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Posted on Oct 1, 2006 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 008. A review of combat multipliers and other concepts

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

Nine-Tenths of Tactics are certain and taught in books, but the irrational tenth is like the kingfisher flashing across the pool and that is the test of generals. It can only be ensured by instinct, sharpened by thought, practicing the stroke so often that at the crisis it is natural as reflex. T.E. LAWRENCE

We are more than six months into the series and we thought a good review was in order. So in this article, we will key on some prior concepts we covered that are especially important. We also want to take our discussion on combat multipliers to the step. What follows is a simple scenario that focuses on mission analysis and utilizing combat multipliers (click on each thumbnail for a larger image).

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Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.

This anecdote isn’t about what you eat. It is about how you eat it. If one tries to eat an elephant all in one or two bites, he’ll choke. This is true with most complex problems and battle planning is complex. Solutions are not intuitively obvious. You have to roll up your sleeves, no matter how brilliant you are, and do so preliminary work if you are going to employ all your forces to their best advantage. This is especially true with your combat multipliers since these assets are non-standard. They provide niche capabilities. They are unforgiving. They can cause your downfall rapidly when applied improperly. In other words; misuse your support units and watch yourself go from “green to red like a frog in a blender”!

To illustrate the application of combat multipliers we are going to go with a simple, static, company level, area defense. Your unit is a modern mechanized infantry company team (10 BFV’s, 4 M1’s, 6 IN Squads and your combat multipliers).

The enemy is coming at your unit from the north with the goal of seizing the east west hardball road at the back of your sector. The knee-jerk tactician will immediately begin placing maneuver units on the field and that would be the absolutely wrong way to go!

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**This is not intended to be a full rendition of the military decision making process (MDMP). This is a cut out. It focuses on combat multipliers. Many other steps are left out for the purpose of this illustration.

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