28 cm Haubitze L/12

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28 cm Haubitze L/12
TypeCoastal Artillery
Heavy Siege Howitzer
Place of originGermany
Service history
In service1890–45
Used by German Empire
 Nazi Germany
WarsWorld War I
World War II
Production history
Mass50.3 tonnes (49.5 long tons; 55.4 short tons)
Barrel length3.39 m (11.1 ft) L/12[1]

ShellSeparate loading bagged charge and projectile
Shell weight215–345 kg (474–761 lb)
Caliber283 mm (11.1 in)
BreechHorizontal sliding-block
Elevation0° to +70°
Rate of fire1 round per 4 minutes
Muzzle velocity379–425 m/s (1,240–1,390 ft/s)
Effective firing range9.9 km (6.2 mi)
Maximum firing range10.4 km (6.5 mi)[1]

The 28 cm Haubitze L/12 was a German coastal defense and siege howitzer. Developed by Krupp before World War I that saw service in both World War I and World War II.


The 28 cm Haubitze L/12 in Mittelpivotlafette C/92 was a design of the late 19th century initially intended for coastal defense. The theory of operation was a low-velocity howitzer firing a large shell at a high-angle was more likely to destroy an enemy ship by penetrating its thin deck armor than a high-velocity low-angle gun attempting to penetrate its thicker belt armor. The downside was that high-angle fire was harder to aim correctly so more howitzers would be needed to defend an area from attack. However, if the area was constrained by geography like a port at the mouth of a river the navigation channels could be measured ahead of time and firing ranges calculated. A complicating factor was as naval artillery progressed their size and range soon eclipsed its range.[2]

In the coastal defense role it was mounted on a large geared circular base that was set in concrete. There was also a 60 mm (2.4 in) thick armored dome to protect the gun crew. Recoil forces were absorbed by a combination of the gun cradle moving up an inclined plane and two hydro-pneumatic or hydro-spring recuperator cylinders, one on each side of the carriage. It fired a 215–345 kg (474–761 lb) high-explosive shell to a range of 10.4 km (6.5 mi) and was capable of penetrating 100 mm (3.9 in) of deck armor at an angle of 63° at 9.9 km (6.2 mi). The guns had an early form of the Krupp sliding block breech and used separate loading bagged charge and projectiles.[1]

In the siege howitzer role it could be broken down into four loads, the barrel, cradle, turntable and firing platform, each carried by a three-axle trailer. It was mounted on a turntable which was fixed to a wooden firing platform and required three to four days to emplace for firing. An ammunition crane was fixed to the carriage for ease of loading.[3]

Combat history[edit]

World War I[edit]

During the First World War there was a four gun battery at the Bismark fortress that participated in the defense of the German colony of Tsingtao during Siege of Tsingtao in 1914.[4] A four gun battery was also moved from the German port of Wilhelmshaven to Blankenberge in Belgium to defend against an allied seaborne invasion.[1]

Prior to the Great War, in 1902, the Portuguese monarchy bought several 28cm Krupp howitzers for equipping coastal artillery batteries at the mouth of the river Tagus, serving as the main defensive guns for Lisbon's harbor. There were in total four batteries, two on the northern margin and two on the southern margin of the river. Despite operating on a 24-hour basis during the Great War, these batteries weren't capable of shooting at night, relying on other batteries of smaller calibre artillery for defending the capital.[5]

World War II[edit]

Supposedly it saw action in the assault on Sevastopol in 1942 under the command of 11th Army of Army Group South, but this has not been confirmed.[3]

Weapons of similar era and performance[edit]

Photo Gallery[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Fleisher, Wolfgang. German artillery : 1914-1918. Barnsley. p. 118. ISBN 9781473823983. OCLC 893163385.
  2. ^ Hogg, Ian (2000). Twentieth-century artillery. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. p. 88. ISBN 0760719942. OCLC 44779672.
  3. ^ a b Gander and Chamberlain, p. 208
  4. ^ "German Colonial Uniforms". s400910952.websitehome.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  5. ^ Marquês de Sousa, Pedro (2017). A Nossa Artilharia na Grande Guerra: 1914-1918. p. 160. ISBN 9789896584986. OCLC 1031381786.


  • Engelmann, Joachim and Scheibert, Horst. Deutsche Artillerie 1934-1945: Eine Dokumentation in Text, Skizzen und Bildern: Ausrüstung, Gliederung, Ausbildung, Führung, Einsatz. Limburg/Lahn, Germany: C. A. Starke, 1974
  • Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945. New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
  • Hogg, Ian V. German Artillery of World War Two. 2nd corrected edition. Mechanicsville, PA: Stackpole Books, 1997 ISBN 1-85367-480-X