TACTICAL OPERATIONS Marshall A. McKay Captain, Armor
Purpose… To introduce SOBC students to the Army’s basic operational concept of offensive and defensive operations.
Quote... “The primary reason it is so difficult to conduct combat operations against the Americans is that they feel no obligation to follow their own doctrine…” Unknown German General, W.W.II
OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS • Purpose of the Offense: • PRIMARY: DESTROY/ “KILL” the enemy. • SECONDARY: • To secure key or decisive terrain • To deprive the enemy of key resources • To gain information/time • To deceive or divert the enemy • To fix (hold) the enemy in position.
Characteristics of the Offense • SURPRISE • CONCENTRATION • TEMPO • AUDACITY
CONSIDERATIONS OF THE OFFENSE • See the battlefield • Concentrate overwhelming combat power • Suppress enemy defensive fires • Shock, overwhelm and destroy the enemy • Attack deep into enemy zone to destroy his system of defense and reinforcements • Provide continuous mobile support (cs,css)
4 FORMS OF TACTICAL OFFENSE • Movement to contact • Attack • Exploitation • Pursuit
MOVEMENT TO CONTACT • Approach March: • Enemy location is relatively certain • Enemy Forces at a great distance • Rapid Movement (“traveling”) • Meeting Engagement • Both friendly and enemy forces are moving, contact expected/location uncertain.
TYPES OF ATTACK! “TORA! TORA! TORA!” • Hasty Attack (as a result of a mvt to contact/mtg engagement) • Deliberate Attack (fully sync. with all combat mult; TIME) • Spoiling Attack (from def. Posture; “Offensive Spirit in Def Op’s) • Raid (specific purpose other than terrain; commando operation) • Feint/Demonstration (Diversion operations) • Counter Attack (usually the reserve, force enemy to reveal his main effort.)
EXPLOITATION • The attacker extends the destruction of the defending force by maintaining offensive pressure. • Compound disorganization, erode will to resist. • If not… Enemy regroups/reorganize
PURSUIT • Part of the exploitation phase • Follows a successful attack; you are “force” oriented not “terrain” oriented. • Direct, Parallel, Envelop/Dbl Envel.
FORMS OF MANEUVER • Frontal Attack • Envelopment • Penetration • Infiltration • Turning Movement
TASK ORGANIZATION • Temporary grouping based on a situational need/Mission Includes Combat Support and Service Support (Signal) Attached, Assigned/Organic, OPCON, etc...
Task Org. Cont... • ARMOR HEAVY • +Wide Ranging, Rapid Maneuver • +Abundance of enemy automatic weapons and massed indirect fires. • +Strong enemy armor opposition • +Great observation and fields of fire • Question: What is a good OPORD for Tankers?
Task Org. Cont... • INFANTRY HEAVY • Close/detailed terrain (Urban, Mountain, Jungle, Swamp) • Strong Enemy Anti-Tank Defenses/Obstacles • Mech Heavy, Heavy-Light...
Task Org. Cont... • BALANCED • Enemy Situation Vague • Movement to Contact • Equal requirements for Tanks and Infantry • Or… When in doubt...
DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS • Purpose: The primary purpose of defensive operations is to cause the enemy attack to fail. • Less decisive form of war… • May be stronger than offense • Only used until strong enough to attack • Offensive Spirit
PURPOSE OF THE DEFENSE • Cause the enemy attack to FAIL!!! • Gain time • Concentrate forces elsewhere • Wear down enemy forces prior to friendly offensive operations • Retain Tactical, Strategic or Political Objectives.
AREAS OF THE DEFENSE • DEEP BATTLE AREA • MAIN BATTLE AREA • REAR AREA • or… CLOSE-DEEP-REAR OPERATIONS
DEEP BATTLE AREA • Disrupt enemy movement in depth/C3 • Destroy “High Value” targets… • Command and Control • ADA • Artillery • Logistic’s • Other (tanks? Cdr sets target priority)
MAIN BATTLE AREA • Fights the decisive battle to defeat enemy • Security Fight to include recon assets • Defend in Depth • Reserves in the MBA… • Block/Destroy Penetrations • Re-establish the the def. Position • Regain the initiative
REAR AREA • Forward limit is the BDE rear Boundary • Area which supply and maintenance is projected forward • Location of admin and communication centers • Oh by the way…PRIMARY TARGET for ENEMY SOF FORCES!
CHARACTERISTICS DEFENSIVE PATTERNS • Two types of Defenses • MOBILE Defense: Force Oriented • AREA Defense: Terrain Oriented
Defensive Patterns Cont... • Mobile Defense • Orients on enemy forces • Mobility > to enemy forces! • Defend with minimum force • Fire and Maneuver (hammer/anvil) • Max. Cbt. Power with striking force
Defensive Patterns Cont... • Area Defense • Traditional defense, fixed • Deny enemy access to designated terrain for a specified time • Mutual supporting positions in depth, max force with interlocking fires • Smaller reserves • Defender has the advantage… (why?)
Considerations of the Defense • Understand the enemy • See the battlefield • Exploit the advantages of the Defender • Concentrate Cbt. Power at Critical Time and Place! • Fight at Combined Arms Team
Characteristics of the Defense • Preparation • Disruption • Concentration • Flexibility • Security
01 02 Battle Position CO XO
Sector PL/FEBA PL PL PL EA EA X EA
Strongpoint 03 02 01 06 04 05
Advantages of the Defender • Review… • Knows ground (Realistic?) • Occupies it first • Gains strength as time passes (interior lines) • Massed on best terrain
Retrograde Operations • Planned move away from enemy forces • Delay: Time for Space (cav) Gain time for friendly forces to re-establish the defense. • Withdrawal: to assume new mission • Retirement: Admin Move (no contact)
METT-T “C” • Mission • Enemy Forces • Terrain and Weather • Troop Available • Time • Civilians on the battlefield
ASSIGNED Placement is relatively permanent and organization controls and administers the units or personnel actions.
ATTACHED A unit is bound temporarily to a command other that its own. Attached implies full responsibility for logistics, administration, training and operations. Matters relating to the transfer and promotion of personnel will normally be retained by the command the unit is assigned to.
OPERATIONAL CONTROL (OPCON) Places a unit under a commander or staff officer for assignment of tasks and designation of objectives. It does not imply responsibility for administration, combat service support, discipline, internal organization or training.
CONCLUSION It is important you understand the concepts of offensive and defensive operations so that you have the basic knowledge to plan, prepare and execute the Signal Support to the Maneuver gods!