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Type 91 105mm

Towed Light Towed Field Howitzer

Imperial Japan | 1932

"The Type 91 105mm light field howtizer served the Imperial Japanese Army throughout the 1930s and 1940s."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/10/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In an effort to modernize its fighting forces to keep pace with foreign powers, the Japanese were forced to rely on outside assistance to improve their engineering prowess and manufacturing know-how. This led to many indigenous weapons inspired from existing designs brought to the Japanese mainland from far-off places like Europe. Such was the influence on the Type 91, a 105mm towed howitzer weapon system that was a Japanese take on the French Model 1913 "Schneider" - already a proven veteran of World War 1 (1914-1918). The French guns were taken on by the Japanese for testing and eventually formed the basis for the local design.

The Type 91 was adopted to succeed the aged line of Type 38 150mm howitzers of same battlefield role. These guns held their own origins in the early 1900s and were themselves veterans of the Japanese war with Russia (the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905). As a howitzer piece, the weapons provided effective indirect fire against infantry forces and light armored vehicles, providing considerable High-Explosive (HE) lethality at range. By this time, the Type 38 series had seen its pinnacle and was quickly outpaced by emerging models seen elsewhere.

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The Type 91 utilized a 105mm projectile weighing 35 pounds and loading was through an interrupted screw breech arrangement. The gun barrel was braced by an integral hydropneumatic recoil mechanism for repeat-fire accuracy and the component, as well as the barrel, sat atop a split trail, two-wheeled carriage with gun shield attached - the latter providing some local defense. The typical operating crew was six and the artillery piece could be moved by beast of burden or mover vehicle thanks to its two-wheeled arrangement. The crew could also relocate, or turn, the piece over short distances if necessary.

The gun tube's mounting hardware allowed for an elevation span of -5 to +45 degrees and 20-degrees left or right from centerline. A well-trained and disciplined gunnery crew could expect to make up to eight rounds-per-minute. Muzzle velocity of the exiting shells was 1,790 feet per second with maximum range reaching 11,800 yards depending on charge used. A panoramic optical set was used for ranging/sighting.

Design work on what would become the Type 91 began in 1927 and continued into the early 1930s. Production was assigned to the Osaka Arsenal which resulted in some 1,200 examples. 100 of these became a "motorized" form as steel, rubber-tired wheels replaced the earlier, original wooden-spoked design. The change was necessary to conform to the growing reliance on mechanized warfare but made the weapon system considerably heavier as a result.

The Type 91 went on to see extensive combat action in the period leading up to World War 2 and continued in use until the Japanese surrender of August 1945. Its first widespread use was witnessed during the Manchuria Campaign before it was pressed into action against the Soviets. The expanding Pacific Campaign ensured that the piece would also go on to see action against British, American and other Allied forces before the end. From then onwards, some stocks were featured fighting for both sides of the Chinese Civil War (1946-1950) before being given up for good some time later.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Type 91 105mm Towed Light Towed Field Howitzer.
None. This is a towed artillery piece.
Installed Power
7 miles
11 km
The physical qualities of the Type 91 105mm Towed Light Towed Field Howitzer.
9.0 ft
2.75 meters
O/A Length
3,307 lb
1,500 kg | 1.7 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Type 91 105mm Towed Light Towed Field Howitzer.
1 x 105mm (4") barrel assembly
Dependent upon ammunition carrier. Ammunition types included High-Explosive, Armor-Piercing, shrapnel and chemical rounds.
Nightvision - NONE
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - NONE
Notable series variants as part of the Type 91 105mm family line.
Type 91 - Base Series Designation; early production forms fielded with wooden spoked wheels; later production forms fielded with steel wheels surrounded by pneumatic rubber tires with increased weight penalty.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Type 91 105mm. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 1,100 Units

Contractor(s): Osaka Arsenal - Imperial Japan
National flag of China National flag of modern Japan National flag of Taiwan

[ China; Imperial Japan; Taiwan ]
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Image of the Type 91 105mm
The Type 91 105mm field howitzer with its original wooden spoked wheels
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Image of the Type 91 105mm
A later-model Type 91 field howitzer with the newer rubber-on-steel wheels

Going Further...
The Type 91 105mm Towed Light Towed Field Howitzer appears in the following collections:
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