Here you will find some more details about your cartridge, which was designated “CART 7,5-BALT F3 pour TR 7,5”, meaning 7,5 mm bulleted tracer cartridge adapted to 7,5 mm reducers
It was made by F.E.R.E. in Montreuil, an eastern suburb of Paris, to be used in the S.T.R.I.M. 89 mm LRAC (Lance roquettes anti-chars) as well as the Thomson-Brandt APILAS rocket launcher, both used within the French army, and several foreign ones.
F.E.R.E. is an acronym obtained from the first letter in the christian name of the creators of the company in the 50ies, i.e. MM. CAND, LESCHOT, LECU Père & Fils, as “François, Eugène, Robert and Eugène”…!!!.The society was manufacturing patented automatic nailing machines for wooden furnitures.
Mr. Lécu himself was an avid weapons lover, collector and hunter who patented an electric primerfirst mounted on a range of 16 an 12 Ga. plastic shotshells patented by one of his friends, M. LEFEBVRE, an armourer from Evreux (Normandy), and sold during some years under the brand name CARPLAST.The idea was not new, having been tried some years before by an French gunmaker from St Etienne, and known as “Munition Electrique”, which did not go very far…
But the new electric primer, known as MG5.07A, drew the attention of the french Ministry of Defence in the 70ies, to be adapted to several kinds of reduced ammunition for rocket launchers, under a number of variations different by the shape and cardboard or metal used, also launching components and insulating materials, in 20 mm and 7,5 mm calibres.
As far as the 7,5 mm are concerned, F.E.R.E. made, from 1977, two variations, both with alloy cases made by S.F.M. (which had been manufacturing for a while alloy-cased short range the so-called BALPLAST ammunition in 7,5 MAS and 7,62 Nato calibres)
-the first one was CART 7,5 Balle Pb pourTR 7,5, mounting a spherical 7,9 mm (actual diameter) lead bullet (FERE drawing #MG5624), with a load of nitrated paper, for reducing devices adapted to the US M.20, M.20B 3.5 in rocket launchers, as well as their French counterpart, the 73 mm Mle 50 LRAC. The round was to be used in small ranges, up to 30 m.
The last variation had a nickel-plated lead bullet, but at this time, the 73 mm weapon having been phased out, it was used in the more modern launchers.
-the second cartridge, your round, received a lathe-turned spitzer solid copper projectile with a tracer cavity machined at is base, and a red-lacquered tip for ID (F.E.R.E. drawin#MG5.623). The round was adapted to the 7,5 mm reducing tube model F1, to be inserted in the 89 mm Mle F1 “ACL” rocket launcher made by the STRIM company, and also with the Thomson Brandt "APILAS" AT weapon. Shooting range was now 300 m, with an initial velocity calculated to cope strictly with the actual rocket’s one.
At the beginning of the 90ies, M. L’ECU, then managing director of F.E.R.E. retired, replaced by his son, biut the market for their products was no more interesting and when the SFM company closed, it resulted in the end of alloy case deliveries. The F.E.R.E. also had to be delocated far outside of Paris area for urbanisation reasons, so they decided to end the production of military goods.
The Finns , whio had bought the building rights for the APILAS had to design a primer of their own for their next production.
In fine , it should be noted that but for the cases deliveries, all the loading and packaging was made on the spot in Montreuil.
There is also an interesting reduced the 20 mm round , using a two-shotshells “end-to-tail technology”, but it is too important in size to be described here.
Most of this details come from several visits I made to M.L’ECU in the factory, during the late 80ies. He was a very nice man and I wish to thank him again for his fine help.
I also made a note about the F3 round in the RSACCA bulletin #206, p.18-2