A barrage is a particular method of delivering massed artillery fire from a few or many batteries. Individual guns or howitzers are aimed at points, typically 20–30 yards (18–27 m) apart, along one or more lines that can be from a few hundred to several thousand yards long. The lines are usually 100 yards (91 m) apart and fire is lifted from one line to the next and one or several lines may be simultaneously engaged by different firing units. The artillery usually fired at a continuous steady rate, using high explosive or shrapnel shells.
Barrage fire may be defensive to deny or hamper enemy passage through an area or offensive to provide covering fire that neutralises the enemy in an area through or towards which friendly forces are advancing. Defensive barrages are usually static (or standing or box). Offensive barrages move forward in front of the advancing troops, the pattern of barrage movement may be creeping, rolling or block. Barrage fire is not aimed at specific targets, it is aimed at areas in which there are known or expected targets. It contrasts with a concentration, in which the guns aim at a specific target in an area typically 150–250 metres (160–270 yd) diameter.
The barrage was developed by the British in the Second Boer War. It came to prominence in World War I, notably its use by the British Expeditionary force and particularly from late 1915 onwards when the British realised that the neutralising effects of artillery to provide covering fire were the key to breaking into defensive positions. By late 1916 the creeping barrage was the standard means of applying artillery fire to support an infantry attack, with the infantry following the advancing barrage as closely as possible. Its employment in this way recognised the importance of artillery fire in neutralizing (or suppressing), rather than destroying, the enemy. It was found that a moving barrage immediately followed by the infantry assault could be far more effective than weeks of preliminary bombardment.
Barrages remained in use in World War II and later, but only as one of a variety of artillery tactics made possible by improvements in predicted fire, target location and communications. The term barrage is widely, and technically incorrectly, used in the popular media for any artillery fire.

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