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Military

Chapter 6

OTHER TACTICAL OPERATIONS

CONTENTS

SECTION I.      Brigade Tactical Operations

      Battle Handover and Passage of Lines

      Relief Operations

      Breakout from Encirclement

      Linkup Operations

      Hasty Water Crossings

      Covering Force Operations

SECTION II.     Battalion Task Force Tactical Operations

      Battle Handover and Passage of Lines

      Relief in Place

      Breakout from Encirclement

      Linkup Operations

      Hasty Water Crossings

      Guard Operations

      Breaching Operations

SECTION III.   Company Team Tactical Operations

      Battle Handover and Passage of Lines

      Relief Operations

      Hasty Water Crossings

      Guard Operations

      Screen Operations

      Ambush Operations

      Breaching Operations

SECTION I. BRIGADE TACTICAL OPERATIONS

Battle Handover and Passage of Lines

A battle handover is a coordinated operation between two units in the close-in battle which transfers responsibility for fighting an enemy force from one unit to the other. It is designed to sustain continuity of the combined arms fight and protect the combat potential of both forces involved. Battle handover is usually associated with conducting a passage of lines. Battle handover and passage of lines are inherent aspects of transferring responsibility for the battle between commanders while maintaining continuity of the fight.

Battle handover may occur during both offensive and defensive operations. During defensive operations, it is normally coordinated in advance so it requires minimum coordination when ordered to occur. In the offense, it is often initiated by a FRAGO based on the situation. Clear TSOPs allow units to quickly establish necessary coordination to preclude a loss of momentum in the attack. Control measures used are simple and standardized. (Specific control measures are discussed beginning in Section II.)

There are three key players involved: the stationary commander, the passing commander, and their higher commander. In short, a battle handover is between commanders. Each commander has certain responsibilities. The common commander defines the location and time for the handover and any specified tasks, receives briefbacks from both commanders, and monitors the execution during the handover. The passing and stationary commanders coordinate according to the TSOP and execute the handover. Until the handover is complete and acknowledged by the two commanders, the commander in contact is responsible for the fight. The common commander specifies where the handover occurs and defines the resulting responsibility for the zone or sector.

Handover occurs along a line defined as the battle handover line (BHL). This line is a phase line forward of the stationary force recognizable on the ground. The line is established by the common commander in consultation with both commanders. The stationary commander has the major determination in the BHL location. This line is forward of the FEBA in the defense or the FLOT in the offense. It is drawn where elements of the passing unit can be effectively overmatched by direct fires of the forward combat elements of the stationary unit until the battle handover is complete. The area between the BHL and the stationary force belongs to the stationary force commander. He may employ security forces, obstacles, and fires in the area.

While a line defines the baffle handover, seldom do events allow this to happen cleanly. Battle handover is a physical and a command process. Physical handover should be viewed as a transition that occurs in the zone of BHL. Events may dictate that a force break contact forward of or behind the BHL, as in the gap between echelons of the attacking enemy force. Close coordination, physical and by radio, between the two units involved in the handover allows them to coordinate and execute this process at the small unit level. The stationary unit is just as active as the passing unit.

Battle handover begins on order of the common commander of both units involved. Defensive handover is complete when the passing unit is clear and the stationary unit is ready to engage the enemy. Offensive handover is complete when the passing unit has deployed and crossed the BHL. The BHL is normally considered the LD for the attacking unit.

Coordination for the battle handover normally flows from the commander out of contact to the commander in contact. The coordination for a battle handover overlaps with the coordination for a passage of lines; the coordination for both should be done simultaneously. This coordination is best established as a TSOP to facilitate rapid accomplishment. Coordination includes--

  • Establishing communication.
  • Providing updates on troth friendly and enemy situations.
  • Coordinating passage.
  • Collocating command and control.
  • Dispatching representatives to contact points.
  • Establishing recognition signals.
  • Determining status of obstacles and routes.
  • Determining CS and CSS requirements.

A passage of lines is an operation in which one unit is passed through the positions of another, as when elements of a covering force withdraw through the forward edge of the MBA or when an exploitation force moves through the elements that conducted the initial attack. A passage of lines may be designated as a forward or rearward passage of lines (see Figures 6-1 and 6-2). The primary purpose of a passage of lines is to maintain the movement or maneuver of units. This operation is necessary when the factors of METT-T do not permit one unit the freedom of bypassing another friendly unit and therefore must pass through it. A passage of lines maybe conducted--

  • To continue an attack or counterattack.
  • To envelop an enemy force.
  • To pursue a fleeing enemy.
  • To withdraw covering forces or MBA forces.

Planning

Intelligence

The passing brigade's S2 will begin planning for the passage of lines by coordinating with the stationary brigade's S2 to receive the latest information concerning the enemy situation and disposition. With this information, the passing brigade's S2 will develop situation and event templates in preparation for the brigade's tactical operation. Specifically, the brigade S2 will ensure that the contact points established by higher headquarters are not within enemy direct-fire range or observation.

Maneuver

One of the most critical aspects of a passage of lines is terrain management. The passing brigade's S3 will coordinate with the stationary brigade's S3 to receive information concerning the disposition of friendly forces within the stationary brigade's AO. Unoccupied areas may represent possible locations to station future units of the passing brigade. With the IPB complete and a thorough understanding of the restrictions presented by location of the stationary brigade, the S3 will prepare his tentative plan within the parameters established by the brigade commander. Within this planning, the S3 will also examine the location of the contact points to determine whether or not they are compatible with the scheme of maneuver. Once the contact points have been finalized, the S3 will coordinate with the stationary force's S3 to negotiate the location of the passage lanes. It is important to remember that the physical characteristics and number of the passage lanes will determine the speed and disposition of the passing force as it crosses the LD. Therefore, when conducting a forward passage in preparation for a deliberate attack, it may be important to create passage lanes with sufficient width to allow the passing force to move in a tactical formation appropriate to the operation, such as company columns or a platoon wedge.

Fire Support

The brigade FSO will begin by examining the FS plan of the stationary brigade. Because the FS plan covers dead space, obstacles, and enemy avenues of approach and also protects units with FPFs, the passing force FSO will want to initially use the targets of the stationary force. This serves two functions. The FSO will be able to call for fires using the stationary brigade's FS plan, and the augmentation of an existing plan facilitates the integration of fires between the stationary and passing brigade's supporting artillery.

As noted earlier, terrain management becomes especially important because of possible requirements to plan space for additional artillery batteries and their support assets. Coordination with the stationary brigade's S3 will be especially important to ensure that the artillery will be able to position itself properly to support the attack.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

The passing brigade engineer will coordinate with the stationary brigade engineer and S3 early in the planning phase to acquire the most current information regarding obstacle emplacement within the stationary brigade's AO. The selection of passage lanes must take into consideration the location of existing obstacles. If the tactical plan requires the movement of forces in formation (a wide passage lane), some obstacles may have to be moved or prepared for demolition prior to the movement of the passing unit. In this regard, coordination for the opening of the lane must be made at the contact points.

Air Defense

In planning a passage of lines, air defense is absolutely essential. Whether passing forward or to the rear, the moving unit will be forced to move slower and often in some type of column formation during the passage. Congestion in AAs either before or after the passage and the linear nature of the movement present a lucrative target to hostile aircraft. As a result, air defense must be coordinated with the stationary unit. In many cases, the stationary brigade will be able to protect the passing force, allowing the passing force's supporting air defense assets to move with them. However, if the passing force requires static air defense, the terrain will have to be coordinated with the stationary brigade's S3. Coordination should also be made to incorporate the moving force's ADA assets into the stationary force's air defense early warning net.

Combat Service Support

The CSS plan is an essential part of the passage of lines. Regardless of the direction of the passage, it is important that it occur as quickly as possible and if possible, without incident. Nevertheless, CSS assets should be positioned to support the passage. UMCPs and emergency refueling points should be positioned where they can best keep the lane open and vehicles moving.

In the rearward passage, the FSB should move in preparation of the passage, establishing the required support agencies and a tentative location for the BSA. (See Figure 6-3.) The support assets of the stationary unit should be used to advantage to free up some of the passing force's support operations in a depth location. A forward passage of lines is similar in that the stationary force should be used to advantage: however, the passing force's support should be kept as mobile as possible to be better prepared to react to the fluid nature of offensive operations.

Command and Control

The collocation of headquarters in preparation for the passage of lines may be accomplished in several ways. The situation and terrain will determine for the most part which type of collocation is best. Figures 6-4, 6-5, and 6-6 illustrate three types of collocation. The first is the collocation of the two brigade main CPs. While this perhaps best facilitates information exchange, it also presents a lucrative target for air or missile strikes. The second option is to locate the passing brigade's TAC CP or TOC with the stationary brigade's main CP. This option provides more flexibility to the passing brigade in terms of its own C2. The last option is for the passing brigade to send an LO to the stationary brigade's main CP. This technique is used only when the situation does not permit the first two options generally because the location of the stationary main CP does not support the C2 of the passing force.

Preparation

Intelligence

Once the brigade commander has issued the order to conduct a passage of lines, the S2 will continue the IPB process. If conducting a forward passage of lines, he will monitor theOI net of the stationary brigade and update his enemy situation template. Additionally, the stationary unit should issue periodic INTSUMs to the passing unit as it will for higher headquarters. If conducting a rearward passage of lines, the inverse is true. The S2 should war-game with the brigade commander to ensure he has considered contingencies in the event of enemy contact during the passage of lines.

Maneuver

The brigade prepares for the passage of lines by conducting a rehearsal. Generally, forward passages of lines may be incorporated into the offensive maneuver rehearsal. In a rearward passage of lines, however, (particularly following combat) there may not be time to conduct a complete level three rehearsal. In this case, the passage must be "rehearsed" as part of the orders backbrief.

Fire Support

The FS plan will be rehearsed along with the passage rehearsal. In particular, the FSO must know when he may rely on the supporting fires of those batteries that are supporting the stationary force. The location of each battery in support of the passing brigade should be checked again with the stationary brigade's S3 to avoid any conflict during execution.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The most important aspect of the obstacle rehearsal is the preparation of those obstacles that may impede movement during the actual passage of lines. To this end, the plan to clear the passage lane of existing obstacles must be checked to ensure that it is completely integrated into the tactical plan and that backup plans have also been identified in the event of an unforeseen circumstance.

Air Defense

The air defense plan should be exercised during the passage rehearsal. Specifically, communications between the passing and stationary units should be checked to ensure that both are operating on the air defense early warning net.

Combat Service Support

The CSS plan should be rehearsed to ensure that the required support assets are properly positioned to assist in the passage. Moreover, the rehearsal should exercise the support system to identify any possible weaknesses in the responsiveness of the support plan. Movement of the BSA and other support assets will occur as necessary before actual execution of the passage.

Command and Control

During the rehearsal, the commander ensures that each organization knows when and where to move as well as how to execute the required coordination. The TAC CP or TOC (or other designated headquarters element) collocates with the stationary brigade's main CP and conducts communications checks. Quartering parties from subordinate elements also move in preparation of the rearward passage.

Execution

Intelligence

After having made initial coordination with the stationary brigade's S2 and ensuring the TOCs have been collocated the passing brigade's S2 will monitor the OI net of the stationary brigade. As new information concerning the enemy is received, the S2 will incorporate it into the situation template. In particular, the passing brigade S2 will be on the lookout for any information that may influence the future operations of the brigade or even the passage itself.

Maneuver

The commander will monitor the operation from the initial actions at the contact point to the last element's final passage. The actual coordination at the contact points will be handled by the battalion task force. Whether conducting a forward or rearward passage of lines, the key aspect of the passage will be when to transfer control of the sector/zone. In a rearward passage, this will be controlled via a BHL established by division; in a forward passage, the control will be designated by the crossing of a PL established by the two brigade commanders.

Fire Support

Until transfer of responsibility of the zone or sector occurs, all indirect fire missions will be coordinated and approved by the FSO who initially controls that area. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that the two brigade FSOs ensure that their FS nets are linked prior to execution. Having doubled the amount of artillery will greatly augment the combat power of the passing force and enhance the chance of mission success.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will ensure the passage lanes are clear of obstacles before the actual passage begins. Under conditions of close-in enemy pressure, prepared demolitions to clear the lanes will be detonated on order and should be linked to the actions at the contact point. However, the lanes will still need to be proofed before the passing unit begins to use them. Some demolitions may also be used as part of a deception plan; however, to be effective, the detonation must also be linked to maneuver. Providing these forces may be a way for the stationary brigade to assist the passing brigade.

Air Defense

The actual conduct of the passage of lines air defense mission will occur as discussed in the previous paragraphs.

Combat Service Support

As described earlier, the CSS system should be emplaced during the preparation phase of the operation. The primary mission of the CSS assets will be to ensure unimpeded movement of the passing force. Maintenance assets will be on call to remove and repair any vehicle disabled during the movement. Additionally, emergency resupply of POL will be on standby to support as required. The stationary unit should provide the bulk of the support at the PP; however, the passing unit must be prepared to augment these assets as required.

Command and Control

The collocation of the TOCs will ensure that the necessary information exchange occurs during the passage of lines. In particular, the passing brigade commander will position himself where he can best observe the conduct of the passage while retaining the ability to quickly join the force for future operations.

As each element reaches the contact point the information will be relayed to the collocated headquarters. The location of each element must be closely watched to ensure that delays by passing units will not have a negative impact on other forces. The most dangerous circumstance would involve a bottleneck of passing forces and an enemy ground and air attack. To avoid this, the commander must ensure that each moving element maintains its integrity and an appropriate distance from the other elements. Should the passage occur slower than planned, FRAGOs will be issued to the units waiting to pass, simply pushing back their time of execution. Units should remain in their AAs until it is time to move, rather than move to the contact point and wait in line.

Relief Operations

A relief in place is an operation in which a unit is replaced in combat by another unit. The responsibilities for the combat mission and the assigned sector or zone of action of the replaced unit are assumed by the incoming unit. A relief in place may be conducted during offensive or defensive operations and during all weather and light conditions. The primary purpose for a relief in place is to maintain the combat effectiveness of committed elements and should be conducted during a lull in combat if possible. A relief in place may be conducted--

  • To introduce a new unit into combat.
  • To reconstitute a unit.
  • To allow a unit to rest.
  • To decontaminate a unit.
  • To change the mission of a unit.

Planning

Intelligence

The outgoing unit transfers to the incoming unit all information and intelligence concerning the enemy and the AO. If the incoming unit requires any additional information, it should be collected and issued by the outgoing unit before the change of command.

Maneuver

Considerations for relief. Considerations for a relief in place are listed below:

    • Relief operations must be executed in an expeditious and orderly manner.
    • Units are normally relieved at night or during periods of limited visibility.
    • Very close cooperation and coordination of plans are necessary between the commanders and subordinates of both the incoming and outgoing units. This normally requires collocation of the TAC CPs and TOCs.
    • Detailed prior reconnaissance by the incoming unit is essential.
    • The incoming unit must fit into and accept the general defense plan of the outgoing unit until passage of command.
    • Every effort must be made to conduct the relief without weakening the tactical security of the position and to offer the least profitable target for attack by nuclear weapons.
    • Units of the supporting arms normally should not be relieved at the same time as the units they support.
    • To support all the above considerations the relieving unit should have the same equipment and organizational structure as the relieved unit when possible.

When a unit relieves another unit in place, the WO to the incoming unit must specify, as a minimum, the time for commencing and completing the relief and the priorities for use of routes involved. The WO normally will direct that the relief be carried out under the cover of darkness or other conditions of reduced visibility. Upon receipt of the WO, the incoming unit commander and staff analyze the mission, issue their own WOs, establish liaison, and visit the unit to be relieved. The incoming unit will normally establish its CP in the vicinity of the CP of the unit being relieved. Conferences are held between the commanders and staffs of the two units concerned to work out the details of the relief.

The two units conducting the relief must agree on procedures for accomplishing the following items.

Exchange of plans and liaison personnel. The incoming unit commanders and staffs must be briefed and made thoroughly familiar with the existing defensive plans, including fire plans, barrier plans, and counterattack plans. To make the most efficient transfer of information concerning the plans, dispositions, and AO, the outgoing unit leaves liaison personnel with the incoming unit. How many personnel and the duration of their stay with the incoming unit varies with the situation. Normally, they remain with each combat and CS headquarters of the incoming unit from company level up. Liaison personnel usually remain until the incoming unit becomes familiar with the situation.

Sequence of relief (if not specified by the headquarters ordering the relief). To establish the strongest defense during the relief, the relief in place is executed by stages, either to the front or from front to rear. In determining the sequence of the relief, both commanders should consider--

      • The subsequent mission of the unit conducting the relief.
      • The strength and combat efficiency of the unit presently in the forward defensive area.
      • The capability of the enemy to detect and react against the relief.
      • The characteristics of the AO.
      • The need to vary the pattern of relief.
      • The size and type elements involved in the relief.

When command is to pass. The time or circumstances under which the incoming commander will assume responsibility for the area must be clearly established. Until command passes, the outgoing commander retains responsibility for the area and mission and exercises OPCON over all subordinate elements of the incoming units that have completed their portion of the relief. During this period, the incoming units must fit into and accept the general defense plans of the outgoing unit. Normally, command passes to the incoming commander when the units in the forward defense area have been relieved by his subordinate units and when adequate communications means have been established. When command passes, the incoming commander assumes OPCON of all elements of the outgoing unit that have not been relieved.

Reconnaissance. Arrangements must be made for a thorough daylight reconnaissance by commanders and staff officers of all echelons of the incoming unit. Reconnaissance should include an inspection of terrain to the front, defensive installations, relief routes, AAs, weapon positions, and CSS installations.

A relieving unit reconnaissance element should include the brigade commander, the S3, S2, an LO, the FSO, battalion commanders the S1/S4 party and at least a tank or mechanized platoon for a security force. The relieved force commander should initially select at least two routes and contact points for the relieving unit. Relieving elements scheduled to move along these routes use them to travel to the linkup point or contact points. The relieving unit's reconnaissance and liaison element with the TOC and trains must move to the relieved unit's location immediately upon receiving the order from higher headquarters.

Security. Every effort must be made by all echelons of the incoming and the outgoing units to prevent the enemy from learning that a relief is taking place. In addition to conducting the relief during periods of reduced visibility, the following security measures should be taken:

      • Every form of normal activity in the AO must be maintained during the relief. The incoming unit should assume the normal pattern of harassing and interdicting fires, patrols, communications traffic and movement previously employed by the outgoing unit.
      • Restriction on the size of advance parties and reconnaissance parties must be enforced. These parties should move to an AO by infiltration.
      • If applicable, aerial reconnaissance by members of the incoming unit should be made in the aircraft of the outgoing unit.
      • Communications during the relief are conducted on the command frequency of the outgoing unit at all levels. Radio nets of the incoming unit should not be used in the new area until after the relief is complete.
      • An integrated tactical cover and deception plan should be executed by both the incoming and outgoing units.

Movement control. Arrangements must be made between the incoming and outgoing units for control of units moving into and out of the area. Coordination must include--

      • Routes to be used and priorities for their use.
      • Responsibility for traffic control.
      • Location of AAs.
      • Common use of transportation if necessary.

If terrain and road network allow, relieving and relieved units should be assigned separate routes and AAs to reduce congestion and to minimize massing of combat power. AAs provide a location for quick coordination and preparation prior to execution of subsequent missions and should be vacated as soon as possible. See Figure 6-7 for relief in place overlay techniques.

Fire Support

The method of relieving FS units must be clearly established. Normally, the FS units of the outgoing unit remain in position until the units in the forward defense have been relieved. By using this procedure, FS units that are familiar with the FS plans and the area are in position to fire during the critical period of the relief of forward units.

TF organic FS elements may elect not to take over the firing positions of outgoing units if sufficient firing positions are available from which the same fire mission can be accomplished. In this case, the incoming FS units move into position by platoons or sections. When the lack of firing positions dictates, FS units may be relieved in place. In this case, it may be necessary to relieve by squad or section to avoid congestion.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Units must exchange reserve target folders, status of obstacles, locations of hasty and scatterable minefield, or reports of enemy minefield emplacement in accordance with STANAG 2036.

A report of transfer is written transferring responsibility for a minefield from one command to another. The report of transfer must be signed by both the relieved and relieving commanders and must include a certificate stating that the relieving unit commander has been shown, on the ground or otherwise informed of all mines within his zone of responsibility and that he assumes full responsibility for such mines. The report of transfer is forwarded to the next higher commander having authority over both the relieved and relieving unit commanders. This transfer includes hasty protective minefield as well as minefields directed by higher headquarters.

Air Defense

In addition to conducting the relief of air defense assets in sector, the primary mission of ADA units is to provide increased coverage over all primary relief routes in sector. These tasks are accomplished jointly, and actual relief of ADA units is not scheduled until the relief of all maneuver units has been accomplished.

Combat Service Support

CSS relief is just as complicated as the tactical relief and requires the same degree of detailed planning; however, CSS relief will probably occur before the combat units execute to allow the relieved unit's FSB an opportunity to establish operations in preparation for the relieved unit's recovery. Therefore, the same considerations and operations apply to the brigade's CSS. Rear CPs and FSB CPs of each unit will collocate as will the CPs for each battalion's field trains. Some supplies will be transferred to the relieving FSB (such as ATP stocks [main gun ammunition], engineer material, and possibly Class I (T-rations) METT-T will be examined to determine if the relieving FSB can occupy an adjacent position or must use the existing support locations. Separate routes will be planned for the relieving and relieved units to avoid two-way traffic.

Command and Control

The division or higher headquarters' order should specify the location of the relieved unit's CP or designate a contact point where the two commanders must meet. If this is not provided, the relieving commander should request this information from the commander to be relieved In the absence of instruction and if coordination between the two commanders is not possible, the relieved commander establishes control measures for the relieving unit.

Preparation

Intelligence

The brigade S2 prepares for the relief in place by coordinating with the relieved force's S2. Having already exchanged information, he will now evaluate that information to identify any areas about which he may be unsure. Also, he will carefully examine weather conditions and provide as accurate a forecast as possible. This information is critical to the relief plan, as much of the operation should occur during darkness and limited visibility as conditions allow.

Maneuver

A relief is executed in stages to ensure the most effective defense during the relief. As an example, reserves may be relieved first, followed by relief of forward elements. Normally, when minimum forces are employed on the FLOT, the relief is conducted from rear to front; when maximum forces are employed on the FLOT, the relief is conducted from front to rear. In determining the sequence of the relief, commanders should also consider--

  • Strength and condition of elements in the relief.
  • Subsequent missions of relieved and relieving units.
  • The enemy situation and the capability of the enemy to detect and react against the relief.
  • Characteristics of the AO.
  • The need to vary the pattern of relief.

When sequence of relief has been determined, the commander then selects the method of relief for forward units. His choices include--

  • Relief of the first of two forward TFs, to be completed before relief of the third TF, begins when two TFs are employed forward.
  • Relief of two flank TFs simultaneously followed by the center TF when three TFs are employed forward.
  • Relief of the center TF followed by the simultaneous relief of the TFs when three TFs are employed forward.
  • Relief of all forward TFs simultaneously.

In analyzing these methods, the commander should consider--

  • The enemy situation and capability of the enemy to detect and react against the relief.
  • The characteristics of the AO.
  • The time available for accomplishing the relief.
  • The acceptable degree of concentration of forces.

Generally, simultaneous relief of all elements is the fastest option; however, it is also the least secure and the most difficult to control. Sequential reliefs involve only one element at a time; they are the slowest and most secure method and also the easiest to control. When relieving an element in a hide position, the incoming unit should occupy an adjacent position, if possible.

Because of the difficulty in accurately laying weapons at night, commanders of the incoming and outgoing units mange for the mutual exchange of crew-served weapons that cannot be easily moved or that can, when necessary, ensure the effective delivery of fires. The exchange is on a weapon-for-weapon basis. The authority for this exchange is included in the relief order of the next higher commander.

Fire Support

Counterintelligence measures employed to avoid disclosure of relief operations include continuation of normal activities such as supporting fires, radio traffic, vehicular traffic, and radar employment. Maximum FS from outgoing and incoming units should be available to ensure the success of the operation and to neutralize enemy reaction in the event the operation is discovered. The FS will be under the control of the relieved force until the actual change of command has recurred. Smoke missions may be fired locally or on enemy OPs to conceal the operation. If possible, the relieved force's artillery will remain in position until all the front line and reserve forces have been relieved.

Air Defense

The air defense assets will position themselves early in preparation for the relief, with the relieving force's ADA assets in OPCON to the relieved force's ADA command. Both organizations will operate off the relieved force's ADA early warning net.

Combat Service Support

As mentioned earlier, the CSS units will conduct their own relief operation in preparation for the brigade's maneuver battalions being relieved. If possible the BSA will be relieved and prepared to support the brigade before the maneuver units begin their relief. Generally, this means that the CSS relief must occur either the night before or during daylight hours. This may not be a problem, however, due to the BSA's distance from the FEBA.

Command and Control

The commanders will collocate in preparation for the relief. At a specified time or on receipt of the order, the relieving unit minimizes radio traffic. The brigade commander, XO, and S3 switch to the relieved force's frequency and enter their net. Battalion command groups will do likewise; however, company teams will maintain their original nets. Figure 6-8 depicts radio nets employed during the relief.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the relief begins, the two brigade S2s continue to exchange information. It is important to remember that despite the best OPSEC and deception plans, the enemy may still discover the relief and attempt to attack during its execution. For this reason it is essential that all reconnaissance activity continue throughout the operation and that both S2s be completely familiar with the situation. Either officer must be prepared to make an assessment and advise his commander as required.

Maneuver

To limit confusion inherent in a relief and to avoid excessive massing, adjacent teams of TFs are not normally relieved at the same time. Elements of the outgoing battalions leave the area as soon as they are relieved and control is established.

Generally, the brigade will not permit battalions to designate AAs for units larger than company size. These company AAs are, in turn, separated as much as possible to minimize vulnerability to enemy fires Delays within AAs are avoided by precise planning, timing, and execution.

In the conduct of the relief, mechanized infantry will dismount far enough to the rear to avoid compromising the relief and move forward to effect the relief on foot. The carriers will move forward after completion of the relief by dismounted troops. Outgoing mechanized units will exfiltrate carriers prior to relief, providing such action will not compromise the relief: otherwise, the carriers of the outgoing units will not move until the relief is completed.

At the brigade level, the relief will be managed through the reports of the battalion task forces. Specifically, the main CP will monitor the progress of each battalion task force, recording when each battalion has transferred command and when the relief is complete.

During the conduct of the relief, enemy contact is possible. If a relieved or relieving unit gains contact with an enemy force, it immediately notifies the other unit and the higher headquarters directing the relief. If command has not passed, the relieving unit will come under OPCON of the relieved unit, be absorbed into the relieving unit's positions, and continue normal radio traffic.

Fire Support

The brigade FSO will monitor both the enemy situation, to which he may be required to respond with indirect fire, and the relief of the artillery units. Generally, the FS assets are one of the first elements to collocate and the last to leave. Both relieving units and those being relieved will fire in support of the operation. The relieving FA reinforces the fire of the artillery unit being relieved.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The brigade engineer will monitor the exchange of targets and ensure that all known obstacles have been identified by the relieving force, that each obstacle's status has been verified, and that the transfer of records is complete.

Air Defense

Air defense assets will operate as discussed in earlier sections.

Combat Service Support

Having already conducted the relief of the BSA, the CSS should be the same as for any defensive operation. However, due to the possibility of enemy contact, the BSA must be prepared to initially support a force that may also include a significant portion of the relieved brigade. It is important for the relieved BSA to leave behind ATP stocks, engineer supplies, and Class I.

Command and Control

During the relief, commanders at each echelon are together at the CP or OP of the outgoing unit. The incoming unit commander assumes responsibility for the defense when the majority of his unit is in position (or as agreed upon by the two brigade commanders) and C2 systems are established, at a time previously designated by the next higher commander. All units in position, regardless of their parent organization, come under the OPCON of the present commander if the sector comes under attack.

Breakout from Encirclement

A brigade is encircled when all ground routes of evacuation and reinforcement have been cut by enemy action. A force may become encircled when it is ordered to remain in a strong position on key terrain to deny the enemy passage through a vital choke point following an enemy breakthrough or left to hold the shoulder of a penetration. A unit might also be left in position behind the enemy by design or be given a mission with a high risk of being encircled. When this happens, the encircled commander must have a clear understanding of the higher commander's plan so the unit can continue to contribute to the mission.

Planning

Intelligence

Once the brigade commander realizes that the force has become encircled, he will turn to the S2 for a quick assessment of the enemy situation. This information will be furnished by the S2s of all units within the encircled area and contained in reports from the encircled forces in contact. In particular, the S2 should attempt to identify the strengths weaknesses, and vulnerability points of the encircling forces, and determine whether or not the enemy realized it has encircled the brigade. These two pieces of information will drive much of the commander's decision making.

Maneuver

The success of the operation will depend considerably upon the senior commander's understanding of his higher commander's plan and intent. Specifically, if he is to contribute to the mission, he must attempt to plan his operation in concert with the higher commander's operation. Once the force realizes that it has been encircled, the senior commander will assume control of all forces. He informs his superior of the situation and simultaneously begins to accomplish the following tasks regardless of his subsequent mission.

Reestablish a chain of command. Unity of command must be assured. Fragmented units are reorganize and troops separated from their parent unit are placed under another unit's supervision. A clear chain of command must be established throughout the forces.

Establish a viable defense. The command quickly establishes all-around defense. It may be necessary to attack and seize ground that favors an all-around defense. Fighting positions are improved rapidly and continuously. Enemy forces may attempt to split an encircled force by penetrating its perimeter with armor-heavy forces. An energetic defense, rapid reaction by reserves, and employment of antitank weapons in depth within the encirclement can defeat such attempts. As forces are weakened in the defensive battle, a reduction in the size of the perimeter may be necessary. The coherence of the defense must be maintained at all costs.

Establish a reserve. If armor-heavy units are available, they are used as a reserve and positioned centrally to take advantage of interior lines. If only mechanized infantry forces are present, small dismounted local reserves are designated to react to potential penetrations, while the IFVs may serve in a similar capacity as the tanks. The difference in employment, however, is in respect to the survivability of the vehicle.

Establish security. Security elements are positioned as far forward as possible to provide early warning. Vigorous patrolling is initiated immediately. Local security is established throughout the force, and passive security measures must be strictly enforced.

Maintain morale. Soldiers in an encirclement must not see their situation as desperate or hopeless. Commanders and leaders at all levels maintain the confidence of soldiers by resolute action and a positive attitude. They keep soldiers informed to suppress rumors.

Fire Support

All artillery in the encirclement is reorganized and brought under centralized control. Fire nets and coordination measures are reestablished rapidly. Available mortars mass their fires in dangerous areas. Artillery and mortars are distributed throughout the enclave to limit their vulnerability to counterfires. The available FS from outside the encirclement is coordinated.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineer assets are reorganized and given missions commensurate with the situation. Some assets will be tasked to create obstacles and to lay minefield to deny enemy penetration; other assets will continually improve the survivability of the force by preparing fighting positions. The latter is especially important due to the brigade's vulnerability to accurate artillery and missile strikes. Remaining engineer equipment will be organized into mobility units in preparation for offensive operations.

Air Defense

The air defense assets will be quickly reorganized to provide coverage for the encircled area. The static nature of the brigade and its known perimeter make it a lucrative air target, especially if it has not had time to prepare adequate defenses. If possible the air defense units will maintain contact with the main force in an effort to receive early warning reports.

Combat Service Support

An early assessment is made of the logistical posture of the encircled command. All supplies come under centralized control. Strict rationing and supply economy is practiced. Attempts are made to resupply the encircled forces from the outside by parachute drop or helicopter lift, if local air superiority can be maintained for the operation. A centrally located medical facility should be established and wounded troops evacuated if an air supply line is open. If the force must break out without taking all of its wounded, the commander leaves adequate supplies and medical personnel behind to care for them. Wounded personnel who can move with the breakout force without hindering its chances for success are evacuated.

Command and Control

Communications with higher headquarters and lateral communications with adjacent units are rapidly re-established. It is important to receive instruction and to remain informed about the battle outside the encirclement. Encircled units can be important sources of information on the enemy's rear area and can perform important roles in defensive counterstrokes. Communications are essential when relief and linkup are imminent.

Preparation

Intelligence

The brigade S2 will continue to plan, monitor, and conduct intelligence-gathering activities throughout all phases of the operation. The information concerning enemy strength, intent and future operations will be essential to the commander. Additionally, the S2 must attempt to determine if the enemy considers the area significant enough to seize or if it will merely fix and continue to bypass. The latter option may include the enemy's use of chemical weapons.

Maneuver

Although there are several options available to the commander once encircled, this section will only address the breakout in the direction of the friendly force. If the breakout is chosen, it is important that it take place as soon after the encirclement as possible. The enemy force may not realize that it has encircled the brigade. The longer the commander waits to conduct the attack, the more organized the enemy fores are likely to become. The difficulty lies in the fact that it will take time for the commander to organize his force properly to conduct the breakout therefore the commander must weigh the level of preparation against the time available.

The attack to break out of an encirclement differs from other attacks in that defensive operations are occurring simultaneously in other areas of the perimeter. The following tasks should be accomplished in both the planning and preparation for the breakout:

Deceive the enemy as to time and place of the breakout. If it is not possible to break out immediately, the commander attempts to deceive the enemy by conceding his preparations and redispositions. He must also make it appear that the force will make a resolute stand and await relief. Use of dummy radio traffic for the enemy to monitor or landlines that might be tapped are good means of conveying false information to the enemy. The direction for the breakout should not be the obvious route toward friendly lines unless there is no other alternative.

Exploit gaps or weaknesses in the encircling force. Early in the encirclement them will be gaps or weaknesses in the encircling force. Patrolling or probing action will reveal these weaknesses. The attack should capitalize on them. Although the resulting attack may be along a less direct route or may be over less favorable terrain, such an attack is the best course of action because it avoids enemy strength and increases the chance for surprise.

Exploit darkness and limited visibility. The cover of darkness fog, or severe weather conditions favors the breakout because the weapons of the encircling force are less effective in these conditions. It is difficult for the enemy to follow the movements of the breakout force during conditions of limited visibility. However, waiting for darkness or limited visibility may result in the consolidation of the enemy containment.

Organize the forces for the breakout. The forces are reorganized so that available tank-heavy forces lead the attack if the terrain permits. The remainder of the forces fight a delaying action or defend the perimeter during the initial stage of the breakout. After the penetration, the main body moves out of the encircled area preceded by the attacking force and covered by a rear guard. CSS elements are integrated into the formation for the breakout. If the commander has sufficient forces, he may organize a diversionary attack just prior to the real breakout in an attempt to draw off enemy forces.

Coordinate with supporting attacks. The breakout attack is assisted when a supporting attack by a nearby friendly force or by the reserve diverts enemy attention and assets from the breakout effort. The breakout attempt should be timed to occur just after the enemy reacts to the supporting attack.

Fire Support

Combat power must be concentrated at the breakout point. Every effort is made to produce overwhelming combat power and to generate momentum at the breakout point. The rear guard or forces left in contact fight a vigorous delaying action on the perimeter so no portion of the force is cut off. Supporting fires are concentrated at the breakout point. Risks are taken on other parts of the perimeter to ensure success of the breakout. Once the breakout is achieved priority of fires may be shifted to the rear guard action. However, above all else, the momentum of the attack is maintained or the force will be more vulnerable to destruction than it was prior to the breakout attempt.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineers prepare prebreaches of obstacles that may block their axis of attack. It is vital that obstacles not be breached prematurely; it may alert the enemy to the nature and location of the future operation. Additionally, obstacles in depth are prepared to prevent the rear guard and perimeter defense forces from becoming decisively engaged, particularly once the operation has begun. If possible, the obstacles in depth should allow forces to separate and the breakout force to make a clean break.

Air Defense

In preparation for the breakout, the air defense assets will be assigned elements to accompany and protect throughout the operation. The switch from an area to unit defense will occur simultaneously with the commencement of operations. If this requires significant repositioning, the ADA assets should attempt to link up early with their assigned unit in anticipation of the operation. Care should be taken so the enemy does not detect the reorganization.

Combat Service Support

As noted earlier, in preparation for the breakout, CSS elements will be organized into a single movement formation under control of a senior officer, such as the brigade S4. The trains should be organized to transport as many of the wounded and as much equipment as possible without causing the brigade excessive delays.

Command and Control

The brigade commander will direct the operation using FRAGOs to save as much time as possible. The brigade S3 will assist the commander by coordinating with those units the commander does not have time to check. This should correspond to their positions during the execution of the operation as well.

Execution

Intelligence

During the execution of the breakout, the brigade S2 will closely monitor the reports of all the units in contact. If possible, he will have planned for the infiltration of reconnaissance assets along the axis of attack to provide early warning to the force. The S2 will relay any pertinent information to the brigade commander, particularly with respect to enemy counterattack forces.

Maneuver

The forces for a breakout operation are divided into five distinct tactical groups.

Rupture force. The rupture force attacks, creates a gap in the enemy's weak point (if it has been identified), and holds the shoulders for the remaining forces to pass through. The rupture force will consist of a TF or reinforced TF. The rupture force must be of sufficient strength to penetrate the enemy line. A favorable combat power ratio must be achieved at the point of attack by means of surprise, troop strength, mobility, and firepower.

Initially, this force will be the brigade main effort. The TF commander will probably have additional assets attached to his unit if he is the rupture force commander. These assets might include air defense assets or additional engineer personnel from the engineer company. The TF commander should integrate these assets properly for maximum combat power to achieve the rupture. Antitank systems could initially overwatch the rupture force and, after the gap has been opened, could secure the flanks from the shoulders.

Reserve force. The reserve force follows the rupture attack to maintain attack momentum and to secure objectives past the rupture. After the rupture force secures the gap, the reserve force normally becomes the brigade's lead element. When a TF is given the mission of the reserve force, the commander must coordinate closely with the rupture force commander on the location of the gap, the enemy situation at the rupture point, and the enemy situation (if known) along the direction of attack past the rupture point.

Initially, the reserve force will pass through the gap created by the rupture force. It is essential that the reserve force continues a rapid movement from the encircled area toward the final objective (probably a linkup point). If the reserve force is making secondary attacks, it is important that it does not become bogged down. Artillery preparation of these objectives may assist the reserve force in maintaining momentum out of the encircled area.

Main body. The main body, which contains the CP elements, casualties, and CS and CSS elements, moves as a single group. It usually follows the reserve force through the gap created by the rupture force. The commander should be given C2 of this element to ensure orderly movement.

Rear guard. The rear guard consists of the personnel and equipment left on the perimeter to provide protection for the rupture and diversionary attacks (if a diversionary attack force exists). In addition to providing security, they deceive the enemy as to the encircled force's intentions. The rear guard must be of suficient strength to maintain the integrity of the defense. Once the breakout commences, the rear guard and diversionary force disengage or delay toward the rupture.

If a TF is assigned the mission of rear guard, the commander must make sure he provides a viable defense on the entire perimeter. As other units (rupture force, reserve force, diversionary force) pull off the perimeter, the rear guard commander must spread his forces over an extended area. This will require flexibility and mobility by the rear guard. The perimeter must withstand enemy pressure. If it does not, the enemy force will simply follow the breakout forces through the gap and destroy them along the direction of attack.

Diversionary force. Enemy attention must be diverted from the location of the rupture by a show of force elsewhere. The diversionary attack should be as mobile as available vehicles and trafficability allow. Mobile weapon systems and tanks are ideally suited to the diversionary force. The diversionary attack should be directed at a point where the enemy might expect a breakout.

Success of the diversionary force is imperative for a successful breakout operation. If the force fails to deceive the enemy as to the brigade's intention, the full combat power of the enemy can be directed at the rupture point. This could lead to a failure of the entire breakout operation. To achieve deception, the TF should--

    • Use smoke-producing assets to deceive the enemy as to the size of the diversionary force.
    • Increase radio traffic for size deception and as an indicator of an important operation.
    • Use any available FS to indicate a false rupture point.
    • Use mobility and firepower of the diversionary force to maximum effect to deceive the enemy as to the size and strength of the diversionary force.

The diversionary force may achieve a rupture of enemy lines. If a rupture occurs, the diversionary force commander must know the intent of the brigade commander. He may exploit this success, or he may disengage to follow the reserve force through the planned rupture point along the direction of attack.

Fire Support

The brigade FSO will direct fires initially in support of the diversionary force as part of the deception plan; however, once the rupture force begins to move, the artillery shifts and concentrates on the rupture point. For example, if the brigade has one artillery battalion with it, one battery will accompany the reserve force and the remaining two batteries will move with the main body. Firing on the move is accomplished through hasty occupation. In this way, the guns are protected yet able to support both the attack and rear guard actions.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Mobility operations will be essential to the success of the operation as the rupture force begins its movement. If engineer assets are limited, they may initially travel with the rupture force, then move in support of the reserve force. The important point is to keep them as far forward as possible, but not to the point they became unnecessarily exposed. Concurrently, countermobility operations will be conducted by the rear guard to slow the enemy and avoid decisive engagement.

Air Defense

Air defense assets will be attached to each of the tactical forces. Priority for protection will go initially to the rupture force as its effectiveness is essential to operational success.

Combat Service Support

CSS assets will move with the main body. Those items that cannot be transported will be destroyed. Some prestocks may be left for the rear guard however they must be accompanied by some kind of detonation device. Control of CSS assets will be difficult due to the lack of radios on the supply vehicles. Therefore, each driver must understand the mission and direction of attack. Visual signals should be agreed upon in advance, especially if special signals are required beyond the SOP. Air guards and flank protection will be especially important to the soft-skinned vehicles. As a result, some combat forces should accompany the main body to provide that protection. Figure 6-9 contains a graphic depiction of a breakout.

Command and Control

The commander should position himself where he can watch the rupture force conduct its attack. He will determine the tempo of the operation while the S3 will observe the actions of the rear guard. The two must remain in communication so that each understands the overall condition of the battlefield and can synchronize their activities. Usually, the rear guard will be given PLs from which to delay, corresponding to the forward movement of the rupture and reserve forces; therefore, close coordination and communication are essential.

Linkup Operations

Linkup operations to join two or more friendly forces are conducted--

  • To complete the encirclement of an enemy force.
  • To assist breakout of an encircled friendly force.
  • To join an attacking force with a force operating in the enemy's rear area.

Regardless of the purpose of the linkup, in execution, the operation will take on one of two forms:

  • Linkup of a moving force with a stationary force.
  • Linkup of two moving forces.

Planning

Intelligence

The S2 of the linkup force will begin the IPB process in preparation for the operation essentially as he would for any offensive operation. The significant difference will be that he will have to consider the location and effect of other friendly forces on the enemy forces within the AO. For example, if the linkup is designed to assist the breakout of an encircled force, the IPB must address the enemy's possible attempt to consolidate gains around the encircled force as well as establish defensive positions in anticipation of the linkup operation. As a result the situation template, event template, and probable enemy course of action must include the two orientations and dual nature of the operation.

Maneuver

Planning the linkup. The linkup is a complex operation that requires detailed planning and coordination. The following considerations are important in planning the linkup:

Plans for a linkup are coordinated as far in advance as possible. The two forces carefully define and coordinate their schemes of maneuver, with particular attention given to graphic control measures and the subsequent mission to be performed by each force after linkup is complete. Alternate linkup points are planned to provide needed flexibility.

Liaison is normally established during planning and continues throughout the operation. As the distance closes between the forces, the requirement to maintain close liaison increases. Aircraft can improve and expedite this coordination.

Linkup operations frequently will require a passage of lines. Once through the friendly lines, the brigade moves out as in an exploitation to effect the linkup. The action is characterized by speed aggressiveness, and boldness. Enemy forces that threaten the successful accomplishment of the mission are destroyed. Others are bypassed and reported. Insofar as possible, the linkup force avoids interference with its mission and concentrates its efforts on completing the linkup. (For a complete discussion of passages of lines, see Section I of this chapter.)

Linkup of a moving force with a stationary force. (See Figure 6-10.) To ensure the forces join without engaging one another, linkup points are selected at locations where the axis of advance of the linkup force intersects the security elements of the stationary force. These points must be readily recognizable to both forces. Alternate points are chosen in the event enemy activities cause linkup at places other than those planned. The number of linkup points selected depends on the terrain and number of routes used by the linkup force. Personnel in the linkup force must be thoroughly familiar with mutual identification procedures and plans for rapid passage of lines. Stationary forces assist in the linkup; they open lanes in minefield, breach or remove selected obstacles, furnish guides, and design AAs. Use of a common radio frequency enhances coordination and responsiveness between executing forces.

Linkup of two moving units. (See Figure 6-11.) Linkup between two moving units is one of the most difficult operations. It is normally conducted to complete the encirclement of an enemy force. Primary and alternate linkup points for two moving forces are established on boundaries where the two forces are expected to converge. As linking units move closer, positive control must be coordinated to ensure they avoid firing on one another and to ensure the enemy does not escape between the two forces. Leading elements of each force should monitor a common radio net.

Actions following linkup. When the linkup is made, the linkup force may join the stationary force or may pass through or around to continue the attack. If the linkup force is to continue operations in conjunction with the stationary force, a single commander for the overall force should be designated. Plans for these operations must be made in advance. If the linkup is made under conditions of nuclear warfare, objectives for the linkup must provide for dispersion in relation to the stationary force. The linkup force may immediately pass through the perimeter of the stationary forces, be assigned objectives within the perimeter, or be assigned objectives outside the perimeter, depending on its mission.

Fire Support

When a division directs a linkup operation, it normally establishes an FSCL for both forces. FSCLs are adjusted as one force moves toward the other until one FSCL is used for both forces. An RFL is established between the forces when necessary, usually at the point where the two forces plan to establish contact.

The artillery will move and fire in support of the operation as it would for any offensive operation. However, some artillery assets may be dedicated to fire in support of an encircled force that does not have its own assets. Of course, this must be carefully managed due to long-range fires the DS artillery unit may be called upon to fire. An exact front-line trace of the encircled unit will assist the linkup force in establishing an effective CFL.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will be task organized to conduct mobility operations. Speed of the operation will be essential, whether it is designed to link up with an encircled force or to complete the encirclement of the enemy.

Air Defense

During linkup operations, particularly with airborne or airmobile units, the rules for engagement become extremely important. The brigade A2C2 element must ensure timely dissemination of information and coordination so that ADA units do not engage friendly aircraft that may be supporting the airborne or airmobile units.

Combat Service Support

Logistical support. Logistical support requirements may be greater during linkup operations than during other offensive actions. Additional considerations for planning logistical support in linkup operations include--

    • Distance to the objective area.
    • Time the objective area is to be held.
    • Planned operations or movement out of the objective area.
    • Resupply of the stationary unit.
    • Movement of land tails of airborne or air assault units involved in the linkup.
    • Whether brigade lines of communication will be secured by follow-on units.

Supply requirements. Supply requirements for a linkup operation may exceed the transportation capability of the brigade. The brigade may have to request additional vehicles or resupply by air.

In linkup operations with airborne and air assault units, priority for supply by air is given to the units assaulting the objective area. Supplies for the linkup forces normally move by land transportation. However, when the objective area is to be defended jointly by the linkup and airborne or air assault force, supplies for the linkup force maybe flown into the objective area and stockpiled.

Evacuation of equipment and wounded may create major problems for the linkup force. If supply routes are open, the normal evacuation procedures apply. When ground routes are not secure, helicopters may be used for evacuation of wounded while damaged equipment may be moved forward with the linkup forces until a suitable opportunity for evacuation is available.

Command and Control

The headquarters directing the linkup operation must establish command relationships and responsibilities of the forces involved. Both the linkup force and the force with which linkup is to be made can remain under control of the directing headquarters.

The communication plan includes the channels for radio communication between the two forces. It must prescribe day and night identification procedures, including primary and alternate means. Aircraft can be used to extend communications range. Visual signals such as flares or panels may be used during daylight, and flashlights or infrared devices may be employed during darkness.

To prevent friendly troops from exchanging fires, recognition signals must be established. They may be pyrotechnics, arm bands, vehicle markings, panels, colored smoke, distinctive light patterns, and passwords.

Preparation

Intelligence

The brigade S2 will prepare for the linkup by war-gaming the operation with the brigade commander. He will want to ensure that the commander is prepared for the enemy's likely actions, which will be to prevent the linkup from occurring. Also, he will want to practice the conduct of the linkup and subsequent operations within the context of the enemy situation.

Maneuver

There will probably be little time to conduct a level three rehearsal, especially due to the time-sensitive nature of the operation. With this in mind, the commander will issue his order and attempt to at least walk the battalion task force commanders through the operation. He will particularly stress the linkup and the coordination required to effect the linkup without confusion. Moreover, he will ensure that each battalion commander is prepared to respond to an enemy meeting battle or attack coincidental to the linkup. The brigade commander's major concern is that his subordinate commanders do not lose sight of their objective the linkup.

Fire Support

The brigade FSCOORD will ensure that the counterpart force in the linkup operation, whether moving or stationary, has the FS plan. Specifically, he will want to ensure that fire control measures, CFLs and RFLs, for example, are completely understood by both forces. Further, if these control measures are moved during the operation, the conditions and signals under which the change takes place must also be coordinated.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The brigade engineer will check with the attached engineer unit, specifically those elements assigned to support the main effort, to ensure that they have all the material and assets needed for their mission. Also, he will confer with the maneuver commander to verify that the engineers are placed where they can quickly respond to the needs of that battalion task force.

Air Defense

The brigade air defense representative will ensure that the brigade's ADA assets are positioned to support the brigade as in a movement to contact or deliberate attack. In particular, he will want to ensure that air defense will be prepared to protect the forces at the linkup point, where the two forces potentially could collide and become congested.

Combat Service Support

The trains will organize as for any offensive operation; however, as mentioned earlier, they will carry additional supplies and material if the force with which they are conducting the linkup has been encircled. Generally, this will include Classes I, III, V, and VIII items. The brigade S4 will also ensure that each battalion task force understands the MSR and alternate MSR plan, to include traffic control. In particular, he will want to push as much material forward as possible during the operation. This is because the brigade will not only expend supplies as it attacks, but once having conducted the linkup, it can expect to continue the mission (even if it is to remain in place and defend), which will require even more supplies.

Command and Control

The commander will walk the battalion task force commanders through a rehearsal of the operation. While this occurs, he will ensure that the control measures established for the operation are effective. Specifically, he will want to monitor the progress of the TFs as they maneuver along the axis of advance; at the same time, he will be prepared to issue a FRAGO for a hasty defense or attack, depending on the situation. Actions on contact and operating within the commander's guidance are aspects of the operation that the commander will want to ensure are completely understood. Moreover, in the absence of guidance, he will want to ensure that the battalion task force commanders continue to operate as a team.

Execution

Intelligence

As the brigade begins its maneuver, the S2 will monitor the enemy situation. In particular, he will also monitor the situation facing the corresponding friendly force, Together, this information will portray an overall enemy disposition which will greatly assist the S2 in predicting the enemy's most probable course of action. In particular, the S2 will want to identify as far in advance as possible the direction, strength, and time of the enemy counterattack. Likewise, he will also advise the commander of any identifiable weaknesses within the counterattack.

Maneuver

The initial conduct of the linkup will be identical to a movement to contact or deliberate attack, depending on the enemy situation. As the brigade begins its maneuver, it will attempt to establish and maintain contact with its corresponding friendly force. Each force will monitor the progress of the other, making adjustments to the plan as necessary. For example, if the linkup force is unable to travel at a speed commensurate with the plan, yet the breakout force is making a very rapid advance, the location of the linkup point may be moved closer to the linkup force. Similarly, the fire control measure will also be moved.

As the two forces draw closer, the battalion task forces will be advised by the brigade. If possible, the battalion task forces in tom will also attempt to establish contact on a predesignated frequency to control the actual linkup. At this point, the momentum of the operation will slow to help prevent fratricide. The tradeoff may be that some enemy forces may slip between the two closing forces. Coordination signals will then be used to identify each force as they approach the linkup point.

Fire Support

The FS plan will be executed in the same manner as in an attack. The fire control measures will be changed or emplaced based on the progress of the forces and the enemy situation. Specifically, the CFLs, which will initially protect each force as it maneuvers, will be changed to protect the two forces as they begin to meet. An RFL will also be placed into effect to prevent fratricide between the converging forces. Once the linkup has occurred, the FS for the brigade and its linkup force will be organized as per the higher headquarters' plan for future operations.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will provide mobility support to the brigade, probably as attached elements of the lead battalions. Once the linkup is complete, they may be called upon to assist in countermobility or survivability operations depending on the overall plan. Another task organization may be required on the objective to accomplish the new missions.

Air Defense

The brigade's air defense will initially be organized for maneuver. If possible, the air defense elements in both linkup forces should monitor the same ADA early warning net. This is particularly important if the linkup is attempting to reach an encircled force. This unity of air defense effort will ensure the most appropriate use of weapon systems and reduce unnecessary redundancy. Once the linkup is complete, ADA assets may be reorganized to support the next operation.

Combat Service Support

CSS operations will be geared to the forward movement of the force. Evacuation will be forward to LRPs to reduce the turnaround time for recovery assets. As the linkup forces begin to close, CSS assets must be as far forward as possible, prepared to address the immediate needs of the encircled force or to stockpile ammunition or other stores if the brigade should revert to a defensive posture. Because time is essential to the success of this operation, CSS assets must be prepared to keep pace with extremely fast operations.

Command and Control

The commander will position himself to observe the progress of the operation. Generally, this means that he will follow the lead battalion task force. If a particular flank is of concern during the operation or a supporting attack is required to penetrate the enemy's lines, then the brigade S3 will place himself where he can observe the brigade's secondary action. The commander and S3 must remain in communication throughout the battle, using the main CP if necessary to relay messages. In particular, the commander must maintain the tempo of the operation, because once the force becomes stalled, it will be very difficult to get it moving again. Therefore, be must have the ability to move forward from time to time to spur on his lead element.

The commander also monitors the action to ensure control measures that he established in planning the operation are still valid. He will issue a FRAGO for changes as necessary He will attempt to remain in communication with his counterpart commander throughout the operation.

Hasty Water Crossings

A hasty water crossing is a decentralized operation to cross an inland body of water using organic, existing, or expedient crossing means. This operation is conducted in stride as a continuation of an operation with little or no loss of momentum by the force. Hasty water crossings are characterized by the following:

  • Speed surprise, and minimum loss of momentum.
  • Decentralized operation with organic, existing, or expedient resources.
  • Weak or no enemy defenses on both banks.
  • Minimum concentration of forces.
  • Quick continuation of the operation.
NOTE: In organizing defense of a river line from one bank, Soviet-style armies normally designate the water's edge of the friendly side as the FEBA. The regiment and division normally send reconnaissance and combat security forces to the far bank. Islands in the river are occupied and fortified to prevent surprise enemy crossings and to provide flanking fires. Fords and trussing sites on the far bank are mined with obstacles placed in the water and the far bank scraped. AT and artillery fires are tied into the obstacle plan. Dams and other installations that could be used to flood the river are guarded and destroyed on order of the regimental commander. As part of the regiment's first-echelon defenses, the MRB has the mission of preventing the enemy from establishing a bridgehead. Organization and conduct of the defense is similar to that already described in Chapter 4, Offensive Operations, Section I. Figure 6-12 shows an example of an MRB defense of a river crossing.

Planning

Intelligence

Intelligence of the enemy and terrain determine tactical and material requirements for the crossing and the command echelon capable of accomplishment. The division, in its mission statement to the brigade, may specify the requirement to conduct a river crossing or, in assigning a mission, imply the task of crossing a river. Accordingly, the S2 will attempt to collect as much information as possible about the enemy and the water obstacle. Together with the brigade engineer, the S2 will examine--

  • River width, depth, and velocity.
  • Locations of possible entry and exit routes.
  • Obstacles.
  • Cover and concealment.
  • Soil and weather conditions.
  • Enemy composition and disposition.

Maneuver

General. Brigades conduct river crossings as part of the division or corps scheme of maneuver. Once given the mission to conduct a river crossing, the brigade commander starts planning for synchronization of all of his assets. He must ensure that he does not give up the initiative to the enemy by allowing a water obstacle to have a disproportionate impact on his scheme of maneuver. Whenever possible, brigades cross all obstacles in stride, using local material and organic assets.

Considering the elements of speed and surprise and the division's vulnerability to enemy artillery fire and air attacks, the commander should also specify whether the crossing is to be conducted at night or under reduced visibility. At the same time and for the same reasons, the commander also states whether the crossing will be over a broad or narrow front. A broad front permits a more rapid crossing of the entire force and reduces overall vulnerability of the attacking force.

In division operations, brigades are the assault forces. If the assault is conducted with two brigades forward, two brigade zones are designated within the crossing front. These zones coincide with crossing areas with one designated for each assault bridge. The brigade commander normally provides his XO and a small staff to act as the crossing area commander to ensure all organic brigade assets are prepared for the crossing. Synchronization of organic assets and supporting combat multiplying assets are critical to the success of the crossing.

The planning sequence is considered in reverse order of occurrence; the last task of securing the bridgehead is examined first. However, the river is examined before plans for securing a bridgehead and advancing from the exit bank are completed. General planning requirements for river crossings vary little from routine offensive planning:

  • Objectives are selected and assigned.
  • Areas or zones for forces are determined.
  • Control measures are designated, forces are allocated, and missions are assigned.

Assault crossing plans may be completed at crossing force headquarters level or delegated to the assault force and crossing area commanders once attack zones and crossing areas have been specified. To maintain the speed of the advance without loss of momentum, plans for hasty crossings are often accomplished at the brigade or assault force level. On the other hand, plans for deliberate crossings require more time, and the buildup of combat power is normally a division or corps responsibility. Complete plans prepared at division and corps require detailed coordination with brigades to make sure the sequencing of units at the crossing sites complements the brigade's assault concept.

When the crossing force headquarters delegates planning for the assault crossing to the brigade, it provides guidance and support to the assault force and crossing commanders. Guidance may include--

  • Time of attack and/or assault crossing.
  • Specific crossing sites.
  • Times that bridges are scheduled for use by forces other than the assaulting brigade.
  • Available crossing support forces (engineer and MP).

Securing the bridgehead. The planning headquarters first reviews the objective area. Unless a bridgehead has been specified by higher headquarters, the crossing force decides what objectives must be controlled to ensure security and to facilitate future operations to defeat the enemy. Usually, terrain or communication center objectives are assigned, or the crossing force is simply tasked to secure a bridgehead over a specific river. The crossing force selects the bridgehead.

Securing the bridgehead requires control of an area on the exit bank large enough to accommodate the assault and essential support elements of the crossing force. In addition to accommodating the crossing force and facilitating future operations the size of the bridgehead may be determined by defensive characteristics of the terrain. Not only must the enemy be defeated at the bridgehead, but it must also be prevented from effectively counterattacking the crossing force and/or destroying crossing sites once the bridgehead is secured. Thus, defensible terrain and space within the bridgehead are required in a defense against an enemy counterattacking to regain control of the river bank.

After selection by the crossing force, the bridgehead is graphically depicted by a bridgehead line that defines the outer limit of the area. Normally this line is located along identifiable terrain features, including crossing force objectives, and is connected to the river bank on the left and right flank of the crossing front. This arc orients the crossing force to the flanks as well as to the front. Usually, terrain or communications center objectives assigned by higher headquarters are within the bridgehead. If not, the attack proceeds from the bridgehead to secure these objectives. In either case, once the bridgehead is secured, the river-crossing operation is completed. Figure 6-13 shows a typical organization for securing a bridgehead.

Objectives. To secure the bridgehead, objectives within this area are assigned to assault forces. Considerations for selection of objectives and the relative size of the forces needed to secure them do not vary from usual offensive operations. Ideally, objectives are attainable by the assault forces in one continuous attack from the river. The crossing force commander specifies only those objectives that must be controlled to secure the bridgehead. When terrain or enemy conditions warrant intermediate objectives are assigned; however, judgment is required to avoid unnecessary slowing of assault forces. Plans must provide for a rate of crossing and buildup of combat, CS, and CSS forces on the exit bank that exceeds the rate at which the enemy can concentrate against the crossing force.

Whenever possible, assault forces advance directly from the exit bank to bridgehead objectives. When intermediate objectives have been assigned, they are secured with minimum delay en route to final or bridgehead objectives. At brigade level, assignment of intermediate objectives is appropriate. For example, it is difficult for the lead battalion or company of an assault force to attack continuously without securing intermediate objectives, except when advancing against weak enemy forces. Intermediate objectives serve several purposes:

    • They orient the direction of attack toward final objectives.
    • They provide centralized control of the advance.
    • They facilitate changes in lead companies and battalions of the assault.
    • They gain an initial foothold on the exit bank when stubborn enemy resistance is expected.

Selection of intermediate objectives is dependent on terrain and enemy defensive dispositions. In areas of relatively open or unrestrictive terrain or against a weak enemy, few intermediate objectives are needed. Where terrain is rugged or when enemy defensive positions have been prepared in depth, more objectives are appropriate. Possible objectives include hills, enemy positions, or control measures such as PLs.

Forces. The division's crossing force commander and his staff plan the river-crossing operation with the following tactical concepts in mind:

    • The assault forces lead, making the initial assault of the river and continuing the advance from the exit bank to the final objectives.
    • Follow-on forces provide overmatching direct and indirect support, crossing site security, and follow and support assistance to the assault force.
    • Support forces develop crossing sites, emplace crossing means, control units moving into and away from the crossing sites, and assist the assault force to the objectives.
    • CSS elements sustain the assault and subsequent advance to the bridgehead objectives.

Assault forces close on the water obstacle and cross rapidly by any means available. Infantry elements establish local security on the exit bank to permit development of the crossing sites. Initial crossings may be limited to pneumatic assault boats and amphibious vehicles while tanks provide support from overmatching positions. Army aviation assets may lift the assault force over the obstacle in conjunction with the assault across the water. Tactical air and ADA protect the crossing units and sites. Artillery fires and air strikes are effective in softening enemy resistance and may precede the assault with preparatory fires and/or a rolling barrage. Divisional engineers advance with lead elements to breach obstacles and open or improve trails to keep units moving. Tanks, using bridges or rafts installed by support forces, cross later in the assault.

Support forces accompany the assault force and provide the necessary support to the crossing area commander. Engineers improve crossing sites and ingress and egress routes at crossing sites as rapidly as time and security permit. Rafts and bridges are installed to transport heavy loads. MPs and other designated crossing unit personnel control the flow of traffic to and away from crossing locations.

Follow-on forces move close behind assault forces to add their combat power where needed. Using rafts and bridges, they cross quickly behind assault elements to overwatch, conduct follow and support tasks, or assume the mission of lead assault units. Artillery provides counterfires to protect the site, smoke to conceal the crossing, and fires in support of the lead assault elements. ADA protects the sites and provides an umbrella for Army aviation elements in the crossing area. Engineers develop overmatching and fining positions, then advance with the follow-on forces to reduce obstacles, improve bypasses, and install flank obstacles. Necessary maneuver, FS, and air defense elements secure crossing sites from guerillas or local enemy counterattacks.

CSS sustains the attack. Decentralized and prepackaged support accompanies the lead elements when possible. Rearming, refueling, and maintenance points are established along advance mutes to speed up servicing. The remainder of the BSA positions itself beyond the range of enemy artillery if possible, and crosses after the follow-on forces. Adequate Class I, III, V, and IX supplies must initially accompany combat forces across the river to ensure sustainability of lead elements, even if crossing operations are temporarily suspended due to enemy activity.

Advance from the exit bank. Assault forces advance quickly, without extensive reorganization, from crossing areas to objectives within the bridgehead. The enemy, given time, will attempt to halt the advance with strongpoint defenses, heavy artillery fires, and counterattacks. Therefore, comprehensive SOPs, detailed planning, and rapid execution enhance the probability of success.

The advance from the exit bank extends from the RP/line to the bridgehead objectives. At the RP/line, the crossing area commander relinquishes control of units to the assault force commander for continuation of the attack. The location of the RP/line is a function of terrain and expected battle and is mutually determined by the commanders.

RPs/lines may be located 2 to 3 kilometers from the exit bank. This distance allows the assault force commanders to assemble their forces for continuation of the attack. Further, the clearance of this distance by follow-on and support forces, supported by tank and artillery fire under control of the crossing area commander, precludes direct fire on assault forces while they are still in the water. RPs/lines are therefore located to facilitate the operation, control, and security of forces moving through the crossing area. (See Figure 6-14.)

Types of attacks. Offensive river crossings are not an objective in themselves, but a part of the scheme of maneuver and overall offensive action to defeat the enemy. The commander has two basic attack options to secure the near and far side of the water obstacles. Based on the assessment of the enemy, terrain, and water obstacle, he may conduct either a hasty or deliberate attack. (See Chapter 3, Offensive Operations, Section I.)

The major concerns of the crossing and assault force commanders during any attack that includes a water obstacle are vulnerability of forces on the exit bank and a rapid advance to secure objectives. The latter is the overriding consideration; hence planning commences at the objectives and projects back toward the river. An accurate assessment of the enemy's expected counterattacks and indirect tire barrages is integrated into planning. This is particularly significant during early stages of the advance because the assault force is temporarily divided by the river, thus diminishing its combat power potential. To counter probable enemy reaction, counterfires and aerial attacks augment other planned tires to ensure the necessary rapid advance to overwhelm the enemy.

Fire Support

Once the S2 has constructed an enemy situation template and the engineer has identified possible crossing sites, the brigade FSCOORD will begin to develop the FS plan. This plan must accomplish several missions simultaneously. In the initial stages of the operation, the artillery should suppress enemy positions that have observation and fields of fire over the crossing sites of the assault force. Smoke missions should also be fired to further add to the obscuration.

After the assault force gains a foothold, the indirect frees should assist the force in maintaining its position while the support force begins construction of rafts and bridges. It will be essential that FOs be included with the assault force, so that they can rapidly adjust fire on enemy locations. The FS plan at this point should include FPFs, in case the enemy launches a counterattack against the bridgehead.

As the force moves to the RP/line to begin the attack, the FS plan will support the maneuver as it would for any offensive operation. The artillery must provide close and continuous support to the leading assault units. Fires should be planned on enemy strongpoints and likely counterattack positions. Suppressive fires will degrade enemy air defenses, and FASCAM (if the situation permits) will protect the flanks and block enemy movement.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The brigade engineer has an absolutely critical role in this operation in that the commander will rely on his expertise to properly identify the appropriate crossing sites. Desirable physical characteristics of the crossing site will depend on--

  • The method of crossing.
  • Specific crossing means.
  • Types of vehicles involved in the crossing.

The overall crossing operation will involve virtually every type of engineer activity breaching operations, bridge construction, raft construction and control, mobility operations along the routes to the crossing sites and at the sites themselves, countermobility operations to prevent the enemy from reaching the bridgehead, plus survivability operations at the bridgehead. The brigade engineer will have a "full plate" of missions and therefore must have a clear picture of the sequence and conduct of the operation from the onset. A step-by-step discussion is in the execution portion of hasty water crossing in this section.

In planning for the operation, the brigade engineer may consult the following information sources:

  • Maps.
  • Local inhabitants.
  • Aerial photographs.
  • Aerial visual reconnaissance.
  • Prisoners.
  • Strategic studies.
  • Hydrographic studies.
  • Ground reconnaissance.
  • Division direct support terrain team (G-2).

Air Defense

The brigade air defense officer will have several concerns in planning protection for the brigade. During initial stages of the operation, the brigade will be concentrated near the river line. This includes maneuver elements as well as stockpiles of equipment needed for the actual crossing. Such highly congested areas are lucrative air targets and must be protected if the river crossing is to succeed.

Once the brigade begins the actual assault and construction of the bridges and rafts, enemy aircraft can be expected to zero in on these positions. For a pilot, the river is easy to identify and the location of the bridgehead all the more so, due to the amphibious traffic and artillery fire. Again, ADA assets must be positioned to protect these resources. Some assets maybe placed directly on the bridge, for example.

Finally, the force must be protected as it moves to the RP/line and into the attack. In this regard, some assets will be dedicated to protect the force as in any offensive operation, while others remain behind to protect the bridgehead and the crossing sites.

Combat Service Support

As mentioned earlier in this section, CSS assets are essential to sustaining the attack. The brigade S4 must ensure that adequate supplies are pushed forward to the crossing sites, particularly any expedient materials that may assist the operation. Suppression of enemy positions on the far side of the river will expend large amounts of ammunition. Likewise, the assault force must hold the bridgehead until reinforcements can deploy; it must be given additional ammunition to sustain operations. With this in mind, the S4 must plan with the engineer, S2, and S3 to ensure supply vehicles are integrated into the crossing order as early as possible.

Command and Control

Assault force commanders usually brigade commanders command the assault forces from the brigade TAC CP. When the brigade enters the crossing area, control, not command, is then passed to the crossing area commander. Control then reverts to the assault force commander as the assault force leaves the crossing area.

The designated crossing area commanders may be division or brigade staff officers. Since the assault force is normally a brigade, the brigade XO is usually designated as crossing area commander and operates from the brigade TOC. This allows the brigade (assault force) commander to focus his attention on the battle and serves to bind the assault crossing and tactical concept. Subordinate battalion XOs or LOs may collocate with the crossing area commander to provide detailed movement instruction for their units per the crossing area commander while leaving the brigade command net free to fight the battle on the far shore. Each crossing commander controls--

  • Crossing units of the assault force while in the crossing area.
  • Tactical elements that secure the crossing sites.
  • Support force engineers who develop and maintain crossing sites and traffic.
  • Control elements (primarily MPs) that direct and control crossing units in the crossing area.

Figure 6-15 depicts the organization of river crossing command and control.

The crossing force commander facilitates planning by dividing the operation into distinct and manageable segments:

  • Advance to the river.
  • Assault crossing of the river.
  • Advance from the exit bank.
  • Securing the bridgehead.

Preparation

Intelligence

The S2 will prepare for the operation by confirming through reconnaissance and other intelligence sources the physical condition of the crossing site and the enemy's capability to influence the river-crossing operation. He will establish the reconnaissance plan, which will have elements in place prior to the operation to provide real-time HUMINT. Specifically, he will want to confirm the location of all enemy forces that can bring fire to bear on the crossing site, including reserves, which may respond to the assault.

During the rehearsal for the river crossing, the S2 will want to review with the commander and staff the enemy's most probable course of action in response to the assault. In particular, the conduct of the enemy's defense will be closely examined to include the use of the reserves. The point of this rehearsal will be to identify enemy weaknesses and determine measures that can be taken to counter them.

Maneuver

At this point, the commander will rehearse each phase of the river-crossing operation.

Advance to the river. The brigade should be task organized for the operation before the advance to the river begins. Regardless of the events prior to the actual advance, the brigade's lead battalions will either move to secure objectives that overwatch the proposed crossing sites, or secure the crossing by seizing enemy bridges or by conducting their own amphibious assault. Once these objectives have been secured, the control will switch from the assault force commander to the crossing force commander.

Assault crossing of the river. Once in position, the assault force will neutralize the enemy forces that can influence the crossing. The actual crossing may be executed using any number of methods: fording, assault/swimming, rafting, or bridging. Lead elements should be prepared to cross under fire. A line or wave formation crosses more forces than a column in equal time periods. However, it exposes more forces, increasing vulnerability and the chance of detection of the crossing effort. A column, using one or two entry points, concentrates forces but require more time to build up combat power, providing the enemy more time to detect and concentrate fire on the crossing site. To reduce enemy obstacles and develop exit points on the far bank, the engineers should cross early.

Each lead battalion should have at least one fording or assault/swimming site. They should be oriented on close-in exit bank objectives, while subsequent sites should provide good ingress and egress routes to enhance mobility and the buildup of combat power on the exit bank. Once the area is secured and the bridges and rafts are constructed, the force will begin to pass as per the movement plan and crossing schedule.

Advance from the exit bank. The advance from the exit bank extends from the RP/line to the bridgehead objectives. At the RP/line, the crossing commander relinquishes control of units to the assault force commander for continuation of the attack. The forces will then attack generally along a narrow or a broad front, depending on the number of crossing sites in the sector. In the rehearsal, the commander must balance the number of forces collected on the far side of the river in preparation for the attack against the length of time it takes to marshal them. This solution must enable the commander to commit sufficient force to destroy the enemy and maintain sufficient momentum to gain ground.

Securing the bridgehead. Securing the bridgehead requires control of an area on the exit bank that is large enough to accommodate the assault and essential support elements of the crossing force. Assault forces will receive objectives that must be controlled for the area to be secure. Once in position, the forces will go to ground and establish a hasty defensive perimeter around the bridgehead. A complete discussion of hasty defensive planning is in Chapter 4, Section I.

Fire support

Priority of FS throughout the operation is first to the assault force. During the initial stages of the operation, the assault force commander will need the support of artillery to secure the far side of the river. Once those objectives have been secured, the assault force will continue to need the priority of fires to suppress other enemy positions and to repel enemy counterattacks. As a result, the fire plan will revert from one of an offensive nature, with preparatory fires and smoke missions, to a defensive plan using FPFs and FASCAM.

Once the majority of the forces are across, the orientation of the FS plan once again reverts to the offensive. A new assault force, consisting of other units marshaling on the far side of the river, will attack out of the perimeter to establish a secure bridgehead. Once this operation begins, the priority of fires will switch from the stationary force to the new assault force.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will have to rehearse the positioning of assets on the near side of the river, the assault and clearing of obstacles from the far side, the preparation of each bank, and the construction of the bridges and rafts that will transport the force across the river. This will only ensure the physical preparation of the crossing site. Next, the engineers must review the crossing and movement schedule to determine how they can best maintain operations until bridging assets can ensure smooth travel across the river with minimum delay.

In addition to the actual river crossing, the engineers must rehearse maintaining a smooth flow of traffic to each crossing point as well as emplacing the obstacles needed to protect the bridgehead from enemy counterattack.

Air Defense

The brigade air defense officer must demonstrate during the rehearsal that the stationary forces on the near side of the river are protected as the brigade prepare its initial assault crossing. Next, the assault force and the crossing force (bridges, rafts), as well as those forces waiting to cross, must have adequate protection. Finally the ADA plan must include an area defense of the entire crossing site for the brigade to maintain operations without enemy interdiction In this regard, ADA assets may be assigned directly to a maneuver unit, positioned on surrounding terrain and maintained under brigade control, or a combination of the two techniques.

Combat Service Support

The FSB commander and the brigade S4 must rehearse the CSS plan for the river crossing. In particular, they should demonstrate the plan to push forward supplies throughout the operation, ensuring that it is completely integrated into the movement plan without a degradation of combat effectiveness. The pre-positioning of needed engineer material, plus the location of recovery and emergency supply assets, must be reviewed to ensure that maneuver elements will be able to cross the river as quickly as possible.

Command and Control

Throughout the rehearsal, the commander will be watching each player to ensure that he understands not only his job but also how it relates to the greater plan. Contingency plans must address the destruction of bridging and rafting equipment as well as the signals and events that will drive the force to execute these plans. Of particular concern to the commander will be the change of command responsibility during the construction of the bridgehead and as follow-on forces pass through. Additionally, he will want to identify the position from where he can best observe and control the operation.

Execution

Intelligence

The brigade begins its advance to the river, the S2 will monitor the reports of the forward positioned reconnaissance elements concerning the enemy's activities. If possible, reconnaissance assets that are able to infiltrate the far side of the river line will provide the most valuable intelligence, particularly in terms of enemy repositioning. Throughout the establishment of the bridgehead, reconnaissance assets will be able to direct effective indirect fire and provide early warning to the assault force. The S2 will advise the commander as the enemy situation changes, providing advice on how to counter the enemy's actions.

Maneuver

The brigade will move to the river using OPSEC measures to cloak their movement. If possible, the force will move at night or under the mask of smoke and suppressive artillery on known enemy positions. Pre-positioned reconnaissance elements will adjust these indirect-fire measures to ensure optimum effectiveness. Once the assault force is in position, the assault force commander will call for suppression of the far side objectives and enemy positions. As the fire begins to land, the force will cross the river under the supporting tire of stationary forces on the near side of the river.

Once the crossings have been secured, the assault force commander will report the status to the crossing force commander, who will in turn direct the immediate construction of bridges and rafts. At this point, the crossing area commanders will control all activities within the crossing area. Their initial concern, however, will be the reinforcement of the assault force on the far side of the river. This will ensure a secure bridgehead and protect the crossing operation.

As the follow-on forces cross the river and begin to assemble for the continued assault, they will also assist the initial assault force in the protection of the perimeter if necessary. However, once these forces are assembled, the assault force commander should begin the attack as quickly as possible. This will serve two functions. It will clear the area for the arrival of additional forces, and it wil maintain the momentum of the overall operation. When executed correctly, the attack will keep the enemy off balance and unable to effectively respond to the operation.

Other crossings, deception plans, and proper reconnaissance of enemy reserve locations will be essential to the success of the operation. The enemy must be temporarily paralyzed during the establishment of the bridgehead or its counterattacks could spell disaster for the assault force. In addition, the enemy should also be confused as to the actual intent of the crossing force, namely the locations of the crossings and objectives to be taken in support of the crossings.

Fire Support

During the operation, the FS plan must effectively suppress the enemy's ability to influence the assault force as it conducts its initial crossing of the river. Smoke missions will mask the assault force initially; however, grazing fire across the surface of the river could cause many casualties and does not necessarily require target identification. As a result, reconnaissance elements must locate these enemy positions and target them as part of the preparation and suppressive fires during the assault.

Once the far side has been secured, indirect fires will shift to protect the assault force against enemy fire and counterattacks. Reconnaissance elements and FOS must actively target known and suspected enemy positions around the perimeter they also begin planning for their second assault to secure the bridgehead area for continued operations. The brigade should be aware that, depending on METT-T, artillery batteries and some of their support elements may have to position themselves at the river line to bring effective fires to bear against enemy positions on the far side of the river. This will add to the congestion on the near side of the river bank as maneuver elements are directed to holding areas until they are able to begin the crossing.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will initially concentrate on the clearance of obstacles on the far river bank and the preparation of the entrance and exit ramps for each crossing. Simultaneously, other engineer elements will begin construction of bridges, rafts, and any other assets used to cross the river, to include field expedients. To ensure rapid completion of these activities, the engineers must verify the pre-positioning of all required materials and rehearse the construction prior to execution. Should this operation require execution under direct and indirect fire the need for rehearsals will become apparent.

Outside of the actual crossing activities, engineers will be required to maintain the road network leading to and away from the crossing sites. Some road-building materials and items such as mobility matting should be stockpiled near expected trouble spots. Also, survivability and countermobility operations may be required on the far side of the river to protect the assault force from enemy counterattack. Minefields and other quickly emplaced obstacles should be used but not to the extent that they prevent the assault force from further expanding or securing the bridgehead.

Air Defense

Initially, the air defense assets will protect the force as it advances to the river line. Priority of protection will most likely go to the engineer equipment that is pre-positioned for the assault crossing. Once the assault force reaches the far side of the river line and adopts a hasty defensive posture, the ADA protection will then extend across the entire crossing line.

Combat Service Support

As the brigade begins its advance to the river, the CSS will push preloaded support packages forward to the force. Specifically, ammunition will be the primary concern during the initial stages of the operation due to the amount required for suppression in defense of the bridgehead area. UMCPs and LRP locations should be placed along the routes leading to each crossing site, and recovery assets should be positioned to maintain trafficability at the crossing sites.

Recovery of wounded personnel in the assault force must be tied into the return rafting. Likewise, ambulances should be located at the sites to quickly transport the casualties to the aid stations or FSB treatment section.

Command and Control

The hasty river crossing is one of the most complicated and dangerous operations to execute. It is dangerous because it is easy for either the attacker or defender to locate the positions of the enemy. Similarly, air assets are able to identify the target area easily as they navigate along the river line. Therefore, the commander must be prepared to execute this operation under fire. His leadership will be crucial in moving the forces across the river and assaulting the bridgehead objectives.

Covering Force Operations

A covering force is a tactically self-contained security force that operates a considerable distance to the front or rear of a moving or stationary force. Its missions are to develop the situation early; defeat hostile forces (if possible); and deceive, delay, and disorganize enemy forces until the main force can cope with the situation. The brigade may participate in a covering force mission as part of a division that is in turn the covering force for a corps, or as a complete covering force for a division or corps.

Prior to the discussion of brigade covering force operations, Soviet-style march and meeting battle will be covered. Soviet-style armies consider the use of the march in the same way the American brigade S3 considers the use of the movement to contact. For the march, the MRB may be given the mission of advance or flank guard or forward or rear detachment, or it may be designated as part of the main body of the regiment. As the regiment's advance or flank guard, the MRB has the mission of ensuring the uninterrupted movement and security of the main body. It must also prevent enemy reconnaissance elements from reaching the main body and, most important of all, ensure favorable conditions for the main body to deploy. When acting as a forward detachment, the MRB has the mission of conducting reconnaissance or seizing and holding key terrain until the arrival of the main body.

In the Soviet-style force, the battalion commander and the attached artillery commander are normally located well forward in the march either with the advance detachment (when the battalion acts as the advance guard of the regiment) or at the head of the battalion's main body. The commander's position with the advance detachment enables him to best observe enemy action, formulate his plans, and deploy his unit. To control his unit during the march, the battalion commander relies on messenger, flags, road traffic controllers, and to a lesser degree, radio. While the battalion normally stays on radio-listening watch, the passing of PLs and other checkpoints is reported by radio NBC and aircraft warnings are also transmitted by radio.

The march is controlled as tightly as possible, with the starting times, passage control points, and speed and spacing of vehicles rigidly supervised. If a vehicle falls out due to technical problems, the commander or driver gives the designated signal to prevent following vehicles from slowing down. If the vehicle can be repaired by the crew or the battalion maintenance section, it will rejoin the column, resuming its correct place at a designated rest area. If not, the vehicle will be evacuated by the regiment.

Gorges, bridges, built-up areas, river-crossing points, and other potentially hazardous areas for the column are crossed at maximum speed without halting. Special effort is made to bypass built-up areas. Attached engineer support, usually part of the CRP when the battalion acts as the advance guard of the regiment, supervises the reduction or removal of obstacles. During short halts, the column halts in order and at the interval established in the commander's order.

By properly organizing and conducting the march, the commander of Soviet-style forces sets the stage for the meeting battle, the first phase of destroying the enemy's forces. The meeting battle is described as combat between two rapidly advancing columns, resulting in an intense struggle designed to seize and maintain the initiative. Figure 6-16 illustrates an MRB meeting battle. The commander is trained to anticipate the development of a meeting battle at likely locations along his march route. In most meeting battles, the enemy may not have had time to properly prepare the terrain, to create a complete fire plan, or to deploy his AT weapons. To take maximum advantage of these factors, the battalion will quickly transition to the meeting battle. Normally, the MRB attacks mounted with tanks preceding the BMPs and supported by artillery and mortar fire. The attack is developed into the depths of the enemy formation as rapidly as possible. There is no mopping up of small enemy groups; this task is handled by the regimental main body.

The meeting battle is over when the enemy has been destroyed or forced to retire, or when the MRB is forced on the defensive. After completing a successful meeting battle, the MRB resumes the march and continues the operation.

Offensive Covering Force Operations

Planning

Brigade is given an offensive covering force mission when the corps covering force has conducted a thorough reconnaissance of the enemy defensive positions and the intent of the division commander is to attack with as much unimpeded combat power as possible into the enemy's main defensive belt. In forming the divisional covering force, the commander still employs the cavalry squadron as a forward screen; however, he adds the combat power of battalion task force(s), plus a sufficient amount of CS, to enable the covering force to destroy enemy elements in the security zone. He will designate a brigade headquarters as the covering force headquarters and provide the brigade commander with clear intent. At the same time, however, he allows the covering force commander to operate independently. The division formation will appear similar to a movement to contact formation with the following differences:

  • The division covering force is heavy.
  • The advance guard comprises battalions from the main body brigades that remain under brigade control.

Intelligence

The brigade S2 begins planning for the operation using the information acquired by the corps covering force as a foundation for the IPB. In particular, he must pinpoint the location of enemy elements within the security zone and identify their routes of egress back to the main defensive belt positions. This information is especially important to the brigade commander as he prepares the covering force plan. A thorough terrain analysis will assist the commander in selecting the best routes within the division axis of advance. This includes the identification of both natural and man-made obstacles as well as a line-of-sight analysis from known and suspected enemy positions.

Next, the S2 will prepare the event template and intelligence collection plan for the covering force. Specifically, he will orient the collection effort toward identifying the enemy's area of vulnerability. It will be the responsibility of the covering force to direct the division attack; therefore, the covering force commander will want to select a location for the point of the attack that will yield the greatest success.

Maneuver

The commander plans for the operation by task organizing his forces to suit the mission. In this example (see Figure 6-17), he commands an element consisting of the divisional cavalry squadron, an armor battalion, a mechanized infantry battalion, and a DS artillery battalion. Knowing that the cavalry squadron will operate in zones, essentially with a ground troop and an air troop working together in each one, the commander will designate a TF to follow and support in each zone. He will task organize the battalions so that each TF is able to respond to a variety of threats, generally two armor and two mechanized forces with the mechanized TF retaining the ITVs. The artillery will trail, yet remain within the body of the formation.

Based on the commander's bypass criteria, the mission of the covering force will be to identify and destroy those enemy elements that can influence the division's maneuver. In effect, the cavalry troops and the battalion task forces become "hunter/killer" teams. However, some enemy forward detachment positions may be too strong for the covering force battalions. When this occurs, the covering force commander must attempt to find a bypass route that cannot be observed or influenced by the enemy detachment. He should also fix the position with indirect fire and, if available, aviation or CAS assets.

Fire Support

The brigade FSO prepares an FS plan that will engage those enemy positions identified through higher echelon R& S. He coordinates with the FSCOORD to ensure the location of batteries, with respect to the maneuver battalions and the cavalry troops, will be both responsive and able to handle the covering force frontage. He also ensures the ammunition resupply plan for the DS battalion is adequate. Reinforcing and GS reinforcing fires for the covering force should be checked through DIVARTY to ensure those units are positioned to support the covering force's calls for fire. If the covering force operates too far forward of the division main body, the reinforcing and GS reinforcing battalions may not be able to support covering force calls for fires.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The brigade engineer will advise the commander of the best use of his assets for the operation. Due to the offense-like role of the covering force, mobility will be essential to the success of the operation. Moreover, because the mission of the covering force is to ensure the unimpeded movement of the division main body, engineers will reconnoiter obstacle crossing sites, breach obstacles, and check road networks for classification and capacity. As a result, the engineers should be organized into three groups. Reconnaissance elements will accompany the cavalry squadron; mobility assets will support the battalion task forces (breach obstacles for the assault); and other mobility assets will move to the rear of the covering force, marking routes and preparing the MSRs for use by the division main body.

Air Defense

The covering force air defense plan will mirror that of a brigade conducting a movement to contact. In addition to providing protection for the formation, the ADA representative will also plan to reconnoiter potential air defense positions along the divisional attack axis. These locations will be relayed to the follow-on brigades in an effort to expedite their own air defense planning.

Combat Service Support

The FSB commander has two choices in planning the support of the covering force. He can either locate the FSB forward of the main body or within the main body. The decision to do one or the other will be based first on the distance the covering force is expected to operate forward of the main body, and second on whether or not the FSB was given additional security elements (two mechanized companies). Generally, if the covering force stays within 20 to 30 kilometers of the division main body, the FSB will be able to support it from the main body. If the covering force exceeds this distance, the FSB will be forced to move forward of the division main body. The danger in this option is that the FSB may be vulnerable to enemy fire and maneuver elements. For this reason, the FSB commander should receive combat forces as part of the task organization. Their mission wiIl be to guard the FSB while on the move and to provide perimeter security at the halt. Due to these requirements, a suggested organization would be two company teams (from one armor company and one mechanized company).

Command and Control

The commander will carefully determine the best mute to follow during the operation. Due to the large frontage of the covering force, he will probably follow one of the TFs in zone while his S3 follows the other. Usually the commander will select the zone most likely to receive the heaviest enemy contact. The brigade main CP will attempt to remain centered throughout the operation in order to maintain communications to both zones. In particular, the commander will want to ensure that he remains in a position to assess the situation and issue FRAGOs accordingly. The flexibility of his C2 will directly affect the flexibility of the covering force; therefore, he may consider the use of a helicopter from the cavalry, if appropriate.

Preparation

Intelligence

The brigade S2 will prepare for the operation by reviewing the enemy situation and decision support templates with the brigade commander. He will ensure that the subordinate commanders understand what they should be looking for, in terms of the enemy's strength and disposition, as the covering force negotiates the enemy's security zone. Also, he will review the intelligence to date concerning the enemy's main defensive belt positions and how best to take advantage of known enemy weaknesses.

Maneuver

The brigade commander will conduct a rehearsal following the issuance of the OPORD to confirm that each of the brigade players understands his mission within the context of the issued intent. In particular, the commander will want to review actions on contact and the bypass criteria. It is imperative that each commander understands how to negotiate the security zone in the most efficient manner. Commanders must overcome the temptation to focus on each enemy element that attempts to engage the force but at the same time, they must clear the axis of enemy elements that may significantly impair the movement of the main body. It is the responsibility of the brigade commander to exercise this decision making during the rehearsal and to ensure that the subordinate commanders operate as a team.

Next, he checks his subordinate commanders' ability to direct the main body into the enemy's main defensive belt. Essentially, this operation will look much like a forward passage of lines, where the covering force holds the shoulders of the penetration. The commander will want to ensure that he can adequately control the operation, even if his force is separated by the passing follow-on forces. Moreover, he will want to ensure that his subordinate commanders understand where they are to maneuver and their responsibilities upon arrival.

Fire Support

The brigade FSO ensures the priorities of fire are understood and each commander knows when to shift and to whom. The amount of artillery support the covering force receives during its operation should be explained in advance. This is especially important when reinforcing and GS reinforcing fires are not available. For the artillery the operation should be rehearsed to ensure the DS battalion is capable of responding to multiple targets across the covering force frontage. This maybe difficult, especially because some batteries will be moving when a mission is called. Subordinate commanders should be checked for use of artillery during actions on contact and on the move. In particular, the use of artillery to suppress enemy positions that have been fixed and bypassed should be checked. Further, the total number of positions that could also be bypassed should be weighed against the DS battalion's ability to sustain that fire while supporting the continued maneuver of the covering force. Based on this check, the commander may designate a ceiling to the number of bypassed elements and specify that, once the ceiling is inched, all other enemy positions will be destroyed

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The brigade engineer will check during a rehearsal of actions on contact that the engineers are brought forward to assist in breaching enemy obstacles. Also, he will ensure that his plan for marking and preparing roads for the division main body can be executed without the engineers becoming separated from the covering force main body.

Air Defense

The air defense plan will be checked to ensure its flexibility during actions on contact. As the force moves from a moving formation to a slower-tempo operation, the air defense plan must adjust accordingly. Specifically, as the covering force slows to destroy enemy positions, the air defense plan takes on more of an area defense posture. Although ADA assets will travel with their assigned elements, they must be prepared to reposition temporarily to protect the unit and to participate in the overall area coverage protecting the covering force.

Combat Service Support

The brigade S4 and the FSB commander will rehearse their CSS plan concurrently with the maneuver rehearsal. In particular, they will want to practice forward resupply during the operation. Resupply will be critical to sustaining the operation, but it may be difficult, especially for ammunition, when the distance from the FSB to the maneuver battalion's combat trains could extend up to 30 kilometers. Under increasingly hostile enemy conditions the supply convoy could be vulnerable to enemy interdiction. The conditions and signals to change supply routes based on the enemy situation or route condition should also be reconfirmed Evacuation of casualties and damaged equipment will be less difficult to accomplish, as the main body will converge with the evacuation vehicles whether they move or not.

Command and Control

The commander will observe the rehearsal and provide comments when appropriate. Generally however, he will allow his subordinate commanders to demonstrate their knowledge of the plan and their decision making within the context of the commander's guidance. For his part, the commander will practice his use of the decision support template in an effort to anticipate likely enemy actions. Once he has made a decision, he will then rehearse synchronizing his resources to achieve the greatest effect. The commander must continually weigh the amount of combat power he is willing to commit to an rues against his overall mission to guard the division main body. Moreover, he must identify the conditions under which he would no longer be able to effectively operate as the covering force, such as increasing strength of the enemy defense, his own attrition, or a combination of the two. The impact of having a covering force become ineffective prior to reaching the enemy's main defensive belt is that the attacking force would have to commit prematurely, arriving at the objective area at less than the desired combat strength. Ultimately, this could be the difference between success and failure.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the covering force begins its movement, the brigade S2 will closely monitor the reports of the cavalry squadron. The continued development of the enemy situation template will be essential to the brigade commander as he attempts to create a secure axis of advance for the division main body. The S2 will also make any necessary modifications to the commander's decision support template; however, he must make the commander aware of significant changes that may have a severe impact on the decision making.

As the covering force approaches the main defensive belt, the brigade S2 should be in constant communication with the squadron S2 so that the location of the enemy's weak point can be quickly relayed from the covering force to the division S2. Through eavesdropping, this information will be received by the main body brigades, who in turn will make immediate adjustments to their attack plan.

Maneuver

As the brigade advances along the division axis of advance, enemy units will be identified by the divisional cavalry squadron. This information will be passed to the battalion task forces, which in turn will maneuver against the enemy position. In execution, the cavalry troop actually hands over the enemy to the scout platoon of the following TF. Elements of the air troop may continue to observe the enemy until the arrival of the TF. The cavalry and scout platoons should have gathered enough information about the enemy position so that, upon arrival, the TF can be directed into the assault. This hasty attack should be supported with an appropriate level of CS to ensure success; otherwise, the operation could develop into a deliberate attack and consequently slow the covering force operation significantly.

Weak enemy elements that are not worth the combat power or time to destroy will be fixed and handed over to the advance guard battalions or brigade main body for mopping up. Conversely, those enemy positions that the covering force clearly cannot destroy will be maintained under observation by reconnaissance elements; a bypass route will be selected around the area, out of direct fire and observation. All information concerning the enemy position will be relayed to the division commander, who must then decide to continue to bypass or destroy the position.

As the covering force nears the main defensive belt, the cavalry squadron will probe the defensive perimeter to confirm possible weaknesses in the enemy's defensive line. The TFs will adopt a hasty defense that will maintain the shoulders of the division penetration and will also support the attack of the main body elements. The cavalry will screen farther forward of the hasty defending battalions to provide flank security, or it may continue to infiltrate the enemy's defensive belt depending on the division commander's concept of the operation. At this point, the covering force operation ceases, and the brigade commander awaits further instructions or possible task reorganization.

Fire Support

The brigade FSO will execute the FS plan as he would for any offensive operation. In particular, be will attempt to mass fires on high payoff targets, usually in support of ground maneuver, for example, the assault of an enemy position. Constant communication with the division cavalry squadron will be essential due to air troop operations and the restrictions inherent between aviation and FS. Positions should be fixed and bypassed with just enough artillery to keep the enemy from repositioning. Therefore, it is essential that these positions remain under observation until they can be handed off to elements of the advance guard.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will execute as for any offensive operation. Their main concern will be the axis trafficability for the division main body. Therefore, obstacle breaching, bridge construction, and the marking of fording or bypass routes will be essential if the division is to maintain momentum. Other mobility operations will be dependent on the types of assaults conducted by the battalion task forces and the level of enemy preparation.

Air Defense

The covering force's air defense must remain flexible throughout the operation. As the elements change formation, assault security zone forward detachments, and come increasingly under the threat of air attack the ADA elements must respond to each change in the situation. Due to the wide frontage of the covering force, it is essential that the brigade air defense representative maintain the necessary level of protection.

Combat Service Support

Throughout the operation, supplies must be pushed forward. The S4 and FSB commander must anticipate the hasty attacks conducted by the battalion task forces and ensure that when the action is complete, the needed supplies are immediately on hand for them. Resupply and evacuation may take longer due to the large frontage of the covering force. Therefore, the identification of good lateral supply routes will become increasingly more important. Those elements designated to remain in a UMCP for collection by the main body must be given a security element that should remain with them until contact is established with the main body.

Command and Control

One of the commander's greatest challenges will be the control of the two TFs when one is in contact conducting a hasty attack and the other is continuing to move. The commander must stay abreast of the location and situation of the TF in the other zone. He must also guard against focusing too much attention on the action in his own zone. The maintenance of a consistent rate of march through the use of PLs, and the continual adjustment to the speed of each force in zone, will be essential to a unified action across a broad front.

Defensive Covering Force Operations

Planning

A brigade may be given a defensive covering force mission when the division has sufficient resources and the intent of the commander is to influence and shape the battlefield forward of the MBA. Covering force operations may run the spectrum from a division cavalry squadron conducting a screen, to a reinforced squadron conducting a guard, to a brigade-controlled element operating independently as a covering force.

Normal covering force operations embrace the middle of the spectrum, where a reinforced cavalry squadron will strip away the enemy's reconnaissance destroy the advance guard battalions, and force the commitment of the lead regiment's second echelon battalions. Within this organization, the cavalry squadron will perform the mission for which it is best trained, usually the screen, while the attached armor and infantry battalions will be given missions (defend and delay) commensurate with their training.

A brigade given a covering force mission may consist of the division cavalry squadron, three to five heavy battalions, and an attack helicopter battalion. This organization will be responsible for inflicting casualties forward, but not to the point of discouraging the enemy from attacking according to its plan. It is important that the covering force shape the battle so that the forces in the MBA can complete the final destruction of the enemy.

Intelligence

The IPB for the covering force operation will be extremely important, as the division commander will want to identify the enemy's main effort and location of follow-on forces for the brigades in the MBA. The actual IPB planning will be accomplished as it would for defensive operations; however, the S2 will have to concern himself with more avenues of approach and a larger number of enemy forces. The S2 should plan his IPB with the assistance of the division cavalry squadron and attack helicopter battalion S2s, who may have their own specific intelligence needs. They will also be used to working in operations with a divisional scope. They may be able to provide valuable input in terms of the special considerations inherent to covering force operations of which the brigade S2 (as an MBA player) may not be aware.

Maneuver

In this example, the brigade commander controls the division cavalry squadron, three battalions, and an attack helicopter battalion (see Figure 6-18). This is a medium-size covering force to be placed under a brigade commander. Having received the IPB from the S2, he knows that the division is facing a combined arms army, attacking with two divisions abreast. In the left zone, the division will most likely attack with three regiments abreast, while in the right zone the division may attack with two regiments up and one back. The commander's goal is to strip away the enemy's reconnaissance elements, destroy the advance guard battalions, and force the commitment of the second-echelon battalions. He will do this by making the lead enemy regiments deploy. This should also assist in the identification of the second-echelon regiments and, therefore, the enemy division's main effort.

Knowing the enemy main effort will likely be where he plans to attack with three regiments abreast, the brigade commander wants to inflict damage, but allow enemy forces in the sector to continually make progress. Conversely if the enemy will attack with two regiments forward, as the secondary effort, the brigade commander may choose to destroy these forces to discourage further advance in the sector. As a result, the two attacking divisions will become echeloned. This will drive the commander to reinforce his "success" and direct his second echelon into the MBA, where the division commander can destroy it. This reaction will identify to the division commander the location and nature of the enemy's main effort and complete his situation template.

To achieve the desired effect, the brigade commander places his cavalry squadron, augmented by tank and mechanized infantry companies, along the more open terrain with the mission to delay in sector. The mobility advantage of air troops allows maneuver in this terrain so the enemy sustains losses but remains unable to decisively engage the force. In the other sector, a battalion task force will be placed astride each of the enemy avenues of approach and be given the mission to defend. The remaining battalion (-) and the attack helicopter battalion will serve as the covering force reserve, ready to assist operations in each of the three sectors, together or in separate operations.

Fire Support

The brigade FS plan wilt be absolutely essential to the commander and his projection of firepower to the enemy in depth. In particular, he will want the fire support plan to separate enemy echelons so that they can be defeated one at a time. Further, along the axis of the enemy's secondary effort, FASCAM and interdicting fires should be planned to complete the enemy's loss of momentum. The actual planning and coordination of the fire plan will occur as for any brigade defensive operation with one exception: the artillery will not only accompany the covering force but also fire exclusively in its support. Therefore, the FS plan can be prepared with more certainty in terms of the amount, timeliness, and sustainment of fires.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The obstacle plan will be developed concurrently with the FS and maneuver plans. It will also have the same intent, namely to deny mobility in the right sector and slow the enemy in the left sector. Given the frontage in which the brigade must operate, the ability of the engineers to construct barriers will be limited to carefully selected targets designed to enhance the effect of both direct and indirect ties. Larger obstacles designed to turn and shape the enemy's maneuver simply may not be possible unless the brigade receives large amounts of engineer support.

The brigade engineer will create an obstacle plan that can be completely integrated with the direct-and indirect-fire plans. The division should augment the brigade with additional countermobility assets so it can deal more effectively with the enemy across the larger frontage. As mentioned earlier, the obstacle plan should attempt to shape the battle. Therefore, in some areas the enemy wilt be merely slowed, while in others the brigade commander may choose to deny enemy penetration altogether. Those obstacles designed to stop the enemy must be reinforced heavily with direct and indirect tire. If the resources are available, FASCAM should be planned to augment these areas. Fighting positions should be planned for those units that have been given the defend mission. Also, in close terrain, countermobility obstacles should be planned for exection along routes to subsequent BPs, For larger obstacles, such as river lines, bridges that are designated for target turnover should be given special attention.

Air Defense

The brigade air defense representative will begin planning for the operation by examining the commander's priority of protection. Essentially, the priority should be the same as for defensive operations. However, due to the independent nature of covering force operations, the ADA assets given to the commander should be sufficient to protect the entire force, to include the CS and CSS elements. This may cause the ADA defense plan to cover a larger area and appear more complicated than in normal brigade operations. Nevertheless the same employment considerations apply.

Combat Service Support

The brigade S4 and the FSB commander must be prepared to support the covering force forward of the MBA. However, due to the fluidity of the operation and the knowledge that the covering force will conduct a rearward passage of tines at the completion of the mission, CSS assets must remain mobile so as not to impede the movement of the covering force. To accomplish this, the BSA will consist of only those essential activities determined by the FSB commander within the guidance of the brigade commander. This lighter and more mobile FSB should be oriented on evacuation of casualties and damaged equipment, resupply of Classes III and V, and to a limited extent, vehicle and weapon maintenance. Coordination should be made with the support systems of the MBA brigades to augment the evacuation of casualties and vehicles through ambulance exchange points and UMCPs, which are positioned where the depth units can assist in the evacuation.

Command and Control

Much of the C2 of the covering force battle will be decentralized due to the distances covered and the decisions each battalion task force or squadron commander wilt be required to make during the operation. Generally the brigade commander will want to position himself and the TAC CP in the sector adjacent to the enemy's main effort, as this will be the most critical area of the battlefield. The S3 will observe the enemy's secondary effort and ensure that he maintains communication with the brigade commander. Due to the lack of an additional headquarters element to accompany the S3, he may collocate with the battalion task force or squadron main CP. In this manner, he will ensure communications with the brigade main CP and the TAC CP without degrading his mobility.

Preparation

Intelligence

The brigade S2 will prepare for the operation by war-gaming with the brigade commander. Specifically, the commander will want to verify the conditions under which he would release the counterattack force, whether it is the tank battalion (-), the attack helicopter battalion, or both. Included in this assessment will be the ability to monitor the progress of the enemy. Therefore the commander will review the R& S plan with the S2 and make any adjustments that would make the plan more effective. During the rehearsal, the S2 will role-play the enemy and challenge each of the battalion task force and squadron commanders.

Maneuver

The brigade commander will rehearse the operation with his subordinate commanders following the issuance of the OPORD. In particular, he will want to ensure that each understands his mission within the context of the overall covering force operation. For example, the battalion task forces, which have been given a defense in sector mission, should demonstrate how they plan to maintain flank coordination with the cavalry squadron conducting a delay.

The covering force reserve, whether ground or air, should rehearse how it plans to maneuver to each sector. This will determine if there are any conflicts between the obstacle plan and the counterattack plan. Similarly, the air routes used by the attack helicopters should be checked against the FS and air defense plans. Airspace coordination measures should be coordinated through the division A2C2 element in the DTOC.

Fire Support

The brigade commander will want to ensure that the brigade FSO and FSCOORD will be able to cover the division frontage, yet have the ability to mass fires along the templated avenues of approach. He should ensure that the subordinate commanders understand how the priority targets are to be used. More important, he must understand the artillery's limitations. This may include their ability to emplace FASCAM or fire other special munitions, to include smoke.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The brigade engineer will carefully observe the execution of the covering force plan to identify any possible conflicts with the obstacle plan. In particular, he will want to ensure that the counterattack force is given an obstacle-free zone into each of the battalion task force or squadron sectors. Target turnover and brigade reserve targets should be reviewed to reinforce to the responsible parties the conditions under which they should be executed. Priorities for the engineers during the conduct of the covering force battle should also be checked. The brigade may lose many of these assets as they withdraw to begin operations in the MBA.

Air Defense

The air defense officer will check his defense plan against the attack helicopter battalion's counterattack plan and any other aviation operations that are part of the covering force plan. He will verify his priorities of protection with the scheme of maneuver to ensure compatibility. Moreover, he will ensure that key areas of the battlefield (bridges, defiles, or other routes needed to maintain a mobility advantage) are protected against enemy air interdiction. It is essential in the fast-paced covering force battle that all ADA assets maintain abreast of the ground and air tactical situation.

Combat Service Support

The brigade S4 and FSB commander should conduct a CSS rehearsal coincidentally with the maneuver rehearsal. The ability of the support elements to sustain the force during combat will be essential to the success of the operation. In particular, the support players should verify that the MSRs and lateral supply mutes remain unencumbered by the obstacle plan and that support elements will be able to math each maneuver element. Prestocks and LRPs should be checked against BP locations. Linkage with CSS elements from the MBA should be checked to ensure coordination is complete. If possible, representatives from the MBA should attend the rehearsal.

Command and Control

The commander will ensure that his intent is understood and that his subordinates can execute as a team without further guidance. He will ensure that he will be able to control the operation and maintain flank coordination through every phase. Most important, he will rehearse the synchronization of the counterattacks and engagements in main kill zones. He will check the time distance analysis against the decision support template to ensure that his forces can arrive at the decisive point of the battle at the correct time. In particular, he will exercise the execution of brigade priority targets and reserve demolitions to ensure that they contribute to the effectiveness of the plan as desired. Finally, the commander will review the coordination necessary to effect the rearward passage of lines at the completion of the operation.

Execution

Intelligence

As the enemy begins its advance toward the covering force area, the brigade S2 will monitor the reports from the reconnaissance elements executing the R& S plan. The actual conduct of the S2's operation will be identical to that of defensive operations in that he will maintain a current enemy situation template and inform the commander both periodically and in the event of changes in the situation. The main responsibility of the S2 will be to predict enemy actions to allow the brigade commander time to position forces accordingly. In particular, the commander will want to ensure that his counterattacks are timely and directed against a high-yield enemy vulnerability. This will be possible only with an effective R& S plan that allows the commander to see the enemy in depth.

Maneuver

As the enemy's reconnaissance elements reach the covering force area, they will be engaged and destroyed by the battalion task forces and cavalry squadron. Whether their mission is to defend or delay, it will be essential to blind the enemy divisional commanders by stripping away their ability to collect information. The commander will closely monitor the front line trace of the covering force to ensure that his subordinate commands maintain flank coordination throughout the operation. In particular, he must ensure that the battle is being shaped according to the plan. Therefore, in the center and right sectors where the battalions have been given a defend mission, he must be prepared to divert assets to augment their lethality. In this regard, the ground reserve must be prepared to block enemy penetrations or reinforce the defensive positions while attack helicopters may be called forward to inflict casualties in the depth of the EA.

In the left sector, where the division cavalry squadron is conducting a delay, the greatest concern will be that the superior enemy force will be able to push back the squadron faster than the brigade commander desires. As in the other sectors, the reserve must also be prepared to respond by augmenting the squadron. All things being equal, the brigade commander will be more likely to use the attack helicopters to reinforce the cavalry squadron, particularly since they can work together with the squadron's two air troops and use their mobility to best advantage. The ground reserve is better suited to reinforce the battalion task forces, where a tenacious retention of terrain is more important.

As the covering force moves closer to the MBA, the brigade commander will coordinate with his counterpart brigade commanders. The main CP and TAC CP will collocate with the MBA brigade CPs in preparation for the rearward passage of lines. Maneuver elements from the MBA will be alerted to cover the rearward passage of the covering force, and a BHL will be confirmed. (A complete discussion of passages of lines is found in Section I of this chapter.) The covering forces will fight and withdraw to positions within the protection of the MBA forces. At this point massive combined arms fires should be brought to bear against the lead enemy elements. This temporary enemy paralysis should allow the complete passage of the covering force, free of significant enemy pressure and the intermingling of forces.

Fire Support

The artillery plan will be executed in the same manner as in a defense or delay. A significant difference in executing FS, from the perspective of the artillery, is that as the covering force moves closer to the MBA, the covering force FSO will have to coordinate with the MBA brigade FSOs for positioning of the covering force's DS battalions. This is essential because the MBA brigades may have something different in mind in terms of artillery positioning. The difficulty for the DS battalion commander is. that while he is firing in support of the covering force, the MBA commander will assign his position. Therefore in an effort to avoid conflicting instructions, the counterpart FSOs should develop a plan that supports both the brigade and the covering force.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The covering force engineer will monitor the operation, paying special attention to the execution of target turnover and brigade reserve demolitions. In particular, he will advise the commander during the course of the battle concerning techniques to further slow enemy momentum if requited. For example, he may coordinate with the brigade FSO for the emplacement of FASCAM minefield and with the S3 to ensure the obstacle is covered by fire. As the force moves closer to the MBA, obstacles will take on increasing importance in helping the covering force to maintain separation from the enemy. If the BHL is placed along a natural obstacle, such as a river, prepared bridge demolitions or AVLB crossings should be monitored to ensure their execution following the crossing of the last maneuver element. Once each is executed, it is reported to the covering force main CP so that the commander will verify the safe crossing of his maneuver elements and the inability of the enemy to maintain pressure.

Air Defense

The covering force air defense plan will be executed as in any defensive mission. The brigade ADA representative will ensure that critical areas, such as crossing sites, are given priority of protection so that the covering force will not find itself stranded as a result of enemy air interdiction. As the covering force nears the MBA, he will also coordinate with the MBA brigade ADA representatives to ensure that coverage is complete and special protection is given to the massed forces of the covering force and forward-positioned MBA forces along the BHL.

Combat Service Support

The brigade S4 will continually coordinate with the FSB commander to ensure that CSS operations are executed according to plan. He will coordinate with the engineers to monitor the road conditions and the status of any bridges and will coordinate for the implementation of on-order MSRs or other alternate routes depending on the situation. He will also keep abreast of the expenditure of Classes III and V and of emergency resupply vehicles moving to units heavily involved in combat. As the covering force nears the MBA, the S4 will also coordinate with the MBA brigade S4s. It will be important that the passage of lines is conducted in a manner as controlled and organized as possible. Much of the control will depend on the ability of the recovery and evacuation assets to tow disabled vehicles to the rear and to keep the egress routes open. Assets from the MBA may assist in this effort, freeing the brigade's equipment for use in the forward area of the covering force battle.

Command and Control

The commander will observe the battle from his position overlooking the enemy's main effort. He will maintain contact with the main CP and his S3, who will be positioned along the enemy's supporting attack axis. As the enemy begins its attack against the covering force, the commander wil ensure that his forces do not become decisively engaged. This is especially important to those battalion task forces that have been given the mission to defend. Therefore, in an effort to retain the mobility advantage over the enemy, the commander must judiciously use the attack helicopter battalion for quick strikes to keep the forces separated or to extract an element that is under severe pressure. He must be careful not to commit them too early; attrition will reduce their effectiveness when needed in a bona fide counterattack role. The commander will commit the ground reserve when a more determined defense of a particular piece of terrain is required to slow down the enemy or to bolster the existing defense within the sector. However, because the ground force is less responsive than helicopters, its employment must be planned in advance, and its extraction will be less immediate. Throughout the operation, the commander must remain extremely flexible and use each of his elements to its utmost potential. Above all, he must retain mobility at all cost, or the covering force will be lost. As the force nears the MBA, the commander will collocate headquarters in preparation of the rearward passage of lines; however, he will remain forward with the battalion task forces and squadron to ensure their safe withdrawal from the CFA.

SECTION II. BATTALION TASK FORCE TACTICAL OPERATIONS

Battle Handover and Passage of Lines

Planning

Intelligence

The battalion S2 will prepare for the passage of lines in the same manner as the brigade S2, through coordination with the stationary battalion's S2.

Maneuver

Commanders of units conducting a battle handover will make tentative plans for the conduct of the operation by analyzing the factors of METT-T placing special emphasis on--

  • Organization. Unit/team task organization required for the tactical mission is maintained during the passage to avoid task reorganization following the passage.
  • Order of movement. An order of movement is prescribed based on the number of routes and PPs, the degree of security required, the enemy situation, and terrain. An order of movement sets priorities on who moves when and precludes confusion and congestion.
  • Security. The scout platoon can assist the passage of lines by screening between the enemy and the passing unit to provide early warning and limited protection. Noise, light, and radio discipline must be enforced.

Control measures normally used in a battle handover and passage of lines include the following.

AAs. (see Chapter 2).

BHL. The BHL is an easily identifiable location where the stationary force assumes control of the battle (used for a rearward passage of lines). This location must permit the stationary force the ability to engage the enemy with direct-fire systems. It must be portrayed on the operations overlay as a PL. The BHL is not the rear boundary of the covering force. Rather, it depicts to the covering force commander the maximum range that the MBA forces can engage the enemy. The CFA forces plan to disengage and begin their withdrawal along this line. Normally, when a covering force is used, the battlefield is structured as depicted in Figure 6-19.

The crosshatched area is frequently an area of discussion between CFA and MBA commanders. Even though the MBA commander assumes control of the battle at the handover line, the CFA commander owns the terrain up to the FEBA. The FEBA is the CPA commander's rear boundary. It becomes a planning problem for obstacles, artillery fires, air defense positions, CSS locations, and CP sites. The MBA commander may need to position some forces and obstacles in this area so that his forces can cover the withdrawing covering force.

It becomes incumbent upon the passing and stationary force commanders to coordinate and resolve any problems. The recommended method is to allow MBA forces to emplace obstacles and some forces (combat CS, and CSS) forward of the FEBA, yet behind the BHL. The CFA commander must plan positions up to the FEBA. The MBA commander sites the obstacles. Thus, the CFA commander may need to adjust his positions accordingly and use the MBA-installed obstacles if necessary. The MBA and CFA commanders exchange these plans through LOs to allow CFA forces to plan and prepare their BPs and MBA forces to emplace obstacles (including lanes, gaps, guards, and demolition parties). MBA forces may position combat, CS, and CSS forces in CFA positions with approval of the CFA commander.

The BHL is adjusted depending on visibility. If the line must be adjusted, one technique to represent the change is for the MBA commander to make the PL either on order or specify a DTG indicating the change.

Contact point. For a passage of lines, the commander directing the passage assigns the contact point (for a battalion passage, that would be the division or brigade commander). He may delegate the responsibility to the units actually involved

The recommended technique is for the stationary unit commander to designate the contact points. The stationary commander then transmits these locations and the meeting time to the passing commander. This is normally done on secure radio nets. The stationary commander's NCS uses the passing unit's command or OI net. The commander directing the passage has the responsibility to make sure units have compatible SOIs.

The stationary unit commander controls the contact point. He is responsible for local security and limiting access to those who must be them. While the contact point may not be in his sector or zone, he must control it because the subsequent operation (the passage) affects his mission and because, most probably, he selected the location.

Coordination for the passage, to include identifying the specific units and vehicles to pass, is done at the contact point. Normally, the commander and S3 make the coordination for a forward passage and the XOs (battalion and company) for a rearward passage. Either can make contact for a lateral pass, although it is recommended that the commander/S3 accomplish the coordination.

PP. The stationary unit assigns the location and number of PPs. The location is the critical factor. By definition, the PP is a spot on the ground where the passing unit passes through another unit. Thus the PP must be located where the stationary unit can cover it with direct fire. If forces are available, they should occupy PPs. his prevents enemy infiltrators from gaining access to the rear of the stationary unit. At times, a PP may be a lane or a gap through an obstacle. If the PP is at the entrance to an obstacle lane or gap, the stationary unit has the responsibility to close that lane or gap.

PPs are controlled by the nearest stationary unit. The actual passage of units may include several different options. In a rearward passage where the enemy has the capability to become interspersed with the moving force, the vehicles may pass one at a time in column formation. This method is the slowest, but also the most secure. When time is at a premium and enemy pressure is not strong, the passing force may move information. This requires a wide lane and is less secure than the other example: however, it is the fastest means of conducting a passage.

In a forward passage of lines, the passage may manifest itself in the same manner as in the rearward passage. However, the passing unit will move in column when the security and terrain allow for an attack position or AA once the passage is complete. Where the situation calls for the passing force to be prepared to make contact with the enemy upon passage, the lane must be wide enough to allow the force to conduct the passage in the appropriate combat formation This will necessitate the establishment of a wide lane and pose some risk to the stationary force until the passage is under way.

Passage lane. Passage lanes are assigned by the stationary unit but coordinated with the passing unit to ensure that they are compatible with the scheme of maneuver. These lanes provide the route of march for the passing unit so that it does not interfere with the stationary unit. The end of the lane should be outside the sector or zone of the stationary unit. Passing units must have priority of movement on the lane. This is necessary to reduce clutter caused by a congestion of units. Normally, passing units are not permitted to move off the passage lane.

Passage lanes should guide the passing unit around the stationary unit's location; however, there will be situations that require a passing force to move through occupied and/or prepared positions.

The stationary unit controls the passage and sets the priority of movement. The priority should be to the passing unit. Guides are used in both the forward and rearward passage to ensure the timely and proper execution of the passage.

Time or event of passage. The time or event of passage should be prescribed by the commander ordering the passage.

Recognition signals. Probably the most critical aspect of the passage, these allow identification of friendly or enemy forces. They include various types of messages, visual or audible codes consisting of one or more letters, words, visual displays, characters, signal flags, or special identification markers with prearranged meanings. The commander directing the passage must supply these signals in the SOI and/or SOPs therefore, he must make sure the passing and stationary units have the same updated SOI and/or SOPs.

All members of the passing and stationary forces must know the current signal, just as they must know the challenge and password. Improper use of the recognition symbols or someone's failure to "pass the word" will probably result in a friendly stationary weapon system engaging a friendly passing vehicle. This probability increases during limited visibility, when the passing unit is in contact, and when the stationary unit is receiving indirect fire. As an absolute minimum, friendly weapon systems must be oriented toward the enemy. This is especially critical in a rearward passage.

Movement considerations and techniques. The movements of passing units are controlled by their respective commanders. Normally, movement of the passing force in a forward passage of lines presents fewer problems than in a rearward passage. This is because a forward passage is normally done in the offense, and the passing unit has or is seeking the initiative. In Figure 6-20, the crosshatched area is under the control of the higher headquarters. The controlling headquarters may direct or prescribe the routes from the AA to the PPs. Another technique is to allow the passing force to reconnoiter and establish its own routes to the PPs, subject to approval from higher headquarters.

In a rearward passage, the situation is different. Figure 6-21 shows the initial layout of the battlefield where a covering force intends to withdraw through MBA forces. The maximum effective range at which MBA forces can engage the enemy with direct tires is designated as a PL. This is the BHL and marks the location where CFA units should be able to disengage and withdraw. Ideally, the BHL will be placed on an easily identifiable terrain feature such as a mad, railroad line. power line, or stream. The stationary unit commander should establish contact points just forward of the BHL and PPs close to the occupied positions.

A critical area for movement is the crosshatched area illustrated in the top portion of Figure 6-22.

The CFA commander owns the ground forward of the FEBA, yet the MBA commander assumes control of the battle at the BHL. The MBA commander, with permission of the CFA commander, has emplaced obstacles in the crosshatched area. The problem is that the covering force units are not bound to follow any set route to the PPs, even after coordination at the contact points. This may endanger the covering force and MBA missions.

The resolution to this problem is for the stationary force and passing unit commanders to agree to routes, established by the stationary force commander, between the contact point and PP. Once coordinated, the graphics might look like those in the bottom portion of Figure 6-22.

Fire Support

The passing force FSO will coordinate with the stationary force FSO to exchange FS plans. When conducting a forward passage of lines, the artillery will initially be controlled by the stationary force's fire control assets. Then once bathe handover has been executed the FS control will shift to the passing force. In a rearward passage of lines, the procedure is simply reversed; the moving force initially has control of the indirect fires and then passes control to the stationary force.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

As discussed earlier, the location of obstacles is critical to planning a passage of tines. Passage lanes must be planned to avoid existing obstacles, or the obstacles must be removed from the path of a lane In the case of the tatter (and when conducting a forward passage of lines), the commander must decide when and how to remove the obstacles so the enemy will not be tipped off to his intentions. Generally, discretion is the best method, whereby obstacles will be removed under cover of darkness and during artillery suppression of suspected enemy positions. This will mask the detonation of friendly mines and prevent enemy observation of mine-clearing operations. If the enemy situation is such that this technique cannot be used the engineers will have to prepare the obstacle for demolition and treat it as target turnover. The obstacles will be destroyed on order of the appropriate commander, in conjunction with the forward passage of lines.

Air Defense

Air defense also will be coordinated between units. Generally, at the battalion task force level, the air defense assets will move with the passing force, while the stationary force provides area air defense, with special attention directed to the AAs passage lanes, and other possible choke points or congested areas.

Combat Service Support

When conducting a rearward passage of lines, the CSS should be organized to serve three separate functions: sustainment of the force in its current operation, assistance with the rearward passage of lines, and support to the force immediately following the passage. Generally, to accomplish all three tasks, the commander will ensure that only required support activities remain with the force. All other support operations and equipment will be moved in preparation for the actual passage and reorganization.

In a forward passage of lines, the CSS takes on a different character. Because the unit has not been in combat and has had time to prepare for the operation, the CSS assets position themselves to assist with the forward passage and then move forward to establish the facilities that will support the offensive operation. If, however, the passing force does so following a long movement, some maintenance and fuel assets may be designated to attend to the unit in a forward AA prior to the actual passage.

Command and Control

The degree of C2 depends largely on the number of PPs. Normally, multiple PPs (at least two per battalion) are established, requiring decentralized control. The TF commander must decide how he can best influence the action and then position himself accordingly. For example, if a unit is conducting a passage of lines to attack forward of the FLOT, the commander will probably follow the lead unit.

The commander generally has three options from which to choose when considering the collocation of headquarters in support of the forward passage of lines:

  • He can send the S3.
  • He can collocate the entire main CP.
  • He can dispatch an LO.

In a forward passage of lines, the most favorable option is probably the use of the main CP. This will allow the S3 to observe movement along other passage lanes (usually a battalion task force will be given two lanes) and give the main CP the ability to position itself quickly where it can monitor and control the operation.

In a rearward passage of lines, the main CP is generally the best option because the passing commander will try to "lighten" the battalion task force as much as possible in preparation for the movement The S3 will still be available to observe those areas unavailable to the battalion commander, and the operation may be controlled from the main CP's jump CP.

Preparation

Intelligence

The S2 prepares for the forward passage of lines by monitoring the OI net of the stationary battalion. He will continue to update his IPB with this and other enemy information from this point forward. In particular, he will try to determine whether the enemy will be able to affect the passage. Accordingly, he will advise the commander of enemy capability and possible effect on the operation.

Maneuver

During and after the conduct of a detailed reconnaissance by the passing unit both the passing and stationary units conduct detailed face-to-face coordination. Normally, the battalion task force commander and/or S3 coordinate a forward passage of lines, and the battalion task force XO coordinates a rearward passage. AU elements of the passage of lines plan must be mutually agreed upon by both units.

A checklist of the information to be coordinated includes--

  • Contact points.
  • Attack positions (forward passage).
  • AAs (rearward passage).
  • Passage lanes.
  • PPs.
  • Traffic control measures.
  • Recognition signals.
  • FS plan (direct and indirect).
  • Obstacles.
  • OPs and patrol routes.
  • Number/type of vehicles and units to pass through.
  • Enemy situation.
  • Fire control measures.
  • CS and CSS asset locations.
  • Time and location of battle handover.
  • SOI information.
  • NBC status of sector.

Fire Support

The FS plans will be consolidated in preparation for the passage. However, the most important aspect of the coordination lies in developing an understanding between the two FSOs concerning the management of fires. When the passage occurs within the same division, this should not be a severe problem; however, when units from separate divisions are conducting the passage, extra precautions must be taken to ensure that each unit knows when it has control and which units are firing in support.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

As described above, obstacle information is exchanged in preparation for the passage of lines. Moreover, in case of on-order obstacle clearance, the TF engineers will check the preparation and system for conducting the clearance. The signal to execute and the backup means to deliver the message must all be checked for effectiveness.

Air Defense

The air defense plan is coordinated in the same manner as the FS plan. The only possible difference may lie in the allocation of space to the passing force's air defense assets if they are required to position themselves rather than accompany the maneuver forces.

Combat Service Support

In preparation for the passage, the CSS assets are moved into position. The battalion S4 and XO should check these facilities to ensure that they are prepared to properly support the operation. In particular, the CSS should be prepared to keep the passage lanes open despite possible vehicle breakdowns or other factors.

Command and Control

The commander must ensure that each element understands when to move, which lane to use, whereto go once passage is complete, and what to do once they get there. To verify this, the commander may conduct backbriefs or rehearsals, or simply visit with each subordinate leader before the operation as part of his precombat inspection.

He must ensure that the collocation of headquarters has been accomplished and that communications are fully operational. Also, he will observe the coordination at the PP and the reconnaissance of the passage lanes to ensure that he is aware of any possible areas that may be of concern during the actual passage.

This discussion provides detailed information concerning the conduct of both a rearward passage of lines and a forward passage of lines.

Execution-Rearward Passage of Lines

Intelligence

The passing force S2 will pass all information to the stationary force S2. The situation template in particular must be transferred to the unit that continues the fight. As the passage is under way, the passing force S2 must gradually transfer all responsibility to the stationary force S2. Although actual change of command will occur at a designated time or event, transfer of staff operations should be a gradual process so that continuity is not lost during the transfer of responsibility.

If time allows once the actual transfer of control has occurred, the passing staff should remain briefly to answer questions of the stationary staff. As in most transfers of responsibilities, some issues will have been omitted in the preparation for the change.

Maneuver

Control measures. Once the higher headquarters has issued the order for a unit to conduct a rearward passage of lines through a stationary MBA unit, the commander or S3 of the stationary force must establish and post to his overlay the following control measures:

The BHL, based on input from company team commanders as to how far forward they can shoot (day, night, and limited visibility), as illustrated in Figure 6-23.

Contact points are illustrated in Figure 6-24.

PPs, passage lanes, and location of AAs are illustrated in Figure 6-25.

A tentative obstacle plan in the area between the FEBA and BHL are illustrated in Figure 6-26.

Routes of march between the contact points and PPs, including SPs and RPs, as illustrated in Figure 6-27. As mentioned, either mutes or passage lanes maybe used to connect the contact points.

The stationary unit's battle plan (maneuver, fires TRPs, EAs, CSS information, patrol routes, and observation routes).

Expected time of passage.

Recognition signals in accordance with the SOI or as coordinated. Again, the higher commander must ensure compatibility.

Location of emergency CSS assets (medical, POL, and ammunition). As a minimum, the stationary unit commander should provide medical assistance, evacuation, and vehicle recovery.

Coordination. The stationary unit commander distributes the control measures to subordinate commanders, staff, and higher headquarters. In addition, his NCS enters the passing unit's NCS. The stationary unit commander sends, either by secure voice or encrypted message, the location of all contact points and the time to meet at one of them.

Next, the stationary unit commander designates the liaison party. As the stationary unit commander has the responsibility to secure the contact points, he knows he must send all or part of his scout platoon and some security forces. The liaison party should be composed of the battalion task force and company team XOs. Each XO has the complete passage plan. Each company XO should bring a security party (one or two tanks plus his own, or a rifle squad).

The security force (scouts) and liaison party may look like the one illustrated in Figure 6-28.

This element proceeds to the assigned contact points. The scouts establish OPs in the vicinity of the contact points. The XOs establish security at the contact points. All liaison parties must be prepared to exchange recognition signals upon arrival at the contact point. This is especially critical at night or during limited visibility. The occupied contact points with radio communications may look like those in Figure 6-29.

The passing unit commander takes similar action. He issues a WO to his subordinates and establishes a liaison team that is similar in organization and equipment to the stationary force's liaison team. The passing force's team should be led by the XO or S3. Each member must have a copy of the unit's defense (delay) plan plus the current enemy situation, SOI, and passing plan. The liaison team proceeds to the contact point.

Figures 6-30 through 6-33 illustrate a sample passage as well as several aspects of passage coordination. Figures 6-30 and 6-31 depict the passing commander's plans for maneuver and CSS, which the passing unit's liaison team will coordinate with the stationary unit's liaison team.

Based on the location of the contact points, the passing commander decides to withdraw the combat trains and heavy mortars (by section) upon occupation of BPs 70, 71, 72, and 73. It is recommended that BPs closest to the contact points be prestocked with Class I, III, and IV items. One half of the battalion's maintenance platoon, led by the BMO, will establish a UMCP near contact point 2 upon withdrawal of the combat trains. The other half, led by the maintenance sergeant, withdraws. Company teams will maintain their trains throughout the operation. Upon occupation of BPs 80, 81, 82, and 83, the CP will withdraw and collocate with the stationary CP. leaving the command group to run the battle. Scouts also will withdraw when BPs 80, 81, and 83 are occupied.

In addition to the plan to pass, the passing commander may be required to establish AA locations if not given by a higher headquarters. Once BPs 80, 81, 82 and 83 are occupied, the following should be occurring:

    • The combat trains, scouts, and one heavy mortar section should be moving along the passage lane to the AA.
    • The CP should be moving to collocate.
    • If required, the remaining maintenance platoon elements pass lines and move to the AA.

Finally, the passing commander plans the passage of his company teams. In Figure 6-31, forces in BP 80 disengage and move to contact point 1, those in BP 81 to point 2, and those in BPs 82 and 83 to point 3 with units in BP 82 moving first, situation permitting. BP 83 must overwatch BP 82. Forces in BPs 80 and 81 will disengage by platoons.

With this information, the passing unit's liaison team moves to the contact points. Once the stationary and passing liaison teams have met, the situation would look like that in Figure 6-32. Liaison teams exchange information face-to-face. A sample checklist of coordination information that must be exchanged is in Figure 6-33.

Once coordination is completed, the battalion task force XOs normally attend to other duties as prescribed by the irrespective commanders.

Passing individual elements. As individual elements approach occupied contact points, they must present a recognition signal. Here are a few examples:

    • Weapons pointed toward the enemy.
    • Signal panels secured to the front slope/bumper.
    • Reflective or engineer tape.
    • Range flags tied to antennas.
    • Flickering service drive lights and/or flashlights.
    • A radio call to the passing element XO station at the contact point.

Once at the contact point, the passing element's leader contacts his and the stationary element's representatives at the contact point. The passing element leader notifies these representatives face-to-face about--

    • The number and type of vehicles in his element.
    • The enemy situation.
    • Requirements for Classes III and IV and medical aid.

The stationary unit representative makes sure the passing leader understands the locations of all routes, PPs, lanes, obstacles, and friendly forces. The representative at the contact point then notifies the stationary unit by radio, wire, or pyrotechnic signal that a unit has arrived at the contact point and is passing. If radio or wire is used the stationary unit representative transmits the number and type of vehicles in the passing element. The passing unit moves quickly to the PP, maintaining all recognition signals.

Guides. The stationary unit has the responsibility to provide mounted guides. Normally, because only portions of passing units arrive at contact points and because they arrive at irregular intends, the stationary unit usually does not have sufficient troops and vehicles to guide everyone. As a general rule, only vehicles without radios are guided. The same is true at PPs. Guides may not be available. Passing units must know the locations of movement control measures. It is recommended that elements from nearby MBA forces serve as guides.

Enemy penetration. If the enemy attempts to penetrate the defensive positions prior to or during the passage, the following actions should be taken:

    • The passing unit becomes OPCON or attached to the stationary unit (by order of the next higher commander, normally the commander of the covering force).
    • MBA forces defend.
    • Passing units on the flank of the enemy penetration continue to pass. During their passage, they engage enemy forces from the flank.
    • The passing elements interrupted by the penetration are ordered to go to safe contact points (those not fighting) and also to make a passage.
    • The MBA commander may be ordered to allow passing units to continue to their AA.
    • The passing elements are assimilated into the MBA defensive plan. In this instance, the MBA commander positions passing units into in-depth positions.

Fire Support

The FSO will continue to control the battalion task force fires throughout the passage. In particular, he should ensure that the FS plan is executed in such a manner that the enemy is unable to close with the passing force or, in the worst case, become intermingled. Due to the vulnerability of the force while it is passing, fires should deny enemy observation and engagement of the passing force. This will include the use of both HE and smoke, plus the possibility of FASCAM to separate the forces or to seal off the passage lane once the passage is complete.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The TF engineer will ensure that the stationary force receives all the information concerning obstacles and contaminated areas located within the AO. This information will be critical to the stationary force should it consider any offensive operations. Some reserve demolitions may be planned to further assist in maintaining the separation of the passing battalion task force and the enemy.

Combat Service Support

The majority of CSS assets will be moved before the rearward passage begins. Those assets remaining forward to support the force, however, will be the first to move as the force begins its passage. Damaged vehicles that cannot be repaired or towed through the passage will be destroyed as will any supplies or ammunition. To ensure the proper evacuation and protection of CSS assets prior to the closing of the lane, the last elements to conduct the rearward passage should be a combat element and the scout platoon.

Command and Control

One critical consideration for this operation is positioning of key leaders and the designation of their responsibilities. A recommended solution is shown in Figure 6-34. The following considerations apply:

  • Battalion and company commanders control the battle and passage forward of the FEBA.
  • The battalion XO controls the AA and coordinates with higher headquarters for the next operation.
  • The battalion S3 collocates with the stationary unit or ensures collocation of a headquarters element with the stationary unit.
  • The battalion S1 and S4 establish the combat trains CP in the AA.
  • The BMO will remain with the UMCP rearward of the BHL to repair and recover as necessary.
  • The quartering party OIC (CSM, HHC XO, or S1) will assist the battalion XO in the control of the AA.
  • The battalion medical platoon leader establishes an aid station in the AA. Emergency medical aid is provided by the stationary unit some aid station assets may collocate with the stationary aid station.
  • Scouts will continue to screen throughout the passage, providing security to the passing battalion task force.
  • Company team XOs occupy contact points.

Execution-Forward Passage of Lines

Intelligence

The passing force S2 will continue to monitor the OI net of the stationary force during the passage of lines until the passing force has control of the battle. During the passage, the S2 will be receiving reports from both the stationary force and his own battalion scouts.

Maneuver

In a forward passage of lines as part of an attack both the stationary and passing unit commanders must know the passing unit's objective. This allows both to focus on lanes through the stationary unit, PPs, fire control measures and axes, and zones or directions of attack. This is especially important if the stationary unit is expected to provide overmatching fires.

Once the order to conduct the passage has been received, the reconnaissance step is the most critical for the passing commander. Generally both reconnaissance and liaison can be accomplished in the same step. The stationary commander will assist in this effort.

The stationary commander reviews the location of his elements in his sector, BP or zone. He then establishes at least two contact points on his rear boundary and routes that lead to the stationary commander's TOC. He designates scouts or combat elements to man the contact points and act as guides. Lastly, he notifies the passing unit of the contact point and mute location. There are two effective ways to do this:

  • By secure voice FM, either on the higher command frequency or the passing command frequency. The passing command frequency is recommended.
  • By sending a liaison team to the passing unit's TOC. The location of the passing unit's TOC, command frequency, and recognition signals are obtained from the higher headquarters.

Meanwhile, the passing force commander begins his troop-leading procedures and develops his plan. Also, he anticipates the stationary commander's notification concerning contact point and route locations by establishing a reconnaissance party and preparing his TOC and combat trains for movement. This element should include--

  • Battalion task force main CP.
  • Battalion task force combat trains.
  • All company team commanders with FISTs.
  • Scout platoon leader.
  • Battalion commander and FSCOORD.
  • A security force for each element (at least one tank section or two mechanized infantry squads per liaison/reconnaissance party).

The purpose of taking the main CP and all or part of the trains is early collocation for command, control, and CSS functions. XOs remain in the passing unit's location and prepare the battalion task force for the operation.

The stationary unit's scouts meet the passing force's liaison teams at the contact points. Passing forces may enter the stationary force's command net and announce their arrival. The stationary commander also designates a location near the main CP for passing forces to occupy during coordination at the headquarters.

The passing main CP and trains are initially collocated with like stationary force elements. The two battalion task force commanders coordinate the passage and the attack; then they proceed to a vantage point, normally in a forward stationary force company team position, to conduct reconnaissance. Any adjustments to the passage or the attack are done at the vantage point or at the collocated CPs.

Additional elements of coordination include--

  • Location of PPs and lanes.
  • Location of the attack position.

After coordination, the graphics should include the items shown in Figure 6-35.

The stationary unit elements should also know the order of march of the passing unit. They should know what passing unit elements will cross which contact point and at what time. Normally, LD/LC time is directed in the mission. Thus the time of entry into the stationary force area is a result of backward planning by the passing commander.

Finally, any last-minute change of plans or unforeseen events (such as enemy counterattacks) may require these adjustments--

  • The passing force, on order of the stationary force commander, occupies an on-order position and awaits further instructions.
  • The passing force occupies on-order BPs in the stationary force's sector and becomes OPCON to the stationary force and defends.

Fire Support

The passing force will send all calls for fire through the stationary force's supporting artillery until battle handover has occurred. Then the stationary force's supporting artillery may be used to reinforce the passing force's supporting batteries, assuming proper coordination and ammunition allocation were accomplished during the planning of the operation.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The TF engineer will ensure that all units receive the location of any known obstacle or contaminated area in the AOs. He will also be prepared to assist the stationary force engineers with opening and maintaining the passage lanes until the passage is complete.

Air Defense

Air defense assets will move with the passing force, while the stationary force maintains area air defense. The passing force's air defense assets will monitor the stationary force's air defense early warning net until battle handover has been effected. They will not move from the passage lane to stop and engage enemy aircraft unless the mess were coordinated in advance with the stationary force S3.

Combat Service Support

The CSS assets will attempt to remain as mobile as possible so that they can position themselves quickly once the passage is complete. Those support activities that must be operational during the passage should be handled by the stationary force with augmentation from the passing force's CSS elements.

Command and Control

During the passage, both main CPs will maintain their respective communications nets. If collocation is not possible, the passing unit commander and main CP enter the stationary unit's command net while monitoring the higher headquarter's net. Company teams maintain parent unit command nets. A typical radio net may look like the one in Figure 6-36.

Relief in Place

A relief is an operation in which a unit is replaced in combat by another unit. Responsibilities for the mission and assigned sector or zone of action are assumed by the incoming unit. Reliefs may be conducted during offensive or defensive operations and during any weather and light conditions. They are normally executed during limited visibility to reduce the possibility of detection.

Planning

Intelligence

The S2 of the battalion to be relieved plans for the relief in place by preparing a complete enemy situation template, to include likely enemy activities or probable course of action during the period allocated to conduct the relief.

Additionally, he should develop a deception plan that will provide the force with secrecy and surprise. Within this plan, all existing normal patterns of activity should continue to be followed. Similarly, the relieving unit should conform to this pattern until the relief is completed. Some examples include--

  • Location of LPs/OPs and local patrols.
  • Time of changing of the guards.
  • Radio check formats and times.
  • Time and duration of engine startup.
  • Time, method, and location for Classes I and III resupply.

Maneuver

Upon receipt of the order to conduct a relief and assume the relieved unit's mission, the battalion task force commander and staff analyze the factors of METT-T. This will determine the sequence that will be used. Based on that sequence, the commander and staff will formulate the remainder of the plan. They then begin their troop-leading procedures. Additional emphasis must be placed on communications, reconnaissance and liaison, and passage of command.

The relieving maneuver companies move into position and relieved companies move to their AAs by one of the following methods:

  • Relieving units one at a time.

--This method is the most time-consuming. The combat trains of the two units may be collocated to facilitate coordination and transfer of equipment, excess ammunition, fuel, water, and medical supplies. Initial company teams will relieve each other in order: 1, 2, 3, and 4.

--Relieving company team 1 moves along the center to the RP, and then (if the terrain allows) occupies a forward AA (generally, one AA position for each platoon). From there, the platoons will conduct the relief. When conditions do not permit the occupation of a forward AA, the relieving unit will either move directly to the occupied positions or move individual vehicles (with the assistance of guides) from hide positions established along the route of ingress.

--Next, relieved company team A withdraws along a separate mute to a rear AA. Once company team 1 is in position, company team 2 travels along its designated route to relieve company team B, repeating the relief process. This technique continues until each company team has been relieved.

--Relieving battalion task force scouts will normally semen a flank during the relief. Scouts of the relieved force may reconnoiter the mutes of egress and AAs, or they may be used as guides to assist in the rearward movement of the TF.

--The sequence of the relief can begin from the flanks or the center. The procedure is based on the enemy situation and the proximity of each BP to the enemy. Generally, if the enemy is likely to attack those areas not likely to receive the brunt of the contact will be relieved frost. In this way, the main defensive positions will remain strong as they are manned with people who know the terrain and the defensive plan.

  • Relieving units simultaneously. This method is the fastest, but it sacrifices secrecy because all units move at the same time. Once the command groups and combat trains are collocated and plans and equipment exchanged, the units of the relieving battalion task force move simultaneously along designated routes. Relief occurs simultaneously at each location. Relieved units withdraw immediately once they are relieved they do not wait for the other units of the battalion. At the company team level, however, them is no difference between this technique and sequential relief.
  • Relief by occupying in-depth and adjacent positions. This technique require terrain that will accommodate the physical location of another battalion within the same AOs, while also affording it the same direct-fire control measures. Considerations in planning the new defense include thorough reconnaissance of the relieving unit's BPs as well as the impact of the evacuated positions from the relieved unit. In execution, the relieving force will occupy its positions under radio-listening silence, while the relieved force maintains normal communications traffic. The actual relief will occur on order or by time/event. The relieved unit will then move either simultaneously or sequentially depending on the situation. Coordination between units is directed by higher headquarters and accomplished at contact points, designated by brigade.

Fire Support

Detailed coordination and liaison is conducted between the two units. Specifically, target lists are exchanged and arrangements are made for the relieving artillery to take the ammunition left by the relieved force's supporting artillery. The relieving force's artillery will be one of the first elements to arrive in the relieved force's AO and will fire in support of the existing DS battalion. The mortar platoon will do likewise; however, it must also be prepared to exchange base plates if tubes have been dismounted from the vehicles. All FS assets will remain in position to assist in the operation until all maneuver elements have been relieved.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The battalion engineers will also exchange information concerning the location of mines obstacles, and any fortifications. The obstacles will be verified to ensure that they remain in the condition described, and target folders will also be exchanged. Target turnover will be closely coordinated, particularly in terms of the conditions under which any of the prepared demolitions may be executed.

Air Defense

Battalion task force air defense will be managed similarly to FS. Air defense assets in support of the dieting battalion will position along with the relieved force's ADA assets. They will coordinate so that the additional ADA units will be able to enter the relieved force's ADA early warning net. Together, these forces will remain, providing area coverage until the relief is complete.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 of the relieving unit will coordinate with the battalion S4 of the relieved unit to establish the collocation of combat trains CPs, UMCPs, LRPs, and any other logistical organizations. The MSRs must be reconciled against the routes used for the actual relief to ensure that congestion does not occur along the route. Supplies of ammunition, Class I, and engineer material, as well as any unit prestocks, should be identified and incorporated into the CSS plan. If possible, the CSS assets should plan to move early, in anticipation of the relief. In this way, the relieved force's support organization may be able to establish operations in the rear AA designated for the relieved force.

Command and Control

Upon receipt of the order to conduct a relief in place, the following events occur.

  • The orders group (normally composed of the command group, S2, S4, company commanders, slice, scout platoon leader, mortar platoon leader, and battalion communications officer) moves to the TOC of the unit being relieved. The relieving unit commander and staff coordinate in person with the relieved unit commander and staff at the TOC.
  • If required the relieving unit XO moves the battalion to an AA to the rear of the relieved unit.
  • The relieving unit commander and staff, after coordination with the relieved unit, complete their command and staff actions at the TOC of the relieved unit. If time is available and the situation permits, the company commanders and scout and mortar platoon leaders can conduct a reconnaissance at this time. The TF commander then issues his order to the orders group.
  • Upon completion of the order, the command group remains at the TOC of the relieved unit until the relief is complete. The company commanders and platoon leaders return to their units, issue their orders, and move their units from the AA to positions as prescribed in the order. The battalion signal officer guides the TOC into its position; the S4 moves the combat trains into position.

Preparation

Intelligence

The relieving force S2 prepares for the operation by preparing a situation template from the most current information provided by the relieved force's S2. Specifically, the relieving S2 will want to ensure that he has identified every known enemy location and that his estimate of the enemy's most probable course of action is consistent with the manner in which the enemy has fought to date. It is important that the outgoing S2 describe the enemy's reaction to friendly battle techniques, enemy weaknesses, and identifiable actions or events that seem to trigger specific enemy actions. All this information should then be consolidated and presented to the incoming battalion task force commander.

Maneuver

In preparation for the relief in place, the company teams will move along their designated routes to the forward AAs. It is important that the order of march and the position of each vehicle in the forward AA facilitates the conduct of the relief. For example, the first tank in the column may move to the right-most position in the forward AA, under the condition that it will relieve the outgoing force's right-most tank.

Due to this requirement, the battalion commander should allocate enough time for his company commanders to coordinate with the outgoing commanders and for each company to assume its proper march order prior to execution.

Fire Support

Before the movement of the maneuver elements, the mortar platoon, supporting artillery, and their support elements will move into position and establish communications with the outgoing battalion's FS organization. They will fire as a reinforcing element to the current DS battalion or mortar platoon.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Once all the obstacles have been identified and verified and target folders exchanged, the incoming engineer will analyze the defensive plan of the outgoing TF to see if there are any areas in which he could improve the defense. The outgoing engineer will probably have his own fortification improvement plan that should be used as a point of departure for the analysis.

Because the CSS relief has already occurred, the incoming engineer may take advantage of the situation to ensure that the incoming company teams carry some of the additional engineer materials that may be needed immediately following the relief. Likewise, digging assets may be task organized to accompany the incoming teams so that they may begin improving the survivability of the force once the relief is complete. It is important to note, however, that these activities do not take precedence over the actual relief.

Air Defense

Like the FS, the incoming air defense assets will augment the existing area air defense of the outgoing battalion task force. Once in position and having entered the ADA early warning net, the ADA commander will ensure that each asset knows where it must reposition following the completion of the relief.

Combat Service Support

The CSS relief should occur as soon as possible after the issuing of the order. As a result, the assets will be in position to assist in the maintenance of movement along the assigned routes by positioning recovery and maintenance vehicles at appropriate locations. This is intended to provide assistance as much to the outgoing force as to the incoming force. Some of the outgoing force's CSS assets may be left behind to augment the incoming force's support organization, particularly if it appears that the outgoing force will require recovery support back to the rear AA.

Command and Control

During the preparation for the relief, the incoming commander will closely monitor the activities of the outgoing force as much as he does his own. For example, if an outgoing organization is having difficulty preparing to move, perhaps due to sniper fire, this will have an impact on the overall conduct of the relief. This is especially true if the commanders decide to conduct the relief sequentially. Delays in the outgoing force's preparation will affect the timetables established for the relief. Therefore, each company team commander must monitor the command net and be prepared to react to changes in the movement times.

Enemy activity may also change the mutually agreed-upon time for the change of command Should enemy activity increase, yet fall short of an attack, the two commanders may choose to change command at a later moment to maintain the advantage of having both forces' FS and ADA assets under continual control. Then once the majority of the force has been relieved the command may change.

Execution

Intelligence

The incoming S2 will pay close attention to the reports received by the headquarters during the relief. He will want to identify as early as possible the likelihood of enemy attack. This puts a real burden on the reconnaissance assets of the outgoing battalion task force. Generally, reconnaissance assets are one of the last elements to be relieved, during the relief, they must continue to conduct operations as they have done in the past. Therefore, the trick will be to increase the reconnaissance coverage without making it obvious to the enemy. In this regard, active reconnaissance assets such as GSR are not an option, as the increased activity can be easily detected Rather, additional passive operations maybe planned, yet positioned so they cannot be easily detected by the enemy.

Maneuver

The execution of the relief will follow one of the three techniques outlined previously in the planning portion. Regardless of the technique chosen, one of the most important aspects of the operation is secrecy. If appropriate, artillery preparation of enemy positions may mask vehicle movement noise, while smoke will prevent observation in selected areas. The most important technique, however, is to use the terrain to advantage. In this way, even if the enemy does detect movement, he still will not be able to ascertain what type of movement (forward passage for an attack, withdrawal, relief).

Another consideration is that while a great deal of emphasis is placed on quietly moving the incoming unit into the position, the same care must be taken by the outgoing unit. Certainly, after a period of extended combat, the temptation of the outgoing unit to "blast" out of the area is very great. Therefore the outgoing commanders must ensure that the same sound and light discipline taken by the incoming force applies to the outgoing. Discipline will be the deciding factor in the orderly and controlled rearward movement of the outgoing force.

Fire Support

During the relief, the supporting artillery may fire HE and smoke on known and suspected enemy locations however, this technique will generally be used when it is commensurate with the normal operations of the outgoing unit. Otherwise, such use of indirect fire will most likely be part of a deception plan conducted by higher echelons.

Should the enemy attack during the relief, FS will be controlled by the outgoing unit's FS organization. Similarly, the incoming mortars will fire to reinforce the outgoing mortars. Having distributed the FS plan and data in preparation for the operation, each FS unit will be able to support the force as it would in any defensive operation. In fact the additional artillery will significantly increase the lethality of the force within the sector. Therefore, as long as proper advance coordination and control is established, the force should be reasonably secure in its ability to defend its defensive positions.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The incoming and outgoing battalion task force engineers will monitor the handover of targets, verifying the status of each one in the process. Particularly in the case of lanes through minefields or other systems through which reconnaissance elements must pass, it is essential that the incoming barrier guards know the challenge and password or other signals. This will prevent premature closure of an obstacle or engagement of friendly reconnaissance forces.

Air Defense

The ADA elements will monitor the air defense early warning net during the relief, augmenting the existing ADA assets yet conducting operations as they would for the defense. Once the relief is complete, the incoming ADA elements will reposition to cover the battalion task force.

Combat Service Support

The CSS elements will support the operation in the same manner as for a rearward passage of lines. They will divide their assets to support the incoming force, while also allocating elements to assist in the rearward movement of the outgoing force. Once the incoming force is in position, each company will prepare consolidated reports so that the commander may readily assess the effectiveness of the force However, these reports and other activities that occur after operations or consolidation must be closely guarded so that they will not identify the fact that a fresh unit is in position.

Command and Control

If either force gains direct-free contact with an enemy force, it immediately notifies the collocated battalion task force CPs, which in turn will notify the higher headquarters conducting the relief. If the responsibility for the sector has not passed, the relieving unit will become OPCON to the relieved unit. As mentioned earlier, FS and air defense assets will continue their support based on who is in command of the sector. However, if responsibility has passed, the assets and staff of the relieved force may become OPCON to the relieving unit. In this capacity, the remaining elements will augment the relieving force or provide advice concerning enemy activity or the current battalion task force defensive plan. The point to remember is that although an enemy attack during the relief may cause confusion, it is nonetheless directed against essentially a reinforced battalion task force. By properly positioning forces through FRAGOs to take advantage of the additional firepower, the enemy will be hard-pressed to overwhelm the defending force through strictly conventional means.

Breakout From Encirclement

A breakout is an offensive operation conducted by an encircled force. A force is considered encircled when all ground routes of evacuation and reinforcement are cut off by the enemy.

Planning

Intelligence

The S2 begins planning for the breakout by determining the enemy situation surrounding the TF. Specifically, he will use the scout platoon and units manning the perimeter to report all enemy information. If the battalion is still in communication with the brigade or other friendly elements, he will also request their assistance in determining the size, location, and intentions of the enemy forces in proximity to the force. He will consolidate this information and present an estimate with accompanying situation template to the battalion commander.

Maneuver

The doctrine for battalion breakout planning is identical to planning for a brigade breakout (see Section I of this chapter). In planning a breakout for a battalion, the commander is faced with making the same decisions as well. Specifically, he must decide whether the forces on hand are sufficient to create a deception force, while at the same time allow for the protection of the force and its breakout mission. If the battalion task force has four companies on hand, this should be manageable. As an example, here are the forces required to conduct a battalion task force breakout and their commensurate strengths:

  • Rupture force, consisting of two company teams.
  • Reserve force, consisting of one company team.
  • Main body, consisting of the battalion task force, main CP, and CS and CSS elements.
  • Rear guard, consisting of one company team.
NOTE: The scout platoon may screen forward to assist the reserve force or assist the rear guard by maintaining contact with the enemy. The mortar platoon will initially support the rupture force, then assist the rear guard as they delay and disrupt.

The rupture force must comprise elements that are able to create a penetration and subsequently hold ground. Generally, that means infantry-heavy company teams. The reserve force has the responsibility to maintain momentum and to reinforce the rupture force if necessary; this points to an armor-heavy company team or tank company. The rear guard must be highly mobile, lethal, and survivable it is usually a reinforced tank company.

Security for the main body, in this example, will have to be provided by the forces themselves. To lessen the burden, the main body may travel close to the reserve force; this will allow some measure of protection outside of its own capability. Fortunately, most of the vehicles in the main body will be armored and equipped with mounted M2 machine guns.

Fire Support

Depending on the situation, artillery may not be able to fire in support of the breakout. The battalion task force FSCOORD must make the commander aware of this. If artillery is not available, the battalion has little recourse for indirect FS than to maximize the use of the battalion task force mortar platoon. As mentioned earlier, the mortars will be most effective during the initial stages of the operation as supporting fire for the rupture force. Once the reserve has been committed and the battalion task force maintains its momentum, the mortars will then support the rear guard. Remember, mortars will fire initially in support of offensive operations, then switch to defensive fires In the case of the latter, that may involve firing for the main body if that is where enemy contact is made; therefore. during movement, the mortar platoon must remain flexible and positioned to where it can protect the force from enemy attack from several directions.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The TF engineer has the responsibility to plan each type of operation. He will organize engineer assets in support of the rupture force to conduct mobility operations. Digging assets will prepare fighting positions to ensure the survivability of the TF, and countermobility assets will be given the mission to prepare obstacles in support of the rear guard and, if time allows, to the flanks. Figures 6-37 through 6-39 provide examples of how a battalion task force engineer may organize his assets in support of the breakout.

Air Defense

The air defense assets will initially establish an area air defense plan for the battalion task force area. This will be done via a FRAGO issued by the air defense platoon leader. Once the area is secure, he will attempt to establish or maintain communications with the larger force so that he can take advantage of the air defense early warning net. Next, he will plan to organize his ADA assets so that he can support the task organization for the breakout. This generally means attaching assets to each of the elements. The difference between this and other offensive operations lies in the fact that the main body is considered to be a maneuver element.

Combat Service Support

The CSS elements that most likely would be included in a battalion task force encirclement consist of--

  • All company team combat trains.
  • UMCP and LRP elements forward of the battalion task force combat trains.
  • Battalion task force combat trains.

In planning the breakout, the battalion S4 will want to maximize the use of his limited recovery and evacuation assets. Therefore he will consolidate all the CSS assets and place them under his command. The only exception to this rule is the establishment of combat trains for the rear guard, usually an augmentation of existing company team trains. This organization allows CSS assets to be used where and when they are needed, acting as cleanup for the rupture, reserve, and leading main body forces. The rear guard, on the other hand, will continue to operate as per CSS doctrine, but with perhaps more confidence due to the additional assets.

Command and Control

The battalion task force commander will plan his control of the battle based on the organization of the force and the missions to be accomplished by each. Because the intent of the breakout is to attack out of the encirclement, those forces participating in that aspect of the operation will be considered the main effort while the rear guard and perhaps, initially, the diversionary force will be the secondary effort. As such, the commander will position himself where he can best control the main effort, while the S3 will probably observe the rear guard. In this way, the S3 can act as a liaison between the battalion task force and rear guard commanders. It is critical that each understands the location and situation of the other throughout the operation, or the force could become fragmented or condensed to the point of decisive engagement.

Preparation

Intelligence

The S2 prepares for the breakout by ensuring that his reconnaissance assets are positioned to provide early warning to the force as it begins the operation. This includes the scout platoon as well as company LPs/OPs around the occupied perimeter. The S2's primary responsibility to the commander lies in his ability to anticipate possible enemy responses to the breakout (counterattack, reinforcement of enemy positions, use of chemical munitions).

Maneuver

The commander will issue his order, probably by FRAGO, as time is essential to the success of the operation. He will conduct a radio rehearsal; however, the commander must be mindful of the trade-off between the loss of security due to an increased radio signature and the time that would be lost in conducting some type of physical rehearsal with the commanders (sand table, walk-through). The decision is not an easy one and will be primarily based on the situation presented by the S2.

Fire Support

If the battalion FSCOORD is still able to make contact with the supporting artillery, k will attempt to input as many targets as possible before the attack begins. There will not be time to prepare a formal FS plan; therefore, he will ensure that each company team FSO has each target number, location, and description as coordinated with the FDC. Should a company team FSO not have digital contact with the FSO, he will have to use the battalion task force VFMED as a relay to the FDC. A company team FSO who wishes to fire on a target of opportunity must be aware that the response time for artillery, as well as adjustment time, may be extended if he does not have direct contact with the FDC.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

In preparation for the breakout, the battalion task force engineer will ensure that the proper task organization of the engineer assets has taken place. He will spot-check the elements that are designated in support of the main effort to verify that they are prepared to properly conduct their mission. Similarly, he will want to ensure that countermobility operations are occurring as planned. Any areas in which the engineers are having difficulty should be reported to the battalion task force commander so that can make up the difference with the positioning of combat forces.

Air Defense

The battalion task force air defense officer will check via the ADA early warning net and/or his own ADA communications net that each element is "on line" and prepared to defend. He will verify that the task organization is complete and that each element is prepared to provide protection to its respective element while on the move.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 will account for all the CSS elements that have been consolidated under his command. He will establish a chain of command and issue a frequency from which he can control the formation as it moves. The S4 will ensure that vehicles with externally mounted weapons are interspersed throughout the formation and that air guards are posted to ensure security. He will also ensure that the trains in support of the rear guard are adequately "plussed up" with whatever additional supplies and equipment are required.

Command and Control

The commander will conduct the radio rehearsal, ensuring that the commander of each element fully understands his responsibility within the parameters of the commander's intent. He will position himself where he can observe and control the main effort, initially behind the rupture force. Also, the S3 will move to the vicinity of the rear guard and conduct a radio check with the battalion task force main CP and the commander. The commander must ensure that all instructions are given clearly and briefly. The breakout is clearly an operation that is based on simplicity of execution, yet is made difficult by the simultaneous C2 operations. The commander will designate PLs for use by the attack forces as well as the rear guard. In this way, through constant coordination with the S3, he will be able to maintain the integrity of the battalion without sacrificing the momentum of the operation. Figure 6-40 illustrates the commander's breakout plan.

Execution

Intelligence

As the battalion task force begins the breakout, the S2 will monitor the enemy situation from two perspectives. First, he will concentrate on the enemy's response to the breakout. Specifically, he will attempt to identify possible counterattack forces or probable enemy defensive positions along the direction of attack. As the battalion task force moves, he will continually advise the commander of the enemy situation, to include possible courses of action. Second, the S2 will monitor the enemy situation faced by the rear guard. In this case, the S2 will be particularly interested in the enemy's ability to maintain contact with the force. The primary concern to the battalion as a whole is whether or not the rear guard can keep the enemy from closing with the main body. As a result if the enemy seems especially strong and tries to press the attack beyond the rear guard's ability to delay, the S2 must notify the commander, who in turn must either press his attack more violently and assist the rear guard with more combat or CS elements.

Maneuver

The rupture force begins the breakout by attacking a clearly defined objective, usually an identified enemy weakness, but ultimately an objective that allows for a strong defense against enemy counterattack. The rupture force destroys enemy encountered en route, consolidates and reorganizes on the objective, and then establishes hasty defensive positions, securing the shoulders of the penetration.

Once a gap has been created, the reserve force will pass through the rupture force and maintain the momentum of the maneuver. At this point, the battalion task force is set for a movement to contact formation with the reserve force leading, followed on either flank by elements of the rupture force. The main body, containing the trains and CP, is within this protective wedge, while the rear guard completes the all-around security.

Although the battalion task force moves as in a movement to contact, the execution differs in that the force does not want to establish contact with the enemy; rather it wants to bypass enemy resistance in an effort to link up with the main force. Therefore, enemy elements encountered en route will be fixed and bypassed or, if possible, avoided altogether. In this operation speed is essential; the faster the force travels, the less likely the enemy will be able to adequately respond. However, the commander must maintain the integrity of the formation and avoid maneuvering recklessly into an enemy EA. As a result, if the battalion task force must move a considerable distance, the scout platoon should be given the mission to screen forward of the main body.

Fire Support

The FSCOORD will manage the FS as the force maneuvers. Initially, he will ensure an effective preparatory fire is directed against enemy elements in the vicinity of the rupture force's objectives. Once that is accomplished, he will monitor the situation and direct fires where he can best protect the force, whether that is in support of the reserve as a lead element or in support of the rear guard. If DS artillery is available, the FSCOORD may use it to fire primarily in support of the attack. This allows the mortar platoon to fire exclusively in support of the rear guard.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Mobility assets will move initially with the rupture force, assisting as required in breaching operations. Once the objectives have been secured, the mobility teams will move to support the reserve force as it moves forward to assume the lead of the formation. Simultaneously, countermobility assets will continue to establish obstacles in support of rear guard operations.

Air Defense

The air defense assets will travel with their assigned maneuver element, providing protection as required. They pay particular attention to protecting the area of penetration, where the forces will become congested as the reserve force moves forward.

Combat Service Support

The S4 will control the movement of the trains, attempting to keep them as close as possible to the reserve force without exposing them to enemy observation and direct fire. The recovery and evacuation assets will attempt to follow in trace or to the flanks of each of the forward maneuver elements. From this position, they will provide support as needed during the movement. The trains supporting the rear guard will move just forward of the force and fall back only to tow a vehicle or extract wounded. If possible, wingmen should do as much as possible to rescue damaged vehicles or evacuate wounded, due to the longer reaction time required by the trains. However, if trains assets are required, the rear guard will remain in place until the assets have accomplished their mission and are once again forward of the rear guard. This is a very complicated operation to accomplish effectively and will require close coordination and control of the rear guard elements.

Command and Control

The commander will observe the progress of the rupture force and the movement forward of the reserve, while at the same time monitoring the activities of the rear guard. Once the battalion task force begins its movement in a movement to contact formation, the communication and coordination between the commander and the S3 become absolutely critical. If the two forces begin to separate from each other, it could create an assailable flank that an enemy counterattack force could exploit with lethal results. As a result the commander will control the movement via PLs. For example, knowing that the reserve force is crossing a particular PL, the commander should ensure that the reserve is likewise crossing an appropriate PL, which ensures the battalion task force is maintaining its proper interval. This will be extremely difficult to accomplish, due to the unpredictable nature of enemy contact either in front of or behind the formation and the natural tendency of the forward positioned forces to travel too fast and consequently outdistance themselves from the main body and rear guard. Therefore it is essential that each force commander understands his responsibilities with respect to the force and is aware of the need to maintain force integrity, often at the expense of speed.

Linkup Operations

A linkup is the meeting of two or more friendly ground forces that have been separated by the enemy.

Planning

Intelligence

Once the battalion task force S2 has been given the linkup mission, he will begin his IPB process. Knowing the higher commander's intent will be especially important in the preparation of the decision support template. For example, if the nature of the operation is to conduct an envelopment of an enemy force, then the analysis of the enemy's most probable course of action will be oriented on the enemy's actions once he has learned that he has been encircled. On the other hand, if the operation is designed to link up with a friendly force that has been encircled, then the enemy's most probable course of action would more likely center around the containment of the force and the prevention of the linkup. Regardless of the friendly mission, however, the S2 will prepare a situation template that identifies known enemy weaknesses and a decision support template that allows the commander to anticipate the enemy's response to the offensive operation.

Maneuver

The commander will plan the linkup in the same manner as a deliberate attack or movement to contact, based on the strength and disposition of the enemy. However, linkup operations must be planned to facilitate maximum flexibility, especially if the operation involves two moving forces. Control measures may be changed several times during the operation, and detailed recognition signals (for both daylight and limited visibility) must be planned to preclude friendly forces from engaging one another. Units conducting linkup operations must closely coordinate actions prior to and during the linkup operation to ensure that all units involved are aware of the location and actions of all units.

Actual linkup maneuver graphics are the same as offensive operations graphics with the exception of the linkup point and the use of RFLs and CFLs. Proper selection of a linkup point is essential to the success of the operation. Besides being easily identifiable, the linkup point must also be rather inconspicuous, or the enemy will be able to predict the location of the coordination and quickly target it with artillery. Also the location should be relatively isolated from direct fire and observation of possible enemy elements located on surrounding terrain. Alternate linkup points must meet the same criteria and should be reconnoitered to the same degree as the primary linkup points.

In preparing his plan, the commander must pay special attention to his time analysis. The linkup has a better chance of success when the operation is begun early. The trade-off for time against preparation must be carefully balanced to ensure the battalion task force does not jump headlong into the operation without carefully considering the enemy situation and the inherent capabilities of the force.

Fire Support

The battalion task force FSCOORD will prepare the FS plan, devoting special attention to the fire control measures assigned to protect the force while on the move. The proper emplacement and control of RFLs and CFLs will be critical to the mission. As the battalion maneuvers, these control measures should be changed periodically to keep pace with the operation. It is essential that each force participating in the linkup has a copy of the other's FS plan. This may be difficult to accomplish if the linkup is designed to free an encircled force. Usually, the FS plan is sent to the other force via DMD; however, if the communications link is not in place, the battalion task force FSCOORD will have to use any other radio net to transfer the information. The danger, of course, is that this is very time-consuming and may not be secure. When this technique is used the FSCOORD should try to reduce the target list to "bare bones." Regardless of which method is used, RFLs and CFLs, plus the times and signals to control them, are difficult to transmit over the air therefore, care must be taken when describing their location and use.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The battalion task force engineer will advise the commander of the optimum task organization and use of these assets in the linkup. Generally, they should be the same as for any offensive operation. Initially, the most important mission of the engineers will be mobility operations. Therefore, the engineer assets should be placed forward in the formation, where they can quickly respond to obstacles. Once the force has completed the linkup, the engineers may then engage in operations suited to a possible change in mission, for example, survivability and countermobility operations in support of the hasty defense.

Air Defense

The battalion task force air defense assets will be organized as in a movement to contact. The priority of protection will be based on the commander's assessment of the force's vulnerability and criticality of each of its elements. Usually, the commander will want to safeguard his C2 as well as those elements essential to the mission, such as breaching assets. Each company team will be given a Stinger team for protection, while the Vulcans protect choke points or the element given the highest priority of protection.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 will have a particularly difficult task in preparing for the linkup. In addition to organizing the force for an offensive operation, he must also plan to transport additional supplies and materials, especially if the mission is to link up with an encircled force. The tempo of the operation will be very fast; therefore, the S4 must plan carefully to maximize the road network as well as any other transportation assets that may be on hand. He must select UMCP and LRP locations that support forward evacuation during the maneuver and must take extra precautions to safeguard each of these locations. The enemy will attempt to counterattack to blunt or cut off the linkup force. Under conditions of extended lines of communications, CSS assets may become extremely vulnerable.

Command and Control

Initially, the commander should establish liaison with the commander of the counterpart force. In the case of a double envelopment, this should be easier to accomplish than when attempting to free an encircled force. Regardless of the method of liaison (visual or audio), the linkup commander should attempt to gain as much information as the enemy will about the situation, composition, and capability of his counterpart force. This background information will assist the commander greatly during the execution phase of the operation, as he assesses the situation. In particular, the commander will attempt to gauge the tempo of the operation based on the speed and effectiveness of the other force.

In the actual C2 of the operation, the commander will use the same procedure as for a deliberate attack or movement to contact with one significant difference. While attacks are certainly part of the linkup, the ultimate goal of the linkup is to pin with the other friendly force. As a result, the commander must ensure that the recognition signals used by both forces are appropriate for the situation and easily within the capability of his company teams to execute.

Also, the commander must think at least one step beyond this operation to ensure that his force will be poised to execute any series of missions once the linkup is complete. A hasty defense and continuation of the attack are two options most likely to be executed. Therefore, the commander must not only be prepared to fight for the immediate goal but also be prepared to sustain operations for the subsequent mission.

Preparation

Intelligence

Once the staff has completed the decision support template and briefed the commander on the enemy situation, the S2 will then ensure that he has good communications with his counterpart S2. Together, the two S2s will provide information to each other in an effort to develop as complete a picture of the enemy situation as possible. The S2 will also coordinate with the scout platoon leader to ensure that the reconnaissance plan is fully understood and that he is mindful of potential danger areas within the AO.

Maneuver

The commander will have little or no time to conduct a level three rehearsal due to the immediacy of the situation. However, he should as a minimum take the time to walk the commanders through the operation. As for any offensive operation, the battalion commander will want to ensure that each company commander and special platoon leader understands the guidance and is prepared to make decisions and operate within those parameters. Bypass criteria actions on contact, and other actions within the greater linkup operation should be reviewed. In particular, the commander must impress upon his subordinates the notion that they should not become distracted or enticed away from their primary mission, namely the linkup.

Of all the activities that are reviewed, however, the most important is the linkup operation. In this regard, the commander should ensure that each element understands the recognition signals used to make the actual linkup, the fire control restrictions, and the enemy's most probable course of action and how to defeat it. In fact, unless the battalion task force has had to fight its way to the other force, the scout platoon will be the most likely element to establish initial contact and guide the remainder of the battalion into position. For this reason, the commander will want to give this unit special attention.

Fire Support

In preparation for the operation, the battalion task force FSCOORD will ensure that each company team FSO has the FS plan and understands the signals and conditions under which restrictive measures will be emplaced or lifted Additionally, he will confirm the same information with the counterpart force prior to the commencement of the operation. During the commander's rehearsal, the FSCOORD will verify the use of priority targets and ensure that each commander understands who has control of the target and when. The mortar platoon leader will demonstrate that he will be able to maintain support of the lead element of the battalion throughout the operation. The commander may choose to have the mortars fire in support of the scout platoon if the enemy situation warrants, in which case the mortar platoon leader must coordinate movement with the scout platoon leader. Once the linkup is complete, the mortars should also be prepared to quickly establish firing points in support of the hasty defense or to move to support the new lead element as the battalion continues to advance.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The battalion task force engineer will verify the proper task organization and attachment of engineer assets. Next he will inspect the engineers to ensure that they have all the equipment necessary to accomplish their mission. Specifically, he will want to ensure the amount of each type of ammunition and demolition material available. This serves two functions: it confirms that the engineers are prepared to execute, and it gives the battalion task force engineer a complete understanding of the capabilities of the force. The latter may become very important in making recommendations after extended combat, Finally, he will review breaching drills with the force to ensure that the engineers and their maneuver element are able to work as a team.

Air Defense

The air defense officer for the battalion will conduct communications checks with each of the ADA elements to ensure that each is prepared to receive notification concerning enemy aircraft via the ADA early warning net. He will also check with each element to ensure that those accompanying the maneuver companies are under armor. If possible, extra Stinger missiles will be carried to avoid the need for immediate resupply once on the objective.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 will review the concept for logistical support with the company team 1SGs and the support platoon leader. In particular, he will want to ensure that each understands the routes they are to use, the direction of travel for each route, the location of the UMCPs and LRPs, and the events or signals that will trigger the activation of new UMCPs and LRPs. Advisories will be issued concerning controlled supply rates and other supply constraints. Conversely, additional supplies that are to be carried to the encircled force for immediate supply will be identified and coordinated for pickup.

Command and Control

After walking the company team commanders through the linkup rehearsal, the commander will use the remaining time to review his own actions with the S2. He will ensure that he gets the best use from the decision support template, particularly in assisting his timely decision making. He will especially want to verify the time-distance analysis. Once that is complete, the commander will spot-check the companies to assess the confidence of the men and their preparedness for the mission. The commander will want to make sure that each commander is satisfied that he has all that he needs to accomplish the mission and that he fully understands the commander's intent.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the operation begins, the battalion task force S2 will execute in the same manner as for any offensive operation. However, he will attempt to establish or remain in contact with his counterpart S2 throughout the maneuver. As the scout platoon and other elements report enemy actions, the S2 will add this information to the situation template and relay the information to his counterpart. The S2 will advise the commander periodically throughout the operation and upon the identification of any potentially significant threat. In particular, the S2 will attempt to identify enemy counterattack forces that may attempt to sever the battalion's lines of communications. He will also be on the lookout for reinforcement of enemy positions located between the converging forces in an effort to deny the linkup and blunt the attack. Once the linkup is complete, the S2 will coordinate with the scout platoon for reconnaissance operations in support of the new mission.

Maneuver

The battalion task force will maneuver toward the objective as in any offensive operation, such as a movement to contact or deliberate attack. As the battalion draws near to its counterpart, the tempo of the operation will slow as elements from each force reach either a limit of advance or achieve line of sight with the RFL (it is imperative that this control measure is easily identified). Predesignated elements, usually the scout platoon, will move forward, displaying the predetermined recognition signals and effecting the formal face-to-face coordination.

In the meantime, elements from both forces must be prepared to orient in any direction to provide security to the coordinating elements and to anticipate an enemy attack. If the operation is a double envelopment encircling an enemy force, the enemy will place its full weight against the point of coordination because that is where the forces are weakest. Likewise, enemy elements outside the pocket will counterattack to reestablish a gap and extract as many elements as possible from the encirclement.

If the linkup is designed to free an encircled friendly force, then the enemy can be counted on to launch counterattacks designed to sever the lines of communication and create an even greater encircled force, or simply to sever the two forces into smaller-size elements where they may in turn be destroyed in detail.

Regardless of the objective of the linkup, the primary concern remains the consistent all-around defense of the force throughout the operation. Therefore, hasty defensive positions must be quickly established the moment the force makes contact with its counterpart and the momentum of the operation begins to slow. However, if the linkup force determines to make contact only long enough to coordinate and continue the attack, while follow-on forces actually tend to the needs of an encircled force, the hasty defensive positions are used more as an echeloned halt for quick perimeter security.

Fire Support

A CFL will be established along the maneuver route for each force or around the encircled force with an RFL becoming effective as the two forces close. Artillery will be free to engage all enemy forces outside of these restrictions for the duration of the operation or until notified otherwise. The battalion task force FSCOORD will execute the FS plan as for offensive operations, but will remain prepared to revert to defensive FS the moment the force begins to slow for the linkup. He must pay close attention to the location of each company team in the hasty defense, to include the location of reconnaissance elements or outposts. With this information and enemy situational intelligence provided by the S2, he will quickly establish additional targets in support of the battalion task force defense.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will conduct breaches and maintain the MSRs as required for offensive operations Should the commander decide to defend once the linkup is complete, the engineers will immediately revert to countermobility and survivability missions. Speed will be essential; therefore, engineer equipment and barrier materials should be pushed forward throughout the operation.

Air Defense

The ADA support will be executed as in offensive operations during the initial stages of the maneuver. If the forces defend on linkup, the ADA commander may decide to revert to any area defense while also providing protection along the MSR. In this situation, the ADA elements will quickly occupy appropriate positions along identified air avenues of approach and coordinate their defensive plan with the ADA elements of the other friendly force.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 will push the CSS elements to keep pace with the operation and anticipate the needs of the force. LOGPACs will be pushed forward throughout the operation, and vehicles with emergency resupply of ammunition and fuel will be on standby as close as possible to the maneuver elements. The point to remember in offensive operations is the shorter the turnaround time, the better the support and the faster the formation. Therefore the S4 is key in continually pushing the support forward and monitoring the consumption of each element during the operation. Once the linkup is complete, resupply should be on the spot to bring the force up to strength. This maybe difficult to accomplish, particularly under enemy counterattack, but if the battalion was forced to fight all the way to the linkup point, it will most certainly need more ammunition if it is to sustain the fight.

Command and Control

The commander will position himself where he can best observe and control the battle, probably behind the lead company. As the two forces close to linkup, he must be prepared to accept heavy fighting. Moreover, he must look ahead to the next operation, whether it is to continue the attack or to defend. At this point in the battle, positioning of the force will be critical, specifically the areas adjacent to the linkup point. The commander must ensure that his most forward elements physically tie in with the counterpart force and that mutually supporting interlocking fires are achieved.

Coordination with the counterpart commander must be accomplished quickly and tersely. Each commander must be prepared to offer the other a quick status of his force's strength and fighting capacity as well as his personal assessment of the situation. Together, this information will be the basis for deciding the units' new missions. Also, in the case of a linkup to free an encircled force, this information will assist the battalion S4 in transporting needed supplies and materials to the counterpart force.

Speed will be essential to the success of this mission, but not without proper reconnaissance throughout, The commander must balance between spurring on the force to make the greatest gains quickly and being careful not to fall prey to the enemy in the maneuver. These considerations, plus the expected high intensity of fighting, mean the commander must lead the battalion, making quick assessments of the situation and directing (personally if need be) the actions of the force. The linkup is clearly one of the most difficult and dangerous operations to execute.

Hasty Water Crossings

Hasty water crossings are normally used by the battalion task force to maintain momentum. A hasty water crossing is a decentralized operation to cross an inland body of water such as a canal, lake, or river. These operations include crossings by tactical bridging or by swimming or foaling vehicles. The battalion normally participates in a deliberate or retrograde river crossing as part of a larger force.

Planning

Intelligence

Once the S2 receives the mission, he will immediately coordinate with the battalion task force engineer representative the scout platoon, and the GSR to conduct a reconnaissance of the river line to identify possible crossing sites for the force.

The S2, of course, will also be concerned with the enemy composition and disposition within the area of interest. Generally, a hasty water crossing is not conducted at battalion task force level unless the enemy resistance is weak. Therefore it is important that the S2 creates a reconnaissance plan that will confirm or deny that assumption. The sooner the commander has an understanding of the nature of the enemy's defensive capability, the physical characteristics of the river, and the proposed crossing points the better informed he will be to create an effective river-crossing plan.

Maneuver

The battalion commander will begin by issuing a FRAGO to his force. In particular, he will want to provide as much time as possible for the units to prepare their vehicles for swimming or fording. At this point, the actual conditions of the river may not be known; however, the more time the force has to prepare for the worst, the more flexible they will be once called upon to execute.

Having received the initial reconnaissance reports from the scout platoon with input from the engineers, the commander, S2, and battalion task force engineer will begin to plan the operation. The most serious concern in the actual river crossing comes when comparing the physical characteristics of the river to the capabilities of the force. For example, a river that exceeds a depth of 1.2 meters requires the use of bridges or rafts if the force is to cross it. Bradleys, on the other hand can swim, but only when the current does not exceed 4 knots. A further consideration is that it takes between 45 minutes to 2 hours for a crew to prepare the vehicle for swimming. Generally, a battalion task force does not have the necessary engineer equipment for a river crossing; these are division and corps assets. The point to remember is that if the river cannot be forded or swum or if an AVLB cannot be used to cross the obstacle (even by laying it in the center of the river and fording to and from it), it will not be a hasty river crossing.

The commander will determine the location of crossing sites with respect to defensible terrain on the far side of the river. Usually, this involves several sites at the TF level in order to avoid having the enemy mass fires against the entire force. The defensible terrain then becomes the objectives for the assault force.

As an operation, the hasty river crossing maybe broken into the following steps:

  • Advance to the river.
  • Cross the river.
  • Advance from the exit bank.
  • Secure the bridgehead.

The battalion task force will be organized to form the following forces:

  • The assault force is usually a mechanized infantry company given the mission to make the initial assault of the river and advance from the exit bank to the final objectives. The assault force may be reinforced by the follow-on force before making the assault on the final objective.
  • The follow-on force is usually a tank company and mortar platoon that will provide overwatch and suppression for the assault force, then reinforce the assault force for bridgehead security.
  • The support force is usually an engineer force that will develop the crossing sites, emplace crossing means, control units moving into and away from the crossing site, and assist the assault force to the objective through mobility operations.
  • CSS will sustain the assault and subsequent assault to the bridgehead.

This organization potentially allows a battalion task force to make two crossings simultaneously against light enemy resistance. However, in the case of a stronger enemy, the commander will most likely increase the size of both the assault and follow-on forces.

Fire Support

The battalion FSO will develop an FS plan that supports each phase of the river-crossing operation. This includes both offensive and defensive FS control measures as well as munitions. For example, in the assault creasing of the river, smoke and HE will be used to suppress the enemy positions that can influence the crossing site as well as mask the movement of the force. Once the bridgehead has been established, defensive fire control measures such as FPFs and FASCAM may be freed in an effort to protect the force. Finally, as the assault force continues its advance to the final objectives, the fire plan will again revert to an offensive nature.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The battalion task force engineer will begin, as mentioned earlier, by sending a river reconnaissance team with the scout platoon to determine the best locations to conduct the crossing and to verify the condition of the river. Meanwhile, the engineer commander will begin to assess the equipment on hand and the capability of the assets to support the crossing. For example, if an existing bridge has been damaged, then an AVLB may make the structure strong enough to support the weight of tanks, or if the river is just a few inches too deep, then the AVLB maybe placed in the river where vehicles may then ford.

Air Defense

The battalion air defense officer has two major concerns during the river crossing: the protection of the force and the protection of the crossing site equipment. To this end, he will organize his Stinger teams and Vulcans so that some will be attached to each maneuver element to provide protection and others will be positioned to protect the river-crossing site. In the case of the latter, generally a gun-missile mix at the crossing site is favorable.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 has several major responsibilities with respect to the river crossing. He must ensure that the support forces have all the equipment needed to emplace an adequate crossing site. Also, he must ensure that the assault force receives a resupply of ammunition and other expended supplies as soon as possible after securing their objective. The crossing sites themselves must be kept free for movement as much as possible therefore, recovery vehicles should be positioned at each crossing entrance. Similarly, the aid station should be placed as close as possible to the crossing site so that casualties sustained by the assault force can be treated quickly upon their return by raft or vehicle.

Command and Control

The commander will be responsible for the overall operation; however, he may place the XO in the position of the crossing area commander, while his S3 accompanies the assault force and supervises securing the bridgehead. Throughout the operation, it will be imperative that the officers communicate with each other. For example, if the assault force is unable to immediately clear enough terrain for the follow-on force due to enemy resistance, then the battalion commander must increase the artillery support and the direct FS of the follow-on force and hold the follow-on force in position. Should forces move too quickly and begin to pile up on the far bank, they will become a lucrative target for enemy air strikes, artillery and counterattack. The key to this operation will be maintaining momentum while also maintaining control of the crossing.

Preparation

Intelligence

The S2 will continue to update his enemy situation template from the reports of the scout platoon. If possible, some scout elements should attempt to reach the far bank of the river to provide an accurate assessment of the enemy situation. This may be a high-risk operation, however, depending heavily on METTT. As the commander war-games his river-crossing plan and as he rehearses the plan with his subordinate commanders, the S2 will portray the enemy's likely course of action. Generally, the battalion task force can expect a fierce enemy defense as the assault force attempts to cross the water, followed by local enemy counterattacks to deny the establishment of a foothold. This latter effort will be augmented by heavy artillery fire

Maneuver

The commander will have some time to rehearse, but not to the extent of conducting a level three rehearsal. Due to the time it will take to prepare vehicles for swimming, the commander may use this time to walk the company commanders and special platoon leaders through the operation after issuing the OPORD. In particular, he will want to ensure that the command of the assault force and the follow-on force is clearly understood. Also, the battalion task force commander will check that each subordinate commander understands where and how he is to cross and his assigned objective on the far riverbank.

Contingency planning will be an important aspect of the rehearsal, due to the possibility of losses during the assault crossing of the river. The battalion task force commander will want to ensure that in the event of losses to bridging or rafting equipment, the company team commanders understand what new measures to adopt to maintain the momentum of the operation.

Fire Support

The battalion task force FSO will simultaneously rehearse the FS plan with the company team commanders as they walk through the river crossing. The FSO will ensure that during every phase of the operation each commander understands who has priority of fires. Additionally, any priority targets that may be assigned should also be exercised for timeliness and to check the conditions under which they are fired The mortar platoon should receive the special attention of the FSO, especially in the case of water obstacles that may severely restrict the ability of the platoon to engage enemy forces once the initial bridgehead has been established.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will prepare for the operation by ensuring they have all the materials needed to conduct the crossing. Their preparedness is the linchpin of the entire operation. Because their initial responsibility will be to clear the far side of the river and to prepare entrance and exit ramps, some of the engineers will accompany the assault force while others remain behind to construct the rafts or bridges. The engineers should rehearse their actions to ensure they are integrated into the activities of the maneuver forces

Air Defense

The ADA commander will ensure that the assets are task organized and located with their appropriate unit. Those assets that will be located to protect the crossing site should confirm their positions. Other normal preparation checks will be made to include communications on the ADA early warning net.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 will conduct a CSS rehearsal simultaneously with the maneuver rehearsal. Like the maneuver rehearsal, the CSS rehearsal is designed to be a walk-through following the issuance of the battalion task force OPORD. The battalion task force S4 will want to ensure that the resources are properly allocated and that recovery, supply, and evacuation assets are positioned as directed. In particular, the S4 will want to ensure that river-crossing material is being brought forward in preparation for the operation and that it is located near the crossing site, disguised from enemy view. Contents of preloaded push packages should be reemphasized individual forces require differing resupply items based on the nature of their mission.

Command and Control

Due to the reduced space available for movement at the crossing site, the increased vehicular traffic, and the possible influx of other arms and services, C2 problems are very possible during a hasty crossing. Once the crossing site has been secured, control of elements in and out of the crossing site is usually accomplished by the battalion task force XO acting as the crossing site control officer All of the available assets are used to cross the maximum number of vehicles and troops in the shortest amount of time, The organic means available to the battalion task force to conduct this crossing are the M113, M2/M3, and M577, which all have the capability to swim.

The commander will carefully watch the rehearsal to identify any areas that may be streamlined to make the river crossing more efficient Also, he will look for vulnerabilities and attempt to make minor changes to the plan in an effort to make the operation more effective. He must avoid making severe changes that could confuse the company team commanders.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the operation begins, the battalion task force S2 will periodically update the commander concerning changes in the enemy situation. The scout platoon will be counted on initially to provide spot reports of enemy positions and activities on the far side of the river. The battalion task force commander will be especially interested in the first signs of a possible enemy counterattack so that he can take counteractions appropriate to the situation. As a result once forces are across the river, the scout platoon and any other reconnaissance elements should be pushed forward to the outside of the perimeter and beyond to provide as much early warning as possible.

Maneuver

During the movement to the water obstacle, the battalion task force commander deploys his force with his assets positioned to facilitate the crossing. In a hasty water crossing, minimum time is available for preparation. If required by the nature of the crossing, the battalion task force vehicles may need to stop briefly in a covered and concealed position to be prepared for the crossing. Also, the water obstacle entry site may need to be improved by the unit's engineer equipment prior to the crossing. The movement to the water obstacle is timed so that the initial unit does not pause at the crossing site but moves directly into the water. The company teams advance as quickly as possible in an effort to capture any existing bridges prior to their destruction by the enemy. The battalion task force advance guard clears the near bank of any defending or delaying enemy forces, while the identified reconnaissance elements start looking for possible crossing sites If such a force is available, a friendly air assault could be used to secure the far (enemy) bank. Supporting engineers and available crossing equipment should be forward enough to be committed as required. It may be possible to use or repair partially damaged bridges using engineer crossing assets.

If bridges or fording sites are available and a strong AT threat is not present, tanks should lead across the water obstacles. Otherwise, the crossing should be led by M2s with tanks and M901 ITVs providing supporting fires. If enemy resistance is strong enough to prevent the tanks and M2s from crossing, the battalion task force commander may request an air assault to reduce the enemy force on the far bank. When the crossing is possible, the amphibious vehicles cross the water by unit each in line formation. When tanks and amphibious vehicles cross simultaneously, extreme caution must be taken to ensure that vehicles do not collide. To avoid collisions, amphibious vehicles should cross using sites downstream from tanks.

As soon as the far bank has been secured by the leading units of the battalion task force the remainder of the force should cross in the following order the remaining maneuver units, command group, CS elements, the TOC, and finally the CSS assets.

Fire Support

The artillery will begin with suppression of the far side of the river, directed by the forward positioned reconnaissance elements. As the assault force begins its movement across the river under the cover of smoke and the suppression HE, FOs will be on the lookout for enemy elements that may reposition in order to get a shot at the assault force Once the far side has been initially secured and the follow-on force and support forces begin their portion of the battle, the artillery will shift to suppress enemy positions in depth and to interdict enemy counterattack elements. Again, the reconnaissance elements will be vital to timely and accurate indirect fire If possible, the mortar platoon should get across the river quickly to establish the perimeter security defense and FPF. This will make indirect support more timely and better able to respond to a quickly changing enemy situation. The point to remember in this operation is that for the force across the river, firepower must take the place of space and time. Therefore the faster indirect FS can react to the enemy the better.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers have one of the most critical tasks at the onset of the operation, namely the establishment of safe entrance and exit lanes for the crossing. This suggests the clearance of obstacles on the far bank under fire Therefore if possible, reconnaissance of the far bank by the scout platoon will be of great assistance.

As the entrances and exits for the crossing are being established and the initial bridgehead secured, other engineer elements will construct or emplace the equipment and structures required for the crossing. As soon as the crossing commander receives word that the assault force is ready to cover the river crossing, the movement will begin.

The entrances and exits should be marked for daylight or for limited visibility operations. Should guides be unable to direct forces across the lanes due to enemy suppression or casualties, the vehicle operators and commanders should still be able to negotiate the water obstacle. This will ensure the speed of the operation despite enemy counteractions.

Air Defense

The Stinger teams will accompany their respective maneuver elements and provide the same type of protection as for any offensive operation. 'nose elements given the responsibility to protect the crossing sites, however, will move to positions of advantage that cover the air avenues of approach into the area. In close terrain, air defense must also be oriented down the length of the river, as enemy aircraft may orient along the river and stay below the line-of-sight radar range of most ADA systems.

Combat Service Support

Once the operation begins, the S4 will ensure that preloaded LOGPACs are pushed forward to resupply the assault force that is defending the bridgehead on the far side of the river. M88s will be standing by on the near side and far side to assist vehicles that may have difficulties entering or exiting the crossing site. Casualties sustained by the assault force will be brought back to the near-side aid station via return-route raft or a designated vehicle.

The battalion task force S4 should also begin arrangements for more permanent river-crossing facilities as the area is being secured. The location and description of the river as developed by the engineers should be relayed to higher headquarters for permanent bridge construction. Remember, just because the river is fordable under current conditions does not mean it will remain so after a period of rain or snow.

Command and Control

The battalion commander will monitor troth the traffic from the assault force, which may be in contact, and the follow-on and support forces which are in the process of establishing the actual crossing facility. It is important that he maintain the tempo of the operation consistent with both the enemy situation and the capabilities of the engineers.

Once the bulk of the force is across the river, the battalion task force commander will move forward across the river to concentrate on the mission to secure final objectives that will guarantee the security of the crossing site. In the meantime, the battalion task force will remain in control of the crossing site until that responsibility can be transferred to a following force.

Given the independent nature of each force's mission, yet mindful of the cumulative team effort to secure the crossing site, the commander allows each company team commander to make decisions for himself within the commander's guidance. The battalion task force commander should anticipate each of his commanders' needs and attempt to direct whatever resources are needed to that commander when called for. Therefore he will synchronize the CS elements to assist the company team commander in the execution of his particular phase of the operation.

Guard Operations

A guard operation is a security operation in which a unit protects a larger unit by maintaining surveillance, providing early warning, destroying enemy reconnaissance elements, and preventing enemy ground observation and direct fire from being used against the main body.

The guard force provides the larger force with reaction time and maneuver space it also delays or destroys the enemy within its capability. It is important to remember that the guard force commander must fully understand the degree of security his unit is to provide for the larger unit. This is critical because the higher unit commander may require the degree of security to change, such as from early warning to detailed and aggressive security for the main body, as the battle progresses. The three types of guard operations are advance guard, rear guard, and flank guard.

The advance guard is conducted as a movement to contact. Generally, a battalion task force is given an advance guard mission when the brigade is moving as part of the division main body in a movement to contact. In deploying an advance guard the brigade will ensure that the battalion has priority of fires from the DS artillery battalion. Unlike a movement to contact, however, the mission of the advance guard will be to clear the axis of enemy elements to allow the unimpeded movement of the main body battalions. Therefore, in execution, the security force should have developed the situation to the point that upon handing over the enemy to the battalion's scout platoon, the advance guard can conduct hasty attacks with sufficient intelligence and direction.

When a division conducting a movement to contact requires rear security, a battalion task force may be given a rear guard mission. In execution, the rear guard looks like a defend or delay in sector mission, with companies operating in sectors or from BPs, or a combination of the two. The significant difference in this operation is that the division commander will prescribe the distance that the rear guard must maintain between itself and the division trains.

A battalion task force is given a flank guard mission when a division is conducting a movement to contact. The flank guard has the responsibility to clear the area from the division main body and the flank guard's designated positions. Also, the battalion must be prepared to operate on a frontage clearly greater than it would in other tactical operations. Usually, the area will extend from the lead forward semen, along the flank of the formation, to either the FEBA or the rear of the moving formation, tying in with the rear guard. Considering the length of a division on the move, this can be a very difficult operation. Due to the complexities of the operation, this section will be devoted entirely to flank guard operations.

Planning

Intelligence

Once the battalion has been given a flank guard mission, it will be the initial responsibility of the S2 to determine the type of threat facing the force during its movement. This information will be critical to the commander in his selection of the appropriate formation and movement technique. The IPB must incorporate the entire area of the offensive operation, with analysis of the mobility corridors and avenues of approach extending from the FEBA to the objective. As in all other operations, the S2 must produce a situation template and an event template. The staff will develop the DST to further assist the commander in his assessment of the situation and in decision making.

Maneuver

Having received the intelligence estimate, the commander will select the formation and movement technique called for by the enemy and main body situations. Movement techniques illustrated in Figure 6-41, include the following:

  • Alternate bounds. Used when strong enemy action is anticipated against the flank, this technique requires slow movement by the main body.
  • Successive bounds. This is used when the enemy action against the flank is light and the movement of the main body is expected to include frequent short halts.
  • Moving guard. This is used when no enemy action is expected on the flank and the main body is moving with all possible speed.

In the first two options, the only difference lies in the execution of BP occupation. Generally, the scout platoon will be given the mission to screen from the line of BPs to the main body. The company teams will either move alternately from BP to BP (leapfrogging) or move in a group, simultaneously occupying new BPs and maintaining their position in the formation. If enemy activity on the flank is anticipated, the mortar platoon will position itself central to the occupied BPs. If designated, a battalion reserve will also be located central to and to the rear of the BPs, traveling forward in trace of the scout platoon.

In the moving guard, the forward screen mission will be executed by a company team (actually traveling as in a movement to contact), while the scout platoon will conduct a flank screen outside of the tentative BP line. The remaining company teams will travel in column along an axis or in sector behind the forward screen. This technique is used when the greatest enemy danger appears to be from the front therefore, the mortar platoon will follow the forward screening company to provide support. It is important to remember that a scout platoon can handle a frontage of only up to about 5 kilometers. As a result, its ability to effectively screen the length of the division formation is limited. The commander should request the attachment of additional reconnaissance elements, either ground or air. If possible, company teams should not be given a screen mission, which they generally are not trained to execute.

Fire Support

The FSO will plan for the flank guard operation in the same manner as in any offensive operation. Based on the IPB, he will target those enemy avenues of approach that threaten the force. Known and suspected enemy positions along the axis of advance or within the battalion zone will also be targeted in support of the forward screening element.

The mortar platoon will fire in support of the element designated as having mortar priority. Generally, this will be the scout platoon or the company team most likely to establish contact with the enemy. While on the move, the mortar platoon should operate in split sections in order to be responsive to immediate calls for fire.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

The engineer platoon leader will have two missions to consider in planning for the flank guard mission. First he must plan for the mobility of the battalion task force along its designated axis of advance. Second, he must plan countermobility operations to deny the enemy axis to the main body should it attempt a flank attack. In the case of the former, the engineers will be organized as they would for a movement to contact. Usually, the engineers will follow the lead element and assist in the negotiation of any obstacles that prevent continued advance. However, in the case of the latter, the engineers have a more difficult task in that they may be required to emplace obstacles or demolitions the moment the enemy has been identified moving toward the force. As a result, the obstacle plan should include the use of rapidly emplaced obstacles through the use of FASCAM, GEMSS, or other assets. Key bridges or other potential obstacles should also be identified during the planning process so that they may be rendered unusable to enemy maneuver. Above all, the engineers must develop a plan that allows for the responsive emplacement of obstacles on short notice.

Air Defense

The ADA representative to the battalion task force must develop a flexible plan that allows for the protection of the force as it changes its posture to and from moving and stationary. He will have an especially difficult task in that the disposition of the battalion will be over a much larger area than he is usually used to protecting. In general, he will plan the battalion's air defense as he would in an offensive operation however, most of the assets will be attached to the maneuver assets and the CP. Route protection or other areas will have to go without support or rely on protection from the main body ADA assets.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 will have the same type of difficulties as in the planning for a movement to contact. Specifically, he must plan for responsive and flexible support that may require the immediate resupply of ammunition and the evacuation of casualties and equipment upon contact. Lateral supply routes to each of the BPs must be identified during the planning process Moreover, on-order control measures, LRPs, UMCPs, and ambulance exchange points will be essential to the operation.

Command and Control

A unique aspect of the flank guard mission is the orientation of the forces and the direction to which they may be called upon to respond. Here is an example. While the force maneuvers forward along its assigned axis of advance or zone, PLs will be used to control the movement of the company team elements. In fact, there should be a PL on either side of each company team BP. The BPs themselves will most likely be larger than in a purely defensive mission, due in part to the large frontage the battalion will be required to cover. Once the enemy has been detected and the companies adopt hasty defensive positions, the PLs become boundaries for the control of the defensive battle. This gives the battalion commander the option of designating company or battalion sectors in addition to the BPs already identified. Similarly, the control of the reserve can be accomplished through the use of both PLs and checkpoints regardless of the actual direction of the maneuver.

Preparation

Intelligence

In preparation for the flank guard mission, the S2 will role-play the part of the enemy during the rehearsal. In particular, the commander will want to confirm how the battalion is alerted to the enemy's attack and how this report inches the maneuver companies. The S2 will also ensure that each company team understands which OPs it must occupy in support of the intelligence collection plan. In the rehearsal, the S2 should present a scenario that forces the commander to handle two situations simultaneously: destruction of any elements by the forward screen and repulsion of a light enemy attack from the flank. This situation or one involving a clearly superior enemy force should drive the commander to request assistance from the main body. Coordination with the main body must be done in advance if the unit is to be responsive to the needs of the flank guard.

Maneuver

After issuing the OPORD, the commander should conduct a rehearsal with his subordinate commanders, special platoon leaders, and CS and CSS representatives. The rehearsal should reinforce several important aspects of the operation: the conduct of the movement, response to enemy contact, and conduct of defensive operations. In rehearsing movement, the commanders must demonstrate their ability to maneuver along the designated axis, reporting the control measures as each one is crossed. The tempo of the movement and communication between elements will be essential in maintaining the prescribed interval and ensuring the orderly displacement and occupation of assigned BPs.

Once enemy contact has been established, the commander should verify that his companies will occupy the correct BPs and adopt the proper orientation. Likewise, the reserve should assume a designated position that allows for the reinforcement of the other companies or a counterattack to defeat the assaulting enemy forces. The forward screen or other moving elements should stop and maintain contact with the stationary force and elements of the main body.

The conduct of the defensive operation should be rehearsed to include all of the direct-fire control measures expected of a defensive operation. Although the defense will initially be hasty, the battalion commander should consider requesting any additional resources that would strengthen the division's flank security, for example, attack helicopters, additional FS, and if necessary, assistance from main body maneuver forces. Once the enemy has been defeated the flank guard should recover as soon as possible so that the main body can continue to advance in the accomplishment of its mission.

Fire Support

The battalion FSO will ensure that each of the company team commanders understand who has priority of fires and when, both for artillery and mortars. He will ensure that positioning of company FSOs on the BPs allows them to observe priority targets and the EAs. Special munition fires should be rehearsed as well. For example, FASCAM should be fired with the coordination of the engineers and under the direction of the battalion task force commander. Synchronization of DPICM and other munitions designed for high-yield destruction should be practiced with the direct fires of the company teams and any existing or planned obstacles.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers should practice breaching drills with the forward screening elements to ensure that the company team understands its responsibilities upon encountering an obstacle. The commander should also practice the emplacement of countermobility obstacles along the flank avenues of approach. Reserve demolitions and target turnover for those demolitions emplaced by lead elements should be reviewed so that commanders can verify the conditions under which these targets are to be executed. As discussed earlier, other targets such as FASCAM should be coordinated with the artillery and the battalion task force commander.

Air Defense

The air defense plan should be rehearsed to ensure that the battalion task force remains under protection throughout the operation. In particular, the commander will want to ensure that the positioning of air defense assets does not interfere with other operations and does not unnecessarily expose them to hostile direct fire.

Combat Service Support

The battalion task force S4 should concurrently execute a CSS rehearsal in support of the flank guard mission. In particular, the method by which the CSS elements respond to the changes in disposition by the maneuvering companies will be especially important. The designation and use of lateral supply routes as the companies continually displace to new BPs should be verified. Moreover, once contact has been established with the enemy, the system by which supplies are pushed forward should be checked for timeliness of response. After contact, a mechanism for immediate resupply and refitting should be undertaken as quickly as possible to avoid slowing the main body any more than necessary.

Execution

Intelligence

As the battalion task force begins its maneuver, the S2 will carefully monitor the reports of the lead and flank elements. He will want to anticipate the actions of the enemy as far in advance as possible. This will allow the maximum amount of time for the company teams to respond to an enemy attack. He will receive some information from the brigade main CP however, he must not rely on the brigade to issue timely information, particularly along the flank since the bulk of brigade attention will most likely be to the front. Once contact with the enemy is made, the S2 will press the scout platoon to acquire as much information as possible. This may include maneuvering deeper against the enemy in an effort to determine the enemy's true intent.

Maneuver

For the purpose of this discussion, the type of maneuver presented will be the moving guard. As the battalion task force moves along its designated axis of advance, the scout platoon will move in the same manner along a parallel route. Because speed is essential and enemy contact is not likely, the scouts will be given an axis of their own and travel essentially in column but at a great enough interval to cover as much frontage as possible. Although the scout platoon's direction of travel will be to the front, its orientation will remain to the flank.

The lead company team will serve as the forward screen and move as in a movement to contact followed by the mortar platoon. The remaining companies may maneuver either in wedges or modified column, depending on the terrain conditions. The formation selected must lend itself to an immediate flanking movement or a hasty attach of fixed and bypassed enemy elements handed over by the forward screen.

Should the enemy launch an attack against the formation's flank, the scout platoon should be the first to pick up the enemy as it crosses over NAIs/TAIs and DPs identified in the S2's and commander's decision support template. The commander will immediately issue a FRAGO to occupy BPs. (The direct-fire orientation for each position should be identified in the OPORD.) The forward screen should stop and remain tied into the flanks of the most forward BP, while the mortar platoon will reposition under the direction of the TF FSO. The reserve should remain out of contact unless it appears that the battalion task force may have an assailable flank in which case it takes its place in the defensive line.

From this point forward, the flank guard reverts to the appropriate defensive mission. The first choice should be to defend with the intent to completely halt the enemy's attack against the flank. When facing a much larger enemy force, the flank guard may have to revert to a delay in sector, at which time the commander must explain the enemy situation clearly to the commander of the brigade main body he is protecting. If possible, the flank guard will receive sufficient support to hold its position against the enemy attack.

If the enemy's attack is defeated by the flank guard, the commander must quickly assess his battalion's ability to continue the mission. In the meantime, the scout screen will again be placed out for early warning, as the battalion prepares either to continue the mission or be relieved by another main body TF.

Fire Support

During the operation, the battalion task force's FS plan will be executed as it would in both a movement to contact and defensive operations. For the forward screen, as enemy positions are encountered and subsequently destroyed or fixed and bypassed, the artillery will be used to suppress the position. Should the enemy attempt to attack from the flank the FS plan will be executed as it would for defensive operations, either in support of the defense or delay.

Regardless of the type of mission fired, the point to remember is that the FS must remain flexible, particularly where there are two moving forces essentially colliding in a meeting engagement. Many of the targets will be ones of opportunity; however, a good IPB will take much of the guesswork out of the FS plan and at least provide solid targets from which the company FSO can adjust fire.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The battalion task force engineers will conduct breaching operations as required during the movement along the assigned axis. A complete discussion of breaching operations is found in the following portion of this section. However, on the flank, countermobility assets must remain at the ready to emplace obstacles before the arrival of the attacking enemy force. Obviously, if there is not sufficient early warning, the engineers will have to prepare other obstacles on or behind the BPs in case the flank guard is forced back by the enemy. Nevertheless, the engineers' actions will be crucial to the security of the main body, particularly against a strong enemy force The trick, however, is not to emplace obstacles unless they are genuinely needed; otherwise, they may impede the movement of follow-on forces. As a result, prepared and guarded demolitions or FASCAM minefield that have a limited life expectancy are the best choices.

Air Defense

The air defense plan will be executed as in a movement to contact, where a moving force may be forced to quickly adopt a hasty defense. Whether moving or stationary, it will be important that the air defense assets be linked into the main body's air defense early warning net and that the positioning of assets protect not only the flank guard but also the approaches into the main body.

Combat Service Support

As the battalion task force begins its movement, the battalion trains will follow behind the maneuver elements as they would in a movement to contact. Emergency resupply vehicles carrying ammunition and other quickly expended supplies, plus refuelers, will be at the ready to respond to sudden requisitions due to enemy contact (although fuel consumption will tend to be a matter of course across the board). Once the battalion begins the fight, evacuation of wounded personnel and damaged equipment will occur along lateral supply routes, perhaps all the way into the main body, if that is where the support battalion is located. Otherwise, the evacuation will be back along the axis of advance.

Command and Control

One of the battalion commander's greatest challenges will be to keep pace with the main body particularly if the occupation of BPs is necessary. As a result his terrain analysis must yield the most expeditious route for his force to travel yet allow for the swift occupation of BPs along the way. Moreover, the commander must monitor the tempo of the main body and adjust the disposition of his forces accordingly It is a difficult mission and one that will require the rapid execution of instructions with the minimum amount of instruction or preparation once the mission has begun. Control measures and rehearsals will go a long way in reducing confusion on the ground.

The commander will be located toward the front of the formation where he can observe the maneuver of the forward security element and, at the same time, the lead element of the guard companies. The S3 will follow in trace, covering the remaining part of the sector and ensuring that the rear company team is tied into the rear of the division formation. Should the enemy attack from the flank, it will be the responsibility of either the commander or the S3 to make the initial determination for the occupation of BPs or other actions. This is due to the large frontage and the commander's inability to assess a situation that may be far away from his current location. For this reason, the commander's intent must be clear, and the S3 should rehearse the execution of the orders with the company teams.

Breaching Operations

Obstacles must be rapidly overcome to retain the initiative and to maintain momentum. When confronted with an obstacle, the commander must decide whether to bypass, breach, or force through the obstacle. Bypass is accomplished through reconnaissance, while foxing through is chosen when there are no other alternatives. The result of a force-through will be high losses of personnel and equipment. Regardless of the method selected, obstacles must not be the focus of attention and should be breached or bypassed as quickly as possible en route to accomplishing the mission.

Because of the enemy's ability to place obstacles anywhere on the battlefield units must always be configured and trained to execute in-stride breaching operations. This section will discuss how a battalion task force plans, prepares, and executes an in-stride breach as part of its overall offensive mission.

Planning

Intelligence

The TF S2 will prepare his IPB for the offensive operation. As a part of that process, he will include the identification of known and suspected obstacles along the axis of advance and in proximity to the objective area. He will rely on higher echelon intelligence-gathering assets to provide information concerning the location, construction, dimensions, and direct and indirect cover of obstacles within the AOs. Also, he will want the reconnaissance assets to identify possible bypass routes for each of the obstacles within the axis of advance. This by no means represents a complete picture of the enemy defensive obstacle plan; however, it should be enough to give the battalion task force commander an idea of the type of resistance he can expect to face. As a result, this perspective of the enemy's obstacle plan will drive the commander's task organization.

Maneuver

The key to successful in-stride breaching operations is to have rehearsed, well-tied battle drills and reduction procedures for breaching complex obstacles. Figures 6-42 through 6-44 illustrate engineer assets integrated into battalion tactical formations. Accordingly, the battalion task force must be task organized in such a manner that maneuver elements will be predesignated as support breach, and assault elements. If engineers have been included in the battalion's task organization, they should be integrated into the formation so that the conduct of the breach does not slow the battalion's momentum.

The TF should always move configured for in-stride breaching, which includes a variety of movement techniques and combat formations. The scout platoon will precede the formation providing early warning and conducting initial reconnaissance of encountered enemy obstacles. Because the exact location and nature of the enemy and obstacles may be unknown, engineers and breach assets should be distributed carefully to allow the commander to move securely yet maintain his forward deployed breach and assault elements. If the battalion has not received engineer augmentation, he must be prepared to accomplish the in-stride breach using his own minerollers and mineplows.

The commander will decide how best to maneuver the battalion and which formation(s) to adopt based on his estimate of the situation. In an operation such as a movement to contact where the force is expected to gain or regain contact with the enemy, the commander must balance the speed of the formation against its ability to detect obstacles A fast-moving formation may generate casualties if the force maneuvers unknowingly into a minefield, while a slow-moving force led by detection equipment will save lives, but may prevent closing with the enemy. Depending on the quality of the intelligence, the commander may also compromise and move initially with speed, mount detection equipment at predetermined covered and conceded locations, and continue the advance more slowly into the area where enemy obstacles are suspected. Again, any decision will be the result of weighing the mission, force capability, and IPB.

Fire Support

A key aspect of the in-stride breach is the FS plan. Indirect fires are important in masking the location of the breach from enemy observation. This does not imply that smoke is placed at the point of the breach (which will in effect mark the breach site for the enemy), but rather that smoke must be placed between the enemy and the breach site or on the enemy positions themselves. This type of obscuration may require several smoke missions that must be sustained until the assault team clears the breach. As a result, both artillery- and mortar-delivered smoke will be used to its fullest advantage. Other smoke-generating means should be used if available or appropriate (smoke pots and smoke generators). In planning for the breach, a major factor will be the amount of smoke ammunition on hand. This clearly dictates the length, thickness, and duration of smoke missions. The battalion task force FSO must be counted on to provide this information during the commander's tactical planning.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The norm for a TF conducting breach operations requires two lanes through the obstacle. Each lane requires an engineer platoon reinforced with breach equipment (MICLIC and mineplows). To provide flexibility to the TF, a third engineer platoon is required. It will be used to reinforce breaching operations, if required, or to conduct an additional breach farther along the axis of advance. As a result the commander should expect to receive an engineer company if his battalion is the lead TF of an offensive operation and the breaching of obstacles is considered a certainty.

Air Defense

The battalion task force air defense plan will be designed to protect the force initially in its maneuver configuration; however, once the commander gives the order to conduct an in-stride breach, the ADA support must shift to protect the breach site. In this regard, the air defense will be the same as for a bridge or other point-type target. This does not imply that air defense assets necessarily move to the breach site, although some assets may. Rather, the ADA elements should remain with their respective maneuver elements and protect the breach site from positions of dominating terrain that cover the enemy air avenues of approach into the area.

Combat Service Support

CSS planning of the offensive operation will include additional considerations for the type of expendable supplies that could be used during the breach. For example, the company team designated as the support team can be expected to fire more ammunition than the other forces since its mission is to suppress the enemy. Therefore additional ammunition should be earmarked for that unit. Likewise, resupply of smoke ammunition for the mortars, due to their limited ability to carry ammunition, should be taken into consideration. The combat trains may be tasked to oversee the transportation of minerollers if the commander chooses to mount them during the movement. As a result, the trains must select a route that allows for the movement of trucks and coordinate their linkup with the corresponding unit(s).

Command and Control

Having received the IPB from the S2, the commander should tentatively identify force locations at each of the potential breach sites. Specifically, he should identify good support positions that will allow for the suppression of suspected enemy positions, potential covered and concealed breach sites, and appropriate objectives for the assault team. Based on the number of obstacles that the battalion task force faces and the quality of the intelligence, the commander may include this information in the OPORD, or he may retain the information for his own use in issuing FRAGOs as required by the situation. He must ensure that his subordinate commanders are equipped with enough information so that they understand where the potential obstacles are located and what their individual responsibilities include in the obstacle reduction.

Preparation

Intelligence

In preparation for the breaching operation, the S2 will continue to update his knowledge of the obstacle systems based on the reports of higher headquarters reconnaissance assets. If the situation allows, he may have tasked the scout platoon to reconnoiter the obstacle in preparation for the battalion's advance. This information would be extremely important to the battalion task force commander in the conduct of the rehearsal. During the rehearsal, when the TF "reaches" the obstacle, the S2 will present the additional information describing the obstacle, the enemy situation, and known vulnerabilities. This information should give each of the subordinate commanders something to key on when actually executing the operation. For example, if the scouts report that the obstacle is being overmatched by an enemy element located near an identifiable terrain feature, the support team will key on that location (not exclusively, however) as it occupies its assigned position. Likewise, if a portion of the obstacle lies in dead space or a bypass has been found these locations may also be described by terrain features. Of course, the best solution would be for the scout platoon to physically mark these the locations if the enemy situation permits. Regardless, the scouts should be on hand to direct the force as it approaches the obstacle and, if possible, guide it through its bypass.

Maneuver

The breach will be rehearsed as part of the larger offensive operation rehearsal. With this in mind the commander will want to ensure that his subordinate commanders understand the battalion task force drill taking into consideration the following factors:

  • The obstacle should be identified by the scout platoon or the lead element of the TF.
  • While the scout platoon or lead element searches for a bypass, engineers will reconnoiter the obstacle, identifying appropriate breach sites.
  • Meanwhile, the support team moves into position to overwatch the breach sites.
  • The breach team moves forward under the protection of direct-and indirect-fire suppression of the enemy and obscuration of the breaching sites through the use of smoke.
  • The breach team will clear and mark two lanes through the obstacle and establish local security of the breaching sites.
  • The assault team moves through the breach sites and secures terrain that allows for the security of the TF breaching area. If the enemy is positioned where it may bring effective fire against the breach team, the assault team may attack to destroy the enemy position once it clears the breach sites.
  • Once the assault team secures the breach area, the support team will move forward and continue the maneuver as directed by the battalion task force commander.
  • The breach team may continue to move with the force, or if designated, some engineer assets may remain behind to continue improving the breaching lanes or reducing the obstacle altogether.

Fire Support

As discussed briefly, the FS plan must provide for the suppression of the enemy positions and obscuration of the breaching sites. During the rehearsal, the company team FSO must call for and adjust effective indirect fire on all known and suspected enemy positions that may influence the conduct of the breach. Likewise, he must communicate with the maneuver commanders continually with respect to the smoke support. The maneuver commanders must know when the screen is thick enough to be effective and how long it will last. The FSO should warn the maneuver elements of the impending loss of the obscuration due to a lack of ammunition or change in weather conditions. Should the breach also include the assault of an enemy position, the TF FSO should demonstrate his preparedness to support the assault with indirect fires. In particular, he must be able to suppress the position, lift fires upon close assault, and shift fires to cut off the enemy from retreat or reinforcement.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers have two primary missions that must be demonstrated during the rehearsal. The first is the reconnaissance of the obstacle and the identification of the breach sites; the second is the conduct of the breach itself. To this end, the battalion task force commander and the engineer company commander will observe the engineers as they perform these tasks. In particular, even if the engineers have discovered an apparent bypass or perhaps a good breaching location, the commander must ensure that those locations fit the battalion's scheme of maneuver. Moreover, those locations should not subsequently lead the battalion into an enemy EA. As for the conduct of the breach itself, the engineer commander will ensure that his subordinate commanders understand their drills for making the breach and that the engineers and maneuver elements work as a team.

Air Defense

The air defense representative must ensure that, as the force slows to accomplish the breach and becomes a potential air target, the Stinger teams and Vulcan platoon adjust accordingly. Also, he will ensure that he is able to provide early warning to the TF as a whole in the event of an air attack.

Combat Service Support

The CSS rehearsal will be conducted concurrently with the maneuver rehearsal. The breach will not generate requirements different from an attack; however, the long-term impact may be significant in that the losses to combat power or supplies incurred during the breach may affect the battalion's ability to conduct its primary mission. Depending on the terrain and the nature of the enemy's obstacle system, the MSR may be diverted through the breach lanes until other engineer assets can create a clear route along an established mad network.

Command and Control

The commander's greatest concern will be his ability to conduct the breach as quickly as possible without significantly sacrificing security. As a result, he must rehearse directing the forces with as few instructions as necessary and, at the same time, look ahead to the continued operation once the breach is complete. Therefore, not only must he properly position his forces for the breach, but he must also ensure that at the completion of the breach his forces will be arrayed in a manner that allows for the smooth resumption of offensive operations.

If the breach will include an assault of an enemy position, the commander must also be prepared to control the operation as in any assault. One of his initial concerns will be the proper application of suppressive fires and the signals used between the assault and support forces to control those fires. The commander must also ensure that the assault force is of sufficient strength to do the job. In this respect he should task the scout platoon to provide as much information as possible concerning the position before the commander commits to the assault. An assault against a significant opponent may limit the battalion's ability to continue the mission.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the battalion task force begins its maneuver, the S2 will continue to update his enemy situation template, based on the reports of the scout platoon. The S2 will want to anticipate the enemy's actions when it identifies the battalion as approaching the obstacle. He will then suggest countermeasures to the commander. Should an obstacle breach be required, the S2 should also ensure the commander is aware of possible dangers to the force as a result of crossing at the designated locations.

Maneuver

When the force encounters an obstacle, the commander relies on the unit in contact to issue an accurate report of the obstacle's location, description, and enemy situation. Once he has been informed of the obstacle, two actions occur simultaneously: the unit in contact with the obstacle searches for a bypass route, and engineer elements conduct a reconnaissance of the obstacle itself. The engineer reconnaissance should yield the following information:

  • DTG of report
  • Unit identification.
  • Location of enemy and situation.
  • Location/dimensions of obstacle.
  • Minefield information, such as--

--AT and/or AP mines.

--Surface laid or buried

--Antihandling devices.

--Number of rows.

--Depth of minefield.

  • Information on obstacles other than or in addition to minefield:

--Type (wire, gap, log).

--Dimensions.

  • Mined or booby-trapped.
  • Location of bypass route.
  • Best location for lane reduction.
  • Chemicals.

The lead team will also develop the situation. This includes gathering further information about the enemy overwatch positions and obstacles. It includes identifying the best location for lanes and advantageous friendly attack-by-fire positions for the support force. All this information should be included in a report like the one previously illustrated. Remember, the element that encounters an obstacle has the responsibility to find as much information as possible about it and the enemy situation within the limits of its resources.

Once the commander has received this information, he identifies overwatch locations for support forces. (With four maneuver companies per battalion, the commander designates two of them as support forms.) He will then designate the lane locations, ensuring that they support the concept of the operation and do not lead the TF against suspected enemy strength.

Having received the commander's instructions, the support forces will move into position and orient their fires as directed by the commander. If the terrain and enemy situation allow, the support forces should attempt to achieve mutually supporting, interlocking fins, capable of overmatching the breach and suppressing the enemy from different angles. Once in position, the support force will begin to suppress the enemy position with both direct and indirect fires.

The breach force will then move forward under the direction of the TF commander to covered and concealed positions in proximity to the obstacle. The FSO and mortar platoon leader will then ensure that smoke missions obscure the breaching sites from the enemy. Once that has been accomplished, the commander will give the signal for the breach force to begin its mission to clear multiple lanes in the enemy obstacle. The breach force will in turn establish local security for the breach, overmatching as the plows, rollers, MICLICs, or other assets move forward to conduct the actual breach. Engineers will mark the lane using CLAMMS or a field-expedient marking system, and the combat force will move through the lane to secure the far side of the breach. Once the lanes have been prepared and secured, the breach commander will notify the TF commander, who in turn will direct the assault force to cross the breach sites and secure key terrain on the far side of the obstacle.

Should the assault force be required to destroy an enemy position, the assault force commander will ensure the direct and indirect fire suppression of the enemy is effective. He will direct his assaulting platoons through the breach and to the objective, lifting and shifting the direct fires of the support force as necessary, while his company FSO does the same with the support force's direction of indirect fire.

Once the enemy has been destroyed and the area secured, the assault force commander will notify the TF commander. At this time, he will direct the support forces forward to occupy other hasty defensive positions on the far side of the obstacle, or he may direct the support force to pass forward of the assault force and continue the advance. Meanwhile, the breach force will continue to improve the breach site by constructing more permanent markers, widening the lanes, creating additional lanes, or reducing the obstacle altogether if the resources allow. Some engineer assets may be left behind to assist follow-on forces or merely to hand the obstacle over to them. Otherwise, the breach force will also be called forward to join the TF formation as it continues its primary offensive mission.

Fire Support

The battalion task force FSO will ensure that indirect fires are effectively placed against the known and suspected enemy positions. He should also be on the lookout for enemy elements which reposition as a result of the indirect suppression. The mortar platoon will be used almost exclusively for smoke missions due to its ability to quickly respond to changing battlefield conditions. As the assault force begins its attack of enemy positions, the fires will be lifted and shifted based on the request of the assault force FSO, who at this point in the battle is in the best position to adjust fires and measure their effect. The greatest concern is that indirect fires may be lifted too early and consequently expose the assault force to direct fire; therefore, the support force must pay close attention to the directions of the assault force. Also, redundant control signals should be preplanned in case of the loss of FM communication.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Tank-mounted minerollers and plows should be carefully integrated into the in-stride breach operation to maximize the effectiveness of the systems. The breach force should mass its plows into one platoon. The roller, however, may not be mounted due to its slow speed. Rather, it may be transported with the battalion combat trains or perhaps the company combat trains. Usually, the roller will be used only for deliberate breaches or for proofing lanes if the time allows for mounting.

The TF commander must carefully consider where he will use his lane reduction assets. A typical threat MRP strongpoint will not only cover tactical obstacles but also have close-in protective minefield, wire, and gaps. The beach team can create up to three lanes simultaneously, using only the three plow tanks in its attached platoon, if the breach force commander is willing to commit all of his plows to lane reduction. Usually, he commits two to lane reduction and holds the third in reserve. Meanwhile, the four MICLICs from the attached engineer company can then be held for the assault breach through the enemy position and protective works, where a ton of lane-clearing explosives will produce an added shock effect.

Air Defense

The execution of the battalion task force air defense plan will occur as in a movement to contact. Once an obstacle is encountered and a decision to breach has been made, the forces will deploy as previously presented. The Stinger teams will remain with their respective maneuver units throughout the operation, providing protection as required. Those ADA assets retained under battalion control, for example, the Vulcan platoon, may be brought forward in an effort to prevent enemy aircraft from interdicting the force as it crosses the breaching site. Should enemy air attempt to interdict, a warning will be issued over the battalion task force command net and in turn relayed through the companies. In this way, the TF may be able to employ SAFADs. Once the TF has crossed, the Vulcans will revert to their former position in the maneuver formation.

Combat Service Support

CSS will also occur as in a movement to contact. The significant difference lies in the fact that the battalion task force may have to resupply following the breach to continue with the mission. As engineer platoons expend resources conducting the breach, the engineer company must replenish Class V and other required materials so that engineer platoons can continue to support the lead teams. As an example, MICLIC reloading will be critical to the accomplishment of the next in-stride breach. At the platoon level, the soldiers inside the APCs must prepare demolition charges on the move and repair other equipment, such as grapnels, so that they may be prepared to conduct the next breach as rapidly as the first.

Command and Control

The commander should designate the S3 to to move with the support force to assist in initially controlling the direct and indirect fires of the force. The commander will position himself where he can observe and control the activities at the breach site and subsequently follow the operations of the assault force. Therefore, he will be forward, constantly communicating with his S3 and support force commanders to ensure the breach force and assault force get all the support they need. Despite the fact that the operation is conducted as a drill, the commander will be required to issue FRAGOs to convey most of the instructions in terms of placing forces, directing fires, and controlling the operation. This is clearly an operation that requires the commander to be at the decisive point of the battlefield: the breach, the assault, and the continuation of the mission. Figure 6-45 illustrates conduct of an in-stride breach.

As the support forces pass through the lanes and move to join the force on the objective, the commander reorganizes the force and determines if the force has enough combat power to continue the attack. The commander also redistributes assets for follow-on operations. He may have to designate new support, breach, and assault elements. For example, due to combat fatigue and sustained losses, the original breach and assault forces may switch roles with the support forces.

SECTION III. COMPANY TEAM TACTICAL OPERATIONS

Battle Handover and Passage of Lines

Battle handover and passage of lines are operations in which responsibility for an AO is transferred as one unit passes forward or rearward through another friendly unit. Because of the temporary concentration of forces, the company team is very vulnerable to enemy attack during a passage of lines.

Planning

Intelligence

When planning for a passage of lines, the company commander will rely on the IPB developed by the battalion task force S2. In conducting a rearward passage, the commander simply continues his current mission, analyzing the enemy in terms of his ability to influence the company's movement. In a forward passage of lines, the commander will use the IPB developed for the offensive operation.

Maneuver

For the passage to be conducted smoothly, with as little disruption of each unit's disposition as possible and with the necessary speed to minimize possible enemy interference during the passage, detailed coordination between the stationary and passing units must be accomplished. The company team commander must carefully plan the operation and ensure that detailed coordination and a detailed reconnaissance are both conducted. Specifically, a route reconnaissance is essential to the success of the passage of lines. Liaison personnel from the battalion task force should be exchanged early, and the stationary and passing company team commanders should coordinate the passage in addition to the coordination effected by the company XO at the contact point.

The point to remember about a company's passage is that it is being conducted as part of the battalion passage. Therefore, the battalion staff will expend as much effort as the company to ensure mission success. The battalion commander or XO should ensure that each company understands completely its responsibilities in the conduct of the passage.

Fire Support

The FS plan received by the company commander will include the consolidated target list, which encompasses targets to be engaged by the stationary force. In this regard, battle handover becomes extremely important because both the stationary and passing units must know when they can and cannot call for indirect fire and in which areas. These instructions should be issued by the battalion task force.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Generally, the company team commander will not have to consider the mobility of the company during the passage due to the positioning of battalion assets to ensure the lane stays open. However, under conditions of restrictive terrain and limited resources, engineer assets attached to the company should be positioned in the order of march so that they are able to respond to a choked passage lane.

Air Defense

If the company team has an attached Stinger team, it will move with the company as in any column movement. Area air defense will be provided by the stationary force, perhaps augmented by the passing battalion.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will move with the company, providing the same support as for any tactical movement, generally making quick on-the-spot repairs or towing the vehicle to higher level maintenance support.

Command and Control

The company commander will examine the route designated by the battalion commander. He will conduct an initial map reconnaissance and assign the company XO to coordinate with the stationary force at the contact point, ensuring the XO has all pertinent information concerning the company (frequency, number of vehicles, and so forth).

The commander will prepare to conduct his route reconnaissance and make initial contact with his counterpart, the stationary company commander, so that he can conduct his own coordination simultaneously with his XO's effort.

Preparation

Intelligence

In addition to the information the commander will receive upon his XO's return from the coordination meeting, he will also get the latest enemy situation from the stationary unit commander (if executing a forward passage of lines). When combined, this information will allow the passing force company commander to construct an accurate picture of enemy forces within the AOs.

Maneuver

The commander prepares for the passage by conducting a route reconnaissance of the passage lane and any additional designated routes. He will carefully examine the lane capacity, classification and location of any bridges along the route, and possible fording sites and AAs along the route should the force be required to form a laager.

Fire Support

The company FSO will ensure that the platoons each have the most current FS overlay. Additionally, he will ensure that he is able to communicate to the appropriate FS organizations "voice" for each phase of the operation.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Company engineers may accompany the commander on his route reconnaissance to assist in the classification of roads and bridges.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will prepare for the movement by ensuring the company's vehicles are able to travel the distance, both mechanically and given the existing levels of fuel and POL.

Command and Control. Company team commanders prepare for a passage of lines by using the troop-leading procedures discussed in Chapter 1, Command and Control. The information that the company team commander must confirm prior to the conduct of the passage is listed below:

    • The disposition of the stationary force.
    • The location of the contact points where both units will make contact at a predetermined time. These points are established by the higher commander having authority over both the stationary and moving company teams or, if they are not specified, by the stationary unit commander.
    • The location of PPs and passage lanes. Passage lanes must provide clear and unobstructed routes through friendly positions and should be unoccupied or on the flanks of friendly units in position. Multiple routes should be used to reduce the company team's vulnerability, with alternate routes planned and available if required. Passage lanes should be wide enough to permit the company team to maneuver, if necessary, and allow the passing company team to cross the LD/LC deployed. The coordination for the passage must include guides to ensure a smooth passage through the stationary unit. The passing company team must provide the number, type, and order of march of its vehicles to the stationary unit to preclude any confusion.
    • The location of the attack position for a forward passage of lines and the location of AAs for a rearward passage. These positions should be located in an area that will not interfere with the stationary unit.
    • The location of the CS and CSS elements and the support that will be provided by the stationary unit.
    • Detailed information concerning the supporting direct and indirect fires provided by the stationary unit.
    • The time and method for the transfer of responsibility for the zone or sector. This is normally designated by the crossing of the LD/LC for a forward passage of lines and by the crossing of the BHL for a rearward passage of lines.
    • Traffic control measures.
    • Communications information, to include SOI data, pyrotechnic signals, and recognition signals that will be used during the operation.

Execution

Intelligence

As the company team begins to move to the passage lane, the commander will monitor the command net, keeping abreast of changes in the enemy situation. In particular, he will be concerned with how the enemy could strike the company during the passage.

Maneuver

When conducting a passage of lines, the company team commander is responsible for the required coordination. He will usually designate the company team XO to be the liaison and coordinate the passage. A checklist of the information that should be coordinated is listed below:

  • Contact points.
  • Attack positions (forward passage).
  • AAs (rearward passage).
  • Passage lanes.
  • PPs.
  • Traffic control measures.
  • Recognition signals.
  • FS plan (direct and indirect).
  • Obstacles.
  • OPs and patrol routes.
  • Number and type of vehicles and units to pass through.
  • Enemy situation.
  • Fire control measures.
  • CS and CSS asset locations.
  • Time and location of battle handover.
  • SOI information.
  • NBC status of sector.

After the coordination is made and the company team begins moving to and along the passage lanes, the guides will pick up the company team (at the start of the lane) and guide them along the lane and through the stationary unit positions. It is important to remember that the guides and the lead platoon of the company team will exchange the predetermined recognition signals prior to the passage. For a forward passage of lines, the guides will move the passing company team through until the end of the lane. For a rearward passage of lines, the guides (normally the scout platoon from the battalion task force) will move the company team from the PP to the friendly side of the stationary unit or FEBA.

Fire Support

Integral indirect fire will be called only when the parent organization has completed battle handover and is in control of the AO. Otherwise, indirect fire must be fired through the stationary force's fire control organization. At the company team level, there will appear to be no difference in the way fires are called and adjusted, except that the response time could be longer.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The attached engineers will accompany the company team and perform mobility operations as required.

Air Defense

The attached Stinger team and any other air defense assets will also accompany the company team; however, they should not stop to fire during the passage unless it is absolutely essential. Stationary force air defense assets should protect the force during the passage. For example, a Stinger team stopping to shoot or breaking away from the passing column could cause confusion or bottleneck the force and create an even more lucrative air target.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains should move with the force. In a forward passage, they would bail the company, but in a rearward passage, they would follow one or two platoons and be protected by the remaining platoon(s). This allows them to continue their support while being protected.

Command and Control

The company commander will move with the force and control the maneuver, while the XO establishes contact at the contact point and observes the passage with the stationary force representative.

Relief Operations

A relief in place occurs when a unit is replaced by another unit. It is conducted to maintain combat effectiveness of committed units. A relief in place can occur during offensive and defensive operations. The TF commander will direct when and how the relief will be conducted.

Planning

Intelligence

The company team commander begins his IPB upon receipt of the WO. Once he moves forward to coordinate with the commander of the company that he is relieving, he will attempt to get as much enemy information as possible. Also, he will request a battalion task force IPB product from his S2 so that he understands how his position relates to the enemy's overall scheme of maneuver.

Maneuver

Company teams conduct the relief on forward positions by using one of several techniques. Regardless of the technique chosen, the overall concept of the relief calls for relieving platoons to occupy hide positions and move into the forward fighting positions, while relieved elements begin to withdraw to subsequent positions or AAs. Figures 6-46 through 6-48 illustrate various relief techniques.

Sequential relief. This is the most time-consuming method. Company team CPs and combat trains collocate to facilitate the relief and transfer of equipment, excess ammunition, fuel, water, and medical supplies. Platoons relieve each other one at a time. The relieving platoon moves to a position adjacent to the relieved platoon and executes the relief at the squad and individual vehicle level. The relieved elements then move to a platoon or company AA before moving to the rear along a predetermined egress route. Once a relieved platoon clears a specified point (usually an RP), another relieving platoon will start to move to its relieved platoon's location, repeating the process until the incoming company is in position.

A variation of the sequential relief balances the importance of speed and security. The relief is conducted starting with the center platoon, followed by the flank platoons simultaneously, or the opposite. Regardless of the actual conduct, the procedure remains the same.

Simultaneous relief. This method sacrifices security because all units move at one time. The command groups and combat trains collocate, exchanging plans and equipment as they would in the sequential relief. The relieving platoons move along designated routes and relieve the other platoons simultaneously. The relieved elements withdraw immediately once they are relieved.

A variation of this technique is to have relieving platoons occupy alternate positions (platoon or individual) as the relieved forces withdraw from their primary positions. This technique is used when speed is needed The relieved unit usually occupies an AA in the rear to facilitate C2.

During periods of limited visibility, relieving platoons move into fighting positions overmatched by the relieved platoons. Once forward positions have been occupied the overmatching platoons withdraw. If the outgoing unit plans to depart by squad or section, the incoming unit must occupy positions with elements of the same size.

When a relief is conducted during limited visibility, it may be best not to move the crew-served weapons. This is because it is difficult to re-lay them. The following equipment is normally exchanged:

    • Machine gun tripods and other supports for crew-served weapons or equipment.
    • Wire.
    • Emplaced sensors and radar sets.
    • M8 alarms.
    • Bulky or excess supplies.

Fire Support

The company team FSO will coordinate with the outgoing FSO while the commanders coordinate. Specifically, they wiIl exchange fire plans and, if time allows, visually confirm the location of targets. Any additional information, for example, time of flight or time distance calculations based on NAI/TAI/DP locations, should also be discussed to ensure synchronization of direct and indirect fire.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

This may be the most time-consuming aspect of the coordination due to the sheer number of items that must be verified. Both hasty protective and planned obstacles must be identified to the incoming engineer platoon leader or the company team commander. Likewise, any additional obstacles, especially those designated for target turnover, must also be closely checked.

Primary, alternate, and supplementary fighting positions, both individual and vehicle, must be noted. This will become important if the company commanders decide to conduct the relief using the alternate positions. Finally, hide positions and routes to the fighting positions must be verified to ensure the vehicles do not damage buried wire or other items located off the routes.

Air Defense

At the company level, the air defense plan will be dependent on the battalion task force plan. For example, if the incoming battalion commander determines, with the advice of his air defense commander, that the best type of defense is an area defense, then the coordination and liaison for ADA fighting positions would be handled through the outgoing battalion task force's S3 and ADA officer. If the incoming battalion commander decides to have the ADA assets remain attached to the company teams, then those Vulcan/Stinger locations would be coordinated by the company team commanders during their liaison.

Combat Service Support

Although CSS relief usually occurs prior to the relief of combat forces at the brigade and battalion levels, it is because those operations are located apart from the combat forces. At the company team level, where the company combat trains often travel in close proximity or as part of the formation, the trains are relieved after the combat forces. This allows the outgoing force the opportunity to recover its own equipment if required, freeing the incoming combat trains to support their own force immediately upon occupation. Of course, the incoming trains may assist the outgoing trains as necessary to ensure the safe evacuation of all equipment.

Command and Control

The incoming company team commander must reconnoiter the area as he would for any defensive mission. The leaders must reconnoiter each position, sketch range cards, and note the positions of each weapon system. The incoming command group sets up in close proximity to the outgoing command group. Incoming and outgoing commanders must coordinate details and agree on procedures. In particular, they must agree on the location of guides, the route each force is to take, and the overall control measures for the operation. A mechanism must be established to monitor the relief of each vehicle and soldier. Remember, this operation will usually occur at night; therefore, coordination must be thorough.

Preparation

Intelligence

Once the commander issues the order and the company prepares for the relief, he will check with his own NCS to see if he has received all the latest enemy information. He will continue to monitor the battalion command net and ensure that he receives any additional information from the outgoing force while preparations for the relief are being made.

Maneuver

Having completed the plan, the commander will spot-check the platoons to ensure that each platoon leader understands the route that he is to take, where he will link up with a guide, the location that he will occupy, and the final disposition of his platoon following the relief, to include direct- and indirect-fire measures.

A rehearsal is an effective way to ensure that the company can operate with little or no instruction once the relief begins. This will be especially important because execution will be under conditions of limited visibility.

Fire Support

The company team FSO will ensure that each platoon leader has an accurate FS plan from the outgoing force. He will verify contact on his own FS nets and coordinate with the outgoing FSO to determine how and when calls for fire are handled within the company team.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The company team engineer platoon leader will check with each platoon, tank, and individual responsible for target turnover and receive an obstacle folder. The engineer will ensure that the responsible parties understand the procedure for each activity and will answer any questions they may have concerning the new obstacle. A rehearsal for turnover should be conducted for each target.

Air Defense

While the company team prepares for the relief, the ADA assets will move into position and establish communication on the appropriate air defense early warning net.

Combat Service Support

The incoming 1SG will ensure that each vehicle is fully uploaded and supplied for the relief and future operations. Any CSS activity required after the relief should be kept to a minimum. The incoming 1SG will also coordinate with the outgoing 1SG to see if there are any identified shortcomings that require attention from the incoming combat trains. The two trains will collocate as early as possible; however, they will not actually conduct their own relief until relief of the combat elements is complete.

Command and Control

Once the commander has supervised the necessary rehearsals, he will return to the collocated company team headquarters to be brought up to date on any situational changes by the outgoing company commander. Both commanders must be prepared to make adjustments to their plan, as the rehearsal will most likely identify some aspect of the plan that they did not take into consideration.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the relief begins, the incoming commander will divide his attention between the progress of the relief and the enemy situation. Battalion task force reconnaissance elements will be forward to provide early warning; however, the company should still rely on the reports from LPs/OPs and other company-level reconnaissance assets. It is essential that, in the event of an enemy attack, the commanders anticipate the actions of the enemy so they can move their forces into a defensive posture.

Maneuver

During the relief, both units arc on the outgoing company team's frequency. The outgoing unit maintains its previous level of radio traffic while the incoming unit maintains radio-listening silence. Once the relief is complete, the relieving unit changes back to its normal frequencies. Although the transfer of responsibility for the position may occur at a time specified by the battalion task force commander, this transfer normally goes into effect when the majority of the forces on the BP belong to the incoming company team. The incoming commander also assumes control over outgoing platoons that have not yet been withdrawn. If an enemy attack occurs prior to the relieving commander taking over responsibility for the position, the remaining elements of the outgoing company team are supported by the fires of the incoming company team.

Fire Support

In the event of an enemy attack, FS is handled as described in the preceeding maneuver segment. Calls for fire will be controlled by the outgoing force's fire control organization until responsibility for the sector changes to the incoming commander, FS control also shifts at this time. Regardless of who actually controls the fire at the company team level, there will be little or no difference since calls for fire will be conducted as they would for any operation. In fact, due to the additional number of batteries in support, FS should be both more responsive and of a higher volume.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The commander and/or company team engineer representative will monitor the change in responsibility for obstacles, particularly those that are priority targets. As the incoming force receives the obstacle, the guards will verify its condition and report the status to the commander once the turnover is complete.

Air Defense

The air defense assets will remain in position throughout the operation and reposition to support the incoming force only after the relief is complete.

Combat Service Support

The collocated 1SGs will carefully monitor the progress of the relief and respond to any delays resulting from mechanical problems. Any supplies that were not used by the outgoing force may also be transferred to the control of the incoming force. Once all incoming combat forces are in place, the outgoing company combat trains will follow their unit and police any vehicles that have difficulty traveling to the rear AA.

Command and Control

The outgoing unit will normally leave some unit personnel with the incoming unit, the number being dependent on the situation. This is done to exchange and transfer current information and plans until the incoming unit is thoroughly familiar with the area. This exchange of information must include the enemy situation and current intelligence. Once the operation is complete and enemy contact does not appear imminent, the outgoing commander will depart the sector accompanied by his air defense assets and FSO; his company combat trains will follow.

Hasty Water Crossings

Company team hasty water crossings are executed to maintain the initiative and momentum of the operation. The types of obstacles that could be crossed range from small streams and soft ground to major rivers. The company team may participate in deliberate water obstacle crossings using special equipment from support units if they are on hand. Otherwise, the operation will become deliberate.

Planning

Intelligence

Most of the information that the company team will require concerning the hasty water crossing will be provided by the battalion task force scouts or a lead company team. This information will be collected and disseminated to the company team commander, who in turn will issue an initial FRAGO. This will allow his elements some time to prepare their vehicles for fording or swimming. In addition to the physical characteristics of the crossing site, the single most important aspect of the operation will be the determination of enemy strength at the site. This information will drive the commander's hasty crossing plan and should be provided by battalion task force scouts or other forward reconnaissance elements.

Maneuver

The crossing may be conducted under enemy opposition. If the crossing is made under fire, the infantry will secure the far side of the river with the supporting fire delivered by the BFVs (if not used to take the infantry across) and/or the tank platoons. If the crossing is unopposed, the infantry will still secure the far side, with a support force covering the infantry move; however, to avoid alerting the enemy to the location of the crossing, suppressive fire will not be initiated

Regardless of the level of opposition, the commander must assume that the near side of the river is mined unless reconnaissance confirms otherwise. The company commander must plan to breach to the river line using the appropriate maneuvers discussed in the "Breaching Operations" portion of this section. Once the river line has been reached and the crossing site is cleared of all obstacles, the breach force will seem the far side of the river. It should also confirm the physical condition of the crossing site.

The commander must plan to position his remaining platoons to overwatch the breach and especially to protect the AVLB should one be needed to cross the obstacle. AVLBs should not be brought forward unless the support force is able to suppress the enemy fire.

Fire Support

When the crossing is under fire, the commander must use preplanned indirect fire and smoke to suppress the enemy and obscure observation of the crossing. The battalion task force scout platoon should be able to provide the commander with the location of enemy elements that may influence the crossing. Suppressive fires should be used only if there is opposition at the crossing site as their use may reveal the location of the crossing site. However, when an opposed crossing is required, the commander should also develop a deception plan (perhaps with smoke) that may divert the enemy's attention from the actual crossing site.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers perform two vital missions during the hasty river crossing. The first is the reconnaissance and clearing of the crossing site, conducted by the engineers as part of the breach force. Before any vehicle attempts to make the crossing, it is essential that everything possible be done in advance to lessen the danger of the unforeseen. The second is the actual preparation of the crossing site. This includes marking the crossing site, providing guides, laying an AVLB, and preparing the entrance and exit ramps for the crossing site. Marking sites and providing guides are particularly important if an AVLB is used, especially if the bridge is laid under water. Tanks or other heavy armored vehicles can quickly render the bridge unusable for future operations if they cross it incorrectly.

Air Defense

As the company conducts the river crossing, the commander should be mindful that most of his unit will be stationary during the initial stages of the operation. Accordingly, the company team may become a lucrative air target if identified. Therefore, both active and passive air defense measures should be taken. In particular, the commander should select overwatch positions that are not obvious to enemy ground forces or aircraft. The Stinger team should be sited along the air avenues of approach that lead into the crossing site area to protect against the air threat and also to allow communication on the ADA early warning net.

Combat Service Support

Upon receipt of the company commander's WO, the 1SG should begin to ensure that the unit has the necessary supplies to conduct a river crossing, particularly if some of the vehicles will be required to swim. As an example, the 1SG may want to remind vehicle commanders to check--

  • Presence and proper mounting of all access plates.
  • Presence and condition of all seals.
  • Survivability of bilge pumps.

Also, he may want to ensure that the engineers have the proper equipment to maintain the trafficability of the entrance and exit routes. If the ground is particularly soft, the engineers may wish to quickly emplace pier steal planking or lay gravel. his will lessen the adverse effect of multiple vehicles crossing at the same point along the riverbank.

Command and Control

The commander will complete his plan by identifying each of the platoons with a specific mission during the operation. In many cases, this association may be part of the company team SOP. However, it will be important that each platoon leader understands his role and begins to plan accordingly. The commander will plan to locate himself immediately following the breach force, where he can control the operation, while the XO will control the fires of the support force and assist in the direction of indirect fires.

Preparation

Intelligence

After having issued his order, the commander will continue to monitor the reports of the scout platoon to ensure that he is up-to-date with the current enemy situation. He will want to ensure that enemy movements have not adversely affected his plan and that his FS plan will still be able to adequately suppress the repositioned or reinforced enemy elements.

Maneuver

During his troop-leading procedures, the commander should take the following steps as the company team prepares to negotiate the water obstacle:

  • Maintain local security.
  • Conduct a reconnaissance of the crossing site and surrounding area.
  • Decide on the proper method to use when crossing the water obstacle (use an AVLB or swim/ford the vehicles).
  • Supervise preparation of company team vehicles, personnel, and crossing sites (entry and exit points, if required) for the operation.
  • Consider the possibility of sending the infantry across first to secure the far side.
  • Plan for use of obscuration and deception smoke.
  • Plan for use of all available fires to suppress the enemy at the crossing site.

If the time allows, the commander should walk through the operation with the platoon leaders. The platoons will be designated as the assault force (infantry platoon), breach force, and support force. Each platoon leader should describe his location and tasks that he is to accomplish during each phase of the operation. Specifically, the commander should look for the following:

  • Breach force.

--Reconnaissance of breaching site.

--Location of crossing.

--Method to mark the crossing.

--Location of guides.

--Location of security element on far side of river.

  • Assault force.

--Position during initial breach.

--Weapons orientation overmatching the breach.

--Signal to advance.

--Order of march through the crossing.

--Objectives to secure on the far side of the river.

--Orientation of major weapon systems once in position.

  • Support force.

--Location of each element.

--Weapon systems orientation.

--Signals to lift and shift fires.

--Signal to advance.

--Order of march through the crossing.

Fire Support

The company team FSO should ensure that each platoon leader understands the FS plan, to include any special instructions concerning fire control. Specifically, the FSO will want to ensure that the execution of the FS plan will suppress any enemy elements that can influence the river-crossing operation. Also, he will check the location of the assault force's FPF against the positions they have identified for occupation. As the company team moves to the crossing site, the FSO will continue to monitor the battalion command net, adding additional targets if appropriate as he prepares to engage targets of opportunity.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will prepare for the operation by attaching themselves to the breach force. In particular, the operator of the AVLB (if used) must be in communication with the commander of the breach force. The breach force, which must perform several tasks simultaneously, is critical to the operation; therefore, a rehearsal of breach force tasks should be conducted if possible.

Air Defense

The Stinger team commander should participate in the rehearsal with the platoon leaders. The commander must verify that the Stinger team is positioned to prevent interference with ground operations, yet be effective against the air threat. Because the Stinger team may not be with one of the maneuver platoons, the Stinger team leader must verify that he understands where to be during each phase of the operation, when to move, and whom to follow.

Combat Service Support

The 1SG will prepare for the operation by reviewing support procedures for the operation with the platoon sergeants. In particular, he will want to highlight the location of casualty evacuation points on the near side and far side of the river. During the operation, the assault force will have to consolidate casualties on the far side of the river. Due to the continuous one way traffic on the AVLB, there may not be an opportunity to transport the wounded to the rear until the support force crosses. Also, ammunition resupply on the far side of the river must be planned, given the amount of ammunition that may be expended in suppressing enemy defenders.

Command and Control

The commander will ensure that each of his subordinate leaders and attached element leaders understand both their individual mission and how their tasks relate to the larger company operation. In this regard, the commander's intent must be clearly understood. The commander should also review the signals that will initiate each phase of the operation:

  • Begin the initial reconnaissance and breach.
  • Emplace the AVLB.
  • Begin the assault through the breach.
  • Lift and shift fires in support of the assault.
  • Begin movement of support force for completion.

The commander should also consider his mission following the river crossing. The crossing by itself is not a mission; rather, it is a task that is conducted en route to mission accomplishment. Generally, the faster the company team can continue to move away from the obstacle, the better the situation. The force will no longer be confined to the crossing site area; the increased distance from the site, plus the addition of follow-on forces, will add to the overall security of any bridges that were used for the operation.

Execution

Intelligence

During the execution of the operation, the commander should evaluate not only the immediate enemy situation (at the crossing) but also enemy operations in depth, particularly counterattack forces. His greatest concern will be that the company team will get about halfway across the obstacle when the enemy chooses to counterattack. The company would be very vulnerable. Therefore the commander must ensure the assault force reaches a vantage point from which it will be able to provide the company early warning. Next, he must think about the continuation of the mission and the possible enemy elements that may attempt to prevent the company from breaking out of the obstacle area.

Maneuver

The operation begins with the support force moving forward to establish attack-by-fire positions. Once the support force has suppressed the enemy, the breach force moves forward to clear the lanes of obstacles and secures the far side of the crossing site (see Figure 6-49).

Once a lane is cleared to the crossing site, the mineroller withdraws to a covered and concealed position while the AVLB is brought forward. Under direction of dismounted breach force elements, the AVLB crew lays the bridge and returns the launcher to a covered and concealed position (see Figure 6-50). Remaining elements of the breach force, if initially unable to cross, then proceed across and reinforce security of the crossing site.

With the AVLB in position, the assault force moves across the bridge under direction of guides at the crossing site (see Figure 6-51). The assault force continues forward and establishes hasty defensive positions on the next appropriate terrain. It is important that the assault force commander move far enough away from the crossing site to allow enough space for the support force and other company team elements. This action will allow the company to cross under relative protection.

Meanwhile, the support force provides direct FS for the operation, protecting other elements during the crossing. In particular, the commander of the support force must ensure that he controls the direct fires, lifting and shifting throughout the operation as necessary. Once the assault force secures the far side of the river line, the support force moves through the crossing and joins the main body of the company team (see Figure 6-52). Often, the support force will simply pass forward of all the other stationary elements to continue the momentum of the operation.

Fire Support

Prior to the movement of the breach force, the FSO will call for and adjust suppressive fires on all known and suspected enemy positions that may influence the crossing. The FSO will initially be positioned with the commander, in proximity to the assault force. As a lane is cleared to the crossing site and the assault force begins its maneuver to seize defensible terrain, the FSO will shift fires to suppress enemy positions on the objective and those areas that influence the objective. At this point, the commander will be concerned about a possible enemy counterattack therefore; the FSO should ensure the defense of his fire plan is adequate now that he is on the ground. FPFs should be planned along the enemy's most likely AAs. Also, interdicting indirect fires along counterattack routes should be planned and integrated with the LPs/OPs. Once the support force crosses and assumes the role of the lead maneuver element, the commander and FSO will follow, and again the FS plan will orient to the support of offensive operations.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Although most of the responsibilities of the engineers were covered in the previous "Maneuver" portion, there are some aspects of their operations that should be further amplified. Despite the best intentions of reconnaissance, the selected crossing site may not possess all the ideal qualities. For example, the engineers may find that the riverbed allows for the emplacement of an AVLB, but the banks will not support it. Chances are, especially under fire, that the AVLB will be laid anyway, knowing that the crossing will not be impeded and the bridge will not be damaged. However, if follow-on forces plan to use the bridge, then the engineers must make arrangements to have the bank reinforced or to have ingress and egress areas for the bridge reinforced with gravel or field-expedient resources.

Air Defense

The Stinger team will protect the force against air interdiction from a position that provides protection from enemy direct fire, yet allows observation of the enemy air avenues of approach. Once the support force begins its movement across the river, the Stinger team will then revert to protecting the company as it would in offensive operations. For this reason, it is best that the Stinger team remain linked to the support force for the duration of the crossing. If the Stinger team is under armor (usually in one of the company combat train vehicles), then the 1SG must ensure that both he and the ADA team can operate without degrading each other's operations.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will remain out of direct-fire range of enemy forces in the vicinity of the crossing site. Remember that because this is not a mission in itself, the CSS plan will address the crossing as a potential problem along the axis while en route to the final objective. The 1 SG will be concerned with casualty evacuation and resupply following the crossing, but these concerns become more important at the final objective. CSS support may have a potential problem if the bridge is to be retrieved and no follow-on element plans to use the route. In this case, the 1SG must determine the best way to support the force and reach the MSR. Generally, this will involve the reconnaissance of alternate or lateral routes, a dangerous task if the area has not been cleared by combat forces. Nevertheless, as this operation is offensive in nature, the remainder of the CSS support will be executed as in a movement to contact or a deliberate attack.

Command and Control

The commander will observe and control the operation from a vantage point in proximity to the assault force. In particular, he must assess the success of the breach force and adjust the operation according to its progress. Once the crossing site has been established, the commander must shift his attention to offensive operations, even though the assault force will take up hasty defensive positions beyond the crossing area. In particular, the commander must anticipate the actions of the enemy. He must be prepared to fend off a possible counterattack or to get his force across so rapidly that the enemy will remain off guard and will be unable to offer an organized defense.

The actual river crossing is a drill and should be bested as such. The commander should be able to negotiate a river as any obstacle, with brevity of instructions and the complete understanding of his subordinate commanders. If time allows, a rehearsal should be conducted to reinforce the SOP and to keep the unit alert to the teamwork necessary for rapid and effective execution. Ultimately, however, the commander should control the movement of each force, maintaining the momentum of the operation.

Guard Operations

The guard force protects the main body from surprise, direct fire, and premature deployment. When a company is given a guard mission or is ordered to operate as part of the guard force, it is expected to conduct hasty attacks, delays, and movement to contact operations to maintain the unimpeded movement of the main body. It is important to remember that when a company team is given a guard mission (as part of a larger force's operation), it may require augmentation in order to accomplish all of the tasks inherent in the mission. However, the only actual guard mission that a single company team can accomplish is the advance guard. In other guard missions (flank and rear), the company actually conducts a screen. The smallest force actually capable of conducting a flank or rear guard is the battalion task force. The mission of a company team within this force will be to defend from a BP or in sector. For additional information, refer to the "Guard Operations" portion in Section II of this chapter.

Guard operations can be conducted to the front, rear, or flanks of the main body. An advance guard normally conducts a movement to contact to find and defeat an encountered enemy within its capability. This is normally conducted along an axis or route of advance or in zone. The company team will normally conduct a movement to contact as the advance guard of a battalion task force's movement. Once contact with the enemy is made, the company team conducts its actions on contact in the same manner as it would for a normal movement to contact. The platoons will return fire, report to the company team commander, and begin developing the situation using direct and indirect fire and maneuver. Depending on the situation and the decision of the company team and/or higher commander, the company may launch a hasty attack against the enemy. If the enemy is stronger than the company's ability to destroy it, the enemy force will be fixed, bypassed, and handed over to the main body of the battalion task force. A bypass route should also be identified for the main body to avoid the enemy position.

A flank guard protects the flank of the main body by maneuvering along an axis parallel to the main body. The company may travel in a combat column with an on-order mission to occupy preplanned BPs, or it may occupy a series of platoon BPs, bounding alternately or successively at the same pace as the main body. Other elements screen the area from the flank guard line to the main body while the scout platoon screens father to the flank to provide early warning to the flank guard force. The point to remember is that, within the flank guard mission, the company team executes a defense from a BP or in sector.

During the advance, the rear guard protects the main body's rear area by conducting delay operations and local counterattacks to defeat enemy forces within its capability. As in a delay, the company team is given a series of BPs, sectors, or combinations of the two from which to conduct the delay. It is important to remember that company teams may be required to defend from these BPs if movement of the main body is slowed or comes to a halt. The rear guard normally follows the main body at a distance determined by the main body commander.

Planning

Because the advance guard is executed as a movement to contact and a rear guard as a delay, this section focuses on the company team's role in the flank guard mission. In this scenario, the battalion commander has designated the company commander as the flank guard commander. Inherent in the flank guard mission are tasks to screen the area from the line of the flank guard to the main body and to protect the force from the flank. To accomplish these tasks, the battalion commander has given the flank guard commander a fourth platoon and placed the scout platoon under the flank guard commander's OPCON.

Intelligence

The driving force behind the battalion commander's selection of a reinforced company flank guard was the battalion S2's IPB and associated information from higher headquarters. With the enemy situation template received during issuance of the OPORD, the commander identifies additional mobility corridors and possible avenues of approach that may lead to his axis of advance. With the scout platoon leader, he selects OP positions farther out from the flank guard axis to provide early warning to the company. Also, a route for the screen platoon will be prepared. This must be carefully planned because maneuver platoons are not generally trained for screen missions. In actuality, the platoon should operate as in a movement to contact, but may require additional guidance due to the terrain or enemy situation.

Maneuver

The maneuver plan is developed with two major factors in mind. The first is the axis taken by the main body; the second is the enemy situation template. The company commander must examine the axis and identify the distance the guard should be placed from it to provide adequate protection and early warning. This determination also includes selection of dominating terrain along previously identified avenues of approach. Next, the commander must choose the best method of movement or protection suited to the situation. As in any guard mission, the greater the level of security, the slower the guard's movement.

While the lead platoon screens the distance from the guard line to the rear of the main body advance guard and the scout platoon screens farther to the flank, actual guard platoons can be maneuvered in three different ways: alternate bounds by BP, successive bounds, or in column until ordered to occupy defensive positions (see Figures 6-53 through 6-55). Alternate bounds are the most secure and slowest; traveling in column with an on-order defensive mission is the quickest and least secure. Thus, based on the speed of the main body and the likelihood of enemy attack, the guard adopts one of the three techniques, or it may use combinations of them as required during conduct of the operation.

Fire Support

Depending on the severity of enemy threat, the battalion task force commander may also place the mortar platoon under the control of the flank guard commander. If so, the mortar platoon can be used in several different ways. It may move behind the lead screening platoon with the mission to assist in fixing enemy elements along the axis. The mortar platoon may also be placed with scouts to augment their ability in slowing any enemy element attempting to attack from the flank. Finally, the mortars may move with the guard platoons, ready to respond to enemy contact to either the front or the flank. Regardless of where the mortars are located within the formation, the commander must ensure they are positioned where their capabilities are used to advantage.

The company team FSO travels with the company commander, who probably follows the lead guard platoon. The FS plan will be a hybrid of both offensive and defensive FS planning. Specifically, the plan is similar to offensive planning in that the force is maneuvering as in an offensive operation; however, as the guard quickly reverts to a defense or delay in sector, the fire plan must also be defensive in nature. As a result, the company team FSO must demonstrate flexibility as the tactical situation can rapidly change from one type of mission to another.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The primary concern for any attached engineer elements is to maintain mobility of the guard. The flank guard must be able to keep pace with the main body. To ensure this, some engineers maybe placed with the screen platoon to reconnoiter obstacles and crossing sites and to classify bridges. Engineer assets move behind the screen or with lead elements of the guard platoons to react to engineer reconnaissance reports. If resources allow, some engineer assets may accompany the scout platoon to establish obstacles designed to slow the arrival of the enemy to the force's flank.

The engineers must be prepared to change mission should the enemy attempt to attack from the flank. In this regard, the engineers will revert to a countermobility mission designed to prevent the enemy from reaching the main body. Therefore, obstacles in depth, emplaced behind the guard defensive line, will become the first priority. Because time is limited, these will probably be rapidly emplaced minefield systems (GEMSS or FASCAM) or point-type demolitions sited along main avenues of approach, as opposed to labor-intensive obstacles.

Air Defense

The Stinger team should be positioned where it can best protect the guard platoons. Generally, the team is located with the combat trains, which should be integrated into the guard line and the main body. However, the team leader must find terrain appropriate to his mission along the length of the axis. If he cannot, the Stinger team must reconcile positions with the company team commander's scheme of maneuver.

Combat Service Support

Company trains must balance mobility with security. Generally, that means they travel in trace of the maneuver platoons, but forward of the trail platoon. The trail platoon is responsible for tying into follow-on forces; therefore, it should not be obstructed by trains elements. If contact with the enemy occurs from the flank, the trains then move to a more secure position between the guard line and main body. CSS operations then occur laterally during the fight.

In planning guard mission CSS operations, the XO and 1SG should prepare for them as a movement to contact, but they should expect to revert to hasty defense. Accordingly, extra ammunition and other rapidly expended supplies should be carried in the company combat trains so emergency resupply can occur responsively. The flank guard should be as self-sustaining as possible because of its position with respect to the rest of the force and the difficulty in resupplying and evacuating casualties and damaged equipment. However, company trains are simply not equipped to handle the unit's total support needs. Thus, CSS planning should identify and label a series of supply routes perpendicular to the axis of advance, yet appropriate to support a defensive battle on the flank (by intersecting the battalion MSR). These will come into use once the FRAGO to defend has been given.

Command and Control

The commander should plan to follow the lead guard platoon. In this way, he will be able to respond to contact from the front and the flank. The XO should monitor the progress of the screen platoon following in trace. This serves two purposes: the XO can provide assistance to the platoon leader, who may be drawn into a fight, and he becomes an additional element who can observe the sector.

The control of the operation is accomplished through a series of PLs, which become on-order boundaries once contact has been made with the enemy from the flank. The PLs also establish the interval between platoons and assist the commander in gauging the position of the screen relative to his guard platoons. If designated, an axis of advance may be given to the guard platoons to establish their position with respect to the on-order BPs and the screen line of the scout platoon.

Preparation

Intelligence

Once the commander issues the OPORD, he will rehearse the plan with his flank guard elements. In particular, he will want to reconcile the scout platoon's screen against the battalion decision support template and his own decision-making matrix. The commander will role-play the part of the enemy to ensure the scout platoon not only communicates the reports effectively but also understands what actions it must take as a result of each of the enemy's probable courses of action. Also, the commander will want to ensure that the scout platoon can easily occupy each of its assigned positions and keep pace with the guard and the main body.

Maneuver

The maneuver plan must be rehearsed if the force is to move quickly along its assigned route with a minimum of additional instruction. Specifically, if the guard is to move by alternate or subsequent bounds, this maneuver must be rehearsed so that platoon leaders will effectively communicate with one another and understand where they are in relation to the others throughout the operation. If the commander chooses to move in column, he must rehearse the occupation of BPs on order. Regardless of the method of movement, each platoon leader must know his direct-fire orientation for each of the BPs and how his fires fit into the company team direct-fire plan. Other defensive fire control techniques are as important in the guard as in the deliberate defense (trigger lines, engagement criteria, target priority).

It is important for the screen platoon, guard element, and scout platoon to work as a team and to understand their responsibilities to the other. For example, if the scout platoon identifies an advancing enemy element, it may be forced to withdraw through the guard line or move to a position to the flank. Guard platoon leaders must know what the scout platoon is doing and where it is to avoid fratricide. Similarly, the screen platoon must be able to hand over bypassed enemy to the guard and work with the guard platoons to destroy enemy elements that may threaten the main body. Each of these actions should be rehearsed to eliminate confusion during execution.

Fire Support

The FS plan must be rehearsed concurrently with the maneuver plan. Again, elements of the guard must understand where scout platoon elements are positioned so they will not be engaged by indirect fire. The FS plan should be rehearsed by all those who are in an initial position to observe the enemy, specifically the screen and scout platoons. The mortar platoon should rehearse to ensure its section locations are appropriate for responsive fire over the length of the sector and to ensure the platoon will be able to provide the range and effectiveness of fire cited in the FS plan.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineers will conduct mobility operations as part of the maneuver rehearsal. To eliminate any possible conflict between the mobility and maneuver plans, they should walk through breaching drills and practice coordination on the move, with engineer reconnaissance teams and the commanders of the breaching assets taking part.

Air Defense

The Stinger team leader should show the commander where he would establish firing positions along the length of the axis of advance. In particular, he must show that he is able to cover the enemy air avenues of approach into the guard force position no matter where it stops. The commander should also ensure that the Stinger team has the ability to warn the force of an impending enemy air attack. This is especially important when on the move.

Combat Service Support

The CSS plan should be rehearsed with the maneuver plan. The 1SG should conduct the rehearsal with platoon sergeants to ensure each understands how to request emergency resupply, where to link up, and how much to expect. Evacuation of casualties and equipment should also be rehearsed. With only limited ability to recover damaged or inoperative vehicles, like-vehicle recovery should be covered and collection points identified along the entire axis. Similarly, each element should understand the location of the on-order MSRs running perpendicular to the direction of travel and the signals that open and close them.

Command and Control

From the commander's perspective, the rehearsal should provide a chance to practice controlling the operation and to ensure the XO is prepared to assume command if required. The commander's greatest concern is to maneuver the guard force in a unified manner. He must ensure that screens report each control measure and that guard platoons are able to keep pace with them and the main body. He has a difficult task due to the many elements under his control; therefore, while he commands the actual flank guard, he must rely on the XO to monitor the forward screen and the scout platoon to handle the flank screen and work together with the mortar platoon. In this manner, he may will decentralize control yet maintain enough centralized combat power that he can adequately react to the development of the situation.

Execution

For the purposes of this discussion, the flank guard mission is being performed by a force arrayed as illustrated in Figure 6-56.

Intelligence

As the guard begins its movement, the commander will monitor the reports of both the scout platoon and the forward screen. He will rely on the forward screen commander to maintain contact at all times with the main body advance guard to ensure that the area between the guard line and the main body is clear of enemy elements. Likewise, the scout platoon leader will keep the guard commander informed of the enemy situation to the flank. In turn, the guard commander will send periodic reports to the main body commander, to include his assessment of the enemy situation in his area

Maneuver

As the forward screen crosses each PL, the platoon leader will report his location to the company commander. The scout platoon will also ensure the commander knows when each OP is occupied and evacuated. The commander will control the speed of the guard column so that it maintains an even pace with the main body. Should an enemy attack appear imminent from the flank, the guard commander will instruct the guard platoons to occupy hasty defensive positions in three of the preplanned platoon BPs. The forward screen will slow and continue to maintain contact while the commander reports his actions to the main body commander. The scouts will continue to monitor the situation and report the enemy's advance along the corresponding avenues of approach. If possible, the scouts will remain forward of the guard force to continue to provide intelligence of the enemy in depth. From this point forward, the battle is fought as a defense from a BP.

Should the enemy prove too strong for the flank guard, the commander will revert to a delay in sector mission. He will designate secondary BPs or a second PL from which to defend, allowing the platoon leaders a little more leeway if the terrain is very close. Again, he will report his actions to the main body commander so the bulk of the force can prepare to receive the enemy or so the flank guard can be reinforced by additional combat power. Upon the destruction of the enemy, the flank guard commander will assess the combat strength of his unit and its ability to continue the mission.

Fire Support

The FS plan will be conducted in conjunction with the main body commander's concept. For example, the main body commander may not wish the enemy to know of the position or strength of the force. Therefore, he may not want artillery fired until contact with the enemy is imminent. In this regard, the flank guard's FS plan may not be executed unless the enemy attempts to attack from the flank. As a result. the flank guard will go to ground, and the FS plan takes on an immediate defensive nature.

Regardless of the commander's concept, the FS plan will be executed offensively, defensively, or as a combination of the two. Once the platoons go to ground, the company FSO must ensure that an FPF is planned for the platoon BPs. It will be important that the guard does not become decisively engaged unless the protection of the main body leaves no other recourse.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will conduct breaching drills as required to maintain the mobility of the guard force. Once enemy contact has been established, they will quickly move to prepare obstacles in depth. If the resources and time are available, the FSO will request FASCAM. This will be especially useful forward of the guard tine, as the minefield can be covered by direct fire. Once a target has been prepared in depth, its execution must be reported to the members of the guard force so that they know not to use that route. Reserve targets (for example, bridges) should not be executed until the signal is given by the predesignated authority. That authority will ensure that all friendly elements have withdrawn behind the target before it is executed.

Air Defense

The Stinger team will conduct their air defense mission as in a movement to contact. It will monitor the ADA early earning net and move with the force, observing enemy air avenues of approach from preplanned positions along the route. Once contact with enemy ground forces has been established, the Stinger team will locate on the best defensible terrain and continue to protect the force. Should enemy aircraft begin to attack, the Stinger team leader will notify the flank guard as a whole.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will move as part of the guard column until contact with the enemy is imminent, at which time the trains will maneuver to a location central and to the rear of the element in contact. In the case of a flank attack, this will be between the guard line and the main body. From this point forward, CSS operations are conducted as in the company defense. Casualties and damaged equipment will be evacuated to positions of safety behind the platoon BPs or to predetermined locations where they can be met by maintenance and medical support. From there, the evacuation route will extend laterally into the main body and intersect the MSR. Should the guard be required to delay, the trains will be moved in preparation for each new defensive line. Equipment that cannot be recovered will be destroyed.

Command and Control

The commander must rely on the judgment of his subordinate commanders in order to effectively control the operation. He must ensure that once the force moves out, each leader continues to inform the other of his progress and status. Once contact is imminent, the commander must ensure the safe positioning of his reconnaissance assets or their withdrawal behind the guard line. At this point, the commander will control the battle as he would in any defensive operation. In addition to the destruction of the enemy, his charter is to protect the force to the best of his ability; therefore, he must keep the main body commander continually informed of the situation, to include requesting additional support, if needed. Should the flank guard commander be forced to revert to a delay, he must ensure that in his trade of space for time he allows enough time for the main body to prepare for contact. This can be accomplished only through close coordination with the main body commander.

Screen Operations

A company team is given a screen mission to maintain surveillance, to provide early warning of an approaching enemy to the main body, to impede and harass the enemy with supporting indirect fires, and to destroy the enemy's reconnaissance elements within its capability. The operation is designed to obtain information about the enemy and to provide reaction time, maneuver space, and protection to the main body.

A company team may conduct a screen in support of brigade offensive and defensive operations. When given a forward screen mission, the company moves as in a movement to contact; given a flank guard mission, the company actually operates as a screen. Generally, screen missions are accomplished by the scout platoon for a battalion operation or by a cavalry squadron for a division. At brigade level, the commander may direct a battalion task force to provide a screen if the division's security elements are engaged in other missions or have become combat ineffective, or when he believes that the division's security forces will be unable to provide the degree of security required by the brigade.

This discussion will center on a company team that has been given the mission to conduct a forward screen for the brigade's defense. While the division cavalry squadron is forward, the situation dictates that the bulk of the reconnaissance effort will be dedicated to another brigade's sector. As a result, the brigade commander has determined to augment the security of his sector by emplacing his own forward screen.

Planning

Intelligence

The company team commander will begin to plan the operation after receiving the enemy situation and decision support templates from the brigade S2. The brigade S2 will indicate which NAI the company team must observe and when they must be observed. The brigade S2 will not dictate the location of company team elements, nor will he dictate how the company team is to maintain surveillance of the NAI. However, if GSR units will operate under brigade control in support of the brigade's security efforts, these assets should be positioned by the brigade S2, and their locations and missions are integrated with the security actions of the screening company teams. Once the screen force commander positions his elements, he will then inform the brigade S2 of their primary, alternate, and subsequent locations.

Maneuver

When the brigade commander assigns a screen mission to a company team, he should use the following planning principles.

  • The brigade commander should designate the general trace of the screen and the time that it must be effectively established. The initial screen line should be forward of the general trace but remain within the range of supporting artillery. Screen lines are depicted as PLs, and passage graphics are also included in the overlay.
  • The brigade commander should designate the left and right limits of the screen as well as a PL for the rear boundary. This PL wilt also become the on-order BHL.
  • The brigade commander will confirm which unit has responsibility for the area between the screening force's rear boundary and the MBA. This should be the battalions that occupy sectors behind the brigade screen.

Generally, the best company team configuration for the screen mission is a reinforced mechanized infantry company, for example, three platoons of mechanized infantry and one tank platoon. The ability to place soldiers on the ground to conduct surveillance operations and active patrolling is an essential passive aspect of the screen mission; the tank platoon may be deployed in a manner similar to a reserve, with a mission to destroy the enemy's reconnaissance vehicles. In this respect, the company team operates as a hunter-killer team.

Given this task organization and the brigade commander's guidance, the screen force commander will then plan his operation. The following list illustrates some of the items the commander must specify in his OPORD:

  • The PL establishing the initial screen, which should be placed to allow for unimpeded observation from behind the line. OPs may be positioned forward of the line, but only with the permission of the screen force commander. They must remain with the range of supporting fires. The initial screen line in this case may not be an FS coordination line or a CFL.
  • The mission to be executed to move the company team to the screen line, usually a zone or route reconnaissance.
  • The time needed to carry out the operation.
  • The location of the OPs.
  • Indirect-fire planning.
  • Routes or sectors for rearward displacement.
  • Logistical plans.

Fire Support

The company team FSO will prepare for the screen mission as he would a defend in sector mission. Specifically, he will use the enemy situation template as a guide to plan fires that should interdict enemy maneuver elements. Additionally, protective fires will be planned for all screen force positions. This will help prevent screen force elements from becoming decisively engaged with the enemy. Accurate indirect fire will be essential to the destruction of the enemy reconnaissance effort; therefore, a time-distance analysis should be conducted covering the enemy's probable rate of advance and the time of flight of the artillery. If available, COLT teams may be added to the screen force to be used as snipers against enemy vehicles.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Generally, the brigade's engineer effort will be dedicated to the MBA forces. If available, some engineer effort may be dedicated to the forward screen; however, the obstacle plan should not be severe enough to drastically alter enemy movement prior to the enemy's becoming engaged by forces within the MBA. The obstacles found forward of the MBA should be designed to temporarily stop reconnaissance elements and assist in their destruction. As a result, point-type targets along restrictive portions of the enemy's avenues of approach are an example of obstacles that may be bypassed, yet offer a target to the weapons covering the obstacle.

Air Defense

Due to the large frontage the company team will be required to cover, one Stinger team may not be sufficient to protect the force. A better alternative is to place two Stinger teams under armor, riding with the flank platoons. This ensures a Stinger gunner on the ground at all times and at each end of the screen. The disadvantage is that the gunners may lose their ADA early warning net unless a radio is provided to them. Also, some other ADA element will have to move forward every 24 hours to update their IFF capability. Nevertheless, the actual enemy air threat will probably not be directed toward their position; rather, the aircraft will be attempting to penetrate the MBA in search of more lucrative targets.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will have a difficult time supporting a force that extends across the brigade's frontage. As a result, each of the platoons should be made as self-sustainable as possible. Each vehicle must carry its own commonly used repair parts. Additionally, combat lifesavers should be given additional medical supplies in case they are the only ones available to administer first aid. The 1SG may coordinate with the S4s of each of the forward MBA battalions for additional support. For example, the platoon that is screening in front of a particular battalion task force may be able to receive some level of support from that force, especially in terms of casualty evacuation and maintenance support following evacuation.

Command and Control

The commander will have a difficult time controlling a company that is forced to operate across an extended frontage. Just from the communications standpoint, control may be of great concern. As a result, the commander may place himself between and to the rear of the center and flank platoons, while his XO mirrors the position on the other side. The commander can communicate his instructions to the XO, who in turn will ensure they are relayed to the platoons on his side of the sector. In terms of the actual control planning, the commander will designate PLs throughout the depth of his sector. Each PL should correspond to the next screen line. Platoons will bound between PLs under the direction of the commander however, the brigade commander will decide when the screen force may move behind the rear boundary PL.

Preparation

Intelligence

In preparation for the screen mission, the company team commander will ensure that each platoon understands which NAI it is to observe and when. The commander will expect the platoons to aggressively patrol and conduct reconnaissance operations within its platoon sector; however, the responsibilities of the brigade R& S plan must be met. The commander will review with each platoon leader the enemy mobility corridors and avenues of approach that lead into his respective sector. He will emphasize the point that platoons are not to become decisively engaged, yet should do everything in their power to destroy the enemy's reconnaissance assets. When the enemy's reconnaissance formation is too large, they should notify the commander, who will commit the tank platoon (or a tank section) to destroy the enemy.

Maneuver

As mentioned earlier, the screen force will conduct its operations using a hunter-killer team concept. In this scenario, the screen force commander would probably retain one tank section, and the XO would retain the other. In this way, a tank section would be able to respond to enemy reconnaissance vehicles that penetrate the screen on either side of the sector. Although splitting the platoon lessens the ability to mass combat power, it increases the screen force's flexibility by limiting the distance the tanks must travel to reach any portion of the sector.

The commander will rehearse the conduct of the screen by simulating the enemy's movement into the brigade sector. He will ensure that his platoon leaders accurately report enemy sightings at each of the NAI and other locations as appropriate. Moreover, he will rehearse their movement from one PL to the next, paying close attention to how the platoons internally cover their move. He will check weapons orientation, routes of withdrawal, order of march and calls for fire. He will also ensure that the platoons will be able to make the move, yet maintain contact with the enemy. Finally, once the screen mission has been rehearsed, the commander will conduct a rehearsal for the platoon's rearward passage of lines with the MBA battalions. If possible, he will ask for battalion representatives to participate in this final coordination prior to execution.

Fire Support

The company team FSO will ensure that the FS plan is accurately executed during the maneuver rehearsal. In particular, to ensure spearation from the enemy, he should ensure that the platoons call for fire as they move from their positions. He will also verify the proper use of priority targets. This is especially important in that the brigade's artillery may not be firing in support of any other element. As a result, when a lucrative target appears, the artillery support should be both timely and extremely effective. The FSO should be located in proximity to the company team commander, along the enemy's suspected area of main effort. Therefore, he will be unable to observe the entire sector (again, primarily due to the large frontage) and must rely on the platoon leaders and the XO on the other side of the sector to accurately direct and control indirect fires.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

In conjunction with the maneuver rehearsal, the company team commander will rehearse the execution of reserve targets and other obstacles that have been planned throughout the sector. In particular, he will want to ensure that brigade reserve targets are manned and that the conditions and signals under which they are to be executed are fully understood. In terms of his own targets, the commander will ensure they are executed as the last section clears the area to augment the separation between his force and the enemy.

Air Defense

The conduct of the screen force's air defense will also be included in the maneuver rehearsal. Each Stinger gunner should demonstrate where he is to be positioned throughout the maneuver to ensure that a Stinger gunner is on the ground and ready to shoot at all times.

Combat Service Support

The 1SG will demonstrate where the company combat trains will be located during each phase of the operation. He will rehearse his ability to move in preparation of the screen force's displacement to its next PL and his ability to evacuate wounded and damaged equipment. Because he will be extremely limited in the latter area, the platoons must also demonstrate their plan to evacuate damaged vehicles and to treat and stabilize the wounded and evacuate them to the MBA.

Command and Control

The commander will practice his control of the operation during the rehearsal. Due to the large frontage, he will be unable to actually see much of the battlefield and therefore will rely heavily on the reports of his platoon leaders and XO. Nevertheless, he must know where his units are at all times during the operation. A technique during the rehearsal is for the commander to have his back to the other participants and practice controlling the operation from his map and operational graphics. In this way, he will be better able to judge the quality of his subordinates' reports and his own ability to control the operation.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the company team begins its screen mission, the commander will monitor the reports of his platoons. He will have to do his own IPB to piece together what type of enemy reconnaissance elements are entering the area. He will send all reports to higher headquarters as quickly as possible, so that the brigade S2 can complete his enemy situation template. The brigade S2 should also attempt to predict for the screen force commander the type and location of the next enemy force he can expect to face. As a result, the screen force commander and brigade S2 will work together in an effort to gain as much information as possible about the enemy before it reaches the MBA.

Maneuver

The execution of the screen will essentially look like a mechanized infantry company on line, extending at intervals the width of the brigade sector. As the scout elements identify enemy reconnaissance vehicles and attempt to remain undetected, the enemy will be engaged by indirect fires at maximum range. As the enemy pressure increases and threatens the security of the OPs, the platoons will request permission to move to the next screen line.

Once the company team commander has given that permission, two vehicles from each platoon will move back to the next screen line under the protection of the remaining sections (see Figure 6-57). When moving to the next screen line, emphasis must be placed on moving rapidly and maintaining visual contact with the enemy. Prompt accurate reporting will be essential to prevent decisive engagement and to keep the platoons from being overrun, bypassed, or cut off. Nevertheless, some enemy reconnaissance elements may slip between the elements of the screen, though in the best case they will not go undetected. If they are detected, the platoon leader will immediately notify the screen force commander, who will direct a tank section to wait in ambush for the enemy reconnaissance element. Therefore, as long as the screen line elements can keep tabs on the enemy, minor penetrations of the screen line can be taken care of without a significant impact on the force's ability to continue the mission. Once the brigade commander is satisfied with the work of the screen force, or when it appears the force will become quickly engaged by the enemy, the brigade commander will give his permission to the force to move behind the rear boundary, hand over the battle to the forward battalions, and execute a rearward passage of lines.

Fire Support

The FSO and the platoon leaders will execute the FS plan as rehearsed. Enemy elements will be engaged at maximum range. In this respect, COLT teams can be especially effective using Copperhead munitions to "pick off" the enemy's reconnaissance vehicles. Should the enemy attempt to penetrate the screen line or become intermingled with the screen force, the platoons must be prepared to call for close-in artillery to extinct themselves from decisive engagement. This is particularity important during moves to subsequent screen lines, where the enemy may observe the move and attempt to press what it feels to be an advantage. This is one more reason to accomplish the move with all possible speed.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

As the enemy nears the screen line, prepared demolitions should be executed to confuse or expose enemy reconnaissance elements so they can be destroyed by direct fire. Prepared bridges are a good example of how an obstacle sought by the enemy can be destroyed as it is approached. If the area leading to the bridge is open and easily covered by direct fire, the enemy reconnaissance element will quickly find itself exposed with only one tactical recourse: to back up under fire. Similarly, point targets, sited along restrictive terrain and not readily visible to the enemy, will surprise the enemy reconnaissance elements and also place them in a vulnerable position. When this is executed properly, the enemy will be unable to maneuver and will become relatively easy targets.

Air Defense

The Stinger gunners will move as members of their assigned vehicles since they should be placed under armor. As one Stinger teammate moves with his section to the next screen line, the other remains in position, at the ready to cover the move. The same process occurs as the other teammate begins his move. Once the company team has been directed to move to the rear, the Stingers will provide protection as in any retrograde operation.

Combat Service Support

The 1SG will maintain a central location behind the screen line, responding to the calls for the evacuation of wounded and, to a lesser extent, of damaged vehicles. Generally, if a vehicle is hit and casualties inflicted, the platoon will be required to stabilize the casualties and recover the vehicle using its own assets. Once in position along the next screen line, the damaged vehicle will be removed to a covered and concealed position behind the platoon. Next, the platoon sergeant will request medical and maintenance support, at which time the ambulance and M88 will move forward to that position and conduct support operations. As the force prepares to move to its next screen line, the 1SG will move the trains to the rear of the new screen line and again prepare to support. This process will continue throughout the operation until the commander receives permission to conduct a rearward passage of lines into the MBA.

Command and Control

The commander will monitor the reports of the platoons in contact and attempt to position himself where he is in the best position to observe the action on his side of the sector. He will remain in contact with the XO to develop a clear enemy picture across the entire frontage of the sector. In particular, he should concentrate on the destruction of the enemy reconnaissance vehicles therefore, he will pay particular attention to the calls for fire and the results of those fire missions. He will commit the tank reserves as needed to destroy enemy penetrations of the screen line and must be prepared to send them into a counterattack role should one of the platoons become decisively engaged.

Above all, the commander will make the determination when to move from one screen line to the next. He will issue FRAGOs as required to control that movement, but mostly he must rely on the ability of the platoon leaders to accomplish the move without his assistance. As the force moves closer to the rear boundary, the commander will ensure that the brigade commander is aware of the situation. Depending on the brigade commander's instructions, the screen commander will control the speed of the movement, the volume of indirect fire directed toward the enemy, and the length of time the screen will remain in place along each PL. He must ensure the force does not become intermingled with the enemy and should allow sufficient time to conduct an orderly withdrawal into the MBA.

Ambush Operations

An ambush is a surprise attack by fire from concealed positions on a moving or temporarily halted enemy. It may include an assault to close with and destroy the target, or the attack may be by fire only. It does not require that ground be seized and held. A company team may conduct an ambush as part of battalion task force rear area, defensive, retrograde, or offensive operations.

Ambushes are generally executed to reduce the enemy force's overall combat effectiveness. Destruction is the primary purpose of an ambush since enemy personnel killed or captured and equipment and/or supplies destroyed or captured will critically affect the enemy force. Harassment, the secondary purpose, diverts the enemy from other missions. A series of successful ambushes causes the enemy to be apprehensive, less aggressive, overly cautious, and therefore reluctant to go on patrols or to move in convoys or small groups.

Planning

Intelligence

Surprise is the key element of the ambush. If it is not achieved, the ambush will fail. As a result, a detailed knowledge of the enemy is absolutely important. This does not have to be a time-consuming process, however. For example, if reconnaissance elements report the size, description, location, direction of travel, and arrival time of an enemy element at a certain point, the ambush party may have enough time and information to prepare an ambush. Therefore, it is important that the company team conducting the ambush maintain communications with the reconnaissance elements (usually the scout platoon) that observed the enemy.

Maneuver

Once a company team receives a mission to conduct an ambush, the commander will determine which type of ambush is best suited for the operation. Essentially, he has two types to choose from:

  • A point ambush is one in which the ambush patrol deploys to attack a target in a single kill zone.
  • An area ambush is one in which the ambush patrol is deployed at multiple, related point ambushes.

Either of these types of ambushes maybe conducted as a hasty or deliberate operation. Generally, a hasty ambush is more of an immediate action drill done at relatively close range, while the deliberate ambush is characterized by more detailed information of the enemy. Doctrinally, the ambush is planned in terms of the following elements:

  • Assault element. This is the part of the company team designated to fire into the kill zone and/or assault the enemy if required.
  • Support element. This part of the company team supports the assault element by firing into and around the kill zone. The support element will fix the enemy within the EA, almost as a blocking force, while the assault force fires from the flank. The support element will also cut off the enemy's flank escape routes once the enemy has been stopped within the kill zone.
  • Security element. This part of the company team provides early warning and security to the other elements of the ambush patrol. It secures the ORP and blocks enemy avenues of approach into and out of the ambush site.

Given a point ambush mission, the commander will assign each of his platoons one of the three missions described above. Usually, a tank platoon will be given the support element mission, either a tank platoon or a mechanized infantry platoon given the assault element mission (depending on the type of target), and an infantry platoon given the security mission.

Fire Support

The company fire plan must be completely integrated into the obstacle and direct-fire plans to isolate the enemy within the kill zone, to prevent escape and reinforcement, and to inflict maximum damage through massed fires within the kill zone. Fires should also be planned in support of the security elements to deny enemy reinforcement or relief from other follow-on elements.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Obstacles should be sited to augment the effect of the support force and the assault force. Therefore, a blocking obstacle should be placed between the support force and the location at which the lead enemy element will be engaged. The obstacle must not be visible to the enemy, or surprise may be lost. Similarly, obstacles parallel to the enemy's direction of movement will allow enemy movement into the kill zone; however, once the ambush begins, they will prevent lateral enemy movement. This will deny escape and prevent the enemy from closing with the assault force. Like the blocking obstacle, the flank obstacles must be properly camouflaged to avoid detection.

Air Defense

Due to the stealthy nature of the ambush, active air defense must be avoided at all cost. Should a Stinger team be forced to engage an enemy aircraft in the vicinity of the ambush site, the operation should probably be aborted. As a result, the company team commander must make maximum use of passive air defense measures; camouflage is essential.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will be located at a covered and concealed location that has access to the ORP. It is important that the trains be hidden from enemy observation. Due to the short but violent nature of the operation and the stealth required to make it a success, CSS operations must be conducted prior to the force moving to the ORP and after the completion of the mission. Casualties must be transported initially by the ambush elements until they can meet with ambulances at the ORP. Sometimes the trains may move forward to the ambush site at the completion of the mission, but this is only done when the area is secure from additional enemy activity. Otherwise, the company team moves in quietly, conducts the ambush, and withdraws quickly.

Command and Control

The ambush commander's control of all aspects of the operation will be critical. He must ensure that his control measures allow for the following:

  • Early warning of target approach by OPs.
  • Withholding fire until the target moves into the kill zone.
  • Opening fire at the proper time.
  • Engagement criteria and target priority (which weapons shoot which targets and in what order).
  • Appropriate actions to be initiated if the ambush is prematurely detected.
  • Lifting and shifting of fires.
  • Timely and orderly withdrawal to an easily recognized rallying point.

Preparation

Intelligence

In preparing for the ambush mission, the commander will ensure that the location of his security elements will provide the early warning required for the operation. He will ensure that the ambush site is prepared in such a manner that all obstacles and firing positions are not visible to the enemy and that all courses of action open to the enemy have been considered for ambush contingency planning. Specifically, the commander will ensure that all avenues of escape have been targeted and covered by fire and that the force has a viable plan for breaking contact under control should the ambush be detected prematurely.

Maneuver

The commander will rehearse the operation with his company team to ensure that each element understands its mission and responsibilities. Essentially, there are two basic types of ambush formations from which the commander may choose when given a point ambush mission: the line ambush and L-shaped ambush.

Line ambush. This is characterized by the assault and support elements positioned on line, parallel to the target's direction of movement (see Figure 6-58). In this technique, all of the fire into the kill zone will be flanking fire. Additional considerations in preparing a line ambush include the following:

    • The size of the kill zone is restricted to the area that assault and support elements can cover with a high volume of fire.
    • The target should be contained in the kill zone. Obstacles, mines, explosives, and direct or indirect fire will prevent the target from leaving the kill zone.
    • To prevent the target from attacking into the assault and support elements, obstacles and mines must be placed between the kill zone and the elements. The lane must be left open for the assault force to attack once fires have been lifted.
    • The line ambush should not be used if the target is sufficiently dispersed to the point that it is larger than the kill zone.

L-shaped ambush. This is a variation of the line ambush, differing in that it offers interlocking enfilade fire into the kill zone (see Figure 6-59). The assault element forms the long axis of the "L"; the support team forms the short axis of the "L" at a right angle to the assault team. The same considerations apply for the L-shaped ambush as for the line ambush, with these additions:

    • The fires of the support team must be shifted out of the kill zone to allow the assault element to attack into an isolated kill zone. Support fires may be stopped, but this can open the backside of the kill zone for target reinforcement or escape.
    • Placement of the support team depends on the siting of the ambush kill zone. It is more advantageous to surprise if the fires of the support team strike the target from the rear.

Area ambush. When the company team has an area ambush mission, the commander should remember that it is a series of point ambushes, organized within a given area. An example is illustrated in Figure 6-60. Within the AO should be several suitable ambush sites, preferably a central ambush site surrounded by other outlying sites. This type of ambush is usually associated with a screen mission (the "Screen Operations" portion of this section). Additional considerations for conducting an area ambush include the following:

    • The security teams must accurately and quickly pass information about the size, composition, route, direction, and speed of the enemy to the assault and support teams.
    • More security teams are needed for an area ambush.
    • All of the ambushes should be conducted as simultaneously as possible, or the enemy may be alerted to the ambush.
    • If the ambushes are not simultaneous, then those forces involved in the earlier ambushes should immediately reposition themselves.
    • The withdrawal of the ambush force of an area screen is more complicated; it must be done in a slower, more deliberate manner.

Preparing for the ambush. Once the commander conducts a rehearsal appropriate to the type of ambush that the company team will execute, the unit will begin to prepare for the operation following these steps:

    • The ambushing force moves to and establishes the ORP.
    • The commander and selected element leaders conduct a leader's reconnaissance of the ambush site.
    • The plan is confirmed or modified.
    • The security elements are moved into position.
    • Support and assault elements are moved into position.
    • The ambush site is prepared.

Fire Support

The company team FSO will rehearse the FS plan during the ambush rehearsal. He will ensure that each element is able to employ effective indirect fires in support of its mission. For example, the security element will call for fires that deny enemy reinforcement of the ambush area, while the assault and support forces will call for fires to augment the direct fires within the kill zone. With respect to the latter, indirect fires should synchronized as much as possible with the direct fires so that, when the ambush is begins, the artillery will land as the direct-fire elements begin to fire.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The obstacles will be checked in preparation for the ambush to make sure that they are properly sited and camouflaged. Prepared demolitions for the security force will also be checked. These targets would be executed to further deny enemy reinforcement or escape. However, they should not be executed until the actual ambush begins, as they could alert the enemy to an impending ambush.

Air Defense

The Stinger team will be sited where it can provide protection from air attack if necessary. The Stinger team should not be visible from the ground or, for that matter, to aerial reconnaissance elements. Rather, it should be well camouflaged and prepared to execute, but only as a last resort to avoid aborting the ambush.

Combat Service Support

The 1SG will ensure that all platoons have all the necessary ammunition, fuel, and other supplies needed to sustain operations from the moment they leave for the ORP until their return. Due to the short duration of the operation, CSS should not be a problem except in the area of medical support. In this regard, the 1SG should ensure that each combat lifesaver has enough supplies to treat and stabilize wounded until they can be evacuated by the medics.

Command and Control

In preparing for the ambush, the commander should ensure that his signals for controlling the operation are both understood and redundant. There are four important signals needed to control an ambush:

  • A signal used by the security teams to alert the ambush patrol leader of the enemy's approach. Usually, a brief, prearranged FM signal is used. The landline can be used when it is secure and in no danger of detection.
  • A signal to start the ambush. This is driven by the ambush patrol leader or by someone designated by the patrol leader. This must be a casualty-producing signal, such as a main gun shot or the detonation of explosives.
  • A signal to shift fire when the target is to be assaulted. FM or visual signals may be used, but whatever is selected, it must be received and understood by all of the assault force simultaneously to ensure unity of effort.
  • A signal to withdraw. This also may be via either FM or visual signal. Generally, FM is given first priority because that is usually what the unit is most familiar with; visual signals (such as flares) are reserved for backup measures.

Execution

Intelligence

The company team will begin the operation by moving to the ORP. From there, the ambush patrol leader will move forward and conduct a reconnaissance of the ambush area to confirm the plan. Next, the security elements will move into position where they can secure the ORP and the flanks of the ambush site.

Once the security elements report that they are in position and prepared to execute their mission, the support and assault elements will move from the ORP to their respective positions. If possible, the support element will overwatch the assault element's movement to the ambush site. Otherwise, they will move at the same time.

Once all elements are in position, the patrol awaits the target. When the target approaches, the security team alerts the ambush patrol leader. The security team leader should report the direction of movement, size of the target, and any special weapons or equipment the enemy has. This information is passed to all elements of the ambush patrol.

Maneuver

When the majority of the enemy force is in the kill zone, the patrol leader will signal to initiate the ambush. The support force will initiate fires destroying the lead enemy vehicles, while the assault force sweeps the length of the enemy formation, destroying the remaining vehicles from the flank. If possible, the assault element weapon system farthest from the support force should destroy the enemy trail vehicle first. This will ensure the enemy is trapped within its own wreckage.

On order from the ambush patrol leader, the support force will shift its fires to the enemy's flank, away from the assault element. This will further seal off the kill zone from enemy retreat. Meanwhile, if the conditions allow, the ambush commander will signal the assault force to move forward and destroy any remaining resistance. Once the enemy has been destroyed and the ambush mission is complete, the ambush patrol commander will signal to cease fire and withdraw to the ORP. The order of withdrawal will usually occur with the assault element moving first, followed by the support element, and the security element last. Once at the ORP, accountability of men and equipment will be made, and the force will quickly move to link up with the company combat trains under the protection of other maneuver elements.

Fire Support

As the lead enemy element approaches the trigger line, the ambush commander will call for indirect fire. If properly planned, the artillery should land at the same time the commander initiates fire, just as the lead element reaches the trigger line. The artillery will augment the shock of direct fire engaging the enemy formation, The FSO must also lift and shift the indirect fires as the commander gives the signal to shift direct fires. This is to prevent fratricide when the assault force moves into the kill zone to complete the ambush.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The ambush patrol commander may choose to initiate the operation by executing demolitions once the enemy's lead element reaches a specific point within the kill zone. This target should be designed to destroy the lead vehicle and deny follow-on assets the ability to bypass and escape. The other obstacles (such as minefields) should contain both vehicles and personnel within the kill zone. Should other enemy elements attempt to relieve or reinforce the attacked element, the security teams may detonate point targets (bridges) to deter the enemy. The ambush patrol leader must be notified if demolitions are executed by the security teams, as it may have an impact on friendly withdrawal from the ambush area.

Air Defense

The Stinger team will remain in position throughout the operation. However, once the ambush has been initiated, the team should be prepared to engage enemy aircraft that may attempt to assist the ambushed force.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will remain in place until the operation is complete, at which time they will either move to the ORP or be joined by the company elsewhere. Damaged vehicles should be towed by like vehicles; casualties will be treated and stabilized by combat lifesavers until they can be transferred to the medics and evacuated via ambulance. Following the linkup, CSS operations will occur as in any tactical operation.

Command and Control

The company team commander, serving as the ambush patrol commander, will be critical to the conduct of the operation. His signals will initiate the action and control it until completion. It will be his responsibility to ensure that the positioning of weapons, fire control, and volume of fire are such that, upon execution, the enemy will be so overwhelmed and shocked that it will not be able to return fire. By properly planning, preparing, and executing the mission, the commander not only will ensure the destruction of the enemy but will also safeguard the lives of his own men. The action will be over literally in seconds; therefore, the commander must ensure that his force can accomplish the mission with precision and without hesitation.

Breaching Operations

In-stride breaches are conducted to maintain the momentum of the operation. In conducting the in-stride breach, the company team will use the equipment it has on hand. Normally, this will consist of the three mineplows and one mineroller in its organizational equipment.

Planning

Intelligence

The company commander will be notified of the obstacle by the battalion through reports received by the scout platoon or other forward reconnaissance elements. He should receive the same detailed information as listed in the "Breaching Operations" in Section II of this chapter. Despite the best reconnaissance, however, the lead platoon of the company may encounter an obstacle not previously detected. In this case, the platoon would be required to reconnoiter the obstacle to the best of its ability.

Maneuver

The company team will probably encounter numerous obstacles as it maneuvers across the battlefield. Soviet-style doctrine calls for the extensive use of minefields and other obstacles in their defense. Regardless of the type of obstacle employed, the purpose is the same: to canalize the attacker, to impede or stop the attacker's movement, or to force the attacker to expose a flank or other vulnerable area to enemy fire. To counter the enemy's use of obstacles, the company team must develop and practice breaching drills until they become second nature. The application of these drills, either as part of a battalion task force breaching operation or as an independent operation, will enable the company team to successfully breach enemy obstacles.

The step-by-step fundamentals of breaching obstacles areas follows:

  • Detect the obstacle, reconnoiter it, and search for a bypass.
  • Suppress all enemy positions with direct and indirect fires.
  • Obscure enemy observation of the obstacle area with smoke.
  • Initiate the company team's breaching drills (designate and deploy the support team, breach team, and assault team).
  • Secure the far (enemy) side of the obstacle.
  • Breach or neutralize the obstacle.
  • Move company team elements through the obstacle.
  • Continue the mission.

The company team commander must carefully decide whether to bypass or breach the obstacle. Bypassing the obstacle may lead the company team in the direction the defending enemy desires, namely, into a fire sack. Breaching an obstacle, on the other hand, is a time-consuming procedure that may result in numerous casualties. If the commander decides to conduct a breach, the company team normally will conduct a hasty breach using the equipment that is on hand. If the necessary equipment is not available or operational, the company team will either occupy hasty defensive positions and wait to participate in a battalion task force deliberate breaching operation or try to force through the obstacle. In some situations, against certain types of obstacles, forcing through an obstacle may be the best method available; however, it is definitely the least desirable method for beaching a minefield. Normally, the company team commander would only force through a minefield and accept the resulting casualties as a last resort.

Breaching fundamentals are applied regardless of the type of obstacle or the composition of the company team. Once the commander has determined to conduct an in-stride breach, he will organize the company team into a support team, breach team, and assault team, as follows.

  • Support team. Normally, this is the lead platoon, which is a tank platoon. It will probably make the initial contact and must be capable of laying down a base of fire for the other forces.
  • Breach team. Normally, this is a tank platoon equipped with at least a mineplow and perhaps a mineroller.
  • Assault team. Normally, this is a Bradley platoon that is capable of assaulting through the obstacle to seize an objective or other key terrain that will allow the breach to be secured. They may conduct their operation either mounted or dismounted as required.

Fire Support

The company FSO will be the key individual to ensure the accurate placement of suppressive indirect fires on enemy positions and the proper positioning of smoke. It is important to remember that the smoke should not be placed on the breach site. That will merely mark the location for the enemy and draw fire. Rather, the smoke should be planned on the enemy position or placed between the enemy and the breach, close enough to the enemy that it obscures a large field of view. His next challenge will be the maintenance of the suppression and the smoke screen. Therefore, while the breach is taking place, the FSO must be prepared to observe the enemy in case it repositions as a result of the suppression. The FSO must also be able to continuously monitor the smoke screen to ensure that it remains effective throughout the operation.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

In this example, the company team does not have engineer support and must accomplish the in-stride breach using its own organic assets. As fielded, each tank company will receive one mineroller and three mineplows. Generally, each of the tank platoons will designate a tank (not the platoon leader's or platoon sergeant's) to carry the mineplow. In maneuvering, the mineplow may be carried in the "up" position with little effect on the tank's ability to maneuver. When lowered for use, the plow can clear a lane 77 inches wide under each of the two plows, leaving a 26-inch wide uncleared area between. A "dog bone" between the plows will detonate tilt rod mines. A tank equipped with a mineplow may also tow a MICLIC. When used together, the MICLIC clears the lane initially, while the plow is used to proof the lane.

When the mineroller is mounted to the another tank in the platoon, it is used to proof the lane cleared by the mineplow. It will not detonate single and double impulse or pressure mines located between the plowed lanes. The roller has an even greater gap than the plow, 72 inches, between sets of wheels. A tank equipped with a mineroller is slowed significantly and has reduced mobility; therefore, the roller is normally carried on a lowboy in the combat trains until needed.

Air Defense

The Stinger team leader will plan to provide protection for the company team as he would in any offensive operation. His major concern will be that, as the platoons maneuver to conduct the breach, the stationary platoon (support team) and perhaps even the breach and assault teams may become lucrative air targets until the lane is actually prepared. As a result, the Stinger team leader must identify a position that covers the possible enemy air avenues of approach into the area and allows for the protection of the force.

Combat Service Support

In planning for the breach, the 1SG will have several concerns. First, he must ensure that the support team has enough ammunition to sustain its suppressive fires against the known and suspected enemy positions. He must also plan for the evacuation of casualties and damaged equipment, particularly those that are involved in the breach and the assault. In this regard, the support must be planned similar to movement to contact, where the force sometimes fights both offensively and defensively. If the mineroller is required, the 1SG must identify a covered and concealed position, in proximity to the obstacle, where the roller may be mounted to a tank.

Command and Control

While the in-stride breach is conducted primarily as a drill, there are aspects of the operation that will require the clear, terse, and anticipatory directions of the commander. For example, the commander should place the support team and designate its orientation, ensuring that it can accurately suppress the enemy while at the same time overwatching the activities at the breach site. Usually, he will have the XO (and sometimes the FSO) remain with the support team to ensure that both direct and indirect suppression are effectively controlled. The commander will place himself with the breach team to ensure the location of the lane does not lead the company team into danger on the far side of the obstacle. Once the lane is open, he is then in an opportune position to control the assault of the enemy position. He will follow the assault as he would any hasty attack; at the same time, he will position himself to resume the original offensive mission. He will direct the support team forward to secure the breach and then assess the company's ability to continue.

Preparation

Intelligence

In preparation for the breach, the commander will ensure that the lead platoon, which has encountered the minefield, develops the situation to the point that enemy elements, or suspected enemy positions, covering the obstacle are identified. Also, a reconnaissance of the obstacle itself should, as a minimum, yield potential breach sites and perhaps a bypass route. When a platoon does reconnoiter an obstacle, the commander should ensure that he gives it a left and right limit for its reconnaissance effort and a specific area that it should examine for potential breach sites. If he does not do this, the lead platoon could become separated and fragmented from the rest of the company team. All pertinent information will be reported to the commander, who may choose to move forward in an attempt to conduct his own reconnaissance. In particular, he will want to ensure that his company does not fall into an enemy trap if it breaches the obstacle.

Maneuver

The actual preparation for the breach requires the commander to issue a FRAGO to the company to initiate the in-stride breach drill or to assign each of the three platoons as one of the required forces in the breaching operation. Once each of the elements understands its mission, it will conduct its own preparation as follows:

  • The support team--

--Assigns primary and alternate positions and sectors of fire.

--Establishes a method of fire control and restrictions.

--Identifies tentative locations for the XO and the FSO.

--If a far side objective has been identified by the company team commander, makes tentative plans to maneuver from the support position to the objective.

  • The breach team--

--Moves to a covered and concealed position short of the breaching site.

--Checks all breaching equipment (plows and rollers) and prepares the MICLIC for firing.

--Prepares the marking system for emplacement and identifies the marking team.

--Identifies the near-side security team and sector of fire.

--Identifies the breach team (plow and roller tanks).

--Confirms the location of the breaching site.

--Identifies the tentative platoon location on the far side of the obstacle and establishes direct-fire orientation.

  • The assault team--

--Moves to a covered and concealed assault position to the rear of the breach team.

--Identifies a route from the assault position through the breach to the platoon's objective.

--Makes tentative plans for the platoon's attack of the objective.

Fire Support

The FSO will prepare for the operation by planning the suppressive fires onto the known and suspected enemy positions as well as the smoke missions. He will check with the mortar platoon to verify its ability to provide the smoke, including limitations as to size, thickness, and duration. He will link up with the company team XO, and together they will maneuver to join the support team. From the support team position, he will confirm the FS plan and inform the commander.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

If a roller is to be used to proof the lane, the lowboy will be brought forward to a covered and concealed position where it will be met by the roller tank. It takes about 45 minutes to mount a roller to a tank; therefore, the commander may wish to initiate this as soon as possible to save time. Once the roller is attached, the roller tank will rejoin the breach team, where it will be positioned to follow the plow tank.

Air Defense

The Stinger team leader will move into position and closely monitor the ADA early warning net. Even if the company team has not yet been identified by the enemy on the ground, it may still be observed from the air. Therefore, while the rest of the company prepares for the breach, the Stinger team should already be in position, protecting the force from interdiction.

Combat Service Support

The 1SG will direct the lowboy into position if the commander decides to use the roller. The remainder of the trains will move to a covered and concealed position from which they will be able to support the operation. The 1SG and the medics will identify evacuation routes to both the support team's position and the breaching site. The M88 should also be prepared to assist in keeping the breaching lane clear by removing damaged or destroyed vehicles that may block the lane during the operation.

Command and Control

The commander will move forward where he can observe the breach and the assault. He will coordinate with the XO and FSO, located with the support team, to ensure signals are understood for controlling fires during the operation. Also, he will request any additional information concerning the enemy that the support team may have been able to acquire.

Execution

Intelligence

Once the commander gives the order to initiate the breach, he will monitor the effectiveness of the support team to suppress the enemy position. From his perspective, he may be able to observe the enemy's attempt to reposition, in which case he will notify the XO, FSO, and support team commander. More important, he must assess the enemy's ability to affect the breach team as it begins to create the lane. If necessary, he may direct the assault team to provide additional suppression should the enemy resistance seem stronger than expected; however, he must caution the assault team to closely monitor its ammunition consumption to ensure it will have enough when needed to conduct the assault.

Maneuver

The support team will suppress the known and suspected enemy positions while the FSO augments the fires with indirect suppression and adjusts the smoke screen. Simultaneously, the breach team security elements will suppress any close-in enemy positions as the plow tank moves forward to create the breach. The plow should be lowered not more than 125 meters from the first identified row of mines when the reconnaissance is not clear about the exact dimensions of the minefield; it should be lowered no closer than 50 meters when the reconnaissance is accurate. A point to remember is that while it is preferable for the plow tank to create a lane perpendicular to the minefield, the terrain and enemy situation may dictate otherwise. The plow tank commander must be prepared to drive using the terrain as protection from enemy direct fire as he creates the lane. This technique may make the lane more difficult to mark, but it may also ensure lane completion. While the plow tank creates the lane, the roller tank (if designated) will follow behind to proof the lane.

Once the plow and roller tanks have established a breach lane, they will move to hasty defensive positions on the far side of the obstacle. The security element in turn will travel across the lane, mark it, and join the plow and roller tanks to complete the local security on the far side of the breach.

After the breach lane is complete and local security is in place, the assault team will move through the lane and begin its assault against the enemy position. If possible, the breach team should allow enough space for the assault team to get into formation before it moves from the immediate breach lane area.

At this point, the operation is conducted as an attack with both the support and breach teams providing continuous suppressive fires on the enemy position. As the assault team nears the position, the other two platoons must lift and shift their fires to other positions. Once the support team's fires have been masked and it is no longer able to provide effective suppressive fires, it wilt be instructed to move forward and either join the breach team or reinforce the assault team as it completes its assault and mop-up.

Once the enemy has been destroyed and the breach lane cleared and marked, the commander will assess the company's combat strength and cross-level supplies. He will await the higher commander's instructions to continue the mission or improve the breach and assist in the forward passage of follow-on forces.

Fire Support

The company team FSO will adjust the indirect fires for both the suppression of the enemy position and the obscuration of the breach site. As the assault team moves into the final assault, the FSO will lift the fires in the direction of the assault team commander and shift them to other potential enemy positions that may be able to influence actions on the objective.

As for the smoke screen, the greatest concern will be the sustainment of the smoke long enough to complete the breach and perhaps long enough to get the assault team across without its drawing enemy free. A screen of this duration, however, requires a lot of smoke ammunition, particularly if it is being shot by the mortars. If the screen cannot be maintained, the FSO must notify the company commander and the platoon leaders in advance. Usually, the FSO will be able to tell these elements how long they can expect to have smoke before the operation begins. This will, of course, directly affect the speed of the operation.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

When conducting the breach, the plow and roller tanks must be prepared to join the assault once joined by the remaining two tanks in the platoon. This happens when the enemy position is very close to the actual breaching lane and the enemy commander attempts to remain by the far side of the obstacle, placing the breach team in jeopardy. When it occurs, the assault team will follow the breach team as a reinforcement. All other activities occur as previously described.

Air Defense

The Stinger team leader will continue to provide protection throughout the operation. The team will continue to move with the support team once it is called forward.

Combat Service Support

The 1SG will control company team CSS operations throughout the in-stride breach in the same manner as in any offensive operation. The only significant difference will be that, once the breach team moves out, the trains will move to occupy its position. This will place the trains in the best position to support the operation and deploy the M88 if necessary to keep the lane open. Once the support team moves through the lane, the company trains will follow to the other side if it has been secured from enemy direct fire and observation.

Command and Control

The company commander will initially follow the breach team to ensure that he knows exactly where the lane has been emplaced. He will then follow the assault team to help in the direct and indirect suppression of the objective. He will determine when to move the support team forward and direct the breach team to reposition as required once the assault team has begun the attack. To ensure that the area is protected against enemy counterattack, he will position both the breach and support teams accordingly.



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