MINEFIELD SUPPLY OPERATIONS
Requests for Class IV/V obstacle material that are originated at TF level or below go to the TF S4. The TF S4 processes the requests and sends them to the forward support battalion (FSB). The FSB processes the requests and forwards them to the brigade-level FSB, the division material-management center (DMMC), and the corps material-management center (CMMC).
The issue of Class IV obstacle material normally involves large quantities of material; therefore, corps support elements normally use their transportation assets to deliver the material directly to the emplacement sites or to the Class IV/V supply point.
Units request Class V obstacle material somewhat differently. The TF S4 notifies the brigade S4 of Class V requirements. The brigade S4 notifies the division ammunition officer (DAO) in the DMMC, who authorizes Class V issue by the ammunition transfer point (ATP). Class V obstacle material, unlike most ammunition, is delivered to the user at the obstacle emplacement site or the Class IV/V supply point.
A supply request includes the quantity, the required delivery time, the transportation responsibilities, and the desired delivery location. The quantity includes the total for each type of obstacle. There may be several Department of Defense identification codes (DODICs) and national stock numbers (NSNs) involved, depending on the types of obstacles required. The required delivery time is very important for ensuring an early start on the preparation of the battlefield because the lack of material could adversely affect the mission. Transportation responsibilities must be clearly understood. Material handling equipment (MHE) is required to ensure a rapid turnaround of haul assets.
In addition, the brigade staff coordinates with the TF staff to identify the location of Class IV/V supply points in the TF sectors. Prompt identification of TF Class IV/V supply points is required if the obstacle material is forwarded from the corps into the TF sector. If the material is not forwarded into the TF sector, the brigade is responsible for delivering it to the TF.
At the TF level, sustaining obstacle operations is an extremely difficult task. Centralized throughput operations by the corps or the division stop at the TF level. Mass quantities of obstacle material, especially mines, are centrally received, broken down into minefield packages, and then distributed throughout the sector based on the obstacle plan. At some point in the distribution plan, the TF turns over control of the obstacle material to engineers who then emplace the obstacles. Obstacle logistics (especially for mine warfare) at the TF level can be complex, require prudent use of scarce haul assets and MHE, and demand positive C 2 .
The supply of obstacle material may vary slightly for obstacle groups developed at corps, division, and brigade levels. The staff at the level where the obstacle group is planned determines the resources required for the obstacle. It also determines how the emplacing unit will get the material. For example, if the corps staff plans a reserve obstacle group but the detailed planning is done at TF level, the TF resources the obstacle group. However, if the corps staff plans the obstacle group in detail, it determines the resources required. The corps staff also plans the delivery of obstacle material to the emplacing unit. Alternately, the corps staff could direct the emplacing unit to pick up the obstacle material from a location such as the corps storage area.
This section describes some of the underlying principles in mine supply operations. It concentrates on the flow of Class IV/V material (mines) through the battalion sector. The maneuver unit is responsible for the flow of obstacle material within the maneuver battalion sector; however, it is effectively a shared responsibility between the engineer and the maneuver unit.
There are two critical mine resupply nodes within the TF sector--the Class IV/V supply point and the mine dump. The relative locations of the Class IV/V supply point and the mine dump are shown in Figure 2-20.
Figure 2-20. Mine resupply
Class IV/V Supply Point
A Class IV/V supply point is a central receiving point for obstacle material in a TF sector. It is where the TF receives and transfers control of obstacle material pushed forward by higher levels. The supply point is established and operated by the TF and is centrally located to support all planned obstacles within the TF sector. Where the tactical-obstacle plan allows, the supply point should be located near the TF combat trains to better facilitate C 2 and the availability of equipment. The TF combat trains command post (CTCP) should provide C 2 of operations at the Class IV/V supply point. The TF engineer will normally furnish a representative that provides technical assistance to the CTCP.
The main purpose of a Class IV/V supply point operation is to receive obstacle material and reconfigure it based on the requirements for each obstacle group. Each supply point must have a dedicated S4 representative to track the flow of obstacle material in and out of the supply point. The supply point should have dedicated MHE to off-load the bulk quantities of obstacle material and reconfigure them into minefield packages as required. Obstacle material is normally broken down into minefield packages if the material is not already delivered in combat-configured loads. This may require a dedicated engineer representative to ensure that obstacle material is configured properly. Table 2-7 shows personnel requirements for a Class IV/V supply point.
The most labor-intensive task at the Class IV/V supply point is the uncrating of mines. This requires dedicated manpower from the supported maneuver force and the tools needed to break shipping bands and uncrate the mines from their containers. Another important aspect of uncrating mines is tracking fuses and booster charges. As the mines are uncrated, fuses and booster charges are separated. However, the same number and type of fuses and booster charges must be task-organized with minefield packages. This requires strict supervision; mistakes can quickly lead to confusion and a waste of emplacement time.
Because of the assets involved at a Class IV/V supply point, a TF is normally capable of operating only one supply point at any given time. If the TF sector is extremely wide or deep, several supply points may be planned; however, only one can be operated at a time, based on the commander's priorities for obstacle emplacement.
A mine dump is the most forward mine resupply node. It is where mines are task-organized into mine-strip packages and then inspected, prepared, and loaded onto emplacing vehicles. A mine dump is not a permanent supply point, and it is not always used. Its use depends on the method of minefield resupply, and these techniques are discussed in more detail later in this chapter. When used, one mine dump supports a single obstacle group. It is activated or deactivated upon initiation and completion of the obstacle group's emplacement. Mine-dump operations are primarily an engineer company or platoon responsibility. However, it is a good technique to augment mine-dump operations with personnel from the company/team overwatching the obstacle group being emplaced. A mine dump may be located in the vicinity of the company/team position or closer to the obstacle group.
- The minefield packages are further task-organized into mine-strip packages (complete with the right number, type, and mix of fuses and boosters) as they are transported to the mine dump. For example, if a platoon is emplacing a standardized disrupt row minefield, mines are task-organized into three mine-strip packages. As the engineer platoon moves to the mine dump to resupply, each emplacing vehicle loads a designated mine-strip package.
- The mines are prepared for emplacement; but they are not fused at the mine dump. Preparation includes loosening and greasing fuse and booster wells and ensuring proper functioning of the mine.
- The mines are transloaded onto emplacing vehicles or a mine-delivery system.
Transportation of mines from the Class IV/V supply point to the mine dump is a supported TF responsibility. However, it is normally shared between the engineer company and the TF, since neither one has the haul capability to simultaneously service all active mine dumps.
- Mines should be uncrated at the Class IV/V supply point to preserve transportation assets going forward.
- Mines are task-organized into minefield packages at the Class IV/V supply point.
- Transportation from the Class IV/V supply point to the mine dump is a shared engineer and maneuver unit responsibility when a mine dump is used.
- Mines are inspected and prepared at the last supply node (Class IV/V supply point or mine dump) before they are loaded onto an emplacing vehicle or a mine-delivery system.
- Class IV/V supply points are set up using authorized ammunition procedures and distance requirements.
- Carrying capacity. The location of key supply nodes and the type of resupply method used depends in part on the type, amount, and availability of haul assets. The carrying capacity plays a large role. In short, the more material a vehicle can carry, the more turnaround time you can afford. Table 2-8 provides the mine haul capacity for various types of vehicles.
- Traffic circuit. Vehicles must be able to enter, load, unload, and exit without interfering with the loading and unloading of other vehicles.
- Camouflage and cover. Protection from observation and thermal imaging is desired. Protection from artillery and air attack should be considered. Residue must be removed.
- Defense. The site must be organized for defense against enemy patrols and saboteurs.
- Time. Time factors for handling the obstacle material, to include all unloading, uncrating, inspecting, and loading, must be considered.
- Operators. Leaders and soldiers must be specifically allocated to operate Class IV/V supply points and mine dumps. They will probably remain there until the task is complete. The supply node may have to be collocated with or be near a source of manpower. Table 2-7 provides general guidance on how much manpower is required to sustain mine resupply operations.
In each method, corps or division transport delivers Class IV/V supplies forward to a designated Class IV/V supply point in each TF sector. The primary differences in the methods are how the material is delivered from the Class IV/V supply point to the obstacle location and whether or not mine dumps are established.
The supply-point method (Figure 2-21) requires that the emplacing engineer platoon return to the Class IV/V supply point each time it resupplies. This method does not require a separate mine dump. In effect, it moves the normal tasks associated with a mine dump to the supply point. Mines are prepared and inspected at the supply point as they are being loaded onto an emplacing vehicle or a mine-delivery system.
Figure 2-21. Supply-point resupply method
Several considerations may drive the use of supply-point resupply. First, if there are no additional haul assets to transport obstacle material forward from the Class IV/V supply point, the supply-point method may be the only viable technique. Secondly, the minefield group may be close enough to the supply point that any other method is less efficient.
- Minimizes unloading and loading of material.
- Requires minimal augmentation of haul assets.
- Allows manpower and equipment to be massed at a single supply point.
- Streamlines C 2 of material.
- Requires more movement of the platoon, which may take away from emplacement time.
- Requires that the platoon move in and out of the area where the minefields are being emplaced,
increasing the risk of fratricide.
- May disrupt the emplacement of individual obstacles when emplacing vehicles cannot carry
enough material to start and complete the obstacle. This causes emplacing vehicles to stop
work, reload, and pick up where they left off.
- Requires a larger Class IV/V supply point that is capable of receiving mass quantities of obstacle
material and multiple loading platoons simultaneously.
The service-station method (Figure 2-22) centers on the activation of a mine dump forward of the Class IV/V supply point. The mines are transported to a mine dump using a combination of engineer and TF haul assets that are normally under the control of the emplacing engineer. At the mine dump, material is stockpiled and prepared by the mine-dump party. Obstacle material is further task-organized into minefield and mine-strip packages. The emplacing platoon moves to a mine dump to resupply emplacing vehicles or dispensers. Once the obstacle group is emplaced, the mine dump is deactivated or moved to support another obstacle group.
Figure 2-22. Service-station resupply method
There are several considerations for using the service-station method. First, it is used when the obstacle group is located too far from the Class IV/V supply point to allow efficient turnaround. Since this method provides for prestocking obstacle material forward, it is used when available haul assets have a relatively small capacity. This requires making frequent, short-duration resupply trips and stocking mines to keep pace with emplacement. It also streamlines emplacement since there is an opportunity to task-organize the mines into mine-strip packages, based on the emplacement method and the type of minefield. Finally, while it still requires the emplacing platoon to stop laying and resupply, it minimizes the distance and the amount of time the platoon must travel to reload. This requires that a small party be left at the minefield to help pick up where emplacement stopped.
- Allows prestockage of obstacle material to keep pace with emplacement.
- Minimizes the distance and the amount of time the emplacing platoon must travel to reload.
- May provide additional manpower and security if it is located near a company/team.
- Requires additional loading and unloading of obstacle material.
- May require augmentation with haul assets.
- Disrupts emplacement by requiring the emplacing platoon to stop obstacle emplacement,
move to the supply point, reload, and return to the minefield.
The tailgate resupply method (Figure 2-23) transports obstacle material directly from the Class IV/V supply point to the emplacing platoon at the obstacle site. Obstacle material is transported with TF and engineer haul assets. Obstacle material is transloaded by emplacing engineers to emplacing vehicles or dispensers at the obstacle site.
Figure 2-23. Tailgate resupply method
Two overriding considerations drive the decision to use the tailgate resupply method. First, if obstacle emplacement is being conducted during limited visibility, the tailgate method is the primary resupply method. It minimizes disruption of emplacement and the chance of fratricide as engineers move back into the work area after reloading. Secondly, tailgate resupply is the primary method used when establishing a hasty defense or when the situation is unclear and an attack can happen at anytime. Since obstacle material remains loaded until transferred to an emplacing vehicle, the tailgate method enables engineers to quickly break contact without risking a loss of obstacle material to the enemy. The tailgate resupply method is the preferred method for light forces.
- Minimizes loading and unloading of obstacle material.
- Allows engineers to break contact rapidly in the event of enemy attack without losing
obstacle material to the enemy.
- Minimizes the movement of platoons in and out of the minefield (suitable for limited
- Requires augmentation by high-capacity transportation assets that are capable of
offsetting the loss in turnaround time if the vehicle has to wait at the obstacle site.
- May result in inefficient use of haul assets.
- Complicates C 2 in linking mine transport assets with emplacing engineers since the
engineers continue emplacement.
- Causes task-organizing of minefield packages to be conducted concurrently with loading.
Minefields must be marked to prevent fratricide. Marking ensures that friendly soldiers do not accidentally enter a minefield, and it is a requirement under STANAGs and Geneva Convention agreements. When emplacing minefields behind the forward line of own troops (FLOT) (in the main battle or rear area), mark the minefields on all four sides. This includes air-delivered Volcano minefields that are sited and emplaced before the enemy attacks.
Gator, RAAM, and ADAM minefields are exceptions to the rule. To preserve the system's flexibility and because of the relative inaccuracy of emplacement, these minefields are not normally marked before emplacement unless the tactical situation permits. Marking the area where mines are to be emplaced by artillery or fixed-wing aircraft is not recommended. Mines could likely be emplaced outside the marked area.
Forward of the FLOT, minefields are not generally marked before emplacement. However, commanders must make every attempt to mark these minefields as soon as the tactical situation allows. For scatterable minefields, a commander may choose to remove markings once the self-destruct (SD) time of the mines has expired; but the location of the minefield must still be recorded and forwarded to higher and adjacent units in case some of the mines did not self-destruct.
Construct a perimeter fence (Figure 2-24) to mark a minefield. Start emplacing the perimeter fence before emplacing mines, preferably during site layout if the tactical situation permits. For conventional minefields, ensure that the perimeter fence is at least 15 meters outside the nearest mine or cluster. For scatterable minefields, the area inside the perimeter fence must include the safety zone. (See Chapter 3 for more details.)
Figure 2-24. Minefield marking
Place warning signs for areas containing emplaced mines. Space the warning signs 10 to 50 meters apart, depending on the terrain. If using pickets and barbwire to mark the minefield, ensure that the wire is waist-high. If using concertina wire, use a one-roll height. Place additional strands of barbwire or rolls of concertina at the discretion of the commander.
A commander may decide to mark individual minefields in an obstacle group or to mark the group as a whole (Figure 2-25). Depending on the size and the location of minefields, either technique may have the advantage of using fewer resources or labor. Normally, marking individual minefields in a fix-obstacle group requires less resources than marking the entire obstacle group. The opposite is usually true for disrupt-, turn-, and block-obstacle groups. The decision to mark individual minefields or obstacle groups should not be based solely on logistical considerations. A commander must consider the amount of tactical and/or sustainment movement required in and around the obstacle groups as well as the capability of the unit's C 2 forces.
Figure 2-25. Marking of minefields and obstacle groups
Marking Individual Minefields
- Returning units forward of the minefields have more routes (tactical lanes or bypasses)
through the obstacle group.
- Tactical lanes need only pass through individual minefields.
- Mine recovery is easier.
- Obstacle may not provide the desired effect.
- Enemy units can more easily bypass individually marked minefields in a fix- or block-
Marking Obstacle Groups
- Obstacle is more likely to provide the desired effect.
- The enemy cannot easily discern individual minefields and decide when to employ breach
assets in a fix-or block-effect minefield.
- Friendly patrols cannot clearly see if the minefield is tampered with unless they are within
the perimeter fence.
- Tactical lanes need to pass through the entire obstacle group. Friendly units passing through
the lanes will be slowed considerably.
Once an obstacle group is completed, the emplacing unit conducts minefield or obstacle turnover with the owning unit. Occasionally, the owning unit will transfer responsibility for a minefield to another unit. Minefield or obstacle turnover ensures that the commander of the owning unit is familiar with the minefield and understands his responsibilities concerning it. Turnover is conducted whether or not there are lanes/gaps to be closed. Minefield turnover is a must; the time and the location for the turnover is established during the initial siting coordination.
- Fire support.
- CSS. Provide mines/material required to close lanes/gaps and ensure that all necessary material is available and prepared.
- C 2 .
- Provide an update on enemy activity forward of the minefield.
- Discuss expected enemy reconnaissance efforts.
- Brief on local, friendly, and enemy situations.
- Discuss obstacle protection against enemy dismounted patrols. Recommend that the
maneuver unit conducts security/patrols to protect the minefield during limited visibility.
- Discuss fire control measures.
- Discuss the obstacle's intended effect on enemy maneuver.
- Discuss the minefield front and depth and walk/ride the minefield trace. Provide grid
coordinates of the minefield trace.
- Discuss minefield composition.
- Discuss friendly minefield marking.
- Discuss lane/gap closure, if applicable. Confirm the signal or the activity that initiates
- Train units on how to close lanes. This may mean training the unit on emplacing
conventional mines or using the MOPMS.
- Update the company FIST on grid coordinates for the minefield trace.
- Discuss indirect fires covering the minefield.
- Transfer graphics and documentation (minefield records, demolition-target folders, or other
- Report completion of the turnover to the higher engineer and supported unit headquarters.
- Complete an obstacle-turnover report (a sample work sheet is shown in Figure 2-26) and
submit it to higher headquarters.
- Forward the written minefield report and record (DA Form 1355 or 1355-1-R) to the
next higher commander common to both units.
Figure 2-26. Sample obstacle-turnover work sheet
MINEFIELD INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE
- Moisture may have entered the igniter or the body of the mine and either neutralized the explosive or corroded the metal parts. Such actions may be aggravated by local factors (soil acidity or wide temperature swings).
- Frost or heat may have subjected the mine to mechanical strain and caused distortion.
- Insects or vegetation may have caused obstructions.
- Animals may have turned mines over or detonated them.
Technical inspections should only be made by experienced engineers or explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel. When a minefield deteriorates below the operating level, additional mine strips/rows are added to restore its effectiveness. They are sited to the front or the rear of the existing minefield to increase its depth. New mine strips/rows are treated as separate minefields.
Technical inspections of minefields are normally done at three-month intervals. They are done more frequently during extreme weather conditions. Detailed information on mine inspections can be found in Technical Manual (TM) 9-1345-203-12.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|