MANUFACTURER(S): Krupp - Imperial Germany / State Factories - Italy
OPERATORS: Kingdom of Italy; Nazi Germany
LENGTH: 7.38 feet (2.25 meters)
WEIGHT: 1 Tons (1,080 kilograms; 2,381 pounds)
ENGINE: None. This is a towed artillery piece.
RANGE: 4 miles (7 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 Towed Field Gun.
Entry last updated on 7/24/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Prior to World War 1, the Italian Army obtained a license production deal with the German concern of Krupp, makers of many types of heavy and light artillery guns, to produce their "Kanone M1906" (also known as the "M.06") field gun. In the Italian Army inventory, the weapon system took on the designation of Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 and was introduced in 1906. The weapon went on to serve Italian interests well during its peak usage, ultimately seeing combat in two World Wars as a standard army field gun.
Outwardly, the modello 06 exhibited a most conventional design as towed artillery pieces of the period go. The design centered around a 75mm (2.95 inch) gun barrel which ranged out to a maximum of 7,400 yards with a 1,647 feet per second muzzle velocity. Traverse was limited to 7 degrees with elevation ranging between -10 and +16 degrees. The gun barrel sat atop the recoil mechanism which itself consisted of a hydro-spring return system. The barrel protruded through a relatively flat armored plate shield intended to provide limited protection to the gunnery crew behind. The breech was managed at the rear of the barrel and was of a horizontal sliding block design. To either side of the breech were to integrated seats for two of the gunnery crew. Elevation and traverse of the barrel were conventional, these managed by a series of hand wheels fitted about the design. The barrel, recoil mechanism and gun mount sat atop a pair of multi-spoked wooden wheels that allowed for limited maneuverability in the field. The carriage system was of the "pole" trail type, allowing the rear of the weapon support structure to be latched on to a team of horses or mechanized mover for transport. A trained crew could loose between four and six 14lb 75mm projectiles per minute as required.
When World War 1 spilled out across Europe in August of 1914, dormant alliances sprung into action. For all intents and purposes, Italy should have joined the powers of Imperial Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire but ultimately delayed their contribution to the war effort for nearly a year to observe which the direction the war would progress. In April of 1915, Italy finally sided with the Triple Entente (Allies) made up of Britain, Russia and France. As history would show, artillery would play a major role in the bloody battles that encompassed World War 1. Thusly, the Cannone da 75/27 modello 06's strengths came into play, its 75mm high-explosive projectiles providing good service in the war.
After the war, the weapon continued operational service. By the time of World War 2 in 1939, the modello 06 was readily available as a frontline weapon and, once the Axis powers went to work to begin a new World War in Europe, the weapon was placed into combat with Italian Army units once again. By this time, the wooden wheels were replaced with steel rims with rubber tire coverings for improved transportation support on and off roads (though some original versions still saw service). The modello 06 went on to see widespread use in the conflict, being served as conventional artillery field guns, as fixed fortification guns and even issued to German Army artillery units when their own artillery inventory was limited due to wartime demands elsewhere. As common practice throughout the war, the German Army designated these guns as "7.5cm FK 237(i)" to indicate their "Italian" origins. Modello 06 systems saw extended use in the North African Campaign and beyond, proving adequate in battle but more or less outmoded by the 1940s. The newer "Cannone da 75/27 modello 12" appeared and attempted to improve upon the limited elevation of the original modello 06 series, mainly due to the use of the pole trail carriage system. These weapons slightly increased the elevation range to -12 and +18 degrees which inevitably led to increased firing ranges overall. Additionally, the weapon was further "cleaned up" to become a lighter overall design - some 400lbs less than the original World War 1 version. That particular quality, of course, made transport and relocation slightly easier in-the-field. The German Army designation for these guns was "7.5cm FK 245(i)". After the Italian surrender to the Allied cause in September of 1943, many remaining Italian guns in or near German Army positions were claimed and used against their former owners. The Cannone da 75/27 series of 75mm guns fell largely out of use with the end of the war in 1945.
So as to avoid confusion, the "Cannone da 75/27 modello 11" was an unrelated Italian Army 75mm field gun design based on an original French product. The Germans knew these as the 7.5cm FK 244(i).
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