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TA.1 Negative Trend 1: Movement formations and techniques

  1. FMs 7-7, 71-2 and 71-1 are clear on how to use movement formations and techniques. Units need to train and use the tactics and techniques discussed in these FMs.
  2. At Home Station, focus on platoon and company battle drills. Task forces should focus on control of the task force formation, and maneuver of the depth companies in order to destroy the enemy. Detailed task force rehearsals and refinement of the task force SOP will improve actions on contact and the subsequent close fight.
  3. Integrate smoke platoons into Home Station maneuver training with Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) prior to deployment so the smoke platoons can gain the necessary maneuver proficiency to effectively work with the elements they support. DO NOT just use smoke platoons to provide battlefield effects during Home Station training.
  4. Plan movement formations in conjunction with movement techniques. Transition to more secure movement techniques as the likelihood of enemy contact increases. Leader control of formations and the selection and execution of appropriate movement techniques should be the start point for maneuver training.
  5. Actions on contact must be drilled repetitively to insure that reaction is swift and sure.
  6. To improve the ability to mass combat power during movement to contact, wargame all combat multipliers. The process must include all of the enemy and friendly critical events so that there are no major unforeseen actions necessary. This best results from starting the planning process at the decisive point and planning backwards to the initial friendly disposition.
  7. Units must rehearse a movement to contact, including the transition from traveling to traveling overwatch, or to bounding overwatch as the situation dictates. Rehearsing actions on contact can be done using "walk-thru" drills until all personnel are ready to execute a more sophisticated type of rehearsal.
  8. For movement through air, use appropriate movement techniques, i.e., traveling, traveling overwatch, or bounding overwatch, from the RP into a BP or attack by fire position rather than formation flying techniques.

TA. Negative Trend 2: Use of dismounted infantry

  1. Units must develop training plans that emphasize the tasks and purpose associated with dismounted operations. At Home Station, dismounted drills should routinely be trained in conjunction with BFV crews, not as a separate unit.
    - Use the techniques discussed in FM 7-7.
    - Dismounts must be briefed on their mission for each operation.
    - The appropriate dismounted drills must be rehearsed.
    - Based on mission requirements, the pre-combat inspection (PCI) prior to rehearsal should ensure that dismounts will employ the proper equipment.
  2. At Home Station, train scouts in selecting, occupying and improving dismounted observation posts (OP) sites. Enforce standards for OP occupation; squad and section sergeants must supervise. Set up OP bags, with the proper equipment, as outlined in FM 17-98. Ensure that unit SOPs designate procedures and standards for OP occupation.
  3. Commanders should do a detailed enemy analysis to determine the possibility of enemy infantry in the objective. Commanders should then plan and rehearse for the possibility of dismounting the infantry to eliminate the enemy threat. The commander determines if, when, and where infantry dismounts based on his analysis of the factors of METT-T and the degree of risk he is willing to accept (FM 71-2, pg 3-37).
  4. Consider dismounted elements during the planning process; base dismounted employment on the IPB, specifically terrain and enemy analysis. Commanders should then provide specific guidance to platoon and dismount squad leaders, which can be incorporated into their troop leading procedures. Commanders should conduct specific dismounted rehearsals, PCCs and PCIs for the mission. Mounted-dismounted coordination, as appropriate, should also be rehearsed to the maximum extent possible.

TA.1 Negative Trend 3: Actions on contact

  1. There are at least seven forms of enemy contact:
    - visual
    - direct fire
    - indirect fire
    - close air support
    - electronic/jamming
    - NBC
    - obstacles
    Units must plan for the possibility of any or all of these forms of contact throughout the depth of the battlefield and at potentially critical points in the battle. Commanders must be able to "see themselves" at critical points in the battle, and anticipate when and where the enemy will employ various forms of contact.
  2. Actions on contact are battle drills that should constitute the bulk of a company or platoon level scheme of maneuver. Become familiar with the different types of contact, as detailed in FM 17-15, Tank Platoon. List battle drills in reaction to each of the forms of contact. Incorporate the battle drills into the unit SOPs to facilitate subsequent simplification of the orders process and preparation for mission execution.
  3. Develop and practice the various battle drills at Home Station. Establish a base of fire, and, depending upon the terrain, move aggressively to covered and concealed positions. Establish fire superiority before attempting to maneuver on the enemy. Platoon leaders and company commanders must develop the situation, select a course of action, or at least recommend a course of action to the task force commander.

TA.1 Negative Trend 4: Direct fire planning and execution

  1. Home Station training must include the principals of direct fire planning and must be understood down to platoon level. Include direct fire planning in the task force OPD/NCOPD program. Reference guides include Armor Magazine article, "Direct Fire Planning", Nov 93 and Jan 94; FM 23-1, FM 7-7j, FM 17-12-1-1, FM 17-15.
  2. At Home Station, in training for defensive operations, practice the steps necessary to build an engagement area so that adequate weapon systems are available to execute the direct fire plan and achieve the desired results. For offensive operations, practice direct fire planning appropriate to the mission, i.e., actions on contact for a movement to contact and the fire and maneuver inherent in a deliberate attack.
  3. Company/team commanders should personally site or approve each vehicle fighting position to insure an integrated fire plan.
  4. Subordinate leaders at platoon level should link squad/section fire plans, then link platoon fire plans - all in an effort to integrate the company/team plan in accordance with the commander's guidance.
  5. Incorporate direct fire planning into:
    - Armor and Infantry basic and advanced course instruction
    - CSC tactics programs of instruction (POI)
  6. Address direct fire planning in other sources and forums.
  7. Stress direct fire planning as a focus point for NTC Operations Group trend reversal efforts.
  8. Develop a TRADOC Direct Fire Planning FM in the short term.


TA.2 Negative Trend 1: Triggers versus target location

  1. This technique is for use by ground maneuver leaders to see if triggers are in the "ballpark." (NOTE: Certain factors can impact the effectiveness of the following technique. The examples used assume having priority of fires, and that when the call is made to fire the target, the guns are not displacing, or engaged in firing counter-battery, etc. This technique is solely designed as a check for ground maneuver leaders and fire supporters to use during planning and preparation for combat operations.)

    Given: 1) a target (fixed ground location) 2) a rate of enemy movement 3) fixed gun locations

    Problem: Determine a point on the ground, or trigger, that when reached by the enemy formation, triggers the observer to initiate the call to fire the target which will result in the round impacting on the enemy formation when it is in the target area.

    *First, you must solve for time. You want the time it takes the enemy to move from the trigger to the target area to equal the time it takes for Time of Flight (TOF) of the rounds plus the mission processing time, or transmission time (TT).
    *Next, you must convert that time to distance, so you can establish a point on the ground to serve as your trigger.

    Step 1: TOF + TT = T1, where TOF is time of flight (a fixed time), and TT is transmission time (a time with a slight variable). Express T1 as a % of 60 minutes, i.e., 9 minutes = .15 hours.

    Step 2: D (distance) = T1 x R, where T1 = TOF + TT, and R = expected enemy rate of movement.

    Example: assume TOF + TT = 9 min. or .15 hours, and R = 20 kmph.

    D = .15 x 20
    D = 3 km
    Therefore, your trigger would be a distance of 3 km from the target area.

    What if there is no point on the ground 3 km from the target that is easily or reliably identifiable by an observer? It is preferable to use an easily identifiable natural terrain feature.

    Problem: Given a trigger 3 km from the target area, and a natural terrain feature an additional 2 km from the trigger, how can you use the natural terrain feature as the trigger?

    Solution: Now you calculate T2, or the time it would take the enemy to move from the natural terrain feature to you previously calculated trigger.


    T2 = D/R
    T2 = 2km/20kmph
    T2 = .10 hour
    T2 = 6 minutes
    Therefore, when the enemy formation gets to the natural terrain feature, you clock 6 minutes. At that point the enemy has reached your trigger, and now the observer makes the call to fire the target.
  2. For standard day/night triggers, develop a trigger kit that has a variety of triggers for various conditions:
    - mix sand and diesel fuel in an empty 5 gallon anti-freeze can for use as long-range thermal trigger (5 km +)
    - mount 3 x 3 foot reverse polarity paper on plywood for a medium-range thermal trigger (inside 5 km)
    - use infrared chemlights inside cut-open soda cans for short-range night trigger (not more than 3 km)

TA.2 Negative Trend 2: Jump TOC operations

  1. If the battalion selects, or is forced, to use Jump TOC FDC, the availability of the below listed tools will facilitate the successful Jump FDC take-over of operations.
    NOTE: even with these tools available, the Jump FDC operation must be carefully planned and prepared. The Jump TOC operation must be trained at Home Station prior to deployment.
    - Tools to have on hand:
    - Current written fire order standard: established prior to the operation and disseminated to the platoon FDCs, this establishes and streamlines voice order procedures.
    - Written attack guidance: establishes the volume of fire necessary to achieve the desired effects on a target.
    - High Payoff Target List: this helps determine the order in which targets are attacked. The HPTL is critical when several fire missions are requested at once, or fire missions start to get backed up.
    - Current ammunition count: The Jump FDC must know the ammunition count by battery or platoon, particularly for ammunition critical to a given mission. EXAMPLE: for defensive operations it is more critical to track DPICM, RAP, FASCAM, Copperhead, red bag and white bag powders. For offensive operations: DPICM HE, smoke, red bag and white bag. For night operations: add illumination.
    - Written/Printed Target List: This includes refined targets and known point, if established.
    - Current SITMAP: the FA battalion S-3 should have a back-up map for jump operations. The map should have all maneuver graphics and targets posted. Prior to executing a jump operation, the map should be updated with firing unit location, fire support coordination measures, FLOT, and observer locations. A range protractor should be available to add and update range limitations.
    - Fire Support Execution Matrix: The FDO is often required to develop his own matrix based on the addition of the task forces scheme of fires. If the battalion passes control to a platoon FDC, that element must have the same or similar tool, as well as an understanding of the overall scheme of fires.
    - TC 6-40: This is the most important manual for use in the Jump FDC: for computation of smoke and FASCAM data. Although the platoon FDC could require a platoon FDC to determine this data, it may not always be possible or desirable.
    NOTE: the Jump FDC is only designed to control battalion fires for a limited period of time. The longer the Jump FDC is required to control fires, the more tools will be needed to perform the mission.
  2. For the transfer of gun control, develop a checklist of steps and information that must be transferred to the new controlling element; it should establish a clear end state for transfer of control.
  3. In the MSU technique, the subordinate unit must use the same checklist as the transferring unit.

TA.2 Negative Trend 3: Fire Support Element (FSE) organization

  1. For brigade FSE SOP:
    - specify personnel duties and responsibilities
    - list manuals to be on hand
    - specify the graphics to be posted and updating requirements
    - develop charts which facilitate the control and clearance of fires for the current battle.
  2. For brigade FSE organization: It is not feasible to run shifts for all FSE personnel. It is advised to surge personnel during key times in the Plan-Prepare-Execute cycle in order to be successful. Specifically it is recommended that the FSO, FSNCO and the target officer do not work shifts.

TA.2 Negative Trend 4: Fire Support plan transition from Deep to Close

  1. The brigade FSO must enforce collection of task force fire support plans in sufficient time to review them prior to conducting the fire support rehearsal.
  2. The brigade FSO then ensures task force plans address all tasks to subordinate units specified in the brigade order.
  3. The brigade FSO also ensures task force plans support the brigade plan.
  4. Conduct a brigade fire support rehearsal in sufficient detail to ensure continuity from deep to close to rear.

Table of Contents
Section II: N - Needs Emphasis, Part 11
Section II: NT - Needs Emphasis Techniques, Part 2

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