Version 1 / 4min read / Updated Sat 07 May 2022 / 952 views / of verified
The Forward Observer, or FO, is the conductor of the battlefield’s most devastating orchestras. With but a few well-placed transmissions, they carve entry and exit into enemy fortifications and make short work of whole units, without so much as revealing their position.
Their effort is one of coordination and teamplay. A good FO knows the capabilities of their fire support, but those in turn rely on the FO to call the right thing at the right time.
As the FO, you will Spot, Call, Adjust and Assess.
Get a good perspective. Calling for accurate fire oftentimes (but not always) requires you to see what you're trying to hit. Adjusting fire requires that you can not only see the impact area, but can also view it from a perspective where you can accurately gauge depth. This usually means that you will need to be at a higher elevation than whatever you're directing fire on.
When you are plane with the target, you need to find a balance between adequate observation and safety from concealment. With experience, you will soon find keyholes in tree canopies, alleys and hillsides.
Don’t pick an obvious observation point. The more commanding of a view a location is, the more attention it commands, too. There were very few church steeples that survived World War II in western Europe. As advantageous of a view it might be, it’s also an easy target for high-explosive fire and leaves you without an easy exit.
Get intelligence. Try to predict where the enemy will go, where they might logically halt and what their exits could be in a retreat. In hilly terrain, the enemy would likely go through a saddle. On roads, they could stop at checkpoints (or roadblocks your friends engineered!).
The Call for Fire is your bread and butter. It is your weapon. To know that you have commanded into existence the crater that used to be an enemy FOB, with nothing more than your words, is incredibly gratifying.
The CFF looks complex, even daunting. Like you need a spreadsheet just to keep track of it. But it is devised to be remarkably easy to follow and needs little more than some repetition to become second nature. Our FTX and the linked SOP will guide you through the process step by step.
When your Call for Fire goes through and you hear “Splash” on the radio, sometimes you peek over your cover and see the rounds impact off target. Although you should always strive for first-round fire for effect, to gain the element of surprise and keep momentum, you have a number of tools at your disposal to adjust fire. Here, too, you will find that some repetition will nail the enemy quickly, almost as if the rounds had never missed.
As your final action ending a fire mission, you will do a BDA, Battle Damage Assessment.
Here you will survey the impact area and target status to judge the effect of the fire mission.
As part of it, the effect of the mission can be accurate or inaccurate, and sufficient or insufficient.
Accurate and sufficient means you have achieved the desired effect and the bursts were on target.
Inaccurate and sufficient means you have achieved the desired effect, but the burst was not on target; this only matters if you intend to record the mission as a target.
Accurate and insufficient means you were on target, but have not achieved the desired effect. REPEAT.
Inaccurate and insufficient means you were not on target and have not achieved the desired effect. Replot, transition to ADJUST FIRE or correct and REPEAT.
Your judgement will determine if you are going to repeat the mission and the adjustments you make to approach your desired effect.
After your assessment, you end the mission. This is the only way your artillery groups get to know how they did! Therefore, as part of your End of Mission statement, you detail the effect in terms of casualties inflicted and assets destroyed.
UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP) are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
- US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
- Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
- The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
- Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
- Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)