15cm Feldkanone i.R. Cartridge Casing
15cm cartridge casing for the Krupp 15cm SK L/40 i.R. (SK - Schnellladungskanone = fast-loading cannon / i.R. - in Raderlafette = in wheeled carriage).

To illustrate the size, the casing is photographed with a superb and rare original Model 1895 Preußen J. Bambus & Co. Rolled-Edge Ersatz Artillerie Filzhelm (felt helmet) which would have been worn by Gunners in some units armed with this weapon.

15cm Feldkanone i.R. Cartridge Casing Data:
  • Height - 577mm (22.71 inches)
  • Actual Calibre - 153mm (6.02 inches)
  • Base Diameter - 175mm (6.88 inches)
  • Weight - 5.5 kg (12.2 lbs.)
  • Manufacturer - Patronenfabrik Karlsruhe
  • Date - April 1918
A close-up of the head stamping on the base. Marked: PATRONENFABRIK (cartridge factory) KARLSRUHE manufactured "April 1918" with the standard twin flaming bombs for this manufacturer. "51" is the lot number of that batch of cases which were made during 1918. Sp255 is the control/inspection mark of the manufacturer Patronenfabrik Karlsruhe. The absence of a Marine Crown M acceptance stamp combined with the late war date indicates that this cartridge casing never made it to Marine inventory and was used by the Fußartillerie (Foot Artillery) on the Western Front.
A 3D rendering by Pascal Casanova of the 15cm Spgr. L/3,6 shell and the cartridge casing above for the 15 cm. SK L/40 .

The fuse illustrated is the Dopp. Z. S/43.

15cm Spgr. L/3,6 Shell Data:
  • Height - 574mm (22.59 inches)
  • Weight - 50.5 kg (113.3 lbs.)
15cm SK L/40 Marine Mount
Soon after stalemate in the West, the Germans realized that they badly needed heavier calibre cannons with further range. Spare 15cm SK L/40 cannons from the SMS Grazelle, Bremen, Königsberg, Dresden and Tiger classes of cruisers were released to the Army to meet this demand. As these ships became obsolete during the course of the war, the ship mounted cannons were dismounted for use on the Western front. Initially, many were transported to fixed positions exactly as they had been on board the cruisers as in the illustration above.
15cm Feldkanone i.R.
The 15cm Feldkanone i.R. was the result of mating a 15cm L/40 marine cannon with a wheeled carriage to produce the Krupp 15cm Feldkanone i.R. (i.R.: in Räderlafette = on Wheeled carriage). For field use, the cannon was placed on a special ground platform (visible in the photo above) which allowed traverse in azimuth. The naval cradle was mounted to the carriage and then the carriage was anchored to the special firing platform. Due to the extreme weight of the cannon, carriage, and ground platform, to move the cannon required it to be broken down into three loads that could then be moved by either tractor or horse.

The superb photo above shows a 15cm Feldkanone i.R. being loaded with this cartridge casing. Typical for all cannons over 10cm, it utilized semi-fixed ammunition where after the projectile was rammed home, the brass cartridge casing containing a set amount of propellant and the primer was inserted The Gunner on the left is holding the 17.4 kg (38.4 lbs) High Explosive projectile, the gunner on the right of the trail is holding the final piece: the cartridge casing.

Krupp 15cm Feldkanone i.R. are immediately recognizable by the distinctive L beam spokes of the metal wheels.

15cm Feldkanone i.R. Data:
  • Weight - 11,82 metric tons (13.02 tons)
  • Range - 12.20 km (7.58 miles)
  • Manufacturer - Krupp
  • Barrel Length - 4.47 meters (14 ft 7 in)
  • Projectile - 17.4 kg (38.4 lbs) High Explosive

Photo courtesy Brett Butterworth Photo Archives
A 15cm Feldkanone i.R. on the march. During the course of the war, the wheels of the 15cm Feldkanone i.R. were altered for muddy conditions by affixing Rad-guertel (wheel pads) to the circumference to dissipate the ground pressure. Again, those L beam spokes on the metal wheels are clearly shown.
Two 15cm Feldkanone i.R. on the march. Note how the trail of the cannon is supported by wheels during transport. These cannons are also fitted with Rad-guertel for muddy conditions.
15cm Feldkanone i.R. cartridge casing anyone?