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M116 75mm Pack Howitzer

The M116 75mm Pack Howitzer has been in service with the U.S. military since the years following World War I. The relatively light weight and portable towed gun has been an effective weapon for paratroopers, glider-borne infantry, and other highly mobile, rapid response units.

Charlie Battery, 1/94th Field Artillery, US Army, Europe, fire a salute with an M116 75mm Pack Howitzer during the closing ceremonies of Combined Endeavor 2001, Lager Aulenbach, Germany, 24 May 2001
Charlie Battery, 1/94th Field Artillery, US Army, Europe, fire a salute with an M116 75mm Pack Howitzer during the closing ceremonies of Combined Endeavor 2001, Lager Aulenbach, Germany, 24 May 2001.

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M116 75mm Pack Howitzer

The 75mm Pack Howitzer went through a long evolution, starting as horse drawn artillery, that led to the post-World War II M116:

  • 75mm Pack Howitzer, M1920
  • 75mm Pack Howitzer, M1922A and M1922B
  • In 1927, the M1922B (with modifications) was standardized as the 75mm Pack Howitzer, M1
  • In 1930, the USMC adopted the 75mm M1923-E2 to replace its M1897 field guns
  • In 1934, after further modifications, standardized as the 75mm Pack Howitzer, M1A1
  • During WW II, the M1A1 was fitted with new wheels and pneumatic tires, called the M8 carriage.

During World War II, the 75mm Pack Howitzer was used in all theaters, especially in rough terrain. The M1A1 with M8 carriage was well suited to parachute delivery and was often air dropped to otherwise inaccessible places. The pack howitzer could be broken down and moved by men or animals in six loads. The Marine Corps used it in this way for supporting landing forces, carrying it ashore disassembled for quick assembly and deployment on the beach.

After World War II, the complete weapon was re-designated Howitzer, Pack, 75mm M116. The 1,340 pound gun has a range of 8800 meters.

M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer with pre-war carriage and wheels, provided by U.S. to Chinese allies in 1942
M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer with pre-war carriage and wheels, provided by U.S. to Chinese allies in 1942.

M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer at the 82nd Airborne Museum, Ft. Bragg, NC.  This gun was used during WW II by the paratroopers and glider field artillery units (319th FA, 376TH FA, and 456th FA)
M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer at the 82nd Airborne Museum, Ft. Bragg, NC. This gun was used during WW II by the paratroopers and glider field artillery units (319th FA, 376TH FA, and 456th FA).

M116 Pack Howitzer in front of Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Aurora, CO, 8 January 1991
M116 Pack Howitzer in front of Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, Aurora, CO, 8 January 1991.

Pair of M116 75mm Pack Howitzers at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005
Pair of M116 75mm Pack Howitzers at 4th Infantry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit

M116 75mm Pack Howitzer at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005
M116 75mm Pack Howitzer at 1st Cavalry Division Museum, Ft. Hood, TX, 2 December 2005. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit

M116 75mm Pack Howitzer salute fired by Headquarters and Service Battery (HSB), 3-17 FA Bn, Ft Lewis, WA, 28 May 2007 (Memorial Day)
M116 75mm Pack Howitzer salute fired by Headquarters and Service Battery (HSB), 3-17 FA Bn, Ft Lewis, WA, 28 May 2007 (Memorial Day). Photo: Courtesy of Ed Leavitt.

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