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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

artillery fire

Paul Hederer

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The German terms are more descriptive and accurate.

Sperrfeuer--Fire used to seal off, or block an avenue of approach, retreat. Like a box barrage used to impede movement to and from an area.

"Interdiction Fires. These fires are used to disrupt, delay, and destroy enemy forces that, because of range limitations or intervening terrain, cannot fire their primary weapon systems on friendly forces. Targets include first-echelon forces not participating in the direct battle and follow-on echelons. Interdiction fires create 'windows" for friendly unit offensive maneuver."

Vernichtungsfeuer-Destruction fire--exactly that, fire meant to destroy a target vice supressing it.

Feuerwalz-Rolling barrage.

Trommelfeuer (Drumfire)--an intense bombardment. Relates to rate or density of fire. In a regular firing a tube may fiee one round every two minutes, during a drumfire the ROF may be 2-4 rounds a minute depending on caliber.

Here are some other definitions:

Effects of Fire. A commander will decide what effect fire support must have on a particular target. There are three types of fire: destruction, neutralization, and suppression.

Destruction. Destruction puts a target out of action permanently. Direct hits with high-explosive (HE) or concrete-piercing (CP) shells are required to destroy hard materiel targets. Usually, destruction requires large expenditures of ammunition and is not considered economical, except for nuclear weapons.

Neutralization. Neutralization knocks a target out of action temporarily. It can be achieved by use of any type of shell-fuze combination suitable for attacking a particular type of target. Neutralization does not require an extensive expenditure of ammunition and is the most practical type of mission. Most missions are neutralization fire.

Suppression. Suppression of a target limits the ability of the enemy Personnel in the target area to perform their jobs. Firing HE/VT or smoke creates apprehension and confuses the enemy. The effect of suppressive fires usually lasts only as long as the fires are continued. Suppression requires a low expenditure of ammunition; however, since its effects are not lasting, it is unsuitable for most targets.


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Similar language is used in RA parlance. The Great War also saw numerous use of specialised terminology such as box barrage etc to describe more specific types of fire missions.


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  • 5 weeks later...


Another useful term for Sperrfeuer, when it isn't a box barrage as such, is screening fire.



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