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Does anyone still consider Artillery an area weapon?

GnyHwy

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The instruments we have do meet the guarantees that Regt Svy use to provide (assuming everyone has calibrated properly).  When I went from Svy to Recce the school and the regiments were still debating whether a Bty Recce party by itself was State B or C.  I wouldn't tell them I was either.  I always said that I was State Gyro and GPS, you decide (as I said before, Gyro and GPS does meet old Regt criteria but, the debate lies as there is no physical verification between Btys).  Hence, State C is no longer used.

For all controllable errors i.e. MVs, lots, orientation etc. and all predicted errors i.e. Met, we should better define a national standard (there are new calibration and instrument books in the works).  An even with all of those standards,  if all don't adhere they are wasted.
 

Kat Stevens

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In regards to the topic title, it was explained to me as a young sproggy sapper that "area weapon"  referred to the ability to dominate large areas of territory, rather than effects of each individual round.  Was I wrongly informed?  If not, then yes it's still an area weapon in my book.
 

GnyHwy

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You are correct.  By definition we are an area weapon and we will always have that capability.  I have just heard the term area weapon used loosely and because of that some believe we don't need to pay attention to all of our variations. 

As you may have read my previous posts in this topic.  I am an advocate of technology and using it to improve our accuracies.  By utilizing all potential technologies correctly and continuing to improve on these technologies, we can achieve near or exact first round hits (without using PGMs).

As well, this accuracy needs to be achieved and proven to Cmdrs in order to make us more viable on any battlefield,  Especially, when close proximity of friendlies are involved and collateral damage is an issue.
 

Petard

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I would say levels A B and C made sense, but Regimental Svy wasn't really understood well even when we did have Regt Svy teams, and no wonder it is understood even less now.

There are two elements of svy that still are a problem today, fixation, but now more in altitude, and orientation, even with DGMS

Having GPS driven INU's still allows for some discrepancies in horizontal error, but are usually less than 10 metres. More noticeable as it relates to gun data, and circulating Tgt data, is altitude.
The drill is supposed to be the detachment commander checks the altitude before transmitting his position to the CP,( how many times does that happen?)
The CP supervisor is supposed to do a gross error check of these gun platform locations as they are received, and if there is a discrepancy in altitude, mean the values and apply to both guns. I know this isn't happening, consequently you could have one gun platform with an Alt at the top of the limits for FOM 1 one way, and another gun at the bottom of the limits the other way. Tgt's adjusted by a C/S shooting like this, and circulated to another C/S would have some error in them, and consequently units like this are not in sympathy, or Regimental level of Svy.

The orientation aspect can be affected by a gun firing when the ALND is lit on the GLU, and this can come on for a variety of reasons, but basically means the gun in is firing as much as 7 mils off from what the Bg actually should be.  Over time the ALNF should become lit, but it is possible that firing took place in the degraded alignment conditions, and corrections to the fall of shot given to account for the Bg being off, could result in recording a Tgt "slightly off".

All this to say, oddly, if you want to be able to circulate Tgt records with a consistent degree of accuracy amongst  sub c/s, then you must apply the same principles that were at play with old fashioned way of making the guns in sympathy with each other
One way to do this is to use GLPS to fix the gun platforms, and if there are problems with getting ALNF with the INU then pass line the old fashioned way to the optic sight. The discrepancy in Alt could be easily solved too with some kind of mensuration device.
 

GnyHwy

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You are in fact correct, and I agree about altitude being an issue. 

Just last spring I was running an OPV course and warned our students about the altitude being potentially incorrect in the TOFCS and they should use map altitudes (not the right answer but, the best for now).  They sent an altitude of 400m when it should have been 370m (can you guess what base?) LOL.  I let it go to show them and see for myself as well.  The guns were full zone and it threw it off to the left about 200-300m.  A lot of people wouldn't see the importance of 30m alt.  Everyone should know that an error in altitude is a helluva lot worse than a horizontal error.

Question.  If we recorded that target, do you think the CP would have done the false angle of sight (FAOS) drill? LOL.  Not likely.  Try circulating that one.  Anyone who checks their map will have a good laugh.

A lot of guys don't understand how important altitude is.  Yet another accuracy that is overlooked.  I raised this topic to talk about accuracies and we already have enough of them without TLE being one of them.

The have been told the newest version of IFCCS has digital terrain elevation data (DTED).  I am curious of the fidelity and how that might change the FAOS drill or if the OP can stop sending altitude as the norm (I think the OP sending the altitude slows things down too much, especially on complex terrain).
 

Petard

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DTED is great for crest clearance but it does present some problems; when to use it, when to ignore it

DTED resolution came up at the last IFCSS design meeting. It will, in future, indicate the level of DTED accuracy, but it is not an easy thing to break down, there is certain overlap into areas where it can get grainy in an uneven way (for eg shooting from really accurate terrain data to a terrain data base for a  target location that is less so). There's a way to pull up the text files describing the zones of accuracy in the DTED files stored in IFCCS to see this, but it is not easy to translate that to the map in use

The other issue that comes up is when should mensuration be done, only for PGM, or also when time permits?
 

GnyHwy

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Jumping ahead one step and assuming everyone understands our variations.

How do you get everyone on board and heeding these variations?
 

Old Sweat

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It seems to me from my old steam gunner background that if the map data for heights is inaccurate, it does not matter if it is digitized or on a paper map. This may or may not matter a lot, depending upon a pile of factors we all understand. Obviously the adjustment of range for false angle of sight is not going to improve matters, so any coordinates circulated as target records must be treated with caution.

As for the selection of the altitude by the OP slowing things down too much, I am not sure about that. If the fire control gizmo in the CP is not able to haul an altitude out of its memory, the quickest way is for the OP to select it as the grid reference is being determined. If the CP is required to do so under the circumstances in this paragraph, this must be done off the check map. In the meantime the tech has entered the grid reference and is waiting to enter the altitude. I think we are talking of several seconds delay in response time this way, enough indeed to more than compensate for the time saved at the OP.

As an aside, back in the mid-sixties when the ABCA fire orders format (which became the NATO system a decade or so later) was negotiated, it was decided that the observer would order the altitude. Prior to that time, this was not done by the US, but was done by the BCA nations.
 

GnyHwy

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I don't want this topic to die just yet as it has brought up some good discussion about our accuracies/inaccuracies.  I also want to hit this topic a little more and address this quote.

Obviously the adjustment of range for false angle of sight is not going to improve matters, so any coordinates circulated as target records must be treated with caution.

I have to ask your reasoning on this as the false angle of sight (FAOS) procedure seems logical to me.  Further, the more complex (hilly) the terrain gets coupled with multiple gun areas and bearings of fire this becomes even more pertinent in my mind.

I do understand your comment about treating circulated targets with caution as guaranteed fire only comes with physically firing on the target with all units that are to be engaged.  On top of that, weather always has a way of ruining your day.

As far as the FAOS drill goes, the math makes sense to me.  Correct the altitude, which corrects the AOS, which changes the gun elevation, which changes map range, which finally changes coordinates and then those coords are circulated.  Without this, any other gun unit doesn't stand a chance of hitting the target with it's first round(s). 

 

Old Sweat

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What I meant was that if the altitude is incorrect, there will be a buit in error to the grid. In the real bad old days there was a command post exercise based on the Sarcee Training Area that had a target recorded on a very steep slope. We farted around with the QE and trying to extract the TE and the A of S using a Scales, Artillery (a very accurate ruler that was part of the EIS of the Artillery Board) to measure the altitude of the target. It was a complicated process, and while the final result was pretty good, it all depended upon the arty tech's ability to pick the altitude out of the contour lines.

In other words, if the altitude is not accurate, the deduced coordinates will be incorrect. That is what I meant.
 

GnyHwy

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I guess I misunderstood you.  I thought you didn't think the FAOS drill worked.

The work that you did with your CPX likely results in what we do today (or don't need to do in some peoples minds).  There are many nonbelievers.  Nonbelievers please feel free to jump in.

Just to quote myself and correct an error.  Gun elevation should read tangent elevation (TE).

Correct the altitude, which corrects the AOS, which changes the gun elevation, which changes map range, which finally changes coordinates and then those coords are circulated

This is the drill we do today and it is repeated 3 x if necessary to increase accuracy.  IFCCS makes it much easier.  Agreed that picking and accurate altitude off a map can be difficult considering the map may be wrong to begin with.  I don't think DTED makes a difference either unless a completely new map study is being done, as DTED is likely produced from existing maps.

In closing, I don't believe the effects of slope are taught very well nowadays, especially at the lower levels.  Hopefully, now that Afghanistan is winding down we'll be able to get back to some of the important fundamentals that have been lost.
 

Old Sweat

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Don't get me pounding on about mountain shooting. In the bad old days we who had a war task in North Norway used to practice it as much as we could both overseas and in Canada. You really don't need too high a slope to learn the principles, so you can do it in parts of Petawawa and of course there was (is?) a mountain shooting are in the SW part of the Gagetown ranges. Bascially double the correction when shooting into the slopeand/or uphill, and halve it when doing the opposite will work pretty well. Experience on a piece of ground will let you modify the ground rules for Angle T, steepness, etc.

See, I told you.

Back to the main premise of this thread. With DGMS and all the other bells and whistles, one should be able to put all the bullets from different troops and batteries really close to the target. That is great if we know where the enemy is, otherwise it becomes a distribution of fire issue. (The massive concentrations of divisional artilleries were designed to ruin the day of company positions, but also were a result of the inherent inaccuracies of the manual gunnery system. Part of it was because of errors in survey, calibration, met, etc and part was because the training and experience of wartime gun end personnel left something to be desired. Much, perhaps most, of the rounds fired were wasted because of these factors.) However, fewer guns more accurately directed at the target theoretically should achieve a better result these days. I am still waiting to be convinced, but that's me.
 

Danjanou

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GnyHwy said:
I don't see a company digging in against us anytime soon.   

No offence there bud, but if say 9-10 years ago you suggested that we'd be involved in a decade long COIN operation in Afghanistan, most serving soldiers would have presumed you were spending waay too much time in the Mess at happy hour and/or sent you for pee test.

Unless you have a crystal ball (and if you do please send me the Lotto Max numbers for tomorrow), it is not really a good idea to limit all your training and ideas etc. to the last/present war. However if you think that you're right and I'm wrong I suggest you Google "Maginot Line" and see how that type of thinking worked out the last time around.  8)
 

GnyHwy

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it is not really a good idea to limit all your training and ideas etc. to the last/present war.

It would never be my intent to limit our training.  We can improve accuracy and shoot at large targets at the same time.  Being an area weapon is the easy part (minus the logistical re-sup part).  Hitting a target Coy or bigger is a matter of getting more guns/projectiles and a change in distribution (a couple clicks in the CP).  I started this thread to address that some people (even in the Arty) may limit us to being ONLY an area weapon.  We are, and can be much more accurate than that.  Our accuracies are currently at their best and with newer systems will get even better.  Ironically, the more accurate we get, the easier and more effective it is to spread fire for larger targets. 

I suggest you Google "Maginot Line"

Aside from what happened there and the lines overall effectiveness.  If we had to go through a line like that.

That type of target would be hit with a very high percentage of projectiles with current weapons.  The fact that it is static, it's location would be easy to pass to higher and more effective assets.  Just for argument sake though we'll say all you have is Arty to shoot at this.  I would be inclined to use our accuracies to hone in on specific locations causing heavy damage in key areas as opposed to next to no damage in a lot of areas.

Perhaps, vice looking at old history, maybe look at some of the missions done in recent years and their proximity to friendly troops.  Those missions wouldn't have been possible even 10 years ago.  Certainly not 70 years ago.  Not without a lot blue guys dead.  Granted the 777 is a big reason for that but, there are many other checks and balances that are done as well.

As far as current training goes, we still shoot at Fantasian/Grenovian/Lemgo/Tartan or whatever Coys all the time in training.  Don't get me wrong, just because I am a huge advocate of advancing technology,  I would never want the core fundamentals to be lost. 

Give us enough guns, bullets and time and we can take out as many Coy positions as you want.
 

Old Sweat

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I would suggest that the fire support system has become much more sophisticated than we old farts could ever imagine. As a result, better results can be achieved with less guns and ammunition, with all the benefits that accrue from that. I like to think that I am reasonably au fait with gunnery, but my real life experience is as far removed from today as the Boer War was from Normandy. Still, I know enough about the principles involved and the laws of ballistics and probabilities to understand what is happening,

Without getting too technical or getting too close to matters of Opsec, the advances in the fire support coordination function play a very large part in it. These folks may make it look easy, but it is nothing of the sort. One example from the very early days of an early roto. A Canadian battle group was experiencing ambushes every night along a stretch of highway, so it was decided to go hunting Taliban. As darkness fell, a gun troop shifted its orientation so it could cover ambush alley without having to move the trails on its guns and a TUAV was launched to observe the area. Soon a party of enemy were located making their way through the rows of grapevines towards the highway. They were moving quickly and erratically enough that the guns could not be directed at them until they stopped for a break. A round of fire for effect landed close enough to them to cause them to run into a compound for cover. Rather than shell the compound, the FSCCO elected to mark it with a round of 155mm illumination set to burst just above it and burn on the ground in the target area. A waiting aircraft was able to pick up the thermal indication and a 500 lb GBU destroyed the compound, killing all but three of the enemy. Results: a. the ambushes ceased, and b. the battle group commander and his staff had a new respect for the artillery. Sunray took to calling this capability "jacking Taliban."
 
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