Author Topic: Forward observer  (Read 9621 times)

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Offline Tev

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Forward observer
« on: September 12, 2014, 17:53:21 »
Hello,
I've been really interested in pursuing a career in the artillery after university but I'm not sure if I would like to DEO or enlist as an NCM.
My question is : I know that there are Forward observer roles for officers, but do these also exist for NCMs ? If so, at what level ?
Bonus question : Are these kinds of roles available in the Reserves ? Is it realistic to expect to do this kind of work if I choose to go into the Pres ?

Thanks.


Offline jeffb

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Re: Forward observer role in the artillery
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 19:04:16 »
I am not a recruiter but I am an artillery officer. A FOO party is comprised of an officer, the FOO and several NCMs depending on what is going on. These jobs include: an OP Detachment Commander, OPDC, (MBdr/Sgt), a Det 2I/C (MBdr), a driver (Gnr/Bdr) and a tech (Gnr/Bdr). There may also be a Forward Air Controller (FAC) and the FOO or OPDC may or may not also be FAC qualified. There are FOOs and FOO parties in both the reserve and regular Army.

Check out the artillery section of this website for more info.

Jeff
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Offline Tev

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Re: Forward observer role in the artillery
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2014, 20:04:05 »
Thanks for the reply.


Offline Just_A_Guy

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Forward observer
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2017, 17:29:38 »
do forward observers serve at the front with the infantry? what exactly do they do?

Offline Just_A_Guy

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2017, 19:34:49 »
also, is that a final job, or is it apart of an artillery soldiers agenda?

Offline FJAG

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2017, 22:11:07 »
do forward observers serve at the front with the infantry? what exactly do they do?

Yes. Gun batteries are located a few miles back from the front lines while FOO parties are attached to and operate with forward infantry companies or armored and reconnaissance squadrons. In addition there is an artillery coordination cell deployed forward with each infantry battalion and armored regimental headquarters.

 :cheers:
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Offline Just_A_Guy

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2017, 22:22:53 »
thanks

Offline BeyondTheNow

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2017, 11:20:53 »
do forward observers serve at the front with the infantry? what exactly do they do?

Quote from: Just_A_Guy link=topics=116310.msg1509415#
what do they do? are they at the front with the infantry?

thanks

Typing your questions multiple times will not guarantee a user responds more timely. In the future please ask your question once, wait patiently and search/read in the interim. Thank you.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 11:23:30 by BeyondTheNow »
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Offline Just_A_Guy

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forward observer
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2017, 12:33:09 »
is it a final job? or do artillery soldiers take turns being the FOO?

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: forward observer
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2017, 13:55:33 »
is it a final job? or do artillery soldiers take turns being the FOO?

If you read your history, you'll see that when you're in battle supporting the Infantry, the massive casualty rate sometimes ensures that everyone gets a chance to be FOO, or else.

On the upside, when the human wave assaults come, you'll become everyone's best friend pretty fast.  ;D
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline jeffb

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2017, 18:37:13 »
Not sure what you mean by final job. If you are an officer, you MAY be a FOO for 1 - 2 years. If you are an NCM, it is possible that you could serve a large part of your career in an OP Party. Note that while I'm not sure of the exact number, only slightly more than  half of officers across the Regular Army get qualified as a FOO. The percentage of those on the NCM side would be much less.
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Online mariomike

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Re: forward observer
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2017, 18:46:01 »
or do artillery soldiers take turns being the FOO?

This may help,

FOO vs. FOO Tech 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=22853.0
2 pages.

Artillery crew job duties 
https://army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=96844.0

Offline Just_A_Guy

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FSO
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2017, 14:09:27 »
do FSO's serve at the front, or in staff? i know the NCM version is at the front with an infantry unit, but i don't understand the FSO concept.

cheers

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: FSO
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2017, 14:54:47 »
If by FSO you mean Fire Support Officer, the Canadian term is Forward Observation Officer (FOO). Artillery officers in the FOO position or role do their job with forward units. Search the forums, their role and responsibilities have been discussed.

Google - site:army.ca FOO

Including this thread from yesterday: https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,116310.0.html

Offline Just_A_Guy

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Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2017, 19:30:44 »
what is the day to day life as a FOO? what do you do day to day? do you get shot at a lot? how many soldiers do you command?

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2017, 12:01:22 »
what is the day to day life as a FOO? what do you do day to day? do you get shot at a lot? how many soldiers do you command?

This is instructive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gUSq7pxux4
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2017, 12:13:16 »
what is the day to day life as a FOO? what do you do day to day? do you get shot at a lot? how many soldiers do you command?

And this is an example of a Canadian officer who served as a FOO.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichola_Goddard
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Offline FJAG

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Re: Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2017, 15:09:28 »
This is instructive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gUSq7pxux4

Thanks for that. It's been forty-five years since I've seen L5s firing (even if they are shooting blanks, have shields off and are using two legs cranked)  ;D

This is my troop in Shilo in '71. (Live ammo, shields on, three legs straight)

https://plus.google.com/photos/100683112500627401489/album/6094371381228428449/6216386684051503074  :warstory:

 :cheers:
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Offline FJAG

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2017, 15:18:07 »
Since we're on talking about FOOs, here's another oldie this time in the early seventies when I was in F Battery 2 RCHA.

One of those rare opportunities on a winter exercise where we were allowed to shoot from an observation shed. Me in the middle, my tech sergeant on my right (with binos up) and my sig on the left. My fourth guy would be the driver for our M113 who would be with the vehicle down the hill making coffee and baloney and egg sandwiches. :warstory:

https://plus.google.com/photos/100683112500627401489/album/6094371381228428449/6216386918973059906

 :cheers:
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2017, 11:18:59 »
Thanks for that. It's been forty-five years since I've seen L5s firing (even if they are shooting blanks, have shields off and are using two legs cranked)  ;D

This is my troop in Shilo in '71. (Live ammo, shields on, three legs straight)

https://plus.google.com/photos/100683112500627401489/album/6094371381228428449/6216386684051503074  :warstory:

 :cheers:

A nice little Italian gun that I'm sad we don't throw out of the back of a herc anymore....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline FJAG

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Re: Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2017, 13:00:34 »
A nice little Italian gun that I'm sad we don't throw out of the back of a herc anymore....

I always wondered why we had the thing considering we operated it on the Prairies out of portee equipped deuce and a halfs but shortly after being posted to 2RCHA was sent off to see it in its natural environment in the Alps on a two week visit to 1º Reggimento artiglieria da montagna out of Turin which at the time was a true regiment of three groups (Aosta, Susa and Mondovi) of three batteries each (one of which, their ACE Mobile Force battery, was motorized while the rest had mules. (Fun fact - it takes longer to train mule handlers than it takes to train junior artillery officers)

Biggest lesson learned was that you do NOT FOLLOW a battery of eighty mules up narrow mountain trails unless your hotel room has a really good bidet in which you can hose down your boots before trying to take them off. ;D (Fun fact two - when shooting in the mountains, quite often the angle of sight [angle barrel is set at to adjust in the difference of height between the gun and the target] is greater than the elevation [angle barrel is set at to adjust for the range from the gun to the target] - something you never saw on the Prairies (or even Petawawa).

 :cheers:

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2017, 13:05:46 »
I always wondered why we had the thing considering we operated it on the Prairies out of portee equipped deuce and a halfs but shortly after being posted to 2RCHA was sent off to see it in its natural environment in the Alps on a two week visit to 1º Reggimento artiglieria da montagna out of Turin which at the time was a true regiment of three groups (Aosta, Susa and Mondovi) of three batteries each (one of which, their ACE Mobile Force battery, was motorized while the rest had mules. (Fun fact - it takes longer to train mule handlers than it takes to train junior artillery officers)

Biggest lesson learned was that you do NOT FOLLOW a battery of eighty mules up narrow mountain trails unless your hotel room has a really good bidet in which you can hose down your boots before trying to take them off. ;D (Fun fact two - when shooting in the mountains, quite often the angle of sight [angle barrel is set at to adjust in the difference of height between the gun and the target] is greater than the elevation [angle barrel is set at to adjust for the range from the gun to the target] - something you never saw on the Prairies (or even Petawawa).

 :cheers:

Yeah, I was with the ACE Mobile Force in Norway for a few winters. The Italian Alpini's guns were the only ones they could bring into action fast off roads because they were so light. It was like having a heavy, more accurate and longer range, mortar battery in direct support.

Aaaaaaand it's official... you and I have dragged this thread well off the beaten path! ;)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2017, 13:56:00 »
FJAG is correct on both counts (we were on the attachment together) but as I was raised o a farm, I knew better than follow a large number of biggish herbivores up a trail. Or at least to watch where I am putting my feet.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 13:59:58 by Old Sweat »

Offline FJAG

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Re: Day to day life as a FOO
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2017, 16:55:39 »
Yeah, I was with the ACE Mobile Force in Norway for a few winters. The Italian Alpini's guns were the only ones they could bring into action fast off roads because they were so light. It was like having a heavy, more accurate and longer range, mortar battery in direct support.

Aaaaaaand it's official... you and I have dragged this thread well off the beaten path! ;)

I'll take it a bit further. At the time our D Bty 2 RCHA also used L5's back in the 70's. You really could put them in some tight spots (with 2 legs cranked) and they gave you a range of 10,500m with 33 lbs of steel and TNT. Useful tool. To give them a bit more mobility, the gun tractors there were M548 portees. (although I sometimes think that most of my time there was spent with Hueys and Voyageurs as our gun tractors - especially on winter exercises.)

(Small correction. Just looked at OldSweat's article in the 1973 Gunner again and noted that each of the 1st Mountain Artillery Regts' groups only had two batteries each.)

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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2017, 06:57:07 »
The M548 as a porter vehicle was a good idea that wasn't. The fuel line ran under the floor and tended to freeze. We used to keep the engine running 24/7, but eventually there would be enough condensation to freeze the fuel system. The only recourse was to recover the vehicle to a heated building and wait at least 72 hours before draining the fuel and refilling. We were using C1s at the time as cracks had been detected in the barrels of our L5s, so we were towing our guns. St Barbara must have shaken her head in disbelief when she was the Battery CP and several echelon vehicles pressed into service as gun tractors.

Offline FJAG

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2017, 13:13:39 »
I did a quick search of a couple of issues of the Gunner because I thought that there was a time we also used the BV202 (I think we had them at the time. It was before the 206 came into service) but had no luck. Did come across the article on our trip to Italy that you wrote as well as one by me on how we were using individual gun MV settings with FACE. That's got to be my first ever published article.  ;D

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Offline Greybeard

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2017, 02:20:42 »
With D Bty in Norway on an AMF (L) FTX followed by a practice camp in Feb/Mar 1984 we used BV-202s as gun tractors for our L5s, recce vehs and the CP.  Came with Norwegian drivers, complete with their bag of straw to sleep on, along with grey wool blankets.  Nothing but the best for conscript troops! 

I recall we made up an air mattress and sleeping bag set for our driver so he could ditch the straw.  Figured if anyone should get a good sleep each night it was him!
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Offline Just_A_Guy

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2017, 21:29:00 »
what is the life expectancy these days? how dangerous is it being a fire support officer in the Canadian military?

Online mariomike

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Re: Forward observer
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2017, 21:37:39 »
how dangerous is it being a fire support officer in the Canadian military?

If by FSO you mean Fire Support Officer, the Canadian term is Forward Observation Officer (FOO). Artillery officers in the FOO position or role do their job with forward units. Search the forums, their role and responsibilities have been discussed.

Google - site:army.ca FOO

Including this thread from yesterday: https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,116310.0.html