Artillery observer

A military artillery observer,spotter or FO (forward observer) is responsible for directing artillery and mortar fire onto a target and may be a Forward Air Controller (FAC) for close air support and spotter for naval gunfire support. Also known as Fire Support Specialist or FiSTer, an artillery observer usually accompanies a tank or infantry maneuver unit. Spotters ensure that indirect fire hits targets which the troops at the fire support base cannot see.

Military role for observing artillery strikes and directing them to their targets
“FOO” redirects here. For the placeholder name, see Foobar.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)
Danish artillery observer using a thermal imaging camera and a laser rangefinder in a live fire exercise
Calling in and Adjusting Artillery Fire on a Target

Because artillery is an indirect fire weapon system, the guns are rarely in line-of-sight of their target, often located miles away.[1] The observer serves as the eyes of the guns, by sending target locations and if necessary corrections to the fall of shot, usually by radio.

More recently, a mission controller for an Army Unmanned Air System (UAS) may also perform this function, and some armies use special artillery patrols behind the enemy’s forward elements. Special forces such as the British SAS, US SEALs, Russian Spetsnaz can perform this role. These patrols will usually coordinate with heavier long range guns and assets and seek high value targets such as enemy HQ’s. This is in contrast to the artillery observer attached to field/line artillery which is working in support of its own combat group. Such patrols may also form into ‘stay behind’ parties which deliberately hide in special observation hides as the main force fights a withdrawal.

Broadly, there are two very different approaches to artillery observation. Either the observer has command authority and orders fire, including the type and amount of ammunition to be fired, to batteries. Or the observer requests fire from an artillery headquarters at some level, which decides if fire will be provided, by which batteries, and the type and amount of ammunition to be provided. The first is characterized by the British, the second by the United States. In World War II both Germany and the Soviet Union tended towards the British method.

In the US System, the observer sends a request for fire, usually to his battalion or battery Fire Direction Center (FDC). The FDC then decides how much fire to permit and may request additional fire from a higher artillery headquarters. FDC(s) convert the observer’s target information into firing data for the battery’s weapons.

In the British system, the observer sends a fire order to his own and any other batteries authorized to them, and may request fire from additional batteries. Each battery command post converts the fire orders into firing data for its own guns. Until post-World War II the observer would usually order actual firing data to the guns of his own troop, this was enabled by the use of calibrating sights on the guns.[citation needed]

Artillery observers are considered high-priority targets by enemy forces,[citation needed] as they control a great amount of firepower, are within visual range of the enemy, and may be located within enemy territory.

. . . Artillery observer . . .

A U.S. Marine artillery forward observer in a tree to get a better view of the battlefield in Guadalcanal, 1942.

In the U.S. Army, a Light, Heavy, or Stryker Infantry company Fire Support Team (FIST) consists of a Fire Support Officer (FSO), a Fire Support Sergeant, three Forward Observers (FO), two Fire Support Specialists and three Radio Telephone Operators (RTO)[citation needed]. Armored/Cavalry FIST teams usually consist of just one FSO and three enlisted personnel. Brigade COLT teams operate in groups of two individuals, a Fire support specialist in the grade of E-1 to E-4 and a Fire Support Sergeant in the grade of E-5. Currently in unit training is beginning to incorporate more close air support and close combat attack missions into the field artillery team’s mission.

In the U.S. Marine Corps, scout observers also act as naval gunfire spotters and call for, observe and adjust artillery and naval gunfire support, and coordinate fire support assets to include mortars, rockets, artillery, NSFS and CAS/CIFS. A rifle company Fire Support Team typically consists of a Fire Support Officer (FSO), Forward Air Controller (FAC) or Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), two scout observers (FO), and two radio operators (RO). In Weapons Company, the Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) determines fire support asset allocation to each rifle company FiST, and supervises the planning and execution of each FiST’s fire support plan. Key players in the FSCC include the Fire Support Coordinator (FSC), Battalion Fire Support Officer (FSO), and Battalion Air Officer (Air-O).

. . . Artillery observer . . .

This article is issued from web site Wikipedia. The original article may be a bit shortened or modified. Some links may have been modified. The text is licensed under “Creative Commons – Attribution – Sharealike” [1] and some of the text can also be licensed under the terms of the “GNU Free Documentation License” [2]. Additional terms may apply for the media files. By using this site, you agree to our Legal pages . Web links: [1] [2]

. . . Artillery observer . . .