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Lance-bombes de 77 mm Cellerier

Trench artillery

Contributor :
Gilles Roland      http://vestiges.1914.1918.free.fr/
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Location :
Saint Amarin (68)
Coordinates : Lat : 47.87440 / Long : 7.02890
General comments on this surviving gun :

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

Aside to an unknown fin-tail projectile and a German pnematic mortar projectile

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     77 Cellerier Origin :       ( Improvisation sur le front)          

Historic context :

Totally involved in its pre-war offensive war plans, the French army showed little interest to the siege short range mortars, whilst the Russia-Japan war learnings were demonstrating the utility of weapons able to throw precisely a heavy explosive load at an angle close to the vertical in order to destroy entrenchments from a short distance.

On its side, Germany had capitalized this experience and had launched the development of a Minenwerfer family. Aware of this as soon as 1910, the Maréchal Joffre tried to induce the design of similar weapons in 1913, but this created so little enthusiasm that in August 1914 France did not have a single portable mortar model.

Nevertheless, the French soldiers were faced from the early 1914 war days to the powerful German minenwerfers, without any possibility to answer back. On the Argonne sector particularly crushed by these mortars, the Captain Cellerier improvised a 'DYI' mortar made with recycled material : he used a German 77 mm shrapnell shell body mounted on a wooden wedgehaving a 45 degrees angle to launch projectiles made of French 65 mm mountain gun shells, whose diameter is by chance similar to the inner diameter of the German shrapnell light shell, filled with explosive and various shots types.

This 'Mortier Cellerier' shot its first projectile on the front line on November 4th 1914. The range was adjustable by changing the propulsive charge weight and the wedge angle (inserting wood planks under it...)

Not accurate but easy to manufacture, the Cellerier mortar was sponsored by a French HQ note encouraging its use waiting for the design and distribution of new materials (including the 58 Nr 1 mortars). Similar models were also developed more rarely based on German 105 mm shrapnell shells.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 77 mm Cellerier mine-thrower
  • Design year : 1914
  • Calibre : 65.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 12 kg
  • Weight for transportation :
  • Tube length in calibres : 0.00
  • Grooves : 0 (smooth bore)
  • Projectile weight : 1.8 kg
  • Initial speed :
  • Fire rate :
  • Range : 250 à 300 m
  • Elevation range : 45 degrees (constant)
  • Direction range :

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