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FIELD MANUALNo. 17-18 FM 17-18


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FM 17-18


FM 17-18 is the Army’s manual containing doctrine, tactics, and techniques for theemployment of light armor units. It will assist light armor battalion commanders, theirstaffs, company commanders, and platoon leaders in the conduct of combat operations withlight infantry. It also provides light infantry leaders with a familiarization of the capabilitiesof light armor units and offers techniques for deploying them effectively. The tactics, tech-niques, and procedures discussed in this manual also apply to armored units when employedas part of a light infantry operation.

This manual addresses two objectives. First, it gives an overview of doctrinal principlesfor the employment of light armor forces. Secondly, it describes tactics, techniques, andprocedures for light armor platoons, companies, and battalions where they may differ fromarmored forces.

This manual is fully compatible with doctrine as contained in FM 100-5, and is consistentwith current doctrine in FM 100-15 and FM 71-100. It assumes that the user has a funda-mental understanding of these manuals and FM 101-5-1, FM 71-2, FM 71-1, and FM17-15. It serves as a reference for personnel involved in the conduct of training.

The proponent of this publication is HQ TRADOC. Submit changes for improving thispublication on DA Form 2028 (Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms)and forward it to Commandant, US Army Armor School, ATTN: ATSB-SBD-D, FortKnox, KY 40121.

Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns and pronouns do not exclusivelyrefer to men.


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The land warfare strategy of the US military has changed. The nation no longer relies onlarge, forward-deployed forces, supported by reinforcing forces from the continental UnitedStates (CONUS). The military forces have developed a strategy of rapidly projecting combatpower from CONUS to protect national interests. The Army now focuses on deploying andfighting as part of contingency and reinforcing forces. Light armor gives the Army aversatile, deployable, and lethal force structure that can operate with light infantry-basedcontingency forces worldwide.


Section I. The Role of Light Armor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1The Scope of Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-3Light Armor in Operations Other Than War. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-4

Section II. The Threat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-6The Potential Threat Array . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-7The Operational Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-7

Section III. Light Armor Capabilities and Limitations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-8Capabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-8Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-8

Section IV. Fundamentals of Light Armor Employment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-9Offensive Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-9Defensive Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-10Retrograde Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-11Reconnaissance Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-12Security Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-12Battlefield Operating Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-13

Section I. The Role of Light ArmorGENERAL

Light armor will use its unique capabilities to conduct combat operations, often in supportof contingency plans, across the operational continuum (peacetime, conflict, and war). Itwill be required to operate in a wide range of political, military, and geographical environ-ments. Its tactical missions include providing security, reconnaissance, and antiarmor fire-power to the light infantry division (LID) or airborne corps, as well as standard armoroperations to engage and destroy enemy forces using mobility, firepower, and shock effectin coordination with other combat arms. These missions may require rapid strategic andtactical deployment worldwide.


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FM 17-18M8 Light Tank. Currently, light armor units are equipped with the M551A1 (TTS)

armored reconnaissance airborne assault vehicle. The M55lA1 will be replaced by the M8light tank. The light tank will be an air-deliverable, all-weather, mobile, protected direct-fireplatform. It will be able to engage enemy bunkers, buildings, armor systems, and personnelin close or built-up terrain. The light tank has a three-man crew and is armed with a105-mm cannon with autoloader and caliber .50 and 7.62-mm machine guns.

The light tank will add a new dimension to the combined-arms capability of light forces,but it is not intended to replace the main battle tank. The primary purpose of M8 light tankforces is to operate with light infantry during rapid-deployment contingency operations(CONOPS). They immediately provide the rapid-deployment commander with an armoredsystem that can counter a variety of threats until heavier forces arrive in theater. Initial lighttank forces can be air-delivered using low velocity air drop (LVAD) procedures, followedclosely by forces arriving by airlanding transportation assets (see Appendix A).

Missions. Light armor forces may be required to support the following missions:Operations other than war, such as—


Combating terrorism.

Emergency relief operations.

Shows of force and demonstrations.

Noncombatant evacuation operations (NEO).

Strikes and raids.

Peacekeeping and peace enforcement.

Other operations as specified by higher commanders.

Rapid reinforcement of forward-deployed forces.

Wartime contingency operations.

These missions will require separately supportable light armor units to conduct a varietyof tasks, including—

Close assaults with light infantry.

Reduction of strongpoints, bunkers, and roadblocks.

Operations in built-up areas (BUA).

Defense with light infantry.

Force security.

Flexible, mobile reserve operations for the light infantry task force (TF), brigade, divi-sion, and corps to provide rapid response to enemy mounted forces.

Rear area operations.

Contingency Operations. Light armor is most likely to be employed as part ofCONOPS, which dictate an increased role for armor operating with light forces. Lightarmor significantly reduces the risks light forces face during CONOPS. Its capabilities alsoenhance the combat capability and lethality of the light force.


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FM 17-18As part of an airborne corps, the light armor unit may be required to execute

opposed-entry operations and provide immediate direct-fire support for initial-entry lightforces. Entry into contingency theaters may require opposed entry by air. As noted,elements of the light armor force will be capable of insertion by LVAD or airlanding, asrequired. Appendix A discusses these procedures in more detail.

Light armor increases the contingency force’s mobile, protected lethality immediatelyupon deployment. It provides accurate, destructive fires that the operational commander canuse to shape the battlefield, defeat the enemy, or fill the gap until other armored forcesarrive.

Light armor forces support the contingency force commander’s requirement to conductoperations in wartime as well as in operations other than war. They can execute peacetimeCONOPS aimed at influencing enemy decisions through political and psychological shockeffect, or they can engage and defeat the enemy in combat.


The strategic environment within a theater comprises a variety of conditions (political,economic, military) and potential threats. The interaction of these factors can result in awide range of operations for the light armor unit. These operations are conducted within ascope of operations consisting of three general environments: peacetime, conflict, and war.This discussion of the scope of operations focuses on the conditions that define each envi-ronment and the types of operations light armor may conduct.

Light armor can operate along the entire scope of operations. It may support acontingency that is the only ongoing operation in peace or conflict or be deployed in anenvironment of war in a separate, concurrent operation within the same theater or adifferent one. Although the discussion of the environments describes each separately, thereare no precise distinctions as to where one environment ends and another begins.

Operations Other than War. Operations other than war entail political-military confron-tations between contending states or groups, frequently involving protracted struggles ofcompeting principles and ideologies. In the scope of operations, it includes the peacetimeand conflict environments. Ranging from subversion to use of armed force, it is waged by acombination of political, economic, informational, and military elements. Operations otherthan war occur most often in the third world, but it can have regional and global securityimplications.

Peace. Political, economic, informational, and military measures, short of combat opera-tions or active support of warring parties, are employed to achieve national objectives.Within this environment, US forces may conduct training exercises to demonstrate resolve;conduct peacekeeping operations; participate in nation-building activities; conduct disasterrelief and humanitarian assistance; provide security assistance to friends and allies; or exe-cute shows of force. During peace, confrontations and tensions may involve the clear threator the actual use of armed force; such a situation may reach a point of transition to a stateof conflict.

Conflict. Conflict is an armed struggle or clash between organized parties within a nationor between nations to achieve limited political or military objectives. While regular forcesare often involved, irregular forces frequently predominate. Conflict is often protracted,confined to a restricted geographic area, and constrained in weaponry and level of violence.In this state, military power in response to threats may be exercised in an indirect mannerwhale supporting other elements of national power. Limited objectives may be achieved bythe short, focused, and direct application of force.

Conflict also describes situations in which continuing clashes or crises occur over bound-ary disputes and land and water territorial claims. Conflict also includes situations in which


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FM 17-18

opposing political factions engage in military actions to gain control of political leadershipwithin a nation. Conflict approaches the threshold of a state of war as the number of troops,frequency of battles, number of nations, and level of violence increase over an extendedperiod of time. Conflict also can evolve into a state of war anytime the sovereignty of anation is threatened.

Military operations involving light armor occur most often in this state. Operations mayinclude offensive, defensive, retrograde, security, and reconnaissance missions.

War. War is the sustained use of armed force between nations or organized groupswithin a nation; it involves regular and irregular forces in a series of connected battles andcampaigns to achieve vital national objectives. War may be limited, with some self-imposedrestraints on resources or objectives. Conversely, it may be general, with the total resourcesof a nation or nations employed and national survival of one or more combatants at stake.Total war between superpowers is the most catastrophic, though least likely, form ofwarfare. It could engulf countries, alliances, or entire continents and become true globalwarfare, with battles raging in a number of theaters.

In the state of war, light armor would most likely be involved in an operation on theperiphery of the main effort, such as an economy of force or security role. Light armorwould also be useful as part of a CONOPS in a part of the theater away from the maineffort. The deployability of light armor would allow it to move rapidly to another area ortheater in the event other crises arose.


The Army’s mission in operations other than war are divided into activities. See FM100-5 for additional information on these activities. These are all neatly defined, distinctcategories, yet they often overlap. Peacekeeping forces, for example, must protect againstterrorism; on the other hand, a terrorist incident may result in a peacetime enforcementoperation.

All such missions require continuous emphasis on intelligence. Before the force iscommitted, intelligence must be collected, processed, and focused to support all planning,training, and operational requirements. Intelligence is crucial during execution of operationsother than war. The threats faced by military forces in these operations are more ambiguousthan those in other situations because guerrillas and terrorists can blend with the civilianpopulation. (See FM 100-20 for additional information on operations other than war.)

Armor Employment Considerations. The following paragraphs discuss the roles of lightarmor, airborne armor, and fully armored forces (tank and mechanized infantry units) asthey relate to operations other than war.

Light. Normally, light armor is the most appropriate armor force to conduct a rapid crisisresponse. Two major considerations when employing light armor are suitability and avail-ability. All factors of mission, enemy, terrain, troops and time available (METT-T) must beweighed carefully in selecting the most suitable force to support accomplishment of the hostnation’s overall objective.

Airborne. The major difference between airborne armor forces and other light armorforces is the capability of parachuting into an area. An airborne light armor unit conductsground tactical operations in the same manner as other light armor units. The primaryadvantage of using this type of force is that it enables the airborne commander to position anarmor force in a short time. In most cases, airborne operations will insert forces into suit-able areas in all phases of operations other than war. In addition, this method provides arelatively clandestine means of inserting elements into a controlled or contested area. Air-borne operations are dependent on several factors, including aircraft availability, terrain, andweather.


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Armored. Armored forces are usually employed with accompanying infantry. As withmechanized infantry forces, however, armored forces may have difficulty maneuvering inrestrictive terrain. Major advantages are their armor protection, highly lethal firepower,speed, and shock effect; these advantages are maximized in open terrain. Their capabilitiesare hindered and their vulnerabilities increased in restricted terrain. (See FM 71-2 for fur-ther information on armored and mechanized employment).

The light armor commander must adapt the doctrine presented in this manual to eachspecific situation within a particular environment. For example, each country presentsunique challenges for commanders in dealing with insurgency and terrorism. Principles,policies, and programs applied successfully in one situation may be unsuitable if applied inthe same manner in another situation.

Duration of light armor employment varies by situation. Insurgency or counterinsurgencymay require long-term commitment of light armor elements in combat operations of shortor long duration or, sometimes, in advisory or supporting roles. Capabilities of thesupported force and the strength of its opposition are factors influencing involvement ofcombat forces and length of their stay. Some peacetime CONOPS may require a lengthycommitment, while others, such as demonstrations and raids, may be finished quickly. Anti-terrorism (a defensive operation) is a continuous requirement, whereas counterterrorism(offensive) is usually of short duration. The extent of light armor commitment may rangefrom providing mobile training teams to conducting operations by the whole battalion aspart of a division, corps, or joint task force (JTF).

Specific Roles in Operations Other Than War. The following paragraphs discuss therole of light armor throughout the activities in operations other than war.

Insurgency/Counterinsurgency. These operations cover assistance the US may provide toa friendly nation or group in combating or prosecuting an insurgency. Initially, US forcesassess the threat to the host government and to US interests. The US supports selectedresistance movements opposing oppressive regimes working against US interests. Such sup-port is coordinated with friends and allies.

Insurgences rely on mobilization of people and resources from within the country to besuccessful. Because they must build legitimacy, their efforts include political, social, and(when possible) economic development. They are successful if they gain more legitimacythan the government. Basic principles of internal defense and development (IDAD) apply,especially in areas under insurgent control. Because support for insurgency is often covert,many of the operations connected with it are special activities and do not involve lightarmor. Light armor units are called on only when a situation requires their specificcapabilities, including direct-fire support, security to indigenous resistance forces, ortraining, advice, and development if the insurgent force has an armor specific need.Command and control (C2) relationships are normally situation specific.

US support for counterinsurgency rests on the IDAD concept (see FM 100-20 for moredetails). This entails use of all the leadership, organizational, and materiel resources avail-able to the host government. It is designed to mobilize support for the host government andpreempt insurgent mobilization efforts. Security forces (military, paramilitary, and police)should defeat the insurgents’ combat elements and neutralize their leadership to establish anenvironment of security in which development can occur.

If the host nation requests support and US interests are involved, the US National Com-mand Authority (NCA) may direct the US Army to provide economic, political, and militaryassistance. Divisional operations may require civil affairs; population and resources control;psychological operations (PSYOP); intelligence; tactical operations; and training assistance.Light armor involvement, however, will normally only be in tactical operations.

One potential combat role for light armor is in counterguerrilla missions. Light armorwill usually operate as platoons and companies task organized to a larger TF, brigade, or


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FM 17-18JTF. In other scenarios, the light armor battalion will deploy as a unit or will be taskorganized with a division or corps. See FM 90-8 for further information on counterguerrillaoperations.

Combating Terrorism. This role has two components: counterterrorism and antiterrorism.Counterterrorism, offensive measures taken by specially trained forces, is not discussed inthis manual. In special situations, light armor could be used in offensive operations in acounterterrorism role. It would probably perform a demonstration or diversion or provideincreased firepower. Antiterrorism includes all defensive actions that each soldier must prac-tice.

Peacekeeping Operations. These are military operations conducted with the consent of thebelligerent parties to maintain a negotiated truce and to facilitate diplomatic resolution. TheUS may participate in peacekeeping operations as a member of an international organization,in cooperation with other countries, or unilaterally.

A peacekeeping mission may require forces to deal with extreme tension, sabotage, andminor military conflicts from known or unknown belligerents. Common missions inpeacekeeping operations include cease-fire supervision, police actions, prisoner-of-war ex-changes, demilitarization, and demobilization. Armor units, including light armor, do notnormally participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations; however, peacekeeping aspart of a cease-fire, demilitarization, or demobilization may require light armor support.

Peace Enforcement Operations. Some situations may require deployment of US militaryforces to impose peace. These operations are often labeled peacekeeping, but are betterdescribed as peace enforcement. They differ greatly in execution from peacekeeping mis-sions. While the ultimate objective may be to maintain peace, the initial phase in peaceenforcement is to achieve it. Peace enforcement is often unilateral, possibly with someconsent from the beneficiary, and it is imposed by the peace enforcement unit. Light armorforces may be needed as a security force or in a limited role to conduct a show of force ordemonstration to discourage the belligerents from inciting conflict.

Other Operations. In certain environments, military operations become necessary whendiplomatic initiatives have been, or are expected to be, ineffective in achieving extremelytime-sensitive, high-value objectives. Failure to influence a belligerent nation or activitythrough diplomatic means may necessitate the use of military forces to protect US nationalinterests, rescue US citizens, provide emergency relief, or defend US assets. Operationsinvolving light armor may include strike operations, rescue and recovery, demonstrations orshows of force, NEOs, and security for relief forces (see Chapter 3).

Section II. The Threat

Geopolitical factors continue to affect US military strategy. The Army must continue todeter aggression worldwide. If deterrence fails, it must be prepared to defeat enemies acrossthe full spectrum of conflict: from all-out war against a superpower, to a conflict against ahostile regional power, to operations other than war against less sophisticated, but no lessdetermined, insurgent forces.

Light armor must prepare to fight a variety of threat forces. These may range fromcrudely equipped insurgents to a technologically advanced conventional force. Regular forcescan be expected to conduct standard offensive, defensive, and reconnaissance missions. Ir-regular forces use stealth, surprise, covert and guerrilla actions, and hit-and-run tactics.


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FM 17-18


Because of its versatility, light armor can expect to conduct combat operations across thespectrum of contingencies against determined enemies equipped with modern weapon sys-tems. These may include nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) weapons, forcing lightarmor to conduct operations in contaminated environments. In restrictive terrain mine war-fare becomes a likely threat, especially with the wide variety of antitank mines on the worldmarket today. Additionally, an enemy’s use of scatterable mines may constitute a significantadvantage. Most engagements will be at closer range (300 to 800 meters) than in typicalarmored operations because of the types of restrictive terrain in which light armor willoperate. The following is a list of potential threat targets that light armor forces must beprepared to engage:

Nonarmored targets:


Automatic weapons positions.

Antitank guided missiles (ATGM).



Air defense weapon systems.

Motor vehicles.


Lightly armored vehicles.



The operational environment is a composite of the conditions, circ*mstances, andinfluences that affect employment of military forces and decisions of the unit commander.Light armor units may participate in contingency missions that cover the range of combatoperations. The light armor force can expect to be employed in any environment andterrain, including tropical, mountainous, urban, and desert areas. It should train to operatein theaters that have an austere support base and poor infrastructure. Operating with lightinfantry, light armor must be ready to maneuver over restrictive terrain. The followingparagraphs discuss the classifications of the operational environment.

Permissive. Host-nation military and law enforcement agencies have control of the areaof operations (AO) and have the intent and capability to assist operations that a unit intendsto conduct.

Semipermissive. The host-nation forces, whether opposed or receptive to operations thata unit intends to conduct, do not have total effective control of the territory and populationin the intended AO.

Nonpermissive. The AO is under control of hostile forces that have the intent and capa-bility to effectively oppose or react to the operations a unit intends to conduct. (See JointPublication 1-02 for more information.)


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Section III. Light Armor Capabilities and LimitationsCAPABILITIES

Light armor units have the capability to—Support the close fight as part of a combined arms team using accurate antiarmor firesand direct fire.Operate on a conventional or NBC battlefield.Use thermal sights to greatly enhance the night fighting capabilities of the combinedarms team.

Operate in an opposed entry role.Use strategic and tactical mobility to advantage.Provide armor protection against small arms, machine gun, and overhead artillery fire.Detach quickly from their parent unit and be employed during initial stages ofcontingency or reinforcing operations.Accept routine attachment of operational control (OPCON) of engineer assets and lightinfantry or antiarmor companies.Deploy tailored armor and/or reconnaissance packages with inherent C2 and logisticalsupport. This includes requirements to pre-position units in contingency areas ofoperations.Accomplish rapid movement and limited penetrations.Exploit success and pursue defeated enemy elements as part of a larger force.


The limitations of light armor units include the following:The M8 light tank does not possess the level of protection of a main battle tank.The lightly armored M8 is vulnerable to enemy infantry with antiarmor weapons andmay not withstand the impact of enemy tank fires, missiles, or antitank mines.Light armor is dependent on Air Force assets for deployment to the combat theater ofoperations. Its heavy equipment requires a large number of aircraft during the strategicdeployment of an entire battalion.Currently, light armor requires support from the forward support battalion (FSB) anddivision or corps combat service support (CSS) elements to sustain operations.

Consumption of supply items is moderate to high, especially in Classes III, V, and IX.Light infantry units do not have the organic transportation assets to support the lightarmor’s CSS needs, especially in Classes III, V, and IX.Mobility and firepower are restricted in extremely close terrain.Some support equipment, such as recovery and fuel vehicles, can deploy only byairlanding assets.

Airborne and light divisions can often provide only limited air defense and engineersupport to the light armor force.


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FM 17-18

Section IV. Fundamentals of Light Armor EmploymentLight armor forces will provide combat capability throughout the battlefield and will be

an integral part of the joint combined-arms contingency force. Light armor platoons andcompanies may be employed in conjunction with nonmounted forces of squad through bri-gade size as mission requirements dictate. Light armor battalions may also be employed as adivision or corps maneuver force and receive support from combat, combat support (CS),and CSS units on the battlefield.

Light infantry can employ light armor units as part of its security operations. Armor andinfantry can work together to conduct effective screening force operations, both offensiveand defensive, to slow and direct the flow of enemy forces. Light armor, even when out-numbered, can be used to shape the battlefield, causing the enemy to deploy its armoredforces into engagement areas (EA) that can be targeted with Air Force or Army aviationattack helicopters.

Light armor forces are also appropriate as reserves. Their mobility and firepower allowthem to be used to strike the enemy at the critical time and place to seize or regain theinitiative and ensure the destruction of the enemy force.

Light armor may also be required to perform standard security and reconnaissance mis-ions. These may be conducted with divisional ground or air cavalry elements or alone whencavalry is not available or is not in sufficient quantities. These missions include—

Guard (with reinforcement).


Zone or area reconnaissance.

Reconnaissance in force.

Route reconnaissance and security.

Light armor can also perform standard armor missions that require massed, direct,heavy-caliber firepower, mobility, and shock effect. Enemy antitank capability must becarefully analyzed before light armor undertakes the following missions:

Movement to contact.

Hasty attack.

Deliberate attack.




In the offense, light armor forces should be assigned missions that capitalize on theirmaneuver and firepower capabilities. These include missions to destroy enemy forces, de-velop intelligence about the enemy, seize or control terrain, deceive and divert the enemy,deprive the enemy of resources to demoralize him, hold the enemy in position, and destroyand disrupt enemy command, control, and logistics facilities.

Light armor is used to defeat a defending enemy force by seeking decisive results in theenemy’s rear and flank areas. Close combat and assaults against enemy armored forces failto exploit light armor’s strengths of speed, mobility, and agility. This does not mean lightarmor cannot be used during assaults. In some situations. there may be no alternativeCommanders should carefully weigh the factors of METT-T when making these decisions.


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Light armor is employed using two distinct methods: as the direct- or semi-indirect firesupport element or as the maneuver element. Thing, protection, mobility, and speed are thekey elements that must be synchronized between the mounted element and the dismountedelement.

Light armor leaders must understand and employ the following fundamentals of offensiveoperations:

Fight as a combined arms team. Light armor always fights as part of a combined armsteam. Capabilities and limitations of light armor and infantry make them complementarywhen employed as a team.

Know the enemy. The light armor leader must know and understand the capabilities ofthe enemy’s weapon systems and defensive doctrine, including the enemy’s capability toconduct ambushes.

See the battlefield. The leader must know and be able to identify key terrain. Heshould also learn to identify covered and concealed routes during movement. The lightarmor leader must anticipate how the enemy will use the terrain and then determinehow to counter it.

Use weapon systems to best advantage. The light armor leader must know thecapabilities and limitations of his own weapon systems. Knowing the best killprobability ranges of all weapons (main gun, machine guns, light infantry weapons) is akey. Leaders can improve kill probabilities by engaging enemy vehicle flanks.

Concentrate combat power. The light armor leader must be able to control andconcentrate weapon systems. To do this, he uses proper C2 techniques and trains hisunit to shoot, move, and communicate effectively under all conditions. The leader alsomakes maximum use of available indirect fires.

Use maneuver to best advantage. Light armor must move rapidly, strike first, andmaintain the momentum until the enemy has been killed or captured.

Coordinate continuous support. Light armor leaders must always be aware of theirlogistical status. Logistics support is extremely difficult in the austere environment oflight forces. Leaders must understand the procedures for critical support, such asevacuation of personnel and equipment or resupply of ammunition and fuel. This isimportant because task organization changes are more frequent when light armoroperates with a contingency JTF.

Be flexible. Light armor leaders achieve flexibility by ensuring units are properlytrained, by adhering to standing operating procedures (SOP) and battle drills, and bybecoming tactically proficient. They must understand the commander’s intent andanticipate changes in the situation that will help complete the mission.


The three purposes of defensive operations are to—

Gain time while waiting for more favorable conditions to conduct offensive operations.

Economize forces in one area so superior forces can concentrate for decisive offensiveoperations elsewhere.

Maintain control or possession of an objective.

The light armor unit is not ideally suited for conducting independent defensive operations.It normally operates as part of a larger force and should be assigned missions that capitalize


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FM 17-18

on its capabilities. The light tank enhances the overall defense by providing the light infantryforce with a high degree of mobility and firepower.

Light armor leaders and their troops must understand and employ the following funda-mentals of defensive operations:

Understand the enemy. The light armor leader must learn the following informationabout the enemy:

Reconnaissance capabilities.

Weapon systems available to the enemy. NBC, artillery, and ATGM capabilities aremost critical.

The enemy’s ability to conduct dismounted attacks and raids under limited visibilityconditions.

See the battlefield. The light armor leader must position himself forward where he canbest control his forces. He must assertively use a variety of assets to understand asmuch as he can about the situation to his front, flank, and rear. Thermal sights willaugment light armor’s ability to see the battlefield under all visibility conditions. Theleader must also attempt to prevent the enemy from seeing the battlefield by usingconcealment and operations security (OPSEC).

Concentrate fires. Light armor leaders must plan to concentrate fires to achieve decisiveresults. Direct and indirect fires must be brought to bear on the enemy before it canbring effective fires on friendly positions. Fires must cover protective obstacles. Lead-ers must take the initiative by counterattacking by fire to exploit enemy weaknesses asthey arise.

Use the advantages of the defender. Maximize combat power by knowing the terrainbetter than the enemy. Make the best use of terrain by—

Using it as a shield against enemy observation and fires.

Fighting from covered and prepared positions when possible.

Using obstacles to maximize the effects of direct and indirect fire.

Engaging the enemy first at the most opportune time and place, using availableweapon systems to best advantage.

Rehearsing the plan to ensure every man knows what to do.

Using mobility to best advantage.

Fight as a combined arms team. Light armor will always fight as part of a combinedarms team. As noted previously, the capabilities and limitations of light armor andinfantry make them complementary when employed as a team.


Retrograde operations are movements to the rear or away from the enemy. The move-ment may be forced or voluntary, but it must be with the higher commander’s approval.Units conduct retrograde operations to gain time, preserve force strength, avoid combatunder undesirable conditions, or draw the enemy into an unfavorable position. The threetypes of retrograde operations are delay, withdrawal, and retirement.


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In a delay, units give ground to gain time. They inflict the greatest possible damage onthe enemy while maintaining freedom of action. In a withdrawal, all or part of a committedforce disengages from the enemy voluntarily to preserve the force or free it for a newmission. In a retirement, a force not in active combat with the enemy conducts a movementto the rear, normally as a tactical road march.

Delay is one of the most demanding missions any unit can undertake. It is also the mostcommon retrograde mission for light armor, which uses it to trade space for time. Theability to delay is essential to success on the battlefield when an enemy force outnumbers thecontingency force or has superior armored forces. Light armor is the only force in the lightdivision structure that can conduct a high-risk delay operation against a mounted enemy.Success depends heavily upon firepower and mobility. The contingency force commandercan use light armor to delay when the force’s strength is insufficient to attack or defend.He may use artillery-delivered FASCAM, helicopter-delivered Volcano, and M8 direct firesto intentionally draw the enemy into an EA and expose it to attack helicopters, USAF CAS,additional M8 direct fires, and wide-area mines (WAM).


Reconnaissance operations provide the commander and staff with information about theterrain and enemy. Reconnaissance verifies or refutes analyzed intelligence information. Asspecified in FM 71-100, any element assigned to or operating with the LID may be taskedto perform reconnaissance operations. Light armor units conduct reconnaissance to obtaininformation by employing movement, observation and surveillance, fire and maneuver, andspecial equipment. They may be required to fight to gain intelligence through combinedarms teamwork with ground or air cavalry or alone if cavalry is not present or available.Light armor performs three distinct types of reconnaissance: route, zone, and area. Depend-ing on the level performed, reconnaissance may be a separate mission or part of anotheroperation.


Security operations provide information about the enemy and provide reaction time,maneuver space, and protection to the light infantry. When properly task organized,augmented, and supported, light armor units may be tasked to perform two primary types ofsecurity missions-screen and guard. The differences among these missions are the degreeof security provided. The light division can employ light armor with cavalry units as part ofa security operation to conduct an effective guard or screening force operation in both theoffense and the defense. These operations slow and direct the flow of enemy forces into thedivision AO. In addition, as part of tactical operations, light armor may conduct othersecurity missions to protect the force and its mission. These include, but are not limited to,counterreconnaissance, deception, main supply route (MSR) and convoy security, andOPSEC. The following paragraphs summarize the main types of security missions.

Screen. A screen provides early warning. The screening force gains and maintains enemycontact, reports enemy activity, destroys or repels enemy reconnaissance, and impedes andharasses the enemy with long-range fires. Commanders must realize that a screen can be-come a guard mission in a matter of minutes; therefore, they must organize the screeningforce to provide the flexibility required to react to the specific situation.

Guard. A guard mission is assigned with the intent of protecting the force. Itaccomplishes all tasks of a screening force, providing the division, whether it is moving orstationary, with early warning, reaction time, and maneuver space to the front, flanks, orrear. A guard force protects the main force from enemy direct fire, observation, andsurprise attack. It reconnoiters, screens, attacks, defends, and delays as required. Guardmissions in a combat environment require a survivable antitank capability. Light infantry


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FM 17-18and cavalry units lack the firepower necessary to conduct a guard mission withoutaugmentation. Light armor units can augment these forces or, if augmented with othercombined arms assets, conduct a guard mission alone.

Cover. A cover mission provides the main body with early warning, reaction time, ma-neuver space, and information about the enemy while deceiving the enemy regarding thelocation, size, and strength of the main body. A covering force is tactically self-containedand operates at a considerable distance to the front, flanks, or rear of a moving or stationaryforce. It accomplishes all tasks of screen and guard forces. Its mission is to develop thesituation early and defeat the enemy’s lead forces. The cover mission for a division normallyrequires a brigade-size force to provide adequate C2, maneuver units, CS, and CSS toaccomplish the mission. It should be heavily supported by field artillery (FA), engineers, airdefense, intelligence resources, and CSS. Light infantry brigades do not have the mobilityand firepower to conduct a cover mission even with augmentation by light armor.

Counterreconnaissance. Counterrecomaissance is an inherent task, either active or pas-sive in nature, conducted to thwart enemy reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) efforts. Itspurpose is to deny the enemy commander his eyes and ears, impeding his ability to deter-mine the disposition of friendly forces. It includes combat action to destroy or repel enemyreconnaissance elements. If successfully executed, counterrmonnaissance adds the element ofsurprise to offensive operations and prevents the rapid execution of the enemy’s attack planin the defense. Counterreconnaissance efforts are continuous and are conducted throughoutthe depth of the AO by all organic and supporting combat, CS, and CSS units. Light armorcounterreconnaissance measures include, but are not limited to, fire and maneuver to destroyenemy forces, emplacement of obstacles to deny specific areas to the enemy, sustainmentoperations to maintain the counterreconnaissance effort, and effective C2 to integrate andsynchronize all assets.


This section describes battlefield operating systems (BOS) that light infantry and lightarmor units must coordinate and synchronize in all types of combat operations. The sys-tems, however, are a planning tool to organize battle tasks, not a framework for executionor issuing orders.

Intelligence. Light armor employs intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) to providecritical intelligence and to facilitate effective electronic warfare (EW) against enemy C2systems and tactical forces. Light armor intelligence assets include organic tactical recon-naissance and security capabilities, division intelligence unit support, and EW unit support.The organic scout platoon and other units in contact, as well as the division MI battalion,provide intelligence to light armor units.

Maneuver. The LID uses light armor to seize and retain the initiative and to close withand destroy enemy forces in the close fight. The objective of maneuver for light armor is toplace or move its combat elements into positions where they can bring direct fires to bear onthe enemy. Light armor units can inflict the greatest damage on the enemy by avoidinghead-on encounters and striking the vulnerable enemy flanks and rear where superior combatpower can be achieved.

Maneuver also includes firepower. Light armor gives the infantry commander added fire-power and lethality to integrate into all operations. It can be quickly massed for attacks andcounterattacks by fire and/or maneuver.

Based on the light infantry mission, the commander allocates and positions light armorunits where he can best employ their combat systems according to the terrain and expectedenemy capabilities and actions. In some instances, divisions may employ light armor forcesin conducting mobile combat against armored and mechanized threats. The commander must


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FM 17-18

identify the narrow windows of opportunity to maneuver light armor forces offensively andto force the enemy to halt its attack and/or change its plan.

Light armor forces may be appropriate as reserves. Their mobility and firepower allowthem to strike the enemy at the critical time and place, seizing or regaining the initiative ordestroying the enemy force. They can also stop sudden enemy penetrations or incursions intothe rear. The division may commit light armor forces with elements of its aviation brigadein support of its deep operations. Depending on the mission, responsive artillery, engineer,intelligence, and CSS are necessary to support this operation.

Fire Support. FS assets are positioned to mass lethal fires throughout the depth of thebattlefield. They are responsive to multiple targets and can rapidly shift priority of fires. FSis provided to light armor by its organic mortars, the division and corps FA, Army andUSAF air support, and NGF. To properly execute their fire support requirements, lightarmor units must coordinate closely with the fire support element (FSE), the tactical aircontrol party (TACP), and the air/naval gunfire liaison company (ANGLICO). The lightarmor FS plan is integrated into the scheme of maneuver consistent with the commander’sintent.

Air Defense. Air defense assets prevent air attacks on friendly units, supplies, and facili-ties by identifying and destroying enemy aircraft. Light armor relies on the division’s airdefense weapon systems as well as on its own active and passive measures, which includecamouflage, deception, and direct and indirect fire. Light division air defense systems arecapable of limited protection of maneuver, CS, and CSS elements with Stinger and Avengerweapon systems.

Mobility and Survivability. Mobility, countermobility, and survivability operations en-hance mobility for light armor units, degrade the enemy’s ability to move on the battlefield,and provide protective emplacements to enhance personnel and equipment survivability.They are planned based on the commander’s intent, mission, and concept of operation. Thelight division engineer battalion must be augmented with corps engineer assets to conductextensive mobility, countermobility, and survivability missions.

Mobility operations include breaching friendly and enemy minefields and obstacles, cross-ing gaps and water obstacles, maintaining main supply route (MSR), and preparing combattrails between battle positions (BP).

Countermobility operations are combat multipliers that enhance the effects of friendlydirect and indirect fires. They degrade the enemy’s ability to execute its plan by disruptingcombat formations, interfering with C2, and confusing enemy commanders. They providefriendly maneuver commanders with critical time and space (depth) that can be exploited byfire and maneuver. This is accomplished with an integrated system of obstacles and tires thatdisrupts, turns, blocks, or fixes enemy movement in support of close and rear operations.Countermobility operations create opportunities that light armor weapon systems can exploit.Commanders must ensure that obstacles support their intent, mission, and scheme of maneu-ver, but do not degrade their own mobility.

Survivability operations consist primarily of preparing fighting and protective positionsthat allow light armor to survive to fight again. Light division engineer units have limitedcapability to prepare armor survivability positions. NBC defensive measures also increaselight armor’s survivability. LID and corps chemical assets provide assistance. See Chapter 8for information on chemical support.

Combat Service Support. CSS units are responsible for sustaining combat operationsthroughout the depth of the battlefield. They must provide supplies and other support insufficient quantity and with enough flexibility to support the overall intent and concept ofthe commander. The inherent immaturity of the contingency theater makes CSS extremelydifficult. In situations where strategic lift capability is insufficient to provide all the supportneeded, sustainment operations can succeed only through anticipation, continuity,


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FM 17-18

responsiveness, and improvisation. CSS for the light armor battalion comes from its organicsupport and maintenance platoons, division support units, and corps support units.

Command and Control. To be effective, C2 must be forward, redundant, flexible, andsurvivable. Command posts (CP) and communications systems are key components of C2 inlight armor units. The commander uses them to obtain timely information, make responsivedecisions, communicate orders, and ensure compliance with them. Effective C2 allows himto “sense” the total battlefield and adjust quickly to take advantage of enemy weakness. Italso enhances the responsiveness of combat, CS, and CSS assets.


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Command, control, and communications (C3), comprises coordinating, planning, direct-ing, and controlling all unit activities. The C3 process serves two purposes. It gives thecommander the means to communicate his intent to his staff and maneuver and supportforces. It also enables staffs to quickly and effectively assist their commanders in planningand executing operations faster than the enemy can react. To be effective, C3 must beproperly organized. Staffs must be well trained. Commanders and staffs must practice theC3 process so that procedures become instinctive.


Section I. Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-2

Section II. The Planning Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-2Troop-leading Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-2

The Command Estimate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-5

Abbreviated Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-8

Section III. Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-9Battlefield Area Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-10

Terrain Analysis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-11

Weather Analysis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-13

Threat Evaluation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-13

Threat Integration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-14

Section IV. Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-16Responsibilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-16

Mobile Subscriber Equipment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-16

Section V. Command and Control Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-18Orders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-18

Briefbacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-18

Rehearsals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-18

Position Location Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-19

Readiness Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-21

Section VI. Operations Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-22Countersurveillance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-22

Information Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-24

Signal Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-24

Physical Security. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-24

Section VII. Continuous Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-24

Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-24

Key Leader Sustainment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-25

Unit Sustainment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-26


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FM 17-18

Section I. LeadershipLeadership is a primary dynamic of combat power that affects the success of C3. In

modern war, the enemy seldom conforms to expectations; defeating him demands bold andaggressive leadership. Leaders must be willing to take responsibility and use initiative,guided by their commander’s intent. Leaders must be able to think clearly and quickly.Speed and decisive action are critical.

One of the keys to success of C3 is the ability of leaders at all levels to issue effective,mission-type orders. These orders must place restrictions on subordinates only to the degreethat coordinated action of the command is assured. They must use terminology that is widelyunderstood throughout the command. Above all, they must accurately communicate the com-mander’s intent, which guides subordinate commanders in pursuit of the common goal in theabsence of communications.

Light armor units are most effective when massed. However, they are often decentral-ized and separated by means of task organization with light infantry. This can occur down toplatoon level; except for rare exceptions, platoon is the smallest light armor fighting ele-ment. In such an organization, commander-subordinate relationships must be characterizedby mutual trust and respect. Commanders and subordinates must know how each otherthinks. Commanders must teach subordinates not what to think, but how to think. Con-versely, when armor units are decentralized and attached to light infantry, armor leadersmust be assertive in advising the infantry commander and his staff on the best means forarmor employment and logistical requirements. Constant communications with the armorliaison officer (LO) is paramount to ensure continuity between light and heavy forces.

Section II. The Planning ProcessTo be successful, commanders must be able to make good decisions quickly. Staffs must

be able to assist commanders in making those decisions and translating them into actionfaster than the enemy can react. Units that are able to respond quickly to changing situationswill seize the initiative from the enemy and defeat it.

The planning process is a systematic approach to formulating tactical plans. Processesused are troop-leading procedures, the estimate of the situation (command estimate), thefactors of METT-T, and intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB). These processes areinterrelated. Figure 2-1 shows the flow of the planning process. The planning process isaccomplished based on the time and other resources available. The following paragraphsbriefly explain how the planning process is conducted. They include a discussion of com-mander and staff actions during troop-leading procedures. They also describe how the esti-mate, METT-T, and IPB are integrated into the troop-leading procedures and how they maydiffer for light armor units.


Troop-leading procedures are a continuous process. There are no distinct start and stoppoints. Steps are not independent; several can occur simultaneously. Troop-leading proce-dures apply to all levels of command. They can be adjusted to fit any tactical situation. Forexample, the less time a unit has, the more it must abbreviate the procedures.

The collection, analysis, and distribution of information is a continuous staff requirement.Information analyzed by a staff section is exchanged with other staff sections and used toupdate the situation. Periodic staff huddles are useful to successfully execute the mission, thestaff must focus on the information the commander needs.

Troop-leading procedures provide a systematic approach for making decisions and aframework for organizing action upon receipt of a new mission. This section will not discusstroop-leading procedures in detail; they are described more thoroughly in numerous refer-ences, such as FM 71-2.


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FM 17-18


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FM 17-18Application of Troop-leading Procedures. Troop-leading procedures are used at all

echelons of command. This discussion will provide light armor commanders and staffs withan explanation of the processes involved in planning. The application of troop-leading proce-dures in practice will vary with each different situation.

Company commanders will not have the time to perform all the steps of the planningprocess. They cannot produce a detailed IPB product. They will have to visualize the ele-ments of the IPB that relate to their battle space. This includes identifying enemy avenues ofapproach (including air and dead space), reconnoitering as far forward as possible, andviewing the AO from the enemy’s perspective. Company commanders should not hesitate toseek assistance from the battalion staff. Ten to 15 minutes of staff coordination can avoidmuch wasted time and effort. Company commanders can also receive assistance duringplanning from their executive officers (XO), first sergeants (lSG), and fire support team(FIST) chiefs.

Backward Planning. One of the first steps in troop-leading procedures is to plan the useof available time. Backward planning is one such technique. It is used to develop an infor-mal schedule, starting with the execution time in the mission statement and listing activitiesin reverse order back to the current time. The schedule should ensure that the commanderand staff consume no more than one-third of the available time to prepare and issue ordersto subordinate commanders. Using a preprinted form listing normal activities is a techniquethat commanders may use to make their schedules. The light armor battalion commandermay use a preprinted timeline form for planning (see Figure 2-2).


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FM 17-18


The command estimate is an integral part of troop-leading procedures. It is the logicalthought process to assist the commander with formulation of tactical decisions at any level.The Army developed the command estimate process to preclude planning procedures thatrequire an inordinate expenditure of time or adherence to a rigid structure. See Figure 2-3for a summary of the command estimate. FM 101-5 contains a detailed description of thecommand estimate.


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FM 17-18

Staff Input. The battalion staff provides information to the commander and operationsand training officer (S3) to help in their command estimate process. Refer to appropriatedoctrinal manuals for additional information on specific staff responsibilities in the estimateprocess.

Command Estimate Checklist. The command estimate checklist consists of thefollowing elements:

Receive the mission.

Issue warning order (WO).

Alert staff.

Time appreciation.

Analyze the mission.

Intent of higher commander.

Intent of commander two levels up.

Review of AO to understand higher mission and intent.

Tasks to be performed (specified, implied, and essential).

Constraints (what must be done).

Restraints (what can be done).

Acceptable level of risk (time, space, and forces).

Restated mission.


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FM 17-18Issue guidance to staff.

Restated mission.COA to consider or not to consider.Time schedule.Changes required to current task organization.Movement instructions.Reconnaissance and security instructions.

Analyze the situation.IPB (S2).

+Current enemy situation.+Enemy capabilities and COA.+Named areas of interest (NAI) and timelines.+Exploitable enemy weaknesses.Own situation (S1, S3, S4).

+Current.+Projected.Develop alternative COA (S3).Forces required based on the evaluation of enemy units, avenues of approach,objectives, and any other factors affecting force ratios, such as surprise, terrain, orflank positions.Locations to engage enemy (target areas of interest [TAI] ), attack (line of departure[LD] and axes), and defend from BPs.Array forces (two levels down).+Main body.+Reconnaissance/security (covering NAI and decision points [DP] ).Scheme of maneuver.

Allocate subordinate headquarters.

Analyze (war-game) COA (S3).Identify critical events.War-game.+All plausible enemy COA.+Action, reaction, and counteraction.

Compare COA, including advantages versus disadvantages of each (S3).Decide on COA and inform staff and subordinate elements.

Base decision on staff recommendations (S2, S3, and S4).Issue decision as concept of operations.Issue further planning guidance.Issue updated WO.Issue fragmentary order (FRAGO) or operation order (OPORD).


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Hasty Planning. Hasty planning will be the norm after hostilities are initiated. Thefocus during the abbreviated planning process is time management and concurrent actions.Once the battalion staff has a thorough understanding of the formal command estimate proc-ess, it can conduct more efficient hasty command estimates. Hasty planning is situational;proficiency comes through practice. The XO runs the planning effort while the light armorbattalion is in contact.

Once deployed into a tactical situation, the light armor unit will have limited time avail-able to plan for a mission. A checklist for hasty command estimates that can be used by thebattalion commander and staff is shown in Figure 2-4.

Tactical Contingency Planning. Commanders may identify contingency missions duringthe planning process, especially if the unit is in reserve. When faced with several possiblemissions, commanders should consider all critical tasks for each contingency. The followingis a sample checklist for considering the critical aspects of a counterattack mission:

Target array.


Direction of attack into target.


Alternate routes.

FS C2.

Air defense artillery (ADA) to prevent interdiction.

Mobility plan for enemy family of scatterable mines (FASCAM).

Passage of lines coordination.

Cue to launch.

Units often have on-order and follow-on missions. Commanders should identify, plan,and coordinate critical tasks of these missions while planning for the primary or firstmission.


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FM 17-18

Section III. Intelligence Preparation of the BattlefieldIPB is a systematic and continuous process of analyzing the enemy, weather, and terrain

in a specific geographical area. The IPB process integrates enemy doctrine with weather andterrain to determine how the weather and terrain will influence the enemy’s fight.

IPB is an extremely important aspect of preparing intelligence for the commander. It isintegral to the command estimate, as illustrated in Figure 2-1. Faced with large AOs, alimited number of maneuver units, and finite collection assets, the commander must rely onIPB to provide his focus in operations other than war. IPB must be continuously updated forthe commander to act quickly and decisively.

The commander and all members of the staff participate in the IPB process. The S2 mustdetermine, as closely as possible, the locations of insurgent elements to allow the com-mander the flexibility to act immediately against the enemy. The S3 uses the IPB to analyzethe enemy, terrain, and weather in his estimate. He must know the IPB process. He mustalso evaluate the quality of the S2’s input. The S1 and S4 use the IPB to determine theimpact of enemy, terrain, and weather on personnel and logistical operations. The CS staffuses the IPB in a similar manner for their areas.

Since light armor units may become involved in contingencies worldwide, it is difficultfor the S2 to have prepared analysis already completed for each possible area. The S2 muststart the IPB process as early as possible. As “hot spots” flair up in the world, the S2 canreview current OPLANs and begin terrain, weather, and threat analysis as a precaution.This allows him to update the information if the unit is alerted for deployment. Earlyidentification of the AO will enable the S2 to start the terrain analysis. As a minimum, thesituation template should be finished when the S3 begins his analysis of the situation.


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FM 17-18

IPB is a useful aid to planning. There is a tendency, however, to believe all assumptionsmade in IPB are true and to develop plans accordingly. This is dangerous because it couldmake friendly forces susceptible to surprise by the enemy. Commanders and staffs must beaware of this possibility. They must develop plans to prevent the command from beingsurprised by unexpected enemy actions. Some of the techniques provided in the followingdiscussion will assist staffs at the battalion level in performing IPB.

A modified form of IPB is required to provide the commander with the intelligenceestimate in operations other than war. These modifications stem from three critical factorsinherent to most situations:

The nature of the threat.

The importance and welfare of the civilian population.

The role of the host-nation government and military.

In operations other than war, insurgent forces will blend with the population. They willuse a variety of tactics and levels of violence to accomplish their goals, includingpropaganda, terrorism, guerrilla tactics, and crime. While generic organizational categoriesand strategies have been identified, insurgents seldom conform to a common doctrine inoperations other than war. IPB must be based on the specific situation and geographic areaof concern.

Constant awareness of the population factor is critical to the long-term success or failureof operations other than war. Insurgency or counterinsurgency will involve combat, CS, andCSS operations near or among host-nation civilians. A primary objective of these operationswill be to protect and secure the population and to separate them physically or psychologi-cally from the insurgent. Such security and separation effort may be required continuously.They may place heavy constraints on the indiscriminate use of weapons and require carefullymanaged use of force. Key to planning in operations other than war is extensive analysis ofall aspects of the civilian population during IPB, as well as IEW target development. Theuse of these procedures reduces the need for indirect fire or air-delivered weapons in favorof proactive intelligence operations and small unit direct action.

Ultimate success in operations other than war lies with the host nation. Host-nation civiland military authorities will primarily be responsible for military operations, civil affairs,PSYOP, and population resource control. US forces ideally should avoid these tasks, butmay be required to provide advice or backup. Knowledge of the host nation’s militarytactics, operations, and intelligence functions, as well as its capabilities and limitations, arecritical in effective integration of US military forces.

The five functions of the IPB process are battlefield area evaluation, terrain analysis,weather analysis, threat evaluation, and threat integration. As currently used forconventional conflict planning, these functions allow for effective integration, with somemodifications, of the factors unique to operations other than war. The following discussionprovides a step-by-step examination of considerations that may apply when light armor unitsare deployed in a nonconventional role.


Results of battlefield area evaluation are recorded on Overlay #1, the combined obstaclesoverlay. The overlay accomplishes the following:

It identifies the AO. In all operations, including those other than war, the AOs aregeographical areas designated by the next higher headquarters. They represent the areaswhere the commander has the authority and responsibility to conduct operations.


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FM 17-18It identifies the area of interest. This is determined by the commander on the recom-mendation of the S2. It contains enemy forces that could affect future operations. In theabsence of guidance from the commander, make the area of interest at least half againthe size of the AO.

It identifies other considerations in battlefield area evaluation. Both AOs and interestare analyzed based on METT-T; in operations other than war, however, an evaluationof both areas as to host-nation civilian or military activity is also critical.


Special products and detailed terrain analysis information can be provided by corps ordivision terrain teams for use in light armor units. Information developed from the terrainanalysis is recorded on Overlay #1, the combined obstacles overlay. This analysis is basedon the five military aspects of terrain (the sequence may vary according to the way IPB isdeveloped):


Cover and concealment.

Observation and fields of fire.

Key terrain.

Avenues of approach.

The following paragraphs provide a detailed discussion of the information and considera-tions that are part of the terrain analysis process as it relates to operations other than war.

Because insurgent forces are generally fewer in number than counterinsurgent forces andlack sophisticated logistics, they normally avoid positional warfare. They usually avoid seiz-ing, controlling, or defending conventionally defined “key terrain.” Also, rapid movementacross difficult terrain is one of the insurgent’s major assets. Therefore, traditional combinedobstacles overlays have limited bearing on analysis of threat movement. To insurgents, themost important aspects of terrain are those that provide logistics support and security.

The population is often the dominant factor in operations other than war. The populationcan provide both support and security to the insurgent and represents the only key “terrainfeature” which must be “seized, “ “controlled,” or “defended.” With the proper informationand collection effort, the S2 can begin classifying the population in the battlefield area intological groups (tribal, religious, ethnic, or political). Their affinities and loyalties must beevaluated, maintained, and updated. The S2 normally relies on higher headquarters and thehost nation for this type of information.

Although the definition of key terrain remains the same in operations other than war as inother military operations, considerations involved in selecting key terrain differ significantlyin counterguerrilla operations. In conventional operations, such factors as characteristics ofthe local population and the logistical resources of the area play little or no part in selectingkey terrain. In fact, such aspects of the AO normally are considered by the S2 after heselects key terrain. Counterguerrilla operations may be rural or urban in nature, and deter-mination of “key” terrain within the overall area will be influenced considerably by theseother characteristics. Knowledge of these factors as they affect the use of the AO by boththe friendly and enemy forces is essential for selecting key terrain. Examples include thefollowing:

A village or town that has no tactical significance, but has psychological or politicalsignificance as a provincial or district seat of government.


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FM 17-18

Coffee, rice, or other crop fields, especially during the harvest season. These mayhave little tactical significance, but are extremely important to the livelihood of the civilpopulation.

Sources of food. If the guerrilla force is known to have a critical shortage of food, anysource of food within the AO, such as a market or rice storage facility, may becomekey terrain.

Drugs. In drug-producing areas, these may be key areas because of their economicvalue to guerrillas.

Lines of communication. Trails and roads frequently become key terrain in areas suchas the jungle and high mountains because they may be the enemy’s only armoredavenue of approach.

Sources of medical supplies. Guerrilla forces frequently face serious shortages of medi-cal supplies; therefore, any area or outlet where such supplies can be obtained may bekey terrain.

An overlay may also be prepared to identify insurgent logistical sustainability, includingpopulations providing water and food for guerrilla forces or areas that, because of theirlocation, provide easy access to such supplies. The combination of overlays for populationstatus and logistical sustainability can identify areas from which insurgents are likely tooperate. Areas with a high probability of supporting insurgents include those that providecover and concealment, a friendly or neutral population, and ready access to supplies. Theseareas can become NAI for further intelligence collection to confirm or deny an insurgentpresence in the area and, considered with other indicators, to determine its intentions. Whereareas of potential population or logistical support are separated from areas of cover andconcealment, insurgents may move between the two.

Two other overlays that may be prepared during the terrain analysis process are the trapoverlay and the road and trail overlay. The trap overlay identifies targets that insurgents mayfind attractive to sabotage or attack. These may include bridges, power stations and trans-mission lines, sites that favor ambushes, or even likely kidnap targets. Such areas aremarked on the map with attention directed to possible insurgent access and escape routes.The trap overlay may be combined with the logistical sustainability overlay. The road andtrail overlay gives special attention to lines of communication that are in potential insurgentareas, that support a potential insurgent area, or that are new. Many times, aerial imagerycan reveal new trails.

Avenues of approach are identified, as in other operations, as a result of consideration ofthe other military aspects of terrain. In other operations, however, the key consideration foravenues of approach is adequate maneuver space; guerrilla and counterguerrilla operationshave peculiarities that require a departure from normal considerations. Historically, mostguerrilla activities in operations other than war have been small-unit actions involvingcompany-size and smaller units. The intelligence process must identify and analyze smalleravenues of approach into areas and installations defended by friendly units. No avenue ofapproach should be disregarded simply because the terrain appears impassable. In fact,avenues of approach over difficult and seemingly impassable terrain normally offer thecounterguerrilla force its greatest opportunity for achieving surprise. General avenues ofapproach can sometimes be identified by studying the population status overlay. In manycases, personnel or supplies will move through areas where the population is sympathetic tothe insurgents.


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FM 17-18


The same weather considerations and overlays generally will apply in operations otherthan war as in other operations. For example, weather effects on observation and fields offire, camouflage, landing zones (LZ), and line-of-sight radio/radar equipment still apply.

A thorough knowledge of climatic conditions, as well as the usual evaluation ofshort-duration weather forecasts is essential to the accurate determination of the effects ofweather on the unit mission. In areas of great seasonal climatic change, terrain intelligenceproduced during one season may be practically useless in other seasons. Therefore, climaticweather and terrain intelligence must be continuously produced and reviewed to ensure it isapplicable.

Guerrilla and counterguerrilla tactics involve frequent combat action at extremely shortranges; knowledge of the effect of the weather and natural illumination on visibility iscritical for planning and conduct of operations. The exact visibility conditions at specifictimes of day in specific types of terrain must be determined. To confirm the estimate of theeffect of the weather on visibility, personal reconnaissance may be required, particularlyduring the periods of limited visibility.

Mobility is essential to both guerrilla and counterguerrilla offensive operations. There-fore, knowledge of the effects of the weather on trafficability will have great bearing on thetiming and nature of operations. Normally, rural guerrillas will rely primarily on walking,small watercraft, and animal transport; this means the effects of the weather on trafficabilityand on air and amphibious mobility are usually of significance to the counterguerrilla force.Although adverse weather conditions will frequently hinder the counterguerrilla force morethan its guerrilla enemy, the flooding of rivers and streams and the creation or intensifica-tion of swamps and marshes seriously reduce the guerrilla’s ability to withdraw. Otherweather considerations include the following:

Guerrillas will normally use bad weather or hours of darkness to their tactical advan-tage. These conditions reduce the effectiveness of observation, direct fire, air support,and artillery employed by the counterinsurgency force.

Weather can affect the availability of food supplies, such as crops and livestock.

It is more difficult for insurgents to cache supplies in frequently flooded areas.

Mass demonstrations are planned for predicted periods of good weather to ensuremaximum turnout.

Civil affairs projects and PSYOP media may be degraded by bad weather.

Bad weather will degrade the already poor road networks common in many activeinsurgent areas.


Threat evaluation for operations other than war must begin early and cover a wide rangeof factors. These factors include all aspects of the leadership, objectives, organization,tactics, external support, timing, and environment related to the insurgency. Doctrinaltemplates and decision support templates are also used during operations other than war(refer to FM 34-7 and FM 34-130 for additional information). This does not meaninsurgents operate without tactical doctrine; it means their tactics do not lend themselves todoctrinal templates. Despite the lack of insurgent doctrine that can be templated, everyeffort should be made during the threat evaluation to identify the insurgents’ patterns ofoperations and tactics and to identify specific targets that can be further analyzed andexploited during threat integration.


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FM 17-18

Guerrilla tactics are usually characterized by small-scale operations conducted over anextensive area, hit-and-run offensive techniques, withdrawal, and dispersion. Guerrillaforces, like any other enemy, have the general capabilities of attacking, defending, with-drawing, and reinforcing; however, these capabilities are implemented in ways and bymeans that differ from those encountered in conventional warfare. Threat evaluation musttake this factor into account.

The first step in understanding the guerrilla is to make a thorough, detailed study ofguerrilla organization and tactics in general, as well as those of the particular guerrillaagainst which the division will be engaged. This information must be understood by alllevels of command. As in conventional warfare, the effectiveness of the intelligence plan-ning, the focus of the collection effort, the processing of information, and the use of theresulting intelligence in the estimate all depend on the degree of familiarity with the enemy’stactics and techniques.

Guerrilla forces may be accounted for in terms of recognized military units (such assquads, sections, or platoons) if their organizational structure is known and if such account-ing provides meaningful information for the commander and other members of the staff. Ifnot, guerrilla strength may be accounted for in terms of total numbers or in numbers ofunits of a particular strength. All crew-served weapons known to be available to support theguerrilla forces are accounted for individually.

After collecting the available information on the guerrillas, the S2 evaluates what theenemy is capable of doing. Among the capabilities to be judged are whether or not theinsurgent is capable of—

Conducting sabotage and, if so, to what extent.

Attacking defended positions.

Employing indirect-fire support.

Directly engaging government forces.

Collecting intelligence.

Using mines and booby traps.

The insurgent situation overlay is prepared during this portion of the IPB. This overlayincludes all the relatively pertinent information available on the insurgent, such as urban andrural insurgent camp locations, unit operating areas or boundaries, and trails. This map iskept current as the insurgent moves and his capabilities change.


Threat integration relates enemy doctrine to the terrain, weather, and population to deter-mine when and where the insurgent may conduct operations in support of its objectives.Generally, information for the situational template is gathered after the unit arrives on thescene. This is where the situational template for operations other than war varies from thatof conventional IPB. Since there is no doctrinal template for IPB in operations other thanwar, the situational template is based not on formations and how the enemy moves, but ontypes of activity, when and where they will occur, and where guerrillas will have to be forthem to occur. The template is also based on knowledge of the insurgent’s capabilities andtrends that show where and how it operates.

The first step is to identify the significant action or series of actions (mission) theinsurgent may want to carry out. For example, will he carry out a direct attack against adefended town? Will he attempt to isolate a town or region? Will he attempt to disable theregion’s economy? Will he use sabotage to carry out his objectives?


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FM 17-18

Each insurgent mission requires different types of weapons, training, and tactics. Along-term, serious attempt to disable an area’s economy by sabotage would requireadditional training and explosives (the friendly S2 would determine likely sabotage targets).If insurgents tried to directly attack, not harass, a defended town, they would need a moreconventional military organization, better communications, advanced supply caches, andperhaps indirect-fire weapons. They also might require extensive intelligence-gatheringcapability to attempt such an operation.

A situational template to analyze possible significant insurgent attacks against a defendedpoint requires at least the following:

Ambush points on friendly avenues of approach into the area.

Possible assault position(s).

Possible locations of mortars within range of the target.

Insurgent routes into assault positions or vicinity targets.

Insurgent escape routes after the attack.

Insurgent activities that may foreshadow such an attack include the following:

Increased caching of supplies.

Increased insurgent movement.

Increased sightings of insurgents in the area.

Reoccupation or reverification of established camps within a one-to-two day march ofthe target.

In preparing a situational template for insurgent capabilities, remember that an insurgentmany times will carry out multiple types of activity within a given area. The S2 mustperform a pattern analysis to identify the emphasis. Situational templating provides the basisfor event templating. Identification and analysis of significant battlefield events and enemyactivity will provide indicators of probable enemy COA. NAI are identified through terrainanalysis and situational templating. By combining information on cover and concealment,logistical support, and population status, the intelligence officer (S2) can identify potentialinsurgent camp areas, which are also NAI.

TAI, which are based on the NAI, will be important. For example, a light armor unitmoving along a road will already have potential ambush points identified as NAI. Thesepoints were previously targeted by collection assets before and during movement. They havealso been coordinated by the S2 as TAI with the fire support officer (FSO) and the S3. Ifpotential insurgent activity is identified within the TAI, the commander can decide how todeal with it. However, care must be taken to confirm that it is insurgent activity and notcivilian-related.

Target-value analysis (TVA) is also accomplished during this phase to identify high-valuetargets (HVT), including CPs and logistics elements. An evaluation of specific insurgentcapabilities is directly related to the identification of specific HVTs. For example, if thesabotage threat is high, an HVT might be the location of explosives or an area wheresabotage training is being conducted. Individuals can also be HVTs. This includes individu-als whose death or capture would significantly degrade the insurgent group’s leadership,espionage, population control, or operational capabilities.


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FM 17-18

Section IV. Communications

Communications are the means through which C3 is exercised. The chain of commandand succession of command must be known throughout the organization. There must be openlines of communications up, down, and laterally. Leaders should use the following guide-lines in planning and executing unit communications:

Provide for redundancy in means of communications. When possible, have a backupmeans at key locations.

Ensure communications checks have been conducted prior to starting an operation.

Send all necessary spot report information the first time.

Ensure the net control station (NCS) enforces radio discipline continuously. This willreduce unnecessary transmissions.

Ensure subordinates know what to do during interruptions in communications. EnsureSOPs specify immediate actions in case of jamming. This should include code wordsand prearranged alternate frequencies.

Avoid overloading the communications systems. Use them only when absolutelynecessary. Practice disciplined communications procedures by eliminatingnonessential conversations.

Minimize the use of radios to reduce wear and tear. This will eliminate many mainte-nance problems and help to ensure that radios are ready to use when they are needed.

Pay particular attention to maintaining effective lateral communications.


Responsibilities for communications are as follows: senior to subordinate, supporting tosupported, reinforcing to reinforced, passing to passed (for forward passage of lines), passedto passing (for rearward passage of lines), left to right, and rearward to forward. All unitsmust take prompt action to restore lost communications. Light armor leaders must havedirect communications with the infantry headquarters to which they are attached and withany light infantry maneuver elements operating with them. These responsibilities also applyto the establishment of liaison between headquarters.


Mobile subscriber equipment (MSE) provides secure long-range communications withinthe division or corps AO. Several types of facilities provide communications links:

Node center (NC) provides switch, radio relay, and landline transmission equipment.

Large extension nodes (LEN) provide access and switching capabilities for wiresubscribers.

Small extension nodes (SEN) also provide access and switching capabilities for wiresubscribers.

Radio access units (RAU) provide access for mobile subscribers.


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FM 17-18Terminals. Stations

terminals:Digital nonsecuresystem by wire.

Digital subscriber

within the division use the MSE system via one of several types of

voice terminals (DNVT) are telephones that hook up to the MSE

voice terminals (DSVT) are secure telephones used with the mobilesubscriber radio terminal (MSRT).

The MSRT is a radio and a DSVT that provides access to MSE for those subscriberswho cannot hook in by wire.

FAX terminals can send or receive graphics and digital traffic. They must use a DSVTor DNVT to gain access to the MSE system.

MSE Support to the Battalion. The LID has one or two NCs. These nodes are deployedthroughout the division area, forming a network that provides area support to all units withMSE terminals. The light armor battalion has no organic NCs, LENs, or SENs. Since thebattalion normally occupies positions throughout the division AO, MSE nodes positioned toprovide area support to divisional units will be in range of most of the light armor headquar-ters positions. The battalion signal officer (SO) and XO must give special attention to coor-dinating division MSE support for current and future operational needs. The division pro-vides MSE support to the light armor battalion using the division signal battalion to positionNCs, SENs, and RAUs.

MSE System Layout. Figure 2-5 illustrates the relationships among the various facilitiesand terminals in the MSE system.


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FM 17-18

Section V. Command and Control TechniquesORDERS

The success of an order should be measured against whether the mission fulfilled thecommander’s intent and not whether the order was executed to the letter. The format of anorder must be commensurate with the situation.

Commanders will issue a written OPORD at the start of an operation. On offensivemissions, he may issue a stand-alone overlay and rely on battle plays, drills, and subordinateinitiative. On defensive missions, where he can shape the battlefield, he normally issues anoverlay with execution mattrix. During missions, he issues mission order FRAGOs by radioor by using the face-to-face technique.

Mission-type orders are a type of FRAGO that commanders use when the situation re-quires rapid mission change and immediate maneuver. A mission-type order contains a taskand a purpose for the task. The task tells the subordinate commander what he is to do, andthe purpose tells him why his commander wants him to do it. The commander tells thesubordinate commander the purpose of the task so the subordinate commander can use hisinitiative to take necessary actions to ensure mission success. Refer to FM 101-5-1 forfurther information on orders.


The briefback technique is used by commanders to ensure subordinate commanders andleaders understand the concept and intent of the operation. The briefback takes place imme-diately after an orders briefing. The subordinate commander must be able to discuss hisunderstanding of—

The commander’s intent two levels up.

The mission and intent of the higher commander.

The main effort.

Essential tasks.

How his unit supports the commander’s intent.

The commander may decide to have his subordinate leaders brief selected points onlybecause of lack of time.


Commanders and staffs at all levels should conduct rehearsals as part of troop-leadingprocedures if time is available. Commanders should include rehearsal plans in coordinatinginstructions of WOs (if possible), FRAGOs, or OPORDs. Rehearsals are not limited tomaneuver elements of the TF. CS and CSS staff officers and their units may also conductrehearsals of activities that affect the operation, such as LOGPAC organization or vehi-cle/casualty recovery.

When time does not permit a complete rehearsal of all critical events of an operation, theunit should, as a minimum, rehearse—

Actions on the objective.

Hasty breaches.

Hasty attacks (actions on contact) or counterattacks.

Passage of lines.

The following paragraphs discuss the various types of rehearsals.


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FM 17-18

Backbrief. The backbrief takes place after the subordinate commander has completed hisown planning, but before he issues his own OPORD. The higher commander should tell thestaff and subordinates in his OPORD when and where the backbriefs will take place. Fromthe backbrief, the commander learns details of the subordinate’s plan as well as how heplans to accomplish the commander’s intent. He should plan to conduct backbriefs regardlessof which rehearsal may be used later. If time does not permit other rehearsals, the backbriefmay be the only rehearsal.

Generally, the backbrief will include—

The subordinate commander's mission statement

His concept of the operation.

His intent.

Planned reactions to the enemy and other anticipated contingencies.

Assistance or coordination needed from the higher commander, staff, supporting units,or adjacent units.

Ideally, the backbrief should take place at a vantage point that overlooks the terrain withall of the key leaders and staff present. The commander may conduct a battalion backbrief atone of the company’s positions center of sector where all of the other positions are visible,or he may choose to receive backbriefs as he visits each subordinate unit’s position. The S3can conduct backbriefs concurrently to save time.

Full. All units move over actual terrain in limited visibility and simulated NBCconditions.

Scaled. All units move over actual terrain.

Leaders Only. Leaders move over actual terrain in their vehicles or aircraft.

NOTE: If the actual terrain of the operation is unavailable, full, scaled, andleaders-only rehearsals can be conducted on terrain that is similar tothe AO.

Command Post Exercise (CPX). CPX rehearsals are conducted by radio.

Terrain Model. Depending on the amounts of time, space, and resources available, sev-eral types of terrain models can be used to stage rehearsals:

Table-mounted models showing buildings, terrain relief, and vegetation.

Ground models using dirt, rocks, and grass to show terrain.

Sketches on butcher paper or on the side of a vehicle.

Walk-through. A walk-through is conducted using a ground terrain model of fairly largescale; it can be either outside or inside. Graphic control measures are represented byengineer tape. Leaders literally walk across the zone or sector, imitating how they willmaneuver while explaining what happens at each critical point.

Talk-though. Subordinate commanders and key staff members move stickers repre-senting units on an operations map.


Position location systems are an aid to navigation and should not take the place of mapand compass navigation. Leaders must continue to use map and compass as a primary meansin the event position location system signals are interrupted by interference from vegetation,weather, or other masking features. There may also be times when satellites or land-basedemitters are inoperative, causing lapses in signals.


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FM 17-18

Characteristics of Position Location Devices. Several types of position location systemsare available to receive signals from satellites or land-based emitters and then calculate anddisplay the position of the user in military grid coordinates and/or latitude/longitude degrees.Some of the techniques described here refer to specific features that most devices will have.Some devices, however, may not be capable of all of the functions described.

Waypoints. The navigational functions of position location systems are based on way-points. A waypoint is a known position entered into the system’s memory by the user.Waypoints can be entered either as degrees of latitude and longitude or as military gridcoordinates. The user can either enter waypoints or store the unit’s position at various times.

Navigation. Position location systems can be used to assist in navigation. To navigate,identify points along your route you wish to cross or at your destination. Next, enter thesepoints as waypoints. You can then move from waypoint to waypoint and arrive at your finaldestination with great accuracy. Distance and direction (range and bearing) between twoknown points will be accurate only if they are first entered as waypoints. The system willstore your present position and then compute the distance and direction to the known point.When you are ready to start your movement, get the range and bearing to the first waypoint.As you approach within a given distance of the waypoint, an alarm will sound, indicatingthat you have reached the waypoint. Display the range and bearing to the next waypoint.

Cross-country Navigation. When navigating cross country, the system will direct move-ment from point to point. However, obstacles en route may force detours from time to time.For detours of more than a few meters, the system can assist you in getting back on track.Some systems will display the distance you are off course, a new course to the waypoint,and an estimated arrival time based on your speed for the last two minutes. A left or rightarrow shows the direction to the original track and a new bearing to the waypoint. If youneed to reach the desired point and the route taken is of little importance, then you havemerely to follow the ideated course. The course shown is the new direction to the way-point and will NOT return you to the original path. If you must return to the original path,you will turn in the direction of the arrow and travel the indicated distance until the systemshows a correct reading.

Road March. Position location systems can be useful on road marches in identifyingcheckpoints or coordination points on long routes that lack distinctive features. You enter awaypoint for the position of the checkpoint, select the range and bearing display to thewaypoint, and drive until the alarm sounds. In this case, the bearing to the waypoint will beof little use since you will be following a road and can expect to make numerous deviationsfrom the straight-line bearing. If you are entering a road at an unknown point, the bearingwill provide a quick way to determine if you need to turn left or right to get to thewaypoint.

Uses in Offensive Operations. Position location devices can provide valuable assistancein a variety of situations during offensive operations, including the following:

Assembly area to LD. Position location systems can locate a unit’s position within anassembly area. A waypoint with the grid location of the center unit’s area would ensureproper placement within the assembly area. Waypoints at the start point (SP), the re-lease point (RP), and perhaps along the route would help to guide the unit to the LD.

LD to objective. After crossing the LD, the unit could enter key points along the axisof advance as waypoints. Additional waypoints on checkpoints or coordination pointswould help to positively identify the unit’s location.

Phase lines (PL) and limit of advance (LOA). PLs are necessary to coordination of theattack, but the terrain does not always lend itself to easily identifiable PLs. With theglobal positioning system (GPS), PLs can be placed without reliance on terrain features.The border alert feature will sound an alarm when the unit reaches a designated line onthe ground. The same method can be used for locating an LOA line.


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FM 17-18On the objective. Once on the objective, platoons will consolidate and reorganize. Indirecting the platoons’ defensive fire orientation, a distant point, such as a target refer-ence point (TRP), can be selected and entered as a waypoint. The platoon would thentake a range/bearing to the point and use that bearing as their orientation. If fuel andammunition resupply is not performed at the platoon location, the resupply site can beentered as a waypoint to help subordinate units pinpoint its location. The same processcan be used to locate collection points for maintenance, EPWs, and wounded.

Uses in Defensive Operations. Uses of position location devices during defensive opera-tions include the following:

Battle position. In establishing a BP, a unit can use the anchor watch feature of mostposition location systems to ensure that all elements are within the proper area. Theanchor watch sounds an alarm whenever the unit moves too far from a designatedcenter point. Once a vehicle has established its location on primary and subsequentBPs, that location can then be saved as a waypoint to aid in finding it again later.Position location systems can also assist movement from one BP to another, particularlyduring limited visibility. During the reconnaissance/rehearsal of the route, stop andenter your current position as a waypoint at all critical locations such as trail crossings,fords, obstacles, or turns. Each point will be saved in sequence. You can then followthe sequence of waypoints between the BPs.Fire planning. Waypoints can also be used to ensure proper orientation of fires usingthe range and bearing feature.Movement. In a passage of lines, the unit that establishes the passage can give gridcoordinates of entry points, release points (RP), and critical turns to the passing unit.These coordinates are entered as waypoints. The passing unit can then follow the way-points and ensure a safe passage without danger of getting lost or wandering intoobstacles.


A readiness condition (REDCON) establishes the time necessary for the unit to move orbe combat ready. It reflects the commander’s expectation of how ready the unit is forcombat. The unit SOP should describe REDCON in terms of the critical tasks of preparationthat the unit has completed and the time available to prepare. Figure 2-6 is a sample list ofREDCON levels with an explanation of each level.


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FM 17-18

Section VI. Operations SecurityOPSEC is all measures taken to maintain security and achieve tactical surprise. Units

must deny the enemy information about planned, ongoing, and after-operation activity untilit is too late for the enemy to react effectively. This section will summarize OPSEC in termsof countersurveillance, information security, signal security, and physical security.

Light armor units are extremely vulnerable to surveillance. The AO, especially in opera-tions other than war, will consist predominantly of dismounted infantry and wheeled utilityvehicles. The M8’s unique signature (such as noise, dust, and thermal) in this environmentwill make it more easily detectable. These factors make OPSEC a top priority at everymoment of every light armor operation.


Countersurveillance involves taking measures to protect friendly activities from beingobserved or detected (visually, electronically, or seismologically) by the enemy. Examples ofcountersurveillance measures and guidelines that apply to them:

Noise and Light Discipline. Follow these guidelines:Shield all light sources from enemy view.

Move only when necessary.

Use headsets or combat vehicle crewman (CVC) helmets to avoid radio noise.

Do not slam hatches or doors.


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FM 17-18Use the short count method to start engines simultaneously.

Perform resupply and maintenance in areas that are masked by terrain.

Sandbag or shield generators.

Use hand-and-arm signals when possible.

Use extra precaution at night when noise and light carry farther.

Do not allow smoking outdoors at night.

Camouflage. Follow these guidelines:Place tree branches or other vegetation on vehicles; hold them in place with commowire. Drape camouflage nets over turrets.

Park vehicles in natural concealment and shadows.

Cover all headlights, mirrors, and optics when possible.

Enhance camouflage paint with white wash (in winter) or mud when possible to breakup the outline of the vehicle (see FM 20-3).

Consider the effects of dust and smoke when moving.

When possible, ensure vehicles drive in the tracks created by the vehicles ahead ofthem or in previously created tracks.

Blend vehicles with other objects having a thermal emission.

Concealment. Follow these guidelines:Disperse vehicles and personnel under foliage or inside structures when possible.

Conceal vehicles behind objects that can block the thermal line of sight.

Keep vehicles traveling on existing tracks or roadways in heavily used areas, such asCPs and trains.

Challenge and Password. Ensure these are used and enforced.Air Defense. Consider ADA coverage against enemy air reconnaissance.

Jamming. Use the following procedures:Consider jamming to disrupt enemy communications.

Destroy enemy jamming, direction finding, and intercept equipment.

Counterreconnaissance. (See Chapter 6).Smoke. Screen enemy observers and friendly movement with smoke.Deception. In most instances, it is impossible to keep armor vehicles from being

detected or observed by enemy forces because of their large signature. Deception plansshould be employed so that friendly routine actions are conducted with greater uncertainty.Deception can play a significant role in masking the movement of formations, and inducingthe enemy to miscalculate friendly objectives or weaknesses.


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FM 17-18


Information security is the protection of friendly information. Leaders can help preventcompromising sensitive information by—

Ensuring soldiers do not send critical information in the mail.

Policing areas to ensure nothing of value is left behind.

Destroying overlays, orders, and other documents after use or when they are no longernecessary.


Signal security is a vital component of OPSEC procedures. Take the following steps toprotect friendly communications:

Use secure communications means or operational and numerical codes.

Use low-power transmissions and terrain to mask signals from enemy direction-findingequipment.

Keep radio transmissions short. Messengers or wire should be used for lengthymessages.

Units must practice using signal operation instructions (SOI), SOPs, and operationalterms. The battalion establishes priorities for issue of SOI and extracts.

Protect cryptographic systems and classified documents from capture or loss. Before anarea is vacated, inspect it for any materials that could provide friendly information tothe enemy.

Patrol wire lines to prevent enemy tapping.

When SOI codes or cryptographic equipment is lost or captured, report the factspromptly to the next higher coremand. The unit SOP must contain instructions fordestruction of equipment and classified documents to prevent capture or use by theenemy.


Physical security is the protection of material and equipment. Some examples of physicalsecurity include—

Employing guards, OPs, and patrols at all unit and CP sites.

Employing anti-intrusion devices, such as platoon early warning systems (PEWS) andtrip flares, when stationary.

Section VII. Continuous Operations


C2 degrades most rapidly in continuous operations. After 48 hours, a total loss of sleephas a significant adverse effect on all soldiers. Fatigued soldiers become careless; they makemore errors, have difficulty following instructions, and lack the motivation necessary to


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FM 17-18accomplish critical tasks. Several factors influence the degree to which fatigue affects sol-diers during continuous operations: water consumption, diet, physical conditioning, personalhygiene, and availability of meaningful work. All soldiers should watch for the followingsymptoms of fatigue, both in themselves and in others:

Headaches.Poor personal hygiene.Impatience or irritability.Loss of appetite.Inability to focus on the task at hand.

Soldiers with these symptoms may suffer from such problems as—Increased errors on the job.Difficulty in following instructions.Lack of motivation.Carelessness.

All soldiers should know these facts about sleep deprivation:Sleep deprivation is a primary safety concern, especially for vehicle drivers and opera-tors of dangerous equipment.You cannot train to overcome sleep loss.Soldiers who are suffering from fatigue or sleep loss are most likely to fall asleep whenperforming tasks that are lengthy and uninteresting.Tasks that have been thoroughly learned and rehearsed are more resistant to sleep losseffects.Performance of mental tasks requiring calculations, creativity, and the ability to planahead declines by 25 percent for every 24-hour period of semicontinuous work withoutsleep.Leadership ability cannot overcome sleep loss. Leaders are vulnerable to the effects ofsleep loss just like other soldiers; it degrades their ability to make quick and effectiveresponses to changing battlefield conditions.The best-trained soldiers should be selected to perform critical tasks.The ability to learn new information is compromised by sleep loss.Sleep loss has a cumulative effect over time (more than 2 days).


The most reliable remedy for lack of sleep is sleep itself. Leaders should attempt to sleepbefore the onset of continuous operations. This period of sleep, if finished just prior to thestart of operations, will delay the onset of serious sleep loss effects.

Sleep Priority. Units should establish disciplined sleep priorities, focusing on thefollowing key personnel:

Leaders on whose decisions mission success and unit survival depend.Soldiers who make important calculations or judgments.Soldiers who perform surveillance operations.Other soldiers.


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FM 17-18

Action/Sleep Tradeoff. Each leader must decide, based on professional judgment,whether additional work or sleep on his part will contribute most to mission success and uniteffectiveness. Leaders must realize they are not capable of controlling their unit 24 hours aday for days on end. During continuous operations, the leader and the XO, S3, or seniorsubordinate commander should be on complementary shifts to provide control at all times.Units should include plans for such a schedule in their SOPs. A rested leader with a planmade by his XO may be better than a leader suffering from sleep loss who makes his ownplan. The leader must also keep in mind that this decision will probably be made when theleader’s reasoning process is already blurred by lack of sleep.

Recovery from Sleep Loss. In the uncertainty of combat, leaders will normally not beable to schedule enough rest to fully recover. Leaders should make the most of even smallbreaks. Only four hours of sleep provides leaders with substantial recovery of simple tasks.Horizontal sleep is the best and should be the goal. Recovery increases with each four-hourblock of sleep. Even short “cat naps” significantly enhance recovery.

Adjusted Command and Control Procedures. As sleep loss for the unit increases,leaders should—

Give simple directions with few secondary tasks.

Give complete, clear, and precise orders.

Repeat all orders.

Double-check themselves and others to ensure orders are carried out.

Reassure soldiers more often.

When and Where Commanders Sleep. Upon receipt of a new mission, the commandershould complete the command estimate and issue orders first. Then he should rest or sleepwhile subordinate units are completing their planning. Commanders can also sleep duringroad marches or other movements when the unit is not in contact with the enemy. Com-manders should be awake at least 90 minutes prior to the onset of the battle.

Commanders normally sleep at the tactical command post (TAC CP), giving the officer incharge (OIC) instructions on circ*mstances under which they should be awakened. The unitSOP should contain a basic list of circ*mstances, which are modified according to thesituation, and provide for who is in control while the commander is sleeping. If possible, theXO at the tactical operations center (TOC) should be awake and in control at this time.

If the commander is not able to go to the TAC CP to sleep, he should sleep at the site ofthe nearest subordinate commander or CP. By doing this, his crew will be able to sleep, hewill be close to long-range radios, and he can rely on CP personnel to awaken him at theproper time.


When conducting combat operations for longer than 48 hours, the leader must employtechniques for sustaining the combat effectiveness of his subordinate units. He faces thebasic choice of using unit replacement or of decentralizing responsibility for sleep plans tohis subordinate commanders.

Unit Replacement. When possible, commanders tasked with reconnaissance operationsshould employ the unit replacement method. No soldier is capable of performingreconnaissance continually over a period of several days. The commander may decide tohalt his entire unit for rest, or he can maintain momentum of the movement by periodicallyintroducing fresh subunits to pass through units that are fatigued.


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FM 17-18

A technique for commanders who are contemplating extremely long operations is todesignate daylight and night units. Units in reserve should take advantage of all availabletime to recover. Commanders may also enhance subunit recovery by carefully selectingREDCON levels allowing subunits to get the maximum rest possible.

Decentralized Sleep Plans. When mission requirements call for the entire unit to beemployed, or the unit is tasked to perform a stationary mission, leaders at platoon, section,and crew levels must manage sleep plans. Commanders should be aware of severalconsiderations:

The length of shifts and rest periods can be managed in several ways: 4 hours on, 4hours off; 16 on, 8 off; or 12 on, 12 off.

Rotate tasks (surveillance, security, patrolling) frequently.

When degradation is substantial, task teams of two or more soldiers to perform theimportant tasks (radio watch and surveillance).

Ensure OPs are manned by crews or sections.

Other Sustainment Techniques. Additional techniques include the following:

Sleep up to 12 hours before the start of continuous operations.

Ensure mild stimulants, such as coffee or cola, are on hand.

Synchronize wake/sleep cycles with the combat zone’s local time as early as possible(redeployment if feasible).


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FM 17-18



CONOPS are crisis situations involving imminent military action. Light armor units takepart in such operations with light infantry forces. This chapter is not intended to repeatinformation found in other manuals. Rather, it examines the nature of light armor unitemployment as part of division, corps, and JTF CONOPS; the stages of CONOPS; and howlight armor units fit into each stage. Additional information on the characteristics of divisionCONOPS and planning systems is in FM 71-100. Corps CONOPS and planning systems arediscussed in FM 100-15.


Section I. Fundamentals of Contingency Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-1Types of Contingency Operations in OperationsOther Than War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-3

Light Armor Employment in Contingency Operations . . . . . . . . . 3-5

Support Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-5

Section II. Force Projection Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-7Preparation and Planning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-7

Predeployment Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-9

Deployment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-10

Entry Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-11

Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-12

Postconflict Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-14

Redeployment and Reconstitution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-14

Section I. Fundamentals of Contingency OperationsCONOPS involve military forces to achieve US objectives or protect national interests.

They are usually in response to a sudden or short-notice crisis or emergency and occuracross the scope of operations. Army forces, including armor, may take part in severaltypes of CONOPS involving other US services or an allied or coalition contingency TF.CONOPS are usually terminated in their own right or evolve into sustained operations. Theymay serve to—

Defend US citizens and interests abroad.

Support foreign policy.

Promote regional stability.

Defuse a sudden crisis or contain spontaneous conflict.


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FM 17-18

Conduct short-notice humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and NEOs.

Conclude military operations on terms favorable to US interests and objectives.

CONOPS are quick-response actions that are designed to bring early resolution to acrisis. They require the following:

Rapid projection of CONUS-based combat power.

Timely, detailed intelligence of objective area.

Opposed entry capability.

Precise C2 during initial stages.

Joint war fighting expertise.


US Army light divisions may be required to respond to a variety of contingencies or torapidly reinforce US and allied forces deployed anywhere in the world. Conflicts in theseareas may be at any level on the continuum. The versatility of light armor presents plannerswith multiple employment options. Selection of the preferred option or a combination ofoptions is based on careful consideration of the terrain, the type enemy expected to beencountered, and the inherent capabilities and limitations of light armor. Light armor unitsmust be prepared to—

Augment, task organize, and support the light infantry TF before deployment. Whenthis option is selected, units assigned to support the TF must possess strategic mobilitycompatible with the parent unit.

Augment, task organize, and support the light infantry TF after deployment. Forward-deployed light infantry forces can be quickly augmented by light armor units. TheLID’s C2 structure has the capability to accept and quickly integrate these assets intothe scheme of maneuver.

Task organize the light armor unit to meet theater-specific requirements.

Employ light armor as it is organized. In this instance, the unit’s maneuvermanpower, tactical transportation assets, FS, and logistic capabilities must beconsidered to determine what is needed for sustainment.

Designate selected items of pre-positioned equipment in theater for issue to the lightarmor unit.

Regardless of the option selected, on arrival in theater, the light armor unit becomes anintegral part of the larger infantry force, normally the battalion, brigade, division, corps, orJTF to which it is attached. Light armor may deploy for operations in areas where there areno US or allied bases and where the indigenous population ranges from friendly to neutral toovertly hostile to US forces.

CONOPS require that the force first be tailored for the specific mission, then echelonedto permit simultaneous deployment and employment. The division organizes into an assaultechelon, a follow-on echelon, and a rear echelon. Light armor units will normally deploy ineach of these echelons. The initial assaulting echelon must organize with sufficient combatpower to seize the lodgement and begin combat operations. The echelon that immediatelyfollows must be equipped to expand the lodgement and undertake decisive combat opera-tions. The final echelon must provide the sustainment for expanded operations.


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FM 17-18A secure airfield, port, or beach must be available for resupply; it must be by the host

nation, other US forces, allied forces, or an irregular force. Local air superiority andTACAIR support are essential in all stages of a CONOPS.


The following paragraphs discuss in greater detail the types of CONOPS in which armorforces may participate in operations other than war. A crisis response involving light armordirectly into war is also a CONOP, but would involve combat operations as described inChapters 4, 5, and 6.

NOTE: There are other types of CONOPS in operations other than war thatare not likely to involve light armor units except in extremecirc*mstances, including disaster relief, surveillance operations, andsupport to counterdrug operations.

Noncombatant Evacuation Operations. NEOs remove threatened civilian noncombatantsfrom locations in a host foreign nation. NEOs normally affect US citizens, but they mayalso include selective evacuation of host-nation and third-country nationals. An NEO in-volves a swift insertion of a force and possible temporary occupation of an objective, fol-lowed by a rapid withdrawal.

Light armor force options for NEOs depend on the operational environment in whichNEO will be conducted. Semipermissive and nonpermissive environments may require for-mation of an infantry/armor TF and/or deployment of combat and support forces fromCONUS locations. Host-nation capabilities, to include airstrip facilities, will play a majorrole in determiningg force options for NEOs. The TF commander should consider a lightarmor force option that provides both early response to a developing situation and the capa-bility to quickly expand should the environment become more hostile.

Show of Force and Demonstration. Shows of force and demonstrations lend credibilityto US promises and commitments, increase the nation’s regional influence, and demonstrateits resolve. They can take the form of combined training exercises, forward deployment ofmilitary forces, or introduction or buildup of military forces in a region.

Light armor force options for shows of force and demonstrations range from a single TFwith a light armor platoon to a massive deployment and buildup of a joint US military forceinvolving one or more light armor battalions. Such a buildup would often occur as part of aregional allied or coalition show of force or demonstration.

Security Assistance Surge. Security assistance surges are employed when a friendly orallied nation faces an imminent military threat. They are normally focused on providingadditional combat systems (weapons and equipment) or supplies, but may include the fullrange of security assistance, to include financial and training support.

Some limited security assistance surges may be conducted by forward-deployed forces;however, most surges will require deployment of combat systems and/or supplies fromCONUS locations via strategic airlift. Light armor gives the contingency commander anarmor option with airlift deployment capability.

Quarantine and Blockade. Quarantines and blockades often follow shows of force ordemonstrations and may be conducted as precursors to further escalation of military actions.Their purpose is to restrict movement of persons and things from entering and/or leaving adesignated country. Quarantines are less restrictive than blockades and normally target


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FM 17-18

specific types or classes of persons and things. Blockades are very restrictive and normallyprohibit all persons and things from entering and/or leaving the designated country.Quarantines and blockades normally involve air, land, and sea operations to stop, search,and divert or redirect commercial and military means of conveyance. They require clearlyarticulated rules of engagement (ROE) as well as extensive coordination within thequarantine and blockade forces, especially when regional allied or coalition forces areparticipating.

Depending on geography, quarantines and blockades normally involve a combination ofair and surface forces. Light armor units provide surface forces with tactical mobility andfirepower that enable them to mutually support and communicate with other contingencyforces. Light armor units may have to reinforce forward-deployed forces, regional alliedforces, and/or coalition forces used to initiate a quarantine or blockade.

Strike and Raid. Strikes and raids damage or destroy HVTs and demonstrate US capac-ity and resolve to protect regional interests and/or achieve specific objectives. They usuallyinvolve the use of violently destructive military power against predetermined objectivesthrough employment of air, land, sea, and/or special operations. Strikes most often involvedirect application of weapon systems against objectives; raids normally involve temporarilyseizing and/or destroying objectives, followed by rapid and preplanned withdrawal of raidforces.

Strikes and raids are normally conducted with regional allied or coalition forces wheneverpossible. They usually involve joint forces tailored for a specific mission, but may involveonly single-service forces or special operations forces (SOF). Light armor capabilities pro-vide the strike/raid force with firepower that can be rapidly introduced into (opposed entry)and removed from the objective area.

Rescue and Recovery. These operations include the rescue or recovery of US and/orfriendly foreign nationals and the location, identification, and recovery of sensitive equip-ment or items critical to US national security. Rescue/recovery operations are normallyconducted in a clandestine or covert manner. They require accurate intelligence, a great dealof detailed planning, highly trained rescue/recovery forces, and appropriate operational sup-port such as insertion and extraction vehicles, communications equipment, and FS. Res-cue/recovery operations are normally highly classified during planning and execution.

Rescue/recovery operations are normally conducted by highly trained and specializedforces operating from land- and/or sea-based safe havens as close as feasible to the objectivearea. They may include limited participation by allied or coalition assets. Under certainconditions, they include light armor units when additional firepower, security, or shockeffect (through use of a feint or diversion) is needed. Some specialized training may berequired for such operations.

Operations to Restore Order and Intervention Operations. These are intended to haltviolence and reinstate more normal civil activities. Where applicable, they are employed toencourage the resumption of political and diplomatic dialogue. They often evolve intopeacekeeping operations; forces tasked to conduct such operations may be opposed by con-siderable numbers of belligerents in a situation that could suddenly deteriorate into combat.PSYOP and civil affairs forces normally play important roles in these operations.

Operations to restore order and intervention operations normally involve mostly groundforces, but they may also require air, maritime, or special operations support. Force protec-tion, evacuation, and the potential for offensive and defensive combat operations make lightarmor involvement likely. Forward-deployed US forces and/or regional allied or coalitionforces often initiate these operations to serve as the nucleus for follow-on forces fromCONUS or other overseas locations.


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Light armor units do not conduct CONOPS alone. Rather, they fight as a combined armsteam with other forces. Possibilities for task organization could be a light armor platoonoperating with a battalion-size force, a light armor company with a brigade, and a lightarmor battalion with a division. Light armor executes armor-related missions and tasks insupport of the overall contingency mission. For example, when a TF conducts an NEO in anonpermissive environment, light armor may have to conduct an attack with infantry to seizekey terrain or occupy blocking positions that secure the noncombatant area. Other forcescould then notify, gather, document, and move the evacuees. Light armor might sub-sequently provide convoy security to the point of debarkation.

Command guidance and the characteristics of CONOPS affect the way light armor is usedin such operations. In employing light armor, the CONOPS commander can—

Quickly task organize or tailor an attachment to light infantry or another headquartersfor rapid deployment and/or combat.

Plan for simultaneous deployment and employment of a force. Fighting may well beginbefore the whole force or support elements can be in position.

Deploy a force directly into combat by opposed entry into an AO.

Provide an operational headquarters capable of conducting rapid response, quick de-ployment, and fast, decisive, offensive operations. A light armor headquarters elementmust be able to move into the objective area early to assist in C2 of follow-on units ina build-up. This element can also assist coordination and control of support for lightarmor units already in the AO.

Table 3-1 shows a list of potential tasks and missions that light armor units may executeduring CONOPS. This list is not all-inclusive, though it shows which CONOPS will mostlikely involve light armor units. It is extremely difficult to match all possible missions/taskswith each type of contingency. Each crisis and operation will bring with it a unique mission,environment, and threat. Commanders must analyze the factors of METT-T for each situ-ation to determine the most appropriate solution. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of this manual discussmissions and tasks light armor units may have to perform as part of these operations.


CONOPS forces must establish C2 as well as CSS virtually from the start of the opera-tion. Employment of light armor forces is not as simple as putting combat forces first,followed by CS and CSS; it requires corresponding echelonment of CSS. Rapid transition todecisive combat or other operations dictates that CSS accompany or closely follow eachechelon. CSS organization and supply quantities must be carefully analyzed, taking intoaccount such factors as potentially scarce transportation assets and the austere infrastructureof light infantry CSS assets.

Other CSS considerations apply when light armor is required to operate with other serv-ices. Support requirements and supply quantities depend on the mission, but the capabilitiesof the parent unit’s CSS assets could easily be overtaxed. Proactive planning is necessary toensure the light armor force, whatever its size, has accompanying CSS support. Echelon-ment is the key; redundancy is essential.

Light armor units may require augmentation for resupply and maintenance support duringsome CONOPS. When an operation is conducted in stages, detailed planning is necessary toensure the force is sustained in each stage. It is critical to synchronize the deployment ofCSS units, supplies, and CSS C2 with the increase in combat capabilities.


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FM 17-18Augmentation may take two forms. In the first, combat, CS, and/or CSS elements may

be added to the light armor unit to enable it to perform effectively in an environment inwhich its basic organization requires augmentation. The second form entails staff augmenta-tion, provided when expertise not organic to the battalion staff is needed or when units of atype not normally found in the division are added. Some examples of this form might beaugmentation of a unit with interpreters, an ANGLICO, or a civil-military affairs officer.

Augmentation places special demands on the battalion staff and the C2 system. The staffmust be prepared to integrate augmentation units and staff elements into the battalion struc-ture and to employ these elements effectively. The C2 system must accommodate additionsand deletions from- this force structure without disruption or degradation of operations.

Light armor may also require augmentation from division or corps units to conduct ex-tended operations. It is imperative that the corps remain responsive to the battalion’s opera-tional needs and provide the required augmentation.

When elements of the light armor battalion are task organized throughout the division, thebattalion normally does not possess the required logistical redundancy to sustain them. These


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FM 17-18elements usually must deploy with their unique sustaining support packages, which are eitherorganic or are provided by division and/or corps assets. Special consideration should begiven to maintenance, repair, and supply. See Chapter 8 for a discussion of support opera-tions.

Section II. Force Projection Operations

CONOPS are conducted in stages. The eight stages provide the general planning andexecution structure and can be adjusted to fit the needs of a particular contingency. Theyare—


Predeployment activity.


Entry operations.


Postconflict operations.

Redeployment and reconstitution.


Execution of these stages may not be distinct. Operations may begin well before theforce has completed previous stages. This section briefly discusses the stages from a lightarmor perspective following an examination of preparation and planning procedures. Referto FM 100-17 for information on mobilization and demobilization.


CONOPS for a light armor unit begin when it is notified to deploy. Time is very limitedand requires the unit to be prepared to react immediately. Several operational and adminis-trative activities can be accomplished prior to notification. Light armor units will be betterprepared to execute CONOPS if the following activities are conducted

Readiness SOPs and alert notification procedures are usually dictated by division SOP.The light armor unit’s alert and deployment procedures must be developed, practiced,and refined to reduce dead time and increase efficiency in execution.

Training with light infantry should be on a regular basis, not only for tactical trainingbut for alerts and deployments as well. light armor platoons and companies are taskorganized with light infantry battalions and brigades during contingency force readinesspostures. When not in a immediate deployment status, light armor platoons and compa-nies conduct training, maintenance, and support cycles to maintain readiness.

A light armor unit should undergo an operational readiness inspection of all systemsprior to assuming mission readiness responsibilities. Precombat inspection checksshould be conducted during these readiness inspections as well as when alert notifica-tion is received.


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FM 17-18Ammunition load plans and support requirements can be anticipated and prepackaged.Ammunition placed in the installation ammunition supply point in the configurationneeded for loading on vehicles (ballast) and for resupply (bulk) will make deploymenteasier.

Light armor units will usually deploy in platoon assault packages. Airlift load plansrequired by the Air Force can be prepared to reduce processing time for the unit at thedeparture airfield.

All Air Force aircraft require wood shoring for tracked vehicles loaded in an airlandingconfiguration. The unit must maintain a sufficient supply of shoring to ensure that timeis not lost during predeployment activities. Planning for shoring includes transportationassets to get the material to the departure airfield, as well as the manpower required toload and offload. See Appendix A for more information on shoring materials.

Unit readiness SOPs and procedures should include plans for determining who willprovide the manpower to outload the deploying unit. Because of the nature of rapiddeployment, deploying unit personnel will not normally be involved in vehicle outloadpreparation. During notification, unit personnel will be heavily involved in receiv-ing/giving OPORDs, conducting rehearsals, and receiving individual issue of equipmentand ammunition. Crew members may not link up with their vehicles until they arrive atthe departure airfield (during airlanding) or on the drop zone (DZ) after an airborneoperation. Elements of the light armor battalion normally will not deploy simultane-ously. Plans may simply task one or more of the other companies in the battalion toassist in manpower and transportation requirements during predeployment. If the entirebattalion eventually deploys, the last elements will need assistance from outside theunit.

Telephonic and nontelephonic alert and notification rosters must be updated and re-hearsed frequently.

Above all, deployment activities and procedures must be practiced and rehearsed toimprove unit readiness.

Administrative preparation will also reduce the number of complications duringshort-notice deployment. Light armor units should consider the following list of basicpreparations when preparing to assume a contingency mission readiness posture:

Overseas movement packets should be inspected and updated as often as required bydivision and army regulations.

Immunization and dental records must be kept current.

A- and B-bag packing lists should be predetermined. Bags should be packed uponassumption of mission readiness; a plan should be in place that allows for the unit tocollect and ship the bags to the deployed unit if required.

Hand receipts for sensitive items and other equipment can be filled out, without signa-tures, to save time during the deployment sequence.

Privately owned vehicle (POV) plans must be determined and coordinated, includingstorage parking and key control.

Plans for billets vacated by deployed units, to include storage of personal belongings,must be completed to reduce complications.


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FM 17-18Wills, powers of attorney, single-parent arrangements, and single-soldier debt paymentplans must all be developed and finalized prior to assuming mission responsibility.

Family support group rosters and notification plans are extremely important. Theseplans must be made prior to deployment notification.

Rear-detachment structure and procedures must be identified in advance; this willreduce deployment turbulence and ease coordination of all types of administrativeactivities.


This is the critical stage of CONOPS. The objective for the contingency commander is toselect and task organize a force and to quickly develop or refine operational concepts thatwill set the conditions for subsequent stages of the campaign. The need to plan and preparefor strategic deployments in the compressed time frame of a crisis will be a particularlydemanding aspect of this stage. During this stage, decisions will be made that affect the sizeof light armor participation in the operation. The contingency force commander will deter-mine the size of the force, the time required to initiate and deploy the force and the airliftrequirements for deployment.

Light armor units must be prepared for short-notice contingencies. Alert and notificationprocedures in the unit will be conducted within a specific number of hours as dictated bythe mission and the division’s readiness SOP. For example, the airborne division mayrequire an airborne light armor battalion to be able to deploy its initial element 18 hoursafter notification. The requirement varies among divisions. The unit can anticipate tasks tobe accomplished in the alert and deployment sequence.

CONOPS begin when the unit is notified to deploy. The announcement initiatespredeployment activities. Sometimes, during the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) crisisassessment, the parent HQ (corps/ division) will receive a WO. The division or corps maythen initiate planning and advise its subordinate HQ of the impending contingency. Thisplanning sequence is called the X-hour sequence. The staff begins to anticipaterequirements and sequence activities that will facilitate its transition into the deploymentand initial combat actions phase.

Based on information provided by the corps, the division task organizes a force to meetspecific tactical requirements. Temporary C2 facilities and organizations to support the op-eration are established early.

X-hour Preparation Sequence. CONOPS are by nature executed with limited time avail-able. The X-hour sequence gives units a jump on execution planning and preparation beforereceipt of the actual alert order; it has no set time windows to meet. All actions depend onthe situation and the information received from division HQ.

During X-hour activities, the battalion staff will begin monitoring the situation. The S2may begin an analysis of the potential objective area or AO, if known. When no X-hoursequence is initiated, reaction time will be minimal.

When the decision is made to initiate military action, the NCA, through the JCS, issuesan executive order to the commander-in-chief initiating the N-hour sequence. Forces arealerted and marshaled to begin preliminary measures to facilitate deployment. Normally, theinitial assault forces will have 18 hours to begin deployment. This initial TF will range frombattalion to brigade in size, including light armor from section to company level. Normally,the force package will be determined in COA development; however, it may be tailoredduring predeployment planning because of such factors as a lack of airlift and sealift capabil-ity or a change of mission.


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FM 17-18

OPSEC Considerations. The need for OPSEC is paramount throughout the notificationand deployment activities. All units must take steps to reduce unnecessary dissemination ofmission information. In some instances, when secrecy is needed, units may be required toconduct deception operations or move to a remote staging area to keep from compromisingthe mission.


The means of deployment depend on the capabilities of the light armor unit and thecommander balancing the factors of METT-T against available airlift and sealift assets.Each crisis will have unique demands. Commanders must task organize and deploy lightarmor with other forces to fix mission requirements.

In this example, a brigade headquarters serves as the base for each assault force and iscomplemented with appropriate combat (including a light armor company), CS, and CSSunits. One of the brigades is designated the lead unit and contains the assault elements fordeployment. The brigade is maintained at a high state of readiness to meet the division’sinitial deployment requirement. The other brigades maintain various stages of readiness anddeploy after the lead brigade. See Figure 3-1 for an example of the brigade assault force inthe lodgement area.


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FM 17-18The majority of the assault elements of the brigade are typical tactical organizations with

the exception of the division TAC CP. The TAC CP is manned with full staff representationand sufficient communications to conduct division C2 and to interface with echelons abovedivision before the arrival of the main CP.

Those light armor elements (CS and CSS) not task organized to the assault force may beorganized to deploy after the lead brigade. They are task organized to facilitate an advanceparty and additional operational elements, followed by the main body. The advance elementprepares for the arrival of the remainder of the battalion while the operational elementprovides the necessary support to sustain operations of the light armor element. This struc-ture of task organized elements also provides the light armor the flexibility to rapidly tailorand deploy support packages if the entire battalion does not deploy. With this type oforganization, the battalion maintains a flexible base to respond to most situations withinhours of notification.

In some deployments an intermediate stag-ing base (ISB) is required. If the assault ele-ment requires C130 aircraft for an airbornedrop or field strip landing and the deploymentdistant is too great, the armor vehicles may betransported to an intermediate base on C141or C5 aircraft and transferred to the C130 forthe assault (see Figure 3-2). The light armorvehicles may be rigged for airdrop in CONUSor at the ISB. If rigged in CONUS, then liftassets must be available at the ISB. If the ar-mor vehicles are configured for airlanding,the vehicles simply offload from one and loadonto the other aircraft.

Prior to the execution of the entry stage,detailed planning is required for feeding,fueling, arming, maintaining, and loading theassault force at the staging areas and any enroute bases. During this stage, the divisionsupport coremand (DISCOM) control partyconsists of individuals required for the receiptand issue of rations, fuel, and ammunition,and for the coordination and control of otheressential CSS (maintenance and transportation)activities in support of the assault force. Thearmor assault force enters the AO with basic loads of Classes I, III (packaged and bulk), V,and IX (high demand items). Based on the enemy situation in the AO, the assault force mayinclude Class V in bulk. Personnel from the DISCOM may establish an initial Class Vpoint on the airhead or beachhead. Mortuary affairs during this phase is a unitresponsibility.


This is the key execution stage, encompassing the occupation of the initial lodgements inthe objective area. The strength and composition of the first elements of the force to arrivein the AO will depend on the factors of METT-T. Depending on the crisis, this stage mayrequire opposed entry into a hostile, chaotic, or seemingly benign environment. Airbornelight armor forces are best designed to achieve strategic surprise in this stage. Light armorunits without this capability may receive augmentation and should therefore plan foropposed entry operations. Follow-on forces must be prepared not only to close into theobjective area, but also to reinforce the assault. If an armor threat is present, a larger light


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FM 17-18armor force must accompany the initialassault or immediate follow-on forces. Lightarmor units may have to conductsimultaneous deployment and employment ofthe force. This will place greater stress onthe C2 of the light infantry/armor TF (seeFigure 3-3).

Operations in contingency areas normallycommence with the movement of the divi-sion’s assault force into the contingency areaby air or sea. The assault force lands on orclose to objectives. USAF and Navy aircraftnormally provide required FS during and afterthe airlanding operations. Operations are as-signed to the assault force based on the fac-tors of METT-T. The assault force secures itsinitial objectives to establish and maintain asecure lodgement and to protect it from directfires and observed indirect fires; this will fa-cilitate the landing of follow-on forces duringthe next phase of the operation. Cavalry and,in some instances, light armor elements pro-vide reconnaissance and security and operatebeyond the lodgement to gain enemy informa-tion and provide early warning.


In this stage, light armor units are incorporated into the buildup of forces, then intocombat operations (see Figure 3-4). The contingency force accomplishes the following tasksduring buildup:

Establishes a forward operating base.

Closes the remainder of the force.

Expands the lodgement.

Links up with other joint forces.

Moves out to engage the enemy in offensive and defensive operations.

The principal focus of this stage is to build up combat power as quickly as possible andrapidly expand combat operations (see Figure 3-5). The objective is to place a force on theground that can fight while follow-on forces continue to arrive and prepare for subsequentoperations. Speed is especially important since the success of decisive operations hinges onthe force’s ability to build combat power without losing the initiative. Inclusion of lightarmor forces is critical in ensuring that the contingency force has the necessary firepower tomaintain mobility and take the fight to the enemy.


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FM 17-18

This stage begins with the introduction offollow-on forces into the airfield, beachhead,or port in the contingency area. Follow-onforces reinforce and support the assault forceand establish lodgement. During this phase,sufficient combat power is generated and tac-tical operations are conducted to fully securethe lodgement area by expanding the securityarea out to the range of enemy indirect-fireweapons. Combat forces are employed as nec-essary to destroy, delay, or disrupt enemyforces threatening the lodgement. Air and na-val aircraft and NGF provide FS. ADA isemployed to provide air defense against pene-trating enemy aircraft. A corps or JTF willnormally assume command of the division assoon as its C2 and logistical base are estab-lished. Because the force buildup and combatactions phase of the CONOPS is the mostcritical point for the division, staff plannersmust ensure that the lead brigade is fully re-sourced for the mission.

C2 of light armor units in the lodgementarea rests initially with the infantry TF (bri-gade or battalion) commander or a designatedrepresentative. However, as the remainder ofthe battalion arrives, the C2 of some of thelight armor units may revert to the light ar-mor battalion commander. The battalion XOor S3-Air is initially positioned at the depar-ture airfield to synchronize and coordinate theflow of supplies, personnel, and equipmentinto the AO.

The size of the support package varies de-pending on several factors, including—

Availability of host-nation facilities.

Size of the force to be deployed.

Available lines of communication.

The threat.

During the early stages of the forcebuildup and combat operations, maintenancesupport will consist primarily of reliance oncomponent repair, BDAR, and cannibalizationof combat damaged equipment. As this stageprogresses, host-nation facilities (if approvedfor use) may become available, as will theremaining elements of the division supplyupon complete deployment. In the earlystages, division supplies are received by airdelivery. Distribution to supported units is


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FM 17-18normally accomplished by acombination of supply pointdistribution and aerial resupply.

It is through decisive combatthat the contingency force attainsthe objectives that achieve thepurpose of the campaign. Theoperational methods and missionswill vary with the nature of thecrisis.

Decisive combat operations,depicted in Figure 3-6, is anextension of the operations stage.Combat forces and a logisticsbase are concurrently establishedand expanded to support decisiveoperations. As the situation in thelodgement area is stabilized, thedivision performs expandedcombat operations to eliminate theenemy force as directed by itshigher headquarters. Long-termand widely dispersed operationsmay require additional combat,CS, and CSS forces. SeeChapters 4, 5, and 6 for a moredetailed discussion of combatoperations.


Once combat operations bring an end to the immediate conflict, light armor transitions toa period of postconflict operations. The postconflict operations stage focuses on those ac-tivities that occur after conflict ends. The emphasis is on restoring order and minimizingconfusion following the operation, reestablishing the host-nation infrastructure, and preparingfor redeployment. light armor may provide security to the force in case of a resumption ofhostilities, or assist in prisoner control and refugee handling.


The objective of this stage to redeploy the force as rapidly as possible to CONUS, to anISB, or to another theater of operations. In conjunction with this effort, redeployment andreconstitution of the light armor unit is necessary to handle other contingencies or operationsin other theaters.


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FM 17-18


Although the light armor platoon is an integral part of the light armor company, it iscapable of detaching from the company and then operating with a light infantry battalion. Itis important for the light armor platoon leader to become familiar with the organization andoperations of the light infantry. When the platoon operates with its parent light armorcompany, its fundamental employment is similar to that of an armor platoon as described inFM 17-15. This chapter describes the employment of the light armor platoon as it wouldapply to the support of light infantry.


Section I. Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-2

Light Armor Platoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-2

Light Battalions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-3

Augmentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-4

Section II. Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-4

Platoon Missions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-4

Operational Planning Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-4

Section III. Command, Control, and Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-7Tactical Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-8

Formations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-9

Direct Fire Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-15

Section IV. Offensive Operations.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-17Direct Fire Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-17

Techniques of Engagement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-18

Mounted Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-18

Basic Light Infantry Movement Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-19

Methods of Light Armor/Infantry Movement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-21

Fire and Maneuver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-24

Battle Drills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-25

Actions at Danger Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-37

Offensive Missions with Light Infantry Battalions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-40

Forms of Maneuver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-41

Movement to Contact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-44

Methods of Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-47

Types of Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-48

Offensive Operations in Built-up Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-49

Raid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-58


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FM 17-18


Bypass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-58Consolidation and Reorganization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-59Limited Visibility and Terrain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-60

Section V. Defensive Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-62Direct Fire Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-62Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-63Defense of a Battle Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-65Defense in Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-66Reverse Slope Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-67Perimeter Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-70Strongpoint Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-71Defense in Built-up Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-72Reserve Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-74Counterattack Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-74Limited Visibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-75

Section V. Other Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-76Lodgement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-76Retrograde Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-77Reconnaissance in Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-79Convoy Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-80Passage of Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-83Linkup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-84Breakout from Encirclement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-85Relief in Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-86

Section I. OrganizationLIGHT ARMOR PLATOON

The light armor platoon consists of four M8 light tanks and 12 personnel organized intotwo sections of two M8s each. Figure 4-1 shows platoon organization.


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FM 17-18


Characteristics of the battalion vary by the type of light force. Some important generali-zations can be made.

Light Infantry Battalion. This is the most austere conventional combat battalion; of thethree types of battalions described here, its organization differs most from that of the lightarmor battalion. This battalion has only three rifle companies and a headquarters company.The differences among this battalion and air assault and airborne battalions are greatest inthe organization of support and logistics. The battalion has no trucks larger than its 27 cargohigh-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs). There is no mess team in thebattalion; Class I supply is prepared by brigade. There is only one mechanic in the entirebattalion; repairs are conducted at brigade level. The battalion has only 18 long-range ra-dios. The light infantry battalion has limited antiarmor capability: a HMMWV-mountedtube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missile (TOW) platoon at battalion level and aDragon (Javelin) section at company level.

Air Assault Battalion. The air assault battalion and the airborne battalion are similarlyorganized with three rifle companies, an antiarmor company, and a headquarters company.Tactical movement for both usually is a combination of air insertion and foot marches. Amajor difference, however, is in the number and types of wheeled vehicles in the air assaultbattalion. The battalion has six 5-ton cargo trucks and 45 HMMWVs. There is a messsection and a 17-person maintenance platoon. Communications are served by 29 long-rangeradios. Antiarmor capability of the line company is decentralized down to each rifle squad.

Airborne Battalion. Once inserted, the airborne battalion tactically performs much likea light infantry battalion; walking is a principal means of transportation. It does have 102-1/2-ton trucks and 36 cargo HMMWVs, and it can move nontactically by truck. It has amess section and a 16-member maintenance platoon. The airborne battalion has 30 long-range radios. Its rifle squads also have antiarmor capability.


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The light armor platoon requires nearly the same CS and CSS as the light armor com-pany. Because this may not be routinely possible, light armor platoons may have to fightwith degraded maintenance, medical evacuation, and Classes III and V support. When taskorganized to a light battalion, the light armor platoon should be augmented in those areas,based on the type of light battalion and the battalion’s augmentation from higher headquar-ters. Table 4-1 shows sources for augmentation.

Section II. Employment

PLATOON MISSIONSThe primary missions of the light armor platoon are to move, attack, and defend. It may

take on-additional tasks related to accomplishmg its primary missions. The platoon operatesas part of a light armor company or task organized to a light infantry battalion TF. Figure4-2 shows the light infantry battalion’s typical missions and the light armor tasks that maybe required. When task organized to light infantry, the light armor platoon generally per-forms in two ways. First, the platoon may be employed as the primary maneuver element.Second, it may be in a direct FS role when infantry is the primary maneuver element. Thedecision of which role is used depends on METT-T. The light armor platoon also may beused as a separate special platoon, or it may be attached to one of the light companies indirect support (DS). This chapter will address the concerns of the light armor platoon leaderunder such conditions.

The platoon is the first level where the light armor unit leader must be trained to interactwith a light infantry controlling headquarters staff. Further, the platoon leader must simulta-neously act as the light armor force advisor to the battalion commander; he must rely on thestaff for immediate CS and CSS. If the light armor platoon’s company commander or XO isin the vicinity of the sector or zone, some assistance may be coordinated through thatcommander; however, this is not a certainty.


Intelligence. Assignment of a light armor platoon gives a light infantry battalion a num-ber of stabilized thermal sight systems. The light armor platoon can assist with screenmissions in conjunction with the battalion’s scout platoon or antiarmor company/platoon.

The light infantry S2 may not be aware of the IPB needs of the light armor platoon;therefore, the light armor platoon leader should ask the battalion S2 for the following: the


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FM 17-18number of enemy forces; the armor protection level and armor-piercing capability of enemyforces; and terrain analysis requirements for mobility corridors. Potential NBC threat tar-gets that may affect the platoon are identified by the battalion chemical officer.

Maneuver. The primary uses of the light armor platoon will be as a maneuver elementor direct FSE for light infantry. Light infantry/light armor operations normally use one offour methods of maneuver refer to pages 4-41 through 4-44 for further information).

The light armor force attacks by fire while the infantry infiltrates and assaults theobjective.Light armor attacks by fire while light infantry advances for the assault. The lightarmor force then joins in the assault.The light armor and light infantry forces approach the objective on different axes.Light armor and light infantry forces advance together.


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FM 17-18

Fire Support. FS internal to the battalion consists of an 81-mm mortar platoon and60-mm mortar sections in each rifle company. Calls for FS are by voice only. Lightinfantry battalions are usually supported by a towed 105-mm howitzer battalion. The lightarmor platoon may receive priority of fires during any phase of the operation.

Calls for fire within the company boundary may be cleared by the company FIST. Con-sideration must be made for friendly dismounted infantry operating in the same area. Thelight armor platoon must observe all identified targets and fires to avoid fratricide.

Smoke can be used effectively in the environment that light armor platoons will mostlikely operate in. Light armor crews can maintain target detection capability through smokeby using their thermal sights. Dismounted enemy forces will probably not have thiscapability.

Air Defense. Light armor platoons, which may not have dedicated Stingers or Avengers,conduct passive air defense techniques continuously. When moving in a light infantry battal-ion’s AO, the light armor platoon will generate the largest signature from the air. Unlikearmored maneuver battalions, the light armor platoon may be the only mechanized vehiclesin the area and therefore becomes a lucrative target for enemy aircraft. Coordination shouldbe made by the battalion staff to increase the ADA alert posture when the light armorplatoon moves.

Mobility and Survivability. Engineer battalions possess a variety of earthmoving equip-ment, including armored combat earthmovers (ACE), lightweight, high-speed bulldozers,small emplacement excavators (SEE), dozers, and scoop loaders. The battalion commanderassigns a priority of engineer effort. Light armor platoons may be given priority of effort,particularly in the defense. Two-tier fighting positions will normally require corps engineersupport.

The obstacle plan must be deconflicted with any counterattack or withdrawal plan that thelight armor platoon may execute. This must be done early in the planning stages by thebattalion staff or through face-to-face coordination between the engineer platoon leader andthe light armor platoon leader.

Combat Service Support. The light armor platoon must sustain itself under austerelogistical conditions. The light armor platoon leader and platoon sergeant will do much ofthe logistical coordination directly through the battalion staff during the early stages of


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contingency operations. Chapter 8 of this manual describes these unique logistical supportprocesses in detail.

In most cases, Class III will be the most critical logistical concern for the light armorplatoon during the initial stages of a contingency operation. Movement should be carefullyplanned to conserve fuel. Fuel distribution may be prioritized by the battalion commanderto provide fuel for combat systems such as the M8.

Command and Control. In many cases, the light armor platoon leader acts as thebattalion commander’s principal advisor on the employment of the light armor platoon. Hemust accurately convey the capabilities and limitations of the platoon to the commander tomaximize the effectiveness of the platoon. The platoon leader acts as a key staff memberduring the planning process at battalion level until the commander, XO, or LO from thelight armor battalion staff becomes available to assist. Likewise, platoon sergeants andvehicle commanders will become advisors to light infantry company commanders if theplatoon is task organized accordingly.

The platoon leader will normally communicate on the battalion command net unless at-tached to a light infantry company. The maneuverability of the light armor platoon canmake the platoon the most lethal and effective ground reaction force for the commander.Therefore, leaders must stay abreast of the tactical situation of the battalion at all times toprovide timely response if called upon to react to a threat in any part of the AO.

Section III. Command, Control, and CommunicationsThe platoon is organized in two sections. The platoon leader (M8 #1) and platoon ser-

geant (M8 #4) are the section leaders. M8 #2 is in the platoon leader’s section, and M8 #3is in the platoon sergeant’s section. There may be instances, such as during convoy securityor operations in a BUA, where the sections will operate independent of each other to sup-port the light infantry commander.

The wingman concept facilitates C2 of the platoon. It requires that one M8 orient onanother M8, on either the left or the right (see Figure 4-3). M8 #2 orients on the platoonleader’s vehicle, M8 #3 on the platoon sergeant’s, vehicle and the platoon sergeant’s M8 onthe platoon leader’s vehicle. In the absence of specific instructions, wingmen move, stop,and shoot when their leaders do. Distances between vehicles should not be less than 50meters or more than 100 meters as a basic guideline. This is dependent on METT-T andmay be difficult in very close (jungle) or very open (desert) terrain.

FM 17-18


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FM 17-18


The platoon leader is responsible for the planning, maintenance, training, and use ofcommunications systems within the platoon. He is also responsible for operating within thecompany or battalion communications network.

The platoon leader can choose from several different communications means: messenger,wire, visual, sound, or radio. These means should complement each other so the platoondoes not depend on only one. Dependence on one means endangers C2, while reliance onseveral strengthens that control.

Messenger. TMs is the most secure means available and is the best means for transmit-ting lengthy messages. A messenger should be used to deliver platoon fire plans and statusreports. During movement halts, all messages delivered by messenger should be written.

Wire. The platoon hot loopallows each vehicle to commu-nicate with the platoon leaderby wire. OPs and companyCPs may also be connected tothe hot loop (see Figure 4-4).It can be used in initial defen-sive positions, assembly areas,or other static situations. Thehot loop is formed by connect-ing wire between the line ter-minals on the AM-1780 ofeach vehicle. The main powerswitch on the AM-1780 is thenplaced in the INTERCOMONLY position, and all CVChelmet control switches areplaced in the center position.The control box at each crewmember’s position should bePlaced in the ALL position.Field telephones can then be

connected at any point in the line to communicate within the hot loop. The M8 can beconnected to the hot loop at the external phone when the driver’s control box is in the EXTposition. Field telephones can also be connected directly to the AM-1780 by using a lengthof WD-1 wire. This allows the platoon leader to communicate with an OP, an infantrycompany, or platoon CP without establishing a hot loop.

Visual. Visual communication is used to transmit messages and to identify friendlyforces. Visual signals are of little use when visibility is poor or when a sufficient line ofsight is not available. When working with infantry, leaders use hand-and-arm signals tocontrol vehicle and platoon movements. The discussion of formations later in this chapterillustrates hand-and-arm signals.

Messages can be sent with flags by using prearranged signals. Each vehicle has threeflags: red, green, and yellow. They can be used to—

Control movement. Flags serve as an extension of hand-and-arm signals when the dis-tance between vehicles becomes too great.

Mark vehicle positions. For example, a quartering party member may use flags in anassembly area to mark vehicle positions.


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FM 17-18

Identify disabled vehicles.

Warn friendly elements of an advancing enemy. For example, an OP uses a flag tosignal a platoon to move to its fighting position.

Signal the supporting light armor element to shift or cease fires on an objective.

Based on signals established in the unit SOI or by the commander, flashlights and otherlights may be used to transmit brief prearranged messages (for example, to identify friendlyunits).

Pyrotechnic ammunition can be used to illuminate an area at night or as a signal. It isavailable in several types and colors. These signals are generally used for friendly unitidentification, maneuver element control, target marking, and location reports. They can alsobe used for ground-to-air communication. Their main advantage is the speed information canbe transmitted to a large number of troops and isolated units. Meanings for these signalsshould be brief, simple, and based on SOP. Colors used in combinations or series increasethe chance of error; observers may be unable to distinguish different colors or may miss partof a series. Pyrotechnic messages should be confirmed quickly by another communicationsmeans so the originator can be sure they were seen and understood. Pyrotechnic signals areeasily imitated by the enemy and cannot be fully trusted unless the signaler can be identi-fied. Since these signals can also be seen by the enemy, security must be considered toavoid exposing friendly unit locations or intentions.

Panels are used for communicating with aircraft to mark landing areas, DZs, and posi-tions and to identify units as friendly. Identification displays are described in the SOI, SOP,or OPORD.

Sound. Whistles, horns, sirens, bells, voice amplifiers, and explosive devices can beused for audible (sound) communications. They are used to attract attention, transmit prear-ranged messages, and spread alarms. The range and clarity of sound signals are greatlyreduced by battle noise. Since they are open to enemy interception, sound signals may berestricted for security reasons. They must also be kept simple to avoid misunderstandings.

Radio. The radio is the platoon’s most flexible, but least secure, means of communica-tion. It can quickly transmit information over long distances with great accuracy. Withoutsecure equipment, however, radio signals are vulnerable to enemy interception. The platoonuses the radio only when other means of communication cannot be used. Each vehicle isequipped with a voice radio, and all vehicle commanders of the platoon monitor the platoonnet. The platoon leader and platoon sergeant also monitor the company net. Each platoonvehicle has a single channel ground and airborne subsystem (SINCGARS) radio with eitheran internal secure voice system or VINSON security system.

The use of standardized call signs can reduce confusion in emergency conditions, such aswhen enemy contact has been made or when SOI procedures would adversely affect C2. Anexample of standardized call signs is the use of RED, WHITE, and BLUE to signify 1st,2d, and 3d platoons.


Formations are used to establish M8 positions and sectors of responsibility during opera-tions. Formations facilitate control; increase protection, speed, and fire effectiveness; andalleviate confusion. Formations are not intended to be rigid; vehicles are not expected to bea specific distance apart. Position of each M8 in the formation depends on the terrain andthe wingman driver’s ability to see the lead vehicle.


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FM 17-18Individual vehicles should move in the same relative position within the formation. This

will ensure that each crew knows where to move, who is behind them, and where to observeand direct fires. Gun tube orientation for rear and flank vehicles should be modified toensure 360-degree security based on the position of the platoon within the parent unit forma-tion. The seven basic formations for the platoon are—








Wedge. The wedge is employed when a platoon is provided overwatch by another ele-ment and terrain is open or rolling (see Figure 4-5). It is normally used when the enemysituation is vague and contact is imminent.

The wedge has these advantages:It permits excellent fire to the front and good fire to each flank when leading infantryformations.

It allows platoon leaders excellent observation up front while being covered by theirwingmen.

It enhances control since leaders are in close contact and can easily relay hand-and-armsignals to each other and any following infantry formations.

The wedge has these disadvantages:It requires lateral space for movement; therefore, it is difficult to use in closed terrainwith dismounted infantry.It may expose the entire platoon to enemy fire simultaneously.


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FM 17-18Vee. The platoon leader and his wingman lead, followed by the platoon sergeant’s sec-

tion. This formation is used when weather or terrain restricts movement or when overwatchwithin the platoon is required (see Figure 4-6).

The vee has these advantages:It provides excellent protection.

It provides excellent control.

It facilitates rapid deployment to any other formation.

The vee has these disadvantages:It limits fires to the front.

It is more difficult to maintain orientation than in a wedge.

It provides less control in wooded areas.

Echelon. The echelon is used to screen an exposed flank of a larger moving force or theplatoon (see Figure 4-7). It is also used when a light infantry unit faces a significant flankthreat, such as when it is bypassing a strongpoint or BUA.

Echelons have these advantages:They provide excellent firepower to the front and one flank.

They provide the best security to the higher unit formation.

They facilitate rapid deployment perpendicular to the direction of movement.

The echelon has these disadvantages:It is difficult to control in wooded terrain.

It is difficult to integrate into an infantry formation.


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FM 17-18

Line. A line formation is used to cross dangerous areas and assault a position (seeFigure 4-8). It also facilitates mutual support when emerging from limited visibility condi-tions such as smoke or heavy woods.

The line has these advantages:It provides excellent firepower forward.

It provides protection to dismounted infantry.

Maximum vehicles can close on an objective in minimum time.

The line has these disadvantages:It provides minimum fire to flanks.

It is less secure than other formations because of lack of depth.

It is the most difficult to control.


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FM 17-18

Column/Staggered Column. In these formations, the platoon leader positions himselfwhere he can best control his elements. If he does not lead, he must ensure the lead vehiclecommander is thoroughly familiar with the route of march and direction of travel. Thecolumn is used in night movements, in fog, when passing through defiles or dense woods,and during road marches when speed is required. The staggered column is used whenterrain allows for dispersion (see Figure 4-9).


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FM 17-18The column or staggered column has these advantages:

It provides excellent control.

It provides excellent firepower to the flanks.

It facilitates rapid deployment to other formations.

It facilitates rapid movement.

The dispersion increases security against enemy air and artillery attack.

A disadvantage of the column and staggered column is that they allow little fire to thefront.

Coil. The platoon can employ this formation when it is operating independently andexperiences extended halts or lulls in combat (see Figure 4-10). The platoon leader positionshis M8, and the remaining tank commanders position their M8s based on the terrain.

The coil has these advantages:It provides good all-around security.

It facilitates expanding to a perimeter defense.

It provides protection to light infantry in open terrain.

A disadvantage of the coil is that without infantry it offers only limited security inheavily wooded terrain.

Herringbone. The platoon uses this formation when it assumes a hasty defensive postureor temporary halt on a road where terrain does not allow adequate off-road dispersion.Vehicles move off the road if terrain permits (see Figure 4-11). Infantry should dismountand seek cover and concealment while providing additional security and observation.


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FM 17-18

The herringbone has these advantages:

Vehicles can pass through the center of the formation.

It facilitates dismounting of infantrymen prior to further deployment of the armor pla-toon.

The herringbone has these disadvantages:

Vehicles may be vulnerable to enemy air attack.

Security is limited (without infantry) and terrain does not allow for dispersion.


M8 fires must be properly distributed and controlled to effectively support any operation,especially in close proximity to light infantry. In most cases, this is accomplished by thevehicle commanders following established unit SOPs and direct fire plans. Occasionally, theplatoon leader will be in position to direct the fires of the entire platoon.

Platoon Fire Plan. The platoon fire plan provides the platoon leader with the necessaryinformation to distribute and control the fire of all available direct and indirect weapons.The fire plan assists the platoon leader in determining how well the platoon has covered itsassigned sector and in deciding which vehicle should move if shifts are required.

Control Measures. The dynamics of the offense will normally require that fires be con-trolled using the radio. Alerts and commands must be brief. Engagements will normally beinitiated by the M8 crew that sees the enemy. During defensive operations, visual controlmeasures can be used to start and stop engagements, shift fires, and signal prearrangedactions.


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FM 17-18Engagement Priorities. An M8 should always engage the most dangerous threat first.

During offensive operations, the most dangerous threat will be the enemy antitank weaponsystems. During defensive operations, platoons have more freedom of choice concerningwhat to engage and when to begin engagements. The platoon leader should control M8 firesso enemy C2 vehicles are engaged first. He can do this by assigning a vehicle or section themission of observing for the C2 vehicles. Once they are acquired, the platoon leader initiatesthe platoon engagement.

Fire Patterns. Three basic fire patterns will cover most situations and provide fast,effective fire distribution. No matter which method of engagement is used, the goal is toengage near and flank targets first, then shift fires to the center and far targets. Fire patternsare particularly effective when all vehicles can see all of the enemy in the EA. The basicfire patterns are described in the following paragraphs.

Frontal Fire. Frontal fire is usedwhen the enemy is dispersed laterally inrelation to the platoon and all M8s arefiring to the front. The left-most vehicleengages the left-most target, and theright-most vehicle engages the right-most target. The two center vehicles en-gage targets to their direct front. Whentargets are destroyed, tires are shiftedtoward the center of the enemy forma-tion (see Figure 4-12).

Cross Fire. Cross fire is employedwhen the enemy is exposed laterally butobstructions prevent all vehicles fromfiring to the front. The left-most M8 en-gages the right-most target, and theright-most M8 engages the left-most tar-get. The two center M8s engage targetsdiagonal to their own positions. Whentargets are destroyed, fires are shiftedtoward the center of the enemy forma-tion (see Figure 4-13).

Depth Fire. Depth fire is used when the enemy is exposed in column. The left-most M8engages the rear target, then shifts toward the center. The M8 second from left engages acenter target, then shifts toward the rear. The right-most M8 engages the front target, thenshifts toward the center. The M8 second from right engages a target in the center and shiftstoward the front of the enemy (see Figure 4-14).

Techniques of Fire Control. In addition to employing fire patterns to distribute fires,platoon leaders may choose one of three firing techniques to control the direct fires of theirunits:

Simultaneous fire. This is the primary firing technique used by the platoon. It is em-ployed during most offensive engagements when the unit encounters surprise targets. Itis also used in most defensive engagements when the enemy array is numerous enoughto require multiple engagements by each M8 in the unit.


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FM 17-18Alternating fire. Alternating fire is nor-mally used when the platoon is in a de-fensive position or is undetected. Eachvehicle alternates firing and observingwith its wingman. Subsequent fire, bycommand, is simultaneous. During alter-nating fire, the wingmen are normallythe first vehicles to fire. The platoonleader and platoon sergeant provide ob-servation, then fire. The process contin-ues until all targets are destroyed or theleader switches to simultaneous fire.

Observed fire. This is normally usedwhen the platoon is in protected defen-sive positions and engagement ranges arein excess of 2,000 meters. The first vehi-cle to fire engages while the wingmanobserves. This technique allows formaximum observation and assistancewhile protecting the location of the ob-serving vehicle. The observer vehiclemust remain prepared to engage in theevent the firing vehicle consistentlymisses, experiences a malfunction, orruns low on ammunition.

Section IV.

Offensive Operations


The platoon offensive fire plan establisheshow direct fires will be used to support move-ment or other actions during an operation (as-sault or support by fire, for example). Theplatoon leader considers the following factorswhen developing his plan:

Enemy situation.

Friendly situation.

Platoon’s mission.

Commander’s scheme of maneuver andplan for FS.

Ammunition status and plan for resupply.

Special signals and communications to beused.


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FM 17-18

The following issues should be addressed in the plan:

Engagement of known enemy positions.

Use of fire or smoke to conceal or cover movement.

Any support by fire missions.

Graphics used to control fires.

Engagement techniques or fire patterns if different from unit SOP.


The platoon uses one of three techniques to engage enemy forces.

Assault. Assault fire is employed when the platoon is assaulting the enemy. All weaponsare used in assault fire.

Support by Fire. Support by fire is used to kill or suppress an enemy position whileother elements move, assault, or withdraw. The platoon leader can direct the intensity offire in his OPORD, or he may have to determine the intensity during the operation.

When delivering supporting fire, the platoon can expect to draw enemy return fire. Hull-down positions are desirable, and firing vehicles should alternate firing positions.

Surprise and Ambush Fires. In the offense, targets can appear on the battlefield with-out warning. These targets must be immediately engaged and destroyed to maintain momen-tum. Platoon battle drill procedures provide for positive action when such targets appear.The first vehicle to observe surprise targets engages them immediately. All vehicles in thesame section or platoon then join in the engagement. The remaining platoons provide sup-pressive fire or move to support the engaged platoon.


Techniques of Mounted Movement. The following are the primary mounted movementtechniques:

Traveling. Traveling is characterized by continuous movement of all elements and isbest suited to situations where enemy contact is unlikely and speed is important. This isthe most likely technique when infantry rides on the M8.

Traveling overwatch. Traveling overwatch is an extended form of traveling that pro-vides additional security when contact is possible but speed is desired. The lead elementmoves continuously. The trail element moves at various speeds and halts periodically tooverwatch the movement of the lead element. The trail element maintains a minimumdistance of 500 meters, depending on terrain, to permit movement in case the leadelement is engaged.

Bounding overwatch. Bounding overwatch is used when contact is expected. It is themost secure and slowest movement technique. There are two methods of bouding:

Alternate bounds. The lead element halts and assumes overwatch positions. The rearelement advances past the lead element and assumes overwatch positions. The initiallead element then advances past the initial rear element and assumes overwatchpositions. Only one element moves at a time. This method of bounding is usuallymore rapid than successive bounds.


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FM 17-18Successive bounds. In this method, the lead element, covered by the rear element,advances and assumes overwatch positions. The rear element advances to a position.abreast of the lead element, halts, and occupies overwatch positions. The lead elementthen moves to the next position. Only one element moves at a time, and the rearelement does not advance beyond the lead element. Successive bounding is easier tocontrol and more secure than alternating bounds.

Overwatch. When light armor elements are given the task to overwatch, they shouldoccupy positions that offer cover and concealment, good observation positions, and clearfields of fire. Elements occupying overwatch positions should—

Visually check the security of the positions.

Occupy hull-down firing positions.

Assign sectors of fire.

Orient weapons on likely or suspected enemy positions.

Search for targets (see Figure 4-15).

Use thermal sights to find heat sources not visible to the naked eye. Thermal signaturesmay reveal vehicles or troops in tree lines or wooded areas; towns or villages; depres-sions; or potential observation points, such as church steeples, silos, or hilltops.


Because light armor works in close proximity with light infantry, the light armor platoonleader must understand the basic movement techniques of the infantry squads that will moveforward, behind, and on the flanks of his platoon.


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FM 17-18Traveling. Squad members form into two wedges, one behind the other, when the terrain

allows (see Figure 4-16). When the terrain and/or visibility is very restricted, the squad maytravel in a column by fire teams. The trail fire team follows at approximately 20 metersbehind the lead team. Squad members move approximately 10 meters apart.

Traveling Overwatch. The traveling overwatch technique (see Figure 4-17 essen-tially the same as the traveling technique. The distance between wedges (fire teams) in-creases to approximately 50 meters to allow the trail team to overwatch the lead team.


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FM 17-18Bounding Overwatch. The squad is divided into a bounding team, which moves in a

wedge formation, and an overwatch team, which remains in a position to overwatch thebounding team. The squad leader designates the next overwatch position and the route to beused. Bounds must not exceed the observation range of the overwatch team or the maximumeffective range of its weapons (see Figure 4-18).


When light infantry and light armor move together in any operation, the infantry movesusing one of three methods: dismounted, truck-mounted, or M8-mounted.

Dismounted. There are two ways dismounted infantry and light armor can move to-gether: armored vehicles lead, followed by the dismounted infantry, or infantry leads andarmored vehicles follow.

Movement with vehicles followed by infantry is used when the terrain is relatively openand the infantry has little or no cover and concealment. Moving behind the armor vehiclesprovides some protection and concealment from enemy small-arms fire.

Dismounted infantry followed by armor is used in restricted terrain when visibility islimited. Infantry provides security for M8s, clearing lanes or zones in front when fields offire and observation are limited. Considerations for using dismounted movement include thefollowing:

Speed is reduced to that of dismounted elements. If M8s lead, leaders must guardagainst leaving infantrymen too far behind.Communications between infantry and armor elements can be accomplished throughradio, hand-and-arm signals, or the external telephone mounted on the left rear of theM8.Prearranged signals (flags, smoke, panels, or hand-and-arm) are coordinated andpracticed to ensure close team cooperation.Infantry do not move in front of vehicles unless told to do so.


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FM 17-18Truck Mounted. In some cases, the infantry/armor team may have trucks and

HMMWVs from internal or external sources to transport light infantry. This method may beused in several situations:

When traveling over long distances to a LD.

When speed is important and outweighs the risk of exposure to enemy tire. Examplesinclude penetration, breakout from encirclement, exploitation, or pursuit.

When light armor and truck-mounted infantry move together, the armor vehicles usuallymove in front to provide protection and firepower. One platoon or section may also beplaced at the rear of the infantry formation for protection.

M8 Mounted. In the light infantry division, some of the infantrymen in the infantry/ar-mor team may be transported on the vehicles. This occurs mostly during a march, exploita-tion, or pursuit. This method has the advantage of maintaining speed while keeping theinfantry and armor together. It also saves infantrymen from fatiguing dismounted marches.

The decision to carry infantry on an armored vehicle requires careful planning. Tacticalunity of the infantry and armor teams must be maintained. Infantry leaders should mountarmor leaders’ vehicles. Usually, an infantry squad (approximately nine infantrymen) can fiton one M8. During planning, each squad should link up with the vehicle it will ride to allowtime for the squad and M8 crew to work together and rehearse mounting, dismounting, andaction drills.

Infantry platoon leaders should ride armor platoon leaders’ vehicles, and infantry platoonsergeants should mount the armor platoon sergeants’ vehicles. The infantry leaders shouldlocate next to the vehicle commanders.

The lead M8s should not carry mounted infantrymen. This will allow them to remainfree to scan left and right during movement and to return fire immediately if enemy contactis made (see Figure 4-19).


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FM 17-18

The following are considerations for infantry and armor leaders when mounting infantry-men on the M8:

Always alert the M8 commander before mounting or dismounting.

Follow the commands of the M8 commander.

Infantry platoons should be broken down into squad-size groups, similar to airmobilechalks, with the infantry platoon leader on the light armor platoon leader’s vehicle andthe infantry platoon sergeant on the light armor platoon sergeant’s vehicle.

Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants, or team leaders should locate near the vehicle com-mander’s hatch, using the external phone to talk to the vehicle commander and relaysignals to the unit.

M8 crew members must remember that the vehicle cannot return fire effectively withinfantry on board.

Whenever possible, mount and dismount over the left front slope of the vehicle. Thisensures the driver sees infantry and that the infantry does not pass in front of themachine guns.

Passengers must always have three points of contact with the vehicle and watch forlow-hanging objects like tree branches.

Passengers should take the following actions on contact:

Wait for the vehicle to stop.

Dismount IMMEDIATELY on the vehicle commander’s command (one fire team oneach side). DO NOT move forward of the turret.

Move at least 5 meters from the vehicle.

Practice mounting, dismounting, and actions on contact so your team will be trained.

If possible, the lead vehicle should not carry infantry because it restricts turretmovement. Initial contact may also cause casualties among infantrymen mounted on thelead vehicle.

Infanrymen should search in all directions. They may be able to spot a target thevehicle commander does not see.

DO NOT move in front of vehicles unless ordered to do so.

DO NOT move off a vehicle unless ordered to do so.

DO NOT dangle legs, equipment, or anything else off the side of the vehicle; theycould get caught in the tracks, causing death, injury, or equipment damage.

DO NOT overcrowd the vehicle. Falls, bums, and clogged air intakes can result.

DO NOT fall asleep. The warm engine may induce drowsiness, and a fall could befatal.

DO NOT smoke when mounted on a vehicle.

DO NOT stand near vehicles during refueling and rearming.

DO NOT stand near a moving or turning vehicle at any time. M8s have a short turningradius.

Stay clear of the vehicle’s canister ejection device. Canisters ejected from main gunrounds can cause serious injury or death.


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In fire and maneuver, one element maneuvers while another overmatches or supports byfire to suppress or destroy the enemy. Maneuver elements use movement techniques andcovered and concealed routes to maneuver to the enemy’s flank, maneuver to dominatingterrain, or bypass. When the company commander uses one platoon to support by fire, thatplatoon occupies dominating positions and suppresses the enemy (see Figure 4-20).

Support by Fire Element. The company commander designates elements to support byfire while the remainder of the company moves for an assault. The support by fire element’sprimary mission is to destroy as much of the enemy as possible by long-range fires beforethe assault. The element uses direct and indirect fires to prevent the enemy from engagingthe assault force or from adjusting positions to counter the assault force.

The support by fire element monitors movement of the assault force; it shifts fires as theassault force begins to move across the objective. To be effective, the element should bepositioned on dominating terrain overmatching the enemy position. The distance between thesupport by fire element and the enemy position will vary. Several factors should be consid-ered in positioning of the support by fire element:

Available terrain. These considerations apply:

What terrain dominates the enemy position?

What dominant terrain supports the scheme of maneuver of the assault force?

Enemy weapon system capabilities. These considerations apply:

Does the enemy have vehicles, ATGMs, attack helicopters, or prepared antitankpositions? If so, the support by fire position should be 1,500 to 3,000 meters from theenemy to maximize the advantages of the M8.


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FM 17-18Is the enemy dismounted infantry? If so, the element is positioned to allow effectivemachine gun fires (900 meters).

Does the enemy use mounted infantry? If so, the element is positioned beyond 1,000meters, then repositioned closer once enemy vehicles are destroyed or enemydismounts.

Does the enemy have a combination of vehicles, mounted infantry, and dismountedinfantry? If so, the element is positioned between 1,500 and 3,000 meters to destroyenemy vehicles, then moves closer to destroy enemy infantry.

Support by fire weapons capabilities. These considerations apply:

The M8 provides the crew with protection from small arms fire.

The M8 can implement a ballistic solution to 5,000 meters.

Maximum effective range of the M240 machine gun is 900 meters.

Maximum effective range of the M2 machine gun is 1,800 meters.

Time available. These considerations apply:

How much time is available to position the overwatch element?

Is any platoon currently in contact with the enemy?

Assault Force. The mission of the assault force is to close with and destroy the enemy.Normally composed of armored vehicles and infantry elements under the control of thecompany commander, the assault force moves along covered and concealed routes to theflanks or rear of the enemy. The elements move until they reach their last covered andconcealed position (assault position). Once the commander has determined that all observedenemy vehicles and antitank weapons on the objective have been destroyed or suppressed, heorders the assault. The assault elements move rapidly in a line formation, under cover ofdirect and indirect fires, to the objective. En route, they engage enemy targets on the move(stabilized) or from a temporary halt (nonstabilized). The assault force calls for the liftingand shifting of supporting fires (direct and indirect) at the tire support coordination line(FSCL).

Attack by Fire. Some objectives lend themselves to an attack by fire. The purpose is todestroy the enemy from a distance. This method can be used when the enemy consists ofarmored vehicles and the mission does not dictate or support occupation of the objective.The support by fire element suppresses the enemy while the assault force moves to dominat-ing terrain and, with the support by fire element, completes the destruction of the enemy(see Figures 4-21 and 4-40).


This discussion augments battle drills found in FM 17-15. These drills are a basic guideto infantry/light armor combined arms tactics. Light armor platoons, and the infantry theysupport, should be able to execute them upon command. Repetition in training, conducted tostandard, is the key to the proper execution of drills in combat. When habitual relationshipsare maintained, the execution of such drills is enhanced. If habitual task organization is notpossible, rehearsals are key to proper performance.

This discussion describes the drills that each light armor platoon must become familiarwith and be able to execute, whether working alone or with light infantry. Each drill willshow light infantry moving dismounted with the platoon, as well as mounted whereapplicable.


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FM 17-18

Platoons must practice drills to prepare for the C2 problems inherent in battle. Drillsteach platoon members virtually automatic responses to combat situations, outlining actionsto be taken immediately upon contact or in response to brief oral commands or visualsignals. Crews and units gain proficiency only through practice before the battle. Drills canbe carried out from any formation or movement technique.

Actions on Contact. When enemy fire is encountered, the platoon leader should executethe following actions on contact:

Return fire and alert the rest of the platoon.

Initiate a battle drill (action drill or contact drill). If no drill is specified, the platoonshould seek cover and concealment.

Send a contact report to the company commander.

Develop the situation through fire and movement to determine the size, type, and loca-tion of enemy forces.

Send a spot report tothe commander. The platoon may destroy the target ifinitial fire is effective, or it may have to continue fire and movement to fix or destroythe enemy (based on instructions from the company commander).

Change of Formation Drill. To accomplish a rapid change of formation, each M8 com-mander must know the following information:

The new formation.

The relative position of each vehicle in the new formation.

The position of infantrymen if they are moving dismounted within the formation.


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FM 17-18The platoon leader can use hand-and-arm sig-

nals or the radio to inform the platoon of thenew formation. He should always use hand-and-arm signals when dismounted infantrymen are inthe vicinity, regardless of the method used tocommunicate to the other vehicles. Each TC willknow his position in the formation by followingan SOP that specifies M8 positions when assum-ing each formation. Figure 4-22 shows themovement of individual M8s during the changefrom column to wedge to line. The key to a suc-cessful change is practice.

Contact Drill. Contact drills teach the platoonhow to orient weapon systems and engage an en-emy without changing the direction or speed ofmovement along the axis of advance. This can beused when contact is made with small arms fireor when the platoon sights the enemy without be-ing detected and does not want to stop or slowits momentum. The platoon leader can initiate acontact drill by hand-and-arm signals or radio.Even when using the radio, he should also usehand-and-arm signals when moving with dis-mounted infantrymen.

Action Drill. Action drills permit the platoonto change direction when reacting to changes interrain or enemy contact.

Changes in Terrain. Using the wingman concept, this change occurs automatically whenthe platoon leader’s vehicle changes direction. To speed up a change in direction, the pla-toon leader can direct an action drill using hand-and-arm signals or the radio. After execut-ing the change of direction, the platoon automatically comes on line and continues to move.To return to the original formation, a hand-and-arm signal or radio command can be given.Figures 4-23 through 4-25 show the vehicles’ relative positions during changes of direction.


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FM 17-18


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FM 17-18

Enemy Contact. Following a contact report involving antitank weapon systems, the pla-toon leader can direct an action drill to orient the platoon’s frontal armor toward the antitankfire while moving to cover and concealment.

Figures 4-26a through 4-26e show examples of action drills whenused to react to enemy contact.


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FM 17-18

React to Indirect Fire Drill. When the platoon receives indirect fire, crewmen closetheir hatches and ballistic doors. If on the move, the platoon maintains its speed and direc-tion. With infantry mounted, the platoon leader may issue the command for an action drill toavoid casualties to the infantry. If maneuvering with light infantry, a common rally point isdesirable. The platoon leader sends a spot report to the higher headquarters. If the situationpermits, a more detailed shelling report (SHELREP) follows the spot report. If the missionrequires the platoon to remain stationary, permission must be obtained from the higherheadquarters before moving. Once clear of the indirect-fire effects, crews can open hatchesand necessary ballistic doors. If masking was required by the OPORD (for example, whenthe enemy has NBC capability), the platoon leader has the flexibility to modify the mission-oriented protection posture (MOPP) guidance based on immediate test results. See Figure4-27 for an example of this drill.

React to Air Attack Drill. The platoon should practice passive defense against air attack.Use of cover and concealment can frequently prevent high-performance aircraft and helicop-ters from detecting and attacking the platoon. The air attack drill involves the four stepsdiscussed in the following paragraphs.

Alert the Platoon. Air guards can alert the platoon using one of two methods: announcing“CONTACT—ENEMY AIR—-(direction)” over the radio or using hand-and-arm signals.

Seek Cover and Concealment. When moving, M8s seek immediate cover and conceal-ment. If concealment is not available, moving vehicles should stop. A stationary vehicle isharder to see than a moving vehicle. If enemy aircraft detect the vehicles and initiate anattack, the platoon leader announces “ENEMY AIR” and exposed vehicles immediatelymove at a 45-degree angle toward or away from the attacking aircraft. Vehicles shouldmaintain a 100-meter interval and avoid presenting a linear target in the direction of attack.See Figure 4-28 for a depiction of this drill.


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FM 17-18

Prepare to Engage. Vehicle commanders should prepare to engage aircraft with a highvolume of machine gun fire on order of the platoon leader. The platoon leader must be surethat the aircraft are attacking, since firing machine guns could give away their positions.Volume is the key to effectiveness. The idea is to throw up a wall of fire and let the aircraftfly into it. In some cases, the main gun can be used against hovering helicopters. Figure4-29 illustrates aiming points for engaging enemy aircraft.

Report. The platoon leader sends the higher headquarters a contact report. Example:“CONTACT—HELICOPTER—SOUTH.” The platoon leader sends a complete spot reportas soon as possible.

If the platoon is engaged by bombs or spray, the reaction to indirect fire drill is used.Enemy aircraft operate in pairs, with two to eight, or more, aircraft in each flight. After

the first aircraft passes overhead, another may follow. Vehicles should remain in coveredand concealed positions for at least 60 seconds after the first aircraft leaves.


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FM 17-18

Break Contact Drill. When the light armor platoon makes contact with a superior force,the commander may give the order to break contact. The voice command to break contact is“BREAK CONTACT,” followed by a direction (clock method, or front, rear, left, or right).The visual signal is a red flag raised, then dropped in the direction the break is to beconducted (see Figure 4-30). The following are steps in successfully executing a breakcontact fire and movement drill:

Make the initial break. The commander designates a support by fire element to provideoverwatch and supporting fire, if needed. Dismounted infantry moves to a designatedcovered position in the direction of the break (clock method). If infantrymen aremounted on the vehicles not in contact (not the support by fire force), they may remainmounted as the vehicles move to break contact.

M8s disengage. The support by fire element uses successive bounds to join infantry.These vehicles may employ smoke as needed. The bounds continue until contact isbroken.

Report. The platoon leader sends a spot report to the higher headquarters and preparesto continue the mission.


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FM 17-18

The commander or platoon leader must determine and announce how the basic maneu-ver will be conducted. See “Methods of Attack” on pages 4-47 and 4-48):

Armor attacks by fire while infantry assaults.

Armor attacks by fire while infantry assaults, then armor joins in the assault.

Armor and infantry assault the objective on different axes.

Armor and infantry assaulting together.

If necessary, infantrymen dismount the vehicles and move to the flanks.

The designated element establishes a base of fire and suppresses the objective. Decep-tion smoke is used to confuse the enemy as to the true location of the assault force.This support by fire position may later serve as the rally point for all elements ifneeded.

The assault element maneuvers to the assault position (nearest covered and concealedposition).

The support by fire element shifts tires when the prearranged signal is given by theassault element as it reaches the final coordination line.

The assault element conducts fire and movement onto the objective, secures it, beginsconsolidating its position, and reports to the commander or platoon leader.

Attack an Objective Drill. This drill can be used during a hasty attack as a reaction toenemy contact. The voice coremand is “ASSAULT, ASSAULT, ASSAULT— (followed bya direction).” Steps for execution of this drill, which is illustrated in Figure 4-31, are asfollows:


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FM 17-18


A danger area is any place the light armor platoon, or any force maneuvering with thelight armor platoon, might be exposed to enemy observation, fire, or both. If a danger areacannot be avoided, light armor crosses it with great caution and as quickly as possible. Thetechniques used by light infantry when crossing danger areas are discussed in FM 7-8.Light armor and infantry maneuvering together use these same techniques, using armor’soverwatch capabilities and infantry’s ability to clear areas where hidden enemy infantry mayengage friendly forces.

Types of Danger Areas. The following paragraphs discuss some examples of dangerareas and crossing procedures.

Open Areas. The infantry on the near side observes and provides local security, includingthe near side flanks. Using an infantry guide, light armor maneuvers to the flanks to provideoverwatch while the infantry moves across the open area to secure the far side (see Figure4-32). When cleared, the reamaining infantry moves across at the shortest exposed distance asquickly as possible. The light armor platoon then bounds by section across the open areaand reassumes the previous designated formation. Different techniques could include the useof Dragon and TOW systems as overwatch to either supplement light armor, or to remain inoverwatch as light armor bounds across the open area and clears the far side with theinfantry. After clearing the far side, light armor would provide flank security.

Linear (Roads and Trails). Cross roads or trails at or near a bend, a narrow spot, or onlow ground. Use the same techniques for linear areas as those used for open areas, exceptthe light armor platoon may orient down the road or trail while providing near side flanksecurity.

Defiles. Crossing defiles requires the infantry to clear the flanks of the defile (often highground), the far side of the defile, and then the defile itself. If engineers are available theyhelp locate and neutralize mines in the defile. Once the defile is cleared, light armor moves


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FM 17-18through quickly and augments the infantry on far side security until the remaining infantrymoves through or past the defile.

Built-up Areas (Cities, Towns and Villages). See “Offensive Operations in Built-up Ar-eas” on pages 4-49 through 4-57.

Trenches, Gullies, Wadis, and Tunnels. Typically in operations other than war, theenemy will not have the resources to build fortifications and will maximize use of below-ground protection. Light armor provides overwatch while infantry fights the belowgroundbattle. Recognition signals such as smoke grenades, flaxes, and flags on antennas can indi-cate the location of friendly infantry to M8 crews. Light armor must be prepared to engageenemy reinforcements or any retreating enemy as they go aboveground. Light armor canalso advance to engage the enemy with machine guns along the length of a trench, gully, orwadi.

Obstacles. See “Breach an Obstacle” on page 4-39.Planning Considerations for Crossing Danger Areas. The following planning consid-

erations apply for light armor and infantry when crossing danger areas:Plan rally points, the use of hand-end-arm signals (for example, signals for dangerareas or bypasses), and for the use of indirect fire targets around suspected dangerareas.

Rehearse avoiding danger areas by practicing maneuvering around them.

Rehearse actions to be taken at unavoidable danger areas; upon enemy contact (bothdirect and indirect fires); to control friendly direct and indirect fires; when consolidat-ing; and upon reassuming the formation.


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FM 17-18Breach an Obstacle (In-stride). The light armor/infantry team may not be able to

bypass a small or unmanned obstacle, so the commander determines to conduct an in-stridebreach. The voice command for this exercise is “BREACH.” The hand-and-arm signal isshown in Figure 4-33. The steps for this drill are as follows:

Organization. The commander should organize the team into three elements as describedbelow:

Support force. This is usually a light armor platoon or section with an infantry weap-ons section (M60 machine gun and/or 60-mm mortar). It leads in the movement to theobstacle.

Breach force. This consists of infantry and engineers if available. It follows the sup-port force to the obstacle.

Assault force. This is usually infantry, but the commander may be able to add a lightarmor section. It follows the breach force when moving to the obstacle.

Suppression. The support force (#2) establishes a base of fire and suppresses enemydirect-fire defenses. It must be able to suppress the enemy by direct and indirect fires, toinclude providing air defense coverage.

Obscuration. The support force adjust artillery-projected smoke on the far side of theobstacle to prevent enemy observation of the breach and assault forces.

Security. The breach force (#3) secures the near side of the obstacle while the assaultforce (#1) maneuvers to a better position to prepare for the assault. Ideally, the obstacle isbreached after securing the far or enemy side. Friendly forces from the support force canreach the far side of the obstacle by infiltration, bypass, air assault, or minor breach.

Reduction. The breach force clears, marks, and secures the lane. The support forcecontinues to suppress and shift indirect fires and smoke while the assault force is poised tomove quickly through the breach once it is cleared and marked. The assault force moves


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FM 17-18

through the breach, conducts below ground battle, and provides far-side security by addingthe shoulders against enemy counterattacks. The remainder of the breach force, followed bythe support force, moves through the breach and continues the designated mission.


The remainder of this section discusses light armor platoon offensive missions whileoperating with a light infantry battalion TF. The following paragraphs describe examples ofhow light infantry battalions attack and what role the light armor platoon will play in eachmission. Light infantry battalions undertake offensive operations—

To defeat a particular enemy force.

To secure key or decisive terrain.

To deprive the enemy of resources.

To gain information.

To deceive and divert the enemy.

To hold the enemy in position.

To disrupt an enemy attack.

Light infantry battalions can attack in a variety of ways and in a variety of situations.They prefer to attack under cover of darkness and bad weather, using approaches that areimpossible or unlikely for other forces. The following are a few examples of likely lightinfantry offensive missions:

Attack to penetrate a defensive position by infiltrating gaps and taking fortificationsfrom the rear in preparation for the continuation of the attack by other forces (lightinfantry, motorized, mechanized, or armor) to greater depths.

Attack to destroy reserves, C3, CS, or critical CSS installations in the enemy’s rear bypenetrating through infiltration, air assault, or stay-behind tactics. This can be as part ofan attack or defense by other forces. The battalion may be a part of a brigade-size forcemaking mutually supporting attacks.

Attack by infiltration or air assault to seize an isolated enemy strongpoint in closeterrain. This could be a guerrilla base camp or an isolated outpost guarding a defile ormountain pass.

Attack by infiltration or air assault to seize and hold a bridge, defile, or mountain passto assist the passage and continuation of the attack of a larger mechanized or armoredforce or to deny passage to an enemy counterattacking reserve force.

Infiltration or stay-behind to ambush a mechanized column in the enemy’s rear area in adefile, mountain pass, or densely wooded terrain. This mission may be part of a largerdefensive operation, but it could also be part of a larger offensive operation in whichthe light infantry battalion provides flank protection by ambushing reinforcing enemy.

Attack to clear and destroy small pockets of bypassed enemy or guerrillas in denselywooded, mountain, or jungle terrain. This could be in operations other than war, as afollow-and-support force in war, or as a rear area combat force to clear an area ofenemy special operations forces.

Attack to seize an enemy-held BUA. This mission requires augmentation and specialtraining. Augmentation of engineers and firepower will be crucial.


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FM 17-18Attack to seize an enemy-held strongpoint by assault. This mission requires firepoweraugmentation and support if penetration or infiltration is not possible.

Reconnaissance in force to determine the extent of enemy forces and positions in closeterrain.

Battalion-size raid on an enemy installation in the enemy rear.


The relationship between attacking light infantry and armor units is described by the fiveforms of maneuver. Attacks are conducted with similar forms of maneuver designed to placea light infantry battalion against a position of enemy vulnerability. Each form of maneuverhas its place as an effective means of fighting the enemy. The estimate process establishesthe basis of information for the commander to use in selecting the correct form. These termsdescribe the schemes of maneuver in paragraph 3 of the OPORD.

Infiltration. Infiltration permits the commander to move his force by stealth into a morefavorable position to accomplish his mission. Successful infiltration requires, above all, thatthe force avoid detection and engagement. The commander may order an infiltration tomove all or part of the battalion through gaps in the enemy’s defense or to open gaps in theenemy defense for a breakthrough force (see Figure 4-34). As an alternative to infiltrating abattalion through the enemy defense, the battalion commander may order small units toinfiltrate the main defensive positions along multiple infiltration lanes to—

Destroy the enemy.

Attack lightly held positions.

Isolate strongpoints.

Occupy an overwatch positionfrom which the main effort can besupported.

Facilitate forward movement ofthe exploitation force.

Secure key terrain.

Harass and disrupt the enemy’sdefensive system.

Conduct ambushes.

Destroy vital facilities.

Infiltrations are conducted in fivephases as discussed in the followingparagraphs.

Patrol. Find gaps, weak areas inthe defense, and enemy positions.

Prepare. Make plans, give orders,coordinate with forward and flankunits, and rehearse. Build sand tables.Give leader briefbacks to make surethe mission is understood. Tailor thesoldier’s load.


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FM 17-18

Infiltrate. Avoid contact whenever possible. Ignore ineffective enemy fire.

Consolidate. Do this in the enemy rear or along a flank at a linkup point. Then move toan assembly area or objective rally point (ORP) to continue the mission.

Execute. Perform actions on the objective such as attack, raid, seize key terrain or anarea, capture prisoners, or gather information. The attack is characterized by swift, violentaction against the enemy to capitalize on surprise, boldness of action (doing the unexpected),and psychological effects (paralysis).

The plan for an infiltration must be simple. The commander and staff must gather de-tailed intelligence on the enemy, its dispositions, and the terrain to be infiltrated. Sources forinformation will include intelligence reports, scout situation reports (SITREP), patrol re-ports, weather and light data, and aerial photographs. This combat information is used todetermine—

Infiltration lanes.

Location of rally points along the route of axis.

Contact points, if required.

Location of enemy security elements.

Gaps in the enemy’s defensive system.

Strength of enemy defenses on the objective.

Control measures, such as infiltration lanes, are selected on the basis of avoiding theenemy, providing cover and concealment, and avoiding predictable routes that may lendthemselves to enemy ambush sites. Single or multiple routes or axes may be used, depend-ing on the size of the force to be infiltrated, the amount of detailed information required onenemy dispositions and terrain, the time allowed, and the number of routes or axes avail-able. The following considerations apply:

A single route or axis facilitates navigation, control, and reassembly. It reduces the areafor which detailed intelligence is required. However, it requires more time to move theforce through enemy positions.

Multiple routes or axes reduce the possibility of compromising the entire force andmake movement faster. However, they are more difficult to control.

Rally points are designated along each infiltration route. They are easily identifiablepoints where units can reassemble or reorganize if they become dispersed. Rally pointsshould provide cover and concealment.

The assault position is as close as possible to the objective without compromising secu-rity. In addition to having the characteristics of a rally point, it should be large enough toallow the force to deploy. It should be reconnoitered and secured before occupation and canbe used to make final adjustments prior to the attack.

Once infiltration routes or axes and rally points are selected, detailed planning continuesto ensure that FS is available throughout the infiltration. Targets should be engaged firstwith indirect fire to avoid disclosing the exact location of the infiltrating force. Only essen-tial equipment is taken. In very close terrain, for example, a TOW or Dragon may be aliability. Commanders should ensure the soldier’s load is kept to a minimum. The largestunit possible, compatible with the requirement for stealth, moves with all elements togetherto increase control, speed, and responsive combat power.


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FM 17-18Penetration. In a penetration, light infantry concentrates to strike at an enemy weak

point and breaks through the position to rupture the defense. For the light infantry to con-duct a successful penetration requires the concentration of all combat multipliers, to includeuse of limited visibility, stealth, and covered and concealed terrain at a selected breachpoint. Should METT-T analysis identify numerous weaknesses in the enemy’s position, mul-tiple penetrations may be made. In such cases, attacking forces might converge on a single,deep objective or secure independent objectives deep in the enemy’s rear.

A penetration is normally attempted when enemy flanks are unassailable, when time doesnot permit another form of maneuver, or when the enemy is overextended and weak spotsare detected in his position (see Figure 4-35). The main attack is made on a relativelynarrow front and is directed toward a decisive objective.

The penetration of a well-organized position requires concentration of combat power topermit continued momentum of the attack. The attack should move rapidly to destroy thecontinuity of the defense; if the attack is slowed or delayed, the enemy will be afforded timeto react. The attacker should avoid the enemy’s EA. If the rupture is not made sharply andobjectives are not secured promptly, the penetration is likely to resemble a frontal attack.This may result in high casualties and permit the enemy to fall back intact, thus avoidingdestruction.

Selection of the location for the penetration is based on the following considerations:Terrain. Terrain must permit themaneuver of both the supportingattacks and the penetrating force.Lateral movement should bepossible so that a successful attackcan be rapidly reinforced.Strength and depth of enemyposition. Ideally, the locationchosen should be lightly defendedto permit early penetration. Thebattalion should be looking for aplace or places where thecontinuity of the enemy’s defensehas been interrupted, such as gapsin obstacles and minefield or areasnot covered by fire or observation.Distance to objective. A short,well-concealed, direct route isdesirable to prevent unnecessaryexposure to enemy fires.Surprise. The place and time ofattack should be selected to shatterthe enemy’s defense before he canreact.

Envelopment. In the envelopment, the attacker passes around the enemy to strike theflank or rear of the enemy position. Envelopment is normally preferred over penetration orfrontal attack; striking the enemy from several directions or from unexpected directionsmultiplies combat power. The enemy is forced to fight along avenues of approach that maybe lightly defended or initially undefended. In an envelopment, a fixing element suppressesthe enemy from the front, forcing the enemy to fight in multiple directions or to abandon hisposition. This disrupts his defensive continuity and makes him vulnerable to exploitation. Ifpossible, the attacker should envelop forward positions and occupy undefended key terrain toforce the enemy to abandon prepared positions.


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FM 17-18Envelopment requires an assailable flank; that is, an open flank, weakness, or gap

through enemy lines that permits the enveloping force to approach the objective. In the lightinfantry, a critical responsibility for scouts is to identify gaps. Routes selected for the en-velopment should be covered and concealed and lead through areas where the enemy wouldleast suspect a force to maneuver.

Envelopments require an appropriate balance of forces for the main and supporting ef-forts. Frequently, the forces holding the enemy in position are economy-of-force elements,with the majority of combat power being allocated to the enveloping force. Another vari-ation of the envelopment is the double envelopment, where the attacker seeks to pass aroundboth flanks of the enemy at the same time.

Turning Movement. An attacking force making a turning movement passes around theenemy, avoiding him entirely, to secure an objective deep in the enemy’s rear area. Thismaneuver forces the enemy to abandon his position or to divert major forces to meet thethreat. The selected objective may be along the enemy’s line of contact (LC). The objec-tive must be important enough to the enemy, such as a key bridge over an unfoldable river,to cause him to abandon his forward defenses.

Frontal Attack. Frontal attack is employed to overrun and destroy or capture a weakenedenemy or to fix an enemy force in position to support another attack. It may also be used inconjunction with exploitation or pursuit of a weaker or disorganized enemy. Frontal attacksare the least desirable form of maneuver. They require intensive use of obscurants to coverfriendly advances, and suppressive fires must be maximized.


A movement to contact is conducted to gain, maintain, or reestablish contact with theenemy. Once contact is made, units move quickly to develop the situation. The battalionmakes contact with the smallest possible element to maintain flexibility and security. This isespecially important for the light infantry because limited mobility and dependence on re-strictive terrain make it quite vulnerable. Since movements to contact are usually charac-terized by lack of information about the enemy, commanders must plan for continuous andextensive reconnaissance and security. Movement to contact will terminate in a hasty attackor hasty defense. Two techniques are most commonly used by infantry battalions to conducta movement to contact, an approach march and a search and attack.

Approach March. This is an advance of a combat unit when direct contact with theenemy is imminent. Troops are fully or partially deployed. The approach march ends whenground contact with the enemy is made or when an attack position is occupied. Using thistechnique, light infantry battalions normally organize into a security force, advance guard,main body, flank guards, and rear guard. The guard elements move with and secure themain body. Figures 4-36 through 4-39 show examples of light infantry battalion formations(with attached light armor platoon) in a movement to contact using the approach marchtechnique.

Search and Attack. This technique is is a decentralized movement to contact, requiringmultiple, coordinated patrols (infantry squad- and platoon-size) to locate the enemy. It ismost often used against an enemy operating in dispersed elements. When conducting asearch and attack, infantry units spend more time operating in an AO rather than simplysweeping through it. Light armor platoons can have great value during search and attackoperations. They primarily serve as a reserve to conduct a hasty attack to defeat the enemyby assaulting critical sites (CPs, supply points) once the infantry has found and fixed enemyforces. Figure 4-36 shows an example of a light armor platoon conducting a hasty attack ona fixed enemy force. Whether the purpose of the search and attack is destruction of theenemy, area denial, or force protection, the critical execution factor for light armor isalways to be capable of rapidly massing combat power.


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FM 17-18

In conducting movement to contact, light infantry units protect the force by—

Moving during period of limited visibility and using stealth and surprise.

Conducting thorough reconnaissance and being able to attack at the time and place ofthe commander’s choosing.

Using all available combined arms assets.

Scouts are usually employed well forward of the advance guard to conduct reconnaissancefor the battalion movement. Light armor elements should be given checkpoints along themovement route from which they can cover the most likely enemy armor avenues of ap-proach. TOW sections move in bounds for mutual support and immediate responsiveness.Commanders and S3s must keep in mind that the TOWS and light armor need additionalsecurity forces. When overmatching the movement of light infantry, the light armor platooncan either move from one dominating piece of terrain to another, move with the lightinfantry, or move behind the light infantry. The light infantry commander must designatespecific movement techniques and formations to reduce danger to the unit while moving.Once contact is made, platoons use fire and movement to develop the situation.


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FM 17-18Normally, priority of fires will be given to the

advanced guard until contact is made and the mainbody assumes the attack; at this point, the mainbody receives priority of fires. The advance guardmay disperse or concentrate during movement tocontact. This decision is based on METT-T. Forcesare concentrated when intelligence indicates the en-emy is operating in company- or larger-size units orspeed is a consideration. Forces are dispersed whenintelligence indicates the enemy is operating in dis-persed, small units or coverage is more importantthan speed.

When the movement to contact culminates in anattack, the battalion may attack from a wedge, vee,single-column, or multiple-column formation alongthe axis of advance or in a zone of action. Thefollowing considerations influence the decision ofwhich formation to use:

A wedge is normally used to allow thebattalion to mass faster; give greater flexibility,increase the probability of contact, and increasethe ease of movement. The primarydisadvantage of the wedge is it is difficult tocontrol. This formation allows the light armorto be forward for quick response.


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FM 17-18The vee formation is used to increase frontage, speed of reaction, and capability forenvelopment. The disadvantages are that it is difficult to control and has fewer uncom-mitted forces and a smaller reserve. In this formation, the light armor platoon is fartherback in the formation and requires greater response time.

An attack using a single column is normally used when time is not critical. The pri-mary disadvantages of using a single column are that it is susceptible to enemy delaytactics and takes longer to get the rear company into action.

Multiple columns are normally used when speed is critical and wide deployment isnecessary. The primary disadvantage of multiple columns is that C2 become moredifficult.


The light armor platoon and the light infantry can operate in the attack in many ways.The light infantry battalion commander, supported by the recommendations from his staffand the light armor platoon leader, will decide on which method to use based on the specifictactical situation. The following discussion examines the four most basic methods for con-ducting light/heavy attacks.

The light armor platoon attacks by fire while the infantry assaults the objective. The lightarmor platoon occupies hull-down defilade positions until the infantry masks the tank fires(see Figure 4-40). The light armor fires can be timed to divert the enemy’s attention andcover the sounds of the light infantry’s approach or breach. This method is most often usedwhen enemy antitank weapons or obstacles block the only possible armor avenue of ap-proach. Close coordination between the heavy and light forces is vital to ensure effectivefire control and prevent fratricide.


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FM 17-18The light armor platoon initially attacks by fire, then moves forward rapidly and joins the

infantry for the assault. As in the first method, the light armor platoon first suppresses theobjective from hull-down defilade positions while the infantry moves to an assault position.When the infantry masks the M8 fires, or upon a prearranged signal, the light armor platoonmoves forward quickly and assaults slightly ahead of the infantry. This method is used whenthe enemy has prepared obstacles on the mounted avenues of approach. The infantry mustfrost breach the obstacles and clear a lane for the M8s to reach the objective. Carefulcoordination and preparation of a detailed fire plan by the light armor platoon are essentialto keep indirect fires on the objective until the final assault.

The light armor platoon and light infantry converge on the objective from different direc-tions and assault at the same time. Open or partially open terrain that is free of mines andother tank obstacles is vital. Effective neutralization of enemy antiarmor weapons by directand indirect supporting fires and smoke is also necessary. However, neutralization isneeded only during the time required for tanks to move from their LD to the near edge ofthe objective. The light armor platoon must coordinate directly with the assaulting infantryfor timing of the assault (the infantry will have to move earlier) and fire control on theobjective. Even though this method provides surprise, increases the fire effect, and maxi-mizes shock, actions on the objective are complex. The light armor platoon must tightlycontrol its fires while friendly infantry clears restrictive terrain on the objective.

The light armor platoon and light infantry advance together. The light armor platoonmay bound short distances, stop to fire, then bound forward again as the infantry comesabreast. This method is used when the enemy situation is vague; when the objective is verylarge and consists of both open and restrictive terrain; or when visibility, fields of fire, andMS movement are restricted, such as in fog, in towns, in woods, or at night. The lightarmor platoon provides immediate, close, direct fires, and the infantry protects the armoredvehicles from individual antiarmor measures. Rather than bounding, the light armor platoonmay move at the same rate of speed as the infantry. The infantry may follow closely behindthe M8s for protection from small arms fire; in turn, the infantry protects the M8s from

handheld antiarmor weapons byproviding security to the flanksand rear. When this method ofattack is used, it is imperativethat the infantry and each MSuse the external phones to coor-dinate fires and maneuver.Figure 4-41 depicts an attackwith infantry and light armorforces advancing together.


There are two types of at-tacks-the hasty attack and thedeliberate attack. The main dif-ference between them is in thedepth of planning. All attackplans address intent, maneuver,and tires; all seek to strike aweak point, flank, or rear areaof the enemy force.

Hasty Attack. Light forcesmust seize every opportunity todestroy enemy with violent,offensive actions. The hasty


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FM 17-18attack is used when such an opportunity is presented and little time is available for detailedplanning. It is also used to gain or maintain the initiative. A hasty attack can developwhen—

A movement to contact results in contact.

A deliberate attack changes after it is under way.

Further advance is ordered after securing an objective.

A counterattack is ordered in the defense.

The commander must rapidly assess the situation, formulate a scheme of maneuver and asupporting fire plan, and communicate the scheme of maneuver to his subordinates usingFRAGOs. The unit then conducts the hasty attack using infantry and armor fire and move-ment.

The primary employment of the hasty attack is in conjunction with a movement to con-tact, during which the unit may be assigned the mission of securing a terrain feature or ofdestroying an enemy force. When enemy contact is made en route to securing an objective,the light armor platoon may conduct the hasty attack with the infantry TF by—

Fixing and bypassing the enemy, depending on enemy strength and the unit’s orders.

Attacking by fire to destroy the enemy and then bypassing.

Conducting a hasty attack to kill the enemy and continuing the attack to the objective.

Depending on his orders and the size and location of the enemy, the commander developsa plan to conduct a hasty attack when enemy contact is made. He designates an objective, asupport by fire element, the support by fire element’s overwatch positions, an assault ele-ment, and covered and concealed routes into the flanks of the enemy. He then issues aFRAGO to his platoon leaders.

The first unit to make contact with the enemy executes actions on contact and assumesthe role of the support by fire element. As discussed in the methods of attack, the com-mander employs the light armor as the assault force or to engage the enemy upon contactwhile he develops and issues his plan to assault the objective with infantry.

Deliberate Attack. If the light armor platoon can execute a hasty attack, it can execute adeliberate attack. A deliberate attack is distinguished from a hasty attack by a more detailedknowledge of the enemy; a larger amount of time devoted to planning, coordination, andpreparation; and more extensive collection and use of intelligence. Once begun, the deliber-ate attack is executed with the same speed, violence, and application of concentrated combatpower as a hasty attack. Units normally conduct a deliberate attack from defensive positions.


Because of the nature of the terrain, offensive operations in BUAs are normally con-ducted by dismounted infantry. Combat is characterized by house-to-house fighting; re-stricted observation, fields of fire, and maneuver space for armored vehicles; and difficultyin C2. M8s are employed as much as possible in close support of dismounted teams tosecure locations and provide direct FS.

Types of Built-up Areas. Characteristics of BUAs differ by country and region. Thefollowing are general categories that help separate BUAs by type:

Villages, with populations of 3,000 or less.

Strip areas, which are BUAs along roads connecting towns or cities.


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FM 17-18

Towns or small cities, with populations of up to 100,000 and not part of a major urbancomplex.

Large cities and associated urban sprawl, with populations of up to 20 million andcovering hundreds of square kilometers.

Basic Building and Street Patterns. Each BUA or urban area has its owncharacteristics, making each objective a unique challenge for the infantry/armor team. Thefollowing list includes the typical building/street patterns that light forces will encounter inurban terrain:

Dense, random construction.

Closed, orderly blocks.

High-rise areas.

Industrial/transportation facilities.

Dispersed residential areas.

On the outskirts of suburbs, small plots of land, gardens, farms, fields, or vacant lotssurround isolated houses or groups of houses. The attacking force usually will start at thispart of the BUA. It should treat houses as inferior bunkers or individual emplacements.

In the residential district, streets, gardens, and grassy plots usually flank closely spaced,detached, or semidetached buildings. The arrangement may or may not follow a geometricpattern. The center of the BUA is usually the business section. It will almost always consistof buildings of block-type construction, with little or no space between them, except for anoccasional park, street or alley. This will require fighting from building to building andblock to block.

Attacking in Built-up Areas. A detailed study of the city and the enemy’s dispositions inand around it forms the basis for planning the attack and seizure of a BUA. Planning mayinclude M8s for both maneuver and FS. The attacking force is normally separated into twoforces-the enveloping force (armor heavy) and the direct assault force (infantry heavy).Follow the procedures and considerations listed below when attacking a BUA:

Dissipate the enemy’s strength by causing him to react to demonstrations, feints, orruses.

Concentrate overwhelming combat power to force a quick and violent disruption of thedefenses, envelop the BUA, and move rapidly to the enemy’s rear.

When possible, reduce strongpoints with fires only, secure them with follow-on forces,and keep moving.

Cut lines of communication and defeat the enemy through isolation.

Attack at night to gain surprise or to take objectives whose assault during daylightwould be too costly. An attack at night will take advantage of the M8’s thermal sightcapability.

Once momentum has been gained, attack continuously until defenses have beensplintered.

Attack Phases. An attack of a BUA comprises three phases:

Isolation of the BUA.

Gaining a foothold at the edge of the BUA.

Systematic clearance and seizure of objectives.


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FM 17-18Isolation. The first phase is the isolation of the city and the seizure of terrain features that

dominate approaches to it. The attacker has the advantage of maneuver to isolate the city hewill seize. The enveloping force—

Prevents the escape of the enemy.

Prevents reinforcements from entering the BUA.

Provides direct fire support for the direct assault force.

Protects the direct assault force from counterattack.

Once he has isolated the city, the attacker can either press the attack or contain thedefender and force him to capitulate. If necessary, the unit then secures positions outside theBUA from which to support entrance into the city itself. The tactics and techniques for thisphase of the operation are similar to those used in an attack against an enemy strongpoint(see Figure 4-42).


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FM 17-18Gaining a Foothold. In the second phase, the attacker selects his best point of entry into

the city. He can attack from any direction; he can bypass strongly defended buildings bygoing under, over, and around them and by using cellars, sewers, subways, or other under-ground passages. The unit advances to the edge of the BUA to gain a foothold and eliminatethe defender’s observation of (and direct fires on) approaches into the area. The assaultforce uses the foothold area to reorganize, decentralize control, and displace units to sup-porting positions. The attacking unit penetrates the area on a narrow front; M8s with infan-try lead the way. The commander concentrates all available supporting fires on the entrypoint (see Figure 4-43).

The probability of success increases when the commander launches his assault from anunexpected direction in the early morning just before light or under the cover of smoke. Thecommander normally employs a column formation in the initial assault. Assaulting forcescan expect to encounter barricades, antitank mine obstacles, and antitank fire.

The commander may employ variations of the column formation. For example, abattalion TF may use a column, with each of its company teams in a line, wedge, orechelon. These formations tend to shorten the length of the column, reducing the timenecessary to move into the BUA. The leading elements of the force should use a formationthat speeds the delivery of maximum fire on the point of penetration. The commandershould place artillery air bursts over the entry point to prevent the enemy from manningcrew-served or individual antitank weapons. The infantry moves as close to the objective aspossible. When the infantry attacks a strongly defended area, it provides close-in protectionfor the M8s. Unit leaders may assign fire teams or squads to work with each M8. Visualsignals help maintain direct communication between the rifle squad or fire team leader andthe M8 commander. The infantry maneuvers to engage or destroy the resistance. M8s moveforward as soon as possible to support them. When possible, the M8 fires augment theassault or cover critical areas on the force’s flanks. When buildings on the periphery of atown are heavily fortified, the commander may have to employ techniques for the attack ofa fortified area.


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FM 17-18Clearance and Seizure. Phase three can vary from a systematic block-by-block,

house-to-house reduction of the BUA to a rapid advance with clearance of critical areas andbuildings. It begins without pause after the completion of phase two. Clearance and seizuretechniques depend on the mission, the size of the town, construction and buildingarrangement, and the enemy’s disposition, strength, and objective. The direct assault forceclears the city of enemy resistance and links up with the enveloping force when the unitmust continue to move (see Figure 4-44).

When the BUA is large and heavily fortified or when the mission requires it, units mayhave to perform a methodical house-by-house, block-by-block clearance operation. The com-mander should divide the area into zones of responsibility. Each subordinate unit must clearits zone completely, leaving no enemy to its rear.

When the BUA is small or lightly defended, the attacking force should drive through orinto it as rapidly as possible. Light armor should lead the column in this instance, closelyfollowed and supported by infantry. It will rarely be possible to employ more than two M8sat the head of the column except when advancing on a wide street. M8s continuouslyconcentrate main gun and automatic weapons fire on windows and the rooftops of buildings(see Figure 4-45). The infantry protects the M8s from close-in enemy fire. When required toprotect tanks from tire from nearby buildings, an infantry squad moves along each side ofthe street, keeping abreast of the lead vehicles. Depending on the resistance, the squad maychallenge every doorway or ground floor window by throwing in hand grenades and spray-ing the interior with small arms fire. Unit leaders will usually assign soldiers in each squadto locate and engage targets on the upper floors and rooftops of the buildings. The infantrymay also assist in the removal of obstacles or barriers halting the advance.

When seizing buildings, the M8s support the assault by isolating the building and provid-ing suppression during entry (see Figure 4-46). The M8 can also create a hole in a wall ofa building with main gun fire to allow the infantry to enter the building through an unex-pected entrance.


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FM 17-18


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FM 17-18

The following procedures apply when attacking a BUA:

Dissipate the enemy’s strength by causing him to react to demonstrations, feints, andruses.

Concentrate overwhelming combat power to force a quick and violent disruption ofenemy defenses, envelop the BUA, and move rapidly to the enemy’s rear.

When possible, reduce strongpoints with fires only, secure them with follow-on forces,and keep moving.

Cut lines of communication and defeat the enemy by isolating him.

Attack at night to gain surprise or to take objectives that would be too costly to assaultduring daylight. A night attack will take full advantage of the M8’s thermal sightcapability.

Once momentum is gained, keep the attack continuous until enemy defenses have beensplintered.

Light Armor Tasks. When the light armor platoon is included as part of the directassault force, it should be employed as a platoon. In BUAs that are very restricted,however, sections may have to operate separately, each under the control of an infantrycommander. Light armor supports infantry in BUAs by—

Providing shock action and firepower.

Isolating objectives with direct fire to prevent enemy withdrawal, reinforcement, orcounterattack.

Neutralizing or suppressing enemy positions with smoke, high-explosive (HE), andautomatic weapons fire as infantry closes with and destroys the enemy.

Assisting opposed entry of infantry into buildings when doorways are blocked bydebris, obstacles, or enemy fire.

Smashing through street barricades or reducing barricades by fires.

Using fires to reduce enemy strongpoints in buildings.

Obscuring enemy observation using on-board smoke generators.

Holding cleared portions of the objective by covering avenues of approach.

Attacking by fire any other targets designated by the infantry.

Establishing roadblocks.

Suppressing identified sniper positions.

Light Infantry Tasks. Light infantry supports light armor in urban terrain by—

Locating targets for engagement by light armor weapons.

Suppressing and destroying antitank weapons with mortars, automatic weapons, andgrenades.


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FM 17-18Assaulting positions and clearing buildings.

Providing local security for M8s at night or during other periods of reduced visibility.

M8 Employment Considerations. The following are some techniques and concerns thelight infantry and/or armor leader should consider when employing M8s in urban terrain:

M8 main gun fire is an effective method for eliminating a sniper in a building orcreating a psychological effect that destroys his will to continue.

Streets and alleys constitute ready-made fire lanes and firing zones. They can greatlyrestrict and canalize vehicular traffic, making it vulnerable.

In urban terrain, light armor works best in platoons or in sections of two M8s. Inextreme cases, M8s can work individually, but this is not recommended.

At least one infantry squad should remain with each armor vehicle to furnish localsecurity.

The external phone is an excellent means for communication between the infantrymanand the vehicle commander.

The M8 should use HE ammunition to create holes in the walls of buildings so theinfantry can enter.

The M8 should use HE ammunition against barricades. HE will demolish steeples,chimneys, and other tall structures likely to contain enemy artillery observers. Thistechnique is dependent on the established rules of engagement. In operations other thanwar, minimizing collateral damage may be a priority. However, crews can fire onobserved or known hostile enemy positions at all times.

Crew members must be on the alert for bunkers or pillboxes in houses along the street.

M8s should avoid stopping or moving slowly near nonsecure buildings.

Units should check all bridges and overpasses for mines and should determine theirweight-carrying capacity.

M8s should stay near buildings held by friendly troops. Crew members should watchfor signals from the infantry inside the buildings on their flanks.

M8 crew members should keep their personal weapons ready for close-in combat.

When possible, M8s should destroy enemy strongpoints with main gun fire. Onetechnique is to fire armor-piercing ammunition to penetrate the reinforced wall of abuilding followed by high-explosive antitank (HEAT) rounds to kill or neutralize theenemy. M8s should fire first into the ground floor to drive the enemy into thebasem*nt, where infantry can attack them, or to higher floors, where light armor firecan destroy them.

M8s are at a disadvantage because their main guns cannot depress or elevate sufficientlyto fire into basem*nts and upper floors at close range (see Figure 4-47).


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FM 17-18

Control Measures. Combat in BUAs requires control measures with which all troopsmust be familiar. These include the following:

Boundaries. In dense urban areas, units should place boundaries along one side of thestreet to provide easy and definite identification. In areas where observation and move-ment are less restricted, they may place boundaries in alleys or within blocks so thatone unit’s zone includes both sides of the street.

Objectives. Objectives are specific and limited. Choosing major intersections, principalbuildings, or other readily identifiable physical features improves control. Numberingbuildings along the route of attack simplifies the assignment. As the unit moves forwardthrough an area, unit leaders should designate the near side of the street as the objec-tive. If they choose the far side of the street, the unit will have to secure buildings onboth sides of the street to take the objective. Units must promptly report seizure ofobjectives.

Frontages, formations, and zones of action. Attacking battalions normally operatewithin relatively narrow zones of action. The frontages depend on the enemy’s strength,the size of the buildings, and the anticipated resistance. Normally, a light infantrybattalion TF has a frontage of three to six blocks and attacking companies of one totwo blocks. Frontages and zones of action influence M8 employment. The M8s shouldbe well forward to add momentum to the attack, exploit success, repel counterattacks,and protect the flanks and rear against enemy action.

Phase lines (PLs). PLs increase control by regulating the advance of attacking forces.They also indicate where the command passes from one phase of the assault to another.PLs are less restrictive than objectives. They encourage the rapid exploitation of suc-cess without halting. Principal streets, rivers, and trolley or railroad lines make goodPLs.

Checkpoints and contact points. Street corners, buildings, railway crossings, bridges,and easily identifiable features can be checkpoints or contact points. They improve thereporting of locations. The commander can use them as specific points where he desiresunits to make physical contact.


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FM 17-18RAID

A raid is a deliberate attack into enemy-held territory for a specific purpose. Light infan-try forces are ideal for conducting a raid. Raids are conducted with swift, violent action todestroy or capture enemy personnel or equipment, rescue friendly personnel, gain intelli-gence, or gain the initiative. Stealth during movement, indirect approach, violent execution,and precision are all characteristics of successful raids. The same considerations apply as fora deliberate attack, except for the following points:

There is always a planned withdrawal from the objective.

Planned fire and security elements isolate the objective from enemy reinforcement orretreat.

Raids can be done by any size unit.

Raids require detailed planning and extensive rehearsals.

The keys to the raid are information, surprise, and timing. Surprise is obtained by usingdeception, stealth, and speed of execution when moving to the objective area. It is essentialthat the raiding force arrive in the objective area without being compromised. Timing is alsoessential to the execution of the raid.

It is difficult to use light armor in the conduct of small unit infiltration raids. In somecases, however, the light armor platoon can be used as the security element to—

Block enemy reinforcement along the mounted avenues of approach.

Assist the raid party in breaking contact.

Assist the raid party in the withdrawal from the objective.

The raid plan includes a signal to withdraw; well-planned routes to an ORP or rendez-vous point; routes covered by preplanned fire; units assigned to cover the withdrawal andassist in breaking contact; a way to evacuate casualties, enemy prisoners of war (EPWs),and captured equipment from the objective; and an order of withdrawal from the objective.

The withdrawal from the objective and the security force blocking positions must beplanned with the same detail as the rest of the mission. Use of preplanned fire is essential tokeep enemy forces from pursuing. The enemy’s anticipated reactions must be consideredwhen planning withdrawal routes. Once the main body has withdrawn from the area, thesecurity force withdraws. In some cases, the security force may have to withdraw usingdelay tactics.


The company commander uses fire and movement when he decides to bypass enemyforces. The enemy is suppressed by both indirect and direct fires while the force moves,using covered and concealed routes, past the enemy positions. Where covered routes are notavailable, the M8s should remain out of antitank weapon range or use smoke to concealmovement.

While bypassing enemy forces, moving platoons orient gun tubes on the enemy. The M8platoon (as the support by fire element) suppresses the enemy positions, thus preventing theenemy from firing on or maneuvering against the moving infantry platoons. The infantryunit may halt and provide suppressive fire so the support by fire platoon can move andcomplete the bypass (see Figure 4-48).


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FM 17-18


The platoon should consolidate and reorganize as soon as it takes an objective. This isdone so the platoon is prepared to destroy an enemy counterattack or to continue with theattack.

Consolidation consists of actions taken to secure an objective and to defend against anenemy counterattack. The commander designates platoon positions and weapon orientations.The platoon consolidates an objective by—

Occupying the position designated in the OPORD. M8s are moved to hull-downpositions, and the platoon leader assigns sectors of fire based on the commander’sintent.

Preparing for an enemy counterattack.

Establishing security and mutual support between adjacent units.

Eliminating any remaining pockets of enemy resistance and securing EPWs.

Preparing to continue the mission.

Reorganization, the process of preparing for continued fighting, should be accomplishedby SOP. The platoon leader, platoon sergeant, and vehicle commanders are responsible forthe following actions:

The platoon leader—

Redistributes personnel.

Oversees consolidation of personnel killed in action (KIA).

Informs the commander of the platoon’s status.

Supervises essential maintenance.

Establishes communications with units that are out of contact.


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FM 17-18

The platoon sergeant compiles status reports on personnel, equipment, and suppliesfrom each vehicle and submits a consolidated report to the platoon leader and 1SG. Hethen directs cross-leveling within the platoon.

The M8 commander—

Reloads machine guns and redistributes main gun ammunition to ready areas.

Moves wounded crewmen to a covered position and provides first aid.

Reports his situation, casualties, and status of equipment, ammunition, and fuel to theplatoon sergeant.

Conducts essential maintenance.


Limited Visibility. Terrain and weather will not always be ideal for offensive opera-tions. A platoon’s ability to move, acquire the enemy, and control or request fires will beaffected during periods of limited visibility. Equipment and training can help offset theeffects. The platoon leader will have to adapt certain techniques or modify his tactics whenoperating under adverse conditions. This discussion covers the effects of limited visibilitycaused by adverse terrain or weather conditions and describes techniques for coping withthese limitations.

The platoon often participates in offensive operations during periods of limited visibility.The concealment provided by adverse weather, nightfall, or smoke can favor the attacker bypermitting him to mass forces and strike an unwarned enemy. The ability to surprise theenemy, plus the increased shock effect caused by an unseen attacker, may permit a smallerforce to successfully attack and destroy a larger force.

During periods of limited visibility, the radio may become the primary means of commu-nication. The commander decides whether visual signals—aided by the use of chemicallights, flashlights, or pyrotechnics-can provide secure, adequate communication or whetherthe radio must be employed.

When planning a night attack, commanders and leaders should make a detailed day andnight reconnaissance of the route of march to the platoon points of departure. When apassage of lines is required, the reconnaissance should be conducted jointly with the passedunit at the passage point. Additional control measures such as direction of attack, probableline of deployment, and limit of advance may be used to aid in the C2 of an operation.Night operations using traditional illumination such as flares should be avoided. Flares maysilhouette attacking forces or alert the enemy to the pending attack.

The following paragraphs describe some useful ways to offset the effects of limited visi-bility:


When navigation is degraded because of inability to see terrain features, a compassand the vehicle odometer are used to navigate.

The distance between vehicles should be decreased so that vehicle commanders cansee each other to orient and provide overwatch. Crews can use white or luminoustape to outline unit marking panels. Flashlights, chemical lights, or dome lights canbe fixed to the turret side or rear, the bustle rack, or the vehicle antenna. The columnformation can also alleviate orientation problems. Platoons should employ travelingoverwatch and bounding overwatch techniques internally when overwatch by anotherplatoon is not possible.


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FM 17-18

When natural obstacles (cliffs, holes, or cuts) are difficult to see, a detailed mapstudy should be conducted before the operation to determine the best route. Whenmoving with light infantry, the infantry can be used to move forward of the vehiclesto reconnoiter. The column formation can minimize the chance of encounteringunseen natural obstacles.

Enemy acquisition.

In limited visibility conditions, the enemy may not be observed until he fires.Therefore, every movement must be overmatched. Elements should use the avenue ofapproach least likely to be watched by the enemy; this may cause him to shift hispositions and give away his location. Every thermal or visual enemy signature, nomatter how small, should be engaged. For example, the thermal signature of a tankcommander’s face may be the only detectable signature of a hull-down enemy tank.

Once a vehicle or section has located the enemy, it may have difficulty alerting therest of the platoon. A steady burst of machine gun fire in the direction of the enemycan be used to orient the rest of the platoon to the direction and general position.

Control of direct and indirect fires.

Limited visibility conditions or terrain may make it impossible for all of the vehiclesin the platoon to see the enemy target. The platoon leader may not be able todetermine which vehicles can engage before he issues a platoon fire command. Afterreceiving the fire command, vehicle commanders who cannot see the target shouldreport “CANNOT IDENTIFY” to the platoon leader.

When the platoon leader cannot determine a six-digit coordinate for the enemyposition (for example, if he only sees muzzle flashes), he can use the shift from aknown point method or polar method.

Extremes of Terrain. The following considerations apply to light armor employment inseveral types of difficult terrain:

Forest and jungle. Heavy woods restrict the effectiveness of long-range fires and reduceM8 movement to trails, roads, and cleared areas. Since enemy infantry can operatefreely in wooded areas and can surprise M8 positions, armored units must operateclosely with infantry. For more information on jungle operations, see FM 90-5.

Mountains. In rugged mountainous terrain, light armor forces are restricted to valleysand roads. From high ground, the enemy can engage the relatively thin armor on thetop of the turret. Light armor units should operate with infantry when conducting op-erations in mountainous terrain. For more information concerning operations in amountainous region, see FM 90-6.

Arctic terrain and extreme cold. Extreme cold and its effect on men and equipmentmake operations in arctic terrain difficult. Thin ice, ice ridges, deep snow, and ravineshinder light armor movement. The absence of terrain features makes navigation diffi-cult, and the intense white environment makes a camouflaged enemy difficult to see.For more information on arctic terrain and extreme cold, see FM 31-70.

Desert. The desert may offer few covered and concealed positions. Once contact ismade, units should return fire, continue to move, and use smoke to obscure themselvesfrom enemy gunners. Moving units are exposed for longer periods and must use artil-lery, careful selection of routes, and high speeds to reduce exposure. Perceived rangesare distorted by the absence of terrain features. Targets that appear 2 or 3 kilometers


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FM 17-18away may actually be 5 kilometers or more. Shapes are distorted by the effects of heat.The lack of identifiable terrain features also makes navigation difficult, especially atnight. For more information on desert operations, see FM 90-3.

Section V. Defensive OperationsThis section describes the most common defensive missions conducted by the light armor

platoon while operating with light infantry during defensive operations.The light armor platoon operates with a light infantry battalion in closed terrain lacking in

long-range observation and fields of fire. The light armor platoon, therefore, may not al-ways be able to defend from BPs. Typically, the light armor platoon is used in the lightinfantry defense as a mobile reserve and counterattack force in the sector or antiarmordefense. Platoon BPs are used in strongpoint and perimeter defenses or in sector defenseswhen enemy armor or motorized avenues of approach exist.


The platoon defensive fire plan enables the platoon leader to distribute and control fires insupport of the commander’s defensive concept. It assists the commander in preparing his fireplan. If part of the platoon area is threatened, the platoon leader can use the fire plan todetermine which weapon can cover the threatened area. Using radio or SOP signals, he canthen direct fires to destroy the enemy.

To develop a defensive fire plan, the platoon leader must—Decide where to engage the enemy.Assign a location for vehicles and sectors of fire. A sector of fire is the area where anM8 has primary responsibility for acquiring and engaging the enemy. Sectors of fireshould overlap between individual vehicles and with adjacent elements on the platoon’sflanks.Designate TRPs and recommend indirect fire targets in the platoon sector. The companyor battalion FSO assigns numbers to the indirect fire targets.Coordinate with adjacent units.Evaluate information from his vehicle commanders to determine if they can effectivelyobserve and engage targets and TRPs within their sectors. Vehicle commanders preparea sketch card for each position and give a copy to the platoon leader.

Develop a sketch of the platoon’s sector, with a list of direct fire engagements and alegend, for all primary, alternate and supplementary firing positions (see Figure 4-49).The sketch should include—

The platoon sector.

Individual vehicle positions.


TRPs and EAs.


Indirect fire targets.

Give a copy of the platoon fire plan to the light infantry commander as well as to eachof his MS commanders.


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FM 17-18The legend lists targets in the sector and M8s that can fire on those targets. It should also

explain the direct fire and indirect fire graphics, as well as obstacles and barriers within thesector of responsibility. The obstacles can assist in the defense by canalizing the enemy intoan EA. Standard military symbols are used to depict the obstacles and barriers, whichshould be covered by direct or indirect fire.


Ideally, the light armor platoon will be able to thoroughly prepare for defensive opera-tions. It can conduct reconnaissance, position preparation, fire planning, and rehearsals. Ifpossible, it occupies positions during limited visibility to mask preparations from the enemy.

Many tasks are accomplished concurrently. The infantry battalion commander may givepriority to specific tasks based on his defensive plan. He may also need some advice for theemployment of the light armor platoon. The light armor platoon leader is normally thesenior armor advisor to the light infantry battalion commander. The following are the areasthat the light armor platoon leader should consider when preparing for the defense. This listalso includes issues the light infantry battalion commander may ask the platoon leader about.

Establish Security. The light armor platoon cannot provide its own security in closeterrain. Mobility is a major factor in the survivability of the platoon. If the platoon mustremain stationary to prepare defensive positions or in reserve, light infantry is needed to


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FM 17-18

secure the immediate area. MS crewmen are vulnerable to sniper attack when placed inclosed terrain since the crewmen must usually unbutton to enhance visibility. The three-mancrew characteristic of the MS considerably limits the platoon’s ability to provide local secu-rity. Enemy light infantry will use stealth, darkness, and restrictive terrain to maneuveraround armored vehicles; the enemy will then attack the vehicles with flank and rear shotsusing conventional antitank weapons as well as satchel charges, Molotov co*cktails, andthermite grenades. In continuous operations, a dismounted force must be augmented to fa-cilitate local security.

Select M8 Positions. The platoon leader will be the primary planner in choosing individ-ual M8 positions. The platoon leader must understand the infantry commander's defensiveplan and know what his targets are. He selects the location where he wants to kill the enemyand positions his M8s where they best support that location.

Prioritize Targets. The light armor platoon leader will most likely be responsible forexecuting a priority target if his position overmatches an obstacle, mounted avenue of ap-proach, or other key point of the defense.

Disseminate the Final Protective Fires (FPF). The platoon leader must disseminate tothe rest of the platoon the location of indirect targets and the FPF. This is important becausethe light armor platoon will probably have a key role in a counterattack by fire and/ormaneuver.

Distribute the Sector Sketch. The platoon sector sketch, with individual M8 sectorsketches, must be compiled and given to the infantry commander (company or battalion) andto adjacent units.

Clear Fields of Fire. If clear fields of fire do not exist, the platoon may be required toconduct some clearing on its own, or it may be assisted by engineers or infantry.

Understand the Obstacle Plan. Light armor platoons will normally not employ or planthe locations of obstacles, but they must have an understanding of the battalion commander’sobstacle plan. The M8’s long range and lethal weapon systems make it effective in over-matching obstacles (such as during a displacement) and preventing enemy breaching opera-tions.

Prepare Fighting Positions. If engineer support is from division light engineers, diggingassets may be limited, and light armor platoons may not be provided with standard fightingpositions. Innovation may be necessary in constructing hasty fighting or hide positions; lightarmor may have to use existing terrain, buildings, or other means for protection. Corpsengineer assets, when available, can construct two-tier fighting positions under the supervi-sion of each tank commander.

Establish Wire Communications. Wire communications are maximized during the de-fense. Radio traffic must be minimized. Each vehicle should be linked by wire, and theplatoon should be linked to its higher headquarters by wire.

Stock Forward Supply Points. The platoon leader should discuss the resupply plan withthe battalion supply officer (S4) to ensure he can receive critical ammunition and fuel whenneeded. Caches of bulky supply items typical of light armor units should be constructed.The limited transportation assets organic to light battalions magnify the need to prestockduring the preparation phase. The light armor platoon may have to help transport criticalClass IV and V supplies from the caches to forward supply points or obstacle emplacementsites. Forward supply points should not be directly in front of fighting positions.


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FM 17-18Reconnoiter Movement and Counterattack Routes. It is critical that the platoon leader,

and each M8 tank commander, if possible, reconnoiter the route(s) established for movementor counterattack. Closed terrain may require accompanying infantry for security duringmovement. Heavy vegetation or defiles may slow the platoon’s ability to execute rapidmovement to a counterattack position. The leaders should rehearse the movement and deter-mine the time required for the move.

Prepare Alternate and Supplementary Positions. M8s are usually the priority target ofthe enemy. Platoon leaders must identify alternate and supplementary positions to move towhen receiving fire or covering other portions of an engagement area.

Initiate Deception Measures. Because the M8 is a valuable asset in the light infantrydefense, the enemy will seek to identify these vehicles early. An ambitious deception planmay be needed to deny the enemy information relating to the size, location, and dispositionof the light armor unit. Techniques for deception include use of decoy vehicles or soundeffects (PSYOP units have loudspeaker sections that can be very easily prepared for thispurpose) to disguise the actual positions or movement of the M8s. The visual and audiblesignatures of the M8 make it easy for the enemy to identify and locate in an environmentthat is dominated by dismounted forces. Leaders, however, can use this to their advantageas a deceptive measure during the preparation phase by positioning M8s in different areas ofthe defense.


When the terrain gives friendly forces the opportunity to defend from a BP, the lightarmor platoon uses the same defense as a tank platoon to control fires and movement. Thisdefense is designed to concentrate direct fires at critical places and times to take advantageof available terrain. The light infantry battalion commander will assign the light armorplatoon a BP when it dominates an armor or motorized avenue of approach.

The commander specifies critical tasks for platoons defending from BPs. A minimumlevel of preparation is assigned at each BP (occupy, prepare, or reconnoiter) to enable theplatoon to accomplish its mission. The platoon orients its weapon systems on an enemyavenue of approach using designated EAs and sectors of fire established by TRPs. Othertasks may include—

Destroying a specified enemy force, such as an enemy motorized company, fromthe BP.

Controlling key terrain or blocking an avenue of approach by holding the BP against adetermined assault.

Reorienting weapon systems on a secondary or flanking avenue of approach from sup-plemental positions.

Disengaging and moving to a subsequent BP when the enemy has passed a TRP or EA(break point) with a force of specified size.

Assisting in any other task necessary to accomplish the infantry’s mission (for example,assisting in passage of lines or reaming contact points).

The platoon positions its elements and maneuvers freely within the limits of the BP toaccomplish the commander’s intent. Engagement and disengagement criteria are included inthe OPORD and must be understood by tank commanders. If the platoon leader must posi-tion elements outside the BP to make better use of terrain, increase dispersion, or maximizefirepower, he coordinates locations with the commander (see Figure 4-50).


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FM 17-18


The purpose of a defense in sector is to destroy the enemy force forward of a rearboundary. A light armor platoon is not usually assigned a defense in sector mission whendefending as part of a light infantry TF. A platoon is assigned a defend in sector mission aspart of a light armor company team when—

The enemy situation is vague.

Multiple avenues of approach in company areas of responsibility cannot be covered bymutually supporting platoon BPs.

Retention of terrain is not critical to success of the defense.

Maximum flexibility is desired.

When defending in sector, the platoon uses mutually supporting fires to destroy the en-emy, moves and concentrates fires to disrupt and destroy enemy formations, and counterat-tacks as needed to accomplish the mission. The platoon leader must correctly identify po-tential enemy avenues of approach entering his sector from the front, flanks, and rear. As inplanning a BP, the company team commander selects tentative weapon positions to coverthese avenues with tire and observation. He allocates space to platoons, giving them BPs,sectors, or a combination of both. If absolutely necessary, he task organizes platoons basedon his estimate.

In a defend in sector operation, the antiarmor defense allows for planned penetrations,counterattacks, and ambushes throughout the enemy formation. The antiarmor defense isused against a superior armored or motorized enemy in close terrain. It is the mostoffensively oriented defensive technique that light infantry can employ. The battalion is


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FM 17-18assigned a sector by brigade. The battalion commander analyzes his sector according to theestimate process. He may in turn assign sectors to his companies, or he may assign somecompanies sectors and some BPs. The sector is organized to make maximum use ofdispersed small-unit tactics (down to squad level) to attack the enemy throughout the depthof his formations.

The primary focus of the technique is on the enemy force; it prevents the attacker fromfocusing full combat power at one point. Its goal is to reduce enemy forces by attrition witha series of antiarmor ambushes. The light armor platoon can be used in this mission toconcentrate firepower or as a mobile reserve to exploit success or defeat enemy penetrations.Figure 4-51 shows an example of a light infantry battalion antiarmor defense.

With some slight adjustments, this tech-nique can be used—

To deny the enemy the use of a trailor road network in an area of restric-tive terrain.

To deny a chokepoint to the enemy.This could be a mountain pass, abridge crossing, or a highway throughwooded terrain.

To deny the passage of dismounted in-fantry or infiltrating guerrilla forcesthrough close terrain.

To defeat a motorized enemy that isattempting a move through restrictiveterrain.


A reverse slope defense is organized touse a topographical crest to mask thefriendly force from enemy observation andsupporting tires. Figure 4-52 illustrates or-ganization of this defense. The battalioncommander may adopt reverse slope posi-tions for defensive elements when— -

Enemy fire or lack of cover and concealment makes occupation of the forward slopedangerous or tactically infeasible.

The forward slope has been lost or has not yet been gained.

The forward slope is exposed to enemy direct fires from beyond the effective range ofthe defender’s weapons. Moving to the reverse slope removes the attacker’s standoffadvantage.

The terrain of the reverse slope affords better fields of fire than are available on theforward slope.

The defender must avoid creating a dangerous salient or reentrant in friendly lines.

The commander wants to surprise the enemy or deceive him as to the true location ofthe battalion’s defensive positions.


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FM 17-18

Advantages of the reverse slope defense include the following:

Enemy ground observation of the battle area is masked, even from surveillance devicesand radar.

Enemy direct fire weapons cannot effectively fire on the position without coming withinrange of the defender’s weapons.

The enemy is forced to try to breach obstacles on the reverse slope within direct firerange of the defender’s weapons. The attacker cannot locate these obstacles until heruns into them.

The enemy can be deceived as to friendly strength and location.

Enemy indirect fire is less effective.

The defender gains tactical surprise.

The lack of enemy ground observation allows more freedom of movement within thebattle area.

If positions are properly positioned, M8s, Dragons, TOWs, and MK 19s can mass fireson the reverse military crest; infantry small arms can contribute their close fires to thebattle.

The unit can dig in more quickly, even when enemy ground forces are approaching,because the slope of the hill covers and conceals the unit from direct tire andobservation. Defenders can make more thorough position preparations.

The terrain protects the unit from the blast and thermal effects of enemy and friendlynuclear weapons.

Disadvantages of a reverse slope defense include the following:

Observation of the enemy may be limited, and the defender may be unable to coverobstacles to the front with direct fires.

The range of vital direct fire weapons such as M8s and TOWs may be limited by thetopographical crest; they also may have to be positioned away from the infantry toexploit their range.

The enemy will be able to attack downhill from high ground, while a friendly counter-attack will be uphill. This may provide a psychological advantage to the enemy.

Effectiveness of this defense is reduced in limited visibility because the reverse militarycrest must be controlled.

The battalion commander organizes the reverse slope defensive position in accordancewith procedures and considerations that apply to all defensive techniques. The forward edgeof the position should be within small arms range of the crest; however, it should be farenough from the crest that fields of fire allow the defender time to place well-aimed fire onthe enemy before he reaches friendly positions. The reverse slope position is most effectivewhen the forward slope can be covered by flanking fires from units on adjacent terrain.

A security force should be established to the front of the position to stop or delay theenemy, disorganize his attack, and deceive him as to the location of the position. When thissecurity element is withdrawn, observation, indirect fire, and security must be maintained tothe front. OPs are established on or forward of the topographical crest. This allows long-range observation over the entire front and makes it possible to cover forward obstacles withindirect fires. OPs are usually provided by the reserve; they may vary in size from a fewsoldiers to a reinforced squad. They should include forward observers. At night, the numberof OPs should be increased to improve security.


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FM 17-18

Conduct of the reverse slope defense closely parallels that of a forward slope defense.M8s, TOWs, and MK 19s may be positioned first on the forward slope to engage the enemyat long ranges. As the enemy nears, they move to positions on the reverse slope or on theforward slope of the next hill to the rear (counterslope).

The reverse slope defense can be adapted to fit a particular tactical situation based on thefactors of METT-T; examples are illustrated in Figure 4-53. Possible adaptations include thefollowing:

Firing positions are prepared on or forward of the topographical crest when thecommander wants to use the fields of fire afforded by the forward slope. Mostpersonnel remain on the reverse slope to reduce their exposure to fire; only a skeletonforce is kept forward to slow the attacker while the remainder of the friendly forceoccupies reverse slope fighting positions. Reserves (such as a light armor platoon) areheld in covered positions. These forces are used for counterattacks around the flanks ofthe hill.The enemy may be denied the hill or suffer high casualties fighting for it even if neitherthe forward slope nor the reverse slope is suitable for a BP. The defender can engagethe enemy on the reverse slope from positions on other hills. Mortars, artillery, andlong-range machine gun fires are targeted on the reverse slope, the crest, and theforward slope. Positioning elements on flanking hills often allows grazing machine gunfire against otherwise protected areas just over the crest.


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FM 17-18


This is conducted in the same manner as defense of a BP except the perimeter defenseorients on 360 degrees. The perimeter defense is often used as a light infantry technique.The light armor platoon participates in the perimeter defense as part of the light infantry TFdefense. Perimeters may be used to defend—

Assembly areas (refer to FM 17-15 for AA procedures).

Specific installations or equipment (TOC, downed aircraft, bridges, airfields, roadblocks).

Key terrain (bridge, hilltop, pickup zone, landing zone, lodgement area).

As part of a brigade perimeter, airhead, or lodgement.


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FM 17-18

While a BP can allow some penetration, a perimeter cannot. Perimeter defenses are usedto protect the force, hold specific terrain, or protect a key installation from destruction.Flanks of all units are tied in to provide mutual support, and positions are planned in depth.If the perimeter is penetrated, the light armor platoon can be used to block the penetrationor to counterattack to restore the perimeter. M8s are positioned on the most likely enemymounted avenues of approach. Mortars are usually positioned in the center of the perimeterand can fire 360 degrees.

Patrols are used to provide security to the light armor platoon. Using the M8 platoon inthe perimeter defense provides flexibility to counterattack in any direction, allows occupationand control of a specific area, and provides ease of control.


A strongpoint is a defensive position that is fortified as extensively as time and materialsallow. It is used to hold key terrain critical for the defense, to provide a pivot for themaneuver of friendly forces, and to canalize the enemy into friendly EAs. A strongpointmay be part of any defensive plan. It may be built to protect vital units or installations, asan anchor or anvil around which light armor units maneuver, or as part of a trap designed todestroy enemy forces that attack. It may be in an urban area or in a wilderness.

A strongpoint is attacked at the risk of high casualties. It cannot easily be overrun orbypassed. It is tied in with existing obstacles, forcing the enemy to reduce it by dismountedassaults and massive artillery and tactical air concentrations.

While the size and type of force selected to execute a strongpoint defense will varyaccording to the situation, an infantry unit is normally used, with light armor retained formobility. A unit required to defend a strongpoint will need a significant amount of time andengineer resources to construct the position. Defense of a strongpoint is sometimes an exten-sion of a defense of a BP. Depending on the commander’s intent, BPs can be developed intostrongpoints if time, terrain, and resources allow.

The strongpoint must be planned so that it can be reduced only with the expenditure ofoverwhelming forces and much time. Each primary, alternate, and supplemental positionmust be dug in. Positions should be connected by tunnels or trenches if time permits. Eachindividual vehicle position must be connected by wire to the platoon leader’s position, andthe platoon and section leaders’ positions must be wired into the infantry commander’sposition. The wire must be dug in to protect it from enemy indirect fires. This can beaccomplished by laying wire through sewers and tunnels or by burying it.

Direct fire plans should provide mutual support and overlapping fires to the greatestextent possible. To reduce vulnerability, primary positions and sectors of fire are augmentedby alternate and supplemental positions and sectors of fire.

Because of the nature of the operation, strongpoints are located in restrictive terrain, suchas urban areas, mountains, and thick forests that cannot be easily bypassed. Since the unitmust prevent the enemy from bypassing or reducing the strongpoint, priority tasks for engi-neers are countermobility and survivability.

Light infantry units may be directed to construct a strongpoint as part of a larger overalldefensive plan. They must be augmented with extensive engineer support, additional keyweapon systems, pioneer tools, additional transportation assets, and CSS resources. Tooffset some of the support requirements, the commander may decide to take advantage of anexisting obstacle, such as a town or village, to reduce the time required to develop astrongpoint.


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FM 17-18The following critical aspects of the strongpoint defense should be incorporated into the

overall plan:

Covered and concealed routes are constructed or planned between positions, alongroutes of supply and communication, and to support counterattacks and maneuverwithin the strongpoint.

Food, water, ammunition, pioneer tools, and medical supplies are stockpiled in eachfighting position.

The strongpoint is divided into several independent but mutually supporting positions orsectors. If one of the positions or sectors must be evacuated or is overrun, obstaclesand fires limit the enemy penetration and support a counterattack by M8s.

Obstacles and minefield are constructed to disrupt and canalize enemy formations, toreinforce fires, and to protect the strongpoint from assault. The obstacles and minesare placed as far out as friendly units can observe and cover with tire, within thestrongpoint itself, behind the strongpoint, and at points in between where they will beuseful.

Several means of communication within the strongpoint and with higher headquartersare planned and tested. These include radio, wire, messenger, pyrotechnics, and othersignals. The strongpoint is improved or repaired until the unit is relieved or withdrawn.Additional positions can be built, tunnels and trenches dug, existing positions improvedor repaired, and barriers built or fixed.

The strongpoint position itself must be an obstacle to enemy mounted movement.


A small, well-organized, determined force defending a BUA can hold off a much largerattacker for long periods of time. Strongly constructed cities give the defender a decidedadvantage. Each building or group of buildings is a potential strongpoint for light infantry.

The light infantry battalion combines BUA techniques with the elastic and strongpointdefensive techniques. The urban defense may force the enemy into planned EAs that arecovered by antiarmor or light armor platoon BPs. Forward BPs or covering forces may beemployed to disorganize and confuse the enemy as to the main defenses. Behind the BPs,defenses are set up to protect the friendly support element and stop the deepest penetrationof the attacking force. Light armor may be located within this defense, on the flanks in BPs,or as a mobile counterattack force.

Light infantry battalions are employed in the urban defense to block the penetration of theenemy and to protect friendly logistics elements. The keys to success in this defense aresurprise, effective use of terrain, protection, and coordinated massing of fires. An exampleof a light infantry urban defense with M8s is shown in Figure 4-54.


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FM 17-18

Light infantry commanders should consider the following when integrating light armorinto the urban defense plan:

Light armor BPs must be positioned to mass their fires on the enemy from multipledirections to maximize destructive capability while minimizing vulnerability to enemyattacks.

M8 fires must be included in the obstacle plan and counterattack plan.

Use destroyed BUAs as obstacles when they give significant advantage to the direct fireplan.

If terrain permits, light armor defenses can be established forward of a BUA.

Adjacent terrain can be used to integrate M8s into the defense.

Use light armor to assist security forces in limiting enemy ground reconnaissanceand infiltration.

Use obstacles, mines, and antitank augmentation to prevent enemy armor penetration ofBPs.

Use restrictive missions and detailed control measures to facilitate decentralizedexecution and prevent fratricide.

Light armor leaders must know what passive resistance measures have been taken alongthe enemy’s avenue of approach. Passive resistance includes removing route indicatorsand minefield markers and weakening bridges and culverts. M8 commanders must knowthese plans. Failure to know what passive measures have been taken may causeunnecessary mistakes and/or injury to M8 crewmen.

Light armor leaders must be aware of patrol plans to prevent firing on friendly units.Extensive infantry patrolling is conducted to prevent enemy infiltration. Long- andshort-range recognition signals should be incorporated into the security plan.

Some M8s may be held in reserve to counterattack enemy attempts to envelop the town,while others provide direct FS for the infantry defense.

LOCs must be controlled to provide the M8s with medical evacuation and resupply ofClasses I, III, and V.


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FM 17-18

Use of M8s in defensive street fighting is limited. Streets and alleys provide limitedfields of fire. Restricted observation and the proximity of friendly troops to enemy targetswill limit the use of armor fires. However, when the town itself occupies the dominatingterrain in the vicinity, it may be organized as a key part of the BP or strongpoint.

When the town itself is organized as a defensive position, light armor commanders selectprimary, alternate, and supplementary positions. Because observation in BUAs is greatlyrestricted, OPs should be set up and communications improvised between them and the M8s.These OPs should not he placed in steeples, prominent towers, or other obvious locationswhich the enemy is likely to suspect and take under fire.

Light armor unit commanders, when reconnoitering for covered routes of advance andwithdrawal, should not overlook the possibility of moving through ground-floor lobbies andcorridors of the larger buildings. This type of route requires careful marking, but has theadvantage of being largely concealed from aerial observation. A careful reconnaissance,made with engineer assistance, if possible, is necessary to determine whether the floors willsupport the M8.


Early in the planning stage, the commander makes important decisions concerning thesize, composition, and mission of the reserve. The primary purpose of the reserve is toretain flexibility, reinforce success, or regain the initiative through counterattacks. Secondarypurposes of the reserve are—

To contain or counterattack enemy forces that have penetrated.

To relieve depleted units and provide for continuous operations.

To attack enemy forces not yet in contact.

As a last resort, to react to rear area threats.

A light infantry battalion conducting a deliberate attack may initially retain a light armorplatoon in reserve. A reserve is held to exploit success and continue an attack already underway, to maintain momentum of an attack by adding an armor unit at a critical time, and toprovide security. The reserve is an active, not reactive, force and is not used to reinforcefailure.

When employed in a positional defense, such as perimeter defense or a BP, light armorreserves can be used to conduct attacks against enemy penetrations by striking a decisiveblow against an uncovered enemy flank. Additionally, should the enemy’s attack fail, re-serves could be used to regain initiative.


The platoon may participate in a counterattack to exploit an existing enemy weakness inthe AO. An element counterattacks to—

Destroy enemy units.

Regain freedom of maneuver.

Regain the initiative.

Regain key terrain.

Relieve pressure on an engaged unit.


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FM 17-18A platoon executes two types of coun-

terattacks which are discussed in the fol-lowing paragraphs.

Counterattack by Fire. Acounterattack by fire is executed tocomplete the destruction of exposed enemyelements, to free decisively engagedelements, and to regain the initiative. Theplatoon executes a counterattack by fire bymoving on a secured, concealed route to apredetermined BP from which it canengage the enemy in the flank and/or rearwhile other units hold their positions andcontinue to engage and maintain contactwith the enemy (see Figure 4-55). Whennecessary, the platoon leader requestspermission to maneuver outside thepredetermined BP by prior planning,coordination with the commander, orimmediate request. If this maneuverinfluences another unit’s mission, thecommander is responsible for coordinationwith that unit.

Counterattack by Fire and Maneuver.A company team normally usescounterattack by fire and maneuver todestroy remaining enemy elementscompletely, relieve pressure on a friendlyunit, or regain key terrain. Thecounterattack force hits the enemy on theflank if possible, using fire and maneuverto overwhelm and destroy him. A platooncounterattacks by fire and maneuver in amanner similar to a hasty attack (seeFigure 4-56).

LIMITED VISIBILITYAlthough limited visibility creates

opportunities for deadly close-rangeengagements that will achieve surprise, thepossibility that the enemy may pass theplatoon’s position or close to point-blankrange must be considered in planning thedefense.

The fundamentals of defensive opera-tions do not change with limited visibility.Depending on the situation, the light armorplatoon should—

Occupy dominating positions alongavenues of approach when visibility isgood, and reposition closer to or oc-cupy the avenues of approach duringperiods of limited visibility.


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FM 17-18

Reconnoiter the limited visibility positions, mark them, and mark the routes to them.

Incorporate the use of night-vision devices (NVD) in the platoon fire plan and plan forindirect illumination to supplement passive image intensification or infrared night sights.

Request additional security forces, such as light infantry squads, to compensate for lackof traditional organic manpower because of the M8s’ three-man crews.

Enforce noise and light discipline.

Ambush as far forward and as many times as METT-T factors allow.

Section VI. Other Operations


The lodgement area is a designated, secure area that permits the air or sea landing offollow-on forces and provides the maneuver space needed for planned operations. The lodge-ment area is established by force or by a host nation.

After the initial insertion, the lodgement area is expanded. Expansion is usually followedby a defense until enough forces arrive to initiate offensive operations. Forces may includeCS and CSS elements as well as some corps or JTF assets.

Planning for defense of a lodgement area is similar to establishment of an airhead. Whenordered to establish and defend a lodgement area as an independent operation, the lightinfantry commander plans—

Task organization.

Assault objectives.

An airhead line and unit boundaries.

Reconnaissance and security.

Follow-on forces.

A reserve.

There are two basic types of lodgement operations, an opposed entry and an unopposedentry. Airborne infantry and light armor are employed in opposed entry lodgement opera-tions; light infantry and light armor forces are specifically designed for unopposed entrylodgement operations.

Opposed Entry. The opposed entry lodgement begins with the seizure of one or moreairfields. Seizing airfields facilitates the rapid introduction and buildup of combat forcesneeded to conduct further actions.

The phases of airfield seizure include the following:

Seizing key facilities and eliminating the enemy direct fire threat. The light armorplatoon, task organized to the assault TF, usually assaults directly onto the airfield,assembles rapidly, and moves to seize assault objectives and/or supports infantryassaults by fire. Light armor platoons may be required to destroy enemy bunkers andfortified positions, eliminate roadblocks, or support assaults of buildings on the airfield.

Isolating the lodgement from enemy reaction and indirect fire. Light armor platoons thatfollow the assault may participate in movement to contact to eventual establishment of ascreen (airhead line) to isolate the airfield from observed indirect fires and block accessby motorized or armored enemy forces. M8s may be required to assist in removingobstacles and towing vehicles from runways to allow follow-on aircraft to land.


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FM 17-18

Receiving follow-on forces that arrive by airlanding. Light armor platoons arriving inthe follow-on echelons act as reserve forces and, eventually, as offensive forces toaccomplish objectives of the campaign.

An airborne light armor platoon is task organized to an airborne infantry TF to seize anairfield. The battalion is usually part of a brigade-size TF that includes a light armor com-pany.

Unopposed Entry. An unopposed entry is usually executed at the request of the hostnation. Advance parties are sent ahead of the main body to make face-to-face coordinationwith host nation forces. Coordination may also be required with SOF or other units in thearea. Characteristics of planning by the staff include—

A movement plan that identifies when each element moves and where it is located.

A small advance party to assist in the orderly movement of vehicles from the carrier toan assembly area.

Preparations for quick transition to combat operations.

Identification (on operations overlays) of enemy elements that affect the entry unit (or,as a minimum, enemy forces operating in the AO).

Once the unopposed force is assembled at the arrival airfield, it operates and conductsmissions as directed by the parent headquarters. The tasks assigned to light armor for expan-sion, security, or offensive action are dependent upon the overall objectives and situation.


This discussion deals with the retrograde missions that light armor platoons may conductas part of a light infantry TF or light armor company. To conduct a retrograde operation,the light infantry unit must have mobility equal to or greater than that of the enemy. Lightinfantry can conduct retrograde missions against a light threat. Light armor units give thelight infantry the capability to conduct retrograde operations against a mounted or largedismounted threat.

Delay. The purpose of a delay is to slow the enemy or draw him into an unfavorablesituation by trading terrain for time while inflicting maximum damage. Enemy forces aredelayed by the effective use of obstacles, firepower, and terrain. Delaying forces avoiddecisive engagement. The delay can be oriented either on the enemy or on specified terrain.

When conducting the delay, friendly forces must always consider the intent of the com-mander. The light armor platoon conducts a delay as part of a larger unit. A light infantrybattalion conducting a delay may require the platoon to attack, defend, screen, ambush, raid,or feint. The considerations of planning and executing a delay at platoon level are the sameas for defensive operations, with emphasis on—

Avoiding decisive engagement.

Avoiding being outmaneuvered.

Causing the enemy to conduct successive attacks.

Preserving the freedom to maneuver.

Preserving the force.

Light infantry battalions delay aggressively, but because of the limited range of theirorganic weapons, they cannot delay continuously. They delay the enemy by engaging him


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FM 17-18

from the front, flanks, and rear with multiple ambushes and surprise attacks. They can useartillery, mortar, and M8 fire to disrupt the enemy’s movement, causing him to take coverand move more cautiously. Friendly forces then withdraw to alternate positions to engagethe enemy again; as they do, part of the delaying force may stay behind and continue toaggressively engage subsequent enemy echelons and CS and CSS elements.

Enemy-oriented delays focus on keeping the enemy from advancing faster than a specifiedrate. Control measures that are most often used in this type of operation include the follow-ing:

PL. The commander specifies that the enemy is to be held beyond the PL for a speci-fied time or until a specific event occurs.

Sector. As in the defense, the sector allows wide latitude in the conduct of the delay.PLs can be used with sectors if the commander desires more control.

BP. BPs can be used with phase lines and sectors or alone. In the delay, a unit fightingfrom a BP must be able to stop the enemy’s advance along his most likely avenue ofapproach, not just deny access to the position it occupies. Units can delay fromsuccessive positions or alternate positions. Light infantry can delay from successivepositions only if it has a mobility advantage over the enemy or the enemy advance isnot aggressive. Once light infantry leaves prepared positions to move, it is vulnerable.This vulnerability is increased if the enemy is not suppressed as the light infantrymoves. Light armor can be used to provide this suppression.

Terrain-oriented delays require the retention of specified terrain for a specified time oruntil a specified event occurs. They are often vital to continued friendly operations in agiven area; however, they carry the risks inherent in any mission that requires delay until aspecified time or event.

Withdrawal. The purpose of a withdrawal is to disengage from the enemy. Light infan-try needs equal or greater mobility than the enemy to successfully conduct a withdrawal.There are two types of withdrawals—a withdrawal under enemy pressure and a withdrawalnot under enemy pressure. A withdrawal under enemy pressure requires maneuver to breakcontact. In this case, the unit is under attack from the enemy. Withdrawal not under enemypressure requires deception and speed. The unit is not under attack and does not expect tobe attacked during the withdrawal.

During a withdrawal, deception and operational security are stressed. A unit conducting awithdrawal not under enemy pressure from a defensive position is organized into a mainbody and a DLIC. A unit conducting a withdrawal under enemy pressure is organized into asecurity force and a main body. The withdrawal should always be conducted to precludediscovery. Timing is critical. The unit must disengage by using massed fires and redeploybefore the enemy can react to its movement. Light armor platoons can assist the lightinfantry in conducting withdrawals.

The withdrawal plan must be modified to fit the technique used to defend or delay.Defense or delay techniques that are fluid and use a series of ambushes and raids to accom-plish the mission can use withdrawal techniques associated with those operations. Defensesor delays that are more static require different withdrawal techniques. The techniques usedfor a unit to withdraw from a BP must be enhanced by a plan that addresses the elementsdiscussed in the following paragraphs.

The DLIC. The size, makeup and mission of the DLIC is directed by the battalioncommander. He will also name the DLIC commander. This is normally the battalion XO.


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FM 17-18

Although one company could serve as the DLIC, the light armor platoon can also be part ofthe battalion DLIC, which may include TOWsfrom the antiarmor platoon or company toprovide further mobility. The DLIC usually includes infantry squads, which must be movedon the M8s or HMMWVs. When the withdrawal starts, the DLIC comes under control ofthe DLIC commander.

The Security Force. The M8 platoon can assist as part of the security force, whichconceals the withdrawal of the main body and deceives the enemy by continuing the battal-ion’s normal operational patterns. If the enemy attacks during a withdrawal, the securityforce covers the withdrawal with fires. Priority of artillery and mortar fires is given to thesecurity force. Once the battalion has reached its next position or a designated distance fromthe old position, the commander withdraws the security force. If under attack, the securityforce may have to maneuver to the rear until contact is broken.

The Quartering Party. Each unit sends a quartering party to the next position before thewithdrawal starts. As their units arrive at the new location, members of the quartering partyact as guides to lead elements into their new positions.

Retirement. In a retirement operation, a force not in contact moves away from theenemy to avoid combat under unfavorable conditions. A retirement may be made to increasethe distance between the defender and the enemy, to occupy more favorable terrain, toreduce the distance between maneuver and CSS elements, to conform to the disposition of ahigher command, or to permit employment of a unit in another sector. A withdrawal be-comes a retirement after the main force has disengaged from the enemy and march columnshave been formed. A battalion usually conducts a retirement as part of a larger force.

The prospect of retirement may have an adverse impact on unit morale. Leadership mustbe positive, and discipline must be maintained. Rumors related to the retirement can bestopped by keeping troops informed of the purpose of the retirement and the future inten-tions of the leaders.

Planning considerations for a retirement are similar to those for delay and withdrawal.Movement during reduced visibility is preferred. Light infantry battalions usually seek tomove on multiple routes for reasons of dispersion, speed, and security. This may require thelight armor platoon to split into sections to support each route.

Appropriate advance, flank, and rear security is provided. When contact with the enemyis possible, such as when a withdrawal has preceded retirement, a light armor security forceshould be employed. If the enemy attacks the rear, delay tactics are used by the light armorplatoon to extend the distance between the main body and the enemy.


The purpose of a reconnaissance in force is to discover and test enemy dispositions,composition, strength, and intentions. The decision to reconnoiter in force is made afteranalyzing—

The enemy situation and the need for additional information.

The ability of other collection agencies to gather the desired information.

The extent to which future plans may be revealed to the enemy.

The possibility that the reconnoitering force may be engaged under unfavorableconditions.

Although a reconnaissance in force is an effective means of developing information aboutthe enemy, it should not be undertaken if the information can be acquired through othersources. The possibility of having a portion of the force engaged under unfavorable condi-tions must be a primary concern in planning.


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FM 17-18

A battalion is normally the smallest light infantry unit to conduct a reconnaissance inforce. It may be employed in such a role independently or as part of a larger force. Thelight armor platoon participates in the reconnaissance in force as a maneuver or FS force.Light armor used in this mission may only be effective against an armored, mechanized, ormotorized threat.

If a light infantry battalion is the reconnoitering force, it plans and executes either amovement to contact or an attack. The force must be strong enough to make the enemyreact, revealing weapons, positions, and planned use of resources. The mission assigned tothe unit may be to—

Secure a terrain objective that will force the enemy to react, and then to prepare tocontinue the attack from that objective.

Occupy a terrain objective that will force the enemy to react, and then return tofriendly positions.


Light armor platoons can provide convoy security, which is a challenging mission inoperations other than war. Supply convoys are high-payoff targets for guerrilla forces whomay lack the firepower to fight the force conventionally. Successful interdiction of supplylines can significantly weaken the force.

Convoy escort missions require the same tactical considerations as any offensive opera-tion. Protection of the convoy is a combined arms effort. The light armor platoon providesthe light infantry commander with mobility, firepower, and shock effect. Light armor pla-toons can conduct security alone, or with other elements such as MP and infantry TOW/MGHMMWVs. Organic field artillery units provide indirect FS along the entire route. Airreconnaissance aircraft can provide aerial reconnaissance and/or FS.

The convoy commander is responsible for the overall planning and execution of theconvoy operation. After the operation, the convoy commander should complete the localunit convoy debrief checklist and/or debrief the TF commander and S2 to provide input intothe intelligence collection effort. The convoy commander must consider the following whenplanning a convoy security mission:

Convoy organization, spacing, and weapons orientation.

Communication plan (including air, FS, and long range).

Timetables for movements.

Graphic control measures, including friendly units along the entire route, SPs, and RPs.

Security required during maintenance (including breakdowns), resupply, and rest halts.

Where combat assets will be positioned in the convoy to best protect the convoy.

Actions under hazardous weather conditions.

Actions on contact with the enemy and/or a minefield or obstacle.

Actions on a delay caused by the local populace, such as a nonoperational vehicleblocking the road.

Fire control measures and ROE.

Primary and alternate routes.


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FM 17-18

Light armor is well suited to protect convoys by deterring enemy ambushes or snipers. Ifdeterrence does not work, the M8 has the firepower and protection to eliminate the attacker.

The makeup of the force allocated to provide convoy security is based on the size of theconvoy and METT-T. The TF commander task organizes the forces available to provide thenecessary security and then appoints a convoy commander. MP platoons supporting a lightinfantry brigade may be sufficient. When needed, light armor may provide convoy security;such force may range from an M8 section augmenting an MP platoon to a full light armorcompany team providing the support.

The convoy commander is responsible for the overall planning and execution of theconvoy operation. The convoy security force is the operational control (OPCON) for theconvoy commander. He receives a mission, conducts a reconnaissance, plans the operation,issues orders, inspects personnel and vehicles, and synchronizes security. The convoy secu-rity commander may be a light armor company commander, platoon leader, military police(MP) platoon leader, or M8 section noncommissioned officer (NCO), depending on the sizeof the convoy.

Convoy escort missions generate unique circ*mstances that the convoy commander musttake into account when formulating his plan. In operations other than war, it may be advan-tageous to conduct convoys during daylight hours to deny a guerrilla force the veil ofdarkness in which it is most effective. Establishing a timetable is critical. Supporting unitsuse the timeline established by the commander to plan their internal operations and ensuretheir assets are available for timely support of the convoy.

Convoys are not standard; they vary in size and composition based on the current tacticaland logistical situation. The convoy commander must plan ahead, identify a security ele-ment, (an advance and rear guard if available) establish a time to consolidate, properly briefconvoy elements, and provide time for rehearsals.

A common convoy radio frequency must be established and disseminated to the entireforce for several reasons:

A convoy comprising armed wheeled and tracked vehicles may cause alarm among thepredominantly dismounted forces it is passing through, especially during hours oflimited visibility. By having a common convoy frequency, commanders of these forcescan track the progress of the convoy and quickly communicate with the convoycommander if necessary.

Each convoy will most likely comprise vehicles and personnel from different units.Once the convoy is constituted, the common frequency facilitates C2 until units reachthe release point.

Control of fires and rules of engagement are vital in preventing fratricide as the convoymoves in friendly areas. Personnel performing local security within the convoy itself mustbe briefed on locations of friendly forces along the route. If contact is made with smallguerrilla units, the convoy security commander must effectively control fires; he employsonly fires needed to defeat the enemy while avoiding collateral damage and casualties amongfriendly forces and in the local area.

Landmines are a significant and constant threat to convoys. Convoys will typically en-counter point-type minefield with no patterns to them, especially in operations other thanwar. A wide variety of mines may be found, requiring proper IPB obstacle templating,detection, removal, proofing, cleared route marking, and area clearance operations. Obvi-ously, the light armor security force will not have the assets or capabilities to accomplishthese tasks; however, certain precautions and actions are recommended:

Study landmine recognition handbooks.

Use authorized translators with the local populace to help identify mine locations.


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FM 17-18Expect constant changes in local mine emplacement techniques.

Ideally, the lead vehicle will be able to breach any mines encountered, or should callthe engineers forward to breach.

The proofing vehicle is the first vehicle through a breached lane, and may also markthe lane concurrently. Follow in the tracks of this vehicle.

Never pull, stack, or cut any wire (taut or slack), without first examining both ends formine/booby trap wires.

Institute a mine or suspicious object drill. This drill should include warning proce-dures, determination of type and limits, marking, reporting, avoidance/bypass, andcasualty evacuation.

Figure 4-57 shows an M8 platoon providing convoy security. The lead section (#1 and#2) leads the convoy and provides flank security to the right and/or left flank (based onMETT-T). The flank security M8 (#2) maintains a position approximately one-third of theway back from the head of the column. The trail section (#3 and #4) provides rear securityand flank security on the opposite side of the lead section. M8 #3 is positioned approxi-mately two-thirds back from the head of the column. M8s #2 and #3 react to contact by thelead or trail M8s, respectively, and support each other when contact is made on either flank.M8s #1 and #4 continue to move the column through the area. The security commander isthe platoon leader; he positions himself where he can best control the platoon. The convoycommander identifies vehicles to allow space for #2 and #3 to maneuver (in this case,vehicles #8 and #9). This keeps the convoy moving and allows #2 and #3 to suppress ordestroy any resistance.


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FM 17-18


In a passage of lines, one unit moves through another unit that is stationary and disposedin a tactical formation on a forward edge of battle area (FEBA). This mission may alsooccur when an exploiting force moves through a force that conducted the, initial attack.Movement in forward areas must be controlled, coordinated, and kept to a minimum toavoid conflict with friendly troops. Light forces must treat the positions of forward units asdanger areas that are under enemy surveillance in all weather or visibility conditions. De-tailed reconnaissance and coordination are crucial to ensure that the passage is conductedquickly and smoothly.

The light armor platoon is particularly vulnerable during a passage of lines. Per-sonnel and units may be overly concentrated; fires of the stationary unit may bemasked temporarily; and the disposition of the passing unit may not allow an effec-tive reaction to enemy forces.

The light armor platoon normally conducts the passage as part of a larger force such as alight armor company or light infantry battalion TF. The parent unit headquarters is responsi-ble for the coordination of the passage. The higher commander provides the M8 platoonleader with the necessary details.

The commander of the passing unit makes a tentative plan for the conduct of the overalloperation. The plan includes the following:

Organization. Unit and team integrity is maintained to provide better C2.

Order of movement. This is prescribed based on the number of passage points (PP),degree of security required, enemy situation, terrain, and the formation the unit will betraveling in after the passage. An order of movement reduces confusion and congestionby setting priorities on who moves and when.

Security. The light armor platoon can assist in the passage of lines by overmatching toprovide early warning and limited protection. It must enforce noise, light, and radiodiscipline.

C2. The technique of C2 depends on the number of PPs. Ideally, multiple PPs will beestablished. The unit commander must decide how he can influence the action bypositioning the M8 platoon. For example, if the battalion is conducting a passage oflines to attack forward of the FEBA, the M8s will probably follow the lead unit.

Control measures that can be incorporated into a passage of lines include the following:

Assembly areas. These are areas in which a force prepares or regroups for furtheraction. They are selected so as not to interfere with friendly forward positions.

Attack position. This is the last position an attacking force may occupy before crossingthe LD.

Passage lanes. These are lanes along which a passing unit moves to avoid stationaryunits and obstacles. Planning should provide for primary and alternate lanes.

PP. This is the point where units will pass through one another, either in an advance ora withdrawal. It is located where the commander wants subordinate units to physicallyexecute a passage of lines.

Time of passage. The specific time may be set by the commander ordering the passage.


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FM 17-18

Recognition signals. These are used to send messages. Signals may consist of one ormore letters, words, visual displays, characters, signal flags, or special sounds withprearranged meaning whereby individuals and units can be identified.

Contact point. This is the point on the terrain at which two or more units are requiredto make physical contact.

RP. This is a clearly defined control point on a route where specified units revert to thecontrol of their respective commanders. Each of these elements continues its movementtoward its own destination.

Route. This is the line of travel from a specific point of origin to a specific destination.

FS planning is an essential element for a successful passage of lines. M8 direct fires ofthe stationary unit are normally integrated into the FS plan of the passing unit. Assets andcontrol means may be collocated to provide coordinated and responsive support.

At a prearranged time, movement toward passage lanes begins. To increase speed andreduce vulnerability, multiple lanes are used consistent with the passing unit’s scheme ofmaneuver, available routes, and needs of the stationary force. Marches are carefully calcu-lated so that units arrive at passage lanes at the correct time with as few halts as possible enroute. At a location short of the PP, the recognition signal is identified, and a guide links upwith the passing unit. The guide taking the passing unit through the PP leads it throughfriendly obstacles to an RP.

The passing unit representative who conducted the last-minute coordination may positionhimself at the passage point to identify vehicles and troops as they move through the passagepoint. If necessary, challenges are made to ascertain whether units know the correct pass-word. Command groups of both units may be collocated at a point from which they canobserve critical areas, make timely decisions, and issue instructions to ensure the uninter-rupted movement of subordinate units.

During rearward passages, the danger of being fired on by friendly forces makes thecoordination of recognition signals critical. The stationary unit should be informed when thethe passing unit is just beyond direct fire range. This is normally accomplished by radio orother approved recognition signal. Once the stationary unit acknowledges the recognitionsignal, the passing unit moves to the PP. M8 commanders must remember to orient guntubes toward the enemy. During the passage, stationary units must exercise particular cau-tion in identifying enemy vehicles before engaging them.


The light armor platoon may, as part of a larger force, participate in linkup to reinforceair assault forces, conduct a relief in place, move to join another force in a counterattack, ormove to friendly lines after a breakout. The initial phase of a linkup is a movement tocontact. As the linkup forces come close together, they are subject to coordination, control,and restrictions.

Recognition signals and a restrictive fire line (RFL) are established to prevent friendlytroops from exchanging fire. Signals may include pyrotechnics, arm bands, vehiclemarkings, panels, colored smoke, lights, or challenge and passwords. Forces engaged bydirect-fire weapons from the other side of an RFL should not return fire. Instead, theyshould seek cover, use smoke to conceal their actions, and notify higher headquarters. Theheadquarters then contacts the other unit to determine if the fires are from enemy orfriendly forces. Linkup forces cannot fire across the RFL until the other unit has givenpermission.


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FM 17-18


Encirclement occurs when the enemy blocks a unit’s ground routes of evacuation, resup-ply, and reinforcement. This does not necessarily mean the unit is blocked by enemy forcesin strength. The enemy may not be aware of the encircled unit. The unit should attack tobreak out as soon as possible. A delay might allow the enemy to reinforce his blocking unitsor to take action against the encircled unit.

The light armor platoon participates in a breakout either in the attack to rupture an enemyencirclement or as the security force conducting a defense or delay. The considerations forthese operations at platoon level are the same as for a hasty attack and a hasty occupation ofa BP. Logistics, however, play a key role. Equipment and supplies that cannot be carried ortowed must be destroyed.

There will be situations where forces become encircled because of the mobility of enemyforces, however unsophisticated, and the nonlinear nature of battle in operations other thanwar. Light infantry battalions may be cut off from friendly forces either by design orbecause of rapidly changing situations. The battalion faces encirclement when defendingstrongpoints, retaining key terrain, conducting attacks, or holding the shoulder of friendly orenemy penetrations. M8s face encirclement most often when enemy forces bypass defendingforces or when advancing friendly forces are cut off as a result of an enemy counterattack.

The most important consideration for encircled forces is the continuation of their missionfor as long as possible. In rare cases, forces may accept encirclement to continue supportingthe commander’s concept of operations. The encircled force commander attempts to establishcommunications with his higher commander. In the absence of communications, the encir-cled commander acts on his own initiative to achieve the commander’s desired outcome.

Encircled forces may elect or be assigned the mission to stay in position and defendthemselves while they are encircled. The decision to stay and fight is based on whether—

The available terrain provides defensive cover and concealment and is restrictive innature.

The encircled force can receive reinforcement or relief before the enemy can eliminateit.

The encircled force has or can get the necessary CS to sustain its operation.

The mission directs the unit to stay and fight.

The mobility differential of the enemy and friendly forces is such that the encircledforce could be destroyed while moving.

The senior maneuver commander within the encirclement assumes control of all forces.He informs his superior of the situation and immediately begins to—

Reestablish a chain of command.

Establish the best possible defense.

Establish a reserve.

Organize all available FS.

Reorganize logistics.

Establish security.

Reestablish communications if they were interrupted.

Maintain morale.


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FM 17-18

Encircled forces have two offensive options—a breakout attack or an exfiltration towardfriendly forces. The attack to break out of an encirclement differs from other attacks only inthat a simultaneous defense in other areas of the perimeter must be maintained. To achieve abreakout, the commander must accomplish the following tasks:

Deceive the enemy as to time and place of the breakout attack.

Exploit gaps or weaknesses in the encircling force.

Exploit darkness and limited visibility.

Organize the force for the breakout using the four functional forces: rupture, reserve,main body, and security force.

Concentrate combat power at the breakout.

Use FS to create the gap.

Coordinate with supporting attacks.

Follow the commander’s guidance for wounded personnel.


A relief in place operation, in which one unit replaces another in a combat situation, maybe accomplished during offensive or defensive operations, preferably during periods of lim-ited visibility. The primary purpose for a relief in place is to maintain the combat effective-ness of committed elements. It may be conducted to—

Replace a combat-ineffective force.

Replace a unit that has received a change of mission.

Relieve a unit that has conducted prolonged operations and requires rest and reconstitu-tion.

Replace a unit that requires medical treatment or decontamination as a result of expo-sure to NBC munitions.

Relief in place requires extensive planning. Security, secrecy, and speed are critical.Incoming and outgoing commanders must coordinate—

Exchange of liaison personnel down to company level.

Joint reconnaissance of the AO.

A deception plan to support the relief.

CS and CSS from units being relieved until the relieving units are prepared to supportthe operation.

Positions of weapons.

Exchange of sketch cards and tactical fire plans and relief of organic FSE.

Locations of and transfer of responsibility for obstacles.

Guides and routes into and out of positions to facilitate a speedy relief.

Transfer to the incoming unit of excess ammunition; wire lines; petroleum, oils, andlubricants (POL); and other material.



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FM 17-18

Enemy situation and intelligence.

Sequence of relief.

Time of change of responsibility for the area.

The tactical situation dictates whether the relief will be conducted during the day or atnight. Before the relief operation, the incoming unit moves to a preplanned assembly areabehind the unit to be relieved. The incoming command group sets up close to the outgoingCP.

Units conduct the relief of forward positions using one of the following techniques:

The relieving platoons occupy hide positions and move into the primary positions afterthe relieved elements begin to withdraw to subsequent positions.

The relieving platoons occupy alternate positions as the relieved units withdraw fromprimary positions. This relief procedure is initiated when speed is desired.

During periods of limited visibility, relieving platoons move into primary positionsbefore the relieved platoons withdraw. Once primary positions have been occupied, therelieved platoons withdraw.

During the relief, both units are on the relieved unit’s radio net. The outgoing unitmaintains its previous level of radio traffic. The incoming unit maintains radio listeningsilence. When relief is complete, the incoming unit switches to its assigned frequency.


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FM 17-18



The light armor company is subordinate to the light armor battalion, but it has theflexibility to task organize to a light infantry brigade. When the company is employed withits parent battalion, its basic employment is similar to that of the tank company as describedin FM 71-1. This chapter describes employment of the light armor company when it oper-ates with a light infantry brigade.


Section I. Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2Light Armor Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-2

The Light Brigade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-3

Augmentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-3

Section II. Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-4Missions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-5

Operational Planning Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-6

Section III. Command, Control, and Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-8Company Command and Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-8

Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-9

Formations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-10

Section IV. Offensive Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-14Movement Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-14

Movement To Contact . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-15

Hasty Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-17

Deliberate Attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-18Exploitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-20

Pursuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-20

Offensive Operations in Built-Up Areas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-20

Other Offensive Tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-22Limited Visibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-24

Section V. Defensive Operations.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-24

Company Defensive Fire Planning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-26

Defense of a Battle Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-27

Defend in Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-27

Defense of a Strongpoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-28

Perimeter Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-29

Light Infantry Antiarmor Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-30


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FM 17-18


Defending Built-Up Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-31Other Defensive Tasks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-32Limited Visibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-34

Section VI. Other Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-34Lodgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-34Retrograde Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-34Convoy Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-37

Section I. OrganizationLIGHT ARMOR COMPANY

The light armor company’s combat vehicles consist of 14 M8s. The company is organizedinto three platoons of four M8s each and a company headquarters consisting of two M8s.See Figure 5-1 for a diagram of company organization.

The task organization of a light armor company to a light infantry brigade is the norm.The brigade commander has the option to employ the light armor company as a separate

combat element, or further task- organize lightarmor platoons to infantry battalions. Thissubsection will cover the employment of the lightarmor company as a company or team operatingwith its parent light armor battalion or taskorganized to the light infantry brigade as a singlecombat element. The light armor company canbe organized as follows:

As a company or team under OPCON to alight infantry battalion,

or under brigade control,

or under light armor battalion control.

Partially task organized (one or two pla-toons) to battalions with the company head-quarters and remaining platoon(s) retained atbrigade control or task organized to a bat-talion.

Providing platoons to each of the. three lightinfantry battalions. The company com-mander may go to the battalion with themost critical mission. He can receive attach-ment of infantry and/or TOW platoonsalong with the light armor platoon to form ateam organization.


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FM 17-18


The tables of organization and equipment (TOE) of the brigade headquarters varies bytype of light force. While all brigade headquarters serve to provide C2 and supervision oftactical operations, different brigade organizations have varying degrees of capabilities andlimitations. The structure and capabilities of the parent light division also affect the integra-tion of a light armor company into a light infantry brigade. The light armor companycommander attached to a light infantry brigade must understand what the brigade is capableof in terms of service and support. Consider the following points regarding different types ofbrigades:

Light infantry brigades. Light infantry brigades are the most austere headquarters interms of communications ability and number of staff officers. There is no assistantS3-Air or LO and there are fewer vehicles in the main CP. All organizational mainte-nance is centralized at the brigade maintenance section. All Class I is prepared by thebrigade mess team. The LID and brigade depend on corps transportation. One notablecharacteristic of light infantry is the limited antiarmor capability of the brigade; thereare 12 TOWs and 54 Dragons per brigade.

Airborne brigades. Once opposed entry operations are complete, airborne brigades op-erate as light infantry, but with a greater capacity in terms of CS and CSS than a lightinfantry brigade. There are 60 TOWs and 54 Dragons per airborne brigade. However,the airborne division has only one attack helicopter battalion, as does the light division.

Air assault brigades. Air assault brigades most closely mirror armor and mechanizedbrigades in terms of staff composition and the robustness of the CSS system. Althoughthe number and distribution of high-power radios are the same as in the light infantrybrigade, the air assault brigade frequently uses its attached helicopters as one means ofextending it C2 capabilities. These brigades have habitual relationships and attachmentwith an assault helicopter battalion, which provides lift for the brigade. Air assault unitsare not tied to secure ground lines of communication for logistics as are other units.Antiarmor capabilities are the same as in the airborne brigade. In addition, the airassault division has a combat aviation brigade consisting of two attack helicopter battal-ions, giving it a greater divisional antitank capability.


The CSS capability of both light armor and light infantry forces begins to degrade afterone to three days. Light infantry units have difficulty operating with light armor units be-cause the logistics support structure of light infantry is generally austere. Light armor forcesoperating with light infantry forces for more than three days require more detailed CSSplanning and augmentation at all levels.

Attachment requires the light infantry brigade to operate with the light armor company.To do this, the light infantry brigade must receive attachments of light armor battalion CSSassets or support from the LID or corps. These should include Classes III and V, transporta-tion assets, and light armor maintenance assets.

Normally, the light armor company will come with CS and CSS assets. Much of thissupport can be standardized with the final determination based on the tactical situation.


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FM 17-18

Augmentation Support

Possible Augmentation:FISTEngineer platoonMEDEVAC team (HMMWV)Maintenance team (see Chapter 8)Ammo section (two 5-ton trucks

as a minimum)Fuel section (two 5-ton trucks)DS maintenance contact team

automotive, armament, commomechanics with limited ASL

Provided by:Bale’s DS Arty Bn or DIVARTYCorps or division engineerLight armor battalionLight armor battalionLight armor battalion

Light armor battalionDS maintenance battalion

Integrity of the light armor company may be maintained to achieve mass, to facilitate C2,and to provide CSS. In some situations, however, it will be necessary to attach light armorplatoons to light battalions. It will be prudent under most circ*mstances to maintain a lightarmor reserve at brigade level.

Section II. EmploymentThe light infantry brigade commander will establish the role and position of the light

armor company based on the factors of METT-T and the current situation. The use of thelight armor company can vary based on the commander’s estimate of the situation. The lightarmor company may be employed as a maneuver, overwatch fire, or reserve force.

As a maneuver element, the company team is normally given the mission of seizing anobjective. The objective may be undefended or occupied by an enemy force. The lightarmor company should lead the attack against automatic weapons, antipersonnel mines, wireentanglements, and enemy light armor or motorized forces. Light armor and infantry canmove together in the assault against entrenched infantry, jungle positions, heavily fortifiedareas, towns and villages, and during periods of low visibility.

The light armor company (or portions of the company) can provide overwatch or directfires for the light infantry maneuver or assault. The brigade or battalion (if task organizedto battalion level) gives the company a support by fire or overwatch position for thismission. The company observes the enemy and provides information to the maneuverelement. It places destructive or suppressive fires on known and suspected enemy positions,adjusts indirect fires to support the maneuver force, protects the maneuver force againstcounterattacks, and provides other assistance. Light armor overmatches and supports by firewhile light infantry assaults—

Against constructed antitank defenses such as ditches, abatises, and minefield.

Through heavy woods.

Within cities, villages, and towns.

In mountainous terrain.

When the terrain is extremely restrictive along the approach axis to the objective.

When fields of fire and observation are adequate for long-range main gun and machinegun fires.

When enemy tanks on the objective must be suppressed and the only armor approach isfrontal.


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FM 17-18The company may be designated as the brigade reserve and move in depth of the brigade

formation. Its general location and possible missions are normally specified by the com-mander based on METT-T. The commitment of this reserve is the most critical decision ofthe brigade commander. The reserve may be assigned one or more of the following missionsor tasks:

Assume the mission of the attacking unit.

Attack from a different direction.

Support the attacking unit by fire.

Provide flank security against an armored threat or on armor avenues of approach.

Protect or assist during consolidation on the objective.

Protect key intersections and bridges.

Block a counterattack.


Missions and tasks that the light infantry and light armor company may execute whenoperating with a brigade are listed in the following chart.


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FM 17-18

OPERATIONAL PLANNING CONSIDERATIONSIntelligence. The light infantry brigade may use the mobility and thermal sight capability

of the light armor company to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S). The lightarmor force may also participate in security operations. Light infantry brigade R&S plansshould incorporate these capabilities.

The light infantry S2 may not be aware of the IPB needs of the light armor platoon:number, armor protection level, and armor-piercing capability of enemy forces; presence ofantitank jamming emitters; and terrain analysis for mobility corridors. The potential NBCthreat targets are identified by the battalion chemical officer. The light armor platoon leadershould request these as priority intelligence requirements (PIR) and ask the S2 to work onthem.

Maneuver. The following considerations apply during planning:Light armor companies will generally fight at night since light infantry is employed atnight whenever possible. Night operations increase light infantry survivability and en-hance the use of stealth to gain the advantage over the enemy.Light infantry is best employed in close, restrictive terrain during both offensive anddefensive operations. In this case, the light armor company assists the operations of thelight infantry brigade. In restrictive terrain, the light armor company will be vulnerableto enemy infantry and will be dependent on light infantry for security. The companywill normally be task organized by platoons in restrictive terrain.In more open terrain, light infantry will be vulnerable to enemy armor forces and willbecome more dependent on the light armor company for protection. The company willmore likely be kept intact when in open terrain. Light armor should be careful not to leave the light infantry behind when leadingattacks. Both forces will then lose the mutual support they need. Infantry may becarried on top of M8s or intacts (if available), but only before enemy contact. Thesurvivability of infantry riding on such vehicles is at great risk if enemy contact ismade while infantry is still mounted. M8s may assault enemy positions. They shouldnot go so far that the enemy is able to recover and take countermeasures before friendlyinfantry arrives.


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FM 17-18

The light infantry normally conducts an area defense to hold ground. The light infantrybrigade may desire to employ light armor elements forward to assist light units in theirdefense. The brigade, however, should also employ a light armor reserve. This mobilereserve will be able to respond quickly to any portion of the brigade AO to eliminateenemy penetrations.

The light armor company possesses weapons of greater range and destructive powerthan light infantry. Light armor weapons assist light infantry in accomplishing missionsby suppressing or destroying enemy infantry and armor. This can be done from rangesthat exceed the ranges of fight infantry weapons. One caution is that the tiring of M8main gun APFSDS and M2 armor-piercing ammunition is dangerous to friendly infan-try forward of those weapons. The ammunition contains discarding petals that couldstrike anyone within 1,000 meters forward and 70 meters left or right of the gun targetline. The light armor company commander tracks the NBC hazards to reduce his vul-nerability and risk level. Smoke is used to enhance the maneuver of the light armorcompany and prevent enemy observation.

Fire Support. Light armor forces are supported with essentially the same FS structureprovided to an armor company. The FIST provides access to tactical fire direction sytems(TACFIRE), light tactical fire direction systems (LTACFIRE), and follow-on digital firesupport communications planning and coordination systems. The FIST also has the capabil-ity to accomplish all fire support functions using voice or manual means.

If a FIST is not available, the company commander must be prepared to integrate FS intooperations. The battalion FSO/FSE will assist him in this action.

Consideration must be given to positioning the company FIST. Although the FIST is notequipped with an armored vehicle, they must be positioned where they can best maintaincommunications and control FS in support of the company.

All FS assets available to the force are also available to the light armor company, rangingfrom organic mortars and divisional field artillery in DS, to air support and NGF. Planningfor and use of FS will multiply the combat power of the light armor company.

Consideration must be given to the type of forces that will follow combat by light armorforces. Submunitions from various FS assets may have residual lethality particularly forlight infantry forces.

Mobility and Survivability. Light division engineers are not capable of supporting lightarmor units. In order of desirability, the light armor company should be tasked organizedwith a platoon of corps mechanized engineers, corps wheeled engineers, corps airborneengineers, or corps light engineers. The light infantry brigade has a limited capability tocarry barrier materials to areas where they need to be employed. However, the rapid em-placement capability of FASCAM and Volcano can quickly shape the battlefield and slowthe enemy’s advance. Commanders must be aware of and deconflict the counterattack man-euver plan and the countermobility plan to ensure clear routes for the M8s. In addition toengineer operations, the light armor company commander must integrate NBC operationsinto his mission analysis. NBC defense measures, smoke operations, and reconnaissanceoperations are a vital part of a unit’s ability to move and survive.

Air Defense. Air defense for light armor companies should be kept mobile. It must alsohave access to the air defense early warning net, control net, and missile resupply. This canbe accomplished if the light armor company’s air defense slice includes Avengers. If Stingerteams are provided, it will be difficult to put the gunner under armor. Stinger HMMWVsmay be used to monitor the early warning and control nets since it will normally be em-ployed forward. If this is not possible, the company should provide a dedicated radio so airdefense personnel can monitor the early warning net.


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FM 17-18Combat Service Support. Light forces conduct CSS more frequently than light armor

forces, but require less materiel. The light armor company must coordinate closely with thelight infantry brigade to establish procedures for CSS. Procedures include the timing ofsupport, amounts normally needed, and types of supplies needed. Much of the light armorunit’s ammunition will not be familiar to the light infantry. Special arrangements may haveto be made so that spare parts for the light armor company are requested and received in atimely manner.

The light armor battalion can augment the light infantry unit’s CSS assets with an appro-priate slice of support vehicles and personnel to bolster the light unit’s ability to properlysupport the light armor company. Chapter 8 discusses this augmentation in more detail.

The company supply sergeant should keep the company’s field trains in the light infantrybrigade’s forward area support team (FAST). He should learn the locations of all supplypoints such as food, fuel, and ammunition. It may be necessary to coordinate with thebrigade either to go to higher unit supply points to receive supplies or to receive throughputsupplies from higher units. The light armor company should be prepared to assist in theresupply of light infantry units during more mobile situations.

Command and Control. Providing continuous liaison between the light armor companyand the light infantry brigade headquarters will enhance C2. During planning and prepara-tion, the company commander can perform this function. He is experienced in dealing witha staff and is capable of advising the commander on the employment of his com-pany.

During operations, the light armor company normally does not have the capability toprovide liaison personnel. The importance of liaison in a light infantry/light armor situation,however, will require that liaison be made. In certain locations in the light infantry brigade,radios may not have the range to communicate with the company continuously. The lightarmor company commander may provide the company XO with his M8s to conduct liaisonwith the light infantry brigade during the conduct of operations. This will serve two pur-poses. It will provide continuous communications and liaison between the light armor com-pany and the light infantry brigade. It will also provide security to the light infantry brigadeCP when there is a limited enemy armor threat. The light armor battalion may also deployan S3 representative or scout platoon NCO as a liaison to avoid using a company member.

The light armor company and light infantry brigade should develop and use SOPs. Thecompany will use the light infantry brigade’s report formats. Common hand-and-arm signalsmust be determined for light armor and infantry units to understand each other (see Chapter4). The company will have to learn the light brigade’s procedures for conducting CSS. Thebrigade must determine how to meet the CSS needs of the light armor company.

The light armor company and light infantry brigade should review operational terms toensure mutual understanding. The light armor company commander should be included in allcommand group meetings and in all rehearsals. These activities will provide opportunities toclear up misunderstadings, ensure the best employment of combat power, improve synchro-nization of operations, and reduce fratricide.

Section III. Command, Control, and CommunicationsCOMPANY COMMAND AND CONTROL

The commander must be careful to select the position that allows him to be at the mostcritical place on the battlefield. He must use terrain and weather to conceal movementsfrom the enemy, but he must maintain visual or radio contact with his platoons.

The company commander must synchronize actions with the other company commanders.He must quickly inform the TF commander when anything critical happens. If contact with


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FM 17-18the TF is lost, the commander makes every attempt, without abandoning the mission, toreestablish communications. The commander continues to take actions that accomplish thecommander’s intent until communications are restored.

The company XO can help by monitoring the TF frequency and making reports to the TFon the tactical situation. When direct contact with one or more platoons is not possible, theXO may position where he can control those elements.

The company commander ensures that the platoon leaders maintain contact with him andkeep him informed of their situation. He should encourage the platoon leaders to talk to eachother and coordinate their actions. Cross-talking between the platoons on the company com-mand net should be encouraged.

The company commander should issue clear orders. He must state the mission, intent,and any other instructions that affect movement and fire control so that they are understood.WOs must be issued early to give leaders time to react to all possible upcoming missions.Keep subordinates informed on the enemy situation and what other units in the TF aredoing.


The quality of communications in the company is dependent on the individual skills of thesoldiers, the equipment and the desires of the commander. Several means of communicationare available. Each should complement the others so that the company does not rely on onlyone means. Dependence on one means of communication, such as the radio, endangers C2.Figure 5-2 shows the company communication network. The five basic means of communi-cation are used as follows:

Wire should be used as the primary means of communication for OPs, BPs, strong-points, combat trains, and assembly areas.

Messengers can bedispatched when the unito c c u p i e s a nassembly area or BP orreorganizes on anobjective. Messengers canrehearse routes in daylight(if possible) prior tochanges in visibility andcarry handwritten notes toincrease accuracy.Visual signals are usedfrom the SOI or unit SOP.See Chapter 4 for standardhand-and-arm signals.Other visual signals in-clude lights and flags.

Sound signals can be usedfrom the SOI or unit SOP.Sound signals can includepyrotechnics, metal onmetal, whistles, bells, orrifle shots.


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FM 17-18Radio is the primary means of communication when enemy contact is made. The com-pany commander operates the company command net and monitors the TF net. Thecompany XO operates on the TF command net and monitors the company net. If thecompany is task organized under brigade control, the company commander may berequired to operate on the brigade command net. If this is the case, the XO can assistby operating the company net and monitoring the TF net. The 1SG operates on the TFadministrative/logistics (A/L) net and monitors the company net. Platoon leaders oper-ate on their nets and monitor the company net.


The company commander uses formations to control movement. SOPs should standardizethe company’s use of reporting procedures, formations, movement, and C2 techniques. Basicbattle drills and formations can be found in Chapter 4. The company has five basic forma-tions: combat column, wedge, vee, line, and echelon. When designating the company for-mation, the company commander—

Establishes the relationship of one platoon to another on the ground.

Expresses where he envisions the enemy to be and how he intends to react to contact.

Establishes where firepower is needed.

Establishes how (mounted or dismounted) and where light infantry travels in relation tothe vehicles.

Establishes the degree of security desired.

A combat formation is not rigid. Terrain and common sense will frequently dictateneeded changes. Unless directed, it is not necessary for the company to use the same forma-tion as the infantry brigade or battalion.

Column (see Figure 5-3). this formation is used when speed is critical and the possibil-ity of enemy contact is not likely. Light infantrymen are usually mounted on M8s or trucks(if available). A modified version, the combat column, can be used if the terrain allows fordispersion. The combat column can be used when contact is likely and speed is important.Infantryman, if M8-mounted, should not travel on the lead platoons vehicles.

Wedge (see Figure 5-4). The wedge is used when the situation is vague and contact withthe enemy is imminent. This formation can be used to move in relatively open terrain toprovide some protection to dismounted light infantrymen. See Figure 5-5 for an example ofa mcdified wedge formation.


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FM 17-18


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FM 17-18


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FM 17-18Vee (see Figure 5-6). This formation is used when probability of enemy contact is high.

It provides maximum firepower up front while leaving a platoon in depth to maneuver. Thisis a difficult formation to use when task organized as a team of two light armor platoons andone infantry platoon.

Line (see Figure 5-7). This formation is normally used, if terrain permits, when assault-ing an objective. It can alsoplatoons should use over-watch or support by firetechniques to cover eachother. Light infantry cannotmove forward of the M8swhen assaulting due to thedanger of discarding-sabotammunition.

Echelon. The echelon isused when one flank faces asignificant threat. Usuallyonly used when M8 pure. Itis extremely difficult to usewith dismounted infantry ifthere is contact to the oppo-site side of the echelon. Ifthat happens, the M8s willnot be able to conduct actiondrills without endangeringinfantrymen.

be used to emerge from smoke or woodlines. In this case,


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FM 17-18

Section IV. Offensive Operations

When operating with the light infantry brigade, the light armor company can be employedin one of four methods:

As part of the main attack.

As a reserve or follow-on in support of the main attack.

As reconnaissance and security forces forward, on the flanks, and to the rear of themain and supporting attacks.

As part of the supporting attack.

The light armor company participates in two types of offensive missions—movement tocontact and attack (hasty and deliberate). The company may participate in an exploitation orpursuit. It will normally participate in these missions as part of a larger infantry force(brigade), but on some occasions it may operate as part of a light armor TF.


Tactical movement techniques are used in conjunction with formations. See Chapter 4 formore information about movement techniques.

Forms of Maneuver. The light infantry brigade uses the same basic forms of maneuveras the light infantry battalion described in Chapter 4. For further information on the lightinfantry brigade, see FM 7-30.

Avoiding Enemy Antiarmor Fire. When the terrain allows the light armor company tomaneuver in mass, it presents an easily identifiable target and is vulnerable to enemyantiarmor and tank fires. The company should use all available cover and concealment; theenemy cannot mass fires against the company if it cannot see it. Despite its obviousadvantage, however, moving along covered and concealed routes costs the company in termsof speed, control, and vulnerability to short-range, handheld antiarmor weapons. Smoke isused to defeat enemy observation and target acquisition.

M8s must never skyline or move directly forward from a defilade position. Avoid dustyterrain when possible; it betrays the movement of armored vehicles. Before crossing openareas, use attached infantry or dismount personnel with binoculars to observe the area care-fully for possible enemy positions prior to emerging from cover. If enemy locations areidentified or suspected, suppress them or use smoke on them before crossing.

Cross open areas as quickly as possible. Use rapid rushes from one covered position toanother. If an M8 is exposed for less than 30 seconds, it will be extremely difficult for anenemy ATGM gunner to acquire, fire, track, and hit it at long range. Use 15- to 20-secondrushes when suspected ATGM positions are close.

In situations where use of covered routes is too time-consuming, plan for escape routes(see Figure 5-8).


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FM 17-18


A movement to contact is an offensiveoperation designed to gain contact with theenemy. A company can expect to taskorganize one or two of its platoons to infantrybattalions during a movement to contact. Theremaining platoon(s) will be retained underthe company headquarters with infantryattached as the brigade reserve. The companycommander will designate specific movementtechniques and formations to reduce danger tothe unit while moving. Once contact is made,the company uses fire and movement todevelop the situation. In the absence ofcommand guidance, the company commanderemploys the factors of METT-T to specifymovement techniques and formations.

The brigade will conduct a movement tocontact in two general situations. The mostcommon situation has the brigade operatingindependently and attacking with one or twolead battalions (see Figure 5-9). The othersituation is when the entire division is out ofcontact, with a great distance between friendlyand enemy AOs. The brigade either moves asthe main divisional body or provides units forsecurity, guard, or security forces (see Figure5-10). The brigade commander assesses thesituation once contact is made and decides toattack, bypass, or defend based on how thesituation develops.


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FM 17-18In the examples illustrated in Figures 5-9 and 5-10, the light armor company has detached

platoons to the lead battalion(s) and retained the remaining platoons under company controlas the brigade reserve. This gives the lead battalions a small, mobile, self-contained force tolocate and fix the enemy. The example in Figure 5-10 shows the light armor companyretained as a unit for ease of movement. The lead battalion receives an attachment of a lightarmor platoon while the light armor company(-) moves with a TOW platoon as a reserve.This may be done if there is a potential enemy mechanized threat. In some cases, the lightarmor company can be used as forward or flank security for movement.

The example in Figure 5-11 shows the cloverleaf technique when the light armor com-pany is given a large designated area to search rapidly.


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FM 17-18


The hasty attack is used tocompany or higher level. It isattack can develop when—

exploit an opportunity to gain or maintain the initiative atcharacterized by quick planning and coordination. A hasty

A movement to contact results in contact.

A deliberate attack is changed after it is under way.

Further advance is ordered after securing an objective.

A counterattack is ordered in the defense.

An MTC may terminate in a hasty attack, during which the company may be assigned themission of securing a terrain feature or destroying an enemy force. If enemy contact is madeen route to securing an objective, the unit may—

Fix and bypass the enemy, depending on enemy strength and the unit’s orders.

Attack by fire to destroy the enemy.

Conduct a hasty attack to kill the enemy and continue the attack to the objective.

Depending on his orders and the size and location of the enemy, the infantry TFcommander develops a plan to conduct a hasty attack when enemy contact is made. Hedesignates an objective, a support by fire element, the support by fire element’s overwatchpositions, an assault element, and covered and concealed routes into the flanks of theenemy. He then issues a fragmentary order to his company commanders.


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FM 17-18The first infantry TF to make contact with the enemy conducts actions on contact, devel-

ops the situation, destroys the enemy if possible, and reports the situation to the brigade.The brigade commander may employ the light armor company as an assault force. Figures5-12 through 5-14 show examples of light infantry brigade hasty attacks with a light armorcompany.


A deliberate attack is usually necessary against a well-organized, well-prepared enemythat cannot be turned nor bypassed. The infantry commander will normally have time tocollect detailed information about the enemy. The brigade commander may- consider usingthe light armor company to assist in one or more of the following:

Isolating the penetration or objective area with direct fire to prevent enemy reinforce-ment or supporting fires.

Committing a strong force to overwhelm the enemy at an identified or created weakpoint.

Striking the enemy on the flanks or in the rear.

Using a form of maneuver that avoids the enemy's main strength.

Fixing other positions to minimize the enemy's capability to react.

Developing a deception plan.


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FM 17-18

Figures 5-15 and 5-16 show examples of a light infantry brigade deliberate attack with alight armor company.


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FM 17-18


Exploitation is a continuation of an attack to take advantage of and maximize success. Itprevents the enemy from reconstituting an organized defense or conducting an orderly with-drawal. It normally follows a successful attack that weakens or collapses enemy defenses.The exploitation focuses on the enemy and destroys his will to resist. Speed is essential.Mobility of the exploiting force must be equal to or greater than the enemy force.

The light armor company normally participates in the exploitation as part of a muchlarger force. The exploitation is executed as a movement to contact or hasty attack. Exploit-ing force missions include securing objectives deep in the enemy rear, cutting LOC, sur-rounding and destroying enemy units, denying escape routes to an encircled force, anddestroying enemy reserves.

The exploiting unit advances rapidly to the enemy rear area, destroying enemy combatunits and lightly defended and undefended CS and CSS activities. Bypassed enemy forces arereported to higher headquarters for reduction by follow-and-support forces. The successfulexploitation can turn into a pursuit, with the end goal being total destruction of the enemy’sability to fight.


A pursuit normally follows a successful exploitation. The objective of a pursuit is tomaintain pressure on the enemy and intercept, capture, or completely destroy him. Lightinfantry units conducting a pursuit should maximize the use of light armor assets to slow,disrupt, and confuse the enemy withdrawal. Again, the company would usually participate ina pursuit as part of a larger force in a movement to contact or hasty attack.

The pursuit is conducted using a direct pressure force, an encircling force, and a follow-and-support force. The light armor company may be part of these forces, which have thefollowing functions:

The direct pressure force denies enemy units the opportunity to rest, regroup, or resup-ply by staying in direct contact with them and forcing them to stay on the move. Atevery opportunity, the direct pressure force envelops, cuts off, and destroys enemyelements.

The encircling force moves to get in the rear of the enemy and blocks his escape; inconjunction with the direct pressure force, it attacks to destroy the enemy force. Itadvances along routes parallel to the enemy’s line of retreat to reach defiles, communi-cation centers, bridges, and other key terrain ahead of the enemy main force.

The follow-and-support force is not a reserve, but it is committed to destroy bypassedenemy units, relieve direct pressure force elements (which have halted to contain enemyforces), secure LOC, secure terrain, or guard prisoners at key installations.


Light armor units will not normally fight as a company within BUAs. However, thecompany may have sections or platoons task organized to infantry teams or TFs to providedirect FS for urban fighting (see Chapter 4). The phases of attacks of a BUA are alsoexplained in Chapter 4.

The fight for urban terrain begins outside the BUA. The light armor company can beused to isolate the area and provide direct FS for the assault force to gain a foothold.


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FM 17-18The light armor company isolates the BUA by enveloping it and seizing key terrain that

dominates approach and escape routes (see Figure 5-17). The isolation serves to preventenemy reinforcement and/or contain the enemy within the BUA. The orientation of the lightarmor platoons is important. Companies and platoons may be required to orient M8s towardthe BUA as well as outward along mounted avenues of approach (see Figure 5-18).


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FM 17-18

Light armor companies may be required to move in or through BUA when—

There is no bypass.

They are required to seize key positions during an exploitation or when the town islightly or undefended.

They are escorting a convoy through a BUA that presents little or no threat.

There are two techniques for conducting a light armor attack in or through a BUA.

The light armor company can penetrate poorly defended or unalerted urban areas tooccupy key objectives, holding them for a limited time. When the enemy defenses are weakor no organized enemy resistance is present, the lead armor unit can immediately attack.The force may not be predominantly infantry, but some infantry is required. The assaultingforce drives directly to the center of the town, then proceeds to attack outward.

During exploitation, when surprise has been achieved or when tactical (or terrain) condi-tions make an enveloping attack difficult, it may be possible to secure the main routethrough the town by a sudden attack. The attack is made at top speed, with all weaponsemployed against any enemy personnel encountered. The move continues through the townto dominating terrain on the other side. As the attack continues, flank guards strike quicklyup the side streets if necessary to protect the main body. Complete occupation of the town isleft to follow-on infantry if needed. In this method, the lead M8 tank commander must becertain of his route and act boldly. If halted by antitank fire, he must notify the commanderimmediately to keep the following units from jamming up the streets behind him. He mayrequest assistance, continue the assault, or reconnoiter for a bypass.


The following discussion describes other tactical tasks that may be required of the lightarmor company during offensive operations.

Obstacle Breaching. During offensive operations, the light armor company may be re-quired to assist the light infantry brigade in breaching obstacles. The brigade has limitedengineer support that is capable of breaching simple obstacles. The light armor companyplays a key part in isolating the breach point and providing direct fire support to the breachand assault forces.

When it encounters obstacles, the infantry TF will initially reconnoiter to find a bypass.If no bypass is found and the obstacle is not complex, the TF commander may attempt anin-stride breach. If the obstacle is complex, the brigade may require augmentation fromcorps engineers.

The unit will be organized into support, breach, and assault forces with the followingfunctions:

The support force should primarily consist of M8s to provide long-range direct firesuppression of enemy defensive positions.

The breach force consists of the engineers and equipment necessary to clear a lanethrough the barrier. Infantry and, in some cases, light armor will accompany the breachforce to provide close-in security and supporting fires. The breach force usually oper-ates under obscuration to protect it from enemy observation. The breach force may berequired to follow and support the assault force.

The assault force attacks to destroy enemy forces defending the obstacle. Depending onthe terrain and type of defense being assaulted, it should consist of infantry and lightarmor.


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FM 17-18

The breach operation is executed through suppression, obscuration, security, and reduc-tion using all available infantry, armor, engineers, artillery, and mortars. The considera-tions in the following paragraphs apply.

Suppression. The support force suppresses enemy direct fire defenses. It must put directfires on enemy positions and adjust indirect tires and smoke from artillery and mortars.

Obscuration. Use of smoke or naturally obscuring terrain is a must. Special engineerequipment, engineers, and infantrymen are extremely vulnerable during the breaching phaseif the enemy cannot be destroyed, suppressed, or obscured. Obscuration can also hamper C2during the breach. Training, preparation, and rehearsals can overcome these problems.

Security. In some instances, light infantrymen can secure the far side of the obstacleprior to fill lane clearance through infiltration, bypass, air assault, or minor breach. Ele-ments on the far side can help to secure the exit points of the breach lane as well as providesuppressive fire on the enemy.

Reduction. Reduction of the obstacle is the most complicated part of the assault breach.The support force shifts the obscuration and suppressive fires as the breaching force movesforward. Special engineer equipment that may be required includes ACEs, MICLICs, doz-ers, scoop loaders, and armored vehicle launched bridges (AVLBs).

Consolidation. Occupation of an objective is a critical task. Enemy forces on theobjective must be eliminated or captured. The company must immediately prepare for acounterattack by the enemy. The company is most vulnerable and unorganized duringconsolidation, and the enemy will attempt to capitalize on this.

During consolidation the company commander should—

Designate platoon positions and general orientations.

Ensure the company occupies the position designated in the OPORD. M8s are movedto hull down positions, and the platoon leader assigns specific sectors of fire.

Prepare for a counterattack.

Establish security and mutual support between adjacent units.

Eliminate any remaining pockets of enemy resistance and secure EPWs.

Prepare to continue the mission.

Reorganization. Reorganization must also be conducted rapidly. Each platoon leadershould report his casualties and ammunition, fuel, and vehicle status to the commander andXO. The XO or 1SG reports the status to the TF.

If the attack is to continue reorganization must be quick. The commander, XO, and 1SGshould ensure that the following activities are accomplished during reorganization:

Reassignment of crew members if losses were heavy. Survivors of damaged vehiclescan replace casualties elsewhere.

Cross-level ammunition, where necessary.

As many repairs by the maintenance section as time allows.

Evacuation of wounded soldiers.

Evacuation of EPWs and intelligence information.

Evacuation of bodies of soldiers KIA.


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Limited visibility attacks are preferred by the light infantry. They are also the mostdifficult to execute. They require detailed planning, preparation, and rehearsals. Movementwill be slower, confusion more likely, and consolidation and reorganization more difficult.

Control of platoons is more difficult at night in limited visibility. Strict light and noisediscipline is required. Control measures are more restrictive. The following are some con-trol considerations that apply during company planning for limited visibility operations:

Assembly areas may be smaller and closer to the LD. Standardize platoon/companymovement into and out of assembly areas.Guides may be posted to assist movement to the LD and through the points of depar-ture.Allow more time for movement and positioning of key weapon systems.Objectives and routes must be more clearly defined.Intermediate objectives may be necessary to maintain control and direction.Graphic control measures are usually more restrictive. For example, restrictive firelines (RFLs), no-fire lines, and limits of advance (LOA) may be introduced to furthercontrol unit movement and fires.Illumination rounds timed to burn on the ground can mark objectives and keep thecompany oriented.Navigational aids and positioning systems greatly aid in unit movement.Thermal night vision capability gives the M8 the ability to see farther than the passivesights of the infantry.

One of the greatest dangers to a night attack comes from the risk of friendly fire. Sometechniques to help reduce the risk of fratricide include—

Improving gunner vehicle identification and thermal image identification skills.

Coordinating laterally before and during the battle. Knowing where units on the left andright will be, as well as their formations and their exact routes. During movement,everyone must be informed of relative locations and any route changes or delays.

Ensuring that subordinate leaders understand all aspects of the operation. Rehearse theplan over similar terrain, at night if possible. Conduct briefbacks with each key leader(including attachments).

Tightening control measures, especially when units are to the front or in a knowndirection. Use weapons hold or weapons tight status (for example, weapons hold left).

Section V. Defensive OperationsThis section describes the most common defensive missions conducted by the light armor

company while operating with a light infantry brigade. Organized as a company team, thelight armor company can conduct defensive combat operations—

With its parent light armor battalion (see Chapter 6).

Task organized to a light infantry brigade.

Task organized to a light infantry battalion.


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FM 17-18

The light infantry conducts the following two forms of defenses:

Mobile defense. The mobile defense uses a combination of offensive, defensive, anddelaying actions. Brigades usually participate in mobile defenses when defending as partof a larger force. This type of defense requires mobility equal to or greater than that ofthe enemy; therefore, light infantry brigades use this form of defense when terrain isrestrictive. All or a majority of the light armor company is kept as a reserve forceduring mobile defenses.

Area defense. The area defense denies enemy access to specific terrain for a specifictime. The bulk of the defending force is deployed to retain ground. The brigade uses acombination of defensive positions and small mobile reserves. Area defenses are usuallyused when depth is not possible. In that case, the light armor company usually has itsplatoons task organized to the infantry battalions. At least one of the platoons should bekept as the brigade reserve.

The light armor company can expect to perform one of many different missions as part ofthe overall brigade defensive plan. These missions can be as part of the security force or asmain battle area, reserve force, or rear area actions. When planning for the use of lightarmor in the defense, the infantry commander should consider the following:


Enemy. Light armor should be placed in defensive positions that capitalize on its long-range firepower and mobility advantages. Light armor may have to be concentratedwhen an enemy mounted threat exists. The company may have platoon(s) task organ-ized to infantry battalions when a dismounted enemy threat exists.

Terrain. Terrain affects three aspects of M8 positioning:

Protection (cover and concealment).

Firepower (observations and fields of fire).

Mobility (obstacles and avenues of approach).

Light armor should be massed when the terrain allows. In rolling, open terrain, thelight armor company can defend in platoon BPs to overwatch mounted avenues ofapproach. In close terrain, further task organization of platoons to light infantrybattalions may be necessary.

Troops available. Employment of the light armor company may depend on the ability toprovide infantry for security. When positioned in or moving through restrictive terrain,infantry is needed to assist in close security. Engineers are needed to prepare M8fighting positions; employment and task organization may be dependent on the availabil-ity of engineer support for preparation of positions.

Time available. Static defensive preparations for light armor are time-consuming. Thetime available may drive the decision to place light armor in BPs or in reserve.

Other planning considerations include the following:

Determine where to kill the enemy.

Determine positions for the M8s.

Plan for security and limited visibility.

Assign missions and graphic control measures.

Determine the sequence and timing of fire and maneuver.

Plan improvement of positions and routes.

Incorporate a deception plan.

Conduct lateral and higher headquarters coordination.


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The company defensive fire plan enables the company commander to distribute and con-trol fires in support of the brigade commander’s defensive concept. In turn, it assists thebrigade commander in preparing his fire plan. If part of the brigade area is threatened, thecommander can use the fire plan to determine which weapons can cover the threatened area.Using radio or SOP signals, he can then direct fires to destroy the threat. To develop adefensive fire plan, the commander must—

Assign a location for vehicles and sectors of fire. A sector of fire is the area where anM8 has primary responsibility for acquiring and engaging the enemy. The sectors offire should overlap between individual vehicles and with adjacent elements on the com-panies flanks, based on where he wants to kill the enemy.

Designate limited visibility capable TRPs and indirect fire targets in the company sec-tor. The FSO assigns numbers to the indirect fire targets.

Coordinate with adjacent units.

Evaluate information from his vehicle commanders to determine if they can effectivelyobserve and engage targets and TRPs within their sectors. Each vehicle commanderprepares a sketch card for each position. The platoon leader consolidates them, prepareshis platoon sector sketch, and gives a copy to the commander.

Develop a sketch of the company’s sector, with a list of direct fire engagements and alegend, for all primary, alternate-and supplementary firing positions (see figure 5-19).


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FM 17-18

The sketch should includeThe company sector.

Individual vehicle positions and platoon sectors.


TRPs and EAs.


Indirect fire targets.

Dead space.

The legend lists targets in the company’s sector and M8s that can fire on those targets.It should also explain the direct fire and indirect fire graphics represented, as well asobstacles and barriers within the sector that can assist in the defense by canalizing theenemy into an EA. Standard military symbols are used to depict the obstacles andbarriers, which should be covered by direct or indirect fire.

Give a copy of the company fire plan to the light infantry company or TF commanderas well as each of his M8 commanders.


The light infantry brigade uses the light armor company in a BP to concentrate its fires,limit its maneuver, or place it in an advantageous position to counterattack. The light armorcompany defends from a BP in the same way as the tank company. This type of defense isused to control fires and movement. It is designed to concentrate direct fires at criticalplaces and times to take advantage of available terrain. The light infantry brigade com-mander will assign the light armor company a BP that dominates a main battalion-sizeenemy armor (mounted) avenue of approach.

The brigade commander specifies critical tasks for companies defending BPs. A minimumlevel of preparation is assigned at each battle position (occupy, prepare, or reconnoiter) toenable the company to accomplish its mission. The company is required to orient its weaponsystems on an enemy avenue of approach using TRPs or EAs. The light armor companydefends in a BP to accomplish one or more of the following:

Destroy an enemy force in an EA.

Control key terrain by holding the BP.

Block an avenue of approach.

Fix the enemy force to allow another unit to maneuver.

When defending a BP, the company positions its elements and maneuvers freely withinthe limits of the position to accomplish the commander’s intent. If the company commanderneeds to position elements outside the BP to make better use of terrain, increase dispersion,or maximize his firepower, he should coordinate these locations with his senior commander.


The light infantry brigade uses a defense in sector to prevent an enemy force frompassing the rear boundary of the sector. A defense in sector is used when—

The enemy situation is vague.

Multiple avenues of approach exist, precluding concentration of fires.

Retention of terrain is not critical.

Flexibility is desired.


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FM 17-18When defending in sector, the brigade uses the depth of the sector to defeat the enemy

within his boundaries while maintaining flank security and ensuring unity of effort. Sectorsgive the subordinate battalion TF commanders the freedom to decentralize fire planning. Itallows the commanders to allocate his forces to suit the terrain and to plan in depth.

The light armor company will usually have platoons task organized to the forward de-fending infantry battalions, with at least one platoon (with infantry, TOWs, and/or otherappropriate forces) retained as the brigade reserve under the command of the light armorcompany commander. Figure 5-20 shows an example of a brigade defense in sector with asupporting light armor company. This example shows three brigades (each with a lightarmor company team) defending in sector. The brigade on the left has one light armorplatoon defending forward in sector with an infantry battalion and the remainder of thecompany in reserve. The middle brigade has all three platoons task organized to the battal-ions and the third brigade (on the right) employs the entire light armor company in ablocking position on a flank enemy mounted avenue of approach.


A strongpoint is a defensive position that is fortified as extensively as time and materialsallow. It is used to hold key terrain critical for the defense, to provide a pivot for themaneuver of friendly forces, and to canalize the enemy into friendly EAs.

A strongpoint is attacked at the risk of high casualties. It cannot easily be overrun orbypassed. It is tied in with existing obstacles, forcing the enemy to reduce it by dismountedassaults and massive artillery and tactical air concentrations.

While the size and type of force selected to execute a strongpoint defense will varyaccording to the situation, an infantry-heavy unit is normally used, with light armor retainedfor mobility. The light armor company can counterattack an enemy force that is halted bythe strongpoint defense. Figure 5-21 shows an example of how the light armor company canbe used in a brigade defense when one of the battalions is defending a strongpoint.


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FM 17-18


A defense of a perimeter is conducted in the same manner as that of a battle positionexcept the perimeter defense orients on 360 degrees. Perimeter defenses are used to protectthe force, hold specific terrain, or protect a key installation from destruction. The brigadeuses this defensive technique when it must hold critical terrain and is not tied in withadjacent units, often employing light infantry. Common situations for use of the perimeterdefense include—

Defense of assembly areas.

Defense of specific positions or key terrain.

When the unit has been bypassed or isolated by the enemy.

When the unit is in an airhead or lodgement.

While a BP can allow some penetration, a perimeter cannot. Subordinate battalions areassigned to defend specific portions of the perimeter. Flanks of all units are tied in toprovide mutual support. If the perimeter is penetrated, the reserve blocks the penetration orcounterattacks to restore the perimeter. The brigade plans positions in depth.

Light armor supports the brigade by providing platoons to the battalions that have enemymounted avenues of approach into their portion of the perimeter. The remainder of the lightarmor company can be retained as a reserve. Figure 5-22 shows how a brigade can use asupporting light armor company in a perimeter defense.


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FM 17-18


This defensive technique is normally used against an enemy armor threat in restrictiveterrain. It is characterized by decentralized execution of detailed antiarmor ambushes andobstacles. This technique prevents the attacker from focusing his full combat power at onepoint. Its purpose is to destroy enemy forces through a series of antiarmor ambushes. It canbe used to—

Deny the enemy the use of a trail or road network in an area of restrictive terrain.

Deny a choke point to the enemy. Based on the situation, this may be a mountain pass,a bridge crossing, or a highway through wooded terrain.

Defend against a motorized enemy force that is attempting a move through restrictiveterrain.

Force the enemy into an EA allowing the unit to mass fires.

This defense allows for planned penetration, ambushes, and counterattacks throughout theenemy formation. It is the most offensively oriented defensive technique that light infantrycan employ. The brigade assigns sectors to the battalions. The commanders analyze theirsectors and organize to make maximum use of dispersed small-unit tactics (down to squadlevel) to attack the enemy throughout the depth of his formations.

The primary focus of this technique is on the enemy force. Indirect fires and obstaclesare tied into the tactical plan to slow and/or stop the enemy in the EA. An aggressive patrolplan is used to provide security, report information, and harass the enemy in an effort toconfuse him as to the location of the main defense.


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FM 17-18An example of a light armor company supporting a brigade antiarmor defense is in

Figure 5-23. The light armor company can be task organized to support the battalion’ssectors or retained as a reserve and counterattack force to react to penetrations or exploitsuccess. Light armor is used—

When a motorized enemy is going to attempt a move through restrictive terrain.

To maintain a mobile reserve to exploit success.


Light infantry commanders should consider the following when integrating M8s into theurban defense plan:

Avoid combat within BUAs when feasible.

Use restrictive missions and detailed control measures to facilitate decentralized execu-tion and prevent fratricide.

Provide priorities and deadlines for the accomplishment of assigned tasks.

Attach CS and CSS units to the lowest level possible.

Employ the combined arms team to maximize individual unit capabilities.

Include M8 fires in the obstacle plan and counterattack plan.


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FM 17-18

Light armor leaders must be informed of patrol plans to prevent firing on friendlyunits. Extensive infantry patrolling is conducted to prevent enemy infiltration. Long-and short-range recognition signals should be incorporated into the security plan.

Some M8s may be held in reserve to counterattack enemy attempts to envelop the townwhile others provide direct FS for the infantry defense.

Use small BUAs as obstacles when they add significant advantage to the direct fireplan.

If terrain permits, establish light armor defenses as far forward of a BUA as possible.

Integrate adjacent terrain into the defense.

Use M8s to assist security forces in limiting enemy ground reconnaissance and infiltra-tion.

Light armor leaders must know what passive resistance measures have been taken alongthe enemy’s avenue of approach, such as removing route indicators and minefieldmarkers and weakening of bridges and culverts. M8 commanders must also know theseplans. Failure to know what passive measures have been taken may cause unnecessarymistakes and/or injury to M8 crewmen.

The utility of M8s in defensive street fighting is limited. Streets and alleys providerestricted fields of fire. Restricted observation and the proximity of friendly troops to enemytargets limit the use of armor fires. Normally, only security elements are left in the townproper. The defenses are usually concentrated on favorable ground around it. When the townoccupies the dominating terrain in the vicinity, however, it may be organized as a key partof the BP or strongpoint.

When the town is organized as a defensive position, the light armor commanders selectprimary, alternate, and supplementary positions. Because observation in any BUA is greatlyrestricted, OPs should be set up and communications improvised between them and the M8s.The OPs should not be placed in steeples, prominent towers, or other obvious locations thatthe enemy is likely to suspect and take under fire.

Light armor units are employed as in the defense of an organized BP. A small,well-organized, determined force defending in a BUA can hold off a much larger attackerfor longer periods of time. Strongly constructed cities give the defender a decidedadvantage. Each building or group of buildings is a potential strongpoint.

When reconnoitering for covered routes of advance and withdrawal, light armor unitcommanders should not overlook the possibility of moving through ground floor lobbies andcorridors of the larger buildings. This type of route requires careful marking, but has theadvantage of being largely concealed from aerial observation. A careful reconnaissance,made with engineer assistance if possible, is necessary to determine whether the floors willsupport the M8s.


Reserve Force. Early in the planning stage, the commander should make important deci-sions concerning the size, composition, and mission of the reserve. The primary purpose ofthe reserve is to retain flexibility, reinforce success, or regain the initiative. The light armorcompany must be able to accomplish one or more of the following subsequent missions:


Reinforce a BP, sector, or strongpoint.

Assume the mission of another unit.


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FM 17-18When employed in a positional defense, such as perimeter defense or a BP, reserves can

be used to conduct attacks against enemy penetrations by striking a decisive blow against anuncovered enemy flank. Additionally, should the enemy’s attack fail, reserves could be usedto reinforce success. When assigned the reserve mission, the light armor company—

Occupies the reserve position (BP or assembly area).Reconnoiters the sector or BPs, concentrating on areas being considered for subsequentmissions.Rehearses likely subsequent missions.Maintains the appropriate readiness condition to react promptly to on-order missions.Uses deception to reduce the enemy’s ability to locate the M8s.

Counterattack Force. The company may participate in a counterattack to exploit anexisting enemy weakness in the company’s AO. An element counterattacks to—

Destroy enemy units.Regain freedom of maneuver.Regain the initiative.Regain key terrain.Relieve pressure on an engaged unit.

A company executes two types ofcounterattacks:

Counterattack by fire. A counterattack byfire is executed to complete thedestruction of exposed enemy elements,to free decisively engaged elements, andto regain the initiative. The companyexecutes a counterattack by fire bymoving on a concealed route to apredetermined BP from which it canengage the enemy in the flank and/orrear while the remaining units hold theirpositions and continue to engage andmaintain contact with the enemy (seeFigure 5-24). When necessary, thecompany commander requests permissionto maneuver outside the boundaries ofthe predetermined BP; he accomplishesthis through prior planning, coordinationwith the commander, or an immediaterequest. If this maneuver influencesanother unit’s mission, the companycommander is responsible forcoordination with that unit.

Counterattack by tire and maneuver. A company normally conducts a counterattack byfire and maneuver to destroy the remaining enemy completely, to relieve pressure on afriendly unit, or to regain key terrain. The counterattack force attacks the enemy fromthe flank whenever possible, using fire and movement to overwhelm and destroy him.


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FM 17-18The company conducts the counterattackby fire and movement in a manner simi-lar to a hasty attack (see Figure 5-25).


Light armor companies can expect to con-duct defensive missions in limited visibilitywhile supporting light infantry. The enemywill attempt to take advantage of the condi-tions to bypass or get close to defensive posi-tions without being detected. The fundamentalsof defensive operations do not change. Lightinfantry units will take special measures duringlimited visibility, such as increasing the num-ber of patrols between positions. Depending onthe situation, commanders can use the follow-ing techniques during limited visibility:

Use M8 thermal sights for detection ondefined avenues of approach. Integratetheir use into the company fire plan.Reposition weapons to concentrate on theavenues of approach that the enemy islikely to use during limited visibility.

Plan and rehearse required movement of units and massing of fires.

Plan to reposition weapons to compensate for the disparity between day and nightacquisition ranges.

Reconnoiter the limited visibility positions, mark them, and mark the routes to them.

Strengthen security with additional OPs and turret personnel.

Enforce noise and light discipline.

Section VI.Other Operations

LODGEMENTSThe light armor company will perform the same functions as the platoon during lodge-

ment seizure and expansion. See Chapter 4 for more details. The advantage of the lightarmor company in the lodgement is that one or two platoons can be placed forward withinfantry to block mounted avenues of approach while at least one platoon is maintained as areserve.

RETROGRADE OPERATIONSThree types of retrograde missions are assigned to the light armor company: delay, with-

drawal, and retirement.


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FM 17-18Delay. The purpose of delay is to slow the enemy by trading terrain for time while

inflicting maximum damage. Enemy forces are delayed by the effective use of obstacles,firepower, and terrain. Delaying forces avoid decisive engagement.

The light armor company can conduct a delay alone or as part of a larger unit. Theconsiderations of planning and executing a delay at company level are the same as describedin Chapter 4.

There are two types of delays:Delay in sector. This mission allows the most freedom to use the terrain as you see fit.There is usually no requirement to hold key terrain when conducting this type of delay.

Delay forward of a line. This is a high-risk mission that requires preventing enemyforces from reaching a specified area earlier than the specified time or event, regardlessof the cost. The commander will normally limit the maneuver from BP to BP or willrestrict crossing a particular PL basedon a specific time or event.

The two basic methods of conductingdelays at the company level are describedin the following paragraphs:

From successive positions or PLs.This method is used when the missionrequires covering a wide sector oravenue that is open and difficult tocover with light infantry. All or mostof the light armor company must bedeployed forward to cover the area.This method is also used when terraindoes not allow for depth. As the fightprogresses, the company fights fromPL to PL. The platoons disengageseparately from one PL or BP to thenext while the remaining platoons pro-vide overwatch (see Figure 5-26). Insome cases, the enemy may force thecompany to disengage simultaneously.Bounding within the platoons may benecessary when the terrain restrictsthe platoons’ ability to provide over-watch for one another.

From alternate positions. When theAO is deep and narrow enough to becovered by one or two platoons, moredepth and securitv can be achieved by.delaying from alternate positions (see Figure 5-27 on page 5-36). This maneuver doesnot normally allow all of the platoons to place fire on the enemy at one time. It is moredifficult to control because platoons are moving and fighting simultaneously. The pla-toons have more time to establish their next positions, however, because other platoonsare fighting and providing security.


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FM 17-18Withdrawal. The purpose of a with-

drawal is to disengage from the enemy. Tosuccessfully conduct a withdrawal, lightforces need mobility equal to or greaterthan that of the enemy. There are twotypes of withdrawals:

A withdrawal under enemy pressurerequires the unit to maneuver to breakcontact when it is under attack fromthe enemy. A unit conducting a with-drawal under enemy pressure is or-ganized into a security force and amain body. The withdrawal should al-ways be conducted with the goal ofavoiding discovery. Timing is critical.The unit must disengage by usingmassed fires and redeploy before theenemy can react to its movement.

Withdrawal not under enemy pressurerequires deception and speed. The unitis not under attack and does not ex-pect to be attacked during the with-drawal. During the withdrawal, decep-tion and OPSEC are stressed. A unitconducting this kind of withdrawalfrom a defensive position is organizedinto a main body and a DLIC.

The withdrawal plan must be modified to fit the technique used to defend or delay.Defense or delay techniques that are fluid and use a series of ambushes and raids to accom-plish the mission can be used with withdrawal techniques associated with those operations.Defenses or delays that are more static require different withdrawal techniques. The tech-niques used for a light armor company to support the infantry brigade withdrawal are similarto the way the light armor platoon supports the infantry battalion withdrawal as described inChapter 4. The withdrawal requires the force to designate a DLIC, security force, andquartering parties, which are described below:

Detachment left in contact. The size, makeup, and mission of the DLIC are directed bythe brigade commander. He will also name the DLIC commander. This is normally theXO. DLIC composition is dependent on the terrain and enemy situation. Although onecould be the DLIC, each battalion normally will leave a company as its part of thebrigade DLIC. This DLIC must be a mobile force. The light armor company withHMMWV TOWs (configured with machine guns) can provide the mobility needed tocover the withdrawal of the brigade main body.

Security force. The security force conceals the withdrawal of the main body and de-ceives the enemy by continuing the normal operational patterns of the battalion. If theenemy attacks during the withdrawal, the security force covers the withdrawal withfires. Priority of artillery and mortar fires is given to the security force. Once thebattalion has reached its next position or a designated distance from the old position,the commander withdraws the security force. If it is under attack, the security forcemay have to maneuver to the rear until contact is broken.


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FM 17-18Quartering party. Each battalion sends a quartering party to the next position before thewithdrawal starts. As their units arrive at the new location, members of the quarteringparty act as guides to lead elements into their new positions.

Retirement. Retirement is an operation where a force not in contact moves away fromthe enemy to avoid combat under unfavorable conditions. A withdrawal from action becomesa retirement after the main force has disengaged from the enemy and march columns havebeen formed. A retirement may be made to increase the distance between the defender andthe enemy, to occupy more favorable terrain, to reduce the distance between maneuver andCSS elements, to conform to the disposition of a higher command, or to permit employmentof a unit in another sector.

Planning considerations for a retirement are similar to those for delay and withdrawal.Movement during reduced visibility is preferred. The light armor company may be requiredto move on one or more routes to support the brigade.

The M8s can provide the appropriate forward, flank, and rear security. When contactwith the enemy is possible, such as when a withdrawal has preceded retirement, a strongrear security is normally employed. If the enemy attacks the rear, delay tactics are used bythe rear guard to extend the distance between the main body and the enemy. The keys to asuccessful retirement are dispersion, speed, and security.


Light armor is well suited to provide the mobile, protected firepower to deter attacks onconvoys. Convoy security is described in more detail in Chapter 4. The same planningconsiderations apply at the company level.

The size of the force allocated to provide convoy security is driven by METT-T. The TFcommander may decide to task organize a combined arms team to secure convoys, or a lightarmor company may be tasked to provide convoy security. The light armor company com-mander may act as the convoy security commander.


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FM 17-18



This chapter describes employment considerations for the light armor battalion supportinga light infantry division. The light armor battalion can deploy as an organic unit, as compa-nies, or platoons task organized to infantry TFs. The battalion may move into a theater asthe majority of a light division is deployed. The light armor units may be organized as a TFwhen a large enemy armor threat exists and/or escalation of hostilities is expected. When thebattalion functions as a TF, its basic employment is to counter enemy armor threats untilheavier forces arrive in theater.


Section I. Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-2

Light Armor Battalion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-2

Headquarters and Headquarters Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-3

Scout and Mortar Platoons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-3

Section II. Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-4Missions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-4

Operational Planning Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-4

Section III. Command, Control, and Communications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-5

Leader Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-5

Command and Control Facilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-6

Command Post Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-6

Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-8

Formations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-10

Section IV. Offensive Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-12

Movement to Contact. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-12

Hasty Attack. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-13

Deliberate Attack. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-14

Exploitation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-15

Pursuit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-16

Raid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-16

Section V. Defensive Operations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-17Defend in Sector. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-18

Battle Positions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-19

Other Defensive Tasks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-20


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FM 17-18


Section VI. Other Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-20Retrograde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-20Reconnaissance in force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-21Counterreconnaissance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-21Passage of Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-24Relief in Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-27

Section I. OrganizationLIGHT ARMOR BATTALION

The light armor battalion is organized into four light armor companies and a headquarterscompany. Figure 6-1 shows the battalion organization.


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FM 17-18


The headquarters and headquarterscompany (HHC) in a light armor battalion isorganized as shown in Figure 6-2. Unlike thetank battalion, it must support four lightarmor companies that usually support threedifferent infantry brigades. Many times, theplatoons within the companies are supportingnine different infantry battalions within thebrigades. Consequently, control of the supportassets within the HHC are decentralized;strong leadership, flexibility, and effectiveplanning are necessary to accomplish thesupport mission.


The battalion scout platoon performsreconnaissance, provides limited security, andassists in controlling movement of thebattalion TF. The scout platoon is one of thecommander’s primary sources of combatintelligence before the battle and is his eyesand ears during the battle. The platoon is notorganized or equipped to conduct independentoffensive, defensive, or retrograde operations.It operates as part of the battalion and shouldbe assigned missions that capitalize on itsreconnaissance capabilities. The mortarplatoon is also organic to the battalion. It hashigh-angle, relatively short-range area fireweapons, and is well suited for providingclose indirect FS. See Chapter 7, and FM7-90. Figures 6-3 and 6-4 illustrate theorganization of the scout platoon and themortar platoon.


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FM 17-18

Section II. EmploymentThe light armor battalion can operate as a pure battalion or deploy in echelons as

companies and platoons attached to infimtry brigades and battalions respectively. If theentire infantry division deploys, part of the battalion may consolidate once in theater. Thebattalion headquarters then forms the nucleus of a light armor battalion TF.

The light armor battalion provides the LID commander with the following:

A highly mobile, protected potent ground combat force.

Shock effect.

Effective antiarmor capability.

Bunker- and building-busting capability and direct, close-in FS for dismounted infantry.

The light armor battalion may conduct operations as a battalion TF under the followingconditions:

The enemy has a considerable mechanized or armor force.

A contingency mission has matured to a level in which the entire LID has deployed toinclude the light armor battalion.

Terrain favors the use of a larger maneuver force and/or supports long-range fires.


The light armor battalion can expect to execute the following missions:

Attack. The battalion provides the infantry division commander with his most maneuver-able, survivable, and potent ground force on the battlefield. He may use this capabilityeither to lead the division to fix the enemy force or as his maneuver force. Keep in mind thebattalion’s speed in relation to the speed of the predominantly dismounted force. The divi-sion commander can use this to his advantage by buying time to maneuver his infantry units.Infantry moving with the light armor TF must be mobile. Truck transportation assets areavailable in the TF, however, if more than one company requires transportation, trucks mustcome from corps support.

Defend. In open terrain, the battalion is most effective when operating as a total unit. Inclosed terrain, better suited for light infantry, the battalion is most effective operating along-side the infantry as platoons and companies OPCON to the infantry battalions and brigadesdefending in depth.

Screen/Guard. The division commander may give the light armor battalion deploymentpriority if the enemy threat is predominantly mechanized or is in wide-open terrain allowinglong-range fires. The battalion in this circ*mstance may be tasked to establish a screeningforce to provide security for the division as it flows into the AO. As the division builds intheater, the battalion’s screening mission may end, and the companies and platoons withinthe battalion may augment the infantry brigades once again. In a major force buildup involv-ing the arrival of cavalry, armored, or mechanized forces, the battalion may be relieved.


Intelligence. The battalion scout platoon offers a reconnaissance force for both the battal-ion and division. Ground surveillance radar (GSR) may be attached from the division’smilitary intelligence (MI) battalion. The battalion relies on the division’s intelligence assetsfor intelligence beyond their own ability to collect.


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FM 17-18Maneuver. These planning considerations apply:

The attachment of dismounted infantry companies to the light armor battalion will re-quire external transportation support from corps.

The light armor battalion relies on the attachment of light infantry for close-in securityin closed terrain.

The light armor battalion’s ground mobility is its greatest asset, the battalion can movefaster than any other divisional ground combat element.

Fire Support. The battalion FSO is not equipped with an armored vehicle but must bepositioned to maintain communications with subordinate FISTs, the battalion FSE (usuallylocated with the TOC), and supporting FS assets. Positioning is based on METT-T; onesolution is to position the battalion FSO in the battalion TAC CP.

The high mobility of the light armor battalion, when compared with the remainder of thedivisional combat power, may require additional fire support assets that can be positioned indirect support of the light armored battalion.

The use of submunitions may be affected by their potential for nonexploded ordnance(UXO), and as a hazard to friendly light forces.

Air Defense. The battalion requires air defense augmentation. Light armor’s presence ina predominantly dismounted AO makes it easily identifiable from the air and a high-valuetarget for enemy attack aircraft. Smoke blankets defeat enemy aircraft targeting and in-creases the survival of the light armor battalion.

Mobility and Survivability. The light armor TF will normally have at least one companyof corps engineers in its task organization. The engineer company will have the capability toprovide a full range of mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks, to include assaultgap crossing, complex obstacle breaching, preparation of fighting positions, emplacement ofconventional and dynamic minefield, and construction of nonexplosive obstacles. Leadersmust know the location of NBC hazards to reduce the vulnerability and risk level of thelight armor battalion.

Combat Service Support. The battalion does not require transportation augmentation if itdeploys in its entirety. Additional corps maintenance support may be required as describedin Chapter 8.

Command and Control. The light armor battalion should provide a liaison to the divi-sion headquarters for staff coordination to enhance C2.

Section III. Command, Control, and CommunicationsLEADER GROUPS

Several types of leader groups work closely with the commander to provide effective C2The commander determines who he wants in each group and establishes a standing list aspart of his SOP.

Command Group. The command group consists of the commander and those he selectsto go forward to assist him in controlling maneuver and fires during the battle. It normallyincludes the FSO, forward air controller, FAC, and S3. There is no requirement for thesepeople to collocate. For example, the commander may be in one part of the battalion sectorwhale the S3 works in a separate part of the sector. The composition, nature, and tasks ofthe command group are determined by the commander to permit the optimum C2 of his unitduring the battle.


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FM 17-18

Leaders Reconnaissance Group. The leaders reconnaissance group is a standard list ofpersonnel who accomply the commander on his reconnaissance during troop-leadingprocedures. It usually includes the command group, the company commanders, and keyattachment leaders (such as the ADA officer and engineer).

Orders Group. The orders group is a standard list of personnel the commander wantspresent when he issues orders or that serves as a distribution list for orders. It usuallyconsists of the leaders reconnaissance group, the XO, S1, S2, S4, battalion chemical officer,smoke/decontamination platoon leader, scout platoon leader, and mortar platoon leader.


Tactical Command Post. A TAC CP may be formed during fast-moving offensive orretrograde operations to maintain communications and facilitate the movement of the mainCP. In each circ*mstance the commander may designate one of the CP vehicles from themain CP to act as the TAC CP. Some or all of the command group may locate at the TACCP at various times.

In some circ*mstances, the TAC CP may be part of an opposed-entry airborne assault. Itis then referred to as the assault CP. The assault CP vehicle is usually a HMMWV with theminimum communications equipment and mapboards needed to control the unit. However,the assault CP may merely be the command group and enough man-packed communicationsequipment to control the light armor units deployed in the initial assault until follow-onoperations deliver the TAC CP vehicles.

Main Command Post. The TF main CP is the control, coordination, andcommunications center for combat operations. The main CP is composed of the S2 and S3sections, the FSE, representatives from other attached elements, and the TAC CP (when notforward). There must be as few main CP vehicles and personnel as possible to allow forrapid displacement, but the main CP must be large enough to accomplish C2 functions insupport of the commander.

Combat Trains Command Post (CTCP). The CTCP is the coordination center for CSSfor the TF and the control element of the combat trains. It is positioned forward of the fieldtrains. The S4 is responsible for operations, movement, and security of the combat trains,assisted by the S1. The S4, S1, and battalion maintenance officer (BMO) must continuallyassess the situation, anticipate the needs of units, and prepare to push support forward.Anticipating requirements is the key to successful CSS.

The CTCP is the alternate main CP. It must be prepared to assume the functions of themain CP at any time. It monitors the TF command net and maintains charts and tacticalsituation maps identical to those at the main CP. The CTCP routinely operates a switch-board for elements in the combat trains; it is the NCS for the battalion A/L net and operatesin the brigade A/L net.


Staff Journal. Each CP cell should maintain a staff journal The soldiers on duty in thecell maintain the journal on DA Form 1594. They record important events, such as–

Command decisions.

Movements of units.


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FM 17-18Changes in unit status.

Liaison activities.

Receipt of new or amended orders.

Visits of commanders and staff officers from other headquarters.

The on-duty soldier logs each action he took in response to an event. He may useabbreviations or symbols. When he is preparing to go off shift, he makes special notationsof events requiring action by soldiers on the next shift.

Staff officers and NCOs use the staff journal as a record for review by incoming dutypersonnel. It ensures continuity between shifts in a CP in that personnel on the incomingshift know which staff actions need further work. It provides a ready reference for thecommander and staff to review current orders. The journal also serves as a permanentrecord for after-action reports, operational reviews, and historical research.

Map Boards. All map boards should be capable of being mounted inside the CP vehicle.Several other techniques are available for constructing map boards. They should be made ofmaterial thick enough to withstand periodic dismounting and mounting. They should also beconstructed so that the maps can be quickly and easily changed. Overlays should be manu-factured to a standard size, with holes to fit standard mounting hooks (referred to as “stand-ard drops“). Staffs should ensure that no map board has so many overlays that it is nolonger understandable or that its main purpose is lost. Maps commonly used in the CPinclude the following:

Situational map. The situational map is maintained by the S3. It illustrates, through theuse of military graphic symbology, the friendly array of combat, CS, and CSS assets aswell as the maneuver plan overlay. Unit SOP will dictate which specific graphics willbe placed on which overlays.

Intelligence map. The intelligence map is maintained by the S2. It illustrates dispositionthrough the use of military graphic symbology all enemy forces to include combatelements, obstacles, and fortifications.

Fire support map. The FS map is maintained by the battalion FSE and is used in theplanning and coordination of FS, target acquisition, and clearance of indirect fires. TheFS map is used with the S2’s intelligence map to develop high payoff targets andensure detection and attack assets can be committed against those targets.

Information Charts. Standard information charts are used to effectively maintain andorganize essential information. Staff officers display critical information so that they canview or update it while looking at the map. Staffs should only post information that theywill reference often or that is vitally important. Information charts on map boards should notbe a replacement for critical information charts kept in the staff workbook.

Orders Preparation, Reproduction, and Dissemination. CP SOPs should contain pro-cedures for preparation, reproduction, and dissemination of overlays and written orders.

Possible topics include–Who draws overlays and graphic control measures.

Who approves overlays.


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FM 17-18Standardized fall-in-the-blank forms for orders.

Who writes FRAGOs and OPORDs.

Who is responsible for providing data for each paragraph.

Who is responsible for the reproduction of overlays.

How overlays are reproduced (computer or mechanical means or by hand); if by hand,who assists in copying overlays and where copying is done.

How many copies of overlays and orders are made (providing multiple copies to eachsubordinate saves the subordinate time).

How orders are distributed.


Battalion TF communications are sent over a variety of radio nets. Figure 6-5 illustratesbattalion radio nets.

Primary battalion communications nets are–Command net. A secure command net is used for C2 of the TF. All organic andattached units, including the FSO, FAC, and leaders of supporting elements,operate on the TF command net. During the execution of the mission, onlycommanders transmit; all others monitor and transmit only essential information.The command net is controlled by the TF CP.

Operational and intelligence (01) net. This OI net is a secure net established to providea mechanism for the battalion TF to accept routine reporting of information concerning0I matters and without cluttering or interfering with the battalion command net.

Administrative/logistics (A/L) net. The A/L net is a tactical net, that is controlled bythe combat trains CP and used to communicate the A/L requirements of the TF. Allorganic and attached units normally operate in this net.

Special radio nets. These include the following:

The scout platoon net or a designated frequency may function as a surveillance netwhen required. The S2 and elements assigned surveillance missions operate on thisnet. Other elements enter or leave the net to pass information as required.

The TF FSE and company FIST operate in the supporting field artillery command firedirection net and a designated fire direction net to coordinate field artillery tires forthe battalion. The tactical air control party (TACP) operates in USAF tacticalair-request and air-ground nets to control air strikes.

Supporting air defense units monitor the early warning net. In the absence ofcollocated air defense support, the main CP will also monitor the division earlywarning net.

OPCON or attached support assets may operate in their parent unit nets, but theymust also monitor the command net at all times.


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FM 17-18


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The light armor TF may move in any of the basic formations. It may use more than oneformation in a given movement if the terrain changes. Light infantry should be mounted ontrucks (if available) or on follow-on company team vehicles if speed is important or themove is long. Other factors such as distance between units are dependent on METT-T.Figures 6-6 through 6-8 are examples of light armor TF formations.


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FM 17-18


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FM 17-18

Section IV. Offensive Operations


TF conducts a movement to contact to make or regain contact with theThe battalionenemy and to develop the situation. The battalion TF could be given a-movement to contactmission as the lead element of a brigade or division attack, or as a counterattack element(see Figure 6-9). Movement to contact terminates with the occupation of an assigned objec-tive or when enemy resistance requires the battalion to deploy and conduct an attack tocontinue forward movement.

Planning Considerations. Keyplanning considerations for amovement to contact unique to alight armor battalion are—

Speed required by the division.The rate of march of the lightarmor battalion can easily ex-ceed the rate of march of theother infantry TFs.

Available avenues of approach.The light armor battalion shouldmove along an axis of advancethat maximizes its firepower andmaneuverability.

Requirements to maintain mutualsupport and synchronization be-tween maneuver units, security,and FS.

Task Organization. The TF isorganized with a security force,advance guard, main body, and flankand rear guards.

The following considerations apply:

The security force is normally established with the light armor battalion scout platoonwhich is equipped with HMMWVs. The scout platoon may be augmented withTOW-equipped HMMWVs (task organized from an infantry brigade) or M8s to providelong-range antitank capability in the security force. Planners must considertrafficability of the terrain since the wheeled scouts are not as maneuverable as thetracked M8s.

The advance guard is usually a company team. Company teams are task organized, withlight armor and infantry platoons forming a mutually supporting team. Attached infantrymay move with the company team by a variety of means. The infantry may movedismounted, mounted on top of the M8s, or mounted in trucks until contact is made orthe situation requires the infantry to dismount.


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FM 17-18The company team may be augmented with TOW HMMWVs from the infantry battal-ions if long-range antitank overwatch is desired. Other attachments may include anengineer platoon or squad (HMMWV-equipped) and an ADA section. See Chapter 5for additional information on company team operations.

The main body remains behind the advance guard lead element, keying its movement tothat of the advance guard. It is flexible enough to maneuver rapidly and provide re-sponsive support when committed. The main body contains the bulk of the TF’s combatforce; it may be augmented with additional assets including TOW HMMWVs from theinfantry battalions’ antitank platoons, engineers, ADA sections, and GSR. Infantry inthe main body moves in trucks if possible.

Flank security is normally accomplished with platoon-size elements (under companycontrol) from one or more of the companies in the main body. The flank guard in alight environment may be HMMWV-equipped elements from the battalion’s scout pla-toon or attached antitank platoons.

The trailing company of the main body provides a rear guard to protect the TF’s rear.

CSS assets move with the TF as part of the combat trains or field trains. Furtherdiscussion of CSS support can be found in Chapter 8.


The hasty attack is conducted either as a result of a meeting engagement or when abypass has not been authorized and the enemy force is in a vulnerable position. Hastyattacks are initiated and controlled with FRAGOs and are usually indicated when a move-ment to contact results in enemy contact. Figure 6-10 shows a light armor hasty attack.


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FM 17-18Hasty attacks at the TF level are conducted as described in FM 71-2, with the following

planning considerations:

Commanders must carefully consider where and when to dismount the infantry to maxi-mize its effectiveness. The infantry should be transported as close to the battle aspossible before dismounting, taking security into consideration. M8s cannot fight withinfantry riding on top of them; however, M8s are vulnerable to enemy dismountedforces if they outrun their own supporting infantry. Light armor is most effective whenworking as a team with its light infantry. That team must be preserved during maneu-ver.

Antitank-equipped HMMWVs are best deployed in overwatch. During hasty attacks, themaneuverability and survivability of the M8s should be maximized with the less maneu-verable and survivable TOW HMMWVs in overwatch.


TF deliberate attacks differ from the hasty attack in that they are characterized by preciseplanning based on detailed information, thorough preparation, and rehearsals. Deliberateattacks normally include large volumes of supporting fires, main and supporting attacks, anddeception measures.

A light armor battalion TF will usually be the division’s main attack element against anenemy force consisting of mechanized forces. Figures 6-11 and 6-12 illustrate light armordeliberate attacks in breaching and assault operations.


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FM 17-18

Planners should consider the following factors:

The timing of the attack must be synchronized with the other elements of the division.The rest of the division may be moving dismounted or truck-mounted and plannersmust consider the rate of movement based on terrain and weather.

The division possesses limited mechanical obstacle breaching systems. The breaching ofobstacles will in most cases be conducted manually with dismounted engineers or withthe aid of light dozers or SEEs, requiring suppression from M8s and smoke for protec-tion and concealment. Obstacle breaching therefore requires extensive planning andrehearsals.

The division’s organic artillery consists of towed 105-mm howitzers and may be aug-mented with corps-level towed 155-mm howitzers if force buildup has matured to thelevel in which corps systems have entered the theater. Light forces also rely on CASand naval gunfire (NGF) for FS.


The exploitation is conducted to take advantage of success. It prevents the enemy fromreconstituting an organized defense or conducting an orderly withdrawal. It may follow anysuccessful attack. The keys to successful exploitation are speed in execution and pressure onthe enemy. Exploitations are usually oriented on a terrain objective containing enemy’sreserves, CS, CSS, and C2 facilities.

The light armor battalion is the light division commander’s exploitation force. It is themost mobile ground element and can regain and maintain contact with the withdrawingenemy force. Planners must prepare for support during exploitation, with considerations forrefueling and rearming. Air resupply may be used to support the force during exploitation.


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FM 17-18


The pursuit normally follows a successful exploitation. It differs from an exploitation inthat a pursuit is oriented primarily on the enemy force rather that on terrain objectives.While a terrain objective may be designated, the enemy force is the primary objective. Thepurpose of the pursuit is to overrun the enemy and destroy him.

If the enemy is predominantly dismounted, the division commander will probably use hisinfantry in the pursuit. The light armor TF may be designated as the division reserve duringthe pursuit of a dismounted enemy force; it may become the main effort if the fleeing enemyis mounted.


A raid is an attack into enemy territory to accomplish a specific purpose, with no inten-tion of gaining or holding terrain. Raids may be conducted to–

Capture prisoners.

Capture or destroy specific enemy material.

Destroy logistical installations.

Obtain information concerning enemy locations, dispositions, strength, intentions, ormethods of operation.

Disrupt enemy plans.

The light armor TF may conduct, or direct subordinate elements to conduct a raid. Raidsmay be conducted mounted or dismounted. A mounted raid is normally conducted as anexploitation with a limit of advance or as an attack with a limited-depth objective.

Raids may be conducted in daylight or darkness, within or beyond supporting distance ofthe parent unit. When the area to be raided is beyond supporting distance of friendly lines,the raiding party operates as a separate force. Raiding force security is vital because theraiding party is vulnerable to attack from all directions. Raids should be timed so that theraiding force arrives at the objective area at dawn, twilight, or other times of low visibility.FS, if in range, should be planned.

During movement in daylight, the raiding force uses covered and concealed routes ofapproach. During reduced visibility, advance and flank security detachments precede theraiding force. They prevent premature discovery of the raid by locating enemy securitydetachments and directing the raiding party around them.

The withdrawal is usually made over a different route from the approach. Security de-tachments are employed to ensure that the routes of withdrawal are open. Protective firesare planned along the axes of advance and withdrawal. Rally points are planned for units toassemble after they have completed the mission and are ready to withdraw.

Planning considerations for raids include the type and number of vehicles and weaponsthat the raiding force will have, movement distance, length of time the raiding party willoperate in enemy territory, and expected enemy resistance. The raiding force usually carrieseverything required to sustain itself during the operation. Resupply of the raiding force, ifrequired, is by aircraft. Figure 6-13 illustrates a raid with light armor.


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FM 17-18

Section V. Defensive Operations

The light armor battalion conducts defensive operations as part of a LID defense. It canbe integrated into the defense in the following ways:


As the division’s reserve or counterattack force.

Defending in sector from BPs.

Task organized with companies supporting each infantry brigade, and a reserve forceunder the control of the light armor battalion headquarters.

As a security force.

The light armor TF defends in sectors or BPs or using a combintion of both. Figure6-14 summarizes the factors to consider when selecting BP or sector defense.


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FM 17-18


METT-T may cause the division commander to deploy the battalion in a sector in whichhe expects enemy mechanized or armored forces to attack. Light armor company teamsconstruct battle positions and defend in depth. Light infantry deploys in surrounding terrainthat favors dismounted attacks and facilitates supporting fires. Figure 6-15 shows a defensein sector.


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FM 17-18


A BP is a general location and orientation of forces on the ground from which unitsdefend. The BP can be used for units from battalion- to platoon-size. Light armor unitsdefend BPs in the same way armored units do. The difference is that the light armorbattalion will not normally operate in terrain that allows it to defend a battalion size BP. TheBP defense for light armor units will usually consist of company BPs controlled by the TF.Security forces may operate forward and to the flanks of BPs for early detection of theenemy. Figure 6-16 shows a BP defense.

Units can maneuver in and outside of the BP as necessary to adjust fires or to seizeopportunities for offensive action in compliance with the commander’s intent. The com-mander may freely move his force within the assigned BP. The commander must notify thehigher commander and coordinate with adjacent commanders when maneuvering his forceoutside the BP.

The TF commander allocates space to the subordinate elements within the general area.The TF commander-

Selects subordinate BPs by considering space two levels down (platoon level). He pro-vides sufficient space in each BP to allow for dispersed primary and alternate positions.Room for operations in limited visibility, supplementary hide positions, and locationsfor combat trains are also considered.

Varies the degree of maneuver of teams by allocating larger company BPs. BPs mayalso be placed in depth.


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Reserve. In some cases, each infantry brigade may be task organized with a light armorcompany to strengthen the brigade defense. Platoons within the companies may be furtherattached to infantry battalions. Chapter 4 discusses how a platoon would fight as part of abattalion TF. Chapter 5 discusses how a company would support a brigade. In these cases,the battalion headquarters may become the controlling headquarters for the division reserveconsisting of at least one light armor company and other divisional combat forces. Thisoption provides the division commander with a responsive, flexible, potent maneuver forcethat he can use anywhere in the area of operations. The division can commit the reserveduring the battle to spoil the enemy’s attack, destroy him, or reinforce success and gain theinitiative.

Rear Operations. The battalion can provide rear area security for the division. Forcebuildup may mature to a point in which heavy armor or mechanized follow-on forces enterthe theater and assume responsibility for the area of operations once covered by the lightinfantry division. The division may then assume a corps reserve role, or prepare for futureoffensive operations. Within the division, the light armor battalion may be tasked to react torear area threats. The battalion executes this mission similar to a counterattack mission inreaction to forces inserted into the rear area.

Attacks From a Defensive Posture. Attacks from a defensive posture include counter-attack and spoiling attacks as part of either hasty or deliberate operations. The light armorbattalion is an ideal force for the division commander to use for this mission. The followingconsiderations apply:

Counterattack. Light infantry defensive operations against a mechanized or armoredthreat employ defensive positions in depth, coupled with EAs to reduce and thendestroy the enemy force as it moves through the AO. The infantry is basically fixed inposition once deployed into a defense. The light armor battalion provides a mobileforce that can move throughout the defensive sector and counterattack to defeat theenemy force at the decisive place and time. The counterattack is usually a key elementin a coordinated effort to mass fires-CAS, attack aviation, artillery, and otherfires-into a designated EA. Light armor TFs attack by fire or by fire and movement.

Spoiling attack. The spoiling attack strikes the enemy when he is most vulnerableduring preparations for attack in AAs or attack positions or on the move before cross-ing his LD. The objective of the spoiling attack is the enemy force, not terrain. Thereserve is often used in a spoiling attack to allow forward units to concentrate ondefensive preparations.

Section VI. Other OperationsRETROGRADE

Retrograde operations consist of three missions: delay, withdrawal, and retirement. Lightarmor units execute these missions in the same manner as armored units. See Chapter 4 fora more detailed explanation.

The light armor TF provides the LID with the only asset capable of delaying against amounted threat. The light armor TF is also well suited to act as the security force or DLICwhen withdrawing either under enemy pressure or not under enemy pressure.


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A reconnaissance in force is a deliberate attack to discover and test enemy disposition,composition, and strength. It is ordered by a division or higher commander

Light divisions will usually face a light enemy force. In most cases, light infantry is bestsuited to finding and testing a similar enemy force. The stealth with which light infantrymoves is an advantage when conducting any reconnaissance.

A reconnaissance in force mission could lead to a general engagement under unfavorableconditions that will commit the force executing the mission. Light infantry can be extricatedmore easily than a light armor battalion; therefore, commanders must weigh the advantagesand disadvantages of using the light armor battalion as the reconnaissance in force unit. Thelight armor battalion may be given the mission of reconnaissance in force if the divisioncommander desires a highly maneuverable force to find and test an enemy that may consistof armored or mechanized vehicles.


Counterreconnaissance is defined as the sum of the actions taken at all echelons through-out the depth of the area of operations to counter enemy reconnaissance efforts. Counterre-connaissance is both active and passive; it includes all combat actions designed to deny theenemy information about friendly units by detecting, fixing, and destroying enemy recon-naissance elements (active measures) and by concealing friendly information through OPSEC(passive measures, see pages 2-22 through 2-24). An analysis of battles throughout historyshows the initial stages of battle are mainly a fight for information. Both sides try to learnas much as possible about each other without committing their main effort or disclosing theirprimary positions. The force that wins the battle for information has a major advantage inthe following battle.

Planning and Preparation. Counterreconnaissance is one aspect of security. The coun-terreconnaissance force commander is given specific tasks, such as “destroy” or “deny,”rather than the general task “conduct counterreconnaissance.” Even though the focus of thefollowing discussion is in the defensive forward security zone, counterreconnaissance contin-ues throughout all offensive and defensive operations. It is more than just a forward or flanksecurity mission. All maneuver units must also plan to counter enemy reconnaissance ele-ments that try to penetrate their area of operation. All elements, including CPs, CS, andCSS units, must establish local security and use hide positions. In the defense, OPs with anambush ability should cover obstacles, gaps between units, and avenues of approach. Theseefforts are coordinated through the S2/S3 to ensure full coverage and to avoid friendly forceengagements. The S2 consolidates all counterreconnaissance efforts into the battalion R&Splan. In the security area, a detailed IPB discloses likely enemy reconnaissance actions, suchas the most likely avenues of approach for mounted and dismounted enemy reconnaissanceelements.

Unity of command is vital for the forces in the security area. For example, the com-mander of a light armor company conducting a screen or guard mission for the battalionshould have control of all forces in the security zone, including scouts, GSRs, ADA assets,light infantry, engineers, mortars, and Army aviation. The commander receives a detailedorder that specifies expected enemy reconnaissance measures and the actions required to


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FM 17-18

counteract them. The S2 recommends to the S3 the placement of the force for final approvalby the commander. Additionally, the battalion TF commander and staff should–

Develop NAIs and assign responsibilities for observation.

Determine the limit of enemy advance (to prevent enemy observation of friendly posi-tions).

Provide for continuous surveillance (overcommitment of the counterreconnaissanceforce will weaken security).

Use a combined arms approach to acquire and defeat enemy reconnaissance.

Assign specific responsibilities for obstacle security.

Develop a plan to withdraw forward security elements.

The counterreconnaissance force commander must plan enemy tracking and hand-offcriteria (using sectors, TRPs, pre-planned targets) to gain and maintain contact with theenemy until he is destroyed, captured, blinded, or deceived (based upon the battalion TFcommander’s intent). The commander must also plan and disseminate engagement criteria,displacement criteria for all forces, and rehearse acquisition, engagement, and withdrawalprocedures. Counterreconnaissance forces in the security zone consist of some or all of theelements listed in the following paragraphs.

Scouts. Scouts are finders, not killers. In counterreconnaissance operations they helplocate and track enemy reconnaissance elements for destruction by light armor or infantryforces.

Light Armor and Infantry. Light armor conducts either a screen or guard while theinfantry man OPs, establish ambushes, and conduct patrols. TOW and Dragon systems,AT-4s, and MK 19s can defeat thin-skinned enemy reconnaissance vehicles.

Ground Surveillance Radar. GSRs can help identify enemy reconnaissance units, espe-cially during limited visibility. They monitor open terrain, high-speed avenues of approach,or defiles. The effectiveness of GSRs is improved by using overlapping sectors, the “ flicker”on-off technique to avoid detection, and a well enforced sleep plan to ensure that GSRoperators are alert. GSR positions are reconnoitered during daylight and occupied just beforedark with a security force. Targets can be generally identified at 10 kilometers or less, andmovement can be detected at much greater ranges. GSR NCOs are technical experts on thecapabilities of their systems and should be included in the planning process.

Aviation. Observation and attack helicopters can greatly assist as part of a combinedarms force in counterreconnaissance operations. OH-58Ds provide excellent day and nightdetection of enemy reconnaissance elements while AH-64s serve as the “killers.” One em-ployment method is the continuous attack technique. While one element is surveilling, theother two prepare to relieve the surveilling element as they remain in holding areas or theFARP. This technique allows continuous aviation support to the counterreconnaissance op-eration. In the planning phase, the airbattle captain provides input for specific missions,responsibilities, and reporting channels. The security plan should include contingencies incase aviation elements are unable to fly.

Field Artillery. Responsive FS is vital for a successful counterreconnaissance operation.Based on the IPB, the FSO should develop a flexible FS plan tailored to the commander’sconcept. He should ensure the plan is distributed to, and entirely understood by thecounterreconnaissance commander. Indirect fire is required to the limit of the battalion’sobservation. A COLT team attached to the counterreconnaissance force can employCopperhead FA munitions to selectively and surreptitiously destroy enemy reconnaissancevehicles with more precision, a requirement when indirect tires will impact near friendly


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FM 17-18troops. In cases where FA is not readily available to the counterreconnaissance force, themortar platoon deploys forward.

Engineers. Camouflaged, low-density nuisance minefield are highly effective in thecounterreconnaissance fight. Such minefield maximize surprise, have minimum impact onMBA obstacle preparation, confuse the enemy, and provide early warning and identificationof enemy approach. Off-road AT mines and dummy minefield may also be effective. Infan-try must provide security for the engineers or emplace these obstacles if engineers are notavailable. Scouts can also emplace minefield, however it may impede their ability to pro-vide continuous observation. Regardless of who emplaces them, all minefield should beovermatched and covered by direct and indirect fires.

ADA. Counterreconnaissance forces are especially vulnerable to enemy air attack.MANPADS and Avengers must be placed in positions to provide a complete protection forthe entire force in the security zone.

Execution. There are four counterreconnaissance options in the defense:Place a company team forward in a screen or guard role with the scout platoon andother security zone assets attached. The company team commander directs the battle.The scouts acquire the targets and the company team destroys the enemy reconnaissanceelements as they enter the EAs (see Figure 6-17).

Place a light armor platoon OPCON to the scout platoon. The scout platoon leaderdirects the battle. Scouts acquire the targets while the light armor platoon destroys theenemy reconnaissance elements as they enter an EA.

Designate a platoon or company team to provide a reaction force. The placement ofthe reaction force can either be in the MBA or in the security zone. The company teamcommander or scout platoon leader directs the battle. Scouts acquire the targets whilethe reaction force attacks to destroy the enemy reconnaissance.

Require the scout platoon to destroy enemy reconnaissance elements. The scout platoonleader directs the battle. However, when scout elements become involved in a directfire engagement, they quit observing their designated areas, and other enemy reconnais-sance elements slip through.

Techniques may include—Tasking the scout platoon to conduct a zone reconnaissance to their designated OPs.They should assume enemy OPs are already in the zone.Tasking the infantry to conduct patrols and cover dismounted avenues. They can alsohelp detect and destroy enemy OPs.Placing GSRs so friendly scouts and infantry patrols are not to their front, thus avoid-ing confusion by their movements.Deploying the scouts and OPs in depth—not on a line across the battalion front. Theyshould have overlapping fields of observation so the forward OPs can visually handover the advancing enemy reconnaissance to the next OP.Having a dedicated scout section observe each light armor platoon sector.Placing all elements in the security zone on the same radio net as the commander.Designating “no-movement areas” for specific times.Positioning selected CSS assets forward initially to reduce response time. Prestock asmuch as possible before moving into the security zone. Disseminate the location of theforward security area casualty collection point to everyone in that area and to theseselected CSS assets.


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FM 17-18

Displacement of the Counterreconnaissance Force. Planning and executing the with-drawal of counterreconnaissance forces are critical. The withdrawal of the force should beplanned as a rearward passage of lines under enemy pressure. Route recognition signals andtiming for withdrawal must be coordinated and rehearsed between counterreconnaissanceelements and company teams in the MBA. If possible, routes should go around friendlyunits rather than through them to avoid masking friendly fires. An effective displacementconcealment technique is to fire linear indirect targets of HE/smoke forward of all friendlyelements.


Passage of limes is an operation in which one unit moves through another unit that isstationary and disposed in a tactical formation on a FEBA. It may also occur when anexploiting force moves through a force that conducted the initial attack. Light infantry forcesmay conduct a passage of lines to get behind the enemy, especially during infiltrations orraids. Movement in forward unit areas must be controlled, coordinated, and kept to aminimum. This avoids conflict with friendly troops. Light forces treat the positions of for-ward units as danger areas. They must be assumed to be under enemy surveillance in allweather or visibility. Detailed reconnaissance and coordination are crucial to ensure that thepassage is conducted quickly and smoothly. This is especially true when units are operatingin small elements, such as during infiltrations and exfiltrations.


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FM 17-18

Planning. The battalion is particularly vulnerable during a passage of lines. Personneland units may be overly concentrated; fires of the stationary unit may be temporarilymasked; and the passing unit may not be well disposed to react to enemy action.

Tentative Plan. The commander of the passing unit makes a tentative plan for the con-duct of the overall operation. The plan includes the following:

Organization. Unit and team integrity is maintained to provide better C2.

Order of movement. An order of movement is prescribed based upon the number ofpassage points, degree of security required, enemy situation, terrain, and the formationthe battalion will be traveling in after the passage. An order of movement reducesconfusion and congestion by setting priorities on who moves and when.

Security. The scout platoon can assist in the passage of lines by screening between theenemy and the battalion to provide early warning and limited protection. Noise, light,and radio discipline must be enforced.

C2. The technique of C2 depends on the number of passage points. Ideally, multiplepassage points are established, a tactic which favors decentralized control. The battalioncommander must decide how he can influence the action and position himself accord-ingly. For example, if the battalion is conducting a passage of lines to attack forward ofthe FEBA, the commander will probably follow the lead unit.

Transfer of Responsibility. The time or circ*mstances when responsibility for the zoneof action or sector of defense is transferred must be mutually agreed upon by the twocommanders. The commander of an attacking battalion assumes responsibility for the zoneof action when he has at least a company and a control element forward of the stationaryunit. The responsibility for a sector changes from the commander of the disengaging unit tothe commander on the defensive or delay position when the disengaging unit passes a spe-cific location (a designated phase line, called the battle handover line) or at a specified time.Coordination and control are facilitated if the boundaries of the passing unit and the station-ary unit coincide.

Control Measures. Control measures that can be incorporated into a passage of linesinclude the following:

Assembly areas. These are areas in which a force prepares or regroups for furtheraction. They are selected so as not to interfere with friendly forward positions.

Attack position. This is the last position an attacking force may occupy before crossingthe LD.

Passage lanes. These are lanes along which a passing unit moves to avoid stationaryunits and obstacles. Planning should provide for primary and alternate lanes.

Passage point. This is the point where units will pass through one another, either in anadvance or a withdrawal. It is located where the commander desires subordinate unitsto physically execute a passage of lines.

Time of passage. The specific time may be set by the commander ordering the passage.

Recognition signals. These are used to send messages. Signals may consist of one ormore letters, words, visual displays, characters, signal flags, or special sounds withprearranged meaning whereby individuals and units can be identified.


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FM 17-18

Contact point. This is a point at which two or more units are required to make physicalcontact.

Release point. This is a clearly defined control point on a route where specified unitsrevert to the control of their respective commanders. Each of these elements continuesits movement toward its own destination.

Route. This is a line of travel from a specific point of origin to a specific destination.

Fire Support. FS planning is an essential element of a successful passage of lines. Directand indirect fires of the stationary unit are normally integrated into the FS plan of thepassing unit. Assets and control means may be collocated to provide coordinated and respon-sive support.

Reconnaissance. A thorough reconnaissance covers routes to, through, and beyond thearea of passage. It should include existing troop locations and proposed positions. Care mustbe taken not to compromise unit intentions; therefore, it may be necessary to limit thenumber and size of reconnaissance parties. It may be better to use the vehicles or aircraft ofthe stationary unit.

Liaison. Liaison involves the exchange of information that is necessary for the conduct ofthe passage of lines. This includes the following:

Designation of units to pass.

Mission of units and scheme of maneuver.

Fire support.

Enemy situation.

Friendly locations (for day and for night):

Contact and coordination points.

OPs and patrol routes.

PPs and lanes.

Obstacle locations and types.

AAs or attack position.

CS and CSS locations for emergency support.


SOI information.

Conducting a Passage of Lines. Once the plan is formulated, the battalion commanderwill direct a thorough reconnaissance. If the passage of Lines is forward of friendly elements,the reconnaissance should include the route to the RP, the AA, and the passage lanes to thePPs. Normally, AAs will be occupied, at which time a reconnaissance by key leaders ismade of the passage lane and PPs. The battalion commander may want to use the scouts toreconnoiter and screen forward of the passage points to provide early warning while thebattalion conducts the passage of lines. Coordination is made with the stationary force.Recognition signals must be mutually agreed upon, and SOI information must be exchanged.Emergency signals must be agreed upon so that the passing and stationary units understandthem.


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FM 17-18Questions that should be asked and mutually answered include the following:

Can the stationary unit provide guides?

What FS is available?

What CSS can be provided (such as litter teams)?

What actions occur if enemy contact is made?

Once reconnaissance and coordination are completed, the battalion plan is finalized anddisseminated to the lowest level. Just before the passage of lines occurs, a passing unitrepresentative conducts last-minute coordination with stationary elements. This coordinationshould include–

Confirmation of SOI and emergency signals.

Any changes in friendly unit locations or obstacles.

Any new enemy activity.

The number of personnel and equipment to pass through the passage point.

At a prearranged time, movement toward passage lane begins. To increase speed andreduce vulnerability, multiple lanes are used consistent with the passing unit’s scheme ofmaneuver, available routes, and needs of the stationary force. Marches are carefully calcu-lated so that units arrive at passage lanes at the correct time, with few or no halts en route.At a location short of the PP, the recognition signal is identified, and a guide links up withthe passing unit. The guide taking the passing unit through the PP leads it through friendlyobstacles to an RP. The passing unit representative who conducted the last-minute coordina-tion may position himself at the PP to identify vehicles and troops as they move through thePP. If necessary, challenges are made to ascertain whether units know the correct password.Command groups of both units may be collocated at a point from which they can observecritical areas, make timely decisions, and issue instructions to ensure the uninterruptedmovement of subordinate units.


In a relief in place operation, one unit is replaced in combat by another unit. It may beaccomplished during offensive or defensive operations, preferably during periods of limitedvisibility. A relief in place is conducted when a unit needs to reconstitute, rest, or decon-taminate. Units that have a change of mission may also require relief.

The primary purpose for the relief is to maintain the combat effectiveness of committedelements. A relief in place may be conducted to—

Replace a combat-ineffective force.

Relieve a unit that has conducted prolonged operations.

Replace a unit that requires medical treatment or decontamination as a result of expo-sure to nuclear, biological, or chemical munitions.

Relief in place requires extensive planning. Security, secrecy, and speed are critical.Incoming and outgoing commanders must coordinate—

Exchange of liaison personnel down to company level.

Positions of weapons.

Exchange of sketch cards, range cards, and tactical and fire plans.


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FM 17-18

Relief of organic FS elements.

Location and transfer of responsibility for obstacles.

Guides and routes into and out of positions.

Transfer of excess ammunition, wire lines, POL, and other materiel to the incomingunit.


Joint reconnaissance of operational area.

A deception plan.

Routes for both units that facilitate speed of operation.

Procedures for maintaining CS and CSS from the unit being relieved until line unitshave been relieved and the relieving units are prepared to support their operation.

Enemy situation and intelligence.

Sequence of relief.

Time of change of responsibility for the area.

The tactical situation dictates whether the relief will be conducted during the day or atnight. Before the relief operation, the incoming unit moves to a preplanned AA behind theunit to be relieved. The incoming command group sets up near the outgoing CP.

Units conduct the relief of forward positions using one of the following techniques:

The relieving companies occupy hide positions and move into the primary positionsafter the relieved elements begin to withdraw to subsequent positions.

The relieving companies occupy alternate positions as the relieved units withdraw fromprimary positions. This relief procedure is initiated when speed is desired.

During periods of limited visibility, relieving companies move into primary positionsbefore the relieved companies withdraw. Once primary positions have been occupied,the relieved units withdraw.

During the relief, both units are on the ongoing unit’s radio net. The outgoing unitmaintains its previous level of radio traffic. The incoming unit maintains listening silence.When relief is complete, the incoming unit switches to its assigned frequency.


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FM 17-18



This chapter describes the organization, capabilities, and employment considerations ofCS elements in the LID that may be provided to or operate in close proximity to light armorforces. It will also discuss the CS organizations organic to the light armor battalion. Whenlight armor elements are task organized to light infantry TFs, CS will come as part of thenormal infantry battalion or brigade. In some instances the infantry headquarters may taskorganize CS units to a light armor company team. In other instances the LID may taskorganize CS elements to the light armor battalion when it operates as a battalion TF.


Section I. Indirect Fire Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-2

Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-3Fire Support Planning and Execution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-3

Company Fire Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-10Field Artillery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-13

Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-15

Mortars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-16

Naval Gunfire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-20

Section II. Tactical Air Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-23

US Air Force Tactical Air Support. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-23Planning Close Air Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-23

US Navy/Marine Corps Tactical Air Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-31

Section III. Army Aviation Support.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-32

Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-32

Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-32

Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-32

Section IV. Air Defense Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-34

Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-34

Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-35

Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-35

Section V. Engineer Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-37

Organization, Characteristics, and Capabilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-37

Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-39

Command and Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-40

Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-40


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FM 17-18



Section VI. Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-41

Organization, Characteristics, and Capabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-41

Employment and Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7-42

Section I. Indirect Fire SupportFS is the collective and coordinated use of indirect-fire weapons, armed aircraft, and

other lethal and nonlethal means in support of a battle plan. Lethal FS includes mortars,field artillery (FA), air-delivered weapons (discussed in sections II and III), NGF, and ADAused in its secondary role. Nonlethal means include illumination, smoke, and EW. The forcecommander employs these means to support his scheme of maneuver, to mass firepower,and to delay, disrupt, or destroy enemy forces in depth. Indirect FS planning and coordina-tion exists at all echelons of maneuver. This section will discuss indirect FS. The indirectFS system supporting light forces is the collective body of—

Command, control, and coordination facilities and personnel.

Target acquisition and battlefield surveillance.

Indirect FS weapon systems.

An FA battalion is normally placed in DS of a light infantry brigade. The brigade com-mander will give priority of fires to selected maneuver elements during each phase of thebattle based on his scheme of maneuver. The FS system supporting the light armor battalionTF consists of the same basic components as those that support a tank battalion. The lightarmor battalion has a dediated FSE, but light armor elements are normally task organizedand FA support usually received through the parent infantry TF.

Attack system assets are allocated to the light armor battalion as priorities of FS based onthe division or TF commander’s guidance and scheme of maneuver. Besides indirect FS,attack system assets could include CAS and FASCAM.

The light armor maneuver commander uses FS to enhance his combat power by—

Destroying, suppressing, and neutralizing targets.

Obscuring the vision of enemy forces.

Isolating enemy formations and positions.

Slowing and canalizing enemy movements.

Killing or disabling the enemy at ranges greater than direct-fire weapons capability.

Screening with smoke or isolating areas with scatterable mines.

Reducing the effect of enemy artillery by active counter fire.

Interdicting follow-on threat echelons.

The maneuver commander must decide what effect FS must have on a particular target.The three target effects categories are—

Destruction. Destruction puts a target out of action permanently. Direct hits are re-quired to destroy hard material targets. Usually, destruction requires large expendituresof ammunition and is not considered economical. A casualty rate of 30 percent or morewill normally render a unit ineffective.


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FM 17-18

Neutralization. Neutralization temporarily knocks a target out of action. It does notrequire an extensive expenditure of ammunition and is the most practical type of mis-ion. Most missions are neutralization fire. A casualty rate of 10 percent or more mayneutralize a unit.

Suppression. Suppression of a target limits the ability of enemy personnel in the targetarea to perform their jobs. The effects of these fires usually last only as long as thefires are continued. Suppression requires the least amount of ammunition; however,since its effects are not lasting, it is unsuitable for some targets.

To take advantage of the effects of FS, the light armor leader must know the plannedtarget effect and synchronize his maneuver plan to maximize the M8’s shock effect andfirepower capabilities.


Battalion FS Organization. The battalion FSO is the fire support coordinator(FSCOORD) for the maneuver battalion. He is in charge of the FSE and is the principal FSadvisor to the maneuver commander. The FSE, located with the operations element of themaneuver forces, may include—

The FSO (captain).

The FS plans/targeting officer (lieutenant).

The FS sergeant (sergeant first class).

The FS specialist (specialist).

When added to the FSE to perform their FS functions, other representatives serve as afunctional FS team to enhance FS coordination. These representatives may include—

S3 -Air.

Mortar platoon leader.

Battalion NBC officer.


Supporting arms liaison team (SALT).

Air defense officer.

Other representatives (such as engineer, allied force, and Army aviation liaison person-nel).

FIRE SUPPORT PLANNING AND EXECUTIONFS planning procedures at the light battalion TF level are essentially the same as those in

armored battalions. When the light armor battalion operates as a unit and priority of artilleryfires is given to the battalion, the FSO must consider the following during planning:

Assigned tactical mission of FA units.

Number and caliber of artillery units in support.

Range capabilities, including special munitions and rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP).


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FM 17-18Effects of available munitions and quantity on hand.

Locations of primary and future positions.

Size of the FPF.

Radius of burst.

Maximum and sustained rates of fire.

Target acquisition for both external and organic internal assets.

Planning Considerations. Effective FS depends on centralized planning and decentralizedexecution and coordination. FS planning is a continuous process of analyzing, allocating,and scheduling. It determines how FS is used, what types of targets are attacked, when theyare attacked, and with what means. The goal is to effectively integrate FS into battle plansto optimize combat power. To do this, FS planning is concurrent with battle planning.Planning must be flexible to accommodate the unexpected in combat and to facilitate rapidchange. It anticipates factors like massing of FS assets, changes in force mission, realisticmovement times, resupply, target acquisition, replacement of entire units, and technical sup-port, including survey and meteorological requirements. The FSO must consider three vitalsets of information: relationship of the commander’s intent for maneuver and FS to otheroperating systems; factors of METT-T; and guidance from higher FA and maneuver head-quarters. He must remember these factors cannot be considered individually. Each affectsthe others.

Process. FS planning begins with the commander’s guidance and intent. It continuesthrough the development of a prioritized list specifying what targets are to be attacked andwhen (decide), the acquisition of those high pay-off targets (detect), and the determination ofattack options to be used (FS, maneuver, EW, or a combination) to defeat the target (de-liver). It concludes with the assessment of the effects of the attack.

Commander’s Intent. At each level, the FSO plans fires as the commander outlines hisscheme of maneuver. The FSO must seek and understand the commander’s guidance andintent and be prepared to make recommendations for the integration of available FS. Hemust know when and where the commander wants FS and what the commander wants in theway of effects, duration, and timing. To understand the commander’s intent, he must alsounderstand why and how unit direct fire assets are to be employed so he can supplement,not interfere with, their employment. Also, the FSO must ensure that he knows how FS isto be integrated with other operating systems and how to synchronize his plan to comple-ment their employment. The FSO is responsible for informing the commander of all changesto the FS plan received through FS channels.

METT-T. Information is continuously analyzed at all levels of command considering thefactors of METT-T (see Figure 7-1).


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FM 17-18


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FM 17-18

Guidance from Higher Headquarters. Higher headquarters will give the FSO informa-tion essential to the FS plan, including—

The commander’s intent at that level.

FS assets available.

FS coordinating measures.

Target lists.

Schedules of fires.

Technical advice on FS matters.

Constraints on FA Class V controlled supply rates (CSR).

Fire Planning and the Decision-making Process. The decision-making process is asdetailed, or as simple, as time permits. The commander plays the central role in thisprocess, with the staff providing advice and information related to their respective areas.The process is primarily downward, beginning at higher echelons and progressingdownward to the company FSO. Its effectiveness requires continuous interaction andbottom-up feedback.

When the maneuver commander receives his mission and issues his initial planning guid-ance, the corresponding FSO receives guidance from the higher FSO. As a minimum, thisguidance should cover the following:

FS asset allocation and status.

Commander’s target attack guidance.

Fires planned by higher headquarters in your zone.

Deliberate Fire Planning. Deliberate fire planning is conducted through a formal top-down process, with bottom-up refinement as time permits. It starts at all levels immediatelyupon receipt of the mission. Its foundation is the military decision-making process based ondetailed interaction with other staff members. The decide-detect-deliver methodology assistsin the development of a fire plan that is integrated and supports the scheme of maneuver.The battalion FSO should not wait for a target list from higher headquarters before begin-ning his own planning. He is responsible for identifying the battalion FS requirement withthe commander, operations officer, and primary and special staff. He does this by receivingthe fire plan and targets from the brigade FSO, modifying targets as necessary, and recom-mending targets of concern to the battalion commander. Using the target list worksheet andoverlays as tools, he forwards his list of targets to subordinate FSOs.


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FM 17-18

The company FSO and company commander plan targets to support the company schemeof maneuver. From the battalion, the company FSO receives targets that are within thecompany area of interest. He modifies them as necessary and adds any other targets asaccording to the maneuver commander’s priorities. Modifications and additions are submit-ted through the battalion to the brigade FSO for inclusion in the final brigade target list andfire plan.

At the lowest level, the company FSO nominates targets in his sector, records this targetinformation on the target list work sheet, and forwards it to the battalion FSO. The battalionFSO considers the target information he receives from each of the company FSOs, consoli-dates it, adds targets needed by the battalion, and forwards a copy of the target list worksheet to the brigade FSO. The brigade FSO receives target lists from the battalion FSOs.Using a target overlay, he resolves duplications, adds targets developed by the brigade targetacquisition assets, prioritizes the list, and sends it to the DS battalion. He informs thebattalion FSOs of any subsequent changes to the plans. Once targets are received by battal-ion and/or brigade FSOs, they prepare their fire plans and schedules to support the maneu-ver and allocate targets to the appropriate FS agency or asset.

Quick Fire Planning. The purpose of quick fire planning is to rapidly prepare andexecute FS in anticipation of an impending operation. It is the brigade FSO’s responsibilityto ensure the DS battalion S3, FDC, and battalion FS cells understand the quick FS plan andhow it is used. Quick fire planning techniques constitute an informal tire plan. In the quickfire plan, the FSO is responsible for identifying targets to be engaged in the target list,allocating all FS assets available to engage the targets in the plan, preparing the schedule offires, and disseminating the schedule to all appropriate FS agencies for execution. Thefollowing steps are used in the quick FS planning sequence:

Receive the OPORD. The key is understanding what the commander wants. Obtain thefollowing decisions from the commander:

Targets to be engaged.

Desired effects on targets.

Order and timing of target engagement.

Duration of fires.


Priority of fires.

Priority of targeting.

Priority of execution.

Other FS assets available.

Time check from commander.

Estimated rate of movement.

Need for target adjustment.

Concept of the operation, including objective and defensive positions; maneuvercontrol measures; and obstacles.

Find out what assets are available for the operation. Concurrently, send a WO to allattack agencies. These may include the FA battalion S3, mortar platoon leader, airliaison officer (ALO), naval gunfire liaison officer (NGLO), SALT-Air, and aviationLO (if any are applicable).


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FM 17-18

Obtain from the FA DS battalion the firing units that will be designated to fire in thequick fire plan schedule.

Obtain from the maneuver commander availability of the mortar platoon (company FSOto battalion FSO for mortars in a company operation) for inclusion as firing units in theschedule of tires.

Obtain tactical air (TACAIR) mission information from the FS cell. Coordinate CASrequirements with the ALO (such as aircraft type, ordnance, time on station, lasercodes, and control procedures).

Obtain the availability of naval aircraft and/or NGF from the firepower control team,SALT-Air, or NGLO.

Plan targets in accordance with the scheme of maneuver, commander’s guidance, andallocated assets, determining—

Assets to be used.

Munitions mix.

Shell/fuze combinations.

Duration of fire for each target.

Time to fire.

After receiving the commander’s approval, disseminate the fire plan to attack systems,higher headquarters FSE, and those who will implement the plan (FOs and subordinateFS teams). Whenever possible, send DA Form 5368-R (Quick Fire Plan) to the FAbattalion CP and mortar platoon leader.

Ensure that subordinate FSOs and FISTs understand the fire plan. As a minimum,cover—

Positions/locations of FSOs and FOs during the conduct of the operation.

Who is to initiate the fire plan or the fire request for specific on-call targets withinthe fire plan. The plan should include the agency to be contacted, when the target isto be initiated, and the communications net to be used.

Which unit has priority of fires and what the priority targets are, if applicable.

The use of methods of control in modifying the plan should it become necessaryduring execution.

The agencies that are available when additional targets of opportunity arise duringexecution of the plan.

Inform the commander when the plan is ready. Review the plan and modify it asnecessary. If time allows, conduct a rehearsal to ensure comprehension of the plan.

FS Planning and Execution Matrix. The FS planning and execution matrix is a concise,easy planning tool that shows the many factors of a complicated FS plan. It can help theFSO and the commander to understand how the fire plan supports the scheme of maneuver.It is a valuable planning tool for both the offense and the defense. It explains what aspectsof the FS plan each FSO and FO is responsible for and at what phase during the battle theseaspects apply. When approved, the matrix becomes the primary execution tool. It is set upwith the maneuver elements along the left side and different phases of the mission (PLs,


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FM 17-18events, or times) along the top. Phases should correspond to phases established on maneuverexecution matrixes (see Figure 7-2). At battalion level, the following considerations apply:

If priority of any indirect FS means is allocated to a team, it is indicated by an abbre-viation of that FS asset in the upper left corner of the appropriate matrix box.

If an FPF has been allocated, the abbreviation FPF, preceded by the type of indirectfire means responsible for firing the FPF, will appear in the center of the box.

If a priority target is allocated to a team, it will appear in the box as a priority target(PRI TGT), preceded by the means of FS responsible for firing the target. Once atarget is determined as the PRI TGT, the corresponding target number is placed in thebox.

If a company FSO is responsible for initiating specific fires, the target number, group,or series will be listed in the box for that FSO. Specific guidelines concerning thetarget not included on the target list work sheet will be included in the box.

If an airspace coordination area (ACA) is to be put in effect by a particular FSO, theabbreviation ACA, followed by the area code word designated for that ACA, will beshown in the box. The time the CAS or attack helicopters are due in the area is alsolisted.

Other factors that apply to certain teams during a specific time frame may also beincluded in the appropriate box. General guidance is issued in the written portion of theOPORD.


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FM 17-18


FIST Organization. FIST personnel are the company FSO (lieutenant), FS sergeant(staff sergeant), FS specialist (specialist), and radiotelephone operator (private first class). Ininfantry companies, the FIST may contain FO parties, each with an FO (sergeant) and aradio operator (private first class). Armor companies have no platoon FOs. The FISTdepends upon platoon leaders to assist in the execution of fires to support the plan.

Company FSO. The company FSO is the maneuver company FSCOORD and integratesall fires to support the commander’s scheme of maneuver. Although he is not the primaryshooter for the company, the FSO must be an expert at locating targets and adjusting fires.His duties are to—

Plan, coordinate, and execute FS.

Advise the company commander on FS matters.

Keep key personnel informed of pertinent information (such as spot reports andSITREPs).

Train the FIST platoon leaders in applicable FS matters.

Request, adjust, and direct all types of FS.

Ensure the FS plan and matrix is disseminated to key personnel and that a FS rehearsalis conducted.

Allocate FOs for surveillance of targets.

Provide emergency control of CAS missions in the absence of qualified USAF person-nel, such as the ALO, the enlisted terminal attack controller (ETAC), or the airborneforward air controller (AFAC).

FS Sergeant. The company FS sergeant is the senior enlisted assistant to the companyFSO. He acts as the FSO when required. He is responsible for the supervision and trainingof all enlisted section members and the maintenance and employment of their equipment.The company FS sergeant must be able to perform all duties of the FSO.

Company FSO Relationships. The company FSO works closely with the company com-mander, who is ultimately responsible for FS. The company FSO gives recommendationsand advice to the commander on all FS matters; therefore, he is the maneuver unit expert.Final decisions regarding company FS rest with the company commander. The companyFSO goes with him to receive plans and orders. The FSO must understand the scheme ofmaneuver as well as the company commander does. On the basis of the commander’s guid-ance and war-gaming, the FSO devises his FS plan, which must be presented to the com-mander for his approval.

Company FSOs work for the battalion FSO. The battalion FSO provides guidance, battle-field intelligence, information on FS assets, FS coordination measures, and technical adviceto the company. The battalion FSO coordinates and clears FIST fire missions that falloutside company boundaries of the requesting company FIST. Company FSOs provide up-dated friendly and enemy battlefield information to the battalion FSO. This informationincludes the forward line of own troops (FLOT) location, SITREPs, spot reports, otheressential elements of friendly information (EEFI), and information relating to PIR. Thebattalion FSO helps the battalion commander train company FSOs.

The company FSO should locate himself where he can best support the company. Sincethe MS has a three-man crew, the company FSO will operate from the commander’s


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FM 17-18

HMMWV when necessary. Maneuver companies should have an SOP specifying where theFSO will locate in the company headquarters during tactical operations.

As company FSCOORD, the FSO obtains the following information from the battalionFSO:

Status and location of FS delivery systems that the company may use.

Status of TACAIR missions and TACP CAS control personnel (ALO/ETAC/AFAC).

Existing targets, scheduled fires, and

FS coordination measures in effect.

Verified frequencies and call signs.

Status of COLTs, if available.

known points.

Availability of position location assets, position azimuth determining system (PADS), orsurvey to accurately find minefield or obstacles.

The FSO obtains a mission briefing from the company commander, including—

The scheme of maneuver and commander’s intent.

Location of platoons, crew-served weapons, and listening posts/observation posts(LP/OP).

Current enemy situation.

Status and location of obstacles.

Location of FPF.

MOPP level.

Air defense status.

As a minimum, the FSO provides the following information at thebriefing:

FS plan for the operation, including responsibilities for its execution.

Existing targets, scheduled fires, and known points.

FS coordination measures for the operation.

Status of priority tires.

company order

FS assets available to support the operation, with their location and status.

Verified frequencies and call signs.

Availability of position location assets.

Status of FIST personnel and equipment (including Classes I, III, and V supplies).

The FSO ensures that communications are established with FS assets, such as artilleryand mortars; with FOs, including COLTs, if applicable; with the battalion FSO; and withthe maneuver commander.

Company FS Planning. Planning at the lowest level in the deliberate fire process, com-pany level, begins with receipt of the TF order. The order contains the FS annex, whichincludes the higher headquarters’ targets in the TF sector, targets added by the TF com-mander to support his plans, and specific guidance for employment of mortars. Company


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FM 17-18commanders are responsible for positioning primary observers, establishing secondary orbackup observers, and establishing trigger points for calls for fire. Key personnel mustunderstand their priority of fires within the TF, TF priorities within the brigade, and whenand under what conditions priorities will change. Targets are planned according to the plan-ning allocation provided in the TF order. The TF FSE provides at least one high-qualityacetate target overlay to each company so that planning can begin immediately upon receipt.

At first glance, planning responsibilities at company level might appear to be slight. Thisis not the case. It is at this point in the planning process that the requirement for detail ismost critical. Assisted by target area survey, if necessary, company FSOs must ensure thatthe actual grid to target and the trigger point are visible to the observer or will be visiblegiven the expected conditions of smoke, night operations, or position within the formationduring offensive operations. Each observer must understand the communications plan as wellas the backup plan in case the primary observer is unable to complete the mission. Allmembers of the FS team, platoon leaders, and key NCOs must be drilled on all aspects ofthe plan.

At the lowest level, the company FSO nominates targets in his sector, records targetinformation on the target list work sheet, and forwards it to the battalion FSO. The battalionFSO evaluates target information from the company FSOs, consolidates it (eliminating dupli-cation, for example), adds targets needed by the battalion, and forwards a copy to the DSbattalion fire direction center (FDC) and the brigade FS cell. The brigade FSO receivestargets from the battalion FSOs. Using a target overlay, he resolves duplications, addstargets developed by brigade target acquisition assets, prioritizes the list, and transmits it tothe DS battalion. He informs the battalion FSOs if there are any subsequent changes to theirplans and transmits the brigade target list. When targets are received at battalion or brigade,FSOs at those levels prepare their fire plans and schedules to support the maneuver andallocate each target to its appropriate FS agency or asset.

Company Level FS Execution Matrix. The company level FS execution matrix shownin Figure 7-3 includes the following information:

Priorities of indirect FS to a platoon are indicated by an abbreviation of that FS assetand recorded in the upper left corner of the appropriate matrix box.

The abbreviation FPF, preceded by the type of indirect fire means responsible for firingthe FPF, is in the center of the box.

PRI TGTs allocated to a platoon are recorded in the box as PRI TGT, preceded by themeans of FS responsible for engaging the target and followed by the target number.

If FIST elements are responsible for initiating specific fires, the target number, group,or series designation is listed in the box for that FIST element. Specific guidelinesconcerning fires not included on the target list work sheet will be included in this box.

FS coordination measures to be in effect, followed by a word designated for that meas-ure, are shown in the box. For ACAs, the time that planned CAS or attack helicoptersare due on station is listed.

Other factors that apply to a certain platoon during a specific time frame may beincluded in the appropriate box. General guidance is issued in the written portion ofthe OPORD.


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FM 17-18


The FA mission is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket, andmissile tire and to help integrate all FS into combined arms operations. Normally, one FAbattalion is in DS of a maneuver brigade. However, more artillery battalions can be assignedthe mission to reinforce the DS battalion.

Advantages. The advantages of FA are that it—

Adds depth to the battlefield. The FA can strike and destroy the enemy in depth beforehe can influence the battle.

Offers various ammunition and fuze combinations.

Gives continuous fire in all weather conditions, day or night, and from all types ofterrain.

Shifts and masses fires quickly.

Is as mobile as maneuver forces. Artillery for LID, airborne, and air assault divisionsis towed.

Disadvantages. The disadvantages of FA are that it—

Is an area fire weapon. In some cases, however, point targets can be destroyed byusing guided or homing FA projectiles. These projectiles are expensive and limited inquantity. They must be used only against high-payoff targets.

Has a limited ability to survive enemy ground, air, and artillery attacks. Weapons canbe detected because of their large signature from communications and firing. Therefore,artillery must displace periodically.


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FM 17-18Is not well suited for use in direct fire mode.

Has limited ability to bring timely and accurate massed fires on moving targets withoutdetailed coordination and planning.

Must be observed fire to be effective.

Organization. The division commander normally places at least one FA battalion in DSof a committed maneuver brigade. Additional FA units may reinforce DS battalions and/orprovide GS reinforcing fires to the brigade based on availability and priorities of the divisionbattle. The organization of a DS FA battalion is shown in Figure 7-4.

Positioning. The DS artillery battalion deploys and locates the main CP, combat trains,and each firing platoon and firing battery headquarters based on METT-T. Often thesebatteries will be in separate locations (split battery operation). The field trains normallyoperate in the BSA to increase its responsiveness. The following considerations apply:

The maneuver commander must allocate sufficient position areas for all artillery unitsoperating in his zone of action. Primary, alternate, and supplementary positions must beallocated throughout the zone for all units of the artillery battalion to synchronize theirmovement with the scheme of maneuver. The FA battalion commander is responsiblefor positioning his units, but he needs a general area and guidance from the brigade S3.Artillery units generally require firm ground, a good internal road network, defilade,cover, concealment, and defensibility. FA may not always operate with split batteries;often, a battery headquarters will be with a platoon.

Depending on the tactical situation and terrain, an FA unit will move much like maneu-ver units. If enemy contact is not likely, it may move in column or wedge formation. Ifcontact is probable, battery-size units will move independently, but movement will becoordinated so that one battalion or battery can provide FS to the maneuver force whileanother is on the road. Finally, if contact has occurred or is very likely, artillery unitscan move either by bounding or infiltration by battery, platoon, or individual gun.


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FM 17-18


The characteristics of US FA and mortars are in Table 7-1. The characteristics of US FAand mortar smoke are in Table 7-2. The characteristics of US FA and mortar flares are inTable 7-3.


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FM 17-18


Mortars are the only organic indirect FS asset in the light armor organization. Mortarsprovide responsive high-angle fires that can kill the enemy, suppress enemy fires, and con-ceal the movement of friendly forces. Mortars are best suited for immediate suppression andsmoke. Mortars are most lethal against enemy light infantry. For the light armor leader,mortars can be extremely beneficial when the M8's direct-fire weapon systems cannot en-gage enemy light infantry due to masking terrain. Mortars are extremely important in theFS plan, especially in operations other than war. The FSO's doctrinal responsibility is lim-ited to recommending the integration of mortars into the FS plan. for considerations ofmortar employment, refer to FM 7-90. The FSO is concerned with the following areas.


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FM 17-18

Characteristics and Capabilities. The light armor battalion mortar platoon consists ofsix M252 81-mm mortars (two sections with three mortars each). The mortars are ground-mounted and carried in an M998 HMMWV. When planning mortar fires, the FSO mustconsider the high rate of fire and ammunition availability. A mortar platoon can fire over300 rounds in less than 5 minutes. As a result, the ammunition supply can be quicklyexhausted.

Command Relationships. There may be situations when the mortar platoon cannot sup-port all of the battalion while remaining under battalion control. This may occur when amaneuver unit is given a mission that separates it from its parent unit. In those situations, aplatoon or section may be placed under OPCON or attached to the supported unit, based onthe following considerations:

Priorities. The commander may specify support by assigning priority of fires and/orPRI TGT(s) to a subordinate unit.

OPCON. This gives a commander the authority to direct forces provided to him toaccomplish specific missions, usually limited by function, time, or location. The com-mander controls the tactical employment, movement, and mission of the mortars. He isnot responsible for A/L support.

Attachment. This temporary relationship gives the commander receiving the attachmentthe same degree of C2 as he has over units organic to his command. The commanderselects the general location of the attached mortar element and controls its deploymentas well as its fires. He is also responsible for logistical support and security of themortars. Attachment is appropriate when units are assigned independent missions.

Tactical Employment. The commander has three options when considering how to em-ploy the battalion mortar platoon. It can be employed by platoon, section, or squad. Usuallythe mortar platoon is employed as a platoon in the defense and in sections or squads in theoffense. Squads consist of one mortar and its crew. Squads can be grouped together intosections. Finally, the entire platoon may be employed together. Selected options are basedon the commander’s guidance, METT-T, and priority of fires. The FSO must be prepared toadvise the commander on which option to use. When employing mortars, the FSO mustconsider the following:

Mortars are best at employing smoke and illumination fires.

Mortars are most effective against soft-skinned targets.

Their high-angle trajectory makes mortars effective against targets that are masked or indefilade.

High-angle fires are easily detected by enemy radars.

High-angle fires are adversely affected by strong winds.

Mortar positions are seldom surveyed, creating the need for more adjustments and aloss of surprise when attacking targets. This can be overcome by requesting FA surveysupport or ensuring each position has a global positioning system.

Mortars are effective in built-up areas (BUAs).

METT-T must be considered when employing mortars. General positioning guidelinesare as follows:

In the offense, one-half to two-thirds of the maximum range should be in front of leadelements.

In the defense, one-third to one-half of the maximum range should be in front of thelead elements.


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FM 17-18Positions should be selected to minimize the number of moves required.

The mortars must be able to displace rapidly and provide continuous support.

Platoon Employment. The platoon operates from one or two firing positions and fires asone unit. The best way to position the platoon is to place the platoon sections in twoseparate locations at least 300 meters apart. The actual distance is based on the terrain, theability to cover the sector, and limits in C2. A platoon located in a single area enhances C2and local security but is more vulnerable to enemy counterfire. Fire direction centers (FDC)are trained to mass tires from separate locations onto a single target.

Section Employment. This places each section as a separate firing unit. The mortar pla-toon is normally employed by section to cover wider frontages. Each section is positioned soit can provide fires within the zone of action of the supported maneuver element. Whenemployed by section, each section has an FDC or a computer. Depending on the range totarget and separation of sections, more than one section may be able to mass fires on thesame target.

Squad Employment. This places one or more mortar squads on the battlefield as separatefiring units. This is usually done to support special requirements, such as—

One-mortar illumination missions.

Roving mortar adjustments.

Antiarmor ambushes.

Support for a very wide front.

The maneuver element being required to cover a large front.

Rear combat operations to support critical installations.

Displacement. It is essential that mortars displace rapidly and maintain their flexibility toprovide continuous FS. Based on the scheme of maneuver, the mortar platoon leader devel-ops a displacement plan. This is a map overlay with initial positions, subsequent positions,routes between the positions, and any control measures in effect. The following are consid-erations for selecting displacement techniques.

By platoon—

The need for speed outweighs the need for immediately available fires.

This method may be used when contact with the enemy is unlikely.

Accurate and timely response to a call for fire is sacrificed; therefore, greater relianceis placed on “hip shoots.”

C2 problems are minimal.

By section—

Continuous, accurate fires are required.

Speed is essential.

C2 is more difficult.

This method is slower than displacement by platoon.


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FM 17-18

By individual squad—

The need for continuous fire outweighs need for speed.

C2 is extremely difficult.

This the slowest displacement technique.

Movement. Two movement options are available: successive bounds and alternatebounds. Generally, alternate bounds are used when displacement is rapid to keep up withsupport elements. Successive bounds are used when the maneuver element movements arenot so rapid. Normally, the mortar platoon leader controls the bounds; however, if thetactical situation demands the decision to move to be based on multiple maneuver units, theFSO in close coordination with the battalion S3, will control bounds. Movement is con-ducted as follows:

Successive bounds. A portion of the platoon moves to the next position. After thatportion is in position and ready to fire, the rest of the platoon moves to the sameposition.

Alternate bounds. A portion of the platoon moves to the next position. After thatportion is in position and ready to fire, the rest of the platoon moves to a differentposition. This method applies to both the offense and the defense.

Integration of Mortars into the FS System. Mortars are an important part of the FSsystem. Based on the commander’s guidance, the FSO must maximize their effectivenessthrough planning, coordination, and integration into the FS system and battle plan, as de-scribed in the following discussion:

Tasks. The following tasks are inherent in planning, coordinating, and integrating mor-tar fires into the plan:

Develop target lists and plan fires based on the commander’s guidance, and developattack criteria to support the BOS.

Allocate priorities of fires and FPF.

Develop FS coordination measures to facilitate target engagement and safeguardfriendly personnel.

Update target lists, priorities, and planned fires; and send them to the mortar FDCs.

Update operational status, location, and ammunition status of tire units.

Keep the mortar platoon updated on the tactical situation; include it in the ordersprocess.

Fundamentals. The following basic considerations apply to mortar integration:

Mortar fires are usually effective at providing smoke (white phosphorus [WP]);illumination; area fire; antipersonnel fire; fire to force armor to button up; fire inBUAs; and intense FPF on dismounted enemy.

Mortars are generally not effective at providing the following types of fires;therefore, other FS means should be used if possible: point destruction missions;armor destruction; and missions against well-protected defensive positions. If mortarsare used to accomplish these missions, ammunition expenditure will be prohibitive.


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FM 17-18


NGF provides large volumes of responsive, immediate and accurate FS to light armorand infantry forces operating on land- near coastal waters and to amphibious operationswithin their range. Normally, naval fires are controlled by an NGLO attached to the FSEfor a specific operation.

Organization. NGF in any US Army unit is coordinated through the ANGLICO. TheANGLICO is a Marine organization that consists of three brigade air/NGF platoons organ-ized and equipped to plan, request, coordinate, and control NGF and naval air. Figure 7-5shows the organization of the ANGLICO. Each brigade has two SALTs that are normallyattached to maneuver battalions. The SALT consists of two officers and six personnel, whobecome part of the unit’s FSE. The SALT has two firepower control teams (FCT) whichmay be provided to maneuver companies to request, observe, and adjust naval FS. TheSALT officers coordinate all NGF and supervise the activities of the FCTs. In addition, theyadvise the FSCOORD on all matters pertaining to NGF employment.


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FM 17-18Coordination and Planning. The NGF liaison team of the brigade operates on the divi-

sion NGF support net high frequency (HF). This net provides communication between thedivision naval gunfire officer (NGO), the brigade NGLO and the ships in support of theseunits. This net is used for the day-to-day planning between units. Requests for FS aretransmitted to the air and NGF team (at brigade or division), which forwards it to the ship.The NGO at division monitors and/or coordinates as necessary. This coordination is muchthe same as for FA engagement. When a light armor battalion or company is task organizedto an infantry brigade, the SALT requests FS through the NGLO at brigade. When the lightarmor battalion operates separately, the SALT must contact the NGO at division. It does thisusing the FSO’s communication means; the SALT does not have direct communication withthe NGLO/NGO.

When NGF is available but ANGLICO personnel are not available, units may requestNGF through the FS net to the division, where the NGO should be located with the divisionFSE. To increase response time for adjustments, Army personnel may interface with theNGF unit if the following equipment is available:

NGF ground spotter net (frequency 2-30 MHz HF).

Compatible equipment

Army: GRC-106, GRC-193.

USMC: PRC-104, GRC-193, MRC-138.

Air Force: PRC-104, MRC-107/108, GRC-206.

Characteristics. A complete understanding of the characteristics, capabilities, and limita-tions of NGF is essential to its successful use in ground support. Table 7-4 depicts the FScharacteristics of naval ships used to support ground combat.

Capabilities. Capabilities of NGF include—The variety of munitions and fuzes, including HE and illumination, permits selection ofoptimum combinations for the attack of targets. Ammunition may also consist of preci-sion-guided munitions.

The high muzzle velocity and flat trajectory make the naval gun suitable for direct fireor assault fire, particularly against reinforced targets such as bunkers and hardenedpositions.

Some naval guns have a very high rate of fire.

The normal dispersion pattern is narrow in deflection and long in range. It permitseffective coverage of such targets as roads and runways. Very close supporting fire canbe delivered when the gun-target line is parallel to the FLOT.

Precision fire control equipment permits accurate direct and indirect fires while the shipis under way or at anchor.

Limitations. Limitations of NGF include—The relatively flat trajectory results in a large range of probable error. The gun-targetline in relation to the FLOT must always be considered. The FSO should avoid agun-target line that passes toward or directly over friendly troops.

Naval guns are less accurate in rough seas.

The shore bombardment allowance varies with the ship type. When the need arises,remaining rounds will be held for self-defense.


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FM 17-18

If a ship comes under attack, it may cancel its fire mission with the ground forces tocounter the threat.

The sole means of communication from ship to shore is HF AM radio, which is notcompatible with standard Army FM radios.

Employment. Light armor units normally receive NGF support indirectly through thelight infantry headquarters to which they are task organized. On occasion a light armorcompany, when operating pure or task organized as a team, will receive an FCT to requestand adjust NGF. The light armor battalion will receive a SALT when it is organized as aTF. In some instances, when ANGLICO assets are limited, the battalion may only receivean FCT.

NGF ships are assigned the missions of DS or general support (GS) in much the samewas as artillery is organized for combat:

DS. A ship in DS usually supports a battalion. This ship can deliver both planned andon-call fires. On-call fires are normally requested and adjusted by the FCT of thesupported unit or by an air spotter.

GS. A ship is usually placed in GS of a brigade or division. The fires for the GS shipare conducted as directed by the NGO of the supported unit.


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FM 17-18

Section II. Tactical Air Support


TACAIR provided by the USAF consists of CAS, counterair (CA), air interdiction (AI),tactical airlift (TA), and tactical air reconnaissance. TA, AI, and CA are normally allocatedat higher than brigade level. The following considerations apply:

TACAIR reconnaissance is the acquisition of intelligence information using visual ob-servation and/or sensors in aircraft.

CAS is defined as air attack on hostile surface forces that are in close proximity tofriendly troops. CAS can be employed to blunt an enemy attack, support the momentumof the ground attack, or provide cover for friendly movements. For best results whileavoiding mutual interference or fratricide, aircraft are kept under “positive control”(part of the USAF’s TACAIR control system). The effectiveness of CAS is directlyrelated to the degree of local air superiority attained. Until air superiority is achieved,competing demands for CAS and CA operations for available aircraft may limit sortiesapportioned for the CAS role. CAS is the primary support given to committed brigadesand battalions. Nomination of CAS targets is the responsibility of the commander,ALO, and S3 at each level.

The use of aircraft to support ground forces is subject to the following planningconsiderations:

Air support is not available at all times. Even when planned, it may be diverted to ahigher priority mission (immediate).

Immediate requests may restrict indirect fires and will come with whatever ordnancehas already been loaded-not necessarily the optimum weapon for a particular target.

Air support may be limited by weather and enemy air defense systems.

Support aircraft have varying capabilities to remain on station (loiter time).

Target identification is difficult, so marking of enemy and friendly locations isrequired when in close contact.

As long as the enemy has an effective air force, the emphasis will be on CA. As thebattle progresses and the enemy’s air capability is reduced, the emphasis will shift toCAS.


The battalion commander, aided by the S3, is responsible for planning fire and move-ment, just as he is in other FS planning. The following personnel are also involved inplanning the use of TACAIR, particularly CAS.

Battalion S3-Air. The S3-Air receives, ranks, approves, and coordinates requests forplanned CAS. He integrates CAS into the ground commander’s scheme of maneuver. Hekeeps the Air Force TACP advised on the current ground tactical situation, of the locationof friendly units, and of any FS coordination and control measures established.


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FM 17-18Battalion FSO. The battalion FSO is the full-time FSCOORD for the battalion. He

advises the battalion commander on all FS matters, including the use of CAS. He is also afocal point for CAS planning and coordination between the battalion commander, theS3-Air, and other interested parties. The FSO integrates CAS into the FS plan.

Tactical Air Control Parties. The USAF provides one TACP to each maneuver battal-ion. Each TACP includes an ALO, who performs FAC duties, and two TACAIR C2 spe-cialists. One of the specialists is trained in terminal air control techniques and can performTACP duties. The ALO supervises the activities of the TACP personnel; he advises thecommander, FSO, and S3-Air on capabilities and limitations of TACAIR and other technicalor tactical aspects of TACAIR missions as required. The ALO uses USAF TACAIR re-quests to maintain radio contact with all other TACPs in the division and with the airsupport operations center (ASOC). When possible, he provides final coordination of CASmissions in the battalion area. The TACP transmits to the ASOC all requests for immediateCAS. He advises the S3-Air and FSO of other units’ immediate air requests. As changes inthe TACAIR situation are transmitted over the TACAIR request net, the ALO relays themto the S3-Air and FSO.

TACP procedures in this manual conform to US Army and USAF standards. TACPsparticipating in allied operations should be familiar with the characteristics and attack pro-files of all aircraft that may support ground operations.

Preplanned Missions. Preplanned missions are those for which a requirement can beforeseen. They permit detailed planning, integration, and coordination with the ground tacti-cal plan. In the defense, CAS can be used to thicken fires in a decisive EA. In the offense,CAS can be planned to strike an anticipated enemy counterattack in the vicinty of anobjective. Inherent in such preplanned CAS missions is the possibility that the target will notappear at the place and time that was expected. Such missions would then be released andused to fill requests for immediate CAS elsewhere on the battlefield. Preplanned CAS mis-sions are most desirable because munitions can be tailored to the target and complete mis-sion planning can be accomplished. Categories of planned CAS are—

Scheduled mission. This is a CAS strike on a planned time on target (TOT), and willbe included in the daily air tasking order (ATO).

Alert mission. This is a CAS strike on a preplanned target area executed when re-quested by a supported unit. It is usually launched from a ground alert but may beflown from an airborne alert status. Alert (on-call) CAS allows the ground commanderto designate a general target area within which targets may need to be attacked. Theground commander designates a conditional period within which he will later determinespecific times for attacking the targets.

Requests for planned CAS missions originating at the light armor battalion level areforwarded to the brigade FSE over the 01 net or by any other means available. When therequest is received by the FSE, it is reviewed by the G3-Air, the FSO, and the ALO. Theydetermine the suitability of the targets for air attack and consider potential airspace conflicts.The FSO may decide that it would be better to use another weapon system against thattarget. As a minimum, he will integrate CAS into his FS plan. The G3-Air will then add therequest to the tile for planned CAS missions, eliminate duplications, and assign target priori-ties. He then forwards the consolidated request to an assistant G3. Consolidated requests arecoordinated with the division FSCOORD and ALO. The requests are then forwarded to thecorps G3-Air. Figure 7-6 depicts the planned CAS request net.

Immediate Missions. Immediate missions are executed in response to requests from sup-ported ground maneuver commanders to fulfill urgent requirements that could not be fore-seen. Details of such missions are normally coordinated while the aircraft are in the air.


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Immediate mission requests are normally processed through USAF channels. Before request-ing immediate CAS, the following points should be considered:

Target type. CAS is most effective when attacking exposed and/or moving enemyforces and air defense assets.

Enemy air defenses. Both antiaircraft artillery (AAA) and surface-to-air missiles (SAM)are systems that may require suppression before CAS can be effective.

Target acquisition. Well-camouflaged or small, stationary targets are difficult for pilotsto acquire. These kinds of targets will require some kind of marking for identification.The use of an FSE or COLT to laser-designate a target can help target acquisition.

Day or night observation. For night missions, the FSO should give special attention totarget identification and the use of artillery to illuminate the target.

Time available. Response and station time for CAS aircraft can vary from a fewminutes to more than an hour. The TACP will normally have the most up-to-dateinformation.


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FM 17-18Requests for immediate CAS missions that originate at maneuver company level are for-

warded to the battalion FSE and to the ALO (see Figure 7-7). Based on direction from theS3 and FSO, the ALO can make the request through the TACAIR request net from theTACP directly to the ASOC. The TACP at each level monitors the request and acknow-ledges receipt. Silence by an intermediate TACP indicates approval of the request by theassociated Army echelon. If any echelon above the requesting echelon disapproves the re-quest, the TACP at that echelon notifies the ASOC and the initiating TACP, giving thereason for disapproval. When the request is approved, the ASOC orders the mission flown.Immediate missions involve launching general alert aircraft using air alert sorties and/ordiverting aircraft from other missions. Figure 7-8 depicts a typical immediate CAS requestflow.

Before CAS aircraft release ordnance on the target, the TACP and FSO must accomplishseveral tasks. Radio frequencies and laser designation settings used by the FSOs, COLTs,and tactical aircraft should be predetermined and forwarded to all parties. Since most aircraftdo not have FM radios, the ALO will use the ultrahigh frequency (UHF) tactical air direc-tion net to communicate with CAS aircraft. Most USAF FM capability is nonsecure; there-fore, it is critical that proper authentication procedures be used when FM radios are em-ployed.

Following approval of the CAS request, the TACP and tactical air controller (TAC-A)receive aircraft mission data from the ASOC. These data include mission number, aircraftcall sign, number and type of aircraft, ordnance carried, and TOT. The TACP determinesany additional essential information, such as updated enemy locations and identificationmeans, availability of fires for suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD), friendly ADAconsiderations, and time factors for the attack. If CAS aircraft are fitted with LSTs, thelaser setting must be passed to the attack aircraft. When aircraft arrive at the target area, theTACP provides the pilots with updated information. They must be given enough informationto positively identify the target. The TACP is also prepared to abort the attack if the safetyof friendly troops is threatened. During the entire attack, the ALO watches for enemysurface-to-air fires and warns the aircraft accordinly.

If the CAS aircraft are fitted with LSTs, the TACP coordinates with the FSO or COLTto ensure that the targets are accurately marked for the aircraft. The LST-equipped aircraftdetects the reflected laser, locks onto it, and illuminates an aiming cue in the pilot’s head-updisplay. Even with laser designators, the use of marking smoke should be considered to helpthe pilot aim his LST accurately. Caution should be used to avoid laser-to-target visibilityand attenuation problems caused by the smoke.

CAS Planning Considerations. CAS mission success is directly related to thorough mis-sion planning based on the factors discussed in the following paragraphs.

Weather. Does the weather favor the use of aircraft? What is the forecast for the immedi-ate future? Weather is one of the most important considerations when visually employingweapons; it can hinder target identification and degrade weapon accuracy.

Target Acquisition. Targets that are well camouflaged, small and stationary, or maskedby hills or other natural terrain are difficult to identify from fast-moving aircraft. The use ofmarking rounds can enhance target identification and help ensure first-pass success. Movingtargets will usually highlight themselves.

Target Identification. This is critical if CAS aircraft are to avoid attacking friendly forcesby mistake. It can be accomplished by providing a precise description of the target inrelation to terrain features easily visible from the air. Smoke, laser target marking, or othermeans can also be used.

Identification of Friendly Forces. Safe means of friendly position identification includemirror flashes, marker panels, and direction and distance from prominent land features ortarget marks.


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General Ordnance Characteristics. What types of targets are to be engaged, and what arethe desired weapon effects?

Final Attack Heading. Choice of the final attack heading depends upon considerations oftroop safety, aircraft survivability, and optimum weapon effects. Missiles and bombs areeffective from any angle. Cannons, however, are more effective against the sides and rearsof armored vehicles.

Troop Safety. This is a key consideration in using CAS. The primary cause of fratricideis misidentification of friendly troops as enemy forces.

SEAD. SEAD will be required based on the capabilities of the aircraft and presence ofenemy air defense systems in the target area.

CAS and Artillery Integration. Army artillery and tactical airpower are complementary.Because artillery support is more continuous and responds faster than CAS, CAS missionsmust be integrated with artillery so that limited firing restrictions are imposed. The ACA isthe FS coordination measure used to accomplish this integration. There are four standardACAs: lateral, altitude, timed, and altitude and lateral separation.

Other planning factors that must be considered are time available for planning, C3 andterrain. Refer to FM 6-20-50 for these additional planning factors.

Strike Execution. As the CAS aircraft reach the general vicinity of the target, they fly toa contact point that is normally given to the pilots through USAF channels. At the contactpoint, the pilots change radio frequencies and come up on the supported ground unit’s TACPfrequency. The pilots are then given a situation update by either a TAC-A or the ALO asthey continue flying in the direction of the target. The CAS aircraft then fly to a referencepoint on the ground that the pilots can identify from the air, called the initial point (IP).When the CAS flight leader is cleared to attack, he switches to the attack frequency, con-tacts the TACP, and reports when his flight departs the IP and is en route to the target. Thisradio call is used to coordinate any required SEAD and/or target marking rounds.

It is important to remember that this entire procedure, in a high-intensity, high-threatenvironment, would have to be done as smoothly and quickly as possible. If the attackaircraft are not aligned with the correct target or if friendly troops may be endangered, theTACP must abort the attack. The CAS abort procedure uses a challenge and reply response.The CAS flight leader gives the TACP the two-letter challenge code; the reply “letter” fromthe TACP is the abort-call “code word.” The reply letter should be transmitted after thewords “ABORT, ABORT, ABORT.” This procedure is possible only if the TACP or ALOhas the same authentication system as the aircraft.

An effective daytime technique of marking target areas is to fire a mortar smoke roundinto the target area. Pilots can easily verify the target area prior to releasing ordnance.During limited visibility, the same technique can be used only using illumination rounds setfor ground burst.

Night Planning and Operation Considerations. In a high-intensity, high-threatenvironment, the capabilities of CAS aircraft employed at night are very limited. Toimprove the capabilities of night CAS, the USAF is acquiring additional night-capablesystems such as the low-altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night (LANTIRN)system. Despite the limitations, CAS aircraft still have a few advantages while attacking atnight. The most important advantage is the limitation darkness imposes on enemyoptically-sighted and infrared (IR) antiaircraft systems. This is particularly true if they donot have NVD. Airborne or ground-based illumination can also degrade enemy night-visioncapabilities.

The two most important requirements of a night CAS operation are identification of theenemy or target and positive marking of friendly unit locations. The ground maneuver com-mander should rely on his own Army assets to accomplish the marking and illumination


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FM 17-18requirement. Although flares released from airborne FACs, other CAS aircraft, or “flareships” can effectively illuminate target areas, illumination fired by ground artillery andheavy mortars are normally preferred due to the continuous capabilities of sustained indirectfire. Fixed-wing aircraft that can conduct night CAS missions with battlefield illuminationare the AV-8B, A-10, A-7, F-16, F-4, F-111, and F/A-18.

Laser designation capabilities of the A-10, A-7, AV-8B, and F/A-18 enable these aircraftto acquire targets without use of conventional illumination. The LSTs carried by these air-craft detect the reflected laser, lock onto it, and provide the data directly to the pilot. TheF-4, F-16, F/A-18 and A-7 can also use radar to provide reference information for nightoperations. In addition, small radar reflectors, optimized for particular airborne radars, cancreate spotting cues for CAS aircraft.

Marking friendly unit locations improves joint air attack team (JAAT) and CAS safetyand also provides target area references. Tracers and radar beacons can serve both purposes.If safe separation is a factor, friendly unit marking is critical. Fired into the air, 40-mmillumination grenades and flares are effective, but they may be useful to the enemy as well.Flares used during limited visibility operations can create the “milk-bowl” effect, making itmore difficult for a CAS aircraft to find its target. When used under a low cloud ceiling,flares can also highlight the aircraft against the cloud cover. Strobe lights are very goodnight markers. They are commonly used with blue or IR filters and can be made directionalby the use of any opaque tube. In overcast conditions, strobe lights can be especially useful.Aside from the obvious security considerations, almost any light that can be filtered orcovered and uncovered can be used for signaling aircraft.

USAF Aircraft Characteristics. CAS missions never consist of less than two aircraftsorties. These aircraft may make more than one pass over the target area except inhigh-intensity, high-threat situations, where the capabilities of modern air defense systemspresent added dangers. The following paragraphs provide examples of two types of aircraft,the A-10 and the A-7, that will normally be given CAS missions. Table 7-5 is a summaryof reference data for aircraft that perform CAS missions; Table 7-6 is a summary ofordnance available for CAS.


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FM 17-18The A-10 (Thunderbolt) is designed specifically for the CAS role. In a typical CAS

mission, the A-10 could fly 150 miles and remain on station for an hour. It can carry up to16,000 pounds of mixed ordnance with partial fuel, or 12,086 pounds with full internalfuel. The 30-mm GAU-8A gun carried by the A-10 can fire 2,100 or 4,200 rounds perminute and defeat the whole range of ground targets encountered in the CAS role, includingtanks. In addition to the GAU-8A, the A-10 can also carry free-fall or guided bombs, gunpods, six AGM-65 Maverick missiles, jammer pods, and the Pave Penny laser spot tracker.A typical standard ordnance load for the A-10 is two to four Maverick missiles and over1,100 rounds of 30-mm ammunition, consisting of an armor-piercing incendiary (API) andhigh-explosive incendiary (HEI) mix. The API has a depleted uranium penetrator. TheMaverick used by USAF aircraft uses TV or IR seekers with fire-and-forget and day-nightcapabilities. The warhead is a 165-pound shaped charge for use against tanks or a300-pound penetrating high explosive. Time required to acquire and lock the weapon onto atarget usually restricts the A-10 to one missile per pass. In a target-rich environment, theremay be time for further engagements with the 30-mm gun before breaking off the attack.The 30-mm gun is normally aimed at a point target and fired for a one-second burst of 30rounds. The on-board load of 1,170 30-mm rounds, fired at 2,100 rounds per minute, couldbe expended in just 30 seconds.

The A-7 (Corsair) is a subsonic tactical fighter that was delivered to the USAF and Navybetween 1968 and 1976. The A-7 has on-station time of 30 to 50 minutes with a maximumspeed of 663 mph. The aircraft’s outstanding target kill capability, first demonstrated inSoutheast Asia, is achieved with the aid of continuous-solution navigation andweapon-delivery systems, including all-weather radar bomb delivery. Additionally, a largenumber of A-7s were modified to carry the same Pave Penny laser target designation pod asthe A-10. The A-7 can carry up to 15,000 pounds of air-to-air or air-to-ground missiles,bombs, rockets, and gun pods. In addition, it has the standard M-61A1 20-mm Vulcan gun,which is effective against lightly armored vehicles.

The F-16 (Fighting Falcon) is a single-engine, single-seat, lightweight, high-performance,multirole aircraft. This highly maneuverable fighter excels in air-to-air and air-to-surfaceroles. In the air-to-surface role, using a 20-mm Gatling gun, it is the most accurate aircraftin the inventory and can be used for both CAS and AI.


US Navy (USN) and/or US Marine Corps (USMC) air requests are forwarded by therespective SALTS to the aviation unit in support of the unit. The brigade FSO submits all airrequests, including those for USMC attack helicopters (AH-1W Cobra), through the Marineair officer or ANGLICO. The actual terminal control of the air assets is done by thefirepower controller of the FCT. In the absence of an observer, USN and/or USMC air maybe controlled by the company FSO, the ALO, or the USAF FAC.

Like USAF support, USN/USMC TACAIR never consists of less than two aircraft sor-ties. These aircraft may make more than one pass over the target area, but loiter time iscontingent on transit distance. Refer to Figure 7-4 and Table 7-1 for additional information.The following are the two most common USN/USMC aircraft that provide CAS to lightarmor operations.

The F/A-18/D (Hornet) is an extremely versatile aircraft that can provide excellentCAS with its 20-mm rotary cannon and a basic load of either 515 or 580 rounds. Loitertime is 30 to 45 minutes, depending on external fuel tanks and ordnance load. TheF/A-l 8 can carry 13,700 pounds of conventional ordnance consisting of 2.75-mm and5-mm rockets, Walleye, HELLFIRE, TOW missiles, fuel-air explosive (FAE) andflares. It is equipped with a laser designator, radar, and FLIR/NVG. The maximumspeed is 1,190 mph (without ordnance or external fuel tanks).


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The AV-8B (Harrier) can also provide CAS with its 25-mm rotary cannon, however, itsbasic load is only 300 rounds and can only remain on station for up to 30 minutes. TheAV-8B can carry 8,000 pounds of the same type of external ordnance as the F/A-18.For target acquisition, it has LST and FLIR/NVG. The maximum speed is 685 mph(without ordnance or external fuel tanks).

Section III. Army Aviation SupportArmy aviation assets will deploy with light infantry contingency TFs. Light armor units

may operate with attack and/or reconnaissance aviation assets to perform reconnaissance andsecurity operations.


The organization of the light division aviation brigade and reconnaissance squadron isdependent upon whether the division is light, airborne, or air assault. The ACT in each typeof division, however, has the same organization.


The capabilities of the AH-1, AH-64, and OH-58D attack helicopters include—

The AH-1 Cobra can carry multiple loads, dependent on the mission, enemy situation,and atmospheric conditions. Weapon systems include 2.75-inch rockets, 7.62-mmminigun, 40-mm grenade launcher, 20-mm cannon, and TOW.

The AH-64 Apache is equipped with the pilot night vision sensor to enhance flightduring periods of reduced visibility. It also has a target acquisition sight/designator tolase targets for laser energy-seeking munitions. Its weapon systems include 2.75-inchrockets, 30-mm cannon, and the HELLFIRE missile.

The OH-58D (Kiowa Warrior) is the armed version of the OH-58 (AHIP) with HELL-FIRE, Stinger, 2.75 rockets, and .50 caliber machine guns. The helicopter is equippedwith a thermal imaging system (TIS) and a low-light camera system. The helicopter iscapable of operating on a digital TACFIRE network. The Kiowa Warrior will eventu-ally replace all Cobras and Kiowas in the cavalry squadrons and attack battalions of thelight and airborne divisions.


The aviation brigade provides divisional Army aviation support. This support can be forattack, air movement, air assault, reconnaissance, intelligence, security, and/or logisticaloperations. Cargo helicopters (CH-47s) are available only in the aviation brigade of the airassault division or at corps level.

Light armor leaders at all levels must be aware of the integration of Army aviation assetsinto the maneuver plan so that light armor and rotary aircraft can work efficiently as a team.

Light armor units will normally work with Army aviation assets in reconnaissance, secu-rity, or logistical roles.

An ACT may operate with a light armor battalion during a reconnaissance or screenmission. Planning and guidance for future operations are conducted by the light armor bat-talion. The light armor unit commander assigns missions to the ACT commander. The lightarmor battalion staff provides essential intelligence, logistical, and FS information. The ACT


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commander can respond quickly to support a ground commander's scheme of maneuver. Theminimum information he must know is—

Enemy situation.

Availability of FS.

FS coordination measures in effect.

Current battlefield graphics.

Attack helicopter assets in the area.

Disposition of friendly ground elements.

Commander’s relationship to the new unit.

Person to whom spot reports are to be reported.

Location of supporting Classes III and V aviation assets.

An ACT may also work with light armor companies or platoons as a reconnaissanceteam. For example, during the early stages of a CONOPS, air reconnaissance aircraft canprovide early warning for the mobile light armor ground force tasked to provide security forthe airhead. Available light armor and ACT assets can be task organized by the commanderto provide a highly mobile screening force in a predominantly dismounted brigade AO.

Attack Helicopter Mission. The primary mission of attack helicopters is to destroymassed enemy forces with aerial firepower, mobility, and shock effect. Light armor withattack helicopter augmentation significantly gain, maintain, and exploit the initiative to defeatthe enemy. They operate in offensive, defensive, or special purpose operations. The attackhelicopter can be committed early in battle. It can reinforce ground combat units and canattack, delay, or defend by engaging the enemy with direct and indirect fires. Attack heli-copter battalions cannot seize or retain terrain without cross-attached ground maneuverforces. However, to deny terrain to the enemy for a time, they can dominate the terrain byfire. Also, attack helicopters are limited by a combination of fuel capacity and flight time,weather and visibility restrictions, and the air defense environment. They are most effectivewhen employed as a battalion. Attack helicopters can also be assigned to do the following:

Conduct rear operations.

Coordinate and adjust indirect fires.

Suppress or destroy enemy air defense assets.

Reinforce ground maneuver forces by fire.

Conduct JAAT operations with CAS and FA assets.

Destroy enemy communication and logistical assets.

Disrupt and destroy enemy second echelon and follow-on forces.

Protect air assault forces during all phases of air assault operations.

Destroy enemy helicopters that pose an immediate threat to mission accomplishment.

Considerations. The commander must consider the following factors before employingattack helicopters and air cavalry/reconnaissance troops.

Offense. Attack helicopters conduct combat operations against enemy force alone or alongwith friendly ground forces. In the offense, attack helicopters are most effective against a


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moving or counterattacking enemy force. They are least effective against a dug-in enemyforce. With proper planning, attack helicopter battalions can provide antiarmor firepoweragainst an enemy armored force. Rather than being used as a reaction force, attack helicop-ter battalions should be integrated into the maneuver battalion’s scheme of maneuver. This isnormally done at division or brigade level and must include coordination for terrain tosupport attack helicopter operations.

Defense. Attack helicopters, due to their mobility are shifted on the battlefield as needed.They are used to stop enemy penetration into the main battle area, to attack enemy in thecovering force area, or to reinforce or thicken the defense on parts of the battlefield. Theycan also perform effectively in an economy-of-force defensive role. Planners must coordinateBPs for attack helicopters.

The light armor battalion may, on rare occasions have attack helicopter assets OPCON toassist in an antiarmor battle. An army aviation LO may be provided to the battalion tocoordinate aviation support when this type of mission is planned. He will advise the com-mander and assist in planning the use of aviation assets to support the maneuver plan.

Section IV. Air Defense SupportAir defense planning is critical to light armor units. Light divisions, unlike armored or

mechanized divisions, do not create a signature that is easily identifiable by aircraft. Whenmoving, however, light armor produces a battlefield signature that can be easily observed byenemy attack aircraft. Commanders should consider task organizing air defense assets tolight armor units to counter this threat. Light armor leaders must stress to their attachingheadquarters the importance of air defense support.


The normal air defense support provided to the light armor battalion is a Stinger section.On occasion, the battalion may also receive an Avenger platoon. The unit’s mission and thedivision commander’s air defense priorities will determine the type and amount of air de-fense weapons allocated to the battalion.

The Stinger section consists of a section headquarters with a section chief, his driver, andfive man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) teams. Each team consists of two teammembers and six missiles mounted on a HMMWV.

The Avenger platoon consists of six Avenger fire units. Each Avenger team consists oftwo team members and a HMMWV.

Senior Air Defense Officer. The senior air defense representative for the light armorbattalion will be the Stinger section sergeant or, in some cases, the Avenger platoon leader.Either will serve as a special staff officer during the battalion planning process. Based on thecommander’s intent and priorities, scheme of maneuver, air IPB, and higher headquartersOPORD, the senior air defender will develop the air defense plan. Once it is approved, hewill task organize his assets to provide protection to these priorities. After receiving ap-proval for his task organization, he will ensure it is incorporated into the OPORD. Thesenior air defender will coordinate with the staff sections of the battalion. The battalion staffshould provide the air defense officer with the following information:

The S2 provides information on the ground and air threat and the unit’s PIR. The airIPB is maintained and can be developed by the S2 and the senior air defender.

The S3 provides the unit OPORD and tactical SOP. This includes overlays; preplannedlocations; commander’s intent; and concept of the primary operation and follow-onoperations; commander’s priorities; what units expect heaviest ground and air action;


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what assets are most critical, most vulnerable, and easiest to recover or replace; specialor modified brevity or operations codes, key words, or emergency procedures; pointsthe battalion commander wants covered in daily briefs; SOI; resupply; the unit’s MOPPstatus; and how changes are disseminated.

The S4 provides the following resupply information: Class I pickup points, times, andfeeding cycles; Class II resupply of NBC suits, gear, and batteries; Class III refuelinglocations and times; Class V arrangement for supply of specialized ammunition; ClassLX procedures for ordering and receiving parts and locations and times for pickup. Healso determines how resupply is handled and, if the air defense unit has been consid-ered in the planning, who will maintain air defense units’ nonsystem-peculiar equipmentand where these maintenance assets are located.

Air Defense Annex. Once the battalion commander gives his maneuver plan and intentfor air defense, the senior air defender can prepare the annex to the OPORD. He may eitherwrite his plan as a five-paragraph annex to the OPORD or as an execution matrix. Thesenior air defender must conduct detailed coordination with other staff sections to developthese instructions.


Stinger. The Stinger is a man-portable, shoulder-fired, IR-homing (heat-seeking) air de-fense guided missile. It has a range of more than 5 Kilometers. It is designed to counterhigh-speed, low-level ground attack aircraft, helicopters, observation aircraft, and transportaircraft. It is maneuverable and can be integrated within the unit’s scheme of maneuver.Since its prime mover is a thin-skinned HMMWV, the Stinger should overwatch the forcefrom high ground.

Avenger. The Avenger air defense weapon system is the line-of-sight rear (LOS-R) fam-ily of forward area air defense (FAAD) weapon systems designed to counter high speed,low-level, fixed-wing helicopters; observation aircraft and transport aircraft. The Avengercarries eight ready-to-fire Stinger missiles mounted on a HMMWV. The Avenger team canconduct stationary and mobile operations. The major components of the Avenger are arotatable turret with two standard vehicle missile launchers (SVML); a gun system (.50caliber machine gun); a forward looking infrared (FLIR); a laser range finder (LRF); identi-fication, friend or foe (IFF); and a remote control unit (RCU). The Avenger will normallybe used to defend assets in the division and brigade rear area. The Avenger is a light-skinned weapon system, but it can be used to support maneuver operations dependent on thefactors of METT-T.


The TF commander must consider the factors of METT-T and provide his intent for theoperation. The senior air defender allocates air defense assets based on the TF com-mander’s ADA priority considerations and employment guidelines. He then provides inputon the COAs and air defense priorities during the planning process.

Rules of Engagement (ROE). Air defense ROE are directives that specify the circum-stances under which an aircraft can be engaged. The Stinger team chief and Avenger squadleaders are responsible for deciding whether an aircraft is hostile or friendly. ROE includehostile criteria and weapon control statuses:

Hostile criteria include aircraft that attack friendly elements, violate airspace controlmeasures, respond improperly to IFF interrogation, and are visually identified as anenemy.


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The following weapon control statuses describe relative degrees of restriction withwhich fires of ADA systems are managed:

Weapons free. Fire at any aircraft not positively identified as friendly.

Weapons tight. Fire only at aircraft identified as hostile according to prevailing hostilecriteria.

Weapons hold. Do not fire except in self-defense or in response to a formal order.

Air Defense Warnings. These warnings indicate the probability of hostile aircraft and/ormissile attack:

Red. Attack by aircraft or missile is imminent or in progress.

Yellow. Attack by hostile aircraft or missiles is probable.

White. Attack by hostile aircraft or missiles is improbable.

Local air defense warnings (LADW) are used at division level and below. Each LADWhas a corresponding action taken by maneuver units according to the division TSOP. Someexamples are—

DYNAMITE: Aircraft are inbound or attacking now. Response is immediate.

LOOKOUT: Aircraft are in the area of interest, but are not threatening or inboundyet.

SNOWMAN: No aircraft pose a threat at this time.

Responsibilities. The Avenger platoon leader commands and maneuvers his platoon fromhis HMMWV; he does not collocate. The platoon leader monitors the battery command net,the early warning net, the supported unit, and the platoon command net. Each Avenger teammonitors the early warning and platoon command nets. The Avenger platoon sergeant isresponsible for platoon logistics. He collocates with battalion trains and moves forward withthe platoon ammunition vehicle to provide logistical support for the platoon.

The Stinger section chief commands his section from his HMMWV. Once he has taskorganized his section, he can monitor the early warning net within the TOC. The sectionchief monitors the early warning net, the section command net, and either the battery com-mand or the supported unit net. The Stinger team monitors the early warning and sectioncommand nets. The Stinger section chief is responsible for section logistics. He must ensurethat he coordinates with the Stinger platoon sergeant for missile resupply.

Company Air Defense. The senior air defender for the company is the Avenger platoonleader or the Stinger team chief. He advises the company commander on the integration ofthe air defense assets and passive air defense. If an Avenger platoon is attached at thecompany level, the platoon leader locates his HMMWV within the company formationwhere he can best C2 his platoon. The Avenger platoon is integrated in the unit battleformation and monitors the company commander’s net. Avenger can provide a 24-hourcapability with the FLIR for night operations.

If the company receives a Stinger team, it provides air defense by integrating or over-matching the force. The Stinger crew chief and the company commander determine howbest to employ the Stinger weapon system. Crew survivability considerations are critical,since the crew is vulnerable because it is in a thin-skinned vehicle.

Platoon Air Defense. Light armor platoon leaders must keep in mind the signature theirtracked vehicles will produce. Tracked vehicles moving in a predominantly dismounted in-fantry AO produce a significant signature to aircraft. The platoon must maintain air guardsand monitor higher headquarters nets for early warning of air attack, especially when on the


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FM 17-18move. The platoon leader should designate a tracked vehicle to watch for enemy air. Theplatoon leader also coordinates small-arms air defense against hostile aircraft.

Section V. Engineer SupportThe design of the division engineers in light divisions (light infantry, airborne, and air

assault) provides them very limited ability to support light armor units. A light armorbattalion task organized to a light division will normally require augmentation from corpsengineers for the necessary mobility and survivability support.

The light armor battalion should be supported by a corps engineer company (airborne,light, wheeled, or mechanized), and a light armor company by a corps combat engineerplatoon. The support a light armor platoon receives will depend on METT-T and the com-mander’s intent.

A light armor battalion may possess assault bridging capability, and in-stride breachingcapability for surface-laid mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). Additional assault bridg-ing and all tactical bridging support must come from the corps engineers. Corps engineersalso possess mobility systems that can create vehicle lanes through minefields and complexobstacles. Two-tier fighting positions for light armor battalion vehicles will normally requirecorps engineer support, due to the limited amount of earthmoving assets in the light divisionengineer battalion.


Light Division Engineer Battalion. A light division (light infantry, airborne, and airassault) is supported by an organic engineer battalion. The engineer battalion is designed todeploy rapidly during contingency operations by using lightweight equipment that can beairlanded or air dropped. Their primary mission is to provide combat engineer support todismounted infantry units.

The organic light engineer battalion which supports a LID is the most austere type ofdivision engineer battalion. Its engineer squads move on foot like the infantry units theysupport. The engineer equipment in the light engineer battalion consists of lightweight, high-speed bulldozers, and small emplacement excavators (SEE), and the Volcano scatterablemine system. The light engineer battalion may provide limited countermobility and surviv-ability support to light armor units, but it is incapable of providing the necessary mobilitysupport due to its lack of assault bridging and vehicle lane breaching systems. A detaileddiscussion of the light engineer battalion is contained in Appendix B.

The organic airborne engineer battalion which supports the airborne division is morerobust than a light engineer battalion. Its engineer squads have HMMWVs as squad vehiclesto support the airborne infantry. The engineer equipment in the airborne engineer battalionconsists of lightweight, high-speed bulldozers, scoop loaders, SEEs, and the Volcano scatter-able mine system. They can provide the countermobility support, and limited mobility andsurvivability support to light armor units. The airborne engineer battalion lacks assaultbridging and vehicle lane breaching systems needed to properly support light armor. Adetailed discussion of the airborne engineer battalion is contained in Appendix C.

The organic air assault engineer battalion which supports the air assault divisions is themost equipment intensive of the light engineer battalions. Its engineer squads haveHMMWVs as squad vehicles to support the air assault infantry. The engineer equipment inthe air assault engineer battalion consists of a combination of sling loadable bulldozers andlightweight, high-speed bulldozers, scoop loaders, SEEs, and the Volcano scatterable minesystem. They can provide mobility and countermobility support, and limited survivabilitysupport to light armor units. The air assault engineer battalion does not have assault bridging


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FM 17-18capability. A detailed discussion of the air assault engineer battalion is contained in Appen-dix D.

The use of organic division engineers to support light armor units task organized to alight division must be carefully weighed against METT-T and the commander's intent. Thecombat engineer support task organized to light armor units will in turn deprive other ele-ments in the light division of engineer support, due to the austerity of engineer equipment inthe light division engineer battalion.

Corps Engineer Brigade. A light division engineer battalion is routinely augmented withengineers from the corps engineer brigade. This augmentation increases the capability of theengineers to provide mobility, countermobility, and survivability support, and sustains the-force. The types of engineer units in the corps engineer brigade is primarily based on thetypes of divisions making up the corps.

Corps Combat Engineer Battalion (Airborne and Light). These corps engineer battal-ions are designed to deploy rapidly during CONOPS by using lightweight equipment that canbe air dropped or airlanded. The primary difference between the corps airborne combatengineer battalion and the corps light combat engineer battalion is that the airborne battalioncan air drop its equipment, while the light battalion must airland its equipment.

Both of these battalions are designed to augment the capabilities of the light divisionengineer battalion. They provide the capability to breach vehicles’ lanes through minefieldand wire obstacles using the mine clearing line charge (MICLIC), but lack assault bridgingequipment. Countermobility effort is enhanced by additional engineer squads, Volcano scat-terable mine systems, and earthmoving equipment. The survivability effort is increased bythe additional earthmoving equipment in these two types of battalions. These battalions pro-vide a limited sustainment engineering capability for the light divisions and the corps, beforemore robust heavy force engineer equipment can be deployed to the contingency area.

The corps airborne and the corps light combat engineer battalions use 5-ton dump trucksfor engineer squad vehicles. The engineer earthmoving equipment consists of lightweightbulldozers, graders, scoop loaders, scrapers, and SEEs.

Corps Equipment Company (Airborne and Light). These corps engineer companies aredesigned to deploy rapidly during CONOPS by using lightweight equipment that can beairdropped or airlanded. The primary difference between the corps airborne equipment com-pany and the corps light equipment company is that the airborne company can air drop itsequipment, while the light company must airland its equipment.

Both of these equipment intensive companies are designed to augment the capabilities ofthe corps airborne and corps light combat engineer battalions. They are normally attached toa corps engineer battalion for C2, and logistics support.

The corps airborne and corps light equipment companies enhance the mobility,countermobility, survivability, and sustainment engineering efforts by providing additionalhorizontal earthmoving equipment for the light divisions and corps.

The corps airborne and corps light equipment companies’ earthmoving equipment consistsof lightweight bulldozers, graders, scrapers, and 5-ton dump trucks for hauling.

Corps Combat Engineer Battalion (Mechanized and Wheeled). These corps engineerbattalions can support light or armored forces in the area of mobility, countermobility, andsurvivability. They are equipment intensive organizations that usually deploy by ship, but arecapable of transport by air in special company or platoon packages.

The corps mechanized combat engineer battalion is designed to support armored forces.Its engineer squads are mounted in Ml 13 APCs. Mobility support is provided by MICLICs,M-9 ACES, and CEVs. It is the only corps engineer organization that has AVLBs for assaultbridging. Countermobility is provided by the Volcano scatterable mine system, engineer


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FM 17-18squads, and the various blade systems (ACE, CEV, and SEE). Extensive survivability posi-tions can be emplaced by the blades in this battalion.

The corps wheeled combat engineer battalion mounts its engineer squads in 5-ton dumptrucks. Mobility support is provided by MICLICs, heavy bulldozers, and scoop loaders.Countermobility is provided by the Volcano scatterable mine system, engineer squads, andthe various blade systems (bulldozer, scoop loader, and SEE). Extensive survivability posi-tions can be emplaced by the blades in this battalion. The corps wheeled combat engineerbattalion does not have any bridging capability. The battalion can perform limited sustain-ment engineering tasks in the light divisions and corps AO.

Corps Bridge Company (Ribbon and Medium Girder). The corps mechanized combatengineer battalion with its AVLBs is the only engineer unit that can support light armorunits with assault bridging assets. The other bridging assets available from the corps engi-neers are ribbon bridge and medium girder bridge (MGB). The corps ribbon bridge andcorps MGB companies are task organized to divisions based on METT-T and the corpscommander’s guidance.

Both of these bridging systems are designed to be emplaced out of the range of enemydirect fire and observed indirect tire. These bridges are normally emplaced as part of adivision level operation.


Task Organization. Special attention must be placed on the task organization of combatengineers to support light armor units. The organic engineer battalion in the light division isnormally incapable of providing the necessary engineer support to light armor in the areas ofmobility and survivability.

The engineer battlefield assessment (EBA) in conjunction with the IPB is vital to identifyengineer missions and recommend the task organization of light division and corps engineersto maximize combat engineer support. It is easy to over estimate the capabilities of thedivision light engineer battalion to support light armor units.

It is preferred to task organize engineer platoons and critical equipment assets betweenengineer companies, rather than move engineer companies between the light division’s bri-gades and maneuver TFs. This approach minimizes the disturbance of habitual relationshipsbetween engineers and the supported maneuver unit, engineer and maneuver staff planningtime, TF logistics system, and link-up coordination and time tables. An engineer unit shouldseldom be task organized below platoon level. An exception would be a reconnaissancemission, which requires an engineer platoon to delegate squads to scout platoons.

Corps engineer units will normally be task organized in a command relationship to a lightdivision to support light armor units in the division for an offensive mission. Task organiza-tion will normally be a support relationship for a defensive mission. A corps combat engi-neer company should support a light armor battalion, and a corps combat engineer platoonshould support a light armor company.

The type and number of corps engineer units available to support the light armor unit in alight division depend on a variety of factors peculiar to the contingency situation and geo-graphical location.

The same CSS considerations used when task organizing light armor units to a lightdivision apply for the corps engineer units that support light armor. A corps engineer unitwill quickly overwhelm the CSS system in a light division unless additional assets are beingprovided from the corps support command (COSCOM) to the DISCOM in the light division.


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FM 17-18


Corps engineer units task organized to a light division are normally under the control ofthe division engineer.

In a light division, the organic division engineer battalion forms a habitual associationbetween its engineer companies and each infantry brigade. In turn, an engineer platoonleader is normally the TF engineer for each infantry battalion in the brigade.

If possible, do not alter this habitual relationship between the engineers and infantrywhen light armor is task organized to a light division. To minimize turbulence in the lightdivision’s TFs, the habitually associated division engineer platoon leader should remain theTF engineer, even after a light armor unit is task organized to his supported TF. The corpsengineer unit, task organized to the light division to support the light armor unit, shouldassist the habitual TF engineer with his duties and responsibilities. For example, if a lightarmor company and a corps engineer platoon were task organized to a light infantrybattalion, the corps engineer platoon leader would assist the habitually associated divisionengineer platoon leader in his duties as the TF engineer.

If the light armor battalion operates as a TF headquarters in the light division, the corpsengineer company commander supporting the light armor battalion TF should be the TFengineer.

The augmenting corps engineer units can typically provide better C2 for the engineers inthe supported TF than the light division engineers due to their greater number of long-rangeradios and command vehicles.


Engineers supporting light armor units can significantly enhance the combat power oflight armor during offensive and defensive operations when properly integrated into themaneuver plan and tactical formations. Engineers provide diverse and flexible reconnais-sance capabilities with mobility equal to that of light armor. They should assist light armorscouts in the R&S plan.

Mobility. Corps engineers augment the in-stride breaching capability against surface-laidmines and UXO that light armor units possess. Corps engineers provide additional capabilityto breach vehicle width lanes through minefield and complex obstacles, to include UXO.Corps mechanized combat engineers with AVLBs augment the assault bridging capability inthe light armor battalion. Corps engineer mobility support provides light armor units en-hanced freedom of maneuver, and permits more responsive logistical support of light armorunits by trailing unit trains and CSS units. Light division engineers are incapable of provid-ing the same level of mobility for light armor as corps engineers.

The extensive earthmoving capability of the corps engineer units not only provides theability to reduce nonexplosive obstacles, but also facilitates the maneuver of light armor.The construction or repair of combat roads, trails, and ford sites by corps engineers mayprovide light armor and their CSS support packages with mobility between BPs or alongaxes of advance. During the early stages of a CONOP, corps engineers may construct orrepair forward airfields or landing zones (LZ) for the deployment or sustainment of lightarmor units. Corps engineer units will often work with light division engineer units toexecute these types of missions.

Countermobility. Corps engineers supporting light armor augment the countermobilitycapability of the light division engineers by providing additional engineer squads, vehiclemounted scatterable mine systems, and a more robust logistical capacity for the emplacementof obstacles. In addition to hand emplaced conventional mines and demolitions, engineers


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FM 17-18

possess a tremendous dynamic obstacle capability with their vehicle mounted scatterablemine systems. This capability allows the supported unit to emplace dynamic minefieldsfaster, in greater numbers, and more accurately than artillery-delivered FASCAM mine-field, without the corresponding loss of indirect FS.

The vehicle mounted scatterable mine systems may be employed in offensive operationsto provide security to the flanks of attacking light armor, or to block potential counterattackroutes against an armor or dismounted threat. In the defense, the scatterable mine systemsaugment hand emplaced conventional mine and demolition efforts. Scatterable minefield canbe emplaced faster than conventional mines, with less manpower, with equal or better lethal-ity than hand-emplaced conventional minefield. They are ideally suited for mobile defensesand retrograde operations in support of light armor.

Survivability. The robust earthmoving capability of corps engineer units provides lightarmor units with increased survivability on the battlefield. Corps engineer can provide lightarmor vehicles with doctrinal two-tier fighting positions, as well as protective positions fortheir combat trains and logistics support tail. Corps engineers normally augment the lightdivision engineers in providing force protection for the light division’s BSAs and C2 nodes.

Section VI. Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Support


Battalion Chemical Section. This section consists of the battalion chemical officer (lieu-tenant), a chemical operations NCO (staff sergeant; MOS 54B30), and an NBC specialist(MOS 54B10). Equipment in the section includes appropriate doctrinal manuals, mapboards, overlays, work station, hazard templates, status charts, and lightweight decontamina-tion system. The battalion chemical section’s primary responsibility is to train first-lineleaders and plan NBC operations.

The battalion chemical officer works as an assistant operations officer in the companyoperations section. The chemical officer and NCO are assigned by modified tables of organi-zation and equipment (MTOE) to the headquarters company. Together, they form the NBCcenter at company level and are responsible for the technical aspect of operations as well astraining, logistics, and readiness. The battalion chemical officer serves as the battalion com-mander’s chief advisor on all NBC, smoke, and flame operations. He advises the battalioncommander on the employment of smoke, decontamination, and NBC reconnaissance assetsDS or attached to the battalion. He assists in the coordinating of logistical requirements forthese units. He informs the battalion commander on all threat NBC capabilities and ensuresthey are reflected on all plans and OPORDs. He assists the S4 in the acquisition of all NBCdefense equipment and the forward pre-positioning of decontaminates and fog oil. He pre-pares and plots the locations of NBC hazards and advises the commander on the appropriatedefense measure requirements. He provides assistance to subordinate commanders on NBC,smoke, and flame operations.

Assignment of the chemical specialist and lightweight decontamination system authoriza-tion gives the battalion hasty decontamination capability. The battalion chemical officer andNCO supervise and train battalion decontamination operations.

Company NBC Section. The NBC section at company team level consists of one chemi-cal operations specialist (MOS 54B20) and one additional-duty officer and enlisted alternate(branch immaterial). Equipment includes appropriate doctrinal manuals, map boards, over-lays, work station, hazard templates, and status charts.

The assigned chemical specialist works in company operations, where he is immediatelyavailable to the company commander as the primary advisor for all NBC matters. Like theircounterparts in higher echelons, chemical personnel at company level are responsible for


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FM 17-18

training first-line leaders and monitoring other NBC training. They are the focal point for allNBC actions in garrison and in the field.

The company chemical operations specialist is instrumental in the planning cycle of alltactical operations. He provides assistance to the commander by evaluating information re-ceived in NBC warning and reporting system (NBCWRS) reports. He plans decontamina-tion, smoke, flame, and NBC reconnaissance operations and supervises their execution.While maintaining status charts for MOPP levels and radiation exposure, the chemical NCOalso plans for future operations. The company chemical NCO may be positioned anywhereon the battlefield the commander directs. To ensure timely and accurate battlefield assess-ment, the commander positions the chemical NCO according to the principles of accessibilityand immediacy.


Battalion Operations. During tactical operations, battalion chemical personnel provide24-hour NBC operations capability. A work station is designated in the TOC where chemicalinformation is processed and disseminated. The chemical officer is available to cover shiftchanges within the TOC and provide chemical continuity for tactical operations. This allowsthe chemical officer to coordinate and, when operations permit, physically supervise battal-ion decontamination, smoke, and NBC survey/chemical reconnaissance operations.

Battalion chemical personnel are instrumental in the planning cycle of all tacticaloperations. They provide assistance to the battalion intelligence officer in the IPB process,develop NBC support for COAs based on the commander’s intent, and integrate chemicaland smoke operations based on the OPORD. Once the plan is developed, they ensuresuccessful execution.

The duties and responsibilities of chemical personnel in the battalion TOC are listed inthe following paragraphs. These are not all-inclusive and are manipulated to meet changingsituations. In addition to these specific chemical duties, chemical officers and NCOs alsoperform a myriad of operational duties according to their abilities and unit needs.

Intelligence. Receive, relay, and disseminate NBC information; recommend NBC recon-naissance employment; provide NBC threat briefings.

Personnel. Ensure proper employment and professional development of chemical person-nel; coordinate proper use of chemical company assets; coordinate with S1 on chemicalcasualty evacuation.

Training. Coordinate and monitor training; integrate battle tasks in NBC environment;evaluate individual and collective battle tasks; understand battle focus process and take activerole in planning.

Evaluation. Conduct individual and collective proficiency testing; analyze and report re-sults; and develop solutions to correct deficiencies.

Readiness. Report equipment status; determine authorization shortfalls; assist S4 withNBC stocks and resupply; monitor contingency stocks.

Logistics. Account for NBC expenditures; follow up requisitions and maintenance; matchrequisitions to authorizations; conduct inspections.

Tactical Operations. Execute NBC warning and reporting system; maintain currentoperations overlay; post all NBC attacks; post offensive NBC targets; coordinate with S4regarding MSR; work closely with S2; maintain radiation exposure data; recommendMOPP levels; recommend chemical asset employment; develop obscuration plan; participatein planning cycle from IPB through execution; develop and execute hasty decontaminationoperations; coordinate operations with the battalion medical section and FSB medicalcompany through the combat trains CP; coordinate operations of supporting chemical units


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FM 17-18

with the battalion S3, brigade NBC section, and chemical units and conducts nuclear andchemical vulnerability analysis.

Company Operations. The duties and responsibilities of chemical personnel in thecompany CP are listed in the following paragraphs. These are not all-inclusive and aremanipulated to meet changing situations. In addition to these specific chemical duties,additional duties may be assigned by the commander.

Intelligence. Analyze NBC threat; operate NBCWRS; coordinate NBC reconnaissanceassets; brief all new personnel on NBC threat.

Training. Determine need for and provide technical training to first-line supervisor; planand coordinate conduct of NBC battle focus; monitor and evaluate status of training.

Evaluation. Conduct evaluation of NBC proficiency at individual and collective levels.

Readiness. Maintain status reports; consolidate and provide data to commander and 1SG;assist supply sergeant with NBC stocks and resupply; monitor contingency stocks.

Logistics. Account for NBC expenditures; follow up requisition and maintenance; balanceequipment on hand and requisition additional equipment; monitor crew maintenance; ensureradiac instruments are calibrated.

Administration. Operate a company NBC room.

Tactical Operations. Execute the NBCWRS; maintain current operations overlay; postNBC attack overlay; maintain decontamination overlay; supervise use of NBC equipmentconduct hasty decontamination operations; supervise NBC surveys; post NBC unit symbols;maintain radiation status charts; recommend MOPP levels; recommend employment ofchemical assets; and participate in planning operations.


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Light armor units are usually deployed as platoons task organized to light infantry battal-ion TFs or in a brigade-size force as a light armor company. The infantry TF does not havethe necessary CSS capability to sustain the light armor force, and the light armor platooncannot sustain itself without help. This presents a unique situation regarding CSS. Limita-tions due to aircraft availability and the priority of combat systems delivery during initialstages of CONOPS add to the challenge. This chapter first discusses contingency CSS tech-niques and procedures, then describes CSS for the light armor battalion overall.


Section I. Light Armor Combat Service Support Fundamentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-2Section II. Contingency Combat Service Support Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-3

Deployment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-3Planning Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-3Phases of Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-4Classes of Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-5Distribution of Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-7Resupply by Air . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-7Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-8Techniques for Deploying Light Armor

Combat Service Support in the Assault Force. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-9Section III. Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-11

Task Force Trains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-11Combat Trains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-12Company Trains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-12

Section IV. Supply and Resupply Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-14Classes of Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-14Supply Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-17Resupply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-18Battalion Logistics Package . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-19Pre-Positioning Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-25Night Resupply Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-27

Section V. Maintenance Techniques. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-27Procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-28Forward Support Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-28


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Section VI. Field Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-32Mortuary Affairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-32

Clothing Exchange and Bath..... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-33

Salvage Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-33

Section VII. Personnel Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-33Personnel Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-33

Religious Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-34

Legal Service Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-34

Finance Service Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-34

Postal Service Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-34

Enemy Prisoners of War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-34

Section VIII. Health Service Support. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-35

Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-35

Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-35

Section I. Light Armor CombatService Support Fundamentals

CSS planning must be continual to support the tactical operation. Considerations must begiven to everything that can affect the mission. CSS functions are performed as far forwardas the tactical situation permits. CSS staff officers and commanders must plan CSS opera-tions concurrently with the tactical plan. Planning priorities must be given to those areas thatare vital to mission accomplishment.

CONOPS require that the force first be tailored for the specific mission, then echelonedto permit simultaneous deployment and employment. The initial assaulting echelon mustorganize with sufficient combat power to seize the lodgement and begin combat operations.The echelon that immediately follows must be equipped to expand the lodgement and under-take decisive combat operations. The final echelon must provide the sustainment for ex-panded operations.

Unlike traditional operations, CONOPS require that CSS as well as C2 be phased inearly. Echelonment of light armor forces is not as simple as putting combat forces first,followed by CS and CSS. It requires corresponding echelonment of CSS as well. Rapidtransition to decisive combat or other operations dictates that CSS accompany or closelyfollow each echelon. The organization and quantity of required CSS must be carefully deter-mined to support the operation, considering both the potentially scarce transportation assetsand/or the austere infrastructure of light infantry CSS assets.

Light armor may also be required to operate with other services. Support requirementsand quantities depend on the mission, but the capabilities of the parent unit’s CSS could beeasily stressed. Proactive planning is necessary. The committed light armor force, whateverits size, must have accompanying CSS. Echelonment is the key, and redundancy is essential.

Light armor units may require augmentation for resupply and maintenance support forsome CONOPS. Sustainment of CONOPS is also phased and requires detailed planning to


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ensure the force is sustained in each phase. It is critical to synchronize the deployment ofCSS units, supplies, and C2 with the increase in combat capabilities.

Light armor may require augmentation from corps units to conduct extended operations.It is imperative that the corps remain responsive to the battalion’s operational needs andprovide the required augmentation. This is especially critical when the battalion is conduct-ing operations in a war environment.

The light armor battalion normally does not possess the required logistical redundancy tosustain forces providing augmentation throughout the division. These forces must normallydeploy with their own sustaining and unique support packages, which are either organic orare provided by division and/or corps assets. Special consideration is given to the mainte-nance, repair, supply, transportation, and external communications requirements that aug-mentation forces provide to the unit.

Section II. Contingency CombatService Support Operations


Brigade CSS for the deploying contingency force is provided by a DISCOM FAST. Theteam is tailored to satisfy the requirements of the supported brigade and is formed around aforward support maintenance company and a forward medical company. The DISCOMforms three echelons, one each to support the assault echelon, the follow-on echelon, andthe rear echelon. Each is tailored to the mission.

Assault Echelon. This echelon consists of a portion or all of the FAST, as determined bythe commander’s concept of the operation. It is normally attached to the supported brigadeduring marshaling. This attachment remains effective during the assault phase. The FAST istailored for the mission and can include elements from a forward maintenance company,medical company, and supply company. It can also include a detachment from the quarter-master airdrop equipment support company that can assist in the recovery and evacuation ofairdrop equipment from the drop zone (DZ). The FAST may receive augmentation fromcorps based on mission needs.

Follow-on Echelon. Most of the DISCOM enters the AO in the follow-on echelon underthe control of the DISCOM. Normally deploying by airland assault, the CSS follow-onechelon includes the remainder of the DISCOM HHC(-), a detachment from the quartermas-ter airdrop equipment support company, and a portion of the main support battalion (MSB).Remaining DISCOM units stay at the departure airfield in the rear echelon.

Rear Echelon. This echelon remains at the departure airfield or ISB and consists ofelements not immediately required in the airhead to support the assault force. These ele-ments include the remaining portions of the DISCOM MMC, MSB, quartermaster airdropequipment support company, and the finance and personnel service companies (corps unit).Depending on the duration and nature of the operation, the rear echelon may be calledforward and deployed into the AO after the lodgement is established.


Brigades, battalions, and companies begin the logistical parallel planning process as soonas they receive a WO or instructions to implement an operation plan (OPLAN). The plancovers both support during combat and predeployment preparation. The part of the plancovering the predeployment phase includes supplying the unit, moving to the marshalingarea, and conducting logistical operations in the AO.


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FM 17-18A number of factors and considerations affect the logistical plan, including an analysis of

the AO, the ground tactical plan, the anticipated duration of the operation, and unit strength.Basic Decisions. For the logistical plan to progress in a timely manner, planners make

basic decisions as early as possible. This allows all responsible agencies to prepare andexecute plans for procurement and assembly of aircraft, supplies, equipment, and personnel.They decide on the following:

What forces will be involved, how will they be organized, and what their principalobjectives will be.

What the tentative strength and composition of logistical units in the assault force willbe.

What type and amount of equipment should accompany the assault force.

What initial supplies will be taken.

What level of supplies will be maintained in the airhead.

What airfields will be used for the landing of supplies.

How long it should take to secure and organize airheads in the AO.

Where rear bases to be used for supply purposes should be located.

How available aircraft should be allocated for soldiers and supply.

What evacuation policies should be set up.

What capacity of the ISB should be maintained at forward air bases to facilitate supply.

Planners make detailed plans based on the basic decisions. The following considerationsalso affect the plan:

How the desired quantities of supplies will be delivered to rear air bases at the propertime.

How many, what size, and what type aircraft are available, and what are their loadingcharacteristics.

What material-handling equipment is available.

What the distance is between rear air bases and landing areas.

Facilities that are at the airhead include road network, storage facilities, and otherfacilities.

How long the follow-on supply phase will go on before normal supply procedures arein effect.

What quantities of supplies, equipment, and materials will be available within the pro-posed airhead for possible exploitation.

If dedicated air MEDEVAC (fixed or rotary wing) is required and available.


During the early stages of a contingency operation, CSS operations mature at a pacedictated by the arrival of CSS assets into the AO. The nature of CONOPS demands that thebulk of initial forces to deploy are combat forces. There are three phases of supply inCONOPS—accompanying supplies, follow-on supplies, and routine supplies.


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FM 17-18Accompanying Supplies. These include supplies taken into the airhead by assault and

follow-on units. Accompanying supplies are issued to units before marshaling for earlypreparation before air movement and for delivery in the assault. They are carried into theassault area and include the supplies air-dropped with the deploying unit. Each unit receivesand protects its three types of accompanying supplies—unit, force, and reserve supplies andare discussed in the following paragraphs:

Unit supplies. These supplies include each soldier’s basic combat load, basic loads ofvehicular ammunition and other supplies, and prescribed loads of other classes of sup-ply.Force supplies. These bulk supplies that the supporting units provide are retained atbattalion or brigade. They include all classes of supply. The S4 of the deploying unit isresponsible for controlling these supplies.Reserve supplies. These are additional supplies brought into the airhead under DISCOMcontrol; they consist of the assault force reserve of Class III, Class V, selected items ofClasses II and IV, and Class IX.

Follow-on Supplies. Follow-on supplies include all classes of supply; they areair-delivered after the unit has made its initial assault to help the unit operate until normalsupply procedures can be set up. They are usually packaged, rigged, and stored at thebeginning of the operation for immediate distribution on request. Quantities are based onthe G4’s estimate of the unit’s daily requirements. The battalion S4 requests follow-onsupplies for the battalion. Follow-on resupply is discontinued as soon as practicable. Thetwo categories of follow-on supplies are—

Automatic. These are delivered on a preplanned schedule once a day, beginning at atime based on the specific situation; they should be enough to sustain the deployedcontingency force until routine supply is available. Automatic follow-on supplies areeither airdropped to the unit or air-landed at a central supply point. Follow-on supplyshould not be scheduled for automatic delivery on the day an opposed-entry operation isto begin because assaulting units within the airhead should be fully occupied with seiz-ing assault objectives, establishing the airhead, and recovering accompanying supplies.

On-call. These are held in the departure area ready for immediate delivery to units onspecific request. They include more of the items supplied by automatic follow-on, ma-jor items of equipment, and supplies that are not used at a predictable rate. The assaultforce determines the types and quantities of supplies to be held in on-call supply.Depending on the situation, on-call supplies can be prepackaged into loads by type orcan be maintained in bulk pending request. Emergency on-call supplies must be deliv-ered within 24 hours. Routine supplies are delivered on a flexible schedule 24 to 72hours after the request.

Routine Supplies. These are requested and delivered by normal supply procedures. TheDISCOM commander decides when routine supply deliveries should begin, depending on thetactical situation and supply status of the division.


The following discussion provides information about the classes of supply and uniqueconsiderations for contingency forces.

Class I. This class includes meals ready-to-eat (MRE), tray pack, and A-type meals.Contingency units use MREs as the basic load and for follow-on supply. Tray packs and


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FM 17-18

A-type meals may be used later as the airhead is developed and the tactical situation allows.Personnel strength reports determine Class I requirements, thereby eliminating complicatedunit ration requests.

Class II. This class includes clothing, individual equipment, tentage, hand tools, adminis-trative and housekeeping supplies and equipment, and chemical decontaminants. Accompany-ing supplies include some Class II items. Follow-on and routine supply include small stocksof individual clothing and equipment while on-call follow-on supply includes major items ofequipment as the situation dictates.

Class III. This class includes POL. Unit combat and utility vehicles are usually deliveredto the airhead with fuel tanks three-fourths full to allow for expansion during airlift. Fore-casts for POL are used by units to program delivery as part of the assault and follow-onsupplies. Packaged POL and bulk POL supplies are used. Plans for POL should includeretrograde movement of containers for refill.

Class IV. This class includes construction materials and all fortification and barrier mate-rials. Units can only take a limited amount of Class IV into the objective area. Units exploitlocal resources.

Class V. This class of supply includes all ammunition. Planners must consider that,during the assault phase, ammunition tonnage is greater than the combined weight of allother supplies. Units take a basic load only. The amounts are expressed in the number ofrounds for each weapon each day. Specified amounts of all types of ammunition for assaultforces (enough for continuity of the combat operation) are provided follow-on supply.Follow-on resupply should be cross-loaded to offset possible loss of one type of item ifaircraft are lost. Expenditure rates are based only on staff estimates, which must take intoconsideration the following factors:

Degree of opposition to be encountered during and after the landing.

Number and types of weapons landed with assault forces.

Planned time of follow-on supply.

Number and types of aircraft to be used.

Class VI. This class includes personal demand items, usually unavailable in the airhead,for sale or issue to soldiers and other authorized individuals. It should not be confused withthe ration supplement and sundries pack. (The sundries pack has items necessary for thehealth and comfort of soldiers, such as essential toilet articles and confections. It may beavailable in the theater of operations for issue through Class I channels, pending estab-lishment of adequate service facilities.)

Class VII. This class includes major end items. Certain items of this class can be re-tained for use in on-call resupply to replace those lost in combat or during delivery.

Class VIII. This class includes medical material, which is discussed with health serviceslater in this chapter.

Class IX. This includes repair parts required for maintenance support of all equipment.Some critical repair parts deploy with the using unit in the assault phase. Maintenance unitsentering the airhead in follow-on operations carry prescribed load lists (PLL), shop stocklistings, and designated items from the authorized stockage list (ASL). Additional techniquesspecific to light armor units are discussed later in this section.

Captured Supplies and Salvage. Units use captured or abandoned enemy materiel andsupplies within the limitations prescribed by the commander. The use of captured equipmentand materiel eases the logistical burden in the airhead by reducing the number of airframesneeded in the early stages of the operation.


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FM 17-18

Water. Assault forces carry water into the objective area using filled canteens and themaximum amount of bulk water in containers such as 5-gallon water cans and water drums.They carry enough organic water to drink during travel to the airhead and for a short periodof time while they are waiting there. Planners must ensure soldiers have enough water in theairhead. They should also determine the location of possible water supply points in theobjective area. Soldiers carry water purification tablets in the event of contamination of localwater.


Supply and transportation units can accompany the assault echelon to recover assaultsupplies transported under control of the assault force and to establish necessary supplypoints. The assault force can use supply point distribution, unit distribution, or both tohandle supplies. Throughput distribution bypasses one or more intermediate supply echelonsto avoid multiple handling. Commanders choose this method whenever possible to deliversupplies from the rear echelon to the units in the airhead.

In the unit distribution method, the issuing agency transports supplies to the receivingunit’s area. They can use ground transportation from supply points near DZs or airfields,or they can air-drop supplies directly to the using unit.

With supply point distribution, the receiving unit picks up supplies from a distributionpoint and moves them in organic transportation. Distribution points for essential combatsupplies are positioned close to the soldiers to benefit from the security provided by thecombat elements. This also prevents infiltrating hostile forces from cutting the supplies offfrom the receiving unit; it also shortens supply lines.

Supplies must be delivered to the airhead configured for easy handling. Limited CSS andtransportation assets, as well as the tactical situation, affect supply distribution in the objec-tive area. Multiple DZs must be selected, including sites close to the forward elements.Some supplies should be packed into container delivery system (CDS) bundles for expedientfollow-on resupply.


Army and Air Force assets are used for both airland and airdrop delivery, although mostAir Force deliveries are air-dropped. Airland has an advantage in that special equipment orrigging is not required. When airdrop is necessary, the Army furnishes the airdrop equip-ment and rigs the loads. The advantages of airdrop are the ability to place supplies in theimmediate vicinity of the using unit and the capability to deliver a large amount of suppliesin a short amount of time in the objective area. Airdrop rigging support for airdrop resupplycomes from division and corps airdrop units.

Preplanned Resupply. Preplanned airdrop resupply can be automatic or on-call. Auto-matic airdrop resupply can be arranged for a designated time and place to support specificoperations. On-call airdrop resupply uses prerigged and pre-positioned supplies that are ar-ranged before an operation and delivered when requested by the supporting unit. To obtain apreplanned airdrop, units in the airhead request supplies and equipment from their DS unitin the FAST.

Immediate Airdrop Resupply Requests. Immediate airdrop resupply missions resultfrom unanticipated, urgent, or priority requirements. Immediate requests for resupply mis-sions must be flown faster than preplanned missions. Unless the JTF commander has allo-cated airdrop assets for strip alert or has otherwise kept airlift in reserve, immediate airdropresupply requests are filled by preempting, diverting, or canceling lower priority preplannedmissions.


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FM 17-18Helicopter Resupply. Light forces use helicopters extensively to support CSS require-

ments. Light armor forces must deploy with sling-loaded equipment and train their personnelin slingload operations. There are two types of helicopters:

Utility helicopters (UH). A UH is a general-purpose aircraft with limited carrying capa-bility. It is used for such missions as transport of troops, cargo, or patients. Two Armyhelicopters are of this type; the UH-lH Huey can carry approximately 2,250 poundsexternally, the UH-60A Blackhawk up to 8,000 pounds.

Cargo helicopters (CH). The CH has the capacity for carrying greater weights and sizesthan those carried by the UH. It can lift heavy, oversized loads, such as artillery piecesand ammunition. It can recover downed aircraft or vehicles. There are two CHs, theCH-47 Chinook and the CH-53E Super Stallion. The Chinook is the Army’s primaryCH. It can carry a maximum external load of 26,000 pounds. The Super Stallion is theprimary CH of the USMC and USN and can lift up to 36,000 pounds on an externalsingle-point cargo hook.


Light armor units must conduct efficient maintenance to ensure maximum and reliableavailability of combat systems for the contingency assault force commander. Light armorunits conduct maintenance in phases—predeployment, marshaling, and deployment. Thesephases take place in the objective area and after the expansion and buildup of the airhead.

Predeployment Maintenance. Predeployment maintenance includes normal scheduledmaintenance under the SOPs of the light armor battalion at its home station. Maintenanceassets are consolidated in the headquarters company of the light armor battalion under thedirection of the battalion maintenance officer (BMO). Company maintenance teams (CMT)are organized for each company within the light armor battalion; the same procedures,outlined in FM 71-2, apply.

Special maintenance procedures may apply in contingency units prior to assuming a“most-ready” deployable status according to local SOPs. These procedures may includeoperational readiness inspections prior to a light armor company assuming most-ready status,live fires to confirm fire control accuracy, and other predeployment checks and services.

Marshaling and Deployment. To reduce maintenance requirements in the airhead, inten-sive maintenance is performed before departure. Organizational and DS maintenance sup-port the marshaling unit as required. Contact teams are established to inspect and repairequipment during marshaling. The DMMC may direct the maintenance battalion to use theoperational readiness float to fill critical combat requirements. Internal assets within thedeploying light armor battalion may replace nonmission-capable equipment of the deployinglight armor unit based on local SOPs and the commander's guidance

Maintenance in the Objective Area. Maintenance in the objective area during the initialassault and subsequent operations phase is performed by personnel organic to the battalionsand to separate and attached companies and platoons. The amount of maintenance assetsdeployed is directly proportional to the amount of available space on aircraft delivering theassault force to the objective area and to the commander’s priority of forces included in theinitial assault. Page 8-9 discusses techniques commanders priority of forces included in themaintenance assets with the assault force and to maximize the number of combat systemsavailable in the objective area.

The complete forward support company and other designated individuals from the lightarmor battalion maintenance platoon arrive in the objective area with the follow-on echelonas aircraft availability permits. Forward support company personnel establish the FAST to


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FM 17-18

provide DS maintenance of primary weapon systems and communications equipment.Maintenance personnel from the light armor battalion may augment the FAST maintenancesection or may link up with and attach to the deployed light armor platoons or companies.To maintain the maximum number of combat systems available to the commander, they usebattle damage assessment and repair (BDAR) and cannibalization procedures for severelydamaged or inoperable systems.

Expansion and Buildup of the Airhead. During this phase, the remaining DS andorganizational level maintenance elements are deployed. As the force builds, so do themaintenance assets, based on the aircraft flow into the airhead and the commander’s priori-ties. The light armor battalion deploys tailored maintenance assets to meet the needs of thedeployed force. The following paragraphs outline techniques for deploying maintenanceassets along with the assault force.


This discussion contains methods in which the TF commander can deploy an interimsupport package which can support a small light armor unit until the light armor unit’sparent unit CSS assets or additional divisional support units arrive in the AO. This supportcan be deployed in these forms:

Critical repair parts package.

CSS contact team.

CSS package.

Critical Repair Parts Package. Deployment packages of small critical repair parts canbe easily consolidated by unit PLL personnel and crated for transport in small packages.Packages will include only those parts that can be used to maintain combat readiness of aplatoon- to company-size unit for a short period of time. The unit will typically be part ofthe assaulting unit or initial deploying unit. Repair parts included in the package should beonly those that can be installed by vehicle crews under combat conditions without the aid oflifting equipment or unit level repair apparatus. Examples include (but are not limited to)—

Air and fuel filters with seals.

Communications equipment, such as cables and control boxes.

Track shoe and blocks, center guides, and wedge bolts.

Roadwheels and suspension parts.

Relay switches.

Batteries and battery connectors.

Small arms repair parts.

Hardware fasteners.

Sling load sets.

Firing probes (spare fire pins).


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FM 17-18

Parts packages can be transported to the AO in the following ways:

Via the same aircraft used to transport the deploying combat vehicles.

By air delivery as part of accompanying or follow-on supply.

By slingload operations (if applicable).

On a command-approved support vehicle deploying with the opposed entry or assaultechelon.

CSS Contact Team. The CSS contact team gives the TF commander a relatively smallteam with the expertise to—

Conduct unit level repairs on combat vehicles.

Relieve the platoon leadership of much of the CSS coordination requirement duringcritical early hours of an opposed entry operation.

Provide technical expertise on the weapon system not organic to the light infantry unit.

Provide a liaison to the infantry battalion staff for both CSS and employment of thelight armor force.

Provide support despite changing task organization.

Serve as an advance party for follow-on forces from the light armor battalion.

The CSS contact team can provide limited logistical support during the force buildup inthe operations stage of a CONOP. It is not designed for extended operations. It provides keysupport during the most critical stages of a CONOP during the opposed entry or assaultphase until adequate traditional CSS assets arrive in the AO in later phases. The team worksfor the light infantry TF XO or S4. As the remaining CSS assets flow in from the homestation, the team chief can take control of those assets and put them to use immediately. Theteam eventually grows into a traditional configuration as all the assets arrive into the AO.The CSS contact team should, as a minimum, be composed of—

Team chief (company XO, 1SG, or CMT leader).

Turret mechanic.

Hull mechanic.

Communications equipment repairman.


Critical repair parts package.

CSS Package. The CSS package provides the TF commander with a readily availableoption for operating with light armor deployed for a CONOP of short duration. The CSSpackage provides the minimum logistical needs of a light armor company when deployed aspart of a light infantry TF. A light infantry battalion or brigade does not possess the trans-portation or recovery assets required to support a light armor company. The CSS packageconsists of (but is not limited to)—

Team leader (company XO or 1SG).

Company maintenance slice.

Supply sergeant.

Class III truck.


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FM 17-18

Class V truck.

Recovery vehicle with repair parts package.

HMMWV for C2.

The light armor company will go with its organic slice of support assets when organizedwith a light infantry TF. Composition of the package includes recovery, cargo, fuelers,repair parts package, and maintenance. It can be tailored to meet specific requirements basedon METT-T. The assets will come from the light armor battalion; they will deploy inechelons and in order of priority along with a deploying contingency force of up to brigadesize. The large amount of bulk fuel and the size and weight of ammunition used by lightarmor would seriously stress the limited transportation assets available to a light infantryunit.

Escalation of Conflict. A CONOP that begins as an operation other than war mayescalate to war; this requires the deployment of additional forces, including heavy armor andmechanized units. In this situation, the contingency force most likely is rapidly reinforcedwith the majority of its parent unit based on the direction of the joint staff. Remainingdivisional CSS assets are prioritized and deployed to the AO sequentially as part of thedivision air flow or on ships.

As the force grows, the light armor unit evolves logistically and may begin to function asa battalion. The initial CSS support elements may revert back to the control of the lightarmor battalion once light armor CSS C2 elements arrive in the AO.

Section III. Operations


The organization of trains varies according to the mission and support assets assigned tothe TF. Trains may be centralized in one location (unit trains), or they may be echeloned inthree or more locations (echeloned trains). Unit trains are formed in AAs and during ex-tended tactical marches. Forming unit trains eases coordination and control and increasestrains security. Unit trains are controlled by the S4, with the assistance of the S1. The HHCcommander moves with the BSA to maintain coordination with the FSB and the brigade rearCP.

The field trains are usually in the BSA and are controlled by the HHC commander.Generally, field trains include the field trains CP (HHC CP), personnel and administrativecenter (PAC), mess sections, company supply sections, and remaining elements of the main-tenance and support platoons that are not forward.

The BSA is that portion of the brigade rear area occupied by the brigade rear CP, FSB,TF field trains, FA field trains, and various unit-level support elements of other divisionaltroops. The BSA is usually 20 to 30 kilometers behind the FLOT. CSS assets in the BSAinclude elements from the FSB, maneuver unit field trains, and selected corps (corps supportcommand [COSCOM] ) resources, as required. Brigade CSS is managed by the brigade S4in coordination with the FSB commander.

The TF CSS assets are normally echeloned into company trains, battalion combat trains,and battalion field trains. The combat trains are organized to provide immediate criticalsupport for the combat operation. Field trains are normally in the BSA under the control ofthe HHC commander, who coordinates with the brigade S4 and FSB commander for securityand positioning. The composition of the combat and field trains varies according to thefactors of METT-T.


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FM 17-18


The combat trains include the combat trains CP, the unit maintenance collection point(UMCP), the battalion aid station (BAS), the decontamination vehicle, some vehicles forsupply Classes III and V, some supporting elements from the FSB, and the unit ministryteam. The combat trains are controlled by the S4, assisted by the S1. All elements are tiedto the combat trains CP by landline and operate on the A/L net.

The combat trains are generally 1 to 2 kilometers from the main CP. They should beclose enough to the FLOT to be responsive to the forward units but out of range of enemydirect tire. The combat trains can expect to move frequently to remain in supporting distanceof the combat elements (normally 4 to 10 kilometers). Factors governing positioning of thecombat trains include the following:

Communications between the combat trains CP, main CP, field trains CP, brigade rearCP, and forward units are required.

Cover and concealment from both air and ground observation are desirable.

The ground must support vehicle traffic.

A suitable helicopter landing site should be nearby.

Routes to logistic release points (LRP) or to company positions must be available.

Movement into and out of the area must not be restricted.

BUAs are good locations for trains. They provide cover and concealment for vehicles andshelters that enhance light discipline for maintenance. Battalion train elements should occupybuildings near the edge of the BUA to avoid being trapped in the center and to provide easyaccess to MSRs.

The UMCP is established by the BMO to provide forward maintenance support to theTF. It is normally located in the combat trains or, separated but adjacent to the combattrains.


The most forward CSS elements are the company trains. The medical evacuation team(routinely attached to the company) and the CMT tracked vehicles, when forward, operatefrom the company trains. The company 1SG positions these elements, supervises the medicalevacuation team, and establishes priority of work for the CMT.

In echeloned trains, the company supply sergeant usually operates from the field trains.Coordination between the company supply sergeant and the 1SG is conducted through thecombat trains CP to the HHC commander over the A/L net; it is supplemented by face-to-face coordination during logistics package (LOGPAC) operations.

During combat operations, the company habitually operates with the maintenance andmedical teams forward (company combat trains). The remainder of its CSS elements operatefrom the battalion combat trains, UMCP, or the field trains in the BSA. The 1SG is respon-sible for all of the company trains, but directly supervises the company combat trains from asurvivable vehicle (maintenance M113). The supply sergeant is the 1SG’s principal assistant;he supervises the company’s assets in the battalion field trains.

The company trains will normally operate about 500 to 1,000 meters or one terrainfeature to the rear of the company team. They provide immediate response for recovery,medical aid, and maintenance. This allows maintenance and other essential CSS functions tobe performed in covered and concealed positions behind the FLOT.


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FM 17-18Support during the battle will be limited primarily to medical and maintenance activities.

Emergency resupply is performed by the 1SG when required. During a battle, whetherdefensive or offensive, the 1SG continuously monitors the company command net and sendmedical and maintenance support forward to the platoons as required. He keeps the combattrains CP informed continuously, either by radio or messenger.

Trains Security. CSS elements behind the FLOT must be prepared to defend themselvesagainst guerrillas and partisans, forces that have broken through or bypassed the defense,and enemy air assault and airborne insertions.

The S4 is responsible for trains security when operating in a unit trains configuration.When trains are echeloned, the S4 is responsible for securing the combat trains, and theHHC commander is responsible for securing the field trains. The HHC commander coordi-nates with the FSB commander and brigade S4 to integrate the TF field trains into the BSAdefensive plan. In all trains areas, a perimeter defense is normally planned and rehearsedimmediately upon occupying a new position before normal support activities commence.Elements in the trains are assigned a specific sector to defend. Mutually supporting positionsthat dominate likely avenues of approach are selected for vehicles armed with heavy machineguns. Reaction forces and OPs will be made based on the unit SOP. To enhance security, analarm or warning system is arranged. Sector sketches, fire plans, and obstacle plans shouldbe prepared. Rehearsals are conducted to ensure that all personnel know the part they playin the defensive scheme. The officer in charge (OIC) at each location establishes a shiftschedule for operations and security on a 24-hour basis.

Command, Control, and Communications. CSS C3 is the responsibility of the TF XO.The S4 routinely coordinates all logistics operations based on the XO’s guidance. C3 facili-ties are the combat trains CP and the field trains CP.

The combat trains CP includes the S4 CP carrier (M577) with adequate cross-trained S1and S4 personnel to ensure continuous operations. The combat trains must stay abreast ofthe tactical situation and current task organization. They must monitor the TF command netto identify CSS requirements and to receive requests, reports, and requirements from TFsubordinate elements. Subordinate elements’ requirements are analyzed, consolidated, andforwarded to the field trains CP or to the appropriate supporting agency. The HHC com-mander coordinates and directs elements in the field trains to take action to meet the forwardunits’ requirements.

The field trains CP, established by the HHC commander, is the coordination and controlcenter for the support platoon, PAC, maintenance platoon (-), and the battalion and companysupply sections. Personnel from these sections operate the field trains CP under the supervi-sion of the HHC commander. The HHC commander coordinates all requirements for TForganic and attached elements with all units in the BSA and parent units, as necessary.

Communications are critical to expedite the CSS effort. Unit 1SGs must report theirlosses and requirements as soon as they become known. The combat trains CP receives andanalyzes these requirements and notifies the field trains or dispatches resupply vehicles fromthe combat trains as needed. When radio use is not possible, messages are sent with resup-ply or evacuation vehicles. The combat trains CP maintains positive control of vehiclesmoving forward to the LRPs. The TF sends reports to the brigade rear CP in the BSA. TFSOP establishes procedures for resupply without request in the event communications fail.

At TF level, CSS communications may be by any combination of FM radio, MSE,courier, or wire. The A/L radio net is used for most CSS traffic. For lengthy reports, usemessenger, wire, or MSE.

The combat trains CP is the NCS for the A/L net. The S1, S4, HHC commander, BMO,support platoon leader, medical platoon leader, company 1SGs, and others (as required)operate on the TF A/L net. The combat trains CP also operates on the division or brigadeAIL net based on command and support relationships.


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FM 17-18

Section IV. Supply and Resupply TechniquesCLASSES OF SUPPLY

Class I. This supply class includes subsistence and gratuitous health and welfare items.These considerations apply:

Class I is automatically requested at brigade based on the daily strength report. Thecombat trains CP forwards the strength report to the field trains CP, which in turninstructs the mess section to prepare the rations. When a specific item is required, theS4 can submit a separate subsistence request through the field trains CP to the supplycompany of the FSB.

The support platoon draws subsistence from the FSB supply company’s Class I point inthe BSA. Raw subsistence items are issued through supply channels. Rations are usuallyprepared in the field trains and delivered to the companies and attached units as part ofthe LOGPAC.A three-to-five day supply of MRE rations is stored on combat vehicles. Meals fromthis combat load are eaten only when daily Class I resupply cannot be accomplished.Frequency of unit feeding and use of A or B rations depend on tactical situations. Ifpossible, troops should receive at least one hot meal per day. Hot rations should bepacked in platoon-size portions rather than consolidated as company-size packages.Water is not a Class I supply item, but it is normally delivered with Class I. The HHCcommander or support platoon leader coordinates with the FSB to pick up water fromthe water supply point. Water is delivered to the units using 400-gallon water trailers.Also, forward water points can be tested and approved by the battalion surgeon. Duringdesert operations, each vehicle in the TF should carry at least two 5-gallon water cansto be refilled or exchanged for full cans during Class I resupply and LOGPACoperations. When necessary, the TF’s 400-gallon water trailers can be augmented bycollapsible water containers (common table of allowances items).

Class II. This supply class includes clothing, individual equipment, tentage, hand tools,administrative and housekeeping supplies and equipment, and chemical defense and decon-tamination items. These considerations apply:

When Class II items are lost, destroyed, or worn out, unit supply sergeants sendreplacement requests through the S4 to the FSB.The S4 supply section or company supply sergeant picks up Class II items from theFSB supply company in the BSA and delivers them to the unit during LOGPACoperations. Expendable items such as soap, toilet tissue, insecticide, clothing, andTA-50 are provided during the LOGPAC.

Class III. This supply class covers all types of POL, including petroleum fuels, lubri-cants, hydraulic and insulating oils, preservatives, liquids, and gases; bulk chemical prod-ucts; coolant, deicer, and antifreeze compounds; components and additives of petroleum andchemical products; and coal. These considerations apply:

The brigade S4’s POL forecasts form the basis for division and corps stockage levels.POL is normally obtained by the battalion transportation section from the supplycompany’s Class III supply point in the BSA. Empty fuel-handling vehicles andcontainers presented at a supply point are sufficient to obtain POL without a formalrequest. In exceptional cases, FSB fuel vehicles deliver to the combat trains area, orhelicopters may deliver POL to the unit in 500-gallon collapsible drums. POL arerequested through the S4 and handled in the same manner as Classes II, IV, and VIIsupplies.


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Company requests are not required for POL resupply. POL tanker vehicles will moveforward with each LOGPAC. Packaged POL products are carried on each tankervehicle. Requests for unusual requirements are submitted to the combat trains CP.Nonscheduled or emergency resupply of POL will be made by POL tankers stationedin the combat trains for that purpose.

Class IV. This supply includes construction materials, such as installed equipment and allfortification and barrier materials. These considerations apply:

These are items for which allowances are not prescribed. The TF submits requests forClass IV items through the FSB to the DMMC.

Requests for intensively managed Class IV items often require command approval. Inthat case, requests go through command channels to the division or corps G3 for releaseapproval. Construction and fortification materials are normally delivered by DISCOMor COSCOM transportation and are carried as far forward as possible to reducehandling. Combat vehicles carry small amounts of these materials into the battle. Thesecombat loads can consist of wire, pickets, and lumber as designated by unit SOP.

Class V. This supply class includes ammunition of all types (including chemical, radio-logical, and special weapons), bombs, explosives, mines, fuzes, detonators, pyrotechnics,missiles, rockets, propellants, and other associated items. These considerations apply:

Class V supply is based on a required supply rate (RSR) and a controlled supply rate(CSR).

RSR is the amount of ammunition, usually expressed in rounds per weapon per day,estimated to be required to sustain operations, without restriction, for a specifiedperiod. It is developed by the brigade S3 based on data from FM 101-10-1/2 and thesituation. It is submitted through command channels.

CSR is the rate of ammunition consumption that can be supported for a given periodconsidering availability, facilities, and transportation. For ammunition fired fromweapons, it is expressed in rounds per weapon per day. For other Class V items, it isexpressed in various units of measure for specific items (for example, a specific amountper day or per week). The CSR for a given period may well be less than the RSR. Thedivision ammunition officer (DAO) in the DMMC manages ammunition resupply byreferring to CSRs for different types of ammunition.

The TF receives ammunition from the ammunition transfer point (ATT) in the BSA,which is operated by the FSB supply company. A backup ATP is positioned in thedivision support area (DSA), operated by the corps ammunition company. If required,corps and division trucks and helicopters can deliver ammunition directly to thebattalion combat trains, provided sufficient reaction time and ammunition are available.

When ammunition resupply is required, a request (DA Form 581) is prepared by S4 orsupport platoon personnel for an amount based on unit expeditures (or projectedrequirements in the case of caches) and the current CSR. The request is validated bythe DAO or his representative in the BSA, based on the CSR and the unit’s previousconsumption. The ammunition is then picked up and transported to the field trains,where it remains loaded until needed for company resupply.

When companies request Class V resupply, the support platoon dispatches ammunitionvehicles to an LRP, where a guide from the company guides them to the company area.Routine resupply of Class V is accomplished by LOGPACs.

Requests for nonscheduled or emergency resupply of Class V are sent to the combattrains CP. Resupply is made by ammunition vehicles positioned in the combat trains forthat purpose.


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Class VI. This supply class includes personal demand items, such as candy, cigarettes,soap, and cameras (nonmilitary sales items). Some items in sundry packs are also Class VIitems. These considerations apply:

Requests for Class VI support are consolidated and submitted by the S1 through supplychannels when a post exchange (PX) is not available.

Resupply flow is the same as for Class I resupply.

Class VII. This supply class includes major end items such as launchers, tanks, mobilemachine shops, vehicles, and organizational tool sets. Large items may be delivered byCOSCOM directly to the TF trains. Smaller items are picked up by the support platoon atthe distribution point in the DSA or BSA.

Class VIII. This supply class includes medical materiel, including repair parts peculiar tomedical equipment. These considerations apply:

Medical supplies are obtained by the medical platoon from the medical company in theBSA. Normally, these supplies are distributed by evacuation vehicles returning from theBSA to the aid station and from the aid station to the company team.

The medical platoon leader coordinates with the S4 for additional supplies as requiredor based on the S1 loss estimate and projection for mass casualty situations.

Class IX. This supply class includes repair parts and components, including kits, assem-blies, and subassemblies (repairable and nonrepairable) that are required for maintenancesupport of all equipment. These considerations apply:

The TF’s stock of repair parts is based on a combat PLL. The maintenance platoon’sadministration section manages repair parts.

Repair parts are issued based on a specific request or by repairable exchange (RX). TheTF obtains repair parts from the Class IX supply point in the BSA. Parts are movedforward during routine LOGPAC operations or as required to the UMCP. Themaintenance platoon requests Class IX items (minus RX), quick supply store (QSS),and major Class IX subassemblies such as engines and transmissions by submittingsingle line requests (DA Form 2765) to the maintenance company of the FSB. Low-dollar-value and high-demand parts (light bulbs, wiper blades, common bolts and nuts)are obtained without formal requests from the repair parts QSS, operated by the FSBmaintenance company. RX for selected repairable items (to include components andsubassemblies) is handled on the basis of a simple exchange of the unserviceable item,with an attached DA Form 2765-1, for a serviceable item. If an unserviceable item isnot available for exchange, the unit must submit a request (DA 2765-l). In some cases,controlled exchange and cannibalization may be required to obtain Class IX supplies.

Class X. This supply class includes materiel to support nonmilitary programs such asagriculture and economic development (not included in Classes I through IX). These consid-erations apply:

Class X items are requested, obtained, and delivered by the S4 based on requirementsfrom the civil military and/or operations channels.

Specific instructions for request and issue of Class X supplies are provided by divisionor higher.


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The supply system provides many types of supplies to the TF. The most important ofthese are ammunition, POL, and repair parts for weapon systems. To ensure continuoussupport, supplies are provided as far forward as the tactical situation will permit.

In addition, the TF maintains some combat-essential supplies and repair parts. These arecalled combat loads, basic loads, and PLLs. The minimum stockage level is normally di-rected by division or higher. The purpose of having these loads is to enable a unit to sustainitself in combat for a limited period should there be an interruption in the resupply system.This period normally is 15 days for general supplies and 2 to 3 days for supply Classes I,III, and V.

The TF uses the following three methods to replenish its supply stock:

Supply point distribution. The TF, using organic transportation, goes to the distributionpoint to pick up supplies. This is the normal method used by the TF support platoon topick up supplies.

Unit distribution. Supplies are delivered to a unit by transportation assets other than itsown. The TF uses unit distribution to resupply its subordinate elements. Routine resup-ply occurs either on a daily basis or as the tactical situation requires.

Throughput distribution. When feasible, supplies are shipped directly from the issuingagency as far forward as possible, provided the receiving unit has the material handlingequipment (MHE) necessary to handle the shipping containers. This means some sup-plies may be issued directly to the TF from COSCOM or even theater army level,especially supply Classes III, IV, VII, and IX. This issue will most likely occur nofarther forward than the field trains. However, the TF uses the established requisitionchannels, regardless of the issue method chosen by higher headquarters.

The S4 section is organized to process supply requests and to receive, issue, and tempo-rarily store supplies. Distribution priorities for items in short supply are determined by thecommander based on recommendations by the S4 and the operational requirements of theTF.

Supply at the Company Level. The supply sergeant is responsible for obtaining anddelivering supplies to the company. He delivers small items out depending on the assets ofthe support platoon to deliver bulky or high-expenditure items. Priorities for delivery areestablished by the company commander, but the demands of combat will normally dictateClasses I, III, IV, V, VIII, and IX supplies as most critical to successful operations.Company-level considerations for these supply classes include—

Class I. MRE are stocked on board each vehicle in a basic load prescribed by SOP(usually three to five days). MRE and water are delivered daily to the company fromthe field trains by the supply section. Hot meals are served when possible. Water is acritical item and must be replenished daily, especially when the unit is wearing chemi-cal protective clothing. Rations are automatically requisitioned and issued by the S4section based on daily strength reports sent to the S1 by the companies.

Class III. Class III bulk and packaged products are delivered to the company by thesupport platoon. Resupply is accomplished from the battalion field trains as requestedby the 1SG. If the tankers are attached to the company, they will return to the Class IIIpoint in the BSA for refill as soon as the company has been refueled. Small amounts ofpackaged products (hydraulic fluid and lubricating oil) are stored on each combat andtactical vehicle. These are replenished from stocks on the bulk fuel tankers.


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Class IV. Class IV items are requested through command channels. Basic loads ofmaterials required for the construction of individual fighting positions should be a partof each vehicle’s load plan; they are specified in the company team SOP.

Class V. Class V resupply is based on a report of expenditures submitted to thecombat trains CP by the 1SG. The ammunition is delivered to the company by theLOGPAC. This ammunition will be pre-positioned (in a defense or delay) or distributedas part of tailgate or service-station resupply.

Class VIII. Class VIII items are provided by the medical platoon. Requests aresubmitted to the BAS by the medics. When the medical supplies are received, they areissued to the medics by the aid station or during ambulance exchange.

Class IX. Class IX items are requested through the PLL clerk. They may be deliveredto the LOGPAC or the maintenance platoon, or the maintenance team may have toreturn to the UMCP to pick them up.

Maps. Maps are requested from the battalion S4.

Supplies to Support Night Operations. While all classes of supply are affected by nightcombat, Classes I and III present the most significant problems. Class I supply points andkitchens must operate around the clock. At night, vehicles tend to operate in a lower gear oridle for longer periods, thereby requiring more fuel and oil.

Other items of supply for night operations vary in demand depending on weather, terrain,and type of operation under consideration. For most tactical operations at night, units mustexpect an increased demand for—

Engineer tape and stakes.

Tarpaulin shelters.

Night-vision devices (NVD) batteries.

Flashlights and filters (green, blue, red, and infrared).

Luminescent tape and paint.

Red lens goggles.

Replacement bulbs.

Replacement night observation devices (NOD).

Chemical lights.


Resupply operations can be described as routine, emergency, and prestock. Each methodis developed in the unit SOP and rehearsed in training. The actual method selected willdepend on METT-T.

Routine Resupply. Routine resupply operations are the regular resupply of Classes I, III,V, and IX items, mail, and any other items requested by the company. Routine resupplytakes place at least once daily. Periods of limited visibility are best for resupply, if possible.Resupply of Class III takes place at every opportunity. Ml-series tank units in offensiveoperations routinely require refueling twice each 24 hours.

The LOGPAC technique is a simple and efficient way for routine resupply operations. ALOGPAC is a centrally organized resupply convoy originating at the TF field trains.LOGPACs should contain all anticipated supplies required to sustain the company for a


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specified time, usually 24 hours or until the next scheduled LOGPAC operation. Companyand battalion SOPs specify the exact composition and march order of the LOGPAC.

Emergency Resupply. Occasionally, as a result of combat, the company team may havesuch an urgent need for resupply that it cannot wait for a routine LOGPAC. Emergencyresupply may involve Classes III, V, and VIII; NBC equipment; and on rare occasions,Class I. The TF will usually use support platoon and medical assets in the TF combattrains to conduct emergency resupply of company teams. Because it often occurs while incontact with the enemy, special techniques must be considered. When the platoons areunder fire, limited supplies can be brought forward to the closest concealed position, wherethe tailgate method may be used. Individual fighting vehicles drop back to resupply at thedirection of the platoon leader, then return to fight. For resupply during a lull in combat,the service-station method may be appropriate.

Pre-positioning Supplies. Pre-positioning supplies is required in most defensive opera-tions. Normally, only Class V supply items are pre-positioned. The location and amount ofpre-positioned ammunition must be carefully planned, and each vehicle commander must beinformed. All leaders down to TC and squad leader verify the locations of the sites duringtheir reconnaissance and rehearsals. Pre-positioning considerations include the following:

Pre-positioned ammunition is on pallets, preferably in covered, protected positions.

Pre-positioning frees cargo vehicles to bring more ammunition forward.

The possibility of capture or destruction of pre-positioned ammunition is a risk for thecompany. The company cannot guard pre-positioned sites with the manpower available.

Pre-positioned ammunition must be far enough away from vehicles and individualfighting positions that its destruction will not cause friendly vehicle or personnelcasualties.

Pre-positioning of fuel is difficult. It requires covered sites separate from ammunition,as well as additional equipment, including fuel transfer pumps and drums, blivets, and5-gallon cans in quantity.


The most efficient resupply of a forward TF is accomplished by the LOGPAC, a methodin which resupply elements are formed on the basis of logistics requirements of the unit.LOGPACs are organized in the field trains by the company supply sergeant under supervi-sion of the HHC commander and the support platoon leader. LOGPACs are organized foreach company team in the TF and moved forward for at least a routine resupply. Whenpossible, all LOGPACs move forward as a march unit under the control of the supportplatoon leader. Special LOGPACs are organized and dispatched as required by the tacticalsituation and logistical demands.

The TF staff, under the guidance of the XO, must plan and coordinate LOGPAC opera-tions in detail to ensure that they fully support the commander’s tactical plans.

LOGPAC Composition. The TF SOP will establish the standard LOGPAC. Normally, acompany team LOGPAC will consist of the following:

Unit supply truck. This vehicle contains the supply Class I requirements based on theration cycle, normally one hot meal and two MRE per man. The supply truck tows awater trailer and carries some full water cans for direct exchange. In addition, the truckcarries any Class II supplies requested by the unit, incoming mail, and other itemsrequired by the unit. The truck may also carry replacement personnel and new orrepaired equipment.

POL trucks. Bulk fuel and packaged POL products are on these vehicles.


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Ammunition trucks. These vehicles contain a mix of ammunition for the weapon sys-tems of the company team. Unit SOP establishes a standard load; reports and projecteddemands may require changes to this standard load.

Vehicles for security or carrying additional supplies and personnel. These vehicles jointhe LOGPAC as coordinated by the support platoon leader and supply sergeant. Theywill also include returning combat vehicles.

LOGPAC Procedures. After the LOGPAC has been formed, it moves forward underthe control of the supply sergeant, who requires a radio for control purposes. The supportplatoon leader may organize a convoy for movement of all LOGPACs under his control, orhe may dispatch unit LOGPACs individually. The convoy may contain additional vehicles,such as a maintenance vehicle with Class IX supply to move to the UMCP, or an additionalammunition or fuel vehicle for the combat trains. The LOGPACs move along the MSR toan LRP, where the unit 1SG or a unit guide takes control of the company LOGPAC. Whenthe unit supply sergeant moves his LOGPAC to the LRP, he must know the MSR and be inradio contact (if he has a radio available) with the combat trains or HHC CP. Maintenanceassets from the UMCP may join the company team LOGPAC at the LRP, if needed for-ward.

From the LRP, the company 1SG or guide controls the LOGPAC and conducts resupplyas described in FM 71-1. The unit 1SG informs his supply sergeant of requirements for thenext LOGPAC. The supply sergeant collects personnel (including KIAs and EPWs) formovement to the rear and outgoing mail and equipment for movement to the field trains.The LOGPAC then follows unit SOP and returns to the LRP or to the field trains.

LRP locations are determined by the S4 based on the tactical situation. Normally, two tofour LRPs are planned. LRPs, as well as the MSR and combat trains and field trainslocations, are included on the operations overlay, if possible. If not, they are on a CSSoverlay. The combat trains CP notifies subordinates and the field trains CP in advancewhich LRPs will be used. The LOGPAC convoy’s arrival time at the the LRP and thelength of time it remains are normally established by SOP. For example, the SOP may callfor an LRP time of 1800 hours to 2400 hours daily. This indicates that the LOGPACconvoy arrives at the LRP not later than 1800 hours. The unit must meet its LOGPAC,complete its resupply, and return the LOGPAC to the LRP not later than 2400 hours. If thetactical situation dictates otherwise, the S4 must determine the time and notify units accord-ingly. Subordinates must ensure that the resupply vehicles are returned to the LRP as soonas possible so they can return to the field trains and begin preparation for the next mission.If the LOGPAC cannot be completed on schedule, the combat trains CP must be notified bythe 1SG or XO.

At least one senior representative from the combat trains (S4, S1, or NCO) should bepresent at the LRP. He meets with the unit lSG and support platoon leader to coordinatelogistical requirements and to ensure the LOGPAC release and return takes place efficiently.The battalion XO may also attend this meeting to assist in the CSS coordination for the TF.A brief meeting is normally held immediately before the 1SG picks up his LOGPAC. Coor-dination may include—

Changes in logistical requirements reflecting any last-minute task organization.

Receiving hard-copy reports on personnel, logistics, and maintenance from the 1SGs.

Firsthand updates on the tactical situation and logistical status.

Delivering and receiving unit mail and distribution.

The company supply sergeant or support platoon leader moves the LOGPAC from theLRP back to the field trains. The supply sergeant and support platoon leader then beginorganization of the next LOGPAC.


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The HHC 1SG coordinates and supervises resupply of the scout and mortar platoons, themain CP, combat trains, and attached support units. He operates primarily from the fieldtrains. The following considerations apply for resupply of these elements:

The platoon sergeant of these elements must submit a timely logistics status(LOGSTAT) report to the combat trains CP to ensure timely and accurate resupply.The most desirable method of resupply is to form small LOGPACs for these elements,with the platoon sergeant picking them up at the LRP in the same manner as a company1SG. Attachments larger than a platoon must come to the TF with CSS vehicles, onwhich LOGPACs can be built.

In some cases, the HHC 1SG will deliver the LOGPAC to the main CP, combat trains,and scout and mortar platoons. Attachments may receive resupply at one of theselocations.

Another option is for attachments to be resupplied at a nearby company teamLOGPAC. The S4 coordinates this resupply before the LOGPACs are dispatched.

Resupply operations for the scout platoon pose several unique problems. Specialprocedures may be necessary to resupply the scout platoon, including—

Resupplying the platoon by having each track pull off-line individually and move to aresupply site. This method may be feasible when the platoon is performing securityfor a stationary force.

Resupplying the platoon near the combat trains as the platoon repositions betweenmissions.

Designating one Class III supply vehicle in the combat trains to fuel the platoon onshort notice (opportunity refueling).

Units in DS of or OPCON to the TF are responsible for the resupply of their elementsoperating forward with the TF, except for the following:

The ADA battalion commander coordinates for the TF to resupply DS ADA units withsome classes of supply. This may be directed in higher headquarters SOPs and usuallyincludes supply Classes I, III, V, and IX (common items).

The TF provides engineer materials (supply Classes IV and V) to supporting engineerunits. Additionally, engineer units supporting the TF should receive Classes I, III, V,and IX supply to the maximum extent possible.

The parent unit S4 or the company commander of the supporting element coordinateswith the TF S4 or HHC commander on resupply of the forward elements. Normally, thesupporting units’ resupply elements assemble in the BSA and move to the TF field trainsarea. The HHC commander then dispatches these resupply elements forward, along with theTF LOGPACs, to the LRP. At the LRP, the platoon sergeant of the forward supportingelement takes control of the resupply element. These resupply elements maintain contactwith the combat trains CP while forward in the TF area. If coordinated between the support-ing parent unit and the TF, the resupply of these forward elements is directly managed bythe TF. The parent unit must provide the additional logistical assets necessary to supplementthe TF’s capabilities. No matter how support is coordinated, any element within the TF AOmust be under the TF commander’s control or at least remain in contact with the TF combattrains CP to avoid interfering with TF maneuver.


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FM 17-18Other LOGPAC Considerations. Planning, preparation, and execution for the LOGPAC

system must be conducted as with any other combat operation. The followingconsiderations apply:

Planning. The LOGPAC operations plan must take into consideration requirements ofthe company. Rehearsals must be conducted for route reconnaissance, LOGPACformation, security operations during movement, and reactions during the convoy. Thesupport platoon leader also needs to ensure that procedures are developed for lostvehicles, maintenance problems occurring during the movement, and changes to themission, especially if the LOGPAC must wait along the supply route for the tacticalsituation to fully develop before resupply takes place. Refer to Chapter 4 for convoysecurity operations.Preparation. The support platoon leader and company supply sergeants, supervised bythe HHC commander, must ensure all items necessary in the forward area arepositioned in the LOGPAC. This includes the resupply vehicles and repaired orreplacement combat vehicles that are being sent forward. The HHC commander willalso ensure that wheeled recovery assets, if they are available, are placed at the rear ofthe convoy. He also needs to determine the tactical status of the forward elements, toinclude the tactical situation from the BSA through the battalion area. This informationwill allow the support platoon leader to brief the supply sergeants and drivers onsituations they may encounter during movement and subsequent resupply operations.This could include minefield locations along the route of march, tank ditches, terrainconsiderations, NBC contaminated areas, and possible changes to the plan due tochanges to the tactical situation.Execution. After the rehearsals and preparation are complete, the support platoonleader must control the LOGPAC from the field trains site to the LRP. He needs toensure that radios are interspersed throughout the LOGPAC convoy to allow him tomaintain control of the convoy. He needs to be made aware of any situation thatdevelops and must issue instructions to handle the situation. The HHC 1SG can beinvaluable in assisting the control of the entire convoy.

Company LOGPAC Resupply. Company supply sergeants assemble their LOGPACsunder the supervision of the support platoon leader or HHC commander in the battalion fieldtrains. Replacements and hospital returnees move to the company location on LOGPACvehicles as required. Once the LOGPACs are prepared for movement, the supply sergeantwill tactically move them as part of the TF resupply convoy led by the support platoonleader. In emergencies, a company LOGPAC may be dispatched individually to meet the1SG at an LRP. This technique is not recommended because the LOGPAC is very vulner-able to attack, loss of communication, and disorientation when moving by itself.

The TF LOGPAC convoy is met at the TF LRP by company lSGs, representatives fromthe combat trains CP and UMCP, and specialized separate platoon sergeants when neces-sary. Each 1SG turns in routine reports to combat trains representatives, turns in partsrequisitions and the deadline status to the UMCP representative, picks up routine correspon-dence, and awaits the LOGPAC.

The lSG or his representative meets the LOGPAC and then guides it to the companyresupply point. The 1SG establishes the company resupply point using either the servicestation or tailgate issue technique. (NOTE: In light infantry units, service station resupply iscalled out-of-position resupply, and tailgate resupply is called in-position resupply.) Thecommander or XO, if delegated, will decide on the technique to be used and inform the1SG. The 1SG will brief each LOGPAC vehicle driver on the resupply method to be used.He will also establish the company team resupply point and notify the commander when it isprepared. The commander will direct the platoons to conduct resupply based on the tacticalsituation. Either technique, or variations thereof, can be used for emergency resupply. The


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FM 17-18following discussion outlines step-by-step procedures for service station and tailgate resup-ply, as well as for returning the LOGPAC to battalion trains.

Service Station Method (see Figure 8-1). The following procedures are used in theservice station method:

Tactical vehicles enter the resupply point using one-way traffic flow.

Only those vehicles requiring immediate unit or higher maintenance stop in maintenanceholding areas before conducting resupply.

If not already evacuated, wounded in action (WIA), KIAs, and EPWs are removedfrom platoon vehicles once they stop at the refuel or rearm point.

Vehicles rearm and refuel, rotating to each point.

Crews rotate individually to feed, pick up mail, pick up supplies, and refill or exchangewater cans.

Once all vehicles have completed resupply, they move to the holding area, where theplatoon leader or platoon sergeant conducts a precombat inspection (PCI), time permit-ting.

Based on the enemy situation, vehicles pull out of their positions one vehicle at a timeper platoon, by section, or by platoon. They are resupplied and rotated positions untilthe company has been resupplied.

NOTE: Medical evacuation vehicles are positioned an equal distance betweenthe refuel and rearm points. This decreases the number of stops thata vehicle has to make.


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Tailgate Method (see Figure 8-2). The following procedures are used in the tailgatemethod:

Combat vehicles remain in place or back out of their position a short distance so theresupply vehicle is not exposed. POL and ammunition trucks go to each vehicle posi-tion in turn.Crewmen rotate individually through feeding areas and pick up supplies, water, andmail.KIAs and personal effects are brought to the holding area by platoon personnel.Armored ambulances pick up critically wounded personnel; other injured are carried orwalk to the ambulances for first aid.EPWs are centralized and guarded.

Vehicles requiring maintenance move to the maintenance area.

Inspections are completed by the chain of command at each vehicle position.

NOTE: The tailgate issue method is normally used only in an assembly area.If it is employed in forward positions, resupply must be masked byterrain. This procedure takes much longer than the service stationmethod.


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FM 17-18Preparation for LOGPAC Return to Battalion Trains. When the company team has been

resupplied, LOGPAC vehicles are prepared for the return trip. Preparations include thefollowing:

Vehicles requiring recovery for maintenance or salvage are prepared for towing andlined up (if not previously recovered to the UMCP).

KIAs are placed in mortuary bags or wrapped in blankets or ponchos and placed onfuel trucks, cargo trucks, and/or disabled vehicles.

Slightly wounded personnel not already evacuated by air or ground ambulances are puton cargo trucks and/or disabled vehicles for transportation to the LRP.

EPWs are consolidated on damaged combat vehicles or empty cargo trucks and guardedby infantrymen from a cross-attached platoon, by walking wounded, or by other com-pany team personnel.

When resupply operations are completed, the 1SG or supply sergeant returns theLOGPAC to the LRP, where it is met by the support platoon leader. When possible, thereunited TF LOGPAC convoy returns to the field trains together. When METT-T requires,the individual company LOGPACs are dispatched individually to the field trains. Returningcompany LOGPACs individually is only slightly less hazardous than dispatching themforward on their own.

Other Resupply Methods. While LOGPACs are the preferred method of resupply, therewill be times when other methods of resupply are required:

Resupply from the combat trains (immediate resupply). The combat trains have a lim-ited amount of supply Classes III and V for immediate unplanned resupply. The S4coordinates immediate resupply from the combat trains and then refills or replaces thecombat trains’ assets.

Cache. Caches involve positioning and concealing supplies at strategic locations aroundthe battlefield. This is normally done during defensive operations when supplies areplaced in subsequent BPs. Some key considerations are that caches need to be coveredand concealed and need to have some type of security. Plans must be made for thedestruction or movement of caches to prevent their capture.

Mobile pre-positioning (MPP). MPP is similar to using caches except that the S4 re-tains control of the resources. With MPP, the supplies remain on the truck that ispositioned forward on the battlefield. MPP is used when the S4 determines that theenemy situation or the terrain will prevent needed immediate resupply.


The following discussion describes the two main methods of pre-positioning supplies:

Method 1. Class V supply is located in one place inside the assembly area or BP (seeFigure 8-3). Each vehicle pulls into the central area to upload ammunition and rations, ifany are pre-positioned. Pre-positioned fuel tankers are set up at the rear of the position, andrefueling is done using the service station method.


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Method 2. Class V supply is pre-positioned (and dug-in if time permits) at each vehicleposition, and Class III fuel tankers are pre-positioned in one location for the entire platoon(see Figure 8-4). In this method, Class V supplies are placed on the ground in the vicinityof each vehicle position. When the platoon arrives, three vehicles move into their fightingpositions and begin to rearm. The fourth vehicle stops at the Class III fuel tanker located tothe rear of the position and refuels. When that vehicle is fill, it moves into its fightingposition and begins to rearm while another vehicle moves to the refuel point.


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At night, routine resupply operations are accomplished by LOGPACs; these operationsare addressed in the TF SOP. Supply vehicles are led to an LRP. At the RP, the company1SG meets his resupply package, then guides it to the company’s forward position. Theconvoy moves in total blackout. At the RP, the company 1SG identifies his LOGPAC usingprearranged signals. Possible signals include—

Filtered flashlights, color-coded for unit identification.

Geometric designs on vehicles identifying supported units.

Checkpoints, marked on the ground by luminescent markers to designate the linkuppoint for specific companies.

Section V. Maintenance Techniques

Maintenance is continuous. It starts with preventive maintenance by the operator andcrew and continues through repairs accomplished by maintenance personnel. All personnelmust be trained to accomplish the necessary tasks in all conditions. Preventive maintenancechecks and services (PMCS) must be a daily crew responsibility; the DA Forms 2404 arecollected during the resupply operation. Vehicle commanders submit the DA Forms 2404 tothe 1SG or CMT chief prior to receiving rations. The CMT performs maintenance work asfar forward as possible.

Maintenance and recovery are initiated on site by the equipment operator and crew. Oncethe problem has been identified, the operator and crew start corrective action, whichincludes—

An initial status report to the platoon leader or platoon sergeant providing the condi-tions, location, and circ*mstances.

An estimate of the situation to determine support requirements, including self-recovery,field fixes, assistance from nearby vehicles, or assistance from battalion.

When it has been determined that the needed repair is beyond the crew’s capability, theplatoon notifies the lSG who dispatches the CMT. If additional assistance is required, the1SG or CMT chief requests it from the BMO on the A/L net.

As a general rule, the CMT should work on a vehicle for no more than 2 hours. If thevehicle cannot be repaired within that time, it is towed to an LRP, to the MSR, or to theUMCP, as necessary.

If a vehicle cannot be recovered or is damaged beyond repair, personal items, radios,crew-served weapons, ammunition, and other serviceable items and parts are removed. Theautomotive and weapon systems are rendered nonfunctional to prevent enemy use. Destruc-tion or disabling will be accomplished only on the commander’s order.

The CMT normally travels at the rear of a company echelon during a road march; theexact location is an SOP item. If a vehicle becomes disabled, the crew moves it as far offthe road as possible and dismounts a road guide to assist the passage of other vehicles. If thecrew cannot make repairs, they wait for assistance from the CMT.


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Battlefield Damage Assessment and Repair (BDAR). BDAR entails inspecting battledamage to determine its extent, classifying the type of repairs required, and determining themaintenance activity best suited to accomplish the repair. Battlefield damage repair involvesthe immediate repair of equipment by field expedient methods, if possible. Vehicle com-manders are the first line of leaders that are trained in techniques of BDAR; each subsequentechelon of maintenance conducts BDAR. BDAR manuals outline specific procedures formost combat vehicle systems.

Categories of Maintenance. Maintenance involves inspecting, testing, servicing, repair-ing, requisitioning, rebuilding, recovering, and evacuating. Repair and recovery are com-pleted as far forward as possible, at the lowest capable echelon. When equipment cannot berepaired on site, it is moved only as far as necessary for repair. When all maintenancerequirements of the TF cannot be met, the XO determines maintenance support priorities forsubordinate units based on operational requirements of the TP and on recommendations ofthe S4 and BMO. The Army maintenance system consists of the following four levels ofmaintenance:

Unit maintenance. Unit maintenance consists of maintenance tasks performed by theoperator and crew and those performed by unit mechanics:

Tasks accomplished by the crew or operator include PMCS, inspecting, lubricating,cleaning, preserving, tightening, spot painting, and minor adjustments. The crewsmust perform maintenance within their capability and promptly report anyrequirements beyond their capability.

Unit mechanics isolate faults with built-in or automatic test equipment, conduct visualinspections, make minor adjustments, and repair end items by exchanging faultymodules and components. These functions can be performed on site or in the UMCP.Unit mechanics also perform recovery tasks.

Direct support (DS). DS mechanics diagnose and isolate defective end items. DS main-tenance support teams (MST) operate from the UMCP. If equipment cannot be repairedin the UMCP due to time constraints, work load, or the tactical situation, it is recov-ered to the BSA for repair. The maintenance company also operates a repairable ex-change (RX) activity and performs light body repair.

General support (GS). GS maintenance involves repair of modules and components byreplacing internal pieces or parts and repair of end items involving time-consumingtasks. GS is performed by units at echelons above corps.

Depot. Depot maintenance personnel rebuild end items, modules, and components.They perform cyclic overhaul and extensive modifications of equipment. Depot mainte-nance is performed by US Army Materiel Coremand (AMC) depots, contractors, andhost-nation support personnel in freed sites.


Combat Power. Combat power is maximized when disabled equipment is repaired as farforward and as quickly as possible. The BMO, in coordination with the XO, directs themaintenance effort for the TF by using established time guidelines and by coordinatingmaintenance actions.


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equipment should remain in various support areas. Battle damage assessment (BDA) anddiagnosis indicate repair time. The item is repaired on-site or recovered directly to theappropriate maintenance echelon in the appropriate support area. Factors in the decisioninclude—

Tactical situation.

Echelon of work required.

Availability of required repair parts.

Current work load in each area.

Table 8-1 lists typical maintenance time guidelines. These times are flexible and shouldnot be considered restrictive.

Maintenance Concepts. The following discussion of battlefield maintenance conceptsplaces the various maintenance echelons into proper perspective. The discussion illustrateshow echelons overlap to provide continuous maintenance support to the maneuver units.

The BMO task organizes the maintenance platoon based on his analysis of current andanticipated requirements. He is concerned with providing the appropriate support at each ofthree locations-the maneuver company, the UMCP, and the field trains. Normally, theBMO positions CMT recovery vehicles and equipment with crews to support each company.The intent is to provide a quick-fix capability for those items that can be repaired in lessthan 2 hours and recovery capability for those items requiring more extensive repairs. Theremainder of the CMT operates from the UMCP under the control of the BMO. When thetactical situation permits, the entire CMT may go forward to provide additional supportforward.

The UMCP is normally under the control of the BMO and battalion maintenance techni-cian (BMT). It is task organized with the maintenance platoon headquarters (-), one or morePLL trucks from the administration section, remaining recovery vehicles from the recoverysection, track automotive and turret repair teams from the service section, wheeled vehicleassets from the CMTs, and the DS MST. Task organization of the UMCP is modified basedon the BMO’s analysis of maintenance requirements and the tactical situation. The UMCPmust become a collection point for nonoperational vehicles (those that cannot move on anhour’s notice). Anything that cannot be repaired in the UMCP, or that cannot be towed byUMCP assets, will be recovered to the field trains or directly to the FSB maintenancecompany in the BSA.

The remainder of the battalion maintenance platoon is in the field trains under thecontrol of the battalion motor sergeant. The maintenance platoon organizes to supportcross-attachment as well as pure battalion operations. As previously discussed, one CMT iscross-attached to support each detached company. This team may be supplemented by anelement from the maintenance services section.


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In the unlikely event that the battalion detaches more than two companies, the mainte-nance platoon will task organize, including PLL, to support this detachment. Additionally,the administration section is organized to quickly detach one PLL truck, with trailer and aPLL clerk, to support the detached company. To support this concept, the administrationsection configures four PLL trucks and trailers to carry the PLL needed to support onemaneuver company each. Additionally, these vehicles will transport enough packaged POLto support repair operations. One of the remaining PLL trucks and trailers will be config-ured to carry the PLL associated with headquarters and headquarters company (HHC)tracked vehicles. The remaining PLL truck and trailer will be configured to carry the PLLfor the battalion’s wheeled vehicles; it operates from the field trains.

High-demand, low-volume parts are carried on the CMT’s tracked vehicles. The selectionof parts carried forward on the tracked vehicles, as well as the breakout of parts to becarried on each PLL truck and trailer, should be addressed in the battalion maintenanceplatoon SOP.

Attached maintenance elements come under the control of the BMO. Since the attachedmaintenance elements are equipped and trained to support the corresponding attached maneu-ver unit, they are used primarily for this support. Task organizing attached maintenanceassets is not routinely done for the following reasons:

PLL repair parts cannot be readily split up to support lower than company level.

Special tools and test sets are usually one-of-a-kind items and will not be readily avail-able to detached mechanics.

Personnel movements require coordination, transportation, and time. When the taskorganization changes, the process must be reversed.

The maintenance process is initiated on site by the equipment operator and crew. BDARis performed, and whatever the cause of the equipment malfunction, the operator and crewbegin corrective action. The vehicle commander makes an initial status report to the platoonleader describing the inoperable condition(s), circ*mstances, and location. When subject todirect fire, the vehicle commander uses smoke to screen the vehicle, if possible. He employsself-recovery or uses another vehicle to push or tow his vehicle to a covered position. Hethen isolates the fault as quickly as possible and determines what will be needed (recovery,parts, or repairs) to fix the vehicle. He does this using the procedures outlined in the BDARmanual, considering mission-essential maintenance only. The vehicle commander considersuse of self-recovery, field fixes and expedients, and assistance from other elements in thevicinity to put his vehicle back into action. He consults the BDAR criteria in the technicalmanual; if repairs are beyond his capability, he requests assistance as prescribed by unitSOP. If the item can be returned to operation by local resources, he initiates action to do so.

When the platoon leader determines that repair is beyond the platoon’s capability, hecontacts the 1SG or XO. The lSG dispatches the CMT as soon as it is feasible and informsthe BMO over the A/L net. Procedures for requesting support are in the TF SOP, to includeapplicable communications security (COMSEC) requirements. Information usually requiredincludes—

Identification of unit.

Identification of equipment.

Location (map coordinates).

Nature of damage.

Evaluation of on-site repair (extent of damage, level of repair, and estimated timerequired).


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Repair parts required, if applicable.

Enemy situation, security, and NBC considerations.

Recommended route of approach.

Contact points for unit guides, if required.

The CMT HMMWV and recovery vehicle are forward in the company trains. Thesevehicles carry the tool boxes, unit-level technical manuals, and a limited number of specialtools and repair parts. (M1 and M2 test equipment normally remains at the UMCP becauseof its size; it may be sent forward as needed based on the BMO’s and CMT’s assessments.)The CMT confirms the vehicle commander’s BDA before attempting repairs. The CMTusually repairs damage on site if the repair can be completed within two hours.

If a damaged vehicle cannot be repaired within two hours, it is recovered to the UMCPor the field trains to make maximum use of the weapon systems for defense of the site.However, before a recovery vehicle is committed, other recovery means are attempted.Field expedient procedures may return enough mobility to let the damaged equipment move.Other damaged (but mobile) equipment may tow the damaged vehicle. The tactical situationmay permit an operable like vehicle to do the recovery when a recovery vehicle is notavailable. The option of having the CMT recover the vehicle only as far as a maintenancecollection point (MCP), or the MSR, and then returning to the company to continue supportshould also be considered. Maintenance platoon recovery vehicles can then recover thevehicle from the predetermined drop site to the UMCP.

Damaged vehicles recovered to the UMCP are repaired by maintenance platoon elementsor MSTs from the FSB maintenance company. When not involved in on-site repairs, theCMTs may also repair vehicles in the UMCP. This is especially true of work requiringdiagnostic test equipment that cannot be taken into combat positions.

Vehicles that cannot be repaired within 6 hours or that would otherwise overload thecapability of the UMCP are recovered to the field trains or directly to the FSB maintenancecompany collection point for repair. This recovery may be accomplished by the CMT recov-ery vehicle alone; by the CMT recovery vehicle to an MCP or MSR, then by a maintenanceplatoon recovery vehicle; or by a combination of recovery vehicles and heavy equipmenttransporters (HET). The BMO will coordinate and direct the exact method to be used. Theuse of HETs is preferred, but they are restricted by road requirements and availability.HETs are requested through the FSB maintenance company. Some crew members accom-pany the vehicle to the rear to assist mechanics in the repair of the vehicle and return it tothe unit when repaired. They also man operational weapon systems on the vehicle to provideadditional security for rear areas. Communications-electronics (CE) equipment installed inthe vehicle is evacuated with the vehicle. Personal equipment of crewmen not accompanyingthe vehicle and any special equipment are removed before the vehicle leaves the area.

The UMCP displaces with the other elements of the combat trains. During periods offrequent displacement, the BMO may direct that the UMCP displace by echelon. In thiscase, some assets of the maintenance platoon, including the BMO, complete repair on vehi-cles at the old UMCP, then displace forward to the new location. Maintenance platoonassets not involved with these repairs move with the remainder of the combat trains andestablish the forward UMCP.

During rapid forward moves such as an exploitation, the UMCP conductsmission-essential maintenance only (MEMO) repairs and simple recovery. Other disabledvehicles are taken to MCPs on an MSR and remain to be repaired or evacuated. Field trainsand the maintenance company of the FSB displace forward to subsequent locations. TheBMO coordinates repair or evacuation with the battalion motor sergeant in the field trains.

In field trains, remaining elements of the battalion maintenance platoon perform othertracked and wheeled vehicle maintenance and Class IX resupply. The BMO coordinates


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requirements with the HHC commander and with the maintenance company of the FSB. Healso coordinates maintenance requirements with the parent headquarters of any attached orsupporting elements working with the TF.

Maintenance Operations at Night. At night, as during the day, vehicles are processedand integrated into the work program as soon as they are damaged. They are positioned inlightproof or light-suppressing shelters. Permanent structures such as warehouses, civiliangarages, and barns are used. Work continues until the repairs are completed.

If large shelters are not available, mechanics repair small components, on or off thevehicle, under a lean-to or some other makeshift shelter constructed of a tarpaulin or aponcho. Chemical light sticks provide adequate light for most detailed repairs under theseconditions.

Most maintenance work is accomplished in fighting positions or in the UMCP. To pre-vent congestion and confusion, a staging area is designated for vehicles awaiting repair. Towcables or tow bars remain attached to vehicles that cannot move under their own power.This makes it easier to move the vehicle quickly when necessary.

Forward of the UMCP, mechanics use night-vision goggles (NVG) to accomplish mostrepairs, marking tools and other small components with luminescent tape. Using night-visiondevices (NVD) for repair of equipment is a very time-consuming and dangerous process,requiring extreme care. When NVG are not available, repairs are made under lightproofshelters. Heavy vegetation or thick overhead foliage provides additional concealment.

Section VI. Field Services


Normally, divisions do not possess organic mortuary affairs assets. It is the responsibilityof the mortuary affairs NCOs within the support battalion to train personnel on mortuaryaffairs operations. Personnel under the control of the mortuary affairs NCO are responsiblefor mortuary affairs support for the division until mortuary affairs augmentation is available.

Commander’s Responsibilities. All commanders are responsible for the search, recov-ery, initial identification, and evacuation of deceased personnel from their area of responsi-bility. These remains include, but are not limited to, members from their own unit, otherservices, allied, enemy, and other remains that may be found in the area. Commandersmust ensure that recovery and evacuation of remains are conducted in a respectful manner.Evacuation by air or ground to the nearest collection point, or to the theater evacuation pointmust be accomplished promptly.

Search and Recovery. When unit personnel recover remains they must preserve allitems that may be used to establish an identity. They must check to see if there are identifi-cation tags or personal effects on the remains and ensure these items stay with the remains.When identification tags are found anywhere but around the neck of the remains, they areplaced in a personal effects bag. If DD Form 1380 (Field Medical Card) is found, soldiersmust ensure it is attached securely to the remains and protected from body fluids. Allpersonal effects and equipment are put with the remains and the immediate area searched toensure all effects and portions of remains have been recovered. The remains are shroudedwith any suitable material, such as a human remains pouch, poncho, or poncho liner. Theremains are then evacuated to the nearest collection point or directly to the theater evacu-ation point. Emergency burials should only be conducted when the tactical situation doesnot allow evacuation.


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Clothing exchange and bath (CEB) services are provided by the supply and service (S&S)company, when augmented. CEB services are requested through the brigade S4. The requestmust specify location of the unit making the request, desired time for service, and range ofclothing sizes for unit members. The requesting unit must be prepared to provide soldiers tohelp set up the CEB point. During CONOPS, CEB services may not be available. Plan-ning for alternate means, such as “Australian shower buckets,” is recommended.


Salvage services are provided by the FSB supply company. A salvage collection point isestablished in the BSA. It receives serviceable, unserviceable (repairable), discarded, aban-doned, and captured supplies and equipment. The salvage point will not accept COMSECand medical supplies, toxic agents, radioactive materials, contaminated equipment, aircraft,ammunition, and explosives.

Section VII. Personnel Support


Personnel service support includes CSS functions that sustain the morale and welfare ofthe soldier. These include personnel and administration (P&A) services, religious support,legal services, finance services, public affairs, postal services, EPW support, and medicalsupport. P&A services fall within the staff area of the battalion S1.

Strength Accounting. Company teams and attached units submit a personnel daily sum-mary report to the S1 in the combat trains CP. The S1 forwards a TF consolidated reportthrough brigade to the division adjutant general (AG). The PAC in the field trains is fur-nished an information copy. These reports, together with authorized position vacancies, arethe basis for requesting individual replacements and Class I resupply. Accurate strengthreports also provide the commander and staff with information to plan future operations.Daily reports are included in the TF SOP.

Casualty Reporting. The S1 ensures that both strength and casualty reporting occur in atimely and accurate manner. Casualty reports provide the detailed information necessary tocross-check strength reports. Casualty reporting occurs as soon as possible after the eventand is initiated by the squad leader, TC, or any individual having knowledge of the incident.The casualty feeder report (DA Form 1156) is carried by all small-unit leaders to reportbattle and hostile-action casualties and nonbattle casualties. It provides initial information tothe AG for preparing the casualty report used by DA to notify next of kin. The casualtyfeeder report also validates the soldier’s line-of-duty status, which determines payment ofbenefits. When a soldier is reported missing or missing in action (MIA) or when the remainsare not under US control, a witness statement (DA Form 1155) accompanies the casualtyfeeder report. Casualties are reported to the 1SG, who collects and forwards them to thecombat trains CP. The S1 cross-checks the reports, requests any needed clarification, adjustsunit strength reports, and forwards the reports through the brigade S1 to the AG.

Replacement Operations. Replacement flow is monitored by the PAC in the field trains.The HHC commander establishes a replacement receiving point in the field trains and noti-fies the brigade S1 of its location. All replacements or returnees are brought to this point forinitial processing. The division AG is normally responsible for delivering replacements tothe BSA. Hospital returnees are handled as replacements by the division AG. Every reason-able effort is made to return the recovered soldier to his original unit. Returnees from the


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BSA treatment station are released directly to their field trains. They move forward to theirunit with the LOGPAC.

Other Administrative Services. Intense combat greatly reduces time available for proc-essing of personnel actions. Consequently, actions not seriously affecting troop morale willreceive low priority. During lulls in the battle, the S1 and PSNCO complete all othernecessary P&A actions. If possible, these are accomplished by forming personnel contactteams that move forward to company locations.


Religious support is provided by the unit ministry team (one chaplain and one chaplainassistant) operating from the combat trains. The unit ministry team is dedicated to meetingthe religious, moral, ethical, and spiritual needs of soldiers in combat. Additionally, chap-lains advise the commander on the state of the soldiers’ religious support needs. He alsoprovides information on local religious groups and their possible effect on mission accom-plishment.


Legal service support is provided to the TF on a GS basis. It includes legal advice tocommanders on military, domestic, foreign, and international law and advice and repre-sentation for soldiers in military justice and administrative actions.


Finance units provide DS/GS on an area basis. Individual support includes casual pay-ments, check cashing, currency conversion, and pay inquiries. Organizational support cov-ers contracting support and commercial vendor operations, and reimbursem*nt of imprestfund cashiers and Class A agents. Before deployment, units will have officers with appoint-ments prepared and trained for Class A agent duties. FM 14-7 provides detailed informa-tion.


Postal service support is provided by the postal element assigned to the corps DS postalcompany, which receives mail and separates it by battalion, then turns it over to the brigadeS1. The battalion mail clerk receives and sorts the mail and distributes it to the unit supplysergeant (assistant mail clerk), who delivers it to the 1SG or to the soldier himself duringLOGPAC resupply. When a soldier mails a letter, the procedures are reversed.

Normally, mail is delivered and received with the LOGPAC. The brigade and TF S1smust establish procedures to ensure mail is sorted and delivered based on current task or-ganizations. Procedures must also be established to properly secure accountable mail until itis delivered to the addressee. Packages are not routinely sent forward during combat opera-tions; procedures for handling packaged mail are normally established by division or higher.


The S1 plans and coordinates EPW operations, collection points, and evacuationprocedures. EPWs are evacuated from the TF area as rapidly as possible. The capturingcompany is responsible for guarding prisoners, recovering weapons and equipment,removing documents with intelligence value, and reporting to the main and combat trainsCP. EPWs are evacuated to the brigade EPW collection point on returning LOGPACvehicles or are moved to the MSR under guard and their location reported to the S4, who


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coordinates transportation. As necessary, the S2 reviews and reports any documents orinformation of immediate value. The S4 coordinates evacuation of large amounts of enemyequipment. Wounded prisoners are treated through normal medical channels but areseparated from US and allied patients. The unit chaplain may conduct services for EPWs orassist detained chaplains of enemy forces.

At company level, EPWs are transported to the battalion TF EPW collection point asquickly as possible. The lSG is responsible for their security and transportation. Guardsremain with EPWs until released by the battalion S1. The exact procedure for evacuationwill be according to battalion SOP.

Section VIII. Health Service SupportTF health service support is planned by the medical platoon leader and S1 and is pro-

vided by the battalion medical platoon. Backup support is provided by the FSB medicalcompany. To support TF operations, the medical platoon leader must understand the schemeof maneuver as well as the support plan of the FSB medical company.


The medical platoon is organized with a platoon headquarters, a treatment squad, fourambulance squads, and a combat medical section. This organization is designed to facilitatequick evacuation of wounded soldiers so that they can be treated by trained medical person-nel within 30 minutes of the time they are wounded. The medical elements are organized asfollows:

The platoon headquarters contains the medical platoon leader and the platoon sergeant.They operate the CP and provide C3 for the medical platoon.

The treatment squad contains the platoon leader (battalion surgeon), the physician’sassistant (PA), and the treatment personnel. They can form one or two BASS capable ofoperating from, or forward of, the battalion combat trains using their organic M577s.

The ambulance squads operate from the company trains and from the BAS. Trackedambulances and crews habitually work with the same company, as do medics from thecombat medical section. The senior combat medic acts as the squad leader for this adhoc company medical team.


Maneuver Company. Maneuver company medical support includes—

Providing emergency triage and emergency medical treatment to sick and woundedpersonnel. Until patients are evacuated or returned to duty, protection is provided toprevent further injuries from artillery fragments and small arms by placing them insidearmored ambulances or other protected enclosures.

Assisting combat vehicle crews in evacuating injured crewmen from their vehicles.

Providing medical evacuation for nonambulatory patients and assisting the evacuation ofambulatory patients, and providing evacuation means if the tactical situation permits.

Initiating the field medical card for the sick and wounded and, time permitting, com-pleting this card on deceased personnel.


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Screening, evaluating, and treating patients suffering from minor illnesses and injuries.Patients requiring no further attention are returned to duty; those requiring additionaltreatment are evacuated to the BAS.

Remaining abreast of the tactical situation and complying with the instructions of theunit 1SG.

Ensuring that the company commander and the battalion surgeon are informed of thestatus of patients seen and of the overall health status of the company.

Training unit personnel to enable them to perform self-aid/buddy aid.

Coordinating for anticipated logistics support for deployed team.

Providing trained combat lifesavers.

Ensuring that medical waste is properly handled and disposed.

Battalion Aid Station (BAS). The BAS provides the facility and the medically trainedpersonnel to stabilize patients for further evacuation, to perform immediate lifesaving orlimb-saving surgery, and to treat patients with minor wounds or illnesses and return them toduty. Additionally, the BAS can operate two treatment teams if the tactical situation requiresit. Other functions of the BAS include—

Receiving and recording patients.

Notifying the S1 of all patients processed, giving identification and disposition of pa-tients as directed by SOP.

Preparing field medical cards, and verifying information on them.

Requesting and monitoring aeromedical evacuation of patients.

Monitoring personnel, when necessary, for radiological contamination prior to medicaltreatment.

Decontaminating and treating chemical casualties.

Monitoring the activities of medical platoon personnel attached to company teams.

Disinfecting nonpotable water for consumption at battalion water resupply points.

Treating patients with combat stress. These patients are comforted, given food anddrink, observed for a short time, put to work assisting medical personnel, and laterreturned to duty.

Medical Evacuation. Medical evacuation is the process of moving patients from the pointof injury or illness, through successive medical treatment facilities, to the appropriate facilityfor treatment, early return to duty, or evacuation out of the combat zone. Medical evacu-ation is the responsibility of the next higher level medical support; for example, the FSBmedical company evacuates patients from the BAS or coordinates medical evacuation fromcorps resources. Patients are evacuated no farther to the rear than their condition requires.These considerations also apply:

Medical evacuation within the TF is routinely accomplished by the medical ambulancesquads. Medical evacuation outside the TF may be accomplished by ground evacuationor by a combination of ground and air ambulances.

Aeromedical evacuation out of the TF sector is used as much as possible. Groundambulances are used only for patients who cannot be evacuated by air. The specificmode of evacuation is determined by the patient’s condition, aircraft availability, andtactical situation. The physician or PA treating the patient normally makes this determi-nation.


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Medical Supply and Property Exchange. The medical platoon maintains a two-daystock of medical supplies. To prevent unnecessary depletion of blankets, litters, splints, andthe like, the receiving medical facility exchanges like property with the transferring agency.Medical property accompanying patients of allied nations is disposed of in accordance withSTANAG 2128.

Preventive Measures. Combat casualties may not constitute the majority of hospital ad-missions. Experience in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam indicates that the vast majoritywere for disease and nonbattle injuries not directly attributable to enemy action. Command-ers can reduce disease and nonbattle injury by emphasizing the following preventive meas-ures:

Unit and mess sanitation and personal hygiene.

Battlefield safety.

Combat dress identification.

Water purification and control.

Immunization programs.

Venereal disease prevention.

Heat and cold injury prevention.

Proper work-rest cycles.

Pest control.

Company Health Service Functions. The medical aid team attached to the companyprovides emergency medical aid and evacuation for the company. The team provides firstaid for minor injuries and illnesses and emergency medical treatment to stabilize seriouslywounded soldiers for transportation to the BAS. Medics advise the commander and assistcompany field sanitation teams in maintaining the health of the soldiers. The medics areunder the control of the 1SG. They must know where the BAS is located and how to findtheir way there and back without assistance.

Casualties are sustained by combat lifesavers and platoon medics until they can be movedto a covered position for transfer to the company medics. The 1SG dispatches the armoredambulance to meet the vehicles with wounded aboard. If there are several casualties in eachplatoon, the platoons consolidate their wounded in one spot for treatment and evacuation.Based on reported severity of wounds, the 1SG requests air evacuation (for the most criti-cally wounded) or assistance from the BAS. The company aidmen triage the wounded,stabilize them for transportation, and treat them for shock. If neither air evacuation norassistance from the BAS is available, the most serious casualties are transported to the aidstation by the company’s armored ambulance. The commander must approve this because itwill deprive the company team of most of its medical support. For the less seriouslywounded, the 1SG arranges for evacuation to the BAS using any available vehicles.

Weapons and military equipment needed immediately by the company team will not beevacuated with the wounded. The wounded will keep their protective masks and any per-sonal items.


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Airlift operations provide the means by which contingency forces rapidly enter a hostileor nonhostile AO under any conditions of the operational continuum. The initial airlift prior-ity will probably go to an opposed-entry-capable division (airborne); it will then shift toother light forces that will expand operations. If opposed entry is not required, initial airliftpriority may go to any specified light contingency division.

This appendix discusses all the elements of airlift planning, including opposed-entry plan-ning considerations. Because resupply may be by air to support any given operation, airliftplanners in contingency divisions must be familiar with some opposed-entry procedures,such as LVAD and low altitude parachute extraction system (LAPES).


Four plans are developed for the execution of airlift operations-the ground tactical plan,the landing plan, the air movement plan, and the marshaling plan. These plans are developedprimarily by Army planners in coordination with the USAF. A reverse planning sequence isused beginning with the ground tactical plan.

Opposed-entry operations are based on a detailed ground tactical plan. The landing plan,air movement plan, and marshaling plan are based on requirements to support the success ofthe ground tactical plan. Airland forces require a secure airfield; therefore, they do notrequire a ground tactical plan and landing plan that are as detailed as those for an opposed-entry capable force. Air movement and marshaling plans are required by any contingencyforce.

Ground Tactical Plan. The ground tactical plan is developed from analysis of the mis-sion, enemy, terrain, weather, forces available, and the start time and duration of the opera-tion. The ground tactical plan, as a minimum, contains—

An airhead line.Assault objectives.Combat outposts.Reconnaissance and security forces.Boundaries.Assault task organizations.


Once terrain has been analyzed for offensive operations, it must be considered for defen-sive operations. Terrain that must be retained or controlled is identified. Enemy avenues ofapproach into the operational area are analyzed. BPs that offer good cover and concealmentand long-range fields of fires are planned along avenues of approach. Natural obstacles thatcan be extended or improved are also important.

Weather in the objective area must be checked. With the exception of high winds orthunderstorms in the objective area and less than minimum acceptable weather conditions atdeparture airfields, weather has only a limited effect on delivery of an airborne force.Precipitation does not affect parachute operations. Wet soil conditions, however, can preventairlanding operations on unimproved runways. Limited visibility caused by rain or fog canhamper delivery of supplies and equipment by the LAPES and can limit CAS.


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FM 17-18

The degree of visibility in the objective area during an airborne assault influences theconduct of the operation. Deployment at night enhances mission accomplishment. Periods ofreduced visibility conceal the airborne assault, add the element of surprise, and exploit nightvision capabilities.

Sufficient airlift capability must be available to deliver the division to the objective area.When there are too few aircraft to deliver the assault echelon in a single lift or in multiplelifts over a short time, risk to the force could be unacceptable. Airlift must be available notonly to deliver the force, but also to sustain it until completion of operations. The groundtactical plan serves as the basis for the other three plans in this area.

Landing Plan. The landing plan contains the sequence and method of delivery into se-lected DZ and LZ in the AO. The landing plan is the link between the air movement planand the ground tactical plan. It contains the following information:

Locations of DZs, LZs, and LAPES extraction zones.

Sequence in which the zones will be used.

Method of delivery.

Parachute hour (P-Hour).

Air Movement Plan. The air movement plan is prepared jointly as an annex to theOPORD. It covers all actions from the time units load aircraft until they arrive at the AO(P-Hour). It supports the landing plan and contains the flight route diagram to the DZs andthe air movement table. The flight route diagram contains—

The flight route.

The location and directional orientation of the DZs and landing strips.

The air movement table contains—

Departure airfield(s) for each serial.

The number and type of aircraft in each serial.

The aircraft parking diagram.

Names of USAF unit commanders.

Aircraft designated for personnel, heavy drop, or LAPES.

Station and takeoff times.

P-Hour for lead aircraft in each serial (if airdrop).

Marshaling Plan. The marshaling plan provides for the assembly of personnel, equip-ment, and supplies to be employed in the execution of the airbor