The forward support battalion
is part of the heavy division support command. The DISCOM provides
direct support-level logistics and medical support to all organic
and attached elements of the division. As depicted in Figure 2-1,
it consists of the following elements:
HHC/MMC. The HHC supervise
and controls DISCOM operations and advises the division commander
and staff on logistics throughout the division. The MMC provides
materiel management for weapon systems, controls maintenance priorities,
and coordinates supply functions to meet the needs of the division.
FM 63-22 provides a full discussion of the responsibilities, organization,
and operations of the HHC/MMC.
Main support battalion.
This multifunctional logistics and medical unit is the division
CSS operator in the division rear area. It provides direct support
to division units in the division rear and designated and backup
support to the FSBs. It is based in the DSA, though it provides
support forward as required. Information on the MSB is in FM 63-21.
Forward support battalions.
T he DISCOM has one FSB to provide direct support to each division
Aircraft maintenance company.
This separate company under the DISCOM provides AVIM support to
division units. It is the subject of Chapter 6 of FM 63-2-2. Other
operational information appears in FM 1-500.
The FSB itself is organized
as shown in Figure 2-1. The battalion has a headquarters and headquarters
detachment, supply company, maintenance company, and medical company.
As part of the maintenance
company, the FSB
is assigned tank, mechanized infantry, and artillery systems support
teams. The FSB maintenance company has one team to support each
maneuver battalion assigned to the supported brigade, as well
as the DS artillery battalion.
The FSB's primary role is
to provide direct support to the brigade and division units operating
in the brigade area. This role entails a dual requirement. First,
the FSB must plan to support future operations. It must anticipate
requirements and incorporate planning guidance. In addition, the
FSB must support current operations. It must monitor the implementation
of the support plan. This requirement involves the continuous
coordination discussed throughout this manual. The FSB must actively monitor all support operations in conjunction
with the brigade S4. It makes adjustments as required to ensure
support requirements are met. For example, it is not enough for
the FSB to plan when supported task force HEMTTs should pick up
fuel. If the HEMTTs do not show up, the FSB must know about it
and coordinate with the brigade S4 to find out what the problem
is and what needs to be done to resolve it.
The FSB also provides support
to nondivisional units, such as corps artillery and engineer battalions,
located in the brigade area of operations. The FSB is the single
point of contact for support in the brigade area of operations.
However, in order to support nondivisional units, it must be augmented
with elements of the corps logistics task force operating in the
division area. (See FM 100-10.)
In addition, the FSB is responsible
for base cluster defense of the BSA and operates under the brigade
command for this mission. Chapter 5 is a detailed discussion of
the BSA security and terrain management operations of the FSB.
The FSB performs its mission
if it supports the brigade's course of action and meets the DISCOM
commander's guidance. Specifically, it supports the brigade and
reinforcing/ supporting units by providing or coordinating to
provide all classes of supply, as well as maintenance, medical,
field services, and transportation support in the amounts and
at the times specified in the brigade service support annex and
the FSB SOP. It must replenish its supported units' basic loads
of all supplies except repair parts. Prescribed loads of maintenance-significant
class II and IV items and repair parts must also be replenished.
Equipment must be maintained to meet prescribed operational levels.
Class VII items are distributed in accordance with the brigade
commander's priorities. The FSB coordinates transportation requirements
with the movement control officer to meet the needs identified
by the brigade. Finally, medical evacuation and treatment operations
and field services activities must be coordinated between the
brigade and FSB to ensure brigade needs are met. Specific information
on the elements of the FSB appears in Chapters 6-9 of this manual.
The FSB organization as outlined
above and discussed later provides flexibility. The DISCOM commander
and staff are responsible for tailoring resources to support tactical
operations. They maintain constant contact with the division staff
to anticipate future support requirements-who will require what
types and amounts of support in what battlefield locations at
what times. The DMMC, medical operations center, support battalions,
and AMCO keep the DISCOM aware of the current and projected status
of logistics and medical resources. As a result of this information,
the DISCOM task organizes to best support the force.
The FSB commander may receive
additional assets from the MSB or a corps logistics battalion
task force to provide required support beyond the FSB's capability.
The FSB may also receive resources from or have to relinquish
them to another FSB. There is no magical formula the FSB commander
can use to tell him what assets he may receive or have to give
up. The DISCOM commander must decide on the basis of numerous
variables including the tactical situation, changes to the task
organizations of supported units, shifting support priorities,
and status of resources available throughout the division area
of operations. The FSB's responsibility in this process is to
keep the DISCOM commander abreast of the logistics and medical
situation in its brigade area and of current and anticipated support
One example of a requirement
for task-organizing would be the cross-attachment of a battalion-sized
unit within the division. Before such a cross-attachment takes
place, support to the unit must be coordinated and identifiedin the attachment order. Coordination takes place among the FSBs
involved, the DISCOM support operations branch, the MSB support
operations section, and the affected brigade and battalion S4s.
In addition, medical support is coordinated among the MSB and
FSB support operations sections and medical companies, the DISCOM
medical operations center, the division surgeon, and the affected
brigade and battalions.
Planners must know what CSS
assets are available to accompany the battalion. This will include
the battalion's support platoon as well as any DS maintenance
team associated with the battalion. For instance, if a division
artillery battalion has been in direct support to a maneuver brigade
which is now placed in reserve, the artillery battalion will receive
another role since artillery is never in reserve. If the battalion
is placed in support of another brigade, the artillery MST from
the maintenance company of the FSB supporting the brigade in
reserve would come with the battalion and continue to work out
of the service battery site. Also, the ATP section of the supply
company would augment the ATP of the receiving brigade. The FSB
medical company treatment squads/teams may operate with the maneuver
battalion HHC's medical platoon in support of task force operations.
Cross-leveling of other assets from the losing FSB would depend
on the requirements of its supported brigade, the units being
cross-attached, the status of resources in the FSB, the support
priorities, and the length of time for the cross-attachment. Sometimes
support elements cannot be evenly split. For example, if the FSB
has only one or two soldiers in a partitular MOS, it may not
be possible to send any support of that type when a brigade element
is cross-attached to another brigade. In such cases, elements
of the MSB may be sent forward to augment the capability of the
FSB which receives the additional requirements.
In all cases, planners responsible
for organizing logistics and medical elements in the brigade areas
must consider the following:
The mission of the additional
The number of people in the
The number and types of equipment.
The priority of support to
The level of combat effectiveness
required for the additional battalion.
The length of time the battalion
will need support.
The base of operations for
the FSB is the brigade support area. The brigade S3 approves the
BSA location based on the tactical situation and the recommendation
of the FSB commander and staff and the brigade S4. The FSB commander
must ensure the area is small enough for C3 and security purposes,
yet large enough to accommodate the dispersion required by the
FSB and all the other elements normally located in the BSA. The
size will vary with the terrain, but an area of 4-7 kilometers
in diameter is a planning guideline.
In addition, the FSB commander,
FSB S2/S3, and brigade S4 must consider --
Availability of roads.
Capability of roads to handle
heavy traffic and large vehicles in all weather.
Availability of built-up areas.
Overhead cover and concealment.
Suitability for technical
Accessibility to air support
Distance from enemy artillery.
A typical distance from FLOT to BSA is about 25-30 kilometers
during support of defensive operations. This distance would put
the FSB and brigade trains elements outside the range of all but
long-range multiple rocket launcher fire, for example, from the
BM-27. The distance may be less during offensive operations. However,
it will vary with METT-T.
The FSB, along with supported
battalion S4s, HHC commanders (field trains), service battery
elements, and other support units, sustains the brigade across
the entire depth of the battlefield. However, at brigade level,
close, deep, and rear activities are practically indistinguishable.
They are usually conducted with the same assets.
An offensive operation maybe
launched at any time and with little notice. To have as much advance
notice as possible and to ensure the brigade commander's course
of action is supportable, the FSB commander and staff anticipate
requirements and maintain continuous contact with the brigade
staff. They monitor tactical nets whenever possible. In planning
for an attack, the FSB ensures support equipment is ready, supplies
are in position, and coordination is made to meet transportation
As the attack develops, communication
links between the brigade and FSB must remain operational. The
FSB must also ensure the preparations discussed below do not give
away tactical plans. In addition, all elements of the FSB should
be prepared to move forward by echelon as described in Appendix A. Figure 2-3 depicts a representation of the brigade area during
an offensive operation.
most critical supplies are classes III, V, and IX. To handle high
fuel consumption, forward stocks are built up and the class III
point is prepared to move forward rapidly or set up forward tactical
refuel points as described in Chapter 7.
Though ammunition expenditures may not be as high as with a heavy defense, responsive resupply is essential. A significant problem will be maintaining this support over extended supply lines. The sustained cannot require artillery service battery vehicles to travel far from firing elements or maneuver battalion support platoons to haul ammunition over great distances. The FSB must ensure ATP elements areas far forward as tactically feasible. The support operations officer, in coordination with the DAO, must plan for the forward movement of the ATP and coordinate for transportation assets. The FSB also coordinates with the artillery battalion S4 and DAO representative to preposition ammunition on request at designated firing positions.
Other supply considerations
Weapon systems replacements
Use of preplanned push packages
of essential items, such as water, fuel, medical supplies, ammunition,
and chemical defense equipment.
Obstacle-breaching and bridging
- Potential use of captured supplies, especially vehicles and fuel.
Increased use of MREs.
Use of controlled exchange
and cannibalization as a source of repair parts.
Availability of host nation
support, particularly procurement of class III packaged items,
building supplies, barrier materiel, and in some cases sundry
momentum also requires keeping in or returning to the current
battle as many weapon systems as possible. Therefore, emphasis
is on battle damage assessment and rapid return of equipment to
the brigade. As described in Chapter 8, the FSB maintenance company
sends MSTs forward to UMCPs to support this concept. The MSTs
must be task organized to ensure the right people go forward with
the necessary transportation, communications assets, tools, TMDE, repair parts, and components. Teams must include mechanics
who can make rapid and informed decisions on what can be repaired
on site, what to evacuate, what to cannibalize, and what to abandon
after being made useless to the enemy. The DISCOM may establish
timelines which suggest that equipment that cannot be repaired
on site within a certain period of time be evacuated or reported
and left for follow-up maintenance elements to repair. Each MST
will work closely with the supported battalion's BMO to make maximum
use of lulls in the battle to get as much equipment as possible
ready for when action resumes. In fast-paced actions, the maintenance
control officer, acting on requirements made known by the MSTs,
will arrange use of air transportation to bring repair parts forward
and evacuate damaged equipment.
attacks will likely result in high casualty rates. High casualty
rates and long evacuation lines will stress the medical resources
of the DISCOM and may require them to be augmented. Before the
onset of an attack, FSB medical company assets are placed as far
forward as combat operations permit. The medical company commander
must ensure treatment elements have a full basic load of supplies
before the attack begins. Once operations begin, the DMSO pushes
prepackaged sets of class VIII supplies to battalion aid stations
and the clearing station. Unit loads must be topped off. To keep
the medical company mobile, patient holding in the BSA is minimized.
Ground evacuation assets are positioned at battalion aid stations.
In fast-moving situations,
predetermined ambulance exchange/patient collection points are
identified along the axis of advance and evacuation routes. Such
points when collocated with a treatment team from the medical
company also provide units without organic medical support with
a patient disposition site when the situation is so fluid that
full area support is difficult.
In exceptional cases, increased
evacuation demands may require nonmedical transportation assets
to be used. If required, this intensifies the burden on the already
stressed transportation system.
Field Services. Due
to the mobility of offensive operations, some field services provided
by corps (such as laundry and clothing exchange and bath) may
be temporarily suspended. However, GRREG operations will intensify.
The FSB must ensure adequate GRREG supplies are available. The
other field service that assumes greater importance in the offense
is airdrop. It may be required to increase support mobility. Although
airdrop support comes from corps, if the FSB is the supported
unit, the FSB staff must plan request procedures, drop zone selection
and control, recovery of supplies, and evacuation of airdrop equipment.
The role of the FSB in the
defense is to support defensive battles while maintaining the
capability to shift to the offense with little notice (Figure 2-4). This requires the FSB CP to stay current with the battle.
Emphasis must be placed on locating FSB support points out of
reach of possible penetrations in protected and concealed locations
without sacrificing support. Elements must also be out of the
way of potential retrogrades. FSB units should be dispersed as
much as possible without impairing command and control or security.
Built-up areas will also be used as much as possible. ADA coverage
must be planned; emphasis will be on passive measures. The FSB
must also dig in as much as equipment and time allow. This includes
positions for personnel and equipment.
operations will be most intensive during the preparation stage.
The FSB will plan to preposition critical supplies (particularly
fuel, ammunition, and barrier materiel) far forward and in successive
defensive positions. As soon as the FSB knows a defense is planned,
it must begin required coordination to have obstacle materiel
throughput by corps assets as close to the emplacement sites as
possible. If available, FSB assets may help unload barrier materiel
at emplacement sites.
Throughout the defense, class
V expenditures are likely to be high. Therefore, the FSB must
position the ATP to maximize responsiveness. Requirements may
also be high for chemical filters, MOPP gear, and decontaminates.
In many defenses, however, consumption of fuel will be low relative
to rates during an offense.
implied in the discussion on supply, transportation is most critical
while preparing for a defense. Prepositioning supplies and shifting
personnel and equipment before the operation will tax the system.
The FSB's major role in this area is to coordinate transportation
requirements with the DISCOM MCO for support operations.
maintenance company's emphasis in the defense is to take all required
steps to maximize the number of weapon systems available at the
start of the operation. Once defensive operations begin, the principles
are the same as for the offense. However, in some defenses where
lines are not extended, forward support may be maximized by consolidating
all maintenance company assets, including the SSTs, in the base
shop and sending out small, highly mobile MSTs to perform quick,
on-site repairs or component exchanges.
casualty rates are likely to be lower than in an attack, patient
flow from forward areas will be
complicated by enemy activity. This activity may also inhibit
evacuation as well as increase casualties among medical personnel
and damage to evacuation assets. Medical company personnel must
be prepared to get to casualty sites faster and to minimize time
to perform emergency treatment and evacuation. Predetermined ambulance
exchange points should also be designated. The medical company
commander and FSB support operations section should have coordinated
with the medical operations center for increased use of air ambulances.
Field Services. If
laundry and CEB facilities are located in the BSA, the FSB staff
should ensure they do not interfere with tactical operations.
Support for a retrograde operation
is particularly complex. Communication with the brigade and tracking
of the tactical situation is especially important. Maneuver elements
at a given time may be defending, delaying, attacking, or withdrawing.
Thus, it is essential that FSB elements are echelon to continue
to provide support to the delaying force at an old defensive site
while establishing support to withdrawing elements moving rearward.
Any FSB personnel and equipment not essential to supporting forward
elements should be moved as soon as possible.
must ensure that supplies are delivered to projected sites along
the withdrawal route where requirements will exist. Only critical
supplies (classes III, V, and IX) will be moved forward to support
the delaying force. Also, only enough supplies will be moved forward
to meet requirements which cannot be met with supplies already
positioned in forward areas. Any supplies which are already forward
but not required by the delaying force should be moved back. The
same applies to transport assets. Guidance on civilian property
should be supplied by DISCOM headquarters.
operations will stress transportation resources. The MCO and provost
marshal will require the FSB support operations section to assist
in the critical tasks of controlling MSB transportation assets
in the brigade area and in ensuring road nets stay open. The FSB
must evacuate nonessential personnel and items early to avoid
congested roads later. In addition, it must ensure only essential
items are moved forward. Finally, the FSB support operations section
makes sure all transportation assets moving resources forward
assist in the evacuation effort.
planning emphasizes support forward while moving most of the maintenance
company rearward. Time for repairs is limited. Forward elements
should concentrate on exchange versus repair and maximize cannibalization.
Efficient recovery and evacuation is required. HET support should
be coordinated with the DISCOM. However, evacuation assets will
be scarce so forward repair is essential. Since command and control
will be difficult, MST leaders must take the lead to keep the
maintenance control officer aware of the team's location, resource
status, and class IX requirements.
evacuation is complicated by several factors. Evacuation routes
may be congested with withdrawing forces. Evacuation assets will
be required to move patients that would normally be treated in
the clearing station. Nonmedical transportation assets may not
be available to assist. Also, medical company assets should be
moved back by echelon as early as possible. This will then require
prompt patient sorting and evacuation. Locations of successive
treatment sites must be predetermined.
Field Services. Any
laundry and CEB units in the brigade area will also be moved to
the rear as soon as possible. Nonessential services may be temporarily
suspended. Facilities of suspended activities may be integrated
in deception plans.
A divisional brigade does
not normally conduct separate deep operations. However, as part
of deep operations conducted by the division, the heavy brigade
can direct battles against enemy battalions and regiments up to
15 kilometers forward of the FLOT. The brigade controls its maneuver
battalions and supporting attack helicopter units, sets priorities
of supporting artillery fires, and coordinates USAF close air
support operations. Its focus in the offense is interdiction of
regiments and battalion reserves. In the defense, the brigade
focuses on second echelon elements. Deep fires are sustained the
same as close operations. Sustainment of deep maneuver, however,
must be carefully planned. Deep maneuver is a high-speed, short-duration,
audacious operation. CSS will be austere. Early in the planning
phase, the FSB commander through the brigade S4 informs the brigade
commander of available logistics and medical assets, replenishment
prospects, and likely effect of support on the tactical operation
in terms of a risk analysis the brigade commander can understand.
There are two general methods for supporting a deep operation.
If there is no open, secure
line of communication, self-sustainment will be required. CSS
will be limited to what the brigade can carry with it or forage.
The brigade will carry as much class III and V as possible. To
carry more critical class III and V supplies, maneuver elements
will likely download nonessential supplies and equipment. They
will leave behind with the field trains all nonessential personnel
and major equipment (for example, food service teams, trucks,
kitchen trailers, S1 sections). If more downloading is required,
consideration should be given to leaving behind class I and II
items. These are relatively easy to resupply by road or air. They
also allow at least some leeway from the time the need is determined
to exist and when items must be delivered. Maintenance elements
for quick repairs and medical personnel and equipment to perform
emergency treatment may also accompany the brigade.
If the operation is limited
in distance and duration, the FSB's role may be to --
Help ensure the brigade is
fully loaded before the operation. This may include providing
refueling support as far forward as possible.
Coordinate for transportation
assets to move nonessential items which brigade elements do not
Prepare to displace as a single
entity to forward positions on the call of the brigade commander
with the approval of the DISCOM commander.
If even more mobility is required
or the operation is to be of very short duration, FSB assets may
be used to augment the battalion support platoons. The tankers
with drivers would be the most likely assets to augment the battalions
though their trafficability and survivability must be considered.
This method would be the quickest means of providing additional
capacity. However, keeping the FSB assets centralized provides
more flexibility to maximize support as priorities change.
In all cases, only essential
resources which will not inhibit the operations of the brigade
should accompany it. Planners must remember that the FSB's hauling
assets are limited and have little off-road capability. The FSB's
supply assets are designed to receive and issue or transload supplies,
not to move them over substantial distances. So, for instance,
it will profit the brigade little to bring MHE if the lack of
a secure LOC prohibits resupply during a brief operation. Also,
equipment that cannot be quickly repaired will probably have to
be abandoned after being made useless to the enemy.
If sustainment is to be provided
over a LOC, the essential elements of the FSB will likely accompany
the brigade. They will be required to receive and issue supplies,
assist in the effort to repair and recover/evacuate damaged equipment,
and provide additional patient acquisition, tread evacuation
Such an operation will likely
involve the brigade's participation in a division deep operation
over extended distances or time periods. In such cases, the brigade
should avoid downloading items; return trips to retrieve them
may be impossible, and division transportation assets are likely
to be unavailable to move maneuver unit nonessential items. To
support such operations the FSB itself will normally require additional
support from the MSB or other division or nondivisional elements.
This may include low-bed trailers or, when available, HETs to
move FSB MHE, additional 5,000-gallon tankers, trucks to move
ammunition, fuel pumps and hoses to permit use of captured materiel,
and commitments to provide on-call aerial resupply of designated
items. Additional corps tractor-trailers uploaded with ammunition
may travel with the class V section so that when the ATP arrives
at the new site ammunition is immediately available.
If a surface LOC is used,
much combat power will be tied up either to keep it continuously
open or to reopen it each time a convoy moves over it. Air LOCs
permit faster, more responsive support, but require air superiority
or at least parity. Support may involve either air-landing, airdrop,
or both. If air-landing is used, the FSB is likely to be involved
in establishing and securing landing zones. Engineers may also
be required to prepare landing zones. If enough planning time
is available, preplanned air-drop resupply missions should be
considered to enhance responsiveness. If planning time is limited,
immediate airdrop resupply requests may be used for urgent or
priority requirements. Planners should be aware that receipt of
airdrop deliveries in the BSA will require labor, MHE, security
teams, and transportation assets of the FSB and the supported
brigade. Evacuation of recovered airdrop equipment to the corps
for reuse is a critical consideration. Priority should be given
to the return of parachutes, followed by containers and platforms.
Recovery of the equipment in deep operations will be difficult.
Rear operations are conducted to secure the force ,neutralize or defeat enemy operations in the rear area and ensure freedom of action and deep operations. The goal is to provide BSA security to ensure operations in the rear are not impaired. If the BSA is not secure brigade elements conducting close and deep operations cannot be sustained. This important topic is covered in depth Chapter 5.
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