Massimo (Flickr) Foti
Lat : 48.18650 / Long : 16.38760
General comments on this surviving gun :
Identical items in the same location :
Items covered by this file :
Historic context :
After several months of position war, the Austro-Hungarian armies fighting on different fronts requested an increase of the range of the heavy field guns and howitzers to be able to answer to the similar Italian and Russian weapons. The '15cm M 1915 AutoHaubtitze' was therefore initially designed, on the base of an existing 15 cm fortress turret howitzer barrel, as an improvement of the reglementary 15cm M14 howitzer, in parallel with the developments that would lead to the 15cm M15 gun. The new howitzer was then taking advantage of an elongated 20 calibres barrel for a longer range as requested
But moreover, the new howitzer was also designed for the mechanized towing in one single load (hence the name 'Auto Haubitze'), and therefore equipped with a very strong carriage and a integrated suspension. In the case of a horse driven towing (in mountain roads), the weapon had however to be dismounted into 4 separate loads..
In addition to the improved mobility, the new 15cm M15 howitzer demonstrated much superior ballistic characteristics than the ones of the 15cm M14 howitzer, shooting the same 42 kg at 11.5 km instead of 8 km. But there was a price for this, with a tremendous weight increase, multiplied by two over 5.5 tons !
Despite an enthusiastic appreciation from the front units as soon as the first howitzers arrived in the first half of 1916, only 57 barrels and 56 carriages were built by Skoda whose industrial efforts were kept focused on the production of the modified 15cm M14/16 version of the classic howitzer, even if it was not getting close to the ballistic performances of the M15 neither. It is probable this choice was based on economic (manufacturing costs, metal weight), logistic (mechanized tractors availability) and strategic (concentration of the front mainly in mountainous zones) considerations. The few howitzers captured by the Italians were used under the name 'obice da 149/17'.
Technical data :
- Complete description : 15 cm howitzer M 1915 for mechanised towing
- Design year : 1915
- Calibre : 149.10 mm
- Weight in firing position : 5560 kg
- Weight for transportation : 6360 kg in a single load (mechanized towing). 4 separate loads with horses towing
- Tube length in calibres : 20.00
- Grooves : 0 unknown
- Projectile weight : 42 kg
- Initial speed : 508 m/s
- Fire rate : 2 rounds / minute
- Range : 11500 m
- Elevation range : -5 to +65 degrees
- Direction range : 8 degrees total range