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SITING AND EMPLACING TACTICAL MINEFIELDS

This section outlines the principles for siting tactical minefields to support the company/team. These principles apply to all methods of emplacement--standard pattern, row mining, and SCATMINE systems. The focal point of the discussion on siting is the coordination that must occur between the emplacing engineer (normally the engineer platoon leader) and the maneuver company commander. Coordination between the engineer platoon and the maneuver company is perhaps the most vital component of effective obstacle integration, and it is also a vital component in EA development. Obstacles are directly integrated with weapon effects, capability, and the fire plan at this level. The two subcomponents of tactical-obstacle siting are coordinating with the maneuver commander and siting the minefield.

COORDINATING WITH THE MANEUVER COMMANDER

Effective coordination with the maneuver company/team commander who will fight the obstacle(s) is essential to realizing the full potential of minefields as a combat multiplier. In short, the emplacing engineer becomes the maneuver company/team commander's team engineer for the mission. The engineer, the fire-support team (FIST), and the maneuver commander must work closely to ensure complete integration of the minefield into all aspects of the company plan. The engineer must be integrated into the maneuver company/team EA development process. Throughout each step of the process, the engineer must provide the maneuver commander and the FIST with the engineer expertise necessary to ensure complete and effective obstacle integration.

Before the emplacing engineer can conduct effective coordination, he must have tools and information from the TF order that serves as common ground between the emplacing engineer, the FIST, and the maneuver commander. The order drives the integration of tactical obstacles into the fire plan and ensures that the obstacles affect their intended enemy target in a way that supports the scheme of maneuver.

Modified Combined Obstacle Overlay

The MCOO is a product from the IPB process that graphically depicts the maneuverability of the terrain. It depicts slow-go and no-go terrain relative to the type of enemy force. It also defines AAs and MCs that the enemy may use for its attack. Since tactical obstacles attack the enemy's maneuver and must complement the existing terrain, the MCOO is vital to obstacle siting. It helps ensure that obstacles correctly address the enemy AAs and MCs. It also helps select how and what part of the enemy formation will be directly attacked by obstacles, and it shows the effect the obstacles will have on the enemy's maneuver.

Situation Template

The SITEMP is developed by the maneuver battalion S2 and the TF engineer during the IPB. It estimates how the enemy will attack, in terms of size and type of units, and the formations it will use. Tactical obstacles are employed to produce specific effects on specific enemy targets. Therefore, the SITEMP helps the engineer and the maneuver commander site and emplace obstacles in a way that attacks the intended target. The SITEMP may also depict the likely routes for enemy reconnaissance elements. This helps the engineer and the maneuver commander analyze requirements for reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) patrols that defeat enemy attempts to reconnoiter the obstacles and reduce enemy effectiveness before the attack. The type of formations the S2 expects the enemy to use during the entire course of the attack is also vital information. The SITEMP should identify when the enemy is in march, prebattle, and attack formations. The enemy formation may impact on the necessary front of obstacle groups and the obstacle groups' effectiveness in achieving the intended effect on enemy maneuver.

Commander's Intent

The emplacing engineer, the FIST, and the maneuver commander must have a common understanding of the battalion commander's intent. The battalion commander's intent is his vision of the battle and normally outlines what actions the unit must do to accomplish the mission. The commander's intent may include key aspects of the plan that he wants to emphasize to subordinates to synchronize the actions of subordinates toward a single purpose. The engineer must understand the commander's intent and how it relates to integrating obstacles. The engineer should always ensure that the obstacles he is emplacing support the commander's overall intent.

Maneuver Graphics and the Fire Plan

In order to fully support the scheme of maneuver, the engineer must have and understand the maneuver graphics on the battalion's operational overlay. The maneuver graphics use symbols to depict the missions of each subunit within the battalion. Maneuver control measures such as battle positions, sectors, phase lines, passage lanes/points, and counterattack axis are vitally important to understanding the plan and integrating tactical obstacles. The maneuver graphics may include direct-fire control measures that direct how and where combat forces will mass, shift, and lift fires to destroy the enemy. Direct-fire control measures include EAs, trigger lines, and TRP and unit boundaries. In short, they dictate the direct-fire responsibilities of each subordinate. Understanding the direct-fire plan and the organization of the engagement is fundamental to integrating obstacles with fires. The maneuver graphics also give the engineer an appreciation of how tactical obstacles supporting one unit must complement the adjacent units. This is particularly true of adjacent EAs or plans requiring any tactical repositioning of forces.

Obstacle-Execution Matrix

The obstacle-execution matrix includes specific instructions and detailed information concerning the obstacle groups shown on the scheme-of-obstacle overlay. This matrix gives the engineer critical information on minefield groups that will be emplaced within the company's/team's AO. As a minimum, the obstacle-execution matrix should include the information shown in Figure 2-17.

Scheme-of-Obstacle Overlay

At the maneuver battalion level, the scheme-of-obstacle overlay depicts the location of brigade-directed belts, TF obstacle groups, and any directed obstacles within the battalion sector. Any obstacle restrictions attached to an obstacle control measure (belt or group) that preclude the employment of certain types of obstacles are annotated on the overlay. A scheme-of-obstacle overlay is a graphic control measure that defines the general location of the obstacle groups and the effect to be achieved by them. The scheme-of-obstacle overlay does not normally depict individual obstacle locations. The location of individual obstacles within a group is determined during the siting process between the emplacing engineer and the maneuver company commander. When overlaid on the maneuver graphics and the SITEMP, the scheme-of-obstacle overlay should depict the essential elements of obstacle integration:

  • Enemy targeted by the obstacle.
  • Location of the obstacle on the battlefield.
  • Unit covering the obstacle.
  • Directed link between the obstacle effects and the fire plan.

Fire-Support Plan

The emplacing engineer should be familiar with the key elements of the fire-support plan. He must understand the general scheme of fires and how the fires support the scheme of maneuver, the commander's intent, and the obstacle plan. Normally, the emplacing engineer does not need the entire fire-support overlay depicting the location of all targets. However, he should know the location of fire-support targets directed by the battalion to cover obstacles. The emplacing engineer should know who has the priority of fires for each phase of the battle. The emplacing engineer should also know the location and the type of priority targets or FPF allocated to the maneuver company he is supporting. During coordination with the maneuver company, the emplacing engineer should discuss the fire-support plan with the company FIST and get updates on changes to the plan as well as any company-level fire-support plans that may impact on the integration of obstacles.

Combat Service Support

The engineer must be familiar with the plan for combat service support (CSS). In particular, the engineer must know the location of major supply routes into and through the battalion area, the location of the battalion logistics release point (LRP), what routes the maneuver company will take from its position to the LRP, and the location of key battalion logistics nodes. The emplacing engineer must always be cognizant of the sustainment traffic flow and the impact obstacle emplacement has on sustainment operations. Of particular concern to the engineer is the location of the Class IV/V supply point and the routes to it.

Battlefield Operating System

During coordination with the maneuver company commander, a checklist or a framework is a useful tool for organizing thoughts and formulating questions. Below is a list of considerations or points of coordination that should drive the integration of the emplacing engineer and the maneuver company commander. The list is organized using the Battlefield Operating System (BOS) because it provides a logical sequence and a framework that is easily remembered.

  • Intelligence.

  • - Enemy AAs and MCs (mounted and dismounted).
    - Likely enemy COA and possible reactions to the obstacles.
    - Enemy breach capability.
    - Enemy reconnaissance routes and friendly counterreconnaissance or R&S
       plans, particularly company-level patrols.
    - Likely enemy formations and transitions between formations.
  • Maneuver.

  • - Specified, implied, and essential tasks of the maneuver company.
    - Higher commander's intent.
    - Organization of the defensive position, including--
       > Task organization (type of weapons).
       > Decisive point or defeat mechanism.
       > Organization of direct fires in the EA.
       > Location and marking of direct-fire control measures.
       > Position of weapons to cover assigned direct-fire responsibilities.
    - Tactical mobility requirements of the maneuver company and any adjacent
       units, including--
       > Counterattack axis.
       > Repositioning of forces and their routes to alternate, supplementary, or
          subsequent battle positions.
       > Employment of reserves.
       > Passage of lines.
    - Obstacle protection measures.
  • Mobility/survivability.

  • - Intent of tactical obstacles covered by the maneuver company (enemy target,
       obstacle location, and obstacle effect).
    - Obstacle control measures and restrictions imposed by higher headquarters.
    - Mobility requirements (lanes/gaps), as identified above in maneuver.
    - Mutual support between the obstacle location, the fire plan, obstacle effects,
       and survivability positions.
    - Security for engineers provided by the maneuver unit supported.
  • Fire support.

  • - Location of the company FIST and frequency of fire support.
    - Updates on the tentative fire-support plan.
    - Allocation of fires to the company, including--
       > Artillery or mortar targets.
       > Priority targets, types of targets, and the FPF.
    - Covering obstacles and their effects with indirect fires.
    - Indirect-fire control measures to synchronize direct fires, indirect fires,
       and obstacles.
    - Area-denial artillery munition (ADAM)/remote antiarmor mine (RAAM) use
       (lane closure and breached obstacle repair).
    - Registering fires. (Deconflict with obstacle emplacement; registration should
       occur after obstacles are sited but before emplacement.)
    - Company fire-support execution matrix.
    - Means for obtaining fire support, if enemy contact is made during emplacement.
  • Air defense.

  • - Enemy air AAs during emplacement.
    - Update on changes to air-defense warning and weapons status.
    - Location of air-defense systems that can cover engineers emplacing obstacles.
    - Method of obtaining early air-defense warning.
  • CSS.

  • - Tentative location of the mine dump, if used, within the company position and
       routes from the mine dump to obstacles.
    - Routes the company plans on using to conduct logistics package (LOGPAC)
       operations that must remain open.
    - Manpower assistance for operations at the Class IV/V supply point and the
       mine dump.
    - Casualty evacuation routes for scouts, observation posts (OPs), and ADA
       systems.
  • C 2 .

  • - Location of the commander during defensive preparation.
    - Frequency-modulated (FM) net of the supported company and the means of
       communication.
    - Unit boundaries affecting obstacle emplacement.
    - Time and place of the company/team order.
    - Coordination that must occur with adjacent units.
    - Obstacle reporting and recording requirements.
    - Control and execution of situational and reserve obstacles.
    - Lane-closure responsibilities and procedures.
    - Time and method of obstacle turnover, including lanes.
    - Company/team understanding of the obstacle intent.

SITING THE MINEFIELD

The emplacing engineer and the company/team commander site individual obstacles to achieve synchronization between the obstacle effect and fires. Siting is a key component to the EA development process, and it represents the final adjustments to the obstacle location and the fire control measures before emplacement.

Certain preconditions are necessary to site individual obstacles. First, the company/team commander decides where he plans to mass fires and marks the necessary fire control measures on the ground. The location of these control measures must be clear, since they are the basis for obstacle siting. The commander then identifies tentative locations for key weapons within the position or the sector. Finally, the commander and the engineer must both understand the intent of the obstacle group.

Obstacle siting concentrates on marking the obstacle group as a whole instead of marking each individual obstacle. In broken terrain, however, it may be easier to site individual obstacles. The company/team commander and the emplacing engineer use vehicles or soldiers from the company/team, the engineer platoon, or both to simulate the enemy force and do the physical marking. The simulated enemy force moves into the EA to the enemy side of the obstacle group. The engineer platoon leader and the company/team commander collocate near the weapons covering the obstacle. As a technique, one or all of the tanks, Bradleys, and other crew-served weapons may occupy their position and contribute to the siting process. All participants in the siting process use a common FM net to communicate during siting.

The simulated enemy force moves into the EA, simulating the enemy's attack. It deploys into a formation of front that is similar to the expected enemy formation. Once it is near the marked fire control measures, it places markers at intervals as it drives the trace of the obstacle-group effect (or individual obstacles in broken terrain). It remains oriented on key fire control measures to ensure that obstacle location and effect are synchronized with fires. During the process, each participant verifies that he can cover the obstacle, notes the location of fire control measures and obstacles, and records the appropriate data on range cards. As the simulated force drives the obstacle trace, siting participants also identify dead space and requirements to refine the location of the obstacle group and fire control measures. Figure 2-18 illustrates how the engineer and the company/team commander work together to site turn- and fix-obstacle groups.

Figure 2-18. Minefield siting

Once the company/team marks the general limits and the orientation of the obstacle group, the engineers can begin marking individual obstacles (if not already done). To mark individual obstacles, the engineer platoon uses the group markers as guides. As shown in Figure 2-18, the group markers may lend themselves well as the start and end points of individual obstacles; however, this is not always the case. As the engineer platoon refines the group limits into the site of individual obstacles, the platoon can then begin the necessary site layout based on the method of obstacle emplacement.

Siting is not the last thing done during preparations. The time and resources involved in emplacing tactical obstacles require that siting begins concurrently with establishing the defensive position. It is imperative that the unit sites the obstacles as soon as the company/team commander has established the EA and identified tentative positions for key weapons. It is not necessary that all weapons are in place and dug in before siting. Normally, well-marked fire control measures and one known position per maneuver platoon (not dug in) are all that is required to site the obstacles effectively.

EMPLACING MINEFIELDS

Based on the group effect, resources allocated, and the engineer plan, the platoon leader determines the method of emplacement for individual minefields. The procedures for emplacing scatterable, row, and standard-pattern minefields are contained in Chapters 3, 6, and 7, respectively.

DETERMINING RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS

The engineer must determine the number of individual minefields needed to make up the group and ensure the allocation of required resources. The amount of linear obstacle effort for a group is equal to the width of the AA, multiplied by the resource factor. In Figure 2-19 the AA is 1,500 meters wide, the tactical-obstacle effect is to turn the enemy, and the resource factor is 1.2. The linear minefield requirement is 1,800 meters. One turn-effect minefield has a front of 500 meters (1,800/500 = 4 minefields [round up]). The number of mines and the time required to emplace each minefield depends on the emplacement method.

Figure 2-19. Example of minefield resourcing

Continue Chapter 2



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