The government of Portugal recently announced that it would be sending five World War II era 155 mm M114 howitzers to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Pentagon has promised to take over all logistics and send them from Portugal to Ukraine, according to SOL agency.
The 155 mm M114 howitzer was first produced by the U.S. Army in 1942 as a medium artillery piece. It was used heavily by the U.S. military in World War II, Korea and Vietnam before being replaced by the M198 howitzer in 1953. A little over 10,000 guns were produced over that time span.
As of today, the weapon is still used by a number of South American, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian militaries. Turkey currently holds a little over 500 M114’s, more than any other nation that still has the artillery piece in operation. The vast majority were supplied by the U.S. during the Cold War.
Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have deployed the M114 howitzer in a number of engagements since 2018, with the last documented usage coming in 2020.
Portugal currently possesses 24 M114’s, of which five will be going to Ukraine, according to SOL. In addition, the Portuguese government agreed to send 15 M113 tracked armored personnel carriers to the conflict zone.
Military officials told SOL that the World War II era guns are still combat effective, though Ukraine had asked Portugal for much heavier weaponry. On April 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Portugal’s parliament and asked them to supply Leopard 2 tanks, armored personnel carriers and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
Portugal’s contribution comes as the U.S., along with multiple European nations, have affirmed their commitment to arming Ukraine. President Biden recently asked Congress to approve an additional $33 billion in aid, including lethal aid, to Zelensky’s nation. After announcing a new 150-million-dollar weapons package earlier this week, the U.S. has now supplied Ukraine with $3.8 billion worth of weapons since the war began.