Type 90 240 mm railway gun

The Type 90 240 mm railway gun was a large caliber railroad gun acquired by the Imperial Japanese Army from the French arms manufacturer Schneider in 1930. The Type 90 designation was given to this gun as it was accepted in the year 2590 of the Japanese calendar (1930). It was the only railroad gun in Japanese service.

Type 90 240 mm railway gun
Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer Schneider-Creusot
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1930
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1930 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Schneider-Creusot 1 View

The Imperial Japanese army had made extensive use of armoured trains since the Russo-Japanese War, and Japanese military advisors in Europe during World War I had noted the development of railway guns, whereby extremely large caliber weapons, such as previously found only on battleships, could be made mobile and could be rapidly deployed to front-line combat areas.

However, despite this interest, other projects had higher priority, and nothing was done until funding was found to purchase a single sample unit from Schneider in France in 1930. Only the cannon itself was purchased from Schneider, and the railway carriage and auxiliary equipment was all produced locally in Japan. The completed assembly was designated as the Type 90 240mm railway gun.

The gun itself was not, strictly, a Schneider gun. It was designed by FAMH (Saint-Chamond) as part of the French TLP (très longue portée) (very long range) projects. Approval for the Saint-Chamond long range gun was granted in November 1918 and the gun was tested in 1926. The maximum range achieved was 59,000m with a 240mm L/51 barrel. The Saint-Chamond gun was unusual for a large calibre railway gun because it was designed with 360° traverse on a carriage which had an auxiliary engine which gave limited autonomy to the railway gun. The firm of Schneider et Cie had taken over FAMH in 1924 and since Schneider had its own TLP projects the Saint-Chamond design became superfluous.

The Type 90 240mm Railway Gun was initially deployed as a coastal artillery battery at Futtsu, Chiba, as part of the defenses guarding the entrance to Tokyo Bay. It was redeployed to Manchukuo in 1941, and based in the Hulin area of Heilongjiang, as part of the defenses against the Soviet Union, where it remained for the duration of World War II. When the Soviet Union invaded Manchukuo in the closing days of the war, the gun was destroyed by retreating Kwantung Army forces and abandoned.

Type Railway gun
Place of origin  Empire of Japan
Service history
In service 1930-1945
Used by  Imperial Japanese Army
Wars World War II
Production history
Manufacturer Schneider
Produced 1930
Number built 1
Specifications
Weight 136 t (149.9 short tons)
Barrel length 12.83 m (42 ft 1 in)
Caliber 240 mm (9.4 in)
Carriage Railcar with 2 × 6 wheeled bogeys
Elevation 0 to +50 degrees
Traverse 360 degrees
Muzzle velocity 1,050 m/s (3,400 ft/s)
Effective firing range 50 km (31 mi)

End notes