LESSONS LEARNED AND UNLEARNED: U.S. FIELD ARTILLERY SINCE THE END OF WWII
Deveraux, Brennan S.
Moran, Daniel J.
Sheehan, John M.
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This thesis examines the adaptation of U.S. indirect-fire capabilities since 1945, with reference to three potential drivers of military innovation: new technology, combat experience, and external threats. Throughout this period U.S. artillery platforms and munitions—alongside the maneuver forces they were designed to support—have grown in complexity, lethality, accuracy, range, and mobility. Current U.S. artillery munitions nevertheless lag behind those of other modern militaries in important respects, including target-seeking rounds and the destruction of armor. In addition, today’s artillery platforms—towed and self-propelled alike—are too slow for a high-tempo fight. Thus, although capabilities have developed dramatically, in a large-scale combat operation, modern U.S. artillery would likely play a minor role. This thesis examines 70 years of artillery development, and concludes that apart from the immediate pressures of active conflict, external threats are the primary driver of adaptation. Thus, current and future projects are likely to revolve around a singular focus: preparing to combat a peer adversary. In this regard, this thesis offers developmental recommendations to help the artillery branch maintain its hard-won historical position as the King of Battle.
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