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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)



Smoke in the Offense

Battlefield applications of smoke include--

  • Obscuring
  • Screening
  • Protecting
  • Marking

Friendly forces use projected, generated, and self-defense smoke to--

  • Mark targets.
  • Obscure enemy gunners and surveillance.
  • Degrade enemy command, control, and communications.
  • Conceal passage of lines, movement to contact, and hasty and deliberate attacks.
  • Conceal 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, fast refuel sites).
  • Signal.
  • 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.

Smoke in the Defense

In the defense, forces use smoke primarily to increase survivability and counter enemy reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. Forces use smoke in the defense to--

  • 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.
  • Signal.
  • 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.

Tactical Countermeasures

  • Disperse laterally and in-depth to increase lines-of-sight.
    • Position forward observers outside anticipated coverage.
    • Position laser designators to front or flanks to avoid preplanned smoke.
    • Position visual air defense systems on high ground.
    • Position thermal/MMW air defense systems in smoke.

  • Use obstacles to disrupt enemy timing.
    • Use electronic jamming to preclude adjustments of smoke.
    • Use remote sensor systems to track enemy progress.
    • Engage at choke points with indirect or preaimed direct fire.

  • Deceive the enemy about unit location.
    • Prepare positions and alternates in friendly smoke.
    • Conduct rigorous counter-reconnaissance.
    • Use decoys.

  • Use helicopters to identify and fire through gaps in coverage. Use remote piloted vehicle (RPV) to look down through smoke.

  • Employ scatterable mines in friendly or enemy smoke to slow an attacking enemy.
  • When moving in smoke, plan for tighter formations, slower speeds, and easily recognized routes.
  • In the defense, prepare and rehearse movement to alternate and subsequent positions. Use range cards, T&E mechanisms, and multiple lines-of-sight for paired weapons. Plan for target hands-off.
  • Smoke coordination and reconnaissance checklists for smoke unit leaders are outlined below.

Smoke Planning Process

  • Each echelon of command plans for smoke employment to support current and future operations.
  • Integrate smoke into the overall tactical plan.
  • Synchronize smoke use with key events or decision points.
  • Base smoke planning on the same factors as the tactical plan--
    • Mission
    • Enemy situation
    • Terrain
    • Weather
    • Troops available
    • Time
    • Distance

  • Mission considerations include--
    • Types of smokes and obscurants available.
    • Unit capabilities.
    • Detailed planning and preparation.
    • Employment techniques.
    • Communications.
    • Intelligence.
    • Whether the unit has successfully operated in smoke previously

  • Chemical staffs must coordinate with other staff sections to--
    • Develop estimates that define enemy capabilities and our own courses of action.
    • Analyze smoke targets.
    • Prioritize smoke resources.
    • Recommend courses of action to the commander.

  • When the commander approves the staff estimates, the staff prepares orders that combine smoke with combat power.

Situation and Target Development

Targeting begins with the commander's guidance and continues through the development of a prioritized list specifying what targets to attack and when to attack these targets (DECIDE), plus acquiring high-payoff targets (DETECT), and what will defeat these targets (DELIVER).

Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield

  • For smoke planners
    • Evaluation of area of interest and operation.
    • Terrain analysis
    • Weather analysis
    • Threat evaluation
    • Threat integration

Smoke Estimate

  • Chemical officer, in coordination with the G3/S3, FSO, and smoke unit commander/platoon leader prepares the smoke estimate.
  • Estimate goes to the S2 and targeting officer for inclusion into the target value analysis (TVA) for fire support planning, and to the S3 and chemical staff for smoke target planning.

Smoke Support Plan Development

  • Prepared simultaneously with the smoke estimate.
  • Obtain the restated mission/commander's intent.
  • Obtain required fire and smoke planning information.
  • Recommend smoke support coordinating measures.
  • Update status displays.
  • Brief smoke support plan to obtain concurrence from commander (or G3/S3 as required by local policy).
  • Coordinate fire support plan changes with the commander or S3 and with the FSO.
  • Coordinate the smoke support plan with adjacent units.
  • Brief smoke unit leader(s) on the smoke annex to the OPORD.

Smoke Support Plan Execution

  • Use covered and concealed maneuver techniques.
  • Time smoke delivery with decision points, IPB, and human feedback.
  • Use unobscured weapons to overwatch.
  • Do not let your smoke silhouette your own forces.
  • Plan to engage through or around the smoke.
  • Plan for enemy countermeasures.
  • Plan for additional maneuver time under smoke.
  • Verify enemy locations (responsibility of recon).

Smoke Support Plan Execution

  • The impact of smoke on tactical operations mandates close coordination, control, and planning for contingencies.
  • Command/staff supervision are essential to ensure the use of smoke enhances rather than degrades mission success.
  • Commanders must control smoke in their areas of operation.
  • Smoke unit leader monitors the communications nets for the supported unit and internal nets.
  • Plan to minimize friendly force degradation from our use of smoke.

Smoke Mission Coordination Checklist for Smoke Unit Commanders or Leaders

  • Grid coordinates of the smoke target area.
  • Tactical or operational missions to be supported.
  • Visibility criteria required in the smoke target area?
  • Type of screening smoke (haze, blanket, or curtain).
  • Type of smoke unit support for logistics, security, and fire support available or needed.
  • Will weather and terrain influence the mission?
  • Anticipated duration of the mission.
  • Direction of known or suspected enemy forces.
  • Supported units' frequencies, call signs, and brevity codes.
  • Signals for starting, stopping, shifting, or continuing the smoke mission.
  • Tactical situation in the proposed smoke area of operations concerning enemy contact, obstacles, etcetera.
  • Actions taken should the smoke unit make enemy contact.
  • Grid coordinates of supported unit TOCs/CPs.
  • Challenge/password and code weds.
  • Fog oil and fuel (both diesel and gasoline) resupply.
  • Maintenance support and recovery provided.
  • Projected requirement for Class V.
  • What aviation assets will be available to supported and supporting units?
  • Where are LZs, and FARPs?

Smoke Recon Checklist for Smoke Unit Leaders

  • Locate selected target areas.
  • Determine supported and subordinate unit positions.
  • Designate subordinate unit smoke positions and/or lanes.
  • Locate smoke control point(s).
  • Designate supply routes, access routes, fuel resupply points, and/or fuel/fog oil forward prestock points if required.
  • Determine local weather and terrain conditions. (While it is important to note local weather conditions at the time of the recon, the unpredictable nature of weather necessitates that the smoke unit leader consider all possibilities when drafting the operations order.)
  • Determine security support requirements and internal smoke unit defense measures.

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