Col des Milleres
Lat : 42.56670 / Long : 2.41970
General comments on this surviving gun :
Identical items in the same location :
Items covered by this file :
Historic context :
The Austro-Hungarian troops request, coming from the experience of the first year of war, for heavy field artillery weapons with longer range able to compete with the equivalent Russian and Italian weapons was heard by the Technical Military Commission (TMK). It was even more natural in the case of the 15cm heavy guns whose only model in service was the obsolete 15cm M80 ranging to a maximum of 6500 m (and up to 8500 m very specific charge and projectile conditions)...
The TMK resumed works that had been started in 1910 with Skoda and abandonned at the outbreak of the war A first prototype was delivered in May 1915, and considered satisfactory enough to authorize the production at the start of 1916. This elegant gun, with a long bronze 39 caliber tube, had been designed since the beginning for a mechanized towing (needing a strengthened carriage and a suspension), justifying its '15 cm M15 AutoKanone' name.
However, the elevation angle limitation to 30 degrees was not able to take all the advantage of the barrel power, so that the TMK asked its increase to 40 degrees, then to 45 degrees under the pressure of the General Head Quarter. This request, emitted at the start of 1916, did not interrupt the production of the M15 models, and the first '15 cm M15/16 AutoKanone' in accordance with this new specification were only produced from mid-1917 when all the design work, more complex than initially intuited, were done.
This nice gun, although with a somehow old-fashioned bronze jacketted barrel, was giving very long ranges around 20 km particularly well adapted to the harassment and counter-battery fire. Its mobility, however reduced by the important weight (over 13 tons) that made it necessary to be transported in two separate loads even with the mechanized towing, allowed it to come relatively close to the front lines, involving the presence of a pretty imposant shield.
The M15 version was manufactured in 27 items until the middle of 1917, when all the next guns were produced according to the improved M15/16 model. As a total 44 tubes and 43 carriages were produced, all versions included. Some of them, captured by Italy, were used during WW1 and after it, as well as by the German Wehrmacht during WW2.
Technical data :
- Complete description : 15 cm gun M 1915 and 1915/16
- Design year : 1915, 1916
- Calibre : 152.40 mm
- Weight in firing position : 12200 kg (M15); 13300 kg (M15/16)
- Weight for transportation : 2 separate loads
- Tube length in calibres : 39.00 (total length) - 34 calibres rifled part only
- Grooves : 0 unknown
- Projectile weight : 56 kg
- Initial speed : 700 m/s
- Fire rate : 1 shot / minute
- Range : 19000 m (M15); 22000 m (M15/16)
- Elevation range : -6 to +30 degrees (M15); -6 to +45 degrees (M15/16)
- Direction range : 6 degrees total range