THE MGS PLATOON
The fundamental mission of the mobile gun system platoon is to provide mounted, precision direct fire support to the SBCT infantry company. Its ability to move, shoot, and communicate, and to do so with limited armored protection, is an important factor on the modern battlefield. The MGS platoon moves, attacks, defends, and performs other essential tasks to support the company's mission. In accomplishing its assigned missions, it employs firepower, maneuver, and shock effect, synchronizing its capabilities with those of other maneuver elements and with CS and CSS assets. When properly supported, the platoon is capable of conducting sustained operations against any sophisticated threat.
Section I. ORGANIZATION
The MGS platoon is organized to provide mounted, precision direct fire support to the dismounted infantry rifle platoons of the SBCT infantry rifle company. The platoon organization and the responsibilities of the platoon personnel will be discussed in this section.
B-1. PLATOON ORGANIZATION
Figure B-1 illustrates the organization of the MGS platoon. The platoon includes three MGS vehicles, each with a three-man crew (vehicle commander, gunner, and driver). The platoon leader and platoon sergeant are the VCs for two of the MGS vehicles.
Figure B-1. MGS platoon organization.
The following paragraphs describe the responsibilities of personnel in the MGS platoon.
a. Platoon Leader. The MGS platoon leader is responsible to the SBCT infantry company commander for the discipline and training of his platoon, the maintenance of its equipment, and its success in combat. He must be proficient in the tactical employment of his vehicle and of the platoon. He must have a solid understanding of troop-leading procedures and develop his ability to apply them quickly and efficiently on the battlefield.
(1) The platoon leader must know the capabilities and limitations of the MGS platoon's personnel and equipment and must be well versed in enemy organizations, doctrine, and equipment. He must serve as an effective vehicle commander. Most importantly, the platoon leader must be flexible and capable of using sound judgment to make decisions based on his company commander's intent and the tactical situation.
(2) The platoon leader must know and understand both the SBCT infantry battalion's mission and the battalion commander's intent. He must be prepared to assume the duties of the SBCT infantry company commander in accordance with the succession of command.
b. Platoon Sergeant. The platoon sergeant is second in command and is accountable to the platoon leader for the training, discipline, and welfare of the soldiers in the platoon. He coordinates the platoon's maintenance and logistics requirements and resolves the personal needs of individual soldiers. The platoon sergeant is the most experienced VC in the platoon. His tactical and technical knowledge allows him to serve as mentor to the crewmen, other NCOs, and the platoon leader. His actions on the battlefield must complement those of the platoon leader. He must be able to fight his vehicle effectively, either in concert with the platoon or by itself.
c. Vehicle Commander. The vehicle commander is responsible to the platoon leader and platoon sergeant for the discipline and training of his crew, maintenance of assigned equipment, reporting of logistical needs, and tactical employment of his MGS. He briefs his crew, directs the movement of the MGS, submits all reports, and supervises initial first aid treatment and evacuation of wounded crewmen. He is an expert in using MGS weapons systems, requesting and adjusting indirect fires, and executing land navigation. He is personally responsible for aiming and firing the vehicle's local defense weapon. The VC must know and understand the company mission and the company commander's intent. He must be prepared to assume the duties and responsibilities of the platoon leader or platoon sergeant in accordance with the succession of command. These requirements demand that the VC maintain constant awareness of the enemy and friendly situation by using all available optics for observation, by monitoring radio transmissions, and by using the FBCB2 system.
d. Gunner. The gunner searches for targets and aims and fires the main gun. He is responsible to the VC for the maintenance of his MGS armament and fire control equipment. The gunner serves as the assistant VC and assumes the responsibilities of the VC as required. He also assists other crewmembers as needed. The gunner's other duties include maintaining MGS communications and internal control systems, monitoring communications nets, and monitoring and maintaining the vehicle's fire control system.
e. Driver. The driver moves, positions, and stops the MGS. While driving, he constantly searches for covered and concealed routes and for covered positions to which he can move if the MGS is engaged. He maintains his vehicle's position in tactical formation and watches for visual signals. During engagements, he assists the gunner and VC by scanning for targets and sensing fired rounds. The driver is responsible to the VC for the automotive maintenance and refueling of the MGS. He assists other crewmen as needed.
Section II. CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS
To win in battle, leaders must have a clear understanding of the capabilities and limitations of their equipment. This knowledge assists the MGS platoon leader in evaluating transportability, sustainment, and mobility considerations for his vehicles and for those with which the platoon may operate as part of the SBCT infantry company.
The MGS offers an impressive array of capabilities on the modern battlefield: cross-country mobility, sophisticated communications, enhanced target acquisition, lethal firepower, and limited armored protection. In combination, these factors produce the additional combat power that allows the MGS platoon to support the SBCT infantry company effectively in most weather and light conditions.
a. The MGS can move rapidly under a variety of terrain conditions, negotiating soft ground, shallow trenches, small trees, and limited obstacles. In addition, the GPS allows the MGS to move to designated locations quickly and accurately. Use of visual signals and the FM radio system facilitates rapid and secure voice and digital communication of orders and instructions. This capability links to FBCB2 to allow MGS crews to mass the effects of their weapons systems quickly while remaining dispersed to limit the effects of the enemy's antiarmor weapons.
b. On-board optics and sighting systems enable MGS crews to destroy fortifications or breach building walls using the main gun and to use the self-defense weapon to suppress enemy positions, personnel, and lightly armored targets. The MGS also has a limited capability to acquire and destroy enemy armored vehicles. The MGS's armor protects crewmembers from small-arms fire, light antiarmor systems, and most artillery.
The MGS requires proficient operators and mechanics to maintain the appropriate level of maintenance and supply of POL products. The vehicle is vulnerable to the weapons effects of tanks and other medium to heavy assault vehicles, attack helicopters, mines, ATGMs, antitank guns, and close attack aircraft. When the MGS operates in built-up areas, dense woods, or other restricted terrain, reduced visibility leaves it vulnerable to dismounted infantrymen using shoulder-fired antiarmor systems. In these situations, the MGS is usually restricted to trails, roads, or streets, which severely limits maneuverability and observation. Existing or reinforcing obstacles can also impede MGS movement.
a. Although the MGS has a limited armor killing capability, it should never be considered a tank. The intended purpose of the MGS is primarily to close with and destroy enemy infantry.
b. Mobility restrictions in an urban environment may prohibit the platoon from fighting effectively as a platoon. The platoon may be required to fight as individual vehicles (detached to infantry platoons), unable to rely on one another for mutual support.
Section III. OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS
The MGS platoon is an integral part of the SBCT infantry company. The platoon conducts tactical movement, actions on contact, consolidation, and reorganization in support of the company. The MGS platoon can perform many tasks required by the company commander's intent, the tactical situation, and the ROE. Specifically, the MGS platoon can perform the following as part of an SBCT infantry company offense:
B-5. ATTACK BY FIRE
The company commander may order the MGS platoon to execute an attack by fire to destroy the enemy using long-range, precision direct fires from dominant terrain or using standoff of the main gun. The MGS platoon can use an independent attack by fire to destroy inferior forces. In addition, the platoon may conduct an attack by fire as part of a company assault with the goal of destroying a superior force.
a. In executing an attack by fire, the MGS platoon conducts tactical movement to a position that allows it to employ weapons standoff or that offers cover for hull-down firing positions. It also must be ready to move to alternate firing positions for protection from the effects of enemy direct and indirect fires.
b. As time permits, the MGS platoon leader develops a hasty direct fire plan by designating TRPs and assigning sectors of fire and tentative firing positions for each MGS. He issues a platoon fire command specifying the method of fire, firing pattern, and rate of fire the platoon must sustain to support the company.
B-6. OVERWATCH/SUPPORT BY FIRE
The SBCT infantry company commander orders the MGS platoon to provide overwatch or support by fire during the movement of a friendly force. The MGS platoon must suppress the enemy using long-range, precision direct fires from a dominant piece of terrain or using the standoff of the main gun. This support sets the conditions that allow moving (mounted or dismounted) friendly elements to engage and destroy the enemy. The techniques involved in occupying an overwatch or support-by-fire position and in focusing and controlling fires are similar to those for an attack by fire. However, some specific considerations exist:
a. As noted, the overwatch or support-by-fire task is always tied directly to the movement or tactical execution of other friendly forces.
b. In executing overwatch or support by fire, the platoon must maintain a high level of awareness relative to the supported force so it can cease or shift direct fires and adjust indirect fires as required to prevent fratricide.
c. Throughout an overwatch or support by fire, the MGS platoon maintains cross talk with the moving force on the company net. In addition to reducing fratricide risk, cross talk allows the platoon to provide early warning of enemy positions it has identified. It can then report battle damage inflicted on the enemy force.
d. The MGS platoon can conduct combat operations in a built-up area. The MGS platoon may be tasked, as a unit or by individual vehicles, to conduct support-by-fire missions during urban operations to assist the SBCT infantry company in seizing a foothold or an objective in the built-up area.
e. A successful overwatch or support by fire operation suppresses the enemy, permitting the moving (mounted or dismounted) force to conduct tactical movement, breaching operations, or an assault. Figure B-2 illustrates a support-by-fire situation in support of an assault.
Figure B-2. MGS platoon supporting by fire to suppress an enemy
element during a company assault.
As part of his original plan or based on a change in the situation, the company commander may order the company to bypass the enemy to maintain the tempo of the attack. This action can be taken against either an inferior or superior enemy force. The SBCT infantry company commander may designate the MGS platoon to suppress the enemy, allowing the other platoons to use covered and concealed routes, weapons standoff, and obscuration to bypass known enemy locations. (Units may have to execute contact drills while conducting the bypass.) Once clear of the enemy, the MGS platoon hands the enemy over to another friendly force (if applicable), breaks contact, and rejoins the company. If necessary, the MGS platoon leader can employ tactical movement to break contact with the enemy and continue the mission; he can also request supporting direct and indirect fires and smoke to suppress and obscure the enemy as the MGS platoon safely breaks contact (Figure B-3, and Figure B-4).
Figure B-3. Bypass (MGS suppressing the enemy).
Figure B-4. Bypass (MGS platoon rejoining the company).
Section IV. DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS
In the defense, the MGS platoon provides the SBCT infantry company with precision direct fires from a mobile, medium-armored platform. (Refer to Chapter 5 of this manual for an explanation of defensive operations.) The MGS platoon can perform the following as part of an SBCT infantry company defense:
B-8. DEFENDING FROM A BATTLE POSITION
When, based on the SBCT company commander's intent, the MGS platoon must defend a battle position, it may be tasked to destroy, block, or canalize enemy forces, or to displace to occupy successive battle positions. The MGS platoon leader must develop his portion of the company engagement area. An MGS platoon may be assigned a battle position as part of an SBCT infantry company battle position, perimeter defense, strongpoint defense, or sector defense. As a minimum, the MGS platoon leader must--
B-9. PARTICIPATE IN A COUNTERATTACK
The purposes of a counterattack are to destroy the enemy, regain key terrain, relieve enemy pressure on an engaged unit and continue the offensive initiative of the company. The MGS platoon conducts counterattacks as part of a larger force but has a limited capability to conduct a counterattack by itself.
a. If the MGS platoon is designated as the counterattack force, the platoon leader coordinates with the affected units for covered and concealed locations and routes. Prior to execution of the defense, the platoon should rehearse these routes, time permitting. The platoon leader incorporates weapons standoff ranges into his planning. He controls direct and indirect fires during the counterattack. The platoon leader must disseminate all the information to the members of his platoon. If adjustments to any position or route become necessary, the counterattacking force must take immediate action to ensure that other forces shift or cease direct and indirect fires as appropriate. Otherwise, fratricide risk increases.
b. When the SBCT infantry company executes a counterattack with an MGS platoon, the platoon conducts tactical movement on a concealed route to a predetermined battle position or attack-by-fire position from which it can engage the enemy's flank or rear. The infantry platoons hold their positions and continue to engage the enemy (Figure B-5). The intent is to use the advantages of weapons standoff and cover to destroy the enemy by direct fires.
Figure B-5. MGS platoon as the company counterattack force.
B-10. PERFORM AS A RESERVE
The SBCT infantry company commander must weigh the mobility, lethality, and survivability of the MGS with the requirements of the reserve. This may lead the MGS platoon to be the company reserve or to form a portion of that reserve. The factors of METT-TC dictate the requirements. In the reserve role, the MGS platoon may execute either offensive or defensive missions.
a. In the role of the reserve, the MGS platoon may be tasked to conduct a spoiling attack, block enemy penetrations, or reinforce a defending platoon or company. The MGS platoon leader must understand both the SBCT infantry company and SBCT infantry battalion commanders' intents. This becomes critical with the multiple potential missions the MGS platoon can perform in its role as the SBCT infantry company reserve.
b. The MGS platoon may simply be assigned the mission of another SBCT infantry platoon while in the reserve.
Section V. URBAN OPERATIONS
Urban areas consist mainly of manmade features such as buildings, streets, and subterranean systems. These features of urban terrain create a variety of tactical problems and possibilities for MGS employment. To ensure that the MGS platoon can operate effectively in the urban environment, the MGS platoon's observation and direct fire plans must address the ground-level fight (in streets and on the ground floor of buildings), the aboveground fight (in multistoried buildings), and the subterranean fight.
The following considerations apply to the MGS platoon in an urban environment.
a. An important aspect of the urban environment is that built-up areas degrade command and control. The MGS platoon may need to fight as individual vehicles attached to infantry platoons.
b. Streets are usually avenues of approach. Forces moving along a street, however, are often canalized by buildings and have little space for off-road maneuver. Obstacles on urban streets are therefore usually more effective than those on roads in open terrain since they are more difficult to bypass.
c. Buildings offer cover and concealment to and severely restrict the movement of armored vehicles. Buildings also severely restrict direct fire distribution, control, and fields of fire. Every street corner and successive block will have characteristics similar to an "intervisibility line," requiring careful overwatch. Thick-walled buildings provide ready-made fortified positions.
d. Subterranean systems found in some built-up areas can be easily overlooked, but they may prove critical to the outcome of urban operations.
e. The aboveground fight (in an area with multistoried buildings) requires an analysis by the MGS platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and VC. This analysis is necessary in order to determine whether, based on height and distance to the target, effective fire can be brought to bear on target areas above the second floor.
f. If the MGS platoon enters the built-up area, they typically must move and fight with an infantry force to provide an appropriate level of security for the MGS platoon.
B-12. ROLE OF THE MGS PLATOON
During the attack of a built-up area, the commander must employ his MGS platoon to take advantage of the MGS vehicle's long-range, precision lethality and medium-armored protection. The MGS platoon may provide support by fire while lead SBCT infantry elements seize a foothold in an urban area. The MGS platoon can then provide overwatch or serve as a base of fire for the infantry until the area has been secured. The SBCT infantry company commander usually positions the MGS platoon outside the built-up area. It may remain there for the duration of the attack to cover high-speed avenues of approach. This is especially true if the intent is to isolate a specific area as the SBCT infantry company secures the objective area. However, the company commander may opt to attach one MGS vehicle to an infantry platoon within the built-up area while the remainder of the MGS platoon continues to isolate the objective area.
Before providing support for the attack, an MGS vehicle must be able to maneuver into a support-by-fire position. This normally requires support from organic infantry weapons to suppress enemy strongpoints and ATGM assets.
a. Command and Contro.. The following command and control considerations affect the MGS platoon's planning and execution in the urban environment:
(1) Communications. The task organization that may take place during urban operations requires small tactical organizations such as squad or section elements, to establish additional communications links to replace those that may be disrupted by buildings and other urban terrain features.
(2) Fire Control. Extensive direct fire planning and restrictive fire control measures are essential during urban operations. Extensive use of RFLs and other graphic control measures is also essential.
(3) Proximity and Visibilit.. Friendly elements must often operate in confined and restrictive areas during urban operations, and they may not be able to see other friendly forces nearby. These factors significantly increase the risk of fratricide; therefore, increased communications, graphic control measures, and rehearsals are essential.
(4) Personnel Factors. Urban operations impose significant and often extreme physical and psychological demands on soldiers and leaders. The MGS platoon's increased use of supplies (such as fuel and ammunition) and the increased chance of destruction from ATGM fires in the urban environment add to these demands.
(5) Rules of Engagement, Rules of Interaction, and Civilians. The rules of engagement and rules of interaction may restrict the use of certain weapons systems or techniques and procedures. As an integral part of the urban environment, noncombatants create special operational problems. To deal with these concerns, units operating in urban terrain must know how to employ the MGS effectively within the parameters of the ROE and ROI.
(6) Tempo of Urban Operations. Because of the slow and deliberate nature of urban operations, the MGS platoon may not be able to take full advantage of its lethality and the speed and mobility of its vehicles.
b. Maneuver. The following factors related to maneuver affect the MGS platoon's planning and execution in the urban environment:
(1) Need for Detailed Centralized Planning and Decentralized Execution. UO usually include a deliberate attack, demanding extensive intelligence activities and rehearsals.
(2) Requirements for Coordination. UO are successful when close coordination is established at the lowest level between SBCT infantry squads and MGS vehicles.
(3) Formation of Combined-Arms Teams at the Lowest Levels. Whereas task organization is normally done no lower than platoon level, UO may require task organization of squads and vehicles. The MGS platoon may face a number of organizational options, such as a single MGS vehicle working with an infantry platoon.
(4) Vulnerability of Friendly Forces. An MGS can provide precise direct fires to support accompanying infantry squads, but it is, in turn, vulnerable to attack from enemy infantry and ATGMs. The attacking force in UO must also guard against local counterattacks.
c. Task Organization. The task organization of an MGS platoon taking part in an attack during urban operations varies according to the specific nature of the built-up area and the objective. In general, the SBCT battalion or SBCT infantry company employs an assault force, a support force, a reserve, and, in some cases, a security force. Normally, there is no separate breach force, but breaching elements may be part of the assault or support force, depending on the type and location of anticipated obstacles.
(1) Assault Force. The assault force is the element that gains a foothold in the urban area and conducts the clearance of actual objectives in the area. This force is normally a dismounted element task-organized with engineers with specific augmentation by ICVs or MGSs, either as a platoon or as a single vehicle.
(2) Support Force. Normally, most mounted elements taking part in UO, such as the MGS platoon, are task-organized in the support force. This allows the SBCT infantry company commander to employ the firepower of the MGS platoon without compromising its survivability. The support force isolates the AO and the actual entry point into the urban area, or it provides precision direct fire to suppress enemy positions allowing assault forces to seize a foothold.
(3) Reserve Force. The reserve force normally includes both mounted and dismounted forces. It should be prepared to conduct any of the following tasks:
B-13. MGS CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS IN UO
Numerous factors related to vehicles and equipment affect planning and employment of the MGS platoon in an urban environment. These include the following:
a. Ammunition. The preferred main gun rounds in the UO environment are high explosive, antitank, tracer (HEAT-T), high explosive, plastic, tracer (HEP-T), and white phosphorus, tracer (WP-T). These perform much better than sabot rounds against bunkers and buildings.
(1) HEAT-T ammunition arms approximately 60 feet from the gun muzzle. It loses most of its effectiveness against urban targets at ranges less than 60 feet.
(2) HEP-T is used primarily against field fortifications, bunkers, buildings, crew-served weapon emplacements, and troops (where blast concussion and fragmentation are desired).
(3) The primary purpose of WP-T is to mark and screen targets, but the round can also be used to ignite combustible material.
(4) Sabot petals endanger accompanying infantry elements. They create a hazard area extending 70 meters on either side of the gun-target line, out to a range of 1 kilometer.
(5) Beehive ammunition is used primarily against troops in the open. Beehive use may be restricted in an urban environment due to the confined area.
b. Machine Guns. The local defense weapon can effectively deliver suppressive fires against enemy personnel and against enemy positions that are behind lightly clad buildings. This weapon may be dismounted and used in a ground role, if necessary.
c. Visibility and Security. When buttoned up, the MGS crew has limited visibility to the sides and rear and no visibility to the top. Figures B-6 and B-7 illustrate the dead space associated with MGS operations in an urban environment. When an MGS is buttoned up, dismounted infantry must provide local security to cover the dead space of the MGS (side, top, and rear).
d. Main Gun Elevation and Depression. Elevation of the main gun to +20 degrees is required to support dismounted infantry assaults in urban terrain. Elevation of +20 degrees is also required to provide effective direct fires to support infantry assaults on high ground at ranges up to 1,000 meters for local defense weapons and 2,000 meters for the main gun. This capability is crucial when MGS platforms are unable to maneuver on designated infantry axes of attack and must support the infantry forces from a distance. Depression to -10 degrees is required when the MGS is used to mass fires on enemy in low ground engagement areas during defensive operations.
Figure B-6. MGS weapon dead space at street level.
Figure B-7. MGS weapon dead space above street level.
B-14. DEFENSIVE TECHNIQUES IN UO
In defensive UO, the MGS platoon provides the SBCT infantry company commander with a mobile force that can respond quickly to enemy threats. The platoon's vehicles should be located on likely enemy avenues of approach in positions that allow them to take advantage of their precision long-range direct fires.
a. Employment of the MGS Platoon. Effective positioning allows the SBCT infantry company commander to employ the MGS platoon in a number of ways, such as the following:
The MGS platoon is normally employed as a platoon. However, the commander also has the alternative of employing individual MGS vehicles with infantry platoons and squads. This alternative allows the MGS vehicles to take advantage of the close security provided by dismounted infantry and increases the lethality of those infantry forces.
b. Fighting Positions. Fighting positions for MGS vehicles are an essential component of a complete and effective defensive plan in built-up areas. Vehicle positions must be selected and developed to afford the best possible cover, concealment, observation, and fields of fire. At the same time, they must not restrict the vehicle's ability to move when necessary. These considerations apply:
(1) If fields of fire are restricted to the street area, hull-down positions should be used to provide cover and to enable MGS vehicles to fire directly down the streets. From these positions, the vehicles are protected while retaining their ability to move rapidly to alternate positions. Buildings collapsing from enemy fires are a minimal hazard to MGS vehicles and their crews.
(2) Before moving into position to engage the enemy, an MGS vehicle can occupy a hide position for cover and concealment. Hide positions may be located inside buildings or underground garages, adjacent to buildings (using the buildings to mask enemy observation), or in culverts (Figure B-8).
(3) Since the crew cannot see the advancing enemy from the hide position, an observer from the MGS vehicle or nearby dismounted infantry must be concealed but still able to alert the crew. When the observer acquires a target, he signals the MGS to move to the firing position and, at the proper time, to fire.
(4) After firing, the MGS moves to an alternate position to avoid compromising its location.
Figure B-8. Example vehicle hide position in an urban environment.
B-15. EMPLOYMENT OF THE RESERVE FORCE
The company commander must always consider the employment of a reserve force in his UO defensive scheme of maneuver. This force should be prepared to counterattack to regain key positions, to block enemy penetrations, to protect the flanks of the friendly force, or to provide a base of fire for disengaging elements. For combat in built-up areas, the reserve force must be as mobile as possible. The MGS platoon (or a portion) is likely to be the centerpiece of the company reserve force.
Section VI. STABILITY OPERATIONS AND SUPPORT OPERATIONS
As noted, the MGS platoon has unique capabilities that make it an important asset to US and combined forces executing missions in both stability operations and support operations. The platoon may be called upon to support a wide range of operations in various political and geographical environments. Examples of these operations are included in Chapters 8 and 9 of this manual.
B-16. MGS CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATIONS IN STABILITY OPERATIONS AND SUPPORT OPERATIONS
The MGS platoon is usually used for stability and support activities that need to take maximum advantage of its inherent capabilities of firepower, maneuver, shock effect, and survivability for a specific operation. The platoon moves, attacks, and defends using procedures similar to those described throughout this field manual.
a. On the other hand, the factors of METT-TC and the operational considerations prevalent in both stability operations and support operations may modify the conditions for successful mission accomplishment. This means the MGS platoon occasionally may be assigned missions that are normally handled by specially trained and equipped elements. For example, the platoon could be tasked for crowd and riot control if a shortage of military police exists. (Coordination must be conducted early on to determine whether the military police organizations are digital- or analog-capable.)
b. Several problems arise when medium armored forces are used in this type of role. To perform with complete effectiveness and efficiency, crewmen must receive special equipment and training before executing such a mission. Certain situations during stability or support operations may effectively negate the MGS platoon's inherent advantages (lethality, mobility, and survivability). Therefore, the company commander must determine where and when to use the MGS platoon to maximize its advantages.
B-17. EMPLOYMENT EXAMPLES
The following situations examine several MGS platoon employment considerations during stability or support operations. These examples are not all-inclusive; assessment of the factors of METT-TC and the operational considerations applicable in the area of operations may identify additional mission requirements. The relatively simple situations illustrated here do not adequately portray the ever-changing, often confusing conditions of stability or support operations in which versatility is key to success (and survival). To the extent possible, the company commander should attempt to shape the role or mission of the MGS platoon to match the platoon's unique characteristics and capabilities. Figure B-9 illustrates a MGS platoon as part of a battle position and reserve/reaction missions.
|NOTE:||Refer to Chapter 6 of this manual for an explanation of UO. As noted, these operations often provide the operational framework for both stability operations and support operations.|
a. Establish a Battle Position. The platoon establishes a battle position or conducts a relief in place at a platoon battle position as part of an SBCT infantry company perimeter or strongpoint defense (A, Figure B-9). The SBCT infantry company MGS platoon and dismounted infantry should be integrated. Coordination with dismounted patrols and OPs outside the perimeter is critical. Signs, in the local language, should be posted as necessary within the engagement area to identify movement restrictions on the local populace. (See Chapter 5 for detailed information on defensive operations.)
b. Conduct Reserve Operations. As part of the SBCT battalion or SBCT infantry company reserve, the MGS platoon occupies an assembly area or establishes a perimeter defense (B, Figure B-9). Potential missions include linkup with and relief of encircled friendly forces (B1, Figure B-9); linkup and movement to secure an objective in an operation to rescue a downed helicopter or stranded vehicle (B2, Figure B-9); and tactical movement to destroy enemy forces attacking a convoy (B3, Figure B-9). In all three scenarios, the MGS platoon conducts tactical movement and actions on contact. Items such as linkup, support by fire, attack by fire, assault, hasty attack, and consolidation and reorganization are also critical to the reserve mission. (For more information on these operations, refer to Chapters 4, 5, and 8.)
Figure B-9. Battle position and reserve/reaction force missions.
c. Overwatch a Traffic Control Point. The MGS platoon (or vehicle) overwatches an infantry or MP traffic control point (C, Figure B-10). The overwatch element must ensure its own local security, usually by coordinating with dismounted infantry for OPs and dismounted patrols from the company.
d. Defend a Choke Poin.. The MGS platoon with an infantry squad (or an infantry platoon with an MGS vehicle) occupies a perimeter defense to protect traffic and facilitate movement through a choke point along the main supply route (D, Figure B-10). The integration of MGS and infantry in the perimeter defense is critical to mass the effects of firepower and to provide early warning and OPSEC for the defense by means of dismounted patrols and OPs. For detailed information on defensive operations, see Chapter 5.
e. Overwatch a Blockade or Roadblock. The MGS platoon (or vehicle) overwatches a blockade or roadblock, either a manned position or a reinforcing obstacle covered by fires only (E, Figure B-10). The company commander must coordinate dismounted infantry OPs and patrols when employing an MGS to overwatch a blockade or roadblock. MGS positions are improved using procedures for deliberate occupation of a BP (see Chapter 5).
g. Conduct Proofing/Breaching Operations. The MGS platoon (or vehicle) overwatches breaching operations along the MSR or provides overwatch to engineer elements as they clear the route (G, Figure B-10). Based on the factors of METT-TC, the MGS platoon may use tactical movement techniques to provide overwatch for the proofing element, which can be dismounted soldiers, an engineer vehicle, or a tank (equipped with a mine roller, if available). If mines are detected, the MGS platoon continues to overwatch the breaching force until all mines have been detected and neutralized. If the obstacle is not within the breaching unit's capability, engineers are called forward. At all times, overwatch vehicles should take notice of anything that is out of the ordinary, such as new construction, repairs to damaged buildings, plants or trees that seem new or out of place, and freshly dug earth. These conditions may indicate the presence of newly emplaced or command-detonated mines. At no time will an MGS conduct breaching or proofing operations.
Figure B-10. Traffic control point, choke point, blockade,
convoy escort, and route proofing missions.
h. Conduct Cordon and Search Operations. During cordon and search operations, the MGS platoon occupies overwatch or hasty defensive positions (or both) to isolate a search area (Figure B-11). Close coordination and communication with the search team are critical, as is employment of OPs and patrols to maintain surveillance of dead space and gaps in the cordoned area. The MGS platoon (or vehicle) must be prepared to take immediate action if the search team or OPs identify enemy forces. Enemy contact may require the MGS platoon to execute tactical movement and linkup.
Figure B-11. Cordon and search operations.
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