Monday, March 14, 2011

DAK GUNS - 105mm leFH 18

A SdKfz11 halftrack towing a leFH18 105mm gun

The 105MM (4.13in) leFH18 (leichte FeldHaubitze "light field howitzer") was the standard German divisional field-piece used throughout the World War II; it was designed by Rheinmetall in 1929/30 and went into service in 1935. A good, sound, orthodox design, it used a split trail with folding spades and a hydro-pneumatic recoil system split above and below the barrel, but retained a wooden or pressed-steel wheels and was mostly horse-drawn for all its life. However it was so solidly put together that it was rather heavy, and unable to be as mobile as the army would have liked. Although augmented by improved models in 1939/45, it remained in use and was kept in service by several European armies for some years after the war ended.

Calibre:105mm (4.13in)
Weight in action:1985Kg (4376lb)
Gun lenght:24.8 calibre: 2.61m (102.7in)
Elevation:-6.5º to +40.5º
Shell type & weight:HE (High Explosive); 14.81Kg (32.65lb)
Muzzle velocity:470m/sec (1542ft/sec
Maximum range:10675m (11.675yds)

"It had a heavy, simple breech mechanism with a hydro-pneumatic recoil system. The 10.5 cm leFH 18 had wood-spoked or pressed steel wheels. The former were only suitable for horse traction. Initially, it was not fitted with a muzzle brake. In 1941 a muzzle brake was fitted to allow longer range charges to be fired. This increased the range by about 1,800 yards and was known as the leFH 18M. In March 1942 a requirement was issued for a lighter howitzer. This led to a second modification, known as the leFH 18/40. This modification consisted of mounting the barrel of an leFH 18M on the carriage for a 7.5 cm PaK 40 antitank gun. The new carriage increased the rate of fire as well as making the howitzer lighter. Additionally, a more efficient muzzle brake was added, decreasing the recoil. Ballistically, the 10.5 cm leFH 18M and the leFH 18/40 are identical."


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