Howitzers and Artillery
Artillery is a class of large military weapons that are designed to fire munitions beyond the range and power of an infantry’s small arms. The development of this branch stemmed out of the need for weapons that could breach fortifications and could provide heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. Over time, technology has improved, allowing for lighter and more mobile field artillery to be developed for battlefield use.
Artillery weapons originated for use against ground targets, including infantry, cavalry, and other ground weapons. A special development and use of these weapons was for coast artillery usage against enemy ships. In the 20th Century, a new class of artillery was developed for use against aircrafts, called anti-aircraft guns.
A howitzer is a relatively short-barreled artillery piece that uses comparatively small propellant charges to shoot projectiles at a high trajectory with a steep descent angle. Howitzers are one of two types of primary types of field artillery. Historically, they fired a heavy shell from a relatively short barrel, however this limited their range; they were still slightly more mobile than the field guns of a similar size. This placed them in-between the “gun” category and the “mortar.” Since the end of World War II, howitzers have gained longer barrels and increased their effective range, making them “gun-howitzers.” Like other artillery equipment, howitzers are usually categorized into groups called batteries.
There are several types of howitzers that are used in the modern warfare of today.
- A self-propelled howitzer is mounted atop a wheeled or tracked vehicle. In most cases, a form of armor protects it so that it appears to resemble a tank, but it is not necessary designed for the front line and cannot withstand direct anti-armor fire.
- Relatively light in weight, a pack howitzer was designed so that it can easily broken down into pieces so that each may be small enough to be carried by a packhorse or mule.
- A siege howitzer is one that’s design allows it to be fired from a mounting on a fixed platform of a sort.
- Light in design, the mountain howitzer was designed for use in mountainous terrain. It is important to note that most, but not all, mountain howitzers are also pack howitzers.
- A field howitzer is mobile enough to accompany a field army on a campaign and travels on a wheeled carriage of some kind.
The following howitzers and artillery weapons are available through UDC:
- D-30 122mm Howitzer
- D-20 152mm Towed Howitzer
- M198 155mm Howitzer
- M109 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
- M101/M101A1 105 mm Howitzer
- BM-21 Grad 122mm Multiple Rocket Launcher
- 2S3 M-1973 152mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
- 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm Self-Propelled Howiter
- M-114 Howitzer
Contact UDC USA for additional information on howitzers and artillery weapons, defense procurement services, military training and education, and more.
D-30 122mm Howitzer
Caliber: 122mm (4.8 inch)
Weight: Combat – 3,210 kg (7,080 lbs.)
Rate of Fire: Maximum – 10-12 rpm, Sustained – 5-6 rpm
Barrel Length: Bore: 38 calibers
Effective Firing Range: 15.4 km (9.6 mi), 21.9 km (13.6 mi) with rocked-assisted projectile
The D-30 122mm howitzer originated in the Soviet Union and first entered service in the 1960s. This weapon was developed in the 1950s during World War II as a field-suitable piece complete with all of the features that are required of a gun that would be towed through all kinds of conditions. The D-30 replaced the M-30 howitzer, which was widely used in divisional and regimental artilleries, as well as the 76mm M1942 gun in motor rifle regiments. While the specific requirements that led to the building of the D-30 are not fully known, it’s role supporting the tank and motor rifle regiments suggest that indirect fire was its primary role, while direct fire anti-tank capabilities were also very important.
The D-30 has been exported all over the world and used in wars across the globe, most notably in the Middle East and the Iran-Iraq War. The gun remains a key player in the artillery forces of developing countries, and has also been deployed in the War in Afghanistan. Western army soldiers have been trained on this weapon so that they can instruct the Afghan soldiers how to effectively use it.
Distinctive features of the D-30 include its above-barrel recoil system and its low mobile mounting. It also features a three-legged mobile mount, which is unusual for field artillery, with clamped stabilizers for towing. D-30s are also unusual in the fact that the large to linkage is fixed to the muzzle; when being transported, all of the stabilizers are folded away and the barrel acts as a trail.
The D-30 is cleared to fire standard FRAG-HE (Fragmentation, High-Explosive) and HEAT-FS (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank, Fin-Stabilized) rounds. It is also capable of launching TNT-detonated Sarin gas types and other chemical rounds. RAPs (Rocket-Assisted Projectiles) extend the range of the weapon to approximately 21,900 meters (13.6 miles). The weapon features many unique features, such as:
- A conspicuous box-like shield mounted above the tube for the recoil-recuperator mechanism
- Unique three-trail carriage
- Multi-baffle muzzle break
- Small protective shield fitted between the wheels
Variants of the D-30 122mm howitzer include:
- 2A18 or D-30 – basic model
- 2A18M or D-30M – new double baffle muzzle brake, square central base plate, towing lunette assembly
- 2A18M-1 or D-30M-1 – with semi-automatic loader
- D-30A – modified recoil system, new muzzle brake
- 2S1 – self-propelled version
- Type 85 or D-30-2 Chinese self-propelled version of the D-30.
- D-30-3 – Chinese upgrade of the Type 85 mm field gun with 122 mm weapon.
- Type 86, variously, Type 83, Type 96 – Chinese license-production or derivative of the D-30.
- D30 RH M-94 – Croatian built version, new muzzle brake, redesigned trail, improved hydraulic break
- D 30-M – Egyptian license version of the D-30.
- SPH 122 – Self-propelled version, mounted on a modified M-109 chassis
- T-122 – Self-propelled version, mounted on a modified T-34 chassis.
- HM 40 Iranian version
- Khalifa – Sudanese licensed version of the D-30
- Saddam – Iraqi version
- Shafie D-30I or HM-40 – Iranian version
- D-30J – Yugoslav/Bosnian version of the D-30M
- D-30JA1 – Improved Serbian version
- M-91 “Mona” – Yugoslav variant with the 100 mm ordnance of the MT-12. Prototype only
Contact UDC USA for additional information on this weapon, defense procurement services, military training and education, and more.
D-20 152mm Towed Howitzer M1955
Caliber: 152.4mm (6 in)
Weight: 5,700 kg (12,566 lbs)
Rate of Fire: Burst – 5-6 rpm, Sustained – 1 rpm
Barrel Length: 5.195 m (20 ft.)
Effective Firing Range: 17.4 km (11mi)
Maximum Firing Range: 24 km (15 mi) with rocket assisted projectile
The D-20 152mm Towed Howitzer M1955 is a manually loaded artillery piece that was manufactured in the Soviet Union during the 1950s, even though it was designed for use during the Great Patriotic War of 1939-1945. This howitzer has shown reliability and power in many wars since its inception, and has been deployed by many nations as well. The contract for this weapon was awarded to the Petrov Artillery in Yekaterinburg, a city in the central area of the Soviet Union, where many heavy factories were relocated to during the war.
This gun proved to be well designed and rugged during field trails due to the fact that it was placed on an existing carriage that was used by the D-74 at the time. The short split-trail carriage features caster wheels at the end of each trail, a prominent base plate connected to the bottom for forward cradle, and a winged, scalloped shield with central traveling portion. The D-20 has a two-cylinder recoil mechanism located above the tube, and both tubes are stepped with a semi-automatic, vertically sliding wedge breechblock. The D-20 was the first 152mm cannon system to incorporate this semiautomatic breechblock. An 8-man crew is needed to man the howitzer and an AT-S medium tractor or URAL-375 6×6 heavy truck is needed for towing.
The D-20 is capable of firing many different types of ammunition, including the FRAG-HE and OF-540 with RGM-2 Fuze Model at a rate of 5-6 rounds per minute and a maximum firing range of 10 miles. Other ammunition that may be fired from this howitzer include:
- Expendable Jammer
- Semi-active laser-guided “Krasnopol”
Many countries have created variants of the D-20 for their own armies. The Russian Federation designed the Khitin, an improved version with an automatic rammer for a firing rate of 7-8 rounds per minute. The People’s Republic of Chine designed the Type 66 and the Type 83, the self- propelled version. In Romania, the A411, A412, and A425 are variants that are used and exported. The former country of Yugoslavia employed the SPH 152mm M1974 and he Democratic People’s Republic of Korea designed the M84 NORA or NORA AND M96 NORA-B.
For more information on the D-20 152mm Towed Howitzer M1955, military training and education, or defense procurement services, contact the experts at UDC USA today.
M198 155mm Howitzer
Caliber: 155mm (6.1 in)
Weight: 7,154 kg (15,772 lbs.)
Rate of Fire: Maximum – 4 rpm, Sustained – 2 rpm
Barrel Length: 6.09 m (19.98 ft.)
Maximum Firing Range: Conventional: 22.4 km (14 mi), RAP: 30 km (18.6 mi)
The M198 155mm howitzer is a towed, medium-sized artillery weapon that was developed for service in the United States Marine Corps and Army. It was commissioned as a replacement for the M114 155mm howitzer that was used during the era of World War II. The M198 was designed and prototyped in 1969 at the Rock Island Arsenal. Firing tests began in 1970, and the weapon went into full production in 1978. Since it entered service in 1979, 1,600 units have been produced and put into operation. This weapon has been deployed in many separate army- and corps-level field artillery units, as well as various battalions of airborne and light divisions. It also provides support for all of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force organizations.
Weighing less than 16,000 pounds, the M198 may be dropped by parachute or transported by a CH-53E Super Stallion or CH-47 Chinook. This howitzer is towed and transported tail-first, however the gun tube may be rotated over its trail legs to reduce its length. Instead of being anchored to the ground, the weapon is then lowered onto its baseplate when firing for rapid emplacement. The breach is operated manually with a screw-type mechanism that rests in a low ergonomic position. The M198’s effective range is 18,100 meters when firing standard projectiles, and increases to up to 30,000 meters when firing guided ammunition and rocket-assisted projectiles; with modification, the firing 52-caliber ammunition may surpass 40,000 meters. This weapon system requires a crew of 9 and fires at a maximum rate of four rounds per minute.
The M198 fires non-fixed ammunition and may be loaded with a wide variety of projectiles and propellants, including:
- High Explosives (He) – Composition B material that is packed into a thick, internally scored shell. This causes a large blast and sends razor-sharp fragments at extreme velocities (5,000-6,000 meters per second).
- Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAP) – A rocket-assisted high explosive that adds to the maximum range of the normal high explosive. Max range is around 18.7 miles.
- White Phosphorus (WP) – A base-ejecting projectile that may come in two versions: standard or felt-wedge. The smoke created by this projectile is used to start fire, burn targets, or create smoke when concealing movements.
- Illumination – These projectiles are base-ejecting rounds that deploy a bright parachute flare to illuminate an area of approximately 1 grid square (or 1,000,000 square meters.)
- Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) – A base-ejecting projectile that drops 88 bomblets above its target.
- Area Denial Artillery Munition System (ADAMS) – Artillery round that releases anti-personnel mines.
- Remote Anti Armor Mine System (RAAMS) – Artillery rounds used to release anti-armor mines, usually along with ADAMs rounds to prevent anti-tank mines from being removed.
- Copperhead – Artillery launched guided high-explosive munition that is used for precise targeting.
- Sense and Destroy ARMor (SADARM) – An experimental munition fired in the general direction of the enemy vehicle.
- W48 Nuclear Shell – An artillery shell that has a 155mm caliber and explosive yield of only 72tons – making it one of the world’s smallest nuclear weapons.
For more information on the M198 155mm howitzer, military training and education, or defense procurement services, contact the experts at UDC USA today.
M109 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
Caliber: 155mm L/39
Weight: 27.5 tons
Rate of Fire: Maximum – 6 rpm, Sustained – 3 rpm
Effective Firing Range: Conventional – 18 km (11 mi), RAP – 30 km (19 mi)
Engine: Detroit Diesel 8V71T 450 hp
First introduced in the early 1960s, the M109 155mm self-propelled howitzer has been updated numerous times – most recently to the M109A7. The M109 family of weapons is the most common indirect-fire support weapon of maneuver brigades and armored or mechanized infantry divisions in the Western world.
The M109 howitzer was developed as the medium-sized variant based on an United States program that adapted a common chassis for its self-propelled artillery units. It saw its combat debut during the Vietnam War. Since then, it has been used in conflicts such as the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Lebanon Wars, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Gulf War. The M109 howitzer has seen many upgrades throughout its time, including upgrades to the cannon, ammunition, fire control, survivability, and electronics system.
As it was originally completed, the M109 was a conventional SPA form according to modern standards. It is fitted with a powerpack at its front-right and the driver is located in the forward hull located in the front-left. The turret was placed over the rear section of the vehicle with a large main gun located in the forward panel. A cupola was affixed to the commander’s position to which a 0.50 to 0.30-caliber machine gun was capable of being installed for local or air defense. This self-propelled howitzer was placed atop a track-and-wheel arrangement that included seven double-tired road wheels on each hull side. A small door, located at the rear of the hull, as well as side panels, roof hatches, and a driver’s compartment hatch, allowed for crew entry and exit. The main guns featured massive muzzle brakes and were attached to the hull when traveling. The necessary operating crew for the M109 is six – driver, commander, two gunners, and two loaders.
The variants for the M109 howitzer include:
- M109A1 and M109A1B
- M109A3 and M109A3B
- M109A6 “Paladin”
- M109 “KAWEST”
For more information on the M109 155mm self-propelled howitzer, military training and education, or defense procurement services, contact the experts at UDC USA today.
M101/M101A1 105mm Towed Howitzer
Caliber: 105mm (4.1 in)
Weight: 2,260 kg (4,980 lbs.)
Barrel Length: 2.31 m (7 ft. 7 in)
Maximum Firing Range: 11,270 m (7 mi)
Muzzle Velocity: 472 m/s (1,550 ft./s)
The history of the M101 105mm towed howitzer can be traced to as early as 1919, but due to funding problems, it was not placed into production until much later. It entered service with the United States Army in 1940. By the end of World War II, over 8,500 M101 howitzers were built and were continuing to be produced by the Rock Island Arsenal until 1952 after over 10,000 M101s had been built.
The M101 is a hardy and reliable gun with a moderate range and rate of fire. The lifespan of the weapon is approximately 20,000 rounds and there is a large stockpile of units and parts for this weapon. The M101 also features a horizontal breechblock that was used along with a percussion firing system. To achieve consistent stability, the recoil system was mounted under and over the short barrel. The reliability of this gun and high production amounts led to many different countries acquiring it. At least 67 countries have purchased this howitzer, making it one of the most successful field pieces ever produced.
M101 105mm towed howitzers used the standard NATO 105mm round ammunition. The propelling charge consists of a base charge and six increments that form seven charges from one (the smallest) to seven (the largest). Additional ammunition used by the weapon include:
- HE – HE M1 Shell
- HEAT-T – HEAT M67 Shell
- Smoke – HC BE M84 SHELL, WP M60 SHELL, FS M60 SHELL
- Smoke, colored – BE M84 Shell
- Chemical – H M60 Shell
- Practice – Empty M1 Shell
- Drill – Drill Cartridge M14
Elevation of the M101 ranges from -5 degrees to +66 degrees with a traverse of 46 degrees. The range of the M1 projectile has been reported at 12,325 yards, while the M548 projectiles had a range of 15,965 yards. A rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute can be achieved with 3 rounds per minute in sustained fire.
M101A1 105mm Light Howitzer
A popular variant of the M101, the M101A1 is a general-purpose, light field artillery weapon that consists of a 105mm M2A2 howitzer cannon, an M2 series recoil mechanism, and a carriage. It may be used for either direct or indirect firing. The cannon is mounted atop the recoil sleigh assembly, and the firing mechanism is a continuous pull (or self-cocking) type that is activated by pulling on a lanyard. The cannon is single-loaded, air-cooled, and uses semi-fixed ammunition.
For more information on the M101 105mm towed howitzer, defense procurement services, or military training and education, contact the experts at UDC USA today.
BM-21 Grad 122mm Multiple Rocket Launcher
Barrel Length: 3.0 m (9 ft.. 10 in)
Weight: 13.71 tonnes (30,225 lbs.)
Rate of Fire: 2 rounds
Muzzle Velocity: 690 m/s (2,264 ft./s)
Maximum Firing Range: 20 km (new rockets 30-45 km)
Engine: V-8 gasoline ZiL-375 180 hp
Designed in the early 1960s, the BM-21 Grad 122mm Multiple Rocket Launcher is a Soviet truck-mounted 122mm multiple rocket launcher and a M-21OF rocket. The “BM” in its name stands for boyevaya mashina, or combat vehicle, and its common name of “Grad” means, “hail.” The combination of the BM-21 launch vehicle and the M-21OF rocket is considered the complete M-21 Field Rocket System; this complete system is more commonly known as the Grad multiple rocket launcher system. In NATO countries this system, or only the launch vehicle, is known as the M1964.
The M-21 Field Rocket System, complete with BM-21 multiple rocket launcher system, entered service with the Soviet Army in 1963 to replace the BM-14 system. The BM-21 itself is comprised of the Ural-375D six-by-six truck chassis that has been fitted with a 40-tube bank of launch tubs that are arranged in a rectangular shape that may be turned from the cab. A 180-horsepower V-8 gasoline engine with a maximum road speed of 75 km/h (47 mph) powers this vehicle. It has a road range of up to 750 kilometers (470 miles) and can ford depths of up to 1.5 meters (4 ft. 11 in).
The BM-21 may be operated and fired from inside of the cab, or it may be fired remotely using a cable set at a distance of up to 60 meters. The launcher is transversed forward towards the cab when traveling and fires using two stabilizing jacks that are found near the rear of the vehicle. Special electric generators power the launcher. This MRL is able to fire all of the 40 rockets in 6 seconds, or fire each individually. A three-man crew can replace the system and have it fire-ready in approximately three minutes.
Many adaptations of the launcher were and still are produced by several countries, including China, the former Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Poland, and Romania. There are numerous Soviet Union variants of the BM-21 Grad 122mm multiple rocket launcher available, including:
- 9P138 “Grad-1”
- BM-21V “Grad-V”
- 9A51 “Prima”
- “Grad-P” Light portable rocket system
- BM-21PD “Damba”
- A-215 “Grad-M”
For more information on the BM-21 Grad 122mm multiple rocket launcher, defense procurement services, or military training and education, contact the experts at UDC USA today.
2S1 Gvozdika 122mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
Weight: 16 tons (35,273 lbs.)
Shell: separate loading, cased charge
Maximum Firing Range: Conventional – 15.3 km (9.5 mi), Extended – 21.9 km (13.6 mi)
Muzzle Velocity: 680 m/s (2,200 ft./s)
Rate of Fire: Maximum – 5 rpm, Sustained 1-2 rpm
Armor: 20mm (.78 in)
Engine: YaMZ-238N 300 hp diesel 220 kW
The 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm SPH is a self-propelled howitzer designed by the Soviet Union that resembles the PT-76, but is basically a lengthened version of the MT-LB APC mounting. It is sometimes known as the alternative Russian designation of SAU-122, but it is commonly known as the Gvozdika in the Soviet Army. The 2S1 Gvozdika is fully amphibious, even with little preparation, and is propelled by its tracks once afloat. Wider tracks are also available to allow this self-propelled howitzer to operate in the snow or in swamp conditions. It has infrared night-vision capabilities and is NBC protected.
The first prototype of the 2S1 Gvozdika was created in 1969 and then entered service with the Soviet Army in the early 1970s. It was first seen in public in 1974 at a Polish Army parade. This howitzer was deployed in large numbers, with 72 per tank division, 36 per motorized rifle division. The United States Army designated the weapon as the M1974 and manufactured it in Bulgarian, Polish, and Russian state factories.
2S1 Gvozdikas have seven road wheels on either side with running gear that may be fitting with different width tracks to meet the demands of various types of terrain. The interior is made up of the driver’s compartment on the left side, an engine compartment on the right, and a fighting compartment at the rear. In the fighting compartment, the commander sits to the left, with a loader on the right and a gunner at the front. The all-welded turret is found above the fighting compartment. This design utilizes a 122mm howitzer that is based on the towed D-30 howitzer. This gun is equipped with a fume extractor, power rammer, and double-baffle muzzle brake. It was designed to fire:
- HE (high explosive)
- Armor-piercing HE
- Chemical rounds
Many countries all across the globe have created variants of the 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm self-propelled howitzer, including:
- Soviet Union/Russia
- UR-77 “Meteorit”
- RKhM “Kashalot”
- 2S34 “Chosta”
- 2S15 “Norov”
- 2S1M Goździk
- 2S1T Goździk
- Rak carrier
- Model 89
- Abu Fatma
For more information on the 2S1 Gvozdika 122mm SPH, defense procurement services, or military training and education, contact the experts at UDC USA today.
180mm S-23 Towed Gun
Caliber: 180mm (7.1 in)
Weight: 21,450 kg (47,290 lbs.)
Barrel Length: 8.8m (28 ft.. 10 in)
Shell: HE, Nuclear-capable
Maximum Firing Range: 43.8 km (27.2 mi) with RAP
Muzzle Velocity: 850 m/s (2,800 ft../s)
Rate of Fire: Maximum – 1 rpm, Sustained – 1 round every two minutes
The 180mm S-23 towed gun was developed as a heavy gun for use during the Cold War era. Developed during the early 1950s, the design was originally based on naval guns of the time. It made its first appearance in the 1955 May Day Parade in Moscow. In the West, there was a widespread misconception that the S-23 was actually a 203mm weapon, resulting in it being mislabeled as the 203mm M1955 howitzer gun.
This massive weapon uses a 16-man crew and is towed by an AT-T heavy-tracked tractor, which also carries the crew’s supplies and ammunition. The ammunition that is used by the S-23 is large and heavy, including the 84.09 kg (185.4 lbs.) HE round and the 97.7 kg (215.4 lbs.) concrete-piercing round. This gun can also fire a 0.2 kt nuclear projectile. A rocket-assisted projectile was introduced in the early 1970s that extends the maximum range out to approximate 43.8 km. Accuracy of this weapon is good, even at its maximum range.
The S-23 is a heavy and large gun, making transport a somewhat difficult process. When traveling, a two-wheeled dolly is used and the ordnance is withdrawn to the rear in order to reduce the overall length. A heavy truck or tracked prime mover must be used to tow the gun.
Its rate of fire is one round per minute at maximum, and one round per two minutes when in sustained fire. The effective range of HE projectiles has been reported to be 30,400 meters (33,245 yards), while rocket-assisted projectiles can reach within 43,800 (47,900 yards).
For more information on the 180mm S-23 towed gun, defense procurement services, or military training and education, contact the experts at UDC USA today.
M-114 155mm Howitzer
Caliber: 155mm (6.1 in)
Weight: Travel – 5,800 kg (12,800 lbs.), Combat – 5,600 kg (12,300 lbs.)
Barrel Length: Bore – 3.564 m L/23, Overall – 3.79m (12 ft. 5 in)
Shell: separate loading bagged charge
Maximum Firing Range: 14,600 m (16,000 yards)
Muzzle Velocity: 563 m/s (1,847 ft./s)
Developed and used by the United States Army, the M-114 155mm howitzer was first produced in 1942 as a medium artillery piece under the name of the 155mm Howitzer M1 (its name change came in 1962). The United States Army has used it during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The M-114 uses a two-wheel split trail carriage, and single jack in front of the axels raises its wheels from the ground. M-114s are usually towed by a five-ton truck, which also transports its ammunition and the crew. Emplacement time is around five minutes. The gun fires separate loading, bagged charged ammunition with up to seven different propelling charges ranging from 1 (the smallest) to 7 (the largest). Its 155mm shells are available as high explosive, chemical, illumination, and smoke, in accordance to the battlefield requirement and NATO standards. The maximum range for the M-114 is 14.6 km with a maximum rate of fire of four rounds per minute; its sustained rated of fire is approximately 40 rounds in one hour.
Muzzle velocity of the high explosive, chemical, and smoke rounds is approximately 1,850 feet per second, while the illumination round projects at 1,160 feet per second. The HE and chemical rounds have a longer engagement range out to 16,355 yards, while the smoke round reaches 9,700 yards and illumination peaks at 7,100 yards.
For additional information on the M-114 155mm Howitzer, defense procurement services, or military training and education, contact the experts at UDC USA today.