Today, modern heavy howitzers are generally self-propelled designs containing both for gun and crew for the sake of speed and safety and from being spotted and fired upon by enemy forces in the air and on the ground. This "shoot and scoot" capability was not built into the likes of field guns such as the World War 2-era 17cm Kanone 18. Howitzers of this size were still being deployed as they were back in World War 1, essentially in fixed positions. In the new "Lightning War" mentality brought about by Hitler's Army in their invasion of Poland, troops on both sides were now expected to cover more ground then ever before.
When compared to the massive experimental Krupp Karl-Gerat 041 self-propelled gun (SPG) - which required more than a day to set up - the 17cm Kanone 18 howitzer was a simpler design to move, arrange and break down for transport. However, compared to other similar-class artillery pieces seeing extensive combat usage in the war, the series was noted as a cumbersome component. The gun barrel was usually transported separately from the rest of the gun and carriage and featured a locking ring, breech jacket, and breech ring for faster separation. For short distance transport, the SdKfz 8 semi-tracked vehicle would tow the gun on the gun's carriage, wholly intact. The barrel could be managed by winches and ramps which allowed the assembly to swing over to a second towing vehicle. This was fairly rapid for the day though still consisted of several hours time. For longer transport maneuvers, the gun barrel (or "tube") was completely removed. Occasionally, Kanone 18 guns were loaded onto a special railway flatbed cars for transport and these guns could also be fired as a conventional mobile "rail gun" from her tracks ala World War 1.
For its time, the 17cm Kanone 18 field gun had a technically advanced recoil system and proved an excellent long range howitzer for German Army actions. If the gun maintained any inherent faults it was that the series became rather expensive to produce in wartime Germany. Additionally, the series required much attention to maintain her to quality standards, required many hands and setup time for preparation to fire and take-down and her carriage was rather slow when going it off road. Many Kanone 18 guns were therefore captured by the Allies when German positions were overrun, there being no time for the German gunners to pack up their large artillery pieces for the retreat. In these cases, and when the Kanone 18's ammunition was also captured intact, Allied forces were not shy about loosing their new guns against their former masters.
The 17cm Kanone 18 series guns were in operational service from 1941 to the end of the war in 1945. Production was handled by Krupp up to 1942 to which then Hanomag took over the reins. Overall production was rather limited, however, to some reported 338 systems in circulation.