Barrage (artillery)
A barrage is a line or barrier of exploding artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

Shell (projectile)
A shell is a payload-carrying projectile, which, as opposed to shot, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage sometimes includes large solid projectiles properly termed shot . Solid shot may contain a pyrotechnic compound if a tracer or spotting charge is used...

, created by the co-ordinated aiming of a large number of guns
Güns or Guens may refer to:* Kőszeg, Hungary * Kőszeg Mountains, Hungary * Akiva Güns , birth name of Akiva Eger, a Hungarian-Polish rabbi- See also :* Guns * Gün, a surname...

 firing continuously. Its purpose is to deny or hamper enemy passage through the line of the barrage, to attack a linear position such as a line of trenches
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 or (as a creeping or rolling barrage) to neutralize the enemy in the path of an advance by friendly troops. It contrasts with a concentration, in which all the guns aim at the same small area.

The barrage was developed by the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and by late 1916 the creeping barrage was the standard means of deploying artillery to support an infantry attack, with the infantry following the advancing barrage as closely as possible. Its employment in this way recognised the importance of artillery fire in neutralising, rather than destroying, the enemy. It was found that a creeping barrage immediately followed by the infantry assault could be far more effective than weeks of preliminary bombardment.

Barrages remained in use in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and later, but only as one of a variety of artillery tactics made possible by improvements in predicted fire
Predicted fire
Predicted fire is a tactical technique for the use of artillery, enabling it to fire for effect without alerting the enemy with ranging shots or a lengthy preliminary bombardment...

, target location and communications.


The barrage was developed during World War I. Artillery usually fired over open sights at visible targets, until the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 when indirect fire
Indirect fire
Indirect fire means aiming and firing a projectile in a high trajectory without relying on a direct line of sight between the gun and its target, as in the case of direct fire...

 started to be used. The largest unit accustomed to firing at a single target was the regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 or brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

, of up to about 25 guns. Trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 led to a necessity for indirect firing through the use of observers, more sophisticated artillery fire plans and an increasingly scientific approach to gunnery. Gunners had to use increasingly complicated calculations to lay the guns. Individual guns were aimed so that their fall of shot was co-ordinated with others to form a pattern; in the case of a barrage, the pattern was a line. The term “barrage” was first used in English in the orders for the battle of Neuve Chapelle
Battle of Neuve Chapelle
The Battles of Neuve Chapelle and Artois was a battle in the First World War. It was a British offensive in the Artois region and broke through at Neuve-Chapelle but they were unable to exploit the advantage.The battle began on 10 March 1915...

 in 1915.

A lifting barrage was a development in which the barrage lifted periodically to a target further back, such as a second line of trenches. This was countered by the defenders infiltrating troops and machine guns into no-man's land or the areas between their own trench lines, so it was found necessary to comb the entire area of the advance with artillery fire. A creeping barrage (also called a walking barrage) was a barrage that lifted in small increments, perhaps 50 yards, so that it moved forward slowly, keeping pace with the infantry.

Rolling barrage

A rolling barrage was more sophisticated still, with two or more curtains of fire, one behind the other, so that when the batteries firing the rearmost pattern ceased fire to lift the barrage, there was no pause or gap in the barrage. Those batteries lifted their fire to become the forward edge of the barrage, and the pattern was repeated to keep the barrage rolling forward without ever ceasing.

Initially the lifts of the creeping barrage were pre-programmed; that gave rise to problems when the infantry attack did not keep up with the barrage, or was slowed down by it. By the end of World War I the technique of a creeping barrage had been perfected and could be made to move in complicated ways, with the barrage wheeling or even combing back and forth across the same ground to catch the defenders re-emerging after the barrage had passed, but it was still governed by a timetable. By World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, as techniques and communications improved, the barrage lifts could be ordered by forward observers or by the infantry themselves. The British developed the "quick barrage", a standardized barrage pattern that could be ordered by radio without advance plotting of the fireplan on a map.

Up to 10% were expected to be killed or wounded by short-falling shells when it was first used.

Standing and box barrages

A standing barrage was static. A standing barrage might be defensive, to inhibit the movement of enemy troops and break up attacks. A creeping barrage could be made to stand on a static line for a time before it moved on, perhaps waiting for the infantry to form up behind it, or to catch up, or perhaps it would stand on the line of known enemy defences, to do more damage and sap enemy morale. The fireplan for the Battle of Messines
Battle of Messines
The Battle of Messines was a battle of the Western front of the First World War. It began on 7 June 1917 when the British Second Army under the command of General Herbert Plumer launched an offensive near the village of Mesen in West Flanders, Belgium...

 on 17 June 1917 called for most of the 18-pounder field guns
Ordnance QF 18 pounder
The Ordnance QF 18 pounder, or simply 18-pounder Gun, was the standard British Army field gun of the World War I era. It formed the backbone of the Royal Field Artillery during the war, and was produced in large numbers. It was also used by British and Commonwealth Forces in all the main theatres,...

 to fire a creeping barrage of shrapnel immediately ahead of the advance, while the other field guns and 4.5 inch howitzers
QF 4.5 inch Howitzer
The Ordnance QF 4.5 inch Howitzer was the standard British Empire field howitzer of the First World War era. It replaced the BL 5 inch Howitzer and equipped some 25% of the field artillery. It entered service in 1910 and remained in service through the interwar period and was last used in...

 fired a standing barrage some 700 yards (640.1 m) further ahead.

The standing barrage was aligned with known German positions, and lifted to the next target when the advance reached within 400 yards (365.8 m) of it. As each objective was taken by the infantry, the creeping barrage would pause 150 to 300 yd (137.2 to 274.3 m) ahead of them and become a standing barrage, protecting the newly-gained positions from counterattack while the infantry consolidated. During this time the pace of fire slackened to one round per gun a minute, enabling the guns and the crews a respite, before resuming full intensity as the barrage moved on. The heavy and super-heavy artillery fired on German rear areas, and over 700 machine guns participated in the barrage plan using indirect fire over the heads of their own troops.

In a box barrage three or four barrages formed a box—or more often three sides of a box—around a position to isolate it. Standing or box barrages were often used for Defensive Fire tasks, in which the barrage was pre-registered in a position agreed with the defending infantry commander, to be called down in the event of an enemy attack on his positions. A box barrage could also be used to prevent the enemy from reinforcing a position to be attacked. In a trench raid of March 1917, 1st Battalion the Buffs were supported first by a creeping barrage, then by a box barrage once they were in the enemy trenches, to prevent German reinforcement or counterattack, plus dummy bombardments on other sections of the line to confuse the enemy.

Advantages and drawbacks

It was soon appreciated how important it was for the attacking troops to follow the barrage closely (leaning on the barrage), without allowing time for the defenders to recover from the shock of bombardment and emerge from their dug-outs; the French reckoned they should be suffering 10% of their casualties from their own artillery if they were close enough to the barrage. Ideally the attackers should be into the enemy positions before the defenders have time to recover their composure after the terror of an intense bombardment, emerge from shelters and man their firing positions. On the first day of the Somme, and in the later French Nivelle Offensive
Nivelle offensive
The Nivelle Offensive was a 1917 French attack on the Western Front in the First World War. Promised as the assault that would end the war within 48 hours, with casualties expected of around 10,000 men, it failed on both counts. It was a three-stage plan:...

 on the Chemin des Dames
Chemin des Dames
In France, the Chemin des Dames is part of the D18 and runs east and west in the département of Aisne, between in the west, the Route Nationale 2, and in the east, the D1044 at Corbeny. It is some thirty kilometres long and runs along a ridge between the valleys of the rivers Aisne and Ailette...

, the barrage outpaced the infantry, allowing the defenders to recover and emerge from their dug-outs, with disastrous results for the attackers. By the end of World War I it was realised that the important effect of the barrage was to demoralise and suppress the enemy, rather than physical destruction; a short, intense bombardment immediately followed by infantry assault was more effective than the weeks of grinding bombardment used in 1916.

A creeping barrage could maintain the element of surprise, with the guns opening fire only shortly before the assault troops moved off. It was useful when enemy positions had not been thoroughly reconnoitered, as it did not depend on identifying individual targets in advance. On the other hand it was wasteful of ammunition and guns, as much of the fire would inevitably fall on ground containing no enemy.

The World War I barrage with programmed lifts had the effect of confining the infantry advance to the artillery schedule, and of requiring the use of linear tactics, restricting infantry manoeuvre. Infiltration tactics later proved more effective than advancing in rigid lines, and the infiltration phase of German stormtrooper
Stormtroopers were specialist soldiers of the German Army in World War I. In the last years of the war, Stoßtruppen were trained to fight with "infiltration tactics", part of the Germans' new method of attack on enemy trenches...

 attacks could not use a creeping barrage; but the opening phase of Operation Michael
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

 was still supported by a massive creeping barrage, containing a heavy mix of gas shells. The importance of the barrage was such that traditional infantry tactics, such as reliance on the infantry's own firepower to support its movement, were sometimes forgotten.

In the featureless Western Desert in World War II, one benefit of the barrage was that it enabled the infantry to conform their line to the barrage, ensuring that their line of advance was correct. By 1943 the barrage was considered to dissipate firepower and to constrain the infantry into advancing in rigid lines.
A barrage could severely churn up the ground, especially in soft going, and impede the progress of the attacking troops.

World War I

A creeping barrage was first used in a small section of the line at the battle of Loos
Battle of Loos
The Battle of Loos was one of the major British offensives mounted on the Western Front in 1915 during World War I. It marked the first time the British used poison gas during the war, and is also famous for the fact that it witnessed the first large-scale use of 'new' or Kitchener's Army...

, but the infantry did not advance behind it. The first day of the battle of the Somme saw the first attempt at a large-scale creeping barrage which had been planned in anticipation of the infantry's anticipated ability to advance relatively unhampered across the battlefield due to a heavy, week long preparatory bombardment. For example, on XV Corps front, the barrage was programmed to lift 50 yards (45.7 m) every minute. Complications arose however in British protocols to prevent friendly-fire casualties which at the time dictated that shellfire was to be kept over one hundred yards away from their own uncovered infantry. In many cases no-man's land was narrower than the allowable 'safe' distance and as such the barrage did not protect the men as they went 'over the top' and advanced towards the German trenches.

Further, as the British infantry was slowed far beyond the expected pace of advance across no-man's land, all along the Somme front it proved impossible for the infantry to keep up with the pace of the barrage.
However, the tactic was further refined as the Battle of the Somme wore on and by September 1916 the creeping barrage became a standard tactic for infantry attacks, and soon spread to the French army, enabling the French recapture of Fort Vaux
Fort Vaux
Fort Vaux, located in Vaux-Devant-Damloup, Meuse, France, became the second Fort to fall in the Battle of Verdun. The first fort to fall had been Fort Douaumont which was virtually undefended and had been captured by a small German raiding party in February 1916 . Fort de Vaux , on the other hand ,...

 at Verdun
Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February – 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France...

 in November 1916. By the later stages of the Battle of the Somme, the British had improved the accuracy of and confidence in their artillery fire and had learned the lessons of keeping infantry close to the barrage: the BEF circulated an aerial observer's report commending a "most perfect wall of fire" followed up within 50 yards (45.7 m) by the infantry of 50th Division, enabling them to take a village with little opposition. A report said "Experience has shown that it is far better to risk a few casualties from an occasional short round from our own artillery than to suffer the many casualties which occur when the bombardment is not closely followed up".
At first, British creeping barrages consisted only of shrapnel shells, but an equal mix of HE was soon added, in some cases later supplemented by smoke shells. The creeping barrage would advance at a rate of 100 yards every one to six minutes, depending on terrain and conditions; although six minutes was found to be too slow. By the Battle of Arras
Battle of Arras (1917)
The Battle of Arras was a British offensive during the First World War. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British, Canadian, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and Australian troops attacked German trenches near the French city of Arras on the Western Front....

 in 1917 the creeping barrage was huge and complex, with five or six lines of fire covering a depth of 2000 yards (1,828.8 m) ahead of the infantry. Predicted fire
Predicted fire
Predicted fire is a tactical technique for the use of artillery, enabling it to fire for effect without alerting the enemy with ranging shots or a lengthy preliminary bombardment...

 was used, so that the barrage opened without preliminary target registration shots.

Back barrages were fired, in which rearmost lines of the barrage reversed direction, and machine gun barrages were introduced. False barrages attempted to deceive the enemy about Allied intentions or to force him to reveal his positions.

The creeping barrage was used to great effect in the Canadian success at Vimy Ridge
Battle of Vimy Ridge
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a military engagement fought primarily as part of the Battle of Arras, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France, during the First World War. The main combatants were the Canadian Corps, of four divisions, against three divisions of the German Sixth Army...

 where the men had been extensively trained to move forward in the 'Vimy Glide' - a 100 yd per three minute pace which kept the infantry directly behind the barrage.

The opening attack of the Battle of Passchendaele was covered by a barrage of shrapnel and HE on a colossal scale, fired by over 3,000 British guns and howitzers: one 18-pounder for every 15 yards (13.7 m) of front, and a heavy howitzer for every 50 yards (45.7 m), with yet more guns in the French sector. The British barrage advanced 100 yards (91.4 m) every four minutes, with the infantry following as close as 50 yards (45.7 m) from the bursting shells. One battery's programme required 45 lifts. As each objective was reached, the barrage settled 500 yards (457.2 m) beyond the new position, combing back and forth to disrupt expected German counter-attacks, while some of the artillery moved forward to support the next phase of the advance.

On the Eastern Front, German Colonel Georg Bruchmüller
Georg Bruchmüller
Georg Bruchmüller , nicknamed Durchbruchmüller, was a German artillery officer who had great influence in the development of modern artillery tactics...

 developed a form of double creeping barrage, with the first line of the barrage consisting of gas shells. His ideas were applied on the Western Front in the Spring Offensive
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

 of 1918.

The day of the lengthy large-scale preliminary barrage had largely passed by the end of World War I, at least in Western nations, with the realisation that best results were achieved by neutralising the enemy rather than attempting his physical destruction, and that short, concentrated bombardments, including creeping barrages, were more effective in neutralising the enemy than extended bombardment. Once open warfare returned after the breaking of the Hindenburg Line
Hindenburg Line
The Hindenburg Line was a vast system of defences in northeastern France during World War I. It was constructed by the Germans during the winter of 1916–17. The line stretched from Lens to beyond Verdun...

 in September 1918 the British fired far fewer creeping barrages, using more lifts and concentrations instead.

Attacks by tanks do not need the same form of artillery support, and the single barrage along the entire front of the advance had even been abandoned by the battle of Cambrai in 1917. More sophisticated fire control enabled infantry to call down artillery fire in direct support, or targeting of identified enemy positions. Nevertheless, barrages remained in use. On 31 August 1918 the attack of the US 32nd Division was preceded by a walking barrage. After first passing over the German line, the barrage returned twice more, attempting to catch the defenders returning to their firing positions from their dugouts, or to keep them underground when the real assault went in.

World War II

The barrage remained in use in World War II, but was no longer the dominant artillery plan. In the absence of the huge set-piece infantry assaults of World War I, barrages were on a smaller scale. For the opening of the battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

, for example, a barrage was considered by Montgomery's planners, but rejected in favour of fierce concentrations on known or suspected targets in turn. Along a 12,000 yard front, 456 guns were considered insufficient for a true creeping barrage (at Neuve Chapelle there had been one gun for every four yards of front). But creeping and rolling barrages were used in some divisional sectors and in later phases of the Alamein battle. For Operation Supercharge on 1–2 November 1942, the attack in the 2nd New Zealand Division sector was preceded by a creeping barrage of 192 guns along a 4,000 yard front, firing on three lines. There was almost one 25-pounder for every 20 yards of front, plus two medium regiments thickening the barrage.

While artillery tactics had been subjected to considerable evolution between the Wars, the British Gunnery School
Royal School of Artillery
The Royal School of Artillery is the principal training establishment for artillery warfare in the British Army. Established in 1915, it is located at Larkhill, on the south edge of Salisbury Plain in the United Kingdom...

 at Larkhill
Larkhill is a garrison town in the civil parish of Durrington, Wiltshire, England. It is a short distance west of Durrington village proper and north of the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge. It is about north of Salisbury....

 developed the most significant techniques for rapidly controlling and coordinating artillery fire. The impact of this was first felt in the Western Desert campaign
Western Desert Campaign
The Western Desert Campaign, also known as the Desert War, was the initial stage of the North African Campaign during the Second World War. The campaign was heavily influenced by the availability of supplies and transport. The ability of the Allied forces, operating from besieged Malta, to...

. In World War I it had become essential to plot the location of all guns accurately, but the British would now survey in all their guns to one reference point; that made it possible for every artillery piece within range to join a fireplan in a very few minutes (provided they were in communications), rather than over several hours or days.

By the fighting in Tunisia
Tunisia Campaign
The Tunisia Campaign was a series of battles that took place in Tunisia during the North African Campaign of the Second World War, between Axis and Allied forces. The Allies consisted of British Imperial Forces, including Polish and Greek contingents, with American and French corps...

, more guns were available and the defenders were more concentrated than in the Western Desert. The artillery plan for the British attack at Wadi Akarit in April 1943 involved no less than eight barrages in three phases ahead of the advances of 50th and 51st Divisions. They included a standing barrage to mark the start line in the dark and enable the infantry to form up in the right alignment; a barrage that wheeled left during the advance; and an on-call creeping barrage. Nevertheless, attacks rarely relied solely on a barrage for artillery support: at Wadi Akarit pre-arranged concentrations on likely targets were called down by observers in the course of the assault.

Nevertheless, it remained in use in the Italian Campaign. In the assault on the Hitler Line
Hitler Line
The Hitler Line was a German defensive line in central Italy during the Second World War. The strong points of the line were at Aquino and Piedimonte. In May 1944, the line was re-named the Senger Line, after General von Senger und Etterlin, one of the generals commanding Axis forces in the area...

 on 23 May 1944, 810 guns were amassed for the attack of I Canadian Corps
I Canadian Corps
I Canadian Corps was one of the two corps fielded by the Canadian Army during World War II. From December 24, 1940 until the formation of the First Canadian Army in April 1942, there was a single unnumbered Canadian Corps...

. Three hundred of them fired on the first line of a 3,200 yard wide barrage, beginning three minutes before the infantry moved off and lifting at a rate of 100 yards in five minutes. It was due to pause for an hour at the first objective, then lift at 100 yards per three minutes to the further objectives, but the timing was disrupted by heavy resistance and defensive artillery fire. The operation was later criticised for concentrating on too narrow a front, constrained by the need for enough guns to produce a dense barrage.

In the assault crossing of the Senio in 1945, dummy barrages were used to confuse the enemy, either misleading them as to the line of attack or drawing them out of shelters as the barrage passed, expecting an infantry assault, only to catch them with a renewed barrage or air attacks. On Monte Sole, US artillery fired probably its heaviest barrage of the war, 75,000 shells in a half hour to clear the advance of the South Africans.

In Normandy, a creeping barrage fired from 344 guns preceded the opening attacks of 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division in Operation Epsom
Operation Epsom
Operation Epsom, also known as the First Battle of the Odon, was a Second World War British offensive that took place between 26 and 30 June 1944, during the Battle of Normandy...

 on 26 June 1944.

For the opening of Operation Veritable
Operation Veritable
Operation Veritable was a Second World War pincer movement conducted by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's 21st Army Group to clear and occupy the land between the Rhine and Maas rivers. It took place between 8 February and 11 March 1945. It was a part of General Dwight Eisenhower's "broad front"...

, the push to the Rhine, the fire of 1,050 field and heavy guns was supplemented by 850 barrels of pepper-pot barrage: other weapons – mortars, machine guns, tanks, anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft guns and rockets – supplementing the field guns. The true barrage of the British XXX Corps began at 09.20, building in intensity over the next hour, 500 guns shooting at a line 500 yards deep. The barrage included smoke shells to screen the attackers forming up behind the barrage. From 10.30 the barrage was pure high explosive and began to roll forward. A 300 yard lift was made every 12 minutes, the lifts being signalled to the infantry by yellow smoke shells, and the barrage paused for ½ hour at each defensive line. 2,500 shells were fired per km2 per hour until the barrage stopped at 16.30.

The barrage remained in Soviet doctrine in World War II, where the creeping barrage by massed guns was the standard accompaniment to an infantry assault. The Soviet artillery lacked the sophisticated communications nets necessary for more subtle tactics, but had plenty of guns. Some 7,000 guns and mortars were massed for the counterattack at Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

, and huge bombardments remained standard for the rest of the war.

Korean War and after

The barrage continued in use into the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. At the Battle of Pork Chop Hill
Battle of Pork Chop Hill
The Battle of Pork Chop Hill comprises a pair of related Korean War infantry battles during the spring and summer of 1953. These were fought while the U.S. and the Communist Chinese and Koreans negotiated an armistice. In the U.S., they were controversial because of the many soldiers killed for...

, UN forces employed on-call, pre-registered defensive fires called flash fire to defend its outposts, in which artillery laid down a box barrage in a horseshoe
A horseshoe, is a fabricated product, normally made of metal, although sometimes made partially or wholly of modern synthetic materials, designed to protect a horse's hoof from wear and tear. Shoes are attached on the palmar surface of the hooves, usually nailed through the insensitive hoof wall...

-shaped pattern around the outpost. It was still in use in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...


In the 1982 Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

, the assault of 42 Commando
42 Commando
42 Commando Royal Marines is a battalion sized formation of the British Royal Marines and a subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Commander in Chief Fleet....

 Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 on Mount Harriet
Battle of Mount Harriet
The Battle of Mount Harriet was an engagement of the Falklands War, which took place on the night of 11/12 June 1982 between British and Argentine forces. It was one of three battles in a brigade-size operation on the same night.-Forces:...

  was preceded by an accurate walking barrage from supporting artillery, firing some 100 metres ahead of the advancing Marines. Later phases of the attack used a pepperpot barrage, including Milan
MILAN " is French and German for "kite bird") is a European anti-tank guided missile. Design of the MILAN started in 1962. It was ready for trials in 1971, and was accepted for service in 1972. It is a wire guided SACLOS missile, which means the sight of the launch unit has to be aimed at the...

 anti-tank missiles.

Use and misuse of the word

The word barrage, imported from the French for "barrier" around 1915, denotes a particular artillery tactic, and has a very specific meaning in military circles.

Barrage is frequently misused to describe any form of artillery fire of more than one round: On April 29, 2007, Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

 reported “US Launches Barrage in Southern Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

”, but instead of the mass destruction and casualties one would expect from a barrage in a residential area, it appears that about 24 rounds were fired, probably against point targets. Even military historians use it in a non-technical sense, referring to any intense artillery fire.

The word has entered the general language, meaning any intense sequence of words or missiles – such as a barrage of questions.

External links

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