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Posted on Mar 4, 2007 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 013. Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (Pt. 2)

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

Accompanying Statement:

MISSION: At 170400 March 03, 52d ID (Mech) attacks to defeat enemy forces in AO LION to protect the northern flank of the 55th AD.

DECISIVE OPERATION: An armor-heavy brigade passes through the southern mechanized brigade east of PL AMBER and attacks to seize the terrain vicinity of OBJ SLAM to protect the northern flank of the 55th AD.

SHAPING OPERATIONS: In the north, a mechanized heavy brigade attacks east to fix an enemy infantry regiment, denying them the ability to interfere with the division’s decisive operations in the south. The division cavalry squadron screens the division’s northern flank to provide early warning of any enemy forces capable of threatening the northern mechanized heavy brigade. A mechanized-heavy brigade in the south, the initial main effort, attacks to penetrate enemy forces vicinity PL AMBER to create enough maneuver space for the armor-heavy brigade to pass to the east without interference from the defending enemy infantry regiment. The armor-heavy brigade becomes the main effort after conducting a forward passage of lines with the southern mechanized-heavy brigade. The southern mechanized heavy brigade than follows and supports the main effort by attacking east to clear remaining elements of the enemy southern infantry regiment from PL AMBER to PL GREEN, protecting the rear of the main effort. The division reserve, an armor-heavy task force, initially follows the southern mechanized brigade with priority for planning/commitment to contain enemy forces capable of threatening the main effort’s passage through the southern mechanized heavy brigade. If not committed west of PL GREEN, the division reserve follows the main effort and is prepared to block enemy forces capable of threatening the main effort’s movement east, ensuring the seizure of OBJ SLAM. Tactical risk is assumed by not having a dedicated security force on the division’s southern flank.

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Division ISR operations focus on: (1) identifying the location and disposition of the southern enemy infantry regiment’s main defense to determine optimal breach points; (2): location and intentions of the enemy tank battalion vicinity WEST TOWN; (3): location and intention of the enemy tank regiment vicinity the NORTHERN MTNS.

IO focus is on deception and specific C2 nodes during the decisive operation. The deception story is that the division’s decisive operation is in the north. Indicators are the initial positioning of the armor-heavy brigade in the northern portion of the rear area in AA MIKE, simultaneous attacks of two brigades abreast in the north and south, and the division cavalry squadron operating on the northern flank of the division’s AO.

The division attack helicopter battalion attacks along air axis SID to destroy the enemy tank battalion vicinity WEST TOWN to protect the main effort’s northern flank. On order, attacks along air axis GIZMO to defeat the enemy tank regiment east of the NORTHERN MOUNTAINS providing the main effort time to seize OBJ SLAM.

Division fires will: (1) conduct counterfire to neutralize enemy artillery to prevent it from massing fires against the southern two brigades; (2) provide suppressive fires to allow the southern lead brigade penetration vicinity PL AMBER; (3) Conduct SEAD along axes SIDNEY and GIZMO to provide unimpeded passage of the attack helicopter battalion attacks.

SUSTAINING OPERATION. The division support area will establish vicinity METRO CITY with MSRs SEAN and NICK the primary routes used to sustain combat power during the attack. A mechanized company team is the division TCF with priority of responding to any LEVEL III threat to the division class III supply point.

At end state, the corps right flank is secure with two brigades consolidated in defense positions vicinity OBJ Slam. The division is prepared to conduct follow-on operations to clear enemy to PL RED.

Step 5- Identify initial Intelligence/Surveillance/Reconnaissance requirements – The last step in the process is to create a process to provide information allowing us to determine which COA our enemy is actually executing. This is critical in allocating our precious recon assets. In terms of this step, we will get into specific detail in next month’s article on decision-making. This step fits very nicely there.

We hope the past two articles have been beneficial for you. This is tough stuff and you do not become an expert at IPB over night. In fact, on your battlefield this is the likely discriminator between winning and losing. Please, if you have any questions regarding IPB let us know in the forum. We monitor it daily and are here to help. Next month, as stated above, we will focus on decision-making on the battlefield and the concept of the Commander’s Critical Information Requirements.

As a side note, we are happy to announce that the leadership of ACG has invited us to continue the series for another year. We are very excited about this! We respect ACG tremendously and its readership! We enjoy developing articles and hope we are contributing to your understanding and application of tactics. This can be very complicated and take years to begin gaining confidence in your abilities. We hope your confidence level is rising! Thanks for your compliments and we look forward to seeing you on the ‘high ground’ during the next year!

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