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Chapter 4

Offensive Operations

CCD countermeasures implemented during an offensive operation deceive the enemy or prevent it from discovering friendly locations, actions, and intentions. Successful CCD contributes to achieving surprise and reduces subsequent personnel and equipment losses.


4-1. The main CCD concern in preparing for offensive operations is to mask tactical unit deployment. While CCD is the primary means of masking these activities, deceptive operations frequently achieve the same goals.


4-2. Offensive operations create signatures that are detectable to an enemy. Analyzing these signatures may alert an enemy to the nature of an offensive operation (such as planning and location). Commanders at all levels should monitor operation signatures and strive to conceal them from enemy surveillance. These signatures include—

  • Increasing scouting and recon activity.
  • Preparing traffic routes.
  • Moving supplies and ammunition forward.
  • Breaching obstacles.
  • Preparing and occupying AAs (engineer function).
  • Preparing and occupying forward artillery positions.
  • Increasing radio communications.


4-3. Prepare AAs during limited visibility. They should then suppress the signatures that their preparations produced and remove any indications of their activities upon mission completion.

4-4. Designate Aas on terrain with natural screens and a developed network of roads and paths. Thick forests and small towns and villages often provide the best locations. If natural screens are unavailable, use spotty sectors of the terrain or previously occupied locations. Place equipment on spots of matching color, and take maximum advantage of artificial CCD materials.

4-5. Designate concealed routes for movement into and out of an area. Mask noise by practicing good noise discipline. For instance, armor movements can be muffled by the thunder of artillery fire, the noise of low-flying aircraft, or the transmission of sounds from broadcast sets.

4-6. Position vehicles to take full advantage of the terrain's natural concealment properties, and cover the vehicles with camouflage nets. Apply paint and cut vegetation to vehicles to enhance CCD at AAs and during battle. (When using vegetation for this type of CCD treatment, do not cut it from areas close to vehicles.) Aas are particularly vulnerable to aerial detection. Strictly enforce track, movement, and radio discipline. Remove tracks by covering or sweeping them with branches.

4-7. While at an AA, personnel should apply individual CCD. Applying stick paint and cut vegetation enhances CCD during all phases of an operation.


4-8. An enemy may interpret decoy construction as an effort to reinforce a defensive position. Laying false minefields and building bunkers and positions can conceal actual offensive preparations and give the enemy the impression that defenses are being improved. If necessary, conduct engineer preparation activities on a wide front so that the area and direction of the main attack are not revealed.


4-9. Move troops, ammunition, supplies, and engineer breaching equipment forward at night or during limited visibility. Although an enemy's use of radar and IR aerial recon hinders operations at night, darkness remains a significant concealment tool. Select routes that take full advantage of the terrain's screening properties. Commanders must understand how to combine darkness and the terrain's concealing properties to conceal troop and supply movements.

4-10. When conducting a march, convoy commanders must strictly enforce blackout requirements and the order of march. Guidelines concerning lighting, march orders, and other requirements are usually published in SOPs or operation orders (OPORDs). Required lighting conditions vary depending on the type of movement (convoy versus single vehicle) and a unit's location (forward edge of the battle area [FEBA], division area, corps rear area). Inspect each vehicle's blackout devices for proper operation.

4-11. Enemy aerial recon usually focuses on open and barely passable route sectors. When on a march, vehicles should pass these types of sectors at the highest possible speeds. If prolonged delays result from encountering an unexpected obstacle, halt the column and disperse into the nearest natural screens. If a vehicle breaks down during a movement, push it off the road and conceal it.

4-12. When conducting a march during good visibility, consider movement by infiltration (single or small groups of vehicles released at different intervals). Movement in stages, from one natural screen to the next, will further minimize possible detection. Use smoke screens at critical crossings and choke points.

4-13. During brief stops, quickly disperse vehicles under tree crowns or other concealment along the sides of the road. Strictly enforce CCD discipline. Watch for glare from vehicle windshields, headlights, or reflectors; and remedy the situation if it does occur. Try to control troop movement on the road or in other open areas. Conduct recon to select areas for long halts. The recon party should select areas that are large enough to allow sufficient CCD and dispersion. The quartering party should predetermine vehicle placement, develop a vehicle circulation plan, and guide vehicles into suitable and concealed locations. The first priority, however, is to move vehicles off the road as quickly as possible, even at the expense of initial dispersion. Use camouflage nets and natural vegetation to enhance concealment, and carefully conceal dug-in positions.

4-14. Traffic controllers have a crucial role in enforcing convoy CCD. Commanders should issue precise instructions for traffic controllers to stop passing vehicles and have the drivers correct the slightest violation of CCD discipline. Convoy commanders are responsible for the convoy's CCD discipline.

4-15. Pass through friendly obstacles at night, in fog, or under other conditions of poor visibility. Also use smoke screens because these conditions will not protect against many types of threat sensors. Lay smoke on a wide front, several times before actually executing the passage of lines. Doing this helps deceive an enemy about the time and place of an attack. Conceal lanes through obstacles from the enemy's view.


4-16. Conduct demonstrations and feints to confuse an enemy about the actual location of the main attack. Such deceptive operations are effective only if prior recon activities were conducted on a wide front, thereby preventing the enemy from pinpointing the likely main-attack area.


4-17. Units should adapt to the terrain during a battle. Deploying behind natural vegetation, terrain features, or man-made structures maximizes concealment from enemy observation. Make optimum use of concealed routes, hollows, gullies, and other terrain features that are dead-space areas to enemy observation and firing positions. A trade-off, however, usually exists in terms of a slower rate of movement when using these types of routes.

4-18. Movement techniques emphasizing fire and maneuver help prevent enemy observation and targeting. Avoid dusty terrain because clouds of dust will alert an enemy to the presence of friendly units. However, if the enemy is aware of a unit's presence, dust can be an effective means of obscuring the unit's intentions in the same way as smoke. When natural cover and concealment are unavailable or impractical, the coordinated employment of smoke, suppressive fires, speed, and natural limited-visibility conditions minimize exposure and avoid enemy fire sacks. However, offensive operations under these conditions present unique training and C2 challenges.

4-19. Breaching operations require concealing the unit that is conducting the breach. Use conditions of poor visibility, and plan the use of smoke and suppressive fires to screen breaching operations.

4-20. Deliberate river crossings are uniquely difficult and potentially hazardous. Plan the coordinated use of terrain masking, smoke, decoys, and deceptive operations to ensure successful crossings (see FM 90-13).

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