WW2 light field howitzer, your choice

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Vincenzo, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #1 Vincenzo, Sep 27, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    the light field howitzer was a common piece of artillery in WW2 what is your choice?, we can take in consideration also specifical national trouble (like minor countries or not motorized countries)

    in WW2: so only weapons that had fired in battle of WW2
    light field howitzer: main thats around 100/105mm calibre, expandable to 87/122mm calibre range, howitzer or gun howitzer the 4.5 inch gun is out, same for the 10 cm s.FK 18 or the 105/28 modello 1913

    list for memory (i omitt some short ranged light howitzer, under 8 km range are not in list), corrections and add are welcomed:
    Howitzer M2A1 105mm Rock Island Arsenal 2.3 Ton
    leFH 16 105mm Krupp 1.5 Ton
    leFH 18 105mm Rheinmetall (and derivatives) 2 Ton
    Canon court Modele 1934 105mm Schneider 1.8 Ton
    Canon court Modele 1935 B 105mm Arsenal de Bourges 1.6 Ton
    Obice Modello 1918 105mm Ansaldo (on Schneider design) 1.4 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1924 105mm Bofors 1.7 Ton
    Haubits M/40 105mm Bofors 1.9 Ton
    Howitzer Type 91 105mm Osaka Arsenal 1.5 Ton (1.8 Ton motorized version)
    GebH40 105mm Boehler 1.7 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1914 100mm Skoda (over 8km range only with WW2 era ammos) 1.4 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1916 100mm Skoda (same as above) 1.2 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1914/19 100mm Skoda 1.5 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1916/19 100mm skoda 1.3 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1928 100mm Skoda 1.8 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1930 105mm Skoda 1.8 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1939 105mm Skoda 1.4 Ton
    Howitzer Model H2 105mm Skoda 2 Ton
    Ordnance QF 25 pdr 88mm Royal Ordnance (in the 18 pdr carriage) 1.6 Ton
    Ordnance QF 25 pdr Short 88mm Australian Ordnance Production Directorate (only in emergency) 1.2 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1909/37 122mm Perm Plant 1.5 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1910/30 122mm Perm Plant 1.5 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1909/40 122mm Finish arsenal 1.5 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1910/40 122mm Finish arsenal 1.5 Ton
    Howitzer Model 1938 122mm Motovilikha Plant 2.5 Ton
    Obusier TR Model 1909 120mm Schneider (if bulgarian had used it) 1.4 Ton

    edited: Comic Sans MS for over 10 km range, Century gothic over 12 km range
    added weight in combat in metric tonnes (rounded to first decimal)
    the shell weight was within the range 13.8-16,3 kg for the 100-105mm weapons, was 11.3 kg for the 25 pdr, was 21.8 kg for the 122mm, was 20.7 kg for the 120mm

    traverse infos: most pieces (all the WW1 era pieces) had a traverse within the 4°-8° range, same is true for the platform howitzer w/o the platform
    pieces with good traverse (the 25 pdr and the Bofors model 1924 had platform for 360°)
    M2A1 46°
    leFH18 56°
    Bofors H/40 47°
    Skoda H2 50°
    Schneider Mle 1934 45°
    Mle 1935 B 58°
    Type 91 40°
    GebH40 51°
    122 Model 1938 49°
    elevation infos: only few pieces can fire in the 2nd arc, are this, with the max elevation:
    M2A1 66°
    Skoda H2 70°
    Mle 1935 B 50°
    Skoda Vz.30 80° (probably also the vz.28 )
    Skoda vz.14 and 14/19 48°
    Skoda vz.16 and 16/19 and D9 70°
    GebH40 71°
    Ansaldo 70°
    122 model 1938 63°
     
  2. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    If I had to push it around by hand the 1.6 ton 25 pounder, if someone else was pushing it the 2.6 ton 122mm M38.

    The 25 pounder didnt fire the heaviest shell but a gun team was expected to be able to pull up, unhitch, drop the base plate, jump on the spade to dig it in and have a round in the air in 90 seconds. When I was in the Territorial Army we could get our 25 pounders into action in about 60 seconds though this took a lot of practice at the depot till we could do it in our sleep.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Not much to choose between the two weapon. Both were state of the art during 1940s. German 10.5cm leFH18 (1,985kg) was a bit lighter in weight.

    British 25 pounder (1,829kg) was not in same league as German and U.S. 105mm weapons. Almost as heavy but HE payload (per shell) only about half as much.

    Soviet 122mm (3,100kg) was a fine weapon but it wasn't really a light howitzer by WWII standards. Russians have preferred this size over 105mm since it was first adopted in 1910. Different strokes for different folks. :)

    IMO German 15cm sIG 33 (1,800kg) rifled mortar / infantry gun (take your pick) deserves an honorable mention. Each German infantry regiment was supposed to have a battery of six. Range only 4.7km but shell contains massive HE payload of 8.3kg and it was as accurate as any rifled howitzer. Weapon of choice for suppressing enemy defenders immediately prior to German infantry assault. Special demolition round with 27kg HE filler had range of 1,000 meters.
     
  4. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #4 Vincenzo, Sep 27, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
    AFAIK this are the combat weight
    M2 2258 kg
    leFH 18 1985 kg
    25 pdr 1632 kg
    122 model 1938 2450 kg
    Canon court mle 1935 B 1627 kg
    leFH 30 (t) 1789 kg

    i added the combat weight in the list
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A couple of things to consider is that as a general rule not only does the shell weight go up with cube of diameter but so does the gun/carriage weight, everything being equal, which it often was not.

    Suitability for towing by motor vehicle affects weight, especially high speed towing. Heavier wheels, tires, axles brakes, etc are needed for even 30mph towing compared to 4-6mph towing (and 105 howitzers did NOT go into action at the gallop with horse traction.)

    Split trail carriages were heavier than box trail carriages but offered wider traverse, usually much wider, which means the crews were required to heave the guns about much less often once they were in position. 46-60 degrees of arc might be covered for a split trail gun.
    Higher elevation can also run up the weight. The ability to fire in upper register (over 45 degrees) allows for more freedom in placement (nearer buildings or in woods/trees) and more options trying to deal with dead ground like ravines. But higher elevation means trunions have to be higher of the ground or recoil length restricted. The latter means heavier recoil blows to the carriage which means a stronger (heavier) carriage.

    Rates of fire can also be important. Not just the size of a single shell but the weight of shells per minute over a given period of time.

    Travel weights vs in-action weights need a bit of looking at too. Did the travel weight include a necessary towing limber/axle or just a handy one that provided some ammo and a space for crew to ride.

    122mmm1938_3.jpg

    A posed picture? riding around with fixed bayonets on the gun crews rifles would give a modern safety officer the heebie-jeebies :)

    British 25pdr out ranged the German 105mm howitzer by about 1600 meters (14.7% ?) which had the Germans scrambling a bit to introduce a new model gun with more range, this was achieved by using a special propellant charge behind a special projectile and changing the gas pressure in the recoil cylinders, re-valving them and adding a muzzle brake. The new combination out range the British by a whopping 75 meters. Granted max range fire is a small proportion of a field howitzers work but the long range ammunition was an unwanted logistics complication. The "super charge" could not be used with seamed or wrapped cartridge cases, only drawn steel cases.

    There is a lot more to evaluating field howitzers than shell weight/range/weight of equipment.
     
  6. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    #6 Vincenzo, Sep 29, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    Shortround6 i'm agree with most of your post but not on this
    "Rates of fire can also be important. Not just the size of a single shell but the weight of shells per minute over a given period of time. "
    imho weight of shells per minute is a badest indicator of the simple shell weight
    1) as i read the larger shell is better of smaller shells of same weight (taking out different technology in the shells)
    2) the rof can be mesaured in different way in different armies
    3) most time the weapons are firing well under their max ROF, so actually if one howitzer can fire 8 rpm and an other 10 rpm most time is not
    important (but is not w/o importance)

    edited: obviously there is a actual difference in pratical ROF between a 25 pdr weapon and a 50 pdr weapon


    added info on traverse and elevation in the first post
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Artillery is a system with overlapping capabilities.

    Heer solution for long range during both world wars was to provide each division with a battery of 10.5cm schwere Kanone. This freed up the lightweight, inexpensive and relatively effective 10.5cm leFH18 for general purpose infantry support.

    10.5cmK17 (WWI version). 16.5km max range. 3,300kg weight.
    .....Horse towed.
    10.5cmK18 (WWII version). 19km max range. 5,642kg weight.
    .....Requires Sd.Kfz.7 artillery tractor.
     
  8. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    the 10 cm sFK 18 was not a common pieces in the german division only a few get it normally was in corps/army unit
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I think you are wrong.

    1939 German Infantry Division TOE. Artillery only.
    Germany's Tables of Organization and Equipment (TOE)
    14 15cm howitzers.
    4 10.5cmK18 long range guns.
    36 10.5cm light howitzers.
    20 7.5cm howitzers.
    .....These were substitutes. 1939 Germany did not have enough 10.5cm howitzers to meet operational requirements.
    Plus 7.5cm and 15cm rifled mortars / infantry guns at regiment level.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A British division had 72 25pdrs, 4 10 cm sFK 18s are going to have an awful hard time suppressing all those guns.

    granted not ALL the 25pdrs will be located out of the reach of the standard leFH 18 howitzers.
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Of those on the list it has to be the 122mm M38. Does it count as light, then that's something else.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, finding good information on "practical" rates of fire can be hard.

    However for the US 105mm howitzer one source gives

    First 1/2min..............................8 rpm
    first 4 min................................4 rpm
    first 10 min.............................. 3 rpm
    sustained...............................100 rounds/hour

    These may be book figures for best barrel life, Some US 105mm howitzers in NW Europe were burning out their barrels in under 5000 rounds compared to a book life of 10,000rounds. Heat (rapid fire or high charges) is the most important factor in barrel life.

    Some of the older howitzers (or reworked) ones could fire new ammo to longer ranges but it sometimes affected the "practical" rate of fire in that higher energy ammo could, while not breaking the gun or mount, move it around a bit so the gun required more frequent relaying (aiming) even though you could throw the rounds into the breech just as fast.
     
  13. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    How far could heavy mortars substitute for these light field howitzers? Much lighter and cheaper. Both in themselves and their transport. I am sure that the artillerymen out there will be spitting their cornflakes across the breakfast table at the thought. Yes they will be out ranged so that renders them liable to counter battery fire and less able to change targets across a wider area but can you simply have more of them? As Stalin (allegedly) said 'quantity has a quality all of it's own'.
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #14 parsifal, Sep 29, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014
    As usual, the euro centric pre-occupation with firepower and range comes at the expense of other considerations. as the allies found in the jungles of new guinea Burma and larger islands like balikpapaan, this was a costly mistake.

    Artillery in the Jungle is as important, if not more so, than in the open fields of battle of northern Europe

    The Australians along the Kokoda track did entirely without artillery except for a few days from 21 September 1942. When the Japanese were on Ioribaiwa Ridge, at the limit of their advance, two 25lb guns of 14th Field Regiment were dragged up to Owers' Corner from where they were able to fire on the enemy. these were heavy guns for Jungle conditions, and this led to the eventual development of the "Baby 25 pounder." Even as redesigned the baby 25 was too heavy and immobile for the jungle.

    The Japanese experience of war in China in the 1930s had taught them that in remote road-less regions the only artillery they would have was what they carried with them. On first landing in Papua they had 17 artillery pieces. These were of three types; 75mm mountain guns, 70mm infantry guns and 37mm guns which could fire an anti-tank or an anti-personnel round. All three could be taken apart and carried by horse or man. When the Japanese advanced into the Owen Stanley Range the carrying of the guns and their ammunition had to be done by men alone. One fifth of their force was needed to shoulder the burden of the disassembled guns and several thousand rounds of ammunition.

    013644-740[1].jpg
    Captured Japanese 70mm howitzer, greatly coveted by the Australians and used regularly when captured
    The great labour involved was, in the first half of the campaign, rewarded by victory in battle. To have no artillery, when the enemy has it, is to be disadvantaged like a boxer who finds his opponent has a much longer reach than him. The Japanese artillery had several times the range of any Australian weapon, and were muli capable, as howitzers, as direct fire guns and even with some ATG capability. this was an important facet of Japanese artillery capability....its ability to more than one job. In jungle war the gunners usually cannot see the target. This problem was solved by forward observers. These men advanced with their infantry until they could see the Australians then, by field telephone, directed the fire of their artillery on to the target.

    On the last day at Isurava, six Japanese guns were engaged and at Ioribaiwa there were eight, including their three most powerful ones, 75mm mountain guns. The greatest concentration of Japanese guns during the Kokoda phase of the fighting in Papua was at Oivi-Gorari where 13 were in action. In the disaster that overtook the Japanese there, all were lost which were eagerly utilised by the advancing australians.

    So, to answer the question, the preliminary question must first be answered. what are the terrain constraints that the weapon is operating. The next question is how mobile and transportable the weapon is, which includes its ability for motorised transport, and also the ability to be broken down into movable loads, when weight is a big issue. only then can we get into the argument of how much bang is the right amount.....

    In the Jungle light artillery fulfils the role of medium and heavy as well, and the Japanese fielded the most versatile artillery of the war in that regard, despite its antiquated design and appearance. they had the most experience of any nation in that regard, except with the possible exceptions of the Italians and the Austrians
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Once you get to the bigger mortars logistics (weight of ammo) takes over from the weight of the actual tube and mount. A Russian 120mm M43 mortar weighs 275kg in firing position and 500kg traveling. However the bombs weigh about 16kg each(fused) so 500kg of bombs is about 31 rounds not including packing tubes/boxes/crates. Moving the mortar/s is no problem, moving a worthwhile amount of ammo is a big problem.

    The next difference is accuracy, something the mortar makers were a bit hesitant to advertise. The 50% zone for the British WW II 3in mortar using charge 2 (max range 2800yds) was 25yds wide and 150yds long, that is 50% of rounds fired would land inside that area. This is not the 'beaten zone'

    Mortars are very good at certain jobs and not so good at others. Mortar bombs are very effective for the weight, carrying a high percentage of explosive but a 120mm howitzer shell weighs just under 22kg and carried about 50-100% more explosive than WW II mortar bombs depending on exact model of bomb. Cast Iron or steel. Modern equivalents are packaged 2 bombs to the wooden case. 50 kg per case, or 100 rounds weigh 2500kg.
     
  16. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    davebender are not me in wrong it's your source in wrong
    as you can see in the Niehorster page German Armed Forces under military organization based on original german sources there were not 10 sFK 18 in the normal infantry divisions TOE (1939, 40, 41 all that available on the page), a few of the other divisions get its.
     
  17. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    davebender are not me in wrong it's your source in wrong
    as you can see in the Niehorster page German Armed Forces under military organization based on original german sources there were not 10 sFK 18 in the normal infantry divisions TOE (1939, 40, 41 all that available on the page), a few of the other divisions get its.
     
  18. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    Glider are you aware that the 122 M38 weight only 2 quintal more of the M2A1?
    I'm aware that its weight is not far from the weight of 149/155mm howitzer of WWI
     
  19. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Yes I am, but if someone wants to include it in the list then it has to be my choice. I would certainly question if it should be on the list, but that is a different question. As I said Does it count as light, then that's something else.
    It might be better to define some weight categories then let people choose to that
     
  20. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    The 122 M1938 is and was in the list, second-last,
    i used also a translator but the phrase "Does it count as light, then that's something else." remains to me unclear, sorry
    for weight categorie we can use from 1.2 metric ton to 2.5 metric tons,
     
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