Saturday, January 28, 2012
Big guns - M1 240mm howizer
This monster is called the M1 240mm howitzer. It was given the rather appropriate nickname "Black Dragon". It is classified as a super heavy artillery piece and boy is it. The Black Dragon weighed in at an astonishing 64, 700 pounds. It fired a 360 pound explosive shell 14 miles. I don't know about you, but I find that pretty impressive. The M1 240mm was developed in 1941 to replace obsolete WWI artillery guns. It eventually saw service in the European Theater with US and some small scale use by the British. It was again called to serve in the Korean War. The two pics below are of fairly new vintage as the US transferred some 30 of these monstrosities to the Republic of China (Taiwan)in the 1950s, where they are still in service on the frontline islands of Kinmen and Matsu where they have been mounted on a rail system that allows them to be slid back into a heavy bunker for protection.
The first operational use of the Black Dragon was during the invasion of Italy at Anzio in September 1943. The US Fifth Army used them for counter battery fire against German artillery and was able to even hit enemy heavy tanks with them. They were also used to knock out the infamous Nazi heavy gun the "Anzio Annie". Later in the campaign they were used to complete the destruction of the monastery at Monte Cassino and were used to destroy high value bridges from long range.
The above pic is from the US Army artillery museum at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Some 12 M1s were taken out of storage for use by the 213th and 159th Field Artillery in Korea.
On the first day of their use in Korea, Baker battery of the 213th, a ceremonial shot was planned at a enemy held hill called "the donut". The shot struck an ammunition dump, setting off a chain reaction that sheared off a significant portion of the hill.
The video below is a demonstration from the ROC Army, showing the size and power of this beast.
Late in WWII, a self propelled version was planned, based on the Heavy Tank T26E3 chassis, but the end of the war caused the project to be dropped.