The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

Chapter 14
NBC and Smoke Support

CONTENTS

PREPAREDNESS
Multiple Options
Targeting
Influence on Correlation of Forces
CHEMICAL
Weapons and Agents
Offensive Chemical Employment
Defensive Chemical Employment
NBC PROTECTION
Organization
Equipment
SMOKE
Organization
Agents
Delivery Systems
Types of Smokescreens
Smokescreen Employment
Signaling Smoke
NUCLEAR
Dispersal and Rapid Concentration
Transition to Nuclear
Weapons
Planning
Types of Strikes
Offensive Nuclear Employment
Defensive Nuclear Employment
BIOLOGICAL

The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons can dramatically alter the nature of conflicts.1 The use of NBC weapons can have an enormous impact on all battlefield operations. Not only does the sheer killing and destructive power of these weapons affect the battlefield, but the strategic, operational, psychological, environmental, economic, and political consequences of their use affect campaign designs.

The OPFOR would prefer to avoid the use of nuclear weapons. Both nuclear and biological weapons characteristically have lethal effects over much larger areas than do chemical weapons. The effects of biological weapons can be difficult to localize and to employ in operations without affecting friendly forces; the effects on the enemy can be difficult to predict. Unlike nuclear or biological weapons, chemical agents can be used to affect limited areas of the battlefield. The consequences of chemical weapons use are more predictable and thus more readily integrated into operations plans.

Because chemical employment is more likely than nuclear or biological, this chapter begins by focusing on OPFOR chemical capabilities. This includes the offensive and defensive use of chemical weapons, NBC (primarily chemical) protection, and employment of smoke. Because the OPFOR may also have some nuclear and biological capabilities, these also deserve mention, regardless of the low probability of their employment.

PREPAREDNESS

Due to the proliferation of NBC weapons, the OPFOR must anticipate their use, particularly the employment of chemical weapons. OPFOR planners believe that the best solution is to locate and destroy enemy NBC weapons and their supporting infrastructure before the enemy can use them against OPFOR troops or the State. In case this fails and it is necessary to continue combat operations despite the presence of contaminants, the OPFOR has developed and fielded a wide range of NBC detection and warning devices, individual and collective protection equipment, and decontamination equipment.

Multiple Options

In response to foreign developments, the OPFOR maintains a capability to conduct nuclear, chemical, and possibly biological warfare. Force modernization has introduced a degree of flexibility previously unavailable to combined arms commanders. It creates multiple options for the employment of forces at strategic, operational, and tactical levels with or without the use of NBC weapons. Many of the same delivery means available for NBC weapons can also be used to deliver precision weapons that can often achieve desired effects without the stigma associated with NBC weapons.

The OPFOR might use NBC weapons either to deter aggression or as a response to an enemy attack on the State. It has short-, medium-, and intermediate-range SSMs capable of carrying nuclear, chemical, or biological warheads. Most OPFOR artillery is capable of delivering chemical munitions, and most systems 152-mm and larger are capable of firing nuclear rounds. Additionally, the OPFOR could use aircraft systems and cruise missiles to deliver an NBC strike.

Targeting

The OPFOR considers the following targets to be suitable for the employment of NBC weapons:

  • NBC delivery means.
  • Precision weapons.
  • Prepared defensive positions.
  • Reserves and troop concentrations.
  • Command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence (C4I) centers.
  • Key air defense sites.
  • Logistics installations, especially port facilities.

Enemy NBC delivery means (air, artillery, missiles, and rockets) normally receive the highest priority. The suitability of other targets depends on the OPFOR's missions, the current military and political situation, and the NBC weapons available for use.2

Influence on Correlation of Forces

In past wars, the correlation of forces (COF) in a particular sector could be changed only by a slow process of providing more men and equipment. NBC weapons can bring a sudden change of great magnitude to the balance. Their use can change the COF on any axis of advance and to the entire depth of the enemy's dispositions. This constitutes both a threat and an opportunity to the commander and strongly reinforces the policy of preempting enemy use of nuclear or chemical weapons.

CHEMICAL

The OPFOR is equipped, structured, and trained to conduct both offensive and defensive chemical warfare. Much training revolves around the use of lethal agents. Besides offensive chemical capability, the OPFOR has a large inventory of chemical protection and decontamination equipment.

Weapons and Agents

The OPFOR has a variety of systems capable of delivering chemical agents, including aircraft, multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), artillery, mines, rockets, and missiles. The OPFOR classifies chemical agents according to the effect they have on persons. It identifies six major types: nerve, blood, blister, choking, incapacitant, and irritant.

Nerve agents are fast-acting chemical agents. Practically odorless and colorless, they attack the body's nervous system causing convulsions and eventually death. The OPFOR classifies nerve agents as either G- or V-agents. The V-agents are quicker-acting and more persistent than the G-agents. Blood agents cause death by blocking the oxygen transferal mechanisms in the body. Blister agents can kill or disable through skin contact or inhalation. Mustard gas is a common blister agent. Skin or eye contact can cause painful blisters. Inhalation can cause severe and often fatal lung damage. Choking agents, such as phosgene and diphosgene, block respiration by damaging the breathing mechanism, which can be fatal. Poisoning from choking or blood agents comes through inhalation, since both types of agents are nonpersistent. Incapacitants (psychochemical agents) disrupt a victim's mental and physical capabilities. Irritants, also known as riot-control agents, cause a strong burning sensation in the eyes, mouth, skin, and respiratory tract.

Chemical agents are also categorized as persistent or nonpersistent. Persistent agents, such as V-agents, some G-agents, and the blister agent mustard, can retain their disabling or lethal characteristics, depending on environmental conditions, for days, weeks, and in some cases, years. Nonpersistent agents generally last a shorter period of time, depending on weather conditions. The OPFOR would likely use nonpersistent agents across the front of an attack before a combat engagement. It would use persistent agents deep within the enemy's rear and along troop flanks to protect advancing units.

Offensive Chemical Employment

In the offense, likely chemical targets include--

  • Troops occupying defensive positions across the front of an attack, using nonpersistent agents delivered by MRLs to neutralize these troops.
  • NBC delivery systems, troop concentration areas, headquarters, and artillery positions, using all types of chemical agents delivered by field guns, MRLs, missiles, and aircraft.
  • Bypassed pockets of resistance that pose a threat to the flanks or rear of attacking forces.

The OPFOR perceives that chemical weapons have a unique role; their use does not depend on initiation of nuclear warfare. It is possible that the OPFOR would use chemical weapons early in an operation or from its outset, principally against enemy positions in the forward battle area.

Simultaneously with strikes across the front, the OPFOR could use chemical strikes throughout the depth for enemy defenses. These chemical strikes combine with other forms of conventional attack to neutralize enemy nuclear capability, command and control, and aviation. Subsequent chemical attacks may target logistics facilities.

The basic principle of chemical warfare is to achieve surprise. The OPFOR may use massive quantities of chemical agents against unprotected troops or equipment. It may also use agents to restrict the use of terrain. For example, contamination of key points along rear area lines of communication can seriously disrupt rear area resupply and reinforcement, while simultaneously keeping those points intact for subsequent use by the attacking OPFOR.

Initially, the use of chemical weapons is subject to the same level of decision as nuclear weapons. Commanders can employ them more freely once the Supreme High Command has released initial authority for their employment. In a nuclear war, the OPFOR can employ chemical weapons to complement nuclear weapons.

Defensive Chemical Employment

Used in the defense, persistent chemical agents can deny the enemy certain terrain and canalize attacking forces. The use of chemical agents impedes an attacking force, destroying the momentum of the attack by causing attacking troops to adopt protective measures.

NBC PROTECTION

The OPFOR's ability to protect itself against NBC weapons and to operate in contaminated environments is at least the equal of U.S. forces. OPFOR planners readily admit that casualties would be considerable in any future war involving the use of NBC weapons. However, they believe that the timely use of active and passive measures can significantly reduce a combat unit's vulnerability. These measures include but are not limited to protective equipment, correct employment of reconnaissance assets, and expeditious decontamination procedures.

The OPFOR believes the best way to protect against NBC weapons is to destroy delivery systems, which are always a high-priority targets. Other operational-tactical responses to the threat include--

  • Dispersion. (Concentrations must last for as short a time as possible.)
  • Speed of advance. (If the advance generates enough momentum, this can make enemy targeting difficult and keep enemy systems on the move.)
  • Concealment. (Camouflage and deception complicate enemy targeting.)
  • Continuous contact. (The enemy cannot attack with NBC weapons as long as there is intermingling of friendly and enemy forces.)

Organization

The OPFOR conducts rigorous training for a chemical defense. All troops have protective clothing, and all combat and many noncombat vehicles have excellent overpressure and filtration systems.

Chemical defense units are organic to all maneuver units brigade and above and are responsible for nuclear and biological as well as chemical protection and reconnaissance measures. Army groups have a chemical defense brigade3; armies or corps have a battalion; divisions have a battalion; separate brigades have a company; and divisional brigades have a platoon. There is a chemical staff at each level.

The OPFOR uses helicopters for NBC reconnaissance. Some chemical defense reinforcement from operational level would go to main-axis divisions. Army group, army, and corps units must deal with the threat to rear areas and provide chemical defense reserves. In addition, artillery and SAM regiments and brigades have chemical defense platoons. Medical and SSM units have some decontamination equipment. Engineer troops also are important, performing functions such as road decontamination, building of bypasses, and purifying water supplies. Of course, all arms have a responsibility for chemical reconnaissance and at least partial decontamination without specialist support.

Equipment

The OPFOR is at least the equal of any force in the world in its NBC protection capability. Chemical troops can accomplish a number of tasks in support of combat troops. They have a wide variety of dependable equipment that, for the most part, is in good supply. Individual items of equipment are adequate to protect from contamination for hours, days, or longer, depending on the nature and concentration of the contaminant. Antidotes provide protection from the effects of agents. Agent detector kits and automatic alarms are available in adequate quantities and are capable of detecting all standard agents. Decontamination equipment is also widely available.

SMOKE

The OPFOR employs smoke extensively on the battlefield whenever the situation permits. The OPFOR distinction between toxic and neutral smokes in its doctrinal literature drives planning on when to mask. The OPFOR intends to force the enemy to use chemical protection systems, thus lowering his effectiveness.

Organization

An army group typically has a smoke battalion, either as part of its chemical defense brigade or as a separate battalion. In either case, the smoke battalion has three smoke companies, each equipped with nine smoke-generating trucks. A typical army also has a smoke battalion; it can also have a smoke company as part of its chemical defense battalion.

Agents

The OPFOR may use a number of different smoke agents together. For instance, chloride obscurants are particularly effective liquid obscurants. Liquid chloride obscurants consist primarily of titanium, silicon, or tin tetrachlorides. Obscurants such as fog oil block portions of the electromagnetic spectrum more fully when seeded with chaff. The vast quantities of white phosphorus (WP) on the battlefield also suggest that random mixtures of this agent will combine with other obscurants, both manmade and natural.

The OPFOR recognizes the need to counter target acquisition and guidance systems operating in the IR and microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It has fielded obscurants, including chaff, capable of attenuating such wavelengths.

Delivery Systems

The OPFOR has ample equipment for the use of smoke. Its munitions and equipment include--

  • Smoke grenades.
  • Smoke barrels, drums, and pots.
  • Large area smoke generators (ground and air).
  • Mortar, artillery, and rocket smoke rounds.
  • Spray tanks (ground and air).

Smoke delivery systems are plentiful. Smoke-filled artillery projectiles, smoke bombs, spray tanks, and generator systems are also common. Artillery can fire WP rounds (which have a moderate degrading effect on thermal imagers and a major one on lasers). The OPFOR still uses smoke bombs or pots dropped by fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft. The OPFOR makes considerable use of smoke pots, which are largely neglected by most countries.

All armored fighting vehicles can generate smoke through their exhaust systems. A platoon can produce a screen that covers a battalion frontage for 4 to 6 minutes. In addition, forward-firing smoke grenade dispensers can produce a bispectral screen up to 300 meters ahead of vehicles.

Types of Smokescreens

The OPFOR recognizes three types of smokescreens: blinding, camouflage, and decoy. Classification of each type as frontal, oblique, or flank depends on the screen's placement. Smokescreens are either stationary or mobile depending on prevailing winds and the dispensing means used. Each basic type can serve a different tactical purpose. However, simultaneous use of all types is possible.

Blinding

Blinding smokescreens can mask friendly forces from enemy gunners, observation posts, and target-acquisition systems. They can restrict the enemy's ability to engage the OPFOR effectively. The OPFOR probably prefers these smokes for use against enemy positions. Delivery of WP and plasticized white phosphorus (PWP) is possible using MRLs, artillery, mortars, fixed-wing aircraft, or helicopters. The OPFOR lays blinding smoke directly in front of enemy positions, particularly those of antitank weapons and observation posts. Blinding smoke can reduce a soldier's ability to acquire targets by a factor of 10, and its use can reduce casualties significantly.

Blinding smokescreens are part of the artillery preparation for an attack and the fires in support of the attack. Likely targets are enemy defensive positions, rear assembly areas, counterattacking forces, fire support positions, and subsequent mission lines. The screening properties of a blinding smoke-screen can couple with dust, high explosive (HE) combustion effects, and the incendiary effects of phosphorus. This can create an environment in which fear and confusion add to the measured effectiveness of the smoke.

Camouflage

The OPFOR uses camouflage smoke to cover maneuver, to conceal the location of units, and to hide the nature and direction of an attack. The camouflage smokescreen is useful on or to the front of friendly troops.

These screens are normally effective up to the point where forces deploy into battle formation. The number, size, and location of camouflage smokescreens vary depending on terrain, weather, and tactics. Camouflage also forces attack helicopters to fly above or around a screen, thus exposing themselves to attack. Camouflage smoke can also cover concentration and assembly areas, approaches of attacking forces from the depth, or withdrawals.

Establishing camouflage smokescreens normally requires use of a combination of smoke grenades, smoke barrels, smoke pots, vehicles mounting smoke generating devices, and aircraft. Some decontamination vehicles also have the capability to generate smoke.

Two vehicles can lay a smokescreen long enough in distance to cover a battalion advancing to the attack. For larger smokescreens, the OPFOR divides the line into segments and assigns two vehicles to each segment. Doctrinally, camouflage smokescreens should cover an area at least five times the width of the attacking unit's frontage.

The threat of enemy helicopter-mounted ATGM systems concerns the OPFOR. Consequently, its doctrine calls for advancing forces to move as close behind the smokescreen as possible. The higher the smokescreen, and the higher an enemy helicopter must go to observe troop movement behind the smokescreen, the more vulnerable it is to ground-based air defense weapons. There is considerable observation-free maneuver space behind a screen of this height. Conversely, smoke pots provide a screen 5 to 10 m high. This screen masks against ground observation but leaves the force vulnerable to helicopters "hugging the deck" and popping up to shoot.

Smokescreens can also degrade night-vision sights. The protective effect is greater with a darker smoke cloud because of the better absorption capability of that cloud. The purpose of protective smoke is to shield electro-optical devices from potentially harmful laser radiation. The protective smokescreen is useful in front of, around, or above friendly positions.

The protection camouflage smoke produces interacts as a protective smoke. Protective smokescreens are a good means of reducing the effects of thermal radiation from nuclear explosions.

Decoy

A decoy screen can deceive an enemy about the location of friendly forces and the probable direction of attack. The site and location of decoy screens depend on the type of combat action, time available, terrain, and weather conditions. For example, one use of decoy screens is a river crossing in which several possible crossing sites simultaneously receive screening.

Smokescreen Employment

The OPFOR follows general guidelines in its use of smoke. Artillery, mortar, and aircraft are the primary means of smoke dissemination. Artillery and aircraft are useful in spreading screening smoke throughout the tactical depth of the enemy's defense. They are also useful in screening the flanks of attacking units. The OPFOR can place smoke on enemy firing positions and observation posts before and during an attack. (See Figure 14-1.)

 
System

On
Friendly

Placement
Between

On
Enemy

Uses

Blinding

Camouflage

Decoy

Signal

Smoke
Grenade

X

X

 

X

X

X

X

Smoke
Generator

X

X

   

X

X

 

Smoke Pot

X

X

   

X

X

X

VEESS

X

     

X

X

 

Vehicle
Dust

X

     

X

X

 

Helicopter

X

X

X

 

X

   

Mortar/
Artillery
Smoke

 

X

X

X

X

 

X

Rocket

 

X

X

X

     

Aerial
Bomb

 

X

X

X

     

Aircraft
Spray

X

X

X

X

X

   

Mortar/
Artillery
HE Dust

 

X

X

X

     

Figure 14-1. Smoke system characteristics.

The OPFOR may place 2 to 3 hours' worth of screening smoke along a wide frontage to cover units conducting water obstacle crossing operations; it may locate these screens on both sides of the river. It may also place floating pots and barrels in the river.

To deceive the enemy, the OPFOR may use decoy screens at one or more likely crossing sites. If the enemy fires into the decoy screen, black smoke devices and fires ignite to simulate burning vehicles or equipment. Other disinformation might include speakers that simulate the sound of tanks operating.

As the situation dictates, the OPFOR may screen other important locations and possible targets, including--

  • Troop concentrations.
  • Bridges.
  • Railroad junctions.
  • Unloading areas.
  • Nuclear storage sites and nuclear delivery systems under imminent air attack.

The OPFOR may also screen avenues of approach to such locations. It tries to eliminate reference points that could aid enemy aviation in targeting a screened location.

Camouflage, blinding, and decoy smokescreens are useful in concealing the direction and time of attack. They also help minimize losses. Screens set down on a broad frontage can also cover maneuver forces. Reliable communications and continuous coordination between units using smoke and the forward air warning and air defense posts are essential. The OPFOR also uses smoke--

  • To mark targets for friendly aircraft.
  • To screen logistics routes and activities within the range of enemy fire and observation, possibly including the evacuation of casualties or the evacuation and repair of tanks.
  • To cover the movements of guns into firing positions and from position to position.
  • To screen engineer units when they clear minefields.
  • To mark passages through engineer barriers.
  • To screen flamethrower operators or subunits as they approach their targets.

Signaling Smoke

Aside from smokescreens, the OPFOR also uses smoke for signal purposes. Smoke can mark enemy positions or, occasionally, friendly avenues of approach for close air support and helicopter or artillery assets. By prearrangement, colored smoke may--

  • Identify friendly units.
  • Control the laying and lifting of artillery, mortar, and small-arms fire.
  • Identify targets.
  • Coordinate fire and maneuver of combat arms units engaged in local assault operations.

NUCLEAR

The OPFOR believes a theater war is most likely to begin with a phase of nonnuclear combat that may include the use of chemical weapons. The OPFOR emphasizes the destruction of as much as possible of enemy theater nuclear capability during the nonnuclear phase. To do so, it would use air and missile attacks, airborne, heliborne, and special-purpose forces, and rapid, deep penetrations by ground forces. The OPFOR hopes to deny the enemy a credible nuclear option.

Dispersal and Rapid Concentration

The availability of nuclear strikes, as well as precision weapons and the longer ranges of conventional artillery, reduces the requirement for massed artillery formations. Improved troop mobility permits both the rapid concentration and quick dispersal essential to the survival of tank and mechanized infantry formations as they maneuver on a nuclear-threatened battlefield.

In this context, the OPFOR believes that the "quality" of mass must compensate for the reduced quantity formerly provided by concentrations of troops and equipment. This quality takes the form of intense strikes with conventional air and artillery, precision weapons, and possibly NBC weapons.

Being under nuclear threat, the enemy also must disperse his formations, which can make him more vulnerable to penetration by an attacking force. Enemy troops are also highly mobile and capable of rapidly concentrating to protect a threatened sector. Therefore, surprise and timing of operations are extremely critical. They complicate enemy targeting and deny him the time to use his mobility.

In a war nuclear from its start, the OPFOR would direct nuclear strikes against the strongest sectors of the enemy's defenses and throughout his operational depth. This would create gaps through which divisions, in "nuclear-dispersed" formations, would attack. These divisions would be lead by forward detachments, advancing at top speed into the depth of enemy defenses.

The aim of the forward detachments would be to seize or neutralize remaining enemy nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and C4I facilities. By attacking from different directions and across a broad frontage, the divisions would try to split and isolate the enemy

The exploitation force would probably attack in two echelons to take full advantage of the speed of advance it could expect to achieve. The echelons essentially would be an initial exploitation force and a follow-on relief exploitation force. Commanders would ensure a rapid tempo of advance by assigning tank units to the first echelon and by using mechanized infantry units with tank elements on the main axis. Tanks are quite effective in the first echelon, because they have maneuverability, firepower, lower vulnerability to enemy nuclear attacks, and the capability to achieve penetrations of great depth.

Transition to Nuclear

Even when a conflict does not involve the use of nuclear weapons from the outset, OPFOR commanders deploy troops based on the assumption that a nuclear-capable enemy might strike with nuclear weapons at any moment. The OPFOR continuously updates its own plans for nuclear employment, although it prefers to avoid nuclear warfare. As long as it achieves its objectives, and there are no indications that the enemy is going to use nuclear weapons, the OPFOR would remain nonnuclear. However, it could attempt to preempt enemy nuclear use with an initial, in-depth, theater nuclear strike. Otherwise, any OPFOR decision to go nuclear would have to be made early in the conflict, so that sufficient nonnuclear power would remain to follow up and to exploit the gains of nuclear employment.

Weapons

Nuclear delivery systems include aircraft from both strategic and army group aviation, and surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) with ranges from 70 to 500 km. Most artillery 152-millimeter or larger is capable of firing nuclear rounds, if such rounds are available.

The OPFOR classifies nuclear weapons according to yield or explosive power and type of burst. They consider nuclear weapons very high in explosive power if their yield is over 500 kilotons, high if between 100 and 500, medium if between 15 and 100, and low if up to 15 kilotons. Types of burst that the OPFOR may employ are air, ground (surface), underground, and underwater.

Planning

Although the opening stages of an offensive are likely to be conventional, planning focuses on the necessity of--

  • Countering enemy employment of nuclear weapons.
  • Maintaining the initiative and momentum of the offensive.
  • Maintaining fire superiority over the enemy (preempting his strike).

The fire plans for divisions and higher levels include contingency plans for nuclear strikes.

At all stages of an offensive, the OPFOR keeps nuclear forces ready to make a strike. The decision to initiate nuclear warfare occurs at the highest level of government. Theater-level planners develop the fire plan for the initial massive nuclear strike for approval by the Supreme High Command.

The Supreme High Command may delegate employment authority for subsequent nuclear strikes to the army group or possibly to the army or corps level. The division chief of artillery submits to the army commander, for approval and integration into army and army group fire support plans, recommendations for the subsequent employment of the division's nuclear and chemical weapons.

In deliberately planned operations, the OPFOR plans nuclear fires in detail. In more fluid situations, as in meeting engagements, exploitation, and pursuit, the commander keeps some nuclear weapons systems at high readiness to fire on targets of opportunity.

Target analysts favor airbursts and using large yields. Maneuver forces follow up as closely as safety and circumstances permit on strikes near the line of contact. Airborne troops may exploit deep strikes.

Nuclear allocations vary with the strength of the enemy defense and the scheme of maneuver. A main attack probably receives the highest percentage of weapons; however, the OPFOR may also reserve weapons for other large, important targets.

Types of Strikes

The OPFOR categorizes nuclear strikes as either massed or individual strikes. The category depends on the number of targets hit and the number of nuclear munitions used.

A massed nuclear strike employs multiple nuclear munitions simultaneously or over a short time interval. The goal is to destroy a single large enemy troop grouping, or several troop groupings, as well as other important enemy targets. A massed strike can involve a single branch of the armed forces, as in a nuclear missile strike, or the combined forces of different branches.

An individual nuclear strike may hit a single target or group of targets. A single nuclear munition, such as a missile or bomb, conducts the strike.

Offensive Nuclear Employment

Once the Supreme High Command releases nuclear weapons, two principles govern their use: mass and surprise. The OPFOR plans to conducts the initial nuclear strike suddenly and in coordination with nonnuclear fires. Initial nuclear strike objectives are to destroy the enemy's main combat formations, C4I systems, and nuclear and precision weapons, thereby isolating the battlefield.

Nuclear strikes target and destroy the enemy's forward defenses and are, in effect, the main attack. Other fire support means support secondary or supporting attacks. The OPFOR plans a high-speed air and ground offensive to exploit the nuclear strike.

If the enemy continues to offer organized resistance, the OPFOR might employ subsequent nuclear strikes to reinitiate the offensive. Nuclear strikes can eliminate the threat of a counterattack and clear resistance from the opposite bank in a river crossing. In pursuit, the OPFOR plans nuclear strikes on choke points where retreating enemy forces present lucrative targets.

Defensive Nuclear Employment

If nuclear weapons degrade the enemy offensive, the defender could gain the opportunity to switch quickly to an offensive role. A drastic change in COF is the primary goal when the OPFOR employs nuclear weapons in the defense. Primary uses in the defense are to--

  • Destroy enemy nuclear and precision weapons and delivery means.
  • Destroy main attacking groups.
  • Conduct counterpreparations.
  • Eliminate penetrations.
  • Support counterattacks.
  • Deny areas to the enemy by use of surface bursts.

BIOLOGICAL

Biological weapons consist of pathogenic microbes and micro-organism toxins, both of which can incapacitate or kill people or animals and destroy plants, food supplies, or materiel. The type of targets being attacked determines the choice of agents and dissemination systems.

Probable targets for biological warfare pathogen attack are nuclear delivery units; airfields; rear area logistics facilities; and C4I centers. The OPFOR may use clandestine means to conduct attacks before the war begins.

The OPFOR may target biological weapons against rear area objectives such as food supplies, water sources, troop concentrations, convoys, and urban and rural population centers rather than against frontline forces. Some biological agents are extremely persistent, retaining their capabilities to infect for days, weeks, or longer. The prolonged incubation period makes it difficult to track down the initial location and circumstances of contamination.


1 NBC weapons are a subset of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), although the latter exclude the delivery means where such means is a separable and divisible part of the weapon. WMD are weapons or devices intended for or capable of causing a high order of physical destruction or mass casualties (death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people). The casualty-producing elements of WMD can continue inflicting casualties on the enemy and exert powerful psychological effects on the enemy's morale for some time after delivery. Existing types of WMD include chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. However, technological advances are making it possible to develop WMD based on qualitatively new principles, such as infrasonic (acoustic), radiological (enhanced-radiation), or particle-beam weapons. In addition, conventional weapons, such as precision weapons or fuel-air explosives, can also take on the properties of WMD.

2 The same list of targets would apply for enemy use of NBC weapons against the OPFOR.

3 In lieu of a chemical defense brigade, an army group may have separate battalions of the same types that normally comprise such a brigade.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list


One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias