Simply put, field artillery is the use of artillery weapons to deliver surface to surface, long range indirect fire. What this means is that the projectile can not be aimed or followed with the human line of sight. While many claim they are, mortars do not fall into the category of field artillery.
During the Civil War, members of field artillery units wore red stripes down their pant legs. They gained the nickname Redlegs, and it has stuck ever since. President Harry Truman was a Redleg Captain.
The mission of Field Artillery units is: destroy, defeat, or disrupt the enemy with integrated fires to enable maneuver commanders to dominate in unified land operations.
In today’s post, I will give you the top 10 field artillery units of all time (in my opinion). I am using many factors in determining this.
Age of the unit
Wars and battles
You may, or may not agree with my choices. Feel free to leave your comments at the end of this post. I will start with #10 and move up to #1.
10: 8th Field Artillery Regiment
The 1st Battalion was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. They served in Vietnam and earned 12 Campaign Streamers.
The 2nd Battalion is quite well known; they served in Korea with the 7th Infantry Division, and with the 25th Infantry Division, the 2nd Battalion has served several tours in the War on Terrorism.
The 3rd Battalion deployed to both Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
The 4th Battalion was a reserve unit and was inactivated in 1991.
The 5th Battalion joined the 3rd in Operations Desert Storm and Shield.
The 6th Battalion saw service in Korea until 1963. The 6th worked with the 7th Infantry Division and were deployed to Operation Just Cause in Panama.
The 7th Battalion served in Vietnam and earned 11 Campaign Streamers.
The 8th Battalion were instrumental in Korea.
9: 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment
In World War II, this Battalion fired the first artillery round in November of 1942. The 32nd was the first complete artillery unit at Omaha Beach and they also fired the first artillery round into Germany.
In 1963, the 2nd was deployed to Vietnam where they earned a Presidential Unit Citation, 2 Valorous Unit Awards and 2 Meritorious Unit Awards.
In current times, the 2nd served in Baghdad from 2007 to 2008, and in Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013 also fired the first rounds for the 1st Infantry Division in Afghanistan.
8: 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment
This is the oldest Army unit still active. This battalion was led by Captain Alexander Hamilton in the Revolutionary War. They battled in the War of 1812 and many Indian conflicts along with the Mexican War.
It was during in the early 1900’s campaigns in the Philippines, Brigadier General Gruber of the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment wrote the Caisson Song which was originally the march song for this unit. It is now the official Army Song.
This battalion served bravely in World War I and II. They served in Vietnam under Lieutenant Colonel Charles Rogers who earned the Medal of Honor.
In recent years, this battalion has served in Operation’s Desert Storm and Shield, and Iraqi Freedom.
7: 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment
This battalion has participated in a huge amount of campaigns:
World War I-7
World War II-2
And many in the War on Terrorism
6: 82nd Field Artillery Regiment
The 82nd history goes back to the “First Dragoons.” The 82nd was deployed to the Mexican Border in the expedition to stop Pancho Villa. Other actions the 82nd was involved in were:
World War II in the Pacific Theater
7 Campaigns in Korea
In Vietnam, the 1st Battalion of the 82nd marched 192 miles in 12 hours
Instrumental in the Gulf War
This division has been a major force in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in 2013, they were deactivated.
5: 27th Field Artillery Regiment
Known as “United We Stand,” this field artillery regiment has participated in some major campaigns, and destroyed many enemy strongholds. Just consider all the campaigns which included:
World War II
Defending Saudi Arabia
War On Terror
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom
4: 7th Field Artillery Regiment
While the 7th Field Artillery Regiment has participated in many campaigns from World War I on, as part of the 1st Infantry Division, they are probably best known for all the damage they did to the VietKong. Just to put it in perspective, the 7th Field Artillery Regiment fired 1,250,000+ rounds for the 55 months they spent in Vietnam. If not for these “Redlegs,” the United States probably would have had more casualties.
3: 17th Field Artillery Regiment
Created in 1916 in Wisconsin, the 17th has fired many shells in times of war. Some of the many campaigns the 17th has been involved in include:
World War I-6
World War II-8
The 17th has lived up to their motto: In Times Of Peace, Prepare For War.
2: 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery
I was really having a difficult time on whether to put this unit in the first or second position. As Far as I am concerned, even though we have it marked #2, this unit ties for #1.
Known as “Top Guns,” this unit has seen action in almost every situation the United States Army has been involved in since World War I.
Where we give a huge thumbs up to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery is their unrelenting service in the Middle East. The soldiers of this unit have performed much more than just field artillery in all their deployments to Iraq. They have run checkpoints, discovered hidden weapons.
Also for their great work in Afghanistan, they received a Presidential Unit Citation.
1: 15th Field Artillery Regiment
This unit has had some brave soldiers within its ranks. Formed in 1916, the 15th saw much action in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and has been quite active since in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. You can tell how strong this unit is when you hear the awards these “Redleg” soldiers have earned:
2 Medals of Honor
5 Distinguished Service Crosses
1 Distinguished Service Medal
407 Silver Stars
20 Air Medals
200 Bronze Stars
210 Purple Hearts
and many more.
This is my opinion of the 10 top Army Field Artillery Units. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Put your comments below and share your thoughts. Thank you.