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In
ballistics Ballistics is the field of mechanics Mechanics (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its ...
, the elevation is the
angle In Euclidean geometry Euclidean geometry is a mathematical system attributed to Alexandrian Greek mathematics , Greek mathematician Euclid, which he described in his textbook on geometry: the ''Euclid's Elements, Elements''. Euclid's method c ...

angle
between the
horizontal plane In astronomy, geography, and related sciences and contexts, a ''Direction (geometry, geography), direction'' or ''plane (geometry), plane'' passing by a given point is said to be vertical if it contains the local gravity direction at that point. ...
and the axial direction of the
barrel A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical A cylinder (from ) has traditionally been a Solid geometry, three-dimensional solid, one of the most basic of curvilinear geometric shapes. Geometrically, it can be considered as a Prism (geometry), ...
of a
gun A gun is a designed to use a shooting tube () to launch typically solid s, but can also project pressurized (e.g. s/s, s for or , , and technically also s), (e.g. ) or even s (e.g. ). Solid projectiles may be free-flying (as with and s ...

gun
,
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
or heavy
artillery Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch Ammunition, munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications dur ...

artillery
. Originally, elevation was a ''linear'' measure of how high the gunners had to physically lift the muzzle of a gun up from the
gun carriage A gun carriage is a frame and mount that supports the gun gun barrel, barrel of an artillery piece, allowing it to be maneuvered and fired. These platforms often had wheels so that the artillery pieces could be moved more easily. Gun Carriages wh ...
to compensate for projectile drop and hit targets at a certain distance.


Pre-WWI and WWI

Though early 20th-century firearms were relatively easy to fire, artillery was not. Before and during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, the only way to effectively fire artillery was plotting points on a plane. Most artillery units seldom employed their cannons in small numbers. Instead of using pin-point artillery firing they used old means of "
fire for effect Fire for effect is a military term. According to NATO doctrine: # Fire which is delivered after the mean point of impact or burst is within the desired distance of the target or adjusting/ranging point. # Term in a call for fire to indicate the ad ...
" using artillery en masse. This tactic was employed successfully by past armies. But changes have been made since past wars and in World War I, artillery was more accurate than before, although not as accurate as artillery one century newer. The tactics of artillery from previous wars were carried on, and still had similar success.
Warships A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship Image:HMAS Darwin (FFG 04).jpg, , an Australian frigate A naval ship is a military ship (or sometimes boat, depending on classification) used by a navy. Naval ships are differentiated from civ ...
and
battleships A battleship is a large armored warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed force ...

battleships
also carried large caliber guns that needed to be elevated to certain degrees to accurately hit targets, and they also had the similar drawbacks of land artillery.


WWII and beyond

As time passed on, more accurate artillery guns were made, and they came in different varieties. Small artillery pieces were used as
mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
s, medium-sized artillery guns became
tank gun A tank gun is the main armament of a tank A tank is an armored fighting vehicle intended as a primary offensive weapon in front-line ground combat. Tank designs are a balance of heavy firepower, strong vehicle armor, armor, and good battlefi ...
s, and the largest artillery guns became long range land
batteries Battery may refer to: Energy source * Electric battery, an electrochemical device to provide electrical power ** Automotive battery, a device to provide power to certain functions of an automobile ** List of battery types * Energy storage, inclu ...
and battleship armaments. With the introduction of better tanks in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, elevation was once again a problem for tank gunners, which had to aim through the Gunner's Auxiliary Sights (GAS) or even through
iron sight Iron sights are a system of physical alignment markers (usually made of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows ...
s. Though the problem was not that evident as tanks fired rounds at a higher
velocity The velocity of an object is the Time derivative, rate of change of its Position (vector), position with respect to a frame of reference, and is a function of time. Velocity is equivalent to a specification of an object's speed and direction ...

velocity
than normal artillery, making aiming less of a hassle. As with World War I, World War II artillery was almost like its old counterpart. But in the war came the introduction of the FCS or the
fire-control system A fire-control system (sometimes called FCS) is a number of components working together, usually a gun data computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. ...
, which made firing artillery accurately easier. With the advancements in the 21st century, it has become easy to determine how much elevation a gun needed to hit a target. The
laser rangefinder and elevation The elevation of a geographic location (geography), location is its height above or below a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational eq ...
is a component of FCS, and can accurately determine the range of the target, thereby calculating how much elevation the gun needs, making today's guns highly accurate.


See also

*
Altitude (astronomy) The horizontal coordinate system is a celestial coordinate system that uses the observer's local horizon as the fundamental plane. It is often used to specify a location in the sky using angles called ''elevation'' (or ''altitude'') and ''azimu ...
*
Pitching moment Pitch may refer to: Acoustic frequency * Pitch (music) Pitch is a perception, perceptual property of sounds that allows their ordering on a frequency-related scale (music), scale, or more commonly, pitch is the quality that makes it possible to ...


References

* Gunnery Instructions, U.S. Navy (1913), Register No. 409

* Gunnery And Explosives For Artillery Officers (1911

* Fire Control Fundamentals, NAVPERS 91900 (1953), Part C: The Projectile in Flight - Exterior Ballistic

* FM 6-40, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Field Artillery Manual Cannon Gunnery (23 April 1996), Chapter 3 - Ballistics; Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-1.6.1

* FM 23-91, Mortar Gunnery (1 March 2000), Chapter 2 Fundamentals of Mortar Gunner

* Fundamentals of Naval Weapons Systems: Chapter 19 (Weapons and Systems Engineering Department United States Naval Academy

* Naval Ordnance and Gunnery (Vol.1 - Naval Ordnance) NAVPERS 10797-A (1957) * Naval Ordnance and Gunnery (Vol.2 - Fire Control) NAVPERS 10798-A (1957) * Naval Ordnance and Gunnery''

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