3-inch M1902 field gun

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3-inch M1902 field gun
M1905 model
Type Light field gun
Place of origin  United States
Service history
In service 1902–1920s
Used by US Army
Wars World War I
Production history
Designer Watervliet Arsenal
Designed 1902
Produced 1902–1917
No. built
  • M1902: 182
  • M1904: 40
  • M1905: 441
Variants M1902, M1904, M1905
Weight gun & breech : 835 lb (379 kg) (1902 & 1904)
788 lb (357 kg) (1905);
2,520 lb (1,140 kg)
gun & carriage total.
Barrel length 28 calibers, 7 feet (2.1 m) (bore)

Shell Fixed ammunition, 15 lb (6.8 kg) shell
Calibre 3-inch (76.2 mm)
Breech Interrupted screw, De Bange type
Recoil hydrospring, 45 inches (1.14 m)
Carriage wheeled
Elevation -5° to +15°
Rate of fire 15 rounds per minute
Muzzle velocity 1,700 ft/s (520 m/s)
Effective firing range 6,000 yd (5,500 m)
at 15° elevation
Maximum firing range 8,500 yd (7,800 m) approx.
Feed system hand

The 3-inch field gun M1902 (76.2 mm), a.k.a. M1904 and M1905, was the U.S. Army’s first nickel steel, quick-firing field gun with a recoil mechanism. Like its predecessor the 3.2-inch gun M1897, it was a rifled breechloader.


The features of rifling, breech loading with fixed ammunition, and a hydraulic-spring system to absorb the gun's recoil and quickly return it to the firing position combined to improve the range, accuracy, and rate of fire of the gun compared with previous weapons, allowing it to be used more effectively in operations with infantry. These new capabilities allowed the gun to provide accurate indirect fire on targets not in a direct line of sight, which provided crucial firepower for infantry attacks. It was also one of the first US artillery guns with an armored shield to protect the crew from small arms fire. The gun fired 3 inches (76 mm) steel, shrapnel, or explosive shells that weighed 15 pounds (6.8 kg).[1] The use of nickel steel construction meant that the M1902 could fire a heavier shell at a higher muzzle velocity and greater accuracy (due to tighter rifling) than any other field gun of American origin to that point.[2] It had a muzzle velocity of 1,700 ft/s (520 m/s) with an effective range of 6,500 yards (5,900 m), and a maximum range of 8,500 yards (7,800 m). The maximum rate of fire was 15 rounds per minute.

This was not the same weapon as the 3-inch M1902 seacoast gun, which was designed by Bethlehem Steel and was mounted in fixed defenses.

Service history[edit]

This weapon replaced the 3.2-inch gun M1897 in most combat units, but both weapons remained in service until after World War I. General John J. Pershing brought several of the guns with him during the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916–17, but they were not fired in combat.[2]

The M1902/5 was in service from 1905 through 1919. During World War I, the Army primarily used the French 75 mm gun instead of the M1902s, which were mostly kept in the United States for training. Very few of the M1902s were used in combat in Europe. They were gradually phased out of active service in the 1920s.

Surviving examples[edit]

M1902 field gun at the First Division Museum tank park at Cantigny Park.
A 3-inch M1902 field gun exhibited at the Texas Military Forces Museum, Austin, Texas.
  • Cantigny Park, in Wheaton, Illinois.[1]
  • Westminster, Massachusetts[3]
  • One on the courthouse grounds, New London (Ralls County), MO.[4]
  • U.S. Army Ordnance Training and Heritage Center, Fort Lee, Virginia.[5]
  • Fort Sam Houston[6]
  • One gun at 45th Division Museum, Oklahoma City, OK[7][8]
  • one at Clemson University
  • one complete unit at Fort Sill museum
  • one at Texas A&M University. Operated by the Corps of Cadets, Parsons' Mounted Cavalry (named The Spirit of '02)
  • one 3-inch M1902 gun at the Texas Military Forces Museum, Austin, Texas.
  • one at Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, Faribault, MN
  • Three at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne, PA
  • one at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post no.33, Greensburg, PA
  • one 3-inch M1902 field gun in Mission County Park, San Antonio, Texas. The gun is missing its wheels.
  • one in Columbus, New Mexico
  • One in New Bedford, Massachusetts
  • One at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts
  • One at the Newport Artillery Company Armory, Newport, RI
  • One complete unit at High Street Cemetery, Danvers, Massachusetts
  • two at Lakeview Park in the City of Lorain near Cleveland, Ohio
  • A refurbished 1902 American field gun is on display in the city of Hopewell, VA
  • A recently restored 3-inch M1905 field gun is in the possession of 3-7 Field Artillery at Schofield Barracks, HI
  • A restored 3-inch M1902 field gun is on display at the U. S. Army Museum of Hawaii at Fort DeRussy in Honolulu, HI
  • Costa Mesa, California
  • One M1905 on the grounds of the Rush County Courthouse, Rushville, Indiana
  • Two at the Washington National Guard Museum, Camp Murray, Washington
  • One M1905 on the grounds of VFW Post 5700 in Hightstown, NJ
  • One M1902 on the parade grounds of Ft. Meade, South Dakota
  • One M1902 at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield, IL
  • One M1902 at the West End World War I Memorial Park in Amsterdam, NY - serial number 155
  • One 3-inch gun at the American Legion post, Patchogue, New York
  • Two M1902 guns sit outside Christian Brothers Academy in Albany, NY

See also[edit]

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era[edit]



External links[edit]