[Lone Sentry: Ch. 6. Artillery in Retrograde Movements | FM 6-20: Tactical Employment - Field Artillery Field Manual]
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FM 6-20: Tactical Employment
Field Artillery Field Manual, War Department, February 5, 1944
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Field Manual. As with all field manuals, the text may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the contents of the field manual. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


94. GENERAL. See FM 100-5 for general principles relating to retrograde movements.

95. NIGHT WITHDRAWAL. In a night withdrawal, artillery sufficient to keep up the appearance of normal activity is left in position in direct support of the outpost elements. When only organic artillery has been present, one battery per battalion is appropriate support. When reinforcing artillery has been present, the amount of artillery left in position is proportionally increased. Parts of the liaison and observation systems remain in operation. Units remaining must be well supplied with ammunition. The fires of the artillery left in position are as nearly as practicable the same in quantity and type as those previously executed by the artillery of the force. The artillery left in position withdraws just before the outpost elements. Artillery which is not to remain in position is usually withdrawn shortly after dark, moving to assembly points where march columns are formed, or to positions from which it will support a new defensive position. All of this artillery may move at one time when the road net permits; otherwise, priority is usually given to the heavier artillery.

96. DAYLIGHT WITHDRAWAL. The force commander designates a general covering force, mobile and strong in fire power. Local commanders designate local covering forces to assist their firing lines in breaking off the engagement. Some artillery is attached to the general mobile covering force; at least a battalion is desirable. The artillery of the main force displaces by echelons and furnishes continuous support as the main force withdraws. In exceptional cases artillery may be attached to local covering forces. The corps artillery is moved to the rear early in order to clear the routes of withdrawal.

97. DELAYING ACTION. The artillery is placed well forward behind the first main position to permit long-range fire. Close support of a delaying position usually is not important. If a daylight withdrawal is anticipated, the artillery is disposed in depth, with some of it in rear of the next position. When all of the artillery is emplaced well forward behind the first delaying position, a portion of it must be withdrawn early to cover the displacement of the remainder. Artillery reconnaissance for positions after displacement to the rear must be initiated as soon as the forward position is occupied. Each delaying position should be located to provide adequate ground observation for the artillery. When practicable, control of the artillery in rear of each position is centralized, to permit massing of all artillery fire on critical points.

98. RETIREMENT. Sufficient artillery is provided the flank and rear guards to support them in the execution of their missions. If the enemy presses his pursuit, the remainder of the artillery is so disposed in the column or columns as best to protect the main body or to furnish additional support for the security detachments (see pars. 81 and 82). Otherwise, the bulk of the artillery may precede the main body in order to clear the routes.


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