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Artillery and Warfare 1945-2025

By J P A Bailey


For millennia battles were essentially affairs of linear encounter. From the 10th Century to the 20th Century, artillery generally fired directly in the two dimensional plane,limiting potential effects. The development of indirect fire changed this , two-dimensional model. Warfare became not so much a matter of linear encounter as one of engagement as cross and throughout an area; and artillery dominated land operations in both the First and Second World Wars as a result. Firepower was subsequently often applied in even greater weights, but its effects were frequently excessive and high-value targets proved elusive. During the Cold War in Europe,the importance of field artillery wanded relative to other arms. Artillery could only regain its utility by acquiring the highest-value targets and engaging them effectively with the appropriate degree of force in time and space true precision, as opposed to mere accuracy at a point. Improvements in target acquisition and accuracy will enable land systems once more to engage targets effectively throughout the battlespace with implications for warfare analogous to those precipitated by the introduction of indirect fire a century ago. Land operations will become increasingly three-dimensional and Joint. The effects of fire will increasingly be applied in, not merely via, the third dimensions, since targets themselves will increasingly be located, not just on the area of a battlefield, but in the volume of three-dimensional battlespace with values of indetermined by considerations of the fourth dimension, time. Fire, lethal and non-lethal, will also be targeted in other less tangible dimensions such as cyber-space and new types of 'virtual counterfire' will also emerge in the forms of legal and moral restraint. All will be viewed through the lens of perceptions. The burgeoning of firepower from all sources now becomes the spur for changes in the relationship between the land and air components, mindful of those novel factors that will increasingly inhibit the application of that firepower

Topics: Artillery drill and tactics, Artillery, Field and mountain, Military operations and tactics, Military strategy, Falkland Islands War, Gulf crisis, World War I, World War II
Publisher: Department of Defence Management and Security Analysis
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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