howitzer


howitzer
/ˈhaʊɪtsə/ (say 'howitsuh)

noun
a comparatively short-barrelled cannon, used especially for shelling at a steep angle, as in reaching troops behind cover.
{earlier hauwitzer, apparently from Dutch houwitser, from houwits(e) catapult. Compare German Haubitze, earlier haufnitz, from Czech houfnice catapult}
Because of its capacity to fire shells in a high, curving trajectory with a steep angle of descent, enabling it to strike targets protected by intervening obstacles, the howitzer was well suited to the siege-like conditions of World War I trench warfare. It was used to pound opposing defensive trenches and artillery batteries as a preliminary to an infantry charge, and to then provide a ‘creeping barrage’ of shells to protect advancing troops by forcing enemy machine-gunners to remain in their dugouts instead of manning their weapons. Large and heavy, howitzers had to be transported in several loads towed by teams of horses and then assembled in their firing position. Perhaps the most famous howitzer was Big Bertha, a massive German gun able to fire shells capable of penetrating one-metre-thick concrete fortifications.

Australian English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • howitzer — [hou′it sər] n. [Du houvietser < 15th c. Ger haufenitz < Czech houfnice, howitzer, orig., a sling] a short cannon, larger than a mortar, firing shells in a high trajectory …   English World dictionary

  • Howitzer — How itz*er, n. [G. haubitze, formerly hauffnitz, Bohem. haufnice, orig., a sling.] (Mil.) (a) A gun so short that the projectile, which was hollow, could be put in its place by hand; a kind of mortar. [Obs.] (b) A short, light, largebore cannon,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • howitzer — 1680s, via Du. houwitser (1660s), Ger. Haubitze from Bohemian houfnice a catapult, from houf heap, crowd, a loan word from M.H.G. hufe heap. Introduced to German during the Hussite wars, 14c …   Etymology dictionary

  • howitzer — ► NOUN ▪ a short gun for firing shells at a high angle. ORIGIN Dutch houwitser, from Czech houfnice catapult …   English terms dictionary

  • Howitzer — A howitzer is a type of artillery piece that is characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small explosive charges to propel projectiles at trajectories with a steep angle of descent. In the taxonomies of artillery… …   Wikipedia

  • howitzer — 1. A cannon that combines certain characteristics of guns and mortars. The howitzer delivers projectiles with medium velocities, either by low or high trajectories. 2. Normally a cannon with a tube length of 20 to 30 calibers; however, the tube… …   Military dictionary

  • Howitzer — Obusier Howitzer 105 mm M2A1 tracté La définition de l obusier diffère selon les époques. Les premiers obusiers doivent leur nom au fait qu ils tiraient des obus, c est à dire des projectiles creux qui explosaient après leur chute, contrairement… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • howitzer — noun /ˈhaʊw.ɪts.ə(ɹ)/ a) A cannon that combines certain characteristics of guns and mortars. The howitzer delivers projectiles with medium velocities, either by low or high trajectories. JP 1 02. b) Normally a cannon with a tube length of 20 to… …   Wiktionary

  • howitzer — UK [ˈhaʊɪtsə(r)] / US [ˈhaʊɪtsər] noun [countable] Word forms howitzer : singular howitzer plural howitzers a type of large gun that soldiers use for firing missiles high into the air …   English dictionary

  • Howitzer — 155 mm Feldhaubitzen Kanadische 105 mm Haubitze C2 …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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