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OTO Melara Mod 56

105mm Pack Howitzer / Lightweight Artillery Piece.

OTO Melara Mod 56

105mm Pack Howitzer / Lightweight Artillery Piece.

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
IMAGES
OVERVIEW



The OTO Melara Mod 56 Pack Howitzer system found many global takers from the moment it was introduced.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Italy
YEAR: 1956
MANUFACTURER(S): OTO Melara - Italy
PRODUCTION: 1,000
OPERATORS: Argentina; Australia; Austria; Bangladesh; Botswana; Brazil; Canada; Chile; Djibouti; Ecuador; El Salvador; France; Germany (West Germany); Ghana; Greece; India; Iraq; Italy; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Nigeria; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines; Portugal; Saudi Arabia; Spain; Sudan; Thailand; United Kingdom; Venezuela; Zambia; Zimbabwe
National flag of Argentina
ARG
National flag of Australia
AUS
National flag of Austria
AST
National flag of Botswana
BOT
National flag of Brazil
BRA
National flag of Canada
CAN
National flag of Chile
CHI
National flag of Djibouti
DJI
National flag of Ecuador
ECU
National flag of El Salvador
ELS
National flag of France
FRA
National flag of Germany
GER
National flag of Ghana
GHA
National flag of Greece
GRE
National flag of India
IND
National flag of Iraq
IRQ
National flag of Italy
ITA
National flag of Malaysia
MLA
National flag of Mexico
MEX
National flag of New Zealand
NZ
National flag of Niger
NGR
National flag of Nigeria
NGA
National flag of Pakistan
PAK
National flag of Peru
PER
National flag of Philippines
PHI
National flag of Portugal
POR
National flag of Saudi Arabia
SAU
National flag of Spain
SPA
National flag of Sudan
SUD
National flag of Thailand
THL
National flag of United Kingdom
UK
National flag of Venezuela
VEN
National flag of Zambia
ZAM
National flag of Zimbabwe
ZIM
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the OTO Melara Mod 56 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 7
NBC PROTECTION: None.
NIGHTVISION: None.
ADVERTISEMENTS
LENGTH

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HEIGHT

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WEIGHT

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RANGE

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ARMAMENT



1 x 105mm main gun barrel.

Ammunition:
Dependent upon ammunition carrier. High-Explosive (HE) projectiles being the standard projectile type.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• Mod 56 - Base Series Designation


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the OTO Melara Mod 56 105mm Pack Howitzer / Lightweight Artillery Piece..  Entry last updated on 3/7/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
In the post-World War 2 rebuilding period, the Italian Army found itself in need of a new, lightweight towed artillery system to cover an indirect-fire requirement for mountain and airborne troopers. The storied concern of OTO-Melara, established in 1905, returned with a new "pack" howitzer of 105mm caliber during the mid-1950s. The type would be lightweight enough to be air-transportable and fire standardized High-Explosive (HE) shells out to nearly 10,000 yards. The result of this work became the "Mod 56".

The Mod 56 tipped the scales at 2,840 lb and sported a barrel of 4.9 inches long. Overall length of the system reached 12 feet and width was 4.11 feet with a height of 6.2 feet. The typical operating crew numbered seven and a small gun shield was added for limited protection. The gun tube sat on a two-wheeled, rubber-tired split trail carriage and the tube itself was capped by a multi-slotted brake. The breech was accessed by way of a vertical sliding block and recoil aided by a hydropneumatic arrangement under the barrel. Elevation and traverse functions were built into the mounting setup allowing for an elevation span of -7 to +65 degrees and 56 degrees from centerline (respectively) to be reached. Projectile muzzle velocity reach 1,360 feet per second and the gun could sustain a rate-of-fire of 10 rounds-per-minute for short periods of time.

As a lightweight battlefield artillery piece, the Mod 56 was an infantryman's friend in that it could be relocated across short distances by the crew itself (not requiring a mover vehicle). Additionally, the weapon broke down relatively quickly into twelve key components and could be moved, rebuilt, and fired at a new location in this manner (this access also aided in its maintenance and cleaning). Beyond its direct-handling by troopers, the gun could easily be slung under the belly of a helicopter and transport at speed.

However, the system's light design came a price for the guns were quickly shown to fracture during periods of heavy sustained fire. In this way they lacked the long-term durability seen in competing designs such as the American World War 2-era M101 Pack Howitzer system (detailed elsewhere on this site). Indeed, the Italians themselves moved on from the Mod 56 to the modern M2A1 (M101A1) in a short period of time.

This is not to say that the Italian weapon held little merit for a modern frontline fighting force - the Mod 56 was adopted by a slew of global operators including the United Kingdom (as the "L5"), Australia, and Canada and proved a fixture across Europe during the Cold War period. Today, the gun still sees service with second-rate military powers like that of Argentina, Botswana, Nigeria, and Zambia though it has been given up by major defense players like France, Germany, and India.

Australian units deployed the howitzer during the 1948-1960 "Malayan Emergency" and Malaysia deployed these guns, in turn, during the "Second Malayan Emergency" of 1968-1989. British forces deployed the system in the "Aden Emergency" of 1963-1967 and Argentina fielded the guns in anger during their "Falklands War" against Britain in 1982. The Vietnam Conflict was witness to the Mod 56 being used by both Australian and New Zealand forces for a time. China generated a local copy of the Mod 56 for export sale.






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