10.5cm leFH 98/09

The 10.5cm leFH 98/09 (light field howitzer) was the main German field howitzer at the start of the First World War, and was a modified version of an earlier weapon.

10.5cm leFH 98/09 from the left
10.5cm leFH 98/09 from the left

The leFH 98/09 was based on the earlier leFH 98, an old-fashioned weapon with carriage or fixed recoil (ie the entire carriage moved to absorb the recoil forces). It was introduced at almost the same time as the French 75mm field gun model 1897, a revolutionary new gun with a barrel recoil system. As a result the main German guns became virtually obsolete, and work began on producing more modern weapons.

In 1902 Krupp and Rheinmetall were each given a contract to build a version of the leFH 98 with a barrel recoil system. Little urgency seems to have gone into the programme, as the Krupp design wasn't accepted until 1909, when it became the leFH 98/09.

The leFH 98/09 mounted its recoil system below the barrel. It had a box-trail carriage with a ground spade to absorb any extra recoil forces and a gun shield. However it was still quite a short barrelled weapon, at 1m 62.5cm (L/16), and as a result was quite short ranged.

The leFH 98/09 was used to equip one of the four battalions in the field artillery brigade of each division. Each battalion got three six-gun batteries, for a total of 18 guns. The reserve field artillery regiments that were formed from October 1914 had three battalions, including one equipped with the leFH 98/09. 

By August 1914 there were over 1,230 examples of the 10.5cm leFH 98/09 in service with the artillery battalions. Although it was later superseded by the leFH 16, there were still 1,144 in service in 1918.

10.5cm leFH 98/09 from the front
10.5cm leFH 98/09 from the front

The leFH 98/09 was slowly replaced by the longer barrelled, longer range 10.5cm leFH 16, a Rheinmetall design. Krupp's own replacement, the 10.5cm leFH 17, was produced in much smaller numbers.


10.5cm leichte Feldhaubitze 98/09
(10.5cm light field howitzer 98/09)
10.5cm leFH 98/09



Barrel Length

1m 62.5cm (L/16)

Weight for transport


Weight in action



-10 to +40 degrees


4 degrees

Shell Weight

15.7-15.8kg HE shell
12.8kg shrapnel

Muzzle Velocity

302 m/sec

Maximum Range

6,300m shell with impact fuze
5,300m shell with time fuze

Rate of Fire

4 rounds/ min


Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (17 October 2017), 10.5cm leFH 98/09 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_105_leFH_9809.html

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