Rocket Artillery

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rocket Artillery


a branch of artillery that uses rocket shells that are delivered to the target by the thrust of a rocket engine. Rocket artillery is designed to carry on volley fire for the purpose of destroying enemy manpower, fire means, and defensive structures.

Rocket artillery was first created in the USSR in the late 1930’s. Rocket artillery units armed with the BM-13 and BM-8 rocket systems (unofficially known as Katiushas) were included in the artillery reserve of the Supreme Command and were called guards mortar units. By early 1945 the Red Army had more than 500 rocket artillery battalions. During World War II, rocket artillery was used in the fascist German Army (five-, six-, and ten-barrel mortars) and the US Army (114.3-mm and 182mm rocket systems).

After the war, rocket artillery became widely used in many armies. In the early 1950’s the Soviet Army adopted new rocket systems, including the BM-14 (16 barrels), the BM-14–17 (17 barrels), the BM-24 and BM-24T (12 barrels), and the BMD-20. In present-day rocket artillery, rocket shells with fragmentation-high explosive, shaped-charge, smoke, and other kinds of warheads are used. The number of barrels ranges from ten to 45. The maximum firing range is 15–20 km.

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