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Subject: Fire for effect
FD    3/26/2007 1:53:46 PM
Don't mean to hog the board but when the observer sends the message "fire for effect", how do you know how many rounds and type of rounds to fire?
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neutralizer       3/27/2007 6:23:49 AM
the observer decides, based on training, guidance, norms or something else, or
an allotment authority decides by the above methods applied to the target description sent by the observer (something else can include computing/calculating model, eg Superquickie II)
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Yimmy       3/27/2007 6:34:59 AM
If you need more all the observer need do is say "Repeat" over the net.
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Capt.WEJohns       3/27/2007 7:13:19 AM
As a former observer, I have done this many times.
1. The observer identifies a target and calls for fire.
2. After sending the target description, the observer would normally say "adjust fire".
3. Three gun batteries and each gun within the battery would then be sent quadrelateral bearings and elevations from the CP. The first battery and gun within that battery to report "ready" would be the the 'adjusting gun'.
4. On a 'registration mission' you would call for "three guns in adjustment" but normally it would just be one gun.  After shooting out the inaccuracies, the call is for one round or (however many rounds) "fire for effect".  The number of rounds on the ground depends on what resources you have at your disposal. If it is a battery of eight guns and you want three rounds fire for effect, then that is 24 rounds.  In an artillery regiment there are three batteries each with 8 guns.  You might have as many as three Regiments or more.  Naval gunfire support is another game where there might be only one Destroyer with one gun and you might order 12 rffe.
However many rffe were ordered previously, to order "repeat" simply repeats this.
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FD       3/27/2007 8:19:42 AM
Thanks, that really me understand how it all works. I did not know the observer was the one who controlled the number of rounds being fired.
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Capt.WEJohns       3/27/2007 12:13:14 PM
There is lots more to it than that. 
Some armies control things from the OP end and others control things more from the CP end.
There are ways and means of working out how many rounds are required to cause X number of casualties corresponding to X kind of mission for such and such a target given its area etc.  Artillery is an area weapon.  For a smoke mission again certain factors have to be taken into account, ie wind speed and how long you want the smoke screen to last which again might be based on a calculation of how long a platoon would take to cross a certain bit of ground.  Then again there is night shooting when you have to coordinate illumination star shells with HE and adjust the height of burst so the shells highlight the ground for long enough for the HE shells to be adjusted -  too high and you don't see much, too low and the ground is not lit for long enough.
Then there is fire planning.  This really is complicated.  It involves liaising with the Battalion Commander over his plan of attack.  Many fire missions have to be run in sequence.  This may include multiple bombardments all over the place including smoke screens and a Battery that is held in reserve in case the enemy pops-up unexpectedly somewhere. The whole panorama of the battlefield has to be pre-surveyed with overlapping fields of fire and points adjusted and given code names so that the survey data can be used in a hurry.  Then there is radar and laser and on and on.
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FD       3/27/2007 3:33:43 PM
Thanks again. I can see there can be a lot of factors in determining a fire mission.
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Carl S       3/27/2007 11:10:10 PM
"Thanks, that really me understand how it all works. I did not know the observer was the one who controlled the number of rounds being fired."

This varys from one army to another.  When I retired the US doctrine was for the FO to either indicate a number of rounds, or leave that out of his mesage.  If the latter, then the Fire Direction Officer would could choose, either from a table of some sort, or his best guess.  Frequently the battery or battalion would have set a preplanned standard, which would be automaticly fired if no other number were given.  This was done to save time, allowing the FDO or battalions operations staff to focus on the complex missions & let the simpler missions default to the preset standards.

Even if the FO specified a number the US senior FDC or ops center could override the FOs choice.

Here is an example from WWII how that might happen.  A USMC FO on Okinawa was ordered by a inf battalion CO to attack a Japanese infantry group assembllying on a hillside.  The FO identified the hillside as the location of a Registration Point he had previously adjusted onto (what luck).  His call for fire to the battery was monitored at the regiment (four battalions) CP.  There the regiments XO heard the COF & decided the target rated more than one batterys worth of fire.  He called out the following order:  Regiment, Target Registration Point XXX.  The annecdoate does not tell if the XO gave additional items such as shell type, fuze, or time to fire.  he may have, or he may have said nothing in which case the items would default to the fire order standards previouslly issued.  In either case his order was automaticlly repeated by a communications operator onto the regiments conduct of fire network where all the batterys would hear it & imeaditly check to see if that target was in range.

As all batterys in that regiment would automaticlly record the location of each registration point (and most other targets as they were designated)  they could imeaditly compute the firing solution.  The mission must have been fired 'When Ready'  vs  'Time on Target'  as the FO recalled the guns firing very quickly.  He also missed the message advising him that a regiment was to fired on the target instead of a battery.  Suprise!
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Carl S       3/27/2007 11:12:07 PM
Captain Johns:  When & where were you a FO?  I Spent a decade or so in the USMC artillery.
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Capt.WEJohns       3/28/2007 3:42:53 AM
Well I was in the artillery business in the British Army not the US.  With reference to the contribution from one of  the other excellent posters on this thread, I did say before that Fire was controlled at the CP end rather than the OP end in some armies.  In the British army it is the other way round.
What is it like to see a really big Fire Plan on the ground?
At 'H' hour exactly, there is a ripple of gunfire in the distance.  It goes on and on and on.  Soon this becomes a constant whizz as the shells pass overhead.  I have seen the whole horizon lit up with shell flashes.  It is like watching a cluster bomb spread across most of the horizon going off for minutes on end with some very large bomblets.
The battle will, or hopefully should, develop in a carefully choreographed way with different infantry Batalions and Company's and mechanized units advancing to take their objectives like clockwork.  At just the right time the artillery switch fire from one location to another.
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Capt.WEJohns       3/28/2007 10:21:02 AM
Another thing I forgot to add is that one of  the first thing to ask a Battalion or Battlegroup Commander when thinking about Fire Planning is, "What resources have I got?"
As well as x number of artillery batteries at your disposal you may also be able to call on several Mortar Platoons, or lines of GPMG (general purpose machine guns similar is to but probably a bit larger than the M60).  Air -support may also be available.
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