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Posted on Aug 17, 2011 in Tactics101, War College

Tactics 101 063 – The Concept of Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

The sketch below was provided by ‘the boss’ and an explanation of his concept follows:

Situation: We are the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) positioned at the bottom of the above sketch. Our subunits include two mechanized battalion task forces, an armor battalion task force, a light infantry battalion and an artillery battalion. They are comprised of the typical mix of M1 Abrams Tanks and M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Our sister brigades, the 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, are in position to the north. We are all part of the 21st Infantry Division (Mechanized).

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The Terrain: The mountains on the map are not traversable to armored vehicles, but are accessible to small wheeled vehicles and dismounted infantry. The open areas consist of relatively flat, rolling desert dotted with shallow washes and gullies that provide some limited concealment, but no cover. It is a reasonable assumption that large armored formations will be seen up to 30 kilometers away due to the dust cloud they will generate. Engagement areas will support fires out to the maximum range of all weapons systems.

The Enemy: We are opposed by a battalion sized Forward Security Element (FSE). Their mission is to delay, disrupt, and attrite advancing enemy forces while directing deep artillery fire and providing early warning to their parent Motorized Rifle Regiment (MRR). The MRR is the FSE’s parent unit. They are defending a key transportation hub to the west-northwest of the FSE. The FSE’s main defense is designed to block Granite Pass. This is the major east-west Avenue of Approach (AOA) in our Area of Operation (AO). The FSE is using an infantry company as a flank guard to block Red Pass in order to prevent envelopment from the south. The enemy will emplace wire and mine obstacles and may dig small tank ditches to canalize, disrupt, and delay movement west. Enemy infantry, armor, and infantry fighting vehicles will dig in and establish sighted in engagement areas. The FSE will try to delay our attack for 12 to 24 hours, but they will most likely withdraw if their losses exceed 25%. Although, it is possible that they will defend to the last; if the main body needs more time to prepare the main belt defensive position.

Friendly: The division has been ordered to destroy the enemy MRR main defense (a challenge to be sure). This will allow our Corps to seize the key transportation hub to the west of the MRR. Our BCT mission is to destroy the FSE or force its rapid withdrawal in order to allow 1BCT and 2BCT (Division Main Effort) to continue the attack west into the MRR and achieve the division mission.

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