Schwere 10cm Kanone 18

The schwere 10cm Kanone 18 (heavy 10cm cannon 18) was the standard equipment of German medium artillery units in the late 1930s but wasn't a terribly successful design, and was eventually relegated to the coastal defence role.

10cm schwere Kanone 18 in firing position
10cm schwere Kanone 18 in firing position

The s 10cm K 18 was designed between 1926 and 1930. Krupp and Rheinmetall were both asked to develop prototypes of a new long range gun for the corps artillery batteries. Both companies had completed examples of their next weapons by 1930, but the German army couldn't decide which one to accept. In the end they selected elements from each design. The carriage was designed by Krupp, and was also used on the 15cm sFH 18 (heavy field howitzer). The barrel was designed by Rheinmetall.

The s 10cm K 18 had solid wheels pierced with eight small circular holes. It had a short cradle, with part of the recoil mechanism above the barrel and a pair of equilibrators mounted on either side of the barrel, just in front of the wheels.

The s 10cm K 18 entered service in 1934 and became the standard equipment for the medium artillery units. However it wasn't a great success in service. It was too heavy to be towed by one team of horses, and thus needed to be split into barrel and carriage for transport. It could also be towed as a single load by a half-track tractor, but it wasn't really a powerful enough weapon to justify the use of scarce motor transport.

The 10cm K 18 did see a significant amount of combat. 702 had been produced by the outbreak of the Second World War, and another 732 were built during the war (some sources say 1,433, but this is suspicious close to the total of the two lower figures). It was found in Western Desert, and there were over 400 in use at the start of Operation Barbarossa, mainly serving with the corps artillery.

Compared to the First World War 10cm Kanone 17/4, it had a longer range - up by 2,500m, but fired a 4k lighter shell, which didn't provide enough firepower for the size of gun. The 15cm howitzers that used the same carriage had similar range to the new gun, fired a heavier shell and weren't much heavier, so proved to be a more effective weapon.

10cm schwere Kanone 18 in traveling position
10cm schwere Kanone 18 in traveling position

An improved version with a longer L/60 barrel was designed in an attempt to improve the range of the gun. The first prototype was ready in 1941, when it had the designation 10.5cm K 18/40/ This was then changed to the 10.5cm sK 43 (schwere Kanone), but only a handful were produced.

As a result of its flaws the s 10cm K18 was slowly phased out and given to the coastal artillery.  Here its long range was an advantage, but the light shell was still a major problem. A new sea marker shell was developed for the new role, to make it easier to judge ranges at sea. The limited number of guns available meant that they were never a major of the coastal defences - none were placed on the D-Day beaches for example.


Schwere 10cm Kanone 18/ s 10cm K 18


105mm/ 4.134in

Barrel Length

5460mm/ 214.96in (L/52)

Weight for transport

6,434kg/ 14,187lb

Weight in action

5,624kg/ 12,400lb


0 to 48 degrees


64 degrees

Shell Weight

15.14kg/ 33.38lb

Muzzle Velocity


Maximum Range

19,075m/ 20,870 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]
cover cover cover


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

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 January 2018), Schwere 10cm Kanone 18 ,

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