155mm Mle 1877 de Bange - 1916 Upgrade

Discussions on all aspects of the First World War not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
CharlieC
Member
Posts: 163
Joined: 17 Jan 2010 05:47
Location: Australia

155mm Mle 1877 de Bange - 1916 Upgrade

Post by CharlieC » 03 Oct 2022 12:25

The 155mm de Bange gun was used extensively by the French Army in WW1 even though, nominally, it was quite obsolete.

In 1916 some of the guns were upgraded for vehicle towing by adding a simple suspension and a sprung towing eye which replaced
the wheeled frame used for horse towing. A number, possibly in the hundreds, of "new" Mle 1877 barrels were manufactured.
As well as French production there also seem to have been some Mle 1877 barrels made in the US. Bethlehem Steel made one
surviving example. Anyone know how many Mle 1877 barrels US companies made?

Attached images are the two guns at Oulu in Finland. One barrel was made in 1918 possibly by the Ruelle foundry, the other by
Bethlehem Steel in 1917.

regards,

Charlie
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
Hoplophile
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 07 Sep 2006 10:44
Location: Quantico, VA

Re: 155mm Mle 1877 de Bange - 1916 Upgrade

Post by Hoplophile » 09 Oct 2022 00:58

The Mle 1877 did, indeed, find much service in the French Army of World War I. As late as 1 June 1918, there were 101 batteries armed with that weapon at the front, with 4 more at training camps. In addition, there were 18 batteries armed with the Mle 77-14, which used the same barrel as the Mle 1877. (Armées Françaises dans la Grande Guerre, Tome VI, 2ème Volume, Annexes 2ème Volume, page 260.)

The manufacture of replacement barrels for the Mle 1877 and the Mle 77-14 begins in 1916. Between 1 May and 1 November of that year, French factories produced some 89 new barrels for those weapons. (Chambre des Députés, Comité Secret de 28 Nov 1916, page 210)

I have yet to discover the total number of spare barrels for the Mle 1877 and Mle 77-14 that were built after 1 November 1916. Neither have I been able to find numbers for the number of spare barrels for those weapons that were built in the USA.

CharlieC
Member
Posts: 163
Joined: 17 Jan 2010 05:47
Location: Australia

Re: 155mm Mle 1877 de Bange - 1916 Upgrade

Post by CharlieC » 09 Oct 2022 06:02

Thank you for the reply

The basic tube, breech and rifling of the Mle 1877 barrel was used on the Mle 1877/1914, and on the later Mle 1918 but these guns did not have
trunnions on the barrel, or lifting eyes above the barrel. There must have been a connection underneath the barrel to the recoil absorbing assembly -
I can't remember how that was done in the Schneider guns.

I haven't seen reference to resleeving and remachining de Bange barrels, as Krupp did with their field guns, so perhaps it wasn't possible to recycle shot out barrels so additional new barrels would be required. There were 120 Mle 1877/1914 guns ordered and 120 Mle 1918 so there likely were 480 barrels of the modified type made half of which were built after 1916.

Regards,

Charlie

User avatar
Hoplophile
Member
Posts: 208
Joined: 07 Sep 2006 10:44
Location: Quantico, VA

Re: 155mm Mle 1877 de Bange - 1916 Upgrade

Post by Hoplophile » 10 Oct 2022 02:15

I, too, have yet to see any mention of the relining of the barrels of French artillery pieces during World War I. Indeed, the French seem to have preferred to ream out the bores of worn-out barrels, thereby increasing their caliber. Thus, 100mm guns became 105mm guns, 140mm guns became 145mm guns, and 145mm guns became 155mm guns. (As might be imagined, this only worked with barrels that were especially thick to begin with, such as those of guns designed for use aboard warships.)

I one reference to the use of replaceable sleeves I have found is from a lecture given at the artillery school at Metz in 1921. This refers to "recent" (and thus, I presume, postwar) experiments with the use of replaceable sleeves in 140mm naval guns.

Here's a link to the reference: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k96167106

Return to “First World War”