Artillery Fire Commands

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Artillery Fire Commands (sometimes Fire Orders) are used to give artillery and mortar units all the information necessary to start, conduct, and cease firing. Typically the fire commands are sent by a Fire Direction (FDC) or Platoon Operations Center (POC) to the firing units. In units using modern battery computer systems, fire commands are sent digitally from the computer to a display at the gun. In units without a digital link, firing commands must be sent via radio or voice. Artillery Fire Commands are, at least in US terminology, technical fire direction, compared to Fire Orders that are tactical fire direction, in commonwealth terminology, Fire Orders contain technical fire direction.

US Artillery Fire Commands

See US Artillery Fire Commands for the full article on the US Fire Commands.

These US Artillery Fire Commands are used by all Field Artillery and some Mortar units throughout US Armed Forces, in particular US Army and Marines Corps. These US Field Artillery Fire Commands are not to be confused with the simplified US Mortar Fire Commands.

Sequence of Fire Commands

The elements of a fire command are always given in the same sequence. This saves time and confusion; each member of the firing unit knows the sequence and can anticipate what is coming next. This sequence allows actions to occur at the same time. For example, the propellant charge and fuze can be prepared while the deflection and quadrant are being set.

  Initial Fire Commands Subsequent Fire Commands
1. Warning order Always Never
2. Pieces to follow1 When applicable When changed
Pieces to fire1 When other than standard When changed
Method of fire1 When other than standard When changed
3. Special Instructions
  • Do not load
  • At my command
  • High angle
  • Use gunner's quadrant
  • Azimuth
  • Special Corrections
  • Sweep and/or zone fire
When applicable When changed
4. Projectile1 When other than standard When changed
5. Ammunition lot1 When other than standard When changed
6. Charge Always When changed
7. Fuze1 When other than standard When changed
8. Fuze setting1 When other than standard When changed
9. Deflection Always When changed
10. Quadrant Always Always
11. Method of fire for effect When applicable When changed
1These elements may be designated as standard. Elements so designated will be announced only when something other than standard is to be fired.

US Mortar Fire Commands

See US Mortar Fire Commands for the full article on the US Mortar Fire Commands.

These US Mortar Fire Commands are used by US mortar teams, and are a more simplified version of the US Artillery Fire Commands.

Sequence of Fire Commands

1. Mortars to follow Section
2. Shell and fuze HE quick
3. Mortars to fire Number two
4. Method of fire One round
5. Deflection Two eight hundred
6. Charge Charge 3
7. Time
8. Elevation One two seven zero
NOTE: All fire commands will follow this sequence. Elements not necessary for the proper conduct of fire are omitted.

Canadian Artillery Fire Orders

See Canadian Artillery Fire Orders for the full article on the Canadian Fire Orders.

These Fire Orders are the artillery fire commands used by all field artillery and mortar units of the Canadian Army, as the land component of the Canadian Armed Forces. To obtain effective mortar and artillery fire in the shortest possible time, clear and concise fire orders are vital. Fire orders are normally transmitted over a communications system, therefore, it is essential that they be given clearly, quickly and in a definite sequence.

Sequence of Fire Orders


German Artillery Fire Commands

See German Artillery Fire Commands for the full article on the German Fire Commands.

The German Artillery Fire Command ("Feuerkommando") is the standardized technical fire direction used by all field artillery and mortar units in the German Army (Bundeswehr - Heer). It is normally issued by the Fire Direction Center ("Feuerleitstelle") to the firing platoons ("Geschützzüge") and contains all firing data necessary to conduct the fire mission.

Sequence of Fire Commands

1. Ankündigung und Ansprechen der feuernden Teileinheit WARNING ORDER "Ganzer Zug, hier Feuerleit, Feuerkommando kommen!"
2. Ladung CHARGE "vierte Ladung"
3. Geschosssorte PROJECTILE "Nebel", "Leucht", "Bomblet" (nur wenn andere als Sprenggeschoss)
4. Zünderart/Zünderfunktion FUZE "Doppelzünder" (nur bei Sprenggeschossen, wenn nicht Zünderfunktion “Annäherung” geschossen werden soll)
5. Zünderstellung für Zeit-, Multifunktions- und Doppelzünder: FUZE SETTING "Schlüssel zwo null Komma sieben"
6. Teilring DEFLECTION "Teilring sechzehn acht vier"
6. Erhöhung ELEVATION "dreihundertdreiundvierzig Strich"
7. Mounitionsmenge ROUNDS "vier Gruppen"
8. Feuerart METHOD OF FIRE "Feuerbereitschaft melden!"

References & Links

  1. Army Field Manual FM 6-50 Chptr 7 Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Field Artillery Cannon Battery
  2. Canadian National Defense: B-GL-385-017/PT-001 - 81 mm Mortar, Chapter 4
  3. HDv 266/250 VS-NfD “Die technische Feuerleitung der Rohrartillerie”
  4. HDv 128/290 VS-NfD “Fernmeldebetrieb im Heer”