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"New Data- French use of naval 37mm as ATG Tunisia '42-43" Topic

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2,091 hits since 4 Jan 2013
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ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Jan 2013 10:36 a.m. PST

I was part of a few exchanges
over several months prompted by pictures that had appeared of some mysterious guns in French use in Tunisia


It tuns out that the French in North Africa secretly modified 36 of the naval 37mm and it was designated "37 mm de marine anti-char".


I have this well along in 15mm and will mold it if there is interest. What say you?

Dave G
The PT Dockyard

VonBurge Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 11:31 a.m. PST

Looks cool! Kind of like an overgrown Hotchiss MG!

Mobius04 Jan 2013 12:53 p.m. PST

Looks pretty pitiful for a naval gun. What is the muzzle velocity?

Lion in the Stars04 Jan 2013 2:11 p.m. PST

Well, I have been looking at making an EW Free French force, I'd be in for 2-4.

Griefbringer04 Jan 2013 2:22 p.m. PST

Looks cute, though probably not my ideal choice for tackling enemy armour in 1943.

Lewisgunner04 Jan 2013 4:15 p.m. PST

I'd be up for say three to field with a Vichy force.

dragon604 Jan 2013 7:52 p.m. PST

If it's a French naval 37mm AA it's most likely this one link

The AA round's muzzle velocity was 2,657 fps (810 mps) but I couldn't guess what the AT round would be

interesting link

anleiher Inactive Member04 Jan 2013 10:01 p.m. PST

I would be good for 3-5 of them in 15mm.

jdginaz04 Jan 2013 11:41 p.m. PST

I'ld buy 2 or 3 of them.

ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jan 2013 6:58 p.m. PST

Ok. Sounds like there is interest. I'll let everyone know when it's ready

Lion in the Stars05 Jan 2013 8:25 p.m. PST

Looks pretty pitiful for a naval gun. What is the muzzle velocity?

The AA round's muzzle velocity was 2,657 fps (810 mps) but I couldn't guess what the AT round would be

And the PaK36's muzzle velocity was 762m/s. That's a pretty good energy advantage, assuming that the solid/AT round for the French gun is close to the same weight as the AA shell.

Heck of a lot better than the anemic 37mm SA-18, and on par with the Bofors 37mm.

Mobius06 Jan 2013 9:49 a.m. PST

That doesn't appear to be the same length as the 37mm/L54 AA cannon. It would be somewhere from 34-45 calibers long.
In this combined image I tried to match the barrel width.


spontoon06 Jan 2013 10:38 a.m. PST

Any hope of one in 20mm?

ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jan 2013 11:08 a.m. PST

I was thinking the same thing on the barrel. It almost looks like a 37mm SA38 from that aspect.

I will put up the link to te French forum when I return home in a little bit.


ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Jan 2013 1:43 p.m. PST

Here is the discussion on the French ATF forum:

The 37mm Naval gun was also mounted on at least one captured M3 Halftrack by the Germans in Tunisia


It almost sounds like "exercise barrels" were used for these guns, which could account for the difference in length.

In any case, it beats facing enemy armor with a rifle. Don't forget, in this theater a Char D1 destroyed a PzIV with a shot to the turret ring with it's sawed off little 47mm.

Just have to do the trails and it is ready to go…

Mobius06 Jan 2013 1:53 p.m. PST

Again the AA gun barrel length doesn't match the one on AT carriage. I refined my comparison. The AA 37mm/L54 has an overall length of 2007mm per John Campbell's Naval Weapons book. If the AT gun was made from that it had to be cut down. So maybe to 42.6 calibers +/- 1 or 2.

Or, those "exercise barrels" are used.

Leadgend07 Jan 2013 11:02 p.m. PST

My reading of the info in JohnD44's post in the ATF40 thread is that a stock of 37mm barrels that the french admiralty had stored in their base was used to make ATG using whatever stuff they could find. The views of the breech show it was definitely different to the AA gun so wouldn't be just a cut down version of that gun. Testing using training rounds showed dissappointing armour penetration but using AP shot performance was satisfactory.

The barrels were apparently from subcalibre tubes used for training crews of large calibre guns and might have been identical to pre WWI Hotchkiss 1pdr guns which were made in various lengths including 40 calibres and were commonly used on light craft in the WW1 and interwar period.

The Italians in East Africa did a similar thing making 25mm AT guns mounted on fixed pintels out of the subcalibre training barrels of their coastal artillery units.

Lion in the Stars08 Jan 2013 3:21 p.m. PST

Je vous donne les principales caractéristiques du 37 mm H à tir rapide :

Longueur en calibres : 35 soit 1,295 m de partie rayée

Poids total avec affût : 151 kg

Poids du bouclier : 60 kg

Poids du canon : 50 kg

Poids du projectile : 0,5 kg

VI : 500 m/s

If I'm translating that right, it's a 35caliber barrel, so 1.295m long. Assuming 'VI' is muzzle velocity, that's a bit better than the WW1 vintage 37mm infantry guns, but not as good as the SA-18. Awfully low MV for a 35cal barrel, the SA-18 had an L/21 barrel and better MV.

Mobius08 Jan 2013 4:47 p.m. PST

That is for what gun? There is nothing to relate it to the Tunisia gun.
But 500 m/s is a possible number. Find a picture of the AP round for this gun and compare it to the German 37mm and you will see how small they are. The SA-18 had a MV of 388m/s-400 m/s. Now, there was an APCR round for the SA-18 gun that had pretty good MV.

ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Apr 2015 6:08 a.m. PST

Here is my little master for this in 15mm. I have some other wheels that I plan to use but it looks sweet!

Richard Baber29 Apr 2015 6:44 a.m. PST

I built a couple for my Tunisian French :-)

fingolfen Inactive Member29 Apr 2015 12:47 p.m. PST

I'd be up for a few as well – when will they be available?

ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Apr 2015 1:47 p.m. PST

Probably in May. Just have to finish the wheels

Lewisgunner02 May 2015 10:08 a.m. PST

Yes, looks worth having a couple!

ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP02 May 2015 11:28 a.m. PST

Well last parts showed up today so if I stay ambitions I will get the mold started this weekend.

ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP03 May 2015 7:10 p.m. PST

All ready to go. First casting came out great. Paint is drying now and should have a picture up tomorrow night.

Up on my site now as CDL-3 at $3.50 USD each

Dave G
The PT Dockyard

ptdockyard Sponsoring Member of TMP05 May 2015 5:25 p.m. PST



MiniatureUnited7 Inactive Member05 May 2015 7:03 p.m. PST


Fatman Inactive Member15 May 2015 12:03 a.m. PST

Damn between you and Rich Baber I am going to end up doing Tunisia as my next project.


Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member15 May 2015 10:23 p.m. PST


Lewisgunner06 Jul 2015 9:10 a.m. PST

Got one, well three actually, its a sweet little gun.

anleiher Inactive Member06 Jul 2015 10:31 a.m. PST

I ordered 4. Great models.

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