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Effective combat support is the responsibility of the battalion commander. Combat support elements enhance the combat power of the maneuver companies. Knowledge of CS capabilities, assignment of appropriate CS missions, and control of CS operations are vital to the application of superior combat power at the decisive time and place. Combat support elements can be used in attached, OPCON, DS, or GS roles. Regardless of which relationship is used, the battalion commander ensures the CS units are properly supported by the battalion. He decides, based on his estimate, how to employ his CS assets. He retains centralized control of the organic and attacked CS assets by specifying tasks and assigning priorities of support to his subordinate companies. However, in some cases he might need to attach a CS element and logistical support to a company.

Section I


This section discusses responsibilities, considerations, and procedures for the employment of all indirect assets routinely supporting the battalion.


The mission of fire support is to destroy, neutralize, suppress, degrade, or disrupt enemy operations in support of the scheme of maneuver.


To defeat the enemy, the battalion commander and his FSO integrate and synchronize the firepower of mortars, FA, CAS, and (when available) naval gunfire with the maneuver of combat units. As the commander develops his plan to employ maneuver forces, he and the FSO decide how to best use fire support resources. The FSO must understand the commander's requirements for fire support. The commander must first develop his intent for fire support. It sets priorities for fire support on the battlefield and provides for fire support at the critical time and place. The commander's intent for fire support also allows the FSCOORD/FSO to integrate and synchronize the fire support system into the overall concept of the operation. (Appendixes A and B provide more information.)

a. In using fire support, the commander--

(1) Ensures simplified plans. A simple plan fully disseminated and understood by all is far better than a more complicated one still being prepared when the enemy strikes.

(2) Anticipates, along with the FSO and staff, the dynamics of the battlefield and prepares for each enemy reaction or counteraction.

(3) Knows the capabilities and limitations of all supporting fires and ensures that fire support is used where and when it will be most effective.

(4) Begins the engagement with massed fire whenever possible. Massed fire allows the enemy less reaction time and provides the best effect.

(5) Estimates priorities for those assets allocated to him by brigade. He suballocates priority targets, priority of fire, and ammunition to his subordinate units. Also, he assigns priorities and tactical missions to his organic mortars.

(6) Determines minimum-essential effects desired on each target. He must also establish ammunition expenditure limits.

(7) Plans to achieve surprise. Massed surprise fires are most effective--the destruction that can be achieved by supporting fire is directly proportional to the enemy's unpreparedness.

(8) Establishes fire superiority. The commander positions weapons to place fire on the enemy as soon as he is discovered. This allows effective maneuver and hinders the enemy's ability to maneuver.

(9) Avoids unnecessary restriction of fire. The commander uses restrictions only to reasonably protect units from friendly fires or to control those fires on the enemy.

(10) Takes precautions to avoid engaging friendly forces.

b. The commander must address the following areas with the FSO:

(1) Ground scheme of maneuver: the area of operation, timing of advance, rate of movement.

(2) Fire support scheme of maneuver: how fire support batteries are to be controlled and displaced, and where they will be located.

(3) Purpose of fires: how the commander expects the fires to support the scheme of maneuver and the direct-fire battle.

(4) Priority of fire: which unit has priority of available assets and when that priority shifts.

(5) Priority targets: the priority of targets and how long these priorities will be in effect.

(6) Effects of fire: indirect fire effects as follows:

(a) Suppression limits the ability of personnel in the target area to perform their jobs. However, the effects of suppressive fire last only as long as the fires continue.

(b) Neutralization "knocks" a target out of action temporarily it should produce 10 percent or more casualties. Neutralization can be achieved by using any type of shell-fuze combination suitable for attacking a particular type of target. Because little ammunition is required, this is the most practical type of mission. Most missions are neutralization fire.

(c) Destruction "knocks" the target out of action permanently it should produce 30 percent or more casualties. Direct hits with HE or concrete-piercing shells are required to destroy hard-materiel targets. This type of mission is seldom economical due to the amount of ammunition required.

(7) Mortars: how mortars fit into the overall fire support plan.

(8) Close air support: what CAS is available, when it is available, and how it will be used.

(9) Fire support coordination measures: existing or proposed permissive or restrictive control measures.

(10) Ammunition restrictions: what limitations exist on the use of smoke, improved conventional munitions, or other ammunition (including established controlled supply rates).

c. The FSO is aided by the fire support section (FSS) and company fire support teams (FISTs). The FSS, battalion S3 Air, and advisers on other fire support means are collocated in the battalion main CP. There they plan and coordinate fire support and form the fire support cell. A FAC from the TACP is part of the fire support cell; if naval air support, naval gunfire support, or both are available, the fire support cell can also include a SALT. The fire support cell coordinates closely with the brigade fire support cell, the fire support cells for other battalions, the DS field artillery battalion FDC, the S2, the S3, the mortar platoon leader, the engineer platoon leader, and the company FISTs.

d. A battalion fire support plan can include the following:

  • Purpose for fires.
  • Target list.
  • Priority of fire.
  • Priority of targets.
  • Allocation of priority targets and FPFs.
  • Execution matrix.
  • Coordination measures.

e. Company FSOs accompany their commanders to receive the battalion OPORD. This allows them to hear the concept of the operation at the same time. It also allows the battalion FSO to brief company FSOs on the battalion commander's plans.

f. Target planning includes the following considerations for fire support:

(1) Fires supporting attacks. Fires in support of hasty or deliberate attacks are planned sparingly to avoid over-burdening the fire support system with targets.

(a) Preplanned fires. Fires should be planned on easily identifiable locations so they can be shifted easily. Targets along avenues of approach to, on and beyond the objective should be considered.

(b) Obscuration fires. The attacking force usually benefits more than the defending force from partial obscuration of the battlefield. A defender denied observation cannot place effective observed fires within his zone. This allows the attacker to reach the defended positions with more of his forces intact.

(c) Preparation fires. A preparation is an intense volume of prearranged fire delivered IAW a time schedule and supporting an attack.

(2) Final protective fires. A final protective fire is a prearranged barrier of fire to protect friendly soldiers and installations by impeding enemy movement across defensive lines or areas.

(a) Field artillery and mortar FPFs are used only in the defense and are an integral part of the supported unit's FPL. The FA and mortar FPFs are located where they can best augment the fires of the company's organic weapons.

(b) The length of an FPF is not fixed (Table 7-1). It depends on such factors as the bursting diameter of the round, range dispersion, and formation. The FPFs of the DS FA battalion are available to the supported brigade. The FPFs of any FA reinforcing the DS battalion are also available to the brigade.

(c) The brigade commander allocates field artillery FPF priority targets to maneuver battalions. The maneuver battalion commander in turn designates general locations for FPFs or allocates them to maneuver companies. Designating the precise location of an FPF is the responsibility of the company commander in whose sector it falls.

(3) Fires supporting counterattacks. Fire support assets must be divided in the counterattack between forces counterattacking and those still defending. Otherwise, planning fire support for a counterattack is much like planning for the offense--both forces need the available assets. These fires are employed to do the following:

(a) Blunt the nose of the penetration by providing fires to maneuver forces whose mission is to contain the enemy penetration.

(b) Seal off the penetrated area from outside help. Fire support is provided by FA units with GS or GSR missions.

(c) Support the counterattacking forces to destroy the enemy in the penetration.


Top-down fire planning is a technique for preparing the maneuver plan and developing a fire support plan at the same time to support the maneuver commander's intent. Though the concept of the top-down fire plan begins at brigade-level, battalions and companies also perform vital roles.

a. Top-down fire planning is most important when time is critical. In most tactical situations, observers have too little time for a "bottom-up" fire plan in which they develop, identify, and plan targets or fires to support the maneuver force. Then, they forward them up through fire support channels for consolidation at each level.

b. Top-down fire planning is simple. Planning starts at the higher levels; it is supervised by the most experienced fire support planner in the force. The brigade FSO and FSCOORD conduct the planning for their subordinate units, then disseminate the plan to their units for refinement, adjustment, and execution. Top-down planning is not a shortcut it just makes the best use of available planning time.

(1) The top-down plan, in its completed form, contains a limited number of targets (45 to 60 for the brigade). The brigade fire support annex contains only those targets deemed vital by the FSCOORD to support the brigade commander's intent. The rest are allocated to the battalions IAW priorities for FA support.

(2) The battalion commander uses his allocation of targets to support his plans; he allocates targets to companies IAW his priorities.

(3) Battalion FSOs work for the battalion commander, not for the brigade FSO or FSCOORD. Battalion commanders, not FSOs, execute the brigade-planned targets within their area of operations.


Commanders have several fire support techniques available to complement the battalion maneuver. The two most commonly used by battalion commanders are preparation fires and programmed fires.

a. Preparation Fires. An intense volume of fire delivered to support an attack IAW a time schedule is called preparation fires. These fires are normally planned at brigade or higher echelon.

(1) A preparation can be phased to permit successive attacks on certain types of targets.

Phase I. The first phase provides for the early attack of slow recovering targets such as hostile fire support means and all observation systems. Mortars seldom fire these targets.

Phase II. The second phase includes attack of command posts, communication facilities, assembly areas, and reserves. The goal is degradation of the enemy's ability to reinforce his defense and shift forces to counter the main effort.

Phase III. The third phase includes an attack of the enemy's battle positions. The purpose of this phase is to suppress enemy direct-fire systems until attacking maneuver forces have closed with them.

(2) The battalion FSO must ensure that the preparation fires, especially those fired during the final phase on forward enemy positions, do not interfere with the battalion scheme of maneuver. This is critical when the battalion commander plans to infiltrate dismounted infantry forward of the LD ahead of attack time. The FSO ensures that any fires within the battalion area of operations have the approval of the battalion commander.

b. Programmed Fires. Programmed fires are a number of planned targets of a similar kind. All targets in a particular program are of the same type--for example, all enemy ADA or all enemy mortars. A program can be scheduled or on-call. Once a program is initiated, targets within the program are fired on a predetermined time sequence as listed in the schedule. In both the offense and defense, a SEAD program and a countermortar program are the typical ones fired at battalion level.


The battalion's FA support is provided by the 105-mm or 155-mm howitzer battalion (towed) in DS of the brigade. Other fires can be provided by artillery units that reinforce the DS battalion and by units in GS of the division. The brigade commander normally assigns priority of FA fires to one of his maneuver battalions or establishes a sequence of priorities. He then plans and establishes priority of artillery fires for his subordinate elements. He must also know the capabilities of several types of munitions that can aid maneuver operations.


The battalion mortar platoon provides the most responsive indirect fire available to the battalion. The platoon's mission is to provide close and immediate fire support to the maneuver units. In addition to supporting its parent battalion, the mortar platoon can support other units. This can occur when units are conducting a passage of lines or a relief. Mortars might also be needed to aid in the withdrawal of a covering force or to help threatened adjacent units. Reserve unit mortars can help units on the FEBA. The battalion must plan mortar support with the FSO as part of the total fire support system. (FM 7-90 provides detailed information about the tactical employment of mortars.)

a. Role of Mortar Units. The role of mortar units is to deliver deadly suppressive fires to support maneuver, especially against dismounted enemy infantry. Mortar units also fire smoke missions, mark targets, and provide point battlefield illumination. Mortar fires inhibit enemy fire and movement, allowing friendly forces to maneuver to a position of advantage. Effectively integrating mortar fires with dismounted maneuver is key to successful combat at the rifle company and battalion level.

(1) Mortar units are organic to all infantry battalions and to all nonmechanized infantry rifle companies. Thus, mortar fire is always available and responsive, regardless of whether the battalion is allocated supporting artillery.

(2) Mortar units stay close to the company and battalion fights. This eases the commander's coordination burden; it also enables the mortars to respond quickly to sudden enemy actions without lengthy planning.

(3) Mortar fires complement FA they do not replace FA. Mortar FPF thickens the defender's fires. The mortar's high-angle, plunging fire is often the only way to attack enemy forces in deep defilade--in wadis, in ravines, on reverse slopes, in thick jungle, or in narrow streets and alleys.

(4) The mortar's high rate of fire and lethality allow it to supplement fire during the lifting and shifting of heavier artillery fires and during the infantry's final assault of the objective. Mortar fires also reinforce the direct fires of the maneuver force. The combined effect is greater than either the mortar unit or the maneuver force could achieve alone.

(5) Mortar units enable the commander to cover his key obstacles with indirect fire at all times to ensure their integrity. This cover continues even while the commander uses supporting artillery to attack the enemy in depth.

b. Command Relationships. The mortar platoon, as the battalion's organic indirect-fire support element, fires for all maneuver elements of the battalion (to include attached and OPCON units) on a mission-by-mission basis.

(1) The battalion commander normally assigns a priority of fire and the priority mortar target to one of the companies. This allows him to retain control while making the fire support more responsive to a company.

(2) A mortar platoon under battalion control is sometimes unable to support the entire battalion. This can occur, for example, when a company is separated from the battalion by a restrictive terrain feature. It can also occur if a maneuver unit has a mission, such as raid, guard, or DLIC, that separates it from the rest of the battalion. If such a situation should occur, the mortar platoon can be attached or OPCON to a subordinate maneuver unit.

c. Tactical Employment. The mortar platoon leader's or platoon sergeant's primary duties are those of combat leaders. The battalion staff develops a detailed concept and provides the mortar platoon leader with a detailed description of his mission and with the commander's concept for mortar support. The platoon leader uses this detailed concept for employment and the accompanying fire plan--the "what" to plan the "how." The platoon leader must know how his fires support maneuver and what the roles of other fire support systems are so he can remain flexible on a dynamic battlefield. The missions assigned to mortars must be defined in terms of the following factors:

  • Targets critical to the success of the battalion mission.
  • The effects required on those targets.
  • The specific time and circumstances in which these fires are required.

d. Mortar Employment Concept. The battalion staff develops a mortar employment concept based on the capabilities and limitations of the mortar platoon (Figure 7-1). This concept addresses communications, positioning and movement, survey requirements, who makes calls for fire on each target, and the desired effects of the mortars on each target.

(1) Calls for fire. Maneuver company commanders and platoon leaders are vital to mortar fire planning and execution. Their call-for-fire or execution responsibilities are established during top-down fire planning. Primary and alternate observers are assigned to each target. Fire support teams and forward observers work for their supported company commander or for the rifle platoon leader; responsibilities for calls for fire are thus established through command rather than fire support channels.

(a) Units position observers to watch the target and trigger lines. They refine target locations as required and plan and coordinate additional targets IAW the plan for fire support.

(b) Observers must know the targets, timing, and controls required in the calls for fire to synchronize fires with maneuvers. The targets, timing, and controls are coordinated with the battalion staff and with the mortar platoon. The company commander briefs this information back to the battalion commander, and details of the plan are rehearsed. Both the observer and the FDC must know the primary and alternate communications nets, antijamming procedures, alternate call-for-fire routes, and alternate means of communication. Effective communications are necessary for the indirect fire support plan to succeed.

(2) Communications. FM radio range and LOS requirements must be met before reliable radio communications can be established. Mortar and tactical radio ranges are usually compatible. However, the observer or FSO and the battalion FSE must also be able to talk to the FA FDC. Mortars can exploit high-angle fires and occupy positions in deep defilade. These abilities enhance their counterfire survivability but can prevent the unit from maintaining an LOS.

(a) The rule of "supporting to supported" can be applied to the responsibility to establish communications. However, fulfilling this responsibility may sometimes be impossible. Retransmission assets are scarce, and mortar platoons may engage targets in a variety of locations. Sometimes company commanders must choose between relocating observers and adhering to communications position constraints. Inspecting maps can aid in predicting LOS problems. This, along with adjustment of mortar or observer locations, is part of planning. When EW constraints allow, the communications plan should be tested.

(b) Observers should be required to change nets as few times as possible during battle--not because changing nets is difficult, but because doing so is easily overlooked in the heat of battle. Also, the FOS must concentrate on the mortars rather than on communications adjustments.

(3) Positions and movement. Mortar positions and movement require the attention of the battalion staff and of the mortar platoon leader.

(a) Plans for movement and positions include the targets, effects required on those targets, movement times between positions, and the availability and role of other fire support systems. Once critical mortar engagements have been identified, movements to support them must be considered. In restrictive terrain, the priority of routes and the management of terrain may be critical. Adequate time should be allowed for movement, for a thorough route reconnaissance, and for a movement rehearsal.

(b) Movement and position considerations include assigning targets that are within range; ensuring security, survivability, and flexibility; establishing communications with supported units and with observers; and anticipating future operations.

(c) Mortars employed by platoon respond to each mission and fire as a unit to support the battalion. Firing sections can be dispersed to improve survivability against enemy indirect fire.

(d) Mortars employed by section respond to calls for fire from the maneuver element( s) it supports. Mortars can also be employed by section when the zone or sector of the maneuver battalion is too wide for the platoon to cover from one location. Each section is positioned to provide fires within the supported unit's area of responsibility. Fires can be massed on targets within range of both sections.

(e) Mortars employed by squad are placed on the battlefield with each squad as a separate firing unit. This is done for special reasons such as one-mortar illumination or support of an antiarmor ambush.

(4) Survey support. Survey support is critical and essential. Map-spotting techniques can result in an error of up to 500 meters. This can cost time and surprise and can increase radio transmissions, the numbers of adjusting rounds, and the risk of counterbattery acquisition. Large errors can also increase the risk of fratricide. The platoon leader coordinates, through the FSO, for survey support. When external support is unavailable, the platoon conducts a hasty survey. The platoon leader ensures the unit has the knowledge, training, and equipment (on hand). (FMs 23-90 and 23-91 include hasty survey procedures. TC 6-50, Chapter 5, provides a detailed discussion of survey. Field artillery units can provide training support.)

(5) Mortar effects. Commanders must understand ammunition effects to correctly estimate the number of volleys needed for the specified target coverage. This number determines the amount of ammunition resupply that must be planned. The nature of targets, the effects desired, and the unit's ammunition haul and resupply capabilities may constrain the number of targets in the fire plan. The volume or mass of fire needed may require that mortars be moved and deployed by platoon rather than by section. The requirement for mass and the requirement to move by platoon to achieve that mass can prevent the supported unit from receiving continuous fire support from the mortars. On the other hand, continuous support of fast-moving offensive operations may result in piecemeal mortar commitment. Also, mortars cannot successfully attack some types of targets regardless of the number of volleys fired. The commander must focus the mortar platoon mission on critical targets compatible with mortar capabilities. He must maneuver the mortar platoon into position to provide these fires at the time and the volume required.

(6) Fire support matrix. The battalion commander's next task after developing the concept for employment of mortars is to quickly and clearly explain the nature of the mortar miss ion to the mortar platoon leader. The commander can use afire support matrix to do this. Table 7-2 shows an example of the minimum details the battalion commander must convey regardless of how he explains the mission.

(a) If priority of any indirect fire support asset is allocated to a company or team, this fact is indicated by the inclusion of the abbreviation for that asset in the appropriate box in the fire support matrix.

(b) If an FPF is allocated to a company or team, the type of indirect fire unit responsible for firing that FPF appears in the appropriate box in the fire support matrix followed by the acronym "FPF."

(c) If a priority target is allocated to a team, the type of indirect fire unit responsible for firing that target appears in the appropriate box in the fire support matrix followed by "PRI TGT." This is then followed by the corresponding target number.

(d) If a certain company FSO is responsible for initiating specific fires, the target number, group, or series is listed in the appropriate box in the fire support matrix for that FSO.

(e) If a particular FSO is to activate an ACA, the acronym "ACA" and the corresponding code word is shown along with the TOT for the planned CAS or attack helicopters in the appropriate fire support matrix box.

e. Displacement. Mortars should displace by platoon or section based on their assigned tactical mission and on the purpose of their fires. Displacing as a platoon reduces the command and control and Class III and IV resupply needed. Task and purpose dictate the displacement method.

f. Pre-Positioned Resupply. Offensive and defensive resupply should be considered for mortar units. In deliberate attacks, pre-positioned resupply can be placed on initial firing positions. In a defense, pre-positioned resupply can be planned on both initial and subsequent positions. Combat trains should also include emergency mortar resupply. (FM 7-90 provides detailed information about mortar platoon operations.)


Naval gunfire (NGF) can provide large volumes of responsive, immediate, accurate fire support to light forces operating on land near coastal waters or to amphibious operations within their range. The following addresses NGF support of land operations:

a. Tactical Missions of Naval Gunfire Support. Naval gunfire ships are assigned to direct or general support.

(1) Direct support. A single ship provides DS to a battalion. The ship delivers both planned and on-call fires. (On-call fires are to a ship what targets of opportunity are to artillery units.) The battalion fire control party conducts on-call fires. The firepower control team (FCT) or supporting arms liaison team (SALT) conduct on-call fires. The FCT or air spotter can adjust fires.

(2) General support. Ships provide GS to units of brigade size or larger. The fires of the general support ship are adjusted by an aerial observer or, for fire missions, assigned by the LO to a battalion SALT. If the second occurs, the ship reverts to GS when the mission has been completed.

b. Supporting Arms Liaison Team Officer. A battalion supported by NGF receives a supporting arms liaison team from the air and naval gunfire liaison company (ANGLICO). The SALT coordinates all NGF and supervises the activities of its firepower control teams in support of maneuver companies. The SALT officer advises the FSO on all matters pertaining to NGF employment. This includes NGF capabilities, limitations, and suitable targets. The SALT officer operates on the NGF ground spot net.

(1) The LO and the fire control teams operate in the ground spot net, communicating with the ship by HF radio to request and adjust NGF. The fire control team can use VHF radios to communicate with the LO; the LO can use UHF radios to communicate with aircraft.

(2) Coordination and control measures that apply to NGF are the same as for FA except for the addition of the following two terms:

(a) Fire support area. This is a sea area within which a ship can position or cruise while firing in support. It is labeled "FSA" and numbered with a Roman numeral--for example, "FSA II."

(b) Fire support station. This is a specified position at sea from which a ship must fire. An FSS is restrictive positioning guidance. It is also labeled with a Roman numeral--for example, "FSS VI."

c. Adjustment of Naval Gunfire by the FIST. The FIST might have to adjust NGF due to a shortage of SALTs. The FIST cannot communicate directly with the fire support ship. However, it can relay calls for fire through the NGLO at the FSE or through an FCT located with a company FIST.

Section II


The air component commander provides tactical air (TACAIR) support to ground forces IAW the directives of the joint force commander.


The battalion commander, aided by the S3, is responsible for planning fire and movement, just as he is in other fire support planning. This includes use of TACAIR. The following personnel also are involved in planning the use of TACAIR, particularly CAS:

a. Battalion S3 Air. The battalion S3 air receives, ranks, approves, and coordinates requests for planned CAS. He integrates CAS into the ground commander's scheme of maneuver. The S3 air also keeps Air Force TACPs advised of the current ground tactical situation, of the location of friendly units, and of any fire support coordination and control measures established.

b. Battalion Fire Support Officer. The battalion FSO is the full-time fire support coordinator for the battalion. He advises the battalion commander on all fire support matters, including the use of CAS. He is also a focal point for CAS planning and coordination between the battalion commander, the S3 air, and other interested parties. The FSO integrates CAS into the fire support plan. He plans and executes local SEAD campaigns as required.

c. Tactical Air Control Parties. The Air Force provides one TACP to each maneuver battalion. Each TACP includes an ALO, who performs FAC duties, and two TACAIR command and control specialists. One of the specialists is trained in terminal air control techniques and can perform FAC duties. The ALO supervises the activities of TACP personnel; he advises the commander, FSO, and S3 air on capabilities and limitations of TACAIR and other technical or tactical aspects of TACAIR missions as required. The ALO uses Air Force TACAIR requests to maintain radio contact with all other TACPs in the division and with the SOC. When possible, he provides final control of CAS missions in the battalion area. The TACP transmits to the ASOC all requests for immediate CAS. He advises the S3 air and FSO of other units' immediate air requests. As changes in the TACAIR situation are transmitted over the TACAIR request net, the ALO relays them to the S3 air and FSO.


Successful air/ground integration of fires begins with a well-coordinated plan. Requests for air support must contain the information Army commanders need to rank the request and Air Force planners need to decide on the type of aircraft and ordnance. Also, aircraft armament must be appropriate to achieve the desired results. This is most important when airborne strike flights are diverted and the best ordnance for the job is unavailable. If on-board ordnance is inappropriate for the target, the ordnance should not be wasted. For example, antipersonnel ordnance should not be used against tanks, and Maverick missiles should not be used against dismounted infantry (Table 7-3). Use of friendly unit identification methods and markings are key to successful CAS, ALOs must prevent friendly fire engagements.


Concentrated, lethal enemy air defense systems threaten tactical aircraft conducting CAS strikes. SEAD and electronic warfare missions can enhance mission success and the survivability of tactical aircraft. Artillery and small-arms fire can also be used to suppress enemy ADA assets. While they are being supported by tactical aircraft, ground units should suppress enemy air defenses.

a. Priority Targets. Air defense weapons in the immediate target area, such as ZSU 23-4, SA-6, SA-9/13, SA-7, SA-8, and SA-14, are priority SEAD targets. The ground commander has primary responsibility for SEAD from the FLOT to his limits of observed fire and secondary responsibility out to the limits of indirect fire (USAF has primary responsibility for this). During the air strike, "check fire" should not be imposed, but the fires should be shifted so as not to conflict with aircraft activity. After the FAC, ALO, or both verify the aircraft's intended attack path, fires can be shifted to suspected and actual ADA sites.

b. Weapons Control Status. The status of weapons control for fixed-wing aircraft during the air strike should be changed to at least "weapons tight." This reduces the chance of loss due to friendly ADA fire. Direct fire of organic weapons, such as small-arms, tanks, and machine guns, on the enemy positions seldom degrade the tactical aircraft attack on the target. Direct fire can help suppress enemy small-arms fire directed at the aircraft.


Attack helicopters and TACAIR, when they work together, are called a joint air attack team (JAAT). JAATs have no formal organization. Artillery is normally integrated into a JAAT operation, but a JAAT can be executed without artillery. They form into a team as attack helicopters and tactical aircraft enter a fight against the same target array on the same part of the battlefield. The overall JAAT commander is the Army aviation commander. (FM 6-20 provides more information.)

a. The JAAT is best employed against counterattacks during offensive operations. During defensive operations, the JAAT is most often used to reinforce committed ground maneuver units or to wear down or eliminate armor thrusts into or through friendly lines. The maneuver commander has responsibility for planning, coordinating, and employing the JAAT. The maneuver commander, FSO, aviation unit commander, and the ALO/FAC must coordinate JAAT with the scheme of maneuver and must work to integrate TACAIR and artillery.

b. The JAAT is either immediate or preplanned, as the situation dictates. The battalion commander or S3 air requests and coordinates the JAAT through the battalion FSO, the air liaison officer, and the Army aviation LO. If necessary, JSEAD supports the JAAT. Informal ACAs are established to aid in simultaneous target engagement.

c. The battalion commander can initiate a request for and specify a JAAT mission through normal air support request channels on the advice of his FSO and ALO/FAC. If the attack helicopters are in an OPCON status, battalion requests can be approved and executed at brigade level.

d. All JAATs are normally coordinated and executed at the brigade level due to the coordination required. When JAATs are employed in a battalion sector, the battalion commander designates supporting fires, enemy and friendly locations, and other specifics. He then uses any means possible to get these directions to the aviation unit commander, who executes the JAAT.

e. Artillery fire support for the JAAT is planned by the FSO of the ground maneuver unit that is controlling the overall operation. Fire support plans are kept simple so the aviation commander and FAC can be briefed rapidly. Since the FSO normally briefs them over the radio, they can sometimes have problems interpreting incomplete data.

Section III


The infantry battalion needs extensive aviation support on some missions. The battalion is trained and organized to move quickly to the objective area by air and to be resupplied by airdrop for short periods. Often the decision to execute a mission depends on the amount and type of aviation insertion and extraction support available.


Battalion commanders can request Army aviation support from division and brigade. Helicopters can be used for command and control, reconnaissance, MEDEVAC, movement of soldiers and supplies, and reinforcement by fire.

a. Assault Helicopter Mission. One assault helicopter company can lift all the assaulting elements of one rifle company at once. In support, aviation brigade assets can be used for command, control, communication, reconnaissance, and air assault security. These assets are provided based on mission requirements and guidance from the division commander. (FM 1-113 and FM 90-4 provide more information on air assault operations.)

(1) The assault helicopter company conducts air movement operations, aerial delivery of mines, and limited evacuation of downed aircraft. Assault helicopter companies perform unit maintenance on organic aircraft.

(2) Tactical employment of assault helicopters is best when part of the combined arms team. Assault helicopters concentrate aerial forces at critical times and places. They extend the battalion's ability to strike the enemy from all directions. With their ability to maneuver, identify, report, and quickly use opportunities, assault helicopters help synchronize the battle.

b. Attack Helicopter Mission. The attack helicopter is used to destroy massed enemy forces with aerial firepower, mobility, and shock effect. Units with attack helicopter augmentation can gain, maintain, and exploit the initiative to defeat the enemy. They operate in offensive, defensive, or special purpose operations. The attack helicopter can be committed early in battle. It can reinforce ground combat units and can attack, delay, or defend by engaging the enemy with direct and indirect fires. Attack helicopter battalions cannot seize or retain terrain without cross-attached ground maneuver forces. However, to deny terrain to the enemy for a time, they can dominate the terrain by fire. Also, attack helicopters are limited by a combination of fuel capacity and flight time, weather and visibility restrictions, and the air defense environment. They are most effective when employed as a battalion. Attack helicopters can also be assigned to do the following:

(1) Conduct rear operations.

(2) Coordinate and adjust indirect fires.

(3) Suppress or destroy enemy air defense assets.

(4) Reinforce ground maneuver forces by fire.

(5) Conduct JAAT operations with CAS and FA assets.

(6) Destroy enemy communication and logistical assets.

(7) Disrupt and destroy enemy second echelon and follow-on forces.

(8) Protect air assault forces during all phases of air assault operations.

(9) Destroy enemy helicopters that pose an immediate threat to mission accomplishment.


The commander must consider the following factors before employing attack helicopters and air cavalry/reconnaissance troops:

a. Offense. Attack helicopters conduct combat operations against an enemy force alone or along with friendly ground forces. In the offense, attack helicopters are most effective against a moving or counterattacking enemy force. They are least effective against a dug-in enemy force. With proper planning, attack helicopter battalions can provide antiarmor firepower against an enemy armored force. Rather than being used as a reaction force, attack helicopter battalions should be integrated into the maneuver battalion's scheme of maneuver. This is normally done at division or brigade level and must include coordination for terrain to support attack helicopter operations. Attack helicopter graphics and control measures vital to maneuver units include attack routes, holding areas, battle positions, and engagement areas (Figure 7-2).

b. Defense. Attack helicopters, due to their mobility, are shifted on the battlefield as needed. They are used to stop enemy penetration into the main battle area, to attack enemy in the covering force area, or to reinforce or thicken the defense on parts of the battlefield. They can also perform effectively in an economy-of-force defensive role. Planners must coordinate battle positions for attack helicopters.

c. Air Cavalry/Reconnaissance Troops. These units can be employed to provide screening operations, to locate routes, to perform a route reconnaissance, or to gain and maintain contact with the enemy force. Reconnaissance troops and air cavalry troops have limited attack helicopter assets. However, they can still perform missions such as counterreconnaissance; command, control, and intelligence enhancement; air assault security; and assistance in passage of lines.

Section IV


The objective of air defense is to limit the effectiveness of enemy offensive air efforts to a level that permits freedom of action to all friendly forces.


The battery commander is the brigade ADA officer. Therefore, he must respond to the supported commander's scheme of maneuver. ADA planning must be top-down. The battery commander integrates his battery into the brigade scheme of maneuver while positioning his forces to defeat the air threat. Based on the battery commander's guidance, the brigade commander can retain all allocated ADA or can suballocate (in DS or attached) some of the ADA to infantry battalion(s). The amount and type of ADA support a brigade receives depends on METT-T. The battery commander and S2 use the DST to produce a coordinated sensor plan, ADA scheme of maneuver, command and control, early warning, and all arms for air defense (AAAD), in response to each probable enemy course of action.

a. The senior air defense officer functions during the planning process as a special staff officer. He provides his estimate and recommendations to the battalion commander. The fact that, in many cases, ADA elements with a GS mission can provide incidental coverage over the battalion area should be considered in the planning process.

b. The battalion commander must assign tactical missions to the ADA element and establish priorities for air defense, to properly employ air defense assets--for example, specific companies or choke points. He also can give guidelines for selecting firing positions. The ADA unit leader then positions his weapons to support the battalion. The battalion provides CSS to the attached ADA elements and coordinates with the ADA headquarters for CSS equipment and personnel needed for the ADA attached element.


Battalions are most often supported by air defense weapons systems.

a. Stinger. The Stinger man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) counters high-performance, low-altitude ground attack aircraft, helicopters, and observation and transport aircraft. A Stinger section includes a headquarters element. This element has a section chief, a driver, and three to five Stinger crews. Each two-man Stinger crew has an M998 with six Stinger weapons in its basic load. The Stinger's planning range is 5,000 meters.

b. Vulcan. The Vulcan system is employed in forward area air defense to counter low-altitude aircraft. Because its aerial range is only 1,200 meters, the Vulcan is normally employed with Stingers. Each self-propelled Vulcan carries a four-man crew and two Stingers. The SP Vulcan's maximum rate of fire is 3,000 rounds per minute, but it only carries 1,100 rounds in the weapons and 1,000 rounds ready to load. The ground range is from 2,200 meters (direct fire) to 4,500 meters (indirect fire). However, use of a Vulcan in a ground support role must be weighed against the degradation of its primary mission.


Planners must consider the following before air defense weapons are tactically employed to support the battalion:

a. Air avenues of approach are determined jointly by the ADA officer, S2, and ALO (Chapter 2). Their decisions are disseminated to subordinates. Pilots of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft choose terrain to avoid ADA fires and radar detection; they avoid overflying friendly positions; and they use major terrain features to help them navigate.

b. Enemy attack helicopters with stand-off ATGM capabilities are usually employed in groups of three or four. Synchronized with ground elements, they can be expected to use concealed routes to try flanking attacks on concealed firing positions. They vary attack routes on their strafing and rocket runs. The mobility of the attack helicopter increases the need for all-round security, passive air defense measures, and forward positioning of air defense weapons.

c. Enemy CAS capabilities include smart munitions and other advanced ordnance loads. The enemy most often uses CAS against positions in depth such as battalions in reserve. In these cases, passive defense measures are vital.

d. The battalion's employment of ADA support is based on the commander's air defense priorities. These priorities are developed with the help of the ADA officer. They change during the course of an operation. Priorities for air defense protection are based on the enemy threat, the importance of the asset to the mission, the vulnerability of the asset to enemy destruction by air attack, and the ability of the asset to recover and continue to function after the attack (recuperability). In determining priorities for attached assets, the commanders considers the coverage provided by other air defense systems.

(1) In offensive operations, the battalion air defense priority goes to companies. Each company should be supported by one or more MANPADS teams. A company with one or more critical missions or more vulnerable to air attack than others can be supported by ADA.

(2) In defensive operations, the priority shifts to battalion fire support, command and control, and logistical assets. Companies relying on passive air defense measures and moving on covered and concealed routes are ineligible for dedicated ADA support. Tyical priorities might be mortar platoon first, battalion TOC second, trains third, then maneuver companies fourth.

e. The ADA platoon/section leader and the S3 determine ADA asset allocation, positioning, and missions after the battalion commander establishes priorities. The four principles of ADA weapons employment are mass (concentration of sysems), mix (overlap of systems), mobility (equal to the supported unit), and integration (tying in of all systems). These principles are implemented by the following employment guidelines:

(1) Balanced fires should provide nearly equal firepower in all directions.

(2) Firepower should be weighted (concentrated) toward a known or most likely avenue of approach.

(3) Aircraft should be engaged before they can release their ordnance.

(4) Firing units should have mutual support and overlapping fires.

(5) Defense in depth should subject an attacking aircraft to an ever-increasing volume of fire as he nears his target.

f. The ADA elements supporting the battalion can be kept under the centralized control of the platoon leader or attached to companies. Centralized control is favored--it allows for better coordination of ADA support. Though the Vulcan platoon is employed under platoon control, Stingers can be employed by team.

(1) The normal mission given to ADA elements employed under centralized control is providing general support with priorities to unit or tasks. The ADA leader and the S3 coordinate positioning with appropriate maneuver units. Centralized control is favored--

(a) When ADA elements can protect critical areas (choke points and routes).

(b) When sector or objective is shallow, allowing area coverage.

(c) When battle position or a projected slow rate of advance allows area coverage.

(d) When all ADA assets are defending a single asset or activity.

(2) Direct communications and coordination are maintained with the commander of a company for positioning of the weapons when ADA is placed in DS to that company. Fire control information is passed through ADA communication nets.

(3) Stingers can be attached in mobile operations to locate this coverage well forward and to allow Stinger gunners to move with the security of a rifle company. When an enemy artillery threat exists, decentralized Stinger employment should be considered. The weight of the Stinger and its missiles should also be considered. When moving cross-country, Stinger gunners need help from the company, especially in rugged terrain.

(4) The method of employment can change as the battalion shifts phases. For example, Stingers can be attached to companies in a hasty defense at first, but they can be returned to centralized control as the defense is improved.

g. Infiltrating infantry discovered in open terrain is Vulnerable to attack helicopters. When the threat of enemy air attack is high, dismounted Stinger gunners should accompany infantry elements. In this case, the load of the soldiers carrying Stinger missiles should be considered.

h. More ADA Class V immediate resupply should be carried in the battalion combat trains in addition to that carried on the platoon leader's vehicle. This additional Class V can be moved on battalion trucks or on trucks provided by the ADA parent unit.

Section V


This section discusses the main role of engineer units in supporting offensive and defensive operations as well as their secondary role--fighting as infantry.


The battalion commander and the battalion engineer plan for the best use of engineer resources as the commander develops his plan for the employment of maneuver forces. To accomplish this, the battalion engineer work closely with the battalion staff throughout the planning process. The engineer works with the S2 during the IPB process and development of the situational template. He contributes to the R&S plan to help confirm or deny the enemy situation. He also works with the S3, S4, and FSO to develop the engineer plan, to provide resources to support the plan, and to coordinate fires with obstacles as required. Areas that the battalion commander must address with the battalion engineer are as follows:

a. Purpose of Obstacles. The engineer must know what obstacles need to do to the enemy, that is, whether the obstacle will be used to turn, block, fix, or disrupt the enemy.

b. Priority of Effort. The commander should consider different priorities of mobility, countermobility, and survivability during offensive, defensive, and other tactical operations. Also, priorities for engineer equipment might be different than priorities for personnel effort.

c. Priority of Work. The commander identifies his priorities for specific units, battle positions, engagement areas, or weapons systems. He considers where he wants to engage and destroy the enemy. He considers the distribution of work between initial and subsequent positions.

d. Scatterable Mines. The battalion commander and the battalion engineer develop emplacement guidance and coordinate delegation of authority, which originates at corps. The battalion commander may receive emplacement authority for scatterable mine systems that can self-destruct within 24 hours (Table 7-4). These systems include ADAM, RAAMS, MOPMS, Volcano, and Gator. Use of these systems must economically support the commander's intent (turn, fix, disrupt, and block) and must fit in the overall obstacle plan. Artillery-delivered scatterable mine systems, which include only ADAM and RAAMS, require the following special planning considerations:

(1) Artillery emplacement of minefield requires more time than does the delivery of other munitions.

(2) Artillery elements can fire no other type of round while firing ADAM or RAAMS.

(3) Artillery may be detected (if firing high-angle), resulting in time lost while displacing.

(4) The large safety zone typically required around artillery-delivered scatterable minefield may limit maneuver.

e. Restrictions on Obstacle Use. The commander should explain restrictions. For example, he might direct that obstacles not be used along friendly counterattack routes; or he might restrict the use of FASCAM.

f. Guidance to Commanders. The commander gives guidance to company commanders concerning obstacle sites, lane closures, control of blade assets, marking of breaches/lanes, turnover of targets, securing of obstacles, and infantry support to the engineer effort.

g. Guidance to the S3/S4. The commander gives guidance to the S3/S4 concerning the positioning and allocating of barrier material. Whoever defends the obstacle first also positions it. Whoever builds the obstacle also coordinates the positioning of barrier materials.


Engineers give the maneuver commander the extra technical skills and equipment needed to enhance mobility, countermobility, and survivability.

a. Tactical Engineering Missions. The three types of tactical engineering missions differ as follows:

(1) Mobility support. The mission of mobility support requires the engineers to maintain the forward momentum of maneuver forces and critical supplies. The engineers breach obstacles, help in the crossing of gaps, and improve routes for maneuver and supply.

(2) Countermobility support. The mission of countermobility support is divided into mine warfare and obstacle development. The engineers use both to disrupt, fix, turn, or block the enemy. Both mines and obstacles increase the enemy's target acquisition time. Therefore, they also increase the effectiveness of friendly direct-fire and indirect-fire weapons systems.

(3) Survivability support. The mission of survivability support requires the engineers to construct vehicle and dismounted fighting positions. The dismounted positions should have overhead protection to reduce the effectiveness of enemy weapons.

b. Engineer Assets. The brigade commander may allocate an engineer platoon or company to the battalion. He gives the battalion other engineer assets, such as FASCAM, as needed. The engineer platoon/company is used mainly to hand-emplace and breach obstacles and to help with the battalion reconnaissance effort.

c. Key Equipment. The engineer platoon has organic mine detectors, demolition kits, carpenter kits, and pioneer tool kits. Other engineer equipment can be requested from the supporting engineer battalion.


The primary mission of engineers during offensive operations is to enhance the battalion's mobility. This paragraph discusses engineer employment in offensive operations.

a. Mission in the Offense. Engineers working in the offense help the battalion maneuver over existing terrain and obstacles, That is, they help the battalion--

(1) Cross gaps (including rivers).

(2) Breach or construct bypasses around minefield, fortified positions, and other obstacles.

(3) Emplace minefield on exposed flanks.

(4) Prepare positions for overwatch.

(5) Construct and maintain combat roads and trails.

(6) Clear landing zones/repair airfields.

(7) Conduct route reconnaissance.

b. Support by Type of Offensive Operation. Engineers support each type of offensive operation as follows:

(1) Movement to contact. Engineer support consists of engineers task-organized to the lead element to support in-stride breaches, engineers under battalion control to react to the situation, and engineers with the flank and rear security. To obtain an early estimate of their tasks and the materials required, engineer personnel can move with the scouts. The infantry battalion must supplement its basic load with extra demolitions, line charges, and bangalore torpedoes. Also, equipment such as dozers and ACEs help in breaching and reducing obstacles. Engineer elements with flank and rear security elements must block enemy avenues of approach into the battalion's flanks and rear. The engineers must develop obstacles that are simple and quick to employ such as craters, minefield, and demolished bridges.

(2) Hasty and deliberate attacks. The role of the engineers in an attack resembles their role in a movement to contact. However, reconnaissance, planning, and preparation time is increased.

(3) Exploitation and pursuit. Engineers in exploitation and pursuit operations should be well forward in the columns, where they can help the force move. Breaching equipment must be well forward for breaching destroyed bridges, road craters, abatises, and interdiction mines.

c. Reconnaissance. Engineers must reconnoiter both before and during the attack. Before the attack, the engineers study the terrain, bridges, routes of advance, and reinforcing obstacles such as minefield, tank traps, and emplacements. The engineers' actions during the attack and their requirements for breaching personnel and supplies are based on this study. Information comes from map, aerial, and ground reconnaissance.

d. Breach of Obstacles and Minefields. The battalion integrates breaching operations into all breaching plans and task-organizes the engineers to provide responsive support since obstacles may be encountered anywhere. Depending on the situation and on the amount of intelligence gathered, the battalion and subordinate units plan for an in-stride, deliberate, assault, or covert breaching operation. When encountering an obstacle, the lead element should do the following (in this order):

(1) Report.

(2) Try to bypass (after ensuring the purpose of the obstacle is not to canalize the force in that direction).

(3) Execute the breach plan.

(a) Conduct an in-stride breach using available assets against either weak defenders or simple, unexpected obstacles to maintain momentum. The breach is planned, prepared, and executed at company level to maintain momentum. The company commander designates support, breach, and assault teams, and synchronizes SOSR by planning thoroughly and by rehearsing immediate action drills.

(b) Conduct a deliberate breach to attack a stronger defense or more complex obstacle system. The battalion conducts a deliberate breach when the company team is insufficient to overcome an obstacle. The deliberate breach is characterized by thorough reconnaissance, detailed planning, extensive preparation, and explicit rehearsal as a combined arms team. One or more companies are tasked as support, breach, and assault teams. Engineers are task-organized to both the breach and assault teams. Engineers in the breach team reduce the obstacle. Some of the soldiers in the breach team help them while the others provide local support and security. Engineers in the assault team help breach the obstacle and destroy bunkers.

(c) Conduct an assault breach to break through enemy protective obstacles onto the enemy position.

(d) Conduct a covert breach to reduce the obstacle if surprise is the main consideration. The covert breach is used during limited visibility or when the obstacle is undefended to achieve surprise and minimize casualties. Support and assault forces execute their missions only on order or if the breach is detected. Engineers provide support by probing lanes through minefield and cutting wire. (FM 90-13-1 provides more information about covert breaches.)

e. Assault of Strongpoints. Engineers use the same technique for assaulting a strongpoint that they use to breach any other obstacle. (Chapter 3 discusses tactical considerations for assaulting strongpoints.)

(1) The engineers work with infantry to form assault elements. Before the assault, reconnaissance parties seek to determine the best locations for the assault and to prepare the breaching packages. During rehearsals, they ensure infantry forces know how to use these munitions.

(2) The engineers' primary mission during the assault is to breach the enemy's defensive tactical and close-in protective obstacles. Specially organized and equipped infantry squads neutralize weapons emplacements, bunkers, and pillboxes with the help of two-member sapper teams; then clear close-in and minor obstacles.

(3) The engineers' main task after the obstacle has been breached is to create and maintain routes to and through the gaps. Handover of lanes is important; the battalion must leave guides at all the lanes it has breached until the guides are relieved by the next unit. Guides should come from the company that makes the breach--they must orient the soldiers who relieve them.

f. Maintainance of Combat Roads and Trails. Engineers developing and maintaining routes concentrate on repairing bomb damage and removing obstructions that hamper the movement of advancing units.

g. Obstacles. Engineers construct or enhance obstacles in the offense to block or inhibit enemy movement or to concentrate combat power by allowing an area to be held by fewer men. Emplaced obstacles must not hinder friendly maneuver. Therefore, control of their employment is usually retained above battalion level. Control measures for obstacle use include terrain limitations and time restrictions.

h. Survivability. Engineers use protective measures, such as camouflage and deception, to enhance survival during the offense. To counter enemy intelligence systems, engineers can install and remove decoys, fabricate disguises, and construct or improve covered routes and positions. They can also use smoke to obscure these activities.


The engineers' role in the defense is to use the terrain to increase the battalion's combat effectiveness. Proper use of the engineers enhances the battalion's mobility and survivability and impairs the enemy's mobility. The battalion shapes the battlefield for two reasons. First, it an better target the enemy; second, it can better employ its forces to fight and defeat a numerically larger force. The commander must decide which engineer efforts are most important to support the scheme of maneuver: preparation of obstacles and fighting positions or repair of combat trails. Engineers must begin work as soon as the defensive mission is received. The engineers' function in the defense falls into three support categories.

a. Mobility Tasks. Engineers must identify covered and concealed routes to simplify lateral and forward movement. They advise the battalion commander on which routes should be used. Rather than construct new routes, they try to improve or maintain existing ones. They can cut selectively in forests to leave a concealing umbrella over the routes. Time and the effort required are prime considerations in determining the degree to which these tasks can be accomplished.

b. Countermobility Tasks. The senior engineer prepares an obstacle plan to support the battalion's scheme of fires and maneuver. He plans tactical obstacles based on the battalion commander's intent and on the brigade obstacle plan (Appendix A). The brigade plan may limit the employment of tactical obstacles to within obstacle belts. Each obstacle in these belts must perform one of the four obstacle functions-disrupt, turn, fix, or block. Which function each must perform depends on the commander's intent for the belt. Normally, only protective obstacles can be employed outside of designated belts. Sometimes, however, brigade may allow the battalion commander to employ tactical obstacles throughout his sector as needed. The battalion engineer supervises the engineers who are emplacing tactical obstacles. He coordinates the integration of these obstacles into the battalion indirect-fire plan and into battalion and company direct-fire plans. He advises units on how to employ, record, and remove protective obstacles. The battalion engineer works closely with the S4, who requisitions Classes IV and V (barrier materials) for obstacles. They also requisition transportation assets needed to bring the barrier materials near the emplacement areas. They do this because light units lack the organic equipment needed to reposition the barrier material. The battalion engineer and the S4 must also consider how the light unit will unhand supplies and dispose of packing materials.

(1) Tactical obstacles. These are normally emplaced by engineers. They are used to turn, fix, block, and disrupt enemy formations.

(a) Turn. Turning obstacles move and manipulate the enemy to the force's advantage by enticing or forcing him to move in a desired direction, by splitting his formation, by canalizing him, or by exposing his flank.

(b) Fix. Fixing obstacles slow and hold the enemy in a specific area so that he can be killed with fires. They also allow the time for the force to break contact and disengage. Fixing obstacles can be thought of as "making the ground sticky" to slow the enemy.

(c) Block. Blocking obstacles are complex, employed in depth, and integrated with fires. They prevent the enemy from proceeding along a certain avenue of approach (or allow him to proceed only at unacceptable cost). Blocking is never achieved solely by the use of obstacles. Blocking obstacles just limit the enemy's movement. Instead of constructing new obstacles, engineers often improve the existing obstacle characteristics of the terrain. This saves valuable construction and demolition materials as well as equipment and personnel hours. Widening a gully or drainage ditch or steepening the side of a hill, levee, or road embankment is easier than digging anew antitank ditch. Also, a tactical obstacle is not planned and sited simply because the terrain allows or because it would work well with the terrain. The obstacle must support the tactical plan by physically manipulating the enemy in a way that is critical to the commander's concept. Tactical obstacles are a means to shape the battlefield and bend the enemy to the battalion's advantage.

(d) Disrupt. Disrupting obstacles are used against enemy attack formations to break up operation tinting, to exhaust enemy breaching assets, and to separate forward enemy combat elements from wheeled supply vehicles. Obstacles also disrupt assault formations; disrupting obstacles degrade low-level command and control while the enemy is under direct fire.

(2) Protective obstacles. The battalion normally uses its own assets to emplace these obstacles. When employed along with direct fires and final protective indirect fires, these obstacles can help defeat mounted and dismounted assaults on defensive positions. Antipersonnel obstacles, antitank obstacles, or a combination of both types are used depending on what type of close combat threat is most severe. Antipersonnel obstacles are used against dismounted infantry antitank obstacles are used against mounted elements.

c. Survivability Tasks. Engineers support in the defense by constructing vehicle fighting positions and protective positions and, when time permits, by helping construct crew-served and individual fighting positions. Engineers provide staff advice on camouflage, cover, and concealment.

(1) Protective positions. Engineers can provide equipment for preparing protective positions. Protective positions for infantry and dismounted TOW missile systems (referred to as "TOWs") MK 19 40-mm grenade machine guns, and .50-caliber machine guns are constructed with available material. This material must support at least 18 inches of sandbags, rocks, or dirt on top of the position. This cover protects the position against shrapnel from air bursts but not against direct hits. Protective positions must be built to standard (IAW FM 5-103) to provide adequate safety protection to soldiers. Fighting positions for vehicles are constructed with both hull-down and turret-down locations. Since freshly dug earth invites detection, no berms are created. However, berms are ineffective against kinetic energy rounds. The engineers use bulldozers, CEVs, ACEs, SEEs, front loaders, backhoes, and blade tanks, as available, to enhance survivability by modifying the terrain. As time permits, engineers use them to construct defilade positions by priority for tanks and antiarmor vehicles.

(2) Countersurveillance measures. The engineers' role includes advising and aiding the battalion in camouflage and deception measures to include concealment, dummy positions, and decoy construction.


Engineers have a secondary mission to reorganize and fight as infantry. The division commander decides when they will do so but only in critical circumstances. If so, the engineers reorganize into infantry formations; engineer equipment is placed into a rear echelon. In infantry formations, engineers lack heavy weapons, such as mortars and ATGMs, and they have no means to control indirect fires. A long-term loss of engineer support can jeopardize future missions. However, engineers often must use infantry fighting tactics to accomplish their engineering missions.

Section VI


To best use his combat power, the battalion commander must know enemy dispositions and probable course of action. The main means used to obtain information in the battalion area are subordinate maneuver companies, patrols, scouts, OPs, and FISTs. The battalion S2 coordinates and disseminates information collected. He plans the use of battalion R&S resources. He also requests support from higher headquarters (HUMINT, SIGINT, and IMINT) to meet the commander's intelligence requirements. Also, he can send immediate requests for aerial coverage (Army, Air Force, or both) by S3 Air or TACP communications channels. Other timely sources of intelligence information include forward and adjacent units and the artillery nets monitored by the FSE.


An interrogation team can directly support a battalion for a specific mission and time. The commander usually positions the interrogation team near the PW collection point in the combat trains.


The main advantage of radar is its ability to detect objects and provide accurate target locations when other surveillance means cannot. Radar is used mostly for limited visibility operations--operations during darkness, haze, fog, or smoke. Radar can penetrate light camouflage, smoke, haze, light rain, light snow, darkness, and light foliage. Heavy rain or snow restrict radar-detection capabilities. However, having a well-trained operator can compensate in part for these negative effects. Radar is limited to line-of-sight. (Table 7-5 shows radar capabilities.) Ground surveillance radar provides a highly mobile, nearly all-weather 24-hour capability--including night and poor daylight visibility--for battlefield surveillance. One or two GSR teams can be attached to a battalion. They can be augmented by remotely-employed sensor (REMS) teams.

a. The battalion S2 employs the GSR teams. Combat information collected by each team is passed to the battalion S2, who analyzes and disseminates it to the commander, S3, FSE, and subordinate units within the battalion.

b. Equipment for GSR can be either vehicle-or ground-mounted; it complements other battalion combat surveillance and target acquisition means. Its employment is coordinated closely with that of patrols, observation posts, and infrared and other sensor devices.

c. GSR is ineffective against air targets unless the target is flying near the ground. This is because GSR is designed to detect moving targets in front of a background. It is also vulnerable to direction-finding and jamming by enemy electronic combat and other deception means.

d. GSR can be employed in all types of tactical operations. Radar personnel use it for two types of surveillance missions: search and monitor. Using GSR, radar personnel can perform a variety of tasks. They can--

(1) Search avenues of approach, possible enemy attack positions, assembly areas, or other sectors or areas. They use GSR on a time schedule at random or continuously to learn and report the location, size, composition, and nature of enemy activity.

(2) Monitor point targets, such as bridges, defiles, or road junctions, and report quantity, type, and direction of movement of targets through the point.

(3) Monitor and search FPF areas or barrage locations to permit timely firing.

(4) Search areas of nuclear and conventional fires to assess the effects on the target.

(5) Extend the observation capabilities of patrols by enabling them to survey distant points or areas of special interest.

(6) Aid units in their daylight visual observation by detecting partly obscured (hazy) targets at long ranges.

(7) Aid in the movement control of units during limited visibility operations.

(8) Increase the effectiveness of fire support. When targets have been detected with reasonable certainty by radar, fire support elements can take the target under fire immediately.

(9) Determine a target's rate of movement by plotting its location at two known points and the time used to move from one point to the other.

e. To provide good coverage, GSR teams must know the mission, the concept of the operation, and the targets expected in the area of operations. Each team must be assigned a specific sector of surveillance, a specific degree of overlapping coverage, and a frequency of coverage. To prevent detection by enemy direction-finding equipment and enemy ECM, operators turn on equipment only when needed.

f. The battalion S2 advises the commander on where and how GSR is best employed to support the scheme of maneuver. When this has been determined, the S2 assigns GSR locations, areas, and methods of search. Each team reports information to the supported unit or S2. Information must be reported by the most secure means--wire if possible. Radio is used when information requires immediate action of the supported unit or when no other means of communication is available. Also, for full coverage of the battalion area of operations, the S2 ensures that GSR positions and coverages are integrated with other R&S means (patrols, scouts, OPs, TOW sights, NVDs). The S2 prepares and distributes an R&S plan to subordinate companies and to the brigade.

g. The battalion S2 directs the general positioning of the radars, the section leader or senior operator selects the exact locations, then reports them once the radars are in place. Because the forward slopes of radar sites positioned on hills will be dead space to the radar, they must be covered by other observation means. GSR teams displace only on order of the GSR section leader or supported unit commander.

h. Alternate and supplementary positions are selected and prepared as time permits. The senior radar operator prepares radar surveillance cards and gives a copy to the battalion S2.

i. GSR teams should remain as far forward as the tactical situation and terrain permit. However, their displacement should not be delayed arbitrarily until they can no longer provide effective support. Timely displacement enables forward units to maintain fire on withdrawing enemy units or to detect enemy activity that indicates a counterattack. When feasible, teams displace by bounds.

j. GSR is used both in the security area and in the main battle area. All GSR assets are placed in GS of the battalion to screen avenues of approach and gaps between companies.


Remote sensor teams can be placed in DS of or attached to the battalion during defensive operations. The S2 designates the area to be covered by remote sensors. He integrates remote sensor coverage with other surveillance means to cover gaps, flanks, dead space, or avenues of approach into the battalion area.

a. The remote sensor team emplaces the REMS to best cover the assigned area whether REMS employed in the battalion area of operations are in DS of the battalion or are in GS of the division or brigade. The exact locations of sensors must be reported to the battalion commander. If he is convinced that sensors were activated by enemy forces, the commander can fire on any location. Ideally, the team locates with the battalion main CP; however, the team's priority is to monitor the sensor signals.

b. The number and size of the teams vary with the brigade or battalion mission. Two factors that limit sensor use are that they must be hand-emplaced and that they are susceptible to ECM.

c. Sensors can monitor road junctions, river-crossing and fording sites, or previously occupied positions. Operators can determine the target's rate of speed and length; they can also determine the type and number of vehicles or personnel in a column. To prevent accidental activations or false signals, sensor fields or strings are mixed. This means any sensor activation must be confirmed by other types of sensors. For example, severe weather can activate the seismic sensor but not the magnetic sensor. Winter conditions, such as falling snow, snow cover, and frozen ground, can limit the effectiveness of acoustic/seismic and infrared sensors. An animal can activate the seismic and infrared sensors but cannot activate the magnetic sensors.

d. Use of sensors allows a battalion to monitor many avenues of approach or flanks with few soldiers in high risk areas. To confirm enemy activity, sensors should be used along with other R&S assets.

Section VII


Introducing NBC weapons into conventional tactical operations results in an integrated battlefield. A battalion fights on an integrated battlefield the same as on the conventional battlefield. Tactics used on the conventional battlefield--such as cover and concealment, overwatch, and suppression--are well suited to the integrated battlefield. However, in an NBC environment, the battalion must be ready to implement protective measures to enhance its survivability and must provide timely information to higher headquarters about possible contaminations to aid in protecting the brigade and other units. A battalion commander must consider three aspects of NBC while conducing his battle analysis. The first and most important is NBC avoidance and decontamination; the second is the use of smoke; and the third is the use of field flame expedients. The battalion commander should make a mental check of these systems to ensure they support his intent.


NBC avoidance starts with passive measures before the outbreak of hostilities. Some of the elements of NBC avoidance include OPSEC and COMSEC, dispersion, position improvement, site hardening, training, and equipment maintenance. Most of the following measures are part of a unit's SOP. Used properly, they can increase a unit's probability of surviving in an NBC environment.

a. The chemical officer and the S2 determine indicators of a future chemical strike. They do this during the buildup and with the onset of hostilities. The indicators can include chemical munitions sighted in the enemy's corps or division area, chemical bombs or spray tanks uploaded onto enemy aircraft, enemy troops wearing chemical protective gear, chemical strike reported in the theater of operations, and repositioning of known enemy chemical units (especially decontamination units). If any of these indicators are identified, the chemical officer helps the S2 develop the IPB. The chemical officer uses templates to estimate the probability that the enemy will use chemical agents for the each of the following reasons:

(1) To block positions.

(2) To deny terrain.

(3) To canalize forces.

(4) To reinforce obstacles.

(5) To slow reinforcements.

(6) To block the flow of supplies.

(7) To cause casualties.

(8) To breakthrough friendly defenses.

b. The battalion commander determines the minimum MOPP level based on the intelligence information identified by the S2 and the chemical officer. The battalion commander allows company commanders the flexibility to increase the protective posture of their unit, based on the situation. This enables the company commanders to maintain combat effectiveness despite MOPP degradation. The company commander does this because he has a better appreciation than the battalion commander for what the company can do.


The commander should ensure that decontamination operations are planned to support contaminated maneuver forces. In the defense, this support is planned from the FLOT to the battalion rear boundary. In the offense, decontamination support is planned from the battalion rear boundary through to the objective. Due to time and resource constraints, the unit must know how to conduct decontamination operations. Actions to be taken during and after an attack should be outlined in the unit's SOP. (FM 3-4, FM 3-5, and FM 3-100 provide more information about this subject.) The battalion commander must provide specific guidance to his subordinate commanders about their follow-on mission.

a. A commander should request the NBC reconnaissance vehicle (FOX) when his unit maneuvers through an area known or suspected to be contaminated by chemicals or radiation. The vehicle's reconnaissance system can quickly identify and mark the contaminated area and determine uncontaminated maneuver routes for the unit. This saves time and resources. The reconnaissance vehicle will require support if it encounters enemy fires or obstacles.

b. The entire unit is responsible for monitoring for an NBC hazard. The commander ensures that appropriate personnel are trained to operate chemical detection equipment, identification equipment, and radiac equipment; and to conduct surveys as required from higher headquarters. Radiological and chemical surveys are planned and controlled at battalion or higher level. Surveys require time and coordination. Men and equipment must be diverted from primary missions. These constraints require that surveys be conducted only when the intensity of contamination must be known.


Another major factor that the commander should consider to increase his unit's survivability is how to defeat enemy electro-optical systems. Smoke is used to defeat the enemy's battlefield viewers. These viewers include binoculars, weapon sights, laser range finders, and weapon guidance systems. These weapon guidance systems include command LOS or terminal homing systems on antitank and air defense missiles. Table 7-6, identifies different types of electo-optical systems and the types of smoke that defeat them.

a. Information needed by the commander to plan the use of obscurants will be difficult to obtain. This is due to the number of types of electro-optical devices and the number of visual obscurants that will be commonly used on any future battlefield. The information the commander needs includes the following:

(1) The electro-optical capabilities of the enemy force.

(2) The extent to which electro-optical devices are employed, and whether they are being employed on reconnaissance systems, direct-fire systems, or all systems.

(3) The smoke-delivery capabilities of the enemy force.

(4) The extent of enemy smoke employment.

(5) The directed-energy weapons (DEW) capabilities of the enemy force.

b. The commander must decide how to use smoke to reinforce his mission once he has this information. Smoke aids in deceiving the enemy, conceals maneuver, and increases potential force-on-force ratio when friendly forces using target-acquisition systems can see through the smoke and the enemy cannot. For his use of smoke to be effective, the commander must synchronize smoke with the tactical plan. The commander can determine if smoke will meet this tactical plan by answering the following questions:

(1) What should the smoke and obscurants accomplish?

(2) Where and for how long should smoke be sustained?

(3) How much mobility restriction is acceptable?

(4) How much restriction to target-acquisition and engagement capabilities can I accept?

(5) When might on-call hasty or deliberate smoke benefit the unit?

(6) How will countersmoke help?

(7) Can the smoke from field flame weapons degrade or defeat enemy laser systems?

c. The smoke produced from field flame weapons absorbs light particles and easily degrades the effectiveness of laser weapons. Flame weapons reinforce obstacles, create obstacles, and enhance the defensive plan. They also generate violent, effective combat power at decisive times and locations on the battlefield. Tactical commanders can use these systems to do the following:

  • Repel enemy penetrations.
  • Destroy enemy forces.
  • Gain time.
  • Provide obstacles.
  • Isolate or canalize an enemy.
  • Slow enemy movement.
  • Surprise enemy forces.
  • Degrade enemy morale.

d. Application of flame weapons at decisive times and places on the battlefield reinforces fighting positions, achieves surprise, and produces casualties and psychological shock. Man's natural fear of fire produces perhaps the most important benefit derived from the use of flame weapons. Use of tactical flame weapons is an effective deterrent due to the human fear of being burned. This fear has caused well-trained troops to falter, throw down their weapons, and run in terror.

e. Flame weapons can be used tactically to warn of enemy approach, especially when trip wires and flares are used to ignite the expedients. Casualties are produced by container fragmentation and burns (from thickened fuel). Battlefield illumination restricts the enemy's use of his most likely avenues of approach. Field flame weapons force the enemy into areas where he can be engaged easily. They reinforce obstacles by slowing down armor and allowing artillery to effectively engage the target. Flame weapons must be integrated into the overall plan to ensure their use complements the commander's intent. Properly planned and executed, use of flame weapons can defeat armored vehicles and ensure a successful defense.

Section VIII


The infantry battalion organic CS elements are of four main types. The first is the scout platoon. The second is the mortar platoon. The third is the antiarmor platoon, which, depending on the organization of the battalion, is part of CSS, HHC, or the antiarmor company. The fourth is the communications platoon, which, as part of HHC, is also organic to the battalion.


The mission of the scout platoon is to perform reconnaissance and surveillance, to provide limited security, and to help control movement of the battalion or its elements. The scout platoon is normally under battalion control. However, for certain specific operations, it can be attached to another unit within the battalion. Scouts are finders, not fighters. They are the eyes and ears of the battalion, not the fists. FOs may be attached to scout platoons.

a. Reconnaissance. The S2 coordinates reconnaissance requirements with the S3, who supervises the scout platoon during its conduct of operations. The platoon may report directly to the battalion commander. Whether mounted or dismounted, reconnaissance requires the same preparation and stealth as any other operation. (Leaders follow the troop-leading procedure described in Chapter 2.) The commander must carefully develop communications, resupply, and other CSS plans. He must develop contingency plans for leaders whose units make contact. The three types of reconnaissance operations--route, zone, and area--require the use of similar techniques, but the mission dictates the type of information required. Scouts must be given time to complete their mission. (FM 7-92 provides additional information.)

(1) Route reconnaissance. A route reconnaissance is conducted to obtain detailed information about specific routes--for example, road and bridge classification, obstacles, chemical or radiological contamination, proximity of enemy, and terrain that, if occupied or controlled by the enemy, would affect battalion movement. The number of routes that can be reconnoitered by the scout platoon depends on the length of the routes, the enemy situation, and the nature of the routes themselves. When enemy contact is likely or expected or when the route is long and stretches through difficult terrain, the entire scout platoon is probably required for that one route. However, if routes are short and enemy contact is unlikely, the platoon can reconnoiter as many as three routes (one for each squad), but no more.

(2) Zone reconnaissance. A zone reconnaissance involves the detailed reconnaissance of an entire zone defined by boundaries. Its purpose is to obtain detailed information on all enemy, terrain, and routes within the zone. The commander must state his intent for a zone reconnaissance. This may be to determine the best routes, to move through the zone, or to locate an enemy force.

(a) A zone reconnaissance mission is normally assigned when the enemy situation is in doubt or when information on cross-country trafficability is desired. The width of a zone a scout platoon can reconnoiter depends on the type of enemy force and terrain.

(b) The zone to be reconnoitered is defined by lateral boundaries, a line of departure, and an objective. The objective provides a termination point for the mission and might be occupied by the enemy. A phase line can also be used as a termination point.

(3) Area reconnaissance. An area reconnaissance obtains information about a specified area such as a town, ridge, woods, or other feature critical to operations. The unit should be told specifically what to look for and why. The area to be reconnoitered is designated by a boundary line that encircles it. Area reconnaissance differs from zone reconnaissance in that the unit moves to the assigned area by the most direct route, avoiding enemy contact and reporting any enemy encountered. Once in the area, the unit reconnoiters in detail using zone reconnaissance techniques.

b. Security. Security operations protect the battalion from tactical surprise. Battalion security forces must find the enemy before the enemy finds the battalion. Properly conducted security operations give the battalion commander time to react to the enemy force. The scout platoon conducts security operations to provide early warning of enemy maneuvers and to deny the enemy information about the battalion's disposition or movements. The S3 supervises staff planning and the conduct of security operations; he also coordinates with the S2 for information on enemy activity. The two types of security operations are screen and guard.

(1) Screen. Screening missions require the unit to give early warning of the enemy and to identify the location of an enemy attack. Screening forces are normally employed over a wide area; they are too dispersed to delay the enemy. A screening force fights only to protect itself or, as it can, to prevent the enemy from observing the main body closely. A screen is a series of OPs from which enemy avenues of approach and areas between them can be observed. Patrols cover dead space and make contact between OPs. Once in contact with the enemy, the screening force withdraws on order; it maintains visual or electronic contact with the enemy and reports his movements. A scout platoon employed as a screening force can occupy three OPs for extended periods or six OPs for shorter periods. In extremely broken terrain or woods, or when visibility is otherwise limited, the scout platoon should be reinforced and the number of OPs increased.

(2) Guard. Guarding missions require the unit to give early warning and to delay the enemy, giving the main body time to react to the enemy threat. Because guard operations require larger forces with more firepower than screens have, the scout platoon participates in guard operations only as part of a larger force or when suitably reinforced. The scout platoon normally screens forward or to the flank(s) of a guard force.

c. Other Tasks. Some situations warrant employing the scout platoon for other tasks. (The tactical chapters of this manual provide more detailed discussions of these tasks.) The scout platoon can be used on short notice to help the battalion control movement. This may occur when elements of the battalion are separated or under conditions of limited visibility. The scout platoon can also be used to establish liaison, contact, and quartering parties. During conduct of the security mission, the scout platoon can conduct limited pioneer and demolition work, conduct patrols, and establish roadblocks. It can perform two tasks if NBC weapons have been employed: chemical detection and radiological monitoring and surveying; or help with ADC.


The antiarmor company and platoon provide the battalion with direct-fire support by destroying enemy armored vehicles. The antiarmor unit can also destroy point targets, including helicopters and fortified positions, from long ranges; it can help the battalion with surveillance of critical avenues of approach during all types of visibility conditions.

a. Planning. The battalion S3 and the antiarmor company commander or platoon leader advise the battalion commander on employing and integrating TOWs with other direct-fire weapons.

(1) The battalion antiarmor company or platoon is best employed as a unit, providing general support to the battalion. When this is not feasible, elements can be attached to or placed OPCON to one or more of the maneuver companies. Based on the requirement for mutual support, a section of two TOWs is the smallest unit that can be detached. When positioning the unit the commander considers its limited ability to provide for its own local security. Terrain and scheme of maneuver give the commander central control of all fire and movement. However, at maneuver company level, terrain prevents the use of fire and movement.

(2) Antiarmor units may be employed using a combination of the above methods. The battalion commander can increase the combat power of maneuver elements when needed, while retaining a direct-fire support element with which to influence the battle.

(3) The number of sections attached to a particular company is based on the IPB product. Companies covering the most dangerous avenues of approach with adequate fields of fire for the TOW missile receive more antiarmor assets. The units can also share the same terrain without a command or support relationship. The battalion commander may designate that the antiarmor unit has priority of positioning. If not, the commander of the company that owns the area allocates firing positions.

b. Employment. The battalion commander should consider employing the company and platoon headquarters as well as the sections.

(1) The battalion commander can either employ the antiarmor unit intact, or he can send it to the company that has the most TOW resources. The leader can help the maneuver company commander by reconnoitering and recommending positions, selecting positions, or both for antiarmor weapons. Also, he can control TOW fires during engagements.

(2) An antiarmor company already assigned to a unit can serve as a headquarters for a fourth maneuver element if the antiarmor company is task-organized with the infantry.

c. TOW Missile Systems. TOW missile systems should be employed in any operation only where their capabilities offset their vulnerabilities. They need not be employed where tanks or Dragons should be employed. (FM 7-91 and the tactical chapters of this manual discuss employment of the antiarmor company and platoon in various operations.)

(1) Use of TOWs is critical to the battle against motorized and tank forces, so the battalion should notify brigade if it is operating in terrain that lacks adequate fields of fire for TOWs. Based on the criticality of other battalion's situations, the brigade commander can direct temporary attachment of one battalion's TOWs to another battalion. This rarely used technique is appropriate when terrain restricts employment in the parent unit's area or when fires must be massed elsewhere.

(2) Thermal TOW sights provide a means of surveillance and direct and indirect fire control in limited visibility, even when terrain restrictions limit TOW fires.

(3) TOWs can also be attached to the scout platoon when terrain restricts their use with the companies, when scouts anticipate meeting an armored force, or to enhance--

(a) Scout surveillance capabilities. TOWs offer personnel and thermal sights.

(b) Scout tactical mobility. Based on METT-T, vehicles equipped with TOWs can assist movement of the scout platoon.

(c) Scout communications. Radios in TOW vehicles can extend the communications capabilities of the scout platoon.

(d) Scout endurance and sustainability. TOW vehicles can be used for hauling personnel and equipment.

(4) TOW vehicles can augment logistical assets when the TOWs cannot be employed or when no armor threat exists. However, TOW units should only be used this way when the situation clearly indicates that TOW vehicles can be more useful in this role. When fulfilling this role, the leader considers mounting the .50-caliber machine gun to protect the unit and the convoys it escorts.


The MK 19 expands the infantry forces' ability to conduct close combat in all environments. It can suppress armored vehicles and formations; it can also destroy infantry, light armor, and field fortifications. In MOUT, the MK 19 can breach 16-inch concrete walls (FM 23-27).

a. Weapon Characteristics. The MK 19 has a maximum range of 1,500 meters for point targets and 2,212 meters for area targets. Rates of fire are 40 rpm (rapid), and 350 rpm (cyclic). The MK 19 can be ground-mounted or vehicle-mounted. The gun weighs 75.6 pounds; the MK 64 gun cradle weighs 21 pounds; and the M3 tripod weighs 62 pounds.

b. Ammunition Characteristics. The MK 19 fires two types of explosive ammunition. Each type arms within 18 to 30 meters, detonates on impact, and has a 15-meter bursting radius. Each also has a flat trajectory out to 800 meters.

(1) High-explosive dual purpose. An HEDP round is the standard round; it can penetrate 2 inches of RHA at zero-degree obliquity. It is effective against light armored vehicles (BMP1s and BTRs). The round has a 20-second flight time to reach its maximum range.

(2) High-explosive. An HE round is most effective against exposed infantry and other "soft" targets such as civilian vehicles or logistics.

c. Mounts. The MK 19 can be mounted on the HMMWV interchangeably with the .50-caliber machine gun if the HIMS is used. The MK 19 can also be mounted on the M3 tripod. Use of the range card and the tripod's T&E mechanism allow accurate visibility engagements.

d. Employment. The MK 19 is useful in both offensive and defensive operations. It enhances the fires of other weapons systems, especially the .50-caliber machine gun and the TOW. This fact should be considered in siting the MK 19. Members of the MK 19 crew who become casualties should be replaced immediately.

(1) The MK 19 should operate during offensive operations from hide, defilade, or fortified positions. In these positions, the MK 19 is protected from both direct and indirect fire. During offensive operations, the MK 19 should--

(a) Provide immediate suppression on armor, antiarmor, and infantry encountered en route to and on the objective.

(b) Neutralize some obstacles and provide overwatch for breaching forces.

(c) Overwatch bounding elements and augment TOWs in overwatch.

(d) Provide close-in protection to infantry to allow TOWs to be used on tanks and other high-priority targets.

(e) Support infantry attacks by providing suppressive fire to fix or isolate the enemy on the objective.

(f) Shift fires beyond the objective to destroy withdrawing enemy.

(g) Displace rapidly to the objective to provide fire to defeat enemy counterattack.

(h) Conduct reconnaissance by fire.

(2) The MK 19 in defensive operations can operate from defilade positions; its fires should be controlled by an observer. These positions should be along the most likely enemy avenues of approach in the defensive sector. During defensive operations, the MK 19 should--

(a) Cover critical obstacles by fire.

(b) Cover dead space beyond 800 meters in the machine guns' FPF.

(c) Use the tripod and range card to fire accurately out to 1,500 meters during limited visibility.

(d) Disrupt armor formations by forcing them to button up. The MK 19 can destroy critical enemy reconnaissance vehicles, command and control, and ADA.

(e) Support counterreconnaissance and counterattacks.

(f) Augment rear area defenses of the field or combat trains.

(g) Provide security and fires during convoy escort.


The HMMWV interchangeable mount system (HIMS) provides the capability to exchange multiple vehicle-mounted weapons; this increases unit employment options. Based on METT-T, the commander can mount TOWs, MK 19s, or .50-caliber machine guns. Since the HIMS must be removed for the TOW to be mounted in the HMMWV, the commander must determine which system to employ before the operation.

a. Each weapon system is best employed in pairs, so the commander can configure the antiarmor platoon as follows:

(1) Mount all TOWs as they might be mounted against a significant armored threat.

(2) Mount all MK 19s as they might be mounted against a motorized or dismounted threat.

(3) Mount two MK 19s and two .50-caliber machine guns as they might be mounted when the battalion is defending against an enemy light infantry attack or when the battalion is attacking an enemy defending prepared defensive positions.

(4) Mount two MK 19s and two TOWs as they might be mounted to defend against a mixed infantry and light armored threat.

b. All of the weapons in the defense can be simultaneously integrated in the fire plan. However, when this is done, the commander may need to attach additional personnel to the antiarmor platoon. TOWs and .50-caliber machine guns can be employed using organic tripods while the MK 19 is mounted on the vehicle. Crew members fire the M249 machine gun. These weapons should be employed as follows to best complement one another:

(1) To provide interlocking fields of fire.

(2) To destroy lightly armored vehicles, and to defeat infantry, field fortifications, and hovering aircraft.

(3) To gain and maintain fire superiority when enough ammunition is available.

(4) To overcome limited visibility conditions with appropriate NVDs.

c. The priority of target engagement by weapon systems employed simultaneously is an important consideration. The TOW provides a long-range armor and point target-defeating capability. The .50-caliber machine gun and the MK 19 have similar heavy machine gun capabilities. The .50-caliber machine gun can be used effectively to designate targets day and night with tracers. The MK 19 can suppress out to its maximum range and can cover deadspace beyond 800 meters. The MK 19 has a greater armor-defeating capability than does the .50-caliber machine gun; it can also neutralize infantry, antiarmor gunners, and lightly armored vehicles moving with tanks. Use of either machine gun can force armored vehicles to button up when attacking.

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