Page Title - Fire Support Coordination
Grunt Logo - Grunt in Cover
Naval Gunfire Support (Annex D)
Part 1


1. GENERAL.

a. Units of the US Seventh Fleet provide NGFS to US, RVNAF, and FWMAF in unilateral and combined operations in the RVN. This support has one objective - to assist the ground commander. To this end, flexibility and responsiveness to his needs are paramount. The basis of this support is the continuous presence of both qualified NGFS ships and spotting teams along the entire coast of the RVN.

b. Cruiser/Destroyer Group, 7th Fleet (CTG 70.8) provides NGFS for the four CTZs, plus the Rung Sat Special Zone. CTU 70.8.9, as the designated NGFS Unit Commander, exercises operational control and allocates ships assigned, as requested by COMUSMACV. Additional NGFS from US Coast Guard ships assigned to Coastal Surveillance Forces (TF 115) is available on request through Corps NGLOs when it does not interfere with their Market Time operations. Typical targets for NGFS are:

(1) Known or suspected infiltration points on off-shore islands and along the RVN coast.

(2) Designated SSZs.

(3) Specific targets such as enemy:

  • Facilities, installations, and supply dumps.
  • Command centers.
  • Troop concentrations.
  • Artillery, mortar, and rocket positions.

(4) Sensor activated targets.

2. NGFS ORGANIZATION IN THE RVN.

There are two basic organizations in the RVN designed to provide NGFS to the ground commander. In both organizations, the point of contact for NGFS is the NGLO.

a. USMC Organizations

In the USMC organizations, NGF Teams are organic and are assigned at division, regiment, and battalion level. These teams consist of Naval officers and Marine officers and enlisted men. The Naval officers operate as LOs in the FSCC and the Marine officers as spotters (FOs) with the maneuver units.

b. US Army and Other Units

Since US Army and other friendly units in the RVN do not have this organic NGFS capability, Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO is present in the RVN with the mission of providing the necessary support and liaison to these units. Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO, with headquarters at the MACV Annex, Tan Son Nhut, provides a corps NGLO for each ARVN CTOC and US FFORCEV headquarters TOC and NGLOs to US Army and other friendly units operating in the coastal regions of the RVN and using NGFS, see Figure D-2 below.


Figure D-2: Organizational Relationship of ANGLICO Units

 Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO spot teams call and adjust all NGFS for these units, as well as provide necessary liaison. Ships reporting to the corps NGLO for NGFS missions will be referred to an FSCC or a specific spot team. Spot teams, consisting of USMC enlisted personnel with a USMC officer, Naval officer, or senior enlisted man in charge, are dispersed with the supported units in the field. All NGFS missions are cleared through appropriate TOCs or FSCCs.

3. NGFS PROCEDURES.

a. Forces

CTG 70.8 provides a minimum of four destroyers on a continuing basis for NGFS. In addition, one cruiser is provided for NGFS when available. Additional destroyers are assigned to augment the minimum NGFS, consistent with their availability and tactical requirements.

b. NGFS Assignment

(1) CTU 70.8.9 issues periodic "availability messages" listing all ships in the unit and those about to report (see Figure D-3 as example.) Availability messages will include the period of assignment and the CTZ to which assigned. Assignments to CTZs are based on requirements of COMUSMACV or his designated representative.

(2) After receipt of the availability message, and at least 48 hours before scheduled arrival of a ship on NGFS station, the CG, FFORCEV/Senior Advisor will prepare a message (see Figure D-4 as an example), assigning the ships to specific NGFS points along the coast, using coastal reference points as a guide. This message should include station assignment, spotter identification, and spotting frequencies.

(3) CTU 70.8.9 also has other missions, e.g., investigation of unidentified submarines and search and rescue. If possible, NGFS will not be interrupted until a fire mission is complete; however, CTU 70.8.9 must decide the priority in each case.

c. Reporting for NGFS Duty

(1) Unless otherwise directed by competent authority, ships reporting for NGFS duty will arrive at designated locations by 0600H on the day of assignment. When reporting to an NGLO/spotter for the first mission it is essential that he be made aware of the ship's situation regarding capabilities and ammunition. The GURF Report is submitted via the NGLO or spotter net (see Figure D-5 for example of GURF Report). If for any reason, a ship cannot arrive at its designated station on time, CTU 70.8.9, the unit to be supported, and the appropriate NGLO/spotter will be advised of the actual arrival time as soon as possible by an immediate precedence message.

d. Mission Request.

(1) All NGFS missions will be undertaken at the request of COMUSMACV designated representatives, CTOCs, FSCCs or responsible supported unit commanders. A fire mission request for pre-planned missions will normally originate from a corps or division NGLO. The request will pass through the CTOC/FSCC for evaluation to determine which type of fire support can best be used, i.e., NGFS, CAS, or artillery. When it is determined that NGFS is to be used the request and applicable information will be passed to the NGFS ship via the NGFS ORESTES net or Fleet Broadcast. As an alternate means, the CSC net may be used to pass requests. (See Figure D-6 for mission request format.) The CTOC/FSCC is responsible to insure that all clearances to fire have been obtained; if any doubt exists, the ship should inquire whether clearances have been completed. If requests are received by voice, or without the proper addressees, the ship is responsible for retransmission to the proper addressees. To reduce communications, mission requests should be kept brief, grouping target coordinates where possible.

(2) US forces may call for observed NGFS by the most direct channel available, i.e., NGLO/spotter nets. In the case of other friendly forces, the request must be processed through a CTOC/FSCC as outlined in paragraph (1) above.

(3) CTOCs and FSCCs will assign priorities to missions when more than one request has been made. When the requests exceed the number of ships available in a CTZ, and the importance of the mission is such that additional support is required, CTOCs or FSCCs will request assistance from COMUSMACV, who may request CTU 70.8.9 to shift NGFS assets from one CTZ to another.

e. Fire Mission Procedures

There are three types of NGFS missions in the RVN. They are the pre-planned, non-scheduled, and emergency missions.

(1) The pre-planned mission is normal for a scheduled operation where the requirement for NGFS is known for at least 48 hours in advance. The mission is requested by a ground commander as a normal fire support mission. If NGFS is selected as the best means of providing the support, the CTOC/FSCC/NGLO will submit the request by electrical means to the ship and arrange for a spotter as appropriate. (See Figure D-6 for NGFS mission request format.) The NGFS ship will notify the CTOC/FSCC and CSC when beginning the mission and when it has been completed.

(2) The non-scheduled mission corresponds to the artillery on-call or CAS immediate mission and requires a quick-reaction response. The CTOC/FSCC/NGLO or spotter requests the mission. If not already present, the CTOC/FSCC arranges for a spotter or, if necessary, an ALO, FAC, or aerial artillery observer. The ship notifies the CTOC/FSCC and the CSC when beginning the mission and when it is completed.

(a) The senior ground commander of the supported unit may request unobserved fire when such fire is determined to be essential to the scheme of maneuver. This request will be forwarded via the appropriate CTOC/FSCC/NGLO. The CTOC/FSCC is responsible for clearances. Most requests for NGFS for battalion-sized operations fall under the non-scheduled or the emergency category and, as such, are originated by the individual spot teams, i.e., the FSCCs, rather than from the CTOCs.

(b) When the NGFS ship is not under the mission control of a US FSCC, unobserved fires may be placed on targets or target areas (exclusive of villages end hamlets) declared hostile by the GVN, VN liaison personnel, observers, or FACs where -

1. The requested NGFS mission cannot be observed due to terrain, weather, or other factors, or

2. No US NGLO/FAC/spotter is available. Because of the potential hazards of unobserved fires to friendly troops, unobserved missions not under the control of a US FSCC must be undertaken as a recognized deviation from standard procedures and only under exceptional circumstances.

(3) The emergency mission is one in which a friendly position is under attack and sufficient fire support is not available. Only a US representative of COMUSMACV may declare a fire support request as an emergency mission. Upon receipt of an emergency request, any NGFS ship in the area will proceed to the designated position at the fastest prudent speed.

The US representative will immediately notify COMUSMACV, COMNAVFORV, CTG 70.8, CTF 115, CTU 70.8.9, and other commands concerned by FLASH message. This message will contain an estimate of the time the ship will be required on the emergency mission. The ship will remain in the emergency area until released by the requesting command or higher authority (see Figure D-7 for format of emergency mission request).

f. Spotting Procedures.

(1) With two exceptions, all NGFS missions will be observed; they will be controlled by US personnel only. The exceptions to observed fire are-

(a) The situations outlined in paragraphs 3e(2)(a) and (b) above, or

(b) Targets in SSZs, when the senior ground commander of the force determines such fire to be essential to the scheme of maneuver.

(2) NGFS spotting teams will be used for spotting where available. ALOs, FACs, or aerial artillery observers may be used if they have been qualified by competent authority in NGFS terminology and request and spotting procedures. (NGFS spotter training may be obtained by requesting it from MACV; Sub-Unit ONE, First ANGLICO will provide the training.) When firing for these spotters, ships will assume that proper clearances have been obtained, notification to friendly troops in the area has been made, and that any necessary civilian evacuation of the target area has been done. If doubt concerning any of these assumptions exists, or if any factor arises which may indicate danger to friendly forces, the ship will question the spotter on the situation. The ship may refuse to fire if doubt or confusion remains, realizing that friendly forces ashore may be under fire.

(3) Ships may fire on designated targets in SSZs when authorized by the appropriate CTOC. Except for the situation outlined in paragraph 3f(l)(b) above, fires must be observed and may be spotted. SSZs are not considered static as they can be changed at any time by appropriate RVNAF authorities.

(4) Spotters will plan ammunition expenditures and generally will not call for 6" or larger caliber for harassment missions, in order to conserve ammunition. Normally, the shortest gun range that will accomplish the mission will be used.

(5) SNOOPY is an aerial recon vehicle which uses television configured for the QH-50 Drone helicopter and is used for surveillance and NGFS spotting.

(a) Certain destroyers are equipped to operate and receive the television signals from SNOOPY. In addition, gun cruisers have an installation for display of the television picture. SNOOPY control is line-of-site and, therefore, a function of altitude. Missions are usually flown in the coastal areas and inland to about 25 kilometers. Time available over the target is affected by the distance of the ship to the target and wind aloft. About one hour over the target can usually be expected for targets relatively close to the ship.

(b) A typical SNOOPY surveillance/spotting procedure is to approach the target at 3500 feet altitude, at which the drone will probably not be seen or heard by an unaided ground observer. When the target is properly located in the camera field, SNOOPY descends in a hover until the desired picture resolution is obtained, consistent with the recognized risk of hostile fire in the event of detection. SNOOPY may be used for spotting of naval or artillery fires and is not restricted to use by the parent destroyer. Clearance for operations over land will be obtained from the NGLO. The CTU 70.8.9 availability message will indicate those ships with a SNOOPY capability. (See NOTE 3 of Figure D-3)


Figure D-3:  'PERIODIC AVAILABILITY MESSAGE'

IMMEDIATE

(DATE TIME GROUP)

FM: CTU 70.8.9

TO: AIG 460

INFO: (ALL SHIPS LISTED IN BODY OF MSG NOT PRESENTLY ASSIGNED TO 70.8.9 INCLUDE APPLICABLE EMBARKED STAFFS)

CONFIDENTIAL

A. CTU 70.8.9 (LAST AVAILABILITY MSG)

1. REF A IS SUPERSEDED AS OF 150600H.

2. SHIPS AVAILABLE AND HEREBY ASSIGNED NGFS PERIOD 160600H TO 210600H.

CTZ SHIP CLASS PERIOD EDT (Note 1) Notes
I SAINT PAUL (CA-73) CA 16-21 MAY 03 JUN 4
I BLUE (DD-744) DD 692 16-21 MAY 03 JUN 4
II HOPEWELL (DD-681) DD 448 16-21 MAY 03 JUN 2
II ROGERS (DD-876) DD 710 16-19 MAY 19 MAY 2
III MORTON (DD-948) DD 945 16-21 MAY 30 MAY  
IV S.N.MOORE (DD-747) DD 696 16-21 MAY 06 JUN  
IV G.K.MACKENZIE (DD-836) DD 710 16-21 MAY 24 MAY 3

NOTES.

(1) Unless otherwise noted, ships will be available from 0600H to 0600H daily. Upon obtaining release by spotter, ships are detached without further signal on day scheduled to depart.

(2) RAP equipped.

(3) SNOOPY configured.

(4) Assigned support operation BIG SHOT until 191200H then available I CTZ.


Figure D-4: UTILIZATION MESSAGE

PRECEDENCE: IMMEDIATE (PRIORITY)

FROM: CG I FFORCEV RVN

TO:

  • CG 22ND INF DIV QNH RVN
  • CG CAP ROK DIV QNH RVN
  • CG 9TH ROK DIV NINH RVN
  • CO 3/506 ABN INF
  • CTU SEVEN ZERO PT EIGHT PT NINE
  • USS (SEE NOTE 1)

INFO:

  • MACV CC
  • CTG SEVEN ZERO PT EIGHT
  • CDR ROK FV SGN
  • DSA II CTZ
  • SR I FFORCEV LNO TO CAPT ROK DIV
  • CTG ONE ONE FIVE PT ONE
  • SR I FFORCEV LNO TO 9TH ROK DIV
  • SUB UNIT ONE, FIRST ANGLIGO
  • COMSEVENTHFLT (WHEN FLAGSHIP UTILIZED)
  • SEVENTH AIR FORCE TACC

SUBJ: PLANNED UTILIZATION NGFS ALLOCATED II CTZ DATE TO DATE MONTH YEAR

REF:

  • A. PREVIOUS UTILIZATION MESSAGE
  • B. CTU 70.8.9 APPLICABLE AVAILABILITY MESSAGE
  • C. (AS NECESSARY)

1. REF A CANCELLED AND SUPERSEDED BY THIS MESSAGE.

2. FOR PLANNING PURPOSES, SHIPS ALLOCATED II CTZ BY REF B TENTATIVELY

ASSIGNED FSA AS FOLLOWS.

A. USS _______________

(1) PSA
(2) VOICE CALL OF UNIT REPORTING TO/CKT
(3) INITIAL REPORTING STATION (COASTAL REFERENCE POINT)
(4) SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

NOTE 1: Ships listed in body of message. Ships will proceed to area indicated unless otherwise directed by task unit commander.


Figure D-5: GUNS UP AND READY FIRE (GURF) REPORT

PRECEDENCE

DATE TIME GROUP

FM: (VOICE CALL OF SHIP)

TO: (VOICE CALL OF NGLO/SPOTTER)

CONFIDENTIAL (USE KAG-183)

GURF REPORT

ALFA: ORIGINATOR (CALL SIGN) AND DTG OF MSG ASSIGNING SHIP TO NGFS DUTY.

BRAVO: DTG (LOCAL TIME) OF COMMENCEMENT AND END OF NGFS ASSIGNMENT.

CHARLIE: PRESENT POSIT (IN GRID COORDINATES)

DELTA: MAXIMUM RANGE OF GUNS BY BATTERY IF BELOW NEW GUN RANGE DUE TO EROSION, AND ANY REDUCED NGFS CAPABILITY REGARDING ARMAMENT LISTED IN GUN 14.

ECHO: AMMUNITION ON BOARD AVAILABLE FOR NGFS. USE CODE BELOW TO MAKE LISTING PRIOR TO ENCRYPTION.

PROJECTILE CALIBER POWDER
1-AAC (HE-MTF) T-3/50 F-FULL CHG
2-AP R-5/38 R-REDUCED CHG
5-COMM M-5/54  
6-HC (HE-PD) D-6" and 8"  
7-ILLUM    
8-VT, HE-CVT, RAP    
11-WP    

EXAMPLES:

  • 6R850 - INDICATES HC 5"/38 850 ROUNDS
  • 8T2300 - INDICATES VT 3"/50, 2300 ROUNDS
  • RR68 - INDICATES 5"/38 REDUCED CHARGES, 68 ROUNDS

FOXTROT: DTG (LOCAL) AND DURATION, LOCATION AND NATURE OF KNOWN OR ANTICIPATED UNREP OR PERIOD OF ABSENCE FROM GUNLINE.

HOTEL: ANY OTHER INFORMATION DETERMINED TO BE OF VALUE TO SUPPORTED UNIT.

NOTES:

(1) All groups except call signs are to be encrypted using KAK-183.

(2) Letters in paragraph echo of GURF report are first letters of code name for ammunition caliber (Durant, Richenbacker, etc.) and should also be encrypted.


Figure D-6: NGFS MISSION REQUEST FORMAT

The following format will be used in submitting mission requests:

PRECEDENCE:

FM: (REQUESTING ACTIVITY (NGLO/FSCC))

TO: (NGFS SHIP OR HIGHER AUTHORITY)

INFO: CTU 70.8.9, MACVCC

CLASSIFICATION (USUALLY CONFIDENTIAL)

1. TYPE OF MISSION (NON-SCHEDULED OR PRE-PLANNED).

  1. TYPE OF OPERATION (AMPHIBIOUS, TROOP SUPPORT, AREA FIRE, ETC.)
  2. NUMBER OF SHIPS REQUIRED/NAME OF INTENDED FIRING SHIP(S).
  3. COORDINATES FOR SHIP TO REPORT TO.
  4. COORDINATES OF THE TARGET OR TARGET AREA. (IF SEVERAL TARGETS IN SAME AREA, CONDENSE).
  5. TIME TO BE ON STATION BY LOCAL DATE-TIME-GROUP.
  6. EXPECTED DURATION ON STATION.
  7. TYPE OF TARGET.
  8. ANGLICO UNIT/U.S. FORCE FSCC REQUESTING MISSION.
  9. FREQUENCIES BY CIRCUIT NUMBER TO BE USED AND CALL SIGN OF SPOTTER.
  10. UNIT TO BE SUPPORTED/OPERATION NICKNAME.

Notes;

(1) Units receiving requests for NGFS will ensure that MACVCC, COMNAVFORV, CTU 70.8.9 receive the message for information

(2) Units receiving requests for NGFS which do not have a date-time-group will assign them a date-time-group and so inform the originator.


Figure D-7: EMERGENCY FIRE SUPPORT REQUEST FORMAT

The following format will be used in submitting emergency mission requests:

PRECEDENCE: IMMEDIATE OR FLASH

FM: (REQUESTING ACTIVITY)0.

TO: (NGFS SHIP OR HIGHER AUTHORITY)

INFO:

  • COMUSMACV
  • CTG 70.8
  • COMSEVENTHFLT
  • CTF 115
  • COMNAVFORV
  • CTU 70.8.9
  • CTF 77
  • MACVCC
  • SUB UNIT ONE FIRST ANGLICO

CLASSIFICATION: (USUALLY CONFIDENTIAL)

NGFS MISSION REQUEST

1. EMERGENCY MISSION REQUEST

  1. UNIT TO BE SUPPORTED/OPERATION NICKNAME
  2. NUMBER OF SHIPS REQUIRED/NAME OF INTENDED FIRING SHIP(S)
  3. COORDINATES FOR SHIP TO REPORT TO
  4. COORDINATES OF THE TARGET OR TARGET AREA
  5. ANGLICO UNIT/U.S. FORCE FSCC REQUESTING MISSION
  6. FREQ BY CIRCUIT NUMBER TO BE USED AND CALL SIGN OF SPOTTER OR OBSERVER
  7. NON-U.S. SPOTTER IS (IS NOT) AUTHORIZED

Grunt Logo - Grunt in Cover
Naval Gunfire Support Part 2


Source:

Vietnam Lessons Learned No. 77: Fire Support Coordination in the Republic of Vietnam. United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, 20th May 1970


 

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