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The FA cannon battalion commander who operates in special environments or whose unit supports special operations should be aware of the problems associated with each particular environment or situation. The battalion may be faced with extreme conditions of weather and terrain, darkness or limited visibility, and complexities of special combat. The conditions can combine to degrade weapon system capabilities, personnel performance levels, and equipment durability. Special tactics, techniques, and procedures will be necessary to overcome or mitigate adverse conditions. The battalion's tactical mission will not change; but the tactics, techniques, and procedures of employment must be tailored to the particular environment to attain and sustain total combat effectiveness.
This appendix presents some special environments and operations in which the FA cannon battalion may participate. Discussions of each focus on considerations involving the seven basic FA tasks.


Effective operations during hours of darkness are essential in combat. The basic ingredient of successful night operations, offensive or defensive, is the confidence of the individual soldier in his ability and his equipment in the night environment. This confidence stems from detailed planning and painstaking, successful training. The adverse effects of darkness require a change in techniques and procedures. However, it is important to note that darkness imposes limitations equally on friendly and enemy forces.

The objectives of night operations are as follows:

  • To achieve surprise and avoid losses which might be incurred in daylight over the same terrain.
  • To compensate for advantages held by a numerically superior Threat or one who has air superiority.

  • To retain the initiative by defeating Threat night operations.

  • To exploit our technological advantage at night over a less sophisticated enemy.

Coordinate Fire Support

The specific area in which the commander desires to use smoke and illumination must be determined.

Smoke must be planned to degrade enemy night vision capabilities.

The FSO, the maneuver S3 or G3 air, and the ALO coordinate to integrate sorties and to plan illumination for close air support (CAS) or attack helicopters.

Illuminating fires may not be fired, but they should be planned.

Illuminating fires should be placed on several locations over a wide area. These fires confuse the enemy as to the exact place of the attack.

Fire support coordinating measures should be placed on positively identifiable terrain.

Acquire Targets

Target acquisition is limited by the capabilities of night vision devices (NVDs).

Ground surveillance radars can be used for early target acquisition.

Target acquisition assets must be allocated for adjustment of fires.

The weapons-locating radar is one of the most effective means of acquiring targets at night.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Fires, especially FPFs, should be adjusted during daylight, if possible.

Illuminating fires over the objective should be timed to burn out just above the ground.

Illuminating fires beyond the objective should be allowed to burn on the ground to silhouette the defenders on the objective.

Illumination can greatly enhance the effectiveness of NVDs. However, care must be exercised to avoid damaging passive NVDs or degrading the individual soldier's night vision by firing the illumination in the immediate vicinity of the target or objective when passive devices are in use.

On-call fires should be used to engage enemy forces as they attack or probe the defense.

FASCAM may be more effective because of poor visibility.

Exact procedures for marking the end of the orienting line (EOL) should be identified in unit SOPs.

Hasty survey techniques are degraded.


Prearranged visual signals, such as hand-held flares, can be used to initiate or cancel fires.

Effective communication is necessary to ensure engagement of the correct targets.


RSOP procedures for night occupation must be thoroughly planned, rehearsed, and incorporated in unit SOPs.

Movement is much more difficult at night because of problems with terrain recognition.

Procedures for repositioning at night must be planned.

Maintaining the correct direction of travel during movement is extremely difficult.

Plans must be made for increased use of traffic control points.

A position track plan is necessary. Every vehicle must be guided into position.

Tentage should be erected before darkness and checked for light leaks.

Generators and light sets should be installed before darkness.

Extra time must be allowed for planned unit movements.

Maintain and Resupply

Resupply operations at night should be planned to lessen vulnerability to the Threat.

Adequate amounts of illuminating and smoke projectiles must be on hand. Any shortfalls must be alleviated well in advance.

Noisy operations should be performed while the unit is firing. The firing will mask the noise of heavy vehicular traffic and materials handling equipment.


At night, during periods of reduced communication, small distances between individuals, crews, or units seem exaggerated.

Control of direct fires is critical.

Night intensifies the emotion of fear.

Light and noise discipline must be stressed.

Self-illumination must be included in the unit defense plan.


Operations in northern regions are affected by extreme cold weather conditions. Summer has long periods of daylight; while winter has long nights, deep snow, and extreme cold. Spring thaws turn low-lying areas into a morass of mud, which severely degrades surface mobility. Weather phenomena such as whiteouts and greyouts cause loss of depth perception, which increases the hazards of driving. Ice fogs often form over troop concentrations and disclose their location. In extreme cold, metal becomes brittle, hydraulics thicken and parts breakage rates increase. Rates of fire for indirect fire weapons decrease as a result of heavily clothed gun crews, cold weapons, and fogged lenses on fire control devices. The enemy force is equally affected by these extreme conditions of subzero weather and snow.

Winterization of equipment is critical for sustaining combat effectiveness. Indoctrination, training, and acclimatization of individual soldiers in northern region environments are essential first steps to overcoming these adversities. Thorough planning and detailed preparation for combat operations in northern regions will help the unit fulfill its fire support mission while facing the extremes of this environment.

Coordinate Fire Support

Target detection is difficult.

Ice fogs and snow clouds created by moving enemy formations reveal targets.

Tracks in the snow may indicate enemy positions.

Fire planning for cold weather operations is no different than that required for operations in more temperate regions.

Limited ground mobility of artillery weapons and ammunition supply vehicles and increased time of operation must be considered.

Frequent poor weather reduces the availability of CAS.

The sameness of the terrain makes the marking of targets critical.

Panels or pyrotechnics must be used to mark friendly locations.

Acquire Targets

Forward observers should be equipped with snowshoes or skis to allow them to move quickly.

Extreme cold requires that observers in static positions be relieved often.

Visibility diagrams may have to be upgraded because drifting snow changes visibility.

Bright sunlight reflecting off a snow-covered landscape causes snow blindness. Amber filters on binoculars and observation devices reduce the incidence of snow blindness.

Aerial observers can see deep and are not as prone to disorientation as are ground observers.

Weather conditions may reduce the availability of aircraft.

Extremely cold weather may degrade the operation of TA radar because of stiff moving parts and heavily clothed crews.

Ground surveillance and weapons-locating radars are effective.

Remote sensors are not effective when used in deep snow.

Abrupt changes in temperature affect ballistics. The need for current met data increases.

Lack of survey control in some areas may severely degrade the accuracy of unobserved fires.

In certain areas, magnetic direction is unreliable.

Map spotting may be ineffective because of a lack of prominent terrain features.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Maximum use must be made of airburst munitions.

HE-point detonating (PD), HE-delay, ICM, and FASCAM are ineffective in deep snow and frozen muskeg.

At least 40 percent of the blast from these munitions is smothered by the snow.

Smoke (HC) is not effective because canisters are smothered in the deep snow.

White phosphorus (WP) is effective; however, phosphorus may burn undetected in the snow for up to 3 to 4 days and may be a hazard to friendly troops moving through the area later.

Overall VT is a good fuze for cold weather operations. However, snow and ice may cause it to detonate prematurely. Also, extreme cold causes a higher number of duds among VT fuzes. The new improved VT fuze (M732) has reduced this problem.

Rates of fire for indirect fire weapons decrease considerably as a result of heavily clothed gun crews, cold weapons, and fogged lenses on fire control devices.

Additional emphasis on monitoring propellant temperature is required.

There may be no terrain features on which to register. Thus, there may be an increase in the use of high-burst or radar registrations and met plus velocity error (VE).


Effective communication is hampered by electronic interference.

Conventional dry-cell batteries are 40 percent effective below 0°F, 20 percent effective below -10°F, and 8 percent effective below -30°F. A similar problem exists for nickel-cadmium (NICAD) and lithium batteries.

Frost from human respiration forms in the mouthpieces of microphones. They should be covered with standard covers if available or with rayon or nylon cloth.

Radio sets for tactical operations should be installed in vehicles. This reduces the problem of translocation and provides shelters for operators.

Good electrical ground is difficult to establish in permafrost and deep snow. A counterpoise must be used.

Antennas must be kept free of snow and ice to avoid the typical high-pitched static roar.

Technical manuals (TMs) for radios and power sources must be checked to see if there are special precautions for operation in extremely cold climates.


Route reconnaissance by both ground and air must be considered.

Ice thickness and load-bearing capacity must always be determined before the field artillery crosses frozen lakes and rivers.

Frozen, snow-covered terrain may limit the number of available positions for battery emplacement.

Mobility is slowed, as wheeled vehicles and trailers are generally not suited for cold weather operations.

Air assets may be required to position artillery weapons.

Blowing snow may decrease visibility and thus drastically slow convoy speeds.

Convoys should travel in close columns during whiteout conditions and prolonged darkness.

Soldiers must be trained to operate equipment on ice and snow.

Careful enforcement of track plans is essential.

Maintain and Resupply

Logistical resupply is hampered by reduced mobility and difficulty in determining grid locations.

Supply convoys should travel in close columns during whiteout conditions and prolonged darkness.

Extremely cold temperatures cause metal to become brittle, and parts breakage rates are increased.

Maximum use of aerial resupply should be planned.

The POL requirements are greater because of an increased use of personnel heaters and vehicle warm-up.

Vehicle winterization should be checked often to ensure continued protection.

Weapon recoil systems should be exercised often when weapons are not engaged in fire missions.

General maintenance schedules (preventive maintenance checks and services [PMCS]) must be adhered to as prescribed for cold weather operations.


Firing areas must provide firing platform stability.

Emplacement in avalanche-prone areas must be avoided. The sound produced by a firing battery can result in an avalanche.

Camouflage takes on an increasing importance, since weapons, units, and occupied areas must be seasonally camouflaged and maintained.

Cold weather injury prevention training must be ongoing.

Soldiers must be trained to construct fighting positions and shelters out of snow.

All levels of command must aggressively act to provide heated shelters and vehicles for their units.

NOTE: More information on northern region operations is in FM 31-71.


Military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT) are characterized by extreme limitations on freedom to maneuver. Both attacking and defending forces take advantage of cover and concealment offered by urban areas, but both are equally hampered by reduced visibility. Operations in this environment may be conducted by both armored or mechanized and light infantry forces. While the defender normally has the advantage, operations are slow and deliberate and small-unit operations predominate. The defender enjoys superior protection as well as concealment and covered routes of movement. The attacker can isolate and bypass certain areas; but he is forced to fight into other, well-defended areas.

Field artillery units can position in villages and small towns to great advantage. Barns and other large buildings can be occupied for complete concealment of weapons and equipment. Decentralization to the maximum feasible extent may be required. The reduced ability to communicate and extended frontages for firing units necessitate more detailed orders and SOPs. The special artillery techniques of assault fire and direct fire may be required more often on urban terrain than elsewhere. The FA cannon battalion commander, and commanders at all levels, must be aware of the unique advantages and disadvantages associated with combat operations conducted in and around cities, towns, villages, and other built-up areas.

Coordinate Fire Support

Road intersections, likely enemy positions, and rooftops must be targeted.

Collateral damage to civilian population must be avoided if possible.

Copperhead should be used against point targets and enemy vehicles moving on restricted roads.

Barriers may be created by rubbling buildings near key roads. However, indirect fires may sometimes create unwanted rubble.

Smoke should be used to obscure enemy observation.

The proximity of friendly and enemy units necessitates careful coordination of fire support.

Field artillery may not be the most appropriate weapon system for a particular mission. The rules of engagement (ROE) and the maneuver commander must specify the amount of collateral damage to the area surrounding the target that is acceptable.

Acquire Targets

Ground observation is limited.

Aerial observers should be used.

FOs should be placed on upper floors of buildings to improve visibility. They are vulnerable if positioned on rooftops.

Adjustment of fires is difficult.

FOs must identify size and location of dead space (area in which indirect fires cannot fall). Dead space is generally five times the height of buildings for low-angle fire and one-half the height of buildings for high-angle fire.

Radars are effective because of the increased use of high-angle fires.

Radars lose effectiveness if sited too close behind tall buildings.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Careful use of VT is required to avoid premature detonation.

WP may create unwanted fires and smoke.

Fuze delay should be used to penetrate fortifications and buildings.

Illuminating rounds can be effective if friendly positions remain in shadows.

Airbursts and ICM are effective for clearing antennas and enemy observers from rooftops.

Swirling winds may degrade smoke operations.

FASCAM may be used but must be covered by fires, since they can be easily seen on road surfaces.

Use of high-angle fire should be increased.

Ammunition expenditure may be heavy, especially if other fire support assets (such as AC-130, attack helicopter, and CAS) are not available.

Precision guided munitions can be used to minimize rubbling.

Considerations for use of laser designators in urban terrain include the following:

  • Tall structures may degrade the effectiveness of the designator.
  • Maintaining a continuous laser track on moving targets is difficult.

  • The presence of highly reflective surfaces such as windows may refract laser energy and/or pose a hazard to friendly troops.

  • The presence of highly absorptive surfaces such as open windows or tunnels may degrade designator effectiveness.

  • Because of fluid FLOTs, Angle T may often be in excess of 800 mils. Thus designators would have to reposition more often.

Accurate met and survey are required, as most targets are point targets.

Conventional survey is hampered by decreased line of sight.

Map spotting is difficult in large cities.

Establishment of multiple survey control points must be anticipated.

Field artillery units may be called upon to engage targets with direct fire by using assault fire techniques.

Artillery may be used in the direct fire role for precision operations.


Structures reduce radio ranges.

Use of wire, messenger, and visual signals should be increased.

Antennas should be remoted on upper floors to increase their range. They are vulnerable if positioned on rooftops.

Existing civilian telephone systems should be used for unsecure communication.

Wire should be routed through sewers and buildings for protection.

Generators should be placed near existing walls outside occupied buildings.


Positioning is difficult because of the predominance of concrete surfaces.

Movement may be hampered by street rubble.

Howitzer positions in buildings must allow for high-angle firing.

Masking must be minimized.

Artillery should be positioned outside of town on the edge of the urban area, if possible.

Multiple routes of escape from the position must be provided.

Spades can be emplaced against a curb or baseplates can be sandbagged if ground is not suitable for normal emplacement.

Gun positions can be created by use of direct fire.

Reconnaissance is more difficult. Armed recon parties that can physically clear an area before occupation are required.

Displacement by element may be required.

Maintain and Resupply

Increased use of certain munitions (delay fuze, HE, smoke, and so forth) must be anticipated.

Several smaller resupply convoys must be used because of restricted movement.

Difficulty in moving large logistics vehicles into firing positions must be anticipated.

Existing power sources and locally available supplies must be used.

Increased time for resupply actions must be planned.

Increased use of prestocked supplies should be considered.


Existing structures should be used to harden positions.

Use of OPs and LPs is more important, as terrain allows the enemy to infiltrate and get closer to artillery positions.

Personnel in the open are exposed to fires from snipers in tall buildings.

Increased use of high-angle fire makes artillery more vulnerable to counterfire.

Obvious positions, such as parks and school yards, are targeted by the enemy.

NOTE: More information on MOUT is in FM 90-10.


Military operations in desert regions are characterized by rapid, highly mobile warfare conducted over great distances. These fast-moving battles with long-range visibility are more suited to mechanized rather than light forces. The desert offers little life support. High winds, limited availability of water, and rapid changes in weather conditions, coupled with extreme temperature ranges (30 F to 130o F) and difficult terrain (sandy, rocky plateau, and/or mountainous), make combat operations among the most demanding on both equipment and personnel.

Security takes on added importance. Active deception techniques play key roles in the concentration and dispersal of FA units. Because of these conditions, engagements are often fought at long ranges. The open terrain and clear weather generally afford excellent observation and fields of fire. However, ground observation can be hampered by heat waves, mirages, and sandstorms. Depth perception can be distorted by heat waves. This calls for the increased use of AFSOs. Usually, air observation is highly effective. However, the absence of prominent landmarks in some areas degrades this capability, and lack of trees and hills makes aircraft more vulnerable to enemy air defenses.

Coordinate Fire Support

Redundancy of observers for high-payoff targets should be planned.

Choke points and likely enemy locations must be targeted.

Rapid enemy movement must be anticipated.

SEAD fires must be provided in support of CAS and attack helicopters.

Unit must be prepared to support forces dispersed over wide expanses of terrain.

Acquire Targets

Observation often exceeds range, yet it is degraded by heat waves and blowing sand.

Difficulty in terrain association and navigation increases target location error.

G/VLLDs should be used to perform target area survey.

Target acquisition radars and equipment should be emplaced at night, if possible, and camouflaged thoroughly.

Use of OH-58Ds should be maximized because of their--

  • Stand-off capability.
  • Night vision and thermal imagery capabilities.

  • Increased Copperhead designation range.

  • Target location accuracy.

Radars should be oriented on templated enemy artillery locations.

Situational cueing must be exploited.

The PADS should be used to establish OP location and directional reference.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Use of special munitions should be optimized as follows:

  • FASCAM should be used on restricted terrain.
  • Copperhead should be used on high-payoff targets.

  • Smoke should be used for screening, observation, silhouetting, and deception.

  • Illumination should be used for night Silhouetting and land navigation.

  • White phosphorus should be used for CAS target identification.

Met support must be increased for transitional periods and because of abrupt weather changes (especially temperature) in the morning and evening.

Range requirements for met support must be considered.

Survey must be provided over extended distances.

The following hasty survey requirements are increased:

  • Graphic resection if maps are available and accurate.
  • Simultaneous observation.

  • P-2 reticle and Polaris-Kochab use as result of night visibility.

Survey control points are few and far between. Astronomic observations may be needed to establish a common azimuth.

High surface temperatures have a profound effect on propellant temperatures. Uniform storage and frequent measuring of propellant temperature must be stressed.


Usually, radio communication is excellent.

Wire is easy to install in most places.

Early emplacement of retrans assets should be planned.

Radio equipment failure increases because of blowing sand and large temperature variances.

Comm survey must be conducted to provide reliable communication to selected positions, such as the CP.

For short ranges, visual and sound signals must be relied on.


Radars must be positioned to provide the maximum screening crest.

Alternate and supplementary positions must be selected for every primary position.

Immediate-action status must be established.

RSOP must be early and in depth.

Blowing sand and convoy dust reduce visibility and speed during movements.

Contour lines should be used to position cannons in defilade.

Stereotyped battery and/or battalion positions must be avoided.

Maintain and Resupply

Supply lines will probably be extended.

Water consumption is increased.

The environment causes increased vehicle overheating and electrical component breakdown and faster tire wear-out.

Requirements increase for filters, coolants, lubricants, cleaning materials, and tires.

Training is necessary to prevent heat and cold weather injuries.

Night and/or aerial resupply must be planned. However, dust clouds from helicopters must not give away position areas.

Electrolyte in wet-cell batteries evaporates quickly. Batteries must be checked often, and extra containers of distilled water must be carried in vehicles.

Preventive maintenance checks of vehicles, equipment, and weapons must be made frequently. If sand mixes with lubricants, moving parts may be damaged.


Medics should be prepared to treat more heat and burn cases and snake and insect bite victims.

Terrain affords wide depth and dispersion.

Positions should be off enemy avenues of approach.

The use of wadis for concealment should be maximized.

Desert camouflage nets must be used.

Crew-served weapons can be employed at maximum effective range.

NOTE: More information on desert operations is in FM 90-3.


Combat operations in a jungle environment are characterized by a greater, but not exclusive, reliance on air assets for mobility, observation, and resupply of engaged forces. Surface mobility often is limited for both wheeled and tracked vehicles. Thus, most combat operations in the jungle are carried out by light forces who can be inserted and extracted by helicopter. High temperature, coupled with high humidity, takes its toll on equipment and soldiers alike. The types of combat operations most effective in the jungle are ambushes, raids, and patrols by small units. They seek to attack and destroy enemy forces, their bases, and their supplies.

In jungle terrain, most contact with the enemy is at close range. Fire support may be limited to high-angle, indirect fires and close air support. If the friendly force has a substantial advantage in fire support, the enemy will most likely try to establish and maintain extremely close contact. This tends to limit the effectiveness of our fire support advantage because of the danger of inflicting casualties on friendly forces. For the FA battalion commander, the challenges are varied and many. His greatest frustration may be in trying to mass the weapons of the battalion; because more times than not, the batteries will be dispersed over large areas in order to support small-unit operations.

Coordinate Fire Support

Fire support may be limited to high-angle, indirect fires and air support.

Targeting is very difficult because of the triple canopy of the jungle and the fluid nature of the conflict.

Control of fire support must be monitored closely to avoid injuring friendly personnel.

Targets should be planned--

  • To support the scheme of maneuver.
  • Along roads and trails.

  • At likely ambush sites.

  • At river and stream crossings.

  • Around built-up areas.

Increased use of aircraft increases the need for SEAD fires.

Hasty fire planning increases to keep up with the changing situation.

Acquire Targets

Map reading, self-location, target location, and friendly unit location are difficult.

Forward observers must be able to adjust fires on targets by sound.

Aerial observation becomes more important.

Radars are extremely effective, since most indirect fires are high-angle fires.

Ground surveillance radars and remote sensors must be used.

The value of information obtained from shelling reports (SHELREPs) deteriorates quickly, as the enemy will likely displace immediately after firing.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Knowledge of types of munitions and how to employ them is vital:

  • HE-delay penetrates the treetops and splinters the trees, creating additional fragmentation.
  • Smoke has limited effectiveness.

  • WP is effective as a marking round and in initial adjustments. An airburst WP round may be used as the initial round in adjustment.

Illumination effects may be reduced because of vegetation.

High-angle fires increase.

The use of hasty survey increases because SCPs are scarce and difficult to establish.

The ICM are often not effective because of canopy.

Use of creeping fires increases.

The FOs must be proficient in adjusting fires by sound. (For specific techniques, see FM 6-20-40, Appendix J.)


Communication in a triple-canopy jungle is severely degraded.

Antenna cables and connectors, as well as power and telephone cables, should be kept off the ground. This lessens the effects of moisture, fungus, and insects.

Antennas should be elevated above the canopy when possible.

Antennas should be located in clearings on the edge farthest from the distant station and as high as possible.

Aerial observers or airborne C2 platforms should be used as relay stations.

Use of directional antennas should be considered.

Use of retrans assets should be planned.


Positions may be inaccessible by roads.

Several air movements a day may be required.

Surface mobility is often difficult for wheeled and tracked vehicles.

Rainy seasons compound mobility problems.

Airmobility is a key to success.

Equipment loads must be well planned and kept to a minimum.

Maintain and Resupply

Maintenance problems increase as a result of moisture and rust.

Ammunition expenditure can be expected to be high.

Land lines of communication are difficult to maintain.

Resupply is more difficult. Air resupply is recommended, but it should not be the sole method of resupply.

Equipment wears out faster.


Thick vegetation increases vulnerability to ground attack.

Units should be positioned to support one another.

FPFs must be planned and actually adjusted in by fire to mutually support positions.

Antipersonnel (AP) (Beehive) rounds must be prepared for immediate use while in position.

Local all-around security must be established.

Units should be proficient in the Killer Junior techniques of close-in, defensive fires.

Positions occupied too long are subject to attack by indirect fire and to ground attack.

Health hazards, disease, snakebites, and insect bites increase.

NOTE: More information on jungle operation is in FM 90-5.


Combat operations in mountainous areas are characterized by many of the same problems found in northern or cold weather regions. Mountainous areas have typically rugged, compartmented terrain with steep slopes and treacherous mobility. The weather may span the entire spectrum from extreme cold with ice and snow in winter to extreme heat in some areas during the summer. In mountain operations, the advantages favor the defender. His goal is to try to fight down from the top. Therefore, the focal point of mountain operations is usually the battle to control the heights. Light infantry (airmobile) is the most suitable force for this type of combat, particularly when properly supported. Also, the configuration of the terrain promotes isolated battles that are difficult for higher commanders to control. Small-unit commanders can expect to operate semi-independently.

These extremes of terrain and weather can pose significant problems and are important planning considerations for both maneuver and fire support operations. For example, it is important to position mortars and field artillery in defilade to increase their survivability. Yet, such terrain is often subject to snow slides, rock slides, or avalanches which can fall on their positions with devastating results. Of course, these same types of positions are sought by enemy units, and our fires on them will impede mobility or destroy those enemy units in defilade positions.

Coordinate Fire Support

Fire support for small and isolated unit actions must be adequate.

Fires must be planned on prominent terrain features.

FASCAM must be planned to close routes to the enemy.

Mortars are very effective in mountainous terrain.

High-angle fires with airburst munitions must be planned on reverse slopes of hills and mountains.

Acquire Targets

The FOs should be positioned on high ground and dispersed to avoid masking.

Airlift or special equipment and/or skills must be planned to place FOs on high ground.

Terrain sketches and visibility diagrams are essential and must be consolidated.

Poor visibility due to clouds or fog and snow blindness must be anticipated.

Special observation techniques should be used if applicable. Sound-on-sound adjustments are difficult. Observers looking up tend to underestimate range; those looking down tend to overestimate range.

Aerial observers must cover ground observation dead space. They must be positioned to complement ground FOs.

The AFSOs can detect deep targets.

Air assets may be confined to lower altitudes and to aircraft service ceiling limits.

Because of high-angle fire requirements, radars are very effective against enemy indirect fire systems.

Terrain masking degrades the effective use of radar.

Use of additional ground surveillance radars and remote sensors must be planned.

SHELREPs and crater analysis may be used to orient radars more effectively.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

FASCAM may sink into the snow off vertical at temperatures above -15 C. This will cause premature detonation.

HE-PD, HE-delay, and ICM are 40 percent ineffective in snow, but they are highly effective in rocky terrain.

Use of WP must be controlled, as it may burn for up to 4 days if covered by snow.

Time and VT fuzes are most effective.

Smoke, ICM, and illuminating fires are hard to adjust and maintain. They are more effective along valley floors.

HE-PD causes extreme fragmentation as the result of rock splinters.

Effectiveness of FASCAM and Copperhead is enhanced when they are fired into narrow defiles, valleys, and roads.

High-angle fires, to include high-angle registration, are the norm.

Accurate transfer of firing data is difficult because of the wide variance in altitude of firing units.

Rapidly changing weather conditions require more frequent mets.

Survey using PADS is difficult. Conventional methods may have to be used with special emphasis on accurate altitude.

Airlift of PADS must be considered.

Large gunnery solution differences (graphical firing table [GFT] settings) are possible.

Slope or unevenness of the terrain may have an adverse impact on both FASCAM and ICM effectiveness:

  • Remote antiarmor mine system (RAAMS) and area denial artillery munitions (ADAM) must come to rest and stabilize within 30 seconds of impact or the submunitions will not arm.
  • Very uneven terrain (plowed ground, jumbled rocks, and so forth) may keep the ADAM trip wires from deploying properly.

  • The DPCIM do not function if the angle of impact is greater than 60o.


Maximum use of wire enhances security and reliability.

Wire can be laid by helicopter if assets are available.

Radios should be placed on sides of mountains or hills.

Maximum use should be made of directional antennas.

Radio emplacement can maximize line-of-sight communication.

Use of retransmission capabilities, to include helicopter radio relay, should be planned. Helicopters can airlift retrans units onto hilltops.


Use of SP artillery is limited to certain areas. Occupation by SP units must be given priority.

Airmobile and/or air assault techniques must be maximized.

A defense against ambushes during ground movement should be planned.

Recon should be by air when assets are available.

After map reconnaissance, a ground follow-up should be made before moving the main body. This is to ensure trafficability.

Maintain and Resupply

Soldier physical conditioning is critical because of increased physical demands, thin air, injury, and illness.

Vehicles and equipment are subject to increased strain as a result of terrain and weather.

Aerial resupply should be used when assets are available.

Additional cold weather contingency items may be required for sustained unit operations in mountainous terrain.


Units should be in defilade, but there should be no danger from rock slides or avalanches.

Helicopters can be used to emplace and resupply units.

Units should not be emplaced in dry riverbeds because of the danger of flash flooding.

Air insertion into firing positions may disclose unit locations. False insertions should be considered.

Maximum use of terrain for cover and concealment can compensate for limited hardening potential.

Rocky or snow-covered terrain limits digging in and limits effectiveness of Class IV materials. However, valley floors and natural choke points may enhance effectiveness of Class IV materials.

Proper positioning of OPs, LPs, and crew-served weapons enhances survivability.

NOTE: More information on mountain operations is in FM 90-6.


An amphibious operation is an attack launched from the sea by naval and landing forces embarked in ships or other craft for the purpose of landing on a hostile shore. A successful amphibious assault achieves surprise and concentrates an overwhelming force at a point of enemy weakness. The assaulting force must build up combat power from an initial zero to full striking power as it drives toward objectives. The amphibious operation requires detailed planning precise timing in air, naval gunfire, and FA support and effective command relationships. A naval officer is normally the commander amphibious task force (CATF). Troop components, ground and air, are called the landing force. They are commanded by the landing force commander. The CATF exercises the degree of authority over the entire force necessary to ensure success. Subject to his overall authority, the responsibility for conduct of operations ashore lies with the landing force commander. Planning and execution of the landing and assault are his concern. An amphibious operation is conducted in five phases: planning, embarkation, rehearsal, movement, and assault.

Close coordination between supporting and supported arms is always critical. However, the need for continuing, close coordination and cooperation between Army and Navy commanders and fire support coordination agencies takes on a new importance during planning and execution of amphibious operations. The FA cannon battalion is not simply a passenger on a ship-to-shore transport; it is an active component of that operation. Its active involvement before, during and after the movement and assault is essential to the success of the amphibious force. In fact, when coastal topography permits, FA can be positioned on offshore islands to provide fire support for the assault element. If in the landing party, DS artillery ashore provides close support with direct and indirect fires during the most critical phase of the amphibious operation. Finally, when the situation dictates, FA supports the landing force assault phase by fire from floating platform (ships; landing ships, track [LSTs]; and so forth). These requirements present the FA cannon battalion commander with unique challenges and require much initiative.

Coordinate Fire Support

Movement plans should provide for early landing of artillery units and their entry into action.

All available fire support systems (such as artillery, naval gunfire, and TACAIR) must be coordinated and synchronized.

At first, the supporting arms coordination center (SACC) plans and coordinates all fires for the landing force.

Once ashore, the landing force commander assumes responsibility for coordinating all fires.

Because of the heavy use of air support, SEAD fires must be planned and implemented.

Initial fire planning is for naval gunfire and CAS, because the artillery is moving ashore.

Hasty fire planning may be relied on initially because of lack of intelligence.

Logistical support is an integral part of the fire support plan.

Acquire Targets

Initial targeting data come from naval sources.

Aerial observers are used extensively.

During ship-to-shore movement, aerial observers in ship-based aircraft may provide the only observation capability.

Once troops have landed and gained a foothold, ground observers and TA assets are used as normal.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Ballistic met support should be obtained from Navy shipboard met stations in NATO format.

Prior coordination with landing force headquarters for available survey information is vital.

Hasty survey techniques are used until organic survey assets are ashore and operational. Survey assets should be sent ashore as soon as possible to establish and extend a common grid.

A greater degree of decentralization of both tactical and technical fire direction may be necessary to allow for flexibility at first. Interservice calls for fire are common.

Engineer assets may be used to help stabilize gun positions. This may be necessary because of the terrain (for example, sandy beaches).


Radio is the primary communications means during ship-to-shore movement.

Interservice exchange of SOI is imperative.

Wire should be laid as soon as practical after landing.


Initial recon is by map and possibly air.

Advance parties should arrive with assault elements to prepare positions.

The FA units must occupy firing positions quickly because assault troops are so vulnerable during the early stage of beachhead operation.

Recovery and/or engineer assets must be deployed early to facilitate occupation of gun positions.

Once units are ashore, coordination for land is made with the landing force commander.

Personnel and equipment may be cross-loaded.

Maintain and Resupply

Ammunition resupply is critical during the early stages of battle because of high expenditures.

Equipment and ammunition must be protected from salt water.

Resupply and evacuation are by ship, plane, or helicopter.

Vehicle recovery assets must be allocated as necessary to help in resupply operations commensurate with terrain.

Interservice coordination is necessary to ensure adequate supply and/or logistic activities.

Cross-loading is critical.


During movement ashore, field artillery should be dispersed throughout the assault elements.

Decentralization is key in order to facilitate this phase of the operations.

Personnel must be equipped with life vests and other appropriate life support equipment.

NOTE: More information on amphibious operations is in FM 31-11.


The formation of an air assault task force (AATF) is directed by division (or higher) headquarters because that echelon controls the aviation assets. The task force is designed for a specific mission; and it consists of an infantry battalion, an aviation company, and normally an FA cannon battery. Overall command goes to the infantry commander (AATF commander), who directs the operation and coordinates required support. Command and control are accomplished from a helicopter or from a ground CP. Air assault operations increase the mobility of the combined arms; thus, the commander can significantly extend his area of influence. Air assault forces are particularly well suited when speed is essential, distances are great, and terrain is restrictive. These forces are used to seize deep objectives and to conduct penetration, covering force, denial, or surveillance operations. They can operate in urban areas, jungles, and mountains. They can be used to reinforce threatened sectors or to exploit the effects of nuclear detonations.

Field artillery participation in air assault operations is characterized by maximum decentralization of command and control. Firing batteries are moved to quickly launch FA fire support into a battle area, to attack deep targets, to bypass enemy concentrations or untrafficable terrain, and thereby to help facilitate future operations. The FA cannon battalion commander recognizes that detailed planning and coordination, aggressive execution, and speed of emplacement are essential to mission success. For example, one type of air assault operation is the air assault artillery raid. This involves the rapid movement of artillery assets by air into a position to attack a high-priority target with artillery fire. It could require operations across the FLOT. Normally, the raid is short in duration and does not involve sustained operations. But detailed planning, surprise, and speed of execution remain key factors for success.

Coordinate Fire Support

Fires are planned to cover primary and alternate pickup zones (PZs) and landing zones (LZs).

Fires are planned on known or suspected enemy forces regardless of size.

Fires are planned in support of the deception plan. Units must be prepared to execute fires on LZs not being used in order to deceive the enemy as to which LZs are used.

SEAD fires are planned along the flight route(s) to aid aircraft flying past areas of known or suspected enemy positions. These fires should be intense and of short duration. SEAD fires and smoke protect and obscure friendly movements. Fires must not obscure pilot vision.

In planning SEAD, all fire support assets must be considered:

  • EW and jamming assets.
  • Chaff air-dropped by USAF planes to confuse enemy AD radars.

  • Artillery, CAS, and attack helicopters for suppression by fires.

NOTE: CAS and/or attack helicopters may be the only assets that can range targets along flight routes and on LZs.

Once the unit is landed, direct and close-in fires should be anticipated.

On-call fires are planned along the flight route to ensure rapid adjustment on targets of opportunity.

Groups, series, or programs of targets are scheduled.

Fires are planned that are short in duration and intense in volume.

Obstacles to landing and maneuver must not be created.

Fires are lifted and shifted to coincide with arrival times of the aircraft formations.

Acquire Targets

Air assault operations generally require TA assets organic to higher echelons to provide deep targeting information.

AFSOs provide excellent targeting information.

The air assault force is most vulnerable to enemy indirect fires immediately after landing. Coverage by WLRs is planned to help in the counterfire effort.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Fires to support the air movement plan are executed under procedural control or positive control:

  • Procedural control--fires are initiated and terminated according to a strict time schedule.
  • Positive control--fires are executed with phase lines, air control points, and/or other control measures to initiate, shift, and terminate fires.

Munitions should be carefully selected to provide the best SEAD. Smoke, WP, VT, and ICM are used to maximize the effect of fires.

A rehearsal of the H-hour sequence should include the FDO executing the sequence of fires.

Initial fire direction upon insertion may be manual or by BUCS.

At first, met may not be available.

Hasty survey techniques are used for air assault artillery after the initial insertion.

Army aviation assets are used to provide position data.


Retrans assets are used to ensure continuous communication between the FSO controlling the fires during the movement and the assets providing those fires.

Use of visual signals (flares and colored smoke) is planned.

The SOI are coordinated for air assault forces and supporting forces.


Appropriate load planning is critical. (Units may not be able to deploy as a whole.)

Reconnaissance is made by map or air.

Key leaders must follow the progress on maps while en route.

Displacement can be by air or ground.

Maintain and Resupply

Assault force artillery may have limited ammunition.

Subsequent resupply of all CSS, but primarily Class V, must be planned, prioritized, and synchronized with the maneuver plan.

Evacuation is most likely by air.


Units are most vulnerable on PZs, on LZs, and immediately after insertion. Enemy air, ground, and artillery threats are considered. Positions are selected accordingly.

Fires are planned for false insertions in support of the deception plan.

NOTE: More information on air assault operations is in FM 90-4.


Airborne operations are usually joint operations conducted with the Air Force. It provides airlift, CAS, and aerial resupply for the airborne ground forces. Normally, units participating in an airborne operation are assigned to a joint task force (JTF). The senior Army commander (division or higher) is designated the Army forces (ARFOR) commander. Airborne units represent a contingency force that can be deployed worldwide on extremely short notice. Strategic surprise often can be achieved by a rapid shill of airborne forces across great distances. Tactical surprise is gained by the sudden unexpected mass delivery of forces into an objective area. Airborne forces are used as a significant combat force, or they can provide a show of force in furthering national interests.

Airborne forces are particularly well suited for envelopments or turning movements, attacks to exploit fires on distant objectives, seizure of critical terrain and facilities, mobile reserves, raids, and diversion. Like their air assault counterparts, airborne units can assault or defend in urban areas; can operate in jungle, desert, or mountainous terrain; and can exploit the effects of nuclear detonations. These and other tactical and strategic operations are conducted with the support of their organic FA battalions.

Coordinate Fire Support

Initial targeting intelligence is through national assets.

After long-range surveillance unit (LRSU) insertion, targeting is refined.

Lack of maps requires greater reliance on aerial photography.

Preassault fires will probably be delivered through TACAIR or naval gunfire and probably will be controlled from an airborne platform.

During initial stages of airborne operations, because of the amount of air assets in the area, commanders may require positive clearance of all fires (that is, silence is not consent).

Acquire Targets

Once on the ground, FO considerations are generally the same as in other operations. They are tailored to the mission and are affected by the particular environment of the operation.

During initial stages of airborne operations, aerial observers (Army aviation and Air Force AC-130) may be critical TA assets.

Radars may not be deployed during the initial stages of an airborne operation, however, they will be deployed in follow-on air-land operations. Priority is based on the enemy counterfire and/or artillery threat.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

Cratering munitions are not planned on airfields.

Often, mortars are attached to the artillery battery during the initial seizure of the airhead or airfield. This allows massing of the limited ground indirect fire assets available to the airborne commander.

A 6,400-mil capability is required of all firing batteries.

Because airborne forces are deployed anywhere in the world, firing without maps is a real possibility.

Survey is generally not available on the drop zone (DZ). Hasty survey must be relied on.

The FA and mortars should be placed on a common grid as soon as possible.

Generally, met is not available at first.

Attached pilot balloon teams can provide early ballistic and computer mets.

Survey control may be nonexistent or at least difficult.


The primary means of communication is FM radio.

The tactical satellite (TACSAT), though present, is generally not used in FA operations. It may, however, provide critical fire support information.

AM radios may be used over long distances.

Visual signals and messengers must be prescribed and used for short-distance communications.


Elements are extremely vulnerable during the initial landing at the DZ or airhead.

Initial reconnaissance is by map or air.

Normally, displacement is by air.

Control of battery movement is decentralized.

Maintain and Resupply

Ammunition is very limited in the first stages of the operation.

In resupply, supplies are air-dropped or air-landed (CDS or mass supply).

After an airdrop, weapons and equipment are thoroughly inspected for damages and are repaired as needed.

Medical evacuation is by air.


Positioning is based on the enemy ground, air, and artillery threat as well as on the amount of space provided by the expanding airhead.

6,400-mil defenses are mandatory.

Batteries must be positioned for mutual defense.

Units take maximum advantage of intelligence and aerial photographs in preparing for unit defense.

NOTE: More information on airborne operations is in FM 7-8.


The conditions involved in counterguerrilla operations differ from those most soldiers expect to face in combat. The guerrillas' objectives, tactics, and concepts are usually different from those of regular army units. Most US forces conducting counterguerrilla operations will be part of a foreign internal defense (FID) force. Under current policies, a US force could be deployed to conduct FID operations for a limited period of time to accomplish a specific purpose. Counterguerrilla operations are primarily concerned with neutralizing insurgencies that use armed elements to carry out violence. Therefore, host country military forces are involved. Since national policy restricts the size of US forces commensurate with the immediate need, it is imperative that the capabilities of maneuver and fire support means be maximized.

The use of field artillery in counterguerrilla operations may be extremely limited because of restrictions on the use of firepower. In all cases, the application of firepower must reflect the principle of minimum essential force. These restrictions do not hinge on the amount of firepower used but rather on collateral damage and coordination and control measures. The commander must determine the physical, psychological, and political impact of applying firepower that produces collateral damage. In all cases, the use of firepower must fall within any restrictions stated in the ROE. The use of excessive force by fire might result in the perception that the government of the host country is losing control and becoming ineffective. Thus, the US forces commander integrates his fire support into his tactical plan in accordance with prevailing restriction; however, he always ensures he has adequate fire support for likely contingencies.

When the situation permits the use of FA fire support, FA units must be responsive and flexible. Timely and effective fire support in response to guerrilla activity may discourage subsequent guerrilla activity within artillery range. Quick reaction times and the capability to shift artillery fires over wide areas require a responsive and effective means of communication. To provide effective fire support, artillery is employed to obtain maximum area coverage with available weapons while retaining the capability to mass fires as well as to mutually support positions. In addition to supporting tactical operations, artillery may be positioned to provide area fire support to defend depots, logistical complexes, population centers, and other critical installations. Fires may be requested by (in addition to the supported force) host nation self-defense forces, police, security elements protecting logistical complexes, and other support units. Thus, fires must be closely coordinated not only with tactical operations in the area but also with civilian activities. Many times, maneuver CPs are collocated with artillery CPs and TA elements in operational support bases (OSBs). These bases are normally set up quickly with minimum resources and move often.

The FA cannon battalion may be assigned any one of the four standard tactical missions. Normally, FA battalions provided to light infantry divisions have 105-mm howitzers. Artillery of larger calibers may be provided by GS units from corps artillery or division artillery. If the US force is not light infantry, its organic capability may consist of 155-mm howitzers.

Coordinate Fire Support

Lack of time may preclude the preparation of a formal, coordinated, and integrated fire support plan for every contingency. SOPs must provide for these contingencies.

Close liaison between supported commanders or agencies, including host country officials in the operational area, and the FSCOORD or FSO provides the required tactical and/or political coordination.

In operations involving extensive employment of maneuver and support forces, such as the final phase of an encirclement, fire support coordinating measures must be used to ensure that converging friendly units do not fire on one another.

Fire support for local defense forces and static security posts is planned.

Fire support is used discriminately. Noncombatant casualties that would alienate the population and produce hostile attitudes toward the host government must be avoided.

Accurate location of friendly units is essential; locations must be updated often.

Defensive fires are integrated into the fire support plan.

Maximum use is made of CAS and other external fire support means, but ROE are rigidly enforced.

Adequate fire support is planned for small-unit and isolated operations.

Acquire Targets

Effective use of WLRs can quickly identify enemy mortars for immediate counterfire.

Most targets are identified by forward observers and are fleeting in nature.

Ground surveillance radar, the remotely monitored battlefield sensor system (REMBASS), and other intelligence acquisition systems (aerial observers) are used to the maximum.

Deliver Field Artillery Fires

The FDCs must have current fire support coordinating measures, ROE, and friendly troop locations to effectively support operations.

Requests for illumination missions may increase.

Survey control may be difficult to obtain. If necessary, the RSO must establish his own control and extend it to place the battalion on a common grid.

Registrations may have to be conducted by radar.

Beehive ammunition is prepared for immediate use. Killer Junior procedures are reviewed and rehearsed. See FM 6-50 for further discussion.

6,400-mil coverage is provided.


Secure radio must be used as the primary means of communication.

Use of external wire is limited.

Enemy use of radio direction finding is limited.


Ambush during ground movements is probable.

Air movement provides greater security and mobility.

Reconnaissance parties must have self-defense capabilities.

Planning range for patrols is the maximum effective range of enemy mortars. Experience has shown this to be the most likely area from which guerrillas attack friendly bases with mortar fire and stage ground attacks against our bases.

Maintain and Resupply

The CSS assets may be limited because of the size of the force.

Lack of security, particularly at night, hampers resupply activities.

Aerial resupply and evacuation must be maximized. Pickup and landing zones must be arranged for near the position.


When a unit is supporting an OSB, concealment is not a primary concern.

The enemy will try to overrun the unit positioned in an OSB.

Units are positioned for mutual support when possible.

The FA units are collocated with maneuver units when possible.

The OSBs are positioned in an open field, possibly on a hilltop, with good fields of fire.

Howitzers are positioned in a star formation with 6,400-mil fire support and defense capability.

Positions are hardened to withstand ground attack.

Available engineer support and Class IV are used to harden positions.

Close liaison is maintained with maneuver forces in the area.

Ammunition racks are covered.

Personnel bunkers must be built.

The OPs and/or LPs and crew-served weapons should be positioned for all-around defense.

A detailed defensive fire plan should be prepared for all positions.

If vehicles are present, tires and engine compartments should be sandbagged.

Fire bases must have tight defensible perimeters.

NOTE: More information on counterguerrilla operations is in FM 90-8. More information on low intensity conflict (LIC) is in FM 100-20.

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