ARTILLERY PART 4:

Heavy Field Guns (105 mm - 155 mm)

Heavy field guns were the part in which Finnish field artillery was especially weak in beginning of Winter War. Only such weapons in Finnish use at that time were eleven 107 K/10 and 107 K/13 field guns. Because of this weakness Finnish artillery was seriously lacking when it came to counter-battery capability or striking targets long behind enemy lines with artillery. As heavy field guns were so important to all Armies, only weapons of this type the Finns managed to acquire during Winter War were dozen French 105 K/13 and dozen Swedish 105 K/34 (only 4 of which arrived in time to be used in that war). Not before after Winter War Finland managed really start improving the situation by buying 114 heavy field guns from the Germans. Even after all this Finnish long range artillery remained so weak that also some of the heaviest old guns without recoil systems had be kept in this use. Another method used alleviate shortage of long-range artillery was using also coastal artillery as artillery support against ground targets when ever possible.

 

105 K/13 and 105 K/10

(105 mm cannon model 1913 and 105 mm cannon model 1910)

(Canon de 105 L 15 H Mk 1913 TR L 13 S)

(Canon de 105 mle 1913 Schneider)

PICTURE: 105 K/13 heavy field gun. This particular gun has later been equipped with pneumatic double tires. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (50 KB).

Calibre:

105 mm x 390 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/28

Weight in action:

2172 kg (105 K 10) / 2300 kg (105 K 13)

Muzzle velocity:

559 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 2,5 degrees

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 37 degrees

Max. range:

12,0 km

Ammunition weight:

14,9 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE

Country of origin:

105 K 13: France, 105 K 10: France/Russia

Finnish use: During Winter War twelve 105 K/13 field cannons bought from France. They were delivered in February of 1940 and saw some using during last weeks of Winter War. During Continuation War (1941 - 1944) field artillery used them. Year 1943 four 107 K/10 field guns were modified to use 105-mm barrels (making them 105/K 10).

Schneider had designed modern 107-mm field gun (107 K/10) for Imperial Russia in 1910. Year 1913 French military decided to order 105-mm version of the gun and called it "Canon de 105 mle 1913". When compared to earlier version this later French version had more sturdier (and heavier) gun carriage. The gun had box trail, gun shield, wooden wheels with steel hoops and recoils system of hydraulic buffer + pneumatic recuperator independent from each other located under gun barrel. Breech system had screw breech. Ammunition was cartridge seated type with two propellant charge sizes and ammunition with reduced propellant charge. They were horse-towed with maximum speed of about 10 km/h. Rate-of-fire was only about 4 shots/minute. Cannon wagon used in front of the gun when horse-towed carried 14 shots for the gun. The gun reached production in 1914 and was manufactured in large numbers in France during WW1 - in 1918 French military had some 1,300 of these guns in use. France also sold these guns to many other countries during and after World War 1. These countries included Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Estonia. The gun was also manufactured under license in Italy, Poland and Yugoslavia. In Poland the gun was further developed to modernised version (105 K/29), which had split trail mount. In France they remained in large-scale use even in 1940, when the Germans managed to capture about 700 of them. German military called the gun 10,5 cm Kanone 331 (f) and used them both as field guns and coastal guns.

PICTURE: 105 K/13 heavy field gun seen from another viewpoint. The gun closest behind it is 107 K/10. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (53 KB).

Finnish military named the French gun 105 K/13. During Winter War Finland managed to purchase 12 of these guns and 20,000 shells for them. They arrived in February of 1940 and were issued to Heavy Artillery Battalion 9, which used them in battle during the last weeks of the war. In Continuation War the guns were issued first to Heavy Artillery Battalion 28. The gun gained reputation as good and durable gun among Finnish soldiers. Two Russian 107 K/13 guns were modified to use 105-mm during Continuation War making them also 105 K/13.

105 K/10 field gun was Russian 107 K/10 field gun equipped with 105-mm calibre barrel. The gun was similar as Russian 107 K/10 (with exception of the barrel). Four 107 K/10 guns were modified in this way in Finland in 1943. After modification Heavy Artillery Battalion 3 used them. Only shells used in Finland with 105 K/10 and 105 K/13 guns were three types of TNT-filled high explosive shells. Two of these shell types were manufactured in Finland while the third was one was French origin.

Both 105 K/10 and 105 K/13 were declared obselete in late 1960's and removed from weaponry reserved for possible wartime use.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

?

Continuation War (1941-1944)

41441

Total

41441

 

105 K/29

(105 mm cannon model 1929)

(105 mm armata wz. 29)

PICTURE: 105 K/29 field gun. The gun behind it is 120 K/78. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (50 KB).

Calibre:

105 mm x 390 R (fixed ammunition)

105 mm x 390 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/31

Weight in action:

2880 kg

Muzzle velocity:

543 - 670 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 25 degrees

Elevation:

0 degrees, + 43 degrees

Max. range:

14,4 km or 15,0 km (depending source)

Ammunition weight:

14,4 - 16,4 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE

Country of origin:

Poland

Finnish use: 54 guns bought from Germany were delivered in October of 1940. During Continuation War heavy artillery battalions of field artillery used them.

This gun was Schneider development based to earlier French Canon de 105 mle 1913 Schneider. Originally it was manufactured by Schneider in France, but in late 1930's also in Poland. The biggest improvement was replacing previous box trail with new split trail, which allowed much higher elevation. At the same time the breech mechanism had been modified suitable to fixed ammunition, which increased the rate of fire upto 6 shots/minute. However also old separately loaded ammunition could still be used with these guns. The gun had screw breech, wooden wheels with steel hoops and breaks build inside them. It also had gun shield with hole in front of the sight for direct fire use. As usual also limber was used. Ready for the march and with limber the gun weighted 3,410 kg. Polish Starahowice factory was the manufacturer. The gun had been intended to be horse-towed. Year 1939 Germany (and later also Soviet Union) invaded Poland and these guns changed hands. The Germans knew the gun as 10,5 cm Kanone 29(p).

PICTURE: 105 K/29 field gun seen from behind. Notice structure of split trail. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (58 KB).

After Winter War Germany was no longer bound by its treaty with Soviet Union and started again selling selling weapons to Finland. Among weaponry the Finns bought from Germany in 1940 were 54 of these field guns. At that time Finnish military still had dire shortage of long range artillery pieces, so this particular deal did wonders to counter-artillery capability of Finnish field artillery. From these 54 guns 40 arrived with S/S Inga in 2nd of October 1940 and 14 guns arrived with S/S Widor in 9th of October 1940. In Continuation War the guns saw use with five heavy artillery battalions. Finnish soldiers liked the field gun, but the primer system proved somewhat problematic. Summer of 1944 4th Army Corps lost eight guns in Carelian Isthmus. In Finland the guns were used with variety of high exposive shells, which had their shell filled with TNT, picric, schneiderite or amatol. All ammunition used in Finland was separately loaded type, in other words there was no fixed ammunition in Finnish use for this gun. After World War 2 the guns were equipped with pneumatic tires.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

144869

Total

144869

 

105 K/34

(105 mm cannon model 1934)

(10,5 cm kanon m/34 / 10,5 cm Feltkanon m/34M)

PICTURE: 105 K/34 field gun. Notice irregular gun shield shape, equilibrators in both side of the barrel and muzzle brake. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (48 KB).

Calibre:

105 mm x 764 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/42

Weight in action:

3750 kg

Muzzle velocity:

800 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 30 degrees

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 42 degrees

Max. range:

16,3 km

Ammunition weight:

15,3 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE

Country of origin:

Sweden

Finnish use: Twelve cannons bought from Sweden during Winter War (1939 - 1940), but only four delivered in December of 1939 saw battle use during it. During Continuation War (1941 - 1944) Finnish field artillery units used all the bought guns.

This was Bofors designed and manufactured cannon developed from internationally better known as Bofors 105-mm cannon model 1927. The main customer for model 1934 gun was Swedish military artillery who acquired 60 of them. Four of the Swedish guns were originally bought for coastal artillery but in year 1942 Swedish military transferred the guns to field artillery (hence the two Swedish names listed above). The gun utilised similar gun carriage as also used in 150-mm Bofors howitzers of late 1930's. Career these guns made in Sweden was very long - lasting all the way to 1980ís. The earlier model 1927 was limited export success with main customer being Netherlands, who acquired 36 guns. During WW2 model 1934 was manufactured under license in Switzerland. The Germans called model 1927 guns captured from the Dutch as 10,5 cm K 335(h).

PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 105 K/34 field gun. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

Structurally the cannon was modern for its time. It has split trail, steel wheels covered with solid rubber tires and recoil system below barrel. Unusual detail was gun shield, which had irregular shape intended to help concealing the gun. The gun had horizontal sliding block breech (exception: guns delivered to Netherlands had screw breech) and they were used with separately loaded ammunition, which came with three propellant charge sizes. Ammunition types included high explosive and smoke shells. Maximum rate of fire was around 5 shots/minute.

Finland bought 12 of model 1934 guns during Winter War, but only 4 of the guns arrived in time to be used in it. The four guns arrived in December of 1939 and were issued to 1st Separate Motorised Heavy Cannon Battery (renamed as 1st Section of Heavy Artillery Battalion 7 in January 1940). Their part in war didnít start well - one after another the guns were damaged and without spare barrels the whole unit would have become inactive. Later investigation revealed wrong kind of gunpowder used as propellant as main reason for the damages, but later experience also revealed that barrel life with these guns was very short. Cannon barrel had to be replaced already after every 2,000 shots or so. Otherwise the gun had good reputation among Finnish soldiers. When Continuation War first all the 12 guns were issued to Heavy Artillery Battalion 3 and later Heavy Artillery Battalion 5 used eight of them.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

1679

Continuation War (1941-1944)

21760

Total

23439

 

107 K/10 and 107 K/13

(107 mm cannon model 1910 and 107 mm cannon model 1913)

(107 mm Canon mle 10/12)

(107 mm Pushka obr. 1910 g.)

PICTURE: 107 K/10 field gun. Notice the large resemblance with 105 K/13. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (41 KB).

Calibre:

106,7 mm x 442 R (fixed ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/28

Weight in action:

2172 kg

Muzzle velocity:

296 - 630 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 3 degrees

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 37 degrees

Max. range:

10,5 - 13,6 km

Ammunition weight:

15,4 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, shrapnel

Country of origin:

France/Russia

Finnish use: 3 cannons captured in 1918. Another 8 purchased before WW2. Ten cannons saw battle use with Finnish field artillery during Winter War (1939 - 1940). During Continuation War (1941 - field artillery units used 1944) them. Year 1943 four of the guns were modified to use 105-mm barrels (making them 105 K/10).

This 107-mm cannon was designed by French Schneider factory for Russia and it was manufactured both in France and Russia. The gun was intended as replacement of old 107-mm and 152-mm heavy guns, which lacked recoil system. The Russian manufacturers included St. Peterburg artillery factory, Obuhov (later renamed as "Bolshevik") factory and Putilov Factory. The cannon was quite modern for its time and it was no wonder that the French military ordered also their own 105-mm calibre version (105 K 13 above in this page) with more durable (and heavier) gun carriage in year 1913. This also lead to development of 107 mm Canon mle 1913, which was basically the 107-mm Russian field gun with improved gun carriage. Before WW2 Soviets yet modernised the cannons as 107 mm Pushka obr.1910/30. The largest improvements of this Soviet modernisation were new barrel of extended length and enlarging or propellant charge to increase maximum range. The Germans knew captured obr. 1910/30 as 10,7 cm Kanone 352(r) and used them both in field artillery and coastal artillery. Unusually for cannons of such a large calibre in its time the gun used fixed ammunition (manufactured with two propellant charge sizes). Otherwise the gun was somewhat typical with box trail, screw breech, wooden wheels with steel hoops and gun shield. Rate of fire was about 5 - 6 shots/minute. Unlike in French 107 mm Canon mle 1913 the recoil system located under barrel was quite conventional in this gun.

PICTURE: 107 K/10 field gun seen from another viewpoint. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (47 KB).

Finnish Red Guards during Finnish Civil War of 1918 used few 107 K/10. As usual Finnish White Army captured some of them. However, in this case the number of intact or reparable captured guns was quite small. Finnish White Army managed capturing two guns in Helsinki and one gun in Viipuri. Once situation had settled down Finland purchased several more from France (four guns), Poland (two guns) and Latvia (two guns) increasing the total number of cannons to eleven. Two of the guns were French-made 107 mm Canon mle 1913 aka 107 K/13, while the other the nine were Russian-made 107 K/10. From these guns Schneider factory had made 6, Obuhov factory 6 and Putilov factory 2 guns. Before WW2 they served as training equipment of Finnish heavy artillery units being the only heavy field cannons in Finnish use at that time. When Winter War begun they still were the only heavy field cannons in Finnish use and unfortunately the amount of ammunition reserved for them was quite small. So, in beginning of Winter War 10 guns were issued to Heavy Artillery Battalion 1, but the unit had to be pulled out from the front in February of 1940 after running out of ammunition. During Continuation War Heavy Artillery Battalions 29 and 30 used the cannons. Year 1943 four of the 107 K/10 guns were modified to 105-mm calibre making them 105 K/10. None of the Soviet 107 mm Pushka obr.1910/30 ever served in Finnish use making them one of the very few World War 2 Soviet artillery weapons not captured by the Finns.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

5379

Continuation War (1941-1944)

14195

Total

19574

 

120 K/78-31

(120 mm cannon model 1878 modified in 1931)

(120 mm armata wz. 78/09/31 and 120 mm armata wz. 78/10/31)

PICTURE: 120 K/78-09-31 on the front and 120 K/78-10-31 behind it. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (38 KB).

Calibre:

120 mm x ? (fixed ammunition)

120 mm (bagged ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/27

Weight in action:

3140 kg

Muzzle velocity:

313 - 604 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 3 degrees

Elevation:

0 degrees, + 40 degrees

Max. range:

6,7 - 12,3 km

Ammunition weight:

18,9 - 20,4 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE

Country of origin:

Poland (France)

Finnish use: 24 cannons bought from Germany were delivered in autumn of 1940. During Continuation War (1941 - 1944) they were issued to units of field artillery.

This Polish artillery weapon design was basically combination of barrel from French Materiel de 120 Long, Mle 1878 (120 K/78) and gun carriage from Russian 152-mm howitzer model 1909 or 1910. When the gun was build the ammunition chamber of barrel was increased, barrel structure strengthened and de Bange screw breech mechanism modified to use modern primers. The Polish naming system build the name from this information:

- wz. 78/09/31 = m 1878 barrel + m 1909 howitzer carriage + accepted 1931

- wz. 78/10/31 = m 1878 barrel + m 1910 howitzer carriage + accepted 1931

The cannons were build in Starahowice factory and were used by variety of Polish Army units. Year 1939 Polish Army issued 43 of these cannons: 32 of the guns were wz. 78/09/31 and 6 were 78/10/31.

PICTURE: Another picture, same subject. 120 K/78-09-31 foreground and 120 K/78-10-31 behind it. 150 H/40 howitzer behind them. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (40 KB).

Being the combinations they were the cannons had box trails, which had hole in the middle. They also had gun shields originating from 152-mm howitzers, from which their gun carriages originated. Polish military had equipped them with variety of wheels and tires, but in Finland the guns seem to have served first with wooden wheels which has steel hoops. They had the original Canet screw breech, which had gone through slight modifications. The cannons were suitable both to be towed with horses or for motorised towing. They also had the typical hydraulic/pneumatic recuperator/buffer arrangement below barrel. Momentary maximum rate of fire possible for well trained crew was around 6 shots/minute, but in sustained fire it dropped to about 3 shots/minute. The cannons own ammunition was separately loaded, but also bagged ammunition originally made for 120 K 78 could be used. Ammunition had six propellant charge sizes. Limber used with the gun when it was horse-towed weighted 358 kg. When the gun was towed with a truck instead of limber addional axle for motorized towing was added at end of the guns trail, this axle for motorized weighted 198 kg.

PICTURE: 120 K/78-10-31 field gun. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (43 KB).

Finland bought 24 guns with about 46,200 shots from Germany in autumn of 1940. The guns arrived with two ships: 13 guns with S/S Inga 2nd of October 1940 and 11 guns with S/S Widor 9th of October 1940. These cannons might have been unusual, but their ballistics were good. Also, when old ammunition made for 120 K/78 could be used in them the Finns didnít have to be afraid for shortage of ammunition anytime soon. In Finland the both cannon versions were simply known as 120 K/78-31. In Continuation War the cannons were issued to four Heavy Artillery Battalions. Among Finnish soldiers these guns gained reputation as durable and good cannons, but the primer chamber proved weak part of the weapon and recoil system wasnít always reliable (especially so in cold winter weather). Two of the guns were lost in 1944: One of the lost guns belonged to 4th Army Corps and the another to Aunus Group. After World War 2 the cannons were equipped with sponge rubber tires and they remained reserved for possible wartime use until late 1960's.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

67826

Total

67826

 

Note: 122 K/31 heavy field gun has been moved to coastal artillery part of the website due to its wartime use of coastal artillery.

 

155 K/17

(155 mm cannon model 1917)

(Materiel de 155 Long, Mle 1917)

(Canon de 155 L mle 1917 Schneider)

PICTURE: 155 K/17 heavy field gun in use of 1st Super Heavy Artillery Battalion in July of 1942. (SA-kuva archive, photo number 100416). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (209 KB).

Calibre:

155 mm (bagged ammunition?)

Barrel length:

L/31,9

Weight in action:

8800 kg

Muzzle velocity:

665 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 4,5 degrees

Elevation:

0 degrees, + 42 degrees

Max. range:

17,3 km

Ammunition weight:

43 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, incendiary

Country of origin:

France

Finnish use: Twelve guns bought from Germany in 1941. They did not enter combat use until early 1942 and were used by Super Heavy Field Artillery Battalion 1 in Carelian Isthmus until being all lost in June of 1944.

During World War One the French found out that they needed long range artillery weapons for their field artillery. This was French WW1 era heavy field cannon heavily based to old Canon de 155 Long, Mle 1877 (155 K/77) was one of the resulting artillery weapons. Unlike its predecessor the Materiel de 155 Long, Mle 1917 had somewhat modern recoil system and improved gun barrel. The cannon proved very effective, but only 410 were manufactured and many of them were exported in 1920's. Structurally it was quite traditional with box trail, screw breech, gun shield and recoil mechanism located below barrel. Before World War 2 the French had modified them suitable for motorised towing. Originally they had the usual wooden wheels with steel hoops, but as part of the modernisation steel hoops were covered with rubber layer. The cannons were still in the French use in 1940, when the Germans captured some and re-issued them for their own coastal artillery after renaming them 15,5 cm Kanone 416(f). Rate of fire was only about 1 shot/minute.

Finland bought 12 cannons and bit over 10,000 shots in 1941 from the Germans. Finnish military named these guns 155 K/17, but sometime they were also called 155 K/17-41. They were delivered with two ships: 3 guns arrived with S/S Castor 28th of November 1941 and 9 guns with S/S Hildegard 27th of December 1941. The shape in which these heavy field cannons were, when they arrived, was not too good. Testing and repairs caused considerable delay and they could not be issued until early 1942. All twelve guns were issued to Super Heavy Artillery Battalion 1 ( Järeä Tykistöpatteristo 1) fighting in Carelian Isthmus. Finnish soldiers found them to be good cannons, but recoil system had cold weather issues and broken gun carriages were not exactly unknown either. All the 12 guns were lost in June of 1944. First 10 guns were lost after Soviet offensive achieved breakthrough in Valkeasaari sector 10th of June 1944. Only four days later the two remaining guns were lost when the Soviets broke through also VT-line in Kuuterselkä and Sahakylä sectors of VT-line. For the French the mobility of these cannons may have been matter of secondary importance during trench war of western front in World War 1, but in 1944 to the Finns the size and weight of these guns proved too much for them to be evacuated in time.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

1335

Total

1335


SOURCES:

Jyri Paulaharju: Itsenäisen Suomen kenttätykit 1918 - 1995.

Ove Enqvist: Itsenäisen Suomen rannikkotykit 1918 - 1998.

Unto Partanen: Tykistömuseon 78 tykkiä.

Jyri Paulaharju, Martti Sinerma and Matti Koskimaa: Suomen kenttätykistön historia book series.

Article: Ranskan Suomelle Talvisodan aikana tarjoamasta sotilasavusta by Jukka Nevakivi in Tiede ja Ase vol. 34.

Ian Hogg: Twentieth-Century Artillery.

Chris Chant: Artillery of World War II.

Christopher F. Foss: Artillery of the World.

Terry Gander and Peter Chamberlain: Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the third reich.

Kurt Passow: Taschenbuch der Heere 1939.

Military manual: 105 mm. raskas kenttäkanuuna vuodelta 1929 by Puolustusvoimain Pääesikunnan Taisteluvälineosasto (printed 1941).

Military manual: 105 K/13, 105 mm raskas kenttäkanuuna mallia 1913 (printed 1942).

Military manual: 120 mm Raskas kenttäkanuuna vuosilta 1978 ja 1931 by Puolustusvoimien pääesikunta Taisteluvälineosasto, Väliaikainen kalustoselostus (printed 1941).

Military manual: Ampumatarvikenimikkeistö by Puolustusvoimien Pääesikunta Taisteluvälineosasto (printed 1941).

Military manual: Lyhennetty tykistön ampumatarvikenomenklatuuri (printed 1939).

Military manual: Kenttätykistön ampumatarvikkeet by Puolustusvoimien Pääesikunta Taisteluvälineosasto (printed 1940, updates added until 1947).

Documents of Finnish military Archives, archives unit T20207/F16 sal.

Finnish military archives, archive reference T19043/20

Finnish military archives, archive reference T18419

Finnish military archives, archive references T20206/F9, /F10 and /F11

Finnish military archives, archive references T20206/F17 and /F18

Guns vs Armour by D.M. Honner

Special thanks to Michal Derela for his help.

Special thanks to Sotamuseo (Finnish Military Museum), Helsinki.

Special thanks to Tykistömuseo (Artillery Museum), Hämeenlinna.


Last updated 19th of October 2013
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