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Chapter 7



SECTION I.      Brigade Combat Support

      Fire Support

      Air Defense Support

      Engineer Support

      Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Support

SECTION II.     Battalion Task Force Combat Support

      Fire Support

      Air Defense Support

      Engineer Support

      Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Support

SECTION III.   Company Team Combat Support

      Fire Support

      Air Defense Support

      Engineer Support

      Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Support

The application of superior combat power at the decisive time and place determines the outcome of the battle. The commander uses his CS assets to enhance the capabilities of his maneuver units and to weight his main effort. Knowing CS capabilities, assigning them appropriate missions, and synchronizing their operations are essential to the application of superior combat power at the decisive time and place.

Commanders cannot view CS as something to be added to the plan to make it better, as an afterthought made to adhere to an already completed scheme of maneuver. That kind of "add-on" approach reduces critical CS elements from combat multipliers to mere combat additives. To be most effective, CS must be an integral part of the plan. CS representatives (for example, the FSO or engineer) must be involved from the outset in the staff planning sequence. The commander's intent must clearly articulate what he wants to do to the enemy; the CS elements can then prepare their employment recommendations. These allow the commander to select a course of action that synchronizes maneuver, fires, and CS into a cohesive battle plan.


Fire Support

Fire Support System


FS is the collective and coordinated use of indirect-fire weapons, armed aircraft, and other lethal and nonlethal means in support of a battle plan. FS includes mortars, field artillery, naval gunfire, and air-delivered weapons. Nonlethal means are EW capabilities of MI organizations, illumination, and smoke. The force commander employs these means to support his scheme of maneuver, to mass firepower, and to delay, disrupt, or destroy enemy forces in depth. FS planning and coordination exist at all echelons of maneuver. FS destroys, neutralizes, and suppresses enemy weapons, enemy formations or facilities, and fires from the enemy rear area.

FS enhances the maneuver commander's combat power by--

  • Destroying, suppressing, and neutralizing targets. A discussion of these terms follows under the heading "Lethal Attack Characteristics."
  • Obscuring the vision of enemy forces.
  • Isolating enemy formations and positions.
  • Slowing and canalizing enemy movements.
  • Killing or disabling the enemy at ranges greater than for direct-fire weapons.
  • Screening with smoke or isolating areas with scatterable mines.
  • Reducing the effect of enemy artillery by active counterfire.
  • Interdicting following enemy echelons.


The FS system supporting the heavy forces is the collective body of target acquisition and battlefield surveillance; attack systems (lethal and nonlethal) and munitions; C2 and coordination systems and facilities; technical support (meteorological and survey); and the personnel required to provide and manage FS.

Attack systems. The attack could be lethal or nonlethal (such as smoke, illumination, and offensive EW). Assets normally available at brigade level and below are field artillery, mortars, TACAIR support, communications jammers, and naval gunfire. ADA and engineer assets may also become important components of the FS system.

Field Artillery. The field artillery mission is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket, and missile fire and to help integrate all FS into combined arms operations. Normally, one field artillery battalion is in DS of a maneuver brigade. However, more artillery battalions can be assigned the mission to reinforce the DS battalion.

Advantages. Field artillery--

  • Adds depth to the battlefield. The field artillery can strike and destroy the enemy deep before he can influence the battle.
  • Offers various ammunition and fuze combinations.
  • Gives continuous fire in all weather conditions, day or night, and from all types of terrain.
  • Shifts and masses fires quickly.
  • Is as mobile as maneuver forces.

Disadvantages. Field artillery--

  • Is an area fire weapon. In some cases, however, point targets can be destroyed by using guided or homing field artillery projectiles. These projectiles are expensive and limited in quantity. They must be used only against high-payoff targets.
  • Has a limited ability to survive enemy ground, air, and artillery attacks. Weapons can be detected because of their large signature from communications and firing. Therefore, artillery must displace periodically.
  • Is not well suited for use in direct-fire mode.
  • Has limited ability to bring timely and accurate massed fires on moving targets without detailed coordination and planning.
  • Must be observed fire to be effective.

Lethal attack characteristics. The maneuver commander must decide what effect FS must have on a particular target. The three types of effects are--

  • Destruction. Destruction puts a target out of action permanently. Direct hits are required to destroy hard material targets. Usually, destruction requires large expenditures of ammunition and is not considered economical.
  • Neutralization. Neutralization knocks a target out of action temporarily. It does not require an extensive expenditure of ammunition and is the most practical type of mission. Most missions are neutralization fire. Ten percent or more casualties may neutralize a unit.
  • Suppression. Suppression of a target limits the ability of the enemy personnel in the target area to perform their jobs. The effects of these fires usually last only as long as the fires are continued. Suppression requires a small amount of ammunition; however, since its effects are not lasting, it is unsuitable for most targets.

Indirect fires. These are divided into two categories:

  • Observed fire. Observed fire is fire for which the points of impact can be controlled by an observer. The most economical use of indirect fire weapons is attained by ensuring fire is observed when accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
  • Unobserved fire. Unobserved fire is fire for which the points of impact are not observed. It involves predicting where targets are, or will be, and placing fire on them. Use of unobserved fire requires follow-up activity to assess effectiveness.

Field artillery organization. The division commander normally places at least one field artillery battalion in DS of a committed maneuver brigade. Additional field artillery units may reinforce DS battalions and/or provide GS reinforcing fires to the brigade based on availability and priorities of the division battle. The organization of a DS field artillery battalion is shown in Figure 7-1.

Positioning. The DS artillery battalion usually deploys with each firing platoon and firing battery headquarters in a separate location (split battery operation) and a main CP and combat and field trains. The field trains normally operate in the BSA to increase its responsiveness.

The maneuver commander must allocate sufficient position areas for all artillery units operating in his zone of action. Primary, alternate, and supplementary positions must be allocated throughout the zone for up to 11 units per artillery battalion to prevent them from interfering with the scheme of maneuver. The field artillery battalion commander is responsible for positioning his units, but he needs a general area and guidance from the maneuver commander. Artillery units generally require firm ground, a good internal road network, defilade, cover, concealment, and defensibility. Field artillery batteries do not always operate split battery; often, a battery headquarters will be with a platoon.

Depending on the tactical situation and terrain, a field artillery unit will move much like maneuver units. If enemy contact is not likely, it may move in column or wedge formation. If contact is probable, battery-size units will move independently, but movement will be coordinated so that one battalion or battery can provide FS to the force while another is on the road. Finally, if contact has occurred or is very likely, artillery units can move either by bounding or infiltration by battery, platoon, or individual gun.

Characteristics and capabilities of US field artillery and mortars are in Figures 7-2 through 7-5.

Mortars. The mission of battalion mortars is to provide immediate and close supporting fires within the battalion task force sector. When planning for the employment of mortars, commanders should assign a mission that supports the close and rear battle. Mortars are very effective against lightly protected personnel and for obscuration, illumination, suppression, and close-in defensive fires. Movement of mortars can be controlled by either the FSO or the S3. Characteristics and capabilities of US mortars are listed in Figures 7-2, 7-3, and 7-4.

The advantages of mortars are that they--

  • Are the most responsive FS asset of the battalion; therefore, they are ideal for responding to immediate suppression and immediate smoke missions.
  • Have a high trajectory and are ideal for attacking targets on reverse slopes.
  • Have a high rate of fire. This makes them ideal for providing continuous illumination missions.
  • Are an all-weather, day-or-night system.
  • May be emplaced almost anywhere.
  • Have a variety of shell-fuze combinations.

The disadvantages of mortars are that they--

  • Are easily detected by radar.
  • Are not as precise as field artillery and are affected greatly by strong winds.
  • Have a short range, so they must be positioned close to the battle.
  • Have a long time of flight because of the high trajectory.
  • Carry limited amounts of ammunition.
  • Are not directly linked with TACFIRE.

Tactical air support. The Air Force provides the Army with five types of air support: CAS, TAR, tactical airlift, EC, and AI. BAI is also included as a subset of AI. CAS, TAR, and BAI are detailed here (tactical airlift, AI, and EC are normally allocated at higher than brigade level). Figure 7-6 depicts the types of TACAIR support.

CAS is defined as air attack on hostile surface forces that are in close proximity to friendly troops. CAS can be employed to blunt an enemy attack, support the momentum of the ground attack, or provide cover for friendly movements. For best results while avoiding mutual interference or fratricide, aircraft are kept under "detailed integration" (part of the Air Force's TACAIR control system). The effectiveness of CAS is directly related to the degree of local air superiority attained. Until air superiority is achieved, competing demands for CAS and CA operations for available aircraft may limit sorties apportioned for the CAS role. CAS is the primary support given to committed brigades and battalions. Nomination of CAS targets is the responsibility of the commander, ALO, and S3 at each level.

TAR is designed to furnish timely and accurate information on the location, composition, activity, and movement of enemy forces. The mission will be flown by high-performance aircraft at high or low altitude, day or night, and in all weather conditions. The inherent nature of air reconnaissance means that it is best used in support of operations 12 to 24 hours ahead and, for that reason, is usually tasked to division level and higher. The brigade S2 requests TAR in support of his intelligence collection process.

BAI, a subset of AI, consists of attacks against close-in targets that are expected to have a near-term effect on the battlefield but are not in proximity to friendly troops. The principal difference between these two variants lies in the manner and level at which targets are nominated and approved. Although BAI capability is limited for the brigade during a deep battle, divisions and below are seldom allocated BAI sorties because of the planning time required. When such an allocation is made, the brigade S2 and S3 work together to nominate BAI targets.

To ensure the proper integration and planning of both ground-and air-delivered FS, the battalion commander collocates his Army and Air Force FS personnel. The FSE from the DS field artillery battalion and the TACP from the Air Force work closely together to ensure the battalion receives the FS it requires. The duties of the FAC are carried out by the ALO or controller-qualified enlisted personnel assigned to the TACP.

The TACP at battalion level and above advises the Army unit commander on the capabilities, limitations, and employment of TACAIR. It also calls in requests for CAS and controls it once it comes on station. At battalion level, the TACP consists of an ALO and two ETACs. These personnel can operate on foot, from ground vehicles, or from fixed-or rotary-wing aircraft. Although not a part of the TACP, there is one other player in this system. The TAC-A normally operates from a fixed-wing aircraft clear of enemy surface-to-air weapons. He coordinates the aircraft that are engaged in CAS but normally does not provide terminal attack control. In the absence of a TACP, Army unit FSEs can provide emergency request and control of CAS aircraft.

Planned missions are those for which a requirement can be foreseen. They permit detailed planning, integration, and coordination with the ground tactical plan. In the defense, CAS can be used to thicken fires in a decisive EA. In the offense, CAS can be planned to strike an anticipated enemy counterattack in the vicinity of an objective. Inherent in such planned CAS missions is the possibility that the target will not appear at the place and time that was expected. Such missions would then be released and used to fill requests for immediate CAS elsewhere on the battlefield. Planned CAS missions are most desirable because munitions can be tailored to the target and complete mission planning can be accomplished.

Requests for planned CAS missions originating at the maneuver battalion level are forwarded to the brigade FSE over the maneuver brigade FS net or by any other means available. When the request is received by the FSE, it is reviewed by the S3-Air, the FSO, and the ALO. They determine the suitability of the targets for air attack and consider potential airspace conflicts. The FSO may decide that it would be better to use another weapon system against that target. As a minimum, he will integrate CAS and BAI into his FS plan. The S3-Air will then add the request to the file for planned CAS missions, eliminate duplications, and assign target priorities. He then forwards the consolidated request to the division G3-Air or separate brigade FSE over the division OI net or through the multichannel system. At the division main CP, requests are processed in essentially the same manner as at the brigade and battalion. Consolidated requests are coordinated by an assistant G3 with the division FSCOORD and ALO. The requests are then separated into CAS and BAI lists and forwarded to the corps G3-Air.

Immediate missions are executed in response to requests from supported ground maneuver commanders to fulfill urgent requirements that could not be foreseen. Details of such missions are normally coordinated while the aircraft are in the air. Immediate mission requests are normally processed through Air Force channels. Before requesting immediate CAS, the following points should be considered:

  • Target type. CAS is most effective when attacking exposed and/or moving enemy forces and air defense assets.
  • Enemy air defenses. Both AAA and SAMs are systems that may require suppression before CAS can be effective.
  • Target acquisition. Well-camouflaged or small stationary targets are difficult for pilots to acquire. These kinds of targets will require some kind of marking for identification. The use of an FSE or COLT to laser-designate a target can help target acquisition.
  • Day or night observation. For night missions, the FSO should give special attention to target identification and the use of heavy mortars and artillery to illuminate the target.
  • Time available. Response and station time for CAS aircraft can vary from a few minutes to more than an hour. The TACP will normally have the most up-to-date information.

Requests for immediate CAS missions that originate at maneuver company level are forwarded to the battalion FSE and to the ALO. Based on direction from the S3 and FSCOORD, the ALO can make the request through the TACAIR request net from the TACP directly to the ASOC. The TACP at each level monitors the request and acknowledges receipt. Silence by an intermediate TACP indicates approval of the request by the associated Army echelon. If any echelon above the requesting echelon disapproves the request, the TACP at that echelon notifies the ASOC and the initiating TACP, giving the reason for disapproval. When the request is approved, the ASOC orders the mission flown. Immediate missions involve launching general alert aircraft using air alert sorties and/or diverting aircraft from other missions. Figure 7-7 depicts the planned and immediate CAS request net.

The TACP procedures contained here conform to US Army and US Air Force standards. NATO procedures for AFCENT are contained in ATP 27, Offensive Air Support Operations, and in AAFCE Manual 80-2, Offensive Air Support. US forces in Korea should refer to United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command AGOSOP. TACPS participating in allied operations should be familiar with the characteristics and attack profiles of all aircraft that may support ground operations.

Before CAS aircraft release ordnance on the target, the TACP and FSO must accomplish several tasks. Radio frequencies and laser designation settings used by the FSOs, COLTs, and tactical aircraft should be predetermined and forwarded to all parties. Since most aircraft do not have FM radios the ALO will use the UHF tactical air direction net to communicate with CAS aircraft. Because most Air Force FM capability is nonsecure, it is critical that proper authentication procedures be agreed upon and used when FM radios are employed.

Following approval of the CAS request, the TACP and TAC-A receive aircraft mission data from the ASOC. These data include mission number, aircraft call sign, number and type of aircraft, ordnance carried, and time on target. The TACP determines any additional essential information, such as updated enemy locations and identification means, availability of fires for SEAD, friendly ADA considerations, and time factors for the attack. If CAS aircraft are fitted with LSTs, the laser setting must be passed to the attack aircraft. When aircraft arrive at the target area the TACP provides them with updated information. The pilots must be given enough information to positively identify the target. The TACP is also prepared to abort the attack if the safety of friendly troops is threatened During the entire attack, the ALO watches for enemy surface-to-air fires and warns the aircraft accordingly.

CAS mission success is directly related to thorough mission planning based on the following factors and considerations.

  • Weather. Does the weather favor the use of aircraft? What is the forecast for the immediate future? Weather is one of the most important considerations when visually employing weapons; it can hinder target identification and degrade weapon accuracy.
  • Target acquisition. Targets that are well camouflaged, small and stationary, or masked by hills or other natural terrain are difficult to identify from fast-moving aircraft. The use of marking rounds can enhance target identification and help ensure frost-pass success.
  • Target identification. This is critical if CAS aircraft are to avoid attacking friendly forces by mistake. It can be accomplished by providing a precise description of the target in relation to terrain features easily visible from the air. Smoke, laser target marking, or other means can also be used.
  • Identification of friendly forces. Safe means of friendly position identification include mirror flash, marker panels, and direction and distance from prominent land features or target marks.
  • General ordnance characteristics. What types of targets are to be engaged, and what are the desired weapon effects?
  • Final attack heading. Choice of the final attack heading depends upon considerations of troop safety, aircraft survivability, and optimum weapon effects. Wiles or bombs are effective from any angle. Cannons, however, are more effective against the sides and rears of armored vehicles.
  • Troop safety. This is a key consideration in using CAS. The primary cause of friendly fire on friendly troops is misidentification of those troops as enemy forces.
  • Suppression of enemy air defense. SEAD will be required based on the capabilities of the aircraft and presence of enemy air defense systems in the target area.
  • CAS and artillery integration. Army artillery and tactical airpower are complementary. Because artillery support is more continuous and faster to respond than CAS, CAS missions must be integrated with artillery so that limited firing restrictions are imposed. The ACA is the FS coordination measure used to accomplish this integration. There are four standard ACAs: lateral, altitude, timed, and altitude and lateral separation.
  • Other planning factors that must be considered are time available for planning, C3, and terrain.

As the CAS aircraft reach the general vicinity of the target, they fly to a contact point that is normally given to the pilots through Air Force channels. At the contact point, the pilots change radio frequencies and come up on the supported ground unit's TACP frequency. The pilots are then given a situation update by either a TAC-A or the ALO as they continue flying in the direction of the target. The CAS aircraft then fly to a reference point on the ground that the pilots can identify born the air, called the IP. When the CAS flight leader is cleared to attack, he switches to the attack frequency, contacts the TACP, and reports when his flight departs the IP and is en route to the target. This radio call is used to coordinate any required SEAD and/or target marking rounds. It is important to remember that this entire procedure, in a high-intensity, high-threat environment would have to be done as smoothly and quickly as possible. If the attack aircraft are not aligned with the correct target or if friendly troops may be endangered, the TACP must abort the attack. The CAS abort procedure uses a challenge and reply response. The CAS flight leader gives the TACP the two-letter challenge code; the reply "letter" from the TACP is the abort-call "code word." The reply letter should be transmitted after the words "abort, abort, abort." This procedure is possible only if the TACP/ALO have the same authentication system as the aircraft.

In a high-intensity, high-threat environment, the capabilities of CAS aircraft employed at night are very limited. To improve the capabilities of night CAS, the Air Force is acquiring additional night-capable systems such as the LANTIRN system. Despite the limitations, CAS aircraft still have a few advantages while attacking at night. The most important advantage is the limitation darkness imposes on enemy optically sighted and IR antiaircraft systems. This is particularly true if they do not have night vision devices. Airborne or ground-based illumination can also degrade enemy night vision capabilities.

The two most important requirements of a night CAS operation are identification of the enemy or target and positive marking of friendly unit locations. The ground maneuver commander should rely on his own Army assets to accomplish the marking and illumination requirement. Although flares released from airborne FACs, other CAS aircraft, or "flare ships" can effectively illuminate target areas, ground artillery and heavy mortar-fired illumination are normally preferred due to the continuous capabilities of sustained indirect fire The Air Force CAS aircraft that can conduct night CAS missions with battlefield illumination are the A-10, A-7, F-16, F4, and F-111.

Laser designation capabilities of the A-10 and A-7 enable these aircraft to acquire targets without use of conventional illumination. The LSTs carried by these aircraft detect the reflected taser, lock onto it, and provide the data directly to the pilot. The F-4, F-16, and A-7 can also use radar to provide reference information for night operations. In addition, small radar reflectors optimized for particular airborne radars can create spotting cues for CAS aircraft.

Marking friendly unit locations improves JAAT and CAS safety and can also provide target area references. Tracers and radar beacons can serve both purposes. If safe separation is a factor, friendly unit marking is critical. Freed into the air, 40mm illumination grenades and flares are effective, but they may be useful to the enemy as well. Flares used during limited visibility operations can create the "milk-bowl" effect, making it more difficult for a CAS aircraft to find its target. When used under a low cloud ceiling, flares can also highlight the aircraft against the cloud cover. Strobe lights are very good night markers. They are commonly used with blue or IR filters and can be made directional by the use of any opaque tube. In overcast conditions, strobe lights can be especially useful. Aside from the obvious security considerations, almost any light that can be filtered or covered and uncovered can be used for signaling aircraft.

CAS missions will never consist of less than two aircraft sorties. In high-intensity, high-threat situations, these aircraft will rarely make more than one pass over the target area due to the highly lethal capabilities of modem air defense systems. The following paragraphs provide an example of two types of aircraft, the A-10 and the A-7, that will normally be given CAS missions. Table 7-1 is a summary of reference data for aircraft that perform CAS missions.

The A-10 is designed specifically for the CAS role. In a typical CAS mission, the A-10 could fly 150 miles and remain on station for an hour. It can carry up to 16,000 pounds of mixed ordnance with partial fuel, or 12,086 pounds with full internal fuel. The 30mm GAU-8A gun carried by the A-10 can fire 2,100 or 4,200 rounds per minute and defeat the whole range of ground targets encountered in the CAS role, including tanks. In addition to the GAU-8A, the A-10 can also carry free-fall or guided bombs, gun pods, six AGM-65 Maverick missiles, jammer pods, and the Pave Penny laser target designation pod.

The A-7 is a subsonic tactical tighter that was delivered to the Air Force between 1968 and 1976. The A-7 has on-station time of 30 to 50 minutes. The aircraft's outstanding target kill capability, first demonstrated in Southeast Asia, is achieved with the aid of continuous-solution navigation and weapon-delivery systems, including all-weather radar bomb delivery. Additionally, a large number of A-75 were modified to carry the same Pave Penny laser target designation pod as the A-10. It can carry up to 15,000 pounds of air-to-air or air-to-ground missiles, bombs, rockets, and gun pods. In addition, it has the standard M-61Al 20mm Vulcan gun, which is effective against lightly armored vehicles.

The following paragraphs detail the ordnance carried by the A-10 and A-7 in CAS situations. Table 7-2 provides reference data for aircraft-delivered ordnance and lists the minimum safe distances for their use.

In NATO, a standard ordnance load for the A-10 would be two to four Maverick missiles and over 1,100 rounds of 30-mm ammunition, consisting of an API and HEI mix. The API has a depleted uranium penetrator. The Maverick used by Air Force aircraft uses TV or IR seekers with fire-and-forget and day-night capabilities. US Marine Corps Mavericks use only laser seeker-equipped missiles. The warhead is a 165-pound shaped charge for use against tanks or a 300-pound penetrating high explosive. Time required to acquire and lock the weapon onto target usually restricts the A-10 to one missile per pass. In a target-rich environment, there may be time for further engagements with the 30-mm gun before breaking off the attack. The 30mm is normally aimed at a point target and fired for a one-second burst that puts over 30 rounds in a relatively tight shot group. The on-board load of 1,170 30-mm rounds, fired at 2,100 rounds per minute, could be expended in a just 30 seconds.

The A-7 carries a load of six MK20 ROCKEYE canisters and a 20-mm gun that is effective against light armor. Normally, two to six ROCKEYEs are dropped in a single pass. Each ROCKEYE canister contains 247 dart-shaped Ml18 antiarmor bomblets that can penetrate up to 7.5 inches of armor. Depending on delivery parameters, the pattern of bomblets will vary For a low-level pass, one canister will give a shotgun scatter type pattern over 50 meters wide and 100 meters long. This equates to one bomblet every 15 feet in the pattern.

Naval gunfire. Naval gunfire provides large volumes of immediate FS close to coastal waters. Normally, naval fires are controlled by an NGLO attached to the FSE for a specific operation.

Advantages of naval gunfire are that it --

  • Fires a variety of munitions and fuzes, including HE and illumination.
  • Has a flat trajectory. This makes naval guns particularly effective against vertical-face targets such as coastal forts and bunkers.
  • Can deliver a large volume of fire in a relatively short period.
  • May consist of precision guided munitions.

Disadvantages of naval gunfire are that it--

  • May have a large range error. Always ensure that the ship does not fire toward or directly over friendly troops.
  • Is less accurate in rough seas.
  • Can expend a limited quantity of ammunition. All ships must keep some ammunition to protect themselves from enemy air or surface attacks. Providing FS might not be their first priority.
  • Affords limited communications between the ship and the shore. The ship has high-frequency AM radios that are not compatible with standard Army FM radios.

Target acquisition. The maneuver brigade or battalion FSO has several field artillery target acquisition assets that will be available in the unit's sector or will be attached for use in detection of enemy targets. The field artillery battalion supporting the brigade may have an attached AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder weapon-locating radar. Field Winery aerial observers and an AN/TPS-25 or AN/TPS-58 moving-target-locating molar may be OPCON to the brigade or field artillery battalion. Also, a UAV platoon may be attached to the brigade for target acquisition and attack. The brigade FSO and targeting officer must plan to use these target acquisition assets to support the commander's mission. All of these assets can provide important and otherwise unavailable combat information to the task force or brigade S2 through the FSO. Their input must be integrated into the S2's total collection plan. Also, HUMINT from FOS should be considered a valuable source of information.

The AN/TOP-36 Firefinder. The AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder has a 1,600-mil (45-degree) sector of coverage with maximum detection ranges of 12 kilometers for mortars and 24 kilometers for artillery and rockets. Four types of zones can be designated throughout the brigade AO and rear area to assist in intelligence collection and attack of enemy indirect-fire assets. The system can hold any combination of nine zones at once. These measures can enhance responsiveness to enemy action and can expand the automation of the FS coordination effort. Most enemy indirect-fire assets will not be positioned to allow visual observation by friendly FS teams. When used, these zones allow timely and accurate placement of first-round fire-for-effect on enemy indirect-fire systems. The zones are--

  • Critical friendly zone. This is a sensitive area within friendly territory, such as a POL dump, a CP, a staging area, a FARP, or an ASP. When the AN/TPQ-36 predicts that a hostile projectile will strike this area an immediate call for fire is initiated and processed ahead of all other radar detections. This will allow counterfire to neutralize subsequent indirect fires.
  • Call for fire zone. This area in enemy territory has expected or suspected artillery concentrations. Any indirect fires originating from this area must be neutralized quickly because they may affect your mission.
  • Artillery intelligence zone. Also an area in enemy territory, it may contain a threat to the accomplishment of your objectives, immediately or in the future. Detections from this zone will result only in a target report, not a fire mission.
  • Censor zone. This is an area, generally in enemy territory, where any indirect-free detections will be disregarded. An example would be an area where two friendly units are converging or where deep insertion units may be surrounded. Friendly indirect fires or mortars originating from a censor zone should be disregarded.

AN/TPS-25 or AN/TPS-58 moving-target-locating radar. This division artillery asset is usually positioned to cover the enemy's main avenue of approach into the division's sector. It is normally positioned 1.2 kilometers behind the FLOT. It has a maximum range of 18 kilometers for vehicles and 12 kilometers for personnel. The MTLR can be used during periods of limited visibility and at key points designated by the commander to assist in the attack of deep targets or to gather intelligence about the enemy.

Combat observation lasing team. The following considerations apply to COLT employment:

  • Description. The COLT is an HTO designed to maximize the use of smart munitions. Although originally conceived to interface with the Copperhead it can be used with any munition that requires reflected laser energy for final ballistic guidance. At present, the team can also lase for smart munitions delivered by Army and Air Force air assets. Within the heavy force structure, the team is composed of three personnel equipped with a G/VLLD and necessary mobility and communications assets.
  • Organization.

- Personnel. Each team is composed of one sergeant, who is the team chief and primary operator of the G/VLLD; one FS specialist; and one private first class, who is the driver and RATELO.

- Equipment. Each team is equipped with one M981 FS vehicle with G/VLLD; two radios, an AN/VRC-46 and an AN/GRC-160; and one DMD.

  • General considerations. The COLT team laser (G/VLLD) can be used for target ranging and/or designation. COLTS have the capability to provide observation for both standard and laser-guided weapons. The G/VLLD is the current organic laser for heavy forces; other Army lasers, such as the LTD and those on the AH-64 and OH-58D helicopters, or Marine lasers, such as MULE, may be available.
  • Employment options.

- Although primarily used as the designator for the 155-mm artillery-delivered Copperhead, COLTs are effectively used to optimize Air Force and other aviation systems by providing target designation and laser guidance for air-delivered munitions. Given the available delivery systems, the COLT provides the commander with a powerful capability to attack hard and point targets as well as area targets. To maximize the effectiveness of the COLT while minimizing the mobility limitations of the G/VLLD, positioning must be carefully considered. Positioning decisions are based on the following employment considerations:

+ Position the COLT where it will best enhance accomplishment of the commander's intent.

+ Employ the team in defilade positions to enhance survivability.

+ Position it on an even plane with the target to enhance laser designation capability.

+ Allow for the final 20 seconds of flight time for the Copperhead projectile.

+ Clearly identify all targets and priorities for engagement.

+ Position the COLT where targets are most likely to be stationary or moving slowly.

- COLTS are positioned by the DS battalion commander or his representative to support the maneuver commander's overall plan. To provide the best coverage and to maximize survivability, COLTS are often employed in pairs. This allows continuous COLT coverage during the operation. Since the COLT is a limited, valuable asset, careful consideration must precede a decision to decentralize the COLTS below brigade level. Any decentralization should be for a designated period of time, not as a matter of SOP.

Aerial fire support officer/OH-58D employment. The following considerations apply:

  • The OH-58D is a division or corps aerial platform capable of multiple tactical missions in a relatively short time. Its mobility and on-board systems give the commander the ability to seize the initiative and remain extremely flexible in a tactical environment.
  • The pilot and AFSO are the flight crew of the OH-58D. The pilot is primary operator of the aircraft. The AFSO performs navigation assistance, tactical coordination with the supported element, and digital communications with artillery units; conducts target lasing and designation and hasty fire planning; and reports to higher headquarters. He is secondary operator of the aircraft in an emergency.
  • The OH-58D has the following capabilities:

- Day/night and limited-visibility target acquisition through the use of a CRT and thermal sensor.

- Eight-digit target location capability based on the accuracy of position location equipment.

- Ability to supplement and use target acquisition assets of Army aviation, Air Force, and ground units.

- Laser target designation and range finding. The OH-58D is compatible with munitions such as the Pave Penny, Copperhead, and Hellfire and other smart munitions of all services.

- Digital link to any TACFIRE artillery unit and its relay systems.

- Ability to deploy, detect recognize, and guide munitions to a target and send target intelligence reports without exposing resources other than the aircraft to the enemy.

- Rapid mobility throughout the battlefield.

- Communications capability with all Air Force aircraft and Army assets.

- Ability to fully support a combat aviation unit with aerial FS coordination during tactical operations.

- Future capabilities for use as a self-defense weapon system when mounted with Stinger and antiaircraft missile pods.

  • The OH-58D has the following limitations:

- It is a line-of-sight system. It cannot see over the horizon or through foliage.

- If weather or environment defeats the laser, it may defeat the system. Defeating conditions include dust clouds, fog, and ice. Due to safety restrictions, the system cannot be flown in icing weather conditions.

- Preflight operations take 35 to 50 minutes to program systems for a mission. Navigation information and communications and ATHS data must be entered before executing a mission.

- Crew endurance is limited. With only six aircraft in the division, and approximately four available at any one time due to downtime and maintenance, missions for these systems must be well planned and carefully briefed.

  • Missions. The OH-58D is designed to perform a variety of missions:

-Target acquisition, including acquisition of deep targets for supported units and counterfire assets; collection and reporting of battlefield information; and early warning surveillance.

- Target engagement, firing targets with all FS assets, including smart munitions.

- FS planning and coordination when necessary. The AFSO can conduct rear area FS coordination and augment aviation brigade FS operations.

  • Employment considerations include the following:

- Employment of the OH-58D system requires detailed planning and execution at all echelons within the FS structure for several reasons: the limited number of aircraft available, their multipurpose utility, and the requirement for target attack and target acquisition systems support. OH-58D employment should be based on the factors of METT-T and the commander's intent.

- The aircraft requires significant survey support to maintain the accuracy of its target-locating system. The system must be initialized every 15 nautical miles or 15 minutes. Less than adequate survey degrades first-round fire-for-effect capability. Division artillery is responsible for providing survey control reference points.

- Operationally, the system can be employed by itself when performing target acquisition and targeting. The ideal situation, however, would be to employ another aircraft, such as another OH-58D or OH-58C, to enhance survivability and mission performance. Two aircraft can provide continuous coverage, even when one goes to refuel.

- Maneuver brigade control. The OH-58D system should be used primarily to augment the brigade's organic target designation and target acquisition assets, rather than for FS coordination. The OH-58D system will normally be used to augment the brigade's FISTS and COLTS. Because it can see deeper than most other target acquisition systems in support of the brigade, it will also augment target acquisition assets supporting the brigade and provide timely and accurate battlefield information. If available, the OH-58D will be under either brigade or division control.

Command, control, and coordination. These are the elements that make the system work. It is here that the commander's concepts and desires are translated into the technical and tactical actions needed to respond to attack targets quickly and effectively.

Technical support. Meteorological and survey support is the technical part of the FS system that assures accurate, unobserved surprise fins; transfer of target data; and accurately massed fires.

Fire Support Facilities, Organization, and Duties

Direct Support Field Artillery Battalion Commander

The DS field artillery battalion commander is FSCOORD for the supported brigade. As such, he is specifically responsible for all FS planning and coordination for the maneuver brigade. As his unique contribution, the DS battalion commander provides a professional assessment of current and near-term capabilities of his unit and of other FS assets supporting the force. Duty location of the DS field artillery battalion commander at any given time is where he can best execute the maneuver commander's intent for FS. In addition to supporting the brigade, the DS field artillery battalion commander is responsible for--

  • Training the FS system and his battalion to perform successfully all stated and implied missions and tasks associated with providing FS to a maneuver force.
  • Continuously articulating his assessment of the current and future capabilities and status of all FS assets supporting the maneuver force. This assessment may be obtained from reports or by personal observation, at the FSCOORD's discretion.
  • Providing a knowledgeable, experienced officer as brigade FSO. The FSCOORD must establish a special mentor relationship with this officer since the FSO, in the absence of the FSCOORD, personally represents him to the brigade commander. More than any other officer, the FSO must understand the FSCOORD's intent in supporting the maneuver plan. In addition, the FSCOORD must ensure that his brigade FSO fully understands the FSCOORD's assessment of FS assets supporting the maneuver force.

Brigade Fire Support Organization

The brigade or regimental FS element is organized with the following personnel:

  • FSO (major).
  • FS plans/targeting officer (first lieutenant; an ACR is authorized a captain).
  • FS sergeant (sergeant first class).
  • Two FS specialists.

Other representatives join the FSE to serve as a functional FIST to enhance and speed FS coordination. These representatives may include--

  • The ALO, for coordination and employment of Air Force assets in support of the brigade.
  • The NGLO, for coordination and employment of naval gunfire and naval air in support of the brigade.
  • The brigade chemical officer, for deployment of NBC defense and use of chemical, riot control, obscurant, and aerosol agents.
  • The S3-Air, to seine as maneuver assistant S3 and to coordinate employment of TACAIR with Army aviation and the FSO, ALO, and air defense platoon leader.
  • Other representatives as required, such as LOs of allied forces supporting the operation or an Army aviation LO when Army aviation is used as an FS asset.

The FSO should have a working knowledge of the duties of the following staff members who maybe in the brigade TAC CP.

  • The brigade air defense artilleryman manages the air defense assets in support of the brigade. He may have valuable information on the location of enemy air defense targets, airspace coordination, and the enemy air situation.
  • The brigade engineer manages engineer assets in support of the brigade. He coordinates the coverage of obstacles, the use of FASCAM, and general battlefield mobility/countermobility requirements.
  • The IEW representative from the divisional MI battalion controls and supervises the IEW assets in support of the brigade. He can provide some targets and information and coordinates offensive use of jamming. The FSO needs a working knowledge of the IEW assets available from this source to effectively coordinate their use in the attack of targets.

Brigade FSO and Plans/Targeting Officer Duties

Brigade FSO. The DS field artillery battalion commander, who serves as the FSCOORD, cannot be at the brigade headquarters continuously. Therefore, his assistant, the brigade FSO, serves as a full-time liaison between the DS artillery battalion and the maneuver brigade and helps integrate FS into the maneuver commander's scheme of operation. Assisting the FSO are the other staff officers who make up the FS cell. The duties of the brigade FSO include--

  • Keeping the brigade commander informed of the FS assets, capabilities, and limitations, including their tactical missions.
  • Keeping the commander informed of enemy indirect fire capabilities and limitations.
  • Helping the commander develop his estimate of the situation and war-game possible courses of action, resulting in the creation of the decision support template.
  • Developing the brigade FS plan based on the commander's intent and briefing the commander on the plan.
  • Ensuring battalion FSOs plan fires in accordance with the brigade commander's guidance and establishing priority of fires.
  • Consolidating target lists from the battalion FSOs and resolving duplications.
  • Planning targets in depth and targets that were not planned by subordinate FSOs but are within the brigade zone of action.
  • Coordinating requests for additional FS from battalion FSOs when the FS means available at company or battalion level are inadequate.
  • Recommending and adhering to FS coordinating measures.
  • Using the commander's guidance checklist in preparation of FS plans and briefings.
  • Coordinating brigade use of TACAIR assets with the ALO.

Plans/targeting officer. The plans/targeting officer gives the FSE 24-hour FSO capability. He performs as FSO in the absence of the FSO and helps the FSO with his duties. He provides the interface with the brigade S2 and helps him and the FSO by providing information regarding target vulnerabilities He advises the brigade S2 regarding specific requirements for accuracy of target location, assurance and level of target description, and duration the target may be considered viable for FS attack. His targeting duties include--

  • Helping the brigade S2 write the target acquisition and surveillance plan.
  • Helping provide staff supervision of target acquisition assets attached, organic, and OPCON to the brigade.
  • Developing the attack guidance matrix, recommending it to the commander, and disseminating it within the FS cell, CP, and subordinate elements.
  • Determining, recommending, and processing time-sensitive, high-payoff targets for the FS element.
  • Coordinating with the maneuver brigade S2 for target acquisition coverage and processing of brigade high-payoff targets.
  • With the brigade S2, producing the target selection standards matrix for target acquisition assets supporting the brigade.

Brigade Fire Support Sergeant

The brigade FS sergeant is the senior enlisted assistant to the brigade FSO. He maybe a shift leader in the FSE. He is responsible for enlisted training in maneuver battalion FSEs, maneuver FISTS, and assigned COLTS. He supervises the maintenance of all equipment assigned to these sections. The brigade FS sergeant must be able to perform all duties of the FSO.

Brigade FSO Relationships

Maneuver brigade commander/S3. The maneuver commander is responsible for the operation, The maneuver S3 is detailed responsibility for the integration of FS into the operation.

DS battalion commander. He is brigade FSCOORD and is accountable to the maneuver brigade commander for the quality of FS provided to the maneuver brigade. As FSCOORD, he advises and assists the brigade commander in all aspects of FS planning and coordination. He is responsible for training all FS personnel supporting the brigade.

DS battalion S3. The DS battalion S3 prepares the field artillery support plan and is responsible for ensuring that the plan is executed in concert with the maneuver plan. He coordinates with the brigade FSO and brigade S3 on a continuous basis regarding position areas, movements, future operations needs for additional FS, and status of FS systems.

Division FS element. The division FSE, the next higher link in the FS chain, provides guidance to the brigade FSE. Both FSEs exchange FS planning and coordination information.

Battalion FSOs. The brigade FSO is responsible for the technical supervision and training of battalion FSOs, ensuring they properly plan and execute their FS plans.

Fire Support Planning and Coordination

Fire Support Planning

FS planning is a continuous process of analyzing, allocating, and scheduling. It determines how FS is used, what types of targets are attacked, when they are attacked, and with what means. The goal is to effectively integrate FS into battle plans to optimize combat power. To do this, FS planning is concurrent with battle planning. Planning must be flexible to accommodate the unexpected in combat and facilitate rapid change. It anticipates factors like massing of FS assets, changes in force mission, realistic movement times, resupply, target acquisition, replacement of entire units, and technical support including survey and meteorological requirements. The FSO must consider three vital sets of information: relationship of the commander's intent for maneuver and FS to other operating systems; factors of METT-T, and guidance from higher field artillery headquarters. He must remember these factors cannot be considered individually. Each affects the others.

Commander's intent. At each level, the FSO plans fires as the commander outlines his scheme of maneuver. The FSO must seek and understand the commander's guidance and intent and be prepared to make recommendations for the integration of available FS. He must know when and where the commander wants FS and what the commander wants in the way of effects, duration, and timing (to truly understand the commander's intent, he must also understand why). The FSO must understand how unit direct-fire assets are to be employed so he can supplement, not interfere with, their employment, Also, he must ensure that he knows how FS is to be integrated with other operating systems and how to synchronize his plan to complement their employment. The FSO is responsible for informing the commander of all changes to the FS plan received through FS channels.

METT-T. Information is analyzed continuously by all levels of command based on the factors of METT-T. A discussion follows.


  • What is the mission?
  • What is the commander's concept of the operation and scheme of maneuver?
  • What is the commander's intent?
  • What is the objective of the operation?
  • What route is the unit using?
  • What are the intermediate objectives?
  • What are the missions of higher, lower, and adjacent units?
  • Are there any contingency missions?


  • What are the enemy's capabilities and limitations in the company zone of action (such as FS assets, direct-fire weapons, and vehicle mobility)?
  • What are likely courses of action?
  • Where are known, suspected, and likely enemy locations?
  • How does the enemy employ his forces (artillery, patrols, FOs, attack helicopters)?


  • Terrain is a combat multiplier.
  • This category includes analysis of obervation cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach (OCOKA), as well as weather.
  • What is observation like in sector?
  • Are cover and concealment available in sector?
  • Where are obstacles (man-made, natural) in sector?
  • Where is the key terrain?
  • Where are likely positions for ambushes, LPs/OPs, and kill zones?
  • Where are the avenues of approach?
  • What is the weather forecast, and how will it affect mobility and visibility?
  • How does terrain affect mobility, both friendly and enemy?
  • What kinds of munitions are best suited for the terrain and weather?
  • Are appropriate FS coordination measures tied to terrain, when applicable?

Troops available.

  • What is the status of FIST/FS cell training, experience, personnel and equipment?
  • What FS assets are available, and what are their locations and capabilities?
  • What is the status of the supported unit?
  • What is the status of the observers in sector (such as FOs, COLTS, and scouts)?

Time available.

  • How long before the operation begins?
  • How much time is available to develop a fire plan?
  • How long will it take to coordinate the fire plan?
  • How long is the operation expected to last?

Guidance from higher headquarters. Higher headquarters will give the FSO information essential to the FS plan, including--

  • The commander's intent at that level.
  • FS assets available.
  • FS coordinating measures.
  • Target lists.
  • Schedules of fires.
  • Technical advice on FS matters.
  • Constraints on field artillery Class V supply (CSRs).

Fire Planning and the Decision-Making Process

The decision-making process is as detailed, or as simple, as time permits. The commander plays the central role in this process, with the staff providing advice and information related to their respective areas. The process is primarily downward, beginning at higher echelons and progressing downward to the company FSO. Its effectiveness requires continuous interaction and bottom-up feedback. The following paragraphs describe some FS aspects of the decision-making process at company, battalion, and brigade levels.

When the maneuver commander receives his mission and issues his initial planning guidance, the corresponding FS team receives guidance from the higher FS team. As a minimum, this guidance should cover the following areas when possible:

  • FS asset allocation and status.
  • Commander's target attack guidance.
  • Fires planned by higher headquarters in the zone.

The commander will do his mission analysis, restate the mission, and issue his intent and planning guidance. Planning guidance may cover several courses of action. Upon receipt, the staff takes the following actions:

  • The FSO develops his staff estimate, interacting with the other staff members and war-gaming the courses of action to determine the suitability of FS to support them.
  • The S2 analyzes the AO and starts the IPB process. He informs other staff members of known enemy locations and capabilities, projected courses of action for the enemy force, and assets that are most important to the accomplishment of the enemy mission. He determines which organic and attached collection assets (maneuver, FS, and MI) can acquire those enemy assets. The S2 and the targeting officer identify high-value targets within the brigade zone.

The staff prepares and briefs its estimates to the commander. The FSO must be able to brief the FS requirements for each course of action and recommend the best one from an FS perspective. The requirements he should be prepared to discuss include--

  • Assets available to support the operation.
  • FS capabilities and limitations for each course of action (both friendly and enemy).

The commander gives his estimate, makes a decision, and issues his concept, stating how he visualizes the conduct of the battle. As he develops his battle plan for the employment of maneuver forces, he must also visualize and articulate how he will use his FS resources and what targets to attack. The commander issues guidance to the staff regarding prioritization of targets, desired effects, and targets that require some sort of formal assessment after attack.

Plans and orders are prepared. The FSO, with assistance of the other FS staff officers, writes the FS ptan. The brigade FSO plans frees in support of the brigade operation in accordance with the commander's concept, intent, and scheme of maneuver. Fires planned outside the brigade zone are coordinated with higher and adjacent units. Fires planned in the brigade rear are coordinated with the S3 and the controlling agency in the BSA, normally the FSB commander. The fire plan is disseminated to higher and adjacent units and to battalion FSOs. The targeting officer helps the S2 write the target acquisition and surveillance plans. As a minimum, the FS plan should include--

  • Commander's intent for fire support.
  • Availability of FS assets and their status.
  • Priority of fires and how that priority will be executed.
  • Planned FS within the zone.
  • FS execution matrix.
  • Target lists.
  • Attack guidance matrix.
  • Fire support coordination measures.
  • Any requirements a higher FS team will place on subordinate FS teams.
  • Retransmission requirements for communications depending on terrain.

The commander approves the plan/order. The written plan is disseminated to subordinate units. FSOs at all levels should accompany their maneuver commander when he is briefed on the plan/order by higher headquarters. Before execution, plans are refined with the following results:

  • Target lists are refined and duplications resolved, company FSOs are particularly valuable in refining these targets.
  • Schedules are updated and disseminated.
  • Additional FS assets are requested.
  • The collection plan is reviewed to ensure compatibility with the FS plan.
  • Information collected by sensors before and during execution is processed. The targeting officer monitors reports by collection assets, updates target lists, and submits time-sensitive targets not in the FS system to the FS cell.
  • The field artillery battalion S3 develops the field artillery support plan based on the information received from the field artillery battalion commander and the brigade FSO, The field artillery support plan embodies the DS battalion commander's concept for executing the FS plan supporting the brigade commander's intent. The field artillery support plan, which is the field artillery battalion OPORD, is briefed back to the brigade commander by the DS battalion commander.

The FS plan is rehearsed. The following considerations apply:

  • The FSO should gather all available members of the FS cell to actively participate in the maneuver commander's rehearsal. The repetitiveness afforded by war-gaming the operation improves total comprehension of the plan and provides answers for participants who are unclear on specific portions of the plan. The maneuver course of action and supporting fire plan should be analyzed against possible enemy courses of action that might occur during actual execution of the plan. In addition, the rehearsal may address the use of primary and alternate communications nets, alternative attack systems to be used in engaging specified targets, munitions, and observer and weapon system positions. The rehearsal serves to improve responsiveness of fires and to improve synchronization of all the maneuver commander's resources for the battle.
  • If the maneuver commander does not conduct a rehearsal and rehearsal time is available, the FSCOORD and FSO should conduct an FS rehearsal using the existing maneuver OPLAN, FS plan, and FS execution matrix. The FS execution matrix is ideal for use during the rehearsal, since the. rehearsal is normally conducted by performing or reciting actions to occur, possible friendly measures, and significant events that are to occur in relation to time or phases of an operation.

Fire Planning

The fire plan includes the minimum targets necessary to support the scheme of maneuver. The targeting process, a critical part of the fire planning process, is based on the friendly scheme of maneuver and requires close interaction among the commander, S2, targeting officer, S3, FS cell, and various CS agencies. It includes assessment of terrain and enemy and identification of enemy formations, equipment, facilities, and terrain that must be attacked to ensure success. It also anticipates the need for SEAD to support CAS assets.

Methods of fire planning. Two procedures are particularly valuable in enhancing the FSO's effectiveness: the decide-detect-deliver methodology and use of the war-gaming process.

Decide-detect-deliver. This method is a joint effort by maneuver, MI, and FS elements to synchronize the three systems.

In the decide phase, targets are identified for engagement. The FSO, S2, and S3 decide what targets to look for, where the targets can be found on the battlefield, who can locate those targets, and how the targets should be attacked. Together, they identify the assets to be allocated, additional assets available, and channels needed to provide information on a real-time basis.

The detect phase is designed to execute the target acquisition conducted in the decide phase. In this phase, target acquisition assets are tasked to find specific targets. Characteristics and signatures of the relevant targets are determined and then compared to potential attack means to establish specific sensor requirements. Sensors are focused to detect the functions.

The deliver phase involves selecting the right attack system to attack specific enemy functions, meeting attack guidance, and performing postattack assessment (if required). This includes both lethal and nonlethal attack systems.

War-gaming. This is a mental exercise to select a course of action. It ensures that operating systems are considered when selecting a course of action. Each course of action must be war-gamed to consider the implications of troth friendly and enemy options during an operation. This requires the commander, FSO, S2, and S3 to make a joint analysis of the various courses of action. To be active participants, FSOs must be knowledgeable of all maneuver and FS systems. They must be able to discuss FS requirements, including the capabilities and limitations of each maneuver course of action. The final product of war-gaming is a recommended maneuver course of action.

Deliberate fire planning. Deliberate fire planning is conducted through a format "top-down" process, with "bottom-up" refinement. However, deliberate fire planning at all levels also begins immediately upon receipt of the missions. Company and battalion FSOs should not wait for a target list provided by higher echelons before beginning their own planning. For the maneuver brigade, the process begins with the receipt of targeting information from the division. The division G2, in conjunction with the targeting team of the division main FS element, performs a detailed IPB and target value analysis for the entire division AO. NAI and TAI will be included in the IPB for the brigade S2. High-payoff targets for the division, specific targets of interest, and schedules of fire come "top-down" to the brigade FSE/targeting officer. The brigade S2 and FSO must take this division guidance and refine it for the brigade area and concept of operation.

Brigade level is normally the lowest at which formal fire planning is accomplished. From the division, the brigade FSO receives targets that are in his zone and brigade area of interest and that have been developed from division IPB and/or acquired by division target acquisition assets. The brigade FSO develops targets within his zone in conjunction with the brigade targeting cell, which includes the commander, S2, S3, IEWSE, targeting officer, and engineer officer. He adds division and brigade targets to his target list worksheet, posts the targets on his overlay, and passes those targets to subordinate maneuver battalions and the DS artillery battalion. He then receives target list modifications from the battalion FSOs. Using the target list worksheet and overlay, the brigade FSO resolves duplication, prioritizes the list, and transmits it to the DS battalion and appropriate agencies available to the maneuver brigade commander for that operation. It is vital that the brigade FSO allow enough planning time for subordinate headquarters and that he establish a cutoff time for them to submit modifications so that the plan can be disseminated with adequate time for execution.

Quick fire planning. The purpose of quick fire planning is to rapidly prepare and execute FS in anticipation of an impending operation. It is the brigade FSO's responsibility to ensure the DS battalion S3, FDC, and battalion FS cells understand the quick FS plan and how it is used. Quick fire planning techniques constitute an informal fire plan. In the quick fire plan, the FSO is responsible for identifying targets to be engaged in the target list, allocating all FS assets available to engage the targets in the plan, preparing the schedule of fires, and disseminating the schedule to all appropriate FS agencies for execution. The following steps delineate the quick FS planning sequence.

Receive the OPORD. The key is understanding what the commander wants. Obtain the following decisions from the commander

  • Targets to be engaged.
  • Desired effects on targets.
  • Order and timing of target engagement.
  • Duration of fires.
  • H-hour.
  • Priority of fires.
  • Priority of targeting.
  • Priority of execution.
  • Other FS assets available.
  • Time check from commander.
  • Estimated rate of movement.
  • Need for target adjustment.
  • Concept of the operation, including objective and defensive positions; maneuver control measures; and obstacles.

Find out what assets are available for the operation. Concurrently, send a WO to all applicable attack elements. These may include the field artillery battalion S3, mortar platoon leader, ALO, NGLO, and SALT Air. The following considerations apply.

  • Obtain from the field artillery DS battalion the firing units that will be designated to fire in the quick fire plan schedule.
  • Obtain from the maneuver commander availability of the mortar platoon (company FSO to battalion FSO for mortars in a company operation) for inclusion as firing units in the schedule of fires.
  • Obtain TACAIR mission information from the FS cell. Coordinate CAS requirements with the ALO (such as aircraft type, ordnance, time on station, laser codes, and control procedures).
  • Determine the availability of naval aircraft and/or naval gunfire from the firepower control team, SALT Air, or NGLO.

Plan targets. Conduct planning in accordance with the scheme of maneuver, commander's guidance, and allocated assets, determining--

  • Assets to be used.
  • Munitions mix.
  • Shell/fuze combinations.
  • Duration of fire for each target.
  • Time to fire.

Receive the commander's approval and disseminate the fire plan. Send it to attack elements, higher headquarters FISTs, and those who will implement the plan (FOs and subordinate FISTs). Whenever possible, send DA Form 5368-R (Quick Fire Plan) to the field artillery battalion CP and mortar platoon leader.

Ensure that subordinate FSOs and FISTs understand the fire plan. As a minimum, cover--

  • Positions/locations of FSOs/observers during the conduct of the operation.
  • Who is to initiate the fire plan, or who is to initiate the fire request on specific on-call targets within the fire plan. The plan should include the agency to be contacted, when the target is to be initiated, and the communications net to be used.
  • Which unit has priority of fires, or priority targets, if applicable.
  • The use of methods of control in modifying the plan should it become necessary during execution of the plan.
  • The agencies that are available when additional targets of opportunity arise during execution of the plan.

Inform the commander when the plan is ready. Review the plan and modify it as necessary. If time allows, conduct a rehearsal to ensure comprehension of the plan.

Fire Support Execution Matrix

The FS planning and execution matrix is a concise, easy planning tool that shows the many factors of a complicated FS plan. It can help the FSO and the commander to understand how the fire plan supports the scheme of maneuver. It is a valuable planning tool for both the offense and the defense. It explains what aspects of the FS plan each FSO and FO is responsible for and at what phase during the battle these aspects apply. When approved, the matrix becomes the primary execution tool. It is set up with the maneuver elements along the left side and different phases (phase lines, events, or times) of the mission along the top. Phases should correspond to phases established on maneuver execution matrixes. (See Figure 7-8)

Fire Support Coordination

General. FS coordination is the continuous process of implementing FS planning and managing available FS assets. The best FS plan in the world is worthless unless it is properly coordinated with appropriate personnel and/or agencies. In short coordination makes the plan happen. Key personnel with whom FS must be coordinated include--

  • Higher FSE.
  • ALO.
  • Army aviation.
  • Chemical officer.
  • Lower FSE.
  • NGLO.
  • DS field artillery main CP (usually done by the brigade FIST).
  • Adjacent unit FS teams.
  • Mortar platoon leader (battalion/company).
  • Maneuver battalion S3/S 3-Air.
  • Engineer representative.
  • ADA representative.
  • MP representative.
  • MI representative.

Field artillery positioning. The maneuver commander sets priorities for positioning of units within his sector. The coordination for positioning of an field artillery unit is normally done between the field artillery battalion S3 and the brigade S3. However, the FSO may become involved in the coordination by assisting the field artillery S3. Coordination may include locations of delivery units, radars, main CPs, and trains; movement routes and times; and supply routes. Priorities of positioning are as follows:

  • DS field artillery battalion.
  • Reinforcing battalions.
  • Division GS and GS reinforcing units.
  • Corps units (GS reinforcing before GS).

Clearance of fires. The FSO at every echelon is vitally concerned that all fire requests are quickly processed and that all fires into his maneuver commander's zone are properly cleared. He considers--

  • Requests for fire. Within brigades, the FSO approves requests for fire at each echelon. Frequently, most requests for field artillery fire are approved by the TF FSO. To expedite requests, silence by the monitoring FSO is considered consent. Consent in effect validates use of the requested asset to engage the particular target. For fires within the requestor's zone, no clearance or other coordination is necessary.
  • Clearance. The maneuver commander has the final authority to approve (clear) fires and their effects within his zone. This is not the same as approval of requests for FS assets. Normally, maneuver commanders delegate authority to coordinate and clear fires within their zone (usually delineated by boundaries) to their FSOs.

Checklist for the Maneuver Commander

These questions are designed to help the maneuver commander ensure that his FSO coordinates FS with maneuver. Some questions must be asked by the FSO. Some of the answers will come from staff sections, the field artillery unit, or the commander himself. The bottom line is that the commander must ensure that his FSO understands his intent. These questions will help articulate that intent. The next step is to ensure the FSO understands what the commander wants.

  • What is your mission (hasty attack or pursuit)?
  • What is your concept of operation and intent? In other words, how do you plan to accomplish the missions? What is your intent to effectively employ FS?
  • What is the current enemy situation? Does your staff know the intelligence situation?
  • Are known or suspected enemy locations known by the FSO?
  • What is your likely axis of advance? What are the enemy's likely avenues of approach?
  • What units are to receive priority of fires? What are your lead elements?
  • What FS assets are available?
  • What about TACFIRE? What are your defeat criteria (priority, degree of destruction, units to attack) for different targets?
  • What are your criteria for determining what is a target? Do you want to hold onto any targets? Is there a high-payoff target list?
  • Will you use special munitions (smoke, illumination, FASCAM)? How much, when, and where? How many minefield can you plan? Do you have authority to fire them?
  • Do you want any special fires (preparation, smoke, FPF, illumination, and so on)? How much, when, and where?
  • What maneuver control measures have been established? Are they synchronized with the permissive or restrictive coordinating measures used by your FSO?
  • What time does the attack start? How much time is available? Is informal fire planning adequate, or is formal planning required? Have you distributed the plan correctly and to key individuals?
  • How much ammunition is available? Is it prestocked?
  • What are your future plans (attack or counterattack)?
  • What and where are your mines and other obstacles? Do you have FS covering them?
  • Who will position and control mortars and artillery?
  • How will you resupply your mortars, artillery and direct-fire weapons?
  • Where are friendly units located, and what are their boundaries?
  • Where and how can you be located or contacted if something goes wrong?
  • What is the chain of command?
  • Will a rehearsal be conducted? If so, when?
  • What signals/events will cause special fires to begin?
  • Will you outrun your artillery and mortars? What can be done to keep this from happening?
  • Did you tie in your FS with antiarmor assets (TOW and Cobra), CAS, obstacle plan, and air defense plan?
  • Did you instruct the S2 and S3, coordinating with the FSE, to implement ECM against key communications nodes?
  • What is your commendation for attack guidance?

Air Defense Support

Organization Available

The air defense CS for a brigade is a pure or composite battery using a combination of Vulcan, Chaparral, and Stinger missiles. Divisional air defense battalions in CONUS do not have Chaparrals They have Vulcans and Stingers. The brigade's mission and the commander's air defense priorities will dictate the type of weapon mix. Early warning is provided by the FAARs and the division early warning net.

Allocation of ADA assets within the brigade depends on the brigade's mission. Based on the brigade commander's intent, scheme of maneuver, air IPB, and air defense priorities, the ADA commander may recommend retaining all assets under brigade control or allocating assets to subordinate units.

Divisional air defense battalions organic to divisions in Europe have five batteries comprising 24 Vulcans, 24 Chaparrals, 72 Stingers, and 8 FAARs. Additionally, each Vulcan has a Stinger gunner, with two missiles, as part of its squad. Chaparral systems in USAREUR divisional battalions are to be replaced by Avenger air defense systems.

Air defense battalions organic to the divisions in CONUS and Korea have four batteries comprising 27 Vulcans and 75 Stingers. Each Vulcan has a Stinger gunner, with two missiles, as part of its squad.

Avenger air defense systems are also available.

Operational Characteristics


The Stinger is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, IR-homing (heat-seeking) air defense guided missile. It is designed to counter high-speed, low-level ground attack aircraft, helicopters, observation aircraft, and transport aircraft. A section includes a headquarters element with a section chief and driver and five crews of two soldiers each. Each crew has a jeep or HMMWV with six Stinger weapons. The Stinger has a range of more than 4 kilometers. It is maneuverable and can be integrated within the unit's scheme of maneuver. Since the prime mover is a thin-skinned vehicle, the Stinger should overwatch the force from high ground. If this is not possible, another possibility is to put a Stinger gunner with reduced load in an armored vehicle, such as the FIST track, the XO's track, a BFV, or a maintenance APC.


The Vulcan system counters low-altitude air threats. It is effective against high-performance aircraft and slower fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters at ranges out to 1,200 meters. Self-propelled, the Vulcan has a four-man crew and carries 1,100 rounds of ready-to-fire ammunition. It is maneuverable and is easily integrated within the unit's scheme of maneuver. Fire-on-the-move capability and armor protection allow it to support the maneuver forces. One member of the Vulcan squad is a Stinger gunner with two Stinger missiles. A consideration for Vulcan is that it cannot be deployed any lower than a section of two systems.


The Chaparral is a self-propelled, surface-to-air guided missile system used to counter a low-altitude air threat. It is effective against both high-performance and slower fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters at ranges out to 6,500 meters. The Chaparral has both self-propelled and towed versions, which have a four-man crew with four ready-to-fire missiles and eight missiles in storage compartments under the deck. Chaparrals are best suited to defend relatively static critical assets; however, if priorities and the tactical situation dictate, they may be used to support forward maneuver forces in an overwatch position.

Facilities, Organization, and Duties

Senior Air Defense Officer

The unit's senior air defense officer is a special staff officer during the planning process. Based on the maneuver commander's intent, scheme of maneuver, and air IPB, he develops air defense priorities. The maneuver commander must then approve these priorities before task organizing air defense assets. The brigade must provide the air defense officer with the following information.

The S2. The S2 provides information on the ground and air threat and the unit's PIR.

The S3. The S3 provides the unit OPORD or OPLAN and TSOP. This includes overlays; preplanned locations; commander's intent and concept of operation and follow-on operations; commander's priorities; what units expect heaviest ground and air action; what assets are most critical, most vulnerable, and easiest to recover or replace; special or modified brevity or operations codes, key words, or emergency procedures; points the supported unit commander wants covered in daily briefs; SOI; resupply; the supported unit's MOPP; and how changes are disseminated.

The S4. The S4 provides the following resupply information: Class I pickup points, times, and feeding cycles; Class II resupply of NBC suits, gear, and batteries; Class III refueling locations and times; Class V arrangements for supply of specialized ammunition; Class IX procedures for ordering and receiving parts and locations and times for pickup. He also determines how resupply is handled and if the air defense unit has been considered in the planning; who will maintain air defense units' nonsystem-peculiar equipment and where they are located.

Air Defense Artillery Battery Commander

The ADA commander has two roles: commander of ADA forces and brigade ADCOORD. He recommends active, passive, and other combined arms air defense measures in the air defense estimate. After approval and staff coordination, he develops the air defense annex to the maneuver plan. He coordinates with ADA elements at higher and lower echelons and with adjacent units. He recommends to the ground commander use of other combat arms for air defense based on careful target value analysis and estimate of the air threat. He is also the early warning link to brigade. He can thus monitor the early warningnet and relay information to the brigade main CP officer. This information can be passed to maneuver forces over the command or OI net.

Air Defense Fire Coordination Team

Each brigade has an air defense fire coordination team consisting of a staff sergeant, sergeant, and driver in a HMMWV vehicle. Their job is to provide the staff with planning input for air defense employment and tactics, advice on passive air defense measures, and guidance on use of AAFAD. In addition, they provide ADA unit dispositions and missions, changes in established rules of engagement, and near real-time information on air battle intelligence.

Air Defense Annex

Once the maneuver commander gives his maneuver plan and intent for air defense, the battery commander can prepare the OPLANs and OPORDs. He writes his plan as a five-paragraph annex to the supported unit's OPLAN or OPORD. The battery commander must conduct detailed coordination with other staff sections to develop this annex. The annex assigns specific air missions each unit must accomplish.

Employment of Air Defense

When determining the allocation of air defense assets, the air defense commander considers the factors of METT-T, weighs them against the list of air defense priorities, and develops an initial allocation to protect these priorities. The advice the air defense commander gives to the maneuver commander can make the difference between adequate and inadequate air defense protection.

Rules of Engagement

Air defense rules of engagement are directives that specify the circumstances under which an aircraft can be engaged. The Stinger crew chief and Vulcan/Chaparral squad leaders are responsible for deciding whether an aircraft is hostile or friendly. Rules of engagement include hostile criteria and weapon control statuses.

Hostile criteria include aircraft that attack friendly elements, violate airspace control measures, respond improperly to IFF interrogation, and are visually identified as an enemy.

The following weapon control statuses describe relative degrees of restriction with which fires of ADA systems are managed:

  • Weapons free. Fire at any aircraft not positively identified as friendly.
  • Weapons tight. Fire only at aircraft identified as hostile according to prevailing hostile criteria.
  • Weapons hold. Do not fire except in self-defense or in response to a formal order.

Air Defense Warnings

These indicate the degree of air raid probability:

  • Air defense warning red. Attack by hostile aircraft and/or missiles is imminent or in progress.
  • Air defense warning yellow. Attack by hostile aircraft and/or missiles is probable.
  • Air defense warning white. Attack by hostile aircraft and/or missiles is improbable.

Air Defense Operations

Once the air defense battery arrives at the brigade, the battery commander must receive the brigade commander's intent and scheme of maneuver. With this information, he develops the brigade air defense priorities. When these are approved, he task organizes his air defense assets to provide protection to the brigade's air defense priorities. After the task organization is approved, the battery commander can write the air defense annex and prepare his battery for its execution.

The air defense battery establishes trains in proximity of the brigade trains. The battery is capable of conducting self-sustaining operations. The battery's command or support relationship determines what support it will receive from the brigade. However, during missions of long duration or distance from their paint battery, air defense platoons may have to obtain certain classes of supply from the supported unit. This information must be coordinated in advance and covered in the OPORD.

If FAARs are attached to the battery, the commander will coordinate with the brigade S3 and emplace them along high-speed air avenues of approach in the brigade sector.

Engineer Support


Combat engineers are an integral part of the combat arms team. Engineers adapt terrain to enhance the battle effectiveness of fire and maneuver. The orientation of engineers in support of a task force is forward; their efforts are designed to support forward fights.

Engineer Missions

Combat engineers provide support to the task force in five mission areas:

  • Mobility. They free the commander of maneuver limitations imposed by terrain or obstacles.
  • Countermobility. They reinforce terrain with obstacles to effectiveness of direct and indirect fire.
  • Survivability. They reduce the effectiveness of enemy positions in favorable locations. hinder enemy operations and maximize the weapon systems by developing protective
  • Sustainment engineering. They provide the force with construction and repair of MSRs, airfields, and logistical facilities.
  • Topographic engineering. They provide the commander with terrain analysis to aid in the planning and conduct of combat operations.

Task Organization of Combat Engineers

The division has one organic combat engineer battalion. It is typically augmented by at least one corps combat engineer battalion. Each committed brigade normally needs the equivalent of an engineer battalion, or one engineer company per battalion task force. This level of engineer support is adjusted based on METT-T analysis.

Combat engineer battalions. Two types of battalions support combat.

Divisional combat engineer battalion. This unit performs engineer battlefield functions for the division at the FEBA, focusing on mobility, countermobility and survivability. Engineers are closely integrated with the maneuver units. They have established normal relationships, train together, and thoroughly understand each other's battle drills and procedures. The divisional battalion has four combat engineer line companies and a ribbon bridge company. (See Figure 7-9.)

Corps combat engineer battalion. Corps units are designed as either mechanized or wheeled battalions. Each can augment the divisional battalion in the forward brigade areas. The mechanized battalion operates well forward in the heavy division area. The wheeled battalion also operates in the division area, but is at risk when the enemy is an armored force. Corps combat engineer battalions in Europe are mechanized. Corps battalions in CONUS are wheeled. Corps battalions have four combat engineer companies. (See Figure 7-10.)

Combat engineer companies. The following types of companies support combat operations.

Divisional combat engineer company. The divisional company has three line platoons and a mobility/countermobility platoon. The mobility/countermobility platoon provides equipment to augment the line platoons. Unlike corps units, the divisional company has AVLBs and CEVs. (See Figure 7-11.)

Corps combat engineer company (mechanized). This corps unit has three line platoons and a support platoon. The squad vehicle is an M113 APC. (See Figure 7-12.)

Corps combat engineer company (wheeled). This corps company uses a 5-ton dump buck as its squad vehicle. Wheeled combat engineers are found only in CONUS. (See Figure 7-13.)

Separate brigade/armored cavalry regiment engineer company. The separate maneuver brigade and the ACR have one organic engineer company. (See Figure 7-14 for an example of an ACR engineer company.)


Bulldozer. The D7 dozer is the primary earthmover for construction of survivability positions and antitank ditches. It must be transported by tractor-trailer due to its poor mobility. Three dozers are found in corps combat engineer companies and CONUS divisional combat engineer companies. The D7's ability to construct fighting positions and antitank obstacles varies with soil conditions.

Armored combat earthmover. The ACE is a highly mobile, armored, amphibious combat earthmover. It can construct obstacles, such as antitank ditches, and survivability positions. It can also assist in mobility operations by reducing enemy obstacles, such as antitank ditches, and improving natural terrain (preparing ford sites, for example). It has armor protection against small arms, a smoke screening capability, and chemical-biological protection for the operator. It is capable of 30 mph road speed and can swim at 3 mph. Divisional combat engineer companies in Europe have six ACEs.

Combat engineer vehicle. The full-tracked, armored CEV is a basic M60A1 tank with hydraulically operated debris blade, 165-mm turret-mounted demolition gun, retractable boom, and winch. The gun can be elevated or depressed for use at ranges up to 925 meters and is coaxially mounted with a 7.62-mm machine gun. A caliber .50 machine gun is cupola-mounted. Divisional combat engineer companies have two CEVs.

Ground emplaced mine scattering system. The GEMSS is the ground delivery system for FASCAM mines. It holds 800 antitank and antipersonnel mines. It can be towed by a truck, an APC, or an M548. The density, depth, and self-destruct time for the minefield can be controlled by the GEMSS operator. One GEMSS dispenser is found in each combat engineer company in Europe.

Mine clearing line charge. The MICLIC is a rocket-projected explosive line charge providing "close-in" breaching capability of enemy minefield. When detonated, it provides a lane 8 meters by 100 meters. Each combat engineer company has either three MICLIC trailers or three armored vehicle-launched MICLICs.

Armored vehicle launched bridge. The AVLB is the heavy force assault bridge. It is capable of carrying MLC 60 track loads across a 17-meter gap and MLC 70 track loads across a 15-meter gap. Divisional combat engineer companies have four AVLBs.

Brigade and Regimental Engineer Organization and Duties


Within a division, the organic engineer battalion provides a brigade engineer to each ground maneuver brigade. A staff officer with no command responsibilities, he integrates engineers into the brigade planning process and coordinates current engineer operations in the brigade area. He provides early warning of future brigade operations through engines channels. The brigade engineer receives required reports from divisional and corps engineer units in the brigade area to keep the brigade staff and the division engineer informed on current engineer operations. He passes brigade taskings to engineer units on behalf of the brigade commander. Separate maneuver brigades and ACRs have a staff engineer organic to the brigade or regiment.


The engineer works with all members of the battle staff, but he has an especially close relationship with the S2, S3, and FSCOORD to effectively incorporate the terrain component into the close combat triad (fire maneuver, and terrain). Specific duties include--

  • Developing the brigade obstacle plan based on the commander's intent. Specific belts and critical individual obstacles should be included.
  • Planning artillery-delivered FASCAM obstacles and recommending TAI and decision points.
  • Recommending task organization of engineer assets.
  • Adjusting engineer assets according to brigade priorities.
  • Monitoring all engineer activity in brigade area.
  • Preparing a survivability plan based on the commander's intent.

Engineer Operations

Command and Support Relationships

General. Engineer platoons work most efficiently under the control of an engineer company, and engineer companies work most efficiently under the control of an engineer battalion. This permits close control and the most productive use of all engineer assets. The engineer commander continuously monitors the progress of assigned tasks and shifts elements where. the need is greatest throughout his AO. On the other hand, the maneuver commander at the lowest level gets greater responsiveness when the engineer platoon or company is under his direct control. He determines the task organization and gives missions directly to the engineer elements under him. The decision whether to provide engineers in a command or support relationship to a subordinate maneuver headquarters is thus an important tradeoff. The higher maneuver commander must weigh his need for flexibility and responsiveness and his option to task organize engineer forces against the most efficient use of scarce engineer assets.

Rule of thumb. A good rule of thumb may be developed to determine whether engineers should be in a command relationship or a support relationship. Engineers will typically remain in a support relationship when working for units that are not in contact with the enemy (for example, defensive preparation operations). Engineers should be in a command relationship when supporting units are already in contact (or when contact is imminent). Examples of typical command relationship roles would be offensive operations or counterattacks.

Organizational Principles

The following principles apply when employing combat engineers:

  • Task organize the engineer force to the requirements of the mission. Mixing corps and divisional assets and units to accomplish the mission is frequently appropriate.
  • Give priority to the main effort. Avoid piecemealing engineers to provide every unit a "slice." Provide the main effort with enough engineer support to succeed, and distribute the remaining engineers.
  • Integrate engineers with maneuver and fire.
  • Do not hold engineers in reserve.
  • Augment engineers logistically to support the plan. Engineers may need additional time, material, and transportation assets to execute the maneuver plan.
  • Plan to exploit local resources. Commercial equipment and materials may be used to support military mobility, countermobility, and survivability operations.

Engineers Fighting as Infantry

Any commander who controls engineers in a command relationship, unless otherwise prohibited, has the authority to employ them as infantry. In his decision to do so, he must carefully weigh the gain in infantry strength against the loss of engineer support. Because of the long-term impact, the commander employing an engineer unit as infantry has the responsibility to notify the next higher headquarters of his action.

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Support

Section Organization

The brigade chemical section consists of the brigade chemical officer (captain) and a chemical operations NCO (sergeant first class; MOS 54B40). Equipment in the NBC section includes appropriate doctrinal manuals, map boards, overlays, a work station, hazard templates, and status charts.

Operational Capabilities

Organization of forward-deployed brigades may be somewhat different. However, their functions and duties are similar to those of a divisional brigade. The brigade chemical officer works as an assistant operations officer in the operations section of the brigade. Both personnel are assigned by MTOE to the headquarters company or troop. Through staff visits, coordination, and inspection of subordinate units, the brigade chemical section is the focal point for NBC operations. This is accomplished in garrison as well as in the field.

Facilities, Organization, and Duties

During field operations, the brigade chemical personnel provide 24-hour NBC operations capability. A work station is designated in the TSOP for the main CP where chemical information is to be processed and disseminated. The chemical officer is available to cover shift changes within the main CP and provide chemical continuity for tactical operations. However, the section is organized into two distinct yet flexible shifts. In addition, upon movement of the main CP, one person can move to the TAC CP to continue the battle or move with the TAC CP in anticipation of a main CP jump, allowing for one person at each site. It is not recommended to leave these shifts split due to the possibility of overburdening.

Brigade chemical personnel are instrumental in the planning cycle of all tactical operations. They provide assistance to the S2 in the IPB process, develop support for courses of action based on the commander's intent, and integrate chemical and smoke operations based on the OPORD. Once the plan is developed, they ensure execution.

Duties and responsibilities of chemical personnel in the brigade main CP are listed below. These are not all-inclusive and are manipulated to meet changing situations. In addition to these specific chemical duties, chemical officers and NCOs also perform a myriad of operational duties according to their abilities and unit needs.


Analyze the NBC threat; assist the S2 with NBC IPB; develop PIR and threat information; assist subordinate units in threat analysis.


Recommend assignments to the S1 and subordinate units; aid in professional development of chemical personnel; coordinate proper use of chemical assets.


Monitor, evaluate, and determine training needs and provide technical training; plan and coordinate training; conduct NBC battle focus; evaluate status of training.


Provide NBC expertise as evaluator: analyze results and present facts; develop solutions to correct deficiencies.


Maintain status reports; consolidate and provide data to command group; assist S4 with NBC stocks and resupply; monitor contingency stocks.


Account for NBC expenditure follow up requisitions and maintenance; balance equipment on hand and requisitions.


Write and update NBC annex to SOP; maintain current publications; remain proficient in current doctrine maintain liaison with subordinate units and higher headquarters.

Field Operations

Execute NBC warning and reporting system; maintain current operations overlay; post NBC attack overlay; post offensive NBC targets; with S4, develop contaminated MSR overlay; maintain decontamination overlay and post NBC unit symbols; conduct nuclear/chemical vulnerability analysis; maintain radiation status charts and recommend MOPP levels and employment of chemical assets; develop obscuration plan and participate in operations planning cycle (IPB, DST, commander's guidance, courses of action, OPORD chemical support annex, chemical FS appendix to FS annex, and tab to chemical FS with targets).


When planning offensive operations, the commander must recognize that nuclear and chemical weapons can significantly affect his scheme of operations. Soviet-style forces train extensively for operations on a battlefield where NBC weapons are used. They carry a complete array of individual and vehicle NBC protective gear. Most of their armored vehicles provide pressurized protection for crews. Extensive use of smoke is integrated into their scheme of maneuver.

When nuclear weapons are available to support the attack, it maybe preferable to plan such fires and base schemes of maneuver on their effects. Nuclear or chemical FS may allow smaller units to accomplish missions that would require massing of larger forces in conventional battle. The commander must determine what size these forces should be and when they should concentrate If he masses too late, he risks defeat in detail. If he masses too soon, he risks nuclear destruction. To minimize the overall risk, he disperses into concentrated smaller units that are not lucrative targets by themselves. Initially, maneuver forces will be dispersed to avoid presenting battalion-size targets. Tactical schemes for the nuclear-chemical environment must stress rapid movement, minimum massing, planning of alternate routes, and the violent execution of a simple plan.

With the objective secure, targets of opportunity and escape routes are primary targets for chemical and nuclear weapons during the pursuit. These weapons are employed to eliminate pockets of resistance, destroy hostile reserves, and seal off enemy escape routes. Chemical weapons should not be employed in the pursuit unless more favorable effects will result.

During movement to contact operations, the primary emphasis is on the most trafficable terrain. Aggressive reconnaissance to identify enemy locations and areas of possible NBC contamination must be conducted Through the use of chemical personnel at brigade level, provisions are made to overcome these obstacles and facilitate movement.

Formations used by attacking brigades must allow for massing and dispersion. In nuclear warfare, a formation with two or more task forces abreast and a reserve maybe adopted in the attack when a successful penetration has been created by other forces. This allows the brigade to attack on a broader front, presenting a less lucrative target. Offensive forces also face a variety of obstacles, both real and imagined, in defeating the enemy. Actual obstacles constructed forward of, between, and within strongpoints are designed to canalize friendly forces into areas favorable to the defending force or to cause forces to mass and create a profitable target for conventional and/or chemical and nuclear fires. When Soviet-style forces are in the defense, the use of chemical agents and smoke can be expected to complement their barrier plan.

During the planning stage for future operations, integration of fires to support the maneuver is obviously essential. Use of special nonconventional weapons must be planned even before it is authorized. Time is a critical factor. Planning and preparation with troop safety and damage prevention guidance will take time to fit the scheme of maneuver.

Nuclear and chemical fires permit more rapid movement because they allow covering forces to eliminate enemy resistance that may otherwise require deployment of a sizable force. Flank and rear guard capabilities are increased by using nonconventional weapons to block avenues of approach. In a meeting engagement these weapons can deny the enemy use of key terrain essential to observation or fields of fire.

Plans must be developed for the latest possible concentration of forces and rapid dispersal after mission accomplishment. Reducing vulnerability and the period of risk are major considerations while forces are concentrated. Planning for the use of routes to, on, and through objectives must be complete, and movement must be controlled.


Fire Support

Fire Support System


The FS system supporting the heavy battalion task force consists of the same components as at brigade level. These assets are further allocated to maneuver battalions as priorities of FS based on the brigade commander's guidance and scheme of maneuver. For a detailed discussion, see Section I of this chapter.

Field Artillery

An field artillery battalion is normally placed in DS of a maneuver brigade. The brigade commander will give priority of fires to selected maneuver elements during each phase of the battle based on his scheme of maneuver. When priority of artillery fires is given to a maneuver battalion, the FSO must consider the following during planning:

  • Assigned tactical mission.
  • Number and caliber of artillery units in support.
  • Range capabilities, including special munitions and RAPs.
  • Effects of available munitions and quantity on hand.
  • Locations of primary and future positions.
  • Size of the FPF.
  • Radius of burst.
  • Maximum and sustained rates of fire.
  • Target acquisition for both external and organic internal assets.


Mortars are the only organic indirect FS asset in the maneuver arms arsenal. Mortars provide responsive high-angle fires that can kill the enemy, suppress enemy fires, and conceal the movement of friendly forces. Therefore, it is extremely important to include mortar fires in the FS plan. The FSO's doctrinal responsibility is limited to recommending the integration of mortars into the FS plan. For considerations of mortar employment, refer to FM 7-90. The following are some of the areas with which the FSO must be concerned.

Characteristics and capabilities. The maneuver battalion mortar platoon consists of six 107-mm (4.2-inch) mortars (two sections with three mortars each). The mortars are hack-mounted in an M106A1 (on an M113 chassis); it has the capacity to carry 88 rounds of ammunition. When planning mortar fires, the FSO must consider the high rate of fire and ammunition availability. A mortar platoon can fire over 300 rounds in less than 5 minutes. As a result, the ammunition supply can be exhausted quickly. Table 7-3 lists specific characteristics the FSO must consider.

Support and command relationships. Support and command relationships are means by which the commander can designate priorities for mortar fires or establish command relationships. Previously, mortar and other battalion organic assets were given DS or GS missions. Because mortars are organic to the battalion, the assignment of such missions is not necessary. However, the commander must be able to clearly establish priorities and command relationships as required.

Priorities. The commander may specify support by assigning priority of fires and/or priority targets to a subordinate unit.

Command relationship. There maybe situations when the mortar platoon cannot support all of the battalion while remaining under battalion control. his may occur when a maneuver unit is given a mission that separates it from its parent unit. In those situations, a platoon or section may be placed OPCON or attached to the supported unit.

Operational control. OPCON gives a commander the authority to direct forces provided him to accomplish specific missions, usually limited by function, time, or location The commander controls the tactical employment, movement, and mission of the mortars. He is not responsible for logistical or administrative support.

Attachment. This temporary relationship gives the commander receiving the attachment the same degree of C2 as he has over units organic to his command The commander selects the general location of the attached mortar element and controls its deployment as well as its fires. He is also responsible for logistical support and security of the mortars. Attachment is appropriate when units are assigned independent missions.

Employment. The following considerations apply to mortar employment.

General. The commander has three options when considering how to employ the battalion mortar platoon It can be employed by platoon, section, or squad. Squads consist of one mortar and its crew. Squads can be grouped together into sections. Finally, the entire platoon may be employed together. Selected options are based on commander's guidance, METT-T, and priority of fires. The FSO must be prepared to advise the commander on which option to use. When employing mortars, the FSO must consider the following:

  • Mortars are most effective against soft-skinned targets.
  • Their high-angle trajectory makes mortars effective against targets masked or in defilade.
  • High-angle fires are easily detected by enemy molars.
  • High-angle fires are adversely affected by strong winds.
  • Mortar positions are seldom surveyed creating the need for more adjustments and a loss of surprise when attacking targets. (This can be overcome by requesting field artillery survey support.)
  • Mortars are effective in MOUT.
  • METT-T must be considered when employing mortars. General positioning guidelines are as follows:

- In the offense, one-half to two-thirds of the maximum range should be in front of lead elements.

- In the defense, one-third to one-half of the maximum range should be in front of the lead elements.

- Positions should be selected to minimize the number of moves required.

- The mortars must be able to displace rapidly and provide continuous support.

Platoon employment. The platoon operates from one or two firing positions and fires as one unit. The best way to position a platoon with four or more mortars is to place the platoon sections in two separate locations at least 300 meters apart. This distance varies with the terrain, the ability to cover the sector, and limits in C2. A platoon located in a single area enhances C2 and local security but is more vulnerable to enemy counterfire. FDCs are trained to mass fires from separate locations onto a single target.

Section employment. This places each section as a separate tiring unit. The mortar platoon is normally employed by section to cover wider frontages. Each section is positioned so it can provide fires within the zone of action of the supported maneuver element. When employed by section, each section has an FDC or a computer. Depending on the range to target and separation of sections, more than one section may be able to mass fires on the same target.

Squad employment. This places one or more mortar squads on the battlefield as separate firing units. This is usually done to support special requirements, such as--

  • One-mortar illumination missions.
  • Roving mortar adjustments.
  • Antiarmor ambushes.
  • Operations to support a very wide front.
  • The maneuver element being required to cover a large front.
  • Rear combat operations to support critical installations.

Displacement. It is essential that mortars displace rapidly and maintain their flexibility to provide continuous FS. Based on the scheme of maneuver, the mortar platoon leader develops a displacement plan. This is a map overlay with initial positions, subsequent positions, routes between the positions, and any control measures in effect.

Displacement techniques. The following are considerations for selecting displacement techniques:

  • By platoon:

- The need for speed outweighs the need for immediately available fires.

- This method may be used when contact with the enemy is unlikely.

Accurate and timely response to calls for fire is sacrificed therefore, greater reliance is placed on "hip shoots."

C2 problems are minimal

  • By section:

- Continuous, accurate fires are required.

- Speed is essential.

- C2 is more difficult.

- This method is slower than movement by platoon.

  • By individual squad:

- Need for continuous fire outweighs need for speed.

- C2 is extremely difficult.

- This the slowest movement technique.

Movement options. Two movement options are available: successive bounds and alternate bounds. Generally, alternate bounds are used when displacement is rapid to keep up with support elements. Successive bounds are used when the maneuver element movements are not so rapid.

Successive bounds. A portion of the platoon moves to the next position. After that portion is in position and ready to fire the rest of the platoon moves to the same position.

Alternate bounds. A portion of the platoon moves to the next position. After that portion is in position and ready to fire the rest of the platoon moves to a different position. This method applies to both the offense and the defense.

Integration of mortars into the fire support system. The integration of FS into the battle plan is vital, and the mission of the FSO is to integrate it based on the commander's guidance. Mortars are an important part of the FS system; to maximize their effectiveness, their use must be planned, coordinated, and integrated.

Tasks. The following tasks are inherent in planning, coordinating, and integrating mortar fires into the plan:

  • Develop target lists and plan fires based on the commander's guidance; develop attack criteria to support the battlefield operating systems.
  • Allocate priorities of fires and FPFs.
  • Develop FS coordination measures to facilitate target engagement and safeguard friendly personnel.
  • Update target lists, priorities, and planned fires and send them to the mortar FDCs.
  • Update operational status, location, and ammunition status of fire units.
  • Keep the mortar platoon updated on the tactical situation; include it in the orders process.

Fundamentals. Mortars are usually effective at providing these fires: smoke (WP); illumination; chemical; area fire: antipersonnel; fire to force armor to button up; fire in built-up areas; intense FPF.

Mortars are generally not effective at providing the following types of fires, for which other FS means should be used if possible: point destruction missions; armor destruction; missions against well-protected defensive positions. If mortars are used to accomplish these missions, ammunition expenditure will be prohibitive.

Fire Support Facilities, Organization, and Duties

Battalion/Squadron Fire Support Organization

The battalion FSO is the FSCOORD for the maneuver battalion. He is in charge of the FSE and is the principal FS advisor to the maneuver commander. The FSE, located with the operation element of the maneuver forces, may include the following:

  • FSO (captain).
  • FS sergeant (sergeant first class).
  • FS specialist (specialist).
  • Other FS planning personnel.

When added to the FSE to perform their FS functions, other representatives serve as a functional FS team to enhance and speed FS coordination. These representatives may include:

  • S3-air.
  • Heavy mortar platoon leader.
  • Battalion NBC officer.
  • TACP.
  • SALT.
  • Air defense officer.
  • Other representatives (such as engineer, allied force, Army aviation).
  • Battalion FSO and fire support plans.

Battalion FSO and Fire Support Plans/Targeting Officer

Battalion FSO. The battalion FSO's primary duty is to plan, coordinate, execute, and control fires to support the commander's scheme of maneuver. He must--

  • Advise the maneuver commander and staff on FS and how best to use the FSO's organic target acquisition assets.
  • Keep key personnel informed of pertinent information (such as battlefield intelligence).
  • Train the battalion FSE.
  • Supervise the battalion FS cell.
  • Train the company FSOs.
  • Recommend FS coordinating measures.
  • Write and disseminate the FS plan and FS execution matrix.
  • Coordinate with the TACP on TACAIR missions and CAS control personnel (ALO/ETAC/AFAC).

Fire support plans/targeting officer. The plans/targeting officer gives the FSE a 24-hour FSO capability. He performs as the FSO in the absence of the FSO and helps the FSO perform his duties. He provides the interface with the battalion S2 and helps him and the FSO by providing information on the vulnerabilities of targets. He advises the maneuver battalion S2 regarding specific requirements for accuracy of target location, assurance and level of target description, and duration the target may be considered viable for attack by FS systems. His duties in the targeting areas follow:

  • Help the battalion S2 develop the informal target acquisition and surveillance plan.
  • Provide staff supervision of target acquisition assets organic and OPCON to the battalion.
  • Develop the attack guidance matrix, recommend it to the commander, and disseminate it to the FS team, CP, and subordinate elements.
  • Determine, recommend, and process time-sensitive high-payoff targets for the FS element.
  • Coordinate with the maneuver battalion S2 for target acquisition coverage and processing of battalion high-payoff targets.
  • With battalion S2, write target selection standards matrix for assets supporting the battalion.

Battalion Fire Support Sergeant

The battalion FS sergeant is the senior enlisted assistant to the battalion FSO. He is responsible for the enlisted training of the battalion FSE and four maneuver FISTS. He supervises maintenance of all equipment assigned to these sections. The battalion FS sergeant must be able to perform all duties of the FSO.

Battalion FSO Relationships

The battalion FSO interacts and coordinates with many personnel within a maneuver organization.

Maneuver commander. The battalion FSO is the commander's FS expert. The maneuver commander--

  • States his intentions through his concept of the operation, as well as the commander's intent.
  • Specifies priority of fires, including allocation of FPFs and priority targets.
  • Specifies FS coordination measures required.
  • Specifies results required (smoke, illumination, lethal fires, chemicals, riot control agents, FASCAM).

Maneuver battalion S3. The S3 integrates FS into the scheme of maneuver in accordance with the commander's guidance. The S3--

  • Develops the commander's intent into a scheme of maneuver or plan for the defense or offense.
  • Establishes boundaries for subordinate units and other maneuver control measures (PLs, PPs, checkpoints).
  • Answers questions and elaborates on commander's guidance concerning priority of fires, special munitions, use of TACAIR employment of COLTS, allocation of FPFs, employment of mortars, and any other areas involving FS planning and coordination.

Brigade FSO. The brigade FSO is responsible for training the battalion FSOs. He is the assistant FSCOORD and is responsible for all FS. The brigade FSO--

  • Disseminates FS guidance as it applies to battalion FSOs (planned CAS missions, availability of immediate CAS, additional FS assets, target lists).
  • Disseminates the PRF codes for laser designators.
  • Recommends FS coordination measures.
  • Writes and disseminates the brigade FS plan.

Maneuver battalion S3-Air. The S3-Air--

  • Works closely with the FSO to prioritize CAS requests.
  • Integrates TACAIR into the commander's scheme of maneuver.
  • Forwards preplanned and immediate TACAIR requests to brigade.
  • Is the point of contact for Army aviation (attack helicopters).

Maneuver battalion S2. The battalion S2 is responsible for developing terrain and weather analysis and enemy situation and event templates. He then joins the rest of the IPB process and the creation of the decision support template, as overseen by the XO.

Maneuver battalion signal officer. As a special staff officer, the maneuver battalion SO--

  • Advises the commander and S3 on all communications and electronics, including positioning of C2 elements.
  • Is the FSO's point of contact for SOI issued during operations as well as for communications troubleshooting.
  • Is responsible for repair, turn-in, and exchange of communications equipment of attached FS assets; coordinates batteries and communications supplies.
  • Has retransmission capability that can be used to enable radio communications on one net over a greater distance than is otherwise possible.

Task force engineer. Coordination between the task force engineer and the FSO is critical to success of the obstacle plan. Essential fires include antibreaching team fires, smoke to silhouette targets emerging from a breach, and illumination fires for night breaching.

Battalion chemical officer. The battalion chemical officer is responsible for advising the commander and S3 of the effects of friendly and enemy NBC attacks. When brigade asks for chemical target nominations for friendly attack, the FSO coordinates with the chemical officer for the location of contaminated areas and NBC defense measures. The battalion chemical officer is also responsible for advising the commander in the use of riot control agents and obscurants.

Field artillery battalion S3. The field artillery battalion S3 may coordinate with the battalion FSO during quick-fire planning and in disseminating the scheme of maneuver, as required.

Mortar platoon leader. The mortar platoon leader--

  • Advises the S3 and FSO of mortar positions and ammunition.
  • Seeks survey and meteorological support from the FSO.

Tactical air control party. The TACP--

  • Advises the maneuver commander and his staff on the capabilities, limitations, and use of TACAIR.
  • Assists in processing TACAIR requests.
  • Controls CAS sorties supporting the battalion.
  • Provides the battalion FSO with TACAIR information and characteristics.

Supporting arms liaison team officer. The SALT officer--

  • Advises the commander and S3 on naval gunfire.
  • Provides the battalion FSO with naval gunfire information and characteristics.
  • Monitors firepower control team and FS requests.

Company FSO. The company FSOs work for the battalion FSO and work with their respective company commanders.

The battalion FSO provides guidance, battlefield intelligence, information on FS assets, FS coordination measures, and technical advice to company FSOs. Company FSOs send target lists, FLOT locations, SITREPs, spot reports, and other PIR to the battalion FSE.

Requests for fires from the company FISTS or FOs may be sent directly to the field artillery over the field artillery fire direction net, or they may be requested through the battalion FSO. The method used may depend on such factors as the FS assets available, situation, and equipment on hand. In addition, requests for mortars may be handled in the same manner.

Fire Support Planning and Coordination


FS planning procedures at the heavy battalion task force level are essentially the same as those described for the brigade in Section I of this chapter. Only those procedures and techniques that differ from brigade operations will be discussed here.

Fire Planning Procedures

Deliberate fire planning is conducted through a formal "top-down" process, with "bottom-up" refinement as time permits. It starts at all levels immediately upon receipt of the mission. The battalion FSO should not wait for a target list from higher before beginning his own planning. He is responsible for identifying the battalion FS requirement in conjunction with the commander, S3, and primary and special staff. He does this by receiving targets from the brigade FSO, modifying them as necessary, and adding targets of concern to the battalion commander. Using the target list worksheet and overlays as tools, he forwards his list of targets to subordinate FSOs.

Quick FS planning does not differ from the procedures used at brigade.

Fire Support Planning and Execution Matrix

At battalion level, the following considerations apply. (See Figure 7-15.)

  • If priority of any indirect FS means is allocated to a team, it is indicated by an abbreviation of that FS asset in the upper left comer of the appropriate matrix box.
  • If an FPF has been allocated, the abbreviation FPF preceded by the type of indirect fire means responsible for tiring the FPF will appear in the center of the box.
  • If a priority target is allocated to a team, it will appear in the box as PRI TGT preceded by the means of FS responsible for firing the target. Once a target is determined as the priority target, the corresponding target number is placed in the box.
  • If a specific company FSO is responsible for initiating specific fires, the target number, group, or series will be listed in the box for that FSO. Specific guidelines concerning the target not included on the target list worksheet will be included in the box.
  • If an ACA is to be put into effect by a particular FSO, the abbreviation ACA followed by the code word designated for that ACA will be shown in the box. The time the CAS or attack helicopters are due in the area is also listed.
  • Other factors that apply to certain teams during a specific time frame may also be included in the appropriate box. General guidance is issued in the written portion of the OPORD.

Air Defense Support

Organization Available

The normal CS for a battalion is a platoon or section of Vulcans or Stingers or a combination of both. The unit's mission and the brigade commander's air defense priorities will determine the type and amount of air defense weapons allocated to the battalion.

The Vulcan platoon for European divisions has four squads the platoon for CONUS and Korea has three squads.

The Stinger section comprises a section headquarters and five crews.

Operational Characteristics

These are the same as those at brigade level. See Section I of this chapter.

Facilities, Organization, and Duties

The senior air defense officer for the battalion will be the Vulcan platoon leader or the Stinger section sergeant. He will serve as a special staff officer during the battalion planning process, Based on the commander's intent, scheme of maneuver, air IPB, and brigade ADA annex, the senior air defender will develop the air defense priorities. Once these are approved, he will task organize his assets to provide protection to these priorities. After receiving approval for his task organization, he will ensure that it is incorporated into the OPORD.

The senior air defender will coordinate with the staff sections of the battalion. See the discussion for brigade level in Section I of this chapter.

The Vulcan platoon leader commands his platoon from his APC. He will not collocate with the main CP but will maneuver with his Vulcans. His radios include an AN/VRC-46 and an AN/VRC-48. This allows the platoon leader to monitor the battery command net, the early warning net the supported unit net, and the platoon command net. Each Vulcan has an AN/VRC-47 with which to monitor the early warning and the platoon command nets.

The Stinger section chief commands his section from his HMMWV. Once he has task organized his section, he can monitor the early warning net within the main CP. The section chief has AN/VRC-46 and AN/VRC-47 radios on which to monitor the early warning net, the section command net, and either the battery command or the supported unit net. The Stinger crew has an AN/VRC-46 and an AN/GRC-160 for the early warning and section command nets.

Air Defense Operations

The Vulcan platoon leader or Stinger section chief will develop the battalion's air defense priorities based on the commander's intent and scheme of maneuver. Once these are approved, he will task organize his assets to provide protection to these priorities. After receiving approval for the task organization, he ensures that air defense information is incorporated into the OPORD.

The Vulcan platoon sergeant is responsible for platoon logistics. He collocates with battalion trains and moves forward with the platoon ammunition vehicle to provide logistical support for the platoon.

The Stinger section chief is responsible for section logistics. He must ensure that he coordinates with the Stinger platoon sergeant for missile resupply.

Engineer Support


Combat Engineer Company

A combat engineer company, structured to operate at the FEBA, focuses on mobility, countermobility and survivability operations. It is the lowest engineer echelon that can plan and execute continuous 24-hour operations in support of maneuver forces. It is ideally suited for integration into task force operations and provides the priority task force with sufficient engineers to accomplish its mission.

Specific equipment in the engineer company may be found in the mobility/countermobility platoon (division) or support platoon (corps). AVLBs and CEVs are found only in divisional units. MICLICs are common to both units. Scatterable mine dispensing equipment (for example, GEMSS) is common to divisional and corps units only in Europe. See the engineer portion of brigade CS in Section I of this chapter.

Combat Engineer Platoon

The combat engineer company has three line platoons. The engineer line platoon is the lowest level engineer unit that can still effectively accomplish independent tasks. Consequently, engineers rarely operate in smaller elements and then only for specific actions of limited duration. The platoon is typically under the control of the engineer company; however, it may be attached to a maneuver company team. There are not enough engineer companies to provide one to each maneuver task force. Therefore, some task forces operate with only one engineer platoon.

Battalion Task Force Engineer

The division engineer often establishes a normal association between an engineer unit and a maneuver battalion. Maintaining that normal association is one of the factors to consider in the tactical planning process, since there are advantages in the normally associated unit leader functioning as the task force engineer. The leader of an engineer unit normally associated with a battalion task force is also the staff engineer and advisor to the task force commander. The staff engineer integrates engineers into the task force's planning process and executes the engineer portion of the operation He makes operational reports through the task force S3 and provides other required reports through engineer channels as necessary. When additional engineers operate with the task force, the normally associated unit leader remains the task force engineer however, the other unit commander and his staff assist in detailed planning.

For task forces designated as the main effort, the task force engineer normally is an engineer company commander. Supporting task forces may have an engineer platoon leader as the task force engineer.

Engineer Operations

Combat engineers can be valuable combat multipliers for the task force. Engineer units should be included in all training exercises to make them a vital part of the maneuver team.


Engineers should be integrated into the task force formation, located well forward to reduce or remove obstacles. Engineers must train with the task force to conduct breaching operations. Breaching drills designed to create lanes in typical enemy obstacles (such as surface-laid minefield) are practiced regularly.


Engineers should place obstacles within the belts designated by the brigade. The task force commander identifies the specific obstacles by function within each belt. Engineers should be augmented with hauling assets from the task force to move barrier materials forward.


Engineers using blade teams provide fighting positions for the task force. In general, a combat engineer company can dig in a task force in one full working day. Survivability for a maneuver task force strongpoint will require a minimum of four engineer company days to complete.

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Support

Section Organization

The battalion chemical section consists of the battalion chemical officer (lieutenant), a chemical operations NCO (staff sergeant MOS 54B30), and an NBC specialist (MOS 54B10). Equipment in the NBC section includes appropriate doctrinal manuals, map boards, overlays, work station, hazard templates, status charts, and lightweight decontamination system.

Operational Capabilities

The battalion chemical section's primary responsibility is to train fret-line leaders and plan NBC operations. All aspects of integrated NBC warfare and training are the responsibility of the battalion NBC section.

The battalion chemical officer works as an assistant operations officer in the battalion operations section. The chemical officer and NCO are assigned by MTOE to the headquarters company or troop. Additional expertise in found in the battalion through the additional-duty NBC officer. Together, they form the NBC center at battalion level; it is responsible for the technical aspect of operations as well as training, logistics and readiness. Additionally, assignment of the chemical specialist and lightweight decontamination system authorization give the battalion hasty decontamination capability. The battalion chemical officer and NCO supervise and train battalion decontamination operations.

Facilities, Organization, and Duties

During field operations, battalion chemical personnel provide 24-hour NBC operations capability. A work station is designated in the TSOP for the main CP where chemical information is to be processed and disseminated. The chemical officer is available to cover shift changes within the main CP and provide chemical continuity for tactical operations. However, the section is organized into two distinct yet flexible shifts. The battalion has redundancy in personnel with the chemical officer and additional duty officer. This allows the chemical officer to coordinate and, when operations permit, physically supervise battalion decontamination, smoke, NBC survey, and chemical reconnaissance operations.

Battalion chemical personnel are instrumental in the planning cycle of all tactical operations. They provide assistance to the battalion intelligence officer in the IPB process, develop NBC support for courses of action based on the commander's intent and integrate chemical and smoke operations based on the OPORD. Once the plan is developed, they ensure execution.

Duties and responsibilities of chemical personnel in the battalion main CP are listed below. These are not all-inclusive and are manipulated to meet changing situations. In addition to these specific chemical duties, chemical officers and NCOs also perform a myriad of operational duties according to their abilities and unit needs.


Receive, relay, disseminate NBC information; recommend NBC reconnaissance employment provide NBC threat briefings.


Ensure proper employment and professional development of chemical personnel; coordinate proper use of chemical company assets; coordinate with S1 on chemical casualty evacuation.


Coordinate and monitor training; integrate battle tasks in NBC environment evaluate individual and collective battle tasks; understand battle focus process and take active role in planning.


Conduct individual and collective proficiency testing; analyze results and present facts; develop solutions to correct deficiencies.


Report equipment status: determine authorization shortfalls; assist S4 with NBC stocks and resupply; monitor contingency stocks.


Account for NBC expenditures follow up requisitions and maintenance; match requisitions to authorizations; conduct inspections; supervise calibration.


Write and update NBC annex to SOP; maintain current publications; remain proficient in current doctrine; maintain liaison with subordinate units.

Field Operations

Execute NBC warning and reporting system; maintain current operations overlay; post all NBC attacks: post offensive NBC targets; coordinate with S4 regarding MSR; work closely with S2; maintain radiation exposure data; recommend MOPP levels; recommend chemical asset employment; develop obscuration plan: participate in planning cycle from IPB through execution; develop and execute hasty decontamination operations; coordinate operations with the battalion medical section and FSB medical company through the combat trains CP; coordinates operations of supporting chemical units with the battalion S3, brigade NBC section, and chemical units.


Organization for battle differs for each unit depending on factors of METT-T. This may affect positioning of chemical personnel (both at the main CP, or one at the main CP and one with the command group). Where they are placed on the battlefield must meet criteria of accessibility and immediacy to the commander.

The battalion chemical officer and NCO are essential for success in an integrated AirLand battle. NBC may not only affect current operations but could force changes in maneuver for future operations as well. Battalion operations suffer under an integrated battlefield scenario unless the battalion has trained continually in chemical, nuclear, and limited visibility operations. Leadership within the battalion can break down quickly under these conditions. The lack of clear and concise information about the battlefield, coupled with the physical difficulties of operating buttoned up in MOPP, causes decision cycles to lengthen and inaccurate conclusions to be drawn by the leadership. Stress caused by limited visibility, MOPP operations, and an uncertain battlefield tends to bring out self-preservation tendencies in soldiers. They will bunch up and fail to maintain their positions.

Doctrine, whether published or field-created, must be followed to minimize this degradation. Scouts must continue to be the eyes and ears of the tactical commander and must be employed to maximize the unit's capabilities. Unit formations must be maintained during maneuver. Thorough, integrated training will overcome problems to a great extent. Review Appendix A for battalion responsibilities and actions in an integrated battlefield scenario.


Fire Support

Fire Support System

The FS system for the company team consists of the same components found at the brigade level. These assets are further allocated to companies based on the maneuver battalion task force commander's scheme of maneuver. For a detailed discussion of these components, see Section I of this chapter.

Fire Support Facilities, Organization, and Duties

Fire Support Team Organization

There are two types of FIST organizations for heavy forces, one for the mechanized infantry and another for the armor company or ACR. FIST personnel are the company FSO (lieutenant), FS sergeant (staff sergeant), FS specialist (specialist), and radiotelephone operator (private first class). In addition, the mechanized infantry FIST contains three FO parties per company, each with an FO (sergeant) and a radio operator (private first class).

Company Fire Support Officer

The company FSO is the maneuver company FSCOORD and integrates all fires to support the commander's scheme of maneuver. Although he is not the primary shooter for the company, the FSO must be an expert at locating targets and adjusting fires. His duties are to--

  • Plan coordinate, and execute FS.
  • Advise the maneuver commander on FS matters.
  • Keep key personnel informed of pertinent information (using such means as spot reports and SITREPs).
  • Train the FIST and FOs in applicable FS matters.
  • Request, adjust, and direct all types of FS.
  • Ensure the FS plan is disseminated to key personnel.
  • Allocate FOs/observers for surveillance of targets.
  • Provide emergency control of CAS missions in the absence of qualified Air Force personnel (ALO/ETAC/AFAC).

Fire Support Sergeant

The company FS sergeant is the senior enlisted assistant to the company FSO. He acts as the FSO when required. He is responsible for the supervision and training of all enlisted section members and the maintenance and employment of their equipment. The company FS sergeant must be able to perform all duties of the FSO.

Company FSO Relationships

Commander. The company FSO works closely with the company commander. The maneuver commander is ultimately responsible for FS. The company FSO gives recommendations and advice to the commander on all FS matters; therefore, he is the maneuver unit expert. Final decisions regarding company FS rest with the company commander. The company FSO goes with him to receive plans and orders. The FSO must understand the scheme of maneuver as well as the company commander does. On the basis of the commander's guidance and war-gaming, the FSO devises his FS plan, which must be presented to the commander for his approval.

Battalion fire support officer. The battalion FSO is the FSCOORD at the maneuver battalion. Company FSOs work for the battalion FSO. The battalion FSO provides guidance, battlefield intelligence, information on FS assets, FS coordination measures, and technical advice to the company. The battalion FSO coordinates and clears FIST fire missions that fall outside company boundaries of the requesting company FIST. Company FSOs provide updated friendly and enemy battlefield information to the battalion FSO. This information includes FLOT location, SITREPs, spot reports, other EEFI, and information relating to PIR. The battalion FSO helps the battalion commander train company FSOs.

Fire support team headquarters. The company FSO is responsible for supervising the training of his FIST in all aspects of FS. In addition, the company FSO ensures his team is fully equipped and equipment is fully operational. In heavy forces, most operations are conducted on the move. Therefore, the company FSO should locate himself where he can best support the company; this is not necessarily at the commander's side. Most maneuver companies have an SOP specifying where the company headquarters will locate and provide security in tactical operations. All members of the FIST must have a thorough knowledge of the SOP and be trained to follow it. Also, training and drills are required so each member of the headquarters element knows exactly what to do in specific circumstances.

Forward observer. FOS are the primary shooters for the mechanized infantry company and are normally collocated with the maneuver platoon leaders. As the eyes and ears of the mechanized infantry company, the FOs must report battlefield information to the company FSO. This information includes FLOT location, SITREPs, and spot reports. The FSO, in turn, must give enough information to the FOs to ensure they understand how the FS plan is to be integrated into the commander's scheme of maneuver. This information includes--

  • Target numbers.
  • Target list.
  • Known points.
  • Priority of frees on targets.
  • Degree of control.
  • Commander's intent.
  • FS coordination measures.

Company FSO/FS Sergeant Required Actions

The actions the company FSO must take before any operation begins depend primarily on the current situation and applicable SOP. The FIST will deploy with the maneuver company on all combat operations.

The company FSO/FS sergeant must--

  • Train the FOs.
  • Train company personnel to call for and adjust fire.
  • Ensure all equipment is properly maintained.
  • Ensure FIST personnel know company TSOP thoroughly.

As company FSCOORD, the FSO has the following duties.

  • He obtains the following information from the battalion FSO:

- Status and location of FS delivery systems that the company may use.

- Status of TACAIR missions and TACP CAS control personnel (ALO/ETAC/AFAC).

- Existing targets, scheduled fires and known points.

- FS coordination measures in effect.

- Verified frequencies and call signs.

- Status of COLTS, if available.

- Availability of position location assets, PADS, or survey to accurately find minefields or obstacles.

  • He obtains a mission briefing from the company commander, including--

- The scheme of maneuver and commander's intent.

- Location of platoons, crew-served weapons, and LPs/OPs.

- Current enemy situation.

- Status and location of obstacles.

- Location of FPF.


- Air defense status.

  • As a minimum, he provides the following information at the company order briefing:

- FS plan for the operation, including responsibilities for its execution.

-Existing targets, scheduled fires, and known points.

- FS coordination measures for the operation.

- Status of priority fires.

- FS assets available to support the operation, with their location and status.

- Verified frequencies and call signs.

- Availability of position and location assets.

- Status of FIST personnel and equipment (including Classes I, III, and V supplies).

  • He ensures that communications are established with FS assets, such as artillery and mortars; with FOs, including COLTs, if applicable; with the battalion FSO; and with the maneuver commander.

Fire Support Planning and Coordination

Fire Support Planning

Formal planning at company level begins with receipt of the task force order. The order contains the FS annex, which includes brigade targets in the task force sector, targets added by the task force commander to support his plans, and specific guidance for employment of mortars. Company commanders are responsible for positioning primary observers, establishing secondary or backup observers, and establishing trigger points for calls for fire. Key personnel must understand their priority of ties within the task force, task force priorities within the brigade, and when and under what conditions priorities will change. Targets are planned according to the planning allocation provided in the task force order. The task force FSE provides at least one high-quality acetate target overlay to each company so that planning can begin immediately upon receipt.

At first glance, planning responsibilities at company level might appear to be slight. This is not the case. It is at this point in the planning process that the requirement for detail is most critical. Assisted by target area survey if necessary, company FSOs must ensure that the actual grid to target and the trigger point are visible to the observer or will be visible given the expected conditions of smoke, night operations, or position within the formation during offensive operations. Each observer must understand the communications plan, as well as the backup plan, in case the primary observer is unable to complete the mission. All members of the FS team, platoon leaders, and key NCOs must be drilled on all aspects of the plan.

At the lowest level, the company FSO nominates targets in his sector, records target information on the target list worksheet, and forwards it to the battalion FSO. The battalion FSO evaluates target information from the company FSOs, consolidates it (eliinating duplication, if necessary), adds targets needed by the battalion, and forwards a copy to the DS battalion FDC and the brigade FS cell. The brigade FSO receives targets from the battalion FSOs. Using a target overlay, he resolves duplications, adds targets developed by brigade target acquisition assets, prioritizes the list, and transmits it to the DS battalion. He informs the battalion FSOs if there are any subsequent changes to their plans and transmits the brigade target list. When targets are received at battalion or brigade, FSOs at those levels prepare their fire plans and schedules to support the maneuver and allocate each target to its appropriate FS agency or asset.

Company Level Execution Matrix

At company level, the matrix includes the following information. (See Figure 7-16.)

  • Priorities of indirect FS to a platoon are indicated by an abbreviation of that FS asset and recorded in the upper left comer of the appropriate matrix box.
  • The abbreviation FPF, preceded by the type of indirect fire means responsible for firing the FPF, is in the center of the box.
  • Priority targets allocated to a platoon are recorded in the box as PRI TGT, preceded by the means of FS responsible for engaging the target and followed by the target number.
  • If FIST elements are responsible for initiating specific fires, the target number, group, or series designation is listed in the box for that FIST element. Specific guidelines concerning fires not included on the target list worksheet will be included in this box.
  • FS coordination measures to be in effect, followed by a word designated for that measure, are shown in the box. For ACAs, the time that planned CAS or attack helicopters are due on station is listed.
  • Other factors that apply to a certain platoon during a specific time frame may be included in the appropriate box. General guidance is issued in the written portion of the OPORD.

Air Defense Support

Organization Available

During certain operations, the company could receive a Vulcan platoon, a Vulcan section, and/or a Stinger team.

The Vulcan platoon for European divisions has four squads; the platoon for CONUS and Korea has three squads.

The Stinger section comprises a section headquarters and five teams.

Operational Characteristics

They are similar to those for the brigade. See Section I of this chapter.

Facilities, Organization, and Duties

The senior air defender for the company is the Vulcan platoon leader or the Stinger team chief. He advises the company commander on the integration of the air defense assets.

The Vulcan platoon leader locates his APC within the company formation where he can best command and control his platoon.

The Stinger team either overwatches the unit in its HMMWV or rides in an armored vehicle for survivability.

Air Defense Operations

The Vulcan platoon leader or the Stinger team chief develops the air defense plan with the company commander. They must maintain close, continuous coordination if air defense is to accomplish its mission. The Vulcan platoon is integrated in the unit battle formation and monitors the company commander's net.

The Stinger team chief and the company commander determine how best to employ the Stinger weapon system. Team survivability considerations are critical. In an offensive operation, the team is not likely to survive since it is in a thin-skinned vehicle. Consideration should be given to placing the gunner in an armored vehicle. This will push the air defense forward to protect the company. The team chief in the HMMWV can then defend the company, either from an overwatch position or by collocating with and defending the combat trains.

Engineer Support


Engineer platoons may work in DS of a company team for mobility operations. The platoon will typically be used to assist in breaching undefended or lightly defended obstacles. The platoon frequently works for the company team commander, with an on-order mission to return to task force control for more difficult breaching operations.

Task Force Engineer

The TF engineer assists the company team commander with mobility, countermobility, and survivability plans. Adequate engineer resources are not available to provide a dedicated engineer to assist each company team.

Engineer Operations


The company team commander employs engineers to assist as members of a breach force. The engineers create lanes in obstacles while the company team provides overmatching fires.


The company team commander and the TF engineer actually design the specific obstacle on the ground. This helps to ensure that the obstacle is in the best location to accomplish its designated function The combination of well-situated obstacles and direct fires makes an ideal kill zone.


The company team normally has engineer support for a predetermined duration. The company team commander should ensure that a prioritized plan is available and positive control of the blade assets is maintained. The company team will frequently be requested to provide fuel and other logistical support for the blade team.

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Support

NBC Section Organization

The NBC section at company team or troop level consists of one chemical operations specialist (MOS 54B20) and one additional-duty officer and one additional-duty enlisted alternate (branch immaterial). Equipment includes appropriate doctrinal manuals, map boards, overlays, work station, hazard templates, and status charts.

Operational Capabilities

The assigned chemical specialist, working in company operations, is immediately available to the company commander as the primary advisor for all NBC matters. Like their counterparts in higher echelons, chemical personnel at company level are responsible for training first-line leaders and monitoring other NBC training. They are the focal point for all NBC actions in garrison and in the field.

Facilities, Organization, and Duties

In garrison, company chemical personnel work in the company operations office. The chemical specialist works directly for the company commander and first sergeant. He spends much of his duty time working on NBC affairs, such as operating an NBC room.

During field operations, company chemical personnel provide 24-hour NBC operations capability. A work station is designated in the TSOP for the CP where chemical information is to be processed and disseminated. The company chemical specialist is instrumental in the planning cycle of all tactical operations. He provides assistance to the commander by evaluating information received in NBCWRS reports. He plans decontamination operations and supervises their execution. While maintaining status charts for MOPP levels and radiation exposure, the chemical specialist also plans for future operations. He may be positioned anywhere on the battlefield the commander directs. To ensure timely and accurate battlefield assessment, the commander positions the chemical specialist according to the principles of accessibility and immediacy.

The following are duties and responsibilities of chemical personnel in the company CP. These are not all-inclusive and are manipulated to meet changing situations. In addition to these specific chemical duties, additional duties may be assigned by the commander. Additional duties, however, should not detract from accomplishment of primary duties.


Analyze NBC threat operate NBCWRS; coordinate NBC reconnaissance assets brief all new personnel on NBC threat.


Determine need for and provide technical training to first-line leaders plan and coordinate conduct of NBC battle focus; monitor and evaluate status of training.


Conduct evaluation of NBC proficiency at individual and collective levels.


Maintain status reports; consolidate and provide data to commander and 1SG; assist supply sergeant with NBC stocks and resupply; monitor contingency stocks.


Account for NBC expenditure follow up requisition and maintenance balance equipment on hand and requisition additional equipment supervise operator crew maintenance ensure radiac instruments are calibrated.


Write and update NBC annex to SOP; maintain current publications; maintain proficiency in current doctrine maintain liaison with parent unit; execute optical insert program; maintain forms (DD Form 314, DA Form 2404).

Field Operations

Execute the NBCWRS; maintain current operations overlay; post NBC attack overlay; maintain decontamination overlay; supervise use of NBC equipment; conduct hasty decontamination operations; supervise NBC surveys: post NBC unit symbols; conduct nuclear/chemical vulnerability analysis; maintain radiation status charts; recommend MOPP levels; recommend employment of chemical assets; participate in planning operations.

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