MANUFACTURER(S): State Arsenals - Imperial Russia
OPERATORS: Finland; Poland; Imperial Russia; Soviet Union
Detailing the development and operational history of the 76mm Gun Model 1900 (M1900) Towed Field Gun.
Entry last updated on 5/10/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
By the end of the 19th Century, the Imperial Russian Army was looking to upgrade a growingly obsolete stock of field artillery that lagged behind contemporary offerings. Various foreign designs were reviewed but it was decided to focus on a local piece delivered from the Putilov Plant - which itself may have been heavily influence by modern German Krupp artillery designs. This particular field gun was developed during 1900 and was formally adopted under the rather-appropriate designation of "M1900" ("Model of 1900"). The M1900 became the first Russian artillery piece in the 76.2mm caliber which became a popular Soviet Army standard by World War 2 (1939-1945) and was also the first artillery system in Russian military history to feature an integrated recoil mechanism allowing for more accurate repeat-fire capabilities.
Many facets of the M1900 were conventional for the period - a two-wheeled fixed trail carriage was used which featured solid tires and a multi-spoked rim design. The mounting cradle for the weapon incorporated the recoil system, which used oil/India-rubber rings, and the breech was of an interrupted screw. Mounting hardware at the base of the barrel allowed for an elevation span of -6 to +11 degrees and traversal of 2.5 degrees left-to-right from centerline. Combat weight was 2,200 pounds which required mover animals or vehicles for long-distance transport. Effective firing ranges reached 4.6 miles while maximum ranges could peak at 5.28 miles.
Serial production was set to come out of St Petersburg. In 1904, the Russo-Japanese War began which ran until 1905 and this pressed available M1900 stocks into battle. The guns gave good service in the conflict and often outmatched their rival pieces through performance. Despite this advantage, the war became a humiliating defeat for the Russians and ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth.
The M1900 remained in frontline service by the time of the Russian involvement in World War 1 (1914-1918) though by now the guns were themselves becoming increasingly outmatched by contemporaries. Regardless, the Russian Army required all manner of war-making goods and the availability of the M1900 series fit the need though stocks were slowly reduced as the war progressed - particularly due to the arrival of the more modern M1902 series. During its frontline use, the M1900 was regarded as an effective weapon with little flare about it. Russian elements went to war against the Germans in 1914 but were out of the conflict in 1917 due to growing internal strife - the Communist Revolution ultimately led to the collapse of the Russian Empire, the M1900 series guns notably used by both sides of the conflict.
With the rise of the Soviet Empire in the early 1920s, the guns finally went to supported nations either through donation or direct sale. This period ended the widespread use of the M1900 as the major powers now looked to upgrade aging weapons during the Interwar years that preceded World War 2 - now leaving smaller global players with what were once frontline quality weapons.