South wrote:Good morning Sheldrake,
It's not being clearly explained in re artillery support and how it's "requested".
I can't help much for the same reason: "Nothing vast enters the human mind without a curse" Socrates.
I do want to add some matters for thought:
Add the new WWII air observer to the matrix. Add the shore party Forward Observer calling in naval fire to the mix also.
In WWII I believe there was both direct fire support arty units and general support arty units. Direct units were assigned to specific maneuver infantry or armor units working in tandem. General support would cover an area and not move with the forward maneuvering units.
Anyone could NOT call in arty fire support - at least not directly. There were procedures and the procedures involved the radio net.
Again, like taking a university course on the web......much is lost......especially when compared to classes in person.
I am offering no comments on the British experience on the Western Front; just my basic commentary re the set-up.
once a resident of Ft Sill, Oklahoma - still have photos of the jail where Geronimo stayed.
eastern Virginia, USA
There is a very good explanation about the British and Commonwealth procedures used in WW2 here. http://nigelef.tripod.com/
There was a relevant post on the WW2talk forum with an article by General Francis Tuker. Here is an extract that talks about what the artillery C3 was trying to do. The artillery procedures were those that the British thought would dewliver the goal - "Artillery command centralised at the highest level but control delegated to the lowest practical."
The business of fire planning in WW2 was complicated. You are quite right. Not just anyone could call for fire from the guns.
#1. You needed communications to the guns. Not every wireless set would communicate on the frequencies used by the artillery, and many infantry sets were too short ranged. WW2 wireless sets were temperamental and telephone communications unsuited to mobile operations. There were cases when calls for fire were made direct - think about the USS Slaterlee at Pointe du Hoc.
#2 Communication to an artillery liaison party attached to the infantry or armour. This relies on the artillery liason cell to have communications to the guns you want. There were lots of field artillery liaison parties, one FOO per four guns and one BC per eight guns. (one CO, three BCs and six FOOs per brigade, plus extra FOO parties from army artillery.
Communications to ships or aircraft was much more tenuous. Aircraft and ships used radios that were incompatible with army tactical wireless. They also used different procedures. Fire from ships could only be called via the much smaller number of naval liaison parties. Even in Normandy there might be no more than one NGS FOB team per battalion. Air ground TACP tentacles were even more thinly spread. For example, Operation Goodwood, was an army operation to launch an armoured corps deep into the German defences beyond field artillery range. 8th Corps which made the attack had only two TACP's attached. Sure, in the absence of an FOB or TACP a message could be passed up the general staff channels to some joint cell, but this was not going to result in any speedy action.
Aircraft and ships also needed careful briefing on the local tactical situation. To do otherwise was to invite friendly fire.
There were three sorts of aircraft which directed or spotted artillery fire. The RAF had tactical reconnaissance aircraft which could undertake Arty (R) shoots. These were typically mounted by flights of four tactical recce aircraft (Mustang in NW europe). They would be planned 12-24 hours in advance and would typically use long ranged guns such as the US 155mm to hit counter battery targets or choke points.
Air OPs were a wartime invention - championed by HJ Parham (again) a pre war light aircraft and autogyro pilot. In his view it was easier to teach an FOO to fly than to teach a pilot to understand enough about the tactical picture to be effective. He also thought fighter aircraft flew far too fast to be good observation platforms. Air OP units were part of the Corps artillery and operated closely with the "AGRA" - artillery brigades. They could fly a higher sortie rate than tactical recce aircraft. Air OP aircraft could join any army wireless net. In Normandy there were few good positons for artillery observers and AOPs offered the best means of adjusting fire onto observed targets.
I hope this helps.
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