10cm Kanone 04

The 10cm Kanone 04 was the standard German 10cm gun at the start of the First World War, and only the second gun with a modern recoil system to enter service with the German army.

The 10cm K 04 was designed to replace two earlier guns, the Lang 15cm Kanone 92, which used Krupp's steel jacket-ring barrels and could fire a heavy shell to around 12,000m, and the 10cm K 99, another Krupp design that had been designed without a recoil system, but was given an unsatisfactory anti-recoil spring in 1899.

The 10cm K 04 introduced a barrel recoil system mounted below the barrel. Most examples lacked a gun shield, which combined with their wooden spoked wheels gave them a rather old-fashioned appearance, but the K 04 was actually one of the most modern guns in the German arsenal when it first appeared.

The first six guns were used in an experimental battery in 1904, and the type was accepted for service with the foot artillery in 1905 as the 10cm Kanone 04. By July 1914 there were 216 in service (including around 32 of the K04/12, with a gun shield). By October 1918 the K 04 equipped 121 batteries with 484 in service.

In 1909-10 the K 04 was used in trials as an anti-aircraft gun, and specifications were then issued for a modified version that could perform both roles. This produced the 10cm Kanone 14, a more complex weapon, with slightly longer range. In 1917 it was joined by the 10cm Kanone 17, which had a longer barrel, and kept the extra features of the K 14. This was soon replaced by the simplified 10m Kanone 17/04, which was meant purely as a land weapon.


10cm Kanone 04/ 10cm K 04



Barrel Length

3,130mm (L/30)

Weight for transport


Weight in action



-5 to 30 degrees


4 degrees

Shell Weight

17.8 to 8.75kg

Muzzle Velocity


Maximum Range


Rate of Fire

10 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 (27 December 2017), 10cm Kanone 04, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_10cm_kanone_04.html

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