The Top 10 Army Artillery Shells Of All Time

Artillery is considered a weapon of warfare that is built to fire far beyond the range of small arms fire from infantry soldiers.

So with that knowledge, you can see that artillery covers a wide scope of weaponry.

  • Mortars
  • Cannons
  • Rockets
  • Missiles
  • Etc…

Artillery has been used in warfare since days of old. The Roman Legion is often recognized as one of the first armies that employed units of artillery with catapults that would launch burning oil or huge rocks.

Army leaders will tell you that artillery placement is one key to success in battle. Artillery can provide cover and back up for infantry troops.

In today’s post, I have decided to research various artillery shells used by Army forces over the years.

I am going to give you my opinion of the top 10. Your opinion may differ, but I am looking at several factors:

  • destructive power
  • ease of use and movement
  • time in service
  • etc…

I am going to start with #10 and work up to #1.

There is a comment area at the end where you can share your opinion.

Here are the top 10 Army artillery shells of all time

#10: .50 Cal BMG

The .50 Cal BMG is the “go-to” ammo for snipers.

You will see .50 Calibers on various military vehicles. The .50 Cal has been a death sentence to enemies of the United States.

While smaller than other shells that didn’t make the list, the sheer numbers of dead enemies gives this round its rightful place on this list.

#9: M252 Mortar

This is one of the heaviest used mortars by the United States Army.

It is an 81 MM mortar.

Firing the M252 takes a crew of 5:

  • squad leader
  • gunner
  • assistant gunner
  • 1st ammo bearer
  • 2nd ammo bearer

The M252 high explosive rounds have an effective range up to 6,000 yards.

#8: M107 Projectile

Made for Howitzers, this projectile will do some serious damage.

Weighing approximately 90 pounds, these projectiles have over 12 pounds of explosives and are fitted with fuses.

Now outdated, these are still used for training purposes.

#7: M224 Mortar

This smaller 60 MM mortar can be fired using 1 person.

The M224 has been a great help in battles and skirmishes in Middle East conflicts.

The effective range is up to 3,000 yards.

The M224 rightfully deserves this spot on today’s list.

#6: M388 Nuke

This artillery shell had to be listed even though a live nuke round was never used on the enemy.

The system is called the Davy Crockett, and we would now consider it one of the craziest projectiles ever invented.

The weapon was a recoil-less weapon that sat on a tripod and would fire this nuke that carried a small nuclear explosion.

The biggest issue was that the crew would probably die after firing it unless the wind was blowing in the right direction.

This was the ultimate suicidal weapon.

#5: Little David

It is a good thing the Japanese surrendered when they did or this massive mortar would have caused much more destruction.

Little David was a 914 MM mortar with a 22 foot barrel. It would fire a 3,400 pound shell at over 5 miles distance.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Army 13T MOS: Field Artillery Surveyor/Meteorological Crewmember
  2. Army 13R MOS: Field Artillery Firefinder Radar Operator
  3. Top 10 Army Air Defense Artillery Units of All Time
  4. 10th Mountain Division – Campaigns & Decorations
  5. Is The United States Arming Current Or Future Enemies?

#4: M712 Copperhead

The M712 is a 155 MM laser guided shell that is cannon launched.

The target is illuminated with a laser and the shell travels directly to the laser point.

The effective range for this shell is over 9 miles.

The M712 was used with great success in Operation Desert Storm.

#3: FGM148 Javelin

This shell is a fire and forget weapon.

It uses HEAT technology and has been extremely successful in tank destruction.

The Javelin was designed to hit the upper extremities of tanks where the armor is thinner.

It is operated by 2 soldiers.

#2: M982 Excalibur

Using GPS, the M982 is a 155 MM guided artillery shell that can fly for extended range. It is effective up to 14 miles.

Each shell is quite expensive, but has been used with extremely great results.

It is especially good when accuracy to save civilians is important.

#1: AGM114 Hellfire

This is an air to surface projectile. It has been used with high rates of success from Predator Drones. It is also used from U.S. Army rotary aircraft.

The AGM114 Hellfire has been the cause of death for many terrorist factions.

I believe it takes #1 because of the amount of kills it has had against our enemies.

Final Thoughts

There you have my opinion on the top 10 Army artillery shells of all time.

You may not agree, so I would love to hear your comments below.

Thank you for visiting and please share this with others.



About The Author

Greg Boudonck is a full time freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He served in the United States Army in the early 1980’s and enjoys writing about military subjects. You can see Greg’s books on Amazon by searching his name and you can also visit his website at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!