Canon de 138 mm Modèle 1910 naval gun

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Canon de 138 mm Modèle 1910
Type Naval gun
Place of origin France
Service history
In service 1913—45
Used by  French Navy
Wars World War I, World War II
Production history
Designed 1910—13
Weight 5,320 kilograms (11,730 lb)
Barrel length about 7.623 metres (25.01 ft)

Shell separate-loading, cased charge
Shell weight 39.5 kilograms (87 lb)
Caliber 138.6 millimetres (5.46 in)
Breech interrupted screw
Elevation -7° to +25°
Traverse depending on mount
Rate of fire 5-6 rpm
Muzzle velocity 790 metres per second (2,600 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 16,100 metres (17,600 yd) at 25°

The Canon de 138 mm Modèle 1910 was a medium calibre naval gun of the French Navy used during World War I and World War II. It was carried by the dreadnoughts of the Courbet and Bretagne classes as their secondary armament and planned for use in the Normandie-class battleships. It was used as the primary armament for the Arras-class sloops and planned for the La Motte-Picquet-class cruisers that was cancelled in 1915. It was also used in coast defense batteries during both World Wars.


The 55 caliber Mle 1910 used the typical built-up construction of its time, it had a screw breech and used separate-loading ammunition. In the battleships it was installed in armored casemates, using central pivot mounts, but no details are available. Presumably a variant of this mount was used for the sloops. Initially the casemate mount had a range of elevation from -10° to +15°, but this was later changed to -7° to +25°,[1] the casemate mount could traverse a total of 160°.[2]


The 10.4 kilograms (23 lb) propellant charge for the Mle 1910 was contained in a cartridge case that would be used for all succeeding French guns of this caliber. Of course the actual amount of powder would vary with each gun, but it standardized the chamber size for all 138.6 mm (5.46 in) French guns.[2]

Shell type Weight Muzzle velocity Range
semi-armor-piercing 39.5 kg (87 lb) 790 m/s (2,600 ft/s) 16.1 km (17,600 yd)
high-explosive 31.5 kg (69 lb) 840 m/s (2,800 ft/s) 15.1 km (16,500 yd)

Coast defense duties[edit]

Twenty Mle 1910 guns were used by the Germans as coast defense guns along the French Mediterranean coast, although it is unclear if these guns were simply taken over by the Germans or if they were emplaced by them.[3]

In 1942 14 guns removed from the battleships Courbet and Paris were installed in coast defence batteries at Dawlish, Hayle, Padstow, Par, Sidmouth, Port Talbot and Whitehaven in the UK, these guns were returned to France in September 1945.

See also[edit]

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era[edit]


  1. ^ Campbell, p. 299
  2. ^ a b "French 138.6 mm/55 (5.46") Model 1910". 16 May 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  3. ^ Rolf, Rudi (1998). Der Atlantikwall: Bauten der deutschen Küstenbefestigungen 1940-1945. Osnabrück: Biblio. p. 387. ISBN 3-7648-2469-7. 


  • Campbell, John (2002). Naval Weapons of World War Two. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.