75mm Krupp field gun model 1904
75mm Krupp gun model 1904 on display at the National Military Museum in Bucharest
In the background it is the 75mm Krupp gun model 1904 and in the foreground it is the ammunition wagon associated to it.
75mm Krupp gun model 1904 together with the 6 man crew and ammunition wagon in a firing position during WW1

The story of this gun began at the turn of the 20th century, when the Romanian Army was looking to modernize its artillery. Since Romania was just exiting a financial crisis and lacked the necessary funds, a loan was agreed with Deutsche Bank with the condition that the guns be manufactured by Krupp.

A sample was sent to Romania for evaluation. The military commission rejected it as it was not a quick firing gun, but only an accelerated firing gun, an improved version of an existing Krupp gun. Despite the political pressure to close the deal, the gun was rejected as it could not match the rate of fire from the Romanian specifications.

Soon, Krupp came back with a new model, this time of a quick firing gun, which was accepted. However, it underwent almost two years of testing and improvements at the request of the Romanian military commission in charge of the validation and acceptance. The original Krupp targeting system was replaced by the â??Gheneaâ?? targeting system (designed by maj. Toma Ghenea, the chief of the Romanian military commission), which was better than the original Krupp design. A fuse setting device and a battery commanderâ??s scope were added. The ammunition cart was also modified to resemble the one used by the French Army for its quick firing Puteaux guns.

Consequently, the gun was validated and Romania placed a very large order for this model: 624 guns, meaning 156 batteries. It was in fact the largest ever order ever placed by the Romanian Army for any gun model in its entire history. The first guns started to arrive in 1904 and were pressed into service immediately.

In 1909, Krupp developed a variant of this gun for the cavalry. A Romanian commission headed by maj. Vasile Rudeanu went to Germany and tested the new gun. The â??Gheneaâ?? targeting system was replaced by a new Krupp system and the overall weight of the gun was slightly decreased in order to make it more mobile. 12 guns (or 16 according to other sources) were ordered to equip the cavalry units.

The 75mm Krupp gun model 1904 formed the backbone of the Romanian divisional artillery during WW1 and saw extensive action in all the campaigns fought from 1916 to 1919. The fighting took its toll and by 1926 only 312 guns (roughly a half of the original number) remained in use in the Romanian Army.

At the beginning of WW2, as the number of available Krupp model 1904 guns had probably decreased even further, it was assigned mainly to the horse artillery regiments of the cavalry brigades (16 guns per regiment, 6 regiments). Only several infantry divisions still had the Krupp model 1904 gun in their artillery regiments, as it gave way to the more numerous and modernized Schneider-Putilov model 1902/1936 and Puteaux model 1897/1936 75mm guns.
Caliber 75mm
Barrel length 30 calibers
Weight 1,870kg during march
Shell weight 6.5kg
Muzzle velocity 550m/s
Vertical field of fire -5 to +15
Horizontal field of fire 6
Max range8,000m

Author: Victor Nitu

Stroea A., Bajenaru Gh., Artileria romana in date si imagini, Ed. Centrului Tehnic-Editorial al Armatei, 2010

Rudeanu V., Memorii din timpuri de pace si de razboi 1884-1929, Ed. Cavallioti, 2004

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