Welcome to another Factual Friday! This is now my favorite part of the week since it also means the weekend is here (or sometimes for early postings, close at hand)!
I originally came across the howitzer reference when I started reading military history books about WWII. Recently, I came across the term also in my reading on the civil war and I started to get curious – what is it and how old is it?
The more “modern” howitzer (think a version of cannon) was created in the 1600’s in Sweden, although earlier models were cast as early as 1500s. Their original intention was to be used in siege warfare but as they gained in popularity, their use became more widespread. They were able to deliver cast-iron shells filled with gunpowder or other incendiary devices into heavily fortified dwellings.
Their mobility increased in the 1700s as they were placed on carriages or wagons. Eventually, they were created with mobility features all their own (wheels attached instead of on a carriage).
They range in a variety of sizes (mostly large) and vary in sizes of shells (also mostly large compared to the mortar). The largest on record (although reportedly never fired) is the Tsar Cannon cast in 1586 in Moscow (currently on display on the Kremlin grounds and pictured below).
Can you imagine moving that around? Howitzers are still in use today during war-time and range in a variety of sizes and mobility options (now able to drop them by parachute). What other facts about howitzers do you know?