MANUFACTURER(S): State Armory - France
ENGINE: None. This is a towed artillery piece.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Canon de 95 mle 1875 Lahitolle Towed Breech-Loaded Field Gun.
Entry last updated on 3/5/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The French Army's first all-steel field gun with a screw-type breech mechanism arrived in 1875 through the 95mm Lahitolle Canon de 1875. The weapon system was used to succeed the earlier 85mm Reffye guns adopted in 1870 which had breech screws and were originally constructed in bronze while firing shelled cartridges. The 95mm Lahitolle series survived in the French inventory long enough to see combat service in World War 1 (1914-1918) - namely due to French industry being incapable of keeping with supply-and-demand for the excellent Canon de 75 (detailed elsewhere on this site). The Lahitolle 95mm was itself succeeded by the de Bange model of 1877 offered in the smaller 90mm caliber.
Design of the Lahitolle gun is credited to Henri Perier de Lahitolle.
The overall arrangement f the Lahitolle gun was traditional. The gun tube was sat atop a mounting base straddled by heavily-spoked solid wheels. The trail arms were behind the weapon system in the usual way. The screw-type breech had a handle for managing the opening and closing of the breech. A solidly-sealed breech was of the utmost importance in field guns and the screw design allowed operators to reload the weapon from the breech as opposed to the muzzle (common all earlier field guns even into the 1860s). The caliber was of 95mm offering good firepower at range. The gun tube itself was tapered from the chamber to the muzzle. An added strap at the near-midway point of the tube held "arms" that integrated into the mounting gear and allowed for limited elevation. For traversal, the weapon was simply turned about its wheels. Because these earlier guns lacked the very useful recoil mechanism of the soon-to-be Canon de 75, they needed to be "reset" / retrained in place after each shot was fired - a major drawback of these early-form artillery weapons.
The Lahitolle Model of 1875 was improved some through the Canon de 1888 and, in 1893, a coastal artillery variant was introduced to further strengthen stocks. By the time of World War 1 in July-August of 1914, however, the Lahitolle series were all but obsolete - but demand ensured their use in The Great War nonetheless, at least into 1915.
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