Type 96 15 cm howitzer

The Type 96 15 cm howitzer was a 149.1 mm calibre howitzer used by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. It was intended to replace the Type 4 15 cm howitzer in front line combat units from 1937, although it fired the same ammunition. The Type 96 designation was given to this gun as it was accepted in the year 2596 of the Japanese calendar (1936).

Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1937
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1937 1945 View

Work on developing a new field howitzer for the Japanese Army began in 1920 and continued for over a decade. The Japanese Army sent numerous military attachés to Europe during World War I and observed the effectiveness of sustained artillery barrages against fixed defenses and opposing infantry. The final specifications to meet the Army's requirements called for a howitzer that could be elevated to 65 degrees, with a maximum range of 12,000 yards, which could be transported by a team of six horses. The new design was ready by 1934, but Army Chief of Staff Kazushige Ugaki opposed its production until further tweaks were made. Production finally commenced in 1937. A total of 440 units were produced.

The revised Type 96 howitzer could be identified by a relatively short tube with muzzle only slightly forward of rectangular cradle, three demountable spade plates and demountable trail block for each trail end, wheel chocks and leaf springs above the axle.

The Type 96 15 cm howitzer was first used in combat in the Second Sino-Japanese War and was highly praised by its users. It was also used at the Nomonhan Incident in the Soviet-Japanese Border Wars.

After the start of the Pacific War, it was assigned to Japanese units at the Battle of Bataan and Battle of Corregidor in the Philippines, as well as at the Battle of Guadalcanal. Many units were at the Battle of Okinawa. It continued to be used as the main howitzer of Japanese artillery units until the end of World War II.

A surviving example is preserved at the Yushukan Museum at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. An additional example (complete with gun shield but without the breech block) is in a parking lot in Bellevue, Washington, just east of 124th Ave. NE on the Bel-Red Road.

Type Howitzer
Place of origin  Empire of Japan
Service history
In service 1937–1945
Used by  Imperial Japanese Army
Wars Second Sino-Japanese War
Soviet-Japanese Border Wars
World War II
Production history
Number built 440
Specifications
Weight 4,140 kg (9,130 lb)[1] Firing,
4,920 kg (10,847 lb) Traveling
Length 6.71 m (22 ft 0 in) Firing, 9.25 m (30 ft 4 in) Traveling
Barrel length 3.523 m (11 ft 7 in) 23.37 calibers
Shell 31.3 kg (69 lb)
Caliber 149.1 mm (5.87 in)
Carriage split trail
Elevation -5 to +65 degrees
Traverse 30°
Rate of fire 3–4 rpm
Muzzle velocity 540 m/s (1,772 ft/s)
Maximum firing range 11,900 m (13,014 yd)
Sights panoramic

End notes