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Fire support area (FSA)

Definition A Fire Support Area (FSA) is a specific area into which artillery or other indirect fire weapons can deliver ground based fire support, usually in support of ground units. It is designated by the appropriate ground commands during planning and operations. Essentially, an FSA defines where an intervention can happen, taking into account the […]

Definition

A Fire Support Area (FSA) is a specific area into which artillery or other indirect fire weapons can deliver ground based fire support, usually in support of ground units. It is designated by the appropriate ground commands during planning and operations. Essentially, an FSA defines where an intervention can happen, taking into account the weapon’s range, safety, and effectiveness.

Key Takeaways

  1. Fire Support Area (FSA) is a specific designated area in which artillery or other fire support units are strategically positioned and protected to deliver their firepower during military operations.
  2. Within the FSA, these firepower resources can provide support on-demand as well as respond to pre-planned missions, ensuring optimal backup support for other units on the battlefield.
  3. The positioning of the FSA is meticulously planned considering factors such as the range of supporting weapons, the layout of the battlefield, and the prospective battle plan. Managing its whereabouts is crucial in minimizing friendly fire and maximizing enemy damage.

Importance

The military operations term, Fire Support Area (FSA), is vitally important as it pertains to a specific area from where fire support assets like artillery, mortars, or close air support can offer protective fire or engage targets to support the operations of maneuvering units in a conflict.

This area often becomes a hub for concentrated firepower, which plays a vital role in safeguarding troops and disabling the enemy.

If efficiently established and managed, the FSA can greatly contribute to the operational success of a military mission by providing significant firepower, which allows combat units to advance, defend, or withdraw as needed while reducing risk to friendly forces.

Explanation

Fire Support Area (FSA) is a critical component in military operations, serving as a pre-designated zone where artillery units or naval gunfire ships can safely deliver sustained fire support without interfering with the movements of friendly ground units. It was designed to coordinate and streamline the delivery of indirect firepower, maximizing its effect on the enemy while minimizing potential risks to allies.

As part of the overall theater of operations, the FSA enhances combat effectiveness by allowing a systematic application of destructive force, thereby facilitating the execution of tactical maneuvers. The strategic value of the FSA arises from its role in ensuring seamless integration between fire support elements and maneuver elements on the battlefield.

It allows for a high degree of coordination and synchronization, ensuring that the various artillery, aerial, and naval fire support units are firing in a unified manner to achieve a common objective. By providing a centralized location from which fire support elements can operate, the Fire Support Area thereby reduces risks of friendly fire incidents, optimizes resource deployment, and overall, contributes significantly to a unified, effective offensive or defensive military campaign.

Examples of Fire support area (FSA)

Operation Anaconda: During the initial invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, various fire support areas were established by the United States and allied forces. These FSAs were used to coordinate airstrikes, artillery attacks and support from helicopter gunships against Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.

Battle of Mosul (2016-2017): In the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the ISIS, the Iraqi army and its allies established different FSAs. These were designated areas from which artillery and air support could be coordinated to provide continued bombardment of enemy positions, weaken ISIS defences, and provide tactical battlefield support to advancing ground forces.

Battle of Hamburger Hill (1969): During the Vietnam War, fire support areas were used extensively by the U.S. forces. During the offensive, specially designated zones, or FSAs, were set up around the A Shau Valley where the battle took place, providing consistent artillery and close air support to the ground troops attacking the heavily fortified North Vietnamese positions on Hill 937 or “Hamburger Hill”.

Frequently Asked Questions: Fire Support Area (FSA)

What is a Fire Support Area (FSA)?

A Fire Support Area (FSA) is a specific designated area in which fire support teams are tactically positioned to deliver support to the adjacent combat forces. It is prevalent in military operations where there’s a necessity for concentrated fire from different sources.

What is the role of an FSA in a military context?

In a military context, the role of an FSA is to provide timely and effective fire support to combat forces. This includes the use of artillery, mortar, naval gunfire, and close air support with fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. FSA allows for a coordinated and concentrated fire to enhance the combat force’s effectiveness.

How is an FSA structured?

An FSA is structured strategically to allow for maximum efficiency. It typically consists of fire support teams and assets including field artillery battery or batteries, mortar platoons, and other fire support assets. The placement of these assets within the FSA varies according to the mission requirements and the terrain.

How are FSAs used in modern warfare?

In modern warfare, FSAs are used as part of a comprehensive fire support plan. Advanced technologies allow for more accurate targeting and delivery of fire support. As part of a larger network, FSAs can help dominate and shape the battlefield, providing the necessary support to ground forces to achieve their objectives.

Are FSAs used in all types of military operations?

FSAs are primarily used in operations where there is a need for concentrated fire power. This includes operations in urban environments, mountains, deserts and forests. The use of FSAs is tailored to the specific requirements of the operation, taking into account factors such as the terrain, enemy capabilities and the objectives of the operation.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Artillery targeting
  • Direct combat support
  • Mortar squadrons
  • Forward observer
  • Field communication

Sources for More Information

  • U.S. Army Official Website: Offers in-depth and comprehensive information about the military specific terminologies, missions, and operations including FSAs.
  • Military.com: Provides news, resources, and services for U.S. military members and veterans, and may include explanations of military operations.
  • GlobalSecurity.org: A leading source of military, security and strategic policy information. It houses a vast collection of public policy resources for the 21st century.
  • Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): It serves the DoD community as the largest central resource for DoD and government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available today.

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