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(Trends are numbered sequentially for cross-reference and are not in any priority order.)

Positive Performance

SUBJECT: Fratricide prevention

OBSERVATION (AV DIV): Units have made an improvement in air and ground integration resulting in a reduction in fratricides.

DISCUSSION: Units continue to appreciate the importance of the rules of engagement (ROE) and have taken significant measures to ensure all soldiers understand and follow them.


1. Aviation units must continue to ensure this trend is sustained. A good starting point is to develop unit fratricide prevention standing operating procedures (SOPs).

2. Review CALL Newsletter No. 92-4, Fratricide: Reducing Self-Inflicted Losses.

(TA.6.3.1 Provide Battlespace Hazard Protection)

SUBJECT: Crew-served weapons drills

OBSERVATION (DIV LF): Squads are improving at employing MG 240 machine gun (MG) crew-served weapons.

DISCUSSION: M240 MG crew drills are paying off. Crews are more proficient at using tripods and engaging targets quickly after occupying designated firing positions.

SUSTAINMENT TECHNIQUES AND PROCEDURES: Continue to employ crew drills for all crew-served weapons at Home Station training.

(TA.6.3.1. Provide Battlespace Hazard Protection)

SUBJECT: Aircraft maintenance

OBSERVATION (AV DIV): Aircraft maintenance continues to be one of the strong points of assault/heavy lift units.

DISCUSSION: Units routinely average an operational ready (OR) rate of 85 percent during a rotation.

SUSTAINMENT TECHNIQUES AND PROCEDURES: Continue operational maintenance throughout the deployment.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

Needs Emphasis

SUBJECT: Breach mined/wire obstacle

OBSERVATION (LF DIV): Units typically do not incorporate the fundamentals of breaching -- suppress, obscure, secure and reduce (SOSR) -- during execution.

DISCUSSION: Leaders usually organize their sub-units into a support, breach and assault element, but fail to issue criteria or effects to be achieved by each. This results in elements moving forward to conduct the breach without the enemy being effectively suppressed or effective obscuration established. Additionally, leaders need to pay special attention to the placement of the support element in relation to the breach site. The breach element frequently masks the fires of the support element, resulting in unnecessary casualties due to insufficient suppression. Leaders should specify fire control measures in the operations order. If indirect fire is being used, graphic control measures should be used to show minimum safe distances (MSD). This will facilitate continuous fires on the objective while reducing the chance of fratricide. Another method for fixing responsibilities is to task the breach elements, including the purpose, next to each element.


Elements available:
1 Sqd 2 Sqd
3 Sqd Weapons Sqd

Breach elementsWhoWhy
SuppressWeaponsPrevent enemy fires on engineers
Obscure1 Sqd/EngObscure enemy observation of engineers
Secure1 SqdProvide engineer shoulder security
ReduceEngineerEmploy bangalore to open lane
Foothold2 SqdPass assault force to objective
Assault/Clear3/1 SqdsClear objective to accomplish purpose


1. Simple graphics (with the task and purpose of each element) and a signal plan will ensure that every soldier and leader knows what effects his tasks must produce rather than focusing on the tasks themselves.

2. Engineers are not synonymous to a breach element. Engineers are integral to the success of a breach, but they are in limited numbers and must be augmented with infantry to accomplish multiple tasks.

(TA. Breach Obstacles)

SUBJECT: Two-man machine gun (MG) crews

OBSERVATION (TF 2): Crews are not carrying MG components and basic issue items (BII) (primarily the tripod) because there is not a third crew member--the ammunition bearer (AB).

DISCUSSION: The problem is compounded with the new M240G because there are more components and BII, it is heavier, and the basic load is increased. MG crews are not proficient at crew drill. MG crews are inexperienced because of frequent personnel changes within platoons. Often newly assigned "first termers" are assigned as a gunner just because they are new or large men. As a result, crews fire with the following results:

1. MG crews are not able to provide accurate fires during limited visibility and during static operations (defense, assembly areas, ambushes).

2. Crews are not providing timely and accurate fires.

3. Lack of proficiency in crew drill deprives the MG crew of "the training in the fundamentals of machine gun operation and confidence in their ability to put the gun into action with precision and speed." (FM 23-67, Machinegun 7.62, M60)

4. Crews are not proficient in basic skills such as preparing range cards.


1. Consider establishing three-man MG crews. Units with a nine-man table of organization and equipment (TO&E) weapons squad have used the anti-tank (AT) assistant gunner (AG) to be the ammunition bearer. Each rifle squad trains a rifleman on AT AG responsibilities, and this becomes his primary duty during operations requiring AT employment (defense, anti-armor ambushes).

2. A recommended long-term fix is adjusting the TO&E.

3. Train crew drill as found in Chapter 6, FM 23-67.

4. Battle roster MG crews. Battle rosters are discussed in Chapter 4, FM 25-100, Training the Force. Prioritize manning and stabilization of crews (recommend 12 months). Place authority to change crew manning at company level or higher. Assignment to crew should be progressive; that is, start out as an ammunition bearer or assistant gunner and then move up to gunner.

(TA.6.3.1 Provide Battlespace Hazard Protection)

SUBJECT: Protection of the forward support battalion (FSB)

OBSERVATION (DIV CSS): The unit's parameters for force protection lacked integration of the battlefield operating systems (BOS) into an inclusive system of force protection for the brigade support area (BSA).

DISCUSSION: The FSB needs to improve its planning and execution of force protection measures and the integration of brigade support area (BSA) tenants into a comprehensive force protection for the BSA. Sectors of fire are not interlocking, fields of fire are not cleared, and weapons are emplaced without considering the characteristics of terrain (dead space, trees, avenues of approach, and hills). Additionally, soldiers do not understand how to fill out a range card or how the traverse and elevation (T&E) mechanism functions on several weapons. NCOs do not proactively supervise and train their soldiers on crew-served weapon proficiency. The end result is that despite the enormous firepower available to a battery, the unit is unable to defend itself against a dismounted attack of three to five men.

1. The BSA is weak in force protection. The battalion occupied the same BSA site for nine days and yet less than 40 percent of the soldiers in the battalion had survivability positions.

2. Most significant was the placement of units within the BSA. Once a TF occupied the aviation assembly area, the perimeter was not adjusted. The heavy team remained oriented to the tree line and not a high-speed avenue of approach.

3. A unit received more contact than was necessary due to its position within the perimeter. The S-3 must ensure that key leaders at the platoon and company level correctly emplace and employ crew-served weapon systems to provide an integrated BSA defense.


1. Read and review Chapter 3 of FM 6-50, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Field Artillery Cannon Battery and page 3-6 of STP 6-13Bl4-SM-TG.

2. Ensure all soldiers and leaders are trained on crew-served weapons' emplacement, range card construction, clearing fields of fire, and, most importantly, positioning all crew-served weapons to maximize their effectiveness given the constraints of the terrain.

3. Consider identifying positions of crew-served weapons prior to howitzer positions. This technique can greatly facilitate battery defense without affecting the battery's subsequent occupation.

4. Crew-served weapons' positions should be inspected/checked by a senior leader (battalion commander or 1SG) to ensure the weapon is being used effectively. This check should be conducted by actually getting behind the weapon and ensuring it is set up correctly.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

SUBJECT: Base camp protection Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRE)/Peace Enforcement Operations (PEO)

OBSERVATION (FS DIV): The base camp defense operations center (BDOC) had difficulty ensuring all units within the base camp were in the proper uniform and that soldiers knew the duties and responsibilities of a guard.

DISCUSSION: Soldiers inside the guard tower do not understand their own standing operating procedures (SOP), rules of engagement (ROE), and the graduated response matrix (GRM), and incorrectly fill out range cards for their weapons.


1. Rehearse battle drills with guards prior to them assuming guard duty. Battle drills recommended are:
  • Medical emergency.
  • Civilians on the battlefield (COB) taking pictures of the base camp.
  • COBs selling items to soldiers.
  • "Rat chase" (breach in perimeter).
  • Bags left at the gate or perimeter.
  • COBs "casing" the camp.
  • Vehicles parked or abandoned near the gate or perimeter.
  • Convoy operations.
  • Interaction with the media.

2. During guard mount, the Sergeant of the Guard (SOG) should spot check a soldier's knowledge of the SOP, ROE, and GRM. If the soldier is not knowledgeable on these subjects, then his supervisor should be in the tower with him while he is on shift. The SOG must also verify each range card during his first spot check of the tower during each shift.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

SUBJECT: Force protection

OBSERVATION (FS DIV): Units are not prepared to defend themselves from ground attack, air attack, or indirect fire.

DISCUSSION: Units sustain more casualties than necessary.


1. The brigade engineer must adequately resource the FA battalion with engineer assets. Once the engineer assets arrive at the batteries, the FA units must maximize engineer potential.

2. Batteries must begin force protection as soon as they arrive at the position and not wait to dig until engineer assets arrive. Additionally, batteries need to carry Class IV as part of their load plan so they do not depend on resupply.

3. Review GTA 7-6-1, Fighting Position Construction Infantry Leader's Reference Card, in order to build overhead to standard.

4. Battery first sergeants ensure the battery has interlocking fires (see paragraphs 2-18 through 2-24, FM 7-8, Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad) and conduct adjacent unit coordination (see paragraph 2-26, FM 7-8) in order to maximize all friendly weapon systems.

5. Units must demand timely development and dissemination of fire support plans from brigade to battalions.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

SUBJECT: Force protection and security

OBSERVATION (TF 2): Leader involvement in the planning and execution of both offensive and defensive operations usually results in the failure of a company security plan.

DISCUSSION: Force protection continues to challenge units. Lack of application of a security plan during the movement-to-contact phase results in the unit being surprised in its patrol base and suffering numerous casualties. Lack of application of a security plan in the defense results in the unit being overwhelmed by a much smaller force.

1. Leaders often fail to clearly articulate the specific active and passive measures they want. Those that are published are usually not enforced.

2. Leaders fail to conduct company- or platoon-level intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB).

3. Active measures, such as listening posts/observation posts (LP/OP), stand-tos, and patrols, are often not conducted or enforced. When conducted, they are rarely executed as the result of the leader's IPB. The result is LP/OPs that are only 50 meters out and do not cover a likely avenue of approach, or patrols that are not dispatched to known areas of activity but rather to areas of the least restrictive terrain.

4. Passive measures, such as the deployment of early warning systems, night-vision device usage (especially attached TOW assets) in the surveillance plan, and siting of the company position, are rarely given much thought.

5. Units rarely dig hasty fighting positions in the offense (patrol bases).

6. Leaders often fail to site-in key weapons systems.


1. Leaders must conduct IPB at their level.

2. Unit SOPs give junior leaders direction in the application of appropriate security measures; leader supervision/enforcement will ensure proper execution.

3. Review Chapters 4 and 5 of FM 7-8, The Infantry Rifle Company.

4. Reference CALL Handbook No. 96-3, Own the Night, Mar 96.

5. Reference CALL CTC Quarterly Bulletin No. 96-7, Jun 96, pages 8-24.

6. Conduct officer and NCO professional development (OPD/NCOPD) on company and platoon standard operating procedures with respect to security.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

SUBJECT: Standing operating procedures (SOP) and security

OBSERVATION (TF 2): Published SOP fails to provide an adequate security plan.

DISCUSSION: Lack of application of a sound security plan results in the unit being surprised and destroyed by a much smaller force.


1. Conduct officer and NCO professional development (OPD/NCOPD) on company and platoon standard operating procedures with respect to security.

2. Conduct OPD/NCODPs on the movement-to-contact, rehearsals, intelligence preparation of the battalfield (IPB), task and purpose, defense, modern weapons and their capabilities, and operations orders (OPORDs).

3. Use "What Now?" leader exercises at Home Station training.

4. Use a Tactical Exercise Without Troops (TWET).

5. Use sand table exercises.

6. See TREND 6 above for additional techniques.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

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