Prior to the first world war, French military thinking had centred around the idea of mobile warfare based around the glorious massed infantry and cavalry charge and so at the outbreak of war in 1914 its army was only equipped with light field guns, principally the famous 75.  Although an excellent gun it was totally inadequate for breaking the stalemate of static trench warfare being fought by 1916, what was desperately needed was long-range heavy artillery.

The company of Schneider et Cie. of Le Creusot, developed and manufactured the cannon de 220 L MLE 1917 to fill this requirement and it proved an excellent weapon if somewhat cumbersome on account of its weight.  When moved any distance the weapon was split into two loads, the barrel removed from the chassis and transported separately, both towed by tracked motor tractors quite an innovation in 1917.  Paradoxically, this immobility proved a major hindrance by the time of the great allied advances of late 1918.  

At the outbreak of war in 1939, 68 guns remained available to the French army and 220 L17s was again called to arms.  Its lack of mobility again proved its downfall when overrun by the German army in 1940. The captured guns were stored by the Germans for further possible use. This came in 1941 when additional artillery was required to strengthen the Atlantic wall defences.  

Re-designated the 22cm K532 (f), the guns were transported to Germany to be overhauled and modified for their new coastal defence role by the firm of F. Krupp AG of Essen.  This included the manufacture of a central turntable mount and hand operated traversing apparatus allowing a 360 degree field of fire.  40 guns of this type were mounted by the Germans in the coastal defence role, with 16 guns employed in the Channel Islands.

 

Canon de 220  L  Mle  1917  Schneider

Manufacturer: Schneider et Cie., Le Creusot, France
Calibre 220mm
Length of barrel L/35 (L34.87):  7,672.5mm
Length of rifling (L/26.80): 6,113.5mm
Twist of rifling 92 grooves, 7 degrees (to right)
Barrel construction Jacketed
Weights Barrel – 9,280kg (with breech block)
Weight travelling (1 load): 25,880kg; (2 loads): 30,120kg
Weight in action 23,000kg
Traverse 360 degrees
Elevation 0 to +37 degrees
Ammunition 1 22cm Gr. 534 (f) 

weight:  

104.05kg

M/velocity:  

754m/sec

Range :

21,600m
Ammunition 2 22cm Gr. 535 (f)

weight:  

104.75kg

M/velocity:  

766m/sec

Range :

22,800m
Charge weight    20kg
Rate of fire   1 round/minute