15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 40

The 15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 40 was designed to provide longer range than the standard sFH 18, but a lack of production capability meant that it never entered full production, although a compromise version, the sFH 18/40, was produced in small numbers.

In 1935 the German army issued a specification for a very light howitzer, the 15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 36, which was designed to be towed by a single team of horses. In 1938 the army went the other way, and asked Krupp and Rheinmetall to design a new howitzer with longer range than the existing sFH 18. Both companies produced similar prototypes in 1941. These were designed to be towed by vehicles instead of horses and had longer barrels (up by 43.5cm compared to the sFH 18) and larger load chambers, which allowed more propellant to be used.

The Krupp design won the contest. This had a split trail and a modified mount that allowed a maximum elevation of 70 degrees. Range rose to 15,400m with a No.9 charge, up by 2,000m compared to the sFH 18 with normal propellant charges. The recoil system was modified to use a pneumatic brake instead of a spring barrel brake, and it had variable barrel recoil to deal with the problems caused by the high elevation firing. The new howitzer was only slightly heavier than the sFH 18 and could fire the same ammo. Prototypes were produced in 1941, but there wasn’t enough industrial capacity to produce the new gun carriage, and so in 1942 work moved onto the 15cm sFH 18/40, which combined the barrel from the sFH 40 with the existing carriage from the sFH 18.





Barrel Length

4,875mm/ L/32.5

Weight for transport


Weight in action



+1 to +70 degrees


60 degrees

Shell Weight


Muzzle Velocity

595 m/sec

Maximum Range


Rate of Fire

4 rounds/ min

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 (6 March 2018), 15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 40 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_15cm_schwere_feldhaubitz_40.html

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