127 mm/54 (5") Model 1948
Updated 06 April 2013

This was the standard major-caliber AAA weapon of the Marine Nationale during the 1950s and was used on many cruisers and destroyers.  It was a completely new design that took advantage of the availability of US ammunition for both surface and anti-aircraft uses.  The design was significant in that it was the first high-angle destroyer mounting ever used by the French, reflecting hard-earned experience gained during the war that destroyers lacking DP armament were highly vulnerable to aircraft attack.

Stern guns on De Grasse in 1956
Photograph from the Henri Landais collection courtesy of Robert Dumas

Click here for additional pictures
Gun Characteristics
Designation 127 mm/54 (5") Model 1948
Ship Class Used On Surcouf (T47), Duperré (T53), De Grasse and Colbert classes
Date Of Design 1948
Date In Service 1956
Gun Weight N/A
Gun Length N/A
Bore Length About 270.0 in (6.858 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves N/A
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume 825.38 in3 (13.525 dm3)
Rate Of Fire 15 - 18 rounds per minute
Type Separate
Projectile Types and Weights See table below
Bursting Charge See table below
Projectile Length N/A
Propellant Charge 18.5 lbs. (8.188 kg)
Cartridge - 34.1 lbs (15.5 kg)
Muzzle Velocity
(see Note)
HC - 2,650 fps (808 mps)
Working Pressure
(see Note)
18.5 tons/in2 (2,758 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun De Grasse and Colbert - 300 rounds
Others - N/A
Note:  The values for Muzzle Velocity and Working Pressure are those obtained by USN guns using the same ammunition.  They may not be those obtained by French guns.  See the Note under Range for further information.
Types of Projectiles
Type AAC
Mark 41
Mark 41
Mark 48
HE Com
Mark 42
Mark 41
Shell Weight 69.45 lbs.
31.505 kg
69.33 lbs.
31.448 kg
69.2 lbs.
31.389 kg
70.00 lbs.
31.751 kg
69.19 lbs.
31.384 kg
Charge 7.75 lbs.
3.515 kg
7.75 lbs.
3.515 kg
2.14 lbs.
0.971 kg
7.87 lbs.
3.570 kg
Elevation Range with 70 lbs. (31.75 kg) HC Shell
Range @ 45 degrees 24,060 yards (22,000 m)
AA Ceiling @ 85 degrees 29,530 feet (9,000 m)
Note:  Although this weapon used standard USN 5"/54 (127 mm) ammunition, its stated range was significantly less than that for USN 5"/54 (12.7 cm) guns for unknown reasons.  It is possible that the range is for "average gun" velocities rather than for "new gun" velocities.
Mount/Turret Data
Designation Twin Mounts
Surcouf (3), Duperré (3), De Grasse (8) and Colbert (8):  Model 1948
Weight 48 tons (49 mt)
Elevation -10 / +80 degrees
Rate of Elevation N/A
Train about -150 / +150 degrees
Rate of Train N/A
Gun Recoil N/A
Note:  All 127 mm guns were removed from Colbert when she was converted to a missile ship between 1970 and 1972, being replaced with a Masurca missile system and two 100 mm Model 1968 guns.  Five destroyers of the Surcouf class were also rearmed with 100 mm Model 1968 guns during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Data from
"Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
"The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapon Systems 1991/1992" by Norman Friedman
"French Cruisers:  1922 - 1956" by John Jordan and Jean Moulin
"Surcouf: The French Postwar Destroyers" articles by John Jordan in "Warship Volume IX"
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Page History

23 July 2007 - Benchmark
03 March 2012 - Updated to latest template
06 April 2013 - Added ammunition details and photographs of De Grasse and Cassard