12.8cm K81 Gun Battery
includes four 12.8cm K81 guns with crew, one Command SMG team, one Staff team, two Observer Rifle teams, three Small bases, one Medium base & four Large bases.
The 12.8cm Kanone 81 series of heavy artillery pieces was a based on the 12.8cm Kanone 44 (K 44) gun developed for the army’s request anti-tank guns of larger and larger calibres.
The 12.8cm K81 was created by mating the K44 gun with a captured French or Soviet gun carriage. The 12.8cm K81/1 mounted the K44 with the French 155mm Mle GPF-T gun, the last of a series guns developed by the French during the First World War. The carriage, of a split-trail design was modernised by fitting a four-wheel tyred bogie in place of the original two solid wheels. The gun was balanced with the addition of a large counter-balance that doubled as a guard for the gun layer. However, this arrangement proved heavy and cumbersome and its height made it an awkward weapon to use.
The 12.8cm K81/2 saw the use of the Soviet 152mm howitzer carriage of 1937 vintage. Another split trail design carriage featured two solid wheels with Germans making several modifications to make the trail as simple as possible. The recoil system was mounted on top of the gun which in affect balanced the gun, even without the equilibrators this made the gun easy to elevate and depress. This version was nearly four tonnes lighter but lacked some of the traverse of the K81/1.
Both guns weren’t without their issues, mainly due to the recoil system being under power in comparison to the energy generated by the gun when fired. However, the tremendous firepower these guns offered was kindly welcomed by the hard-pressed soldiers on the front.