10.5 cm Gebirgshaubitze 40

The 10.5 cm Gebirgshaubitze 40 (10.5 cm GebH 40) was a 10.5 cm (4.1 in) German mountain howitzer used during World War II. A total of 420 were built during World War II. It saw action with German mountain divisions in Finland, Italy, France, on the Eastern Front and in the Balkans from 1942. It has the distinction of being the heaviest mountain howitzer ever built. It served with a number of European countries into the 1960s.

10.5 cm Gebirgshaubitze 40
Class Vehicle
Type Towed Artillery
Manufacturer Bohler
Production Period 1942 - 1945
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany 1942 1965 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Bohler 1942 1945 420 View

The 10.5 cm GebH 40 was designed to meet an Army requirement for a 10.5 cm howitzer to serve in the mountain divisions (Gebirgs Divisionen). Both Rheinmetall and Böhler submitted designs for troop trials in 1940 and Böhler was selected for production, although actual production did not begin until 1942. Some 420 were built between 1942–45.

The design of the 10.5 cm GebH 40 was relatively conventional in regard to the gun itself, with its standard German horizontal sliding block breech, split trail carriage with removable spades, and muzzle brake, but its carriage was truly innovative. First, the light-alloy wheels with solid rubber tires, and their spring suspension, were fixed to the legs of the split-trail carriage and would "toe-in" when the legs were spread out in preparation for firing. Second, a firing pedestal was positioned underneath the front of the carriage so that the howitzer had three points of support when firing and to minimize the time needed to find a firing position by reducing the amount of level space required (three level spots being easier to find than four). Third, it could be towed fully assembled, broken down into four loads on single-axle trailers towed by Sd.Kfz. 2 "Kettenkrad" half-track motorcycles or broken down into five pack-loads to be carried by mules. It remains the heaviest mountain howitzer ever made at 1,660 kg (3,660 lb), but it has been assessed as one of the best mountain guns ever made and it remained in service until the 1960s with various European countries.

Two different range figures have been quoted for the 10.5 cm GebH 40, 12,625 metres (13,807 yd)[1][4] and 16,740 metres (18,310 yd). The former figure seems more plausible when compared to 10.5 cm howitzers with roughly similar barrel lengths and muzzle velocities like the 10.5 cm leFH 18 and the American M-2.

Type Mountain gun
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1942–65
Used by  Nazi Germany
Wars Second World War
Production history
Designer Böhler
Designed 1938–40
Manufacturer Böhler
Produced 1942–45
Number built 420
Specifications
Weight 1,660 kg (3,660 lb)
Barrel length 2.87 metres (9 ft 5 in)
Shell separate-loading, cased charge
Shell weight 14.52 kg (32.0 lb)
Caliber 105 millimetres (4.1 in)
Breech horizontal sliding block
Carriage split trail
Elevation -4° 30' to +71°
Traverse 51°
Rate of fire 4–6 rpm
Muzzle velocity 565 m/s (1,850 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 12,625 m (13,807 yd)

End notes