Skoda K series

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Skoda K series
Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-163-0319-07A, Griechenland, Artilleriestellung auf freiem Feld.jpg
15 cm sFH 37(t) in German service, Greece, 1941.
Typeheavy howitzer
Place of originCzechoslovakia
Service history
In service1933–1995
Used byTurkey
Kingdom of Romania
SFR Yugoslavia
Czechoslovakia
Nazi Germany
Slovakia
WarsWorld War II
Production history
DesignerSkoda
ManufacturerSkoda
Variants15 cm hrubá houfnice vz. 37
Specifications
MassK1: 5,020 kg (11,070 lb)
Vz. 37: 5,200 kg (11,500 lb)
Barrel lengthK1: 4.05 m (13 ft 3 in) L/27
Vz. 37: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in) L/24[1]
Crew11

Shell42 kg (93 lb)
Caliber149.1 mm (5.87 in)
CarriageSplit trail
Elevation-5° to +70°
Traverse45°[1]
Muzzle velocityK1: 570 metres per second (1,900 ft/s)
Vz. 37: 580 m/s (1,900 ft/s)
Maximum firing range15 km (9.3 mi)[1]

The Škoda 149 mm K series was a line of heavy howitzer designs that served with Germany, Turkey, Romania, Slovakia, and Yugoslavia during World War II.

Description[edit]

The K-series howitzers were modern designs for their time, with a powerful 149.1 mm calibre barrel mounted on a heavy field carriage designed for motorized transport. The K1 model was slightly longer and could be disassembled for horse carrying as well. The K4 model was more modern and used pneumatic wheels as opposed to the K1's solid rubber rims. Both howitzers used spade plates that had to be pound into the ground to anchor the weapon in place.

History[edit]

K1 howitzer (with postwar pneumatic wheels) in traveling position.

The K series was an entirely new design by the Škoda Works company of Czechoslovakia. The original K1 model was in production by 1933, and was a successful export weapon, with sales to Turkey, Romania, and Yugoslavia. However, the Czechoslovak Army was not a buyer, but desired modifications to the weapon before any purchase. The newer weapon was titled the K4 and was accepted by the Czech Army as its standard heavy howitzer intended to replace the large variety of World War I era pieces still on inventory. In Czech service it received the designation 15 cm hrubá houfnice vzor 37 and had just begun production when Czechoslovakia capitulated to Germany in 1939. The Germans continued production for service in the Wehrmacht as the 15 cm schwere Feldhaubitze 37(t) or sFH 37(t). The weapon was widely used, particularly on the Eastern Front, and some had been supplied to Axis-allied powers such as Slovakia. Yugoslav K1 guns captured by Germany were given the designation sFH 402(j).[1]

Romania purchased a total of 180 pieces between 1936 and 1939, designated as M34. Romania was not able to produce the whole piece by itself, but its Astra Works did manage to produce the gun barrel. Gun barrels of 150 mm were produced by Astra during the war for the replacement of damaged/worn-out barrels.[2]

Gallery[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Chamberlain, Peter (1975). Heavy artillery. Gander, Terry,. New York: Arco. ISBN 0668038985. OCLC 2143869.
  2. ^ Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, p. 29

References[edit]

  • Chamberlain, Peter & Gander, Terry. Heavy Artillery. New York: Arco, 1975 ISBN 0-668-03898-5
  • 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
  • Bishop, Chris (General Editor). The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II. New York: Barnes £ Noble Books, 1998 ISBN 0-7607-1022-8