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by LTC John F. D'Agostino

Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) is very complex. Yet, much of the doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) used in MOUT are the same as in other offensive or defensive operations. The intent of this newsletter is to show, across the Battlefield Operation Systems (BOS), the TTP that work in MOUT. These observations are based on Combat Training Center (CTC) experiences, discussions with CTC observer controllers (O/Cs), and the reading of current doctrine.

Command and control during MOUT requires the same preparation as other operations. Course of action (COA) development, analysis, refinement, the wargame, and rehearsals are conducted as written in current publications. There are unique MOUT-related aspects in the following chapters. As always, rehearsals must be attended by all major subordinate unit leaders and must adequately detail the layout of the built-up area. It is imperative that rehearsals for MOUT operations be held at all levels to rehearse the myriad of tasks that need to be accomplished successfully to ensure mission completion. All participants in the wargame must fully understand the dynamics of the urban battlefield to properly analyze each course of action. The best place for the commander to control the battle, as always, is dependent on the analysis of the situation.

Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) during MOUT is difficult. When developing the IPB product, battle staffs have to take into account that the MOUT battle is three-dimensional in nature. Failure to realize this courts disaster. Key terrain in MOUT can be buildings whose control by either friendly or enemy forces will affect the outcome of the battle. Situation templates must detail the obstacles and enemy locations in the built-up area.

Certain aspects of MOUT are unique to maneuver. Objectives must be isolated in such a way to preclude enemy reinforcement. The use of obscuration fires can affect both sides in a battle. The use of heavy forces and aviation assets in a MOUT environment present TTP that are special for this nature of war. Especially important is the movement of friendly forces between buildings. The majority of casualties in MOUT operations at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) do not occur in buildings but in the movement between them. Direct fire planning takes on a whole new meaning in MOUT. Without a detailed direct fire plan, even the best of units will fail. Lastly, the use of friendly snipers can determine the outcome of the battle in a built-up area.

Indirect fire planning in MOUT requires a detailed observer plan that includes positioning of those assets. Target identification and the use of smoke, as previously noted, take on unique aspects in this environment. While planning fires, the Fire Support Officer must take into account collateral damage and the location of friendly forces. Doing this properly will eliminate fratricide and enhance future operations.

Breaching of obstacles within the built-up area presents a severe challenge. Use of the mine clearing line charges (MICLIC) must be carefully planned and executed to meet mission requirements, yet not cause fratricide or collateral damage. The missions and positioning of engineer assets are unique in MOUT. These limited assets play a big part in the success or failure of the mission. Additionally, environmental hazards such as toxic wastes, sewage, and stored chemicals in the city can affect friendly as well as enemy forces.

Logistics take on huge importance in MOUT. Resupply is difficult at best in built-up areas. Refueling and rearming heavy forces must be planned well in advance so as not to impede operations. Casualty evacuation, especially in buildings and open areas, is difficult and must be planned and rehearsed in advance. Ammunition usage must be forecasted and monitored throughout the battle. Huge expenditures of ammunition in MOUT are the norm.

The above should "wet your whistle" as to what is available in this newsletter. The chapters and appendixes that follow represent the fine work done by a group of professionals. Our intent, as stated in the forward, is to start a discussion on the implications of fighting in an urban environment. We look forward to your comments.

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btn_prev.gif 1.18 KForeword
btn_next.gif 1.18 KChapter 1: Introduction

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