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M1/M2/M101/M102 Howitzer 105mm


After World War I, the U.S. Army recognized their lack of a standardized field artillery unit. Based on the 105mm or 4.1 inch projectile, development began with the M1, 105 mm howitzer in the 1920's and into the M2 howitzer of the 1930's. Designated the M2A1 in 1940, full production began in 1941 with the on set of WWII. Heavily used during WWII it continued to be a main stay in artillery arsenals of many different countries after the wars end. Over 10,000 units were manufactured by 1952. After 1953, it was again redesignated as the M101, but with little change in the basic design until the early 1960's. Criticism of the M2A1/M101 howitzer has been its 4,500 lb gross weight and inability to readily traverse a full 360 degree. In 1964, the redesigned M102 began production with reduced weight by utilizing a stressed aluminum carriage that dropped the gross weight to 3,300 lbs and provided a full 360 degree traverse. During the Vietnam War the U.S. Army extensively utilized the M102 in many remote firebases.
The basic design rests on a towed split rail, 2 wheeled carriage, it has a sliding horizontal breech and a hydro-pneumatic recoil system. Selection of the 105mm projectile proved significant for it became a NATO world wide standard. The standard shell has with a muzzle velocity of 1,550 feet per second and a maximum range of 12,200 yards. During WWII they were referred to as "33's" for the shell weight is 33lbs, measured 33 inches long and cost 33.00 dollars to manufacture. Other projectiles in this 105mm caliber include, smoke screen, smoke marking, propaganda leaflets, tear gas and illumination rounds.


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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net