Fire support is used when, due to wind or distance,
it is not realistic to rely on a rifle shot, or to help a sniper team that
has struck a target and is being pursued by a large force. Since
fire support is generally the only form of friendly help nearby, it is
crucial for the team to thoroughly understand how to plan for its use,
and how to call it in when the time comes.
After establishing the TRPs and determining what
type of rounds you want on each target, you can begin to coordinate with
the unit's Fire Support Officer, or FSO. TRPs should be established
to coincide with as many natural checkpoints along the route of movement
as possible. The idea is that as you reach each checkpoint, you can
call it in by codeword and have the FSO adjust the guns to the next TRP
on that leg.
Since the smoke can be used to verify impact points,
they still have the option to adjust fire onto the enemy location and switch
to high explosive. Since the smoke will probably reduce the patrol's
ability to observe the enemy location and the impact of rounds, the fire
may have to be adjusted by a member of the FFU. This contingency
should be part of the coordinated plans made prior to departure.
During the movement, TRPs should cover known/suspected enemy locations, rally points, danger areas, and patrol bases. Again, by planning TRPs to cover each leg of the movement between checkpoints, the simple act of calling in a code word keeps higher up advised of your location and fire support readily on call. Sending a single-word code does not violate COMSEC, either, and the team's location cannot be compromised by such a short transmission. It also serves as a radio check, and it should be noted during the map reconnaissance whether the terrain near the checkpoint is in dead space where commo will be difficult. If so, call it in on the last bit of the leg where you have line-of-sight with the unit or plan a jump-off point where you can make commo. If you don't think you can make commo at a danger area based on terrain, you should consider changing you route since you won't be able to use fire support if needed.
Patrol bases and Rally Points are covered also, and
can use the "Polar" method of control rather than the "Shift from a Known
If you take a shot or two at a platoon-size element and they begin to pursue you, then it's nice to have a TRP between you and them where you can simply call in something like, "Immediate Suppression on AA10," as you run for your life. If it's between you and the enemy, they are more likely to move away from the impact zone rather than through it to pursue you. This buys you valuable time for your getaway.
Another idea, based on the organization and doctrine of the enemy is to have the guns standing by for counter-battery fire if the enemy decides to guess at your position and blast away with an artillery strike of their own.
Additionally, the team can use fire support assets
to keep a unit pinned while it picks off a person or two and moves to an
alternate location. For example, a sniper team engaging enemy LP/Ops
or patrols departing the enemy's perimeter can use fire support to suppress
the main camp, which might be sending out a reaction force.
The best way to train at the squad level is to start by reviewing the different types of missions, the communications procedures, and how to adjust, along with the basics of danger close distances.
Instead of wasting a lot of time at the lecture board, you can take the troops to a sandtable marked with numbered strings for gridlines and give them a radio. You act as the FSO and they radio in their request (for some reason, using real radios works much better than without). An assistant instructor uses a pointer with a cotton ball taped on it to designate the impact point of the round and the sniper adjusts accordingly. The rest of the class is allowed to stand by to watch and learn. The first few soldiers invariably screw it up and are sent to the back of the line to do it again.
But, after watching a few people do it correctly, almost everyone catches on and can pick up a radio and do the job. The sandtable should be used after teaching each mission, beginning with a grid mission, then a shift, and finally a polar if time permits.
The next step is to get them onto a live fire range and FO for the BN Mortars at least quarterly. The mortar platoons generally enjoy having FO support.
After they have a sound foundation in the basics, training should take place on different methods of control, fire support overlays, and the fire support coordination.
Air Support should also be trained on.
Teams should make every effort to establish a good working relationship with the BN's FSO and mortar sections. The sandtable is an excellent tool, which should be used to evaluate EVERY member of the section on Call for and Adjust Indirect Fire, regardless of rank. All snipers must know these tasks by heart.
Further, understanding the MIL Relation Formula used in determining shift, increasing the snipers understanding of range estimation, and the mil dot scale in his scope is excellent, excellent training for a sniper.
And as with any training - for anyone, not just snipers - practice does not make perfect.
Perfect practice makes perfect!
Finally, it's your ass out there and the unit is counting on you.
What more needs to be said?
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