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Tactics 101 077 – The CoverBy Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland | Tactics101|War College | Published: October 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm
Just as the guard was a step-up from the screen; the cover is a step-up from the guard. Consequently, a cover can achieve all the tasks which a screen and guard and much more. Here are the key areas which differentiate the cover from other security missions:
If the corps commander does not have a cavalry regiment at his disposal, he may decide to use one of his divisions as a covering force. In this scenario, the commander must truly require a covering force to utilize a division. However, there are clearly situations where this would be sound.
To Use or Not to Use a Covering Force?
Types of Cover Operations
Types of Offensive Covering Force Operations
Advance Covering Force – Things to Know
There are two major differences between a flank cover vice a flank guard or screen. First, if the commander decided a cover was required; it is likely he would take advantage of the combat power of the force. This combat power provides him the opportunity to utilize deception or perhaps, use the covering force in a more offensive role. Second, the commander could position the covering force at a far greater distance away from the main body than if he used a guard or screen.
There are also some similarities between the cover and the guard and screen. To begin with, the cover must maintain contact with some portion of the main body. As in any security mission, there must be a connection between the security force and the main body. Without this tie-in, the commander is not getting the results he wants from his security force. The second similarity is that the cover force, while maneuvering to its flank locations will ensure the route is cleared between itself and the main body. If this doesn’t occur, the main body could very well get surprised by bypassed enemy units. Finally, just as with the screen and guard, the covering force must meet the challenge of maneuvering in conjunction with the main body if it is a moving flank cover. As we highlighted in the screen and guard articles, there are several techniques available to the covering force to succeed in this endeavor.
As we addressed several times in our flank cover discussion, the distances between the flank cover and the main body are large. One way to mitigate these distances is with the use of rotary wing aircraft. There are many ways air can be invaluable in conducting a flank cover (or in any type of cover). These include the following:
So how does a covering force influence initiative, gain time, or degrade the enemy’s strength mentally and physically? Below are some tasks that will aid the covering force in achieving these purposes:
Locations of a Defensive Cover Operation
Front/Flank Defensive Cover
Rear Defensive Cover
The execution of a rear covering force can take many forms. One of the most common follows below:
1) The unit decides it must conduct a withdrawal and based on the situation determines a rear covering force is needed.
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