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United States Experimental Weapons

Minister of Armament informed the lTnited States Army Automatic Arms Division that the automatic 37-mm Puteaux cannon was acceptable for aircraft installation. He doubled that enough would be manufactured before 1 April 1919, to arm any appreciable number of planes. Two guns were ordered from Fiance bv the n /

United States Army for experimental purposes and contracts were offered to encourage American manufacturers and designers to submit bids. It was stated that any company, turning out a copy of this weapon capable of passing the standard Army test could start immediate large-scale production.

The United Shoe Machinery Co., of Beverly,

Mass., agreed to produce two trial cannon under this arrangement. These guns were successful I v n o y tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground in November 1918, but by this time the war was over and the whole project dropped by mutual agreement.

For use against ground targets and small shipping, even larger cannon were placed in aircraft bv the French. These were also made at the i

Puteaux Arsenal and. like the original model, were semiautomatic. One was a 47-mm cannon, called by the air force "bombardment cannon." It was so installed that, in vertical flight, the angled gun could be brought to bear on railway stations, trenc hes, wagon trains, troop columns, etc. This type of weapon was used epiite effectively during the war. At the end of the hostilities an even larger gun (75-mm) was mounted in a plane, so placed that it fired straight down through the floor. But while successfully air fired, it did not have actual combat use.

l he origin of the 47-mm gun was interesting. The French, being thrifty people, had on hand great stocks of Hotchkiss manually operated revolving cannon with 47-mm barrels. As they were very light in construction and highly available, reliable loc king mechanisms were attached to these barrels of another generation for re newed service.

The French continued with development fol lowing the war whenever time and money would permit and. until they were overrun by the Germans in the early part of World War II. experimental work was still being clone on the Puteaux automatic cannon.

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