U. S. 37mm Anti Tank Gun

37mm U.S. Anti Tank Gun

US WW2 37mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun

The US Studied the German PAK 36 before WW2 and based the design of the M3 on this the Rheinmetall design.  That said, the US 37mm M3 is very different from the PAK 36.  The M3 has a very simple single shot vertical sliding wedge breech.  The PAK is semi-auto and has a very elaborate breech locking mechanism and dust cover.  They are alike, in that they have elevation and traversing handles laid out similarly.  The elevation handle also has the trigger push button.  Both have a split trail carriage. 

US 37mm Breech

This is the anti-tank gun the US Army trained with leading up to WW2.  By 1942, the 37mm was obsolete in Europe but was used by US forces in large numbers throughout the war.  The 37mm was more effective in the Pacific Theater, often being used as an Infantry support weapon.  In this role it could fire canister shot.

37mm U.S. Anti Tank Gun front view

The Ford GPW and Willis GP “Jeeps” are most frequently used as prime movers for the 37mm.  The Lovett Collection has a good restored example of a Ford GPW for this weapon.  The Stewart Tanks, Lee/Grant Tanks and M8 Greyhound use this type weapon in a turret mount. 

The US 37mm M3 Anti-Tank Gun in the Lovett Collection is on an M4 Carriage.  It is complete with ammunition and the optical sight.  It was one of several restored by Ralph Lovett over ten years ago.  One of the others is now displayed at the D-Day Museum in New Orleans.  

Length of Tube 
Weight traveling
Muzzle Velocity(AP) 
Shell Weight 
Armor Penetration(AP)
Armor Penetration (APC) 

37mm (1.45 in)
1979.5mm (82 in)
60 degrees
-10 degrees to +15 degrees
410.4 kg (912 lbs)
885 m/s (2900 ft/sec)
0.86 kg (1.92 lbs)
1 inch at 1000 yards (20 degrees)
2.1 inches at 1000 yards (20 degrees)
(Data from WW2 Fact Files “Anti-Tank Weapons by Chamberlin & Gander)

37mm U.S. Anti Tank Gun side view

37mm U.S. Anti Tank Gun breech view

37mm U.S. Anti Tank Gun side breech view

MAJ Leon Lovett served in 121 Infantry in the late “50s and “60s and CW2 Ralph Lovett serves as Brigade Targeting Officer in this unit’s higher headquarters, so not surprisingly we have outfitted this piece and its accompanying uniforms and equipment to represent 37mm Anti-Tank Guns in this units service with 30th ID in World War II.  




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All images, research, and text are sole property of Ralph Lovett.