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FOs Conduct of Fires Net


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100% no feces anyone in the Forward Observer section at the Company level is called a "fister" with a straight face.  The only one that might not get away with it is the Fire Support Officer himself.

re: Tank Rounds

In passing, the AMP round isn't yet in service, but I'd be interested to see how the fire command works for them.  MPAT was called for as "MPAT" if in ground mode, but MPAT Air if in proximity fuzed mode.  The fuze also needed to be set prior to loading so the fuzing was called out at the end of the previous fire command (if you're switching rounds mid-engagement, you add a "fire <newround>" after the first fire, so "fire, fire HEAT" to switch to HEAT for the next engagement).

AMP can be set on the fly as it's done via the gunner's station controls with one of a few options, so it's really a different beast.  If we're going strictly by how fire commands have always been done from Shermans on forward it might be somewhat cumbersome ("gunner AMP airburst troops"), but going off of the "fire and adjust*" command from the M1A2 generation, it might simply be the gunner gets fed a target to engage as needed with AMP, while the TC focuses strictly on finding more targets. 


*On the M1A1 the command was just "fire" and the commander would adjust fires as he observed the engagement.  On the M1A2, you'd give the command "fire and adjust" which basically handed the engagement off to the gunner to let the commander scan with the CITV.  

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13 hours ago, sburke said:

Can we expect to see a change in how you report on your AAR? :D

DAR,  dear . 

Yes,  I'll have pixel candy this eve. 

BTW - prediction: the next T1/2 peer peer ground war will eventually see the deployment of a tracked,  platoon level,  rapid fire, anti-ballistic (arty/rocket) vehicle.

Being able to intercept free falling munitions before impact on expensive hardware sounds like a very,  very useful machine. 

Currently for RUS , the Tungu's are employed to blind the hostile eyes, but that that doesn't stop the rounds falling.

Specializing a variant of the Tu to handle incoming US Arty munitions could be done,  and blunt a significant US asset. 

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3 hours ago, kinophile said:

BTW - prediction: the next T1/2 peer peer ground war will eventually see the deployment of a tracked,  platoon level,  rapid fire, anti-ballistic (arty/rocket) vehicle.

Being able to intercept free falling munitions before impact on expensive hardware sounds like a very,  very useful machine. 

Currently for RUS , the Tungu's are employed to blind the hostile eyes, but that that doesn't stop the rounds falling.

Specializing a variant of the Tu to handle incoming US Arty munitions could be done,  and blunt a significant US asset. 

I differ largely because the cost-complexity slope works unfavorably to the amount of fires that can be placed on a target.  With any sort of advanced defense system, they're often subject to "swarming" which is simply generating too many threats to effectively deal with, resulting in defensive system destruction.  Basically you can shoot down as many shells as you can, but there will almost always be another shell.

In the bigger picture the sea change hasn't been in weapons lethality, or even arguably precision fires, it's been in target acquisitions.  Historically it took somehow getting your dudes with a line of sight and a good fix on where they were in order to get good effects.  Now with UAVs, or other sensors, it's a lot easier to find a target, and kill it.  Further the networking of fire assets make for a much more responsive network.

If we're looking for the most-solvable part of the artillery equation, I would contend it's denying the targeting vs shooting down a never ending train of rounds.  The counter-UAV systems are going to be a bigger deal and are likely a more feasible technical challenge to overcome.  This is the reasoning for a lot of the current US military research into destructive lasers, burning down drones is a lot easier, and a laser offers a tool that deals with swarms a lot better than conventional weapons.

I think we're going to see electronic warfare get a lot more attention too, in that if sensors can be degraded, artillery goes back to World War Two rules of spotting.  I might even argue in many ways we might see a regression as far as tactics because many of our ultra modern tools will be challenged to the degree to require going back to simpler, tighter networks, and less precision fires (or imagine instead of using a GPS guided shell, using a very advanced INS type package that the round doesn't need to know where it is, it just needs to correct itself back to where it's firing math said it needed to be independent of transmissions or emissions from anywhere).  

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5 hours ago, kinophile said:

Being able to intercept free falling munitions before impact on expensive hardware sounds like a very,  very useful machine. 

Back when I first got the game, I was playing the third mission of the training campaign and calling in precision arty on targets, and at one point I saw a Tunguska fire a rocket at an incoming mortar shell. It missed, but I was still impressed; it wasn't anything I expected to see.

Michael

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7 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

Back when I first got the game, I was playing the third mission of the training campaign and calling in precision arty on targets, and at one point I saw a Tunguska fire a rocket at an incoming mortar shell. It missed, but I was still impressed; it wasn't anything I expected to see.

Michael

I could be totally wrong, but I don't think the game models that (and I am not even sure a rocket would be the appropriate response versus it's guns).  Was there a drone spotting for the mortar?

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3 minutes ago, sburke said:

I could be totally wrong, but I don't think the game models that (and I am not even sure a rocket would be the appropriate response versus it's guns).  Was there a drone spotting for the mortar?

Well, the rocket was definitely fired and fired at the shell. I was not using a drone for spotting this fire, but a ground based spotter who could see its target directly. The Tungu is perhaps not supposed to do that and certainly I never saw it do it any other time, but that one time it definitely happened.

Michael

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2 hours ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

I think we're going to see electronic warfare get a lot more attention too, in that if sensors can be degraded, artillery goes back to World War Two rules of spotting.  I might even argue in many ways we might see a regression as far as tactics because many of our ultra modern tools will be challenged to the degree to require going back to simpler, tighter networks, and less precision fires (or imagine instead of using a GPS guided shell, using a very advanced INS type package that the round doesn't need to know where it is, it just needs to correct itself back to where it's firing math said it needed to be independent of transmissions or emissions from anywhere).  

This is a very interesting point.  If sensors and the radio environment get significantly degraded, even on both sides, this is an area where the Russians get an advantage.  Their doctrine very much emphasizes the plan, the schedule and coordination on the higher levels much more so than US doctrine.  Perhaps I'm not too aware of recent developments, but I don't think the US is as prepared to operate in a heavy EW environment as it should be.

On the INS - most accelerometers and especially gyros are only passably accurate and that's under normal loading.  I'm not aware of any that would happily handle being shot out of a howitzer and still know where it is with any level of accuracy.  Tube artillery in this environment may lose its precision fire, though rocket artillery is a different matter.  Additionally, laser-guided munitions wouldn't really be affected by this, right?

Edit: Oh, and the ones that could handle being shot out of a gun won't be sensitive enough to measure its flight.  This accuracy problem is why many ICBMs use star navigation to correct their courses!

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7 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

This is a very interesting point.  If sensors and the radio environment get significantly degraded, even on both sides, this is an area where the Russians get an advantage.  Their doctrine very much emphasizes the plan, the schedule and coordination on the higher levels much more so than US doctrine.  Perhaps I'm not too aware of recent developments, but I don't think the US is as prepared to operate in a heavy EW environment as it should be.

On the INS - most accelerometers and especially gyros are only passably accurate and that's under normal loading.  I'm not aware of any that would happily handle being shot out of a howitzer and still know where it is with any level of accuracy.  Tube artillery in this environment may lose its precision fire, though rocket artillery is a different matter.  Additionally, laser-guided munitions wouldn't really be affected by this, right?

The US answer to EW environments has been the opposite.  Vs having a plan that must and will be followed, we've fallen back on what historically has been a US strong suite:

Small unit  initiative.  Instead of relying on a detailed plan demanding each part follow certain steps, it's much closer to each subordinate element is given key time/coordination pieces, and operational intent. There's still a overriding plan, but conceptually as things break down the idea is to empower Captains, Lieutenants and Sergeants to accomplish the mission or exploit changing conditions vs being bound to a plan.

Basically it gets back to the old OODA loop dynamic, the faster, the more agile an organization is, the better able it is to succeed against a similar, but less agile organization.

So case in point, like there might be an overriding plan to take and occupy Hill 346.  But the intent and coordination piece is given that NLT 122330JUN17 enemy is unable to place direct fires on Battalion main effort (Able Team) from Hill 346.  It might be Baker Team is totally unable to take Hill 346 because the enemy is dug in too deep and they can't get through to CAS.  But what it might be able to do is conduct an attack by fire to decisively engage the enemy on Hill 346, preventing them from being able to put effective fires on Able Team's efforts, and still accomplish the mission intent.

The Russian method lacks the "permission" or small unit leadership to be agile enough, or entrust its junior leaders to make those sort of choices, which makes it more cumbersome and less able to adapt to unforeseen consequences.   It's also more easily disrupted and degraded given the reliance on a higher level command authority, and units are more easily isolated in time and space given the slowness of the Russian organization (or a smaller more agile force can destroy a larger Russian force by massing on it's smaller subordinate units while the Russian forces are still trying to mass combat power where the agile unit was an hour ago).  

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2 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Basically it gets back to the old OODA loop dynamic, the faster, the more agile an organization is, the better able it is to succeed against a similar, but less agile organization.

So case in point, like there might be an overriding plan to take and occupy Hill 346.  But the intent and coordination piece is given that NLT 122330JUN17 enemy is unable to place direct fires on Battalion main effort (Able Team) from Hill 346.  It might be Baker Team is totally unable to take Hill 346 because the enemy is dug in too deep and they can't get through to CAS.  But what it might be able to do is conduct an attack by fire to decisively engage the enemy on Hill 346, preventing them from being able to put effective fires on Able Team's efforts, and still accomplish the mission intent.

True, I guess I fall into the common trap of thinking of the Russian army in the same vein as the Soviet army.  While Col. Boyd definitely has a very good point on the OODA loop, it still stems from his experiences in aerial combat which is a somewhat different beast to operational combat operations.  My contention is that the other side of the coin is to disrupt your enemies' OODA loop instead of operating faster than them, and that's objective of the orchestrated plan: You know your OODA is slower than the enemies, but if you can apply decisive force on multiple angles through an orchestrated plan, you will operate faster than your opponent can react. The problem you run into, as you mention, is unexpected consequences.  The big thing missing is actual combat experience which makes it difficult to analyze without wargaming conjecture.  Though that wargaming conjecture has pointed to it being very effective against conventional forces.  But, again, the Russian army may have a heritage, but it still is a different beast...

Panzersaurkrautwerfer, I imagine you don't subscribe to most of this?

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52 minutes ago, Michael Emrys said:

Well, the rocket was definitely fired and fired at the shell. I was not using a drone for spotting this fire, but a ground based spotter who could see its target directly. The Tungu is perhaps not supposed to do that and certainly I never saw it do it any other time, but that one time it definitely happened.

Michael

There are multiple manned and unmanned air assets in that mission. You clearly had something active, even if it wasn't spotting for the mortar mission.  Either that or mini-stroke. :P

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Re: INS

Again, I'm just a humble now part time armor officer and most of time construction manager.  I know some of these systems from other places.  In any event we're in a constant weapon-counter measure cycle so it's hard to imagine jamming/EW will reign supreme over precision fires now that it exists, nearly as much as someone more clever than I is building a way around it.
 

44 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

True, I guess I fall into the common trap of thinking of the Russian army in the same vein as the Soviet army.  While Col. Boyd definitely has a very good point on the OODA loop, it still stems from his experiences in aerial combat which is a somewhat different beast to operational combat operations.  My contention is that the other side of the coin is to disrupt your enemies' OODA loop instead of operating faster than them, and that's objective of the orchestrated plan: You know your OODA is slower than the enemies, but if you can apply decisive force on multiple angles through an orchestrated plan, you will operate faster than your opponent can react. The problem you run into, as you mention, is unexpected consequences.  The big thing missing is actual combat experience which makes it difficult to analyze without wargaming conjecture.  Though that wargaming conjecture has pointed to it being very effective against conventional forces.  But, again, the Russian army may have a heritage, but it still is a different beast...

Panzersaurkrautwerfer, I imagine you don't subscribe to most of this?

We tend to refer to what you're talking about as "disruption" and it gets a whole "zone" when talking about areas of battle.  From the Cavalry perspective, it's actually a big reason why you see tanks historically and Bradleys in US "recon" organizations, it's not because they're sneaky great hider vehicles, but they're awesome tools to force an enemy to mess up their whole plan, basically committing forces before the plan calls for it, inserting undesired requirements into an operational plan, and all and all taking a well rehearsed and practiced operation and turning into something new, not unknown, and poorly prepared for.  

It's incorrect to dismiss Boyd as simply aviation based.  It's a systematic look at how organizations and systems react to unexpected consequences.  Ultimately the organization that is best able to react to those events is the one that will win simply because it will have the initiative.

Or to repose the question, how can you disrupt someone's actions if they're already gotten ahead of what you're trying to accomplish, and are now already executing actions well beyond the "reality" your orchestrated plan was built around?

Which gets to looking at historical situations when the plan is forced through with great force and violence against a more agile threat, it usually ends poorly because it leaves you dancing steps behind.  Even looking at historic Soviet "weakness" at OODA loops, they did not plan to not have agile organizations, they planned to be operationally agile by simplifying the tactical output (in effect, the maneuver unit didn't have to be "smart" it just had to do what it was supposed to do when told to go somewhere and do it).

The problem with this is while it allows for an operational agility, it does break down if the tactical pieces are unable to accomplish their missions, and especially so if the enemy is then able to out agile the maneuver elements and change the operational-strategic picture to a large degree.  

Or I guess where I'm getting is it's irrelevant how hard the bull charges, so long as the matador is quick enough to step out of the way (or even if you change it to bulls plural).

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2 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

It's incorrect to dismiss Boyd as simply aviation based.  It's a systematic look at how organizations and systems react to unexpected consequences.  Ultimately the organization that is best able to react to those events is the one that will win simply because it will have the initiative.

Yeah, perhaps I was too definite.  I've seen his theories applied even to corporations!  He's everywhere.

3 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

Which gets to looking at historical situations when the plan is forced through with great force and violence against a more agile threat, it usually ends poorly because it leaves you dancing steps behind.  Even looking at historic Soviet "weakness" at OODA loops, they did not plan to not have agile organizations, they planned to be operationally agile by simplifying the tactical output (in effect, the maneuver unit didn't have to be "smart" it just had to do what it was supposed to do when told to go somewhere and do it).

Yes, the weakness is definitely not planned rather than a result of the plurality of the Soviet army, but they did have a solution, flawed as it may be.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of US and other western doctrine is based a large part on lessons learned by the Wehrmacht in addition to its own?  My line of thinking goes to some of the epic set-piece battles of the Eastern front where the Soviet doctrine triumphed significantly over the more decentralized Wehrmacht forces, particularly in Uranus and Bagration.  I guess a big part of the success was surprise and OPSEC, which perhaps isn't particularly relevant in Black Sea's scenario.  And I know for sure that those two parameters were of critical importance for Warsaw Pact pre-emptive "defensive" plans.

I guess the point you're making is that the Russian army just isn't capable of getting the operational superiority (for a myriad of reasons) needed for the doctrine to work effectively anymore?  I can agree with that.

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1 hour ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

The Russian method lacks the "permission" or small unit leadership to be agile enough, or entrust its junior leaders to make those sort of choices, which makes it more cumbersome and less able to adapt to unforeseen consequences.   It's also more easily disrupted and degraded given the reliance on a higher level command authority, and units are more easily isolated in time and space given the slowness of the Russian organization (or a smaller more agile force can destroy a larger Russian force by massing on it's smaller subordinate units while the Russian forces are still trying to mass combat power where the agile unit was an hour ago).  

We need to be more detailed with this one. Russian formations don't lack in reacting to situations... A platoon on its own has the means on carrying on in the area of operations... Say 1st platoon of 2nd company is being engaged by an enemy: they don't need permission to attack and exploit this unit... Or am I missing out on something? Would be great if you could tell me exactly where you say we are lacking in. 

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1 minute ago, HerrTom said:

Yeah, perhaps I was too definite.  I've seen his theories applied even to corporations!  He's everywhere.

Yes, the weakness is definitely not planned rather than a result of the plurality of the Soviet army, but they did have a solution, flawed as it may be.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of US and other western doctrine is based a large part on lessons learned by the Wehrmacht in addition to its own?  My line of thinking goes to some of the epic set-piece battles of the Eastern front where the Soviet doctrine triumphed significantly over the more decentralized Wehrmacht forces, particularly in Uranus and Bagration.  I guess a big part of the success was surprise and OPSEC, which perhaps isn't particularly relevant in Black Sea's scenario.  And I know for sure that those two parameters were of critical importance for Warsaw Pact pre-emptive "defensive" plans.

I guess the point you're making is that the Russian army just isn't capable of getting the operational superiority (for a myriad of reasons) needed for the doctrine to work effectively anymore?  I can agree with that.

You'd be surprised how much we shamelessly stole from the Soviets both before, and after the fall of the wall, especially in regards to depth and operational-strategic thinking.  The German lessons were largely tactical ones because that's arguably where the Germans were at their best, but even then I think it's part of the historical revisionism to see the Werhmacht reflected in more modern forces while ignoring how much of the German experience was seen as tacit examples of how to lose a war,

Or like, case in point, my beloved Abrams.  A lot of times it gets compared to the Tiger line of tanks because it's big and heavy, therein clearly it's adopting a more German line of thinking.  However it's ignoring once you get farther from the simple weight of the vehicle, you get more into what the M1 emphasized tactical mobility, crew-equipment interface, and target detection....which are all much closer to things US tanks always leaned towards, with the ultra-heavy armor being a simple output of how you make tanks survive on a ATGM filled battlespace.  

As far as Soviets triumphing over the Germans, it's because on a wider spectrum, the Soviets were better able to cycle their OODA loops at the strategic-operational level*.  Looking at German strategy or operational planning for the war with the Soviets is always interesting reading.

As far as the Russian military in general:

1. It doesn't have the massed forces any more to accomplish the sort of operational-strategic initiative it used to rely on.  It's just too small/less capable to the degree it can only mass at the expense of other theaters.

2. It doesn't yet have the small leader emphasis to be agile, and still relies significantly on a playbook, which will leave it less able to rapidly react to a chaotic environment against more agile enemies.  

 

 

3 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

We need to be more detailed with this one. Russian formations don't lack in reacting to situations... A platoon on its own has the means on carrying on in the area of operations... Say 1st platoon of 2nd company is being engaged by an enemy: they don't need permission to attack and exploit this unit... Or am I missing out on something? Would be great if you could tell me exactly where you say we are lacking in. 

The point isn't react to contact, any military is reasonably able to shoot back.  The point is reacting to invalidation of the projected operational reality.  1st platoon attacks to destroy enemy located on hill 211.  The enemy is not there.  In the Russian system, 1st platoon waits for the Company to confer with Battalion to figure out what's next.  In the western system 1st platoon reports negative enemy contact and tries to figure out where the enemy went.  Company-Battalion build a better understanding of what's going on and make broader stroke plans for what's next instead of figuring out what 1st platoon should be doing now.  


*Or as far as Stalin learned he wasn't a great general pretty early on, and while still deeply involved in the war, still gave his military leaders enough latitude to hang themselves.  Hitler kept himself so wedged in the process as to make any decision making cycle tortuous.   

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Well, in our DAR I'm using a conventional Russian MI force in a (to me in my limited knowledge), unconventional manner.

It's a little early yet,  and I'll need a second battle to apply my lessons learned and tweak my approach, but the intent is there to fight. . . Differently. 

As mentioned,  I'll need a second round,  and for now it's not readily apparent to 3rd parties , but I can see there are ways to defeat an agile, sophisticated opponent with a slower,  less well equipped force. 

The point being, that getting inside your opps OODA-L is good,  provided they haven't accounted and planned for it. 

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47 minutes ago, panzersaurkrautwerfer said:

 1st platoon attacks to destroy enemy located on hill 211.  The enemy is not there.  In the Russian system, 1st platoon waits for the Company to confer with Battalion to figure out what's next.  In the western system 1st platoon reports negative enemy contact and tries to figure out where the enemy went.  Company-Battalion build a better understanding of what's going on and make broader stroke plans for what's next instead of figuring out what 1st platoon should be doing now.  

From my experiences during drills and operating with low level leadership, it's not as tied to "permission" as it was before the reforms. You're not wrong in the fact that the Russian army use to be like that but now more or less, doctrines have changed and new battle experiences have provided a different approach to things in many cases.

 Speaking from my experience, if 1st platoon attacks and the enemy isn't there; depending on the situation they are to either set up positions to be able to hold the position in any case, or if needed they can also search and destroy. During drills we always moved to contact, or to get a better view of our situation. Permission isn't as loose as in western armies of course you aren't wrong, but it isn't going to hinder the troops where they are dozens of minutes from figuring out a plan. US formations of course are more flexible in certain areas, but Russian units won't be lacking in situational awareness in the battle phase of things enough to be totally kaput.

It will also depend unit to unit... If there is a less experienced and trained motor rifle unit of course the better trained US counterpart will be able to adapt to the situation and figure out a plan faster, no argument there. Or did I miss your point? 

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