|Place of origin France|
|Designer Atelier de Puteaux|
|Type Infantry support gun
Used by France United States Commonwealth of the Philippines Italy Poland
Wars World War I World War II
The Canon d'Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916 TRP (37mm mle.1916) was a French infantry support gun, first used during World War I. TRP stands for tir rapide, Puteaux (fast-firing, designed by the Atelier de Puteaux). The tactical purpose of this gun was the destruction of machine gun nests. It was also used on aircraft such as the Beardmore W.B.V and the Salmson-Moineau. Fighter ace René Fonck used a 37mm mle.1916 on a SPAD S.XII.
The modèle 1916 gun's 37mm caliber was the smallest allowed for explosive shells under the 1899 Hague Convention and hence was used by a many nations for small guns.
The guns were fitted to a tripod, to which wheels could be attached for transport. The guns could also be carried by four men, after being broken down into two, two-man loads - the 104-pound (47 kg) gun and recoil mechanism, and the 84-pound (38 kg) trails. Some were equipped with an gun shield. The breech-block of the gun was essentially a smaller version of that fitted to the well-known French 75 gun.
The guns could be crewed by two men, a loader and an aimer, and had a maximum rate of fire of around 35 rounds per minute. They were equipped with a removable APX telescopic sight. for direct fire, and a quadrant sight for indirect fire.
In US service, each gun was assigned an ammunition limber, which carried 14, sixteen-round boxes of ammunition as well as tools and accessories. The gun and its limber were normally together towed by a single horse or mule. But were manhandled forward if contact with the enemy was expected.
U.S. high explosive ammunition for the TRP was the Mark II HE shell with a projectile weighing 0.67 kilograms (1.5 lb) and a TNT bursting charge of 27.2 grams. The French Army used the Obus explosif Mle1916 HE round with a projectile weighing 0.555 kilograms (1.22 lb) and a bursting charge of 30 grams. Captured rounds of this type were designated Sprgr 147(f) by the German military in World War II.
During the First World War, the guns saw widespread use with both French and United States forces and were designated the 37mm M1916 in US service. In combat they were found to be wanting, and their intended task of destroying gun emplacements was better done by mortars. However, as well as infantry use, the guns were also fitted to the M1917 light tank, the first mass-produced US Tank. Although these tanks entered service too late for World War 1 and none ever saw action.
During the interwar years the US Army adopted a .22 caliber device to train with the 37mm cannon as an economic measure that allowed training on indoor ranges. By 1941 the U.S. Army had put most of these into storage, scrapped them, or converted them for use as subcaliber devices for heavy guns. Some were used in the Philippines Campaign in 1941-42 due to shortages of the 37mm M3. The Japanese Type 11 was based on this design.
The French Army still had the cannon in service in 1940 as a substitute for the 25 mm Hotchkiss anti-tank gun, which was in short supply. After the defeat of France by Germany, the Wehrmacht began using the TRP under the designation 3.7 cm IG 152(f).