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Model 1918 155mm "Schneider" Howitzer

Upon the entry of the United States into World War I, a shortage of American artillery required that certain US Army artillery units be equipped with the French 155mm Model 1917 Schneider Howitzer. Although it had many weaknesses for the role, the Schneider was used as the Division howitzer since no other was available in quantity. The Schnieder 155mm made an important contribution to Allied victory because it was in action when needed, despite any deficiencies.

Toward the end of the war, the howitzer was adopted by the United States using the M1917 howitzers supplied by the French government. When manufacturing in the US began under license of the design, it was renamed as the 155mm Howitzer Carriage, Model of 1918 (Schneider), retaining the name of the French arms manufacturing firm that built the original version.

The US production changes from the French model howitzer included:

  • Modified breech assembly
  • Straightened shield
  • Solid rubber tires
  • Pivoting spade
  • Improved firing mechanism

During their service life in the US military, additional changes were applied to both the M1917 and M1918 Schneider howitzers. In particular, a more modern high speed carriage was developed with metal wheels, pneumatic tires and air brakes. With this improvement, the WW I vintage howitzers could be towed at highway speeds by the prime mover trucks and tractors of the WW II period.

World War I ended before American units equipped with M1918 155mm Schneider were trained and transported to France. In the period between the World Wars, the M1918 Schneider was the standard US 155mm howitzer, shifted from Division to Corps and back as doctrine evolved. Upgrades to the carriage and gun were applied to most of the M1918 Schneider howitzers, with the work done at Rock Island Arsenal and commercial contractors. The 155mm Schnieder was finally superseded by the M1 155mm Howitzer early in World War II. However, actual availability of the M1 155mm howitzer grew slowly and the 155mm Schnieder (both M1917 and M1918) remained in service in US Army and USMC artillery units through the end of World War II.

Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the Model 1918 155mm Schneider Howitzer at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup.

Model 1918 155mm "Schneider" Howitzer Characteristics

Weight (howitzer and carriage) 9,120 lbs
Weight (howitzer) 2,740 lbs
Length (overall) 257 inches
Length (barrel & breech) 95.8 inches
Projectile weight 95 lbs
Muzzle velocity 1,479 feet/sec
Maximum range 12,500 yards
Maximum elevation 42
Minimum elevation 0
Maximum traverse (right) 3
Maximum traverse (left) 3
Maximum rate of fire (prolonged) 1 rd/min

Table data is for 155mm Howitzer, M1918, on Carriage, M1918A3. From TM 9-2005 Vol. 3 (Ordnance Materiel - General), December 1942

The manual for the 155mm Schneider is titled, "Service handbook of the 155-mm howitzer materiel, Model of 1918 (Schneider) Motorized with instructions for its care", by the United States Army Ordnance Department, dated 14 December 1918.

Model 1918 155mm "Schneider" Howitzer Photo Gallery

Travel position view of the 155mm M1918 (Schneider) Howitzer towed artillery. Image from 'Service handbook of the 155-mm howitzer materiel, Model of 1918 (Schneider) Motorized with instructions for its care', by the United States Army Ordnance Department, dated 14 December 1918
Travel position view of the 155mm M1918 (Schneider) Howitzer towed artillery. Image from 'Service handbook of the 155-mm howitzer materiel, Model of 1918 (Schneider) Motorized with instructions for its care', by the United States Army Ordnance Department, dated 14 December 1918.

SGT James B. Aets uses a quadrant to determine the elevation of the 155mm Schneider Howitzer, while CPL Charles J. Hines sights on the aiming stake, early in WW II
SGT James B. Aets uses a quadrant to determine the elevation of the 155mm Schneider Howitzer, while CPL Charles J. Hines sights on the aiming stake, early in WW II.

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