Skip to comments.Artillerymen Clear Path for the Infantry
Posted on 11/11/2004 6:10:18 PM PST by neverdem
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov. 10 -- U.S. Army observers watched as the white pickup truck sped from house to house in Fallujah on Wednesday morning, stopping more than 20 times to drop off armfuls of rocket-propelled grenades. Every few stops, the driver threw dirt on the roof of the cab, apparently in an attempt to disguise his vehicle.
A few miles away, soldiers in the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Platoon, Alpha Battery trained their M109A6 Paladin, a self-propelled 155mm howitzer, on the truck. Minutes later, a shell shot out of the cannon, whizzed across the sky and landed next to the truck with a massive boom, shooting off shrapnel.
In the resulting cloud of dust and fire, the observers could not tell whether the truck had been hit directly. But even if the driver got away, said Staff Sgt. Shawn Zawistowski, a member of the 1st Infantry's Task Force 2-2, "I guarantee we made him think twice."
Powerful artillery pieces such as the Paladin deserve much of the credit for the ease and speed with which the U.S. military has been able to take control of most of Fallujah, according to American soldiers who have been sweeping through the city over the past two days.
Before ground troops entered Fallujah on Monday night, warplanes pounded insurgent targets with bombs; mobile artillery batteries followed with cannon and mortar fire. The effect was significant, according to military commanders and soldiers inside the city.
"It's made everybody get out of town," said Zawistowski, 30, of Cleveland.
Alpha Battery's two artillery pieces have fired more than 300 rounds in the first three days of the battle. The Marines' Mike Battery 414, which has six big guns at the same military outpost, has launched more than 500 rounds.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
The bad guys best hope is for blind Marine and Army Recon guys.
Great article. Artillery has made incredible advances in the last few years. There is no longer a requirement for spotting rounds, and their rate of fire is outstanding. I've flown close air support missions for almost 15 years, and now have to admit that artillery may be a better option in a lot of close air support scenarios. Between unmanned combat air vehicles and GPS guided artillery shells, I'm starting to feel a little redundant. But dammit, as long as we've got red blooded all American boys on the line, there is no such thing as too many ways to kill the enemy.
Hearing about all this brings up some sweet memories...if I close my eyes I can still smell those whitebags cooking off. OOOOOOOOSHAAAAA
My ears are still ringing.
A 155 is pretty strong medicine for a little old pickup truck. I wouldn't want to be standing within a couple of hundred meters from one of those babies when they explode.
Yeah, that brings back that smell and the memories.
This made me laugh for some reason.
I can remember when they were M109-A-nuthin' howitzers. Where did the time go? [sniff]
Soon out boys will be throwing dirt on the driver.
"...My impression (and I am not an artillery guy) is that the precision came from very precise targetting data (LRAS) and very precise location of the guns."
You are correct. I not up on all the latest classifed developments but palladins get great accuracy from simple trajectory shells. It is no longer necessary to lay them in with "candy canes" (but it still is with 105s and mortars).
he fire and forget munitions are not for the 155. Copperheads require a COLT (Combat Observation Lasing Team) to be guided to the target. Copperheads failure rate has proven too high and it was developed for tanks and not common targets.
Battle of IA DRANG's Artillery Landing Zone Falcon =
The Blueprint for Supportive Fires
(Battle of IA DRANG-1965 Photos)
My ears have been ringing for 35 years. A1/92FA '67-'69
I read that laser guided munitions were not due out until 2006, but as with the 30,000 bunker busting MOAB, I take all those dated with a grain of salt. We're at war, and if the Pentagon tosses $cash$ at the contractor, and tells him "ASAP", then they WILL beat their schedule estimate.
That's why I didn't question it but said something like "..way cool!" when I read about the accuracy of the GPS guided munitions it.
"Y56, T34...." (smug artillery guys using minimal radio protocol...)
"T34, Y56. Grid: XX xxxx -break- xxxx. White Pickup in th' open"
"Roger.... Shot!" (Smug artillery guys. I love those guys....)
"Splash.... That got it." I loved being an FO....
Cannoncockers have steel balls!
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