A howitzer is a type of artillery piece that is characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small explosive charges to propel projectiles at trajectories with a steep angle of descent. In the taxonomies of artillery pieces used by European (and European-style) armies in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the howitzer stood between the “gun” (which was characterized by a longer barrel, larger propelling charges, smaller shells, higher velocities and flatter trajectories) and the “mortar” (which has the ability to fire projectiles at even higher angles of ascent and descent).
Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed., vol. 20) (New York, NY: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910)
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