| 75mm model 1897 gun|
Canon de 75 modèle 1897
|Factory||Artillery & Anti-air Base|
The Canon 75mm (Canon de 75 modèle 1897) proves France's military instability and neglect during the World War II period, but also proves its military strengths during World War I.
The Canon 75mm acts like a howitzer, with a great rate of fire with medium range; it can lob shells into distant targets, often with great accuracy. Also important is that this French gun is priced at only $10 which, especially used in great numbers, is a significant difference to the German or Italian $15 artillery pieces. It is therefore best placed behind obstacles (but with sufficient space to fire) and used with the Radio Silence ruse. Like other light artillery, it should not be used against armored tanks.
Despite obsolescence brought on by new developments in artillery design, large numbers of 75s were still in existence in 1939 (4,500 in the French army alone), and they eventually found their way into a number of unlikely places. Some had been delivered to Poland in the 1920s, together with infantry ordnance, in order to fight the Bolsheviks. They were known as 75mm Armata Polowa wz.1897/17. In 1939 the Polish army had 1374 of these guns, making it by far the most numerous artillery piece in Polish service. A 75 was used by Polish forces during the Battle of Westerplatte, making it the first artillery weapon deployed against German forces during the war.
Some French guns were modernized between the wars, in part to adapt them for anti-tank fire, resulting in the Canon de 75 Mle 1897/33 which fired a high-explosive anti-tank shell. Many were captured by Germany during the Fall of France in 1940, in addition to Polish guns captured in 1939. Over 600, renamed 7.5 cm Pak 97/38, were mounted on a 5 cm Pak 38 carriage and put to use by the Wehrmacht in 1942 as an emergency weapon against the Soviet Union's T-34 and KV tanks. Its relatively low velocity and a lack of updated armor-piercing ammunition limited its effectiveness as an anti-tank weapon. When the German 7.5 cm Pak 40 became available in sufficient numbers, most remaining Pak 97/38 pieces were returned to occupied France to reinforce the Atlantic Wall defenses.