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15cm sFH 18 (15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18) - Nazi Germany (1933)

Detailing the development and operational history of the 15cm sFH 18 (15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18) 150mm Towed Field Howitzer.

 Entry last updated on 11/1/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  15cm sFH 18 (15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18)  
Picture of 15cm sFH 18 (15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18) 150mm Towed Field Howitzer

The 150mm 15cm sFH 18 was the standard howitzer for German Divisions prior to - and during - World War 2.

The 15-cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18 (sFH 18) became the standard 149mm howitzer for German Army divisions of World War 2 (1939-1945). The weapon was originally developed to be horse-drawn (as all German artillery at the time was) but was later modified to be towed by mechanized means. A compromise was met to fit the Rheinmetall gun atop the Krupp carriage after several strong submissions were submitted for trials by both parties.

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the Soviet response thereafter, sFH 18 systems were found to be out-ranged by their counterparts so this forced modifications to be made to help increase engagement ranges. However, changes had an ill-effect on the barrels and recoil mechanism through excessive wear. As such, the modification program was abandoned though the remaining sFH 18 guns were still operated until their battlefield usefulness had expired. Modified guns went under the designation of "15-cm sFH 18(m)".

The sFH gun family came to be mounted on a motorized chassis and these vehicles were known as "Hummel" - or "Bumblebee" - and became a respected Self-Propelled Artillery (SPA) system by the end of the war in 1945. sFH 18's were also present along Hitler's famous "Atlantic Wall" - the long-running line of fortifications and guns set along the French coast between France and Britain in attempt to thwart any Allied invasion from the North/West.

Several world powers continued fielding the sFH 18 after the war in large numbers including Czechoslovakia, Portugal and many South American and Central American countries. such was the design excellence of the gun.

15cm sFH 18 (15cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18)

Service Year: 1933
Type: 150mm Towed Field Howitzer
National Origin: Nazi Germany
Manufacturer(s): Krupp / Rheinmetall / Skoda / Spreewerke / MAN - Nazi Germany
Total Production: 5,403

Operating Crew, Dimensions, Operating Weight and Systems

Operating Crew: 5
Length: 14.57 feet (4.44 meters)

Operating Weight: 6 tons (5,512 kg; 12,152 lb)

Nuclear-Biological-Chemical (NBC) Protection: None.
Nightvision (NV) Equipment: None.

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Engine: None. This is a towed artillery piece.

Engagement Range: 8 miles (13 km)

Armament and Ammunition

1 x 149mm (5.87in) main gun

Dependent on ammunition carrier. 149mmx260R case-separate-loading ammunition, each weighing 96lbs (HE).

Global Operators

Albania; Bulgaria; China; Czechoslovakia; Finland; Nazi Germany; Kingdom of Italy; Portugal; Soviet Union; Yugoslavia; Taiwan

Model Variants (Including Pilot Vehicles)

15-cm sFH 18 - Base Series Designation
15-cm sFH 18(M) - Modified propellant for increased range; fitted with muzzle brake; replaceable barrel liner.
15-cm sFH 18/40 - Fitted with sFH 40 series barrels; retaining sFH 18 carriage.
15-cm sFH 18/43 - Provision for bag charge; sliding block breech.
150 H/40 - Finnish Designation of 15cm sFH 18.
Cannone da 149/28 - Italian Designation of 15cm sFH 18.