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Chapter 31 Junior gunnery officer
A. Gunnery department
B. Administrative duties
C. Sources of information
D. Gunnery exercises
                                                 D. Gunnery Exercises

31D1. Objectives of gunnery exercises

Obviously, the most important objective in gunnery exercises is to train personnel to attain the most effective use of the ship’s armament. Another important objective is the development of new doctrines, techniques, and procedures to keep pace with new targets and new equipment.

All gunnery exercises are prescribed, scheduled, conducted, and analyzed with the above objective in view. The conditions under which the exercises are held are made as realistic as possible, in order to eliminate artificialities which might lead to false conclusions.

31D2. Prescribed gunnery exercises

Publications promulgated by CNO prescribe the gunnery exercises now used in the fleet. Separate publications for each type of ship prescribe the training exercises, procedures, and reports required, including outlines of the specific tactical situations which precede the firing.

The publications described in this article are confidential, and as such are in the custody of the Registered Publications Issuing Officer. They, too, may be signed for and drawn for study.

All too frequently reports of gunnery exercises lose their significance as objective analyses and serve merely to represent additional paper work to the junior officer. It must be remembered, however, that it is necessary to make an accurate appraisal of the effectiveness of the ship’s armament, and to do so requires careful, detailed analysis.

Sufficient data must be taken during the exercise to permit post-firing analysis. It must be carefully assembled and even more carefully checked. If the report indicates an ineffective battery, every last detail must be scrutinized until a definite, concrete reason for failure can be found. The maintenance of efficient armament is of primary importance.

31D3. Shipboard gunnery files

The junior officer should consult the files of the Gunnery Department aboard his ship for copies of the various types of reports, letters, and requisitions. In these and other pertinent files the officer can see examples of ORDALTS and various other types of work requests, routine and special ordnance reports, and requisitions, as well as reports on gunnery exercises and data concerning the performance of the various batteries.

Frequent reference to the gunnery files will keep the officer posted concerning past gunnery performance as well as current doctrines and procedures. No officer should ever report to a ship feeling that his training is complete, or his knowledge perfect concerning installations and routines. He should be receptive to continued training, and be on the alert to learn not only standard but also improved practices.

31D4. General remarks

Finally, the junior officer should never feel that the complications of modern ordnance and fire control are beyond his abilities of comprehension, or that necessary information for the use and upkeep of equipment is lacking. Every item has something written about it to assist those who must understand its operating principles, use, upkeep, and repair. The publication for a particular item of equipment is probably aboard. If not, it is the duty of the officer concerned to see that the publication is requested, not only for his own requirements, but also for those enlisted personnel who must be informed.