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Squad Tactics Offensive Operations. Definition.

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Squad TacticsOffensive Operations


Offensive operations aim at destroying or defeating the enemy in order to impose the will of the Army on the enemy and achieve decisive victory. Offensive operations are used to deprive the enemy of resources, seize terrain, deceive or divert the enemy, develop intelligence or hold an enemy in position.

characteristics of the offense
Characteristics of the Offense
  • Surprise
  • Concentration
  • Tempo
  • Audacity
types of offensive operations
Types of Offensive Operations
  • Movement to Contact
  • Attack
  • Exploitation
  • Pursuit
movement to contact mtc
Movement to Contact (MTC)
  • An operation to develop the situation and establish or regain contact with the enemy
  • Used when the tactical situation is vague or not specific enough to conduct an attack, or when the enemy has broken contact
  • A properly planned and executed MTC will allow friendly forces freedom of action
  • Normally conducted at battalion or brigade level
  • Smallest element conducting MTC is company
  • Squads and platoons conduct MTC as part of a larger force (company and above MTC)
mtc fundamentals
MTC: Fundamentals
  • Focus all efforts on finding the enemy
  • Make initial contact with smallest element possible
  • Secure the main body from becoming decisively engaged by the enemy
  • Task organize and select movement formations that allow rapid deployment and attack
  • Keep forces within supporting distances
  • Maintain contact with enemy
movement to contact techniques
Movement to Contact Techniques
  • Approach March
  • Search and Attack
approach march planning considerations
Approach March: Planning Considerations
  • On order or follow on missions for subordinate units
  • Decision Points
    • When do I commit main body
    • Will reinforcing the advance guard destroy the enemy or must I maneuver the main body to attack the enemy?
    • When and how do I commit the reserve?
    • How do I use the main body or reserve if my flanks are attacked?
  • Balance speed and ability to maintain mutual support with elements
  • Soldiers load impacts stealth and mobility
  • Control measures and coordination with adjacent units
mtc common maneuver elements
MTC: Common Maneuver Elements
  • Advance Guard
    • Sometimes called Forward Security Element (FSE)
  • Main Body
  • Security
    • Flank and Rear (Screen or Guard)
advance guard
Advance Guard

“I ordered the advance guard (one squad) to hold the farmhouse for an additional five minutes, and then retire…I quickly ordered a platoon…to open fire on the area to the left and the advance guard began to drop back under this fire protection.”

- Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

In his book, Infantry Attacks.

mtc advance guard
MTC: Advance Guard
  • Moves forward of and within supporting range of Main Body’s weapon systems
  • Protects Main Body from surprise enemy contact
  • Ensures uninterrupted movement of Main Body by reducing obstacles, create passage lanes, or identifies bypass routes
  • Fixes the enemy to allow Main Body to develop the situation
  • Determines and reports enemy composition, disposition, strength, flanks and gaps
  • Protects Main Body while Main Body is deploying
mtc main body
MTC: Main Body
  • The primary mission of the Main Body is to maneuver to destroy the enemy
  • The commander designates tasks or missions to each unit in the main body
    • Main effort to destroy the enemy
    • Follow and support missions
    • Reserve
mtc flank and rear security
MTC: Flank and Rear Security
  • Provided by the maneuver unit traveling on a flank or to the rear of the Main Body
    • The trail company traveling in battalion column acts as the battalion’s rear guard
    • The battalion traveling on the left of a brigade movement will use their battalion scouts to screen the left flank
  • Can be dismounted, mounted or aviation units
  • Used to delay an enemy force by buying time for the Main Body to react
mtc search and attack
MTC: Search and Attack
  • A technique primarily conducted by light forces and supported by heavy forces
  • Executed at the battalion level
  • Uses platoon or squad-size elements
  • Recon element finds the enemy
  • Fixing force develops the situation
  • Finishing force conducts hasty or deliberate attack to destroy the enemy
mtc purposes of search and attack
MTC: Purposes of Search and Attack
  • Destroy the enemy
  • Deny unhindered use of friendly area by the enemy
  • Protect a larger force by preventing the enemy from massing, disrupting or destroying friendly forces
  • Collect information on the enemy to confirm enemy courses of actions predicted during the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process
search and attack planning considerations
Search and Attack: Planning Considerations
  • Decentralized operations at squad and platoon level
  • Mutual support to respond to other units in contact
  • Length of operation may require unit rotation
  • Soldiers load impacts stealth and mobility
  • Resupply and Medevac
  • Positioning of key leaders and personnel
  • Employment of key weapons
  • Requirement and location of patrol bases
  • How to enter the zone of operation
  • Details of unit linkup
offense attack
Offense: Attack
  • An operation that destroys or defeats the enemy, secures terrain, or both
  • Ambush
  • Spoiling Attack
  • Counterattack
  • Raid
  • Feint
  • Demonstration
  • Swift entry into hostile territory to secure information, confuse the enemy, or destroy installations
  • Ends with a planned withdrawal
  • Also used to rescue and recover individuals/equipment in danger of capture
offense exploitation
Offense: Exploitation
  • Offensive operation that rapidly follows a successful attack
  • Necessary due to the fact that total annihilation of the enemy on the objective are rare
  • Exploitation operations are designed to aggressively pursue the enemy in order to finish or disorganize the enemy in depth to prevent the enemy from occupying alternate defenses, consolidating and reorganizing or counterattacking to regain the initiative
offense pursuit
Offense: Pursuit
  • An offensive operation to catch or cut off an enemy attempting to escape in order to destroy the enemy
  • Normally follows a successful exploitation operation
  • May also result in any successful offense or defense operation that causes the enemy to break down and flee the battlefield
enemy contact now what
Enemy Contact! Now What?
  • Attack?
    • Hasty or Deliberate?
  • Exploit?
  • Pursuit?
  • Defend?
    • Hasty or Deliberate?
  • Retrograde?
    • Delay?
    • Withdrawal?