MANUFACTURER(S): Krupp - Imperial Germany
OPERATORS: Finland; Imperial Russia
LENGTH: 6.63 feet (2.02 meters)
WEIGHT: 1 Tons (1,215 kilograms; 2,679 pounds)
ENGINE: None. This is a towed artillery piece.
RANGE: 3 miles (5 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the 42-Line Field Gun Model 1877 107mm Breech-loaded, Towed Field Gun.
Entry last updated on 11/5/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Like other global powers that committed to World War 1 (1914-1918), the Imperial Russian Army went into battle with many weapons from another century. Such was the case with pressing the 42-Line Field Gun Model of 1877 (M1877) in combat - the weapon being a 4.2-inch (106.7mm) system with physical features akin to artillery pieces of the Napoleon battlefields. The type was originally a Krupp product of Germany and first examples emerged from German factories before serial production was handled by the Obuhov Factory in Russia itself.
The gun tube sat on its mounting hardware in the usual way and this hardware was affixed atop a two-wheeled, heavily-spoked carriage system to be towed. Overall weight of the system was 2,675 pounds with a barrel measuring two meters long. The gun was modern to some extent as it utilized a horizontal breech-loading arrangement in which projectile and charge were sent through the breech as opposed to "down the muzzle". The wheeled carriage assembly allowed for some base mobility by the crew when fine tuning the shot and furthermore promoted ease of transport when affixed to a vehicle or "beast of burden". Outgoing shells left the muzzle at a velocity of 1,350 feet-per-second and maximum firing ranges peaked at 5,800 yards when using the standard 27.5lb High-Explosive (HE) shell.
Due to the nature of the static fronts that soon developed across during World War 1, it became important for armies to invest heavily in in-direct fire weapons such as mortars and howitzers which allowed gunnery crews to "drop" explosive and fragmentation shells down upon enemy positions. The key limitation of the M1877 system was its design for "line-of-sight" firing which limited its tactical usefulness on the evolving battlefield - the exiting projectile maintained a relatively flat trajectory by design. As a result, the weapon found better use in the later Russian involvement as a static fixture in fortified positions along Russian shores, protecting vital sea lanes from enemy forces where the direct fire nature of the Model 1877 could give the gun better value.
The weapons were in circulation longer than expected and some were taken over by the neighboring Finns during 1918. These went on to see considerably longer service lives for their final shots were not recorded until March 1940 during the Finnish-Soviet war - known as the "Winter War" (1939-1940) - as part of the fighting of World War 2 (1939-1945).