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
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.
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|
|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)|
|Weights||Barrel 9,280kg (with breech block)|
|Weight travelling||(1 load): 25,880kg; (2 loads): 30,120kg|
|Weight in action||23,000kg|
|Elevation||0 to +37 degrees|
|Ammunition 1||22cm Gr. 534 (f)|
|Ammunition 2||22cm Gr. 535 (f)|
|Rate of fire||1 round/minute|