OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS
This chapter describes how the Avenger platoon operates during offensive and defensive operations to include reconnaissance and security operations. The Avenger platoon's focus during offensive and defensive operations will shift from counter-RISTA to force protection as the operations become decisive.
The offense is the decisive form of combat. Army operational doctrine seeks to seize the initiative quickly and achieve decisive victory with minimum casualties. This segment describes how the Avenger platoon operates during offensive operations.
The main purpose of the offense is to defeat, by destroying or neutralizing, an enemy force. Offensive operations are undertaken to--
- Secure decisive terrain.
- Deprive the enemy of resources.
- Gain information.
- Disrupt an enemy attack.
- Deceive and divert the enemy.
- Hold the enemy in position.
- Setup conditions for future successful operations.
During friendly offensive operations, threat forces will attempt to use their maneuver and fire support assets to regain the initiative. Threat air activity will most likely be categorized by RISTA operations in support of artillery and maneuver. UAVs are best suited for these types of operations, especially if threat forces have developed effective C3I. Secondary weapon systems the enemy will use are helicopters, either as dedicated attack assets or as armed utility helicopters. Helicopter assets can be used in three roles--attack, air insertion, or reconnaissance. Helicopters in the reconnaissance role will operate in the same manner as UAVs to support artillery targeting and maneuver. In the attack, the air defender can expect spoiling attacks that usually consist of at least two helicopters or more (taking full advantage of cover and concealment) with the mission of disrupting friendly operations.
In some cases, helicopters will be used in conjunction with threat armored forces to deter friendly penetrations. However, it is unlikely the friendly commander will see large numbers of helicopters in this role. The enemy may use ground forces to first neutralize friendly air defense assets. Helicopters will be used as the primary CAS aerial platform against maneuver forces.
Threat fixed-wing assets will be limited, and their use will be hampered by friendly fixed-wing aircraft. Use of enemy fixed-wing aerial platforms cannot be entirely ruled out. If used by the enemy, the ground commander can expect to see no more than one or two aircraft in a spoiling attack, normally not coordinated with enemy ground operations.
Offensive operations are characterized by momentum, initiative on the part of subordinate commanders, and the ability to make rapid shifts in the main effort to take advantage of opportunities and rapid penetrations.
The Avengers may follow the brigade in zone, providing overwatch and protecting command and control, reserves, and artillery units. The decision to employ the Avenger unit forward requires a thorough understanding of the commander's intent and the establishment of disengagement criteria. Planning for this operation should include the following risk considerations when deploying Avenger forward in support of maneuver forces:
- Avengers are light-skinned vehicles with a distinct high profile. They are extremely vulnerable to direct fire, small arms, and indirect fire.
- The maneuverability of a fully combat-loaded Avenger is less than that of supported maneuver forces. The vehicle is somewhat top-heavy and unable to negotiate rugged terrain with side slopes exceeding 22 degrees.
- The span of control for an Avenger platoon is great. Consequently, the ability of the Avenger platoon leader to control a platoon of six Avengers on the move in support of a deployed task force is complex.
Avenger's involvement in offensive operations is different from other FAAD weapons. Bradley Stinger Fighting Vehicle (BSFV) platoons and MANPADS are integrated into a task force scheme of maneuver. These systems usually have a direct support (DS) relationship with their supported unit. Avengers are normally in a GS and GS-R role. However, Avengers can be in DS relationships. Avenger may be used in the direct support role, especially in light and special divisions. At night, in adverse weather and when no other ADA system can perform the ADA mission, the Avenger can be integrated into light battalion's scheme of maneuver.
Avenger platoon, section, and squad leaders must understand how offensive operations enhance existing FAAD systems coverage, and coverage for priorities other FAAD systems cannot perform and are Avenger-unique such as the counter-RISTA function. Examples of Avenger's involvement in offensive operations are--
- Reinforcing (R) or GS-R to a BSFV platoon and or MANPADS.
- Providing GS air defense to CSS, FS, and C2 assets.
- Assisting and augmenting air defense for choke points and breaching operations. See Avenger in Breaching Operations (R) to BSFV Platoon--Phase 1, --Phase 2, and --Phase 3 illustrations below.
A task force may conduct various types of offensive operations. Each requires the platoon leader to plan, using the six ADA employment guidelines outlined in Chapter 2. Avenger platoon, section, and squad leaders must determine Avenger's involvement in offensive operations. They must ensure Avengers stay out of direct fire range yet maintain pace with the supported unit for adequate coverage. Preplanning positions throughout the zone that support the operation and the command and control of the Avenger FUs is key.
Avenger FU are light-skinned vehicles and should not be integrated into the task force when meeting contact is expected. The Avenger may be positioned on the maneuver force flank and rear where it is best suited to defend enemy air avenues of approach. See Avenger Protecting Maneuver Force Flanks and Rear from Air Attack illustration.
Understanding the supported unit's scheme of maneuver is the first step in providing adequate air defense. The forms of tactical offensive operations are discussed in the following paragraphs (see the Avenger Protecting Maneuver Force Flanks and Rear From Air Attack illustration).
MOVEMENT TO CONTACT
The movement to contact (MTC) is conducted to make or regain contact with the enemy or to develop the situation. Task forces conduct MTCs independently or as part of a larger force. A task force will normally be given an MTC mission as the lead element of a brigade attack or as a counterattack element of a brigade or division. MTC terminates when the assigned objective is occupied or when enemy resistance requires the battalion to attack to continue forward movement attacks.
Enemy air can be expected if the friendly attack is achieving success. Avenger platoon leaders will normally design their coverage in conjunction with the task force . commander's scheme of maneuver and any TF DS ADA assets.
An MTC usually results in lateral maneuver once the enemy is located and the task force attempts to either fix or bypass. Avenger platoon leaders must remain flexible, and planning for a movement to contact must include analysis of enemy air avenues throughout the entire zone. Avenger platoons must be in a posture to quickly counter any enemy air threat.
During the MTC, the Avenger platoon will be employed to protect critical assets, such as the maneuver forces reserve, field artillery, C2 , and logistics. The Avenger can be used to provide coverage for choke points along the march route or to defend the maneuver force as it moves prior to contact. Friendly forces must maintain forward momentum. Enemy forces must be denied intelligence on our movements. The platoon leader should position his sections and squad so that two-thirds of the weapon system's effective range extends in front of the maneuver force, if possible.
Hasty attacks are conducted either as a result of a movement to contact or when bypass has not been authorized, and the enemy is in a vulnerable (unaware or unprepared) position. The two categories of hasty attacks are an attack against a moving enemy force and a stationary enemy force.
The success of air defense artillery in a hasty attack will depend on thorough prior planning. Prior to the mission, on-order Avenger positions, aerial NAIs and TAIs along suspected enemy air avenues of approach, and decision and execution matrices must be developed throughout the entire zone to ensure success. The Avenger platoon leader will plan his scheme of maneuver based on the task force scheme of maneuver, ADA, priorities, and any DS ADA assets. Unit SOPs and battle drills, combined with rapid, aggressive execution, will aid in mission accomplishment.
Task force deliberate attacks differ from the hasty attack in that they are characterized by precise planning based on detailed information, thorough preparation, and rehearsals. Deliberate attacks normally include large volumes of supporting fires, main and supporting attacks, and deception measures.
The deliberate attack allows more time for detailed IPB and detailed preplanned positions throughout the entire zone. For a deliberate attack, air defense coverage must be extensive and well-coordinated. This requires a complete IPB process that must include--
- Ground and air avenues of approach.
- Aerial NAIs and TAIs designated along air avenues of approach.
- Aerial attack profiles.
- Probable enemy aviation fire sacks.
- Aerial surveillance positions and routes.
From the IPB, the Avenger platoon leader will develop and use his own graphic control measures and those directed by the supported unit to control fire unit movement. Avengers are positioned to support the TF scheme of maneuver, enhance TF DS ADA assets, and or protect CSS, C2 , and FS assets. The Avenger platoon leader must, however, retain the flexibility to shift and redirect platoon fires in support of the entire zone.
Exploitation follows any successful attack and is conducted to take advantage of the success. The task force normally participates in the exploitation as part of a larger force.
ADA resources supporting an exploiting task force must be as mobile and survivable as the maneuver force. Less mobile and survivable fire units are used to keep task force lines of communications open and protect key logistics facilities and command and control posts. Effective command and control is critical to support constantly moving units.
The purpose of the pursuit is to run the enemy down and destroy him. The pursuit is oriented on the enemy rather than on terrain objectives and normally follows a successful exploitation.
As with the exploitation, air defense systems deployed with the enveloping forces must be as mobile as the supported force. Since penetration occurs deep in the enemy rear, the same caution as in a movement to contact must be practiced. Avenger's involvement will be focused on CSS, C2 , FS, and maneuver reserve air defense coverage.
The Avenger squad, section, or platoon may be deployed to fight and protect within the scope and design of any organization. Light and special divisions operations concerning forms of maneuver are different from the heavy division. The platoon must train to fight, based on what organization it is supporting. The following paragraphs discuss the forms of a maneuver unit.
The purpose and characteristics of offensive operations remain the same for units in light and special divisions. There are unique considerations concerning the forms of maneuver. Avenger leaders need to be familiar with them to understand the scheme of maneuver. For more information concerning these forms of maneuver and their relation to light units, see the recommended reading list in the Preface (especially FMs 7-8, 7-20, and 7-30).
The purpose of the infiltration is to move by stealth to place a maneuver force in a more favorable position to accomplish the mission. Infiltration is the preferred infantry maneuver, because it allows a smaller force to use stealth and surprise to attack a larger or fortified force. The three types of infiltration are land, water, and air.
The infantry concentrates in a penetration to strike at the enemy's weakest point, then break through to rupture the enemy's defense. Stealth, limited visibility, and use of covered and concealing terrain at a selected breach point characterize the penetration.
The envelopment is the basic form of maneuver. It seeks to apply friendly strengths against enemy weaknesses by striking the flanks or rear. This causes the enemy to fight along undefended or lightly defended avenues of approach. Envelopment can also interdict lines of communications (LOC).
The attacking force making the turning movement passes around the enemy, avoiding him entirely to secure an objective deep in the enemy's rear area. The objective must be along the enemy's LOC and be of enough importance to cause him to abandon his forward defenses.
The least desirable form of maneuver is the frontal attack. The most direct routes are used to strike the enemy along his front. When possible, the objective should be seized from a direction other than the front.
The use of stealth throughout the forms of maneuver for light units will often preclude the direct use of Avenger in light operations. As mentioned in Chapter 5, the Avenger's profile limits its use when stealth is desired. Avenger's use in support of light units' offensive operations follows the same principles as with heavy forces. MANPADS teams are often more suited for the early stages of offensive operations. For example, MANPADS teams are obviously more suited for-an air or foot infiltration; however, Avenger would be critical to securing a pickup zone (PZ). Light units' dependence on limited visibility conditions may involve Avenger in some stages of an operation, but Avenger's optics advantages would have to greatly outweigh the risk to the system. In this chapter, Avenger employment considerations in light and special units are addressed.
The platoon leader must consider a variety of factors to properly integrate his FUs. The following paragraphs will discuss some of the factors the Avenger leader must consider when integrating his FUs into light and special divisions offensive operations.
Stealth. As mentioned above, stealth is a primary consideration for light operations. Squads must consider they are easy to identify. There are ways to minimize this. Using the blast shield at night to reduce the back lighting effect by the FLIR will help. Placing the RCU in a fighting position and covering it will also reduce light signatures. Also, the squad must be able to hear. Wearing CVC helmets limits the soldier's ability to hear outside noises and how much noise he is making.
Security. If a squad does not have additional security, the squad will be at risk.
Threat. Light battalion maneuver elements are not as high a priority as other elements which are easier to identify. The enemy can have a greater impact on a brigade's combat power by damaging its FS, CSS, C2, and aviation assets. Each of these elements is easier to find than an infantry company dispersed in concealed terrain.
Avenger capabilities. There are situations when the Avenger is the only system capable of performing the ADA mission. At night, when the enemy is night capable, Avengers may be used in direct support of TFs and company teams. When the weather or smoke limits visibility, the Avenger is the only system capable of dealing with these situations. All situations must consider the inherent risks.
Movement to Contact
The approach march technique and the search and attack technique are used by infantry battalions to conduct the movement to contact. MANPADS will be used in support of the main body and advanced guard in the approach march technique, and Avenger may be used in overwatch positions when additional security is available. Avenger will support FS, CSS, C2, aviation assets, and reserve forces. Reserve forces such as tank and mechanized companies in support of light battalions are an enemy high-value target. During search and attack operations when an area of operations may be occupied for a longer period of time, Avenger will be used to achieve early engagement on likely air avenues of approach. Security for squads is critical and must be coordinated.
Breaching operations principles are used extensively by light units. Attacks on fortified positions and strong points follow the suppress, obscure, secure, and reduce (SOSR) principles. Avenger's involvement in breaching operations occurs in later phases. When the breach site is secure and units supporting the maneuver elements must move through, Avenger will provide air defense of the existing choke point. This is especially important when FS and C2 assets must move through.
Degraded Avenger Operations
A unique light unit Avenger consideration is that of degraded Avenger operations for other than system failures. The commander or platoon leader should make this decision as a last resort. Consider the following if reverting to MANPADS when the system is still viable:
- Level of the squad's MANPADS training (target engagement and physical conditioning).
- Security of the vehicle and remaining missiles.
- Degraded detection and engagement capabilities with loss of optics and laser range finder.
- Degraded C2 due to reduction of communications capability.
US military forces defend only until they gain sufficient strength to attack. Commanders choose to defend when they need to buy time, hold a piece of key terrain, facilitate other operations, preoccupy the enemy, or erode enemy resources at a rapid rate while reinforcing friendly operations. Maneuver units defend in sector from battle positions and from strong points.
The purpose of defense is to defeat the enemy's attack and gain the initiative for offensive operations. Defensive operations are conducted to identify or create enemy weaknesses that allow for the opportunity to begin offensive operations. Defensive operations are conducted to achieve one or more of the following:
- Destroy the enemy.
- Weaken enemy forces as a prelude to the offense.
- Cause an enemy attack to fail.
- Gain time.
- Concentrate forces elsewhere.
- Control key or decisive terrain.
- Retain terrain.
During defensive operations, friendly forces are the most vulnerable to the full spectrum of threat aerial platforms. The enemy will attempt to use aerial platforms to monitor friendly forces for targeting.
The number one challenge to the Avenger platoon will be to deny the enemy's use of RISTA air assets. We can expect the enemy to use UAVs, rotary-wing aircraft, and possibly fixed-wing aircraft to determine locations of friendly artillery, command and control, ADA assets, logistical sites, and troop concentration areas. Once these sites are located, we can expect threat forces to disrupt or destroy these sites with the use of artillery and rocket fire, air attacks, and air insertion.
Artillery and rocket attacks will be the enemy's preferred weapons against US forces and air defense assets. These systems are usually numerous, inexpensive, survivable, and highly effective. UAVs will be employed to provide targeting data during this phase of the operation. UAVs are extremely effective in this role due to their small size, low radar cross section, and standoff capability. Rotary-and fixed-wing attacks are less likely during this phase due to the low survivability of these systems. In most cases, these systems are limited to daylight operations. These attacks will be supported with preattack and postattack reconnaissance.
Threat air insertion operations will be conducted with either fixed-or rotary-wing assets and probably during the hours of limited visibility. The threat will likely conduct daytime reconnaissance of landing sites and target areas within 24 hours prior to attack. These operations will fly at low levels attempting to infiltrate into friendly rear areas.
In the defense, the commander will prioritize his requirements for air defense coverage, based on his mission analysis, IPB, and METT-T. Priority for air defense in the defense may be to the battle positions in the main engagement area. command and control elements, or logistics assets. While most supported unit SOPs outline generic air defense coverage priorities for defensive operations, each mission will have its own specific requirements.
The Avenger platoon leader must perform a mission analysis, ensuring he understands the commander's intent and the supported unit's concept of the operation. The Avenger platoon leader must clearly understand how Avengers will contribute to the force's air defense coverage. Based on these considerations, the platoon leader will develop a coverage plan to support the defensive concept of operations.
Avenger in support of light battalions in the defense is similar to heavy units. A specific consideration for Avenger in support of light units is security against infiltration which is a constant threat to light battalions. If an air infiltration or insertion is expected, the Avenger is a key system for countering this threat, especially at night and during reduced visibility. Possible LZs will be identified during the IPB process, and the LZ denial mission must be planned and coordinated with the unit controlling the terrain. Security for Avenger fire units is critical to mission accomplishment. Defense against infiltration also includes sound noise and light discipline and position occupation procedures (see Appendix D).
Avengers will be used in areas that maximize their significant capabilities but minimize their exposure to the direct fire fight. Avengers are most suited for early engagement of RISTA aerial platforms. In the defense, Avengers will need to initially position FUs with counterreconnaissance forces or along enemy air avenues of approach that allow the enemy surveillance of defensive positions and preparations. See the following illustration, Avenger in Defensive Counter-RISTA Role With Counterreconnaissance Force.
As the counterreconnaissance (aerial and ground) fight ends, the Avengers will reposition to counter air attacks against CSS, C2, FS assets, and the most dangerous enemy air avenues of approach on the unit's flanks. Initial Avenger positions and any repositioning will require coordination. Some coordination considerations are--
- Fire control.
- Logistical support.
- Command and control.
- Sensor support.
- Land management for follow-on positions.
- Counter-RISTA versus counterair insertion missions.
- Mine and obstacle plan.
Avengers are well-suited to counter air insertions. Avenger's optics equipment, mobility, and shoot-on-the-move capability make it the best choice for counterair insertion. Using Avenger also frees MANPADS and BSFV FUs to continue preparing defensive positions in and around battle positions.
Actual positioning of vehicles should be based on the air IPB, the commander's priorities for the air defense, and the location of the supported unit's assets. Vehicles should be positioned approximately 3,000 meters apart or as METT-T dictates. In the defense, Avengers may be prioritized for engineer effort and dugin to maximize survivability. The .50-caliber machine gun should be used in self-defense against ground targets.
If Avengers are tasked to provide coverage for the task force reserves, they should be positioned along identified enemy air avenues of approach that influence the task force reserves' initial positions, as well as routes to their defensive or attack-by-fire positions.
The platoon leader's decision sup port template will result in an air defense artillery plan that synchronizes his operations with the supported commander's concept of the operation. Planning and troop-leading procedures must occur as early as possible to allow maximum preparation time. Once the basic plan is established, reconnaissance and rehearsals are key to an effective defense.
In a defense in sector, priority is based on the supported commander's intent and METT-T. Commanders designate priorities for air defense coverage. Maneuver forces, command and control elements, and logistics nodes are normally among priorities identified for air defense coverage.
Avengers may provide overwatch for reserve forces. Avenger sections protecting reserve forces must be aware when friendly reserves are committed; they will most likely receive the brunt of the enemy air attack. Avengers will not occupy positions that expose FUs to direct fire. Avengers will provide air defense as the reserve force moves, and BSFV or MANPADS will protect the force as it occupies its defensive positions. Close coordination between BSFV and MANPADS FUs is critical.
A task force which is part of a brigade level defense in sector may be given a series of battle positions in sup port of a specific engagement area within a brigade sector. This type of defensive mission is more restrictive than a defense in sector. The Avenger section or squad will not normally be within battle positions during direct fire engagements, but it can provide or augment air defense during battle position preparation and provide air defense to C2, FS, and CSS assets.
The Avenger platoon leader uses the air IPB to identify the location of expected air avenues of approach. He plans his defense to mass fires on these avenues.
The mission to create and defend a strong point implies retention of terrain with the purpose of stopping or directing enemy formations. Strong points can be used in conjunction with battle positions to maximize effectiveness. The construction of strong points involves a considerable engineer effort and an extensive amount of time, equipment, and materials. Once constructed, all positions must allow massed fires from two or more units.
A battalion task force establishes a strong point with all units within the strong point perimeter. Positions are mutually supporting and allow massed fires from at least two units on any target area. Avenues that cannot be covered by fire are kept under observation.
In a strong point defense, ADA systems must be positioned within the strong point and oriented on the most likely air avenues of approach. METT-T and OCOKA must be used to maximize effectiveness of all air defense weapon systems. Plans must still be flexible enough to adjust and synchronize against any air threat. See the Strong Point Defense illustration below.
Counterattacks are conducted to block a penetration, to attack through forces to seize terrain, or to attack enemy forces from the flank or rear. Counterattacks are conducted by fire or maneuver forces and supported by AD. A counterattack must develop quickly to surprise the enemy before he has time to consolidate and react.
A task force conducts a counterattack against an attacking force. The enemy attack is initially blunted in sector, causing a loss of momentum. The brigade commander's guidance is to counterattack the enemy's flank. The task force commander repositions his forces to support the counterattack.
Normally in a counterattack, some ADA systems will travel with the counterattack forces to protect them from enemy aerial platforms. See the Task Force Counterattack illustration.
A perimeter defense protects the force from all directions. A task force organizes a perimeter defense to provide self-protection. A perimeter is established to hold critical terrain in areas where the defense is not tied in with adjacent units. A perimeter defense may also be used to defend from a strong point. A perimeter is normally formed when a unit has been passed and isolated by the enemy and must defend in place.
A battalion task force organizes a defensive perimeter to hold a critical piece of terrain for future operations. The TF may defend with three teams in sector and one in reserve. It defends with scouts in the primary direction of the enemy attack and listening posts or observation posts in all directions.
The platoon leader uses the air IPB to determine the most likely air avenue of approach. Avenger units cover the most likely air avenue of approach but are rarely positioned outside the perimeter. The commander and platoon leaders must conduct detailed planning to ensure systems are integrated and positioned to quickly mass against the air threat. Avenger squads will cover assigned PTLs. See the Defending a Perimeter illustration.
BSFVs are best suited for strong point defense, counterattack, and perimeter defense. Avenger's involvement in these operations will most likely be augmenting DS ADA or providing air defense to priority battlefield functional areas (BFAs) in support of a task force.
Reconnaissance is a mission undertaken to obtain information by either visual observation or other detection methods about the activities and resources of an enemy, or the meteorologic, hydrographic, or geologic characteristics of a particular area. Reconnaissance is a focused collection effort and is performed prior to or during other combat operations. Cavalry is the corps or division commander's principal reconnaissance organization. Cavalry combines mounted, dismounted, and aerial techniques to accomplish its mission. Reconnaissance involves two methods. The stealth method avoids physical contact with the enemy and gathers information quietly, deliberately, and usually dismounted. The second method is aggressive reconnaissance, fighting for information as necessary, but avoiding decisive engagement. This method may be less stealthy and may proceed at a faster pace. The three forms of reconnaissance are route, zone, and area.
Avenger platoons will provide air defense during reconnaissance operations. The Avenger's unique shoot-on-the-move capability makes it a great asset for this type of mission. The primary consideration for Avenger leaders to consider is the method of reconnaissance. If stealth is desired, is the commander willing to risk detection by engaging aerial platforms? The Avenger counter-RISTA employment methods discussed in Chapter 3 are applicable to the forms of reconnaissance, since denying the enemy information of our own reconnaissance efforts will be most important. Avengers should be positioned to maximize early engagement along routes, at choke points, and at obstacles within a zone. Avengers will also be used to provide air defense to aviation assets, FARPs, and fire support and logistical assets. The likelihood of contact and general enemy uncertainty in the zone reconnaissance inhibits the use of the Avenger within company, team, and or troop areas of operation. Keeping the Avenger out of direct fire danger is crucial. Countering aerial surveillance and countering the air attack danger to the security force flanks is a mission most suited for the Avenger platoon. Detailed air IPB and preplanned positions throughout a zone and area or along a route that considers all obstacles and choke points will ensure adequate Avenger air defense as well as platoon command and control.
Security operations obtain information about the enemy and provide reaction time, maneuver space, and protection to the main body. Security operations are characterized by aggressive reconnaissance to reduce terrain and enemy unknowns, gain and maintain contact with the enemy to ensure continuous information, and provide early and accurate information to the protected force. Security operations are categorized by the degree of security provided and the amount of combat power required to perform the mission. Security operations include screen, guard, and cover. Cavalry troops screen while ACR squadrons perform guard and cover. Covering force operations are normally an ACR mission. Separate brigades or task-organized brigades may perform cover as well.
Avenger's involvement in security operations should focus on the main body rather than force protection for the security force. If counter-RISTA is a priority, Avenger will find itself in security forces. Generally speaking, if the mission is to deny the enemy reconnaissance, then Avenger will find itself heavily involved in counter-RISTA with the security force, and force protection will be a lesser priority. Reinforcing ADA from the corps is normally with a FAAD battery. The corps FAAD battalion is Avenger, therefore Avenger's involvement in security operations is likely. During screen missions, Avenger should be positioned to counter RISTA aerial platforms for the main body. The integrated screening force ADA assets (BSFV and or MANPADS) will provide the force protection. Once again, keeping the Avenger from direct fire range is key. A flexible ADA plan with preplanned positions throughout the screened sector and based on the air IPB will deny the enemy observation of the main body. The screen force will rely heavily on BSFV and or MANPADS ADA for force protection as well as passive and combined arms air defense (CAAD). Guard missions may not require as many fire units since the AO is smaller than a screen, but the Avenger considerations for guard and cover missions are the same.
A covering force is a self-contained force that maintains surveillance, provides early warning to the main body, impedes and harasses the enemy with supporting indirect fires, and destroys enemy reconnaissance capability. A covering force may be offensive or defensive in nature.
Covering force operations are normally an ACR mission, but divisions may be assigned a corps covering force mission. The division will normally assign a brigade to conduct the covering force mission. Covering force actions are characterized by speed and aggressiveness, by developing situations rapidly and with strength, by unhesitating commitment of reserves to eliminate enemy resistance and by keeping the enemy off balance. Every action is directed to ensuring the uninterrupted movement of the main force.
Avenger in covering force operations is similar to Avenger in security operations where the focus should be on the main body rather than the covering force itself. Since every action is directed towards the main body, Avenger employment should consider counter-RISTA, then force protection for the main force. The covering force will depend on BSFV and or MANPADS for its force protection.
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