4th Fires Brigade (United States)

4th Fires Brigade (United States)
4th Fires Brigade (4th Infantry Division Artillery)
Active 1 July 1916 – 16 April 2007
Country United States
Allegiance United States
Branch US Army
Type Artillery
Role Fire Support
Size Brigade
Part of 4th Infantry Division
Garrison/HQ Fort Hood, Texas
Nickname Iron Gunners
Engagements World War I
World War II
Korean War
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Col. Dick Francey

The 4th Fires Brigade, also known as the "Iron Gunners" was the former 4th Infantry Division Artillery, and was the fire support brigade for the 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army (also referred to as DIVARTY, for "Divisional Artillery"). On 16 April 2007 the 4th Fires Brigade, (formerly 4th Infantry Division's DIVARTY) reflagged as the 41st Fires Brigade. They are based out of Fort Hood, Texas and their assets included the M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS).

The unit was reorganized in December 2004 to assign its subordinate units to the Division's four maneuver brigades, giving each of those brigades their own organic artillery for close fire support. Only the 2d Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment remains part of the Fires Brigade directly. Other units can be absorbed as fire support elements as needed for the mission. Assets which had previously been located at the Corps level were now assigned to the Fires Brigade to allow it, and the 4th Infantry Division, to operate more independently. The new brigade commander, Col. Allen Batschelet, was author of the April 2002 study Effects-based operations: A New Operational Model? while a Lt. Colonel.[1] Effects-based operations are defined by the US military in the study as "a process for obtaining a desired strategic outcome or effect on the enemy through the synergistic and cumulative application of the full range of military and non-military capabilities at all levels of conflict," rather than simply focus on causing casualties or physical destruction through offensive fire. The new mission for the Fires Brigade reflected this emerging philosophy of operations.



To plan, coordinate, and execute lethal and non-lethal fire support of the designated division or joint armed forces command. Its non-lethal missions include electronic warfare, psychological operations, offensive information operations and deployment of munitions such as illumination, smoke and riot-control agents.[2]


The 21st Field Artillery was constituted in the Regular Army on 1 July 1916 and organized at Camp Wilson, Texas on 1 June 1917. It was assigned to the 5th Division in 1917 and saw combat in France during World War I, participating in the St. Mihiel and Lorraine (1918) Campaigns. Following World War I, the 21st Field Artillery was retired until 6 October 1939 when it was reactivated as part of the 5th Division. As part of the 5th Division, the 21st saw action in the World War II campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe.

The tradition begun in World War II continued in Vietnam as the newly formed 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery began its association with the 1st Cavalry Division. During the Vietnam War, the 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery participated in 15 different campaigns including the Tet Counteroffensive and Counteroffensives I-VII. During the war, the battalion earned the Presidential Unit Citation for action in Pleiku Province, the Valorous Unit Award for the Fish Hook Campaign, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation for operations in Vietnam (1967). Additionally, Alpha and Bravo Batteries were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for action in Binh Thaun Province.

The Deep Strike Battalion (2–20 FA) was first constituted 1 July 1916 in the Regular Army as Battery B, 20th Field Artillery and was activated in June 1940 at Fort Benning, Georgia, as an element of the 4th Division, later re-designated as the 4th Infantry Division. In 1957 the battalion was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division and activated in Korea. In 1960 the Battalion was re-designated the 2nd Rocket Howitzer Battalion, 20th Field Artillery until taking its present moniker of 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery in a 1971 redesignation. In 1972, the battalion was relieved from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division, assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, and activated at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 1976 the battalion was attached to 8th Infantry Division in Wiesbaden, Germany, where it would remain until it was deactivated in 1984, subsequently reactivated in 1987 and again deactivated in 1992. On a interesting side note, during this period, specifically 1990 and 1991, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Battalion was a 8-inch unit, headquartered in Hanau, Germany. During the build up and deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm, individuals from 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Battalion were used to augment units from the 42nd Field Artillery Brigade. Many soldiers from 2/20th fought in Desert Storm, but the battalion itself was not credited for their actions. In September 1998, 9–1 Field Artillery was reflagged as the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Battalion. In 2001 the battalion supported the Army’s testing and fielding of the M270A1 launcher and became the first M270A1 MLRS unit in the Army. In March 2003 the battalion deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where they performed not only their traditional field artillery tasks, to include firing the division’s first deep missile fires in combat, but performed armed reconnaissance missions, joint security patrols, cordon and searches, raids, and a wide variety of civil military operations. The battalion redeployed in March 2003.

Operation Iraqi Freedom


  • Lt Col Allen B. West 2001-2003
  • Lt Col Richard French 2003-2004
  • Col. Allen Batschelet 2004–2007
  • Col. Richard M. Francey JR 2007 – present[3]


The Divarty took command of FOB Gunner in April 2003 and held the base until February 2004 when they were relieved by elements of the 1st Cavalry Division. The brigade routinely maintained a strong defense through offense by active patrols and show of strength. That brigade had the honor of being the location for the storage and consolidation of enemy arms and equipment to be redistributed to the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Civil Defense Force (ICDF) later the New Iraqi Army (NIA), although the mission was executed by the 751st Quartermaster Company (Army Reserve) out of Mesa, Arizona. This was the only location in Iraq to perform this type of mission. The FOB supported units including the 82nd Airborne, the 101st Airborne, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (2nd ACR), and the British.

During Iraq the brigade was commanded by Col. Kevin Stramara and was stationed at Taji, Iraq. During this time, the unit and its commander were the subject of internal complaints and investigations by the military for harsh treatment of Iraqi civilians.[4]

In December 2005 the Brigade was sent again to Iraq with most of the Brigade going to Baghdad to conduct FOB Base Defense and 2-20FA(-) going North to support operations of the 101st Airborne and the 18th Airborne Corps. Alpha Battery went west to support Marine operations in the Al Asad and Fallujah area.

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