It was the first artillery piece to use a modern recoil system in the German Army. Some 416 were in service at the beginning of the WW1. Its mobility, which allowed it to be deployed as medium artillery, and fairly heavy shell gave the German army a firepower advantage in the early battles in Belgium and France in 1914 as the French and British armies lacked an equivalent. France had a Canon de 65 M with a recoil system, but used it only as a mountain howitzer.
The remains of a German sFH 02 howitzer located in Kei Mouth, South Africa. It was captured from German forces in South West Africa during world War I. Like other such German weapons of the time, it was cast with the markings R II Ultima Ratio Regum ("last argument of kings").