24 cm Canon G modèle 1916

The 24 cm Canon G modèle 1916 was originally a French coastal defence gun, built before the First World War and partly used as a railway gun during the war.

After the lost Franco-Prussian War from 1870 to 1871, a commission began in 1874 to set up and restructure the French army. This commission also demanded several large calibre guns.

To protect the French coasts, the Canon de 24 C Model 1876 was introduced in 1876. This gun had a caliber of 240 mm, a de Bange breech and a range of just over 10 kilometres. With a few exceptions, these guns were mounted on fixed rectangular steel fire platforms. A circular steel track embedded in concrete was used for alignment, the wheels of which allowed the gun to be turned into the appropriate position.

The recoil system consisted of a U-shaped weapon holder in which the barrel cylinder was located, as well as a slightly inclined shooting platform with a hydro-gravity recoil system. This allowed the weapon to return to its original position after a shot so it did not have to be repositioned after each shot.



Canon de 24 C modèle 1876



After the outbreak of the First World War and from 1915 onwards the beginning of the Positional War, it became apparent that the light field guns used by France were no longer sufficient to damage or destroy the increasingly fortified German positions. Therefore, the French High Command decided to bring the heavy guns from the fortresses and the coastal protection to the western front.

In addition to an unknown number of Canon de 24 C modèle 1876 guns intended for the artillery regiments at the front, some of the guns were to be converted into railway guns. In 1915 the reconstruction began. For this purpose, 2, 3 or 4 axle railway wagons were reinforced to accommodate the heavy guns. In contrast to other railway guns, this model did not have a platform mounted on which the gun could rotate. For firing, the gun had to be either lifted from the wagon and placed on a platform on the ground, or the wagon had to be placed on already aligned rails. Under the designation 24 cm Canon G modèle 1916 the delivery started in 1916.



A Canon de 24 C modèle 1876 at the use in Gallipoli 1916


A Canon de 24 C modèle 1876 captured by Ottoman troops in Gallipoli 1916



From 1916 until the end of the war, 24 guns were delivered to the French army, 13 to French training units and 16 to American troops.



24 cm Canon G modèle 1916


A 24 cm Canon G modèle 1916 of the American troops at firing


American soldiers load a 24 cm Canon G modèle 1916




Data sheet:

Designation: 24 cm Canon G modèle 1916
Manufacturing country: France
Introductory year: 1876
1915 Conversion to a railway gun
Number of pieces: 53 pieces for railway guns
Calibers: 240 mm
Tube length: 5,36 meters
Range: Max. 13.400 meters
Weight: 47 tons






You can find the right literature here:


Flesh and Steel During the Great War: The Transformation of the French Army and the Invention of Modern Warfare

Flesh and Steel During the Great War: The Transformation of the French Army and the Invention of Modern Warfare Hardcover – October 30, 2018

Michel Goya’s Flesh and Steel during the Great War is one of the most thoughtful, stimulating and original studies of the conflict to have appeared in recent years. It is a major contribution towards a deeper understanding of the impact of the struggle on the Western Front on the theory and practice of warfare in the French army. In a series of incisive, closely argued chapters he explores the way in which the senior commanders and ordinary soldiers responded to the extraordinary challenges posed by the mass industrial warfare of the early twentieth century.

In 1914 the French army went to war with a flawed doctrine, brightly-colored uniforms and a dire shortage of modern, heavy artillery How then, over four years of relentless, attritional warfare, did it become the great, industrialized army that emerged victorious in 1918?

To show how this change occurred, the author examines the pre-war ethos and organization of the army and describes in telling detail how, through a process of analysis and innovation, the French army underwent the deepest and fastest transformation in its history.

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Breaking Point of the French Army: The Nivelle Offensive of 1917

Breaking Point of the French Army: The Nivelle Offensive of 1917 Hardcover – November 2, 2015

In December 1916 General Robert Nivelle was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the French armies fighting the Germans on the Western Front. He had enjoyed a meteoric rise to high command and public acclaim since the beginning of the war - he was a national hero. In return, he proclaimed he ‘had the formula’ that would ensure victory and end the conflict in 1917. But his offensive was a bloody and humiliating failure for France, one that could have opened the way for French defeat.

This is the subject of David Murphy’s penetrating, in-depth study of one of the key events in the history of the Great War. He describes how Nivelle, a highly intelligent and articulate officer, used his charm to win the support of French and British politicians, but also how he was vain and boastful and displayed no sense of operational security. By the opening of the campaign, his plan was an open secret and he had lost the ability to critically assess the operation as it developed. The result was disaster.

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They Shall Not Pass: The French Army on the Western Front 1914-1918

They Shall Not Pass: The French Army on the Western Front 1914-1918 Hardcover – May 19, 2012

This graphic collection of first-hand accounts sheds new light on the experiences of the French army during the Great War. It reveals in authentic detail the perceptions and emotions of soldiers and civilians who were caught up in the most destructive conflict the world had ever seen.
Their testimony gives a striking insight into the mentality of the troops and their experience of combat, their emotional ties to their relatives at home, their opinions about their commanders and their fellow soldiers, the appalling conditions and dangers they endured, and their attitude to their German enemy. In their own words, in diaries, letters, reports and memoirs - most of which have never been published in English before - they offer a fascinating inside view of the massive life-and-death struggle that took place on the Western Front.
Ian Sumner provides a concise narrative of the war in order to give a clear context to the eyewitness material. In effect the reader is carried through the experience of each phase of the war on the Western Front and sees events as soldiers and civilians saw them at the time. This emphasis on eyewitness accounts provides an approach to the subject that is completely new for an English-language publication.
The author’s pioneering work will appeal to readers who may know something about the British and German armies on the Western Front, but little about the French army which bore the brunt of the fighting on the allied side. His book represents a milestone in publishing on the Great War.

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Artillery in the Great War

Artillery in the Great War Hardcover – May 18, 2011

Artillery was the decisive weapon of the Great War - it dominated the battlefields. Yet the history of artillery during the conflict has been neglected, and its impact on the fighting is inadequately understood. Paul Strong and Sanders Marble, in this important and highly readable study, seek to balance the account.Their work shows that artillery was central to the tactics of the belligerent nations throughout the long course of the conflict, in attack and in defense. They describe, in vivid detail, how in theory and practice the use of artillery developed in different ways among the opposing armies, and they reveal how artillery men on all sides coped with the extraordinary challenges that confronted them on the battlefield. They also give graphic accounts of the role played by artillery in specific operations, including the battles of Le Cateau, the Somme and Valenciennes.Their work will be fascinating reading for anyone who is keen to understand the impact of artillery

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