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Subject: Artillery Aiming Procedure
wOOt    10/19/2005 8:57:10 PM
Can anyone explain the procedure for aiming artillery? Including the methods for describing the location of the target and reaching accurate azimuthal alignment? Thanks -wOOt
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S-2    RE:Artillery Aiming Procedure   10/19/2005 9:24:48 PM
Yes, the United States Army Field Artillery School. An eighteen week Officer Basic/ Cannon Battery Officer Course that addresses just this in excruciating detail. It was considered in my day to be the second hardest basic officer branch course offered, exceeded only by Aviation. Lots of witchcraft, chants and incantations also. Trust me, you don't want to know, but it sure is fun once you get it.
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Carl S    RE:Artillery Aiming Procedure   10/20/2005 5:35:50 AM
In theory it is a simple geometry problem. The devil is in the details. Start by considering the gun position a known point. Now establish a base line in the general direction of the enemy. Call this the azimuth of fire. Any changes to direction to aim at a target will be in refrence to this line. What happens next depends on the availablitiy of modern maps with a grid of XY coordinate. If these are present the location of the target is identified on the map, the range from the gun to target is measured, and the azimuth to the target is found. This can be done in seconds by a trained team of 3-4 men, or by a modern computer. Usually one team or computer does this computation for a battery of 4-6 cannon. If there is no system of grided maps available then the method of the first half of the 20th Century must be used. In addition to the azimuth of fire the observer must identify a second known point, preferably near the anticipated target area. The distance from this point to the gun and its direction must be identified as accurately as possible, preferably with survey equipment and methods. This known point may or may not be visable to the gun crew. It can be the observers position. When a target is identified the observer estimates the distance from the known point to the target and then the direction. Combining this distance & direction with the same from the gun to the known point give two legs of a triangle. From that the length and angle of the third side can be found with basic geometry, which is the range and azimuth to the target for the guns. With this method it takes the control team some seconds longer to determine the firing solution. The details of how these methods are performed are compex and many. Dont hesitate to ask questions here. In WWII the typical US Army division artillery regiment would assign each battery of four guns a firing position and a azimuthof fire. The battery commander or his senior FO would establish a Base Point (the known point) near the azimuth of fire roughly in the middle third of the cannons range. The battery would then fire some test shots (registration fires) at the base point or near it to find errors in the estimated or surveyed location of the base point. Additional registration targets could be shot in as time allowed. These additional targets would often be areas the enemy might use in defending or attacking. While the batterys were doing this the battalion and regiment HQ would be doing two tasks. They would first link all the batterys and batalion/regimental HQ with communications circuits. Primary would be telephone, secondary radio, with a backup circuit for each. The second taask was collecting the locations of all the batterys, and their base point, and registered targets and redistributing this data to all the other batterys. Once the control or Fire Direction teams in each battery had all this data recorded they could then compute a firing solution for range and direction to any target in the divsions area. This allowed the battalion and regiment commanders to order concentrations on a target identified by any FO, and have rounds on target from 30-40 cannon in less than ten minutes.
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neutralizer    RE:Artillery Aiming Procedure   10/20/2005 8:16:01 AM
This page gives a good description of WW2 Since then terminology has changed, some procedures evolved and the advance of technology has changed things (computers are wonderful for artillery) but the basics are not really altered.
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Carl S    RE:Artillery Aiming Procedure   10/20/2005 3:02:07 PM
If you will go to '' , then to the 'Game Theme and Other Discussions Forum' , then to the 'Artillery' discussion board. You will find a set of two dozen links to artillery web sites.
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