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Artillery Caliber - Light, Medium, & Heavy

Artillery is usually ranked as light, medium, or heavy. Light refers to projectiles up to 105mm for close support of ground troops, medium at 106155mm for bombardment, and heavy, with projectiles over 155mm for attacking rear installations. The 155 mm ammunition weighs 100 lbs while the 105 mm ammunition weighs 33 lbs.

From the post-World War II to the early 1960s, the 105mm artillery was once the main artillery of the Western Army, and is currently mainly equipped with light and special forces. Because it is a medium-calibre artillery, the 105mm artillery can bear the role of the upper and lower in combat operations. For example, it can temporarily serve as a heavy artillery, provide long-range fire support, and can also complete some temporary work together with other special-purpose artillery "teams". task. In addition, guns of similar caliber were also been used in air defense and other fields. For example, during World War II, Germany used it to form a medium-to-high altitude air defense network with 88mm and 128mm anti-aircraft guns, trying to protect important industrial centers in Germany.

Due to its outstanding flexibility, the 105mm artillery ushered in a glorious period after the end of World War II. Take the US military as an example. After the launch of the M101 towed howitzer, they further developed the M52 self-propelled howitzer. After that, they continued to develop the M102, M119 towed howitzer and the M108 self-propelled howitzer. In addition, during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, the US military also produced the M45 105mm self-propelled howitzer based on the M26 Pershig tank chassis for tank air defense operations and support for infantry ground attack. In other Western countries, the United Kingdom also launched the "Abbott" and L118 105mm howitzer, France has the MK61 self-propelled howitzer.

With the development of the Cold War, 105mm artillery has gradually been replaced by larger caliber artillery. This is mainly because in the latter part of the Cold War, all countries in the world began to prepare for a formal world war, and the national army has also embarked on a heavy road. In this case, the power of the 105mm artillery is obviously not enough to meet the operational needs. For example, the US military's 105mm artillery was retained only in the light units of the 101st Air Assault Division (the division was also equipped with 54 doors during the Iraq war).

The frequent occurrence of local warfare has made the rapid response capability of the troops gradually become the first requirement for the development of military armaments in various countries. This is an important background for the re-acquisition of 105mm artillery that combines light and long-range. In addition, due to technological advances over the decades, the new 105mm artillery has also been reborn in performance, adapting to the needs of the new era of operations. Most typically, the 105mm artillery ammunition can be more powerful than the larger caliber guns of 125mm and 155mm, in the case of a total weight of the transport system such as the transport vehicle. In addition to the improved information technology of weapon systems and the application of new ammunition technology, the power of modern 105mm artillery is no longer too far away from traditional large-caliber artillery.

Establishing the range from the artillery weapons to the target requires accurate and timely detection, identification, and location of ground targets. Determining the appropriate time and type of attack requires that the target size (radius or other dimensions), makeup (i.e., troops, vehicles, bunker, etc), and the direction and speed of movement be considered.

Accurate aiming to the target requires accurately knowing artillery firing unit locations. There are different ways to determine the firing unit location, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) or site surveys. In addition to determining an accurate location for the firing unit, each howitzer in the firing unit must also be precisely positioned to make sure each projectile goes exactly where it was intended. One term that is prevalent in almost all weapon firing discussions is a mill radian usually referred to as a mil. A mil is a measure of angle. Using a circle of 360 degrees does not provide enough precision, therefore artillery computations assume a complete circle is broken into 6400 mils. Pointing a howitzer requires two angle commands (given in mils): azimuth (horizontal direction measured from north) and elevation (vertical angle measured from level). In a practical sense, one mil of elevation or azimuth works out to be a change of one meter at a range of 1000 meters.

The actual performance of the weapon is measured by the weapon muzzle velocity (velocity with which the projectile leaves the muzzle of the tube) for a projectile-propellant combination. The firing battery can measure the achieved muzzle velocity of a weapon and correct it for nonstandard projectile weight and propellant temperature. A howitzer can fire different types of projectiles, depending upon the target, and each projectile can be fired with different propellant loads. The combinations can put different stresses on the artillery piece, which must be factored into the design, operation, and maintenance of the artillery system.

A propellant is a low-order explosive that burns rather than detonates. In artillery weapons using separate-loading ammunition, the propellant burns within a chamber formed by the obturator spindle assembly, powder chamber, rotating band, and base of the projectile. For cannons using semifixed ammunition, the chamber is formed by the shell casing and the base of the projectile. When the propellant is ignited by the primer, the burning propellant generates gases. When these gases develop enough pressure to overcome initial bore resistance, the projectile begins its forward motion.

The ideal rotating band permits proper seating of the projectile within the cannon tube. Proper seating of the projectile allows forward obturation, uniform pressure buildup, and initial resistance to projectile movement within the tube. The rotating band is also designed to provide a minimum drag effect on the projectile once the projectile overcomes the resistance to movement and starts to move. Dirt or burrs on the rotating band may cause improper seating.

On the battlefield, a sophisticated enemy can locate and engage a battery in various ways. To survive, artillery may have to move often. Frequent movement, however, reduces responsiveness; it necessitates greater reliance on other batteries to assume the mission during displacement.

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Page last modified: 31-05-2019 14:53:33 ZULU