US Artillery - Direct Fire

US Artillery Fire Types - Page Title
FIRE TYPES

 
INTRODUCTION FUSES & AMMO
TARGETING FIRE DOCTRINE
FIRE SUPPORT BASES OBSERVATION
FIRE PATTERNS ARTILLERY TO&E'S

Direct Laying
Direct laying is the term for direct-fire, when the target can be seen from the piece. Self-observation is used.

Assault Fire
When attacking a strongpoint or bunker, pinpoint fire from 2500-4000 yards can be used. Fine control of the fire is obtained by using more trial fires and possible aiming boards to get 1/4 mil deflection.

High-angle Fire
Fire at greater than the elevation that produces maximum range is high-angle fire.

Mortars effectively always use high-angle fire, and guns cannot be elevated enough for high-angle fire -- only howitzers can do both.

HE (fragmentation) shells are improved in effect when the angle of impact is high, because all the side-spray fragments are travelling parallel to the ground in a 360-degree circle, while in low-angle fire half the shrapnel is expended harmlessly in the air. Ricochet fire is not possible. Dispersion is higher than low-angle fire, since the shell is in the air much longer, so unobserved high-angle fire is avoided.

Some weapons have "gaps" for high-angle fire no combination of elevation and charge will cause the round to fall correctly. High-angle fire with delay fuze may be useful in penetrating thick jungle foliage or canopy.

High-angle fire with quick fuse Is about twice as effective against personnel standing or walking in the open.

Barrages

A barrage is a prearranged barrier of fire designated to protect friendly troops and installations by impeding enemy movements across defensive lines or areas.

Each battery is laid on its barrage when not otherwise occupied and fires on barrage signal or call from the supported unit. The most effective barrages are the width of an open sheaf, though wider areas can be covered by shifting the entire battery or by spreading the batter and moving each gun in small increments. Unlike normal fire, barrages can easily be at any angle relative to the line-of-fire.

Target Marking

Artillery is sometimes used to identify targets for ground-attack aircraft, using colored smoke. Coordination must be arranged well in advance of the striking crafts' arrival on the battlefield.

Counterbattery

Flash, sound, radar ranging, or direct observation can be used to pinpoint enemy artillery. US Radar was good only against enemy mortars and could only give rough map positions, so they were generally treated as targets of opportunity. Division and corps assets were used more often in the counterbattery role, either as part of a prearranged fire plan or as a heavy concentration of surprise fire on enemy mortars.

A battalion would be used for the initial neutralization, followed by a battery or two just to maintain it. WP and HE, in about a 1:4 ratio, were an effective combination.

Time-on-Target (TOT) Fire

TOT fire is a technique when the volleys from several units arrive on the target at the same time, for maximal surprise. Of course, it takes time to calculate the flight time and coordinate all the units, so this type of attack will be longer in setting up.

 


Courtesy of Daryl Poe


 

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