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The Vault

M1916 37mm gun

The M1916 37mm gun was developed by the French and used primarily by French and American forces in WWI for destroying machine gun emplacements. It was fairly good at this under fluid, mobile conditions, but inferior to mortars for static trench warfare. It was still in limited service by World War II, but generally relegated to training and use as a sub-caliber addition for larger guns.

Ammunition was of two types initially, a 1-pound solid steel shell and a high explosive round. The solid round was found to be largely ineffective, and replaced with a bursting shell of cast iron and filled with black powder. Mounting for the gun was either a fixed tripod or wheeled carriage.

Mechanically, the M1916 used a rotating breechblock and hydraulic recoil absorber coupled with a spring recuperator. In addition to use as an infantry gun, the M1916 was also mounted in the early US M1917 Renault tank.


M1916 37mm gun manualM1916 37mm gun parts catalog

Vintage Photos

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16 comments to M1916 37mm gun

  • Mark

    I have a shell for the 37-85 PDPs. It has the numbers 256 and 1.18 stamped on it any idea what they mean?

  • Brandon

    I have a 37mm round I found with markings that read E.M. 37mm M55A1-R.L.B I am wondering what these mean the shell is dated 1942

  • shaun seider

    I have a 37mm gun shell, and i dont know where its from or where it was manufactured. there only stands TAMPEON I, 37gun AND GEITILCO 1942.any anwser

  • Scott

    I have one that says 37-85,,then pdp 43.10.14

  • My uncle was a Co. Commander in the Texas N.G. before WW2.
    I have two 37 rounds.
    One was a paper-weight on his desk, and has been fired so it’s in two parts.
    The shell has: P.E.&M. Co., 37mm STEEL SHELL MARK I. The brass case has: AM LOT 1075-75-B, 37mm GUN MODEL OF 1916, lot 1075-105 PEM Co. Also carries the US Ordnance Corps. symbol stamped center, just under the primer, at the bottom is a W in a circle. The primer carries it’s own markings.

    • Roger

      I’m looking to learn more about the 37mm gun model of 1916 empty shell casing I have. It is 2.95″ to the neck down angle, 3.61″ overall. Head stamp AML01090-44-B 4114-33 WPS Co. Was this used as an anti tank catridge? Seems to small to me. Thanks for any help. RJ

  • I have a related question concerning the 37 mm semi-automatic M1924 gun; this was allegedly fitted to the T1E4 version of the experimental US T1 Cunningham tank of the 1920s.

    Does anyone know more about this?

  • Having done some more digging, I can partly answer my own question: the M1924 was a Browning design using a long-recoil action. It used a unique 37 x 124R round.

  • Andrey

    Hi. I just got one shell and I want to know more about it. Will appreciate any info. Thanks
    It’s shell with the bullet
    She’ll has markings PD.P 32.10.14 (HC). 37-85
    C 1.17.7
    B N3F AO 5.35 G.R
    Bullet has markings – D. M34
    Top of the bullet ( fuse ) has – G15216 and picture of the anchor.
    Please let me know what all this markings mean.

  • waren robinett

    I was cleaning out parents storage unit and came across a shell casing with what looks to be a candle holder on top with a eagle with some sort of fish in claws, on the other side of the shell there is two flags crossed at the bottom of where the flags make an X there is a capital A an E an F. also at the top of the flags on both sides it reads Souvenir on the other side of the flag it reads Cathedral at the very top where the flags cross there ll.H.E.I.M NOT SURE WHAT ANY OF THIS MEANS IF THERE IS ANY ONE OUT THERE THAT HAS ANY FEED BACK THAT WPULD BE VERY COOL . WHOEVER TOOK THE TIME TO DO THIS DID IT WITH A PUNCH A KNIFE AND TOOK THERE TIME IM ALMOST CERTIN THAT IT NOT PART OF MY FAMILY HISTORY.

  • Blake Hart

    I have a 37MM PDPs 338 WWI shell and round. It has no propellant and the round is steel (I checked with a magnet). Is there a possibility that the round has an explosive inside. I have had this souvenier for almost 60 years. The round is approx 3 1/4 inches long and has two copper or brass rings about two thirds down from the top.

  • Jim W

    I just found an old shell casing as well. It says AMLOT 1090. 37mm gun model 0F1916 WPSCo. Lot 4. Nice heavy chunk of brass.

  • Paul J

    Have the same unspent shell / Lot 2. Assuming WW1

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