Author Topic: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire  (Read 34420 times)

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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2011, 17:12:28 »
I think indirect fire predates the First World War, but a lot of the evidence is spare. I have a 1910 Book which discusses it (it also talks about air defence) but not in a lot of detail. Perhaps you should do some digging into coastal artillery systems as it evolved into something approaching indirect by the early years of the 20th century. If you get up to the Ottawa area, I will let you dig in my library, which is fairly extensive.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2011, 17:37:20 »
Here's the Chapter on Laying from the 1928 Artillery Training, Vol II, Gunnery:

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2011, 17:37:53 »
.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2011, 17:38:14 »
.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2011, 17:45:57 »
And the first few pages from Chapter V - Lines of Fire and the Angle of Sight




Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2011, 17:55:48 »
I have a 1914 copy of "Handbook of Artillery Instruments".  This book is a description of the various peices of observation, orientation and fixation devices in service at that time in the British Empire.  The book doesn't tell you how to use the devices tactically, but reading between the lines, it is clear (to me anyway) that the point of all these devices was so that a distant observer could direct the fire of a particular Battery of guns (note- no mention is made of any unit of Guns above Battery.  I  would infer that that development came sometime in the next 12-24 months) at a target not observable from the gun position.

FWIW.

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2011, 18:06:34 »
I suspect you are correct. In the Great War the British gunners did well, but the command and control was rudimentary, at least in the early years. An example with an interesting twist. At Second Ypres in April 1917 a battery commander realized that the 8th Battalion CEF was going to be attacked by overwhelming German forces and no Canadian guns were within range. So this officer on his own moved his battery forward and supported the Little Black Devils during their epic defence of Gravenstafel Ridge. The battery commander was Major Henry Crerar.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2011, 19:11:06 »
My readings indicate that a Russian fellow wrote a manual on indirect fire in 1882, and the Germans produced a similar manual afterwards. The Russian manual used terms such as "aiming points", "crest clearance" and corrections to be used by observers. Indirect fire was used on a fairly large scale by both sides in the Russo-Japanese War (1904/05). One of the major technological breakthroughts that permitted indirect fire was so-called "quick firing" artillery. These were guns with recoil systems that we all take for granted but were quite revolutionary at the time. Recoil systems meant that the gun stayed in the same position after firing, which meant that you could actually predict with some reasonable hope of hitting the same place again with your next shot. This made accuracy and adjustments possible over distances.

Despite observing this during the Russo-Japanese War the major armies entered the First World War planning to fire their artillery direct. They quickly had to adapt to the fire-swept modern battlefield and employ indirect fire.
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2011, 19:35:59 »
You are spot in with most of your post. The only place where I would dispute you was in the term "quick firing." This did not refer to the presence of a recoil system. Instead it referred to the use of a one piece round with the means of obturation (the prevention of gas escaping backwards out of the breech) by the use of a cartridge case that also held the projectile. The other main method was termed breech loading which had the projectile and charge loaded separately.

Good job, T2B.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 20:49:28 by Infanteer »

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2011, 19:47:36 »
From what I am reading, at the time of their introduction guns equipped with recoil systems were given the name "quick firing" with the axial recoil being the major breakthrough that led to that term being given (Ian Hogg's "The Guns 1914-18" is the closest book to hand right now). My readings indicate that they were called "quick firing" because the crew didn't have to get clear of the gun before firing and the gun would not need to be pushed back into place.

I note, however, that these guns (the French 75mm being the first and most famous) also had one piece ammunition with the features you describe. Perhaps the term "QF" has slightly different meanings depending on the period and nationality?
Well-trained, older Panzer crews are the decisive factor for success...It is preferable to start off with fewer Panzers than to set out with young crews who lack combat experience.

 - Verbal report of Gen Balck 1943

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2011, 20:45:23 »
Thanks everyone for the replies so far.  The pieces are starting to come together and all the posts are matching with what I have found.  All the info I am getting is mostly from Wiki. 

The earliest mention of indirect fire is, and was invented by an Italian mathematician/surveyor named Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia (1550-1557) that aligned cannons and targets with intermediate pickets.  This seemed to be the method that stayed in use until the early 1900s.

As Tango has said, I found Russian Lt Col KG Guk, that in 1882 introduced the use of geometry and measurement of angles compared to the target, but he still didn't have the device (goniometer) to measure the angles.  This device was invented by the Germans in 1890, a device they called a lining-plate (never heard it called that before).

SeaKing's book for the beginning of WWI maybe the first mention of magnetic compasses used for orientation.  SeaKing, is there a section titled "orientation of director" or something along those lines and does it mention magnetic compass?

This would be in line with General McNaughton's use of sound ranging, which I am assuming that he used magnetic compasses.  He could have used map coordinates and with a little math and intervisibility between microphones, could have oriented them that way.  Still not sure.

Michael's gunnery manuals from 1928 talk about directors on the last two pages and it seems that the compass was still separate from the director, unlike modern survey instruments that it is built in.

Next step, gyrocompasses. 

Thanks again everyone.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 20:48:19 by GnyHwy »

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2011, 21:00:08 »
Found some stuff on gyrocompasses.  Originally used in the Navy in WWI, and eventually used by the Airforce in WWII.  Still looking for the first time it was used for artillery orientation.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2011, 21:42:50 »
After some advice from Old Sweat to look for coast artillery stuff I found this.  It's a US coast artillery book from 1918 that maybe the first publication that goes into detail about modern survey and orientation methods.  It has all the stuff that we have used up until the 90s and could still potentially use in the future, as long as we keep a few dinosaurs in.  These skills have certainly fell of the table in recent years.  Only a small handful of guys can still do this kind of stuff.

http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/utils/getfile/collection/p15040coll1/id/467/filename/465.pdf
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 21:47:21 by GnyHwy »

Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2011, 22:31:18 »
GnyHwy-
My book specifically mentions a compass as part of the No 3 Director, Mark 1.

Also, the Observation of Fire Apparatus shows a magnetic compass.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2011, 22:41:54 »
Thanks SeaKing.  I have been searching on the below website which I wasn't even aware until this evening.

Combined Arms Research Library (CARL) Digital Library
http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/

It's a pretty awesome site for American pubs.  You can search pretty much anything.  Found some stuff on the Positional Azimuth Determing System (PADS), which is a system I was aware of.  The US Army introduced it in 1985.  This maybe the first use of gyros for Arty orientation.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 23:20:32 by GnyHwy »

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #40 on: November 27, 2011, 22:57:52 »
Found some stuff on gyrocompasses.  Originally used in the Navy in WWI, and eventually used by the Airforce in WWII.  Still looking for the first time it was used for artillery orientation.

It'd be interesting seeing the link between the Navy and the Artillery on this one (thesis topic!) - with the later-Dreadnoughts having 15-inch guns, there has to be some science to shooting that caught the Artillery's attention when they started getting real range.
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #41 on: November 28, 2011, 05:57:59 »
It'd be interesting seeing the link between the Navy and the Artillery on this one (thesis topic!) - with the later-Dreadnoughts having 15-inch guns, there has to be some science to shooting that caught the Artillery's attention when they started getting real range.
Which is why I suggested checking for coastal artillery material. All the problems of naval gunnery except for a moving platform had to be solved. It is interesting that as the range of guns increased, the number used decreased but the effectiveness increased. The same point could be made for naval weapons.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #42 on: November 28, 2011, 10:59:29 »
Going through some of my notes, I found a few passages making references to the equipment useed for indirect artillery fire in the Russo-Japanese War. A British observer noted that the Russian batteries were equipped with telephones by which the observing post could communicate with the guns. The British reports go on to suggest that "this method (indirect fire) ought to be largely practiced by field artillery." Similar observations were made regarding Japanese artillery employing telephones.

Another book makes reference to "gonimetric sights" being developed shortly after "quick-firing" guns appeared (but perhaps it was at the same time, or the technology was married up to the new guns). I think that these are panoramic sights.
Well-trained, older Panzer crews are the decisive factor for success...It is preferable to start off with fewer Panzers than to set out with young crews who lack combat experience.

 - Verbal report of Gen Balck 1943

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #43 on: November 28, 2011, 12:01:00 »
It'd be interesting seeing the link between the Navy and the Artillery on this one (thesis topic!) - with the later-Dreadnoughts having 15-inch guns, there has to be some science to shooting that caught the Artillery's attention when they started getting real range.

I think Infanteer may be on to something there.  The RN's battleship gunners, in four separate gun positions, all fought blind.   They were all given individual laying instructions from a Gunnery/Direction/Control?? Officer positioned high on a mast above the Bridge and equipped with a mechanical computer.  Instructions,  I believe,  were passed internally by sound telephones.   For fleet actions the communications were either by wireless (the RN was an early adopter) or by Aldis Lamp.

It might also be interesting to check on the role of the Heliograph, which permitted long range communications in the pre-wireless days (ca 1850-1914).
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Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #44 on: November 28, 2011, 16:13:11 »
Going through some of my notes, I found a few passages making references to the equipment useed for indirect artillery fire in the Russo-Japanese War. A British observer noted that the Russian batteries were equipped with telephones by which the observing post could communicate with the guns. The British reports go on to suggest that "this method (indirect fire) ought to be largely practiced by field artillery." Similar observations were made regarding Japanese artillery employing telephones.

Another book makes reference to "gonimetric sights" being developed shortly after "quick-firing" guns appeared (but perhaps it was at the same time, or the technology was married up to the new guns). I think that these are panoramic sights.

Wiki mentions the invention of the lining-plate in 1890 by the Germans. This in my mind is the first goniometer, which eventually evolved into current survey intruments and panoramics.

Wiki also mentions' "The earliest example of indirect fire adjusted by an observer seems to be during the defence of Hougoumont in the Battle of Waterloo where a battery of the Royal Horse Artillery fired an indirect Shrapnel barrage against advancing French troops using corrections given by the commander of an adjacent battery with a direct line of sight.[7]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indirect_fire#History
From this reference.  Against All Odds!: Dramatic Last Stand Actions; Perret, Brian; Cassell 2000; ISBN13: 9780304354566: discussed during the account of the Hougoumont action.

Still looking for field artillery gyros, prior to the US Army PADS in 85.

Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2011, 16:23:46 »
The Navy gyrocompass discussion is interesting.  The first use of gyros by them was for WWI, but I am quite certain it was just for navigation (just because a magnetic compass doesn't work too well in a metal ship).  Just like the Airforce using them in WWII, they were just for navigation.

Not sure when the Navy started using them for firing solutions.  It may not have been necessary if the observer in the crow's nest had good visibility.  Even over long ranges, it could still be considered a direct fire mission and the elevation would be much, much more difficult to determine than the orientation.  The orientation would be easy. In line? Check.  Guessing range for correction at 10 NM plus would be unbelievably hard; and without the help of any recognizable features to help judge distance.

Edited to Add:  The best way to judge distance would likely have been to know the length or width of the ship you were up against.  By determining the FOV that it fit into within your telescope, you could probably be fairly accurate with distance.  Range=length or width of target/mils or degrees in the telescope.  Judging the corrections after that would still be very difficult.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 16:34:57 by GnyHwy »

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2011, 17:39:50 »
Sorry about Wiki but I was wondering if it might lead you somewhere:

Ship Gun Fire Control System  Especially RN Systems from 1910
Dreyer Table Pre-1915
Pollen's Argo Clock From about 1905 with integral Gyroscope

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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2011, 18:06:01 »
I have a book in my library that I spent 20 bucks on in the early seventies when a nice house went for 40 grand called Guns at Sea by Peter Padfield. It has a very good explanation of solving the various parts of the gunnery problem. Around 1905 the RN had got a lot of it right, but it still was pretty basic. You might be able to get it through the library system.

Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2011, 18:57:07 »
To add on, Guns At Sea is available from various sources including here: http://www.abebooks.com/9780238789458/Guns-Sea-Padfield-Peter-0238789454/plp
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Offline GnyHwy

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Re: Precision and Accuracy in the call for fire
« Reply #49 on: January 14, 2012, 01:48:15 »
Looking for opinions.  Where do you draw the line that defines accuracy in FOO locating devices?

There are many devices out there that all do much of the same thing, but the general relation is, the more accurate, the more cumbersome.  i.e. The GLPS is the most accurate survey/locating device we own, but not practical for FOO/FAC use.

Devices with digital magnetic compasses (DMC) and built in laser range finders (LRF) offer better accuracy than a prismatic or Silva in a highly mobile device, but will be unreliable in highly magnetic areas like modern cities.

Potential solutions are gyros and diff GPS systems that provide <1 mil accuracy.  They are not as mobile as the Vectors or Coral CRC, but will provide guaranteed accuracy as they are not influenced by magnetic interference. 

Gyros have virtually no limitations in accuracy, but size, weight and the fact they have to be tripod mounted is a hindrance; smaller gyro systems that calibrate on the tripod and then switch to DMC for mobility are available.  Diff GPS has the same size and mounting issues, as well as dealing with a GPS denied environment, but they will continue to improve in size as well.  Digital mapping is another solution, but they are also somewhat combersome as you will be hauling around a small laptop, and they don't help in areas that don't have a lot of close proximity reference objects.

So, when trying to engage with GPS guided munitions where do we draw the line for accuracy in the attempts to narrow down the amount of systems we have?  Will a somewhat guaranteed +/- 5 mil work i.e Vectors or Coral CRC?  Do we need < 1 mil accuracy?

For some framework, if targets are within 1km an instrument like the Vectors and giving up a few mils may not be a big deal, assuming your calibration is good, but out beyond that dropping a GPS guided bomb could be a waste.

Thoughts?

« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 01:52:10 by GnyHwy »