HOWITZER (derived, through an earlier form howitz, and the Ger. Haubitz, from the Bohemian houfnice = catapult, from which come also, through the Ital. obiza or obice, the French forms obus = shell and obusier howitzer), a form of mobile ordnance in use from the 16th century up to the present day. It is a short and therefore comparatively light gun, which fires a heavy projectile at low velocity. A high angle of elevation is always given and the angle of descent of the projectile is consequently steep (up to 70). On this fact is based the tactical use of the modem howitzer. The field howitzer is of the greatest value for " searching " trenches, folds of ground, localities, etc., which are invulnerable to direct fire, while the more powerful siege howitzer has, since the introduction of modern artillery and, above all, of modern projectiles, taken the foremost place amongst the weapons used in siege warfare.
See ARTILLERY, ORDNANCE and FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)