Ordnance, 7.2in Howitzer Mk 6

The 7.2in Howitzer Mk 6 combined the American Mk1 carriage with a long 7.2in barrel to produce a significantly better weapon than the earlier 7.2in Howitzer Mk I-V.

At the start of the Second World War the Royal Artillery still had a large number of First World War era BL 8 Howitzers, an excellent weapon for their time, but by 1939-40 lacking in range. In order to solve this problem the 8in barrel was relined to reduce the calibre to 7.2in, and a new range of ammunition was produced. The resulting 7.2in Howitzer Mk I was a significant improvement over the older weapon, and had a maximum range of 15,454m. However the carriage couldn’t really cope with the recoil forces when a full charge was used.

This problem was solved when the American M1 carriage became available. This was a modern split trail carriage that had been designed for the US 155mm Gun M1, but was also used with their 203mm Howitzer M1, itself an improved version of the original British 8in Howitzer. The 7.2in Howitzer Mk V was the designation given to a small number of weapons that combined the old barrel with the new M1 carriage. However it soon became clear that this was a waste of the excellent carriage. As a result a new longer 7.2in barrel was produced (about 2m or 6ft longer). This was installed on the M1 carriage to produce the 7.2in Howitzer Mk 6.

The Mk 6 was a great improvement over the older models. Maximum elevation rose from 45 degrees to 65 degrees, and the new gun could take a heavier charge of propellant, allowing its maximum range to increase by over 2,500m, to 17,984m. The range of traverse rose from 8 degrees on the older models to 60 degrees.

The Mk 6 slowly replaced the older models, and by the end of 1944 was the standard version. It was also the version retained after the end of the Second World War.


7.2in Howitzer Mk 6


183mm (7.2in)

Barrel Length

6.30m (20ft 8in)

Weight for transport


Weight in action

13,209kg (29,120lb)


-2 to +65 degrees


60 degrees

Shell Weight

91.6kg (202lb)

Muzzle Velocity

497m (1,630ft)/ second

Maximum Range

17,984m (19.667)

Rate of Fire


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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 December 2018), Ordnance, 7.2in Howitzer Mk 6 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_ordnance_7_2in_howitzer_6.html

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