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Hoplophile

Krupp 37mm Sturmbegleitkanone

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Hoplophile

On page 135 of his German Artillery in World War I, Herbert Jäger provides an admirably detailed description of the 37mm 'assault accompanying canon' (Sturmbegleitkanone) that Krupp produced in 1915 for use on the Western Front. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a picture (whether drawing or photograph) of this weapon.

Does anyone know where I might find such a picture?

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sjustice
On page 135 of his German Artillery in World War I, Herbert Jäger provides an admirably detailed description of the 37mm 'assault accompanying canon' (Sturmbegleitkanone) that Krupp produced in 1915 for use on the Western Front. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a picture (whether drawing or photograph) of this weapon.

Does anyone know where I might find such a picture?

I haven't been able to find a single pic. I wonder if that's because the Germans found that the Krupp 37mm was a "bad thing" and changed tack pretty sharpish. This in response to the issue of being unable to move MW to support attacks past the first line:

To solve this problem, the same Colonel Bauer who had done so much to promote the Minenwerfer became, in the winter of 1914-1915, interested in the problem of how to provide the German infantry with small artillery pieces that could accompany them once they got beyond the first enemy trench. Bauer's first answer was to provide an experimental pioneer unit with relatively portable 37mm guns that had been designed by Krupp as secondary armament for fortifications. While these guns proved to be worse than useless (not only were their shells ineffective but their pronounced muzzle flash made them easy to target), the concept of a portable cannon that could accompany the infantry in the assault lived on. By the winter of 1915-1916, Assault Battalion Rohr, the lineal descendent of Bauer's experimental unit, had made the use of such weapons an integral part of their tactics. The particular weapon that they settled on was the standard Russian 76.2mm field gun, modified by cutting down the barrel, lowering the carriage, and removing the long-range sights.
*

Kind Regards,

SMJ

* Bruce I. Gudmundsson, On Artillery (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1993), 78

Gudmundson also notes in his Storm Troop Tactics, pp. 45-53. "The field guns seem to be those captured during the summer campaign of 1915, which began with the breakthrough at Gorlice-Tarnow."

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Hoplophile

Are the works of this Gudmundsson fellow reliable sources?

;)

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Chris Henschke

Are the works of this Gudmundsson fellow reliable sources?

I think this Gudmundsson fellow likes to keep a low profile and uses a nom de guerre. It would be best if you contact him directly. He apparently does have a tongue in cheek type of humour.

His sources are quite good for someone from the colonies.

Chris Henschke

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sjustice
Are the works of this Gudmundsson fellow reliable sources?

;)

He sounds dodgy. Some say 5th column.

:ph34r:

SMJ

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bob lembke
He sounds dodgy. Some say 5th column.

:ph34r:

SMJ

Dodgy indeed!

The Caslow/Sturm=Bataillon Nr. 5 (Rohr) unit went through at least four different guns; the Krupp 37 mm mentioned above, the modified Russian guns, modified German 77 mm field guns (cut down for battlefield mobility like the Russian guns), and finally 105 mm howitzers; I would assume that they were also "cut down", but probably not the barrel. I sort of remember that there might even have been a fifth, perhaps a 75 mm mountain gun.

A picture of the 37 mm gun would be especially interesting as I understand that a major feature to be tested was to be an improved shield to protect the crew from small-arms fire.

The Russian guns were fortress guns, made to be man-handled about and fired off parapets onto attacking infantry. Rohr made more improvements, including eventually putting on better German optical sights. I think I read an odd statement that they were annoyed as they were asked to give these guns to a newly formed Bulgarian storm battalion. Willi Rohr was supposedly on very good terms with Crown Prince Willy, was a Guards officer, etc., you would think that this request could be dodged. When the Germans took a series of very large Russian fortresses in 1915 they captured thousands of guns; one would think that they had a good supply of these guns.

I bet that the 77 mm guns, even when cut down, were heavier than the Russian fortress guns.

The one constant is the trend to a heavier shell. Most 37 mm shells weighed about 1 1/2 lbs., but the weight of the shell of the German 37 mm PAK of 1918 was 1 lb. 75-77 mm guns usually have shells of about 14-15 lbs. Most 105 mm guns had shells weighing about 33 lbs, but the German 10 cm cannon of WW I had a 41 lb. shell.

My father served with S=B Rohr several times at Verdun, on loan as a flame thrower operator, and the most vivid recollection I have of what he told me about this service was the efficiency of this close-support battery. He said: "One, two, three shots, and the MG nest was gone!"; indicating rapid firing. He loved the professionalism and reliability of this unit.

Bob Lembke

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Hoplophile

Thank you, Bob, for the information on the various 'assault cannon', which get relatively little attention in the literature. The problem, I think, is the 'whig' tendencies of the various treatments of the evolution of the assault battalions and their tactics, and the notion that the period before the arrival of Captain Rohr was a sort of 'dark age'. Gudmundsson, for example, makes the mistake of giving short shrift to both the assault cannon and the period when the Sturmabteilung was commanded by Major Calsow. What is even worse, he describes the Russian fortress piece as a 'field gun'.

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Pete1052
Are the works of this Gudmundsson fellow reliable sources? ;)

You'd have to ask a Marine about that.

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