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"155 mm Cannon GPF Mod 1917 Review" Topic

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448 hits since 18 Sep 2019
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 3:52 p.m. PST

"Before the outbreak of the First World War the French had given little thought to the use of heavy artillery. Their philosophy stressed mobility and attack, finding the enemy and attacking him before he had time to concentrate his resources, and this required artillery that was above all else mobile, which meant using the much-lauded 75 mm model 1897 field gun. However the recent Balkan wars had shown that guns too heavy for horse teams could now move with an army thanks to motorised transport, but when war came to France in 1914 their few heavy guns were unprepared for the battles to come. Once static trench warfare developed, there was a chronic shortage of such guns which could only partly be met by dragging guns from fortresses, coastal installations, scrapyards and even museums, creating a very mixed force inferior to that of the Germans. Over time of course France addressed the problem by upgrading old guns and producing new designs, and as the war continued, such big guns would become crucial to battlefield tactics for all combatants.

France was ill-prepared in 1914, but not unaware, and in 1913 one Lieutenant-Colonel Filloux began work on designing a new 155 mm gun to fill the gap. This had a barrel almost six metres in length, and was the first heavy gun to have a split trail, giving it an impressive maximum elevation of 35 degrees, and a maximum range of over 16 km. It was called the GPF or ‘Grande Puissance Filloux' (literally ‘great power'), and from the moment it first went into service in August 1917 it was recognised as a great weapon. It became the standard French heavy artillery piece, and many were still in use in 1940 when France was again invaded. It was also closely copied by the US, which produced the M1918…."




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