UPDATE: Should The U.S. Army Add More Tube Artillery To It Combat Units?

A 155mm Paladin howitzer with 1st Battery, 10th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Liberty stands ready for a fire mission at forward operating base Gabe April 16, 2005. [U.S. Department of Defense/DVIDS]

In response to my recent post looking at the ways the U.S. is seeking to improve its long range fires capabilities, TDI received this comment via Twitter:

@barefootboomer makes a fair point. It appears that the majority of the U.S. Army’s current efforts to improve its artillery capabilities are aimed at increasing lethality and capability of individual systems, but not actually adding additional guns to the force structure.

Are Army combat units undergunned in the era of multi-domain battle? The Mobile Protected Firepower program is intended to provide additional light tanks high-caliber direct fire guns to the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. In his recent piece at West Point’s Modern War Institute blog, Captain Brandon Morgan recommended increasing the proportion of U.S. corps rocket artillery to tube artillery systems from roughly 1:4 to something closer to the current Russian Army ratio of 3:4.

Should the Army be adding other additional direct or indirect fires systems to its combat forces? What types and at what levels? Direct or indirect fire? More tubes per battery? More batteries? More battalions?

What do you think?

UPDATE: I got a few responses to my queries. The balance reflected this view:

@barefootboomer elaborated on his original point:

There were not many specific suggestions about changes to the existing forces structure, except for this one:

Are there any other thoughts or suggestions out there about this, or is the consensus that the Army is already pretty much on the right course toward fixing its fires problems?

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Shawn Woodford
Shawn Woodford

Shawn Robert Woodford, Ph.D., is a military historian with nearly two decades of research, writing, and analytical experience on operations, strategy, and national security policy. His work has focused on special operations, unconventional and paramilitary warfare, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, naval history, quantitative historical analysis, nineteenth and twentieth century military history, and the history of nuclear weapon development. He has a strong research interest in the relationship between politics and strategy in warfare and the epistemology of wargaming and combat modeling.

All views expressed here are his and do not reflect those of any other private or public organization or entity.

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One comment

  1. This would be probably a question to be picked up by artillery officers, but if you run a (cumulated, CEP, ERPM, DMG yield) firepower model, raw lethality (or based on soft to hard targets, elastic plastic function) with lethality indices, kill probabilities, simultanous dependent shots and errors can be ignored first, juxtaposed with the opponents weapon systems, a (basic) value that is too low might speak for an increase, though isn’t that already covered by the MDB concept?.
    Why fight like the opponent? The increase of tubes is not a linear increase of firepower, one of the common misconceptions. Soviet firepower was historically below German or American firepower, it is usually determined by wealth. If you want more tubes, get more troops, you want to exceed their firepower with the existing strength, use more sophisticated artillery (“fancy munitions” how they call it) and training programs, unless you want to reorganize the Army at lower levels. It is the ratio of quantity to quality that matters, the maximization of both has a limit.
    Id just get rid of the M109, time to upgrade (unless the A7 will suffice).

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