Thoughts on the 17cm Kanone 18 w/Limber

Wanted to start a general information discussion on this monster German weapon of WWI & WWII.

My current primary interest in how the weapon was prepared for travel over short distances as well as when it is broken down into two parts for movement over greater distances.

To start things off I will share several, as yet unpublished, photos taken by my good friend Monte Kelch. This particular gun was for many years, on display at a local VFW Post in the Cincinnati area.




Photo Credit: Monte Kelch

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Some “Ready for Travel” photos:

Photo Credit: Victor Dashkiyeff

Photo Credit: Victor Dashkiyeff

Photo Credit: Victor Dashkiyeff

Photo Credit: Victor Dashkiyeff

Photo Credit: Victor Dashkiyeff

Photo Credit: Victor Dashkiyeff


I would recommend picking up this book


A similar, if brief discussion on this topic can also be found in the Archives:

Apparently at least at one time a resin version of the barrel transport wagon was offered in 1/35th.

A review of this kit albeit in German:

Another extremely interesting site provided by Victor Dashkiyeff:
Click on Photo

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A completed barrel transport trailer: Das Rohrwagen*


What is the purpose of this “jack knife” design to the gun trail? Yes it increases ground clearance when towing but it also depresses the end of the gun’s barrel even more. If you had to traverse even a small depression in the road (valley) you would be dragging the end of the barrel in the dirt.


And what is the purpose of those two large coil springs? Are they in compression or expansion?

Whitney I do appreciate the reference but books like this tend mostly to show the guns in action or while being towed. They usually offer very little in the way of design insights or the finer details of actual operation.

IMHO ~ One has to but look at the weapon in short haul towing configuration to realize that barrel dragging will occur if towed through most any small depression.

Many European bridges also had a lower paved path next to them that ran through the water to be used by wide or heavy loads. In such small depressions the weapon would/might/most definitely get hung up or at least drag the barrel across the paving stones and possibly even lift the barrel out of its’ recoil tracks on the carriage.

It really surprises me that in all the towed photos the gun is seen in maximum depression and is never seen as elevated to ease this concern.

And again what was the purpose of the hinged part right at the end of the trails just above the limber and what part did those huge springs play in supporting it?

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Deleted by Author:

This appears to be a spring loaded hinge in the trails and not a fixed bend in the structure here.


This device appears to flatten out when the gun is emplaced. So the springs appear to compress. Might this structure actually flex while being towed over bumps and ruts???

2d954e6a0Crop Flat when on the ground.

Cannot decide if these springs are pulling or pushing. They are wound like screen door springs which would indicate they are pulling and not pushing, (Resisting expansion)

Just trying to understand how these mechanisms actually worked here. I guess I had hopes someone might have an illustrated TM on this weapon. (Of course it would then be in German which might not tell me all that much.)

Model part: Photo found online.

Ohh. Yes! I will follow along with great interest. I have an Sd.kfz. 8 that needs something to pull around.

It looks to me that it may be a device to lower the trails to the ground in order to unhitch the limber ?

Are there more details on the location, and is it still there?


RDT - I think you might have hit on something with that idea. There is a heavy winch and a massive bicycle style chain that disappears under the gun trails!

Kurt - Sorry but the gun was removed years ago under pressure from the local neighborhood association but I am told it went to a good home rather than the scrapper, but if true, it seems we would have heard of it displayed somewhere here in the States by now.

FYI ~ Everyone should know; I am for now only showing images and information I have discovered online. I have an engineering research interest in how the mechanism works and how it was transported.

I am not, at this time planning on building such a model. However if I came across the resin transport trailer kit I would have to reconsider.


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Useful pictures here.

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Very interesting! Following!

Steel, my favorite photo in your link is the one showing the gun tube trailer behind the main carriage and the gun crew has either just completed the transfer of the barrel to the main carriage or they are just getting ready to remove it. The crew on the far right certainly appear to be pushing it forward.


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US Army Field Artillery Museum; Lawton, Oklahoma:

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I think that splitting the trailer was mandatory in order to overcome curves, ditches and bumps so in the desert it isn’t necessary also for longer distances.
Regarding the height of first wheels, it isn’t a matter of clearing by the soil because the axes are low, a hyphotesis may be a matter of gravity balance of weight in order to facilitate the prime mover…