4.7-inch gun M1906

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4.7-inch gun M1906
TypeField gun
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In service1911-1932
Used byUnited States Army
WarsWorld War I
Production history
DesignerUS Army Ordnance Department
No. built209 guns, 470 carriages
Mass7,393 lb (3,353 kg)
Barrel length
  • Bore: 129.22 inches (3.282 m) (27.5 calibers)
  • Total: 134.92 inches (3.427 m)

Shellfixed, 60 lb (27 kg) or 45 lb (20 kg)
Calibre4.7 in (120 mm)
Carriagebox trail
Elevation-5° to +15°
Muzzle velocity1,700 ft/s (520 m/s)
Maximum firing range7,270 yd (6,650 m) (8,700 yd (8,000 m) with 45-lb shell)
Feed systemhand
4.7-inch Gun M1906 at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO
Barrel construction
Breech mechanism
4.7-inch gun ammunition

The 4.7-inch gun M1906 (initially the M1904) was designed and issued by the US Army Ordnance Department beginning in 1906, with the first units receiving the weapon in 1911.[1] It was of the field gun type. It was one of very few pre-war US artillery designs selected for wartime production in World War I, although (as with most of these projects) few of these weapons were delivered to France and used in action.[1] A combination of a limited pre-war munitions industry, the short (19-month) US participation in the war, technical problems with large-scale production, and the ready availability of munitions overseas led to this.


The design was orthodox for its time with a box trail and hydrospring recoil system. By the time of the American entry into World War I 60 had been produced and issued to the Army.[2] Once the US entered World War I the US Army soon decided to adopt French and British artillery systems, and it was proposed to rechamber the 4.7-inch gun to fire French 120 mm ammunition. However, the presumed effect on production was too great, and this proposal was abandoned.[1] Another source (Hogg) states that changing over to French ammunition (of which France had only limited production in this caliber) snarled production badly in late 1918.[3] With the war over in November of that year, 149 guns and 320 carriages were produced between early 1917 and the Armistice, after which gun production apparently ceased but carriage production continued.[2][3] By the time production probably ceased on 17 April 1919, of 960 guns and 1,148 carriages ordered from 1906 through early 1917, only about 209 guns and 470 carriages were completed, according to the official history of US World War I war production, America's Munitions 1917–1918.[2] Sixty-four of these weapons (48 from pre-war stocks)[2] were shipped to France to equip three regiments, of which two (the 302nd and 328th Field Artillery) saw action with 48 guns total.[1] The official history does not mention switching the 4.7-inch gun to French ammunition, but does note that 994,852 4.7-inch shells were produced by the US through 1 November 1918; many of these may have been for British consumption.[4] The majority of the weapons were probably used for stateside training, as shipments from the US to Europe were primarily men and ammunition. Regardless of what type of ammunition it used, the weapon remained in US service, though in reserve storage, until 1932.[1]

Williford states that total orders through early 1917 were 226 at Watervliet Arsenal. In early 1917 additional orders were placed at Watervliet (240 guns), Northwest Ordnance (500 guns), Walter Scott Co. (250 carriages), Studebaker (500 carriages), and Rock Island Arsenal (198 carriages).[1]

The 24 weapons emplaced on fixed pedestal mounts for land defense in the Panama Canal Zone from 1918 to 1926 were the 4.7-inch howitzer M1913, not an M1906 weapon as some sources state.[5][6]


Ammunition included a base-fuzed common steel shell containing 3.36 pounds (1.52 kg) of TNT, and a shrapnel shell containing 711 230-grain (15 g) balls with a 31-second combination fuze and optional tracer.

Surviving examples[edit]

See also[edit]

Weapons of comparable role, performance and era[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Williford, pp. 70-71
  2. ^ a b c d Crowell, pp. 71-73
  3. ^ a b Hogg WWI, pp. 51-53
  4. ^ Crowell, p. 121
  5. ^ Handbook of the 4.7-inch Howitzer Materiel M1913 on Pedestal Mount M1915
  6. ^ Berhow, Mark A., Ed. (2015). American Seacoast Defenses, A Reference Guide, Third Edition. CDSG Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-9748167-3-9.

External links[edit]