Tag Archives: Howitzer

Videos: M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer Instructions and Firing

My post about the old M1A1 in the Battle Creek Memorial Cemetary got me to thinking.  The Internet is an amazing place and I wondered what videos I could find that might feature the old howitzer.

Right off the bat, I found the following fascinating old WWII-era USMC training film on the M1A1:

A collector actually owns one and this next video gives a bit of history and shows the howitzer firing:

The next is historic combat footage of an M1A1 being fired in Saipan:

And last is historic footage of a pack howitzer being unloaded by a crew and assembled at Fort Hale, CO.

These videos pretty much satisfied my curiosity.  After all these years, I finally know a bit more about the old howitzer and got to see it operate.


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Eyewitness to World War II: Unforgettable Stories and Photographs From History’s Greatest Conflict (Hardcover)

The unforgettable story of World War II is told through the words of those who lived it—America’s greatest generation—both on the battlefield and the home front. Personal writings create a dramatic tapestry of wartime experience, and recollections of Roosevelt, Hitler, and Patton, as well as letters composed by soldiers at battle and diaries of women serving in the military at home, present an absorbing narrative that tells the entire history of the war from several perspectives. Hundreds of images capture fateful moments of triumph and defeat that defined the era, including rare photographs and artifacts, many never-before-seen from private collections that are placed in context with more famous photographs from the period. More than 20 authoritative National Geographic maps detail military movements and decisive battles in the European and Pacific theaters of war. These incredible, first-person stories, amazing moments of heroism, compelling imagery, and illuminating maps bring the entire history of World War II to life in vivid detail.

Features: National Geographic Society
By (author): Stephen Hyslop

List Price: $40.00 USD
New From: $19.20 USD In Stock
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M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer on an M8 Carriage in the Battle Creek Memorial Cemetary

One of the things I wanted to do for a long time is start taking photos of war memorials and the hardware that is often there. In the Battle Creek, MI, Memorial cemetery is this M1A1 75mm pack howitzer with an M8 carriage.

My dad always told me was a pack howitzer and I never really ask him what that meant other than him telling me it was mobile. In Reading, it is interesting because it was to be carried by 7 mules if necessary as well as dropped out of airplanes via 9 parachute loads or whatever the case may be. In short, it would break down into component parts and could be packed somewhere. At 1,436 pounds, it weighed a fair amount when assembled.

As you can see in the next photo of the howitzer’s breach area, it is an M1A1 made by General Electric in 1943. 2,592 pack howitzers were made that year. I find it interesting that they designated that it could be used with the M2 and M3 vehicle mounts as well as in the pack configuration.

The M1A1 had a modified breach block and breach ring.

M8 Carriage

The M8 carriage configuration gave it pneumatic rubber tires as opposed to the original wood spoke with metal rim wheels.

There are welds all over the unit to demil it

The above photo is of the Hannifin Manufacturing plaque on the carriage. You can see the welds they did – they went to great lengths to make it inert.

Here are some photos of the muzzle end – the rifling is still there.

Here are a few more photos:

I was pleased to see it was still in fairly good shape. The howitzer is up on metal blocks so the tires aren’t bearing the load. The flag, Old Glory monument and the howitzer make for a nice combination to reflect.


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The Things Our Fathers Saw: The Untold Stories of the World War II Generation from Hometown, USA-Voices of the Pacific Theater (Paperback)

The telephone rings on the hospital floor, and they tell you it is your mother, the phone call you have been dreading. You’ve lost part of your face to a Japanese sniper on Okinawa, and after many surgeries, the doctor has finally told you that at 19, you will never see again. The pain and shock is one thing. But now you have to tell her, from 5000 miles away.

— ‘So I had a hard two months, I guess. I kept mostly to myself. I wouldn’t talk to people. I tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I got home. How was I going to tell my mother this? You know what I mean?’ ~Jimmy Butterfield, WWII Marine veteran

~From the author of ‘The Things Our Fathers Saw’ World War II eyewitness history series~
How soon we forget. Or perhaps, we were never told. That is understandable, given what they saw.

— ‘I was talking to a shipmate of mine waiting for the motor launch, and all at once I saw a plane go over our ship. I did not know what it was, but the fellow with me said, ‘That’s a Jap plane, Jesus!’ It went down and dropped a torpedo. Then I saw the Utah turn over.’ ~Barney Ross, U.S. Navy seaman, Pearl Harbor

At the height of World War II, LOOK Magazine profiled a small American community for a series of articles portraying it as the wholesome, patriotic model of life on the home front. Decades later, author Matthew Rozell tracks down over thirty survivors who fought the war in the Pacific, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender at Tokyo Bay. 

— ‘Rage is instantaneous. He’s looking at me from a crawling position. I didn’t shoot him; I went and kicked him in the head. Rage does funny things. After I kicked him, I shot and killed him.’ ~Thomas Jones, Marine veteran, Battle of Guadalcanal

These are the stories that the magazine could not tell to the American public.

— ‘I remember it rained like hell that night, and the water was running down the slope into our foxholes. I had to use my helmet to keep bailing out, you know. Lt. Gower called us together. He said, ‘I think we’re getting hit with a banzai. We’re going to have to pull back. ‘Holy God, there was howling and screaming! They had naked women, with spears, stark naked!’ ~Nick Grinaldo, U.S. Army veteran, Saipan

By the end of 2018, fewer than 400,000 WW II veterans will still be with us, out of the over 16 million who put on a uniform. But why is it that today, nobody seems to know these stories? Maybe our veterans did not volunteer; maybe we were too busy with our own lives to ask. But they opened up to the younger generation, when a history teacher told their grandchildren to ask.

— ‘I hope you’ll never have to tell a story like this, when you get to be 87. I hope you’ll never have to do it.’ ~Ralph Leinoff, Marine veteran Iwo Jima, to his teenage interviewer

This book brings you the previously untold firsthand accounts of combat and brotherhood, of captivity and redemption, and the aftermath of a war that left no American community unscathed.

— ‘After 3½ years of starvation and brutal treatment, that beautiful symbol of freedom once more flies over our head! Our POW camp tailor worked all night and finished our first American flag! The blue came from a GI barracks bag, red from a Jap comforter and the white from an Australian bed sheet. When I came out of the barracks and saw those beautiful colors for the first time, I felt like crying!’~Joe Minder, U.S. Army POW, Japan,1945

As we forge ahead as a nation, we owe it to ourselves to become reacquainted with a generation that is fast leaving us, who asked for nothing but gave everything, to attune ourselves as Americans to a broader appreciation of what we stand for.

Featuring over a dozen custom maps and never-before published veteran portraits. Extended notes and website.


By (author): Mr. Matthew A. Rozell

List Price: $16.99 USD
New From: $15.42 USD In Stock
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