203mm/50 Modèle 1924 gun

The 203mm/50 Modèle 1924 was a medium naval gun of the French Navy.

203 mm/50 Modèle 1924
Main guns of the French cruiser Colbert
TypeNaval gun
Place of originFrance
Service history
Used byFrance
WarsSecond World War
Production history
Mass20 tonnes[1]
Length10.5 metres (34 ft 5 in)[1]

ShellSeparate charges and shell
Caliber8 inches (203 mm)
Elevation-5° to +45°[1]
Rate of fire4-5 rpm
Muzzle velocity850 metres per second (2,800 ft/s)[1]
Maximum firing range31.4 kilometres (34,300 yd) at 45°[1]

The type was used on the Duquesne and Suffren classes of heavy cruisers as main battery, mounted in four twin turrets weighing 180 tonnes each. The calibre of 203 mm (8 inches) was characteristic of heavy cruisers built as a result of limitations imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.


These guns used two bags each containing 23.5 kilograms (52 lb) of smokeless powder with a 123-kilogram (271 lb) projectile to achieve the stated maximum range at an elevation of 45 degrees. Each gun could fire approximately 4 to 5 rounds per minute. Range was somewhat less with the 134 kg (295 lb) M1936 APC (armour-piercing) shell.[1]

The type was also mounted in a single twin turret aboard the French submarine Surcouf, which was designed as a submarine heavy cruiser intended to disrupt enemy supply lines. This flavour of the gun was fitted with mechanically actuated tampions to allow quick dive. These guns could open fire 2.5 minutes after surfacing and fire approximately 3 rounds per minute. Maximum elevation of 30 degrees limited maximum range to 28 kilometres (31,000 yd). These were the second largest guns carried by any submarine after the British HMS M1 during the Second World War.[1]

See also

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era


  1. Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. p. 290. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.
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