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BF 50 [BiFleche 50]

BiFleche 50 was a 155-mm towed howitzer used in infantry divisions. It has a range of 18 kms and fires 3 rounds per minute and was fielded in the 1950s. The howitzer weighs about 19,000 pounds. It has a range of 17,700 meters and a maximum rate of fire of 4 rounds per minute. Its range was extended to 23,300 meters with the rocket-assisted projectile. Some 980 were built, those for France to enter service in 1955. Some were used rapidly in Algeria. The last to leave the service departed in 1990.

In the 1970s there were two types of regiments: the field artillery regiment, self-propelled 155-mm gun, which is organic to each maneuver brigade, and the general reserve field artillery regiment, towed, 155-mm howitzer which is usually attached to an army corps. No provision was made for assigning conventional field artillery units at division level.

The organization of the general reserve field artillery regiment is identical to that of the brigade field artillery regiment except that it does not include a RATAC (the fire direction radar for field artillery) platoon. The general reserve regiment is equipped with the towed, double (split) trail, 155-mm howitzer BF 50. The general reserve regiments are placed under the responsibility of the army corps. They may be attached to a division for reinforcement of brigade artillery, placed in direct support of units reinforcing the Division, kept at corps level for the direct support of a task force, or employed directly by the corps.

The mission of the conventional field artillery is to support the maneuver of friendly forces with fires capable of striking the enemy, either in contact or in the depth of his dispositions, in order to cripple and disperse his units, slow his advance, and inflict casualties. Therefore, the conventional field artillery'sbasic combat function is fire support, and its mission can be expressed by the area in which fires are applied:

  1. Close support fire in support of the operations of the maneuver element.
  2. Close-in protection fire against enemy forces which are firing on or directly threatening a friendly maneuver element.
  3. In-depth protection fire against enemy forces which are firing on or threatening a friendly maneuver element from a long range.
Other missions will also be assigned to the field artillery regiment. These missions can be characterized by the desired effect of the fires: Preparation; Dispersion (to disperse enemy forces); Counterbattery; Illuminating; Screening (to prevent enemy observation).

Type Field Howitzer
Place of origin France
In service 1950-1990s
  • France
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Weight 8,100 kg (17,857 lbs)
    Barrel length 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in) L/30
    Crew 5
    Caliber 155 mm (6.1 in)
    Breech interrupted screw
    Carriage split trail
    Elevation -4/69
    Traverse 80
    Muzzle velocity 650 m/s (2,133 ft/s)
    Effective range 18,000 m (19,685 yd)
    Maximum range 23,300 m (25,481 yd)

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    Page last modified: 28-04-2013 19:19:27 ZULU