The Cannone da 75/46 was an anti-aircraft gun produced by Italy and used by Italy, Germany and the Allies during World War II. Its name derives from the fact that it is a 75 caliber gun and 46 is its length in calibers. Careful use of materials in a down economy led to long inspections of proposed weaponry in Italy between the World Wars. The Cannone da 75/46 was no exception. It was introduced by Ansaldo in 1926. It took eight years before the Italian military had the anti-aircraft gun in use. Even then, it was not in widespread use.
The Cannone da 75/46 was a reliable, functional and efficient weapon. However, it did not stand out among other European anti-aircraft gun designs of the time. In fact, some of its features, particularly its carriage and its platform, were similar to UK designs. When transported, the cross-shaped platform folded, so the pivot rested on the two-wheeled carriage. The basic design worked for its purpose, even if it was unremarkable.
At the start of production, there were 240 Cannone da 75/46 on order. Six years later, they were still 14 guns short of the mark. Some gun parts made for the Cannone da 75/46 were being used on other projects as they were completed, thus adding to the problem. Because of these problems, there simply were not enough of these guns to cover the Italian military’s needs in Africa and Italy, where they were being used. Their use as coastal defense guns instead of anti-aircraft guns in many cases did not help, either. Outdated anti-aircraft guns were being used to fill the gap.
When Italy was overrun by Germany at the time Italian alliances changed, the scant few Cannone da 75/46 in service were taken for use by the occupying army. They called it the 7.5 cm Flak 264/3 (i). Germany used the guns primarily in Italy. When the Allies took over Italy, they too used these defensive weapons to hold Italy. In the end, the weapon performed well for all armies that used it. There simply were never enough of them.
|Caliber||75 mm (3 in.)|
|Length||7.4 m (24 ft. 3 in.)|
|Barrel Length||3.45 m (11 ft. 3.8 in.)|
|Length of Rifling||2.844 in. (9 ft. 4 in.)|
|Traveling Weight||4,405 kg (9,710 lb.)|
|Weight in Action||3,300 kg (7,300lb.)|
|Elevation||-2 degrees to +90 degrees|
|Muzzle Velocity||750 m/s (2,500 ft./s)|
|Range||8,300 m (27,200 ft.) Maximum|
|Shell Weight||6.5 kg (14 lb. 5 oz.) – HE|
Photo in the Public Domain; Information courtesy of Bishop, Chris, Encyclopedia of weapons of World War II