TACTICS OF FIELD ARTILLERY.
The artillery is the arm of destruction, and, on account of its great moral effect and the fact that it can reach troops in every part of the field, in all kinds of ground, and behind all artificial field cover, it is essentially the arm for preparing for the attack, demoralizing the enemy, and facilitating the work of the other arms. The use of artillery in masses is the great feature of a modern battle, and this use results from the long range of the guns, which enables them to do in one position that which formerly required a number. Its mass action begins the battle, prepares it, supports the action of the other arms, and ends it, and as an arm of pur suit artillery ranks with cavalry. The disad vantages of artillery are that it is tied for a considerable period to a particular position, and cannot act alone, consequently it is always an auxiliary arm. Moreover, it is cumbersome in its movement and defenseless when moving. It is also expensive and difficult to train. Leaving out of consideration the artillery of the seacoast and that used in the attack and defense of land fortifications, which have a tactics of their own, that is treated elsewhere (see COAST DEFENSE and FORTIFICATIONS, ATTACK AND DEFENSE OF), the artillery taken along by the field army may be divided into light artillery and heavy artillery, the former comprising field, horse, and mountain batteries, the latter guns of position. The field batteries include howitzer and mortar batteries for curved or high-angle fire. The formations of the artillery of practical use in the field are simply a formation for going into battery, and the formation in battery, ready for firing. To train the cannoneer for his arduous work under enormous strain, the greatest precision in accu racy in drill must be insisted upon, for the numerous duties of a cannoneer (setting the fuze accurately, also the sight for the range as well as deviation ordered, and the use of the trail in pointing), under a fire, which may burst shells near the battery as often as one a second from each of the enemy's batteries, require the high est order of discipline. Moreover, to regulate the fire properly, each shot most be observed, in order to correct fuze-setting and sight. All this demands a formation of the battery in a small space, so that the men may be directly under the eyes of their superiors, and the batteries must be able to move easily, under cover if pos sible-, to their positions. Beyond the range of firearms the artillery can move in column of platoons, but within that zone it apears only in the open order (in line at full intervals) or in column of sections. Firing artillery always stands in the open order (in battery), and this formation in open order is also the best for ad vancing into position, where it can be used, but the column of sections will be more generally applicable in coming into position.
The greater range of artillery naturally makes it the arm to open the battle, and the desire to rapidly overpower the enemy's artillery, in order that it may take under fire the point selected for attack by the infantry, or, on the defensive, the enemy's infantry during the attack (the real duty of the artillery), as naturally leads to the accumulation of the artillery in masses. The
support of the infantry attack is the true pur pose and the real duty of the artillery, and everything else is only a means to this end. Consequently, the object which the commander in-chief has in view determines the time, place, and strength in which the artillery is first placed in position, and he also must give the orders therefor. The artillery should, of course, en deavor to utilize its long range, and if possible come into position beyond the range of the enemy's infantry fire, but since its main duty is to support the infantry, then, in order to give the latter prompt and effective aid, it must not hesitate to enter the zone of infantry fire, if required, because only when the infantry is beaten is the battle lost. On the other hand, it is the duty of the neighboring troops of other arms to protect the artillery against in fantry fire. This does not, however, relieve the artillery from the duty of reconnoitring the ground, especially on the flanks, and artillery scouts or patrols (under energetic officers or non-commissioned officers) have become a neces sity on the battlefield. The artillery, once in position, remains there, the losses being made good from the reserve, the ammunition train, and finally the drivers, while ammunition when exhausted can only be awaited. The battery is never relieved, but constantly strengthened and supported from the rear. Before occupying a position the ground must be carefully recon noitred, and in selecting positions the principal condition is effective action, hence the target should be plainly visible; but more than that, a clear field of view is desirable because other targets may appear from time to time. This indicates that a line of heights is most suitable. Of course, in many cases some of the batteries will not be able to see the target, and when the enemy's artillery is superior a hidden position may be preferred; in these cases indirect fire must be used, but the problem of overpowering the enemy's artillery is thereby rendered very dif ficult. As to the distance from the enemy, it can only be stated "as near as possible," remem bering that beyond 3200 yards shrapnel is not always effective, and observation of fire extremely difficult; moreover, the enemy's fire determines the inferior limit of a position. Nevertheless, effect is more important than corer; conse quently, if artillery finds that its fire from a good covered position is not effective, it must enter the danger zone. The great masses accu mulated on battlefields to-day limit the choice of position very much, and in most cases the problem will be less the selection of a position than making the best use of a given position.