ROAD MARCHES AND ASSEMBLY AREAS
The movement of troops from one location to another is inherent in any phase of a military operation. Mission accomplishment directly relates to the ability to arrive at the proper place, at the proper time, in effective condition, and in the formation best suited for the assigned mission. SBCT infantry battalions must conduct tactical road marches and assembly area operations to achieve their missions.
Section I. TACTICAL ROAD MARCH
The SBCT infantry battalion conducts two kinds of movement: administrative and tactical. An administrative movement considers tactical implications, but its primary emphasis is on expediting movement and conserving time and energy. Administrative movements are based on the assumption that contact with the enemy during or shortly after the move is unlikely. A tactical road march is a rapid movement used to relocate units in a combat zone in order to prepare for combat operations. Although hostile contact is not anticipated, the unit must maintain security measures and be prepared to react to enemy contact. At battalion level and higher, the S3 is responsible for planning tactical road marches. The S4 has primary staff responsibility for planning administrative movements, but he coordinates his plans with all other staff members.
G-1. MARCH ELEMENTS
The elements of a road march include the march column, serial, and march unit.
a. March Column. A march column includes all elements using the same route for a single movement under control of a single commander. A battalion may march over multiple routes to reduce closing time. A large march column may be composed of a number of subdivisions, each under the control of a subordinate commander.
b. Serial. A serial is a subdivision of the march column. It consists of elements of a march column moving from one area over the same route at the same time. All the elements move to the same area and are grouped under a serial commander. A serial may be divided into two or more march units.
c. March Unit. A march unit is the smallest subdivision of a march column and normally consists of no more than 25 vehicles using the same route for a single movement and under the control of a single commander. It is normally a squad, section, platoon, or company. It moves and halts under control of a single commander using voice and visual signals. It uses radio only when it can use no other means of communication.
(1) Prior to Executing the Movement. Before starting a march, each march unit of a serial reconnoiters its route to the start point and determines the exact time to reach it. The movement order states the time the serial will arrive at and clear its start point. The serial commander then determines and announces the times for march units of his serial to arrive at and clear the start point. Arrival time at the start point is critical. Each march unit must arrive at and clear the start point on time; otherwise, movement of other elements may be delayed.
(2) During the Movement. During movement, march units move at the constant speed designated in the order, maintaining proper interval and column gap. Elements in a column of any length may simultaneously encounter many different types of routes and obstacles, resulting in different parts of the column moving at different speeds at the same time. This can produce an undesirable accordion-like action or whip effect. The movement order gives march speed, rate of march, and maximum catch-up speed. March units report crossing each control point as directed by the march order. They maintain air and ground security during the move.
G-2. MARCH COLUMN ORGANIZATION
March columns, regardless of size, are composed of four elements: reconnaissance party, quartering party, main body, and trail party. March columns are organized to maintain unit integrity and to maintain a task organization consistent with mission requirements. An element or a group of elements in a march column receives a numerical or alphabetical designation for planning, scheduling, and controlling.
a. Reconnaissance Party. The reconnaissance party may be augmented by engineer and other CS assets. It performs route reconnaissance to determine travel time, capacities of underpasses and bridges, and locations of ferries and fords, and it identifies critical points, including choke points and obstacles. Route reconnaissance confirms and supplements data from map studies, higher headquarters, and air reconnaissance. Instructions to the reconnaissance party should state the nature and extent of information required and the time and place the report is to be submitted.
b. Quartering Party. The quartering party normally consists of representatives from companies or attached units. It reconnoiters the new area, marking unit positions and guiding the march column elements into these new positions as they arrive. (See Section II for additional information on quartering party responsibilities when occupying an assembly area.)
c. Main Body. March units of the main body consist of individual maneuver units with their trains, battalion mortars, any attachments, the battalion CP, and the battalion trains. POL vehicles required for refueling during nontactical marches may move ahead of schedule to establish a service station refuel point.
d. Trail Party. The trail party normally consists of elements of the BSB, CRT, and medical support and is the march unit in a battalion serial. The function of the trail party is to recover disabled vehicles.
(1) Mechanical Failures. If a vehicle cannot be repaired or towed, it is moved off the road and into a secure area. The drivers and crew members, supplied with sufficient food and water, remain with the vehicle. The CRT leader reports the location and reason for leaving the vehicle behind to the battalion S4.
(2) Recovery. Once the trail party completes the road march, maintenance priority becomes the recovery of disabled vehicles. A tactical road march is not complete until all march units and vehicles arrive at the destination.
The purpose of conducting a road march is to relocate rapidly, not to gain contact with the enemy. Road marches are performed at fixed speeds and during timed intervals. The road march must be organized to meet mission requirements and provide organizational control. The three basic types of techniques are closed column, open column, and infiltration.
a. Closed Column. Closed column is normally used during limited visibility or on poorly marked or congested roads. It is characterized by vehicle intervals of 25 to 50 meters. This technique takes maximum advantage of the traffic capacity of the route but provides little dispersion of vehicles.
b. Open Column. In open column, the distance between vehicles is increased for greater dispersion. It is characterized by vehicle distance of approximately 50 to 200 meters; however, the factors of METT-TC determine actual dispersion. Open column is normally used during daylight but may be used at night with blackout lights or thermal vision equipment. Open column is normally used on well-marked routes with good visibility.
c. Infiltration. Infiltration has no defined structure. During a move by infiltration, vehicles are dispatched individually, in small groups, or at irregular intervals at a rate that keeps the traffic density down and prevents undue vehicle massing. Infiltration provides the best possible passive defense against enemy observation and attack. It is suited for tactical marches when sufficient time and road space are available and when maximum security, deception, and dispersion are desired or directed.
G-4. PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
Road marches require extensive planning. Commanders and staff use the military decision-making process to determine how best to execute a move from one point to another. (Refer to FM 55-10 for a detailed discussion of movement planning considerations, terms, and movement time computation.)
a. Factors for Consideration. Consider the following factors in road march planning:
- Requirements for the movement.
- Organic and nonorganic movement capabilities.
- Unit movement priorities.
- Enemy situation and capabilities, terrain conditions, and weather.
- Organization of the battalion.
- Security measures before and during the movement and at the destination.
- Assembly of the march units.
- Actions at the destination.
b. Sequence of Road March Planning. When preparing for a tactical road march, the battalion uses the following sequence of march planning, as time permits:
(1) Prepare and issue an oral warning order as early as possible to allow subordinates time to prepare for the march.
(2) Analyze routes designated by higher headquarters and specify organization of the march serial.
(3) Prepare and issue the march order.
(4) Prepare a detailed movement plan and assembly area plan.
(5) Organize and dispatch reconnaissance and quartering parties as required.
G-5. MOVEMENT ORDER
The movement order format is the same for administrative and tactical movements, IAW FM 101-5. The movement order is prepared as an annex to an operation order, as a separate operation order, or as a FRAGO.
G-6. CONTROL MEASURES
The commander uses the control measures discussed in the following paragraphs to assist in controlling the battalion during the road march.
a. Graphics. Road march graphics should include, at a minimum, the start point, release point, and route.
(1) Strip Map. The battalion strip map should depict the following (Figure G-1).
- Start point.
- Release point.
- Scheduled halts.
- Convoy routes.
- Major cities and towns.
- Critical points and checkpoints.
- Distance between CPs.
- North orientation.
(a) A start point is a well-defined point on a route at which movement of vehicles falls under the control of the movement commander. It is at this point that the column is formed by the successive passing, at an appointed time, of each of the elements comprising the column. The SP should be an easily recognizable point on the map or on the ground. It should be far enough from the assembly area to allow units to be organized and moving at the prescribed speed and interval when the SP is reached.
(b) A release point is a well-defined point on a route at which the elements comprising a column return to the authority of their respective commanders. At the RP, each element continues its movement toward its own destination. Multiple movement routes from the RP enable units to disperse rapidly and navigate to their assembly areas or areas of operation.
(c) Scheduled halts may be needed to provide rest, mess, refuel on the move sites, and maintenance. Dining and refueling halts should coincide if possible.
(d) Critical points or checkpoints on a route are places used for information references, places where obstructions or interference with movement might occur, or places where timing may be a critical factor. They are also used as a control measure for control and maintenance of the schedule. Guides or signs may be used at designated critical points/checkpoints to ensure the smooth flow of movement.
Figure G-1. Example battalion strip map.
(2) Digital Overlays. Digital overlays, which serve as a backup to maps with overlays, can provide valuable assistance for digitally equipped units. They display waypoints and other information concerning unit locations along the route of march, assisting the units not only in navigating accurately but also in maintaining current COP.
b. Communications. Messengers and visual signals are the preferred means of communication during road marches. Because the enemy has radio direction-finding equipment, the battalion uses radio only in emergencies and when it can use no other means of communication. The battalion can also use road guides to pass messages from one march unit to a following march unit. Because of the need to stay off the radio, road guides are important in controlling the speed of march units and the interval between them.
c. Traffic Control. The headquarters controlling the march may post road guides and traffic signs at designated traffic control points. At critical points, guides assist in creating a smooth flow of traffic along the march route. Military police, members of the SBCT infantry battalion reconnaissance platoon, or designated elements from the quartering party may serve as guides. They should have equipment or markers that will allow march elements to identify them in darkness or other limited visibility conditions. There is normally an RP for every echelon of command conducting the road march. Traffic problems may arise if actions at each of these points are not well rehearsed.
During the movement, march units maintain security through observation, weapons orientation, dispersion, and camouflage. Commanders assign sectors of observation to their personnel to maintain 360-degree observation. Main weapons are oriented on specific sectors throughout the column. The lead elements cover the front, following elements cover alternate flanks, and the trail element covers the rear.
a. Halts. While taking part in a road march, the march elements must be prepared to conduct both scheduled and unscheduled halts.
(1) Scheduled Halts. Scheduled halts are planned along the march route for maintenance and rest or to follow higher level movement orders. At scheduled halts, vehicles and soldiers move to the side of the road while maintaining march dispersion. Local security is set up immediately, and drivers perform operations maintenance checks. The unit is ready to move at a moment's notice.
(2) Unscheduled Halts. Unscheduled halts and actions may be caused by unforeseen developments such as obstacles, traffic congestion, or equipment failure. If a halt is necessary, the march column's first priority is to establish security.
b. Air Defense. Planning for air defense and implementing all forms of air defense security measures are imperative to minimize the battalion's vulnerability to enemy air attack. The battalion commander must integrate his fire plans effectively with the attached air defense artillery assets. Furthermore, he must ensure the battalion plans and uses all passive and active air defense measures that can be implemented at company level. Each vehicle in a motor march has an air guard to provide air security. Specific vehicles may be designated as air guard vehicles performing air rather than ground observation.
c. Obstacles. The battalion should bypass obstacles reported by the reconnaissance platoon, if possible. If it cannot bypass obstacles, the lead march unit goes into a hasty defense to cover and overwatch and breaches the obstacle, working with engineers if available. As the lead march unit breaches the obstacles, the other march units move at decreased speed or move off the road and monitor the battalion command net.
d. Enemy Indirect Fire. Should the battalion come under attack by enemy indirect fire during the road march, the unit in contact continues to move. The remainder of the battalion attempts to bypass the impact area.
e. Enemy Air Assault. Should the battalion be attacked by hostile aircraft during the march, the march unit under attack moves off the road into a quick defensive posture and immediately engages the aircraft with all available automatic weapons. The rest of the battalion moves to covered and concealed areas until the engagement ends.
f. Disabled Vehicles. Disabled vehicles must not obstruct traffic. They are moved off the road and their status reported immediately. Security is established, and guides are posted to direct traffic. If the operator repairs the vehicle, it rejoins the rear of the column. If the operator cannot repair the vehicle, trail party maintenance elements pick it up.
g. Restrictions. Restrictions are points along the route of march where movement may be hindered or obstructed. These points can include bridges, intersections, ferries, and bypasses. The march planner should stagger start times or adjust speeds to compensate for restrictions, or he should plan to halt the column en route until the restriction is over.
h. Limited Visibility. Units must be able to operate routinely under limited visibility conditions caused by darkness, smoke, dust, fog, heavy rain, or heavy snow. Limited visibility decreases the speed of movement and increases the difficulty in navigating, recognizing checkpoints, and maintaining proper interval between units. To overcome command and control problems caused by limited visibility, commanders may position themselves just behind lead elements. More restrictive control measures, such as additional checkpoints, phase lines, and use of a single route, may become necessary.
Section II. ASSEMBLY AREA OPERATIONS
An assembly area is a location where a force prepares or regroups for further action. While in AAs, units execute the organization, maintenance, resupply, and personnel actions necessary to maintain the combat power of the force. Designation and occupation of an AA may be directed by a higher headquarters or by the unit commander during relief or withdrawal operations or unit movements.
G-8. TYPES OF ASSEMBLY AREAS
The battalion may establish administrative or tactical assembly areas.
a. Administrative Assembly Areas. Administrative AAs are established where the likelihood of enemy contact is remote and the commitment of the force from the AA directly to combat is not anticipated. Examples of administrative AAs include seaport debarkation, pre-positioned materiel marshaling areas, and AAs occupied by units in reserve to echelons above corps. Battalions may occupy administrative AAs alone or as part of a larger force.
(1) Ideally, administrative AAs provide—
- Concealment from air and ground observation.
- Terrain masking of electromagnetic signal signature.
- Sufficient area for unit and vehicle dispersion, consistent with the degree and type of rear area or air enemy present.
- Hardstand areas for maintenance, vehicles, equipment, and supply storage.
- Buildings for maintenance, billeting, mess, and headquarters. Optimally, buildings will have light, heat, and wire communications.
- An area suitable for a utility helicopter landing zone.
- Suitable entrances, exits, and internal routes. Ideally, unit personnel can easily secure entrances and exits.
- Good drainage and soil conditions to support unit vehicle movement.
(2) Administrative AAs are organized and occupied with an emphasis on unit integrity, ease of operation, C2, and efficient use of facilities. Tactical dispersion and protection from ground or air attack are lesser considerations in an administrative AA. Units are typically grouped tightly together and placed at lower readiness conditions.
(3) Units that are occupying administrative AAs but that are not corps reserve are typically preparing to move forward to a tactical AA in preparation for employment in combat operations. Forces may occupy administrative AAs to await arrival of other units before moving forward.
b. Tactical Assembly Areas. Tactical AAs are areas occupied by forces where enemy contact is likely and commitment of the unit directly from the AA to combat is possible or anticipated. Examples of units likely to be in tactical AAs include units designated as tactical reserves, units completing a rearward passage of lines, units preparing to move forward to execute a forward passage of lines followed by offensive operations, units performing tactical movements, and units conducting reconstitution. Tactical AAs should provide—
- Concealment from air and ground observation.
- Cover from direct fire.
- Terrain masking of electromagnetic signal signature.
- Sufficient area for the dispersion of subunits and their vehicles consistent with the enemy and friendly tactical situation.
- Areas for unit trains, maintenance operations, and C2 facilities.
- Suitable entrances, exits, and internal routes. (Optimally, at least one all-weather paved surface road transits the AA and connects to the MSR in use.)
- Terrain allowing the observation of ground and air avenues of approach into the AA.
- Good drainage and soil conditions that support unit vehicle movement.
Battalion tactical AAs may be organized using one of three methods.
a. Method 1. The battalion may occupy a portion of the perimeter of an SBCT AA. It does so by arraying companies, generally on a line oriented on avenues of approach into the AA. Leftmost and rightmost units tie in their fires and areas of observation with adjacent units of other battalions. Depending on the tactical situation and width of the area assigned to it, the battalion may maintain a reserve. Battalion trains are located to the rear of the companies. The battalion mortar platoon and the main CP are located centrally in the AA where they can communicate and support units by fire. The reconnaissance platoon screens along the most likely or most dangerous avenue of approach.
b. Method 2. The battalion may assign sectors to subordinate companies and require them to tie in their fires and observation with each other. The main CP, trains, and mortar platoon are located near the center of the AA. Ideally, company sectors are assigned to balance the task organization against the appropriate enemy avenue of approach. The reconnaissance platoon occupies observation posts at key points around the entire perimeter of the battalion or screens along the most dangerous or likely enemy avenue of approach. This method configures the battalion in a perimeter defense with companies oriented outward. This is the most common organization of battalion AAs.
c. Method 3. The battalion may assign separate individual AAs to subordinate companies, which establish their own 360-degree security. Areas between companies are secured through surveillance and patrolling. The main CP, trains, and heavy mortar platoon establish positions central to outlying companies. If the battalion is dispersed over a large area, SHORAD assets (if available) may need to collocate with companies for adequate air defense.
G-10. QUARTERING PARTY
A quartering party is a group of unit representatives dispatched to a probable new site of operations to secure, reconnoiter, and organize an area before the main body's arrival and occupation. Unit SOPs establish the exact composition of the quartering party and its transportation, security, communications equipment, and specific duties. Quartering parties typically reconnoiter, to include NBC reconnaissance, and confirm the route and tentative locations previously selected from map reconnaissance. Quartering parties also serve as a liaison between their parent headquarters and the quartering party of their higher headquarters to change unit locations in the AA based on the results of their reconnaissance.
a. Planning Considerations. The S2 routinely receives intelligence information from SBCT headquarters throughout the battalion's deployment and operations. From this information, the S2 determines the characteristics and likelihood of the air and ground threat to the quartering party during its movement to and occupation of the AA. This information assists the battalion staff and the quartering party OIC in determining the mode of transportation and security required and the desirability of maintaining the quartering party in the AA during the movement of the rest of the battalion.
(1) The quartering party typically moves to the new AA by infiltration. For security, it may move with another subunit quartering party, depending on the likelihood of enemy contact. In this case, it may be necessary to move as a march unit of a road march if the number of vehicles exceeds local SOP restrictions on vehicular infiltration. Ideally, the quartering party moves over the routes to be used by the battalion and executes a route reconnaissance and time-distance check.
(2) The quartering party typically includes an OIC or noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) and representatives from the battalion main CP, battalion trains, and the battalion's subunits. The S3 air, HHC XO, S1, S3 sergeant major (SGM), and CSM are potential quartering party leaders.
(3) Composition of maneuver company quartering parties is usually determined by the company commander but may be specified by the battalion commander. HHC representatives typically include NCOs from key support sections such as communications, CRT, or supply. Representatives from the mortar platoon and the reconnaissance platoon are also represented in the quartering party.
(4) The main CP quartering party identifies potential CP locations based on tactical requirements, such as cover and concealment and the line-of-sight signal requirements of FM radios.
(5) An alternative technique is to send the operation's CV with the quartering party to establish C2 while the battalion main body is moving. If planning time is short, key members of the staff can move with the quartering party. This enables the staff to begin detailed planning immediately upon arrival in the assembly area. This technique also facilitates transitions to new missions by pre-positioning key staff members so planning can occur concurrently with the movement of the main body.
(6) If the battalion moves and occupies its AA as part of an SBCT, the SBCT makes all coordinations for fire support. If the battalion moves and occupies the AA without FS planning by its higher headquarters, it conducts its own FS coordination.
(7) During its planning, the staff must determine combat service support requirements for the quartering party. The estimate of necessary supplies and equipment must cover the entire quartering party, including accompanying staff section representatives and CS and CSS assets.
(8) The quartering party may move under radio listening silence or other emission restrictive posture, especially during movement to tactical AAs.
b. Preparation. The quartering party OIC or NCOIC plans his operations through coordination with battalion staff officers.
(1) Intelligence. The S2 ensures the quartering party OIC/NCOIC is aware of the current enemy situation, probable enemy courses of action, the weather forecast, and the terrain and vegetation likely en route to and in the new AA.
(2) Maneuver. The OIC or NCOIC coordinates with the S3 to determine the mission of the quartering party, whether or not the quartering party is to remain in the AA and await the remainder of the battalion, and the route and movement restrictions to be used by the quartering party. The OIC or NCOIC ensures subordinate unit quartering parties know where and when the battalion quartering party will be located in the AA.
(3) Engineer Support. The battalion S3 determines whether sending engineer personnel with the quartering party for the reconnaissance and evaluation of routes, bridges, and cross-country mobility is recommended or required.
(4) Air Defense. Air defense units, when available, may move with the quartering party en route to and in the new tactical AA. If air defense assets move with the quartering party, the air defense unit leader ensures he knows both the current and projected future weapons control status (WCS) and air defense warning.
(5) Command and Control. After the OIC or NCOIC has completed his planning, he assembles the quartering party at a time and place of his choosing to brief them. This briefing follows the standard five-paragraph field order format. Emphasis is on actions at halts and critical areas, actions of the quartering party in the AA, contingency plans, and procedures to request and receive CS and CSS. He should cover in detail medical evacuation procedures, actions on contact, and actions to take if separated from the quartering party.
c. Execution. The following considerations apply to quartering party execution.
(1) Maneuver. The quartering party navigates by infiltration to the AA, generally along one route. If the quartering party moves along a route to be used by the main body and the main body has not yet sent a reconnaissance party forward, the quartering party conducts a route reconnaissance during its movement. The quartering party may also execute a time-distance check of the designated route. Driving the march speed of the battalion's main body march units, the OIC or NCOIC notes the time and actual vehicle odometer distances between the CPs along the route. He reports these times and distances to the main CP after moving through the RP.
(a) Upon arrival in the assembly area, the quartering party navigates to assigned positions and executes the required reconnaissance. The quartering party also has the following responsibilities at the AA:
- Determines locations for individual vehicles.
- Identifies unit left and right limits of fire, records this information, and sends updates to the unit's commander.
- Determines the location for the main CP and records it.
- Verifies subordinate unit locations and sectors of fire to ensure there are no gaps in coverage.
- Ensures necessary routes are cleared.
- Transmits changes or updates to the main CP to alert the main body to changes in the route and assembly area.
(b) If reconnaissance of proposed locations reveals the area is unsuitable for occupation, the quartering party OIC or NCOIC attempts to adjust unit locations in the area assigned. If such adjustments do not correct the problem, he immediately notifies the S3 or commander.
(c) If an element of the main CP has accompanied the quartering party, it moves to the location reconnoitered by its representative and establishes forward C2 for the battalion. If air defense assets have accompanied the quartering party, they occupy advantageous firing positions oriented on air avenues of approach. Representatives organize their respective areas by selecting and marking positions for vehicles and support facilities. If designated, guides move on order to preselected checkpoints or RPs to await main body march unit elements.
(d) If the battalion quartering party is not going to remain in the AA, it does not depart the AA until all subordinate unit quartering parties have reported. The unit quartering parties should provide the results of their reconnaissance and identify requested changes to their tentative locations.
(e) Each commander or unit leader must decide if and when guides are required to assist in occupying the assembly area. Normally, the use of guides is planned for occupations during periods of limited visibility.
(2) Engineer Support. In some cases, mobility support is required to repair or replace damaged bridging or roadways where no feasible bypass is available. Engineer units supporting the battalion may accompany the quartering party to execute mobility operations.
(3) Combat Service Support. CSS assets may accompany the quartering party. CSS elements generally conduct resupply and maintenance operations for the quartering party at scheduled halts or in the new AA.
Units position themselves in AAs in accordance with their parent unit's tentative plan. Quartering parties typically guide units into position. The units accomplish occupation smoothly from the march without halting or bunching of units at the RP. Subordinate units normally establish routes and separate SPs and RPs for march elements that extend from the march column's route or RP toward the march units' AA positions. This technique clears the route quickly, maintains march unit C2, and prevents bunching of units at the march column RP. The battalion begins movement to the assembly area with an updated movement route, specific coordinates for vehicle locations, and a confirmed defensive scheme for occupation of the assembly area. This enables the battalion to transition quickly from the road march into the actual occupation while maintaining overall security for the main body.
a. Intelligence. The S2 assists in planning the AA occupation by identifying enemy avenues of air and ground approach into the new AA and the degree and type of rear area threat to the battalion in its new location. The S2 also identifies and disseminates the security requirements for the battalion and begins preparing the reconnaissance and surveillance plan for the AA. In coordination with the S3, the S2 makes preliminary plans for reconnaissance and surveillance tasks to be assigned to subunits in the battalion, including the reconnaissance platoon.
b. Maneuver. The commander or S3 chooses a method for occupation (whole battalion AA or separate subunit AAs) and tentative subunit locations based on METT-TC. He then considers selecting tentative AA locations. To operate effectively in the AA, selected subunits may have specific positioning requirements, such as being near mess units, near water for decontamination, or on hardstand for maintenance. Based on METT-TC, the commander or S3 develops contingency plans that address the possibility of significant enemy contact in the AA. Time available and the likelihood of enemy contact determines the level of detail in contingency plans. These plans typically include fire support plans and alternate AAs or rally points in case the battalion is forced out of its initial AA.
c. Fire Support. Fire support requirements are coordinated with units already positioned near the new AA. Support shortfalls between requirements and availability are coordinated with either higher or adjacent units. Fire support planning includes support for battalion contingency plans in case of enemy ground contact.
d. Engineer Support. The type and extent of engineer support required in the AA depends on the anticipated length of stay, type and degree of enemy threat, terrain in the AA, and the follow-on mission of the battalion. The battalion is responsible for all mobility and survivability tasks in the AA.
e. Air Defense. Air defense planning, when available for the tactical AA, focuses on the selection of SHORAD firing positions that will allow the engagement of enemy aircraft along identified air avenues of approach. Depending on the commander's stated priority of protection, assets available, and task organization, air defense units may locate with supported battalion subunits or in separate locations under battalion control.
f. Combat Service Support. The S4 recommends CSS positioning and typically positions the combat trains near the battalion main CP. HHC support elements position themselves in relation to the battalion TOC and the mortar platoon.
g. Command and Control. The XO and S2 determine tentative locations for battalion C2 facilities from map or imagery reconnaissance based on METT-TC. The overriding consideration for selecting these locations is the ability of the various CPs to communicate higher, lower, and laterally. Establishing the main CP in the new AA should occur early in the occupation so subunit CPs can locate based on their requirement to communicate with the main CP.
G-12. ACTIONS IN THE ASSEMBLY AREA
The battalion focuses all actions in the AA on preparing for future operations to include resupply, personnel replacement, maintenance, reorganization, rest, and the planning of future operations.
a. The battalion initiates administrative personnel actions in the AA if time permits.
b. Maintenance activities concentrate on deadline faults and those degrading the unit's ability to shoot, move, and communicate. The unit pays special attention to those maintenance tasks that are too time-consuming or difficult to perform during combat operations.
c. The units conduct resupply actions in the AA to replenish items used in previous operations, to assemble stocks for future operations, and to replace damaged and contaminated supplies as required. Refueling during the move to the AA is easier and faster than refueling after arrival in the AA.
d. The unit conducts planning and preparation for future operations concurrently with maintenance and administrative activities.
e. The unit may require training if issued new or modified equipment while in the AA. Small unit training may be necessary if large numbers of replacement personnel are introduced into the unit, especially if significant numbers of key leaders are replaced.
Security comprises measures taken by a military unit to protect itself against surprise, observation, detection, interference, espionage, sabotage, or annoyance that may impair its effectiveness. Security is essential to the protection and conservation of combat power. It may be achieved by establishing and maintaining protective measures or through deception operations designed to confuse and dissipate enemy attempts to interfere with the force being secured. Effective security prevents the enemy from gaining an unexpected advantage over friendly forces.
a. Security in the AA. Forces in tactical AAs are provided a degree of security by their separation from the line of contact and by the presence of other units between them and the enemy. In corps and division rear areas, security is provided through rear battle contingency plans. If the AA is well forward, security is provided by proximity to other combat or CS units. In keeping with their mission and the tactical situation, units in tactical AAs employ active security measures. These measures include reconnaissance and patrolling, visual and electronic surveillance of ground and air avenues of approach, and establishment of OPs. Regardless of the security that may be provided by other units or agencies, the commander takes whatever actions or precautions he deems necessary to secure his command.
b. Positioning of Companies. The battalion positions companies with respect to avenues of approach and access routes into the AA. Companies tie in their fires, observation, and patrolling with one another. This is fairly simple for the battalion because the companies typically occupy a portion of a battalion perimeter and are immediately adjacent to another company. Companies exchange sector sketches, fire plans, and patrolling plans with adjacent units.
c. Positioning of the Reconnaissance Platoon. The reconnaissance platoon may be positioned in one of three ways to enhance the security of the battalion. It can form a screen astride the most likely or dangerous avenue of approach; it can establish several temporary OPs and conduct patrols between them to provide a thin screen line that surrounds the entire AA; or it can be positioned to observe an area that cannot be seen by other units in the AA. Companies may also be repositioned to observe these areas. GSRs and surveillance assets allocated from the SBCT are either retained under battalion control or, more typically, attached to the reconnaissance platoon.
d. OPSEC. The battalion practices the usual OPSEC measures to enhance the security of the unit while in the AA. OPSEC includes active and passive measures that attempt to deny the enemy information about friendly forces. Units in the battalion practice noise and light discipline, employ effective camouflage, and eliminate or reduce radio traffic. Other electronic transmissions such as jammers and radar are also restricted. Units may construct and employ unidirectional antennas to reduce electronic signatures.
e. Noncombatants. Movement of civilians and refugees near AAs is strictly controlled to prevent enemy sympathizers or covert agents from obtaining information about the battalion. Units may remove unit markings and uniform patches in some cases to retain unit anonymity. When possible, the unit conducts rehearsals in areas not subject to enemy observation and performs extensive movements and resupply under limited visibility. OPSEC measures vary because of higher headquarters deception efforts.
f. Reconnaissance and Surveillance Plan. The battalion reconnaissance and surveillance plan directs the employment of intelligence assets under battalion control and assigns intelligence and security tasks to subordinate units. Companies typically provide security patrols to their fronts and establish OPs in accordance with the reconnaissance and surveillance plan. The reconnaissance platoon also conducts reconnaissance and security tasks in accordance with the reconnaissance and surveillance plan. Patrols may be established to maintain contact between units when companies occupy separate AAs.
G-14. DEPARTURE FROM THE ASSEMBLY AREA
The planning considerations for occupying the AA are based largely on the anticipated future missions of units. Units are positioned in the AA so they can depart the AA en route to their assigned tactical missions without countermarching or moving through another unit.
a. Placement of SP. Units departing the AA must hit the SP at the correct interval and speed. To achieve this, the SP must be located a sufficient distance from the AA to allow units to maneuver out of their positions and configure for the road march before reaching the SP. The SP for a battalion movement should be located an adequate distance from the AA to permit the companies to attain proper speed and interval before crossing it.
b. LNOs. When unit-to-unit dispersion or terrain in the AA prohibits visual contact, LNOs maintain contact between departing units and return to their parent units to initiate movement at the correct time.
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