From Academic Kids

Loading a WW1 British 15 in (381 mm) howitzer
Loading a WW1 British 15 in (381 mm) howitzer
155 mm M198 Howitzer
155 mm M198 Howitzer

A howitzer or hauwitzer is a type of field artillery. . The name comes from Czech houfnice, denoting a 15th century cannon used by Hussites. Howitzers are distinguished from other types of cannon artillery by their trajectory in that they tend to fire at high angles and deliver plunging fire. In addition to this the barrel of a howitzer is commonly below 30 calibers, (the length of the barrel is less than 30 times as long as the diameter of the bore), whereas other cannon and field guns tend to fire at no more than 45 and have a caliber of 30 or over. Since the Second World War, a weapon that combines both high and low angles has been developed with longer barrels, the gun howitzers. Modern gun-howtizers have barrel lengths of 39, 45 or longer.

Howitzers are still either towed, or now self-propelled where they mix the manoevrability and to some extent the protection of tanks with their heavy firepower. Small howitzers can be towed by a light vehicles or carried by helicopter. Most are towed by five-ton or larger trucks. The "pack" howitzer (such as the 25 Pounder Short Mark 1) has existed since before the First World War. It can be disassembled into several main components and carried by mule through very difficult terrain, although the gun size is still a limiting factor and smaller howitzers have generally been abandoned in favor of larger guns with greater capabilities.

Modern self-propelled howitzers such as the South African G6 fire 105 to 155 mm diameter shells up to about 25-30 km at a maximum rate of about 10 per minute.

The Dutch, German, Italian and Greek armies have been using or will be using PzH 2000 howitzer (155 mm, self-propelled) shortly.

The Big Bertha was a large, 42 centimeter howitzer used in the German push of 1914. The gun was based on a similar 42 centimeter gun manufactured for a short while by Krupp for the German military.

 12 pounder (5 kg) mountain howitzer displayed by the  at  in ,
19th century 12 pounder (5 kg) mountain howitzer displayed by the National Park Service at Fort Laramie in Wyoming, USA

That similar, older 42 centimeter gun was based almost completely on a gun designed by Louis Gathmann in the late 1800s. Louis was known as the inventor of the "Big Berthas" up through his death in June of 1917. Even the New York Times labeled Louis Gathmann as the inventor.

In November 1990 British customs officers seized parts of a 1000 mm howitzer destined for the Iraq Project Babylon "supergun", which, had it been built, would have been the largest gun ever constructed.

The term "howitzer" is also used metaphorically for a brutal, merciless attack. Example: New York Times MARCH 28, 2004, "Most recently, Ms. Hughes was an advocate of the howitzer treatment of Mr. Clarke, the former counterterrorism chief who was attacked by the White House as politically motivated and dishonest."

See also

fr:Obusier nl:Houwitser ja:榴弾砲 pl:Haubica sv:Haubits zh:榴弹炮


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