Although big modernizations were underway, the Austro-Hungarian Army, like all European Armies, went to war with a not small part of its artillery being old, obsolete types. Three of these types were almost identical, save for the calibre of the gun tube, the M.80 12cm and 15 cm cannons, and the 18cm short cannon, in reality a howitzer. The lavettes were all the same.These guns were mainly deployed either in a static role, as Fortress Artillery, or in the semi-static role as so called Siege Artillery, which really was an old misnomer, harking back to the 19th century days of sieges proper. The 12cm guns were, however, not only used in these more static roles, but many were designated as Mobile Festungsartillerie, mobile fortress artillery.
All three types were, as can easily be seen, rigid mount guns, without any modern recoil mechanism. But, as a substitute, an long cylindrical hydralic mechanism was often put under under the gun, and attached to the properly prepared platform that the guns used as standard procedure when deploying. When the gun was fired it rolled back, up on a couple of wedges, and at the same time a piston attached to the lavette was pulled out of the cylinder attached to the platform, braking the recoil, and eventually moving the gun back towards its initial postion. The main differences between these guns was, as mentioned, the gun tubes, giving them their respective designations. These are summarized in the table below:
|12cm M.80||15cm M.80||18cm M.80|
|Length of the tube, in calibres||26.6||24.2||12.3|
|Length of the tube, in meters||3.2m||3.6m||2.22m|
|Weight of the tube and breech||1700kg||3200kg||2030kg|
|Weight of the shell||16.7-19.8kg||31.5kg||62.5kg|
It seems like that the 15cm and 18cm M.80s were employed almost exclusively only in the static role, especially in fortresses like Krakow and, of course, Przemysl. The 12cm gun, however, with its comparatively long range and low weight, was as mentioned used as mobile artillery. When the war opened 20 batteries 4 gun 12 cm M.80 batteries were in service. Initially it was the main long range gun of the Austro-Hungarian Army during the first two years of the war. The need for more artillery support in the mid-calibre range, however, forced the Austro-Hungarian Army to withdraw a number fortress batteries of 12cm and 15cm calibre M.80s and use them in the field.
Shown below is the M.80 lavette, that was for all intents and purposes identical, regardless of calibre: 12, 15 or 18cm. This lavette can be seen in the Army Museum in Budapest.
Shown below is the most common and most important, the 12cm gun, in action.
Shown below is the 15cm gun in action (a rare view, compared with the numerous pics that exists of the 12cm in action - a testament to the importance of the latter gun)
Shown below is the 18cm gun, the first during maneuvers during the late 19th century, in the middle in action during the war, heavily dug-in, and the last in the form of a contemporary plan, also showing the recoil device.