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Does anyone still consider Artillery an area weapon?

Michael OLeary

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GnyHwy said:
Thanks all for your discussion.  The main reason I raised this point I feel that error budget must be adhered to.  I know that there are are many gunners at all levels who believe that minimizing error is useless and Artillery should be treated as an "area weapon".  Precision munitions aside, we can achieve accuracy with conventional ammo.  We just need to be on the same page.

And yes, old school drills must never be forgotten.

Dismissing those who ask you to refine you proposal (so that they can better understand what direction you think the artillery should be going) as "old school" won't win you many friends here.

If you were only seeking hollow agreement to a thinly presented suggestion, then perhaps an open internet forum wasn't the place to start.
 

SeanNewman

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Bruce,

It opened a lot of eyes, and the focus is being placed back on basic map + compass work (not just with me, but doctrinally).

Until you get to the point when think you're moving generally east and you see that your easting numbers are getting smaller and know that something is wrong, IMO you shouldn't even be allowed to use it.

I completely agree that you need to take advantage of new technologies, but this is not at all the same as holding on to spears when you should switch to guns.

I only have a relatively small chunk of people who I can influence directly with map + compass work, but I assure you I'm doing my part in my little corner to get back to basics.
 

vonGarvin

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As an aside, let's not confuse precision and accuracy.  Yes, today's weapons are fairly accurate; however, it's not precision when you accurately drop a 5000 lb bomb on a tin hut, destroying the entire neighbourhood in the resulting explosion.

Anyway, carry on! :salute:
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Petamocto said:
Bruce,

I completely agree that you need to take advantage of new technologies, but this is not at all the same as holding on to spears when you should switch to guns.

We stopped using spears?!? I miss one Doctrine and Training Bulletin and I am out of the loop!

To go with your point on Nav, though, I've had this debate with many colleagues on when is an appropriate time to let students use GPS/TACNAV. On the one hand there is the very good argument that you should be trained to use the tools you have. On the other hand, though, I think you learn bad habits with GPS/TACNAV. I watch many people move straight on a TACNAV course rather than actually crew command. I've seen companies come to a halt in tough terrain because the TACNAV stopped working (satellite problem).

I say we let people use GPS/TACNAV once they have demonstrated that they can crew command without it.

Sorry for the tangent!
 

Michael OLeary

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Tango2Bravo said:
Sorry for the tangent!

I don't think it's really a tangent, the core of the ongoing discussion is whether or not we should allow what we can achieve when all the technological advantages are working take overt precedence over what we must be able to achieve even when they are not.

It is easy to be charmed by the ease of operation and amazing capabilities of the high-tech approaches, to the degree that one starts to dismiss the need for any of the more basic "stone age" skills and knowledge.  Some of us have seen this high-tech vs low-tech loop repeating itself from when we first saw calculators appearing the elementary school classrooms.  The same debate has occurred each time a 'handraulic' method has been replaced or augmented by a new high-tech system in the army.

And we still have spears, it's the short stabbing kind, and it's made when you put the pointy thing on the end of the shooting thing.  :)
 

GnyHwy

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Mr.O'Leary,

I don't believe I dismissed anyones opinion and if I did it certainly was not my intent.  My comment was that old school drills MUST NOT be forgotten.  I fully understand the value of manual means.  I am a newb at this site and just wanted to get started with a basic topic.

Perhaps let me skew the topic a bit and let's talk of acccuracy in relation to Danger Close.
 

rampage800

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Just going to throw my two cents in here and it kind of hits on a couple points brought up on here, artillery is only as accurate as the coordinates generated, as Pet brought up most of the guys coming through right now can't do anything without a GPS, thats a fundamental problem, not every person out there is going to have a Coyote/OPV or Vector 4/21 or a Mk-7 or whatever else you might have. Another problem that is overlooked right now is even for our "precise" weapons we'd be pretty hard pressed to generate the applicable coordinates (Cat 1) without considerable help from our Allies.

Gny- I'd suggest tomorrow you should go see your local CP Det Comd and ask him about Distribution of Fire and what we use in theatre as opposed to by convention.
 

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Technoviking said:
... it's not precision when you accurately drop a 5000 lb bomb on a tin hut...

That's why you put 1,000 soldiers on the back burner while you focus on Reaper TV!
 

GnyHwy

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I'm glad this topic didn't die just yet.  I guess I was vague with my intro and I wish to address some of the points and replies from the start. 
I'll start again with our many variances.
1. M/V's- The technology is there and can be calculated round to round.  We just don't employ it properly just yet.
2. Lot Factors- We have lot factors but, all don't necessarily abide by it.
3. Gun Posn Location and Orientation- We have the best gyro's and gps.  Beware of 777 self orientation as it is only as good as the person who cares to calibrate it properly.
4. Different ammo has different PE and the 795 is the best so far and hopefully we will continue to improve. 
5. MET - We have troop met stations and have proven to me to be quite accurate, and in any case all of the variances above if inaccurate can be solved with registration.

TLE will always be a large factor and I agree any weapon is as only as good as the person who aims it.  Digital aerial photos photos with building numbers and landmarks could greatly assist with that.  The basics definitely have been lost in the training plan and most certainly need to come back.  I understand map reading truly is an art and only comes with experience.

I agree with all that believe we need to keep our skills for all manual means.  It should return with more emphasis in our training plans as it teaches the raw basics that all our fancy machines provide. We absolutely need to be prepared to revert to that if necessary. 
Problem is that all these systems that provide great accuracies also require a lot of training and implementation and time is always a factor.

For Rampage,  I agree with a lot of the points you have brought up.  For the last one on Dist of Fire.  I don't believe that every CP Det Comd does it the same (some use converge, some use parallel) and that is my one of my points on our inconsistencies.  I am  a CP Det Comd and also a OP Det Comd and I suggest converge unless the target warrants a larger spread.

Fact is, the majority of our missions in the recent past and likely in the near future as we continue to fight in built up areas will be DC and Dest at the same time.  If we have the accuracy we could start building our trust and potentially start our missions close enough to alleviate some of our lengthy DC procedues while also mitigating collateral damage.

Finally, my point being is we have all these technologies at our fingertips and there is some who aren't necessarily willing to use it and it 's usually the same excuse.  They say "Artillery is an area weapon and we don't need too". I disagree.
 

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GnyHwy said:
Hello all,

I am posing this question as with today's COE I believe the use of artillery as an area weapon is outdated.  With the close proximity of friendlies and the many moving parts of a BG we must be as accurate as possible.  If we were to revert back to cold war tactics I would agree but, i don't see that happening anytime soon.

We have the technology.  Let's use it. 

Okay, GnyHwy you are losing me.  Looking back at your first post you pose the question "is the concept of arty as an area weapon outdated?" then you go on talking about accuracy and the error budget etc.  Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive.  Even if employed as an area weapon we have to strive for as high a degree of accuracy as possible be it using manual methods or tech assisted.  Arty was never considered an area weapon because it is inaccurate it is an area weapon because it can be made to cover an area as required.  As I'm sure you know, when the convention was Circle Radius, each gun was moved off the center point by a certain amount to ensure that a larger area was covered by the lethal radius of the rounds.  Now however we have a situation where the targets tend to be much smaller and the risk of collateral damnage is higher so the convention has been changed to converge (which is what Rampage was referring to).  Existing TTPs are enough to do what needs to be done and when you superimpose technology on top it just makes arty that much more accurate and flexible as it is able to better engage either point targets or area ones.  Confusing the concept of accuracy with the task of area suppression simply clouds the issue and makes us look like we don't understand our role.  You have correctly identified a number of contributors to the error budget and some of the current mitigation strategies and yes we are getting more accurate but saying we are no longer an area weapon is exactly how courses and resources (ammo) to get cut.  Supported arms and even our own younger troops don't understand what arty can, can't or is supposed to do for them.  I can probably count on one hand the number of current FOOs who have fired a real [live] regimental mission.  When is the last time a real 0 deployed for a regt shoot?  Sure there are other factors as to why, but because they haven't our collective gunnery skills are seriously being eroded.  I don't care how accurate or even precise we get artillery will be and should always be first and foremost an area weapon.  Sure we need to be able to hit point targets with minimal if any adjustment but as I said before we can do both, why chose one and limit our flexibility or worse lose our skills at the other one all together?
 

GnyHwy

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I can see how I may have clouded my question and yes we are by tradition an area weapon.  Also, you are entirely correct that the same accuracies are required for attaining all of our dists of fire.

My question was targeted at the current COE but, perhaps I should have worded as Reducing error budget.

In response to your comment on people not understanding our role and what we can do.  I think all pers in the military understand all to well that we can saturate areas with fire.  What they don't understand and more importantly don't believe is that we can hit point targets as well.

IOT to make us valid for fighting in areas that most likely will contain collateral damage issues we must gain the trust that we are accurate.  Changing to any dist of fire from there is only 1 fire order away.

There are likely many comdrs that we will be in support of for many years to come that don't necessarily believe in our accuracies and may be reluctant to use us because of that reason.

Also, I left a new question in your Fire Disc challenge that relates to Regt shooting.   

 

TSM A

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Until we can shrink the kill and damage radius' of our projetiles, artillery will always be an area weapon.
 

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TSM A said:
Until we can shrink the kill and damage radius' of our projetiles, artillery will always be an area weapon.

Really???

60mm, 81mm, 105mm, 155mm, all area weapons of various sizes.  Oddly a GBU-10 isn't.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say an area weapon isn't defined by the lethal radius of a single round.  Then again I'm new at this whole fire support thing.  ???
 

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GnyHwy said:
I'm glad this topic didn't die just yet.  I guess I was vague with my intro and I wish to address some of the points and replies from the start. 
I'll start again with our many variances.

3. Gun Posn Location and Orientation- We have the best gyro's and gps.  Beware of 777 self orientation as it is only as good as the person who cares to calibrate it properly.
Wow, get a guy where it hurts. As an EO tech and one who loves working on Arty Kit I felt a slight sting in that comment.LOL. I've worked with the GMS system since just after it's infancy and know that it can have issues. Sadley alot of them are operator induced error and sometimes cannot be repaired immediately. Leaps and bounds have been made to avoid these and more advancements are coming. Hold on to your seats, it's gonna be a fast ride!
 

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combatbuddha said:
I've worked with the GMS system since just after it's infancy and know that it can have issues. Sadly a lot of them are operator induced error and sometimes cannot be repaired immediately. Leaps and bounds have been made to avoid these and more advancements are coming. ...

What changes are you referring to?
 

GnyHwy

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Wow, get a guy where it hurts. As an EO tech and one who loves working on Arty Kit I felt a slight sting in that comment.LOL.

That comment was not aimed at EO Techs as there are usually a shortage of qualified EO techs to be had anyway, or the guys who are qualified get promoted and move on.

I believe we should calibrate our own instruments with assistance from EO techs if needed.

The TOFCS is another that is difficult to find qualified pers.  I just had 1 of mine tell me I was looking at a positve angle of site of 288mils giving me a tgt alt of 932m, when in fact I was looking down to an altititude of about 80m.  We are aware of that fault (and if varies from LAV to LAV) and use map altitudes for TOFCS use.  Not necessarily the right way and if we could calibrate ALL of our instuments this could be fixed.

I have a fair bit of experience with gyros and GPS and it's funny how the old adv survey course brings no weight anymore, but it would be guys with that kind of knowledge that would be able to solve a lot of these problems.

Also, if all doomsday theories i.e. switching back to manual means come true.  There will be a mass histeria to bring back the old survey guys.
 

vonGarvin

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GnyHwy said:
Also, if all doomsday theories i.e. switching back to manual means come true.  There will be a mass histeria to bring back the old survey guys.
Bring 'em back!  Bring 'em back!  Make me relevant again!  ;D
 

Old Sweat

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AsI understand the issue, GPS, while convenient and accurate, still does not provide the accuracy and commonality of regimental or higher survey in establishing fixation of gun positions. Thus there is a built-in error between troops and batteries and hence a greater dispersion of fire on the ground. Now, add in errors in oriientation between troops and suspect calibration and we are getting back to the bad old days of area weapons and having to mass batteries. And, you all will note, I have not mentioned met.

Are we trying to sweep all this under the rug, or maybe under the cam net?
 

vonGarvin

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Old Sweat said:
AsI understand the issue, GPS, while convenient and accurate, still does not provide the accuracy and commonality of regimental or higher survey in establishing fixation of gun positions.
This is going back nine years to my adv mortar course; however, use of GPS did allow a gun position to the accuracy of at least regimental survey IF a proper procedure were followed:
1.  Place GPS (PLGR) on the ground on the position that will be the survey point.
2.  Once the GPS +/- error was < 10 m, put PLGR into "average" mode (I think it was average...)
3.  Once a minimum of five minutes has passed, record the ten-figure grid.
4.  Repeat steps 1-3 with a second GPS in the same point.
5.  If both values given are the same within the permissible variance (which I forget what is was), then the position is now to the accuracy of a RSP.


That is the procedure as I recall it, as I said, nine years on.

EDIT
I just found the procedures from the now-defunct "Mortars in Battle"
2.1.115. SURVEY WITH PLGR+96

1. The PLGR+96 is the primary means of obtaining fixation of the group center and the RSP.  The PLGR+96 shall be considered an aid to navigation, much like the compass or any other navigation aid.  The procedure to implement this device has been standardized with artillery procedures and shall be followed within all mortar platoons.  THE PLGR+96 IS THE ONLY AUTHORIZED GPS THAT MAY BE USED FOR SURVEY.  The setup is as follows:
a. The top portion of the survey card shall be filled out;

b. Current CRYPTO is loaded and recorded;

c. Correct DATUM is used and recorded;

d. Correct COORD SYSTEM is used and recorded;

e. Correct ELEVATION UNITS and REFERENCE are used and recorded;

f. Correct DISTANCE UNITS are used and recorded;

g. WAGE is on and recorded;

h. Correct MAG VARIATION and UNITS are used and recorded; and

i. Operating mode is CONTINOUS.

2. The user will verify setup data by physically checking the PLGR+96, or by setting up a second PLGR+96 and comparing the resulting location between the two PLGRs.  A gross error check shall always be done with the map.  All information gathered during the setup described above (sub paras b. to i.) shall be recorded on the survey card in the section that refers to GPS.

3. Once the PLGR+96 gives an accuracy of +/- 15 m or FOM 1, it shall be changed to AVERAGE and allowed to collect data for a minimum of 300 seconds (5 minutes).  The 10 figure grid reference developed by the PLGR+96 shall be entered on the survey card.

4. The group commanders can now determine layout data using the PLGR+96.  Regardless of whether the platoon 2IC or group commander completes this procedure it will equate to a known point.  When an independent check by either the group commander or CPO verifies the grid using the same procedure it shall be considered equal to an RSP.

5. All other methods of survey are considered backup means but may be used as the situation dictates (e.g. lack of, or poor, satellite signal).

CAUTION
The utmost caution must be used when entering or recording map datums to ensure they are correct and match the map sheet being used.

6. The PLGR+96 it is at times subject to different types of interference, and the following should be avoided:

a. Masking:  GPS receivers rely on electronic line of sight (ELOS) with satellites.  Dense foliage, buildings, mountains and canyons may mask the signal.  PLGR+96 will initially select satellites that are 10 degrees above the true horizon.  If four usable satellites are not detected the set will switch to 0 degrees.  After acquisition, the set will automatically switch to 5 degrees for normal operation.  If enough satellites cannot be aquired the receiver must be moved;

b. Jamming:  PLGR+96 is subject to jamming.  When low signal noise ratios are detected or reception is blocked, jamming may be the cause.  Move to a new location and try to place a large object between the receiver and the suspected jammer.  If signal noise to ratio is above 34 decibels, jamming has probably been eliminated; and

c. Spoofing:  Spoofing errors are caused by false satellite signals designed to generate errors in navigation and position data.  Using the crypto keys and an All-Y setup selection attains maximum protection.  If the PLGR+96 is in a spoofing environment, the receiver may generate a POSSIBLE SPOOFERS warning screen.

So, if not checked, it will be a known point.  If checked, it will be an RSP.

 

Old Sweat

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It has been a long time since I did any actual field and computing centre work and that was during the survey phase of my IG course in 1968. Back then, using theodolites and electronic distance measuring devices along with Brunsviga analog calculators and 15 figure (I think) logarithm tables, we were achieving very, very accurate locations.
 
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