From: Edgewater, Florida, USA
Correct Mr. RR, absolutely without malice! Just observations.
Do not confuse "FO battalions" (sic)" with FA Target Acquisition Battalions, of which there were more than a few. But that is a whole different chapter, and a totally different course at Ft. Sill!
The US FO "team" was in fact a group of artillery individuals organic to a DS artillery battalion. Only DS battalions would have had them, and they were a section organic to the DS Battalion HQ Battery. Point being, their support was the responsibility of the DS HQ Battery Commander. Since each DS battalion supported a maneuver regiment, there would have been a regimental fire support coordinator, three battalion fire support coordinators and enough forward observers to send one to each supported maneuver company (these FOs were the brand new 2LTs, supported by RTO/drivers) As the 2LTs had a very short shelf life, the actual FO's were often low ranking NCOs or PFCs with a radio. If for a given operation, additional maneuver companies (say a Ranger Battalion) were assigned or attached to the maneuver regiment the DS Arty HQ Btry Commander would have to improvise an additional FO element for each maneuver company.
I do not believe we have ANY distinct artillery HQ units in the JTCS games at any level. Years ago my brother and I designed a scenario modification to the EFII Kharkov scenario including FA battalion HQ and Commanders and DIVARTY and CORPS Arty HQ and Commanders covering all the German artillery units, of which there were many. It really cluttered up the screen unreasonably. It didn't occur to me to put in separate FOs (one for EACH individual company size maneuver unit, plus an FSC for each maneuver battalion and each maneuver regiment,division and corps). Might have been a lot of fun, FOR A SCHIZOPHRENIC REDLEG! But for most I think the minutia would have made the game tedious. Anyone who wants such minutia is free to design it in. I tried it partially, as previously stated, and it wasn't very practical!
As soon as an FO was disabled, the DS battalion had the responsibility of IMMEDIATELY replacing him, so whoever happened to be available, went. If no one was available, an infantry mortar man could assume the task. In short, no matter how fast you kill off FOs, they are instantly replaced by SOMEONE. So the concept of units losing their fire support by FO casualties is a very inaccurate idea. If the "FO units running around the field to become targets" became an option (God forbid a standard) I would personally choose NEVER to play with that option.
But it is a game isn't it? And not a true simulation. If the "wargamers" want such a (to me) peculiar device in their JTCS games, who am I to deny them their fun! 'Nuff said?
"Freedom isn't free"