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Old 07-07-2009, 01:27 PM
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Default Canon de 155mm L mle1877

At the start of the Great War, the French Army had put an enormous amount of faith in their famous "75". And it was indeed a formidable gun, but it soon became apparent that even this Gun could not perform all the tasks needed, especially when the war turned static and fixated around entrenchments rather than maneuver. Heavier guns were needed. Also, the rate of loss exceeded all calculations. (In the first 16 months 2.750 guns were lost, out of a total of 4.800!)
This forced the French Army to use older or even obsolete guns, in a desperate effort to fill the gap, and to provide the troops with much needed heavy Fire Support. That is the reason why the 155mm Cannon Mle 1877 was kept in service, despite it's obvious age, shown primarily by it's rigid mount on a "Napoleon-style" carriage. The lack of a modern system of Recoil meant, among other things, that the gun had to be relaid after each shot, greatly reducing the rate of fire. The Mle 1877 could shoot a 40kg (881b) shell up to a maximum range of 9.8km, which was quite acceptable. The Breech was of the De Bange screw type, and the gun was fired using a Friction Device.
Many of the barrels were removed from their dated carriages and mated to a slightly modified version of the Schneider carriage developed for the l05mm gun Mle 1913 TR. This rebuilding of the Mle 1877 was not fast enough for the demands of the Army, and many were taken into service as they were, with their old carriages. As the barrels wore out they were replaced by new ones, of simpler design and an improved breech mechanism. They were known as the 155 gun Mle 1877/1916 in this form, and with a modern, more streamlined shell they could reach some 12.7km. The gun was phased out of service as the war went on.

155mm Cannon Mle 1877 Walkaround
The gun below stands outside the Battlefield Museum at Fleury, on the Verdun Battleground itself (in one of the photos you can see the big Ossuaire in the distance).

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