General discussion


The Howitzer

By Oz_Media ·
Well the other week I was watcin ghthe movie ods and Generals AGAIN with a friend.

She was surprised at the use of the howitzer field cannons as a medium loft weapon in the civil war. She then wondered why the Americans would be using German weapons, as the Howitzer is German right? Well I was also stumped. Certainly the name SOUNDS like it's of German origin and they were used in the wars in Europe but how did it get to the USA?

So I did a little searhging for simple phrases then closed phrases and finally boolean phrases but could only find reference dating back to the civil war?!!?

Does anyone KNOW the origin of the Howitzer cannon? Can anyone provide links to the history or origin other than just thoughts of speculation or pride?

Just something I was pondering again and figured this is the ULTIMATE resource.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Sorry for the sticky 'G' key (no mssgs)

by Oz_Media In reply to The Howitzer
Collapse -

Apparently evolved

by Oldefar In reply to The Howitzer

I did a bit of searching myself. The term is thought to come from a Czeck term for a type of catapult, predating even the use of gunpowder, that then moved through German and later English terms.

Howitzer is simply a short cannon that fires with a high projectory.

The search was boolean - weapons+artillary+howitzer+origin and even so, there were tons of military units to wade through before finding a generic reference.

Collapse -


by john_wills In reply to Apparently evolved

accoring to Webster's Encyclopaedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language
1685-1695 earlier hauwitzer < Dutch houvietser < German Haubitze from Middle High German haufnitz < Czech houfnice slingshot.

Collapse -

Possible origins

by generalist In reply to The Howitzer

Using the words "American Civil War Howitzer" on Google I found a reference that said that the muzzle loading twelve pounder 'gun-howitzer' was a popular weapon for the North and South and had been imported in 1857. According to the article I looked at, it was developed by France.

Figure that howitzers are good for lobbing explosives over walls and earthworks and tend to be a lot lighter than the mortars of the time.

Collapse -

Not to be picky but back in those days

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Possible origins

The cannons would have been firing solid balls or in a field engagement "Grape Shot" something like a modern 12 gauge shotgun.

Percussion shells where not developed until much latter than the US Civil War.

Collapse -

Weapons imports

by generalist In reply to The Howitzer

Another thing to consider is that the South did a lot of weapons imports. Some of the more imfamous commerce raiders, if I recall, were built in Great Britain.

And even then, a lot of countries would sell weapons to other countries IF they had the money and didn't threaten national security.

Collapse -

Thank you all.

by Oz_Media In reply to Weapons imports

Those are good responses, I found searches all lead to the same stuff but I couldn't find a history.

Collapse -


by Oz_Media In reply to The Howitzer

Ok ay a boolen search on a different engine came up with some interesting info.

taken from: (For those who may be interested).

In summary:
"Though it was invented by the Dutch in the seventeenth century, the value of the howitzer was soon recognized universally and quickly adopted by the armies of Europe.

The forces of Great Britain introduced the howitzer to the New World in about 1760. After the American Revolution, howitzers from the 12-pounder to the 10-inch were adopted by the American military."

So yes, it was America's forefather who brought the Howitzer from Europe to America and then it was adopted by military during the American revolution.

Another interesting tidbit I found the other day, mentioned how the Mountina Howitzer was actually sold to civilians who used them to protect thier own fields on the mountainsides. They could then be called upon by the military to act as a defense from thier mountainside farms using the heights as thier advantage. Sorry, didn't bother to track down the link agan.

Collapse -

Here's a good one

by Oz_Media In reply to The Howitzer

Americans should appreciate the irony of this.

Our passive Love and Wine consuming European fathers from France actually are the origin of the word AMMUNITION! Go figure huh?

"AMMUNITION, a military term (derived, through the French, from Lat. munire, to provide), for consumable stores used in attack or defence, such as rifle cartridges, cartridges, projectiles, igniting tubes and primers for ordnance"

Much like the Winchester house, after seeing what her dad's guns had done to people she started to build endlessly to confuse the spirits. Perhaps, seeing what Ammunition has done to the people of the world, the French have decided to nix the term entirely and become passive.

Related Discussions

Related Forums