75 mm QF Schneider-Creusot Field Gun
|Barrel length (m)||2.47|
|Projectile weight (kg)||6.6|
|Fire rate||8-10 per minute|
Germany led the way during the 1860s, using new materials and methods to produce a steel breech.
Birth of the modern field gun
Towards the end of the 19th century, artillery was again in danger of being outranged by infantry, now armed with powerful, accurate, rapid-fire rifles. France won the race to produce a quick-firing long-range field gun answering the tactical demand of engaging cavalry and infantry in open country. Exported widely, this gun was captured from the Boers in South Africa.
Recoil – running back on firing – meant that gunners had to laboriously re-position and re-aim their gun after each shot, preventing quick firing. France produced the first true quick-firers [QF]: this gun and the more famous M1897 gun (or ‘Le 75’).
This advanced technology became standard by the First World War. This odd-looking gun rivalled the M1897. Ingenious hydraulics absorbed recoil then coil springs returned the barrel to the firing position. Schneider guns gave the Boers an advantage during the South African War (1899 – 1902). British guns still loaded a separate charge and projectile and had only primitive recoil control.
‘The British were frequently unable to locate and silence well-hidden Boer guns… before launching costly assaults. However, even though the Boers had modern QF guns… lack of experience usually prevented these guns from inflicting catastrophic losses’.
Major General JBA Bailey, about 1900