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(Trends are numbered sequentially for cross-reference and are not in any priority order.)

Positive Performance

SUBJECT: Positioning of firing units

OBSERVATION (FS DIV): Units are considering the enemy's order of battle in determining where and when to position firing units.

DISCUSSION: This allows firing units to survive opposing force (OPFOR) attacks and accomplish their indirect fire mission.


1. Review CALL Newsletter No. 97-11, Fighting with Fires III, Apr 93.

2. View CALL Video Tape No. 3, Direct Fire Execution.

(TA. Conduct Surface Attack)

Needs Emphasis

SUBJECT: Army aviation pilot call-for-fire procedures

OBSERVATION (FS DIV): Many pilots initiate voice calls-for-fire using non-doctrinal, incomplete formats.

DISCUSSION: EXAMPLE--A pilot sent a SALUTE report on the aviation battalion command net identifying an enemy (CLF) mortar ammunition cache. Ten minutes later, the pilot called back requesting the status of the fire mission. The battle captain and S-2 questioned the fire support officer (FSO), who responded that there had been no call-for-fire (CFF) on either FS voice or digital. The battle captain called the pilot and asked him, "What was your fire mission?" The pilot responded, "The ammunition cache!" While the FSO requested additional information to complete a call-for-fire, the pilot continued to observe the cache. Meanwhile, a CLF soldier moved into position and shot down the aircraft with an RPG-7.

There are a few issues with this observation:

1. Pilots should send all CFF on fire support nets. As a battle-tracking technique, the fire support element (FSE) should pass the CFF to the battle captain and S-2.

2. There is a critical loss of time when the FSO must ask the pilot for other information to complete the CFF format and process the request.

3. The increase in time to process a CFF causes the pilot to loiter in a position to observe the target, making the aircraft vulnerable to enemy direct fire action.


1. Aviation and cavalry fire support NCOs and officers must help in training pilots in accordance with Chapter 4 of FM 6-30, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Observed Fire.

2. All pilots should know the proper voice call-for-fire format when digital means are not available. A knee board product, with the six call-for-fire elements required to properly initiate a voice mission, could be introduced in Home Station training.

3. All pilots, aviation and air cavalry staff, and fire support element (FSE) personnel must understand the limitations of using indirect fires on point targets.

4. Home Station training should include the use of the training set forward observer (TSFO) or Guard fire support team (FIST).

5. Voice and digital radio checks are crucial for a successful fire mission.

6. Use digital means when available. The advanced field artillery tactical data system (AFATDS) to automated hybrid test system (AHTS) link is a great tool, but seldom used.

(TA.2.1.3 Develop Order to Fire)

SUBJECT: Integration of indirect fire during small unit contacts

OBSERVATION (TF 2): Infantry platoon leaders and forward observers are reluctant to employ indirect fires during chance contact.

DISCUSSION: Platoon leaders maneuver their squads into their own indirect fire or cancel the mission prior to it being fired. Squad leaders and platoon leaders are not aware or comfortable with call-for-fire and its employment. The result is that units fail to integrate indirect fires into contact, thus reducing the combat power ratio. This allows the enemy to break contact on their own terms.
Units are not trained or aware of the forward observer react-to-contact battle drill. Poor situational awareness by maneuver units causes slow clearance of fires in the company sector. Mortar sections are not ready to fire in a timely manner because they have been lulled into complacency from inactivity.


1. Cross-train leaders at TSFO and during 60mm mortar live fires.

2. Incorporate indirect fire into all training. (Do not always task the mortar section to be OPFOR at Home Station training.)

3. Educate leaders on the use of minimum safe distances and clearance of fires while conducting tactical movements.

4. Use 60mm mortars to cover the direction the OPFOR is most likely to break contact.

(TA.2.3 Integrate Fire Support)

btn_tabl.gif 1.21 K
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