Artillery is a class of large military weapons built to fire munitions
far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early
artillery development focused on the ability to breach fortifications,
and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology
improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery developed for
battlefield use. This development continues today; modern
self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great
versatility providing the largest share of an army's total firepower.
In its earliest sense, the word artillery referred to any group of
soldiers primarily armed with some form of manufactured weapon or
armour. Since the introduction of gunpowder and cannon, the word
"artillery" has largely meant cannon, and in contemporary usage, it
usually refers to shell-firing guns, howitzers, mortars, rockets and
guided missiles. In common speech, the word artillery is often used to
refer to individual devices, along with their accessories and
fittings, although these assemblages are more properly called
"equipments". However, there is no generally recognised generic term
for a gun, howitzer, mortar, and so forth: the United States uses
"artillery piece", but most English-speaking armies use "gun" and
"mortar". The projectiles fired are typically either "shot" (if solid)
or "shell" (if not). "Shell" is a widely used generic term for a
projectile, which is a component of munitions.
By association, artillery may also refer to the arm of service that
customarily operates such engines. In some armies one arm has operated
field, coast, anti-aircraft artillery and some anti-tank artillery, in
others these have been separate arms and in some nations coast has
been a naval or marine responsibility. In the 20th Century technology
based target acquisition devices, such as radar, and systems, such as
sound ranging and flash spotting, emerged to acquire targets,
primarily for artillery. These are usually operated by one or more of
the artillery arms. The widespread adoption of indirect fire in the
early 20th century introduced the need for specialist data for field
artillery, notably survey and meteorological, in some armies provision
of these are the responsibility of the artillery arm.
Artillery originated for use against ground targets—against
infantry, cavalry and other artillery. An early specialist development
was coastal artillery for use against enemy ships. The early 20th
Century saw the development of a new class of artillery for use
against aircraft: anti-aircraft guns.
Artillery is arguably the most lethal form of land-based armament
currently employed, and has been since at least the early Industrial
Revolution. The majority of combat deaths in the Napoleonic Wars,
War I, and World
War II were caused by artillery. In 1944,
Joseph Stalin said in a speech that artillery was "the God of War".
4.1 Invention of gunpowder
4.2 Expansion of artillery use
4.4 Napoleonic artillery
4.5 Modern artillery
4.5.1 Indirect fire
4.6 Precision-guided artillery
Field artillery system
7 Classification of artillery
7.1 Types of ordnance
7.2 Organizational types
7.3 Equipment types
7.4 Caliber categories
8 Modern operations
8.1 Application of fire
8.2 Counter-battery fire
Field artillery team
8.4 Time on Target
8.6 Air burst
9 Use in monuments
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
French soldiers in the Franco-Prussian
British 64 Pounder Rifled Muzzle-Loaded (RML) Gun on a Moncrieff
disappearing mount, at Scaur Hill Fort, Bermuda. This is a part of a
fixed battery, meant to protect against over-land attack and to serve
as coastal artillery.
Although not called as such, machines performing the role recognizable
as artillery have been employed in warfare since antiquity. Historical
references show artillery was first employed by the Roman legions at
Syracuse in 399 BC, well before the Christian era.
Until the introduction of gunpowder into western warfare, artillery
was dependent upon mechanical energy which not only severely limited
the kinetic energy of the projectiles, it also required the
construction of very large engines to store sufficient energy. A
1st-century BC Roman catapult launching 6.55 kg (14.4 lb)
stones achieved a kinetic energy of 16,000 joules, compared to a
mid-19th-century 12-pounder gun, which fired a 4.1 kg
(9.0 lb) round, with a kinetic energy of 240,000 joules, or a
late 20th century US battleship that fired a 1,225 kg
(2,701 lb) projectile from its main battery with an energy level
surpassing 350,000,000 joules.
Middle Ages through most of the modern era, artillery pieces
on land were moved by horse-drawn gun carriages. In the contemporary
era, artillery pieces and their crew relied on wheeled or tracked
vehicles as transportation. These land versions of artillery were
dwarfed by railway guns, which includes the largest super-gun ever
conceived, theoretically capable of putting a satellite into orbit.
Artillery used by naval forces has also changed significantly, with
missiles replacing guns in surface warfare.
Over the course of military history, projectiles were manufactured
from a wide variety of materials, into a wide variety of shapes, using
many different methods in which to target structural/defensive works
and inflict enemy casualties. The engineering applications for
ordnance delivery have likewise changed significantly over time,
encompassing some of the most complex and advanced technologies in use
In some armies, the weapon of artillery is the projectile, not the
equipment that fires it. The process of delivering fire onto the
target is called gunnery. The actions involved in operating an
artillery piece are collectively called "serving the gun" by the
"detachment" or gun crew, constituting either direct or indirect
artillery fire. The manner in which gunnery crews (or formations) are
employed is called artillery support. At different periods in history
this may refer to weapons designed to be fired from ground-, sea-, and
even air-based weapons platforms.
The term "gunner" is used in some armed forces for the soldiers and
sailors with the primary function of using artillery.
7-person gun crew firing a US M777 Light Towed Howitzer,
The gunners and their guns are usually grouped in teams called either
"crews" or "detachments". Several such crews and teams with other
functions are combined into a unit of artillery, usually called a
battery, although sometimes called a company. In gun detachments, each
role is numbered, starting with "1" the Detachment Commander, and the
highest number being the Coverer, the second-in-command. "Gunner" is
also the lowest rank and junior non-commissioned officers are
"Bombardiers" in some artillery arms.
Batteries are roughly equivalent to a company in the infantry, and are
combined into larger military organizations for administrative and
operational purposes, either battalions or regiments, depending on the
army. These may be grouped into brigades; the Russian army also groups
some brigades into artillery divisions, and the People's Liberation
Army has artillery corps.
The term "artillery" is also applied to a combat arm of most military
services when used organizationally to describe units and formations
of the national armed forces that operate the weapons.
During military operations, the role of field artillery is to provide
support to other arms in combat or to attack targets, particularly in
depth. Broadly, these effects fall into two categories, either to
suppress or neutralize the enemy, or to cause casualties, damage, and
destruction. This is mostly achieved by delivering high-explosive
munitions to suppress, or inflict casualties on the enemy from casing
fragments and other debris and blast, or by destroying enemy
positions, equipment, and vehicles. Non-lethal munitions, notably
smoke, can also be used to suppress or neutralize the enemy by
obscuring their view.
Fire may be directed by an artillery observer or other observer,
including manned and unmanned aircraft pilots, or called onto map
Military doctrine has played a significant influence on the core
engineering design considerations of artillery ordnance through its
history, in seeking to achieve a balance between delivered volume of
fire with ordnance mobility. However, during the modern period, the
consideration of protecting the gunners also arose due to the
late-19th-century introduction of the new generation of infantry
weapons using conoidal bullet, better known as the Minié ball, with a
range almost as long as that of field artillery.
The gunners' increasing proximity to and participation in direct
combat against other combat arms and attacks by aircraft made the
introduction of a gun shield necessary. The problems of how to employ
a fixed or horse-towed gun in mobile warfare necessitated the
development of new methods of transporting the artillery into combat.
Two distinct forms of artillery developed: the towed gun, which was
used primarily to attack or defend a fixed line; and the
self-propelled gun, which was designed to accompany a mobile force and
provide continuous fire support. These influences have guided the
development of artillery ordnance, systems, organisations, and
operations until the present, with artillery systems capable of
providing support at ranges from as little as 100 m to the
intercontinental ranges of ballistic missiles. The only combat in
which artillery is unable to take part in is close quarters combat,
with the possible exception of artillery reconnaissance teams.
The word as used in the current context originated in the Middle Ages.
One suggestion is that it comes from the
Old French atellier, meaning
"to arrange", and attillement, meaning "equipment".
From the 13th century, an artillier referred to a builder of any war
equipment; and, for the next 250 years, the sense of the word
"artillery" covered all forms of military weapons. Hence, the naming
Honourable Artillery Company
Honourable Artillery Company an essentially infantry unit until
the 19th century. Another suggestion is that it comes from the Italian
arte de tirare (art of shooting), coined by one of the first theorists
on the use of artillery, Niccolò Tartaglia.
See also: History of gunpowder
Mechanical systems used for throwing ammunition in ancient warfare,
also known as "engines of war", like the catapult, onager, trebuchet,
and ballista, are also referred to by military historians as
Invention of gunpowder
A depiction of an early vase-shaped cannon dated from around 1350 AD.
The illustration is from the 14th century
Ming Dynasty book
Gunpowder artillery in the Song dynasty
Early Chinese artillery had vase-like shapes. This includes the "long
range awe inspiring" cannon dated from 1350 and found in the 14th
Ming Dynasty treatise Huolongjing. With the development of
better metallurgy techniques, later cannons abandoned the vase shape
of early Chinese artillery. This change can be seen in the bronze
"thousand ball thunder cannon," an early example of field
artillery. These small, crude weapons diffused into the Middle East
(the madfaa) and reached Europe in the 13th century, in a very limited
In Asia, Mongols adopted the Chinese artillery and used it effectively
in the great conquest. By the late 14th century, Chinese rebels used
organized artillery and cavalry to push Mongols out.
As small smooth-bore tubes these were initially cast in iron or bronze
around a core, with the first drilled bore ordnance recorded in
operation near Seville in 1247. They fired lead,
iron, or stone balls, sometimes large arrows and on occasions simply
handfuls of whatever scrap came to hand. During the Hundred Years'
War, these weapons became more common, initially as the bombard and
later the cannon.
Cannon were always muzzle-loaders. While there were
many early attempts at breech-loading designs, a lack of engineering
knowledge rendered these even more dangerous to use than
Expansion of artillery use
French gunner in the 15th century, a 1904 illustration.
Battle of Panipat
Bullocks dragging siege-guns up hill during Akbar's
In 1415, the Portuguese invaded the Mediterranean port town of Ceuta.
While it is difficult to confirm the use of firearms in the siege of
the city, it is known the Portuguese defended it thereafter with
firearms, namely bombardas, colebratas, and falconetes. In 1419,
Sultan Abu Sa'id led an army to reconquer the fallen city, and
Moroccans brought cannons and used them in the assault on Ceuta.
Finally, hand-held firearms and riflemen appear in Morocco, in 1437,
in an expedition against the people of Tangiers.[page needed]
It is clear these weapons had developed into several different forms,
from small guns to large artillery pieces.
The artillery revolution in Europe caught on during the Hundred Years'
War and changed the way that battles were fought. In the preceding
decades, the English had even used a gunpowder-like weapon in military
campaigns against the Scottish. However, at this time, the cannons
used in battle were very small and not particularly powerful. Cannons
were only useful for the defense of a castle, as demonstrated at
Breteuil in 1356, when the besieged English used a cannon to destroy
an attacking French assault tower. By the end of the 14th century,
cannon were only powerful enough to knock in roofs, and could not
penetrate castle walls.
However, a major change occurred between 1420 and 1430, when artillery
became much more powerful and could now batter strongholds and
fortresses quite efficiently. The English, French, and Burgundians all
advanced in military technology, and as a result the traditional
advantage that went to the defense in a siege was lost. The cannon
during this period were elongated, and the recipe for gunpowder was
improved to make it three times as powerful as before. These
changes led to the increased power in the artillery weapons of the
The Austrian Pumhart von Steyr, the earliest extant supergun.
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc encountered gunpowder weaponry several times. When she led
the French against the English at the
Battle of Tourelles, in 1430,
she faced heavy gunpowder fortifications, and yet her troops prevailed
in that battle. In addition, she led assaults against the English-held
towns of Jargeau, Meung, and Beaugency, all with the support of large
artillery units. When she led the assault on Paris, Joan faced stiff
artillery fire, especially from the suburb of St. Denis, which
ultimately led to her defeat in this battle. In April 1430, she went
to battle against the Burgundians, whose support was purchased by the
English. At this time, the Burgundians had the strongest and largest
gunpowder arsenal among the European powers, and yet the French, under
Joan of Arc's leadership, were able to beat back the Burgundians and
defend themselves. As a result, most of the battles of the Hundred
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc participated in were fought with gunpowder
The army of Mehmet the Conqueror, which conquered
1453, included both artillery and foot soldiers armed with gunpowder
weapons. The Ottomans brought to the siege sixty-nine guns in
fifteen separate batteries and trained them at the walls of the city.
The barrage of Ottoman cannon fire lasted forty days, and they are
estimated to have fired 19,320 times.
Artillery also played a
decisive role in the
Battle of St. Jakob an der Birs of 1444.
Three of the large Korean artillery,
Chongtong in the Jinju National
Museum. These cannons were made in the mid 16th century. The closest
is a "Cheonja chongtong"(천자총통, 天字銃筒), the second is a
"Jija chongtong"(지자총통, 地字銃筒), and the third is a
"Hyeonja chongtong"(현자총통, 玄字銃筒).
Ming Dynasty established the "Divine Engine Battalion"
(神机营), which specialized in various types of artillery. Light
cannons and cannons with multiple volleys were developed. In a
campaign to suppress a local minority rebellion near today's Burmese
border, "the Ming army used a 3-line method of arquebuses/muskets to
destroy an elephant formation."
Between 1593 and 1597, about 200,000 Korean and Chinese troops which
fought against Japan in Korea actively used heavy artillery in both
siege and field combat. Korean forces mounted artillery in ships as
naval guns, providing an advantage against Japanese navy which used
Kunikuzushi (国崩し – Japanese breech-loading swivel gun) and
Ōzutsu (大筒 – large size Tanegashima) as their largest
Bombards were of value mainly in sieges. A famous Turkish example used
at the siege of
Constantinople in 1453 weighed 19 tons[vague], took
200 men and sixty oxen to emplace, and could fire just seven times a
day. The Fall of
Constantinople was perhaps "the first event of
supreme importance whose result was determined by the use of
artillery" when the huge bronze cannons of
Mehmed II breached the
city's walls, ending the Byzantine Empire, according to Sir Charles
Bombards developed in Europe were massive smoothbore weapons
distinguished by their lack of a field carriage, immobility once
emplaced, highly individual design, and noted unreliability (in 1460
James II, King of Scots, was killed when one exploded at the siege of
Roxburgh). Their large size precluded the barrels being cast and they
were constructed out of metal staves or rods bound together with hoops
like a barrel, giving their name to the gun
The use of the word "cannon" marks the introduction in the 15th
century of a dedicated field carriage with axle, trail and
animal-drawn limber—this produced mobile field pieces that could
move and support an army in action, rather than being found only in
siege and static defences. The reduction in the size of the barrel was
due to improvements in both iron technology and gunpowder manufacture,
while the development of trunnions – projections at the side of the
cannon as an integral part of the cast – allowed the barrel to be
fixed to a more movable base, and also made raising or lowering the
barrel much easier.
Cannon (caliber 890 mm), cast in 1586 in Moscow. It is the
largest bombard in the world.
The first land-based mobile weapon is usually credited to Jan Žižka,
who deployed his oxen-hauled cannon during the
Hussite Wars of Bohemia
(1418–1424). However cannons were still large and cumbersome. With
the rise of musketry in the 16th century, cannon were largely (though
not entirely) displaced from the battlefield—the cannon were too
slow and cumbersome to be used and too easily lost to a rapid enemy
The combining of shot and powder into a single unit, a cartridge,
occurred in the 1620s with a simple fabric bag, and was quickly
adopted by all nations. It speeded loading and made it safer, but
unexpelled bag fragments were an additional fouling in the gun barrel
and a new tool—a worm—was introduced to remove them. Gustavus
Adolphus is identified as the general who made cannon an effective
force on the battlefield—pushing the development of much lighter and
smaller weapons and deploying them in far greater numbers than
previously. The outcome of battles was still determined by the clash
Shells, explosive-filled fused projectiles, were also developed in the
17th century. The development of specialized
pieces—shipboard artillery, howitzers and mortars—was also begun
in this period. More esoteric designs, like the multi-barrel
ribauldequin (known as "organ guns"), were also produced.
The 1650 book by
Kazimierz Siemienowicz Artis Magnae Artilleriae pars
prima was one of the most important contemporary publications on
the subject of artillery. For over two centuries this work was used in
Europe as a basic artillery manual.
One of the most significant effects of artillery during this period
was however somewhat more indirect – by easily reducing to rubble
any medieval-type fortification or city wall (some which had stood
since Roman times), it abolished millennia of siege-warfare strategies
and styles of fortification building. This led, among other
things, to a frenzy of new bastion-style fortifications to be built
all over Europe and in its colonies, but also had a strong integrating
effect on emerging nation-states, as kings were able to use their
newfound artillery superiority to force any local dukes or lords to
submit to their will, setting the stage for the absolutist kingdoms to
Modern rocket artillery can trace its heritage back to the Mysorean
rockets of India. Their first recorded use was in 1780 during the
battles of the Second, Third and Fourth Mysore Wars. The wars fought
British East India Company
British East India Company and the
Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore in
India made use of the rockets as a weapon. In the
Battle of Pollilur,
Siege of Seringapatam (1792) and in
Battle of Seringapatam in 1799
these rockets were used with considerable effect against the
British." After the wars, several Mysore rockets were sent to
England, but experiments with heavier payloads were unsuccessful. In
1804 William Congreve, considering the Mysorian rockets to have too
short a range (less than 1,000 yards) developed rockets in numerous
sizes with ranges up to 3,000 yards and eventually utilizing iron
casing as the
Congreve rocket which were used effectively during the
Napoleonic Wars and the
War of 1812.
Cannons continued to become smaller and lighter—Frederick II of
Prussia deployed the first genuine light artillery during the Seven
Jean-Baptiste de Gribeauval, a French artillery engineer, introduced
the standardization of cannon design in the mid-18th century. He
developed a 6-inch (150 mm) field howitzer whose gun barrel,
carriage assembly and ammunition specifications were made uniform for
all French cannons. The standardized interchangeable parts of these
cannons down to the nuts, bolts and screws made their mass production
and repair much easier.
These improvements in the French artillery were essential for the
later military successes of Napoleon. Napoleon, himself a former
artillery officer, perfected the tactic of massed artillery batteries
unleashed upon a critical point in his enemies' line as a prelude to a
decisive infantry and cavalry assault.
See also: Field
Artillery in the American Civil War
Prussian artillery at the
Battle of Langensalza (1866)
The development of modern artillery occurred in the mid to late 19th
century as a result of the convergence of various improvements in the
underlying technology. Advances in metallurgy allowed for the
construction of breech-loading rifled guns that could fire at a much
greater muzzle velocity.
After the British artillery was shown up in the Crimean
War as having
barely changed since the
Napoleonic Wars the industrialist William
Armstrong was awarded a contract by the government to design a new
piece of artillery. Production started in 1855 at the Elswick Ordnance
Company and the
Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, and the outcome was the
revolutionary Armstrong Gun, which marked the birth of modern
artillery. Three of its features particularly stand out.
Armstrong gun deployed by Japan during the
Boshin war (1868–69).
First, the piece was rifled, which allowed for a much more accurate
and powerful action. Although rifling had been tried on small arms
since the 15th century, the necessary machinery to accurately rifle
artillery was not available until the mid-19th century. Martin von
Joseph Whitworth independently produced rifled cannon
in the 1840s, but it was Armstrong's gun that was first to see
widespread use during the Crimean War. The cast iron shell of the
Armstrong gun was similar in shape to a
Minié ball and had a thin
lead coating which made it fractionally larger than the gun's bore and
which engaged with the gun's rifling grooves to impart spin to the
shell. This spin, together with the elimination of windage as a result
of the tight fit, enabled the gun to achieve greater range and
accuracy than existing smooth-bore muzzle-loaders with a smaller
8-inch Armstrong gun during American Civil War, Fort Fisher, 1865.
His gun was also a breech-loader. Although attempts at breech-loading
mechanisms had been made since medieval times, the essential
engineering problem was that the mechanism couldn't withstand the
explosive charge. It was only with the advances in metallurgy and
precision engineering capabilities during the Industrial Revolution
that Armstrong was able to construct a viable solution. The gun
combined all the properties that make up an effective artillery piece.
The gun was mounted on a carriage in such a way as to return the gun
to firing position after the recoil.
What made the gun really revolutionary lay in the technique of the
construction of the gun barrel that allowed it to withstand much more
powerful explosive forces. The "built-up" method involved assembling
the barrel with wrought-iron (later mild steel was used) tubes of
successively smaller diameter. The tube would then be heated to
allow it to expand and fit over the previous tube. When it cooled the
gun would contract although not back to its original size, which
allowed an even pressure along the walls of the gun which was directed
inward against the outward forces that the gun's firing exerted on the
Another innovative feature, more usually associated with 20th-century
guns, was what Armstrong called its "grip", which was essentially a
squeeze bore; the 6 inches of the bore at the muzzle end was of
slightly smaller diameter, which centered the shell before it left the
barrel and at the same time slightly swaged down its lead coating,
reducing its diameter and slightly improving its ballistic qualities.
The French Canon de 75 modèle 1897, the first modern artillery piece.
Armstrong's system was adopted in 1858, initially for "special service
in the field" and initially he produced only smaller artillery pieces,
6-pounder (2.5 in/64 mm) mountain or light field guns, 9-pounder
(3 in/76 mm) guns for horse artillery, and 12-pounder (3 inches
/76 mm) field guns.
The first cannon to contain all 'modern' features is generally
considered to be the French 75 of 1897. It was the first field
gun to include a hydro-pneumatic recoil mechanism, which kept the
gun's trail and wheels perfectly still during the firing sequence.
Since it did not need to be re-aimed after each shot, the crew could
fire as soon as the barrel returned to its resting position. In
typical use, the French 75 could deliver fifteen rounds per minute on
its target, either shrapnel or melinite high-explosive, up to about 5
miles (8,500 m) away. Its firing rate could even reach close to 30
rounds per minute, albeit only for a very short time and with a highly
experienced crew. These were rates that contemporary bolt action
rifles could not match. The gun used cased ammunition, was
breech-loading, and had modern sights, a self-contained firing
mechanism and hydro-pneumatic recoil dampening.
Main article: Indirect fire
Indirect fire, the firing of a projectile without relying on direct
line of sight between the gun and the target, possibly dates back to
the 16th century. Early battlefield use of indirect fire may have
occurred at Paltzig in July 1759, when the Russian artillery fired
over the tops of trees, and at the
Battle of Waterloo, where a
battery of the
Royal Horse Artillery
Royal Horse Artillery fired Shrapnel indirectly against
advancing French troops.
In 1882, Russian Lieutenant Colonel KG Guk published Indirect Fire for
Field Artillery, which provided a practical method of using aiming
points for indirect fire by describing, "all the essentials of aiming
points, crest clearance, and corrections to fire by an observer".
A few years later, the Richtfläche (lining-plane) sight was invented
in Germany and provided a means of indirect laying in azimuth,
complementing the clinometers for indirect laying in elevation which
already existed. Despite conservative opposition within the German
army, indirect fire was adopted as doctrine by the 1890s. In the early
1900s, Goertz in Germany developed an optical sight for azimuth
laying. It quickly replaced the lining-plane; in English, it became
the 'Dial Sight' (UK) or 'Panoramic Telescope' (US).
The British halfheartedly experimented with indirect fire techniques
since the 1890s, but with the onset of the Boer War, they were the
first to apply the theory in practice in 1899, although they had to
improvise without a lining-plane sight.
In the next 15 years leading up to World
War I, the techniques of
indirect fire became available for all types of artillery. Indirect
fire was the defining characteristic of 20th-century artillery and led
to undreamt of changes in the amount of artillery, its tactics,
organisation, and techniques, most of which occurred during World War
An implication of indirect fire and improving guns was increasing
range between gun and target, this increased the time of flight and
the vertex of the trajectory. The result was decreasing accuracy (the
increasing distance between the target and the mean point of impact of
the shells aimed at it) caused by the increasing effects of
non-standard conditions. Indirect firing data was based on standard
conditions including a specific muzzle velocity, zero wind, air
temperature and density, and propellant temperature. In practice, this
standard combination of conditions almost never existed, they varied
throughout the day and day to day, and the greater the time of flight,
the greater the inaccuracy. An added complication was the need for
survey to accurately fix the coordinates of the gun position and
provide accurate orientation for the guns. Of course, targets had to
be accurately located, but by 1916, air photo interpretation
techniques enabled this, and ground survey techniques could sometimes
The highly effective German 15cm field howitzers during World
In 1914, the methods of correcting firing data for the actual
conditions were often convoluted, and the availability of data about
actual conditions was rudimentary or non-existent, the assumption was
that fire would always be ranged (adjusted). British heavy artillery
worked energetically to progressively solve all these problems from
late 1914 onwards, and by early 1918, had effective processes in place
for both field and heavy artillery. These processes enabled
'map-shooting', later called 'predicted fire'; it meant that effective
fire could be delivered against an accurately located target without
ranging. Nevertheless, the mean point of impact was still some tens of
yards from the target-centre aiming point. It was not precision fire,
but it was good enough for concentrations and barrages. These
processes remain in use into the 21st Century with refinements to
calculations enabled by computers and improved data capture about
The British major-general
Henry Hugh Tudor
Henry Hugh Tudor pioneered armour and
artillery cooperation at the breakthrough
Battle of Cambrai. The
improvements in providing and using data for non-standard conditions
(propellant temperature, muzzle velocity, wind, air temperature, and
barometric pressure) were developed by the major combatants throughout
the war and enabled effective predicted fire. The effectiveness of
this was demonstrated by the British in 1917 (at Cambrai) and by
Germany the following year (Operation Michael).
Major General J. B. A. Bailey, British Army (retired) wrote:
From the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the
nineteenth, artillery is judged to have accounted for perhaps 50% of
battlefield casualties. In the sixty years preceding 1914, this figure
was probably as low as 10 percent. The remaining 90 percent fell to
small arms, whose range and accuracy had come to rival those of
artillery. ... [By WWI] The British Royal Artillery, at over one
million men, grew to be larger than the Royal Navy. Bellamy (1986),
pp. 1–7, cites the percentage of casualties caused by artillery in
various theaters since 1914: in the First World War, 45 percent of
Russian casualties and 58 percent of British casualties on the Western
Front; in the Second World War, 75 percent of British casualties in
North Africa and 51 percent of Soviet casualties (61 percent in 1945)
and 70 percent of German casualties on the Eastern Front; and in the
Korean War, 60 percent of US casualties, including those inflicted by
— J. B. A. Bailey (2004).
Field artillery and firepower
An estimated 75,000 French soldiers were casualties of friendly
artillery fire in the four years of World
M982 Excalibur guided artillery shell
Modern artillery is most obviously distinguished by its long range,
firing an explosive shell or rocket and a mobile carriage for firing
and transport. However, its most important characteristic is the use
of indirect fire, whereby the firing equipment is aimed without seeing
the target through its sights.
Indirect fire emerged at the beginning
of the 20th century and was greatly enhanced by the development of
predicted fire methods in World
War I. However, indirect fire was area
fire; it was and is not suitable for destroying point targets; its
primary purpose is area suppression. Nevertheless, by the late 1970s
precision-guided munitions started to appear, notably the US
155 mm Copperhead and its Soviet 152 mm Krasnopol equivalent
that had success in Indian service. These relied on laser designation
to 'illuminate' the target that the shell homed onto. However, in the
early 21st Century, the
Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled
relatively cheap and accurate guidance for shells and missiles,
notably the US 155 mm Excalibur and the 227 mm G
The introduction of these led to a new issue, the need for very
accurate three dimensional target coordinates – the mensuration
Weapons covered by the term 'modern artillery' include "cannon"
artillery (such as howitzer, mortar, and field gun) and rocket
artillery. Certain smaller-caliber mortars are more properly
designated small arms rather than artillery, albeit indirect-fire
small arms. This term also came to include coastal artillery which
traditionally defended coastal areas against seaborne attack and
controlled the passage of ships. With the advent of powered flight at
the start of the 20th century, artillery also included ground-based
The term "artillery" has traditionally not been used for projectiles
with internal guidance systems, preferring the term
"missilery", though some modern artillery units
employ surface-to-surface missiles. Advances in terminal guidance
systems for small munitions has allowed large-caliber guided
projectiles to be developed, blurring this distinction.
One of the most important roles of logistics is the supply of
munitions as a primary type of artillery consumable, their storage
(ammunition dump, arsenal, magazine ) and the provision of fuses,
detonators and warheads at the point where artillery troops will
assemble the charge, projectile, bomb or shell.
A round of artillery ammunition comprises four components:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fuzes.
Fuzes are the devices that initiate an artillery projectile, either to
detonate its high explosive (HE) filling or eject its cargo
(illuminating flare or smoke canisters being examples). The official
military spelling is "fuze". Broadly there are four main types:
impact (including graze and delay)
mechanical time including airburst
proximity sensor including airburst
electronic time including airburst
Most artillery fuzes are nose fuzes. However, base fuzes have been
used with armour piercing shells and for squash head (HESH or HEP)
anti-tank shells. At least one nuclear shell and its non-nuclear
spotting version also used a multi-deck mechanical time fuze fitted
into its base.
Impact fuzes were, and in some armies remain, the standard fuze for HE
projectiles. Their default action is normally 'superquick', some have
had a 'graze' action which allows them to penetrate light cover and
others have 'delay'. Delay fuzes allow the shell to penetrate the
ground before exploding. Armor- or concrete-piercing fuzes are
specially hardened. During World
War I and later, ricochet fire with
delay or graze fuzed HE shells, fired with a flat angle of descent,
was used to achieve airburst.
HE shells can be fitted with other fuzes. Airburst fuzes usually have
a combined airburst and impact function. However, until the
introduction of proximity fuzes, the airburst function was mostly used
with cargo munitions—for example, shrapnel, illumination, and smoke.
The larger calibers of anti-aircraft artillery are almost always used
airburst. Airburst fuzes have to have the fuze length (running time)
set on them. This is done just before firing using either a wrench or
a fuze setter pre-set to the required fuze length.
Early airburst fuzes used igniferous timers which lasted into the
second half of the 20th century. Mechanical time fuzes appeared in the
early part of the century. These required a means of powering them.
The Thiel mechanism used a spring and escapement (i.e. 'clockwork'),
Junghans used centrifugal force and gears, and Dixi used centrifugal
force and balls. From about 1980, electronic time fuzes started
replacing mechanical ones for use with cargo munitions.
Proximity fuzes have been of two types: photo-electric or radar. The
former was not very successful and seems only to have been used with
British anti-aircraft artillery 'unrotated projectiles' (rockets) in
Radar proximity fuzes were a big improvement over the
mechanical (time) fuzes which they replaced. Mechanical time fuzes
required an accurate calculation of their running time, which was
affected by non-standard conditions. With HE (requiring a burst 20 to
30 feet (9.1 m) above the ground), if this was very slightly
wrong the rounds would either hit the ground or burst too high.
Accurate running time was less important with cargo munitions that
burst much higher.
The first radar proximity fuzes (codenamed 'VT') were invented by the
British and developed by the US and initially used against aircraft in
War II. Their ground use was delayed for fear of the enemy
recovering 'blinds' (artillery shells which failed to detonate) and
copying the fuze. The first proximity fuzes were designed to detonate
about 30 feet (9.1 m) above the ground. These air-bursts are much
more lethal against personnel than ground bursts because they deliver
a greater proportion of useful fragments and deliver them into terrain
where a prone soldier would be protected from ground bursts.
However, proximity fuzes can suffer premature detonation because of
the moisture in heavy rain clouds. This led to 'controlled variable
time' (CVT) after World
War II. These fuzes have a mechanical timer
that switched on the radar about 5 seconds before expected impact,
they also detonated on impact.
The proximity fuze emerged on the battlefields of Europe in late
December 1944. They have become known as the U.S. Artillery's
"Christmas present", and were much appreciated when they arrived
Battle of the Bulge. They were also used to great effect in
anti-aircraft projectiles in the Pacific against kamikaze as well as
in Britain against V-1 flying bombs.
Electronic multi-function fuzes started to appear around 1980. Using
solid-state electronics they were relatively cheap and reliable, and
became the standard fitted fuze in operational ammunition stocks in
some western armies. The early versions were often limited to
proximity airburst, albeit with height of burst options, and impact.
Some offered a go/no-go functional test through the fuze setter.
Later versions introduced induction fuze setting and testing instead
of physically placing a fuze setter on the fuze. The latest, such as
Junghan's DM84U provide options giving, superquick, delay, a choice of
proximity heights of burst, time and a choice of foliage penetration
A new type of artillery fuze will appear soon. In addition to other
functions these offer some course correction capability, not full
precision but sufficient to significantly reduce the dispersion of the
shells on the ground.
Main article: Shell (projectile)
Artillery ammunition can also make use of nuclear warheads, as seen in
this 1953 nuclear test.
The projectile is the munition or "bullet" fired downrange. This may
or may not be an explosive device. Traditionally, projectiles have
been classified as "shot" or "shell", the former being solid and the
latter having some form of "payload".
Shells can also be divided into three configurations: bursting, base
ejection or nose ejection. The latter is sometimes called the shrapnel
configuration. The most modern is base ejection, which was introduced
War I. Both base and nose ejection are almost always used
with airburst fuzes. Bursting shells use various types of fuze
depending on the nature of the payload and the tactical need at the
Payloads have included:
Bursting: high-explosive, white phosphorus ("Willie Pete" or "Wilson
Picket"), coloured marker, chemical, nuclear devices;
high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and canister may be considered special
types of bursting shell.
Base Ejection: dual purpose improved conventional munitions
(DPICM)-bomblets, which arm themselves and function after a set number
of rotations after having been ejected from the projectile (this
produces unexploded sub-munitions, or "duds", which remain dangerous),
scatterable mines, illuminating, coloured flare, smoke, incendiary,
propaganda, chaff (foil to jam radars: originally known as
"window") and modern exotics such as electronic payloads and
Nose Ejection: shrapnel, star, incendiary and flechette (a more modern
version of shrapnel).
Rifled Traditionally, artillery projectiles have been spin-stabilised,
meaning that they spin in flight so that gyroscopic forces prevent
them from tumbling. Spin is induced by gun barrels having rifling
which engages a soft metal band around the projectile, called a
"driving band" (UK) or "rotating band" (U.S.). The driving band is
usually made of copper, but synthetic materials have also been used.
Smoothbore/Fin-Stabilized In modern artillery smoothbore tubes have
been used mostly by mortars. These projectiles use fins in the airflow
at their rear to maintain correct orientation. The primary benefits
over rifled barrels is reduced barrel wear, longer ranges that can be
achieved (due to the reduced loss of energy to friction and gas
escaping around the projectile via the rifling) and larger explosive
cores for a given caliber artillery due to less metal needing to be
used to form the case of the projectile because of less force applied
to the shell from the non-rifled sides of the barrel of smooth bore
Rifled/Fin-Stabilized A combination of the above can be used, where
the barrel is rifled, but the projectile also has deployable fins for
stabilization, guidance or gliding.
152 mm howitzer D-20 during the Iran–Iraq War.
Most forms of artillery require a propellant to propel the projectile
at the target.
Propellant is always a low explosive, this means it
deflagrates instead of detonating, as with high explosives. The shell
is accelerated to a high velocity in a very short time by the rapid
generation of gas from the burning propellant. This high pressure is
achieved by burning the propellant in a contained area, either the
chamber of a gun barrel or the combustion chamber of a rocket motor.
Until the late 19th century, the only available propellant was black
Black powder had many disadvantages as a propellant; it has
relatively low power, requiring large amounts of powder to fire
projectiles, and created thick clouds of white smoke that would
obscure the targets, betray the positions of guns, and make aiming
impossible. In 1846, nitrocellulose (also known as guncotton) was
discovered, and the high explosive nitroglycerin was discovered at
much the same time.
Nitrocellulose was significantly more powerful
than black powder, and was smokeless. Early guncotton was unstable,
however, and burned very fast and hot, leading to greatly increased
barrel wear. Widespread introduction of smokeless powder would wait
until the advent of the double-base powders, which combine
nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin to produce powerful, smokeless,
Many other formulations were developed in the following decades,
generally trying to find the optimum characteristics of a good
artillery propellant; low temperature, high energy, non-corrosive,
highly stable, cheap, and easy to manufacture in large quantities.
Broadly, modern gun propellants are divided into three classes:
single-base propellants which are mainly or entirely nitrocellulose
based, double-base propellants composed of a combination of
nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin, and triple base composed of a
combination of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin and Nitroguanidine.
Artillery shells fired from a barrel can be assisted to greater range
in three ways:
rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP) enhance and sustain the projectile's
velocity by providing additional 'push' from a small rocket motor that
is part of the projectile's base.
Base bleed uses a small pyrotechnic charge at the base of the
projectile to introduce sufficient combustion products into the
low-pressure region behind the base of the projectile responsible for
a large proportion of the drag.
ramjet-assisted, similar to rocket-assisted, but using a ramjet
instead of a rocket motor; it is anticipated that a ramjet-assisted
120-mm mortar shell could reach a range of 22 mi
Propelling charges for tube artillery can be provided in one of two
ways: either as cartridge bags or in metal cartridge cases. Generally,
anti-aircraft artillery and smaller-caliber (up to 3" or 76.2 mm)
guns use metal cartridge cases that include the round and propellant,
similar to a modern rifle cartridge. This simplifies loading and is
necessary for very high rates of fire. Bagged propellant allows the
amount of powder to be raised or lowered, depending on the range to
the target. It also makes handling of larger shells easier. Each
requires a totally different type of breech to the other. A metal case
holds an integral primer to initiate the propellant and provides the
gas seal to prevent the gases leaking out of the breech; this is
called obturation. With bagged charges, the breech itself provides
obturation and holds the primer. In either case, the primer is usually
percussion, but electrical is also used, and laser ignition is
emerging. Modern 155 mm guns have a primer magazine fitted to
Battleship Ammunition: 16" artillery shells aboard one of the United
States Iowa-class battleships.
Artillery ammunition has four classifications according to use:
Service: ammunition used in live fire training or for wartime use in a
combat zone. Also known as "warshot" ammunition.
Ammunition with a non- or minimally-explosive projectile
that mimics the characteristics (range, accuracy) of live rounds for
use under training conditions. Practice artillery ammunition often
utilizes a colored-smoke-generating bursting charge for marking
purposes in place of the normal high-explosive charge.
Ammunition with an inert warhead, inert primer, and no
propellant; used for training or display.
Ammunition with live primer, greatly reduced propellant charge
(typically black powder), and no projectile; used for training,
demonstration or ceremonial use.
Field artillery system
This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this
section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material
may be challenged and removed. (May 2017) (Learn how and when to
remove this template message)
Cyclone of the 320th French Artillery, in Hoogstade, Belgium,
September 5, 1917.
Because field artillery mostly uses indirect fire the guns have to be
part of a system that enables them to attack targets invisible to them
in accordance with the combined arms plan.
The main functions in the field artillery system are:
Command: authority to allocate resources;
Target acquisition: detect, identify and deduce the location of
Control: authority to decide which targets to attack and allot fire
units to the attack;
Computation of firing data – to deliver fire from a fire unit onto
Fire units: guns, launchers or mortars grouped together;
Specialist services: produce data to support the production of
accurate firing data;
Logistic services: to provide combat supplies, particularly
ammunition, and equipment support.
Organisationally and spatially, these functions can be arranged in
many ways. Since the creation of modern indirect fire, different
armies have done it differently at different times and in different
places. Technology is often a factor, but so are military–social
issues, the relationships between artillery and other arms, and the
criteria by which military capability, efficiency, and effectiveness
are judged. Cost is also an issue because artillery is expensive due
to the large quantities of ammunition that it uses and its level of
Communications underpin the artillery system, as it must be reliable
and available in real-time. During the 20th century communications
often used flags, morse code by radio, line and lights (which could
include voice and teleprinter, to name a few contrivances). Radio has
included HF, VHF, satellite and radio relay as well as modern tactical
trunk systems. In western armies radio communications are now usually
The emergence of mobile and man-portable radios after World
War I had
a major impact on artillery because it enabled fast and mobile
operations with observers accompanying the infantry or armoured
troops. In World
War II, some armies fitted their self-propelled guns
with radios. However, sometimes in the first half of the 20th century,
hardcopy artillery fire plans and map traces were distributed.
Data communications can be especially important for artillery because
by using structured messages and defined data types fire control
messages can be automatically routed and processed by computers. For
example, a target acquisition element can send a message with target
details which is automatically routed through the tactical and
technical fire control elements to deliver firing data to the gun's
laying system and the gun automatically laid. As tactical data
networks become pervasive, they will provide any connected soldier
with a means for reporting target information and requesting artillery
Command is the authority to allocate resources, typically by assigning
artillery formations or units. Terminology and its implications vary
widely. However, very broadly, artillery units are assigned in direct
support or in general support. Typically, the former mostly provide
close support to manoeuvre units, while the latter may provide close
support and or depth fire, notably counter-battery. Generally, 'direct
support' also means that the artillery unit provides artillery
observation and liaison teams to the supported units. Sometimes,
direct support units are placed under command of the regiment/brigade
they support. General support units may be grouped into artillery
formations; for example, brigades, even divisions, or multi-battalion
regiments, and usually under command of division, corps, or higher
HQs. General support units tend to be moved to where they are most
required at any particular time.
Artillery command may impose
priorities and constraints to support their combined arms commander's
Target acquisition can take many forms, it is usually observation in
real time, but may be the product of analysis.
teams are the most common means of target acquisition. However, air
observers have been use since the beginning of indirect fire and were
quickly joined by air photography. Target acquisition may also be by
anyone that can get the information into the artillery system. Targets
may be visible to forward troops or in depth and invisible to them.
Observation equipment can vary widely in its complexity.
Unmanned air vehicles are the latest form of air observation, having
been first introduced in the early 1960s.
The equipment available to observation teams has progressed from just
prismatic compass, hand-held or tripod mounted binoculars and
sometimes optical range-finders.
Special equipment for locating hostile artillery: flash spotting and
notably sound ranging appeared in World
War I the latter has been
undergone increasing refinement as technology has improved. These were
joined by radar in World
In the mid-1970s several armies started equipping their artillery
observation teams with laser rangefinders, ground surveillance radars
and night vision devices, these were soon followed by inertial
orienting and navigating devices to improve the accuracy of target
Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System (GPS) provided a smaller and
cheaper means of quick and accurate fixation for target acquisition
Specialised units with ground surveillance radars, unattended ground
sensors or observation patrols operating in depth have also been used.
Targets in depth may also be 'acquired' by intelligence processes
using various sources and agencies such as HUMINT, SIGINT,
Laser guided shells require laser target designators, usually with
observation teams on the ground but UAV installations are possible.
Specialised artillery observation vehicles appeared in World
and have greatly increased in sophistication since that time.
Control, sometimes called tactical fire control, is primarily
concerned with 'targeting' and the allotment of fire units to targets.
This is vital when a target is within range of many fire units and the
number of fire units needed depends on the nature of the target, and
the circumstances and purpose of its engagement. Targeting is
concerned with selecting the right weapons in the right quantities to
achieve the required effects on the target. Allotment attempts to
address the artillery dilemma—important targets are rarely urgent
and urgent targets are rarely important. Of course importance is a
matter of perspective; what is important to a divisional commander is
rarely the same as what is important to an infantry platoon commander.
Afghans with two captured artillery field guns in Jaji, 1984.
Broadly, there are two situations: fire against opportunity targets,
and targets whose engagement is planned as part of a particular
operation. In the latter situation, command assigns fire units to the
operation and an overall artillery fire planner makes a plan, possibly
delegating resources for some parts of it to other planners. Fire
plans may also involve use of non-artillery assets, such as mortars
Control of fire against opportunity targets is an important
differentiator between different types of artillery system. In some
armies, only designated artillery HQs have the tactical fire control
authority to order fire units to engage a target, all 'calls for fire'
being requests to these HQs. This authority may also extend to
deciding the type and quantity of ammunition to be used. In other
armies, an 'authorised observer' (for example, artillery observation
team or other target acquisition element) can order fire units to
engage. In the latter case, a battery observation team can order fire
to their own battery and may be authorised to order fire to their own
battalion, and sometimes to many battalions. For example, a divisional
artillery commander may authorise selected observers to order fire to
the entire divisional artillery. When observers or cells are not
authorised, they can still request fire.
Armies that apply forward tactical control generally put the majority
of the more senior officers of artillery units forward in command
observation posts or with the supported arm. Those that do not use
this approach tend to put these officers close to the guns. In either
case, the observation element usually controls fire in detail against
the target, such as adjusting it onto the target, moving it, and
coordinating it with the supported arm as necessary to achieve the
Firing data has to be calculated and is the key to indirect fire; the
arrangements for this have varied widely. Firing data has two
components: quadrant elevation and azimuth; to these may be added the
size of propelling charge and the fuze setting. The process to produce
firing data is sometimes called technical fire control. Before
computers, some armies set the range on the gun's sights, which
mechanically corrected it for the gun's muzzle velocity. For the first
few decades of indirect fire, firing data were calculated by the
observer, who then adjusted the fall of shot onto the target.
The need to engage targets at night or in depth, or to hit the target
with the first rounds, led to predicted fire being quickly developed
Predicted fire existed alongside the older method.
War II, predicted methods were invariably applied, but the
fall of shot usually needed adjustment because of inaccuracy in
locating the target, the proximity of friendly troops, or the need to
engage a moving target. Target location errors were significantly
reduced once laser rangefinders, orientation, and navigation devices
were issued to observation parties.
In predicted fire, the basic geospatial data of range, angle of sight,
and azimuth between a fire unit and its target was produced and
corrected for variations from the 'standard conditions'. These
variations included barrel wear, propellant temperature and different
projectiles weights that all affect the muzzle velocity, and air
temperature, density, wind speed & direction, and rotation of the
Earth that affect the shell in flight. The net effect of variations
can also be determined by shooting at an accurately known point, a
process called 'registration'.
All these calculations to produce a quadrant elevation (or range) and
azimuth were done manually using instruments, tablulated, data of the
moment, and approximations until battlefield computers started
appearing in the 1960s and 1970s. While some early calculators copied
the manual method (typically substituting polynomials for tabulated
data), computers use a different approach. They simulate a shell's
trajectory by 'flying' it in short steps and applying data about the
conditions affecting the trajectory at each step. This simulation is
repeated until it produces a quadrant elevation and azimuth that lands
the shell within the required 'closing' distance of the target
coordinates. NATO has a standard ballistic model for computer
calculations and has expanded the scope of this into the NATO
Armaments Ballistic Kernel (NABK) within the SG2 Shareable (Fire
Control) Software Suite (S4).
Technical fire control has been performed in various places, but
mostly in firing batteries. However, in the 1930s, the French moved it
to battalion level and combined it with some tactical fire control.
This was copied by the US. Nevertheless, most armies seemed to have
retained it within firing batteries, and some duplicated the technical
fire control teams in a battery to give operational resilience and
tactical flexibility. Computers reduced the number of men needed and
enabled decentralisation of technical fire control to autonomous
sub-battery fire units, such as platoons, troops, or sections,
although some armies had sometimes done this with their manual
methods. Computation on the gun or launcher, integrated with their
laying system, is also possible.
MLRS led the way in this.
155 howitzer fire support base for Operation Hawthorne, 5th Bn., 27th
Arty., 1st Bde., 101st Airborne Div., Vietnam, June 1966
A fire unit is the smallest artillery element, consisting of one or
more weapon systems, capable of being employed to execute a fire
assigned by a tactical fire controller. Generally it is a battery, but
sub-divided batteries are also used. On occasions a battery of 6 guns
has been 6 fire units. Fire units may or may not occupy separate
Specialist services provide data need for predicted fire.
Increasingly, they are provided from within firing units. These
Survey: accurate fixation and orientation of the guns, historically
this involved specialists within field artillery units and specialist
units. In some armies mapping and amp supply has also been an
artillery responsibility. Survey is also essential for some target
acquisition devices. Traditional survey methods of measurement and
calculation have been replaced by inertial orientation and navigators
Meteorological data: historically these were usually divisional level
specialist teams but advances in technology mean they are now
increasingly part of artillery units.
Calibration: periodically establishing the "normal" muzzle velocity of
each gun as it wears. Originally this involved special facilities and
army level teams. Measurement using Doppler radar, introduced in the
1950s, started to simplify arrangements. Some armies now have a muzzle
velocity measuring radar permanently fitted to every gun.
Supply of artillery ammunition has always been a major component of
military logistics. Up until World
War I some armies made artillery
responsible for all forward ammunition supply because the load of
small arms ammunition was trivial compared to artillery. Different
armies use different approaches to ammunition supply, which can vary
with the nature of operations. Differences include where the logistic
service transfers artillery ammunition to artillery, the amount of
ammunition carried in units and extent to which stocks are held at
unit or battery level. A key difference is whether supply is 'push' or
'pull'. In the former the 'pipeline' keeps pushing ammunition into
formations or units at a defined rate. In the latter units fire as
tactically necessary and replenish to maintain or reach their
authorised holding (which can vary), so the logistic system has to be
able to cope with surge and slack.
Classification of artillery
Artillery types can be categorised in several ways, for example by
type or size of weapon or ordnance, by role or by organizational
Types of ordnance
The types of cannon artillery are generally distinguished by the
velocity at which they fire projectiles. Types of artillery:
PzH 2000 self-propelled artillery
Field artillery: mobile weapons used to support armies in the field.
infantry support guns: directly support infantry units.
mountain guns: lightweight weapons that can be moved through difficult
field guns: capable of long range fire.
howitzers: capable of high angle fire, they are most often employed
gun howitzers: capable of high or low angle fire with a long barrel.
mortars: typically short-barreled, high-trajectory weapons designed
primarily for an indirect-fire role.
anti-tank artillery: weapons, usually mobile, designed for attacking
anti-aircraft artillery: weapons, usually mobile, designed for
attacking aircraft from the ground. Some guns were suitable for
dual-role anti-aircraft and field (anti-tank) use. The World
88 mm gun
88 mm gun was a famous example.
rocket artillery: rocket-launched instead of shot or shell.
Railway gun: large-caliber weapons that are mounted on, transported by
and fired from specially-designed railway wagons.
Naval piece of artillery, early 19th century
Naval artillery: guns mounted on warships and used either against
other ships or in support of ground forces. The crowning achievement
of naval artillery was the battleship, but the advent of airpower and
missiles have rendered this type of artillery largely obsolete. They
are typically longer-barreled, low-trajectory, high-velocity weapons
designed primarily for a direct-fire role.
Coastal artillery: Fixed-position weapons dedicated to defense of a
particular location, usually a coast (for example, the Atlantic Wall
War II) or harbor. Not needing to be mobile, coastal
artillery used to be much larger than equivalent field artillery
pieces, giving them longer range and more destructive power. Modern
coastal artillery (for example, Russia's "Bereg" system) is often
self-propelled, (allowing it to avoid counter-battery fire) and fully
integrated, meaning that each battery has all of the support systems
that it requires (maintenance, targeting radar, etc.) organic to its
Modern field artillery can also be split into two other subcategories:
towed and self-propelled. As the name suggests, towed artillery has a
prime mover, usually an artillery tractor or truck, to move the piece,
crew, and ammunition around. Towed artillery is in some cases equipped
with an APU for small displacements.
Self-propelled artillery is
permanently mounted on a carriage or vehicle with room for the crew
and ammunition and is thus capable of moving quickly from one firing
position to another, both to support the fluid nature of modern combat
and to avoid counter-battery fire. It includes mortar carrier
vehicles, many of which allow the mortar to be removed from the
vehicle and be used dismounted, potentially in terrain in which the
vehicle cannot navigate, or in order to avoid detection.
At the beginning of the modern artillery period, the late 19th
century, many armies had three main types of artillery, in some case
they were sub-branches within the artillery branch in others they were
separate branches or corps. There were also other types excluding the
armament fitted to warships:
Australian gunners, wearing gas masks, operate a 9.2-inch
(230 mm) howitzer during World
Horse artillery, first formed as regular units in the late 18th
century, with the role of supporting cavalry, they were distinguished
by the entire crew being mounted.
Field or "foot" artillery, the main artillery arm of the field army,
using either guns, howitzers or mortars. In World
War II this branch
again started using rockets and later surface to surface missiles.
Fortress or garrison artillery, manned a nation's fixed defences using
guns, howitzers or mortars, either on land or coastal frontiers. Some
had deployable elements to provide heavy artillery to the field army.
In some nations coast defence artillery was a naval responsibility.
Mountain artillery, a few nations treated mountain artillery as a
separate branch, in others it was a speciality in another artillery
branch. They used light guns or howitzers, usually designed for pack
animal transport and easily broken down into small easily handled
Naval artillery, some nations carried pack artillery on some warships,
these were used and manhandled by naval (or marine) landing parties.
At times, part of a ship's armament would be unshipped and mated to
makeshift carriages and limbers for actions ashore, for example during
the Second Boer War, during the First World
War the guns from the
stricken SMS Königsberg formed the main artillery strength of the
German forces in East Africa.
Firing of an 18-pound gun, Louis-Philippe Crepin, (1772–1851)
War I many nations merged these different artillery
branches, in some cases keeping some as sub-branches. Naval artillery
disappeared apart from that belonging to marines. However, two new
branches of artillery emerged during that war and its aftermath, both
used specialised guns (and a few rockets) and used direct not indirect
fire, in the 1950s and 1960s both started to make extensive use of
Anti-tank artillery, also under various organisational arrangements
but typically either field artillery or a specialist branch and
additional elements integral to infantry, etc., units. However, in
most armies field and anti-aircraft artillery also had at least a
secondary anti-tank role. After World
War II anti-tank in Western
armies became mostly the responsibility of infantry and armoured
branches and ceased to be an artillery matter, with some exceptions.
Anti-aircraft artillery, under various organisational arrangements
including being part of artillery, a separate corps, even a separate
service or being split between army for the field and airforce for
home defence. In some cases infantry and the new armoured corps also
operated their own integral light anti-aircraft artillery. Home
defence anti-aircraft artillery often used fixed as well as mobile
mountings. Some anti-aircraft guns could also be used as field or
anti-tank artillery, providing they had suitable sights.
However, the general switch by artillery to indirect fire before and
War I led to a reaction in some armies. The result was
accompanying or infantry guns. These were usually small, short range
guns, that could be easily man-handled and used mostly for direct fire
but some could use indirect fire. Some were operated by the artillery
branch but under command of the supported unit. In World
War II they
were joined by self-propelled assault guns, although other armies
adopted infantry or close support tanks in armoured branch units for
the same purpose, subsequently tanks generally took on the
Artillery crew from the
American Revolution handling a
The three main types of artillery "gun" are guns, howitzers and
mortars. During the 20th century, guns and howitzers have steadily
merged in artillery use, making a distinction between the terms
somewhat meaningless. By the end of the 20th century, true guns with
calibers larger than about 60 mm had become very rare in
artillery use, the main users being tanks, ships, and a few residual
anti-aircraft and coastal guns. The term "cannon" is a United States
generic term that includes guns, howitzers and mortars; it is not used
in other English speaking armies.
The traditional definitions differentiated between guns and howitzers
in terms of maximum elevation (well less than 45° as opposed to close
to or greater than 45°), number of charges (one or more than one
charge), and having higher or lower muzzle velocity, sometimes
indicated by barrel length. These three criteria give eight possible
combinations, of which guns and howitzers are but two. However, modern
"howitzers" have higher velocities and longer barrels than the
equivalent "guns" of the first half of the 20th century.
True guns are characterized by long range, having a maximum elevation
significantly less than 45°, a high muzzle velocity and hence a
relatively long barrel, smooth bore (no rifling) and a single charge.
The latter often led to fixed ammunition where the projectile is
locked to the cartridge case. There is no generally accepted minimum
muzzle velocity or barrel length associated with a gun.
A British 60-pounder (5-inch (130 mm)) gun at full recoil, in
action during the
Battle of Gallipoli, 1915. Photo by Ernest Brooks.
Howitzers can fire at maximum elevations at least close to 45°;
elevations up to about 70° are normal for modern howitzers. Howitzers
also have a choice of charges, meaning that the same elevation angle
of fire will achieve a different range depending on the charge used.
They have rifled bores, lower muzzle velocities and shorter barrels
than equivalent guns. All this means they can deliver fire with a
steep angle of descent. Because of their multi-charge capability,
their ammunition is mostly separate loading (the projectile and
propellant are loaded separately).
That leaves six combinations of the three criteria, some of which have
been termed gun howitzers. A term first used in the 1930s when
howitzers with a relatively high maximum muzzle velocities were
introduced, it never became widely accepted, most armies electing to
widen the definition of "gun" or "howitzer". By the 1960s, most
equipments had maximum elevations up to about 70°, were multi-charge,
had quite high maximum muzzle velocities and relatively long barrels.
Mortars are simpler. The modern mortar originated in World
War I and
there were several patterns. After that war, most mortars settled on
the Stokes pattern, characterized by a short barrel, smooth bore, low
muzzle velocity, elevation angle of firing generally greater than
45°, and a very simple and light mounting using a "baseplate" on the
ground. The projectile with its integral propelling charge was dropped
down the barrel from the muzzle to hit a fixed firing pin. Since that
time, a few mortars have become rifled and adopted breech loading.
There are other recognized typifying characteristics for artillery.
One such characteristic is the type of obturation used to seal the
chamber and prevent gases escaping through the breech. This may use a
metal cartridge case that also holds the propelling charge, a
configuration called "QF" or "quickfiring" by some nations. The
alternative does not use a metal cartridge case, the propellant being
merely bagged or in combustible cases with the breech itself providing
all the sealing. This is called "BL" or "breech loading" by some
A second characteristic is the form of propulsion. Modern equipment
can either be towed or self-propelled (SP). A towed gun fires from the
ground and any inherent protection is limited to a gun shield. Towing
by horse teams lasted throughout World
War II in some armies, but
others were fully mechanized with wheeled or tracked gun towing
vehicles by the outbreak of that war. The size of a towing vehicle
depends on the weight of the equipment and the amount of ammunition it
has to carry.
A variation of towed is portee, where the vehicle carries the gun
which is dismounted for firing. Mortars are often carried this way. A
mortar is sometimes carried in an armored vehicle and can either fire
from it or be dismounted to fire from the ground. Since the early
1960s it has been possible to carry lighter towed guns and most
mortars by helicopter. Even before that, they were parachuted or
landed by glider from the time of the first airborne trials in the
USSR in the 1930s.
In an SP equipment, the gun is an integral part of the vehicle that
carries it. SPs first appeared during World
War I, but did not really
develop until World
War II. They are mostly tracked vehicles, but
wheeled SPs started to appear in the 1970s. Some SPs have no armor and
carry little or no ammunition. Armoured SPs usually carry a useful
ammunition load. Early armoured SPs were mostly a "casemate"
configuration, in essence an open top armored box offering only
limited traverse. However, most modern armored SPs have a full
enclosed armored turret, usually giving full traverse for the gun.
Many SPs cannot fire without deploying stabilizers or spades,
sometimes hydraulic. A few SPs are designed so that the recoil forces
of the gun are transferred directly onto the ground through a
baseplate. A few towed guns have been given limited self-propulsion by
means of an auxiliary engine.
Two other forms of tactical propulsion were used in the first half of
the 20th century: Railways or transporting the equipment by road, as
two or three separate loads, with disassembly and re-assembly at the
beginning and end of the journey. Railway artillery took two forms,
railway mountings for heavy and super-heavy guns and howitzers and
armored trains as "fighting vehicles" armed with light artillery in a
direct fire role. Disassembled transport was also used with heavy and
super heavy weapons and lasted into the 1950s.
A third form of artillery typing is to classify it as "light",
"medium", "heavy" and various other terms. It appears to have been
introduced in World
War I, which spawned a very wide array of
artillery in all sorts of sizes so a simple categorical system was
needed. Some armies defined these categories by bands of calibers.
Different bands were used for different types of weapons—field guns,
mortars, anti-aircraft guns and coast guns.
Two French Army Giat
GCT 155mm (155 mm AUF1) Self-propelled Guns,
40th Regiment d' Artillerie, with IFOR markings are parked at Hekon
base, near Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in support of Operation Joint
List of countries in order of amount of artillery:
Russia – 26,121
Democratic People's Republic of Korea – 17,900+
China – 17,700+
India – 11,258+
Republic of Korea – 10,774+
United States – 8,137
Turkey – 7,450+
Israel – 5,432
Egypt – 4,480
Pakistan – 9,291+
Syria – 3,805+
Algeria – 3,465
Iran – 3,668+
Jordan – 2,339
Iraq – 2,300+
Finland – 1,398
France – 758
Brazil – 900
Cameroon – 883
Morocco – 848
Hungary – 835
Artillery is used in a variety of roles depending on its type and
caliber. The general role of artillery is to provide fire
support—"the application of fire, coordinated with the manoeuvre of
forces to destroy, neutralize or suppress the enemy". This NATO
definition, of course, makes artillery a supporting arm although not
all NATO armies agree with this logic. The italicised terms are
Unlike rockets, guns (or howitzers as some armies still call them) and
mortars are suitable for delivering close supporting fire. However,
they are all suitable for providing deep supporting fire although the
limited range of many mortars tends to exclude them from the role.
Their control arrangements and limited range also mean that mortars
are most suited to direct supporting fire. Guns are used either for
this or general supporting fire while rockets are mostly used for the
latter. However, lighter rockets may be used for direct fire support.
These rules of thumb apply to NATO armies.
Modern mortars, because of their lighter weight and simpler, more
transportable design, are usually an integral part of infantry and, in
some armies, armor units. This means they generally do not have to
concentrate their fire so their shorter range is not a disadvantage.
Some armies also consider infantry operated mortars to be more
responsive than artillery, but this is a function of the control
arrangements and not the case in all armies. However, mortars have
always been used by artillery units and remain with them in many
armies, including a few in NATO.
In NATO armies artillery is usually assigned a tactical mission that
establishes its relationship and responsibilities to the formation or
units it is assigned to. It seems that not all NATO nations use the
terms and outside NATO others are probably used. The standard terms
are: direct support, general support, general support reinforcing and
reinforcing. These tactical missions are in the context of the command
authority: operational command, operational control, tactical command
or tactical control.
In NATO direct support generally means that the directly supporting
artillery unit provides observers and liaison to the manoeuvre troops
being supported, typically an artillery battalion or equivalent is
assigned to a brigade and its batteries to the brigade's battalions.
However, some armies achieve this by placing the assigned artillery
units under command of the directly supported formation. Nevertheless,
the batteries' fire can be concentrated onto a single target, as can
the fire of units in range and with the other tactical missions.
Application of fire
A 155 mm artillery shell fired by a United States 11th Marine
Regiment M-198 howitzer
There are several dimensions to this subject. The first is the notion
that fire may be against an opportunity target or may be prearranged.
If it is the latter it may be either on-call or scheduled. Prearranged
targets may be part of a fire plan. Fire may be either observed or
unobserved, if the former it may be adjusted, if the latter then it
has to be predicted. Observation of adjusted fire may be directly by a
forward observer or indirectly via some other target acquisition
NATO also recognises several different types of fire support for
Counterbattery fire: delivered for the purpose of destroying or
neutralizing the enemy's fire support system.
Counterpreparation fire: intensive prearranged fire delivered when the
imminence of the enemy attack is discovered.
Covering fire: used to protect troops when they are within range of
enemy small arms.
Defensive fire: delivered by supporting units to assist and protect a
unit engaged in a defensive action.
Final Protective Fire: an immediately available prearranged barrier of
fire designed to impede enemy movement across defensive lines or
Harassing fire: a random number of shells are fired at random
intervals, without any pattern to it that the enemy can predict. This
process is designed to hinder enemy forces' movement, and, by the
constantly imposed stress, threat of losses and inability of enemy
forces to relax or sleep, lowers their morale.
Interdiction fire: placed on an area or point to prevent the enemy
from using the area or point.
Preparation fire: delivered before an attack to weaken the enemy
These purposes have existed for most of the 20th century, although
their definitions have evolved and will continue to do so, lack of
suppression in counterbattery is an omission. Broadly they can be
defined as either:
Deep supporting fire: directed at objectives not in the immediate
vicinity of own force, for neutralizing or destroying enemy reserves
and weapons, and interfering with enemy command, supply,
communications and observation; or
Close supporting fire: placed on enemy troops, weapons or positions
which, because of their proximity present the most immediate and
serious threat to the supported unit.
USMC M-198 firing outside of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004
Two other NATO terms also need definition:
Neutralization fire: delivered to render a target temporarily
ineffective or unusable; and
Suppression fire: that degrades the performance of a target below the
level needed to fulfill its mission. Suppression is usually only
effective for the duration of the fire.
The tactical purposes also include various "mission verbs", a rapidly
expanding subject with the modern concept of "effects based
Targeting is the process of selecting target and matching the
appropriate response to them taking account of operational
requirements and capabilities. It requires consideration of the type
of fire support required and the extent of coordination with the
supported arm. It involves decisions about:
what effects are required, for example, neutralization or suppression;
the proximity of and risks to own troops or non-combatants;
what types of munitions, including their fuzing, are to be used and in
when the targets should be attacked and possibly for how long;
what methods should be used, for example, converged or distributed,
whether adjustment is permissible or surprise essential, the need for
special procedures such as precision or danger close
how many fire units are needed and which ones they should be from
those that are available (in range, with the required munitions type
and quantity, not allotted to another target, have the most suitable
line of fire if there is a risk to own troops or non-combatants);
The targeting process is the key aspect of tactical fire control.
Depending on the circumstances and national procedures it may all be
undertaken in one place or may be distributed. In armies practicing
control from the front, most of the process may be undertaken by a
forward observer or other target acquirer. This is particularly the
case for a smaller target requiring only a few fire units. The extent
to which the process is formal or informal and makes use of computer
based systems, documented norms or experience and judgement also
varies widely armies and other circumstances.
Surprise may be essential or irrelevant. It depends on what effects
are required and whether or not the target is likely to move or
quickly improve its protective posture. During World
War II UK
researchers concluded that for impact fuzed munitions the relative
risk were as follows:
men standing – 1
men lying – 1/3
men firing from trenches – 1/15–1/50
men crouching in trenches – 1/25–1/100
Airburst munitions significantly increase the relative risk for lying
men, etc. Historically most casualties occur in the first 10–15
seconds of fire, i.e. the time needed to react and improve protective
posture, however, this is less relevant if airburst is used.
There are several ways of making best use of this brief window of
ordering the guns to fire together, either by executive order or by a
"fire at" time. The disadvantage is that if the fire is concentrated
from many dispersed fire units then there will be different times of
flight and the first rounds will be spread in time. To some extent a
large concentration offsets the problem because it may mean that only
one round is required from each gun and most of these could arrive in
the 15 second window.
burst fire, a rate of fire to deliver three rounds from each gun
within 10 or 15 seconds, this reduces the number of guns and hence
fire units needed, which means they may be less dispersed and have
less variation in their times of flight. Smaller caliber guns, such as
105 mm, have always been able to deliver three rounds in 15
seconds, larger calibers firing fixed rounds could also do it but it
wasn't until the 1970s that a multi-charge 155 mm howitzer, FH-70
first gained the capability.
multiple round simultaneous impact (MRSI), where a single weapon or
multiple individual weapons fire multiple rounds at differing
trajectories so that all rounds arrive on target at the same time.
time on target, fire units fire at the time less their time of flight,
this works well with prearranged scheduled fire but is less
satisfactory for opportunity targets because it means delaying the
delivery of fire by selecting a 'safe' time that all or most fire
units can achieve. It can be used with both the previous two methods.
Main article: Counter-battery fire
Modern counter-battery fire developed in World
War I, with the
objective of defeating the enemy's artillery. Typically such fire was
used to suppress enemy batteries when they were or were about to
interfere with the activities of friendly forces (such as to prevent
enemy defensive artillery fire against an impending attack) or to
systematically destroy enemy guns. In World
War I the latter required
air observation. The first indirect counter-battery fire was in May
1900 by an observer in a balloon.
Enemy artillery can be detected in two ways, either by direct
observation of the guns from the air or by ground observers (including
specialist reconnaissance), or from their firing signatures. This
includes radars tracking the shells in flight to determine their place
of origin, sound ranging detecting guns firing and resecting their
position from pairs of microphones or cross-observation of gun flashes
using observation by human observers or opto-electronic devices,
although the widespread adoption of 'flashless' propellant limited the
effectiveness of the latter.
Once hostile batteries have been detected they may be engaged
immediately by friendly artillery or later at an optimum time,
depending on the tactical situation and the counter-battery policy.
Air strike is another option. In some situations the task is to locate
all active enemy batteries for attack using a counter-battery fire at
the appropriate moment in accordance with a plan developed by
artillery intelligence staff. In other situations counter-battery fire
may occur whenever a battery is located with sufficient accuracy.
Modern counter-battery target acquisition uses unmanned aircraft,
counter-battery radar, ground reconnaissance and sound-ranging.
Counter-battery fire may be adjusted by some of the systems, for
example the operator of an unmanned aircraft can 'follow' a battery if
it moves. Defensive measures by batteries include frequently changing
position or constructing defensive earthworks, the tunnels used by
North Korea being an extreme example. Counter-measures include air
defence against aircraft and attacking counter-battery radars
physically and electronically.
Modern artillery ammunition. Caliber 155 mm as used by the PzH
Field artillery team
Field artillery team
Artillery Team' is a US term and the following description and
terminology applies to the US, other armies are broadly similar but
differ in significant details. Modern field artillery (post–World
War I) has three distinct parts: the forward observer (or FO), the
fire direction center (FDC) and the actual guns themselves. The
forward observer observes the target using tools such as binoculars,
laser rangefinders, designators and call back fire missions on his
radio, or relays the data through a portable computer via an encrypted
digital radio connection protected from jamming by computerized
frequency hopping. A lesser known part of the team is the FAS or Field
Artillery Survey team which setups up the "Gun Line" for the cannons.
Today most artillery battalions use a(n) "Aiming Circle" which allows
for faster setup and more mobility. FAS teams are still used for
checks and balances purposes and if a gun battery has issues with the
"Aiming Circle" a FAS team will do it for them.
The FO can communicate directly with the battery FDC, of which there
is one per each battery of 4–8 guns. Otherwise the several FOs
communicate with a higher FDC such as at a Battalion level, and the
higher FDC prioritizes the targets and allocates fires to individual
batteries as needed to engage the targets that are spotted by the FOs
or to perform preplanned fires.
The Battery FDC computes firing data—ammunition to be used, powder
charge, fuse settings, the direction to the target, and the quadrant
elevation to be fired at to reach the target, what gun will fire any
rounds needed for adjusting on the target, and the number of rounds to
be fired on the target by each gun once the target has been accurately
located—to the guns. Traditionally this data is relayed via radio or
wire communications as a warning order to the guns, followed by orders
specifying the type of ammunition and fuse setting, direction, and the
elevation needed to reach the target, and the method of adjustment or
orders for fire for effect (FFE). However, in more advanced artillery
units, this data is relayed through a digital radio link.
Other parts of the field artillery team include meteorological
analysis to determine the temperature, humidity and pressure of the
air and wind direction and speed at different altitudes. Also radar is
used both for determining the location of enemy artillery and mortar
batteries and to determine the precise actual strike points of rounds
fired by battery and comparing that location with what was expected to
compute a registration allowing future rounds to be fired with much
Time on Target
A technique called Time on Target was developed by the British Army in
North Africa at the end of 1941 and early 1942 particularly for
counter-battery fire and other concentrations, it proved very popular.
It relied on BBC time signals to enable officers to synchronize their
watches to the second because this avoided the need to use military
radio networks and the possibility of losing surprise, and the need
for field telephone networks in the desert. With this technique
the time of flight from each fire unit (battery or troop) to the
target is taken from the range or firing tables, or the computer and
each engaging fire unit subtracts its time of flight from the TOT to
determine the time to fire. An executive order to fire is given to all
guns in the fire unit at the correct moment to fire. When each fire
unit fires their rounds at their individual firing time all the
opening rounds will reach the target area almost simultaneously. This
is especially effective when combined with techniques that allow fires
for effect to be made without preliminary adjusting fires.
Illustration of different trajectories used in MRSI: For any muzzle
velocity there is a steeper (> 45°, solid line) and a lower
(<45°, dashed line) trajectory. On these different trajectories,
the shells have different flight times.
Animation showing how six shots of different elevation, speed and
timing can be used to hit a target at the same time (Click for SVG
animated with SMIL)
A modern version of the earlier "time on target" is a concept in which
fire from different weapons was timed to arrive on target at the same
time. It is possible for artillery to fire several shells per gun at a
target and have all of them arrive simultaneously, which is called
MRSI (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact). This is because there is
more than one trajectory for the rounds to fly to any given target:
typically one is below 45 degrees from horizontal and the other is
above it, and by using different size propelling charges with each
shell, it is possible to create multiple trajectories. Because the
higher trajectories cause the shells to arc higher into the air, they
take longer to reach the target and so if the shells are fired on
these trajectories for the first volleys (starting with the shell with
the most propellant and working down) and then after the correct pause
more volleys are fired on the lower trajectories, the shells will all
arrive at the same time. This is useful because many more shells can
land on the target with no warning. With traditional volleys along the
same trajectory, anybody at the target area may have time (however
long it takes to reload and re-fire the guns) to take cover between
volleys. However, guns capable of burst fire can deliver several
rounds in 10 seconds if they use the same firing data for each, and if
guns in more than one location are firing on one target they can use
Time on Target procedures so that all their shells arrive at the same
time and target.
To engage targets using MRSI requires two things, firstly guns with
the requisite rate of fire and sufficiently different size propelling
charges, secondly a fire control computer that has been designed to
compute such missions and the data handling capability that allows all
the firing data to be produced, sent to each gun and then presented to
the gun commander in the correct order. The number of rounds that can
be delivered in MRSI depends primarily on the range to the target and
the rate of fire, for maximum rounds the range is limited to that of
lowest propelling charge that will reach the target.
Examples of guns with a rate of fire that makes them suitable for MRSI
includes UK's AS-90, South Africa's Denel G6-52 (which can land six
rounds simultaneously at targets at least 25 km (16 mi)
Panzerhaubitze 2000 (which can land five rounds
simultaneously at targets at least 17 km (11 mi) away)
Slovakia's 155 mm SpGH ZUZANA model 2000. The Archer project
(developed by BAE-Systems in Sweden) is a 155 mm howitzer on a
wheeled chassis which is claimed to be able to deliver up to six
shells on target simultaneously from the same gun. The 120 mm
AMOS mortar system, joint developed by
and Patria (Finland), is capable of 7 + 7 shells MRSI. The United
States Crusader program (now cancelled) was slated to have MRSI
capability. It is unclear how many fire control computers have the
Two-round MRSI firings were a popular artillery demonstration in the
1960s, where well trained detachments could show off their skills for
Main article: Air burst
The destructiveness of artillery bombardments can be enhanced when
some or all of the shells are set for airburst, meaning that they
explode in the air above the target instead of upon impact. This can
be accomplished either through time fuzes or proximity fuzes. Time
fuses use a precise timer to detonate the shell after a preset delay.
This technique is tricky and slight variations in the functioning of
the fuse can cause it to explode too high and be ineffective, or to
strike the ground instead of exploding above it. Since December 1944
Battle of the Bulge), proximity fuzed artillery shells have been
available that take the guesswork out of this process. These embody a
miniature, low powered radar transmitter in the fuse to detect the
ground and explode them at a predetermined height above it. The return
of the weak radar signal completes an electrical circuit in the fuze
which explodes the shell. The proximity fuse itself was developed by
the British to increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft warfare.
This is a very effective tactic against infantry and light vehicles,
because it scatters the fragmentation of the shell over a larger area
and prevents it from being blocked by terrain or entrenchments that do
not include some form of robust overhead cover. Combined with TOT or
MRSI tactics that give no warning of the incoming rounds, these rounds
are especially devastating because many enemy soldiers are likely to
be caught in the open. This is even more so if the attack is launched
against an assembly area or troops moving in the open rather than a
unit in an entrenched tactical position.
Use in monuments
An artillery piece in the monument commemorating the 1864
Tupelo (American Civil War).
Numerous war memorials around the world incorporate an artillery piece
which had been used in the specific war or battle commemorated.
List of artillery
Advanced Gun System
Beehive anti-personnel round
Combustion light-gas gun
^ a b Christopher Bellamy, Oxford Companion to Military History:
^ Šotnar, Jiří; Carbol, Michal; Blaha, Martin. "Modernization of
artillery reconnaissance" (PDF). INASE. Applied Mathematics,
Computational Science and Engineering. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
^ a b Needham 1987, pp. 314–316
^ Needham, Joseph (1987). Science & Civilisation in China, volume
Gunpowder Epic. Cambridge University Press. pp. 317–319.
^ unknown (1590s). "1526, First
Battle of Panipat, Ibrahim Lodhi and
^ Unknown (1590–95). "Bullocks dragging siege-guns up hill during
Akbar's attack on Ranthambhor Fort". the Akbarnama.
^ Cook, Weston F., Jr. Warfare and Firearms in Fifteenth century
Morocco, 1400–1492. 1993
^ (Sieges of Stirling Castle)
^ Lee, T.W. Military Technologies of the World. Retrieved 17 November
^ Rogers, Clifford J. (1993). "The Military Revolutions of the Hundred
Years' War". The Journal of Military History. 57 (2): 241–78.
doi:10.2307/2944058. ISSN 1543-7795. JSTOR 2944058 – via
JSTOR. (Registration required (help)).
^ Schmidtchen 1977, p. 162
^ DeVries, K: The Use of
Gunpowder Weaponry By and Against Joan or Arc
During the Hundred Years' War. 1996
^ Nicolle, David (2000).
Constantinople 1453: The end of Byzantium.
London: Osprey Publishing. pp. 29–30.
^ Nicolle, David (1983). Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300–1774.
Osprey Publishing. pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-85045-511-1.
^ Royal Artillery. PediaPress.
^ "조선왕조실록". sillok.history.go.kr.
^ "조선왕조실록". sillok.history.go.kr.
^ Holmes, p.70
^ a b c d Keegan, John,
A History of Warfare (Vintage, 1993).
^ Ordway, Vice-Commander of
Artillery of the Polish king, Wladyslaw
IV, Great Art of Artillery, the First Part, also known as The Complete
Art of Artillery, pp.407–416.
^ Frederick C. Durant III; Stephen Oliver Fought; John F. Guilmartin,
Rocket and missile system". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved
December 19, 2011.
^ "Tipu's missile launch pad in shambles". The Hindu. Karnataka,
India. June 23, 2005. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
^ Bastable, Marshall J. (1992). "From Breechloaders to Monster Guns:
Sir William Armstrong and the Invention of Modern Artillery,
1854–1880". Technology and Culture. Society for the History of
Technology. 33 (2): 213–47. doi:10.2307/3105857.
ISSN 1097-3729. JSTOR 3105857 – via JSTOR. (Registration
^ "William Armstrong".
^ "The Emergence of Modern War".
^ Armstrong Rifled Breech Loading (RBL) 6-Pounder Archived February
20, 2002, at the Wayback Machine.
^ Holley states that
Daniel Treadwell first patented the concept of a
central steel tube kept under compression by wrought-iron coils.. and
that Armstrong's assertion that he (Armstrong) first used a
wrought-iron A-tube and hence did not infringe the patent, was
disingenuous, as the main point in Treadwell's patent was the tension
exerted by the wrought-iron coils, which Armstrong used in exactly the
same fashion. Holley, Treatise on Ordnance and Armour, 1865, pages
^ Chris Bishop, "Canon de 75 modèle 1897", The encyclopedia of
weapons of World
War II, pg. 137
^ Priscilla Mary Roberts, "French 75 gun", World
War One, pg. 726
Artillery – its origin, heyday and decline, Brigadier OFG Hogg,
1970, C Hurst and Company
^ Christopher Bellamy, Red God of War: Soviet
Artillery and Rocket
Forces, London, 1986, p.16, quoted in Knox, MacGregor; Murray,
Williamson (2001). The Dynamics of Military Revolution. New York:
Cambridge University Press. p. 135.
^ Against All Odds!: Dramatic Last Stand Actions; Perret, Brian;
Cassell 2000; ISBN 978-0-304-35456-6: discussed during the
account of the Hougoumont action.
^ Knox, MacGregor; Murray, Williamson (2001). The Dynamics of Military
Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 136.
^ Frank W. Sweet (2000). The Evolution of Indirect Fire. Backintyme.
pp. 28–33. ISBN 0-939479-20-6.
^ Knox, MacGregor; Murray, Williamson (2001). The Dynamics of Military
Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 141.
ISBN 0-521-80079-X. .
^ Bailey, Jonathan B. A. (2004),
Field artillery and firepower, Naval
Institute Press, ISBN 1-59114-029-3 [page needed]
^ General Percin, 1921 Le massacre de notre infanterie, 1914–1918.
Percin supports his claim with hundreds of items of battlefield
correspondence from all parts of the Western Front.
^ http://nso.nato.int/nso/zPublic/ap/aap6/AAP-6.pdf[permanent dead
^ 102.001 – PROXIMITY FUSE, Science Service Historical Image
^ p.266, Browne & Thurbon
^ p.262, International Aeronautic Federation
^ "Fin-stabilized artillery shell". patentstorm.us. August 24, 2004.
Archived from the original on February 9, 2008.
^ "Excalibur Precision Projectile". globalsecurity.org.
^ "Guided artillery missile with extremely long range".
patentstorm.us. August 24, 2004. Archived from the original on
February 9, 2008.
^ McNab, Chris; Hunter Keeter (2008). Tools of Violence: Guns, Tanks
and Dirty Bombs. Osprey Publishing. p. 145.
^ The public NABK Brochure NABK Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010; Note: Only conventional tube
ordnance is given, in use with land forces
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.223; Note: the number given
is for Land Forces only. Naval
Infantry and Coastal Defense forces,
Federal Border Guard Service, and Interior Troops use an additional
500+ ordnance pieces
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.412
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.400
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.360
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.414
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.33; Note: the total is
composed of 6,270+ ordnance used by the US Army, Army Reserve and
National Guard with 1,867 used by the USMC
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.165
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.255
^ Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance 2010, The International
Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.248; Note: Syria, Egypt's
strategic partner in the past wars against Israel, uses 3,440+
artillery pieces, and is the 11th ranking artillery user in the World
^ a b c d e f g h i j Hackett, James, (ed.), The Military Balance
2010, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2010, p.368
^ "NEWS ANALYSIS: In a changing world, Finland's artillery stays the
^ AAP-6(2006) NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions.
^ The Development of
Artillery Tactics and Equipment, Brigadier AL
Pemberton, 1950, The
War Office, pg 129
Holmes, Richard (1988). The World Atlas of Warfare: Military
Innovations that Changed the Course of History. New York: Viking
Studio Books. ISBN 978-0-670-81967-6. OCLC 17840438.
McCamley, N J (2004). Disasters Underground. Barnsley: Pen & Sword
Military. ISBN 978-1-84415-022-9. OCLC 53241739.
McNaughton, Andrew (January 1929). "The Development of
the Great War". Canadian Defence Quarterly. 6 (2).
Ordway, Frederick I (July 1970). "History of Astronautics Symposium:
Mar Del Plata, Argentina, October 1969". Technology and Culture. 11
(3). ISSN 0040-165X.
Browne, J P R; Thurbon, M T (1998). Electronic Warfare. Brassey's air
power, v. 4. London: Brassey's. ISBN 978-1-85753-133-6.
International Aeronautic Federation (January–June 1977). Interavia.
Geneva: Interavia SA. 32: 262. ISSN 0020-5168. Missing or
empty title= (help)
Schmidtchen, Volker (1977). "Riesengeschütze des 15. Jahrhunderts.
Technische Höchstleistungen ihrer Zeit" [Giant cannon of the 15th
century: technical masterpieces of their era]. Technikgeschichte (in
German). Munich: Deutsches Museum. 44 (2): 153–173 (162–164).
Hogg, Oliver Frederick Gillilan (1970). Artillery: Its Origin, Heyday
and Decline. London: C. Hurst. ISBN 978-0-900966-43-9.
Bailey, J B A (2004). Field
Artillery and Firepower. AUSA Institute of
Land Warfare book. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.
ISBN 978-1-59114-029-0. OCLC 51931033.
Look up artillery in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Artillery
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Artillery.
Portsmouth Action Field Gun Pictures and Video
Naval Weapons of the World
Artillery – The Voice of Freedom's Thunder
Evans, Nigel F. (2001–2007) "British
Artillery in World
Artillery Tactics and Combat during the Napoleonic Wars
Artillery of Napoleon's Imperial Guard
French artillery and its ammunition. 14th to the end of the 19th
Historic films showing artillery in World
War I at
Video: Inside shrieking shrapnel. Hear the great sound of shrapnel's
– Finnish field artillery fire video year 2013
American Civil War
BNF: cb11930978w (data)