M119 howitzer
The M119 Howitzer is a lightweight 105-mm howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

 used by the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

. It can be easily airlifted, even by helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

, or dropped by parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...

. It does not need a recoil pit.


The howitzer was designed and produced by the British Royal Ordnance Factories as the L118/L119 Light Gun
L118 Light Gun
The L118 Light Gun is a 105 mm towed howitzer, originally produced for the British Army in the 1970s and widely exported since, including to the United States, where a modified version is known as the M119A1...

. In the L118 configuration, the 105 mm ammunition is cased separate loading ammunition (not semi-fixed projectile and propelling charge as sometimes stated). The L118 entered service with the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 in 1975 and is used by the Parachute
7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery
7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery is a regiment of the Royal Artillery in the British Army. It serves in the field artillery role with 16 Air Assault Brigade, and is equipped with the L118 Light Gun.- History :...

 and Commando
29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery
29 Commando Regiment is the Commando-trained unit of the British Army's Royal Artillery. The regiment is under the operational control of 3 Commando Brigade providing artillery support and gunnery observation.- History :...

 Field Artillery
Field artillery
Field artillery is a category of mobile artillery used to support armies in the field. These weapons are specialized for mobility, tactical proficiency, long range, short range and extremely long range target engagement....

 Regiments. It saw combat during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

, where the 30 guns in action fired up to 400 rounds per gun per day, mostly at "Charge Super" i.e. the most powerful propellant charge available. The L119 is the L118 reconfigured to fire NATO-standard US/NATO 105 mm semi-fixed ammunition.
In 1987 an agreement was reached to produce the L119 under license by the U.S. as the M119, to replace the M102 howitzer
M102 howitzer
First introduced during the Vietnam War, the M102 was the light-towed 105 mm howitzer used by the United States Army in the Vietnam War, the First Gulf War, and most recently in the Iraq War.- An Air Mobile Howitzer for the Vietnam War :...

. It entered service with 7th Infantry Division, Fort Ord
Fort Ord
Fort Ord was a U.S. Army post on Monterey Bay in California. It was established in 1917 as a maneuver area and field artillery target range and was closed in September 1994. Fort Ord was one of the most attractive locations of any U.S. Army post, because of its proximity to the beach and California...

, California, in December 1989. Some improvements were made to produce the M119A1, including increasing its extreme low temperate envelope from -30 C to -45C, adding a US digital fire control system, and improving maintainability.The army has renewed contracts for the M119 to be produced by the Rock Island Arsenal-Joint Manufacturing & Technology Center (RIA-JMTC) at Rock Island, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 into the year 2013.

The M119 is currently fielded with all Regular Army infantry brigades, including those in the 10th Mountain, 25th Infantry, 82nd Airborne
U.S. 82nd Airborne Division
The 82nd Airborne Division is an active airborne infantry division of the United States Army specializing in parachute landing operations. Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is the primary fighting arm of the XVIII Airborne Corps....

, and 101st Airborne
101st Airborne Division
The 101st Airborne Division—the "Screaming Eagles"—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France, Operation Market Garden, the...

 Divisions, the 173rd Airborne Brigade and certain National Guard field artillery battalions. It is routinely airdropped in airborne operations and sling-loaded under Chinook
CH-47 Chinook
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots is faster than contemporary utility and attack helicopters of the 1960s...

 or UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in air assault operations.

In April 2009, the M119A2 howitzer was being fielded by the 4th Infantry Combat Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division to provide better support in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was the only brigade in the division equipped with it, as the other three brigades were "heavy" brigades and therefore equipped with the M109A6 Paladin.


The M119A1 fires all standard NATO semi-fixed ammunition as well as special rocket-assisted projectiles, including:
  • M1 High explosive
  • M314 Illuminating
  • M60/M60A2 Smoke Cartridge
  • M913 HERA Range: 19.5 km
  • M760 HE Range: 14.5 km


  • M119 Original copy of the L119
    • M119A1 Minor improvements, including fire control and maintenance.
    • M119A2 Improved sight package consisting of telescope (M90A3) or panoramic telescope (M137A2).

External links

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