Defensive operations are conducted
with the immediate purpose of causing an enemy attack to fail.
Defensive operations may also achieve one or more of the following:
gain time; concentrate forces elsewhere; wear down enemy forces
as a prelude to offensive operations; and retain tactical, strategic,
or political objectives.
Defensive forces prepare to counter
enemy NBC, smoke, and flame use. Defending commanders prepare
plans to use obscurant and flame weapons. If nuclear weapons have
been released, the unit incorporates them into its defensive plan.
commanders integrate NBC defense, smoke, and flame throughout
the defensive battlefield, concentrating on close and rear operations.
When authorized, friendly forces use deep nuclear weapons against
high-value targets. These deep strikes disrupt the enemy's movement
and interrupt its command and control. In areas where counterattacks
are not planned, friendly forces may contaminate terrain.
This action slows the enemy advance
and may separate its echelons. Forward security elements conceal
their activities and portray false locations with smoke. MBA units
create obstacles and barriers under the cover of smoke. These
barriers include flame weapons. These units also prepare NBC hardened
primary and alternate positions. Decon elements prepare sites
in the MBA and rear areas. Recon elements throughout the area
of operations undertake an aggressive patrolling program to protect
the commander's freedom of action. Rear-area units restrict the
use of possible landing zones and drop zones with flame weapons.
The characteristics of defensive
operations are prepared positions, security, disruption, mass,
concentration, and flexibility.
The defender will arrive in the battle
area prior to the arrival of the enemy and will make the most
thorough of preparation as times allows. Use of enemy WMD can
hinder and delay the preparation of the battlefield. The available
time is reduced if soldiers are forced to operate in higher levels
of MOPP. The use of smoke to conceal obstacle preparations and
positioning of forces can disrupt the enemy's recon effort.
Since a force defends to conserve
combat power for use elsewhere, or at a later time, commanders
must provide protection of their force. NBC defense is integral
to protecting the force. Integration of NBC recon and biological
detection assets to provide early warning is critical. The use
of smoke to deny the enemy information concerning the defending
unit enhances security.
The defender disrupts attacker tempo
and synchronization by countering his initiative and preventing
him from massing overwhelming combat power. The use of smoke to
slow and separate attacking forces alter the attacker's tempo
and disrupt his synchronization. The integration of flame field
expedients into the overall scheme of the defense can disrupt
dismounted infantry attacks.
The defender seeks to mass overwhelming
combat power where he chooses and shifts mass repeatedly in accordance
with his main effort. Since concentrations of the force increases
the threat of large losses from WMD, commanders use concealment
and deception to hide this vulnerability from the enemy. Active
protection measures, such as missile and air defenses, complement
passive force protection measures (NBC defense).
The defender will choose where and
when combat will take place. To deny the defender agility, the
attacker may use persistent chemical agents to hinder defender
flexibility. Reserve and striking forces can be attacked with
WMD to delay and disrupt their introduction into the battle at
the decisive point. Integration of NBC recon into these formations
is critical to allow them to retain their freedom of maneuver.
Use of smoke to conceal the positions of forces not initially
engaged in the battle from enemy recon can enhance flexibility.
There are two patterns of defensive
operations - mobile and area. Mobile defense orients on the destination
of the enemy force by using a combination of fire and maneuver,
offense, defense, and delay to deter his attack. Area defense
forces retain terrain. In an area defense friendly forces absorb
the enemy into an interlocking series of positions. Here they
destroy the entrapped enemy by fire. The commander's implementation
of NBC defense, smoke, and flame use varies depending on the type
A defense that orients on the destruction of the enemy force by trading terrain to expose the enemy to a counterattacking mobile reserve. The minimum force possible is committed to pure defense; maximum combat power is placed in a striking force (with mobility greater than the enemy's) that catches the enemy as he is trying to overcome that part of the force dedicated to the defense.
Mobility is essential; however, NBC weapons used can cause terrain restriction (contamination, tree blowdown, or cratering) and hinder friendly mobility. Restricted mobility impedes the commander's ability to conduct a successful mobile defense.
Commanders train their units to cross
or bypass contaminated terrain. Mechanized and armored forces
can cross contamination rapidly but will become contaminated themselves.
Forces may remain in MOPP for extended periods. An attack in this
MOPP gear takes additional people and time for success. Therefore,
commanders must plan to use larger forces or accept greater risk.
Battalions and brigades travel in
dispersed formations under battlefield nuclear warfare, chemical,
or biological conditions. These dispersed formations prevent total
destruction by a single nuclear or chemical attack. However, dispersed
forces offer less immediate combat power. Enemy nuclear strikes
against forested or urban areas create major obstacles to friendly
movement. Fallout from enemy or friendly nuclear strikes creates
hazards that require special protective measures.
Commanders conducting mobile defense
deploy relatively small forces forward to seize the initiative.
The size and speed of these forces help protect them from direct
NBC attack. These forces conduct their own NBC recon. They react
quickly to reduce the effects of an NBC attack and are ready to
conduct immediate and operational decon. They use smoke extensively
to conceal their location and intention. They place obscurant
on enemy positions to blind observers, These obscurant interfere
with enemy target acquisition and engagement.
The striking force required for a
successful mobile defense is a primary target for enemy NBC strikes.
The striking force is the large mobile reserve that conducts the
counterattack during the conduct of a mobile defense. As a norm
the enemy will attack probable striking force locations with conventional
or chemical fires. If the enemy knows the exact location, it may
use nuclear fires to destroy the force. When stationary, the striking
force protects itself through dispersion and hardening of positions.
When moving, it closes with the enemy rapidly and violently to
reduce its vulnerability. Real and deception smoke screens provide
A defense that focuses on denying
the enemy access to designated terrain for a specified time, rather
than on the outright destruction of the enemy. A commander may
conduct an area defense by using mutually supporting positions
in depth. Where ground, cannot be easily surrendered or when enemy
forces are weak and disorganized, the commander may use a forward
defense, which is an area defense with little depth. A perimeter
defense is a type of forward defense, where a commander maintains
the integrity of the perimeter by making his main effort well
forward and counterattacking early.
The enemy attempts to attain victory
through fire and maneuver. These fires may include chemical attacks.
Enemy fire planners may use nonpersistent chemical agents along
their route to support a breakthrough.
Where terrain exposes the enemy flanks,
enemy forces may use contamination to provide security. The enemy
will normally use screening smoke and high-explosive barrages
to hinder friendly observation. Dust generated by the barrage
blocks thermal and radar systems. As a countermeasure friendly
forces place observers to the front and the flanks, outside the
smoke, to adjust fires.
Commanders organize the defense around a static framework provided by planned defensive positions. These obstacles protect friendly positions and slow the attacker. Flame weapons enhance the effects of minefield and barriers and contribute to destruction, shock effect, and/or illumination. Nuclear fires destroy enemy forces before they can enter the battle.
Battle management reduces the impact
of enemy NBC attacks. Vulnerability analysis and risk analysis
provide the commander with critical information to determine positioning
and protective posture. In addition, the warning and reporting
system ties the battle area together with a timely picture of
A successful defense consists of
reactive and offensive elements working together. The defending
force resists and contains the enemy while seeking opportunities
to go on the offense. The attacker may include NBC weapons, smoke,
and flame in its attempt to penetrate the defense. It tries to
limit the defender's ability to react and reduce the defender's
The defender uses the principles
of NBC defense - avoidance, protection, and decon - to preserve
its forces. Active and passive avoidance measures enhance the
defender's survivability and sustainability. Protection saves
lives and allows the unit to continue its mission. Decon of personnel
and equipment regains lost combat power.
The defender uses obscurant to conceal
its activities and dispositions from the attacking force. It uses
deceiving smoke in conjunction with other electronic and physical
deception measures to mislead the attacker. Smoke supports the
defender taking the offense by disrupting enemy surveillance and
target acquisition means. Simultaneously, the defender uses obscurant
countermeasures to counteract the effects of enemy smoke and obscurant.
The defender incorporates flame weapons
into its barrier plans. Flame weapons destroy and demoralize enemy
forces and illuminate the battlefield. The defender covers its
positions to reduce the impact of enemy air-delivered flame bombs.
It prepares for enemy use of flamethrowers in close operations.
The commander maintains flexibility
and synchronization of his own forces while disrupting enemy activities.
He counters any tactical advantage the enemy can achieve with
NBC weapons. If the enemy uses NBC weapons to cause casualties,
the defender must protect his force. If the enemy contaminates
terrain, the defender must be ready to cross that contamination
or find alternate routes. If the enemy uses chemical weapons to
degrade the defender through the burdens of protective posture,
the defender must retaliate to force the attacker into a similar
posture. The successful defending force must be better prepared
than its adversary to survive, fight, and win on the NBC battlefield.
The following is a discussion on
METT-T considerations; preparing the defense; and deep, security,
close, reserve, rear, and retrograde operations.
Planning begins when a commander
receives a mission to defend or perceives a need to do so. This
planning integrates NBC considerations. The commander and his
operational planners are guided by the factors of METT-T.
In the defense the mission identifies
the area to be defended. The makeup of this area impacts on how
the NBC assets are used. If the defense covers a broad front,
the enemy will use its recon and intelligence-gathering sources
to locate strongpoints and weakly defended areas. Friendly commanders
use obscurant to deny the enemy this information. In a defense
with limited trafficability the enemy may use NBC attacks and
contamination against key routes. Defenders may have to increase
MOPP along these routes. Friendly commanders use recon assets
to identify which routes are contaminated and which are not.
Operational planners must know the
enemy's doctrine, habits, equipment, and probable courses of action.
The defending force conducts nuclear and chemical vulnerability
analyses to identify the potential impact of attacks. It identifies
probable enemy objectives and the weapon systems that support
the attack. It establishes the probable enemy timetable. The friendly
commander modifies his defense based on his estimate of enemy
intent. He hardens his positions against possible NBC use. He
also adjusts the MOPP level based on the need for mobility, perception
of the threat, and responsiveness of his warning system. When
authorized, he may use nuclear weapons to attack and delay enemy
Terrain and Weather
The defending force must exploit
those aspects of the terrain that impair enemy momentum. When
authorized, nuclear and chemical weapons augment conventional
barriers and flame weapons to canalize or delay the enemy. The
defender may use nuclear contamination to hinder the enemy's ability
to mass or maneuver. The defending commander identifies key terrain.
Some key terrain is so significant to the defense that its loss
would prove decisive. The defending commander must fully implement
NBC defensive measures to ensure that enemy NBC strikes do not
force him from these positions.
Weather and visibility affect how
defenders organize the ground. A position that offers visibility
and good fields of fire in clear air maybe valueless in obscurant.
Units must establish and rehearse movement to alternate positions.
Weather has a major impact on the type and quantity of NBC munitions
an enemy might use. Weather controls the length of time that terrain
remains contaminated. In addition, high temperatures greatly increase
degradation of combat efficiency in MOPP. Friendly commanders
must assess the impact of current and predicted weather on friendly
operations and vulnerabilities.
Mobility and protection are factors
in how well a force can defend. Armor and mechanized forces can
traverse nuclear or chemical contamination rapidly. However, light
forces cannot carry the shielding to cross nuclear contamination
safely. They can protect against chemical contamination but are
likely to sustain heat, exhaustion, dehydration, and chemical
casualties when crossing an area in MOPP4. Differences in morale,
training, and leadership make some units better prepared than
others to operate in an NBC environment. Commanders should exploit
relative strengths of units, such as skill in obscurant operations,
when designing the defense. Air assault operations in a NBC environment
are highly advantageous. Light forces avoid contamination by flying
over or around it. NBCWRS is enhanced by air assets conducting
radiological and chemical aerial ardor ground surveys. Air MEDEVAC
of NBC casualties, as well as extraction of contaminated personnel,
is possible through the use of helicopter assets. In this case
the unit limits contamination spread through use of plastic covers
or other field expedient methods.
Strong defenses take time to organize
and prepare. Hardening these defenses against NBC weapons takes
additional time. To gain time the commander may order a delay
by a covering force. This force may operate under the concealment
of smoke to develop the situation. When nuclear weapons have been
authorized, commanders may gain additional time with barriers
and craters created by nuclear devices. Nuclear strikes will produce
tree blowdown, fires, and rubble when directed against forests
Defensive planning emphasizes the
strengths of the defending force and terrain. Where terrain permits,
mechanized forces use their mobility to fight a fluid defense.
These forces locate and exploit the attacker's weaknesses. NBC
recon identifies clean routes for movement. Smoke conceals the
maneuver elements. When the defending unit consists of light forces,
they capitalize on their ability to hold ground and mass fire.
Since they will remain in one area, they construct NBC hardened
positions under concealment of smoke. They locate observation
posts forward and to the flanks. These posts can avoid the impact
of friendly or enemy obscurant. In addition, the commander integrates
decon assets into the defense. He plans to accomplish decon with
minimum impact on friendly operations. He reinforces natural barriers
with man-made obstacles and flame weapons. Nuclear fire plans
counter probable enemy threats involving massed forces.
To maintain security, prevent surprise,
and retain his options for mass and maneuver, the defending commander
must mask his preparations. He integrates his smoke plan with
other active and passive deception measures. Extensive use of
real and deception smoke screens conceals his positions and activities.
Electronic, thermal, and auditory deception measures improve the
effectiveness of deception screens. Recon and counterrecon allow
him to see the battlefield while denying the same information
to his opponent. Projected smoke is particularly effective in
Each element must wargame and rehearse
its plans. Forces develop alternate routes and positions. Chemical
units may prestock decontaminants and fog oil at forward supply
points. They select and prepare alternate sites as time allows.
Smoke units conduct recon to support smoke plans. Chemical recon
units plan for methods to best support the defense.
Planners identify their PIR. Their
early identification of enemy NBC capabilities and intentions
enhances NBC defense. Indicators of NBC attacks provide early
warning. Knowledge of enemy vulnerabilities supports friendly
conventional and nuclear fire planning.
The application of combat power -
throughout the depth of the battle area - defeats the enemy rapidly
with minimum friendly casualties.
Commanders conduct deep operations
using fires or maneuver. Use of ground maneuver units in deep
operations requires additional planning and coordination. These
units must carry all supplies needed for the mission or depend
on alternative measures such as aerial resupply. When aerial resupply
is used, the commander must divert helicopters and Air Force aircraft
from other critical missions. Units are also prepared to use MOPP
gear for longer periods and assume additional risk if resupply
is delayed. NBC defensive items, such as protective overgarments,
require frequent resupply.
Division and corps commanders assign
sectors to subordinate units for close operations. Priority of
effort normally goes to the force responsible for the most critical
sector. The corps commander implements his priorities by allocating
resources. Among these resources are chemical units, nuclear weapons,
and other combat multipliers.
Supporting unit Commanders plan for
the use of these resources. These commanders establish their own
priority of effort and further allocate units and munitions to
their subordinate units. Some units, such as NBC recon elements,
may provide general support. Others, such as decon units, normally
operate in direct support. Commanders normally place smoke units
in director general support.
Commanders apply the NBC defensive
principles of avoidance, protection, and decon. Before the battle,
units camouflage and harden their positions. They decide how position
alarm systems. Commanders much dispersion is required and what
level of MOPP is appropriate. Overhead cover will provide some
measure of protection against contamination and air-delivered
When high MOPP levels are required,
leaders delegate as many duties as possible. Leaders cannot be
as physically active under MOPP conditions as in a normal environment.
Disorientation and frustration are common. Exhaustion, dehydration,and mental fatigue may degrade leader effectiveness. When in MOPP
gear, subordinates may fail to recognize when a leader becomes
a casualty. Unit SOPs that prescribe methods for identifying key
personnel while in MOPP aid in preventing this from occurring.
Commanders also consider the consequences
of a prolonged stay in a contaminated area. At a minimum the commander
must ensure the resupply of overgarments, If available, he provides
a covered location for a latrine. If possible, he should establish
a clean area with NBC collective protection to support resting,
eating, and drinking. The commander must establish a system to
exchange empty or contaminated canteens for full ones. He implements
a command drinking program since troops in MOPP gear may not recognize
their own water requirements. The commander coordinates resupply
for contaminated supplies and food stocks that cannot be decontaminated.
The commander also establishes the
type and priority of decon. defensive Units normally must continue
their mission until relieved. Operational decon may provide temporary
relief from MOPP4. This relief extends the period troops can remain
in the area without major loss of combat power. Thorough decon
will be accomplished as soon as practical and may be accomplished
in conjunction with reconstitution operations.
Friendly and enemy smoke screens
exacerbate target acquisition and engagement difficulties. In
addition, flamethrower or air-delivered napalm may reduce lightly
Screening forces or covering forces
deploy in front of the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA).
A screening force protects main battle area (MBA) units from surprise.
It gains time for MBA commanders to reposition forces. Screening
forces have fewer capabilities than covering forces.
A screening force normally conducts
its own NBC recon. Decon is limited to basic skills and operational
decon. It delays thorough decon until the unit has turned the
battle over to MBA forces. Projected smoke, on-hard systems, and
smoke pots help the screening force avoid decisive engagements.
Smoke supports rapid disengagement when contact is forced. It
conceals routes of withdrawal and screens the handover of the
Covering forces delay or defeat leading
enemy units. Under ideal circumstances a corps will use one or
more ACRs as the covering force. However, it may use divisions
or separate brigades for this purpose. The organic chemical element
for these units provides smoke, decon, and NBC recon support for
the covering force. This support may be augmented by corps chemical
When the covering force can no longer
support its forward positions, it hands over the battle to MBA
forces. At this point the passage of lines is vulnerable to NBC
weapons; this massing of forces presents a lucrative target.
The reserve preserves the commander's
flexibility. Reserve forces may be squad-size or larger. They
must be prepared to assume any mission. They may strike the decisive
blow, block enemy penetrations, or reinforce committed forces.
The reserve must be survivable and mobile.
Under chemical or biological conditions
the protection offered by MOPP gear reduces combat effectiveness.
Primary routes may expose troops to contamination. Under battlefield
nuclear warfare conditions dispersion for survivability interferes
with the capability to mass against a key position.
The commander and his staff must
establish a posture that offers the greatest possible protection
commensurate with mission, threat, and work load.
The reserve forces must also prepare
for decon. If possible, in a nuclear- or chemical-threatened environment
they remain in covered, hardened positions or inside vehicles
until committed. If the terrain is contaminated, they may need
to conduct a counterattack in MOPP gear. Where they are exposed
to contamination, immediate and operational decon regain immediate
combat power needed for their mission. Thorough decon can be accomplished
at a later time.
Protection of rear areas assures the defender's freedom of maneuver. To minimize vulnerability command and control and support facilities are dispersed and redundant. Typically, corps and ASCC chemical assets support rear-area missions. Rear-area forces supplement NBC recon with their organic unit monitoring and survey capability. These units report results to the controlling headquarters for rear operations. This headquarters disseminates warning reports and overlays as necessary.
Smoke missions normally outnumber
assets; therefore, smoke use is prioritized. Fixed sites and other
critical static targets present a significant problem. The enemy
normally knows the location of these sites. Obscurant may provide
the only practical protection.
Fixed sites should be designed to
integrate active and passive defense features. These features
include dedicated smoke generators and techniques to lower the
visible and electronic signatures. Where smoke is not integrated
into the design, the defending commander may need to assign smoke
units for point or area coverage. For a detailed discussion of
rear operations see Chapter 12 of this manual, FM 71-100, or FM
Few significant differences exist
in NBC considerations between retrograde and other defensive operations.
The major difference is the extensive chemical recon that supports
movement to the rear. The enemy may use chemicals to canalize
or restrict the movement of friendly troops. NBC protection is
a high priority because of the potential for NBC attacks to disrupt
and disorganize the movement. Deep operations with nuclear weapons,
when authorized, impede the enemy's advance. So do barriers supported
by smoke and flame.
Planning for logistics ensures uninterrupted
support. CSS units displace at night or under cover of smoke.
They plan for their own NBC defense. Retrograde actions consume
large amounts of fuel, fog oil, and conventional munitions. If
the enemy contaminates combat units or terrain, friendly forces
will also require decontaminants. logistics planners need to position
these items in depth. They must carefully monitor stockpiles to
avoid destroying or evacuating these supplies unnecessarily. By
positioning the supplies along routes of withdrawal, logistics
commanders simplify support. They also reduce the enemy's ability
to interfere with logistic operations.
The defensive commander continually
plans to gain the initiative and transition to the offense. His
goal is to control the enemy's attack and resume the offensive
at the earliest possible time.
Chemical units support this shift to the offense. Smoke units conceal preparations for counter attacks. Where the tactical situation permits, decon elements restore friendly units' combat power by conducting thorough decon. Recon units seek multiple, clean routes of approach. These units report contamination throughout the battlefield to the commander. Chemical leaders and staff officers at all levels ensure that friendly NBC defense, smoke, flame, nuclear operations, support the commander's scheme of fire and maneuver.
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