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

31A1. Basic plan of organization

The complement of a ship is composed of such numbers, ranks, and ratings of officers and men as are required to operate the ship most efficiently. A ship’s organization is essentially a war organization, developed on the theory that ships should operate in peacetime with an organization that can be expanded quickly without basic change when the transition to a wartime operating condition becomes necessary. It is based on a grouping of functions and personnel that is intended to reduce to a minimum both the possible overlapping of responsibilities and the duplication of personnel.

This does not imply that administrative organization, even in wartime, is parallel with the battle organization discussed in the preceding chapter. It is necessary for the battle organization to provide for short cuts in order to save time in the transmission of orders. It is also necessary for battle organization to provide for alternative channels to be used in case of casualty. The administrative organization can be rather more formal.

31A2. The Gunnery Department

On board ships whose offensive characteristics are those relating primarily to ordnance or aircraft, the Gunnery Officer heads the Gunnery Department and the First Lieutenant is an assistant to the Gunnery Officer, with direct responsibility for deck seamanship.

On board other ships, the First Lieutenant heads the Deck Department and the Gunnery Officer is an assistant to him.

The functions of the Gunnery Department are as follows:
1. Operation, maintenance and repair of armament.
2. Launching and recovery of aircraft (on ships without an Air Department).
3. Operation and maintenance of assigned electronic equipment.
4. Antisubmarine warfare.
5. Mine warfare.
6. Deck seamanship.
7. Operation and upkeep of boats.
8. Cleanliness and upkeep of spaces assigned to the Gunnery (or Deck) Department, including ship’s exterior.
9. Care and storage of all ammunition.

While the functions of the Gunnery Department are many and varied, it must be remembered that the primary reason for its existence is the armament that the ship carries. This armament must be maintained in a constant state of readiness, and it must be effectively operated to deal destruction or damage to the enemy.

The Gunnery Department divisions are designated First, Second, etc., the lowest numbers being assigned to the division whose responsibilities include maintaining the forward battery of the largest caliber guns assigned to the ship. Numerals are then assigned in ascending order from forward aft, with odd numbers starboard, until all divisions of the main battery have been assigned designators. The process is repeated for batteries of the next smaller caliber guns until all battery divisions have been assigned designators. The next higher number is then assigned the Marine detachment, if one is attached to the ship. The letter “F” is used to designate the Fire Control Division, with a second letter added when more than one fire control division is assigned. Thus “FA” designates the Antiaircraft Fire Control Division and “FM” the Main Battery Fire Control Division. On ships operating aircraft, other than aircraft carriers and seaplane tenders, the Aviation Division is assigned to the Gunnery Department and is designated by the letter “V”. When only one division is assigned to the Gunnery Department, the numeral “1” is used as a designator.

31A3. Duties of the Gunnery Officer

The Gunnery Officer is charged with the supervision and direction of the employment of the ordnance equipment and the equipment associated with deck seamanship. He is responsible for the training, direction, and coordination of personnel assigned to his department. He assists the Executive Officer in the planning and conducting of drills and exercises. He is responsible for ensuring that all the functions of the Gunnery Department listed in article 31A2 are properly performed.

31A4. The Gunnery Officer’s assistants

In addition to the First Lieutenant, the Commanding Officer may assign assistants to the Gunnery Officer, consistent with the type of ship, as indicated below:

1. Main Battery Officer.
2. Fire Control Officer.
3. Air Defense Officer.
4. Assistants to the First Lieutenant.
a. Boatswain.
5. Torpedo Officer.
6. Mine Warfare Officer.
7. Aviation Officer.
8. Marine Officer.
9. Antisubmarine Warfare Officer.
10. CIC Liaison Officer.
11. Deck Division Officers.

On major vessels, officers of considerable experience are usually assigned as Main Battery Officer, Fire Control Officer, and Air Defense Officer.  Where available, officers of specialized experience are assigned to such positions as Torpedo Officer and Mine Warfare Officer. The Aviation Officer and Marine Officer are, of course, billets limited to special personnel. With these exceptions, however, a junior officer just reporting on board ship may well be assigned to any one of the listed administrative billets. If sufficient experienced personnel is available, the junior officer’s assignment will be as assistant to the occupant of one of these billets.

While a junior officer in the Gunnery Department will have many duties of purely administrative nature such as those discussed in this chapter, his primary concern will be with his gunnery battle station. Again, a wide variety of assignments faces the newly commissioned officer. He may be assigned to any one of the following battle stations, depending upon the type of ship and upon the availability of experienced officer personnel:

1. Turret Officer or junior Turret Officer.
2. Dual-Purpose Battery Group Control (Director Control) Officer, or Illumination Officer.
3. Machine-Gun Battery Group Control Officer.
4. Main-Battery Director Officer.
5. Assistant Plotting-Room Officer (main or dual-purpose battery).
6. Torpedo Control Officer.
7. Antisubmarine Battery Officer.