Naval Gunfire Support - 1st Battalion 6th Infantry 1970-71

[The following appeared in the Americal Division newspaper, the Southern Cross, with the
headline  "Navy gives div extra firepower."]

by SP4 Terry Williamson
CHU LAI (198th INF BDE IO) -- Every once in a while, a loud rumble can be heard from the
quiet reaches of the South China Sea.  This menacing sound is another trouble sign for enemy
soldiers in the division's area of operations for Naval gunfire support is one more effective means
of supplying infantrymen in the field with heavy support.
     The mission of Naval gunfire has changed dramatically in the last three years but it still provides
Allied Forces with massive firepower.  Before artillery had been fully employed in Vietnam, it was
found necessary to line the entire coast with heavy cruisers capable of delivering fire support.  The
large amount of artillery has caused a reduction in the need of such extreme off shore support, but
the capability of the hugh guns is not forgotten.
     For a brigade to obtain Naval gunfire support, the Naval Liaison Officer at division must be
contacted.  The liaison officer for the division is Lieutenant (jg) Danny M. Dixon, El Cagon, Calif.
     "I give the brigades all the information they need concerning our operations,"  Lieutenant Dixon
said.  "I can set up a firing schedule with them, and tell them how soon they can expect a ship to
work in their area."
     "Even though we are limited in our support operations, we've been quite successful with the
missions we have fired in this area," Lieutenant Dixon said.  "We also provide our own aerial
observer who does much of the adjusting that is necessary.  So we are in a pretty good position
to see how effective we've been in a particular area."
     Recently, Colonel William R. Richardson, Arlington, Va., commanding officer of the 198th
Infantry Brigade, visited the USS Saint Paul, a heavy cruiser stationed off the coast of Chu Lai,
and presented a plaque to Captain Hugh C. Knott, Columbus, Ohio, skipper of the ship, in
appreciation for the support the ship has furnished.  While on board, Colonel Richardson was
given a tour of the ship and watched a fire mission unfold as the big eight inch guns went to work.
     Captain Knott explained that there are some humorous missions when the different terminology
used by the two services come into conflict.
     "Sometimes artillery forward observers adjust our missions," Captain Knott said, "and they're
not used to our terms.  Once when one of these observers was calling in a mission to us, we asked
him if he wanted "Three guns, three salvos, fire for effect."  The Army man, used to artillery talk,
thought it over and said, "Yea, that sounds like what I want."
     But although the language may be different, the message is the same. [End of article]

The "Regulars Rules," a notebook created by the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry in early 1971 for use by
soldiers in the field, contained the following instructions:

                  Naval Gunfire Support Call for Fire.

1.  Observer identification.
2.  Warning Order -- designate a target number.
3.  Location of Target (Polar plot or shift from reference point can also be used.)
        Altitude (meters)
        Direction (O-T [observer-target] or G-T [gun - target] Line)
4.  Description of Target
5.  Method of Engagement
        Type of Adjustment - specify "Danger" (target within 1500 m) or "Danger Close" (target within
     600 meters) and direction and distance from friendly position.
     "Danger close, South, 500"
        Trajectory - specify "Reduced Charge" if high angle fire is desired.
        Ammunition - shell and fuse.
6.  Method of Fire and Armament (main or secondary battery), Method of Control (can use "ship
     will adjust" if ship can see target).

                    Report from Ship

1.  Ready and Time of Flight - prepared to fire first salvo.  "Ready" will be reported before each
salvo if "At my command" is used.
2.  Bearing of the G-T line.
3.  First Salvo at - where first salvo will land if "Danger" was indicated.
4.  Maximum Ordinate - when observer is airborne.
5.  Shot - moment of firing salvo.
6.  Standby - five seconds before impact.


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