Fire mission, 48 years ago
American gunners of B Bty, 6 Bn, 27th Artillery, fire an M110 8-inch howitzer during a fire support mission at LZ Hong, approx. 12 km northeast of Song Be, South Vietnam. 26 March 1970.
Entering service in 1963, the big M110 with its 203mm gun M201A1 howitzer could lob a host of exotic 8-inch shells including the M426 round– full of Sarin nerve gas– and the M422A1 which held a 40-kt W33 nuclear warhead. These big guns were slowly withdrawn after the Cold War with that last seeing service with the Army Reserve as late as 1994. Demilled, their tubes were turned into GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs capable of penetrating thick reinforced concrete several meters underground.
However, some M110s remain in service with about a dozen allies, including Taiwan who use them as long-range artillery against neighboring Chinese batteries.
As for the 27th Artillery, one battalion (4th) is still on active duty and is based at Fort Bliss as part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1AD, equipped with M109A6 Paladins and towed M777A2 howitzers, both in 155mm.