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An17Y Instruct ion on Nuclear Weapons

• •
raining

Pershi ng Crews

The U , 44th Artillery Re:1iment\ 2ml Missile
Bat w linn at Fort Sill, OklahomJ, was recently
the fir, r Lmit in the American Army to receive
Martin Per.')ling il)ng-range nuclc;1r missile,.

A

fe w mo nt hs ago tht: 2 nd M issile Battalion
o f the U Army 4 4 th A rt illery Regiment at
F ort Sill n::cl:iwd Vlar tin Pershing inertial!!uidcd nuclear m l~s il es . T h is put the AmcriCil n Army in pn'>Sc ~ ion or a new wea pon
. yste m wh ich rs the m,lst
wL:rfu I it has ever

r

had .
It W3\ n I nl l:rl: c ha oLl' the 2nd Missile
Hil ttalinn wa,' thl: un it ~ekc te lL As early as
I1J5!S, when the Jevelo pment contra t was
a wa rded to the Mart in Company's O rlando
D i vi~ i o n _ Fort Sill wa~ planne d as the ba se
for tbe firs t opera tional f'e rshing ba tteries ,
For Fort Sill, In the tatc of O klahoma ,is in
a ce rtain senSe the headqua rters of the S
Army Artillcf). T he major te nan ts ll f Fort
Sill incl ude the US Army A rtille ry B,)ard
and thl: US Army Artillery and Mis ilc C ~ n­
ler, a~ well a~ the first Field A r ti II ~ ry M is ilc
Brig.lde (rcferrcu til from now o n (i s th . B rigalle) anll , particularl} im portant he rt: , thl'
US Army Artillery .lOU Missi le SchOll (rek rn:d to helow as the School) .
rhese and other co-operat ing age ncies
have, from the very start, played a major p art
in the d\.:vdopmcnt of the Pershing wea pon
y tern. For instance, va rio u~ "m ilitary characte r istics" wefe written by the US Army
Artillery Bo;:nl, with contributio ns from the
School and from Ordnaoce , E nginea , and
Signal group~ . To reduce to m inimu m the
perioll of time between the supply of liw
missiles to the gunm:rs an d Ule ir o p -rat ional
readiness, the resrnn~ihle a ut ho rit ie ' m ade
an early start on tIn: trdining at the p .... rsonnel
destined for future Per..,hillg uni ts , T his was
ma inly a maller of li mi ng th variou ~ ins truc-

tion courses in such a way as to allow all pupils to complete their individual training at
roughly the same time, and then to continue
exercises on a unit basis until they had been
brought up to fuIJy operational standard.
The Brigade, and of course, the School at
Fort Sill arc concerned primarily with the
personnel training aspect. Officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, all of whom
have to be thoroughly familiarised with the
entire Pershing weapon system to equip them
for their later duties in the battalion, com-

plete various courses at the School, while the
advanced individual training of pupils is
carried out by the Brigade.
Some of the problems which the School
was given to solve prior to and in conjunction
with the training of Pershing personnel
were:
• How many men are needed to man a
Pershing?
• What qualities must a candidate possess ill
order to be detailed for Pershing weapon
system training?

Instructors oC Field Artillery
Missile Training Command
dcmon<trate assembly of the
mi.\\ik under field conditions,

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Automation notwithstand ing, the handlin g of modern weapons sys tems demands extensive specialist knowledge. The Pershing Battalion 's trainin g programme covers lectures on
theory, practical laboratory work, and simulated launches during manoeuvres. Left: Training with the missile in t he US Army Artillery and Mi ssile School, whi ch is also a t Fort
Sill. Right: One of the "pupi ls" in this picture is the Commander of the Pershing battalion , Lieut-Col. Patrick W. Powers (front row, right) .

• What should the table of organisation for
a Pershing unit be, i.e. the number of personnel, and type and quantity of equipment
necessary for an optimum operational
establishment?
• How should the Pershing system be used
in operation, and what training programme
must be worked out for this purpose?
• What facilities are necessary for the training of officers and men (from housing to
training equipment)?
The task of planning was made more difficult by the fact that answers had to be found
to these questions while the Pershing weapon
system was still in an early stage of development. A preliminary outline programme was
first drawn up at Fort Sill, in order to give a

Ma rtin Company technicians
test Pershing weapons system
equipment befo re delivery to
the Army. Maintenance is
also being carrie d out by the
manufac turers for the time
being, since the Ord nance
Co rps personne l have not
yet co mpleted their training.

This older photograph was taken duri ng the tri al launching of a Pershing. T he cable tower through which the electrica l
and pneumatic power for pre- launch testing and ignition is carried is swung aside shortly before launch. I t is specially
designed so as not to be damaged by the rocke t exhaust, and can be used several times.

The Pershing Weapon System
Type: Highly mobile artillery missi le with nucl ea r
warhead.
Missile:
Main contractor: Martin Comp any
Solid motors: Thiokol Chemical Corp.
Inertial guidance system: Bendi x Corp .
Len gth . . . . .
Dia meter . . . .
Lau nch weig ht.
Range . . . . .

- 32 It
- 3.3 It
- 10,000Ib
~ 300 miles

Transporter-Erector-Launcher
Main contractor: Thompson Ramo Woold ridge
Length .
W idth .
Height .
W eigh t.

- 19.3 ft

- 6.5 It
- 8 .6 It
- 5,800 Ib

X M 474 tracked vehicle
Main contractor: Food Machinery and C hemic al
Corp.
Length . . . . . .
Width . . . . . .
Height . . . . . .
Grou nd clearance
Max. weigh t . . .
Max . speed o n level ground
Ma x. gradie nt. . . . . . .
Fords water to a depth of .

16.8 ft
8.3 It
6.3 It
1.3 It
11,000 Ib
40 m. p.h .
60 in 100
3.5 It

rough basi~ tur p lanning. Since no practical
I.!xperil:ncl.: was a va dabl ', Ih is had to be based
em paper informati n. i .e. . r ecifications and
design drawings. Whe n it had more or less
been .:stabhshed how train ing should be organiseu. personnel requi re me nts were calculated both as ttl the type of men required and
the numhers . In this way, the foundation of a
prel iminary training pr g ramme was laid,
a nJ the equipment was pb nncd accordingly.
t the same time, prop o"als were accumulaling a!: to how the tra ining programme
CQukl take accoun t of possi ble later changes
In dt: ign , with the resu lt that the initial draft
tHlining plan was inevita bly it copious documenl But lhis cautious planning was just ifiet! , for the first launch tests proved various
mudifications tll be mdispensa ble. These affected partly equipment and components on
wh ich the future servicing per-onrre! had alfeady bl'en drilled . In order to be :1ble to keep
fully abr~ast of th desi gn modifications, the
Artillery School d legated ,<.:vcral instructors
to the Marlin Company, wherc th e wert
provideJ with the latest info r mation by the
ut:$igners th msdves. In th i$ way, F ort Sill
W :l~ in u position to hep the instruction
courses right up to date on the state of dcvelopment. It was thus possible t initiate practical training a SOOD as th' first training
\!quipment arrived . Tn other words, thanks to
the clo. cooperation belwel,n the main contractor, namely Martin Com pany, and the
ustomcr, namely the US . rmy, the deadlint·, which is what really m utte rs in the end,
\Val> met. The first Persh i llg batteries arc, as
planned. operational at the c nd o f 1962. The
mo,t surprising thing is perhaps that, during
the ucvdopment of the PersliiflR, the staff
rt:~punsiblc for planning the fl exibll; tra ining
acti\ity havl" heen changed ~cve ral times.

For the tra ining of those u nits which are
to receive thei r Persh ing m issiles in the
course 01 thl' coming year- the American
force in Europe anu thl: West (I 'rman armed
forces- the 2ml Missile Battalion of the 44th
Artillery at Fort Sill will serve as the model.
The Ballaiion I' made up o f a service battery, a heauljuarters battery, and four m issile
b:llteries. phmned strength being some (lOO
men. In aud ition there arc ), up port persunnel
01 othl:r arms of ' hI: av icc (O rdnance and
Signab, dc.). Although tht: battalion is normatly the smallc t uni l or employment , each
ba tte ry i<; sufficiently <;e1 (- ~ urp o rti n g to be
able to function unaided fur an o peration of
rdatively short durat ion . for sus tained opera tiuns, adm inistrative and logis tic support is
providt:u by the hatta hon.
For nllfmal employment, the entire equipment o f a battery is carried by tour tracked
veh.icles (de~ignation XM 4 74), wh ich have
a maXimum speed of 40 m.p. h . on level
roads, can ford -t2 in. of w tcr, a n d can negotiate grat.!icnts o f (i0 in 100. T he XM 474 is
built by the Food Machin..:ry a nd C hemical
Corp" under supervision of the US A rmy
Ordnance Tank AUlonlotivc C ommand. A

single chassis carries the mobile trLlOsportererector-launcher, including the two-stage missile minus warhead; another XM 474 accommodates the nuclear warhead and spare pmts;
while thc load of the third and fourth trac"-eli
vehicles consists of the power supply, communications equipment, fire control unit, test
and checkout equipment, and power pack. :l)
The number of missiles allotted to the battalion is, lJOderstandably, classified information.
The Pershing weapon system has for year.,
been the constant subject of controversy. The
Air Force in particular qU('stion, its military
lise, since the ta rgets which the Army would
attack with Pershil1g missiles could bc covered at least as well by tactical aircraft. Such
targets include missile bases, airi"ields, communications centres, command centres, large
supply stores, and all tyres of troop concentrations.
The Army Starr, however, malOtains that
an army commander cannot strike the enemy,
who is constantly on the move, effectively
and aL the decisive moment, unless he has a
weapon of high fire power at his disposal, i.c.
unless he is independent of the other Services.
They add, moreover, that the Pershing can
operate independently of vulnerable ground
installations, can be transported ra pidly from
one combat zone to anothe r by aircraft or
helicopter, can be set up within a few minutes
by a comparatively small crew, has allweather capability, and is, thclOk to its inertial guidance system, proof against enemy
jamming. Irr othcr words, the Pershing is at
least as mobile as conventional artillery, but
posses~es a million times the destructive
power.
Night exercise at Fort Si!l; a Pcr.\hin,f( is mountcc1 ready
roc launch on ite;; mobile chassis.

Men of the 2nd Missile Battalion being ramiliarised with (he PcrsJiiJI{; weapon system Iran'porl

cquiJ1m~nt.

The

missiles can be lransported by lruck-as shown here, hy lransrorl aircrafl, or by helicopler.

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