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The Army's authority for staff procedures and formatting orders is FM 101-5 and the formats contained herein are consistent with it. Although these formats are written, company commanders will normally receive their orders orally from the battalion and will give them orally to their companies. They will use operations overlays, terrain models, and execution matrixes to supplement. the order.


Warning orders give subordinates advance notice of operations that are to come. This gives them time to prepare. The order should be brief, but complete. A sample format follows:




Brief description of the enemy and friendly situations. Attachments and detachments to the company


Use the restated mission from the mission analysis.


a. Special teams or task organization within the company.

b. Uniform and equipment common to all (changes from SOP; for example, drop rucks, drop or pick up helmets).

c. Special weapons, ammunition, or equipment (different from SOP), (For example, mines, satchel charges, grappling hooks, drop or pick up night vision devices.)

d. The tentative time schedule is formed on the basis of mission analysis. It includes at least:

(1) Earliest time of move.

(2) Time and place of OPORD.

(3) Probable execution time.

(4) Inspection times and items to be inspected different from SOP.

(5) Rehearsal times and actions to be rehearsed. (For example, action at the objective, special teams for bridges, searches, EPWs, or other actions as time allow).

e. Additional general instruction as needed or by SOP.


a. To subordinate leader:

  • Executive officer
  • First Sergeant
  • Company FSO
  • Platoon Leaders
  • Mortar section sergeant
  • Anti-Armor section Sergeant
  • Aidman
  • Attachments.

b. To persons helping prepare OPORD (SOP).

c. As needed by SOP.

d. Acknowledgement. All subordinates verify receipt of the warning order to ensure the required personnel are notified.


An OPORD gives the subordinate leaders the essential information needed to carry out an operation. OPORDs use a five-paragraph format (shown below) to organize thoughts and ensure completeness. They also help subordinate leaders understand and follow the order. Use a terrain model or sketch along with a map to explain the order. The order should be given while observing the objective area.


1st PLT(-)
 2 Antiarmor Tms
2d PLT (+)
 1/1st PLT
3d PLT
Antiarmor SEC (-) CO Control
 60-mm SEC


(The company task organization for the mission is stated at the start of the OPORD so that the subordinates know what assets they will have during the operation.)

a. Enemy situation.

(1) Composition, disposition, and strength.

(2) Recent activities.

(3) Capabilities.

(4) The enemy's most probable COA. A sketch or enemy overlay is normally included to clarify the description.

b. Friendly Situation.

(1) Mission and concept for the battalion.

(2) Mission for the unit on the left.

(3) Mission for the unit on the right.

(4) Mission for the unit to the front.

(5) Mission for the unit to the rear or following.

(6) Mission for the battalion reserve.

(7) Mission for any units supporting battalion if they impact on the company mission.

c. Attachments and Detachments. Changes to the task organization during the operation. For example, if the task organization changes during the consolidation phase of an attack, it would be indicated here.


The mission essential task(s) and purpose(s). It normally includes Who, What, When, Where, and Why. The where is described in terms of terrain features/grid coordinates. If objective names are used. They are sec6ndary references and placed in parentheses.


a. Concept of the Operation. This paragraph describes how the: CO intends to accomplish his mission. At company level, a maneuver and 'fires subparagraph will always be included. When needed to clarify the concept to ensure synchronization, additional subparagraphs, such as engineering, Intelligence, EW, and counterair operations, may be included. The operation overlay/concept sketch is referenced here.

(1) Maneuver. The maneuver paragraph should be focused on the decisive action. At company level, a maneuver paragraph that assign the missions to each platoon and or section and identifies the main effort normally, requires no additional clarification. If it should, the CO clarify it in the concept of the operation paragraph (paragraph 3a).

(2) Fires. This paragraph describes how the CO intends for the fires: to support his manuever. It normally state the purpose to be achieved by the fires, the priority of fires for the company, and the allocation of any priority targets. AA target list, fires execution matrix, or target overlay may be referenced here.

(3) Engineering. Often, especially in defensive operations, this paragraph is required to clarify the CO's concept for preparing obstacles, mine and fortifications. When the company is supported by engineer equipment or units, the CO states his guidance for employing these assets here. He may do this by stating his priority for the engineer effort (survivability, countermobility, and mobility) and the priority for supporting his subordinates, 3d PLT, 1st PLT, Antiarmor section, 2d PLT, mortar section, and the CP).

b. Tasks to manuever units. This paragraph lists each of the platoon's tasks/limitations. Each of these subordinate units will have a separate paragraph.

c. Tasks to Combat Support Units. This paragraph lists the tasks and limitations for the mortar and antiarmor sections and any attached combat support units. Each unit will have a separate paragraph.

d. Coordinating Instructions. These are the tasks and limitations that apply to two or more subordinate units. If they do not apply to all the subordinate units, then those units that must comply are clearly stated.


This paragraph provides the critical logistical information required to sustain the company during the operation.

a. General. It provides current and future trains locations.

b. Materiel and Services. It may have a separate subparagraph for each class of supply, as required.

c. Casualty Evacuation.

d. Miscellaneous.


a. Command. This paragraph state where the c2 facilities and key personnel will be located during the operation and adjustments to the unit sop, such as a change to the succession of command or the standard wire plan.

b. Signal It provides critical communications requirements such as radio listening silence in effect forward of the LD, signals for specific events or actions emergency/visual signals for critical actions, and SOI information.

ACKNOWLEDGE. Use the message reference number.


A -- Intelligence/Intelligence Overlay(s)

B -- Operation Overlay/Concept Sketches.

C -- As required, such as road march, truck/boat movement, air assault, and river crossing.


These provide timely changes to existing orders. Elements normally found in a complete order may be omitted when these elements have not changed, when they are not required to the mission, when they might delay transmission. or when they are unavailable or incomplete at the time of issue. Fragmentary orders are normally used to issue supplemental instructions or changes to a current OPORD while the operation is in progress.


The company orders can be supplemented by overlays, concept sketches, execution matrixes, and operation schedules.

a. Overlays. Overlays are used to show both friendly and enemy information, such as indirect fire support; scheme of maneuver, mobility/counter-mobility plan; air, small boat, or tactical road movement; logistics sites; and reconnaissance and surveillance plans. Separate overlays can be made for each plan, or the information can be combined on a single overlay unless this is confusing. Overlays are drawn to scale using the symbols shown in FM 101-5-1 (Figure G-1). Information shown on the overlay, except the mission statement, need not be repeated in the OPORD or FRAGO. Overlays can be combined with a written mission statement and an execution matrix (both written on the overlay) to produce a complete OPORD.

Figure G-1. Company operation overlay.

b. Concept Sketch. The company area of operations or objective area is often so small that on a 1:50,000 map, overlays are not sufficiently clear. The commander then makes a concept sketch or terrain model that accomplishes the same purpose (Figure G-2). He begins by sketching the terrain of the area of operations or objective area. He does this by free-handing the dominant terrain features from the military map onto the sketch paper. Additional details of terrain and vegetation are added based on reconnaissance and a more detailed examination of the map. The enemy situation, scheme of maneuver, fires, mobility/ countermobility, or other pertinent data as desired are then superimposed. If possible, the synchronization of units in time and space is represented by using modified graphic symbols (explained by a legend) that show the order of occurrence.

Figure G-2. Company concept sketch.

c. Execution Matrix. An execution matrix shows the most critical tasks or events in a matrix format (Figure G-3). The matrix is used to help the commander during the conduct of the mission, as well as to supplement the operations overlay and oral order. The execution matrix does not replace the mission-type order that the commander gives to his subordinates; it assists their understanding of the mission.

Figure G-3. Execution matrix.

(1) To construct a basic execution matrix for an attack, the commander lists his subelements in their task-organized form along one axis of the matrix. He breaks into steps his selected COA from his estimate of situation and lists it along the other axis. He then fills in the boxes with information that tells him and his subunits what each element of the company is doing during each step of the attack.

(2) Useful variations to the basic matrix include integrating operation schedules, brevity codes, or signals into the matrix so that a series of synchronized events can be ordered by short radio commands or signals. In the defense, a priority of work and designated positions could be added. Finally, an execution matrix is an excellent way to prepare contingency plans or counterattack plans.

d. Operation Schedule. An operation schedule (OPSKED) is a sequential list of events designated by numbers. An operation schedule is different from a brevity code in that each number is a cue for several events, even if the number is often a report as opposed to an order. For example, 2d Platoon reaches their support position and reports 101; the company FSO automatically calls for suppressive fires, and the 1st Platoon automatically begins movement to the assault position. Operation schedules can be used separately or in conjunction with execution matrixes.

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