Smoke and obscurants are used
on the battlefield to enhance friendly operations and degrade
enemy operations. All forces on the battlefield use smoke and
battle-induced obscurants, such as HE artillery-generated dust.
When coupled with naturally occurring obscurants, such as rain,
snow, or fog, limited visibility becomes the normal battlefield
Friendly and enemy surveillance
and weapon systems use visual, infrared, or radar sensors to see
the battlefield. Smoke and obscurants provide low-cost countermeasures
to these systems. Smoke and obscurants can change the relative
combat power of opposing forces by changing the effectiveness
of their weapon systems. In addition, smoke and obscurants increase
survivability and enhance force effectiveness by--
- Degrading the enemy's ability
- Disrupting the enemy's ability
to send visual signals.
- Concealing friendly forces.
- Deceiving the enemy.
- Sending friendly signals,
including identification of forces and targets.
- Attenuating energy weapons.
- Enhancing the effectiveness
of friendly weapon systems.
the operational level of war, corps and echelons above corps use
smoke to conceal the location or size of mobile forces. Smoke
can be used to conceal logistics over the shore (LOTS) operations,
dams, locks, and critical areas on MSRs. Large, obscurant clouds
and dummy smoke can support deception plans at the operational
level. Large-area smoke increases survivability of key logistics
and transportation assets by degrading missile and air attack
guidance systems. Smoke can conceal facilities necessary to sustain
the force, such as ports, terminals, and critical rail facilities.
At the tactical level of war
smoke supports the movement and positioning of forces on the battlefield.
It covers the logistical support of forces before, during, and
after engagements. Friendly forces use smoke to support the commander's
concept of operations or counter an immediate enemy threat. Smoke
disrupts enemy command and control. It degrades enemy reconnaissance,
intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition. It counters
antitank guided missiles (ATGMs), directed-energy weapons, and
laser range-finding and designating systems. It supports battlefield
deception operations. FM 3-50 provides detailed guidance on conducting
Forces tailor a variety of
delivery means and munitions to produce smoke screens. These sources
- Projected smoke. Artillery,
mortars, and multifunction rockets can deliver a dense, white
smoke using white phosphorus (WP), red phosphorus (RP), and hexachloroethane
- Generated smoke. Smoke generators,
smoke pots, and screening smoke hand grenades produce white smoke
using fog oil (for generators) or HC (for pots and grenades).
Signaling grenades produce colored smoke for identifying and marking.
- Self-defense smoke. Some US
vehicles have vehicle engine exhaust smoke systems (VEESSs) that
use diesel fuel to create a smoke screen. However, JP8 fuel will
limit VEESS effectiveness as little smoke is produced at temperatures
above 32°F. Many vehicles also mount smoke grenade launchers
that can create a self-protection screen within seconds. Units
predetermine whether to load the launcher with a grenade that
will screen unaided or unenhanced vision only (L8A3 RP grenade)
or a grenade that will screen thermal imagery (M76 bispectral
grenade). Friendly and enemy sensor and weapon system capabilities
guide this decision.
When bispectral grenades are
used, the screen can break weapons lock on thermally-guided missiles.
However, the screen will also obscure the vehicle's own thermal
Units at every level should
plan deliberate smoke operations to support the commander's concept
of operations using any available smoke source. Deliberate smoke
operations are characterized by--
- Extensive planning at the
command level that controls the affected area.
- Extensive coordination (including
coordination with units adjacent to the areas being smoked).
- Extended periods of operation
(typically hours to days).
- Significant logistics support.
- Significant support for mobility
(deliberate smoke with deliberate breach and hasty smoke with
in-stride breach), countermobility, and survivability operations.
- Extensive and redundant communication.
- Alternate (back up) plans.
- Deception plans.
During deliberate smoke operations
forces conceal or protect large areas (several square kilometers)
behind the FLOT with smoke generators supplemented by smoke pots.
They obscure point or small-area targets in enemy-controlled territory
with projected smoke assets (for example, artillery, mortars,
naval gunfire, and close air support rockets). Deliberate operations
can consume large amounts of fuel, fog oil, and munitions. They
require extensive use of relatively scarce smoke generator and
Battalion task forces and
smaller units conduct hasty smoke operations to counter an immediate
enemy tactical threat. Forces conducting these operations use
the unit basic load of smoke- producing sources, augmented by
rapidly responding assets like mortars, artillery, and smoke units
if available. Hasty smoke operations are characterized by--
- Minimal time available for
planning and executing the mission.
- Minimal coordination.
- Relatively short duration
(typically one or two hours or less).
- Use of organic assets.
- Reliance in SOPs/battle drills.
During hasty smoke operations
forces create local screens to support small unit maneuver or
disengagement. Hasty smoke operations require rapid planning and
execution. Units must still preplan the operational and logistical
support for using hasty smoke.
Most deliberate smoke operations
and some hasty operations require the generation of large obscurant
clouds which may cover many square kilometers. Smoke units create
large-area smoke clouds with stationary or mobile smoke generator
systems supplemented with smoke pots.
Smoke units with stationary
generators develop smoke plans using primary and alternate unit
positions. Other smoke sources are added to enable the unit to
cover a specific area or stationary target under different weather
conditions. Mobile (motorized and mechanized) smoke generator
systems can make smoke while moving. To cover stationary or mobile
targets they can quickly displace to create successive screens.
Echelons above corps normally
use stationary smoke systems assigned to smoke units or fixed
sites in the COMMZ. Corps and divisions use mobile smoke units
forward of the corps rear boundary. They use motorized smoke in
their rear and main areas and mechanized smoke forward. Projected
smoke may supplement huge-area smoke by shortening time required
to develop effective clouds.
Operations and logistics planners
must consider the requirement to supply fog oil to smoke generators.
Few substitutes exist for fog oil. Only basestock refined oil
products ( 90, 100, or 150 neutral products), 10-weight and 75-weight
motor oils, and SGF1 may substitute; diesel fuel and JP8 cannot.
Logistics planners should consider push packages of POL to smoke
units. In general, only unit distribution methods will sustain
smoke units due to their lack of transportation assets. Therefore,
the distribution scheme within a division may require extraordinary
handling to sustain this valuable combat support asset .
Friendly units use smoke and
obscurants to attack and defeat enemy recon, intelligence, surveillance,
and target acquisition efforts and to degrade the enemy's combat
effectiveness. For example, we may fire obscuring smoke mixed
with high explosives onto an enemy ATGM position to defeat its
target acquisition efforts. We may fire or generate smoke between
enemy echelons to degrade command and control and interfere with
synchronization. We conceal our forces and positions with smoke.
Smoke supports deception plans by drawing attention away from
the main effort. It can mark targets or friendly positions. It
protects friendly forces against directed-energy weapons and the
thermal effects of nuclear weapons. It enhances friendly weapon
systems when used to exploit specific enemy vulnerabilities.
Friendly units use smoke directly
on enemy positions to confuse and disorient direct-fire gunners
and artillery forward observers. The former Soviet Army believed
that obscuring (blinding) smoke on enemy positions was more effective
than concealing (camouflaging) smoke over friendly forces. Their
writings stated that friendly forces can cut losses by more than
90 percent by obscuring enemy direct-fire gunners and forward
observers with smoke.
Friendly forces conceal positions
and activities from enemy ground or air observation by using screening
smoke over their own operational areas or between friendly and
enemy forces. A smoke blanket, a haze, or a curtain may be used
to accomplish this mission.
A smoke blanket prevents enemy
observation from the ground or the air. A blanket provides excellent
concealment; however, it contains such dense smoke that it restricts
friendly movement and activity. Smoke blankets are very resource-intensive
and sometimes disruptive for friendly activities. As a result,
blankets are seldom used unless absolute concealment is needed.
Friendly forces most often use a smoke haze for screening. A haze
is heavy enough to restrict accurate enemy fires but is light
enough to avoid significantly hampering friendly operations. On
some occasions when weather conditions do not allow a haze, friendly
forces may use a smoke curtain. This vertical line of smoke between
friendly and enemy positions restricts enemy ground observation
of friendly positions and activities. Smoke curtains may not always
restrict enemy air observation.
Forces use marking smoke to
identify targets or friendly forces during close air support,
attack helicopter operations, and other fire support tasks. Marking
smoke also supports prearranged battlefield communications for
control measures, link-up operations, and tactical cues.
Units use protecting smoke
to defeat command line of sight terminal homing ATGMs, attenuate
directed-energy (DE) weapons and thermal energy effects of DE
and nuclear weapons. Bispectral smoke grenades can protect armored
vehicles by interfering with the enemy gunner's ability to either
track the vehicle or control the missile. Large-area smoke can
reflect, absorb, or scatter heat and light from nuclear weapons.
Smoke is an excellent countermeasure to low-energy lasers which
damage vision or optics.
Smoke and obscurants create
feelings of isolation in the enemy soldier, causing stress and
reducing combat effectiveness. Smoke interferes with enemy reaction
to obstacles, barriers, and minefields. It suppresses enemy flash-ranging
techniques. It forces the enemy to use electronic transmissions
more frequently, making him more vulnerable to electronic warfare.
It supports air defense by filling valleys and defiles to deny
nap-of-earth helicopter routes.
Commanders use all factors
of METT-T to plan smoke operations. The weather-dependent nature
of smoke requires intense preparation. Time of day, humidity,
and wind direction are major considerations when planning effective
smoke support. FM 3-50 describes appropriate planning considerations.
Commanders must know their
units' ability and that of the enemy to see and fight through
smoke. IPB identifies capabilities of enemy sensors and obscurants.
Planners balance the degradation caused by friendly smoke against
friendly and enemy surveillance and weapon systems before using
Smoke normally favors the
attacker. It is particularly effective at night and other limited-visibility
conditions. Smoke is most effective when used in compartmented
Smoke compresses usable areas
of the battlefield. Attacking forces may remain concealed by smoke
until they are less than 1,000 meters from defender positions.
Although attacking forces will silhouette themselves as they emerge
from the smoke at this range, the defender will have great difficulty
defending against overwhelming numbers emerging from a screen
close to the defensive positions.
Units should avoid placing
smoke on their own lines of sight. Dust raised by HE point-detonating
artillery, projected smoke and burning debris, will degrade friendly
sensors. Friendly smoke should not be allowed to thicken enemy
obscurants to make friendly systems less effective.
Before the battle, smoke denies
the enemy information about the composition and disposition of
friendly forces. It screens assembly areas and defeats enemy target
acquisition and surveillance. Smoke conceals maneuver and combat
support forces and contributes to deception operations. Friendly
forces use projected, generated, and self-defense smoke to--
- Mark targets.
- Obscure enemy gunners and
- Degrade enemy command, control,
- Conceal passage of lines,
movement to contact, and hasty and deliberate attacks.
- Conceal or restrict landing
zones (LZs), drop zones (DZs), or pickup zones (PZs). (For friendly
LZs, DZs, and PZs the smoke is placed to restrict enemy observation
without interfering with friendly operations.)
- Conceal river-crossing operations
and reduction of obstacles.
- Conceal logistics operations
(for example, refuel-on-the-move sites).
- Support deception plans.
- Degrade enemy laser designators,
range finders, and weapons.
- Enhance the effectiveness
of artillery-delivered minefield by concealing their visual indicators.
- Support MOUT operations.
In the defense, forces use
smoke primarily to increase survivability and counter enemy recon,
surveillance, and target acquisition. Forces use smoke in the
- Obscure enemy direct-fire
gunners and artillery forward observers.
- Disrupt enemy movement and
command and control.
- Conceal obstacle emplacement,
preparation of battle positions, and movement to alternate positions.
- Conceal reconstitution, holding,
and staging areas.
- Conceal MSR activities.
- Mark targets.
- Deceive the enemy as to areas
of main effort and battle positions.
- Reduce the effectiveness of
enemy directed--energy weapons.
- Enhance air defense by degrading
nap-of-earth flight patterns and forcing the enemy to fly higher.
- Silhouette targets.
- Support MOUT operations.
- Restrict LZs or DZs.
Smoke draws attention. Units
use smoke to enhance deception operations, drawing attention away
from the main effort and misleading the enemy about friendly force
intentions. The enemy may divert forces and fires to the deception,
reducing capability to mass forces against actual friendly force
For example, using smoke to
conceal a dummy defensive preparation and support activities confuses
the enemy as to the precise location of the defense. Smoke and
high-explosive preparations of dummy objectives may confuse the
enemy as to the actual main attack.
Smoke should never be the
only deception activity. It supports other means to portray a
false picture to the enemy. Smoke enhances the realism of a display,
feint, or demonstration. Radio traffic, combat noises, vehicle
dust, and decoys in addition to the smoke support the deception
plan. Heat sources and radar reflectors concealed by smoke add
to the credibility of the deception effort.
Enemy use of smoke and obscurants
may significantly degrade friendly defensive and offensive operations.
Enemy forces use smoke as a control measure to synchronize the
movement of attacking forces. US forces use a variety of countermeasures
to defeat enemy use of smoke and obscurants. Some combat actions
common to the battlefield with or without obscurants serve as
countermeasures to enemy smoke use. These include--
- Offensive operations, which
disrupt the enemy's ability to conduct or support smoke operations.
- Electronic warfare, which
hinders enemy movement and command, control, and communications
- Obstacles, which disrupt enemy
timetables for using smoke.
- Tactical deception, which prevents
the enemy from locating (and smoking) friendly positions.
- Friendly countersmoke which
may be used to confuse the enemy and prevent its effective use
of smoke as a control measure.
- Counterbattery fires, which
limit enemy delivery capability.
Countermeasures which enhance
friendly survivability and mitigate the effects of enemy obscurants
- Electro-optical devices. Thermal
devices will permit surveillance and target engagement through
smoke. Our thermal devices will only see through visual obscurants.
- Dispersion. Dispersing forces
laterally and in depth to provide multiple lines of sight (LOS)
reduces the value of enemy smoke.
- FASCAM (family of scatterable
mines) with smoke. Integrating smoke with FASCAM-emplaced minefield
increases their effectiveness by hiding visual cues. Since minefield
normally remain under direct observation and fire, friendly forces
must prepare to cease smoke operations quickly and engage targets
in the smoke using electro-optical devices.
- Alternate positions. Friendly
forces construct alternate positions. They move to alternate positions
when the primary positions become untenable. They also use these
positions when LOS from the primary positions are obscured by
smoke and HE-generated dust.
- Stay-behind forces. Typically
the enemy will concentrate its obscurants in front of its troops.
Stay-behind forces can engage an enemy from its flanks and rear
after it has passed their position.
- Positioning of ground/vehicle
laser locator designator (G/VLLD). Since most laser range finders
and designators are susceptible to degradation caused by obscurants,
units must use them in locations that offer a high probability
of clear LOS. Commanders may improve fire support by placing G/VLLD
in positions where the enemy is less likely to use smoke; that
is, they may position G/VLLD to their front or flanks, even though
LOS from these positions are more limited, to avoid obvious key
terrain features that the enemy is certain to obscure.
- Positioning of observation
posts (OPs). The enemy will not normally surround its forces completely
with smoke. It will obscure the most likely enemy positions and
LOS. Positioning OPs at extended distances to the front and flanks
may provide some unobscured LOS to identify size and composition
of enemy forces and support calls for fire.
- Target enemy smoke assets.
Friendly forces locate and destroy enemy smoke generator units
or vehicles to strip away advantages possible with its smoke cover.
Riot control agents (RCAs)
and herbicides are non-lethal chemicals which have military application.
Non-lethal materials are available to the commander under specific
conditions. The Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) is the
source document for the most current employment conditions.
RCAs and herbicides are used
for law enforcement, agriculture, and industry. They are not classified
as military chemical agents. Their uses are covered by different
policies than those that govern chemical warfare. Information
on US policy regarding use of RCAs and herbicides is covered in
RCAs are compounds that produce
temporary irritating or incapacitating effects when used in field
concentrations. They include tearing (crying), sneezing, and vomiting
agents. Tearing agents are the most frequently used RCAs.
The most commonly used riot
control agent, CS, is a white solid that causes a blinding flow
of tears and involuntary closing of the eyes. In greater concentrations,
it irritates moist skin and the respiratory tract. Other agents
in the US Army inventory include CSX, CS1, CS2, and CR. One of
the more recent additions to the RCA inventory is oleoresin capsicum
(OC) or pepper spray. It behaves much like CS with respect to
the affects on the upper respiratory system. However, OC is an
inflammatory rather than an irritant as is CS. The physiological
effects desired and the dissemination means available determine
the choice of RCA.
RCAs are widely used for training,riot control, noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs), and situations
in which long-term affects are unacceptable. US forces disseminate
RCAs in hand grenades, ring airfoil projectiles, 40-millimeter
cartridge grenades, or bulk agent aerial and ground dispersers.
protective mask protects soldiers' eyes and respiratory tracts
from RCAs. Normal clothing over exposed skin can help prevent
skin irritation. Personnel decontaminate RCAs by both brushing
and washing exposed skin or clothing.
US forces may conduct tactical
RCA operations across the range of military operations after Presidential
In peacetime, the Secretary
of Defense may authorize use of RCAs. Specifically, RCAs may be
used on US bases, posts, embassy grounds, and installations for
protection and security purposes such as riot control and evacuation
of US noncombatants. The US-controlled portions of foreign installations
are considered US installations. Authority for use of RCAs in
peacetime situations not addressed above is covered in operations
plans that are submitted for Secretary of Defense approval.
In a low-intensity conflict
unsophisticated forces could use chemical agents or RCAs. In most
cases these forces will have only limited protective equipment.
Many units may be completely unprotected. As a result, retaliation
with RCAs will be highly effective and will mitigate any advantages
achieved by the enemy.
Following Presidential approval,
forces can use RCAs to--
- Protect installations and
- Reduce insurgent capacity
for offensive operations.
- Support attack of fortified
and unfortified enemy positions.
- Restrict insurgent entry into
- Aid in destroying or trapping
- Draw the enemy into an unfavorable
- Develop more favorable conditions
for offensive operations.
- Gain time without fighting
a decisive engagement.
- Avoid combat under undesirable
- Aid in disengaging from combat.
- Support relocation of friendly
- Supplement security along
extended lines of communications.
- Assist bunker and tunnel clearing
RCAs can also be effective
psychological weapons in areas where superstition or fear of the
unknown can be exploited among insurgents unfamiliar with these
RCAs could be effectively
used against relatively sophisticated enemy forces in mid-intensity
conflicts. Some elements of these enemy forces will have the training
and equipment to withstand RCA use. Nevertheless, RCAs will still
degrade enemy operations by forcing the use of that protective
equipment. Protective masking will reduce the effectiveness of
enemy fire and interfere with its command and control.
When approved for use in a
high-intensity conflict against sophisticated and well-equipped
forces, RCAs provide the commander a measured degree of force
to influence the outcome of military operations. In general, RCAs
would be used in high-intensity conflicts in the same manner as
they are used in low-and mid-intensity conflicts. However, they
will seldom be used alone.
RCAs can be used any time
serious injury or death is not the primary objective of the operation.
RCAs offer commanders an opportunity to inflict temporary incapacitation,
degradation, and terrain restriction.
Historically, herbicides have
enabled railroads, power companies, and farmers to control unwanted
vegetation. However, the United States no longer maintains herbicides
in its inventory. US forces used herbicides in Southeast Asia
to clear fields of fire around base camps and along lines of communications.
Using aircraft- and truck-mounted sprayers, they could spray large
areas in a relatively short time. Herbicides effects usually begin
to occur within several days to weeks after spraying. Friendly
forces could then clear defensive perimeters containing mines,
booby traps, and other munitions. US forces also used herbicides
to destroy concealment vital to the enemy's survival. Herbicides
uncovered enemy supply routes and base camps.
Herbicides kill or alter plant
growth. Plant growth regulators alter the growth rate of vegetation.
Slowing growth can keep vegetation from blocking fields of vision,
such as fields of fire and avenues of approach. Speeding growth
can upset the natural growth cycle of a plant, causing its death.
Defoliants cause plants to shed their leaves prematurely but not
kill them. When selecting a defoliant for use, planners consider
the effects desired and duration rate. Desiccants kill plants
by dehydrating them. Soil sterilants sterilize both plants and
Herbicides can be selective
or nonselective. Selective herbicides kill only certain plant
species and have little or no effect on others. Nonselective herbicides
kill all plant life without regard to species.
Forces use herbicides to reduce
vegetation along suspected enemy routes of advance, assembly and
hiding areas, and supply routes. Aerial observers can better monitor
activities if these areas are treated. Herbicides neutralize the
advantages of concealment.
Limited First Use of
Upon presidential approval,
herbicides may be used in areas under US control and along the
- Kill the vegetation bordering
roads, paths, trails, railroads, and waterways. This reduces possible
sites from which friendly forces may be ambushed.
- Kill the vegetation surrounding
vulnerable base camps, communications complexes, pipelines, supply
points, assault strips, landing zones, and air defense sites.
- Control vegetation in fields
of fire and avenues of approach. The resulting fields of fire
may destroy or canalize the enemy during approaches and withdrawals.
- Destroy large areas of dense
vegetation for major construction projects or for health and sanitation
Once an enemy uses herbicides,
chemicals, toxins, pathogens, or RCAs against US or allied forces,
retaliatory use of herbicides may be approved by the President.
The standard against which such a request for release is measured
is, "Will this use escalate the use of chemical compounds
beyond the level already established by the enemy?" In the
case of herbicides, the answer will probably be no, regardless
of the chemical, biological compounds or agents the enemy has
used. Large-area spray missions, support of ground gaining operations,
and anticrop applications in the enemy's rear areas are all acceptable
retaliatory uses of herbicides. Political constraints and command
guidance may rule out one or more of these applications, but all
of them could be approved.
Herbicides may be used on
enemy held terrain to support retaliatory operations by--
- Defoliating large-area targets
to improve intelligence gathering. Defoliation increases vertical
and horizontal visibility in densely vegetated areas.
- Killing vegetation on friendly
objectives and suspected enemy positions.
- Destroying enemy food supplies
and cash crops, when such objectives constitute proper military
- Destroying narcotic-producing
crops in support of counternarcotic operations.
Herbicide operations, like
all other actions in war, must be aggressively exploited to obtain
the maximum benefits in terms of mission success and lives saved.
Careful integration of herbicides with maneuver, fire support,
engineer, and electronic warfare plans will net the greatest return.
Careful use also reduces their potential to negatively impact
concurrent and subsequent operations.
Presidential approval is always
required to use herbicides in war, but host nation agreements
may also require allied approval. Local civilian officials and
civil affairs officers should be kept abreast of the effects of
herbicide operations. When fighting as a member of an alliance,
US forces must follow alliance policies regarding use.
Combatants have historically
used flame in wars to kill, injure, or demoralize personnel and
destroy equipment and structures. Flame was a major casualty-producer
in World War II. For example, the incendiary raid on Tokyo in
March 1945 killed more people (197,000) than the nuclear attacks
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The human fear of fire, together with
the physical damage it produces, accounts for the tactical success
of flame in combat. FM 3-11 describes in detail flame operations
and the construction and use of flame field expedients.
Forces use flame weapons and
flame field expedients (FFEs) during offensive and defensive operations
All combat scenarios should
include flame operations. Light forces are well suited to use
flame, including FFE. Therefore, training for LIC must include
the construction and use of FFE. Training should not be restricted
to FFE, but include packaged flame systems as well. The M202A1
66-millimeter FLASH is a conventional flame weapon with application
in MOUT operations. Army standard flame weapons can produce casualties
in bunkers, buildings, covered or open fighting positions. It
can also damage vehicles and destroy combustible supplies, ammunition,
and materiel. White phosphorus and thermite munitions can be used
to damage and destroy combustibles. Offensive forces may use flame
weapons as part of an ambush plan.
Small, portable FFE weapons
are another method for using flame in the offense. Exploding flame
devices no larger than an ammunition can may be prepared in advance
and carried into the battle. Small offensive forces operating
in remote or isolated areas may use FFE to seal off border crossings
or attack an infiltration route. During deep operations portable
FFE devices can destroy enemy stocks of fuel and weapons.
Use flame weapons and FFE
devices in the defense to--
- Reinforce obstacles.
- Augment final protective fires.
- Cover dead spaces and gaps
in the defense.
- Illuminate critical areas
of the battle.
Defending forces cover flame
weapons by supporting fire to prevent removal or destruction by
the enemy. Camouflage and concealment achieve surprise and prevent
enemy observation. Defenders must check exploding flame devices
periodically to ensure the firing systems, explosives, and fuel
have not deteriorated, been tampered with, or removed.
FFE devices can easily be
constructed for defensive purposes. Individual flame mines and
directional fougasses are examples of two powerful weapons that
can be used in a defensive fire plan. Both devices are suitable
for front-line and rear-area defensive postures. A minefield of
command-detonated FFE mines is ideal for a long-term static defense
or to restrict LZ/DZ in rear areas. Light forces may also use
flame in a defensive role.
Flame Weapons and FFE Devices
Forces can also use flame
effectively in MOUT. Defenders can use flame weapons and FFE devices
to destroy attacking forces. Attackers may target such complexes
of large cities as transportation terminals, multistory buildings,
communications facilities, and subway facilities, to disrupt the
Friendly forces can expect
the enemy to use flame weapons. Surviving an attack of this nature
may depend on how well soldiers are trained to defend themselves
The primary objective of individual
defense is to prevent burning fuel from contacting bare skin.
Soldiers use available cover when a flame attack is imminent.
Covered fighting positions and prepared positions offer the best
protection. However, shelter halves or blankets may provide protection
when soldiers are caught in the open. Even a field jacket will
afford a measure of protection. It is important to note that fire
requires and consumes oxygen. Protective covers should be removed
quickly and discarded when the danger posed by burning particles,
droplets, and fuel globs has passed.
Bare skin areas, such as the
hands, neck, and face, are especially vulnerable to flame attacks.
Special efforts must be made to protect and cover these areas
to prevent serious or perhaps fatal burns.
Tent canvas and truck tarpaulins
treated with fire-resistant substances will resist flame for a
short time. Three canvas articles can be expected to hold burning
particles long enough for personnel to escape from a prepared
position that has been covered by this material.
The plastic or rubber-coated
poncho and any nylon or thermoplastic material, such as the poncho
liner, should not be used as cover material. These items will
melt from intense heat, adhere to the skin, and cause serious
Thorough troop indoctrination
in the enemy's flame capabilities and limitations is essential.
Soldiers must be mentally conditioned to believe that ground flame
attacks can be repulsed. Commanders responsible for the training
of troops must continually emphasize the difficulties the enemy
will encounter in carrying out a flame mission.
- Preparation takes a great
deal of time.
- Battle command is difficult.
- Enemy flame weapons are limited
in range and capacity and can be identified and destroyed before
they come into firing range.
- Defenders can defeat the attack
by destroying key enemy personnel or vehicles before they reach
an assaulting position.
Troops must be trained to
recognize enemy flame equipment and weapons and any indications
the enemy intends to use flame. Training must include the combat
techniques the enemy uses in flame use. Soldiers must anticipate
flame attacks and defend against them.
Use of Supporting Fires
The best defense against enemy
flame is to identify flame weapons and destroy them before they
get into usable range. Commanders may use supporting artillery,
mortars, or tactical air against enemy flame weapons. They may
identify the priority for destruction of these weapons in the
fire plans of direct support units. Since existing flame weapons
are relatively short-range, units normally engage and destroy
them through precision adjustment of organic mortars. Large-area
and projected smoke may also obscure friendly forces from being
targeted by flame weapons.
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