10.5cm Light Field Howitzer
|Barrel length (m)||2.31|
|Projectile weight (kg)||14.81|
|Fire rate||4-5 per minute|
All quiet on the Western Front
With this gun German ingenuity solved the puzzle of combining two weapons – ﬁeld gun and howitzer – in a single weapon.
Previously gunners needed a howitzer to ﬁre shells at a high angle and drop them into the enemy’s trenches but a ﬁeld gun to shoot directly at enemy targets. This 10.5 cm ﬁeld howitzer made in the last year of the Great War, 1918, pointed a way forward for 20th-century artillery.
The First World War heralded a new age of massed artillery as a grim tool of warfare. The terrible impact of these modern weapons affected not just opposing armies, but also the landscape and environment of the battlefield.
Today, the Great War conjures up images of ruined towns, shattered forests and the land scarred by shell-holes, all the result of the power of the great guns.
As the First World War dragged on and on, gunners called for ever greater range and destructive effect. Both sides improvised to increase range, for example, by digging a hole under the rear of a field gun carriage to fire at higher angles. On standard gun carriages it was difficult to reach higher elevation. Krupp solved this problem by moving the barrel pivot right back to the breech and providing new balance elevating gear. In March 1918 the German army fired over 62,000 shells in a single six hour bombardment.
‘The ultimate and utmost goal is to keep the German Artillery the supreme force in Europe. The new 10.5 cm LFH 18 sounds promising and shall be adopted as soon as possible’.
Georg Bruchmuller, Generalmajor der Artillerie, 1916