Factual Friday

The Howitzer

Howitzer

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.

Civil-War-Howitzer LAND_M106A6-PIM_self-propelled_howitzer_002

 

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).

 

105mm howitzer shells

 

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).

TheTsarCannonJuly2004

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?

Happy Friday!

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About jenvolk5

Bank auditor by day, trivia and knowledge hound all other times.
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3 Responses to Factual Friday

  1. Jay says:

    That is a great pic of the Tsar’s cannon.

    And what about Big Bertha? (also the name of a line of golf club irons, it appears)

    I remember once on a summer vacation growing up when my family visited a bunch of Civil War battlefields, there was one, very imposing cannon/howitzer that had a name. Wish I could remember it. (I’ll have to ask Jim the next time I see him – he remembers everything) 🙂

    • jenvolk5 says:

      Ah yes, the Big Bertha! This was developed by Germany at the onset of WWI. It weighed in at 43 tons!! The one used in the Civil War was nicknamed the Napoleon which weighed in at a mere 1,227 lbs. I thought the nicknames were appropriate 🙂

  2. gpcox says:

    Very interesting. I especially like the history of the howitzer. Thank you.

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