Mortar Call for Fire

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SOP No. Nill
SOP Title Mortar Call for Fire
Author Anfo , Bud
Revision No. 1
Implementation Date 01 JAN 15
Last Review Date 12 APR 15
Reviewed By Anfo

Purpose

Unlike Artillery systems, Mortars with their relatively higher mobility and flexibility are an ideal short range support weapon for a mobile Infantry force. Within the 39th Battalion, light mortars will become more ubiquitous to its manouevering force; however heavier, more complex versions of mortar systems would be transferred to the responsibility of Artillery Units.

ARMA 3 introduced a simple click and shoot computer aided system for mortars and artillery systems which invariably removed the need for small teams to coordinate in order to achieve an objective. This is evident in the Mark6 (MK6) 82mm Mortar, which when employing its inbuilt computer system makes the task of delivering mortar rounds (for some) an unrewarding experience. In order to apply challenging team coordination and communication required to engage enemy contacts with mortar, the 39th Battalion combines the MK6 Mortar, advanced fire calculation and fire observation delivered through the interactivity of many human players to achieve this.

This Standing Operating Procedure aims to present the procedures to employ and man a mortar team, observe and communicate targets and calculate the correct bearing, elevation and charge required to effectively engage a target.

Scope

Call for Fire is specifically focused towards members who are best suited to conduct the procedures; that is Private at the Mortar and Corporal directing the fire. However members regardless of rank should be familiar with the procedure as to know when, how and why to employ Mortars in theatre.

Prerequisites

A Mortar Call for Fire requires that a person be proficient in the following:

  • Confidently perform RATEL procedure to achieve an objective;
  • Can open the in-game map in order to:
    • Identify the Easting and Northing coordination system of a map;
    • Locate a grid square, a six figure or an eight figure grid reference;
  • Understands how to manipulate the AGM Map Protractor to:
    • Centre on grid references;
    • Set a degree bearing;
    • Measure distances.
  • Can assemble or disassemble a MK6 Mortar, and load or unload individual carry bags to or from any vehicle;
  • Understands how enter the MK6 targeting optics and configure a bearing, elevation and targeting distance.

Responsibilities

Corporal. The Corporal is the commander of the Mortar team. The Corporal is responsible for the sighting and defence of base plate then assumes the role of Mortar Fire Control while in operation. The Corporal is to be familiar with the procedure of a Mortar Call for Fire to achieve the higher Commander's objective.
Private.The Private is tasked with the handling of the MK6 Mortar system. The Private is responsible for calculating and delivering mortar fire based on data communicated from the Corporal MFC.

Procedure

Elements of a Call for Fire

  1. FO/MFC identification to FDC;
  2. FO/MFC initiates Warning Order to clear the radio net for request;
    1. Type of Missions.
      1. Adjust Fire. When the FO/MFC belives adjustments must be made;
      2. Fire for Effect. When the FO/MFC is certain that the first volley will have the desired effect;
      3. Immediate Supression/Smoke. In order to react to Blufor units taking fire from a plannned objective.
    2. Methods of Target Location.
      1. Polar Plot. An indication that the target is in respect of the FO/MFC position;
      2. Shift from known point. A method by which both FDC and FO/MFC are aware of a known point from which to measure target location.
    3. Target Description. Assists the FDC to determine the quantity of rounds to achieve destruction.
      1. What the target is. Troops, equipment, vehicles etc;
      2. What the Target is doing. Digging in, preparing to move etc;
      3. Number of elements in the target. Platoon, Transport Company etc;
      4. The degree of protection. In foxholes, amongst buildings etc;
      5. Target Size (if significant). A description of the shape and size of target.
  3. FDC calculates distance, bearing and elevation variables;
  4. FDC sends first round, announcing "Shot Over", FO/MFC verifies with "Shot Out";
  5. FO/MFC announces after round hit "Splash Over", FDC verifies with "Splash Out";
  6. FO/MFC communicates round hit by "Long", Short", "Left" or "Right" and range in metres from target;
  7. FDC fires again for further adjustment if necessary;
  8. If no adjustment is necessary, then MFC announces "Fire for Effect";
  9. FDC sends appropriate count of rounds required to accomplish mission with an announcement of "Rounds Complete";
  10. FO/MFC will announce result of mission:
    1. "End of Mission, Targets Destroyed or estimated Casualties, out", or
    2. "Repeat, out", to indicate the same mission be fired again by FDC.

Call for Fire: Working Example

Statistically, one of the most common types of missions used in Operations is Adjust Fire due to the expected inaccuracy of preliminary fire. Additionally Polar Plot, which does not require battlefield reference points as used by the Shift from Known Point method, is likely to be used to locate the intended target.
The working example therefore uses these methods; however other methods and mission types will be trained in order to be prepared for not so common scenarios.

Serial MFC Base Plate Remarks
1. "Base Plate, this is MFC, Adjust Fire, Polar, Over" Identification of MFC, type of Mission & method of target Location.
2. "MFC, this is Base Plate, Adjust Fire, Polar, Out" Acknowledgement from FDC of type of Mission and target location method.
3. "Grid 02310701, Direction 48º, Distance 1420, Over" MFC identifies from HIS grid position, the bearing and range(m) to target. The MFC grid, wherever possible should be either coded or pre-known to Base Plate.
4. "Grid 02310701, Direction 48º, Distance 1420, Out" Acknowledgement from Base Plate.
5. "Two BMPs and 20 enemy dismounts in the open, Over. MFC briefly but accurately describes the target, so that FDC can determine correct type and quantity of ammunition.
6. "Two BMPs and 20 enemy dismounts in the open, Out. FDC acknowledges type of target. From this point FDC commences fire mission calculations.
7. "MFC, this is Base Plate, Shot Over" Message from Base Plate indicating first adjustment round fired. Danger Close may be indicated here if rounds may fall within 600 metres of MFC or friendly positions.
8. "Shot, Out" MFC acknowledges round fired from Base Plate.
9. "Base Plate, this MFC, Splash, long 200, right 75, Over" MFC communicates (in this example) that the round has landed and has overshot the target by 200m and to the right by 75m in relation to direction from FDC.
10. "Splash, long 200, right 75, Out" Base Plate acknowledges that the round has landed and that adjustment is required. FDC will make changes to calculations and a new bearing or elevation change on the mortar will reflect this.
11. "MFC, this is Base Plate, Shot Over" "Shot, Out" etc.
Further adjustments could be made following Shot, Splash and Indication, however if taken too long could culminate in opfor counter battery fire. Once MFC is satisfied that adjustments are complete, we move to serial 12.
12. "Base Plate, this is MFC, Fire for Effect, Over." The MFC is satisfied that the adjustment rounds are now on target, now authorises necessary battery be fired to destroy the target.
13. "MFC, this is Base Plate, Fire for Effect, Out." MFC acknowledges order to fire full rounds on target.
14. "MFC, this is Base Plate, 6 Rounds, Over." Message from Base Plate indicating amount of rounds to be fired.
15. "6 Rounds, Out." MFC acknowledges 6 Rounds to be fired from Base Plate.
16. "MFC, this is Base Plate, Rounds Complete, Over" Base Plate communicates all rounds for mission fired.
17. "MFC, this is Base Plate, Rounds Complete, Out" MFC acknowledges all rounds for mission fired.
18. "Base Plate, this is MFC, Splash - End of Mission, Targets Destroyed or estimated Casualties, Out" MFC communicates a successful mission with the result. If not complete or successful, we move to serial 18b.
18b. "Base Plate, this is MFC, Splash - Repeat" MFC communicates a not yet successful mission with the result. Alterations in type of ammunition or round.

Fire Mission Calculation

Fire Direction Centre (FDC) is commissioned with determining by means of variables provided by the MFC, the calculations required in order to prepare the mortar's of Base Plate for a successful fire mission.

In order to acquire an accurate firing solution there are 3 main variables needed. These variables are as follows:

  • Bearing to the target (from Base Plate)
  • Gun elevation
  • Firing mode


The FDC uses their AGM map tool to discover some of the variables needed. Once found they enter the appropriate variables into the Firing Solution Calculator (FSC). The FSC is used to obtain data relevant to the desired firing mission such as the required gun elevation and the time until the round arrives at the target. In order to get an accurate firing solution from the FSC, 3 inputs are required:

  • Difference in Elevation
  • Distance to Target
  • Muzzle Velocity


The steps for obtaining a firing solution using the FSC are as follows:

  • Using the AGM map tool and the polar plot information provided by the MFC, the intended targets location is acquired. Once found, the targets height above sea level is recorded. This data will be useful for determining the Difference in Elevation variable needed to input into the FSC.
  • The Difference in Elevation is calculated manually using the formula A - B = X. Where "A" = the intended targets height above sea level, "B" = Base Plates height above sea level and "X" = Difference in Elevation. Once calculated, the elevation data is entered into the green data entry point.
  • Once again, using the AGM map tool, It is possible to find both the Bearing to the target and the Distance to Target from Base Plates location. From that data, it is now possible to fill in the Distance to Target blue data entry point with the correct information.
  • Now that the distance to target is known and has been entered into the FSC, it is possible to choose the correct Muzzle Velocity needed to reach the target. The Mk6 Mortar has three Firing modes, each with its own Muzzle Velocity. This is to fire at different ranges, which improves the overall capability of the weapon platform. The FSC will automatically determine which Firing mode(s) are suitable or unsuitable for the fire mission. Simply select one of the velocities that has been deemed suitable by the FSC from the orange drop down menu in the Muzzle Velocity data entry point.


After all required data entry points have been filled, the FSC would have generated a required elevation and calculated the round time to target. This information combined with that found using the AGM map tool would have provided a working fire solution for the requested fire mission.

References

Definitions

MK6 82mm Mortar

The MK6 82mm Mortar is a two piece, man-portable mortar and the standard mortar system of the 39th Battalion.
Characteristics:

  • Advanced optics (including low-light) that allows line of sight targetting or the ability to enter values for indirect fire control;
  • Like similar mortar systems, the MK6 is more effective when grouped in a mortar battery particularly when opfor targets are dispersed over wider areas;
  • Can fire High Explosive (HE) as well as smoke and illumination fin stabilised munitions;
  • The maximum charge can fire to a maximum radius of 4 kilometres; however munitions delivered at this range may scatter up to 38 metres from their intended splash points;
  • Danger Close radius is 600m.

The Mortar Fire Controller (MFC)

A Mortar Fire Controller is an NCO who is part of the 39th Battalion's Mortar Platoon. The MFC's task is to coordinate the firing of the Mortars from his position within the main force, indicating targets and adjusting fire as necessary. An MFC is much like a Forward Observer (FO) for Artillery although an FO may additionally coordinate mortar fire. Ideally a MFC would be positioned in an elevated, concealed position with supreme visibility over the target; however this may also be rarely possible and the MFC must be able to adapt to any terrain and visibility over the target.

Fire Direction Centre (FDC)

The Fire Direction Centre is the location from where the mortar fire is calculated and delivered. In most cases FDC is a static, well defended position; however motorised or mechanised batteries may be established for enhanced mobility. Base Plate should be sited where possible on flat level ground, with the mortars in a tight diamond formation. If mortars are mobile or away from a well defended fire base, then placement in compounds is desirable with a section to platoon size force to protect it.

Callsigns

  • Fire Direction Centre = Base Plate;
  • Mortar Fire Controller = Rain Man

Call for Fire (CFF)

A Call for Fire is a concise message prepared by the FO/MFC. It contains all information needed by the FDC to determine the correct method of target attack. It is a request for fire, not an order. It must be sent quickly but clearly enough that it can be understood, recorded and read back, without error, by the FDC recorder.