Monday, February 25, 2013

21 cm Mörser 10

21 cm Mrs 10

Type: Howitzer
Place of origin: German Empire

Used by: German Empire
Wars: World War I

Designer: Krupp

Weight     15,496 lb (7,029 kg)
Barrel length     2.57 m (8 ft 5 in) L/12
Shell     252 pounds (114 kg)
Caliber     211 mm (8.3 in)
Breech     horizontal sliding wedge
Recoil     hydro-pneumatic
Carriage     box trail
Elevation     -6° to +70°
Traverse     4°
Muzzle velocity     335 m/s (1,101 ft/s)
Maximum range     9,400 m (10,300 yd)

The 21 cm Mörser 10 (21 cm Mrs 10) was a heavy howitzer used by Germany in World War I. It replaced the obsolete 21 cm Mörser 99, which lacked a recoil system. For transport, it broke down into two loads. Some howitzers were fitted with a gun shield during the war. As it was also intended for siege use, a concrete-penetrating shell was also used. Unusually, it had two spades: a folding one halfway down the trail and a fixed one at the end of the trail.
21 cm Mörser 10, July 1915

216 were in service at the beginning of the war.[1] It was replaced by the 21 cm Mörser 16, which was also known as the langer 21 cm Mörser since it was merely a lighter 21 cm Mrs 10 with a longer barrel for extra range and other refinements.

The specifications provided for this weapon by difference sources are contradictory and, thus, those given here cannot be regarded as authoritative.

The German 21cm Howitzer m/10 (in the German Army named simpley Der Mörser) was the result of ten years development by the firms of Krupp and Rheinmetall. (Its origin was in a Bronze tube Mortar designed in the 1860-ies, and used with full effect first in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.) It was a heavy gun, weighing some 15 tons+, and moved only with the Gun tube transported on a separate Wagon.

When the War started in 1914, the German Army could field 216 of these big guns, and they were used from the very first days of combat. When the Germans came upon the strong Belgian fortress of Liege, it was these guns that started the attack on August 5th, by sucessfully shelling the forts in the Eastern perimeter, and eventually paving the way for the REALLY big guns, the 42cm Dicke Berthas. It was then used with effect on all fronts, primarily in the Regiments of the Fuss-Artillerie, as one of the standard weapons of indirect fire and support. (The Foot Artillery Regiments - a Corps asset - were the primary units of the heavy German Artillery, each containing two batallions of four batteries each, were the main equipment was 15cm guns. Howitzer Battallions however, had only two batteries per batallion. The number of guns per battery varied between 3 and 4. In a quiet sector, a Division had some 8-9 batteries of 15cm and 21 cm guns in support, but normally some 16 batteries were employed per division.)

Experience from the fighting soon made the Artillery men realize that an increase in range would be most helpful, as the comparatively short range of the Howitzer often forced the units to site their guns well within range of most enemy artillery. A small redesign followed: the gun barrel was lengthened somewhat, from L/12 to L/14.5.

This new variant was called m/16 or Langer Mörser. However, as the gun already was pretty heavy and cumbersome, the redesign had been done from the premiss that the weight should not be increased. That was pretty much adhered to, but with the effect that the increase in range was even less than one kilometer. Another small redesign, following combat experiences, was the fitting of a Shield. (Some m/10 were retrofitted with this, but not all.) When the war came to an end in 1918, the 21 cm Howitzers of the German Army had fired some 7 million shells. 


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