M102 105mm Howitzer

The M-102 105mm howitzer is used in helicopter air mobile and light infantry operations. The M102 began replacing the M101A1 105mm Howitzer starting in 1964 during the Vietnam War. Since 1964, the Army has acquired 1,150 M-102 towed howitzers. The M102 was replaced in the active Army by the M119A1 105mm towed howitzer starting in the late 1980s, although the M102 is still found Army National Guard units (2005). The Air Force AC-130 gunship uses the same cannon and recoil system as the M102.

3rd Battalion 325th Infantry Regiment soldiers set up an M102 105mm Howitzer during exercise Roaring Lion, 1993
3rd Battalion 325th Infantry Regiment soldiers set up an M102 105mm Howitzer during exercise Roaring Lion, 1993.

Today in WW II: 8 Nov 1939 Hitler narrowly escapes a bomb planted in Munich at the site of his annual speech commemorating the failed 1923 Beer Hall putsch; 7 killed, 63 injured.  More 
8 Nov 1942 Operation Torch begins, 125,000 US-British troops land at Casablanca, Oran and Algiers.
8 Nov 1942 French Resistance in Algiers neutralizes the Vichy-supporting French Army command, preventing interference with Operation Torch.
8 Nov 1944 Operation Infatuate, the liberation of the Dutch Island of Walcheren, concludes with end to all German resistance.
Visit the Olive-Drab.com World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

Howitzer, Light, Towed: 105 mm, M-102

When emplaced, the very low silhouette Howitzer, Light, Towed: 105 mm, M-102 has a high volume of fire that compensates in large measure for the lower explosive weight of the projectile compared to the Army's 155mm and 8-inch howitzers. It has a roller tire attached to the trail assembly of the M102 permits the weapon to be rotated 360 degrees around a firing platform, which provides the pivot for the weapon. The weapon can be elevated from -5 degrees to a maximum of 75 degrees.

The M102 carriage is lightweight welded aluminum, mounted on a variable recoil mechanism, nearly 3/4 ton lighter than the M101A1 Howitzer. The weapon is manually loaded and positioned, and can be towed by a 2 1/2 ton truck or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), can be transported by UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, or can be dropped by parachute with airborne units.

Specifications of the M102 Howitzer

Length 17.1 feet
Width 6.4 feet
Height 5.2 feet
Weight 3,004 lbs
Crew 8
Range 11,500 m (standard rounds)
Range 15,100 m (rocket-assisted rounds)
Max rate of fire 10 rounds per minute for first 3 minutes
Sustained rate of fire 3 rounds per minute
Ammunition All standard NATO 105mm ammunition except newer extended range rounds

M102 105mm howitzer
M102 105mm howitzer.

M102 105mm howitzer
M102 105mm howitzer.

Members of C Btry., 1st Bn., 319th Air Field Arty. Regt., secure M-102 105mm towed howitzers to the slings of 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Brigade UH-60 Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopters for a two-gun raid training mission during Operation Desert Shield, 1 April 1992.
Members of C Btry., 1st Bn., 319th Air Field Arty. Regt., secure M-102 105mm towed howitzers to the slings of 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Brigade UH-60 Black Hawk (Blackhawk) helicopters for a two-gun raid training mission during Operation Desert Shield, 1 April 1992.

M102 105mm howitzer at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum, Ft. Bragg, NC
M102 105mm howitzer at the 82nd Airborne Division Museum, Ft. Bragg, NC.