Definition of howitzer in US English:



  • A short gun for firing shells on high trajectories at low velocities.

    • ‘By the end of the war he had a million men, two-thirds of whom had not yet seen action, and new machine guns, artillery including howitzers, with growing numbers of shells and even wireless supplies.’
    • ‘To replicate realistic conditions in a combat scenario, an artillery battery should set up howitzers and conduct simulated fire missions before conducting marksmanship training.’
    • ‘Both pilots took turns calculating the power required to safely drop off the howitzer at Bagram.’
    • ‘Note that I don't care whether someone is getting a handgun or a howitzer, as long as they maintain it and know how to safely operate the thing.’
    • ‘But because the distance was too great, the howitzer shells burst high in the air and did no damage beyond frightening the fleeing people.’
    • ‘Artillery generally falls into three basic categories; guns, howitzers and mortars.’
    • ‘As the rush proceeded, the companies of Jackson and Trimble advanced with a Gatling gun and the two howitzers to the brow of the bluff and opened a brisk but ineffective fire on the retreating tribesmen.’
    • ‘For the first time since the U.S. deployment, the factions use their heavy weapons systems: howitzers, heavy machine guns, mortars, and even a few older-model tanks.’
    • ‘We crossed quickly, followed by the rifle and the howitzer and the rearguard.’
    • ‘In 1848, U.S. siege batteries, composed of howitzers, guns, and mortars, proved essential in the Battle of Chapultepec and the capture of Mexico City.’
    • ‘They also offer a look into little-known innovations, such as precision artillery shells for howitzers developed for the US Army.’
    • ‘They include field guns, which fire with a flat trajectory, howitzers and mortars, which have arching trajectories, antitank guns, firing high-velocity shot, and self-propelled guns.’
    • ‘All types of artillery were used in mountainous terrain, but mortars, mountain guns, and howitzers proved by far the most adapted to action on difficult, rugged terrain.’
    • ‘Flexibility in rapidly delivering ammunition to outlying firebases was crucial because mortars and howitzers were emplaced throughout the theater.’
    • ‘The first line was equipped with a number of medium howitzers, some non-reflective guns and a network of heavy machine guns carried on vehicles, in addition to antiaircraft guns.’
    • ‘The greatest drawback to maintaining a cannon-centric field artillery is that the howitzers ' weight reduces air transportability.’
    • ‘Mountain artillery consisted of light guns and howitzers capable of being dismantled and carried piecemeal on mules, or even by men, into positions inaccessible to ordinary artillery.’
    • ‘Long and short range artillery, rockets, missiles, howitzers, and mortars rained fire and death from the sky.’
    • ‘For example, his five divisions had only 118 guns each - a third of the standard number; there was an almost total lack of howitzers, trench mortars, grenades and high explosive ammunition.’
    • ‘Coalition special forces soldiers destroyed at least five enemy howitzers during that operation.’


Late 17th century: from Dutch houwitser, from German Haubitze, from Czech houfnice ‘catapult’.