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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

Final Shot (Good). The 3rd BCT of the 21st Infantry Div (Mechanized) will clear Granite Pass of enemy and obstacles. This will allow the 21st Div (-) to continue the attack west into the enemy main defensive belt where it will destroy the rest of the defending enemy regiment. The destruction of this regiment enables the Corps to seize Motown with its critical rail hub. The 3rd BCT will accomplish this by enveloping the enemy security zone from the south; isolating its northern positions in order to fix and destroy the defenders from south to north. Decisive to this operation is our ability to seize and retain a foothold on the southern end of the security zone. A mechanized battalion task force will conduct a night attack by fire from the north side of the Big Valley to fix the enemy on objectives 2 and 3 in order to prevent the reinforcement of Objective 1. A light infantry battalion will infiltrate to seize a foothold in Objective 1and clear it of enemy and obstacles in order to expose the southern flank of Objective 2. A mechanized battalion task force conducts a forward passage of lines through the light infantry battalion on Objective 1 and attacks to seize Objective 2 in order to isolate Objective 3 for the main effort. The BCT main effort, the armor battalion task force, follows the mech task force through Objective 2 and destroys the enemy on Objective 3 in order to complete the clearance of Granite pass to allow the continuation of the attack west. A mech infantry company team is the BCT reserve. Its’ priority of planning and commitment will be spelled out in the body of the order. The Division will conduct a forward passage of lines through Objectives 2 and 3 in order to attack the enemy main defense. At the end of this operation 3rd BCT will dominate and control Red Pass and Granite Pass, obstacles will be cleared and passage lanes will be marked, the enemy security zone force will not be able to hinder the follow on BCT’s ability to move through the pass, our forces will tie in their flanks with one another and friendly forces will have secured the routes to the west.

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Questions?

  • Does the above paragraph address unit purpose?
  • Does it tell how our mission relates to the next higher unit?
  • Does it provide a clear and logical flow of event?
  • Does it describe the desired end state?

This version of the concept of the operation is short, sweet, and focused. It gives a generic rundown of the overall mission. Commanders listening to this while looking at a map or sketch should be able to envision the basic brigade scheme of maneuver. Now that they understand the basic plan they will be able to listen to the briefing of the details provided with a solid overall view of what is to happen.

How did you do with your concept paragraph? Were you a G, B, or U or something in between? If you need practice, search the internet to find maps of famous battles that you are familiar with and write your own concepts to reflect the map sketches. Repetition is the best way to perfect your skills. Good luck and good hunting!

REVIEW

There is obviously an art to crafting a concept of operation. It takes much practice to write a concept which will be added value to your subordinates. As addressed earlier, the keys are concise, precise, and clear. Additionally, you must write in doctrinal language. This enables you to achieve the above keys.

NEXT MONTH

In our next article, we will discuss an alternative to crafting a written operations order – the matrix order. Depending on the organization and situation, this is a great technique to utilize. We will show you how to construct a matrix order and provide you an example. See you next month!

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