15cm Kanone 16 (15cm K16) - Imperial Germany (1917)
Detailing the development and operational history of the 15cm Kanone 16 (15cm K16) 150mm Towed Heavy Field Gun.
Entry last updated on 5/10/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The15cm Kanone 16 led a long, useful battlefield career - used from World War 1 in 1917 to the end of World War 2 in 1945.
Field guns of all types were used by all sides in World War 1 in an attempt to break down fortifications and dislodge enemy troops dug into fortified trench networks. For the French, this charge fell to the Canon de 155mm GPF and, for the British, the role went to the BL 6-inch Mk XIX series. During 1917, the German Empire introduced the 15cm (150mm) Kanone 16 (K16) which was produced by storied arms maker Krupp. Production spanned from 1917 to 1918 before the Armistice of November. Following the war, a stock of these guns fell to the Belgians and were eventually reclaimed by their German owners during World War 2.
The weapon was of a traditional design utilizing the key components of gun tube, mounting/recoil hardware and carriage. The gun tube's caliber was actually 149.3mm but rounded up in its designation. The carriage utilized a steel two-wheeled configuration and box trail assembly for moving by beasts of burden or tractor vehicle. Overall weight tipped the scales at 23,960lbs and overall length measured 21 feet. Loading and unloading of projectiles was managed through a horizontal sliding breech block at the gun tube's rear. The gun mounting hardware held an inherit elevation span of +43 to -3 degrees with traversal of 8-degrees.
The K16 fired a 113lb cased-charge High-Explosive (HE) shell out to 24,000 yards at a muzzle velocity of 2,480 feet per second. Trained crews could reach rates-of-fire of about two to three rounds per minute. Muzzle velocity could vary based on number of charges used and desired range effect while the projectile retained its lethality in any case. In transport, the barrel assembly was disconnected from the carriage to produce two, more manageable, sections.
The K16 saw reliable service throughout the remainder of World War 1. After the war, they remained in circulation and, when the Germans conquered Belgium, the Belgian Army stocks were retaken into German Army service under the designation of 15cm K429(b) - "b" signifying their Belgian origins (despite them being German). Such reconstituting proved commonplace for the Germans in their conquest of the West and East where any and all war-making goods from former operators were reused in all ways possible. Some K16 guns ended as defensive emplacements along Hitler's Atlantic Wall to protect against an Allied invasion in the Northwest of Europe. Some K16 gun tubes were featured in the "15cm K16 Morser Laf" gun systems when mated to the carriages of the 21cm Morser 18 artillery piece - such became the desperate nature of useful artillery weapons in the war.