37 mm/50 (1.46") Model 1925
37 mm/50 (1.46") CAIL Model 1933
Updated 29 March 2013

Both of these weapons were hand-loaded, semi-automatic guns with relatively low rates of fire and were not considered to be very potent AA weapons.  Used six-round box magazines that needed to be changed out before firing could resume.  When the battleship Richelieu and other French ships were refitted in the USA during World War II, these guns were replaced by 40 mm Bofors and 20 mm Oerlikons.

Some sources denote these weapons as having barrel lengths of 60 calibers, but an official French design sketch shows that the Model 1925 had an overall length of 2.007 m (79.0") or only 54 calibers.  An analysis of the picture below of the Model 1933 confirms an overall length of about 54 calibers.

A note on source material:  Within the pages of "Battleship:  Allied Battleships in World War II," the Model 1933 is listed as having three different muzzle velocities, three different values for the shell weight, two different maximum ranges and two different maximum elevations.  Perhaps some of these are for different ammunition types, but, if so, there is no mention of it in the text.  The data given below represents an attempt to rationalize these figures with those listed in "Naval Weapons of World War Two."


Single 37 mm/50 Model 1925 guns on the heavy cruiser Foch in 1937
Photograph from the Henri Landais Collection


Twin 37 mm/50 Model 1933 mount on destroyer Le Triomphant in 1941
Note the ready ammunition in the "bucket" on the left of the mounting, what appears to be a ready storage locker behind the mounting, the range finder on the deck above the guns and the range clock on the bridge
CPL Photograph

Gun Characteristics
Designation 37 mm/50 (1.46") Model 1925
37 mm/50 (1.46") CAIL Model 1933
Ship Class Used On Many warships
Date Of Design 1933
Date In Service 1936
Gun Weight 661 lbs. (300 kg)
Gun Length 79.0 in (2.007 m)
Bore Length 72.8 in (1.850 m)
Rifling Length N/A
Grooves N/A
Lands N/A
Twist N/A
Chamber Volume N/A
Rate Of Fire
(see Note)
Theoretical:  30 - 42 rounds per minute
Practical:  15 -21 rounds per minute
Note:  One occasionally sees a figure of 85 rounds per minute for the M1933.  This is actually the ROF for both guns in the twin mounting.  The figures given above are believed to be more indicative of actual performance and are from "Naval Weapons of World War Two" and "French Battleships:  1922 - 1956."
Type Fixed
Weight of Complete Round 6.2 lbs. (2.8 kg)
Projectile Types and Weights HE Model 1925 - 1.6 lbs. (0.725 kg)
Incendiary Model 1924 - 1.6 lbs. (0.725 kg)
Bursting Charge N/A
Projectile Length 6.1 in (15.6 cm)
Complete Round - 16.1 in (40.8 cm)
Cartridge 37 x 278 mm
Propellant Charge 0.44 lbs. (0.2 kg) BM2
Muzzle Velocity 2,657 fps (810 mps)
Working Pressure N/A
Approximate Barrel Life N/A
Ammunition stowage per gun Strasbourg:  1,000 rounds
Others:  N/A

1) Actual French Designations
      HE - OEA Mle 1925
      Incendiary - OI Mle 1924

2) OEA was for daytime use while OI was considered to be a night round.

Elevation With 1.598 lbs. (0.725 kg) HE Shell
Range @ 45 degrees 7,850 yards (7,175 m)
Effective Range 5,470 yards (5,000 m)
Note:  The effective range figure is from "French Battleships:  1922 - 1956" but it should be noted that this range was unlikely to be achieved in combat as the weapons were slow-firing and manually controlled.
Mount / Turret Data
Designation Model 1925:  Single Mount CA/SMCA M1925
Model 1933:  Twin Mount CAD M1933
Weight  N/A
Elevation -15 / +80 degrees
Elevation Rate N/A
Train 360 degrees
Train Rate N/A
Gun recoil N/A
Note:  Ships rarely mounted more than eight guns and apparently none had more than twelve.
Data from
"Naval Weapons of World War Two" by John Campbell
"Battleships:  Allied Battleships in World War II" by W.H. Garzke, Jr. and R.O. Dulin, Jr.
"French Battleships:  1922 - 1956" by John Jordan and Robert Dumas
"French Cruisers:  1922 - 1956" by John Jordan and Jean Moulin
"Cruisers of World War Two" by M.J. Whitley
Page History

29 August 2006 - Benchmark
28 November 2009 - Added information on projectiles
29 March 2013 - Added photograph of Foch