7.7cm Feldkanone 16

The 7.7cm Feldkanone 16 was an improved version of the 7.7cm Feldkanone 96 n/A, with increased range.

The 7.7cm Feldkanone 96 n/A was the standard German field gun at the start of the First World War, and was a rugged Krupp weapon, but it suffered from limited range. The first attempt to fix this came in 1915, when the gun was installed on a howitzer carriage to increase elevation. The 7.7cm Feldkanone 16 was the more long-term solution.

The  new gun had a longer barrel - 2m 69.5cm (L/35) compared to 2m 8cm (L/27) on the older weapon. On the older weapon the barrel was only slightly longer than the cradle of the recoil mechanism, but on the FK 16 most of the extra length was in front of the cradle. The horizontal sliding breach remained the same. It was placed on the carriage from the 10.5cm FH 98/09 howitzer, which gave it a maximum elevation of 40 degrees. The new gun was significantly heavier than the FK 96 n/A, but that didn't matter too much in the conditions of trench warfare.

The FK 16 used separate shells and charge cases. It operated with a gun limber, and the gun and limber needed six horses to be moved into position. A wide range of shells were produced, including HE, shrapnel, gas, smoke and flares. It required a crew of six or seven

When the FK 16 entered service in 1916 it had a range of 9,100m with regular HE shells, up from 7,800m on the FK 96 n/A.

In 1917 the streamlined C-shell appeared. This had a more pointed nose, and a slightly tapered rear, and saw maximum range leap once again, this time to 10,700m.

The FK 16 was used to equip four-gun batteries in the field gun battalions of field artillery regiments (down from the six-gun batteries used before the war). By the end of the First World War 3,020 were in use, so the FK 16 was never as numerous as the FK 96 n/A, of which 5,096 were in service at the start of the war.

Under the terms of the Versailles Treaty the FK 16 was the only field gun that the German Army was allowed to keep. Even then a large number went for war reparations, with some going to Belgium. Others went to the Netherlands, China, Bulgaria and Finland, and the last three nations still had some in use in 1939. 

By 1935 most of the 7.7cm barrels have been replaced with 7.5cm FK 16 n.A. barrels. The guns then became known as the 7.5cm Feldkanone 16 n/A, and in this guise saw service throughout the Second World War. The old 7.7cm barrels were either scrapped or placed in storage, before being dug up later in the Second World War for use in coastal defences or fortifications.

Name

7.7cm Feldkanone 16
7.7cm FK 16

Calibre

77mm (3.03in)

Barrel Length

2m 69.5cm (L/35)

Weight for transport

2,256kg

Weight in action

1,248-1,325kg

Elevation

-10 to +40 degrees

Traverse

4 degrees

Shell Weight

7.2kg shell
6.6kg shrapnel-shell
5,99kg C-shell

Muzzle Velocity

420-525 m/sec shell
602 m/sec C-shell

Maximum Range

9,100m shell
6,000m shrapnel-shell
10,700m C-shell

Rate of Fire

15-20 rounds/ min

Books on the First World War | Subject Index: First World War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (27 September 2017), 7.7cm Feldkanone 16 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_77cm_FK_16.html

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