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Cannone da 75/32 Modello 37

Cannone da 75/32 Modello 37

When Italy emerged from World War I its economy, never particularly sound, was in no state to support a rearmament program and thus the weapons were mainly from reparations received from Austria-Hungary, and the army was otherwise left to cope with what it already had. By the 1930s even the large number of weapons at hand were seen to be no real answer to the more modern designs, so a program of new weapon design was undertaken. The first weapons to be considered were those of the field artillery and thus the first post-war artillery design to be introduced since 1918 was the Cannone da 75/32 modello 37.

The new gun was an Ansaldo design. It was a good, sound and modern idea that was intended from the outset for powered traction. It had a long barrel refitted for a muzzle brake and had a high enough muzzle velocity that it could be usefully employed on occasion as an anti-tank weapon.

When the split trail was deployed it provided a traverse of 50 degrees, which was no doubt useful in armored warfare. But this was rather negated by the need of large trail spades that were hammered into the ground through the trial legs so that a rapid change of traverse angle was not easy. Even with this slight disadvantage the modello 37 was a very useful field gun and the Italian gunners clamored for as many as they could get. Unfortunately they clamored in vain as Italian industry was in no position to provide the numbers required. There was simply no industrial potential to spare to produce the guns and all the raw materials, or at least the bulk of them, had to be imported. Thus gun production had to get underway at a time when all other arms of the Italian forces were in the process or rearming. The air force was given a far higher degree of priority over the artillery and the Italian Navy was absorbing a large portion of the few available manufacturing and raw material resources. So demand for the modello 37 constantly exceeded supply and by 1943 most of the Italian artillery was still made up of weapons that dated from World War I or earlier.

In 1943 the Italians changed sides. The Germans had already noted the finer points of the modello 37 and as Italy withdrew from the Axis partnership, the Germans swiftly moved in to take over as much of the Italian armory as possible. In this grab, a large number of modello 37s changed their designation to 7.5mm FK 481(i). The Germans used them until the war ended not only in Italy, but in the fight against the Yugoslavian partisan forces.

Caliber 75mm
Length 101.3 inches
Traveling Weight 2,756 lbs
Weight in Action 2,646 lbs
Elevation -10 to +45 degrees
Traverse 50 degrees
Muzzle Velocity 2,050 fps
Range 13,675 yards
Shell Weight 13.9 lbs

Information courtesy JDG

The Encyclopedia of Weapons: From World War II to the Present Day