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Field Artillery and the Combined Arms Team: A Case for the Continued Relevance of American Fire Support

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,23 May 2015

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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As US Army units begin conducting decisive action training in combat training centers, they must strengthen core field artillery proficiencies and relearn how to employ artillery successfully as part of a combined arms team in an expeditionary environment. To do so requires an appreciation of the field artillery fire support systems unique capability and its continued importance for future combat operations. Following World War I, US Army artillery officers developed the modern artillery doctrine and organization that remains relatively unchanged to this day. This doctrine developed from the lessons learned of the Great War and the ingenuity of the interwar period, and earned validation through war hardening and proper application in operations such as the Kasserine Pass battles and Operation Husky during 1943 of World War II. In March 2002 during the Battle of Shah-I-Kot in Operation Anaconda, operational planners sought to replace field artillery with airpower and mortars rather than employ it as an essential member of the combined arms team. This decision led to fateful results in the opening days of the operation. In future operations, the US military must not leave the artillery at home-station, or it will risk losing the ability to mass fires effectively, understand the operational environment, continually seek positions of advantage, and strive for simultaneous and complimentary effects.

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