The Long Tom was inspired by a 155mm French gun called the Grande Puissance, Filloux (GPF) used by the US Army during World War I. Copies of the weapon, along with a breech similar to that of the British cannon, made up the first versions of this US field gun type.
American weapons manufactures gradually improved upon the design of the gun and its carriage over the next two decades. By the dawn of 1941, only 65 M1 Long Toms had been built. With another conflict on the horizon, production quickly increased.
The M1 and M2 (appearing in 1942) were used to great effect in North Africa, Europe, and the Pacific. Often, the guns worked in platoons containing six of the heavy cannons. Long Toms were known to be able to strike at great range, yet were still powerful and amazingly accurate. The guns could fire a variety of types of shells, each weighing 95 to 100 pounds. Commonly, a Long Tom crew was 14 men and took about 30 minutes to set into position.
Versions of the weapon were also employed by British and French forces and positioned for coastal defense. Long Toms were used by US military forces up through Korea and beyond.
Did you know?
The flash of a Long Tom firing at night could be seen for 20 miles or more.