If there’s one piece of weaponry that can truly devastate cities, vehicles, and fortified positions on the battlefield, it’s the artillery cannon. From the old cannons used in the 1700s and 1800s to the modern day howitzers, artillery weapons are designed to launch munitions to ranges far beyond those of military small arms and cause immense devastation.
They are a mainstay during siege warfare, and can often give one side a tremendous advantage.
Here are the Greatest of All Time artillery cannons:
Originally designed as an anti-aircraft weapon, the German 88 cannon was used to devastating effect throughout World War II and is one of the most overlooked weapons in Nazi Germany's arsenal. It didn't take Germany long to realize that the 88 Cannon could be highly effective against Allied tanks, and it was deployed to Russia, North Africa, Italy, and the Western Front in great numbers. The 88 Cannon also had a stable firing platform, excellent optics, and a high muzzle velocity with a very fast rate of fire.
The M1 Howitzer was a 240mm artillery gun that was nicknamed the Black Dragon. It was a towed howitzer cannon that was designed to replace the M1918 Howitzer the United States army had deployed in World War I, which had in turn been based on a French design. The M1 Howitzer was used extensively throughout World War II and the Korean War, and the 240mm round it fired weighed nearly four hundred pounds and could be propelled over twenty five thousand yards. It was by far the largest and most powerful weapon used by the United States Army on the battlefield in World War II. It was only retired from service in the late 1950s when ammunition stockpiles ran out, but it remains in service today with numerous other countries, such as Taiwan.
The ARCHER FH 77 BW L52 Howitzer is a self-propelled howitzer that fires 155mm shells and is designed to be used against both land sea targets. It's a wheel artillery system equipped with an RCWS (remotely controlled weapon station) and has a fully automated gun. The vehicle itself is based off of a 6x6 Volvo commercial vehicle. The gun is capable of firing 21 rounds every there and a half minutes and can fire all 155mm projectiles, included precision guided munitions. The total range of the gun is 50km, while the cabin is durable enough to shield the grew from shrapnel, gunfire, and artillery fragments. Total speed of the vehicle is 70km with a cursing range of 500km.
The 18 Pounder Mark I Field Gun was the standard British artillery gun of World War I, used as a general purpose trench gun. In order to devastate German infantry, it was equipped with shrapnel shells, essentially turning them into giant shotguns. Around three thousand 18 pounds were used in the war, and it is estimated that they collectively fired over a hundred million rounds.
The PzH 2000 is a mobile artillery gun used by the German army today, and is widely regarded as one of the best howitzers in the entire world. This mobile howitzer can carry five crew members with sixty projectiles for spare ammunition. It comes equipped with a navigation system, automatic landing system, and a fire control computer with an effective range of 56 kilometers and the ability to fire up to ten rounds a minute. It has a maximum operational range of 420 kilometers and fires 155mm projectile ammunition.
The Great Turkish Bombard looks primitive by today's standards, but back in the 1400s when it was used it was highly innovative and was used to bring down the proud city of Constantinople. Constantinople was protected with massive walls that made a frontal assault nearly impossible, and the Byzantine Empire (which controlled the city) was able to hold strong. But in 1453, the Byzantine Empire went to war with the Ottoman Empire. The Byzantines never expected the Ottomans to be able to bring down the city, but the Ottomans had a secret weapon on their side: a new artillery cannon called the the Great Turkish Binbard. The cannon fired at the walls and knocked them down after several blasts, allowing the Ottomans to storm the city. The Byzantine Empire fell and the Ottoman Empire would take its place, and remain strong for the next several hundred years until its defeat in World War I.
The 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV is a 152mm self-propelled howitzer in service with the Russian army since 2015, when the first batch was delivered. The chassis of the howitzer is the same on used on the T-14, T-72, and the T-90 tanks. It is capable of firing anti-tank submunitions, precision guide munitions, and jammer carrying projectiles, at a rate of fire of eight rounds a minute. The maximum speed of the vehicle is sixty kilometers an hour, with a total range of five hundred kilometers.
The Grande Pussane Filoux Gun was a French artillery gun used extensively throughout World War I. It was first deployed in the second half of 1916 with over seven hundred sent to the battlefield on the Western Front. It was also used by American forces and proved to be one of the most effective artillery weapons in the war.
The Swedish Leather Cannon was literally exactly that - a leather cannon. Adopted by Sweden in the 1700s, the Leather Cannon was technically made out of copper, but it was covered in leather. This way, it would be light enough to be efficiently carried by just two men across a battlefield, at a time when cannons were so heavy that it would take multiple men just to move them a few feet. The Leather Cannon was highly innovative, because it was one of the first historical examples of mobile artillery.
The French 75 Cannon was adopted by the French army in 1897, just before the turn of the century. It was a 75mm artillery cannon that was designed to be a lighter artillery piece that could fire fifteen rounds per minute, which made it one of the fastest firing artillery guns of the time and is still impressive to this day. The biggest downside to the cannon was the immense recoil, which caused it to be rocked back out of place often, and French soldiers would constantly have to wheel it back into position. This weakness was quite evident in the Western Front of World War I, and it was later phased out.