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Posted on Aug 11, 2007 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 018 – River Crossing Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

PHASE 1 Advance to the River — The task of this phase is to seize key terrain (designated crossing sites, road networks) that is critical to the river crossing. Forces assigned this task will establish security on the near shore and then set up hasty defensive positions protecting the crossing area. Forces will cover the crossing sites with indirect and direct fires.

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CONTRIBUTION OF THE BATTLEFIELD OPERATING SYSTEMS DURING PHASE 1 – ADVANCE TO THE RIVER

Intelligence

• Acquire enemy artillery positions and obstacles
• Recon conditions of the river
• Acquire locations for enemy forces on both sides of river

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Maneuver

• Seize near shore objectives
• Seize terrain that possesses crossing sites
• Establish security on near side of river
• Develop hasty defensive positions
• Cover crossing area with direct and indirect fires
• Utilize cavalry units for flank security

Fire Support

• Begin isolating the bridgehead
• Conduct counterfire on enemy artillery
• Use smoke to conceal movement of your initial assault force
• Utilize close air support to protect the crossing area

Mobility/Counter-Mobility/Survivability

• Recon crossing sites to ensure they can be used for movement
• Recon for enemy obstacles (especially mines) and breach them as necessary
• Set-up the Engineer Regulating Points and Traffic Control Points
• Improve road networks as necessary
• Prepare nearshore banks of the river
• Prepare crossing sites

Air Defense

• Protect area from enemy air interdiction

Combat Service Support

• Establish supply and maintenance points as forward as possible
• Be proactive in pushing forward ammunition

Command and Control

• Establish Command Posts
• Establish redundant communication means

Other Forces:

Military Police – Conduct route security and mark routes for movement
Chemical – Use smoke generators to obscure crossing area

PHASE 2 Assault across the River – The task of this phase is to secure your far shore lodgement. Forces will be assigned objectives on the far side to seize. In order to accomplish this task, a unit must quickly place forces on the far shore and eliminate enemy direct fires on the crossing sites.

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CONTRIBUTION OF THE BATTLEFIELD OPERATING SYSTEMS DURING PHASE 2 – ASSAULT ACROSS THE RIVER

Intelligence

• Locate enemy forces that can hinder movement in crossing area
• Locate obstacles in water and exit banks

Maneuver

• Conduct assault (dismounted and mounted) across the river to secure far shore lodgement. These will normally be designated attack positions. The initial assault is usually done by dismounted infantry. They will set the conditions for the mechanized vehicles to cross the river.
• Eliminate enemy direct fires on the crossing sites
• Utilize cavalry to cover flanks

Fire Support

• Suppress enemy deep artillery capable of hindering friendly operations
• Continue obscuration, CAS, and artillery support
• Begin isolating bridgehead from enemy artillery
• Continue counterfire

Mobility/Counter-Mobility/Survivability

• Transport dismounted infantry soldiers across river as needed
• Control maneuver support forces
• Improve near and far shore banks
• Assist in crossing mechanized vehicles

Air Defense

• Protect area from enemy air interdiction

Combat Service Support

• Resupply forces utilized during first two phases with supplies and ammo

Command and Control

• Coordinate assault

Other Forces:

Military Police – Continue route security
Chemical – Continue smoke operations

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