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I have an old Life-Like Hobby Kit 75mm World War I Artillery Piece that I won on Ebay last year. The history on the side of the box mentions the fact that the 75mm field piece was introduced by the French in 1896-97, but it fails to say if the model is based on a French piece. I had one like it back in the late 70s while my grandfather, who served in the US Army during WWI, was still alive. He said it looked like a German gun, but his memory was clouded by 6 decades and a stroke. Is any one familiar with this kit and can answer my question on nationality? The model appears to be 1/20 or 1/24 in scale. Again none of this info is listed on the box or instructions. Thanks for any help.
The American-built version (M1897A2), along with updated French-built M1897 (M1897A4), were progressively modified through to the 30s - pneumatic tyres, split trail, removal of muzzle counterweight, new shield etc - but can always be recognized by the unique oval breech with handle on the rear face at 4 o'clock.
Thanks for the info Nick. I think my grandfather was thinking of the German 77mm when he looked at the original model I had years ago because its front sheild is shaped like the 77's. I found a line drawing in the old Ballentine's Illustrated History of the Violent Century "The Guns 1914-18" by Ian Hogg, it was of an American 3-inch Field Gun M1903. This drawing was of a rear view so the solid tail is visible and it matches the models details exactly. The breech handle in the drawing appears to be at a 3:00 position as where the model is at 4:00 as you mentioned. The line drawing's front plate appears to be shorter than the model which as I mentioned is an almost exact match to the German 77. The model has a large round dip in the center of the sheild like a 77, where the drawing shows a very shallow one. The muzzle of the model does not match the French 75 and it is not visible in the line drawing from the book. In fact the model looks nothing like any examples I could find of the French gun. A front view photograph of a US Model 1916 75mm looks close to the front, but still not close enough and besides this piece had a split tail which the model does not. It looks as if several different guns were used to model a generic WWI field piece. I thought I saw a match to my model in a documentary on the Paris Gun. It was in the background behind the curator of the Aberdeen Proving Gound Ordanance Museum and the front sheild and muzzle was clearly visible. The mystery continues...
Can you post a picture of the kit, or boxtop if it reflects the contents?
I have photos of every piece in the artillery collection at APG but without a reference picture I can't really make any further suggestions.
In response to your query,that model is NOT a french 75.It is avery inaccurate model of a U.S 3 inch howitzer classified as used in landing party operations.There is one example in the U.S.M.C museum located at Quantico.FSM had an article about 4-5 years ago on how to correct and update thiskit.Ifyou can wait I might be able to dig out the issue #
Actually it was closer to 10 years ago. It was the September 1995 issue.However since I am totally computer illiterate I can not scan the article for you,perhaps someone who moniters this site can help?