Chapter 4

Obstacle Planning at Corps,
Division, and Brigade Levels

Commanders and staffs consider the use of obstacles when planning offensive, defensive, and retrograde operations. This chapter describes obstacle planning as it applies at corps, division, and brigade levels. At these levels, concentration is on granting obstacle-emplacement authority or providing obstacle control. At corps and division level, commanders focus on developing obstacle zones and restrictions. At the brigade level, commanders focus on developing obstacle belts and restrictions. At all three levels, commanders may plan obstacle groups, but this is rare.

At each level, commanders include obstacle planning in the decision-making process. This ensures that obstacle integration is effective and that the obstacle plan is flexible enough to allow changes during the planning, preparation, and execution phases of an operation. The following is a method for integrating obstacle planning at corps, division, and brigade levels, using the decision-making doctrine in FM 101-5.


The decision-making process is as detailed or as simple as time permits. The commander plays a key role in the process, with the staff providing advice and information related to their areas. Figure 4-1,, shows the decision-making process with major considerations for obstacles at each step. These steps are--

  • Mission analysis.

  • Course-of-action development (COA).

  • COA analysis and comparison.

  • Decision and execution.

Before beginning the decision-making process, the commander receives his mission or deduces the mission based on an analysis of the current operation. The staff quickly identifies the type of operation, current intelligence situation, and time available (estimate).

Figure 4-1. Decision-making process and obstacles planning.


The first step of the decision-making process involves the following activities:

  • Determine the facts and develop assumptions.

  • Analyze the mission of the higher HQ and the commander's intent.

  • Analyze the relative combat power.

  • Issue the commander's guidance.

Determine Facts and Develop Assumptions

The commander relies on the staff to provide the facts and assumptions on which he can base his mission analysis, restated mission, commander's guidance, and COA development. The staff prepares or updates estimates to determine the facts and assumptions used in the decision-making process. Table 4-1 lists some METT-T considerations for the staff when developing its estimates. The staff uses these estimates as the framework for developing facts and assumptions on obstacles.

Table 4-1. METT-T considerations for obstacles.

Obstacle planning requires information from the following estimates:

  • Intelligence.

  • Logistics.

  • Fire support.

  • Engineer.

The staff may not prepare written estimates but uses the general format and the thought process involved at every level. At each lower level, the amount of detail required increases. For example, at corps level, logisticians address Class IV and Class V obstacle material in terms of short tons. At brigade level, the staff must deal with numbers of obstacle packages or mines.

Intelligence Estimate. The entire staff has input into the intelligence estimate; however, the Assistant Chief of Staff G2 (Intelligence)/Intelligence Officer (US Army) (S2) has general responsibility. A detailed description of this estimate can be found in FMs 101-5, 34-1, and 34-10. The IPB includes the intelligence information required to integrate obstacles, such as--

  • AAs (friendly and enemy)

  • Allocation of enemy combat power.

  • Array of enemy forces two levels lower (location and formation).

  • Enemy objectives, main effort, and options.

  • NAIs/TAIs/decision points (DPs).

  • Enemy vulnerabilities and enemy DPs.

  • Enemy breaching capabilities.

Logistics Estimate. The logistics estimate helps the staff determine the unit's obstacle capability. The resources available and the transportation assets available to move the resources are both important. Normally, transportation assets are not dedicated assets but are available only during a specified time window. Therefore, the staff must consider where and when the unit will need the resources. The following information concerning Class IV and Class V obstacle materials is important for obstacle planning:

  • Type and quantity of material available.

  • Location of the material.

  • Location where the material is required.

  • Distance from current location to required location.

  • Transportation assets available to move the material.

  • Schedule for moving the material.

This information will help the staff determine the feasibility of a COA based on logistics. The engineer uses this information in the engineer estimate.

Fire-Support Estimate. The primary purpose of the fire-support estimate is to provide information to integrate fires with the scheme of maneuver; however, the fire-support estimate also helps to integrate obstacles properly. The following information is useful for obstacle planning:

  • Total fire-support capability (such as batteries, battalions, attack helicopters, or fixed-wing sorties).

  • FASCAM capable assets (artillery or air-delivered).

Engineer Estimate. The staff engineer conducts an engineer estimate to provide the necessary engineer-related information for use in the decision-making process. Although there are several steps to the engineer estimate, the engineer uses the engineer battlefield assessment (EBA) for facts and assumptions. The EBA provides the following information for obstacle planning:

  • Terrain analysis.

  • Enemy engineer mission and mobility/survivability (M/S) capabilities.

  • Friendly M/S capabilities.

The commander and staff use these estimates to complete the decision-making process.

Analyze Higher Headquarters' Mission
and Commander's Intent

An analysis of the higher headquarters' mission and the commander's intent identifies information that may impact on the mission and which the staff uses in later steps of the decision-making process. The staff finds this information in the higher unit's OPORD or OPLAN and in annexes that are included. Components of this analysis are--

  • Intent.

  • AOs and deception.

  • Tasks.

  • Limitations.

  • Assets available.

  • Risk.

  • Time analysis.

Intent. The staff analyzes the higher commander's intent to determine the purpose for obstacles and the desired end state for obstacles to support future operations. Even if the higher commander does not explicitly state an intent for obstacles, the staff must identify information from his intent that will impact on obstacle planning. For example, the commander's intent states that the purpose of the current defense is to set the stage for a major offensive operation. The staff must consider the measures necessary to prevent obstacles from hindering that future offensive operation.

AOs and Deception. The AO dictates the physical limits of any obstacle use. The staff must be aware of the requirements for the deception plan of the higher HQ as it develops an obstacle plan.

Tasks. The staff determines the specified and implied tasks from its higher HQ that impact on obstacle planning.

Specified tasks include--

  • Obstacle groups (directed, situational, or reserve) from higher HQ.

  • Obstacle zones with specified effects (brigade).

  • Obstacle restrictions.

Implied tasks include--

  • Obstacle restrictions for attack/CATK axis, BPs, objectives, and AAs.

  • Obstacle-handover coordination during a relief- in- place mission.

  • Requirement to grant obstacle-emplacement authority and provide obstacle control to subordinates.

Limitations. The staff determines the limitations (things that cannot be done or that must be done) that will affect obstacle employment. Limitations include the following:

  • Must emplace obstacle groups from higher HQ.

  • Must emplace obstacles to support zones with specified effects (brigade).

  • Cannot emplace obstacles outside obstacle zones (brigade).

  • Cannot emplace obstacles in areas that violate obstacle restrictions.

  • Cannot use obstacles that violate obstacle restrictions.

Assets Available. To determine the assets that are available, the staff uses the various staff estimates and analyzes the task organization of the higher HQ. Some assets that may affect obstacle planning include--

  • Intelligence assets that can support obstacle execution.

  • Assets (ground and air) for moving or handling obstacle materials.

  • Engineer units for tactical obstacle emplacement.

  • Other units with manpower or equipment to support obstacle emplacement.

  • Air or artillery assets with SCATMINE capability.

Risks. The staff identifies any risks that the higher HQ is willing to accept to accomplish a mission. One example is putting the priority obstacle effort in a defense on the most likely enemy AA while planning situational obstacles on the most dangerous AA. Another example is identifying where the higher HQ is using economy-of-force measures along a secondary AA. The staff may plan for additional obstacles along that AA to help compensate for the smaller maneuver force allocated for the defense.

Time Analysis. The staff determines the time available and the decision cycle and receives the time allocation from the commander. The staff should consider the 1/3 to 2/3 rule; however, the staff must understand that obstacles are usually time intensive. It pushes known information to lower levels early so that units do not waste valuable time. The staff also uses the time analysis to help determine total obstacle capability. For example, an engineer unit of a certain size can complete an approximate number of obstacles in a specified time.

The commander considers all of the information discussed previously when determining the essential tasks and a restated mission. However, obstacles by themselves are normally not essential tasks or a part of the restated mission.

Analyze Relative Combat Power

The staff analyzes relative combat power. It normally establishes a comparative base for friendly and enemy units, computes the relative combat power, and evaluates the results. Obstacles, like many other factors (such as air power, terrain, or leadership), have an effect when integrated with fires, but the commander and staff subjectively assign a value for obstacles. They may have to wait until they develop a COA before they can assign a value for obstacles and then recompute the ratio of combat power.

Issue Commander's Guidance

The commander issues his concept and states how he visualizes the conduct of the battle. FM 101-5 covers this area in detail. The commander must articulate how he will integrate obstacles to shape the battle and enhance the fire plan. He issues guidance on obstacle control, obstacle priority, and desired effects. The level of specificity that a commander provides in his guidance is based on the experience of the staff, the time available, established habitual relationships, and standing operating procedures (SOPs). The commander should provide the following guidance:

  • Location where friendly forces will mass fires to kill the enemy.

  • Obstacle intent.

  • Authority to emplace different types of obstacles and obstacle restrictions.

  • Use of air or artillery assets (employment of area denial artillery munition (ADAM)/remote antiarmor mine (RAAM) versus artillery on firing targets of opportunity).

  • Use of digging assets (survivability versus countermobility).

  • Use of maneuver forces in the obstacle effort.

  • Risk acceptance of M/S tasks.

  • Obstacle turnover and lane closure information.

  • Proposed CATK and other movement routes.


In the next step of the planning process, the commander and staff develop the maneuver COA in broad terms. After they develop the maneuver COA, they develop a supporting obstacle plan, which is also in broad terms. The staff determines the details concerning obstacles during the analysis of the COA (war gaming) phase. The COA development consists of the following steps:

  • Array initial forces.

  • Develop a scheme of maneuver.

  • Determine C2 means.

  • Prepare COA statement and sketches.

Once the staff prepares the COA statement and sketch, it considers how to support the COA with obstacles. The staff considers using obstacles throughout the depth of the battlefield. Table 4-2 and Table 4-3, show some considerations for obstacles in the offense and defense respectively.

Table 4-2. Offensive obstacle planning.

Table 4-3. Defensive obstacle planning.

The staff tentatively sketches obstacle-control measures that support the units two levels lower. When the staff arrays forces, it considers the terrain and enemy. When the staff determines the location and size of the obstacle-control measures, it considers the terrain, the enemy, the friendly force array, and the scheme of maneuver. For example, when the corps is in the defense, it arrays brigades along enemy division AAs. The corps staff sketches in tentative obstacle zones, considering the terrain, targeting the enemy division, and supporting the arrayed brigades and the corps' scheme of maneuver. At the division level, the staff uses obstacle belts, while at the brigade level, it uses groups. At each level, the staff identifies those areas where mobility needs may require obstacle restrictions. These tentative control measures may also provide a starting point for resourcing obstacles (discussed in detail in Appendix C) and for developing the obstacle plan to support the COA.

The staff uses the tentative obstacle-control measures to develop obstacle-control measures that support the COA. The corps staff draws separate obstacle zones for ACRs or separate brigades. It draws obstacle restricted areas or identifies areas requiring obstacle restriction within the division areas. The division staff uses the tentative obstacle belts to assist in drawing obstacle zones. The brigade staff draws obstacle belts based on the tentative groups. Both the division and brigades may draw obstacle restricted areas or identify other restrictions to support the scheme of maneuver. Zones and belts must fall within the subordinate unit's boundaries. The staff considers the obstacle-integration principle of obstacle-control when drawing the obstacle-control measures.

Other considerations may affect the obstacle plan. The staff also considers the use of obstacles to support the reserve force. With Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations and Plans) (G3)/S3 approval, the staff prepares a scheme-of-obstacles sketch that addresses how obstacles support the maneuver COA.


Staff analysis identifies the best COA for recommendation to the commander. To analyze the COAs, the staff uses war gaming techniques. They war-game the obstacle plan with the supported COA, not separately. Considerations for the staff during war gaming are as follows:

  • Resources required for obstacle plan (see Appendix C).

  • Priorities, if requirements exceed capabilities.

  • Obstacle plan that supports the COA and commander's intent.

  • Adequate restrictions to ensure freedom of maneuver for friendly forces during current and future operations.

  • Plan that addresses all specified and implied tasks.

  • G2/S2 integration of enemy breaching capability and reactions to obstacles.

If necessary, the staff modifies the COA following war gaming. It also identifies branch plans, information requirements, subordinate unit tasks, and additional requirements for combat support. Added considerations at this point are--

  • Changes to the size or location of control measures, based on changes to the scheme of maneuver, boundaries, axis of advance, objectives, EAs, or the addition of branches.

  • Requirements for reserve obstacles (see Chapter 6 for specific considerations).

  • Requirements for situational obstacles (see Chapter 7 for specific considerations).

  • Requirements for directed obstacles.

  • Taskings to subunits to emplace obstacles.

  • Additional engineer units required for tactical obstacle emplacement.

After each COA is war-gamed, the staff compares the results to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of a COA relative to the other plans. It compares each COA to the others, using specific evaluation criteria that it develops or that the commander directs. Relevant criteria that commanders and staff may find useful in comparing COAs include the following:

  • Which COA requires the least obstacle resource expenditure?

  • Which COA has the least impact on local infrastructure by obstacles (such as destroyed bridges)?

  • Which COA causes the fewest hindrances to future mobility due to obstacles?


The final step of the decision-making process is deciding on and executing a COA.

Recommendation and Decision

The objective of the comparison is to make a unified recommendation to the commander on the best COA. The staff may give greater consideration to a COA that requires a more difficult obstacle plan if it looks like the best selection based on other battlefield operating system (BOS) perspectives. The staff informs the commander where he must accept risk regarding obstacles or request additional assets to avoid that risk. The staff must also be prepared to inform the commander where those assets may be obtained and what influence he may have to exert to get them. Knowledge of the higher and adjacent unit assets is important.

The commander chooses the COA to adopt for final planning. He may select a specific COA, modify a COA, or combine parts of several COAs. In any event, the commander decides and issues additional guidance to the staff for developing the plan. The staff then completes the plan and prepares the order.

Plans and Orders

The engineer normally prepares the obstacle plan, and the commander approves the plan or the order. The staff coordinates with and receives permission from the higher HQ for obstacles required outside an obstacle-control measure. It coordinates obstacles planned on flanks with adjacent units. The staff coordinates guidance on obstacles in the rear area with the operations officer and controlling units. The staff also distributes the obstacle plan to higher and subordinate units.

Obstacle plans at the corps, division, and brigade levels normally contain the following:

  • Obstacle restrictions (either graphically or clearly stated).

  • Reserve obstacle groups (especially for passage lanes) and execution criteria and plans (see Chapter 6 for details).

  • Situational obstacle groups (if any) and an execution matrix (see Chapter 7 for details).

  • Engineer unit task organization.

At the corps level, the following is added to the plan:

  • Obstacle zones for separate brigades and ACRs (and intent, if specified).

See Figure 4-2, for an example of a corps obstacle overlay.

At the division level, the plan also includes the following:

  • Obstacle zones for brigades (and intent, if specified).

  • Guidance on the use and reporting of protective obstacles.

  • Engineer unit task organization.

See Figure 4-3 for an example of a division obstacle overlay.

At the brigade level, the plan also includes the following:

  • Obstacle belts for the TF (and intent, if included).

  • Guidance on the use and reporting of protective obstacles.

  • Guidance on obstacle ownership and emplacement.

See Figure 4-4, for an example of a brigade obstacle overlay.

Figure 4-2. Corps obstacle overlay.

Figure 4-3. Division obstacle overlay.

Figure 4-4. Brigade obstacle overlay.

Execution and Supervision

Units refine obstacle plans. They--

  • Continue to analyze incoming intelligence to ensure the validity of the obstacle plan in comparison to the expected threat.

  • Ensure that subunits report obstacle-control measures and obstacles as they develop and execute their plans (see Appendix B).

  • Shift assets, request additional assets, or modify the plan based on the obstacle effort completed and new or developing requirements.

  • Continue planning.

The following paragraphs contain a defensive scenario for obstacle planning at the division level. The process is the same at the corps or brigade level.


This scenario illustrates the integration of obstacles into the division decision-making process in the defense. Note that this illustration highlights only certain aspects of the decision-making process and focuses on a single COA.


As part of facts and assumptions, the staff determines the following concerning enemy forces and the AAs in sector (see Figure 4-5): The enemy has five regimental-size AAs in the division sector. In the north, two regimental AAs turn into a division-size AA and then revert to three regimental AAs. In the south, there are three regimental AAs that change into a division-size AA.

The staff has completed all other estimates and gathered the information necessary for planning. It has analyzed relative combat power and determined that the ratios support a defense. In addition, it has analyzed the higher HQ commander's mission and intent. In this case, there are no specific impacts on division obstacle planning in the corps' plan. The staff incorporated the commander's guidance into the plan.


The staff developed the following COA (see Figure 4-6): The division defends in sector to defeat two first-echelon motorized rifle divisions (MRDs) and a second echelon MRD. The division uses the division cavalry squadron to screen between PL River and PL Ocean and then conducts battle handover to two brigades defending on line. The northern brigade will defeat an enemy division forward of PL Stream. The brigade will then delay back to PL Lake, allowing enemy penetration into an apparent salient. The southern brigade will defend forward of PL Stream and allow penetration no greater than platoon size. The reserve brigade will CATK along Axis Copperhead into Objective Viper to destroy a second echelon MRD. The aviation brigade will CATK along Axis Rattler into Objective Cobra, targeting the second echelon MRD's C2 and CSS assets.

The staff sketches tentative obstacle belts (see Figure 4-7 ). It also draws in areas that require obstacle restrictions. The following paragraphs describe the decisions the staff made during this process.

Figure 4-5. Enemy avenues of approach.

Figure 4-6. Maneuver course of action.

Figure 4-7. Developing obstacle-control measures.

The staff anticipates that the cavalry squadron could employ three disrupting obstacle belts to shape the battle. It groups these tentative belts into Obstacle Zone Alpha. Based on the covering force mission, the obstacle zone must allow maximum flexibility to employ tactical obstacles. PL River (BHL) directly impacts on the obstacle zone's design. The staff adjusts the rear of the obstacle zone forward of PL River to allow MBA forces to employ tactical obstacles to support the battle handover.

The northern brigade defends in sector between PL River and PL Lake. The staff considers the mobility requirements for the reserve brigade's mission forward of PL Stream along Axis Copperhead and Objective Viper. The staff anticipates that the brigade could employ two fixing obstacle belts forward of PL Stream, one on each AA. The staff also anticipates that the brigade will require two blocking belts on the northern two AAs. Based on these considerations, and to keep the division's CATK axis and objective restricted from obstacle emplacement, the staff plans two obstacle zones for the northern brigade.

Obstacle Zone Bravo encompasses the BHL (PL River). This zone has two regimental AAs. To give the brigade commander maximum flexibility, the width of this obstacle zone covers the entire sector. The depth of the zone provides for battle handover of the northern two regimental AAs. To facilitate the division's CATK, the commander restricts the depth of the obstacle zone to Objective Viper. These requirements dictate the shape of Obstacle Zone Bravo.

Obstacle Zone Charlie is deep in the brigade sector. This zone has three regimental AAs. To give the brigade commander maximum flexibility, the zone width will cover from the northern boundary to Axis Copperhead. This covers two of the three AAs. The CATK force will use the third AA. The forward edge of the zone is in the vicinity of Objective Viper. The depth of the zone requires no restriction; therefore, the brigade's rear boundary dictates the zone's depth.

For the southern brigade, the staff uses the same approach to develop the shape of Obstacle Zone Delta. To support the commander's intent and show a strong defense forward, the staff puts the zone's rear boundary forward of PL Stream. This will cause a concentration of countermobility effort along the BHL to PL Stream.

The staff must plan for the rearward passage of the cavalry. It recommends to the G3 that Lane Blue and Lane Red be restricted from any obstacle emplacement. The brigades must coordinate directly with the division for reserve obstacle groups to close these lanes, if required.

Based on the obstacle plan to support the COA, the staff determines the resources required to support the plan.

Note: The examples used to illustrate obstacle resourcing above TF level in
Appendix C relate directly to this scenario.


The staff analysis of the COA results in some modifications to the obstacle plan. They plan a "be-prepared" Obstacle Zone Golf to support the division reserve's CATK into Objective Viper. Obstacle resources allocated to this zone will be for situational obstacles to fix the enemy formations.

The aviation brigade is conducting a supporting attack against the second echelon division's rear in Objective Cobra. Tactical obstacles would aid the attack helicopters in their fight. The staff tailors Obstacle Zones Echo and Foxtrot to support the fight in Objective Cobra and Python respectively. ADAM and RAAM are available. ADAM and RAAM allocations will require coordination with the fire-support coordinator (FSCOORD).


Based on their analysis, the staff recommended the COA in this scenario to the commander, and he approved. The staff prepares the actual orders, to include the obstacle plan and overlay. Figure 4-8, shows this division's obstacle overlay. The staff also fills in the details required for a complete plan. One detail that the staff addresses is guidance on protective obstacles.

Figure 4-8. Division obstacle overlay.

The staff does not plan protective obstacles, but it does provide guidance on emplacement authority and allocates resources for protective obstacles in the division rear. In this case, the division authorizes the brigades to delegate protective-obstacle-emplacement authority for all types of obstacles to company team level within obstacle zones. Outside obstacle zones, units only use wire obstacles for protective obstacles.

In the division rear, the division delegates protective obstacle-emplacement authority to the base cluster commanders. CSS assets must survive to provide sustainment to combat units. Protective obstacles are important for ensuring survivability of CSS assets in the rear. The staff determines that the major rear area threat is from air-inserted dismounted enemy troops. Therefore, the staff allocates wire and AP mines to the base cluster commanders.


The following paragraphs provide special considerations and some tools for planning obstacles to support offensive operations. It is harder to plan obstacles to support offensive operations than to support defensive operations. In the offense, it is difficult to determine where obstacles will support the scheme of maneuver. In addition, most tactical obstacles are situational. Therefore, obstacle planning must result in a plan that is flexible enough to allow emplacement authority and ensure obstacle control during the fluid offensive operation.


There are certain obstacle-planning considerations that are dependent on the type of offensive operation. One common consideration is that offensive operations normally rely on situational obstacles due to the variety of actions that may occur. The types of offensive operations are--

  • Movement to contact.

  • Attack.

  • Exploitation.

  • Pursuit.

Movement to Contact

A unit conducts an MTC to develop the situation or to gain or regain contact with the enemy. The primary consideration for an MTC is anticipating actions during movement and requirements for maneuver and fire support when the unit makes contact. A unit conducting an MTC normally organizes with forward, flank, and rear security elements; an advance guard; and a main body. Considerations for planning obstacles in support of an MTC include using them to--

  • Fix the enemy while the main body maneuvers (forward security element or advance guard).

  • Assist in defeating enemy attacks (flank or rear security elements).

  • Support a hasty defense.


Attacks defeat, destroy, or neutralize the enemy. The same fundamentals apply to all types of attacks, including hasty, deliberate, spoiling, CATKs, and raids. Considerations for planning obstacles in support of attacks include using them to--

  • Attack reserves or CATK forces.

  • Prevent defending forces from repositioning.

  • Support the protection of friendly flanks during the attack.

  • Support a hasty defense following the offense.


In exploitation, the attacker maintains offensive pressure to extend the destruction of the defending force. Considerations for planning obstacles in support of exploitation include using them to--

  • Prevent enemy withdrawal.

  • Provide flank protection.

  • Assist in cutting enemy lines of communication (LOC).


The pursuit is the desired outcome of an attack or exploitation. The pursuit involves total destruction of a retreating enemy force. Commanders use air and ground assets to intercept, capture, or destroy the enemy. Considerations for obstacle planning in support of pursuit include using them to--

  • Cut off enemy withdrawal routes.

  • Allow the friendly force to fix and destroy the enemy.


There are two techniques for planning obstacle zones and belts to support the different types of offensive operations. They are to--

  • War-game.

  • Use a grid system.

War Game

War-game to determine the most likely areas where obstacles will support the scheme of maneuver, and then plan zones or belts in those areas. If requirements for additional obstacle-control measures arise, the staff quickly plans and disseminates the additional control measures. It can use this technique in obstacle planning in support of MTCs and attacks.

Figure 4-9, shows an example of obstacle zones developed to support an MTC. Obstacle Zone S supports the advance guard as it fixes the lead of a moving enemy force. As the advance guard assumes a hasty defense, the main body maneuvers to conduct a hasty attack against the flank of the enemy force.

Obstacle Zone T assists in protecting the flank of the main body. The use of the same technique to support a deliberate attack is shown in Figure 4-10. The unit plans Obstacle Zones A and B to support a hasty defense following seizure of its objectives. They also plan Obstacle Zone C to support the aviation brigade's attack on the enemy reserve or CATK force.

Figure 4-9. Movement to contact.

Figure 4-10. Deliberate attack.

Use a Grid System

Use a grid system covering the entire AO. The grid system is defined by grid lines, PLs, and boundaries. This technique is useful for all offensive operations.

Figure 4-11 illustrates the grid-system technique. In this example, the staff develops a grid system that encompasses the entire division sector. In this case, the staff uses PLs, grid lines, and boundaries. As the division crosses PL Puma (LD), the commander activates zones Alpha and Bravo to allow units to emplace obstacles to provide flank protection. No other proposed obstacle zone is active.

Based on the developing enemy situation, the commander orders the division to assume a hasty defense along PL Stallion and activates Obstacle Zones Delta and Echo. To allow a division CATK, the commander orders the areas of Obstacle Zones Delta and Echo north of the 45 east-west grid line to be obstacle-restricted areas. This technique allows the commander to grant obstacle-emplacement authority and provide obstacle control despite a very fluid situation, using only one overlay.

This chapter focused on obstacle planning at the corps, division, and brigade levels. The detail at these levels ensures the right amount of obstacle control balanced with the maximum amount of flexibility for subordinate commanders. The following chapter provides considerations and techniques for planning obstacle emplacement at the TF level.

Figure 4-11. Grid system.

Join the mailing list