Sunday, January 5, 2014
French 75 in US Service
Years ago I found a yearbook for the Georgia National Guard, circa 1939.
It was like a high school yearbook with boring pictures of hundreds of faces. It also had a number of photos of the troops "in action" with their gear. These are updated French 75s with new wheels, pneumatic tires and no gun shield. Wooden spoked wheels don't work well when pulled by trucks, they hit a bump at 20 miles per hour and have a tendency to flip the gun and sometimes the truck. General Douglas MacArthur began the upgrade to high speed guns in the early 1930's.
Note the ramrod brush next to the gun to clean the barrel. These guns were truck drawn but I have seen the rubber tired version towed by horse teams. The truck towed version does not require the caisson because the truck will carry the ammunition in the truck bed. The horse drawn version still uses the caisson and limber and gun and limber configuration with a six horse team.
This is the HaT French 75 in US service. This version continued to be used, perhaps as late as 1943 in horse cavalry units. While the Army had been upgrading them, there were hundreds in service and little money to pay for the upgrades.