35.5 cm Haubitze M1

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35.5 cm Haubitze M1
35.5cmHaubitzeM1Assembly.jpg
The breech of a Haubitze M1 being lifted into position to be mated to the barrel
Type Super-Heavy Siege Howitzer
Place of origin Germany
Service history
In service 1939–45
Used by Nazi Germany
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Rheinmetall
Designed 1936–39
Manufacturer Rheinmetall
Produced 1939–44
Number built 8
Specifications
Weight 75 tonnes (74 long tons; 83 short tons)
Barrel length 8.05 metres (317 in)

Shell separate-loading, case charge
Shell weight 575 kilograms (1,268 lb)
Caliber 356 millimetres (14.0 in)
Breech horizontal sliding-block
Recoil hydro-pneumatic
Carriage box
Elevation +45° to 75° (firing)
Traverse 6° (on carriage)
360° (on platform)
Rate of fire 1 round per 4 minutes
Muzzle velocity 570 metres per second (1,900 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 20,850 metres (22,800 yd)
Filling TNT and wax
Filling weight 7.94 kilograms (17.5 lb)

The 35.5 cm Haubitze M1 was a German siege howitzer. It was developed by Rheinmetall before World War II to meet the German Army's request for a super-heavy howitzer. Eight were produced between 1939 and 1944. It saw service in the Battle of France and spent the rest of the war on the Eastern Front, saw action in Operation Barbarossa, the Siege of Sevastopol, the Siege of Leningrad and helped to put down the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

Description[edit]

The Haubitze M1 was best described as an enlarged 24 cm Kanone 3. It used many of the same design principles as the smaller weapon including the dual-recoil system and a two-part carriage capable of all-around traverse when mounted on its firing platform. It also disassembled into six loads for transport. The loads were cradle, barrel, top carriage, bottom carriage, front platform and turntable and the rear platform. Each piece on its trailer was towed by a 18 t (18 long tons; 20 short tons) Sd.Kfz. 9 half-track. A seventh half-track towed the gantry crane required to assemble the weapon. The gantry crane (powered by a generator on its towing vehicle) would be erected at the new firing position and would take about two hours to assemble the entire weapon.[1]

The howitzer's dual recoil system meant that the barrel in its ring cradle would recoil on the carriage while the carriage would recoil, in turn, on the firing platform. The recoil for both parts was controlled by hydro-pneumatic cylinders. Its elevation gear and ammunition hoist were electrically powered from the generator, although both could be used manually if necessary. Only a 575 kg (1,268 lb) concrete-piercing shell (Betongranate) with a ballistic cap was ever used by this weapon. It used 234.2 kilograms (516 lb) of propellant in four increments to reach a range of 20,850 metres (22,800 yd).[1]

Combat history[edit]

During the Battle of France one howitzer equipped Super-Heavy Artillery Battery (schwerster Artillerie-Batterie) 810 under the command of I Corps, Army Group B.[2] It bombarded Belgian fortifications of the PFL I Line after the fall of Fort Eben-Emael on the first day of the battle.[3] The battery was absorbed by Heavy Artillery Battalion 641 as its first battery on 27 July 1940[2] and it fought with that battalion on the Eastern Front during Operation Barbarossa[4] where it initially was assigned to the 9th Army, Army Group Center. In 1942 it participated in the assault on Sevastopol under the command of 11th Army of Army Group South.[5] It accompanied that army north to Leningrad during the summer of 1942 so that it could participate in the Siege of Leningrad. Soviet efforts to relieve the siege frustrated several German attempts to consolidate their positions there, but the battalion remained there through the beginning of 1944. It participated in the German efforts to suppress the Warsaw Uprising in August—September 1944.[2]

Strangely, no more than one howitzer can be identified in service at any one time even though five were delivered in 1942 and a few others in the following years.[6]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hogg, p. 108
  2. ^ a b c "Heeres Independent Artillery Units of WW II". Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Kaufman, Joseph; Jurga, Robert M. (2002). Fortress Europe: European Fortifications of World War II. New York: Da Capo. ISBN 978-0-306-81174-6. 
  4. ^ Niehorster, Leo W. G. (1992). Mechanized GHQ Units and Waffen-SS Formations (22nd June 1941). World War II Organizational Series 3/II. Hannover: Niehorster. p. 29. 
  5. ^ Niehorster, Leo W. G. (2004). Mechanized GHQ Units and Waffen-SS Formations (28th June 1942). World War II Organizational Series 4/II. Milton Keyes, Buckinghamshire: Military Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-85420-907-7. 
  6. ^ "German Weapon and Ammunition Production 1 Sep 39-1 Apr 45". Retrieved 23 May 2009. 

References[edit]

  • Engelmann, Joachim and Scheibert, Horst. Deutsche Artillerie 1934-1945: Eine Dokumentation in Text, Skizzen und Bildern: Ausrüstung, Gliederung, Ausbildung, Führung, Einsatz. Limburg/Lahn, Germany: C. A. Starke, 1974
  • Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945. New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
  • Hogg, Ian V. German Artillery of World War Two. 2nd corrected edition. Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 1997 ISBN 1-85367-480-X