7,7cm leichte Feld Kanone (l.F.K.) 1896 n/A
Above: The most recent photograph of the 7,7cm l.F.K. 1896n/A after painting wartime field grey
Above: A rear veiw of the German 7,7cm lFK 1896 n/A
Below: 7,7cm lFK 96 with the upper shield folded forward. In this way the leather back pads are availble for the
two gun crew members riding on the axle tree seats
The 7,7cm. leicht Feld Kanone
1896 neuer/Art (light field cannon 1896 of the new pattern) is a German Field
Artillery piece originally designed by the Fried. Krupp company with no recoil
system, however, most were rebuild later by the Rheinmetal Company with a
hydo-spring recoil system, spade and shield. Follow on production continued
with 7,7cm. l.F.K. "96 n/A pieces built from the ground up with the recoil
system, spade and shield. This rather dramatic change in design was prompted
by the realization of the rapid fire capabilities of the French 75mm mle/1897
with its hydro-pneumatic recoil system.
The 7,7cm. l.F.K. "96 n/A, like most German artillery, has a horizontal sliding wedge breech block. It fires fixed ammunition consisting of a primer train, shell case and projectile. Point detonating (PD) and time fuzes were used by this piece. Elevation and traverse are limited by the design of the trail. The gun is fitted with a folding shield and, a set of axle tree seats are mounted to the front to seat two gun crewmen while the piece is towed. The 7,7cm. used a panoramic sight graduated in mils (0-6400) and a graduated sight-mount used to calculate quadrant (elevation of the gun barrel). Note that this gun is missing its sight-mount. The barrel is marked with the Latin phrase "ULTAMA RATIO REGIS" roughly translating to mean that artillery is the "Finial Reckoning of Kingdoms". This phrase served as the motto of both the German Field and Foot Artillery branches. The overlapping letters "WRII" and crown is the crest for Kaiser William II, who was the King of Prussia and Emperor of Imperial Germany. The barrel was once marked with a Prussian Eagle crest near the muzzle but the original barrel mantel was replaced in a wartime era depot rebuild. Because of the pressure of WW1 wartime production the eagle was not again marked onto this replacement barrel mantel.
In wartime service one shortcoming in its design became evident. The trail did not allow enough elevation so greater range was difficult to achieve. Field expedient methods where employed by the crewmen to increase range and a redesigned gun was pushed into service incorporating the carriage of the 10,5cm. l.F.H. 1898/09 and the barrel/recoil group of the 7,7cm. l.F.K. "96 n/A. The few guns produced of this type were known as the K.i.H. Following this effort, the 7,7cm. l.F.K. 1916 was developed again using the carriage of the 10,5cm. l.F.H. "98/09 but was fitted with a completely new longer barrel. The Box trail of the 10,5cm re-used in the design of both the K.i.K and the 7,7cm. l.F.K. "16 allowed for grater elevation and increased range.
Above Left: A photograph of the Kaiser William II (WRII or William Rex II) crest. You can see that this Kaiser William II crest is not complete. When the barrel was first rebuilt in 1906 as an upgrade from the 7,7cm lFK 1896 non-recoil gun type to the 7,7cm lFK 1896 n/A with a hydro-spring recoil mechanism the lathe work for the new bands partly erased the scroll. When this piece was first produced as a 7,7cm lFK 1896 type there was a Prussian Eagle crest etched onto the muzzle end of the barrel. During the wartime period when this piece was yet again arsenal rebuilt the breech ring sleeve was retained with the Kaiser William II crest but the barrel sleeve, with the eagle crest, was replaced. This is a fairly common occurrence and it is actually less common to see a 7,7cm lFK 96 n/A with both crest. Above Right: Another view of the Kaiser William II crest after the barrel was remounted onto the recoil mechanism and painted field grey.
Above: The barrel sliding back into position along the recoil cradle. The cylinder of the recoil mechanism is visible fitted to the breech ring. The piece is still only painted in red oxide primer.
Above: The barrel almost in place.
Above: The barrel hosted up into position and lined up with the recoil mechanism.
Above: A side view of the barrel hosted into position with the recoil mechanism.
Above: New leather back pads riveted onto the shield. These cushion the heads of the crewmembers who ride on the axletree seats.
Above: Close up of the left shield back pad riveted into place.
Above: Close up of one of the two new shovel mounts riveted into place on the lower shield.
Above: The shovel mounts for the 7,7cm lFK 1896 n/A are for two shovels each. One is the large pioneer shovel and the other is the short handled trench shovel. In this view one shovel mount is disassembled and the other is riveted together.
Above: In this view of the restoration process, the elevation and traversing mechanisms are laid out to the side of the carriage.
Above: Close up of the elevation and traversing mechanisms.
Above: The axletree seats are seen is this view of the carriage of the 7,7cm lFK 1896 n/A.
Above: A rear view of the carriage of the 7,7cm. l.F.K. 1896 n/A.
Above: Both 7,7cm’s recoil cradles after sand blasting. The Hydro-Spring Recoil system is removed.
Above: These are the barrels of the two 7,7cm. l.F.K. 1896 n/As being restored. In this view they have been sand blasted and have their breech blocks and internal parts laying beside them
Above: The 7,7cm. l.F.K. 1896 n/A being disassembled for a ground up restoration
Above and below: Wanted--We need a sight mount of this type for the 7,7cm. lFK “96 n/A
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All images, research, and text are sole property of Ralph Lovett.