While the most common medium artillery piece worldwide is the 155mm howitzer, a towed 130mm gun was a popular Soviet design, introduced as the M46 in 1954 (sometimes called the M1954). A virtually identical Chinese version is the Type 59, for which a longer-range projectile was developed. The Chinese rocket-assisted projectile can be fired by the M46.
Having a longer barrel and thus higher muzzle velocity than a howitzer, it has longer range than all 105mm, and some 155mm howitzers. Maximum ranges are on the order or 28 km/17.5 mi. This was especially important in the Vietnam War, in which the North Vietnamese gunners outranged all light and most medium artillery. When U.S. forces provided effective air attack, the guns could be neutralized, but the South Vietnamese were not effective in counterbattery operations.
Repeatedly, North Vietnamese artillery would shut down isolated airfields. The 175mm gun was introduced for U.S. counterbattery fire against the North Vietnamese artillery, under the direct control of ground commanders who did not have to wait for air support, or when weather interfered with it.
In Russian and Soviet service, these were replaced by 152mm guns, often self-propelled, but the Russians are now starting to use 155mm howitzers as well.