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FM 34-35: Armored Cavalry Regiment and Separate Brigade Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Operations



The ACR and the separate brigade offer self-contained and powerful, yet small, combat forces. Because of this as well as the global commitments of the United States, it is likely that either may be deployed throughout the world. This chapter describes some of the challenges encountered in varied typical environments.


The term "desert" includes varied environments. A desert is arid or semi-arid at low or high altitude. There is little or no vegetation, or there is a great deal of specialized plant life. Soil is sandy and soft or exceedingly rocky. In the desert, there is little water available, so water supply becomes critical. Operations in the desert are characterized by rapid movement of mechanized forces, good observation and fields of fire, and a relative lack of key terrain in the traditional sense.

All equipment in the desert suffers from the environment. Dust, sand, and high temperatures take their toll, especially on electronic and communications equipment. Cleanliness and frequent operator checks are mandatory if equipment is to be kept functional. It is important to keep POL pure and equipment free of dust.

Grounding electrical equipment also presents problems. Some units carry salt and extra water to soak ground rods, providing a better ground. In addition, the condition of the soil causes mobility problems. Soft sand and loose gravel, especially in wadis or washes, trap vehicles. Sharp rocks and thorns as large as nails puncture tires. Vehicles, operating at some distance from maintenance assets, must be capable of self-recovery. Crews must be trained in those techniques.

Radio communications are occasionally degraded due to thermal heating and dead spots. During daylight, heat, dryness, and soil mineral content can cause a significant degradation of radio communications. These same factors affect radio intercept. At night, communications and intercept are excellent. There is also more communications traffic, as CSS units and others take advantage of the cover of darkness to conduct their activities. Jamming is also more effective in the desert, where the terrain usually does not provide a masking effect.

Visual, GSR, and thermal imaging systems are used to their maximum range in the desert. All of these systems are degraded or rendered useless by strong dust storms. Visual systems are affected by mirages. Thermal systems perform exceptionally well at night when there are extreme differences between target and background temperatures.

As a result of the excellent visibility and radio communications, OPSEC assumes great importance in the desert. Deception operations are almost mandatory for overall success. Poor camouflage or light discipline comprises an entire operation.

Troops require even more care in the desert than equipment does. They must be acclimatized if they are to conduct sustained operations. Heat stroke is a constant danger, and the radical temperature changes from day to night lower resistance to disease. The leader must enforce troop hygiene and rest cycles, reinforce water intake, and monitor food intake carefully. Heat makes soldiers sluggish, irritable, and inattentive--all of which increase the chances of a critical mistake on the battlefield.

Situation development and target development in desert operations reflect the great distances involved and the high speed of movement. A commander's AI is expanded to provide adequate warning to the force. Since ground forces are able to move faster than on European terrain, decision points (DPs) for interdiction are placed farther back along AAs to allow FA, air, and maneuver systems sufficient time to react. While ground forces can move faster in the desert, there is no corresponding increase in the capabilities of SIGINT or other collectors found in the ACR or separate brigade. Therefore, the S2 relies more on corps and airborne systems to cover NAIs at long range. The S3 also uses airborne jammers to cover TAIs at similar ranges.

EW in the desert may rely extensively on the QUICKFIX, even though ground-based jammers have their capabilities enhanced. This is because of the possible lack of road networks in the desert. Concealment of QUICKFIX is difficult because of the excellent visibility and the lack of masking terrain. Rotor wash raises clouds of dust which are seen for miles. This is reduced by using hard landing sites and minimizing low-level hovering. QUICKFIX also is degraded by the heat, which lowers the lift capability of the aircraft. When using QUICKFIX, consider the capabilities for visual observation from the platform. Crews should report sightings of enemy units as a matter of course.

Because land navigation is difficult in the desert, the quality of ESM may suffer. Troops must be well trained in determining their location without convenient landmark. Improperly determining a DF station's positions will degrade the quality of LOBs, cuts, and fixes. One possible solution is close coordination with FA survey parties. Additional information on desert warfare is in FM 90-3.


Defending forces enjoy advantages in mountainous terrain. Progress through the terrain is slow. Other characteristics of mountain warfare are--

  • Increased canalization along a few lines of communication (LOCs).
  • Increased importance of indirect fire.
  • Reduced ranges for direct fire weapons.
  • Increased collection operations from heights above LOCs.

Because of these considerations, the ACR and heavy separate brigade are not suited to mountain warfare, unless augmented by light infantry or air assault forces.

Airborne equipment is degraded by the lack of lift at high altitude and the presence of fog, high winds, and ice. Radio LOS is hampered by the rugged terrain. Since there are only two lightweight portable collection systems in the ACR and three in the separate brigade, there are large areas where there can be no SIGINT collection. The best source of combat information from high ground is HUMINT--the scout. The scout's observations are supplemented by foot patrols.

Situation development and target development in the mountains are difficult because of the difficulty in observing NAIs and TAIs. It is relatively easy to conceal itself from observation and direct fire. Therefore, terrain analysis and templating must be considered carefully. Analysts must be familiar with enemy tactics in the mountains, which are somewhat different from those normally employed. The ACR must make good use of air cavalry to detect targets and call for and adjust fire. Having no similar aviation assets, the separate brigade uses its organic ground troops to perform the same functions.

EW operations are degraded in mountainous terrain. Enemy communications sites use terrain masking and relay systems to thwart both DF and ECM activities. ESM and ECM systems are best employed above the valleys, concentrating on the valley floors for any enemy approaches. This, of course, raises the issue of mobility and getting the equipment into position.

Ground-based signals intercept and DF systems frequently are placed into DS of the squadrons and battalion because of the dispersion of the friendly forces. The company commander must emphasize getting equipment to operating locations in time to influence the battle. One nonstandard use of ECM equipment is as high-powered communications systems. The extra power of the TLQ-17A and MLQ-34, as compared to standard radios, allows them to overcome some of the problems of terrain. Additional information on mountain warfare is in FM 90-6.


Jungle terrain varies from tropical rain forests and triple canopy to swamps and tropical savannas. They are characterized by high rainfall, humidity, and thick vegetation. Because of the potential lack of road networks and the large areas which are impassable to vehicles, the ACR and the separate brigade may find jungle operations difficult. Light infantry and air assault forces are suited to jungle operations, and the ACR or separate brigade will usually augment these types of forces.

High incidences of rust, corrosion, and fungal infestation are caused by the high humidity and moisture. This forces strict daily maintenance on equipment, especially electronic systems.

Because of the density of jungles, IEW operations are decentralized, with assets usually operating in DS of squadrons or battalions. As in other areas of reduced trafficability, lightweight portable and airborne system prove more versatile than ground-based systems.

Situation development and target development focus on two different items: the relatively small AAs for foot movement, such as trails and stream; and suitable LZs and DZs on the battlefield, where air assault forces could be employed. Interdiction of TAIs are primarily by indirect fire, CAS, and heliborne forces, as ground maneuver is often too slow to influence activity. ECM also is employed, but effective ranges of systems are reduced because of the foliage. As in other specialized environments, enemy tactics differ from the norm. Analysts must be familiar with these specialized tactics.

The jungle climate reduces the effective range of radio communications. This applies to radio intercept jamming as well as communications. Ground-based intercept and jamming equipment are concentrated where the enemy's main effort is expected to occur. Establishing an effective baseline for DF operations is not possible due to terrain and vegetation. Airborne systems conduct the majority of DF operations, while the ground-based systems collect combat information for use by the squadron or battalion commander. Additional information on jungle warfare is in FM 90-5.


It is more likely that the ACR and the separate brigade will be employed in urban terrain than in any other specialized environment. The ACR, though, is less suited to such combat than the separate brigade. As in most specialized operations, the key to success in urban terrain is dismounted infantry, which is lacking in the ACR. Tanks, antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), and infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) are at a relative disadvantage in the city because of the close range of fighting and the need to engage targets well above and below ground level.

Situation development and target development in urban warfare is more complex than in other situations. Planners must consider sewer and subway plans, fields of fire from buildings and rooftops, helicopter LZs on buildings, and other factors. AAs are generally unrestricted leading into the built-up area but then become exceedingly restricted. In the urban area, alleys, sewers, and connecting passages between buildings become planning considerations. Targeting enemy forces in basements or large buildings becomes complicated. Indiscriminate use of CAS or indirect fire creates large amounts of rubble which serves to provide more places for the enemy to hide. These and other considerations are addressed in FM 34-130.

Urban terrain limits EW support. All forms of intercept are degraded by the densely packed buildings. Power lines will limit ESM ranges and cause false L0Bs. This includes radar, AM, and FM. Intercept is improved by placing lightweight portable systems in tall buildings. Due to their limitations, other ground-based systems are best used on the outskirts of the area where they are used against approaching forces. This means that they may have to be deployed well to the flanks of the urban area.

Airborne jammers are useful in disrupting communications into or out of the city, as will ground-based jammers if they are placed between the enemy in the city and higher headquarters. Other than this, the utility of ECM is very limited.

MDCI operations in urban areas are extremely important. MDCI is a primary means of force protection. It ensures that the commander knows what threats are in the area, including terrorist, UW, and others. Augmentation from the MI brigade at corps is essential to accomplish this important mission. Additional information on urban warfare is in FM 90-10.


On the modern battlefield, commanders at all levels must consider the possibility of being in an NBC environment. Studies of operations in NBC environments have revealed that C2 suffered in an NBC environment due to several factors.

Chief among these factors was leader exhaustion. Leaders are more active in early phases of an NBC environment. They ensure that soldiers are in correct mission-oriented protection posture (MOPP). They attend to additional tasks, such as monitoring chemical detection equipment, and so on. As a result, leader effectiveness deteriorates quickly.

Communications are significantly degraded in an NBC environment. The number of transmissions may double because of the disorientation of leaders and battlefield uncertainty. The length of transmissions also increases because of difficulty in communicating while wearing protective gear.

As soldiers tire, their effectiveness drops off, degrading camouflage, maintenance, and routine job performance.

There are three principles of NBC defense which will enhance survivability: contamination avoidance, protection, and decontamination.


Contamination avoidance is the best way to minimize the effects of NBC weapons. Passive measures, such as use of NBC monitoring and detection equipment and vulnerability analysis to avoid becoming a target, are the first important steps in contamination avoidance. Operations are planned away from areas of contamination when mission requirements permit.


When units must operate in a contaminated area, protection is necessary. As outlined above, unit performance will suffer due to heat stress, dehydration, loss of manual dexterity, and so forth. Logistical requirements for exchange of overgarments and filters increase, as does the need for water. Studies indicate that each soldier requires about 13 quarts of drinking water per day to prevent dehydration in an extended NBC environment. Other studies show that after 72 hours in an NBC environment, approximately 20 percent of the soldiers are clinically dehydrated.


Once exposed to an NBC agent, decontamination becomes necessary. Complete decontamination is impossible, due to the absorption of agents into materials. Battlefield decontamination is very time consuming, and most decontamination is the responsibility of the contaminated unit. Vehicle decontamination and clothing exchange are set up under the supervision of NBC defense units. Decontamination is discussed in FM 3-5. The use of nuclear weapons adds another dimension to IEW operations. Aside from the destruction caused by blast and radiation and the creation of contaminated areas, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), transient radiation effects on electronics (TREE), and blackout create very real hazards to MI units even when far from the actual explosion.

EWP is a very sharp pulse of radio-frequency energy caused primarily by air bursts. The intense electric and magnetic fields produced can fuse microcircuits and damage unprotected electronic and electrical equipment over a large area.

TREE is a temporary phenomena where EMP is permanent. It is caused by gamma radiation given off by a nuclear blast.

Blackout is a temporary loss of communications caused by disturbances in the atmosphere. It dissipates when the disturbances cease.

EMP and TREE mitigation techniques are critical to an MI unit. The loss of collectors and jammers to EMP removes the MI unit from combat as effectively as the loss of its personnel. During times of increased probability of use of nuclear weapons, redundant systems are shut down, including collectors, jammers, radios, and automation equipment. All antennas should be removed; power lines disconnected; and the systems, where possible, should be placed in an enclosed shelter.

Systems such as the AN/TRQ-32, which have their own shelters, should have the doors and ventilation panels closed. Proper . grounding techniques should be used. To mitigate TREE, duplicate data bases should be maintained for automation equipment, and equipment not in use should be shielded. During blackout, wire or messengers must be used.

The common requirement for success in an NBC environment is training. Soldiers and leaders must practice working in MOPP; they must adjust to reduced visibility, dexterity, and ability to communicate caused by overgarments. Physical fitness and endurance are important, as is intimate knowledge of mission and NBC defense equipment. Leaders must train replacements, delegate authority, and be mentally and physically prepared for the rigors of an NBC environment.

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