first attempts to create rail guns to defend fortresses French launched in the early 1880s. In 1910, Schneider factory built for Peru 200-mm howitzer, hosted on a rotating pedestal railway platform. Circular horizontal gun had fired. However, the greatest impetus to the development of the railway artillery gave the First World War, soon accepted the positional character. To break through the well-fortified enemy defenses needed powerful heavy weapons, have also sufficient mobility.
In October 1914, the French government has formed a special committee responsible for creating rail weapons, which, in turn, appealed to the largest weapons concerns with a proposal to develop large-caliber guns on rail transporters. Design and construction work took quite some time, and in May 1915 there were eight at the front rail guns firm Schneider-Creusot, and several months later took baptism especially powerful 400-mm howitzer company Saint-Chamond.
for firing 400-mm guns, placed on a platform with ten pairs of wheels were driven by a specially equipped railroad. Four concrete base around the edges of the path were to mount remote side supports the conveyor keepers wheel drive platform from deformation during firing. Calculation howitzers located in a fenced area of the conveyor and to facilitate loading had before winch and transport wagon. Shots were fired shots separately loaded with explosive projectile weighing 641 kg. Firing range setting was about 16 km.