When the word Austro-Hungarian Artillery is mentioned, most people think first on the huge 30,5 cm Skoda mortar, a feared weapon, and tend to forget about the standard pieces that made the backbone of the nation’s artillery arm. They were the 8 cm M5 field gun and the 10,4 cm M14 field howitzer.
The design of the howitzer was sound and standard for its time. The barrel was first made of bronze rather obsolete for the time, but was soon replaced by steel barrel during the Great War. The charges were cartridge type with six steps. It was served by a crew of six who could use the gun to fire up to 20 shells a minute. Six horses were needed to move it. The weight of the gun was 1410 kg. The maximum range was 8 km. It fired 11,5-20 kg shells.
The 10,4 cm M 14 field howitzer was employed by the field howitzer regiments. They consisted of 4 batteries with 6 guns each, i.e. 24 howitzers per regiment. Most army corps had one of these regiments assigned to them at the beginning of the war. During 1915 the artillery was reorganized, more howitzer regiments were set up and they were instead attached to the infantry divisions. Later in 1918 mixed artillery regiments were formed with both field gun and field howitzer batteries. There were 6458 pieces in use in the Austro-Hungarian army.
The first badge attached to this post shows the general view of the weapon with its official name. The other badge was prepared for the crew of the 50th reserve field howitzer regiment on the occasion of Christmas in 1916. This badge too shows a very nice detailed view of the gun. The two contemporary photographs were made in the Fort Sill artillery museum in the USA. The opening picture was probably prepared before the war or during the training of the howitzer crews. The crew members are positioned on their prescribed place around the gun.