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M119 105mm howitzers on Humvees for US infantry brigades.

| 2018

The European (potential) theatre of operations appears adequate for using a more mobile 105mm howitzer than a towed version. Hence a clever adaptation of the long-serving M119 howitzer, so much appreciated in the U.S. infantry brigades, on a light 4x4 vehicle.

M119 105mm howitzers on Humvees for US infantry brigades
M119 105mm howitzer mounted on a Humvee (Picture source : Army Recognition)

So, work is underway to have a Humvee-mounted 105mm M119 Howitzer in the Army’s infantry brigade combat teams. Recent artillery demonstrations during the Maneuver and Fires Integration Experiment at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, drew the interest from the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces. Light artillery within infantry units must by improved.

So, to meet this goal, a new self-propelled light howitzer must be further developed, a relevant tool” to face sophisticated, quick-fire counterbattery systems,” according to language in the subcommittee’s draft version of the National Defense Authorization Act, released this week. Adding the artillery could “address the indirect fire capability gaps in the IBCTs,” subcommittee members wrote.

The M119 Howitzer has long served as a towed artillery piece but mounting it on a light 4x4 would give troops a way to maneuver more quickly around the battlefield, avoiding artillery counter-fires. It is easily foreseeable that Russian artillery is powerful enough for various scenarios in which NATO forces would be prevented from entering certain battle spaces, should conflict erupt in parts of Europe such as the Baltic region.

To that end the Army has also reverted previous infantry units to their armor origins, such as with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The ABCT served as an armored brigade in the 2003 Iraq invasion but transitioned to an infantry brigade following drawdowns. It has since reconstituted itself as an armor brigade. Moves such as these in recent years have all been aimed at a potential mechanized ground fight in Europe.

Heavier artillery platforms such as the155mm M109A7 Self-Propelled Paladin Howitzer are again favoured. “Back to the future!”

105mm howitzers mounted on highly mobile 4x4 vehicles like Humvees that are available by the thousands, be it to refurbish from storage areas like the old Avengers are, appears to be a very attractive and cost-efficient solution.


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