- Skoda 305 mm Model 1911
name=Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M. 11
caption=Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M. 11
type= Siege howitzer
World War I, World War II
variants=M. 11/16, M. 16
weight= 20,830 kg (45,922 lbs)
cartridge=convert|287|kg|lb (light shell)
caliber=305 mm (12 in)
velocity= 340 m/s (1,115 ft/s)
breech=horizontal sliding block
elevation=+40° to 70°
The Škoda 30.5 cm Mörser M. 11 was a siege
howitzerproduced by Škoda Worksand used by the Austro-Hungarian Armyduring World War I.
Development began in
1906with a development contract being placed by the Austro-Hungarian high command with Skoda-Werke in Pilsento develop a weapon capable of penetrating the concrete fortresses being built in Belgiumand Italy. Development work continued until 1909when the first prototype was finished and in 1910fired secretly in Hungary.
The weapon was able to penetrate 2 meters of reinforced concrete with its special armour piercing shell weighing 384 kg. There were a few technical problems with the first piece, but after few reconstructions in
1911the upgraded piece made another round of testing in Felixdorfand in the mountains of Tyrol. After that Moritz von Auffenberg, the Minister of War, placed an order for 24 of the new weapons.
The weapon was transported in 3 sections by a 15 ton
Austro-Daimlerroad tractor M. 12 with 100 horsepower. It broke down into barrel, carriage and firing platform loads, each of which had its own trailer. It could be assembled and readied to fire in around 50 minutes.
The mortar could fire two types of shell, a heavy armour piercing shell with a delayed action fuse weighing 384 kg, and a light 287 kg shell fitted with an impact fuze. The light shell was capable of creating a crater 8 meters wide and 8 meters deep, as well as killing exposed infantry up to 400 meters away.
The weapon required a crew of 15 - 17, and could fire 10 to 12 rounds an hour. After firing it automatically returned to the horizontal loading position.
In 1916, the M. 11 design was upgraded and the new M. 11/16 was produced, the difference was mainly that the firing platform had been modified to allow for a traverse of 360 degrees. Also in the same year the new model was released, the M. 16. It had longer barrel (L/12) and longer range convert|12300|m|yd .
Eight Mörsers were loaned to the German Army and they were first fired in action on the Western front at the start of
World War I. They were used in concert with the German Krupp 42 cm howitzer ("Big Bertha") to destroy the rings of Belgian fortresses around Liege, Namur and Antwerp (Forts Koningshooikt, Kessel and Broechem). The weapon was used on the Western front only at the beginning of the war, but on the Eastern, Italian and Serbian fronts it was used from the beginning until the end.
In 1915, 10 such howitzers were used in the Austro-Hungarian-German invasion of
Serbialed by the German General August von Mackensen. One of these is restored in " BelgradeMilitary Museum".
By the end of the war 79 of the weapons of all three types were in service. Only 24 were destroyed.
In the period between the world wars, large numbers of mortars were in service in
Yugoslavia(4 M. 11 and 6 M. 16), Romania, Italy (23 M. 11, 16 M.11/16 and 16 M. 16), Czechoslovakia(17 M. 16) and Hungary(3 M. 11 and 2 M. 16). In Austriathere were only 2, one in the Arsenal, Army Museum in Vienna, the second as a training weapon in Innsbruck.
In 1939 Germany seized all 17 pieces from Czechoslovakia and repaired the howitzer from the Arsenal Museum, calling them the 30.5 cm Mörser (t), in 1941 they obtained 5 more weapons after the defeat of Yugoslavia and placed them into service as the 30.5 cm Mörser 638(j). They saw service against
Poland, Franceand the Soviet Unionin World War IIwhere they served with Heavy Artillery Battalions (schwere Artillerie-Abteilungen) 624, 641 and 815 as well as two Heavy Static Artillery Batteries (schwere Artillerie-Batterie (bodenstandig) 230 and 779. It is unclear if the howitzers of the Hungarian Armyor the Romanian Armywere employed on the Eastern Front and used against the Red Army. At least one M. 11 was seized from Yugloslavia and saw service on coastal defense in the Adriatic as the 30.5 cm Mörser 639(j). It may have been upgraded somehow as its Yugoslav designation was the 305 mm M 11/30.
Today 4 weapons survive; the first M. 11 is in
Rovereto, Italy (Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra), the second M. 11 is displayed in Belgrade's Military Museum and a third M. 11 is in Bucharest, Romania along with the only surviving M. 16.
* Gander, Terry and Chamberlain, Peter. "Weapons of the Third Reich: An Encyclopedic Survey of All Small Arms, Artillery and Special Weapons of the German Land Forces 1939-1945". New York: Doubleday, 1979 ISBN 0-385-15090-3
* Ortner, M. Christian. "The Austro-Hungarian Artillery From 1867 to 1918: Technology, Organization, and Tactics". Vienna, Verlag Militaria, 2007 ISBN 978-3-902526-13-7
* [http://sturmvogel.orbat.com/artillery.html Heeres Independent Artillery Units of WW II on Panzerkeil]
* [http://sill-www.army.mil/FAMAG/1914/OCT_DEC_1914/OCT_DEC_1914_PAGES_591_600.pdf "CURRENT FIELD ARTILLERY NOTES. The Austrian 30.5 Centimeter Field Mortar" in "THE FIELD ARTILLERY JOURNAL". VOLUME IV NUMBER 4. October-December 1914. THE UNITED STATES FIELD ARTILLERY ASSOCIATION WASHINGTON, D. C.]
* [http://www.fronta.cz/dotaz/30-5-cm-mozdir Skoda mortar M11, M11/16, M16] (text and photos, czech only)
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