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Field artillery (FA)

Definition Field artillery (FA) refers to large, mounted weaponry systems or guns that are used in military operations. These are often loaded with explosives and are primarily designed for long-range assault, typically beyond the reach of infantry firearms. Field artillery is used to support ground troops and provide strategic defense against opposing forces. Key Takeaways […]

Definition

Field artillery (FA) refers to large, mounted weaponry systems or guns that are used in military operations. These are often loaded with explosives and are primarily designed for long-range assault, typically beyond the reach of infantry firearms. Field artillery is used to support ground troops and provide strategic defense against opposing forces.

Key Takeaways

  1. Field Artillery (FA) refers to the ground-based, large-calibre weapons designed and used specifically for projecting force against enemy forces on land, at range, to suppress and neutralize targets.
  2. Field Artillery units are typically organized, trained, and equipped to deliver indirect and/or direct fire at remote targets and serve as a critical part of the military’s land-force combat capabilities.
  3. The role and functions of FA have evolved over the ages, with weaponry innovations and technology advancements, from basically line-of-sight cannons and howitzers to modern guided missiles and rocket systems capable of precision strikes.

Importance

Field Artillery (FA) is a critical term in military operations due to its integral role on the battlefield.

It refers to large-caliber guns, howitzers, rockets and missiles mounted on mobile platforms and used in direct support of ground forces.

Field Artillery units provide timely and accurate fires to neutralize or destroy enemy targets, create obstacles to slow enemy movements, and offer counter-battery fire.

Thus, FA is an essential force multiplier — improving the effectiveness of other troops by supplementing direct action with indirect firepower, largely shaping the outcome of the conflict.

Therefore, an understanding of Field Artillery is vital in comprehending and planning modern military strategies and tactics.

Explanation

Field Artillery (FA) plays a critical role in military operations, serving as a significant means of supporting infantry and other land forces on the battlefield. Its primary purpose is to deliver a wide variety of indirect, suppressive and sometimes direct fire onto enemy forces, thereby facilitating maneuvering room for friendly troops.

Utilizing different forms of artillery, including cannons, howitzers, rocket launchers, and missiles, field artillery provides a ranged ability to destroy enemies’ infrastructure, inflict casualties, and cause confusion and chaos within enemy ranks. In addition to these combat-focused purposes, Field Artillery also has more tactical uses.

A key component in large-scale operations, it can be used to push the enemy’s forces into unfavourable positions, to prevent their movement, or to channel them into areas where they can be more easily engaged by friendly forces. Moreover, it can provide counter-fire against enemy artillery, neutralizing their ability to support their own troops and reinforcing the forward momentum of friendly forces.

Equally critical is its strategic value in shaping the battlefield in the long-term, disrupting enemy supply chains, and hindering reinforcements, thus playing a substantial role in determining the outcome of conflicts.

Examples of Field artillery (FA)

Operation Desert Storm, 1991: This was a conflict led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait. The US Army employed field artillery, using a mix of M109 self-propelled howitzers, multiple rocket launch systems, and artillery observation helicopters. The FA provided effective support in disabling enemy troops and destroying their headquarters, air defenses and other key structures.

Battle of Gettysburg, American Civil War, 1863: Field artillery played a crucial role in this battle. Both Union and Confederate forces utilized a variety of field artillery pieces, such as horse artillery, light field artillery like the 12-pound Napoleon and even rifled cannons. The artillery barrages were significant in disabling the opposing forces and helping shape the outcome of the battle.

Battle of Waterloo, 1815: During the decisive battle of the Napoleonic Wars, both the Allied Army led by the Duke of Wellington and the French Army under Napoleon Bonaparte extensively used field artillery. They deployed a variety of cannon, including the 12-pounder ‘Gribeauval’ gun used by the French and the ‘9-pounder’ field gun used by the British. This established the central role of field artillery in traditional warfare.

FAQs about Field Artillery (FA)

What is Field Artillery?

Field Artillery, often termed as FA, refers to ground-based firepower usually using high trajectory guns, rockets or missiles to provide support to combat troops on the war field. Its primary purpose is to weaken or demolish enemy ground forces and to prevent enemy movement or operations.

What are the roles of Field Artillery in military operations?

Field artillery plays a range of roles in military operations. These include destroying or neutralizing enemy forces, enabling maneuver (actions aimed at gaining advantageous operational positions before combat), and providing combined arms support to other combat units. They can counter air threats, provide counter-fire responses, and are also involved in breach and obstacle operations.

What are the types of Field Artillery?

The main types of field artillery include guns, howitzers, and mortars. Guns have the highest velocity, longest range, and the least arching trajectory. Howitzers stand in between guns and mortars in terms of range, velocity, and trajectory. Mortars have the shortest range, lowest velocity, and most arching trajectory.

How is technology improving Field Artillery?

Technological advancements are constantly improving field artillery. Enhancements in precision, range, and speed are central to these improvements. Some improvements include GPS and laser guidance systems for precision strikes, automated systems for faster operations, and advanced projectiles for increased range.

What is the future of Field Artillery?

The future of field artillery aims for increased adaptability, distributed lethality, and advancements in technology. This includes developing artillery systems with improved precision, extended range, and the ability to integrate with joint fire control networks. Moreover, increased reliance on unmanned systems and AI-guided decision-making systems are expected.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • M777 Howitzer
  • Fire Support Team (FIST)
  • Indirect Fire
  • Forward Observer (FO)
  • Cannon Crewmember (13B)

Sources for More Information

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