CALLING ALL ARTY FIRE PLANNING CELL CREWS

#1
The Manning, Staffing and use of a Close Support (CS)Arty Fire Planning Cell in my view and many others has always been a bone of contention.

I would be interested to hear the views of anybody who has or is a crew member of a Fire Planning Cell on the following issues.

1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.
(After trawling through the majority of the CS Regts no two appear the same, i.e some have Bdrs some have Sgts and some have SSgts.)

2. Is an FPC Crew properly intergrated and trained during Bty and Regimental Excercises
(Most FPC's appear to be used as nothing more than Fwd End Safety during thease types of Exercises.)

3. Has Crewman 2000 helped with the manning and career path within the FPC.
(Where does the BC's Ack go at the end of his tenure? does he become the FPC Comd does the FPC Bdr Step up as the FPC Comd on promotion.

I am also interested in knowing if CS Regts are able to correctly man their FPC's and how they manage the crews training, given that in reality apart from Tgt levels 1 - 4 the only other courses are the Jnr Tac Tgt Cse and the All Arms Tac Tgt Cse.

I would ask and stress for those that are interested in helping me compile this info please be weary of PERSEC and OPSEC, im not after Individuals names and for any Regt CS Units i will ask you to send that to me over DII or TAFMIS so you know said info is going to a secure place.

Hopefully this type of info will aid in the formulation of a Doctrine type note. For all the sceptical types out there i have already approached units with this over DII and TAFMIS and on the phones to units but the info is slow in coming hence this call for help on Arrse.

Please feel free to pm me with any info no matter how big or small.
 
#2
I too am also interrested in this information, i have a little bit of work done on this subject and will pm you it. good luck on your results and send me a copy of your final findings
 
#3
chargetemp said:
I too am also interrested in this information, i have a little bit of work done on this subject and will pm you it. good luck on your results and send me a copy of your final findings
No problems thanks for the information.
 
#5
1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.
(After trawling through the majority of the CS Regts no two appear the same, i.e some have Bdrs some have Sgts and some have SSgts.)
I will never forget former CRA 1 Div suggesting that the FPC comd should be the BK! The BK that he suggested it to nearly had a heart attack!! It probably should be the senior/junior FOO (if we ever had a surplus) - as we don't, it needs to be someone who can hold the respect of the supported arm's OpsO. I have known very good SSgts and Sgts holding this post.

2. Is an FPC Crew properly intergrated and trained during Bty and Regimental Excercises
(Most FPC's appear to be used as nothing more than Fwd End Safety during thease types of Exercises.)
Invariably not, they have to wait for their Battlegroup's exercise to get training - oh yes, that does mean that they do twice the number of exercises than simple gun bunnies... It is a problem with nights out of bed, more so if your supported BG is based outside your garrison.

3. Has Crewman 2000 helped with the manning and career path within the FPC.
(Where does the BC's Ack go at the end of his tenure? does he become the FPC Comd does the FPC Bdr Step up as the FPC Comd on promotion.)
It should do in theory, the progression that I have seen is FPC Bdr to BC's ack or CP Sgt (depending on previous skills) to FPC SSgt. From there, there is limited chances of advancement within the FPC but there are in the FDC... I am not convinced that we have this right...

Gmonster, hope this is of help and will spark some discussion.
 
#6
1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.
IMHO it should be a GCC (Tgt) WO2 or SSgt. While it would be great to employ a Captain in the FPC, the fact remains that there are usually none 'spare' to employ in there, and they are far better employed out on the ground as an FOO. We spend a great deal of money training people on GCC (Tgt) so let's use them in a role where they will add loads of value.

2. Is an FPC Crew properly intergrated and trained during Bty and Regimental Exercises
The simple fact of the matter is that without a Maneouvre Arm to support and integrate with, the FPC struggles to find a role on purely Gunnery exercises. Sure, they can handle allocations and maintain current battle picture, but without the flow of tactical information flowing around a HQ, there is plenty of spare capacity. Look how hard FPCs work on CASTs for example!

3. Has Crewman 2000 helped with the manning and career path within the FPC.
I'll go one step further than Drop_Short and state that I believe Crewman 2K is utterly broken and unsustainable. If the BC's Ack is sufficiently high calibre to attend GCC (Tgt) in due course, then return to the FPC as a WO2 or SSgt, then all well and good; but some aren't that good. I can remember the FPC being used as a dumping ground for people who weren't quite good enough to be Acks, and I suspect it's still much the same. The problem is that Crewman 2K actually restricts wider employment across the Tac Gp - the days of having an Ack who was also a DC Sigs (i.e. under Crewman 85) are long gone - and this mix of qualifications is precisely what an FPC needs. Under the new system, the only time you will experience anything approaching this broad palette of capability is with either a really old and bold Bdr (do they still exist?) or a GCC trained soldier.

All NCOs employed in the FPC should attend the AATT cse as well.

GM - hope this helps, and if you need more, drop me a line!
 
#7
Drop_Short said:
1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.
(After trawling through the majority of the CS Regts no two appear the same, i.e some have Bdrs some have Sgts and some have SSgts.)
I will never forget former CRA 1 Div suggesting that the FPC comd should be the BK! The BK that he suggested it to nearly had a heart attack!! It probably should be the senior/junior FOO (if we ever had a surplus) - as we don't, it needs to be someone who can hold the respect of the supported arm's OpsO. I have known very good SSgts and Sgts holding this post.

Dont know about it being a BK,but at present Sgt - SSgt seems about right especially if they are from a Tgt background i.e BC's Ack.

2. Is an FPC Crew properly intergrated and trained during Bty and Regimental Excercises
(Most FPC's appear to be used as nothing more than Fwd End Safety during thease types of Exercises.)
Invariably not, they have to wait for their Battlegroup's exercise to get training - oh yes, that does mean that they do twice the number of exercises than simple gun bunnies... It is a problem with nights out of bed, more so if your supported BG is based outside your garrison.

Good point, but twice as many exercises invariably does not mean twice the training for the FPC. Valuable Detachment Training can be carried out including small planning Ex's but without the BG around makes things unrealistic.



3. Has Crewman 2000 helped with the manning and career path within the FPC.
(Where does the BC's Ack go at the end of his tenure? does he become the FPC Comd does the FPC Bdr Step up as the FPC Comd on promotion.)
It should do in theory, the progression that I have seen is FPC Bdr to BC's ack or CP Sgt (depending on previous skills) to FPC SSgt. From there, there is limited chances of advancement within the FPC but there are in the FDC... I am not convinced that we have this right...

Unfortunately in my experience ive not seen any type of career path at all less for BC's Ack to SSgt to FPC Comd.
FPC's in my view need to be managed as well as a CP Crew generally is from Gnr right the way up. The FPC Comd needs to be from a TGT Background and maybe is the only part of the crew that is posted in.


Gmonster, hope this is of help and will spark some discussion.
It is and thanks very much,

GMONSTER
:D
 
#8
Darth_Doctrinus said:
1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.
IMHO it should be a GCC (Tgt) WO2 or SSgt. While it would be great to employ a Captain in the FPC, the fact remains that there are usually none 'spare' to employ in there, and they are far better employed out on the ground as an FOO. We spend a great deal of money training people on GCC (Tgt) so let's use them in a role where they will add loads of value.

Interesting, at present some actually do return to RD to fulfill that very role abelt fourth Battery TAC GP TSM. I dont believe that there is a need for a Capt within the FPC, remember there are some very capable Mortar Officers that can be reigned in to assist, most BOWMAN FPCs include extra terminals for them to work from, and lets not forget both the BC and Ack dont always fight in TAC.

2. Is an FPC Crew properly intergrated and trained during Bty and Regimental Exercises
The simple fact of the matter is that without a Maneouvre Arm to support and integrate with, the FPC struggles to find a role on purely Gunnery exercises. Sure, they can handle allocations and maintain current battle picture, but without the flow of tactical information flowing around a HQ, there is plenty of spare capacity. Look how hard FPCs work on CASTs for example!

Spot on and my point entirely. A typical training year can consist of several BTY / Regt level Ex's before your even hooked up with your BG. I must say though 2006 was better for me as examples we hooked up early with said BG for planning Ex's at the start of the year. We kept the communication going throughout Bowman Conversion and attended the newish C2T trainer with the BG staff prior to CAST. CAST and CATT came and went and the culmination is now BATUS, all in all a perfect training year, however the Bty and Regt Ex's did not fully test or even teach the crew a great deal less for getting the FPC crew through a bit of live firing. Maybe we need to address that within units better.

3. Has Crewman 2000 helped with the manning and career path within the FPC.
I'll go one step further than Drop_Short and state that I believe Crewman 2K is utterly broken and unsustainable. If the BC's Ack is sufficiently high calibre to attend GCC (Tgt) in due course, then return to the FPC as a WO2 or SSgt, then all well and good; but some aren't that good. I can remember the FPC being used as a dumping ground for people who weren't quite good enough to be Acks, and I suspect it's still much the same. The problem is that Crewman 2K actually restricts wider employment across the Tac Gp - the days of having an Ack who was also a DC Sigs (i.e. under Crewman 85) are long gone - and this mix of qualifications is precisely what an FPC needs. Under the new system, the only time you will experience anything approaching this broad palette of capability is with either a really old and bold Bdr (do they still exist?) or a GCC trained soldier.

The system does need revamping i know BC's Acks to promote and be placed into the FPC only to leave it 6 - 8 Months later to go to GCC. Unfortunate yes but you cannot keep individuals down. I suppose the Arty Training Gap i.e Telic and Herrick does not help matters either with gaps of up to 2 years at the worst end of the scale.

All NCOs employed in the FPC should attend the AATT cse as well.

Agreed, and i do believe many already are or it is pointless them being there

GM - hope this helps, and if you need more, drop me a line!
Thanks very much ill do one better ill buy you a brew!!

GMONSTER :D :D :D :D :D :D
 
#9
Darth_Doctrinus said:
1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.
IMHO it should be a GCC (Tgt) WO2 or SSgt. While it would be great to employ a Captain in the FPC, the fact remains that there are usually none 'spare' to employ in there, and they are far better employed out on the ground as an FOO. We spend a great deal of money training people on GCC (Tgt) so let's use them in a role where they will add loads of value.

We also spend loads of money on officers doing the GIC course so would it be prudent to employ these as FOO's or CPO's, the answer to that is no, GCC trains you to be an instructor in gunnery, to be sent straight back on RD would make a mockery out of the whole system. it would also be a step back in careers for most people and hold up the BC ack for promotion.
 
#10
I was a career OP Ack and was FPC SSgt in BATUS with 2RTR in summer of 2002 and had a fantastic working system with the OPsO of 2Tanks(thru the mud and the blood to the green fields beyond)
He was an aussie and a good fella.
Greatest satisfaction started firing an harassment and interdiction fireplan at half three in the morning for him him to ask from his doss bag who firing that, for me to answer - Us - ain't it grand.

Respect of supported Arms comes from only 3 things
On Time
On Target
And safe.

And an additional 2 things- basic armoured soldiering skills, and a knowledge and adherence to host Unit SOP's
 
#11
Gmonster said:
1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.

I was a SSGT FPC commander and it worked well in the Cdo Brigade


2. Is an FPC Crew properly intergrated and trained during Bty and Regimental Excercises
(Most FPC's appear to be used as nothing more than Fwd End Safety during thease types of Exercises.) Very true unless it was my battery firing we were often employed in other areas or sitting back watching the show

3. Has Crewman 2000 helped with the manning and career path within the FPC.
(Where does the BC's Ack go at the end of his tenure? does he become the FPC Comd does the FPC Bdr Step up as the FPC Comd on promotion.

FPC commander should be the natural step up for the BC's ack as he is the man with all the current knowledge and understanding especially within a Battle group

I am also interested in knowing if CS Regts are able to correctly man their FPC's and how they manage the crews training, given that in reality apart from Tgt levels 1 - 4 the only other courses are the Jnr Tac Tgt Cse and the All Arms Tac Tgt Cse.

As FPC in 29 you had to do the senior AATC

.
 
#12
chargetemp said:
Darth_Doctrinus said:
1. Just who is the FPC Commander? Capt, WO2,SSgt, Sgt.
IMHO it should be a GCC (Tgt) WO2 or SSgt. While it would be great to employ a Captain in the FPC, the fact remains that there are usually none 'spare' to employ in there, and they are far better employed out on the ground as an FOO. We spend a great deal of money training people on GCC (Tgt) so let's use them in a role where they will add loads of value.

.[/b]
I disagree with the bit in italics for a couple of reasons:

1. There is no natural progression for Targetting guys after BC's ack so FPC commander should be a ntural step up for them as they will be up to speed on tactics, training, working within a Battle Group etc.

2. Unless the GCC candidate comes from a Targeting background which there aren't that many every year we could be putting a guy who has only worked on the guns throughout his career into the nerve centre of Battle Group planning and thus not being able to offer his supported arm the knowledge and info that they need and require.
 
#13
In my small humble opinion.

Training for FPC crews is second to..........well lest say almost none existant unless on BG trainer/ Catt/ Cast, not the fault of the Regt but you cant get training working with a battle group HQ if you are not with it.

As for manning i have been ona few FPCs and it a joke. The Op Troop could just about provide their own manpower without placeing bums on seats in the FPC. Went through a BATUS with 3 on the crew plus a Capt acting as Air Liasion Officer (for want of better words). Thank god we had a very good relationship with BG HQ (Thanks to just getting BOWMAN and all helping each other getting that working).

As I recall the 8005 says you need 2 x Bdr 1 from Tgt and 1 from CPA never gonna happen or it hasnt on the crews I have been on.

I think that the FPC is overlooked and does a vital job. more training should be given.

Oh and the BDR should get Higher rates of pay seeing as He is spending as many nights out of bed as the OPs.....(Sorry sore point)
 
#14
Meiktilaman makes a great point!!!
Post GCC candidates on the OP's! are u on glue.
I was at the school for 2 1/2 years in the firing battery and seen 3 courses come through and for some of the selected few binos are something you put rubbish in and fieldcraft is making stuff out of Grass!!

And don't even get me started on Tactics some of them thought they were mints.

No good point that must be one intensive week on GCC to enable them to take on an FPC. something I spent 23 years on and off learning how to do to a good standard.

As a NASA engineer once said You can train a monkey to fly the Space Shuttle....

But you can't stop it scratching its ARRse with a banana!!!!
 

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