Artillery 1

Please see the note below.

An army has two major components: its ARMS and its SERVICES. The purpose of the former is to kill; of the latter, to provide everything from boots to breakfast to enable the arms to achieve that purpose. (1)

Traditionally, there are four arms: the infantry, artillery, cavalry and engineers.

Artillery refers to that arm which deploys weapons that can fire farther and more devastatingly than the individual weapons – rifles or grenades – handled by infantry soldiers. Artillery originally meant the heavy siege engines developed to smash fortifications; these weapons remained in place for a long time, a siege being by definition a slow operation against a stationary target, and the heavy guns being very difficult to move in or out of place. Field artillery, by contrast, are the units equipped with more or less mobile guns that can be used on or behind the field of battle.

British and Canadian artillery share the same mottos: Quo fas et gloria ducunt is the Latin phrase commonly translated as “whither right and glory lead.” Fas is not just a matter of rightness, but of divinely sanctioned rightness, a law or command, sometimes with the sense of destiny.

RCA crest

Snappier, and less problematic, is the single-word motto Ubique, which means “everywhere.” Army units are awarded battle honours – that is, the right to include the name of a particular battle or engagement on its colours, flags or insignia. The artillery does not have particular battle honours, since it serves everywhere.

(1)  Radley, Kenneth. We Lead, Others Follow: First Canadian Division 1914-1918. 2006. 182.

The crest is that of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.The gun in the crest is a nine-pound muzzle loader, the main artillery weapon at the time of Canadian confederation (1867).

Note: This and the following entries are “for dummies” background; I acknowledge that military history and technology are far more complicated than I can present. Correction of any egregious errors will be appreciated; cavils, not so much.

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”

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