Artillery / France
Canon de 105 court mie 1935 B
By the mid-1930s the French artillery park was beginning to take on the appearance of an antique supermarket. The vast bulk of the weapons in service were items retained from World War I, and if not already obsolete were at best obsolescent. Most of the weapons involved were 75s, which despite their one-time excellence had their limitations by the 1930s and were also unable to produce the plunging fire that was so often required when attacking fixed defences. Thus the need was forecast for a new field piece capable of easy transport for the support of mechanized forces, and two weapons were produced as the result of this forecast.

The first was a weapon known as the Canon de 105 court modèle 1934 S. It was a Schneider design which was entirely orthodox in design and appearance yet possessing a relatively short barrel. Although the mie 1934 was designated a gun, it had more in common with a howitzer. The mie 1934 was ordered into production, but only at a low priority as more was expected of a slightly better design.

The better design was a product of the state-run Atelier Bourges and appeared during 1935, hence the designation Canon de 105 court Modèle 1935 B (court, for short, and B for Bourges).

The mie 1935 was a very advanced design for its day, and it too had a relatively short barrel, shorter in fact even than that of its Schneider equivalent. The carriage had a split trail which, when opened, also splayed the wheels outwards to improve crew protection. Once spread the trails were held in place with large spades that were pushed down into the ground through the trail extremities. The wheels could be either large steel items with solid rims or more modern designs with pneumatic tyres for towing by Laffly tractors. The rate of fire was about 15 rounds per minute, which was quite high for a weapon of its calibre. The mie 1935 was ordered into production, but this was slow to the extent that although 610 were initially ordered this total was never reached. Instead production was terminated in 1940 in order to permit the churning out of more anti-tank guns, which were by then realized as having a higher operational priority. Thus there were only 232 mie 1935s in service when the Germans attacked in May 1940 (and only 144 of the Schneider mie 1934s). In action they proved to be excellent little field pieces, so much so that the Germans took over as many as they could. The Germans recognized the mie 1935 for what it was and gave it a howitzer designation as the 10.5-cm leFH 325(f). The weapons were used for training purposes and by various second-line occupation units. Some have been recorded as being incorporated into various coastal and beach defences. The mie 1934 became the 10.5-cm leFH 324(f).

Specification Canon de 105 court mie 1935 B Calibre: 105 mm (4,134 in) Length of piece: 1.76 m (69.3 in) Weight: travelling 1700 kg (3,748 lb) and in action 1627 kg (3,587 lb) Elevation:-6∞ to+50∞ Traverse: 58∞ Muzzle velocity: 442 m (1450 ft) per second Range: 10300 m (11,270 yards) Shell weight: 15,7 kg (34.62 lb)
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