"In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military."
Douglas MacArthur, 1933
This chapter addresses several combat operations that cavalry may be required to perform. These operations are considered a routine part of the combat operations discussed in preceding chapters; however, they are no less important.
REQUIREMENTS OF RETROGRADE OPERATIONS
Most retrograde operations are difficult and inherently risky. Retrograde operations are characterized by emphasis on the following requirements during planning and execution:
These requirements take on varying degrees of significance depending on the type of retrograde mission performed.
Maintain Morale and Leadership
Maintenance of morale among soldiers is critical during retrograde operations. Soldiers can quickly perceive movement to the rear in the face of the enemy as defeat or abandonment. Rumors can start easily and must be suppressed. Leaders must be physically present, display confidence in the plan, be in control on the battlefield, and thoroughly brief subordinates on the plan and their role. Particular attention must be paid to evacuation of casualties. Soldiers will not stay long on the battlefield if they think they will be left to the enemy.
Preserve Freedom to Maneuver
When executing these operations, cavalry must retain its ability to maneuver. While a portion of the unit may become decisively engaged, the commander cannot allow the entire unit to do so. He must be prepared to free squadrons or troops that can no longer extricate themselves.
Conserve Combat Power
Frequently, the purpose of a retrograde is to conserve combat power for use elsewhere. Commanders must strike a balance between caution in preserving the force and risk-taking to delay the attacker. IPB provides analysis to determine where opportunities to strike the enemy exist and what the associated risks are. The commander then structures the battlefield to reduce risk to an acceptable level.
Slow the Enemy's Rate of Advance
This task is inherent when in contact. A squadron will normally be delaying the attack of a regiment. Threat forces train to execute battle drills rapidly from platoon to regiment level with minimum command and control effort. The threat can quickly move from march formations to attack formations and back again. The delaying or withdrawing force must do more than just cause the enemy to initiate this process. Early destruction of reconnaissance elements is critical to blind the enemy commander. The enemy forward security element and advance guard battalion must be fought and defeated to achieve an effective delay. The commander does this by structuring the battlefield to take advantage of terrain that affords opportunities to mass destructive fires on the enemy. Effective integration of obstacles and fires will disrupt, turn, fix, or block the enemy's ability to advance.
Ensure Unity of Effort
The commander develops a simple plan. Retrograde operations are characterized by fluid, rapidly changing situations. A series of independent small unit actions occur simultaneously across the front. Subordinate commanders must have freedom of action. Regimental and squadron commanders ensure unity of effort through a clear intent, graphic control measures that are not overly restrictive, and personal presence at the decisive point.
TYPES OF RETROGRADE OPERATIONS
There are three types of retrograde operations: delay, withdrawal, and retirement. Figure 8-1 illustrates the relationships between them.
|Delay||Trade space for time
Economy of force
Free unit for use
|Retirement||Move a force away
From the enemy
|Not in contact|
Delay is the retrograde operation most frequently assigned to cavalry units, although the squadron or regiment may participate in a withdrawal or retirement as part of a larger force. During withdrawal and retirement, cavalry units may be performing a rear guard mission to protect the force. A withdrawal may conclude a security mission during battle handover to the main body forces.
Withdrawal or retirement may be conducted internally by a cavalry unit. In such cases, the mission normally covers a relatively short distance. This can occur as part of screen or guard missions as squadrons or troops displace to subsequent positions.
Security is paramount to prevent the enemy from detecting the movement of the unit. Counterreconnaissance is vital. As the force moves, rear security is maintained to prevent surprise from a pursuing enemy. Security is inherent in a delay. In other retrograde operations, it must be planned.
Deception is necessary to hide that a retrograde is taking place. This is achieved by maintaining normal patterns of physical and electronic activity. The nature of the operation is not discussed on an unsecure radio net. Additionally, the enemy can be distracted by dummy positions, decoys, feints, or demonstrations. OPSEC and security are aspects of successful deception.
For a withdrawal and retirement, limited visibility is used, if possible, to mask the movement of the squadrons or troops.
Delay is a retrograde operation normally performed as part of a defensive battle. It is usually conducted when the commander needs time to concentrate or withdraw forces, to establish defenses in greater depth, to economize in an area, or to complete offensive actions elsewhere. In the delay, the destruction of the enemy force is secondary to slowing his advance. The delay is normally a series of defensive actions over successive positions in depth that trade the enemy space for time while retaining freedom of action.
The delay may be conducted under the following circumstances:
The higher commander can direct a delay as part of the intent of an operation. As such, the delay may proceed despite apparent success achieved against the enemy and the natural desire to retain terrain. Division cavalry normally requires reinforcement to perform a delay.
The armored cavalry regiment may perform delay operations during the conduct of covering force or in an economy-of-force role for the corps. Within the concept of the regimental commander, some squadrons may delay while others perform other missions.
There are two basic types of delay that differ largely in the intent of the assigning commander and the degree of decisive engagement that may be required:
A delay in sector mission requires a unit to slow and defeat as much of the enemy as possible without sacrificing tactical integrity. This is the mission normally assigned to the regiment or squadron.
A delay forward of a specified line for a specified time or event entails more risk. The unit is required to prevent enemy forces from reaching the specified area or penetrating a specified line earlier than the specified time or event, regardless of the cost. Decisive engagement may be required.
While a delay is similar to a defense in sector, it is characterized by requirements that make this mission extremely demanding. The unit must repeatedly fight the enemy, disengage a part of the force, conduct internal battle handover, and move rapidly to reposition and resume the fight. The commander finds himself performing conflicting tasks in a fast-paced environment, which places a premium on decentralized execution.
The delay is planned like a defense in sector. Execution reflects the different intent of the mission. When the regiment receives a delay mission, the regimental commander normally assigns each of the ground squadrons a sector. Generally, the squadrons are abreast. The commander normally retains the attack helicopter troops of the aviation squadron as his reserve. The regiment directs the squadrons during the delay and coordinates combat support and combat service support assets. The commander decides when and where to commit the reserve.
In any case, the burden of fighting the delay falls upon the squadron. The squadron must fight hard and move fast while dictating the pace of the battle to the enemy. A delay cannot revert to a reactive battle. Commanders at all levels must keep the operation on track. The situation often changes faster than status reports to the command post or TOC can convey. Commanders position themselves well forward to personally see the battlefield, make immediate decisions, and sustain subordinates. Commanders anticipate events by assessing the intent of the enemy commander and evaluating the actions required to thwart his efforts. Accurate reporting is emphasized. Flank coordination is enforced.
Integration of air cavalry is crucial to successful delay operations. In division cavalry, air cavalry troops can fill gaps within the squadron, provide depth during the movement of ground troops, and help the commander see the entire battlefield. In regimental cavalry, the aviation squadron provides a fourth maneuver squadron. During delay operations, the aviation squadron may be assigned its own sector (with augmentation), may operate in conjunction with the ground squadrons under control of the aviation squadron commander, or may have its air troops placed under operational control of ground squadrons. Additionally, the attack troops of the aviation squadron provide the regiment with a highly mobile reserve force. This force may be required to support the armored cavalry squadron disengagement.
The squadron must maintain a mobility advantage over the enemy to accomplish the frequent repositioning required. Mobility advantage is tactical mobility greater than the enemy. The larger this advantage becomes, the greater the chance for success and ability to dictate terms of the battle to the enemy. Mobility advantage is achieved by enhancing the mobility of the squadron and degrading the mobility of the enemy.
Squadron mobility is enhanced by using every advantage of the defender. Knowledge of the terrain, preparation of positions, reconnaissance of routes, rehearsals, and improving existing routes all contribute to increased mobility.
Degrading the enemy's mobility entails using the following methods:
The scheme of maneuver will normally reflect freedom of action for subordinate commanders. Control measures must also allow the squadron to exert the degree of control necessary, ensure unity of effort, and order changes to the plan when required. The squadron delays by fighting troops and platoons through a series of battle positions or phase lines. Troops and platoons fight the position, disengage, and bound rapidly to subsequent positions. They do not fight a running delay to the next position. There are two basic methods of executing the delay:
Delay from successive positions or phase lines is normally used when the squadron is committed on a wide front (see Figure 8-2). All subordinate units are committed on each of the delay battle positions or across the sector on the same phase line. The delay from one phase line to the next is dictated by the mission and is normally staggered.
Figure 8-2. Delay from successive positions.
When operating on a narrower front, the commander may elect to delay from alternate positions or phase lines (see Figure 8-3). When using this technique, the unit is divided into at least two elements. The first element occupies the initial battle position or phase line and engages the enemy. The second element occupies and improves the second delay position or phase line.
Delay methods are summarized in Figure 8-4.
Figure 8-3. Delay from alternate positions.
|METHOD OF DELAY||USE IS FAVORABLE WHEN...||ADVANTAGES||DISADVANTAGES|
|Delay from successive positions||Sector is wide. Forces available do not allow split.||Increased ability to mass fires.||
Limited depth to the delay positions.
Less time available to prepare each
|Delay from alternate positions||Sector is narrow. Forces are adequate for split positions.||
Allows positioning in depth.
Allows more time for equipment and soldier maintenance.
Requires continuous coordination.
Requires passage of lines.
COMBAT SUPPORT AND COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT IN DELAY OPERATIONS
During a delay, combat support units may be at a premium. Synchronizing their efforts is critical to mission success. IPB helps the commander determine how to structure the battlefield. Fire support, engineer support, and electronic warfare support are integrated with fires and maneuver of the squadrons to shape the battlefield for success. Division cavalry relies on augmentation from division combat support assets. The degree of augmentation received will be largely determined by METT-T factors, and the division commander's intent. Regimental cavalry has organic combat support assets (engineer, electronic warfare, air defense artillery, and NBC at regiment, artillery in each squadron). In addition, the regiment will normally be augmented with additional combat support assets from corps, again depending on METT-T factors and the corps commander's intent. The regimental commander employs these combat support assets to best support his intent. The squadron commanders integrate and synchronize their organic assets and the combat support assets provided by the regimental commander.
The fluid nature of the delay requires combat support units to monitor the situation closely and remain mobile. Combat service support assets and command posts also remain mobile. Passage of lines through a force to the rear may begin early for combat service support and be staggered throughout the battle. Units massing at passage points late in the battle must not occur. Massing provides the enemy a lucrative target and can quickly lead to a breakdown in command and control.
Commanders conduct withdrawals to extract subordinate units from combat, adjust defensive positions, or relocate the entire force. A withdrawal occurs when a force in contact with the enemy frees itself for a new mission. This can be to continue the defense in depth or to perform a different mission. There are two types of withdrawal:
Preferably, the withdrawal is not under heavy pressure. Heavy pressure may force the unit to transition into a delay.
Withdrawals may be assisted or unassisted. An assisted withdrawal uses a security force provided by another headquarters to assist in breaking contact and to provide overwatching fires. The withdrawing unit may then disengage and conduct a rearward passage of lines. This is the case when conducting a battle handover. The squadron or regiment may be tasked to provide security for other withdrawing units. In an unassisted withdrawal, the unit provides its own security.
A withdrawal is planned in the same manner as a delay, particularly if the commander expects it to occur under pressure. It is accomplished in three overlapping phases:
Planning, reconnaissance, and quartering party actions are initiated. Critical planning concerns are forming the security force, designating subsequent positions or assembly areas, and designating withdrawal routes (see Figure 8-5). Leaders conduct reconnaissance of routes and subsequent positions. Movement can begin early for trains and command posts.
Figure 8-5. Planning withdrawal.
Disengagement is breaking contact with the enemy and moving to a point where the enemy can neither observe nor engage the unit by direct fire. Subordinate elements of the withdrawing unit break contact and move to the rear. Combat support, combat service support, and reserve elements normally move first (see Figure 8-6). Fire support assets cannot displace out of supporting range. All units move on assigned routes within designated time windows to preclude congestion. Movement must be rapid since the detachment left in contact does not possess sufficient combat power to conduct a defense against an attack. Use radio listening silence. Units can occupy either new positions in depth or designated assembly areas. As this movement occurs, the security force is activated.
Figure 8-6. Executing withdrawal.
Figure 8-6. Executing withdrawal (continued).
Figure 8-6. Executing withdrawal (continued).
In an unassisted withdrawal, the security force is formed as a detachment left in contact (DLIC). The commander determines the size and composition of the detachment. It must be able to detect, deceive, and engage the enemy on all avenues of approach with direct and indirect fires. The DLIC performs the mission like a screen. As the main body disengages, the DLIC shifts positions as necessary to accomplish its tasks. It is frequently composed of a platoon-size force from each forward troop. Mortars and other combat support and combat service support assets are part of the DLIC, as necessary. Air cavalry is included, both for deception and enhanced security. The DLIC as a composite force is normally commanded by the S3 and troop detachments by the XOs. If the greatest threat lies on a single avenue of approach, the unit on that avenue may be left in place and augmented with small security elements from other units. The DLIC assists the disengagement of other elements moving to the rear, assumes responsibility for the entire sector, and performs deception tasks as designated. When the rest of the force is set, the DLIC disengages and moves to the rear to join the main body.
Retirements are rearward movements conducted by units not in contact. Movement to the rear is conducted in an organized fashion. For planning, considerations for the withdrawal are used. A retirement may be a continuation of a withdrawal. A detachment left in contact is not necessary since there is no contact. Movement is tactical and conducted at night or in limited visibility. Daylight movement should be conducted only if necessary or if the enemy is incapable of interfering. Contingency missions are assigned to the squadrons or troops in case the enemy makes contact. Security and speed are important considerations when planning a retirement. Commanders conducting a retirement must emphasize OPSEC during movement.
REAR AREA THREAT
The threat emphasizes integrated operations throughout the depth of friendly force formations. They conduct deep operations to disrupt the synchronization of operations and sustainment efforts. Additionally, the threat attempts to seize or maintain the initiative while preventing the friendly force from doing so. To accomplish these objectives, the threat will target key rear area facilities such as the ones listed below.
The threat will employ tactics ranging through the full
spectrum of activity (see Figure 8-7).
|Hostile Indigenous Population||Espionage, Theft, Limited Sabotage|
|Enemy Controlled Agents||Espionage, Interdiction, Subversion|
|Sabotage by Enemy Sympathizers||Arson, Assassination, Sabotage, Theft, Political Demonstrations|
|Terrorist Organizations||Terrorist Acts|
|Diversionary and Sabotage Operations by Unconventional Forces||SPETSNAZ; Attack Specific High-Priority Targets|
|Raid, Ambush, and Reconnaissance Operations by Combat Units||Penetrating Reconnaissance Units, Raid, Ambush, Stay Behind|
|Special or Unconventional Warfare Missions||Small Unit Heliborne/Airborne Operations; Reconnaissance, Raids, Sabotage, Attack High-Value Targets|
|Heliborne Operations||Company/Battalion Size; Terrain Oriented, Ambushes, Raids, Rear Area Threat Activities|
|Airborne Operations||Battalion to Division Size Forces; Terrain or Specific Targets, Await Linkup with Ground Forces|
|Amphibious Operations||Small Unit/Battalion to Division Size; Terrain/Specific Objective, Raid, Sabotage, Reconnaissance|
|Ground Force Deliberate Operations||MBA Penetrations, OMG, Exploitation, Linkup with Other Forces, Regiment and Larger|
|Infiltration Operations||Battalion or Larger Unit Infiltration by Small Elements|
These threat activities will not occur in any specified order. Multiple threats of various kinds may occur simultaneously and may or may not be interrelated. In addition, the threat integrates tactical air, attack helicopters, long-range indirect fires, and radio electronic combat into their deep operations plans.
Three levels of response to threat activity serve as a guide for planning rear operations. Rather than focusing on the size or type of threat, these levels focus on the nature of the friendly response required to defeat the threat.
FUNCTIONS OF REAR OPERATIONS
Rear operations integrate and synchronize the functions of terrain management, security, sustainment, and movement with the commander's concept of operations. The assistant division commander for support commands the division rear area. The deputy corps commander is normally the corps rear operations commander. They control the planning and execution of rear operations. Both operate through the rear command post, normally collocated with or in close proximity to the support command's command post. The rear command post has a headquarters cell, an operations cell, and a combat service support cell.
When the regiment operates with a rear area, the regimental support squadron commander is the rear area commander. Unless the regiment designates otherwise, his command post serves as the rear command post. Elements of the regimental staff may augment his staff as necessary, but the regiment normally does not have the depth to provide a full rear command post staff. However designated, the regimental rear command post is responsible for the four rear area functions.
The rear command post positions those units in the rear area that have not been positioned by the G3. Once positioned, units located in the rear area become either bases or base clusters. A base is a unit or multiunit position that has a definite perimeter. A base cluster is a grouping of bases organized by mission and security requirements lacking a clearly defined perimeter. Base clusters are established due to the proximity of bases to one another and to meet the need for mutual support. Both are controlled by the rear command post for positioning, security, and movement within the rear area.
The regiment or squadron occupies an assembly area as a base while in the corps or division rear area. This frequently occurs after performing some other mission. In this assembly area, the regiment or squadron conducts reconstitution, performs designated rear area tasks, and prepares for subsequent combat operations. The G3 frequently positions the cavalry unit based on requirements for future operations. The rear command post, in coordination with the G3, controls any subsequent movement of the regiment or squadron required by rear operations tasks or ongoing corps and division operations. See Section V for assembly area actions.
Rear security assists corps and division freedom of maneuver and continuity of operations. The rear command post operations cell plans and executes rear security operations. The four components of rear security are intelligence, base and base cluster self-defense, response operations, and combined arms tactical combat force.
The operations cell performs IPB for the rear area using information from the all-source intelligence center and combat information reported by units in the rear area. As a rear area base, the regiment or squadron interfaces with the operations cell for IPB products.
All base and base cluster commanders are responsible for developing defense plans designed to detect, defeat, and minimize the effects of enemy attacks on the base and base cluster. The focus of base and base cluster self-defense is Level I and limited Level II response. These designated reaction forces are always the first to be committed when contact is made. They execute defensive and limited offensive missions as directed in the base and base cluster defense plan. IPB and intelligence summary updates determine the level of readiness maintained by the unit.
The regiment or squadron as a base cluster in the rear area submits its defense plans to the rear command post for integration into the overall defense of the rear. Its defense plans are integrated into the rear counterreconnaissance/reconnaissance and surveillance plan. In the corps rear area the regiment coordinates with the rear area operations center (RAOC). In the division the squadron coordinates with the rear command post through continuous communication and liaison officers.
Response operations return base and base cluster units rapidly to their primary support missions after contact with the enemy. The nature of the rear area facility under attack and the level of threat against the facility are critical factors in determining the level of response required. The rear operations cell designates the response force, normally military police (MP) units, to counter a Level II threat. Division and regimental MPs may be reinforced by corps MP assets. These forces may be committed when a base or base cluster commander requires support. The MP response force's task is to eliminate a threat without requiring the premature commitment of the tactical combat force.
A designated tactical combat force will respond to a Level III threat. The tactical combat force may be a dedicated force, but is more often a contingency mission assigned to a unit. At division level, it is normally a combined arms battalion-size force, composed of ground maneuver, attack helicopter, and field artillery under a designated headquarters. The corps tactical combat force is a similarly organized brigade-size force. Once designated or committed, the tactical combat force comes under the operational control of the rear command post. Commitment of the tactical combat force is a decision of the corps or division commander on the recommendation of the rear area commander.
Cavalry units are responsible for their own Level I response in the rear area assembly area. The combat power of cavalry units allows them to normally perform their own Level II response as well. The regiment or squadron may be designated as the tactical combat force or form part of it upon arrival in the rear area.
The combat service support cell of the rear command post plans and directs sustainment operations. The corps support command and division support command execute the sustainment plan. The regiment or squadron does not become involved in this rear area function.
Movement control includes the planning, deconfliction, and execution of movement plans, both internal and external to the corps or division. The G3 is responsible for directing the movement of tactical units through or within the area of operations. The rear area commander is responsible for deconflicting other movements and planning security and sustainment of tactical movements within the rear. Division cavalry may support the tactical movement of major combat units in the division or units of other divisions in transit.
ROLES PERFORMED IN REAR OPERATIONS
Division cavalry may perform a number of roles when operating in the rear area (see Figure 8-8). These roles are normally assigned only when existing MP support is insufficient, or based on METT-T, to perform the required rear area functions. Cavalry units assigned these roles coordinate closely with the MP headquarters to preclude duplication of effort. Roles are not assigned or effective until sufficient reconstitution has occurred. These roles may not be performed solely in or be restricted to the rear area. Specific missions may take the squadron out of the division rear area. These roles are largely performed as reconnaissance and security operations.
The regiment's roles in the rear area most often include
tactical combat force or reserve operations. The other
roles listed in Figure 8-8 may be performed as
Tactical Combat Force
Restore Command and Control
Area Damage Control
Tactical Combat Force
As part of the overall task organization and based on an anticipated threat to the rear area, the G3 designates a tactical combat force as the Level III response force. Upon arrival in the rear area, cavalry may receive this mission to free other maneuver forces. Division cavalry requires reinforcement to perform this mission. These reinforcements are dictated by IPB and factors of METT-T. Because rear area threats are often infantry heavy, the squadron requires infantry. If facing a threat equipped with heavy armored vehicles, the squadron may require an attached tank company or company team reinforcement. Additional aviation units may be placed under operational control upon commitment. Field artillery may be task organized as part of the tactical combat force or provide fire support for overall rear operations. The regiment normally has sufficient combat power to serve as a corps tactical combat force, but may require reinforcement with infantry in some cases.
The requirements of the tactical combat force or nature of the threat may be more than the division cavalry command and control structure can handle. These situations may require a larger headquarters to effectively integrate all assets involved. In such a case, the squadron may serve as part of the tactical combat force performing reconnaissance and security missions.
The tactical combat force is normally committed after the rear area commander determines that both the Level I and II response forces have failed, or would fail, and the enemy continues to pose a risk to corps or division rear operations. Once the commander decides to commit the tactical combat force, the rear operations cell designates an area of operations (AO) for it. All units within the AO are under operational control of the tactical combat force until the enemy is eliminated. Combat actions of the tactical combat force and other units in the area directed by it take priority over all other activity.
Upon receipt of the mission, the regiment or squadron enters the rear operations net. The commander receives planning guidance from the operations cell. The relationship of the cavalry unit with the rear command post is the same as with the main command post. The rear operations cell provides rear IPB, friendly unit disposition, existing defense plans, fire support plans, priorities for protection, and the rear area commander's concept.
The operations cell may task the tactical combat force to coordinate and provide fire support to Level II response forces when committed. This frequently occurs when artillery is task organized as part of the tactical combat force. The operations cell provides the rear area fire support plan to the tactical combat force and coordinates with the main command post for additional fire support as necessary. Base and base cluster commanders normally do not receive fire support for Level I responses. If artillery remains under control of the operations cell, the tactical combat force receives guidance on priority of fires. Normally the tactical combat force receives direct support of rear area fire support when committed.
The rear operations cell assigns specific reconnaissance and surveillance tasks to the MP response force and cavalry in the rear area to preclude duplication of effort. The cavalry unit staff coordinates directly with MPs and other Level II forces regarding the exchange of reconnaissance information, contingency plans, and operation plans. Battle handover, when in contact, is performed the same as for any other mission. Following handover, the MP response force may be placed under operational control of the cavalry unit or released for other missions.
When designating the area of operations for the tactical combat force, the rear operations cell provides boundaries that completely define the area. Any special control measures or restrictive fire measures around friendly units are also provided. The operations cell can seldom provide more detailed graphics.
There are two basic methods that cavalry may use to accomplish the mission. In the first method, the squadron remains in an assembly area until committed by the rear command post (see Figure 8-9). The unit monitors the rear operations net and moves to a higher state of readiness as indicators warrant. The staff conducts hasty movement planning and develops contingency plans for likely enemy actions. This planning facilitates rapid execution. Air cavalry is most responsive and can be sent forward to perform reconnaissance, coordination, and liaison tasks. This serves to speed the subsequent assumption of the fight. The commander designates a line of departure, zones for subordinate units and objectives, or a limit of advance. Additional control measures are used as in an area reconnaissance or movement to contact. Movement to the line of departure is performed as a tactical road march to get there as rapidly as possible. The rear command post is responsible to clear all other traffic off the route of march used by the tactical combat force.
Figure 8-9. Tactical combat force (method one).
Subordinate units are assigned missions depending largely on information known. If little is known, squadrons and troops perform zone reconnaissance and the commander may retain a large reserve. If the friendly and enemy situations are better identified, subordinates perform movement to contact and the commander may retain a smaller reserve. The mission will most often culminate in a hasty attack to destroy the enemy force.
Speed of execution will catch an enemy, especially air landed or airborne, before he becomes fully organized. This method provides the most rapid response of massed combat power by the tactical combat force and is preferred when other rear area assets provide adequate surveillance of the rear area.
In the second method, the commander designates subordinate units to perform surveillance of likely enemy entry points for forces requiring a Level III response (see Figure 8-10). These positions focus on the priority of protection established by the rear operations cell. Based on IPB, these positions include ground and aerial avenues of approach, drop zones, and landing zones. The subordinate ground units are best suited for this task. Depending on the location of the surveillance area, squadrons or troops can operate out of the parent unit assembly area or establish a separate assembly area. A separate assembly area requires coordination with the rear command post. Troops perform this task largely as a screen. The squadron retains a reserve to rapidly reinforce a unit that gains contact. Air cavalry can serve as part of the reserve or screen large areas that would overextend the ground troops. The cavalry should avoid duplicating the efforts of the division MPs in performing area security and concentrate on high priority areas.
Units must rapidly respond to contact to prevent an enemy force from becoming too organized. The unit gaining contact develops the situation as much as possible for the squadron. Air cavalry may reinforce the element in contact until the arrival of the squadron main body. The squadron commander masses the remainder of the squadron to attack and destroy the enemy based on the information provided by the element in contact. The regimental commander may or may not commit other squadrons based on the assessment of the situation. The commander uses simple but clear control measures as in a movement to contact. Troops and company teams perform movement to contact and hasty attack missions. The response in this scheme of maneuver may be slower because of the necessity to mass the squadron. The commander must be careful about piecemeal commitment of subordinate troops or company teams into the attack as they arrive. This concern should not outweigh the advantage of attacking the enemy before he becomes organized and poses a greater threat.
Figure 8-10. Tactical combat force (method two).
When the squadron has direct support artillery, it is positioned where it can best range likely enemy targets and where it can support subordinate elements in surveillance positions. In some cases, troops may initially rely exclusively on their mortars until artillery can be repositioned. When artillery is retained in general support to the rear area, the fire support officer plans fires to support the squadron in its various contingency missions. Liaison and communications with the artillery unit are established in advance. Clear procedures establish quick assumption of a direct support mission when the squadron is committed.
The regiment and squadron command post is established in the assembly area and operates on the rear operations net as well as internal nets. The TAC CP may be positioned forward to retain effective communications with widely dispersed subordinate elements. Service support is based in the assembly area and standard LOGPAC operations used to support dispersed units in their surveillance positions.
Restore Command and Control
Command and control within the corps and division areas of operation is subject to disruptions of physical contact and communications. Cavalry may be tasked to restore these links for the commander. This is particularly a mission for division cavalry. The squadron is not a substitute for the division command aviation section or unit liaison officers. Rather, the squadron performs this task when the situation is critical, enemy contact is possible, or terrain must be held. The squadron may be tasked to restore contact with a maneuver brigade or rear area unit, or to fill gaps that have developed between units. This task often takes the squadron out of the division rear area for extended periods.
The squadron performs this role primarily as reconnaissance. If the mission is to restore a link with a subordinate command, the squadron performs route and area reconnaissance to locate the command post or commander, and may initially maintain communications links with the division for the subordinate command until theirs is restored. An air cavalry troop is ideal for this mission because of its ability to rapidly transit cluttered rear areas and gain a broad perspective of the subordinate unit's situation. The area reconnaissance focuses on the last known location of the command post or commander.
In fluid offensive or defensive operations, gaps may develop between subordinate brigades of the division or between divisions. The regiment or squadron may be assigned the mission to fill the gap. The regiment may do this as a whole or assign the task to a reinforced squadron. Cavalry performs this mission as a zone reconnaissance or movement to contact (see Figure 8-11). A tactical road march, coordinated with the rear command post, is conducted to rapidly clear the rear area. A line of departure is designated where the gap appears to begin and a limit of advance is designated along the FLOT. Lateral boundaries may be difficult to define, but are the known trace of organized friendly units at the start of the mission. As friendly units are located during reconnaissance, boundaries are modified. The regiment or squadron must establish contact with both friendly units to preclude engaging each other. Liaison officers are critical in this task and air cavalry may also serve in this capacity. Contact is established with both units along the line of departure and a passage of lines may be required. During the reconnaissance, both friendly and enemy units may be encountered in the zone. These units may or may not be organized. Identification of friend from foe is critical. Friendly units will be directed to return to their parent unit through the rear area, remain in place until consolidated by their parent unit, or move with the cavalry. An organized unit moving with the cavalry may provide the squadron commander with additional combat power. Upon reaching the limit of advance, or an adjusted one along a new FLOT, the regiment or squadron screens or guards until receipt of other orders.
Figure 8-11. Filling a gap.
Movement of combat forces across the battlefield is essential to successful execution of the commander's concept. Effective movement control is not a new battlefield requirement. Napoleon recognized its critical role when stating "aptitude for war is aptitude for movement." This is especially the case when sufficient MP support is not available. The difficulty of this requirement is compounded when the battlefield has been fought across or when moving through other units. Movement control reduces these problems and provides a system that accurately plans major unit movements.
When the division or a major subordinate element is involved in a tactical move that requires timely execution, the squadron may be assigned tasks to support the movement. If another division is transiting the division area of operations, the squadron can support the movement. Regimental cavalry supports its own movement. It is normally performing other missions when major elements of corps combat power move. These paragraphs focus on division-level movement, but the techniques apply to regimental movement as well.
The squadron frequently continues with another mission after providing movement support, such as zone reconnaissance or advance guard. If so, the squadron planning for movement support is integrated into the concept for the follow-on mission. If the squadron is only tasked to support the movement of a major subordinate unit through the division area, the squadron may delegate subordinate troops to perform the mission. This method lends itself to formation of air and ground teams.
The squadron receives orders from the movement control officer responsible for the move. This is normally a designated senior leader of the moving unit. The squadron or troop performs route reconnaissance of the designated route or routes for the movement. Engineers may be attached to reduce obstacles, emplace tactical bridging, and conduct detailed evaluations of roadways and bridges. The squadron reconnoiters from the unit start point to the release point and may be tasked for a subsequent area reconnaissance of an assembly area or attack position. The squadron is followed on the route by other movement advance parties, to include movement control teams, quartering parties, engineers, and maintenance and logistics support teams. Route information must be continuously reported so that these follow-on elements are informed.
The squadron may also provide movement control teams. This task precludes the ability of the squadron to transition easily into follow-on missions. The squadron is suited to perform this task when the division movement is into or out of an area of operations as opposed to tactical battlefield movements. Movement control teams use three measures in accordance with STANAG 2025. In coordination with MP and echelon transportation headquarters, they establish traffic control points, perform mobile patrols, and erect temporary road signs. Traffic control points provide control at critical points. Mobile patrols travel an assigned segment of the route looking for and eliminating movement problems. Temporary signs are used to regulate, guide, and control movement along the route.
Movement control teams are structured around the scout platoon to maintain a cohesive chain of command. These teams provide control in accordance with the movement order. Each movement control team consists of at least one scout squad and the squads of a platoon are positioned consecutively along the route. The platoon headquarters can provide the mobile patrols along the platoon segment of the route. The troop commander, in turn, controls the troop route segment. Troop combat trains are positioned to support the troop and the unit movement. Air cavalry troops can provide wide-ranging mobile patrols, search for misdirected march elements, and rapidly move to a problem area along the route. Observation aircraft are best suited for this task to conserve attack helicopters for subsequent missions. Pilots may frequently be required to set down and conduct coordination with units on the route.
Temporary signs are traffic signs erected to regulate the flow of traffic along the route. Movement control personnel place temporary signs where hazards exist or where traffic must be regulated. The signs show drivers the location of detours, key units, and facilities; give directions, distances, and general information; and identify routes. Temporary sign use is governed by STANAG 2174. In addition to the planned use of temporary signs, movement control personnel should be prepared to use temporary signs during emergency situations.
Use of signs reduces the number of movement control personnel needed along the route. Signs can replace manned positions. Patrols, however, must continually check the signs to detect tampering.
Area Damage Control
Area damage control is the measures taken before, during, and after hostile actions, or natural or man-made disasters, to reduce the probability of damage and minimize its effects. Area damage control is decentralized at the lowest level. All base and base cluster commanders plan for damage control to ensure continuous support and the immediate restoration of operations. The extent of destruction may be greater than the base and base cluster commander can handle or effective command and control may be disrupted. In such cases, other units may need to assume the damage control mission. Area damage control may be part of another rear area mission, such as tactical combat force operations, or performed as a mission itself.
When an area damage control mission is assigned, the rear operations cell provides much the same planning guidance as in tactical combat force operations. This guidance is broad, but normally includes the following:
Cavalry performs this mission like an area reconnaissance. Specific tasks include the following:
The severity of damage requiring commitment of outside forces for support normally takes a squadron-size force to perform the mission. Ground troops perform reconnaissance. Air cavalry troops perform reconnaissance and liaison tasks. Headquarters troop and attached special support units establish and operate collecting points. Attached units also support the squadron in obstacle reduction, survivor control, casualty and equipment evacuation, and NBC reconnaissance. In-place units are used to the extent possible to provide additional support.
Regimental and division cavalry units are practical forces around which to build a deception plan. Deception is inherent in reconnaissance and security missions by denying the enemy information about friendly activities. Deception is also important when performing missions as an economy of force. With minimal reinforcement, the division cavalry squadron can assume the appearance of a battalion task force. Adequately supported by other division assets, a cost effective deception can be developed. The squadron commander may serve as the deception force commander or be subordinate to another commander. With little or no reinforcement, the cavalry regiment can easily depict a brigade, and its squadrons can portray battalion task forces. With adequate reinforcement from corps, the regiment can depict a division.
If the corps commander decides to use the regiment in a deception role, he must weigh this against the loss of the regiment in its normal role of reconnaissance and security.
The corps and division can establish recognizable patterns of activity by repeatedly using its cavalry for specific reconnaissance and security missions associated with offensive or defensive operations. Deception may occur by using cavalry units on such missions to intentionally mislead the enemy. In this case, no augmentation would be needed.
Tactical deception operations include feints, demonstrations, displays, and ruses.
A feint is an offensive operation intended to draw the enemy's attention away from the area of the main attack. The objective is to induce the enemy to move his reserves or to shift his fire support in reaction to the feint. Feints must appear real; therefore, some contact with the enemy is required. It is usually conducted as a limited objective attack ranging in size from a raid to a supporting attack. The divisional cavalry squadron may be reinforced with tanks or infantry to conduct a feint or to participate as part of a feint by a larger unit. Regimental cavalry requires no reinforcement to conduct a feint.
A demonstration is an attack or show of force on a front where a decision is not sought. It is similar to a feint except that no contact with the enemy is sought. The division cavalry squadron may conduct a demonstration reinforced with adequate combat or combat support assets to portray the desired unit signature. A demonstration normally involves less maneuver assets than a feint.
A display is conducted to mislead the enemy's visual senses, including his observation by radar, camera, and infrared or thermal devices. A display includes simulations, disguises, portrayals, or some combination. Displays can be very effective during economy-of-force missions.
The additional combat and combat support assets organic to the armored cavalry regiment provide additional capabilities in performing demonstrations and displays. The military intelligence (CEWI) company and aviation squadron, in particular, are very useful in portraying unit signatures and activity, and can be quickly withdrawn from the area for use elsewhere after the desired enemy response has been achieved.
A ruse is a trick designed to deceive the enemy, thereby obtaining an advantage. It is characterized by deliberately exposing false information to the collection means of the enemy.
A deception plan normally includes aspects of all four types of deceptions. The regiment and squadron may form the maneuver force and be tasked to perform specific deception tasks. Combat support units, such as signal, PSYOP, and CEWI units, are well suited to perform displays and ruses supporting the maneuver units. FM 90-2 provides a detailed discussion of tactical deception operations.
Regimental or squadron planning is governed by the plan developed by the corps or division G3. This plan may be highly detailed or general in nature. Tasks given to the regiment and squadron may be very detailed or provide greater freedom of action. The commander analyzes the plan as he would the receipt of any other mission. The intent of the deception must be clearly understood. Task analysis determines the mission and the extent of deception preparations required. Deception preparations can add substantially to the time required to prepare for the tactical mission. The tactical mission is frequently a movement to contact and hasty attack.
When the divisional squadron is required to conduct a feint, the commander determines the extent of contact required with the enemy. He ensures he is adequately reinforced to accomplish the mission and the intent of the deception. Regimental cavalry requires little reinforcement to perform a feint. However, the regimental commander must ensure he has the assets necessary to accomplish the feint. This may require reinforcement with additional assets (such as infantry, if a deliberate attack is conducted).
Feint and demonstration are the most likely missions assigned to armored cavalry units. Both may require the regiment or squadron to portray itself as a division or brigade (regimental cavalry) or battalion task force (division cavalry). The commander task organizes his squadrons, troops, and company teams to appear that way when maneuvering. Squadrons must maneuver as battalion task forces while performing the mission. Mortars may be consolidated into a platoon, scouts maneuver as infantry, and command and control structure reorganize as necessary.
Displays and ruses may be in the form of altering vehicle and unit identification markings, portraying notional command and control nodes, conducting false radio net traffic, and dropping misleading documents where the enemy can recover them. Elaborate ruses generally require substantial preparation time.
The regimental or squadron commander coordinates closely with other units involved in the deception to ensure that actions are fully integrated, do not needlessly overlap, and do not give away the deception.
Commanders should consider the use of simple deception measures in the performance of all missions.
Movements may be classified as administrative or tactical. Administrative movements occur in the communications zone to deploy or reposition forces. The S4 is responsible for planning these nontactical movements. These movements are normally controlled closely by and coordinated with a movement control center responsible for the communications zone. The armored cavalry regiment has an organic movement control center in the regimental support squadron, which controls and coordinates movements with the movement control center responsible for the communications zone.
Movement in the combat zone of the corps or division is tactical. This movement is planned by the S3 and often precedes a combat operation. In rear areas these movements are also coordinated with movement control centers. A higher degree of security is maintained during tactical movement because of the increased risk of enemy attack.
Movements are normally conducted as road marches. A road march is characterized by the following factors:
Movement may also be conducted by air, rail, or water. For discussion of these means, see the references listed below.
Successful movements are well organized. The organization of the unit for a road march is suited for inclusion in the unit SOP to delineate tasks and responsibilities.
Movement control is a key consideration in planning. The commander and staff are involved in planning, supervising, and refining execution of the movement. Both the commander and S3, however, will also be concerned with plans for the tactical commitment of the unit once the march objective is reached. The details of movement planning and supervision are largely the responsibility of the XO who serves as the movement control officer.
Units organize into march columns to conduct movement. A march column includes all elements of a force using the same route for a single movement under the control of a single commander. Whenever possible, a force marches in multiple columns over multiple routes to reduce closing time. A large column may be composed of a number of subdivisions, each under the control of a subordinate commander. March columns are composed of four elements:
The reconnaissance party is normally a scout platoon. Aeroscouts can also be used. The reconnaissance party moves out as early as possible to reconnoiter the assigned route or routes and any designated holding areas along the route. The reconnaissance party is not considered part of the main body and moves by infiltration. The designated reconnaissance party may be reinforced with engineers to assist in minor mobility tasks. The party is under the control of the movement control officer. Route trafficability and choke points are determined or confirmed. Bypasses around obstacles are found and marked. The movement control officer instructs the reconnaissance party on information required, report times, and mission upon completion of the reconnaissance. The movement control officer must coordinate bypasses located by the scouts as necessary.
The quartering party is normally a composite squadron organization consisting of the quartering parties of the troops. The quartering party is used if the squadron is going to occupy an assembly area upon arrival at the march destination. An assembly area is often used after long marches to provide time for the squadron to resupply, perform maintenance, and complete preparations for the subsequent mission. Unit first sergeants normally control troop quartering parties, and the command sergeant major controls the squadron party. En route refuel points may be required for a long march. Vehicles comprising these points can move with the quartering party and drop off along the route at holding areas or halt locations. The quartering party normally follows the reconnaissance party and also moves by infiltration.
The main body is composed of the bulk of the regiment or squadron organized into serials and march units. A serial is a major subdivision of a march column organized under a single commander for planning, regulation, and control. The squadron is normally considered a serial, even if moving by itself. A march unit is a subdivision of a serial and is normally a platoon- or troop-size unit. It moves and halts under the control of a single commander using voice, visual signals, or radio when no other means of communication can be used. March units move as task organized for the follow-on mission whenever possible.
The trail party is the last march unit in the squadron serial. It is composed of elements of the combat trains under the squadron maintenance officer. The trail party is prepared to conduct repair and recovery of vehicles, medical aid and evacuation, and unscheduled refueling. If a vehicle cannot be repaired or towed, it is moved off the route and reported. The crew remains with the vehicle with sufficient food and water. The squadron must subsequently return to recover or coordinate for another unit to recover the vehicle. Vehicles and soldiers are not abandoned along the route.
Movement may be considered as either deliberate or hasty. Deliberate movement occurs when plenty of time is available to plan and prepare, resulting in a detailed and well-coordinated plan. This typifies administrative movements or long tactical movements. Hasty movement occurs when time is short. This typifies tactical movements, often when the regiment or squadron is in receipt of a FRAGO for a combat operation. Hasty movement normally does not involve crossing corps or division boundaries, although the cavalry unit can find itself moving across the parent unit area of operations.
Movement planning employs a backwards planning process. The mission following the movement drives the planning, which includes establishment of movement completion times, pass times, start point times, and organization of the unit for the march.
The march discipline necessary to execute a road march with routine precision can only be attained by strict adherence to SOP. This is particularly true for hasty movements. The unit SOP must provide for the following:
Planning for a road march is conducted like any other mission. As the XO develops the concept he considers the following:
When possible, road marches are conducted at night to reduce vulnerability. Planning for night or limited visibility moves must consider the varying capabilities of night observation equipment. Radio listening silence is normally imposed. Coordination for moving air cavalry is made through the A2C2 system. Normally, the division cavalry squadron secures the airspace over the ground route as the air route. The regiment may do the same or coordinate a separate route for the aviation squadron. Using the same route facilitates movement control and aviation service support. The mobility advantage of air cavalry allows them to leave with and arrive ahead of, or leave after and arrive with the main body. Reconnaissance, quartering, and trail party considerations and airspace clearance influence this decision.
Relationships between time and distance are the basis for march planning (see Figure 8-12). The planner must determine how far the column is to travel (distance) and how long it will take to make the move (time). He must know the space (length of column) the column will occupy on the route as well as the time (pass time) it will take to pass a point from the beginning to end of the column. He must also include in his computations, the safety factor of distance (road gap) or time (time gap) that must separate march columns and their elements. Each term used for distance has a corresponding term for time.
Figure 8-12. Time and distance relationship.
It is not always possible to conduct deliberate planning prior to executing a unit move. The regiment and squadron must be able to plan and execute a move based on verbal orders and adherence to SOP. A hasty movement may reduce the opportunities for reconnaissance and quartering party action. The unit may pass through an attack position instead of moving to an assembly area. The XO's planning time is driven by the mission execution time. He can quickly estimate the movement time by using a movement planning guide and distance of the move (see Figure 8-13). Backward planning determines how much time is available for planning and preparation for the move.
The movement planning guide is a valuable tool to use
when standardized movement factors must be altered to meet
mission requirements. The regiment or squadron prepares a
series of tables for subordinate march units, both organic
and normal attachments. These tables reflect the most
common task organization to provide a ready reference. The
tables provide pass times based on different column
intervals, rates of march, and time gaps. These three
variables provide the most flexibility in adjusting
Figure 8-13. Movement planning guide.
Go to Chapter 8 Part II