The role of the artillery is to fire long range weapons such as cannons and rockets at the enemy in order to inflict casualties and destroy equipment, buildings and fortifications. The artillery cooperates closely with the infantry and the armour to destroy enemy resistance before or during an attack, or to break up enemy units when they are attacking.

The artillery is also responsible for the large weapons used by ground troops to destroy enemy aircraft and tanks. Originally these were large-calibre guns but now also include a variety of rocket-propelled weapons.

Artillery soldiers are known as "gunners'.

026629 A Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun position manned by the 2/9th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, on a fighter runway in Papua New Guinea, 1942.