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Cannone da 75/18 Modello 37

Cannone da 75/18 Modello 37

Ever since the establishment of Italy as a nation, a certain sector of its armed forces has associated itself with the specialized art of mountain warfare. This has included the provision of special types of artillery adapted for the mountain role. Many of these mountain artillery pieces came from Skoda. By the 1930’s much of the mountain artillery material was obsolescent and overdue for replacement.

The Italian firm of Ansaldo undertook to produce a new mountain howitzer design. By 1934 this had emerged as the Obice da 75/18 modello 34, a sound and thoroughly useful little howitzer that was intended for the mountain role and could thus be broken down into eight loads for transport. In the interest of standardization and logistics it was decided that the 75/18 modello 34 was just what was required as the light howitzer component of the normal field batteries. Thus the 75/18 modello 34 was ordered for them as well, but using a more orthodox carriage with no provision for being broken down into loads. This field version became known as the Obice da 75/10 modello 35.

The modello 35 was ordered into production, but could not be produced in the numbers required. This was despite the fact that the carriage used had many features in common with the later modello 37 gun, and the same barrel and recoil mechanism that was used for the mountain howitzer was also used on the modello 35.

The supply situation was not eased in any way by the need for the Italians to sell the modello 35 abroad in order to obtain foreign currency. In 1940 a sizable batch was sold to Portugal, and more went to South American countries in exchange for raw materials. More production capacity was diverted to the production of versions for use on various forms of Semovente self-propelled guns, but very few of these ever reached the troops. Those that did proved to be very efficient as any of the comparable German assault guns. After 1943, the Germans took the modello 35 under their control as quickly as they took over the rest of the available Italian guns and used the modello 35 as the 7.5cm leFh 255(i).

Caliber 75mm
Length 61.3 inches
Travelling Weight 4,080 lbs
Weight in Action 2,315 lbs
Elevation -10 to +45 degrees
Traverse 50 degrees
Muzzle Velocity 1,395 fps
Range 10,460 yards
Shell Weight 14.1 lbs

Information courtesy JDG

The Encyclopedia of Weapons: From World War II to the Present Day
Twentieth-Century Artillery: 300 of the World’s Greatest Artillery Pieces