15 cm sFH 13
|15 cm schwere Feldhaubitze 13|
Battery deployed at Arras, 1917
|Type||Heavy field howitzer|
|Place of origin||German Empire|
|Used by||German Empire
|Wars||World War I
World War II
|Manufacturer||Krupp, Rheinmetall, Spandau|
|Variants||kurz sFH 13
|Weight||2,250 kg (4,960 lbs)|
|Length||2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)|
|Barrel length||2.096 m (6 ft 11 in) L/17|
|Shell||separate-loading, cased charge (7 charges)|
|Shell weight||42 kilograms (93 lb) (HE)|
|Caliber||149.1 mm (5.89 in)|
|Breech||horizontal sliding block|
|Recoil||hydro-spring variable recoil|
|Elevation||−4° to +45°|
|Rate of fire||3 rpm|
|Muzzle velocity||381 m/s (1,250 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||8,600 m (9,400 yd)|
The gun was a development of the previous standard howitzer, the 15 cm sFH 02. Improvements included a longer barrel resulting in better range and a gun shield to protect the crew. Variants were: the original "kurz" (L/14 – 14 calibre short barrel version), the lg. sFH13 with a longer barrel; and lg. sFH13/02 with minor modifications to simplify wartime manufacture of the lg. sFH weapons. Initially there were serious issues of weak recoil spring mechanisms that would break, and gun barrel explosions. The problems were solved with the upgrades.
The British referred to these guns and their shells as "Five Point Nines" or "Five-Nines" as the internal diameter of the barrel was 5.9 inches (150 mm). The ability of these guns to deliver mobile heavy firepower close to the frontline gave the Germans a major firepower advantage on the Western Front early in World War I, as the French and British lacked an equivalent. It was not until late 1915 that the British began to deploy their own 6 inch 26 cwt howitzer.
About 3,500 of these guns were produced from 1913 to 1918. They continued to serve in the Reichswehr and then the Wehrmacht in the interwar period as the standard heavy howitzer until the introduction of 15 cm sFH 18 in the 1930s. They were then shifted to reserve and training units, as well as to coastal artillery. Guns turned over to Belgium and the Netherlands as reparations after World War I were taken into Wehrmacht service after the conquest of the Low Countries as the 15 cm sFH 409(b) and 406(h) respectively.
In the course of World War II about 94 of these howitzers were mounted on Lorraine 37L tractors to create self-propelled guns, designated 15 cm sFH13/1 (Sf) auf Geschuetzwagen Lorraine Schlepper (f).
Weapons of comparable role, performance and era
- Siegfried Sassoon expressed the British respect for the "five-nine" in his World War I poem Counter-Attack
- Timothy Findley mentions "5.9s" in his book The Wars
- Wilfred Owen mentions being shelled by "Five-Nines" in his poem Dulce et Decorum est.
- Robert Graves, in Good-Bye to All That, says "five-nines [were] called 'Jack Johnsons' because of their black smoke" in reference to "the boxer Jack (John Arthur) Johnson (1878-1946), the first black American world heavyweight champion (1908-1915)."
- landships.com- Retrieved 2012-03-06
- Roger Lee, The Battle of Fromelles 1916 (Australian Army Campaign Series), Big Sky Publishing 2012
- Graves, Robert (1929). Goodbye To All That (1960 ed.). London: Penguin. p. 130.
- 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
- Ralph Lovett, 15 cm. schwere Feld Haubitze 1913
- Ralph Lovett, 15 cm. lang schwere Feldhaubitze 1913/02
- Ralph Lovett, Development of German Heavy Artillery
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