Shoot and scoot is an artillery tactic of firing at a target and then immediately moving away from the location from where the shots were fired to avoid counter-battery fire (e.g. from enemy artillery). The need for such tactics in World War II became obvious from the noticeable smoke signature produced by the use of anti-tank infantry weapons such as the M1 bazooka, Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck, and also by the various models of Nebelwerfer and Wurfrahmen 40 German barrage rocket systems.
Shoot and scoot was originally made possible and used by Soviet Katyusha rocket artillery, whose rudimentary construction of rails on a truck chassis made it comparatively light and mobile, while its quick 7-10 second full salvo, slow reload, and complete lack of protection made switching positions its main tactic and best defense.
Shoot and scoot tactics were first adopted by NATO in the early 1960s by its nuclear artillery units using towed 8-inch Howitzers and truck-mounted MGR-1 Honest John rockets. These operated as single guns or launchers, typically deployed to a hide, came into action when given a nuclear fire mission, fired and immediately came out of action and moved to another hide adjacent to another firing position. These tactics became normal for missile units and were successfully used by Iraqi missile units in the 1991 Gulf War.
Similar tactics were adopted by M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) platoons when it entered service, although in this case the launchers usually went first to a reload site after firing. It may be used by Indian Pinaka MBRL or Russian Grad, Uragan and Smerch, although originally systems like Grad used more traditional tactics.
A refined version are gun manoeuvre areas developed by UK for use by AS90 batteries when the counter-battery threat is high. These areas cover several square kilometres and the guns move around in them in pairs. The difficult decision is deciding how long guns can remain in one place before moving. This requires judgement about the enemy's counter-battery responsiveness. In these areas, the battery's command elements remain in one place and there are various options for replenishing the guns' on-board ammunition. The tactic is affected by the rate of fire of the manoeuvring guns and the time it takes them to come out of action. However, it is also very wearing on the gun crews and for sustained use relief crews are essential.
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