Artillery - Essay

Topics: Artillery, Cannon, World War I Pages: 33 (10282 words) Published: May 10, 2007
Historically, artillery (from French artillerie) refers to any engine used for the discharge of large projectiles during war, served by a crew of men. The term also describes ground-based troops with the primary function of manning such weapons. Artillery is sometimes known as "The King of Battle". This term includes coastal artillery which traditionally defended coastal areas against seaborne attack and controlled the passage of ships, using their ability to deny access through the threat of coastal fire. It also includes land-based field artillery. With the advent of powered flight at the start of the 20th Century, artillery also included ground-based anti-aircraft batteries. Contents


* 1 History
* 2 Modern artillery
* 3 Field artillery system
* 4 Types of artillery
o 4.1 Organisational types
o 4.2 Equipment types
o 4.3 Calibre categories
* 5 Artillery ammunition
o 5.1 Fuzes
o 5.2 Projectiles
o 5.3 Propellant
* 6 Modern artillery operations
o 6.1 Application of fire
o 6.2 Counterbattery fire
* 7 Types
o 7.1 Sub-types
o 7.2 Field artillery team
o 7.3 MRSI
o 7.4 Time on Target
o 7.5 Airburst
* 8 References
* 9 See also
* 10 External links

[edit] History

The word as used in the current context originated in the Middle Ages. It comes from the Old French atellier meaning "to arrange", and attillement meaning "equipment". From the 13th century an artillier referred to a builder of any war equipment, and for the next 250 years the sense of the word "artillery" covered all forms of military weapons.

Older engines like the catapult, onager, trebuchet and ballista are artillery (see siege engines for more information on pre-gunpowder devices), but the first documented record of artillery with gunpowder propellent used on the battlefield is on January 28, 1132 when General Han Shizhong of the Song Dynasty used escalade and Huochong to capture a city in Fujian. These small, crude weapons diffused into the Middle East (the madfaa) and reached Europe in the 13th century, in a very limited manner. These small smoothbore tubes were initially cast in iron or bronze around a core, the first with the bore drilled was recorded in operation near Seville in 1247. They fired lead, iron, or stone balls, sometimes large arrows and on occasions simply handfuls of whatever scrap came to hand. During the Hundred Years' War these weapons became more common, initially as the bombard and later the cannon. Cannon were always muzzle-loaders, there were many early attempts at breech-loading designs but weakness in engineering rendered them even more dangerous to use than muzzle-loaders.

Bombards were larger than previous weapons, massive smoothbore weapons distinguished by their lack of a field carriage, immobility once emplaced, highly individual design, and noted unreliability. Their size precluded the barrels being cast and they were constructed out of metal staves or rods bound together with hoops like a barrel. Bombards were of value mainly in sieges, a famous Turkish example used at the siege of Constantinople in 1453 massed 19 tons, took 200 men and sixty oxen to emplace and could fire seven times a day.

The use of the word "cannon" marks the introduction in the 15th century of a dedicated field carriage with axle, trail and animal-drawn limber - this produced mobile field pieces that could move and support an army in action, rather than being found only in siege and static defenses. The reduction in the size of the barrel was due to improvements in both iron technology and gunpowder manufacture. The first mobile weapon is usually credited to Jan Žižka, who deployed his oxen-hauled cannon during the Hussite Wars of Bohemia (1418-1424). However cannon were still large and cumbersome, with the rise of musketry in the 16th century cannon...
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