Marines Burn Out Two M777 Howitzers in Fight for Raqqa

By Faye Higbee

The M777 Howitzer is built for heavy use, that’s why US Marines have over 500 of them. It’s relatively lightweight, easily deployable, and can shoot up to 5 rpm, with a maximum range of 25 miles, depending upon the rounds. It fires a 155 mm round, and has a digital fire control system. But in the fight for Raqqa, Syria, they used two of them so much that the barrels burned out.

The Marine Corps Times reported,

Nevertheless, the burnout of two M777 howitzers highlights the amount of artillery shells that rained down upon ISIS and Raqqa.

“I’ve never heard of it ― normally your gun goes back to depot for full reset well before that happens,” a former Army artillery officer told Military Times on condition of anonymity. “That’s a shitload of rounds though,”

The rounds it would take to burn out a barrel is dependent on the level of charge and the range to the target, he said.

The level of charge of the round is also a function of the weight of the shell being used and the distance to the target.

“If you have an average-weight shell, the further you want to shoot the more charge you put in,” he said. “If that shell is heavier, you need to add even more charge.”

“So if they were shooting closer to the target, the tube life might actually be extended some.”

The M777 Howitzer was created by BAE Systems out of the UK and integrated/tested in Mississippi. It can be lifted by an MV-22 Osprey, CH-53E Super Stallion or a single CH-47 Chinook. It can be moved by a 7-ton truck, according to It was first fielded by the US Army and Marine Corps in 2005 and has been a veritable workhorse since then.

Can you imagine the amount of ammo that had to go through such a weapon to make it actually burn out?


Featured photo: Screenshot – U.S. Marines fire M777-A2 Howitzers in Syria during May and June, 2017 in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. The Marines have been conducting 24-hour all-weather fire support for the Coalition’s local partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Callahan)