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The sFH 18 was a standard heavy howitzer that was used by Germany in large numbers during World War II.

Description

The sFH 18 was capable of firing 150 mm shells at a range of up to 12.8 kilometers. The sFH required a crew of twelve men in order to operate efficiently and could fire off rounds at a rate of only four rounds per minute.[1] The sFH could operate with a minimum of five men but it would not be quite as efficient. Despite being similar to its Soviet counterpart, the M1937 (152mm), it was outclassed in the fact that it had a shorter range, however it did compare very well to the 152 mm in other respects.

The total weight of the sFH system was about 5,500 kg and the total length was 4.4 meters. The muzzle velocity of the sFH was 520 meters per second while the gun could be elevated from +45 degrees to -3 degrees. It could traverse a total of 64 degrees in either directions.

The sFH was fairly reliable but was very heavy and took time to be carried across the battlefield thus meaning that it couldn't always provide support for infantry on the spot like was sometimes needed.

Variants

The sFH 18 did not have many variants, but it did still have some, the first being the sFH 18(M) which was similar to the original model only that it utilized modified shells that were meant to give it increased range to compete with its Soviet rival, the major drawback of this was that the shells but large amounts of stress on the gun and usually damaged it, from then on, the project was abandoned.[2] The sFH 18/40 utilized the sFH 40 model barrel but kept the original carriage. The final variant, the sFH 18/43 included a sliding breech block and allowed the gun to accept bag charges.

History

The sFH 18 was first developed in 1933 and like other artillery pieces at the time, it was designed to be pulled by horse but later changed to half-track/truck carriage. It was designed by Krupp and Rheinmetall and was soon accepted as the Wehrmacht's standard heavy howitzer throughout the war in 1934.[3] The sFH 18 was adaptable and was used in a veriety of places besides infantry support. For example, in the Atlantic Wall and on the SdKfz 165 Hummel. As was the reason for one of its major variants, the sFH 18 saw extensive use on the Eastern Front along with combat on the Western Front. In total, about 5,000 sFHs were made by the end of the war in 1945.

References

  1. http://www.tarrif.net/cgi/production/all_artillery_adv.php?op=show_art&artilleryZ=11
  2. http://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=120
  3. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/germany/guns/150-mm/15-cm-schwere-feldhaubitze-18.asp


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