A battery or battery is a grouping of guns or other artillery weapons systems, placed under the same command and normally occupying close firing positions. Today, the term "battery" is commonly applied to each of the military units of land artillery, equivalent to a company, typically commanded by a captain and having four, six or eight weapons of the same type. The term also applies, within the scope of naval artillery, to each of the groups of weapons of the same type installed on board a warship.
Historically, the term "bataria" referred to a group of cannons engaged in combat as field artillery or as artillery to lay siege to a fortress or city. Those batteries could be made up of a mixture of guns, howitzers and mortars. The term "battery" was also used to refer to a group of guns installed in a fixed position - such as a coastal or border defense fortification - and to refer to the placement of artillery in a temporary field position during a battle.
During the 18th century, the term "battery" began to be used, in the organizational context, to refer to a permanent artillery unit - existing in both peacetime and war - typically composed of six cannons. By the end of the 19th century, in most armies, the term "battery" had already replaced the terms "company", "brigade" and others as the designation of the basic artillery unit.
In the 20th century, the term "battery" generally referred to the company-level subunits of the various branches of artillery, including field artillery, coast, anti-aircraft and garrison artillery. The term was also used, in some armies, to designate machine gun units, whose organization and tactical use initially followed the artillery doctrine. From the First World War onwards, in addition to the traditional fire batteries, objective acquisition batteries were also created, which today include the entire spectrum of ISTAR systems (intelligence, surveillance, objective acquisition and reconnaissance). On the other hand, the firing batteries of the end of the 20th century, came to be equipped not only with muzzles, but also with rockets and missiles.
During the Napoleonic Wars, some armies began to group their batteries into larger tactical units, called "brigades", "large batteries", "groups" or "battalions". To further concentrate the fire of individual batteries, beginning in World War I, some armies created large artillery units, designated "artillery divisions". Coastal artillery, garrison artillery and, later, anti-aircraft artillery often adopted organizational systems, which grouped the various batteries into zone or defense sector commands.
Occasionally, batteries were also divided into smaller subunits, each grouping two or three cannons. Depending on the season, army and type of artillery, these subunits are called "divisions" or "platoons".
The number of guns or launch systems in each battery also varied. Typically, the greater the caliber of the muzzles or the power of the weapon systems that equip the battery, the smaller their number. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, each field battery traditionally included five guns and a howitzer. Each of the pieces and howitzers were normally pulled by five mules, with about 12 additional mules to carry the ammunition. during the 19th century, it was considered that the ideal number of guns per battery would be between four and 12. This number of guns per battery has generally remained until today. However, some specialty batteries