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Chapter 3



SECTION I.     Brigade Offensive Operations

      Threat Defensive Doctrine

      Movement to Contact/Actions on Contact

      Hasty Attack

      Deliberate Attack



      Follow and Support

SECTION II.     Battalion Task Force Offensive Operations

      Threat Defensive Doctrine

      Movement to Contact/Actions on Contact

      Hasty Attack

      Deliberate Attack

      Follow and Support

SECTION III.   Company Team Offensive Operations

      Threat Defensive Doctrine

      Movement to Contact/Actions on Contact

      Hasty Attack

      Overwatch/Support by Fire

      Attack to Seize an Objective


Threat Defensive Doctrine

How the Threat Defends


For Soviet-style armies, as with all armies, the purpose of the defense is to inflict maximum casualties, to hold the defended area, and to create favorable conditions for the resumption of the offensive.

Defensive Concepts

Stability. Achieved by defense in depth, closely coordinated fire and obstacle plans, and strong mobile reserve.

Security. Provided by combat security forces which give early warning, prevent enemy reconnaissance of the main defensive position, force the enemy to deploy prematurely, inflict maximum casualties, and coordinate long-range fire on enemy formations.

Use of key terrain. Includes a fire and obstacle plan which restricts the enemy's freedom of maneuver and canalizes its forces into prepared killing grounds.

Dispersion. Allows maximum protection from nuclear and chemical weapons by positioning troops on a wide front and in great depth.

All-around defense. Prepared alternate and supplementary positions provide 360-degree defensive capabilities. Battalion strongpoints, echeloned in depth with extensive barriers and fire planning, provide the backbone of the regimental defense.

Defense in depth. Echeloned battalion strongpoints absorb the momentum of the attack and provide time for mobile reserves in the counterattack.

Antitank defense. Provided by the liberal allocation of antitank weapons down to all levels, and the formation of strong antitank reserves at battalion level.

Coordinated fires. Planned to destroy the attacker approaching the defended area, in front of the FEBA, on the flanks, and in prepared killing zones within the defended area. Nuclear strikes are planned by division and higher units against the enemy's nuclear weapons, major reserves, and C2 posts.

Mobile counterattack forces. Required to launch counterattacks. Commanders from battalion level up maintain reserves for this purpose.


In a Soviet-like Army, position and branch are more important than rank. It is not unheard of for a commander to be junior to his chief of staff and/or one or more subordinate commanders. A major commanding a regiment could have lieutenant colonels as his deputies. Moreover, the combined arms commander commands attachments, regardless of whether or not the commander of the attached unit is superior in rank. Should an artillery or tank battalion commanded by a major or lieutenant colonel be attached to an MRB commanded by a captain, the MRB commander would command both battalions.

Chain of Command

To reconstitute a destroyed command element, a first attempt is to utilize the unit's available assets. Should the battalion commander be incapacitated, he would normally be succeeded by his chief of staff or the first MRC commander (who is normally the senior company commander).


The battalion chief of staff, the deputy commander for technical affairs, and the heads of the various rear service elements communicate with their counterparts at regiment, thus relieving the battalion commander of many administrative and supply details allowing him to concentrate on implementing regimental tactical orders.

Combined Arms Operations

MRRs, MRDs, and tank divisions are units with excellent mixes of motorized rifle, artillery tank, and engineer troops. Combined arms concepts and how they affect the MRB are described below:

Tanks. A tank unit is usually attached to or in support of an MRB. Tanks are normally placed in support, which allows the commander to maintain control over his subunits. Such an arrangement facilitates massing of platoon and company fires on particular objectives. However, tank platoons may be decentralized and placed under the operational control of the MRC commanders.

Artillery. To achieve desired FS effect, the RAGs, DAGs, and AAGs are formed. An artillery grouping is temporary in nature and consists of two or more artillery battalions. It may be created from other artillery assets pushed up to the regiment from follow-on elements. This is done to retain the indirect firepower in the lead battalions while providing the firepower weight of a RAG. The artillery battalion or battery will either be supporting or attached. If attached, the artillery will fire for the MRB commander. If it is supporting, its frost priority is to the regimental artillery commander.

The battalion commander's control over his organic mortars and attached artillery may vary with the phases of the operation. Artillery fire planning is centrally coordinated with flexibility built in to allow for close support of maneuver elements.

Engineer. As with our Army, two types of Soviet-like armies have engineers: technical engineers and sappers or combat engineers. The technical engineers are organic to army and front, and perform sustainment engineering type tasks. The sappers are found in a combat engineer battalion and company which are organic to a division and regiment, respectively. They conduct mobility, countermobility, survivability and reconnaissance missions for their maneuver unit.

Air support. Direct air support to an MRB commander would be a rarity, since the MRD commander normally directs supporting air assets through air liaison staffs. FACs could, however, be assigned to a regiment defending as the division's main effort. This is not to say that Soviet-style tactical air assets would not be used to support or interdict the attacker in the MRB's area of interest. Soviet-style high-performance and helicopter gunships often support in this manner. However, the MRB commander has no direct organic communication with high-performance aircraft or helicopter.

The Motorized Rifle Regiment

Although the MRB has considerable firepower, it lacks sufficient organic combat and combat support elements for many types of operations. For this reason it operates as part of the MRR. Since the MRB is normally reinforced or supported by regiment and sometimes by division, the organization and equipment of the MRR is described in this section.

Conduct of a Motorized Rifle Battalion Defense

Characteristics of the Battalion Defensive Area

A Soviet-style battalion defends an area which is a sector defined by left and right boundaries, by a forward edge, and by the positions of service and support units in the rear. In front of this sector, it deploys combat outposts. Within this area, it constructs primary and alternate company strongpoints; a battalion reserve position; main and secondary fixed and mobile positions for artillery, mortars, tanks, and other FS assets, each with designated lines and sectors of fire; air defense firing positions; a battalion CR an LSA; barriers and obstacles; deployment lines for the second echelon's counterattack; and paths or routes to and between positions for maneuver, resupply, and evacuation. A defending battalion also constructs false (deceptive) positions, both within and outside the defensive area. Each battalion normally will construct at least one false company position, and each company at least one false platoon position.

A combat outpost, usually a reinforced platoon positioned forward of the battalion, provides security to the battalion. It prevents enemy reconnaissance from reaching the main position, and provides defending companies early warning of a surprise attack. The battalion headquarters is responsible for FS of this platoon. The defensive area's forward edge is characterized by terrain that permits good observation and fires, especially long-range antitank fires. The first trench line is sited to take advantage of natural antitank obstacles and to facilitate barrier construction.

Within the defensive area, the battalion is normally arrayed in two echelons dispersed so that a single enemy tactical nuclear weapon cannot destroy more than one company. For the same reason, within the first-echelon companies, platoon positions may be several hundred meters apart. The mission of the first echelon is to inflict maximum casualties and materiel losses on the attacking force, hold important positions or objectives, delay the movement of the enemy, and create favorable conditions for his defeat by nuclear and conventional tires and by counterattacks of the second echelon.

The mission of second-echelon companies is to conduct a counterattack, or when that is not feasible, defeat the attacking enemy by fire from an occupied strongpoint position or line. If the enemy has used nuclear weapons to breach first echelon positions, the second echelon may fill these breaches or replace first echelon units. The second echelon may also have the mission to destroy or hinder enemy airborne or air assault troops inserted behind the first echelon positions.

Attached tank or MRCs are normally parcelled out to defending company strongpoints, but the mortar battery and the AGS-17 (automatic grenade launcher) platoon (BTR-equipped battalion only) remain immediately subordinated to the battalion commander. The antitank platoon normally deploys intact under the control of the battalion commander on the most likely armor avenue of approach, or in a position to assist the commitment of the second echelon. The battalion commander normally retains control of the air defense platoon.

System of Fire

One of the most crucial elements of a battalion defensive area is its system of fire. Simply stated, the system of fire is the combination of planned fires of all assigned and attached weapon systems organized for the defeat of the enemy. Elements of the system of fire include regions, sectors, and lines of massed, concentrated and barrier fire; zones of dense multilayered fires of all weapons on the approaches to the defense, in front of the forward edge, on the flanks, and in depth; and maneuver by fire. The system of fire is integrated into the commander's plan for the battle, and takes into consideration the natural and planned engineer obstacles.

Figures 3-1 and 3-2 depict MRBs, BTR-equipped and BMP-equipped, respectively. Figure 3-3 depicts an MRB in the defense. The following paragraphs describe the MRB in the defense as depicted in Figure 3-3.

Each company prepares a system of fire to defeat enemy tanks by constructing primary and alternate tank firing positions in each platoon strongpoint, with fire concentrations for each tank platoon. The 4th and 5th MRCs also employ roving tanks. Designated BMPs serve as maneuverable antitank weapons, together with battalion antitank assets and attack helicopters. The maneuverability of these weapon systems provides a basis for their survivability, and serves to confuse the enemy as to their precise location. Both first-echelon companies also plan antitank ambushes at their forward security positions, on their flanks, and within their company strongpoints.

MRC weapons are organized to deliver interlocking and flanking fires, with designated sectors of concentrated fire for specific platoons and companies. Light and heavy on-call or "duty" machine guns are placed in false platoon positions on the flanks of the real positions, along with an RPG launcher in the position on the right flank of the battalion. The AGS-17 platoons deploy in the company strongpoints, split between the forward edge and the depth of the positions. Some BTRs occupy positions on reverse slopes, with their machine guns laid to eliver interlocking fires on the approaches to the forward edge.

The artillery battalion and the MRB's mortar battery provide indirect FS The artillery battalion deploys some distance to the rear of the MRB, as indicated by the break in the sketch (see Figure 3-3). The artillery battalion commander, however, collocates with the MRB commander at the latter's CP. The mortar battery's primary position is just to the rear of 4th MRC, with two 3-gun alternate positions, one in the false position along the forward edge between the 4th and 6th MRCs, and the other in the 5th MRC strongpoint.

The artillery battalion commander plans indirect fires on likely enemy avenues of approach and deployment lines, on sectors between company strongpoints, and on the flanks and in the depths of the company and battalion positions, The artillery fire plan includes an illumination plan for night combat actions. The defending battalion also plans to employ combat helicopters in its system of fire, with primary firing positions on the battalion's flanks.

Engineer Preparations

A second important element of a battalion's defensive position is its engineer preparation. Engineer work facilitates the actions of the defender, and at the same time hinders the actions of the attacker. The first engineer priority for a Soviet defending battalion not in contact with the enemy is to prepare firing positions for individual and crew-served weapons, tanks, BMPs, antitank weapons, and other weapon systems. It clears fields of observation and fire, constructs command OPs and medical points, erects obstacles and barriers in front of and between strongpoints, prepares movement routes to deployment lines for counterattacks and firing lines, and establishes water supply points.

The second engineer priority is to develop fighting positions for rifle squads, tanks, BMPs, and other weapon systems in secondary or temporary firing positions; complete the construction of CPs and medical points; construct covered dugouts for each squad or crew; erect cover for weapons, equipment, ammunition, and other materiel; and create additional obstacles in front of and between strongpoints. The final step in the engineer preparation is to conceal everything. Although local materials are used as available, a broad inventory of devices will be used to deceive the enemy's human and technical reconnaissance efforts.

Units use locally procured items rather than prepared construction materials. The first and second trench lines are continuous, and the third is almost continuous. The unit cuts trails for tanks and APCs to move to threatened sectors within the position. These trails are made to resemble antitank ditches when viewed from the enemy side.

Reveted shelter increases the survivability of each rifle squad. Platoon and company commanders have CP shelters, and even the battalion support elements are dug-in. An MRB which skillfully exploits the defensive characteristics of average terrain has a survivability rate of 40 percent. By dedicating four-fifths of the manpower of the battalion to engineer tasks while the other one-fifth stands guard, in 4 to 6 hours the survivability rate further increases to 62 percent. After two to three days of preparation, 85 percent of the battalion can be protected in covered shelters, and vehicles can protect remaining personnel. This level of engineer preparation will enable 80 percent of defending forces to survive three nuclear strikes of 1 kiloton each.

The defensive position in Figure 3-3 includes five false (deceptive) platoon-sized positions--three along the forward edge and two in the depth of the battalion position. The large number of trenches, paths, firing positions, false positions, and shelters in the battalion position serve multiple purposes. They harden the defense and make it more dynamic, their quantity confuses the enemy as to which are actual and which are false, and they enable the defender to achieve surprise by the speed with which he can maneuver within his own position to the threatened sector.

The other major aspect of engineer support to the defense is the construction of countermobility obstacles in front of and within the battalion position. Minefield are especially important in this regard. As Figure 3-3 shows, mixed minefield are constructed across the battalion front. Within the defensive position, a line is designated for the construction of a hasty minefield in front of 5th MRC positions. Other engineer obstacles include barbed wire entanglements and antitank obstacles in front of the battalion position, and a 0.7-kilometer-long antitank ditch within the position between the two forward company strongpoints.

These obstacles are closely tied in to the system of fire. On one armor avenue of approach, for example, engineers buried hundreds of kilograms of explosives in the soil. At the twist of a firing handle, tons of earth could be churned up into an antitank obstacle. The area around this obstacle then becomes a killing ground for antitank fires.


While the Soviet-like force is preparing its defensive position, a battalion commander conducts reconnaissance to determine the enemy situation. He is particularly concerned with the enemy's preparations for attack, main avenues of approach, and time of attack. Other reconnaissance tasks include the location of enemy reserves and their direction of movement, and the positions of artillery and other weapon systems. The commander employs a wide range of human and technical reconnaissance systems. If he is not in contact with the enemy force when he begins construction of his defensive position, he deploys a combat reconnaissance patrol. This patrol is an MRS from one of the platoons of the 5th MRC, which establishes an ambush on the southern slopes of HILL NORTHERN. If in contact with the enemy, a battalion commander employs all available means of observation, and in addition, may detail a small part of his force to make contact with the enemy.

Preparation of the Defense

There are several necessary and sequential steps in the preparation of a defense, beginning with the receipt of the order. The commander must organize the battle by gathering information, evaluating the situation, making a decision, establishing tasks for organic and attached units, organizing coordination and systems of fire, and planning logistic support and C2, After his battalion occupies the defensive position and begins construction of strongpoints and engineer obstacles, the commander exercises continuous control to ensure that tasks are performed as ordered.

The battalion commander walks the terrain with subordinate commanders and passes down his detailed instructions in the form of an oral order. The battalion commander's order is more task oriented than mission oriented. For example, for first echelon companies, it specifies the following: attachments, strongpoint locations, and axis of concentration of main effort; the mission required to defeat the attack and destroy the enemy penetrating the position: traces of the forward edge and trench lines; all control measures for fire concentrations in front of and around the company position; how and with what forces to support the flanks and space between positions; who is responsible for them; and who is supporting.

The battalion commander provides similar detailed instructions to the second echelon company, the attached artillery battalion and mortar battery, the grenade launcher platoon, the antitank platoon, those elements subordinate to the battalion headquarters, and the unit designated for combat security (the platoon guarding the battalion from a position well forward along the main avenue of approach).

The battalion commander conducts coordination at the same time he issues his order for the defense. This is another set of important detailed instructions to specific units of the battalion. It includes such information as target lists for all indirect- and direct-fire weapons, control measures for fire and/or movement, time schedules for all events, measures for defeat of air assaults and fixed- or rotary-wing attacks, actions on enemy use of chemical or nuclear weapons, and signals for communications and mutual recognition. Of course, similar coordination must be conducted with adjacent battalions.

After the battalion commander has issued his order, subordinate commanders return to their units and accomplish all tasks necessary to prepare for battle.

Conduct of the Defense

As soon as the battalion occupies a defensive area, designated tank, BMP, and other weapon systems take up positions. The crews of these so-called "duty" weapon systems continue to stand watch while the remainder of the unit prepare the position, vehicles, or weapons. In Figure 3-3, 20 percent of the defending battalion is set aside for duty, while the other 80 percent begins work. Preparation of the position continues in this manner until work is complete, or the attack begins.

An attack is expected to be preceded by reconnaissance that is conducted by a force ranging in size from reinforced company to reinforced battalion. During this prebattle reconnaissance, which may include a limited ground attack, the enemy attempts to discern the organization of the defense. If possible, only the duty weapons in the false positions engage and defeat the enemy reconnaissance. After repulsing this reconnaissance, Soviet-like units that have disclosed their positions may relocate to alternate positions. If the enemy reconnaissance penetrates the defensive position, the battalion commander takes whatever measures are necessary to destroy the penetration, including the commitment of his second echelon.

Troops take cover in their dugouts and covered trenches, and crews take cover in their fighting vehicles when the attacker's artillery preparation begins. Selected crews man their weapons stations to prevent the enemy from using the artillery preparation to breach engineer obstacles. If the preparation includes nuclear or chemical ordnance, the commander uses all his forces to close gaps created in his position, while he and his staff reestablish C3.

The emergence of troops from their shelters and their reoccupation of firing positions are critical junctures in the battle. This must be done before the enemy long-range direct-fire system (tanks and antitank guided missiles) comes into range of Soviet-style positions, so crews are prepared to engage them at maximum range with indirect free. As the attacking force moves toward the defensive position, the defensive battalion commander concentrates his battalion's fires against the most threatened sector, targeting armored vehicles when they enter the obstacle system. If enemy infantry are dismounted, an effort is made to strip them away from the armored vehicles.

When enemy soldiers come within 30 to 40 meters of the forward positions, MR troops engage them with grenades and point-blank fire. The battalion makes every effort to defeat the attack in front of the forward edge of the defensive position. If, however, the enemy penetrates into the defense, the commander strengthens the flanks of the penetration, stops the forward movement of the penetrating force, and then destroys it with a combination of fires and maneuver. If necessary, the defensive commander uses his second echelon or reserve to launch counterattacks.

After defeating the enemy's attack, the battalion commander reestablishes his position, replenishes his ammunition stocks, rebuilds destroyed fortifications and obstacles, repairs or replaces damaged equipment and evacuates his casualties. If his defense succeeds, but the enemy penetrates to his right or left flank, the battalion prepares for all-around defense. It might also, on regimental order, attack into the flank or rear of the bypassing enemy force. If the enemy's superiority is sufficiently weakened by his defeat, the Soviet-style force may change to the offense.

The defense in Figure 3-3 follows along the lines of the discussion above. Portrayed by 760 targets, of which 20 percent are moving, the enemy attacks in several lines against the 4th and 6th MRCs. The 4th MRC is reinforced in the area of the antitank ditch by soldiers of the 5th MRC and engineers with explosives, and there destroys the enemy which falls into the fire sack. The defending force hits over 70 percent of all targets, and fulfills all tactical norms with high marks.

Conduct of a Tank Battalion Defense


In both tank and MR divisions, the tank battalion is subordinate to a regiment. In some MRDs, there is also an independent tank battalion subordinate to the division commander.


In a tank battalion organic to a tank regiment there are 31 tanks (10 per company plus 1 for the battalion commander). In the tank battalion of an MRR there are 31 tanks (10 per company plus 1 for the battalion commander). Battalions are also equipped with an armored recovery vehicle, an armored scout car, and an ambulance. Each battalion also has nine mine-clearing plows. Soldiers are equipped with personal weapons. Handheld surface-to-air missiles and tank-mounted antiaircraft machine guns are found in varying numbers in each type of battalion (see Figure 3-4).


Usually a major or a captain commands a Soviet-style tank battalion. Companies are commanded by captains or senior lieutenants and platoons by lieutenants, a rank roughly equivalent to warrant officer. A commander below battalion level has little latitude in the way he executes his mission except when his unit is employed as a reconnaissance group or a march security detachment. The battalion headquarters is divided into a CP and a support group.

Battalion Command Post

The battalion CP is mounted in an APC. It is controlled by the battalion chief of staff, normally a captain or senior lieutenant. The CP is manned by the operations officer, communications chief, an NBC specialist radio operators, and clerks. The battalion commander is mounted in a tank for combat operations. Communications are maintained by the CP with the battalion and regimental commanders. The NBC warning net is also maintained in the CP. A second APC is sometimes held in the battalion with radios on listening watch on the same nets as the CP, but without a radio or CBR warning net. The battalion CP collates and disseminates tactical intelligence and prepares operation orders under the battalion commander's guidance.

Battalion Support Group

This group consists of the deputy battalion commander for technical affairs, the medical section and the supply and maintenance platoon. When the battalion is on the march, the support group supplies the necessary ammunition, fuel and lubricants by direct delivery in halt areas. When in action, the tanks are resupplied in their forward positions. The support group establishes a technical observation point in order to locate damaged tanks. A repair and evacuation group then carries out on-the-spot repairs or evacuates a damaged tank. Medical teams recover the wounded, administer first aid, and evacuate them to regimental aid posts for treatment or movement to the rear. The battalion's support resources are augmented from the regiment as required.


The battalion commander controls the battalion by radio, visual, and audio signals in the employment of well-rehearsed tactical formations and drills. Terrain is identified by reference points. Maps are extremely detailed and treated as classified documents. Except in the assault, tank units are usually led by commanders.


Radio nets are controlled at battalion level when possible. Commanders from the MR, artillery, and air defense units attached to a tank battalion join the battalion command net. Companies transmit FS requests to the battalion commander, not directly to the support unit. This reduces the time available for artillery to engage targets of opportunity.

Radio Security

Radio transmission security in the Soviet-style ground forces is strict. Orders normally are given by battalion and company commanders of tank and attached units, and are acknowledged by subordinate commanders. Code words or numbers are used for reference points. Although they have common frequencies, it does not appear to be the custom for tanks to transmit information on targets of opportunity directly to either the infantry or the artillery (see Figure 3-5).


The battalion commander issues his operation order orally, by written instructions, or by radio. The preferred method is oral. The battalion mission is usually defined by the regimental commander, with details of FS allocated and a time schedule set.


During defensive operations, a tank battalion is normally reinforced by the following units:

  • An MRC.

  • An engineer platoon.

  • An artillery battalion and mortar unit to support the battalion by fire.

  • Chemical specialists to monitor the NBC hazard.


During defensive operations, a tank battalion usually deploys in one echelon. Normally, a reserve the size of one platoon is constituted. Regiments deploy combat security detachments 15 to 16 kilometers forward of the main defensive position to break up probing attacks. Platoon-sized reconnaissance patrols are dispatched up to 500 meters in front of the battalions and exposed flanks. Two or three defensive emplacements are dug for each tank; this is done either by engineers or by a combat tank fitted with a dozer blade. A tank with a dozer blade attachment can dig between two and four emplacements an hour. Minefields, wire, and demolitions are used to direct the enemy into killing zones. Mines are laid in clusters of 50 to 100.

Defensive Positions

The basis for a tank battalion defensive position is the antitank fire plan. A commander lays out his defense so that tanks have overlapping areas of observation at 1,000 meters without turning the turret. Mathematical analyses are used to arrive at the following frontages depths, and intervals as ideal:

  • Platoon        150 meters between tanks
                        300 meters frontage
                        No depth

  • Company     300 meters between platoons
                        1,000 meters frontage
                        500 meters depth

  • Battalion       1,000 meters to 1,500 meters between companies
                        5 kilometers frontage
                        3 kilometers depth

Tanks are positioned on reverse slopes when possible, and have one or two alternate positions. The intervals between subunits are covered by indirect fire means. Local protection for tanks is given by motorized infantry dug in up to 200 meters in front of tank positions. The BMPs and APCs of the MR units are also positioned on reverse slopes. Each platoon and company position is designed as a strongpoint with all-around defense. The battalion position is setup so that strongpoints are in mutual support.

Defense Organization

The drill for organizing a defensive position is affected by both the tactical situation and the availability of time. A defense taken up in contact with the enemy is initially linear tanks remain in the positions they were in when the offensive lost its impetus (see Figure 3-6). Such a defense is developed as time and enemy action allows. Reinforcement occurs as soon as possible, and positions are adjusted until the situation is stabilized This may take up to 10 or 12 hours

Reconnaissance and Orders

After being given his mission, the battalion commander moves quickly to his assigned area with the commanders of attached units. Task organization and fire coordination are decided on. Reconnaissance is carried out. If time is short, the battalion chief of staff positions the second echelon and the reserves. During the reconnaissance, the following questions are resolved and orders are given for--

  • Attachments of MR units to tank companies.

  • Location of company and platoon strongpoints.

  • Zones of concentrated tank fire.

  • Positions of combat reconnaissance patrols and flank security units.

  • Fields of fire.

  • Indirect FS missions.

  • Orders initiating direct and indirect fires.

  • Actions to be taken against air attack.

  • Priorities for engineers.

  • Protection from nuclear strikes.

  • Designation of counterattack mutes and lines of deployment.

  • Defense points to the front and flanks.

Administrative Planning.

After the commander's reconnaissance and issuance of orders, the deputy for technical affairs--

  • Positions the technical OP.

  • Organizes the recovery and repair of damaged equipment.

  • Arranges evacuation of second-line tank casualties to workshops in the rear.

  • Locates the supply platoon and plans the resupply of ammunition.

The deputy for technical affairs also arranges the combat administration of the battalion for the move forward into the defensive position.

Conduct of the Defense

A defender will expect to face both nuclear and conventional artillery fire before ground attack. After such preparatory fire, the tank battalion commander restores the integrity of the position by relocating his tanks and communications equipment as necessary. To preserve the security of tank firing positions, combat security detachments repulse enemy probing attacks. Smoke may be used to obscure strongpoints and to silhouette an assaulting enemy. Combat security detachments act as artillery FOs for as long as possible before breaking contact. As the enemy closes, the tanks concentrate fire on targets in previously designated areas. Artillery and machine gun fires are used to try to separate the enemy infantry from their armor.

Infantry Supporting Fire

Infantry FS, especially against enemy APCs, is given by the BMPs of attached MR units. Each infantry company is also equipped with handheld antitank weapons which, together with their ATGMs, add significantly to the combat power of company and platoon strongpoints.


The tank battalion commander must use his resources to mount counterpenetration operations against enemy elements that succeed in breaking into the battalion's defensive perimeter. The enemy penetration is reduced by artillery fire, tank fire, and attached APCs. The battalion reserve maneuvers along previously reconnoitered routes to bring maximum direct fire to bear.


Counterattacks are organized by a higher commander to dislodge an enemy from within the perimeters of a tank battalion defensive position. Counterattacks may be supported by the tank battalion either by tire or by assigning subunits to accompany assaulting forces. The regimental commander orders the delivery of counterattacks by subunits of the second echelon battalion on routes reconnoitered beforehand.

Service Support in Combat

During combat, ammunition forward resupply is carried out when required under cover of smoke or artillery fire. POL is resupplied during lulls in the battle. Damaged equipment is removed by a recovery and evacuation group to a position where it can be prepared to move back for repair under its own power. According to doctrine, the wounded in damaged tanks are removed for evacuation once the vehicle has been relocated to a covered position. During combat, the deputy commander for technical affairs makes a daily assessment of equipment conditions, repair and recovery status, and issues orders for routine servicing.

Second Echelon Defense

A tank battalion that is used in a regiment's second echelon of defense has the following missions:

  • Provide depth to the regiment's defense.

  • Provide a counterpenetration force for use inside the regiment's defensive perimeter.

  • Provide a counterattack force for use in the first echelon battalion's defensive perimeter.

  • Provide an exploitation force to pursue an enemy whose attack fails.

The last three missions require considerable time on reconnaissance. The defensive position of a second echelon battalion is laid out in the same manner as that of a first echelon unit. As a second echelon battalion assumes the defense out of contact with the enemy, the position is capable of being developed extensively by engineers. Second echelon battalions establish communications with the regimental headquarters and first echelon units. During combat, the battalion commander monitors the battle and collects and collates tactical intelligence. The second echelon commander is free to maneuver his tanks within his battalion defensive perimeter to face a threat to a particular flank. If the battalion is required to counterattack, the commander sends out a combat reconnaissance patrol before moving into the assault on prearranged routes.

Movement to Contact/Actions on Contact



The enemy situation is normally vague or unknown when a unit is given a movement-to-contact mission. The S2 must carefully analyze the terrain and plan for the worst threat case, as the commander will not want to underestimate the enemy. Potential threat defensive locations, OPs, EAs, and obstacles are among those items that must be identified early and incorporated into the R&S plan. This would lead the S2 into developing a situation template of the possible enemy locations based on all available information. Information from higher headquarters should be requested, particularly with respect to PIR, because the division has more intelligence-gathering assets and has the capability to look deep. The S2, in conjunction with the S3, develops an R&S plan for the security force element to use as it conducts its screening or guard mission.


The primary considerations in planning a movement to contact are the determination of action that is anticipated during the movement and the requirements for maneuver and FS when contact is made. This will drive the organization of the brigade for the mission.

Security forces for a brigade movement to contact may consist of the advance, flank, and rear guards. When a brigade is moving as part of a division movement to contact, it can provide elements to reinforce or augment the division covering force, and provide and control either right or left flank guard and/or rear guard.

The security force. The security force, when assigned a guard mission, develops the situation and prevents the unnecessary or premature deployment of the main body. Its missions may include destroying enemy reconnaissance, securing key terrain, or containing enemy forces. The security force operates well forward of the main body. When portions of a brigade augment the divisional cavalry squadron, a highly mobile force such as TF scouts or a company team may be sent forward to augment the divisional cavalry squadron. In this case, a tank company should be prepared to tight for information and support or reinforce the cavalry troops or other security force units.

A security force may operate under brigade, division or corps control. Figure 3-7 shows a division movement to contact. When the division advances through restrictive terrain or across an unusually broad front, brigade commanders may command their own security forces. When controlled at division level, the security force performs a zone reconnaissance across the entire division front. The basic unit best suited to this mission is the divisional cavalry squadron, but the commander may augment the divisional cavalry or give the mission to another maneuver unit after considering the factors of METT-T. If the brigade is in control of its own security force, the brigade commander must task organize his security force in accordance with the factors of METT-T.

When planning for the security force, the commander is presented with conditions, such as, there has been no enemy contact, the enemy has broken contact, or the enemy situation is vague. The commander must move his forces toward an objective until it is reached or there is enemy contact. To maintain flexibility of maneuver after contact, he must put forward the minimum force possible. The two missions best suited to execute security of a movement to contact are screen or guard. A security force can only execute a guard mission when it has sufficient combat power. The main factors that determine which mission is used are the enemy situation, the terrain, and the amount of risk assumed by the commander. His risk is keyed to the amount of time the security force gives the commander to maneuver his other elements.

The advance guard. The advanced guard is normally furnished and controlled by the leading element of the main body. It is organized to tight through small concentrations of enemy forces identified by the covering force or to make sure the main body can deploy uninterrupted into attack formations. Necessary combat support, such as engineers and artillery, is integrated into the advance guard. Reconnaissance assets and surveillance systems are used to assist the advance guard in detecting the enemy before actual combat.

Flank and rear security. Flank and rear security protect the main body from observation, direct fire, and surprise attack. These forces may be strong enough to defeat a strong enemy attack or to delay it long enough to allow the main body to deploy. As in the security force in front of the movement to contact, the flank and rear security force's ability to defeat or delay an enemy force is based on the strength of the security force deployed by the commander. He must perform a risk analysis to tailor the size of the security force--he looks at the presence of friendly forces, restrictive terrain, and suspected enemy contact.

Flank and rear security operate under the control of the brigade. Flank security travels on routes parallel to the route of the main body. It moves by continuous marching or by successive or alternate bounds to occupy key positions on the flanks of the main body. During the movement to contact, the flank security will also maintain contact with the advance guard. Rear security follows the main body.

A rear or flank guard is similar to an advance guard in strength and composition. If the flanks or rear of the brigade are secured by adjacent or following units, the size of the brigade security force can be reduced.

The main body. The main body contains the bulk of the brigade's combat power. It is organized and deployed to be capable of hasty attack or defense on short notice. March dispositions of the main body must permit maximum flexibility during the movement and when contact with the main enemy force has been established.

Elements of the main body may be committed to reduce pockets of resistance contained or bypassed by the covering force, or may be left for elimination by following and support units. Elements of a covering force that are assigned containing missions are relieved as rapidly as possible to rejoin the covering force and avoid dissipating their strength. Possible enemy forces to be bypassed may be strongpoints, garrisoned cities, or reserve locations.

Fire support

The main FS task in a movement to contact is providing immediate responsive suppressive fires to the maneuver units who initially make contact. In order to accomplish this task, three techniques should be considered:

  • Decentralization of calls for fire.

  • Movement of artillery units to make the artillery more responsive. TF FS personnel should send calls for fire directly to designated firing batteries. This is especially important for the lead TF( s). The movement of the batteries must support this decentralization, and should be synchronized with the movement of the TF with which they are associated. The associated battery can move directly behind the TF it is supporting. For choke points, the TF needs to consider moving the battery in the middle of the movement sequence rather than behind to ensure the lead company does not outrange its artillery support. Batteries might also consider moving by platoons to ensure one element is always in position to provide immediate fires.

  • Shifting of priority targets to the lead TF(s). These targets can be plotted on the next probable area of expected enemy contact. If no contact is expected, the priority target can be shifted to the next area of expected enemy contact. If there is a reinforcing battalion, it can maintain its batteries under centralized control to give the capability to mass tires against possible enemy counterattacks and meeting engagements. Although the reinforcing battalion can move behind the DS battalion in order of movement, it should still move forward at the rear guard and maintain the ability to range forward of the lead elements.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineer assets will move with the security force and advance guard to assist with mobility operations. The objective is to maintain the speed of the main body and not become impaired by obstacles. Those engineer elements that accompany the main body serve the same function, although they may be more concerned with route clearing and road mobility so CSS elements can keep pace with tactical movement, Countermobility planning will deal with situational obstacles. For example ADAMS and RAAMS targets are planned to secure the brigade's flanks. Scatterable mines can be planned for areas where contact is expected to help isolate the enemy's forces.

Air Defense

Air defense protects both the forward ground forces and the main body. Some air defense assets will accompany the maneuver forces, moving with them as part of the tactical formation, and others will bound with the force, providing protection from a stationary position.

Combat Service Support

Because movement to contact is characterized by increased consumption of POL, increased vehicular maintenance requirements, and reduced ammunition expenditure, planning should be geared toward pushing supplies forward. The speed of the operation and the high POL consumption necessitate careful planning of CSS operations; moreover, the brigade's support organization must be capable of sustaining uninterrupted delivery of supplies. As a result, the support units will often require reinforcements during movement to contact. Additional MP units may also be necessary to assure adequate traffic control.

Command and Control

The brigade main CP would normally displace as far forward as possible before beginning movement to contact to support the operation with a stable C2 environment; location depends on the depth of the movement to contact, time available, and location of the division C2 facilities. The TAC and command group would operate forward with the main body to facilitate decision making and transition to other offensive tactical missions. If the distance traveled exceeds the main CP's capability for C2, it must be prepared to establish a jump TOC or position a retransmitting station. Figures 3-8 and 3-9 illustrate two types of brigade movement to contact: as part of a division movement and as an independent movement.



In preparing for movement to contact, the S2 will continue to receive intelligence from both higher and lower reconnaissance and surveillance sources. He will take this intelligence and update the following tools:

  • Enemy order of battle.

  • Doctrinal templates.

  • Event template.

  • Decision support template.

  • Intelligence collection plan.

  • Reconnaissance and surveillance plan.

More importantly, the S2 will provide information to the commander, staff, and maneuver elements concerning changes and developments in the enemy situation. The commander may revise his plan based on this input (see Chapter 1, IPB paragraph, this FM).


When preparing for movement to contact, the primary concern of the commander is that his subordinate commanders understand their individual missions within the context of his intent. This is partially accomplished after the order is issued by an immediate backbrief. Once the battalion task force commanders have an opportunity to conduct their own troop-leading procedures, they may be recalled to the brigade commander for a rehearsal and update. Figure 3-10 shows an offense decision support template.

There are two major areas requiring attention when rehearsing for a movement to contact. The first is the reporting procedure. As the enemy situation is unknown or vague, any information regarding the enemy is important. Therefore when conducting the rehearsal, the brigade commander will want to ensure the reporting procedure is understood both up and down the chain of command.

The second area is actions on contact. Each commander must rehearse what to do when making contact with the enemy, not only for his benefit but so the other commanders understand their responsibilities considering the element in contact. In practice, this means conducting several rehearsals, one for each of the enemy's probable courses of action. To get the greatest benefit from the rehearsal, the S2 should role-play the enemy commander. This will ensure accuracy and may allow each engagement to be taken to a logical conclusion.

One critical action the brigade commander must decide during contact is the commitment of his reserve force. It is paramount that he be provided timely and accurate intelligence on the nature of the enemy contact so the reserve is not committed at the wrong time. Even after the reserve force is committed to the fight, the commander should look for forces to remove from the tight to create a new reserve force.

Fire Support

As with maneuver, it is important to rehearse the FS plan. The brigade commander will want to review the conduct of battery movement and the brigade FS plan/matrix with the FSCOORD of the artillery battalion commander, and to ensure subordinate commanders understand their role in executing the matrix.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

In preparation for movement to contact, the engineers are placed in the forward elements of the movement and participate in the rehearsal. This is particularly important if there is any known obstacle that requires a deliberate breach along the axis of advance. If there are any natural obstacles that must be breached during the operation, for example, a river-crossing operation, they will also be incorporated into the overall rehearsal.

If special pieces of equipment are required for the operation, they should be placed in the lead elements of the march column. If coordination is required between engineer and maneuver forces, this is a good opportunity to make the final check before execution.

Air Defense

The rehearsal provides a good opportunity to confirm the location of ADA assets. For example, a piece of high ground that offers observation of air avenues of approach may also be targeted by the artillery as a possible enemy OP along the route.

Combat Service Support

CSS rehearsal is very important in a movement to contact due to the extended lines and speed of the operation. Planned LRPs should be checked during rehearsal as should any scheduled refueling operations. Route security and convoy security are especially important as there are no established enemy lines. Moreover, the possibility of bypassing undetected enemy forces is all too real and could become a severe threat to CSS operations. The echeloning of trains is an effective technique for moving CSS assets without creating overwhelming space control problems.

Command and Control

The commander must think through the entire operation before rehearsal. He must identify possible choke points and examine the enemy's probable courses of action. When conducting the rehearsal, he must ensure the brigade players understand their individual and team responsibilities. Options and contingency planning are essential during rehearsal so virtually every eventuality is addressed. He must point out where formations may have to change, or where speed of the operation will be adjusted as a result of the terrain or suspected enemy. Integration and coordination between combat, CS, and CSS elements will go a long way toward lessening the support problems after crossing the LD.



Once the movement to contact has begun, the S2 will continue to update his enemy situation template. As he develops a picture of the suspected enemy disposition and confirms or denies enemy probable courses of action, he relays this information to the commander and staff for dissemination to the maneuver elements. In this particular scenario the S2 really has two concerns. First. he must determine the disposition of the enemy force that broke contact. Second, he must be swam of the enemy's attempt to reinforce. While the movement to contact is being executed, he must pay equal attention to the actions of the enemy and to confirming their present course of action.


The brigade wilt move as directed by the brigade commander. The mission is to regain contact with the enemy, but the enemy may be attempting just the opposite. He may, therefore, leave nuisance minefield; or he may leave obstacles guarded by small stay-behind parties which attempt to slow our movement with limited direct fire, or more likely with adjusted artillery fire at choke points and defiles.

The commander must be aware of these delaying actions, but must give bypass criteria so the speed of the main body is not impaired. Unless an enemy stay-behind force provides a significant threat to one of the formations, it will be fixed, bypassed, and handed over to the follow-and-support force. The follow-and-support force is oriented toward engaging the enemy as a function of the execution of the follow-and-support mission, verses a reserve force, which is kept uncommitted until the critical point of a battle.

Forward and flank security forces will execute their mission in terms of both the commander's intent and the R&S plan. It is important that all previously identified areas advantageous to the enemy be cleared to avoid ambush or flanking enemy attack. The movement of the brigade can be controlled using PLs and checkpoints on easily identifiable terrain. Unit orientation will first be directed in sector with respect to the formation itself, and second toward those areas suspected of posing a threat to the brigade.

Movement to contact ends with the occupation of an objective without enemy contact, or when contact is made and the enemy cannot be defeated or bypassed. This occurs in a series of meeting engagements and/or hasty attacks. In an encounter with a moving force, action should take place without hesitation. Battalions use tire and movement to fix the enemy. The decision to attack, bypass, or defend must be made rapidly at each echelon. The decision must be governed by an understanding of the division commander's intent.

Fire Support

In the execution of the movement to contact, the fire support plan should continuously be updated to reflect the availability of more detailed information provided by the maneuver units and the S2's refinement of the situation template. This includes the changes to the maneuver plan effected by the commander in reaction to enemy actions.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

During movement, these must be protected by the combat maneuver elements. Only after an obstacle has been identified and no bypass mute found, will the engineers move forward to breach. However, during the reconnaissance for bypass routes, a small portion may move forward to conduct initial reconnaissance of the obstacle in order to save time. On order of the maneuver commander, engineer assets found in the follow-on forces will have the additional responsibility to reduce obstacles bypassed by the advance guard, or to breach obstacles encountered by the flank guards.

Air Defense

As the air defense elements maneuver with the brigade, the air defense plan must be continuously refined to reflect the change in the enemy situation.

Combat Service Support

CSS elements will follow the main body and be protected by the rear guard. As forces require refueling and resupply, the support elements will move forward in log packs. Maintenance collection points will be established as required

Command and Control

The commander will make any changes to his plan or changes with respect to the control of the brigade through fragmentary or oral orders. Leaders at all levels, however, should not hesitate to make decisions or take appropriate action in the absence of those orders. Efforts to retain the initiative remain decentralized, but the decision to commit the entire force or to halt the attack remains with the senior commander. Figure 3-11 shows a sample operational graphics for a brigade movement to contact.

Hasty Attack

The basic principle in conducting the hasty attack is to seize the initiative. Before mounting a hasty attack, the commander must develop the situation, determine enemy strength, and rapidly mass firepower against the enemy. By retaining the initiative, the commander can subsequently adopt the best course of action to accomplish his mission. A hasty attack is usually conducted following a movement to contact. To maintain momentum, it is conducted with the resources immediately available.



Because the hasty attack is generally an outcome of the movement to contact, any intelligence planning will be that which was conducted as part of the movement-to-contact planning. The S2 knows before the operation that some enemy forces will be left behind in sufficient strength to warrant attack by the brigade as a whole. This most likely would be about a battalion in strength. Knowing the type of unit, BMP, BTR, or tank, the S2 will have a rough idea of where that force might be positioned and how it will defend. Ultimately, several options will emerge from this analysis. During the actual movement to contact, intelligence reports should confirm or deny them. Once actual contact is made, there will be little time to develop a clear picture of the enemy outside of what is being reported by the units in contact.


Like intelligence, maneuver planning for actions on contact (hasty attack) are manifested in the planning and preparation for the movement to contact. The commander will have only a vague picture of where and how the enemy will defend, based on input from the S2 as well as his own experience. Remember, much of the planning for a movement to contact is based on the desired outcome on contact. Therefore, the commander will consider options available to the brigade. If the situation is vague and the enemy is a considerable distance away, he may choose to lead with a large number of reconnaissance elements spread over a wide area to develop the situation and retain the main body in a tighter, more responsive formation. If the avenues to the enemy are relatively short and the enemy situation is better developed, he may select a formation that allows him to hit the enemy in a vulnerable spot or outflank him.

Regardless of the formation selected for reconnaissance and security elements, the hasty attack will normally occur in the following sequence. Therefore, the drills and SOP tasks that are associated with each step should be reevaluated within the context of the current situation.

Advance of reconnaissance and security forces. In planning the advance of the reconnaissance and security elements, the commander should identify the direction of movement, possible danger areas, objectives to be occupied, and bypass criteria. This planning is the same process used in the movement-to-contact planning.

Deployment and assault by security forces. Once contact has been made with the enemy, the security force will attempt to develop the situation. In planning, the major consideration for deployment is task organization. Reconnaissance elements generally are not heavy enough to deploy against an enemy, but armored forces are. The commander therefore, will want to ensure that C2 and organization of the security force is a mix of armor and reconnaissance elements. Again, the organization must be based on METT-T considerations. One of the key points the commander should keep in mind is that the enemy may want to slow the main body by making us deploy. The advance guard must have enough firepower to destroy smaller size elements. If it does not the enemy will have accomplished its mission. If the enemy encountered is too strong for the advance guard, it must be prepared to become the support force for an assault by the main body.

Assault by the main body. As the security force suppresses the enemy with direct and indirect fires, the main body changes from a movement to contact formation to an assault formation. The size of the actual assault force is determined by the intelligence generated by the advance guard. The planning for this assault is generally limited to templated or suspected enemy defensive locations. In this regard, the identification of areas such as checkpoints corresponding to these and other easily identifiable locations will allow the maneuver units to execute quickly from FRAGOs. However, not all maneuver units will be committed to the assault. The commander must maintain security throughout the operation; therefore, he must identify which units will maintain security if the main body is deployed.

Fire Support

FS planning for a hasty attack will be a continuous process. The operation needs extremely responsive fire support to compensate for the relatively small amount of maneuver power initially echeloned forward. At division level, the majority of FS assets will stay within the area of the main force, but because the brigade will ultimately outrange this support, provisions must be made to position direct-fire support artillery forward with the attacking brigade. The division should continue to attack deep targets, suppress enemy air defense, and provide counterfire.

The brigade considers major tactical contingencies and makes sure the lead TFs and subsequently committed TFs have adequate fire support. The brigade attacks the targets in its area of operation that are critical to success. It supports its operation with a combination of standard relationships and missions, as well as nonstandard relationships and quick-fire channels.

The brigade also plans for positioning the artillery in support of the scheme of maneuver. Artillery units are moved to forward firing positions by integrating artillery units into its march columns and attack formations. Fire request channels must be kept open to all units. Displacement of artillery must be controlled so that FS to committed units is not interrupted.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Much like the movement to contact, engineers are task organized to support instride breach operations. Attachments provide the commander the greater tactical flexibility in the fluid circumstances typical of hasty attacks. CEVs and AVLBs play a key role in the attack and should be located forward where they can best support leading elements of the brigade.

Air Defense

When the maneuver force moves to attack, the attacking maneuver battalions should receive air defense priority. The Vulcan gun and Stinger missile system provide air defense to the attacking maneuver forces.

Combat Service Support

Once contact is made, every class of supply would be affected except for barrier material. As a result, in addition to primary and alternate MSR selection and all of the collection, maintenance, and evacuation activities associated with them, LOGPAC resupply of Classes III and V must be prepared and moving as far forward as common sense allows. If the brigade is forced to engage in high-intensity combat, CSS is in a position to respond rapidly.

Command and Control

Because preparation time is short, planning time is almost nonexistent and orders are brief, and usually oral, during the hasty attack. It is imperative that commanders locate with lead elements to control the situation as it develops. The brigade commander should be with the lead TF that has the most critical mission to the overall operation. This does not mean the brigade commander is there to tell the TF commander how to control his unit. Rather, the brigade commander must ensure the TF commander gets everything he needs to ensure success. The brigade commander will augment the TF fires as necessary to achieve a synchronized effect of firepower. Although TAC CPs need to be close to their commanders for battle direction and information flow, their movement cannot be allowed to interfere with attack formations. Brief situation updates must be planned for and may be event-driven; for example, on crossing each brigade PL. This will assist the brigade as they operate through the use of FRAGOs, TIR-shift graphics and battle drills. Detailed SOPs and a thorough understanding of the commander's intent make coordination between units possible.



In preparation for the hasty attack, the S2 will be forced to make some quick assessments. Until enemy contact, the S2 should constantly update and revise his enemy situation template, confirming or denying possible enemy courses of action. The commander will decide whether or not to conduct a hasty attack based on the advice of the S2 and the spot reports from the units in contact; therefore, split-second judgments and decisions are required. As a minimum, the commander will want to know--

  • The enemy's location.

  • The enemy's strength.

  • The enemy' s intentions/probable course of action.

  • The enemy's obstacle effort and composition.

  • The enemy's ability to reinforce.

  • Any exploitable enemy weakness.

  • The consequences of bypassing the position.


The commander prepares for the brigade hasty attack while rehearsing the movement to contact, Specifically, he must run the brigade staff and commanders through a series of enemy courses of action. This will exercise command and staff drills and SOPs. There are several enemy actions that should be considered during rehearsals:

  • The advance guard makes contact with a small force. Options may include fix and bypass so as not to sacrifice speed, or conduct a hasty attack.

  • The advance guard makes contact with a large force. Options include possible hasty attack, suppressing for the main body attack, or hasty attack while the main body bypasses.

  • A flank security force makes contact with a small force. The flank security force can fix and bypass or conduct a hasty attack. What does the rest of the main body do in the meantime?

  • A flank security force makes contact with a large force. The flank security force will suppress the enemy, while elements of the main body conduct the attack. What does the remainder of the formation do during the attack?

The commander should reinforce his intent throughout the rehearsal, and identify any possible difficulties in execution. The S2 should be present to ensure the enemy course of action is accurately portrayed.

Fire Support

The FS plan will be rehearsed along with the maneuver plan. In particular, the brigade FSCOORD will ensure that the units will call those priority targets that they have been assigned, that they understand when priority of tires shifts from one unit to another, and that there is sufficient communication between the maneuver elements and the forward batteries to ensure protection of the guns as the situation is developed Of particular concern will be the artillery's ability to respond to a rapidly changing situation once contact is made and its ability to sustain that fire in support of a deliberate attack.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

At brigade level there are two things the engineers must verify before execution. First, they must ensure the engineer assets are sufficient to guarantee mobility. Second, they must ensure the force is able to conduct hasty breaches without a significant loss of momentum.

Air Defense

If the brigade is forced into a hasty attack, adequate planning must be done to incorporate the likely enemy EAs with the best possible air defense locations required to protect the force during the hasty attack. The brigade's concern with air IPB remains the focus of the planners for the hasty attack just as it was for the movement to contact.

Combat Service Support

The requirement for ammunition, medical, and vehicle evacuation, and any other activity associated with the attack will increase sharply as enemy resistance increases. The FSB commander, with the brigade S4, will closely examine the MSRs' security, location, and flexibility.

Command and Control

During the rehearsal, the commander will verify that his control measures are adequate for the hasty attack. More often than not, the hasty attack will be a FRAGO from TIRS or checkpoints. Therefore, the commander will want to ensure "on order" graphics are adequate to control the hasty attack. The commander will ensure control measures sufficiently control movement and direct and indirect fire.

Because of the spontaneous nature of the maneuver, it is imperative that all subordinate commanders understand their responsibilities within the parameters of the commander's intent, as well as their relationship with other elements. For example, the element that makes contact and develops the situation must maneuver to gain effective suppression of the enemy, especially if a hasty attack of the main body is required. They must communicate their observations not just to higher headquarters, but to the other TF commanders to maintain coordinated actions. This also guides the assault force as it makes its attack. Similarly, the assault force must direct the suppressive tires of the support force so that the most debilitating effect on the enemy is achieved.

In rehearsing the hasty attack, the commander must check to ensure each player operates as a member of the team, actually achieving unity of effort. This is accomplished by the commander presenting the tactical scenarios discussed earlier. As the rehearsal is conducted, the commander must issue his instructions orally, as he would in combat, and verify that his subordinates are able to respond to his orders with limited instruction. During the rehearsal, the commander may determine that his control measures require augmentation or modification. These should be made, but not to the point of significantly altering the plan, which could cause chaos within the subordinate elements who are in the process of developing their own plans.



Once contact with the enemy is established, the situation is developed vigorously and aggressively. The ability to find and exploit an assailable flank will disclose the enemy's disposition more rapidly than conducting a frontal attack; and will present more opportunity for tactical surprise and will achieve decisive results. The ability of the S2 to tentatively identify an assailable flank, and of the maneuver forces to find it, are as much a function of the enemy disposition as they are of reconnaissance. The S2 must be prepared to provide the commander with an estimate of the enemy disposition and probable course of action shortly after contact is made, as this will drive much of the decision making. The danger is there is inclination to focus on the enemy element in contact, when the real threat may in fact come from other enemy units positioned in depth or from a deploying reserve.


The element that makes initial contact has the responsibility to develop the situation and make a quick assessment of the situation. In particular, the commander of the unit in contact must quickly decide whether to fix and bypass, attack, or become the support force for an attack by the main body. Also, his report to higher headquarters will drive the decisions of the higher commander. Assuming the situation is such that the advance guard must lay down a base of fire for a hasty attack by the main body, thus becoming the support force, the advance guard commander must move to a position of advantage over the enemy force. Specifically, the support force will attempt to fix the enemy in order to deny their freedom of movement. While this occurs, the commander of the support force will constantly update the higher commander about the situation and attempt to identify the most effective direction of attack for the assault force. The brigade commander will quickly give instructions for the CS elements to support the brigade designated main effort. For example, the artillery will position forward, not only to range to the identified enemy, but also to identify probable adjoining enemy positions or to counterattack avenues of approach.

The force designated to conduct the assault must rapidly change formation from whatever it was for the movement to contact to the appropriate attack formation. The assault force commander will communicate with the support force commander to coordinate direct and indirect fires as the assault force conducts their movement to the enemy position and during the final assault of the enemy position. In particular, the assault force commander will want to isolate the position quickly from other possible enemy positions and suppress the enemy's ability to observe or engage the assault force. This will be accomplished by a combination of direct and indirect fire. In the meantime, reconnaissance elements must screen to any exposed flank(s) of the assault force, ensuring security.

The assault force commander will direct his force through the use of TIRS or checkpoints and terrain features easily identifiable to the assaulting forces. The actual assault of the position, however, becomes a drill conducted by the assaulting forces. Once the fires of the support force have been masked, the support force will either join the assault force on or near the objective, or move to another position that will safeguard the main body from possible enemy counterattack. This must be a preplanned action controlled by the brigade in support of the commander's intent.

Fire Support

The commander will attempt both to isolate and prepare the enemy position before the assault. The primary concern of the assault force commander, aside from the assault itself, is security. If the enemy is able to bring flank or enfilade fires to bear against the assault force, the attack may fail. Reconnaissance forces will screen the flank of the assault force. and artillery will be used to suppress likely enemy positions that may be in observation or range of the force most likely this means using HE and smoke. On the objective itself, the primary concern is suppression. Although an artillery preparation generally lifts enough dirt to obstruct vision, smoke will also be necessary to ensure that the exact point of attack is unknown to the enemy until the last moment. The disadvantage to the assault force is that many of the enemy positions may also be obscured from observation and tire from the support force or maneuver elements of the assault force.

Nevertheless, once the assault force closes with the enemy, indirect tires will be shifted. Some artillery will be used to block reinforcement of and retreat from the objective. Other artillery tire will be used to protect the assault force from fires and observation from depth positions. These probable enemy positions will be suppressed, therefore, in the same manner as described earlier. Further, as an enemy counterattack may be imminent, FOs and OPs will position themselves to view the enemy likely avenue of approach. If time allows and the situation permits, targets along these avenues may be planned while the assault force consolidates and reorganizes. One note of caution: if the enemy situation was such that these activities occurred, the unit will probably adopt a hasty defense and perhaps pass other friendly maneuver elements forward to maintain momentum.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Upon inching the objective, the maneuver elements may be required to participate in breaching operations. In some cases, units may be forced to attack without engineer support; however, this is the least desirable scenario. In this instance, the mechanical breach is the best option, as it offers the least degradation of speed and protects the force (dismounting is not required).

Air Defense

ADA assets must be prepared to protect the force by engaging the enemy at any time throughout the operation. Primary concerns will be ADA's ability to position itself while the main body moves, and to occupy the best appropriate terrain quickly once contact has been made and the main body slows becoming an even more lucrative air target.

Combat Service Support

The brigade is going from a high-mobility/flow-contact situation to one of rapid expenditure of ammunition and increased casualties. Support assets may quickly find themselves unable to respond adequately to the demands of the hasty attack, unless extensive planning and rehearsals were conducted prior to execution. CSS elements in particular must be prepared to push supplies and recovery assets forward. Class V expenditure will be high. Similarly, maneuver elements may have blundered into a potentially lethal situation requiring the use of recovery assets. Just as with maneuver units, CSS units must be prepared to operate from FRAGOs.

Command and Control

The commander has a particularly difficult role during the hasty attack. He must allow his subordinates to develop the situation and make decisions quickly, with very little planning. It is paramount, therefore, that subordinate commanders understand the brigade commander's intent likewise, the brigade commander must trust the judgment of his battalion commanders, because there simply is no opportunity for a second chance. Once the brigade commander decides to conduct a hasty attack, he must put his full weight into assuring that each subordinate commander gets the necessary support. Once the assault force moves to attack the objective, it may receive priority. Any aviation or CAS sorties which may be allocated to the brigade should be synchronized to augment the fires of the assault force. Each element must move quickly as in a drill. Commanders must talk laterally and vertically, making suggestions and maneuvering as a team. The brigade must operate as a close-knit unit, where each knows his role and that of his teammate. The commander must know, through continuous information flow from subordinate commanders, what to expect of each element and what he can give in return. Figure 3-12 depicts the hasty attack.

Deliberate Attack



The deliberate attack requires as much detailed information about the enemy as possible, therefore, thorough reconnaissance before the attack is important. The S2 will also request intelligence from higher headquarters, as appropriate, or request the brigade's PIR be included in the division collection planning. Additional efforts must be made to conduct ground reconnaissance, if possible. The two most important items will be the identification of the enemy's exploitable weakness and a determination of his probable response to our attack. Armed with this information, the commander will know when to attack and what counterreactions to take against the enemy to preclude his influencing our operation.


Brigades conduct deliberate attacks through coordinated battalion task force attacks consisting of fire and maneuver. A battalion task force participates in a brigade deliberate attack as a support force or a maneuver force.

The support force.

Mission. The support force fixes the enemy to the ground and suppresses his weapons, thereby permitting freedom of action by the maneuver force. The support force normally will not close on the objective unless its fires become masked or it is no longer able to suppress adjoining enemy positions.

Composition. The support force at the brigade level may consist of elements of the battalion task force, or if the situation allows, an entire battalion task force. Mortars, artillery, naval gunfire, antitank weapons, tanks, and Bradleys can all contribute to the base of tire. Helicopters may assist; however, they are better suited to accompany the maneuver force, as a support role does not take advantage of their capabilities.

Employment. The support force should assign specific targets and target areas to be freed during the advance of the maneuver force, during the assault, and during the continuation of the attack or consolidation on the objective. Signals for lifting and shifting of these fires must be prearranged, and should include visual signals if possible. The support force must also be prepared to engage targets of opportunity within the parameters of the commander's intent. Similarly, the support force must be prepared to move to other positions from which it can continue to deliver necessary suppression. Alternate positions must be selected for each element.

The maneuver force.

Mission. The maneuver force closes with and destroys the enemy.

Composition. The maximum possible strength should be placed in the maneuver force. When possible, it should be a combined arms force of tanks, mechanized infantry, aviation, and a CS/CSS slice.

Employment. The maneuver force closes with the enemy as quickly and directly as possible to exploit the effects of the base of tire. It is usually committed so that it has mass, and when possible, it seeks to attack at an identified weak point in the enemy's defense. Once the maneuver force is committed, it should proceed with all the speed and violence at its command. The advance should be timed so the elements of the maneuver force arrive on the objective simultaneously. Tanks and mechanized infantry can then provide mutual support. As the objective is reached and overrun, support force fires onto the objective will be masked The support force will then shift its fires to the flanks and rear of the objective if possible; in the meantime, the assault force of the maneuver element is intensified.

Actions on the objective. As the assault force secures the objective, the brigade begins to focus on the enemy elements that could counterattack. The brigade commander will reposition battalion task forces on the objective either to defend against an enemy attack or to prepare for future operations. The brigade will continue to synchronize the consolidation of the objective. Based on the end state of each battalion task force, the commander may adjust task organization.

Scheme of maneuver. This is the detailed plan for the placement and movement of the maneuvering force into advantageous positions on the objective with respect to the enemy. In developing the scheme of maneuver, consideration is given to its possible effects on future operations. The scheme of maneuver includes but is not limited to--

  • Task organization.

  • Formation.

  • Control measures.

-- Objectives.

-- Direction of movement.

-- LD.

-- Time of attack.

-- Checkpoints.

Formations. The attack formation selected by the commander will ultimately be based on the factors of METT-T. In general, the depth of the attack depends on the following conditions:

    • An attack in depth is favored--

    -- Against deep objectives.

    -- When there is a requirement for security against a counterattack.

    -- During periods of poor visibility when maximum control is desired.

      • A formation with less depth is favored--

      -- Against limited objectives.

      -- When major enemy strongpoints and troop concentrations are known.

      -- When the objective is securely held by the enemy, and there is a requirement to place maximum fire upon the objective.

      Column. The column formation provides depth to the attack since units are in a position to move through or around a leading unit. The commander using the column will normally have several courses of action open to permit him to retain the initiative, maintain the momentum of the attack, and provide the response required to meet varying situations. The column affords the commander with significant uncommitted combat power in the form of reserve units introduced into the situation at the time and place of his choosing. Also, the follow-on elements are available to assume the mission of the lead element should its combat power decrease. The column formation provides a high degree of security to the flanks since units are in a position to counter threats to either flank. It also facilitates control. Considerations favoring C2 include--

          • Restricted maneuver room.

          • Enemy defenses that must be attacked on a narrow front.

          • Enemy reserves in such strength and location that a sustained attack or a meeting engagement is anticipated.

          • Use of a column formation, forced by terrain and the enemy situation. Care must be taken that use of a column does not unduly emphasize security and flexibility at a cost of speed and placement of maximum firepower forward (see Figure 3-13).

      Line. The line formation is formed by placing two or more units abreast to lead the formation. The line formation provides combat power forward over a relatively wide front. A commander using a line formation can employ leading units so their attacks are mutually supporting. He can converge the combat power of leading units into one massive, coordinated assault. The formation also allows the commander to gain information from a broader front than if he was using a column formation (see Figure 3-14). Gaps, weak points, or flanks of the enemy's disposition are more rapidly discovered. The line is more difficult to control than a column. Considerations that favor use of the line are--

          • Adequate maneuver space.

          • Shallow enemy defenses.

          • Requirement for more combat power than one subordinate unit.

          • Requirement for a rapid advance on a broad bent.

          • Requirement to develop the situation.

      Reserve. A reserve is part of a body of troops that is kept to the rear of the formation, or withheld from action at the beginning of an engagement so it is available for decisive employment. In heavy operations, reserve forces are kept well forward in the formation to be readily available for the commander's immediate use. Committing the reserve is a matter of reasoned judgment by the commander, based on his analysis of the factors of METT-T to include:

      • Size of the reserve. A deep objective, the extent of knowledge of the enemy situation, available friendly combat power, or inability to visualize the attack or its conclusion require the retention of a stronger reserve than when these conditions do not exist.

      • Location and movement. In attacks by armor units, the reserve, when designated, is part of the maneuver force. It moves in the overall unit formation. In the formation, the reserve is positioned to permit rapid movement to points of probable employment, and provide security by its presence.

      • Establishment or reconstitution of a reserve. When the commander has all maneuver units actively engaged, he should provide for means by which he may influence the action. He may constitute forces for a reserve from other elements of the command, determine which unit may be most profitably disengaged if an urgent requirement for a reserve arises, and request additional means from higher headquarter.

Fire Support

In planning, the commander strives to ensure that his FS is massed where he needs it the most. The majority of fires will be in groups or series. FS is planned "top down" to ensure synchronization with maneuver forces and massing of fires. Indirect fire preparation of the objective should be delivered immediately preceding the attack and in combination with the movement of attacking units, depending on the amount of surprise desired or necessity to soften the point of attack. Indirect tires should also be planned to isolate the objective from both the observation and effective fire of the enemy located on adjoining positions. Generally, this will mean delivering a mix of HE and smoke. Smoke missions must be carefully planned in terms of location, duration and logistical support, as the basic load of an artillery unit does not include enough smoke ammunition for sustained operations.

As the attack progresses, initial OPs will become ineffective. Calls for fire on enemy positions in depth will originate with the maneuver elements who have penetrated the enemy defensive belt. This is particularly true if the enemy has chosen a reverse slope defense. Fire control must be planned accordingly.

FS must also be planned to assist in the interdiction of the enemy's counterattack force. This could mean firing FASCAM, for example, into his hide position or at a choke point to block his access into the MBA. FASCAM is costly in terms of time and tubes, and must be weighed against the close support mission.

Once the attack is completed, FS planning takes on a defensive posture as the maneuver elements consolidate on the objective. FPFs are planned, and targets along likely mounted and dismounted avenues of approach are registered.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The focus of engineers in the deliberate attack is on mobility. The brigade engineer uses the confirmed situation template and the scheme of maneuver to recommend the allocation of mobility assets. Breaching of tactical and protective obstacles are anticipated. In the planning process, the brigade engineer used the force allocation ratios to recommend a in-stride or deliberate breach for breaching the enemy's tactical obstacles. Allocation of breaching assets are also considered for assault breaching through the enemy's protective obstacle system. With the mobility requirements identified, engineer units and assets are task organized. If a brigade deliberate breach is planned, the synchronization of the support, breach, and assault forces are detailed and the breach fundamentals (SOSR) are planned. The basic planning factors for tactical obstacle breaching are--

  • Support force: 3: 1 friendly to enemy for adequate suppression (direct and indirect).

  • Assault force: 3: 1 friendly to enemy.

  • Breach force: number of lanes required (one engr plt, or two MICLICs, or mineroller and mineplow per lane).

Air Defense

Air defense assets must travel with the maneuver force, as Soviet-style air attack is incorporated into defensive planning. Some assets may remain with the support force oriented on identified enemy air avenues of approach. Should the commander choose to begin the operation under electronic silence, he must be swam that air defense radar systems will not be available. Conversely, the electronic signature of active radar systems may tip off the enemy to impending attack as emissions increase prior to H-hour.

Combat Service Support

During offensive operations, the brigade support area moves forward as required. If the road net is limited, locating the BSA to ensure adequate CSS is increasingly important.

Ammunition expenditures are generally lower in the offense: however, POL products will be in great demand and support units must be prepared to fuel forward. Casualties are normally high during this type of offensive action, particularly those units directly involved in the assault. This necessitates rapid evacuation by the supporting medical aid and evacuation teams. When attacking through a friendly unit, to assist in receiving casualties, coordination should be made with the friendly unit aid station. Vehicular losses are likely to be high, so close and continuous support is essential, with emphasis on using BDAR. Battalions will establish UMCPs, from which vehicles will be evacuated to the BSA's maintenance company.

Command and Control

The commander must plan to position himself where he can make timely decisions. The commander's key decision will probably be where and when to commit the reserve. Should the attack begin to bog down or a counterattack strike, the commander must be in a position to receive the rapid notification, assess the situation and execute his instructions in a timely, effective manner. He must be in a position to see the battle. He must be able to talk to subordinate headquarters and commanders, have the most recent intelligence, and use his training, experience, and instinct to his advantage.



Prior to execution, the S2 should have a clear picture of enemy defensive positions, obstacles, and the location and possible use of his reserve. It is also important the S2 differentiate between known and unknown enemy locations to inform the commander of enemy actions. During the rehearsal it is important for the S2 to portray the actions of the enemy accurately. The repositioning of weapon systems would also become important, particularly if the commander planned to attack the enemy at an especially weak location. Finally, the positioning of antitank reserves, as well as the counterattack force, must be portrayed in a manner commensurate with the tactical situation posed to the Soviet-style commander.

Similarly, to aid his own operations, the S2 will ensure R&S elements observe NAIs, TAIs, and DPs as appropriate. his is especially critical for early identification of the counterattack force. PIR will be issued as part of the OPORD. These must be issued in a manner easily understood by each soldier.


In preparation for the deliberate attack, the commander will rehearse the maneuver and synchronization of the brigade's assets. Specifically, the commander will ensure that his commanders understand both the maneuver plan and his intent, so that if they must deviate from the maneuver plan it will be within the context of his intent. The commander will first ensure that the support force commander understands his role within the maneuver plan. He must be prepared to maneuver the support force so they will maintain continuous and effective suppressive fires on the objective. He must then review the support force commander's instruction once the maneuver force masks his fires. To where do they shift their fires? When do they move to join the assault force?

Likewise, the assault force commander must demonstrate the best use of terrain to support his approach to the objective. He must be prepared to conduct hasty breaches of obstacles and change his maneuver formation to suit the terrain and enemy situation. Finally, and most importantly, he must rehearse the final assault on the objective. Can the support force effectively suppress the objective? Is an internal support force appropriate? How has the objective been divided into battalion/company objectives? What happens if the assault force is counterattacked just as they are about to assault? How can this be prevented? Where is the limit of advance? How are the TFs using their scouts during the assault? What actions are being taken to deny effective enemy fires from adjacent and depth positions? These are only a sampling of the questions that must be answered as the commander conducts the rehearsal.

Fire Support

The commander will first check his priority of tires to ensure they are appropriate as the units maneuver. Next, he will exercise the commanders in their calls of priority targets, and in the execution of their own FS plans. The isolation of the objective and suppression of adjoining enemy positions will be important to the success of the operation; controlling and adjusting these fires throughout changing conditions will also be an important aspect of the attack.

The preparation of the objective will be critical to the protection of the assault force and its shock effect. It is doubtful that the preparation will occur once the assault force crosses the LD (unless it is a shallow objective); the preparation will probably be called by the assault force. Calling the preparation, knowing its duration, and understanding how that impacts upon the maneuver of the assault force is essential for success. Therefore, it must be rehearsed carefully, almost like a drill.

Finally, the lifting and shifting of the fires just prior to the assault must be rehearsed. Should the commander be killed, who will call in his place? If no call is received, can the shifting be event driven? Chances are the enemy will not be exactly where we expected him to be, which means shifted fires from the objective will have to be controlled by someone. Who will control the shifted tires? All of these questions are meant to be food for thought. There are many others. In the final analysis, it will be up to the commander and FSCOORD to ensure the success of the FS plan.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

There are two major mobility concerns with respect to the deliberate attack that the brigade commander must address. First, how shall the assault force negotiate obstacles while en route to the objective? Second, how will the assault force deal with the close-in protective obstacles expected near or on the objective itself?

In-stride breaches of obstacles may be addressed by task organization and tasks to maneuver elements. Specifically, if obstacles are expected, then the assault force must have engineers attached or moving with the force and maintained under brigade control, although the latter is by far less frequently executed. In either case, the point to remember is the engineers must be forward, prepared to conduct mobility operations, such as breaching and obstacle reduction. The breach itself should be rehearsed as part of the maneuver plan. If the obstacle is known and assets have been given to the brigade for a breach, for example, an engineer battalion attached for a river crossing operation, then the operation must be rehearsed in detail.

The brigade commander's primary concern during any close-in breaching on or near the objective is to maintain adequate suppression so the enemy will be unable to cover the obstacle by direct fire.

Air Defense

The commander will ensure that air defense covers those danger areas within the brigade's axis of advance. The ADA battery commander will develop the brigade's air defense priorities based on the commander's intent and scheme of maneuver. Once these are approved, the battery commander will task organize his assets to &fend those priorities. The rehearsal should ensure that air defense assets are prepared to position themselves on terrain which accommodates an effective defense.

Combat Service Support

At the brigade level, the commander must ensure that his support organization is prepared to support the mission. In the rehearsal, the brigade commander should ensure the forward support commander has chosen adequate MSRs and good locations for future support sites. He must have a plan for emergency resupply of Classes III and V. In addition, the FSB commander must have a plan for the evacuation and treatment of mass casualties. The brigade commander must be attuned to the ability of the FSB to sustain its operations and provide the necessary extra support when it is needed.

Command and Control

The brigade commander must use his time wisely in rehearsing for the deliberate attack. The brigade commander must get the most out of his rehearsal in a limited amount of time because the TF and company commanders will want to conduct their own rehearsals. The major concern is that every subordinate commander in the brigade understands his role in the attack within the context of the brigade commander's intent. This is accomplished by methodically rehearsing the operation from the AA through consolidation. If appropriate, the commander should break the operation into phases and make sure everyone understands what is to be accomplished in each one. He should ask, "What if...?" questions throughout to see if his TF commanders have prepared alternatives thoroughly for the unexpected. Above all he must make sure his control measures are adequate and his subordinates have everything he can give them. Based on results of the rehearsals the plan may be modified.

There are several concerns the commander will have with respect to the deliberate attack. He must ensure his units do not become intermingled, that fratricide is avoided, and that elements do not outrun their support (both direct and indirect). If the brigade has not rehearsed the operation prior to execution, success is doubtful.



Having planned and coordinated a thorough R&S effort prior to execution, the S2 continues to refine his situation template of the enemy. (R&S is detailed in Chapter 2, Section IV, of this manual.) Once the attack commences, the enemy can be expected to reposition some forces, and reinforce or move/commit reserves. As he receives intelligence information, the S2 anticipates changes in enemy disposition and informs the brigade commander. He will also relay any pertinent information reported from higher headquarters.

The advance to assault is conducted in a manner that minimizes casualties to the maneuver force while placing combat power in position to impose maximum destruction on the enemy. This is accomplished through the proper selection of the axis of advance and the maneuver formation by the commander.

The brigade conducts its advance as a continuous rapid movement, attempting to pass through the enemy's defensive fires in a minimum amount of time. If possible, the brigade will conduct the advance in mass. However, enemy action may require the maneuver force to employ fire and movement.

The commander supervises the execution of his plan and continues his estimate. He keeps abreast of the situation as it develops to determine if changes must be made to the scheme of maneuver or FS plan.

Fire Support

The initial mission of the artillery will most likely be to mask the movement of the brigade. First, suppression of known enemy positions such as OPs and defensive positions with HE and smoke will deny initial observation, and perhaps prevent the enemy from accurately suppressing the movement of the brigade with indirect fire Second, fires used to screen the movement of the brigade as it begins its advance to the assault should prevent identification and direct-fire engagement from known enemy positions forward of or near the objective area.

Once the maneuver elements begin to close on the objective area, suppression of the objective will be the primary concern. If the objective is rather shallow, artillery maybe adjusted from friendly positions along the LD. Suppression of the objective will be called from observers located with the support force or the assault force. The suppression must be maintained until the assault force closes on the objective. The objective is to synchronize the arrival of the assault force and its close-in direct-fire suppression with the lifting of the indirect-fire suppression. Ideally, there should not be a break between the two--essentially, there should be a handover of fire directed against the enemy position.

As suppressive fires are lifted from the objective, they are shifted to identified or suspected enemy positions and along enemy avenues of approach. In this way, enemy reinforcement and retreat will be cut off. On consolidation, targets will be selected along likely mounted and dismounted avenues of approach; FPFs and targets on our own defensive positions will be marked for close-in protection.

Mobility, Countemobility, and Survivability

The brigade commander must ensure supporting units are allocated to do all in their power to support the main effort. Likewise, in an effort to reinforce success, those maneuver elements not yet in the fight can be directed by the brigade commander to assault at the enemy's most vulnerable point. This means exploiting the breach conducted by the lead battalion equipped with the appropriate engineer assets.

Air Defense

Air defense assets must be prepared to provide protection quickly should the brigade momentum slow anytime throughout the operation. In particular, breaching operations, defiles, and even the assault will be slower overall than the pace of the advance to the assault. As a result, the brigade will become a more lucrative air target. To counteract this, the air defense warning net must be operational, and any threat aircraft must be reported to the maneuver elements. This will provide the early warning that the TFs need.

Combat Service Support

In the deliberate attack the FSB must provide continuous support to the maneuver forces. This is accomplished by jumping or echeloning support assets to meet the current support need and anticipate future needs. Preloaded LOGPACs and refueling assets must be on standby throughout the operation, ready to respond to an emergency request. Casualty evacuation must be fine tuned to reduce delay in evacuation. The ability of the brigade to position its medical assets forward will reduce the amount of time a casualty must be stabilized before being attended.

Command and Control

The commander should position himself with the lead TF conducting the assault. He should not, however, be so far forward that he allows himself to become fixed on the objective. Rather, the brigade commander must be able to take a broad view of the operation. He must be able to assess the success of the lead TF and know when and where to reinforce it. If necessary, the commander must be able to direct the reserve to strike another area so as not to reinforce failure. The ability to physically see the battlefield is seldom available to the commander. Because effective control of the entire brigade is radio-dependent, the best place for the brigade commander may be that location where he can best communicate to his subordinate elements. The brigade commander will often have to rely on the reports of his TF commanders to assess the situation.


In the exploitation, the attacker seeks to follow up the gains of a successful penetration. The attacker drives deep into the enemy's rear to destroy his means to reconstitute an organized defense or to initiate an orderly withdrawal.



The exploitation is an operation that cannot generally be foreseen as the certain outcome of the deliberate attack. The S2, however, must be aware of the conditions that may suggest that an exploitation is possible. Caution must be exercised before the S2 recommends the exploitation to the commander, since the enemy may try to draw the brigade into a trap. The considerations include--

  • Enemy having difficulty holding positions.

  • Increase in EPW and abandoned material.

  • Overruling of artillery, C2 facilities, signal facilities, and supply dumps.

  • Decrease in enemy resistance.

In particular, the S2 will compare the spot reports from the units in contact to his situation template. If the situation is such that there is space to maneuver beyond the weak enemy resistance and generally no significant threat facing the brigade, the conditions may favor the exploitation. The S2 must brief the commander concerning the next formidable enemy position, counterattack force, or echelon the brigade will encounter therefore, a continuation of his situation template in depth is appropriate.


Formations during the exploitation. The brigade may advance in a column formation when forced by terrain and the enemy situation. In this formation, neither the leading battalion task force nor those following are restricted to the same route within the brigade axis of advance. Generally, use of a column formation in the exploitation unduly emphasizes flexibility and security at the expense of the prime consideration of speed and the placement of maximum firepower forward (see Figure 3-15).

The formation of two or more TFs abreast without a reserve may be employed when the situation demands an approach to objectives on as wide a front as possible. This formation might be used when attempting to secure crossing sites over a major river. It is also used against sporadic and weakening resistance, and when the enemy capability of interfering with major reserves is lacking or can be blocked by means other than the employment of a reserve. In spite of the lack of a constituted reserve, action can be influenced by the effective employment of massed indirect fires and the maneuver of combat elements (see Figure 3-16).

A formation of two or more TFs abreast with a reserve allows the brigade to advance on a reasonably wide front with the bulk of the brigade's direct firepower forward. This formation helps when creating gaps in the enemy's defenses. While the bulk of the brigade is committed, a battalion task force is in reserve to either exploit the success of the attacking elements, assume the mission of the attacking elements, or counter enemy threats as they develop (see Figure 3-17).

Planning. The exploitation may take the form of a movement to contact or hasty attack. In this regard, the brigade will be responding to a series of FRAGOs issued by the brigade commander. Generally, he will designate--

  • The formation of the brigade.

  • The position of each TF within the formation.

  • Bypass criteria.

  • Objectives.

  • A limit of advance.

  • Any other terrain-oriented control measures that will assist with maneuver.

The characteristics of the exploitation that must be understood prior to execution are that the exploiting forces advance on a bread front; only the reserves necessary to ensure flexibility and essential security are retained. Once the exploitation has begun, it is carried deep in the rear to cut lines of communication and disrupt C2. Generally, a second brigade will follow and support the brigade that is actually conducting the exploitation.

Follow-and-support units are assigned missions to assist exploiting forces by relieving them of tasks that would slow their advance. As the exploiting brigade advances farther into the enemy rear areas, the follow-and-support units secure lines of communication and supply, destroy pockets of resistance, and expand the area of exploitation from the brigade axis. They relieve lead brigade elements containing enemy encirclements, allowing them to rejoin the exploiting force. Liaison must be maintained between lead units and follow-and-support units to facilitate this coordination. Elements of the follow-and-support units may be attached to the brigade to ensure unity of command and effort.

Fire Support

Because of the rapid nature of the exploitation, FS planning must be done as part of the attack planning. Specifically, the targets selected in the depth of the enemy defensive area will take on a more close nature as the brigade maneuvers to the enemy rear.

The artillery must be prepared to travel at a pace that exceeds that of normal offensive operations. Less ammunition will be fired, because the fleeing enemy is not a significant threat to the brigade. Of particular strikes a new defensive belt of a second echelon force. This means that ammunition transport must be absolutely responsive to the needs of the guns.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

In planning, the same considerations for a movement to contact come into play for the exploitation. Engineers located with the follow-and-support force should plan on conducting obstacle reduction operations or mobility operations, such as road repair and maintenance, in support of the exploiting force. Engineer support must also be planned for the CSS elements to allow the lead combat elements to be logistically supported. Situational obstacles are planned in phases of the advance. As the brigade moves forward, scatterable mine targets are planned to react to possible enemy counterattack.

Air Defense

Air defense planning is accomplished by the brigade through task organization. The enemy ground forces may want his air assets to slow down the Progress of our ground forces to buy time for him to prepare a defense. Air defense assets will move with priority of protection to the main effort, and to secure the lines of communication, allowing support elements to keep pace with the operation.

Combat Service Support

POL consumption and vehicle maintenance will be the primary concern of CSS elements, unless major contact occurs. The selection of a flexible MSR is paramount to the successful execution of the exploitation. The MSR must be able to respond to the changes of direction. Moreover, in order to establish an effective MSR, engineer elements may have to be placed under the FSB commander's control to ensure that the MSR is trafficable. Some combat elements from the reserve may be assigned a mission to protect the CSS elements or secure the MSR.

Command and Control

When planning the exploitation, the commander must designate appropriate objectives and a limit of advance. Graphic control mearsures developed prior to the exploitation and issued with the attack order will facilitate command and control when the brigade transitions to the exploitation. The commander must balance speed and momentum against security and distance. Generally, the commander should approach the exploitation with a sense of guarded optimism. He knows that it is an excellent opportunity to gain a position of advantage over the enemy, but he does not want to fall prey to a possible enemy trap where the brigade could be drawn into a salient and destroyed in detail.



The S2's preparation for an exploitation is twofold. First, he must be able to identify the factors that are preconditions for the exploitation. Second, he must be prepared to assess the enemy situation in depth as it will relate to the brigade's future area of interest.

The S2 must coordinate with the division G2 for intelligence concerning the future area of interest, division templated information, or more important, confirmed enemy locations in depth (especially reserves).


Most likely, the brigade exploitation will occur as the result of an extremely successful attack. Generally that means that as a battalion task force consolidates on an objective, the remaining battalion's task forces are being given instructions to execute the exploitation. That translates to battalions task forces going from, perhaps, a support-by-fire position or a movement formation of some type to the exploitation. In order to accomplish this with a minimum amount of confusion, the brigade commander must know where each of the elements are, and the brigade must practice changing formation, changing mission, and changing direction. When the command to execute is given, practice will have prevented chaos. The brigade commander must be cognizant of the formations each of the TFs must adopt once they are instructed to begin the exploitation, and the amount of time needed for the TFs and the brigade to prepare for the mission.

It is essential that the exploitation be conducted as a unified brigade maneuver. Piecemeal efforts will only fragment the formation and make it vulnerable to counterattack, however, slowness in mounting the operation will result in lost opportunities. This is the window in which the brigade must make its assessment. issue orders, and conduct the operation. Accurate intelligence and drills are the key to exploiting enemy weakness.

Fire Support

Preparation for the exploitation encompasses techniques that allow for a flexible, responsive, and redundant fire control net. In the exploitation, there will be no time to register targets or prepare target lists. Therefore, a FS matrix that includes targets that are already planned in depth must be prepared as part of the initial offensive mission. Coordination with the S2 is critical as the situation develops into the exploitation. Enemy locations known to division intelligence will be targeted, and templated as danger areas.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The actual preparation for an exploitation involves keeping the engineers forward so that the momentum of the operation may be maintained through to the objective. Their actual mobility operations (breaches) are drills conducted at TF and company level: brigade breaches are a possibility, but less frequent. In preparing for offensive operations by conducting breaching rehearsals, the brigade is also preparing for the exploitation. Requirements unique to the exploitation will be placed on the engineers. Engineer assets are used to reduce breached obstacles, and route clearing tasks in support of logistical movement forward.

Air Defense

The likelihood of enemy air attack grows with the success of ground maneuver. Preparations must be made for quick resupply of missiles and perhaps a new priority of protection.

Combat Service Support

Preparation of CSS elements for the exploitation includes the designation of future MSRs, LRPs, UMCPs, and ambulance exchange points. The FSB commander must anticipate the exploitation and ensure that his plan will support the brigade all the way to the terminating objective. One significant factor will be that the brigade will be traveling on a broad front. This may necessitate the designation of lateral MSR to handle the dispersion. CSS assets must be prepared to bound farther and more often than in an attack. The ability of the brigade to continue an exploitation is based partially on its sustainability.

Command and Control

Preparation for the exploitation does not lie in a rehearsal devoted to the mission. The actual preparation for the exploitation takes place as the brigade prepares for its offensive operations. Movement to contact hasty attack, breaching operations, and follow-and-support operations are all missions that are accomplished during rehearsals for offensive operations. If the brigade practices these operations in training and successfully executes them during combat rehearsals, they should be able to execute them with minimal guidance during combat.



As the attack is in progress, the S2 will receive spot reports. He will combine the enemy situation template, plus descriptive information from the maneuver battalions, for example, mass EPWs. The S2 wilt then quickly develop the most likely course of action for the enemy defense in depth. He must advise the commander of the possible danger from enemy counterattack or the likelihood of a meeting engagement with newly arriving second-echelon forces.


The commander will receive the enemy situation update from the S2 and assess the situation from personal observation and the advice of his subordinate commanders. Although a division normally is the lowest echelon that conducts an exploitation as an operation, some situations may present themselves where it is lucrative for the brigade to seize the initiative.

Based on the input of his staff and commanders, the brigade commander will issue a FRAGO to conduct an exploitation. The formation he chooses will be based on METT-T. The objective he selects will generally be terrain oriented, which severs enemy lines of communication and prevents the enemy from regrouping. Similarly, a limit of advance is selected so the brigade will not outrun its support. Much of this decision is based on the S2's situation template.

Once across the LD/LC, the exploitation is pushed vigorously until arrival at the objective. Enemy troops encountered are not engaged unless they are a threat to the brigade or cannot be bypassed. The decision to bypass or engage these enemy forces rests with the brigade commander. The leading elements of the brigade habitually attack from march column to reduce roadblocks and small pockets of resistance and to develop the situation.

During the exploitation, bypassed forces are reported to the higher commander. Enemy forces that interfere with the brigade mission are fixed and bypassed and destroyed by follow-and-support forces. If the enemy resistance is such that the brigade cannot block or bypass, the situation is reported to higher headquarters and a hasty attack executed.

Once on the objective, consolidation will occur with orientations specifically designed to cause the most severe damage to enemy retreat, regrouping, or reinforcement. Preparation for the enemy counterattack and its associated activities will become the first priority.

Fire Support

The artillery will shift from supporting the attack with its objective orientation to supporting a movement-to-contact mission. Due to the increased frontage, the artillery may find itself more dispersed than in a movement to contact, which may present some difficulty in supporting the entire brigade. The reinforcing artillery may have to move forward to fill the void, essentially affecting artillery battalions moving abreast.

The main concern of the artillery is to be able to respond to a meeting engagement or hasty attack. The artillery must be able to quickly fire large amounts of ammunition, necessitating additional accompanying ammunition. The next priority will be to support the brigade in the occupation of the terminating objective and destroying the lines of communication. This will involve targets deeper than the maneuver force, and protective fires to shield the brigade from counterattack.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Throughout the exploitation, the engineers must be prepared to conduct breaching operations and maintain freedom of movement along the MSRs. The typical threat will be enemy scatterable minefields and hasty obstacles. Once on the objective, the mission quickly becomes survivability or countermobility as enemy counterattack will become a concern. Obstacle-free areas will be designated for use by a brigade reserve/counterattack force.

Air Defense

The air defense assets will continue to support the brigade during the exploitation in the same manner as during the attack. Messages received on the ADA warning net should be transmitted over the command net whenever a significant air threat appears. Quick identification and retransmission of significant air threat information is essential due to the extremely fast (mobility) nature of air threat.

Combat Service Support

CSS assets will quickly prepare for the increased tempo of the exploitation. LOGPACs with fuel and ammunition will move in step with maneuver while CSS services bound forward. Much of the evacuation will be forward to future sites. EPWs will be a significant problem, as they may choke the MSR. Therefore, a separate EPW evacuation route and collection points away from the maneuver and headquarters elements are desirable.

Command and Control

The primary concern of the brigade commander will be to get the brigade into a proper formation and in enough time to reap the benefits of the enemy situation. Assuming that is accomplished with relative ease, he must then control the formation as it moves. This will be difficult because attention will be drawn toward captured equipment, surrendering soldiers, and pockets of resistance. The real danger, however, is not the immediate enemy, but beyond.

The commander must anticipate the enemy's next move. If conditions are ripe for an exploitation, the immediate enemy concern can be handled at lower levels. An enemy counterattack could reverse any gains made.



The goal of the pursuit is the annihilation of the enemy's main combat forces. It is accomplished by maintaining direct pressure on the withdrawing enemy units and destroying them. The brigade may conduct an independent pursuit operation, but it normally operates as part of a larger force.


Like the exploitation, the pursuit is an operation that occurs as the result of an enemy precondition. The pursuit is initiated by the brigade commander through a FRAGO. It generally cannot be planned in detail at brigade level, due to the brief window of opportunity. The S2's responsibility is to inform the commander when the enemy conditions warrant the pursuit These conditions include--

  • When the enemy can no longer maintain defensive positions and tries to escape by withdrawing his forces.

  • When the enemy continues to advance without strong enemy resistance.

  • When increased numbers of EPW, abandoned weapons, and dead are acquired.

  • When there is a lessening of enemy artillery tires.

  • When there is a lack of enemy counterattacks.

Essentially, the enemy has lost the will to fight, and is no longer a significant threat. The primary concern of the S2 is accurately assessing the situation and predicting the possible options open to the enemy. The second-echelon forces, on the other hand, will present an organized threat to the brigade if contacted. The S2 must provide the commander with a clear picture of all the enemy in the area of interest.


Direct-pressure force. The mission of the direct-pressure force is to prevent enemy disengagement and subsequent reconstitution of the defense. Leading elements of the direct-pressure force move rapidly along all available routes, containing or bypassing small enemy pockets of resistance that are reduced by follow-and-support units. The direct-pressure force envelops and cuts off enemy elements at every opportunity. At no time must the enemy be allowed to break contact. If the enemy's main force establishes itself on a position from which it cannot be easily dislodged, the pursuing commander launches a hasty attack promptly to restore fluidity.

Encircling force. The mission of the encircling force is to get behind the enemy and block his escape so he can be destroyed between the direct-pressure force and encircling force. The encircling force advances along routes paralleling the enemy's line of retreat to reach key terrain ahead of the enemy force. Hostile rear guards or forces on flank positions are not permitted to divert the encircling force from its mission. Ah-mobile, armored, and mechanized units supported by engineers are particularly effective as encircling forces. If the encircling force cannot outrun the enemy, it attacks the enemy main body on its flank.

Follow-and-support force. The follow-and-support force is not a reserve, but is a fully committed force. It is used to accomplish any or all of the following tasks:

  • Destroy bypassed enemy units. This is accomplished as either a hasty or deliberate attack.

  • Relieve in place any supported units that have halted to contain enemy forces.

  • Block movement of reinforcements. This is done by occupying a defensive position.

  • Secure lines of communication. This is conducted as route reconnaissance, patrolling, escort convoys.

  • Control refugees and guard prisoners (key areas and installations). This is augmentation to military police, or performing security mission.

Fire Support

Field artillery units should plan to move as an integrated element of the maneuver force. Therefore, most artillery assets will be found with the direct-pressure force. Those artillery units accompanying the encircling force will try to avoid firing until the force has cut the enemy off. If we are to outrun the enemy, speed will be essential. RFLs and CFLs must be used to prevent fratricide.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineers must be positioned well forward, both with the direct-pressure force and the envelopment force. Engineers are task organized to support brigade in-stride breach operations with the follow-and-support forces and to conduct other mobility operations, such as road repair, maintenance, and short gap crossings. Engineers will give the priority of effort to the envelopment, as their brigade in-stride breach support is critical to the success of the operation. As the enveloping force maneuvers, mobility support to the fixing force is required in order to maintain contact. Situational obstacles are planned in phases of the advance. As the brigade moves forward, scatterable mine targets are planned to react to possible enemy counterattacks.

Air Defense

Air defense is organized in much the same manner as for the movement to contact. The envelopment force is particularly vulnerable because it is moving with great speed and may provide a lucrative target. As the envelopment and direct-pressure forces meet, the two combined forces are also extremely vulnerable.

Combat Service Support

Fuel, lubricants, and ammunition consumption will be particularly high. Air transportation may be required to deliver some emergency supplies, allowing the brigade commander to maintain the momentum of the pursuit. Maximum use is made of captured enemy material, particularly transportation and stocks.

Command and Control

Army aviation provides significant assistance in the pursuit. Scout aircraft continuously observe, attempting to determine the enemy's zone of retreat and locate hostile reinforcements. When attack helicopter units are operating in support of the brigade, they should be used with the enveloping force. The critical point for the pursuit is when the direct-pressure and envelopment forces meet. Occupation of an objective and flank attack are the primary courses of action used to control the direct-pressure and envelopment forces.

Occupation of an objective. The envelopment force will occupy a position that blocks the enemy's avenue of retreat, This is the most difficult to control, since the two forces are orienting toward one another with the enemy in between. The enemy is desperately trying to break out from encirclement, and the other enemy elements may be attacking the envelopment force in an attempt to assist the encircled enemy's breakout.

Flank attack. A flank attack is accomplished in the same manner as the occupation of an objective except that the envelopment force moves to the enemy's flank and conducts a supporting attack coordinated with the direct-pressure force. This is more secure but may not destroy the enemy, as he has a route open for retreat

Regardless of which course of action the commander selects, he must be in position to control when and where the two forces meet to achieve the maximum enemy destruction. The timing is critical.



The S2 prepares for the pursuit by comparing the reports of the units in contact with the intelligence of higher echelons. The S2's next responsibility is to template where the remainder of the enemy force is likely to be, and where the brigade can expect to close with the enveloping force. The S2 will quickly develop an intelligence collection plan that will support the operation. The S2 must rely on the spot reports of elements in contact to monitor the progress of the pursuit. Significant changes to the enemy disposition are relayed to the envelopment force.


The commander must evaluate the enemy situation with respect to the terrain. The envelopment force must have a mobility advantage over the withdrawing enemy. This implies trafficable terrain that supports a movement-to-contact formation parallel to the enemy's axis. Also, it must be an area in which the enemy will not pose a serious threat to the envelopment force.

There will be little time to prepare for the pursuit. Most of the decisions will be made from a map reconnaissance and intelligence reports. The level of training and ability to execute drills will generally determine the success of the mission. The pursuit is a hasty attack for the direct-pressure force, a movement to contact for the envelopment force, and a hasty attack or support by fire for the follow-and-support force. The ability of these forces to conduct operations in symphony with one another will determine the effectiveness of the pursuit. It must be practiced, as there is no time for rehearsal once the opportunity presents itself.

The commander must ensure that each force understands the mission, axis, bypass criteria, and the need to report all PL or checkpoints. The TFs must know when and where the direct-pressure and envelopment forces will meet and how their linkup will be conducted. Finally, the TFs must know what mission the brigade will adopt once linkup has been made.

Fire Support

Priority of fire will go to the direct-pressure force. Most of the missions will be on call. The brigade FSCOORD must ensure that an artillery battalion(s) is in position prior to execution. If the brigade was conducting an attack before the pursuit, the artillery will have to be given time to move forward and join the maneuver forces, as will the artillery support assets.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

The engineers will give the priority of effort to the envelopment force, as their mobility is critical to the success of the operation. Assets should also be allocated to the direct-pressure force so that they can maintain contact with the enemy. The operations most likely to be conducted will be in-stride breaches of natural obstacles with CEVs and AVLBs, while blades will accompany the follow-and-support force to maintain the road networks. Countermobility operations will seat a vulnerable flank or protect the force on the final objective.

Air Defense

Air defense assets will be positioned with the forward TFs. The priority of protection is to the envelopment force and the direct-pressure force.

Combat Service Support

CSS operations will become hectic if the envelopment force becomes engaged prior to closing with the direct-pressure force. In preparation for the pursuit, CSS assets must be divided with priority of support given to the direct-pressure force. Those assets supporting the envelopment force must be accompanied by a combat element for security. The pursuit will place a severe strain on CSS units because division of their assets will make it difficult to jump operations.

Command and Control

The commander must first determine the size of the enemy force that he is capable of destroying without assistance, and then evaluate the time/distance and terrain available. Conducting a pursuit divides the force, making it vulnerable to the enemy. The commander must be confident of the enemy situation, and must be sure that the brigade has both the time and space to conduct the maneuver. He must ensure that the graphic control measures are adequate to monitor the movement of both forces. He should plan to position himself with the direct-pressure force, since they offer the most recent and accurate information concerning the enemy. The commander must be prepared to adjust the speed of either force in order to ensure synchronization. A technique is to assign times for each PL so that the force commanders have an objective milestone (see Figure 3-18).



With the brigade traveling on separate axes, the S2 must watch for an enemy counterattack. The S2 should request that the direct-pressure force place reconnaissance forces to its flanks for early warning. The envelopment force should move as in a movement to contact. All reconnaissance reports will be reconciled against intelligence from division.


The conduct of the pursuit will be fast paced, with TF commanders making decisions within the brigade commander's intent. The enemy must not be given a chance to rest. Artillery must be continuously adjusted in depth and rapidly followed up. Bypassed enemy are quickly handed over to the follow-and-support force.

The enveloping force must move rapidly and securely. They should bypass and avoid enemy contact until the time when they must close with the direct-pressure force.

The actual destruction on linkup is difficult to conduct. Each option is addressed below:

Flank attack. As the enveloping force closes from the flank, it is given a limit of advance parallel to the axis of the direct-pressure force Recognition signals will prevent fratricide. The direct-pressure force will continue to move along its axis, tying in on its flank with the enveloping force. As flank coordination is established. the enveloping force will turn its orientation toward the direction traveled by the direct-pressure force. At the completion of the maneuver, the two forces should be locked in shoulder-to-shoulder and oriented in the same general direction. Figures 3-19 through 3-22 illustrate the stages of the flank attack from initial movement through consolidation.

Occupation of an objective. The enveloping force moves quickly behind the enemy and seizes key terrain that blocks the enemy's routes of withdrawal and reinforcement. The enveloping force must establish 360-degree security, because the enemy could attack from any direction. The direct-pressure force is given a limit of advance to prevent fratricide. This will usually be just outside of direct-fire range. Once contact has been made between the two forces, the direct-pressure force will move slowly toward the enveloping force, who will now only engage confined enemy targets. Despite the risks, the effect of this option is devastating and may encourage surrender. Figures 3-23 through 3-26 illustrate the stages of occupation of the objective from initial position through consolidation.

Fire Support

FS assets must move with the maneuver elements. Most fire missions will be in support of the direct-pressure force, to destroy targets of opportunity and to suppress those enemy positions that are fixed and bypassed. A restrictive no-fire area must be established along the axis used by the enveloping force to avoid fratricide. Air reconnaissance assets will be useful in calling and adjusting indirect fire where it will achieve the greatest effect. Once linkup has occurred between the two forces, the artillery will prepare to fire in support of the hasty defense.

Mobility Countermobility and Survivability

Engineers will conduct breaches and mobility operations as necessary. As the TFs revert to a hasty defensive posture, the engineers will orient on countermobility missions along suspected enemy avenues of approach. Obstacles will only be emplaced in areas that will not impede forward movement of follow-on maneuver elements. On the positions themselves, survivability operations will take priority as the brigade awaits the expected enemy counterattack. Route maintenance will continue to allow CSS operations to occur without degradation, and to assist the forward passage of follow-on elements.

Air Defense

Air defense molar must be prepared to move forward in an effort to maximize early warning for the brigade. Reports of imminent enemy air attack should be transmitted to maneuver elements.

Combat Service Support

During the pursuit, direct-fire weapons should have low ammunition consumption. Artillery may be shot frequently in order to suppress pockets of resistance, but only in the direct-pressure force. Casualties should be low; conversely, EPW evacuation will be a problem and will require assistance from reserve maneuver forces. Extended lines will require extra transportation and evacuation support. The ability of higher echelon support agencies to move forward will directly affect the responsiveness of CSS.

Command and Control

The commander will move with the direct-pressure force. He will monitor the progress of the enveloping force and adjust the tempo to achieve synchronization. Liaison with higher headquarters will ensure that gains made by the brigade may be further exploited. The brigade commander must anticipate the link up of the two forces. Regardless of the actual technique used to link the two forces, he must ensure the two force commanders are in constant communication, coordinating the linkup. Likewise, if stiff enemy resistance occurs where the two forces meet, the brigade commander must augment the lethality of the two forces. Afterward he must quickly emplace the TFs into appropriate hasty defensive positions in anticipation of an enemy counterattack and to assist the forward passage of follow-on forces.

Follow and Support

Follow-and-support forces are assigned missions to assist the lead forces by relieving them of tasks that would slow their advance.



The S2 of a brigade given a follow-and-support mission will have little time. The enemy situation will be the result of an attack's significant success. The S2 must have the same level of intelligence as the lead brigade, because the follow-and-support brigade could easily take the lead. A break in momentum due to an unclear enemy situation should be avoided. Moreover, as the lead brigade maneuvers, it must relay intelligence back to the follow-and-support brigade. An LNO with the lead brigade will assist information transfer. The S2 must plot and track the status of any bypassed enemy element in addition to situation templating of the enemy still out of contact.


The brigade must be prepared to finish those missions that have impeded the lead brigade. This involves attacking to destroy bypassed enemy. To accomplish this mission, the brigade is given the appropriate assets, such as supporting artillery, engineers, and ADA as needed.

The difference between this and other hasty attacks is that the enemy is already fixed by elements of the lead brigade, and the enemy situation around the position is clear. As the follow-and-support force moves, the lead brigade reports that an enemy force is fixed at a specific location. As much information as possible is relayed about the enemy. Elements of the follow-and-support force make contact with the fixing force, receive additional information, and coordinate their relief.

Fire Support

The artillery will have priority of support to the lead brigade. Indirect support must also be planned for the follow-and-support force. The brigade FSCOORD asks the DS battalion commander to designate a battery to be on call to fire in support of the follow-and-support force. This will allow the brigade to have fires forward, without limiting support to the follow-and-support force.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineer assets attached to the follow-and-support force will conduct several missions. They include--

  • Obstacle reduction.

  • Route maintenance.

  • Breaching in support of an attack.

  • Countermobility operations along exposed flanks.

Each mission requires a different type of engineer asset. The brigade engineer must be prepared to respond to these mission requirements as they arise, and to monitor their progress.

Air Defense

As the brigade moves farther into the enemy rear, ADA assets may become severely stretched. Prior coordination with the division's air defense battalion may preclude a break in the coverage.

Combat Service Support

Many of the CSS elements will assist the lead brigades as required, with ambulance exchange points, LRPs, and UMCPs. A balance must be struck to ensure the follow-and-support brigade has the support it needs to accomplish all its missions.

Command and Control

The commander should make sure he has excellent communication with the lead brigade and that his CP monitors the situation. All staff actions must occur as if the brigade had the same mission as the lead brigade. In addition to monitoring the lead brigade's transmissions, the commander must simultaneously direct activities such as an assault against bypassed enemy within his own area of operations. In the end, the follow-and-support commander must juggle several operations simultaneously while keeping pace with the lead brigade. As the follow-and-support force accepts responsibility for bypassed enemy forces, remember there is a danger that the clearing operations will increase the separation between the lead brigade and the follow-and-support brigade.



In preparation for a follow-and-support mission, the S2 must ensure that his enemy situation template is current and that an LO with the lead brigade is maintaining communications. Once a fixed and bypassed enemy element is reported, the S2 prepares a quick intelligence estimate. This is based on reports received from the lead brigade and fixing force. Coordination with the fixing force by one of the TF S2s will produce an accurate assessment. With the latest information, the S2 will advise the brigade commander on the fixed enemy, and its relationship to other possible enemy within the brigade's area of interest.


The maneuver commander will prepare a command estimate and issue a FRAGO. The brigade preparation will be the same as a hasty attack. This operation will be balanced against other operations; for example, route security and lateral expansion of the penetration. The size of the fixed and bypassed element will be small so that the remainder of the brigade will be free for the other requirements. Most of the missions conducted by the brigade will be drills and other types of SOP tasks that the brigade practiced in training.

Fire Support

In the follow-and-support mission, FS planning will occur as it would for any offensive operation. Known and suspected enemy locations, choke points, key and dominant terrain features, and any other easily identifiable terrain features will be plotted as artillery targets. The artillery will be firing in direct support of the lead brigade. When the follow-and-support force is called on to destroy a bypassed enemy element, that force will receive artillery support. The fixing force may have used artillery suppression to keep the enemy in check. In this case handing over the artillery to the follow-and-support force will require coordination between FSCOORDs, but should ensure continuous and accurate suppression of the enemy.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

The engineers should prepare for the operation by assigning missions to each of the different types of engineer units. For example, blade assets and AVLBs will be used for road maintenance, MICLICs and combat engineers will accompany maneuver units prepared to conduct breaching operations in support of the attack, and mine laying equipment will be used to secure exposed flanks from possible enemy flank attack.

Air Defense

The consolidation of air defense for area security rather than unit security may be a better option. If it is selected, coordination must be made between the brigade and maneuver battalions to avoid fratricide. The brigade's air defense must be able to protect both the force and the route while maintaining the ability to protect the brigade should it take the lead.

Combat Service Support

The pace of CSS operations will depend on the lead brigade's rate of advance. The destruction of bypassed enemy will require ammunition, POL, and lesser amounts of other supplies. The FSB commander should plan for the partial support of the lead brigade, whose lines of communication will be stretched.

Command and Control

The commander prepares for this mission by reviewing possible contingencies with his TF commanders. He should establish mission priority based on the intent of the division commander. There will be no time to conduct rehearsals. The commander should stress that contact is likely and that precautions be taken. The commanders must be aware that hasty attacks against bypassed enemy are likely. Units must watch their fire due to the proximity of friendly forces.



Close attention will be given to enemy elements that have been fixed and bypassed. The S2 must track the location of the enemy element, and when that enemy element has been destroyed or captured, MI representatives must be present if enemy units or command elements surrender. This will provide enemy information essential to the success of the overall mission. The S2 will keep the commander apprised of the enemy situation both within his immediate area of operations (from the lead brigade to the next following unit) and forward of the lead brigade.


The brigade CP must monitor both the lead brigade and division command nets. The commander must have a feel for the current situation to anticipate future missions for the follow-and-support force. The lead TF will be given responsibility for destroying enemy elements equal to or smaller than company size. Should the brigade encounter larger enemy forces, the lead TF will become the support force while subsequent TFs maneuver against the enemy.

Flank security of the follow-and-support force should not be overbooked. The friendly disposition to the right and left of the brigade will influence the formation selected by the commander. Security of the force and the division's LOCs are critical, TF reconnaissance elements should be placed on flank screens and spot reports relayed through the battalions to the brigade.

Fire Support

DS artillery battalions could travel forward of the follow-and-support force. Their mission will be to fire in support of the lead brigade. Reinforcing battalions and elements of DS artillery will support the follow-and-support force. Some maneuver forces may be given responsibility to provide security to the artillery if they are positioned forward.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Combat engineer elements will move with the lead TFs, prepared to conduct hasty breaches as necessary. As the brigade moves along its axis, lead engineer reconnaissance elements will classify bridges and maintain lane markings as needed. Blades and obstacle reduction assets will improve the roads and attempt to achieve two-way traffic flow along each MSR.

Air Defense

Air defense assets must pay special attention to protecting potential choke points or major obstacles that may slow the brigade's maneuver and cause congestion.

Combat Service Support

Liaison should be established with the FSB that is supporting the lead brigade for two reasons. First, the lead brigade may require CSS assistance beyond the capability of their own FSB, particularly evacuation and forward transportation of supplies. Second, the mission of the follow-and-support force is usually predicated by the actions of the lead brigade. The FSB commander will be able to anticipate the likely mission of the follow-and-support force and have his support elements prepared to respond accordingly.

Command and Control

The commander monitors the operations of the lead brigade, and issues warning orders in preparation for the likely mission. All of these operations are further viewed within the context of the division commander's intent and established rate of advance. In execution, the C2 exercised will be identical to that described in preceding paragraphs. The difference is that elements of the follow-and-support force may be executing many and different operations simultaneously, so monitoring each operation will require decentralized control. The brigade commander must ensure his guidance is explicit and he is able to track the progress of each mission so he can appropriately distribute or adjust resource allocations.


Threat Defensive Doctrine

How the Threat Defends

When given the order to go on the defensive, the company commander deploys his force in an assigned area approximately 500 meters to 1,000 meters in width and 500 meters in depth. The company normally defends as a single echelon with all three platoons in line. If terrain and situation dictate, or if defending alone in the security zone, the company will defend in two echelons with two platoons forward and one in depth. Figure 3-27 depicts a threat company defensive deployment by echelon while Figure 3-28 illustrates dispositions of a company in the defense.

Terrain plays a vital part in the company defensive layout. If possible, the commander will deploy behind natural obstacles such as rivers, swamps, ravines and defiles. Where no natural obstacles exist, engineering obstacles will be constructed with the resources available. The company will position itself to engage the enemy at maximum range and to intensify fire on the enemy as he approaches the obstacle.

Reverse slopes are also employed to put elements covertly into position and enable them to launch surprise attacks on the enemy. Since forces may have to dig in under fire and observation from the enemy, a reverse slope defense is often chosen. Advantages of this position are that it hinders or precludes observation by the enemy, seriously degrades enemy long-range AT fire, silhouettes enemy forces on the crest line, and prevents attacking forces from receiving support from following forces. A disadvantage of such a position is that the maximum ranges of all weapon systems cannot be exploited. If possible, a combination of forward and reverse slope positions are used to take maximum advantage of the terrain.

After completing his plan, the company commander issues his order to his platoon and attached leaders, usually from a point on the ground from which the defense and likely enemy avenues of approach can be surveyed.

Platoons are sited, and supporting weapons such as the company PKM and GPMGs and the battalion's AGS-17s are assigned and given missions. Areas for concentrated fire are designated and tasks for securing flanks, boundaries, and gaps are included. The commander also--

  • Gives supporting artillery areas in which to concentrate fire.

  • Sites main and alternate positions for AT weapons with main and secondary areas of fire and procedures for opening fire.

  • Tasks platoons with engaging enemy aircraft.

Methods of engineer preparation are detailed. They include where, when, and how to build fortifications, shelters, and obstacles. Plans for camouflage and deception are also covered.

After issuing his orders, the company commander plans the coordination necessary to the defense. He carefully integrates the company fire plan with the artillery, other weapons, and adjacent elements. Figures 3-29 and 3-30 illustrate the organization of a BTR and BMP motorized rifle company, respectively.

Finally, the company commander gives a sketch of the defensive strongpoint to the battalion commander, including--

  • Reference points and distances to them.

  • Enemy positions.

  • Platoon strongpoints and their primary and secondary areas of fire.

  • Main and alternate firing positions for tanks, APCs, AT and aircraft weapons machine guns, and automatic grenade launchers, as well as their primary and secondary sectors of fire.

  • The fire concentration sectors of each platoon, obstacles, field defenses, and shelters.

  • The location of the company commander.

The Conduct of a Company Defense

Company Layout in the Main Defensive Area

The battalion to which the company belongs will prepare the battalion defensive area in depth along a series of defensive belts or trench lines. A battalion may construct three or four trench lines with connecting communication trenches. Companies in the first echelon will occupy the first and second trench lines, with a distance of up to 500 meters between them. If the company is in the second echelon, it will be located with supporting battalion weapons in the third trench line, about 1,000 meters behind the second trench line. The battalion reserve, usually a reinforced platoon, is located in the fourth trench line up to 2,000 meters behind the frost trench line. With the battalion sector, intervals between companies can be up to 1,500 meters. The overall battalion frontage will seldom exceed 5 kilometers (see Figure 3-31).

The company will deploy its platoons along the first trench line. Each platoon has a communications trench leading back to the second trench line where the main company CP is located. Weapons are sited to cover the entire company front and have interlocking fire with adjacent elements. Although primarily oriented to fight an enemy to their front, the company prepares alternate and supplementary positions to repel attacks from any direction. Each platoon will establish an OP of up to section level as far as 600 meters in front of the first trench line for early warning of enemy activity (see Figure 3-32).

The company commander will control his defense from a COP. He has two such posts, a primary and an alternate. These are concealed, and are chosen for good observation of the battle area and to facilitate troop control. Communications within the company defense rely on buried telephone landline and messengers. Signal flares are also used.

Company Layout in the Security Zone

The company is up to 15 kilometers forward in the security zone. The company is reinforced and assigned a security sector, area of responsibility, defensive position, and reconnaissance zone. The security sector is from 1,500 to 2,000 meters wide. The company conducts reconnaissance patrols 5,000 meters forward. The company defends in two echelons. One platoon stationed in depth is designated the main support platoon, and the commander uses it as his reserve force. The other two platoons are stationed forward in an outpost line. Field security posts are established 600 meters in front of the outpost line by reinforced motor rifle sections (see Figure 3-33).

One platoon equipped with tanks and mortars and with engineer or AT elements is deployed up to 5 kilometers in front of the company position as a security platoon. It prevents surprise attacks, and destroys enemy reconnaissance elements. The platoon will force the enemy to deploy. Threatened with being overrun, the platoon will withdraw back within the strongpoint on orders of the commander. The company deploys on favorable terrain to inflict damage on the enemy and cause him to deploy. The battalion commander orders withdrawal.

Digging In

Defenses are constructed in a sequence that guarantees personnel are always combat ready. First, observation/firing sectors are cleared: individual trenches for automatic riflemen, RPG gunners, machine gunners, SAM operators, and automatic grenade launchers are dug; COPs are constructed; then primary and secondary firing positions for APCs and tanks are designated. Slit trenches are constructed for all other personnel.

One-man trenches are initially dug to allow firing from a lying position and are 24 inches wide, 67 inches long, and 12 inches deep, with a 15-inch-high earth parapet in front of the trench, sloping toward the enemy. The soldier will continue to dig to allow firing first from a kneeling position at a depth of 24 inches, and then a standing position at a depth of 44 inches with a 20-inch to 24-inch parapet. Often two-man trenches will be constructed. A machine gun emplacement consists of two one-man trenches positioned at a small angle with a 40-inch by 40-inch pit and a parapet on three sides to a height of 20 inches to 24 inches, except in the arc of fire where it will not be more than 8 inches high. Time allocations in good ground areas follows:

  • Individual shallow trench--30 minutes.

  • Individual standing trench--1.5 hours.

  • Two-man standing trench--2.5 to 3 hours.

  • Machine gun emplacement--2.5 hours.

Individual trenches are linked into section trenches dug by mechanized engineering equipment. Secondary positions for vehicles and heavy weapons are prepared and communication trenches are dug connecting primary fighting positions and shelters. The trenches are curved or zigzagged with straight sections from 15 to 20 meters long at angles of between 120 and 160 degrees from each other to limit injury from fragments. Cover is prepared for weapons, ammunition, and supplies, and covered slit trenches or dugouts are prepared for every section.

Section trenches are linked to form platoon and company trench systems. Communications trenches are equipped with individual foxholes, machine gun emplacements, and recesses for ammunition.

Siting and Use of Weapon Systems

All fires are planned to destroy the attacker while approaching the company strongpoint, in front of the main trench line, on the flanks, and in prepared killing zones within the defended area.

Indirect fire is primarily the responsibility of battalion and higher levels of command, and is based on a series of previously selected fire lines concentrated on likely avenues of approach.

Standing barrier fire (NZO) is fire placed on a single line of concentration to disrupt an enemy attack. It is fired to the front and flanks of the strongpoint. Standing barrier fire will be conducted no closer than 300 to 500 meters from the position. This allows effective engagement by direct-fire AT weapons at the enemy as they emerge through the concentration. It begins as the enemy approaches the planned fire concentration line and continues at a rapid rate until the infantry is cut off from the tanks and halts its attack. Fires will be shifted to destroy infantry attempting to go around the fire concentration line. Standing barrier fire will be used in combination with other artillery fire as well as direct fire.

Rolling barrier fire (PZO) is based on several successive lines of concentration, each closer to the defensive position. The lines are planned for terrain that can be easily observed from a ground observation point and will be separated by 400 to 600 meters or more. The final line will be 300 to 400 meters from the position. Artillery units participating in the fire mission will be assigned a sector of fire on each successive fire concentration, and fire will continue until the bulk of the advancing force has moved through the barrage when it will be shifted to the next line.

FPF is planned within 100 meters of the strongpoint. The company commander has the authority to call for fire immediately in front of his strongpoint.

Emphasis is placed on AT fire planned to engage enemy tanks with continuous fire from the point of first detection. ATGMs are given an engagement area out to 3,000 meters from the forward edge of the position. Tanks firing first engage attacking tanks at 2,000 meters. The engagement range for artillery used in the direct-fire mode is out to 1,500 meters. SPG or RPG weapons engage the enemy at ranges less than 1,000 meters.

The fire plan complements the obstacle plan and makes use of both natural and man-made obstacles. Obstacles disrupt enemy formations, restrict maneuverability, and channel the enemy into areas on which the company can bring maximum firepower to bear. Obstacles are located within 200 to 400 meters of the position to allow the enemy to be easily observed and effectively covered by fire.


Artillery is used in the defense for both direct and indirect fire. In the direct-fire role it provides for increased fire into fire sacks and for breakthroughs within the defensive area. In the indirect-fire role it is used to provide flexible fire in concentrations to affect the battle within the entire defensive area and into the enemy's depth.

There are two types of command relationships for artillery: attached and supporting. An attached artillery unit is under the operational control of the maneuver force commander. A supporting artillery unit remains under control of its parent artillery organization, and its fires are delegated.

It is unlikely that artillery will be attached directly to a defending company in the main defensive area but an artillery battalion may be attached at MRB level. A battery will then be assigned to support the company, and will conduct fire missions for it. The artillery fire plan is composed by the artillery battalion, and reflects the tasks of the MRB. It covers the most likely avenues of approach within the defensive area providing optimum FS to all companies. The MRB may have additional artillery in support from the MRR's artillery group. A company operating in the security zone may have an artillery battery directly attached to it.

A mortar battery of six 120-mm mortars or six 82-mm mortars is organic to the MRB and will fire the battalion fire plan. A company operating forward in the security zone may have this battery attached.

A battery commander's command OP will collocate with the supported unit. The battery command OP is located within 1,000 meters of the front line to provide observation of the enemy and actions of the supported company. The battery commander, a rangefinder operator, and a radiotelephone operator are located at this command OP. which is responsible for controlling the battery's fire and is near the company commander's command OP to ease coordination. If the command OP must be abandoned, an alternate OP is selected. The battery command OP is also augmented by flank or forward OPs as required. The forward OP is manned by the headquarters' platoon commander, a scout, and a communicator. In the security zone, the forward OP would initially be stationed with the security platoon and would fall back with it to the battery command OP. The lateral OP is provided for observation in areas unobserved by the battery command OP. It is usually manned by two men from the headquarters' platoon's reconnaissance section, and can direct fire on observed targets.

Should the defending company be positioned on a critical approach, it could expect to receive artillery fir from the artillery battalion as part of the MRB fire plan, fire from the battalion mortar battery, and fire from the RAG. If the company is defending on a secondary axis during an attack, artillery fire would be reduced to that of the supporting battery. If the company was on a secondary axis with a major attack elsewhere in the battalion defensive area, it would not receive any artillery support at all.


The company has nine RPG-7Vs and eighteen RPG-18s, and is trained to wait until tanks advance within 15 to 20 meters before engaging with AT hand grenades. BTR companies have three man-portable AT-7 SAXHORNs, which are wire guided, have a range of between 70 and 1,000 meters, and have armor penetrating capability equal to the AT-4 SPIGOT. BMPs mounting SPIGOTs or SPANDRELs have the added advantage of being able to dismount these weapons and employ them separately. Weapons are positioned to provide the strongpoint with all-around AT defense.

In the main defensive sector, AT elements may be integrated into first-echelon company strongpoints. These elements are platoon size, and come from battalion or regimental AT companies. They will be positioned to ensure coverage of main armor AAs and AT barriers.

Leaders of supporting AT elements will remain with their weapons. With guidance from the company commander, they will select their deployment lines, firing positions, and movement routes.

Both attached and integral AT weapons are sited to engage the enemy at maximum possible ranges, with enfilade fire, cross fire, and surprise short-range ambushes.


A company may receive tank support, usually in the form of a platoon, which will normally be located behind the second trench line. Terrain is the main consideration in its positioning. Each will have primary and alternate positions and primary and secondary sectors of fire.

These tanks will be dug in and camouflaged. The T-64, T-72, and T-80 are equipped with a self-entrenching device that will allow their crews to prepare a rough hull-down position within 30 minutes in good soil. The T-64B and the T-80 are able to fire the AT-8 SONGSTER ATGM from their main guns out to 4,000 meters instead of 2,000 meters. It will enable these tanks to destroy the enemy at long range with the first shot. This weapon may also be used effectively in an antihelicopter role.

The heavy machine gun can be dismounted and set up in a ground-mount position manned by the driver up to 100 meters in front of the tank; a communications trench would connect back to the tank.


The MRB has a platoon of six AGS-17s. The AGS-17 is a 30-mm automatic grenade launcher with a 29-round drum magazine; it is capable of delivering over 60 rounds per minute out to 1,700 meters. The AGS-17 is used for either direct or indirect fire, and has both HE APERS rounds and HEAT rounds. This platoon will tight with a section of two launchers assigned to each company. The ability to deliver large amounts of fire will be employed in areas where the heaviest fire concentrations are required.


As the company is digging in, engineer assets begin the construction of a barrier system that uses existing natural obstacles. The objective of this barrier system is to canalize the enemy into fire sacks where he can be destroyed by fire. Fire is planned on every obstacle.

Minefield can be antipersonnel, AT, or mixed, with mixed being most common. They can be laid by hand or mechanically, surface laid or buried. Outside of the company position they will not be marked, but if inside the strongpoint they may be.

In addition, directional mines similar to the Claymore have been developed. The MON-50 has a range of 50 meters; the MON-100 and MON-200 are larger versions with 100- and 200-meter ranges.

Minefield are sited at the near end of a killing zone or astride likely enemy avenues of approach. They are also employed on the flanks and elsewhere to canalize the attacker into preplanned killing zones. Initially, minefield are laid within 300 to 500 meters of the company position, allowing coverage by all of the company's weapons. Close-in defensive minefield may also be constructed perpendicular to the position, starting as close as 10 meters and extending out for 60 meters (see Figure 3-34).

A planned defensive minefield of two additional belts will be constructed, one within the effective range of tank fire and another within the range of ATGMs.

The length, depth, and density of the minefield depends on time, equipment, types of mines, the ground, and an estimate of enemy intent. It is not unreasonable to construct several minefield 300 meters or more in length, each able to cover an entire platoon's frontage.

A company can lay mines by hand if no mechanical support is available. In four hours, a platoon with a sapper sergeant can lay 240 mines covering an area 400 meters long, if laid as a hasty minefield in 3 rows with 5 meters between mines. In 5 minutes, with support from regimental engineers, three PMR-3/60 minelaying trailers can lay a 500-meter-long minefield. In 8 minutes, with divisional engineering support and the division's three GMZ armored minelayers can lay a 1,100-meter-long minefield.

Nonexplosive obstacles are used both with and independent of minefield. These are AT ditches, escarpments and counterscarps, dragon's teeth, timber and ice barriers, and barbed wire entanglements.

AT ditches are constructed on level terrain or gentle slopes of up to 15 degrees. On 45-degree forward slopes, escarpments are constructed and on reverse slopes, countersarps. Obstacles are not required for slopes over 45 degrees as these are obstacles. Regimental engineer assistance reduces the time needed to produce these obstacles. A BAT-M bulldozer can construct from 11 to 50 linear meters of standard AT ditch in an hour, an MDK-2 or MDK-3 ditcher can construct 29 to 33 meters, and a BTU tank dozer mounted on a T-55 can construct 12 meters to 28 meters. One linear meter can be dug by hand in 25 man-hours.

AT obstacles can be constructed of dragons teeth or boulders. Boulders used must be at least 32 inches high, placed in three rows 2 to 3 meters apart with 1.5 to 2 meters between boulders. They may also be buried up to 8 inches deep and loosely wrapped with barbed wire. Log barriers are also used. A log crib is constructed with two walls of logs 10 to 18 inches in diameter 1.8 meters apart. Each wall is supported by posts at least 1.5 meters high. The crib is braced from the side opposite the approach route and filled with earth. It takes 6 to 8 hours to build a 6-meter obstacle. Dragons teeth and log barriers are employed on roads and through narrow passageways, and in gullies, river beds, and constricted areas (see Figure 3-35).

Wire obstacles will be situated to allow good small-arms coverage less than 30 to 40 meters from the position. They will be hidden from enemy observation. Twenty manhours are required to construct a permanent five-wire fence 100 meters long and three rows deep using metal stakes. Low wire entanglements or concertina wire is often used to create obstacles. Mobile wire obstacles such as knife rests or hedgehogs are created to emplace obstacles across roads, ditches, and trenches quickly, and to close breaches in defensive obstacles. A company will have from three to four hedgehogs or knife rests to close off individual trench sectors during combat within the trenches. It takes four man-hours to make a knife rest and one to make a hedgehog (see Figure 3-36).

Air Defense

The company uses shoulder-fired SA-7B GRAIL or SA-14 GREMLIN SAMs from the battalion's air defense platoon as well as massed small-arms fire for air defense. Air OPs are established near the command OP on terrain offering good visibility. Sectors for observation and fire are assigned to air observers on a rotating schedule that provides continuous all-around protection. The attached SA-7 or SA-14 SAMs are collocated at these air OPs. Air defense within the company is also provided by the 12.7-mm antiaircraft machine guns of the attached tanks, 14.5-mm machine guns on the BTR-80s, and by ground-mounted 12.7-mm NSV machine guns. The 30-mm automatic cannon on the BMP-2 has antihelicopter capabilities ATGMs may also be used in this role.

A helicopter is engaged with massed fires of a single platoon, and high-performance aircraft by all the weapons of the company. Aircraft will be fired on as long as they are within range. Passive air defense measures used include camouflaging vehicles, equipment, and positions, and constructing dummy positions and vehicles.

Nuclear and Chemical Defense

The company executes NBC defense plans in accordance with the battalion plan. It disperses its. positions to deny an attractive target and uses effective field fortifications. The company has an NBC noncommissioned officer with a small team of extra duty NBC specialists. These specialists can check unit NBC equipment and help in decontaminating personnel and equipment. In the defense they establish limited NBC monitoring facilities to warn of NBC use. Chemical defense specialists can be attached from the regiment's chemical defense company.

Conduct of the Defense

Standard Defense

Enemy reconnaissance is destroyed or repelled by designated units engaging from specially selected positions that will not give away the main defensive positions. Some of these special positions may be well forward of the main defense. After enemy reconnaissance is destroyed or repelled, units exposed by firing are relocated (see Figure 3-37).

During the enemy artillery preparation, company personnel remain under cover, with only machine gunners and observers remaining at their posts. Friendly artillery units fire on enemy artillery and mortars, and on enemy tank and infantry forces readying for the attack.

When enemy artillery fires shift to engage targets to the rear, company personnel occupy their stations and meet the advancing enemy with fire. If weapons have been destroyed by enemy bombardment, the remaining weapons are relocated to restore the fire plan. ATGMs engage the enemy at maximum effective range. Tanks open fire at 2,000 meters, and BMP-1s at 800 meters. Section machine guns open fire at 600 meters, and small-arms fire at 400 meters.

Priority is given to the destruction of enemy tanks and then to APCs. Enemy infantry are destroyed once separated from their combat vehicles. The three platoon snipers kill enemy officers, observers, signalers, machine gunners, and snipers.

If the enemy penetrates a company strongpoint, personnel continue to defend their assigned areas and attempt to destroy the penetration by fire. Tanks are destroyed with all available AT weapons and infantry are engaged with grenades and hand-to-hand combat. Artillery is used to contain the spread of the penetration, and the battalion's reserve is committed to destroy a breakthrough. If bypassed, the company remains in position and continues to hold the strongpoint, engaging the enemy with all available weapons.

Should the enemy assault be repelled, the company commander concentrates his fire on the enemy attacking adjacent companies. He redistributes firing positions, shifts key weapons locations, repairs trenches and obstacles, replenishes ammunition, and prepares for further enemy attacks.

Night Defense

Two primary considerations in a night defense are security and illumination. LPs are established and each platoon details extra observers. OPs are brought closer to the front line-about 200 meters out. No less than 50 percent of subunit personnel remain in their positions, ready to open fire and repulse enemy attacks. Personnel are assigned to destroy enemy night-vision devices. Patrolling is increased to reduce the possibility of a surprise attack. Light and sound discipline is imposed, and movement is held to a minimum. Weapons exposed during the day are moved to alternate locations.

Weapons with night-vision devices are positioned with primary and alternate positions to cover main approaches. Active infrared night-vision equipment exists for short-range target illumination, and also have image intensifiers for weapon systems such as automatic rifles, machine guns, and grenade launchers as well as battlefield surveillance like the NOD, NNP-20M. The weapon sight NSP-U can be fitted to the RPK-74 light machine gun or the AK-74 assault rifle, and one is issued to each section.

The illumination plan includes measures taken to illuminate the sector and blind the enemy. Illumination posts are normally positioned in front of each platoon with two or three alternate positions 40 to 60 meters apart. They are equipped with flares and located to provide full illumination coverage. Since it requires relatively little time to activate a flare, each post can simultaneously fire two flares, illuminating a frontage of 400 to 480 meters. The flares have a range of 200 to 250 meters and will burn for 7 seconds. Incendiary and HE fires may be directed behind the attacking enemy to silhouette him.

The company withdraws its additional observers prior to daylight. Advantage is taken of the dark to evacuate casualties, and to replenish ammunition, and feed.

Defense in Special Terrain

Urban defense. As in the field defense, the parent battalion may defend in one or two echelons based around company strongpoints. However, the company strongpoint has its frontage drastically reduced to a maximum of 200 meters.

The company will deploy in platoon strongpoints with masonry and reinforced concrete buildings prepared for an all-around defense. Strongpoints will be fortified by knocking holes in walls for handheld weapons, positioning weapons on different floors to cover dead spaces, and positioning snipers on roofs and attics. Mobility is enhanced by cutting holes through floors, using ropes and ladders, and using sewers or other underground passages as covered communication routes. Unnecessary doors and windows are filled with bricks or sandbags, and stairways are destroyed, barricaded, or mined. Basements are used as shelters from nuclear blasts, with 8 to 16 inches of earth placed on ground floors to improve protection. Vehicles are positioned in gaps in walls, fences, and ruins.

Tanks are employed either as a platoon or independently in planned ambushes. They may either be used in a mobile role with two or three alternate positions or stationary to reinforce the AT defense. Due to their minimum range limitations, ATGMs will be used on the approaches to the town or city.

Half of the artillery is positioned for direct fire. It is emplaced singly or in platoons with two or three alternate positions and under the command of the MRC commander.

Gaps between strongpoints, streets, and open areas are mined with obstacles set up to impede the enemy advance. Buildings are blown down to clear sectors of fire and create rubble that can be used as obstacles.

SA-14s or SA-7s are positioned on flat-roofed buildings, in major intersections, and in park areas to provide air defense coverage.

Continuous CB monitoring is conducted with extensive warning systems within the strongpoint. Additional emphasis is placed on fighting fires during combat. All combustible material is removed from the strongpoints.

It is commonly believed that the battle will become one of a series of small-unit (company) engagements. The fighting will be at close range for all weapons. Against a combined arms attack, emphasis will be on the destruction of the infantry, allowing the tanks to become easy targets at close quarters. If the enemy penetrates a company strongpoint, the company defends in place and uses artillery to fix the enemy and prevent advances. A counterattack will be launched by the battalion to destroy the enemy and restore the position.

Defense in mountains. The defender is hampered by the large areas of dead ground and the hidden approaches that hinder observation and at low the enemy to approach the forward edge and attack by surprise. Defenses in mountains will be decentralized and sited with larger gaps between companies than on regular terrain. Company strongpoints are set up to hold key terrain with an all-around defense and mutual support between them. Gaps between the strongpoints will make it easier for the enemy to turn and envelop them. The forward edges of mountain ridges, heights, and spurs are chosen to give good fields of view and fire over the approaches. Ambushes and obstacles are employed in areas that are difficult to reach and hard to cover by observation and fire. Reconnaissance and standing patrols are organized to cover these areas.

Field fortifications in areas where the soil is no deeper than 1 meter will use partially dug-in positions with embankments constructed of stone, sandbags, and dirt. If the soil is deeper than 1.5 meters, then ordinary field fortifications will be constructed.

The fire plan is prepared with provision for overlapping enfilade fire, cross fire, and surprise short-range fire alt around the edge of the position. Weapons are placed in steps on the slopes facing the enemy and on the reverse slopes of heights to eliminate dead zones and hidden approaches to the position. Artillery is located for direct fire at maximum range because indirect fire is restricted by large areas of dead ground. Mortars are preferred for indirect support.

Tanks will be attached to company strongpoints that are defending major axes such as road junctions, exits from valleys, defiles, the edges of forests, and mountain river crossings.

Engineer obstacles will be used to block hairpin turns, defiles, and potential avalanche sites. Detours around obstacles will be heavily mined with both AT and antipersonnel mines. Due to the restricted nature of the terrain, fewer AT mines will be required than in normal conditions. The use of antipersonnel mines will be increased. The restrictive terrain will enable effective use of off-route and MON-series mines.

Increased reliance will be placed on local air defense by shoulder-fired SAMs, and longer range weapons will be held at higher levels of command.

The defense will be similar to that on regular ground. The enemy will be engaged by fire as he reaches the distant approaches. Tanks and other armored vehicles are destroyed as they attempt to maneuver on difficult ground. If the enemy is successful in breaching the defensive position, the company will remain in place and maintain an all-around defense. If conditions are favorable, the battalion will launch a counterattack to destroy the enemy force.

Defense in winter. In deep snow, the frontage of the company will increase up to 2,000 meters with platoons defending on 500-meter frontages. The company strongpoint will be sited in locations that provide shelter to the defenders, such as populated areas and forests. The strongest defenses will be constructed along roads and areas of light snow that are the most likely avenue of approach. The flanks of positions are strengthened to counter enemy ski-borne attacks. It will be hard to construct elaborate defensive positions due to the frozen earth. To remedy this, parapets of packed snow are built around weapons and vehicles. Snow will be packed to conceal the strongpoints, and may be packed on the upper portion of combat vehicles to aid in concealment. Emphasis is on maintaining peak efficiency of company personnel, and two- thirds of the company will stay in warming shelters when not engaged.

Conduct of a Tank Company Defense

The tank company is equipped with 10 tanks and is organized into three platoons. Personnel consist of conscript soldiers generally well trained in the individual skills of driving, loading, and gunnery. Four TCs in each company are officers or warrant officers who complete extensive professional training. The remaining TCS are conscripts who have 6 months training before arriving in the company and train in their units during the next 18 months until their term of service expires.

Tank companies are equipped at present with tanks that are simple to operate, have low silhouettes, good mobility, and an accurate gun that can range effectively to 2,000 meters. Limitations in target acquisition and sighting equipment mean that night firing is restricted to a range of roughly half the daytime range.

The tank company is considered a single fire unit. It can reinforce other combat arms or be reinforced. It normally operates as an independent unit in reconnaissance, as a security detachment, or as the basis for an MRB's AT defense. In other tactical operations the tank company is subordinated to a larger unit.

Tactical training consists primarily of rehearsing changes in column and line formations at platoon and company levels. Fire control is exercised by the company commander except in emergencies. ATGMs and enemy tanks are regarded as priority targets. Control and communications security is strict, and platoon and company commanders are expected to lead and show initiative, but within the limits of field regulations.


The tank company consists of three platoons and a headquarters. There are three tanks per platoon and one in the company headquarters for the company commander (see Figure 3-38).


Company commander. The tank company commander is usually a captain or a senior lieutenant. He is responsible for the accomplishment of the assigned mission and fire control of his company. He is responsible for maintenance and servicing of the vehicles, the combat readiness of the company, and the standards for crew and tactical training. In combat the responsibilities of the commander include--

  • Deployment, camouflage, maintenance, and replacement of ammunition, fuel, lubricants, and food.

  • Issuing tactical, political, and preparatory orders.

  • Estimating the situation and carrying out reconnaissance with subordinate and attached unit commanders.

  • Formulating coordinating instruction, issuing orders, and supervising inspections prior to commitment.

  • Leading or directing the company during operations, controlling the fire of company tanks and attached units during execution of the mission, maintaining contact with flank units, and reporting tactical information to the battalion commander.

Company headquarters. The company headquarters consists of--

  • A deputy commander who is a senior lieutenant.

  • A technical officer who is a senior lieutenant or lieutenant with 3 or 4 years training at a higher tank technical school.

  • Praporshchik (a rank roughly equivalent to a US warrant officer) who attends to routine administrative matters.

  • A tank crew consisting of a driver-mechanic, a gunner, and a tank commander.

The headquarter officers and praporshchik do not accompany the tanks on their combat missions. There is also a truck driver and a clerk.


Control means. The company commander controls the tank company by radio, visual and audio signals, and pyrotechnics in the employment of well-rehearsed tactical drills. Reference points are used for identification of terrain features. Personal example is regarded as a control technique.

Radio nets. The tank company commander has two radios in his tank. He has a VHF set for communications with the company and an HF set for communications with the battalion. In the tank company, the company and platoon commanders net with each other and the commanders of attached units. Radios in tanks other than command tanks operate only in the receiving mode. Supporting artillery commanders can communicate directly to all company tanks (see Figure 3-39).

Control level. It is important to note that control of the command radio net is retained at battalion level, and when the company operates as part of a battalion there is no company net. All tanks will monitor the battalion net and receive orders from the battalion commander.

Radio security. The tank company is forbidden to make radio transmissions immediately before contact with the enemy. Radio sets are on listening silence until contact is made. During combat, only the company commander is authorized to transmit. Transmissions are short and kept to a minimum. Platoon leaders transmit only in emergencies. In combat, orders and tactical reports are given in the clear, and references to terrain features and other units are encoded.

Visual and audio signals. During the commander's reconnaissance, code words are assigned to prominent terrain features within company boundaries. Pyrotechnics or tracers are used to identify targets, boundaries, and units. Audio signals are used for warnings when the company is in a static position. Landlines are used to communicate between tanks and supported units.

NOTE: Each tank platoon may have a minimum of one tank-mounted DSHK 2.7-mm machine gun for low-level antiaircraft protection.

Special-purpose tank equipment. Soviet-made tanks can mount the plow and roller combination and the tank bulldozer blade. The weight of these items reduces the tank's obstacle-crossing ability, maneuverability, and makes it more difficult to handle. The engine life of tanks with special equipment attached is also reduced.

Company truck. One light truck is in the tank company. This vehicle is used by the deputy company commander, the technical officer, and the praporshchik. The vehicle has a radio that is used as a communications link from the company commander's tank to the battalion headquarters when the tank company is out of direct communications range.

NBC equipment. All personnel have protective masks, and tanks are equipped with overpressured and filtration systems. Vehicle decontamination is supervised by chemical defense specialists. Soviet-made tanks have a smoke generating system for a defensive smoke screen.

The Tank Company Defense

Switching to the defense can take place either in or out of contact with the enemy. It is likely that the tank company will be expected to seize a linear position on tactically significant terrain. This initial position should be convertible into a stronger position when circumstances allow. Out of contact, a position in depth will be planned when ordered.

position should be convertible into a stronger position when circumstances allow. Out of contact, a position in depth will be planned when ordered.

Tank company tasks. A tank company used in the defense may perform one of the following roles:

  • Holding an are.

  • A counterpentration or counterattack force.

  • Reinforcing the AT defense of an MR unit, normally a battalion.

  • A force to cover an area between NBC contaminated areas.

  • A tank ambush.

Frontages. When employed in the defensive role as part of a battalion, the tank company defends a strongpoint 1,000 meters wide and 500 meters in depth. There are 300 meters between platoons. The arc of observation for a tank with a stationary turret is restricted to the gunner's and commander's sights, which gives an arc of 18 degrees. There are normally 150 meters between individual tanks (see Figure 3-40) .

Defensive configuration. A tank company commander considers the following in selecting defensive positions:

  • Maintaining tank fire density while retaining all-around defense.

  • Reverse slope positions.

  • Mutual support within the company and with adjacent units.

  • Secondary fire positions for tanks with covered routes from primary positions.

With conflicting requirements, the tank company commander places his platoons with two forward and one back. The rear platoon is to the center, right or left rear as dictated by terrain and threat. MR troops provide local protection to tanks and fill gaps within the position. Linear formations are acceptable in the second echelon. Within the defensive position a wandering tank is designated to move between gaps and flanks to confuse the enemy.

Tank fire from prepared positions. A tank company is expected to open fire at 1,500 meters with a 50 percent kill ratio. This style of defense projects that a tank company will approach at 15 kmph, which allows a 70-percent strength Soviet-style tank company to defeat 30 to 40 attacking tanks.

Engineer prepared defensive positions. When a company is out of contact with the enemy, engineers can work at preparing tank positions The priority of work is usually as follows:

  • Preparing positions for tanks and APCs.

  • Clearing arcs of fire.

  • Constructing AT and antipersonnel obstacles along likely enemy avenues of approach.

  • Preparing alternate positions.

  • Preparing ammunition storage facilities.

Fire plans are completed for those areas that cannot be covered by artillery and mortar fire. The flanks and the forward edge of likely enemy assault positions are priority artillery targets.

Sequence for Adopting a Defensive Position

Battalion orders. The tank company commander receives his order from the battalion commander either by radio or in person. He is given both the company mission and details of coordination with adjacent units.

Reconnaissance. If not in contact with the enemy, the tank company, platoon, and attached unit commanders make a reconnaissance of the company sector to site company tanks according to the procedures outlined earlier. The company commander makes a plan that includes the following:

  • Company and platoon boundaries.

  • Tank primary and alternate firing positions.

  • Individual tank and platoon arcs of fire.

  • Positions and arcs of fire for attached units.

  • Means for securing flanks and gaps by artillery fire or construction of obstacles.

  • Priorities for engineer work.

  • Use of night-vision devices.

Company orders and coordination. Following his reconnaissance, the company commander estimates the situation and issues oral orders to the tank platoons and to attached and supporting units. If the company is in contact, orders are transmitted by radio on the company net.

Following final organization of the defensive position, the company commander sends a diagram of his position to the battalion commander (see Figure 3-41). This diagram includes the following details:

  • Prominent terrain features and a scale.

  • Enemy positions.

  • Tank platoon and attached subunit locations and alternate positions.

  • Primary and alternate directions of fire.

  • Obstacles.

  • Location of company headquarters.

Conduct of the Defense

Enemy probes. The enemy might attack with probing actions to locate tank firing positions. These probes will be followed by combined arms attacks. They expect the enemy may use tactical nuclear weapons and will use artillery prior to the main attack.

The tank company commander details a tank to engage enemy probes so that the main firing positions are not detected. This wandering tank moves and fires. During this period, readjustments of the company position caused by enemy fires are made. After readjusting his position, the company commander rechecks communications with both his own units and higher headquarters.

The main attack. During the main attack, the commander concentrates his tank fires on the most threatening portion of the enemy assault. Key points on the company front are designated as areas of concentrated tank fire. Attached infantry engage enemy infantry and APCs to isolate the infantry from the armor.

The commander will shift his firepower against units assaulting adjacent positions, if not engaged. If penetration is made, surviving tanks remain in position and support counterattacks ordered by higher headquarters. Only on order of the battalion commander will company tanks leave their positions to join a counterattack. Similarly, penetration by the enemy into an adjacent position is countered by fire and not by counterattack. Counterattack is normally a function of the battalion or regimental reserve.

The company commander may move tanks to alternate positions with the approval of the battalion commander, to cause the enemy to attack vacated positions.

Tank company in reserve. A tank company in depth is called the reserve company. This company will hold an area and have secondary tasks such as the counterattack force. Multiple routes to the forward company areas are reconnoitered, and LDs are resigned. The routes arc marked for night use.

Defense at night. In night defensive operations, an illumination plan is prepared. Defensive and gunnery principles do not radically differ from those used during daylight. Improvement of night-vision equipment means there will be less need for battlefield illumination.

Antitank support of infantry. When a tank company operates as the AT defense force of an MRB, each platoon deploys within an MRC area or strongpoint Tank platoon commanders give advice on location and coordination of the AT defense. The tank company commander remains with the infantry battalion commander and acts as his At defense coordinator. The company commander retains authority to move the tanks within the battalion position.

Counterattack. The company is reinforced by MR troops when counterattacking. A tank company may also be employed as the regimental reserve. In this role it occupies a prepared position in the regimental second echelon of defense. The company commander prepares routes into the forward battalion's areas, and designates lines of departure and firing positions. Routes are marked by signs that are visible at night. Rehearsals are carried out on counterattack routes. Communications and fire plans are then coordinated with forward units.

When counterattacking, a tank company fires from place and then, on signal, rushes the enemy. The Company commander may not maneuver by platoon without the permission of the battalion commander. Movement must be rapid.

Tank ambushes. Exposed flanks, gaps in defensive positions, and enemy approach routes can be sites for ambushes. Tank companies are usually reinforced by additional AT weapons for this operation. They are in defilade and well camouflaged. Both primary and secondary tank positions arc selected. Positions are dug and prepared before occupation. Reference points are designated. Engagement ranges arc at 1,000 meters or less-surprise is the dominating factor. Small groups of enemy vehicles are allowed to pass through the ambush site until a suitable target is selected.

Movement to Contact/Actions on Contact


The battalion task force conducts a movement to contact to make or regain contact with the enemy and to develop the situation. TFs conduct movement to contact independently or as part of a larger force. The battalion task force will normally be given a movement to contact mission as the lead element of a brigade attack, or as a counterattack element of a brigade or division. Movement to contact terminates with the occupation of an assigned objective or when enemy resistance requires the battalion to deploy and conduct an attack to continue forward movement.

Key planning considerations for the movement to contact mission include--

  • Movement.

  • Task organization.

  • Integration of CS/CSS assets.

Each planning consideration must be looked at in detail during the planning phase of the operation to ensure the contingencies inherent in a movement to contact are addressed.


Movement to contact is characterized by a lack of enemy intelligence. The TF terrain analysis provides key decisions made about how to organize for and conduct a movement to contact. Commanders should concentrate on the military aspects of terrain analysis:

  • Observation and fields of fire.

  • Cover and concealment.

  • Obstacles.

  • Key terrain.

  • Avenues of approach.

Analyze each aspect in conjunction with intelligence updates as part of a commander's IPB during the estimate process. This allows the contingency planning that fosters flexibility during mission execution. A TF movement to contact mission is assigned a zone of action or an axis of advance and an objective Inherent in the movement to contact planning is that enemy contact will be made and actions on contact must be immediate and successful. Correct analysis of the military aspects of terrain influences the commander's decisions about key planning considerations, movement, task organization, and integration of CS and CSS assets. Use the following training techniques to promote more accurate, thorough analysis of the situation.

TRAINING TECHNIQUE: Conduct a map exercise in which battalion/TF officers and senior noncommissioned officers are given an area of operations, BPs, and an orientation to the enemy force. Each man uses his own map and materials to conduct detailed LOS analysis. Only by meticulously conducting an LOS analysis do soldiers gain an appreciation for the subtleties the map can reveal. Maneuver commanders develop and then practice this skill to maximize useful map reconnaissance. On the ground, reconnaissance has no better substitute, but offensive operations limit a commander's ability to go forward. Therefore, map reconnaissance and LOS analysis become valuable planning tools. Battalion task force commanders can train officers and soldiers to use terrain analysis in mission planning.
TRAINING TECHNIQUE: Conduct a map exercise in which battalion officers and NCOs are given an area of operation, an enemy situation, and a requirement to identify correctly NO-GO, SLOW-GO terrain. By default, this leaves GO terrain, which must further be distinguished between mounted and dismounted trafficability. Each individual must do his own analysis, and have his work critiqued by a resident SME such as the battalion S2. The standards that determine the distinctions between NO-GO and SLOW-GO, as outlined in FM 34-130, must be studied and discussed prior to the exercise. The intent of this exercise is not to create surrogate S2 or engineer topography experts, but the more skill the maneuver commanders and staff officer have in terrain analysis, the better their ability to plan, prepare, and execute combat missions. The exercise should be repeated regularly as part of officer/NCO professional development.


The terrain analysis influences the scheme of maneuver used. Doctrine recommends organization into a security force comprised of the TF scout platoon conducting a zone reconnaissance 3 to 5 kilometers wide, then an advance guard of one company team, the main body, and flank and rear security. Flank security is normally accomplished with platoon-size elements from the companies in the main body. The trail company provides a rear security element to protect the TF.

This formation and task organization assumes that the battalion task force will be part of a brigade formation. This assumption poses problems. Conditions exist in which a battalion task force will independently conduct a movement to contact, and in either case, METT-T may dictate significant deviations from the doctrinal guideline (see figure 3-42).

Open terrain with a wide zone of action, that is, one in excess of 5 kilometers, dictates supplementing the scouts with another element to provide security across the broad front. This causes a ripple effect within the other elements. If a tank or Bradley platoon are used up with the scouts and the battalion task force maintains the same flank security, then the main body becomes depleted. C2 of the security force is made more complicated by the additional maneuver elements (see Figure 3-43).

In another instance, the movement may be through compartmentalized terrain where the battalion task force must advance along mobility corridors. It will be hard to maintain mutual support, let alone flank and rear security (see Figure 3-44).

TRAINING TECHNIQUE: Anticipate conditions in which execution will deviate from doctrinal norms, then train elements how to assume the variety of missions possible in a movement to contact. Thus, tank and Bradley companies must train with respective scout platoons on how to conduct the security mission, both when the battalion task force acts independently and when the battalion task force operates as an element in a brigade attack. Implied in this training requirement is habitual task organization. Theoretically, each tank company should be prepared to be task organized to the sister infantry battalion and should be trained to operate as part of a security force with the infantry battalion scouts. Realistically, chances to train to any degree of proficiency are rare. Thus, the battalion commander must decide early which companies to "chop" to other battalions where they can get the training needed to math proficiency in mission execution.

Those elements that remain with the TF must practice movement to contact as part of the flank security, the advance guard, or the rear security element. Anticipate requirements, rather than reacting to them. Successful execution rests in making decisions early in unit preparation and task organizing based on demonstrated skills.

Land navigation is a key aspect of maneuver that impacts on mission success. Once in the planning stage for combat operations, assumptions are made about the ability of elements to move from point A to point B under a variety of conditions. Such assumptions are unwarranted unless land navigation is routinely practiced. Tactical plans will deteriorate if elements of the battalion task force get lost. Successful maneuver cannot occur without successful land navigation.

Fire Support

Movement to contact missions may present the greatest offensive synchronization challenge to the battalion task force commander because of the relative lack of hard intelligence and, therefore, the many contingencies for which he must plan. Integrating FS into the development of the scheme of maneuver requires a clear statement of intent by the maneuver commander one that is understood by all subordinate and supporting elements.

The central problem in synchronizing FS with the other battlefield operating system lies in the timing of fires. The ability to place direct, indirect, and close air support at the right place at the right time once contact is made presents a challenge in planning and execution.

TRAINING TECHNIQUE: If timing is accepted as the central problem in synchronizing FS then practicing how to integrate all the FS elements within a tactical situation represents the best initial step in solving the problem.
The relationships of the battalion task force FSO and the company team FSOs to the battalion task force commander, his staff, and his maneuver commanders become critical in training to synchronize FS.
Sound commander's intent, followed by realistic FS planning, cannot occur unless everyone involved understands the planning considerations and all the implications of decisions about priority of fires, effects of fires, targets, coordination measures, and the use of mortars and CAS. Therefore, commanders and staffs must constantly be challenged to practice fire planning in a variety of training events.
For example, consider the effects of fires. In developing a scheme of maneuver, the maneuver commander must understand the difference between asking for destruction of a target and requesting suppression. Proper training and constant coordination among the FSO, the commander, and the S3, helps ensure the FS plan is properly developed, is clearly understood, and is executed according to the commander's intent.
Combat simulation exercises, map exercises, CPXs, TEWTs, and scaled ranges provide excellent, low-cost opportunities for the commander and staff to practice FS planning and execution.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Maintaining the mobility of the TF in a movement to contact is critical. The TF engineer must plan and allocate mobility resources to the security force, advance guard, and main body. The mobility resources to the security force are just enough to cover its own movement, and to complete the reconnaissance mission. The advance guard needs to be allocated enough resources to conduct breaching operations, possibly opening lanes through obstacles to pass the main body. If the obstacle is dense or covered by a relatively larger force, the main body deploys to conduct a breaching operation. The engineer task organization is based on supporting TF in-stride breaching operations, with minimal engineer assets under TF control to transition to a TF deliberate breach, if needed. Situational obstacles are used to attack an enemy's vulnerability or a specific course of action. Mobile obstacle detachments can be formed to help secure the TF flanks.

Air Defense

Stinger gunners should be put under armor, for example, a gunner with two missiles rides in a Bradley or in the company team XO's Bradley. The other member of the Stinger team would remain in the HMMWV and overwatch the main body from high ground on the same axis. The Vulcan platoon remains with the main body, where the Stinger gunner on each Vulcan provides coverage out to extended ranges. Air defense planning addresses organization for combat, and the organization is tailored to the situation. No easy solution exists for how best to employ ADA assets.

Combat Service Support

Doctrinally, offensive operations generate certain planning assumptions, such as increased fuel consumption and a greater casualty rate. Each planning assumption generates specific activity, such as altering the push package to come forward. Further problems arise if it is uncertain when the TF will halt. Casualty evacuation problems represent the most critical logistics challenge. With trains poised to move and a shortage of dedicated evacuation vehicles, it is difficult to plan casualty evacuation. Planning for casualty evacuation must focus on the maneuver company medical teams making maximum use of casualty transfer points. Instantaneous decisions will be made about what vehicles will supplement the assigned medic tracks. Self-aid and buddy aid with trained combat lifesavers spell the difference between life and death.

Consolidation and reorganization planning center on unit SOP based on CSS actions before securing the objective. For example, a TF element providing flank security may make contact with a small enemy element. While developing that situation, the main body continues to move forward. After the main body is clear, the flank security platoon may be left with casualties needing evacuation, as well as combat vehicles requiring repair or evacuation. This drives decisions about committing medical and maintenance support assets that impact on the TF's ability to support itself.

Command and Control

Anticipating the numerous contingencies could affect the execution of the movement to contact, and the actions of TF elements once in contact will tax the planning process.

The ability to analyze "what if" situations during a war-gaming process allows the commander to anticipate the unexpected. For example, once a task organization is laid out and the formations are designated, war-gaming courses of action should force the commander and staff to deal with contact from unlikely locations. The intent of such war-gaming is not to cause the TF to become overly cautious, but to allow a realistic assessment of what may conceivably occur. Time available dictates the depth of analysis, but a trained staff can rapidly and accurately anticipate most enemy actions. The TF can outline the various company team drills for action on contact, and explain in detail what will happen within the remainder of the TF after contact. What are the actions of the security element, the advance guard, and the elements of the main body? Once contact is made, each element must know what its action will be. The attacker plans for how he will develop the situation.



From reports of higher headquarters and from execution of the TF R&S plan, the S2 continually updates the enemy situation. The capability of piecing together shreds of intelligence into useful information is a significant factor in anticipating the enemy's actions. Intelligence gathering activity focuses on confirming enemy locations and activity. As information becomes available, the S2 disseminates the information and his analysis as rapidly as possible.

The S2's role during TF rehearsals is to portray the threat for the TF play. During the rehearsal, the S2 causes the unexpected to occur to show the reaction of TF elements. Rehearsal can reveal flaws in a plan early enough to make changes before execution, thereby raising the odds of successful mission accomplishment.


During the preparation phase of a movement to contact, several rehearsal techniques can be used to help ensure increased likelihood of successful mission accomplishment.

TRAINING TECHNIQUE: The TF must have first rehearsed how to rehearse. The time available will dictate the type of rehearsal most appropriate, and TF leaders must know immediate y what rehearsal technique to use given the time available. The correct decision cannot be made without a working knowledge of the time and resources necessary to execute a variety of successful rehearsal techniques.
For example, ideally the TF could conduct a full-up rehearsal of the entire operation, but opportunities seldom exist. Therefore, less thorough techniques must be used. The commander must decide where the biggest payoff exists--should the rehearsal be at TF level, should it be done at company level, or should the two be combined. Also, consider how scouts can be rehearsed when they must immediately begin to execute an R&S plan to gather intelligence.

Fire Support

In the preparation phase, the rehearsal of FS focuses on timing it in conjunction with maneuver. For example, the movement to contact is a phased operation in which the phases are terrain oriented-movement to LD is Phase I, movement from LD to PL Jane is Phase II, and so forth. The FSO addresses shifts in the priority of fires and time required to put steel on target for preplanned targets and targets of opportunity in each phase of the operation. The procedure to prioritize calls for fire are looked at to prevent overloading the mission queue by executing low-priority missions at the expense of the most critical missions.

By rehearsing all contingencies, the FSO, the S3, and company team commanders can see whether or not the FS plan supports the commander's intent. Company team commanders must understand the priorities, ensure all calls for fire are weighed against the overall priority, and make sure guns are available to fire the commander's most critical missions.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Using time available during the preparation for a movement to contact, elements within the TF must rehearse breaching operations. Rehearsals will confirm the location of attached engineers within the TF formation and tell whether the engineers are positioned to respond to the encountered obstacle. The rehearsal will refine techniques and procedures used to conduct the breach and subsequent assault through the gap in the obstacle. Even if an obstacle is not expected, units should still rehearse in-stride breach, because of the enemy's scatterable mine capability. The rehearsal incorporates the FS assets and emphasizes the criticality of timing. Breaching obstacles requires synchronization of all combat assets during a movement to contact.

Air Defense

No matter how the commander decided to task organize his air defense assets, the Vulcan/Stinger personnel should rehearse the procedures they anticipate using to acquire and engage targets. If air defense assets are decentralized and placed under armor, then target engagement will have to be practiced with the vehicle crews now carrying the Stinger gunners. Since the gunners will be separated from their communications system, early warning throughout the TF will be particularly critical. Rehearsal of the warning system will maximize air defense assets during execution.

Combat Service Support

CSS rehearsal cannot occur until all other elements in the TF are logistically prepared for the mission. CSS elements can then rehearse their plans and procedures for subsequent supply, medical and maintenance requirements. The CSS plan must be disseminated as early as possible.

Command and Control

Once the commander decides on a rehearsal technique, the focus centers around C2 at all levels. Every step taken to facilitate C2 will aid in mission execution. The commander can practice synchronization of his assets and make adjustments. Rehearsal is the rule rather than the exception, and refining rehearsal techniques is an integral part of unit preparation. The rehearsals include all commanders, primary staff, and specialty platoon leaders. Good detailed maneuver graphics will aid significantly in controlling all combat, CS, and CSS elements.



The vertical and horizontal communications systems will be severely tested during the execution of a movement to contact. The information provided by unit spot reports must be translated into intelligence as rapidly as possible. From time to time, the S2 will come up on the task force command net to update the commander and company team commanders as to where the enemy is and what he will do next.


A key to mission execution lies in the detailed planning and preparation that precedes execution. The most difficult aspect of movement to contact execution is potentially in development of the situation once contact is made. Much of what occurs depends on the reaction of the element making initial contact. According to doctrine, the element must return fire, deploy, report, and develop the situation. The value of training units to take actions on contact under a variety of circumstances will pay dividends once contact is made.

Fire Support

The major FS execution problem is maintaining target priorities. For example, once contact is made, spot reports will bring a torrent of calls for fire, some of which will need to be weeded out, given the scheme of maneuver and plan for supporting fire. The discipline to keep FS assets poised for the main effort's crucial moments wilt allow FS to achieve its mission. If the mortars are correctly positioned throughout the movement to contact, their support can be extremely responsive. The FSO must use good judgment in deciding which missions to give to the mortars.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

The speed with which battalion task force elements react to enemy obstacles during a movement to contact is critical. Attached engineer assets in the TF assist the element that hits an enemy obstacle. The element must lay the immediate groundwork to counter the obstacle. Assuming the enemy has the obstacle covered with direct and indirect fires, the lead force must protect themselves and the TF breach force. The battalion task force's ability to synchronize combat power at a critical moment is tested at this time. Successful execution of obstacle breaching is achieved if the TF elements are drilled in all aspects of the operation. Implied in this training is that each element within the TF has been drilled to be either the support, breach, or assault force, since any element could be required to execute any of those missions during a movement to contact.

Air Defense

If the Stingers have been put under armor, their internal communications capability has been degraded. This trade-off is worthwhile if the rest of the TF is vigilant to the air threat. The protection afforded is at the cost of early warning.

Combat Service Support

Increased consumption of fuel, increased maintenance problems, and the potential for casualties are spread throughout a wide, deep sector. Proactive leadership that closely monitors the battle can preclude shortfalls in support. The displacement of critical CSS elements such as combat trains, UMCPs, LRPs, and casualty transfer points should be event-driven by PLs or other control measures to ensure those elements remain responsive to the task force at all times. Because of the distances involved, units should resupply on the move during all pauses.

Command and Control

The TF will use its scouts to assist in C2 by guiding the maneuver units, finding and visually fixing the enemy, and conducting coordination with flank units. TF leaders need to be well forward to react to a hasty attack. Succession of command procedures will prove crucial due to potential leader losses.

Hasty Attack


The hasty attack is conducted either as the result of a meeting engagement, when bypass has not been authorized, or the enemy force is in a vulnerable position.


Intelligence planning for the hasty attack will occur as part of planning the movement to contact. The scout platoon will be relied on to acquire information about the enemy. R&S elements are tasked both to find the enemy and to determine his vulnerabilities in time for the main body commander to maneuver his force. The S2 ensures the scout platoon leader knows areas that will be occupied by the enemy and has a copy of the IPB situation template. The scout platoon must look for likely flank avenues that might favor enemy use. The R&S plan is the best tool the TF commander has. He must ensure it will confirm or deny enemy courses of action.


In planning for the movement to contact, the TF must be prepared to execute two categories of hasty attack: attack against a moving force and attack against a stationary force.

If the enemy is caught by surprise, an immediate attack is launched to gain the most advantage from the situation. The scouts and/or the leading company team must develop the situation quickly. They must provide enough information to the commander for him to develop a scheme of maneuver. In planning for the hasty attack the commander must decide how far forward of the TF the reconnaissance elements should travel. The actions of the main body are executed drills in response to a FRAGO. To execute, the TF will either take up a hasty defensive position oriented on the enemy's approach or conduct a hasty attack against the vulnerable flank of a moving enemy, If the enemy is stationary, the TF conducts a hasty attack against an identified weakness in his defense.

Fire Support

FS planning for the hasty attack is conducted with the movement to contact planning, and may be modified once the TF begins movement. The enemy may be stationary or moving. Terrain features that support defense, and open areas that support maneuver are targeted. FIST should be placed with the reconnaissance element to augment the effectiveness of initial indirect fires. The mortar platoon may travel in split sections behind the scouts. Keep in mind that if the mortars travel as a unit, the initial response for fire will be slower than if a section is stationary.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineer assets are task organized to support a task force in stride breach, but remain responsive enough to transition to a deliberate breach if needed. In a hasty attack against a stationary enemy, the engineers must be prepared to conduct a breach of hasty protective and delaying obstacles. Situational obstacles are planned to protect the task force's flanks and to help isolate the enemy forces.

Air Defense

As the TF moves deeper into enemy territory, the likelihood of enemy air attack increases. Stinger under armor is necessary as the force receives artillery suppression before sighting the enemy. A prior terrain analysis will have determined the best ADA positions throughout the length of the axis.

Combat Service Support

The battalion field trains move under the direction of the FSB commander. It is essential that the FSB is kept out of the fight. Combat trains move in echelon, moving continuously until contact is made or other events warrant the establishment of a fixed post, such as an aid station. The initial movement will need maintenance and Class III support. UMCPs and LRPs should be planned to support the movement all the way to the TF's final objective. Evacuation forward to on-call collection points should be planned for. Once contact is made, the TF expends large amounts of Class V, and vehicle and personnel casualties increase. Reloaded emergency and push packages reduce lag time between requisition and resupply.

Command and Control

In planning the movement to contact and its likely outcome, the hasty attack, the TF commander must determine which formation grants flexibility without sacrificing security. A key to his ability to command the TF is his ability to maneuver with as few changes possible and launch into a rapid hasty attack. He commands the TF by maneuvering with as few changes as possible, and launching a rapid hasty attack. He places the scouts forward to allow him time to make a decision and execute commands. He must strike a balance between formations and terrain driving that will protect the force.

The difficulty in the hasty attack is massing direct fires at the right place and right time. The TF commander must prepare complete and accurate graphic control measures that support direct fire. He must war-game how to position his forces quickly to gain the advantage from terrain in a limited amount of time. He must be in constant communication with scouts, monitoring the enemy's progress and making quick time-distance assessments. Accurate reporting will enable the commander to follow the enemy until the moment of contact.



The S2 develops an enemy situation template to support preparation of the command's estimate. This shows the probable disposition of the enemy force, including likely occupied enemy positions in depth. The S2 assists the commander in seeing the enemy as a whole as well as reporting known enemy locations. The commander must plan for its destruction within the parameters of a possible defensive belt. The S2 gives the commander the location of the enemy's exploitable weakness.


The TF prepares for the hasty attack as it conducts its rehearsal of the movement to contact. The commander must ensure that the TF is able to execute any one of five missions beyond the movement to contact. They are--

  • Occupying a terminating objective.

  • Hasty attack against a moving enemy.

  • Hasty attack against a stationary enemy.

  • Becoming a support by fire for a brigade attack.

  • Hasty defense.

These missions are listed in order of increased enemy resistance; this section addresses only the two types of hasty attack.

Hasty attack against a moving enemy. To get there "the firstest with the mostest," contingency planning, developed TSOPs, company team formations, and platoon battle drills enable our forces to speed the conduct of the attack and wrest the initiative from the enemy. The following series of illustrations show a TF conducting a drill against a moving enemy force.

The TF scout platoon makes initial contact with the enemy and attempts to develop the situation and determine the enemy force's size, disposition, intentions, and vulnerabilities. This is done by moving to the flanks of the enemy force and adjusting artillery and mortars to suppress and confuse the enemy force. The scouts must be on the lookout for enemy elements that may be trying to envelop our force (see Figure 3-45).

The lead company team will quickly adopt a hasty defensive posture as perpendicular as possible to the enemy direction of movement. This is meant to blunt the enemy's movement or attack. Artillery and mortar fires will continue to suppress the enemy force while the scout platoon maneuvers to identify an enemy weakness (see Figure 3-46).

The scouts have identified an assailable flank and relayed that information to the TF commander. The commander will maneuver the remaining companies against the exposed enemy flank. In the meantime, the scouts will guide the leading company teams into position with one section, and screen the flank of the maneuvering force with the other. Detailed preparation must be made through either SOPs or rehearsals to reduce the chances of fratricide during linkup between the scouts and the maneuvering company. The TF commander will issue direct-fire instructions, having company teams orient on TRPs, TIRS points, or easily identifiable terrain features. It is important that the TF achieve massed overlapping ties at the most lucrative enemy location. The TF commander may identify a reserve with the mission either to block any enemy penetration of the fining force, or prepare to maneuver against the flank of any enemy forces that try to bypass the TF engagement area (see Figure 3-47).

Properly executed massed fires of the TF should destroy most of the enemy force. If the commander wishes to commit the reserve he must perform a quick time-distance analysis so that the reserve will arrive in position at the most advantageous time. As the attack begins, the commander should coordinate with the reserve commander to ensure the mute, position, and orientation are clearly understood (see Figure 3-48).

Hasty attack against a stationary enemy. There are several possibilities to consider when facing a threat position on a movement to contact. For example, the position could be an attempt to delay our force so the enemy main body can make a clean break, or it could be the beginning of a main defensive belt security zone. The higher commander will have issued bypass criteria at the onset of the movement to contact mission; this will drive the subsequent mission of the TF.

Once the scout platoon identifies the enemy position, its first mission is to determine the size of the stationary element (see Figure 3-49). If the enemy force is smaller than the bypass criteria, the position will be reported, fixed and bypassed by the main body. If the force is stronger than the bypass criteria, then the scout platoon must quickly identify the position's exploitable weakness. Time is critical, because the hasty attack should be launched before the enemy has time to react.

The scout platoon will adjust indirect fires against the position to suppress the enemy. Mortar and artillery-delivered smoke should be emplaced to isolate the position from possible enemy positions (see Figure 3-50). In the meantime, a section of the scout platoon should reconnoiter the best direct route for the TF to use to maneuver against the enemy position. The TF commander will instruct the lead company to lay down a base of direct fire against the position in support of the hasty attack. The remaining company teams will be given an axis of advance, objective, and orientation on seizing the objective.

With a company team providing direct-fire support and indirect fires suppressing and isolating the position, the TF will assault the objective (see Figure 3-51). In this example, a mounted assault is shown against a weak enemy position. The TF commander must ensure that the support force shifts its direct-fire suppression to adjoining enemy positions once the assault force has masked its fires. The support force should be prepared to join the assault force on the objective or revert to TF reserve. Similarly, indirect fires should be lifted at the last possible moment and shifted to likely enemy positions. It is important that as little time as possible passes between the lifting of indirect fires and the arrival of the assault force. This will give the TF maximum shock effect.

Each company team maneuvers along an axis generally defined by terrain features. Tanks should lead, prepared for hasty breaches of any hasty protective minefield with their minerollers and mineplows. Once on the position, the tanks orient their fires toward AT systems, while IFVs destroy dismounts and protect tanks from AT weapons. The final assault should be as violent as possible; virtually any terrain feature capable of protecting an enemy element should be engaged (see Figure 3-52).

Once the position is overrun, infantry may dismount to clear the position, but only if time allows. Some IFVs may just return back across the objective as an expedient. Company teams may adopt a hasty defensive posture oriented on likely enemy mounted and dismounted avenues of approach. If the position seems to be an enemy rear guard or delaying action, the TF should attempt to press on so as not to lose contact with the enemy main body (see Figure 3-53).

Fire Support

The DS battalion and mortar platoon must be prepared to fire HE and/or smoke very quickly. Quick fire nets may be established to shorten response time. Possible enemy positions identified by the S2 should be plotted prior to the execution of the movement to contact. A FIST may be placed with the scout platoon to assist in directing accurate fire against the enemy.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

In the assault of an enemy position, the engineers must be prepared to conduct breaching operations. In preparation for the hasty attack, therefore, the TF must conduct breaching drills with the full combined arms team. The TF engineer must ensure that the current obstacle intelligence is reported to all elements supporting the company teams. He should also ensure that the final coordination, with the TF XO and S4, for Class IV and V push packages matches the commander's intent with allocation of resources.

Air Defense

As the TF conducts rehearsals, the air defense elements must practice how they will maneuver to support the TF. Vulcans will maneuver easily with the TF and provide close-in protection to selected elements. On the other hand, Stingers must be placed under armor to maintain survivability.

Combat Service Support

CSS assets prepare for the hasty attack by reviewing the location of the MSR. Obvious nodes (road intersections) should be avoided as locations for UMCPs. They may be targeted by enemy artillery. Push packages consisting of Classes III and V. are prepared in advance. Each unit should be topped off and brought up to its basic load supply strength before beginning movement. Shortages are noted and any unit less equipped or supplied than the others are considered for first priority resupply.

Command and Control

The commander prepares for the hasty attack by rehearsing hasty attack against a moving enemy and hasty attack against a stationary enemy as described earlier in this section. He ensures each company is able to execute its part of the mission. Each company commander must know the mission of the other commanders and how their responsibilities interrelate.



As the TF scouts make contact with the enemy, the S2 marks the position on his situational map. Organization of observed forces may indicate the type of organization encountered and this information will assist the S2 in his situation template. Due to the lack of time and the TF commander being physically separated from the TF main CP, the S2 must quickly assess the size, disposition, overall enemy situation, and recommended point of attack directed against the enemy's suspected weakness. He must relay this information to the TF commander as soon as he is able to make a credible judgment. This information will drive the plan of attack.


Regardless of the disposition of the enemy, there are several key points that the commander must remember. First he is directing his scheme of maneuver against a known enemy. He must maintain security throughout the operation. This may be achieved by the scout platoon establishing a screen line or company teams emplacing OPs. Second, this maneuver is not being made in isolation. What are the other brigade TFs doing? How does the TF scheme of maneuver relate to theirs? Third, the enemy in contact with the TF is part of a larger force. What is the enemy trying to achieve?

Fire Support

The execution of the FS plan will depend on the ability of the FO to make accurate and timely calls for fire. Once contact has been made, calls for fire are generally shifted from TRPs. Indirect fire must suppress the enemy while the TF approaches the objective, and the objective must be isolated from observation by enemy positioned on adjacent positions. Once the assault force reaches the objective, fires should be shifted to block enemy retreat and reinforcement and to suppress possible enemy positions in depth.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

In the advance to the objective and the assault, engineers may be called on to conduct breaching operations. The lead assault element will become the breach force, and if conditions warrant, also the assault force. Follow-on forces must be prepared to become the assault force for the breach and possibly the objective.

Air Defense

Once enemy air attack is imminent, a warning should be issued over the command net. Particularly in the case of helicopter attack, tanks designated by SOP should prepare to engage while the remainder of the TF completes destruction of the enemy's ground forces.

Combat Service Support

CSS operations will closely monitor the operations of the maneuver force. As the TF moves to attack or prepares a hasty attack from battle positions, critical supplies and services will be pushed forward as much as possible.

Command and Control

The commander must avoid two pitfalls: initiating an attack without developing the situation first, and committing the TF piecemeal. In each case, the TF commander must allow his subordinate elements time to perform their missions properly. Anticipation, warning orders, and FRAGOs will prevent last minute decisions and sloppy execution.

Deliberate Attack

The conduct of the deliberate attack will generally follow the sequence below:

  • Rehearsal.

  • Reconnaissance.

  • Movement to the LD.

  • Maneuver.

  • Deployment.

  • Attack.

-- Break-in.

+ Approach.

+ Penetration.

+ Assault.


  • Consolidation and reorganization.

  • Continuation.


Rehearsals are essential to the execution of a deliberate attack. They help to ensure synchronization of the attack. All levels of command will rehearse their portions of the attack. A detailed discussion of rehearsals is in Chapter 2 of this manual.


Reconnaissance begins on receipt of the mission. Information critical to development of the estimate is acquired as rapidly as possible. Avenues of approach, key and decisive terrain, trafficability restrictions, and obstacle information are types of information gathered. Information on enemy composition and disposition is reported immediately to the S2. Coordination is made for occupation of forward AAs or attack positions, road movement, forward passage of lines, CSS, and FS. Reconnaissance by security missions and reconnaissance of other enemy positions continues throughout the attack.

Movement to the Line of Departure

Forward AAs and/or attack positions are selected and reconnoitered, and advance parties are sent to secure and prepare each area for occupation by the main body. At the same time, coordination is finalized between units for passage forward of the FLOT. This coordination includes marking passage lanes, selecting passage points and contact points, collocating main CPs, exchanging recognition signals and frequencies, finalizing support provided by the unit in location, and designating and assigning routes for company teams to follow from the AA to the LD.


Once the forward passage of lines is complete, the unit maneuvers to accomplish the commander's intent, which may include breaching operations and changes in formation or movement techniques. Changes in the enemy situation are reported by reconnaissance elements, and FRAGOs are issued to ensure units respond to the changing situation.


The unit deploys to attack the enemy or fix the position for bypass. The unit may briefly occupy an assault position while other elements occupy attack-by-fire positions. At this point, final adjustments and instructions are carried out to maximize unit effectiveness during the attack. Because of the proximity of the enemy, the amount of time spent in the assault position must be minimal. If the unit mission is to fix and bypass the enemy, similar measures must be taken to make sure the enemy cannot respond to friendly maneuver. Enemy hand-over to follow-on forces must occur with minimal confusion.


The attack consists of the break-in and the fight-through phases.

The break-in phase. TM is the most critical aspect of the attack the attack will fail if the unit is unable to penetrate enemy defenses. During this phase, the commander must conserve his dismounted infantry assets because they are a limited resource in a BFV company. The break in is further divided into the following three steps.

The approach. This includes isolation of the objective by indirect and direct fire and movement from the attack position to the objective. During this step, artillery fires smoke missions to isolate the objective from supporting fires and observation of adjacent positions. Artillery and mortars provide suppression of the objective in support of the assault. Armored vehicles assault in attack formation while friendly elements provide supporting tire from overwatch positions.

The penetration. This involves the actual penetration of the enemy defensive position. During this step it is the responsibility of the breach force commander, who has been task organized with specific assets, to accomplish the breaching of the obstacles. As the mineroller/plow tanks breach and approach the enemy trench line, they will suppress the enemy position with coax while also searching for lethal hard targets, such as tanks, BMPs, and bunkers. The BFVs will follow close behind, adding to the suppression as they approach the trench line.

The assault. This is the actual assault on the enemy trench line. While both tanks and BFVs suppress the trench system, the infantry dismounts, breaks into its three-man assault teams, attacks, enters the trench line, and clears it.

Dismounted break-in. This is an alternative to the mounted break-in depicted in the previous paragraphs. Conditions must exist such that the enemy defensive position cannot be reached by armored vehicles or is vulnerable to a dismounted approach. More time is required to conduct the approach movement to the objective. In this method, the infantry uses its dismounted stealth instead of speed to penetrate the enemy position. All the stages of the assault are the same as the mounted assault with the suppressive fire provided by vehicles that are not up close to the trench line. This necessitates active control of the suppressive fires by the leader of the assault force through direct communications. If the assault element can identify and clear a mounted approach onto the defensive position, this will assist the assault force in medical evacuation, short-range support of heavy weapons, and increased support.

The fight-through phase. Once the infantry enters the trench line, the battle on the objective literally becomes divided. The trench line battle is fought belowground by the infantry in the trenches and enemy bunkers. The BFVs engage enemy IFVs with 25-mm cannon fire and suppress with coax, carry needed ammunition, and evacuate wounded. Tanks will fight the aboveground battle by destroying hard targets and AT systems. Tanks will also assist in sealing off the objective, suppressing adjacent enemy positions, and preparing to defeat counterattacks. FOs will continue to keep the objective isolated by shifting suppressive fires and adjusting smoke missions on other enemy positions. The commander will position himself where he can best control the operation, probably aboveground. Synchronization will be especially difficult, as he must monitor both actions simultaneously. He must be prepared to commit reserves to both the infantry and armor, while also protecting the objective from the influence of other enemy positions.

Consolidation and Reorganization

Once the enemy has been destroyed, units quickly consolidate on the objective using enemy positions to prepare for the expected counterattack and as protection against artillery suppression. Reorganization activities will occur as the unit assists follow-on units. It is not likely that the unit which conducted the assault will be able to continue with another mission because of the limited number of dismounted infantry available after the belowground fight. However, the armored vehicles can provide support by fire to follow-on forces.


If the unit is able to destroy the enemy with minimal loss of men and equipment, it may be caIled on to continue the mission or respond to a mission change. Under most circumstances in which a deliberate attack is required the unit will most likely retain the objective, transition to the hasty defense, and assist with the forward passage of another follow-on unit.

NOTE: The following is a clarification of terminology already found in FM 71-1, FM 71-2, and their respective MTPs.

Support and Attack/Counterattack by Fire

This mission requires engaging the enemy with direct fire to destroy, fix, or suppress. Destroy, fix, and suppress are not synonymous, and reflect the intent of the commander when assigning support-by-fire or attack-by-fire missions.

Destroy. As defined in ARTEP 71-1-MTP, destroy means killing 75 percent of the enemy force. If a commander wants a subordinate element to destroy an enemy force, he allocates sufficient combat power and ammunition to accomplish this intent.

Fix. As defined in FM 101-5-1, fix means preventing the enemy from moving any part of its forces and preventing their withdrawal by surrounding or holding them. If a commander wants a subordinate element to fix the enemy and prevent it from maneuvering, he understands that the friendly forces must surround the enemy.

Suppression. As defined in FM 101-5-1, suppression means to prevent the enemy from bringing effective fire on friendly forces. The component tasks of destroying an enemy and suppressing an enemy are very similar.

Support by Fire

This mission is done in conjunction with a maneuvering force. Supporting by fire is accomplished in one of two ways: overmatching or establishing a base of fire.

Support by fire by overwatching. This consists of observing known or suspected enemy locations, and engaging the enemy if he is visible or tries to fire on the friendly maneuver element. Overmatching frequently transitions into suppression of known or suspected enemy locations.

Support by fire by establishing a base of fire. This actively suppresses an objective with direct and indirect fire, even though the enemy has not shown himself and is not firing on the friendly maneuver element. The base of fire always fires at the objective to support a moving unit's assault. When establishing a base of fire, the commander must always consider Class V expenditure.

Attack/Counterattack by Fire

This mission requires engaging a moving or stationary enemy force with direct fire. The friendly force attacks the enemy only through the use of direct and indirect fires and not in conjunction with a maneuvering force.

Regardless of the mission, support by fire by overmatching, support by fire by establishing a base of fire, or attack/counterattack by fire, the intent of the fire must be stated; that is, destroy, suppress, or fix the enemy. The most common support by fire intent is suppression. Destroying is the most common intent for an attack-by-fire mission. If fixing is the intent, the battlefield must be shaped to enable the friendly force to accomplish this intent.



Figure 3-54 depicts the type of intelligence a commander would receive under perfect conditions. All trench lines, vehicles, weapon systems, CPs, and obstacles are shown, as are their exact locations.

From this intelligence, the commander and S2 must determine how the Soviet-style commander intends to fight. This requires knowledge of both direct and indirect weapons employment, particularly with respect to obstacles and terrain. The identification of likely fire sacks, weapons trigger lines, and air avenues of approach, as well as the use of alternate and supplementary positions plays an important role in developing the plan of attack. The war-gaming that results from this intelligence provides the basis for the plan, on-order missions, and anticipated FRAGOs.

Figure 3-55 illustrates the Soviet-style commander's actual defensive plan. Note the extreme detail and use of combined arms. The plan is designed to defeat a Soviet-style attack, where units move from columns to on-line. It is conspicuously devoid of the assailable flank.

The responsibility of the S2 is to use the intelligence information to determine the Soviet-style commander's actual defensive plan. This is not an easy task and will require knowledge of how Soviet-style fighting is conducted, not just their doctrinal disposition on the battlefield. The TF engineer can assist the S2 in compiling this information. This is the information the TF commander will have to know if he is going to plan a successful deliberate attack.


Deliberate attack planning requires validated knowledge of the enemy situation. The location of enemy positions and known or suspected obstacles must be located and classified with a high degree of certainty. Based on the intelligence, deliberate attack planning is more detailed than hasty attack planning. Task organization is based on the order and type of obstacles, as well as what happens during the break in and fight through of the position itself.

The commander's scheme of maneuver is based on the estimate of the situation. A key factor in planning an attack is time. The more time available to the enemy for the preparation of defensive works, the more difficult it becomes to breach the obstacles and destroy the enemy. Knowledge of enemy strength, equipment, and resources available becomes extremely important in judging his ability to prepare defenses. This is critical to the proper task organization and order of the elements conducting the operation. The commander must ensure that reconnaissance provides him enough information to allow sufficient flexibility in choosing his point of main effort, and that he masses the amount of combat power needed to defeat the enemy.

Location and composition of obstacles determines the types of equipment required to negotiate the barriers and how that equipment is organized for commitment. The more detailed the intelligence on obstacles and enemy dispositions, the more timely and efficient the employment of combat assets. Breaching assets are placed in order in the approach march based on the sequence the obstacles are encountered.

Minefield breaching equipment should be placed in the lead, but protected as much as possible by overmatching armor. Minefield equipment is followed by gap-breaching equipment that is used in case an AT ditch is encountered. The commander should organize and plan breaching operations so that the element which is to support by fire is set first and has suppressed the enemy before the breach element moves forward to begin breaching. Since the obstacle will be covered by both direct and indirect fire, any soldier not under armor will be at risk. Should an obstacle require dismounted breaching, a nighttime prebreach is preferred to a daylight deliberate breach. Refer to Chapter 6 for a detailed discussion of breaching operations.

The commander exploits an enemy weakness by massing combat power against it. Weak points in enemy disposition occur where terrain prevents the physical tying-in of defenses, or where terrain provides defilade from enemy direct defensive fires. Caution must be observed in this case, as deadspace will be covered by indirect fire or mines. Other weak points in the enemy's defense are unit boundaries. An ideal location for an attack is along the boundary between two larger units. Along this boundary, coordination is usually weak; however, AT reserves are often used to strengthen this area.


Task organization. A balanced TF is organized into three major elements: support, breach, and assault elements. Each element has several missions to perform within the overall scheme of maneuver. The elements are organized for their missions and given assets necessary to complete their tasks (see Figure 3-56).

Breaching a tactical and protective obstacle system and assaulting a fortified objective requires a force that includes the following elements: support, breach, and assault, each with subelements. For example, the breach team might require a support group for close-in security, as well as an assault group to negotiate enemy security positions forward of the objective. A subelement's organization will vary with the situation. If the situation is not clear, subelement detachments can be assigned contingency missions.

The TF, in this particular example, is a balanced mechanized infantry battalion. Consisting of two mechanized infantry companies, two armor companies, and an engineer company. The tank companies are each organized with three mineplows and one mineroller in one platoon.

The composition of the support team should be heavy in armor/antiarmor weapons to overwatch and support the breaching and assault teams. ITVs and tanks are given fire control measures and priority of target engagements. ITVs may use their fires to destroy armored vehicles and to engage hard-to-hit point targets such as bunkers.

Support team. The support team is organized with a tank company, the ITV company, an ADA section, and a heavy mortar platoon (see Figure 3-57). It is commanded by one of the company commanders and can be monitored to overall synchronization by the TF S3. The support team is the first in march order in the move toward the objective, so armor-heavy forces are able to lead the TF and position themselves first to provide the base of fire in support of the breach and assault teams.

The mission of the support team is to provide covering fires for the breaching and assault elements by destroying enemy armor and AT weapons. The support team also has the task of sealing the flanks of the objective to deny enemy reinforcement of the position or counterattack. Once the support team has completed its overwatch/support mission, it will join the assault team and assist in exploiting the breach in the forward echelons of the enemy's defense, under the control of the TF commander.

The support group of the support team consists of the ADA section and the heavy mortar platoon. 'he support group is responsible for providing indirect fires to assist in suppressing the enemy or sealing off the flanks of the objective against enemy reinforcements or counterattack. Responsive obscuration fires are available for short periods of time. ADAs will be sited to protect the approaches to the intended breach site. Air defense weapons should have overlapping EAs in the vicinity of the breach site.

Breach team. As a technique, the breach team will not begin its breach until the support team has established suppressive fire. The breach team will create a lane or lanes in the enemy's protective minefield, penetrate the fortification itself, then fight the aboveground battle.

The breach team is composed of a close-in support group and a breach group. The breach group consists of six plow tanks, two roller tanks, CLAMMS marking device, a CEV, and two ACEs with MICLICs. The close-support group is composed of the remaining tank platoons.

It is unlikely that the AVLB will be used in the close breach due to its vulnerability. However, it may be used to span gaps such as an AT ditch when it can be properly protected. A tank equipped with a mineroller can cross an AVLB, but it is a risk crossing because it exceeds the weight classification. For a mineroller to cross an AVLB, the AVLB's side skirts must be removed.

The CEV can be used to backfill the AT ditch while assault vehicles cross the AVLB, but its use is not limited to earthmoving operations. The demolition gun provides an excellent means of reducing hardened AT barriers made of metal, concrete, or logs. Log cribs are easily destroyed by several rounds from the 165-mm gun. Use of the CEV on the objective must be weighed against possible damage or loss.

TF recovery assets maybe task organized with breaching elements; however, to prevent congestion during the assault, each vehicle must be prepared to conduct recovery of a like or smaller vehicle. Tow cables should be premounted to the rear of the vehicle, and grappling hooks should be handy in case of extensive wire on the objective.

The assault team. The assault team consists of a mechanized infantry company and may be followed by the reserve (a second mechanized company). The assault team is third in the order of march and follows the breach team. Once the breach team has penetrated the enemy position, the assault will attack the enemy trench line and conduct the belowground battle, eventually clearing the enemy strongpoint (see Figure 3-58).

Figure 3-59 is the commander's plan of attack. He has identified objectives, support positions, a screen line, the axis of advance, and artillery targets for suppression and smoke. This is by no means a complete operational graphic, but it is sufficient to illustrate the attack. Subsequent paragraphs will walk through the attack from approach to fighting through.

Fire Support

The correct use of obscurants prevents direct observation of the attacking force. Smoke placed between mutually supporting enemy positions decreases the accuracy of suppressive fires or completely blinds the defender. Smoke is used best when placed on or just in front of the defender's position. The ability to acquire targets is degraded by a factor of about 75 percent when smoke is placed directly in front of the enemy. It is only about 25 percent effective in obscuring the enemy's view if placed on friendly forces. Vehicular smoke generators and smoke grenade launchers provide temporary protection, observation, and acquisition.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Due to the availability of breaching equipment (minerollers and plows) and the requirement for the infantry to conduct the assault in the trench line, task organization will be of specific importance to the brigade commander. He must allocate the right resources to the units with the specific missions of breaching obstacles en route to the position and the assault. Armor-heavy TFs are best suited for breaching obstacles en route, but balanced TFs are most effective in the assault. Infantry-heavy TFs can do either but must have augmentation for breaching operations.

Air Defense

Air defense elements will find it difficult to position themselves without exposing themselves to enemy direct fire. If the attack is shallow, air defense elements maybe able to cover the area from the relative safety of the FLOT. However, if this is not possible, the ADA assets accompany the TF. Some security may be possible if the ADA elements are positioned with the support-by-fire force.

Combat Service Support

Combat trains must position themselves as far forward as possible to support the attack. The combat trains may be able to take advantage of the security offered by another friendly force. The stationary force through which the TF passes may also assist in supporting CSS operations with evacuation and medical support. The MSR must be secured and maintained throughout the attack, and CSS elements must be prepared to move forward on order in support of the maneuver forces. The combat trains will not displace forward until the objective is secure; however, in deeper operations this may not be practicable.

Command and Control

Once the companies are committed to the fight, there is generally no turning back. A unit that attempts to withdraw after an unsuccessful attack is ripe for an enemy counterattack in addition to harassing fires. The commander must direct the attack against the enemy's most vulnerable area but keep in mind that this is not always a possibility. Deception becomes important, as the enemy must voluntarily weaken his position to commit forces to repulse an imminent attack elsewhere.

C2 of the deliberate attack requires the commander to move with the lead elements. He avoids becoming a part of the fight, as it will distinct him from the primary mission of commanding. He plans to be in position, which will allow him to assess the effectiveness of the support by tire force FS, and the TF maneuver.



It is critical for the S2 to collect detailed information about the enemy from higher, lower, and adjacent units. Sources of information include patrols, reconnaissance by fire, aerial photographs, prisoners, deserters, EW, radar, sensors, and other means. Information about terrain can be collected from many of these same sources. Leaders at ail levels should reconnoiter the actual terrain in daylight, and if the attack is to be conducted at night, they should look at it at night also. In the reconnaissance, special attention should be paid to finding--

  • Enemy armored vehicles (these will be dug in and camouflaged).

  • Enemy machine gun positions.

  • Enemy AT positions.

  • Enemy fortifications.

  • Location of enemy close-in protective fires (direct and indirect).

  • Obstacles.

  • Covered routes into or around the enemy position.

  • Positions from which direct-fire weapons can support the assault.

Small probing attacks will often be necessary to gain this information.


In preparation for the deliberate attack, the TF itself may be reorganized and will often change internal organization to optimize each company for the task it will be assigned. New units may be attached to or placed in support of the TF or the company teams. The commander carefully assigns and coordinates the missions of tank, mechanized infantry, CS, and CSS assets.

Tank and infantry teamwork during the approach. The commander welds the capabilities of infantry and tank units into one effort. His reconnaissance and rehearsal point to an effective course of action. Throughout the operation, he will consider the following relationships between tanks and infantry in the approach:

  • When possible, tanks lead the attacking formation to take maximum advantage of their capability for mounted combat.

  • It is desirable that the infantry remain mounted as long as possible so that--

-- Movements can be conducted at the speed of the tanks to close with and destroy the enemy.

-- The battlefield mobility of elements of both the tank and teams will be retained.

-- Casualties will be minimized in areas covered by small arms, mortar, and artillery fire.

-- Artillery airbursts can be employed over the attacking force.

-- The infantry can conserve energy to be better able to fight dismounted when needed.

  • Infantry normally dismount when it is necessary for them to--

-- Assist in the neutralization or destruction of AT weapons that are holding up the forward movement of the tanks and IFVs.

-- Lead an attack through heavily wooded areas or over very rough terrain.

-- Lead an attack across defended rivers that cannot be crossed by armored vehicles.

-- Take part in an attack through fortified areas or defended towns and villages that cannot be bypassed.

-- Assist the tanks' forward movement during certain conditions of low visibility and restricted fields of fire.

Mounted infantry.

  • Tank and mounted infantry elements are coordinated by task organizing. The brigade commander selects the task organization of his battalion task forces based on the missions each is to accomplish. Mounted infantry prepares to fight their vehicle as a member of the combat formation. IFVs are positioned according to the tactical situation. The commander considers the primary requirement of having the mechanized infantry readily available. He must also consider the vulnerability of the IFV to enemy fire.

-- When enemy interference is not anticipated, the IFVs will follow more closely behind the tanks.

-- When hostile AT fires are encountered, the location of the IFVs with relation to the tanks will depend partially on the type and caliber of the hostile AT weapons. If the enemy is equipped with only short-range AT weapons, such as rocket launchers, the IFVs may follow the tanks more closely than if the enemy were using long-range, high-velocity AT weapons.

-- The distance between tanks and IFVs must not become so great that mutual support between the tanks and mechanized infantry is lost.

-- In terrain affording numerous defilade positions, the mechanized infantry may follow the tanks more closely.

-- The IFVs may follow the tanks more closely under conditions of limited visibility.

  • The rate of advance of mounted infantry is based on the actions of the leading tank units.

-- When the tanks are advancing in mass, the following mounted infantry may advance in mass or by bounds. Mounted infantry moving by bounds stay behind the tanks and move forward rapidly from cover to cover as the advance of the tanks uncovers successive defilade positions.

-- When tanks are employing fire and movement, mounted infantry will move at the same rate, so as not to become separated by enemy fire.

Dismounted infantry.

  • When mechanized infantry is required to dismount, tanks, IFVs, and infantry operate close enough together to provide mutual support. The infantry may move between vehicles, or immediately to the rear of them. As the advance progresses, the relative position of tanks and infantry are adjusted according to the enemy resistance and the terrain. This permits close coordination and maximum mutual support but sacrifices speed, making the tanks more vulnerable to AT fire.

  • When terrain, obstacles, or enemy AT weapons restrict or stop the movement of the tanks but permit infantry to move forward, tanks may support by fire while the infantry advances. As conditions permit, the tanks should move forward, pass through the infantry, and lead the assault on the objective.

  • The IFVs should follow close enough behind infantry to be available when needed to continue the attack mounted or to assist in consolidation of the objective. They may move forward by bounds, or closely follow the attacking force and augment the fires of the tanks and infantry with their weapons.

The assault. The desired goal in the assault is to bring the maximum combat power of tanks, mechanized infantry, and suppressive fire to bear on the enemy simultaneously and to destroy him as rapidly as possible with minimum casualties to friendly forces. The assault on a defended position by tanks and mechanized infantry in coordination with the support team may take one of three forms:

  • Tanks and dismounted infantry assault in coordination (TF organization).

-- Regardless of the method of attack used to bring the force into the assault position, the assault is conducted as a coordinated effort. As the force approaches the objective, the objective is under heavy direct-and indirect-fire suppression from the support team. The tanks maintain their rate of advance and increase the volume of fire on the objective. As the tanks approach the objective, the IFVs move quickly to dismount positions to support the tanks. Fire from the support team is lifted and shifted as the tanks move on to the objective. Mortar and artillery fires are shifted to the flanks and far side of the objective to cut off enemy retreat or reinforcement. The commander determines when and where the mechanized infantry dismount, taking maximum advantage of defilade for the IFVs.

-- As the tanks continue their assault to the far side of the objective, the infantry follows and protects them by engaging infantry-type targets, including individual AT weapons and tank-killer teams. Coordination should be accomplished before the attack to maximize infantry support of tank elements during the assault. When possible, the weapons of the IFVs are used to support the assault. They are used to suppress adjoining enemy positions or are oriented to repel possible enemy counterattack. Riflemen use assault fire to close with the enemy. The shock effect of assaulting tanks and infantry is multiplied by rapid movement and heavy volume of fire. As the tanks arrive at the far edge of the objective, fire is directed on the enemy positions beyond the objective area. During the assault on an objective located on high ground, care must be taken to acquire and destroy enemy AT and automatic weapons sited on the reverse slope. These weapons are normally positioned to engage tanks and dismounted infantry as they crest the hill.

-- Once the assault team has cleared the objective, the IFVs may be moved forward to remount their squads for continuation of the attack, or to occupy defensive positions. They should be moved forward under control to avoid cruising to the objective searching for their squads. The following techniques may be employed to move IFVs forward under control:

+ Radio. The range and terrain of the transmitting station must be considered with respect to the position of the IFVs.

+ Messenger. A dismounted messenger may be sent to the position occupied by the carriers to guide them to their respective units. This is the slowest method and depends on a route clear of the enemy.

+Pyrotechnic devices. A pyrotechnic signal may be fired to indicate to drivers the time to move and the approximate location of the unit. This technique requires constant scanning of an area by the IFV crew members. Note: Any pyrotechnic observed by friendly forces is most likely also observed by the enemy.

  • Tanks and dismounted infantry assault mounted. In some situations, because of the nature of the terrain or of limited enemy resistance, it may be unnecessary to dismount the mechanized infantry. The decision to keep the infantry mounted is up to the local commander at the time. The mounted assault differs from the dismounted assault in the employment of supporting fires. In the mounted assault, integrated forces may assault the objective under cover of overhead artillery and mortar fire. Tanks and mounted mechanized infantry overrun the objective. If necessary, supporting fires may be shifted to isolate the objective, and mechanized infantry dismount, as required, to mop up.

  • Tanks support by fire. Terrain or obstacles may make it impossible for tracked vehicles to join in the assault. In this situation, dismounted infantry will conduct the assault, and tanks and IFVs will support by fire with full consideration given to the long-range and rapid rate of fire of the tank weapons and the precision and control with which these fires can be delivered. As soon as the situation permits, tanks and IFVs will rejoin the mechanized infantry, and if appropriate, again lead the attack.

Support team. The support team conducts reconnaissance to determine the best position to assist the breach and assault teams. Depending on the depth of the attack and the position of obstacles along the axis of advance, the support team may have to plan several locations to support the attack (for example, an initial position to support the breach, a second position to support the assault, and a third position to suppress enemy positions to the flank and rear of the objective). Each of these positions require the same in-depth direct-fire planning as a BP; however, the fire control (lifting and shifting of fires) will require coordination. The lifting and shifting of fires essentially occurs as a result of one out of two possibilities: on order or event driven. In the first case, regardless of the method used to transmit the instruction, the lifting and shifting of fires is executed on the command of the support team commander. In the second case, the maneuver will drive the action. For example, once the lead element crosses a particular terrain feature, the fires will be lifted and shifted.

Breach team. The breach team prepares for the deliberate attack by rehearsing breaching drills. Because their responsibility rests in penetrating the enemy defenses and fighting the aboveground battle, this will normally be a tank company equipped with minerollers and mine plows and/or augmented with combat engineer assets, such as ACE, MICLIC, CEV, and AVLB. The breach team must be prepared to execute the close-in breach without hesitation, because a loss in momentum could expose the force to enemy fire longer than necessary.

Using the situational template of the enemy position, for conducting rehearsals the breach team should construct a model or select terrain that is similar to the objective area. The breach team commander must next determine where the penetration of the enemy position should take place within the parameters of the TF commander's guidance, and how many lanes must be cleared for the assault. The greater the number of lanes, the faster the assaulting teams will be able to reach the enemy, and the less likely the teams are to pile up waiting to cross the obstacle. The breach team will then rehearse emplacing the lanes and fighting the aboveground battle.

Assault team. The assault team must rehearse its mission with the breach team; coordination between them is critical for success of the mission. The assault team is generally a mechanized infantry team that follows the success of the breach, enters the enemy trench line, and fights the belowground battle. IFVs serve a multiple role: they protect the tanks from enemy dismounts, assist in suppressing enemy positions in depth, support the dismounts in clearing the trench line, and possibly defend the position for enemy reinforcement or counterattack. Missions must be identified and rehearsed before execution. The assault team rehearses alone first. It then rehearses with the breach team to finalize coordination and ensure that both teams know what the other is doing.

The TF maneuver plan must be rehearsed to avoid confusion at an obstacle or on the objective. The entire TF slice should rehearse its mission in preparation for the attack. Remember that the execution may not happen exactly as planned, but it is a common, understood point from which FRAGOs may be given. In an operation this complex, rehearsals and coordination are essential.

Fire Support

First, the TF commander verifies that the DS artillery and mortars will be able to accomplish their mission with both target effect and duration. (Ammunition on hand may prevent portions of the TF plan from occurring if CSS operations were not given advance warning.) Second, the commander ensures the FS plan adequately suppresses, isolates, and blinds the enemy forces in and about the objective area. This should be checked during the rehearsal, as line-of-sight or duration may need to be modified.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The breach team prepares for the deliberate attack by rehearsing breaching operations. For example, if the TF is having difficulty penetrating the close-in obstacles, how should the engineer augmentation best be used to succeed? Contingency planning is a part of rehearsals so that leaders under fire can issue timely FRAGOs. Signals and quick execution code words assist in speeding the response time of the subordinate elements.

Air Defense

There are essentially three phases of the attack in which the air defense assets may have to modify their disposition: passage of lines, movement to the position, and actions on the objective. The commander ensures that his task organization adequately protects the TF main effort throughout the operation.

Combat Service Support

A CSS rehearsal prevents confusion. The S4's support plan must be executed with minimal instruction. Event-driven actions are the best. For example, once the TF reaches PL Blue, the combat trains jump, and UMCP/LRP locations are moved by the phase of the operation. CSS elements must anticipate possible emergency resupply or evacuation requirements. Push packages must be prepared and ready to respond, especially during critical phases of the operation.

Command and Control

The TF commander's greatest challenge in preparing for the deliberate attack is ensuring that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. The TF key players need to walk through the mission slowly, explaining their actions every step of the way. After it is clear that each member of the TF understands his mission, the rehearsal should be conducted faster with minimal guidance, and then at actual speed with no guidance. Contingency plans are discussed and rehearsed if possible; but this must be done carefully so as not to confuse the TF players. The TF commander must have contingency instructions prepared in advance. Any aid that will save time in deciding on a course of action will give more time to make an assessment, and will give company teams more time to execute a new mission.



The S2 will orient his efforts toward the enemy's reactions. The repositioning of enemy forces and commitment of a reserve or counterattack must concern the S2. He ensures the scouts arc positioned to provide early warning to the TF and observe NAIs. Current information concerning enemy actions must be transmitted to the TF commander so that he will not create vulnerabilities and so that it can be used to exploit advantages.


The following example will examine the execution of the deliberate attack from approach to consolidation.

The approach. The support team will provide both direct and indirect suppressive fires to the objective. Obscurants will be used to isolate the position from the observation and influence of adjoining positions. The suppressive fires will degrade the enemy's ability to observe the attack. Once the support team has sufficiently suppressed the enemy force, the breach team will move forward (see Figure 3-60).

The breach team will initially protect the breaching assets, such as mineplows, minerollers, ACEs and MICLICs. It must be prepared to cross the enemy's EAs and negotiate obstacles situated to exploit handheld AT weapons. Due to the doctrinal disposition of Soviet-type forces, the ability to launch an attack against the flank of a strongpoint in the main defensive area is doubtful. The breach commander must expect to receive enfilade fire from adjoining positions at ranges of 400 meters to 600 meters, as well as fire from the defensive position. It is the responsibility of the support team to prevent as much enemy fire as possible from being effective. If the enemy has adopted a reverse slope position, it may be impossible to establish an effective direct-fire base. Extensive reconnaissance may guide to the best point of attack, but freedom of maneuver will be very restricted.

The penetration (see Figure 3-61). Prior reconnaissance should have identified protective obstacles, but good enemy camouflage or a reverse slope position may prevent knowing their exact size, location, and complexity. The breach team commander must be prepared to breach obstacles even when they are not apparent.

The breach team is organized into a breach element and a support element. The breach element has ACEs with MICLICs, AVLBs, CEVs and a tank platoon in which all plows and minerollers are consolidated. The maximum cross-country speed of a tank equipped with a roller is 5 to 10 kph, and the commander must take this into account when planning the breach. This is important when considering the amount of exposure time in the enemy EA. Tanks equipped with the mineplow can travel at normal speeds until the plow is lowered, then their speed is reduced to 15 kph.

The support element consists of the remaining two tank platoons which have the mission of protecting the breach element, with direct-fire support as lanes are created in the enemy protective minefields. The commander remembers to continue to integrate the combat support arms in the execution of the breach. Smoke on the obstacle and suppression of likely enemy locations is maintained. Air defense assets will also be positioned on the far side of the obstacle after the breach.

The breach element moves forward to the minefield, with minerollers leading to identify the leading edge of the minefield. ACEs with MICLICs will follow the rollers and, once the edge is identified, will move forward and fire their MICLIC to create a lane. Mineplows will then proof the lanes created by the MICLIC. The plow tanks maintain dispersion so as not to become a lucrative target, yet close enough that they can support one another with direct fire. The remaining tank platoons will provide close-in direct-fire support, suppressing enemy elements attempting to defeat the breach.

Other assets follow to support the breach. For example, if one mineroller is destroyed, a mineplow moves forward and completes the breach. In this manner, two lanes are created in the enemy protective minefield, allowing the support teams and follow-on forces to move with little degradation of movement.

At this point, the breach commander is the commander closest to the enemy. His reports are vital to the TF. He and his FIST are in the best position to call and adjust suppressive fires on the objective. He should provide the TF commander with as much information about positions as the situation will allow.

The assault (see Figure 3-62). The breach team will continue to penetrate enemy defenses. The plow tanks will lead, eliminating wire obstacles and suppressing the enemy trench line, while the support tanks move on line. When a plow tank leads through wire obstacles, however, there is a chance that the plow's wiring harness will be damaged. The assault team (Bradley company) will follow closely behind the tanks to contribute suppression and protect the tanks from dismounted infantry.

Indirect fires should be lifted at the last possible moment so the enemy will not have time to recover from the effects of the suppressive artillery and mortar fire. Ideally, a continuous rate of effective fire should be placed on the enemy so he is unable to respond to the assault. Once indirect fire is shifted it is used to suppress those enemy positions that are of the greatest threat to the attack. Smoke will continue to isolate the position from enemy observation.

Once the assault team has joined the breach team on the objective, the Bradleys will move on line with the tanks and suppress the trench line. The tanks will also continue to suppress the trench line, while others search for AT systems, such as tanks, BMPs, BTRs, and ATGMs. The vehicles will stop as close to the trench line as possible without forfeiting the effectiveness of their weapon systems in suppressing the trench line; that is about 15 meters for the Bradley and 10 meters for a tank. The Bradleys should attempt to identify and destroy the prepared enemy firing positions (see Figure 3-63).

At this point, the platoon leader or company commander will give the command to drop romps and begin the assault. The infantry will dismount ensuring that the three-man assault teams are the first to leave the track. It is highly probable that the assault team will begin to receive enemy artillery once on the objective; therefore, it is important that the infantry get into the trenches as quickly as possible (see Figure 3-64).

Fighting through.

The aboveground battle. Once the tanks have penetrated the enemy defensive position and the infantry has entered the trench line, the tanks will move forward to destroy AT systems. Target priority outside of immediate threat should be: tanks, IFVs to include mobile AT systems, other heavy weapon systems, bunkers, and man portable AT systems. Some tanks may be used to support the infantry, but only when the infantry cannot destroy the target.

The primary concern of the tank company commander fighting the aboveground battle is fire from adjacent and depth positions and the imminent counterattack. Therefore he must destroy lethal targets on the position as quickly as possible while tasking a platoon or two to orient on those known or suspected positions from which fire can be brought to bear against the attack (see Figure 3-65). Ultimately, the position must be secured and the tanks positioned to cover the enemy counterattack avenues of approach (see Figure 3-66). This may include both mounted and dismounted avenues of approach until the infantry have completed clearing the trench line and can prepare defensive positions oriented on the dismounted avenue of approach.

The belowground battle. To ease control of the operation, the company commander will normally designate a single entry point from which to operate. Assault teams will clear the trench line in a methodical manner, for example, envelop the enemy and work in, move straight to the enemy CP and work out, or move from front to rear. The actual conduct will be determined by the intelligence received from the S2. The company commander will monitor the progress of the belowground battle as assault teams mark their positions periodically.

IFVs will accompany the assault teams providing suppression when appropriate. The remaining IFVs will help the tanks fight the aboveground battle by suppressing adjoining enemy positions and using the TOW launcher to defeat enemy mounted counterattack.

Uncommitted elements. Uncommitted platoons form supply lines and continue to feed ammunition and replacement personnel forward along cleared sections of the trench line. As they work their way forward, following platoons can replace assault platoon members at securing sites, junctions, and bunkers, allowing them to rejoin their forward assault teams. The company commander may also commit the follow-on platoon to a bypassed trench line should the situation warrant.

Consolidation. Consolidation is conducted as the fight through is still in progress. If the aboveground or belowground battle is over, the infantry or tanks begin preparations to meet enemy counterattacks. When the threat from within the position is eliminated, a hasty defense is achieved and the attacking force is ready to receive a new task when consolidation is complete. The best task to give an attacking force is to assist in the forward passage of follow-on elements. The infantry will either stay in the captured enemy trenches or mount up to move to the next defendable terrain. They must be protected from the enemy artillery fire that would follow the attack. Digging new positions forward of the old enemy position is not a viable option given the threat of indirect fire.

Fire Support

The goal of the commander is to lift the suppression from the objective at the last possible moment, which allows the tanks to arrive on the enemy, without a break between indirect-and direct-fire suppression. The isolation of the objective prevents the assault team from being engaged from enemy in adjoining positions. Company team FISTs are responsible for adjusting this suppression. The support team is not in the best position to adjust artillery accurately in depth.

Mortars stay forward, prepared to fire smoke missions throughout the operation. Once the objective is secure, the mortars should move quickly to position themselves in support of the hasty defense.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers are prepared to conduct deliberate and hasty breaches in the operation. Once on the objective, hasty protective minefields are emplaced. Lanes through obstacles are widened and more permanently marked so follow-and-support forces can reduce the obstacle.

Air Defense

Once the objective is secured, ADA assets will position themselves to orient on the most dangerous air avenues of approach. Despite the enemy's possible inability to counterattack with ground forces, the enemy's air threat may still be a viable alternative.

Combat Service Support

The combat trains' CP monitors the battle, anticipating support requirements and adjusting the CSS plan. LOGPACs are prepared to conduct immediate resupply of the maneuver elements. Vehicles, lightly wounded personnel returned to duty, or replacements accompany the LOGPACs to the units.

Command and Control

The C2 problems associated with coordinating the aboveground and belowground battles are such that they are fought by pure units. The commander positions himself in the best position to observe the battle, commit the reserves, and react to events. That means he will be aboveground, where he can provide direction to company commanders. He remains detached from actual fighting so that he can assess the situation and act accordingly. It is easy to become fixated on the action in the objective, but the commander must be thinking about the next action, whether it be a hasty defense or exploitation.

Follow and Support

Follow-and-support forces are employed in exploitation and pursuit operations to maintain the momentum of the attack. They are also used in a penetration. A force with a follow-and-support mission is a committed unit.



When given a follow-and-support mission, the S2 undergoes the same IPB process as the lead TF S2. The follow-and-support force may have to take over the mission of the lead battalion, and there will not be time to conduct staff planning. In addition to IPB, the S2 of the follow-and-support force must monitor the activities of the lead battalion as it conducts its mission.


The tasks given to the follow-and-support force are unknown until the situation is developed. The TF can expect to destroy pockets of resistance that were bypassed by the lead battalion. Additional tasks, such as secure flanks of a penetration, will arise as the consequences of the overall operation. As a result, the commander must maintain flexibility. The formation selected is similar to a movement to contact. Modifications are made based on the enemy situation or tasks required of the follow-and-support force. For example, if it is a requirement to secure LOCs, the TF may have to travel on multiple axes. Other missions, such as secure key terrain or protect key installations, have the potential to fragment the TF, a balance must be struck between maneuver tasks and the capability to support stationary tasks. Keep in mind that the lead TF may be separating from the follow-and-support force, which makes the brigade vulnerable to enemy counterattack.

Fire Support

FS planning is conducted the same as for the offense. The lead battalion has priority of fires in the brigade. When destruction of a bypassed enemy position is required, the mortar platoon is in the best position to respond. They should travel behind the lead company.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineer planning for the TF follow and support mission is oriented toward every type mission except survivability. The engineers conduct road maintenance and obstacle reduction, and emplace obstacles along threatening flank avenues of approach. A different engineer unit will conduct each of these missions, but will report the status of each operation to the TF engineer representative.

Air Defense

Air defense assets will usually be task organized to provide support to specific maneuver elements (for example, the Vulcan platoon will move with and protect the TF main CP). Priority of protection, warning status, and weapons control status are issued. ADA assets must also be prepared to protect point targets. Choke points along the LOCs, key terrain features, and installations require ADA support.

Combat Service Support

The S4 must pay special attention to the location, duration, and nature of each task given to the TF. As the TF accomplishes each of these missions, support requirements change. EPWs, refugee control, and casualty collection management pose further problems to the S1. Throughout the entire operation, the CSS system must be prepared to assist the lead element with evacuation and transportation as available. CSS operations of the follow and support force must address the lead battalion requirements, internal TF requirements, and external requirements, such as refugees.

Command and Control

The greatest problem in a follow and support mission is balancing resources against tasks. The commander must obtain clear guidance from the brigade commander concerning the TF's responsibilities. He must ensure that the follow and support force maintains pace with the lead battalion and stays abreast of the situation. To accomplish this, he can collocate his TAC CP with the lead battalion's CP.



The S2 prepares by obtaining the latest enemy information from the battalion in contact and the brigade S2. All known positions are plotted, and likely positions are templated. Of concern is the enemy's will to fight. This will impact on the TF's ability to destroy or capture bypassed enemy elements. The S2 must coordinate with brigade S2 for interrogation support.


The TF commander will rank order his task list. Those tasks considered most important will be rehearsed, for example, the handover of fixed and bypassed enemy. The primary maneuver formation for the movement to contact will be rehearsed so each TF member understands his position and area of responsibility. Choke points or other areas that cause the TF to change formation are identified.

Fire Support

Preparation of the FS plan will be the same as for a movement to contact; however, the mortars will probably receive most of the missions because the DS artillery will be supporting the lead battalion. The mortars should travel behind the lead company team. They suppress the bypassed enemy and provide support to the assault team.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Those engineer assets task-organized to a company team will conduct necessary rehearsals, such as hasty breaches. The TF engineer will coordinate with the S3 to ensure engineer operations are tracked throughout the depth of the axis. It is important that once an engineer element completes a task, it knows where to link up with a TF representative.

Air Defense

The preparation of the air defense plan will occur as it would for a movement to contact. Particular danger areas will be plotted and marked for temporary area coverage. Route security takes on importance as the TF travels deeper into the enemy rear area.

Combat Service Support

Stretched supply lines may present increased problems as support requirements increase. The battalion S4 must ensure that the main CP is periodically apprised of the support situation.

Command and Control

The commander establishes liaison with the lead battalion and effects exchange of information. The follow-and-support force will receive information regarding the enemy situation, and the lead battalion will receive information concerning the follow-and-support force capability to support the operation. An example of the types of information the follow-and-support force is likely to provide include the following: speed at which they will be able to travel, size and number of bypassed enemy elements they can destroy, length of the LOCs that can be secured, and ability to provide CSS assistance to the lead battalion.



The S2 monitors the OI net of the lead battalion and the brigade. Attention is directed toward enemy elements being fixed and bypassed. The S2 will obtain as much information as possible about these elements and ensure that it is relayed to the TF S3. The S2 will identify the enemy's exploitable weaknesses. He will also monitor the situation of each enemy element until the assault force reports that the enemy has been captured or destroyed.

In addition to bypassed enemy that the follow-and-support force faces, the S2 keeps abreast of the enemy situation before the lead battalion because the follow-and-support force may be called on to take the lead.


The tasks of the follow-and-support force will be on call, since this type of operation usually follows an exploitation or pursuit. The most likely task will be the destruction of bypassed enemy pockets of resistance. The following example demonstrates how the follow--and--support force accomplishes this task.


The lead battalion will identify a force that should be fixed, bypassed, and handed over to the follow-and-support force. Information about the enemy is reported by the fixing force to the lead battalion CP, from where it is relayed to the follow-and-support force S2 (see Figure 3-67).

Once the enemy location is plotted, the commander issues a FRAGO to destroy the enemy position. The scout platoon will generally be the first to arrive at the position and receive information from the fixing force. Next the scout platoon will reconnoiter the position to ensure that the enemy does not have an escape route. In the meantime, the mortar platoon will register its tubes on the enemy location, in an effort to keep the enemy fixed.

In this example, the bypassed enemy was a depleted platoon; therefore, a company team was given the mission to destroy it (see Figure 3-68). As the company team arrives at the location, the company commander coordinates with the fixing force commander, scout platoon leader, and mortar platoon leader. Once all information is exchanged, the fixing force is released to rejoin its parent battalion. The company team commander then conducts an attack against the enemy position.

Fire Support

The FS plan will probably not be executed unless the follow-and-support element is given the mission to replace the lead battalion, so most fire missions will be on call. As in the previous example, the company team FSO will adjust indirect fires to suppress the enemy in support of the attack. Most likely, these will be exclusively mortar fire unless the size and disposition of the enemy requires otherwise.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineer assets that are attached to the assault force must be prepared to conduct hasty breaches in support of the assault. The remaining engineer elements will improve the trafficability of the road network and reduce obstacles that have been breached by the lead forces. There probably will not be enough time for a 100 percent solution, or the engineers, the follow-and-support force, and the lead battalion could become separated.

Air Defense

Air defense assets will accompany the TF as they would in a movement to contact. In addition to providing point target protection as required, ADA assets must be prepared to provide protection to those maneuver elements conducting the assault against bypassed enemy forces. As the TF fragments to accomplish its assigned tasks, the major concern of the air defense commander will be that the air defense umbrella will have to be large enough to protect the force while extending itself as the follow-and-support force maneuvers deeper into the enemy's rear area.

Combat Service Support

CSS operations will be executed as they would for any offensive operation, with the combat trains CP jumping periodically, aid stations moving in echelon, and LRP/UMCPs activated on order to support the TF's maneuver. EPW and refugee evacuation must be on routes separate from the MSR. Ambulance exchange points should be established to assist the lead battalion with its evacuation of wounded. Likewise, our own TF aid station may be able to assist in the treatment of some of the lead battalion's casualties. CSS assets must also be prepared to move laterally to perform other tasks within the TF area of operations.

Command and Control

Throughout the operation, the TF commander must monitor several operations simultaneously. He must be knowledgeable of the situation facing the lead battalion (he may want to locate with their CP), and he must ensure that his assets do not become parceled out to the point that the follow-and-support force loses its integrity. Generally, the TF CP will manage all of its given tasks, freeing the commander to concentrate on those tasks he feels are essential and to look toward future operations.


Threat Defensive Doctrine

The mission of defending forces is to repel offensive operations launched by superior enemy forces, inflict significant losses on them, and hold specific points or areas on the ground. Once the attacker sustains significant losses in men and equipment, the defenders revert to the offensive.


Whether BMP- or BTR-equipped, the Soviet-style platoon will have three squad vehicles with the same individual weapons configuration (see Figure 3-69).

How the Threat Defends

Principles of the Defense

Success in defensive operations is predicated on two interdependent principles, which are stability and aggressiveness.

Stability. Stability in defensive operations is the ability to withstand enemy strikes using all types of weapons, repulse attacks by superior enemy forces, prevent the landing and operations of airborne/air assault forces, hold important areas, and eliminate enemy elements upon penetration.

Defending units are not authorized to abandon their positions and withdraw without orders from the senior commander. They must be prepared to operate when isolated, encircled, or cut off.

Aggressiveness. Aggressiveness is the ability to deliver continuous strikes with all resources against the attacker, imposing one's will on the enemy, creating conditions unfavorable to him, conducting maneuver, and counterattacking. This means that the defense is organized in enough depth to provide maximum firepower and freedom of internal movement and maneuver.

Siting and Frontages

The following two factors predominate siting decisions:

  • A defense is always prepared for operations in a nuclear environment. This means increased dispersal, perhaps with reduced mutual support, and a requirement for units to fight autonomously.

  • Ground is of extreme importance, and every possible advantage must be squeezed out of it.

Siting factors.

Dispersion and depth. Ideal positions are dispersed so that a nuclear strike destroys only one platoon. A battalion will defend in two echelons, with a second echelon of one company. Companies and platoons are deployed in one echelon. On adverse terrain, such as plains and steppes, a battalion defends in one echelon. On terrain the attacker finds difficult, the defense is broadened frontally and reduced in depth. Gaps between companies increase, but gaps between platoons do not.

Deception. The location and size of the defense must be concealed. Methods include--

  • Use of dummy positions.

  • Use of alternate positions.

  • Camouflage and communications security.

  • Use of forward positions/battle outposts.

  • Use of terrain, especially reverse slopes.

  • Use of active reconnaissance and patrolling to deny the enemy the ability to reconnoiter the position.

Direct-fire planning. Positions are sited to use organic weapons at their maximum effective ranges. This suggests the use of forward slopes, commanding heights, and so forth. Soviet-style leaders recognize the dangers for doing so and state "the advantages and disadvantages of setting up defenses on commanding heights (forward slopes) must be evaluated in every case." Reverse slopes will often be preferable since they facilitate surprise counterattacks.

Use of natural obstacles. The use of natural obstacles is stressed to slow the advance and canalize the enemy. It is common practice to choose lines of defense that lie behind water obstacles, swamps, ravines, various types of defiles, and other obstacles so that these obstacles are under constant observation and fire from the defending force.

Frontages. Guidelines for defensive frontages are just that--guidelines. The following measurements should be used as just planning guidance. In siting a defense, key factors which will increase or reduce these measurements include, in priority--

  • Nature of the terrain.

  • Time available to defenders to prepare positions.

  • Estimated size, strength, and intentions of enemy forces.

Battalion Defense

A battalion defends in an area that is 3 to 5 kilometers wide and up to 3 kilometers deep. It is in two echelons. The interval between the two first-echelon companies and the depth company is approximately 500 meters. In Soviet-style doctrine a two-echelon battalion defense is preferable, but circumstances can dictate a single-echelon deployment.

Company defense. A company position is planned up to 1,500 meters wide and 1,000 meters deep. The interval between company positions is from 500 meters to 1,000 meters.

Platoon defense. A platoon position is 300 meters wide and 300 meters deep. Intervals between adjacent platoons can be up to 300 meters. The platoon defends in one echelon.

Section/squad defense. An MR section/MR squad defends as part of a platoon and occupies a frontage of up to 100 meters. If the section trenches are not interconnected, intervals between them are normally 50 meters but can extend up to 150 meters.

Calculating frontages. The Soviets treat frontage measurements as guidelines. Frontages and depths vary at all tactical levels. Terrain will dictate deployment in the defense. The lieutenant knows that a platoon in the defense is assigned a strongpoint 400 meters wide and 300 meters deep. In sizing up the situation, he concludes that his platoon can defend a frontage of up to 500 meters. If the platoon leader ignores the advantages of terrain and restricts himself to textbook dimensions, he wastes time and effort in defensive fortifications and winds up with less effective defensive fires.

Trench Works

Key to an undemanding of a Soviet-style defense is an appreciation of trench system designs. With the advent of IFVs, continuous trench lines are now only at platoon and company level.

Section trenches. The MR section/MR squad typically has a continuous trench line extending up to 100 meters along its front. Within this trench line, section members occupy a 30 meters' wide section of the trench. The remainder of the trench and the communications trench to the rear contain alternate firing positions and ammunition recesses. Soviet-style leaders believe that preparing and equipping the unoccupied areas of the trench allows the section to maneuver along the front and depth of the position (see Figure 3-70).

The platoon trench system. Within the platoon position, the three section trenches may be connected or there may be gaps (usually of 50 meters, but up to 150 meters) between section trenches. In the depth and flanks of the position, fall-back positions will be prepared for the three sections and their vehicles. Each platoon position will have a communication trench 110 meters deep that extends from the main trench line rearward toward the platoon commander's COP (see Figure 3-71).

Guidelines for positioning section/platoon defenses are addressed in the following paragraphs

The section occupies a frontage of 100 meters, and mans a 30-meter-wide section of trench. The BMP/BTR firing positions are set up inside, behind, or on the flank of the section trench. Alternate IFV fighting positions are set up. IFV positions are chosen on slopes, behind elevations, or behind cover so the enemy is continuously observed and engaged at maximum ranges. The section locates trenches for its IFV and weapons using existing terrain features, such as rivers, streams, ditches, buildings, and so forth. The section must be able to engage the enemy at maximum ranges without dead ground/concealed areas within 400 meters to 500 meters of the position.

The platoon strongpoint should be on advantageous terrain, built up using engineer assets and adapted for all-around defense. It must meet the following requirements:

  • Personnel must be able to engage enemy forces frontally and on the flanks to the full effective range of the platoons weapons.

  • Sections are sited to provide mutual support, flanking fires, and cross fires.

  • The terrain must be exploited to the maximum extent to conduct AT, antiarmor, and antihelicopter fires.

  • The position must be developed to the extent that personnel are protected against nuclear or incendiary (Napalm/FAE) attack.

Construction Sequence

Orders of work from shell scrape to full overhead cover have been established. The sequence for preparing the defense follows:

First order of work:

  • Observation and firing sectors are cleared of debris/obscuration.

  • Individual trenches or two-man trenches (foxholes) for crew-sewed weapons are dug (see Figure 3-71 for the section-level first order of work).

  • COPs are prepared.

  • Primary and secondary positions for IFVs are established.

  • One open shelter is prepared for each platoon.

  • Positions are camouflaged.

Second order of work (see Figure 3-72):

  • Individual trenches are combined into section/squad trenches.

  • Secondary positions are prepared for heavy/crew-served weapons.

  • Communication trenches are dug to the primary fighting positions and to the shelters (dugouts).

  • Cover is prepared for vehicles, ammunition, and supplies.

  • One covered slit trench or dugout is prepared for each vehicle.

Third order of work (see Figure 3-73):

  • Section trenches are interconnected into a continuous platoon or company trench system.

  • Communication trenches to the rear are dug, first to 0.6 meter deep, then 1.1 meters.

  • Fighting and communications trenches are fully equipped. They have attached and individual foxholes, machine gun emplacements, recesses for ammunition, and some parts of the trench system are covered. Figure 3-74 shows a completed trench work.

Platoon Positions

Fortified, reinforced MRP strongpoints. Construction requires 840 man-hours or 21 machine hours, excavation of 1,540 cubic meters of soil, 45 cubic meters of wood, and 135 kilograms of wire. Construction of revetments in the slopes requires 350 man-hours, 20 cubic meters of wood, and 120 kilograms of wire (see Figure 3-75).

Personnel shelters/dugouts (see Figure 3-76). These are constructed to protect personnel during enemy air or artillery attack. They are usually connected to a section fighting trench or to a communication trench.

Individual rifleman trench (see Figure 3-77). Each MR section consists of nine men, two of which (the driver and gunner) remain with the IFV. Within the trench itself there are firing positions for the machine gunner, the grenadier and his assistant, and three or four riflemen.

Preparation requires removal of 2.4 cubic meters of soil, 8.5 man-hours using an infantry shovel, 6 man-hours using an engineer shovel, 0.4 cubic meter of logs, and 14.5 meters of barbed wire.

Position for two riflemen (see Figure 3-78). Construction requires removal of 3.8 cubic meters of soil, 11 man-hours using an infantry shovel, 8 man-hours using an engineer shovel, 0.7 cubic meter of logs, and 14.5 meters of barbed wire.

Machine gun position (see Figure 3-79). There is normally one machine gun position perfection. Each position requires removal of 3.3 cubic meters of soil, 10 man-hours using an infantry shovel, 7 hours with an engineer shovel, 0.4 cubic meter of logs, and 14.5 meters of wire.

Grenade launcher position. (see Figure 3-80). This is usually a single, two-man grenade launcher position within a section trench.

Uncovered platoon commander's observation post. (See Figure 3-81.) This position requires excavation of 4.6 cubic meters of soil, 7.5 man-hours using an infantry shovel, and 5 man-hours using an engineer shovel.

Infantry fighting vehicle trench (see Figure 3-82). The IFV is occupied by the driver and gunner and, on occasion, the section commander. The latter normally fights the battle from the center of his section's trench line. Construction of a trench without shelter requires removal of 48 meters of soil and expenditure of 65 man-hours using engineer shovels.

NOTE: For a BTR-60P, a revetment is not constricted in the firing sector.

Obstacle Plans

Protective minefields. Minefields are AP, AT, or mixed. They are laid mechanically or by hand, and are surface laid or buried. Within a defended area, they are marked (fenced). Outside the defended area they are not marked. A protective minefield is covered by direct fire, located near the fire sack and astride the most likely enemy avenue of approach. Minefields are used in conjunction with other obstacles to canalize the attacker into fire sacks. Size, density and characteristics of protective minefields vary according to--

  • Time available.

  • Equipment available.

  • Estimates of the enemy, axis, and ground.

  • Characteristics of available mines.

The length of a minefield varies. No standard template for a platoon defensive minefield can be produced. Figure 3-83 shows a sketch of an antitank minefield.

A formula is used to determine minefield size, density, and kill probabilities. Typical mine outlays per kilometer of front are--

  • Antipersonnel. PMN, PMD-6 (HE), 2,000 to 3,000; OZM-4, POMZ-2M, 100 to 300.

  • Antitank. Antitrack mines, 500 to 750; antihull mines, 300 to 400.

Mixed minefields are regarded as the primary type of obstacle in contemporary warfare. They are established in front of defended positions. Mixed minefields consist of TM-62 AT mines and PMN AP mines. The minefield has four rows of AT mines. Around each AT mine are clustered three AP mines. Other characteristics include the following:

  • Four straight parallel mine rows offset by one lateral pace (1 meter).

  • AT mines are buried and AP mines are camouflaged or buried.

  • Distance between each AT mine in a row is 4 meters.

  • Intervals between rows are 10 to 15 meters.

Other obstacles. In addition to minefield, nonexplosive obstacles are used extensively. These include--

  • Escarpments and counterscarps (15 to 45 degrees).

  • Dragons teeth.

  • Timber/ice barriers.

  • Wire.

-- Wire entanglements with short or long pickets.

-- Wire fences.

-- Trip-wire entanglements.

-- Snares and barbed wire entanglements.

Nonexplosive AT personnel obstacles are used independently or in conjunction with minefields. For example, AT and AP mines are often set up on the approaches to AT ditches or dragons teeth to increase the difficulty of crossing.

Camouflage. Camouflage is designed to conceal the actual disposition, composition, and activity of platoons, fortifications, and obstacles from all types of enemy reconnaissance. The basic camouflage missions include--

  • Concealing the position so it cannot be detected.

  • Establishing dummy positions to lure the enemy into an attack, harmless to the defenders.

  • Concealing signature of a target to misrepresent it or camouflage it under another objective that is not of value to the enemy. For example, conceal a PMP bridge across a river by siting it under a destroyed bridge.

The primary clues to the positions of trenches and fortifications are breastworks, fresh earth thrown around, the dark color of firing ports and entrances into fortifications, and paths connecting trenches to fortifications.

To conceal fighting and communications trenches in terrain with grassy cover, breastworks and rear parapets are turfed, the grass is scattered, and the ditch is covered with branches. Vertical trench camouflaging is set on the trench parapet. Loopholes and observation slits are also covered with vertical camouflage. Machine gun pits and foxholes are covered with camouflage set upon pickets or wire arches. In open terrain, trenches are hidden by covering them with camouflage and by digging dummy trenches.

COPs are set up in locations with natural camouflage. When they are positioned in open terrain, the observation top, the viewing slits, and the communications trench cul-de-sacs are camouflaged. Observation structures are camouflaged under terrain features. Radio antennas are painted protective colors, and cable lines are laid along existing lines and embankments conforming to the terrain pattern.

Camouflage sets are usually used to conceal tanks and self-propelled guns. When material is not available, tanks in cover are concealed with camouflage prepared by piling local materials onto a wire or pole frame. Emplacements for direct-fire weapons are concealed from enemy land observation with vertical and inclined camouflaging constructed from standard camouflage sets and local materials.

Minefields and wire obstacles are camouflaged by selecting locations by terrain characteristics. When a minefield is in a meadow, the turf over the hole is carefully cut and removed. After the mine has been placed, the turf is replaced and the grassy surface is restored. Packing, markers, and stakes are removed from the mined areas, and traces of the mining are concealed.

Roads and cross-country tracks in deployment and defensive areas are usually built behind natural concealment. Approaches to the firing positions and individual fortifications are concealed by piling up removable camouflage covering or putting up local materials.

To camouflage weapon systems, all weapons and fortifications for them conform to terrain that maximizes use of natural concealment. When weapon systems are deployed in open terrain, they are carefully concealed with standard camouflaging and local materials; secondary, temporary, and dummy firing positions are also set up.

The primary engineer measures in imitating platoon dispositions include preparing dummy deployment areas and dummy positions, and false vital activity. Dummy strongpoints, defensive areas and artillery firing positions, are built at the same time as actual positions. Dummy strongpoints are set up in elevated areas, on the outskirts of forests, and in other exposed sections of terrain. Entrenchments and other fortifications are built in dummy strongpoints and dummy artillery firing positions. Dugouts are prepared to protect personnel in the dummy command, and emplacements are prepared for their combat equipment.

It is extremely difficult to camouflage units, especially combat equipment, in open terrain. All local terrain features and relief folds of the background are used.

If the terrain is of one color and has no features, camouflaging is accomplished by artificially marking the terrain. Emplacements, dugouts, and other fortifications are built directly on these blemishes and are camouflaged under them. The breastworks are given altered shapes to distort the appearance of one type of fortification constructed at different points in the same position.

It is commonly believed that it is best to assign areas for deployment (concentration) in winter, in thick coniferous forests, or predominantly coniferous mixed forests. Small populated areas should also be occupied. Winter camouflage sets, various local materials, and especially snow are used for camouflage. White camouflage uniforms are often used by personnel.

Conduct of a Motorized Rifle Platoon Defense

After receiving the order to go into the defense under direct enemy pressure, the platoon commander gives his sections the mission of taking up positions. He organizes OPs and develops a fire plan with targets in front of the position, to the flanks, and in the rear. He also establishes priorities for engineer work. In the combat order, the platoon commander indicates--

  • Section missions, their primary and secondary sectors of fire, firing positions for combat vehicles, and their primary and secondary sectors of fire.

  • Areas where platoon fire is to be concentrated, which weapons will cover gaps between adjacent units and the flanks, and the sequence of occupying positions.

  • The time for completing engineer work and camouflaging.

In addition, the platoon commander determines the sequence for destroying enemy infantry and tanks in front of the forward edge in the event the enemy breaks through, and on the flanks and rear. He establishes signals for target designation, coordinates actions with adjacent units employed in the area, and indicates the sequence for servicing vehicles.

The fire plan is based on the close mutual support of all weapon types combined with engineer barriers and natural obstacles. All obstacles and their approaches must be for flanking and crossing fires and all-around defense. The fire plan is ready when all weapons have occupied their positions, the ammunition is broken out, and data is prepared.

The platoon commander's COP is equipped as a strongpoint close to the commander's combat vehicle. He must be able to see the terrain in front of the forward edge of the defense, on the flanks, and across the whole platoon defensive position.

Attacks by combat helicopters and low-flying airplanes are repelled by concentrated platoon fire. When the enemy closes, he is hit by all platoon weapons at maximum rate of fire. The first destroyed are tanks and combat vehicles. The infantry is cut off from the tanks and destroyed by infantry weapons.

Tanks and combat vehicles that break into the platoon strongpoint are destroyed by AT weapons. Infantry are hit with grenades and destroyed by hand-to-hand combat. If the enemy bypasses the strongpoint, the platoon maintains an all-around defense and continues to hold the strongpoint. If the enemy attack is repulsed, the platoon commander concentrates fire on the enemy attacking adjacent units. For night battles the platoon commander organizes the preparation of weapons and devices for night firing, and stakes the primary direction of fire for AT weapons without nightsights.

Conduct of a Tank Platoon Defense


The tank platoon consists of three tanks.

The Tank Crew

The tank crew of a Soviet-style medium tank is normally three. The duties of the tank crew areas follows:

  • The commander commands the tank. Company commanders and platoon leaders command their own tanks. TC responsibilities include maintenance, target acquisition, fire control, firing position selection, and resupply. The commander is the only crewman authorized to use the tank radio, except in emergencies when other crew members may operate it.

  • The gunner is second in command. He is responsible for firing, servicing, and repairing the tank's main gun, and maintaining the tank's optical and gunnery instruments. He assists the driver-mechanic in technical inspection of the vehicle, and replaces the ammunition. The gunner assists in target acquisition, and selects the correct ammunition for each target. He fires the main gun and the coaxial machine gun.

  • The driver-mechanic's duties include maintenance, repair, spare parts resupply, and inspection of the vehicle. In combat, the driver-mechanic is responsible for selecting a route which presents the gunner with good firing positions.

  • The loader is responsible for the condition and storage of ammunition, and for maintenance of the machine guns. He helps the gunner prepare the main gun for combat, and aids the driver-mechanic in routine maintenance. He mans the antiaircraft machine gun if there is one mounted on the tank. In understrength units, there may be no loader in tanks other than those of the company and platoon commanders.
NOTE: Generally, any Soviet-made tank equipped with a 125-mm main gun will have a mechanical autoloader. These tanks include models T-64, T-72, and T-80.

Platoon Leaders

Platoon leaders are normally lieutenants, but may be praporshchiki or, rarely sergeants, The platoon leader has limited authority in company operations. His task is to lead his platoon in the company mission, not to translate his superior's orders. When attached to an MRB, platoon leaders may be allowed more flexibility in executing their mission.

Basic Load

Soviet-made tank models T-64, T-72, and T-80 carry a basic load of 40 rounds. Twenty-four of these are carried in the autoloader carousel. The basic load is about half AT (HVAP-T) and half HE and fragmentation rounds (FRAG-HE). The carousel will carry 6 SABOT, 12 FRAG-HE, and 6 HEAT. If the carousel is depleted during combat, the tank will have to withdraw from battle to reload. Tanks will also carry an emergency reserve, consisting of between 20 and 30 percent of the basic load of POL, rations, ammunition, and spare parts.

Maintenance and Recovery

Basic maintenance of tanks is carried out by tank crews supervised by the company technical officer and TCs. Identified faults are rectified on the spot. The low standard of training of the driver-mechanic and the lack of equipment preclude extensive repairs.

Damaged tanks are repaired on the spot or under cover by the battalion REG. The REG is formed by the battalion maintenance section with augmentation from regiment.

Tanks damaged beyond the capabilities of the REG are recovered and evacuated by regimental or division maintenance units. Crews remain with these tanks to help make repairs, and are lost to the company commander. Entire units are replaced rather than make individual or crew replacements.


First aid is administered by other members of the crew using the first aid pack in the tank. The battalion medical team that accompanies the REG removes serious casualties from tanks once they have been towed to cover. Serious casualties are collected and evacuated by regimental transport; there is no medical officer at battalion level.

The Defensive Battle

If the tank platoon is given a mission to support an MRC, it will be broken up, and individual tanks will each support a rifle platoon. The tank is positioned behind the squad trench lines, and its main gun fires are integrated into the platoon fire plan. The tank is used to kill tanks, then other armored vehicles. The TC is given an engagement line, identifiable by natural or man-made features. Only on order will he be permitted to reposition the tank to alternate or supplementary firing positions. If dug in, the tank will be linked to the platoon trench system, so resupply and evacuation may occur under cover.

If the tank platoon fights as an entity, it will likely be augmented with an infantry element to provide close-in support. The platoon leader begins by conducting a reconnaissance of the proposed BP then positioning his tanks to take advantage of both day and night fire, as well as camouflage. Once in position, each tank is assigned an orientation based on identifiable terrain. Alternate and supplementary positions are also selected by the TCs. Individual range cards are drawn by the TCs, then sent to the platoon commander for consolidation. OPs are established as appropriate. The platoon leader will ensure he achieves massed or overlapping fires along the most threatening enemy avenue of approach. He will designate a trigger line to optimize the target hit probability and achieve massed firepower. Movement to alternate positions during combat will be on order. Generally, movement to reserve positions are planned to draw the attacker deeper into the kill zone, present more obstacles in depth, and trick the enemy into attacking dummy positions.

Movement to Contact/Actions on Contact



Since the mission of a movement to contact is to gain and maintain contact with the enemy, the company team commander should take certain considerations into account during his estimate.

  • Location of the best available routes.

  • Location of key terrain that the enemy is likely to defend.

  • Cross compartments that will form likely engagement areas.

  • Natural obstacles that the enemy is likely to reinforce.

  • Key terrain.

  • Constricting terrain.

  • Control measures to provide adequate C2 during fast-changing situations.

  • Possible intermediate objectives.

  • The TF commander's intent.

The commander receives information concerning enemy location and recent activities, but the situation will be vague. He will have to think like the enemy and determine where and how to defend. These areas are marked on his map and used as he develops his scheme of maneuver and fire plan.


A company team will conduct a movement to contact as part of a larger formation's movement to contact or by itself. When operating as part of a larger formation, the company will operate either as a security element or as part of the main body.

Advanced guard. A tank company serves as an advance guard for a battalion task force. When serving in this capacity, the scout platoon could be attached to the company or positioned farther forward as a security force and left under battalion control (see Figure 3-84).

When operating as the advance guard, the company team is augmented with a section or the entire platoon of engineers and mortars. The scouts will conduct a zone reconnaissance forward of the advance guard. It is meant to be early warning to both the advanced guard and main body. Both the scout platoon leader and the company commander will operate on the battalion command net, so that the rest of the battalion staff and leadership may eavesdrop.

When the scout platoon is under the control of the advance guard commander, there is no difference in the way the maneuver is conducted. Control is different in that the scout platoon reports to the advance guard commander, who reports to higher. This technique places all elements in the advance guard on one net; however, it deprives the TF of immediate information.

Main body. When the company is leading the remainder of the TF, the commander must be prepared to destroy any enemy elements that have been fixed and bypassed by the advance guard. If the enemy proves to be too strong, the lead company prepares to become the support force for a battalion hasty attack. A company following in the main body prepares to assume a follow and support role or become the maneuver element in a hasty attack. A platoon from the company may serve as a flank security element. If so, then the platoon will travel on an avenue parallel to the main body controlled by the company team commanders (see Figure 3-85).

Fire Support

Fire planning is still necessary at the company level, and the commander must go through the same estimate process to identify likely enemy positions and so forth. These targets will be bounced off the battalion fire plan. It's important to note that a battalion fire plan will include the minimum number of targets to cover the area, which is about 15 targets. This will not completely serve the company commander's interests, so he will plot and identify by grid the location of each target he deems important, in addition to the battalion FS plan. This will speed calls for fire and assist in spot reports.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

When available, engineers will be placed with the advance guard to reconnoiter obstacles, search for a bypass route, and conduct hasty breaches. If they are unable to negotiate an obstacle themselves, they will radio back to the main body so that engineers can -be moved forward-in the formation.

Air Defense

Acting on the advice of the air defense representative, the battalion commander will make a determination to use Stingers under armor. Wherever the Stinger gunners are situated, they must have the ability to respond rapidly to an air attack and be able to transport the spare missiles. With a Vulcan platoon, the early warning is received by the Vulcan track. However, there is a possibility that, because of competing net requirements, the Vulcan vehicles may not be able to operate on the company team radio net. In this case a vehicle should monitor the Vulcan net and relay early warning as needed.

Combat Service Support

Vehicles should carry spare track blocks and additional oils and lubricants. Those crewmen of vehicles unable to make the move will be divided between maintenance and filling out other tank crews which may be shorthanded. The XO and the 1SG must also plan ahead for the movement. Vehicle recovery must be accomplished without losing contact with the maneuver force. As an example, preplanned MCPs will allow recovery assets to drag vehicles forward; however, a gap still may develop between the trains and the company. This is caused by the company CSS elements reacting to its support needs during the movement to contact. Guard against company combat trains becoming strung out along the route, because then when actions on contact occur, trains cannot provide the needed support. To partially solve this problem, place the burden of vehicle maintenance and evacuation on battalion assets, which allows the company to preserve its assets for contact. The 1SG checks vehicle crews, then reports the location to battalion maintenance for pickup.

Command and Control

The commander must plan to locate himself where he can control the movement and will not be decisively engaged. If he allows himself to be drawn directly into the fight, decision-making may become extremely difficult. Next, he must remember that the movement to contact often ends in a hasty attack, so he should review his IPB and war-game how he would conduct a hasty attack at each potential danger area. This will be the basis for rehearsals.



The commander prepares for the movement to contact by conducting and participating in rehearsals being war-gamed by the battalion IPB. The company rehearses the tactical execution with enemy counteractions. As the company rehearses the negotiation of obstacles, the commander places them under fire. He next presents them with small pockets of enemy resistance, flank attacks and finally, a situation in which they are forced to revert to a hasty defense. As the rehearsal is conducted, the commander notes possible problems. Subordinates make suggestions, and the execution is tine tuned until each leader understands the plan. The commander then takes the results of the company rehearsal to the battalion rehearsal.


At the company team level, maneuver and intelligence interweave with rehearsal. The commander ensures that the unit understands the maneuver, which is execution of the required tactical formations, and when and how to change those formations as the terrain and enemy situation change. He will review reporting procedures and SOP-type aspects of maneuver, such as tactical plays. Succession of command will be checked by having subordinate commanders (PSGs) conduct the maneuver under the control of the XO. At the end of rehearsal, each man should know his job and his higher's job, and should be familiar with the responsibilities of the other members of the company team.

Fire Support

The company FSO will rehearse the company FS plan at the same time as the maneuver rehearsal. He practices calls for fire as they conduct their movement. This is a good time to practice shifting from a known target to engaging targets of opportunity, and spot checking to ensure each leader understands the FS plan.

TRAINING TECHNIQUE: One of the worst barriers to achieving responsive reports is simply difficulty in determining the grid of the target. In addition to plotting the FS plan on the map, leaders should write down the target number and grid location on the edge of the map. This should improve the accuracy and timeliness of spot reports.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Hasty breaching is rehearsed as part of the maneuver and FS rehearsal. Platoons are predesignated as the support force, breach force, and assault force. Calls for fire, adjusting smoke, and spot reports are also addressed in artillery and maneuver preparation. The commander rehearses obstacle reconnaissance and identification of bypass routes, in addition to the actual hasty breach. Infantry are trained to conduct hasty unassisted breaches of obstacles.

TRAINING TECHNIQUE: If the unit is not equipped with a mechanical lane marking system, the commander must ensure that appropriate marking material is on hand and the unit practices emplacing it before execution. Examples of lane marking material include--

    • Engineer tape, staked to the ground.

    • Flags.

    • Chemical lights affixed to the above (allows the lane to be visible at night).

All of these are temporary measures, to be used until such time as the engineers in the follow-and-support force can clear the obstacle completely.

Air Defense

TCs must rehearse engagement of aircraft with small arms. The company commander will check the warning system for responding to air attack, and Stinger gunners under armor practice how to engage the aircraft.

Combat Service Support

The armored ambulance offers a limited ability to handle casualties. Buddy-aid and a company SOP are vital to safe evacuation of wounded. During an operation in which seconds count, the soldiers must react automatically, from drills and training. Rehearse the unit's plan to evacuate wounded.

The 1SG will drill members of the company combat trains on the route to the MSR, and the location of the MCP, the ambulance exchange point, or battalion aid station. Each must have a map with maneuver and support overlays, as well as the frequencies and call signs for the next day (minimum). The location and future locations of LRPs are confined and reviewed, so LOGPACs can be picked up and brought forward as needed.

Command and Control

The commander reviews signals for changing formations, ensures the limit of advance is understood by all elements, and supervises the occupation of the terminating objective should contact with the enemy not occur.



Company commanders note changes and post locations as necessary on their maps and pass the information to their subordinates. If the enemy situation causes the company commander to change his scheme of maneuver, he will issue the appropriate FRAGO.


The commander maneuvers his element to avoid suspected enemy kill zones, large open areas, and obvious avenues of approach, particularly when they are dominated by high ground or key terrain that also provides cover and concealment to the enemy. When maneuvering through such areas, he conceals the movement with smoke and suppressive fire.

The movement technique limits the company's exposure to enemy forces. Teamwork is maintained by talking to one another on the company command net. When in a company wedge, the flank platoons guide on the base platoon (center platoon). The base platoon travels astride the axis of advance with the company commander following behind. Slice elements such as mortars or engineers travel inside or behind the wedge.

Each platoon has a sector of formation to cover. Vehicles position behind available cover during short halts. They watch the same sectors they watched while moving. Once the formation stops, movement is kept to a minimum. If the unit is under enemy observation, this is a good time for snipers to identify leaders. Possible enemy locations are scanned carefully.

During long halts, the company team sets up perimeter defense on the most defendable terrain. Security is posted, and fields of fire are selected and cleared.

When the lead platoon makes contact, it returns fire, deploys, reports to the company team commander, and begins developing the situation using direct/indirect fires and movements. Initial contact with the enemy may decide the battle within a few minutes. The team commander must position himself near his lead element to develop the situation for the TF commander. The platoon leader should immediately establish a base of fire (under cover of the overwatching platoon) and continue to maneuver to improve firing positions. The platoon leader's actions develop the situation as the team commander evaluates the following:

  • What size is the enemy force?

  • Are they in position or moving?

  • Are their vehicles shooting and disengaging or are they remaining in position for a fight?

  • Are tanks supporting the enemy force?

  • What type of AT weapons are in use?

  • Does there appear to be other enemy forces moving to the flanks (dust columns, noise)?

  • Is there key terrain that I could control that allows maneuver without separating the force and isolating the maneuver elements from the support by fire element?

  • Is the enemy's intent to fix us in position or to draw us into a disadvantageous position?

  • Where are my forces in relation to his?

  • Who has the initiative? (Can I move? What can I move? Can I get there first?)

When the team commander can answer these questions, he has developed the situation enough for further action and reports. In developing the situation, the commander gains more information about the enemy's size, weapons, capabilities, and dispositions, and maneuvers to a more advantageous position.

Fire Support

Targets will be fired as needed once enemy contact has been established. Response time of an indirect target of opportunity may take longer due to the movement of the artillery. If the mortar platoon is traveling with the unit in contact, it will be the most responsive and accurate indirect-fire support.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The execution of the hasty breach is discussed in Chapter 7.

Air Defense

If attacked by high-performance aircraft while moving, the company must disperse and move diagonally away from the aircraft's axis of attack. If a company team is engaged by helicopters, it returns fire, uses smoke, and moves from its current location.

Combat Service Support

As vehicles require mobility maintenance, their location will be marked and relayed to the battalion maintenance team. The responsibility for its security will be handed from the lead element to subsequent follow-on elements. The 1SG supervises evacuation of wounded and combat recovery of vehicles. He sends status reports to the combat trains CP and brings LOGPACs forward. He will also handle emergency resupply and assist in supervising cross-leveling.

Command and Control

The commander has four basic options: conduct a hasty attack, bypass the enemy, conduct a hasty defense until the TF can be brought to bear on the enemy, or continue to develop the situation. The necessary orders to platoons must be clear, concise, and issued quickly. Action drills are an outstanding means of executing orders quickly. The team attacks violently and avoids piecemealing of forces. When bypassing, the platoon in contact fixes the enemy while the rest of the team bypasses. The commander ensures that he does not expose himself to mutually supporting enemy fires. The company XO reports to the battalion while the company team FSO uses indirect fires to suppress the enemy and screen the company's movement.

If the commander decides he cannot attack the enemy because he lacks sufficient strength, he informs the TF commander. The TF commander decides whether or not to conduct a TF hasty attack. In the meantime, the company team forms a hasty defense until the TF commander issues his orders.

Hasty Attack

The hasty attack exploits an opportunity and gains or maintains the initiative. It is characterized by quick advance planning and coordination relying heavily on checkpoints, TRPs, SOPs, and battle drills.



The element in contact will attempt to acquire as much information about the enemy as possible. This means he will have to fight for the information. The company team commander will be knowledgeable about the general enemy situation prior to contact. Once contact is made with a specific element, he finds out as much as possible about that particular enemy. Information from spot reports and his own knowledge of threat operations combine to make a mental template of the enemy position. The company team commander positions himself to observe the contact, which helps assess the enemy so he can choose a proper course of action. This assists in making an enemy assessment to choose a proper course of action.


In a hasty attack, there is little time to conduct planning. The key is to seize the initiative. The commander makes an assessment of the situation and applies the appropriate battle drill. The commander should have drills that are flexible and easily modified to suit the conditions of the battlefield. Examples of movement to contact formation, mass attack, attack right, occupy and orient to a TRP follow.

The movement to contact formation is the preliminary formation from which the hasty attack is usually executed. It is the start point for the examples (see Figure 3-86).

If the enemy position is poorly prepared or the force is weak, the mass attack formation will take advantage of speed and shock effect (see Figure 3-87). It is less secure than other actions in that there is no reserve, the total force is oriented directly toward the enemy, and traveling as a single formation. Suppression of the enemy by a company from a flank position will help protect the assault force and increase the destructive effect of the maneuver.

In the attack right, the platoon on the right knows it is the base of fire for the assault by the remaining platoons because it is closest to the enemy and in the best position to suppress before the enemy can react (see Figure 3-88). The action is mirrored for an enemy to the left.

The action depicted in Figure 3-89 is oriented against a moving enemy. In this case, the company team has instructions to move from the movement to contact formation to occupy a hasty defensive position. The company will initially orient toward a single location, the enemy center of mass, until instructions for the construction of an EA may be issued.

Fire Support

FS planning for the hasty attack will have occurred in preparation for the movement to contact. Once the enemy is identified, the company FSO targets locations for suppression and identifies possible adjoining enemy positions that are part of the defense. If the enemy is moving, the FSO prepares to select a target the enemy will be approaching, calculates the time of flight, and determines when the on-order call for fire must be made. Figure 3-90 illustrates the point.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineers will be useful in assaulting a stationary enemy force. In this case, they would be used to assist in the conduct of the hasty breach. Engineer assets such as a CEV towing a MICLIC can open, improve, or extend a lane created by other engineer assets. They are a limited resource, and must be protected until needed by the maneuver force to which they are attached.

Air Defense

There are several options that will protect the Stinger team and provide support to the company team. They include--

  • Stinger crew with the company combat trains.

  • Stinger crew with the company FIST.

  • Stinger crew with the mechanized infantry platoon leader's vehicle.

When Stinger teams are taken from their HMMWV, they lose the air defense warning net; therefore, impending threats of air attack must either be issued over the battalion command net to inform the Stinger gunners, or one of the radios must be placed on the ADA warning net frequency instead of serving its usual function.

Combat Service Support

The combat vehicles will seek a covered and concealed position from which to evacuate wounded or receive mechanical support. Combat status reports will be forwarded to the combat trains CP as the status of the company team changes.

Command and Control

The company commander gives clear, terse instructions to the company team. Synchronization of direct and indirect fires will allow him to inflict casualties. He must report his action to the battalion commander and know when to ask for assistance. When conducting a hasty attack against a stationary force, his maneuver instructions and control measures must be understood. TRPs and checkpoints must have been planned in advance and distributed to each vehicle commander. If attacking a moving force, the commander concentrates on giving explicit direct-fire instructions and integrates them with timely and accurate indirect fire. Coordination between the commander and his FSO are essential.



The commander is looking for gaps in the enemy's defense, an unprotected flank, areas which seem more lightly defended than others, or dominant terrain that will allow him to project direct fires against an unprotected flank. The company team commander will issue instructions based on such information and oriented toward taking advantage of these exploitable opportunities.


The preparation of the hasty attack is made when the company team rehearses for the movement to contact (see Figure 3-91). Those drills that the company team will most likely use are rehearsed to ensure that each member of the team understands his responsibilities. The best type of rehearsal is a mounted run-through of the operation with after-action review. The unit must understand that on-order modifications to the drill will be made so the operation conforms to the situational METT-T conditions.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Breaching operations will be rehearsed as part of the preparation for the movement to contact. The predesignation of support, breach, and assault forces will eliminate the need to issue some directions.

Air Defense

The company commander will want to verify several aspects of the air defense plan. First, is the early warning system able to alert the company and the Stinger teams? Second, are the Stinger teams able to accomplish their air defense mission without affecting the maneuver plan? Third, is there a workable resupply plan for replacement missiles?

Combat Service Support

SOP activities are reviewed to ensure each vehicle commander has his basic load, knows how to request supplies, and knows how to conduct emergency evacuation and resupply. Support assets are checked to see that they know where the LRPs, UMCPs, and combat trains are located. Also, they should know which MSR to use and when.

Command and Control

Before the hasty attack, the commander ensures that his graphic control measures are sufficient for the mission. He should scrutinize the rehearsal, and conduct careful precombat checks. Every system must be at its peak level of operation before crossing the LD.



Knowing the enemy disposition, the commander will select his point of attack. He gives instructions to the support force to also be on the lookout for enemy reinforcements or counterattack forces. Early warning will be needed to respond to the additional threat.


The commander begins by issuing the appropriate drill instructions. The supporting platoon provides suppressive direct fires. The supporting platoon is accompanied by the company FSO who adjusts indirect fire. The FS multiplies the suppressive effects on the enemy. Smoke and HE are called to suppress adjoining enemy positions and seal the objective.

Once the objective is under fire, the assault force maneuvers toward the objective. Tanks lead, followed by IFVs. It is important that the IFVs are protected from the enemy's direct fire. As the assault force nears the position, it requests changes in suppression in light of a more accurate view of the enemy disposition.

The platoon that is supporting by fire monitors the movement and shifts direct fires as the force closes on the objective. It takes about two minutes to lift and shift indirect fires, so this command must anticipate the assault forces's arrival on the objective.

Coordination prevents friendly units from firing on one another. The base of fire unit must know where and when the moving force will appear and how to identify those vehicles. The vehicle panel marking system, smoke grenades, panels, lights, and other devices are used to mark vehicles so they can be identified under conditions of limited visibility.

After the assault secures its penetration of the position, it widens the gap. Tanks equipped with thermal sights fire through the smoke and fog at bunkers and enemy vehicles. IFVs protect the tanks from dismounted enemy soldiers carrying AT weapons. The infantry will dismount as close to enemy positions as possible. IFVs will support them by destroying all other targets.

The commander monitors the progress of the action, moving the assault force into a new part of the objective after supporting fires are shifted. One method of controlling the shift is with flares or colored smoke. The assault force emplaces a flare or smoke grenade beyond the objective. The burning flare/smoke is the limit of advance for the assault force and a restrictive fire measure for the overwatching tank platoon.

As soon as the objective has been cleared, the company team consolidates its position and prepares to meet the enemy counterattack or continue the friendly attack. Sectors of responsibility for each platoon and consolidation and reorganization procedures must be SOP and specified in the order before the start of the operation.

Fire Support

At the direction of the company team commander, the FSO calls for, lifts, and shifts fires to support the company team maneuver. The FSO positions himself to observe and assist in directing indirect fires. Infantry platoon FOs help the FSO ascertain when and where to lift or shift fires. Battalion heavy mortars are used for smoke, immediate suppression, and high volume of fire missions, while the artillery hits the known enemy on the objective.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

Engineer assets move with the assault force to conduct hasty breaches. The engineer platoon leader will also support the infantry in reducing bunkers or other fortified positions.

Air Defense

Air defense assets will be with the support force where they can easily monitor the progress of the assault, and operate from a position of relative safety at the same time.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will seek cover and concealment. The trains attempt to stay out of sight, but remain close to respond to the needs of the company. Once the objective is taken, the trains will move forward to conduct resupply and evacuate vehicles or personnel. If the company chooses to occupy the position for a hasty defense, the 1SG will reconnoiter an appropriate trains location; one that allows for routes to and from the position.

Command and Control

The company commander will control the battle from the assault force. The XO will usually control the support force. The primary concern of the company team commander will be the massing of fires and maneuver forces at the enemy's weakest point. To accomplish this, the commander will have to ensure that the support force repositions as needed to provide effective fires on the enemy position. Designation of sectors of fire for tanks and IFVs will assist in the penetration of the position. Lifting indirect fires at the last moment will enable the assault force to achieve the shock effect needed before the enemy has an opportunity to recover or reposition. Teamwork must occur between all the maneuver elements and their support. Leaders must anticipate enemy maneuvers and make suggestions to seize the initiative.

Overwatch/Support by Fire

The overwatch or support-by-fire mission is given to a company team as part of the larger TF maneuver. The support force's responsibility is to fix the enemy so that he can be struck by the maneuver force.



The company team commander will need to know the location of the enemy weapon systems. Next, he will conduct a terrain analysis of the AO. The TF will be attacking along a known axis. The overwatch/support-by-fire force will fix and suppress the enemy so it cannot engage or respond to the maneuver of the assault force. The siting of the support force is critical; it must be able to bring effective fires to bear on the enemy position. A line-of-sight analysis from the proposed support positions to the enemy position will reveal whether or not direct fires may be directed effectively against the enemy. If the enemy has adopted a reverse slope defense, the ability to suppress with direct fire may be nearly impossible until a foothold has been established on a terrain feature within the enemy defensive area. Figures 3-92 and 3-93 describe the two line-of-sight analyses.


Once the commander has performed a line-of-sight analysis of the area of operations, he decides where to place his platoons. Depending on the scheme of maneuver and the enemy disposition, the overwatch force may have to occupy several positions throughout the operation. Even the use of one position will require some repositioning, because the enemy will respond to the effects of the suppression.

After selecting the location for each of the platoons, the commander will construct direct-fire control measures to orient massed fires. Each platoon is given TRPs on which to orient. The platoon leaders determine individual weapon system orientations. On-order TRPs are planned so that, as the direct fires of the support force are masked, the support force can shift fires. On seizure of the objective, the support force is prepared to shift fires to another enemy position or move to join the assault force.

When the company commander knows the position he will occupy and how he will control his fires, he plans the support force's maneuver into the position. Again, knowledge of the enemy disposition is essential. The support force avoids combat to get into the position intact and achieve surprise. When an attack must be executed in order to occupy the support position, the commander must conservatively plan for the time needed to accomplish the attack and then occupy the position.

Once the objective is secure and the support force joins the assault force, the route to the objective is along the assault force's axis of advance. Traveling directly from the support position to the objective is hazardous because of minefields or other enemy obstacles. Figure 3-94 depicts an example overwatch/support-by-fire plan.

Fire Support

The FS plan is as important as the direct-fire plan in the overwatch/support by fire mission. The task of the company FSO is to plan suppressive fires on the enemy position to isolate the objective. His planning will include targets on the known enemy locations, adjoining enemy positions, smoke missions planned to isolate the objective, and shifted fires to cut off enemy retreat or reinforcement. As the TF begins movement, the support force will have priority of fires due to their observation of the enemy positions.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will help the support force reach its position. This may include conducting breaching operations during an attack, or possibly a prebreach of unguarded enemy obstacles.

Air Defense

Air defense planning is oriented to security of the support position. Enemy air avenues of approach will be identified prior to the operation, and Stinger team locations will be plotted and checked against the Stinger under armor plan. From this location, the field of tire of the supporting ADA assets can best cover the assaulting force's movement.

Combat Service Support

The company trains plan to support the operation by selecting a location that will allow resupply of ammunition during the support by fire. Direct-fire suppression of the enemy position will involve large amounts of ammunition.

Command and Control

The commander plans for the mission by war-gaming the support mission within the context of the TF attack. The commander must be able to anticipate enemy actions, and must have incorporated adequate control measures into the support force plan. The support force commander must know when and how to reposition his forces to provide continuous fires. He must also be able to control and direct the fires while the assault force conducts its attack of the enemy position.



The commander of the overwatch force prepares by developing PIR for his platoon leaders. For example, the commander would want to report an enemy counterattack and provide warning to the maneuver force, so he would require his platoon leaders to report enemy movement or give them areas to observe in addition to their direct-fire orientation. The commander will require his platoon leaders to report enemy who appear to have repositioned. This allows him to adjust the company's fires.

The commander will conduct a leader's reconnaissance of the support position or assign a patrol to reconnoiter the route to the position, the position itself, and any other adjoining areas or obstacles of concern. If engineers accompany the patrol route, classification or prebreaches may be conducted.


The company team commander rehearses the movement to the position, any breaches, attack missions, the occupation of the position, and the support by fire. He ensures that each platoon leader understand his mission and responsibilities within the context of the company plan.

The commander rehearses the direct-fire plan. He will have the company orient as they would on the objective, and maneuver as the enemy from position to position to verify that the movement is reported by the platoon leaders and that the direct fire is adjusted. Next, he will give instructions to shift fires, adjust positions, and cease fire. At this point, signals are verified for controlling each of these actions, as is the succession of command.

Fire Support

During the rehearsal, the FS plan is exercised as part of the maneuver plan. The FSO will practice calling and adjusting fires based on the enemy scenario presented by the commander. He will verify the signal and conditions under which he will lift and shift suppressive fires from the objective to other enemy positions as the assault force seizes the objective.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

The engineers will rehearse breaching operations with the maneuver force, and execution of any preset demolitions prepared during reconnaissance of the support position.

Air Defense

On occupation of the support position, the Stinger team will establish its location where it can observe the air avenues of approach. A mock air attack should be rehearsed to ensure the ADA early warning net is properly linked to the command net.

Combat Service Support

Evacuation of casualties and vehicles and the resupply of ammunition are practiced during the rehearsal. The positioning of support vehicles and their consequent adjustment to assist each platoon with resupply operations is important. The capability of ambulances to move from the support-by-fire position to the MSR will also be checked to ensure they do not come under fire.

Command and Control

The commander will check that each of the subordinate elements is able to accomplish its mission and adjust to changes in the situation. It is important that every step is taken to limit enemy possibilities. Contingency planning on the part of the commander and the reports will allow the support force to anticipate the moves of the enemy.



Once the company team begins to execute the overwatch/support-by-fire mission, the commander will initially concentrate on getting into a position which will allow him to suppress the enemy. If possible, battalion TF scouts or dismounted infantry elements may assist in guiding the support force into position. This circumstance will only be possible if the position is unoccupied by the enemy. Regardless of how the force occupies the position, the support force will most likely have to adjust to suit the local terrain conditions. The commander will want to verify that the enemy position has not changed since the reconnaissance, or that it is as templated by the S2. Changes to the enemy disposition will effect the positioning of the support force and may also affect the attack; therefore, the battalion commander must be made aware of changes in the enemy situation.


The overwatch begins its suppression of the enemy position on order or as the result of an event, for example, the assault force crossing a phase line, or artillery suppression of the position. Surprise is best achieved if the direct and indirect fires arrive on the position simultaneously. The support-by-fire force must maintain steady and accurate suppressive fires on the position. Tanks will attempt to destroy point targets such as enemy vehicles or bunkers. TOW missiles will also be effective against bunkers. The 25-mm chain gun, and to a lesser extent, coax machine guns will suppress the remaining positions unless they are heavily reinforced. Elements must avoid "mad minute" or they will run out of ammunition before the arrival of the assault force.

As the enemy attempts to respond to the suppression by adjusting artillery or returning fire, the commander of the support-by-fire force must continue to adjust his elements to bring effective fires against the enemy. The support force's primary objective is to prevent the enemy from bringing effective fires to bear on the attack. The secondary objective is to destroy the enemy as it tries to reposition.

Once the assault force closes on the enemy position, the direct and indirect fires of the support force shift forward of the lead element to avoid fratricide and to keep the enemy suppressed. The shifting of the fires may either be event driven or on order. As the assault force nears the far side of the enemy position, the direct and indirect fires are shifted to other likely enemy positions. If the enemy appears to be destroyed, the commander will issue the order to cease fire. This only means that the platoons are to stop firing; they are still responsible for scanning their assigned sectors to search for remaining enemy.

Fire Support

The commencement of all fires will be event driven or on order. If the fires are on order, the commander must call for the artillery first, wait for the projectile's time of flight, then give the command to begin direct fire. If commencement of fires is event driven, a similar technique is used. Knowing direct fires will begin once the friendly unit crosses a specific terrain feature, smoke missions must be executed in anticipation of maneuver, so when the assault force arrives at a dangerous location, the smoke screen is complete. As the assault force nears the objective, the suppressive artillery fires must be lifted and shifted to another target. This usually takes two minutes, so execution must also be in advance of the maneuver force's arrival on the objective.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Engineer activities during the execution of the support-by-fire mission will begin by assisting the support force maneuver to its position. Obstacles preset for demolition by reconnaissance elements are executed as the force approaches. Hasty breaches of obstacles along the route will be conducted as required. Once on the position, the engineers will quickly emplace hasty protective minefields or create other countermobility obstacles as required. Depending on support force composition, the engineers may provide local security; this is the case with a tank-pure support force.

Air Defense

Enemy artillery suppression is likely, so enemy artillery suppression and air defense assets will accompany the support force under armor. Once in position, they are ready to engage enemy aircraft along likely air avenues of approach. If the support position is close to the assault force's axis of advance, the Stinger teams also protect the assault force.

Combat Service Support

CSS elements follow the support force approximately one terrain feature behind and move to a position from which they can support the force once it occupies the overwatch position. During execution of a support-by-fire mission, CSS elements move forward as required to evacuate wounded and resupply weapon systems with ammunition. The company 1SG will report the combat status to the battalion combat trains CP and request additional supplies as needed.

Command and Control

The company commander will remain forward throughout the operation. His first concern will be to get the company team into position. Depending on the enemy situation, this may require fighting, which requires the same leadership and command skills as any offensive operation. Next, he must ensure that his force is able to bring fires to bear on the enemy. This will be the result of the enemy situation combined with the effects of the terrain on weapon system line of sight. If need be, forces will be adjusted. Finally, once all is ready, he must exercise complete control over the rate and distribution of fire onto the enemy position. He must constantly check between the ammunition expended and the distance of the assault force from the enemy position. The assault force commander is counting on the support force to fix the enemy so that they can be reached and destroyed. The ability to maintain effective, but not excessive, fires on the enemy is critical. The directing, lifting, and shifting of fires must be responsive. Platoon leaders and slice commander must pay strict attention to the commands of the commander to avoid fratricide.

Attack to Seize an Objective


The larger force, the TF, of which the company team is a part will regularly encounter a well-prepared, strongly-held enemy defensive position that cannot be overcome by a hasty attack. When this happens, the entire force prepares and conducts a deliberate attack. The company team participates in such an attack as part of the larger force.


A deliberate attack is distinguished from a hasty attack by a more detailed knowledge of the enemy; the amount of time devoted to planning, coordination, and preparation; and the collection and use of intelligence. The company team commander will get as much information about the enemy as possible before planning the attack. The battalion S2 will portray an accurate picture of the enemy's disposition and probable course of action; however, he will be concerned with the enemy down to the platoon level. Figure 3-95 illustrates the detail sought in determining the nature of the enemy defensive position.


The company commander receives the mission, issues a warning order, and plans his time. He does so by using the reverse planning cycle (see Figure 3-96). His estimated completion times are adjusted when necessary. He must determine what time he will issue the completed order. In the following example, the company team commander receives his initial warning order before 1100 hours, and then he issues his initial warning order.

Troop-leading and precombat procedures begin while the commander and FSO move to meet with the TF commander for the initial reconnaissance. At 1500 hours, the company team commander and his FSO meet at the TOC for the TF OPORD.

The commander develops a scheme of maneuver and FS plan based on METT-T considerations. In planning his scheme of maneuver, the commander should ensure that it--

  • Allows rapid closing with the enemy.

  • Uses terrain to avoid enemy fire and strengths.

  • Maintains attack momentum.

  • Anticipates, and plans to bypass or breach obstacles.

  • Strikes flanks and rear, and identified weak points.

  • Provides for mutual support with other company teams within the TF scheme of maneuver.

The company team commander's direct-fire plan directs all weapon systems. As a priority, tank main guns engage tanks, and IFVs engage crew-served weapon systems, lightly armored vehicles (such as BMPs and BTRs), and bunkers. Individual machine gun and small arms fire is used against unarmored AT weapons and exposed enemy soldiers. AT weapons fire at tanks, IFVs, ATGMs, and fortified positions.

The orientation of direct-fire assets is based on enemy positions. For example, a company team which conducts the initial penetration orients on enemy weapon systems in the path of the attack. Other friendly assets in support positions attempt to suppress the same enemy positions as well as adjoining positions. Fires are massed at the right place to assist in the penetration of the position. The key point is that an attacking force's fires must be active, and the defender's fires should be reactive.

The scheme of maneuver itself exploits an enemy weakness. The attack penetrates the defensive position and continues over the position as the objective is cleared of remaining enemy. Inherent in this responsibility should be the consideration of the following chronology:

  • Rehearsal.

  • Reconnaissance.

  • Maneuver to the LD.

  • Maneuver.

  • Deployment.

  • Attack.

-- Break-in.

+ Approach.

+ Penetration.

+ Assault.

-- Fight-through.

  • Consolidation and reorganization.

  • Continuation.

The commander begins tactical planning with the route to the LD. If a forward passage of lines is being conducted as part of the deliberate attack, the commander checks these routes to ensure they fit with the maneuver plan. Next, the commander must determine the best route to reach the objective within the parameters established by the battalion commander. He looks at possible choke points, danger areas exposed to enemy fire, and obstacles. He will then determine the formation type best suited for the terrain, where he should change formation, and any positions that should be occupied during the maneuver.

Once the commander determines how to reach the objective, he identifies where to deploy and which attack formation to use. The company changes formation out of enemy observation and then moves rapidly to the objective. There must be enough space to change formation and conduct the attack. If terrain prevents an attack formation and one is attempted, the attack fragments.

The commander next plans the attack. If the company team has the mission of leading the TF assault, it will have the missions of creating a penetration of the enemy position and breaching close-in protective minefields. The use of mineplows and minerollers makes the breaching of minefields less complicated than before; however, engineer assets will be given to the company team to assist them as required. Speed is essential when breaching close-in minefields.

On entering the enemy defensive position, the company team fights the aboveground battle, which allows the infantry to enter the enemy trench line and fight the belowground battle. Conduct of the aboveground battle requires coordination between platoons, assigned platoon objectives, and tasks. The belowground battle requires identification of an entry point, commensurate with the point of attack, and a plan for clearing the trench line. With the 120-mm main gun on the M1A1 tank, there are more precautions to consider. The over-pressure from the 120-mm can kill a soldier found within a 90-degree arc extending from the muzzle of the gun tube out to 200 meters. From 200 to 1,000 meters, dismounted soldiers must be aware of the discarding sabots, which can also kill. IFVs will provide the close-in support for dismounted infantry to keep tanks to the front as much as possible.

Figure 3-97 illustrates the danger areas associated with a tank with a 120-mm main gun.

Fire Support

Indirect fires are used to isolate, suppress, obscure, and destroy the enemy to permit greater freedom of action for the attacking force. Indirect fires are planned on all known enemy positions, and are scheduled to coincide with the movement and arrival of the maneuver force. Priority targets are shifted by the company team FSO along the axis of advance to support the company team maneuver. Indirect fires screen friendly forces and suppress enemy IFVs, ATGMs, and dug-in infantry. Smoke missions from the TF mortar platoon are planned to screen exposed flanks and obstacle breaching efforts.

Mobility, Countermobility and Survivability

Engineer planning will be oriented on breaching close-in obstacles. The commander identifies the support, breach, and assault forces and their responsibilities in the plan. If another company team is the support force, coordination is essential to ensure its position and control are integrated into the tactical plan.

Air Defense

The commander ensures Stinger under armor is executable without degrading the attack plan if maneuver elements within the company team are attacking while another company supports.

Combat Service Support

The 1SG must understand what the maneuver forces are doing and how to support them throughout the entire operation. SOPs should be checked to make sure the procedures are appropriate for the operation.

Command and Control

The company commander has many concerns in planning the attack, but his main concern is how to control the operation. He must identify where he plans to give execution orders, in advance of where the action is to take place. He must determine where he should be during the operation. Chances are that he will change his location within the formation or elsewhere to be in a position to control the battle. He must always have the ability to move forward and lead when it is necessary.

Fire control and actions on the objective are the trickiest to control. The control measures must be simple. When and where are fires lifted? To where are they shifted? Where is the LOA? What are the orientations of the maneuver units in the battle and afterward? The commander must be able to visualize the battle before it begins and ensure his control measures are appropriate and adequate to accomplish the mission.



The company team commander prepares for the deliberate attack through reconnaissance of the enemy position. He verifies the information from the battalion S2 and adds detail to that situation template. The company commander will want to identify the location of--

  • Armored vehicles.

  • Crew-served weapon systems.

  • Fighting positions.

  • Obstacles.

  • Trench lines.

  • CP/bunkers.

  • Reserves.

New information is given to the battalion S2 once the reconnaissance is complete. The company team commander takes this new information and completes his situation template of the enemy position. It is important for him to know how the enemy defends and how the position will look.


With a clear picture of the enemy position, the commander will make changes to his tentative plan and issue the order. The actual preparation for maneuver occurs during the company team's rehearsal. The company commander ensures that platoon leaders understand and can execute the mission. The commander will first require backbriefs on the issuance of the order. After the platoon leaders issue their orders, the commander will walk through the operation with the company leadership, while junior NCOs conduct troop-leading procedures and precombat checks.

The company conducts a full-scale rehearsal of the operation on terrain that is similar to that of the objective area. The commander checks that the company can execute the appropriate maneuvers, change formation, and conduct breaching drills properly. Adjustments are made to the drills or SOPs based on METT-T. As for the actual assault, the commander checks the direct-fire plan. Once on the objective, platoon objectives, LOAs, and orientations will be checked to ensure the company can complete the mission. The commander should be able to have his company execute without instruction. At this point, contingency planning is discussed so the company may be forewarned of possible enemy reactions to the attack.

Fire Support

The FS plan is also rehearsed to ensure that it is fully integrated into the maneuver and direct-fire plan. Suppression of the objective, the lifting and shifting of fires, smoke missions, and the suppression of adjoining positions are all rehearsed, with special attention devoted to the control and adjustment of each mission.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Breaching drills are practiced. Obstacle breaching should first be conducted using the mechanical breaching assets of the company team and then with the additional engineer assets, such as CEVs and MICLICs.

Air Defense

During the rehearsal, the commander should ensure that the Stinger teams can conduct their air defense mission.

Combat Service Support

The CSS plan should be rehearsed with particular interest in the evacuation of wounded, maintenance, and emergency resupply. During rehearsal, the combat trains should practice jumping to keep pace with the operation and simulate consolidation and reorganization on the objective.

Command and Control

The commander will give instructions, signals, and FRAGOs to ensure that the platoons are responsive to a changing situation. He will practice the lifting and shifting of fires, issue on-call fire commands for artillery, and direct the direct-fire orientations as necessary. The most important aspect of the rehearsal is to see that the company team operates like a team and to identify those factors which appear to be a hinderance to the smooth execution of the mission. For this reason, the rehearsal must be as realistic as possible, with no allowances made for simulation when the actual activity may occur.



As the attack commences, the commander looks out for enemy elements which reposition. For example, if there is a delay in fire from a tank and it does not appear to be destroyed, it may be repositioning to gain a flank shot. Therefore, some elements may have to watch for the reappearance of the tank. Granted, there is no way that a commander who is controlling an attack can keep track of every weapon on the enemy position. What he must do is try to second-guess the enemy in an attempt to prevent the enemy from executing his defensive plan. This will be manifested in the suppression of the enemy, which denies him the ability to shoot or reposition (see Figure 3-98).


Movement forward of the LD is made using the formations, techniques, and supporting fires discussed earlier. During the forward movement, all weapons should fire at known or suspected enemy positions. Caution must be exercised when using such fire because it will reduce the element of surprise and greatly increase ammunition consumption.

The company team makes its attack through one enemy platoon position. Attacking elements maintain mutual support so as to not be isolated and defeated piecemeal. Maximum suppression is placed on the enemy position and lifted just as the maneuver force closes. The attack must be violent and aggressive to shock and overwhelm the enemy. Tanks rapidly destroy enemy AT assets. IFVs support the dismounted infantry assault teams as they clear the trench lines, destroying reinforced positions with the 25-mm chain gun.

When conducting a mounted assault, tanks lead, followed by IFVs. The nature of the assault of a prepared enemy position requires the companies to fight pure. Protection of the IFVs from AT fire is key to allowing the dismounted infantry to enter the trench line. Once all armored vehicles and enemy reinforced positions are destroyed, tank loaders use their machine guns to destroy enemy dismounts.

Thermal sights become increasingly important as the objective area becomes obscured by suppressive fires. However, in the case of hot dust or when identification is critical, some part of the force should not be in the thermal mode. This will vary with the situation, terrain, and climate.

Heavy direct and indirect suppression is critical when tanks and BFVs are within 500 meters of the objective. Since the tank main gun and 25-mm have engaged and eliminated armor and bunker targets, the emphasis begins to change to infantry targets. As the tanks maneuver closer, wingman BFVs should switch from 25-mm to 7.62-mm to allow--

  • An increase in the rate of fire.

  • The emphasis to change from armor-killing weapons to infantry-killing weapons.

  • Fire in and around the tanks to protect their flanks and rears.

It is probable that the assault force will begin to receive enemy artillery on the objective. It is important that the infantry get into the trenches quickly by rushing directly to the trench line, firing short bursts on the move. The No. 2 man grasps a grenade while rushing the trench line. The assault team goes to ground once it reaches hand grenade range and tries to get as close as possible to the trench line.

It is doubtful that accurate suppression by the Bradley can be accomplished in close proximity to the dismounted infantry. The Bradleys should attempt to place their fires on strong enemy positions, and the assault teams attack positions of weakness, such as unmanned sections of the trench line.

At the trench line, the No. 2 man throws a grenade in the trench after allowing for cook-off time. This ensures the enemy does not have time to react. After it explodes, the No. 1 and No. 3 men roll into the trench, firing their weapons down the length of the trench in opposite directions. Inside, the No. 2 man follows. At this point, the assault teams are ready to begin the belowground battle. Figure 3-99 shows an assault team moving into the trench line.

Organization of the assault teams. The assault of a strongpoint fortification requires centralized planning and decentralized execution. The assault force is organized around assault teams to more easily meet the requirement. Platoons that are to conduct the assault should form their own support elements containing AT specialists and snipers under the command of the squad leader. There should be one support element per squad. Each Bradley fighting vehicle can field an assault team, yielding four per platoon. For ease of control, within each team members are called No. 1 man, No. 2 man, and No. 3 man. The teams must be drilled to the point that the assault may be executed with minimal guidance. Each man should be armed with hand grenades and his assigned weapon. There should be at least one M203 per squad.

Positioning within the three-man team is rotational, so the men in the team must be well versed and drilled in each position. The responsibility of the No. 1 man is to assault down the trench, using continuous bursts of two to three rounds and throwing grenades around the pivot points in the trench line or into weapons emplacements. The No. 2 man follows the No. 1 man closely enough to support him, but not so closely that both would be pinned down if the enemy gained local initiative. Each time the No. 1 man stops to prepare a hand grenade, the No. 2 man steps forward to maintain a volume of fire and the momentum of the attack. The No. 3 man follows the No. 2, and prepares to move forward when positions rotate or if a casualty is sustained. A Bradley may be tasked to support the assault team as it clears the trench. Specifically, the chain gun can be used against bunkers or prepared positions.

While the initial three-man assault team rotates by event, the squad leader directs the rotation of three-man assault teams within the squad as ammunition becomes low in the leading team, as casualties occur, or as the situation dictates. Since the battle drill is standardized, three-man teams may be reconstituted as needed from remaining company personnel. The platoon leader will control the rotation between squads using the same considerations as the squad leaders (see Figure 3-100).

All assault team members prepare for the assault by adjusting the slings of their weapons to allow placement of the sling around the neck in such a way that the weapon remains waist high when released with both hands. This configuration allows the soldier to perform manual tasks while keeping his weapon at the ready. Tasks such as preparing hand grenades and carrying assault ladders are greatly simplified by this arrangement.

Clearing bunkers. Bunkers are the most difficult, time-consuming areas to clear in a trench system. If they cannot be marked and destroyed by either tank or Bradley direct fire, they must be secured and bypassed even if heavy suppressive fires are needed to allow the teams to get out of the trench, move over to the bunker, and reenter the trench in a bypassing action. The bunkers are later reduced by engineers during the mop-up phase. If bunkers cannot be bypassed or if engineers are not available, the bunker must be reduced by the assault elements (see Figure 3-101).

The assault elements attacking a bunker must perform the following tasks:

  • TASK l--Fire into and around the bunker to suppress the defenders and to prevent its reinforcements.

  • TASK 2--Destroy or neutralize obstacles and the bunker using grenades, explosives, or flame weapons.

  • TASK 3--Assault to kill or capture the enemy in the bunker.

For these tasks, the platoon is organized into three elements, or one element may perform more than one task. For example, SAWs may first perform TASK 1 and then take part in TASK 3. Riflemen may have the primary duty of TASK 3, but may first have to help other troops in with TASK 1. They may have to take over special equipment from men who become casualties to perform TASK 2.

Whenever possible, tanks or other heavy direct-fire weapon systems should be positioned to assist in the accomplishment of TASK 1. Tanks should fire HEAT rounds due to their explosive charges.

The assault element should never attempt to enter the bunker complex until the position has been heavily suppressed. Historical examples prove that even after extensive preparation, an effective fighting force may remain inside the position.

During TASK 2, the designated squad approaches the bunker from the blind side, blows any wire entanglements with bangalore torpedoes, and kills the enemy either with fragmentation grenades, WP grenades, satchel/pole charges thrown into the aperture of the bunker complex, or M202 flash weapons.

As the assault squad moves in to kill or capture the enemy in the bunker (TASK 3), it should be remembered that the first man to enter the bunker complex will be momentarily blinded by the reduced light level and he will be silhouetted in the entrance, thereby providing an excellent target for any remaining enemy inside the complex. For this reason, a battle drill is used similar to the one used to attack and clear a building (MOUT).

The No. 1 man halts to the side of the entrance to the bunker complex and prepares a grenade while being overmatched by the No. 2 man. He throws the grenade into the entrance after quickly checking for any obstruction. Immediately after detonation, the No. 1 man enters firing two-round bursts, either right to left or left to right, within the complex. Normally, he will fire in a pattern right to left if entering the left side of the doorway and left to right if entering from the right. While entering, the No. 1 man should strike the opposite base of the entrance way with his bounding foot and spring to the side, inside the complex to prevent the enemy within from recovering and acquiring the silhouette. The No. 2 man enters immediately after the No. 1 man and springs to the opposite side of the position and fires. The No. 3 man secures the entrance. Should there be another room in the bunker complex, the procedure is repeated. A systematic search is then conducted.

If the bunker position is small, it may require only one man to clear. The No. 1 man employs his hand grenade and enters firing two-round bursts and alerts the No. 2 man during the systematic search for the enemy.

An M203 may be required to ensure the grenade reaches the position if the bunker is constructed using a long covered trench as an entrance for a small position. A violent entry is still necessary to prevent the enemy from recovering and engaging the assault team. This requires continuous fire and movement.

Once on the objective, the tanks will fight to the other side at a commensurate pace with the infantry clearing the trench line. This will ensure that our tanks do not become separated from the infantry, and subsequently become vulnerable to enemy dismounted attack. The tanks will then orient on the enemy armor avenue of approach; likewise, the infantry will orient on the dismounted avenues of approach in preparation for the enemy counterattack. All subunit leaders quickly turn their efforts toward reestablishing control and flank coordination as the company team consolidates and reorganizes.

Fire Support

The exact timing of the shifting of fire is important. The commander prepares for the shifting of fires by visual or event-oriented means. He may have the flank or lead vehicle marked so that supporting fires may be shifted in front of it, or may have visual signals, such as colored smoke, designated to signal the shifting of fires. When developing his plan to control supporting fires, the commander must take into account factors such as the limited visibility and communication failure. Shifting of fires at designated times is possible, but can only work if the operation is meticulously coordinated and rehearsed. It will not normally be appropriate at company level. If the company team commander decides to use the technique, he must do an in-depth time and space analysis.

Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability

Breaching operations will be conducted as the situation requires. Often the engineers will accompany the assault force as it penetrates the enemy defenses. If the assault force is able to conduct a mechanical breach without engineer assistance, then they must be prepared to fight dismounted. Generally, however, this means that the engineers will accompany the infantry assault teams, providing demolition experience when bunkers or reinforced positions need to be destroyed.

Air Defense

The air defense Stinger team will be under armor with the company combat trains during most of the deliberate attack. It is critical that they control the air avenues of approach into the objective area. After the objective is secure, the Stinger teams should accompany the combat trains forward to join the company on the objective and provide air defense from the expected enemy counterattack.

Combat Service Support

The company combat trains will remain about one terrain feature behind the maneuver elements during the attack. Once the objective is secure, the evacuation of wounded and resupply of ammunition and fuel will become immediate priorities. Any personnel replacements or repair parts may also be brought forward if they will not require much time for integration or installation. Dead will be quickly evacuated. They must be separate from the wounded. Likewise, prisoners will be secured and returned under guard with the LOGPACs. EPWs may be guarded by walking wounded.

Command and Control

The company commander will have a very difficult and critical job throughout the operation. He must make the split-second decisions which often are the difference between success and failure. The attack must be aggressive, but not out of control. The key item for the commander to remember is that as the company deploys for the attack, it should maintain a rapid yet controlled speed, one which allows the individual elements to adjust to the terrain as need be. The greatest problem with attacks is that they often occur piecemeal. A moderate pace combined with a solid formation will ensure that weapon systems are massed and that the desired shock effect is achieved. Once the company arrives on the objective, preplanned signals and markers should be used so that he can remain abreast of the progress of both the aboveground and belowground elements. The commander must ensure that his element remains linked to the activities of his counterpart company team.

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