{short description of image}  





The Role, Composition, Tasks, and Principles of Combat Employment of Artillery in the Front's Offensive Operation:


Modern artillery is characterized by heavy firepower, long range, accuracy of fire, wide maneuvering power, massive and concentrated fire capability, and the power to deliver surprise fire strikes in a short time to a great depth. The artillery is capable of destroying various types of exposed, covered, moving, static, observable, and non-observable targets on the ground and on water surfaces. Modern artillery has a high rate of fire that enables it to produce the desired and required density of fire. The great maneuverability of modern artillery allows the quick and concealed concentration of large masses of artillery on decisive axes. The artillery is well prepared to open surprise fire on enemy targets.

The role and importance of artillery may change in accordance with the nature of combat operations and the use of nuclear missiles. In a nuclear war the artillery, within its range and capabilities, supplements nuclear missile strikes. Targets not engaged by nuclear weapons or not sufficiently engaged by them, and also targets located close to the line of contact with the enemy, are destroyed by the artillery. Therefore, in nuclear war, the artillery remains as a close support weapon of the attacking troops.

In operations without the employment of nuclear weapons, the significance of artillery is greatly increased, since it constitutes the main fire power of the gorund forces.

The combat composition of the Frontal artillery is determined by the organic artillery of the Front's operational formations (armies) and large units (divisions) and also by the supreme command's artillery attached to the Front.

The number and type of artillery units attached to the Front is determined by the armed forces' general staff in peacetime on the basis of missions to be assigned to the Front in the operation, the composition and the nature of actions of likely groupings of the enemy, and the types of weapons employed in the operation (nuclear or conventional.)

The reinforcement of the Front by artillery troops in offensive operations without the employment of nuclear weapons should insure the accomplishment of the main artillery tasks in breaking through the enemy's prepared defense, in its main (forward) defensive area, or in the operational depth of the enemy's territory, which requires that the artillery should carry out a wide number of tasks to destroy enemy targets within range. A modern Front, composed of three to four combined arms armies, one to two tank armies, and five to seven reserve divisions, and reinforced by three artillery divisions and two antitank artillery brigades, may have up to 5,000 guns, mortars, and rocket artillery systems, as well as 700 antitank guns and about 2,000 antitank guided missiles.


Missions of the artillery:
----- - Supporting the deployment of the army's first-echelon divisions (large units);
----- - Supporting the organized advance of attacking elements through the enemy's covering area;
----- - Destruction of the enemy in meeting engagements;
----- - Supporting the breakthrough of the enemy's prepared defensive positions;
----- - Supporting the Front's troops in assault river-crossing operations;
----- - Participating in repelling the enemy's counterattacks;
----- - Supporting the commitment of the armies' and Front's second-echelon troops in to combat;
----- - Providing favorable conditions for the destruction of encircled groupings of the enemy;
----- - Consolidating seized objectives (areas);
----- - Repelling the enemy's aggression and destroying enemy troops that have penetrated into friendly territory.

The main principles of the employment of artillery in the Front's offensive operation are as follows:
----- - Mass employment of artillery on the main axes of the Front's attack;
----- - Close coordination with infantry, tanks, and air forces;
----- - Constant support of attacking troops by fire;
----- - Effective and continuous control of fire and maneuver.

The experiences of World War II suggest that fire superiority over the enemy on important axes is a necessary condition for achieving success in combat operations conducted in conventional war. Fire superiority can be achieved only through a large concentration of fire power, primarily of artillery and the air forces. Fire superiority means destruction and neutralization of the enemy's destructive means, which can crush friendly infantry and tanks. The more thoroughly this task is accomplished, the more we decrease friendly casualties. In modern conditions fire superiority is one of the most important factors in achieving victory over the enemy. The enemy has a significant number of modern, sophisticated artillery weapons such as Honest John missiles and tube artillery with nuclear capabilities, the destruction of which is most essential for facilitating the rapid advance of attacking elements. The enemy artillery is self-propelled, armor-protected, and has great maneuverability, which means that it can move rapidly and can relocate in a short period of time. Fighting such artillery requires sufficient artillery units and enormous expenditures of ammunition.

The modern enemy defense is supported by a large number of tanks, self-propelled guns, infantry fighting vehicles, and antitank guided missiles, which have great maneuver capabilities. Moreover, modern engineer works and fortifications enchance the strength of the enemy's defense. By employing new engineering vehicles and means, the enemy can dig in rapidly and can emplace its weapons and its personnel in fortified positions, the destruction of which requires a large number of artillery units and plenty of ammunition.

Planning the combat employment of artillery includes the following:
----- - Determining the requirement of first-echelon armies in supporting artillery;
----- - Allocation of supreme command artillery to Front elements;
----- - Organization for the movement of artillery to cover the deployment of the Front's main grouping of troops, to repel likely enemy aggression, and to support the initiation of attack by friendly forces;
----- - Organization of the artillery's action during the accomplishment of the mission of the Front troops;
----- - Determination of possible missions and the method of movement of the Front's antitank reserve;
----- - Supplying the Front's operational formations (armies) with ammunition and weapons.

The artillery requirement of the Front is determined by the requirements of first-echelon armies and the number of artillery units required to established the Front's antitank reserve.

The bulk of the artillery required will be needed to break through the enemy's prepared defense, particularly its forward defensive area, which is reinforced by a large number of weapons and which is strengthened by engineer works and fortifications. In this case, the artillery will have to accomplish a wide range of tasks connected with the simultaneous destruction and neutralization of enemy targets located within range.

To determine the requirement of the armies in artillery in each army's zone, the number of targets located in the enemy's forward defensive area that are to be destroyed simultaneously during the preparatory fire should be calculated, and then the number of such targets that will be engaged by the air forces should be deducted from the whole sum. For the destruction of remaining targets, the required number of artillery units is determined on the basis of norms defined for neutralizing typical targets.

Further, the number of the army's artillery pieces participating in the preparatory fire are deducted from the number determined by the above-mentioned calculations. The balance will be the number of artillery pieces the army should be reinforced with.

The total requirement of the armies in artillery will constitute the requirement of the Front for the same. The second-echelon army is reinforced by artillery when it is committed into combat, in this case, by the commitment of a number of the supreme command's artillery that had been attached to first-echelon armies but is detached from them and placed under the command of the newly-committed second-echelon army. Therefore, the requirement of a second-echelon army in artillery is not considered in calculating the Front's total requirement in artillery.

In the absence of concrete information about enemy targets, or in peacetime, the amount of required artillery in a Front is calculated on the basis of 20-25 km of front, which is the width of an enemy division's defensive area. Across such a frontage, 90-100 pieces of artillery per kilometer of front, (against Dutch divisions) or 100-120 pieces per one kilometer of front (against US divisions) is considered as the required number of artillery pieces for the army (20-25 km X 90-100 or 100-120).

In the penetration area, not only the artillery units of the divisions actually conducting the penetration are employed, but also the army's artillery, and in favorable conditions, even the artillery of the second-echelon army as well.
The employment of the second-echelon army in preparatory fire is not desirable, since after the preparatory fire, their return journey to a distance of 200-300 km is very difficult. The employment of artillery units of other first-echelon divisions operating elsewhere should also be avoided, because by employing them, their parent divisions remain without artillery and maneuver across the front is not easy in combat situations. In some cases only the rocket artillery (BM-21) of the divisions operating on the flanks of the penetration area can be employed, since they are considered mobile artillery units.

For the penetration of the enemy's defense by two divisions on seven to eight kilometers of frontage 700-800 guns and mortars are required. Therefore, if three armies operate as the Front's first-echelon forces, then 2,100-2,400 guns and mortars will be required.

The following number of artillery pieces will be available in the penetration area by counting the army's organic artillery:
------ Organic artillery units of two first-echelon motorized rifle divisions: 126 + 126=252 pieces
----- - Army artillery brigade=72 pieces - Second-echelon division's artillery regiment and rocket artillery battlion:=72 pieces
----- Total=396 pieces Therefore the army should be reinforced via attachments with 300-400 additional guns and mortars, or one-and-a-half artillery divisions (one artillery division and 246 guns and mortars).
The Front requirement in artillery is calculated by adding up the armies' requirments. The required number of artillery can be decreased to some extent by prolongation of the preparatory fire, the employment of larger numbers of aircraft and tanks, and decreasing the frontage of the penetration area. The Front should have sufficient numbers of artillery units in its composition to allow it to successfully accomplish its assigned missions.
To establish antitank reserves in the Front and in first-ecchelon armies along axes threatened by enemy tanks, two to three of the supreme command's antitank brigades are required. One to two such brigades will establish the Front's antitank reserve which can cover, in cooperation with the army's first-echelon large units, an area 15-30 km wide against enemy tanks, can repel the counterattack of one to two enemy armored divisions, or can reestablish the antitank reserves for one to two armies that have exhaused their own antitank reserves. The distribution of artillery and the establishment of its grouping are effected in accordance with the concept and the conditions of conducting a Front's offensive operation.

In the Front an antitank reserve is only estalished. This includes one to two antitank brigades, as well as some tank and engineer units. The first-echelon army should be reinforced by one artillery division, and when operating along tank-threatened axes, it should also be reinforced by two to three antitank battalions.

The tank army, not having organic army artillery, is primarily reinforced by long-range artillery. But if the tank army has organic army artillery, then it is reinforced by rocket artillery units.

In armies and divisions the artillery grouping is organized by organic and attached artillery in accordance with their missions and the nature of their operation. Efforts should be made to ensure freedom of action of divisions and regiments in accomplishing their assigned missions. Divisions in the main attack should each be reinforced by four to five artillery battalions and other divisions by one to three artillery battalions each.

In order to provide the army commander with a separate artillery grouping to influence the course of the operaiton, particularly when two armies are conducting penetrations adjoining flanks, the army's artillery group is composed of four to five long-range artillery battalions. Such groups support the actions of the divisions, particularly those in the main attack.

The basic tasks of the army's artillery group are: the destruction of the enemy's nuclear delivery means; destruction of its artillery and its immediate reserves; and supporting divisions in the main attack.

When an army operates on a wide front, the establishment or maintainence of an army artillery group is not desirable; in this case the artillery units normally included in the group are allocated to first- or second-echelon divisions. The antitank reserves are established from Front level down to regimental level.

The regimental artillery group is composed of three to four artillery battalions. It is employed to support the regiment directly, to fight enemy mortars, and sometimes to destroy enemy artillery. Part of it can be assigned as support artillery to first-echelon battalions and might be placed under their command after the seizure of the enemy's battalion defensive areas.

The division artillery group is composed of four to six artillery battalions, mainly rocket artillery. it is employed to fight the enemy's nuclear delivery means, to destroy its artillery and reserves, and also to reinforce regimental artillery groups. A number of artillery battalions from the division artillery are assigned to support first-echelon regiments.

Artillery groups in second-echelon divisions and regiments are established only when they are committed into combat. The army's artillery group is composed of eight to ten artillery battalions. It is employed to fight enemy nuclear delivery means, its artillery, to destroy enemy reserves, to interrupt the enemy's command and control system, and to reinforce first-echelon divisions. The army artillery group can be divided into subgroups, the number of which is determined by the number of divisions operating in the main attack.