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Canon de 12 cm A Mod. 1889 (manchonné et fretté)

on metal siege carriage

Fortress artillery

Contributor :
Alan Pace     
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Location :
Wilkesboro, NC

Coordinates : Lat : 36.14720 / Long : -81.15520
General comments on this surviving gun :

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

Tube profile showing an obvious linkage to the German 'Ringkanone' family

Breech markings : '12c - N°79 - Liège 1889'.

View on the breech and the main jacket strenghtening the barrel chamber

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     12 c.A. Mod. 1889 Origin :       ( Cockerill)             ( FRC )             ( Krupp )

Historic context :

When Belgium decided in 1887 to built with the General Brialmont the fortified perimeters of Liège and Namur, the consecutive order of more than 600 artillery tubes with various calibres, as well as the steel cupolas was representing a very interesting market that attracted the best German and French armament companies, but also talented Belgian ones, with the good know-how, but whose use was also unavoidable for political reasons. Concerning the artillery dedicated to the equipment of the modern forts cupolas, bunkers and of the intervals, the Belgian authorities choose the Krupp technology for the delivery of the mortars, howitzers and guns of 15cm and 21cm. But as soon as 1887, the Belgian companies Cockerill and Fonderie Royale de Canons (FRC) associated to take a part of the market, soon proposing from 1889 an alternative to the German weapons of 15cm and 21cm, but also a little 87mm mortar, and a 12cm gun.

This last one was named 'Canon rayé de 12c.A. Mod. 1889 (manchonné et fretté)' and seems to be the most successful for the Belgian associates since 126 such tubes needed for the cupolas and the interval batteries were ordered. It was a weapon with a technology quasi-identical to the one of the Krupp 15cA Mod 1886, with a mantled tube and a thick re-inforcement ring circling the explosion chamber. Some sources say that it was indeed 162 tubes - and not only 126 - that was ordered by Belgium to both Krupp and Cockerill-FRC, meaning therefore that 34 have been manufactured by the German company, and most probably that this barrel design was mostly German with a fabrication of the Belgian guns under licence

The Forts of the Meuse could be equipped with this caliber guns the following way :

  • 12 'Chatillon Commentry - Ateliers de la Meuse' cupolas for two 12cA guns in Liège (Flémalle, Loncin, Pontisse, Barchon, Fléron, Boncelles)
  • 8 'Chatillon Commentry - Marcinelle et Couillet' cupolas for two 12cA guns in Namur (St Héribert, Suarlée, Cognelée, Andoy)
  • 12 'Chatillon Commentry - Ateliers de la Meuse' and 'Chatillon Commentry - Marcinelle et Couillet' cupolas for one 12cA gun in Liège (Hollogne, Lantin, Liers, Evegnée, Chaudfontaine, Embourg)
  • 10 'St Chamond - Cockerill' cupolas for one 12cA gun in Namur (Malonne, Emines, Marchovelette, Maizeret, Dave)
Other barrels of the same order were mounted on a siege carriage for the intervals defence , taking the name of 'Canon rayé de 12c.A. Mod. 1889 (manchonné et fretté) sur affût de siège métallique Mod 1880''.

Most of these old guns were captured by Germany at the fell of the Liège, Namur and Antwerp fortresses in 1914, and used by their armies to supplement their own heavy guns in the position war. This way, the German armies inventories counted 148 12cm Belgian guns of 3 different kinds (including a late Cockerill-FRC of 1911) in 1916, and were still having 48 of them in 1918.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 12 cm steel gun M 1889 (mantled)
  • Design year : 1889
  • Calibre : 120.10 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 2950 kg on siege carriage - 188 tons with cupola
  • Weight for transportation : 3626 kg on siege carriage
  • Tube length in calibres : 25.00
  • Grooves : 0
  • Projectile weight : 18 kg - 21kg
  • Initial speed :
  • Fire rate :
  • Range : 8000 m (in cupolas) - 8300 m (German high explosive shell) - 8600 m (German shrapnell)
  • Elevation range :
  • Direction range :

  • Vesting - Vestingartillerie           Robert Gils                   Simon Stevin Vlaams Vestingbouwkundig Centrum   2010  
  • Atlas Belgische Versterkingen te Antwerpen, Luik en Namen (1859-1914)       Robert Gils                   Uitgeverij De Krijger   2001  
  • Das Ehrenbuch der Schweren Artillerie (II. Band)       Major Franz Nikolaus Kaiser                   Vaterlandischer Verlag Berlin   1934  
  • Fort de Loncin. Une nécropole, un site de guerre       Louis Ruther                   ASBL Front de Sauveagrde du Fort de Loncin   0