Cannon Artillery in Future Large Scale Urban Combat

Posted By: Jeffrey E Horn Professional Content,

Cannon Artillery in Future Large Scale Urban Combat

            Cannon artillery is one of the most powerful combat multipliers, providing unique capabilities for the Brigade Combat Team in Large Scale Ground Combat Operations (LSGCO). Throughout the spectrum of offensive, defensive, and stability support operations, cannon artillery serves as an organic, responsive, 24-hour, all-weather fire support capability. While cannon artillery is one of many weapon systems capable of precision and near precision munitions, its unique quality comes from responsiveness and quantity – its high volume of various shell and fuze combinations.[1] In LSGCO, quantity still has a quality of its own – and in urban terrain, the U.S. military’s preference to substitute firepower and machines for men is well documented throughout recent history.

This article discusses the employment of cannon artillery in future LSGCO, specifically in urban terrain.[2] Three overarching themes are explored:

  1. Until modernization initiatives improve equipping, future urban combat may require ingenuity using “outdated” and/or existing equipping to bridge capability gaps.


  1. Success in future urban combat requires creative application of and expertise in the basics. This includes “transferable competence,” or the ability to apply competencies to new environments and situations.


  1. Junior leader initiative and rapid battlefield adaptation are critical to success in future urban combat.

The Operational Environment

While there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to describing an urban operational environment, this article provides six figures that review relevant existing Army doctrine.

Figure 1: Multidimensional Urban Environment Visualization

Figure 2: Basic Street Patterns

Figure 3: Urban Functional Areas Description

Figure 4: Urban Functional Areas Visualization

Figure 5: Non-Combatants

Figure 6: Hybrid Threats and Widespread Technologies


Reference Army Technique Publication 3-06 Urban Operations and Field Manual 3-0 Operations for more detailed descriptions on the urban environment, the multi-domain extended battlefield, LSGCO, and “peer” threats.

Employment of Cannon Artillery in Urban LSGCO

The analysis of this article is organized as follows: (1) Position Area and Site Selection; (2) Dispersion and Employment Techniques; (3) Communications and Degraded Operations; (4) Battery Defense; (5) Direct Fire; and (6) Logistics. Precision and Near Precision Munitions will not be discussed below, but due to their importance in future urban combat, are included in Figure 8: Precision and Near Precision Munitions.

Figure 1: Multidimensional Urban Environment Visualization. Figure from Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-06 Urban Operations.

  1. Position Area and Site Selection

With mission requirements and supporting considerations, urban cannon artillery operations may be unavoidable. Commanders may consider operating from outside of urban areas, but many urban areas are too large to facilitate fires from that distance. Defensive fires from within an urban area may also require operations from within urban areas.

In all terrain, position area and site selection are driven by mission requirements. Criteria do not differ in urban terrain, but there is an inherent increase in complexity. Communications, defensibility, and trafficability/maneuverability considerations take a supporting yet vital role in this endeavor. The pace of supported maneuver formations is particularly vital in these analyses: Is the scheme of maneuver slow and deliberate, block by block, and/or is it fast-moving, bypassing urban areas and moving directly to select objectives?

Urban environments present immediate/intervening crests and masking issues. For area munitions, dead space is typically five times the height of buildings for low angle and one half the height of buildings for high angle.[3] This causes a greater propensity for high angle fires to increase effectiveness in attacking the defiladed areas between buildings. For area munitions, this creates a decrease in accuracy and range. High angle fires also create longer time of flights. These added complexities make targets of opportunity and possibly even on call targets difficult. Pending the rules of engagement (ROE), collateral damage considerations also may limit the ability to mass fires, although these considerations may be limited in LSGCO.

An analysis of urban areas is required to facilitate timely fires and maximize communications and survivability. Each type of urban area presents unique challenges and opportunities.

Figure 2: Basic Street Pattern Visualization. Figure from Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-06 Urban Operations.

Figure 3: Urban Functional Areas Description as described in Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-06 Urban Operations.

Core Areas. Core areas have significant site to crest issues, and they are often too small and compact to provide optimal position areas. If the mission requires occupation inside core areas, commanders should consider positioning howitzers on streets along gun to target lines, particularly if the urban area follows a radial or grid pattern. Because core areas typically restrict movement, commanders should factor rubble into position area and site selection. Heavy clad structures are more prone to rubble, and they exist in the older sections of core areas. Lighter clad structures are less prone to rubble, and they exist in newer sections of town, especially in the core periphery. Core areas may also have significant issues with line of sight communications. Finally, the dense, multi-dimensional nature of core areas can make battery defense difficult. For example, in the Battle for Mosul in 2017, the rate of gains into the dense urban environment in western Mosul’s Old City decelerated from kilometers to single-digit meters per day, all while incurring 75 percent of the coalition’s total casualties.[4]

Outlying High-Rise Areas. Similar to core areas, outlying high-rise areas may have significant site to crest and line of sight communications issues. The difference lies in the large open areas, such as parking lots and parks that separate outlying high-rise areas. These areas may be large enough for platoon and battery occupations, but are also prone to enemy detection. Commanders should factor in the various mass transit systems that characterize outlying high-rise areas. These could pose as high-speed avenues of approach for enemy forces operating in the area.

Military Areas. Military areas may provide suitable position areas for howitzer sections, as defensibility may be enhanced with the existing permanent fortifications and subsurface facilities. Airfields may also provide excellent position areas, and/or they can function as helicopter landing zones or pickup zones. Internal communications architectures may provide an additional, redundant means of communication. As for the risks posed in military areas, they may possess weapons of mass destruction, creating risk to force and collateral damage concerns. Further, since military areas can be a center of gravity for enemy forces, the chance of complex and harassing attacks may increase.

Commercial Ribbon Areas. Commercial ribbon areas may enable cannon artillery to employ in defilade by utilizing the rows that run through and between different urban areas. In commercial ribbon areas, parking lots may be optimal position areas, but occupation space for towed howitzers will be limited. Towed howitzers will have to place howitzer spades against curbs, rubble, or building walls, or alternatively find a grassy area to occupy. Finally, transient civilians may be in proximity, and nearby residential areas may exist, increasing the risk of combatants using the civilian populous as cover and concealment.

Industrial Areas. Industrial areas may provide optimal position areas, with open spaces large enough for platoon and battery occupations. Industrial areas also often provide adequate concealment in large, flat-roofed factories and warehouses. These factories and warehouses may also make excellent hide positions, or if oriented on the gun target line, firing areas. Similar to outlying high-rise areas, commanders should factor the high-speed avenues of approach facilitated by various mass transit systems in and around industrial areas. These commercial transportation hubs are often multi-domain in nature, including airfields and major sea, river, rail and highway routes. Of concern for military forces operating in or around industrials areas, these areas often contain and/or produce toxic industrial chemicals (TICs). TICs pose significant risk to force and pose significant collateral damage concerns.

Residential Areas. Residential areas are dispersed throughout urban areas and may be difficult to avoid. These residential areas may provide optimal position areas for artillery, but require an understanding and respect of the area’s culture(s). Because specific suburbs tend toward homogeneity, areas favorable to U.S. military forces are optimal. Finally, because shanty towns often do not contain public roads or utilities, shanty towns often pose maneuverability/trafficability concerns, particularly during and after precipitation.

Figure 4: Urban Functional Area Visualization. Figure from Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-06 Urban Operations.

  1. Dispersion and Employment Techniques

Future urban combat has unique considerations for dispersion and employment techniques, requiring a careful analysis of the operational environment. The urban terrain will dictate dispersion techniques and may dictate employment at echelons below platoon, making junior leader initiative increasingly important. Rapid adaption to maximize survivability and responsive fires, like the use of hides and raids, may also be inevitable tactics in future urban combat.

The physical space, site to crest, and masking considerations may dictate the need for employment in echelons below platoon. Operating at those echelons increases responsiveness, but decreases the weight available to mass fires. Operations in echelons below platoon make good use of modern howitzers’ digital systems, but massing fires in degraded operations – a potential inevitability in future urban combat – is more difficult. Operating at echelons below platoon also increases vulnerability to ground threats.

Dispersion techniques vary based on the threat and the terrain. In urban terrain, urban functional areas and street patterns emerge as two of the vital points of discussion. Different dispersion techniques are more apt for urban areas and street patterns based off space available, site to crest, masking, defensibility, and trafficability. For example, the battery line or lazy-W formations provide maximum control, but due to space considerations, they may be limited in outlying high-rise areas and core areas. Conversely, commanders may consider the use of the wedge or star formations in core and high-rise areas because surrounding buildings provide manmade cover and concealment from air threats and counterfire.

In future urban combat, artillery formations should consider the use of “hides,” position areas, or a combination of the two. Hides are similar to the techniques, tactics and procedures used with M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) or M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) units, with gun sections hiding, then moving to a firing point to shoot. Warehouses, rail yards, barns, or auto repair shops may make optimal hides. If oriented on or near the battery azimuth of fire, these areas also make excellent firing positions. When possible, commanders should consider hides outside of urban areas to avoid detection. Hides at risk to thermobaric munitions should be avoided.

The preeminence of the cannon artillery raid in future urban combat may also become an inevitable tactic for cannon artillery. There are two primary reasons for this proposition. First, with site to crest and masking issues inherent in urban areas, artillery formations may need to rapidly displace and reoccupy to support maneuver forces. The second is the lethal nature of the threat. The unfortunate reality is that there may come a time in the not-too-distant future when enemy weapon systems and sensors are so capable of finding and targeting friendly units that we are forced to rely on deliberate and/or hasty artillery raids. Survival may depend on the ability to quickly occupy a position, execute requisite fire missions, and then quickly return behind the forward line of troops (FLOT) to another position area or hide.

Figure 5: Non-Combatants as described in Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-06 Urban Operations.

  1. Communications and Degraded Operations

Four topics of discussion permeate the discussion on communications and degraded operations in future urban combat. First, effective communication PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency) plans are essential. Second, ingenuity using “outdated” and/or existing communication platforms and accessories to bridge capability gaps created by new technologies may be required. Third, there may be a need to minimize electronic signatures. Fourth, cannon artillery formations must be proficient in operating in degraded and analog modes.

Enemy capabilities and the urban terrain may degrade communications in future urban combat. Skyscrapers, powerlines, transformers, or other urban structures may disrupt electromagnetic signals needed for communications. Other signals, like cellphones, emergency services, and other tactical networks may also degrade communications. Enemy Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) and cyber capabilities are also rapidly advancing, each with the potential capability to disrupt, degrade, or deny friendly communications systems.

Effective PACE plans maximize the simultaneous use of communication systems available by monitoring available systems and cross-leveling as required. PACE plans minimize disruptions to communications, thereby maximizing responsive fires and facilitating the interrelated mechanisms of Command and Control. PACE plans may not eliminate all friction inherent with communications. Consequently, the importance of Mission Command principles to enable decentralized execution is vital.

Cannon Field Artillery (FA) battalions have the capability to exercise three simultaneous means of communication from battalion-level to battery-level within the Lower Tactical Internet (T/I) architecture. These three types of systems available are the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) Radio, the High Frequency (HF) Radio, and the Tactical Satellite (TACSAT) radio. The successful analysis of these three systems can determine the effectiveness of the systems between users. The enduring ability of a cannon FA battalion to facilitate timely and accurate fires necessitates the effective use of all three of these systems.[5]

The SINCGARS radio is the most abundant system in the FA battalion.  With the use of a power amp, this system is capable of voice communications up to 40 kilometers (KM) and data up to 20 KM. Urban terrain, however, may severely restrict this line-of-sight waveform. The retransmission (RETRANS) team can extend this medium over/around obstacles to enable effective fires. This RETRANS team should be equipped with as many AN/VRC-92 systems as possible to assist in extended overage, and they must ensure the RETRANS locations can contact all requisite nodes.

Because each AN/VRC-92 system requires an antenna for each radio in the configuration, the team’s electromagnetic and operational footprint may be untenable in some situations. For this reason, it is vital that the RETRANS team understand the mission, alternate, and supplemental locations.[6] Commanders should also provide RETRANS teams security attachments due to inherent security considerations in urban terrain. The use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to provide a RETRANS capability may reduce this risk to force and mission, when available. As an alternative to a RETRANS team, units can use other friendly units to relay messages when direct communication is not possible.

HF radios provide the FA battalion voice and digital communications that transmit over obstacles and long distances. Unfortunately, HF radios are limited in the FA battalion, and more may be needed to facilitate longer range fires and the needs of the urban terrain. Across the board, however, cannon artillery formations need more training on HF radios to unlock these capabilities.

TACSAT radios use satellites to transmit voice and data communications over very long distances. Without discussing specifics on the Modified Tables of Organization and Equipment (MTOE), cannon batteries may be limited in TACSAT radios. Because of this, FA battalions should consider reallocating TACSAT radios to their cannon batteries to increase redundancy in communications.[7] However, this transfer requires training on the use of these radio systems, as the resident knowledge may not reside inside the line batteries.

Future urban combat may require ingenuity using “outdated” and/or existing communication platforms and accessories to bridge capability gaps created by new technologies. For example, civilian cell or landline telephone systems may be used in the event of emergencies, and DR-8 wire can be run through sewers and buildings. With regards to field expedient antennas, commanders are only limited by imagination. Field expedient antennas can be emplaced in trees, tethered to air balloons, or placed on upper floors of buildings to increase range. Antennas, however, may give away unit positions, so commanders should avoid silhouetting positions.

Conversely, future urban combat may dictate the need to minimize electronic signatures. In this case, commanders may consider periods of radio silence to avoid electronic signature. Radio silence is a status in which all radios in an area are asked to stop transmitting, pending a compelling need. Relatedly, the RETRANS team allows units to reduce radio frequency output to reduce electronic signatures at their positions. Reducing or briefly eliminating electronic signatures reduces the risk of detection of Soldier and unit positions. In recent conflict in Ukraine, Russia conducted mass casualty producing artillery strikes on the Ukrainian Army by targeting their electronic signals.[8] The U.S. military has not had to contend with this capability during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Enemy electromagnetic capabilities may disrupt, degrade, or deny Global Positioning Signals (GPS) required for digital systems, forcing cannon artillery to operate in degraded modes. The U.S. Field Artillery School and the operational force have recently shifted focus to prepare for this by training in degraded modes.[9] This was an important shift, but operating in urban environments requires an additional consideration: in degraded modes, magnetic instruments will be impaired and accuracy degraded within built-up areas. This degradation will increase in outlying high-rise and core areas, where many steel-framed, tall buildings reside. Accuracy is more unforgiving in urban combat not only because of collateral damage considerations, but also because urban combat often features direct fire engagement ranges less than 100 meters – distances that would have been familiar even to Alexander the Great.[10]

Cyberspace and electromagnetic capabilities can also disrupt the mission command and targeting process for friendly artillery units, forcing analog methods in clearance of fires and airspace management. Because degraded networks reduce situational awareness, rehearsals before and even during operations are vital – particularly when operating as part of a multinational coalition.[11] Enabling responsive fires in a multinational fires team takes time and effort.

Units may consider turning off the GPS on their Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P), essentially using it as a free text mission command platform. In November 2019, the 2nd Marine Division conducted one of the largest division-level exercises in Marine Corps history at the Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. During this exercise, roughly 10,000 U.S. Marines, sailors, and British Royal Marines participated. The Marine Air-Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise (MWX) 1-20 included the Royal Marines as the simulated adversary – an adversary outfitted with UAS, electronic warfare, and cyber capabilities.[12] During the MWX, JBC-P in free text mode proved the most reliable mission command platform at echelons below brigade.[13]

As an alternate to minimizing our electronic signals, future cannon artillery formations might operate under an invisible shield of electronic noise and decoy information. In other words, instead of degrading our networks by reducing signals, we replicate them 10,000 times.[14] TAC-D vice not emanating not only enables responsive and effective fire support, but it will allow future Soldiers to more securely network with small handheld devices similar to iPhones, each loaded with communication applications, drone steering programs, or even offensive cyber weapons.

Figure 6: Hybrid Threats and Widespread Technologies

  1. Battery Defense

Battery defense in urban terrain has a dual nature of challenges and opportunities: Urban terrain offers a multidimensional environment to design defense, but its multidimensional nature is inherently difficult to defend. A holistic approach is required to reduce challenges and maximizes opportunities. Modernization initiatives to create a more mobile and agile force will increase survivability.

Urban terrain offers a multi-dimensional environment to design battery defense. Creative application of the urban terrain provides early warning, defense in depth, and dispersion. Hardened positions may be carved out of abandoned buildings, multi-story buildings can provide great listening and observation points, and key weapons systems can be creatively positioned to provide effective direct fires. The canalizing and compartmentalizing nature of the terrain can also offer commanders optimal engagement areas. Finally, in urban terrain commanders can either use the cover provided from multi-storied structures, or they can disperse their sections. In open terrain, commanders may choose to disperse 100 meters spacing (or more) between gun sections, and even more so for the fire direction center. In dense urban areas like the core and outlying high-rise areas, tall buildings may provide cover by masking enemy indirect fire systems, enabling a more compact occupation. Consequently, occupation in dense urban areas may necessitate high angle fires.  

The urban terrain also adds complexities and is inherently difficult to defend because of its multi-dimensional nature. In addition to establishing a 6400 mil defense with interlocking fires, security elements must also scan up and down their sectors to cover multi-storied buildings and other tall structures. Because of these inherent complexities, an assigned quick reaction force is vital to survival in the event of a perimeter breach. Commanders should also coordinate with adjacent units to augment their security plans, and commanders can consider requesting additional security attachments. Pending time available, howitzer sections can prepare supplementary positions for direct-fire coverage of critical routes into the battery position, including “Killer Junior” targets to defend against dismounted avenues of approach. Killer Junior uses a high explosive (HE) shell paired with a mechanical time-super quick (MTSQ) fuze, set to cause an airburst over a target at ranges of 200 to 1,000 meters.[15]

Our adversaries’ capable sensors and indirect fire weapon systems also make survivability movement criteria and the ability to rapidly displace absolutely critical. Despite the agility of towed artillery in air assaults and airborne operations, they do possess inherent limitations in displacement times and protection of howitzer crews. In some ways this limits their viability in future urban battlefields.

There is a credible argument that lightweight, mobile howitzer systems are necessary because of the pressing need for faster occupations and displacements. Even if operated well within the time standards prescribed by Training Circular 3-09.8 Fire Support and Field Artillery Certification and Qualification, towed weapons systems occupy and displace at a pace that is too slow to survive in tomorrow’s urban battlefield. Further, crew fatigue on current towed weapons systems is a concern.

Recently, General Dynamics and the Mandus Group brought the fires community the Hawkeye and the Brutus.[16] The Hawkeye is a 105-mm Howitzer mounted on a High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), and the Brutus is a 155-mm Howitzer mounted on the back of a flatbed 5-ton cargo truck. These bridge a capability gap by providing a more portable, lightweight, mobile howitzer system than the M109A7 Paladin.

Relatedly, enemy capabilities and the dense urban terrain necessitate more mobile and smaller Command Posts (CP) in the FA battalion. The urban terrain’s communication limitations require agile and mobile CPs to maintain responsive fires and effective command and control. Survivability concerns, especially those concerning enemy long range precision fires, also dictate the need for frequent and rapid movements. With the demanding configuration architectures (personnel and equipment) inherent in FA battalions, there must be a greater balance of effectiveness and survivability.

Battery defense in the urban terrain should follow a holistic approach. To avoid duplication, many of the topics previously mentioned will not be repeated here. Additional vital points of discussion include, but are not limited to, employment techniques and position area selection. Robotics used in battery defense and reconnaissance may also eventually be a topic of discussion; however, there is a greater need for these in maneuver formations and the associated costs of design and development are high.

  1. Direct Fire

Although not a primary mission set, cannon artillery can provide a large-caliber, direct fire capability that is effective in urban warfare. During the First Battle of Grozny from December 1993 – March 1994, Russian forces utilized indirect cannon fires to shape and then suppress the outskirts of the city. After maneuver forces seized their initial objectives, the Russians utilized some of their self-propelled artillery in a direct fire role, providing a long-range direct fire against bunkers, heavy fortifications, or enemy positions reinforced in concrete buildings.[17]  This proved effective, with the added benefit of direct fire producing less rubble on streets than indirect fire, enabling a greater freedom of maneuver to the advancing Russian forces.[18]

Howitzers in a direct fire role bring significant capabilities to augment organic direct fire weapon systems. Supporting M1 Abrams Tanks and the M1128 Mobile Gun System (MGS) are unable to elevate to engage targets on the upper floors of buildings, and artillery weapons systems, by their very nature, can engage at a much higher elevation. (Figure 7: Main Gun Elevation and Depression) 155-mm rounds can penetrate up to 38 inches of brick and nonreinforced concrete, and up to 28 inches of reinforced concrete with considerable damage beyond the wall.[19] 105-mm rounds will cause significant damage to buildings constructed with lightweight material, and they can penetrate single layer stone and brick walls or lightweight reinforced concrete.[20] This capability is especially significant in the Army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, because these formations lack organic large-caliber, direct fire weapon systems.

Additional considerations for howitzers to employ direct fires include survivability, emplacement/displacement times, accuracy, and mobility. The M109A7 Paladin is arguably the best option, but it does not provide the same protection as a tank. Towed artillery pieces are relatively inept, as they provide no protection to their crews and are slower to emplace and provide direct fires. Mobile howitzer systems in lieu of current towed systems might reduce this capability gap.[21]

Commanders should only choose to employ cannon artillery in a direct fire role after a careful analysis of the suitability, feasibility, and acceptability of using artillery to augment M1 Abrams Tanks, the MGS, or other direct fire weapons. When howitzers are pulled from their traditional role, the ability to support maneuver forces and shape future objectives is degraded. Commanders must weigh the main effort and conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the risks associated with utilizing howitzers in a direct fire role.

Figure 7: Main Gun Elevation and Depression. Figure from Army Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (ATTP) 3-06.11 Combined Arms Operations in Urban Terrain.

  1. Logistics

Due to the hybrid and lethal nature of threats, logistical difficulties in LSGCO will be amplified in urban terrain. Compounding these logistical difficulties, the U.S. military’s preference to substitute firepower and machines for men in large scale urban combat is well documented throughout recent history.[22] As seen in the battle of Aachen during World War II, the resulting logistical challenge to match this sharp increase in munitions is significant.[23] Resourceful operations and effective planning are required to maintain responsive fires. Future modernization initiatives will assist in meeting the logistical demand.

During LSGCO, keeping pace with difficult supply lines in large urban terrain may require cannon formations to go “logistical lite” – a term used by General (Retired) James Mattis during the 2003 invasion of Iraq – where Marines would operate with no cots, no sleeping bags, and at times, only one Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) per day.[24] Mattis’s regiments were also outfitted with fuel test kits to capture and utilize enemy fuel, and vehicles and equipment were scrupulously maintained.[25]

Cannon artillery’s ability to provide effective fire support is contingent on its ability to effectively forecast ammunition. The nature of cannon artillery in urban areas may dictate a greater need of certain munitions, and certain mission sets require different fuze shell combinations than others (e.g., delay and concrete fuzes to penetrate concrete, smoke used in breaching and gap crossing operations, scatterable mines to isolate enemy formations from their logistical lines outside the city, precision munitions for high priority targets, etc.). Ensuring the correct quantity and type of ammunition at the right place and time is critical. The S3 (Operations) and Fire Direction Officer (FDO) must identify these requirements early in the planning process (mission analysis) to ensure sufficient time to order and deliver ammunition.

But despite the risks to force and mission caused by logistical difficulties inherent in future urban combat, three emerging technological trends are noteworthy. The first is the use of adaptive manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing to reduce costs and significantly enhance the logistics train by providing forward resupply of parts and other materials. The second is using artificial intelligence (AI) or human-operated, unmanned platforms to supplement our current logistical trains, reducing both risk to force and mission in logistical movements. The third is technological advancements in power generation and storage to shrink the U.S. military services’ dependence on fuel. A reduced dependence on fuel will significantly reduce transportation requirements and logistical convoys.

Figure 8: Precision and Near Precision Munitions


This paper discussed cannon artillery in LSGCO in future urban operational environments. These complex and unceasingly difficult endeavors will require an understanding of urban warfare’s multi-dimensional nature, noncombatants, and the tactics and capabilities of hybrid threats. Junior leader agility and initiative, and the creative application of and expertise in the basics are vital. These capabilities that are only developed by training under the most demanding, realistic training conditions. At the strategic level, we must rapidly meet our equipping needs to match demands caused by this paradigm shift. We will not have the days, weeks, or months to prepare for this future – because the future is now.


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D'Onfro, Jillian. "Amazon's New Delivery Drone Will Start Shipping Packages 'In a Matter of Months’." Forbes. June 5, 2019.

Gordon, Michael and Bernard Trainor. Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. New York: Vintage Books.

Karber, Phillip and Thibeault, Joshua. “Russia’s New-Generation Warfare.” Association of the United States Army. October 10, 2019.

Kogon, David. “The Coalition Military Campaign to Defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria AUG 2016–05 SEP 2017,” U.S. Army Campaign History: CJTF–OIR (unpublished, declassified 3 September 2017).

Judson, Jen. “Raytheon’s Advanced Excalibur Weapon Hits Moving Targets in Test.” Defense News. February 5, 2020.

McNamara, Mike. “THE 2ND MARINE DIVISION DID A DIVISION EXERCISE AGAINST A “PEER” ENEMY — WHAT HAPPENED? MajGen David J. Furness, USMC,” December 4, 2019, in All Marine Radio, produced by All Marine Radio, podcast, MP3 audio, 1:25:29,

South, Todd. “A Potential Mobile Artillery Dynamic Duo for the Army: ‘Hawkeye’ and ‘Brutus’.” Army Times. November 6, 2018.

Sullivan, Matthew J. “The King of Battle and the defeat of the ISIS Caliphate Lessons learned from Operation Inherent Resolve 18-19.” Fires Bulletin – September-October, (2019): 32-35. Accessed October 18, 2019,

Tucker, Patrick. “Forget Radio Silence. Tomorrow’s Soldiers Will Move Under Cover of Electronic Noise.” Defense One, July 25, 2017,

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). State of the World’s Cities 2010-2011 (London: Earthscan, 2008).

United States, Department of the Army, National Training Center. Field Artillery MDMP Handbook. (Fort Irwin, CA, N.D.).

United States, Department of the Army. The Field Artillery Cannon Battery: Army Techniques Publication 3-09.50 : Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-1.6.23. (Washington, DC, 2015).

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Wallwork, Richard. “Artillery in Urban Operations: Reflections on Experiences in Chechnya.” U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, May 10, 2004.

Wahlman, Alec. Storming the City: U.S. Military Performance U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam. Denton, Texas: The University of North Texas Press, 2015.

[1] It is important to note that cannon artillery produces both material and psychological effects. The psychological effects are significant within both supported maneuver and enemy formations.


[2] Sensor management with counterfire radars and targeting considerations fall outside the scope of this article.


[3] United States, Department of the Army, Urban Operations: Army Techniques Publication 3-06 : Marine Corps Techniques Publication No. 12-10B, (Washington, DC, 2015), 3-13.


[4] David Kogon, “The Coalition Military Campaign to Defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria AUG 2016–05 SEP 2017,” U.S. Army Campaign History: CJTF–OIR (unpublished, declassified 3 September 2017), 35.

[5] United States, Department of the Army, National Training Center, Field Artillery MDMP Handbook, (Fort Irwin, CA, N.D.), 83-84.


[6] National Training Center, 83-84.


[7] National Training Center, 83-84.


[8] Phillip Karber and Joshua Thibeault, “Russia’s New-Generation Warfare,” Association of the United States Army, May 20, 2016,


[9] Gary Sheftick, " Field artillery back to emphasizing 'charts and darts'," The Department of the Army, The Army News Service, 16 July, 2019,


[10] Alec Wahlman, Storming the City: U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam (Denton, Texas: The University of North Texas Press, 2015), 3.


[11] United States, Department of the Army, Operations: Field Manual 3-0, (Washington, DC, 2017), 2-61.


[12] Mike McNamara, “THE 2ND MARINE DIVISION DID A DIVISION EXERCISE AGAINST A “PEER” ENEMY — WHAT HAPPENED? MajGen David J. Furness, USMC,” December 4, 2019, in All Marine Radio, produced by All Marine Radio, podcast, MP3 audio, 1:25:29,


[13] McNamara,


[14] Patrick Tucker, “Forget Radio Silence. Tomorrow’s Soldiers Will Move Under Cover of Electronic Noise,” Defense One, July 25, 2017,


[15] United States, Department of the Army, The Field Artillery Cannon Battery: Army Techniques Publication 3-09.50 : Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-1.6.23, (Washington, DC, 2015), F-1.


[16] Todd South, “A Potential Mobile Artillery Dynamic Duo for the Army: ‘Hawkeye’ and ‘Brutus’”, Army Times, November 6, 2018,


[17] Richard D. Wallwork, “Artillery in Urban Operations: Reflections on Experiences in Chechnya,” U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, (2004): 27.


[18] Wallwork, 27.


[19] United States, Department of the Army, Combined Arms Operations in Urban Combat: Army Techniques Publication 3-06.11, (Washington, DC, 2015), B34.


[20] United States, Department of the Army, B35.  


[21] For example, the Hawkeye and the Brutus are both capable of rapid and accurate direct fire.


[22] Alec Wahlman, Storming the City: U.S. Military Performance in Urban Warfare from World War II to Vietnam, (Denton, Texas: The University of North Texas Press, 2015), 5.


[23] Wahlman, 61.


[24] Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, (New York: Vintage Books), 210.


[25] Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, (New York: Vintage Books), 210.