Field artillery

Written by: Daniela Dobreva, Land Forces Academy, Shoumen

Introduction
Artillery makes up a massive 80% of the army’s offensive firepower and it is used to neutralize, destroy and demoralize the enemy. It provides reliable firepower whenever and wherever it is needed and it is mobile and versatile. Field Artillery supplies supporting fire to meet the different needs of infantry and armor under varying conditions and in doing this it demonstrates four of the ten principles of war – surprise, concentration of force, flexibility and economy of effort:

  1. Surprise, because artillery can fire without warning over the whole of the immediate battlefield.
  2. Concentration of force, because artillery can be widely dispersed but the fire of its guns highly concentrated.
  3. Flexibility, because the weight of fire can be varied from that of a single gun to fire from all guns within range.
  4. Economy of effort, because a great weight of fire can be switched quickly and almost effortlessly from one target to another.
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Characteristics

The main characteristics of Field Artillery are as follows:

  1. The ability to locate the enemy.
  2. The ability to demoralize the enemy by shock action.
  3. The ability to reduce the enemy’s battlefield mobility.
  4. The ability to deploy rapidly and bring its guns into action. SP guns can move quickly over rough terrain and modern survey methods and computers have increased speed into action
  5. The ability to fight over a considerable area, both within the immediate battle area and beyond. Field Artillery weapons can produce effective fire at ranges from 17 to 32 kms and this is being extended by ammunition technology.
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Roles

  1. Field Artillery fights in both the contact and deep battles and can be divided into Close Support /CS/ Artillery and General Support /Gen Sp/ Artillery.
  2. Close Support Artillery is made up of the Field Artillery regiments found in divisions. In the attack, it destroys the enemy’s morale and restricts his mobility. In defense and delaying operations, artillery fire disrupts the enemy’s advance and leaves him vulnerable to the direct fire weapons of infantry, tanks, helicopters and aircraft.
  3. General support Artillery consists of regiments equipped with Multiple Launch Rocket Systems /MLRS/ and the FH70 field howitzer. The main roles of General Support Artillery are:
    1. Depth fire to attack targets in support of operations deep behind the enemy’s front line. Such targets have to be acquired by intelligence, by observation post parties and by artillery locating batteries using sound-ranging equipment, remotely piloted vehicles /RPVs/ and radar.
    2. Counter battery fire /CB/ to destroy and neutralize the enemy’s artillery and heavy mortars.
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Command, control and communications /C3/

  1. Command and control of artillery is based on the principle of command at the highest level and control at the lowest level. Command includes matching the artillery available to the operational plan. Control involves the application of fire.
  2. It is essential to have reliable and secure communications between observers and guns in order to provide commanders with accurate and up-to-date information. Here is an example of Field Artillery C3 in a Battle Group. The Battery Commander /BC/ of the artillery battery affiliated to the Battle Group, forms a Fire Planning Cell /FPC/ to coordinate all indirect fire support /artillery, aviation and mortars/ in support of the Battle Group Commander’s plan. A Forward Observation Team under command of a Forward Observation Officer /FOO/ – a Captain from the Battery – will be located with the forward element of armor and infantry in a dug-in position, in an armored vehicle or helicopter. Laser ranging instruments are used to find the exact location of the target, which is passed to the gun position by radio. The FOO then adjusts the fire of the guns on the target by observing the fall of shot. If necessary, he can ask for the fire of all other guns within range to be brought to bear on the target.

Warming up

Why did you choose to become an artillery officer?

Is there a tradition in your family to be with the military?

Exercise I. Listen to the text and say what it is about. What are the key words in it?

  1. Play the recording once and ask the students to answer the questions. The anticipated answers are:
    1. The artillery demonstrates the four principles of war
    2. The characteristics of the artillery
  2. Play the recording a second time if you don’t get satisfactory answers. Let them take notes.

Notes to the teacher: Hand out the text. Allow about 10 min. For the students to read the text. Explain the unfamiliar words, if there are any. Ask different students to answer different questions.

Exercise II. Read the text carefully and give answers to the following questions:

  1. What is the % of Artillery in the Army’s offensive firepower? /80 %/
  2. What is artillery used for? / To neutralize, destroy and demoralize the enemy/.
  3. What does Artillery provide when needed? /reliable firepower/.
  4. What are the two adjectives used to describe Artillery in general? /mobile and versatile/.
  5. What principles of war does Artillery demonstrate? /surprise, concentration of force, flexibility and economy of effort/.
  6. Describe each of the four principles.
  7. What are the other principles of war? / Selection and maintenance of aim, Maintenance of morale, Offensive action, Security, Co-operation, Administration/.
  8. What are the main characteristics of Field Artillery?

Exercise III. Look through the text again. Find all borrowed /international/ words in it. /artillery, offensive, neutralize, demoralize, mobile, demonstrate, principles, concentration, economy, characteristics, shock, action, reduce, methods, computers, modern, terrain, effective, kms, ammunition, technology/.

Exercise IV. Give synonyms or explain in English:

  1. make up – constitute /invent, compensate
  2. effortlessly – without any effort, easily
  3. disperse – scatter, spread in different directions, place at different points.
  4. destroy – damage, ruin
  5. with many different uses, skills or abilities – versatile
  6. effective – with positive, desired results.

Notes to the teacher: if they cannot produce satisfactory explanations, let them use their dictionaries.

Exercise V. Find all the passive structures in the text. Transform them into active, where possible. /is used to neutralize,…; is needed; can be widely dispersed; can be varied; can be switched quickly/.

Exercise VI. Write the appropriate word in the blanks. Clues are given for each gap.

  1. One of the characteristics of SP guns is that they can move quickly over rough ……………….. ./surface/
  2. Artillery fire can disrupt the enemy’s advance and leave them vulnerable to the direct fire ………….of infantry/arms/, tanks, helicopters and …………. /flying machines/.
  3. Artillery, being a massive 80% of the army’s offensive firepower, is used to …………, destroy and demoralize the enemy. /to cause to have no effect/
  4. Field Artillery demonstrates four of the ten principles of war – surprise, concentration of force, ………….. and economy of effort. /the ability to change or to adjust easily/
  5. Speaking about the characteristics of Field Artillery, one should start with its ability to ………………. the enemy. /find the position/

Exercise VII. /Optional/ Use the “missing words” from the previous exercise to make sentences of your own.
Notes to the teacher: If pressed for time, this exercise can be given for homework

All four skills are practiced during the lesson: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Since our main objective is communication, the writing tasks are quite simple. If a teacher wants to expand on writing, students may be given as a written task to describe by what means any of the abilities is carried out. Some research may be required, too.

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