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105mm Howitzer M3
The M3 105mm Howitzer is a lighter, smaller version of the M2 Howitzer (later called the M101), originally intended for use by Airborne units. It is designed to provide for direct or indirect fire. The tube of the 105mm Howitzer M3 is the same as the tube of the 105mm Howitzer M2 or M2A1, but has been shortened by 27 inches. The differences from the M2A1 model used in the infantry division artillery led to artillerymen calling the M3 Howitzer the "snub-nosed" or "sawed-off" 105.
The M3 howitzer fires three types of projectiles:
Ammunition for the M3 Howitzer is loaded with "quick" powder, which burns more rapidly than that used with the 105mm Howitzer M2 and M2A1. This is necessary due to the shortened barrel of the M3 Howitzer.
The 105mm Howitzer M3 is mounted on the Carriages M3 and M3A1, split-trail, high-speed type fitted with automobile disk and rim wheels mounted on wheel carriers, derived from the M3A1 Carriage used with the 75mm field howitzer. Hand brakes are provided for use when parking. The spades at the ends of the trails and the firing base at the front of the carriage allow a 3-point ground contact in firing position. The Carriages M3 and M3A1 differ in the trails which are heavier in the M3A1, along with other small differences. A later M3A2 carriage was fitted with a shield to protect the crew.
During development, starting in 1941, the M3 Howitzer was known as the T7. A prototype was delivered to Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, in March 1942. Approximately 2580 M3 Howitzers were produced in 1943 and 1944, during World War II, used by Airborne and Infantry units in the ETO. After 1943, the 105mm M3 Howitzer often replaced the 75mm Pack Howitzer in cannon companies of the infantry division.
The manuals for the M3 Howitzer include:
Characteristics of the M3 105mm Howitzer