FM 90-2: Battlefield Deception
Employment Of Decoys
A decoy is used to draw the enemy's attention away from a more important area. Generally, a decoy is an imitation of something on the battlefield. Decoys may be specially manufactured items or constructed locally (using salvage). Unserviceable or combat loss items may also be used as decoys.
The primary purpose of a decoy is to provide something, for the enemy's intelligence system to find. For example, enemy HUMINT might locate a two-dimensional display. If the enemy decides to use IMINT for confirmation, all he will see in his photos are lines. However, the enemy was forced to use some of his intelligence assets on the deception, rather than on the true operation. If a decoy momentarily draws enemy attention from a real installation, it has served its purpose.
Decoys can be used for these additional purposes:
- As a survivability measure to draw enemy fire.
- To deceive the enemy about the number of friendly weapons, troops, or equipment.
- To replace withdrawn equipment.
- To add realism to a deception story.
- To confuse the enemy on the of key terrain and reference points.
A decoy simulating a permanent or semipermanent installation, such as an airfield, should have approximately the same relationship to nearby landmarks as the target itself. This is necessary to deceive the enemy, since he will use landmarks as reference points (terrain points).
Visual deception requires realistic progression. The deception activity must present personnel and vehicular movement. By comparing photographs taken at different times, the enemy can detect a lack of movement. Logical activity can be accomplished by movement of decoys and by operation of equipment. If possible, real troops should be used to provide evidence of occupancy. The activities must continue day and night and during periods of bad weather.
Various tracks may be simulated as follows:
- Desired foot tracks should be made by actual foot traffic. In a presumably occupied position, tracks must be continually increased in wear and width.
- The best way to provide wheeled vehicle tracks is to run several vehicles through the area. This will create the illusion of movement.
- Chains or logs may be dragged to create a greater scarring of the ground.
- Tracked vehicle tracks are very difficult to duplicate accurately without using real equipment. Actual tracked vehicles should be used.
Since every unit has its own signature, decoy installations must be constructed in accordance with the friendly unit's SOP. To be effective, the decoy installation must include features normally associated with the real installation. Following are some considerations:
- Spoil often indicates dug-in positions. If the unit normally practices good camouflage discipline and disposes of its spoil, the same practice must be followed with the simulated units. On the other hand, if camouflage and spoil discipline are poor, spoil must appear around the decoy position.
- Latrines are present at virtually every occupied site. They are usually disclosed by tracks that converge and become more marked as time passes.
- Concertina wire is a feature of almost all infantry combat positions. The presence of wire may be revealed by the tracks and trampling made by the wiring party. Gaps in the wire are often disclosed because of tracks which converge and diverge at the gaps.
- Buried cable is often associated with important headquarters. It may also be associated with radar installations. Buried cable appears as a track, straight with angular turns, and light in tone.
- Shelters, such as dugouts, appear as dark spots in a lighter area of man-made tracks and trampling. Spoil is also present. Airing blankets, laundry, and so forth may also be visible. Tenting or shacks are easily improvised and may be used as decoy shelters.
- Thermal. All vehicle decoys have the ability to produce a thermal effect.
- Electronic deception (see FM 90-2A).
A decoy installation should be constructed so that its disclosure appears to be the result of poor camouflage. This may be done by-
- Leaving parts of the decoy exposed.
- Leaving exposed tracks.
- Incompletely concealing the shadows of decoys.
- The improper use of surface texture and color.
When employing visual deception, all or part of a real or false military object may be camouflaged to project the desired effect. Camouflage may be done poorly (intentionally) so that the enemy will observe what we want him to observe, or a friendly unit may be completely concealed to avoid detection.
In any type or size of deception, it is important that projection of visual evidence be consistent. If a unit is being concealed by camouflage, all elements must be concealed totally.
Camouflage is essential; however, when it is impossible to conceal from the air the fact that a CP is in a certain area, a decoy CP should be erected in the vicinity. In this instance it is obvious that the decoy must look more like the real thing than its genuine counterpart. After all, we are hiding the real and portraying the false. Certain characteristic signs of occupancy should be made at the decoy. This includes-
- Cross-country tracks simulating those made by a wire-laying detail.
- Antenna arrays to simulate communications facilities.
- SED devices to provide an electromagnetic signature.
- Smoke and occasional lights.
- A few poorly camouflaged tents.
- New vehicle tracks and activity from day to day.
- Other signs of activity.
- Converging wire lines and vehicle tracks. Also various types of antenna arrays for communications.
- Concentration of vehicles.
- Heavy traffic causing widened turn-ins.
- New vehicle tracks to a position which could house a CP.
- Protective wire, foxholes, and other barriers surrounding the installation.
- Defensive weapons emplacements around the installation.
The enemy can detect either electronically or visually a pattern or location where aircraft continually fly over land or disappear from sight. Indiscriminate helicopter flights which can be visually, optically, and electronically detected call attention to the assembly areas, forward area rearm and refuel points, or brigade trains. Therefore, helicopter assembly areas must either be out of the enemy's radar detection range or have concealed routes into and out of the area. Entry and exit routes should be planned in as many areas as possible and used in a manner which avoids establishing a pattern. An assembly area should provide terrain masking to break the enemy radar line of sight. A thorough map analysis, coupled with the latest intelligence reports of enemy radar activity, helps determine radar-free areas.
Logistic and ammunition storage facilities are difficult to conceal. The size of these facilities and the vehicular movement into and out of the area attract the enemy's attention. The commander should consider requiring vehicles to move randomly (not in convoy) or only during periods of reduced visibility. The commander might consider using civilian trucks, converted buses, and civilian cars to carry supplies in rear areas.
Trains, houses, factories, buildings, subways, tunnels, caves, or buses should be used for physical storage of supplies and ammunition. These can also be used for maintenance, transportation, and medical operations. If practical, installations that have been partially destroyed by the enemy can be used or repaired to serve as a supply installation. The fact that the enemy considers the facility destroyed may serve to increase the realism of added camouflage.
Containers or packages can be disguised. This includes making packages look as though they contained civilian, not military, supplies. To conceal the supply activities in the combat area, supply personnel could be sent with the assault forces at the beginning of the operation. They could locate suitable logistic areas and camouflage them before supplies are brought forward.
Notional ammunition and supply dumps can be employed in a deception. Heavy concentrations of ammunition and supplies should be concealed. When the physical characteristics and size of the logistic activities make concealment impractical, construction of decoy facilities in the same general area should be considered.
Deception supply routes should be used. In the past, friendly installations and disposition of forces have been dictated by road network availability. Careful consideration should be given to using secondary or noncentrally located road networks for logistic functions. The main supply route can be used as part of the deception plan. The forward area road networks can be made deceptive by using civilian personnel and animals whenever time and the situation permit. Another means of concealing supply movement is to use civilian vehicles over several secondary roads, selecting the routes at random.
A decoy supply point or log base should be near enough to appear to be realistic. However, it should be far enough away to allow for possible errors in marksmanship of any attacker.
Prominent landmarks must be noted and the decoy located as the real installation would be. (See Figure D-1 for the positioning of decoy supply points.) The decoy must appear to have a road net pattern the same as the real installation. In addition, personnel must be detailed to the decoy site to maintain the appearance of activity. If at all possible, route and control all traffic through the decoy area to the real supply point. If successful deception is essential, this measure will greatly enhance the decoy's chance of success. For a night deception, certain types of night lighting, such as light shown through a tent opening and a decoy fire, are very effective.
COMMON FAULTS AND DEFECTS
The following are some general defects that often cause a decoy to fail:
- Regularity or irregularity of tracks.
- Lack of litter associated with military occupation.
- Flatness or no stereoscopic relief.
- Failure to faithfully simulate a particular type of installation.
- Absence of motor transportation and lack of movement.
- No daily change in appearance.
- Incorrect tactical positioning.
- Unreasonable speed in buildup or removal.
- Lack of real air defenses.
- Failure to simulate all necessary components of a particular installation.
Figure D-1. Positioning decoy supply points.
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