French Canon de 155 C modèle 1917 Schneider
(French 155-mm Model 1917 Howitzer)

Kit #:
Retrokit 72018
Retrotracks 72006
Preview by Stephen Brezinski - SBrez1(at)comcast(dot)net
Edited by Rob Haelterman

Here is another very nice small scale model of a historically important artillery piece but rarely modeled as a quality display model. The howitzer is a modification of the Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 Schneider modified to use bag propellant instead of the common brass or steel cartridge cases. The howitzer was a standard heavy field howitzer of the French army during WW1 and WW2 up to 1940. Between the wars many were upgraded to pneumatic tires for motorized towing. A weapon like this is designed to shoot a heavy projectile at a low velocity at high angle (as compared to a high velocity direct fire cannon) for plunging fire. Elevation was about +42 degrees. The German equivalent to this howitzer would be a 15-cm sFH13.

In the above box art photo we see the characteristic armor shield common to field guns of the period. The wheels are wood spoke type for horse towing. Behind the prominent breach is the simple box trail and large spade. The box trail only allowed a left-right traverse of 6 degrees.

This howitzer was also used by and can be modeled in service with Poland, Italy, Belgium, Bolivia, Greece, Spain, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Australia and Finland. It was captured and used by Germany, used and produced by Russia and the USSR after being re-chambered to 152-mm, and used and produced under license by the United States as the 155mm Howitzer M1918. Howitzers produced under license by the USA and Russia or upgraded would have different wheels or perhaps shields from the French howitzers.

In this scan we have the about 27 pale green color, cast resin parts. The parts are well molded and detailed. I noted a small amount of easy to clean flash and some small air bubbles on the wheels. Clean-up of the pore plugs looks pretty easy for a resin kit. My only broken part was a handwheel.

It looks like we have a choice of a spade in travel position or in deployed position. We also have a choice of the original wood spoke wheels or the pneumatic tired wheels for the howitzer. (The smaller wood wheels are for the small gun limber which would not be used during motorized towing and for which we need to mount the pneumatic tires on the howitzer.

Like many resin and plastic gun kits we will have to drill out the muzzle. I do not see a gun sight included, a common item left out of artillery kits. I seem to be missing the hub parts for the pneumatic wheels seen in the instructions below; oops!

I am so grateful that a decent exploded-view assembly instruction sheet is included. (The hand written comments are my own notes.) For motorized towing the box trail would be hooked directly to the tractor so we would not use the two-wheeled limber portrayed at right in the directions.

During motorized transport this howitzer could be towed by vehicles like the French Somua MCG halftrack artillery tractor (available from Retrokit), German Sd.Kfz.11 prime mover (ESCI, Special Armor, or Model Trans kits), or the Polish C4P halftrack artillery tractor (available from MarS).

In my opinion this is a quite nice artillery model suitable for a display model rather than a wargaming piece due to the fragility of cast resin.



Allied Artillery of World War Two, by Ian Hogg, The Crowood Press Ltd (1998)

Allied Artillery of World War One, by Ian Hogg, The Crowood Press Ltd (1998)


Back to Retrotracks Kit List Back to Home Page

Preview Last Updated: 28 March 2012