Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby GregSingh » 13 Aug 2017 03:50

Art,

Unfortunately none of the questions you asked seemed to be covered at battery level. That's why I suggested they were dealt with at battalion/abteilung level. From what I can see at battery level there is a lot how to deal with a particular target in different terrain/weather conditions; tasks of all involved were defined, etc.
Although they mentioned four ways/kinds of fire for a battery:
Geschützweises Feuer - Es dient zum Einschießen, in einzelnen Fällen zum Wirkungsschießen (Punktschießen).
Gruppenfeuer - Es dient zum Wirkungsschießen, insbesondere zur Ausnutzung wichtiger Gefechtsaugenblicke.
Salve - Sie dient zum Wirkungsschießen und zum Einschießen bei schwierigen Beobachtungsverhältnissen.
Lagenfeuer - Es dient zum Wirkungsschießen, in Ausnahmefällen auch zum Einschießen.

Greg

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Sheldrake » 13 Aug 2017 09:42

GregSingh wrote:Art,

Unfortunately none of the questions you asked seemed to be covered at battery level. That's why I suggested they were dealt with at battalion/abteilung level. From what I can see at battery level there is a lot how to deal with a particular target in different terrain/weather conditions; tasks of all involved were defined, etc.
Although they mentioned four ways/kinds of fire for a battery:
Geschützweises Feuer - Es dient zum Einschießen, in einzelnen Fällen zum Wirkungsschießen (Punktschießen).
Gruppenfeuer - Es dient zum Wirkungsschießen, insbesondere zur Ausnutzung wichtiger Gefechtsaugenblicke.
Salve - Sie dient zum Wirkungsschießen und zum Einschießen bei schwierigen Beobachtungsverhältnissen.
Lagenfeuer - Es dient zum Wirkungsschießen, in Ausnahmefällen auch zum Einschießen.

Greg


What are you quoting from?
This is what I think they mean in english
Geschützweises Feuer = one gun = adjusting fire
Gruppenfeuer = all guns = Gunfre (ww2)/ Fire for effect (STANAG)
Salve = salvo = two guns = for adjusting fore under difficult conditions
Lagenfeuer = "Layer fire" = direct laying under gun control rather tha Command post control - STANAG fire discipline order = "Engage"

These are orders applied to guns or four gun batteries. The German QWW2 fire unit was the 12 gun battalion. The battery was only a fire unit if detached.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Sheldrake » 13 Aug 2017 10:00

Art wrote:
CNE503 wrote:As far as I can compare with our own modern processes of fire, when you ask for an area shelling, you let the artillery commander (here the Abteilungen commanders) in charge of the shelling determine where he has to strike. The only thing a combined-arm leader has to be preoccupied of is the number of shells alloted to his artillery for a specific timeframe, because he is responsible of the fight in the long term.

In this case we have an order issued by an artillery staff which controlled artillery of a given division. I suppose, the plan would be worked out in more details down the chain of command. For example, by artillery groups or artillery battalions which would determine the exact areas of concentrations and prepare firing data. I wonder if such decentralized planning would be a standing procedure in the German artillery.


This is an order written by Arko 20 - the artillery staff at HQ 20(?) Infantry Corps to the artillery regimental commanders, including CO AR 240, the divisional artillery regiment of I.D No 170.

It is incomplete and not particularly clear.

It isn't obvious which fire units should be firing on which target. Was target B to be engaged by the single battalion II./6 Roumanian Division and target C by the three battalions of AR 240 (-)? This would imply target C is three times more important Or were these targets be to engaged by two fire units, which would need to be clearly ordered.

The fire units were not all the same. The Roumanians may have had 75mm guns with lesser fragmentation than the German 105mm howitzers. Nor does it specify which targets are to be engaged by the 105mm guns and 150mm howitzers in the heavy battalion.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Jeff Leach » 13 Aug 2017 11:43

Sheldrake wrote:
This is an order written by Arko 20 - the artillery staff at HQ 20(?) Infantry Corps to the artillery regimental commanders, including CO AR 240, the divisional artillery regiment of I.D No 170.

It is incomplete and not particularly clear.

It isn't obvious which fire units should be firing on which target. Was target B to be engaged by the single battalion II./6 Roumanian Division and target C by the three battalions of AR 240 (-)? This would imply target C is three times more important Or were these targets be to engaged by two fire units, which would need to be clearly ordered.

The fire units were not all the same. The Roumanians may have had 75mm guns with lesser fragmentation than the German 105mm howitzers. Nor does it specify which targets are to be engaged by the 105mm guns and 150mm howitzers in the heavy battalion.


I can add some more information

Arko 20 (20th Artillery Staff) - this was an 11th Army level asset. They commanded ad-hoc artillery Groups formed from the corp's artillery assets. The Groups were often an infantry division's artillery regiment plus extra assests. I have seen artillery Groups up to two regiments and four battalions of artillery commanded by an Arko. The Arko reported directly to a division or corps headquarters.

There is some uncertainty which Romanian units are being referred to but most likely they are

Romanian 4th Motorized Heavy Artillery Regiment
34th Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion (12 x 105 FGs) - I./4 in the order?
54th Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion (12 x 150 FHs) - II./4 in the order?

Romanian 6th Motorized Heavy Artillery Regiment
36th Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion (12 x 105 FGs) - I./6 in the order?
56th Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion (12 x 150 FHs) - II./6 in the order?

I had assumed the order describes Three fire Groups, each of one 150 and one 105 battalion.

Most of the German orders I have read seem to be lacking in details and unclear on some Points.

One important Point that is not clear from the order is that: there had only been around 4-6 hours of Daylight from the time the lead elements of the 170th Infantry Division discovered the Soviet line of resistance in the order, and the time the artillery order was issued.

I'd made Another post Arko 110, which was also an 11th Army Asset. The referred to Anlagen folder, deals with the seige of Sevastopol' and is full of artillery orders and targeting maps (both area target and Point target). These orders deal with a static situation while the above order deals with a fluid situation.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Michate » 15 Aug 2017 09:02

What I don't understand in the document is the meaning of the target area. Was artillery fire supposed to be spread over the entire area? Or was it to be directed at some specific points/subareas within the area? If so, who made decisions in regard to assignment of those points/subareas and how large they were supposed to be? Can anybody more familiar with this type of documents clarify it?


AIUI, fire was normally spread over a Zielraum or target area, which was to be fired upon by at least one battalion (could be several battalions as well).
As standard Zielraum for a battalion was 200x300 square meters. As said, several battalions could be superimposed on the same Zielraum.
There were also simple assignment correction rules factored in, in particular for larger target areas. For example, if a standard battalion of three batteries had to fire onto one target area, the right,ost battery might be ordered to shift its fire 200 meters to the right, and the leftmost battery 200 meters to the left.
Such orders were, again AIUI, issued by the artillery regiment, or battalion commanders, often on the fly, and would probably not even appear in the overall fire plans issued by higher echelons.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Michate » 15 Aug 2017 09:19

1.) ruhiges Niederhaltungsfeuer (please don't translate it 'calm/quiet suppresion fire') - can anyone tell me anything about it. It is the first time I have seen the expression.


Actually, "calm suppression fire" is a pretty decent translation :), and I would have difficulty offering a better one.

Obviously that term refers to periods when the artillery still fires into the target areas, but at a lower rate/volume of fire (only few rounds per battery per minute).
Such periods were added in between shorter periods of high intensity fire, which were to be fired at maximum rate of fire (6 round per minute for a 10.5 com howitzer and 4 rounds per minute for a 15 cm howitzer, for instance). The idea for the lower fire volume periods was to conserve some ammunition and not overtask the gun crews while still forcing the enemy to keep his heads down.

The following serials didn't specify a rate so I assume that "ruhiges Niederhaltungsfeuer" is a standard rate quoted as a maxium of 2 .5 rounds per gun per minute.


There was no "standard rate", nor does this term "ruhiges Niederhaltungsfeuer" belong to the clearly defined standard terms in German artillery parlance ("niederhalten" however is a standard term for the artillery with its own definition, as e.g. per HDv. 200/5 "Führung der Artillerie" of 1937: "to force the enemy to take cover and make it temporarily impossible for him to use his weapons. For this [purpose] fire strikes of grouped or individual batteries are used in intermittent exchange with harassment fire of individuel guns"). Either, the fire order specifies the number of rounds (lie e.g., IIRC, II SS Pz-Korps fire order for Zitadelle), or, as in the example here, it only allocates an overall number of rounds, and the units (battalions, batteries) decide by themselves how they spend it.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Art » 15 Aug 2017 20:10

Michate wrote:AIUI, fire was normally spread over a Zielraum or target area, which was to be fired upon by at least one battalion (could be several battalions as well).
As standard Zielraum for a battalion was 200x300 square meters.

Looks similar to Soviet manuals. Ok, to be clear: what is the relation between this target area and marked areas on the scheme in the first post? Here an area assigned to one battalion seems to be times larger.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Sheldrake » 16 Aug 2017 00:06

Michate wrote:
1.) ruhiges Niederhaltungsfeuer (please don't translate it 'calm/quiet suppresion fire') - can anyone tell me anything about it. It is the first time I have seen the expression.


Actually, "calm suppression fire" is a pretty decent translation :), and I would have difficulty offering a better one.

Obviously that term refers to periods when the artillery still fires into the target areas, but at a lower rate/volume of fire (only few rounds per battery per minute).
Such periods were added in between shorter periods of high intensity fire, which were to be fired at maximum rate of fire (6 round per minute for a 10.5 com howitzer and 4 rounds per minute for a 15 cm howitzer, for instance). The idea for the lower fire volume periods was to conserve some ammunition and not overtask the gun crews while still forcing the enemy to keep his heads down.

The following serials didn't specify a rate so I assume that "ruhiges Niederhaltungsfeuer" is a standard rate quoted as a maxium of 2 .5 rounds per gun per minute.


There was no "standard rate", nor does this term "ruhiges Niederhaltungsfeuer" belong to the clearly defined standard terms in German artillery parlance ("niederhalten" however is a standard term for the artillery with its own definition, as e.g. per HDv. 200/5 "Führung der Artillerie" of 1937: "to force the enemy to take cover and make it temporarily impossible for him to use his weapons. For this [purpose] fire strikes of grouped or individual batteries are used in intermittent exchange with harassment fire of individuel guns"). Either, the fire order specifies the number of rounds (lie e.g., IIRC, II SS Pz-Korps fire order for Zitadelle), or, as in the example here, it only allocates an overall number of rounds, and the units (battalions, batteries) decide by themselves how they spend it.


Thanks for that explanation.

I am uncomfortable with the idea that the German Gunners simply decided this stuff "on the fly." Its an all arms plan and the fire plan needs to deliver what the supported arm needs, not what the Gunners decide for themselves. That has to be as true of the Germans as it was for the British. There ought to have been a lot of liaison between the 170 ID staff and their own artillery Regiment, maybe also some co-ordinating instructions.

E.g. in this example we are not told anything about the targets other than their area and location. Which was the most important? Target area B and E are huge - much larger than could be neutralised by two battalions.
What was the all arms plan for this attack? The Germans believed in identifying a point of main effort. It would be counter productive for the Gunners to second guess this or divide fire on an arbitrary basis, either by allocation of fire units or ammunition.

What happened in the battle? Do we know if the fireplan worked?

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby GregSingh » 16 Aug 2017 03:35

I had a look at the actual map and it seems German/Romanian artillery was ordered to shell hills/ridges north of Balti.

Target "a" is the top of the ridge with three points 183m.
There is a ridge with a dirt road along targets "d-e-f-g" with hill 222m at "e" and point 145m at "d".
And there is another ridge along b-c with hill 184m at "b" and point 127m at "c".

It looks like German infantry was ordered to move uphill - Balti is at around 102m. So perhaps a task for this fire plan was not to destroy particular targets, but rather to disrupt Soviet defenses/observations on the higher ground, so hills could be approached and taken by infantry.

5181 Balti.jpg

Soviet map.jpg
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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Michate » 17 Aug 2017 15:11

Looks similar to Soviet manuals. Ok, to be clear: what is the relation between this target area and marked areas on the scheme in the first post? Here an area assigned to one battalion seems to be times larger.


Well the 200x300 meters target area size was for a so called Vernichtungsfeuer, a one minute duration fire, with all shots at one distance.
Larger target areas would be "combed", the fire would be continued with incremental range additions, abit like a small creeping barrage.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Michate » 17 Aug 2017 15:30

I am uncomfortable with the idea that the German Gunners simply decided this stuff "on the fly." Its an all arms plan and the fire plan needs to deliver what the supported arm needs, not what the Gunners decide for themselves. That has to be as true of the Germans as it was for the British. There ought to have been a lot of liaison between the 170 ID staff and their own artillery Regiment, maybe also some co-ordinating instructions.

E.g. in this example we are not told anything about the targets other than their area and location. Which was the most important? Target area B and E are huge - much larger than could be neutralised by two battalions.
What was the all arms plan for this attack? The Germans believed in identifying a point of main effort. It would be counter productive for the Gunners to second guess this or divide fire on an arbitrary basis, either by allocation of fire units or ammunition.


Well, "on the fly" may have been the wrong term. As other combat actions, fire plans would be created cooperatively by different command echelons.
So, as Art and Greg already mentioned, the corps Arko might order the overall concept, start and finishing times, ammunition to be expended, and assignment of target areas to regiments and groups, while lower echelons (commanders of the divisional artillery regiments and/or groups) would then work the overall order out, adding more details. Same process repeated with increasing detail by battalion commanders.
Here, only the order by the Arko is shown, while the detailing orders are missing.

On the other hand, the order indeed lacks detail, it seems, as Jeff Leach already explained, the order was created in rather short time.
This was rather usual in the summer 1941 situation of Bewegungskrieg.
Generally, fire preparations for German attacks were rather short, often only a couple of minutes, with in between pauses to lure out the defenders.

I have a memo by created in 1944 summarizing the main characteristics of Soviet attack preparation fire plans. It contrats the Soviet practice of allocating 70 (or so) % of their ammunition for the initial preparation fire to the German practice of reserving 70% of the ammunition for the fight in the depth of the enemy position, to be fired as ad-hoc fire missions.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Jeff Leach » 18 Aug 2017 11:35

Here is part of another artillery order. It was written by the 110th Artillery Staff (also an 11th Army assets) for the 198th Infantry Division, which was the right hand neighbor of the 170th Infantry Division. It contain a few Points not brought up in the first order: dedicated artillery support (4), using the artillery of neighboring Romanian units to assist in the initial attack (6) [this is a fairly common occurance] and artillery observation Aircraft (7)


Artillery Order No. 10 for the Attack on the 6th July 1941 (5th July 1941)
T314 R1568 Fr0341 (198th Infantry Division)

...

4.) There is to be no change to the artillery groups. However; II./235th Artillery Regiment is to provide close cooperation with the 308th Infantry Regiment and the I./235th Artillery Regiment is to provide close cooperation with the 305th Infantry Regiment.

...

6.) The commander of the Romanian 8th Artillery Regiment is to maintain communications with the 305th Infantry Regiment. If the situation allows for the regiment to support the 308th Infantry Regiment, then this is to be carried out through. Batteries cooperating with the artillery observation aircraft are not to be interrupted.

7.) One artillery observation aircraft is to be available from the start of the attack. It is to be available to the 49th Regimental Artillery Staff and the Romanian I./8th Artillery Regiment is to provide fire support.

most interesting is Another document from the XXX Army Corps (both 170th and 198th subordinate) from the 5th of July, which pointed out problem with the conduct of operation conducted to that day. Point 3 deals with artillery

Experience from the First Days of Combat Brought up the Following Points
XXX Army Corps, 5 July 1941 [reference?]

...

3.) The communication between artillery and infantry in not satisfactory in any way. Those artillery battalions that have been assigned to close-cooperation with the infantry are to assign liaison staffs (Artillerie Verbindungs-Kommandos) to the infantry commands (battalions). It is the infantry battalion commanders that are to give the targets to the liaison staff. I (the corps commander) again emphasize that concentrated fire (zusammengefaßt) is to be put on the identified targets. The infantry uses these concentrated fire strikes to approach closer to and to break into the enemy positions. The artillery battalions that are directly subordinate to the division command, are to be employed in the same manner at the attack’s point-of-main-effort (Schwerpunkt). I also order that artillery observation officers be pushed so far forward that they can recognize the enemy to be combatted, as well as location of our foremost infantry line.

Counter-battery fire is the responsibility of the divisions. Subordinate heavy artillery battalion are to be used for this purpose. The corps command also has an artillery observation aircraft available that can be requested at any time.

...

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Sheldrake » 18 Aug 2017 17:15

Jeff Leach wrote:Here is part of another artillery order. It was written by the 110th Artillery Staff (also an 11th Army assets) for the 198th Infantry Division, which was the right hand neighbor of the 170th Infantry Division. It contain a few Points not brought up in the first order: dedicated artillery support (4), using the artillery of neighboring Romanian units to assist in the initial attack (6) [this is a fairly common occurance] and artillery observation Aircraft (7)


Artillery Order No. 10 for the Attack on the 6th July 1941 (5th July 1941)
T314 R1568 Fr0341 (198th Infantry Division)

...

4.) There is to be no change to the artillery groups. However; II./235th Artillery Regiment is to provide close cooperation with the 308th Infantry Regiment and the I./235th Artillery Regiment is to provide close cooperation with the 305th Infantry Regiment.

...

6.) The commander of the Romanian 8th Artillery Regiment is to maintain communications with the 305th Infantry Regiment. If the situation allows for the regiment to support the 308th Infantry Regiment, then this is to be carried out through. Batteries cooperating with the artillery observation aircraft are not to be interrupted.

7.) One artillery observation aircraft is to be available from the start of the attack. It is to be available to the 49th Regimental Artillery Staff and the Romanian I./8th Artillery Regiment is to provide fire support.

most interesting is Another document from the XXX Army Corps (both 170th and 198th subordinate) from the 5th of July, which pointed out problem with the conduct of operation conducted to that day. Point 3 deals with artillery

Experience from the First Days of Combat Brought up the Following Points
XXX Army Corps, 5 July 1941 [reference?]

...

3.) The communication between artillery and infantry in not satisfactory in any way. Those artillery battalions that have been assigned to close-cooperation with the infantry are to assign liaison staffs (Artillerie Verbindungs-Kommandos) to the infantry commands (battalions). It is the infantry battalion commanders that are to give the targets to the liaison staff. I (the corps commander) again emphasize that concentrated fire (zusammengefaßt) is to be put on the identified targets. The infantry uses these concentrated fire strikes to approach closer to and to break into the enemy positions. The artillery battalions that are directly subordinate to the division command, are to be employed in the same manner at the attack’s point-of-main-effort (Schwerpunkt). I also order that artillery observation officers be pushed so far forward that they can recognize the enemy to be combatted, as well as location of our foremost infantry line.

Counter-battery fire is the responsibility of the divisions. Subordinate heavy artillery battalion are to be used for this purpose. The corps command also has an artillery observation aircraft available that can be requested at any time.

...


What is the precise meaning of "close-cooperation with the infantry" if it does not include "provide a liaison team with communications"

This sounds like the British definition "Direct Support" which automatically means that the artillery unit (Regiment) provides liaison teams at Brigade and battalion and forward observers at Company level. The reminder looks like a tautology unless the Germans had a very different way of looking at things

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Jeff Leach » 18 Aug 2017 19:00

I wanted to refer to it as 'dedicated fire-support' (unmittelbar zusammenarbeiten) but was afraid the term might already mean something else in English. In practice it meant that one of the 105 artillery battalions was dedicated to support one of the divisions infantry regiments. Sometimes in an order, it is spelled out that the dedicated battalion couldn't be used for anything other fire mission. Usually, the assignment came into effect after the initial bombarment in an attack.

This may have been a local practice with the XXX Army Corps. The corps was in close proximity to the Soviet 2nd Mechanized corps and one of the regiments of the 198th Infantry Division had been routed in a tank attack a few days before. After the attack the XXX Army Corps was very careful about its attacking infantry regiment having adequate antitank protection. One of the measures taken, was that the lead infantry regiment were always to have artillery protection. It went so far that if the infantry reached the limits of artillery cover, then the attack was to halt until the artillery had a chance to move forward. The artillery was order to always have some guns in firing positions when change positions.

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Re: Divisional Artillery Fire Plan

Postby Art » 18 Aug 2017 20:16

Sheldrake wrote:What is the precise meaning of "close-cooperation with the infantry" if it does not include "provide a liaison team with communications"

This sounds like the British definition "Direct Support" which automatically means that the artillery unit (Regiment) provides liaison teams at Brigade and battalion and forward observers at Company level.

Paragraph 4.) speaks about placing artillery battalions in support of infantry regiments. Which normally includes establishing technical communications and personal liaison between said battalions and regiments, I would guess. The following paragraph 3.) - about liaison with infantry battalions. So they have different meaning.


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