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Subject: Organization of Artillery
Roman    10/14/2004 8:48:45 AM
How is artillery organized? I have heard of artillery batteries, battalions, brigades and divisions (Russia has them or at leat had them - I am not sure about other countries, though, perhaps countries like Poland that used to be part of the Warsaw Pact might have them - I have never heard of a NATO artillery division, nonetheless I assume this is the largest artillery unit, correct?), but not much else and even for these I do not know how many guns they have to what they are attached, whether all guns in each of the units are the same type, how many men serve in each of the units, etc. Would it be possible to enlighten me on this subject? Also, what is the smallest amount of artillery worth having? If you were creating an army from scratch, what is the minimum amount of artillery you would consider worthwhile?
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neutralizer    RE:Organization of Artillery    10/15/2004 6:23:24 AM
UK called its artillery at corps level an 'artillery division' during the 70s-90s. I don't think the Russians have arty divs any longer but the Indians started forming them in the late 90s. Not sure what the PLA do. How much arty? - depends on what capabilities you want and what your threat assessment is, and what other sources of firepower you have.
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Roman    RE:Organization of Artillery    10/15/2004 7:01:42 AM
"How much arty? - depends on what capabilities you want and what your threat assessment is, and what other sources of firepower you have" Hmm... assuming no other major sources of indirect firepower.
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   RE:Organization of Artillery    10/15/2004 10:40:05 PM
Hey Roman, The smallest is a 2 cannon battery. In my LCBA would have 2 radirs for direct suppression and indierct fire for attack prep. Sincerely, Keith
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neutralizer    RE:Organization of Artillery    10/17/2004 6:46:34 AM
A quick scan over the last 70 years shows gun batteries varying in size from 1 to 12 guns (mortar btys have been bigger), I've not come across more than 5 firing btys in a 'battalion' but it may have happened. Most typically today battalions have 3 btys and btys have 6 guns each. However, some armies tend to be fixed about their organisation, others are flexible and are willing to take a 'building block' approach (the Brits are probably the leading exponents of this). Historically there's been a bit of a relationship between calibre and number of guns (bigger means fewer) but it's not really an issue today. It's also more cost effective to have larger batteries because 4 guns or 8 the 'overhead' in bty HQ is much the same. Batteries can be split into as many fire units as it has guns. In some circumstances a single gun may be sufficient as a fire unit. Whether a bty split into fire units is physically in one place or many depends on the nature of the operation or campaign. It's unusual to have more than one type of gun in a bty, but it does happen, but 'battalions' may have btys with different types. Most armies today scale their arty on something like a 'Direct Support' battalion per infantry/armd brigade (giving a DS bty per inf/armd battalion). Whether these battalions under 'under command' of the brigades varies from army to army and circumstances. However, in addition there may be many arty battalions of various types, depending on the circumstances. These are usually grouped into arty bdes/regts/groups (the terminology varies between armies and periods), which may in turn be organised into divisions (ie WW2 Soviet). These 'extra' battalions, bdes, etc, may be under command of any level (Div, Corps, higher) and assigned (either command and control or just control) as required. Of course the guns are only one part of the system. There need to be command and control elements that ensure the direct support artillery at least is closely coupled to the needs of the inf and armoured units. There also needs to be target acquistion elements dealing with targets in close proximity to forward troops and finding targets in depth. Historically arty ammo has been a if not the major load on the logistic system so the 'tail' may need to be large, depending on the nature of operations and expected rates of ammo expenditure and the number of guns.
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Sam    RE:Organization of Artillery    10/17/2004 12:05:22 PM
Roman, I can give you the current org of US artillery. Different from 10 yrs ago. The lowest firing unit is a Battery. Has 6 guns and supports an infantry Battalion. Next is the Battalion. Has 3 batteries and 1 HQ unit. Supports an Infantry Regiment. Then there is the Regiment. Supports an Infantry Division. A current USMC div will have 3 Direct support artillery battalions and 1 general support battalion. Old school. The largest Artillery Regiment was 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division during the late 80s. At least thats what we were told! At that time there were 3 direct support battalions (1/10, 2/10, 3/10) each with 3 firing batterys with 8 guns each. All 155mm M-198. Each of these batteries also had 6 M-101, 105mm howitzers that they could deploy with. Or deploy with a platoon (4 guns) of 105 and a platoon of 155. For float purposes only. Gave the ability to conduct an air artillery raid. There was 1 towed general support battalion, 4/10, with 3 firing baatteries with 6 guns each. All 155mm, M-198. Thene there was a general support reenforcing battalion.5/10, with 6 self propelled firing batteries. 3, 155mm M109A3 batteries and 3, 8" M110 batteries. All with 6 guns each. So at its largest the 2d Marine division had 126 tubes. 108 155mm and 18 8".
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ambush    RE:Organization of Artillery    10/17/2004 10:22:59 PM
I remember "old school" and the 10th Mairnes from when I was at Lejuene in the early 80s. It was a large organization even then. The Marine Artillery Regiments used to be much more conventionally organized like they are now. In addition to the three artillery Regiments (10th, 11th and 12th Marines) the Marine Corps used to also have Field Artillery Groups which were under and organization called Force Troops, which was sort of a holding organization for all the Combat elements and some Combat Support Elements not assigned to a Marine Division or a Force Service Support Group. Under Force Troops you would find organizations like a tank battalion and and the Field Artillery Group. Under the Field Artillery Group you find the Corps SP artillery of 155mm, 175mm and 8 inch while the Artillery Regiments had the towed 105s and 155s. When they did away with Force Troops some of the units like the tanks and Field Artillery Groups went to Division assigned to the Artillery Regiment (1 regiment per division) and most of the support units went to the FSSG (FOrce Service Support Group) None of the 3 Artilelry Regimenes were organized the same way with the break up of FOrce Troops. The 10th Mairnes (if memorary Serves) was withe Seocnd Marine Dvisison which had a NATO mission so I guess the thinking was it eeded more SP Artillery while the 12 Mainres wasin Okinawa and the #rd Mar Div. so it was all towed and even retained some 105s when the other regiments moved them into reserve because of its third world forcus. I am not sure of the 11th Marines orgnaizations during this time but I think it was mostly 155 towed.
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Sam    RE:Ambush   10/17/2004 11:13:16 PM
You really are going back "Old school". First , thanks for not calling it 2d FAG. I was in 2d 155 for about a week before it became O btry 4/10. The 155s became 4/10 the 8"/175s became 5/10. and the DS battalions each had 3 batteries of 101s and 1 GS battery of M114s. In 20+ years I never got stationed with 11th Marines. So, have no idea how they did things. But I do think 7th MAB/MEB at the stumps were SP heavy. The only part that you are mistaken about is 12th Mar. They did have a SP unit until 86 or 87. A platoon (2 guns) of M-110 short tube howitzers that were parked at Naha Port. I forget the base down there. They really were nothing more than left overs from Nam. Took them to Team Spirit every once in a while. But they were the 2 most recognized nicknamed guns in the Corp. The Judge and the Jury. Ahh, the days of sucking down warm Orion on the Sanabi (sp)? seawall with a few local national nasons. The Corps retained the M101A1 untill 1995. It was used for arty raids since only the 53 could lift a 198. And thats on a really good day. When we retired the 101 the arty raid mission went to the grunts 81 platoon. Who were you with at Lejeune? I think you mentioned being one of those dual cool guys. Those at the beach or those at French Creek? I did alot of floats back then so we have probibly bumped into each other at some time. At least at Big Eds or the Foxy Lady. :)
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ambush    RE:Ambush   10/18/2004 12:06:01 AM
I was at French Creek in 80-82. I was not Arty but a Grunt. I was with 2nd Force Recon and we shared the same HQ Bldg with 5/10, ANGLICO and somebody else I do not remember. At that time we were the only grunts on Lejeune living in the Holiday Inn style BEQs (Until a unit from the 8th Marines moved into some). The Division Grunts were living in the H style barracks and Recon Battalion guys at Onslow beach were stuck in some old wooden shacks. General Gray was commanding the 2nd Marine Division at this time and he was against the BEQ style barracks. We were sort of step-children back then. Administratively we were under control of the 2nd FSSG but Operationally came under FMFLANT. We spent a lot of time training for NATO ops back then. Inever could see the practicality of SP arty in Norway. But we also did some stuff in Germany. I remember rehearsing a few Artillery raids with the Arty in Okinanwa, we would provide the LZ security . I always liked the concept. Perhaps why I am still a fan of the 105 and think the Mairne Arty Regiments should be Light 105s and 120mm mortars and they should bring back the Field Artillery Groups and put the HIMARS and a wheeled SP 155 like Caesar in them. I was at 29 Palms in the mid 70s when 1st Field Artillery Group was out there. Did not the 11th or 12th have a detached battery of 105s also out there? If memory serves I believe the only reason they still had 175s at that time was just waiting to use up the Ammo/barrels before coverting to 8 inch. As far as that FAG thing goes, I remember there being more than one fight around the enlisted club over that.
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Sam    RE:Ambush   10/19/2004 8:08:57 AM
Small world, the other unit in your BEQs was 4/10. At least until Jan-feb (?) of 82. Then we moved to the open squadbays next to the 5th area gym, Across from the post office, on N Street. We were not only on the same base but in the same BEQs and shared the same armory. And French creek had the best chow hall on base. Were you there when the reserve arty battery dropped rounds across the street from the chow hall? I think that was 82. Big Al punched me in the chest when I was a lowly PFC. I remember , after picking up Cpl, He use to have NCO PMEs. This as CG 2d MEF/FMFLant! As Div Cdr he relieved one of my battery COs in the field because we were doing BS, not training. And the chow hall was so screwed up that the NCO had not been able to eat hotchow the entire time in the field. So how do you feel about there no longer being a Force Recon? East Coast al least, Now there is Recon Bn at SRIG (A MEF asset). From the recon guys I knew, 3 companies. Everyone goes to "Float" company first. Think old Div recon. After all the cool schools and a deployment or two, some will go to DA platoon. and then finally at some point, you may be asked to come to Force Platoon. In 02 there was a lot of rivalry within the Bn. I would like to see it split up again. Made bigger and the inf regts get their recon platoon back. I believe 3/10 (105s) was stationed at the stumps They are now. The 8"/175 as you said was waiting for the 75 ammo to go away. A marine I knew back then said that it depended on what ammo they could get as to what tubes the guns took to the field.
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ambush    RE:Ambush   10/19/2004 10:11:09 PM
General Gray was one of the best and in my opinion he saved the Marine Corps from being just another service. I left Lejuene about the middle of 82. I do not recall the errant rounds but that was a great chow hall. It had the best Sunday mornig Breakfasts. Actually we shared our BEQ with a supply outfit from FSSG. The status of Force Recon has alway sbeen in flux. Last time I checked 2d FORECONCO was still around but they have always played around with Deep recon plattons and separate Force Recon Companies and who got to control them. On deployments, like Norway for example, we would send a platoon that would end up being attached to the unit from 2nd Recon Battalion. I do remember that we shared a common problem with Arty at Lejeune, that stupid woodpecker and environemtnalist clsoing down your firing points and screwing up our drop zones. When I left Lejuen Gray was in theprocess of putting a lot of the towns "finer entertainment" establishment off limits but you could stil get a cold one at the Brown Bagger although the Drift Wood did go downhill
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