Mobile Mortars: Fire Support For Every Intensity Conflict
AUTHOR Major Patrick D. Connally, USMC
SUBJECT AREA - Warfighting
TITLE: MOBILE MORTARS: FIRE SUPPORT FOR EVERY INTENSITY CONFLICT
I. Purpose: To point out the need for a Mobile Protected
Mortar System (MPMS) to supplement existing indirect fire system;
and show that the mortar variant of the light armored vehicle
LAV/M, when upgraded with the 120mm mortar will best serve this
II. Problem: Considering the proliferation of advanced
weapon systems in the world today, the organic indirect fire
support available to the Marine infantry battalion is simply not
flexible enough, responsive enough or lethal enough to influence
modern battle decisively.
III. Data: The traditional role of mortars has been to
provide close and continuous fire support for maneuver forces.
The 81mm mortar, presently in service at the Marine infantry
battalion is simply not enough organic indirect fire support for
today's contingencies. Lessons learned through the years
validate the need to have both organic mortars and direct support
artillery. There is an unquestionable need to have an optimum
blend of howitzers and mortars. However when budgetary concerns
necessitate trade-offs, we must avoid cutting into the muscle of
the infantryman's indirect fire support capabilities. Since
hostile counterfires remain the single greatest threat to our
indirect fire systems, the proliferation of sophisticated weapons
the world over are cause for concern. To maintain a
counterbalance we must have systems with the very best in
tactical, operational and strategic mobility. The LAV/M, a
mortar variant of the light armored vehicle, already in service,
has these qualities. When equipped with the 120mm mortar and a
number of other state-of-the-art upgrades, the LAV/M essentially
becomes a Mobile Protected Mortar System MPMS. Maneuver tactics
require that we deploy highly mobile and protected indirect fire
weapons well forward. Whether to exploit successes on a fast
moving and fluid battlefield, or to move rapidly inland during
over-the-horizon (OTH) amphibious operations, the MPMS would be
the most versatile indirect fire weapon in our inventory.
IV. Conclusions: The time has come for the infantry
regimental commander to have a reliable, responsive and lethal
means of indirect fire support dedicated to him in battle. The
tactical and logistical advantages of fielding an MPMS are
apparent. The major disadvantages exist in the development of
doctrine for employment and in the dollar costs associated with
its acquisition and fielding.
V. Recommendations: The MPMS should be organic to the
artillery regiment for training and logistics reasons. When
employed in war MPMS units should be dedicated to the infantry
regiment. With its superior tactical, operational and strategic
mobility, the MPMS can provide fire support for every intensity
MOBILE MORTARS: FIRE SUPPORT FOR EVERY INTENSITY CONFLICT
Thesis Statement: Considering the proliferation of advanced
weapon systems in the world today, the organic indirect fire
support available to the Marine infantry battalion is simply not
flexible enough, responsive enough or lethal enough to influence
modern battle decisively.
I. Historical Perspective
A. Mission and Organization
B. Employment Past and Present
1. Offensive employment
2. Defensive employment
II. Considerations on the Modern Battlefield
A. Combat Considerations
1. High and Low Intensity Conflict
2. Counterbattery Fires
3. Weapons Proliferation
4. NBC Environment
B. Maneuver Warfare
1. Fluid Battle
3. Depth of Target Area
C. Special Scenarios
1. Low Intensity Conflict
2. Amphibious Operations
D. Technical and Logistical Considerations
1. 120mm Mortar Variant
2. Gunnery, Navigation and Fire Control
F. Organization and Employment
1. MPMS Battalion a Part of the Artillery T/O
2. MPMS Battery the Dedicated Battery
MOBILE MORTARS: FIRE SUPPORT FOR EVERY INTENSITY CONFLICT
Historically, mortars have been considered the infantry
battalion commander's "hip pocket artillery." Usually ground
mounted and organic to the infantry unit, mortars are only as
mobile as their infantry operators. Considering the
proliferation of advanced weapons systems the world over, the
organic indirect fire support available to the Marine infantry
battalion is simply not flexible enough, responsive enough or
lethal enough to influence modern battle decisively. The mortar
variant of the light armored vehicle LAV/M, offers tremendous
potential in the areas of tactital, operational and strategic
mobility on the battlefield of the future. However, the tactics
and employment of this exceptionally versatile weapon system must
be well thought out. In this article I will examine critical
thought from the past in order to evaluate the need for mobile
mortars. Additionally, a glimpse at modern warfare will help
draw conclusions about the organization and employment of a
Mobile Protected Mortar System (MPMS).
The traditional mission of mortars has been to provide
immediately responsive indirect fire support for maneuver forces.
Organic to the Marine infantry battalion, the mortar platoon
organization includes eight (8) 81mm mortars, and is normally
employed in two sections of four (4) tubes each.
In offensive operations mortars have always played an
invaluable part in supporting the infantry scheme of maneuver.
By providing immediate suppressive fires which augment the
maneuver commander's fire support plan, mortars have become known
as "hip pocket artillery." An all-weather source of fire
support, mortars lend themselves to the attack of known, likely
and suspected enemy targets to the front and flanks of maneuver
elements. Mortars are certainly one of the most rapid means of
delivering illumination and obscuration fires during daylight or
In defensive operations mortars have always been the weapon
of choice to attack targets at ranges between that of the direct
support artillery and the direct fire weapons organic to the
infantry battalion. The high-angle of fire and rapid rate of
fire of mortars, as compared with most artillery systems, makes
mortars ideal for breaking up, disorganizing or channelizing
dismounted infantry elements during an attack. As longer range,
precision guided munitions are developed, the value of mortars
against enemy armored systems will become more apparent.
Over the past sixty years, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps
have experimented with a variety of mortars and their mobility
variants. Included are the U. S. Army's 107mm mortar, 4.2 inch
mortar and the Marine Corps' 107mm howitzer-mortar (HOWTAR).
Originally the Army's 107mm mortar was intended for use as a
chemical weapons delivery system and was eventually incorporated
into the infantry battalion for the direct support mission.1 As
speed and mobility became more pressing issues with regard to the
tempo of modern battle, mortars were tested on a variety of
tracked and wheeled carriages. Not only was there a need for
mobility of the weapon system, but the need to move ready-service
ammunition was great.
During the 1960's the Marine Corps reconfigured their
artillery battalions with fewer 155mm howitzers and created a 4.2
inch mortar battalion in the place of a 105mm howitzer
battalion. There was an unquestionable need for heavy mortars at
the infantry battalion, but the shortage of direct support (DS)
artillery became apparent as the 4.2 inch mortars were regularly
attached to the infantry battalions. The Marine Corps soon
realized that 4.2 inch mortars were not accurate enough or of
sufficient range capability to mass fires at distances necessary
to effectively support the maneuver regiment. Ultimately the
artillery's counterfire capability had been dangerously degraded
when the artillery regiments were configured with mortars in the
place of howitzers.
The Marine Corps continued to search for a lethal,
responsive and mobile method of indirect fire support for the
infantry battalion, and one that would not degrade the
capabilities of the artillery regiment. To this end the 107mm
HOWTAR, combination howitzer and mortar, was tested and found
superior overall to the 4.2 inch mortar as an organic infantry
weapon. At the same time the HOWTAR was determined to be
inferior to the 105mm howitzer as a direct support artillery
weapon.2 With the improvements in the 81mm mortar and the
demonstrated versatility of the 105mm howitzer, the HOWTAR never
lasted as an alternative for a heavy mortar weapon system.
Hence, during the period 1960-1970, the Marine Corps learned
many important lessons regarding the employment of mortars and
direct support artillery. Most importantly however, the need to
have a medium-heavy mortar organic to the infantry battalion and
a howitzer-heavy artillery regiment were points which were
reinforced. Mortars simply could not replace the artillery's
capability to mass fires at longer ranges. Through the years the
81mm mortar has continued as the organic indirect fire support
weapon of the infantry battalion. More recently the infantry
battalion has been augmented by the 60mm mortar at the company
level also. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps has always been
constrained by a strict budget and has never achieved the optimum
blend of heavy mortars and artillery. It is essential to have
both systems, and the Marine Corps should make a commitment to
field the very best of each.
Considerations on the Modern Battlefield
Since hostile counterfires remain the single greatest threat
to our indirect fire systems on the battlefield, there needs to
be an on-going effort to improve the mobility, responsiveness and
lethality of these systems. Many allied and threat nations have
already fielded variants of the 120mm mortar attesting to the
greater versatility of a heavier mortar system. The Soviets have
equipped their airborne units with a tracked, lightly armored
personnel carrier (BMD) with a combination gun. The gun
reportedly has direct fire capability out to one kilometer and
fires a conventional 120mm round.
The proliferation of Soviet manufactured weapons around the
globe, a large percentage being indirect fire systems, emphasizes
the importance of keeping our own similar systems in service.
Also we must keep moving forward in the design and employment of
weapons capable of surviving on the modern battlefield. Even
though enemy artillery fire during this most recent conflict in
Southwest Asia was inaccurate, and less intense than anticipated,
doesn't mean that it will be that way in the next war. The
potential for mass destruction of friendly forces by enemy
artillery fire was clear and present. However, even without
having to cope with the degree of terror and disruption wrought
by weapons in the hands of better trained foes, there was
apparently not enough Marine artillery to go around. The 81mm
mortar obviously lacked the range, mobility, accuracy and
lethality that was needed by forward infantry units. Artillery
counterbattery fires and preparation fires were regularly
interrupted by calls for fire that a heavier, longer range, and
mobile mounted mortar might have satisfied.3 Thank goodness the
enemy's counterfire capability malfunctioned this time.
Although there has never been a single weapon system that
completely satisfied contingencies in every clime and place, the
LAV/M, literally a Mobile Protected Mortar System (MPMS), could
very likely approach that lofty standard. When equipped with an
NBC overpressure system, state-of-the-art fire control equipment,
and "smart" munitions, the MPMS would be an excellent way to
satisfy the indirect fire support needs of a maneuver regiment.
During amphibious operations, including over-the-horizon (OTH)
operations; deep vertical assaults and raids; or in sustained
land actions anywhere, the MPMS would be a viable and survivable
supporting arm. Particularly during those times that the
artillery is constrained or vulnerable, the MPMS could be
employed well forward to buy time or confuse the enemy about the
point of main effort. Such employment options for the MPMS might
include security force operations (screening,covering,guarding)
and raiding or delaying tactics especially when the threat of NBC
In Southwest Asia artillery units conducted pre-emptive
raids on counterfire targets by moving closer to enemy
emplacements, then rapidly displacing to safer locations
following their attacks. Although the use of roving howitzers
and artillery raids are viable concepts, one must remember that
the sound, flash and counterfire surveillance systems of the
Iraqis' were generally ineffective. The dismal show of Iraqi
counterfire was the best evidence of this point.4 Artillery is
a very precious asset, and in future wars we may not be able to
afford any piece-mealing of our artillery support on raids that
will be rapidly addressed by massive amounts of enemy
counterfire. The MPMS would reduce the need to hazard the slower
firing, less mobile and generally more vulnerable howitzers. The
MPMS would also have the speed, range, rate of fire and selection
of munitions which makes it the best candidate for on-call fire
missions in support of the infantry scheme of maneuver. An
infantryman must never have to wait very long for indirect fire
support, especially when in contact with the enemy. However, when
artillery must be pulled from counterfire missions and programs
of targets to engage targets of opportunity three things occur:
1) fire support is slowed, 2) artillery positions may be
unnecessarily revealed to the enemy and 3) some artillery units
may have to move to avoid counterfire which reduces the
availability of fire support for a time. Our howitzers must be
guarded for action at the critical time and place against the
most lucrative targets on the battlefield. The indiscriminate
firing of artillery undoubtedly impacts on the time and space
factors in battle, and in maneuver warfare time is of the
At the risk of over simplifying maneuver warfare doctrine,
suffice to say that success in battle depends on the rapid and
violent exploitation of weak points or gaps in the enemy's battle
formations using combined arms action and aggressive maneuver.
Showcased in this doctrine is the fluid nature of battle and the
importance of time, space and tempo in war. These same time and
space factors place the greatest demands on indirect fire
In order to exploit our successes as suggested in maneuver
warfare doctrine, it is imperative that highly mobile and
protected indirect fire systems are deployed well forward on the
battlefield. Additionally, these systems must be able to
accurately deliver both "smart" and conventional munitions at
high sustained rates of fire to augment field artillery support.
This point was also validated in Southwest Asia as Marines
stormed through gaps in the Iraqi defensive lines and rapidly
moved forward. The Marines soon out-ran the preponderance of
their own artillery support.5 The fast moving tempo of the
operation drastically compressed the time required to deliver
fires. Forward units faced a target-rich and deeper battle area
than could be adequately ranged by the majority of our mortars
and artillery. If we would have had an MPMS, these gaps in time,
space and tempo would have been filled until the artillery units
were emplaced forward.
Warfare on the scale of that which Marines participated in
Southwest Asia is something that we must certainly be prepared to
contend with in the future. However, in the near term, more than
likely, the talents of the Special Operations Capable Marine
Expeditionary Units (SOC/MEU) will be needed in a variety of
special scenarios. Example scenarios include low intensity
conflicts (LIC) in areas adjacent to critical sea lines of
communica t ion (SLOC), noncombatant evacuation operations (NEO) in
urban terrain and counternarcotics or counterguerrilla operations
in the mountains and jungles of the world.
In most special scenarios there is not much of a need for
the heavier and longer range howitzers or multiple launched
rocket systems. The greater need is for a highly capable mortar
system. The MPMS would be more than adequate for the indirect
fire support requirements of a SOC/MEU. For any higher intensity
conflict, Maritime Prepositioned Shipping (MPS) would undoubtedly
"upgun" the force as was demonstrated in Southwest Asia.
Deploying MEU's would do well to leave their howitzers in the
continental U.S. where they can continue to train for the high
intensity conflict (HIC) with the artillery regiment. Instead
the MEU's should deploy with a battery of MPMS's which are much
more versatile and supportable on deployments of this nature.
In support of the aforementioned position a brief comparison
is helpful for clarification. The MPMS is its own prime mover,
it takes less than half the shipboard space and weighs less than
the current howitzer and prime mover. Unlike towed howitzers
today, the MPMS brandishes a high rate of fire and mobility upon
delivery in the operating area. Too often howitzers are left in
place without a prime mover for long periods of time following
helicopterborne insertions. Again a lesson relearned in Operation
Desert Storm, the howitzer's massive ammunition load only
The tactical, operational and strategic mobility of the LAV
in most circumstances is far superior to the tracked and wheeled
vehicles in the U.S. inventory. Mobility is the critical
ingredient in maintaining the tempo of the conflict. "Tempo is a
significant weapon because it is through faster tempo that we
seize the initiative and dictate the terms of war."7 As a
derivative of the LAV, the MPMS would certainly be able to keep
up with the tactical and operational tempo of the conflict. The
MPMS is tailor-made for helicopterborne operations, deep vertical
assaults, raids and OTH amphibious operations.
The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and Landing Craft
Utility (LCU) are each capable of delivering four (4) battle-
ready MPMS's along multiple axes during surface assaults. With
its enhanced mobility, 400 mile cruising range and ability to
negotiate inland water obstacles, an MPMS is capable of moving
rapidly inland from widely dispersed points of entry. This
clearly helps avoid the unnecessary build-up and delays commonly
experienced by towed howitzers at landing beaches. Furthermore,
the strategic mobility of the MPMS would provide for a rapid
build-up of combat power in any theater of war as follows. The
C-5A can carry eight(8) MPMS's, the C-17A six (6) MPMS's and the
C-141 two (2) MPMS's.
The LAV/MPMS's relative freedom from the complex logistics
normally required to repair and maintain combat vehicles makes it
particularly well suited for rapid deployment forces also.8 The
reliability of this vehicle stated in mean miles between mission
failures (MMBMF), is unparalleled. To strike a contrast, Tank-
Automotive Command (TACOM) reported that the Army's Bradley
fighting vehicle averages 580 MMBMF, meaning it can run for an
average of 580 miles before it is likely to suffer a mechanical
breakdown that will put it out of service. The LAV/MPMS
demonstrated an astonishing 5,739 MMBMF in Marine Corps testing,
and further testing by GM of Canada showed 6760 MMBMF. The
LAV/MPMS also requires only 0.17 hours of maintenance per hour of
operation which is less than half the maintenance time needed for
the Army's new M-113 armored personnel carrier (APC).
Capabilities and Developments
The LAV/M presently under development is a turreted, recoil
mounted, 120mm mortar with a breech load capability. The 81mm
mortar variant is now in service in the Fleet Marine Force.
According to TACOM, the LAV's only real weakness may be its
relatively weak armor. Although the details are still classified,
the LAV's armor is all-steel and sufficient to withstand 7.62mm
AP (armored-piercing) projectiles in the front and 7.62mm
standard projectiles elsewhere on the vehicle. Direct hits from
anti-tank weapons and artillery are quite obviously a concern,
but the LAV's ability to avoid being hit through concealment,
speed, firepower and maneuverability is documented. The 1984
test crews from 1st LAV Battalion discovered that 70% of the time
the LAV emerged from combat simulations completely unscathed.9
The LAV/M fully combat ready weighs 28,200 pounds. If it is
equipped with the 50 caliber machine gun instead of the 7.62mm,
then the weight increase is approximately 150 pounds. The weight
allocations for the LAV/M are as follows:
L8A1 Smoke Grd
Depression of the barrel from -7 to +85 degree allows the
weapon system to address direct fire targets such as bunkers,
urban structures, and other targets of opportunity. An
ammunition family has not been determined, but all previous
experimentation and testing has been accomplished using the
Israeli K6 120mm family of ammunition. TACOM's suggested
approach is to develop an ammunition family for the LAV/M 120mm,
but make it acceptable for ground mounted systems also. The
family of munitions under consideration includes high explosive
(HE), smoke and illumination shells. However the application of
special purpose rounds, such as an anti-tank round and precisely
guided munitions, will be assessed as they are developed.
Recently, British Aerospace Dynamics Division, in
cooperation with Thomas Brandt Armements of France, have
conducted guided firings of 81mm anti-armor mortar munitions
called MERLIN. When fielded, MERLIN will enable forward deployed
infantry elements to engage enemy armored vehicles at two or
three times the distance of direct fire anti-tank weapons. The
120mm guided mortar round being developed will be even more
capable. This round will have a range of 8000 meters and a
warhead capable of defeating main battle tanks fitted with
Moreover, the LAV/M's maximum firing rate with its turreted
and breech-loaded mortar would be 20 to 25 rounds per minute
using an auto-rammer and a slidifly wedge breechblock. If an
automatic feeding system was ever made feasible, then a 40 rounds
per minute rate of fire should be achievable.11 The crew of five
(5) includes the commander, gunner, loader, ammunition handler
and driver. As this design becomes more sophisticated, a
reduction in crew strength by one member is projected.
Fire Control and Navigation
From 1988 to 1989 the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC)
evaluated alternative methods to improve fire control and
navigation for the LAV/M. The Marine Corps desires greater
efficiency in both fire control and navigation to compensate for
the increased speed and variability of the modern battlefield and
anticipated constraints on manpower and training.
To improve the capability of the LAV/M to perform its fire
support mission in a more timely manner, three pieces of
equipment were incorporated into the mortar fire direction and
laying system: 1) the North Finding Module (NFM), 2) the M1A1
Collimator and 3) a magnetic compensating compass. These three
items allow the LAV/M to become a nearly self-supporting weapon
system independent of normal mortar procedures for emplacement.
This fire direction and laying system is compatible with any
mortar or artillery system that a vehicle might be equipped with.12
The first part of the system, the NFM, is a pendulous
gyrocompass and can give azimuth information to align the mortar
on an azimuth to an accuracy of two (2) artillery mils. This
means that the mortar can be laid for direction within three (3)
minutes without the use of an M2 aiming circle. The NFM can also
determine an azimuth with respect to grid north or true north.
The second part of the system, the M1A1 collimator is an
infinity aiming reference device used by the artillery to
simulate an azimuth reference at an infinite distance. The
collimator provides the most accurate reference for laying and
firing indirect fire weapons. In the past the collimator was
usually ground mounted, but a vehicular mount has been devised.
With this capability the crew no longer needs to place out aiming
reference stakes and can place the weapon in action without
dismounting the vehicle.
The magnetic compensating compass forms the third part of
the laying system. With this device mounted in the driver's
compartment, nearly all of the magnetic signature of the vehicle
can be canceled allowing the driver to align the vehicle very
close to the initial direction of fire.
These upgrades on the LAV/M allow the mortar or any indirect
fire system to be self-contained systems without any need for the
crew to dismount the vehicle during emplacement or firing. In
brief, the laying process is speeded, the crew is protected and
accuracy of the mortar is enhanced. With the possible addition
of a position determining system the LAV/M is well on its way to
becoming the MPMS that we need.
At present the Tandy PC-6 hand-held computer is being used
to experiment with gunnery data associated with the 120mm LAV/M.
The NSWC has proposed to continue to develop the 120mm software
on the PC-6, then at a later date upgrade the software to a
militarized computer with full screen capability. Full screen
capability will interface the entire gambit of firing table data
(ie. angle of sight, MET+VE corrections, fuze settings etc.),
mortar and howitzer capabilities, multiple guns, multiple targets,
multiple forward observers, automatic safety checks, survey and
more. The 120mm mortar ammunition firing data already exists in
computer form for use on the PC-6 or proposed militarized fire
direction center (FDC) computer. A proposed FDC computer, fully
militarized, is expected to be capable of digital radio
communications and linked to an onboard vehicle
navigation/position determining unit.13 The impact of these
upgrades on accuracy, responsiveness and survivability of this
versatile system is significant.
Organization and Employment
The infantry battalion is presently equipped with the 81mm
mortar in a ground-mounted configuration. If there must be
trade-offs to enhance chances of fielding the MPMS then let them
come from someplace other than the field artillery regiment. If
that proposal is rejected, then we should configure our direct
support artillery battalions with four (4) firing batteries of
six (6) howitzers each instead of the eight(8) howitzer batteries
now in service. This arrangement would also streamline
operations and logistics connected with the artillery battalion
making it better suited for faster moving scenarios.
Certainly the potential maintenance and logistics
requirements of the MPMS need to be considered in decisions about
organization and tactical employment. Most importantly, the
infantry battalion must always have some form of indirect fire
support immediately responsive to its needs. The MPMS is the
weapon of choice. If the 81mm mortar platoon became a victim to
trade-offs or budget restrictions then the MPMS would more than
fill the void. Hopefully the Marine Corps would strive to keep
as many indirect fire systems in service as possible and take
cuts and make trade-offs elsewhere. However, to make the MPMS
organic to the infantry organization presents a variety of
training and logistics ptoblems. Instead the MPMS should be made
organic to the direct support artillery regiment, but when it is
tactically employed it would be dedicated to the infantry
Under the aforementioned proposal there would be one MPMS
battalion in each artillery regiment. The MPMS battalion would
have three (3) MPMS batteries, and each MPMS battery would have
four mobile mortars and one command vehicle. The MPMS batteries
would be manned and commanded by artillerymen, and the artillery
regiment would be responsible for the maintenance and logistics
details associated with the system. This arrangement makes sense
since the artillery regiment is maintenance and logistics
intensive and structured to meet such requirements. Training of
MPMS units would also benefit by close association with, and
supervision by, the artillery regiment. Employing the MPMS
battery in a dedicated role has several marked advantages.
Furthermore, if the direct support artillery organization
continues to match one artillery battery for each infantry
battalion, then the advantages become more pronounced. First, the
MPMS battery would be unquestionably more responsive than
howitzers are to calls for fire on targets of opportunity.
Artillery batteries would also be more flexible and responsive to
the "bigger" and longer range missions for which they are better
suited. Next there would not be a need to have teams of forward
observers (FO) for both the MPMS battery and the DS artillery
battery. Calls for fire from the FO would simply be monitored by
the DS artillery FDC, as they are now, and the artillery would
remain prepared to engage the most lucrative targets in mass.
Most importantly, the infantry regimental commander would have a
formidable indirect fire asset dedicated to him to supplement his
artillery support. In this way he would be able to weight his
main effort on the battlefield as he saw fit without degrading
his artillery support. Finally, our deploying SOC/MEU's would
have the most responsive fire support available today.
History shows that there is a need to have close continuous
fire support for maneuvering infantry. The 81mm mortar is simply
not enough organic indirect fire support for today's
contingencies, and the field artillery is not responsive enough
to make the difference in most scenarios. There is an
unquestionable need to have an optimum blend of howitzers and
mortars. However, when budgetary concerns necessitate trade-offs
we must avoid cutting into the muscle of the infantryman's
indirect fire support.
The proliferation of sophisticated indirect fire systems the
world over suggests that we must maintain a counter-balance in
weapons technology and in the tactical, operational and strategic
employment of those systems.
The Marine Corps needs a versatile and highly mobile means
of indirect fire support for its maneuvering regiments especially
when the artillery is constrained or vulnerable. LAV/M a mortar
variant of the light armored vehicle has already been fielded.
This system is a step in the right direction because it is highly
mobile and has been equipped with an 81mm mortar. When equipped
with 120mm mortar and a number of other state-of-the-art
upgrades, the LAV/M is essentially the Mobile Protected Mortar
System (MPMS) that will best meet the challenges of the future.
The time has come for the infantry regimental commander to
have a reliable, responsive and lethal means of indirect fire
support dedicated to him in battle. With its superior tactical,
operational and strategic mobility, the MPMS can provide fire
support for every intensity conflict.
1 Kler, Timothy. "LAV/120mm Turreted Howitzer/Mortar." Tank-
Automotive Command; Warren, Mich. 1991 (Mimmeographed).
2 Commanding Officer, 11th Marines Transmittal. " Infantry
Heavy Mortars and Direct Support Artillery." 11th Marines, FMF
Organization Test Program Phase I Unit Field Tests, Camp
Pendleton, Ca. Dec. 1960. (Monograph 1960).
3 Interview with Captain Thomas J. Connally, S-3A, 11th Mar,
1st Mar Div., March 15, 1991.
4 Humble, LtCol, G-3, 1st Mar Div. "1st Marine Division
Operations in Southwest Asia." Quantico, Va. MCCDC, 1991.
(Lecture presented at the Command and Staff College, MCCDC).
5 Ibid. Humble.
6 Mazzara, Andrew F. LtCol USMC, "Artillery in the Desert
1991 Report #1," Marine Corps Gazette, April 1991, pp.53-55.
7 U.S. Marine Corps Doctrine, "Campaign Demands Strategic
Aims," Marines, 20 Jan. 1991, pp.22-25.
8 Segal, David "Whatever Happened to Rapid Deployment?"
Armed Forces Journal International, March 1991, pp,39-40.
10 Foss, Chris F. "Merlin Development Still on Line."
Jane's Defence Weekly, (26 Nov. 1988), 1349.
11 Ibid. Kler.
12 Bambi, Robert, "LAV 8lmm/120mm Fire Control & Fire
Direction Point Paper." (Unpublished Paper of the Naval Surface
Warfare Center), Sept. 1989.
l3 Lorenzo, John M. Jr. "Mortar FDC Software and Computer
Point Paper." (Unpublished Paper of the Naval Surface Warfare
Center), Sept. 1989.
A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bambi, Robert. "LAV 81mm/120mm Fire Control & Fire Direction
Point Paper." (Unpublished Paper of the Naval Surface
Warfare Center.), Sept. 1989.
Commanding Officer, 11th Marines Transmittal. "Infantry Heavy
Mortar and Direct Support Artillery." 11th Marines, FMF
organization Test Program Phase I Unit Field Tests, Camp
Pendleton, Ca., Dec. 1960. (Monograph 1960).
Foss, Chris F. "Merlin Development Still on Line." Jane's Defence
Weekly, (26 Nov 1988), 1349.
Humble, LtCol., G-3 1st Marine Division. "1st Marine Division
Operations in Southwest Asia." Quantico, Va.,1991. (Lecture to
Command and Staff College, MCCDC).
Interview with Captain Thomas J. Connally USMC, S-3A, 11th Mar,
1st Mar Div., March 15, 1991.
Kler, Timothy. "LAV/120mm Turreted Howitzer/Mortar." Tank
Automotive Command; Warren Mich.,1991. (Mimeographed).
Lorenzo, John M. Jr. "Mortar FDC Software and Computer Point
Paper." (Unpublished Paper of the Naval Surface Warfare
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