Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond

The Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond was a French gun, which was already developed before the First World War, but was only built in the middle of the war.

The Compagnie des Forges et Aciéries de la Marine et d'Homécourt (FAMH) in Saint-Chamond produced artillery for the Mexican army several years before the First World War, including a 75 mm field gun. In 1911, the development of a 150 mm artillery began, which was to strengthen the armament of the Mexican army as medium artillery. At the end of the year, the prototype was presented to the Mexican military leadership, who, however, showed no interest and therefore did not place an order for the construction of the guns.

Until 1913 the prototype was revised in some points, so that also the caliber had risen to 155 mm. In this condition the gun was presented to the French army in 1913, but this army also refused an order because the Canon de 155 C Mle 1904 TR Rimailho already met the requirements and was used.

 

It was only when the First World War broke out and turned into a war of positions that it became apparent that the French guns used no longer did justice to the new task. Especially after the second battle at Artois in May 1915, where the artillery fired for hours at the German positions before the assault, the French guns reached their limits. The military leadership therefore demanded the introduction of medium-heavy artillery, which on the one hand could maintain a long continuous fire and which had a sufficient range outside the German artillery.

So it happened that the French army had recourse to the Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond and in June 1915 gave an order of 400 guns.

The big advantage of the gun was the modern Hydro Spring recoil system and the slide block lock with which the cartridge cases were automatically ejected after the shot. Another unusual feature was the attachment of the protective shield directly to the barrel, which moved backwards together with the barrel during shooting. Therefore the shield had to be smaller than other guns to reduce weight.

Due to production delays, series production of the gun did not begin until the autumn of 1916. 50 guns could then be built each month until the ordered 400 pieces were ready and production had to be switched to the Canon de 155 C Model 1917 Schneider.

 

 

Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond

 

Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond

 

Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond

 

 

Contrary to the expectations of the French army, the range of the gun proved to be too small when it was introduced. Thus the gun remained mainly behind the front to secure the reserve trenches and was used for training.

After the First World War, the French army kept most of the guns and had them stored in reserve. With the beginning of the Second World War, these were reactivated and used against the German Wehrmacht in 1940. After France's capitulation, the Germans captured 200 of these guns and used them to protect the coasts.

In addition to the French army, the Serbian army also received some of the guns at the end of the First World War. These remained in the army and were taken over by the later founded Yugoslav army and modernized in the following years. After the German Wehrmacht conquered the Balkans in the Second World War, they were able to capture several of the guns there and used them, as well as the French guns, to protect the coastal regions.

When the Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1939, France bought 24 of the 155 mm guns. These arrived, however, only at the beginning of March 1940 after the war had already ended. Only when Finland fought together with Germany against the Soviet Union the guns were used again. After the Second World War, some remained in the Finnish army until the 60s.

 

 

Finnish soldiers with their 155 mm gun during the war against the Soviet Union

 

A preserved Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond at the Artillery Museum in Finland

 

 

 

Data sheet:

Designation: Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St. Chamond
Manufacturing country: France
Introductory year: 1916
Number of pieces: 400 pieces
Calibers: 155 mm
Tube length: 2,517 meters
Range: Max. 9.300 meters
Weight: 3,04 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.

Click here!

 

 

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.

Click here!

 

 

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.

Click here!

 

 

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

Click here!

 

 

 

 

 

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