Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Canon de 75 modèle 1897: France’s 'Black Butcher'

By Jon Guttman 
Originally published by Military History magazine. Published Online: February 28, 2013 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

Based on a recoil mechanism patented by a German engineer, the French 75 pounded German positions at First Marne in 1914 and served as a pattern for other artillery pieces well into the 20th century. (Illustration by Gregory Proch)
Based on a recoil mechanism patented by a German engineer, the French 75 pounded German positions at First Marne in 1914 and served as a pattern for other artillery pieces well into the 20th century. (Illustration by Gregory Proch)

French artillery has made its mark since its debut in the mid-1300s, from helping win the Hundred Years' War to supporting Napoléon Bonaparte's victories to dominating the American Civil War battlefield. In 1898 the French army introduced another innovation to its arsenal: the Canon de 75 modèle 1897. French soldiers, referring to its 75mm bore, dubbed it the Soixante-Quinze. The Germans who encountered it at First Marne in September 1914 knew it as the "Black Butcher."

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to Military History magazine

Conceived in 1892 at the state-owned arsenal at Puteaux, the Mle 1897 combined a hydropneumatic recoil mechanism with a Nordenfeldt eccentric screw breech that enabled rapid reloading. Ironically, French engineer Lt. Col. Joseph-Albert Deport based the recoil mechanism on an existing system patented by German engineer Konrad Haussner but not adopted by his countrymen. The French entered World War I with more than 4,000 Mle 1897s, and wartime production ultimately exceeded 21,000 guns and 200 million shells.

Capable of firing 15 rounds per minute, the French 75 proved useful to the Allies as an anti-aircraft gun and for use in armored vehicles such as the ungainly French Saint-Chamond tank. It was not quite the "do everything" gun the French claimed, however, its flat trajectory and relatively light shell limiting its effectiveness in trench warfare. Nevertheless, the gun soldiered on in World War II, serving in the American M3 halftrack and as a pattern for the 75mm guns of the M3 Grant and Lee, M4 Sherman and M24 Chaffee tanks. The Americans mounted a lighter variant of the 75 in the nose of the North American B-25G and H Mitchell bombers for ground attack. In various forms the French 75 fought in the Korean War and 1971 Indo–Pakistani War and remained in some nations' arsenals as late as 1979.



Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Weider History, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 Weider History. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy