12-lber Howitzer Foot Artillery (ETW Unit)
Howitzers fall somewhere between guns and mortars, the other main artillery types. They have a limited mobility, like guns. Like mortars, they do not fire straight at the target, but send shots high into the air to plunge down on a target (and over anything in the way). By angling the barrel and changing the propellant charge used, howitzers have an impressive flexibility in shell trajectories. Experienced crews can lob explosive shells and incendiary rounds with great accuracy into a “beaten zone”, making life utterly miserable and very short for anyone within it. In close action, they can fire canister rounds directly into enemy formations, like giant sawed-off shotguns.
The term foot artillery applies because the gunners walk into battle alongside the draft animals. Like all artillery, the rating of these howitzers refers to the nominal weight of shot fired; loading the heavier pieces made for strong gunners!
Historically, howitzers – like many other artillery pieces – were far from standardized weapons in the 18th Century. Shells and spare parts made in one foundry did not always fit another foundry’s pieces, even if the caliber was nominally identical and the two guns were part of the same battery in the field. It took a good deal of effort and argument to get foundries to standardize barrels and ancillary equipment, even in a single country.
Howitzers are very different from cannons. They fire in arced trajectories, meaning that hilly terrain and walls that would often humbug regular cannons pose little problem to howitzers. However, this same characteristic means that cannnons are more suitable for close and direct engagements, where canister shot can be brought to bear. Thanks to their arc trajectories, howitzers are very accurate at long range compared to other cannons. Howitzers also fire an array of different ammunition: explosive shells, which are more effective than round shot for anti-personnel use, carcass shot, which is accurate but causes minimal damage to most enemy troop types, quicklime, and percussive shells.
- Great Britain
- United Provinces
- Gran Colombia
- Knights of St. John
- Naples & Sicily
- New Spain
- Italian States
- Thirteen Colonies
- United States