french railway gun

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MLW
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Re: french railway gun

Post by MLW » 07 Apr 2016 12:26

Thank you to Guy Francois for his detailed answer. As I study the first French railway guns fielded in 1914 and early 1915, I am beginning to see that the few English-language authors that have written about WWI railway artillery are wrong to characterize the first French guns as ad hoc constructions that lacked engineering finesse. Other than the 155 L "Transvaal" and the 95 mm Mle 1888 canon, which were rushed to service to provide heavy artillery support to front line units (and were not considered ALVF by the Army), early-war French railway guns reflected the realities of being the first large artillery pieces to be put on rails and being designed during war - they were simple, leading edge technology, and durable enough to remain in service for the entire war and, in many cases, into WWII.

Regards,
Marc

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Manuferey
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Re: french railway gun

Post by Manuferey » 08 Apr 2016 00:21

MLW wrote:engineering finesse.
Finesse is a French word. The word Engineering also has a French root: "engin" from the latin word "ingenium". The two words go naturally well together. :thumbsup:

Emmanuel

MLW
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Re: french railway gun

Post by MLW » 09 Apr 2016 14:28

I am still being confounded by the early WWI French railway guns. I am reading about the Canon de 305 Mle 1893-96 sur affut a chassis Saint-Chamond built in early 1915. It was classified as an ALVF, but it appears to be on a glissement (sliding) ground mount. Later, in 1916, the cannons were re-mounted on Schneider railway mounts and re-designated the Canon de 305mm Mle 1993-96 modele 1917 sur affut a glissement Schneider. I do not understand if the first Saint-Chamond version was really a railway gun or a a ground-mounted gun that was assigned to the ALVF.

I know that this is a specific technical question so I will thank M. Guy Francois in advance!

Regards,
Marc

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Re: french railway gun

Post by ALVF » 09 Apr 2016 16:45

Hello,

The 8 guns 305 mm modèle 1893-96 on affût Saint-Chamond, build in 1915 and 1916, are true ALVF guns, the affût is "tous-azimuts" (all-around fire).
But, in action, the 305 mm gun had proved to much powerful for the mounting and the "affût" had only + 20° vertical pointing with 19.600 meters range.
So, the 305 mm barrels were dismounted in 1916 and 240 mm modèle 1893-96 M "Colonies" guns were mounted in 1917 on the mounts (range 22800 meters). The tubes of 305 mm were then mounted on sliding mounts made by Schneider with + 40°vertical firing (range now was 27.500 meters). In 1918, worn-out 305 mm modèle 1893-96 were rebored to 320 mm (320 mm modèle 1917).
My little book "Les canons de la Victoire-L'Artillerie Lourde à Grande Puissance" (Histoire et Collections Paris) give all details on french ALVF and ALGP guns, second edition is ready since one year but now only a few hundreds are still disposable!
Yours sincerely,
Guy François.

MLW
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Re: french railway gun

Post by MLW » 09 Apr 2016 20:28

Hello,

Thank you Guy. I have and am reading your book Tome 2: "Les canons de la Victoire-L'Artillerie Lourde à Grande Puissance." It is very good and is chocked full with lots of information, but because my French is limited, there are certain aspects of the text that elude me. But, I am working on improving it!

Regards,
Marc

Sturm78
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Re: french railway gun

Post by Sturm78 » 13 Apr 2016 07:50

Hi all,

An image from Ebay: 274mm Mle 1917 barrels

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MLW
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Re: french railway gun

Post by MLW » 29 Apr 2016 01:53

I am curious about the source of the canons used in the Canon de 95mm modèle 1888 de cote sur wagon blinde and Canon 19cm TAZ modèle 1870-93 sur affut-truck TAZ Schneider. I am guessing, by their appearance, that the 95mm canons were coastal defense artillery and the 19cm guns were either coastal defense or surplus naval guns. Any ideas? I suspect M. Guy Francois may know the answer!

Regards,
Marc

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Re: french railway gun

Post by ALVF » 29 Apr 2016 16:47

Hello,

-the 95 mm de côte is a new-built coast gun 95 mm modèle 1888. The 95 mm modèle 1888 is the former 95 mm modèle 1875 gun, a heavy all steel field gun studied by Lahitolle, the gun 95 mm modèle 1888 differs only in breech details from modèle 1875. The coast guns of 95 mm were studied for ruling the firing of 24 cm modèle 1876 and 240 mm modèle 1884 coast guns and also to fire on small targets, they were mounted on special "affût de côte".
The 95 mm de côte is a coast gun studied for the batteries of "Guerre". In France, before 1901, they were coast batteries of "Guerre" and "Marine" (two different "Ministères"). In 1901, "Guerre" take all coast batteries under his command in France and Northern Africa but from 1917 to 1940, the "Marine" take command of all coast batteries in France and Northern Africa.
In "Colonies", the coast batteries were under "Marine" command to 1901 and after 1901 the "Artillerie Coloniale" (special "Ministère des Colonies") take all the coast batteries of french "Colonies" (Marocco, Algeria and Tunisia were not "Colonies").

-the 19 cm modèle 1870-93 is a coast gun studied by "Marine" for his coast batteries. These new guns were built between 1896 and 1900. These guns were never used on ships (they were french net-sites which stupidly write this error). The 19 cm modèle 1870-93 were used in France in some former "Marine" coast batteries and also in "Colonies" (Madagascar and Martinique "Marine" coast batteries).
From 1915, near all 19 cm modèle 1870-93 guns were dismounted from coast mountings for use in ALVF guns (26 made by Schneider). 12 worn-out 19 cm modèle 1870-93 were rebored to 203 mm as repair guns. In 1940, they were 24 guns 194 mm modèle 70-93 in service in ALVF batteries, 1 was in reserve, and 1 gun transformed in 203 mm was also in reserve.

Yours sincerely,
Guy François.

MLW
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Re: french railway gun

Post by MLW » 02 May 2016 13:42

M. Guy Francois - Thank you for the detailed answer. I understand the topic better and you also explained why the Canon de 240mm Mle 1893-96 M 'Colonies' was named 'Colonies'! Again, thank you!

My study of the ALVF reveals that English-language sources wrongly characterize the development of French railway artillery as a haphazard affair. It seems, in reality, that as the first ad hoc guns were being fielded (155L Cannons 'Transvaal' and 95mm modèle 1888, both of which were not part of the ALVF) - the 'second generation' guns were simple, but deliberate designs that aptly took available cannons and got them to the field quickly.

Regards,
Marc

Sturm78
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Re: french railway gun

Post by Sturm78 » 02 May 2016 22:22

Hi all,

I found this image on Ebay. I think an 305mm Mle 1893-96 gun
Does somebody know when was taken this image?? WWI or postwar ??

Sturm78
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ALVF
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Re: french railway gun

Post by ALVF » 04 May 2016 07:32

Hello,

This photograph is taken in 1930 years in Châlons-sur-Marne where is the 372e R.A.L.V.F, the single ALVF Regiment in peacetime between 1929 and 1939.
Yours sincerely,
Guy François.

Sturm78
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Re: french railway gun

Post by Sturm78 » 04 May 2016 10:16

ALVF wrote
This photograph is taken in 1930 years in Châlons-sur-Marne where is the 372e R.A.L.V.F, the single ALVF Regiment in peacetime between 1929 and 1939.
Thank you very much for your help, Guy

Regards Sturm78

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Re: french railway gun

Post by Sturm78 » 14 May 2016 09:54

Hi all,

A rare image of an 305mm Mle 1906 or Mle 1906-10 gun (I think):

Image from Ebay
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MLW
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Re: french railway gun

Post by MLW » 14 May 2016 15:41

Here I go again with some questions about French terminology. I do not understand all of the terms used to describe the different types of mounts. I know that tous azimuts or TAZ is an 'all-azimuth' mount with 360 degree rotation and that glissement is a 'sliding' mount. Those are the easy ones. Harder is berceau. Does it mean 'ground anchorage'? Then there is circonstance. Does that translate as 'improvised'? And, fortune - I have no idea!

I am also wondering why the designers at Schneider thought the 19cm TAZ modèle 1870-93 and 274mm à berceau modèle 1893-96 guns should be armored.

Any ideas?

Regards,
Marc

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Re: french railway gun

Post by ROLAND1369 » 14 May 2016 15:58

The term" berceau "means that it has a recoil system, usually hydro-pneumatic which absorbs most if not all of the recoil as opposed to the glissment in which the tube is attached to the sliding mount at the trunnions rigidly and the firing shock is adsorbed totally by the entire carriage sliding back along the rails. While not a direct translation,the term "circonstance" in western military terminology would best be "emergency".

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