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These 17 photos show why artillery is king of the battlefield

While infantry carries the title of "Queen of the Battle," it's the artillery that's king. It strikes over vast distances, hits with a lot of force, and remains mobile and accurate. Here are 18 photos of these awesome weapons and their crews:


1. Artillery belches smoke and fire every time it shoots a round.

Photo: US Marine Corps Cpl. Ali Azimi

2. When crews emplace the weapons, they anchor them to the ground and set up aiming aids to ensure rounds go exactly where they should.

Photo: US Army Spc. Nathaniel Mercado

3. While the gun crews are emplacing the cannons, other artillerymen move the rounds to the firing point and prepare them for action.

Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Love

4. Different guns have different muzzle velocities, but most can fire rounds at over 1,500 feet per second.

Photo: US Marine Corps Cpl. Matthew Manning

5. Between shots, crew members quickly remove the spent casing and load a new round.

Photo: US Army 1st Lt. Zachary Kohl

6. Between shots on 155mm howitzers, the gun is swabbed out. (The white-tipped rod in the left of the photo is the swab.)

Photo: US Marine Corps Cpl. Ali Azimi

7. The guns are often towed around the battlefield behind vehicles, but can also be flown to firing points.

U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Freeman

8. Even UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters can fly the guns around.

Photo: US Army 1st Lt. Travis Mueller

9. When they need to travel long distances, the artillerymen can throw their guns out of the backs of planes (with parachutes).

Photo: US Army Capt. Joe Bush

10. Some artillery units have self-propelled guns with light armor.

Photo: Capt. Alex Aquino

11. They're highly mobile, but still put on an awesome light show.

Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp

12. Back in the day, the Navy's artillery moved quickly as well, provided there was plenty of water.

Photo: US Navy

13. Night fires light up the darkness.

Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Annette B. Andrews

14. Maneuver units can request illumination rounds from artillery, giving them plenty of light with which to see.

Photo: US Army National Guard Sgt. Joshua S. Edwards

15. Modern artillery carries a lot more than just cannons. Multiple-Launch Rocket Systems can fire a dozen rockets each.

Photo: US Air Force Senior Airman Duane Duimstra

16. MLRS can put on its own amazing light show.

Photo: US Army Staff Sgt. Carlos R. Davis

17. Also back in the day, the U.S. Army fielded atomic artillery that could launch rounds with .5 to 15-kiloton yields.

Photo: US Federal Archives