Casemate's US 37mm Gun in World War II

Author/Artists: Charles Roberts Jr


Casemate Publishers


$45.00 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 168 pages,  hardcover, over 100 photos and illustrations. 7x 10 inches.
ISBN: 978-1-63624-252-1

Back in the late 1800's it was decided by a meeting of international powers that there be a ban on small caliber explosive ammunition. It was felt that a standard bullet would be sufficient to kill a soldier without it exploding and scattering body bits everywhere. The result of this was that exploding shells were to be used only in artillery and it wasn't surprising that 37mm was determined to be the smallest gun size to use this type of ammunition.

With the development of the tank, it was found that the 37mm gun was quite effective as an anti-tank gun. While all the major powers had developed a 37mm anti tank gun, the US was very much late to the game. It turns out that two major guns were the basis of the then modern 37mm. France had had one since late WWII. Later it was the Swedes with Bofors and the Germans with Rhinemetall. The US 37mm was based on the German design.

This gun was used as the main armament on a variety of vehicles in addition to being used as towed artillery. It was much liked as it was light enough for two men to manhandle and didn't require a lot of space when put in light tanks and armored cars. Versions were also used in aircraft and were popular on US PT boats in the Pacific. While it proved to be useless against later German tanks fairly early in the US involvement in the war, it remained effective against the Japanese armor until the end of the war. It was also quite useful as an infantry support gun.

In addition to the history of the gun, a fair amount of space is provided for the various types of ammunition that were used as well as information on the ballistics of these shells. In all, it makes for an excellent reference on the gun and also was a very interesting read. Like all of Casemate's Illustrated Specials, it is well worth picking up and is a book I can easily recommend to you.

October 2023

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