The U.S. 37-mm Gun in World War II

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Charles C. Roberts Jr.
Other Publication Information
Hard Bound; Portrait; 8.25” x 10.25”; 168 pages
Company: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

Founded in 2001, Casemate is a major specialist publisher and book distributor in the North American market. Casemate offers print and digital books to the public and to libraries through a variety of channels, platforms, and vendors, as well as traditional and online retailers. Casemate has grown to become the leading publisher in the fields of military history, defense studies, and military science in the USA. Casemate has a burgeoning publishing list covering subjects as diverse as Roman History and today's current conflicts. This series, Casemate Illustrated Specials is focused on offering focused text and detailed photographs and illustrations into the weapons, equipment, and machinery of war.

Charles C. Roberts, Jr. has a bachelor’s degree, Masters degree, and PhD in engineering. He is the founder of Roberts Armory WWII Museum displaying artifacts from World War II including tanks, armored cars, halftracks, cannons, soft skinned vehicles, and military personnel equipment including several 37mm guns. He served in the U.S. Army from 1968–1970 as an engineer, designing and testing tanks, cannons, and aircraft. He is an expert on World War II military history and equipment, having authored several books on World War II history including Armoured Strike Force, The Boat that Won the War and U.S. Airborne Tanks 1939–1945.

This hard cover is the latest volume in the Casemate Illustrated Specials. The Cover upper color photograph is an American M3A1 37-mm gun on a M4 carriage. Note the muzzle gas deflector that was not used in battle in World War II due to munitions interference. I counted 220 black and white photographs / drawings and 79 color photographs, / illustrations. Many of the drawings and illustrations are from manuals.

The 37-mm gun origins go back to 1862 and the Lieber Code on how to conduct war. The Lieber Code was further developed at the1868 St Petersburg Declaration and then the 1899 Hague Convention. Their focus was how deadly an explosive shell could be by trying to limit the size of weapons. Think along the lines that is ok to have a bullet that kills a soldier, but not one that kills the soldier in a ‘mean’ way. The French developed the Model 1916 37-mm gun in World War I that also happened to be used by US forces as well. Post World War I saw the Swedish Bofors 37-mm anti-tank gun become prevalent [Page 012], and later the German PaK 37-mm anti-tank gun. The Spanish Civil War finally caught the US Army’s attention, and the secured two PaK 37-mm anti-tank guns as a basis to develop a US version. This development produced the M3 37-mm anti-tank gun that began manufacture in 1940 that would serve US forces in World War II. The sections include:

  • Timeline of Events
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Development of the 37-mm Gun
    • Model M1916 37-mm Gun in World War I
    • Swedish Bofors 37-mm Antitank Gun [Page 012]
    • Specifications: Bofors 37-mm Antitank Gun [Table]
    • German Pak 36 37-mm Antitank Gun
    • Specifications: Pak 36 37-mm Antitank Gun [Table]
    • Japanese Type 94 37-mm Antitank Gun
    • Specifications: Type 94 37-mm Antitank Gun [Table]
    • Polish Armata Przeciwpancerna 37-mm wz. 36 Bofors in World War I
    • Specifications: Armata Przeciwpancerna 37-mm wz. 36 Bofors [Table]
    • Russian 37-mm M1939 (61-K) Antiaircraft Gun and M1930 (1-K) Antitank Gun
    • Specifications: Model (1-K) Antitank Gun [Table]
    • In Profile: Czechoslovakian 37-mm KPUV vz. 37 Antitank Gun
    • U.S. 37-mm Gun in World War II
    • U.S. 37-mm Antitank Gun Production [Table]
  • Chapter 2: U.S. 37-mm Gun Design
    • 37-mm Gun M1916
    • Specifications: 37-mm M1916 [Table]
    • 37-mm M3 and M3A1 on M4 and M4A1 Carriages
    • Specifications: 37-mm M3 Towed Gun [Table]
    • Interior Ballistics of the 37-mm M3 Gun
    • Propellant Energy Dissipation [Table]
    • Exterior Ballistics
    • Terminal Ballistics
    • 37-mm Gun M3 Gun Components [Page 039]
    • M6 Sighting Telescope
    • Bore Sighting
    • 37-mm Gun, Tank M5
    • Specifications: 37-mm Gun, Tank M5 [Table]
    • 37-mm Gun, Tank M6
    • Specifications: 37-mm Gun, Tank M6 [Table]
    • In Profile: Ford T8 37-mm Gun Motor Carriage
    • 37-mm Automatic Cannon
    • Specifications: Automatic Cannons [Table]
    • 37-mm Automatic Gun M4
    • 37-mm Automatic Gun M9
    • In Profile: P-39 Airacobra 37-mm Gun Location
    • 37-mm Gun T32 and T33
    • T62 37-mm Recoilless Rifle
  • Chapter 3: 37-mm Ammunition Usage in World War II
    • U.S. 37-mm Ammunition Used in World War II
    • In Profile: Field-Manufactured Model Training Gun & M3 Antitank Gun
    • 37-mm Gun M1916
    • Cartridge, Fixed Mark I
    • 37-mm Gun M3
    • Cartridge, Fixed, Mark II
    • Cartridge, Fixed HE M63
    • Cartridge, Fixed, APC, M51 with Tracer
    • Target-Practice M51 Cartridge with Tracer
    • Drill Cartridge M13
    • 37-mm Automatic Gun M1A2 (Aircraft)
    • Cartridge, Fixed HE, M54 with Tracer [Page 071]
    • Cartridge, Fixed, Practice M55A1 with Tracer
    • Cartridge, Fixed, APC M59 with Tracer
    • Cartridge, Fixed, AP, M74 with Tracer
    • 37-mm Automatic Gun M4 (Aircraft)
    • Cartridge, Fixed, Armor-Piercing, M80 with Tracer
    • 37-mm Gun, T32
    • Squeeze Bore 37-mm Projectile
    • Cartridge, Canister, Fixed M2
    • Spigot Grenade 37-mm Antitank Gun, T21 & T22
    • Performance of the M51 Cartridge
  • Chapter 4: 37-mm Gun with Armored Vehicles in World War II
    • M2A4 Light Tank
    • M3 Stuart Light Tank
    • M5 Light Tank
    • In Profile: T33 37-mm Gun Motor Carriage & Ford 1½-Ton
    • LVT-(A)1 [Page 091]
    • M8 Armored Car (Greyhound)
    • M22 “Locust” Airborne Tank
    • M3 “Lee/Grant” Medium Tank
    • T17E1 Staghound Armored Car
    • Scout Car M3A1E3 and Halftrack with 37-mm Gun
    • Humber Armored Car Mark IV
    • T17 Deerhound Armored Car
    • T13 Armored Car
    • T19E1 Armored Car
    • T27 Armored Car
    • M38 Wolfhound Armored Car
  • Chapter 5: 37-mm Gun with Non-Armored Vehicles, Aircraft, and Vessels in World War II
    • M3 37-mm Towed Mount M4
    • 37-mm Antiaircraft Automatic Gun M1A2
    • Specifications: 37-mm AA Gun M1A2 [Table]
    • T2 37-mm Gun Motor Carriage
    • T8 37-mm Gun Motor Carriage
    • M6 37-mm Gun Motor Carriage (T21)
    • 37-mm Gun Motor Carriage T13 and T14
    • 37-mm Gun Motor Carriage T33
    • 37-mm Gun AN-M4 and M10 in Aircraft
    • Patrol Torpedo (PT) Boats
    • In Profile: PT Boat & Browning AN-M4 37-mm Auto Cannon
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix I: Design Drawings of M3 37-mm Gun and M4 Carriage Components
  • Appendix II: 37-mm Ballistic Data [Page 152]
  • Further Reading
  • Index

I really enjoyed the broad coverage in Charles C. Roberts Jr’s book. After providing coverage of the history of the 37-mm antitank gun, Roberts provides detailed drawings and photographs of the US 37-mm gun designs in Chapter 2. Page 39 provides sharp color photographs from Roberts’ collection. The first three illustrate the loading of a 37-mm cartridge into the breech of a M4A1 gun. The last photograph shows off the closed breech of a M3 gun. Roberts introduces the variety of 37-mm ammunition in Chapter 3. A good example is on Page 71 that describes the M54 with Tracer Fixed Hight Explosive Cartridge. The upper right drawing highlights the M56 Point-Detonating Fuse with the lower four drawings showing the M54 HE Cartridge. Chapters 4 and 5 describes all the vehicles, aircraft, and vessels that utilized the 37-mm gun. Page 091 shows off the LVT-(A)1 that carried the M5 tank turret to add firepower over machine guns. The two Appendices are filled with detailed drawings of the M3 and M4 Carriages along with ballistic charts. Page 152 depicts Penetration – Velocity Curves through armor plate based on Angle of incidence.

Modelers will have no problem finding kits of the M3 Antitank Gun with offerings in 1/87, 1/72, 1/48, 1/35, 1/24, and 1/6 scales. If you are interested in the 37-mm antitank gun, this is an essential volume for both the military historian and the scale modeler.

My thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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