In effect, this gun replaced both the single 127 mm and the twin 57 mm weapons used on previous ships. The French Navy considers that a 100 mm (3.9") cannon fires a shell heavy enough for shore bombardment yet light enough for the gun to achieve a rate of fire sufficiently high enough to engage fast-moving aircraft.

The Model 1953 used an analog FCS with an electro-mechanical computer and was the first French-designed automatic medium caliber gun. In this weapon, the first shell had to be manually loaded. The recoil forces generated by its firing allowed subsequent rounds to be automatically handled.

The Model 1964 had an improved fire control system and a higher rate of fire.

These mountings can be distinguished from the later 100 mm/55 (3.9") Model 1968 by having dual operator cupolas on the front face, one on each side of the gun.

Gun Characteristics

Designation 100 mm/55 (3.9") Model 1953
100 mm/55 (3.9") Model 1964
Ship Class Used On French: Commandant Rivière (F733), La Galissonnière (T56), Jeanne d'Arc (R97) and Suffren (D602)

German: Deutschland (A59), Hamburg (D181) and Köln (F120) Classes

Date Of Design 1953
Date In Service 1957
Gun Weight N/A
Gun Length oa N/A
Bore Length 216.5 in (5.500 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves N/A
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume N/A
Rate Of Fire Model 1953: 60 rounds per minute
Model 1964: 78 rounds per minute


Type Fixed
Weight of Complete Round 51.8 lbs. (23.5 kg)
Projectile Types and Weights OEA F1 HE: 29.8 lbs. (13.5 kg)
OPF F4 PFHE: 29.8 lbs. (13.5 kg)
Illum 1: 29.8 lbs. (13.5 kg)
Bursting Charge HE: 2.4 lbs. (1.1 kg)
PFHE: 2.2 lbs. (1.0 kg), shell contains 1,350 high density steel balls of 1 gram each
Projectile Length N/A
Complete round: 42.7 in (108.5 cm)
Propellant Charge 9.9 lbs. (4.5 kg)
Muzzle Velocity New gun: 2,844 fps (867 mps)
Average gun: 2,805 fps (855 mps)
Working Pressure 17.9 tons/in2 (2,825 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 3,000 rounds at high rates of fire
6,000 rounds at lower rates of fire
Ammunition stowage per gun N/A
  • ^Illumination round burns between 30 and 50 seconds at 120,000 candela.


Elevation With 29.8 lbs. (13.5 kg) HE Shell
Maximum Range @ 45 degrees 18,876 yards (17,260 m)
Effective Range 13,120 yards (12,000 m)
AA Ceiling 19,700 feet (6,000 m)

Mount/Turret Data

Designation Single Mounts

    Commandant Rivière (1) and La Galissonnière(2): Model 1953
    Suffren (2) and Jeanne d'Arc (4) 1a: Model 1964

    Deutschland (4), Hamburg (4) and Köln (2): METL 53

Weight N/A
Elevation -5 / +90 (?) degrees
Rate of Elevation N/A
Train -150 / +150 degrees
Rate of Train N/A
Gun Recoil N/A
  • ^Jeanne d'Arc had two guns removed in 2000.

Additional Pictures


"Jane's Fighting Ships: 1966-67" edited by Raymond VB Blackburn
"The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems 1991/92" and "Naval Radar" both by Norman Friedman
"Jane's Ammunition Handbook: Ninth Edition 2000-2001" edited by Terry J. Gander and Charles Q. Cutshaw
"Defense & Armament Heracles International" Issue #70, February 1988
Tony DiGiulian's personal files
"Le canon de 100mm" article by Franck Dubey webpublished at
Marine Nationale Press Releases and Articles
Ministère de la défense
Special help by Matthew Rodchenko and Hans Migielski of Fregatten Köln

Page History

28 December 2008 - Benchmark
07 January 2012 - Added picture of Jeanne D'Arc
06 April 2013 - Corrected typographical error
24 August 2021 - Updated to HTML 5 format and reorganized notes