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A fusillade is the simultaneous and continuous firing of a group of firearms on command. It stems from the French word fusil, meaning firearm, and fusiller meaning to shoot.[1]

In the context of military tactics, the term is generally used to refer to a type of organized and concentrated gunfire from a military unit armed with small arms, and initiated by a command from a commanding officer. The term can also be used as a verb, as in "to fusillade an enemy position". Suppressing fire (done in conjunction with fire and movement) is often in the form of a fusillade.

Related terms

  • Salvo or broadside refers to the simultaneous fire of naval artillery.
  • Barrage or cannonade refers to a land-based artillery strike.
  • Volley indicates a singular simultaneous discharge of a group of small arms, which is then followed by a short interval for reloading. The command to fire is re-issued before each individual volley to preserve organization. This was commonly used during the age of musketry and is still currently used in the form of the 3-volley salute.

In non-military contexts, a fusillade is used to mean a sudden flurry or outburst of activity directed at something, such as "a fusillade of questions".[2]

See also

  • Volley gun - A firearm which discharges a group of barrels simultaneously.


  1. ^ http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/fusillade Yahoo! Reference Dictionary, retrieved 29 AUG 2007
  2. ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fusillade Dictionary.com, retrieved 29 AUG 2007
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