Howitzers – Artillery – Haubitzen – Artillerie

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10.5 cm leFH 18

The 10.5 cm leFH 18 (German: leichte Feldhaubitze light field howitzer) was a German light howitzer used in World War II and the standard artillery piece of the Wehrmacht, adopted for service in 1935 and used by all divisions and artillery battalions. At least 22,133 examples were produced.

Designed in the late 1920s, it represented a major advance on its predecessor the 10.5 cm leFH 16. It was superior in caliber to its early opponents in the war, with adequate range and firepower, but the modern split trail gun carriage that provided it with more stability and traverse also rendered it too heavy for a mobile role in the largely horse-drawn artillery battalions of the German army, particularly in the mud and snow of the Eastern Front.

The leFH 18 was further developed as the leFH 18M and leFH 18/40. Beginning in 1942, self-propelled versions were created by fitting the howitzer on a Panzer II, a H35, Char B1 or 37L chassis. It was also used to equip German allies and neutral countries in Europe prior to and during the war.

10.5 cm leFH 18M

The 10.5 cm leFH 18M (German: leichte Feldhaubitze “light field howitzer”) was a German light howitzer used in the Second World War. The gun, less the carriage and shield, was also used as the armament of the SdKfz 124 Wespe self-propelled artillery vehicle.

10.5 cm leFH 18/40

The 10.5 cm leFH 18/40 (German: leichte Feldhaubitze “light field howitzer”) was a German light howitzer used in World War II.

15 cm sFH 18 – Heavy Field Howitzers

The 15 cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18 or sFH 18 (German: “heavy field howitzer, model 18”), nicknamed Immergrün (“Evergreen”), was the basic German division-level heavy howitzer during the Second World War, serving alongside the smaller but more numerous 10.5 cm leFH 18. It was based on the earlier, First World War-era design of the 15 cm sFH 13, and while improved over that weapon, it was generally outdated compared to the weapons it faced. It was, however, the first artillery weapon equipped with rocket-assisted ammunition to increase range. The sFH 18 was also used in the self-propelled artillery piece schwere Panzerhaubitze 18/1 (more commonly known as Hummel).

It replaced the earlier, First World War-era design of the 15 cm sFH 13, which was judged by the Krupp-Rheinmetall designer team of the sFH 18 as completely inadequate. The sFH 18 was twice as heavy as its predecessor, had a muzzle velocity increase of forty percent, a maximum firing range 4.5 kilometers greater and a new split-trail gun carriage that increased the firing traverse twelvefold. The secret development from 1926–1930 allowed German industry to deliver a trouble-free design at the beginning of German re-armament in 1933. It was the first artillery weapon equipped with rocket-assisted ammunition to increase range. The sFH 18 was also used in the self-propelled artillery piece schwere Panzerhaubitze 18/1 (more commonly known as Hummel).

The sFH 18 was one of Germany’s three main 15 cm calibre weapons, the others being the 15 cm Kanone 18, a corps-level heavy gun, and the 15 cm sIG 33, a short-barreled infantry gun.

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