In this part 2 of the series of articles on DriveTanks.com I want to introduce you to the M2A1 105mm howitzer that was so widely used in WWII. This is an original fully functioning 105mm howitzer that makes up part of DriveTanks.com collection. Yes indeed folks you can indeed fire this howitzer across a valley between two mountains and watch your fired round impact the mountain.
It was late afternoon when we rolled the M2A1 out of it’s storage building, set it up for firing and loaded it up with a live round. The video shows me firing the 105 and if you look closely on the right side of the screen you’ll see the round impact after a few seconds.It’s easier to view in full size. Before you ask yes the breech block was a bit sticky but I got it open.
The M2 Howitzer was developed between WWI and WWII. This versatile piece of artillery went into service in 1940. Since that time the 105 howitzer has been in service for many decades with few changes. In fact a re-engineered version is still in service today. Even the original M2 still serves in many small countries military inventory.
The M2A1 was a powerful and accurate gun often deployed at the battalion level. Its sterling performance in North Africa, the Pacific, China, Italy, and Western Europe cemented its reputation with the US Army and Marine Corps. By 1945 over 10 000 were manufactured by Rock Island Arsenal and many were kept in storage or exported to NATO members and allies as surplus. Production continued without design changes until 1953.
Country of origin United States
Entered service 1940-1941
Crew 8 men
Main gun 105-mm
Barrel length 22.5 calibers
Projectile weight 14.9 – 15.1 kg
Maximum range of fire 11.3 – 14.5 km
Maximum rate of fire 3 – 4 rpm
Elevation range – 5 to + 65 degrees
Traverse range +- 22.75 degrees
Dimensions and weight
Weight 2.26 t
Length (in combat order) 5.99 m
Towing vehicle 6×6 truck
During the Vietnam war the 105mm howitzer was especially useful since it could be carried by helicopter. A daisy cutter bomb could be dropped by aircraft on a mountain top with the resulting detonation clearing a spot large enough to allow the 105mm laden helicopters to set them down on the newly created open ground. Several could be brought in and you had an instant firebase to support our ground forces.
Another big gun is the WWII German PAK 40 anti-tank gun. With the comp on the barrel this boy has some blowback! The PAK is a high velocity gun in 75mm. It was used on all fronts with the largest number on the eastern front against Russian T-34 tanks. If you watched the movie Fury you saw a battle with the Sherman tanks going after a group of PAK 40 guns. This video will give you some idea of how it feels to fire the PAK40!
DriveTanks.Com part 3 will be one you will enjoy. This one will highlight the M4A2E8 “Easy Eight” Sherman tank. We drive the tank, fire the 76mm main gun as well as the M2 50 caliber mounted on the tank. I hope you are enjoying these post!