The Third Revolution Of Artillery CSC 1992 SUBJECT AREA Artillery EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Title: THE THIRD REVOLUTION OF ARTILLERY Author: Major S. A. Bucher, United States Marine Corps Thesis: New technologies introduced in the past twenty years indicate we are about to experience another such transformation of artillery. Viewed in a historical context, future artillery employment will undergo a dramatic change and significantly alter the future battlefield. Background: Artillery has undergone two revolutionary changes in its history. The first change lifted artillery from the static role of a siege machine and gave it the mobility needed for the battlefield. The second change, brought about as a result of the devastating effects of infantry fire, enabled artillery to perform its mission using indirect fire. The "third revolution" of artillery has just begun. It is a revolution of technology-driven improvements to its capabilities. The artillery of the future will no more resemble today's than Napoleonic artillery resembled the artillery of WWI. Tactics and employment will change to conform with greater ranges, rates of fire, and lethality. Survivability will be enhanced by constant displacement, without interrupting fire support. Recommendation: None. THE THIRD REVOLUTION OF ARTILLERY Thesis: New technologies introduced in the past twenty years indicate we are about to experience another such transformation of artillery. Viewed in a historical context, future artillery employment will undergo a dramatic change and significantly alter the future battlefield. I. The first revolutionary change of artillery A. Mobility B. Standardization C. Offensive usage II. The second revolutionary change to artillery A. Indirect fire B. Recoil systems C. Greater battlefield density III. The evolution of artillery since the First World War A. Self-propelled artillery B. C 2 C. Radar D. The firebase tactics of Vietnam IV. The third revolution of artillery A. Weapon system technology B. Munitions technology V. The tactical result of the future artillery on the battlefield A. Employment changes B. Tactical changes C. The deep battle D. Survivability E. Logistics THE THIRD REVOLUTION OF ARTILLERY "It is with artillery that war is made." Napoleon I After the Battle of Lobau, May 1809 "Artillery conquers and infantry occupies" was a common quote during the First World War. In truth, nothing was ever "conquered" by artillery and the First World War became an aberration due to the tactic of reliance on firepower at the expense of maneuver. Historically, artillery has complemented maneuver. While the technological and tactical relationship between artillery and other combat arms has waxed and waned since its inception, artillery has consistently remained the principal casualty-producing weapon on the battlefield. Each time the relative effects of artillery waned, new technological changes arrived that brought it back to the forefront on the battlefield. There have been two revolutionary changes to artillery since it first appeared in the 14th century. The first revolution gave artillery mobility, the second revolution enabled artillery to conduct accurate indirect fire. Both of these fundamental changes resulted from a series of technological improvements that combined to alter greatly artillery and the battlefield. New technologies introduced in the past twenty years indicate we are about to experience another such transformation of artillery. Viewed in a historical context, future artillery employment will undergo a dramatic change and significantly alter the future battlefield. Artillery was designed initially as a siege machine and relegated to siege and counter-siege operations. The greatest limitation on the use of early artillery was the lack of mobility due to their tremendous size of these early monoliths. It was not until the Thirty Years War and the fielding in 1630 of a mobile cannon, called the "leather cannon" in the army of Sweden's King Gustavs II Adolfus 1 that field artillery came into being. The introduction of a truly mobile artillery piece for the battlefield gave the Swedes a strategic advantage. Until copied by others, the "leather cannon" made Sweden the only nation capable of projecting firepower hundreds of yards and maneuver their artillery to counter the movements of the enemy, giving them an undisputed advantage on the battlefield. Thus, the first great change that occurred with artillery was mobility. Mobility transformed artillery from a static role, to a mobile one and thus was born the first "field" artillery. Commanders were now able to shift firepower by quickly maneuvering artillery units in response to the tactical actions on the battlefield. Ultima Ratio Regum (The Final Argument of Kings) Motto inscribed on French cannon by order of Louis XIV, 1638-1715 Evolutionary changes occurred as a result of the introduction of mobile field artillery. Frederick the Great integrated artillery into all his operations. During the Napoleonic Era, the French did much to standardize artillery, making logistics simplifier. During this same time, the number of artillery pieces grew proportionally on the battlefield. Artillery's range was still short, only about 1000 meters, and it was used chiefly to break up enemy attacks or would emplace in range of the enemy's defenses to support infantry and calvary attacks. 2 By emplacing artillery to support infantry attacks, artillery became an offensive combat arm. From the middle of the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century, artillery accounted for 50% of battlefield casualties. The mid-nineteenth century brought great improvements to infantry weapons. Infantry weapons such as breechloading rifles, gattling guns, and early machine guns, reduced the effects of artillery to 10% 3 of casualties from the mid-nineteenth century until the First World War. Infantry developments increased the range of organic weapons until they rivaled direct-fire artillery. Artillery technology had failed to keep up with the infantry. Artillery usage, rightfully so, fell. This period of infantry dominance came to be characterized as the heyday of the infantry. With rifles achieving ranges approaching that of artillery, the defense flourished over the offense 4 and led such notables as Clausewitz to declare the defense the stronger of the two forms of combat. Despite a standstill in the capabilities of artillery, the battlefield density of artillery per kilometer rose from about 40 during the Napoleonic Era, to several hundred in the European Wars of the 1870's-1880's 5. One would suppose that the idiom later to be voiced by Lenin ". . . quantity has a quality all it's own" played true with the artillery of the second half of the nineteenth century. Nineteenth century artillery, unable to stand toe-to-toe on the battlefield against infantry fire, metamorphized into an indirect weapon system. This became the second revolutionary change to artillery, beginning in the latter years of the 1880's with the development of recoil systems. Indirect fire was a capability of artillery before the advent of recoil systems but it was not accurate enough for serious consideration. This was because the guns had to be repositioned and relaid after each firing, due to the considerable rearward movement of the gun after it fired each round. With a recoil system, it was now possible to fire artillery repeatedly at targets beyond visual range, possible adjusted by forward observers via semaphore or telegraph. This was the begining of what one could call "modern artillery." "Fire has become the decisive argument." Ferinand Foch Principles of War, 1920 World War One was the genesis of modern artillery. Indirect fire, improved communications, and heavier weapons with longer ranges played havoc with the linear formations of the infantry. The idiom "artillery conquers and infantry occupies" came into being and was the de facto method of waging war. Artillery concentrations grew to several hundred guns per kilometer of defended terrain. The logistics burden that this concentration created was enormous. At the battle of Verdun alone, twenty-four million rounds of artillery were expended over a sixteen week period 6. This equates to six thousand rounds per gun or roughly one hundred and five tons of ammunition per gun. 7 This logistically burden caught military planners by surprise and unable to react. Ammunition thus became a force multiplier. For example, a French battery with four guns normally had a total of 1,248 rounds immediately available. A German battery of six guns normally possessed only 780 rounds. Due to a higher rate of fire and more readily-available ammunition, the French artillery enjoyed initial advantages in the First World War. 8 The period between World Wars saw little in the way of significant changes to artillery. Technological improvements, most notably radio communications and self-propelled artillery, were evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes. Artillery doctrine concentrated on organizational changes to conform with an evolving interaction with mechanized forces but, by the outbreak of World War Two, had once again become the neglected arm of combat. This neglect can be attributed largely to the horrors of the First World War and the desire of the world's militaries to seek an alternative to the infantry linear tactics of that war. The solutions to the static defenses of WWI seemed the application armor and airpower onto the battlefield. This marriage of armor and airpower culminated with the German rearmament in the 1930's. The Germans believed that armored/mechanized forces would be better supported on the battlefield by Sturzkampfflugzeuge or "Stuka" aircraft rather than by the slower artillery. 9 The speed and firepower of aircraft, combined with that of armor, was seen as the future. "It is of great value to an army, whether in defense or offense, to have at its disposal a mass of heavy batteries. Winston Churchill The Gathering Storm, 1948 When the Second World War broke out, the British and the French immediately established a pattern of area, or position, defenses that were quickly overcome by the German Blitzkrieg of the Wehrmacht. It would be in North Africa where the concept of fire and maneuver would be validated. Despite the numerous followers of J.F.C. Fuller's concept of a fluid battlefield dominated by armor, the British Army would become almost completely reliant on static defenses, similar to WWI. By 1942, the British relied completely on attacks supported by artillery, an outgrowth of their ability to project mass as a function of industrial output. This reversion in tactics was responsible for every British success in the Second World War until 1945 10. While the wily "Desert Fox," Rommel, continued to employ maneuver as his chief tactic, British massed firepower and infantry eventually proved superior. In North Africa, some of the problems of the First World War regarding artillery logistics reappeared. When the British attacked Tobruk in January 1941, they had to delay their assault for sixteen days to allow for sufficient stocks of ammunition to be brought forward, thus losing the element of surprise. As with the First World War, the logistic trains required to supply artillery fell short of demand 11, a situation that would continue until late in the war. Massed artillery, although it never reached the proportions of World War I, quickly came back into vogue in the Second World War. Aerial observation and improved Command and Control (C 2) made targeting more precise and flexible, thus avoiding the need to saturate areas with artillery to insure effectiveness. The Allies also sought to use their artillery to suppress enemy artillery, an operation called an "artillery duel" in WWII but now referred to as counter-battery fire. There were some stunning successes with counter-battery fires in WWII. At the Battle of El Alamein in May, 1942; the British artillery opened up against the German artillery fifteen minutes before H-Hour and severely mauled the 250 German Guns. This gave the 1,000 British guns a 20:1 numerical advantage at a critical point of the battle. One year later, at the Battle of Kurst, the Russians detected 104 German battery positions and destroyed 90 of them. The tremendous German armored assault into the Kurst Salient was defeated for many reasons, an almost absence of artillery support was one of them. It was once again made clear to commanders on both sides that fire and maneuver was required for modern war. From the end of the Second World War through the Vietnam artillery experienced few changes. The changes that did occur were, again, evolutionary. Self-propelled artillery was developed in the 1920's as a natural solution to a mechanized environment. Radar, first used in WWII, was refined for artillery applications to locate enemy artillery. Tactically, the system of "fire bases" used in the Vietnam War may seem to be a change from the traditional massing of artillery. However, by positioning batteries so that they could provide a fire support umbrella for maneuver units, artillery was providing an adequate level of support for friendly forces engaged in an action against an enemy who rarely employed mass. This application of artillery firepower was thus generally consistent with both friendly and enemy tactics. The introduction of new technologies since Vietnam may provide artillery with another revolutionary change. Automation and improved munitions promise to transform artillery into an indirect fire means remarkably more lethal than present and with ranges comparable to tactical aircraft. With little fanfare in the early 1980's, artillery was revolutionized by the fielding of the Multiple Rocket Launcher System (MRLS.) While rockets and multiple rocket launchers have existed for hundreds of years, the introduction of the MRLS-type systems may change forever artillery and the combined arms interaction on the future battlefield. The MRLS vehicle possesses all the necessary fire direction onboard. Additionally, it can electronically determine its position and direction. This allows it to orient itself very quickly without outside support, determine its own firing data, and shoot. Within a single MRLS vehicle there now resides the technical fire control functions of a battery. The MRLS carries twelve rockets in two protected packages ready to fire, and it can fire all twelve rockets in a matter of seconds. Its range of thirty kilometers is essentially the same as conventional artillery but the warhead of each rocket contains improved sub-munitions which can blanket a large area in a very short amount of time with telling effect. What makes the MRLS, and its Soviet copy, truly revolutionary is its potential. We have developed a weapon system that can independently move, position, and fire. It possess good range and excellent target coverage with greater lethality. Immediately after development of the MRLS, the Army began to develop an improved missile for use with the MRLS launcher, the Army Tactical Missile System or ATACMS. ATACMS is loaded into the same package as six MRLS rockets and can be fired from the MRLS. Its range is over one hundred and fifty kilometers and it possesses a powerful warhead of improved sub-munitions. Army artillery now has the ability to join the fight for the deep battle. Still under development are two additional rockets for the MRLS. One will be essentially unguided but have an extended range of 45 kilometers. Another is a guided rocket with a 70 kilometer range. It is guided with the existing technology found in the Global Positioning System (GPS.) These missiles will enable MRLS to fire out to ranges of 45, 70 12, or 150 kilometers, depending on the rocket employed. MRLS rockets will greatly increase the range and firepower with which the ground commander can shape the battlefield. While artillery rockets and missiles may be the first to systems to extend the range of artillery into the deep battle, the development of new gun systems is equally promising. Recent research into railgun technologies is impressive but the fielding of such a gun does not loom on the foreseeable horizon. Theoretically, with sufficient portable power source, a railgun can propel a projectile many times the range of current conventional guns. More feasible, in the short-to-medium time, are automated liquid propellent and unicharge guns. Already in the advanced stages of development, liquid propellant will give artillery greater flexibility because of its ability to fire rapidly and at greater ranges. Successful firings from one gun completed recently achieved ranges in excess of 40 kilometers13. Additionally, one- gun Time on Targets (TOTs) of four rounds per gun have been accomplished with the highly-automated Human Factors Howitzer Test Bed (HFHTB) by varying the propellant charge and the elevation. This effectively quadruples the firepower of every HFHTB-type gun over our current artillery, giving a single HFHTB gun the capabilities of four conventional guns. Unicharge guns employ propellants that do not need to be adjusted, the entire charge is fired regardless of the range to the target. The benefit being that a propellant that is fixed will lend itself better to automated loading and firing. The high rates of fire from both of these types of guns are astronomical. The HFHTB has demonstrated a capability to fire one round every five seconds, twice as fast as the best rate of fire for the conventional M-198 howitzer. The ammunition for future artillery systems will be more capable than a current load of artillery ammunition. ICM shells distributed the effects of high explosive over a wider area and give it an enhanced capability against armor with the shaped charges of the bomblets. Projectiles such as Copperhead engage individual targets with great precision and improved lethality. Future rounds of artillery ammunition will combine greater area coverage, precision, and lethality. The SADARM family of munitions will disperse sub-munitions that use sensors to seek out and destroy individual targets. Terminal Guidance Warhead (TWG) technologies loom on the horizon with even greater capabilities. One such sub-munition, BAT, will be utilized in MRLS-based artillery rocket warheads. It will not only seek out and destroy armor, but will coordinate the attack so that one target within a group of targets is engaged by not more than one sub-munitions 14. While the artillery currently under development can shoot farther, faster, and with more deadly and efficient munitions; the most startling change in the field artillery will be in how it will be employed. The current technique requesting artillery fire support has the Forward Observer (FO) sending his request for fire to the Fire Direction Center (FDC). The FDC computes the data and transmits this data to the guns, who shoot it. Future field artillery will have, with each gun, the ability compute the gun's own firing data, as well as position determining devices to determine its precise location. With improved rates of fire and munitions with greater capabilities, one or two future guns can provide the support that a current battery can deliver. What will this mean? The FO will transmit his request for fire directly to one or two guns. These guns will fire in support of the FO while the artillery battery/battalion monitors and augments these fires with additional if required. Thus the FO will be directly tied into the guns. "A batteryseenisabatterylost" Artilleryman s Maxim Tactical employment of artillery will be altered. Future gun systems will be much more capable and therefore, more lucrative targets. Artillery that is capable of firing many times faster, at greater ranges, and with much greater accuracy, will have a logarithmic increase in importance to friend and foe. The enemy will attempt to locate and destroy these systems. The friendly forces will attempt to hide and displace the guns quickly so as to deny the enemy to chance to destroy them. The tactic of firing and then quickly displacing artillery quickly is not a new one. During the Cold War, when the Soviet hordes were our greatest threat, it was the only method we believed we could employ to allow our artillery to survive. The problem with this tactic is that the artillery is not able to fire while on the move. Additionally, it took time to displace from the old position and emplace in the new one. This "shoot and scoot" tactic can result in a substantial portion of the force's artillery unable to fire because it is moving, an undesirable situation in a high threat environment. Technology may have given us a solution. The MRLS has been fielded for several years now. An interesting aspect of the MRLS is that everything MRLS needs to fire is located on the vehicle and is automated. This allows the vehicle to be moving down the road and still be able to respond to requests for fire. If a request arrived while moving, the vehicle would halt. The computer determines its position, orients the launcher and computes the firing data. The crew then drop the blast shields over the windows, and fires the mission. Response time will become measured, even in a traveling mode, in seconds instead of minutes. This same technology can be applied to gun systems and is a requirement for systems under development such as the HFHTB. Once such technology is resident throughout artillery, artillery tactics will change. The enemy will increase his efforts to locate and destroy artillery assets because of its potency. Friendly artillery will have to compensate by immediately moving once fired. However, artillery support to the maneuver unit will not be adversely effected. Even when moving, it will be able to respond quickly and accurately if called upon. Our traditional artillery-infantry support in the Marine Corps has one artillery battalion supporting one infantry regiment. Given the increased capabilities of future artillery systems, it is conceivable that this arrangement will change. Future batteries will possess the firepower of older artillery battalions. With extended ranges, general support artillery may become the norm. By dedicating only the minimum number of guns necessary to direct support missions, the ground combat commander can use the remaining to respond to a changing battlefield, or prosecute deeper battles. In any scenario, the functions currently resident in the artillery battalion would have to be performed routinely by the artillery battery. Many of the battery functions will be performed by individual guns. The digitized request for fire from the FO would be sent to the battery who would simply retransmit it in a matter of seconds to the guns that would fire it. The actual fire direction would be resident on the guns themselves. The battery would thus be the de facto manager of artillery firing units within their assigned sector. The artillery battalion would be freed to manage the battlefield interdiction operations with their remaining units and augment the fires of the batteries when required. The artillery regiment could, with corps-level assets, manage the deep battle. The deep battle is fought by the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander. His only significant resource to fight this battle, currently, is the Air Component Element (ACE), usually a force of a few Harriers to an entire Marine Air Wing. Thus, the deep battle has become an air battle monitored by the Fire Support Coordinator (FSC) at the Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) or the Force Fires Coordination Center (FFCC.) MRLS and future artillery will allow the GCE to become an active participant in the deep battle. While surface fires cannot supplant aviation, it can augment it. Areas that pose too high a threat to air can be covered by MRLS-based systems or soften-up by such systems so that the threat to air is reduced. Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, or SEAD, fires will become commonplace not only in the close and interdiction fight, but in the deep battle as well. In order to accomplish this, coordination will have to be extensive. The FSO will have to plan for, and coordinate, the deep battlefield as well as the close fight for the air and ground side of the MAGTF. The inclusion of artillery in the deep battle gives the MAGTF commander a wider variety of tools to shape the battlefield. Being able to bring to bear multiple types of weapon systems, he won't have to rely solely on one asset type. By combining surface and air fires, he will develop a synergistic effect on the enemy, keep him off balance, and be better able to maintain the initiative throughout the battlefield. While operationally more potent, future artillery systems are designed with logistics in mind as well. Propellants such as the liquid or unicharge propellant are smaller and reduce waste. The propellant drum carried on the HFHTB will replace the current propellant that requires a five-ton truck to transport. Simply stated, whereas now one truck is required to transport the daily powder requirements of one battery, in the future, that same truck will be able to transport the liquid propellant required daily for a battalion! Another impact on logistics may be the actual number of projectiles required. The logistical burden artillery placed on battlefield forces has been greatly reduced due to the increased effectiveness of modern munitions. It has been calculated that 3,000 rounds of High Explosive (HE) ammunition is required to destroy an enemy battery. That same enemy battery can now be statistically destroyed with 300 rounds of Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM). It only takes three five-ton trucks to carry that amount of DPICM ammunition compared to thirty five-ton trucks for the HE that would be required to fire the same mission to the same result. With the development of Sense and Destroy Armor (SADARM) munitions, the number of rounds to engage successfully a notional enemy battery reduces to thirty rounds, about one-third of a truck load of ammunition 15. The future of artillery is bright with change. Increased rates of fire, ranges, and effectiveness while reducing logistical requirements will make artillery a tremendously valuable as set on the battlefield. Fires will be able to be placed much deeper than before into the enemy's rear, thus adding tremendous depth. Ground forces will have to increase dispersion and therefore increase surveillance to cover the gaps in their sectors. Artillery will become mobile instead of static in order to survive. Yet this mobility will not effect its ability to deliver timely and accurate fires when needed. All of these developments combine to create the third revolutionary change to artillery, the application of technology to dramatically increase artillery capabilities. "Leave the artillerymen alone. They are an obstinate lot. Napoleon I BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Scott, Franklin D. Sweden, the Nation's History. Dexter, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1977. 2. Keegan, John. The Mask of Command. New York: Penguin Books, 1987. 3. Bailey, J.B.A. Field Artillery and Firepower. Oxford: The Military Press, 1989. 4. English, John A. A Perspective on Infantry. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1981. 5. Bailey, J.B.A. Appendix A. 6. Bailey, J.B.A., Appendix A. 7. Bailey, J.B.A. pp. 46. 8. Bailey, J.B.A. p. 26. 9. English, John A. p. 98. 10. Bailey, J.B.A. p.176. 11. Bailey, J.B.A. p. 182. 12. Simmons, Cliff, Major, USMC at the Artillery Section of the Warfighting Center. Quantico, VA, 2 February 1992. 13. Pengelley, Rupert; Hammick, Murray; and Hewish, Mark. "New SP Artillery Developments." International Defense Review, Vol. 24 9/1991, pp. 929-937. 14. Roberts, Kenneth M. "Falling Prey to a BAT Out of Hell." Field Artillery. February 1992. 15. Wroth, Mark B. "Legal Mix VII - Directions for the Field Artillery." Field Artillery, December 1991. pp. 42-46.
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