Self-propelled artillery
Overview
 
Self-propelled artillery (also called mobile artillery or locomotive artillery) vehicles are combat vehicle
Combat vehicle
A combat vehicle, also known as a ground combat vehicle, is a self-propelled, weaponized military vehicle used for combat operations. Combat vehicles can be wheeled or tracked.- Automation :...

s armed with artillery
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...

. Within the term are covered self-propelled gun
Self-propelled gun
A self-propelled gun is form of self-propelled artillery, and in modern use is usually used to refer to artillery pieces such as howitzers....

s (or howitzer
Howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

s) and rocket artillery
Rocket artillery
Rocket artillery is a type of artillery equipped with rocket launchers instead of conventional guns or mortars.Types of rocket artillery pieces include multiple rocket launchers.-History:...

. They are high mobility vehicles, usually based on caterpillar track
Caterpillar track
Continuous tracks or caterpillar tracks are a system of vehicle propulsion in which modular metal plates linked into a continuous band are driven by two or more wheels...

 carrying either a large howitzer
Howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

 or other field gun or alternatively a mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

 or some form of rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 or missile launcher. They are usually used for long-range indirect bombardment
Bombardment
A bombardment is an attack by artillery fire directed against fortifications, troops or towns and buildings.Prior to World War I the term term was only applied to the bombardment of defenceless or undefended objects, houses, public buildings, it was only loosely employed to describe artillery...

 support on the battlefield.

In the past, self-propelled artillery has included direct-fire vehicles such as assault gun
Assault gun
An assault gun is a gun or howitzer mounted on a motor vehicle or armored chassis, designed for use in the direct fire role in support of infantry when attacking other infantry or fortified positions....

s and tank destroyer
Tank destroyer
A tank destroyer is a type of armored fighting vehicle armed with a gun or missile launcher, and is designed specifically to engage enemy armored vehicles...

s.
Encyclopedia
Self-propelled artillery (also called mobile artillery or locomotive artillery) vehicles are combat vehicle
Combat vehicle
A combat vehicle, also known as a ground combat vehicle, is a self-propelled, weaponized military vehicle used for combat operations. Combat vehicles can be wheeled or tracked.- Automation :...

s armed with artillery
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...

. Within the term are covered self-propelled gun
Self-propelled gun
A self-propelled gun is form of self-propelled artillery, and in modern use is usually used to refer to artillery pieces such as howitzers....

s (or howitzer
Howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

s) and rocket artillery
Rocket artillery
Rocket artillery is a type of artillery equipped with rocket launchers instead of conventional guns or mortars.Types of rocket artillery pieces include multiple rocket launchers.-History:...

. They are high mobility vehicles, usually based on caterpillar track
Caterpillar track
Continuous tracks or caterpillar tracks are a system of vehicle propulsion in which modular metal plates linked into a continuous band are driven by two or more wheels...

 carrying either a large howitzer
Howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

 or other field gun or alternatively a mortar
Mortar (weapon)
A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

 or some form of rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 or missile launcher. They are usually used for long-range indirect bombardment
Bombardment
A bombardment is an attack by artillery fire directed against fortifications, troops or towns and buildings.Prior to World War I the term term was only applied to the bombardment of defenceless or undefended objects, houses, public buildings, it was only loosely employed to describe artillery...

 support on the battlefield.

In the past, self-propelled artillery has included direct-fire vehicles such as assault gun
Assault gun
An assault gun is a gun or howitzer mounted on a motor vehicle or armored chassis, designed for use in the direct fire role in support of infantry when attacking other infantry or fortified positions....

s and tank destroyer
Tank destroyer
A tank destroyer is a type of armored fighting vehicle armed with a gun or missile launcher, and is designed specifically to engage enemy armored vehicles...

s. These have been heavily armoured vehicles, the former providing close fire-support for infantry and the latter acting as specialized anti-tank vehicles.

Modern self-propelled artillery vehicles may superficially resemble tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s, but they are generally lightly armoured, too lightly to survive in direct-fire combat. However, they protect their crews against shrapnel and small arms and are therefore usually included as armoured fighting vehicle
Armoured fighting vehicle
An armoured fighting vehicle is a combat vehicle, protected by strong armour and armed with weapons. AFVs can be wheeled or tracked....

s. Many are equipped with machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s for defense against enemy infantry.

The key advantage of self-propelled over towed artillery is that it can be brought into action much faster. Before the towed artillery can be used, it has to stop, unlimber and set up the guns. To move position, the guns must be limbered up again and brought — usually towed — to the new location. By comparison self-propelled artillery can stop at a chosen location and begin firing almost immediately, then quickly move on to a new position. This ability is very useful in a mobile conflict and particularly on the advance.

Conversely, towed artillery was and remains cheaper to build and maintain. It is also lighter and can be taken to places that self-propelled guns cannot reach, so despite the advantages of the self-propelled artillery, towed guns remain in the arsenal
Arsenal
An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition are made, maintained and repaired, stored, issued to authorized users, or any combination of those...

s of many modern armies.

Precursors

During the Thirty Year's War early 17th century experiments were made with early types of horse artillery
Horse artillery
Horse artillery was a type of light, fast-moving and fast-firing artillery which provided highly mobile fire support to European and American armies from the 17th to the early 20th century...

. Batteries towed light field guns where most or all of the crew rode horses into battle. The gunners were trained to quickly dismount, deploy the guns and provide instant fire support to cavalry, and act as a flexible reserve. The Russian army organized small units of horse artillery that were distributed among their cavalry formations in the early 18th century. While not forming large batteries and employing only lighter 3- and 2-pound guns, they were still effective and inflicted serious losses to Prussian units in the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

. This inspired Frederick the Great
Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II was a King in Prussia and a King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was also Elector of Brandenburg. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel...

 to organize the first regular horse artillery unit in 1759. Other nations quickly realized the capability of the new arm and by the start of French Revolutionary Wars
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

 in 1790s Austria, Hannover, Portugal, Russia, France, Great Britain and Sweden had all formed regular units of horse artillery. The arm was employed throughout the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 and remained in use throughout the entire 19th century and into the first half of the 20th century, when advances in weapons technology finally made it obsolete.

World War I

The British Gun Carrier Mark I
Gun Carrier Mark I
The Gun Carrier Mark I was the first piece of self-propelled artillery ever to be produced, a British development from the First World War.-Development:...

 was the first example of a self propelled gun, fielded in 1917 during 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...

. It was based on the first tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

, the British Mark I and carried a heavy field gun. The gun could either be fired from the vehicle, or removed and set up as normal. In effect the carrier replaced the use of a separate horse team or internal combustion engine powered artillery tractor
Artillery tractor
Artillery tractor is a kind of tractor, also referred to as a gun tractor, a vehicle used to tow artillery pieces of varying weights.-Traction:...

, and allowed a new way for the gun to be used.

Between the wars

The next major advance can be seen in the Birch gun
Birch gun
The Birch Gun was the world's first practical self-propelled artillery gun, built at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich in 1925. The gun was never highly regarded by the British High Command, purely for prejudicial beliefs and political pressure rather than any real lack of ability...

 developed by the British for their motorised warfare experimental brigade (the Experimental Mechanized Force
Experimental Mechanized Force
The Experimental Mechanized Force was a brigade-sized formation of the British Army. It was officially formed on 27 August 1927, and was intended to investigate and develop the techniques and equipment required for armoured warfare. It was renamed the Experimental Armoured Force the following year...

) after the end of the War. This mounted a field gun, capable of both the usual artillery trajectories and high angle anti-aircraft fire
Anti-aircraft warfare
NATO defines air defence as "all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air action." They include ground and air based weapon systems, associated sensor systems, command and control arrangements and passive measures. It may be to protect naval, ground and air forces...

, on a tank style chassis. It was designed and built as part of a general approach to warfare where all arms, infantry and artillery included, would be able to operate over the same terrain as tanks. The Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 also experimented with truck- and tank-mounted artillery, but produced none in quantity.

World War II

At the outbreak of 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...

 virtually all artillery was still being moved around by artillery tractors or horses. While the German Blitzkrieg
Blitzkrieg
For other uses of the word, see: Blitzkrieg Blitzkrieg is an anglicized word describing all-motorised force concentration of tanks, infantry, artillery, combat engineers and air power, concentrating overwhelming force at high speed to break through enemy lines, and, once the lines are broken,...

 doctrine called for combined-arms action, which required fire support for armoured units, during the invasion of Poland and France this was provided by the Luftwaffe using Stuka dive-bombers effectively acting as artillery. Conventional towed howitzers followed.

As the war progressed, most nations developed self-propelled artillery. Some early attempts were often no more than a field gun or anti-tank gun mounted on a truck - a technique known in the British Army as carrying portee
Portee
A portee is a truck that carries a gun on its bed, such that the gun is not affixed permanently to the vehicle, can be quickly unloaded, and can be fired from the truck....

. These were mobile, but lacked protection for the crew. The next step was to mount the guns on a tracked chassis (often that of an obsolete or superseded tank) and provide an armoured superstructure to protect the gun and its crew. Many of the early designs were improvised and the lessons learned led to better designs later in the war. For example, the first British design, "Bishop"
Bishop (artillery)
The Bishop was a British self-propelled artillery vehicle based on the Valentine tank. A result of a rushed attempt to create a self-propelled gun armed with the 25 Pounder gun-howitzer, the vehicle had numerous problems, was produced in limited numbers and was soon replaced by better...

, carried the 25 pdr gun-howitzer
Ordnance QF 25 pounder
The Ordnance QF 25 pounder, or more simply, 25-pounder or 25-pdr, was introduced into service just before World War II, during which it served as the major British field gun/howitzer. It was considered by many to be the best field artillery piece of the war, combining high rates of fire with a...

, but in a mounting that severely limited the gun's performance. It was replaced by the more effective Sexton
Sexton (artillery)
The 25pdr SP, tracked, Sexton was a self-propelled artillery vehicle of World War II, based on an American tank hull design, built by Canada for the British Army, and associated Commonwealth forces, and some of the other Allies....

.

The Germans were particularly prolific with designs. They created many examples of lightly armored self-propelled anti-tank guns using captured French equipment (example Marder I
Marder I
The Marder I "Marten" was a German World War II tank destroyer, armed with the 75 mm anti-tank gun. Most Marder I's were built on the base of the Tracteur Blindé 37L , a French artillery tractor/armoured personnel carrier of which the Germans had acquired more than three hundred after the Fall of...

), their own obsolete light tank chassis (Marder II
Marder II
The Marder II was a German tank destroyer of World War II based on the Panzer II chassis.-History:During the very first days of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Germans were shocked to encounter Soviet T-34 medium tanks and KV heavy tanks...

), or ex-Czech chassis (Marder III
Marder III
The Marder III is the name for a series of World War II German tank destroyers built on the chassis of the Panzer 38. The German word Marder means "marten" in English...

). These led to better protected tank destroyers, built on medium tank chassis such as the Jagdpanzer IV
Jagdpanzer IV
The Jagdpanzer IV, Sd.Kfz. 162, was a tank destroyer based on the Panzer IV chassis built in three main variants. As one of the casemate-style turretless Jagdpanzer designs, it was developed against the wishes of Heinz Guderian, the inspector general of the Panzertruppen, as a replacement for the...

 and Jagdpanther
Jagdpanther
The Jagdpanther was a tank destroyer built by Nazi Germany during World War II based on the chassis of the Panther tank. It entered service late in the war and saw service on the Eastern and Western fronts...

. Some designs were based on existing chassis (such as the Brummbär
Brummbär
The Sturmpanzer IV was a German armoured infantry support gun based on the Panzer IV chassis used in the Second World War. It was used at the Battles of Kursk, Anzio, Normandy, and helped to put down the Warsaw Uprising...

), leftover chassis from cancelled programs (Elefant
Elefant
The Elefant was a "schwerer Panzerjäger" of the German Wehrmacht used in small numbers in World War II. It was built in 1943 under the name Ferdinand, after its designer Ferdinand Porsche. In 1944, after modification of the existing vehicles, they were renamed Elefant...

 and Sturer Emil
Sturer Emil
The 12.8 cm Selbstfahrlafette auf VK3001 "Sturer Emil" was an experimental World War II German self-propelled anti-tank gun. It was based on the Henschel VK3001 chassis and armed with a Rheinmetall 12.8 cm K L/61 gun . This gun could traverse 7° to each side, elevate 10° and depress 15°...

); others were converted from battle-damaged tanks (Sturmtiger
Sturmtiger
Sturmtiger is the common name of a World War II German assault gun built on the Tiger I chassis and armed with a large naval rocket launcher. The official German designation was Sturmmörserwagen 606/4 mit 38 cm RW 61. Its primary task was to provide heavy fire support for infantry units...

).

The Soviets experimented with truck-and tank-based self-propelled weapons, producing a few Komsomoletz tractor-mounted 57-mm ZiS-2
ZiS-2
The ZiS-2 was a Soviet 57-mm anti-tank gun used during World War II. The ZiS-4 was a version of the gun meant to be installed in tanks. ZiS stands for Zavod imeni Stalina , the official title of Artillery Factory No...

 guns early in the war. By 1943 they produced the SU-85
SU-85
The SU-85 was a Soviet self-propelled gun used during World War II, based on the chassis of the T-34 medium tank. Earlier Soviet self-propelled guns were meant to serve as either assault guns, such as the SU-122, or as mobile anti-tank weapons; the SU-85 fell into the latter category...

, and by late 1944 the SU-100
SU-100
The SU-100 was a Soviet tank destroyer. It was used extensively during the last year of World War II and saw service for many years afterwards with the armies of Soviet allies around the world.- Development :...

, which mounted powerful guns on modern chassis with full armour protection. These had the advantage of being relatively cheap to build and mounting a larger gun compared to the conventional tank they were derived from, but at the expense of flexibility.

Heavily armoured assault gun
Assault gun
An assault gun is a gun or howitzer mounted on a motor vehicle or armored chassis, designed for use in the direct fire role in support of infantry when attacking other infantry or fortified positions....

s, were designed to provide direct-fire support to infantry in the face of enemy defenses. Although often similar to tank destroyers, they carried larger caliber guns with weaker anti-armor performance but capable of firing powerful HE projectiles. The German StuH 42 and the Soviet ISU-152
ISU-152
ISU-152 was a Soviet multirole fully enclosed and armored self-propelled gun developed and used during World War II, with a subsequent use, mainly in the Soviet military, till the 1970s.-History:...

 are good examples of this type of self-propelled artillery.

All major nations developed self-propelled artillery which would be able to provide indirect support while keeping pace with advancing armoured formations. These were usually lightly armoured vehicles with open-topped hull, US M7 Priest
M7 Priest
The 105 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage M7 was an American self-propelled artillery vehicle produced during World War II. It was given the official service name 105 mm Self Propelled Gun, Priest by the British Army, due to the pulpit-like machine gun ring, and following on from the Bishop and...

, British Sexton (25 pdr)
Sexton (artillery)
The 25pdr SP, tracked, Sexton was a self-propelled artillery vehicle of World War II, based on an American tank hull design, built by Canada for the British Army, and associated Commonwealth forces, and some of the other Allies....

 and German Wespe
Wespe
The SdKfz 124 Wespe , also known as Leichte Feldhaubitze 18 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II , was a German self-propelled artillery vehicle developed and used during the Second World War...

 and Hummel
Hummel (artillery)
The Hummel was a self-propelled artillery gun based on the Geschützwagen III/IV chassis, armed with a 15 cm howitzer. It was used by the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War from late 1942 until the end of the war....

 being typical examples. A different route was chosen by the Soviets, who didn't develop a specialized indirect fire vehicle, but following a tradition of dual-purpose towed artillery, built a series of versatile assault guns with indirect fire capabilities (example ISU-152
ISU-152
ISU-152 was a Soviet multirole fully enclosed and armored self-propelled gun developed and used during World War II, with a subsequent use, mainly in the Soviet military, till the 1970s.-History:...

). But probably the most important breakthrough was the development of the famous Soviet Katyusha self-propelled multiple rocket launcher
Multiple rocket launcher
A multiple rocket launcher is a type of unguided rocket artillery system. Like other rocket artillery, multiple rocket launchers are less accurate and have a much lower rate of fire than batteries of traditional artillery guns...

s which were unarmored trucks with a simple rocket rack on the back, a cheap and crushingly effective weapon.

After the end of 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...

, the assault gun fell from use with a general trend towards a single heavy gun-equipped vehicle, the main battle tank
Main battle tank
A main battle tank , also known as a battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the heavy direct fire role of many modern armies. They were originally conceived to replace the light, medium, heavy and super-heavy tanks. Development was spurred onwards in the Cold War with the development...

. Self-propelled indirect-fire artillery remained important and continued to develop alongside the general purpose field gun.

Mortars

Many vehicles have used ancillary smoke mortars for local defense. Some vehicles are mortar carrier
Mortar carrier
A mortar carrier, also known as a self-propelled mortar, is a self-propelled artillery vehicle carrying a mortar as it's primary weapon. Mortar carriers cannot be fired while on the move and some must be dismounted to fire.In U.S...

s and carry a mortar as a primary weapon. Vehicles with a mortar as a primary weapon that is mounted to be fired within the vehicle include the U.S. M4
M2 Half Track Car
The M-2 Half Track was an armored vehicle used by the United States during World War II.-History:The half-track design had been evaluated by the US Ordnance department using Citroën-Kégresse vehicles...

 half-track. Tanks such as the Israeli Makmat
Postwar Sherman tanks
Sherman tanks saw extensive use around the world after World War II. This article catalogues foreign post–World War II use and conversions of Sherman tanks and variants based on the Sherman chassis.-US foreign aid variants:...

 on the M4 Sherman
M4 Sherman
The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease...

 tank chassis have also mounted mortars.

The Russian army
Russian Ground Forces
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...

 uses a 2S4 Tyulpan
2S4 Tyulpan
The 2S4 Tyulpan is a Soviet self-propelled mortar. "2S4" is its GRAU designation.It was identified for the first time in 1975 in the Soviet army and so was called M-1975 by NATO , whereas its official designation is SM-240...

(Tulipin) self-propelled 240 mm heavy mortar. Patria Hägglunds, a joint venture between Finnish Patria
Patria (company)
Patria is a Finnish company which produces a wide range of defence, aviation and aerospace technology. It carries on the firearms tradition of Valtion Kivääritehdas and the aerospace tradition of Valtion lentokonetehdas.-Patria Aviation:* NH90* Mini-UAVs...

 and Swedish BAE Systems Hägglunds manufactures AMOS
AMOS
AMOS or Advanced Mortar System is a 120 mm automatic twin barrelled, breech loaded mortar turret. AMOS has been fitted to a wide range of armoured vehicles such as the Sisu Pasi, Patria AMV, Combat Vehicle 90 or Combat Boat 90....

 (Advanced Mortar System) which is a 120 mm automatic twin barrelled, breech loaded mortar turret.

Howitzers and guns

Self-propelled artillery remains important in the equipment of many modern armies. It saw a significant role throughout the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 era conflicts and in the recent Gulf Wars.

Modern SP artillery is highly digitized with the ability to self survey firing positions using systems such as GPS
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 and inertial navigation system
Inertial navigation system
An inertial navigation system is a navigation aid that uses a computer, motion sensors and rotation sensors to continuously calculate via dead reckoning the position, orientation, and velocity of a moving object without the need for external references...

s. This, in conjunction with digital fire control/ballistic computers and digital communications, allows individual guns to disperse over a wide area and still deliver rounds on target simultaneously with the other guns in their battery.
These capabilities also increase survivability many fold as modern SP artillery can displace and avoid counterbattery fire much more quickly and effectively and if desired more frequently than previously possible. In conjunction with modern logistic systems (where the SP gun's systems can track and report on ammunition consumption and levels) with similar navigation systems and palletized load dropping/lifting capabilities mean that the rapid displacement can occur without significant disruption to actually firing missions as it is possible for the ammunition to keep up with the guns.

A modern battery of six guns, each firing 43 kg projectiles with a burst firing speed of four rounds per minute, can deliver over a metric tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

 of ordnance per minute for up to four minutes. This is an immense weight of fire which can be delivered with very high accuracy.

One example of the increased firepower provided by modern mobile howitzers is the latest version, the G6-52, of the 155 mm G6 howitzer
G6 howitzer
The G6 self-propelled howitzer is a South African artillery piece, developed around the ordnance of the G5 howitzer. It is one of the most powerful self-propelled guns on a wheeled chassis....

. It can fire up to 6 rounds in quick succession which will land nearly simultaneously. This is achieved by firing the shells at different trajectories so that the first round has the longest flight time and the last round the shortest. The necessary rapid reloading is made possible by an automated ammunition feed system.

Rockets and missiles

Rockets have greater ranges and carry much more complex "shells"
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...

 than guns since there is less of a restriction on size (calibre). The MLRS can be used to saturate a large area with sub-munitions.

See also

  • List of artillery
  • Howitzer
    Howitzer
    A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

  • Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon
    Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon
    An anti-aircraft vehicle, also known as a self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon or self-propelled air defense system , is a mobile vehicle with a dedicated anti-aircraft capability...

  • Self-propelled gun
    Self-propelled gun
    A self-propelled gun is form of self-propelled artillery, and in modern use is usually used to refer to artillery pieces such as howitzers....

  • G-numbers

External links

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