M116 howitzer

The 75mm Pack Howitzer M1 (also known by its post-war designation M116) was designed in the United States in the 1920s to meet a need for an artillery piece that could be moved across difficult terrain. The gun and carriage was designed so that it could be broken down into several pieces to be carried by pack animals. The gun saw combat in the Second World War with the United States Army (primarily used by airborne units), with US Marine Corps, and was also supplied to foreign forces.

In addition to the pack / air portable configuration, the gun was mounted on a conventional carriage to serve as a field artillery piece. Derived vehicle mounted howitzers M2 and M3 were used in the 75mm HMC M8 and some LVT models. In addition, the M1 in its original version was mated to a number of other self-propelled carriages, though only one of those – 75mm HMC T30 – reached mass production.

Country Name Origin Year
United States of America 1927
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
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Turkey (Ottoman Empire) View
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) View
United States of America 1927 View
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Yugoslavia (Serbia) View

The 75 mm pack howitzer was designed in the United States in the 1920s to meet a need for an artillery piece that could be moved across difficult terrain. In August 1927, the weapon was standardized as Howitzer, Pack, 75mm M1 on Carriage M1. Due to meager funding, production rates were low; by 1940, only 91 pieces were manufactured. Only in September 1940 was the howitzer put into mass production. By then, M1 was succeeded by the slightly modified M1A1. The production continued until December 1944.

The only significant changes during the mass production period were carriage improvements. The original carriage M1 was of box trail type, with wooden wheels. Requirement for a lightweight howitzer for airborne troops led to introduction of the M8 carriage, similar except new wheels with pneumatic tires. Another requirement, from the cavalry branch of the US Army, resulted in a completely different family of "field howitzer" split trail carriages M3A1 / M3A2 / M3A3. However, only limited number of the M1 in field howitzer variant were built, due to cavalry's switch to self-propelled guns.

US forces

In the Second World War era US Army, 75 mm howitzers were issued to airborne and mountain units.

An airborne division, according to the organization of February 1944, had three 75 mm howitzer battalions – two glider field artillery battalions (two six-gun batteries each) and one parachute field artillery battalion (three four-gun batteries), in total 36 pieces per division. In December 1944, new Tables of Organization and Equipment increased the divisional firepower to 60 75 mm howitzers (as an option, in glider battalions 75 mm pieces could be replaced with more powerful 105mm M3).

The only mountain division formed, the 10th, had three 75 mm howitzer battalions, 12 pieces each. The gun was also used by some separate field artillery battalions.

In the US Marine Corps, under the E-series Tables of Organization (TO) from 15 April 1943 divisional artillery included three 75 mm howitzer battalions, 12 pieces each. The F-series TO from 5 May 1944 reduced the number of 75 mm battalions to two, and the G-series TO removed them altogether, completing the shift to 105 mm and 155 mm howitzers. Although the G-series TO was only adopted on 4 September 1945, in practice in some divisions the change was introduced early in 1945.

The M116 is still used by the US military for ceremonial purposes.

Type Pack howitzer
Place of origin  United States
Service history
In service 1927–present
Used by United States,
United Kingdom,
the Philippines,
Republic of China,
People's Republic of China,
Viet Minh,
Wars World War II,
Second Sino-Japanese War,
Korean War,
Chinese Civil War,
First Indochina War,
Vietnam War,
Kurdish–Turkish conflict
Production history
Produced 1927–1944
Number built 8400
Weight 653 kg (1,439 lbs)
Length 3.68 m (12 ft 1 in)
Barrel length Bore: 1.19 m (3 ft 11 in) L/15.9
Overall 1.38 m (4 ft 6 in) L/18.4
Width 1.22 m (4 ft)
Height 94 cm (3 ft 1 in)
Crew 6 or more
Caliber 75 mm (2.95 in)
Breech Horizontal block
Recoil Hydropneumatic, constant
Carriage Box trail, dismantling
Elevation +5° to +45°
Rate of fire 3–6 rounds per minute (sustained)
Muzzle velocity 381 m/s (1,250 ft/s)
Effective firing range 9,600 yards (8,778 meters)

End notes