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Artillery - Guns and Howitzers

Modern advances in armament and technology continue to drive the development and application of combined arms doctrine. The integration of artillery assets into a unified fire support plan is a major task for the combined arms commander. Integration is also fundamental to the success of any operation.

The artillery forces call for maximal range and rate of fire. Increasing rate of fire and chamber pressure lead to higher strains on gun, projectiles, primer charges, fuses and ammunition flow. Burst firing requires a very high reliability of all components: flick ramming must not impair fuse function, primer cartridges must be extracted reliably at all chamber pressures, shock and vibration effects on components must be tolerable. Short combat readiness time, quick ammunition change and energy management are additional requirements.

The future thrust in gun systems is with higher accuracy guns, longer range, and smarter munitions. By using smaller magazine loads, ammunition can be mixed to better encounter a diversity of targets. Increasing the speed of the loading, ramming and firing operation is a goal of many organizations. For example, fixed ammunition would require only one ramming action, although it would introduce higher g forces.

Large calibre weapons, 155 mm howitzers for instance, are usually equipped with muzzle brakes. The purpose of these brakes is to reduce the recoil impulse on the weapons. Muzzle brakes unfortunately have negative side effects on the recoil system. The effect is that a force resulting from the gas pressure on the blades in the muzzle brake acts on the barrel, initiating oscillations. These oscillations are transferred from the barrel to the recoil system. The force acting on the recoil rod assemble therefore is oscillatory


Integrated fire support is a decisive element on the modern battlefield. In the offense, it is the principal means of achieving an advantageous correlation of forces over the enemy. It can blast gaps in defenses; disrupt, immobilize, or destroy enemy groupings in his tactical depth; and repel counterattacks. In the defense, it disrupts enemy preparations for the attack, causes attrition as he approaches the forward edge, and repels forces that reach or penetrate the forward edge. Fire superiority is a precondition for the success of any attack. The attacker must be able to execute his fire missions while suppressing counterbattery fire. Fire superiority is also the cornerstone of any defense, although often achieved only for a limited time, at the crucial point in the battle.

Battalion fires are the preferred method of fire for the OPFOR, although there are situations in which battery fire is appropriate. Fire superiority often results from using battalion-size fires, and from artillery groups formed from "top-down" provided assets. The main benefits of battalion versus battery fires result from two major factors: increased volume of fires and decreased firing times. Increased volume of fires allows delivering up to three times the number of rounds fired against the target/target area during a specific period of time. These fires reduce the time to fire the specific number of rounds to achieve the desired damage criteria by about two-thirds. The shorter firing time(s) could also improve/enhance survivability by reducing their exposure to counterfire assets.

Most former Soviet Union, many Middle Eastern, and African countries prefer to "dig-in" (particularly with towed systems). Their artillery will likely remain in already "dug-in" positions rather than "shoot and scoot" (as the US and a few NATO countries prefer) to enhance survivability. This would support battalion fires. On the other hand, if the artillery unit was just occupying a firing position, and not very close to being "dug-in" as would typically occur in the offense, the reasonable choice to minimize losses would be to vacate/move (out of harms way) to another firing position. In the case of MRL units, many, if not all, will to relocate as rapidly as possible because of their firing signature. Other appropriate use of battery-level fires includes: targets of opportunity occupying small areas (to include troop concentrations) generally no larger than a hectare, in response to ambushes, and in situations requiring direct fire.

Standard Unit Set of Ammunition (Basic Load) describes the ammunition carried by the organic transport of an artillery unit. Artillery units begin battle with a full complement of ammunition, to include specialized ammunition such as artillery-delivered high precision munitions (ADHPM), scatterable mines, illumination, and smoke. Under normal conditions specialized munitions are present in limited numbers. This allows a commander to respond to unforeseen situations. The makeup of these ‘basic loads" varies between systems, based on unit missions, ammunition available and haul capacity. The following is a possible breakout of ammunition that would be available to an artillery unit.
Ammunition

2S1

2S3/2S19

2S12

2S5

2S7

BM-21

He-Frag*

47%

40%

77%

50%

80%

67%

ICM*

20%

20%

0%

17%

20%

20%

Flechette

10%

10%

0%

8%

0%

0%

HEAT-FS

5%

5%

0%

5%

0%

0%

Smoke (WP)

5%

5%

10%

5%

0%

0%

Illumination

10%

10%

10%

0%

0%

0%

ADHPM

3%

5%

3%

5%

0%

3%

Scatt Mines

0%

5%

0%

10%

0%

10%

* 10% of these munitions will be extended range.

** ADHPM includes all munitions referred to as precision-guided munitions (PGM)

(a) The above percentages apply to the total haul capacity of a firing unit. Haul capacity includes the weapons on-board storage and the carrying capacity of trucks organic to the unit. Generally, haul capacity is 2.0 units of fire for self-propelled systems, 1.6 units of fire for towed systems, and 1.3 units of fire for MRLs. Units could also receive additional transportation support from division and army-level assets if required by the situation.

(b) For all systems, additional ammunition above these "basic loads" would be predominately HE-Frag with a limited number of ICM. Other types of ammunition are allocated to meet specific mission requirements.

A unit of fire is a logistical calculation for resupply of ammunition and does not imply any specific types of ammunition. At battalion level, a unit of fire only applies to high volume ammunition such as HE-Frag, ICM, and the extended range version of these rounds. Other ammunition types, such as PGMs, scatterable mines, chemical, illumination, and smoke are handled on a special basis. These munitions are issued only as needed to fulfill specific missions or resupply expended stocks. Thus, there are "standard" and "special" units of fire. A "standard" unit of fire has only one type of ammunition, normally a "killing" round (HE-Frag or ICM). A "special" unit of fire will have "killing" rounds but will also include specialized ammunition. Ammunition distribution can be used to influence the battle. This not only means the amount but also the types of ammunition supplied. The main effort may not only receive more ammunition than the supporting effort, but it may also receive a higher percentage of improved munitions than the supporting effort. Conversely, the supporting effort will likely have a higher percentage of HE-Frag ammunition.

Modern conventional fire support means, especially precision weapons, approach the destructive effect of low-yield nuclear weapons. A precision weapon is one capable of delivering guided conventional munitions with a 50- to 60-percent probability of destroying enemy targets with a first-round hit (within range of the weapon delivery system). This capability is possible only by employing precision munitions that have a guidance or homing element. The presence of the precision munition transforms a weapon into a precision weapon. However, a precision weapon system must also incorporate a target acquisition and tracking subsystem and a missile or projectile guidance subsystem.

The fielding of precision munitions provides distinct advantages for a tube artillery unit. First, tube artillery units are capable of firing at individual targets (to include pinpoint targets such as tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), or field fortifications) with a high probability of a first-round kill. For example, a unit firing 152-mm laser-guided projectiles (LGPs) can reduce its ammunition expenditure by 40 to 50 times, compared to using 152-mm conventional munitions, and also destroy the target three to five times faster. This eliminates the traditional requirement for an area fire or artillery barrage. Second, a tube artillery unit can fire at group targets using the same gun settings computed relative to the center of mass of the group target.

Target Damage Criteria

Target damage is the effect of fires on a given military target. It results in total, partial, or temporary loss of the target's combat effectiveness. The categories of target damage are annihilation, demolition, neutralization, and harassment.

Counterbattery Fire accomplishes the neutralization or annihilation of enemy artillery batteries. Combat with enemy artillery is one of the artillery's most important missions. It enables ground forces to achieve fire superiority on the battlefield. Combat with enemy artillery requires more than counterbattery fire. It requires the destruction of C2 centers as well as artillery. It also requires the cooperation of other ground combat arms and aviation.

Maneuver by Fire occurs when a unit shifts fire from one target, or group of targets, to another without changing firing positions. This is a combined arms concept in which the artillery plays a critical role. Maneuver by fire masses fires on the most important enemy installations or force groupings. Its intention is to destroy them in a short period of time or to redistribute fires to destroy several targets simultaneously. Another purpose may be to shift the OPFOR’s main combat effort from one axis to another.

For annihilation or neutralization missions against fires as many (or as few) rounds as necessary for the observer to indicate that the target has sustained the required amount of damage. For unobserved fire, a general table of ammunition expenditure norms is used as the basis for artillery fire planning. The following table is an example of such a table for fragmentation high-explosive (frag-HE) rounds required to annihilate or neutralize various targets. This table does not consider time.

 
Target

 
Required
Effect

Frag-HE Rounds by Caliber in Millimeters

Guns and Howitzers

Mortars

MRLs

76

85

100

122

130

152

203

82

120

240

122

220

SSM Launcher

Target
annihilation

800

720

540

300

280

200

70

 

 

60

360

200

Battery (platoon) of
armored self-propelled
artillery (mortars)

Target
neutralization

1000

900

720

450

360

270

120

 

450

120

400

240

Battery (platoon) of
unarmored self-propelled
or dug-in towed artillery
mortars

Target
neutralization

540

480

360

240

220

180

100

400

240

100

320

180

Battery (platoon) of
towed Artillery in the
open

Target
neutralization

250

220

150

90

80

60

30

180

90

20

120

60

SAM Battery

Target
neutralization

250

240

200

150

150

100

60

 

 

 

200

100

Signal and Radar vans or
radar control point in
the open

Target
neutralization

420

360

280

180

180

120

60

350

180

40

240

120

Dug-in troops and
weapons in prepared
defense strongpoint
positions

Neutralization
of 1 hectare
of target area

480

450

320

200

200

150

60

 

200

50

240

100

Dug-in troops and
weapons, tanks, IFVs, and
APCs in hastily prepared
defense positions, and
assembly areas

Neutralization
of 1 hectare
of target area

400

350

250

150

150

110

45

300

140

45

180

80

Troops and weapons
in assembly area in the
open

Neutralization
of 1 hectare
of target area

50

45

30

20

20

15

5

35

10

4

8

5

Command post in dug-
out shelter or other
overhead cover

Neutralization
of 1 hectare
of target area

480

450

320

200

200

150

60

 

200

50

240

100

Command post in the
open (or mounted in
vehicle

Neutralization
of 1 hectare
of target area

120

100

80

80

50

40

15

 

25

10

20

15

ATGM,antitank gun of
other individual target in
the open

Target
neutralization

250

240

180

140

140

100

90

240

140

35

 

 

Artillery

Guns, Howitzers and Artillery Pieces Combining the Characteristics of Guns and Howitzers:

105 mm:
  • 105 Light Gun
  • M18
  • 105 Krupp Gun
  • 105 R Metal Gun
  • 105 Pack How Skoda
  • M 56 Pack How
  • M 101 Towed How
  • M102 Towed How
  • Abbot SP Gun
  • M108 SP How
  • M52 SP How
  • 105 HM-2 How
  • M-38 Gun (Skoda)
  • 105 AU 50 How
  • R58/M26 Towed How

122 mm:

  • 122/46 Field Gun
  • D30 How
  • M 30 How
  • 2S1 SP How

130 mm:

  • M 46 Gun

140 mm:

  • 5.5" (139.7 mm)  

152 mm:

  • D1 How

150 mm:

  • 150 Skoda Gun

152 mm:

  • D20 Gun-How
  • 2S3 SP How

155 mm:

  • M114
  • M114/39 (M-139)
  • Towed How
  • >FH-70 Towed How
  • >M109 SP How
  • M198 Towed How
  • 155 TRF1
  • 155 AUF1 Gun
  • 155 AMF3 Gun
  • 155 BF50 Gun
  • M44 SP How
  • M59 Towed Gun
  • SP70 SP How

175 mm:

  • M107 SP Gun

203 mm:

  • M115 Towed How
  • M110 SP How
  • M55 SP How
l00 mm:
  • BS-3 Field Gun
  • Model 53 Field Gun
  • Skoda How (Model 1914/1934,1930,1934)
  • How (Model 1939)

105 mm:

  • Schneider Field Gun (Model 1936)

120 mm:

  • 2B16 How
  • 2S9 SP How

122 mm:

  • D30 How
  • M-30 How
  • D74 How
  • A19 Gun (Model 31/37)
  • 2S1 SP How
  • Model 89 SP How

130 mm:

  • Gun 82
  • M-46 Gun

150 mm:

  • Skoda How (Model 1934)
  • Ceh How (Model 1937)
  • Towed How
  • 2S3 SP How
  • 2A65 How
  • ML20 How-Gun
  • D20 Gun-How
  • Gun 81
  • 2A36 Gun
  • Dana SP Gun-How M77
  • Towed How2S5 SP Gun
  • 2S19 SP How
  • Gun-How 85
  • How Model 1938
  • Gun How 81

203 mm:

  • B4 How
  • 2S7 SP Gun

Mortars:

107 mm:
  • 4.2" (ground mounted or on M106 armoured vehicle)

120 mm:

  • Brandt (M60, M-120-60, LM-120-AM-50)
  • M120 RTF 1
  • M120 M51
  • Soltam/Tampella (ground mounted B-24 or on M113 armoured vehicle)
  • Ecia Mod L (ground mounted M-L or mounted on either the BMR-600 or M113 armoured vehicle)
  • HY12 (Tosam)
  • 2B11 (2S12)
107 mm:
  • Mortar M-1938

120 mm:

  • 2B11 (2S12)
  • M 120 Model 38/43
  • Tundzha/Tundzha Sani SP Mortar (mounted on MT-LB)
  • Mortar Model 1982

160 mm:

  • M160
  • 240 mm:
  • M240
  • 2S4 SP Mortar

Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems:

110 mm:
  • LARS

122 mm:

  • BM-21
  • RM-70

140 mm:

  • Teruel MLAS

227 mm:

  • MLRS
122 mm:
  • BM-21 (BM-21-1, BM-21V)
  • RM-70
  • APR-21
  • APR-40

130 mm:

  • M-51
  • RM-130
  • BM-13
  • R.2

140 mm:

  • BM-14

220 mm:

  • BM-22/27

240 mm:

  • BM-24

280 mm:

  • Uragan 9P140

300 mm:

  • Smerch

Sources and Methods



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Updated Saturday, June 19, 1999 6:37:33 AM