large-caliber guns designed to destroy the outer defenses, walls, and inner structures of a fortress and to destroy its defenders.
Siege artillery developed as a separate branch of the artillery in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the early 18th century in Russia it was permanently organized as a siege park, which consisted of 120 24- and 18-pound cannon, six 9-pood (147.42 kg) copper mortars, 36 5-pood (81.9 kg) mortars, and 300 6-pound copper mortars. In wartime the siege park was reinforced by a furshtat—a detachment of men and horses for transport. In peacetime the guns of the park were kept in arsenals, and the gun crews served in field units. Later, the Russian and other armies had several siege parks. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, the siege artillery of the Russian Army was renamed heavy field artillery. In the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), heavy caliber and superdestructive artillery and aviation were assigned the mission of destroying especially strong and permanent defensive installations of the enemy.