This was a small-caliber artillery tool specially developed for trench warfare. His task was to destroy machine gun nests reinforced with sandbags and logs. Eliminating such strongholds with other available tools, such as flamethrowers, mortars, and hand grenades, was only possible from a very short distance. Conventional artillery could not be set up at will at the vulnerable points of the trenches. These guns were too big and heavy for that.
The Skoda factory began serial production of the device in November 1915. In 1916 alone, a thousand guns were produced. The gun barrel was made of steel and had rifling with a vertical sliding block breech at the end. It was mounted on a three-legged stand, and the claws at the end of the legs softened the recoil. Aiming was done using a periscope. A gun shield could also be mounted on the stand, and one wheel on each side could be used to move it in the field. The bendable footing allowed for traction, which could be done by one soldier, a mule or even a pair of dogs. The total weight of the device was about 90 kg, and it could be easily moved even on foot when disassembled into three parts. It fired 37 mm R-type ammunition, of which there was a high-destructive, shrapnel and tracer variety. Fifteen of these were packed in wooden crates.
The infantry guns were operated by the artillery platoons organized in the infantry regiments. These consisted of one officer, two second officers and 26 crew members. Each platoon had four guns. The device played an important role in supporting the infantry. This is indicated by the fact that he had a separate troop specialization badge. In this post, I will show the cap badge that represents the device. The inscription IGA on this is definitely “Infanteriegeschütz-Abteilung”, which means infantry artillery division. The attached field correspondence card shows the organizational structure: it has the stamp of the 4th Infantry Artillery Platoon of the 51st Infantry Regiment.