M55 self propelled howitzer

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M55 8 inch Self-Propelled Howitzer 3.JPG
M55 howitzer in the US Army Ordnance Museum
Type Self-propelled artillery
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1970s (Belgium)
Used by United States
Wars Vietnam War
Production history
Manufacturer Pacific Car and Foundry Co.
Produced 1950s
Weight 44 metric tons
Length 9.75 m
Crew 6

Armour 25 mm (maximum)
(Rolled homogeneous armour)
203.2 mm M47 howitzer
(10 rounds)
.50 cal M2HB machine gun
(900 rounds)
Engine Continental AV-1790-5B
(12 cylinder, 4 cycle, 90° vee gasoline)
810 hp at 2800 rpm (gross)
704 hp at 2800 rpm (net)
Transmission Allison CD-850-4A
(two ranges forward, one reverse)
Suspension torsion bar
160 mi (260 km)
Speed 30 mph (48 km/h)

The M55 is an American fully enclosed and armored self-propelled artillery based on the M53 155 mm self-propelled artillery. It has a 203.2 mm (eight-inch) howitzer which can traverse 30° left or right, carrying 10 rounds of ammunition when fully combat loaded. The gun has a maximum range of 16,916 meters (10.51 miles) with a rate of fire of one round every two minutes. The M55's armor is light, 25 mm maximum, but sufficient to protect the crew from indirect artillery hits and small arms fire.

M55 Widowmaker
M55 Howitzer on display at Camp Roberts, CA

The M55 uses components of the M47 Patton tank, but the automotive aspects are reversed. The engine is mounted in the front and is driven through a front-drive sprocket capable of a top speed of 30 mph. The driver's cupola is visible on the front left of the turret, and spare track blocks are stored on the turret front. Because the driver's seat is in the turret, a special seat is used to keep the driver facing forward, independent of the turret facing.

The M55 was deployed in NATO areas during the Cold War and used during the Vietnam War, and subsequently withdrawn from service in the US military.

M55 birds-eye view
M55 equipment locations


1. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m55-8.htm

2. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m55-8-specs.htm

3. http://www.battletanks.com/m55.htm

4. http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/8insphm55.html