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APPENDIX A


The Platoon Urban Operations Kit
by MAJ Jeffrey A. Bovais, Assistant TRADOC System Manager-Soldier
U.S. Army Infantry Center

1. GENERAL. The challenges of operating in an urban combat environment are many and combine to create a very hazardous condition under which soldiers must fight. It is not enough to rewrite doctrine, adjust tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP), or build elaborate training facilities. Although critical for success, these elements do not provide the soldier with the tools he needs to fight and win in a built-up area. Brigade and battalion commanders need to place emphasis on identifying what equipment is needed at the platoon level, and should provide those items in order to set their subordinate units up for success. Obviously, identifying the proper equipment should be done with input from platoon and squad leadership. These leaders know best what tools are needed in closing with and destroying the enemy. After receiving this input, brigade or battalion commanders should ensure the contents of the platoon kits are standardized. This standardization allows for cross-leveling kits for more efficient restocking and more efficient training on the use of its contents, and for ensuring that every soldier in the unit knows what to have for an urban operation. The result of such an effort is a combat force correctly equipped to meet the unique challenges of the urban environment.

2. DOCTRINAL BASE. As the brigade or battalion goes through the process of determining the contents of the platoon urban combat kit, it should structure its analysis to coincide with the tasks that must be accomplished in an attack of a built-up area. There are three primary tasks that must be accomplished during an urban attack, and each has its own unique equipment considerations. Each area is discussed below.

BREACH A MINED, WIRED OBSTACLE. This is by far the most equipment-intensive task. It requires the platoon to deal with wire and an assortment of mines, booby traps, and other debris designed to impede movement, and to fix the platoon in an area that permits the enemy to engage it with direct and indirect fires. The equipment available to the platoon should permit it to rapidly perform the elements of suppress, obscure, secure, and reduce (SOSR), with particular emphasis on reducing the obstacle. The platoon must be able to physically create a lane in the obstacle (manual as worst case if demolition is not available), to mark the lane for follow-on forces (day and night), and to rehearse those actions in a combat environment.

ENTER A BUILDING/CLEAR ROOMS. As the unit passes through the breach, it must enter the first building and clear it room by room. This obviously entails clearing booby traps and debris; entering the building from unexpected places (i.e., second-story windows); forcing doors open; creating entry points; and marking cleared rooms, buildings, and entry points. These are not tasks that the soldier is typically equipped to handle. He needs unique equipment items to accomplish the mission.

MOVE TO SUBSEQUENT BUILDINGS. It is a common observation at the Joint Readiness Training Center and in past battles that the majority of casualties occur while soldiers are moving between buildings. This means that the soldier must be able to look around corners without exposing himself to enemy observation and fire, be able to mark safe crossing areas, and be able to signal when it is safe to move to the next building. Again, this requires a thorough analysis of what equipment the soldier needs to ensure his unit moves to subsequent buildings safely.

3. CONTENTS OF THE PLATOON URBAN COMBAT KIT. Listed below are suggested items that should be included in the platoon urban combat kit. This is not a complete solution, as all units have different TTP and SOPs that demand a variety of equipment solutions. This list is designed to stimulate thought and discussion while a brigade or battalion goes through the process of providing those MOUT-specific tools that the soldier needs to survive and be successful in the urban combat. A suggested basis of issue for each item is in brackets. "The devil is in the details" and so is the solution.

Platoon Urban Combat Kit Contents:

  • Wire handling gloves {two per squad}.
  • Wire cutters {two per squad}.
  • Grappling hooks with 30-60 meter rope for clearing mines and booby traps and for moving debris inside buildings {two per squad}.
  • Marking devices for breach lanes, cleared rooms, cleared buildings, safe crossing areas between buildings; simple and clearly identifiable {two complete kits per squad}.
  • Signal devices for lifting and shifting fires and for safely moving between buildings {two per squad}.
  • Lightweight, foldable assault ladders for by-passing obstacles and for entering buildings in unexpected places {one per squad}.
  • Rehearsal area set-up items for all phases of the attack to include a sand table kit geared specifically for MOUT. This is particularly important for the breach and room clearing tasks; the sand table should replicate the actual objective {one per platoon}.
  • A mirror device for observing around corners and up stairs.
  • Shotguns with slug ammunition for opening doors (a 12-gauge breaching round is currently being developed) {one per clearing team}.
  • Crowbars, axes, and sledgehammers for forced entry into locked and barricaded rooms {one door defeated item per clearing team}.
  • Protective eyewear to shield against flying debris (wood, glass, metal, etc.) {one per soldier}.

4. SOLDIER ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM (SEP). SEP is a vehicle that unit commanders, soldiers, or civilians can use to submit proposals for new equipment to make the soldier more effective or efficient on the battlefield. This means anything that reduces the soldier's load (in either weight or bulk) or enhances lethality, survivability, command and control, sustainment, mobility, safety, training, or quality of life. Items that soldiers or units are already purchasing are strong SEP candidates. This congressionally mandated and funded program demands that the proposal must have the capability to be fielded within three years from the date the Operational Requirement Document (ORD) is approved.

After a valid proposal is submitted (see example worksheet at end of appendix), it is included in an annual review (where a council of colonels votes on new proposals and determines whether they should be funded). A SEP candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an item of equipment that is worn, carried, or consumed by the soldier for his or her individual use in a tactical environment.
  • Be commercially available (off-the-shelf with little or no modification for field military use).
  • Satisfy an operational need or battlefield deficiency.

Some examples of successful SEP items that are ongoing and will soon be fielded include:

  • Modular weapon system
  • Soldier intercom
  • Equipment belt extender
  • Land mine probe
  • Weapon flashlight mount
  • 12-gauge breaching round
  • Lightweight fragmentation grenade
  • Short-barrel M249 squad automatic rifle

The SEP is managed by TRADOC System Manager-Soldier at Fort Benning, GA. The proposal worksheet should be sent to:

TRADOC System Manager - Soldier
ATTN: ATZB-TS
Fort Benning, GA 31905-5000

The point of contact is Mr. Ken Sutton; telephone (706) 545-1189, DSN 835-1189; FAX (706) 545-1377, DSN 835-1377; e-mail: suttonk@benning.army.mil.

SEP PROPOSAL SUBMISSION FORM

TO: TSM-SOLDIER
ATTN: ATZB-TS
Fort Benning, GA 31905

1. ITEM DESCRIPTION:

2. OBJECTIVE/APPLICATION:

3. LIST POSSIBLE COMMERCIAL SOURCES (IF KNOWN):
a. __________________________________________________________________________________________
b. __________________________________________________________________________________________
c. __________________________________________________________________________________________

4. LIST ANY EXISTING REQUIREMENT DOCUMENTATION (IF KNOWN):
a. __________________________________________________________________________________________
b. __________________________________________________________________________________________

5. WILL THIS PROPOSAL REPLACE AN EXISTING ITEM(s)? IF SO, WHAT?
a. __________________________________________________________________________________________
b. __________________________________________________________________________________________

6. IS ANY OTHER SERVICE ORGANIZATION CURRENTLY USING THIS?
a. YES _____ NO _____
b. IF YES, LIST THE SERVICE _______________________________________________________________

7. IF ADOPTED, THIS PROPOSAL WILL RESULT IN (CHECK APPROPRIATE LETTER(s) BELOW: ADDITIONAL REMARKS USE THE BACK OF THIS FORM.
____ a. WEIGHT REDUCTION TO THE SOLDIER'S LOAD.
____ b. IMPROVEMENTS TO QUALITY OF LIFE IN A TACTICAL ENVIRONMENT.
____ c. IMPROVEMENTS IN SOLDIER: ____ SURVIVABILITY ____ MOBILITY ____ LETHALITY ____ SUSTAINMENT ____ COMMAND & CONTROL ____ SAFETY ____ TRAINING PROCEDURES
OTHERS (EXPLAIN):
____________________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________________

8. NAME: ___________________________________ RANK/GRADE: _________ DATE ________________
ORGANIZATION/MAILING ADDRESS: ____________________________________________________________________________________________
PHONE NUMBER: COMMERCIAL ___________________________ DSN: ___________________________

NOTE: COMMANDERS AND THEIR SOLDIERS SHOULD USE THIS FORMAT. ATTACH ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, BROCHURES, PHOTOS, ETC.

CF: PM-SOLDIER
10401 TOTTEN ROAD, SUITE 121
FT BELVOIR, VA 22060-5852


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