Description

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. 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."

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 1 ) Theoretical: 30 - 42 rounds per minute
Practical: 15 -21 rounds per minute
  1. ^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."

Ammunition

Type Fixed
Weight of Complete Round 6.2 lbs. (2.8 kg)
Projectile Types and Weights 1 2 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.

Range

Range with 1.598 lbs. (0.725 kg) HE
Elevation Distance
45 degrees 7,850 yards (7,175 m)
Effective Range 5,470 yards (5,000 m) 1
  1. ^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 Mle 1925
Model 1933: Twin Mount CAD Mle 1933
Weight N/A
Elevation -15 / +80 degrees
Elevation Rate N/A
Train 360 degrees
Train Rate N/A
Gun recoil N/A

Ships rarely mounted more than eight guns and apparently none had more than twelve.

Sources

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

Page History

29 August 2006
Benchmark
28 November 2009
Added information on projectiles
29 March 2013
Added photograph of Foch
10 January 2016
Minor updates