Monday, February 25, 2013

10.5 cm Feldhaubitze 98/09

Field Artillery - Howitzer

Type: howitzer
Place of origin: German Empire
German Empire
Ottoman Empire

Wars     World War I

Designer: Krupp
Designed: 1902-04
Manufacturer: Krupp
Produced: 1909-1918?

Weight: 1,145 kg (2,519 lbs)
Barrel length:1.625 m (5 ft 4 in) L/15.5
Width: 1.53 m (5 ft)
Shell: separate loading, fixed case
Caliber:105 mm (4.13 in)
Breech: horizontal sliding block
Recoil: hydro-spring
Carriage: box trail
Elevation: -13° to +40°
Traverse: 4°
Muzzle velocity: 302 m/s (990 ft/s)
Maximum range: 6,300 m (6,890 yds)

The 10.5 cm Feldhaubitze 98/09 (10.5 cm FH 98/09), is a short barreled (1625 mm) 105mm howitzer, also known and referred to as the 10.5 cm leichte Feldhaubitze [light field howitzer] 98/09, was used by German Empire  in World War I and after. It had a maximum range of 6,300 metres (20,700 ft).

It was originally designed and built by Rheinmetall as the 10.5 cm Feldhaubitze 98, an old-fashioned, fixed-recoil weapon delivered to the German army in 1898; between 1902 and 1904, it was redesigned, by Krupp, with a new recoil mechanism and a new carriage. However, it wasn't accepted for service until 1909, hence the ending designation 98/09. Existing weapons were rebuilt to the new standard. As usual, two seats were attached to the gun shield. There were 1,260 in service at the beginning of World War I.

In the organization of 1914 the Artillery Regiments consisted of two battalions, most of which were equipped with the 7.7cm Field Gun. (And each having 18 pieces.) In some Regiments, however, the second battalion was equipped with the 98/09 (again 18 pieces) and the idea was that each Army Corps should dispose one of these "mixed" regiments as an extra resource. At the outset of the war, the German Army was equipped with 1.260 of these Light Field Howitzers.

Like the 7.7cm Field Gun, the 10.5cm Field Howitzer 98/09 started out as an old type of gun with rigid carriage. In 1902 work started on modernizing the howitzer in the same manner, mating the old tube to a modern type of recoil mechanism and carriage. This work was completed in 1904, but it was not recommended to be accepted until 1909, thus the designation.

The design was pretty standard. The barrel was short - partly to keep the weight down. The recoil mechanism was based on a combination of springs and fluid (glycerin). The breech was of the single motion wedge block type. The aiming instruments were also standard, with an elevation drum, marked both in degrees, and with three different meter scales (for the three different types of ammunition: HE, Shrapnel and HE/Shrapnel) and a dial sight both for direct and indirect fire. The lavette alone weighed some 825 kilos, and was equipped with a earth spade that could be set in different angles, depending on the ground. The shield was slightly curved, and had a foldable lower part. It was also equipped with two seats on the front.

In action, the gun functioned very well, delivering grenades at a high rate with much more destructive power than the Field Gun was ever capable. And when the trench warfare started, it became pretty well indispensable (and much more useful than the Field Gun) as it was a howitzer and as such capable of delivering devastating plunging fire over obstacles or right into trenches. (At the same time, the main opponents lacked a similar weapon. Especially the French soon found this out the hard way.) And in contrast with the Field Gun, the grenades were very effective. The only problem with the gun was that the range was a bit short. In an effort to increase it, the number of charges was increased from 7 to 8.

The importance of the gun was showed, when the German artillery was reorganized in 1916, many battallions became mixed, the number of Field Howitzer batteries being increased to 1/3 of the total.

Two new models in the same calibre was introduced during the war, but never replaced the 10.5cm Field Howitzer 98/09, which was used all through the war, and with great effect. It was also used during the War by the Ottoman Army, and after the war by the Romanians.

Ammunition used in 10.5 cm Feldhaubitze

The 10.5 cm used 3 different types of ammunition and the aiming instruments were marked with 3 different meter scales and a dial sight for both direct and indirect fire. Originally, it used 7 charges of propellant, but this was increased during the war to 8 in an effort to extend its range.
Feldhaubitz granate 98: A 15.8 kilogram (35 lb) high-explosive shell.
Feldhaubitz granate 05: A 15.7 kilogram (35 lb) high-explosive shell.
Feldhaubitz schrapnel 98: A 12.8 kilogram (28 lb) shrapnel shell.



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