Category: Term of the day
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece that is characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of a comparatively small propelling charges to propel relatively large projectiles at medium velocities over a curved trajectory.
In the taxonomies of artillery pieces used by European (and European-style) armies in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the howitzer stood between the 'gun' (which were characterized by a longer barrel, larger propelling charges, smaller shells, higher velocities and flatter trajectories) and a 'mortar' (which has the ability to fire projectiles at even higher angles of ascent and descent.)
There are several types of howitzers, viz.: self-propelled howitzer, pack howitzer, mountain howitzer, siege howitzer, and field howitzer.
A self-propelled howitzer is mounted on a tracked or wheeled motor vehicle. In many cases, it is protected by some sort of armor.
A pack howitzer is a relatively light howitzer that is designed to be easily broken down into several pieces, each of which is small enough to be carried by a mule or a packhorse.
A mountain howitzer is a relatively light howitzer designed for use in mountainous terrain. Most, but not all, mountain howitzers are also pack howitzers.
A siege howitzer is a howitzer that is designed to be fired from a fixed platform of some sort.
A field howitzer is a howitzer that is mobile enough to accompany a field army on campaign. It is invariably provided with a wheeled carriage of some sort.