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October 22 2015 at 7:34 AM
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Nelson  (no login)


Response to “French 75s”

 
Regarding what model 75mm field gun of American origin to be used as a heavy antitank gun by the British forces in the Middle East—called a "French 75" by Brigadier Miles—the two types other than the Model 1897 and its variants should be looked at. It may be stated with 97.8% certainty that the Yank 75mm gun taking part in the Malaya-Singapore campaign, mounted on a split-trail field carriage and originally intended for Yugoslavia, was the high-speed Model 1916A1. To consider Jacques's point, I'll concede the possibility of the animal-drawn Model 1916, or a mixture of the two variants, sent on to the Far East. In the three photos that immediately follow, note the split-trail carriage—one animal-drawn and two high-speeded. It was the only split-trail carriage for a U.S. 75mm field gun other than the M2 carriage introduced just before the American entry into World War II, and restricted to regular U.S. field artillery formations and those national guard formations sent overseas.

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The Models 1917 and 1917A1 75mm field guns—both bearing the cognomen of British 75—were sent in great quantity to Britain. As with its British QF 18-pounder Mark I progenitor and near look-alike, the American gun bore a single pole trail. Unlike its British antecedent, the muzzle of the Model 1917 was designed to be flush with the forward end of the recoil rails. Such model 75mm guns did see active service in the Far East, but strictly in American and Filipino hands during the 1941-42 campaign in the Philippine Islands. Both the animal-drawn or truck-porteed M1917 and the truck-towed M1917A1 fought there. The second image shows a Model 1917 piece on Corregidor Island on a circular shore defense mount not dissimilar to the larger Panama mount designed for the 155mm GPF gun, in both instances to increase the ease of quickly traversing the gun.

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Unfortunately, although the specific model of the U.S. 75mm guns intended for Yugoslavia is known—75 Model 1916(A1) guns were shipped but none reached the Yugoslavs—the model or models of the 50 75mm guns intended for Greece remain unspecified. As far as is known, those guns that survived the Axis bombings of the ships carrying them ended up in British hands. Four questions occur to me:

1. Were all 75mm guns used by British forces in the Middle East acquired by them solely from the shipments sent from the U.S. to the Balkan nations?
2. Or were some of those 75mm guns shipped from Britain itself from the stock acquired to defend the island nation after the withdrawal from Dunkerque?
3. What models of 75mm guns, if any additional to the M1916/M1916A1, were involved in the Middle East?
4. When and how many such guns, and of what models, were sent on to the Far East? There is evidence that 24 Model 1916(A1) 75mm field guns went to Singapore to be used as heavy antitank guns.

Nelson

 
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