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FIRE SUPPORT


VIGNETTE

At 20 0038 Dec, a military police (MP) patrol engaged a gate guard at the Naval Infantry Complex, Coco Solo. Shortly thereafter C/4-17th Inf broadcast surrender demands which were answered by return fire from the headquarters building. As a show of force, the attached Vulcans were leveled and fired sustained 10-round bursts, tearing through walls and dispersing the defenders. A surrender offer was again announced over the loudspeakers which was answered by return fire from the PDF. As the volume of fire being returned by the PDF continued to increase, a second volley was fired by the Vulcans. The PDF began screaming their surrender and shouting to stop firing.

KEY POINTS

Mortars and howitzers were not used extensively to provide fire support during JUST CAUSE. This does not mean that fire support planning was not required. Detailed fire support planning was done to support each unit operation on D-Day and on the subsequent operations that followed. To limit collateral damage, commanders often tried to secure their objectives without the use of indirect fires. The ROE and the desire to limit collateral damage placed great demands on the fire support planners as they developed plans that would adhere to the restrictions yet accomplish the mission if called upon. JUST CAUSE also demonstrated the value of indirect fire support assets in the direct fire node, for firepower demonstrations and at roadblocks.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • Despite restrictive ROE and requirements to limit collateral damage, units will still conduct detailed fire support planning. Fire support units were required to plan to support all contingencies.

  • Danger close is the norm in MOUT operations.

  • Use the Position and Azimuth Determining Systems (PADS) to ensure first-round accuracy when guns cannot be registered due to restrictive ROE and limits on collateral damage.

  • Howitzers were effective as a fire-power demonstration weapon in direct fire against buildings and at roadblocks.

  • Fire support units, on a nonlinear front, must provide their own local security or contribute to perimeter shared with other combat support/combat service support (CS/CSS) units.

Table of Contents, Volume II
Air/Ground Operations
Weapons and Their Effects



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