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Field Artillery Branch (United States)

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United States Army

Combat arms

Field Artillery Branch (United States)

Created 17 November 1775

United States of America

Home station
Fort Sill, Oklahoma, United States

King of Battle God of War Red Leg

The Field Artillery Branch of the United States Army was founded on 17 November 1775 by the Continental Congress, which unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery". The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776. Artillery of all types was part of the Artillery Corps until 1901, when the Corps was split into 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.


Mission statement

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.

The term field artillery is to distinguish from the Air Defense Artillery, and historically, from the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps (or 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 cannons) in gold, and dates back to 1834.

The officially stated 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 home of the Field Artillery and the Field Artillery School are at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

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.

Members of the Field Artillery are referred to as "redlegs" because during the American Civil War they were distinguished by scarlet stripes down the legs of their uniform pants. The use of colors to distinguish branches of the United States Army dates to 1851. 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.


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 weapons

  • M119A3 – 105 mm Towed Howitzer
  • M119A2 – 105 mm Towed Howitzer
  • M777A2 – 155 mm Towed Howitzer
  • M109A6, Paladin – 155 mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
  • M270A1 – 270 mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System)
  • M142 – 270 mm HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)
  • Current

    The U.S. Army employs several types of field artillery weapons systems.

    The four towed howitzer weapon systems in use are the:

  • M102 (105 mm), used primarily by honor guards
  • M119A1/A2 (105 mm)
  • M198 (155 mm) howitzers
  • M777 155 mm howitzer
  • M109A6 Paladin 155 mm self-propelled howitzer
  • M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), Field Artillery's heaviest and longest-ranged weapons system, a self-propelled rocket launcher using either 270 mm unguided rockets or the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Block I missile.
  • The United States Marine Corps is currently transitioning from the M198 howitzer to the M777.


    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 "Light Artillery" was formed. In 1812 two more regiments were added.

    In 1821 four regiments were created from existing units on the following lines.

  • 1st Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • F
  • G
  • H
  • I
  • K- added 1832
  • L- added 1847
  • M- added 1847
  • N- added 1899
  • O- added 1899
  • 2nd Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
  • Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery
  • 3rd Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
  • 4th Regiment of Artillery, 2 March 1821
  • 4th U.S. Light Artillery, Battery H
  • 4th U.S. Light Artillery, Battery I
  • 4th U.S. Light Artillery, Battery M
  • 5th Regiment of Artillery, 4 May 1861
  • 5th U.S. Light Artillery, Battery H
  • 6th Regiment of Artillery, 8 March 1898
  • 7th Regiment of Artillery, 8 March 1898
  • (98 Batteries)
  • In 1901 the regimental organization of the US Army artillery was abolished, more companies were added, and given numerical designations.

  • 126 companies of heavy (coast) artillery
  • 30 companies of light (field) artillery
  • In 1907 the Coast Artillery Corps was established as a separate branch, and the Field Artillery re-established regiments officially, although provisional regiments had existed since 1905.

  • 1st Field Artillery Regiment
  • With 2 battalions each with 3 batteries
  • 2d Field Artillery Regiment
  • 3d Field Artillery Regiment
  • 4th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 5th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 6th Field Artillery Regiment
  • In 1916 Congress enacted the National Defense Act and 15 more regiments were authorized.

  • 7th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 8th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 9th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 10th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 11th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 12th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 13th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 14th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 15th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 16th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 17th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 18th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 19th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 20th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 21st Field Artillery Regiment
  • In 1917 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.

    A 1918 expansion added the 22d Field Artillery Regiment through the 39th Field Artillery Regiment with some exceptions, notably Philippine Scouts units.

    The Coast Artillery Corps constantly reorganized the numbered companies until 1924. but during World War I created 61 regiments from the numbered companies, for service with the AEF. most of these were disbanded immediately after the war. In 1924 the Coast Artillery Corps tried to go back to the regimental system, and numbered companies were returned to letter designations. (in order to promote some esprit-de-corps, the first 7 regiments were linked to the original 7 regiments of artillery). 977 Coast Artillery units were created before the branch's demise in 1950.

    In 1933 another expansion created numerous serially numbered battalions and many regiments were taken apart and reduced to battalion size, and during World War II a new designation was applied to some units, the "Armored Field Artillery Battalion"

    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 uses 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.

    In 1968 the Air Defense Artillery Branch (United States Army) was split from the artillery.

    The CARS was replaced by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981. 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.

    Cannon Crewmember General Job Duties

  • Wire and radio communications
  • Identify target locations
  • Operate self-propelled howitzers, ammunition trucks and other vehicles
  • Participate in reconnaissance operations
  • Cannon Crewmember Major Duties by Skill Level

    Skill Level I

  • Integral member of a crew that operates high technology cannon artillery weapon systems.
  • Loads and fires howitzers.
  • Sets fuse and charge on a variety of munitions, including high explosive artillery rounds, laser guided projectiles, DPICM, and rocket assisted projectiles.
  • Uses computer generated fire direction data to set elevation of cannon tube for loading and firing.
  • Employs rifles, machine guns, and grenade and rocket launchers in offensive and defensive operations.
  • Drives and operates heavy and light wheeled trucks and tracked vehicles.
  • Transports and manages artillery ammunition.
  • Participates in reconnaissance operations to include security operations and position preparation.
  • Operates in reduced visibility environments with infrared and starlight enhancing night vision devices and other equipment.
  • Coordinates movement into position.
  • Camouflages position area.
  • Communicates using voice and digital wire and radio equipment.
  • Uses critical combat survival skills to operate in a hostile environment.
  • Maintains operational readiness of vehicles and equipment.
  • Skill Level 2

  • Supervises handling, transportation, accountability, and distribution of ammunition.
  • Assists section chief in supervision of howitzer operations, maintenance, and training. Lays weapon for direction, conducts bore sighting, and basic periodic tests.
  • Supervises the operation, loading, and maintenance of the Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle.
  • Skill Level 3

  • Directs and supervises movement emplacement of the howitzer section.
  • Supervises and directs the construction, camouflage, and defense of the section position. Trains, instructs, and supervises section personnel in cannon gunnery procedures and firing.
  • Responsible for the verification of safe firing data.
  • Supervises the handling, storage, accountability, and distribution of ammunition.
  • Supervises the performance of operator, crew, and organizational maintenance on section vehicles.
  • Skill Level 4

  • Assists platoon leader in the planning, preparation, and execution of collective training activities of the platoon.
  • Conducts battery/platoon reconnaissance, selection, occupation, and defense of position areas.
  • Supervises firing battery personnel engaged in firing battery operations, maintenance, and training.
  • Lays the unit for direction of fire and verifies safe operations before and during firing. Supervises battalion ammunition trains operations.
  • Reviews, consolidates, and prepares technical, personnel, and administrative reports covering firing battery element activities.
  • Qualifications

    Qualifications for initial award of MOS 13B, Cannon Crewmember:

  • PULHES: 222221
  • Physical Demands Rating: very heavy
  • Required ASVAB Score: FA: 93
  • Enlistment Bonus: None
  • Security Clearance: None
  • U.S. Citizenship: Not Required
  • AIT Length / Location: 5 weeks, 4 days at Ft Sill, Oklahoma
  • Skill Identifiers

  • (1) P5-Master Fitness Trainer.
  • (2) U6-Field Artillery Weapons Maintenance.
  • (3) 2S-Battle Staff Operations (skill level 3 and above).
  • (4) 4A-Reclassification Training.
  • (5) L7-Joint Fires Observer (JFO)
  • Notable redlegs

  • Samuel Ringgold, Hero of the Battle of Palo Alto
  • Edwin Meese, 75th United States Attorney General
  • Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Record Corp.
  • Raymond T. Odierno, 38th Chief of Staff of the United States Army
  • John Shalikashvili, 13th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States
  • References

    Field Artillery Branch (United States) Wikipedia