Can you identify this artillery piece I found in the woods?
March 15, 2013 9:02 AM   Subscribe

So, walking with the dog in a local land preserve today, we came across an artillery piece. Placed there sometime, I'm sure, in the last 50 years by the former property owner (who has since donated the land). Can anyone identify this? (No, there hasn't been a major battle anywhere near here, that little skirmish we had with Ohio over Toledo took place 60 miles south of here, and that was in 1836)
posted by HuronBob to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
M3 37 mm Anti Tank Gun?
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:11 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just a side point, but it doesn't look like that gun has been there very long, maybe a year or two at the most. Any more than that and there would be a lot more weed growth up and around the tires and dirt covering those supports. Also the rubber on the tires is in remarkably good condition, and does not look old (though the gun itself is likely vintage). Just speculating: Is it possible that there have been hobbyist or re-enactment groups staging events there that may have left some of their equipment behind?
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 9:24 AM on March 15, 2013

Yeah, looks like the 37mm M3 I think.
posted by ghharr at 9:36 AM on March 15, 2013

Good work, troops! I'll have to do some research to find out how it got there.
posted by HuronBob at 9:40 AM on March 15, 2013

I asked around to a few friends who are knowledgeable in these things, and everyone concurred that it's likely a 37mm M3. After WWII (by which point they were totally obsolete), large numbers of them were given away to veterans and civic groups as display pieces.

If you were to go back and look at it, there should be markings on the gun tube just above the breech specifying the arsenal that manufactured the tube (prob. Watervliet), the caliber, and the year. Sometimes they have been painted over to the point of illegibility but not usually.

The tires are obviously new, and the rims may be as well (hard to say). It looks like somebody spent at least some effort to restore it at some point, so it's odd that it's just sitting out in the woods now.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:51 AM on March 15, 2013

I'm wondering if it was stolen, or at least towed away as a prank, from some appropriate org like the VFW. Of course, your first contact should be the authority managing the land.
posted by dhartung at 4:41 AM on March 16, 2013

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