M101A1 105 mm Howitzer
Marines from 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division fire a 105mm M101A1 howitzer during the playing of taps at the Iwo Jima 60th Anniversary Commemorative on 26 March 2005
Type Howitzer
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by United States
Wars World War II
Korean War
First Indochina War
Vietnam War
Insurgency in the Philippines
Production history
Manufacturer Rock Island Arsenal
Produced 1941-present
Weight 2,260 kg (Bad rounding hereScript error lb)
Length 5.94 m (Bad rounding hereScript error in)
Barrel length 2.31 m (Bad rounding hereScript error in) L/22
Width 2.21 m (Bad rounding hereScript error in)
Height 1.73 m (Bad rounding hereScript error in)

Shell 105x372R
Caliber 105 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in)
Breech horizontal block
Recoil hydropneumatic, constant, 42 in (Bad rounding hereScript error cm)
Carriage split trail
Elevation -5° to +66°
Traverse 46°
Muzzle velocity 472 m/s (Bad rounding hereScript error ft/s)
Maximum range 11,270 m (Bad rounding hereScript error mi)

The 105 mm M2A1 (M101A1) howitzer was the standard light field howitzer for the United States in World War II, seeing action in both European and Pacific theaters. Entering production in 1941, it quickly entered the war against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Pacific, where it gained a reputation for its accuracy and powerful punch. The M101 fired 105 mm high explosive (HE) semi-fixed ammunition and had a range of 11,200 metres (Bad rounding hereScript error yd), making it suitable for supporting infantry.

Widespread usageEdit

All of these qualities of the weapon, along with its widespread production, led to its adoption by many countries after the war. Its ammunition type also became the standard for many foreign countries' later models. In 1962 the artillery designation system was changed and the 105mm M2A1 howitzer became the M101A1. It continued to see service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Though a similar model, the M102 howitzer, shared the same roles in battle, it never fully replaced the M101. Today the M101A1 has been retired by the U.S. military, though it continues to see service with many other countries.

The Canadian Forces continued to use the M2A1 as the C1 Howitzer until 1997 when a modification was made to extend its service life. It is now designated the C3. Those improvements include a longer barrel, a muzzle brake, reinforced trails and the removal of shield flaps. It remains the standard light howitzer of Canadian Forces Reserve units. The C3 is used by Reserve units in Glacier National Park in British Columbia as a means of avalanche control. In addition, the M101 has found second usage in the U.S. as an avalanche control gun, supervised by the US Forest Service.

France and the State of Vietnam used it during the First Indochina War.

A number of M2/M101 howitzers were used by Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and approximately 50 were inherited by Croatia of which 4 are still in use for training with the Croatian army.

M2 Howitzers are still in limited service in the Australian Army Reserve, but are being replaced with 81mm mortars with an emphasis on the retention of indirect fire support skills.[1] In regular service they were replaced by the 105mm L119 Hamel gun and the 155mm M198 howitzers.


Canadian C3 howitzer March 3, 2009

Canadian soldiers from the 1st and 3rd Field Regiments fire a 105 mm high explosive round with a C3 howitzer March 3, 2009, during Exercise Maritime Raider 09 at Fort Pickett, Va.

Gun variants:

  • M1920 - prototype.[2]
  • M1925E - prototype.[2]
  • T2, standardized as M1.[2]
  • M2 (1934) - minor changes to the chamber to allow use of fixed ammunition.[2]
  • M2A1 (1940) - modified breech ring.[3]
  • M3 - lightweight howitzer, with barrel shortened by 27 inches.
  • T8, standardized as M4 - vehicle-mounted variant with modified breech and with cylindrical recoil surface.[4]:210
  • M101 - post-war designation of M2A1 on carriage M2A1.
  • M101A1 - post-war designation of M2A1 on carriage M2A2.
  • C3 - Canadian C1 (M2A1) with lengthened, 33-caliber barrel

Carriage variants:

  • M1920E - prototype, split trail.[2]
  • M1921E - prototype, box trail.[2]
  • M1925E - prototype, box trail.[2]
  • T2, standardized as M1 - split trail, wooden wheels.[2]
  • M1A1 - M1 carriages rebuilt with new wheels, brakes and other parts.[3]
  • T3 - prototype.[2]
  • T4 - prototype.[2]
  • T5, standardized as M2 (1940) - split trail, steel wheels with pneumatic tires.[2]
  • M2A1 - electric brakes removed.[5]
  • M2A2 - modified shield.[5]

Self-propelled mountsEdit


M7 Priest ammunition Anzio 31-01-1944 IWM NA 11636

Preparing ammunition for an M7 Priest self-propelled gun, Anzio. January 1944

The gun fired semi-fixed ammunition, with 105mm Cartridge Case M14. The propelling charge consisted of base charge and six increments, forming seven charges from 1 (the smallest) to 7 (the largest). Use of M1 HE rounds prepared for the 105mm howitzer M3 (same projectile and cartridge, but different propelling charge) was authorized.[9]

HEAT M67 Shell was originally designed as fixed round, with Cartridge Case M14 type II. It was later changed to semi-fixed type with the standard cartridge, but with non-adjustable propelling charge. For blank ammunition, a shorter Cartridge Case M15 with black powder charge was used.[9]

Available ammunition[8]:236[9][10]
Type Model Weight, kg (round/projectile) Filler Muzzle velocity, m/s Range, m
HE HE M1 Shell 19.08 / 14.97 TNT or 50/50 amatol, 2.18 kg 472 11,160
HEAT-T HEAT M67 Shell 16.71 / 13.25 Pentolite, 1.33 kg 381 7,854
Smoke HC BE M84 Shell 19.02 / 14.91 Zinc chloride (HC) 472 11,160
Smoke, colored BE M84 Shell 17.86-18.04 / Smoke mixture
Smoke WP M60 Shell 19.85 / 15.56 White Phosphorus (WP), 1.84 kg 472 11,110
Smoke FS M60 Shell 20.09 / Sulfur trioxide in Chlorosulfonic acid, 2.09 kg
Chemical H M60 Shell 19.43 / Mustard gas, 1.44 kg
Practice Empty M1 Shell 472 11,160
Drill Drill Cartridge M14 - -
Blank - -
Armor penetration, mm[8]:236
Ammunition \ Distance, m 0 457 914 1,828
HEAT M67 Shell (meet angle 0°) 102
Concrete penetration, mm[8]:236
HE M1 Shell (meet angle 0°) 457 427 396 335
Different methods of measurement were used in different countries / periods. Therefore, direct comparison is often impossible.


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  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Hogg - Allied Artillery of World War Two, p 42-49.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Technical Manual TM 9-2005 volume 3, Infantry and Cavalry Accompanying Weapons.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Hunnicutt - Sherman: A History of the American Medium Tank
  5. 5.0 5.1 Technical Manual TM 9-1325, 105mm Howitzers M2 and M2A1; Carriages M2A1 and M2A2; and Combat Vehicle Mounts M3 and M4.
  6. Hunnicutt - Pershing: A History of the Medium Tank T20 Series
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Hunnicutt - Stuart: A History of the American Light Tank
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Hunnicutt - Half-Track: A History of American Semi-Tracked Vehicles
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Technical Manual TM 9-1901, Artillery Ammunition, p 167-178.
  10. Technical Manual TM 9-1904, Ammunition Inspection Guide, p 471-484.
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External linksEdit

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