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LESSON 2

NON-FIELD ARTILLERY SOURCES OF FIRE SUPPORT

TASK

Identify non-field artillery sources of fire support, their characteristics, capabilities and limitations, and considerations in planning their employment.

CONDITION

Given the subcourse material for this lesson, a training scenario and extracts, as applicable, the student will complete the practice exercise at the end of this lesson.

STANDARD

The student will demonstrate his comprehension and knowledge of the task by identifying non-field artillery sources of fire support, their characteristics, capabilities and limitations, and considerations in planning their employment.

REFERENCE

FM 6-20

GENERAL

During this lesson, you will learn about fire support from sources other than field artillery. In preparation for battle, you may have at your disposal attack helicopters, naval gunfire ships, Air Force jets, and mortars attached to your maneuver elements. You must learn the capabilities and limitations of all the systems which may be supporting you. When used as fire support, these systems may provide representatives to the supported unit's fire support element (FSE) to ensure that the efforts of each system are coordinated with the other fire support systems.

Learning Event 1: THE STUDENT WILL DEMONSTRATE HIS COMPREHENSION AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE TASK BY IDENTIFYING THE CHARACTERISTICS, CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS, AND EMPLOYMENT CONSIDERATIONS FOR 60-MM, 81-MM AND 107-MM MORTARS.

EMPLOYMENT OF OTHER FIRE SUPPORT MEANS

In addition to field artillery, other weapons systems can be used to provide fire support for the maneuver commander.

This learning event will discuss the use of one of these other weapons systems: the employment of mortars.

MORTARS

Mortars are the indirect fire weapons of the maneuver units. Although mortars are controlled by maneuver elements, the fire support officer and the battalion fire support officer are normally responsible for integrating them into the overall fire support plan.

Description

Mortar fires and munitions are employed in accordance with overall fire support needs and the battalion action. Mortars are lightweight. They can be positioned and fired with minimum expenditure of time and effort. They are effective against targets without armor protection.

Usefulness

Mortars are most useful in neutralization of dismounted units and in suppression, obscuration, and illumination roles. Because of their high-angle trajectories, mortars are excellent for attacks on targets in defilade or on the reverse slopes of hills.

Employment Consideration

The decision to employ mortars depends, in part, on the characteristics of the weapon and its ammunition. These characteristics are shown in Table 4.

TABLE 4. MORTAR WEAPON/AMMUNITION CHARACTERISTICS

Some of the considerations for the employment of mortars are as follows:

  • Mortar positions are seldom surveyed in. Rounds fired in adjustment result in loss of surprise and greater ammunition expenditures.
  • The high-trajectory projectile is more easily detected by radar. It is also adversely affected by strong winds that degrade accuracy.
  • The high rate of fire required for firing illumination missions and smoke screens is a limitation when ammunition availability is considered. Maneuver units can carry only a limited amount of ammunition. Resupply may be difficult, especially in the covering force.

NOTE: The fielding of the M23 mortar ballistic computer in FY85 has increased the responsiveness and accuracy of all mortars. The M23 interfaces with the digital message devise (DMD) and tactical fire (TACFIRE) direction system to bring mortars into the TACFIRE net.

You have now learned about the characteristics of mortars and their employment considerations. You are ready to examine another type of non-field artillery support system: air support and fire support coordination in air operations.

Learning Event 2: THE STUDENT WILL DEMONSTRATE HIS COMPREHENSION AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE TASK BY IDENTIFYING THE COMPONENTS, CHARACTERISTICS, CAPABILITIES, AND LIMITATIONS OF AIR SUPPORT, AND THE ROLE OF THE FIRE SUPPORT COORDINATOR (FSCOORD) IN AIR SUPPORT OPERATIONS.

Tactical air support comes from several different sources. Each branch of the service has some tactical aircraft. You can also receive assistance from allied and NATO forces. You must learn how each of these forces can play a role in fighting Threat forces with your elements.

AIR SUPPORT

Air support in the AirLand Battle is that support provided primarily by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine air squadrons. It consists of close air support (CAS), counterair, air interdiction, battlefield air interdiction (BAI), tactical surveillance and reconnaissance (TSR), and tactical airlift (Figure 5). The FSCOORD is primarily concerned with CAS, BAI, and TSR.

FIGURE 5. TYPES OF TACTICAL SUPPORT

Close Air Support

CAS is air action against hostile targets close to friendly forces. Each air mission requires detailed integration with the fire and movement of those forces. This means that the aircraft are under positive or procedural control.

Battlefield Air Interdiction (BAI)

BAI is air action against hostile surface targets that are in a position to directly affect friendly forces. These missions require joint planning and coordination. However, they may not require continuous coordination during the execution stage. Those air strikes short of the fire support coordination line (FSCL) must be coordinated with the FSCOORD.

Tactical Surveillance and Reconnaissance (TSR)

TSR operations provide timely information from visually observed and or sensor recorded sources. These operations also provide poststrike photo coverage and meteorological, hydrographic, and geographic data. That portion of TSR that supports the land commander's information needs is identified as tactical air reconnaissance (TAR). The FSCOORD uses targets derived from this source of air support.

Air Interdiction

Although not a part of close air support, air interdiction will play an important role by influencing actions in the deep battle. Air interdiction is that air operation conducted to destroy, neutralize, or delay the enemy's military potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly forces. It is conducted at such distance from friendly forces that detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of friendly forces is usually not required.

Air-Ground Operations System

The responsibility for conducting air-ground operations is shared equally by the Air Force and Army commanders. The Army and Air Force have parallel communications systems for coordinating tactical air support with ground operations. The air-ground operations system (AGOS) includes the personnel, equipment, procedures, and techniques composing the Army air-ground systems (AAGS) and the Air Force tactical control system (TACS). The air-ground operations system provides the means to initiate, receive, process, and execute requests for air support. It also provides the means to disseminate combat information and intelligence obtained by the Air Force.

While Army air support operations are habitually associated with the Air Force, there may be times when Navy, Marines, or allied air support is available to support ground operations. When Marine or Navy air support is available, a Marine tactical control party (TACP) will be provided at battalion through division levels from the air and naval gunfire liaison company. The use of allied air support may require liaison representatives and communications from the allied air force.

FSCOORD Responsibilities in Air Support Operations

The types of air fire support with which a FSCOORD is most often involved are close air support and battlefield interdiction.

The FSCOORD at each echelon has the following responsibilities:

  • Review all requests for fire support from subordinate units.
  • Evaluate air support requires in light of other requirements.
  • Make decisions within delegated authority to furnish requested support, substitute other types of support, or disapprove the request.

When considering air support requests as one portion of the total fire support, the FSCOORD works closely with the S3/G3 air and the air liaison officer (ALO) at each force level. In this capacity, the FSCOORD has the following responsibilities:

  • Provide planning information on air support to the assistant G3 air for the development of allocation recommendations.
  • Review the distribution of air support resources, and recommend redistribution.
  • Monitor the execution of all fire support missions to determine the adequacy of mission accomplishment; and coordinate poststrike damage assessment with the TACP and the G2.
  • Coordinate with the air management element (AME), the TACP, and the assistant G3 air on fire support requirements for the use of airspace, and keep all elements informed on the status of planned, special ammunition fires.
  • Recommend targets for attack by air-delivered special ammunition fires, and recommend air interdiction targets.

CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS

To take effective advantage of tactical air support, it is important to understand both its capabilities and its limitations.

Capabilities

Tactical air forces provide their most effective fire support when maximum advantage is taken of their inherent strengths. Fire planners at all levels should exploit these strengths.

High Speed and Long Range. A joint force commander can shift the mass of tactical air firepower from sector to sector on a theaterwide battlefield on short notice. The range (extended by air refueling) and speed of modern BAI and CAS aircraft, coupled with centralized control, allow the joint force commander to focus tactical air firepower in support of land commanders who have the most urgent need for fire support.

Versatility. Tactical air forces provide support with a variety of weapons optimized for a broad range of targets. Every target on today's battlefield is vulnerable to tactical air firepower. Air strikes are particularly effective against hard and mobile targets and for interdiction of deep targets and second-echelon forces beyond the range of surface-to-surface fire support assets.

Delivery Accuracy. Because of the variety of delivery techniques available and the guidance systems built into some air-delivered ordnance, first-hit probabilities are high. Strafing, for example, can now be used 25 meters from protected friendly troops.

Air-Ground Communications. Land and air components provide communications support for the air-ground operations system. Army and Air Force communications systems are parallel from battalion to corps.

Limitations

Although air firepower can solve many battle problems for a supported land force commander, its use is subject to certain constraints. The FSCOORD must consider these limitations:

Availability of Aircraft. There will seldom be enough aircraft to meet all requests for air firepower support. Consequently, maneuver commanders and fire planners must ensure that firepower is massed at the most critical target areas on the battlefield and at the most decisive times. Close in (CAS) and deeper (BAI) targets may require simultaneous execution.

Delivery Restrictions Imposed by Night and Weather. Tactical air force target acquisition and computed weapon release systems allow 24-hour all-weather ordnance delivery. However, the optimum weapon for a certain target may not be usable under all battle conditions.

Delivery Restrictions Imposed by Air Defenses. When faced with an intense array of surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery, air support aircraft have two options:

  • Deliver ordnance optimized for increased standoff ranges. This option precludes the use of certain short-range munitions.
  • Use low-altitude penetration tactics and attack targets from a pop-up maneuver. In many situations, aircraft will require suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) fires from ground weapon systems and or from Army aircraft. They will require these fires to protect them from enemy air defense fires.

Time on Station and Delayed Response. Primary air support aircraft have varying capabilities to loiter on station. This must be taken into account in planning the use of these aircraft. That limitation is especially important for immediate air strikes; this is because the aircraft used to execute them may have been scrambled or diverted from other missions.

EMPLOYMENT CONSIDERATIONS

The successful air strike begins with a well-coordinated plan. A general outline of the plan should be formulated before an air request is submitted. Preferably this will occur during the planning states of the maneuver operation itself. The details are confirmed or filled in as the situation develops. The request for air support contains the elements necessary for Army decisions, Air Force selection of aircraft and ordnance, and initial aircrew briefings.

The strike pilots are briefed on the final details of the plan after direct radio contact is established and before they are committed to the first attack.

Air support primarily provides destructive or neutralizing fire as opposed to suppressive fire. It achieves this by concentrating a great amount of firepower on small targets within a short time.

Effective results can be obtained by isolating critical elements within the target area and attacking them as point targets. However, the use of cluster munitions makes possible the effective attack of large area targets. The short time span during which the destructive power is applied contributes to a shock effect. Both destruction and shock effects can be exploited by the maneuver force.

An air strike can suppress or neutralize as well as destroy and, by its presence alone, can often inhibit enemy movement.

Determining Target Suitability

In determining target suitability for air attack, several factors must be considered.

Capabilities of Organic Weapons. Organic and supporting weapons are considered before air support is requested. This does not mean that organic fires should always be used before air is requested. However, the principle of using the lowest echelon as a means of fire support must always be applied.

Target Identification From the Air. Air support users must ensure that the pilot can identify the target. If possible, the maneuver or fire support unit should pinpoint it for him by using marking rounds or precise grid coordinates.

Aircraft Armament Capabilities. Aircraft armament must achieve the desired results. This is particularly important when diversion of strike flights already airborne is considered.

Fleeting Nature of Some Targets. Air support is not requested unless the target will remain a target long enough to be attacked by air means. (Some targets disperse before they can be attacked.)

Using a Forward Air Controller to Control the Strike. If the FAC is on the ground, it may be difficult for him to direct deep air strikes because of visibility limitations. If he is airborne, he may have trouble with air defense fires. If no FAC is available, the FSO, senior fire support sergeant, or other qualified FIST members may direct a CAS strike in an emergency.

Air Support Density. There are seldom enough aircraft to strike all suitable targets. Commanders and FSCOORDs must judiciously prioritize air support requests.

Proximity of Friendly Forces to the Target. Some types of ordnance cannot be used as close to friendly ground forces as others. For example, general purpose bomb effects are more predictable than are those from cluster bomb units.

Intensity of Antiaircraft Defense. In general, a high air defense intensity level dictates greater slant range for weapons release and increased need for suppressing enemy air defenses (SEAD fires). This dictates ordnance suitable for delivery at higher dive angles and longer ranges from the targets.

Weather. The optimum ordnance for a particular target may not be deliverable under a low ceiling.

STRIKE EXECUTION

To accomplish an air strike, aircrews must have, as a minimum, target and friendly position identification and clearance to expend ordnance.

Target Identification

Generally, if the strike pilot can see the target, he can hit it. The target must be identified as accurately as possible. The supported ground unit must send the target location to the forward air controller, who sends it to the strike flight. An airborne forward air controller (FAC) can mark the target with smoke rockets or grenades, or can call for a mark from the ground unit. FISTs and observation/lasing (O/L) teams may be required to designate targets for attack by air-delivered laser-guided bombs.

In the absence of an airborne FAC, a mark from the ground is usually necessary. Ground reference marks may include geographical features, smoke rounds from field artillery or mortars, ordnance currently impacting in the target area, illumination rounds for night strikes, tracer fire, and other ground fires near the target.

Friendly Position Identification

The location of the unit nearest to the target is most important. Also, other units likely to be overflown in the attack pattern should be considered.

Tactical Security

For tactical security, it is best to identify friendly positions by radio transmission between the pilot and the FAC or FSO. Friendly positions may be marked by smoke grenades, flares, fires, signal mirrors, panels, balloons, strobe lights, vehicle lights, and radar beacons. These procedures are dangerous in that they provide the same information to both the enemy and the pilot.

Impact Adjustment

In the absence of a FAC, and in an emergency, ground personnel (usually the FSO) may direct strike flights onto targets. Correction to the target must be simple, clearly understood, and fast. Cardinal directions are preferred over clock references of attack heading corrections. The observer-target method of correcting artillery or mortar fires could be dangerously confusing in a fast-moving air strike.

For example, a forward air controller may tell a pilot to place the next burst "THREE HUNDRED METERS NORTH OF THE PREVIOUS ROUND," rather than "RIGHT 300." Fighters should not be directed to strike between a target mark and friendly positions unless those positions are clearly visible to the strike pilots and the munitions separation distance is not a factor.

You have just covered fire support coordination dealing with air support. In the next learning event, you will become familiar with factors concerning the attack helicopters.

Learning Event 3: THE STUDENT WILL DEMONSTRATE HIS COMPREHENSION AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE TASK BY IDENTIFYING THE CHARACTERISTICS, CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS, AND EMPLOYMENT CONSIDERATIONS FOR ATTACK HELICOPTERS.

The attack helicopter is a tank killer. It is in all Army divisions. Although it is primarily a maneuver weapon, the attack helicopter can mount an impressive array of weapons. It can also be used as a fire support means similar to air support aircraft.

ATTACK HELICOPTERS

Attack helicopters are limited by a combination of fuel capacity and flight time. Other factors to be considered are weather and visibility restrictions, and the air defense environment. Their full effectiveness is achieved as an aerial maneuver unit by platoon, by company, and by battalion.

Mobility and Capability

Their mobility and capability to maneuver quickly and mass fires in any type of terrain makes attack helicopters an especially capable target attack means. They provide a heavy volume of fire in either a terrain or a tactical situation that limits effective and economical use of field artillery, mortars, air support, and naval gunfire.

Attack helicopter pilots may acquire targets visually. Preferably, targets are acquired and "handed off" to them by aerial scouts, by ground or aerial observers, or by other target acquisition means.

Targets for Attack

The type of targets for attack should be carefully specified. The attack helicopter (AH) has a wide variety of ordnance. Knowing the type of target ensures the ordnance mix best suited to match the target. The objective of AH employment is to put the aircraft on station at the right time with the right munition. This must be well coordinated, since AH loiter time is short, and the enemy's air defense array is lethal.

Scheduled or on-call FA fires may be required to suppress enemy air defense (SEAD) fires for the attack and to cover AH withdrawal after the mission. When attack helicopters are employed, continuous coordination is required to ensure that field artillery and other indirect fires can also continue simultaneously.

Weapons Capabilities

The munition range, quantity and type of target attacked descriptions are given in Tables 5 and 6, as follows:

TABLE 5. AH-1 WEAPONS CAPABILITIES

 

TABLE 6. AH-64 WEAPONS CAPABILITIES

Munition Mixes

Not all the weapons shown in the tables can be carried at one time on one helicopter. Also, the loads listed represent the maximum for each type of ordnance. If two or more types of ammunition are desired, trade-offs must be made and less of each type of ammunition will be carried. When employment of attack helicopters is anticipated, the types of targets to be engaged must be specified so that the proper ordnance will be loaded in the aircraft.

With the 2.75-inch rockets, helicopters are capable of both direct and indirect fire. However, in the indirect fire mode, direction is controlled by the on-board compass, which does not provide sufficient accuracy for precision gunnery. Therefore, attack helicopters are most effective when employed in the indirect fire mode by a fire team (platoon or company) against soft-area targets. The Cobra-mounted tube launched, optically tracked wire guided missile (TOW), however, is an excellent antitank weapon. Also, Cobras can be used to suppress other surface targets and to protect airlift helicopters.

You have just learned about the attack helicopters and their capabilities, characteristics, and employment considerations. You have seen how they can be used to supply direct and indirect fires. In the next learning event, you will learn about joint air attack team (JAAT) operations, and how the FSCOORD uses them in defensive and offensive operations.

Learning Event 4: THE STUDENT WILL DEMONSTRATE HIS COMPREHENSION AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE TASK BY IDENTIFYING THE COMPOSITION, EMPLOYMENT CONSIDERATIONS, AND FSCOORD CONSIDERATIONS FOR JOINT AIR ATTACK TEAM OPERATIONS.

A joint attack team is a combination of US Army scout and attack helicopters and the US Air Force CAS aircraft (normally A-10 Thunderbolts [Warthogs]).

JOINT AIR ATTACK TEAM

The JAAT operates with brigade-level and battalion-level Army ground maneuver forces, field artillery, mortars, and the air defense artillery weapons systems to attack priority targets.

Employment Considerations

A major element of a JAAT operation is the augmentation of indirect fire support. Fire support requirements for the attack team are generally the same as those for ground maneuver units.

The fire support element of the ground maneuver unit controlling the overall operation usually plans artillery fire support with the joint air attack team.

The following work together to ensure that adequate supporting fires are planned for the JAAT:

  • Forward air controller (FAC).
  • FSCOORD.
  • Ground maneuver commander.
  • S3.
  • Attack helicopter liaison officer (AHLO).
  • Air battle captain (ABC).

Fire support plans should be kept simple so that the air battle captain and forward air controller can be rapidly briefed. Since the briefing is normally done by radio, the interpretation of data can be difficult.

FSCOORD Considerations

The FSCOORD considerations in the employment of the JAAT are as follows:

  • SEAD support for JAAT operations can be accomplished by planning a program(s) of targets.
  • Attack helicopters, close air support, and indirect fire systems complement and reinforce each other when used together.
  • Attack helicopters and CAS operate well below the trajectories of indirect fire systems.
  • Aircraft should not overfly firing positions of indirect fire systems. They should stay at least 500 meters from impacting rounds.

Brigade FSOs and AHLOs can advise the TACP and flight leader on the best routes into and out of the battle area to avoid overflying field artillery positions.

Tables 7 and 8, as follows, indicate ways to employ CAS and artillery in the same target area.

TABLE 7. OPTIONS FOR PASSING FRIENDLY ARTILLERY INFORMATION TO CAS PILOTS

 

TABLE 7A. OPTIONS FOR PASSING FRIENDLY ARTILLERY INFORMATION TO CAS PILOTS

 

TABLE 8. OPTIONS FOR SEPARATION OF CAS AND IMPACTING FIELD ARTILLERY ROUNDS

 

TABLE 8A. OPTIONS FOR SEPARATION OF CAS AND IMPACTING FIELD ARTILLERY ROUNDS

The joint air attack team supports the war effort in defensive and offensive operations. In the next learning event, you will learn about naval gunfire support, its personnel structure, and its employment in the battle plan.

Learning Event 5: THE STUDENT WILL DEMONSTRATE HIS COMPREHENSION AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE TASK BY IDENTIFYING THE CHARACTERISTICS, MISSIONS, CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS OF NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT; THE ORGANIZATION OF NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT PERSONNEL; AND FSCOORD AND FIRE SUPPORT TEAM RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT.

Naval gunfire can provide large volumes of immediately available, responsive fire support to combat forces operating close to coastal waters. These fires may be in support of amphibious operations within range of naval firepower. The following discussion, however, addresses only fires in support of land operations.

NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT

The general mission of naval gunfire support, in conjunction with other supporting arms, is to help the maneuver force by destroying, neutralizing, or suppressing targets that oppose that force.

Tactical Missions of Naval Gunfire Support

Naval gunfire ships are assigned one of two missions, either direct support or general support, in much the same way that field artillery is organized for combat. Relationships between assigned ships and supported ground force units are on a basis of limited, delegated responsibility.

For example, ships placed in support provide the requested fire within their capability. However, the ship's positioning and method of delivery are left to the discretion of the ship captains. The supported ground force unit selects the targets, the timing of fires on the targets, and the adjustment of fires.

Direct Support. A ship in direct support of a specific troop unit delivers both planned and on-call fires. On-call fires are, to the ship, what targets of opportunity are to artillery units. A fire power control team (FCT) with the supported unit conducts and adjusts on-call fires. On-call fires may also be adjusted by a naval gunfire air spotter.

Members of the FCT are specially trained in the conduct of naval gunfire. However, the procedures are simplified and standardized so that any trained supporting arms observer can effectively adjust the fire of a ship.

When available, Navy and Marine air support can be provided through coordination with air and naval gunfire and liaison company (ANGLICO) representatives at the applicable level of command.

A direct support ship will respond to calls for fire from units other than the supported unit. This is done when so ordered by the fire support group commander, the division naval gunfire officer, or the brigade naval gunfire liaison officer.

General Support. General support missions are assigned to ships supporting units of brigade size or larger. The normal procedure is to have the fires of the general support ship adjusted by an aerial observer. It is also normal for the liaison officer to assign the fires of the ship to a battalion SFCP for fire missions. In the latter case, on completion of the mission, the ship reverts to general support. Prearranged fires are delivered in accordance with a schedule of fires.

Naval Gunfire Capabilities

The capabilities of naval gunfire ships include a wide variety of munitions with the ability for direct and indirect fire support. The ability to fire while underway increases its fire support capability to assist in countering the Threat forces.

Mobility. Within the limits imposed by hydrographic conditions, the naval gunfire ship may be positioned for the best support of the ground force. The ability of the ship to maneuver is an important factor in planning for fire support of separated forces. It allows the selection of the most favorable gun-target line.

Fire Control Equipment. Precision fire control equipment permits accurate fires, both direct and indirect, to be delivered in support of ground forces while the ship is either underway or at anchor.

Ammunition Variety. The variety of projectiles, powder charges, and fuzes permits selection of optimum combinations to provide for air, surface, or subsurface detonation of rounds.

Muzzle Velocity. The high initial muzzle velocity and relatively flat trajectory of the naval gun make it suitable for direct fire or assault fire. Naval guns are particularly suitable against material targets that must be penetrated or destroyed and that present a vertical face.

Rates of Fire. The large volume of fire that can be delivered in a relatively short period of time is a distinct advantage in delivery neutralization fires. For example, the 5-inch/54 (A1K 42) has a rate of fire of 36 rounds per minute at a rapid rate. It has a rate of 20 rounds per minute at a sustained rate. The weapons characteristics for naval gunfire can be found in Table 9.

TABLE 9. NAVAL GUNFIRE WEAPONS CHARACTERISTICS

Deflection Pattern. The normal dispersion pattern is narrow in deflection and long in range. Very close supporting fire can be delivered when the gun-target line is parallel to the front line. This pattern also permits effective coverage of such targets as roads and runways when the gun-target line coincides with the long axis of the target.

Naval Gunfire Limitations

There are several limiting factors to consider when using naval gunfire ships. Their restriction to water mobility and weather conditions play a large role in their capabilities and limitations.

Flat Trajectory. The relatively flat trajectory of naval gunfire results in a large range probable error. Therefore the dispersion pattern of the naval gun is roughly elliptical, with the long axis in the direction of the fire. Before selecting naval gunfire as the proper fire support means, the FSCOORD must consider the G-T line and its relation to the forward line of own troops (FLOT).

Hydrography. The hydrographic conditions of the waters in which the naval gunfire ship must operate may be unfavorable. This may cause undesirable firing positions or require firing at longer ranges.

Fixing of Ship Position. The accuracy of naval gunfire depends on the accuracy with which the position of the firing ship has been fixed. Navigational aids, prominent terrain features, or radar beacons emplaced on the shore may be used to compensate for this limitation.

Weather and Visibility. Bad weather and poor visibility make it difficult to determine the position of the ship by visual means. This can reduce the observer's opportunity for locating targets and adjusting fires. Also, bad weather might force the ship out to sea.

Changing Gun-Target Line. When the ship is firing while under way, the line of fire in relation to the front line may change. This could require cancellation of the fire mission because the inherent large range probable errors may cause rounds to endanger friendly forces.

Communications. The sole means of communication between the ship and shore is radio. Normally, several nets are established to control and coordinate the support. Radio communications can be interrupted by equipment limitations, enemy electronic warfare, and unfavorable atmospheric conditions.

Enemy Action. The naval gunfire ship may come under enemy surface, subsurface, or air attack. When this occurs, the ship may cancel its fire mission with the ground forces and attempt to counter the threat.

Magazine Capacity. The shore bombardment allowance varies with the ship type (600 to 1,800 rounds). When the need arises, remaining rounds will be held for self-defense of the ship.

NAVAL GUNFIRE SUPPORT PERSONNEL

Air and naval gunfire liaison company personnel are available to advise unit commanders from company through division levels on how to best use the navy air and gunfire support available to them. Liaison personnel can provide unit commanders and FSCOORDs with information on weapons' ranges, ammunition effects, all-weather bombing capability, and landing zone requirements.

For maximum effectiveness, ANGLICO support should begin during the planning phase of an operation. The ANGLICO task-organized teams and parties should be attached to the units they will support as soon as possible.

ANGLICO personnel at all levels, company through division, are trained as naval gunfire spotters and or forward air controllers. They can request and control missions for the units they support. In order that they can move in the same manner as the unit they support, ANGLICO personnel are trained in parachuting, skiing, snowshoeing, and inflatable rubber boat operations.

Organization of the Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company

The ANGLICO (Figure 6) is composed of a company headquarters and a division air and naval gunfire team. The division air and naval gunfire team provides personnel and equipment as a party of the division FSE who advises plans and coordinates both naval gunfire and naval marine air support at division level. The brigade air and naval gunfire platoons provide a personnel and communications package for control and employment of air and naval gunfire at the brigade and battalion levels.

FIGURE 6. ORGANIZATION OF THE AIR AND NAVAL GUNFIRE LIAISON COMPANY

Division. At the division level, the ANGLICO will provide a Marine lieutenant colonel (company commander) and three majors (lieutenant commanders) or captains (two of which are marine or navy aviators). They will function as the NGF officers and marine/naval air liaison officers in the division fire elements (main and TAC).

Brigade. At the brigade level, a naval gunfire liaison officer is provided. He will be located in the fire support element (FSE).

Battalion/Company. Within the brigade, two battalions will each be assigned as supporting arms liaison team (SALT). Each of these teams consists of two fire power control teams (FCTs), an air liaison officer, and communicators that are located with the battalion FSE. Each FCT consists of enlisted naval spotters and communicators with two of the companies in a battalion.

Adjustment of Naval Gunfire by the FIST

When naval gunfire is available, the FIST may sometimes have to adjust it because of a shortage of fire power control teams (FCT) (two per battalion [SALT]). All forward observer personnel must know the unique considerations of adjusting naval gunfire. They must also be aware of other considerations, such as communications.

Call for Fire. The call for fire for naval gunfire follows the same general format as a call for fire for artillery support. Certain elements are modified when NGF support is requested. A detailed description of the procedures used in the call for fire for artillery support. Certain elements are modified when NGF support is requested. A detailed description of the procedures used in the call for fire and adjustment of naval gunfire can be found, when needed, in FM 6-30.

Communications. The FIST will not be able to communicate directly with the fire support ship. It has two options for relaying the call for fire and subsequent commands. These options are:

  • Use the designated field artillery fire direction net to talk to the naval gunfire liaison officer (NGLO). The NGLO is collocated with the maneuver battalion FSO in the fire support element. The NGLO relays the commands to the fire support ship by means of his high frequency (HF/VHF) radio. This is the preferred method.
  • Use the designated field artillery fire direction net to talk to the FCT. The FCT is collocated with one of the other FISTs in the battalion. Using its radio, the FCT then relays the call for fire and subsequent commands.

The FSCOORD at each level must know the capabilities and limitations of naval gunfire. He must also ensure that observers are trained in the adjustment of NGF. When neither a FIST nor a spot team is available, it may be necessary for other personnel to adjust naval gunfire (for example, a FAC, JAAT personnel, or a scout).

CONCLUSION

In this lesson, you have learned about non-field artillery sources of fire support. Limitations of air support and the FSCOORD role in fire support planning have also been discussed. You have become familiar with the employment considerations for use of attack helicopters, the joint air attack team operations, and naval gunfire support. With this fire support you can plan, coordinate, and execute battles to counter Threat forces as they occur.


Practice Exercise

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Page last modified: 27-04-2005 07:32:51 Zulu