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For the massed precision fires missions, time of flightisnottheonly consideration, butalso launch axis, flight path, way points and airspace deconfliction. Because the Army and FA cannot guarantee the presence of a Fires brigade, the ability to conduct massed fires using precision munitions is a task that each Fires battalion must be able to accomplish.
Massed Precision Fires— A New Way of Thinking D uring the Meuse-Argonne cam- tillery in an area to neutralize or destroy paign (26 September to 11 No- By Vincent R. Bielinski enemy targets. vember 1918), 20,000 guns firing The final “nail in the coffin” of massed a three-hour preparation supported the fires is the development and fielding of initial nine-division assault. The Field Everyone, even experienced Artillery precision munitions. There is no need to Artillery’s (FA’s) role was to provide commanders, left impressed. expend large amounts of “dumb” artil- close support to the maneuver forces, Today’s Enviornment. Today, however, lery rounds—those following an unaided which it tried to accomplish through FA no longer masses a large number ballistic trajectory—into an area when a massive doses of indirect fire planned of rounds fired from dozens of guns to single precision munitions can achieve ahead in great detail and delivered with engage targets. Modularity is one of the the desired effect. as much flexibility as communications principle reasons. The Army no longer But are massed fires truly consigned to and command and control permitted at has the number of division artilleries or history? Or is there just another way of the time. Mass was the key to success corps artilleries with several FieldArtillery thinking about massed fires? How can (See Donald E. Ingalls, “Artillery Inno- brigades and their subordinate battalions FA mass fires using precision munitions? vations in WWI” Field Artillery Journal, as in the past. At first, the questions seem rhetorical September-October 1974, 54-57). Now, most Fires battalions are organic because of the argument that “precision Those golden years of massing fires and to their brigade combat teams, and the weapons were the final coffin nail” of honing their execution during the follow- division commander seldom takes them massed fires. However “how do we ing decades remain a fond memory of away from the brigade commander to achieve the effects of massed fires using every Artilleryman. The Capability Exer- mass fires. Division commanders may a small number of precision munitions” cises held at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, between receive a Fires brigade to support its is the actual question? 1987 and 1991, for Artillery students and force, but the number and type of units even for Command and General Staff within that Fires brigade is tailored to College students from Fort Leavenworth, the division’s mission. Kansas, displayed the might of the Field The second argument against massed Artillery as the fires of a dozen battalions fires is the contemporary operations massed on a single “Time on Target” fire FA supports. The rules of engagement mission. Maneuver commanders also (ROE) and the requirement to minimize Precision Guidance Kit Fuze on a 155-mm were included so they could witness the collateral damage in most cases prevent “dumb” Artillery round awesome might of the King of Battle. the employment of large amounts of ar-
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