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articles of weaponry designed to hit enemy manpower, destroy his combat materiel, demolish fortifications and structures, and carry out other missions (illuminate the terrain, drop agitational literature). The action of most ammunition is based on the utilization of the energy given off by explosive substances, which causes the destruction (demolition, annihilation) of various targets.
Among the types of ammunition are nuclear ammunition; artillery rounds and infantry mortar rounds; rocket shells; rounds with rocket artillery projectiles, mines, and shells; antitank guided missiles; aerial bombs; rifle cartridges; hand and rifle grenades; explosive devices; charges of explosives; mines; naval mines; torpedoes; illumination and signal rounds; and others. Also included in ammunition are particular elements of the ammunition itself, such as fuses, powder charges, explosive charges, percussion caps and primer cups (fuses), blasting caps and detonators, igniters, cartridge cases, powder bags, and others.
Ammunition is delivered to the target by being projected from firearms (shells, mortar shells, rifle grenades, bullets), by means of various engines (rocket shell, torpedo), by being dropped on the target from an altitude (aerial bombs), or by being thrown by hand (the hand grenade). Some ammunition is set up on the ground or in the water (mines), and it acts (explodes) on contact with the target or when the target is in the ammunition’s zone of operations. There are types of ammunition (for example, mines) that are set up on the objective to be destroyed and explode after a predetermined time interval or upon a signal given by radio or wire. All ammunition is used just once. Particular elements of the ammunition are an exception; after repair, cartridge cases and the housings of primer cups can be used again.
Waging a battle involves large expenditures of ammunition. For example, in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–05, Russia expended 900,000 artillery rounds. During World War I (1914–18) about 65.3 million artillery rounds were manufactured at Russian plants and imported from abroad. In the Great Patriotic War, during 1943–44 alone, USSR industry manufactured 359 million shells, mines, and aerial bombs. Under current conditions, where the troops are highly saturated with automatic weapons that possess high rates of fire and where various new types of weapons are available, the amount of ammunition necessary to support a battle (or operation) rises sharply.
Necessary stocks of ammunition are established during peacetime, and some of them are used for troop combat training.
REFERENCESTret’iakov, G. M. Boepripasy artillerii. Moscow, 1947.
Latukhin, A. N. Boevye upravliaemye rakety. Moscow, 1968.
Organizatsiia i vooruzhenie arntii i flotov kapitalisticheskikh gosudarstv, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
N. I. LAPSHIN