Fire planning is the continual process of selecting targets on which fires are prearranged to support a phase of the concept of operation. Fire planning isaccomplished concurrently with maneuver planning at all levels. Leaders conduct fire planning to suppress, isolate, obscure, neutralize, destroy, deceive, or disrupt known,likely, or suspected targets, and to support the actions of the maneuver element. Firesare planned for all phases of an operation.
SECTION I — FIRE PLANNING
C-1. Fire planning starts as soon as the leader gets a mission. Once begun, fire planning continues throughthe operation’s completion. The primary aim of fire planning is to develop how fire is to be massed,distributed and controlled to best support the leader’s concept of operation.C-2. Fires are either
targets of opportunity, or planned targets
. Targets of opportunity are not planned inadvance, but are engaged as they present themselves in accordance with established engagement criteriaand rules of engagement. Planned targets are ones on which fires are prearranged, although the degree of this prearrangement may vary. The degree of prearrangement influences the time it takes to receive fires.The greater the prearrangement—the faster the reaction time. The subject of this section is planned fires.C-3. Planned targets are categorized as
Scheduled fires are fired in accordance witha pre-established time schedule and sequence. On-call targets are fired in response to a request for fires.Priority targets are a special type of on-call target. Priority targets have quick reaction times because thefiring unit has guns set on a specific target when not engaged in other fire missions.C-4. To be effective fires must be integrated and synchronized in time, space, and purpose over the entireconcept of operation. Integration means all available assets are planned and used throughout an operation.Synchronization means that these assets are sequenced in time, space, and purpose in an optimal manner, producing complementary and reinforcing effects for the maneuver element.
On 14 May 1945 during the Ryukyus Campaign in Okinawa after three days
of heavy fighting, the companies of 1
ID were reduced to the
size of platoons, led by corporals and sergeants. Despite loses, the commander
decided to continue its advance. In order to achieve surprise, the morning attack
began without preparatory fires. The rifle companies moved over the LD at 0800
hours and advanced 200 yards with out a shot being fired by the enemy. Surprise
had been achieved, but the enemy quickly recovered and achieved fire superiority by
pouring machine gun and mortar fire on the attacking units, stopping their advance.
Two of the enemy positions along ridge were destroyed by mortar fire but the troops
were still unable to move with out being met by enemy fire. Determined not to loose
ground already gained, the battalion commander ordered the 81-mm mortar platoon
to place suppressive fires in front of the lead company. Placing fire only 50 yards in
front of the troops, he kept moving the barrage ahead as troops advanced.
The battalion’s mortar PL went forward to the lead elements, and after a
hasty visual recon decided to use two mortars on the mission. He adjusted one
mortar about 50 yards in front of the company and the second about 100 yards in
front of the company. One fired at a range of 700; the other at a range of 750 yards.
28 March 2007 FM 3-21.8 C-1