ARTILLERY PART 5:

Light Howitzers (105 mm - 122 mm)

Besides light field guns, it was the light howitzers, which formed backbone of Finnish Field Artillery during Winter War. During Continuation War, which followed, they remained important but their role saw some changes: Now the best of them were used to arm new Light Field Artillery Battalions. Being capable for high-trajectory fire and mobile the light howitzers in a way were ideal for Finnish terrain and climate. On the other hand World War 1 era light howitzers had only short range, which seriously limited their effectiveness. The light howitzers used by Finnish Army improved considerably during World War 2, but the improvement in form of new 105-mm howitzers didn't come until during last two years of Continuation War. Unlike guns without recoil system and light field guns the light howitzers in form of light gun-howitzers have remained useful to this day.

 

105 VH/10

(105 mm mountain howitzer model 1910)

(10,5 cm berghaubits m/10-24)

PICTURE: 105 VH/10 light howitzer. Notice breech mechanism (obviously with horizontal sliding breech block) and box trail structure with hole in the middle of trail. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (63 KB).

Calibre:

105 mm x 111 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/12

Weight in action:

1080 kg

Muzzle velocity:

304 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 2 degrees

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 43 degrees

Max. range:

7,6 - 7,8 km

Ammunition weight:

14,0 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE

Country of origin:

Sweden

Finnish use: Four howitzers bought from Sweden, they arrived in January of 1940 and were used shortly in Winter War. Once they broke down they were pulled off from battle use and warehoused until being sold back to Sweden in 1944. The howitzers didn't see any use during Continuation War.

Bofors manufactured only four of these mountain howitzers, which had been developed from its earlier "10,5 cm haubits m/10", which was manufactured between 1911 - 1919. The guns carriage with box trail (with typical hole in the middle of trail) was quite light. The howitzer had horizontal sliding block breech, gun shield with hole for aiming direct fire plus recoil system with hydraulic buffer and pneumatic recuperator was located below barrel. The howitzer wheels were wood wheels with steel hoops and friction brakes. The Germans knew this howitzer as "10,5 cm gebirgshaubitze L/12". As typical to mountain guns and howitzers also this one could be dismantled, transported as several smaller loads and put back together for action when needed. The Swedes knew this mountain howitzer also as m/22.

PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 105 VH/10 howitzer. As usual the dial sight is missing. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (57 KB).

Finland bought all four howitzers during Winter War and they arrived with 4,000 shots in early January of 1940. The howitzers were issued to 6th Artillery Battery of Field Artillery Regiment 9, but gun carriages of the howitzers proved very weak. Once they starting breaking down big time the Finnish military had no other change then pulling off the howitzers from combat use and rearming the unfortunate Artillery Battery with captured 76 RK/27 infantry guns. Before returning the howitzers the Artillery Battery managed to shoot 3,787 shots with them. After this they remained warehoused until being sold back to Sweden early 1944. Most of the time Finnish military knew this howitzer as "105 VH/10", but also names "105 VH/22" and "105 H/10" have been used in some wartime documentation. Only ammunition that Finnish military used with the howitzers was Swedish made high-explosive type. The howitzer in exhibition of Finnish Artillery Museum today was acquired from Sweden in 1986.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

3774

Continuation War (1941-1944)

0

Total

3774

 

105 H/33

(105 mm howitzer model 1933)

(10,5 cm leFH 18)

PICTURE: 105 H/33 howitzer. The wheels in this particular howitzer are post-war. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (55 KB).

Calibre:

105 mm x 155 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/28

Weight in action:

1985 kg

Muzzle velocity:

315 - 525 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 28 degrees

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 42 degrees

Max. range:

5,7 - 11,3 km

Ammunition weight:

14,8 - 15,3 kg (HE), 12,4 kg (HEAT)

Ammunition types:

HE, HEAT (1944), smoke

Country of origin:

Germany

Finnish use: 53 purchased from Germany, they arrived in February - April of 1944. 48 were issued to Field Artillery units, which used them until end of the war.

- "Guns vs Armour" website by D.M. Honner (Gr. 39 Hl/C HEAT-projectile, 495 m/sec):

distance

hitting angle

penetration

Any

60 degrees

100 mm

Development of this howitzer intended as modern replacement for 10,5 leFH 16 of WW1 fame started in Germany in year 1928. Year 1935 it was adopted in use of German Army. For diversion it was named as leFH 18 (in other words: light howitzer model 1918). Some 6,900 were manufactured by end of WW2 and the howitzer remained in large-scale use with German military until end of the war. The howitzer served German military well during WW2, but there still was room for the improvement so development of improved versions was started during the war. First improved version was 10,5 cm leFH 18M developed with increased range in mind. It had larger propellant charge, improved recoil system and single-baffle type muzzle brake in end of the barrel. Even if range of 10,5 leFH was somewhat larger its increased weight also ruined mobility. Next version was 10,5 cm leFH 18/40 (105 H 33-40), which used split trail of 7,5 cm Pak 40 at-gun. The Germans also used variations of the howitzers as armament of StuH42 assault howitzer and Wespe self-propelled artillery piece. Already before World War 2 the howitzers were sold to Hungary and Spain. After World War 2 10,5 cm leFH and its variation were used in Argentine, Austria (lFH-18M), Chile, Portugal, Sweden and Yugoslavia (also leFH 18M).

Technically the 10,5 leFH 18 howitzer was quite typical to its time. It had split trail, vertical sliding block breech and dial sight. The gun shield had separate upper part for high trajectory firing. Recoil system was typical pneumatic/hydraulic buffer/recuperator system placed below and above barrel. Early on Germans had manufactured the howitzer with wood wheels with steel hoops, but during production pressed steel wheels with spokes became a norm. These pressed steel wheels had removable rubber hoops, which were manufactured in two versions, with varied in width. Ammunition was separately loaded type (projectile was separate from cartridge case, which could be filled with desired number of bags containing propellant) and the Germans manufactured large variety of ammunition for this weapon. Typical rate of fire was around 6 - 8 shots/minute.

Finland purchased 53 howitzers from Germany late in the war and named them 105 H/33. All of these were brand new and were delivered in February - April of 1944. The howitzers arrived in three ships: 8 howitzers with S/S Capella 21st of February 1944, 16 howitzers with S/S Baltic 4th of March 1944 and 29 howitzers with S/S Aune H in 11th of April 1944. Finnish military issued the howitzers to three Light Artillery Battalions (17th, 20th and 23rd) and later also to 3rd Artillery Battalion of Field Artillery Regiment 9. All of these units were horse-towed and each got a full dozen of 105 H/33 howitzers. After WW2 these howitzers remained in training use and warehoused for possible wartime use for a long time. In post-war era the howitzers were also equipped with new disk wheels, which had tires made from sponge rubber. Finnish military kept 105 H/33 reserved for possible wartime use long after World War 2 (likely until 1980's).

Ammunition that the Finns used with these howitzers contained high explosive, HEAT and smoke projectiles. These special projectiles used by Finnish military were:

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

22792

Total

22792

 

105 H/37

(105 mm howitzer model 1937)

(10,5 haubits m/40)

(10,5cm Fälthaubits L/24)

PICTURE: 105 H/37 howitzer and its limber. The wheels in this particular howitzer are post-war. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (59 KB).

Calibre:

105 mm x 155 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/24

Weight in action:

1850 kg

Muzzle velocity:

274 - 485 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 23,5 degrees

Elevation:

- 6 degrees, + 45 degrees

Max. range:

3,0 - 12,5 km

Ammunition weight:

12,35 - 14,9 kg (HE), 12,4 kg (HEAT)

Ammunition types:

HE, HEAT (1944), smoke

Country of origin:

Finland (Swedish design)

Finnish use: Bofors design manufactured under license in Finland. 140 manufactured and delivered to Army 1943 - 1945. Used by Field Artillery during late Continuation War.

In mid-1920's Swedish Bofors developed 105-mm howitzer for export sales, Holland acquired 30 of these howitzers to be used in its colonies at East Indies. However World War 2 changed plans: Swedes found themselves in desperate need of more field artillery. So, in year 1939 Swedes confiscated 32 howitzers earlier ordered by Holland and Siam (Thailand) but not yet delivered. Production for Swedish military started in year 1941 and resulted manufacturing of 210 howitzers. In 1950's the Swedes manufactured 109 additional howitzers of improved version "10,5 cm haubits m/40B". In 1960's Swedish military modernised their whole "10,5 cm haubits m/40" and "m/40B" inventory to "10,5 cm haubits m/40C", which had pneumatic tires. The howitzer was also manufactured under license in Switzerland as "10,5 cm Hb Modell 46", which made long career with Swiss military.

PICTURE: Another view to 105 H/37 howitzer. The wheels also in this howitzer are post-war. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (61 KB).

The howitzer had split trail with hinged spades, gun shield and wooden wheels with steel hoops. Later after the war old wheels were replaced with new disk wheels covered with sponge rubber. Wheels also had built-in brake system. Recoil system below barrel was the typical pneumatic/hydraulic kind. Breech system with semiautomatic vertical sliding breech block (after firing a shot the system removed used cartridge case and set itself ready for loading the next shot) used in the howitzer allowed quite a high rate of fire - 10 shots/minute. Muzzle of the barrel had been equipped with perforated muzzle brake and the sight system was typical dial sight. Barrel was autofregated structure (in other words: it didn't have sleeves). The howitzer was suitable both to be horse-towed and for motorised towing. Ammunition was cartridge-seated type with 6 propellant charge sizes. The limber used with the howitzer contained four shots.

In January of 1936 Finnish State had signed with Bofors treaties, which allowed Bofors guns to be license manufactured in Finland. Besides 37-mm antitank guns and 40-mm antiaircraft guns this also lead to license production of this 105-mm howitzer. At that time Finland lacked industry with previous experience of manufacturing of field guns or howitzers. The importance of creating such industry had been noted much earlier, but neither the tight funding nor negotiations about manufacturing licenses with foreign manufacturers had allowed establishing just factory before. The core around which the new factory appropriately named Valtion Tykkitehdas (State Artillery Factory) was created, was Artillery Repair Shop of Weapons Depot 1, which was transferred from Helsinki to town of Jyväskylä for this purpose.

Valtion Tykkitehdas (VTT) and Tampella manufactured 140 howitzers between 1942 - 1945. The original order for delivery of 128 howitzers had been sent both to Tampella and VTT February of 1939 and the plan was that each factory would have manufactured 64 howitzers. But in beginning of Winter War the whole order was redirected to VTT. As mentioned the real deliveries did not start until year 1943. There were several reasons for this. As some of the materials needed were not domestically manufactured, they were ordered from Ruhrstahl in Germany and their arrival was very much delayed, which in turn delayed the whole production schedule. Some of the materials arrived in spring of 1940 and some were yet to arrive even in autumn of that same year. Another factor was the way how Finnish Army General HQ decided to prioritise the production and repair works in Finnish armaments industry in beginning of Continuation War in June of 1941. Domestic production of 105-mm howitzer got pushed way down in the list of priorities and due to this manufacturing of parts needed for the continued only when the factory did not have anything more urgent to make. As usual Lokomo Works manufactured barrel blanks and breech blanks for these howitzers while Crichton-Vulcan manufactured gun carriages and gun shields (using for the large part materials from Ruhrstahl). First 105 H/37 howitzers were test-fired September of 1942. VTT delivered 64 howitzers 105 H/37 year 1943, 70 howitzers in year 1944 and 6 howitzers in year 1945.

PICTURE: Closer look behind gun shield of 105 H/37 howitzer. Dial sight in visible left of breech. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).

Deliveries of 105 H/37 howitzers to Finnish Army:

Delivered

Amount

1943

64

1944

70

1945

6

Total

140

Ammunition used this howitzer was the same as used 105 H/33 and 105 H/41 howitzers. The most used ammunition type was obviously high-explosive (HE) type, which were manufactured with variations filled with TNT and amatol. More special ammunition types available contained HEAT- and smoke-projectiles (the same ones as listed above). 105 H/37 became the most typical weaponry for Light Artillery Battalions of Field Artillery for late Continuation War - seven out of fifteen Light Artillery Battalions were armed with them. Besides Light Artillery Battalions also two Heavy Artillery Battalions (16th and 24th) and 3rd Artillery Battalion belonging to Field Artillery Regiment 15 used them. Five howitzers were lost in battles of year 1944. Two of the lost howitzers belonged to Light Artillery Battalion 24 and were lost in Vaskisavotta 10th of June 1944. After World War 2 the howitzers remained in training use and reserved for possible wartime use. Swedish modernisation programs inspired also Finns to modernise 105 H/37 howitzers in 1960's. This modernisation program created two new howitzers using parts of 105 H/37 howitzer:

Both modernised howitzers were successful. 105 H 61-37 didn't gain much in ballistics, when compared to original 105 H/37, but as a weapon its was considerably more practical to use. 105 H 37-10 on the other hand had almost double the range of 122 H/10-30 and at the same time this simplified ammunition supply. Still in late 1990's howitzers 105 H 61-37 remained among weapons inventory of Finnish Army, even if in somewhat small role. They had been reserved for local troops, while units intended giving actual artillery support for Finnish wartime main troops all had more effective weaponry reserved for them. During the last few years Finnish Armed Forces have been deactivating and then selling remaining 105 H/61-37 howitzers to collectors. Few years ago Finland also donated 105 H 61-37 howitzers to Estonia and formed the main weaponry of Estonian Field Artillery.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

100414

Total

100414

 

105 H/41

(105 mm howitzer model 1941)

(Skoda H2)

PICTURE: 105 H/41 light howitzer. Wheels in this howitzer are the post-war ones. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (58 KB).

Calibre:

105 mm x 155 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/28,4

Weight in action:

1980 kg

Muzzle velocity:

530 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 25 degrees

Elevation:

- 8 degrees, + 70 degrees

Max. range:

12,2 km

Ammunition weight:

16,0 kg (HE), 12,4 kg (HEAT)

Ammunition types:

HE, HEAT (1944), smoke

Country of origin:

Germany (made in occupied Czechoslovakia)

Finnish use: 27 howitzers bought from Germany, they arrived in summer and autumn of 1941. Finnish Field Artillery used these howitzers during Continuation War.

This howitzer was design of Czechoslovakian Skoda factory, which the Germans kept in production for their own use. The howitzer had split trail, breech with vertical sliding breech block, wood wheels with steel hoops and gun shield which had separate part for high trajectory firing. Muzzle brake containing two rings was rather similar design as used in 75-mm Skoda antiaircraft gun. Recoil system located below barrel was rather typical pneumatic/hydraulic type. Ammunition was cartridge-seated type with 5 propellant charge sizes. Barrel was also autofregated type (without sleeves). The howitzers had originally been designed to different ammunition, but had been modified to fire the German standard 105 x 155R ammunition. Wheels were wood with steel hoops.

PICTURE: Closer look to 105 H/41 light howitzer. As mentioned the wheels are post-war. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).

Finland bought 27 howitzers from the Germans and they arrived in summer of 1941. The first shipment containing 16 howitzers arrived with S/S Myllykoski 20th of June 1941. The second shipment containing 10 howitzers in August of 1941 and the third (final) shipment containing 3 howitzers in September of 1941. Finnish military issued the howitzers to Light Artillery Battalion 10 and Heavy Artillery Battalion 3 for Continuation War. Finnish soldiers considered these howitzers to be otherwise good, but their wheels of were much too weak (they limited towing speed below 20 km/h) and service life of their barrels was quite short. The howitzers remained in use until end of the war. After the war they remained in training use and reserved for possible wartime use for quite some time. In post-war era the howitzers were also equipped with new disk wheels, which had tires made from sponge rubber. Ammunition used with these howitzers was the same as in 105 H/33 and 105 H/37 howitzers.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

74621

Total

74621

 

114 H/18

(114 mm howitzer model 1918)

(Q.F. 4.5 inch Howitzer Mk 2)

PICTURE: 114 H/18 light howitzer. Notice muzzle brake. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (62 KB).

Calibre:

114,3 mm x 86 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/15,6

Weight in action:

1370 kg

Muzzle velocity:

345 - 350 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 3 degrees

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 45 degrees

Max. range:

5,6 - 7,5 km

Ammunition weight:

15,3 - 15,7 kg (HE), 13,5 kg (HEAT)

Ammunition types:

HE, HEAT (1944), phosphorus, smoke (1942)

Country of origin:

Great Britain

Finnish use: 24 donated by Great Britain during Winter War, they arrived in January of 1940 and were used by Field Artillery in Winter War. Another batch of 30 howitzers bought from Spain didn't arrive until July of 1940. Howitzers of both batches were used by Finnish field artillery during Continuation War. 18 howitzers were also modified as weaponry of the unsuccessful BT-42 self-propelled artillery piece and used in that role until July of 1944.

- "Laguksen miehet, Marskin nyrkki" (Finnish HEAT-projectile vs. poor quality armour plate):

Distance

Hitting angle

Penetration

Any

70 degrees

110 - 115 mm

Mk 1 version of this howitzer was designed at Coventry Ordnance Works and accepted to use of British Army in Mach of 1909. It proved quite effective during World War 1, but battle-use also revealed some problems with the design. So, breech was structure was reinforced and earlier increasing twist rifling was replaced with universal twist (in which the rifling twist continued the same for whole length of barrel). Reinforcing the breech supposedly made it stronger, while change in rifling was introduced to make manufacturing of howitzer barrels easier. Version with these improvements was designed by Royal Gun Factory, it was introduced to production in last year of World War 1 and named as Mk 2. By end of year 1918 over 3,300 had been manufactured and after the war they were sold to several countries. "Q.F. 4,5 inch Howitzer Mk 2" remained as main light howitzer for British Army until early World War 2. During World War 2 the howitzer saw use with British and Commonwealth troops in Northern France in 1939-1940, in Eritrea and in Western Desert around 1941 - 1942. After this the howitzer still remained in training use until being declared obsolete in September of 1944. Some of the howitzers were used in Spanish Civil War. During WW2 the Germans captured these howitzers from Poland, British troops in France and Soviet Union (some had been delivered to Russia during WW1 and Soviets had captured some more when they occupied Baltic countries). German military named the captured howitzer was "11,4 cm leFH 361(e)" and used them mainly in coastal defence.

PICTURE: 114 H/18 light howitzer from another angle. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (62 KB).

"Q.F. 4,5 inch Howitzer Mk 2" had box trail with hole in the middle for parts retreating in recoil. Howitzer also had vertical sliding block breech, gun shield with foldable upper section and hole for aiming direct fire. The British had replaced the original wood wheels with steel hoops with new ones that had pneumatic tires in large number of these howitzers, but the ones which were used in Finland seem to have been with old wheels. Wheels also had mechanical brakes. Recoil system had combination of hydraulic buffer and spring recuperator located below barrel. Sight used was rather typical dial sight kind and ammunition was cartridge-seated type with 4 or 5 propellant charge sizes (varies depending sources). The howitzer was horse-towed with recommended maximum speed of only 8 km/hour. Limbers used with the howitzer in Finland came in two versions, which had different ammunition capacity: Spanish version carried 16 shots while British version carried 18. Maximum rate of fire was around 6 - 8 shots/minute.

PICTURE: Closer look from breech end of 114 H/18. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (48 KB).

Finland acquired 54 of these howitzers in year 1940. Great Britain donated 24 howitzers, which arrived in January of 1940, while 30 howitzers bought from Spain in March didn't arrive until July. So only the howitzers which arrived from Great Britain saw action in Winter War. Perforated muzzle brakes were added in Finland to all these howitzers soon after their arrival. The howitzers saw more large scale use in Continuation War, in which they were used by four Field Artillery regiments (2nd, 4th, 15th and 19th) each of which had twelve of these howitzers. 114 H/14 howitzer gained poor reputation among Finnish soldiers. For some crazy reason (they were available as Field Artillery didn't like them?) the howitzer was picked as weaponry of Finnish BT-42 self-propelled artillery piece. 18 howitzers renamed as "114 Psv.H/18" ("114-mm tank howitzer model 1918") were installed to BT-42 self-propelled guns. In this new use the howitzers had big part in making BT-42 complete failure. The low rate-of-fire proved even more serious downside with BT-42 used as assault guns, while ineffective HEAT-ammunition, slow aiming system and poor sights completed the disaster. Battles of summer 1944 half of the BT-42 were lost before the remaining vehicles were pulled off from battle use and declared obsolete in 7th of July 1944. Summer of 1944 proved costly also to those 114 H/18 howitzers, which had not been installed to BT-42. Nine howitzers were lost in battles during that summer. These included four howitzers belonging to 4th Army Corps, which got destroyed while serving in direct-fire and antitank-missions and three howitzers of Field Artillery Regiment 15 lost in Vaskisavotta in 10th of June 1944. The last of lost howitzers belonged to 3rd Army Corps and was also lost in direct-fire and antitank mission. Even if declared obsolete already in July of 1944 the remaining BT-42 self-propelled howitzers remained in use of Finnish Army until year 1951. Last 114 H/18 remained in training use until running ammunition in year 1963.

PICTURE: Finnish made BT-42 self-propelled artillery piece. Notice the main gun, which is 114 Psv.H/18 howitzer. (Photo taken in Panssarimuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (56 KB).

Ammunition selection for 114 H/18 and 114 Psv.H/18 was fairly wide: Early on only high explosive and phosphorus projectiles seem to have existed, but also smoke projectiles were introduced by March of 1942. Late in the war (likely early 1944) also HEAT-projectile using warhead of German 10,5 cm Hl/C HEAT-round was introduced for antitank use. More details about these projectiles:

Finnish military used following British dial sights with 114 H/18 howitzers:

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

13903

Continuation War (1941-1944)

122136

Total

136039

 

120 H/13

(120 mm howitzer model 1913)

Calibre:

120 mm x 141 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/17

Weight in action:

1500 kg

Muzzle velocity:

323 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 4,5 degrees

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 45 degrees

Max. range:

6,7 km

Ammunition weight:

20,4 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE

Country of origin:

Belgium

Finnish use: Twelve howitzers bought from Belgium during Winter War arrived in February of 1940. One additional howitzer bought later. Finnish field artillery used them rest of Winter War and during Continuation War. Late 1943 they were pulled off and reissued to Fortification Artillery, who used them until end of Continuation War.

This howitzer was same as Krupp "12 cm leFH 08" howitzer. It was build under license in Belgium and Holland before World War 2. The howitzer was rather typical Krupp design of that time. It had box trail (with hole in middle of it for gaining more elevation), vertical sliding block breech, gun shield, wood wheels with steel hoops and pneumatic/hydraulic recoil system below barrel. Ammunition used was separately loaded type with four propellant charge sizes.

Twelve howitzers and 15,000 shots for them were bought from Belgium in February of 1940. One additional howitzer was bought bit later also from Belgium. The howitzers arrived in time to see some action with 3rd Artillery Battalion of Field Artillery Regiment 14. When Continuation War begun they were first distributed to all three Artillery Battalions of Field Artillery Regiment 18, which supported 14th Division in its attack through wilderness to Rukajärvi. All these units were horse-drawn. Later the howitzers were withdrawn and reissued late 1943 to Fortification Artillery of Maaselkä Group, which used them until end of Continuation War. All the howitzers were declared obsolete around 1959 - 1960 and scrapped soon after this. Only ammunition Finnish Army used with these howitzers was high-explosive type.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

?

Continuation War (1941-1944)

?

Total

17728

 

122 H/09 and 122 H/10

(122 mm howitzers model 1909 and model 1910)

(122 mm Gaubitsa obr. 1909 g.)

(122 mm Gaubitsa obr. 1910 g.)

Calibre:

121,92 mm x 159 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/15,4 (H/09) / L/12,8 (H/10)

Weight in action:

1340 kg (H/09) / 1330 kg (H/10)

Muzzle velocity:

335 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 2 degrees (H/09)

+/- 2 - 3 degrees (H/09)

Elevation:

- 5 degrees, + 43 degrees (H/09)

- 5 degrees, + 44,5 degrees (H/10)

Max. range:

7,6 km (H/09) / 7,7 km (H/10)

Ammunition weight:

22,8 - 23,1 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, shrapnel

Country of origin:

Russia

Finnish use: Sixteen 122 H/09 and few 122 H/10 were captured during Civil War of 1918. Them and six 122 H/09 bought from Germany were used in Finnish Civil War. Several dozen more howitzers were bought from Baltic countries and Poland before World War 2. Main Finnish light howitzer types during Winter War. Field Artillery used the howitzers during Winter War. All 122 H/09 and most 122 H/10 were modernised as 122 H/09-40 and 122 H/10-40 during Interim Peace (before Continuation War) and Field Artillery used them during Continuation War. Also the small number of unmodified 122 H/10 were used by Field Artillery in Continuation War.

Both of these howitzers were foreign designs to be license produced in Imperial Russia. "Gaubitsa obr. 1909 g." was Krupp design, which was also manufactured by German Krupp for Russia before license production in Putilov factory was started. "Gaubitsa obr. 1910 g." on the other hand was French Schneider design, but was not manufactured abroad before also entering production in Putilov factory. Ammunition for both howitzers was the same and also ballistics of the two howitzers were almost identical. Introducing these two different but similar in effectiveness howitzer designs to production practically simultaneously can be considered quite questionable idea, when it comes to effective use of resources.

"Gaubitsa obr. 1909 g." had the typical box trail (with hole in middle of it for more elevation), wood wheels with steel hoops and hydraulic buffer / spring recuperator recoil system below barrel. Gun shield had hatched gap for aiming direct fire and upper part, which curved towards howitzers trail. As typical in Krupp designs the breech mechanism was with vertical sliding block breech. "Gaubitsa obr. 1910 g." had also box trail with hole in the middle, wood wheels with steel hoops and recoil system below barrel, but that was as far the similarities of the two designs went. Recoil system was typical Schneider hydraulic / pneumatic design. Gun shield of "obr 1910 g." had hole for aiming direct fire, but it also had curved lower part and breech mechanism using screw breech.

Both howitzers used same separately loaded ammunition with five propellant charge sizes (which produced muzzle velocities between 183 - 335 m/sec). As expected the howitzers were originally intended to horse-towed with limber, which weight about 800 kg. Team of horses needed for towing one of these howitzers needed six horses and the maximum towing speed didn't exceed 6 km/h. During World War 1 the two howitzer models were main types of light howitzer for Russian military. As Russian Army had desperate need for modern artillery the troops in non-frontline areas such as Finland usually had to do with more old-fashioned designs, so the number of these howitzers with Russian troops sent to Finland was relatively small in 1917 - 1918.

For this reason the number of 122-mm howitzers captured by Finnish White Army in Finnish Civil War of 1918 was quite small. Only sixteen 122 H/09 howitzers were captured during it and number of captured 122 H/10 was even smaller. Additional six 122 H/09 were bought from Germany during the Civil War and arrived in 2nd of March 1918. However as these howitzers were the only modern howitzers that White Army managed to get in reasonable numbers practically all were issued and used in Civil War. The howitzers were used to arm five Artillery Batteries and two Jaeger Artillery Batteries of Finnish White Army, which were all sent to battle in March of 1918. After the Civil War Finland started acquiring more of these howitzers. The purchases started with 29 howitzers 122 H/10 from Baltic countries in year 1919 and continued with later purchases of howitzers of both models from Poland. The howitzers remained in training use with Finnish Army until beginning of Winter War.

When Winter War started Finnish Army 70 of these howitzers, about 40 of them were 122 H/10 and about 30 were 122 H/09. In beginning of the war 69 out of 70 howitzers were issued to units of Field Artillery. The only howitzer not issued to battle-use was given to Test Firing Centre, which used for testing ammunition. During Winter War and early Continuation War typical Finnish Army Artillery Battalion of Field Artillery Regiment contained two Artillery Batteries with light field guns and one Artillery Battery with light howitzers, so these howitzers got issued to 10 Field Artillery Regiments in this manner for Winter War. Five of the howitzers were lost in that war. During Winter War Finnish Army captured modernised 122 H/09-30 and 122 H/10-30 versions of this howitzer, which inspired Finns to modernise their 122 H/09 and 122 H/10 howitzers with similar modernisation. Finnish military decided to name Finnish modernised 122 H/09 as 122 H/09-40, while similarly Finnish modernised 122 H/10 was named as 122 H/10-40. During the short Interim Peace lasting from March of 1940 to June of 1941 all 122 H/09 and most 122 H/10 were modernised in this way. So, when Continuation War started there were no 122 H/09 howitzers anymore, they had all been modernised as 122 H/09-40. Small number of still remaining 122 H/10 howitzers were issued to two Field Artillery Regiments (3rd and 11th), one of which kept using them until early 1944.

Ammunition used in these howitzers was separately loaded type. When it comes to ammunition used with 122 H/09 and 122 H/10 the selection was rather limited - only high explosive (HE) and shrapnel ammunition existed in Finnish use. Shrapnel still might have had a part to play in 1918, but by World War 2 Finnish military had found them quite ineffective and usually didn't bother with them. Typical HE-projectile for these howitzers weight some 23 kg, which includes some 4.7-kg of TNT

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

44757

Continuation War (1941-1944)

0

Total

44757

 

122 H/09-30 and 122/H 10-30

(122 mm howitzers model 1909-1930 and 1910-1930)

(122 mm gaubitsa obr. 1909/37 g.)

(122 mm gaubitsa obr. 1910/30 g.)

PICTURE: 122 H/09-30 light howitzer. Notice muzzle brake, otherwise this howitzer is identical when compared to 122 H/09 howitzer. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (42 KB).

PICTURE: 122 H/10-30 light howitzer. The muzzle brake is missing. Notice dial sight partly visible from gun shield hole. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (49 KB).

Calibre:

121,92 mm x 159 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/15,4 (H/09) / L/12,8 (H/10)

Weight in action:

1450 kg

Muzzle velocity:

361 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 2,5 degrees

Elevation:

- 1 degrees, + 44,5 degrees

Max. range:

5,0 - 8,5 km

Ammunition weight:

21,8 - 23,1 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, phosphorus, smoke, shrapnel, propaganda

Country of origin:

Soviet Union

Finnish use: 35 captured in Winter War and 145 in Continuation War. Finnish Field Artillery and Fortification Artillery used them during Continuation War.

In 1930's Soviets modernised the 122-mm howitzers they had inherited from Imperial Russia. The modernisation focused increasing the their range by enlarging the room reserved for propellant charge in the ammunition chamber of howitzers barrel. However, the larger propellant charge created more stress for the howitzer, so Soviets also strengthened the gun carriage and added perforated ("pepper-pot") muzzle brake as part of modernisation. During World War 2 these howitzers saw large-scale use with Soviet Red Army. The Germans also captured them in large numbers, called them 12,2 cm leFH 386 (r) (obr. 1909/37 g.) and 12,2 leFH 388 (r) (obr. 1910/30 g.) and introduced them to large-use with their own troops.

PICTURE: Another photo with different view of 122 H/09-30. Notice the box trail with hole in middle of it. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).

Finnish Army captured 35 of these howitzers during Winter War. Large majority of them were 122 H/10-30. Number of howitzers captured during Continuation War was much larger - 145 howitzers 122 H/10-30 and 21 howitzers 122 H/09-30. In year 1944 the Finns also bought 72 howitzers 122 H/10-30 from Germany. The 122 H/10-30 bought from Germany in year 1944 seem to have been all delivered between July - September of that year. So from these two 122 H/10-30 was clearly much more common with Finnish Army. During Continuation War 122 H/09-30 saw use only with three Artillery Battalions belonging to Field Artillery Regiments 1 and 7. The much more numerous 122 H/10-30 was totally different story: Thirteen Field Artillery Regiments, two Light Artillery Battalions, one Heavy Artillery Battalion and two Fortification Artillery Batteries used them. Finnish soldiers considered 122 H/09-30 otherwise good, but its recoil system had some weaknesses. They also considered 122 H/10-30 better then 122 H/09-30. When the number of captured howitzers was as large as it was, the losses were not small either. Four 122 H/10-30 were lost with motti of Kiestinki in 1941, but the largest losses (16 howitzers) came in summer of 1944. Largest single loss came when Field Artillery Regiment 9 lost all its twelve 122 H/10-30 howitzers in Valkeasaari in 10th of June 1944. Two 122 H/09-30 belonging to Light Artillery Battalion 23 were lost in Rokkalanjoki and also two 122 H/10-30 belonging Field Artillery Regiment 19 lost in Carelian Isthmus in summer of 1944.

PICTURE: Closer look to 122 H/10-30 howitzer. Muzzle brake is missing. Without muzzle brake also 122 H/10-30 looked identical when compared to earlier 122 H/10. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (60 KB).

These howitzers and earlier Russian used howitzers to which they were based all used separately loaded ammunition. Cartridge cases used this ammunition of these howitzers were the same length as with original 122 H/09 and 122 H/10 howitzers, but their figure was not the same. Ammunition selection for 122 H/09-30 and 122 H/10-30 was much larger then with 122 H/09 and 122 H/10. It included high explosive (HE), phosphorus, shrapnel, smoke and (captured) propaganda (for spreading propaganda leaflet) projectiles.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

369744

Total

369744

Notice: The data in this table includes also shots fired with 122 H/10, 122 H/09-40 and 122 H/10-40 howitzers during Continuation War.

 

122 H/09-40 and 122 H/10-40

(122 mm howitzers model 1909-1940 and model 1910-1940)

PICTURE: 122 H/10-40 light howitzer. No muzzle brake. Notice that this howitzer looks basically same as 122 H/10 and 122 H/10-30. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).

Calibre:

121,92 mm x 159 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/15,4 (H/09) / L/12,8 (H/10)

Weight in action:

1450 kg

Muzzle velocity:

361 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 2,5 degrees

Elevation:

- 1 degrees, + 44,5 degrees

Max. range:

5,0 - 8,5 km

Ammunition weight:

21,8 - 23,1 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE, phosphorus, smoke, shrapnel, propaganda

Country of origin:

Finland (Russian/Soviet)

Finnish use: All Finnish 122 H/09 and most 122 H/10 howitzers were modernised as these howitzers during Interim Peace. Field Artillery used them during Continuation War.

PICTURE: Look behind gun shield of 122 H/10-40. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (64 KB).

Soviet 122 H/09-30 and 122 H/10-30 howitzers captured during Winter War (November 1939 - March 1940) inspired the Finns arrange similar modernisation to their old 122 H/09 and 122 H/10 howitzers during Interim Peace (after Winter War but before Continuation War). These Finnish modified howitzers were named 122 H/09-40 and 122 H/10-40. Finnish modernisation included same enlarging of room for larger propellant charge and reinforcements to gun carriage, but it seems that perforated muzzle brake was left off from quite a few of them. During Continuation War three Field Artillery Regiments and two Heavy Artillery Battalions were using these Finnish modernised howitzers. Finnish soldiers considered 122 H/09-40 otherwise good, but like with 122 H/09-30 its recoil system had some weaknesses. They also considered 122 H/10-40 better then 122 H/09-40. Six 122 H/10-40 howitzers belonging to Heavy Artillery Battalion 25 were lost in Rokkalanjoki in 18th of June 1944. Ammunition selection for these howitzers was the same as used in their Soviet counterparts. Their ammunition spending has been included to data shown above with 122 H/09-30 and 122 H/10-30.

 

122 H/38

(122 mm howitzer model 1938)

(122 mm gaubitsa obr. 1938 g.)

(M-30)

PICTURE: 122 H/38 light howitzer. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (63 KB).

Calibre:

121,92 mm x 284 R (separately loaded ammunition)

Barrel length:

L/22,7

Weight in action:

2450 kg

Muzzle velocity:

509 m/sec

Traverse:

+/- 28,5 degrees

Elevation:

- 3 degrees, + 63,5 degrees

Max. range:

11,8 km

Ammunition weight:

21,8 kg (HE)

Ammunition types:

HE

Country of origin:

Soviet Union

Finnish use: 41 howitzers captured during Continuation War and issued to Finnish Field Artillery.

This howitzer designed by team lead by F. F. Petrov was introduced to use of Soviet Red Army in year 1938. Being such a new design during World War 2 it proved to be one of the best light howitzers during it. Naturally they also were the most modern light howitzers that Finnish Army captured. When it comes to technical aspects 122 H/38 was rather typical design as one developed in 1930's: It had split trail, gun shield, recoil system with hydraulic buffer below barrel and hydro-pneumatic recuperator above it. Wheels had tires made from sponge rubber. Screw breech however was bit of reminder from past. Typical rate-of-fire was around 5 - 6 shots/minute. The Germans captured all these howitzers and named them 12,2 cm sFH 396 (r) before issuing them to their own field artillery and coastal defence (this included Atlantic Wall). Soviets also introduced HEAT-ammunition for this howitzer (with some 200-mm armour penetration). After World War 2 these howitzers spread all over Soviet the world with Soviets selling and giving away them to countries they wanted to equip. Copy of this howitzer was also manufactured in Peoples Republic of China as 122-mm howitzer Type 54. Even today this howitzer remains in use with some countries. The Soviets used the gun carriage designed for this howitzer also in their later 152-mm howitzer m 1943 (D-1).

PICTURE: Peak behind gun shield of 122 H/38. (Photo taken in Tykistömuseo). CLICK THUMBNAIL TO SEE LARGER PIC (62 KB).

Finnish military captured 41 of these howitzers during Continuation War, the large majority of them (25 howitzers) in Carelia north of Lake Ladoga during at summer of 1941. The captured howitzers were issued to Light Artillery Battalion 11 and Heavy Artillery Battalion 25. From these two the first one used them until end of the war. Finnish soldiers really liked this howitzer and didn't find any fault in it. Three howitzers belonging to IV Army Corps were lost in 1944. Ammunition used with these howitzers were cartridge-seated type with 9 propellant charge sizes. Finnish military seems to have used only HE-ammunition these them. After WW2 the howitzers remained as training equipment and were reserved for possible wartime use for a long time (presumably until mid 1980's or so) until they were declared obsolete.

War:

Shots fired:

Winter War (1939-1940)

0

Continuation War (1941-1944)

13928

Total

13928

 

OTHER LIGHT HOWITZERS:

105 H/33-40 (105 mm howitzer model 1933-1940) (10,5 cm lFH 18/40): During World War 2 the Germans came to conclusion that 10,5 cm leFH 18 (105 H/33) howitzer was too heavy and had too poor mobility for often weak roads and difficult terrain. So they developed a lighter version, which used gun carriage of 7,5 cm Pak 40 (75 PstK/40) antitank gun and new more effective muzzle brake. Naturally also the springs and elevation system needed some modifications for this. The howitzer had also direct-fire sight and wider wheels made from steel. Even if this new howitzer wasn't a success when it came to mobility some 10,245 were manufactured before end of the war. The Finns bought eight of these howitzers in 1944, but the howitzers arrived too late (3rd of September 1944) to see any action in World War 2 with Finnish military.


SOURCES:

Jyri Paulaharju: Itsenäisen Suomen kenttätykit 1918 1995.

Unto Partanen: Tykistömuseon 78 tykkiä.

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

Talvisodan historia book series.

Jatkosodan historia book series.

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

Ian Hogg: Twentieth Century Artillery.

Ian Hogg: British & American Artillery of World War 2.

Christopher F. Foss: Artillery of the World

Chris Chant: Artillery of World War II.

Kurt Passow: Taschenbuch der Heere 1939.

Erkki Käkelä: Laguksen miehet, Marskin nyrkki.

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

Documents of Finnish military Archives, archives folder T18419.

Finnish military archives, archive reference T19043/20

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

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

Finnish military archives, archive reference T20214/3

Military manual: Kenttätykistö ja sen toiminta by T. Ekman (printed 1925).

Military manual: 105 mm. kevyt kenttähaupitsi vuodelta 1937 (printed 1943).

Military manual: 114 H/18, 114 mm kevyt kenttähaupitsi, mallia 18 englantilainen (printed 1942).

Military manual: Aseopas IV, Tykkejä ja miinoja by Päämaja (printed 1940).

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).

Guns vs Armour website by D.M. Honner

Article: Brittiläiset kenttätykit Suomessa by Jyri Paulaharju in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 4/99.

Article: Vapaussodan tykkikalusto by Jyri Paulaharju in Vapaussodan Invaliidi magazine vol. 58 (1985).

Article: Kotimaisen kenttätykin, 105:mm haupitsin mallia 1937, tarina by Jyri Paulaharju in Ase-lehti magazine vol. 2/2008.

Special thanks to Tykistömuseo (Finnish Artillery Museum, Hämeenlinna).

Special thanks to Panssarimuseo (Finnish Armour Museum, Parola).


Last updated 19th of February 2012
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