UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Mounted Task Force Operations: A Proposed Operational Handbook

Mounted Task Force Operations: A Proposed Operational Handbook


CSC 1985


SUBJECT AREA Warfighting



Click here to view image












































a. Mounted Task Forces are employed by Marine Corps ground commanders to

develop superior firepower and mobility which, when augmented by aviation and logistic power of the MAGTF, enable Marine Forces to gain favorable decisions on the battlefield. Mounted Task Forces (MTF) generally form the main effort of the ground combat element in all forms of battle. The MTF may execute roles in any type of combat and is especially useful against enemy mechanized forces. MTF's are employed to exploit local success in battle and to disrupt and destroy opposing forces by rapid, decisive and powerful thrusts through points of enemy weakness into his vital command, fire support and logistic elements, causing his wholesale collapse as a cohesive force.


b. The following circumstances favor the employment of the MTF in a USMC ground

combat element (GCE):


- Terrain permits full exploitation of firepower and mobility.


- A proper balance of tank and mounted infantry units is achieved,

corresponding to the terrain.


- Air parity or superiority is achieved.


- Adequate logistic support is furnished.


- Coordination of fire and movement is optimized by the designation of a point of main effort by the commander.


c. Because of its immense power and extensive flexibility, the MTF may be successfully employed in all forms of combat. This power suits it well to the offensive. However, it is equally suited to offensive use in the conduct of the delay or defense. Succeeding sections of this handbook detail the techniques and tactics used by the MTF in battle.




a. Tanks, assault amphibians and other fighting vehicles originally entered Marine Corps organizations as the FMF prepared for amphibious operations in the late 1930's. Tank-infantry tactics employed by the FMF in the Pacific War proved suitable for assaulting fortified beaches and zones and for military operations in urban terrain (MOUT). Other than the armored column postwar USMC doctrine recognized no techniques of mechanized combat comparable to those of western armies. In response to the spreading of mechanized warfare to the Third World, the USMC in the 1970's developed the Mechanized Combined Arms Task Force (MCATF), in an attempt to copy chief attributes of U.S. Army armored and mechanized combat techniques.


b. The MCATF concept, although instructive, proved a false premise for the Corps. There are no true mechanized or armored forces in the FMF, only tank and amphibian units with all direct support artillery being towed. Furthermore, combined arms combat remains a tactic not exclusive to mechanized forces. All USMC combat forces seek to use combined arms tactics. The reality for the FMF lies in its line infantry and towed artillery, by far the bulk of its ground strength. The former can be mounted in supporting (not organic) assault amphibian units to perform the function of motorized infantry. They cannot be expected to perform as mechanized infantry except by improvisation because of their normal organization and scope of training. Tank units complement the mounted infantry and other arms must be furnished with mobility comparable to these elements, recognizing the reality that tanks, LVT's, towed and SP artillery, LAV's, HMMV's and motor transport equipment all display varied speeds and terrain-crossing capabilities. Recognizing these factors, this publication will classify all such task-organized units as "mounted" vice "mechanized" as a clearer iteration of FMF ground organization for combat in highly mobile operations. Only this term recognizes the existing and enduring conditions of organization and training found in the FMF, a force organized for amphibious operations which must be able to fight mobile battles in subsequent operations ashore.




Integration of forces can only occur when the respective functions of the various types are recognized:


a. Functions of unit types:


(1) Infantry (of the line) - holds ground; maneuvers within range of organic



(2) Armor - executes maneuver over extended distances.


(3) Artillery (including antitank and air defense) - provides destructive and neutralizing fires, usually to support ground maneuver.


(4) Engineers (or pioneers) - Degrade or improve traversbility of terrain.


(5) Mechanized (or armored) infantry - infantry equipped and trained to

accompany and protect armor, especially against infantry and antitank.


(6) Light Infantry - holds ground; moves by special techniques or means of

movement (helicopter, parachute, stealth) by virtue of special training and

equipment (e.g., commandos, rangers, parachute, ski, mountain units).


(7) Motorized or light armored infantry - high mobility infantry; links armor and infantry of the line in fluid situations; dragoons.


b. Employment of Unit Types


(1) Infantry and Tanks. Tanks and infantry operate in mutual support at all

times. Only through a true coordination of effort can the operational tasks

be accomplished and unnecessary losses prevented. Night, adverse weather

and combat in forests, fortified zones and built-up areas require increased

proportions of infantry in formations.


(2) Antitank. Antitank missiles can augment the fire of battle tanks to a

considerable distance. The following factors apply:


-          The most effective mutual support is obtained in terrain with

long- range fields of fire.


- The limited rate of fire of missile weapons detracts from their

reinforcement capability.


-          Missile carriers generally must fight from positions affording

cover and concealment.


- Missile carriers must be protected from enemy infantry assault.


- Missile characteristics increasingly prescribe flank attack.


(3) Artillery. Artillery is an effective weapon producing a high volume fire

upon designated area targets. Artillery support can only be effective when

the concept and scheme of maneuver is understood. Personal contact and

exchange of mission and task details is usually required. Artillery fire is

used to disrupt enemy measures and permit the successful maneuver of the



(4)        Attack Helicopters. When armed with antitank missiles, attack

helicopters furnish the commander an additional unit capable of extraordinary fire and maneuver; ideal for reinforcing success or forming appoint of main effort. Attack helicopters are requested through air liaison and are then operated as a maneuver unit by the commander using frag orders and ground control measures, preferable after receiving a briefing at the command post.


(5)        Fixed Wing Aircraft. Close air support extends the range and power of

fire support for maneuver.


(6) Air Defense. Antiaircraft weapons systems in the MTF area will usually

consist of Redeye missile teams capable of point defense only. For this

reason, air defense remains passive in nature, reverting to self-defense

only when attacked.


(6)        Combat Engineers (Pioneering). Engineers support the MTF by enhancing

the mobility of our forces and degrading that of the enemy. Combat engineers must be provided with the same mobility of MTF infantry to be effective. Although often employed in piecemeal fashion, they are most effective in company-sized units.


When pioneering requirements exceed the capacity of the MTF, the commander requests support to:


- Locate suitable fords.


- Clear barriers, obstacles, and wreckage.


- Assist in overcoming natural obstacles.


- Erect of barriers.


- Degrade trafficability of enemy approaches.


- Assist in field fortifications.


The use of pioneers requires time and preparation. They must be protected while

performing their mission.


(7)        Light Infantry. In special situations, such as combat in forests and

built-up areas and by night and adverse weather, tanks and light infantry work together. Generally, the infantry provide close in protection to small tank units and act as eyes and ears for the tanks, which provide firepower and force obstacles for the advance. Special control measures are often required.








The Marine Corps is tasked with responding to contingencies throughout the world against a broad spectrum of enemy forces. Soviet combined arms forces are predominately armored and mechanized and present the most prominent threat facing Marine forces. Nations aligned with the Soviets have, in varying degrees, adopted Soviet doctrine, tactics, techniques, equipment and force structure. Soviet and Soviet styled forces not only possess sophisticated equipment, but in many cases their forces will outnumber Marine Forces. Due to the amount of information and large number of publications already published, specific threat data will not be presented in this publication. Appendix A (References) contains a section on DIA publications which describe in detail the threat to include: key equipment, organizations, tactical employment and operational weaknesses.




In many projected scenarios the MAGTF will be both outnumbered and outgunned. With this consideration in mind, certain basic principles for MTF operation must be identified from the onset. These principles include:


a. The primary objective of the MTF must be the destruction of the enemy's combat cohesiveness. Firepower and mobility will be elements of paramount importance on the future battlefield. Additionally, we are very likely to face an enemy who possesses superiority in numbers, mobility and firepower. It will not be necessary, however, to defeat this force in detail for our forces to succeed in battle. The MTF objective must be the destruction of the enemy's ability to function as a total force. This objective is accomplished most rapidly by engaging certain elements of the enemy force on a priority basis.


(1)    A high priority should be given to the enemy's air defense units.

Traditionally, our air elements have enjoyed considerable freedom of movement in the support of our ground forces. This condition is highly unlikely on the future battlefield when the enemy air defense capability is established. This threat to the use of our air units deprives our ground forces of an essential weapon in dealing with the enemy's ground forces. Therefore, enemy air defense units must be destroyed or neutralized as soon as possible in order to conduct effective friendly close air support.


(2)    The MTF's second priority should be the destruction of the enemy command

and control elements. These elements should be engaged whenever possible by air, ground, and electronic warfare (EW) assets. A thorough knowledge of enemy doctrine will greatly assist in locating and selecting the best means to engage and destroy these elements.


(3) A third priority should be the neutralization of enemy artillery. Despite his numerous armor, the threat is an artillery army, trained to depend upon artillery support as mission-essential. Depriving the threat of artillery support is vital to destroying his cohesion.


(4) A fourth priority of engagement should be to separate the enemy's

infantry from his tanks and then the individual destruction of each. By accomplishing this, the MTF capitalizes on the weaknesses of both; while, at the same time, the enemy is prevented from fully exercising his combined strength.


(5) The final priority should be attacks on the enemy's CSS elements. Soviet

operations are typified by large mechanized forces moving rapidly over great distances and extended frontages. Denying these forces the vital fuel link, ammunition, food and replacements will, in time, render his assault elements ineffective.


b. The enemy must be continuously exposed to the fun combined array of the MTF weapons and maneuver. Stereotyped operations must be avoided with emphasis on imagination and flexibility. Each unit in our force presents a specific threat to our enemy. If these units are combined and employed against the enemy, he is forced to expend a tremendous amount of time and effort to counter them. If, however, they are improperly employed, the enemy's problem will be greatly



The avoidance of stereotyped operations has a similar advantage. The enemy who must face the possibility of night and day attacks, and rapid thrusts from any direction will be much easier to deal with than one who can predict our actions by simply reading our field manuals or identifying terrain features on the map. The commander must orient on the enemy rather than terrain. He must exploit every advantage afforded him by the ever changing situation to achieve his assigned mission.


c. In order to obtain maximum results, the MTF must be oriented to the offense. Simply a reaffirmation of a principle of war, the battlefield of the future will reward the side maintaining the initiative, flexibility and freedom of maneuver.




Throughout history armies have conducted their operations using a number of fundamentals to achieve their objectives. Rapidly changing technology and capabilities have altered the emphasis and application of these, but the fundamentals themselves remain constant. The following fundamentals are not unique to mounted operations, but should be considered when conducting mounted operations.


Human Factors


(1)    Leadership. Commanders at all levels must have the ability and

determination to win the battle. The importance of the role of the leader and the difficulty of exercising effective leadership is increased on the modern battlefield by the nature of continuous operations, which

must to be sustained.


(2) Morale Morale is probably the most important single factor in war. High morale fosters an aggressive spirit. Morale is based on confidence, discipline, professional skill, physical conditioning and self-respect. These can be instilled by realistic, demanding and imaginative training. Above all, morale is enhanced by a sense of group loyalty-esprit de corps-which the commander must foster in his units. The surest way to achieve high morale is through success in battle.


(3) Initiative. Individual initiative, within the scope of the mission and

linked with resolute action, is fundamental.


(4) Flexibility. A commander at any level must have flexibility of mind and speed of decision. Unless he has these qualities he will rapidly surrender the initiative to the enemy and probably lose the battle.


(5) Endurance. Personnel must be mentally and physically prepared for battle.


b. The Selection of the Mission


(1) In every military operation it is essential to select and define the mission.


(2) The selection of the mission is one of the commander's most important duties; it demands clear and logical thought. The mission may be very specific or it may be expressed in general terms; it must be clear and direct, not ambiguous. Above all, it must express the intentions of the commander.


(3) The mission must be as widely circulated as the needs of security will allow, so that subordinates can consider it in their planning. There must be no doubt what is to be accomplished.


C. Freedom of Action. A commander requires the authority to exploit an opportunity of a favorable situation on the battlefield with energy and boldness. He must have the freedom of action to act independently within the framework of his mission and the higher commander's intent. Freedom of action has increased importance as command communications in battle may be limited by

circumstances or enemy action; at times being only intermittent and at crucial times nonexistent.


d. Aggressive Action. In all combat operations, even those in which initially the enemy has freedom of action, at all levels, commanders must seek every opportunity to retain or seize the initiative and strike the enemy. In the final analysis, success in battle depends directly upon the determination of the force, individually and collectively, to close with the enemy and to destroy his will to fight. Frequently, opportunities for victory in battle will be built on the exploitation of opportunities created by subordinate commanders who recognized and took advantage of a favorable situation.


e. Concentration of Effort. Military success will result from the concentration of superior combat power at the decisive time and place.


f. Economy of Force. A commander must allocate his forces to essential tasks, however he must not commit more forces than necessary. It is not possible to be strong everywhere and in order to be able to concentrate his forces a commander may have to accept risk by using an absolute minimum of force elsewhere.

g. Mobility


(1) Mobility is characterized by the ability of vehicles and forces to move in differing conditions and situations. It has a direct influence on a force's capability to achieve its mission. Superior mobility may compensate for numerical inferiority.


(2) Mobility is necessary to achieve concentration of effort and to deploy rapidly in order to engage the enemy.


(3) Terrain, weapon effects, unfavorable weather conditions and enemy air action will affect mobility on the battlefield. Differing degrees of mobility of forces must be taken into consideration.


h. Maneuver. In maneuver a commander attempts to position his force in such a way as to gain an advantage over the enemy in order to accomplish the mission. Both fire and maneuver are essential and must be integrated if commanders are to preserve their freedom of action and achieve success.


i. Surprise. Surprise is an effective and powerful factor in the use of force; its effect on morale can be very great. It can confer the initiative, threaten enemy morale, reduce friendly casualties and often give material advantages similar to a superior concentration of force. When other factors are unfavorable, success may depend almost entirely upon surprise.


j. Intelligence. A commander requires information and intelligence about the terrain, climate and the enemy. With basic intelligence as a background, current intelligence is required about the enemy to provide the commander with frequent observations and appreciations of his capabilities and intentions.


k. Simplicity. Unless plans are kept as simple and straightforward as possible, the speed of events and the complexity of modern warfare could well lead to considerable confusion. A complex plan may contribute to failure of an operation. Simple and logical plans are best and stand more chance of success.


l. Maintenance of Forces. A commander must make every effort to maintain the combat effectiveness of his force and must try to accomplish his aim with minimum losses.


m. Flexibility. All military plans must be flexible to allow for the unforeseen and to enable the maximum advantage to be taken of any sudden turn of events. A force must possess the flexibility to enable it to react to a change of plan and switch smoothly from one course of action to another. This entails good training, cohesive organization, communications, staff work and the maintenance of a reserve.


n. Security and Protection. The commander must take every precaution to secure and protect his force so that he can achieve his mission. He will do so through a wide range of measures including an aggressive search for and careful scrutiny of intelligence regarding the location, capability and intentions of the enemy, and denying the enemy information as to the location and strength of friendly forces and operational plans.







A combat battalion for MTF operations is built around an infantry or tank battalion headquarters and task organization is accomplished by the attachment or cross-attachment of tank, infantry and AAV units as well as other arms determined by mission requirements. The headquarters of the combat battalion possesses the requisite ability to request, and coordinate the proper utilization of the various supporting arms of the MAGTF to include: artillery, naval gunfire and close air support.


a. Headquarters. The MTF headquarters is the MTF commander's means for exercising command and control of his force. Command and control is defined by JCS Pub 1 as, "The exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned forces in accomplishment of the mission. Command and control functions are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities and procedures which are employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of the mission."


(1) In a regimental-size MTF the headquarters of an infantry regiment forms the command echelon of the MTF. The headquarters of a battalion-sized MTF will be a tank or infantry battalion headquarters depending on the preponderance of tank or infantry forces in the MTF.


(2) The command groups of either regimental or battalion-sized MTF's will normally operate from LVTC-7 and LVTP-7 vehicles.


b. Combat Element. All areas are task organized to form the combat elements of the MTF. Regimental-sized MTF's consist of at least two combat battalion-sized forces while a battalion-sized MTF will include at least two company-sized forces. The Light Armored Vehicle Battalions, (LAVB) may also be attached to a regimental MTF (or companies to a battalion MTF). They may operate either as a combat or combat support unit, depending on missions assigned. Operational Handbook (OH) 9-4, Organization and Operational Concepts for the Light Armored Vehicle Battalion, best describes the employment of the LAVB.


(1) The battalions organize for combat by dividing their Headquarters and Service Companies into command and support echelons and task organizing tank and infantry companies into combinations of tank-pure, tank-heavy, infantry-heavy and pure infantry teams by cross-attachment.


(2) The weapons company of the infantry battalion MTF is attached out to the command, combat and support echelons of the parent battalion and does not operate as a tactical entity. The antitank company of the tank battalion MTF reverts to the tactical control of the GCE commander, who uses it in task organizing the GCE and establishing his antitank point of main effort.


c. Combat Support. Combat engineers, air defense, artillery, attack helicopters and reconnaissance units may be attached, placed in direct support or, in the case of helicopters, "dedicated" in the support of the MTF. Close air support and naval gunfire support complete the combined arms arrayed with the MTF.


d. Combat Service Support (CSS). CSS must be adapted to the speeds, distances, and potentially high consumption rates of POL and ammunition characteristic of mounted operations. While combat and combat support components have organic CSS elements, they will not be sufficient to sustain the MTF. A Mobile Combat Service Support Detachment (MCSSD) will be formed from the Combat Service Support element of the MAGTF to support the MTF when it operates beyond its own capabilities. The MCSSD will move so as to be responsive to the requirements of the MTF. Section 14 describes the combat service support of the MTF.




The MFT is generally described by the relative preponderance of the infantry and tank units of which it is formed. The ration of forces is determined by the type of terrain and the threat to be encountered. At the lowest level, mounted infantry and tank platoons may be cross-attached to form company-sized combined arms teams.


a. Mounted infantry. Infantry mounted on some means of transport, retaining its tactical integrity.


b. Infantry heavy. An organization with more infantry companies/platoons than tank companies/platoons. It is employed in close terrain or areas with a high threat from antitank weapons and units.


c. Tank heavy. More tank companies/platoons than mounted infantry companies/platoons. The tank heavy force should be employed when the area of operation is open and consists of few natural obstacles or built-up areas, speed and shock effect are desired or strong enemy armor opposition is expected.


d. Balances - equal numbers of tank and mounted infantry companies/platoons. A balanced force may be advantageous when the situation is unclear but the commander desires a reserve of considerable tank power.


e. Pure - Companies/platoons of either tanks or mounted infantry, with no cross-attachment. Pure companies/platoons may be employed within the MTF when mission requirements dictate.


f. Team - a company sized unit composed of tanks and mounted infantry, normally designated by the company headquarters placed over these units.




a. A regimental-sized MTF will be commanded by the infantry regiment headquarters. In this organization, the tank battalion headquarters should become the headquarters for a fourth battalion-sized task force of the MTF, or it may be employed as a tank-pure battalion.


b. A battalion-sized MTF may be commanded by either infantry or tank battalion headquarters. These headquarters must in turn task organize assigned forces, as described in paragraph 302, according to METT. When the situation requires the further cross-attachment of platoons of tanks and mounted infantry, the resulting units are referred to as "teams". The teams may be commanded by either tank or infantry company headquarters.


c. While an AAV can carry up to 25 Marines, considerations of tactics, cohesion and space dictate the assignment of an AAV to a reinfoced squad of Marines. The squad with attachments should not exceed 18 Marines per vehicle. This typical infantry "tractor team" consists of a squad leader (1), AAV crew (2), rifle squad (10), machinegun team (2) and DRAGON team (2). A company mortar team (3) may be substituted for a machinegun team. The tractor team is employed easily as a heliteam if the infantry battalion must change mission and task organization. Battalion mortars will normally be carried by squads in company commander vehicles. If employment as a mortar platoon is desired, dedicated vehicles must be identified from the AAV attachments. See figure 1.


d. AAV support of MTF operations is accomplished by attaching the AAV's to the infantry and engineer units. An AAV will normally support a squad, a section will support a platoon, a platoon will support a company and a company supports a battalion. This preserves the tactical integrity of the fighting units and identifies appropriate AAV unit attachments.




The tank battalion and its subordinate tank companies is employed gainst the enemy as a battalion; or, it may cross-attach one or more of its companies with mounted infantry companies to form a battalion task force.


a. The organization of the tank battalion is depicted in figure 2.


b. Detailed characteristics of the M60A1 tank and TOW weapons system of the tank battalion are provided in appendix C.




For the tank and infantry battalions to be a fully integrated combat force, the AAV battalion must also become an integral part of the task organization of the regimental MTF. The AAV's provide mobility, limited armor protection and additional firepower for the infantry.


a. It is generally accepted that the current AAV, the LVTP-7, lift capacity of 25 combat-equipped Marines is ambitious when considering MTF operations. Mechanized exercises have revealed that 18 personnel per AVV is more realistic number. Additionally, the AAV should primarily be employed to transport assault elements in tactical situations. The use of the AAV in other roles, such as transporting supplies is based on availability. Wheeled vehicles should be used in MTF operations as logistics transports and prime movers of equipment. AAV units should, in all cases, bring with them the appropriate organizational CSS.





2 LVTC-7

1 LVTP-7



13 LVTP-7 3 LVTP-7

Company CP (1 LVTP-7)

Mortar Squad


Rifle Platoon (REIN) X 3

Platoon Leader

60mm Mortar Team

Assualt Team

Tractor Team X 3

Rifle Squadron

MG Team


Total AAV's: 2 LVTC-7

43 LVTP-7




FAAD Team Heavy MG Section, Wpns Co

FO TOW Section, HQ Co, Inf Rgt.


NGF Spotter

Liaison Personnel



Figure 1


Typical Infantry Battalion MTF








Tank Bn


M60A1 - 70

M88A1 - 5

TOW - 72



T/O NO. 4237P T/O 4235M T/O NO. 4233M

24 - 296 5 - 241 5 - 102

M160A1 - 2 TOW - 72 M60A1 - 17

M88A1 - 1 M88A1 - 1



13-43 2-30 2-37 2-39

M60A1-2 M60A1-2




2-73 3-74 1-68



2-73 2-42 0-22




2-2N 1-17N 0-5

0-1M TOW - 2





1st Tk BN 4 Tk Co, AT Co

2nd Tk Bn 4 Tk Co, ATCo

3d Tk Bn 3 Tk Co, ATCo

4th Tk Bn (RES) 3 Tk Co, 2 AT Plt

8th Tk Bn (RES) 4 TK Co, AT Co

1st T.V. Bn 2 Tk Co, 2 Aav Co




Figure 2


b. The organization of the standard assault amphibian battalion is depicted in figure 2. The composition of each of the assault amphibian vehicle companies is also shown. It should be noted that the LVTR in each AAV company headquarters provides CSS support and should not be included when computing lift.


c. Detailed characteristics of the LVTP-7, LVTR-7 and LVTC-7 are provided in appendix C. Appendix D contains an indepth discussion of LVTC-7 employment considerations.


d. The assault amphibian vehicle battalion as shown in figure 3 has sufficient assets to provide mobility to the assault elements of four infantry battalions (one AAV Company per Battalion) and a regimental size headquarters. Since task organization is dependent on the situation at hand, the best approach to the allocation of AAV's is to maintain unit integrity of AAV's and supported units by assigning AAV's to each squad i.e., four per infantry platoon. However, the supported unit's mission has utmost priority in determining task organization and unit integrity.


e. There are 187 LVTP-7's and 15 LVTC-7's within the battalion. If the AAV battalion H&S Company supports the regiment headquarters, then each AAV company can support the infantry battalions it attaches to or supports with 43 LVTP-7 and 3 LVTC-7 vehicles. If the tank battalion is attached to the regiment, at least 2 LVTC-7's should be allocated to it from the AAV company assets. As vehicles availability drops from mechanical or combat casualties, H&S company vehicles should be used as replacements. AAV Battalion and Company sections not required for mounting the MTF's will use organic wheeled vehicles for transport and generally be relegated to rear areas, except as employed in the MTF combat trains.


(1) Battalion and regimental headquarters will normally require 2 or 3 LVTC-7 vehicles. The number of headquarters requiring AAV mobility, the number of AAV's available and the mission of each headquarters will be the deciding factors in determining how many LVTC-7's/LVTP-7's will be made available to each headquarters.


(2) The individual Infantry company headquarters will normally not use LVTC-7's. Tank company commanders will command from a tank which has the most adequate communication equipment for that purpose. Infantry company commanders will command from a LVTP-7.


f. AAV and Infantry Command and Control Relationship. Assault Amphibian units may be employed to support units by establishing command relationships of operational control, attachment or direct support which are defined in FMFM 9-2 Amphibious Vehicles and JCS Pubs 1.


(1) Assault amphibian units are most commonly employed by attachment, or in direct support of infantry units (and bring their organic combat service support with them). Together, the assault amphibian vehicle units and infantry units form the basis of the MTF. This organization requires close coordination and cooperation based upon intense training to form a finely tuned combat unit in minimal time.


(2) When the AAV's are attached, the infantry unit is responsible for their logistic support. When in direct support of the infantry, the AAV's must receive logistic support from the parent unit.


(3) AAV unit commanders have control of the AAV's and embarked personnel during the ship-to-shore movement. This is a unique relationship necessary for the effective conduct of the amphibious assault. Upon initiation of subsequent operations ashore in the MTF's, the AAV's provide mobility to the infantry in its conduct of combat operations, and therefore their tactical employment is controlled by mounted unit commanders. This control is exercised through the normal chain of command, from company/team commander through






46 - 1095

LCTP-7 - 187

LVTC-7 -15

LVTR-7 - 6



T/O 4654N T/O 4652M

18 - 219 7 - 219

LVTP-7 - 15 LVTP-7 - 43

LVTC-7 - 3 LVTC-7 - 3

LVTR-7 - 2 LVTR-7 - 1



9-33 2-14



LVTP-7 - 3


2-26 1-23 LVTR-7 - 1




1-38 L-59 LVTP-7 - 10

LVTR-7-2 LVTP-7 - 15

LVTC - 3



2-25                        2-2N






2nd AA Bn 4AA Co

3rd AA Bn 4AA Co

4th AA Bn 2AA Co

1st T.V. Bn. 2AA Co, 2Tk Co



Figure 3




the subordinate infantry platoon commanders to the lowest level, the squad/tractor team leader. Infantry commanders must utilize the expertise of AAV unit leaders in planning the employment and executing movements of the AAV's.


(4) The current configuration of the communications system in the LVTP-7 does not provide adequate communications capability at the troop commanders station for the infantry company/team commander to exercise command and control from that position. Until requisite modification to the vehicle is effected, the infantry company/team commander should command his unit from the vehicle turret. The FO will occupy the troop commander station. The

infantry platoon commanders, who normally operate on only one radio frequency, will occupy the troop commanders positions, as will the squad leaders.


(5) The AAV unit commander acts as technical advisor to the company/team commander concerning the employment and logistical support of his vehicles.


(8) Command relationships remain unchanged when infantry units are temporarily dismounted from AAV's to conduct assaults or establish defenses. Actions of the units are closely coordinated to ensure accomplishment of the assigned mission. AAV leaders and crewmen remain with their vehicles during such situations to provide fire support to the infantry or local security for the vehicles, according to the plan of the infantry commander.


(7) Infantry commanders must provide adequate time during the course of operations to perform maintenance on their vehicles and equipment. Refueling and rearming should be accomplished daily, preferably at night. Operator maintenance is performed by AAV crews at halts, assisted and covered by mounted unit personnel. Higher echelon maintenance and repair

are requested as provided by the battalion S-4.

(8) The assault amphibian vehicle battalion commander will normally advise

the regimental MTF commander on the tactical and technical aspects of

employing the AAV battalion. Assault amphibian vehicle company commanders

will normally be employed in an advisory capacity for subordinate

battalion-commanders or separate battalion-sized MTF's. If the AAV

battalion commander is tasked with commanding the regiment combat trains,

he will reserve an LVTC-7 vehicle for his command post.




Task organization the MTF is the prerogative of the commander and is based on the factors of METT. The following examples illustrate how this might be accomplished by cross attachment of tanks and AAV mounted infantry. Cross-attachment is not attempted below platoon level, except under unusual, special operations such as MOUT, combat in forests or in a fortified zone (all unsuited in any case for a MTF).


a. Regimental-sized MTF. Figure 4 depicts an infantry regiment with tank battalion and a AAV battalion attached. As a MTF, infantry companies are mounted in AAV's and tank and infantry companies are cross-attached. Possible organizations are:

(1) One tank company is cross-attached with each infantry battalion resulting in four infantry-heavy battalion-sized MTF's as in figure 5.


(2) Another example using the same assets as in Figure 4 would be to form a MTF as shown in Figure 6. This regimental-size MTF includes one pure mounted infantry battalion, two infantry heavy battalion MTF's, and a balanced MTF of two tank companies and two mounted infantry companies.


(3) A third option could be as shown in figure 7, which would provide a tank heavy battalion-sized MTF, a mounted infantry heavy MTF and two pure mounted infantry battalions.


(4) In any event, commanders must understand the decreased cohesion attendant upon cross-attachment as a technique and must resist the urge to cross-attach as a matter of course. Units of the MTF will require some time together to develop their best effectiveness, therefore task

organizations should change as little as possible and only according to conditions of METT.


b. Battalion-size MTF. Once forces have been allocated to the battalion commander, he then in turns task organizes to meet his particular mission and situation. The same principles are followed at battalion level as at regimental. Companies/teams are formed by cross-attaching tank and mounted infantry platoons where desirable. Figure 8, 9, and 10 illustrate three methods of task organizing the same MTF, Combat support elements will come from the infantry battalion's weapons company and the combat engineer units if assigned. These combat support elements must be provided mobility equal to that of the remainder of the company/team.



Figure 4




Figure 5



Figure 6



Figure 7









Figure 8









Figure 10







a. Artillery. Artillery is the primary supporting arm of a MTF and provides most of the suppressive fire which allows the companies/teams and battalion task forces to maneuver. MTF's require highly responsive artillery support best provided by self-propelled artillery reinforcing the direct support artillery. Self-propelled artillery provides better cross-country mobility than towed artillery and is more suitable for MTF operations. Its support vehicles are wheeled, however. Self-propelled artillery also reduces time for emplacement and displacement to allow a more rapid response to frequently changing situations. When only towed artillery is available, detailed planning must be effected to ensure timely displacement so that continuous fire support is available. A artillery battalion in direct support of a regimental-sized MTF will probably require more firing batteries than normally used in support of an infantry regiment. MTF operations can require numerous battery displacements each day. Towed units displace using their own prime movers, helicopters or AAV's. A point to consider when displacing with AAV's is that the FDC, ammunition, etc., should also move in AAV's. Also in the cue of self-propelled artillery, AAV's are extremely useful in providing cross-country mobility for ammunition and the FDC. These vehicles may be available if only three infantry battalions are mounted in the regiment MTF.


(1) Artillery support to a leading company/team may be provided by dedicated batteries when the enemy situation is vague. This method of employment must be carefully considered. Even though the responsiveness of fire support to the leading company/team would be greatly increased, the dedication of the battery would reduce the firepower immediately available to the MTF as a whole. This concept is most appropriate in support of

the advance guard in a movement to contact.


(a) The dedicated battery's primary responsibility would be to provide immediate fire support to a forward company/team of the MTF. (See FM 6-20, Fire Support in Combined Arms Operations, pages B-8 and B-9).


(b) Targets that do not present an immediate threat to the designated company/team should be engaged by other supporting artillery units.


(2) Artillery in support of a MTF will be assigned a standard mission in support of the MTF. An artillery unit or groupment may be task organized to support a specific MTF operation.


b. Mortars. Company/teams should be supported by attached battalion mortars whenever possible. Mortars provide the immediate suppressive fires or illumination until artillery or close air support can be delivered on a target. Marking targets for close air support is also a capability of mortars. The range of 81mm mortars, the lengthy distances and rapid movement associated with MTF operations and the lack of lethality against armored fighting vehicles usually precludes their use as a platoon under battalion control.


c. Engineers. Engineer support must be provided to enhance the mobility of the MTF. This support will generally take the form of minefield breeching and obstacle clearing. The engineers should be well forward in the MTF so that they can rapidly move to the front to accomplish their task. A stationary MTF presents a lucrative target and is deprived of its primary advantage of mobility. Engineers will also be required to emplace mines and obstacles along the MTF flanks to disrupt enemy attacks.


d. Reconnaissance. Reconnaissance personnel attached to the MTF will normally come from the Reconnaissance Battalion, Marine Division. They must have appropriate transportation to allow them to accomplish their mission in front of the MTF. The Reconnaissance Battalion can provide one company motorized for mounted reconnaissance missions. The ACE can provide aerial reconnaissance in the form of observers and sensors. However, enemy air defense may constrain

the use of aircraft for forward reconnaissance. See Section 11 for additional information on reconnaissance.


e. Antiarmor. There are numerous weapon systems available, both internally and externally, to the MTF for employment in antiarmor roles. Organic to units within the MTF are Tanks, TOW, Dragon, LAW, mines and artillery. Aviation assets are key external antiarmor systems along with, to some degree, naval gunfire. The MTF must designate his antiarmor point of maint effort by allocating TOW, FASCAM and attack helicopter units to the most vital unit's control.


f. Air Support. Within the constraints imposed by enemy air defense, terrain and weather, the ACE can provide a significant contribution to the MTF.


(1) Close Air Support. Attack aircraft are the primary means of engaging targets beyond the range of artillery. They can be particularly effective in attacking moving targets such as enemy armored formations. At night, OV-10D and A-6 aircraft can locate and attack moving armor.


(2) AH-1 Cobras and AH-IT (TOW) Cobras should be placed in dedicated support of the MTF. These aircraft can be used in screening missions or as an antiarmor reserve. The ACE commander may be tasked or may desire to locate forward arming and refueling points (FARP) in the MTF combat trains to sustain his dedicated support helicopters.


(3) Helicopter Transport. Transport helicopters can play a key role in MTF operations. They may be employed to transport follow-on forces rather than trucks or AAV's or they can be used to shuttle forward the large quantities of fuel and ammunition required to keep the MTF moving. Helicopters could be used to insert blocking forces against which the MTF could smash the enemy. Although not organic to the MTF, transport helicopters should be an

integral part of MTF planning.


g. Air Defense. Immediate, short range air defense for the MTF will consist of the redeye/stinger teams and the considerable small arms and heavy machine guns that can be brought to bear on the enemy aircraft. The HAWK missile system will be employed when the MTF operates within the HAWK envelope. When the MTF moves outside the HAWK envelope, fighter aircraft will have to be assigned air superiority missions consistent with the offensive antiair warfare plans and the air defense requirements of the MAGTF. The MTF must provide a warning system to include designation of air sentries and sectors of observation to prevent surprise air attack. FMFM 5-SC, Employment of Forward Area Air Defense Battery, contains guidance on the control and employment of FAAD units and weapons. However, MTF maneuvers may force the decentralization of FAAD fire unit actions.


h. Naval Gunfire. Naval gunfire, may be effectively used until the MTF moves out of range. It is advantageous in that ships can provide continuous support while displacing to another position. Large volumes of fire can be brought to bear on an area target in a short period of time. FMFM 7-2, Naval Gunfire Support.




The MTF must be able to conduct a 24-hour day, continuous land battle. In order to support this concept, CSS must be integrated into the MTF in such a way that the force will be able to exploit opportunities that arise. It is not acceptable that logistics constraints prevent tactical success, particularly in view of the fact that the MTF is most likely to be employed at a point where decisive results are expected. The MTF commander must have a thorough understanding of CSS concepts and problems so that he can plan for and execute CSS operations needed to maintain the momentum of the force, just as he plans for and executes maneuver and fire support. MTF's generally carry 2-3 days of supplies. They also may plan replenishment and support from rear combat service support areas..Replenishment can be by fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and/or trucks.


a. The Mobile Combat Service Support Detachment (MCSSD) replenishes and provides support to the unit CSS trains. The MCSSD contains a slice of the assets from the CSSE. Refer to Section 14


b. Combat elements utilize their own organic CSS as well as the CSS organic support that comes with the cross-attached units. These combined to comprise the trains. Refer to Section 14 for details.




Units must train as they are going to fight. How units will train is dependent on many factors which vary from assigned missions to assets available. Some basic principles are cited below that should be considered general guidelines in establishing training programs.


a. Training should be conducted by units task organized in the manner anticipated for combat. Include all assets of the combat, combat support and combat service support elements in training exercises. Supporting arms must be included to familiarize everyone with the complexity and problems associated with their coordination. Battle drills must be prepared and practiced at all levels of the MTF, from tractor team and tank crew through battalion. Confusion is the rule rather than the exception in combat, and the more familiar personnel are with one another and their tasks, the more likely they are to pull together and defeat the enemy.


b. Enemy tactics should be studied and taught at all units and at all levels using force on force evolutions to ensure training is realistic. This will allow both forces to learn and train simultaneously. The aggressor will learn the enemy tactics while the opposing force will learn how to counter enemy tactics.


c. Training during darkness and periods of limited visibility is necessary because the threat forces include night operations in their doctrine. When night operations are well executed, the MTF can achieve tactical surprise.


d. Training should be continuous for extended periods of time to achieve the realism of 24 hour operations for several consecutive days. The requirement for rotation of personnel and equipment will soon become evident since people and equipment cannot function indefinitely without rest or maintenance. Proper exercise of the combat service support functions over extended distances and long periods of time is required to achieve full effectiveness of MTF operations.


e. Although limited by training areas and ranges in some locations, units should use live fire exercises whenever possible.


f. Training programs should include the full spectrum of offensive and defensive operations. Source documents (FM's and FMFM's) should be consulted to ensure completeness and depth. See Appendix A.


g. Training for operations and survival in an NBC environment is a necessity. The best trained force will become ineffective or will be eliminated if not prepared for the NBC environment.


h. Training should be conducted in a electronic warfare (EW) environment. Communications will be lost, intercepted, jammed and located. Use all assets available to create the most realistic combat environment. Alternate means of communications must be practiced to be effectively used when actually needed.


i. Cross-training of individuals and teams will greatly improve MTF effectiveness after units have suffered casualties. For example, training rifle platoons in the use of crew served weapons in weapons platoons of the rifle company will provide the depth in personnel needed to keep key weapons in continuous operation during combat.


j. Leaders train subordinates. It is often necessary to hold classes or tactical exercises without troops (TEWT) for the leaders to be properly trained before teaching the troops. TEWT exercises in wheeled vehicles can take advantage of off-base training to gain maneuvering room and distances appropriate to MTF operations.


k. Principal staff officers should be trained in proper radio procedures and in the techniques of effective radio communications since normally MTF operations will normally require principal staff officers to operate their own equipment.







The thrust of the preceding sections is that no standard organization exists for the MTF. Elements are task organized to accomplish the mission. Task organization provides for flexibility and simplicity of command and control of the MTF. Regimental and battalion headquarters should have mobility equal to that of their maneuver forces. Generally, this may require the streamlining of staff personnel to meet the limited space available in vehicles. Command and control procedures must provide for the positive control of the MTF's combat, combat service support and supporting arms. One method of assuring positive control is to keep these elements continually abreast of the operational situation to include the commander's future plans and intentions. MTF operations generally require a greater degree of decentralized control than exists in amphibious operations. Small unit leaders will assume greater responsibilities because of the extended ranges of MTF operations and the rapidity of events that require immediate decisions and actions.




Mission-type orders are used when mission-type tactics are employed by the MTF. Mission-type tactics reflect a way of conducting warfare whereby the commander clearly states the objective or the focus of the main effort without restricting the freedom of action for the subordinate anymore than is necessary. Limits, directions, control measures and restrictions are imposed when appropriate to facilitate control and coordination among friendly forces. The emphasis is on the senior to define to the junior what must be accomplished without restricting his freedom of action and telling him exactly how to do it. Mission-type orders require the commander to be perfectly clear as to what must be accomplished. Once the subordinate receives his mission he must use his initiative until the mission is accomplished; if his mission is jeopardized, he must communicate this to the commander.


a. Mission-type orders have no new or unique format and are expressed orally or in writing using the general format for operation orders and fragmentary (FRAG) orders set forth in FMFM 3-1, Command and Staff Action. Most MTF operations will use FRAG orders after the issuance of the original operations orders. The FRAG order should embody the characteristics of mission-type orders. Mission-type orders require the commander to determine intent - what they want to happen to the enemy. While detailed orders may be necessary at times, commanders must trust trained subordinates to make correct on-the-spot decisions within the mission framework. Such decentralization converts initiative into performance, allowing rapid reaction to capture fleeting opportunities. Mission orders need to cover only three important points.


(1) They should clearly state the commander's intent (mission).


(2) They should establish clear limits or controls when necessary for coordination.


(3) They should delineate the available resources and support from outside sources.



b. The subordinate commander must fully understand his commander's intent and the overall mission of the force. If the battle develops so that previously issued orders no longer fit the new circumstances, the subordinate must inform his commander and propose appropriate alternatives. If his, is not possible, he must act as he knows his commander would and make a report as soon as possible.


c. To insure that his concept is driving the operation to completion, the commander must supervise and stay abreast of changing situations. He must have an overall view of the battle based on minimal reports from subordinates, information from surveillance systems, and his own personal observations. He must compare enemy and friendly situations, assess progress, and if necessary, issue orders to change unit tasks. The process of staying abreast of the situation and reassessment of the original intent in light of changing situations is one of the commander's critical responsibilities.


d. Mission-type orders can be issued to units at any echelon of command capable of operating separately or semi-detached. A mission-type order may be issued to a platoon if it is assigned a mission to maneuver separately from its parent company.


e. Mission-type orders will contain the details necessary to ensure proper coordination with higher, adjacent and supporting units. Normally this can be accomplished on a map overlay using existing techniques and control measures.




Command posts (CP's) are configured to furnish the regimental or battalion commander with the personnel and equipment that he requires to command and control the operations of his maneuvering forces and supporting arms. Regimental and battalion CP's are very similar in composition and functioning. Regimental and battalion CP's should have mobility equal to that of their maneuver battalions/companies. The first step for commanders and planners in developing CP's for MTF operations is becoming familiar with the capabilities and means of employing the LVTC-7. Appendix C contains detail characteristics of all AAV's while Appendix D describes how the LVTC-7 should be employed.


a. A and B Command Groups. Marine Corps MTFs have tended to reflect amphibious doctrine in operational techniques. The use of duplex command groups, used in the amphibious landing to phase the command post ashore in the midst of the assault landing waves, has been applied in the experimental MCATF operations. In general, the notion has been one of alternating command between the "A" Command Group, led by the unit CO, and the "B" Command Group, led by the unit XO. The relieved command group presumably rests and plans future operations when out of "command". This practice has generalized the several hours of the amphibious assault command post technique into presumed days of mounted operations. Its errors are manyfold:


o Command responsibility circumscribed.


o Tactical direction and planning separated.


o Divisibility of staff sections assumed.


o Adequacy of communications equipment and vehicles assumed.


o Staff attention to vital rear echelon functions neglected.


Commanders will determine the preferred method and siting of exercising command and control over their mounted regiments and battalions. They may chose a duplex deployment into "A" and "B" command groups. This handbook, recognizing the likely conditions facing MTF's outside of garrison conveniences, recommends echelonment of command posts under the following scheme for regiments and battalions.


b. Main Command Post (mounted battalion or mounted regiment):




CO S-3 Liaison NCO with XO


S3 S-3A

Radio operators (4)

S2 S-3 NCO




Arty Ln O Comm Ops NCO

Messengers, Liaison

Comm O Officers as required Air Ln NCO


Comm Tech Arty Ln NCO


Veh Cdr Radio Operators

as required




c. Command Post Functioning


(1) The size of the LVTC-7 vehicle permits the combination of the Combat Operations Center (COC) with the Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC), thus affording unusual convenience to the commander and his staff. Although their functions remain distinct, the physical proximity of the COC and FSCC permits the greatest collaboration of the S-3 and FSC.


(2) The heart of the command post is the COC, where the S-3 and S-2 Officers monitor the MTF in battle. Here the situation map is maintained and the tactical situation is assessed. Planning, orders and monitoring of executions are accomplished. The S-3 officer leads the command post and is responsible for its training and functioning to the commander. The S-2 is responsible for external security, such as sentries, air watch and a warning system. The Communications Officer is responsible for the vehicle, crew and technical functioning of communications systems.


(3) In the event the commander departs the command post during combat operations, a command group follows him to assure continued communications with the command post. Usually these include: Liaison Officer (S-3 Staff), Communications Officer/OpsChief, Escort/vehicle crew.


(4) The FSCC is the vital link between the commander and fire support echelons of the landing force. In the FSCC, a fire support map is maintained and artillery and aviation support is monitored by the Artillery Liaison Officer (ArtyLnO) and the Air Liaison Officer (ALO), under the supervision of the FSC. The FSC executes the fire support portion of the commander's orders and responds to his personal directives, or in his absence those of the S-3 Officer.


(5) During long halts or operational lulls, the Command Post operates on 5-man watch sections to permit staff officers time to rest, plan and coordinate actions. Each section establishes port-starboard watches as follows:



COC: S-3 S-2

Radio Op. Radio op


FSCC: Comm Off FSC


Radio Op Radio Op


(6) In the event that the command post is destroyed or rendered I


ineffective during an operation, the Executive Officer forms a provisional


command post from personnel, vehicles and communications assets available


in the rear command post and field trains. Replacement vehicles and


equipment are requested immediately from higher headquarters as the


provisional command post assumes command and control of the MTF. Until the


provisional command post becomes effective, the senior unit commander


assumes command, using communications resources of his unit.




(7) The rear command post personnel will maintain the operations and


intelligence journals, monitor all nets assigned to the MTF and maintain


the NBC Control Center. In the event that provisional CP is activated to


replace the main CP, any available communications capable vehicles may be


pressed into service: Communications van, MRC-110/109 vehicles, tank


recovery vehicles/tanks, etc.




(8) The command posts exercise control over the MTF by:



- Assessing the tactical situation


- Determining the plan


- Communicating clear and precise orders, and


- Monitoring the execution of the orders.




Rapid reaction, skilled handling and the capability of solving problems are


the desired characteristics of command post operations.



The MTF staff compiles an accurate assessment of the tactical situation from:



- The reports and orders of higher HQ



- Reports and messages of subordinate companies



- Orientation by adjacent units, and



- POW interrogation.



Gaps in information are filled to the greatest practicable extent by:


- Increased battle reconnaissance and observation


- Liaison with civil authorities and adjacent units, and


- Interrogation of local Inhabitants.



However, a commander must formulate timely plans, often without obtaining all


possible information.


(9) The commander and his staff brief subordinate commanders as often as


the situation demands, but at least once in a 24 hour period. At the


commanders brief, the current situation map is displayed and the commander


states his assessment of the situation and his mission. He then describes


his planned execution of the mission, including the concept of operation.


The S-2 briefs the enemy situation followed by the S-3 with subordinate unit


missions, coordinating instructions and command/signal notes. The FSC briefs


the supporting arms plan, availability and specific requirements of fire


support coordination. The S-4 or his designated representative then briefs


administrative and logistic matters. The commander then concludes with f


final details, observations and matters requiring command emphasis. The


preferred style of orders is mission-oriented, although factors of tactical


situation or training may dictate detailed orders.



(10) Subsequent orders for an operation are issued in the form of warning


orders and frag orders, using brevity code to maximum extent, usually given











MTF operations present challenges and their own unique requirements in addition


to normal communications considerations. FMFM 10-1, Communications established


nominal communication support requirements. However, in the case of MTF


operations radios have increased importance due to the long distances and


frequent movements of friendly units. Communication by wire and messenger


should be used when practical, these means have limited use when moving. Radio


communications have limitations such as mechanical reliability, terrain masking,


distance limitations, user knowledge and training, and vulnerability to enemy


electronic warfare. These limitations must be accepted, planned for and overcome


since radios are key to MTF operations.



a.        Distance Factors. The extended distances associated with MTF operations


become an important factor when communication planning for MTF operations is


initiated. Distance capabilities of radios must be considered when the main body


of the MTF can easily be spread over 10km, with reconnaissance and screening


forces 10-20km from the main body. The GCE or MAGTF headquarters may be up to


100km from the MTF. Distances and terrain will often require relaying messages


through other units or on alternate nets. Retransmission by ground or airborne


means are often the only solutions to maintaining vital radio communications


over extended distances. The first major step in communications planning must be


the paring of the number of required radio nets to the barest minimum,


eliminating duplication of function and redundancy of stations required to





b.        Training. Training personnel in the capabilities and limitations of radio


communications and are fundamental to facing the reality of radio in support of


MTF operations. Commanders and communications planners must regularly


anticipate and determine when radio relay is required.



c. Maintenance. Scheduled maintenance of radio equipment must continue


during combat operations. Failures will occur, but with a proper maintenance


program, reliability can be maintained at much higher levels.



d.    Visual Communications. Hand-and-arm signals, flags and pyrotechnics augment


communication within the MTF. All units must be capable of executing missions


when radio use has been denied by enemy action or own maneuvers. Appendix E


provides some examples of signals.



e.    Motorcycle Couriers. Motorcycles can be used effectively to carry


messenger., guides, and scouts. Couriers also can be of value in providing a


means of maintaining contact between spread out units. Motorcycle couriers are


not as fast as some other methods of communication, but they can be more


reliable and secure. They must be monitored since they generally travel over


unfamiliar terrain, have little to no protection from enemy fire and can become


easily fatigued. Whenever the courier departs one location for another, the


sending unit should notify the receiving unit by radio that a courier is on the


way. The receiving unit then acknowledges the message when the courier has





f.    Communications Security. Communications security is the protection


resulting from all measures designed to deny to unauthorized persons information


of value which might be derived from the possession and study of communications


or to mislead unauthorized persons in their interpretations of the results of


such a study. Communications security is a command responsibility as well as the


individual responsibility of all users of communications. In addition to


responsibility for planning, supervising, and coordinating communications


security matters, the communications-electronics officers provides assistance in


supervising communications security within the command. Section 9 of FMFM 10-1,


Communications covers communications security more thoroughly.








Electronic warfare is an essential element of combat power. Its contribution lies in exploiting enemy weakness, protecting freedom of action, and reducing security and communication vulnerabilities. A modern military force depends on electronics for command and control of forces and employment of weapon systems. Because of this dependence on electronic devices, Marine forces, as well as enemy forces, are vulnerable to actions which can reduce the effectiveness of these devices or gain intelligence from them. An electronic warfare system that enables the commander to degrade the effectiveness of enemy electronic activities is a powerful weapons that can be used to support both offensive and defensive operations. Hence, EW could be the critical factor in deciding victory or defeat. Electronic warfare is an element of combat power having three facets-electronic counter countermeasures (ECCM), electronic warfare support measures (ESM), and electronic countermeasures (ECM). OH 3-4, Electronic Warfare Operations Handbook, should be consulted for details on electronic bare and the threat.






A plan of attack consists of the scheme of maneuver and the plan of supporting fires. How well those fires of organic combined arms and supporting arms are planned and coordinated will often mean the difference between success or failure in MTF operations. MTF operations have a few unique requirements for planning and coordinating fires. Frequent displacements of artillery units is common, and the MTF can easily move outside the range of its naval gunfire. Open terrain will favor enemy air defense weapons and hamper friendly close air support and vertical assault. Regardless of whether the fires come from units within the MTF or from units in support of the MTF, radio communications are critical for requests and coordination. Given the available assets and the potential distance factors associated with MTF's operations, the plan of attack must include both a scheme of maneuver and an effective plan of supporting fires. This will require planning to maintain adequate communications between maneuver forces, organic combined arms, the MTF FSCC, and control agencies of higher headquarters.



a. The Direct Air Support Center (DASC) coordinates close air support, vertical airlift and reconnaissance missions which require coordination with fire support means. The DASC should be located in close proximity of the ground combat element FSCC for ease of coordination. However, the requirement for uninterrupted communications and continuous operation of the DASC are essential overriding factors. Previous attempts to place a DASC in LVTC-7's to attain mobility equal to that of the MTF FSCC have been unsuccessful due to insufficient communication equipment in the LVTC-7, frequent movement and terrain masking. Therefore, if the MTF is the ground combat element, the DASC should anticipate moving in trace between the MTF and other elements of the MAGTF. In this case plans must be made to provide ground or airborne radio relays between the DASC and MTF FSCC. The airborne DASC capability can be used for limited periods when weather conditions are suitable and the enemy air defense threat is minimal.


b. The artillery FO, NGF spotter and FAC can travel with the infantry company commander in his command vehicle, a LVTP-7. Some of these observers may also travel in LVTP-7's adjacent to the command vehicle. Occasionally for adequate observation it may be necessary to open one or both cargo hatches on the LVTP-7 and forfeit the armor protection normally provided. FAC's, must rely on their organic radio with the antennae extending out of the cargo hatch. FO's operate the troop commander radio. 81mm mortars are carried in the company commander's vehicle and are unloaded to fire direct lay when needed by him.



c. In tank companies, the command vehicles are tanks. The FO or FAC can ride as loaders in the command post tanks. Which observer rides with the company commander depends on the situation and the commander's need to coordinate fires. The firepower of a buttoned-up tank may be restricted when a FO or FAC rides as a loader. NGF spotters may required LVTP transportation because of their radio equipment.







Control measures are essential to the effective control of the MTF. Control measures and their associated symbols are key to fire support coordination, controlling movement, reporting status and brevity in issuing orders. In addition to the control measures and their related symbols that are normally found in military operations, the visual identification of units embarked in various vehicles becomes an important aspect of control in MTF operations.




a. Control Measures and Symbols. Control measures are directives given graphically or orally by a commander in order to assign responsibilities, coordinate fires and maneuver, and to control combat operations. Only the minimum number of control measures necessary to insure that the operation progresses according the commander's intent should be used. These control measures rarely approach the complexity of those associated with amphibious operations. Objectives, line of departure, boundaries and/or axes of advance usually suffice. Phase lines drawn along recognizable terrain features may be necessary for maneuvers of several hours duration. Multiple Coordinated Fire Lines (CFL's) usually are not required except for operations extending beyond a day.



b. Vehicle Identification. Vehicle identification is required to control movement on the main supply route and tactical maneuvers of assaulting units. Each element of the MTF may have attachments from a common organization, an example being AAV's which may be attached to infantry, tank, artillery and combat service support elements. In order for supported commanders to control their forces, it is necessary that all their vehicles be readily identifiable. Vehicles may be marked with tape, colored panels or in any manner that can be changed as task organizations change. Appendix E provides an example of identifying vehicles by means of display boards.









a. Battle. The MTF in combat switches rapidly from mass and dispersion. By dispersing, enemy recce and weapons effects are reduced, especially nuclear and chemical weapons effects. However, offensive and defensive potential suffers, bringing the necessity for rapid and decisive massing of forces at the precise moment called for in the commander's plan. The surprise of the enemy in unexpected situations is the surest method of success. Radio security, camouflage and cover, reconnaissance, terrain analysis and use of night or foul weather are the prerequisites of surprise, which is then exploited by speed of one's own maneuver. The surprise is denied to the enemy by reconnaissance and security measures.


In battle the commander needs to establish a point of main effort regardless of the type of combat operation being conducted. Maneuver units and/or fire mass at the precise location and time to effect a decisive, surprising blow against the enemy situation. The selection of the point of main effort determines the specific form of maneuver (penetration, envelopment, frontal).


The ultimate decision in battle will be effected by the employment of a reserve by battalion and larger MTF's. It consists of combat units and may include combat support. It is employed in its entirety to exploit success, form a point of main effect, or relieve crisp. The reserve must be constantly prepared for employment. Upon employment of the reserve, the commander must form a new reserve from own or reinforcing units.


b. Reconnaissance. Rapid decisions are obtained, objectives are attained and battalions effectively employed only when timely information of the enemy and the terrain are obtained. The MTF conducts reconnaissance without special orders at all times in the presence of the enemy through:


Continuous observation of the battlefield


Armored scouts (e.g. tanks or AAV's)


Unarmored scouts (light vehicles or jeeps)


Foot patrols


Fire, or combat action.


Leaders at all levels are responsible for battle reconnaissance. The battalion commander prescribes recce operations of the companies and coordinates their efforts and those of adjacent units.


In the event armored reconnaissance is formed or attached to the MTF, it win be exploited in "recon pun" tactics. The speed, armor, firepower and communications of armored recce vehicles allow such units to bypass or overrun weak, unarmored enemy forces and to break contact with superior, armored enemy forces. The armored recce section consists generally of 2-3 tanks or armored cars, reinforced if possible by infantry. An NBC monitoring capability is desirable for each recce section. In operations, the recce sections form a "point" up to 10km in advance (15km in the pursuit) of the leading companies of the MTF and seek their recce objectives and enemy locations. Radio contact is maintained with the MTF to report gaps in enemy defenses, locations of fords, defiles and bypasses.


c. Security measures protect the MTF from enemy surprise and furnish time for effective countermeasures to be employed in combat. Security is usually provided by the employment of:


Alert personnel stationed on vehicles and crew served weapons.


Observation posts/listening posts (incl sensors).






In addition the following measures will increase the general security of units:


Noise discipline (personnel and engines).


Light discipline.


Cover and concealment.


Air and NBC defense readiness (incl. NBC sensors)


Electronic security.




Effective organization for combat.


Security measures apply equally on the march as in combat positions. Civilian

populations will be closely scrutinized as potential saboteurs, commandos or partisans.


d. Marches are undertaken by units not in contact to reposition for future

employment or combat operations. They differ from the movement to contact in

three ways:


Purpose (relocation, not contact).


Prescribed speed, interval.


The mission is rapidity in movement of organized units.


Planning will begin with a Warning Order, estimate of situation, detailing of quartering parties and recommended courses of action. A detailed movement plan will be devised upon the commander's decision and the March Orders issued. The MTF Advance Party will consist of an OIC, security detachment, support personnel (comm, medical) and subordinate unit representatives. The principal task of the advance party is the rapid assembly of arriving units in off-road positions. For typical task organization, control measures, security measures and tables, see Appendix H.


e. Offensive Operations.


(1) The objective of offensive operations is to defeat the enemy, gain ground and to gain decision in battle. Offensive actions may also:


Repell the enemy.


Locate the enemy.


Encircle the enemy.

Link-up with own forces.


(2) The commander selects a point of main effort, wherever the enemy shows weaknesses or the terrain offers possibilities of bringing the thrust of units and the force of weapons to bear in such a way that the attack can rapidly penetrate to the enemy's rear. If opportunities appear at a point other than the expected one, this will be exploited without hesitation. By means of a swift shift of fire and concentration of forces at the point which promises success, a new point of main effort will be formed.


(3) Every attack requires preparations. The time allowed for preparations,

troop-leading steps, etc will be as short as possible, allowing absolutely necessary actions to be taken by subordinate commanders. If the situation is such that the enemy can be surprised or forestalled, an attack will be launched without preparations or delay. This can only be ensured through training. Surprise and readiness will compensate for lack of concentrated power but coordination must be achieved during battle to provide reinforcement of success and logistic support. If the enemy has superior strength or readiness, the attack must be prepared thoroughly, achieving maximum combat power at the outset.


(3)    Control measures will be minimized to meet the commanders objectives and still afford subordinates maximum opportunity and flexibility. Usually a single objective is assigned for each operation with additional intermediate objectives assigned only when absolutely necessary. A line of departure and boundaries are mandatory control measures. Phase Lines and Target Reference Points (TRP's) will be used to maintain adequate control over movement. The line of departure and phase lines are automatically reported on crossing by units. TRP's are reported only when so ordered or when assigned as an intermediate objective. Generally, dual axes of advance are ordered, with subordinate units free to operate in and out of these axis, as long as such deviations do not endanger or conflict with adjacent friendly units. The battalion MTF attack frontage may extend 4-5km, but company formations should not exceed 750m in width. When terrain is open, a battalion MTF may attack in a single formation approximately 1500m wide: double line, wedge, inverted wedge being preferred (company formations do not exceed 750m width):




Figure 15a. MTF Formations




a. Frontal Attack. A frontal attack strikes the enemy across a broad front and over the most direct approaches. For deliberate attacks, the frontal attack is unquestionably the least preferable because it exposes the MTF to the concentrated fire of the defender over the most obvious approach. In many instances, the penetration or envelopment is initiated by means of the MTF first undertaking the frontal attack. Figure 15b depicts MTF units in a frontal attack.


(1) The frontal attack is the quickest approach to the enemy, and is useful in overwhelming light defenses, covering forces or disorganized units. It will often be the best form of maneuver for a hasty attack in a meeting engagement or for exploiting the effects of nuclear or chemical strikes immediately after they occur.


(2) The frontal attack is also used in exploitation and pursuit and during the envelopment by the committed subordinate formations.




Fig 15b

Frontal Attack


b. Penetration. In the penetration, a powerful main attack passes through the enemy defensive positions on a narrow front while one or more simultaneous supporting attacks exert pressure on a broad front to deceive the enemy and hold him in place. The purpose of the penetration is to penetrate the defensive line in order to pour combat power into the enemies' rear; severing his LOC's, disrupting his command and control, destroying the cohesion of his force and, if necessary, physically destroying his force by fire into his rear. MTF's are well suited for employment in exploiting this form of maneuver. Figure 15c depicts MTF units involved in a penetration.




Figure 15c



(1) The penetration usually progresses in three stages: rupturing the forward enemy defensive positions, widening the gap to permit the employment of follow-on forces, and seizing objectives to destroy the continuity of the enemy defense.


(2) The main attack is characterized by a preponderance of combat power organized in depth. This consists of a leading force (penetrating force) and one or more follow-on forces which give depth to the main attack. The leading force ruptures the enemy defensive positions on a narrow front in a powerful and violent attack. It then widens the gap to permit the employment of follow-on forces, or it maintains the momentum of the main attack by driving on to overrun or seize assigned objectives.


(3) Follow-on forces in the main attack may be used to widen the gap after the leading force has ruptured the enemy defensive positions, or they may pass through the leading force and maintain the momentum of the attack by overrunning or seizing assigned objectives in the enemy rear. Follow-on forces may also be employed to attack enemy forces isolated by the momentum of leading forces.


(4) One or more supporting attacks are launched simultaneously with the main attack. These attacks are launched on a wide front to deceive the enemy as to the location of the main attack and to fix him in place. By fixing the enemy in place, he is prevented from disengaging and reacting to the main attack.


(5) The reserve may be used to widen the gap if necessary, but it would most

likely be used to reinforce success such as being used for exploitation.


(6) Strong fire support is an important element in the preponderance of combat power used in the main attack. It contributes to the power and violence of the main attack and is effective in reducing friendly casualties. Preparation fires cover the movement of the main and supporting attacks and then concentrate to demoralize and weaken the enemy at the point where the main attack ruptures the enemy defensive positions. When the rupture is effected, fire support shifts to support the attacks to widen the gap and the attacks on assigned objectives. Fire support is also used to limit the enemy's ability to react, neutralize his reserve, and engage targets of opportunity.


(7) Objectives are selected in the enemy rear to break up the continuity of his forces and to make his forward defensive positions untenable. Objectives are selected at least to the depth of the enemy reserve and include his fire support means, command and control installations, and reserve, as well as key terrain.


(8) To facilitate the momentum of the main attack, lateral movement should not be unduly restricted by boundaries or obstacles. Intermediate objectives are normally assigned to the main attack only if they are essential to the

accomplishment of the mission. Close liaison must be maintained with forces in contact to facilitate one force passing through another.


(9) Consideration is given to the penetration as a form of maneuver when the

enemy is overextended or weak and when his flanks are unassailable. The terrain may be unfavorable to other forms of maneuver or the terrain may favor a penetration because of an abundance of avenues of approach. The availability of superior fire support may favor a penetration, or a penetration may be used when time does not permit another form of maneuver. The penetration is considered when overwhelming combat power is not available since it enables friendly forces to mass resources and develop the preponderance of combat power at the point of penetration.


c. Envelopment. The envelopment is the preferred from of maneuver in MTF

operations since the speed and mobility of the MTF can be optimized and attacking directly into the main strength of the enemy's defenses can be avoided. Figure 15d depicts MTF units involved in an envelopment.



Fig- 15d



The envelopment avoids the enemy's strength - his front where the effects of his fire and obstacles are greatest. The main attack maneuvers around the enemy's main defenses to secure objectives on the enemy flank or rear. The envelopment itself should be far enough to the enemy's flank or rear that if detected, it will still force the enemy into other than his preferred positions. This procedure causes him, at a minimum, to reorient his attention in a new direction, reassess the situation, and make new decisions, an of which require time. The envelopment usually enables the attacking force to suffer minimum damage while gaining maximum opportunities to destroy the enemy.




MTF's are offensive in nature, and as such, they are particularly well suited to conduct or participate in an types of offensive operations as outlined in the FMFM 6 series. The types of offensive operations are:


o movement to contact


o hasty attack


o deliberate attack


o exploitation


o pursuit


o other special purpose operations


a. Movement to Contact is conducted to gain or restore contact with the enemy. It includes generally any movement toward the enemy by the battalion short of actual contact. It is desirable to gain contact with the smallest possible element, leaving the commander freedom of maneuver. A hasty attack upon contact will permit fixing/bypass, flanking or penetraton/overrurning of the enemy as ordered by the commander. These actions must be determined rapidly during a meeting engagement, a common result of a movement to contact. Despite the characteristic limited knowledge of the enemy, minimal time to observe, analyze and execute and rapidly changing situations, bold offensive actions alone will retain the initiative, even if coordination suffers accordingly, all units must be prepared to attack from the march into the flanks of enemy formations, seeking to destroy command units supporting arms and rapidly eliminating combat elements, even if these outnumber friendly forces by a substantial margin.


(1) During the movement to contact, forces are organized into an advance

guard, flank and rear guard, and a main body.


(a) An advance guard may be used to assist the covering force (MAF-sized operations) and to prevent premature deployment of the main body. It develops the situation along designated routes or axes of advance.


The advance guard is usually a tank heavy or balanced force moving in front of the MTF. It operates within range of the artillery moving with the main body.


(b) Flank and rear guards are used to protect the main body from ground observation, surprise, and direct fire. Infantry-heavy forces may be preferred for rear guard operations.


(c) The remainder of the MTF moves in the main body. The main body

nor many moves on parallel axes.


(2) Movement to contact is characterized by decentralized control and usually an initial reinforcing of leading forces (advance guard) when contact is established. The principle is to make initial contact with the enemy minimum with the force.


(3) Depending on the terrain, the battalion-sized MTF will generally move with two companies in the main body, utilizing parallel axes. Formations are employed within the companies for security and control


b. Hasty Attack. This type of attack is characterized by trading preparation time for surprise. In order to maintain momentum or retain the initiative, minimum time is devoted to preparation, and the forces used for the attack are those which are readily available. A hasty attack seeks to the advantage of the enemy's lack of readiness, and involves boldness, surprise and speed in order to achieve success before the enemy has has time to establish or improve his defense posture.


(1) Hasty attacks evolve from meeting engagements or successful defenses. In either case, the commander deploys and attacks quickly to seize the initiative and to keep the enemy from organizing resistance.


(2) The commander must be prepared to make immediate use of every available asset on the shortest possible notice. Speed of attack will offset a lack of thorough preparation, but from the onset of the engagement, commanders must commit all available resources to the attack.


c. Deliberate Attacks. A deliberate attack becomes necessary when the enemy has established a main defensive zone and is prepared to resist with all forces at his disposal. He can be defeated only if his main defenses are overcome and his rear command, fire support and logistics are destroyed or threatened. Penetration, envelopment or turning attacks will accomplish this objective. The principal characteristics of this form of attack are:


Detailed study of enemy situation.


Thorough examination of terrain.


Precise choice of tactics, task organization.


Detailed fire support coordination.


The power of a coordinated attack is in the planning which enables all units to apply the maximum practicable combat power upon the enemy. When this power is positioned at the point of main effort against an enemy weakness - flank, rear, isolated position - energetic fire and maneuver will defeat the enemy defenses and permit seizure of assigned objectives.


Upon seizure of objectives, the MTF commander must consolidate company positions, reconstitute or reposition the reserve, continue combat reconnaissance to maintain contact with the enemy, link-up with adjacent units, establish security and conduct logistic operations. Ensuing action will depend upon the enemy and higher authority but the commander must be prepared to execute the most likely courses - exploitation, movement to contact, defense (under NBC Warfare conditions, dispersal is a fourth possibility.


d. Exploitation. Exploitation is the bold continuation of the attack to maximize success in face of perceived weakness of the enemy, such as the overrunning of his CP's, artillery, and/or logistics (these are always reported to higher HQ). Exploitation is a rapid advance into the depth of the enemy which prevents him from reconstituting a defense. The battalion attacks rapidly, in deep formations with reconnaissance covering the flanks. The commander makes rapid decisions, based upon his mission, whether to overrun or bypass enemy units. Built-up areas, forest belts and areas with thick vegetation are generally avoided. Above all, momentum of the attack must be preserved.


Under NBC Threat, this rapidity of movement may be the only means of preservation, since the enemy win most likely resort to such weapons when his defensive system collapses. Enemy counterattacks will be met with massed supporting arms and usually no more than a single company, while the bulk of the MTF skirts the opposition and continues the mission. Defended positions are usually bypassed but if such is not possible, the battalion must attack through, using supporting arms to neutralize anti-tank weapons. If the supporting arms are outdistanced and the attack halted, the battalion must deploy and consolidate.


e. Pursuit. The pursuit is executed in order to destroy an enemy incapable of organizing a defense by bringing him to battle as rapidly as possible. It is ordered by higher authority, usually upon receipt of reports by subordinate units of successful penetration, enemy disorganization and lack of resistance. In the pursuit, the MTF fights to the limits of men and material. Darkness, fatigue and lack of resupply are not reasons for breaking off the pursuit. Speed and forward echelonment without regard to danger to flank and rear are characteristic of the pursuit.


f. Other Special Purpose Operations. In addition to the five major types of offensive operations discussed above, commanders must also be prepared to conduct certain special purpose operations. They are:


o Reconnaissance in force.

o Raids.

o Relief.


1) Reconnaissance in Force. This type of operation is characterized as a general intelligence gathering evolution. The purpose is to test the enemy, detect a weakness in his position, make him react or to develop the situation. A strong force is generally employed to deceive the enemy into believing the operation is a deliberate attack. The operation is planned and executed like a movement to contact except for the lack of detailed knowledge of the enemy. The mission most often requires a terrain objective which, if threatened or occupied, will cause the enemy to react. Sufficient reserves are maintained to exploit success of any discovered enemy weaknesses or to extricate the force should that become necessary.


(a) The speed, mobility and combined arms character of an MTF makes

this organization particularly well suited for utilization in

reconnaissance force operations.


(b) The battalion-sized MTF is normally the smallest unit that would

conduct a reconnaissance in force against a sophisticated enemy

possessing modern weapons and mechanized equipment.


(c) The force conducting the operation must be:


1 Strong enough to make the enemy react.


2 Flexible enough not to become decisively engaged.


3 Strong enough to exploit, if the opportunity for

exploitation presents itself.


(d) The types of attack, forms of maneuver, formations and techniques of

movement outlined in this and other sections are generally applicable

and will be utilized in reconnaissance in force operations.


(2) Raid. A raid is an attack into enemy held territory designed to deliver a rapid, violent attack against a selected enemy unit to inflict maximum losses, disrupt control, and destroy equipment. It may be employed to achieve the objectives of reconnaissance in force, if circumstances are favorable. This type of operation is ordered by the force commander when a vulnerable target-objective is presented and enemy weapons or weather prohibit the employment of air assault raid forces.


The raid force consists primarily of tank units with infantry, engineers, etc., attached only for specific tasks. It conducts a rapid mounted assault through enemy territory, with no attempt to seize an objective, rather returning in a single thrusting movement. The assault force uses a formation of minimum time-length, to minimize detection and counter-measures. There is no evacuation of equipment, only crews are recovered. The only deviation from the raid route permitted is to attack enemy forces observed to be moving, hence threatening the operation. Special fire support actions are planned to cover the withdrawal of the force.


(3) Relief operations by the MTF will usually be ordered only in extremis by higher HQ, because of the need to hold its power in reserve. However, it remains conceivable that a unit might require relief by the MTF pending the arrival of reinforcements to the force commander. On the other hand, the MTF will often be relieved in place for employment elsewhere or change of mission.


Generally a relief is conducted by three methods: static, by attack or by delay. Higher HQ will specify method, time of beginning and end, time of shift of responsibility for sector, and coordination of security, support and logistics.


The relief is a dangerous operation, presenting weakness to a prepared enemy. It is carried out in darkness or foul weather with the protection of supporting arms and higher HQ reserves. Careful cooperation by commanders, coordination measures and special communications and liaison arrangements are required. The following measures will be ordered by the commanders:


Arrival and briefing of advance elements: operations, logistic and fire support staff, company XO's.


Order of turnover of battle positions, facilities and barriers.


Time and method of turnover of security and patrolling.


Exchange of consumable supplies and designated equipment.


Routes, control and schedule of arrival and departure march units.


Camouflage and deception measures and discipline.


Exchange of communications COI's, takeover of telephone circuits.


If both relieved and relieving forces are similiarly equipped and organized, then the relived unit operation order is subsumed by the relieving unit and changed only after relief is completed.


It should be noted that dissimular units effecting relief cannot conduct a true one-for-one relief below the company level for lack of common weapons, etc. Battalion CP's will co-locate as early as possible, with the relieving commander assuming responsibility for the defense once all companies have reported relief. If the situation dictates, a rear element may be left by the relieved unit to assist in defensive operations or exchange of material.


If the relief is to be conducted as an attack, circumstances dictate that the

commanders arrange:


Exchange of liaison personnel, operation orders and COI's.


Battlefield reconnaissance.


Security for the approach march.

Allocation of routes, assembly areas.


Clearing of friendly and/or enemy barriers.


Repair or reinforcement of bridges.


Support of relief force by relieved unit, by fire.


Logistic preparations, especially medical services.


The commander of the relief-attack force is responsible for overall operations, unless otherwise ordered. The relieved force operates in support from its original positions.


If the relief is ordered as a delay, the relieved unit conducts a passage of lines with the relieving unit.




An enemy force may be bypassed by a combat element if the enemy force is so small or so lacking in mobility as to pose little or no threat to the MTF operations. The commander of the subordinate unit bypassing the enemy must receive permission to do so from the MTF commander. An independent battalion-sized MTF, or a regimental-sized MTF must receive permission from the GCE or the commander if guidelines for bypassing the enemy have not already been established. Any bypassed enemy must be reported so that following forces will not be surprised.


a. Maneuvering forces may bypass some enemy forces and merely report them to the next higher headquarters without further action. Most enemy forces which are bypassed will have to be contained until they can be destroyed by following forces or until they surrender. Since the attacking force has the initiative, the force assigned the task of containing the bypassed enemy may be smaller than the force contained. The containing force carries out its mission by using direct and indirect fires, which occupy the enemy force so that it cannot maneuver against, or fire effectively on the bypassing forces.


b. Depending on the nature of the bypassed enemy force the containing force may be mechanized or transported by trucks, helicopters or be foot mobile. The commanders guidance should be issued in general terms before operations commence to allow subordinate commanders the most freedom of action when encountering small or immobile enemy forces. FM 71-2, The Tank and Mechanized Infantry Battalion Task Force, Chapter 4, contains an example of how to conduct a bypass of the enemy.




A meeting engagement occurs when the combat units of the MTF come upon the enemy

suddenly. Little or no information is known about the enemy initially. The enemy may be moving or stationary.


a. The unit which meets the enemy takes action on contact. Reacting immediately, the unit making first contact returns fire, deploys, reports and develops the situation. Suppressive fire from other organic or supporting arms should assist the against the enemy. The cognizant company seeks to maintain forward motion of the battalion force and provides an immediate and accurate report to battalion headquarters.


b. The goal, once contact is made, is to gain the upper hand by overcoming the enemy before he can effectively react. To do so, a battalion commander must keep his forces in a posture which facilitate maneuver quickly to assist the company/platoon in contact, he must receive quick and accurate reports on the enemy, and he must issue instructions immediately.


c. Based on the reports made by the company commander and his own observations, the battalion commander has at least four options:


(1) Order the company to eliminate the enemy and continue forward with the



(2) Order the company to fix the force and bypass the enemy with the rest of

the battalion.


(3) Conduct a hasty attack as rapidly as possible.


(4) Establish a hasty defense if the enemy cannot be overcome or bypassed,

while the regimental commander responds to the situation.


c. If the enemy is moving when a meeting engagement occurs, speed of decision and execution is critical. Threat doctrine for two converging forces is to immediately conduct a hasty attack from the line of march and attempt envelopment. The battalion commander must quickly estimate the force ratios and either go to a hasty defense or begin a hasty attack to outflank and destroy the enemy.


d. Meeting engagements can occur with any size unit. The echelons of command used in this discussion were merely selected for ease of explanation.




MTF assault units use two general techniques of attack based on the principle that the infantry remains mounted as long as possible. The two techniques of attack are tanks and infantry attack together and tanks and AAV's support by fire only. (See FMFM 9-1, Tank Employment/Antim echanized Operations).


a. Tanks and Infantry Attack Together. This is the preferred type of attack. Assault companies move from the line of departure to the objective as a fighting unit. The intent is for the infantry to remain mounted in the AAV's at least until the forward defensive positions of the enemy have been breached. If the enemy is weak or over extended, the infantry may remain mounted, overrunning the position and attacking into the enemy's rear areas. Tanks of the company will generally lead the formation by 100 - 300 meters. Speed is essential and maintained to the highest degree possible. Smoke is extensively employed to mask the defender's observation. The critical decision of whether to close with the enemy mounted or dismounted should be based on the following considerations:


(1) Mounted.


(a) Infantry normally moves mounted through enemy final protective fires, and onto and through enemy positions when these conditions are met:


1Enemy antitank fires have been suppressed by friendly fires or smoke.


2Rapid mounted movement onto and through the enemy position

is possible.


(b) If required to clear remaining enemy elements, the unit commander

normally designates a dismount area beyond the enemy positions so

they can be cleared from the rear. The exact dismount area selected

by the company/platoon commander depends on the terrain and the

configuration of the enemy's defenses. Each squad leader must locate

his AAV to take best advantage of terrain masking, fields of fire,

and the ability to provide vehicle support of the dismounted infantry

as they mop up the position from rear to front.


(c) Mounted infantry may move onto and through enemy positions under

friendly overhead artillery and mortar fires. This technique

provides excellent suppression of enemy fires when most needed; or if

resistance is light and terrain permitting, infantry may lift and

shift indirect fires and move onto and through enemy positions using

the AAV's machine gun and fire from personnel in the cargo hatch to

suppress the enemy.


(2) Dismounted. When the above conditions for closing with the enemy while mounted do not exist, the company/platoon dismounts as close as possible to the enemy in the best covered and concealed position available which will facilitate dismounted maneuver. It never voluntarily dismounts in the open under direct enemy observation and fire. The company/platoon must be able to dismount and assault rapidly. Rapid deployment is accomplished through a combination of clear orders and battle drills.


a. Tanks and AAV's Support by Fire Only. If during the assault unexpected antitank fire is received in such volume that it cannot be suppressed by all immediately available fire support resources, and continuation in the mounted mode would result in unacceptable casualties, the infantry is dismounted in defilade locations (if possible) and infantry assault on foot. Tanks and AAV's support by fire. This is the least preferred type of attack.


(1) Tanks and AAV's support the infantry assault by direct suppressive fire. The tanks and AAV's should constantly reposition themselves to preclude presenting stationary targets for an extended period of time. The vehicles rejoin the infantry on the objective as soon as possible after the final assault is initiated.


(2)    In this type of attack, dismounted infantry will require a greater density of suppressive fire support to compensate for their lack of armor protection and decreased mobility.








The primary purpose of defensive operations is to kill and destroy enough men and vehicles to convince the enemy that his attack is too costly and that he must halt. The reasons the landing force undertake a defensive operations include:


a. To gain time pending the development of more favorable conditions for

undertaking the offense.


b. To deny entrance of the enemy into an area.


c. To economize forces in one area in order to concentrate superior forces for decisive offensive action elsewhere.


d. To reduce enemy capability with minimum losses to friendly forces.


e. To trap and destroy hostile forces.


f. To permit the employment of nuclear weapons.


g. To ensure the integrity of an objective.


The MTF is best employed in the defensive as an offensive counter strike force

positioned in reserve within the battle area of the landing force. It is conceivable, however, that the conditions forcing the force commander to initiate defensive operations might also dictate the positioning of the MTF on the force FEBA with the mission of defending a portion of that FEBA. In such cases, the MTF is task organized according to dictates of METT and assigned a frontage and as much depth as the terrain and commanders estimate will permit, for the ability to fight within the depth of a battle area is essential to successful defense by a tank-heavy or balanced task force, in particular.




In the defense, the defender takes every opportunity to seize the initiative and to destroy the enemy. The defender seizes the initiative by:


a. Selecting the battle area.


b. Forcing the enemy to react in conformity with the defensive plan.


c. Exploiting enemy weaknesses and errors by offensive operations


e. Counterattacking.




Contemporary defensive doctrine emphasizes three types of defensive schemes: Area, Mobile and Active. Area defenses emphasize forward placement of weapons, attrition tactics and moderate to light reserves. The mobile defense emphasizes relatively weak forces on the FEBA, planned enemy penetration into killing zones and large powerful reserves to isolate and destroy enemy penetrations. The so-called active defense seeks to present strength on the FEBA and powerful counterattacks by positioning virtually all combat power on or near the FEBA, counterattacking enemy penetrations with disengaged units from the FEBA. All these forms present advantages and weaknesses to USMC forces and the commander's choice of defensive scheme will depend upon analysis of METT.




a. The Marine Corps' defensive echelons include the covering force area and battle area (defensive area in JCS Pub 1). A general description of the defensive echelons for a MAF with a division sized GCE is as follows:


(1) Covering Force Area. The MAF covering force area begins at the forward

edge of the battle area (FEBA) and extends as far to the front and the

flanks as security elements are employed. Forces in the covering force

area furnish information of the enemy; delay, deceive, and disrupt him as

much as possible; and provide a counterreconnaissance screen. The security

forces also may have the mission of locating and developing nuclear

targets. Forces operating in the area may include elements from higher

echelons, such as covering forces and units to provide aerial surveillance

and flank security. Forces in the covering force area will consist of the

general outpost (GOP), combat outposts (COP), flank security forces,

aerial surveillance elements, and patrols.


(2) Battle Area. The forward defense area extends rearward from the FEBA to the rear boundaries of the subordinate elements that occupy positions within the forward defense area. The size of the battle area is dependent upon the type of units located on the FEBA and to the depth to which they are deployed. Forces engage the enemy in decisive combat in order to retain specific terrain, destroying or disrupting the enemy forces.




a. Generally, the MTF's employ an area defense in which a reserve force will be positioned as in the mobile defense, but the bulk of combat power will be echeloned forward to destroy the enemy forward of the FEBA or, alternately, within the defensive area.


b. The companies fight from changing battle positions within battalion battle areas. An enemy assault force will be met with massed fire support coordinated with the fire and maneuver of various company-sized combat units as it approaches the FEBA and attempts to pass through the battle area. The battle positions and company missions are planned by the battalion commander so as to permit:


- Surprise Fire


- Flanking Engagements


- Mutual Supporting Positions


- Minimal Changes for Night or Poor Visibility


Open flanks and terrain within the battle area which cannot be dominated will be covered by barriers or security elements.


c. The company battle positions will not exceed 2000m in breadth and 1000m in depth. In special cases, such as in extremely broken terrain, the battalion commander may specify platoon positions of up to 1000m in breadth and depth.


d. Above all, it must be remembered that the defense is a battle against armored fighting vehicles. Therefore, as in the offensive, the commander designates a point of main effort, where the main enemy armored threat is expected to develop. This point of main effort is formed through:


- Numbers of battle positions.


- Use and reinforcement of obstacles.


- Massing of fire support.


- Use of air and artillery-delivered special munitions (e.g., FASCAM) to

develop barriers.


- Local attacks and employment of the reserve.


e. The battalion commander engages the enemy with as many companies as possible, employing the reserve as necessary. The reserve should be employed:


- To reinforce a position likely to endanger the enemy.


- To counterattack and destroy an enemy force within the battle area.


- To block a breakthrough, preferably in concert with the reserve element of higher headquarters.


f. The regiment authorizes the establishment of battalion combat outposts (COP), especially when it is impossible to conduct a delay before the FEBA. The COP may be established up to 10 Km from the FEBA, in strength of up to a company. A single commander is tasked as COP and given time to prepare a designated position which will screen the approaches to the FEBA, give early warning of enemy approach and give indication of the enemy main effort. The COP unit will include air and artillery observers. Its task organization will reflect METT and may include any of the arms noted in Section I.


- Its mission may include:


- Erection of barriers


- Observation


- Contact with adjacent forces


- Active reconnaissance


- Destruction of weak enemy forces


- Delay of superior enemy forces


- Withdrawal on order


- Occupation of FEBA or reserve position.


g. If a COP is not established, the battalions normally erect a security line up to 3Km in front of the FEBA, occupied by reconnaissance and forward observer positions up to a platoon in size.


h. The MTF, if assigned a defensive area, occupies it by echelons in the following order: security, reserve, battle positions. The commanders survey their positions by day for occupation at night or under poor visibility. The commander's order details his appreciation of the situation, mission and concept of operation, to include his point of main effort. His order will establish the following, as much as possible in graphic form:


- Security and reconnaissance


- Task organization and boundaries


- Company battle positions


- Supporting arms coordination, including illumination


- Location and mission of reserve


- Planned counterattacks


- Key terrain features


- Location of fire line, within which enemy is engaged at will (assigned by companies if omitted).


i. Special attention is given to antitank guided missiles (DRAGON and TOW) on the defense. Generally, they are assigned to companies, which employ them in their positions with the following conditions:


- Cover, concealed firing positions prepared


- Favorable fields of fire assigned


- Launch missiles prior to opening tank fire


- Withdraw first to successive positions during combat in depth of position


- Tanks and/or infantry provide close-in defense of ATGM positions.


j. Infantry are employed to deny key terrain and counter enemy infantry attacks.




a. First warning of the enemy's approach will come via higher headquarters alert. The MTF commander will direct his available reconnaissance units to obtain and hold contact with the enemy force. The COP or security line forces engage the enemy with supporting arms, destroy his advance recce and, in face of the main attack, delay to the battle area, assuming assigned positions.


b. As the enemy forces near the battalion FEBA, the companies remain concealed in assigned positions. The battalion commander decides how the threat will be engaged, designates the point of main effort and orders the companies to occupy those battle positions necessary to form the point of main effort. The companies open fire independently, usually when the enemy crosses the "fire-line" defined earlier by the company or (seldom) battalion commander. The objective of the fire-fight is to halt the enemy attack and destroy as many vehicles as possible, producing the greatest possible confusion. The halting of the enemy attack can best be exploited by counterattack of the reserve into the rear or flank of the enemy formation.


c. The commander fights enemy assault from the occupied battle positions or by shifting companies among positions to obtain favorable positions and mass against an enemy force. Fire by artillery and air support is employed to breakup enemy mass and isolate portions of the battlefield. Typical uses include:


- Disruption of largest formations in the approach


- Attack of armored units by improved conventional munitions


- Covering of open flanks, gaps and barriers


- Neutralization of enemy observation positions


- Blocking of breakthrough forces


- Support of counterattack forces


- Battlefield illumination.


In conditions of darkness or poor visibility, conditions are altered somewhat because of the limited field of fire and observation infantry, in particular attain importance since they can approach and destroy tanks in position with hand-held AT weapons.





Figure 16a. The Defensive Battle



d. The repelling of the enemy attack is reported to higher headquarters and the security line is reestablished. However, if the enemy advance continues in spite of fire and maneuver and the employment of the reserve, the battle continues within the defensive area. Timing is the key of battle within the defensive area. If companies are maneuvered too late, penetration and loss of freedom of maneuver may result. Too early a shift may cause terrain to be given up too easily and the mission sacrificed. Companies are the-fore maneuvered by the battalions so as to avoid their decisive engagement, using the reserve as necessary to reduce pressure upon engaged companies. During combat within the battle area, the battalions vacate positions in front of the enemy and occupy those dominating his flanks. By continuous fire and maneuver, the enemy will be faced with destructive fires and movements away from his attack orientation.


e. A successfully combat within the defensive battle area will bring the opportunity for a counterattack, hopefully by the higher headquarters reserve. The available companies of the tank battalion operate on the flanks of this counterattack, supporting by fire.


f. Upon conclusion of the defensive battle, the commanders order:


- Reconnaissance to gain contact with the enemy


- Reoccupation of forward positions


- Reestablishment of security and contact with adjacent units


- Evacuation of wounded and POW's, crew, and personnel redistribution


- Repair/replenish/evacuate weapons and equipment.




a. Encirclement by enemy assault forces must be considered a possibility in modern warfare at all times. Battalion and larger units are capable of defending and breaking encirclement. The key factor is to take advantage of enemy confusion and move before he realizes his situation and masses overwhelming force against the battalion.


b. A unit is encircled when superior enemy forces have bypassed it and lay between it and larger friendly forces. The encircled force then adopts a circular defense scheme encompassing as much terrain as possible, so as to afford the greatest freedom of action. A successful breakout will depend upon three factors: Deception as to own real strength and intentions, Mass in fire and maneuver units at the point of breakout, and Security of flanks and rear during the actual breakout.


c. Breakout organization consists of three major elements:


- Rupture forces move to concealed attack positions and lead breakout


- Reserve force may hold line initially at breakout point, then follows and prepares to lead or bypass


- Rear guard elements hold rest of perimeter simulating bulk of force, prepare to execute delay in trace of breakout.


Combat trains elements caught in the pocket follow the reserve in breakout after being reduced to essential components.


d. The decision to execute the breakout comes from higher headquarters, where the possibilities of relief attack vs. breakout are analyzed. Once the breakout, time and objective are ordered, the commander of the encircled force determines how it will conduct the breakout. The proper choice of point of main effort, rapidity and violence of execution and overwelming massing of fire will usually produce success in this form of combat.




A retrograde operation is any movement of a command to the rear or away from the enemy. It is an operation which may be forced by enemy action or made voluntarily; in either case, such an operation must be approved by higher headquarters.


a. Types. Retrograde operations are classified as:


(1) A retirement - A retrograde operation in which a force out of contact moves away from the enemy and is administrative in nature. It is not discussed further in this publication.


(2) A withdrawal - When all or part of a force disengages from enemy force in accordance with the will of the commander.


(3) A delay - When a force trades space for time while inflicting maximum

punishment on the enemy without becoming decisively engaged.


b. Purposes. Retrograde operations are conducted for one or more of the following purposes:


(1) To disengage from combat.


(2) To avoid combat under unfavorable conditions.


(3) To draw the enemy into an unfavorable situation.


(4) To gain time without fighting a decisive engagement.


(5) To reposition the force, or elements of it, for use elsewhere.


(6) To harass, exhaust, and inflict punishment on the enemy.


(7) To reposition forces prior to a friendly nuclear attack.


(8) To shorten lines of communications.


c. Withdrawals. A withdrawal seeks to break contact with the enemy. The conditions under which the withdrawal takes place are often adverse. The enemy will usually have the initiative and the force win be vulnerable to attack while moving. The withdrawal may have to be initiated in darkness, or under conditions of limited visibility. This will be particularly true if the enemy is able to gain air superiority.


(1) A withdrawal should be conducted so that enemy interference with the

operation by offensive action is kept to a minimum; achieving this ideal will place great emphasis on surprise and speed. However, as it must always be assumed that the enemy may react, provision must be made for the security of the withdrawing force. Protective elements must be organized and tasked in accordance with the enemy's capability and own forces available.


(2) Due to the inherent difficulties of this type of operation the commander must have the flexibility to switch to any other type of operation as the situation demands (e.g., delay, defense or offense).


(3) Organization for the Withdrawal


(a) A withdrawing force should normally be organized into:


1 Forces left in contact which cover the withdrawal.


2 A main body protecting itself with advance, rear and flank



(b) Forces not required for immediate operations, including combat service support elements, should be moved out early to keep routes clear for the withdrawal.


(4) Execution of the Withdrawal



(a) The disengagement of the main body should be executed either

stealth or after a successful engagement. It is best conducted by

night or in foul weather. In face of enemy pressure, a counter

stroke by the reserve in concert with withdrawal through successive

positions may be necessary.


(b) Forces left in contact are the key to successful withdrawal, although a strong reserve is retained in the withdrawing force. The forces left in contact by the battalion will be a company-sized formation of tanks and mechanized infantry, under a single commander. These forces:


- cover the withdrawal


- conduct deception to simulate the entire unit


- defeat reconnaissance and skirmishes probes


- permit the battalion to separate from the battle area.


These forces may be weak where enemy forces are not prepared to resume the attack, friendly supporting arms are strong and darkness, weather or terrain are favorable. Stronger units are required if enemy attack preparations are apparent, terrain is not dominant or enemy avenues of approach are favorable.


The withdrawal follows the sequence (as appropriate):


- probing attacks


- delay by successive positions to open gap


- withdrawal of main force under cover of forces left in contact


- passage of friendly lines into secure area by main force and forces left in contact (now rear guard).


Upon successful breaking of contact, the battalion assumes march order with the former forces left in contact acting u either rear guard or conducting a delay operation (if pressure continues).


(5) Special Considerations


(a) Communications. Good communications are vital, and the policy for radio and electronic silence must be clearly stated. Communications links, methods of operation and density of communication traffic should remain unchanged for a long as possible to avoid disclosing the intention to disengage from the enemy. The creation of radio traffic by protective element which remains in contact will add to the overall deception of the enemy. Elements which have disengaged from the enemy will normally be ordered to keep radio silence.


(b) Artillery Support. Artillery must be organized and employed so that it can cover the entire operation. Nuclear delivery means and long-range artillery will be withdrawn early and placed far enough back so that they can cover the withdrawal. Artillery units remaining with the protective elements will attempt to maintain the previous fire support cover for as long as possible.


(c) Engineers. Engineers will be very heavily committed during the withdrawal. Both the protective element and the main body will require extensive engineer support. Some of the engineer tasks include:


1 Preparing demolitions and barriers as well as providing or maintaining routes for the withdrawal.


2 Supporting the protective element with countermobility tasks.


3 Assisting the move of the main body by dealing with unforeseen obstacles during the withdrawal.


d. The Delay. Delays trade space for time and inflicts maximum punishment on the enemy. Such operations are normally conducted with delay on successive positions or delay on alternate positions, and are ideal type actions for covering force units.


(1) Delay actions are conducted to force the enemy to take the time to

concentrate, again and again, against successive battle positions, to

overcome each in turn. Just when the enemy has everything organized, when

his artillery is starting to fire and his ground units are starting to

maneuver, the delaying force moves to its next set of battle positions.

The enemy must then go through the same time-consuming process once again.

A delaying force must do several things at once:


(a) Destroy as much of the enemy as possible,


(b) Cause the enemy to plan and conduct successive attacks; this gains time,


(c) Preserve freedom to maneuver; once immobilized by enemy fire and

maneuver, the delaying force can be bypassed, penetrated, or

destroyed; and


(d) Preserve the force. Failure to do this leads to failure in the other three.


(2)The delay comprises a series of defensive battles fought from successive positions to the battalion rear, prepared with fuel and ammunition if time and the situation permits. These positions are usually occupied under pressure of an enemy force which continues to penetrate the former series of battle positions despite the defensive and counteroffensive maneuvers of the battalion. The battalion commander will order the method of delay: either a successive displacement through intermediate positions or a simple stage withdrawal to the next formal delay line. In either case, companies may move in sequence or together as ordered by the commander.





Figure 11b. Conduct of Delays by MTF Companies


Generally, open-undulating terrain favors successive displacement, while covered terrain permits movement of companies in sequence. The strength of the delay lies in the exploitation of terrain. Its principal weakness is the numerical superiority of the enemy and lack of knowledge of his point of main effort. Hence the battalion commander must maintain the freedom of action as to how and where the enemy will be engaged.


(3) Conduct of the delay begins with the assignment of the mission the delay zone (8/10Km for a 3/4 company battalion), initial and successive delay lines, barriers and key positions are specified. Preparations are the same as the defense cited above, except that infantry must remain mounted and fire all weapons from their vehicles. Separation of infantry from their vehicles is strictly forbidden. At night or in foul weather, the infantry and tank units will be fully cross-attached.


(4) The battalion MTF delays the enemy primarily by massing fires and

shrouding his main effort with a strong defense formed by:


- Rapid shifts of battle positions by companies


- Concentrated fire of direct and indirect weapons using extensive mixtures of ammunition


- Fire and maneuver by individual platoons


- Surprise flank engagements by companies (or reserve)


- Surprise uncovering of barriers, obstacles.



Figure 16c. MTF Combat in the Delay


(5) The initial halting of the enemy attack may bring a renewed advance on a wider front, hence the battalion generally resumes its former deployment across the delay frontage at the earliest opportunity. When the intensity of enemy fire becomes superior to own firing and penetrations threaten, the commander will order a withdrawal before losses weaken the defense system of the battalion.


(6) If the MTF is unable to operate against the enemy flanks, it will have to fight on line using successive displacement or single withdrawals in which the company commanders are given considerable freedom of action to maneuver in the sense of the battalion commander's concept as given in his order, and avoiding decisive engagement. In this situation, commanders will simply report leaving each battle position by radio or alternate visual signal, to keep the commander informed of the progress of the delay. If the enemy attacks on the whole frontage, single withdrawal or in successive delay will be ordered for all companies simultaneously.


When elements of the battalion are isolated or encircled by enemy action and cannot fight themselves free, the MTF will attack with all available power in a relief or diversionary attack to retrieve the crisis. In such an emergency, the release of higher headquarters reserve may be requested.




a. Passage of Lines refers to the movement of a force through another force

established in a defensive or initial delay position.


The holding unit has the mission of overwatching and supporting the moving unit, defending against the enemy, controlling crossings, fords and bottlenecks, assisting movement and finally the conduct of battle against the enemy force either alone or with the support of the passing forces. The higher headquarters in command of moving and holding units in the passage of lines will direct in his order:


- location of passage points and arrival/clearing times


- the trace of the holding FEBA


- responsibility for the conduct of the operation


- allocated roads and routes for the withdrawing force


- timing of the withdrawal (or attack)


- responsibility for opening and closing of barriers.


The commander of the holding force establishes a liaison group with the moving

force and orders:


- battle positions and organization for combat


- link-up forces forward of FEBA (scouts or recon troops)


- recognition signals (visual) for units and passage points


- location of fire line


- communications with moving units


- opening and closing of barriers (if responsible)


- appropriate logistic measures.


It is essential that two unit commanders establish a clear and concise plan

permitting for concurrent actions and mutual support for the full period of

the passage of lines, including joint action against enemy forces known to be

threatening. Proper planning and liaison will reduce the operation to a

simple link-up by withdrawing forces with battalion scouts forward of the FEBA

and an escorted movement through the battalion defensive area, under cover of

companies in battle positions. The approaching enemy is engaged on order or

when he reaches the fire line. The same principles are involved if the moving

force is passing through into an attack, in which case the holding unit is

relieved upon completion of the passage of lines.










Movement constitutes the very essence of mounted operations. In order to survive and accomplish its mission, the MTF must move on the battlefield. Once the enemy is seen or contacted then it becomes necessary to move forces into position to accomplish whatever the MTF may be tasked to accomplish. The ability to move, which is a requirement for all combat operations within all combined arms formations, is even more essential to MTF operations.




a. General. In battle, all movement is governed by two basic principles: Terrain and tactical order.


b. Use of Terrain. MTF units must make maximum use of the natural cover and concealment in order to survive and accomplish their missions. Cover is protection from enemy fire; concealment is protection from enemy observation. Cover should be used whenever possible. If there is no cover, the concealment offered by trees, shadows, brush, and structures should be used. Camouflage should also be incorporated in the use of terrain.


(1) Conspicuous Landmarks. Conspicuous landmarks should be avoided because they attract enemy attention. Enemy artillery and antitank weapons will probably have been registered on them.


(2) Movement from Cover, Concealment, or Defile. Lead vehicles of a unit

emerging from a ravine, woods, or other defile should be overwatched by other vehicles, halted in concealed and/or covered positions and ready to provide suppressive fire.


(3) Dusty Terrain. Dusty terrain betrays the movement of the MTF units.

Dust can be minimized by slow movement and dispersion.


(4) Vehicle Positions. Positions behind cover are known as either hull

down or turret down positions or hide positions, depending on how much of the vehicle is protected from enemy fire.


c. Tactical Order. The commander of a mounted unit regulates the movement of his unit at any level by ordering its direction, interval, formation and technique of movement.


(1) Direction can be oriented to a physical feature, enemy or friendly unit, fire or pyrotechnic device, or a map azimuth.


(2) Interval determines the separation of units or vehicles to obtain the desired mass or dispersion.


(3) Formations are ordered to permit the commander to control his unit and place it into the most effective action on enemy contact. The formation is the primary means of protecting units on the move from overwhelming enemy fire.


(4) Techniques of movement are used generally by individual vehicles during firefights to continue movement and gain advantageous firing positions against the enemy.




a. General. Formations of mounted units are the same as for footmobile units. Unites must drill repeatedly to obtain proficiency and effectiveness in execution. Five basic formations exist for mounted units.


b. Column. The column places subordinate units (or vehicles in the platoon) one behind the other. Used for ease of control in confined terrain, it affords great depth but takes the greatest time for changes information.


c. Line. The line places all units side by side either perpendicular to the direction of advance or inclined in echelon. The line is an assault formation affording little change once a firefight begins, used mostly by platoons and companies.


d. Double Line. The double line, used by company to regiment size units possessing four subordinate elements, gives both depth and breadth to a unit and permits rapid changes in formation and direction. Road nets or open terrain must permit such an arrangement.


e. Wedge. The wedge is both a movement and battle formation, one unit forward, the others on line to the rear. This formation allows the commanders to advance when the enemy situation is unclear. He can rapidly focus a main effort upon contact.


f. Vee. The inverted wedge places units on line with one unit centered to the rear. It plans most firepower forward and is used when the enemy situation is known and open terrain must be covered quickly.


g. Variations. Units change formations as terrain and the enemy situation vary. Subordinate units choose formations corresponding to their own situation and the commander's intent. For instance, platoons in a company vee might deploy in line, wedge and vee under platoon leader orders.



Figure 17a. Formations.




When contact is made, fire and maneuver begin, facilitated by correct dispositions of the moving force. These movement techniques are applicable in all operations.


a.        Traveling. In this technique, the elements of a unit move together as a unit. It is the fastest but least secure movement technique, and is used when speed is important and there is no enemy contact. Movement is continuous, and interval and dispersion are maintained between vehicles as terrain and administrative restrictions permit. (See figure 17b).





Figure 17b.


b. Traveling Overwatch. In this technique, the unit again move together, but with separated lead and trail elements to improve security. Traveling overwatch is used when contact is possible, but speed is desirable. The lead element moves continually along the most covered and concealed routes for protection from possible enemy observation and direct fire. The trail element moves at variable speeds, continuously overwatching. The trail element must maintain visual contact with the lead element, staying close enough to provide suppressive fire and to maneuver for support, yet are far enough to the rear that enemy direct fire engagement of the lead element does not prevent its delivery of suppressive fires or interfere with its maneuverability. (See figure 17c).




Figure 17c


c. Bounding Overwatch. The unit moves by bounds in this technique, with a trailing element always in a position to overwatch the advance of the leading element. It is the slowest, but most secure movement technique, providing the capability for immediate, direct suppresive fire on an enemy force that engages the bounding element with direct fire. This technique is used upon enemy contact. In bounding overwatch, the lead element of the unit advances to a point (first move) where it can support the advance of the rear element. On signal, the rear element moves rapidly forward to a position abreast of the leading element (second move) and halts to overwatch the next advance of the lead element (third move). Maximum use is made of folds of the earth and concealment to mask movement from likely enemy positions. (See figure 17d).




Figure 17d



(a) Variation. A variation of this technique may be used. The lead element moves to the next vantage point (first move), overwatched by the trail element. After the lead element has taken a position, the trail element advances past the lead element to a new vantage point (second move). The initial lead element then advances past the initial trail element to a new position (third move). Movement is continued until contact is made.




Movement techniques at night, or during periods of poor visibility, are the same for those used during periods of good visibility, however, it will require certain adjustments since it is harder to navigate and maintain control. Movement under conditions of poor visibility is facilitated by detailed coordination, careful selection of routes, and the use of night vision equipment and battlefield illumination. When illuminating the battlefield, the locations of friendly units must not be illuminated or silhouetted. Maximum use should be made of passive devices, and the use of active devices must be controlled to maintain surprise and hide friendly locations. Movement should be keyed to easily recognizable terrain features, such as roads, fences, tree and pole lines, edges of woods, and streams. Blackout markers should be lit on vehicles.


a. Darkness can be a tremendous asset to conceal the movement of forces in preparation for either a night attack or a day attack. Attacks can be conducted mounted or dismounted depending on the situation. A night dismounted attack could be the only way to break certain obstacles or attack certain positions. The FMFM 6 series best describes how to conduct a dismounted night attack, FM 71-1, The Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team, and FM 71-2, The Tank and Mechanized Infantry Battalion Task Force both provide useful information on how to attack during limited visibility.


b. Enemy tactics also call for the use of night attacks. The MTF must make plans accordingly while in a defensive status.




a. General. Drills do not fit all situations but they provide a basis on which to work. Once they have been mastered, others can be evolved and perfected to give automatic speedy reaction in crisis. Drills are not a substitute for initiative. Speed of reaction must be followed by speed of movement. Not every defile, gap or crest will contain an enemy. However, these natural obstacles provide him with certain advantages which allow the use of his weapons to best advantage. They can provide defense, force concentration, or cause exposure. They are the logical locations to expect to encounter the enemy and it is natural to take precautions to avoid casualties. While no two natural obstacles are exactly alike, if, for example, the leader knows one way of negotiating a blind corner which provides the necessary security precautions, they he can apply the drill to any blind corner, adjusting it as necessary to fit the ground.


b. Blind Corner Drill


(1) Tanks only. See figure 17e.


(a) Lead tank reports "Held-up Blind Corner Right".


(b) Platoon commander attempts to find a bypass route. If none, he orders drill and has the company commander acknowledge.


(c) Lead inside tank moves up to edge of corner without exposing himself. Crew commander conducts recon of ground past corner from his vehicle or on foot if necessary. Support is provided by the lead outside tank. Both lead tanks may use recon by fire.


(d) If ground appears clear both lead tanks round corner at the same time. Inside tank goes just far enough to fire around corner and cover move of outside tank to the first available fire position.


(e) Rear tanks close up to positions vacated by lead two.


(f) If contact occurs, a plan must be made.


(g) If no contact, resume advance in the regular order of march.




Figure 17e. Corner (Tanks). Figure 17f. Corner (Tanks-infantry).



b. Tanks Supported by Infantry. See figure 17f.


(1) The drill is basically the same as without infantry.


(2) If necessary, the platoon commander will designate a section to go forward, dismount and recon around the corner.


(3) The platoon commander should move forward to view the action.


(4) If contact is made, the platoon commander and company commander must make a plan.


(5) If no contact is made and the dismounted section indicates the corner is clear of enemy, the drill continues as in paragraph 1. The dismounted section is picked up by its AAV after the troop has rounded the corner.


(6) The platoon commander may dismount more than a section. He must balance the degree of security obtained against the number of obstacles he is likely to encounter along the route. If the whole platoon dismounts at each obstacle, the drill will be slower and the platoon may be tired before contact is made.


c. Defile Drill. Defiles are ground features which force vehicles to pass through on a very narrow frontage - often only one vehicle at a time. Examples of defiles are bridges, minefield gaps and lanes through woods. When a defile cannot be by-passed, drills are carried out.


(1) Tanks Only. See figure 17g. The drill is as follows:


(a) The platoon leader reports "Held-up defile" to the squadron commander.


(b) The platoon moves into a position to observe and cover the defile.


(c) The platoon leader or a crew commander must recon the defile either on foot or in his tank supported by the remainder of the platoon.


(d) If the passage is clear of obstacles and mines, one tank will be ordered across at best tank speed.


(e) Depending on existing conditions, the platoon leader may order one or two tanks across when the lead vehicle is firm.


(f) The platoon leader must consider the possibility of extricating the platoon and must, therefore, ensure that he has "one leg on the ground".


(g) Smoke may be used.


(h) It may be necessary to combine defile and blind corner drills.



Figure 17g. Defile (Tanks).


2) Tanks Supported by Infantry. The drill is:


(a) As in sub paragraph a above. the platoon leader brings his platoon into position to cover the defile and report: the drill to the company commander.


(b) The infantry commander moves up to view the defile. He orders one or more squads to recce the defile.


(c) The squad moves forward on foot and recess the defile, looking for mines as well as enemy.


(d) When the squad signals the defile is clear, the platoon leader sends one or two tanks through supported by the others.


(e) When they are in position the platoon leader moves the rest of the troop through followed by the infantry in its LVT's.


d. Gap Drill. The tank platoon will often have to pass gaps formed by ground features and woods, or in villages. Whenever possible, gaps should be avoided by selecting alternate routes. In the event that alternate routes are not available, the gap drill may be executed. However, the gap drill is only carried out as a result of the platoon leader's appreciation and his decision that it is necessary.


(1) Tanks Only. See figure 17h. The drill is:


(a) The platoon leader reports "Held-up Gap Left (or Right)" to the company commander.


(b) The platoon leader moves the troop into a position of observation overlooking the gap and the ground beyond.


(c) A tank must be ordered to a position of observation looking down the gap. This position may be either a fold-in the ground or the near corner of the gap. If observation from the tank is too limited a dismounted reconnaissance may be ordered.


(d) When the reconnaissance has been completed, recon by fire should be employed and a smoke screen may be placed in the gap. Subsequently two tanks cross to the next fire position past the gap at the best speed.


(e) When they are in position the rear tanks cross the gap in line with the guns pointed in the direction of the gap.





Figure 17h. Gap (Tanks).


(2) Tank Supported by Infantry. This drill is basically the same as in paragraph 2 except:


(a) When the platoon is in position overlooking the gap and next bound the infantry commander comes up and observes.


(b) He orders a squad to recon the gap. They will get as near as possible mounted and then will dismount. They must continue to consider the main threat which is to the front.


(c) The rest of the infantry stay back under cover and protect the rear of the platoon.


(d) When the recon is completed' the platoon leader orders a tank forward to a position of observation looking down the gap. The troop moves across as described in paragraph 2.


(e) The infantry then cross either all together in line between the rear two tanks or in another formation after the rear tanks have crossed.


e. Crest Drill. If crossing a crest cannot be avoided the crest drill is used.


(1) Tanks Only. See figure 171.


(a) The leading tank on seeing a long unbroken crest reports "Held-up Crest". The lead two tanks approach the crest and then the others. From turret down positions they search the ground beyond the crest and do the crew commander's appreciation.


(b) If no enemy is spotted, the platoon reverses and jockeys away from the previous positions.


(c) Two tanks continue over the crest while the others remain in hull down positions to cover their move.


(d) Ideally, all tanks should break the crest at the same time. This way they confuse the enemy momentarily by providing a number of targets when the two tanks crossing the crest are most vulnerable.


(e) When the first two tanks are in position on the next bound the others jockey and cross the crest.





Figure 17i. Crest (Tanks).


(2) Tanks Supported by Infantry. The drill for the tanks is identical as paragraph 2. As the rear tanks cross the crest the infantry commander brings his four LVT's up to look over the crest. They then reverse and jockey all crossing together at best speed.


f. Summary. It will be noted that in all drills the sequence of action is identical, that is:


(1) Warning. The lead tank reports "Held-up", etc.". The platoon leader acknowledges and warning is passed back to the company commander.


(2) Security. Tanks get into fire positions. Uncommitted LVT's get under cover and protect the rear of the platoon. The infantry commander moves up to a position of observation, normally in close proximity to the platoon leader.


(3) Recon. A squad (or more if required) moves forward, dismounts, and recons the obstacle. In the case of a crest, the recon is carried out by the leaders themselves. In the other three drills, while the detailed dismounted recon is done by a squad (or more), the platoon leader and infantry commander, in fact, are doing a visual recon of the obstacle from their vehicles and decide on what variations to the standard drill may be necessary in that particular instance.


(4) Plan. If the obstacle is such that the basic "Held-up" drill will be sufficient, then the drill is implemented. Modifications which may be dictated by the nature of the obstacle or the ground are ordered. If contact is made, the drill stops, and a plan must be made to overcome the enemy. In all cases the nature of the obstacle, degree of risk and time available will influence the decision to carry out the drill, or continue to move.










Mounted operations require responsive engineer support to enhance the mobility of the force, to increase own force survivability, and to retard the mobility of the enemy. Combat engineers of the Combat Engineer Battalion, Marine Division, provide close combat engineer support through their employment in GS/DS or as attachments to combat forces. A battalion-size MTF will normally have at least a reinforced combat engineer platoon as a component of its task organization. Circumstances may require a larger engineer component and augmentation of the combat engineer capabilities with engineer equipment, bridging, bulk fuel, and personnel from the Engineer Support Battalion, Force Service Support Group. A larger MTF would include an appropriately larger engineer component. Due to shortages in engineer capability and it's essential contribution to the battle, engineers are rarely in reserve. Combat engineer efforts must be concentrated well forward.


a. Engineer Tasks. Engineer tasks fall into one of five categories.


(1) Mobility Enhancement. These tasks ensure that friendly mobility is maintained on the battlefield. This category includes obstacle breaching/reduction, countermine operations, gap and river crossing and construction of combat roads and trails.


(2) Countermobility. These tasks reduce, prevent or slow enemy movement and mobility. This category of engineer work includes obstacle construction, demolitions, and mine warfare.


(3) Survivability. Construction of protective shelters and fighting positions, deception and camouflage measures beyond unit capability. Survivability efforts reduce the effects of enemy direct and indirect fire weapon systems by protecting individuals, equipment or task force elements. Deception and camouflage make enemy targeting more difficult and mask friendly intentions.


(4) General Engineering. This category includes heavy construction of facilities, roads, and airfields, as well as water support, bulk fuel storage, mobile electric power, hygienic and rear area bridging support.


(5) Fighting as Infantry. Engineer units can be given missions to fight alongside infantry but should be tasked to do so only when their special functions are required. Normally the engineer contribution to the battle will be more valuable when employed in mobility enhancement, countermobility, survivability and general engineering tasks.


b. Engineer Intelligence. Intelligence is essential to plan engineer operations and ensure that personnel, equipment and material are positioned within the MTF task organization. Once obtained engineer intelligence must be disseminated to operational headquarters and all engineer units. FMFM 4-4 contains formats to simplify transmitting engineer intelligence. Care must be exercised in intelligence gathering activities so as not to forewarn the enemy of friendly intentions. Engineer intelligence can be obtained from the following sources.


(1) Ground Reconnaissance. Engineer reconnaissance teams can operate with the advance guard of the MTF. The reconnaissance team should include experienced engineers capable of making quick and accurate evaluations of both natural and manmade obstacles to the movement of the MTF. Other reconnaissance elements may be tasked to gather engineer intelligence on their own or forward reconnaissance teams may be augmented with engineer personnel. Engineer reconnaissance with the advance guard of a MTF includes location of bypasses, capacity of bridges, location of engineer materials and general trafficability.


(2) Map and Aerial Photograph Analysis. Preliminary map reconnaissance can help to limit the area that must be physically inspected. Aerial photos provide the same capability and may give a better indication of actual terrain conditions and enemy activity.

(3) Aerial Reconnaissance. Rapid gathering of data is possible when helicopters are used to survey the battlefield for obstacles, crossing sites, LZ's key terrain, and road networks.


(4) Terrain and Area Studies. Intelligence staff sections and terrain analysis specialists from the topographic platoon have access to Navy and DMA intelligence products. They can provide detailed terrain estimates and analyses to include trafficability, cross-country mobility, vegetation, and slope overlays. These terrain products are useful in planning offensive and defensive operations of the MTF.


(5) Human Intelligence Sources. Local civilians and forces generally have a first hand knowledge of the area. Enemy prisoners can reveal enemy strengths, intentions and dispositions. These sources must be exploited when available to provide engineer intelligence.


c. Engineer Mobility. Engineer support is provided to components of the MTF through task organization of engineer units with the combat forces. Engineer elements must be provided for transportation equivalent to the forces they support. Engineer efforts must be coordinated to ensure that maximum benefit is obtained from engineer capabilities. Normally the senior engineer in the task force will recommend to the commander/S-3 priorities for tasks to be accomplished.




a. In offensive operations, particularly in attacking a deliberate defense, the MTF should expect to encounter obstacles to mounted movement. Existing obstacles, both natural and cultural, such as forests, large bodies of water, canals, rivers, or gaps in the terrain can normally be identified by advance intelligence. Reinforcing obstacles can be added by enemy/friendly units to further inhibit movement. Operations are planned to avoid obstacles when possible. In offensive operations engineer equipment and units must be located well forward with leading TF elements to enable expeditious passage of the obstacle and maintain momentum. Due to unique aspects of crossing water obstacles, these operations are discussed separately in Section 10.


b. While intelligence efforts seek to discover the location of obstacles, they are often discovered through contact by the leading task force elements. Companies breach or bypass obstacles after contact by executing well rehearsed standard battle drills and implementing control measures. Obstacle locations can be predicted by matching a thorough terrain analysis with enemy capabilities and disposition. To be most effective reinforcing obstacles must be located close to natural obstacles where bypass is difficult, within range of direct/indirect fire weapons, and when covered by observation.


c. As in the case of natural obstacles, reinforcing obstacles should be bypassed whenever possible. A MTF commander encountering an obstacle which will slow or stop his advance should immediately determine if it can be readily bypassed. If he cannot bypass quickly, breaching operations are started. While these operations are underway, other MTF units should continue to search for a way to bypass the obstacle. Since obstacles are often covered by enemy fire, it is important to bypass or pass quickly so as not to delay the advance, or expose MTF units to fire longer than necessary. There are two methods commonly used to overcome an obstacle.


(1) Hasty Breach/Crossing.A hasty breach is accomplished rapidly with little reconnaissance or advance planning and when bypass is impractical. A hasty breach may be conducted under fire (an assault breach) and is preferred in order to maintain the momentum of the advance. Combat engineers moving with leading MTF elements perform the breach, as part of the assault company to which attached. However, MTF units may perform assault breaches without engineer support. In a hasty breach, breaching devices are used rapidly to clear lanes through the obstacle only wide enough to allow combat forces to continue the advance. Vehicle lanes that are eight meters wide and foot lanes one meter wide are preferred but smaller lanes that make movement, surprise and maintainance of momentum may suffice.


(2) Deliberate Breach/Crossig.A deliberate breach/crossing may be conducted by combat engineers if there is time for detailed reconnaissance and planning, if the hasty passage has failed or upon renewal of the offensive. The primary difference between hasty and deliberate passage is time and planning effort involved. In a deliberate method, necessary time is generally taken to completely clear obstacles, particularly in the cases of minefields. A deliberate passage is accomplished without interference of hostile fire and observation and behind covering TF units.


d. Passage of obstacles and bypass operations should follow the following steps.


(1) Suppress enemy fires with direct and/or indirect fire including CAS. Consider a deception operation.


(2) Obscure enemy observation with smoke.


(3) Breach/Bypass the obstacle. (Figure 19a).


(4) Secure the far side of the obstacle.



Selected Obstacles/Methods of Breaching and Equipment Used in Breaching


Obstacle Breaching, Methods Equipment


Minefields Bypass Dozer blades, mine plows,

Breach vehicle lanes pioneer tools, M58 Line Charge

Pushing Destroyed Vehicles,

Bangalore Torpedoes


Hand removal Mine Detectors,

Mine Probes, Demolitions

Hand Tools,

Grappeling Hooks


Abatis Bypass Demolitions, Chain

Log Walls Breach by explosive Saws, Dozer blades,

Log Cribs Breach by dismantling Heavy equipment,

Rubble Winches and Cables,

Large Caliber

Direct fire weapons

Dump trucks with earth

Precision munitions


Tanks Ditches Cut banks Standard bridging,

Craters Reduce slope Timbers and logs,

Vertical Steps Back Fill with earth/ Dozer blades, demolitions

Steep Grades rubble Matting, Dump trucks

With earth, AVLB


Destroyed/Damage Repair/reinforce/ Standard bridging

Bridges replace structure Momat, airfield matting

Waterways, Bypass Timber and logs

Marginal Terrain Construct fords Dump trucks with earth



Wire obstacles Removal by destruction Explosives, bolt/wire cutters

Barricades or dismantling Large caliber direct fire

Weapons, grappeling hooks,

Scaling ladders.

Bangalore Torpedoes

Precision Munitions


Figure 19A



e. Breaching Force Equipment. Engineers provide the bulk of the specialized equipment required by the breaching force. Some of the items required are standard equipment but locally fabricated devices may be equally useful. Figure 19A lists some breaching equipment but should not be considered all inclusive. Ingenuity and field expedients may produce equally suitable devices that will satisfy MTF requirements.


f. Combat Roads and Trails. Although time consuming, combat roads and trails can be constructed to increase mobility and flexibility. They provide for forward and lateral movement of combat, reserve and support elements. These trails may be used to bypass obstacles. Combat roads and trails are narrow, rough and designed for limited life span. As a general rule the capability to construct combat roads and trails will be greatest in reinforcing engineer units of the CSSE. On occasion a combat road may be the precursor of a more sophisticated road and its construction capability within the combat engineer element (which comes from the combat engineer battalion) is minimal. The provision of combat roads and trails is a combat support task that may be tasked to CSS engineer elements.


g. Guidelines for Engineer Employment. Hard and fast rules for allocating engineer resources and tasking engineer units are difficult to establish. The solution to these problems are situationally dependent. During offensive operations engineer support must be provided to loading elements of the MTF. Of primary concern is maintenance of momentum and mobility. Generally, engineer actions are performed in battalion MTF's by tank or infantry companies, under their commanders, using attached or supporting engineers as part of a unit effort, prepared by previous training and drills.




a. General. Countermobility operations require utilization of existing and reinforcing obstacles to inhibit enemy movement. They serve as an economy of force measure and as a means to enhance the effectiveness of friendly fires. Obstacles may be employed in the offense to protect flanks and close avenues of approach. Especially in the defense obstacles can be employed to channelize, delay and fix enemy units. In both the offense and defense mine obstacles can kill or attrite the enemy. Enemy forces that have been delayed or stopped by obstacles are more vulnerable to direct and indirect fire weapons. Obstacles delay and cause confusion thereby blunting an attack and gain time. Obstacles should be covered by observation and fire whenever possible. Obstacle installation must be coordinated and controlled to preclude inhibiting friendly movement. Fielding of FASCAM (Family of Scatterable Mines) Systems allows for quick and deep interdiction of enemy forces but can also have adverse effect on friendly mobility. The effectiveness of all obstacles is increased when mines are emplaced nearby to hamper breaching/clearing efforts.


b. Planning Obstacle Construction. Operation orders established priority for obstacle installation. The engineer and barrier appendix to the operations annex should specify details and responsibility for obstacle employment. The effectiveness of manmade obstacles is enhanced if they are used in conjunction with natural obstacles. This also allows for economy of effort. The MTF engineer officer working closely with the operations officer, fire support coordinator and intelligence officer should develop a prioritized obstacle target list. The following sequence should be used to develop an obstacle plan.


(1) Determine the mission and concept of operations.


(2) Determine avenues of approach and key terrain.


(3) Determine the location of engagement areas, battle positions, and sites for weapon systems.


(4) Determine natural obstacle locations and sites for reinforcing obstacles..


(5) Determine the commander's obstacle priorities.


(6) Determine and allocate resources.


(7) Determine actual work sequence.


(8) Determine task organization required.


(9) Make coordination required.


(10) Supervise, control, and coordinate execution.


c. Coordinating Obstacle Emplacement with the Defensive Fires. Obstacles strengthen any defensive plan. Maximum benefit is obtained by coordinating obstacle emplacement with defensive fires. An attacking force that has deployed prematurely, stopped, slowed down or canalized is more vulnerable. Tanks and other vehicles busy trying to clear or negotiate an obstacle will be less able to deliver accurate fire. Friendly weapons will be better able to acquire a target, take better aim and be more likely to hit the target fired at. Obstacles employed in depth will enable long range weapons (artillery TOW's, etc) to be brought to bear at maximum range. Enemy vehicles that pass the first belt of obstacles can be delayed gain by a second belt of obstacles that allow tanks to fire at maximum range. A third belt of obstacles can be placed at maximum range of the Dragons and LAAW to enable engagement of targets by infantry.


d. Control of Obstacle Emplacement. Due to possible adverse effect of obstacles on friendly a mobility MTF commander may reserve authority to install obstacles. Plans developed by subordinate units should be submitted to higher authority for review and approval as early as possible in the planning process. Obstacles which may inhibit friendly movement may be designated reserve obstacles. For reserve obstacles, preparations required to install the obstacle are made but not executed until directed by the authorizing commander.


e. Minefields. Minefields inhibit movement in many ways but also kill. Authority to approve minefield installation normally is reserved for brigade or higher commanders except in the case of protecting minefields which may be employed by any unit but must be recovered before that unit vacates the area. In independent battalion sized TF operations the battalion commander may authorize the use of mines. The authorizing commander may delegate authority for mine emplacement to subordinate units for specific, one-time instances. To preclude installation of unauthorized mines, authority to approve mining must be specified in operations plans, orders and SOP's. Doctrinal guidance is provided in FM 20-32 (Mine Countermine Operations).


(1) Conventional mines may be buried or surface laid depending on time available and terrain. Surface laid mines are as effective as buried mines against buttoned up tanks. Conventional mines may be laid in standard pattern minefields or in hasty protective minefields. All conventional minefields should be marked in accordance with STANAG 2036 and recorded on standard forms (DA Form 1355, DA Form 1355 1 or STANAG 2036, Minefield Record Forms). To allow friendly passage thru minefields well marked gaps/lanes may be left unmined. Provisions may be made to close these areas with conventional or FASCAM mines. Sample planning factors for conventional minefields can be found in Figure 19-H.




(Hand Laid)


Strip Standard Pattern with IOE

Depth of Minefield: 100 meters


Length (meters) 100 200 300 400 500 600


Density1 (0.5 -0.5-0.0 Mines per meter of front)


Nr Mines

M21 AT2 69 136 203 270 337 404

M16 AP 69 136 203 270 337 404


Weight (tons)3 1.7 3.0 4.3 5.6 6.9 8.1


Effort (Man hrs) experienced 32 62 92 122 152 182


Inexperienced (Man hrs) 48 93 138 183 228


3-Strip Standard Pattern with IOE

Depth of Minefield: 100 meters


Density # (1-1-1 Mines per meter of front)


Nr Mines 124 246 368 490 612 734

M21 AT 124 246 368 490 612 734

M16 APF 124 246 368 490 612 734

M14 APB 124 246 368 490 612 734


Weight (tons)* 2.6 4.9 7.1 9.4 11.6 13.9


Effort (Man hrs) experienced 66 130 194 258 322


Effort (man hrs) inexperienced 99 195 291 387 483



Figure 19-H Planning Factors for Conventional Minefields (Hand Laid)


1 Density is AT mines - AP (Frag) - AP (Blast) expressed in mines/meter front.

2 M21-AT mine is tilt rod fused.

3 Weight includes mines, wire, and pickets.



1 Density is AT mines - AP (Frag)-AP (Blast) expressed in mines/meter front.

2 M21-AT mine is tilt rod fused.

3 Weight includes mines, wire, and pickets.


(2) FASCAM Mining. Due to the flexibility inherent in timing and range of delivery systems, FASCAM missions may be held in reserve until a known enemy force has been targeted. FASCAM mines can also be used in an area that is unreachable by ground troops. FASCAM mines are equipped with a preset short self destruct time (shorter than 24 hours) or a long self destruct time (greater than 24 hours). This feature allows denial of an area to the enemy for a period of time after which friendly units may move through the previously mined area. Artillery delivered minefields must be marked in accordance with standard procedures whenever delivered under the observation of friendly troops. Unobserved artillery delivered minefields can't be marked but their general location, like observed mine missions should be recorded utilizing overlay techniques in accordance with TC 6-20-5. Figure 19C shows some basic planning factors for employment of scatterable mines.


h. Demolition Obstacles. These are obstacles created by the detonation of explosives. Demolitions are commonly used to create reinforcing obstacles. Some typical uses are:


o Blowing craters in roads, airfields, runways, and taxiways or railroads.


o Destroying bridges or tunnels.


o Demolishing buildings to create rubble.


o Flooding areas by destruction of dams or locks.


o Tree blowdown to create abatis.


o Blowing ditches using solid or liquid explosive.







AREA COVERED -400m x 400m AREA COVERED 400m x 400m


Purpose Density Number of Rounds Density Number of Rounds

Square Meter Per Aimpoint Per Aimpoint


Harassment .001 24 .005 3


Mid-Density .002 48 .001 6


High-Density .004 96 .002 12





AREA COVERED 200m x 200m


Purpose Recommended Number of Rounds


Harassment .001 6


Mid-Density .002 12


High -Density .004 24




1. Each RAAMS round contains nine (9) AT mines.

2. Each ADAM round contains 36 AP mines.


Figure 19C. Planning Factors for Minefields (Artillery Delivered)



g. Constructed Obstacles. Constructed obstacles are those reinforcing obstacles that are build by men and machines, generally without the use of explosives. Typical examples are:


o Wire obstacles.


o Tank ditches.


o Log cribs.


o Steel "H" beam obstacles.


o Falling or tumble blocks.


o Dragons teeth, hedgehogs, and tetrahedrons.


o Nonexplosive abatis.




Survivability support provided by engineers entails field fortifications, camouflage and deception. The speed of mechanized TF offensive operations precludes elaborate schemes for support in these areas. Limited construction equipment will prevent extensive preparation of fighting positions except when halted and not in heavy contact with enemy units. Large scale survivability measures require coordination of logistics, equipment and materiel and will require considerable time.


a. Field Fortifications. Dozers and tank dozers can quickly create defilade positions for fighting vehicles, command groups and mobile logistics elements. Cratering charges, demolitions and shaped charges can be quickly set up and fired to excavate hasty vehicle positions. Maximum use should be made of natural cover defilade positions and bomb craters etc. During the defense, preparations of positions can proceed in a more deliberate manner. Engineer elements should be assigned construction of priority defensive positions. Prefabrication of wooden overhead cover and bunker sections can speed up installation of critical defensive networks. Backhoes, dozers and scoop loaders can work on excavation concurrent with this prefabrication effort. In urban terrain structures provide an abundance of fighting positions and good cover that require minimal engineer support to allow use by tanks and other weapons systems.


b. Camouflage. Camouflage of individual Marines, vehicles, and positions must be a continuous effort. Maximum use should be made of standard camouflage screening kits. Strapped to the hood or tops of vehicles, screening can be quickly spread and erected during halts as short as a few minutes. Natural camouflage must be replaced as soon as it begins to wilt or no longer matches the surrounding environment. Engineers may be tasked to provide camouflage for other task force elements however their efforts are generally best expended on mobility, countermobility, and other survivability missions.


c. Deception. Individual Marines are ingeneous in thinking up ways to confuse and confound enemy intelligence gathering. Engineer units can support this effort by constructing dummy positions and vehicles with wood, canvas, paint, common construction materials and pioneer tools.




General engineering requirements for the MTF may be greatly varied but water and fuel supply will be critical.


a. Fuel. Organic and MCSSD tankers will provide the bulk of the routine refueling. Unit distribution to forward elements of the MTF by the tankers is preferred because it keeps the combat weapons systems forward. Distribution to MCSSD from CSSA fuel farms may be handled by either point or unit distribution depending upon distribution of tankers and tactical situation. While it is tactically desirable to move fuel farms frequently, it is generally impractical because of the effort involved. The tactical situation will dictate location and size of fuel storage facilities. Catastrophic loss of fuel stocks by enemy action can be avoided by widely separated small fuel farms. Expedient refueling can be accomplished using collapsible 500 gallon tanks from the Bulk Fuel Company. Two tanks with associated pumps and hoses can be loaded into an AAV or 5 ton truck bed. These tanks can also be slung externally under helicopters or delivered by parachute. Supply of these tanks is extremely limited. They must be emptied as quickly as possible and recycled for future use.


b. Water Supply. Like fuel farms water points take time to establish and build up sufficient stocks of potable water. Distribution to using units should be accomplished by 1000 gallon tanker, 400 gallon water trailer or 5 gallon cans. Both combat engineer platoons and CSSE engineers generally have water purification capability. Mutual support of these two elements can provide increased flexibility to ensure an adequate supply of water via air or convoys means.


c. Lines of Communication. Combat engineer battalion assets within the MTF have minimal capability to construct or maintain lines of communications. Elements of the engineer support battalion should be tasked with improving combat roads an trails and maintaining MSR's. This responsibility may extend from the rear areas all the way to the rear of assault units and be accomplished through specific tasking or assignment of area responsibility.











Mounted operations require reconnaissance, scouting and screening tasks which cannot be accomplished by the typical 4-man recon team inserted by helicopter. Marine MTF's must have proper ground reconnaissance units in their task organization for mobile operations to furnish scouting in "recon-pulled" offensive operations, screening and march security in flanks and security forces for the defense and delay as directed by the battalion commander.




Three methods exist by which the MTF may acquire mobile scouts: recon unit attachment, task organization and internal improvisation. These are detailed in the following paragraphs.


a. Reeon Attachment The Reconnaissance Battalion of the Marine Division is capable of equipping one company with ground mobility, using M151 vehicles. Each platoon attached to the MTF for mobile reconnaissance should consist of four MG-armed vehicles and two radio vehicles, allowing the platoon leader and platoon sergeant the capability of operating two sections, either in mutual support or covering dual axis of a battalion advance. This unit, when augmented by a TOW Squad, is capable of meeting reconnaissance requirements for mobile warfare. Its weaknesses of vulnerability and cross-country mobility must be recognized and accepted.


b. Task Organization. The battalion MTF may field a reconnaissance element by task organizing it from attached units and placing it under command of an experienced officer. A possible task organized unit might be:


Tank Section: 2 M60A1

Scout Section: 2 LVTP-7/rifle sqd

AT Section: 2 GME

Mortar sqd: 1 LVTP-7/2-81mm



Its principal limitations are unit cohesion/training, vulnerability to detection, offset by firepower, protection and cross-country mobility.


c. Internal Improvisation. The battalion MTF could conceivably form an organic scout platoon through improvisation on existing T/O and T/E. Using M151 or HMMWV vehicles and M60 MG's, eight MG-armed vehicles with three-man crews can be assembled for employment similar to paragraph 2 above. The infantry battalion heavy MG section could be employed in this role.




In addition to the reconnaissance units listed above reconnaissance missions may be assigned to the MTF as a reconnaissance force for the MAGTF. The Light Armored Assault Battalion also has assets ideally suited for reconnaissance missions. (See Organization and Operational Concepts for the Light Armored Assault Battalion). Assigned missions will normally be either route, zone or area reconnaissance to seek information.


a. Route. Route reconnaissance is a mission assigned to obtain detailed information of a specialized route and all adjacent terrain from which the enemy could influence movement along that route. Route reconnaissance can normally be accomplished much faster than zone reconnaissance because effort is concentrated along the route, and not widely dispersed. The reconnaissance mission ends at the objective, which is mainly a control measure. the objective may or may not be occupied by the enemy. In recon-pulled tactics, recon units lead MTF units on their axes of advance by some 8-10 Km., depending on conditions of METT.


b. Zone. Zone reconnaissance is a mission assigned to obtain detailed reconnaissance of all natural and manmade features within specified boundaries. It is more time consuming than the other types of reconnaissance, and is normally performed when the enemy situation is in doubt or when information on cross-country trafficability is desired. The zone to be reconnoitered is defined by lateral boundaries, a line of departure, and an objective (or a phase line) which serves as a termination point for the mission. The assigned zone is generally quite large and may include more than one route. The primary consideration is the fact that reconnaissance must be throughly conducted within the zone, whereas a route reconnaissance only requires the reconnaissance of a specific route.


e. Area Area reconnaissance is conducted to obtain information concerning a specified area. An area reconnaissance mission is assigned when the commander desires information about a town, ridge line, or a road junction. The area in which reconnaissance is to be conducted is designated by a boundary line completely enclosing the area. With the exception of movement to and from the

area, it is conducted the same as a zone reconnaissance.


d. For further information concerning reconnaissance in MTF operations the following manuals can be consulted:


o FMFM 2-2, Amphibious Reconnaissance


o FM 17-95, Cavalry




Security missions are assigned to units to obtain information about the enemy, to give reaction time to the main body, and to ensure that the main body is given sufficient maneuver space to deploy itself favorably in relation to the threat. Security operations conducted in both the offense and the defense; by their nature, security operations require constant reconnaissance. The specific mission tasked to MTF units are screening, guarding, and covering. The Light Armored Assault Battalion in part or as a whole will be well suited for security missions.


a. Screening. This mission provides early warning of enemy approach and a counter to threat reconnaissance activities. Among the tasks implicit in a screening mission are to gain and maintain enemy contact and report enemy activity, to destroy or repel enemy reconnaissance units, and to impede and harass the enemy with long range fires. A commander assigning a screen mission expects only early warning and a counter to enemy reconnaissance activities. A screen in the offense or defense may consist of a series of observation posts (OPs) with patrols connecting OPs to cover areas OPs cannot observe. Radar and sensors may be used to increase surveillance capabilities.


b. Guarding. This mission is assigned for the purpose of obtaining early warning, reaction time, and maneuver space to the front, flank, and/or rear of a moving or stationary force. Guarding operations differ from screening in that the enemy force (not just his reconnaissance elements) is subjected to continuous attrition, with the intent of forcing the enemy advance guard to deploy for attack(s), thus indicating the enemy's intended axis of advance. Like screening forces, guard forces operate within range of artillery located with the main body. Principal tasks of the guarding force are to prevent premature deployment of the main body and to protect the main body from ground observation and direct fire. An MTF unit assigned this type of mission must be provided with the combat power to initial contact with the enemy advance guard.


c. Covering. the covering role has both offensive and defensive application. The role of the covering force discussed in this paragraph is offensive in nature and pertains to forces operating forward of the advance guard. This mission is assigned for the purpose of developing the situation early and to defeat the enemy within the capabilities of the covering force. A covering force is a tactically self-contained security force which operates at a considerable distance from the main body and possibly beyond the range of that artillery located with the main body. Covering operations accomplish all the functions of screening and guarding operations; a covering force reconnoiters, screens and fights as necessary to accomplish its mission, short of allowing itself to be bypassed or cut off. It is capable of conducting delaying operations. Generally, a covering force will be comprised of a battalion-size MTF drawn from assets within the GCE, reinforced with combat support and combat service support assets appropriate to the mission.









The preparation, organization and sequencing for crossing small wet or dry gaps may be approached much the same as described in Section 802. Overcoming small gaps such as irrigation canals, natural streams, drainage ditches or anti-tank ditches requires considerably less preparation, control and equipment than does the crossing of large rivers. A major river astride the axis of advance presents an obstacle to a units mobility and will have significant impact on mission accomplishment unless sufficient combat power is quickly projected across the river. If enemy action prevents rapid crossings and his forces establish a deliberate defensive on a river liine, then the MTF will probably require reinforcement or relief by infantry and support engineers which must conduct the crossing.




In addition to the control measures normal to operations, the following control measures are provided to facilitate river crossing.


a. Near/Friendly/Entry Bank or Shore. The side of the river from which the river crossing is begun.


b. Far/Enemy/Exit Bank or Shore. The side of the river opposite (a) above.


c. Bridgehead. An area of ground to be held or gained on the enemy's side of an obstacle. The bridgehead is generally designated by the unit crossing the river or by higher headquarters. The bridgehead should be of sufficient width and depth to accomodate the river crossing operation. It must be large enough to allow for dispersion of friendly units, deny enemy observation of crossing sites, contain key terrain that enhances security and facilitate future operations against the enemy.


d. Bridgehead Line. A linear control measure delineating the area required in development of the bridgehead and limiting the crossing force commanders area of operations and responsibility.


e. Crossing Site. A location where crossing means, such as rafts, AAV's or a bridge are operated on a single path across the river.


f. Crossing Area. A number of adjacent crossing sites under the control of a single commander. There may be several crossing areas within the bridgehead.




To facilitate planning and control of river crossings, operations are conducted in four phases.


a. Reconnaissance Phase. Efforts are directed at determining where and how to make a crossing and preparing for it.


b. Initial Crossing. Emphasis here is to gain a foothold and provide close in security on the far shore.


c. Buildup. Crossing of the main body is begun to buildup the combat power necessary to continue operations on the far shore.


d. Consolidation. During the consolidation phase the crossing has become an administrative evolution and the MTF is reconstituted for further operation or, if in reserve, passes through the crossing unit to resume the offensive.




During this phase reconnaissance activities seek to determine essential elements of information about the river, the enemy, and the surrounding area. As the situation and lay of the land becomes clear, preparations preliminary to the crossing are begun. Care must be taken to deny enemy discovery of MTF activities and intentions. Good reconnaissance procedures and a realistic deception plan will assist in this goal and enhance surprise and the possibility of success in the crossing. During this phase units must stay concealed in dispersed and covered position if possible. Preparatory activites that should be commenced include the following:


Intelligence gathering.

Reorganization for crossing if required.

Resupply of units.

Staging of crossing means.

Fire support planning and coordination.

Crossing rehearsals.

Route/site familiarization.


a. Engineer Intelligence. Since the crossing will require extensive engineer involvement, much of the intelligence collected is done by or for engineer units.


Reconnaissance should identify multiple crossing sites, their size location and the river characteristics. Enemy disposition and his ability to influence possible crossing sites by fire or action should be assessed. Engineer personnel conducting the reconnaissance or accompanying the recon elements evaluate each site regarding equipment and effort required to make the crossing.


Essential information includes but is not limited to the following:


(1) River characteristics at possible crossing sites.



Water velocity.

Seasonal high water mark.

Possible variation in depth.

Bottom conditions.

Entry/Exit bank conditions (slope), trafficabllity.

(2) Existing Brides, type and classification.

(3) Existing piers/abutments.

(4) Existing ford/ferry sites.

(5) Indigenous crossing means.

(6) Engineer material available (lumber, crushed rock, timbers etc.)

(7) Obstacles in or near the waterway.

Enemy emplaced.


(8) Routes. Near and far shore that allow lateral and forward



(9) Covered and concealed areas suitable for staging, and holding areas, etc.


b. Site Analysis. The following information will assist in evaluating possible crossing sites and gathering intelligence during the reconnaissance phase.


(1) Slope of Entrances and Exits. The more gentle the slope at entry and exit points the better. Slope is generally expressed as a percentage:


Height of slope

X 100 = % Slope


Length of Slope's base


Therefore, a bank that falls 20 feet in a distance of 100 feet has a slope of 20%, as does one that falls 10 feet in a distance of 50 feet.





Figure 1004-1



Tanks and AAV's can negotiate slopes up to 60% while wheeled vehicles are limited to about 33%. These capabilities are degraded in loose soil, mud, rocks or in areas with numerous tree stumps.


(2) Bank Conditions. Small streams or marshy areas can be very quickly prepared for crossing by using the following techniques. Thoroughly reconnoiter the stream to find the best entrances and exits. Poor banks can often be improved banks by using pioneer tools or dozers to reduce the percentage of slope, remove obstacles, and level the ground. Soft ground can be improved soft ground by laying logs parellel on the ground to create a ramp. The stream bottom at a fording site can also be improved stream bottom in this way. The logs should not be trimmed, as their branches will strengthen the ramp or bed.


(3) River Velocity. The current of the river is critical to an effective and safe operation. It can be reasonably estimated by measuring a distance along the river bank and noting the time a floating object takes to travel the same distance. Dividing the distance by the time provides the water's speed. Figure 1004-2 provides an example.




Figure 1004-2


The maximum velocity desired is 1.5 meters per second which equates to 5 feet per second, 3.5 miles per hour, or 5.5 kilometers per hour.


(4) River Width. A field expedient means measuring a rivers width is with a compass. While standing at the waterline, sight on a point on the opposite side. Note the magnetic azimuth. Move up or down stream until the azimuth to the point on the opposite bank is 45 degrees different than the original reading. The distance from the original to the final point of observation is equal to the stream width. Figure 1004-3 demonstrates.





Figure 1004-3



(5) Downstream Drift. AAV's can achieve a water speed of 3.8 meters per second while a man powered assault boat is limited to about 1 meter per second. The more time required to complete the crossing, the farther downstream the craft will be carried by the river current. The amount of drift may be estimated as follows:


River Speed(A)

X River Width(C) = Downstream Drift(D)


Crossing Speed(B)




Figure 1004-4






After reconnaissance and preparation for the crossing are complete, the initial crossing is begun. The goal of this phase is to establish a foothold on the enemy shore with assault units that can provide security at each crossing site. Enemy units that can influence the action by adjusting fires or by direct fire must be neutralized. Close combat and fire support can be used. As a foothold is gained a defensive screen is set up to thwart counterattacks. Success in this phase is essential to continuation of the river crossing. Simultaneous to the initial crossing friendly units will begin movements preparatory to crossing. If the initial crossing fails to negotiate the river, reduce enemy effectiveness at crossing sites or gain a foothold, friendly units on the near shore will be vulnerable due to congestion, confusion and delays. The initial crossing may be affected using helicopters, AAV's, rubber boats or captured small craft if bridges, ferries or other more capable means cannot be captured in tact.

Standard military bridging will be of limited use until an initial crossing begins to eliminate enemy influence at the crossing site. The introduction of standard bridge usually signals the beginning of the next phase.




During the buildup phase a survivable, viable presence is established on the far shore. The main body of the MTF is crossed using a combination of AAV's rafts and bridges. Heavy end items such as tanks and artillery must be crossed as quickly as possible. Rafts made from standard M4T6 bridge components can accomodate this requirement. Rafts can be constructed faster than bridges, present smaller targets, and less bridging is lost if enemy fire strikes a raft. During the buildup phase key terrain and objectives out to the bridgehead line are secured and effective enemy resistance.




Consolidation is the fourth and final phase of a river crossing operation. When consolidation is complete the MTF or follow on forces can press on with the mission that made crossing the river necessary.


In this phase more permanent crossing means such as floating, fixed, or non-standard bridges are used. Attempts should be made to repair existing bridges that were damaged. The reduced threat of enemy activity and the increased strength of our own forces enable allows permanent crossing means to be installed. Non- combatant units may begin crossing. In the final stages of consolidation, the force is reorganized, resupplied and equipped for subsequent operations.




Depending upon the speed, preparation and centralized control required, two types of river crossing should be considered. The considerations here are similar to those effecting passage of any obstacle and therefore the river crossings are categorized either hasty and deliberate. Several factors must be considered prior to deciding on which type of river crossing to make. Analysis of the factors listed below and consideration of the questions presented will help determine whether to effect a hasty or deliberate crossing.


a. Mobility. Does the MTF have adequate and sufficient crossing means in

position to effect the crossing "in stride"? Is the enemy mobility deficient or degraded to preclude successful opposition to a "hasty crossing"?


b. Enemy Strength. Is the enemy strong enough to prevent crossing by forces immediately available to the MTF? Can the enemy counterattack successfully during any phase of the crossing? Does the MTF forfeit any relative advantage by delaying at the river line?


c. River Conditions. Are river conditions such that the MTF can cross immediately with means readily available or must it delay to move bridging and other equipment forward?


d. Operational Requirements. Is it necessary to cross the river quickly (hasty crossing) to accomplish an existing mission or gain significant advantage? If not, will the force be less vulnerable on the near or far shore?




Generally hasty crossings are preferred. They have the advantage of surprise, speed, mobility and maintenance of the offense. If enemy forces are in retreat and defenses poorly developed, a hasty crossing should be made. Delay may allow the enemy to escape, reinforce, reorganize or consolidate on advantageous terrain. In a hasty crossing all enemy resistance on the near or far shore need not be reduced. It may be fixed and bypassed provided it can be mopped up later and can not threaten the crossing.


The success of hasty crossings will depend on small unit aggressiveness decentralized control/execution and no delay at the river. In contrast to a deliberate crossing, there is limited engineer effort involved in a hasty crossing. The MTF commander must consider three means of effecting a hasty crossing.


a. Existing Means. The force could capture existing bridges, boats or ferries intact through rapid advance or a raid.


b. Organic Means. AAV's, prestaged/preconstructed rafts could be used to

cross MTF elements as soon as they reach the river.


c. Expedient means. Captured enemy equipment or fording may allow

sufficient portion of the force to cross expeditiously upon arrival at the river.




Deliberate crossing operations may be necessitated by circumstances beyond the control of the MTF commander. When a hasty crossing has failed or is infeasible due to enemy strength or inadequate crossing means or is not required, a deliberate crossing is the alternative. Deliberate crossings are characterized by centralized control and detailed planning. A preliminary step is the elimination of enemy forces from the near shore to preclude disruption of carefully orchestrated plans and to preserve necessary freedom of movement and flexibility.


A deliberate crossing will require extensively planned and coordinated engineer effort. Engineer commanders win control individual crossing sites where standard bridging equipment is employed. This control will help adherence to crossing plans and efficient operation of crossing means.


a. Command and control will be the most vital and difficult task in a successful deliberate crossing. Detailed time schedules can help to ready forces on the near shore, move them to the river, cross them quickly and move them forward or disperse them on the far shore. Flexibility must be maintained to adjust to significant failures or successes.


The river crossing should be under the control of a single tactical commander designated the Crossing Force Commander. The crossing force should be task organized giving the crossing force commander positive control over all units and equipment necessary to conduct the crossing.


b. All USMC bridging/rafting equipment belongs to the Bridge Company,

Engineer Support Battalion, FSSG. Elements of this Company and portions of its equipment will normally be asigned to the CSSE. Size and composition of the Bridge Co. Detachment is dependent on the size of the MAGTF and known operational bridging requirements for river crossing operations, the CSSE must attach bridging assets and personnel to the Crossing Force Commander. The OIC/NCOIC of this Detachment is plays a key role in the crossing. Aside from staging, installing and operating bridge equipment, he must provide the following to the Crossing Force Commander.


(1) Essential elements of information about river condition for the MTF to gather or else a Bridge Detachment reconnaissance element.


(2) Recommended crossing sites.


(3) Recommended staging areas for prefabrication/preparation of crossing equipment.


(4) Recommended routes/check points for crossing units to preclude

bottlenecks, confusion and delays.


(5) Recommended assembly, waiting, dispersal and holding areas required.


(6) Other control measures MP support and traffic control requirements.


(7) Provide the Crossing Force Commander with a tentative crossing plan that shows when, where, and how units cross and also reflects the commanders priority for crossing.


c. Planning for a deliberate crossing must consider the following.


(1) Movement to the river and within the bridgehead must be strictly controlled to minimize confusion and prevent congestion.


(2) Units must cross in a specified order.


(3) Units within the bridgehead are vulnerable targets. Assembly, staging holding and dispersal areas must make maximum use of natural concealment and cover. Units involved in the river crossing must enforce light and noise discipline.


(4) Positive control of traffic must be established at key route junctions, entry and exit banks etc. through traffic control measures such as route quides and route markers.


(5) Recovery vehicles should be provided at both entry and exit banks to assist vehicles negotiating steep, rough or slippery banks. These conditions will worsen as more traffic transits the crossing sites.


(6) Ground combat element engineers should not be dedicated to the

installation or operation of bridging. They may assist the CSSE bridge detachment on tasks preliminary to the actual crossing, but when the crossing commences GCE engineers should move forward of the river line. Priority should go to other mobility, countermobllity and survivability tasks. The GCE engineer commander should make close coordination with the CSSE bridge detachment. Figure 1010-1 helps to specify responsibilities of the CSSE and GCE engineer units.





Figure 1010-1




a. Assault Amphibian Vehicles. The AAV provides the MTF with a unique river crossing capability that is especially valuable in the initial crossing phase of a deliberate or hasty crossing. Its ability to negotiate a 60% slope enables it to make quick entry and exits from the river. Its water speed of 3.8 meters/second and ability to handle currents of up to 1.5 meters/second enables it to make speedy crossings. Three crossing techniques are recommended in crossing with AAV's. These techniques help to compensate for downstream drift due to river velocity.


(1) Upstream Entry - Constant Heading. Entry is made upstream of the desired exit point. The vehicle or boat is aligned, or "aimed" straight across the river; however, the current produces a "sideslip" movement as shown and exit is downstream of the entry point.




Figure 1010-2


(2) Upstream Entry - Constant Aimpoint. If the driver "aims" the AAV at the desired exit point, the orientation of the vehicle at the exit would approximate an upstream heading as shown in figure 1010-3. The path of the vehicle would be an arc due to the river's current and downstream drift.





Figure 1010-3


(3) Upstream Heading. To exit at a point across from the entry point requires an upstream heading to compensate for the river's speed as indicated in figure 1010-4.






Figure 1010-4


(4) In all three technique, the craft's speed relative to the river bank is contant, assuming the engine RPM's or paddling rate remains constant. The elapsed crossing time is the least in figure 1010-2 (i.e., when the vehicles head-on orientation is perpendicular to the exit bank). This technique results in a uniform crossing rate in the least amount of time and is usually the desired technique.


(5) Terrain condition may restrict the location of entry/exit locations. Enemy situation may require alternative techniques. For example, when "aiming" at the downstream exit point (Figure 1010-3), the craft moves at a greater speed relative to the banks after entry than it does as it nears the exit bank because it is going against the current near the exit. Use of this technique may be favored when the enemy has better observation of the entry bank than the exit bank as illustrated in Figure 1010-5. Water craft moving fast and at a changing rate are more difficult to engage effectively.




Figure 1010-5


b. Fording. Fording may provide an opportunity for some vehicles to cross a river without bridging/rafting. The firmer the bottom, the easier the crossing will be and the more vehicles will be able to cross before bottom conditions deteriorate. At even the best ford sites, provisions should be made to have recovery vehicles (i.e. wreckers or M88 Recovery vehicles tracks with winches etc.) to assist stuck or disabled vehicles. The trafficability of river bottoms exit and entry banks can be greatly improved by installation of assault trackway kits (MOMAT) which come in 12 foot by 48 foot sections. The fording capabilities of the vehicles most likely to be found in the MTF are listed



Vehicle Unaided With Deep Water Fording



M60A1 Tank 48 96

M88A1 Recovery Vehicle 64 102

Tow System 21 60 for vehicle component,

but launcher and comm gear

limit overall capability to

about 24 inches

M813 5 Ton Truck 30 78

M54 5 Ton Truck 30 78

M35 2 Ton Truck 30 72

M151 Ton Truck 21 60

HUMMV 30 60

MK 48 Dragon Wagon 60 N/A



c. Standard Bridging Assets. Having effected the initial crossing and securing of the bridgehead, work commences on transporting the bulk of the force across the obstacle. For rivers of substantial width, standard bridge equipment, organic to the Bridge Co., Engineer Support Bn., will be required.


(1) Bridge, Fixed - 60 ton, M-6. This is single lane bridge having a curb width of 13 1/2 feet. It can be emplaced in increments of 15 feet, with a maximum length of 210 feet for Class 60 loads. There are three sets in the bridge company. The M6 bridge is being phased out and replaced by the MGB (See 2 Below). The M-6 and MGB are not assault bridging. They require a relatively secure site for installation due to the time, manpower and equipment required for assembly.


(2) Medium Girder Bridge (MGB). This Class 60 bridge is currently being fielded as a replacement for the M6 highway bridge.


(3) Foot Bridge, Floating, Aluminum (M-2). This is the standard means of crossing for foot troops. the Bridge Company has 6 - 315 foot sets. It can be used as a light vehicle bridge or as light vehicle rafts. As a vehicle crossing means, it can only support M151 loads under ideal stream conditions.


(4) Bridge, Floating, Class 60, M4T6. A single lane bridge with a curb width of 13 1/2 feet, the M4T6 can also be used to construct rafts of short fixed spans. There is enough equipment per bridge set for construction of a floating bridge 276 feet long or two 5 float reinforced rafts. There are three M4T6 bridge sets in the company. Portions of this bridge set may be preassembled and helolifted to shorten assembly/exposure times at the crossing site. Using this technique, a well trained platoon can builds a Class 60 raft at 1 1/4 hours at the crossing site. Otherwise a three hour assembly time is required.


(5) The bridge detachment provides technical supervision; the MTF will have to provide the requisite manpower for construction. The time required will depend on the necessary assembly site preparations, bridgesite preparations, and erection of anchorage towers and cables as well as the actual bridge construction time. For this reason, as well as the fact that a fixed bridge is a better target, initial crossing of tanks and other heavy equipment should be effected by raft. A more difficult target,a five float reinforced raft also requires only three hours to assemble.


(6) Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB) The armored vehicle

launched bridge will be introduced into the tank battalion beginning in FY 85. Mounted on a tank chassis, the bridge can be emplaced in 3-5 minutes over a 48 foot gap, or a 57 1/2 foot gap if prepared abutments are used. There will be four AVLB's with two extra bridges per tank battalion.










Because of its capability for rapid movement and its organic firepower, the MTF is well suited for employment in linkup operations where time is often a crucial factor. A linkup operation entails the joining of two forces, both of which may be moving, or, one may be stationary, such as an isolated force or a helicopterborne force on a deep objective. The initial phase of a linkup is conducted as a movement to contact or, if necessary, a deliberate attack. As the linkup becomes more imminent, coordination between the forces must. be intensified to ensure an orderly and safe junction of the forces. Planning of control measures for tactical and support elements is effected by the commander having authority over both forces. Provisions are made to establish clear lines of authority and promote continuous and prompt exchange of information between the forces.




The headquarters ordering the linkup designates a single commander for the linkup and any subsequent operations from among the two force commanders and any intermediate commanders. A time is established for this assumption of command, which is normally at the point in the operation where the actions of the two forces have a direct effect on each other.




a. Command and Staff Liaison


Command and staff liaison is essential both during planning and the conduct of the linkup. As the linkup becomes imminent, the need for coordination becomes even more critical. Liaison personnel should be used as much as possible.


b. Coordination of Communications


Communications must be established between the headquarters of both forces during the early stages of the operation by exchanging CEOI's and establishing a common radio net. As the operation progresses, other elements such as the lead security elements establish radio contact with the other force. Frontline elements of both forces must be in continuous communication when within range of one another's weapons. Alternate means of communication such as smoke, phyotechnics, and whistles must be planned for to ensure positive identification of the approaching forces.


c. Coordination of Schemes of Maneuver


Schemes of maneuver must be integrated. Any changes effected by either force must be coordinated with the other force.


(1) Mission. As the mission to linkup normally entails arriving at the linkup point at a specified time, enemy forces and obstacles encountered en route should be bypassed and decisive engagement avoided.


(2) Moving Units. A linkup between two moving units is the most difficult to coordinate. As they draw closer together, the chance of the units engaging one another becomes greater; therefore, the lead units of each linkup force must adjust their movements to each other and should continually coordinate on a specified radio net. Once contact has been established, the lead elements report to their parent units and prepare to guide the units together. The lead elements may be used to maintain contact between the linkup forces if no physical integration of units is planned. Guides should travel with the lead element if the mission after linkup requires reorganization within or between the linkup forces, or requires the units to integrate their forces.


(3) Moving and Stationary Units. Although coordination of moving and stationary units requires less maneuver coordination, detailed coordination is still necessary, particularly if the stationary force is under enemy pressure. The moving force must orient on the stationary force and keep the stationary force advised of its location. The stationary force guides the lead element to the contact point by radio, or may, if the enemy situation permits, send out a patrol to meet them. Guides assist in passage of minefields and other defensive obstacles in front of and within the stationary force defense sector. The stationary force must be prepared to accept the moving force, guide it to its position, and, as required, position it. If the two forces have been directed to merge, they are extremely vulnerable to enemy attack as they come together. Guides must deploy the moving force quickly and efficiently.


(4) Linkup Points. Linkup points are established where the forces will make physical contact. The points are mutually agreed upon and should be easily recognizable, the number of points established depending on the number of routes used, nature of the terrain, enemy situation, and the capability of the forces to hold the points. Alternate linkup points should also be designated. Marines manning the linkup points must have a means of positive mutual recognition and positive communications with their respective commanders.


d. Fire Coordination Measures. Fire coordination measures are established by the common commander of the forces performing the linkup based on the recommendations of the two forces. Both of the subordinate units may establish coordinated fire lines (CFL's) to coordinate the fires of artillery and naval gunfire. A restrictive fire line (RFL) will be designated as an on-order measure for the coordination of fires between the two linkup forces as they approach within range of direct as well as indirect fire weapons. The RFL should be located on recognizable terrain as close as possible to a stationary force to allow maximum freedom of maneuver and fire support to the moving force. Under normal circumstances, both forces will be within the fire support coordination line (FSCL) as established by the senior ground commander. Only when the two forces are a great distance apart and the intervening terrain provides sufficient recognizable features should two FSCL's be used. In any case, the Fire Support Coordination Center's (FSC) of each force must monitor the other to ensure the safety of their respective forces. Additionally, wide dissemination of the coordination measures must be given to all forces involved. Figure 11-1 depicts the measures discussed.




Once the linkup has been made, the combined force continues the attack, maintains its position, or withdraws.


a. When the MTF is to continue the attack after linking up with a stationary force, the MTF should plan to move around the stationary force and into an assembly area to reorganize and resume the attack. When both forces are moving, they should make and maintain contact but continue in the attack without stopping, unless the forces are-to be integrated.


b. When assuming a defensive role with a stationary force, positions for the MTF force are predesignated and guides provided to facilitate their occupation. The stationary force will provide initial security.


c. If a withdrawal is to take place, plans for the change of direction of attack and any reorganization are made in advance. If the other force is not a MTF, plans must provide that transportation for its personnel and equipment accompany the MTF so that the forces will be more equal in mobility.





Figure 11-1. Fire Coordination Measures in Linkup Operation.











MTF weapons include all of the combined arms of units organic to the MTF and supporting arms (not organic) to include naval gunfire, aviation support and artillery. These may be categorized direct fire, indirect fire and aviation support.




Direct fire weapons, organic to the MTF, engage all ground targets within range and to a limited degree slow moving air targets. These direct fire weapons systems include small arms, machine guns and antiarmor weapons, including high velocity cannon.


a. Small Arms. Small arms are primarily employed against personnel targets. These weapons are most accurate for point targets and are also used to suppress. Penetrating capabilities of these weapons systems are relatively small; therefore, their use against materiel targets is limited accordingly. Figure 20 lists the small arms and their ranges.







M16A1, 5.56mm 460M


Grenade Launcher

M203, 40mm 375m


Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW)

M249, 5.56mm 800


Machine Gun

M60, 7.62mm 1100m


Sniper Rifle

M40A1. 7.62 1000m






b. Heavy Machine Guns. Heavy machine guns should be used primarily against materiel targets for they have light armor piercing capabilities. Figure 21 provides some information on the capabilities of these heavy machine guns.


(1) The MK-19, 40mm, heavy machine gun provides a significantly improved capability to engage enemy personnel carriers and unprotected area targets.



(2) The .50 caliber heavy machine gun can penetrate light armor and provides immediate defense capability against slow flying enemy aircraft and helicopters.








Heavy Machine Gun 1600m

MK 19, 40mm


Heavy Machine Gun

M2, .50 caliber 1850m

M85, .50 caliber




c. Antiarmor. Antiarmor weapons organic to the MTF provide the single largest source of firepower to counter enemy armored targets.







Weapon Arm Range Effective Range Back blast


Tank, 105mm - 4400m with a high none

Main gun probability of

first round hit at

1500 -2000m


TOW 65m 3750m 90o Segment

[email protected]@0 (I-TOW) 50m danger

M220A1 (TOW-2) 51 to 75m caution


Dragon, M47 65m 1000m 90o Segment

30m danger

31 to 50m caution


LAW, M72A2 12m 200m 8o Segment

15m danger

16-40m caution


Shoulder Launched 15m 250m 60o Segment

Multipurpose Assault 30m danger

Weapon (SMAW)







Indirect fire weapons as discussed here includes mortars, artillery, and naval gunfire.


a. Mortars. Mortars available include the 60mm mortars of the rifle company and the 81mm mortars of the weapons company, infantry battalion. The new versions of these mortars significantly increase their ranges as shown in Figure 23.


(1) 60mm mortars provide a company commander with immediate fire support of a limited nature until other fires can be brought to bear on a target. FM 23-85, 60mm Mortar M19 is applicable to the current mortar system and a manual for the M224, 60mm mortar is forthcoming. In the MTF, 80mm mortars are carried usually in the mounted rifle platoon (rein). It is employed only in support of dismounted infantry combat.


(2) 81mm mortars provide immediate fire support on targets of opportunity for elements of the infantry battalion. Normally, the mortar platoon attaches mortar squads to mounted rifle companies to provide smoke and illumination fires. 81mm mortar ammunition has negligible effect on enemy mechanized forces unless dismounted. The mortar squad usually rides in the AAV of the mounted rifle company.






60MM Mortar

M19 1800m


60mm Light-Weight

Company Mortar 3600m



81mm Mortar

M29 4500m


81 Mortar

"NEW" 5600







b. Artillery. Due to the fluid nature of MTF operations in open terrain and the possibilities for excellent enemy observation, it is necessary to provide close and continuous field artillery support for all levels of the force. Field artillery pieces must be at least as mobile as the force they are supporting. Crews must be proficient in direct fire and prepared to defend against a ground attack. Figure 24 reflects ranges of current artillery pieces.






105MM (T)

M101A1 M1, HE 11,000M


155MM (T)

M114A2 M107, HE 14, 600M

M198 M107, HE 18, 100M



M109A3 M107, HE 18, 100M

M549A1 (RAP), HE 24, 000M


8 INCH (SP) M106 HE 23, 100M

M110A2 M650 (RAP) 29, 500M




c. Naval Gunfire. Naval gunfire should be planned for and used whenever the MTF operates within range of naval gunfire ships. Liaison and spot teams are provided to the MTF from the artillery regiment providing support. Naval projectiles rely on direct hits and blast effects of high explosives for effect on armored forces and will not prove as lethal as modern artillery.






5 Inch 22, 000m

16 Inch 32, 000m






MTF operations place unique requirements on close air support and air defense assets. A quick response from supporting arms remains essential because of the speed and range of MTF operations. This response comes but when aircraft operate from an airborne alert posture. A FAC(A) may not be available, particularly in a high threat air defense (AD) environment. The AD environment may also require low-level attack procedures on the part of close air support aircraft. A system of distinctly marking targets is required. Tanks provide the most responsive target marking capability, but artillery firing illumination set for impact initiation is a distinguishable means of target designation. The point to remember is that the pilot has 2 to 5 seconds to acquire the marking as he rolls over in his popup maneuver. Therefore, the mark must be readily identifiable and must contrast to surrounding terrain features and other smoke in the area. Laser designation for precision munition strikes may be feasible,

but ranges and engagement rates prove limiting.


a. Fixed Wing. In addition to close air support missions, fixed wing aircraft should be signed deep air support missions against targets such as positions and tasked to engage those moving targets which are beyond the range of TOW. The threat relies heavily on its artillery and any disruption of that support will significantly enhance the accomplishment of the MTF mission.


b. Attack Helicopters. Attack helicopters provide antitank and suppressive fires and perform escort functions. Consideration should be given to tasking armed helicopters to dedicated support of MTF battalions. Helicopter refueling and rearming should also be accomplished as far forward as possible. Combat Service Support Detachments can provide this capability for all helicopter support. Additional information concerning the control coordination and employment of the AH-1T Cora (TOW) is contained in Appendix G.


1205. Air Defense. Air superiority cannot be assumed. The MTF must prepare to counter hostile air attacks from both fixed wing aircraft and armed helicopters.


a. Air defense provided to the MTF from the aviation combat element of the MAGTF will include elements or support from the Forward Area Air Defense (FAAD) Battery, the Light Antiaircraft Missile (LAAM) Battalion and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA). Employment of the REDEYE/STINGER weapons system from the FAAD battery is set forth in FMFM 5-5C, Employment of Forward Area Air Defense Battery. The I-HAWK missile systems of the LAAM battalion are employed as set forth in FMFM 5-5, Antiair Warfare. The fighter/attack aircraft (F-4 and F-18) from VMFA will be assigned active air defense missions in accordance with requirements for the entire MAGTF. FMFM 5-5, Antiair Warfare, details the employment of all air defense systems from the aviation combat element.


b. Small arms, light and heavy machine guns organic to the maneuver elements of the MTF can be used for immediate short range air defense. The effective use of these weapons is largely dependent on an early warning system. In addition to the radar and radio communication means of early detection and warning, each battalion and company must designate air warning personnel. For example, an infantry company may require each squad to designate one man for air alert and give him a whistle or flare to sound the alarm. A similar procedure might be used for tank and AAV units. Whatever system is established it should be standardized throughout the MTF because of the possibility of frequent changes in task organization. Marines must be trained to hold fire on enemy aircraft unless under attack. Passive air defense measures receive priority in the MTF.










Threat doctrine and training stress the use of NBC weapons; accordingly, troops are routinely issued protective clothing and equipment as basic issue. Fighting vehicles are designed with protective systems to allow the crews to engage their targets while in contaminated areas, and units of chemical troops are in all services of his armed forces with chemical companies assigned down to regimental level. Events in Laos, Cambodia and Afghanistan clearly indicate willingness to use NBC weapons to produce casualties, destroy or disable equipment, deny terrain and generally disrupt operations. Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons may be used separately or in combination with conventional weapons. The MTF must be prepared and able, psychologically and physically, to fight in an NBC environment.




The employment of a MTF is advantageous in an NBC environment. Armored vehicles afford a greater degree of protection to mounted units by partially shielding them from blast and radiation, providing rapid vehicular movement across contaminated areas, and allowing the use of protective equipment with less physical stress than would be encountered on foot. While communications and combat service support can be expected to be more disrupted than usual as more emphasis is placed on dispersion and mobility, the tactical employment of the MTF when operating in the NBC environment will be essentially unchanged.


a.        The Nuclear Battlefield. Threat forces plan the use of nuclear weapons

in both offensive and defensive operations. Nuclear attacks are combined and

coordinated with conventional fires and air attacks and exploited rapidly by

ground forces. Nuclear weapons may also be used with chemical and/or

biological agents.


(1) Defense


(a) Enemy Tactics in the attack will be similar to those used on the conventional battlefield -- the enemy will try to overwhelm the defense with the weight and speed of his attack, both day and night. The attack will be on a broad front, with formations moving on independent axes to accomplish breakthroughs and deep penetrations while accepting the risk of open flanks. To minimize this danger, the enemy will probably use nuclear weapons to neutralize the terrain dominating his axes of advance.


(b) To avoid presenting worthwhile nuclear targets, the enemy will disperse his forces, concentrating for short periods of time and only when necessary. He may close with the defender not only to destroy him, but also to ensure that the defender cannot use nuclear weapons without endangering his own forces. Primary nuclear targets for Threat attacks are command and control systems, logistics systems, nuclear delivery means, and large troop concentrations.


(c) When the MTF is in imminent threat of a nuclear attack, vehicles should take advantage of any terrain shielding that is available, place inside the vehicle all equipment normally stowed outside (e.g., water cans), ensure radios are turned off, antenna wires disconnected, antennae dismounted, and preplanned alternate communication procedures activated, (Vehicle radios are turned off to prevent damage from radiation surges and antennae are removed to prevent breakage). Alternate communication procedures could include, but not be limited to, visual and sound communications as well as use of vehicle/turret movements. Once blast and radiation surge dangers have passed, normal communications can be resumed. Consideration should be given to the transport of spare antennae inside the vehicle.


(d) Special instruments which are provided to determine the intensity of residual radioactivity should be maintained in an operative condition with sufficient personnel trained in their use. During periods when the unit is subject to radioactive fallout, both the dose rate and the total dose of each individual should be closely monitored. Dose-rate meters and dosimeters should be used to take continuous readings of the radioactive dose-rate and the total dose of exposed personnel.


(e) Combat Service Support procedures, such as feeding, resupply, and maintenance, should be staggered so that a minimum number of troops are out of cover at any given time.


(f) Remember that a nuclear strike is normally followed up by an assault. Once the initial blast and radiation has subsided, the MTF must quickly attain a high level of alertness and be prepared to carry out its mission.


(g) The period of time a unit may remain in a contaminated area depends on the intensity of radiation and the protection available. Time spent away from cover must be minimized. Once fallout has stopped, radioactive dust on top of shelters and vehicles must be brushed away and decontamination performed as soon as possible.


(2) Offense


(a) Enemy forces on the defensive fight on the nuclear battlefield as on the conventional one. The only difference is that defending Threat forces will be more widely dispersed. Primary nuclear targets for defending Threat forces are the same as for their attacking forces.


b) The MTF must remain as dispersed as possible, avoiding obvious assembly areas and areas that would canalize the force.


b. Chemical and Biological Environment Chemical and biological weapons may

be used separately, simultaneously and with conventional or nuclear weapons.

Regardless of when or how used, the MTF is employed as described in previous

chapters. Marines must be alert for these agents which may be placed on a

target as a gas, aerosol, or liquid droplets. They can be delivered by

artillery, mortars, rockets, landmines, aircraft spray or bombs, and can be

mixed with conventional munitions to delay detection. A mixture of agents can

be used to cause confusion and increase casualties. Anytime agents are

discovered they must be reported to the next higher headquarters immediately.




The most important phase of NBC operations occurs before combat is joined. Marines must expect and be prepared for battle in this environment. Individual protective measures must be thoroughly practiced so that they become a conditioned response to be performed in the field without detailed direction, and can be accomplished while carrying out the mission. Unit SOP's must be developed and thoroughly understood by all hands within the unit. They must provide for a warning system, use of individual protective measures, procedures for prompt reporting, prompt decontamination of equipment and supplies, and prompt treatment of casualties. FMFM 11-1 NBC Operations in the FMF and OH 11-1 NBC Defense provide guidance on the organization, equipment, training and operations of unit NBC defense personnel as well as individual protective measures and Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) levels. Decontamination of MTF vehicles will involve phasing units out of action, through decontamination sites and then relieving other units for their decontamination.

Decontamination materiel must be centralized under the MTF CSS echelon to support the overall





All equipment requires continual maintenance, but particularly when tactical vehicles are vigorously employed. Vehicle crewmen must diligently perform first echelon maintenance even in their protective clothing. This usually does not require great manual dexterity, but is often, particularly when working on suspension systems, heavy work which can be physically debilitating even when not encumbered with protective gear.


Mechanics further to the rear may find that, while vehicles have been through the decontamination process, contamination may linger in the recesses of engine compartments or components such as air filters. Likewise, repair equipment itself and spare parts may require decontamination, especially those arriving from other areas of the battlefield. Because of the nature of the work done at higher echelons of maintenance, the use of protective gear can be expected to adversely effect maintenance support. Maintenance personnel should man decontamination sites, since their mission cannot be performed on equipment still contaminated.










Because a Marine Corps MTF is produced by task organization, the decision to field an MTF must include particular measures to provide combat service support (CSS) for that unit from a combination of methods and sources. Some units contributing to MTF's, such as tank and assault amphibian battalions, possess a large and highly capable battalion CSS echelon. Others, such as the infantry and reconnaissance units have CSS assets usually inadequate for mounted operations. Essentially, orders causing MTF's to be formed should include designation of CSS elements by task organization. Commanders will designate levels of organic, unit and support stockage of critical supplies and specify the degree of consolidation of CSS envisioned for the operations.


a. A balance between the needs for support, operational flexibility, and force mobility should be sought. To achieve a balanced capability requires clear and realistic identification of the support required based on tactical plans, enemy capabilities, and operational area characteristics.


(1) Support planning is conducted concurrently and in parallel with tactical planning.


(2) Dependent upon the available support resources, tactical plans must seek objectives that recognize the CSS resources required for their accomplishment.


b. The MTF commander is responsible to plan for and obtain the necessary support for his command. He must ensure that adequate provisions are made, in both organic capabilities and for external support, to meet operational requirements.


(1) The means to rearm, refuel, and repair combat units in the battle area must be provided.


(2) Adequate means for the identification, control, and coordination of support requirements and activities must be included in the MTF command structure.


(3) Support procedures, internal and external, must be simple and reduce the requirements for performing administrative or accounting functions at forward locations.


(4) The flow of supplies and supporting services should be direct from the

provider to the requestor.


(5) The support elements and concept of support developed for a MTF operation must be tailored to the operational environment, the scope and purpose of the operation, and the availability of support resources.


c. Adapting CSS to a mobile, equipment intense combat operation requires that support be organized by echelon. A minimum amount of support capability, consistent with the need for sustaining the combat force, is included in the combat formation. Figure 26 displays the echelons of support for a MTF. CSS can be organized to include any or all of the following:


o Unit trains


o A mobile combat service support detachment (MCSSD)


o A combat service support element (CSSE)




Combat service support must be adapted to the mobile, equipment-heavy nature of the MTF operation. This may be accomplished by establishing echelons of combat service support which will support the MTF mission. These direct support or attached echelons are: a Combat Service Support Element (CSSE); a Mobile Combat Support Detachment (MCSSD); and unit trains. The CSSE, at the MAGTF combat service support area (CSSA), normally replenishes the MCSSD which moves as required to provide support and is normally in direct support of the regimental-sized MTF. If employed, the MCSSD, in turn, augments or replenishes the unit CSS trains. Figure 26 shows the echelons of support for a MTF.


a. A battalion-sized MTF will normally operate close enough to the MAGTF to receive its combat service support from organic battalion and/or company trains which are replenished and supported directly from the MAGTF CSSE. Battalion-sized MTF's would, therefore, not normally require a MCSSD, unless unit trains proved insufficient.


b. A regimental-sized MTF will normally require a MCSSD when the MTF operates

far enough from the MAGTF CSSE to render direct replenishment and support

impractical. In cases when the regimental-sized MTF is operating at an

extended distance from the MAGTF's CSSE then a MCSSD should be formed from

CSSE assets and move as required to be responsive to the combat service

support needs of the MTF, often as an attachment to the MTF unit trains.




Figure 26. Echelonment of CSS Elements






The various echelons of support are organized to provide support as far forward as is feasible, and at the same time, provide centralized control, redundancy, and layers of successively increasing support capability. The organization of this combat service support will depend on the type of operation, the resources available, and the factors of METT.


a. The Combat Service Support Element. The CSSE contains the equipment supplies and personnel needed to provide support for all MAGTF elements. The CSSE must be prepared to provide materiel and personnel to form a MCSSD and/or to support specific combat elements when a MTF is organized. The CSSE in the rear area may be either a separate element totally dedicated to the MTF or be part of a larger MAGTF CSSE.


b. The Mobile Combat Service Support Detachment. The MCSSD provides the MTF

with combat service support by moving in trace of the force by means of

vehicle convoy. Supplies and maintenance contact (repair) teams are

dispatched from the MCSSD to the unit CSS trains or directly to the maneuver

units as needed. The emphasis is on repairing and replenishing the maneuver

units as far forward and as quickly as possible. If a disabled vehicle cannot

be repaired on site by unit mechanics or maintenance contact teams, it is

towed to an established collection point. During slow-moving operations,

disabled vehicles can usually be towed and later repaired. When the vehicle

cannot be repaired or if the vehicle cannot be towed without sacrificing

speed, mobility, and the mission, it may be left for future evacuation. The

MCSSD should have an operations center to maintain situation maps

And communications unless it operates as part of the MTF trains. All CSS

elements must know and understand the MTF's current and future scheme of

maneuver in order to provide support rapidly with minimal orders.


c. Unit Trains. MTF's group this organic and attached combat service support units into a unit, designated the trains, for the purpose of controlling CSS during battle. Such procedures allow CSS to operate forward in the battle area, where it must maneuver according to tactical situations facing the MTF and, occasionally, receive intelligence and fire support from the parent MTF. The unit 5-4 normally commands or designates commanders of the trains.


d. Echelonment of Trains


(1) Depending on the nature of the operation, unit trains may be split into sections designated combat trains and field trails. Combat trains generally contain that CSS necessary for immediate combat and tactical operations for a limited (e.g., 24 hours) period. Field trains contain the remainder of CSS and MTF administration sections, not crucial to the tactical situation and relegated to a rear support area, from which the combat trains are sustained and supported.


(2) Trains of each type may be consolidated at a higher level (e.g., battalion combat trains at regiment combat trains), depending on conditions of METT. In general, as terrain opens and the situation becomes more fluid and lines less distinct, the trains tend to be consolidated at higher levels and logistic efforts become more centralized and deliberate. For example, an MTF operating in forests and swamps would probably field combat trains down to the company level (ignoring for a moment the unsuitability of the MTF in such action) yet if it shifted location to an attack in the desert, combat trains might be consolidated at the regiment level. When the MTF pauses to rearm, refuel and repair, the consolidated regimental trains might service each battalion in turn, or split into battalion trains to service them simultaneously.


d. Composition of Trains. The mission and tactical situation determine the composition of unit trains. In defensive and slow-moving offensive operations, a limited number of supply vehicles are normally located in the combat trains. The field trains are then positioned close enough to the combat elements to supply them daily via the combat trains. In fast-moving offensive operations, additional organic combat service support elements should be placed in the combat trains since the location and disposition of the field trains may preclude them from issuing supplies on a daily basis. Regardless of the trains area from which supplies will be issued to the combat units, the supply vehicles must be organized to respond to the demand of the supported units.


(1) Typical combat trains might consist of the followings:


- Command section (unit S-4 or designated officer).


- Attached security (antitank of air defense, usually).


- Ammunition section (usually a basic load for the total of MTF weapons, excluding artillery).


- Fuel section (diesel fuel on the order of 100 gal per tank, 100 gal per LVT, 20 per other vehicle per day of supply. Gasoline should be delivered in drums for the few vehicles in the battle area requiring it).


- Medical section (forward BAS or RAS and evacuation vehicles).


-Maintenance section (recovery vehicles, maintenance teams).


-Supply section (class I, IV, IX).


(2) Because the MTF is task organized and reflected a varied density of weapons, vehicles and equipment, no attempt is made here to standardize trains composition. To some extent, planning is simplified if the attachments to the MTF include trains. In particular, tank and assault amphibian companies attached to infantry battalion MTF's must have company trains attached for the reinforcement of the MTF they join. Deficiencies remaining in the MTF trains must be anticipated and filled out by detachments from CSSE of the MAGTF. In the case of a regiment-sized MTF, the collective deficiencies of all the MTF's and any desired additional echelon at the regiment trains level must be requested of the CSSE by the GCE. MAGTF commanders must be aware, therefore, of the CSSE reinforcements necessary to facilitate the formation of MTF's in GCE. Often, this reinforcement will take the form of an MCSSE placed in direct support of a regimental MTF. This MCSSD may be merged with MTF unit trains to form an enlarged regiment combat trains. It will prove most advantageous to detail the senior assault amphibian unit commander to control these MTF trains, as he has the headquarters, communications equipment and CSS experience to organize and execute CSS in mobile environment. In such cases, the AA Battalion will control the regiment combat trains and the AA Company the battalion's combat trains in MTF's organized around infantry units.




a. A MCSSD adds depth to the CSS capability of the MTF. It reinforces and expands the capabilities of the unit trains and may be orgainized to include mission essential capabilities beyond those of the unit trains.


(1) When the MCSSD operates separately from the MTF, not as part of MTF trains, the designated MCSSD commander assumes responsibility for its tactical movement and responds to CSS requirements of the MTF S-4 and MTF trains.


(2) When tasked to form part of the MTF trains, the MCSSD commander usually reports to a designated trains commander for his tactical and CSS tasking.


b. The focus of MCSSD operations is: the rapid restoration of unit train capability to supply the combat forces of their unit; to relieve the trains of responsibility for personnel or equipment casualties that cannot be rapidly treated or repaired and returned to a combat ready status; to provide additional support personnel or equipment to trains or directly to combat forces to perform critical tasks beyond their capabilities, normally via the use of contract teams maintenance or other personnel.


(1) To the extent operational condition permit and within their capability MCSSD personnel collect and salvage damaged or abandoned equipment and supplies for use by the MTF or for further evacuation.


(2) When direct evacuation of wounded personnel is impossible the MCSSD may collect, stabilize, treat, and hold casualties. If so tasked they arrange and conduct further evacuation as rapidly as possible.


(3) The MCSSD may also be required to collect the dead, to arrange their

evacuation to field mortuaries or to perform and record temporary burials.


c. A MCSSD, when supporting the MTF organization, and not attached to MTF trains, still places additional command, control, security, and coordination burdens upon the commander. Its positioning and movement, as well as its mobility are significant factors as to the degree of operational flexibility the MTF commander is able to exercise.


(1) The MCSSD commander is responsible to the MTF commander to carry out

those support tasks he may direct.


(2) It moves and is positioned by the MCSSD commander in accordance with

MTF tactical plans and the requirements for support.


(3) The S-4 of the MTF exercises staff supervision over the CSS functions of the MCSSD and the internal support procedures of the MTF.


(4) A combat service support center (CSSC) is established by the MCSSD

commander to coordinate, control, and monitor the status of supplies,

transportation, equipment maintenance, the activity of MTF, and his CSS



d. The MCSSD commander monitors the activity of the MTF, is directed to provide support, and coordinates his elements activities through his CSSC. MCSS activity is not suspended when enemy contact is made by MTF units unless the MCSSD itself is attacked.


(1) It continues to perform replenishment or maintenance in accordance with established priorities to those units not actively engaged to the degree that enemy activity will permit.


(2) As the engagement develops the MCSSD commander and his staff utilize any information received via the CSSC to formulate preliminary plans to assist the engaged units, if requested, during the engagement or restore its combat effectiveness afterwards.


(3) They coordinate with their supporting CSS activity or base the replacement of critical items of equipment or replenishment of critical supplies lost, destroyed, or consumed during the engagement.


f. Administrative procedures and documentation are eliminated to the extent possible and logs or issue slips are utilized in place of multiple copies of standard forms. Inventory control is more important than formal accounting in forward areas.




The composition, mission and time distance factors of the MTF must be accurately assessed by CSS planners to ensure that functional areas under CSS cognizance fully support the MTF.


a. Supply. In a MTF operations, all of the normal functions of supply must take place; however, there is increased emphasis on speed of replenishment, priorities of supply, availability and placement of supplies, and proximity to the maneuver elements. The two most critical supply items are ammunition and fuel, closely followed by repair parts and maintenance supplies. The large volume of fuel (probably in excess of 50 percent by weight of supplies) and munitions required by sustained MTF operations is a critical consideration and demands added awareness on the part of tactical unit commanders and logisticians alike. Serious consideration must be given to establishing supply dumps well forward along all axes of advance, colocating maintenance contact teams and repair parts far forward under centralized control for prioritized maintenance work, and planning redundancy into supply evolutions. Considerable preplanned supply by both air and ground transportation is required. The CSS units must also be capable of capitalizing on any tactically advantageous situation (such as a lull in the battle) to conduct resupply operations. Double handling of material should be minimized and resupply from the source direct to the user (especially ammunition and fuel) is desired when possible.


b. Repair Parts. Timely maintenance support can only be accomplished if repair parts are well forward in close proximity to maintenance personnel. Repair parts must be easily identifiable and readily available. It is advisable to package certain high usage items in blocks and colocate these blocks with the primary user/using unit. It should be noted that supply usage data is based largely on a garrison environment, so this data must be adjusted to reflect surge requirements anticipated for combat operations and validated whenever possible in realistic training exercise. To achieve timely support during MTF operation, CSS planners must reduce time consuming garrison paperwork procedures. Provisions must be made for secondary repairable to be released prior to receipt of items to be exchanged, and for selective interchange or cannibalization of nonrepairables to keep vehicle availability high.


c. Replenishment. Replenishment of the MTF should be a planned event with redundancy in execution (using both ground and air means). This replenishment must be controlled according to a prioritization system driven by the tactical situation. Within the MTF, supply point, unit distribution, or a combination of these two methods can be used.


d. Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL). POL usage and replenishment are major factors in successful MTF operations. Current T/E bulk fuel handling equipment appears to be insufficient, particularly in refuelers. Request for equipment augmentation must be submitted early in the planning phase of each exercise and steps taken to modify T/E's as appropriate. One method of reducing this problem is to fill all unused space in all vehicles with five-gallon cans or 55-gallon drums of POL. As mentioned before, establishment of efficient mobile fuel depots in the MCSSD to provide rapid and efficient transloading of fuel to the refuelers in the CSS train is an absolute necessity and heavy usage of bulk fuel replenishment direct from source to users is anticipated. In this regard, helicopter are expected to be an important and critical link in the bulk fuel distribution system.


e. Maintenance. Operator level preventive maintenance is the key to successful equipment availability in MTF operations. In a swift, short distance operation, little time may be available for any type of maintenance. In extended operations more time exists to maintenance efforts and maintenance teams can be deployed. Repair parts availability is another factor in how much time is available for repair. Some preoperation maintenance and supply interaction may be necessary to assemble repair parts into a quick-fix configuration (e.g., spare tires may be mounted to tire rims). Placement of maintenance assets within the MTF is a third planning consideration. Some elements should be well forward to allow quick repairs. Maintenance teams, like the supported units, should be organized to provide a mixture of repair capabilities (e.g., communications, automotive, hull, turret, etc.). Planning for general support maintenance assets must also be considered. Repair and maintenance activities (using contact teams) should take place well forward to conserve the time and fuel required to evacuate equipment to a central maintenance area. The first priority should likewise immediate attention to those vehicles that can be repaired quickly and easily and returned to the battle right away. Units should utilize the echelons of maintenance available and not attempt to repair vehicles that require more than one hour for repairs (except for lulls in fighting or similar opportunities). Unit CSS trains should likewise not delay movement of the maneuver elements for repairs, but should leave them for the MCSSD, if employed, at a centralized point and stay forward with the maneuver elements. It is important to remember that crews must stay with their vehicles during repair to facilitate return to the front once repair has been accomplished. Combat vehicles under repair also augment the defense of the MCSSD.


f. Medical. Much like maintenance activities, the medical priorities should be aimed at providing immediate attention to casualties well forward so that minor injuries can be treated and the Marines returned to their unit if possible. More serious casualties should be evacuated to centralized locations for treatment. Initial medical treatment for MTF casualties is provided by medical personnel organic to the maneuver forces. In the maneuver elements, battalion medical personnel generally move with the trains. Those casualties requiring additional treatment are evacuated to the MCSSD for collection and further evacuation to the medical company located at the CSSE. If air evacuation assets are available, casualties can be moved directly from the CSS trains to the CSSE. Although helicopters and ambulance may be readily available to evacuate casualties, consideration should be given to rigging an AAV as an ambulance to retrieve and evacuate casualties under fire.


g. Landing Support. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft can be used as a means of replenishment for a MCATF. Landing support assets must be sufficient to handle the volume of aircraft utilized for these missions. POL replenishment and ammunition resupply require extensive landing support and engineer coordination.







ATP-35 Land Force Tactical Doctrine




FMFM 0-1 Marine Air-Ground Task Force Doctrine

FMFM 3-1 Command and Staff Action


FMFM 5-1 Marine Aviation


FMFM 5-4 Offensive Air Support


FMFM 5-5 Antiair Warfare


FMFM 5-5C Employment of Forward Area Air Defense Battery


FMFM 6-2 Marine Infantry Regiment


FMFM 6-3 Marine Infantry Battalion


FMFM 7-1 Fire Support Coordination


FMFM 7-2 Naval Gunfire Support


FMFM 7-4 Field Artillery Support


FMFM 8-1 Special Operations


FMFM 9-1 Tank Employment/Countermechanized Operations


FMFM 9-2 Amphibious Vehicles


FMFM 10-1 Communications


FMFM 11-1 NBC Operations in the FMF




LFM 0-1 Doctrine for Amphibious Operations


LFM 0-2 Doctrine for Landing Forces




OH 3-4 Electronic Warfare Operations Handbook


OH 3-5 Tactical Deception


OH 7-4 M198 Howitzer 155mm Towed


OH 8-5 Cold Weather Operations


OH 9-4 Organization and Operational Concepts for the Light Armored Assault Battalion


OH 11-1 NBC Defense




FM 5-100 Engineer Combat Operations


FM 6-20 Fire Support in Combined Arms Operations


FM 17-12 Tank Gunnery


FM 17-95 Cavalry


FM 21-30 Military Symbols


FM 71-1 The Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team


FM 71-2 The Tank and Mechanized Infantry Task Force


FM 71-100 Armored and Mechanized Division Operations


FM 90-10 Military Operations on Organized Terrain


FM 90-13 River Crossing Operations


FM 100-5 Operations




NWP 22-2 Supporting Arms in Amphibious Operations




DDB-1110-1-79 The Soviet Motorized Rifle Division


DDB-1100-197-78 The Soviet Motorized Rifle Battalion


DDI-1100-77-76 The Soviet Motorized Rifle Company


DDB-1100-329-81 Review of the Soviet Ground Forces


DDB-1100-225-80 Warsaw Pact Ground Forces Equipment Identification

Guide: Armored Fighting Vehicles


DDB-1130-8-82 Soviet Front Fire Support




The following FM's are scheduled for publication in early 1984. Once published, these FM will be the authoritative text on Threat Equipment and Doctrine:


FM-100-2-1 Soviet Army Operations & Tactics


FM-100-2-2 Soviet Specialized Warfare and Rear Area Support


FM-100-2-3 Organization and Equipment of the Soviet Army




Adan, Avraham. The Banks of the Suez (San Francisco, 1980)


Alman, Karl (ed.). Panzer Vor! (Bochum, 1974)


Biryukov, G. and G. Melnikov. Antitank Warfare (Moscow, 1972)


Carius, Otto. Tiger in Schlamm. (Neckargemuend, 1967)


Crisp, Robert. Brazen Chariots. (New York, 1961)


Fuller, J.F.C. Machine Warfare (Washington, 1943)


Guderian, Heinz. Panzer Leader (New York, 1952)


Hart, B.H. Liddell. The Rommel Diaries. (London, 1953)


Marshall, S.L.A. Sinai Victory. (New York, 1967)


Mellenthin, F.W. Von. Panzer Battles. (Norman, 1956)


Schaeufler, Hand (ed.). Der Weg War Weit. (Neckargemuend, 1973)


Schmidt, Heinz W. With Rommel in the Desert. (London, 1951)


Simpkin, Richard E. Antitank. (Oxford, 1982)


_________. Mechanized Infantry. (Oxford, 1980)


_________. Red Armor. (Oxford, 1984)


Starry, Don. Mounted Combat in Vietnam. (Washington, 1978)


Steiger, Rudolf. Panzertaktik Spiegel Deutscher Kriegstagebuecher

1939-41. (Frieburg, 1973). Trans. by US Army Chief of Staff for

Intelligence, No. K5852 as "Armored Tactics as Reflected in 1939-41

German War Diaries".(Washington, 1975)


Teveth, Shabtai. The Tanks of Tammuz. (New York, 1969)


Weeks, John. Men Against Tanks. (New York, 1975)




Dept of Army Pamphlets; German Report Series; available from Chief

of Military History, 20 Massachusetts Ave., Washington DC. These include:

DA Pam 20-201 Military Improvisations during the Russian Campaign

DA Pam 20-202 German Tank Maintenance in World War II

DA Pam 20-233 Defense Against Breakthrough

DA Pam 20-234 Operations of Encircled Forces

DA Pam 20-242 German Armored Traffic Control

DA Pam 20-269 Small Unit Actions During the German Campaign in Russia






1. General. This operational handbook is limited in scope and cannot hope to cover all appropriate topics or go into any great detail on those addressed. Additional information is contained in the various publications brought to the user's attention throughout this handbook and presented in ANNEX A. There are other circumstances in which the MTF may be employed which are briefly mentioned below to draw attention to them and the fact that such employment entails unique considerations to be addressed in planning; particularly in that the MTF may be employed in environments with which it is not normally associated, but in which it may well find itself.


2. Environments


a. Military Operations in Urban Terrain. Urban areas are not conductive to MTF Operations. However, it is quite possible that built up areas will exist in the MTF's zone, and it may not be possible to bypass them. Successful operations can be conducted using all weapons of the MTF.


(1) Inside the built-up areas the infantry, normally dismounted, performs the key functions. While attacking, it routinely leads, often fighting from house to house and room to room. In the defense it occupies and strengthens forward positions inside buildings. Engineers act in reinforcement of the infantry in MOUT.


(2) Tanks may move forward for a rapid thrust through light construction, but their vulnerabilities must be recognized. In heavier construction, tanks must use the cover of cleared buildings to support infantry movement by fire. The tanks operate as an overwatch force to:


(a) Neutralize enemy positions by fire


(b) Destroy barricades and anti-infantry obstacles by fire.


(c) Force entry into buildings for infantry by main-gun fire or knocking down part of the building.


(d) Establish roadblocks or fire lanes to kill any with drawing enemy.


(e) Secure an occupied building in combination with assigned infantry security elements.


(f) If the task force is also responsible for terrain outside the built-up area, the commander may employ a majority of tanks there to capitalize on their mobility and range.


(3) ATGM's are also most effectively employed on surrounding terrain features, to isolate the built-up area and prevent enemy reinforcement. At times, however, the best fields-of-fire and protection may be from inside the built-up areas. Like tanks, ATGM's can use the cover of cleared buildings, exposing themselves only long enough to engage the target. TOW's can also be dismounted and placed inside buildings if enough internal space exists.


(4) Available engineer elements become especially valuable. They create and breach obstacles and barriers, assist the team with explosives, clear away rubble, maintain routes for combat vehicles, and breach walls to permit movement through buildings. They can also create rubble and other obstacles to enemy movement.













Crew 4




Combat loaded 112,000 lbs (56 tins)

Ground Pressure 11.1 psi




Length (gun in travel lock) 325 in.

Height (lowest operable) 129.5 in.

Width 143 in.




Maximum Speed 30 mph

Cruising range 300 mi.

Maximum grade ascending ability 60%

Maximum fording ability w/o kit 48 in.

Maximum fording ability w/kit 96 in

Maximum vertical wall scaling ability 36 in.

Maximum trench-corssing ability 102 in.



Detailed information can be found in FM 90-10, Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain, and FM 71-1 Tank and Mechanized Company Team.


b. Desert Operations. The MTF is most closely associated with desert terrain. However, it must be realized that deserts have their own limiting influences on the use of vehicles in the MTF. Many deserts are quite rocky or laced with gullies that restrict cross country mobility. The environment is as harsh on vehicles and equipment as on men. The lack of water has implications for vehicle maintenance as does constantly blowing sand with its abrasive effects (particularly in contaminating lubricants). Vehicle accidents will increase as the debilitating effects of heat, fatigue and thirst reduce driver alertness. Many areas are highly destructive to rubber tires on wheeled vehicles requiring constant repair and resupply. FM 90-3 Desert Operations provides guidance on operations in this demanding environment.


c. Cold Weather Operations. Extreme cold requires as much preparation of equipment as it does of personnel. Metal becomes brittle, lubricating oil becomes more viscous, condensation freezes moving parts and weapons effects are altered. OH 8-5 Cold Weather Operations Handbook devotes a chapter specifically to mechanized operations and cold's effect on mobility, maintenance and gunnery, as well as other pertinent considerations. FM 31-70, Basic Cold Weather Manual and the respective equipment technical manuals (TM) should also be consulted.


d. Night Operations. As image intensification and thermal viewing devices become more widely fielded, the MTF gains increasing capability to conduct night operations. Night vision devices allow observation and engagement at long range with vehicle weapons systems; cross-country mobility is degraded by the darkness; yet the force is able to utilize the darkness to conceal its movement. While Soviet doctrine emphasizes night operations and requires 40% of training to be conducted at night, few units meet that requirement. Training conducted is often unrealistic; despite a variety of night vision devices of their own, vehicle headlights and flashlights are often used to maintain control and orientation. This therefore, could be an area where the MTF could gain a significant advantage through use of technology and higher quality training.


e. Mountain Operations. Although mountains are generally recognized to impose severe limitations on mechanized opertions, the Germans in World War II successfully conducted armored operations in the mountains of Greece and Yugoslavia. While a task organized Marine force in a mountainous region is not likely to have a large number of mounted units, circumstances could make such an organization desirable. Characteristics of mountain environments that may adversely effect equipment and have impact on operations include terrain, altitude, cold and precipitation or fog. Their relative importance varies from winter to summer among different mountainous areas. There is no simple system for classifying these areas as the specific characteristics of each major mountain range are determined by its soil composition, surface configuration, altitude, latitude, and climatic pattern. Some mountains, such as those found in desert regions, are dry and barren with temperatures ranging from extreme heat in summer to a extreme cold in winter. In tropical regions, mountains are frequently covered by jungle with hevy seasonal rains and little temperature variation. High, rocky crags, with glaciated peaks and year around snow cover, can be found in mountain ranges at most latitudes along the western portion of the Americas and in Asia. FM 90-6 Mountain Operations addresses the environmental effects on equipment and its employment as well as personnel and training considerations.




Main 105mm Gun, M68

Coaxial 7.62mm MG, M60E2

Dual purpose .50 cal. MG, M85

Turrent traverse 360 degrees

Maximum elevation of gun +20 degrees

Maximum depression of gun -10 degrees

Maximum elevation of 50 cal. MG +60o

Maximum depression of 50 cal. MG -15o

Stabilized fire control provides for accurate "shoot on the move" capability.




Main gun - Maximum effective range 4400 m. with a high probability of a first round hit on a tank size target at 1500-2500 m, depending upon state of training.


Machine gun, .50 cal. - Maximum effective range approximately 1600m. as determined by tracer burn out.


Machine gun, 7.62mm - Maximum effective range 900m.


Ammunition Capacity and Types


105mm - 63 rd. capacity - APDS, HEAT, HEP, WP, APERS

.50 cal. - 900 rds.

7.62 mm - 5950 rds.


Night Vision Capability


Passive - approximately 2000m.

Tank Commander






Source - Search light (white and infrared light)

Receiver - M19 Binoculars


Communications Equipment - One FM receiver/transmitter and two FM receivers which operate in the common Inf/Arty/Tank VHF bands. Radio equipment has switching capability on 10 pre-set frequencies and will monitor up to 3 frequencies simultaneously.


Capacity, Fuel Tanks 375 gal.


*Fuel consumption 1.13 gal/mile (flat terrain)

Resupply 100 gal/tk/day


*To be used for planning purposes only. These are average figures. Consumption may be high than those figures or less, depending on the tactical situation and the terrain.




Technical Data


Crew: 4

Weight: 56 Tons (Combat Loaded)

Cruising Range: 300 mi.

Maximum Speed: 27 mph w/o Towed Load

18 mph w/Towed Load

Boom Capacity: 25 Tons

Winch Capacity: 200' of 1- in. Cable

200' of 5/8 in. Cable


Mounted: 50 cal. MG, M2, (1500 rounds)

Unmounted: LAAW







Crew 2



System 173 lbs.

Missile 54 lbs.


Prime Mover Truck, GME


Performance Comparable to M151A2

ton, 4x4 truck


Missile System


Maximum range 3750 m (Improved Ton Missile)

Time of flight 14.5 seconds for 3000 m.

Fire Control 13x optical sight


Gunner must have unobstructed view of the target.


Ammunition Capacity


Prime mover (GME) missile rack-2 missiles

Missile carrier (truck, GMC) 6 missiles

The carrier, a modified -ton truck is provided for every two launcher

Systems, forming the TOW squad.


Communication - One FM receiver/transmitter which operates in the common Inf/Arty/Tank VHF band.


Transportation- The vehicle mounted TOW system can be transported as follows:

Internally carried in a CH-53 helicopter, 2/aircraft.

Externally carried by the CH-46.

Internally carried in an LVTP7. However, the TOW launcher and other components must be dismounted from the GME.




Crew 3



Combat loaded 51, 984 lbs. (26 tons)

Ground pressure 8.0 psi




Length 312 in.

Height 122 in.

Width 128 in.




Maximum speed, land 40 mph

Maximum speed, water 8.4 mph

Crusing range, land 300 mi.

Crusing range, water at 8 mph 56 mi.

Maximum grade ascending ability

Forward 60%

Side 60%

Maximum vertical wall scaling

ability 36 in.

Maximum trench-crossing ability 96 in.

Surf crossing ability Sea State 3;

10 ft. plunging surf


Armament .50 cal. MG, M85


Communications Equipment - Two FM receivers/transmitters and 2 FM receivers

which operate in the common Inf/Arty/Tank band; 10-frequency switching


Magnetic navigation set - Compass w/remote sensing device that provides

magnetic compass readings.


Cargo Compartment Dimensions


Length 14 ft.

Height 5.5 ft.

Width 6 ft.


Payload Capacity


Troops (seated/combat equipped) 25

Cargo (supplies and equipment) 10,000 lbs.


Engine 8 cyl., 400 hp, diesel


*Fuel consumption 1.08 gal/mile (flat terrain)

15.15 gal/hr/land

24.5 gal/hr/water/10,000 lbs cargo

18.6 gal/hr/water/troops

125 gal/veh/day



*To be used for planning purposes. These are average figures. Consumption may be higher than these figures or less, depending upon the tactical situation and terrain.



Crew 3



Combat loaded 46,280 lbs. (23 tons)

Ground pressure 7.1 psi




Length 312 in.

Height 114 in.

Width 128 in.


Capacity, Fuel Tanks 180 gal.


Performance (as LVTP7)


Armament M60D MG, pintle mounted





Crew 5



Combat loaded 51,645 lbs (25 tons)

Ground pressure 7.9 psi




Length 323 in.

Height 129 in.

Width 128 in.


Performance (as LVTP7)


Armament M60 MG, pintle mounted


Crane Capacities


Boom retracted 9,5000 lbs.

Boom ful extended 6,000 lbs.


Winch Capacities

Crane Winch 85 ft. of in. cable


Recovery Winch 278 ft. of in. cable










One of the major virtues of the LVTC-7 (C-7) has been its ability to serve as a command post vehicle. The C-7 possesses the communications capabilities to be an extremely effective command and control vehicle in a fast moving environment when used by commanders and staffs well trained in its employment and familiar with its equipment.




From the communications point of view, the C-7 offers the commander a very reliable and highly flexible means of communication. The C-7 has incorporated into one system many of the same radio systems that are utilized as separate radio sets within the Fleet Marine Forces.


3. SEATING (design)


a. Five Radio Operator positions, port side.

b. 1 Switchboard Operator position, forward, port side.

c. 4 Staff positions, starboard side.

d. 1 Troop Commander's Cupula, port side.




In addition to the vehicular power source and auxiliary unit a 4.2 KW generator (50 Amps at 30 Volts, D. C.) is provided.




The LVTC-7 has communications system that provide communications for the vehicle crew and the embarked unit. These are broken down into three systems.


a. Vehicle Crew Communication System


(1) Radios


(a) One RT-246 receiver-transmitter.

(b) Two C-2742 remote control boxes.

(c) Two R-442 radio receivers.

(d) One AS-1729 antenna.

(e) One antenna for all R-442 receivers in the vehicle


(2) Intercom


(a) One AM-1780 amplifier.

(b) Four C-2298 intercom control boxes.


b. Staff Communications System


(1) Commander


(a) One C-9340 master control box.

(b) One C-2298 intercom control box.

(c) One H-330 headset-microphone.

(d) One telephone terminal for TA-312/PT.


(2) Staff


(a) One AM-1780 amplifier.

(b) Four C-2298 intercom control boxes.

(c) Four H-161 headset-microphones.

(d) Two telephone terminals for TA-312/PT.

(e)        The starboard side of the command vehicle provides seats for

four staff officers.


Each of these positions is equipped with the staff intercomm system which allows communication with the Master Control System.


c. Operators Communication System (Command)


(1) Operator #1

(a) One RT-246 receiver-transmitter.

(b) One AS-1729 antenna.

(c) One R-442 radio receiver.

(d) One C-8884 radio transfer box.

(e) Two KY-38 (supplied by using unit).

(f) One C-9619 control box.

(g) One H-330 headset-microphone.


(2) Operator #2 - Same as Operator #1.




(a) One RT-841 receiver transmitter.

(b) One AS-1729 antenna.

(c) One KY-38 (supplied by using unit).

(d) One C-9619 control box.

(e) One H-330 headset-microphone.


(4) Operator #4


(a) One RT-841 receiver transmitter.

(b) One AS-1729 antenna.

(c) One RT-695A receiver-transmitter.

(d) One AS-1404 antenna.

(e) Two KY-38 (supplied by using unit).

(f) One C-9619 control box.

(g) One H-330 headset-microphone.

(5) Operator 15


(a) One RT-671 receiver-transmitter

(b) One antenna for RT-671.

(c) One C-9619 control box.

(d) One H-330 headset-microphone.


(6) Telephone System


(a) One SB-22/PT switchborad (12 lines and operators pack).

(b) One SB-22/PT switchboard (17 lines).

(c) One terminal box with cable (26 pairs).

(d)        Three telephone terminals (one at master station and two at

staff stations).




a.        The radio frequency ranges employed in the command vehicle radio provide

the commander with the capability of talking to higher headquarters as well as subordinate units. In addition, all VHF and UHF circuits can be used with secure voice crypto systems.


b.        There are five command radio operator positions on the port side

permanently manned by radio operators. There are a total of eight radios on this side. Six of these radios will transmit as well as receive. The other two radios will receive only and are used to monitor traffic. There is also a sixth alternate wire position.


c.        Positions one and two have identical systems and are very similar to the

main infantry radio jeep, the MRC-109 (the C-7 uses an RT-246 vice the RT-524 which is utilized on the MRC-109). Each position has two radios; one receiver-transmitter (RT-246) and one receiver (R-442). The receiver-transmitter has 10 present channels. This means that at a predetermined time, 10 different VHF frequencies can be set on the radio. At the push of a button the operator can

separately monitor or transmit on any one of the ten (10) preset frequencies.

For example: prior to deployment, the Battalion S-3 knows frequency 30.10 is

the Battalion Tac Net, 40.20 is the "A" Company Tac Net and 50.30 is the "B"

Company Tac Net. Each of these nets, along with seven other nets (a total of

ten) has been assigned a button number on the radio. In this case, button

number one is the Battalion Tac, button number two is "A" Company Tac and

button number three is "B" Company Tac. By having the operator push the

corresponding button, the S-3 can enter into any one of the nets - either to

monitor or transmit. Thus, he can get an account of what is actually going on

within a company. The sequence and the nets to be preset are up to the user's



d.        It is imperative that well qualified personnel work stations one and two.

At these positions, the operator is monitoring one net and receiving-transmitting over another. This is done because the volume from the receiver-transmitter (RT-246) overrides the volume of the radio receiver on position "B" when the switch on the operator's control box is in position "A". The receiver volume will override the receiver transmitter volume when the switch on the operator's control box is in position "B".


e.        Position 3 is no more than the standard man-pack radio in the Marine

Corps, the PRC-77 (when configured in the C-7 it is referred to as an RT-841). It is used for short range communications. This radio has two present channels.


f.        Position 4 has two radios. Position 4A has a receiver-transmitter, RT-

841/PRC-77. Position 4B has a receiver-transmitter (RT-695A) which is UHF. It is the only UHF radio on the C-7. UHF radio is the primary air/ground radio in the C-7, therefore it is usually used as the TAD net radio. This radio, like all radios in position 1-4, can be used with crypto for secure voice communications.


g.        Position 5 has one position with a receiver-transmitter (PRC-104), an HF



h. A sixth alternate position provides wire communication between the command tractor and external units or sections. A stacked switchboard provides the commander with 29 telephone lines. Three of these lines have been prewired to the staff side of the tractor. Twenty-six other lines can be run from the switchboard via an external wire terminal to sections or units outside the tractor. In addition, the switchboard can be wired into a multi-channel radio system providing the commander with access into the field telephone system of senior and subordinate units.


i. As far as the staff is concerned, the key to command is the Master Control Box (MCB). The MCB is the "brain center" of the vehicle and is located on the starboard side. The Master Control Box enables the cognizant staff officer to talk over three different intercommunications system: The staff intercom (connecting the staff officers and the MCB); and, the communications intercom (connecting all radio operators and the MCB). The Master Control Box position enables the cognizant staff member to monitor each radio. By having the flexibility of using these different communications systems, the Master Control Station has the ability to communicate with the vehicle commander, the radio operators, the staff aboard, and any units which are on the same frequency that any of the C-7 radios are on. Thus, it is desirable that under ordinary circumstances the Communications Officer be the staff officer exercising control over the Master Control Station.





Familiarization is the key to success when employing the LVTC-7 and all battalion/regimental staff officers and communicatiors should participate in the briefing and training exercises.


a. The designation of staff officers to occupy the LVTC-7 is at the discretion of the commander, with consideration given to functioning and dispersion of his staff. Additional staff or support personnel may accompany the command post vehicle in the escort vehicle (LVTP-7).


b. Designation of nets to be activated from LVTC-7 assets should be jointly seleted by the S-3 and Communications Officer, giving careful consideration to equipment availability, capabilities and limitations.


c. The receiver-transmitter (RTR-246) at positions one and two have a limit on their transmit capability. On high power they can reach more distant stations than most other VHF radios (one exception is the RT-524 which has the same power output) and are usually able to overcome low power jamming. However, for every minute of transmission on high power, there must be nine minutes of reception. On low power, there are two minutes of transmission for every nine minutes of reception. If these guidelines are not followed, there is a possibility that the radio will overheat and trip its circuit breaker.


d. A Z-ACD vice the standard Z-ACC power pack is used to supply power to the KY-38s. The Z-ACD plugs into the tractor electrical system. The Z-ACC can be used if necessary and is powered with BA-4386's. Care should be used in ensuring that the crypto does not overheat. It should be kept well ventilated, particularly in hot, humid climates.


e. The C-7 has four through the hull connectors which enable other antennas to be hooked up to the radios to enhance quality and range. This is done by placing the free end of the coaxial cable into the connector on top of the vehicle and unhooking the RF cable from the matching unit inside the vehicle and hooking it to the bottom of the through hull connector.


f. At long halts, the radios can be removed from the vehicle.


g. Due to the number of moving parts on the vehicle, there is a great deal of noise. The noise problem can be reduced by ensuring that the radio operators have enough time to work with the C-7. Experience shows that with practice, trained operators are affected minimally by the vehicle noise.


h. When the C-7 is in a stationary position, it can be powered by a 4.2 kw generator which comes with the vehicle. This generator or auxiliary power unit (APU) will power the communications system and can be remoted with a 100 foot slave cable to reduce noise inside the vehicle. The APU is extremely useful when halted to conserve fuel, allow vehicle maintenance, and most importantly, to reduce the noise level within the vehicle. However, experience has shown the APU to be rather fragile. Care and proper preventative maintenance must be exercised to ensure proper APU functioning when it is required.


i. In mobile operations the HF radio is highly dependent on vehicle speed and terrain. In some instances it may only be used to transmit while at a halt; in other instances where range is not a limiting factor, the antenna maybe shortened to prevent interference with other vehicle antennae.


j. The LVTC-7 has proven' itself to be an effective command and control vehicle for MTF operations. However, a prospective C-7 user should be mindful that the extensive capabilities of the C-7 can only be fully exploited after thorough training on the vehicle.





RT-246 (VHF) 35 Watts High 30.00 - 75.95 MHz

1-3 Watts Low

R-442 (VHF) NONE 30.00 - 75.95 MHz

RT-841/PRC-77 (VHF) 2 Watts 30.00 - 75.95 MHz

RT-695A/PRC-41 (UHF) 3 Watts 225.0 - 399.9 MHz

RT-671/PRC-47 (HF) 100 Watts High 2.0 - 11.999 MHz

(To be replaced by PRC-104

20 Watts Low









1. General Visual communications must be used by MTF elements both as a substitute means to transmit commands and information and as a supplementary means to ensure ample redundancey for radio and wire communications. Within the maneuvering companies of the MTF, visual communications such as hand-and-arm signals, colored flags and display boards can be used effectively to transmit pre-arranged messages and quickly identify friendly forces. A precautionary note must also be included here: Visual communications can also be easily misunderstood and intercepted.


2. Signals. There are no common visual signals among infantry, AAV's and tanks. Yet, a MTF which includes these elements must use visual signals to communicate in an EW environment. The below listed visual signals are considered to be the most essential for platoons and companies operating as part of an MTF. The most prevalent technique has been to use hand-and-arm signals at the platoon level where dispersion of vehicles is not too great. Colored flags (red, yellow and green) and pyrotechnics are used at the company level, since they are more visible at greater distances. Pyrotechnics could serve as battalion level signals, if terrain permits.


a. Platoon Signals. Information passed within platoons generally concerns movement orders and types of formations to be employed.





Mount Up (Figure 41)

Dismount (Figure 42)

Move Out (Figure 43)

Speed Up (Figure 44)

Slow Down (Figure 45)

Spread Out (Figure 46)

Close Up (Figure 47)

Halt (Figure 48)

Form on Line (Figure 49)

Form Column (Figure 50)

Form Wedge (Figure 51)

Air Attack (Figure 52)

Sagger Attack (Figure 53)

Attack (Figure 54)


b. Company Signals. Most of the information transmitted by the companies is confined to tactics to be employed and enemy fire encountered. Company signals for formations are identical to those of the platoon. The flags are considered as extensions of arms to denote formations and tactics,light wands may be used at night. Platoon leaders must repeat signals to their platoon to

ensure prompt and correct execution.




Form on Line (Figure 55)

Form Column (Figure 56)

Form Wedge (Figure 57)



Traveling (Figure 58)

Traveling Overwatch (Figure 59)

Bounding Overwatch (Figure 60)



Mounted Attack (Figure 61)

Dismounted Attack (Figure 62)



Enemy Fire Encountered ATGM (Figure 63)

Enemy Fire Encountered Air (Figure 64)

Enemy Fire Encountered Artillery (Figure 65)


3. Display Board. Command and control of an MTF is one of the most demanding challenges a commander will experience. Any techniques that facilitates identification of friendly elements should be used since such identification will enhance the overall control of the MTF. One technique is the use of display boards on the rear of the vehicles. The below illustration deplicts how characters painted or taped to an 18"x18" board can be used to represent MTF elements.


Company A Alpha Command Group


Company B Bravo Command Group


Company C Logistics Train


Company D


As an example, these display boards used together would denote Company A's logistic train. Also, cross-attaching or attaching elements within an MTF can be enhanced by using display boards. An element of Company C (Mounted Infantry), on being attached to Company D (Tanks), reorients its boards to the left. Thus, the company D commander can quickly and easily identify all the elements of his new company. Another way to identify companies is by using various colored penents attached to antennas.



(Extend arm horizontally; raise above head)

Figure 41





(Extend arm over head; lower to side)

Figure 42




(Extend arm horizontally to rear; swing it

overhead and forward in direction of movement)

Figure 43



(Thrust fist forward vertically to full

extent of arm and back to shoulder several times)

Figure 44




(Arms horizontally to side; wave downward

Several Times. Do not move above horizontal.)

Figure 45




(Arms extended overhead; bring arms to

horizontal position; repeat.)

Figure 46




(Scissors closing motion of arms from

extension to straight before body; repeat.)

Figure 47




(Raised fist.)

Figure 48




(Arms and hands extended horizontally.)

Figure 49




(Describe complete circle in