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"New German 105-mm Gun-Howitzer" from Tactical and Technical Trends

A report on the Wehrmacht's standard light field artillery piece, the 105-mm gun-howitzer 10.5-cm L.F.H. 18 and 10.5-cm L.F.H. 42, from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 30, July 29, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The standard German light field artillery piece is the 105-mm gun-howitzer, generally similar in appearance to the U.S. 105. It weighs about 5 1/2 tons, fires a projectile weighing about 32 pounds, and has a maximum range of about 11,000 yards. The German designation for this gun is "10.5-cm L.F.H. 18."* A few months ago, however, what appears to be a modification of this weapon was captured in Africa; it is believed to be the "10.5-cm L.F.H. 42." The "42" may also exist as a self-propelled gun; if so it is the first German field artillery piece so mounted.

[New German 105-mm Gun-Howitzer (18M), WWII artillery]

In external appearance the most apparent difference in the two guns is the muzzle brake on the "42", a feature not known to be included in the "18", though it has been reported that there is an "18" with a muzzle brake which may possibly be designated "10.5-cm L.F.H. 18M."** The muzzle brake is of the standard double-baffle type, quite similar to the muzzle brake on the 50-mm antitank gun.

While the wheels of the "18" are made of a light alloy (current models may be of wood) the "42" has wheels at least partially constructed of wood; both types are rimmed with solid rubber tires as is usual in German artillery guns.

The main differences between the "18" and "42" are as follows:

   10.5-cm L.F.H. 18  10.5-cm L.F.H. 42
Length of gun (including breech ring)   106.8  in   117.75 in
Length of gun (including breech ring and muzzle brake)     130.87 in
Length of barrel    97.1  in   108.5  in
Length of bore    94.2  in    95.62 in
Length of chamber     8.35 in    12.87 in
Twist of rifling Increasing 6° to 12° Not Available

The "42" with its longer bore and chamber would appear to have a higher muzzle velocity than the "18." This seems to be borne out by the fact that captured "42's" are provided with a muzzle brake and have range table corrections painted on the shield of the gun. These tables, giving corrections for various charges, vary from minus 2 mils for an elevation of 100 mils to minus 70 mils for an elevation of 750 mils; presumably no range tables for the "42" exist or were available and it was necessary to use the "18" range tables with the above noted corrections to compensate for the greater muzzle velocity of the "42" gun. In addition to these necessary corrections it is also of interest to note that a special table for charge 6 (hollow charge ammunition) was also painted on the shield as follows:

   400 7

*Leichte Feldhaubitze--light field howitzer
**Abbreviation for Mundungbremse meaning "muzzle brake"


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