Ordnance – M3 Howitzer

M3 105mm Howitzer

Should anyone wish to further research the 11th Airborne’s field artillery, the division constituted the 674th and 675th Airborne Field Artillery.

674th Airborne Field Artillery

The 105 mm Howitzer M3 was a light howitzer designed for use by airborne troops. The gun utilized the barrel of the 105 mm howitzer M2, shortened and fitted to a slightly modified split trail carriage of the 75 mm pack howitzer. The howitzer was used by the U.S. Army during WWII.  It was issued to airborne units and the cannon companies of infantry regiments.

Paratrooper Everett Smith (Smitty, far right) during training

The howitzer was designed to fire the same ammunition as the longer M2. However, it turned out that shorter barrel resulted in incomplete burning of the propelling charge. The problem could be solved by use of faster burning powder. Otherwise the design was considered acceptable and was standardized as 105 mm Howitzer M3 on Carriage M3. The carriage was soon succeeded by the M3A1, which had trails made from thicker plate. Even stronger tubular trails were designed, but never reached production.

The production started in February 1943 and continued until May 1944; an additional bunch was produced in April–June 1945.

 

Production of М3, pcs.[2]
Year 1943 1944 1945 Total
Produced, pcs. 1,965 410 205 2,580

The gun fired semi-fixed ammunition, similar to the ammunition of the M2; it used the same projectiles and the same 105 mm Cartridge Case M14, but with different propelling charge. The latter used faster burning powder to avoid incomplete burning; it consisted of a base charge and four increments, forming five charges from 1 (the smallest) to 5 (the largest).

In an emergency, gunners were authorized to fire M1 HE rounds prepared for the Howitzer M2, but only with charges from 1 to 3. M1 HE rounds for the M3 could be fired from an M2 with any charge.

HEAT M67 Shell had non-adjustable propelling charge. For blank ammunition, a shorter Cartridge Case M15 with black powder charge was used.

 

Available ammunition
Type Model Weight (round/projectile) Filler Muzzle velocity Range
HE HE M1 Shell 18.35 kg (40 lb) / 14.97 kg (33 lb) 50/50 TNT or amatol* 2.18 kg (4 lb 13 oz) 311 m/s (1,020 ft/s) 7,585 m (8,300 yd)
HEAT-T HEAT M67 Shell 16.62 kg (37 lb) / 13.25 kg (29 lb) 311 m/s (1,020 ft/s) 7,760 m (8,500 yd)
Smoke WP M60 Shell 18.97 kg (42 lb) / 15.56 kg (34 lb) White Phosphorus, 1.84 kg (4.1 lb) 311 m/s (1,020 ft/s) 7,585 m (8,300 yd)
Smoke FS M60 Shell 19.65 kg (43 lb) / Sulfur trioxide in Chlorosulfonic acid, 2.09 kg (4 lb 10 oz)
Smoke HC BE M84 Shell 18.29 kg (40 lb) / 14.91 kg (33 lb) Zinc chloride 311 m/s (1,020 ft/s) 7,585 m (8,300 yd)

* Amatol is a highly explosive material made from a mixture of TNT and ammonium nitrate.   Amatol was used extensively during WWI and WWII.

 

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor –

Light Artillery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Mildred (Andrews) Andres – Baton Rouge, LA; US Army WAC, German Occupation, Sgt.

FINAL MISSION

Patricia Delaney – Evanston, IL; US Navy WAVES, WWII, Lt. JG

Thomas A. Dennison – Lander, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

John Jarvie – Rock Springs, WY; USMC, WWII, PTO / Korea, MSgt., Engineering, (Ret. 21 y.)

Theodore Lumpkin Jr. (100) – Angeleno, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 2nd Lt., 100th Fighter Squadron, Intelligence; Lt. Col. (Ret.)

Davis Mosqueda – Boise, ID; USMC, Silent Drill Corps, LCpl.

Louis V. O’Brien – Providence, RI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 486/352 Fighter Group, 2nd Lt., pilot

Madge (Watkins) Redwood – Auckland, NZ; NZ Army WAAC, WWII, # 813240, 9th Coastal Regiment

Brian D. Sicknick – NJ; National Guard, Middle East, Sgt., /  US Capitol Police, 1st Responder Unit

James Wento – Lynn, MA; US Army, SSgt., 2-2 Assault Helicopter Battalion/2nd Combat Assault

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 11, 2021, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 56 Comments.

  1. As always, thanks for the education, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good golly, Miss Molly! Even the photos of those things feel loud. LOL.
    Something different. Cool post, GP. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Sorry, how could i forget just this posting! A dream of me, to have such a great thing in my garden. 😉 You need not only use hardened bullets, some small cabbage would do best for the neighbours too. Lol Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Redleg!! I trained on and fired both the M101(A1) (split leg) and the M102 (roller), (WAY back in the day) at Ft. Sill, OK. I never got to work on them, though. My duty stations were assigned 155mm towed (Ft. Lewis) and 8-in (SP) (in Germany). LoL! I still have a slight loss of hearing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not at all surprised! Even in the movies, the sound and reverberation can not be accurately demonstrated. Thank you for telling us your story.

      Like

      • Most of the time it’s not sooo bad because you know it’s coming, have your ear plugs in and you’re behind the guns. Imagine you’re in a foxhole, on perimeter guard duty, 50 – 75 or 100 yards in front of the battery (which may be four or six guns). You can feel the shockwave physically hit you. And you “really” can’t wear your ear plugs if you are trying to hear intruders… Of course, it was peace time, but still… Your ears can be ringing for hours to days, depending on the angles of fire, amount of powder charges, numbers of rounds shot, and proximity to the guns.

        No, movies don’t do it justice. Even turned up to “11”. (That’s a “Spinal-Tap” reference…)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Now I’m wondering about the big guns I see at various parks, or in front of VFW halls. The next time I see one, I’m going to stop and read the plaque that’s usually somewhere near, to see if it identifies the artillery. I may have met a Howitzer and didn’t know it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 2,580 M3 artillery pieces. I wonder how many survive? There must be some in museums and others long forgotten in Army buildings, but I bet the majority were melted down when peace came, plus one or two that went to the bottom of the sea without reaching the battlefield.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Interesting! I have heard of the Howitzer, but knew little about it.
    Good to laugh at the humor! 😀
    Always want to read the names out loud to honor them and their brave service.
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You must know that all this information about ammunition is beyond my mind but I think it is wonderful that you have placed it here for those who understand and for future generations.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for the education on the M3 Howitzer

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I know nothing about guns and weapons…but I’m always curious about the photos of your father…Everett A. Smith…old photo albums…the faces the ages of the men…so young…be well GP thank you for sharing…I always learn more ☺️🙏 hedy

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Leuke militaire humor. Maar vrees als die soldaten in de oorlog zo dicht bij de kannonnen stonden als op de foto,ze allemaal doof zijn geworden voor de oorlog gedaan was

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for more information about how things worked, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting history, GP. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s interesting to learn about things that worked, things that didn’t work and the changes men in the filed made to adapt. I can only imagine that having a gun and having ammunition (and having an enemy) was incentive enough for solving the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. In “The Siege of An Loc” I related how a South Vietnamese Airborne battalion was airlifted to Hill 169, followed by an Airborne artillery battalion with six 105 mm cannons. The Airborne troops chased away an enemy regiment, but then the North Vietnamese trained all the might of their Soviet made long-range guns onto the two battalions, destroying all six cannons and exploding their ammunitions. Both battalions suffered severe casualties. However, a month later the Airborne battalion was reconstituted with a mixture of new trainees and veterans. It fought its way back into An Loc and its battalion commander was the first one to shake hands with an old classmate who had been defending the city.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Interested in how our own experiences influence our reactions, when I saw that photo of the men firing the howitzer, my first thought was to wonder if they returned home with their hearing intact.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. An interesting adaptation of a larger gun for use by airborne troops. My uncle served in the Far East during WW2 in the artillery, and they used dismantled ‘mountain guns’ carried into action against the Japanese on mules.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Featured Blogger GP – Ordnance – M3 Howitzer #AceHistoryDesk report | ' Ace Worldwide History News ‘

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