Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle. 1917

The Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle. 1917 was a heavy, French gun, which was used at the end of the First World War in both the French and American armies.

In the second half of the First World War, the need of the French army for a heavy artillery increased in order to be able to destroy the strongly developed fortifications of the German army.

Colonel Filloux then began to develop an appropriate gun and presented the weapon to the military leadership in 1917. The presentation of the prototype turned out to be a success, and a rapid introduction of the gun to the front was urged. At the end of 1917 series production began and the gun quickly became the standard gun of the heavy French artillery departments and was used until the end of the First World War.



Drawing of the Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle. 1917


A French operating crew with a Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle. 1917



In addition to the French army, the gun was also delivered to the American Expeditionary Force, which had only a few heavy artillery guns. Under the designation M1917 the guns bought from France were classified, later the guns were also built in the USA under licence, these received the designation M1918.



American soldiers are trained on an M1918


American soldiers are trained on an M1918


American soldiers with their M1917 on the way to the front




After the First World War, both the French and American armies continued to hold the guns. In the case of the French, these guns were mainly used over the years in fortresses or held in depots as a reserve.

At the beginning of the Second World War and the invasion by the German Wehrmacht, the French army reactivated 24 of the guns and used them against the Wehrmacht. After the capitulation, the Germans were able to capture more than 450 guns and used them as 15.5 cm K 418, designated in the Africa campaign or for coastal defense. Alone in the Atlantic Wall 50 of the guns were in action on D-Day 1944.



A captured 15,5 cm K 418 cannon in the Atlantic Wall



In the USA after the First World War both the US Army and the US Marines took over the gun as standard gun and used it with beginning of the Second World War predominantly on the Philippines, Guadalcanal and in North Africa, until from 1942 the newer 155 mm M1A1 was used.

Until the war, the US Army experimented with the guns and mounted them from self-propelled gun carriages. This was intended to increase mobility even in difficult terrain. Since the result was declared insufficient, the guns were finally used again without their own propulsion.



155 mm M1918 self-propelled carriage


155 mm M1918 self-propelled carriage


155 mm M1918 on a Caterpillar chassis


An American M1918 for coastal protection in Western Australia 1943




Data sheet:

Designation: Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle. 1917
Manufacturing country: France


Introductory year: 1917
Number of pieces: unknown
Calibers: 155 mm
Tube length: 5,915 meters
Range: Max. 19.500 meters
Weight: 13 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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