20 Comments

  1. Ian, I think you posted this particular article a while back and a lot of us contributed our comments accordingly. Are you hoping to extend upon that original post?

  2. Truly a classic picture.

    I was just wondering, what ever happened to all of the 37mm M1916 Infantry Guns?
    After the war (WWI) they seem to have all disappeared? What happened to them?
    Dean

  3. Is this one of the most published pictures from WWI?
    I remember the World Book Encyclopedia had this shot in it.
    For a forgotten weapon this one picture sure got a lot of mileage. Probably because of the background instead of the weapon. Too bad more of the guns were not preserved as well.
    Always thought having a ‘miniature’ 37 mm cannon would be great.

  4. At one time, pre-WWII, the 37 mm gun was thought to be the ultimate caliber against armor or the time….the M8 Greyhound and M5 Stuart were both equipped with a 37mm main gun. The Germans began the war with their PaK 36 which became known as “Hitler’s Doorknocker” IIRC the main US AT gun at the beginning of the war was in 37mm…rapid developments in armor protection just as rapidly obsoleted the 37mm rounds of all stripes. You tend to learn these things when you spend years as an avid model builder.

    CB in FL

  5. Good reminder that it were Americans who turned the tide od the war. Untill then, Germans were poised for clear victory. Doughboys did the heavy lifting then and in WWII again. Oh, that tricky play of circustances behind it!

    • Are you certain about that? By the end of 1917 Germany was facing mounting material and food shortages, as well as social unrest. The other central powers were essentially spent and unable to operate without German assistance or control. Although the Entente forces had clearly suffered costly casualties, they were able to be supplied by sea, so did not face severe food or material shortages, and besides the brief problems in the French Army in 1917, did not have unrest amongst either the military or civilians.

      • Not being a particular fan of either side (although my ancestery goes to A-H empire) I am, just as all of us relying on “acceptable and recognized” sources. Just to be clear, I am not talking about any “rewriting of history” here. Individual views however may still vary depending on individual input and perceptions; after all nobody of us experienced this horrific event firsthand.

        I recognize that I may have been in error claiming German Empire was “poised for clear victory”; however from reading many sources I lean to believe that they had in 1917 by all acounts an upper hand. My original remark is sounding perhaps as a cliche, yet I have admiration for those foreing soldiers, who came accross Anlantic to support struggle for “good cause”.

        War is always a misery for civilian population and surely enough, nobody had a feast during WWI, with exception of armament makers, perhaps.

        I appologise to FW for starting dabate not relating to technical orientation of this blog. Also I thank to those who answered in attempt to add to my view their own.

  6. I wouldn’t say poised for victory… More hanging on. They were trying to find options for an Armistice before the US got involved and that was the end result anyway.

    America did get to make a decent amount of money before they got involved though!

    I hate the American over-pride regarding the two wars – yes the influx of men and material was a massive factor and undeniably helped to cause the outcome but it’s a bit crass to insist it was all down to Americans.

  7. I think what spelled the end of the 37mm infantry gun was the development and employment of effective hand and rifle grenades and light mortars. Compared to the grenades and mortars, the 37mm was really outclassed in the role of taking out pill boxes, machine gun emplacements, barbed wire, mine fields…(list goes on) when compared to those indirect-fire weapons.

    All that notwithstanding, I love that little gun. It is such a neat and portable design. I wish I had a pair for the lawn.

    P.S. Ian, please check your email for a message with the subject ‘Need Some Advice’. I really need it.

  8. It’s a little off topic for this blog, but does anyone know a good source of information about light infantry guns?

    It seems to me that before the development of portable radio a little field gun would have been the ideal way to eliminate an enemy position without the murderous casualties of assaulting to grenade range.

    Were these shells roughly comparable to a modern 40mm MV/HV grenade? It almost seems like a distant ancestor of the XM25!

  9. Of the countless photographic images of war, there are certain ones that seem to illustrate, through a single moment in time frozen forever by the lens of the camera, the true face of war — the terrible devastation, the futility, the human cost to countless millions both living and dead, and the sheer wastefulness of it all. This is one of those images.

    Everyone on this site is familiar with many other such photographs. Remember the BBC documentary series, “The World At War”? Even after all these decades, I can still clearly picture in my mind’s eye the photograph of a young refugee boy looking directly into the camera during the end credits for each episode. That one expression on his face and the haunted look in his eyes alone seemed to tell the entire story of the suffering engendered by war and the vainglorious ambitions of a few. I can also hear the classical music composed specially for the series — an appropriate and deeply moving accompaniment to the photograph in question.

  10. I remember first seeing this image in grade school in the 1970’s, possibly in one of C.B. Colby’s books. I’ve wanted to OWN one of these guns ever since!!!

  11. Jeff, but we learn, slowly but we do. It needed a second war, but by now war between USA and european contrys and west of Poland is unthinkable. The first time in human history. Maybe we can that expand on other parts.

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