The M102 Howitzer
Coming into service in 1964 and still in use today by the National Guard the M102 105MM Howitzer is an incredible piece of artillery.
She can fire off 3 to 10 rounds per minute and can throw a 33lb projectile from 7 to almost 10 miles down range. The firing platform can be lowered and allows the piece a 360′ range of motion. She has seen service with the US Army in every conflict from the Vietnam War forward. The M102 is still in use by many of our allies around the world.
That all sounds cool, but what makes this piece something special? Well, it was light enough that it could be towed by a regular two-ton truck. It could be manhandled into position. If it is needed someplace a truck could not go it was light enough to be delivered by helicopter. Oh, it could also be parachuted in. Basically, there was nowhere this gun could not be effective.
Not cool enough? OK, how about this. The US Air Force used a modified version of the M102 in their AC-130 Gunships. That’s right, not only can it be carried and dropped from the air, but it can be fired from the air!
The one in the picture has not fired for a while but you can get the sense of how small and compact these guns were. Even seven miles away it sure would be tough to be on the business end of one of these.