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Strike Operations

The ranger regiment conducts strike operations in support of the Air Land Battle. Ranger strike operations are integrated into an overall plan designed to destroy, delay, and disorganize the enemy. They may also cause him to divert a major part of his combat forces and power to rear area security. Strike operations also help create an environment in which other special operations forces can operate. Strike operations can complement air power in disrupting enemy forces in depth. They allow the theater commander to regain the initiative and lead to decisive action.

5-1. Application.

a. The ranger regiment can conduct strike operations either as deliberate-response or quick-reaction missions. It can be inserted into the area of operations by land, sea, or air.

b. Strike operations can be conducted throughout the depth of the battlefield in support of conventional or unconventional warfare. Multiple strike operations can have a synergistic effect and can create situations that help friendly forces seize and maintain the initiative.

c. Strike operations include raids, personnel and equipment recovery, and interdiction of lines of communication. They are best accomplished by ranger units who use conventional techniques and special skills. Strike operations vary in size. When well augmented and supported, the ranger regiment can conduct strike operations deep in enemy territory using up to three battalions. Strike operations normally are limited in time and may be conducted unilaterally or in conjunction with other special operations forces or allied forces. They are normally ended by the extraction or exfiltration of the ranger force.

5-2. Raid operations.

a. A raid is a strike operation conducted behind enemy lines against strategic objectives, targets of high tactical value, time-sensitive targets, or key personnel and facilities in enemy rear areas. It normally involves a swift penetration of hostile territory to confuse the enemy or destroy his installations. Ranger units can conduct deep penetration raids when given the appropriate assets for insertion.

b. A strategic raid by the ranger regiment would be directed by the NCA and conducted under the OPCOM of a unified or JTF commander. An operational raid would be directed by the unified or JTF commander and conducted by that command directly or under the OPCOM of a corps commander. Typical targets would include:

(1) Command, control, communications, and intelligence centers at front level or combined arms army level.

(2) Nuclear and chemical weapons storage sites and delivery means.

(3) Key logistical centers, warehouses, ammunition complexes, or fuel pumping centers supplying logistical support to a specific front.

(4) Air defense and air traffic control integrating centers and air defense weapons sites.

(5) Key power generating and transmitting facilities, hydroelectric dams, and irrigation systems.

(6) Key ports or rail complexes.

(7) Key installations or facilities, such as airstrips, buildings, bridges, dams, or tunnels.

c. The size of the ranger raid force is determined by a detailed analysis of METT-T. The unit committed to the ground phase of the raid mission is kept as small as possible. It may be as small as a ranger company or it could include all the battalions of the ranger regiment. The force must be tailored to complete the mission quickly, violently, and with few casualties. The size of the force may also be affected by the augmentation of specially trained personnel needed for that mission.

d. Raids are normally conducted in five phases. (See Figure 5-1).

Figure 5-1. Five phases of a raid.

PHASE 1. The ranger force inserts or infiltrates into the objective area.

PHASE 2. The objective area is then sealed off from outside support or reinforcement, to include the enemy air threat.

PHASE 3. Any enemy force at or near the objective is overcome by surprise and violent attack, using all available firepower for shock effect.

PHASE 4. The mission is accomplished quickly before any surviving enemy can recover or be reinforced.

PHASE 5. The ranger force quickly withdraws from the objective area and is extracted.

e. This paragraph discusses the raid after insertion/infiltration. All considerations discussed in Chapter 4 must be applied in order for the unit to get deep behind enemy lines. Upon receipt of a raid mission, the following basics are emphasized:

(1) Maximum use of intelligence information. The gathering and dissemination of information must be continuous and provided to the raid force even while en route to the target area. To ensure mission accomplishment, the ranger unit must be kept informed of the latest enemy developments in the objective area to prevent being surprised. Only then can the full combat power of the rangers be concentrated at the decisive time and place.

(2) Plan development. The reverse planning sequence and the planning steps set forth in FM 101-5 are followed in the plan development.

(3) Coordination. Coordination is through the operational headquarters with friendly units (such as higher and supporting Army or joint headquarters, intelligence agencies) for fire, RSTA, special equipment, and personnel and logistical support.

(4) Rehearsals. Rehearsals help validate all aspects of planning for the raid and ensure precision in execution-They allow changes to be made in the plan before it is carried out.

f. A successful raid is ensured by--

(1) Launching the raid at an unexpected time or place by taking advantage of darkness and other periods of limited visibility, and moving over terrain that the enemy may consider impassable.

(2) Avoiding detection through proper movement techniques and skillful camouflage and concealment to include taking advantage of natural cover of the terrain, and using sophisticated equipment to detect and avoid enemy forces.

(3) Timing the operation as close as possible.

(4) Using all available support, both organic and nonorganic, to include use of special weapons such as Air Force "smart bombs" and artillery cannon-launched guided projectiles, with the ranger unit using laser target designators.

(5) Performing quick, violent, precise, and audacious actions that focus full combat power at the decisive time and place.

(6) Disengaging quickly upon mission completion.

(7) Withdrawing swiftly using planned routes and including a deception plan.

g. Four functions are normally performed by ranger tactical formations when conducting a raid. Each subelement is organized and equipped to do a specific part of the overall mission. Depending upon the specific mission, nature of the target, enemy situation, and terrain, these four functions are as follows:

(1) The command group controls movement to and actions at the objective. This unit normally consists of the ground commander, other subordinate leaders in the raid organization, and communications to support these leaders.

(2) The security element, whose organization is determined by the mission of the raid force, size and type of enemy force and its mobility and state of alert, terrain and avenues of approach into the area, and the time needed to seal off the objective area. The security element may perform the following:

(a) Secure the ORP.

(b) Give early warning of enemy approach.

(c) Block avenues of approach into the objective areas.

(d) Prevent enemy escape from the objective.

(e) Provide overmatch for the units at the objective and suppressive fires for their withdrawal.

(f) Provide short-range air defense.

(3) The support element provides the heavy volume of fire needed to neutralize the objective. Because fires from this unit are violent and devastating, they must be closely controlled to ensure the precision needed. On order or as planned, fires are lifted and shifted to cover the maneuver of the assault element by suppressing enemy fire from the objective or aerial fires. The support element may also be given specific locations to cover by fire in support of the security element if an enemy quick-reaction force moves toward the objective area. These may include routes into and out of the objective site, key terrain features, or installations adjacent to the main objective. Once the assault has been completed, or on order from the raid force commander, the support element displaces to the next planned position. Organization of the support element is determined by the following:

(a) Size of the objective, the geography of surrounding area, and the enemy threat (to include air) in the area. This element should be able to neutralize the objective (when supported by air or naval gunfire) and to lift or shift fires either when the assault is launched or when ordered by the raid force commander.

(b) Mission of the assault unit.

(e) Suitable firing positions.

(d) Size and nature of the enemy force in the objective area and those enemy forces capable of reinforcement at the objective.

(e) Fire support from other units (air strikes, naval gunfire, surface-to-surface missiles, and artillery fire).

(4) The assault element seizes and secures the objective and protects demolition teams, search teams, prisoner-of-way teams, or other teams.

(a) The organization of the assault element is always tailored to the mission. Each target area must be examined carefully. To assault, seize, and destroy an installation, position, or equipment, the assault element could be organized into one or more assault teams. The element's mission is to overcome resistance and secure the objective and to destroy the installation or equipment. Other specialized teams may also be needed. For example, sniper teams could be needed to remove key sentries. To capture prisoners, liberate personnel, and seize or destroy equipment, the assault element could be organized into assault teams, prisoner teams, search teams, medical teams, demolition teams, or breach teams.

(b) To destroy a point target or installation in a heavily defended area where the USAF cannot get close en to be effective, the assault element might be organized with one small team equipped with laser target designators. From covered and concealed positions, members of the team could then provide guidance for USAF delivery of laser-guided munitions from a safe distance.

h. The site chosen for the raid LZ or DZ must support the planned actions at the objective. There are two options when choosing sites:

(1) The ranger force can land on or near the objective and seize it before the enemy can react. (See Figure 5-2.) This avoids forced marches over land carrying heavy combat loads. If there is no suitable landing area near the objective, or the enemy has a strong reaction force nearby, this option is not favored.

Figure 5-2. Airborne landing on the objective.

(2) The ranger force can land unseen far from the objective. It then assembles, reorganizes, and moves into an ORP near the objective. (See Figure 5-3.) The objective is seized after security and support elements are in place. This option makes coordinated action easier by setting up control of small units before engaging the enemy.

Figure 5-3. Airborne landing distant from the objective.

5-3. Interdiction operations.

a. AirLand Battle doctrine set forth in FM 100-5 is a shift in emphasis toward keeping the initiative in battle. The deep battle seeks out enemy elements separated from the main battle area and attacks them before they can be deployed. Interdiction of selected enemy forces by attacking them or blocking chokepoints hinders, delays, or interrupts the enemy's use of his lines of communication; it denies him the use of certain areas; it destroys industrial facilities, military installations, and equipment; and it stops or slows his advance along a particular route of approach. The ranger regiment's ability to conduct interdiction is vital to execution of the AirLand Battle doctrine.

b. Interdiction by ranger forces includes blocking or channeling approaches, holding key terrain for a limited time. and destroying facilities.

c. Ranger forces conduct interdiction missions that supplement those conducted by long-range Army and USAF weapon systems. Large-size ranger forces are normally used only when other systems fail or are not available, and the target is of such priority that it must be attacked. Small ranger laser target designator teams may work in concert with USAF or USN strike aircraft to direct terminally guided weapons systems. Rangers should be directed against crucial interdiction targets that disrupt, confuse, or delay the enemy and allow friendly forces to gain the initiative at the forward line of own troops (FLOT).

d. Typical interdiction operations are--

(1) Destroying rail lines, switches, rail yards, and rolling stock.

(2) Destroying bridges, overpasses, tunnels, and truck parks.

(3) Closing mountain passes or routes in restricted terrain.

(4) Cutting oil or natural gas pipelines and destroying pumping and distribution systems.

(5) Destroying dams, locks, spillways, and flood control gates.

(6) Destroying rail transload points, switches, and yard engines.

(7) Destroying shipyards, dry docks, wharfs, lighters, cranes, and stevedore facilities.

(8) Destroying electrical generation facilities, power lines, transformers, and grid monitoring centers.

(9) Destroying water pumping stations and filtration systems.

(10) Destroying radio and TV stations, phone lines, microwave terminals, satellite receiving stations, and telephone exchanges.

(11) Ambushing enemy forces and personnel moving along lines of communication.

e. Considerations when using rangers for interdiction are:

(1) Insertion and extraction.

(2) Support resources available.

(3) Ranger force vulnerability.

(4) Target identification.

(5) Threat environment.

(6) Other or supporting means of interdiction.

(7) Command and control.

(8) Time and magnitude of the effect on the enemy forces at the forward edge of the battle area.

(9) Collateral effects of target destruction.

f. Interdiction targets are not identified and attacked at random. They are part of an overall deep attack plan to destroy or cripple an entire system. Interdiction is based on the assigned deep campaign plan that directs which targets are to be attacked, by whom, the results desired, and the priorities of attack for specific systems. Based on his plan, the ranger force commander selects those ranger elements best suited to conduct the attack. Target selection, which requires detailed intelligence and planning, is based on:

(1) Target criticality. A target is critical when its destruction or damage would have a major influence on the enemy's ability to conduct or support operations. Each target is considered in relation to other elements of the particular target system designated for interdiction. The criticality of a target changes with the situation. For example, when the enemy has few locomotives, a railroad bridge is less critical.

(2) Target accessibility. The ranger force must be able to insert into the target area. Terrain, security controls, location, and means of insertion are considered when studying a target for accessibility. systems. Based on his plan, the ranger force commander selects those ranger elements best suited to

(3) Target restorability. The enemy's ability to restore a damaged facility to normal operating capacity affects target selection. The enemy's repair and maintenance ability and his reserve stocks must be considered.

(4) Target vulnerability. A target is vulnerable when it is open to attack by means available to ranger forces. Vulnerability is affected by the nature of the target such as type, size, disposition, and security. It is also affected by the means available to attack it such as explosives, incendiaries, and special devices.

g. Key to the interdiction process is the ability to locate and evaluate target systems for attack and the timing of the attack. A target system is a series of related functions that serve a common purpose.

(1) A target is one element, installation, or activity identified for attack such as a locomotive, train, bridge, or prison.

(2) A target complex is several targets in the same general area, such as a railway marshalling yard, an airfield, or port and dock facilities.

(3) A target system consists of an industrial system and its sources of raw materials; the rail, highway, waterway, or airway systems over which these materials are transported; the source of power and method of transmission; the factory complex; and the means by which the finished product is transported to the user. The targeting process is usually accomplished in the special operations force cell at EAC and the battle coordination element (BCE) at corps level.

h. Interdiction techniques include ambush, emplacement of conventional demolitions, target designation for laser-guided munitions, and emplacement of beacons or sensors.

NOTE: The enemy surface-to-air threat normally precludes the use of an airborne platform for direct observation and designation. This may be accomplished by the on-ground ranger force.

i. Through interdiction, ranger units are an ideal force to contribute to the Army's AirLand Battle operational concept. This includes taking the initiative, moving quickly to strike deep in the rear of the enemy, and defeating the enemy force beyond the FEBA. Planners and commanders must ensure that the ranger units are used on missions that are synchronized to contribute to the overall deep battle campaign. Strikes against critical targets must combine with efforts of other assets to take the initiative from the enemy, limiting his flexibility, initiative, and momentum.

5-4. Personnel and equipment recovery operations.

Recovery operations are specialized raids to liberate imprisoned or detained personnel or to return certain items of equipment to friendly control. These operations include recovering and extracting downed or hijacked aircrews and political or military leaders. Rangers use surprise and combat power to overwhelm resistance before harm can come to the detainees or prisoners.

a. Planning. The planning of personnel and equipment recovery operations is the same as for the raid. The main difference is that the ranger force commander must plan for the extraction of the recovered personnel and the loading and extraction of sensitive equipment. Personnel and equipment recovery raids are often executed as quick-response missions. They normally require the ranger force commander to plan and execute the recovery quickly.

b. Augmentations. This type of strike operation often requires that the ranger force be augmented with nonranger personnel with special skills or abilities. Examples are medical personnel, technical experts, mechanics or crew members trained in repair and retrieval operations, linguists or translators, and other special operations force elements.

c. Organization. The organization of the recovery force is the same as for a raid. Sometimes special teams are needed to perform certain missions involved in the recovery. This mission is conducted aggressively, usually ending in close combat during darkness or other limited visibility conditions. Reconnaissance teams may be inserted ahead of the ranger force to reconnoiter the objective and to locate the detained personnel.

(1) All planning and execution takes place as described for the raid. The emphasis must be on detailed, timely intelligence.

(2) Medical teams must be available to care for the detainees.

(3) The ranger personnel must be adept at searching and clearing of buildings.

(4) The ranger force must--

(a) Locate the specific building or area where the friendly detainees are being held.

(b) Gain entry into buildings, use stun grenades, and avoid obstacles and booby traps.

(c) Engage all enemy personnel using selective-kill techniques.

(d) Locate, identify, and secure detained personnel.

(e) Move personnel to a secured extraction site.

(f) Leave no detainees or rangers behind in the objective area.

d. Execution. The key to success is surprise and speed. The enemy must be assaulted when least expected. The ranger force must ensure that friendly detainees are not harmed during the assault - either by rangers or enemy personnel.

e. Extraction. The ranger force commander should plan for the extraction point to be as close as possible to the point of recovery. This prevents the detainees from having to move cross-country or for the ranger force to transport bulky equipment long distances. For small groups of detainees or small items of equipment, the extraction point can be further away. Recovery operations may use any method or combination of methods of insertion and extraction (see Chapter 4). Close planning and coordination is normally required with US Army, USAF, or USN aviation for both delivery and evacuation of the target area.

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