Artillery / Italy
Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 and Cannone da 75/27 modello 11
Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 and Cannone da 75/27 modello 11

Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 and Cannone da 75/27 modello 11

One of the most elderly of all field artillery pieces still in service during World War II was the Italian army's Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 (gun of 75 mm, 27 calibres long, model 1906, in the standard way of interpreting Italian artillery designations). This was originally a German Krupp export model adopted by the Italian army in 1906 and retained thereafter until 1943.

The original Krupp designation was M.06, and the weapon was an entirely orthodox design with little of note other than a sound and sturdy construction. The carriage used a form of one-piece pole trail which restricted elevation and thus range, but for all that the 75/27 still had a useful range for a field gun. Not surprisingly, the original models had wooden spoked wheels for horse traction, but by 1940 some had been modified to take all-steel wheels and rubber tyres for powered traction, and it was this model that was most usually encountered outside the Italian mainland. The steel-wheeled gun was widely used throughout the North African and other Italian colonial campaigns, and was at one point issued to German field batteries in North Africa when their own equipment was not available. The Germans even supplied the 75/27 with their own designation, 7.5-cm FK 237(i). So widespread was the use of the 75/27 modello 06 in Italian service that there were even special versions produced for use in fixed fortifications.

The modello 06 was not the only 75/27 in Italian service. To confuse matters somewhat there was also a Cannone da 75/27 modello 11. This was another licence-built gun, this time from a French source, namely the Deport design centre. The 75/27 modello 11 had one unique feature, namely the original design of recoil and recuperator mechanism. On nearly all artillery pieces the recoil/recuperator mechanism is situated alongside the barrel, either above or below it and in some cases both. On the modello 11 the mechanism stayed in the horizontal position and the barrel elevated independently. The operation of the system was in no way impaired, but this feature did not catch on with other designers and soon fell into abeyance.

Nevertheless the modello 11 was still in widespread Italian service in 1940 and was used mainly in support of cavalry units, although some were issued to field batteries. As with the modello 06 some were modified to take steel wheels with rubber tyres for powered traction and some were also used by the Germans at one time or another as the 7.5-cm FK 244(i).

Specification Cannone da 75/27 modello 06

 
Calibre: 75 mm (2.95 in)
 
Length of piece: 2.25 m (88.6 in)
 
Weight: travelling 1080 kg (2,381 lb) and in action 1015 kg (2,238 lb)
 
Elevation: -10° to +16°
 
Traverse: 7° 
 
Muzzle velocity: 502 m (1,647 ft) per second
 
Range: 10240 m (11,200 yards)
 
Shell weight: 6,35 kg (14 lb)


Specification Cannone da 75/27 modello 11

 
Calibre: 75 mm (2.95 in)
 
Length of piece: 2.132 m (83,93 in)
 
Weight: travelling 1900 kg (4,190 lb) and in action 1076 kg (2,373 lb)
 
Elevation: -15° to +65°
 
Traverse: 52°
 
Muzzle velocity: 502 m (1,647 ft) per second
 
Range: 10240 m (11,200 yards)
 
Shell weight: 6.35 kg (14 lb)
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