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Posted on Sep 2, 2006 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 007. Combat Multipliers

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

Defense

• Use smoke during your defensive preparation to conceal your defensive positions and your obstacle plan.

• Smoke can isolate enemy formations so they attack your defense in piecemeal.

• Well-placed smoke can silhouette enemy vehicles making them lucrative targets as they move through your smoke.

• If you are employing a mobile counterattack force in your defense, smoke can conceal their maneuver from your enemy.

• Smoke can significantly increase the difficulty in your opponent’s ability to synchronize his assets during an attack. At the lower levels, it makes it difficult to keep formations intact.

• Consider the use of smoke on your own obstacles to hinder your foe’s breaching operations.

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• In the defense you can use smoke to reduce the effectiveness of directed energy weapons that your enemy may possess.

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“We need bold and free flight, we need mobility.” Mikhail Frunze

Mobility

The focus of mobility operations is to preserve the freedom of maneuver for your forces. Mobility seeks to improve movement of maneuver units and its’ combat support and combat service support assets. It accomplishes this by breaching obstacles (manmade and natural) and minefields, and improving or creating maneuver routes. A commander who does not possess mobility can not hope to maintain any momentum in an attack.

Offense

• Mobility assets must be placed far forward to ensure they are available when needed.

• Perhaps, the most difficult operation on the battlefield is to conduct a breaching operation. To be successful, there must be teamwork between maneuver forces and all the combat multipliers.

• Don’t forget to allocate engineer resources to sustain supply routes during the attack. If routes are not sustained, your attack will bog down in short order.

• Remember to consider the mobility of your dismounted infantry. If you are utilizing them to conduct a dismounted attack, they to have to get to the objective.

• One of the ways to move dismounted infantry is through air transport. In order to assist in their mobility, you may have to suppress enemy air defense assets.

• Do not look at breaching or crossing a river as a mission in itself. These are simply means to an end – your final objective. If you focus entirely on the breach or the river, you have not set yourself up for success later.

• Utilize engineers in reconnaissance operations, so they can determine the ability of routes to withstand maneuver traffic.

Defense

• Ensure engineer assets are available for your reserve or counterattack force in the defense. The worst call a commander can receive is from the commander of his reserve or counterattack force, who says he is having difficulty moving into position and does not have engineers with him.

• Preparing a defense relies heavily on receiving logistics and materials from the rear. You must ensure the logistical routes remain open.

• Do not forget to establish some mobility routes (lanes) through your obstacles. Remember your forward recon units will have to fall back at some point. You must have a plan to pass them through your obstacles and then close the obstacle so the enemy can not pass through them.

• If your opponent has the capability to employ chemical weapons, have a plan ready for decontamination. If you do not, this is a sure way to greatly diminish the mobility of any of your units that may receive such an attack.

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4 Comments

  1. Good ole Ft. Irwin right there. Even the blueforces know the name Tiefort Mountain.

    Served as OPFOR and a deployment with the 11th ACR in 2005-2006. Good Times.

    Also im loving these articles. Decided to start from the beginning and going strong!

  2. This is a question that I have with regard to Articles 1-7. For all the subsequent articles I have a rough estimation of the relevant Field Manual that provides more in depth consideration of the topics. However with regard to the topics dealt with by Articles 1-7 is there any FM or related document that one can refer to?

    • Depending on your needs, I would humbly suggest a dated reference:

      FM 71-123, TACTICS AND TECHNIQUES FOR COMBINED ARMS HEAVY FORCES: ARMORED BRIGADE, BATTALION TASK FORCE, AND COMPANY TEAM

      While of a different era, I find the planning portion that I have read so far to be very helpful for my sim purposes (SB Pro PE).

      • Thanks for the same.

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