21cm Versuchs Morser L/12 (Rheinmetall)

The 21cm Versuchs Morser L/12 (Rheinmetall) was an attempt to produce a heavy mortar with barrel recoil, but it was rejected due to a lack of range.

Krupp began work on a similar weapon in 1899, but the Ehrhardt (later renamed Rheinmetall) project didn't begin until 1906. The first prototype was ready by June 1908 when it was purchased by the German Army. Rheinmetall produced a mortar with a longer barrel than the Krupp design (21cm Experimental Mortar L/10), and with the recoil mechanism carried above the barrel, which protruded some way in front of the mechanism. However in other ways the two guns were very similar, firing the same weight of shell to the same range at the same rate of fire.

By the time the L/12 was ready, the Army had decided it wanted a mortar with a longer range, of at least 9,000m. Rheinmetall responded with a 21cm Experimental Mortar L/15, but Krupp won with their 21cm Mortar L/12.


21-cm Versuchs Morser L/12 (Rheinmetall)



Barrel Length

2,530mm (L/12)

Weight for transport


Weight in action



-5 to 65 degrees


5 degrees

Shell Weight


Muzzle Velocity

285 m/sec

Maximum Range


Rate of Fire

One round per minute

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 (17 April 2018), 21cm Versuchs Morser L/12 (Rheinmetall) , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_21cm_versuchs_morser_L12_rheinmetall.html

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