Object Title

Gun - 7.2-inch British Howitzer Mark 6 on the American M2 Carriage

Gun - 7.2-inch British Howitzer Mark 6 on the American M2 Carriage

Object Number

XIX.980

Provenance

Previously on loan from the Royal Artillery Institute. Its service history is unknown.

Physical Description

This barrel was much longer than the previous marks, 1.96 m or 6 ft 5 in longer. It is characterised by an autofrettaged loose liner with 40 grooves of uniform twist rifling and 1 turn in 20 calibres. The breech mechanism is of the Asbury interrupted type with a Welin screw. The recuperator is hydropneumatic. The carriage is the American M2 which also mounted the 155 mm American 'Long Tom' Gun.

Materials

Dimensions

BarrelBore183 mm
BarrelLength6299 mm

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number D5782-K1

Calibre

183 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscription
Limber, Heavy Carriage M2 1944 Timken Detroit Axle 1944.
Breech mechanism
Inscribed
Inscription
R.G.F. No. L1051 ^ 1945
Gun barrel face, breech end
Inscribed

Associations

Places Britain

Notes

At the outbreak of the Second World War their was a grave shortage of heavy artillery and the demand for a new weapon of around 8-inch bore and with a greater range than the existing 8-inch howitzer. A series of trials determined that the requirement would be for a 7.2-inch howitzer firing a shell of around 200 lb in weight at a muzzle velocity of 1700 feet per second. Both the existing 8-inch howitzers and those bought from America had their liners removed and replaced with those of a 7.2-inch bore and their breech mechanisms altered to suit. However, the two-wheeled box-trail carriage proved to be too light and unable to cope with the recoil. Luckily, the first supplies of the American 155mm Gun M1 had started to arrive in England with a different carriage that could be adjusted to mount the American 8-in howitzer. Trials followed where the 155mm gun was replaced with the 7.2 inch howitzer on the American carriage with success and approval for this combined use came in November 1943. The stage was set therefore for forward thinkers to ask why not place a more powerful gun on a carriage that was clearly robust enough to cope with the demands? As a result, this gun as the Mark 6 was prepared, approved and adopted in December 1943. It was an excellent weapon, with an increased range of two miles and was steady and stable on firing. It became the standard equipment of the Heavy Regiments, and those of the 21st Army Group fired 159,898 rounds between D-Day and VE-Day. It remained in service until replaced by the American 8-inch howitzer in the 1960s. The detachment numbered 10 men and its maximum range was 19,600 yards. The only rounds available were High Explosive.