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Forward Observer and Battery Commander Course

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[hr][table][tr][th][b][size=4]Course[/size][/b]:[/th][th][size=4][font=tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif][b]Combined Forward Observer and Fire Support Battery Operations Course[/b][/font][/size][/th][/tr]
[tr][td][b][size=4]Prerequisites:[/size][/b][/td][td][font=tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif][url=http://www.unitedoperations.net/wiki/Getting_Started_Guide_(Arma_3)#Addon_Synchronization_-_ArmA3Sync]Properly installed & Synchronized addons[/url][/font]
[font=tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif]UOTC Familiarization Course[/font]
[font=tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif]UOTC Land Navigation Course[/font]
[font=tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif]UOTC Radio Telephone Operator Course[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][b][size=4]Maximum Participants:[/size][/b][/td][td][size=4]X Participants[/size][/td][/tr][/table][hr][table]
[tr][td][b]What:[/b][/td][td](put reasonable description here)[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][b]Why:[/b][/td][td][font=tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif]To introduce Fireteam Members to advanced topics of infantry warfare and prepare interested players for the Fireteam Leadership Course.[/font][/td][/tr]
[tr][td][b]Where:[/b][/td][td]Training Server (SRV2) & Teamspeak.[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][b]Remarks:[/b][/td][td]1) Ignoring the prerequisites or semi-passive activity can lead to [b][i]instantaneous exclusion[/i][/b] from the course by the Chief Instructor[/td][/tr]
[tr][td][b]Sign-Up:[/b][/td][td]Nickname (ingame/ts) example (Lt_Foobar/LtFoobar)[/td][/tr][/table][hr][b]Attendees (0/16):[/b]


Lesson Plan

Using this Document


This course is designed for two instructors to teach two different yet similar topics. The course flow will be as follows, there will be a combined lecture covering the common topics followed by two separate lectures for each the FO and FSBO participants. Finally a combined practical were participants will prove their knowledge. It's to be noted that having 2 instructors isn't a must as only one side of his course can be run (eg. FO only) . This Lesson plan is structured exactly how the slides are structured, Instructors must read the wording provided in the lesson plan verbatim . Any italicized sentences is for the instructor to read only!

Course Prerequisites

This course requires:

  • UOTC Familiarization Course
  • UOTC Land Navigation
  • UOTC RTO (Waiver)


Introduction of instructor and assistants;
Introduce yourself and you helpers

Behaviour Rules

Quickly outline behavioural standards participants are expected to abide by during the course.
On Going AFK:

  • Announce in Side Chat and go AFK/COME BACK w/o verbal interruption.
  • When AFK for more than 10 Minutes, It can be that the instructor will require you to retake the course to gain tags.

On Needing to Leave:

  • Announce in Side Chat and go leave w/o verbal interruption.
  • Sign Up for a follow up course, we would love to see you again.

On Having an Urgent Question:

  • Is the question necessary right now? (Worth to interrupt)
  • Can the question wait until the end of the course or the current section?
  • Write in side chat: "Question" (The instructor will react as he sees fit)


Introduction Slide

Provide the knowledge of:

  • Fire Support & Artillery
  • Target Location Methods
  • The Call for Fire
  • Adjustment of Fire (FO Participants)
  • Perform BDA and Complete Mission (FO Participants)
  • Working the Battery Tablet (FSBO Participants)
  • Battery Fire Commands (FSBO Participants)

Summary: Equip participants with the skills needed to perform as a Forward Observer and a Battery Commander within 180 minutes.

Combined Lecture

Introduction to Indirect Fire (Slide 1)

Why use indirect fire?

  • Leaders always seek to present the enemy with a dilemma, not just with problems. There are many ways to do this including, using combinations of weapons, different types of units, tactics, and terrain. Regardless of how lethal the effects of either direct fire or indirect fire are, by themselves they only pose problems that have solutions as their effects tend to diminish. Suppose the friendly force makes contact using both direct and indirect fire systems. What can the enemy do? He has a dilemma—if he gets up he gets shot, but if he stays down, he gets blown up. The enemy’s dilemma results from the complementary effects of direct and indirect fire. This is the essence of combined arms warfare.
  • Military history has repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of indirect fire in close combat. Their high-angle fires are invaluable against dug-in enemy troops and targets in defilade, which are not vulnerable to attack by direct fires. Commanders coordinate indirect fires with direct fire weapons to defeat enemy forces.

Fire Support Effects & Purpose (Slide 2)

Effects and Purpose Slide

Fire support is the collective and coordinated use of indirect fire weapons, aircraft, ships and other means in support of the commanders scheme of maneuver. It's important when considering the use of indirect to understand what the mission commander requires from you to ensure mission completion, when using indirect the type of effect you want on the target should be the first decision you make when attacking a target. For example if your intention is to destroy a target you will expend a large amount of ammo and time, you could have used this ammo and time on more important targets thus you must efficiently use your resources to fit your commander's intent. Let's go over the different indirect fire effects:

  • Destruction puts a target permanently out of action. Thirty percent casualties or material damage usually is required to destroy a target but the amount of ammunition required to destroy a target is usually very large.
  • Neutralization temporarily renders the target ineffective or unusable. Normally a target is neutralized when it suffers 10 percent casualties or damage. Against hardened targets, it is difficult to achieve neutralization with mortar fire. However, neutralization with mortar fire can be achieved against softer targets, including dismounted Infantry or wheeled vehicles.
  • Suppression limits or prevents an enemy from firing back, observing, or maneuvering. The effects of suppressive fires are immediate, but they last only as long as the fires continue. Suppression is the key to any successful Infantry assault. Suppressive fires play a large role in generating combat power by Infantry forces. The suppressive fires of indirect fire, along with other weapons, allow the Infantry to maneuver and close for a final assault. The more effective the suppressive fires, the less dependent Infantrymen are on stealth, cover, and concealment.
  • Harassment fires are used to disturb the rest of the enemy troops, curtail movement, and lower morale by the threat of losses.
  • Obscuration hampers an enemy’s ability to observe and acquire targets and conceals friendly movement and activities. Obscuration fires do not neutralize or suppress an enemy, since they can still employ their weapons, but they reduce the effectiveness of enemy fire.
  • Illumination illuminates a designated area and is used for signaling. Mortars provide a flexible type of illumination round, including both visible and infrared (IR) light

We just discussed the different types of effects of indirect fires, now we will discuss the purpose of indirect fires:

  • Close support fires are targeted against enemy troops, weapons, or positions that are threatening or can threaten the friendly unit during either the attack or the defense. Providing close support fires is the most common mission given to any indirect unit. Close support fires are normally requested and adjusted by platoon-level forward observers (FOs), but they may be initiated and controlled by any leader within the chain of command. Examples of close support fires include illumination, screening, suppressive, marking, preparatory, and final protective fires (FPFs).


  • Counterfires are used to attack an enemy’s indirect fire weapons, their observation posts (OPs), and their ability to control their forces. Counterfire at long range is mainly the responsibility of the field artillery, but mortar units provide close counterfire, especially against enemy mortars and rockets. Mortar counterfire is an immediate action taken to restore the freedom of action to a maneuver commander, before more powerful counterfire weapons can be brought to bear. Mortar smoke rounds are used to obscure enemy observation, thereby reducing the effectiveness of enemy fire.
  • Interdiction fires are used to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy an enemy’s surface military potential before it can be used effectively against friendly forces. Field artillery is responsible for most ground interdiction fires. Mortar sections and platoons fire limited, specific types of interdiction fires on likely or suspected enemy assault positions or assembly areas, especially those in defilade. Occasionally, unobserved mortar interdiction fires intended to harass an enemy may be used, although a commander must weigh the costs of ammunition expended and the increased danger of counterfire.
  • Harassment fires are used to disturb the rest of the enemy troops, curtail movement, and lower morale by the threat of losses.
  • Deception fires are used to deceive and confuse an enemy. Indirect fire can be used to fire false preparatory fires on enemy positions or landing zones. They can also be used to create deceptive smoke screens to focus an enemy in one location while friendly forces attack from another.

Always keep in mind what is the Effect & Purpose you want to achieve for your fire mission to be most effective!

Types of Indirect Artillery

Types of Indirect Artillery Guns

In ARMA we have several types of Indirect platforms, thus it's integral to understand as a Forward Observer or a Fire Direction Officer what each platform can deliver to be able to provide tactical fire direction to commanders on the ground. We will analyse each platform at 3 different aspects Shell Velocity, Trajectory and Range.

  • Field Guns are the modern equivalent of a siege gun and have a flatter shell trajectory than howitzers with a high shell velocity and a long range.
  • Howitzers have a medium shell velocity with the option of firing high and low angle trajectories and a long range.
  • Mortars are the most common platform available to a field commander due to it's cost and mobility, providing immediate indirect fire for a commander. Mortars fire at a low velocity with high trajectories capable of short range.
  • Rocket Artillery is the only platform that's fundamentally different in operation as it fires rockets or missiles, they are generally less accurate unless firing missiles. They posses a high fire rate and a long range.

Types of Projectiles and Fuses

Types of Projectiles and Fuses Slide

The battlefield is a diverse and dynamic environment with many types of threats (Infantry, Light Armour and Heavy Armour) with multiple types of cover that provide different levels of protection from Indirect fires. To achieve the most effective fires on different targets we must use different combinations of ammo and fuses to achieve the best effect on the target. For example a enemy infantry fire-team is spotted in a bunker. An HE/DELAY(D) would be the ideal combination in order for the round to penetrate through the top of the bunker before detonating, as the rounds would not be effective if they detonated on the bunker roof. Selecting the right type of AMMO/FUSE combination can mean the difference between an effective fire mission and an ineffective one. Now we will briefly cover common types of AMMO and FUSES.


  • High-Explosive (HE) : HE ammunition is used against enemy personnel and light materiel targets and is most often used by the observer in adjustment. It can be used with impact, time, or proximity (VT) fuzes for various effects.Lets review the most common types of combinations with HE.

a) Shell HE, Fuse Quick.This combination lets the shell burst on impact.

It is used against the following:

  • Personnel standing.
  • Personnel prone on the ground.
  • Unarmored vehicles.
  • Light materiel.

Shell HE, fuse quick loses its effect if troops are in trenches, on uneven ground, in frame buildings, or on earthworks.

b) Shell HE, Fuse Delay. A 0.05-second delay can be set on the quick fuze to allow penetration. If the observer is firing into dense woods, against light earthworks or buildings, or against armored vehicles, he should use fuse delay for penetration.

c) Shell HE, Fuse Time. Shell HE, fuse time bursts in the air at a given time along the trajectory.

It is used against the following:

  • Troops in the open.
  • Troops in trenches.
  • Troops in deep foxholes.
  • Troops in soft-skinned vehicles.

Fuse time must be adjusted to the proper height of burst. Therefore, consideration should be given to another shell-fuze combination if time is critical and airbursts are desired.

  • Illumination Ammunition (ILLUM): ILLUM ammunition is used during night missions requiring assistance in observation.The illuminating shell is a projectile containing a flare attached to a parachute. Normally, it is used to illuminate areas of known or suspected enemy activity or to adjust artillery fire at night. Depending on the caliber, an illuminating shell can provide light for up to 2 minutes and can light an area of up to 2,000 meters in diameter.
  • Smoke, White Phosphorus Ammunition: Smoke, WP ammunition is used as a screening, signaling, or incendiary agent. Smoke is more effective than WP as a screening agent, because it lasts longer and has fewer tendencies to pillar. The direction of the wind must be considered in the use of any smoke shell.
  • Improved Conventional Munitions (ICM) / Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM): DPICM is designed to burst into sub-munitions at an optimum altitude and distance from the desired target for dense area coverage.
  • FASCAM: The family of scatterable mines (FASCAM) includes shell FASCAM, which is fired by a 155-mm artillery weapon. It delivers antipersonnel or antitank mines against an enemy force to deny access to a particular area, to delay the attacking force, or to canalize them.This mine emplacement system can be used in offensive, defensive, or retrograde operations. Antitank mines (remote anti-armor mine system [RAAMS]) are used to create antitank or anti-vehicle obstacles. Antipersonnel mines (area denial artillery munitions [ADAM]) are used in conjunction with antitank mines to create antitank obstacles difficult for dismounted personnel to breach. Antipersonnel mines also can be used alone to create antipersonnel obstacles, to disrupt dismounted personnel operations, to restrict enemy use of terrain, and in counter-fire.

The Field Artillery Team

The Field Artillery Team Slide

The fire support gunnery problem is solved through the coordinated efforts of the field artillery team. This team consists of the observer, the fire direction center (FDC) and the firing unit.

  • The Observer serves as the "eyes" of the firing unit. He detects and locates suitable indirect fire targets. To attack a target,the observer transmits a request for indirect fires and adjusts the fires onto the target when necessary.
  • The Fire Direction Center The FDC serves as the “brain” of the system. It receives the call for fire from the observer,determines firing data, and converts them to fire commands
  • The Firing Unit serves as the “muscles” of the system. It consists of the firing unit headquarters and the firing sections. The normal function of the firing section is to deliver fires as directed by the FDC.

In the scope of ARMA the FDC and the commander of the firing unit is the same person.

Fire Support Effectiveness

Effectiveness compared to adjustment length
  • System Responsiveness.To be an effective force in battle, fire support must be responsive to the needs of our maneuver forces. Procedures must be streamlined to minimize the time lag between target acquisition and effects on the target. Unnecessary delay can result in a failure to have adequate effects on the target. Responsiveness can be achieved if we do the following:
  1. Plan fire support requirements in advance.
  2. Streamline the call for fire.
  3. Limit radio transmissions on fire nets to time-sensitive, mission-essential traffic only.
  • Effect on Target. The ability of the fire support system to place effective fires on a target will depend, in part, on the method of fire and type of ammunition selected to attack the target. Maximum effect can be achieved with the following:
  1. Accurate Initial Fires. Accurate initial fires (surprise fires) inflict the greatest number of casualties. The observer must strive for first-round fire for effect (FFE) or make a one-round adjustment if necessary.
  2. Massed Fires. Massing all available fires normally enables us to inflict maximum effect on a target with a minimum expenditure of ammunition. It also reduces our vulnerability to enemy target acquisition (TA) devices. Failure to mass fires gives the enemy time to react and seek protection.

Target Location Methods


Target Location

One of the key requirements for the delivery of accurate predicted fire on a target is accurate target location. To successfully perform his duties, the observer must be able to determine an accurate position of a target on the ground. The keys to accurate target location are follows:

  1. Self-locating to within 100 meters each time he moves.
  2. Using prominent terrain features to relate potential target areas to grid locations on the map.
  3. Associating the direction in which he is looking with a direction line on the map.
  4. Ensuring that a planned target is always a recognizable point on the ground (except for “cannot observe” missions).

Grid Method

Grid Slide

In Target location by grid coordinates the observer’s location need not be known to the FDC. The observer normally locates targets to an accuracy of 100 meters (six-place grid). He does this by polar-plotting on the appropriate map and then reading the grid. When additional accuracy is required (for example, for registration points and known points), the observer should locate targets to the nearest 10 meters (eight-place grid). Although there is no requirement to send target altitude, transmitting it to the FDC increases the accuracy of the initial fires.

Polar Method

Polar Slide

In this method, the observer’s location must be known to the FDC. The observer does not need a map,This method is easy and quick. In a mobile situation it is more difficult for the observer to determine his location and send it to the FDC. Here are the steps:

  1. Determine the observer-target (OT) direction
  2. Estimate the distance to the target (nearest 100 meters). Use all information obtained from the terrain-map study to determine the OT distance.
  3. Determine a vertical shift, if significant. Determine an up or down shift if the difference between the observer altitude and the target altitude is significant (greater than 35 meters).

Shift Method

Shift Method Slides

The observer may have one or more known points in his area of responsibility.These are readily identifiable points whose locations are known to both the observer and the FDC. The observer does not need a map to use this method; he needs only a known point. The steps in locating:

  1. Identify to the FDC the known point to be used; for example SHIFT KNOWN POINT 1.
  2. Determine the OT direction. This direction can be a grid azimuth (the preferred method) or a cardinal direction. Examples are (grid azimuth) DIRECTION 4360 and (cardinal direction) DIRECTION, SOUTHWEST.
  3. Determine a lateral shift from a known point to the OT line. If the angular deviation from the observer-known point line to the OT line can be determined, a shift in meters can be computed by using the mil relation formula, W= R x m. This formula is based on the assumption that an angle of 1 mil will subtend an arc of 1 meter at a distance of 1,000 meters.
  4. Determine a range change along the OT line. The observer must determine whether the target is at a greater or lesser distance than the known point. If the target is farther away than the known point, the observer must determine an add correction. If the target is closer, the observer must determine a drop correction the estimated distance correction for a difference in distance between the known point and the target is expressed to the nearest 100 meters.
  5. Determine a vertical shift, if significant. If there is a significant difference (more than 35 meters) in altitude between the known point and the target, the observer must include it in his target location. If the target is at a higher altitude than the known point, the observer determines an up correction based on the difference in altitude. If the target is at a lower altitude, he must give a down correction based on the difference in altitude. Whether a vertical shift is sent or not depends on several factors. Normally, if the mission is an FFE mission, a vertical shift should be sent to improve accuracy. The observer should weigh the time needed to determine and send a vertical shift against the time available. Experienced observers who can quickly determine differences in altitude should send a vertical shift when the difference in altitude is greater than 35 meters. When responsiveness is paramount, inexperienced observers should not try to send a vertical shift. The correction for a difference in altitude is expressed to the nearest 5 meters.

The Call For Fire(CFF)

Introduction to CFF

CFF Introduction Slide

A call for fire (CFF) is a concise message prepared by the observer. It contains all information needed by the FDC to determine the method of target attack. It is a request for fire, not an order. It must be sent quickly but clearly enough that it can be understood, recorded, and read back, without error, by the FDC. The observer should tell the RATELO that he has seen a target so the RATELO can start the call for fire while the target location is being determined. Information is sent as it is determined rather than waiting until a complete call for fire has been prepared.

Regardless of the method of target location used, the normal call for fire is sent in three parts consisting of six elements. The six elements, in the sequence in which they are transmitted. They are as follows:

  • Observer identification.
  • Warning order.
  • Target location.
  • Target description.
  • Method of engagement.
  • Method of fire and control.

The three transmissions in a call for fire are as follows:

  • Transmission One: Observer identification and warning order.
  • Transmission Two: Target location.
  • Transmission Three: Description of target, method of engagement, and method of fire and control.

There is a break after each transmission, and the FDC reads back the data.

Transmission One

T1 Slide

OBSERVER IDENTIFICATION - This element of the call for fire tells the FDC who is calling for fire.

WARNING ORDER - The warning order clears the net for the fire mission and tells the FDC the type of mission and the type of target location that will be used. The warning order consists of the type of mission, the size of the element to fire for effect, and the method of target location. It is a request for fire unless prior authority has been given to order fire.

Transmission 1 Examples
  • Type of Mission.
  1. Adjust Fire. When the observer believes that an adjustment must be made (because of questionable target location or lack of registration corrections), he announces ADJUST FIRE.
  2. Fire for Effect. The observer should always strive for first-round FFE. The accuracy required to fire for effect depends on the accuracy of target location and the ammunition being used. When the observer is certain that the target location is accurate and that the first volley should have the desired effect on the target so that little or no adjustment is required, he announces FIRE FOR EFFECT.
  3. Suppression. To quickly bring fire on a target that is not active, the observer announces SUPPRESS (followed by the target identification). Suppression (S) missions are normally fired on preplanned targets, and a duration is associated with the call for fire.
  4. Immediate Suppression and Immediate Smoke. When engaging a planned target or target of opportunity that has taken friendly maneuver or aerial elements under fire, the observer announces IMMEDIATE SUPPRESSION or IMMEDIATE SMOKE (followed by the target location). Though the grid method of target location is the most common, any method of target location may be used in firing an immediate suppression or immediate smoke mission.
  • Method of Target Location.
  1. Polar Plot. If the target is located by the polar plot method of target location, the observer announces POLAR; for example, ADJUST FIRE, POLAR, OVER.
  2. Shift From a Known Point. If the target is located by the shift from a known point method of target location, the observer announces SHIFT (followed by the known point); for example, ADJUST FIRE, SHIFT KNOWN POINT 1, OVER.
  3. Grid. If the grid method of target location is being used, the word grid is not announced; for example, ADJUST FIRE, OVER.

Transmission Two

T2 Slide


  • In a grid mission, six-place grids normally are sent. Eight-place grids should be sent for registration points or other points for which greater accuracy is required. The OT direction normally will be sent after the entire initial call for fire, since it is not needed by the FDC to locate the target. NOTE: Direction is expressed to the nearest 10 mils.
  • In a shift from a known point mission, the point or target from which the shift will be made is sent in the warning order. The point must be known to both the observer and the FDC. The observer then sends the OT direction. Normally, it is sent in mils. However, the FDC can accept degrees or cardinal directions, whichever is specified by the observer. The corrections are sent next:
  1. The lateral shift (how far left or right the target is) from the known point.
  2. The range shift (how much farther [ADD] or closer [DROP] the target is in relation to the known point, to the nearest 100 meters).
  3. The vertical shift (how much the target is above [UP] or below [DOWN] the altitude of the known point, to the nearest 5 meters). (The vertical shift is ignored unless it exceeds 35 meters.)
  • In a polar plot mission, the word polar in the warning order alerts the FDC that the target will be located with respect to the observer’s position. The observer’s location must be known to the FDC. The observer then sends thedirection and distance. A vertical shift tells the FDC how far, in meters, the target is located above or below the observer’s location.

Transmission Three

T3A Slide

TARGET DESCRIPTION The observer must describe the target in enough detail that the FDC can determine the amount and type of ammunition to use. The FDC selects different ammunition for different types of targets. The observer should be brief but accurate. The description should contain the following:

  • What the target is (troops, equipment, supply dump,trucks, and so forth).
  • What the target is doing (digging in, in an assembly area, and so forth)
  • The number of elements in the target (squad, platoon,three trucks, six tanks, and so forth).
  • The degree of protection (in open, in foxholes, in bunkers with overhead protection, and so forth).
  • The target size and shape if these are significant. If the target is rectangular, the length and width (in meters) and the attitude (azimuth of the long axis 0000-3199) to the nearest 100 mils should be given; for example, 400 BY 200, ATTITUDE 2800. If the target is circular, the radius should be given; for example, RADIUS 200. Linear targets may be described by length, width, and attitude.


T3B Slide

The observer may indicate how he wants to attack the target. This element consists of the type of adjustment,trajectory, ammunition, and distribution. DANGER CLOSE and MARK are included as appropriate.

  • Type of Adjustment. Two types of adjustment may be employed—precision and area. Unless precision fire is specified, area fire will be used.
  1. Precision fire is conducted with one weapon on a point target. It is used either to obtain registration corrections or to destroy a target. When the mission is a registration, it is initiated by the FDC with a message to observer. If the target is to be destroyed, the observer announces DESTRUCTION.
  2. Area fire is used to attack an area target. Since many area targets are mobile, the adjustment should be as quick as possible, consistent with accuracy, to keep the target from escaping. A well-defined point at or near the center of the area to be attacked should be selected and used as an aiming point. This point is called the adjusting point during adjust fire missions. To achieve surprise, fire may be adjusted on an auxiliary adjusting point and, after adjustment is completed, the fire for effect shifted to the target. Normally, adjustment on an area target is conducted with one adjusting weapon.
  • Danger Close. DANGER CLOSE is included in the method of engagement when the target is (rounds will impact) within 600 meters of friendly troops for mortar and artillery, 750 meters for naval guns 5-inch and smaller, and 1,000 meters for naval guns larger than 5-inch. For naval 16-inch ICM, danger close is 2,000 meters.
  • MARK is included in the method of engagement to indicate that the observer is going to call for rounds for either of the following reasons:
  1. To orient himself in his zone of observation.
  2. TO indicate targets to ground troops, aircraft, or fire support.
  • Trajectory. Low-angle fire is standard for field artillery. If high-angle fire is desired, it is requested immediately after the type of engagement. If high angle is not specified, low angle will (normally) be used. If the firing unit determines that high angle must be used to attack a target, the unit must inform the observer that high angle will be used. Mortars fire only high angle
  • Ammunition. The observer may request any type of ammunition during the adjustment or the FFE phase of his mission. Shell HE with fuze quick is normally used in adjustment. If that is what the observer desires, he need not request it in his call for fire. If the observer does not request a shell-fuze in effect, the fire direction officer (FDO) determines the shell-fuze combination.
  1. Projectile. Examples of requests for other than HE projectile are ILLUMINATION, ICM, and SMOKE.
  2. Fuze. Most missions are fired with fuze quick during the adjustment phase. If fuze quick is desired or if a projectile that has only one fuze is requested, fuze is not indicated. Illuminating, ICM, and smoke projectiles are fuzed with time fuzes; therefore, when the observer requests ILLUMINATION, ICM, or SMOKE, he does not announce TIME.
  3. Volume of Fire. The observer may request the number of rounds to be fired by the weapons firing in effect. For example, 3 ROUNDS indicates that the firing unit will fire three volleys.
  • Distribution. The observer may control the pattern of bursts in the target area. This pattern of bursts is called a sheaf. Unless otherwise requested, the battery computer system (BCS) assumes a circular target with a 100-meter radius. The BCS determines individual weapon aiming points to distribute the bursts for best coverage of this type of target. A converged sheaf places all rounds on a specific point and is used for small, hard targets. Special sheafs of any length and width may be requested. An open sheaf separates the bursts by the maximum effective burst width of the shell fired. If target length and width are given, attitude also must be given. If target length is equal to or greater than five times the target width, the BCS assumes a linear target. The mortar ballistic computer assumes the target is linear and fires a parallel sheaf unless a special sheaf is requested.

The method of fire and control element indicates the desired manner of attacking the target, whether the observer wants to control the time of delivery of fire, and whether he can observe the target. Methods of control at my command (AMC) and time on target (TOT) are especially useful in massing fires. The AMC and TOT missions achieve surprise and maximize the effects of the initial volley on a target. When used by the observer, these methods of control can reduce the sporadic engagement of the target, or “popcorn effect,” which can be the result of rounds fired when ready. Methods of fire and control are announced by the observer by use of the terms we will discuss now.

  • Method of Control.
T3C Slide
  1. At My Command. If the observer wishes to control the time of delivery of fire, he includes AT MY COMMAND in the method of control. When the pieces are ready to fire, the FDC announces PLATOON (or BATTERY or BATTALION) IS READY, OVER. (Call signs are used.) The observer announces FIRE when he is ready for the pieces to fire. AT MY COMMAND remains in effect throughout the mission until the observer announces CANCEL AT MY COMMAND, OVER.
  2. Cannot Observe. CANNOT OBSERVE indicates that the observer cannot see the target (because of vegetation, terrain, weather, or smoke); however, he has reason to believe that a target exists at the given location and that it is important enough to justify firing on it without adjustment.
  3. Time on Target. The observer may tell the FDC when he wants the rounds to impact by requesting TIME ON TARGET (so many) MINUTES FROM...NOW, OVER or TIME ON TARGET 0859, OVER. The FO must conduct a time hack to ensure that 0859 on his watch is 0859 on the FDC’s watch.
  4. Continuous Illumination. If no interval is given by the observer, the FDC determines the interval by the burning time of the illuminating ammunition in use. If any other interval is required, it is indicated in seconds.
  5. Coordinated Illumination. The observer may order the interval between illuminating and HE shells, in seconds, to achieve a time of impact of the HE coincident with optimum illumination; or he may use normal AT MY COMMAND procedures.
  6. Cease Loading. The command CEASE LOADING is used during firing of two or more rounds to indicate the suspension of loading rounds into the gun(s). The gun sections may fire any rounds that have already been loaded.
  7. Check Firing. CHECK FIRING is used to cause an immediate halt in firing.
  8. Continuous Fire. In field artillery, mortars, and naval gunfire, continuous fire means loading and firing as rapidly as possible, consistent with accuracy, within the prescribed rate of fire for the equipment. Firing will continue until suspended by the command CEASE LOADING or CHECK FIRING.
  9. Repeat. REPEAT can be given during adjustment or FFE missions. During Adjustment. REPEAT means fire another round(s) with the last data and adjust for any change in ammunition if necessary. REPEAT is not sent in the initial call for fire.During Fire for Effect. REPEAT means fire the same number of rounds using the same method of fire for effect as last fired. Changes in the number of guns, the previous corrections, the interval, or the ammunition may be requested.
  10. Followed By. This is part of a term used to indicate a change in the rate of fire, in the type of ammunition, or in another order for fire for effect; for example, WP FOLLOWED BY HE.

Corrections of Errors

  • Errors are sometimes made in transmitting data or by the FDC personnel in reading back the data. If the observer realizes that he has made an error in his transmission or that the FDC has made an error in the read back, he announces CORRECTION and transmits the correct data.


  • When an error has been made in a subelement and the correction of that subelement will affect other transmitted data, CORRECTION is announced. Then the correct subelement and all affected data are transmitted in the proper sequence.


Message to Observer

MTO Slide

After the FDC receives the call for fire, it determines how the target will be attacked. That decision is announced to, the observer in the form of a message to observer (MTO). The MTO consists of the four items we will be discussing now.

  1. Unit(s) to Fire. The battery (or batteries) that will fire the mission is (are) announced. If the battalion is firing in effect with one battery adjusting, the FDC designates the FFE unit (battalion) and the adjusting unit by using the last letter of the call sign [OMITTED FOR ARMA]
  2. Changes to the Call for Fire. Any change to what the observer requested in the call for fire is announced. For Example: The observer requested ICM in effect and the FDO decides to fire VT in effect. The MTO being VT in Effect.
  3. Number of Rounds. The number of rounds per tube in fire for effect is announced; for example, T, G, VT IN EFFECT, 4 ROUNDS.
  4. Target Number. A target number is assigned to each mission to facilitate processing of subsequent corrections; for example, T, G, VT IN EFFECT, 4 ROUNDS, AA7732,OVER.
  • Additional Info provided to the Observer like "Time of Flight" is sent to an observer during a moving target mission, during an aerial observer mission, during a high-angle mission, and for shell HE in a coordinated illumination mission when using BY SHELL AT MY COMMAND, or when requested.

Mission Completion

Mission Completion Slide

Once the FFE is over, the observer should observe the results of the fire for effect and then take whatever action is necessary to complete the mission. Here are some key terms related to mission completion:

  1. Repeat: If the desired effect is not achieved, the mission is fired again.
  2. End of Mission: If the desired effect is achieved, the observer ends the mission.
  3. Refinement, Record as Target, End of Mission and Surveillance (RREMS): RREMS is used when you plan to use this same target again. You request the FDC to register this target, you can also refine the fire mission.

Lets go over a few examples (Table on slide).

FO Lecture

Adjustment of Fire

Adjustment of fire is done by the observer once the initial impact(s) of a fire mission occur, and end when the desired effects are achieved on the target or the mission ends. The faster and more accurately the observer adjusts the fire, the less time the enemy will have to react.

Adjustment Terms and Methods

Terms Slide
  • OT Line - The imaginary line between the observer and the target, measured in mils.
  • Deviation - The lateral (left/right) measurement a round impacts from the OT Line. Given as Left or Right a distance in meters.
  • Range - The measurement a round impacts long or short of the target along the OT line. Given as Add or Drop a distance in meters.
  • Height-of-Burst (HOB) - The measurement a round bursts vertically above the target. Give as Up or Down an altitude in meters.
  • Bracketing - A method of determining range by attempting to adjust impacts both long and short of the target in order to establish a distance envelope or "bracket" that the target must lie in.

Adjustment Techniques

Deviation Adjustment
  • Adjust using Mil-Relation Formula - Deviation can be estimated so long as a reasonably accurate range to target is known.
    1. Determine the OT Factor by estimating the range to target to the nearest 100 meters and dividing that number by 1000.
      1. Example: 2000 meters / 1000 = 2. OT Factor = 2.
    2. Measure the angular deviation between the impact and target in mils using binoculars, scope, or compass.
      1. Example: 50 mils left of target.
    3. Multiply the angular deviation by the OT factor to determine the shift in meters required to adjust rounds onto target.
      1. Example: 50 mils (deviation left) * 2 (OT Factor) = 100 meter shift right.
Range Adjustment (Bracketing)
Bracketing Slide
  • Successive Bracketing - Successive bracketing is the easiest and most reliable method that uses the minimum amount of adjustments to guarantee a range-correct hit.
    1. Observe the first impact of the mission in relation to the target and determine if it is Long (beyond) or Short (in front of) the target. If it is within the acceptable error (~50m), range is correct and continue adjusting deviation and/or HOB until on target.
    2. Make a bold adjustment (400m - 800m) in the opposite direction of the first impact along the OT line.
      1. Example: First round lands short of target, the first adjustment will be to Add 400 meters.
    3. Observe the subsequent impact, if the round lands on the opposite side of the target from the initial impact, you now have a bracket of ranges the target must lie within.
      1. Example: First round lands short, after an Add 400m adjustment, the next round lands long. We now know the target must lie within that 400m bracket.
    4. Divide the initial adjustment by 2, and adjust once again in the opposite direction, and observe if the round impacts long or short.
      1. Example: Third round lands short, we now know that the target must lie within a 200m bracket (between the second and third impacts).
    5. Repeat step 4 until your impacts are within ~50m of the target's correct range. Once within this bracket the range is correct. Make any needed adjustments to deviation or HOB then Fire for Effect.
      1. Example: Round lands 30m long of target, this is within the 50m error, so we can assume range is correct. The massed fires of firing unit in the Fire for Effect should cover the actual target.
  • Hasty Bracketing - Hasty bracketing begins exactly as successive bracketing does, with establishing an initial bracket using bold adjustments. Once this initial bracket is established, instead of dividing the initial adjustment by 2, the observer instead attempts to immediately estimate where in that bracket the target lies and make an adjustment to meet that estimate.
    • Example: An initial bracket of 800m is established. The observer estimates that the target lies about 1/4 of the way along the bracket from the far side. Adjusting from the far side of the bracket, the observer gives the adjustment Drop 200, in order to place the next impact 1/4 of the way closer, matching their estimate.
Range Adjustment (Creeping Fire)
  • Creeping Fire is used when the impacts of rounds will land dangerously close to friendly positions. To reduce the chance of a short round landing on friendly positions, the observer targets far enough away to avoid friendly fire, then adjusts closer and closer to friendly positions until desired effects are achieved. This is most likely used in a defensive scenario.

FSBO Lecture

Battery Tablet Familiarization

Fire Orders

Follow Up

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  • ATP 3-09 - The Field Artillery Cannon Battery
  • FM 6-30 - Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Observed Fires
  • FM 6-40 - Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Field Artillery Manual Cannon Battery
  • FM 6-50 - Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Field Artillery Manual Cannon Battery
  • FM 3-22 - Mortars
  • FM 7-90 - Tactical Employment of Mortars