This appendix implements QSTAG 224.


As the eyes of the artillery and mortars, the observer has two major responsibilities regardmg target analysis and munitions effects:

  • He must properly describe the target so that the FDO can decide on attack of the target.

  • He may recommend the best method of attack based on the size, type, and posture of the target.


The following is a brief description of considerations in describing a target properly to the FDC. It is based on weapons effects analysis in TACFIRE. For common target type equivalents, see Table E-2.

a. Target Characteristics.

    (1) Targets vary considerably in composition, degree of protection, shape, mobility, and recuperability. Therefore, the observer should desaibe the target as accurately as possible to the FDC. The TACFIRE uses 16 target types with subtypes for each type of target (Table E-1).


Table E-1. TARGET TYPES (Continued)

Table E-1. TARGET TYPES (Continued)

    (2) For personnel targets in particular, the posture of the target is extremely important. Target postures normally used for personnel targets are standing, prone, and dug in (Table E-2). Information in weapons effects manuals is based on the assumption that personnel are wearing helmets and winter uniforms and that those in foxholes are in a crouching position. When describing a given target's posture, consideration must be given to the protection afforded by the terrain. For example, an infantry platoon may be attacking in a standing posture; however, the irregularities of the terrain may provide protection equivalent to that provided by the prone position. Normally, personnel targets will seek a more protective posture during an engagement (for example, from a standing to a prone position). This change is called posture sequencing. This characteristic causes considerable degradation of effects as additional volleys are fired and is the reason for the emphasis on surprise or massed fires.


    (3) A target must be analyzed to determine its weak points. The decision as to where the target is most vulnerable and what fires will best exploit its weaknesses is infiuenced by the degree of damage desired. Often there is a tendency to overkill the target when less combat power would suffice. On the basis of the commander's criteria, the observer must ascertain the degree of effects needed (destruction, neutralization, or suppression) to support the tactical plan. The acceptable degree of damage is that level that yields a significant military advantage. For example, fire from a heavily protected machine gun emplacement may be silenced by obscuration with FA smoke and subsequent engagement by direct fire rather than expending an excessive number of HE rounds for destruction.

b. Target Location. The proximity of the target to friendly troops and the accuracy of the target location must be weighed. The importance of certain targets that are not accurately located may justify the fire of several units to ensure coverage. Close-in direct support fire requirements may dictate the use of a specific type or caliber of weapon or a specific type of munition.

c. Terrain. The terrain in the target area has a direct effect on the vulnerability of a target. Rugged terrain affords considerable natural cover and makes target location difficult. Certain terrain provides a complete defile from some angles of fire but not from others. This influences the type of weapon and munition to be used. The nature of the vegetation in the target area should be considered in recommending ammunition.

d. Weather. Weather is of little consequence in evaluating a target to be attacked with HE/Q. Precipitation and wind are of particular importance in eva]uating a target to be attacked with ICM, smoke, FASCAM, or illuminating projectiles. Low clouds, thick fog surface water, and rain degrade the effectiveness of VT fuzes M513 and M514. Fuzes M728 and M732 are not affected.

e. Commander's Criteria. All phases of target analysis are conducted within constraints established by the commander. On the basis of ammunition constraints, a commander will stipulate the type of effects he desires against specific target categories. The three target effects categories are discussed below.

    (1) Suppression of a target limits the ability of the enemy personnel to perform their mission. Firing HE and VT reduces the combat effectiveness of perso]mel and armored targets by creating apprehension or surprise and causing tanks to button up. Smoke is used to screen or obscure. The effect of suppressive fires usually lasts only as long as the fires are continued. Suppressive fires can be delivered by small delivery units and require a low expenditure of ammunition.

    (2) Neutralizattion of a target knocks the target out of the battle temporarily. Experience has shown that 10 percent or more casualties will neutralize a unit. The unit will become effective again when the casua]ties are replaced and damage is repaired. Neutralization fires are delivered against targets located by accurate map inspection, by indirect fire adjustment, or by a target acquisition device. The assets required to neutralize a target vary according to the type and size of the target and the weapon-ammunition combination used.

    (3) Destruction puts the target out of action permanently. Thirty percent casualties or materiel damage inflicted during a short time span normally renders a unit ineffective. Direct hits are required to destroy hard materiel targets. Targets must be located by accurate map inspection, by indirect fire adjustment, or by a target acquisition device. Destruction usually requires large expenditures of ammunition from many units. Destruction of armored or dug-in targets with artillery weapons is not economical.


Once an observer has decided to attack a target, he must select a weapon-ammunition combination that can achieve the desired effect with a minimumn expenditure of available ammunition stocks. To do this, the observer must know the characteristics, capabilities, and vulnerabilities of all fire support assets.

a. Ammunition Type and Quantity. The nature of the target and its surroundings and the desired effects dictate the type and amount of ammunition to be used. For a detailed discussion of ammunition and fuzes, refer to Table E-3. The ammunition resupply system may sometimes rule out an optimum ammunition selection. For example, extensive smoke fires may be needed to screen maneuver nlovement but such fires would probably impose a considerable resupply problem on the parent organization. Some types of fires require greater ammunition expenditures thm others. Suppression and neutralization fires usually consume less ammunition than destruction fires.

b. Troop Safety. Troop safety is a major concern when considering the weapon and ammunition selection for firing close-in targets. The observer ensures that fires do not endanger friendly troops, equipment, and facilities.

c. Residual Effects in Target Area. Residual effects from special ammunition influence the occupation of an area. Use of FASCAM may change the direction of movement of supported elements. If supported troops are to occupy an area immediately following attack by certain munitions, conditions may be hazardous. Weather changes may alter choices of certain munitions; for example, smoke, illumination, and special ammunition. The incendiary effects of munitions may make areas untenable for supported forces. These effects also can deny the enemy use of selected terrain.

d. Effectiveness. When properly delivered against appropriate targets, artillery and mortar fire support can be the decisive factor in a battle. The observer must ensure that maximum effectiveness is attained from every mission. To match a munition to a target, the observer must know what damage a munition can produce and the damage required to defeat the target. The lethality of a munition must be matched to the specific vulnerability of the target. Thus, the observer must understand the damage potential of blast, cratering, fragmentation, incendiary, and penetration effects from specific munitions.




The final step in target analysis is the selection of a method of attack. The observer must select a method of attack that ensures target area coverage and desired target effects. To determine an optimum method of attack, the FDO must consider aiming points and density and duration of fires.

a. Aiming Points. Normally, the size of the area to be attacked is determined by the size of the target or the size of the area in which the target is known or suspected to be located. A single aiming point located on the center of the target is used to attack small targets. In attacking large targets, multiple aiming points must be designated to distribute the fires and ensure adequate coverage. The BCS determines aiming points for each howitzer. Chapter 6 gives procedures for establishing multiple aiming points.

b. Density and Duration of Fires. Intense fires of short duration generally produce the best target effect. However, the tactical situation may require fires to be continued over a long period of time. Some examples are interdiction fires, screening smoke fires, continuous illumination, and suppressive fires supporting a maneuver final assault on an objective.


1. Regardless of type, targets with an estimated target radius greater than 150 meters usually require massing for effective attack.

2. The first objective in firing on moving vehicles is to stop the movement. For this purpose a bracket is established. Speed of adjustment is essential. If possible, the column should be stopped at a point where vehicles cannot change their route and where one stalled vehicle will cause others to stop. Vehicles moving on a road can be altacked by adjusting on a point on the road and then timing the rounds fired so that they arrive at that point when the vehicle is passing it. A firing unit or several units, if available, may fire at different points on the road simultaneously.

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