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  • Harassment and Interdiction Fire

    An astronomical amount of artillery ammunition was fired during the Vietnam War, and of all the rounds expended, nearly 60-70% were used for Harassment and Interdiction fire (that is unobserved fire on likely enemy routes, positions and avenues of approach). The figures below show all the missions fired by Marine artillerymen during the month of September 1965 and the preponderance of H&I fire:

    Observed combat missions: 650
    Unobserved call fires: 439
    Harassment and Interdiction missions: 6,448
    Registrations: 125
    Destruction missions: 4

    for a total of 35,800 rounds of ammunition expended.

    By June 1970 H&I fire had almost entirely been eliminated, mostly for budgetary reasons. Do you think H&I was worth it? Some people argue it made the line troops feel safer while other pretend it was totally counterproductive.

    Last edited by Boonierat; 17 Jul 07, 06:15.

  • #2
    To me that is a lot of HE wasted on a perfectly good jungle. What where they shooting at? Random crossroads and trails?
    "The secret of war lies in the communications" - Napoleon Bonaparte

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Pergite View Post
      To me that is a lot of HE wasted on a perfectly good jungle. What where they shooting at? Random crossroads and trails?
      Basically yes.

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      • #4
        If you got it, use it.
        BTDT

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        • #5
          Waste of money. A low-tech enemy like that doesn't care much about this kind of "harassment", and even if they do, fear of their own officers is greater than of randomly falling mortar rounds.

          It might even be counter-productive as you harden green enemy fighters so that they won't panic the fist time they come under artillery fire in a real fight. Plus it makes you look impotent and diminishes the enemy's evaluation of your firepower.

          I'm all for blowing stuff up, but you either do it right or you leave it. In all likelyhood this has been done so that the artillery branch can justify their own budget.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Trung-si View Post
            If you got it, use it.
            BTDT
            I wonder if the danger involved in the helicopter supply sorties for these firebases where a good trade off against a few missed Z:s

            How many rounds are we talking about anyway? Its not like they fired a normal fire mission on random. It sort of makes that comparison look a bit wrong.

            Anyway, from the textbook:
            Harassment uses a limited number of artillery pieces and ammunition within a prescribed time to deliver harassment fires. The goal of these fires is to put psychological pressure on enemy personnel in concentrated defensive areas, command posts, and rear installations. Successful harassment fire inhibits maneuver, lowers morale, interrupts rest, and weakens enemy combat readiness.
            "The secret of war lies in the communications" - Napoleon Bonaparte

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            • #7
              When I was there, there were areas that were "free fire zones" and whenever you flew above them you could fire to your hearts content if you wanted to.

              I remember when our base came under fire from rockets and such, I usually walked to the bunkers and did not run. The reason being is you will not hear the round that kills you. As long as you can hear them, they are passing over your head. Most of the rounds fired were aimed at the airstrip so we could hear them pass over head. I did run to the bunker once, when a rocket landed about 100 feet from my hooch. That was an exciting morning.

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              • #8
                If the ordnance has already been loaded onto an airplanes and fuel has been expended to lift it off the air, it makes sense to randomly drop it instead of landing with it after a mission that couldn't find a better target.

                That is really not comparable to initiating a fire mission with no hope of locating a good target and having expended no resources yet.

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                • #9
                  We had two ARVN 105's.
                  There were certain areas in our AO that were known as rally points, stream crossings, firing positions, etc.
                  It was policy from some powers somewheres that a few rounds would be dropped into these areas.
                  Effective or not, it was the existing policy. There were folks kept in the dark, fed only raisin pie, whose job was to think up this stuff.
                  Far be it from any lanyard yankers opinion.
                  "Policy"is a major term in regards to our participation there.
                  Along with "escalation," the other big word.
                  Then there was "recon by fire...."
                  In terms of aircraft "sorties" a certain amount of coordination was involved.
                  Artillery prep was SOP for most any kind of assault or insertion.
                  Incoming has an effect that you'd have to experience to appreciate fully.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Trung-si View Post
                    If you got it, use it.
                    BTDT

                    I agree 100%. Probably hurt the enemy more than we will ever know.
                    SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Trung-si View Post
                      Incoming has an effect that you'd have to experience to appreciate fully.
                      Amen to that!!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Trung-si View Post
                        Incoming has an effect that you'd have to experience to appreciate fully.
                        You got that right pardner. After I came back it was 15 years before I could stand to be around a fireworks display.
                        "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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                        • #13
                          I like to shoot and have a bunch of original milsurps.
                          I don't hunt, though there are deer and other critters on my place.
                          OK by me for others to do it.

                          I still don't like fireworks.
                          Then there's camping out......

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