AskDefine | Define firepower

Dictionary Definition

firepower n : (military) the relative capacity for delivering fire on a target

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. the capacity of a weapon to deliver fire onto a target
  2. the ability to deliver fire

Extensive Definition

Fire power is a military concept rooted in the ability to direct a heavy weight of metal onto an enemy or enemy possession as measured by the concept of rate of fire. The concept is taught as one of the key principles of modern warfare wherein the enemy forces are destroyed or have their will to fight reduced to insignificance by sufficient and preferably overwhelming use of fire power on the field of battle.
Through the ages fire power has come to mean offensive power applied at a distance, as there is an immediate dissonance with the thought of one-on-one close quarters combat. Fire power is thus something which is employed to keep the enemy forces outside such ranges where even having superior numbers he can be defeated in detail or be sapped of his will to continue the contest of arms, and thus surrender his greater forces to the lesser force possessing the higher fire power.
The term Fire Power is also commonly used to describe the collective offensive capabilities of a military force.

History of fire power

The earliest forms of warfare that might be called fire power were the slingers of the Roman Legions, particularly those from the Balearic Islands, and archery of the Parthian horse archers. Eventually, the feared Huns would employ the composite bow and light cavalry tactics to shower arrow storms upon enemy forces, a strategy which also appeared in a less mobile form in Britain, with its famed Longbowmen, used during the various Anglo-French conflicts known as the Hundred Years' War during the Middle Ages.
firepower in Chinese: 火力

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

antiaircraft fire, cross fire, curtain fire, direct fire, dry fire, fighting force, file fire, fire, fire of demolition, fireworks, firing, flack, flak, forces, ground fire, gunfight, gunfire, gunplay, hands, high-angle fire, horizontal fire, interdiction fire, machine-gun fire, men, mortar fire, musketry, percussion fire, personnel, pistol fire, raking fire, rapid fire, ricochet fire, rifle fire, shellfire, shoot-out, shooting, the big battalions, time fire, troops, units, vertical fire, work force, zone fire
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