The Obusier de 370 modèle 1915 was a former naval gun, which was converted by the French army during the First World War to a railway gun and used both in the First and Second World War.
After the successful conversion of the Obusier de 400 Modèle 1915/1916 guns to railway guns, the French High Command decided, also because of the high demand for heavy artillery, to use further decommissioned naval guns and to convert these.
At that time, some Charles Martel class battleships and Bouvines class coasters were already decommissioned, but still had their full armament on board. The two companies Schneider and Batignolles were selected for the extension and conversion, as Schneider already had experience with such conversions.
In the middle of 1915 the rebuilding began. For this purpose, two 4-axle railway cars were connected with steel girders on which the gun was mounted. A hydropneumatic recoil system was used for the recoil, with which the gun slipped backwards after firing and then swivelled forwards again to its original position. In order to keep the wagon in its position on the tracks, 5 steel crosses with integrated spades were used which were lowered between the railway sleepers. Steel girders were also mounted next to the tracks. The assembly took about 3 hours.
At the end of 1915, the first of a total of 8 railway guns were delivered to the French army and deployed on the western front.
During the spring offensive of 1918, the German army succeeded in capturing 4 of the railway guns. One was destroyed during the later retreat, 3 were brought into the German Empire and had to be returned to France after the surrender of the German Empire.
After the First World War and the return of the captured railway guns from Germany, the French army retained a total of 4 guns until the beginning of the Second World War. Whether these were used against the German Wehrmacht is not known. After the capitulation of France in 1940, however, these could be captured by Germany and put into service under the designation 37 cm H (E) 710 (f).
|Designation:||Obusier de 370 modèle 1915|
1915 Conversion to a railway gun
|Number of pieces:||8 pieces|
|Tube length:||9,25 meters|
|Range:||Max. 16.500 metres|
|Weight:||127 to 134 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
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.
Breaking Point of the French Army: The Nivelle Offensive of 1917
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.
They Shall Not Pass: The French Army on the Western Front 1914-1918
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.
Artillery in the Great War
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