The U.S. Army Field Artillery branch traces its origins to 17 November 1775 when the Continental Congress, unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery". The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776. During the 19th Century a total of seven Artillery regiments were formed which contained a mixture of "heavy" artillery companies and "light" artillery batteries. The light artillery batteries took the role of field artillery although they did not use that designation. The seven artillery regiments were designated as regiments of artillery and were not distinguished as being either "coast" or "field" artillery as was the practice in the 20th Century.
In the reorganization of the Army by the Act of 2 February 1901, the seven Artillery regiments were reorganized as the Artillery Corps. The Corps was split into 195 battery-sized units, called companies at the time, of Field Artillery and Coast Artillery. In 1907 the Artillery Corps was reorganized into the Field Artillery and the Coast Artillery Corps. Although presently Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery are separate branches, both inherit the traditions of the Artillery branch.
In 1907, the Field Artillery companies of the Artillery Corps were organized into six Field Artillery regiments. In 1916, as the United States was preparing for its eventual entry into World War I, these six regiments were supplemented by 15 more Field Artillery regiments. During World War I numerous other Field Artillery Regiments were organized in the National Guard and National Army, which were mobilized to supplement the Regular Army.
In 1924 the Army organized the Coast Artillery Corps into regiments. The first seven regiments retained the lineage of the seven Artillery regiments which existed in the 19th Century. The Coast Artillery Corps was disbanded in 1950 and its units were consolidated with the Field Artillery in the Artillery branch. In 1968 the Artillery branch divided into Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery branches with the newly formed 1st through 7th Air Defense Artillery regiments retaining the lineage of the seven 19th Century artillery regiments.
Although the oldest Artillery regiments in the Army are in the Air Defense Artillery branch, this is not necessarily the case for individual units below the regimental level. For example, the 1st Battalion of the 5th Field Artillery traces its lineage to the Alexander Hamilton Battery, formed in 1776, which is the oldest Artillery unit in the active United States Army and is the only Regular Army unit which can trace its lineage to the American Revolution.
The mission of the Field Artillery is to destroy, defeat, or disrupt the enemy with integrated fires to enable maneuver commanders to dominate in unified land operations.
The Field Artillery is one of the Army's combat arms, traditionally one of the three major branches (with Infantry and Armor). It refers to those units that use artillery weapons systems to deliver surface-to-surface long range indirect fire. Indirect fire means that the projectile does not follow the line of sight to the target. Mortars are not field artillery weapons; they are organic to infantry units and are manned by infantry personnel (US Army MOS 11C or USMC 0341).
The term field artillery is to distinguish from the Air Defense Artillery, and historically, from the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps (with the function of coastal defense artillery), a branch which existed from 1901–1950. In 1950, the two branches were unified and called simply Artillery, until Air Defense Artillery was made into a separate branch in 1968. The insignia of the Field Artillery branch is a pair of crossed field guns (19th-century-style cannon) in gold, and dates back to 1834.
Field artillery is called the "King of Battle". Conflicts in the 20th century saw artillery become exponentially more effective as indirect fire methods were introduced immediately prior to World War I. During World War I and World War II, field artillery was the single highest casualty-producing weapons system on any battlefield.
Soldiers from artillery units have often been used as infantry during both the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. While field artillery units have often performed admirably as infantry and accomplishing infantry missions, such use has led to atrophy of essential field artillery specific skills and tasks.
Members of the Field Artillery are referred to as "redlegs" because during the Mexican American War, both Ringgold's Battery and Duncan's Battery were issued uniforms distinguished by scarlet stripes down the legs of their uniform pants, a practice continued through the Civil War and on dress uniforms even after WWI.
Scarlet was established as the Artillery Branch color along with crossed cannon branch insignia in the Regulations of 1833. Branch colors are found on the shoulder straps of officers wearing the blue dress uniform and on branch of service scarves authorized for wear with a variety of uniforms.
Chief of Field Artillery
From 1920 to 1942, the Field Artillery corps was led by a branch chief who held the rank of major general. This was in keeping with the Army's other major branches, including infantry, cavalry, and coast artillery. Each chief was responsible for planning and overseeing execution of training, equipping, and manning within his branch. From 1903 to 1908, one Chief of Artillery oversaw both field artillery and coast artillery. After 1908, one general served as Chief of Coast Artillery. After 1920, the Chief of Coast Artillery was joined by the Chief of Field Artillery. The branch chief positions were eliminated in 1942, and their functions consolidated under the commander of the Army Ground Forces as a way to end inter-branch rivalries and enable synchronized and coordinated activities as part of World War II's combined arms doctrine.
The professional journal of the Field Artillery is published at Fort Sill. Known as the Field Artillery Journal in 1911, it went through many name changes through Field Artillery in 1987. The journal merged with Air Defense Artillery in 2007 to become Fires.
Current weapon systems
The U.S. Army employs five types of field artillery weapon systems:
requirements definition process for new capabilities, such as targeting the new thousand-mile missiles, "streamlining the sensor-shooter link at every echelon"—Col (Promotable) John Rafferty, for a
Strategic Long Range Cannon (SLRC) for a hypersonic projectile (program cancelled in May 2022), a
target capability for the Field Artillery (its howitzers) and Air Defense Artillery (a 500 km missile), and a
According to AFC, the mission of the Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) CFT is to "deliver cutting-edge surface-to-surface (SSM) fires systems that will significantly increase range and effects over currently fielded US and adversary systems."
AFC's five major programs for LRPF are:
The Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program which develops a system capable of firing accurately at targets beyond 70 km as opposed to the M109A7's 30 km current range[b]
The Precision Strike Mission (PrSM) which is a precision-strike guided SSM fired from the M270A1MLRS and M142 HIMARS doubling the present rate-of-fire with two missiles per launch pod[c]
The Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) is a collaborative program between the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) which is planned to become the base of the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) program
The kill chains will take less than 1 minute, from detection of the target, to execution of the fires command; these operations will have the capability to precisely strike "command centers, air defenses, missile batteries, and logistics centers" nearly simultaneously.[d]
The speed of battle damage assessment will depend on the travel time of the munition. This capability depends on the ability of a specialized CFT, Assured precision navigation and timing (APNT) to provide detail.
Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF): Howitzer artillery ranges have doubled, in excess of 60 km (37 mi) , with accuracy within 1 meter of the aimpoint, currently with sufficient accuracy to intercept cruise missiles, as of September 2020, reaching the 43 mile range as of December 2020.
Precision Strike Missiles (PrSMs) can reach in excess of 150 miles, with current 2020 tests[c]
Mid-range capability (MRC) fires can reach in excess of 500 to 1000 miles, using mature Navy missiles
Long-Range Hypersonic Weapons (LRHWs) are to have a range greater than 1725 miles.
The current M109A6 "Paladin" howitzer range is doubled in the M109A7 variant.: minute 3:07  An operational test of components of the Long range cannon was scheduled for 2020. The LRC is complementary to Extended range cannon artillery (ERCA), the M1299 Extended Range Cannon Artillery howitzer. Baseline ERCA is to enter service in 2023. Investigations for ERCA in 2025: rocket-boosted artillery shells: Tests of the Multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) XM30 rocket shell have demonstrated a near-doubling of the range of the munition, using the Tail controlled guided multiple launch rocket system, or TC-G. The TRADOC capability manager (TCM) Field Artillery Brigade - DIVARTY has been named a command position.[e]
An autoloader for ERCA's 95-pound shells is under development at Picatinny Arsenal, to support a sustained firing rate of 10 rounds a minute  A robotic vehicle for carrying the shells is a separate effort at Futures Command's Army Applications Lab.
The Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) is intended to replace the Army Tactical Missile System (MGM-140 ATACMS) in 2023. PrSM flight testing is delayed beyond 2 August 2019, the anticipated date for the expiration of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which set 499 kilometer limits on intermediate-range missiles. (David Sanger and Edward Wong projected that the earliest test of a longer range missile could be a ground-launched version of a Tomahawk cruise missile, followed by a test of a mobile ground launched IRBM with a range of 1800–2500 miles before year-end 2019.) The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was approved on 9 December 2019, which allowed the Pentagon to continue testing such missiles in FY2020. The Lockheed PrSM prototype had its first launch on 10 December 2019 at White Sands Missile Range, in a 150-mile test, and an overhead detonation; the Raytheon PrSM prototype was delayed from its planned November launch, and Raytheon has now withdrawn from the PrSM risk reduction phase. The PrSM's range and accuracy, the interfaces to HIMARS launcher, and test software, met expectations. PrSM passed Milestone B on 1 October 2021. Baseline PrSM is to enter service in 2023; an upgraded version of PrSM, with multi-mode seekers will then be sought.[c]
For targets beyond the PrSM's range, the Army's RCCTO will seek a mid-range missile prototype by 2023, with a reach from 1000 to 2000 miles. Loren Thompson points out that a spectrum of medium-range to long-range weapons will be available to the service by 2023; RCCTO's prototype Mid-Range Capability (MRC) battery will field mature Navy missiles, likely for the Indo-Pacific theater in FY2023. DARPA is developing OpFires, an intermediate-range hypersonic weapon which is shorter-range than the Army's LRHW. DARPA is seeking a role in the armory for OpFires' throttle-able rocket motor, post-2023. DARPA announced in July 2022 it successfully tested its OpFires hypersonic weapon at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) for the first time.The OpFires launch was from a Marine Corps logistics truck. OpFires will "rapidly and precisely engage critical, time-sensitive targets while penetrating modern enemy air defenses", potentially to be launched from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher. These weapons will likely require planning for new Army (or Joint) formations.
The Long range hypersonic weapons (LRHWs) will use precision targeting data against anti-access area denial (A2AD) radars and other critical infrastructure of near-peer competitors by 2023. LRHW does depend on stable funding.
Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) 7.0 is the vehicle for a Multi-domain task force's artillery battery very similar to a THAAD battery: beginning in 2020, these batteries will train for a hypersonic glide vehicle which is common to the Joint forces. The Long range hypersonic weapon (LRHW) glide vehicle is to be launched from transporter erector launchers. Tests of the Common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) to be used by the Army and Navy were meeting expectations in 2020.
In August 2020 the director of Assured precision navigation and timing (APNT) CFT announced tests which integrate the entire fires kill chain, from initial detection to final destruction. William B. Nelson announced the flow of satellite data from the European theater (Germany), and AI processing of AFATDS targeting data to the fires units.
In September 2020 an AI kill chain was formulated in seconds; a hypervelocity (speeds up to Mach 5) munition, launched from a descendant of the Paladin, intercepted a cruise missile surrogate.
Three flight tests of LRHW were scheduled in 2021; that plan was changed to one test in late 2021, followed by a multi-missile test in 2022.
The LRHW has been named 'Dark Eagle' The first LRHW battery will start to receive its first operational rounds in early FY2023; all eight rounds for this battery will have been delivered by FY2023. By then, the PEO Missiles and Space will have picked up the LRHW program, for batteries two and three in FY'25 and FY'27, respectively. Battery one will first train, and then participate in the LRHW flight test launches in FY'22 and FY'23.[Note 1]
In 1789 after the Revolution there was only one battalion of four companies of artillery. In 1794 a "Corps of Artillerists and Engineers" was organized, which included the four companies of artillery then in service and had sixteen companies in four battalions. In 1802 there was a reduction of the army. The Artillery were separated from the Engineers and the former formed into one regiment of 20 companies. In 1808 a regiment of ten companies called the "Regiment of Light Artillery" was formed. In 1812 two more regiments were added.
In 1821 four regiments were created from existing units on the following lines.
In 1917, following the American entry into World War I, the numbers from 1 through 100 were reserved for the Regular Army, from 101 through 300 for the National Guard, and 301 and above for the National Army. Under this system the 1st through 21st and 76th through 83d were organized in the Regular Army; the 101st through 151st, in the National Guard; and, the 25th through 75th, 84th and 85th, and the 301st through 351st in the National Army. Field Artillery Brigades, numbered 1st through 24th, 51st through 67th, and 151st through 172d, were also organized, with each brigade typically commanding three regiments; each division had one of these artillery brigades.
The Coast Artillery Corps constantly reorganized the numbered companies until 1924, but during World War I created 61 artillery regiments from the numbered companies, for service (or potential service) with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF); the 30th through 45th Artillery Brigades were also created to command groups of these regiments. These regiments operated almost all US-manned heavy and railway artillery on the Western Front, and were designated, for example, 51st Artillery (Coast Artillery Corps (CAC)). Most of these were disbanded immediately after the war. The Coast Artillery also acquired the antiaircraft mission during the war, which was formalized a few years later. In 1924 the Coast Artillery Corps adopted a regimental system, and numbered companies were returned to letter designations. (In order to promote esprit-de-corps, the first 7 regiments were linked to the original 7 regiments of artillery). During 1943 most antiaircraft units lost their Coast Artillery designations, and the regiments were broken up into battalions. However, the antiaircraft branch remained nominally part of the Coast Artillery Corps. In late 1944 the Coast Artillery harbor defense regiments were inactivated or reorganized as battalions, which themselves were mostly disbanded in April 1945, with personnel transferred to the local Harbor Defense Commands. 977 Coast Artillery and antiaircraft battalions were created before the branch's demise in 1950.
In 1943 an Army-wide (except infantry) reorganization created numerous serially numbered battalions, and most regiments were broken up into battalions. Also during World War II new designations were applied to some units, the "Armored Field Artillery Battalion" for self-propelled units and the "Parachute (or Glider) Field Artillery Battalion" for airborne units. A number of "Field Artillery Groups" were also created during the war.
The Army Anti-Aircraft Command ARAACOM was created July 1950, and in 1957, ARAACOM was renamed to US Army Air Defense Command (USARADCOM). A new system, the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System, or CARS, was adopted in 1957 to replace the old regimental system. CARS used the Army's traditional regiments as parent organizations for historical purposes, but the primary building blocks are divisions, and brigades became battalions. Each battalion carries an association with a parent regiment, even though the regimental organization no longer exists. In some brigades several numbered battalions carrying the same regimental association may still serve together, and tend to consider themselves part of the traditional regiment when in fact they are independent battalions serving a brigade, rather than a regimental, headquarters. From circa 1959 through 1971 antiaircraft units and field artillery units were combined with common parent regiments for lineage purposes, for example the "1st Artillery".
The CARS was replaced by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981. US Artillery Structure 1989. On 1 October 2005, the word "regiment" was formally appended to the name of all active and inactive CARS and USARS regiments. So, for example, the 1st Cavalry officially became titled the 1st Cavalry Regiment.
During the Cold War the Field Artillery was responsible for all mobile ballistic missile weapons systems, including the Lance and Pershing II ballistic missiles.
^The proponent for the Field Artillery Branch is defined in §Army Regulation AR 5-22, and acts in concert with Army Staff. In Force modernization, Deputy Chiefs of Staff G-8 and G-3/5/7 sit on the Army Requirements Oversight Council (AROC), to advise the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA).: diagram on p.559  The commander, AFC is responsible for Force design.
The Army's Force management model begins with a projection of the Future operating environment, in terms of resources: political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment, and the time available to bring the Current army to bear on the situation.
The AROC serves as a discussion forum of these factors.
The relevant strategy is provided by the Army's leadership.
A DOTMLPF analysis models the factors necessary to change the Current force into a relevant Future force.
A JCIDS process identifies the gaps in capability between Current and Future force.
A Force design to meet the materiel gaps is underway.
An organization with the desired capabilities (manpower, materiel, training) is brought to bear on each gap.
Staff uses a Synchronization meeting: minute 8:29 before seeking approval —HTAR Force Management 3-2b: "Managing change in any large, complex organization requires the synchronization of many interrelated processes".: p2-27
^ADRP 3-09 – Fires(PDF). Official Department of the Army Publications and Forms – Doctrine and Training Publications (C1 ed.). United States Department of Army. 8 February 2013. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
^Sean MacFarland, Michael Shields, and Jeffrey Snow, "White Paper: The King and I: The impending Crisis in Field Artillery’s ability to provide Fire Support to Maneuver Commander (np:np): memo sent to the Chief of Staff of the Army, 2007. 1.
^"Fires". United States Field Artillery. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
^ abUnited States Army War College and Army Force Management School (2019-2020) How the Army Runs HTAR: A senior leader reference handbook which synthesizes "existing and developing National, Defense, Joint, and Army systems, processes, and procedures currently practiced"
^ abcHeadquarters, Department of the Army (29 Jun 2021) Army Regulation 71–9 Force Management. Warfighting Capabilities Determination °1-6c, p.1) tasks for CG,AFC; °2-24 p.13) CG,AFC is a principal member of AROC, with 43 duties a through qq; °3-1 ch.3 pp20-21) AROC is a forum for requirements decisions (RDF); °4-1 p.24) CG,AFC is responsible for force design; °6-4 p39) figure 6-1 Deliberate staffing and review process; figures for more staffing and review processes follow.
Prometheus, which is AI software, combs through the data for potential threats and targets.
SHOT, which is also software, tracks each target on a custody list, correlating each target's current location, signature, and threat assessment, with a list of candidate fires countermeasures, ranked by capability, range to the target, kill radius, etc. "SHOT then computes the optimal match of weapons to targets", and passes the list to AFATDS.
Human commanders choose whether to fire, or not, from the list of fires assets (Nelson notes that ERCA and Grey Eagle drones are to be added to the list of fires assets—currently M777 howitzers and MLRS 270 rocket launchers in the upcoming tests, August 2020).
satellites perform Battle damage assessment, to update the list of threats and targets.