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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 targetsagainst 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

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, World War I, and World War II were caused by artillery.[1] In 1944, Joseph
Stalin said in a speech that artillery was "the God of War".[1]


1 Artillery piece

2 Crew
3 Etymology

4 History

o 4.1 Invention of gunpowder

o 4.2 Expansion of artillery use

o 4.3 Smoothbores

o 4.4 Napoleonic artillery

o 4.5 Modern artillery

4.5.1 Indirect fire

o 4.6 Precision artillery

5 Ammunition

o 5.1 Fuzes

o 5.2 Projectiles

o 5.3 Stabilization

o 5.4 Propellant

6 Field artillery system

7 Classification of artillery

o 7.1 Types of ordnance

o 7.2 Organizational types

o 7.3 Equipment types

o 7.4 Caliber categories

8 Modern operations

o 8.1 Application of fire

o 8.2 Counter-battery fire

o 8.3 Field artillery team

o 8.4 Time on Target

o 8.5 MRSI

o 8.6 Air burst

9 See also

10 References

o 10.1 Notes

o 10.2 Bibliography

11 Further reading

12 External links

Artillery piece[edit]

French soldiers in the Franco-Prussian War 187071.

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. The first references in the western historical tradition begin
at Syracuse in 399 BC, and these devices were widely employed by the Roman legions in
Republican times well before the Christian era. Until the introduction of gunpowder into western
warfare, artillery depended upon mechanical energy to operate, and this severely limited the
kinetic energy of the projectiles, while also requiring the construction of very large apparatus to
store sufficient energy. For comparison, a Roman 1st-century BC catapult using stones of 6.55 kg
fired with a kinetic energy of 16,000 joules, while a mid-19th-century 12-pounder gun firing
projectiles of 4.1 kg fired the projectile with a kinetic energy of 240,000 joules.

From the Middle Ages through most of the modern era, artillery pieces on land were moved by
horse-drawn gun carriages. In the contemporary era, the artillery and crew rely on wheeled or
tracked vehicles as transportation, though some of the largest were railway guns. Artillery used
by naval forces has changed significantly also, with missiles replacing guns in surface warfare.

Over the course of military history, projectiles were manufactured from a wide variety of
materials, made in a wide variety of shapes, and used different means of inflicting physical
damage and casualties to defeat specific types of targets. The engineering designs of the means
of delivery have likewise changed significantly over time, and have become some of the most
complex technological application today.

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 the
piece are collectively called "serving the gun" by the "detachment" or gun crew, constituting
either direct or indirect artillery fire. The manner in which artillery units or formations are
employed is called artillery support, and may at different periods in history refer to weapons
designed to be fired from ground-, sea-, and even air-based weapons platforms.