A Fire Mission for the U.S. Navy
Teaching Basic Gunnery to the Navy
[And Common Sense 101]
By Carl Lanier

Alpha Battery 8th battalion 4th Artillery got a call from Battalion FDC. "Do you want to shoot for the Navy?" asked Cptain Kalagher, the Battalion Fire Direction Officer. "We will shoot for anybody" was the reply from A Battery. The target was a North Vietnamese shore battery firing at the Navy offshore. We contacted the Navy and they gave us the coordinates of the NVA shore battery and the direction they were looking at the target. We plotted the first round and fired. They gave us a shift and we fired again. "Missed by a mile" came the reply. Specialist Pollari, with his slipstick,(we did not have a computer) and Specialist Parker with his RDP (range deflection protractor) doubled-checked their readings and could not find anything wrong, as did PFC Jay Oats and Robert Adams, the backup computer and chart operator. We fired another round and it landed the same place. "Missed again". We asked again for their coordinates and direction they were looking at the target. The coordinates were the same, but the direction was different, so we replotted and fired again. We were close and they gave us a shift to the target. "Missed again" they said. We asked them what direction they were looking and got an entirely different direction once again. I said "that is not the last direction you gave to us, what are you doing?" " We are in a Swift Boat running up and down the shoreline" was the answer. That answered our question as to why we were firing the adjusted round out. "Give us a new direction each time you adjust the rounds" I said. We completed the mission with one shore battery destroyed.