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Germany’s New Light Howitzer: the 7.5cm le.IG 18

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In the aftermath of World War One, every military force immediately began to assess what they thought was most important to improve in their arsenals for the next war. For Germany, one thing they felt lacking was a light howitzer that could be organic to infantry units, mobile enough to remain with the front lines in an advance to provide easy and immediate supporting fire. The Rheinmetall company would develop just such a gun and the German military adopted it in 1932 under the designation 7.5cm leichtes Infanteriegeschutz 18.

The 7.5cm le.IG 18 fired a roughly 12 pound (5.5-6 kg) 75mm high explosive shell out to 4,000 meters, and was capable of both direct and indirect fire (elevation maxed out at 90 degrees). These guns would see service on all fronts with the German military in World War Two, remaining inservice throughout the entire war.

The mechanical operation of the gun is rather unusual for an artillery piece, with a fixed breech and a barrel which tips up from the muzzle for loading and ejection. This did not really convey any particular advantage, but it also did not have any particular weakness and was quite satisfactory in action.

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