The Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle.1917 was a 155 mm cannon used by the French Army during the first half of the 20th century.
The gun was designed during World War I by Colonel Louis Filloux to meet France's urgent need for modern heavy artillery, and became the standard heavy field gun of the French Army from 1917 until World War II. It was also adopted by the United States as the M1917, and a close derivative of it was made in and used by the US as the M1918 through World War II.
It was also manufactured in the USA from 1917, after the US switched to metric artillery based on French patterns. It was used by the United States Army and United States Marine Corps as their primary heavy artillery gun under the designation 155 mm Gun M1917 (French-made) or M1918 (US-made) until 1942, when it was gradually replaced by the 155 mm M1A1 'Long Tom'. US Army forces in the Far East (USAFFE) such as the 301st FA Regiment (Philippine Army) and the 86th FA Regiment (Philippine Scouts), and also US Coast Artillery units (91st and 92nd CA Regiments, Philippine Scouts) used this artillery piece against the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941-42. Some of the guns were originally emplaced in "Panama mounts" on Corregidor, Caballo, and Carabao islands at the entrance of Manila Bay. A number of them were removed from their emplacements and used as "roving batteries" and gave effective counterbattery fire. The gun was later mounted on a self-propelled mount as the M12 Gun Motor Carriage and saw action in 1944-45.
During World War II, some US-made guns were used for coast defense of US and allied territories, such as Australia and Bermuda, typically on "Panama" mountings - circular concrete platforms with a raised centre section, with the carriage tires pivoting around the center section and the split trails spread out on rails at the platform's edge.
This gun was designed by Colonel L. J. F. Filloux to fill a vital French Army requirement for a heavy artillery piece. The design proved a success and became the standard heavy field gun of the French from 1917 to the end of World War I. The weapon was pressed into service quickly, to remedy the shortage of such weapons in the French inventory. This weapon became the "Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux mle 1917", named by French Army as the Canon de 155mm GPF (Model of 1917). During World War 1, the gun was eventually taken on by the American Expeditionary Force as a standard long-range artillery piece. At the beginning of World War II the French guns were pulled out of reserve storage, and 24 of these guns were mobilized/on active duty in May-June 1940.
The US M1918 155mm GPF was a copy of the French 1917 field gun and used by the US Army, Philippines and US Marines up to 1945.
United States Army paid for, and subsequently copied, the Model 1918 (M1918) gun. During World War 2 the 155mm guns were taken out of storage and utilized for coastal defense on American shores and across allied territories such as the Philippines and Australia. They were also used in Philippines, Guadalcanal and North Africa until more modern artillery was available. Ultimately, both the US Army and Marine Corps phased out their M1918 guns for the 155-mm M1A1 "Long Tom" beginning in 1942. The M1918 was also fitted to the M12 Gun Motor Carriage as a self-propelled gun (SPG) and used from 1944 to 1945.
In 1940, France fielded 450 of these guns. Many of them were captured and used by Germany for the rest of the war. In German service it was known as the 15.5 cm K 418(f); it served with heavy artillery battalions in Afrika Korps and on coastal defense duties. On D-Day in 1944, the German Army had over 50 of the 155-mm French guns in sites on the northern French beaches. A battery of six of these guns near four empty emplacements for larger guns was the cause of the actions at Pointe du Hoc in June 1944.
Many of these weapons survive as memorials. The following list is not exhaustive: