Canon de Bange de 90

The Canon de Bange de 90 was a French field artillery from the year 1877, which was introduced shortly after the French-German war and was still used the first time in the First World War.

In 1877 Colonel Charles Ragon de Bange developed the 90 mm cannon de Bange as a successor to the outdated Reffye and Lahitolle 95 mm cannons.

As breech de Bange used a self-developed mushroom-shaped obturator system, with which the breech could be properly closed after each shot.

Since no recoil systems were available at that time, the entire frame of the cannon was pushed back after each shot and had to be re-aligned each time before a new shot was fired. Only with the introduction of the Canon de 75 in 1897 this problem was solved.

Still in the same year of the development the gun was introduced in the French army.



The de Bange closure


Picture of a Canon de Bange de 90 from 1898


Canon de Bange de 90



Only a few years after its introduction, the gun was considered obsolete, especially after the introduction of the modern Canon de 75. At the beginning of the First World War, however, the French army used many of these guns. On the one hand this was due to the large stock of ammunition for these guns, on the other hand the French industry could not produce and deliver enough modern guns.

However, after the production had started completely and sufficient modern guns were available, a part of the Canon de Bange de 90 was given to the British expedition corps, since the British themselves had only a few modern guns and had to produce them first.

After most of the guns were withdrawn from the front in 1916, they were made available to the French and British navies. Most of them equipped their merchant ships to fight German submarines. The French navy thus used 1.430 and the British navy about 400 guns for their ships. For use, the muzzle of the gun was equipped with a counterweight and a hydropneumatic recoil mechanism was installed. A U-shaped, elastic mount was used for attachment, similar to the 6 pound guns.



Canon de Bange de 90


A Canon de Bange de 90, captured by German troops



After the First World War, the French army kept several hundred of these guns in reserve. When the Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1940, France sent 100 of the guns in support. Only 24 arrived in Finland before the end of the war.

After Finland joined Germany in the war against the Soviet Union, 84 of the guns were used to defend the coasts and fortresses. A total of 174.000 rounds were fired against the Soviet army. The last guns were still in use in June 1944.



A restored Canon de Bange de 90 in Finland




Data sheet:

Designation: Canon de Bange de 90
Manufacturing country: France
Introductory year: 1877
Number of pieces: unknown
Calibers: 90 mm
Tube length: 2,06 meters
Range: Max. 7.000 meters
Weight: 2,02 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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