M101 howitzer

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M101A1 105 mm Howitzer
M101-105mm-howitzer-camp-pendleton-20050326.jpg
Marines from 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division fire a 105mm M101A1 howitzer during the playing of taps at the Iwo Jima 60th Anniversary Commemorative on 26 March 2005
TypeHowitzer
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUnited States United States
WarsWorld War II
Korean War
First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Insurgency in the Philippines
Production history
ManufacturerRock Island Arsenal
Produced1941–1953
Specifications
Weight2,260 kg (4,980 lb)
Length5.94 m (19 ft 6 in)
Barrel length2.31 m (7 ft 7 in) L/22
Width2.21 m (7 ft 3 in)
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)

Shell105x372R
Caliber105 mm (4.1 in)
Breechhorizontal block
Recoilhydropneumatic, constant, 42 in (110 cm)
Carriagesplit trail
Elevation-5° to +66°
Traverse46°
Muzzle velocity472 m/s (1,550 ft/s)
Maximum firing range11,270 m (7.00 mi)
 
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M101A1 105 mm Howitzer
M101-105mm-howitzer-camp-pendleton-20050326.jpg
Marines from 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division fire a 105mm M101A1 howitzer during the playing of taps at the Iwo Jima 60th Anniversary Commemorative on 26 March 2005
TypeHowitzer
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUnited States United States
WarsWorld War II
Korean War
First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Insurgency in the Philippines
Production history
ManufacturerRock Island Arsenal
Produced1941–1953
Specifications
Weight2,260 kg (4,980 lb)
Length5.94 m (19 ft 6 in)
Barrel length2.31 m (7 ft 7 in) L/22
Width2.21 m (7 ft 3 in)
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)

Shell105x372R
Caliber105 mm (4.1 in)
Breechhorizontal block
Recoilhydropneumatic, constant, 42 in (110 cm)
Carriagesplit trail
Elevation-5° to +66°
Traverse46°
Muzzle velocity472 m/s (1,550 ft/s)
Maximum firing range11,270 m (7.00 mi)

The 105 mm M2A1 (M101A1) howitzer was the standard light field howitzer for the United States in World War II, seeing action in both the European and Pacific theaters. Entering production in 1941, it quickly entered the war against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific, where it gained a reputation for its accuracy and powerful punch. The M101A1 fired 105 mm high explosive (HE) semi-fixed ammunition and had a range of 11,270 meters, or 12,325 yards, making it suitable for supporting infantry.

Widespread usage[edit]

All of these qualities of the weapon, along with its widespread production, led to its adoption by many countries after the war. Its ammunition type also became the standard for many foreign countries' later models. In 1962, the artillery designation system was changed and the 105mm M2A1 howitzer became the M101A1. It continued to see service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Though a similar model, the M102 howitzer, shared the same roles in battle, it never fully replaced the M101A1. Today, the M101A1 has been retired by the U.S. military, though it continues to see service with many other countries.

The Canadian Forces continued to use the M2A1 as the C1 Howitzer until 1997, when a modification was made to extend its service life; it is now designated the C3. The changes include a longer barrel, a muzzle brake, reinforced trails and the removal of shield flaps. It remains the standard light howitzer of Canadian Forces Reserve units. The C3 is used by Reserve units in Glacier National Park in British Columbia as a means of avalanche control. In addition, the M101 has found a second use in the U.S. as an avalanche control gun, supervised by the US Forest Service.

France and the State of Vietnam used it during the First Indochina War, as did the People's Army of Vietnam, who were supplied with this weapon by China PR along with other captured Kuomintang artillery pieces. Today upgraded M2A1s are still being used by the People's Army of Vietnam.[1]

A number of M2/M101 howitzers were used by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and approximately 50 were inherited by Croatia, of which 4 are still in use for training with the Croatian army.

M2 Howitzers are still in limited service in the Australian Army Reserve, but are being replaced with 81mm mortars with an emphasis on the retention of indirect fire support skills.[2] In regular service they were replaced by the 105mm L119 Hamel gun and the 155mm M198 howitzers.

Two M2 howitzers (1942) are still employed in providing the gun salute at Kristiansten Fortress, in Trondheim, Norway. M101/M2 is one of three approved salute guns in the norwegian armed forces, and have been reduced to a caliber of 75 mm for this purpose. They are used for gun salute also at Rena and Setermoen.

Operators[edit]

Variants[edit]

Canadian soldiers from the 1st and 3rd Field Regiments fire a 105 mm high explosive round with a C3 howitzer March 3, 2009, during Exercise Maritime Raider 09 at Fort Pickett, Va.
XM124E2 Light Auxiliary-Propelled 105mm Howitzer at the Rock Island Arsenal museum

Gun variants:

Carriage variants:

The only surviving prototype M2A2 Terra Star Auxiliary Propelled Howitzer at the Rock Island Arsenal Museum. Note the tri-star wheel system and auxiliary drive system on the right trail leg.

Self-propelled mounts[edit]

Ammunition[edit]

The gun fired semi-fixed ammunition, with 105mm Cartridge Case M14. The propelling charge consisted of a base charge and six increments, forming seven charges from 1 (the smallest) to 7 (the largest). Use of M1 HE rounds prepared for the 105mm howitzer M3 (same projectile and cartridge, but different propelling charge) was authorized.[12]

HEAT M67 Shell was originally designed as fixed round, with Cartridge Case M14 type II. It was later changed to semi-fixed type with the standard cartridge, but with non-adjustable propelling charge. For blank ammunition, a shorter Cartridge Case M15 with black powder charge was used.[12]

Available ammunition[11]:236[12][13]
TypeModelWeight, kg (round/projectile)FillerMuzzle velocity, m/sRange, m
HEHE M1 Shell19.08 / 14.97TNT or 50/50 amatol, 2.18 kg47211,160
HEAT-THEAT M67 Shell16.71 / 13.25Pentolite, 1.33 kg3817,854
SmokeHC BE M84 Shell19.02 / 14.91Zinc chloride (HC)47211,160
Smoke, coloredBE M84 Shell17.86-18.04 /Smoke mixture
SmokeWP M60 Shell19.85 / 15.56White Phosphorus (WP), 1.84 kg47211,110
SmokeFS M60 Shell20.09 /Sulfur trioxide in Chlorosulfonic acid, 2.09 kg
ChemicalH M60 Shell19.43 /Mustard gas, 1.44 kg
PracticeEmpty M1 Shell47211,160
DrillDrill Cartridge M14--
Blank--
Armor penetration, mm[11]:236
Ammunition \ Distance, m04579141,828
HEAT M67 Shell (meet angle 0°)102
Concrete penetration, mm[11]:236
HE M1 Shell (meet angle 0°)457427396335
Different methods of measurement were used in different countries / periods. Therefore, direct comparison is often impossible.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Việt Nam biến lựu pháo M2A1 Mỹ thành vũ khí huyền thoại
  2. ^ Toohill, MAJ Ian (August 2009). "Mortars for Reserve Gunners". 2nd Division, Army Reserves Public Affairs. The Bayonet. p. 10. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  3. ^ John Keegan, page 589 World Armies, ISBN 0-333-17236-1
  4. ^ G6 L45 self-propelled towed gun-howitzer
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hogg - Allied Artillery of World War Two, p 42-49.
  6. ^ a b Technical Manual TM 9-2005 volume 3, Infantry and Cavalry Accompanying Weapons.
  7. ^ a b c d Hunnicutt - Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank
  8. ^ a b Technical Manual TM 9-1325, 105mm Howitzers M2 and M2A1; Carriages M2A1 and M2A2; and Combat Vehicle Mounts M3 and M4.
  9. ^ Hunnicutt - Pershing: A History of the Medium Tank T20 Series
  10. ^ a b c d e Hunnicutt - Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank
  11. ^ a b c d Hunnicutt - Half-Track: A History of American Semi-Tracked Vehicles
  12. ^ a b c Technical Manual TM 9-1901, Artillery Ammunition, p 167-178.
  13. ^ Technical Manual TM 9-1904, Ammunition Inspection Guide, p 471-484.

References[edit]

External links[edit]