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artillery actions, which consist of the destruction (neutralization, annihilation) of fire weapons, personnel, defense installations, and other enemy objectives (targets) prior to an attack by one’s own troops.
Elements of artillery preparation appeared during the 14th to 16th centuries when artillery was used before the beginning of an offensive in order to destroy enemy fortresses and positions and to annihilate his artillery and personnel. However, until the end of the 19th century the term “artillery preparation” was not employed. Artillery actions were called bombardments, cannonades, and so forth. Subsequently, with the development of fortifications, the appearance of rifled and rapid-fire artillery, automatic weapons, and position defense, the importance of artillery preparation sharply increased. The term “artillery preparation” dates from the beginning of the 20th century. During World War I artillery preparation often lasted from several hours to several days. During World War II the duration of artillery preparation usually ranged from several dozen minutes to several hours. In the Soviet Army beginning in 1942 artillery preparation was carried out as one of the stages of an artillery attack. In the Soviet Army at the present time, before an attack begins, the fire preparation for the attack is planned.