Artillery Gun

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gun, Artillery


a type of firearm.

The artillery gun is designed to destroy or neutralize the enemy’s personnel and weapons, to destroy his defensive installations, and to carry out other missions on the ground, at sea, and in the air. The basic combat characteristics of artillery guns are the power of the projectile, which is determined by its caliber; the precision, maximum effective range, and maximum rate of fire; fire maneuverability; cross-country capacity and maneuverability in action; reliability of performance; and dependability of operation under any climatic conditions.

Artillery guns are classified as cannon, howitzers, mortars, recoilless weapons, rocket launchers, combination guns (for instance, howitzer cannon), and multipurpose guns (for firing at ground, air, and above-water targets). Artillery guns are further classified by their special purpose as antitank, tank, antiaircraft, aircraft, coast, ship, and casemate guns. According to the method of imparting the initial velocity to the projectile, artillery guns are divided into barrel and rocket-firing guns; according to the design of the bore, they are termed rifled guns (the bore has rifling, which imparts to the projectile both forward and rotary motion, giving it stability in flight) and smoothbore guns (the projectile is stabilized in flight by fins).

Artillery guns may be towed in a trailer behind a prime mover, self-propelled (equipped with an engine for transportation in the region of the fire positions), towed by a prime mover over great distances, mounted on a track-laying or wheeled chassis, placed in a tank, placed in the body of a truck or armored personnel carrier, drawn by pack animals in the mountains, or placed in armored trains or on special flatcars.

Modern mounted guns are placed on armored personnel carriers, on special track-laying or wheeled chassis, and sometimes on a tank base; they may be armored (with antibullet or antishell armor), semiarmored, or unprotected by armor; they may have a revolving turret (360° or a smaller angle) or a nonrevolving turret. Mounted artillery guns can negotiate ditches 1.5–3 m wide, fords 0.6–1.2 m deep, vertical walls 0.7–1 m high, and up and down slopes of 25–30°. Their maximum speed is 65 km/hr.

An artillery gun is composed of the barrel (with a breech ring, a breechblock, and a muzzle brake; antiaircraft guns have several barrels) and the gun carriage. The barrel imparts to the projectile a rotary motion and the desired direction of flight. The breech ring connects the barrel with the breechblock; it is placed at the point where the breechblock mechanisms are located. The breechblock locks the bore at the breech end and contains mechanisms to ignite the powder charge. The muzzle brake, which is screwed on to the muzzle part of the barrel, absorbs a substantial part of the recoil energy.

The carriage includes the cradle (for the placement of the barrel); an antirecoil device (a recoil brake and a recuperator); the upper gun carriage, with the elevating and traversing mechanisms, the equilibrator, and a shield; the lower gun carriage, with split trails; the running gear; and the sight. The carriage of an antiaircraft gun is equipped with mechanisms for all-around fire and for high angles of barrel elevation (up to 85°–90°). The basic structure of a tank, aircraft, or ship gun is the corresponding body of the tank, aircraft, or ship. Coast and casemate artillery guns are permanently emplaced in caponiers.

Depending on the mission, artillery guns may have additional mechanisms for bringing the projectile from an ammunition pile to the loading position, for seating the projectile, for setting the fuse of the projectile, for setting at the loading angle, for ejecting the shell case, and for scavenging the burned gases. According to the design of the breechblock, artillery guns may be nonautomatic (all firing operations are done by hand), semiautomatic (the opening and closing of the breechblock and the ejection of the shell case is automated), and automatic (all operations are automated). Artillery guns are laid in either manually or automatically with the help of fire control instruments.


Kozlovskii, D. Material’naia chast’ artillerii. Moscow, 1939.
Latukhin, A. N. Sovremennaia artilleriia. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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