The Air Observation Post
1. The air O.P. is an artillery O.P which can obtain a degree of command that is denied to the ground observer. It will be used for close co-operation with the artillery unit under whose command it has been placed and for which it will:-
(a) Observe fire by day, and under certain conditions, by night.
(b) Report information.
It should not be used when ground observation is adequate for the task.
2. Air O.P pilots may have more opportunities of accumulating knowledge of the tactical situation than a good ground O.P. Such accumulated information when passed back through artillery heardquarters is of great value.
The tasks of an air O.P. are similar to those of the normal artillery ground O.P. and include engagement of targets and reporting of information. In allotting sections to regiments, care must be taken to ensure that tasks will not be duplicated.
It is the duty of artillery commanders to ensure that pilots to ensure that pilots have a full picture of the tactical sitaution and, if necessary, they must arrange for pilots to visit the headquarters of other arms.
The provision of reliable information regarding likely enemy air interference and the movements of our own fighters may be of great help and may prevent unnecessary casualties. The responsibility for obtaining and passing on such information to the pilot falls on squadron and flight commanders.
Classification of tasks
Tasks which can be undertaken by an air O.P. are classified as follows:-
(a) Pre-arranged tasks.
(i) Registration of important tasks.
(ii) Neutralization of previously located targets which cannot be seen from ground O.P.s.
(iii) Reconnaissance of guns areas.
(iv) Special missions to obatin information.
(v) Counter battery tasks, e,g, reporting which previously located hostile batteries are active during an attack, registration or neutralization of forward hostile batteries or infantry guns. The C.B.O. will co-ordinate the allocation of tasks between air O.P's and arty R. aircraft.
(vi) Engagement of divisional targets as detailed by the C.R.A.
(b) Impromptu tasks:- While operating on a pre-arranged mission the pilot:-
(i) Will take every opportunity of reporting information.
(ii) May call for fire on any important target whether a fleeting opportunity or one requiring neutralization. At least one battery will be alloted to answer such calls for fire.