FIELD ARTILLERY SUPPORT PLAN
The written FA support plan is an appendix to the fire support annex to a maneuver OPORD. The FA support plan provides for coordinated action to carry out the decisions of the FA unit commander in support of the maneuver operation.
The FA support plan follows the format of the five-paragraph OPORD and refers to both the basic maneuver OPORD and the fire support annex. However, not all of the commanders and staffs of the units supporting the cannon battalion preparing the FA support plan will receive copies of the basic maneuver OPORD or the fire support plan. Therefore, the FA support plan may have to repeat critical items of information from these documents to ensure that all commanders and their staffs receive the information. The FA support plan should not include information already available in unit SOPs. The purpose of the written plan is to inform subordinate and supporting units of tasks and requirements that are peculiar to a particular operation.
Shown below is an outline of the format for an FA support plan. Explanations are given for the various paragraphs and subparagraph in the relevant portions of the order.
An example of a battalion FA support plan (an appendix to the fire support annex) is shown below.
The FA support matrix is a concise planning and execution tool that graphically depicts the FA unit's essential tasks in support of maneuver operations. Like paragraph 3 of the written FA support plan, the matrix should answer the questions who, what, when, and where. It assigns tasks to the subordinate elements of the FA battalion and ties accomplishment of those tasks to the requirements of the maneuver plan and the fire support plan.
The matrix is setup with the operational elements (such as firing batteries survey sections, radar sections, and CPs) along the left side and with significant maneuver phases and/or artillery tasks along the top (for example, phase lines, events, times, series, groups, or programs). Maneuver phases should correspond to phases established on the maneuver execution matrix.
At the battalion level the information to go in each box may include the following:
- The acronym PTMO for prepare to march-order.
- Move to position area, followed by azimuth of fire (AOF) (for example, move to PA 11, AOF 5400).
- Priority targets to be fired by the unit. These will appear as PRI TGT, followed by the target number.
- Final protective fires to be fired by the unit. They will appear as FPF.
- Participation in preparations or counterpreparations. This will appear as PREP or CPREP.
- Participation in a series or group. This will appear as SERIES or GROUP, followed by the name or number, respectively.
- FA priority of fires (POF). This will appear with the unit designation (that is the unit receiving priority of fires), followed by the acronym FA POF (for example 2-77 Inf FA POF).
- An airspace coordination area if one is to be put into effect during the specific time frame. The acronym ACA followed by the code word designated for that ACA and the time the planned TACAIR or attack helicopters are due in the area, is shown (for example, ACA TOP, TOT 1530Z).
- If a mutual support unit operation is to be conducted during a specific time frame, the acronym MSU, followed by the unit designation (for example, MSU, 2-631 FA).
- Any other task that applies to the specific time frame.
The example below shows a portion of an FA support matrix. It also shows a way to label the FA support matrix for easy reference. Columns are identified by letter, and lines are identified by number. For example, block C-5 in the following example reads "PA 12." This matrix reference system allows the S3 to easily disseminate the original or updated matrix data by radio or wire to all appropriate agencies.
An example fire plan (a tab to the fire support plan) is shown below.
An example of a target acquisition tab to the fire support plan is shown below.
An example radar deployment order (an enclosure to the target acquisition tab to the FA support plan) is shown below.
An example capabilities overlay (an enclosure to the target acquisition tab to the FA support plan) is shown below.
An example survey plan (a tab to the fire support plan) is shown below.
An example TACFIRE tab to the FA support plan is shown below.
An example positioning overlay (a tab to the FA support plan) is shown below.
Many FA battalions find it convenient to use preprinted formats in preparing FA support plans. The printed format simplifies preparation and is a memory aid to remind planners of details that might otherwise be overlooked.
Example FA Support Plan Format
There are as many possibilities for formats as there are units, and there is no one right way to develop a format. An example of a formatted order developed by a unit in the field is shown below. It does not precisely follow the five-paragraph order sequence, as it has been developed to allow individual staff officers to work simultaneously on different pages. The first page is given to the S2. The second page is completed by the S3, who may also do the top portion of page 3. The assistant S3 or FDO can complete the top of page 3 as well. The bottom of page 3 is filled out by the BSO. Page 4 is completed by the executive officer or S4. The S3 fills out the FA support matrix.
After staff planning and coordination are completed, the S3 issues each staff officer his assigned page; and then he gathers them, upon completion for reproduction. This system is particularly useful if the battalion has reproduction facilities in the CP. If this is the case, the battalion can publish a complete FA support plan in less than an hour.
Example FRAGO or Warning Order Format
Following the basic FA support plan format is an abbreviated fragmentary order (FRAGO) or warning order format (shown below). This format can also be used to simplify preparation of FRAGOs or warning orders.
Again, it is emphasized that these formats are not presented as the only, or even the best, way to prepare an order. They are suggestions that the user may adopt or adapt as he wishes or choose not to use at all.
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