French guns

 

 

In October 1915, when Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria launched their attack against Serbia, the French Armée d’Orient was composed by two Infantry Divisions and its artillery had (C means canon court = howitzer; L means canon long = gun) :

    15 batteries with Puteaux 75mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing field guns (156e D.I. : 3 bts. of the 17e R.A.C. and 3 bts. of the 25e R.A.C.; 57e D.I. : 6 bts. of the 5e R.A.C. and 3 bts. of the 47e R.A.C.);

    5 batteries with Schneider-Ducrest 65mm Mle. 1906 quick-firing mountain guns (156e D.I. : 2 bts. of the 2e R.A.M.; 57e D.I. : 2 bts. of the 2e R.A.M. and 1 bty. of the 8e Group d’Artillerie d’Afrique);

    1 battery with Schneider 105mm Mle. 1913 L quick-firing heavy guns ();

    1 battery with De Bange 120mm Mle. 1878 L heavy guns (4th bty of the 104e R.A.L.).

Later in October a third Infantry Division (122e D.I.) with 9 field (3 bts. of the 6e R.A.C. and 6 bts. of the 41e R.A.C.) and 2 mountain batteries (1er R.A.M.) was attached to the French Army in Macedonia. Finally in January 1916 the 17e D.I.C. arrived with 9 field batteries (3 bts. each of the 1er R.A.C., 8e and 47e R.A.C.) and from February also 2 mountain batteries (1er R.A.M.) as army reserve.

In 1915 during the heavy fighting with the Bulgarian Army, the latter captured 6 – 75mm field guns. In 1916-18 Bulgarians had no chance to capture more French guns. It seems also that Germany shipped no French 75mm field guns to the Bulgarian Army.

 

 

            Strength of French Artillery in Macedonia during the war

 

In spring 1916 the French Armée d’Orient had :

10 batteries with Schneider-Ducrest 65mm Mle. 1906 quick-firing mountain guns;

39 batteries with Puteaux 75mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing field guns;

6 batteries with 100mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing guns;

6 batteries with Schneider 105mm Mle. 1913 L quick-firing heavy guns;

14 batteries with De Bange 120mm Mle. 1878 L heavy guns;

6 batteries with De Bange 155mm C guns;

6 batteries with De Bange 155mm Mle. 1877 guns;

2 Schneider 164mm Mle. 1887 guns;

2 Schneider 194mm Mle. 1870-93 railway guns;

7 batteries with Batignolles 58mm trench mortars.

 

From 11 August 1916 the Allied forces in Macedonia were reorganized: the Armée d’Orient with four infantry divisions (57e, 122e, 156e D.I. and 16e D.I.C.) became the Armée Française d’Orient. It was in charge of gen. Cordonnier and was dependent on the Commandement des Armées Alliées under gen. Serrail. During the second half of 1916 the French forces were reinforced by four division: in November 1916 arrived the 11e D.I.C. and 16e D.I.C., on December the 30e D.I. and 76e D.I., but not all these units were directly subordinate to the Armée Française d’Orient.

Since by that time there were eight infantry divisions with many support units, on 16 January 1917 two Groupes de Divisions d’Infanterie was formed under gen. Georges Lebouc (from 19 October 1917 gen. Auguste Gérôme, and from 9 July 1917 gen. Philippe d’Anselme) and gen. Paul Leblois (from 30 March 1917 gen. Charles Regnault, and from 29 March 1918 gen. Henry Patey). A Groupe de Divisions d’Infanterie was not a true Army Corps but only a group headquarters, with a staff for operations only, that was to be entrusted with the command of a group of divisions assembled for an attack. The 3e Groupe de Divisions d’Infanterie was formed on January 1918 under gen. Paul de Lobit.

 

On 1 January 1917 the French forces had (in brackets the batteries of the Armée Française d’Orient) :

10 (9) batteries with Schneider-Ducrest 65mm Mle. 1906 quick-firing mountain guns;

36 (30) batteries with Puteaux 75mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing field guns;

6 batteries with 100mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing guns;

6 batteries with Schneider 105mm Mle. 1913 L quick-firing heavy guns;

20 (8) batteries with De Bange 120mm Mle. 1878 L heavy guns;

12 (2) batteries with De Bange and Schneider 155mm C guns;

6 batteries with De Bange 155mm Mle. 1877 guns;

3 batteries with Schneider 164mm Mle. 1887 guns;

4 batteries with Batignolles 58mm trench mortars.

 

On 24 December 1917 the French forces had (in brackets the batteries of the Armée Française d’Orient) :

26 (26) batteries with Schneider-Ducrest 65mm Mle. 1906 quick-firing mountain guns;

66 (63) batteries with Puteaux 75mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing field guns;

3 batteries with 100mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing guns;

6 (3) batteries with Schneider 105mm Mle. 1913 L quick-firing heavy guns;

1 battery with Schneider 120mm Mle. 1915 quick-firing howitzers;

16 (14) batteries with De Bange 120mm Mle. 1878 L heavy guns;

14 (9) batteries with De Bange and Schneider 155mm C guns;

6 (2) batteries with 155mm L guns;

1 battery with Schneider 164mm Mle. 1887 guns;

1 battery with Schneider 194mm Mle. 1870-93 railway guns;

8 batteries with Batignolles 58mm trench mortars.

 

On 24 October 1918 the French forces had (in brackets the batteries of the Armée Française d’Orient) :

25 (25) batteries with Schneider-Ducrest 65mm Mle. 1906 quick-firing mountain guns;

61 (61) batteries with Puteaux 75mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing field guns;

3 batteries with 100mm Mle. 1897 quick-firing guns;

6 (3) batteries with Schneider 105mm Mle. 1913 L quick-firing heavy guns;

1 battery with Schneider 120mm Mle. 1915 quick-firing howitzers;

15 (15) batteries with De Bange 120mm Mle. 1878 L heavy guns;

21 (9) batteries with De Bange 155mm C guns;

10 (1) batteries with 155mm L guns guns;

2 Schneider 164mm Mle. 1887 guns;

2 Schneider 194mm Mle. 1870-93 railway guns;

8 batteries with Batignolles 58mm trench mortars.