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CHAPTER 1

MISSION, ORGANIZATION, AND KEY PERSONNEL



Section I

MISSION AND GENERAL ORGANIZATION


1-1. MISSION

a. The mission of the field artillery (FA) is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket, and missile fires and to help integrate all fire support assets into combined arms operations.

b. The field artillery cannon battery is the basic firing element of the cannon battalion regardless of how the battery is organized. The battery's capability is enhanced through the flexibility and survivability provided under an organization based on platoons. In no way should the references to platoon- or battery-based organizations be construed as the structure for operational employment. Rather, the terms pertain solely to organizational structure.

Note: For tactics, techniques, and procedures for the M109A6 (Paladin), see FM 6-50-60.

1-2. FIELD ARTILLERY ORGANIZATION

The field artillery is organized into light, medium, and heavy artillery on the basis of weapon caliber.

a. Each light artillery (105-mm M102, M101A1, or M119A1) battery has a headquarters section and six howitzer sections.

b. Each medium (155-mm M109A2-A6 and M198) battery is organized in one of two ways:

(1) A platoon-based unit has a headquarters and two firing platoons of three or four howitzer sections each. This organization allows for platoon operations.

Note: The M109A5 howitzer battery organic to the regimental armored cavalry squadron is designed to function independently and to perform most of its own support functions. It is organized, trained, and equipped to operate in direct support of the squadron.

(2) A battery-based unit has a headquarters section and six howitzer sections.

c. Organization does affect employment. In a unit organized with a single six-gun battery, the battery is employed as a single unit under the direct control of the battery commander. In a platoon-based unit, the battery may be employed in one of the following ways:

  • As two platoons under the control of the battery commander (BC).

  • As a single unit, with the platoons merged.

  • As two separate platoons directly controlled by the battalion S3, through the BC, with the battery commander providing reconnaissance, selection, and occupation of position (RSOP) and logistical support.

This last employment option is the least desirable. It is used only when the tactical situation permits no other means of command and control.

Note: All battalions in the US Marine Corps are organized into three six-howitzer batteries.

1-3. COMMAND AND CONTROL OF BATTERIES

a. The FA cannon battalion issues movement instructions and other orders to the battery, regardless of whether the battery is battery- or platoon-based. Orders are issued to the battery commander or his operations center. These orders specify the artillery requirements of the fire support coordinator (FSCOORD) rather than trying to specify how the commander is to accomplish the mission. The BC selects platoon positions within the larger battery area selected by the S3. The battery commander will also determine which platoon is better able to move at any given time. The functions of the FA battalion tactical operations center (TOC) are to position and control the fires of the batteries. The BC positions and controls the fires of his platoons. The battalion TOC should be involved with directly controlling platoons only when no other option is available.

b. In a battery-based (3x6) unit, command and control of the firing battery is facilitated through the battery commander and the battery operations center (BOC). The battery fire direction center (FDC) controls the firing of the battery and is required to maintain the current tactical situation and respond to the supported unit and higher headquarters. The BOC serves as a focal point for internal battery operations to include command and control, battery defense, coordinating logistics, and all other operational functions normally performed by a headquarters. It also serves as the alternate FDC by providing backup fire direction capability with the lightweight computer unit (LCU) or manual gunnery techniques.

c. In a platoon-based (3 x 6 or 3 x 8) battery, the requirement for functional command and control exists at both platoon and battery levels. In the platoon, this requirement is met by the platoon operations center (POC). The POC is nothing more than the FDC with added operational responsibilities. The POC is not a separate element and does not require a separate vehicle. Its functions are supervised by the fire direction officer (FDO). Two of the functions of the POC are technical and tactical fire direction, the traditional functions of the FDC. Additional functions of the POC are reporting, accepting and executing orders from higher headquarters, coordinating logistics, and all the other operational functions normally performed by a headquarters.

d. The BC of the platoon-based battery must also provide for a single point for command and control of the battery. Because the battery does not have the personnel or equipment to establish a separate BOC, the BC does this by designating an element within the firing battery, normally one of the POCs, to perform the battery operations fiction. In addition to its functions described above, the designated POC handles all tactical and logistical information and personnel and maintenance reports for the battery as a whole. One of the POCs should be designated as the casualty collection point for the battery and the medic is located with this POC. This POC may require augmentation to perform this function. The battery NBC noncommissioned officer (NCO) can provide this augmentation. By augmenting the POC in this manner, the NBC NCO also enhances his ability to perform his own monitoring and reporting functions.

Note: This manual will refer to the designated POC as a BOC to indicate that it is performing the BOC functions of a battery-based unit.

e. In a platoon-based firing battery, the location of the BOC and the battery trains must facilitate command, control and logistical support of the battery. There are three basic options for positioning the battery elements. The options can be termed heavy-heavy, heavy-light, and light-light.

(1) Heavy-Heavy. This option divides the support elements in half and assigns them to each platoon. These elements should be dispersed in positions to the rear of the platoon position area to enhance survivability. Yet, they should be near the POC to facilitate coordination within the platoon.

(a) The advantages of this option are:

  • Local security of both platoons is enhanced.
  • Responsiveness of support elements to platoon is enhanced.

(b) The disadvantages are:

  • More elements give a larger visual signature.
  • Tracked and wheeled vehicles and thick- and thin-skinned vehicles are combined.

(2) Heavy-Light. This option positions all of the support elements in one platoon position area. These elements should locate near the FDC on the extremity of the position area.

(a) The advantages of this option are:

  • Local security of one platoon is enhanced.
  • Support is responsive to one platoon.

(b) The disadvantages are:

  • One platoon has a larger visual signature.

  • Maneuverability may be limited in one platoon area.
  • Logistic support to the light platoon is decreased.

(3) Light-Light. This option positions all of the battery support elements in a separate location away from both platoon areas.

(a) The advantages of this option are:

  • Each battery element has the smallest visual signature.
  • Howitzer positioning and movement flexibility are maximized.

(b) The disadvantages are:

  • Local security of platoons and battery elements is reduced.

  • Combat service support (CSS) responsiveness is reduced.


Section II

CANNON BATTERIES IN PLATOON-BASED FIELD
ARTILLERY BATTALIONS


1-4. ORGANIZATION

a. An FA battalion with FA batteries organized into two firing platoons for platoon operations is considered a platoon-based organization.

b. Each cannon battery in a platoon-based FA battalion consists of a battery headquarters and two firing platoons (Figure 1-1). This configuration allows for conduct of platoon operations.

(1) The battery headquarters has the personnel and equipment to perform administration, supply, communications, NBC, and maintenance functions.

Note: Supply and NBC operations at the battery level are functions performed by personnel of the battery headquarters. There are not sections organized specifically for those functions.

(2) Each firing platoon has the personnel and equipment to determine firing data, to fire the howitzers, and to resupply ammunition. (In some units, ammunition assets may consolidated at battalion.)

1-5. TACTICAL DUTIES OF KEY PERSONNEL

Paragraphs 1-6 through 1-12 present the suggested duties of key personnel in a cannon battery of a platoon-based battalion. The unit MTOE, the commander's preference, personnel strength, and individual capabilities may require the commander to modify or reassign duties based on METT-T and standing operating procedures (SOPs).

1-6. BATTERY COMMANDER

The battery commander is responsible for all aspects of the operations of his battery. He locates where he can best command the battery, considering the factors of METT-T and the level of unit training. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Supervise and standardize the operations of the platoons.

b. Reconnoiter and select platoon position areas after receiving direction from the controlling headquarters (Chapter 2).

c. Determine the azimuth of fire if it is not given by higher headquarters.

d. Plan and direct unit marches and movements in accordance with tactical plans established by higher headquarters (Chapter 2).

e. Plan for survey control and, when necessary, conduct hasty survey (Chapter 5).

f. Ensure an effective defense posture is maintained in the platoon areas (Chapter 3).

g. Maintain communications and electronics security (Chapter 9).

h. Plan for ammunition resupply (Chapter 12).

i. Plan for logistic resupply of food service, supply, and maintenance items (Chapter 12).

j. Keep the battalion TOC and battery personnel informed.

k. Develop and execute the overall battery defense plan (Chapter 3).

l. Supervise safety during battery operations and conduct risk assessment.

m. Develop the battery standing operating procedure.

1-7. FIRST SERGEANT

The first sergeant (1SG) is the principal enlisted advisor to the battery commander. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Supervise the platoon sergeants, gunnery sergeants, and section chiefs; and, whenever possible, maintain a presence on the gun line.

b. Assist and advise during reconnaissance and selection of platoon position areas.

c. Assist the commander in the development and execution of the overall battery defense plan (Chapter 3).

d. Coordinate administrative and logistical support (less ammunition), to include water and food service, mail, laundry, showers, maintenance, and evacuation of personnel and equipment (Chapter 12).

e. Monitor the health care, welfare, and sanitation of battery personnel.

f. Plan, coordinate, and execute the evacuation of casualties to the battalion aid station.

1-8. PLATOON LEADER

The platoon leader (PL) is responsible for everything his platoon does or fails to do. He positions himself where he can best lead the platoon, considering the factors of METT-T. He relies heavily on the platoon sergeant to supervise the firing element and on the gunnery sergeant to supervise the detailed platoon RSOP. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Establish and maintain the firing capability of the platoon.

b. Supervise the displacement, movement, and occupation of the platoon.

c. Supervise the POC, and be prepared to perform the duties of the FDO to facilitate 24-hour operations.

d. Supervise the use of the M90 radar chronograph.

e. Supervise the overall maintenance of platoon equipment.

f. Ensure continuous security of the platoon (with emphasis during displacement and occupation of position).

g. Verify minimum (min) quadrant elevation (QE) for each howitzer.

h. Ensure the weapon location data are submitted and updated (on DA Form 5698-R [Weapon Location Data]) and DA Form 5969-R (Section Chief's Report) is submitted to the POC.

Note: Reproducible copies of DA Forms 5698-R and 5969-R are at the back of this manual.

i. Supervise and conduct hasty survey operations for the platoon.

j. Supervise ammunition management within the platoon.

k. Supervise safety during platoon operations.

1. Ensure all reports (personnel, supply, maintenance) are submitted to the battery commander and battalion.

1-9. FIRE DIRECTION OFFICER

The FDO is responsible for the training and supervision of POC personnel. He also must be familiar with the duties of the platoon leader, as he will at times perform his duties also. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Decide to attack a target, and issue a fire order.

b. Ensure accurate and timely determination of firing data.

c. Ensure that maintenance checks are performed on the section vehicle, radios, computer, and generators in strict compliance with technical manuals.

d. Ensure that the tactical situation map is current.

e. Ensure accurate FDC records of missions fired are maintained.

f. Ensure that data for prearranged fires are disseminated and understood.

g. Ensure data from the other platoon is recorded and available.

h. Supervise assumption of control of the fires of the other platoon when necessary.

i. Perform independent safety computations, and verify the data with the platoon leader.

j. Maintain muzzle velocity (MV) information for all howitzers.

1-10. PLATOON SERGEANT

The platoon sergeant (PSG) is the primary enlisted assistant to the platoon leader and must be prepared to assume all of the platoon leader's duties. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Supervise the firing platoon, and maintain firing capability

b. Supervise occupation of the position.

c. Supervise the overall maintenance of the firing platoon.

d. Develop and execute the platoon defense plan (Chapter 3).

e. Provide the 1SG with the platoon defense plan for integration into the overall battery defense scheme.

f. Ensure that each chief of section knows the route to both alternate and supplementary positions.

g. Verify the completion of DA Form 2408-4 (Weapon Record Data).

h. Ensure ammunition is properly handled and protected.

i. Ensure safety aids are used and safety procedures are followed.

1-11. GUNNERY SERGEANT

The gunnery sergeant (GSG) supervises and executes platoon advance party operations (Chapter 2). He must be prepared to assume the duties of the platoon sergeant. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Lay the platoon.

b. Perform hasty survey as required.

c. Initiate the development of the platoon defense plan.

d. Assist in the sustainment of 24-hour operations.

e. Ensure there is an initial fire direction capability with the advance party.

f. Compute executive officer's (XO's) min QE for the lowest preferred charge the unit expects to fire.

1-12. HOWITZER SECTION CHIEF

The section chief is responsible for the training and proficiency of his section, the operational readiness of his equipment, and the safe firing of the howitzer. Appendix B presents sample tests to help in training the gunners. The section chiefs responsibilities may include the following:

a. Ensure the weapon is properly emplaced, laid, and prepared for action. The memory aid TLABSPAP will be used as a guide for the accomplishment of the following tasks:

  • T: Trails, spades, and/or firing platform properly emplaced.
  • L: Lay weapon.
  • A: Aiming point emplaced.
  • B: Boresight verified or performed.
  • S: Second circle. Verification of lay performed with a second aiming circle.
  • P: Prefire checks on the weapon system performed.

  • A: Ammunition prepared.
  • P: Position improvement (site to crest determined, XO's report rendered, alternate aiming points established, azimuth markers emplaced, camouflage, and defensive hardening of position).

Note: Unit SOP and the weapon technical manual will dictate when to dig in spades on towed weapons.

b. Ensure digital and voice communications with FDC are established and maintained.

c. Ensure ammunition is properly segregated, stored, handled, and prepared.

d. Ensure only safe data is fired by verifying firing data, correct sight picture, and bubbles centered.

e. Ensure DA Form 4513 (Record of Missions Fired) is current, legible, and accurate (Chapter 7).

f. Maintain DA Form 2408-4, and compute and record equivalent full charge (EFC) data.

g. Ensure DA Form 5969-R is completed for each position occupied.

h. Ensure data on DA Form 5212-R (Gunner's Reference Card) are correct and current.

Note: A reproducible copy of DA Form 5212-R is at the back of this manual.

i. Ensure range cards for the howitzer and crew-served weapons are properly prepared, and actively manage the assigned sector of the platoon defense plan.

j. Ensure preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) are performed in accordance with the appropriate technical manual.


Section III

CANNON BATTERIES IN BATTERY-BASED FIELD
ARTILLERY BATTALIONS


1-13. ORGANIZATION

a. A cannon battery in a battalion consisting of a headquarters battery, a service battery, and firing batteries (without TOE-designated platoons) is considered a battery-based battery.

b. Each cannon battery in a battery-based FA battalion consists of a battery headquarters and a firing battery (Figure 1-2).

(1) The battery headquarters has the personnel and equipment to perform food service, supply, communications, NBC, and maintenance functions. (In some units, food service and maintenance may be consolidated at battalion.)

(2) The firing battery has the personnel and equipment to determine firing data, fire the howitzers, and resupply ammunition. (In some units, ammunition assets may be consolidated at battalion.)

1-14. TACTICAL DUTIES OF KEY PERSONNEL

Paragraphs 1-15 through 1-22 present recommended duties of key personnel in a cannon battery of a battery-based battalion. The unit MTOE, personnel fills, and individual capabilities may require the commander to modify or reassign duties to fit his circumstances and SOPs.

Note: Key personnel in a US Marine Corps (USMC) battery have the same duties and responsibilities, except where noted.

1-15. BATTERY COMMANDER

The battery commander is responsible for all aspects of the operations of his battery. He must plan and train for continuous operations in an intense combat environment. He locates where he can best command the battery, considering the factors of METT-T and the level of unit training, His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Supervise and standardize the operations of the battery.

b. Reconnoiter and select battery positions (Chapter 2).

c. Supervise the FDC when necessary.

d. Plan specific actions to enhance the survivability of the battery (Chapter 3).

e. Plan for survey control; and, when necessary, perform hasty survey (Chapter 5).

f. Plan unit marches and movements (Chapter 2).

g. Plan the basic load mix and the resupply actions for the battery.

h. Plan logistics for the battery supply, mess, and maintenance (Chapter 12).

i. Establish and maintain communications and electronics security (Chapter 9).

j. Keep the battalion TOC and battery personnel informed.

k. Develop and execute the overall battery defense plan (Chapter 3).

l. Supervise safety during battery operations and conduct risk assessment.

m. Develop the battery standing operating procedure.

1-16. FIRST SERGEANT

The 1SG is the principal enlisted advisor to the battery commander. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Supervise the chief of firing battery and gunnery sergeant; and, whenever possible, maintain a presence on the gun line.

b. Assist and advise the BC during reconnaissance and selection of the battery position.

c. Assist the battery commander in the development and execution of the overall battery defense Plan (Chapter 3).

Note: In a USMC battery, the local security chief plans and executes overall battery defense.

d. Coordinate administrative and logistical support (less ammunition), to include water and food service, mail, laundry, showers, maintenance, and evacuation of personnel and equipment (Chapter 12).

e. Supervise the health care, welfare, and sanitation of battery personnel.

f. Plan, coordinate, and execute the evacuation of casualties to the battalion aid station.

1-17. EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Usually, the XO commands the firing battery portion of the battery. As the position commander, he is responsible for everything the firing battery does or fails to do. During extended field operations, he spends part of his time supervising technical operations of the FDC. During this time, he relies heavily on the chief of firing battery to supervise the battery. Also, he relies on the GSG to lead the advance party. The XO's responsibilities may include the following:

a. Establish and maintain the firing capability of the battery.

b. Supervise the displacement, movement and occupation of the battery.

c. Supervise the use of the radar chronograph and overall MV management program of the battery.

d. Supervise the maintenance of the battery equipment.

e. Ensure continuous security of the battery (with emphasis during displacement and occupation of position).

f. Verify minimum QE for each howitzer.

g. Ensure that the weapon location data report is submitted and updated and that the section chiefs reports are submitted to the FDC.

h. Supervise and conduct hasty survey operations for the battery.

i. Supervise the ammunition management for the battery.

j. Supervise safety during battery operations.

1-18. ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE OFFICER (USMC only)

The assistant executive officer (AXO) assists the XO and FDO. He leads the BOC and assists the battery commander during displacement. His responsibilities include the following:

a. Lay the battery.

b. Perform hasty survey as required.

c. Assume the duties of XO or FDO, when required.

d. Assist in the establishment and maintenance of battery firing capability during advance party operations.

e. Coordinate resupply and distribution of ammunition with the FDO.

f. Perform liaison with battalion and other outside agencies, as required.

g. Ensure there is initial fire direction capability with the advance party.

h. Compute the XO's min QE for the lowest preferred charge the unit expects to fire.

1-19. FIRE DIRECTION OFFICER

The fire direction officer is responsible for the training and supervision of the FDC personnel. He also must be familiar with the duties of the XO; since he will, at times, perform all those duties. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Decide to attack a target, and issue a fire order.

b. Ensure accurate and timely determination of firing data.

c. Ensure that maintenance checks are performed on the section vehicle, radios, computer, and generators in strict compliance with the technical manuals.

d. Ensure that the tactical situation map is current.

e. Ensure accurate FDC records of missions fired are maintained.

f. Ensure that data for prearranged fires is disseminated and understood.

g. Ensure data from the other batteries are recorded and available.

h. Supervise assumption of control of the fires of other units when necessary.

i. Perform independent safety computations, and verify the data with the executive officer.

j. Maintain muzzle velocity information for all howitzers.

1-20. CHIEF OF FIRING BATTERY

The chief of firing battery (CFB) is the primary enlisted advisor to the XO and must be prepared to assume all of the XO's duties. The equivalent USMC billet description is the battery gunnery sergeant (Btry GySgt). His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Supervise and maintain the firing capability of the battery.

b. Supervise the occupation of the position.

c. Supervise the overall maintenance of the firing battery.

d. Continue to develop and implement the battery defense plan.

e. Give the 1SG information on the defense plan.

f. Ensure that each chief of section knows the route to both alternate and supplementary positions.

g. Verify the completion of the DA Form 2408-4.

h. Ensure ammunition is properly handled and protected.

i. Ensure safety aids and procedures are maintained.

j. In a USMC battery, the battery gunnery sergeant will complete the NAVMC 10558A (gun book) and compute and record EFC data.

1-21. GUNNERY SERGEANT

The gunnery sergeant supervises and executes the battery advance party operations (Chapter 2). The equivalent USMC billet description is the local security chief. He must be prepared to assume the duties of the chief of firing battery or battery gunnery sergeant. Additional responsibilities may include the following:

a. Lay the battery.

b. Perform hasty survey as required.

c. Initiate the development of the battery defense plan when necessary.

d. Assist in the sustainment of 24 hour-operations.

e. Ensure there is an initial fire direction capability with the advance party.

f. Compute the XO's min QE for the lowest preferred charge the unit expects to fire.

g. In a USMC battery, the local security chief plans and executes overall battery defense. The AXO lays the battery, performs hasty survey as required, ensures an initial fire direction capability with the advance party, and computes the XO min QE for the lowest preferred charge the unit expects to fire.

1-22. HOWITZER SECTION CHIEF

The section chief is responsible for the training and proficiency of his section, the operational readiness of his equipment, and the safe firing of his weapon. His responsibilities may include the following:

a. Ensure the weapon is properly emplaced, laid, and prepared for action. The memory aid TLABSPAP will be used as a guide for accomplishment of the following tasks:

  • T: Trails, spades, and/or firing platform emplaced
  • L: Lay the weapon.
  • A: Aiming point emplaced.
  • B: Boresight verified or performed.
  • S: Second circle. Verification of lay performed with a second aiming circle.
  • P: Prefire checks in accordance with operator's manual.
  • A: Ammunition prepared.
  • P: Position improvement (site to crest determined, XO's report rendered, alternate aiming points established, azimuth markers emplaced, camouflage, and defensive hardening of position).

Note: Unit SOP and the weapon technical manual will dictate when to dig in spades on towed weapons.

b. Ensure digital and voice communications with FDC are established and maintained.

c. Ensure ammunition is properly segregated, stored, handled, and prepared.

d. Ensure only safe data is fired by verify firing data, correct sight picture, and bubbles centered.

e. Ensure DA Form 4513 is current, legible, and accurate (Chapter 7).

f. Maintain the DA Form 2408-4, and compute and record EFC data. In a USMC battery, the battery gunnery sergeant will complete the NAVMC 10558A, and compute and record EFC data.

g. Ensure DA Form 5969-R is completed for each position occupied.

h. Ensure data are correct and current on DA Form 5212-R.

i. Ensure range cards for the howitzer and crew-served weapons are properly prepared, and actively manage assigned sector of the defense plan.

j. Ensure PMCS are performed in accordance with the appropriate technical manual.




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