Invited lecture 1: The tactical use of artillery, a historical perspective (the Belgian army during World War I)…


In August 1914, the Belgian field army had only light guns 75mm. During the first battles with the German army, it became clear that their tactical use was close to that of the Battle of Waterloo (1815). However, after the campaign of 1914 stalled and trench warfare ensued, the Belgian artillery had to reinvent itself. More types of artillery pieces (guns, howitzers and mortars) appeared. Heavy guns and howitzers were seen as necessary to destroy as many enemy positions as possible. Counterbattery fire also became more sophisticated. The artillery had to learn to master camouflage technics. Their tactical deployment became more flexible. Year by year, the cooperation with the infantry got better. Instead of seeking for the destruction of enemy positions, its suppression became the aim of the artillery operations in support of the infantry. By 1918, after four years of trench warfare, the Belgian artillery had completely changed its arsenal, its tactical missions and its mindset.

During this lecture, we will take a closer look at this four-year learning process. In doing so, we will also focus on the problems the Belgian artillery faced during the war.

Tom Simoens (°1978) is an associate professor in History at the Royal Military Academy. He wrote his dissertation on the transformation of the Belgian Armed Forces during the First World War. He’s the head of the Chair of History at the Royal Military Academy.

Invited lecture 2: The tactical use of artillery, a modern fire control perspective…


Due to the availability of modern, accurate guided weapon systems and associated collateral damage concerns, conventional field artillery systems have been somewhat relegated to a secondary role for both offensive and defensive operations. However, recent events in Ukraine have shown that in operations where sophisticated guided weapons are rapidly depleted in an extended conflict, basic artillery fire using unguided projectiles can still play a significant role. This presentation describes how the accuracy of field artillery fire may be predicted, leading to a more effective use of this weapon system against enemy forces while mitigating the effects of unintended damage to collateral concerns. Topics covered in the lecture include specification of accuracy metrics, stability of unguided projectiles, modeling trajectories with sufficient fidelity, unit effects or ballistic partials and the error budget approach to calculating the accuracy of typical artillery battery volley fires. To tie all these topics together, the presentation concludes with the demonstration of a program to calculate typical 155mm artillery shell accuracy using public domain data.

Dr. Morris Driels has taught Mechanical Engineering at Universities in the UK and USA since 1973.  Currently he is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California where he has taught since 1989.  He has over 50 published journal articles, holds several patents and published textbooks in the fields of robotics, automatic control systems and weaponeering. Beginning in 1994 he worked in a research capacity for the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness (JTCG/ME) on a variety of Weaponeering subjects related to their mission.  Starting in 2000, he began to teach a one-quarter graduate level course in Weaponeering to NPS students from a variety of curricula. In 2004 he published through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), what was considered to be the only comprehensive textbook on this subject, the first edition of "Weaponeering: Conventional Weapon System Effectiveness", with the substantially expanded second and third editions appearing in 2013 and 2020 respectively. The third edition was published as a two volume (Introductory and Advanced Weaponeering) set.  In 2021 “Weaponeering for the Warfighter” was published as a broader, less mathematical text aimed particularly at the novice civilian and military operational user. Since 2000 he has also taught both the Introduction and Advanced Weaponeering classes as four-day short courses to military and civilian audiences worldwide.  Although he retired in 2018, Prof Driels remains active in the conventional weapon effects field.