Chapter 30 Organization and communications
A. Battle organization
B. communications
                                       ORGANIZATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

A. Battle Organization

30A1. Introduction

In order that a ship’s armament and fire control can be used to perform its primary mission, that of destroying the enemy, an efficient organization and means of communication between the various parts of that organization must be provided. In practically all ships, and particularly the larger ones, the fire control stations are widely separated; yet each is dependent upon the others for collection of information, computation of firing data, and transmission of orders. Therefore, one of the most important phases of shipboard gunnery is to organize effectively the ship’s personnel and materiel and to ensure rapid and accurate transmission of orders and of fire control data.

30A2. Battle bill

In all United States Navy combatant ships, a battle bill is drawn up and officially promulgated for the guidance and coordination of all subdivisions of the ship’s organization during battle. The battle organization as set forth in this bill does not in all respects parallel the administrative organization of the ship, although there are standärd and fixed relationships between the two types of organization.

Figure 30A1 shows a part of a battle bill in schematic diagram. Only the fire control subdivision is fully outlined here. Each main subdivision of the organization is administered separately and functions under the Commanding Officer through its own chain of command. It must be remembered, however, that the major subdivisions are closely related and that a thorough understanding of all of them is essential to the coordination of battle activities.

One of the first responsibilities of an officer reporting on board a ship is to study the battle bill carefully. The full text of this bill will list the personnel in each of the various battle stations and will list the communications channels available to each station. When studying such a bill under peacetime or drill conditions, one should not be overly eager to find flaws therein. Many seeming inconsistencies in thoroughly tested battle bills have quite adequate explanation in exigencies of wartime cruising or battle conditions. Aboard each ship, efforts are continually made to arrive at the most efficient battle organization.

30A3. Organization similarities

The organization shown in
figure 30Al varies from ship to ship, and even to a limited extent among ships of the same class. However, every effort is made to standardize the organization for all types of ships, insofar as such standardization can be achieved with the existing differences in ship construction, armament, and available communications circuits. To the extent that standardization is possible, it enables all officers and men to be generally familiar with the organization of all ships. Thus an interchange of personnel does not present a major training problem, and new hands may be worked with ease into the existing organization aboard any ship.

Thus, although the organization for various ships may differ in detail, the plan shown in
figure 30A1 covers the essential features common to all combatant types. Battleships and cruisers which have single-purpose main batteries will all have organizations resembling closely the one shown in the illustration, although the exact number of parts into which each battery is divided will depend upon the equipment on the individual ship. Antiaircraft cruisers and smaller ships which have dual-purpose main batteries have organizations similar to the illustrated plan with the main battery omitted.

30A4. Chain of command

The various subdivisions and stations shown in
figure 30A1 are connected by lines which show both the chain of command and the flow of communications. Opposed arrows on the lines indicate the transmission of data and the resulting orders for utilizing those data.

All lines emanate from Command, because the Captain from his battle station exercises control over all ship activities. In particular he has responsibility for the supervision of his ship’s course and speed, the use of armament, the preservation of watertight integrity, the procedures used in case of casualties to personnel and materiel, and the receipt and dissemination of information. The task of coordinating the many activities so as to obtain a smoothly functioning organization is a tremendous one; it is obviously necessary that some agency be available to assist the Captain in performing his many functions.
30A5. Combat Information Center

The function of Combat Information Center (CIC) is to assist Command in planning the correct course of action, and to assist Command and the main subordinate control officers in the execution of that plan. CIC is, briefly, an agency for the collection, evaluation and distribution of combat information, and for facilitating the use of that information. CIC assists the Captain especially by filtering and evaluating nearly all incoming information. The Captain is given required facts as he needs them and thus is left free to concentrate on those decisions which he must make. The Captain may delegate secondary decisions and control duties to CIC as the case may require.

CIC, in exercising its function as an information center, coordinates the activities of the ship’s search radar, lookouts, and other means of obtaining external information. With all such information readily available to it, CIC is of considerable direct assistance to the fire control party. To facilitate the receipt by the fire control organization of information originating in CIC, the Gunnery Department usually keeps one or more officers, designated as Gunnery Liaison Officers, stationed in CIC and in constant communication with the principal fire control officers. Through the channels thus provided, CIC is able to perform, when requested or in accordance with standard doctrine, any of several functions in connection with the control of weapons. It may:

1. Designate or suggest suitable targets.
2. Coach the fire control directors on to targets.
3. Provide an initial or a check solution of target course and speed.
4. Warn automatic weapons of the presence or approach of hostile aircraft and small craft.
5. Aid in radar spotting.
6. Inform fire control personnel of the presence of friendly forces in the vicinity.
7. Relay to fire control personnel orders and information of direct interest from higher authority.
8. Assist in liaison with shore fire control parties.

30A6. Gunnery Officer

The fire control organization functions under the supervisory control of the Gunnery Officer. He usually exercises his control of the individual batteries through assistants designated as battery control officers. During battle, the Gunnery Officer is in immediate communication with the Commanding Officer, with the Gunnery Liaison Officer, and with the various battery control officers; in addition he may maintain direct communication with the officers in charge of individual main-battery Stations.

In general, the duties of the Gunnery Officer may be outlined as follows:

1. He informs the Commanding Officer as to the general gunnery situation and the practicability of opening fire with the main battery.

2. Prior to opening fire with the main battery, he designates the target on which to fire, the fire distribution to be employed, and the type and method of battery control to be used.

3. He keeps in touch with the various armament subdivisions and their activities.

4. He is advised as to casualties and directs such redistribution of personnel or rearrangement of circuits as may be necessary to maintain the maximum efficiency of the armament as a whole.

As noted above, one of the Gunnery Officer’s chief functions is target designation, which is made in accordance with the Commanding Officer’s instructions. In the case of a main-battery target, it is possible that there may be a special assignment from higher authority in the form of a fire-distribution signal. Similarly, in antiaircraft and small-craft defense, orders from higher authority may direct the batteries of a ship to guard a particular sector of the area around a task force or group. Thus the designation of a target may actually be originated, entirely or in part, from without the ship. In other situations, target designation may be made by the Captain personally; for example, in directing the division of fire between two main-battery targets; or it may be in accordance with standard doctrine by the Gunnery Officer or one of his ranking assistants.

30A7. Antiaircraft battery control

Since the defense against air attack may involve more than one subdivision of the ship’s armament, and because of the Gunnery Officer’s immediate preoccupation with surface targets, major vessels detail an officer as antiaircraft officer. His function is to coordinate the ship’s antiaircraft batteries, in the course of which he may assume control of the directors and guns of any or all of those batteries which may be used for antiaircraft fire. The antiaircraft officer is frequently given the authority to open fire on hostile planes on his own initiative, without immediate and specific orders from the Commanding Officer or the Gunnery Officer.

The antiaircraft officer does not necessarily control the firing of any one battery or one group of guns personally, but acts in a supervisory capacity over the various gun groups through their respective control officers. He may designate targets, initiate a shift in responsibility for targets from one battery group to another, and generally direct the ship’s AA defenses. The antiaircraft officer is usually in direct communication with the Commanding Officer and the Gunnery Liaison Officer, as well as with the sector and group control officers of the antiaircraft battery. In ships with a dual-purpose main battery, the Gunnery Officer himself may be the antiaircraft officer, or he may act as Gunnery Liaison Officer.

30A8. Battery control

Each main subdivision of the ship’s armament (main battery, secondary battery, antiaircraft battery, torpedo battery, antisubmarine battery, rocket battery) is controlled by a Battery Control Officer. Each control officer is directly responsible to and in communication with the Commanding Officer, the Gunnery Officer, and, when appropriate, with the antiaircraft officer. In addition, each battery may be subdivided into groups containing two or more gun mounts (or turrets). Such a group may be controlled by an officer designated as a Group Control Officer. Such subdivision of a battery is justified because it affords greater flexibility, particularly in case of casualties or when divided battery control is necessary.

In the case of antiaircraft guns, each battery group is usually given direct responsibility for one sector of the area surrounding the ship, in which sector it has responsibility for protecting the ship against surprise attack. There are usually four sectors, each covering an arc of 110 degrees, thus allowing a 20-degree overlap of sector boundaries as shown in
figure 30A2. Sector Control Officers may be delegated authority over groups of more than one battery at such times as those groups are assigned the same sector.

In main and dual-purpose batteries, Group Control Officers will normally be associated with individual directors, and they are most frequently stationed at the directors. Group Control Officers of other batteries may in some cases be similarly stationed, if appropriate to the equipment installed on the ship.
30A9. Turret Officer and Mount Captain

As a final step in the chain of command, each turret or gun mount is under the direct, personal, and immediate control of an officer or petty officer at the mount. In the turrets, this control is usually exercised by a Turret Officer, assisted by a turret captain (a petty officer). Commissioned officers are rarely stationed in individual dual-purpose mounts, which are normally under the direction of senior petty officers designated as Mount Captains. Heavy machine-gun mounts are also directed by Mount Captains, whose personal responsibilities are chiefly executive. At light machine-gun mounts, either the gunners or the range setters may be the Mount Captains.

Turret Officers and Mount Captains ordinarily direct the guns for which they are responsible under specific orders from battery, sector, or group control stations. In case of casualties, however, they may have considerable independent authority. They must be trained to take full charge of their own stations under local fire control procedures, if and when necessary.