Tube Missile Artillery: How do they find their targets?


duskylim

Junior Member
VIP Professional
Dear Mightypeon,

You crewed a Pzh2000? Wow, some guys have all the luck!!! Here in the boondocks (which incidentally is derived from the Tagalog/Philippine word for mountain - "bundok"), our latest battery of 155 mm Gun-Howitzers (from Singapore) are supposed to have GPS and a 'complimentary' handheld gun computer (looks like a large, rugged green calculator) to set up for firing. The last time I was in Fort Bonifacio, the guns were in the parking lot so I checked them out a little, and as I suspected no APU's... towed all the way!

Doesn't really matter that much as they will be babied and guarded like anything. Also with the 155 mm ammunition being really expensive, for us here in the Philippines at least... I don't suppose they will be used much. Probably end up as display or parade pieces, while the bulk of the shooting will be with the old 105's we trained with.

Best Regards,

Dusky Lim
 

Gollevainen

Colonel
VIP Professional
Registered Member
Good to have more artillerist aboard:) :)

Have I told about the PZH2000 when it was in Rova couple years ago?? (ofcourse i've told, but not in this thread;) )
Acording to our drill instructors, the PZH2000 was doing some trialshooting in our artillery shooting range at Rovajarvi. The system proudly charged to the fireposition and started shooting with suprizingly fast from the deployment...so basicly giving one hell of a appearance from outside...but when they looked where it shot...It didn't performed that well at all. Only few rounds hit to the targetarea...So we finns (without any malicious delight, ofcourse;) ) offered our tradditional meassurement data (which i explained earlier in this thread) and you all know and can quess what the results were...

This story and my other expereinces with GBS makes me bit doupt the it's use as a main firing/posioting device in artillery. It just isen't sharp enough. Our 155K98s, a 155mm/52 cal towed guns with APU used this orginally Raytheons Talin2000 system which was a computerized gyrocompass based system. We drove the gun in this very strictly guided position which we knew the exact co-ordinates and pasted them on the guns computer. Then we towed the gun to Rova, about 900 kms and the gun knew exactly where it was. In the fireposition we just pressed the button and the gun sended the positiondata via radio to the HQ and they sended back the firing values and you were able to fire in 5 mins from deployement (with D-30 it was almoust a hour!)
 

Mightypeon

Junior Member
VIP Professional
Woot 5 mins from deployment?

PZH2000 needs 30 seconds to move into position and aim, then it does some 6-12 shots in a minute (depending on the charge-system used) and than it gets the hell out of there, which are some other 30 seconds.
If we fire at max range, counter artillery can only hit us if they fail to hit the intended target and accidently drop their stuff directly above us.

Off Topic
10 other nice things to do with a PzH2000:

1. Lap the Jeep of the Dutch Brigadier General who was supposed to supervise the exercize (Yeah, go 70 km/h Street speed).
2. Smile at Dutch Soldiers who mistake you for a Leopard 2
3. Point out that you, in fact, are bigger than a Leopard 2
4. Smile, because you wont get to Afghanistan/Sudan/Kongo soon, a PZH 2000 is about as airliftable as a battleship.
5. Hang a big sign reading "Compensating for something? Hell No!" at your barrel.
6. Shock other artillerists to death by having a Howitzer where the entire crew can sleep inside in decent positions without beeing dwarfs.
7. Pretend to be a Main Battle Tank.
8. Wonder if any other Howitzer is equipped with 3 different night vision apparates (one for the driver, one for the gunner, one for the leader).
9. Delibaretly mention the "WORKING HEATING DEVICE" to your fellow M109 comrades.
10. Deliberatly mention that the roof acutally keeps the rain out to your fellow M109 comrades.
.....
 

Mightypeon

Junior Member
VIP Professional
No some more serious notes:
The whole System still had a lot of "child-deseases" when i served (2 years ago).
The targetting system beeing one of them.
In addition, its not really a "soldier-proof" system.
We had very different results using the same targetting system, although they propably can be attirubted to the not that intuitve computing system of the fire-directioners (if anyone has a better translation for "Feuer-Leit-Trupp" im glad to hear it, the "Feuer Leit Trupp" are the guys who compute the targetting data).
Considering the usual "solved" speed for such problems it should be fixed by now.
 

Gollevainen

Colonel
VIP Professional
Registered Member
welcome aboard Mightypeon...I go and pull some strings and we get you the blue colour...


Woot 5 mins from deployment?

PZH2000 needs 30 seconds to move into position and aim, then it does some 6-12 shots in a minute (depending on the charge-system used) and than it gets the hell out of there, which are some other 30 seconds.
If we fire at max range, counter artillery can only hit us if they fail to hit the intended target and accidently drop their stuff directly above us.
Thats becouse the other is SP system and other a towed one. We could do it in 2-3 mins, but that would require good geographical conditions quite rare up here. But its still miraclious fast compared to normal towed gun. The department is the key issue (as counterbattery fire wont bother you untill you've shot your firtst round) and that can be done even faster, in theory up to one minute (from last shot to be moving of) but it would require bit of luck too.

1. Lap the Jeep of the Dutch Brigadier General who was supposed to supervise the exercize (Yeah, go 70 km/h Street speed).
2. Smile at Dutch Soldiers who mistake you for a Leopard 2
3. Point out that you, in fact, are bigger than a Leopard 2
4. Smile, because you wont get to Afghanistan/Sudan/Kongo soon, a PZH 2000 is about as airliftable as a battleship.
5. Hang a big sign reading "Compensating for something? Hell No!" at your barrel.
6. Shock other artillerists to death by having a Howitzer where the entire crew can sleep inside in decent positions without beeing dwarfs.
7. Pretend to be a Main Battle Tank.
8. Wonder if any other Howitzer is equipped with 3 different night vision apparates (one for the driver, one for the gunner, one for the leader).
9. Delibaretly mention the "WORKING HEATING DEVICE" to your fellow M109 comrades.
10. Deliberatly mention that the roof acutally keeps the rain out to your fellow M109 comrades.
Sounds like real fireposition spirit:) We finns have only few old soviet 2S1 and 2S5 Self-propelled systems and we "real" artillerist always looked down upon them...got great laugh in this one direct firing demostration when 2S5 barely maked to the fire position, didn't hit anywere and broke down when trying to depart...

But about the child-ilness, Our 155K98 had lots of them when I served it, eg. we couldn't use it's maxium firing rate (9 shots re minute) due safety regulations and the automatic loading device was extremely trouplesom...but child-ilness are just what they are, a minor proplems, easily to fix (you just need to spot them...)

And finaly just out of curiosity, I have few questions if you don't mind:)

1. did you train on any other artillery system before going to the PZH2000?
2. What is the crew consisted of and what are the task of different members? Mean is there an ammunition mens and so on?
3. Support...Did you get enough food in your trainings? (we didn't :mad: ;) ) did you have tents assigned to individual guns or did you all slept in platoon or half-platoon tents?
4. Where in germany did you made live firing training? I've got this impression that the whole western europe is just too crowded for firing 40km+ range shots...

thanks in advance...
 

duskylim

Junior Member
VIP Professional
Greetings Mightypeon,

In addition to Goll's questions, can the Pzh2000 fire other forms of extended range ammunition like Denel's Assegai? Or does it fire just NATO-standard 155mm ammunition? What does the Bundeswehr call its ERFB (extended range full bore) ammo? Ditto for ERFB-HB (hollow base) and ERFB-BB (base-bleed).

Vickers-Armstrong takes credit for the developement of ERFB ammo but I remember from an old Ballantine book (called German Secret Weapons) that during WWII research was done on extended range projectiles (like the arrow-shell) at places like Peenemunde (under Walter Dornberger?). I saw pictures of shells that looked surprisingly like ERFB-HB ones.

Changing the topic, we here in the Philippines don't have any sophisticated firing solutions, but we generally stick to the roads so we minimize our resupply problems. The enemy we fought doesn't have any artillery (mostly rebels) so we don't have counter-battery fire. The way we solve the rapid set-up problem is to identify the best firing location and then pour a concrete firing platform! Oh yes! The area has been laid out and pre-surveyed so we just tow the guns in, set them up on the marks and shoot! Primitive but effective.

Best Regards,

Dusky Lim
 

Mightypeon

Junior Member
VIP Professional
1: Yes, M109GA3, pretty impressive amount of "Child deseases" for a vehicle reaching the end of its operatinal lifetime.
2: Crew has a Driver, a Commander, a Gunner and 2 Loaders.
Driver is for well, driving.
The Commander for communications, checking if the targetting cordinates make any sense.
The Gunner exists for beeing helpfull in direct firing situations (although the time to lock on target is a bit to long should you "accidently" stumble upon an enemy MBT/Troop Transport) by the way, direct firing acutally works...
The 2 Loaders are, combined with the Gunner, responsible for loading the vehicle with shells and charges if it refills. They are also responsible for loading the charges into the firing mechanism. (Loading the shells is done by a semi-autoloader).

Firing practice is done in Munster, its a pretty creepy feeling if you fire over an inhabited town, but so far nothing really bad has happened.

Support:
There was only one day when we got no food, but a multiple choice test which was supposed to elevate the psychological effects of firing.
Was pretty hilarios.
Tents are assinged (and carried by) to the indiviudal soldier.
As they arent exactly comfortable(especially if you happen to be bigger than 1.8m), we prefer sleeping in the Howitzer

Shells:
Well, our range is up to 42 km, therefor we can proably use this extra ER stuff.
However, we usually only call the base bleed Stuff ER.

The only extra stuff we have is a german smart artillery bomb.
When fired, its drops 2 parachutes with a set of sensors and a modified German LAW-equivalent each. While going down, the Sensors check for the Tanks they are set to look for. If they find one they fire the LAW at the roof.
It can pretty easy distinguish Nato from eastern Tanks and can theoretically distinguish a L2A6 from an Abrams.
During a trial in East germany, they popped 18 former NVA tanks with 10 shots.
 

Gollevainen

Colonel
VIP Professional
Registered Member
Thanks, thats very informative...

Individual tents...how about in winter? Do they expect all sleep without any sort of heating? We had this small sectiontent which barely accomodated the entire crew (8) and small stove to heat it...It actually managed to keep the heat inside so in -20 degree and bellow we theoretically managed just fine...


by the way, direct firing acutally works...
We never used direct fire mode with the 155K98 becouse there was no optical sights assiged to the gun. But we did it with D-30s. We had mixed results, when firing with the normal gunsight (indirect firesight) we hardly hit anything exspecially when shooting with small charges. But when switching to special anti-tank sight and firing full charges, it was amaizingly accurate...Tough our instructors told us that if we see a tank, we shouldn't vaste time for loading, just run like hell ;)
 

grahamsh

New Member
VIP Professional
All v amusing to a fomer UK reserve infantryman :) I do like the 10 things to do with a PZH2000.

Back in my day (late 1970s and 1980s) some of the reserve artillery units in UK still had WW2 period 5.5 inch guns and 25 pounders ;) No computer controlled shells in those days...which was probably why we infanteers always avoided being on the same training area as live firing gunners if we could help it....
 

Gollevainen

Colonel
VIP Professional
Registered Member
Well the usual ordanance of any artillery today is still the normal "piggies"...Those "smarter-than-user" type of ammunitions are for special occasions...
 

Top