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Used in war, then to celebrate Ripon High touchdowns
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A 77-year-old World War II Howitzer cannon has been placed on a concrete mount for the community to see by Ripon Military Museum docents Don Blom and Don Schaapman. - photo by GLENN KAHL/ Bulletin

The Ripon Military Museum has a cannon that was used in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War on display on its front lawn in downtown Ripon.  

When it finally become obsolete and phased out of service for scrap it was given to the Ripon High School JROTC. The cannon was used by the JROTC at Ripon’s home football games and was fired after every Indian touchdown. 

Its use was discontinued after neighbors living close to the Ripon High football field complained of the loud reports from the cannon. It had been modified for the JROTC use to fire 10 gage black powder blank rounds.  It had been built in the fall of 1917 and first went into service in 1941.

 The two veterans and museum docents,  Don Blom and Don Schaapman,  asked to have the 1,400 pound Howitzer from the school district to display it in front of the museum located at First Street and Locust Avenue.  It had been painted red to go with the high school’s colors. They proudly repainted it to the Army’s olive drab green.

The cannon sets just a few steps from the front door of the museum, which is the old city hall. The cannon is mounted on a concrete base.  Just beyond the canon is a large black honor wall with the names of Ripon men and women who served America via the military. Those who gave their all for their country are marked with gold stars. 

The Howitzer had a range of 9,620 yards using 2.95-inch, 75 mm rounds able to fire 150 rounds an hour at the enemy in a prolonged rate of firing.  Its maximum elevation could be set to as much as 45 degrees. 

The earlier Howitzer cannons were put in use in the Mexican and Civil wars and they had wooden spoked wheels where the later versions made use of modern day wheels and tires. 

The modern Howitzer was invented in Sweden in the 17th century. While Howitzer gunnery was more complicated than the technique of employing mortars, the Howitzer was an inherently more flexible weapon that could fire its projectiles along a wide variety of trajectories. 

To contact Glenn Kahl, email