Military Wiki
Field Artillery
Field Artillery branch insignia, featuring two crossed field guns
Active Created 17 November 1775
Country United States
Branch U.S. Army
Type Combat arms
Home station Fort Sill, Oklahoma
Nickname(s) King of Battle
Red Leg
Patron Saint Barbara
Branch color Scarlet

The Field Artillery branch was founded on 17 November 1775 by the Continental Congress, which unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery". The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776. Although Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery are separate branches, both inherit the traditions of the Artillery branch.

Mission statement

The mission of the Field Artillery is to destroy, defeat, or disrupt the enemy with integrated fires to enable maneuver commanders to dominate in unified land operations.

The mission of the Firing Battery is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket, and missile fires and to help integrate all fire support assets into combined arms operations.


The Field Artillery is one of the Army's combat arms, traditionally one of the three major branches (with Infantry and Armor). It refers to those units that use artillery weapons systems to deliver surface-to-surface long range indirect fire. Indirect fire means that the projectile does not follow the line of sight to the target. Mortars are not field artillery weapons; they are organic to infantry units and are manned by infantry personnel.

The term field artillery is to distinguish from the Air Defense Artillery, and historically, from the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps (or Coastal Defense Artillery), a branch which existed from 1901–1950. In 1950, the two branches were unified and called simply Artillery, until Air Defense Artillery was made into a separate branch in 1968. The insignia of the Field Artillery branch is a pair of crossed field guns (19th century style cannons) in gold, and dates back to 1834.

The officially stated mission of the Field Artillery is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket, and missile fire and to help integrate all fire support assets into combined arms operations.

The home of the Field Artillery and the Field Artillery School are at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

then-Captain Harry S Truman in 1918-the only "redleg" to become President

Field artillery is called the "King of Battle". Conflicts in the 20th century saw artillery become exponentially more effective as indirect fire methods were introduced immediately prior to World War I. During World War I and World War II, field artillery was the single highest casualty-producing weapons system on any battlefield.

Members of the Field Artillery are referred to as "redlegs" because during the American Civil War they were distinguished by scarlet stripes down the legs of their uniform pants. The use of colors to distinguish branches of the United States Army dates to 1851. Branch colors are found on the shoulder straps of officers wearing the blue dress uniform and on branch of service scarves authorized for wear with a variety of uniforms.[1]


The professional journal of the Field Artillery is published at Fort Sill. Known as the Field Artillery Journal in 1911, it went through many name changes through Field Artillery in 1987. The journal merged with Air Defense Artillery in 2007 to become Fires.[2]


M119A2 – 105mm Towed Howitzer
M777A2 – 155mm Towed Howitzer

M110A2—203mm Self-Propelled Howitzer- 8 in.
M109A6, Paladin – 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzer
M270A1 – 270mm MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System)
M142 – 270mm HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)


The U.S. Army employs several types of field artillery weapons systems. The four towed howitzer weapon systems in use are the M102 (105 mm), used primarily by honor guards, the M119A1/A2 (105 mm), the M198 (155 mm) howitzers, and the M777 155 mm howitzer. The M109A6 Paladin is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer. The M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is the Field Artillery's heaviest and longest-ranged weapons system, a self-propelled rocket launcher using either 270 mm unguided rockets or the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Block I missile. The United States Marine Corps is currently transitioning from the M198 howitzer to the M777.


In 1789 after the Revolution there was only one battalion of four companies of artillery. In 1794 a "Corps of Artillerists and Engineers" was organized, which included the four companies of artillery then in service and had sixteen companies in four battalions. In 1802 there was a reduction of the army. The Engineers were separated from the Artillery and the latter formed into one regiment of 20 companies. In 1808 a regiment of ten companies called the "Light Artillery" was formed. In 1812 two more regiments were added.

In 1821 four regiments were created from existing units on the following lines.

In 1901 the regimental organization of the US Army artillery was abolished, more companies were added, and given numerical designations.

  • 126 companies of heavy (coast) artillery
  • 30 companies of light (field) artillery

in 1907 the Coast Artillery Corps was established, and the Field Artillery re-regimented

In 1916 Congress enacted the National Defense Act and 15 more regiments were authorized.

In 1917 the numbers from 1 through 100 were reserved for the Regular Army, from 101 through 300 for the National Guard, and 301 and above for the National Army. Under this system the 1st through 21st and 76th through 83d were organized in the Regular Army; the 101st through 151st, in the National Guard; and, the 25th through 75th, 84th and 85th, and the 301st through 351st in the National Army.

A 1918 expansion added the 22nd Field Artillery Regiment through the 39th Field Artillery Regiment with some exceptions, notably Philippine Scouts units.

The Coast Artillery Corps constantly reorganized the numbered companies until 1924. but during World War I created 61 regiments from the numbered companies, for service with the AEF. most of these were disbanded immediately after the war. In 1924 the Coast Artillery Corps tried to go back to the regimental system, and numbered companies were returned to letter designations. (in order to promote some esprit-de-corps, the first 7 regiments were linked to the original 7 regiments of artillery). 977 Coast artillery units were created before the branch's demise in 1950.

In 1933 another expansion created numerous serially numbered battalions and many regiments were taken apart and reduced to battalion size, and during World War II a new designation was applied to some units, the "Armored Field Artillery Battalion"

Army Anti-Aircraft Command ARAACOM was created July 1950, and In 1957, ARAACOM was renamed to US Army Air Defense Command (USARADCOM), A new system, the U.S. Army Combat Arms Regimental System, or CARS, was adopted in 1957 to replace the old regimental system. CARS uses the Army's traditional regiments as parent organizations for historical purposes, but the primary building blocks are divisions, and brigades became battalions. Each battalion carries an association with a parent regiment, even though the regimental organization no longer exists. In some brigades several numbered battalions carrying the same regimental association may still serve together, and tend to consider themselves part of the traditional regiment when in fact they are independent battalions serving a brigade, rather than a regimental, headquarters.

In 1968 the Air Defense Artillery Branch (United States Army) was split from the artillery.

The CARS was replaced by the U.S. Army Regimental System (USARS) in 1981. There are exceptions to USARS regimental titles, including the armored cavalry regiments and the 75th Ranger Regiment created in 1986. On 1 October 2005, the word "regiment" was formally appended to the name of all active and inactive CARS and USARS regiments. So, for example, the 1st Cavalry officially became titled the 1st Cavalry Regiment.

During the Cold War the Field Artillery was responsible for all mobile ballistic missile weapons systems, including the Lance and Pershing II ballistic missiles.

Notable Redlegs

See also


  1. Army Regulation 670-1
  2. "Fires". United States Field Artillery. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  3. - last visited September 13, 2013

Further reading

External links

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