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Incorrect Photos[edit]

Most of the artillery pieces pictured here are Civil War era guns fired at very low angles close to horizontal. They are not howitzers. Jfgrcar (talk) 23:17, 18 August 2013 (UTC)

Old spellings[edit]

Old spellings like hobbits and hobits can refer to a single specimen of the sort of artillery gun called a howitz or a howitzer.

Someone may wish to incorporate this into this article —jiy (talk) 21:46, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

Currently, the name Howitzer is a U.S. Registered Trademark for "Howitzer AEC Suite" software owned by American Reprographics Company through it's wholly owned subsidiary, Engineering Repro Systems.

Some one may wish to incorporate the mechanism/ devices used to measure the total and effective recoil of howitzers and other firearms

Firing angles?[edit]

How come the text says that howitzers fire at high angles, but most of the pictures show howitzers firing at low angles? CuriousOliver 15:08, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Because the description is wrong. Howitzers can fire both at high angles and in direct fire. I corrected this. 06:06, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
And yet it still states they fire at high angles. By military definition (army field guide) a howitzer is an indirect fire weapon but this does not indicate it must be at a high angle. Civil War howitzers did mostly fire at a steep angle but modern weapons fire at a much lower and flatter trajectory. The article also indicates these weapons have “relatively short barrels” and “use comparatively small explosive charges.” Neither of these are true. The pictures with the article of the French 155, the German self propelled PzH 2000, and the US M198 all clearly demonstrate the inaccuracy of this statement. (A 155 mm artillery shell is larger than the projectile from the 5 in. main deck guns on a destroyer and is absolutely NOT a "comparatively small explosive charge".) CharmsDad (talk) 05:41, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually the typical modern "howitzer" is really a "gun-howitzer" able to effectively fire both low and high angle indirect fire, and fire low angle fire at ranges typical of a true gun. Advances in recoil mechanisms, tactics, and the availability of a range of charges have allowed modern howitzers to perform the work of both to an acceptable degree. A mortar is usually, and has always been, THE true "high-angle-only" weapon. Caisson 06 (talk) 14:35, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Spelling "hauwitzer" removed[edit]

I haven't been able to find the spelling "hauwitzer" (which was added to the article on 13 January 2004) in any (print) English dictionary. Most Google hits turn out to be versions of this very article found at Wikipedia mirror sites. Seeing that "howitzer" is loanword (from Dutch houwitser < German Haubitze, < Czech houfnice), there are probably a lot of infrequent variant spellings that are not found in any modern English dictionary (including the old spellings mentioned by jiy above), but that doesn't mean they should be listed as permissible variant spellings in the article. Unless someone comes up with a reference to a modern (print) English dictionary that includes the "hauwitzer" spelling, I believe it should be removed from the article. (I have created a Hauwitzer redirect page so as not to "lose" any readers who enter that spelling and hit the "Go" button.) --Bwiki 14:29, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

The "hauwitzer" spelling has been removed. I also removed the phrase about the word being "of Germanic origin" because Czech is a West Slavic language. --Bwiki 03:51, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Caption on Photo Corrected[edit]

The artillery piece described as a "World War I 105mm Howitzer used in the Battle of Turtucaia" is clearly from a later era. That is, it has features, such as rubber tires and a muzzle brake, that were not employed on howitzers of its size during World War I. I have therefore changed the caption to read "World War II 105mm howitzer employed as a monument on the site of the World War I Battle of Turtucaia." User:Trossknecht 5 May 2007


June 12, congratulations, removal of 'bullcrap' has achieved a 49 word sentence with 3 commas. Breaking up slabs of text like this are a good use of bullets.

the Czech word "houfnice" and Hussite Wars[edit]

Being Czech, I found the reference to "houfnice" as a "catapult" quite funny. Though in the 15th century, the Hussites already used firearms including houfnice AP cannons - indeed, it was a small wheeled field cannon used against herds of enemies (in Czech "houf" stands for a group or a herd)

Please note that the Hussite army was considering tactics and armaments probably the most advanced military force at that time. Modern words like "pistol" also derive from there as "píšťala" ['pi:shtialah](Czech for the "pipe") was the name for their hand-held firearm.

Martin85.71.171.224 19:43, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, and where does "houf" come from, if not from the targets, German "Haufen" formations? -- Matthead  DisOuß   04:36, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


"Since the First World War, the word "howitzer" has been increasingly used to describe artillery pieces that, strictly speaking, belong to the category of "gun-howitzer"." That's a very important point, but I'm not sure what the strict definition of the gun-howitzer is. Are we talking about (a) absolute barrel length, (b) relative barrel length (in calibers), or a design feature like (c) maximum elevation or (d) the existence of a chamber. Did guns in the WWI still lack chambers? I gather that they did in the 1860s, while howitzers had them. If (b) is the answer, is there a caliber ratio which would qualify a piece as gun, gun-howitzer, etc? Artillery in mid-20th century is often described in "inch, caliber" format which may allow us to tell at a glance if it is a howitzer. Boris B (talk) 18:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Light Field[edit]

"The standard German light field howitzer at the start of the war..." I noticed that a reference to light field howitzers used by the germans linksb instead to Light field, a topic which seems completely out of context. Is there a different page this should be linking to or should the link simply be removed?(Edgeoffaiths (talk) 02:11, 13 March 2011 (UTC))

trench question[edit]

The article says "The onset of trench warfare after the first few months of First World War greatly increased the demand for howitzers that gave a steep angle of descent, which were better suited than guns to the task of striking targets on a horizontal plane (such as trenches), with large amounts of explosive and considerably less barrel wear." How is a trench in a horizontal plane? Kinzele (talk) 20:27, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Howitzers or Mortars?[edit]

After having read entries on the Skoda 305 mm Model 1911 and Big Bertha, I was struck by the fact that they are both labelled Mörser in German. This means mortar, not howitzer (that would be Haubitze). Any particular reason to relabel them as howitzers in English? If so, a section of national-specific use of mortar vs. howitzer may be relevant.

Mojowiha (talk) 18:12, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
What do the reliable sources describe then as?GraemeLeggett (talk) 22:43, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The sources cited in the articles use the designation Mörser, and some translate this as mortar. Some use howitzer, but without using the German original designation at all. As far as I can see, the Czech website cited also calls the Skoda a mortar. The Polish Skoda article calls it a howitzer but adds (siege mortar) afterwards. The German Skoda article does the opposite. My question was simply raised to find out whether there was a clear definition that can distinguish between howitzers and mortars in the case of this kind of heavy siege artillery? Or perhaps it is simply a question of national variations?
Mojowiha (talk) 19:15, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I meant English language sources rather than making our own interpretation. Generally mortars fire high, are smoothbore and muzzle loading while howitzers fire a flatter trajectory (though higher than a field gun) are rifled and breech loading. Except there are rifled mortars and breech-loading mortars, so we can't trust our own opinion. GraemeLeggett (talk) 20:27, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I am not 'making my own interpretations', simply translating directly. The distinction between mortars/howitzers are present in (most?) European languages. And why is English language sources the authoritative arbiters on this quite Germanic topic? I don't have anything against going with the current howitzer label, but we might simply be reproducing sloppy labelling from the past. Again, I was simply curious as to whether the 're-labelling' of the two artillery pieces in question were based on deliberate nation-specific differences in distinguishing mortars/howitzers, or just tradition?
Mojowiha (talk) 07:10, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Having looked through the German Wiki entry on mortars, as well as the list of artillery, it does indeed seem that there's a nation specific use of the mortar/howitzer designation. English sources tend to classify all of the artillery pieces the Germans designated ' schwerer Mörser ' as ' heavy howitzers '. In contrast, the various types of Minenwerfer are classified as mortars. Perhaps the English system emphasise barrel length more than the German when distinguishing mortars/howitzers? Anyone know of any authoritative sources to deal with this German/English designation issue?
Mojowiha (talk) 07:36, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Translating is personal interpretation. If a German source translated by the publisher into English says X is a howitzer, though its German Army name may be Grossermorser, then howitzer is what you'd write in the article. Any general statemetns on the disticntion between morser and minewerfer would go in the mortar article. GraemeLeggett (talk) 08:40, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Update: Kaiser's Army : The Politics of Military Technology in Germany during the Machine Age, 1870-1918 (Eric Dorn Brose, 2004, eISBN: 9780195346299). This book describes the 42 cm Gamma Mörser (Gamma Device), which Wikipedia has classified as a howitzer, as a mortar (pp. 222, figure 22, as well as the index). However, the same publication mostly calls them howitzers (pp. 169, 188, 212, 225) while its predecessor, the Beta Device, IS called a mortar (pp. 169)...

(DAMN! [Frustatingly tears at his hair, grumbling, goes to get more coffee])
Mojowiha (talk) 09:00, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Even on Wikipedia there is a lack of consistency with regards to mortar/howitzer designations: In the List of the largest cannons by caliber, the 42 cm Gamma Mörser is labelled a 'mortar' , while in the article devoted to it, it is called a 'siege howitzer' .

Mojowiha (talk) 00:49, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Can a website cite itself?[edit]

One of the resources listed on this article is another Wikipedia article. I just thought this should be brought to attention. Link5794 (talk) 22:07, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Historical caliber length of howitzers?[edit]

The lede contains the statement: "Until fairly recently (about the end of the Second World War) such weapons were characterized by a barrel length 15 to 25 times their caliber." It is un-sourced and at odds with what I understand of American Civil War usage--not unlike that of contemporary European practice. For example, 12-pdr Federal field howitzers of the standard 1841 bronze pattern had a bore length (minus powder chamber) of 9.36. (Hazlett et al. Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War, Rev. Ed.) The diminutive 12-pdr Mountain howitzers model 1835 that were standard until 1870 or so, had ratios of 5.5 by the same measure or 6.7 based on full bore length including chamber (from specs on page 136.) 24-pdr field howitzers of standard 1841 pattern came in at 10.48 calibers full bore length including chamber. (page 184). Austrian 24-pdr howitzers of the same period purchased by the Confederates were much shorter and lighter, perhaps 8.4 calibers when their slightly larger bore diameter is considered. The 12-pder Napoleon "gun-howitzer" Model 1857 had a ratio of 13.77 per specs from p. 90.

With the "gun-howitzer" coming in at a ratio of 14, the lede is clearly mistaken, perhaps referring to a period between WW's? The ACW period 6-pdr field gun Model 1841 comes in at 15.67 (page 41.) The unused 12-pdr field gun (too big and bulky, replaced by the Napoleon before hostilities commenced) had a ratio of 16.0 (p. 180.) I can't remember where I've seen the contemporary caliber lengths discussed, but the above are consistent with what I recall: guns around 16, Napoleons around 14, and howitzers for field service below 12, typically around 10.

Siege and sea-coast howitzers have similar caliber lengths, the Model 1840 8" siege howitzer is around 5.8 (per Olmstead's, The Big Guns, p. 17) while the 8" sea coast howitzer runs 11.6 total bore length, and the 10" sea coast 10.55. (p. 62) Red Harvest (talk) 11:21, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

Any idea on how far these fired?[edit]

100 foot, 400 foot, a mile, 5 miles??? Doesn't seem to be much info on the range92.23.184.194 (talk) 13:31, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

Anywhere from under 0.25 miles to over 25 miles; we're talking about several hundred years difference in technology. I don't think it's useful to try and make a single statement of range about all howitzers. Also, info on range before the 19th century is often poorly sourced and contradictory. I'll look if there's some way to work in some useful and reliable info on range in few places, but I'm not very hopeful. --A D Monroe III (talk) 20:40, 28 July 2017 (UTC)