Object of the Month - August

30 August, 2021

Self-Propelled Howitzer M1110A1

The M110 series dates back to the 1950s when the US Army began a programme to create a self- propelled gun carriage that could carry a number of different calibre barrels while being air portable. The M110 howitzer first entered service in 1963 and was used extensively in the Vietnam War by the United States Army. When taken out of service by the US Army the howitzers’ barrels were used to construct the jackets for the first batch of GBU-28 bunker buster bombs.

The M110 chassis could carry a 155mm, 8 inch or 175mm gun. As with most armoured vehicles, improvements were made over time; the M110 A1 version had a new range of ammunition and a longer barrel, while the M110 A2 had a new double baffle muzzle brake fitted to lessen the recoil. That said, it had a large dozer-blade at the rear which was driven into the ground to reduce the impact of the significant recoil. Later versions were deployed by the UK and US armies during the Cold War in Germany, and in 1991 during Operation Desert Shield/Operation Desert Storm by the British Army’s 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery and Tango Battery 5th Battalion 11th Marines.

The usual method of fire was three rounds every two minutes, with the gun designed to be serviced by a 13-man crew of which only the driver was able to be under cover, sitting at the front of the vehicle under armour next to the engine. Amongst the range of ammunition types, the M1110 A2 could fire a nuclear shell out to a distance of 18km.

The M110 has seen service with twenty different armies, and remains in service today with half of them.