15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 02

The 15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 02 was the first artillery gun with barrel recoil to enter service with the German Army, and was still in service in large numbers at the outbreak of the First World War.

The first modern heavy howitzer to enter German service was the 15cm schwere Feldhaubitz M1893, which was developed just before the appearance of barrel recoil systems, and was soon obsolete. The first attempt to replace it, the Versuch-Haubitzen 99, used a short barrel recoil system, but although it achieved the required range of 7,000m it wasn't judged to be a success.

Work then moved onto a 'lighter' heavy howitzer. This was 300kg lighter than the Versuch-Haubitzen 99, but retained the same range and shell weight, and doubled the rate of fire. It used a barrel recoil system, with the working parts hidden within a wide supporting structure under the barrel (with a square cross-section). It was also the first in the series of heavy howitzers to have any sort of on-carriage traverse, although that was only limited to 4 degrees by the heavy box carriage.

The howitzer and its limber could be towed by a six horse team. It was used in four-gun batteries within the heavy howitzer battalions of the Fussartillerie. By July 1914 there were 840 schwere Feldhaubitz 02 in service with the German Army.

Late in the First World War about 1,000 Felduabitz 02 chassis were combined with a longer barrel to produce the lange schwere Feldhaubitz 13/02.


15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 02



Barrel Length

1,770mm (L/12)

Weight for transport


Weight in action



0 to 42 degrees


4 degrees

Shell Weight


Muzzle Velocity

324m/ sec

Maximum Range


Rate of Fire

2 rounds/ min

German Artillery 1914-1918, Wolfgang Fleischer. Covers over 100 guns used by the German Army and shore detachments of the Navy during the First World War, a conflict largely dominated by artillery. Each one gets a brief description, a set of technical stats and a good picture. Shows the wide range of gun types and sizes used by the Germans during the First World War, and the way in which they evolved to deal with the unexpected challenges of trench warfare. [read full review]
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Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (25 January 2018), 15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 02 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_15cm_schwere_feldhaubitz_02.html

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