Canon de 75 mm modèle 1897

Unit French Army
Place Europe: France
Accession Number RELAWM04996.001
Collection type Technology
Object type Artillery
Physical description Bronze, Steel
Place made France
Date made 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

The French canon de 75 mm modele 1897 field gun was the standard French and American field gun of the First World War. The gun has an interrupted screw breech, a hydropneumatic recoiling barrel, a splinter-proof shield and a box trail. It was quick-fire field gun that could be either horse or motor drawn. The gun is made from ordnance steel and is painted a semi-matt grey in colour. The firing pin and sights are missing. The wheels are wooden spoked with metal tyres. Markings - A BS 1916; 296 PUTEAUX.

History / Summary

This was the main French light field gun in the First World War. It was to the French Army what the 18 pounder was to the British and the 77mm to the German. Developed in the late 19th century, it was the first mass produced weapon that combined an effective axial recoil with automatic fuse setter, quick acting breech, splinter-proof shield and fixed ammunition. Its recoil system combined an oil buffer with recuperation by compressed air or nitrogen. Weighing 23 cwt, it fired a 75mm 15 Ib shell (H.E. or shrapnel) at a range from 8,000 to 9,000 yards.

The Memorial's gun was presented to the Commonwealth by the French Government in 1920 in recognition of the services of the A.I.F.

This barrel of this example was manufactured in 1916 and bears the simple inscription "10871 A.BS. 1916 PUTEAUX." The proper right side of the recuperator cradle is marked “280 PUTREAUX 1899”.

The cradle and trail manufacture date is thus 1899, with its barrel a replacement dating from 1916, both made by the Puteaux Government Arsenal.