10.5 cm light field howitzer 18

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10.5 cm light field howitzer 18

General Information
Military designation: 10.5 cm light field howitzer 18
Manufacturer country: German Empire
Developer / Manufacturer: Rheinmetall
Development year: 1928/29
Production time: 1935 to 1945
Number of pieces: <11,000
Team: 6 soldiers
Technical specifications
Pipe length: 2,612 m
Caliber :

105 mm

Caliber length : L / 28
Cadence : 6 rounds / min
Elevation range: −5 ° to +42 degrees
Side straightening area: 56 °
10.5 cm leFH with m.Zgkw. 3t Sd.Kfz. 11 as a traction device (1942)

The 10.5 cm light field howitzer 18 (short 10.5 cm leFH 18 or leFH 18 ) was a light field howitzer and as such a standard artillery gun of the Wehrmacht in World War II . She was in all divisions and artillery - departments to find. The gun was also delivered to allied states and made maneuverable on self-propelled guns .


The Rheinmetall company in Düsseldorf developed the 10.5 cm light field howitzer 18 in 1928 and 1929. In 1935, it was introduced to the Wehrmacht as the successor to the 10.5 cm light field howitzer 16 . In 1940 the guns were equipped with a muzzle brake and were given the designation leFH 18M .

When the war broke out in September 1939, the Wehrmacht had 4,845 guns of this type. During the Second World War , a further 6,986 18 and 18M versions were produced. The production price of the gun in 1936 was 44,000 RM .

Before 1938, the Netherlands , Spain , Hungary and some countries in South America such as Brazil had received copies of the leFH 18 ; During the war another 53 pieces were exported to Finland and listed there as 105 H 33s . The gun was used before the Second World War both in the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 on the side of the nationalists under General Francisco Franco and in the Slovak-Hungarian War in March 1939.

After the Second World War it was used in the CSSR , Yugoslavia and Austria .


The original leFH18 had a spreader mount with riveted box spars and large folding spurs to anchor the gun in the ground. The initially used wooden spoke wheels with steel tires were quickly replaced by cast steel spoke wheels with solid rubber tires. They were suspended from spring-loaded stub axles with drum brakes .

The tube was made of one piece, but the bottom piece with the horizontally sliding crank flat wedge lock (wedge lock) was removable. It was fired by a firing pin . A safety device only allowed the shot to be released when the slide was completely closed, and there was also a manually operated safety device. A panoramic telescope was available as a guide. The outhaul was above the pipe, the reverse brake underneath in the cradle. The shield was relatively small and had a hinged lower part.


Like all guns of this type, the 10.5 cm leFH 18 used separate ammunition (with propellant charge and projectile ), but the number of charges varies. The ammunition used includes: FH Gr., FH Gr 38 Stg., FH Gr. Nb., FH Gr. 38 Nb., 10 cm Pz. Gr., 10 cm Pz. Gr. Red, 10 cm Pz. Gr. 39 Red. The fragmentation effect of the HE shell was 10 meters forward and 30 to 35 meters to the sides. Direct hits could break through two meters of earth cover.


The leFH 18 was in all divisions of the Wehrmacht and light artillery - departments used. The gun was made manoeuvrable in a horse train, in a motorized train or as a self-propelled gun such as the Waspe self-propelled howitzer .

In the horse train, the gun was harnessed in a load in front of a limber . The gun with limber was driven in six horses, with the drivers sitting on the draft horses (saddle horses) on the left side. The horses on the right were called hand horses. The teams were called fore, middle and pole horses.

In the motorized train the gun in a load behind was half-track - tractors , the le.Zgkw. 3 t ( Sd.Kfz. 11 ) or the m.Zgkw. 5 t ( Sd.Kfz. 6 ) driven. Later, mule- type caterpillar trucks were also used in some cases .

The stock in the Wehrmacht increased continuously from 4845 howitzers (September 1, 1939) through 7076 (June 1, 1941) to up to 8059 howitzers (January 1, 1945).


The experiences of the first years of the war, but above all the war against the Soviet Union , made various weaknesses of the leFH 18 visible. The range was viewed as too short, the weight too high and the lateral straightening area too narrow. Until the introduction of more powerful models (which, however, were not introduced), slight modifications of the original design were made. The Czechoslovakian 10 cm light field howitzer 30 (t) was used as a substitute , of which only 158 were taken over.

10.5 cm leFH 18M

10.5 cm light field howitzer 18M

The main aim of the leFH 18M was to increase the range of the gun by using a muzzle brake . This reduced the recoil by 27 percent and allowed the use of a propellant charge that was 1.77 kilograms larger, which increased the muzzle velocity to 540 m / s and the firing range to 12,325 meters with a long-range bullet specially developed for the leFH 18M . However, since the use of such heavy charges increased the wear and tear on the barrel considerably, the shooting was mostly carried out with a smaller charge. The leFH 18M disposal in addition to their muzzle brake also has a the growing strains adapted prefetch / return system. The weight increased to 2040 kilograms, and the barrel length with the muzzle brake increased by 367 millimeters.

10.5 cm leFH 18/40

10.5 cm light field howitzer 18/40

The leFH 18/40 , which has been in production since 1943, took over the lower mount of the 7.5 cm PaK 40 in the interests of production standardization ; The upper carriage and tube were taken over by the leFH 18M . The carriage had a torsion bar suspension that blocked itself when the spars spread, and wider wheels to partially compensate for the loss of stability. In addition, the efficiency of the muzzle brake has been improved to 42 percent. The elevation and side straightening cranks were now on the left. The leFH 18/40 certainly met the manufacturing requirements , but at the price of a significantly weaker artillery solution in terms of service life and stability. A total of 10,265 guns of this type were produced between 1943 and 1945. The weight of the gun fell to 1950 kilograms due to the lighter carriage.

10.5 cm leFH 18/42

The leFH 18/42 was the competition design from the Krupp company for the 10.5 cm leFH 42 from Rheinmetall. The aim of the development was primarily to increase the firing range, which could be increased to 12,700 m with a new 3,255 mm long barrel with a muzzle brake. Since the same carriage was used as with the leFH 18 , the weight in the firing position increased to 2,040 kg. Therefore, and because new demands arose for a larger pipe elevation, the draft was not accepted.

See also


  • R. Böhm, Ferdinand M. von Senger and Etterlin : The German guns 1939-1945 . Bernard and Graefe, Bonn 1998, ISBN 3-7637-5989-1 .
  • Fritz Hahn: Weapons and Secret Weapons of the German Army 1933–1945 . 3. Edition. Special edition in one volume. Bernard and Graefe, Bonn 1998, ISBN 3-7637-5915-8 .
  • Terry Gander, Peter Chamberlain: Encyclopedia of German Weapons 1939-1945 . 2nd Edition. Special edition. Motorbuchverlag, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-613-02481-0 , ( Motorbuch-Verlag special ).

Web links

Commons : 10.5 cm light field howitzer 18  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Fleischer / Richard Eiermann: The motorized artillery and tank artillery of the German army 1935-1945 , Podzun-Pallas Verlag 2000, ISBN 3-7909-0721-9 , p. 32