Background on the Obice da 75/18 Modello 34
Before discussing the Obice da 75/18 modello 34, it is important to understand Italian army actions prior to World War Two was predominantly fought in the Alps. Ever since the establishment of Italy as a nation, a certain sector of its armed forces has associated itself with the specialized art of mountain warfare. This has included the provision of special types of artillery adapted for the mountain role. Many of these mountain artillery pieces came from Skoda. By the 1930’s much of the mountain artillery material was obsolescent and overdue for replacement.
Modello 34 vs Modello 35
The Italian firm of Ansaldo undertook to produce a new mountain howitzer design. By 1934 this had emerged as the Obice da 75/18 modello 34. It was a sound and thoroughly useful little howitzer intended for the mountain role. It was able to conveniently be disassembled into eight loads for transport. In the interest of standardization and logistics it was decided that the 75/18 modello 34 was just what was required as the light howitzer component of the normal field batteries. Thus the 75/18 modello 34 was ordered for them as well, but using a more orthodox carriage with no break-down capability. This field version became known as the Obice da 75/10 modello 35.
After ordering the production of modello 35, it could not be produced in the numbers required. This is despite the fact that the modello 35 had many features in common with the later modello 37 gun.
The supply situation degraded after Italy sold the modello 35 abroad in order to obtain foreign currency. In 1940, Portugal ordered a sizable batch, and more went to South American countries in exchange for raw materials. An additional decrease in production capacity occurred when other versions were assembled for use on Semovente self-propelled guns. Very few modello 35s ever reached the troops. Those that did, proved to be very efficient as any of the comparable German assault guns. After 1943, the Germans took the modello 35 under their control as quickly as they took over the rest of the available Italian guns and renamed the modello 35 the 7.5cm leFh 255(i).
|Model||Obice da 75/18 modello 34/35|
|Bore Length||1370 mm (18.3 calibers)|
|Projectile Weight||13.99 lbs (6.35 kg)|
|Muzzle Velocity||1,410 fps (430 mps)|
|Maximum Range||5.9 miles (9,500 m)|
|Length||61.3" (1.55 m)|
|Traveling Weight||4,080 lbs (1850 kg)|
|Weight in Action||2.315 lbs (1050 kg)|
|Elevation||-10° to +45°|
|Rate of Fire||12-14 rpm|
Additional reference: Twentieth-Century Artillery: 300 of the World’s Greatest Artillery Pieces