15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 37(t)

The 15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 37 (t) was a Czech designed heavy howitzer that entered production just in time to be taken over by the Germans after their occupation of Czechoslovakia.

In the aftermath of the First World War Czechoslovakia had inherited the Skoda works at Pilsen. At first Skoda concentrated on producing First World War era weapons, but by the 1930s they had begun work on a new series of more modern howitzers. In 1933 the 15cm K1 howitzer appeared. This had a split trail, could be towed by horses (as two loads) or by vehicles (as one load). The K1 was exported to Turkey, but wasn’t accepted by the Czech army.

Skoda produced a series of improved weapons, ending with the K4. This had a shorter barrel than the K1 and was designed for motor transport, so had pneumatic tires and couldn’t be split into two loads. The recoil system was mounted under the barrel. It fired a similar shell to the German sFH 18, and had a maximum range of 15,100m, around 1,800m longer than the German weapon.

The K4 was accepted by the Czech army in 1937, and designated as the 15cm hrub houfnice vz 37. When the Germans occupied Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1939 the first few guns were almost complete at the Skoda works. As the weapon was significantly better than the German sFH 18, it was kept in production until the end of 1941 and became the 15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 37(t). It was used to equip the heavy artillery units in the divisional artillery, alongside the German weapons. It took part in the campaign in the west in May-June 1940 and the invasion of the Soviet Union. By 1944 most had been phased out of German service and passed onto Germany’s allied forces in the Balkans. Ironically one of the recipients was the Slovak Army, then fighting against the partisans in Yugoslavia.

Name

15-cm hruba houfnice vz 37
15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 37(t)

Calibre

149.1mm (5.87in)

Barrel Length

3.6m (11ft 9.7in)

Weight for transport

5,730kg (12,632lb)

Weight in action

5,200kg (11,464lb)

Elevation

-5 to +70 degrees

Traverse

45 degrees

Shell Weight

42kg (92.6lb)

Muzzle Velocity

580m (1,903ft)/ sec

Maximum Range

1,5100m (16,515 yards)

Rate of Fire

 

German Heavy Artillery Guns 1933-1945, Alexander Lüdeke. Despite the title actually covers light, medium and heavy artillery as well as mortars and anti-tank guns (excludes railway guns, flak and rocket launchers). Each gets a useful write-up, supported by stats and at least one photo. Covers German-built guns and the many types captured and used by the Wehrmacht. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (23 February 2018), 15cm schwere Feldhaubitz 37(t) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_15cm_schwere_feldhaubitz_37t.html

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