OTHER TACTICAL OPERATIONS
This chapter discusses tactical operations that require special planning. The fluid environment of the airland battlefield requires infantry battalions to conduct these types of operations more often and more rapidly than ever. Also, because each of these usually involves the meeting of friendly forces on or forward of the FLOT, each also offers the increased risk of fratricide. Commanders must inform all personnel of this potential and must closely monitor the operations with this in mind.
THIS SECTION IMPLEMENTS STANAG 2082
PASSAGE OF LINES
A passage of lines is an operation in which one battalion passes through the positions of another--for example, a covering force withdraws through the main battle area or an exploiting force moves through the initial attacking force. Forward passage is the movement by a battalion toward the enemy through a stationary battalion. Rearward passage is movement away from the enemy through friendly battalions.
This operation is necessary when one battalion cannot bypass another and must pass through it. The battalion is vulnerable during a passage of lines. Concentrated friendly forces are a lucrative target. The concentration of friendly units can mask the fires of the friendly stationary battalion, which might be unable to react to the enemy. Also, since the stationary friendly battalion is so near, the passing battalion lacks freedom of maneuver. Detailed reconnaissance and coordination can ensure a quick and smooth passage. The battalion can conduct a passage of lines for the following reasons:
- To initiate or continue an attack or counterattack.
- To envelop an enemy force.
- To pursue a fleeing enemy.
- To withdraw covering forces or main battle area forces.
The commander of the passing battalion makes a tentative plan for the conduct of the passage.
a. Organization. Continuous unit integrity provides positive command and control.
b. Order of Movement. The order of movement should be prescribed based on the number of passage points, the degree of security required, the enemy situation, and the terrain. A movement order prevents confusion and congestion by setting priorities for battalion movements.
c. Command and Control. The command and control techniques used depend on the number of passage points. Ideally, command and control of multiple passage points and routes is decentralized. The battalion commander decides how he can best influence the passage and positions himself accordingly.
(1) The time or circumstances when responsibility for the zone or sector is transferred must be agreed on by the passing and stationary commanders or must be specified by the headquarters directing the passage. The command groups of the passing and stationary battalions should be collocated so the transfer is orderly and correct. At an agreed time, the FSOs and FACs of the two battalions also coordinate and transfer responsibility. If the brigade commander and his command group move forward to assume control of a passage, the command groups of the passing and stationary battalions need not collocate.
(2) The commander of a passing battalion making a forward passage of lines usually assumes responsibility for the zone of attack only when at least one company and a control element are forward of the LD. In a rearward passage of lines, the responsibility for a sector changes when the disengaging battalion passes a specific location, usually the battle handover line. Responsibility can also be based on an event such as the passage of a specific number of companies through the passage points. Coordination and control of the battalion through the passage points are easier if the boundaries of the passing battalion and stationary battalion coincide.
d. Augmentation. The scout platoon can help during the passage of lines by screening between the enemy and the battalion for early warning and limited protection.
e. Control Measures. Both passing and stationary battalions should use the same control measures within the area of passage. Control measures include the following:
(1) Passage lanes. Lanes along which a passing battalion moves to avoid stationary battalions and obstacles are called passage lanes. Planning should provide for primary and alternate lanes.
(2) Passage point. A point where battalions pass through one another, either in an advance or a withdrawal, is called a passage point. The passage point is where the commander wants subordinate units to execute a passage of lines.
(3) Time of passage. The commander who orders the passage may prescribe the time of passage.
(4) Recognition signals. Friendly units recognize one another by the use of recognition signals. These signals can consist of one or more letters, words, visual displays, characters, signal flags, or special lights/sounds with prearranged meaning.
(5) Contact point. The place where two or more units are required to make physical contact before executing a passage is called the contact point. The stationary unit positions guides to help the passing unit throughout the passage.
(6) Release point. The place on a route where specified units come back under the control of their respective commanders is the release point.
(7) Battle hangover line. The phase line where one battalion assumes responsibility from another battalion for the conduct of a battle is the battle handover line. If required, the stationary battalion must be able to engage out to this line and help the passing battalion disengage.
f. Fire Supporting. Direct and indirect fires of the stationary battalion are integrated into the fire support plan of the passing battalion. Fire support elements can be collocated for coordinated and responsive support.
g. Reconnaissance. A thorough reconnaissance covers routes to, through, and beyond the area of passage. The reconnaissance should note existing and proposed locations of soldiers. Unit intentions must not be compromised. Therefore, the number and size of reconnaissance parties should be limited. The passing battalion should consider using the vehicles or aircraft of the stationary battalion.
THIS PARAGRAPH IMPLEMENTS STANAG 2129
h. Coordination. Commanders and staffs of the battalions involved coordinate the following during the planning process:
(1) Exchange of intelligence.
(2) Exchange of tactical plans.
(3) Exchange of signal operation instructions.
(4) Arrangements for reconnaissance.
(5) Security during the passage.
(6) Areas of passage and provisions for guides.
(7) Priorities for routes and facilities, including provisions for movement control. The passing battalion has priority.
(8) Times or circumstances during which responsibility for the control of the area of operations is transferred.
(9) Fire and other combat support to be provided by the stationary battalion.
(10) Combat service support to be provided by the stationary battalion, including medical, maintenance, and recovery assistance.
(11) Exchange of liaison personnel.
(12) Exchange of information on minefield or other obstacles.
(13) Command relationship between the passing battalion's CS/CSS assets and the stationary battalion, including site locations.
(14) Tactical deception plans.
The commander considers many factors when planning for and conducting a rearward passage of lines (Figure 6-1).
a. The commander of the stationary battalion must designate the contact point for coordination if it has not already been designated by higher headquarters; then he must notify the passing battalion of its location. He can use radio, higher headquarters, or a liaison officer/NCO. To stay abreast of the tactical situation, the stationary battalion should also monitor the forward unit's net.
b. The contact point is forward of and within small-arms range of the BHL. This point should also be on or near an easily identifiable terrain feature. At the prescribed time, liaison parties from the two battalions meet. Passing battalions can send their XOs and other liaison personnel to the contact point. At the contact point, the commander, S3, or XO of the stationary battalion briefs the commander of the passing battalion and exchanges information with personnel from the passing battalion who have been sent to the contact point. Together the representatives from both battalions develop a plan for the passage. The scout platoon leaders from both the passing and stationary battalions remain together near the BHL.
(1) Exchange. The following subjects are discussed at this meeting:
- Latest enemy information (size and type force, location and direction of movement).
- Friendly tactical situation.
- Recognition signals.
- Any signal operation instructions.
(2) Verify. The following arrangements are confirmed at this meeting:
- Provisions for and placement of guides.
- Estimated time of main body arrival, numbers and types of units and vehicles to pass.
- Time or event for battle handover.
- Minefield and obstacle information.
- Passage points, lanes, and alternates.
(3) Coordinate. The following are coordinated at the meeting:
(a) Positions forward of the BHL to be occupied by the stationary battalion's security force.
(b) Direct and indirect supporting fires. Fires should be planned to support the disengagement of the passing battalion, to support the obstacle/barrier plan, and to support the deception plan. Smoke should be planned to conceal movement through the passage points. Fires on the passage points should be planned for after the passing battalion moves through them. The stationary battalion plans fires to support operations after the passage.
(c) Combat service support to include casualty evacuation and EPW control.
c. Scouts from the stationary battalion can screen along the BHL and monitor the passing battalion's command net.
d. Scouts or liaison parties make contact at each passage point after verifying that it is occupied. The passing battalion must know which of its elements are to pass through each passage point. For ease of control, the passing battalion temporarily collocates its command group with that of the stationary battalion. Passing battalion elements normally go through the passage points in the following order:
- Combat service support elements.
- Main command post.
- Combat support elements.
- Command group.
- Combat units.
e. The passage points should be manned by representatives from the passing battalion and by the forward companies of the stationary battalion. Lanes through obstacles are marked and provisions made to close them quickly.
f. The stationary battalion assumes responsibility for the fight at the BHL from the passing battalion and supports their disengagement if required. The stationary battalion's forward elements notify their forward companies by prearranged signal(s) that friendly forces are at the BHL and are en route to the passage point.
g. The passing battalion, overwatched by the stationary battalion, moves through the passage points and along the routes to the rear without pausing. The stationary battalion commander, company commanders, and platoon leaders must observe this passage carefully. The only time the stationary battalion should fire is when positive enemy identification is made.
h. Disabled vehicles are self-recovered or are aided by other elements of the passing battalion. The stationary battalion provides required maintenance and medical assistance as far forward as possible.
The commanders of the stationary and passing battalions initiate actions much like those for a rearward passage as soon as one receives the order to pass forward through the other. Forward passages normally occur during offensive operations to begin or continue an attack or to penetrate, envelop, or pursue the enemy force. In the defense, a forward passage can be used to counterattack one battalion through another (Figure 6-2).
a. The battalion commander, S3, or both coordinate a forward passage. Critical information exchanged is the same as in a rearward passage.
b. The commander of the stationary battalion establishes contact points, passage points, and routes, if not specified in the brigade order. He must provide guides at contact points to lead the passing battalion to passage or release points near the FEBA or LD/LC.
c. The command group of the passing battalion temporarily collocates with that of the stationary battalion. Passed forces maintain normal radio traffic. Passing companies maintain listening silence on their battalion command net. The stationary battalion's guides notify their commander that the passing force has begun moving forward from the contact points. At the agreed point in the passage--normally when two-thirds of the passing battalion has completed its passage--the two battalion commanders transfer responsibility for the zone or sector.
d. The stationary force provides the passing forces with overmatching direct and indirect fires. The passing force FSO collocates with the stationary force FSO. The commander of the passing force positions passing force mortars after he coordinates with the stationary force commander. However, until sector responsibility is transferred, the FSO of the stationary battalion approves fire missions. After that, any fire missions for the stationary battalion mortar platoon are cleared through the passing battalion FSO. The stationary battalion lifts or shifts its direct fire as coordinated by the two commanders.
e. Nuclear and chemical considerations for a forward passage of lines are similar to those for a rearward passage. Since it is moving into areas not under friendly control, the passing battalion must emphasize dispersion and chemical monitoring.
THIS SECTION IMPLEMENTS STANAG 2082
A relief is an operation in which a unit is replaced in combat by another unit. The incoming unit assumes responsibilities for the assigned sector or zone of action. Reliefs can be conducted during offensive or defensive operations and in any weather or light conditions. To reduce the possibility of detection, the unit normally executes a relief during limited visibility.
The purpose of a relief is to maintain the combat effectiveness of committed elements. A relief can be conducted for the following specific reasons:
a. To reorganize, reconstitute, or reequip a unit that has sustained heavy losses.
b. To introduce a new unit into combat.
c. To rest units that have conducted prolonged operations in adverse weather or terrain.
d. To replace a unit that requires medical treatment or decontamination resulting from chemical or nuclear exposure.
e. To conform to a larger tactical plan.
f. To make mission changes.
Commanders should consider the following METT-T factors in planning for and conducting relief operations:
a. Mission. Both battalion commanders, once they understand the mission, must coordinate plans between themselves and ensure coordination between key subordinates.
b. Enemy. An exchange of enemy information helps the incoming commander adjust his defense or plans of attack. The enemy must not know that a relief is about to occur. Since the concentration of friendly forces increases their vulnerability to enemy attack, stringent OPSEC is necessary.
c. Terrain and Weather. The terrain must be reconnoitered and routes chosen that provide the greatest possible cover and concealment for the incoming unit. Routes for the incoming and outgoing units must be chosen to prevent choke points and massing. Limited visibility helps in maintaining OPSEC for the relief.
d. Troops. The disposition and strength of friendly soldiers must be considered when conducting a relief. Knowing the locations and the strength of friendly units helps the commander plan routes and priorities of relief. In the defense, the relieving commander should compare his organization with that of the battalion being relieved. This ensures continuity of the defense. The commander adjusts the concept of the relief as needed. A relief is conducted to maintain the tactical integrity of the position and to offer the least profitable target for nuclear, chemical, or area fire weapons. Combat support units should be relieved after the units they support.
e. Time. A relief in place can be conducted in one night or over a longer period. A relief in one night increases the density of soldiers and their vulnerability to conventional, chemical, and nuclear fires. However, this disadvantage is offset by the fact that a faster relief reduces the chances of detection and simplifies the command and control problems associated with intermingled forces.
As the battalion commander makes his tentative plan, he emphasizes the following:
- Reconnaissance and surveillance.
- Location and types of obstacles.
- Fire support assets and fire support plan.
- Movement control.
- Passage of command.
- Enemy contact during a relief in place.
- Exchange of equipment.
- Sequence of relief.
The battalion commander and staff develop their estimates as soon as they receive the order to conduct the relief. The relieving battalion establishes continuous liaison with the relieved battalion. Liaison personnel are exchanged down to company level as soon as the relief order is received. So it can coordinate the operation, the orders group moves to the main CP of the battalion being relieved. If required, the relieving battalion XO supervises unit movement to an assembly area to the rear of the relieved battalion. Liaison is conducted between the relieving and relieved battalions. The commander should coordinate the battalion maneuver and fire support plans and an intelligence update to include past, present, and probable enemy action. Combat support units --for example, engineer, ADA, and artillery--should support the coordination and liaison. Liaison personnel from the outgoing battalion remain with the incoming battalion until the incoming battalion knows the situation.
The sequence of relief is based on the disposition of the relieved battalion, its mission, and the probability of enemy activity in the area. To reduce the unit's vulnerability, the sequence should support a rapid relief. Once the sequence is determined, timing must be considered.
a. The best sequence of relief when few forces are forward is from rear to front; when many forces are forward, from front to rear. If an enemy attack is likely, the first unit to be relieved should be the one with the most critical mission. If a particular unit is likely to be detected during the relief, that unit should be scheduled for the last relief. This allows most soldiers to occupy their positions before the unit is detected.
b. The slowest method of relief is one unit at a time. However, this method might be required when unit movement routes are limited. When two or more units are to move on the same routes, extra control might be required. To simplify coordination and transfer of equipment, excess ammunition, fuel, water, and medical supplies, the units' combat trains can be collocated. Companies relieve each other in designated sequence. (Figure 6-3, shows some commonly used graphic control measures.)
c. The fastest method of relief is to relieve all units at the same time. However, security is sacrificed with this method since all units move at once. When command groups and combat trains are collocated and plans and equipment have been exchanged, relieving battalion units move at once along designated routes. Though relief occurs at each location at the same time, relieved units withdraw as soon as they are relieved; they do not wait for the other units of the battalion.
d. Area relief, which is relief by occupation of in-depth or adjacent positions, can be used when terrain allows. The relieving unit should be able to place direct fire on the other unit's TRPs and engagement areas. This method is most useful if the unit being relieved has been chemically or radiologically contaminated. It might also be effective when the units involved are different such as when a light unit relieves a heavy unit. A main drawback to this method is that the relieving unit lacks the advantage of occupying prepared fighting positions with existing projective obstacles. The relieving unit maintains radio listening silence until the responsibility of the sector or zone is transferred to the relieving unit. The unit being relieved maintains normal traffic. Coordination between units is directed by higher headquarters and accomplished at brigade, division, or both designated contact points. Depending on the situation, the relieved unit withdraws one unit at a time or all at the same time.
e. The commander and staff determine the sequence to be used based on their understanding of the possible sequences of relief. They must consider the following factors:
- Companies' combat effectiveness.
- Terrain characteristics.
- Enemy capabilities.
- Control of units.
- Company subsequent missions.
Normal patrols and radar activity are continued; however, patrols exclude members of the incoming unit who, if captured, could reveal the presence of a new unit in the area. The outgoing units' surveillance teams and radar equipment remain in position until the relief is completed. If time and the situation permit, company commanders and scout and mortar platoon leaders reconnoiter before the relief. Since the incoming unit must know the location of individual and vehicle positions, weapons, communication centers, command posts, aid stations, and all other essential facilities, reconnaissance should be conducted during both daylight and darkness. This reconnaissance should also include all routes for vehicle and foot traffic and the locations of assembly areas and service support units. In the forward areas, reconnaissance parties should be small. Vehicles and aircraft used for the reconnaissance should be furnished by the unit being relieved.
The unit must identify obstacle locations and minefield, record and verify minefield, and transfer minefield records.
Detailed fire support coordination and liaison are conducted between both units at the relieved unit's main CP. Range cards, target lists, and overlays should be given to the incoming unit to ensure the effective delivery of fire. Relief of fire support assets occurs after the relief of all maneuver units. Therefore, the fire support assets of the relieved unit can support both relieving and relieved units during the relief of the maneuver units. As soon as the relief of maneuver units is complete, the fresher fire support assets move in rapidly to assume fire support.
Commanders control movement by designating and ranking routes as to priority. They position traffic controllers at critical points along the routes, designate assembly areas, and specify activities. To lessen confusion, commanders use separate assembly areas for incoming and outgoing units. To reduce vulnerability to enemy fires, they separate company assembly areas as much as possible. Also, to avoid compromise, they ensure time spent in assembly areas is minimized. Precise planning, timing, and execution allow these to be achieved. Guides from both incoming and outgoing units are designated, and all personnel are informed where and when to report.
The time for the passage of command can be specified in the brigade order. If not, battalion commanders can agree on the sequence and time for the passage of command. Usually, it occurs when two-thirds of the relieving unit is in position, front line subordinate commanders have assumed responsibility for their sectors, and the incoming unit commander has sufficient communications to control his entire sector.
The presence of the relieving unit's command group at the main CP of the unit being relieved simplifies rapid coordination and action in case of enemy contact during the relief. If either unit gains direct-fire contact with an enemy force, it immediately notifies the other unit and the higher headquarters directing the relief. If command has not passed, the relieving unit immediately comes under OPCON of the relieved unit, is absorbed into that unit's positions, and begins normal radio traffic. The relieving unit's mortars fire missions as directed by the commander of the unit being relieved. If command has passed, the relieved battalion commander and staff can come under OPCON of the relieving unit.
Grounded crew-served weapons should not be moved; re-laying them is difficult when a relief is conducted during limited visibility. To preserve secrecy, commanders maintain normal patterns of activity in a defense sector during the relief. The following equipment can be exchanged:
- Machine gun tripods and other supports for crew-served weapons or equipment.
- Bulky or excess supplies.
- Emplaced sensors and radar sets.
- M8 alarms.
Communications security measures include using wire as the main means of communication. Radios are used as little as possible and, to prevent the enemy from detecting a change, the outgoing unit's radios are manned until the relief is completed. Security is further enhanced if the FO and FSOs remain in position until the relief is completed. Also, deception plans must help protect secrecy and surprise. The relieved unit must maintain normal patterns of activity. The relieving unit must conform to this pattern until the relief is completed.
The battalion commander issues his order when planning and coordination are complete. On completion of the order, the command group remains at the relieved units' main CP until the relief is complete. Orders group personnel complete their troop-leading procedure and begin the relief as prescribed in the order. To reduce confusion and maintain secrecy, the relief order should include the following:
- Time that responsibility for the sector, battle position, or zone is effective.
- Fire support plan.
- OPSEC considerations.
- Deception plans.
- Time, method, and sequence of relief.
- Routes and critical control measures.
- Concept of subsequent mission.
- Plans for additional positions-changes to present concept.
- Contingency plans.
- Location and transfer of responsibility for obstacles.
- Transfer of ammunition, wire lines, POL, and materiel to incoming unit.
BREAKOUT FROM ENCIRCLEMENT
A unit is considered encircled when it is surrounded by an enemy force that has blocked all ground routes of evacuation and reinforcement. On a nonlinear battlefield, battalion commanders must plan for the possibility of being encircled. Units can conduct a perimeter defense until they link up with another friendly unit or they can conduct a breakout. While conducting either offensive, defensive, or retrograde operations, a unit can become encircled. The enemy might or might not know it has encircled the unit. The chance of encirclement increases during airborne, air assault, infiltration, and strongpoint operations, and is planned for during stay-behind operations.
A breakout from encirclement is conducted to allow the encircled force to regain freedom of movement, contact with friendly units, or both. A breakout can mean using a rupture force to attack to open a gap--penetrating outward--through the encircling forces; it can also mean using stealth and deception to exfiltrate through the enemy positions.
a. Encirclement does not imply that the battalion is surrounded by enemy forces in strength. Threat doctrine stresses using momentum to bypass forces that cannot be quickly reduced. An enemy force might be able to influence a battalion's later operations while occupying only scattered positions; and may be unaware of the battalion's dispositions, strength, or composition. The battalion can attack to break out before the enemy can develop his situation. Obviously, when a battalion has adequate CSS resources and is holding a strongpoint, a breakout might not be required or desirable.
b. A battalion must do the following to be successful in a breakout from encirclement:
(1) Deceive the enemy as to its composition, strength, and intentions.
(2) Concentrate sufficient combat power at an enemy weak point.
(3) Provide security to the flanks and rear of the battalion as it moves out of the encircled area.
(4) Make timely decisions on a course of action. Indecision or delay can cause any action to fail. However, the need for a quick decision should not lead the commander to try a breakout without adequate planning.
The following METT-T factors must be analyzed when planning a breakout:
a. Mission. A force that becomes encircled can assume anew mission or continue its original mission. A knowledge of the higher commander's intent and his plan for future operations helps the encircled commander plan his breakout. In coordination with higher authority, the commander must select a course of action. His options are as follows:
(1) Continue or assume the defense and wait for friendly linkup.
(2) Break out to continue or assume an offensive mission (to include stay-behind operations).
(3) Break out to link up with friendly elements.
(4) Exfiltrate, evade and escape, or both.
b. Enemy. Planners must assess enemy strength, intentions, and locations. Intelligence information helps in determining if the unit is encircled and identifies enemy weaknesses or gaps.
(1) Planners can more easily decide on the direction for the breakout if they know where the gaps are. If they find gaps, planners must setup surveillance to prevent compromise at the gap sites.
(2) Intelligence might indicate that the enemy is unaware that he has a unit encircled, or it can confirm that he is planning an encirclement. If he intends to complete an encirclement, the enemy might establish strong blocking positions on likely avenues out of the encircled area, with light screening elements between these positions.
(3) A unit unarmed with intelligence information, but planning a breakout, must initiate aggressive arid continuous reconnaissance to obtain information. It must also avoid any routes that could lead to enemy strengths.
c. Terrain. The encircled force must use terrain to its advantage. Because it knows the terrain, a force that is encircled while defending has some terrain advantage. It has already reconnoitered exit routes, which aids planning and time factors. Existing defensive positions should be used. However, because the force is encircled, the defensive posture might have to be changed to add a perimeter defense. Limited visibility helps if exfiltration is used as a means of escape. An encircled battalion presents a lucrative target for nuclear, chemical, or artillery weapons. Therefore, it should use dispersion and any other possible protective measures.
d. Troops Available. The encircled force can consist of a maneuver battalion or a mixture of friendly forces. The battalion can be a subordinate element of a larger encircled force. Regardless, strength and capabilities should be assessed.
(1) Soldiers must be organized and integrated into a breakout force to ensure unity of command. Aviation and CAS can be instrumental in obtaining information on enemy weaknesses and reserve locations, and can ease the evacuation of wounded. If the encircled force must maintain its defense until relieved, aviation assets might be the only means of resupply. If it is beyond range of friendly artillery, aviation assets might also be the only fire support asset.
(2) Both enemy and friendly situations and terrain influence the selection of the breakout route and the decision whether to move cross-country or by road. Though road-bound routes might simplify the extraction of vehicles and wounded, they are easy for the enemy to block and counterattack. Using routes through rough terrain might dictate destruction of heavy equipment and limit evacuation of wounded. Options include using a single breakout with diverging routes for vehicles and dismounted soldiers or mounting a second breakout for vehicles.
e. Time. This might be the most important factor at first. If the enemy's intent is a complete encirclement, he requires time to redistribute and position his forces. The breakout should be made before the enemy can establish a cohesive encirclement. If a friendly unit can link up with the encircled forces, the commander of the encircled force must determine if he has the resources to maintain his defense until the linkup force arrives. If he has insufficient combat potential to await the relief, he should request permission to conduct a breakout as soon as possible.
The battalion commander should prepare for the possibility of encirclement.
a. Authority to Withdraw. The battalion commander should request the authority to withdraw beforehand if an encirclement appears imminent. If permission to withdraw is denied, the commander should consider the following:
(1) Active reconnaissance activities should be conducted to develop information on the terrain and enemy. This information is used to plan a breakout.
(2) Excess personnel and equipment should be evacuated by foot, vehicle, or air.
(3) Positions should be reduced in size to simplify defense and future breakout operations.
(4) Terrain should be retained to ease a future breakout.
(5) Casualties should be evacuated to enhance both morale and force mobility.
b. Pre-Encirclement Tasks. The commander must perform specific tasks vital to the preservation of the force if an encirclement is imminent. These tasks include the following:
(1) Establishing all-round defense.
(2) Establishing the chain of command. During the encirclement, other friendly units will probably become part of the encircled force. The senior commander then organizes and takes charge of the encircled force.
(3) Organizing/consolidating resources. Unattached units and soldiers must be organized into a cohesive force. During reorganization, all elements--maneuver, combat support, and combat service support--are included in the defense and breakout effort. Combat service support personnel can be used to reconstitute maneuver elements.
(4) Trying to communicate with higher command. A coordinated effort with higher command can enhance the survivability of the encircled force. The encircled force commander gives an assessment of his situation and seeks further instructions. He might be instructed to wait for a linkup or to conduct a breakout. Either way, fire support and logistical support from higher command must be part of the coordinated effort.
(5) Maintaining morale. Along with the fear of being surrounded, the possibilities that supplies will be limited and resupply will not arrive present leadership challenges. To keep the force effective, morale must be maintained. To reinforce morale, leaders should inform soldiers of communications from higher headquarters and of plans to break out or link up.
The battalion is organized into four main elements for breakout operations. If possible, the task organization of the battalion should complement both the breakout and the subsequent linkup.
a. The breakout plan must detail the four elements.
(1) Rupture force. Maneuver elements strong enough to penetrate the enemy line make the rupture. The strength of the attacking force is tailored to known enemy strength. A favorable combat power ratio must be achieved by means of surprise, strength, mobility, and firepower. The rupture force has to be able to widen the gap made by the attack and to hold the gap shoulders until the encircled forces can move through. A combined arms team has the best chance of success as a rupture force.
(2) Reserve force. The reserve follows the rupture force to maintain attack momentum or to secure the objectives of the rupture. If the rupture force secures the gap, the reserve becomes the battalion's lead element. If it secures the gap, the reserve force performs rear security once other elements have passed through. Once the reserve is committed, a new reserve is designated as soon as possible. The reserve has a contingency mission to help free elements of the rear guard that become decisively engaged. To defend against counterattack, the reserve should employ TOWs.
(3) Main body. This includes the trains, other soft-skinned vehicles, casualties, and CS elements unattached to the other functional forces. All of these should move as one unit under the control of either the HHC commander or the battalion XO. To speed movement out of the encircled area, traffic along the route must be strictly controlled.
(4) Rear guard. The rear guard consists of the soldiers and equipment left on the perimeter to provide protection for the rupture and diversionary attacks. In addition to providing security, the rear guard deceives the enemy as to the encircled force's intentions. The rear guard must be strong enough to maintain the integrity of the defense. Once the breakout begins, the rear guard disengages or delays toward the rupture.
b. A breakout can be organized in either of two ways.
(1) Unit integrity can be maintained by assigning each company a functional area as its mission if the encircled force consists mainly of the units of an infantry battalion--for example, A Company could be the rupture force, B Company could be the reserve, C Company could provide the rear guard, and headquarters elements could provide the diversionary attack.
(2) A battalion might be only a small part of the encircled force, most of which comprises miscellaneous units. In this case, the encircled force must be organized into a cohesive fighting unit. This is best accomplished by organizing the available units into four elements, strength permitting, and assigning each a function. If unit identities have been lost, it might be easier to organize the force by the function it performs and to identify it accordingly-rupture, reserve, rear guard, or main body.
c. An exfiltration during reduced visibility offers the best chance of a successful breakout if combat power is insufficient to create a rupture or if the battalion is in close terrain. The breakout plan must provide for command and control, fire support, disposition of wounded, and destruction of excess equipment and supplies.
(1) Command and control. Coordinating movement and integrating supporting fires are major challenges in a breakout. Therefore, the commander locates where he can best influence the rupture attack. A good location might be behind the rupture attack or on the perimeter near the rupture point where he can direct the movement of the reserve. The battalion XO can command the rear guard.
(a) The commander establishes control measures for the breakout to simplify command and control. These measures include LD, direction of attack, PLs, and objectives. Objectives can be oriented on known enemy locations or on terrain. They must correspond to the point where the rupture attack is to penetrate. To ensure aggressive movement out of the area or key terrain that controls the approaches into the area of the breakout, subsequent in-depth objectives can be terrain features.
(b) The commander can also use time phasing and pyrotechnics for other techniques of control that can aid in the conduct of a breakout. Time phasing starts a sequence of events such as a diversionary attack. A matrix serves as the tool for this purpose. Pyrotechnics signal the lifting and shifting of fires, the commitment of the reserve, or a diversionary attack.
(2) Fire support. Fire support assets might be available within the encircled area. If so, commanders organize assets under central control and integrate fire support coordination into the breakout plan. Once the breakout begins, artillery in the encircled area can be used in a direct-fire role. If artillery fire is used in this way, it should be masked at the critical point of breakout. The artillery units should be sequenced in the order of breakout to ensure they have adequate security during movement. Also, if within range, fire support should be requested from higher command. If available, on-order RFLs are established between the encircled force and friendly units. This prevents fratricide while the breakout force approaches friendly forward lines (Figure 6-4 and Figure 6-5).
(3) Disposition of wounded. All wounded soldiers who can fight should be assigned duties consistent with their wounds. Those who cannot care for themselves must be evacuated if means are available. If wounded are left behind, morale can suffer greatly. However, situations can arise when carrying the wounded can result in the destruction of the battalion. Although leaving wounded behind with medical personnel is not a preferred option, the commander's main responsibility is preservation of the force. He can provide for their extraction from secure LZs after the breakout.
(4) Destruction of excess equipment and supplies. Disabled vehicles and excess supplies must be destroyed; Class III and V supplies are inventoried and reallocated. No equipment that cannot be manned or maintained should be taken. If done too soon, the destruction of excess equipment alerts the enemy to the battalion's intention. Therefore, the equipment must be disposed of at the proper time. The commander carefully weighs the chances of success in the breakout attempt. If the breakout fails, equipment should not be destroyed prematurely. Medical supplies must NEVER be destroyed. To do so is a violation of the Geneva Convention. Equipment can be rendered inoperable by dismantling its essential components.
A strict sequence of events must be developed and disseminated to all participating units since secrecy and security are vital to a breakout.
a. Methods. The breakout can be conducted in three ways.
(1) The commander can ensure security by assigning a company or reinforced company to occupy the perimeter if the enemy situation permits (Figure 6-4). Remaining units occupy positions within the perimeter and prepare to break out. The advantage of this method is that little movement is needed to organize and position for the breakout. The disadvantage is that, unless the breakout is executed immediately, the massing of soldiers within the perimeter can result in high casualty rates.
(2) The enemy situation may require that all available forces occupy the perimeter (Figure 6-5). When the time arrives to execute the breakout, security forces remain on the perimeter to deceive the enemy as to the battalion's intentions and to protect the massing rupture and diversionary forces. The security force comprises elements left in contact, while the rest of the units move to commence the breakout. To preclude halts and to maintain momentum once the breakout begins, timely coordination and execution are vital.
(3) Limited visibility requires another method of conducting a breakout. When the battalion commander determines that a successful breakout attack is not possible, the battalion might have to exfiltrate out of the area (Figure 6-6). The encircled force is organized into small groups under small-unit leaders. During reduced visibility, it uses stealth and exits through gaps in the encircling forces. To keep them from falling into enemy hands during an exfiltration, major weapons systems and supplies might need to be destroyed. If possible, litter personnel are carried out with the force. However, circumstances might not allow for this; preservation of the force takes priority. In such cases, these soldiers are left with attendants and sufficient medical supplies.
(4) Units located far from friendly lines can exit to a designated location also behind enemy lines. If they are located near friendly lines in a fluid situation, units can exit to friendly lines. Through patrolling and by maintaining contact with higher headquarters, the units must obtain as much information as possible about enemy dispositions.
b. Sequence. The first two methods of conducting a breakout have one sequence, while the other method follows a different sequence.
(1) The first two methods of conducting a breakout have the following sequence:
(a) The diversionary attack is executed vigorously to divert the enemy from the rupture attack. The diversionary attack must be strong enough to convince the enemy that it is the genuine breakout. If the diversionary attack ruptures the encirclement, the battalion must be ready to exploit the success. This change in main effort must be a planned contingency. Also, if contingencies must be exercised, reliable communications to all units are vital, especially with a composite force.
(b) Encirclement of a large force is difficult; the enemy will probably maintain a reserve to deal with an attempted breakout. The diversionary attack is intended to force the enemy to commit his reserve so that it cannot interfere with the main effort. To meet this intent and still return in time to take part in the breakout, the diversionary force should be light, fast, and heavily armed. Also, the diversionary attack can create plausibility by attacking an objective whose gain would help accomplish a breakout and by the presence of direct and indirect fire support. Once the enemy reserve is committed, the diversionary force breaks contact with aid from supporting elements.
(c) The rupture attack starts as soon as the diversionary attack succeeds in diverting the enemy and prompting him to commit his reserve. The rupture attack is directed toward an enemy weakness. However, other considerations can cause the rupture attack to be conducted in the direction of friendly forces.
(d) The reserve ensures the momentum of the rupture attack. It might already be poised within the perimeter or can be located on the perimeter. Locating it on the perimeter allows the reserve to remain in position; this maintains the integrity of the perimeter and reduces movement. This technique sets up the reserve as the force the unit plans to pass through to conduct the rupture attack. As the rupture force passes through, a gap is created. The rupture force holds the shoulders of the gap open while the reserve force passes through it to continue the attack. The success of breakout operations depends greatly on speed. Once the rupture is achieved, battalion elements must move rapidly out of the encircled area.
(e) The diversionary force, CS/CSS units, and the rear guard withdraw on order and follow the reserve force. When all encircled forces have passed through the gap, the rupture force withdraws, prepared to fight as the rear guard. Once outside the encircled area, forces continue the attack to link up with friendly units or to seize attack objectives. During this time, the force assumes a formation that ensures maximum speed and security to the front, flanks, and rear.
(2) The third method of conducting a breakout has the following sequence:
(a) Mounted exfiltration. A battalion organizes into small groups for a mounted exfiltration, keeping unit integrity as much as possible. All nonessential equipment and supplies are rendered useless and left in place. At the designated time, exfiltration begins under cover of darkness and battlefield noise.
(b) Dismounted exfiltration. The same sequence applies to a dismounted exfiltration, except that the disposition of wounded and equipment requires special consideration. For this method to be used, it must offer the battalion a good chance to reach friendly lines and to survive the risks involved.
c. Follow-Up Actions. The commander must reorganize to replace key leaders and restore the perimeter defense, if the breakout fails. Ammunition and equipment should be cross-leveled. The commander regroups and begins planning his next course of action. Once the breakout is completed, the battalion continues its attack to link up with friendly units. As it does so, it might have to conduct hasty attacks or to bypass enemy resistance.
Fewer enemy forces are needed to encircle companies than battalions. Therefore, companies are more likely to be encircled. (FM 7-10 provides more information on actions by encircled companies.) The battalion can support the breakout of individual companies--
a. By providing the encircled company all available indirect fire.
b. By conducting an attack to link up with the encircled force.
c. By conducting a feint to draw enemy attention away from the location of the breakout.
A linkup is an operation that involves the meeting of friendly ground forces. The battalion can participate as part of a larger force, or it can link up using its own resources.
A linkup can be part of airborne or air assault operations such as when an advancing force reaches an objective area previously seized by an airborne or air assault force. Linkups also occur when an encircled element breaks out to rejoin friendly forces, or when converging maneuver forces mass for attack after infiltrating into an enemy rear area. For many attacks, the main effort can use reconnaissance elements as guides in the linkup.
A linkup operation requires detailed coordination and planning of movement, fires, control measures, and recognition signals. Ideally, an exchange of liaison officers occurs before the operation. This is important when linking up with an allied army that speaks no English. The headquarters directing the linkup establishes the command relationship. Depending on the mission after linkup, either force can be attached to the other or both can remain under control of the directing headquarters.
a. Mission. The mission of the linkup force is to arrive intact at the linkup point as rapidly as possible. The linkup can be similar to a movement to contact; however, the linkup force should bypass or rupture enemy forces and obstacles encountered en route to the linkup. The force avoids decisive engagement whenever possible.
b. Information Requirements. Detailed information about the enemy helps planners determine routes to the linkup point. They need to know enemy locations and strengths. Thus friendly units can avoid the enemy and exploit gaps. Knowing the enemy's capabilities, such as his level of mobility, helps planners determine how to move linkup forces. Aviation assets can offset a mobility difference and aid rapid linkup of forces.
c. Routes. Routes to the objective are planned on terrain unlikely to be used by the enemy but able to support the mobility of the linkup force. One technique that can be used is to infiltrate forces to conduct the linkup. All linkups require careful route selection and coordination to prevent friendly forces from engaging each other in a chance contact. Security might be enhanced by moving under the cover of limited visibility.
d. Organization. The battalion is organized much like it would be for a movement to contact. Security elements to the front, flanks, and rear provide early warning to the main body. The linkup force uses the smallest element possible to engage the enemy. Timing can influence the mode of movement.
e. Movement. Linkup forces exchange their proposed schemes of maneuver to ensure compatibility. Changes by one force must be coordinated with the other. Fire support plans must also be exchanged and control measures established.
f. Logistics. The battalion might exceed its transportation capability in linkup operations conducted over extended distances. In such a resupply by air or case, it would require additional vehicles.
(1) Supplies for the linkup force can be flown into the objective area. They can be pre-positioned when the objective area is to be defended jointly by the linkup force and the airborne or air assault force.
(2) Evacuation of equipment and casualties can create problems for the linkup force. If supply routes are open, casualties can be evacuated normally, and damaged equipment can be carried forward with the linkup force until it can be evacuated.
g. Command and Control. The headquarters directing the linkup operation must establish the command relationships and responsibilities of the forces involved. They also set the time and location of the linkup. Both the forces involved in the linkup--
(1) Can remain under control of the directing headquarters.
(2) Can be attached to the other.
(3) Can be under OPCON of the other.
h. Liaison. Liaison begins during planning and continues throughout the operation. As the forces close, they must increase coordination. Aircraft improve and expedite this exchange. Liaison officers exchange at least the same types of information exchanged in a passage of lines (Section I).
i. Communications. The communications plan specifies the radio channels on which the two forces will communicate. It must also prescribe day and night identification procedures, including primary and alternate means. Aircraft can be used to signal or to otherwise extend communication. Any SOI information should be exchanged before linkup. The headquarters directing the linkup ensures SOI and recognition signals are compatible between the two forces. If the linking units do not have the same SOI, higher headquarters directs one unit to change (normally the unit not in contact). If the units involved in the operation are neither under OPCON nor attached, they maintain their parent command nets.
j. Recognition. Planners devise a system of mutual recognition to keep friendly units from firing on each other. This system can include the use of visual signals such as armbands, panels, flags, vehicle markings, smoke, infrared, radar devices, lights of distinctive patterns/colors, or arm-and-hand signals. Though they are less desirable, sound signals (whistles, horns, passwords) must often be used in restrictive terrain or during limited visibility.
k. Contingency Plans. Actions following the linkup are established in advance. Alternate plans are considered if the linkup force cannot reach the linkup point at the prescribed time. Contingent plans should include fire support, close air support, and aerial resupply. The linkup force--
(1) Can reinforce or assume the defense of the area.
(2) Can conduct a coordinated attack.
(3) Can pass through and continue to attack.
l. Coordination of Schemes of Maneuver. All elements in a linkup carefully coordinate their operations to prevent fratricide. During the operation, they coordinate often; they increase coordination as the units approach the linkup points. The following are useful control measures:
(1) Zones of attack/axes of advance. Higher headquarters controls the directions and objectives of any moving forces. A battalion given a zone of attack should move its companies along axes of advance. This allows centralized control and keeps units oriented on the linkup point.
(2) Phase lines. Phase lines control the movement of friendly forces to prevent them from engaging one another.
(3) Restrictive fire lines. Restrictive fire lines prevent friendly forces from engaging one another with direct or indirect fires. One technique is to make the phase lines on-order restrictive fire lines. As the unit crosses one phase line, the next becomes the restrictive fire line.
(4) Coordinated fire line. A coordinated fire line is a fire control measure beyond which conventional surface fire support need not be coordinated. In linkup operations, this line allows engagement of targets outside the areas of both units.
(5) Checkpoints. These points control movement and designate overwatch positions.
(6) Linkup and alternate linkup points. A linkup point is a designated location where two forces meet and coordinate operations. The point must be easily identifiable from the ground; recognition signals must be planned for the forces that meet there. Alternate linkup points should be established if enemy action prevents forces from linking up at the primary point.
Guides should travel with the lead element if the mission after linkup requires reorganization within or between the linkup forces or if it requires integration of the forces. If possible, one or both forces halt briefly before linkup. Operations to follow the linkup should be coordinated before the linkup operation; they can be modified during the linkup. The two commanders collocate near the linkup point or at a prearranged location to confirm or coordinate their subsequent operations.
a. Linkup of Two Moving Units. The most difficult linkup to coordinate is one between two moving units. As the units move closer together, the chances of their engaging each other increase. Therefore, the leading linkup units adjust their movements to each other and communicate continually on a planned radio net. Once they establish contact, if no physical integration of units is planned, the lead elements maintain radio contact between the linkup forces (Figure 6-7).
b. Linkup of Moving Unit and Stationary Unit. Linkup between a moving and a stationary force requires detailed coordination, particularly if the stationary force is under enemy pressure (Figure 6-8). The moving force must orient on the stationary force and keep the stationary force advised of its location. The stationary force guides the lead element to the contact point by radio or may, if the enemy situation permits, send out a patrol to meet and guide the moving force. Guides aid in passage of minefield and other defensive obstacles in front of and within the stationary force defense sector. The stationary force must be prepared to accept the moving force, to provide guides to its position and, as required, to position it. If two forces have been directed to merge, they are vulnerable to enemy attack as they come together. Guides must deploy the moving force quickly and efficiently.
Stay-behind operations are well suited to light infantry forces. They offer the light infantry commander a high-risk, yet high-payoff, tactical operation. The commander can use terrain to hide an offensive force in a perimeter defense until forward enemy elements pass the unit. Units inadvertently bypassed by the enemy may be ordered not to break out. This allows division and brigade commanders to capitalize on the unit's position and use it for offensive action in the enemy rear.
a. The purpose of a stay-behind force is to destroy, disrupt, and confuse the enemy. The stay-behind or hide force attacks or ambushes critical enemy elements. It may attack enemy combat forces from the rear, but this is not normally the best employment of this asset. Due to the high-risk nature of this operation, the commander should only try it if he feels it is necessary and feasible (Figure 6-9). Units that perform stay-behind operations can do the following:
(1) Disrupt the cohesion of the enemy offense by attacking key C2, CS and CSS elements and by blocking lines of communication and logistics.
(2) Inflict casualties on the enemy throughout the depth of his formations.
(3) Detract from the enemy's main effort by forcing him to allocate combat forces for rear area operations.
(4) Supply HUMINT on enemy forces in their area.
(5) Complement a friendly counterattack by conducting offensive operations (raids, ambushes, or deliberate attacks) in enemy rear areas.
(6) Call for and control artillery and CAS.
b. Infantry units maybe employed as hide forces using a number of techniques. Their options include infiltrating to establish a hide position, allowing attacking enemy forces to bypass friendly units in hide positions, and air assaulting into enemy areas to establish and operate from hide positions.
c. Planning considerations for a stay-behind force include the following:
(1) The force may be positioned initially in the MBA or the security area. Close rugged terrain and a low profile (minimal signature from the battalion in the form of movement, radio communications, and so on) are requirements for success. Selection of a hide position that restricts enemy movement and avoids aerial detection is vital. Camouflage, cover, concealment, and SIGSEC must be planned in detail.
(2) Positions of the stay-behind force subelements should be chosen for the best possible trade-off between dispersion (so they can remain undetected) and mutual support (so they can mass quickly).
(3) Mortars and FA should be positioned in support of the stay-behind force and restrictive fire control measures planned. Artillery raids and CAS should be planned when supporting artillery units are no longer within range.
(4) The communications signature must be reduced to avoid early detection. Runners and wire should be used when possible. If radio transmissions are necessary, operators should use directional antennas and low power settings.
(5) The battalion combat trains are the only logistics asset that accompany a stay-behind force. This means fewer vehicles are needed. Resupply and evacuation should be by air. If possible, supplies should be cached and equipment buried.
(6) Unit medical facilities should be established within the hide position; only the most serious cases should be evacuated.
(7) Return routes for the stay-behind force must be the best covered and concealed routes available. Obstacles that cannot be bypassed should have guarded lanes or gaps. Rally points are designated.
(8) The stay-behind force should plan for an exfiltration/breakout and should link up with the parent unit on completion of the operation.
(9) Deception measures should be planned to convince the enemy that the stay-behind force is still part of the MBA force.
d. Stay-behind operations are either planned or unplanned. An unplanned stay-behind operation is one in which a unit finds itself cut off from other friendly elements for an indefinite period without specific planning or targets. A planned stay-behind operation is one in which a unit operates in an enemy-controlled area as a separate and cohesive element for a specified time or until a specified event occurs. Planned stay-behind operations have an establishment plan, an operation plan, and a linkup plan.
(1) Establishment plan. This plan addresses the positioning of combat, CS, and CSS units, along with the required logistics, in the desired area of operation and the evacuation of unneeded vehicles and equipment. To avoid detection, the unit uses clandestine techniques to move its elements. The unit allows the enemy to bypass and does not make contact until the battalion is ready to begin attacking vulnerable targets. Techniques for doing this are limited only by the commander's imagination. Two examples follow:
(a) Units can establish stay-behind positions to the rear of defending forces and allow those forces to withdraw through them.
(b) Units can prepare for stay-behind operations while conducting a defense; that is, fake a false withdrawal to deceive the enemy while units staying behind infiltrate to patrol bases and wait to begin operations.
(2) Operation plan. This plan applies once the stay-behind units are positioned and other friendly forces are withdrawn. During this phase, units conduct combat operations to support their missions and the commander's intent. Most often these operations are reconnaissance, raids, and ambushes and are conducted by platoons and squads against targets of opportunity. In some cases, the battalion conducts operations against high-priority targets. However, massed forces present the enemy with an identifiable target on which to focus his superior combat power. Therefore, units should disperse in small groups as soon as possible after massing. Commanders may exercise more control by establishing an engagement priority--for example, enemy air defense artillery, logistics elements, and C2 elements-or tasks in reference to specific avenues of approach--for example, the commander might have the unit disrupt all enemy movement along AA1.
(3) Linkup/exfiltration plan. This includes any plans to link up with friendly forces and end the stay-behind operation. It does not include linkups between stay-behind forces to conduct missions during the operational phase. The linkup can be made after consolidation, though this presents all the disadvantages of any massed operation. In most cases, the linkup is conducted by small units infiltrating into friendly units. The stay-behind unit can either wait in place until friendly forces counterattack to its location or it can exfiltrate through enemy territory to friendly territory. A movement through enemy territory is most often an exfiltration; however, if METT-T factors require, the stay-behind unit can attack or move to contact toward friendly territory.
A light infantry task force remains in a well-prepared hide position after the covering force withdraws (Figure 6-9). The light infantry task force is in position along the flank of an enemy avenue of approach, because that is a likely place to find enemy command and control, CS, or CSS elements. Specific light infantry task force preparations include the following:
a. Operational Concept. The battalion commander divides the assigned area of operations into company areas of operations. He selects locations for CS and CSS elements for the best support of the task force. The companies can position forces anywhere within their assigned areas of operations and are tasked to conduct reconnaissance/counterreconnaissance operations outside the hide position.
b. Task Organization. The battalion has a light engineer platoon (with special equipment as required by METT-T), a GSR section, an ALO, the FSE, and the company FIST. The brigade commander detaches the assembly area platoon to one of the other battalions in the MBA.
c. Engagement Criteria. Operations in the enemy rear are to be decentralized to the platoon level. The battalion commander establishes engagement criteria. These criteria guide company commanders as to appropriate targets, timing, and circumstances of an attack. They also guide commanders in hiding from the enemy the presence of their sizable forces in his rear area. The engagement criteria are reviewed and approved by the division area damage control and air defense officers to ensure consistency with the division commander's intent.
d. Contingency Annex. The battalion commander provides company commanders with detailed guidance as to what sections they should take if all or part of their forces are detected early. Guidance is disseminated down to the last soldier. Any unit, if discovered, is to maintain that it was disoriented and cut off from a parent unit. Discovery/loss of caches are also covered in the commander's guidance.
e. Reduction of Communication Signature. FM radio silence should be mainlined in the hide position except for a daily report at a set time. Wire should be laid between positions and CPs. Communications with brigade headquarters should be via single-channel TACSAT radio. The battalion monitors the brigade FM nets to track the battle and receive prearranged burst messages. Once offensive operations begin, battalion units using FM communications use directional antennas and low power settings.
f. Prevention of Aerial Detection. Careful study of the area of operations may reveal, for example, that less than one-fourth of the area is usable if aerial detection is to be avoided. All hide positions are located in the area that provides concealment from aerial detection. Also, all positions are dug-in with extensive overhead cover to blend with the surroundings. The battalion plans to use abandoned buildings. All movement is limited to hours of limited visibility. Friendly overflights are planned to check the effectiveness of the camouflage effort.
g. Cache Composition and Positioning. Much effort is given to deciding what items need to be cached to sustain the force and conduct offensive operations. Obvious items to be cached include: water (depending on its availability in the area); Classes I, III, IV, V, VIII, IX; and batteries. These supplies are to be cached both inside and outside the hide position to simplify future operations. RB-15s are cached to provide a means of crossing a major local river. Redundancy is planned and all caches guarded.
h. Aid Station Setup and Medical Care. The battalion plans to set up the entire BAS in an abandoned building within the area of operations. All medical assets are needed; the battalion will only try to evacuate the most serious medical emergencies. All evacuations are to be done at night by a single helicopter. Class VIII is cached in larger-than-normal quantities.
i. Soldier's Load. Soldiers initially moving to the area of operations by truck are overloaded with all types of equipment and supplies. They know that as soon as they arrive they will drop most of the equipment in a central cache area or they will stockpile it in their own positions. Once in the area of operations, soldiers reconfigure their fighting loads and prepare for combat. To reduce the possibility of discovery, civilian vehicles are used in the area of operations.
j. Deception Operations. The battalion's vehicles and drivers and the trains personnel are positioned in an assembly area to the rear of the expected main battle area. A key role for them is to replicate battalion radio traffic to convince the enemy that the entire battalion is occupying the assembly area. Also, the actual location of the area of operations is reflected only on a few overlays within the division.
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