The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW




Combat Service Support (CSS) Operations Made Easy

by MAJ Scott Farquhar, Lynx Team, NTC

This article shares some tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for task force-level CSS at all levels, from the individual soldier through field trains. It discusses feeding, fueling, fixing, arming, and manning, and is organized into the three mission phases of planning, preparation, and execution.

ATTITUDE: Closely read the characteristics of CSS as stated in FM 100-5 and think about how they apply to a task force and its subunits. In the field trains, tomorrow's battle is fought today; very little of what a task force does in its main battle area fight can be influenced by the field trains in less than several hours. This does not give a day's "slack time" to the soldiers and leaders in the BSA. Quite the opposite. They must continually be thinking a full day ahead of the rest of the task force (anticipation). An HHC battalion commander summed up his intent when he stated his success criterion was ".to prevent the task force Commander from ever even thinking about CSS. I want him focusing forward on the enemy and not rearward toward us."


If the CSS elements are organized for combat in accordance with FM 71-2, Chap 7, and are using echeloned trains, the distance from the task force's most forward positions (e.g., the Scout Platoon Sergeant) to its rearmost element (the task force field trains in the brigade support area (BSA)), can be 60 kilometers or more. As vast as these distances are, the times that are required to transit from one end to the other are also much longer than any other aspect of the task force. This distance, then, is the "CSS battlespace." Much of the following discussion demonstrates ways to shorten or make the most of these times and distances.

1. The brigade headquarters communicates the mission via an OPORD to the task force main command post (CP), thereby initiating task force-level troop-leading procedures.

2. The task force, in turn, transmits an order to its subordinate units. Even if the task force rigidly adheres to the 1/3-2/3 planning rule, the task force CSS operators are already at a disadvantage because of the aforementioned time and distance considerations. Rather than waiting for the order to be briefed at the task force CP (25-30 kms away), the HHC commander or representative can obtain a copy of it through the nearby (1-2 km) brigade Rear CP or forward support battalion (FSB)/BSA CP much faster. Remember, the service and support annex of the brigade OPORD was probably written at that location. If not, it can be transmitted from wherever it was written to the Rear CP via MSE facsimile or other means.

3. What does the HHC commander need to know?

a. The task organization and command relationship (i.e., whether it is attached, OPCON or direct support (DS)). Brigade OPORDs usually have this information down to company level.
  • When will the task organization take effect? (At least narrow it down to before or after LOGPAC.)

  • What attachments will the task force receive from outside the organization (e.g., GSR, chemical smoke, Fox reconnaissance or decontamination assets, treatment teams from C/FSB, ADA, engineer)? These attachments will affect the entire LOGPAC composition, to include number of meal breaks, fuel trucks, barrier and ammunition packages, etc.

b. Area of Operation (AO). Determine left and right boundaries, LD, LOA, and objectives/BPs. (Do not fret if it is not precise; the four sets of four-digit grids that determine the corners of the brigade or task force AO is more than they knew before). This information will allow the HHC commander to recommend locations of main supply routes (MSRs,) logistics release points (LRPs), etc., to the task force S4.

c. Enemy and friendly situation. Who is doing what to whom? Are we the main or supporting effort? Do we have priority of support? If so, as of when?

d. The mission. Who, what, where, when, and why (task and purpose)?

e. Coordinating instructions. What are the times and locations of orders, rehearsals, AARs, the refueling and rearming time windows and their locations, and CSRs, if any?

Documenting the answers to these questions automatically produces an adequate WARNO for the HHC commander that can be rapidly transmitted to the task force combat trains command post (CTCP). This gives the task force's forward logistics planners a head start.

4. If the HHC commander plans to transmit the WARNO using the task force FM A/L net, the CTCP should conduct a net call beforehand, to allow the 1SGs and specialty PSGs to monitor it. If the WARNO is transmitted via MSE, the CTCP must transmit it on the A/L net as soon as possible. By using the brigade Rear CP as an information conduit "shortcut," the logistics WARNO may be the first information the task force receives on the upcoming mission. In any case, the HHC commander becomes a liaison to the brigade from the task force.

5. To be effective, the OPORD produced by the HHC commander must be an aggregation of three sources:

  • Brigade Service and Support Annex. (Get this early from the brigade Rear CP.)
  • FSB OPORD. (Get this early from the brigade Rear CP.)
  • Task force OPORD.

a. The brigade service and support annex to the OPORD is a good source for the first, second, and a portion of the third paragraph of the HHC commander's OPORD. Remember, the battlespace of the field trains elements reach from the BSA, along the MSR, into the task force MBA (present and future locations) and back. The brigade annex tells the HHC commander:

  • WHO (the task organization).
  • WHAT (support his task force via echeloned or unit trains, unit or supply point distribution).
  • WHERE (BSA and MSR locations).
  • WHEN (attack/defend times, through backward planning gives LOGPAC/LRP times).
  • WHY (brigade subunit instructions to his task force).

b. The FSB order provides the HOW. It contains information for the execution paragraph of the HHC commander's OPORD. He determines his scheme of maneuver much the same as the infantry, armor, sapper or howitzer companies/batteries forward. The technique of task, purpose, method and endstate apply here as well. Scheme of maneuver may be laid out in phases that mirror the FSB's method of supporting the brigade (reconnaissance, attack/defend, and consolidation/reorganization). The FSB OPORD gives the HHC commander his Class I, III and V supply times and locations. Coupled with the FSB plan, a thorough IPB will drive reconnaissance, surveillance, and security and readiness postures, MOPP status, and air defense status. Movement formations and techniques for different phases or locations will also be dictated here. Examples of this would be for the LOGPAC to move in column, traveling from BSA to task force rear boundary, traveling overwatch from rear boundary to LRP, and herringbone or coil at halts. For planned BSA moves or planned dispersal from the BSA (determined by threat proximity, long-range fires or in-bound air/missile tracks), the quartering party may bound in a wedge or vee, while main body overwatches in a line formation.

c. The task force OPORD, when received by the HHC commander, can then be delivered to the field trains as a FRAGO. This OPORD will allow the HHC commander to refine his own OPORD with such information as task organization to the platoon level, the main and supporting effort, and additions or changes to the LRP times and locations. Because the HHC commander already knows how many companies he is going to support, tailoring the LOGPAC means only loading the company supply trucks with platoon chow breaks and arranging the appropriate number of ammunition and fuel trucks to accompany them.

6. Meanwhile, at the task force CTCP, the S4, S1, battalion maintenance officer (BMO) and Medical Platoon Leader issue WARNOs (based on the HHC commander's WARNO) to their platoons and staff sections. They can now answer the following questions and begin preparing a hasty logistics estimate for the upcoming mission analysis:

a. What are the statuses of Classes I, III, V, VIII, and IX?

b. What are the predicted levels of these Classes in six-hour increments from now until LD/defend time?

c. What is the OR rate of combat systems? Replacements?

d. What are the supply consumption estimates?

e. What are the casualty estimates? (For this one, use the wargaming step of the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP), i.e., use the loss estimates of each course of action (COA) to generate casualty estimates. As an example, if COA1 results in the loss of four M1s and six M2s, then the task force will have to locate, evacuate and treat about eight casualties from the tanks and 18 - 24 from the Bradleys. Although FM 101-10-1/2, Staff Officers' Field Manual, Organizational, Technical, and Logistical Data Planning Factors, is the proponent manual for these estimates, it is intended for use at a much higher echelon than the sharp end of a brigade or battalion.) A discussion of calculating patient estimates is included in FM 8-55, Planning for Health Service Support.

7. After receiving a heads-up on the mission from the HHC commander, and having completed their logistics estimate, the task force S4 and S1 can now begin their planning phase at the task force CTCP.

a. When organized for combat in accordance with FM 71-2, The Tank and Mechanized Infantry Battalion Task Force, the combat trains is as large or larger than any other unit in the task force AO. Within it are three distinct subordinate elements, each having separate and diverse missions and requiring their own brief planning processes:

  • The unit main collection point (UMCP).
  • The battalion aid station (BAS).
  • The combat trains command post (CTCP) itself.

b. Upon receipt of the WARNO, the S4 begins to plan his scheme of support using the same process as does a maneuver company team. He must determine how to arrange his force of mechanics, medics and truck drivers to best provide continuous and responsive support. Two possible techniques or concepts for making these determinations are described below. Using a combination of the two concepts has been found to work well. Refer to FM 63-20, Forward Support Battalion, for further discussion on FSB operations.

  • Point Support Concept: Units move to a central location, such as the LRP or Combat Trains to receive support.

  • Area Support Concept: Units are tasked (and resourced where necessary) with supporting other units that operate in their vicinity.


Point Support Concept.

EXAMPLE. The task force is given a mission to defend. The task force assigns one company team and the Scout Platoon supported by a Heavy Mortar Section to screen the task force front. Using the point support concept (see Diagram 1), the Scout OPs, Mortar, and AD Sections would be supported by their PSG or would move to a point (in this case, the LRP or combat trains) to receive supplies or support. The Scout PSG, for example, would pick up supplies from the LOGPAC at the LRP and then move forward to conduct either tailgate or service station resupply for the OPs.

Point Support Concept Advantage: Allows traditional support by the unit's chain of command:

  • Not complicated.
  • Does not place an additional burden on the TMs.

Area Support Concept.

EXAMPLE. The task force is given a mission to defend. TM A provides support to Scout OPs 1, 2 and 3, and Mortar Section A, as well as AD Section 1. TM C provides support to OP 4, AD Section 3, and Mortar Section B (see Diagram 2). In the diagram, the areas of support are drawn to illustrate the concept only and do not denote a tactical boundary.

As TM A and TM C have CSS assets attached to them in their trains to support only their platoons, both TMs must be reinforced with CSS assets to accomplish their added support roles.

Based on mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time available and civil considerations (METT-TC), the S4 anticipates TM A will bear the heaviest logistical burden, from fuel to food to casualties; therefore, the task force S4 should task-organize his assets accordingly. (NOTE: The acronym METT-T is changing to METT-TC with the revised version of FM 100-5, Operations.) In this case, the S4 should place a Medical Treatment Team, an Ambulance Team, an M88, and a fuel truck under the operation control of the TM A 1SG. The S4 should place an Ambulance Team under the operational control of the TM C to meet that unit's increased responsibilities. The 1SGs can either incorporate these support packages into their TM Trains, or they can locate them where they best support the mission.

Note that, because of terrain and distance factors, the entire Scout Platoon is not supported as a single entity. Instead, the closest TM supports its dispersed OPs. The S4 must clearly give the task and purpose of these supporting elements, to both the supporting and supported units.

This improvised organization allows all of the units conducting the screen to be supported by an element that is responsive due to its proximity and continuous because a single leader controls it. The S4 must ensure that these taskings are specified in the task force OPORD as part of the Subordinate Unit subparagraph, and that the method and assets used to accomplish them are in the Service Support paragraph.

Never forget that the only CSS commodity that is time-sensitive is human life. There is very little impact if fuel takes 30 minutes versus one hour to arrive; this time difference merely affects the backward planning process. But survivability decreases by 50 percent for the most urgent casualties after 30 minutes. Evacuation times must remain the driving force for placing and moving logistical support.

Area Support Concept Advantage: Decentralized execution of a central plan, which:

  • Instills a great deal of trust by the support units in the 1SGs under which they are operationally controlled.

  • Gives the Scouts and AD sections a shorter distance to move for hot chow or evacuation by a supporting TM.

  • Frees those PSGs to concentrate on command rather than focusing solely on CSS of those scattered sections.

  • Frees the HHC 1SG to concentrate his efforts on either the field trains, the task force Main CP, or any of the far-flung platoons of HHC.

  • Eliminates the time-consuming "cross-decking" of supplies from the HHC Supply Sergeant's truck to the PSGs at the LRP.

  • The support platoon leader can supply the combat trains, and the HHC Supply Sergeant (or HHC 1SG) can deliver to the Main CP. This provides the dual benefits of dedicated supply support assets to the CPs, as well as an opportunity for updates between the support platoon leader and S4, and the HHC 1SG and the CSM.


Point Support Concept. The positioning of CSS assets in the task force formations is well illustrated in FM 71-2 (pages 3-10 through 3-16).

Area Support Concept. The task force CSS assets are dispersed among the formation. Rather than moving as a single unit as depicted in FM 71-2, the combat trains use split operations very much like the Heavy Mortar Platoon. A multi-functional "support team" is formed consisting of a C2element, Treatment Team and Ambulance Squad, a Recovery Team, and emergency resupply of CLIII and V.

Technique: Have the S1 operate as the net control station (NCS) from the CTCP M577, while the S4 and BMO lead the two support teams. Each of these "support teams" has a leader for each of its logistics functions; the Treatment Teams and Ambulance Squads have the MED-O (the field medical assistant) with one and the platoon sergeant (PSG) with the other, the Recovery Teams have the battalion maintenance sergeant (BMS or team (BMT)) and recovery section sergeant, respectively. These two "support teams" can then move by following the flank company teams when in the task force diamond or wedge formation and the trail company teams while using the box formation. If the task force uses the column or "V" formations, then the "support teams" follow the split mortar sections. A further refinement of this technique is to plan to establish the support element in the vicinity of the task force's planned mortar firing points (MFPs), a distance of 800-1,000m and off of the outgoing and incoming gun-target line. These planned support positions mirror the task and purpose of the MFPs. Just as the mortars halt to provide responsive fires in support of maneuver, so too will the support elements remain close to their supported company teams.

8. Whether an offensive or defensive mission, the S4 uses the information given to him by the HHC commander's WARNO to conduct IPB of the AO, selecting possible locations for logistical control measures throughout the sector to be defended, or the zone or axis of attack.

a. The S4 analyzes the terrain for trafficability for main supply routes (MSRs), trail or road junctions for logistics release points (LRPs), cover and concealment for locations of the combat trains (or the aforementioned support teams), the battalion aid station (BAS), or decontamination points.

b. Anticipate the enemy's effect on the task force, such as obstacles, special munitions, phases of fires, air avenues of approach. Conduct a casualty estimate for soldiers and equipment.

c. This IPB product and the S4's decision as to whether he will use the point or area concept of support will then form the basis of the WARNO that the S4 issues to the Medical Platoon and UMCP, who can then proceed through their troop-leading procedures.

d. With this initial information, the CSS operators can conduct their reconnaissance:

  • The S4 can plan LRPs.
  • The Support Platoon Sergeant can conduct a route reconnaissance of part or all of the proposed MSR.
  • The HHC XO can reconnoiter future field trains locations or dispersal sites.

9. When the S4 participates in the planning process at the task force Main CP, he should be accompanied by the S1, BMO, and Field Medical Assistant for the mission analysis and remain until the restated mission and commander's guidance are issued. This technique results in good synchronization by the CSS staff, both among themselves and integration with the maneuver staff and also allows them to gain first-hand knowledge of the mission and commander's guidance.

10. The CSS staff can now return to the combat trains to continue their troop-leading procedures with the CTCP crew, the UMCP and the Battalion Aid Station.

a. The S4 will refine his IPB during his participation in the task force planning process, using the S2's threat COA and the friendly scheme of maneuver.

b. The S4 will plan LRPs along the primary and alternate MSR for each phase of the battle.

c. The S4 will establish Decontamination Points in concert with the NBC Officer and NCO, based on the templated threat. He should assign a CSS graphic control measure to each significant maneuver control measure. For example, a support-by-fire (SBF) position that will be occupied by a company team should be supported by an LRP where a "support team" will be located to refuel, rearm, repair and receive/treat casualties.


Fight tomorrow's battle TODAY!

MISSION: Deliberate Attack.

  • Order bangalore torpedoes now. Do not wait until the task force OPORD to designate the exact company for the mission, and then order the bangalores for the attack or they will never arrive in time. Issue them to whichever company will be assigned to conduct the breach.

  • Move the mine rollers or mine-clearing blades to the company team that is tasked with conducting the breach, or the engineer company, or at the very least, to the task force UMCP.

MISSION: Defend.

  • Begin now to move Classes IV and V toward the planned BPs and drop it to their rear. Do not wait for eight-digit grids of FSPs and Pre-stock Points (PSPs, or caches). Even if you are off by 5 kilometers, that is still 20 kilometers closer than it was sitting in the BSA. Use the FSB assets, such as PLS or S&P trucks, for the long haul from the BSA to the vicinity of the BP, and then use the Support Platoon's HEMTTs or company supply trucks to move it around the task force AO. Empty or idle trucks are wasted assets as long as they remain in that state.

  • Have those mine rollers or mine-clearing blades dropped at a central point (such as the LRP or UMCP) for eventual pickup. Either way, get the blades and rollers off the low-boys as soon as possible to enable the 22-ton trucks to be used to haul other supplies.

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

  • Rehearse to make sure all the players understand their mission.
  • Rehearse to find potential execution problems and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Rehearse to make sure the plan will work.

Rehearsals are critical to mission success and should be conducted by all of the task force's CSS elements.

1. To assist the task force CSS operators in maximizing their time during the troop-leading procedures, construct a terrain model at the combat trains. Base the model on the knowledge of the mission gained from the CSS staff's participation in the task force planning process. Because the CTCP crew is usually too austere to construct this alone, recommend augmentation by (or delegation to) the BAS to complete this task. As the soldiers in the CTCP and BAS medics are usually not well trained in this skill, cross-training them with the Main CP crew is recommended. The S4 (or S1 if the S4 has not returned from the Main CP) can issue the OPORD to the combat trains personnel using the terrain model, and the BAS and UMCP can subsequently do the same.

2. Another technique is to build the terrain model at the LRP (which is usually in the vicinity of the combat trains). Have the various units of the combat trains "proof" it by conducting their OPORDs and rehearsals on it.

3. Having been issued the OPORD, the CSS operators can begin their reconnaissance in detail. In some cases, rehearsals and reconnaissance can be conducted simultaneously. For example, platoons can rehearse their casualty evacuation drills from the anticipated point of injury and then reconnoiter the route(s) to the platoon and company casualty collection points.

a. It is imperative that each company's attached Combat Medics drive the route to the Treatment Teams' present and proposed locations. To rehearse this move, have the medics accompany the 1SG on his way to the LRP to meet the LOGPAC. This company-level action is a necessary component of a task force rehearsal, no matter which type or technique of rehearsal the task force uses.

b. The Ambulance Section of the BAS should also rehearse its move to the present and proposed locations of the ambulance exchange points (AXPs).

c. The BAS HQ conducts a practice aerial evacuation from its LZ.

4. If the task force mission is to attack and driving the routes is not possible, the CSS operators at all levels must then rely on other means of reconnaissance and rehearsals. Just as a company commander should bring his platoon leaders and FSO to a vantage point that allows them to identify the locations of the company team's axis of attack, support-by-fire positions, or objectives, so too should the 1SG load up his senior medic and maintenance team chief. The 1SG would concentrate on the casualty collection points, LRPs, evacuation routes, and the like. The soldiers of the combat trains must do the same; because of the decentralized nature of their duties, ambulance section and support platoon supply truck drivers must be included.

5. Participants in a task force rehearsal should include:

  • The 1SGs.
  • The companies' senior medic.
  • The companies' maintenance team chief, the scout, mortar and air defense PSGs.
  • The CSM.
  • The chaplain.
  • The BMO, BMT and recovery section sergeants.
  • The medical platoon's surgeon, physician's assistant (PA) and field medical assistant.
  • The ambulance section and treatment team sergeants.

6. The task force S4 should conduct the rehearsal, but the S1 or CSM should be prepared to do so in his absence. If the terrain model technique is selected, the best location of the task force CSS rehearsal is at the LRP, beginning about an hour prior to the LOGPAC's arrival.

a. A terrain model task force CSS rehearsal is best conducted on a area approximately the size of a basketball court to portray the depth and allow the participants to "deploy" on it (see CALL Newsletter No. 98-5, Rehearsals, Mar 98).

b. As the task force participants practice their part of the plan on the terrain model, the Battlefield Information Control Center (BICC) or Intelligence Analyst should portray the enemy's anticipated actions. This will allow the effects of the enemy's COA to be understood by the CSS operators of the task force. As units close with the enemy and take losses from his fires IAW the S1's casualty estimates, the medical evacuation of casualties and the evacuation of personnel and equipment and resupply of ammunition and fuel can be practiced.

Load 'em up, move 'em out!


1. Preparation of equipment should be conducted concurrently with the LOGPAC. This allows the task force to be postured for its mission in terms of commodities and units at the conclusion of its resupply and has the added benefit of cutting down on "moving parts."

a. The support platoon leader readies the LOGPAC to support the task force by assembling a march unit made up of company supply trucks and his fuel and cargo trucks. Likewise, the HHC commander gathers the attached or DS elements from the FSB or brigade slice.

b. By moving the attached or DS elements forward from the field trains to the task force along with the LOGPAC, they go forward under positive control and will complete the task organization.

2. To augment the ambulances in the BAS, company supply trucks can be tasked as non-standard evacuation vehicles. This can be accomplished by dropping off one of the two company trucks at the return LRP for pick up by a leader from the BAS. The implied task is that all the personnel and equipment needing to be back-hauled to the BSA is cross-leveled from the tasked truck so it will be ready to transport patients IAW FM 8-10-6, Medical Evacuation in a Theater of Operations, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. Use the trucks to transport patients from the BAS to the BSA, or to augment the ambulance section in evacuating casualties from the Company Teams' collection points to the BAS.

3. The technique of augmenting the BAS with supply trucks can be emulated at the company team level.

a. The company team 1SG can task-organize his habitual attachments to triple his medical evacuation assets by placing a medic in his and the maintenance team's M113s, and replacing the combat medic section's M113 driver with a mechanic. This disperses the medics, allows the senior medic to establish the casualty collection point, and allows the armed M113s to go forward to the point of injury to treat and/or evacuate casualties.

b. Another way to increase the evacuation capability of the company team is to use the commander's and 1SG's HMMWVs as non-standard evacuation vehicles. Properly rigged IAW FM 8-10-6, these two vehicles can be used to transport both ambulatory and litter patients from the company team collection point to the BAS, freeing the senior medic to concentrate on treating casualties and the armored ambulances to evacuate from the zone of enemy fire.

4. As part of combat trains preparation, the S4 should assemble the fuel and ammunition trucks to form the emergency resupply. This can be accomplished upon the return of the LOGPAC to the LRP.

a. Cross-level fuel and ammunition into the designated vehicles to ensure the maximum amounts of Classes III and V are placed in the minimum number of trucks. This will help the support platoon leader in reloading his trucks upon his return to the BSA by giving him an exact amount of fuel and ammunition remaining.

b. The S4 should help facilitate this by calling the amount remaining/needed back to the field trains or brigade rear CP before the LOGPAC departs the LRP. This allows the FSB to allocate fuel and ammunition to refill the support platoon.

c. The composition of the emergency resupply in the combat trains should be based on METT-T and unit SOP.

  • For an offensive mission, one fuel truck and one ammunition truck per company team are best as this allows all the units to be refueled and rearmed simultaneously during a pause in the attack. Load at least one truck with mortar ammunition as well.

  • The drivers of the trucks must be carefully briefed, using the combat trains sand table, as they will be expected to be sent individually across a battlefield to find a company that may be engaged with the enemy.

  • Each pair of trucks is assigned in support of a designated company and teamed up with that unit's supply truck (in the combat trains for the non-standard casualty evacuation role). This will greatly ease the burden of the truck drivers so they can concentrate on a single unit's planned axis of advance. This will also help the supported 1SG as well by letting him know for which vehicles he should be looking. To help the 1SGs identify the trucks, an 8" X 10" metal placard or acetated construction paper can be attached to the bumper or in the window, respectively, with the company's color code (use chemlights at night).

5. The S4 should integrate the combat trains into the fire plan of the task force. Sectors of fire and observation are delineated to the subordinate parts of the combat trains.

a. In the defense:

  • Vehicles in the UMCP should be placed where they can cover likely avenues of approach and fulfill their part of the task force R&S plan. The covering of mounted, dismounted, and air avenues of approach are assigned to those vehicles whose main and secondary armaments, sights and crews are operational.

  • Combat vehicles that are down for automotive reasons can be powered via slave cables from tool trucks, generators or vehicles with inoperable armament.

b. In the offense:

  • The combat trains (or "support teams") are assigned sectors of observation and fire in the same manner as a platoon or company. The UMCP CP controls these actions by requiring the crews of evacuated vehicles to report their mechanical, personnel and supply status upon their arrival, and assigning tasks based upon these reports.

  • Special skills (master gunner, combat lifesaver, etc.) of crewmen can be utilized by the BMS/BMT, and shortages of supplies of fuel, ammunition or Class VIII can be made good by assets in the combat trains.

  • Crews of inoperable vehicles in the UMCP can serve as OPs, patrols, litter bearers, EPW guards, and augmentation for NBC decontamination teams and patient decontamination teams.

  • An empty pallet ("honeycomb") for tank main gun ammunition should be kept in the UMCP to allow downloading of vehicles needing turret or electrical repair.

  • Crews of vehicles that have been repaired must again report to the UMCP CP and be given a full briefing (to include issue of operations overlay) on the tactical situation before they are returned to duty. This prevents the crew, who is eager to get back into the fight, from driving into a minefield, chemical strike, etc. The UMCP should notify the vehicle's parent 1SG of its imminent return and ensure that the returning crew does a radio check with him prior to departure.

  • The BMO must establish cut-off times whereby vehicles will no longer be repaired and are either readied to fight, evacuated or rigged for demolition. The disposition of the crews of those vehicles must be part of the unit's SOP.

  • Requirements for extra towing vehicles or HET lift must be identified by the BMO to the S4 so that the latter may request the assets from the FSB SPO.

c. If a chemical threat is predicted, the S4 and medical officer must make preparations to the combat trains to provide support for patient and vehicle decontamination.

  • Based on the Threat COA developed by the S2, the S4 and Medical Officer designate which treatment team will handle contaminated casualties.

  • The task force decontamination equipment and operators must be positioned forward early enough to take part in at least the CSS rehearsal.

  • Personnel to augment the task force's patient and vehicle decontamination points must be identified and trained. Augmenting personnel can include crews of vehicles in the UMCP, as well as the cooks and KPs who can come forward from the field trains on the LOGPAC. As early as possible, the HHC commander should take control of any brigade decontamination assets that are task-organized to support the task force. He should either send them forward with the task force decontamination operators or with the LOGPAC.

  • Push all assets as far forward as early as possible to maximize their time to rehearse and reconnoiter.



Seize a motarized rifle company-prepared defensive position to allow a second task force to envelop the remainder of the MRB.


A balanced task force will conduct a deliberate attack. The attack is a four-phased operation: Phase I is reconnaissance and infiltration; Phase II is from the Line of Departure (LD) to occupation of SBF positions; Phase III is the breach, and Phase IV is consolidation and reorganization. The attack is preceded by 36 hours by the infiltration of the Scouts and COLTs to gain reconnaissance and surveillance of the objective.


Phase I: The Scouts and COLTs cross the LD and move along planned infiltration routes to their planned observation posts (OPs). The S4 has planned for Casualty Collection Points (CCPs) along the infiltration route based upon the S2's template, and the medical platoon leader has located the CCPs in the vicinity of where the Scouts nor the COLTs are likely to make contact. The Scouts plan to recover their casualties to these points for treatment and further evacuation. (See Phase I diagram.)


  • A BAS (-) Advanced Trauma Management Team accompanies the infiltration and establishes a concealed first-echelon care point at the CCP nearest the LD. From this point, patients can be stabilized for either evacuation or held until the task force catches up in its attack. Evacuation of patients from the CCP, if not by internal assets, can be either by air or from assets of the forward-most company team. Implied tasks: A planned cross-FLOT operation with SEAD, AD status changes, et al.

  • The ground option requires tasking the lead company team and reinforcing the trains with at least an ambulance, in the same manner as the screening company team in the "area support" concept discussed earlier. The company team commander should plan this as a combat operation in the form of a raid, and either escort the evacuation vehicle with a tank or BFV platoon or by using M2s to evacuate the patients. These are not simply "dust-offs." They are complex combat operations requiring detailed combined arms planning.

  • If half of a task force's advanced trauma management capability (the surgeon or PA) is committed to establishing a BAS (-) Advanced Trauma Management Team (or any other task that will prevent it from providing care to the task force mission), then the S4 must immediately request an augmenting aid station from the FSB. The HHC commander must closely follow this up and facilitate the augmenting aid station's move forward from the BSA to the task force BAS(-).

  • Prior to LD (as early as the previous day's LOGPAC), the "two support teams" move to their positions in the assembly area or attack position. This will allow the support teams to be in place to provide support to the company teams and platoons prior to LD. Some tanks will inevitably need to be topped off, and enemy phase I or counter fires may cause casualties.

Phase II: The task force crosses the LD in its box formation, the "support teams" following the trail company teams. The S4 has planned along the axis of advance MSR/ASRs and "support team" locations, the CSS graphic control measures each having a task and purpose to support the maneuver graphics. (See Phase II diagram.)


  • Actions at these locations will include security by all (sectors designated for air and ground search on the move are maintained or adjusted).

  • The treatment team marks a hasty LZ.

  • Casualties of personnel and vehicles during this phase will be evacuated to a single, designated "support team" to allow the other team to continue to move with the task force main body toward the objective.

  • When the company teams maneuver into the support-by-fire (SBF) positions, at least one of the support teams is set up to their rear. From here this support team will push forward Class V and receive any casualties. The other support team will continue to handle the casualties suffered along the axis of advance. Once the patients are evacuated from that support team's treatment team, it can join the assault force for actions on the objective.

Phase III: The task force begins its actions to reduce the obstacles at the objective, and its "support team" joins the assault force. (See Phase III diagram.)


  • As the assault force attacks and clears the objective, the support team moves through the lane to sustain it.

  • The recovery section recovers damaged vehicles from the lane to maintain the assault's momentum. It is especially critical for the assault force to maintain combat power once it seizes the objective as the enemy may close the lane via FASCAM or chemical strike, counterattack, or both.

  • The other support team continues to sustain the task force elements on the friendly side of the lane and prepares to assist the forward passage of the remainder of the brigade.

  • Vehicles and positions that have been hit and contain casualties must be marked. The brigade should have a SOP for marking positions and vehicles. The two techniques used most commonly at the CTCs are:

    1) Mark the presence of casualties. To do this, the crew or squad raises a flag or panel to advertise the presence and category of casualties to guide the treatment or evacuation vehicles to their location.

    Advantage: The presence of the marker attracts attention, day or night, to the location of casualties. A simulated battlefield has flashing MILES lights and other ROE effects, whereas an actual combat-damaged vehicle may not be so obvious, particularly from the rear, and so must be clearly marked.


    • The crew or squad should focus on the battle drill of treat and evacuate and not on marking the vehicle.

    • If the marker is not removed (in the haste to evacuate, particularly if under fire), subsequent evacuation assets will continue to investigate the position and waste time.

    • The crew or squad may be unable to mark their position because they are all too badly injured, or the marker is lost or destroyed.

    • The crew's current position or situation makes raising a flag tactically unsound.

    2) Mark vehicles or positions that have been cleared of casualties.

    Advantage: Marking cleared vehicles/positions allows the ambulance crews to concentrate on those that still have casualties.

Phase IV: The support teams rejoin to form the combat trains on the objective. (See Phase IV diagram.)

Techniques: Support teams continue to:

  • Treat and evacuate casualties.
  • Recover and repair vehicles.
  • Replenish empty fuel tanks and ammunition racks.

btn_tabl.gif 1.21 K
btn_prev.gif 1.18 KForeword
btn_next.gif 1.18 KRSO& Operations for the MSB and the CSB

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias