Saturday, August 1, 2015

Grandson of "Cool useless stuff I bought"

On May 7, 2014, I wrote a post entitled "Cool useless stuff I bought" and on June 5, 2014, "Son of 'Cool useless stuff I bought'". So, as a continuation on the theme of weapons that have such a long range that they will never appear on a wargaming table, even at 1/600, I offer today's post. Additionally, it's been almost 1000 years since I painted anything other than WarPac equipment (it feels that way anyway), so it seemed a long overdue mental refreshment to paint some West Germans. 

In 1981, the American-built M110A2 8" (203mm) howitzer was the heaviest self-propelled gun fielded by NATO armies. In Northern Europe, it was used by the U.S., British, West Germans, Belgians, and the Dutch. 

The exact makeup and deployment of M110 units varied slightly from nation to nation, but as this is a West German post, I'll go with them. A heavy self-propelled artillery battalion of three batteries was attached to each panzer or infantry (be it Panzergrenadiers or Heimatschütz) division. Heavy batteries in most NATO armies were only two sections (that being four guns), but the West Germans used three sections, just as in light and field batteries, for a total of six guns. Each gun in the battery was assigned a tracked ammunition supply vehicle, that also carried eight of the gun's thirteen man crew, the other five riding on the gun carriage. 

The M110 could carry only two rounds on the vehicle, so its accompanying M548 was never far away:
As each round weighed just over 200lb/91kg, the M548 was backed up on the rear left side of the gun so that the M110's powered shell hoist (which was renown for incessant breakdowns) could reach inside:
For "shoot and scoot", the M110 could be emplaced in just two minutes, by lowering and digging in the recoil spade:
and locking out the torsion bar suspension. The two rounds carried on the vehicle would then be fired and the M110 would move out. After "scooting", two more rounds would be loaded onto the vehicle from the M548 and a new firing site would be found. If an "overflow" ammunition load was being carried in the M548, an M113 could be attached to each gun to carry the excess crew. 

In inclement weather, it was common to see a shelter attached to the rear of the vehicle to help protect the crew from rain or snow:

Here's my battery: three sections of guns:
an M113 Beobachtungspanzer for the forward observer:
the M548s that accompanied the guns:
and the battery commander's M577:
and finally, the whole battery:
I thought about snuggling the M548s up to the rear left side of the guns, but it made each stand look very packed in, so I went with doing them seperately. 

The M110's normal firing range was about 10.5mi/17km, out to a maximum of 15.5mi/25km (18.5mi/30km with rocket-assisted projectiles). So for just the normal range, I'll need a wargaming table 92ft/28m long!!! Well, the battery looks good, even if I never get to use it other than as an off-table firing asset. 

That's it for this weekend. I feel an aircraft post coming on....


  1. or use multiple tables, have artillery deployment areas against which air assets and other action commensurate with elements of deep battle might take place. all the shoot and scoot might ware you out, great unit BTW.

  2. Another great post. The minis look so cool.

    1. Thanks very much! Greatly appreciated.