By Capt. Ryan Jennings. He is the Commander of Battery B, 1/129th Field Artillery and Administrative Officer for the 1/129th. He has served 12 years with the Artillery Battalion including three state emergency duty missions and one deployment to Afghanistan.
If you are not an Artilleryman you may not be aware of the five requirements for accurate predicted fire. There are five requirements that are ingrained in an artillery officer at field artillery school from day one. Without accounting for all five elements, the artillery fire is not predictable and for some reason everyone wants to know where that 95 pounds of steel and TNT, traveling at over 550 meters a second is going to land. You may be asking why I would care about this. I believe that everyone can apply these elements to achieve their goals. So now what are those requirements of accurate predicted fire and how can I use them?
The first requirement is accurate target location and size. As an artilleryman it is imperative to know what you are shooting at. This starts the mission planning by verifying exactly what you are preparing to engage. If you use these requirements to achieve a goal then this step is to identify your goal. As stated it must be accurate so specify exactly what you want to achieve. This includes a time to achieve it by. If you don’t set a time it’s like shooting at a moving target, which is far more difficult.
The second requirement is accurate firing unit location. In artillery, you have to know where you are to determine your range to the target. This is required to determine if you can range the target from your current location with your weapon and ammunition. As with setting goals, you have to know where you are in relation to your goal. Some goals may be a ways off and require more powder or a different engagement technique to hit your desired target. If you don’t accurately assess where you are then hitting a goal or target proves dubious.
The third requirement is accurate weapon and ammunition information. As with any weapon in the military you have to know your equipment. The understanding of what you are shooting and its status is essential in mission accomplishment. The same holds true to accomplishing goals. What tools are you going to use to get you to your target? The Army has a multitude of resources to help Soldiers achieve their goals; but understanding limitations and capabilities of each resource ensures success. Most achievements require more than sheer determination. I would imagine an infantryman would much rather have artillery neutralize a tank over engaging it with a bayonet. In such a way we should achieve our goals using our best resource for the task at hand.
The forth requirement is accurate meteorological information. The weather can greatly influence a projectile’s trajectory. The same is true with working to accomplish a goal. If operating uninterrupted from an outside force you may meet your goal, but wind and rain could cause you to fall short. Understanding your operating environment is critical for success. Examine what external factors affect your trajectory to your goal and compensate your course accordingly.
The fifth and final requirement is accurate computational procedures. In artillery, one must ensure the correct procedures and computation are performed in order for the other requirements to work. As with all projects, a missed step or error will alter the results. When you are working toward a goal ensure you complete every step. For example, if you have a fitness goal then don’t miss workouts or if it’s an educational goal then you must complete all the assignments. The procedures you take to achieve the goal must be accurate and timely in order to succeed.
Let me know if these help you achieve your goals or if you use another technique such as using the Troop Leading Procedures.