Task Force provides guidance during field artillery maneuvers

Submitted by E Battery, Task Force 1-28 Infantry

August 1st, 2019 | News, News and Features

As the explosions died down and the gunpowder started to clear from around the 105mm howitzers, young, excited faces materialized through the smoke. The cadets of U.S. Military Academy’s 2019 Cadet Summer Training had just shot live artillery rounds for the first time.
Their enthusiasm continued throughout the summer as the Soldiers of Excalibur Battery, Task Force 1-28 Infantry, trained cadets at West Point. Soldiers first introduced rising third-class cadets to the different functional areas of field artillery, where the task force displayed the spectrum of artillery capabilities and explained the role artillery plays in combined arms operations. That was just the beginning of the training, as Excalibur Battery Soldiers then began educating cadets on firing battery operations.
After watching a demonstration of an emergency fire mission, also known as a hip-shoot, cadets occupied the howitzers and participated in firing live artillery rounds.
At the occupation lane, Soldiers demonstrated the proper procedure to occupy a M119A3 105 mm howitzer before teaching and supervising teams of cadets as they performed occupations.
At the Fire Direction Center, Fire Direction officers, Excalibur Battery lieutenants, briefed cadets on fire direction fundamentals and the five requirements for accurate fire, information necessary to utilize indirect fires.
Cadets used these new skills on the gunline, taking on roles of different members of a howitzer section and firing rounds downrange to support classmates on the observation post.
The training wasn’t only limited to battery operations, as Soldiers from the Task Force 1-28 Infantry Fires and Effects Coordination Cell inaugurated cadets into the realm of fire support.
After giving a targeting brief to cadets, FECC Soldiers explained both the capabilities of different artillery weapon systems and the processes used to plan supporting fires for maneuver operations.
Cadets used these lessons in a practical exercise, planning targets in support of an infantry company as it maneuvered onto its objective. Via classroom instruction and a digital call-for-fire simulator, FECC Soldiers instructed cadets on how to properly call for fire.
Cadets were evaluated on their new skills on the OP, calling for both live artillery and mortar rounds. Thanks to the training from the task force’s mortar platoon, cadets hung rounds on both the 60 mm and 81 mm mortars, learning capabilities of the weapon systems and how mortars are used in the task force.
Throughout this summer, Soldiers of Excalibur Battery have enthusiastically embraced training cadets, providing those young men and women with their first exposure to the “King of Battle.” With their mission to introduce cadets to indirect fires, as well as general Army knowledge, Black Lion Soldiers became a part of West Point’s legacy and America’s future, educating the next generation of artillery officers.
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