UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Chapter 1

Supporting the Separate Brigades and Contents the Armored Cavalry Regiment


The vast array of enemy forces and range of potential areas of conflict necessitate a tactical element (separate brigade or regiment) smaller than a division with its own support assets, capable of strategic and tactical deployments. The separate brigade allows the national command authority latitude in its force projection options. It also affords commanders of forward deployed forces a flexible asset which can be used in numerous roles and missions, such as reconnaissance, screening, and covering force operations.


The separate brigade is a flexible unique fighting organization that provides its own DS. The separate brigades included in this manual are the heavy separate brigade and the separate infantry brigade/theater defense brigade. The separate brigade's main focus is to defeat the enemy. It uses effective maneuver, firepower, protection, and sound leadership through close combat and offensive action. It supports offensive, defensive, or retrograde operations as an independent force or part of a larger force. It may be attached to a division (less support) to concentrate combat power. It may also be placed under the control of a higher command such as a corps. It conducts limited independent operations under the direction of a joint task force or theater commander. It functions as a corps reserve force or as a corps rear protection force. It also functions as a security force on the flanks or in front of the corps.


The ACR is a separate corps maneuver unit. As a corps asset, it predominantly operates for the corps commander by performing reconnaissance, security, and economy of force missions. The regiment (like the separate brigade) is considered by the corps staff as a major element of corps maneuver combat power on a par with the division. The regimental staff works closely with the corps. The staff ensures that the regiment is adequately planned for in corps operations. The regiment may also be placed under OPCON of or attached to a division. This is done for operations when command relationships better support mission accomplishment. Some missions require the regiment to reinforce a division with a squadron. A reinforced ACS is normally assigned this task. The ACS is attached or placed OPCON to the division.

The ACR operates independently over a wide area. It also operates at extended distances from other units. The ACR is a highly mobile, armored force. It is capable of fighting a fully mechanized threat in a mid-to high-intensity environment.

The ACR is normally the foundation around which the corps covering force is built. As a covering force, the regiment is expected to destroy a significant number of enemy forces in the corps security area. This requires attacking, defending, and delaying as necessary to accomplish the corps commander's intent. The ACR may also become part of the corps reserve or perform rear area operations.

The ACR is an ideal force for use in an economy of force role. This allows the corps commander to concentrate forces at the decisive point on the battlefield. If assigned a defend mission in an economy of force role, the ACR requires minimum augmentation with combat (normally infantry), CS (artillery, engineer), and CSS assets. Commitment of the ACR to this mission normally requires other corps assets to assume the corps security function.


The separate brigade has maneuver battalions. They are tank, mechanized infantry, infantry battalions, and armored cavalry squadrons. Such units as the engineer company and the artillery battalion provide combat support to these combat units. The ACR also has a regimental aviation squadron to support the overall scheme of maneuver.

The separate brigade has two principal sections, the brigade base and the combat battalions. The brigade base depends on the type of separate brigade. The brigade base provides the capability for the brigade to support independent operations. The brigade base generally supports up to five combat battalions. Figures 1-1 and 1-2 show typical organizations of the separate brigade and the ACR. Units organic to the separate brigade include--

  • A brigade HHC to provide C2 and limited CS assets to include MP, chemical, and AD elements (except ACR which has a chemical troop and ADA battery).

  • Tank and infantry battalions to fight battles, destroy or disrupt enemy forces, and seize and hold terrain. (HSB and SIB/TDB)

  • ACSs to defend, delay, and screen and for reconnaissance and security.(ACR)

  • A chemical troop to provide decontamination, reconnaissance, and smoke support to units of the regiment. It contains a reconnaissance platoon and a smoke/decontamination platoon. Generally, smoke/decontamination assets are under regimental control while reconnaissance assets are decentralized.(ACR)

  • A military intelligence company to assist in collecting, processing, and disseminating intelligence, and to support EW operations. The MI company provides the brigade with organic IEW assets. These assets are similar to those of a division MI battalion, on a smaller scale. The MI company contains collection and jamming assets, interrogation support, and GSRs. (HSB and ACR)

  • A direct support field artillery battalion to provide fire support (except ACR which has a battery in each line squadron).

  • An engineer company for combat engineer support.

  • A combat aviation squadron to conduct all types of missions. (ACR)

  • An armored cavalry troop for reconnaissance, security, and economy of force operations. (HSB and SID/TDB)

  • A support battalion of several support units, to provide CSS that links directly with the COSCOM corps support group.

Additional combat, CS, and CSS units may be attached to the separate brigade as required by the brigade's mission and operating circumstances. Examples include a chemical platoon, smoke platoon, and attack helicopter battalion.


All of the above units require logistics on a battlefield unlike any encountered in the past. The battlefield is characterized by fluid, nonlinear operations and enormous demands for resources. CSS planners plan all resupply and services to support the brigade on a nonlinear battlefield. They also plan for rapid transition from one mission to another and extended lines of support.

Support of the brigade in such an environment is the challenge facing CSS planners and operators. The logistics tail should not inhibit the operations of the brigade. The separate brigade must be armed, fueled, fixed, and moved. Its soldiers must also be sustained to allow the brigade commander to take advantage of opportunities to achieve tactical advantage. This requires the support battalion commander and staff, CSS planners in the corps and within the separate brigade staff, and units to incorporate the sustainment imperatives in every action taken. The sustainment imperatives are and improvisation. These are not substitutes for the basic tenets of AirLand Battle doctrine; they complement them.

The fluid situations encountered in the AirLand Battle require that supporters anticipate needs to support the brigade commander's concept of operations. So the support battalion commander and staff develop a close relationship with the brigade staff. The support battalion commander also projects support needs. He projects unexpected changes in current and future operations by coordinating with brigade planners. The support battalion commander assisted by the S4 also anticipates the needs of the unit as an operation is occurring. They coordinate to push support forward and keep the brigade commander abreast of CSS status and capabilities.

This close relationship with the brigade staff ensures that support operations are integrated with operations of the maneuver force. The brigade commander and staff plan tactical and CSS operations concurrently. The support battalion commander and staff provide the required input to the brigade planning process. They ensure the scheme of maneuver and fire support plan are supported. Maneuver and FA battalions and the support battalions maintain effective communications. They determine the logistics and medical requirements of the brigade and coordinate support activities. When the brigade is attached to a division, the support battalion commander and staff integrate the support plan into the support plan for the division. They carefully work out coordination requirements with the DISCOM.

Another imperative is continuity of sustainment. Maneuver forces receive continuous supplies and services to maintain their fighting strength. The brigade commander requires continuous support to maintain the initiative and to ensure breaks in support do not inhibit the depth of operations. Pauses for rebuilding impede momentum and rob the commander of the initiative. This represents a considerable challenge for the support battalion and other CSS elements in the brigade area, especially in view of the possibly large or extended AO. Continuity is required to ensure a lapse of support does not affect an operation.

The CSS system is also responsive. It is able to react swiftly and to "surge" for brief periods. The support battalion commander understands supported commanders' operational plans and intent in order to perform responsively. The support battalion commander tailors organizations and methods to meet the demands. He does not tie the support battalion to traditional support methods. He accepts deviation from plans routinely and is ready to respond quickly. The CSS system is as agile as the maneuver system. This allows the maneuver commander to successfully seize opportunities, exploit tactical success, or meet an enemy initiative.

Finally, CSS planners are prepared to improvise. They are able to devise innovative ways to support tactical plans and lessen risks, both to their own units and to those they support. No matter how carefully the support battalion planners and operators try to anticipate events, unforeseen contingencies arise in every conflict. However, leaders and staff should not interpret a guideline or technique as an absolute requirement. If it is not effective in maintaining combat power and momentum, support battalion personnel are not afraid to discard it.

The support battalion commander and operators encompass these imperatives in SOPs as they establish the focus for organization and operations of the logistics and HSS. FMs 100-5 and 100-10 discuss these imperatives in greater detail.


The support battalion provides support for elements in the brigade. It provides support on a forward and area basis. The support battalion plans for logistics and HSS in advance. It aggressively pushes forward to the units without delay imposed by reacting to requests.


The support battalion provides support as far forward as practical. Tactical and threat considerations determine the extent of the support forward doctrine. The corps or the support battalion provides supplies, weapon systems, and repair assets for easily reparable equipment to the field trains or beyond as expeditiously as practical. Personnel arm, fuel, fix and man forward weapon systems. The support battalion evacuates to the rear damaged equipment not easily reparable. However, it is easier to send MSTs and parts to a piece of inoperable, large equipment than move this item to a maintenance shop. Evacuation to of vehicles to the rear should be the last option. When required and feasible, resupply of critical items to the BSA is by air, The support battalion also sends medical supplies forward on empty medical troop ambulances.

In some cases the support battalion echelons its assets. This technique involves battalion elements operating from both the support area and a forward logistics base. The support battalion commander task organizes a multifunctional forward logistics element from support battalion assets to operate from a forward logistics base. The technique may be appropriate to support --

  • Fast-moving offensive operations over significant distances.

  • Early phases of contingency operations.

  • Units geographically separated from the other units supported by the support battalion.

The FLE can get critical support assets closer to the supported units without taking the time to move the entire support area. This allows units to get key support without having to go all the way back to the support area. The FLE can also function as the lead element of a support area move. In this role, the element provides continuous support while the rest of the support battalion moves. The forward element prepares (within its capabilities) the FLB to become the new support area. Once the rest of the support battalion closes on the base, the FLE may then move forward again. This allows the battalion to provide uninterrupted forward support as the force continues to advance.

The composition of the FLE varies with a number of factors. Planners consider including at least bulk fuel, ammunition, maintenance, HSS, and evacuation assets. The FLE also includes a member of the support battalion's S2/S3 staff or support operations branch (support squadron) to coordinate operations. He needs the capability (communications equipment and SOI) to communicate with both the supported units and the support area operated by the support battalion. Supported units have to know where the FLB is, what support is available there, and when the base is operational. The support battalion staff ensures the OPORD or logistics overlay is available to supported units and includes these details. Support battalion planners also plan for and coordinate the security of the FLB. They request MP or ADA support as required.

Support forward doctrine maximizes combat time by minimizing repair, resupply, and evacuation time. This allows the maneuver battalion to keep its own scarce CSS resources to provide effective unit-level support. They are ready to move quickly if the battle dictates. One of the support battalion's tasks is to prevent, as much as possible, maneuver units moving to the rear to pick up supplies. The support battalion also ensures units do not use scarce resources to move back assets that no longer contribute to combat power.


The support battalion is responsible for DS logistics and HSS within the brigade area. A support battalion element supporting a battalion also provides area support to units operating near or as part of the battalion task force. The support battalion supports any non-brigade elements in the area within its capabilities. Corps CS or CSS units requiring support and operating in the brigade area may exceed the capability of the support battalion. In such cases, the support battalion coordinates with the CSG in its area for support beyond its capability.


The support battalion is part of the overall logistics system (and medical system) which supports all elements of the brigade. The logistics structure of the separate brigade is designed to link into a COSCOM. The COSCOM provides GS supply, reinforcing DS maintenance, motor transport, field services, airdrop, and health services. The ammunition and petroleum distribution systems in the COSCOM forward CSG provide GS levels of support to the support battalion. Other support is provided by throughput distribution from the rear CSG.

The support battalion is the operator providing the support link between COSCOM units and the supported units in the brigade area. The COSCOM in coordination with logistics planners in the brigade pushes support forward to the BSA based on requirements. Specifics on such support are described later in this manual. Units in the separate brigade area normally are not required to return behind the brigade trains for support. MSTs provide DS in forward tactical unit areas. Personnel station support battalion ambulances at battalion aid stations. There also are forward tactical refueling points.

The support system does not end with the support battalion. The support battalion is essentially a DS-level support organization. In most cases, individual units such as maneuver battalions are responsible for unit-level support. Also, elements such as teams may operate away from their parent units. Unless the elements are attached for logistics, parents units are responsible for providing unit-level support to those elements. Mission requirements may exceed the organic support capabilities of the parent units. In this case, the unit coordinates for support with the brigade rear CP. The brigade tasks a subordinate unit to provide unit support. However, if it does, the tasked unit is likely to require additional assets probably include from the parent unit. These assets vehicles and drivers for Class III and V and maintenance personnel, Class IX items, and tools.

Unit-level support includes food service and distribution of supplies to companies and other subordinate elements. It includes unit maintenance. It also includes unit-level HSS, movement of organic assets, and unit-level mortuary affairs. Mortuary affairs is limited to search, recovery, and evacuation of remains at unit level. The assets available to provide unit-level support vary among the units in the brigade, as follows:

  • The separate brigade HHC/HHT has food service, unit maintenance, and limited supply distribution assets.

  • The field artillery battalion in direct support of the separate brigade also comes with assets to perform unit-level support of the battalion, as covered in FM 6-20-1. The service battery has battalion supply and maintenance assets and Class I, III and V resupply. The battalion also has a medical section. In the ACR, the FA battery has maintenance and ammunition assets.

  • The engineer company has food, supply, and ammunition assets. The company also has a maintenance section.

  • The ADA battery in the ACR normally locates in the regimental area. The battery has ammunition-hauling capability. It also has unit maintenance and limited refueling capability. It receives medical support on an area basis from the medical troop. The separate brigade headquarters includes an ADA platoon. The platoon has an ammunition team to haul Class V. The platoon leader ensures the missile teams receive support by coordinating with the leaders of the elements the teams are tasked to support.

  • The MI company of the HSB and troop of the ACR include CSS assets. The company provides unit-level supply, food, and ammunition. The company also provides unit-level maintenance including maintenance assets for electronic countermeasures. For the MI unit, CSS maybe a particular problem due to the limited assets and the wide dispersion of small teams throughout the brigade area. The company headquarters coordinates with the brigade S4 to receive meals and ammunition in conjunction with support to the nearest maneuver element. The company support element distributes them. Company headquarters also coordinates with the brigade S4 to receive fuel from the nearest maneuver element. If this is not possible, the MI company relies on shuttling 5-gallon cans from the BSA to forward sites.

  • The chemical troop of the ACR brings organic CSS assets. The troop headquarters provides supply and Class V assets. The troop also has a maintenance section.

  • The RAS, organic to the ACR, comes with assets to perform unit-level support. The headquarters and headquarters troop has a supply section and automotive maintenance section. The headquarters also has a food service section and Class III/V platoon. The AVUM troop has an aircraft maintenance platoon and component repair platoon.

  • The maneuver battalions have a full complement of unit-level assets. Assets are deployed in either unit or echeloned trains. A complete discussion of their operations is in FMs 71-2 and 17-95.


The support battalion is the DS logistics and HSS operator in the brigade. It provides an uninterrupted flow of logistics and HSS to the brigade. The battalion provides supply, maintenance, motor transport, and medical support to units. When augmented, it also provides field services. The support battalion elements have the same deployment capability as the rest of the brigade. The support battalion missions require the capability to support incrementally and be highly versatile and mobile as the METT-T vary.

The support battalion is structured to support a particular brigade. For example, the support battalion of the heavy separate brigade, armored, contains the logistics and medical resources to support two tank battalions and one mechanized infantry battalion as well as the other elements of the brigade. Additional maneuver battalions may be assigned or attached to the brigade. In such cases, the separate brigade requires additional support assets.

Generally, all of the separate brigades require the same CSS. The support battalions all have maintenance, supply and transportation, and medical companies. However, like companies, for example, S&T companies of the HSB, ACR, SIB/TDB, are not identical. Each company of the support battalion provides support best suited for its type of brigade.

The logistics structure of the separate brigade links to a COSCOM. The direct linkage between the separate brigade support battalion and the COSCOM remains in effect, even when the separate brigade is attached to a division. The division does not have the resources to support another brigade. When the brigade is attached to a division, the DISCOM coordinates the logistics effort for the entire division. The support battalion sends status reports to the DISCOM to keep the DISCOM apprised of the logistics situation. Because the attachment of the separate brigade to a division is not permanent, logistics arrangements facilitate the eventual detachment of the brigade from the DISCOM.

Figures 1-3, 1-4, and 1-5 show the support battalions and squadron organizations. As shown, they have a --

  • Headquarters and headquarters company/troop.

  • Supply and transportation company/troop.

  • Medical company/troop.

  • Maintenance company/troop.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list