1937: choosing a field gun (hypothetical)

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Vincenzo, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    what field howitzer or cannon you choose to equip your army?
    the start of production (under license) is required for late 1937, the cannon will horses towed and to ensure sufficient mobility to be light enough (the leFH 18 is too heavy)
     
  2. herman1rg

    herman1rg Well-Known Member

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    Modified German 88mm
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    One size does not fit all. You need an artillery system with overlapping capabilities.

    France, Germany, Japan and the USA chose a 105mm light howitzer plus a 150 or 155mm heavy howitzer. Most western nations still use this system so I'd say they got it right.

    Britain and the Soviet Union opted for a DP light artillery piece (25 pounder, 76mm). This system has not stood the test of time.

    The Soviets also used 122mm and 152mm heavy howitzers. These systems are still used today.

    WWII Britain used a mish mash of light, medium and heavy howitzers including some WWI era weapons and a lot of American provided weapons. It appears to me that army artillery was a rather low priority for the British defense budget.

    In addition to artillery pieces you also need fire control and communications equipment plus logistical ability to transport artillery ammunition. Japan was particularly weak in this area. They were still using WWI era artillery observation balloons in the Philippines during 1942 and they ran out of artillery ammunition when fighting the Soviet Union during 1939.
     
  4. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    While not necessarily agree that 10,5cm leFH 18 was too heavy, the Swedish 10,5 haubits m/40, which the Finns and Swiss selected as their main field piece produced under licence (the Finnish version is known as 105 H/37 and was of course mostly horse-drawn in fairly hard-going Finnish terrain) was only 135kg lighter, weighting 1850kg in action. But if leFH 18 is seen as too heavy, then I'd choose Japanese Type 91 10cm Howitzer, weight 1500kg.

    Dave
    also SU used observation balloons during WWII and at least Finns hated them, they were primary targets for our fighters.

    British had to use what they had/got after Dunkerque, but their system was 25pdr (87,5mm) field gun, 5,5" (140mm) medium and then heavy artillery, cannot remember them, maybe 7,2" was one.

    Juha
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    IF the leFH 18 is too heavy then you are pretty much down to 75-88mm guns or gun/howitzers, all of which will be outmoded by 1942 except for the 88mm gun/howitzer (25pdr) in motor traction form.
     
  6. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #6 Vincenzo, Dec 27, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
    leFH 18 weight is around 3,5 ton in move (the weight in action is only a part of weight in movement), the italians find this too heavy (also if they later accepted this).


    one size not fit all, ok. this is only for the field artillery horse towed (was the most common method of travelling of field artilley in late 30)
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough.

    During 1939 I think the German 10.5cm leFH18 was state of the art for a division light howitzer. The American 105mm M2 howitzer was a bit better (heavier shell) but I don't think it was in production yet.

    The French Army was still largely equipped with WWI era 105mm howitzers.

    Soviet 76mm and British 25 pounder artillery pieces fired too small a shell for defeating field fortifications such as concertina wire. A lesson that should have been learned during WWI.
     
  8. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    the leFH18 was out it's too heavy, too large for a not motorized army and planned rough terrain fightning (like the situation of italian royal army).
    afaik french used 75mm gund 1897 as field artillery (with divisional heavy field with 155 howitzer) the old 105 i think was used in 2nd line (the italian had this howitzer and used in fixed unit (they had the french gun but the carriage was italian and badest)

    i'm agree that 75/77mm weapons are too light but 25 pdr it's an other thing
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The 25pd gun was up to date for 1937 and would be my choice.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Any army that was planning NOT to motorize in 1937 was in deep trouble to begin with. As for "rough terrain fighting" North Africa required motorization. Trying to move food and water for 12-20 horses (gun and ammunition wagon teams) was a bigger transport burden than fuel for 2 trucks. If you are talking about fighting in the Alps, that is what mountain guns are for. Limiting an entire army's artillery capability because of a few special circumstances isn't good.
    The French had two different modern 105 howitzers, a model 1934 and a model 1935, they just didn't have them in large numbers. The old 105 was more of a cannon. In French use it's max elevation was 37 degrees and it had a bit more range than modern 105 howitzers although it weighed more.

    Once you establish a weight limit, such as what a 6 horse team can pull, everybody in 1937 knew what the result would be. They had all (all countries that could make guns) done all the engineering exercises before and during WW I. for a given weight you can trade shell weight and range back and forth but there are limits as to what can be done without making the carriage too flimsy.
     
  11. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #11 Vincenzo, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
    Shortround the planned terrain were the Alps not north african desert, not motorized army was common in '37 and for a not rich country was obvious that can't get a motorized army, also Germany (or France) that was relative rich country had not a motorized army. All the army fightning in the alps like WWI not only the mountain unit it's not a special circumstance.
    the french modern 105 (short cannon like theyr official name) were motorized towed and issued at motorized divisions like dlm, dcr, dlc, the old 105 cannon is not that i talking, the cannon (L13) was used as corps cannon (same was used also to italians) i was talking of old howitzer.

    25 pdr it's too young delivery started in '40 so it's hard think that licence production can start in later 37
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  13. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    this is that for mountain artillery this was smountend in 3 load for transport it's not available in 37 and this a specifically mountain howitzer like the older model 1916. i don't think is a good idea give to all field artillery a piece need to disassamble and reassemble each time you need to move
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Then your planned terrain isn't exclusively in the Alps.

    Skoda made a variety of high quality 105mm howitzers from the WWI era right up to WWII. Purchase their latest model 105mm mountain howitzer and a matching "normal" howitzer that fires the same ammunition. Your General Staff will need to determine how many of each are required.
     
  15. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #15 DonL, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    If you want certain capabilities then you pay for them.

    If Italy didn't want to fight in North Africa ( or equip for it) then it should have gotten out before the war started.
    Motorization wasn't just for rich countries although motorized infantry may have been. Horses were much more expensive in the long run than many people realized. Few, if any countries, had enough horses of the right kinds to keep a large army supplied with replacement horses for several years. Draft horses of the type needed for artillery transport do not either survive long or retain enough strength to pull artillery and supply wagons without good feed (grain). And if you are trying to let them feed on grass then they are not pulling the gun/ load while feeding. The Germans went through tens of thousands of horses just in the attack on Poland and a poor country cannot afford to pull the civilian horses from private haulage or agriculture without disrupting the economy/ food supply.
    Motor traction of the artillery and ammo was not beyond the reach of many nations if they had been willing to let a few more divisions of infantry walk.
    Sacrificing artillery power ( which did most of the killing) for the sake of "cheap" transport is a mistake.
     
  17. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #17 Vincenzo, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
    the alone army with all divisional artillery motorized were the british and the american, in a not rich country like italy (and many others) not only you have not the trucks but you have not drivers and mechanics.

    100 mm houfnice vz 30 was a good weapons half tons lighter of leFH 18, imho ever too heavy but maybe we can not get best (my ideal weight is around 2.5 tons)

    the alps are not only trails of high mountain so a classical a piece towed artillery is a good choice for most of the army, as told the 105 M39 came too late the previous mountain model was 16/19, probably 105 M39 was a "mountain" development of vz30.

    so atm the contenders are the 100mm H vz30 and the Type 91 (we need to find the weight in travel mode)
    in US intelligence pubblication (Department of Army pamhplet 30-4-4) was reported a weight in travel ~1,9 ton, very good
     
  18. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #18 DonL, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
    Hi Vincenzo,

    I think that is very difficult or near impossible goal for a rounabout 10cm howitzer field gun

    The german 10.5 cm Gebirgshaubitze 40 was a true mountain howitzer and had 2,6 ts weight in move
    10.5 cm Gebirgshaubitze 40 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So I think 3 ts are possible and useful for a good howitzer
     
  19. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Like I said, you want certain capabilities you have to pay for them.

    the 100 mm houfnice vz 30 was a box trail gun with 8 degrees of traverse. While it could be placed on a turntable/ring like a British 25pdr that was intended more for anti-aircraft work, a less than successful ability I think. Most sources seem to claim over 6000lbs in travel mode.

    A split trail weighs more than a box trail but it allows for greater traverse which means a larger covered arc. More elevation usually means more weight. A sturdy carriage that will stand up to thousands of rounds means more weight than a lighter less sturdy carriage. By 1937 most countries had been building/buying field guns for 30-40 years. There wasn't that much new around. getting the weight down means giving up on something.
     
  20. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    i must correct myself the "italian" howitzer 105 is a Schneider design but is not the same design of 105 Schneider in use in french army, that is specifically a mountain gun and so much lighter of the "italian".
     
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