1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Babiest Cannon

Not really the babiest.
A tribute to the 75mm Pack Howitzer.
Back story: There has to be a back story - else it's not all about me.
'82ish, I lived in the teeming metropolis of Sunburst, Montana.
Walking around with my Dad, we passed the "municipal cannon" in front of ... city hall I guess.
It was a Pack Howitzer, painted red-white-and-blue.
Below, another in its role as guardian of the city parks.

There's a park across the river in Springfield that has one as well.
Anyone know of others?
They're a cool little gun, far beyond the affordability and ease of transport that make them such a good choice for municipal weaponry for the small town.
Seriously, for the hamlet, strapped for funds but needing a cannon for the square, the 75mm Pack is just the ticket.
Okay, I'm being a dick.
Below: Mule-skinners in the Field Artillery - pre-war. One of whom appears to be courting a hoof in the mush. Let go of the animal's tail, dummy.

From the infinite mind of Wiki:

The M1A1 Pack Howitzer was the standard howitzer for American forces in World War 2. The Pack design actually traced it's roots back to the howitzer development of World War One, standardized in the American Army post-war as the M1. The M1A1 of the Second World War featured a short barrel, could reach a sustained rate of fire of 3 to 6 rounds per minute with a capable crew, and had a range of roughly 9,610 yards (8,790 meters). The system was purposely engineered to be light, easily transportable and operated by a small crew (which worked well in the favor of light divisions such as airborne units as evident in the M8 variant of the Pack). The high explosive shell of the M1 Pack Howitzer weighed 6.3 kilograms. The weapon system could be used for suppression, assault, defense and limited anti-tank duty. Further developments enabled better cross-country mobility.



Pack howitzers garnered their 'Pack' designations by the idea that pack animals could tow the lightweight system (most common in World War One but not uncommon in World War Two for either side). The system was designed to be easily taken apart in multiple pieces (the M1 carriage could be taken down to a total of six parts while the gun system could be taken down to nine parts) for this very purpose. The M1A1 first utilized the aforementioned M1 Carriage, which featured wooden spoke wheels. Later versions implemented into the follow-up M8 Carriage utilized rubber treaded tires on metal wheels.


Above, on Guadalcanal. Wooden wheels.

The M1A1 saw action in Arnhem with the British, being dropped by glider in Operation Market Garden. British troops also trained Yugoslavian partisans in the use of the weapon system (seeing some success in the mountain warfare role). The M1A1 saw action in the far east jungles of the Pacific Theater. The ability of the system to be able to be broken down made it most advantageous in mounting amphibious assaults needing artillery support immediately upon landing on the beaches.


With the Chinese in 1942.

M1A1 Pack Howitzers were also trialed on halftrack chassis and utilized to great effect in this role as well. Overall, the M1A1 became a classic piece of American artillery design. Portable, potent and very versatile, the system went on to see a great many years of frontline service as the standard light artillery weapon system.


Another pre-war, training shot.


With the Marines on Tarawa.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Hmmm, not a single kudo to the famed "French 75"...The man didn't like your final link there Dan.

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