Bofors 75mm Model 1934
Towed Mountain Gun
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
For a period in modern military history there proved a small category of specialized artillery weapons recognized as "mountain guns". As their name suggests, these weapons were developed specifically for mountain warfare and were generally of light weight design, provided with inherently good elevation reaches and could be broken down into several major components for ease-of- transport. During World War 2 (1939-1945), such guns played a critical role in both mountain and jungle warfare and were featured in the major theaters.
During the 1920s, despite a glut of artillery systems on the market after World War 1 (1914-1918), the Swedes began development of a new mountain gun that became a well-made, reliable and quite effective system. The weapon was made up of a tapered gun tube fitted atop a recoil system and these two components were affixed to a mounting system offering elevation and traversal controls. A gun shield was added to offer limited protection for the gunner crew. The weapon lay on a wheeled carriage system straddled by a pair of heavily-spoked road wheels. The rear of the carriage allowed the system to be towed as a single-unit piece though a "break-down" feature was also built-in - the weapon could be taken down into eight major components and transport with additional ease. Towing was done either by "beasts of burden" (traditionally mules or horses) or powered mover vehicles.
The new weapon became the "75mm Model 1934" and was produced out of Bofors' Karlskroga facility.
The Dutch were some of the first operators of the gun but these were not part of its local defense - instead, with its interests in the Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia), the guns were shipped overseas for colony defense work where their capabilities were better suited. Other pre-war customers included Belgium (who fielded the gun as the "Canon de 75 modele 1934") and Turkey. Since Belgium had no need for the breakdown quality seen in the original gun, their version was completed as a single-piece lacking the feature. The box trail was, however, revised to feature a folding section for reducing overall length when towing / transporting and rubber-tired steel disc wheels were also used. Germany purchased a batch of twelve guns for evaluation and some training of artillery crews and recognized the gun as the "7.5cm Gebirgshaubitze 34".
At the outbreak of World War 2, and with the failed Dutch defense in the Pacific, the overseas stock of Model 1934 guns fell to the conquering Japanese who promptly put them back into action. They were used by their new owners (from 1942 onward) until available ammunition stocks were expended. Likewise, in the European Theater, the Belgian guns arranged to protect the approaches from the Ardennes Forrest were captured by the advancing Germans during May-June of 1940. Despite given an official designator of 7.5cm Gebirgskanone 228(b), this stock was scrapped.
Beyond the named operators of this gun, there was also use by Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria (as the "Model 1936"), China, Paraguay and Switzerland (as the "7.5cm L/24") at some point or another.
The complete system weighed 2,045lb and its barrel held a length of 5.10 feet. The weapon fired a 14.5lb projectile at a muzzle velocity of 1,500 feet-per-second out to ranges of 9,300 meters. The mounting hardware allowed for an elevation span of -10 to +50 degrees and traversal was 8-degrees left-right from centerline.