Artillery dominated the battlefields of trench warfare. An infantry attack was rarely successful if it advanced beyond the range of its supporting artillery. In addition to bombarding the enemy infantry in the trenches, the artillery could be used to precede infantry advances with a creeping barrage, or engage in counter-battery duels to try to destroy the enemy's guns. Artillery mainly fired fragmentation, high explosive, or, later in the war, gas shells. The British experimented with firing thermite incendiary shells to set trees and ruins alight. However, all armies had experienced shell shortages during the first year or two of World War I, due to underestimating their usage under intensive combat. This knowledge had been gained by the combatant nations in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905 when daily artillery fire consumed ten times more than daily factory output but had not been capitalized on.
Artillery pieces were of two types: guns and howitzers. Guns fired high-velocity shells over a flat trajectory and were often used to deliver fragmentation and to cut barbed wire. Howitzers lofted the shell over a high trajectory so it plunged into the ground. The largest calibers were usually howitzers. The German 420 mm howitzer weighed 20 tons and could fire a one-ton shell over 10 km. A critical feature of period artillery pieces was the hydraulic recoil mechanism, which meant the gun did not need to be re-aimed after each shot.
Initially each gun would need to register its aim on a known target, in view of an observer, in order to fire with precision during a battle. The process of gun registration would often alert the enemy an attack was being planned. Towards the end of 1917, artillery techniques were developed enabling fire to be delivered accurately without registration on the battlefield – the gun registration was done behind the lines then the pre-registered guns were brought up to the front for a surprise attack.
Other articles related to "artillery":
... for the defence of the realm to be known as the Fraternity or Guild of Artillery of Longbows, Crossbows and Handgonnes ... by a variety of names until 1656, when it was first referred to as the Artillery Company ... It was first referred to as the Honourable Artillery Company in 1685 and officially received the name from Queen Victoria in 1860 ...
... The destructiveness of artillery bombardments can be enhanced when some or all of the shells are set for airburst, meaning that they explode in the air above the target instead of upon ... Since December 1944 (Battle of the Bulge), proximity fuzed artillery shells have been available that take the guesswork out of this process ...
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2nd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery 24/08/42-26/09/44 4th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery 21/09/42-25/10/43 11th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery 24/08/42-26/09/44 ...
Famous quotes containing the word artillery:
“Another success is the post-office, with its educating energy augmented by cheapness and guarded by a certain religious sentiment in mankind; so that the power of a wafer or a drop of wax or gluten to guard a letter, as it flies over sea over land and comes to its address as if a battalion of artillery brought it, I look upon as a fine meter of civilization.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
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—Edgar Allan Poe (18091845)