Combat Support

For a unit to achieve its full combat potential, the commander must effectively integrate all available CS assets. This chapter focuses on the CS elements with which the company team is most likely to work: fire support, engineers, air defense, NBC, intelligence, and Army aviation in its CS role. Other CS elements include signal and military police; the company team, however, will very rarely be task organized with those types of units.

NOTE: Additional considerations, procedures, and techniques for integration of CS assets appear throughout this manual. References to such information are included as appropriate in this chapter.


Section 1 Fire Support
Fire Support Planning
Fire Support Team
Section 2 Engineer Support
Organization and Organic Equipment
Equipment Capabilities
Mobility Planning Considerations
Countermobility Planning Considerations
Survivability Planning Considerations
Section 3 Air Defense
Systems, Organization, and Capabilities
Employment of ADA Systems
Weapons Control Status
Early Warning Procedures
Reaction Procedures
Section 4 Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Support
Reconnaissance Support
Decontamination Support
Smoke Support
Section 5 Intelligence
Section 6 Aviation Combat Support Missions
Command, Control, and Communications
Air Movement
Aerial Mine Warfare


Fire support is the collective and coordinated use of indirect fire weapons and armed aircraft in support of the battle plan. Fire support assets include mortars, field artillery cannons and rockets, Army aviation, CAS, and naval gunfire. Support can be either lethal or nonlethal (smoke or illumination).


Fire support planning is conducted concurrently with maneuver planning at all levels. Task forces and brigades typically use top-down fire support planning, with bottom-up refinement of the plans. The commander develops guidance for fire support in terms of tasks and purposes. In turn, the fire support planner determines the method to be used in accomplishing each task; he also specifies an end state that quantifies task accomplishment.

Individual fire support assets then incorporate assigned tasks into their fire plans. Units tasked to initiate fires must refine and rehearse their assigned tasks. This means that the company team commander will refine the teamís assigned portion of the task force fire support plan, ensuring that the designated targets will achieve the intended purpose. He also conducts rehearsals to prepare for the mission and, as specified in the plan, directs the team to execute its assigned targets.

Linking fire suppoort
tasks and
maneuver purpose

A clearly defined maneuver purpose enables the maneuver commander to articulate precisely how he wants indirect fires to affect the enemy during different phases of the battle. In turn, this allows fire support planners to develop a fire support plan that effectively supports the intended purpose. They can determine each required task (in terms of effects on target), the best method for accomplishing each task (in terms of a fire support asset and its fire capabilities), and a means of quantifying accomplishment.

A carefully developed method of fire is equally valuable during execution of the fire support mission; it assists not only the firing elements but also the observers who are responsible for monitoring the effects of the indirect fires. With a clear understanding of the intended target effects, fire support assets and observers can work together effectively, planning and adjusting the fires as necessary to achieve the desired effects on the enemy.

The following paragraphs describe several types of targeting effects associated with fire support tasks, with examples of how the commander might link a target task to a specific maneuver purpose in his order.


The friendly force uses indirect fires to cause a particular function or action to occur later than the enemy desires. For example, the commander might direct delaying fires this way: "Delay the repositioning of the enemyís antitank reserve, allowing Team B to consolidate on OBJECTIVE BOB."


Disrupting fires are employed to break apart the enemyís formation; to interrupt or delay his tempo and operational timetable; to cause premature commitment of his forces; or to otherwise force him to stage his attack piecemeal. Example: "Disrupt the easternmost first-echelon MRB to prevent the enemy from massing two MRBs against Team B and Team D."


Indirect fires are used to prevent an action or function from being executed where the enemy wants it to occur. Example: "Limit the ability of the enemyís advance guard to establish a firing line on the ridge line to the flank of the task force axis of advance to prevent the enemy from fixing the task force main body."


These fires are employed to cause the enemy to modify his course or route of attack. Example: "Divert the enemyís combined arms reserve counterattack to EA DOG to facilitate its destruction by Team D."


This purpose entails the use of smoke to mask friendly installations, positions, or maneuver. Screening fires are normally conducted for a specified event or a specified period of time. Example: "Screen the movement of the counterattack force (Team D) along ROUTE RED to ABF position 21 to prevent the remnants of the enemy MRB from engaging the team."


Smoke is placed between enemy forces and friendly forces or directly on enemy positions, with the purpose of confusing and disorienting the enemyís direct fire gunners and artillery FOs. Obscuration fires are normally conducted for a specified event or a specified period of time. Example: "Obscure the northernmost MRC to protect our breach force until the breach site is secured."

NOTE: The supported commander may also designate purposes for special munitions such as ADAM/RAAM, Copperhead, or illumination rounds.

FPF planning

FPF are designed to create a final barrier, or "steel curtain," to prevent a dismounted enemy from moving across defensive lines. They are fires of last resort; as such, they take priority over all other fires, to include priority targets. The employment of FPF presents several potential problems. They are linear fires, with coverage dependent on the firing sheaf of the fire support asset(s). In addition, while FPF may create a barrier against penetration by enemy infantry, armored vehicles may simply button up and move through the fires into the friendly defensive position.

FPF are planned targets and thus must have a clearly defined purpose. FPF planning is normally delegated to the company team that is allocated the support. Table 6-1 summarizes the coverage area of several possible FPF arrays, a critical planning factor the team commander must consider in employing FPF.

Table 6-1. Coverage area of FPF assets.



2 mortar tubes (60-mm)

60 meters by 30 meters

4 mortar tubes (81-mm)

150 meters by 40 meters

3 mortar tubes (107-mm)

120 meters by 40 meters

3 mortar tubes (120-mm)

180 meters by 60 meters

6 mortar tubes (120-mm)

350 meters by 60 meters

6 artillery tubes (155-mm)

300 meters by 50 meters

Target refinement

The company team commander is responsible for the employment of indirect fires in his zone or sector. The most critical aspect of this responsibility is target refinement, in which he makes necessary changes to the fire support plan to ensure that targets accomplish the task force or brigade commanderís intended battlefield purpose. Rather than merely executing targets without regard to the actual enemy situation, the company team commander and FSO must be ready to adjust existing targets or to nominate new targets that allow engagement of specific enemy forces.

Necessary refinements usually emerge when the team commander conducts war-gaming as part of step 6 (complete the plan) of troop-leading procedures. The war-gaming process allows him to identify required additions, deletions, and adjustments to the task force fire support plan. The team FSO then submits the refinements to the task force FSE for inclusion in the scheme of fires for the operation. (NOTE: This is normally only the first step of target refinement, with the commander and FSO making further adjustments as the enemy situation becomes clearer.)

As a specific requirement in defensive planning, the team commander must focus on target refinement for the ground he will "own" during the operation. This usually takes place as part of engagement area development. The commander makes appropriate adjustments to the targets based on refinements to the SITEMP, such as the actual positions of obstacles and enemy direct fire systems.

Because fire support is planned from the top down, cutoff times for target nomination and target refinement are normally specified in the task force OPORD. Commanders must ensure that nominations and refinements meet these deadlines to provide fire support planners with sufficient time to develop execution plans.

Fire support

As noted, although the task force and brigade commanders establish target tasks and purposes and allocate appropriate fire support assets, it is the team commander who must ensure execution of assigned targets. In turn, successful execution demands thorough preparation, focusing on areas covered in the following paragraphs.

Observation plan

In developing the observation plan, the commander must ensure that all targets are covered by both a primary observer and an alternate observer. The plan must provide clear, precise guidance for the observers. Perhaps the most important aspect of the plan is positioning; observersí positions must allow them to see the trigger for initiating fires as well as the target area and the enemy force on which the target is oriented. The commander must also consider other aspects of observer capabilities, including available equipment. For example, the ground/vehicle laser locator designator (G/VLLD) provides first-round fire for effect capability; without it, observers may have to use adjust-fire techniques that take longer and are more difficult to implement. The observation plan must also include contingency plans that cover limited visibility conditions and backup communications.

NOTE: In addition to providing the specific guidance outlined in the observation plan, the commander must ensure that each observer understands the target task and purpose. For example, observers must understand that once the first round impacts, the original target location is of no consequence; rather, they must orient on the targeted enemy force to ensure that fires achieve the intended battlefield purpose.


The company team commander is responsible for involving his FSO in team- and task force-level rehearsals, for making the team available for any separate fire support rehearsals, and for rehearsing the teamís observers in the execution of targets. He should also use rehearsals to ensure that the teamís primary and backup communications systems will adequately support the plan.

Target adjustment

In the defense, the commander should confirm target location by adjusting fires as part of engagement area development.

Trigger planning

The commander develops a trigger for each target. The trigger can be a point on the ground, such as an easily recognizable terrain feature or an emplaced marker, or a designated linear control measure. In the defense, triggers should be physically marked on the ground or their location specifically selected and identified during the development of the engagement area. (NOTE: Triggers can be marked using techniques similar to those for marking TRPs. Figure 2-17 illustrates some of these methods.)

The trigger line or point must be tied to clearly understood engagement criteria associated with the targeted enemy force. As an example, the commander might use the following order to begin indirect fires: "Initiate target AE0001 when approximately 30 BMPs and 10 T-80s cross TRIGGER LINE ORANGE."

Several factors govern the positioning of the trigger. Especially critical are the enemyís rate of travel and the resulting time required for the enemy force to move from the trigger to the target area. Using this information, the commander can then select the trigger location based on the following considerations:

  • The amount of time required to make the call for fire.
  • The time needed by the fire support element to prepare for and fire the mission.
  • The time required for the task force and/or brigade to clear the fires.
  • Any built-in or planned delays in the firing sequence.
  • The time of flight of the indirect fire rounds.
  • Possible adjustment times.

The company team commander can use the information in Tables 6-2 and 6-3 as he completes the process of determining the location of the trigger in relation to the target area. Table 6-2 lists the time required for the enemy force to move a specified distance at a specified rate of march. Table 6-3 lists the response time required by field artillery assets to prepare for and fire various types of support missions.

Lifting and shifting

As in trigger planning for the initiation of fires, the commander must establish triggers for lifting and/or shifting of fires based on battlefield events, such as the movement of enemy or friendly forces. One technique is the use of a minimum safe line, known as an MSL, when a friendly element, such as a breach force, is moving toward an area of indirect fires. As the element approaches the MSL, observers call for fires to be lifted or shifted, allowing the friendly force to move safely in the danger area.

Table 6-2. Time (in minutes) required to travel a specified distance.




1 km

2 km

3 km

4 km

5 km

6 km

7 km

8 km

9 km

10 km

60 km/hr











50 km/hr











40 km/hr











30 km/hr











25 km/hr











20 km/hr











15 km/hr











10 km/hr











5 km/hr











Table 6-3. Artillery response times.


5-7 minutes


3 minutes


1-2 minutes

NOTE: These are approximate times (based on ARTEP standards) needed to process and execute calls for fire on normal artillery targets. Special missions may take longer.

Clearance of fires

The maneuver commander has the final authority to approve (clear) fires and their effects within his zone or sector. Although he may delegate authority to coordinate and clear fires to his FSO, the ultimate responsibility belongs to the commander. Normally, the FSO will assist the commander by making recommendations on the clearance of fires.

Fire support
execution matrix

As a tool in fire support planning and execution, the company team commander may develop a graphic summary outlining the critical elements of the fire support plan and teamís role in it. The commander can incorporate this information into his own execution matrix or into a separate fire support execution matrix, as illustrated in Figure 6-1. The company team execution matrix should include, at a minimum, the following information for each target:

  • Target number and type, to include FPF designation.
  • Allocated fire support asset and munition type.
  • Observer and backup observer.
  • Trigger.
  • Target purpose.
  • Target grid.



(LD to SBF 01)

(Set conditions for
breach from SBF 01)

(Team B breach)

(Team C assault)


(PK 10184938)

(PK 09005031)

O/O shift AE0001 to AE0003 (PK 10204810) and lift AE0002

O/O lift AE0003


155-mm HE

Mortar smoke




Scout platoon will initially call for and adjust fires; FSO adjusts upon arrival at SBF; 1st Platoon leader is backup

FSO (primary)/
1st Platoon leader (backup)

AE0003: FSO (primary)/
2d Platoon leader (backup)

FSO (primary)/
3d Platoon leader (backup)


Team C crosses

On-call at SBF

Team B crosses

Team C completes consolidation


Disrupt enemy on
OBJ BOB to facilitate maneuver of company team to the SBF position

Obscure enemy
to prevent interference with Team Bís breach

Disrupt MRB reserve
to protect the assault
force (Team C)

Protect the assault
force (Team C)

Figure 6-1. Example company team fire support execution matrix.


The following paragraphs examine capabilities, procedures, and other considerations that affect the company team FIST and its employment in the fire support mission.


FIST personnel for the company team include the team FSO, the fire support sergeant, a fire support specialist, and a radiotelephone operator (RTO). The mechanized infantry FIST also includes three FO parties per company; each party includes an FO and a radio operator and is attached to the supported platoons.


The FIST operates out of the M981 FIST-V. This M113-based vehicle is equipped with digital and voice communications links to all available indirect fire support assets. The large targeting head atop the FIST-V houses the G/VLLD, which can accurately determine the range, azimuth, and vertical angle to targets and can designate targets for laser-guided munitions.


The FIST has the capability to transmit on and/or monitor these four nets:

  • The DS battalion fire direction net (digital). The FIST uses this net to relay calls for fire through the task force FSE to supporting artillery assets.
  • The company team command net (voice). This net allows the FIST to monitor company team operations and links it to the commander, platoon leaders, and FOs for planning and coordination.
  • The task force fire support net (voice). The FIST communicates with the FSE on this net, for which the FSE is the NCS.
  • The mortar platoon fire direction net (digital). As necessary, the FIST sends fire missions to the supporting mortar platoon or section using this net.

FIST employment

The company team commander has two options for employment of his FIST. These are described in the following paragraphs.

Option 1

The company team FSO works out of the FIST-V, which he positions where he can most effectively observe and control execution of the fire support plan. The FSO establishes OPs that take maximum advantage of the capability of the G/VLLD to create lethal, accurate fires. He communicates with the commander on the company team command net. This option allows the FSO to maintain effective control of his FOs and to conduct required fire support coordination. He must keep the company team informed at all times of his location and of the routes he will take when moving from OP to OP.

Option 2

The FIST-V is used as a combat observation lasing team (COLT) somewhere within the task force or brigade sector or zone and is controlled by another headquarters. The company team FSO, accompanied by the fire support specialist, rides with the team commander or in another company team maneuver vehicle. He brings two radios and the forward entry device (FED). This option severely degrades the ability of the FIST to support the company team.

Forward observer

Three options are available to the company team FSO in controlling and communicating with the teamís FOs. He selects the one that will provide the most effective support for the team after evaluating the tactical situation, the degree of training and experience of his FOs, and the availability of fire support assets. In each option, the FSO monitors all calls for fire.

Option 1

Platoon FOs may call for fire directly from the available fire support assets. This option gives the company team FSO the lowest degree of positive control. It therefore requires the highest degree of training and experience for the FOs as well as extensive coordination between the FOs and the FSO.

Option 2

The company team FSO assigns each FO a fire net (and hence a fire support asset). If two or more assets are available (artillery and/or mortars), each FO will have his own asset; this option also allows two FOs to be assigned the same asset. If an FO requires support from an asset other than the one assigned to him, he contacts the FSO for assistance.

Option 3

Each FO contacts the FIST with his initial call for fire and is then directed to the fire support asset that the company team FSO determines to be most effective. This option provides the FSO with the highest degree of centralized control; it is also the slowest.



The engineer company attached to support a heavy task force consists of two engineer platoons and an assault and obstacle platoon.

Engineer platoon

Each engineer platoon is organized into three engineer squads and a headquarters section; it is equipped with four M113s and an ACE. When tasked to conduct breaching operations, the engineer platoon may be reinforced with elements from the engineer companyís assault and obstacle platoon.

Assault and
obstacle platoon

The assault and obstacle platoon consists of two assault sections and an obstacle section. Each assault section has two AVLBs or Wolverines, two ACEs, and two MICLICs. The obstacle section has two M548s (which may carry the Volcano mine-laying system), two SEEs, two HEMTTs, and an ACE.

Company team role

The company team may be task organized in one of several ways: with an engineer platoon (or squad) and an assault section for breaching operations; with the engineer platoon(s) in emplacement of tactical obstacles during engagement area development; or with the assault and obstacle platoon in constructing survivability positions during BP preparation. In addition, the team may attach its mine plow or roller tanks to the engineer company when the engineers serve as the breach force in a task force breaching operation. (NOTE: For missions in which the company team is task organized with an engineer platoon, the team commander should expect the engineer platoon leader to take part in development of the teamís plan; the platoon leader will provide expertise in terrain analysis and employment of the engineer assets.)


Armored combat

The M9 ACE, with its front-end blade and rear-end winch, is capable of filling craters and antitank ditches and of digging antitank ditches and vehicle fighting positions. Additional mobility capabilities of the ACE are discussed in the description of breaching operations in Chapter 5 of this manual.

Armored vehicle
launched bridge

The AVLB is based on an M60-series or M48-series tank chassis modified to transport, launch, and retrieve an 18-meter (60-foot) bridge. The span is capable of carrying MLC 60 track loads across a 17-meter gap and MLC 70 loads across a 15-meter gap. Refer to the discussion of breaching operations in Chapter 5 and the discussion of gap crossing operations, also in Chapter 5, for additional information on the AVLBís mobility capabilities. (NOTE: The AVLB will soon be replaced by the Wolverine. Based on an M1-series tank chassis, the new bridge will be capable of supporting MLC 70 traffic across gaps of up to 24 meters.)

line charge

The MICLIC is a rocket-propelled explosive line charge; when fired into a minefield, it can create a lane that is 100 meters long and 14 meters wide. The line charges are either trailer-mounted or, as noted in the following paragraph, carried on the AVLM. Refer to the discussion of MICLIC capabilities in Chapter 5.

Armored vehicle
launched MICLIC

This vehicle serves as a launch platform for two MICLICs. The AVLM is a modified version of the AVLB.

Small earth excavator

The SEE has a backhoe, a bucket loader, and other attachments, including a handled hydraulic rock drill, a chain saw, and a pavement breaker. The SEE can dig positions for individual, crew-served, and antitank weapons or for Stinger missile teams. It can also be employed to dig in ammunition prestock positions.


The Volcano is a scatterable mine system that can be mounted on the back of a five-ton truck, on an M548, or on a UH-60 helicopter. It can rapidly produce tactical minefields with a linear frontage of up to 1,100 meters and a depth of 120 meters. The system can be employed to reinforce existing obstacles; close lanes, gaps, and defiles; provide flank protection for advancing forces; and deny the enemy access to possible air defense sites. Volcano minefields are also ideal for employment when the company team is operating in concert with air and ground cavalry units in conducting flank guard and flank screen missions.


In mobility operations, the engineer platoon can perform the support operations described in the following paragraphs. (NOTE: For a detailed discussion of mobility operations, refer to FM 90-13-1.)

Obstacle reduction

Engineers can reduce obstacles, thereby improving maneuver capability of the unit they are supporting. The discussion of breaching operations in Chapter 5 of this manual covers the engineersí obstacle reduction capability.

Route construction
and improvement

The engineers have limited capability to construct, improve, and maintain roads, bridges, and fords. In addition to providing mobility support for offensive operations, they can enhance mobility in the defense, focusing on the ability to shift forces. This effort includes assisting defensive elements in movement to alternate, supplementary, and successive BPs and assisting in the movement of reserve forces to counterattack, blocking, or reinforcing positions.


In their countermobility role, engineers construct obstacles that can destroy the enemyís ability to execute his scheme of maneuver. Commonly used obstacles include minefields, wire obstacles, antitank ditches, road craters, abatises, and log cribs. Engineers can also reinforce terrain and existing obstacles to disrupt, fix, turn, or block the enemy force. The company team, especially its infantry squads, will often assist the engineers in the emplacement of obstacles. (NOTE: For a detailed discussion of countermobility operations, refer to FM 90-7.)

Regardless of the type of defense used by the maneuver commander, there are five basic principles for the employment of reinforcing obstacles:

  • Obstacles must support the scheme of maneuver.
  • They must be integrated with and covered by observed fires.
  • Reinforcing obstacles must tie into existing obstacles when possible.
  • Obstacles are most effectively employed in depth.
  • They should be employed to surprise the enemy.

Obstacle integration

An understanding of obstacle integration will assist the company team commander in implementing the teamís portion of the task force obstacle plan. This includes knowledge of obstacle purpose and integration procedures.

Obstacle intent

The task force commander decides how he will use obstacles to support his scheme of maneuver, defining the end result that the combination of fires and obstacles must achieve. His obstacle intent provides purpose and unity of effort for his subordinatesí obstacle emplacement. At task force level (as well as at brigade level), obstacle intent identifies the following emplacement factors:

  • Target. Obstacles are force-oriented combat multipliers. The company team commander and supporting engineers must understand the target of each obstacle so it can be properly designed and sited.
  • Obstacle effect. An understanding of the higher commanderís desired obstacle effect (disrupt, fix, turn, or block) is essential.
  • Relative location. This is a vital consideration; it ties the target and obstacle effect into the higher commanderís scheme of maneuver.

Obstacle zones,
belts, and groups

Commanders use obstacle zones (at division level and higher) and obstacle belts (at brigade level) to define the areas in which subordinates are authorized to employ tactical obstacles. Zones and belts give subordinate commanders flexibility in their use of obstacles. At the same time, however, they help to eliminate conflicts among subordinate elements over obstacle employment while ensuring that the effects of obstacles that are emplaced will support the higher commanderís overall plan and scheme of maneuver.

Within the brigade belt, individual task forces are responsible for developing and emplacing obstacle groups. These are collections of individual obstacles designed and arrayed to produce a singular, specific tactical effect on a battalion-size enemy element. At the task force level, obstacle effects are directly linked to the direct and indirect fire plans. Table 6-4 summarizes the echelons of obstacle control and effects.

Table 6-4. Echelons of obstacle control and effects.

Types of tactical

The task force employs tactical obstacles to directly attack the enemyís ability to maneuver, mass, and reinforce. These obstacles are used to produce four types of primary effects: to disrupt, to turn, to fix, or to block.

The three types of tactical obstacles (situational, reserve, and directed) are described in the following paragraphs. Refer to the discussion of planning considerations in Chapter 4 of this manual for additional information on the purpose of each type. (NOTE: In addition to the three types described here, the company team employs protective obstacles.) Figure 6-2 shows an example countermobility planning matrix that the commander might use to plan time requirements for obstacle construction.



Disrupting minefield (250 meters by 100 meters)

1.5 platoon hours

Fixing minefield (250 meters by 120 meters)

1.5 platoon hours

Turning minefield (500 meters by 100 meters)

3.5 platoon hours

Blocking minefield (500 meters by 320 meters)

5 platoon hours

Hasty road crater (6 to 10 meters wide)

1.5 squad hours

Abatis (75 meters deep)

4 squad hours

Triple standard concertina wire obstacle (300 meters)

1 engineer platoon hour OR
1.5 infantry platoon hours

11-coil concertina wire roadblock

1 squad hour

Figure 6-2. Example countermobility planning matrix.


These are obstacles that units plan (and, if possible, prepare) before an operation. Execution, however, is a be-prepared mission based on the actions of the enemy; the unit does not execute situational obstacles unless specific criteria are met. Although situational obstacles can be conventionally emplaced, employment is normally limited to scatterable mine systems, which include the following types:

  • ADAM and RAAM. These are, respectively, antipersonnel and antitank mines delivered by 155-mm artillery. Depending on the number of aim points and volume of rounds, they can be employed in low-, medium-, or high-density minefields ranging from 100 to 800 meters wide and from 400 to 1,000 meters deep. Both ADAM and RAAM have a safety zone of 860 meters, a short duration of four hours, and a long duration of 48 hours/15 days.
  • Gator. This mix of antipersonnel and antitank mines is delivered by fixed-wing aircraft. The Gator system has a safety zone of 275 meters, a short duration of four hours, and a long duration of
    48 hours/15 days.
  • Volcano. This modular mine delivery system was described earlier in this section. It can produce a field of antipersonnel and antitank mines measuring 120 meters deep and up to 1,100 meters wide. Volcano minefields can be emplaced by air or ground systems. They have a safety zone of 235 meters, a short duration of four hours, and a long duration of 48 hours/15 days. (NOTE: For detailed information on the design of Volcano minefields based on the desired effect, refer to FM 20-32.)
  • MOPMS. This system centers on a man-portable dispenser that can emplace 17 antitank mines and 4 antipersonnel mines in a 35-meter semicircle. Mines are dispensed on command using the M71 remote control unit (RCU) or an electronic initiating device, such as the M34 blasting machine. The company team can use MOPMS to create a protective minefield or to close lanes in task force tactical obstacles. The safety zone is 20 meters. MOPMS has a duration of four hours, which can be extended up to three times (a total of 16 hours); mines can be command-detonated using the M71 RCU.

NOTE: Scatterable mines begin self-destruction at 80 percent of their life cycle.

Reserve obstacles

These are on-order obstacles (such as road cratering and bridge demolition) for which the commander restricts execution authority. He usually specifies the unit responsible for emplacing, guarding, and executing the reserve obstacle. He must also clearly identify the conditions under which the obstacle is to be executed. For additional details on reserve obstacles, refer to FM 90-7.

Directed obstacles

Most directed obstacles are planned at task force level to achieve a specific obstacle intent. In support of this intent, they are assigned to a specific unit for siting and emplacement.

Obstacle siting

The company team commander and engineer platoon leader work together on obstacle siting during the development of the engagement area (NOTE: For a detailed discussion of obstacle siting procedures, refer to FM 90-7. Additional information is provided in the discussion of engagement area development in Chapter 4 of this manual.) The following specific steps apply in this procedure:

  • Combat elements should be used to provide security for the engineers as they emplace obstacles.
  • The company team marks fire control measures (such as TRPs and artillery targets) in the engagement area.
  • Elements from the engineer platoon enter the engagement area and move to the far side of the proposed trace of the obstacle group.
  • The engineer platoon leader and company team commander collocate in the defensive positions covering the obstacle.
  • Elements from the engineer platoon move along the proposed trace of the obstacle group.
  • From the defensive position, the commander, platoon leaders, and vehicle commanders follow the movement of the engineer platoon, ensuring that all points of the obstacle trace can be covered with fires. They maintain communications with the engineers via FM.
  • The commander and engineer platoon leader refine the obstacle trace, adjusting the position of individual obstacles as necessary.

The team commander and the emplacing engineer should use a common set of operational "tools" to ensure accurate, effective obstacle siting. These resources include the following:

  • The current SITEMP.
  • Commanderís intent.
  • The fire plan and applicable maneuver graphics.
  • Obstacle execution matrix.
  • Scheme of obstacles overlay.
  • Fire support plan.
  • CSS graphics.

Obstacle turnover
and transfer

Once an obstacle group is completed, the emplacing element conducts obstacle turnover, transferring control of the obstacles to the owning unit. Turnover procedures should cover the following:

  • Mutual identity check.
  • Briefing on current enemy and friendly situations.
  • Description of obstacle locations, types, marking, and composition. This information may cover the following considerations:
  • - Conventional minefields (types of mines, fuzing, and antihandling devices).

    - Scatterable minefields (types of mines, duration, self-destruct times, and safety zone).

    - Other obstacles (including booby traps and other hazards).

  • Information on obstacle lanes, including number, locations, marking, closure plans, and information on reserve obstacles (if applicable).
  • Coordination requirements, including whether coordination with the FIST is completed or is still required.
  • Transfer of graphics and documentation, including minefield records, demolition target folders, orders for the demolition guard, and/or other written records.


The commander must plan the priority of his survivability effort. His plan should specify a sequence in which vehicle and individual positions will receive dozer and/or ACE support; it should also designate the priority for SEE support (to construction of infantry fighting positions or to emplacement of Class V caches). Survivability specifications for vehicle and individual fighting positions are covered in FM 17-15, FM 7-7J, and FM 5-103. FM 7-7J and FM 5-103 also list the specifications for trench lines and bunkers associated with a strongpoint defense.

Table 6-5 summarizes the amount of time required to prepare various types of vehicle and individual positions using the assets available to the company team. The company team commander can use this information in developing his survivability plan, in establishing digging priorities, and in directing the handoff of digging assets among his platoons. Additional considerations for survivability planning include site security, CSS, and movement times between BPs.

Table 6-5. Survivability planning timetable (time, in hours, required to prepare
vehicle and individual positions).



(2 ACEs OR 2 dozers)



M1/BFV hull-defilade




M1/BFV turret-defilade




Modified hull-down position ("banana")




M113 position




Two-man fighting position


0.5 *

6 *

Machine gun position


1 *

7 *

Antitank position


1 *

6 *

* An additional five hours is required for these assets to prepare overhead cover for the position.



In most operational environments, enemy air forces will be operating over the battlefield, attacking friendly ground forces and attempting to destroy them or disrupt their operations. The air defense battalion will provide SHORAD coverage for divisional assets. For close-in protection, however, lower echelons, including the company team, must depend on their own air defense capabilities.

The company team commander must be able to employ all available active and passive air defense measures. The team can mass the fires of its individual and crew-served weapons against any enemy aircraft to provide a significant terminal defense. In addition, every member of the company team must be capable of firing at attacking air platforms.

ADA systems

The air defense commander employs several types of systems to provide low- to high-altitude air defense coverage. At corps level and higher, these systems are the Avenger, the Patriot, THAAD, and MANPADS. At the tactical level, low- to medium-altitude air defense is accomplished by the air defense battalion organic to the division.

Task force

A maneuver task force is normally task organized with an air defense platoon equipped with four BSFV or Bradley Linebacker fire units. The company team may have an air defense section moving with it; however, this section normally will remain part of the air defense platoon, responsible for providing DS, GS, or GS-R coverage to the task force.

Task force assets

Air defense systems employed by the task force are described in the following paragraphs.


This is the task forceís primary air defense weapon system, employing short-range, shoulder-fired, heat-seeking guided missiles. It is designed to counter the threat of advanced helicopters, UAVs and RPVs, high-speed maneuvering aircraft, and cruise missiles. The Stinger has a range in excess of 5 kilometers.

Man-portable system

The Stinger can be employed as a man-portable air defense system, known as MANPADS. The two-man Stinger team, consisting of a gunner and a crew chief, is transported in a HMMWV or BSFV (described in the following paragraph).

Bradley Stinger
fighting vehicle

The BSFV provides the air defender with armor protection. The vehicle also gives him the ability to maneuver with the supported force and position the Stinger system forward on the battlefield. The Stinger team must dismount to fire its missiles. The BSFV carries a basic load of six Stinger missiles as its primary air defense weapon; the Bradleyís 25-mm chain gun can be used to augment the Stinger and cover dead space to a range of 2,000 meters. The vehicle also carries five TOW missiles.

Bradley Linebacker

This recently developed vehicle replaces the BSFVís TOW system with four ready-to-fire Stinger missiles, housed in the standard vehicle mounted launcher (SVML). The Bradley Linebacker, with its ability to shoot on the move, is designed specifically to provide air defense on the battlefield.


In offensive situations, BSFV and Bradley Linebacker units will accompany the main attack. They may maneuver with the task forceís lead company teams, orienting on low-altitude air avenues of approach. When the unit is moving or in a situation that entails short halts, the Bradleyís primary weapon is the 25-mm chain gun, which has an effective range of 2,000 meters. Consequently, to assure mutual support, BSFVs or Linebackers will maneuver no farther than 1,000 meters away from other task force elements. The Stinger gunners on the BSFV can dismount to provide air defense when the unit reaches the objective or pauses during the attack.

In the defense, BSFV or Bradley Linebacker units establish BPs based on available IPB information and the task force commanderís scheme of maneuver. Squads are positioned approximately 2 kilometers apart to maximize the air defense vehiclesí defensive capabilities. BSFVs and Linebackers are often used to protect counterattacking maneuver units that are vulnerable to detection and attack by enemy air forces.


The weapons control status describes the relative degree of control in effect for air defense fires. It applies to all weapon systems. The weapons control status is dictated in the task force OPORD and may be updated based on the situation. The three levels of control are the following:

  • WEAPONS FREE. Crews can fire at any air target not positively identified as friendly. This is the least restrictive weapons control status level.
  • WEAPONS TIGHT. Crews can fire only at air targets positively identified as hostile according to the prevailing hostile criteria.
  • WEAPONS HOLD. Crews are prohibited from firing except in self-defense or in response to a formal order. This is the most restrictive control status level.


While air defense warnings cover the probability of hostile air action over the entire theater of war or operations, local air defense warnings describe with certainty the air threat for a specific part of the battlefield. ADA units use these local warnings to alert Army units to the state of the air threat in terms of "right here, right now." There are three local air defense warning levels:

  • DYNAMITE. Air platforms are inbound or are attacking locally now.
  • LOOKOUT. Air platforms are in the area of interest but are not threatening. They may be inbound, but there is time to react.
  • SNOWMAN. No air platforms pose a threat at this time.

NOTE: Air defense warnings are routinely issued by the area air defense commander for dissemination throughout the theater of war or operations. These warnings describe the general state of the probable air threat and apply to the entire area.


Passive air defense

Passive air defense consists of all measures taken to prevent the enemy from detecting and/or locating the unit, to minimize the target acquisition capability of enemy aircraft, and to limit damage to the unit if it comes under air attack. One advantage the company team can exploit is that target detection and acquisition are difficult for crews of high-performance aircraft. In most cases, enemy pilots must be able to see and identify a target before they can launch an attack.


The company team should follow these guidelines to avoid detection and/or to limit damage:

  • When stopped, occupy positions that offer cover and concealment; dig in and camouflage vehicles that are exposed. When moving, use covered and concealed routes.
  • Disperse vehicles as much as possible to make detection and attack more difficult.
  • Wipe out track marks leading to vehicle positions, and eliminate or cover the spoil from dug-in positions
  • If moving when an enemy aircraft attacks, disperse and seek covered and concealed positions.
  • Do not fire on a hostile fixed-wing aircraft unless it is clear that the aircraft has identified friendly elements. Premature engagement will compromise friendly positions.
  • Designate air guards for every vehicle and/or position, and establish and maintain 360-degree security.
  • Establish an air warning system in the unit SOP, including both visual and audible signals.
Passive air defense

When the company team observes fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, or UAVs that could influence its mission, it initially takes passive air defense measures unless the situation requires immediate active measures. This reaction normally will be in the form of each platoonís react to air attack battle drill; however, the commander can initiate specific passive measures if necessary. Refer to the passive air defense guidelines for the company team discussed earlier in this section. (NOTE: Passive air defense also includes the company teamís preparations for conducting active air defense measures.)

Passive air defense involves these three steps:

  • Step 1 - Alert the company team with a contact report.
  • Step 2 - Deploy or take the appropriate actions. If the company team is not in the direct path of an attacking aircraft, the commander or the platoon leaders order vehicles to seek cover and concealment and halt with at least a 100-meter interval between vehicles. The team also may be ordered to continue moving as part of the task force. Figure 6-3 illustrates procedures used to evade enemy aircraft.
  • Step 3 - Prepare to engage. Fighting vehicle crews prepare to engage the aircraft with machine gun or main gun fire on order of the commander or their platoon leaders.

Figure 6-3. Procedures for evading enemy aircraft.

Active air defense

If the commander determines that the company team is in the direct path of attacking aircraft, he initiates active air defense procedures, including react to air attack drills by the teamís platoons. Active air defense entails the following steps:

  • Step 1 - Initiate fires. The primary intent is to force aircraft to take self-defense measures that alter their attack profile and reduce their effectiveness. Leaders may use a tracer burst to designate an aim point for machine gun antiaircraft fires (see Figure 6-4). Volume is the key to effectiveness; tanks and BFVs throw up a "wall of steel" through which aircraft must fly. Effective in company team air defense employment are the tank main gun and TOW and Javelin missiles against hovering attack helicopters, the tank main gun and BFV 25-mm cannon against moving helicopters, and the tank main gun MPAT round against high-performance aircraft.
  • Step 2 - Create a nonlinear target. Vehicles move as fast as possible at a 45-degree angle away from the path of flight and toward attacking aircraft (as illustrated in Figure 6-3). Each platoon maintains an interval of at least 100 meters between vehicles, forcing aircraft to make several passes to engage the entire platoon.
  • Step 3 - Move quickly to covered and concealed positions and stop. Vehicles freeze their movement for at least 60 seconds after the last flight of aircraft has passed.
  • Step 4 - Send a SPOTREP. The commander or XO updates the task force commander on the situation as soon as possible.

Figure 6-4. Machine gun aim points against helicopters and high-performance aircraft.


The company team receives NBC support through the division chemical company. Within the chemical company, specialized platoons provide three basic categories of support: NBC reconnaissance, decontamination, and smoke operations. Elements of the reconnaissance or smoke platoon may be task organized down to brigade or task force level.


The division chemical company provides NBC reconnaissance throughout the division area. The NBC reconnaissance platoon, which is organized into four reconnaissance squads, has the capability of locating, identifying, marking, and reporting NBC-contaminated areas. The platoon can also report and mark bypass routes around contaminated areas.


The chemical companyís chemical decontamination platoon is organized into three squads, each equipped with an M12A1 decontamination apparatus. The squads usually work directly with elements of the division in setting up and operating sites for operational and thorough decontamination. The company team may be tasked to work with the decon platoon or one of its squads during the conduct of thorough decontamination operations. (NOTE: For a more detailed discussion of decontamination requirements, refer to Appendix G of this manual. Table G-4 provides a complete list of required resources.)


The chemical company provides the division with smoke support through its mechanized smoke platoon. The platoon has the capability of providing both hasty smoke generation and large-area smoke support for tactical operations in the MBA. The smoke platoon consists of seven M1059 mechanized vehicles, each equipped with a caliber .50 machine gun and two smoke generators.

NOTE: For additional information on NBC operations, refer to Appendix G of this manual.


The company team may conduct operations with any of several types of intelligence assets. In stability and support operations, for example, interrogation or counterintelligence teams may work in DS of the company team. While conducting security operations, the team may receive attached intelligence assets, such as GSR or IREMBASS teams.

In most situations, however, attachment of intelligence assets to the company team will be rare. More commonly, these assets will be operating in or near the teamís area of operations; they will be attached to or in DS or GS of the task force, brigade, or division. The company team should be prepared to take advantage of information from the intelligence assets. It may also be tasked to provide a degree of tactical and/or logistical support, especially area medical support coverage, for the intelligence elements.

In situations in which the company team works with or supports intelligence assets, leaders of each element share responsibility for conducting coordination early in the operation. Coordination commonly includes exchanging call signs and frequencies; conducting fratricide prevention activities; and sharing basic operational plans, fire support plans, and fire control measures.


Aviation support is an important, but sometimes overlooked, CS asset. Army aviation elements can provide support to the team in several critical areas, including those covered in the following discussion.


Aviation units can assist the company team in maintaining these critical functions. They can conduct liaison between separate units, transmit intelligence information, and verify unit situations and locations. They can enhance communications through airborne transmission capabilities and relay equipment. Additional aviation intelligence functions that may aid the company team include target acquisition, reconnaissance, and employment of intelligence-gathering systems.


Air movement operations are conducted to reposition units, personnel, supplies, equipment, and other critical combat elements in support of current and/or future operations. These operations include both airdrops and air landings.


Aviation units can employ the Volcano scatterable mine system in support of the company teamís operations. For a description of Volcano, refer to Section 2 of this chapter.