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Supporting Defensive Operations

At any given time, divisions, separate brigades, and ACRs defend, delay, move out of contact, or execute a withdrawal. The immediate objective of corps defensive operations are to cause an enemy attack to fail. Other objectives might be to gain time, to concentrate elsewhere, to wear down the enemy prior to going on the offense, or to retain key objectives. Logisticians help combat commanders achieve these objectives.





To plan support for defensive operations, CSS plans branch personnel assigned to the support operations section need to understand the tactical concepts of defensive operations described in FMs 100-5 and 100-15. To arrange for the type, quantity, and priority of logistics support, logistics officers need to understand the mission capability of supported units. They can then enforce the corps commander's priorities, ensuring that COSCOM units provide supplies and equipment where and when needed and in the quantity needed. Table C-1 lists defensive operations planning considerations. The expected duration of the operation, follow-on missions, and possible linkup all affect the support organization and execution.


COSCOM munitions support branch personnel plan for an increase in ammunition stocks. Expenditures of ammunition, particularly artillery rounds, mines and explosives, usually remain heavier in defensive operations. The ACofS, G3 and COSCOM support operations officer recommend changes to the CSR. Supported units could stock Class V supplies in excess of their basic loads. However, with limited unit transportation assets, other classes of supply might be grounded if they carry Class V in excess of their basic load. Increased ammunition usage places additional demands on the transportation system.


During a defensive operation, all units require barrier materials to prepare obstacles to delay or disrupt enemy advances. They require construction materials so that their soldiers can prepare or harden individual and crew fighting positions against enemy fires.

Engineers require Class IV barrier and fortification materials for their countermobility and survivability missions. They require barrier materials to create obstacles at the post probable avenues of approach and at choke points along the flanks of advancing forces.


Expenditures of fuel are lighter. However, if the defense depends on movement, expenditures of fuel could approach those of an offensive operation. COSCOM petroleum support branch personnel need to consider the security of fuel sites as subordinate petroleum and DS supply units stock- pile fuel during the defense.


To avoid interfering with tactical operations and yet obtain a higher degree of protection, maintenance units usually position further to the rear than in offensive operations. They remain in position for longer periods during defensive operations. This allows maintenance units more time to complete extensive maintenance. They also increase repair parts stockages and build up reserves of critical maintenance stocks.



The covering force operates in the area that begins at the line of contact and extends rearward to the forward edge of the main battle area. Covering forces provide early warning of attack. They delay, disorganize, and deceive the enemy regarding the location of the main battle force and furnish information about the enemy's disposition. Covering forces gain time for main battle forces to prepare its defense.

Forward CSGs position only those fuel, ammunition, and maintenance elements critical to supporting the covering force in the covering force area. They withdraw these elements when the risk of their loss becomes unacceptably high or when their presence in the covering force area hampers combat element passage. If possible, withdrawing logistics elements displace in echelon so that limited support can still be provided forward. Withdrawing elements preposition supplies at successive delay positions.

CSGs attach an MST to the defense force for rapid repairs on site. These teams assist with rapid recovery or destruction of damaged equipment to prevent enemy capture. The CMCC tasks corps HET assets to evacuate all reparable systems to evade enemy capture. Damaged equipment that units cannot recover to the main battle area needs to be destroyed in place.


The main battle force may defend delay, or attack. The COSCOM provides priority of support to the main effort. The COSCOM support operations officer shifts priority of support.

Logistics units echelon in depth throughout the main battle area. They reposition as necessary to support the counterattack. Supporting elements refuel and ensure full basic loads prior to the counterattack.

To ensure that interruptions in communications do not disrupt supply support, the COSCOM pushes packages of critical items forward on a scheduled basis. Push packages contain critical ammunition items, NBC defense items, bulk fuels, and selected repair parts. Habitual support relationships need to be stressed with resupply at night being the norm. Transportation assets stockpile critical supplies for support of the defense effort at probable avenues of approach.

To reduce the requirement to evacuate damaged equipment, maintenance elements repair critical weapon systems as farforward as possible. DS maintenance units concentrate on repairing the maximum number of damaged, reparable systems and returning them to the battle in the least possible time.

To ensure bed availability for new casualties, the medical brigade and CMCC arrange rapid evacuation of wounded personnel from forward hospitals. Corps aviation assets support aeromedical evacuation to corps hospitals.


Heavy/light mix of forces impact on the supporting ASL stockage. The COSCOM support operations officer informs the corps G3 of the logistics impact that results from the proposed mix of force types. To offset problems resulting from probable interoperability of equipment, the CMMC recommends reallocation of repair parts stocked at DS maintenance companies or direct shipment from the GS repair parts company. FM 71-100 provides additional information on augmentation to heavy/light forces.


The corps commits its reserve force to decide a battle in progress or to affect future battles. The COSCOM provides support based on the corps commander's guidance. It replenishes basic loads. Support operations section staff plan changes in support requirements as units shift to the offense. They recommend ways to reposition supporting units to better support the next battle.

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