ANTIAIRCRAFT (AA) FIRE AND CONTROL OF AIRCRAFT
C. APPROACH SECTORS.
D. ALERTING FRIENDLY AIRCRAFT.
E. AA FIRE AND THE COMBAT AIR PATROLS.
F. KEEPING FRIENDLY AIRCRAFT INFORMED.
G. NIGHT INTERCEPTIONS.
H. CIC's RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL FRIENDLY AIRCRAFT.
I SHIP'S CIC OFFICER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO GROUP CIC OFFICER.
J. TASK GROUP COORDINATION.
K. NEED FOR ALERTNESS.
ANTIAIRCRAFT (AA) FIRE AND CONTROL OF AIRCRAFT
The purpose of AA fire is to destroy all enemy planes threatening our units. When enemy aircraft are approaching AA gun range, split-second action is often necessary to prevent damage to fleet units. At such times radar alone, because of the inherent weaknesses of the IFF system, cannot be depended upon to identify all air contacts. It is then that visual recognition assumes the burden of locating enemy aircraft.
The OTC is ultimately responsible for prescribing the conditions for ordering "Hold Fire" or "Release Batteries," but his decision will be made on the bases of accurate information furnished by the CIC. If friendly aircraft are within AA range, it is the responsibility of the controlling CIC to warn all friendly aircraft to clear the area.
C. APPROACH SECTORS
Certain doctrines have been established which serve as an aid to AA personnel in distinguishing between friendly and enemy aircraft. One of the most common of these is the assignment of approach sectors to be used by planes closing a formation from beyond visual range. While such a system is by no means foolproof, it can be a great help to lookouts and gunners. Regardless of the assigned sector of approach, planes should never approach out of the sun nor make any other maneuvers which may arouse suspicion. In addition to the approcah sectors, maneuvers such as circling, rocking the wings, etc., are frequently used by friendly aircraft.
D. ALERTING FRIENDLY AIRCRAFT
Usually the OTC leaves it to individual ships to open fire on enemy aircraft when necessary and feasible. Therefore, as soon as there is a probability of A A fire, CIC personnel must alert all friendly aircraft.
In the past, if the enemy was not intercepted by the time he reached the limits of our A A screen, gunnery opened fire and all friendly aircraft were told to stand clear. When AA personnel are engaged in the destruction of enemy planes they cannot be expected to readily distinguish friendly planes. In the heat of battle, all incoming aircraft are considered by gunnery to be enemy until proven otherwise. CIC is in the best position to know the location of friendly aircraft and forewarn them of imminent AA fire. But how soon and when friendly aircraft will be ordered to stand clear of the task group will depend on the tactical situation. If an interception is being run, the OTC may order "Hold fire" under the following conditions: 1) if our fighters are ready for the "kill," 2) if the bogey is determined to be reconnaissance rather than attack, or 3) if in a night interception the need for task force security makes it more practical to continue the interception than to open fire.
E. AA FIRE AND THE COMBAT AIR PATROLS
Fighters are generally more effective than AA. Often, therefore, it is left to the pilot either to continue the interception in the face of AA or to break-off at clear range. In any event the warning "Salvos" should first be given to the fighter and receipted for.
Combat air patrols are also given latitude in this regard unless ordered otherwise. They
may either clear the formation or remain on station when the batteries open up. High'CAP is rarely bothered by such fire because of its altitude Intermediate and low CAP, although within range, are sometimes more successful in shooting down the enemy over our formation than our AA fire. The important thing is for CIC to keep the pilot informed of the probability of AA fire and give him time to fly clear if he chooses. When the responsible authority has given the order to "Release batteries," CIC must broadcast the warning "Salvos" to all friendly aircraft in the vicinity. When fighters are ordered clear of formation they should be given a definite station in order that positive control may be maintained over them.
F. KEEPING FRIENDLY AIRCRAFT INFORMED
Even after "Salvo" has been given, the air controller should pass adequate information on the bogey's action to the friendlies in the area. The air controller should keep the friendlies informed of the probable retirement area of the bogey. If he has enough time, he should vector the friendlies into the best position to intercept the bogey as it moves out of gunnery range. A bogey attacking from the east and crossing the formation, for example, could be intercepted on his outward flight by friendlies standing by in the west. As soon as the bogey opens from the formation, assuming it has eluded AA fire, it can then be engaged by the friendlies.
G. NIGHT INTERCEPTIONS
The problem of AA fire in relation to air control at night requires even more caution and forethought on the part of the air controller. The night fighter is entirely dependent upon the air controller--he cannot be recognized by A A personnel, and he may not even know he is over the force until greeted by salvos of AA fire. Once the bogey has come within range of our AA screen, the night fighter is generally withdrawn and it becomes the AA batteries' task to destroy the bogey. Again, at what time the AA batteries take over in place of the night fighter depends on the tactical situation. The night fighter may be closing the bogey and may have him within range, either radar or visually, with a "kill" probable. In this particular situation the OTC might give the order "Hold fire" while the night fighter is allowed to make a run over the formation. On the other hand, if a "kill" does not seem probable, or for other reasons the OTC orders "Batteries released," the night fighter must be vectored immediately away from the formation, giving thee AA batteries freedom of action against the bogey.
H. CIC's RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALL FRIENDLY AIRCRAFT
At all times, CIC's responsibility covers not only the formation's fighter planes but all friendly planes in the area, whether on patrol, rescue missions, or in launching or landing status. When attack is imminent, such aircraft should be directed to a "safe" or disengaged area and joined up.
I. SHIP'S CIC OFFICER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO GROUP CIC OFFICER
It is the further responsibility of a ship's CIC officer to keep the group CIC officer advised of the position of any planes which may complicate the use of AA fire. In turn, the group CIC officer is responsible for passing this information to all units in the groups, and advising the OTC of the desirability of opening or holding fire.
J. GROUP COORDINATION
When two or more task groups are operating together, one group's AA fire may possibly affect another group. Therefore, the group
CIC officer must inform the force CIC officer and other group CIC officers of the progress of all interceptions within his area, the condition of night planes air-borne, the release of batteries and other pertinent information affecting control of aircraft.
K. NEED FOR ALERTNESS
CIC's relation to AA fire in control of aircraft is very important. Whether the order "Release batteries" or "Hold fire" is issued may depend entirely on the information CIC has passed to the OTC. Conversely, the amount of protection given to friendly planes from our own AA fire will be in direct proportion to the alertness of CIC personnel. CIC has the most comprehensive picture of the total air situation and the CIC officer or watch officer should not hesitate to make recommendations promptly concerning conditions of batteries.
Table of Contents
Previous Chapter (21) Next Chapter (23)