Lat : 59.95410 / Long : 30.31430
General comments on this surviving gun :
Identical items in the same location :
Items covered by this file :
Historic context :
The French headquarters pre-war doctrine, planning the offensive and the mobility in open fields, deliberately gave the priority to the light field artillery (that was so well equipped wih the brilliant 75 mm Mle 1897 fieldgun) to the detriment of the heavy field artillery.
This is the reason why the reglementary heavy field or siege 155 mm guns, including the 155 Mle 1877 de Bange, the 155 Mle 1890 Baquet and the 155 Mle 1904 TR Rimailho, all either were obsolescent or had insufficient performances while no serious study had been ordered to the State Arsenals for their replacement with new weapons. Hopefully for France, the French Armement major companies, worlwide known for their know-how, kept on developping and selling to other countries materials of similar caliber.
In August 1914, the Saint Chamond company presented to the French Army theor 155 C gun, dervivated from a powerful 150 mm howitzer designed for Mexico, and firing the reglementary 155 mm munitions. This early demonstration however did not give birth to any decision. It was only after the Maréchal Joffre realised at the end of the Artois offensive in June 1915, to which the 155 CTR participated, the interest of a 155 mm gun in sufficient quantities and with a long range, that it was decided in emergency to adopt the canon de 155 C modèle 1915 St Chamond, and to order 400 pieces of it.
It was a pretty good weapon, with a range 30% longer than the 155 CTR, transportable with horses as a single load thanks to the use of additional fore-wheels and movement of the tube backwards at maximum recoil position. It was equipped with a shield, a polygonal carriage, a breech with a vertical sliding block (automatic closing, semi-automatic opening), an hydraulic recoil brake just below the barrel and two lateral recoil recuperators with telescopic springs. The trunnions position, close to the breech, needed the use of a compressed air balancing system.
However, the fabrication of the new gun was taking quite a long time (the first deliveries happening in autumn 1916 only), so that the Schneider competitor company located in Le Creusot had meanwhile made their brilliant 155 C Mle 1915 Schneider adopted, with its superior properties including the range more than 2000 m longer than the Saint Chamond gun at the cost of a little more weight, delivered the furst batteries in spring 1916, and already started the design od a new Mle 1917 version based on the experience gained on the front with the first Mle 1915 guns.
As a consequence, it is indeed the Schneider 155 C gun that became de facto the reglementary 155 mm field gun in the French Army, and the Saint Chamond factories had to stop their own gun production when the deliveries of the 400 pieces was done, and dedicate to the manufacturing of the gun of their Schneider competitor...
In December 1916, 326 such guns were anyway in service on the front accompanied by only 136 Schneider guns. There were none left in the inventories in August 1917.
Technical data :
- Complete description : 155mm Mle 1915 short gun Saint Chamond
- Design year : 1915
- Calibre : 155.00 mm
- Weight in firing position : 3040 kg
- Weight for transportation : 3800 kg, en une seule charge
- Tube length in calibres : 14.54 (rifled part only), 17.8 total length
- Grooves : 48 progressive angle ending at 7 degrees, oriented to the right
- Projectile weight : 41 à 43 kg
- Initial speed : 205 to 353 m/s (elongated shell), and to 331 m/s (steel shell)
- Fire rate : 3 rounds per minute
- Range : 8000 m (elongated shell) à 9300 m (steel shell)
- Elevation range : 0 to +40 degrees
- Direction range : 5.4 degrees range