Posted 11 January 2009 - 08:50 PM
Posted 13 January 2009 - 04:46 AM
Posted 13 January 2009 - 02:25 PM
Posted 14 January 2009 - 12:52 AM
Posted 14 January 2009 - 08:18 AM
The French had the 75mm gun available in great numbers after WW1, and continued producing and using it during the inter-war period.When they first decided to provide anti-tank guns to their infantry formations, they chose the 75mm gun. The 75mm M1897 m1933 (Modele 1897 modifie 1933), was the same gun on a new carriage with split-trails, for use as an AT gun. A limited number were built.The artillery branch also developed an updated carriage, the M1897 m1938, which was used as an upgrade to existing guns. The carriage was both strengthened and lightened a bit, and the spoked wooden wheels were replaced by concave metal disc wheels with pneumatic tires. This allowed the gun to be towed at motor transport speeds, not just horse speeds, and also allowed better man-handling (as was required by the infantry).In the late 1920s / early 1930s the French Army determined that it would really prefer a smaller, lighter high velocity gun for its infantry anti-tank gun, and so the 25mm ATG was developed, the first model being accepted for service in 1932. This was on the leading edge of military thinking at the time, and took place amidst a wave of developments in both AT guns and tank armor in major armies around the world.So the 75mm M1897 was moved back to the artillery as purpose-designed AT guns became available. There is little indication of M1897m1933 in service in any numbers by 1940.French colonial forces never got the same level of kit, nor upgraded as quickly, as the continental forces. So the 75mm formed a larger portion of their artillery to begin with, and more often also doubled-up as their AT defense.However the French clearly did not anticipate the scale of ATGs needed to defend against a concentrated armored attack. By 1940 the 25mm gun was only a marginal performer. The later 47mm ATG was outstanding. But neither was available in the numbers needed to make an effective defense against the German's Panzer Divisions, due both to the rather paultry issue under TO&Es, and due to slow production. And so, in the midst of the May/June 1940 Battle of France the French Army started pulling some of its 75mm guns forward again to serve as AT guns. It was an effective AT gun for the time. Actually a better tank killer than the 25mm or the 47mm guns, and easily capable of penetrating any German armor at that time at battlefield ranges. Just not as easily concealed nor as easily man-handled as the dedicated AT guns of the time.The US Army used the same gun in large numbers, having acquired them and a license to produce them during WW1, and retained them in production through the inter-war period. It equipped the bulk of US Army artillery batteries until the emergence of the 105mm M101 howitzer. It is often said that this gun equipped US M3 Lee/Grant and M4 Sherman tanks. That is not true. The US 75mm guns in those tanks (75mm tank gun M2 and M3) were not the same gun. But they fired the same ammunition. The US Army also developed a towed 75mm AT gun based on the 75mm tank gun M3 for the emerging Tank Destroyer command, but it was replaced in service quickly by the towed 3-inch gun, and never saw combat. However, the first widely used US tank destroyer, the Gun, Motor Carriage 75mm M3 (half-track with 75mm gun) did in fact use the actual M1897 75mm gun. These were guns originally produced for artillery re-mounted with extended gun shields onto M3 half-tracks, to make the tank destroyers.The Germans captured large numbers of French 75mm M1897 guns. They used them as artillery in several of their garrison units along the Atlantic and North Sea coasts. It was one of their more common weapons types in fixed installations. Many were sold/given to Germany's allies -- the Romanians in particular, having equipped much of their army with French-built kit pre-war, were a ready market for any captured French gear. The Germans even went so far as to make a hybrid ATG by mounting the French 75mm gun on the carriage of their Pak38 gun (the Pak97/38), which they then issued on an interim basis on the Eastern Front to counter the threat of T-34s until the Pak40 became widely available, and then again sold to their allies.But in all of that, I don't think I've ever come across a French-made, dedicated AT gun version actually equipping French forces by the time WW2 erupted. I would not deny that some might have still been around, as upgrade or re-assignment programs seldom captured all of the pieces in inventory, and armies in the inter-war period did not tend to discard usable kit. Still any actual instances of use of the 75mm gun in AT action I've read of describe (or imply) the same standard gun M1897 or M1897m1938 artillery pieces, sometimes being used to equip purpose-formed AT gun batteries within infantry formations, but often still manned by artillery crews pushed forward for the more urgent requirement of AT defense. The use of the 75mm artillery pieces in the AT role seems to have been particularly prevalent in the "hedge-hog" defense scheme adopted after Dunkirk.At least that is the impression I have built up over the years.-Mark 1
It could be an ATG variant of the gun or a seperate gun based on the old 1897.
Posted 15 January 2009 - 12:59 AM
Posted 15 January 2009 - 08:20 AM
Good question. I don't know. There was a wide variety of ammunition available for the gun by WW2, including HE, shrapnel (yes, not just fragmentation rounds but actual shrapnel rounds, with fuzes timed to detonate while plunging downwards, and a directed explosive charge to rain hundreds of round shrapnel balls down on any infantry in the open, in trenches, or behind walls -- nastey business!), smoke, and APHE. But what the scale and plan of issue was, I can't say.But I can enquire. And I will. Let's see if I can come up with some source documentation from among my French (or military historian) contacts.-Mark 1
Were both the m1933 and m1938 guns provided with specific AT ammo?
Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:30 AM
Posted 16 January 2009 - 09:59 AM
My source is the fellow in Paris who does research in the archives of the French Army for the WW2 OnLine game team.You are welcome to look in on the TankNet discussion on the topic here:http://188.8.131.52/forums/index.php?showtopic=27185&st=0#entry636666Hope that helps.-Mark 1
According to Weygand's prescriptions, 75 mm guns had to be kept in hedgehogs for direct fire and heavier guns (105, 155, 220 mm) in the rear for barrages. Although I've read a story about a 105 mm gun shooting directly at panzers. ... AP ammunitions were issued to the batteries, but AP ammunitions were relatively rare. Anyway, there had records of 75 mm HE shells hitting directly panzers and dislocating them. It was enough to disable a panzer.
Posted 14 February 2009 - 12:03 PM
Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:00 PM
Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:05 PM
Bob:Glad if I can be of any help. Again, I can hardly think of anything I'd rather do than discuss military history and wargaming. So please excuse me if I come off a bit long-winded.Being a bit of a bookworm, I have been looking through the data book in sime detail. I do have a couple of scattered questions or inputs, so I might make a "miscellaneous" comments thread.But I have also been looking in some detail at a particular army. A pet interest of mine. Here there may be enough comments or questions to warrant a seperate thread. So please look for a seperate thread on the Romanians soon.-Mark 1
Hey Mark,... this is a good time for this update/errata to be included.Thanks for the info! :)
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