A self-propelled gun (SPG) is a form of self-propelled artillery, and in modern use is usually used to refer to artillery pieces such as howitzers. Self-propelled guns are mounted on a motorised wheeled or tracked chassis (because of this they are sometimes visually similar to tanks). As such the gun can be maneuvered under its own power as opposed to a towed gun that relies upon a vehicle or other means to be moved on the battlefield. Self-propelled guns are combat support weapons; they are employed by combat support units fighting in support of, or attached to, the main combat units: infantry and armour (tanks). Self-propelled guns are best at providing indirect fire but can give direct fire when needed. It may be armoured, in which case it is considered an armoured fighting vehicle (AFV). Typically, self-propelled guns are more lightly armoured and may not have turrets and their purpose is distinct from that of tanks. The greatest tactical advantage in the case of artillery guns is clearly the greater degree of mobility they have compared to towed artillery. Not only is it important in offering military forces greater flexibility, but it is critical in avoiding attack from the enemy (counter-battery fire) by allowing the guns to change position immediately after firing one or more salvos and before their position can be located ("shoot-and-scoot" tactics). A secondary advantage in the case of – even lightly – armoured guns is the increased protection offered to the gun crews.
1 History 2 Self-propelled guns and howitzers
2.1 Assault guns
3 Examples 4 Notes 5 References
World War II Soviet ISU-152.
A modern Chinese
The first attempts to give artillery a greater degree of
manoeuvrability was in World War I. Although mechanical tractors had
been used to tow some artillery, most were still towed by horses. The
Gun Carrier Mark I
Self-propelled guns and howitzers are used in the same way as their towed variety, generally for long-range bombardment. Self-propelled artillery can however also include other types of weapons not considered a self-propelled gun, one example of which would be rocket artillery. Assault guns Main article: Assault gun Assault guns are large-caliber artillery pieces, meant to support infantry by direct fire with high explosive ammunition.
M109A2 self propelled howitzers of the US 3rd Field
Examples See List of self-propelled howitzers Notes