What are these M114A1 Howitzers from Greece, What are their Characteristics?

What are these M114A1 Howitzers from Greece?

Another unexpected package of arms assistance from Greece to Ukraine, which, although it does not go directly through the Czech Republic, is still quite significant, includes 70 units of 155-mm howitzers M114A1.

It should be noted right away that this is not a new weapon for Ukraine because, in May 2022, five M114A1 howitzers were sent by Portugal. In addition, it was somewhat of a surprise that this was not the first delivery of these artillery systems to Ukraine from Greece but the second batch. The past was also transmitted through the Czech Republic.

But it is worth noting that so far, it has not been possible to find a single photo where the M114A1 would be seen in service with the Armed Forces. In the end, the reasons for this are also quite clear – the absolute obsolescence of these howitzers. Because we are talking about an artillery system that was developed in 1939-1941, and production was stopped in 1953. The last time the USA used it in combat was in Vietnam.

What are these M114A1 Howitzers from Greece, What are their Characteristics?
M114

And this is really an old howitzer weighing 5.6 tons, with a barrel length of only 23 or 24.5 calibers, which allows you to fire from it at a range of up to 14.6 km. Greece received the first of these howitzers in 1951 in the form of aid from the US, and their total number was up to 271 units at the level of the early 70s. They were in the ranks of the Greek army until 2012.

Thus, the M114A1 is already obsolete at the level of the 60s, and in 2024, it is possible not to mention their combat value at all. In the end, the US during this time, not only replaced the M114 with the M198 but switched to the M777. The range of 14.6 km, and this on a new barrel, reduces the chances of the M114A1 in counter-battery combat to close to zero.

At the same time, this does not mean that nothing can be done with these howitzers at all. Because this howitzer was the main one in many European countries for quite a long time. In the conditions of the Cold War in the second half of the 80s, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway decided to carry out a joint modernization of the M114 by increasing the length of the barrel to the standard at that time 39 calibers.

M114A1 Howitzers

As a result, by 1990, a total of 226 such howitzers were modernized by replacing the barrel but with the maximum use of all other units of the artillery unit and carriage. As a result, the range increased to 18 km with a conventional M107 projectile, 24.6 km using a projectile with improved aerodynamics ERFB, and with a bottom generator (ERFB-BB) – up to 32 km.

That is, there are ways to transform the M114A1 into something more combat-ready. Although, of course, it is difficult to call such a solution ideal because we are still talking about a complete replacement of the barrel and the corresponding technological cycles for modernization.