here? Or, I could ask people to contact me and then I could pass responses on to you privately if you’d rather not have your email address shown.

      I will send you the information about the 108th privately–this is getting too long!

      • Sarah Lelly-Mosier says:

        Thank you for the information and yes please feel free to expand and share my information as I would love to connect and share what I have with others.

  5. Fred Morlock says:

    Can
    You supply any info
    On 523rd ordnance co ww2 My father was a member of
    this unit?

  6. Andrea says:

    Fred, I sure wish we could help you, but there were dozens of MM Ordnance Companies in WWII and our focus is on the 111th only, since it was my father’s unit. I checked the index of “The Ordnance Department: On Beachhead and Battlefront) by Lida May, published by the Office of Military History (you can read this online) and there is no mention of the 523rd. This is not unusual–we have found that many units aren’t mentioned.

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