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Chapter 4


Security is an essential part of all offensive and defensive operations. Cavalry provides security for the commander along an exposed front, flank, or rear of the main body where a threat may exist. Surveillance is continuous during security operations. Even during security missions that involve fighting the enemy, the scouts' primary task remains gathering information. Scouts do this by establishing OPs, conducting patrols, and performing reconnaissance.

Counterreconnaissance is an inherent task in all security operations. Counterreconnaissance is not a mission. It is the sum of actions taken at all echelons to counter enemy reconnaissance and surveillance efforts through the depth of the area of operations. Counterreconnaissance denies the enemy information about friendly units. It is both active and passive and includes combat action to destroy or repel enemy reconnaissance elements.


Section I. Purpose, Fundamentals, and Capabilities
Section II. Screen
Section III. Guard
Section IV. Cover
Section V. Route Security
Section VI. Area Security
Section VII. Convoy Security

Section I. Purpose, Fundamentals, and Capabilities

Security includes screening operations, guard operations, covering force operations, area security operations, convoy security operations, and route security operations. The squadron performs screen, guard, and route security missions. Covering force operations are normally the mission of a cavalry regiment. Separate brigades or task organized divisional brigades may perform cover operations as well.

Both the heavy and light cavalry troops perform two security missions (screen and convoy security) independently or as part of their parent squadron. Both also participate in guard, cover, and route security missions as part of their parent squadron or regiment. Either troop will normally perform reconnaissance, screen, defend, delay, attack, or a combination of these missions in support of their parent squadron or regiment (see the applicable section of Chapters 3, 5, and 6 for specifics).


Security operations are designed to obtain information about the enemy and to provide reaction time, maneuver space, and protection to the main body. Security operations are characterized by conducting continuous reconnaissance to reduce terrain and enemy unknowns, gaining and maintaining contact with the enemy to ensure continuous information, and providing early and accurate reporting of information to the protected force.


Five fundamentals are common to all cavalry security operations.

Orient on the Main Body.As a security force, the troop will be operating at a specified distance from a main body, between it and a known or suspected enemy force. If the main body moves, the troop also moves. The troop commander must know how the main body commander intends to maneuver his forces and where he wants the troop in relation to his movement. The troop commander maneuvers his troop to positions where he can provide the needed security.

Perform Continuous Reconnaissance.The troop's security and the security of the main body come in large measure from knowing everything about the terrain and the enemy within the troop's area of operations (AO). Reconnaissance and continuous patrolling go hand in hand with security operations. Cover all the ground in the AO. Determine what the terrain will allow the troop andthe enemy to do.

Provide Early and Accurate Warning.Early and accurate warning of enemy approach is the cornerstone of security operations. The main body commander needs as much time as possible to shift and concentrate his forces to meet and defeat an unexpected enemy attack. Put observers in positions that afford long-range observation of expected enemy avenues of approach. Use aeroscouts and ground surveillance radar (GSR), if available, to enhance their ability to see. Place remote sensors in the ground to monitor avenues of approach that cannot be easily observed. If possible, send dismounted or mounted patrols forward of OPs to extend their ability to see, providing additional reaction time for the main body commander.

Provide Reaction Time and Maneuver Space.All security operations are designed to provide reaction time and maneuver space for the main body so it can deal effectively with an unexpected enemy attack. The troop provides early warning to the main body commander and sometimes has to fight hard to buy time and space so the main body's combat power can be concentrated on defeating the enemy.

Maintain Enemy Contact.Once visual or physical contact with the enemy is gained, do not allow him to break the contact. Maintain enemy contact and continue to report his activities until told to stop.


Capabilities of the heavy troop include-

  • Screen up to a ten-kilometer-wide sector.
  • Maintain continuous surveillance of up to six battalion-size avenues of approach.*
  • Can establish up to 12 short-duration OPs.

Capabilities of the light troop include-

  • Screen up to a ten-kilometer-wide sector.
  • Maintain continuous surveillance of up to six battalion-size avenues of approach.*
  • Can establish up to 16 short-duration OPs.

  • The maximum six long-duration OPs either cavalry troop can occupy is a function of personnel required to perform the following tasks at each OP:

    • Man the actual OP.
    • Maintain radio communications with the OP and with the platoon leader.
    • Provide local security for the vehicles.
    • Conduct dismounted patrols as required.
    • Conduct resupply.
    • Perform maintenance.
    • Sleep/rest.

    The ability to perform the above tasks simultaneously for periods in excess of 12 hours requires at least 9 to 10 personnel (collocation of two scout squads for M3-mounted scouts, or three scout squads for HMMWV-mounted scouts).

    Section II. Screen

    Screen is the most common security mission heavy and light cavalry troops conduct. Both troops conduct screen missions for their parent squadrons or other forces to-

    • Provide early warning of enemy approach.
    • Provide real-time information, reaction time, and maneuver space to the protected force.
    • Destroy enemy reconnaissance elements within their capability (perform counterreconnaissance).
    • Impede and harass the enemy.

    The screen mission provides the least amount of protection of any security mission, and is appropriate when operations have created extended flanks, when gaps between forces exist and cannot be secured in force, or when required to provide early warning over gaps that are not considered critical enough to require security in greater strength. A commander normally assigns cavalry this mission when he needs time to respond to an unexpected enemy attack, and cannot afford to commit other forces to the task.

    The screen mission is defensive in nature. As such, both heavy and light cavalry troops screen the front, flanks,andrear of a stationary forcebut only to the flanksor rear of a moving force. Screening operations are not performed forward of a moving force. Zone reconnaissance or movement to contact is the appropriate cavalry troop mission suited to the requirements of the offensive force.

    Critical Tasks

    A screen mission has certain critical tasks that guide planning. To achieve the intent of a screen mission, the troop must accomplish the following critical tasks:

    • Maintain continuous surveillance of all battalion-size avenues of approach into the troop sector under all visibility conditions.
    • Destroy or repel all enemy reconnaissance patrols (if within the unit's capability and directed by the higher commander).
    • Locate lead elements of enemy order of battle and determine the direction of movement of each.
    • Maintain contact with, report the activity of, and impede and harass the enemy while displacing.


    Both the heavy cavalry troop and the light cavalry troop normally screen a sector up to ten kilometers in width. However, METT-T may dictate an extended screen across frontages in excess of the norm. Either troop's ability to accomplish its critical tasks, or its ability to screen in depth, can diminish rapidly as frontages increase.

    Examples of extended screens are described below.

    • Heavy cavalry troop screens 20 kilometers of southern bank of unfordable river crossed by four bridges in sector.
    • Light cavalry troop screens 25 kilometers of desert terrain, from dominant ridge.


    Depth is also important in a screen. The term "screenline"is descriptive only of the forward trace along which security is provided. Depth allows an enemy contact to be passed from one element to another without requiring displacement. Depth is advantageous to-

    • Destroy an enemy reconnaissance patrol without compromising critical OPs.
    • Prevent an enemy from penetrating the screen line too easily.
    • Prevent gaps from occurring when OPs displace or are lost.
    • Maintain contact with moving enemy without compromising OPs.
    • Prevent enemy templating of the screen line.

    Depth is achieved primarily by positioning OPs, particularly where there are limited avenues of approach. Tank platoons, AT platoons, the mortar section, and attached elements positioned behind the screen line establish local security and provide surveillance. The degree to which depth can be attained is a function of many factors, which include-

    • Higher commander's intent and concept as expressed in--
    • Graphical trace of the screen line (LOA).
    • Engagement criteria.
    • Destruction criteria.
    • Displacement/disengagement criteria.
    • Width of the sector.
    • Depth of the troop sector.
    • Terrain and avenues of approach it will support.
    • Attachments and detachments.

    Screening is largely accomplished by establishing a series of OPs and conducting patrols to ensure adequate surveillance of the assigned sector. Screens are active operations. Stationary OPs are only one part of the mission. Employing patrols (mounted and dismounted), aerial reconnaissance, ground-based sensors, intelligence from space-based sensor systems, and OPs relocated on an extended screen ensure that continuous overlapping surveillance occurs. Inactivity in an immobile screen promotes complacency.

    Planning Considerations/Guidance to Subordinates

    The enemy situation is often vague when planning a screen. The troop should develop plans that are flexible enough to react to any enemy course of action, particularly the worst case. Planning considerations for a screen should include a detailed description of how contact with the enemy reconnaissance will be gained then how and where it will be destroyed. Planning should also cover the method of displacement once the main body of the enemy force has been identified and how that force will be handed off to the main body in the main defensive belt. Because of the need for flexibility, screen operations will often begin to inherit the characteristics of defense or delay missions. To cover the displacement of scouts, some elements of the troop may be required to execute missions such as delay or defend.

    Screen operations at troop level usually occur in four phases.

    • Movement to and occupation of the screen line.
    • Surveillance and counterreconnaissance.
    • Gaining and maintaining contact with the enemy main body displacement of screen.
    • Rearward passage of lines.

    Higher command guidance should address each phase of the operation and cover at least the following:

    • Location/orientation/width of the screen.
    • Duration of the screen.
    • Method of movement to and occupation of the screen line.
    • Location and disposition of the friendly force being screened.
    • Engagement/destruction criteria.
    • Displacement/disengagement criteria.
    • Follow-on missions.
    • Positioning and orientation guidance for GSRs (if attached).

    The following must be considered when developing and completing the plan and executing the screen mission:

    Time Screen Must Be Established.The time the screen must be set and active will influence the troop's method of deploying to and occupying the screen line.

    Movement to the Screen Line.If the screen mission is the result of a previous tactical maneuver such as zone reconnaissance, the troop will essentially be postured to begin screening from present positions. This situation occurs frequently, and may be the result of a FRAGO to halt at a specified phase line.

    If the troop is not currently sited on the screen line, obviously, deployment to the screen line must occur before actually beginning the screen mission. Time determines the method of occupying the screen line. Thorough analysis of METT-T will determine which deployment technique or combination of techniques best meets mission requirements.

    Trace and Orientation of Screen Line.The initial screen line is depicted as a phase line and often represents the forward line of own troops (FLOT). As such, the screen line may be a restrictive control measure for movement (limit of advance); coordination/permission would be necessary to move beyond the line to establish OPs or to perform reconnaissance. When occupied, OPs are sited on or behind the phase line. OPs should be given specific orientation and observation guidance.

    Initial OP Locations.The squadron or troop commander may determine tentative initial OP locations to ensure effective surveillance of the sector and designated named area(s) of interest (NAI). At a minimum, the troop commander designates a primary orientation for the scouts during the conduct of the screen. Scouts, once set on the screen line, will report their location to the troop TOC and verify they are in compliance with the commander's orientation guidance. The scouts who occupy each OP always retain the responsibility to modify the location to achieve the commander's intent and guidance for orientation. The OPs are positioned along or behind the screen line.

    OPs are generally categorized based on their expected duration of employment as either-

    • Short-duration (less than 12 hours)
    • Long-duration (more than 12 hours).

    OPs may be either mounted or dismounted. Mounted OPs maximize use of vehicular optics, weapon systems, and speed of displacement, but are more readily detected by the enemy. Dismounted OPs provide maximum stealth at the expense of speed of displacement, and vehicle-mounted optics and weapons.

    A heavy cavalry troop can occupy up to 12 short-duration OPs (one per scout squad, six per scout platoon). For extended periods of time, the heavy troop can occupy six OPs (one per scout section, three per scout platoon).

    A light cavalry troop can occupy up to 16 short-duration OPs (one per scout squad, eight per scout platoon). For extended periods of time, the light troop can occupy six OPs (one per scout section, three per scout platoon).

    Width and Depth of the Screened Sector.The troop sector is defined by lateral boundaries extending out to a limit of advance (the initial screen line), forward of a rear boundary. The troop sector is established by the squadron or unit being screened. The troop rear boundary may be a squadron phase line and may serve as a battle handover line (BHL) to control passing of responsibility for the enemy to the protected force. The troop's ability to gain depth decreases as screened frontage increases.

    Locations of Subsequent Screen Lines.The squadron or troop commander uses additional phase lines to control the operation. These phase lines may serve as subsequent screen lines. Displacement to the subsequent screen lines is event driven.

    Scout Platoon Sectors.Assign clear responsibility of identified avenues of approach and designated NAIs. The nature of a screen normally requires both scout platoons to deploy abreast.

    Tank/AT Platoon Sectors.Position the tank (heavy troop) or AT (light troop) platoons in the scout platoons' sectors. They may occupy hide or battle positions along avenues of approach. The tank/AT platoons remain responsive to the troop commander. They are the primary direct-fire killing asset.

    Force to be Screened.The troop must orient on the force it is securing. If the main body is moving, the troop must move to maintain the screen's position relative to the main body.

    Reinforcements.Any unique requirement posed by the mission may require assets not organic to the troop. GSR and engineers are common attachments at troop level.

    • GSR. During screen operations, GSR is used to augment scout OPs and to add depth to the screen. GSRs should be attached to scout platoons, and the commander should provide the scout platoon leader with positioning and orientation guidance.
    • Engineers. If engineers are attached to the troop, the troop commander should assign them with priority of mission and priority of effort in support of commander's guidance. During screen operations, engineers will normally dig survivability positions for scouts and tanks. Also engineers may emplace obstacles in support of the counterreconnaissance battle or assist the troop with displacement of the screen once contact has been established with the enemy body.

    Special Requirements or Constraints.Specify all requirements for observing any NAI identified during the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB). Task subordinate platoons as required. Specify the following in the troop OPORD:

    • Engagement criteria.
    • What size force will scouts engage and destroy (if any)?
    • Where will this action occur?
    • What size force will the tank or AT platoons engage and destroy?
    • Where will this action occur?
    • Disengagement criteria.
    • What event will cause scouts to displace from the initial screen line?
    • How will scouts maintain contact with the enemy while displacing?
    • What event will cause the tank or AT platoons to displace to subsequent or alternate positions?

    Indirect Fire Planning.Fire planning integrates artillery and mortar fires. Position the troop mortars to fire up to two-thirds of their maximum range forward of the initial screen line. A wide sector may require the troop commander to position them to provide effective coverage of the most likely avenue of approach determined by IPB. The troop FSO plans artillery fires to adequately cover any gaps in mortar coverage.

    Direct Fire Planning.Based on his analysis of the terrain, the troop commander determines where to engage the enemy (engagement areas). He also determines the location of battle positions that provide observation, fields of fire, and cover and concealment that support each engagement area.

    Positioning of C2, CS, and CSS Assets.The troop commander positions himself to observe the most dangerous enemy avenue of approach. The troop TOC positions itself in depth to provide continuous control and reporting during initial movements. After the screen line has been reestablished in depth following displacement from the initial screen line, the TOC can reposition. Combat trains position behind masking terrain close enough for rapid response. They are best sited along routes providing good mobility laterally and in depth.

    Patrol Requirements.Patrols may be required to cover gaps between OPs. The troop commander tasks the scout platoon leaders to perform specific patrols.

    Coordination.The troop commander coordinates his concept with air cavalry troop (ACT) commanders who may be operating the same ground, flank troop commanders, tank company (heavy cavalry) and AT company (light cavalry) commanders, and other unit commanders as appropriate.



    The following is a list of common graphic control measures used to control screen missions:

    • Boundaries.
    • Phase lines.
    • Checkpoints.
    • Contact points.
    • NAIs.
    • OPs.
    • Mortar firing positions.
    • Battle positions.
    • Hide positions.
    • TIRS.
    • Unit symbols.

    Movement to the Screen Line

    In deploying to the screen line, the troop commander must deal with the competing requirements to establish the screen quickly to meet mission requirements and to provide the necessary level of security for the troop in doing so. The troop moves to the screen line using one of three basic methods-a tactical road march, zone reconnaissance, or movement to contact.

    Tactical Road March.The troop conducts a tactical road march to a release point behind the screen line. From the release point, platoons deploy to occupy initial positions. This method of deploying to the screen line is the fastest, but least secure. It is appropriate when enemy contact is not expected and time is critical, or when an air cavalry troop is conducting zone reconnaissance forward of the ground troop.

    Movement to Contact.The troop conducts a movement to contact from a line of departure to the initial screen line. This method is slower than a tactical road march, but more secure. It is appropriate when enemy contact is likely, time is limited, or when an air cavalry troop is conducting zone reconnaissance forward of the ground troop.

    Zone Reconnaissance.The troop conducts a zone reconnaissance from a line of departure to the initial screen line. Given adequate time, this method is preferred as the troop can clear the zone of any enemy and enables platoons to become thoroughly familiar with the terrain. The troop can reconnoiter potential subsequent OP locations, battle and hide positions, and mortar firing positions, for example, as they move to the screen line. A zone reconnaissance is appropriate when time is available and information about the enemy or terrain is unknown.

    Security Drill

    A security drill is a series of rehearsed actions (battle drills) a scout platoon or cavalry troop takes to maintain contact with the main body of an advancing enemy force. It is used when collapsing the screen line to subsequent OP positions or when transitioning from a screen mission to a delay or defend mission.

    At platoon level, OPs gain contact with the enemy main body, then report and prepare to displace to a subsequent position. When the enemy force reaches the OP's break point (point where the OP must displace or his position/movement will compromise him to the enemy), the OP passes off the responsibility to track the enemy to another OP in depth. The platoon displaces its OPs to subsequent positions in depth while maintaining contact with the enemy.

    At troop level, the security drill combines the collapse of the initial screen line with the actions of organic tank or AT platoons. Scout platoons may perform platoon security drills initially, consolidating some or all of their combat power at a battle position to aid execution of a troop-level engagement.

    At platoon and troop levels, conduct of security drills is tempered by the commander's overall concept, intent, and scheme of maneuver. Enemy actions (events) drive security drill execution (response) (see Figure 4-1).

    Stationary Screen

    Take a close look at the high-speed avenues of approach into the sector. Divide the sector into two platoon sectors. Make sure the platoon boundary is on easily identifiable terrain. Do not split avenues of approach with a platoon boundary or place the boundary on a road. Place NAIs, TIRS, or checkpoints beyond the screen line to focus surveillance from OPs. If needed, add additional phase lines to control withdrawal of the troop at 5- to 8-kilometer intervals. Place contact points at the intersection of the platoon boundary and all phase lines. Place TIRS on the map or overlay as described in Chapter 2.

    Deploy the scout platoons abreast and establish a series of OPs along or behind the initial screen line, as terrain allows, but never forward of it without permission. Make it clear to the scout platoon leaders which avenues of approach (depicted as NAIs or checkpoints) they are to observe. If unobservable areas between OPs need to be routinely checked, have the scout platoon leaders prepare patrol plans for approval and subsequent execution.

    Position the mortar section to fire 3 to 4 kilometers forward of the initial screen line, oriented on the expected enemy avenue of approach. Establish subsequent firing positions for the mortar section back through the sector. Position each tank (heavy) or AT (light) platoon in one of the scout platoon sectors, or have the tank/AT platoons consolidate. Position the tank/AT platoons in hide positions or battle positions in depth behind the scout platoons, oriented on the expected enemy avenue of approach. Establish subsequent positions for the tank/AT platoons back through the sector to support the scheme of maneuver.

    Figure 4-1. Scout platoon/cavalry troop security drill.

    Have the XO position the command post on terrain that affords good FM radio communications with troop elements and squadron headquarters. If possible, the command post should be positioned behind the subsequent screen positions. This allows the TOC to remain in position during the initial collapse of the screen line. Establish tentative subsequent command post sites back through the troop sector. The XO retains the authority to adjust the actual TOC location to maintain effective communications.

    The 1SG first positions the troop trains within 5 to 8 kilometers of the initial screen line, then he establishes subsequent locations for the trains to bound back through the troop sector. The troop commander positions himself well forward where he can best observe and control the actions of the troop (see Figure 4-2).

    Figure 4-2. Troop screen positioning.
    The troop may conduct a moving flank screen by itself or as part of the squadron. It may be tasked to screen the exposed flank of the squadron while the squadron conducts a movement to contact, a hasty attack, or a zone reconnaissance (see Figure 4-3). The troop may also participate in a squadron mission to screen or guard another combined arms force (see Figure 4-4).

    Figure 4-3. Squadron movement to contact; troop flank screen.

    Figure 4-4. Squadron flank screen.

    A moving flank screen uses the same techniques as when screening a stationary unit. Position the scout platoons to maintain continuous surveillance on the avenues of approach, the mortar section to cover likely avenues of approach with indirect fire, and the tank/AT platoons in depth to destroy or repel enemy reconnaissance units.

    Applying Graphic Control Measures

    Because of the inherent dual orientation of a moving flank screen (direction of movement versus orientation of the screen line), control of the operation poses numerous challenges. Control measures must facilitate both orientations (see Figure 4-5).

    Figure 4-5. Troop moving flank screen graphics.

    Follow the procedures below when applying graphic control measures to a moving flank screen.

    • Use phase lines to control the scout platoon's movement (placed perpendicular to the screen line). Plan to use these phase lines as on-order boundaries for subordinate platoons if enemy contact is gained. Place phase lines no more than 5 kilometers apart (corresponding to the width of a scout platoon's screen frontage). Do not divide avenues of approach with them.
    • Use additional phase lines rearward of (parallel to) the initial screen line to control retrograde movement (toward the protected force). Plan to use these phase lines as subsequent (on-order) screen lines.
    • Use objectives, checkpoints, or axes of advance to control the movement of the tank/AT platoons for movement. Position and plan to use these objectives or checkpoints as battle positions for the tank/AT platoons if the scouts make enemy contact at the screen line. Plan subsequent (on-order) battle positions between the screen line and the protected force.
    • Use mortar firing positions or checkpoints to control movement of the mortar section. Position these firing positions rearward of the screen line where they allow the mortars to fire two-thirds maximum range forward or cover likely avenues of approach. Plan subsequent (on-order) mortar firing positions between the screen line and the protected force.

    While this number of graphic control measures and required planning may seem excessive, they provide maximum flexibility in terms of mission execution. The troop commander can issue simple FRAGOs to adjust the plan to the enemy situation.

    Repositioning the Screen

    The troop must reposition to stay oriented on the force it is securing. Movement along the screen line is determined by the speed of the protected force. Movement is conducted by one of three techniques-continuous marching, bounding by platoons (alternately or successively), and bounding by OPs (alternately or successively).

    Continuous Marching.This technique is appropriate when the protected force is moving quickly and contact is not likely. It is the least secure movement technique.

    Deploy both scout platoons abreast with the two tank or AT platoons, the mortar section, and the remainder of the troop in depth (between the screen line and the protected force). The trace of the screen line is essentially the route of advance for the two scout platoons in column. Have the tank/AT platoons and the remainder of the troop move along a designated route or axis of advance (see Figure 4-6).

    Figure 4-6. Troop moves by continuous marching.
    Bounding by Platoons.This technique is appropriate when the protected force requires greater protection than afforded by continuous marching, is not moving quickly, or knows enemy contact is possible. Bounding platoons alternately may leave temporary gaps in the screen line as they move. Bounding platoons successively is more secure but slower than bounding platoons alternately.

    Deploy both scout platoons abreast with the two tank/AT platoons, the mortar section, and the remainder of the troop in depth (between the screen line and the protected force). Alternately bound one scout platoon around (to the rear of) the other to assume new positions along the screen line (see Figure 4-7), or successively bound the scout platoons along the screen line (see Figure 4-8). Have the tank/AT platoons occupy designated positions sequentially or alternately.

    Figure 4-7. Troop moves by alternately bounding platoons.

    Figure 4-8. Troop moves by successively bounding platoons.

    Bounding by OPs.This technique is appropriate when the main body is moving slowly, contact is possible, and maximum security is required. Bounding OPs alternately will disrupt the integrity of the scout platoons as OPs bound to their next position. Bounding OPs successively is easier for the scout platoons to control.

    Deploy both scout platoons abreast with the two tank/AT platoons, the mortar section, and the remainder of the troop in depth (between the screen line and the protected force). Alternately bound the rearmost OP around (to the rear of) the other OPs (both platoons) to assume a new position along the screen line (see Figure 4-9), or successively bound the OPs along the screen line (see Figure 4-10). The number of OPs on the screen line may be reduced, as two or more may be bounding at any given time. The rate of advance of the protected force will determine this. Have the tank/AT platoons occupy designated positions sequentially or alternately.

    Figure 4-9. Troop moves by alternately bounding OPs.

    Figure 4-10. Troop moves by successively bounding OPs.

    Example of a Screen Forward of Stationary Main Body (Heavy Troop)

    The 1st and 3d platoons deploy abreast along PL BOOT, the initial screen line, and establish OPs to maintain continuous surveillance of the high-speed avenues of approach into the troop sector. Route 220 in the 1st platoon sector is the most likely route of enemy approach. Scout platoons execute their approved patrol plans between OPs, and periodically check the areas that cannot be observed. The mortar section lays its guns in a centrally located position about 3 kilometers behind the initial screen line and orients on Route 220. The 2d platoon occupies a hide position behind the 1st platoon. The 4th platoon occupies a hide position north of checkpoint F. Both positions provide good lateral movement and several maneuver options. The troop CP positions south of TIRS A21. The 1SG positions the troop trains in the woods just north of contact point 8, which is near a good lateral road network. The troop commander and FIST collocate well forward with the 1st platoon leader, overlooking Route 220 (see Figure 4-11).

    The 1st platoon leader reports two BMPs and one T-64 bounding across the open terrain, moving southwest astride Route 220 about 2,000 meters east of PL BOOT. He maintains contact with the patrol as it crosses PL BOOT and enters the troop sector. The troop commander orders 2d platoon to attack the patrol by fire. The 2d platoon moves into hull-down positions and ambushes the patrol. All three vehicles are hit and damaged. The 1st platoon leader sends his PSG to capture the surviving BMP crew members and to search the vehicles for vehicle unit symbols, maps, sketches, and any other items of intelligence value. The PSG links up with the 1SG, who has moved forward. He hands over the prisoners and material, and returns to his position on the screen line. The 1SG evacuates the prisoners and captured material to the squadron combat trains. The 3d platoon reports no contact in its sector. The XO reports the situation to the squadron.

    The troop commander tells the troop to be alert for other divisional reconnaissance patrols in the sector, and to expect regimental reconnaissance within the next hour. The XO eavesdrops on the squadron OI net and monitors reports from Troop B that indicate it has encountered several divisional reconnaissance patrols. The XO passes this information to the troop commander.

    Figure 4-11. Troop screen.
    Within the next 45 minutes, both scout platoons report reconnaissance patrols of two BMPs each in their sectors. The troop commander maneuvers a tank platoon into position to ambush each patrol. Three of the four BMPs are quickly destroyed. One BMP in the 1st platoon's sector is damaged, but is able to move into a covered and concealed position in the wooded area west of checkpoint A. Artillery begins to fall on the dominant terrain east of PL SPUR. The XO reports the situation to squadron.

    The troop commander orders the 1st platoon to regain contact with the damaged BMP. The 1st platoon leader sends Bravo section to locate the damaged BMP. Bravo section moves into the wooded area and quickly finds and destroys the BMP.

    The troop commander orders the scout platoons to move one of their scout sections back in sector in anticipation of the arrival of enemy reconnaissance elements. Both scout platoons reposition a scout section back towards PL SPUR while the troop commander shifts his tank platoons, mortar section, and trains.

    The 1st platoon later reports a reinforced MRP moving southwest along Route 220. The 1st platoon continues to observe the enemy reconnaissance elements and reports their progress to the troop. The FSO engages the enemy with mortar high explosive (HE) and smoke rounds to disrupt their movement and keep them buttoned up. The troop commander tells the 4th platoon to move north and be prepared to counterattack the enemy by fire. He quickly outlines its route using TIRS. The enemy reconnaissance elements rapidly move in an attack formation toward the terrain previously occupied by the 2d platoon. It appears that the enemy elements are attempting to secure the dominant terrain in the 1st platoon sector and fix the tank platoon so the lead company of the enemy advance guard can maneuver around it.

    The FSO continues to suppress the enemy with smoke and HE while it attempts to maneuver toward its objective. The troop commander directs 2d platoon into position to establish a base of fire and fix enemy elements while 4th platoon counterattacks by fire from the south. The FSO coordinates mortar and artillery fires to suppress and isolate enemy elements as the tank platoons execute their counterattack.

    While the tank platoons complete the destruction of the enemy, heavy artillery begins to impact along and east of PL SPUR. The 1st platoon scouts report a tank platoon followed by six BTR-60s moving west along Route 220. The troop commander reports this information directly to the squadron commander. He orders the troops to fall back to PL SPUR, and to begin coordination for battle handover and passage of lines. The troop commander orders the 3d platoon to begin to bound back to PL SPUR. He tells the 1st platoon to maintain contact with the enemy lead company as it falls back to PL SPUR. The troop commander maneuvers the tank platoons west of PL SPUR.

    The 1st platoon leader bounds his scout sections back to PL SPUR as he maintains contact with the lead company. The FSO engages the MRC with mortar and artillery fires to slow and disrupt its advance. The XO keeps squadron informed of the situation in the troop sector.

    The troop XO moves back to the contact point to begin coordination for battle handover and passage of lines. The troop continues to maintain contact with the lead MRC as it maneuvers back in sector, while the FSO engages the MRC with mortar and artillery fires.

    Section III. Guard

    Cavalry squadrons conduct guard missions to provide another unit early warning of enemy approach, and to prevent enemy ground maneuver forces from coming within direct-fire range of the protected unit as it performs other missions or tasks. A guard is conducted to the front, flanks, or rear of a stationary or moving force. Many of the considerations for conducting a moving flank screen apply to conducting a moving flank guard.

    A cavalry troop mission unique to moving flank guard operations is assigned to the lead troop of the squadron. This three-foldmission consists of the following tasks:

    • Maintain contact with the protected force.
    • Reconnoiter the zone between the protected force and the squadron route of advance.
    • Reconnoiter the squadron route of advance.

    The lead troop accomplishes these tasks by performing zone reconnaissance. The speed of the protected force determines how thoroughly the reconnaissance is performed. Assistance is required if the zone is too wide for the lead troop. An air cavalry troop may maintain contact with the protected force, or a following troop may perform route reconnaissance along the squadron's route of advance.

    Note. For a detailed description of techniques for performing a squadron guard mission, see Chapter 4, FM 17-95.

    The cavalry troop does not conduct guard operations independently. It normally performs reconnaissance, screen, defend, delay, and attack missions as part of a squadron guard operation. Review the appropriate chapter in this manual for specific mission details. See Chapter 3, Sections III and IV, Route and Zone Reconnaissance; Chapter 5, Section III, Hasty Attack; and Chapter 6, Sections II, III, and IV, Defend From a Troop Battle Position and Defend/Delay in Troop Sector.

    Section IV. Cover

    A covering force operates apart from the main body to develop the situation early and deceives, disorganizes, and destroys enemy forces. It accomplishes all the tasks of screening and guard forces. Unlike screening or guard forces, a covering force is a tactically self-contained force (that is, it is organized with sufficient combat support and combat service support assets to operate independently of the main body). Covering force operations can be either offensive or defensive in nature and can be conducted to the front, flanks, or rear of a stationary or moving force.

    Cover operations are performed by the regiment (ACR or LACR) for the corps commander to provide the time and space he needs to make decisions and to achieve his operational objective.

    Defensive cover operations, whether forward, flank, or rear, prevent the enemy from attacking the corps main body at the time and place and with the combat strength he chooses. Defensive cover operations are generally intended to destroy the enemy's initiative and set him up for defeat. Both heavy and light cavalry troops participate in defensive cover operations as part of their parent squadrons. Depending on the squadron commander's scheme of maneuver, they either screen, defend, delay, or attack.

    Offensive cover operations are conducted by the regiment to seize and retain the initiative for the corps commander, and to allow him to attack decisively with the main body of the corps at the time and place he chooses. In offensive cover operations, the troop usually conducts movement to contact or zone reconnaissance missions. See the appropriate chapters in this manual for mission details.

    Section V. Route Security

    Cavalry squadrons and regiments conduct route security missions to prevent enemy ground maneuver forces from coming within direct-fire range of the protected route. A route security force operates on and to the flanks of a designated route. Route security operations are defensive in nature and, unlike guard operations, are terrain oriented. A route security force conducts reconnaissance, screens, attacks, defends, and occupies key locations along the route to prevent an enemy force from impeding, harassing, containing, seizing, or destroying traffic along the route.

    Route security operations are not conducted independently by a cavalry troop. Both the heavy and light cavalry troops participate in route security operations as part of their parent squadrons and may conduct reconnaissance, screen, defend, delay, attack, or convoy security missions throughout the area of operations.

    Section VI. Area Security

    An area security force neutralizes or defeats enemy operations in a specified area. It operates in an area delineated by the headquarters assigning the area security mission. It screens, reconnoiters, attacks, defends, and delays as necessary to accomplish its mission. Area security operations may be offensive or defensive in nature and focus on the enemy, the force being protected, or a combination of the two.

    Area security operations are conducted to deny the enemy the ability to influence friendly actions in a specific area or to deny the enemy use of an area for his own purposes. This may entail occupying and securing an area before the enemy can, or taking actions to destroy enemy forces already present.

    The area to be secured may range from specific points (bridges, defiles) to areas such as terrain features (ridgelines, hills) to large population centers and adjacent areas. The factors of METT-T and unit capability will determine specific unit missions.

    Area security missions are conducted by cavalry troops, squadrons, and regiments who employ the techniques of screen, guard, offense, and defense, depending on the nature and purpose of the mission.

    Section VII. Convoy Security

    Convoy security operations are performed as a minimum by a cavalry troop or a company team. Both heavy and light cavalry troops are suited to the requirements of protecting a convoy due to their organic reconnaissance capability and combat power. Both the cavalry troop and company team should be reinforced with engineers. METT-T considerations, such as restrictive terrain and limited time, may dictate a coordinated effort with air cavalry assets.

    Convoy security operations are conducted when insufficient friendly forces are available to continuously secure lines of communication in an area of operations. They may also be conducted in conjunction with route security operations. A convoy security force operates to the front, flanks, and rear of a convoy element moving along a designated route. Convoy security operations are offensive in nature and orient on the force being protected.

    A convoy security mission has certain critical tasks that guide planning and execution. To protect a convoy, the security force must accomplish the following critical tasks:

    • Reconnoiter the route the convoy will travel.
    • Clear the route of obstacles or positions from which the enemy could influence movement along the route.
    • Provide early warning and prevent the enemy from impeding, harassing, containing, seizing, or destroying the convoy.

    The convoy security force is organized into three or four elements to accomplish the following (see Figure 4-12):

    • Reconnaissance element. The reconnaissance element performs tasks associated with zone and route reconnaissance forward of the convoy.
    • Screen element. The screen element provides early warning and security to the convoy's flanks and rear.
    • Escort element. The escort element provides close-in protection to the convoy. May also provide a reaction force to assist in repelling or destroying enemy contact.
    • Reaction force. Provides firepower and support to the elements above in order to assist in developing the situation or conducting a hasty attack. May also perform duties of the escort element.

    Figure 4-12. Cavalry troop conducts convoy security.


    The troop commander organizes and coordinates the efforts of his unit to fulfill the critical tasks associated with the convoy security mission.

    Tasks of the reconnaissance element can usually be fulfilled by a single scout platoon. The troop commander ensures the reconnaissance element focuses on trafficability of the route and enemy forces that may influence movement along the route. METT-T may dictate the use of engineers to assist in reconnoitering and clearing the route. Convoy speed is determined by the pace of reconnaissance (METT-T). As a guide, the reconnaissance element should operate a minimum of 3 to 5 kilometers ahead of the main body of the convoy.

    Tasks of the screen element can usually be fulfilled by a single scout platoon also. The troop commander ensures the screen element establishes OPs to provide early warning on critical portions of the route or key avenues of approach to the route. OPs have a limited ability to destroy enemy forces; therefore, their primary purpose is to acquire the enemy and direct reaction forces or indirect fire to destroy it.

    Tasks of the escort element are best performed by tank platoons in a heavy troop. A light troop should consider a scramble of platoons (MK-19/M2/TOW-see Chapter 2, Figure 2-13) to gain the suppressive firepower necessary to protect the convoy. The troop commander ensures the escort element is positioned to provide security throughout the length of the convoy. This requires elements of the two tank (heavy troop)/mixed (light troop) platoons be dispersed throughout the convoy order of march. If there is no reaction force available or designated, a task of the escort element may be to provide reaction forces that respond to enemy forces identified by the reconnaissance or screening elements. Depending on the length of the convoy and METT-T considerations, the troop commander may keep one tank/mixed platoon consolidated or specifically designated as the reaction force.

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