The M2 and M2A1 howitzers
were the workhorse field artillery for the U.S. Army in WWII. More than 8,500
were produced during the war. In 1943, a typical infantry division had 54 howitzers,
and an armored division had 54 self-propelled 105mm M7 howitzers commonly called
the Priest. The howitzer was also mounted in the DUKW, the M3 half-track as the
105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage T19, and in the M4 and M4A3 Sherman tanks.
differences between the M2 and M2A1 howitzer had some modifications to the breech.
The initial M2 carriage had electric brakes (which were powered by a small battery
located near the rear of the right trail), and the later M2A1 carriage had the
brakes removed (though in some instances the battery box might have remained on
upgraded M2 carriages). A few other modifications in August, 1943, produced the
M2A2 carriage version with a larger shield and "buffer" mounted, and
an enclosed screw traverse mechanism.
out of every five shells fired by the U.S. Army during the war was 105mm high
explosive round. It weighed 42 pounds and was "semi-fixed," meaning
it was supplied as a complete round but the shell could be removed from the case
and the number of the seven propelling charges could be adjusted for range. The
howitzer was manned by a crew of eight and was normally towed by a 6x6 2½
ton truck. For more information, consult this article
2009, Dragon Models released a fine rendition of the M2A1
on the M2A1 carriage; the sprues contain parts for an M2A1 on the M2A2 carriage,
which is the kit
produced by Italeri since the early 1980s. Kurt Laughlin has written an excellent
overview of 105mm
ammunition, and I offer a comparison review of available
products and a rundown on aftermarket
photos of an M2A1 on the M2A1 carriage were shot in 2008 during the AMPS international
show at the Victory Museum in Auburn, Indiana. Tech manual images below help explain
the differences and similarities of significant details.
The following images
come from TM 9-1325
105-mm Howitzers and M2 and M2A1; Carriages M2A1 and M2A2; and Combat Vehicle
Mounts M3 and M4, Ordnance Maintenance, War Department Technical Manual,
21 September 1944.
on M2A1 Carriage
on M2A2 Carriage
in M7 Priest