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Remembered Today:

37 shell art with tank badge


Tacobell7557
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I have been looking through the web and haven’t seen a WW1 37mm shell with the American tank badge on it. Is this very common?

thanks!

Semper Fi Taco 

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Hello, welcome to the forum. Firstly, that's a nice piece, I own a 37mm casing with the Verdun coat of arms and it's one of my favourite's. With regard 'Trench Art', which your shell could be described as, it's generally accepted the majority of articles were produced by soldiers behind the lines who had the time and tools to fashion such items or by locals for the early post war battlefield tour market. My understanding, and I'm no expert, is that articles by either were, or were purported to be, one off's This is understandable if the claim was the item was manufactured by hand at the front. The US did use the French FT-17 tank armed, in the male variant, with the 37 mm Puteaux gun, so makes sense your shell bears a WW1 US Tank Corps insignia worn by officers serving with those units. 

 

I'm sure one of our more experienced members may be able to add an opinion, or maybe correct me, but i would say there are unlikely to be many, if any, other identical pieces in circulation. Hope that is of some use. 

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Edited by Gunner 87
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Thanks Gunner, 

I called my Uncle up and asked about it. He thinks he won them in a card game while stationed in the Pacific in WW2.  It is very unique and something I played with as a kid many times. 
Semper Fi Taco 

This was the other shell. 

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That's an interesting piece for a number of reasons. The gun depicted appears to be a French 155mm GPF (Grand Puissance Filloux or Very Powerful) with the split trail. It was often the case that a trench had to be dug immediately behind and below the breach to compensate for the recoil. I have attached a diagram that doesn't look unlike the weapons on your shell.

 

The only sticking point is the GPF used separate charges so the casing, part from appearing to be the wrong size, wouldn't be for that gun. The letters CPF not GPF are also on the casing, which of course maybe the initials of the soldier who made it, but doesn't seem to tie into any French artillery or general army acronym. The brass you have look's to be that of the 75mm Field Gun which are often used for 'Trench Art'. 

 

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Edited by Gunner 87
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Gunner, here is the bottom of the shell. Looks French. The initials are CPF so either they were way off or you are right, the artist initials! Really fascinating and I can’t thank you enough for your help on this!

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Looking more closely at the lettering it does appear an effort's been made to either elongate the bottom of the 'C' or add to it making a 'G' in the same style as the 'F'. It would make sense to have GPF under an image of that gun. Lastly, as peregrinvs has helpfully identified, the case is German, and while it's not unusual to see French or British art made from German brass it does make one think the work was completed either after the battle or post war. Just for your interest and speculation of course. Maybe other members will have different view. 

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