Soldiers with Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), fired field artillery as part of Leader Professional Development Survivability Training Nov 10, 2021 at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The goal of the LPD Survivability Training was to demonstrate the protection provided by fighting positions against field artillery. While the training aimed to show Soldiers why it is important to dig and fortify fighting positions, Charlie Battery used the opportunity to increase their proficiency at providing both direct and indirect fire support.
"The holes that we dig and the way we dig them with overhead protection gives friendly forces the capability to withstand artillery munitions similar to the enemies," said Capt. Leon Hilburn, commander of Charlie Battery, also known as Comanche Battery.
During the LPD, Comanche Battery demonstrated the accuracy and destructive force the 155m Howitzer field gun can provide to the division.
"Our job is to destroy enemy positions," said Sgt. Amador Rubiodiaz, a gunner assigned to Charlie Battery. "Today we're trying to see if we can directly fire at a precise location without missing."
Precision is an essential aspect of the effectiveness of field artillery. Artillery supports air assault operations by providing indirect fire so infantry counterparts can advance on the enemy.
"The fire that we provide the maneuver elements within the 101st Airborne needs to be precise," said Hilburn. "It's extremely beneficial to my Soldiers to understand that we are shooting 600-700 meters from friendly forces, and that we can do it over and over whenever they need it, anywhere they need it."
Field artillery can support Soldiers on the battlefield in different ways. If Soldiers need the cover of smoke, or extra light during a nighttime operation, field artillery can provide it.
"The mission of artillery is important because it can be the breaking point if an infantry unit is getting surrounded, or someone is pushing forward and we get their location," said Pfc. Benjamin Dougherty, another gunner with Charlie Battery. "We can provide cover, smokescreen them, or shoot a lumen round to light up the sky for infantry."
Part of Comanche Battery's training is practicing the maneuverability of the Howitzers and how quickly they can set up their position and be ready to provide fire.
"The training we did today helps with our readiness in many ways," said Dougherty. "It gets us to emplace the howitzer more quickly if we get a mission while we're driving, or just emplacing as fast as we can so we can get in and out if we need to and fire as fast as possible to help whoever needs the artillery fire."
Comanche Battery fired about 50 rounds of 155 millimeter shells during the training, acting as a disciplined and cohesive unit ready to win the future fight.
"We're out here getting after it," said Hilburn. "Some of our rounds are leaving the tube just as fast as 105m rounds; we're shooting 18 rounds at a time, putting them on target, and the shell and fuse combination we're using is extremely lethal.
U.S. Army story by: Pfc. Jayden Woods