Military Review

Shoot as far as possible: the French

29
Shoot as far as possible: the French
Ultra-long-range gun of the firm "Schneider". It had a bonded 210 mm barrel, one third of which was rifled and the other was smooth. The gun could conduct aimed fire only from a curved railway track, and preferably a v-shaped one, since only in this case a sufficiently significant angle of fire was obtained



“The shot was silent. But the return
fantastic carriages swept underground roar,
like a terrible earthquake. This blow was marked
seismographic stations even in Mexico.
In many cities in neighboring countries
the alarmed wall clock stopped.

Alexander Kazantsev "Flaming Island"

Heavy artillery of the First World War. And it so happened that in March 1918 a Commission was created in France to study guns that could shoot at a very long distance. The reason was more than relevant: on March 23, 1918, German troops began shelling Paris from the Kaiser Wilhelm Pipe ultra-long-range gun. In addition, it turned out that the German 35,5 cm and 38 cm guns that were on the battleships were also significantly superior to the best French naval guns since 1916, and something had to be done about this too.

The result of the work of the commission was an order to Saint-Chamond and Schneider firms for long-range guns, which received the French designation TLP (very long-range guns). Already in June 1918, tests were carried out on 37 mm guns with barrel lengths L/100 and L/160 to evaluate the internal ballistics of very long barrels.

And at the end of 1918, an experimental 60-mm L / 145 cannon fired as many as 80 shots at an initial speed of 1 m / s before its barrel was worn out. As a result, by the time the armistice was concluded in November 170 with the TLP guns, the French had not achieved any special results, although they had no shortage of projects. But they began to engage in them after the truce. For this, five 1918-mm L / 340 Mle 45 barrels were allocated, which were made for the Normandie battleships, which the French did not begin to build with the end of the war.

The Schneider TLP designs used a carriage designed for nine 340mm Mle 1912 railroad guns delivered to the Army in 1919. It weighed 270 tons and used recoil-absorbing wooden mounts, a system similar to that used on many railroad carriers of the time. The obvious problem of the Schneider conveyor was the complete lack of horizontal aiming, so it was possible to shoot only from a curved railway line oriented to the target.

The company's designers decided to reduce the 340-mm caliber to 240-mm, 210-mm and 224-mm calibers, that is, to create a weapon similar to the "Kaiser's Pipe ...". Three different TLP guns were made in great secrecy from 1920 to 1929, and made in secret because the French were concerned about the British reaction to the development of guns that could bombard Channel ports from France. However, the work was already very slow, as defense spending was greatly reduced after the First World War.

The resulting gun had a caliber of 240 mm, although its barrel was from a 340 mm gun. Tests took place in 1924 and were disappointing. The maximum achieved range of the projectile was about 50 m at a barrel elevation angle of 000 °. 37-kilogram shells for the cannon had a single strip of finished rifling, similar to the German "Wilhelm's Pipe".

The projectiles in this and other long-range guns experienced such a strong acceleration when fired that ordinary copper belts could not be used, as they were torn off the projectile when fired. The German solution, copied by Schneider, was to use rifling on the shell of the projectile, which, when loaded, neatly engaged with the rifling of the gun barrel.

Another problem for the TLP project was finding a firing range for such a long range. In the end, they decided to place the guns on Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, a peninsula in southern Brittany, and fire to the west so that the shells fell into the Atlantic Ocean. To monitor the shots, a whole series of observation stations was created on the southern coast of Brittany. An underwater microphone network was also equipped there to record the sound of a projectile hitting the water.

In 1921, a 210-mm gun was tested. The initial speed of the projectile turned out to be equal to 1 m / s, but the maximum achieved firing range turned out to be small due to the fact that the projectiles tumbled in flight. It was found that the 339 mm barrel wears out very quickly, so the gun was returned to the factory to be replaced with a 210 mm caliber. Tests of the 224 mm gun in November 224 made it possible to achieve a firing range of about 1927 m.

Again, this range was obtained during the firing of 1929 and 1930. However, in June 1930, the gun experienced severe overpressure in the breech, which, as it was found on examination, was caused by severe wear of the rifling in this place. After the inspection, the specialists of the Schneider company came to the conclusion that it makes no sense to repair the gun.


A Schneider gun before firing. It turned out that at an elevation angle of 50º, the projectile flies part of the way in the stratosphere, where air resistance is minimal. This is what allowed the German ultra-long-range guns, and now also the French cannon, to send their shells over 100 km

A gun with an L/150 barrel was a gun with an L/100 barrel plus an L/50 smooth barrel attachment. The carriage was changed so that it became possible to lift the barrel at an angle of 50º. It was possible to charge it with a barrel elevation of 16,5 °.

Interestingly, the smoothbore barrel extension was transported on a separate machine, and before firing they had to be screwed together. The rigidity of the barrel was provided by adjustable cables, again, everything is exactly the same as that of the Germans. The French couldn't come up with anything better.

The first tests were carried out in March 1929, when seven 150 kg shells were fired at ranges from 71 m to 000 m. In November 107, two modified 000 kg projectiles were fired at a distance of 1929 and speed 142 118 m/sec. Further tests in 000 were carried out with 127-kilogram projectiles with two strips of finished rifling at ranges from 800 m to 1 m. After 520 shots, the barrel fell into disrepair, and the gun itself was placed in storage. It was still in storage at the start of World War II, and although it was proposed to convert the gun to 1931mm, nothing was done until the German invasion in 146.


Long-range gun of the company "Saint-Chamond"

The Saint-Chamond approach to the TLP gun was very different from the Schneider approach. Instead of reusing an existing railroad gun carriage, Saint-Chamon engineers designed a new carriage with a central gun platform that could rotate 360° in azimuth. The barrel of the gun retained the usual marine cradle and recoil cylinders, so the preparation for firing, apparently, was limited only by the time of extension of the outriggers, which prevented the carriage from tipping over when firing from the rail track.

The Saint-Chamond project was approved in November 1918, and the only prototype was tested in 1926. The 240 mm L/51 gun reached its maximum firing range of 59 m. But then commercial imperatives intervened. In 000, the Schneider company bought the FAMH (Saint-Chamond) company. The prototype Saint-Chamond TLP gun was sold to Japan in 1924 as a Schneider gun and put into service as the Type 1930 240 mm railway gun.

The Japanese army used this railroad gun to reinforce the coastal defenses of Tokyo Bay. In 1941, she was relocated to the territory of Manchuria to the location of the Kwantung Army, where she remained until 1945. With the beginning of the Soviet offensive in Manchuria, the gun was not in action for long, and soon the retreating Kwantung Army destroyed it.


Transporter "Saint-Chamon". At the base of the platform, retractable beams are clearly visible, under which crates of sleepers should have been folded before firing. It was possible to shoot without them, but then the railway track was subjected to excessively strong impact, and the gun rolled back after the shot for a very long distance

It should be noted that the maximum firing range of the best guns of the French heavy rail artillery (ALVF), which were in service in 1918, did not exceed 37 m for the 000-mm Saint-Chamond guns, while the German guns with a caliber of 340- mm and 380 mm have already reached a range of 355 and 47 m, respectively.
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  1. andrewkor
    andrewkor 11 December 2022 06: 17
    +4
    It was necessary for the authors of the project to read "500 million begums", Jules, yours, Verne, what could be the end of the hobby for over-long-range shooting. I'm not talking about "From a Cannon to the Moon" !!!
  2. bionik
    bionik 11 December 2022 07: 04
    +8
    The reason was more than relevant: on March 23, 1918, German troops began shelling Paris from the Kaiser Wilhelm Pipe ultra-long-range gun.

    Parisian gun.

    The main purpose of such guns was the shelling of Paris - preparing for the "offensive to win a good world", the German command hoped to put psychological pressure on the French leadership. The position for the first gun was chosen near a village in Crépy near Laon, 120 km from Paris, and preparations began before the end of the gun. The position was connected by telephone with the army command, the battalion covering the position, senior commanders on the front and masking batteries. Since the navy had real experience in servicing heavy long-range guns at that time, the crew of the guns were mainly gunners of coastal defense. They were commanded by a Rear Admiral. The selection of personnel contributed to the accuracy of complex calculations, taking into account the state of the atmosphere, the barrel of the gun, the projectile, the mass and temperature of the charge, the curvature and rotation of the Earth.

    To disguise the positions of ultra-long-range guns, several fake railway lines were built, while the actual branches to the position were covered with trees planted in boxes, removing them while the trains were passing. In order to confuse the enemy's sound-measuring reconnaissance, the firing of the ultra-long-range cannon was masked by the firing of several field batteries. Aviation detachments were assigned to cover positions from the air. The gun fired its first shot two days after the start of the German "spring" offensive in Piccardy. Taking into account the power of the charge, the calculation before the shot went into cover, the shot itself was fired from a long cord because of the earthen rampart. The problem in determining the initial data for each subsequent shooting remained the evaluation of the results. I had to rely on intelligence reports.

    Two other positions of ultra-long-range guns were placed closer to the designated target - at Château-Thierry (in Fer-en-Tardenois), 87 km from Paris, where the German troops advanced during the offensive, and at Beaumont, 109 km from the French capital. For 44 days, the Colossal guns fired 303 shells at Paris (according to other sources - 320), of which 183 fell within the city. 256 killed, 620 wounded. The most "effective" was on March 29, when a shell that hit the church of Saint-Gervais killed 91 and wounded about 100 people.

    There were days, however, when agents only reported damaged cornices. The expected psychological effect did not follow. Although at first several hundred or thousands of Parisians hurried to leave the city, and even the evacuation of government offices was being prepared, the French did not request peace negotiations.

    Having discovered the position of the ultra-long-range cannon, the French brought their long-range artillery to an attempt to suppress it. But the general course of hostilities stopped the work of the "Paris guns". The last shot at Paris was fired from a position at Château-Thierry on August 9, 1918, a day after the start of the Allied offensive near Amiens. The guns were taken to Germany and dismantled. At least the Allies got only parts of the platform at Château-Thierry. After the war, the allied commissions did not find parts of the cannons themselves, and even a number of legends arose about how Krupp hid the barrels from the commissions.
    1. kalibr
      11 December 2022 07: 20
      +5
      It is interesting you wrote, dear Vladislav! It will be interesting to compare with what I will write when I write on the guns of the Germans.
    2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 11 December 2022 10: 04
      +2
      For 44 days, the Colossal guns fired 303 shells at Paris (according to other sources - 320), of which 183 fell within the city. 256 killed, 620 wounded. The most "effective" was on March 29, when a shell that hit the church of Saint-Gervais killed 91 and wounded about 100 people.

      Good morning namesake! Thanks for the extended comment.
      60,4% (57,9%) of successful shots on a big target like Paris! Not thick, at the level of "God aims at the rogue."
      In World War II, history repeated itself, but at a higher technical level, in order to hit the enemy across the English Channel. A more perverse thought with numerous chambers of charges per barrel, even the Teutonic gloomy genius - was blown away.
      Although it must be admitted that the French repeated "Kolosal" - "Kaiser Wilhelm's Trumpet" and repeated. Looking at the first illustration for Vyacheslav's article, I thought with a sin that the author made a mistake and posted the "German".
  3. bk0010
    bk0010 11 December 2022 09: 29
    +3
    Well, the French solved the issue with the range (over 100 km - it inspires, like a modern active-rocket projectile), but what about accuracy? The Germans had Paris as their target - they hit, but where were the French going to shoot? Berlin is far away, the most logical use of these guns is counter-battery combat. But they won’t hit the Douro for 100 km - the target is too small.
    1. Eule
      Eule 11 December 2022 10: 41
      +2
      Quote: bk0010
      but what about precision?

      IMHO the targets of the French could be German factories and factory workers' camps. Especially the plants of "bound nitrogen", which produced and sold fertilizers for agriculture and nitrates for gunpowder, are seriously cheaper than natural "Chilean saltpeter" and products from factories in other countries.
      Any hit in the plant leads to repair, and repairing high-pressure installations is difficult and time-consuming.
  4. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 11 December 2022 10: 38
    +2
    It should be noted that the maximum firing range of the best guns of the French heavy rail artillery (ALVF), which were in service in 1918, did not exceed 37 m for the 000-mm Saint-Chamond guns, while the German guns with a caliber of 340- mm and 380 mm have already reached a range of 355 and 47 m, respectively.

    In 1940, the Germans adopted the more advanced railway gun K12 (E) with a caliber of 210 mm and a maximum firing range of 115 km. Moreover, with limited success, they fired at the coastal city of Kent from a distance of 55 miles (almost 89 km).

    However, something else makes me sad.
    If in the Soviet period the armed forces of the USSR had parity in large-caliber artillery, with a range of 180mm S-23 at 44km and 203mm Pion at 45km, then. today it is rather sad on the NVO line.

    We are opposed by guns with the possibility of aimed fire up to 50-60 km.
    In this connection, the question arises about the mass production of the promising Coalition and the modernization of shells and barrels for Peony (Malka) and Hyacinth.

    1. kalibr
      11 December 2022 11: 32
      0
      I would say this: increase the caliber of "medium artillery" just up to 180 mm, put on them with automated loading, a charge heating system, so that they can hit 50-60 km even without a "reactive". And with the "accelerator" for all 70-80. And guidance from the UAV. Leave the 203-mm caliber, but add (to the Tyulpan mortar) a 240-mm cannon to hit all 50-70 km. And with an accelerator for all 100. And mortars ... 320-406 mm like the Japanese in WWII, and launching mines even from a folding iron "corner" from any trench.
      During the assault on the Tarawa Atoll, the Japanese used such mortars to fire on the American landing force ... I don’t remember the number of those killed and wounded. But something else stuck in my memory - 10000 who went crazy with horror! Transports did not have time to take them out!
      1. setter
        setter 11 December 2022 12: 04
        +4
        During the assault on the Tarawa Atoll, the Japanese used such mortars to fire on the American landing force ... I don’t remember the number of those killed and wounded. But something else stuck in my memory - 10000 who went crazy with horror! Transports did not have time to take them out!

        There were no 320 mm mortars on Tarawa. They were used on Iwo Jima, Bataan and Okinawa. A 400 mm rocket launcher (not a mortar) was also absent on Tarawa, only on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
        About 10 crazy people - this is an "urban legend".
        1. kalibr
          11 December 2022 16: 00
          +1
          Quote from Passeur
          There were no 320 mm mortars on Tarawa. They were used on Iwo Jima, Bataan and Okinawa. A 400 mm rocket launcher (not a mortar) was also absent on Tarawa, only on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
          About 10 crazy people - this is an "urban legend".

          I have been reading about all this for a long time, even when I was publishing "Tankmaster". There were "pictures" + text from a Japanese magazine. But, it is clear that anything is possible.
          1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
            Kote Pan Kokhanka 11 December 2022 17: 03
            0
            What for? All tasks that require a caliber of more than 6 "are best solved with the help of MLRS and missiles (cannon artillery should now be 152 mm, more is very hemorrhoids, less is not enough range and power, only for special conditions, mountain guns, for example).

            My personal opinion is that it is necessary to have guns with a range exceeding the maximum adversary. Trite milking counter-battery fight.
            180mm is already in the past, there is no need to produce a variety. 203mm at the maximum speed just right.
            For mountain guns, a combined 120mm based on Nona is sufficient.
            122mm D-30, Gvozdik and 100mm Rapier should be abandoned in favor of 152mm Msta-S and Msta-B, better than Coalition and 125mm Octopus.
            And then they seriously survived - the reservists of the republics still use 130mm D-20.
            1. Aviator_
              Aviator_ 11 December 2022 21: 03
              +2
              And then they seriously survived - the reservists of the republics still use 130mm D-20.
              Vladislav, the D-20 has a caliber of 152 mm
              1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
                Kote Pan Kokhanka 11 December 2022 21: 44
                +1
                Quote: Aviator_
                And then they seriously survived - the reservists of the republics still use 130mm D-20.
                Vladislav, the D-20 has a caliber of 152 mm

                Alexander, I confess, I wrote from memory.
                130mm is of course M-46. Moreover, its characteristics are impressive, the firing range of an active-rocket projectile is 47 km.
                1. Aviator_
                  Aviator_ 11 December 2022 21: 52
                  +2
                  Well, if there are cannons and there are shells produced for the third world war, then why not dispose of them for dill?
            2. Barberry25
              Barberry25 12 December 2022 14: 05
              -1
              for the counter-battery there is a MLRS, the same Tornado family. ,, and taking into account the silence in the Coalition, they think about it.
              1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
                Kote Pan Kokhanka 12 December 2022 17: 52
                0
                Quote: Barberry25
                for the counter-battery there is a MLRS, the same Tornado family. ,, and taking into account the silence in the Coalition, they think about it.

                Debatable. Grad has a short range. Hurricane and Tornado are means of divisional reinforcement, in extreme cases - brigades.
                In fact, at extreme ranges, only Hyacinth and Peony can provide counter-battery countermeasures. The long arm of the same Mste is no longer enough. There is also M-46 (130mm), but I don’t know if they participate in the SVO.
                1. Barberry25
                  Barberry25 12 December 2022 18: 31
                  -2
                  1) Tornado-G, not Grad, has a range of up to 40 km, it also has the ability to enter coordinates for each missile .. i.e. from the moment of receipt to launch, seconds will pass, like folding .. Then, to hit the enemy at a greater distance, there is a Tornado, which can hit targets up to 120 km. ALREADY there is and no need to reinvent the wheel.
      2. bk0010
        bk0010 11 December 2022 12: 05
        +2
        Quote: kalibr
        I would say this: increase the caliber of "medium artillery" just up to 180 mm
        This is prohibitively hemorrhoids for medium artillery.
        Quote: kalibr
        And with the "accelerator" for all 70-80
        With an "accelerator" it can fly 150 km away (see Zumwalt), this is not an indicator.
        Quote: kalibr
        ") 240-mm cannon to hit all 50-70 km
        What for? All tasks that require a caliber of more than 6 "are best solved with the help of MLRS and missiles (cannon artillery should now be 152 mm, more is very hemorrhoids, less is not enough range and power, only for special conditions, mountain guns, for example).
        1. kalibr
          11 December 2022 16: 01
          +1
          I will not argue, I am not an artilleryman. I read that they wanted to introduce the 180-mm caliber, but did not introduce it ...
  5. Dead duck
    Dead duck 11 December 2022 12: 08
    +2
    For long distances, a transition to a smoothbore and feathered active-rocket projectiles is needed.
    In South Africa (at the dawn of the economy) they dabbled in long-range guns, there were interesting options.
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 11 December 2022 17: 16
      0
      Quote: Deadush
      For long distances, a transition to a smoothbore and feathered active-rocket projectiles is needed.
      In South Africa (at the dawn of the economy) they dabbled in long-range guns, there were interesting options.

      A smooth barrel will increase the muzzle velocity of the projectile, but accuracy will be lost. And unlike rifled very seriously. For example, the British are proud that from the crew of the Challenger tank, during Desert Storm, they hit the T-120 from a 55mm rifled gun at a distance of 5 kilometers. For other tanks with smoothbore guns, this is an outrageous distance.
      The only exceptions are our domestic T-72, 80 and 90 with a controlled complex. But they are far from the old T-55, which, having driven on the booster with its front rollers, can accurately hit up to 15 km.
  6. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 11 December 2022 14: 53
    +1
    but the maximum range achieved was not great due to the fact that the shells tumbled in flight.
    This means that there was a non-optimal barrel cutting steepness. Gross engineering error. Or maybe the barrel was just "blinded from what was"?
    1. kalibr
      11 December 2022 16: 03
      +1
      Quote: Aviator_
      This means that there was a non-optimal barrel cutting steepness. Gross engineering error. Or maybe the barrel was just "blinded from what was"?

      Word for word copied from one very worthy source. I can't say anything for sure. Yes, and it is impossible to make a mistake in the translation here.
      1. Aviator_
        Aviator_ 11 December 2022 16: 15
        +1
        Well, internal ballistics is a very broad science, and optimizing the twist and depth of the rifling are the determining factors in the manufacture of the system. Think for yourself - they increased the length of the barrel and the initial velocity of the projectile, and he, instead. to fly further and faster, lost stability. There is only one conclusion - they took the steepness of the cut that was in the series, but there were no means to calculate a new one and apply it. And he is such a "worthy source", very worthy. How did Marx advise "Question everything"? EMNIP
        1. kalibr
          11 December 2022 17: 01
          +1
          Quote: Aviator_
          How did Marx advise "Question everything"?

          This is true, but this is only possible if there are several comparable sources of information. Most likely everything was exactly as you wrote. Therefore, no one gave any other explanations ...
          1. Aviator_
            Aviator_ 11 December 2022 18: 11
            0
            This is true, but this is only possible if there are several sources of information comparable
            And think for yourself, if in the subject? You can't deceive nature, it is she who will deceive whomever you want.
        2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 11 December 2022 17: 08
          +2
          Alexander, the Germans also faced a similar problem when they tested their Kolosal. Too many components and unknowns but that moment. So the French simply collected all the rakes after the Kaiser's geomania.
  7. Pushkowed
    Pushkowed 13 December 2022 05: 05
    0
    Is it by chance that Suvorov-Rezun wrote about the Schneider prototype? Say, he fell into the hands of the Germans, and they tested and tested him almost until the end of the war, spent all the shells, completely wore out the barrel, and all to no avail.
    1. agond
      agond 16 December 2022 18: 49
      0
      If we are talking about large calibers, then trajectory correction systems can be used