35058 – 1/35 – M1897 75mm Field Gun (French 75mm in US Service)
75mm French Field Gun entered service in French Army in 1898. It is often referred to as the first modern artillery piece. It was designed as an anti-personel weapon, meant to fire large volumes of shrapnel shells at the advancing enemy. During World War I it was used in many various roles: high-explosive ammo, anti-aircraft and even the delivery of toxic gas shells. 75mm Guns were also used on the French Saint-Chamond tank, built in 1918. During the WWI these guns were also used by the British and American troops. American designation of the gun was 75mm Gun M1897, its production in USA started in the spring 1918.
75mm French Guns were also widely used during the World War II. French Army still employed a large number of them (4500) and it was the most numerous artillery piece in Polish Army in September 1939 (over 1350). After the fall of Poland in 1939 and France in 1940 great number of these guns were capture by Germans and modified with an added muzzle break and mounted on Pak 38 carriage. They were used on Eastern Front, as coastal defences or given to Germany’s allies like Romania and Hungary.
Polish Forces in the West received the variant of French 75mm Guns produced in USA and purchased by British Army in June 1940, after losing many of the British field guns during the evacuation of Dunkirk.