28cm Haubitze L/12

The 28cm Haubitze L/12 was one of the heaviest guns in regular use with the German army during the First World War, but was an obsolete and almost immobile design that didn’t really justify the amount of effort it took to move it along the front.

The 28cm howitzer was designed to destroy fixed fortifications, so it didn't really matter if it took quite a lot of effort to emplace it. First massive foundations had to be built. A large turntable was then placed on top of the foundations. The main gun carriage was placed on top of the turntable, and the gun was mounted in a cradle carried on a short track on top of the carriage. The recoil forces were partly absorbed by the rails and partly by the heavy emplacement. The howitzer differed from most German weapons of this period in that is used bagged propellants in place of cartridge cases and a screw breech instead of a sliding breech. It also had a crane to lift the heavy shells up to the breech. Despite all of the effort required to emplace it, the 28cm howitzer only had a range of 11,400m/ 12,466 yards.

Despite its limited range and the effort needed to move it, the 28cm howitzer (and the naval equivalent - the 28cm Küstenhaubitze) saw service along the Western Front, being moved from major battle to major battle. They also remained in service during the Second World War, seeing action at Sevastopol in 1942 and during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.


28-cm Haubitze L/12


283mm (11.14in)

Barrel Length

3.40m (11ft 1.9in)/ L/12

Weight for transport


Weight in action

63,600kg/ 140,214lb


0 to 65 degrees


360 degrees on turntable

Shell Weight

350kg/ 771.6kg

Muzzle Velocity

350-379m/ 1,148-1,243ft per second

Maximum Range

11,400m/ 12,465 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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Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 June 2018), 28cm Haubitze L/12 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_28cm_haubitze_L12.html

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