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Firebase Hailstorm or Firebase Chaos?

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  • [AAR] Firebase Hailstorm or Firebase Chaos?

    Mission: Meteor

    This mission did not go great for an Arty base. I do not blame anyone for this in particular. It was a combination of several factors including technical glitches, sloppy leadership (by me), and people having to leave mid game. The end result was a firebase that, as I put it "had more turnover than McDonalds." I actually got a message from command to essentially pick up the slack, and I got a seperate report of inaccurate fire/rounds off target. Not my best night. The heros of Hailstorm were the JIPs who quickly picked up loading and ammo prep, and provided fresh meat to fill the alarmingly high casualty rate for a non-combat squad. Meanwhile, I was, to put it bluntly, rapidly losing my cool as rounds seemed to take forever to get fired and down range. I imagined command sitting in some cover, thinking, "sooo WHERE is that arty?" Often I dd not have to imagine, the 117 radio gave me the real life version.

    This after action report lists significant events and then things to improve on.

    I have taken all the names out to prevent embarassment.
    Started with 1 trained –but not veteran-- gunner, 1 untrained loader.
    Gunner communication dropped out unexpectedly as we were preparing for the first mission, resulting in a very slow start. Also the loader had to be trained, which took a moment.
    At that point I started training the loader to be a gunner.
    Just about when that was done the gunner came back and said his issues was fixed.
    So he switched back to gunning and the loader went back to it.
    A new JIP was trained to load and he started.
    JIPs were constamtly chatting or milling around the arty base, which is fine, but it added another layer to the fog of war from my perspective, to occasionally find a stranger sitting in the gunseat of the M119, and having to tell him to move.
    Soon after that the gunner had more communication issues and then disconnected.
    Having no trained gunner, Garthra then began doing the battery computer and the gunner role, trying to train people and troubleshoot when possible. This made fire missions very hectic.
    Soon after this original loader had to go.
    At this point all original crew members were gone.
    JIPs were helpful, and good at loading, but I did not have time to train a new gunner.
    A while later the original gunner reconnected, and took up his old role.
    Reports began to come in of shells missing their target. I attempted to determine the cause, but was not able to do so before another firemission came in.
    Soon there after that the communication issue returned and he again disconnected.
    Garthra was gunning and being FCO a second time.
    Around now the order came from command to head to the front.
    Garthra and JIPs got in a Humvee and drove.
    Mission ended while we were rolling on the road.

    I want to stress again here I do not blame anyone. It was a series of unfortunate chances, and no one is really to blame. Never the less, the odds of a similar fiasco can be reduced through some reflection. . .

    1.) Cross Training of Crew: One gunner had connection troubles, this created a lot of trouble and disruption for th battery as a whole. In the future I would recommend both crewmembers be certified as cross trained. JIPs wanted to help, but training them during the mission as a gunner was not viable.
    2.) Communication Refresher: Communication was sub optimal on many levels, and I was as guilty of this as anyone. Radio channels got confused, and statements were not efficient on long range. (It often took 2 or 3 back and forth to convey a fire mission.) In the future the FCO should give a refresher on firebase communications protocol first to the battery crew to ensure good internal coms, and then go over with the Observer how they will coordinate fire missions.
    3.) Corrections and SOPs: FCO should talk with FO regarding issues like standard procedures; for instance, “end every mission with a WP round” and FCO should ensure that FO understands the correction methods available to the m119 battery computer.
    4.) Report on Each Shell: It was difficult to determine where the error in the firebase team was because it was unclear when the first shot missed target. In the future FCO should specifically request report on effectiveness of shell after each shot. That way the first shot that misses results in a thorough review of the arty team to find the error. Continuing to fire when there is a glitch in the system is dangerous to friendly forces and unproductive.
    5.) Delegate: I should have done better in using the JIPs in productive ways and delegating more to them. The fog of war kept me focused on the present instant, and I lost sight of the bigger picture about long term resource utilization.
    6.) Basic Arty Classes; which include gunner and loader roles, as well as proper firebase communication procedures, are very important and would have helped a lot with these issues.
    7.) FCO must remain calm. I was not calm and controlled, and this did not help matters. I let the stess get to me. I will work on this.

    I will end with the following; "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.... well, that and off target arty rounds causing Blue on Blue." Ok, so maybe I made that quote up. :D
    Last edited by Garthra; 09-08-2012, 11:43 AM.
    The question foremost in my mind is "what will bring the most tactical fun to the server?"



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