Best Long Range Artillery Piece

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by davebender, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    17cm Kanone 18
    17-CM KANONE 18 AND 21-CM MÖRSER 18 | War and Game
    29.6 km Max Range.
    68 kg HE shell weight.
    23,375 kg Travel weight.
    This artillery piece employed the same double action carriage as the 21-cm Mörser 18. Hence it was possible to convert to the shorter range but much more powerful 21cm weapon by changing the barrel. A handy feature for use against serious fortifications such as at Sevastopol. The USA more or less copied the concept during the 1960s with the M107 175mm SP artillery which shared a chassis with the M110 8" howitzer.

    155mm Long Tom.
    155 mm Long Tom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    23.2 km Max Range.
    43 kg HE shell weight.
    13,880 kg. Travel weight.
    Less powerful and shorter range then the German weapon. However it weighed half as much, making it much easier to transport. Perhaps this was a handier size for general battlefield use.

    Other. Please nominate your favorite long range field artillery weapon (i.e. not siege artillery.)
     
  2. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    #2 fastmongrel, Jul 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
    Agree the 17cm K18 was probably the best long range piece of the war. However like a lot of German equipment it was expensive and hard to produce, the German army could have done better with a lighter, shorter range piece available in greater numbers.

    In my opinion the best artillery piece of WWII the soviet 152 mm howitzer-gun M1937 (ML-20) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia not the heaviest shell or the longest range or the lightest piece but hundreds of these lined up almost wheel to wheel must have been a frightening and destructive thing
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Krupp produced weapons somewhat similiar to the 155mm "Long Tom" from WWI onward. In fact I think the U.S. weapon was inspired by the 15cm Kanone 16.

    15cm Kanone 16. Entered service in 1917.
    15 cm Kanone 16 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    10,870 kg weight. I think this is emplaced. Travel weight would be about 50% more.
    51.4 kg HE shell weight.
    22,000 meters max range.

    15cm Kanone 39. Produced for export to Turkey in 1939.
    15 cm Kanone 39 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    18,282 kg travel weight.
    24.7 km max range.
    ?? HE shell weight. I suspect about 52 kg (i.e. similiar to WWI era weapon).

    The German long range 15cm artillery pieces are a bit heavier then the American weapon but fire a shell that is considerably more powerful. Germany chose this type weapon for mass production during WWI but rejected it during WWII. I guess that's the difference Ju-87 and Ju-88 dive bombers make. CAS aircraft now performed some of the missions previously accomplished with long range howitzers. A relatively small number of the even longer range 17cm weapons were produced for special situations.
     
  4. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. However WWII era Soviet artillery ammunition had serious quality control problems. I suspect that largely negated the value of long range Soviet field artillery.
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I actually think that in certain situations, the German K-18 was about the worst piece of artillery that could be wished for. As usual in these sorts of discussions, no account of the vastly different conditions and environments for artillery are being considered.

    The K-18 was heavy and relatively immobile. It had resuperators that did not work well, if at all in extreme weather conditions. An in rough terrain, like a jungle or mountain environment, it was basically useless.

    There is no ideal long range artillery piece. The question needs to be refined in order to be satisfactorily answered
     
  7. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #7 Juha, Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
    I have read fairy much on eastern front campaigns and have not noticed that those in receiving would have been thankful for the bad quality of Soviet ammo, on the contrary, save the Winter War, when Soviet artillery had all kinds of problems, Soviet artillery was respected and feared. Even GHQ level its effectiveness was well understood, for ex Guderian complained in his memoirs that in 44 armoured reserves were situated too near to the main defensive line because of Herr Hitler's interference and so was badly mauled by powerful Soviet LR artillery strikes even before they got orders to launch counter attacks, that is confirmed for ex in the unit history of 6th PzD.

    Juha
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    If you get hit then it's bad news. The question is how many Soviet shells missed because they were unbalanced and therefore inaccurate? That problem would be inherently worse at longer ranges.

    Soviet artillery pieces and mortars themselves were typically of good quality. Germany captured thousands during 1941 and 1942. After depot level inspection and modification they were issued to German units. For example at least one of the German artillery units which helped defeat Operation Market-Garden was equipped with Soviet manufactured 152mm howitzers.
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #9 Juha, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
    Hello Dave
    definitely Russian/Soviet ammo for heavy naval guns was frst class,
    we had, still have at least one twin turret armed with these, have been inside, 12” L/52 Russian 12"/52 (30.5 cm) Pattern 1907
    and Finns found them very accurate, both in our own shootings and while being their targets, patterns were very tight and accurate.
    I also cannot recall any complains about poor quality of Soviet ammo for A-19 or ML-20, Finns used war-booty examples of both, some 25 A-19s and 64 ML-20s, using 6755 and 35469 shells respectively during the Continuation War (1941-1944)



    Juha
     
  10. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I remeber reading somewahere that the trails of the 122mm were somewhat light, leading to the gun jumping around when fired.....affecting accuracy. But on the plus side, Soviet guns seem to be more mobile that their German counterparts .


    I have not really heard that dud shells were that big a problem for the Russian Guns....their artilery was less flexible, counter battery not so good, but suppressive barrages very good. All these issue relate to the lack of experience and technical training for Soviet gunners, not any real inadequacy in the hardware....
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Standard division level field howitzers.
    1,985 kg combat weight. German 10.5cm leFH18 howitzer.
    2,260 kg combat weight. USA M101 105mm howitzer.
    2,450 kg combat weight. Soviet M1938 122mm howitzer.

    Standard corps level field howitzers.
    4,150 kg combat weight. Soviet M1938 152mm howitzer.
    5,530 kg combat weight. German 15cm sFH18 howitzer. First FA weapon equipped with rocket assisted ammunition to increase range.
    5,600 kg combat weight. USA M114 155mm howitzer.

    What makes you think Soviet artillery pieces were more mobile then German artillery pieces?
     
  12. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Dave
    sFH 18 was a division level gun. Soviet div level gun were 76mm F-22 USV field cannon and 122mm M-30 field how.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    No piece of artillery is ideal in all situations. For it's size and range it was a good gun. Just about anything that approached it in range had to moved in two or more loads (even for short distances) and took even longer to emplace or to get underway again.

    The advantage of long range artillery is that you can often position them in places that avoid the worst of the terrain and still have them reach the target. The lack of mobility of the 17cm K 18 may say as much about the lack of German heavy tractors as it does about the weight of the equipment. again, any allied gun with anything aprouching the range of the 17cm K 18 was equally useless in such terrain.

    Apparently the allies were often glad enough to use captured examples to shoot at the Germans with while the captured ammo lasted. Considering the crew needed and probable need to be part of an actual fire plan this is on a different level than some infantry company using picked up Mg 42s or 8cm mortars.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree. German Army divisions had some organic 15cm howitzers from 1915 onward. Perhaps I should have said "division / corps level heavy howitzers".

    IMO it's not easy to compare WWII era artillery pieces smaller then 10.5cm in size (i.e. 76mm field gun) as all sorts of different weapons could fill the same infantry direct support role. For instance Germany used a lot of 20mm light flak against ground targets. Germany and the USA employed some recoiless rifles. Britain, Germany and the USA fielded short range anti-tank weapons such as the Panzerfaust that were also effective against other ground targets. I think the Red Army was the only major European army to rely so extensively on 76mm field guns just as they had during WWI.
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Dave
    on F-22 USV, it was a good gun, shell was light but range was excellent, it was one reason for leFH 18M, it was annoying for Germans that the russian gun outranged their standard leFH, also German infantry feared it, the crash-boom, because of its high MV. One reason for it was Steppe, in plains range was more important than in more covered gently rolling country usual in Central Europe. All things have their reasons.

    Juha
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Now you are confusing direct fire weapons with "artillery".

    Even before WW I some artillery officers were figuring on getting the guns out of the direct fire role. Both the Russian-Japanese war and the Boer war had shown that exposing the guns to rifle/MG fire was bad tactics and that was using shrapnel shells let alone HE. The guns were much more profitably employed firing from masked positions. Not just camouflaged, but actually masked from return fire by terrain features or buildings. This meant indirect fire controlled by an observer.
    You can use short ranged, small howitzers for the "infantry support role" by assigning them to levels as low as a battalion. That doesn't mean a smart commander will have them shoot from exposed positions. It means the battalion commander controls them and he doesn't need to request fire from brigade or division headquarters. Response time is cut way down and fire support (limited by the number of barrels) is limited to the ammo available to the battalion. There aren't any surprises like requesting a fire mission and being denied by higher headquarters.

    It is quite easy to compare artillery down to 75mm if not smaller, just look at it's intended role and how it was used. 75mm AT guns were seldom tied into an artillery communications net. They were seldom provided meteorologic data several times a day like regular artillery units, and so on.
    Sure you could point a 75mm AT gun in the general direction of the enemy and bang away firing HE rounds but that is not real artillery support. Even using the telescopic sights ( and some AT guns were not provided with indirect fire sights) max effective range is going to be visual range from the gun itself. Several thousand yds unless there are extraordinary conditions.

    Russian 76mm guns could and were used to counter battery fire the 10.5cm howitzers. They needed to be organised and deployed as artillery batteries to do this and not dispersed as anti-tank guns however.

    One of the lend lease items that helped the Russians tremendously that gets little credit is the thousands of miles of telephone wire for field phones that was given to them, Russian wire tended to short out when it got wet. This allowed for the co-ordination of Russian artillery and increased the effectiveness of the forward observers.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How common was that? I'm under the impression Soviet 76mm field guns were primarily used as direct fire weapons. Including the variant mounted in the Su-76.
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    In the heavy artillery category, this post actually seems to demonstrate that German artillery was heavier than equivalent Soviet ordinance. In the category of Field Artillery, if we compare like for like, then we should compare 122mm to the German 152mm howitzer (not the SIG, the field piece). We should compare the 105mm to the 76mm Soviet Gun.

    But weight is also not the only issue for mobility. We need to compare the gun carriages and recuperator systems. German guns tended to use solid tyres, whereas the Soviets use pneumatic tyres. German guns tended to use old fashioned long trails whereas Soviet guns tended to use modernized trails more suited to motor transport. Lastly German guns tended to use recuperators and ersatz rubber seals and dust protectors, neither of which could be transprted once the remperatures dropped below a certain temperature (I think it was
    (-)30degC). This meant that German guns were immobilsed and unworkable in deep winter...wheras Soviet guns had a better operating envelope in the cold
     
  19. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Dave
    why you think 76mm field guns had 13,2km range, a bit long for simple direct fire weapon, wasn't it? Soviets had also 76mm short barrel regimental gun, which was incl to infantry units ToE for same kind of use as the German 75mm infantry gun.

    Juha
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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