M-56 Howitzer

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M-56 Howitzer
M-56А1 105 mm howitzer on display at "Partner 2011" military fair in Belgrade
Type M56 M56A1 Howitzer M09 Soko Self-propelled artillery
Place of origin  Yugoslavia  Serbia
Service history
In service 1956
Production history
Designer Military Technical Institute Belgrade
Manufacturer Yugoimport, BNT
Produced 1952 - still in offer new versions
Number built more than 1500 towed
Weight 2100kg towed 12000kg self-propelled
Crew 7 towed, 5 self-propelled

Shell separate loading, cased charge
Caliber 105 mm
Elevation -9 to +65 degrees
Rate of fire 6-8 rds/min
Maximum firing range M-56 with Special charge: 13.1 km (8.1 mi)
M56-A1 33 caliber HE-ER BB: 18.4 km (11.4 mi)

105 mm howitzer
Zastava Arms M87 - 12.7x108 mm for M56A1
Engine Deutz AG 6L 413 F
110 KW
Power/weight 9,16 kW/t
500 km (310 mi)
Speed Maximal - Road: 85 km/h
Off-road: 39 km/h

The M-56 Howitzer was a Yugoslav and now Serbia designed 105mm artillery gun similar to German 10.5 cm leFH 18 and later improved 10.5 cm leFH 18M and also American M101 (m2A1).


Design was based on details from the M101 and leFH 18, with many technical improvements to increase its capacity and range. First prototype was designated as SH-1 and designed by Military Technical Institute Belgrade in 1951 and produced by then Crvena Zastava Kragujevac today Zastava Arms Kragujevac . Second prototype was developed by Military Technical Institute Belgrade in 1955 designated as SH-2 and he was basis for serial M-56. Serial production started in 1956 Bratstvo Novi Travnik because prior that in 1945 decision was made by communist government of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to move factories from Serbia to other parts of newly formed Yugoslavia to help them to develop industries. Because of that decision in 1951 Zastava Arms factory then called Crvena Zastava was partial dissemble and among other parts of Crvena Zastava factory complete artillery program (calibers over 20 mm) together with 250 experts was transferred to Bosnia into new Bratstvo Novi Travnik factory from then Socialist Republic of Serbia to Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to help in Bosnia development at cost of Serbia who was in that time was heavy industrialized and had educated technical staff. [1] It was originally manufactured in Yugoslavia in a 28 caliber version that had the capability to reach up to 13 km. Through the years, M56A1 version is developed with new longer 33 caliber barrel made from new better materials designed for a life cycle of at least 18,000 shots of ammunition and with a stronger breechblock and new recoil systems that allow it to fire modern rounds up to 18+ km with better stability thanks to hydro-pneumatic balancer to compensate for the increased weight as it was able to handle higher pressure in the chamber and counterweights in each support legs. [2] Today M-56A1 and Soko M-09 it is in offer by Yugoimport,and M-56 by BNT TMiH in Bosnia.[3] [4]

According to the United Nations, some 1,500 units of the M56, in its various models, have been produced and over 200 were exported between 1998 and 2004.[5]

Technical data[edit]

M-56 and M-56A1 105mm[edit]

  • M-56 caliber 28
  • M-56A1 caliber 33
  • Weight: Between 2,190 kg to 2,330 kg depending on options
  • Min. reach: 2,000m
  • Max. reach: up to 18 km
  • Muzzle brake: Double
  • Min. elevation: -180 mils
  • Max. elevation: 1200 mils
  • Horizontal limits: 462 thousandths
  • Frequency of fire: 6 round/min
  • Range M-56: 14km M-56A1: 18.1km

M-09 Soko 105mm self-propelled[edit]

  • M-09 105mm gun with direct and indirect shooting capability
  • Weight 12000kg
  • 60 rounds ready for use
  • 5 members crew
  • Range: 15.1km M02 HE ERBT 18.4km M02 HE ERFB/BB [6]
  • Rate of fire: 6-8 rsd/min
  • Armour STANAG 4569 level I
  • Zastava Arms M87 - 12.7x108 mm for defense
  • Integrated fire control system
  • Use all ammunition developed for the US M101 and M-56A1 howitzer [7]


Outside of the former territory of Yugoslavia, the M56 is known to be in service with:

  • Bangladesh
  • Cyprus
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Nigeria, likely the largest export user (200)
  • Indonesia
  • Myanmar
  • Mexico
  • Pakistan, which has one of the most in use (113).[8]
  • Perú


  1. ^ http://www.zastava-arms.rs/en/imagetext/1945-%E2%80%93-1970
  2. ^ http://www.paluba.info/smf/index.php?topic=13685.0
  3. ^ BNT TMiH website
  4. ^ http://www.yugoimport.com/en/proizvodi/m09-105-mm-armored-truck-mounted-howitzer
  5. ^ [1][not in citation given]
  6. ^ http://www.edepro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Base_bleed_105.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.yugoimport.com/en/proizvodi/m09-105-mm-armored-truck-mounted-howitzer
  8. ^ John Pike. "Pakistan Army Equipment". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 

External links[edit]