Artillery is a military combat arm that employs weapons capable of discharging large projectiles in combat. They are generally capable of adding considerable fire power to the military capability of an armed force. Artillery is also a system of scientific research and its application towards design, capability and combat use of the above matériel . Over the course of military history the 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.
For much of artillery’s history during the Middle Ages and the Early modern period the artillery pieces on land were moved with the assistance of horse teams. During the more recent Modern era and in the Post-Modern period the artillery crew has used wheeled or tracked vehicles as a mode of transportation. Artillery used by naval forces has changed significantly also, with missiles replacing guns in surface warfare.
In some armies the weapon of artillery is the projectile, not the piece that fires it. The process of delivering fire onto the target is called gunnery. The actions involved in operating the piece are called serving the gun by the gun crew (or detachment) to produce artillery fire, and can be either direct artillery fire, or indirect artillery fire. The manner in which artillery units or formations are used is called artillery support, and may at different periods in history refer to weapons designed to be fired from ground, naval, and even air weapons platform. Although the term also describes soldiers and sailors with the primary function of using artillery weapons, the individuals who operate them are called gunners irrespective of their rank, however 'gunner' is the lowest rank in artillery Arms. There is no generally recognised generic term for a gun, howitzer, mortar, etc. Some armies use 'artillery piece' others use 'gun'. The projectiles fired by artillery are either 'shot'(if solid) or 'shell' if not. Shell is a widely used generic term for a projectile, which is a component of munitions.
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. 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. Batteries are roughly equivalent to a company in the infantry, and are combined into larger military organizations for administrative and operational purpose.
During military operations the role of field artillery is to provide close support other Arms in combat or attack targets in depth. Typically by delivering either high explosive munitions to inflict casualties on the enemy from casing fragments and other debris and blast, or by demolition of enemy positions and damaging or destroying equipment and vehicles. The artillery fire may be directed by an artillery observer.
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 substantial amounts of armour (e.g. gun shield) necessary. This led to the development of the tank, and the evolution of armoured warfare. 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.
Artillery is the third oldest combat Arm, and in many armed forces the gunners exhibit their own pride and a unique set of traditions associated with their service.
Artillery Experts on the MUX
- Major Barrage - Artillery commander
- Grand Slam - Laser Artillery Soldier
- Long Range - Thunderclap Driver
- Thunder - Self-Propelled Gun Artilleryman
- Sergeant Mirage - Bio-artillery expert/Weapons expert
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