The Canon de 240 L Modele 1884 started life as a coastal artillery piece for use in coastal fortifications. However the events of 1914 dictated that it would soon see action inland as heavy field artillery during World War I.
Although the majority of combatants had heavy field artillery prior to the outbreak of war, none had adequate numbers of heavy guns in service, nor had they foreseen the growing importance of heavy artillery once the Western Front stagnated and trench warfare set in. All sides withdrew guns from their fortresses and from storage and built suitable field carriages in an effort to give their forces the heavy field artillery needed to deal with trenches and hardened concrete fortifications.
The St. Chamond company was given the task of building a carriage for the Modele 1884 and this carriage could be towed in two loads by tractors and assembled by winches. The initial conversion were so successful that St. Chamond built another 60 new guns and 60 spare barrels. The Modele 1884 was one of the few heavy guns that could be deployed without the need for rail carriage. Guns that survived the war were designated the Canon de Mle 84/17 and used again during World War II. Guns captured by Germany after the Fall of France were designated Kanone 564(f) and used for coastal defense.