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Canon de 155mm Grande Puissance Filloux

Heavy artillery

Contributor :
Alain Bohée     
Philippe Guyot     
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Location :
Paris (75)
Musée de l'Armée aux Invalides
Coordinates : Lat : 48.85820 / Long : 2.31240
General comments on this surviving gun :
Brilliant restoration of the gun and its truck by the association Balmoral Green in Versailles.
I do not know if the gun was only exposed at the Invalides Museum in Paris in December 2016 for the Sainte Barbe ceremony, or if it is now in the museum collections

Philippe Guyot comments (2023) : I can confirm that this is a gun coming from the Draguignan Artillery Museum connection.
This gun and its Renault EG15 tractor are both part of this museum collection and renovated by the association Balmoral Green. That was not an easy job as the tractor was almost entirely to be rebuilt.
For the human side of the story, the artillery tractor is painted at its front side with the name of one of the renovators of this association, who passed away during the working period. A very nice tribute from his friends !

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

The gun Nr 573 is dated 1920, but it is absolutely identical to the ones used during WW1 by France

The truck is a Renault EG.15, serial Nr 63654.

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     155 GPF Origin :       ( Etablissements et Arsenaux de Bourges)             ( Etablissements et Arsenaux de Puteaux )             ( Renault )

Historic context :

Fruit of the Commandant Filloux works, began before the war in the Ateliers de Bourges, that high power gun was mounted on a two-trails scissor-like carriage allowing high elevation and direction angles. Its weight, largely bigger than the 155 L Schneider Mle 17 gun, and its manufacturing complexity nearly killed the project when it was presented in the end of 1916 at the same time than its Schneider competitor, but its potential for a mechanical towing and its high directional range saved it, so it was delivered to the front from 1917.

The Canon de 155 mm GPF Mle 1917 ('GPF' = 'Grande Puissance Filloux' - High Power Filloux) was a gun of exception, with :

  • a long barrel equipped with a quick manoeuvring Schneider breech,

  • a stable and modern twin-trails low carriage with central pivot allowing a wide lateral aiming field,

  • a recoil hydropneumatic brake / recuperating system giving a variable recoil distance depending on the gun elevation (although still needing the digging of a recoil pit under the breech for high angles),
Combined, these characteristics gave long ranges over 15 km, ideal for counter-battery and harassment actions, with a high fire rate (3 to 4 rounds per minute), and a good mobility in one single load by mechanical towing for which the gun had been designed. The slender profile and the obvious modernism of this gun surely was an other cause of its 'seduction power' !

The 155 GPF was also adopted in 1917 by the US Army because of its efficacity and simplicity. As a consequence the French plants (State Arsenals of Puteaux that systematically assembled the gun and, the automotive industry Renault as a contractor) had to dedicate an important part of this weapon production to the deliveries of the US ally.

For this reason the dotation to the French army could not reach the expected amounts during the war, since, although introduced in June 1917 and available in 26 pieces in August of the same year (first operation on the Flanfers front), there were only 224 such weapons in service in November 1918 (and 400 produced).

It was engaged in the French Army in 1940, then was used by Nazi Germany, to finally come back in a modified version to participate to the Europe invasion with the US troops.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 155mm Mle 1917 Grande Puissance Filloux gun
  • Design year : 1917
  • Calibre : 155.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 11200 kg
  • Weight for transportation : 13000 kg with the additional wheels
  • Tube length in calibres : 29.80 (rifled part only), 38.2 total length
  • Grooves : 48 6 degrees, oriented to the right
  • Projectile weight : 43.1 kg à 44.85 kg
  • Initial speed : 580 to 735 m/s
  • Fire rate : 3 to 4 rounds per minute
  • Range : 16300 m
  • Elevation range : 0 to +35 degrees
  • Direction range : 60 degrees range