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Remembered Today:

Recoil mechanism for french 75mm gun


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Hello everybody,

I am looking for a cross-section picture of recoil mechanism for french "75", but not schematic.

I looked at many books, but I can´t find any detailed picture or photo. I think, that the secret of "75" is still continue. :)

How sealing of piston of pneumatic recuperator have been using?



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Thanks very much. I found that site fascinating. I wish someone would put a site together like that on the British 13 pounder, the 18 pounder and the 4.5 inch howitzer!

What a brilliant and yet simple and concise way of conveying a lot of potentially technical but excellent information in a comprehensible and easily digested manner - and I only did schoolboy French!


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Thanks for type, but I know this site. Informations about recoil mechanism are unfortunately limited.

Excellent informations and pictures of construction on british 18 pounder field gun and the 4.5 inch howitzer

you can find in the book - Early British Quick Firing Artillery by Len Trawin. I am looking for analogous book on french

75mm gun M1897.

I found these informations on french recoil mechanism in the book - The guns 1917-1918 by Ian V. Hogg,

but there isn't any picture, what I am looking for.

Quote from this book:

At about this time, in early 1918, fate took a hand. Yale University had, by some unrecorded process, obtained four worn-out M1897s from France and intended using them for training their ROTC members. What they lacked was a drill-book to tell them who did what, and a faculty member wrote to the Chief of Field Artillery to ask for one. The reply he got was unexpected; an offer to give him four new M1917s in exchange for the beat-up M1897s. He agreed, the exchange took place, the guns were removed, and one stripped and

sent to Washington where, at long last, a French recoil system could be dismantled to see what was so secret that could not be seen on the drawings. And what was the secret? Fine toler-ances, and an exceptionally close-fitting piston-head sealed with german-silver rings. Nothing more. It was simply a hand-built craftsman's job and one which was not likely to prove easy to make by mass-produc-tion methods, but beyond that there was nothing in that recoil system which was new or revolutionary.

Yet still the objections lingered. When one of the M1897s at Fort Sill succumbed to overwork it was dismantled to furnish instructional material and the recoil system was sectioned lengthways. A French officer there admitted it was the first time he had ever seen the inside of the system - and then went hot-foot to phone to call his Mission. They promptly pulled out all the stops, bombarding the Chief of Staff and anyone else who would listen with the accusation that the US artillery was disclosing French military secrets. It was no wonder that one US officer, sick of the whole business, went down in history by saying 'I guess the French would sooner lose the war than lose the secret of the 75.'

And what was the net result? A-gainst all odds and the gloomy fore-casts of various Cassandras, both Singer and Rock Island Arsenal eventually developed tools and assem-bly techniques which turned the Puteaux recoil system from a hand-built one-of-a-kind into an inter-changeable mass-production component.

And now question. What is it german-silver ring?

Regards Pavel

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  • 3 months later...

'German silver' is an alloy of copper and nickel. These days, it is often used in 'silver" coins.

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