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Last Update: 08.01.2017, 19:49
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Light Field Howitzer 18 L/28

During the summer of 1926 the German army command asked for an improvement of the "leichte Feldhaubitze 16" (light field howitzer 16), which had been in service already in World War I. This task was given to the Rheinmetall company. The results of the project, named "leichte Feldhaubitze 18" (leFH 18), were models L/25 and finally L/28. This gun could be used for direct and indirect fire. Its improved aiming device allowed its crew to fight even against mobile targets, like tanks. This made leFH 18 L/28 the standard light field artillery of the German army until the end of World War II.

Immediately after the development phase, Rheinmetall started production of the gun. But it still took several years until in 1935 the first leFH 18 L/28 was introduced into the Wehrmacht. The first models were equipped with wooden wheels, but this was already changed one year later. From 1936, all guns were fitted with rubber tires on iron wheels.

Immediately after the development phase, Rheinmetall started production of the gun. But it still took several years until in 1935 the first leFH 18 L/28 was introduced into the Wehrmacht. The first models were equipped with wooden wheels, but this was already changed one year later. From 1936, all guns were fitted with rubber tires on iron wheels.

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Technical Data

caliber 105 mm
length of barrel 2,941 mm
rate of fire 6 - 8 rounds per minute
maximum firing range 10,675 m
no produced until 1945 19,104 guns
weight of shell (demolition) 14.81 kg


Initially it was planned to pull the gun by horse power, but it became quickly obvious that the 2 tons of weight were too much for the poor animals. As a result some artillery units were equipped with half track vehicles. This made it possible to take these units on roads with an average speed of 40 km/h.

During the rearming of the German Wehrmacht, all combat-essential units were equipped with the leFH 18 L/28. As a result the Germans had 4,862 leFH 18s at the beginning of the war in 1939.

The batteries of the divisional artillery regiments were equipped with four guns each. In order to operate this gun a crew of eight artillery men was needed. There was also a self-propelled, armored version of this gun, called "Wespe".

However the leFH 18 L/28 was not only in use by the German army. This gun was sold to several European nations, including Spain, Norway and the Netherlands.

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Models

Lineol offered a model of the leFH18 (No. 813) for the first time in its 1938 catalogue update. This is a nicely detailed model which includes most of the functionality of the real gun. A mechanism allows adjustment the height and direction of the barrel. Like most Lineol guns from this time, it was possible to load this gun with a small charge and to fire a small rubber shell. In order to pull the gun into a new firing position the spores may be folded back.

It seems that there are only grey-painted models of this gun. This seems logical, as Lineol changed its policy for camouflaged painting from yellow, green and brown spotted to grey in 1939.

An interesting additional item is the four wheel carriage which may be used to transport the gun over long distances by motor vehicles. However the gun was also sold by Lineol without this carriage, and it seems that this item is extremely hard to find. However there are a lot of very nicely made reproductions that can be used instead.

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Sources

  • Die Wehrmacht, 17/1938, OKW, 1938.
  • N. Schrepf, Katalog Militärisches Zubehör, 1997/98, Verlag Schrepf, 1997.
  • J. Engelmann, Deutsche leichte Feldhaubitzen 1935-1945, Waffen-Arsenal, Band 125, Podzun Pallas Verlag, 1990



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