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Does anyone still consider Artillery an area weapon?

GnyHwy

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Hello all,

I am posing this question as with todays COE I believe the use of artillery as an area weapon is outdated.  With the close proximity of friendlies and the many moving parts of a BG we must be as accurate as possible.  If we were to revert back to cold war tactics I would agree but, i don't see htat happening anytime soon.

We have the technology.  Let's use it.   
 

Buddha66

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Technology has also changed the definition of precision.  Despite the great accuracy of the latest versions of artillery weapons, unless a "precision" warhead is being fired it is, in today's parlance still an area weapon.
 

GnyHwy

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I am only speaking of dumb bombs ATT. I have witnessed our accuracy with conventional ammo and I truly believe there is no need for settling for an area tgt.  We are able to hit 1st round (or very close if the wind changes) with very good accuracy and I belive we need to present ourselves as such.

Thanks for the reply.
 

Michael OLeary

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So, how does your theory deal with a conventional dug-in position of company or larger size?  Will you expect a commander to wait while you precision target every vehicle and trench?  Not all operations will always be the current scenario.

 

GnyHwy

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As for bigger targets.  I mentioned in my opening that area effects would still be valid. Rerveting back to those tactics would be quite easy.  Just fire faster with less regard for error budget.  I don't see a company digging in against us anytime soon.     
 

Michael OLeary

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

Perhaps not, but that's no reason to try and claim the skills and technical capability outdated.
 

GnyHwy

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The technical capability you speak is less than what am trying to propose.  To turn Arty into an area weapon is quite simple. To be absoluetly accurate is a problem not yet resolved.  We can achieve area effects already. I am trying to make us better.

Thanks for the discussion.
 

PPCLI Guy

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GnyHwy said:
To be absoluetly accurate is a problem not yet resolved.  We can achieve area effects already. I am trying to make us better.

Are you speaking of TTPs, technological improvements, or branding / marketing?
 

GnyHwy

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TTp's are easy.  They change faster than most think.  It's up to the SAC, which I support whole heartidlty.  I am glad that a patricia answered me.

Thanks
 

GnyHwy

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Branding, Marketing and Improved munitions will come later. Thanks
 

Michael OLeary

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How exactly do you propose pursuing "absolute accuracy" except by focusing on the munition and gun technologies?  Your recent experience may include observation of excellent consistency and accuracy on ranges, but how much of this may be dependent on using newer barrels and ammunition from a single manufacturer?  If that is your baseline, how will you account for wearing barrels over time, either through long term peacetime use or frequency of use in wartime?  If ammunition comes from different manufacturers, very minor variances might change the actual PEs for any given lot but stay within the contracted requirements.  If your expectations are based upon ideal conditions, how will you account for the effects of variable factors that cannot be absolutely controlled?
 

GnyHwy

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Very good sir,

We already have the gun technologies, and the muntions I agreee do vary, only by a small degreee.  How exactly do you propose pursuing "absolute accuracy" except by focusing on the munition and gun technologies?  As for proper management, barrels are fairly predictable as they die.  I still believe we can predict through experience.  Our technogolgy is greater than ever.  We need to exploit it and it is far more calcuable now then ever.  We are closer than most mil people think.

Please meet me in private if you want to discuss further details.
 

SeanNewman

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What we are doing now and what you may have seen only applied to mission-specific doctrine, not warfighting doctrine within the Army.

In a counter-insurgency when the people are the prize, you'd be stupid to blanket a grid square to get a neutralize / destroy effect.  Since we don't expect to do that, we can get away with a relatively few number of guns. 

Even if the insurgents were to mass themselves again, the amount of guns we have plus precision strikes from fast air and UAVs would do the job.

Keep in mind that the specific munitions you are talking about are still used incredibly rarely, due to their cost, availability, and the fact that lightning bolts from the sky are easier to come by.

However, history has shown that the Army can seldom rely on the Air Force (especially the AF of another country) to do its killing for them, so I see the role of the Artillery being to kill mass area targets for some time.

Should we ever go to full-scale war again, I would be quite content to have those bullets ripping through the air over my head and taking out grid squares of the bad guys.
 

Cleared Hot

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I guess I just don't see the point of the argument.  Precision or area, we can have both so why bother to choose?  Most of the advances in technology that have improved accuracy (excluding TLE) have been based on the projectile i.e. GPS guided, CCF, laser guided etc. (yes I know Copperhead is all but out).  But you can still fire old-fashioned conventional HE if you want and using current TTPs you can spread/move those rounds around the battlefield as much as you want.  Why are you advocating reducing our options?
 

Michael OLeary

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GnyHwy said:
Very good sir,

We already have the gun technologies, and the muntions I agreee do vary, only by a small degreee.  How exactly do you propose pursuing "absolute accuracy" except by focusing on the munition and gun technologies?  As for proper management, barrels are fairly predictable as they die.  I still believe we can predict through experience.  Our technogolgy is greater than ever.  We need to exploit it and it is far more calcuable now then ever.  We are closer than most mil people think.

It is possible to find oneself believing that the precision of our instruments (whether those be for survey, fire data calculation or other measurable elements) can easily enable the achievement of "absolute accuracy".  I have seen attempts to achieve such results, and they get awkward when people start trying to adjust inside one or two PEs just because ideal conditions make it seem possible, and the electronic devices used to calculate fire data permit such resolution.

What may be achievable under ideal training conditions, or under COIN battlefield conditions where the imminent threat of counter-battery fire doesn't emphasize haste, may not be sustainable as a doctrinal approach.

The intent of my questions is to try and better understand your proposal.  What are you suggesting is removed, or sent to a back chair (where it doesn't really get taught or practiced in a training environment of limited funds, ammunition and time)?  What skills and methods are you suggesting become priority training and the intended basis of doctrine for future employment of artillery?

Without defining that, there is no way to extrapolate the effects of your suggestion to the big picture of training for the battle group and higher formations for all types of operations.

GnyHwy said:
Please meet me in private if you want to discuss further details.

No need to go to a private exchange, in coming here you were obviously looking for a discussion, in which any members of the site should be able to share.
 

Old Sweat

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From my long superannuated point of view, the accuracy which today's gunners have achieved is a positive step. Sure, we can still concentrate as many batteries as are available on targets and that is a good thing. Understand that in the bad old days of the Second War, Korea and the Cold War, both the accuracy of the gunnery system and the means available for locating the target were not much changed from the First World War. Thus, because we could not hit the targets which we had too often guesstimated the locations of in the first place, fire plans compensated by using lots of guns firing lots of ammunition to blanket an area.

As a side note, it was a Canadian gunner, Brigadier Ziegler, in Italy who fired the first Whisky Target - in today talk Fire Mission Army - and the standard barrage was so popular because it was "easy" to arrange and covered the target area. It also meant most of the rounds fired fell well away from the enemy positions, but that was accepted.

We have moved on quite a bit, thanks to the computer, laser and the GPS along with some other fancy bits and pieces. The gunner community is nearing the point where it can land rounds on a eight or ten figure grid reference most of the time. Earlier I was reviewing the factors affecting the accuracy of indirect fire in my brain, and realized most of them are addressed by the technology of today, be it GPS, digital laying systems, electronic measurement of muzzle velocities with on weapon systems, laser range finders, etc, etc, etc.

I have pounded on a bit too long, but that is the privilege of age. The RCA of today can hit a point target and cover an area with fire. We should make sure that is understood by senior commanders and the supported arms.
 

SeanNewman

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Relying on today's technology is a dangerous game though, particularly GPS.

I see Map and Compass + GPS to be like a car engine + turbo.  You can always move with the first one, and you'll go faster with the second one as well, but if you try to use the latter without the former you're fooked.

It is imperative that our training (both in navigation-based manouevre and weapon targeting) focus on the basics and then add on "Well now that you know that, here is a new tool that helps".

Just in the last few years, with the over-emphasis on PLGR/DAGR, the basic Nav skills are almost nil.  I am exposed to both infantry NCM DP3A and officer cadets on CAP/BMOQ-L, and thank God we are now getting back to basic map + compass.

Examples:  We have recently had DP3A failures on easy map + compass work consisting of plotting distances and bearings...this is with guys who will be Sgts (!) soon.

Further, on a non-official threshold knowledge test, guess how many CAP candidates out of 39 knew how many mils SouthWest was?  3/39 knew it was 4000.  Yes, really.

[/rant]

Point being that I hope the gunners are still focusing on the basics, because God help us if the Americans (or worse, someone wearing red) ever turns the satellites off.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Petamocto said:
Examples:  We have recently had DP3A failures on easy map + compass work consisting of plotting distances and bearings...this is with guys who will be Sgts (!) soon.

Ouch! For an old timer that's hard to swallow,.....I can guarantee that every Gunner that passed through 'D' Bty CP between 1981 and 1986 knew EXACTLY how to switch to manual at the drop of a hat, easy or not.
 

GnyHwy

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Thanks all for your discussion.  The main reason I raised this point I feel that error budget must be adhered to.  I know that there are are many gunners at all levels who believe that minimizing error is useless and Artillery should be treated as an "area weapon".  Precision munitions aside, we can achieve accuracy with conventional ammo.  We just need to be on the same page.

And yes, old school drills must never be forgotten. 
 
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