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2.1.1 Select Target to Attack

* Attack helicopter battalion employment of dismounted observers: Attack helicopter battalions are using OH-58C aerial scouts in the dismounted observer role.

Technique: The scouts land on the reverse slope of high ground, shut down the aircraft, and man OPs on the enemy side of the crest. The scouts use binoculars and a tripod mounted, commercial spotting scope as their observation device.


1. Sustained occupation of the OP and increased survivability.
2. Observation of Named Areas of Interest (NAI).
3. Observation of Targeted Areas of Interest (TAI), resulting in effective control of indirect fires.

2.3 Integrate Fire Support

* Aviation FSO Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) synchronization: FSOs are effectively synchronizing the maneuver F-hour timing with the SEAD program H-hour timing.

Technique: The attack helicopter battalion S-3 produces a Doppler navigation card for each air route. FSOs use this information to determine the beginning and end of the indirect fire attack of each SEAD target.

RESULT: SEAD effectively synchronized with the ingress and egress movement of the attack helicopter battalion.

2.2 Engage Ground Targets

* FSO and ALO active participation in fires synchronization: TF FSOs and ALOs are not actively participating in the wargaming sessions. They usually provide input only when asked a specific question.

RESULT: Without interaction with the staff, the FSO/ALO execution matrix developed after wargaming is done independently and therefore is not synchronized with the task force plan.

Technique: The FSO must develop the fire support execution matrix and target list during the wargaming by active participation in the process. The maneuver unit can then ensure that fire support and close air support are included in the TF synchronization matrix.

* Task Force fire support leadership understanding of the relationship between triggers and target location:

PROBLEM: During defensive operations, TFs emplace triggers for targets that do not work because the time/distance factors are incorrect. EXAMPLE: TF uses a trigger 800m west of a target. Observer must order the firing of the target as the enemy reaches the trigger. But, the enemy passed through the target area before the rounds impact because the time of flight and transmission time did not equal the enemy rate of movement from the trigger to the target.

Technique: For use by ground maneuver leaders to see if triggers are in the "ballpark."

(Note: Certain factors can impact the effectiveness of the following technique. The examples used assume having priority of fires, and that when the call is made to fire the target, the guns are not displacing, or engaged in firing counter-battery, etc. This technique is solely designed as a check for ground maneuver leaders and fire supporters to use during planning and preparation for combat operations.)

GIVEN: 1) a target (fixed ground location) 2) a rate of enemy movement 3) fixed gun locations

PROBLEM: Determine a point on the ground, or trigger, that when reached by the enemy formation triggers the observer to initiate the call to fire the target which will result in the round impacting on the enemy formation when it is in the target area.

SOLUTION: You must first solve for time. You want the time it takes the enemy to move from the trigger to the target area to equal the time it takes for Time of Flight, TOF of the rounds plus the mission processing time, or transmission time, TT. Next, you must convert that time to distance, so you can establish a point on the ground to serve as your trigger.

STEP 1: TOF + TT = T1, where TOF is Time of Flight (a fixed time), and TT is transmission time (a time with a slight variable). Express T1 as a % of 60 minutes, ie. 9 minutes = .15 hours

STEP 2: D = T1 x R, where T1 = TOF + TT, and R = expected enemy rate of movement.

EXAMPLE: assume TOF + TT = 9 min. or .15 hours, and R = 20 kmph.
D = .15 x 20
D = 3 km
Therefore, your trigger would be 3km from the target area.

However, a point on the ground 3 km from the target may not be easily or reliably identifiable by an observer. It is preferable to use an easily identifiable natural terrain feature.

PROBLEM: Given a trigger 3 km from the target area, and a natural terrain feature an additional 2 km from the trigger, how can you use the natural terrain feature as the trigger

SOLUTION: Now you only have to calculate T2, or the time it would take the enemy to move from the natural terrain feature to your previously calculated trigger.

T2 = 2km/20kmph
T2 = .10 hour
T2 = 6 minutes
Therefore, when the enemy formation gets to the natural terrain feature, you clock 6 minutes. At that point the enemy has reached your trigger, and now the observer makes the call to fire the target.

2.3 Integrate Fire Support

* Air/ground integration in cavalry squadrons: Cavalry squadrons experience difficulties coordinating and synchronizing air/ground operations.


1. The FSO, S3, XO and Flight Operations should develop training plans to integrate the squadron assets to be used in a fire support role.

2. Aerial observers should routinely train with their habitual ground maneuver force fire supporters.

3. Disseminate to the Air Cav Troops (ACT):

  • Observation planning
  • Target responsibilities
  • Mortar/artillery positions
  • Engagement criteria
  • Frequencies

4. Include ACTs in rehearsals, while closely monitoring crew rest schedules

Procedures: Squadron SOP should include --

  • An annex about air/ground operations, including fire support.
  • Commo net structures
  • Call for fire procedures
  • Mission briefings
  • Rehearsal techniques
  • Digital link-ups

2.3 Integrate Fire Support

* Aviation brigade staffs not understanding responsibilities when assigned an OPCON field artillery unit: Aviation brigade staffs are not prepared to receive OPCON artillery.

PROBLEMS: Aviation brigade staffs do not understand --

  • They may task organize the OPCON artillery.
  • They must position the OPCON artillery.
  • They must establish priorities for the OPCON artillery, expressed as Critical Fire Support Tasks (CFST).

Procedure: TSOP must reflect procedures for controlling artillery assets under various command and support relationships.

* FSO integration in the staff planning process:


1. TF FSOs are not providing subject matter expertise within the maneuver staff.

2. Mission analysis often fails to identify specified and implied tasks.

3. Staffs are not considering assets available.

4. Staffs are not considering higher headquarters scheme of fires.

5. Staffs do not mention critical fire support tasks.

6. Staffs do not inform the maneuver commander of all the assets at his disposal.

7. Wargaming and synchronizing procedures do not incorporate action-reaction-counterreaction methodology, which would focus the FSO's need to influence the battle.


1. Planning guidance is generally weak and does not incorporate all indirect fire systems.
2. Units are not briefing higher headquarters' targeting and scheme of fires.
3. OPORD briefs are not clear and concise in describing how the scheme of fires will support the scheme of maneuver.


1. Have FSOs train the FSNCOs on how to conduct mission analysis while the FSO is gone. After learning how to list the specified and then derive the implied tasks from the higher headquarters OPORD, also have the FSNCOs extract all fire support considerations for each type of mission. List them on a butcher board or record them in some way. (The FM 6- series have bulletized checklists; FM 71-123 breaks fire support considerations down by offensive and defensive missions.) The FSNCOs ability to do this analysis when the FSO is gone will dramatically cut lost time, help focus the process and ensure complete task coverage.

2. The task force timeline must include these critical tasks:

  • Emplacement of triggers
  • Target refinement to support confirmed versus planned obstacles
  • Radar zones submitted to higher headquarters.

* FSO involvement in engagement area development: The FSO should be an integral player in the combined arms approach to building an engagement area.

Technique: Example sequence of events for TF FSO.

Step 1: TF commander, Co/TM commanders, FSO, S2, and engineer physically recon the engagement area (EA) as soon as possible, trying to maximize use of daylight.

Step 2: S2 briefs the most likely/most dangerous avenues of approach

Step 3: FSO advises the TF commander how and where he can influence enemy actions prior to their entering the EA.

Step 4: FSO asks the TF commander to state what he wants indirect fires to accomplish in the EA.

Step 5: The FSO, facing toward where Co/TMs will occupy, analyzes the terrain for possible OP sites.

Step 6: FSO recons OP sites with Co/TM FSOs.

Step 6a: Co/TM FSOs then tactically occupy OPs:

  • Develop sector sketches
  • Build CPH EAs
  • Emplace triggers (preferablly formal triggers on the ground)
  • Rehearse routes to alternate OPs, both day and night
  • Complete the same steps at alternate OP

Step 7: TF FSO determines, with TF S3, disengagement criteria for Co/TM FSO to shift from primary OP site to alternate OP. (this is a distinct criteria from other maneuver elements because it takes fire support assets longer to reposition and reestablish OPs).

Step 8: TF FSO ensures that critical fire support tasks are included on TF timeline:

  • Survivability positions for FSVs/mortars
  • Pre-stock ammo
  • Emplacement of triggers
  • Refine fire plan to support actual versus planned obstacles

* Close Air Support (CAS) integration into brigade scheme of fire support: Too many brigade schemes of fire support do not reflect CAS. Several problems hinder brigade efforts to employ CAS:

  • Multiple target grids generated from a variety of sources
  • Ineffective airspace management
  • Lack of Suppression, Enemy Air Defense (SEAD), both lethal and non-lethal
  • Lack of qualified controllers at the right place at the right time


1. Wargame ACAs, SEAD and the placement of USAF Enlisted Terminal Attack Controllers, in addition to CAS employment against specific targets. Then, ensure the scheme of fire support incorporates these events.

2. Involve the ALO in the planning process as part of the targeting team.

3. Use CAS Target Box Cards (CTB cards) to assist in rapidly employing CAS.

EXAMPLE: CTB cards are 5 x 8 cards containing information vital to a CAS mission against a specific target at a specific location. Develop CTB cards during the wargame process to cover all CAS contingencies. Make a separate card for each CAS mission directed against each enemy course of action.

Ctbcd.gif - 5.40 K

Note: In this example, the staff developed this card for engagement of the northern MRB in EA Red. If the northern MRB (our High Priority Target, HPT) showed up in EA Green instead, a CTB card would have been developed for that enemy COA also.

4. The staff may have to develop 8-10 CTB cards to address the contingencies for any given mission. Early development of the CTB cards will prevent the staff from trying to do the same process during mission execution.

5. Issue copies of the CTB cards to all fire support elements and the artillery battalion staff.

6. Position ETACs forward to exercise final control of the CAS. Routinely let the brigade ALO in the TOC or the task force ALO traveling with the task force FSO exercise final control. The person with final control must have eyes on the target.

7. In using ETACs forward for final control, train them to work directly with brigade COLTs. ETACs are fully trained to execute final control, and with further training, they can quickly be integrated with the COLTs. An additional benefit to this relationship is the ETACs ability to send intelligence data on long-range VHF radios if FM communication with the COLTs fail.

* FA battalion ability to provide fires when performing Jump TOC operations:

PROBLEM: Regardless of whether TACFIRE moves with the Jump TOC or TOC main body, once the shelter or FDO releases control of battalion fires, the Jump FDC or controlling platoon FDC does not have the required information to control and mass fires.

RESULT: The piecemealing of artillery with reduced effects on targets, and delays in the delivery of fires.

Procedure:If a Jump FDC must be used, the following "tools" must be planned, resourced and practiced for the Jump FDC to effectively take over operations.

  • Current written fire order standard: establish this prior to the operation and disseminate to platoon FDCs to establish and streamline voice fire order procedures.

  • Written attack guidance: establishes the volume of fire necessary to achieve the desired effects on a target.

  • High Payoff Target List: Helps determine the importance and the precedence, or order, to attack targets. HPTL is critical when several fire missions are required at once or missions start to get backed up.

  • Current ammo count: the back-up FDC must know the ammo count, by battery or platoon, by types critical to a operation. EXAMPLE: Defensive operations - DPICM, RAP, FASCAM, Copperhead RB, and WB. Offensive operations: DPICM, HE, Smoke, RB and WB. Night operations: add illumination.

  • Written/printed target list: This includes refined targets and known points, if established.

  • Current SIT map: At the FA battalion, the S3 should have a back-up map for JUMP operations. This map should have maneuver boundaries and targets posted. Prior to executing JUMP operations, the map should be updated with firing unit locations, fire support coordination measures, FLOT, and observer locations. A range protector should be available to add and update range limitations.

  • Fire support execution matrix: Normally published with the brigade order, the FDO often must develop and add the task force scheme of fires to the brigade-level matrix.

  • TC 6-40: This manual must be available in the JUMP FDC to use for computing smoke and for FASCAM data.

The JUMP FDC is only designed to control battalion fires for a limited period of time. The longer the JUMP FDC remains in operation as the primary controller of fires, the more tools will be necessary to perform the tactical fire control functions. This may include chart boards, chests and TFTs for use in the JUMP FDC.

* FA technical rehearsals: FA battalion technical rehearsals lack the details and standards required to ensure responsive fire support in battle. The goal of a technical rehearsal is to verify that crews can complete all tasks at the lowest level (platoon and section) before the start of the brigade's fire support rehearsal. The technical rehearsal allows the FA battalion to correctly represent its capabilities during the fire support rehearsal. This also prevents the FA battalion from "signing up" for more missions than they can accomplish.

PROBLEM: FA battalion technical rehearsals lack defined objectives and the required level of detail to meet the goal stated above.

RESULT: Units consistently fail to accomplish one or more of their critical fire support tasks (CFSTs) during the execution phase of battles.

Procedures: Battalion-level technical rehearsals should address --

  • Fire order procedures.
  • Firing unit assignments by mission type, ie. which firing units will provide FASCAM, smoke, copperhead, etc.
  • Target list verification.
  • Method to ensure each element has computed a technical solution for its specified mission.

Technique: Firing elements must rehearse down to howitzer section to identify problems:

  • Site to crest
  • Ammunition availability
  • Location of alternate aiming points

* TF and FSO rehearsals: Fire support rehearsals are not demonstrating adequate understanding of the fire support plan at all levels, and are not confirming supportability of the scheme of maneuver, including the synchronization with the other BOS.


1. Brigade fire support rehearsals are being conducted after the brigade combined arms rehearsal.
2. Brigade fire support rehearsals are too often conducted with a very unstructured format.
3. Task Force and Co/TM FSOs are generally unprepared to rehearse to the level of detail required by the brigade FSO.


1. Fire support rehearsals come too late to validate maneuver supportability.

2. Unstructured rehearsals cause wasted time as key players do not know their assigned tasks, or how they fit in during the conduct of the rehearsal.


1. Conduct the brigade fire support rehearsal BEFORE the brigade combined arms rehearsal to ensure fire support can accomplish what is expected. NOTE: see earlier trend about FA technical rehearsals.

2. Conduct TF and Co/TM fire support rehearsals BEFORE the brigade fire support rehearsal so that these elements can either confirm validity of the plan, or identify potential problems.

3. Include the brigade fire support rehearsal in the brigade timeline so that key players will be there.

4. Immediately following the issuance of the brigade OPORD, have the TF FSOs and the artillery battalion S3 backbrief the brigade FSO on the fire support plan. This will ensure everyone understands the plan (and the commander's concept of fire support) before subordinate elements go back to develop their own fire support plan and then rehearse.

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