Warning shot

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A United States Coast Guard helicopter firing warning shots at a non-compliant boat during training. HITRON MH-65C Fires warning shots.jpg
A United States Coast Guard helicopter firing warning shots at a non-compliant boat during training.

A warning shot is a military and/or police term describing an intentionally harmless artillery shot or gunshot with intent to enact direct compliance and order to a hostile perpetrator or enemy forces. It is recognized as signalling intended confrontations on land, sea, and air.

Military Organization primarily tasked with preparing for and conducting war

A military is a heavily-armed, highly-organised force primarily intended for warfare, also known collectively as armed forces. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force and in certain countries, Marines and Coast Guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and national honor guards.

Police Law enforcement body

The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state to enforce the law, to protect the lives, liberty and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their powers include the power of arrest and the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with the police forces of a sovereign state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from the military and other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie are military units charged with civil policing. Police forces are usually public sector services, funded through taxes.

Artillery class of weapons which fires munitions beyond the range and power of personal weapons

Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility providing the large share of an army's total firepower.

Contents

As an analogy, "warning shot" can be said of any action of declaration, especially a demonstration of power, intended or perceived as a last warning before hostile measures.

Uses

Nautical

During the 18th century, a warning shot (in nautical terms, often called a shot across the bow) could be fired towards any ship whose "colours" (nationality) had to be ascertained. According to the law of the sea, a ship thus hailed had to fly her flag and confirm it with a gunshot. Warning shots may still be used in modern times to signal a vessel to stop or keep off and may be fired from other ships, boats, or aircraft. [1] [2]

Ensign Maritime flag used for national identification of ships

An ensign is the national flag flown on a vessel to indicate citizenry. The ensign is the largest flag, generally flown at the stern (rear) of the ship while in port. The naval ensign, used on warships, may be different from the civil ensign or the yacht ensign. Large versions of naval ensigns called battle ensigns are used when a warship goes into battle. The ensign differs from the jack which is flown from a jackstaff at the bow of a vessel.

Admiralty law or maritime law is a body of law that governs nautical issues and private maritime disputes. Admiralty law consists of both domestic law on maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private parties operating or using ocean-going ships. While each legal jurisdiction usually has its own legislation governing maritime matters, the international nature of the topic and the need for uniformity has, since 1900, led to considerable international maritime law developments, including numerous multilateral treaties.

Aviation

Warning shots are also used in military aviation, to demand some action of an unresponsive and presumed hostile aircraft; the most common demand would be for the aircraft to change course. The ostensible justification for firing shots is that tracer rounds are very bright and would immediately gain the attention of a crew whose radio is non-functioning, or who might not have noticed radio transmissions. The objective of warning shots is to demonstrate the ability to shoot, and threaten the crew of the unresponsive aircraft that they will be shot down if they do not comply.

Military aviation use of aircraft by armed forces in combat or other military capacity

Military aviation is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling aerial warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Airpower includes the national means of conducting such warfare, including the intersection of transport and war craft. Military aircraft include bombers, fighters, transports, trainer aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft.

Tracer ammunition

Tracer ammunition (tracers) are bullets or cannon caliber projectiles that are built with a small pyrotechnic charge in their base. Ignited by the burning powder, the pyrotechnic composition burns very brightly, making the projectile trajectory visible to the naked eye during daylight, and very bright during nighttime firing. This enables the shooter to make aiming corrections without observing the impact of the rounds fired and without using the sights of the weapon. Tracer fire can also be used to signal to other shooters where to concentrate their fire during battle.

See also

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References

  1. U.S. Coast Guard HITRON Jacsonville
  2. "Navy-Contracted Vessel Fires Warning Shots on Fast Boats in Persian Gulf". Fox News.