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Canon de 95mm Mle 1888 Lahitolle sur affût de campagne

Light artillery

Contributor :
Alain Bohée     
Bernard Plumier      http://www.passioncompassion1418.com
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Location :
Draguignan (83)
Musée de l'Artillerie
Coordinates : Lat : 43.52840 / Long : 6.49640
General comments on this surviving gun :

Identical items in the same location : 1
Items covered by this file : 1

See the light carriage, marked 'Schneider et Cie - 1877 - Creusot'

The smallest caliber from the French heavy artillery. Unknown markings

View on the interrupted screw breech mechanism of the Lahitolle system. Breech markings : 'Tarbes AG - 1882'

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     95 Mle 1888 sur affût de campagne Origin :       ( Arsenaux de l'Etat)             ( Schneider )          

Historic context :

Following the 1870 defeat, France started renewing its field artillery, often surpassed by the German guns during the conflict. In 1872 the system proposed by the Captain de Lahitolle was winning over its competitors, but the not so mdern bronze 'de Reffye' 85mm gun (the first French gun with a interrupted screw breech, adopted in 1873) satisfactory performance was allowing to extend the tests period and give a chance to other new materials, including the very promising de Bange system.

In 1875 the selection was still not made when a severe diplomatic crisis arose between France and Germany, convincing the French headquarter to adopt the 'Canon de 95mm système Lahitolle' in emergency. It was the very first French gun made in steel, and one of the first with an interrupted screw breech, but it had no recoil brake / recuperating system, like all the other designs of this time.

Its performances were fine, but its heavy weight and its very specific caliber will lead to its withdraw already in 1878 as a fieldgun, replaced by the 80mm and 90mm guns of the de Bange system adopted in 1877.

In 1888, the gun received an improvement of its firing system, now going through the breech, renaming the gun into a 'Canon G de 95 mm, Mle 1888'. This was of course not a modernization able to send it back in the field artillery active units, but It stayed in service for different missions and variants :

  • Canon G de 95 mm sur affût de campagne ('G 95 mm gun on field carriage'), removed from the active field artillery units, but stored in the depots

  • Canon G de 95 mm sur affût SP ('G 95 mm gun on Siege and Place carriage', also called 'Omnibus carriage') pour l'artillerie de forteresse

  • Canon G de 95 mm sur affût G de côte ('G 95 mm gun on G coastal carriage') for the coastal defence, with an improved fire rate thanks to the use of a grease brake linking the tube to the bolted base

  • inside 'casemate de Bourges' (side bunkers) in some fortresses
WW1 gave to this weapon a second chance for about 1000 of them, the lack of guns requesting them to exit from the depots on their SP and field carriages, some of the coastal guns being even called to the front to equip armoured trains and some ships.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 95mm M 1888 Lahitolle field gun
  • Design year : 1875 / 1888
  • Calibre : 95.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 1413 kg (field carriage)
  • Weight for transportation : Gun weight + 600 kg Forewheels
  • Tube length in calibres : 23.80 (rifled part only, 20.3 calibers total length)
  • Grooves : 28 Grooves to the left, progressive angle ending at 7 degrees
  • Projectile weight : 11 à 12 kg
  • Initial speed : 408 to 444 m/s
  • Fire rate : 1 shot per minute
  • Range : 6500 to 9800 m
  • Elevation range : -10 / +24 degrees (field carriage)
  • Direction range : unknown

  • Les Canons de la Victoire, 5ème édition du Manuel d'Artillerie Lourde, revue et considérablement augmentée           Colonel Alvin       Commandant André             Henri Charles-Lavauzelle et Cie   1923  
  • Les canons de la Victoire 1914-1918 - Tome I - L'Artillerie de campagne       Pierre Touzin       François Vauvillier             Histoire et Collection   2006  
  • Le site web la fortification Séré de Rivières http://www.fortiffsere.fr                           
  • Le 95 de Lahitolle, campagne, siège et côte, et plus si affinités - Guerre, Blindés et Matériel Nr 109       Général Guy François                   Histoire et Collection   2014