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9cm Kanone 1873 (/1891)

Light artillery

Contributor :
François Garnier     
Alain Bohée     
Guy François     
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Location :
Hennezel - Clairey (88)
Coordinates : Lat : 48.04070 / Long : 6.10470
General comments on this surviving gun :

Identical items in the same location : 1
Items covered by this file : 1

The plate makes erroneously states that this gun is a Austrian 88mm M 1875, although this is a German 9cm C73 n°1818, manufactured in 1875.

This will perhaps launch a new debate over thes famous 'zim-boom', supposedly Austrian 88mm guns often cited in Poilus' memories, but whose presence on the western front in 1915 makes no sense...

This confusion could comfort the ideas of the experts who think, like Guy Francois and me, that the numerous French veterans who explained in their memories how they feared the terrifying effects of the "Austrian 88" guns were in fact talking of this gun

Historic and technical information
Denomination :     9cm K 73 (/91) Origin :       ( Krupp)          

Historic context :

The important technical superiority of the German artillery during the 1870 war (with the first breech-loading guns) did not prevent the General Staff from willing to improve further its material, capitalizing on the battlefield experiences.

This is how the obturation weaknesses of the old fieldguns C/61 were corrected with the design in 1873 of the C/73 guns equipped with Krupp breech blocks. Two different calibres were planned : a light 8cm (78.5mm) gun for the field artillery, manufactured in small quantities, and a heavy 9cm (88mm) fieldgun for the 'foot' artillery ('FussArtillerie').

In 1914, the obsolete '9cm K 73' ('K' = Kanone), with no recoil recuperation system, was still arming numerous units of the FussArtillerie, in a later improved version 9cm K 79 (with bronze barrel), 9cm K C73/88 (lightened tube), and mainly 9cm K C73/91 (tube in nickel-alloyed steel).

Although some still maintain some debate, all the artillery specialists agree on the fact that the numerous witnesses from French soldiers about 'dangerous austrian 88mm guns', historically unexplicable because of the absence of this country artillery of that caliber in German lines, are in fact referring to these 9cm K 73 of the FussArtillerie, placed near the first lines.

During the war, improvisations were performed to transform some of these into anti-aircraft guns, with little success. The Turkish armies used large amounts of the K73 gun, until as late as 1923.

Technical data :

  • Complete description : 9cm M 1873 (/1891) fielgun
  • Design year : 1873
  • Calibre : 88.00 mm
  • Weight in firing position : 1308 kg (FK 73/88) - 1210 kg (FK 73/91)
  • Weight for transportation :
  • Tube length in calibres : 24.00 (total length - 17 grooved part only)
  • Grooves : 24
  • Projectile weight : 7.5 kg explosif - 8 kg shrapnell
  • Initial speed : 442 m/s
  • Fire rate :
  • Range : 6500 m
  • Elevation range : -10 to +41 degrees
  • Direction range : None

  • German Artillery of World War One           Herbert Jager                   Crowood   2001  
  • Deutsche FeldArtillerie 1864-1910 - Geschütze - Fahrzeuge, Waffen-Arsenal #152       Sonja Wetzig                   Waffen-Arsenal   1995  
  • German Artillery 1864-1910       Sonja Wetzig                   Schiffer Military / Aviation History   1996