ambushes, hostage-taking, improvised explosive devices, piracy and guerrilla
warfare, are all characteristics of modern insurgencies. Also known as fourth
generation conflicts, these wars not only occurred in Afghanistan, Mali, Iraq,
Libya, but also in the former Yugoslavia and in Algeria, which was one of the
French Army's first modern testing grounds.
To confront these
particular types of operations, regular armies must develop new ways of
operating that are effective enough to cause opponent losses, while remaining
proportional and not effecting the civilian population, among whom battle takes
place. Under these conditions, there is a place for artillery – despite its
reputation of being a weapon of brutality par excellence.
One telling statistic
from Afghanistan: 80% of all enemy losses were caused by indirect fire (close
air support, attack helicopters and artillery) and the artillery itself was
responsible for almost half of the insurgent dead and wounded in the French
area of operations. Yet, the gunners only represented 7% of the deployed French
force! In terms of cost-effectiveness, these figures speak for themselves.
Drawing on dozens
of operational vignettes, the book demonstrates that a counter insurgency can
be won using innovative tactics; such as faints, rouses and deception along
with more traditional methods like destruction, harassment and isolation.
Although often underutilized in the former, the Artillery proved itself to be
ruthlessly effective when employed in an asymmetric manner.
Marine Gunner, General Benoit ROYAL, ed. commanded the eleventh Marine
Artillery Regiment at Lande d'Ouee (Ille-et-Vilaine). A student of the Joint
Staff College and the Institute of Advanced Studies in National Defence, in
2013, he took command of the School of Artillery which provides training for
French gunners and contributes to drafting of operational doctrine. He is also
director of the literary collection "Guerres et Opinions", Economica.