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Canon de 65 mm de montagne Mle 1906

Mountain artillery

Contributor :
Luc Malchair      http://www.fortiff.be/
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Location :
Orbey (68)
Musée du Col du Linge
Coordinates : Lat : 48.08410 / Long : 7.14080
General comments on this surviving gun :

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

Markings : ' Canon de 65 Mle 1906 de montagne - Nr533 - ABS 1917'

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     65 montagne Mle 1906 Origin :       ( Arsenaux de l'Etat)             ( Schneider )          

Historic context :

At the start of the 20th century, modernisation of the French artillery is at full speed and reaches the mountain guns in 1906, with the incoming of the 'canon de montagne de 65 mm Mle 1906 Schneider-Ducrest' named from the manufacturer and the designer, that was meant to replace the old de Bange 80 mm Mle 1878 / 1881 mountain gun.

This really modern weapon inherited the now usual improvements of the quick firing guns with an excentric screw breech block of the Nordenfelt system and a recoil recuperation system. But this latter, specifically designed by the Colonel Ducrest for this mountain gun that had to be as light as possible, was remarkable for the ingeniosity of its mechanics.

Indeed, two original innovations allowed the use of a lightened brake / recuperator system and gave very short recoil distances : a 'simple deformation' carriage articulated so that it could absorb a part of the shooting gun recoil energy, and a telescopic springs recuperating system coupled with a separated backwards movement hydraulic brake. This latter system allowed the use of the 'launching' innovating principle :

  • before the first shot, the recuperator spring was compressed manually to the maximum recoil position and locked.

  • at the shooting time, the spring was freed some seconds fractions before the shot, projecting the tube forward until it reached a certain 'V' speed just before it reached the limit distance. This was the 'launch' sequence.

  • at this exact time, the shot happened and the recoil energy developped to throw the barrel backwards at a theoretical 'Vr' speed. But this one being already moving forward with a 'V' speed, the actual resultant recoil speed was only 'Vr - Vo'.

  • therefore, the recoil energy was partially used to stop the tube forward movement, then sending it backwards with a reasonable speed under the control of a weak hydraulic brake, with just enough power to re-arm the gun in its maximum recoil position, ready fir a new 'launch' and shot.
The rate of fire (15 rounds per minute) was the real beneficiary of these sophisticated (and somewhat fragile) mechanisms. One must note however that this gun small caliber and modest range were often found insufficient in many combat situations.

It is important to mention anyhow that the genuine inventor of this 'launch' technique was the Lieutenant-Colonel Deport, one of the main actors of the design of the famous 75 Mle 1897. It is after his demission from the French army and joining the private Compagnie de Châtillon-Commentry that he designed this innovative technique that was later copied by the French army arsenals...

160 such 65mm Mle 1906 guns had been produced before 1914, and the manufacturing restarted during the WW1. 96 were still in service at the war end. This gun was later used by Germans during WW1.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 65 mm mountain gun M 1906 Schneider-Ducrest
  • Design year : 1906
  • Calibre : 65.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 400 kg
  • Weight for transportation : 4 separate loads
  • Tube length in calibres : 15.90 (rifled part only), 18.5 totally
  • Grooves : 24 constant 7 degrees angle to the right
  • Projectile weight : 3.8 kg (explosif) et 4.5 kg (à balles)
  • Initial speed : 330 m/s
  • Fire rate : 15 rounds per minute
  • Range : 5500 m
  • Elevation range : -10 to +35 degrees
  • Direction range : 6 degrees range

  • Allied Artillery of World War One           Ian V. Hogg                   Crowood   1998  
  • Les canons de la Victoire 1914-1918 - Tome I - L'Artillerie de campagne       Pierre Touzin       François Vauvillier             Histoire et Collection   2006  
  • Le canon de 65 mm de montagne Mle 1906 et ses prédécesseurs - Guerre, Blindés et Matériel Nr 99       Général Guy François                   Histoire et Collection   2012