Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/734

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ARTILLERY

with the reduction of the old-fashioned fortresses of France began a new era in siegecraft (see Fortification and Siegecraft). At the present time howitzers[1] (B.L. rifled) are the principal siege weapons, while heavy direct-fire guns (see Ordnance passim) still retain a part of the work formerly assigned to the artillery of the attack. For an account of a siege with modern artillery see Macalik and Länger, Kampf um eine Festung, which describes an imaginary siege of Königgrätz. On the whole, it may be said that modern artillery has caused a revolution in methods of fortification and siegecraft, which is little less far-reaching than the original change from the trébuchet to the bombard.


Organization

19. Field Artillery Organization.—A battery of field artillery comprises three elements, viz. matériel,—guns, carriages, ammunition and stores; personnel,—officers, non-commissioned officers, gunners, drivers and artificers; and transport,—almost invariably horses, though other animals, and also motor and mechanical transport, are used under special circumstances. As for the matériel, the guns used by field artillery in almost all countries are quick-firers, throwing shells of 13 to 18 pounds; details of these will be found in the article Ordnance. The number of guns in a battery varies in different countries between four and eight; by far the most usual number is six. With the introduction of the quick-firing gun, the tendency towards small batteries (of four guns) has become very pronounced, the ruling motives being (a) better control of fire in action, and (b) more horses available to draw the increased number of ammunition wagons required. “Mixed” batteries of guns and howitzers were formerly employed on occasion, and were supposed to be adapted to every kind of work. However, the difference between the gun and the howitzer was so great that at all times one part of the armament was idle, while the general increase in the artillery arm has permitted batteries and brigades of howitzers to be formed, separately, as required. Machine guns (q.v.) are not treated in Great Britain as being artillery weapons, though abroad they are often organized in batteries. During, and subsequent to the Boer War, heavier machine guns, called pompoms, came into use. The rocket (q.v.), formerly a common weapon of the artillery, is now used, if at all, only for mountain and forest warfare against savages.

20. Ammunition.—The vehicles of a battery include (besides guns and limbers) ammunition wagons, store and provision carts or wagons and forage wagons. On the amount of ammunition that should be carried with a field battery there was formerly a considerable diversity of opinion. The greater the amount a battery carries with it, the more independent it is; on the other hand, every additional wagon makes the battery more cumbrous and, by lengthening out the column, keeps back the combatant troops marching in rear. But since the introduction of the Q.F. gun it has been universally recognized that the gun must have a very liberal supply of ammunition present with it in action, and the old standard allowance of one wagon per gun has been increased to that of two and even three. Formerly batteries were further hampered by having to carry the reserve of small-arm ammunition for infantry and cavalry. But the greater distances of modern warfare accentuate the difficulties of such a system, and the reserve ammunition for all arms is now carried in special “ammunition columns” (see Ammunition), the personnel and transport of which is furnished by the artillery.

21. Interior Economy.—The organization and interior economy of a battery is much the same in all field artillery. In England the command is held by a major, the second in command is a captain. The battery is divided into three “sections” of two guns each, each under a subaltern officer, who is responsible for everything connected with his section—men, horses, guns, carriages, ammunition and stores. Each section again consists of two sub-sections, each comprising one gun and its wagons, men and horses, and at the head of each is the “No. 1” of the gun detachment—usually a sergeant—who is immediately responsible to the section commander for his sub-section.

The No. 1 rides with the gun, there is also another mounted non-commissioned officer who rides with the first wagon, and the gunners are seated on the gun-carriage, wagon and limbers. The increased number of wagons now accompanying the gun has, however, given more seating accommodation to the detachment, and this distribution has in some cases been altered. The three drivers ride the near horses of their respective pairs, each gun and each wagon being drawn by six horses. On the march, the gun is attached to the limber, a two-wheeled carriage drawn by the gun team; the wagon consists likewise of a “body” and a limber. A battery has also a number of non-combatant carriages, such as forge and baggage wagons. In addition to the gunners and drivers, there are men specially trained in range-taking, signalling, &c., in all batteries.

22. Special Natures of Field Artillery.—Horse Artillery differs from field in that the whole gun detachment is mounted, and the gun and wagon therefore are freed from the load of men and their equipment. The organization of a battery of horse artillery differs but slightly from that of a field battery; it is somewhat stronger in rank and file, as horse-holders have to be provided for the gunners in action. Horse artillery is often lightened, moreover, by sacrificing power (see Ordnance). The essential feature of Mountain Artillery in general is the carrying of the whole equipment on the backs of mules or other animals. The total weight is usually distributed in four or five mule-loads. For action the loads are lifted off the saddles and “assembled,” and the time required to do this is, in well-trained batteries, only one minute. For the technical questions connected with the gun and its carriage, see Ordnance. The weight of a shell in a mountain gun rarely exceeds 12 ℔, and is usually less. In most armies the field howitzer has, after an eclipse of many years, reasserted its place. The weapons used are B.L. or Q.F. howitzers on field carriages; the calibre varies from about 4 to 5 in. In Great Britain the field howitzer batteries are organized as, and form part of, the Royal Field Artillery, two batteries of six howitzers each forming a brigade.

23. Heavy Ordnance.—Heavy Field Artillery, officially defined as “all artillery equipped with mobile guns of 4-in. calibre and upwards,” is usually composed, in Great Britain, of 5-in. or 4.7-in. Q.F. guns on field carriages. 6-in. Q.F. guns have also been used. A battery (4 guns) is attached to the divisional artillery of each division, a company of the Royal Garrison Artillery furnishing the personnel. The four guns are divided into two sections, each section under an officer and each subsection under a non-commissioned officer, as in the horse and field batteries. Siege and garrison artillery have not usually the complete and permanent organization that distinguishes field artillery. For siege trains the matériel is usually kept in store, and the personnel and transport are supplied from other sources according to requirement. In garrison artillery, the guns mounted in fortresses and batteries, or stored in arsenals for the purpose, furnish the matériel, and the companies of garrison artillery the personnel. In Great Britain, the Royal Garrison Artillery finds the mountain batteries and the heavy field artillery in addition to its own units. The siege trains are, as has been said, organized ad hoc on each particular occasion (see Fortification and Siegecraft). In Great Britain, the guns and howitzers manned by the R.G.A. would be 6-in. and 8-in. howitzers, 4.7-in. and 6-in. guns, and still heavier howitzers, as well as the field and heavy batteries belonging to the divisions making the siege.

24. Higher Organization of Artillery.—The higher units, in almost every country except Great Britain, are the regiment, and, sometimes, the brigade of two or more regiments. These units are distributed to army corps, divisions and districts, in the same way as units of other arms (see Army). In Great Britain the Royal Regiment of Artillery still comprises the whole personnel of the arm, being divided into the Royal Horse, Royal Field and Royal Garrison Artillery; to each branch Special

  1. The old smooth-bore mortar for high-angle fire has of course disappeared, but the name “mortar” is still applied in some countries to short rifled howitzers.