Russia would ‘overwhelm’ Nato land forces

Underinvestment in artillery has left Nato land forces vulnerable to “devastating” capabilities that have been developed by high-end “near peer” adversaries, fears the British Army’s head of capability combat support.

Brigadier Simon Humphrey said budget cuts and an over-emphasis on low-end insurgency operations have left Nato forces at risk of being “overwhelmed in the early stages of a high-intensity conflict”.  

“The military campaigns of the last 14 years have had a mixed effect on Nato’s artillery capability,” Humphrey told Defence IQ’s annual Future Artillery conference in London. 

“Developments in precision fires and airborne target acquisition have been hugely positive,” he said. “But it has also spawned a range of middle and senior commanders who have not grown up understanding the effects that artillery must deliver to the battlefield when competing against a peer adversary.” 

The resultant shortfalls include the scale, mass and range of existing artillery pieces as well as an inability to deliver a wide variety of effects, Humphrey said.  

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