The English word howitzer comes from the Czech word houfnice, from houf, “crowd”, and houf is in turn a borrowing from the Middle High German word Hūfe or Houfe(modern German Haufen), meaning “heap”. Haufen, sometimes in the compound Gewalthaufen, also designated a pike square formation in German.
In the Hussite Wars of the 1420s and 1430s, the Czechs used short barreled “houfnice” cannons to fire at short distances into such crowds of infantry, or into charging heavy cavalry, to make horses shy away. The word was rendered into German as aufeniz in the earliest attested use in a document dating from 1440; later German renderings include Haussnitzand, eventually Haubitze, from which derive the Scandinavian haubits, Bosnian haubica, Finnish haupitsi, Polish haubica, Russian gaubitsa, Italian obice, Spanish obús, Portugueseobus, French obusier and the Dutch word houwitser, which led to the English word howitzer.
Since the First World War, the word howitzer has been increasingly used to describe artillery pieces that, strictly speaking, belong to the category of gun-howitzer – relatively long barrels and high muzzle velocity combined with multiple propelling charges and high maximum elevation. This is particularly true in the armed forces of the United States, where gun-howitzers have been officially described as “howitzers” for more than sixty years. Because of this practice, the word “howitzer” is used in some armies as a generic term for any kind of artillery piece that is designed to attack targets using indirect fire.
Thus, artillery pieces that bear little resemblance to howitzers of earlier eras are now described as howitzers, although the British call them guns. Most other armies in the world reserve the word howitzer for guns with barrel length 15 to 25 times its caliber, longer-barreled guns being cannons. The British had a further method of nomenclature. In the 18th Century they adopted projectile weight for guns replacing the old naming system of Culverin, Saker, etc. that had developed in the late 15th Century. Mortars had been categorized by calibre in inches in the 17th Century and this was inherited by Howitzers.
Bore – 2 1/4, Breech: 6″, CHEEKS: 6 1/2″, OAL: 15″, Trun D: 2”, TRUN L: 1 1/2″, TRUN OAL: 9 5/8″, TRUN-CASC: 10 1/4″