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Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:17 pm
Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:35 am
Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:00 pm
Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:16 pm
Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:03 pm
There were also Observers, Ground Bombardment, who were members of either a Siege Company or Howitzer Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. Such observers had to have either passed the advanced course in flash observation or be certified as fully qualified observers by their commanding officer. Their role was to observe the enemy's movements and artillery fire, together with responsibilities for surveying and flash spotting for counter bombardment. The badge, which consisted of a letter O encircled with by a laurel wreath worn on the upper left sleeve was introduced by GRO 1905 of 1917 and was abolished (along with the role) by ACI 396 of 1921. The badge was also worn by members of the Field Survey Companies of the Royal Engineers.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 07:41 am
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:19 am
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:37 am
There were also Observers, Ground Bombardment, who were members of either a Siege Company or Howitzer Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. Such observers had to have either passed the advanced course in flash observation or be certified as fully qualified observers by their commanding officer. Their role was to observe the enemy’s movements and artillery fire, together with responsibilities for surveying and flash spotting for counter bombardment. The badge, which consisted of a letter O encircled with by a laurel wreath worn on the upper left sleeve was introduced by GRO 1905 of 1917 and was abolished (along with the role) by ACI 396 of 1921. The badge was also worn by members of the Field Survey Companies of the Royal Engineers.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:57 am
Sadly, that is all the information I have to hand on the role. I will try an find out some mor detail, but can't guarentee anything.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:23 pm
Not sure how consistent that is with facts on the ground. After late 1914 flash spotting was the sole preserve of the RE survey elements (sect, coy, bn). It was fairly specialised work with specialised instruments and dedicated communications. However, soldiers in these RE units were not limited to RE, as the built them up they took suitable men from wherever they were although on paper the base trade was surveyor. As I understand it flash spotting posts didn't routinely engage targets, although they did report battlefield information. Sounds to me as if the same badge was worn by two different types, observers in RGA btys and observers in RE FS groups. Which invites the question 'What about RFA/RHA'!
Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:59 pm
Posted 27 February 2012 - 05:48 pm
It would be a very strange bty where an NCO was the bty's sole observer. At best he might have been when, for some reason, there was no officer in the OP. In France RGA btys seem to have been fairly well off for officers, although I've no doubt that sometimes leave, sickness and casualties left them a bit stretched.
I would have thought that if a NCO was required to observe then the BCA was the obvious candidate.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:30 pm
Edit. One thought that crossed my mind when I read Skirt's book some time ago (and I am not going to read it again) was if he was the only plotter and observer how was the mistake of firing at a cliff made. Was it actually his fault and was why a disciplinary action was taken against him? I cannot remember who he blamed, but now impossible to prove after all this time.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:37 pm
Posted 27 February 2012 - 07:22 pm
As regards the badge, O in wreath, it was an APPOINTMENT badge and so should have been worn on upper right sleeve, but never say never!
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:11 pm
Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:40 pm
Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:34 am
At this time (June 1918 onwards) the battery seem to be using predicted fire though not exclusively (and I might be completely wrong about this of course). Would observers still be needed with predicted fire?
Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:22 pm
It was rare for a RGA battery to have more than one observer, and by late war it wasn't unusual for there to be only a single observing officer for an RGA brigade.
Could you explain why the reduction in Observers took place?
Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:50 am
Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:42 pm
Presumably because they weren't needed. Observers are really only needed for opportunity targets. Such targets found by ground observers weren't really the sensible thing for RGA - that's what RFA were for, apart from the occasional strongpoint that needed 'heavy metal', but such targets weren't going anywhere. Air observers were another matter. Most CB targets came from HB lists, no observer required, the lists being compiled by artillery intelligence staff from the locations found by sound ranging, flash spotting and air photographs. Perhaps the most important job for RGA ground observers by late war was checking the guns' calibration and maybe datum shoots if required, although I suspect the ranges for ground obsn weren't ideal for good datums for CB targets.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:55 pm
Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:33 pm
Plotting in the OP would not necessarily be high precision, and its questionable whether corrections for non-standard conditions were applied. Basically plotting at the OP meant ranging and getting rounds on the ground ASAP then correcting them.
Predicted (map) shooting was a different matter, plotting and calculations would be done on the gun position in the battery commander's CP alongside the battery phone exchange and RFC/RAF radio. Usually by the battery commander or under his eye, this involved accurate plotting using an artillery board (probably at 1:20,000 scale) provided by the RE surveyors, to find map range and deflection, this was then adjusted by calculating corrections for non-standard conditions (wind, air temp, etc), and fired without ranging. Unless sound ranging was being used or high airburst observed by flash spotting posts, in either case their section/group plotting centre would tell the firing battery the coords of where the round(s) fell/burst, these would be plotted in the BCP and the correction found.
Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:22 am
Thank you for explaining that, although I don't understand why observers weren't needed if a target was from a HB list.
I don't know whether the following list of types of shoot from 293 SB's war diary (June - Nov 1918) might shed any light on the situation re ground observation:
Registration (rounds recorded against all)
Concentration Programme shoot
C.B. shoot with aerial observation
Instructional ranging shoot
Destruction of enemy huts/working party observed on roadway
Neutralization/General neutralization/Special Neutralization
Plane Observed 71 rds FOO continued
CB shoot with 29th FSC
Gas neutralization programme/tasks
CB shoot stopped owing to Signals ceasing abruptly
Calibration with 6oz additional 4th Charge N.C.T.
Registration with 29th Observation Group
The registration shoots had stopped by August, and there was a marked increase in neutralization shoots.
Thanks for bearing with me
Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:26 am