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Maneuvering to Mass Fires: How Interwar Field Artillery Developments Enabled the Allies to Blend Maneuver and Firepower to Defeat the Axis Through Combined Arms Operations

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The period between the First and Second World Wars was a time of incredible military advancement, which included significant advancements to the US Armys field artillery component. The interwar period witnessed the birth of the field artillery trinity composed of the forward observer, fire direction center, and gun line. The trinity and advancements associated with it allowed for an unprecedented level of flexibility, responsiveness, and firepower compared to the field artillery of the First World War. These advancements resulted in the US Army shifting to combined arms operations after initial setbacks in North Africa, using the technique of maneuvering to mass fires. This technique emphasized destroying the enemy, to include armored formations, with artillery, rather than with direct fire weapons systems, demonstrating the subordination of maneuver to firepower. This study captures how the US Army developed its artillery during the interwar period, how it employed its artillery during the Second World War, and whether there are any significant shortfalls between interwar and current artillery development and capabilities.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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