Tactical Planning Task: Problem #4: Squad Hasty Attack Part 2 – The Dilemma
August 25, 2016 at 8:58 am #109644
This new planning task follows directly from the previous planning task, Squad Hasty Attack. You will need to read through that task in order to get the scenario.
I have written this new task as a series of slides. The assumption is that you decided to go left flanking. In the first series of slides I have shown a sequence of maneuver, a way that you could have achieved that. It involves maneuvering to the flank by peeling your teams. Follow through the slides and they should be self-explanatory.
I then show you an ‘enemy view’ slide and a ‘dilemma slide.’ These show you a snapshot of what has happened, with a description. The idea is to decide what to do next. Remember that as the squad leader you are in Alpha 1. However, you can rely on the training and drills of your other teams/team leaders.
A point to take away from this is the reason why we use flank protection/reserve, and why it is a good idea, depending on your situation, to take an element with you as flank protection, insurance against enemy depth and mutually supporting positions. You can put everyone in the support by fire and assault elements, but then you are swinging in the breeze as you penetrate deeper into that enemy position.
The enemy situation as your assault goes in:
The dilemma: Assault Stalled:
In comments to the original Hasty Attack example solutions post, I found and posted a video at the request of a reader who wanted more of a feel of how this sort of squad maneuver may look. I will post it again here, it is of a well trained infantry squad executing maneuver under enemy fire:
<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FFo6z3yAp5I" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>
August 25, 2016 at 12:41 pm #109645hellokittyParticipant
Quick decision- A3 continues to suppress original enemy position. A1 goes firm and provides fire support on new enemy position with both pairs if possible. A2 will assault new enemy position.
Why? A1 is pinned down and no longer is a maneuver element. That leaves either A3 or A2 to assault and relieve pressure on A1. My first thought is to continue the assault cycle and A3 is next. However, A2 has a ravine in front which will give some cover in the assault. A3 will be exposed longer. Therefore A2 goes into assault.
HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
HEAT 2 (CP) X1
August 28, 2016 at 8:41 pm #109646
HK: in response to your question, your answer to task #1, the original attack is good. Sending only one team forward to the assault and leaving two in SBF has the following advantages and disadvantages:
1) Advantage: it allows for more support by fire to suppress the enemy.
2) Disadvantage: it loses the ability to flank protect the attack with the third team.
Neither answer is right or wrong. You can see by this follow up scenario that it would have proven wise to take the flank protection with you.
As to you answer to this scenario the dilemma, there is no problem with that. It is a good answer. You made a technically incorrect statement by saying that A3 is next in the assault cycle,. In fact they are not; A3 is SBF, A1 is assault (now pinned down), and A2 is in reserve/flank protection. So in fact this strengthens your answer and A2 is the natural team to send into the assault.
August 28, 2016 at 9:56 pm #109647AndrewParticipant
Does A2 go straight up the hill or do they move further up the draw, using it for cover, as much as possible, before they assault?
Or should they go down the draw and come up through what appears to be better cover and support A1 from there and then do the assault?
August 28, 2016 at 10:37 pm #109648hellokittyParticipant
I’m tracking. Thanks Max
HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
HEAT 2 (CP) X1
September 6, 2016 at 6:46 pm #109649Average JoeParticipant
A3 continues to suppress OEP (original enemy position)
A1 pops smoke while A2 suppresses NEP (new enemy position)
A1 then peels left over what appears to be a ridge moving as far as needed to avoid fire from OEP and goes firm then suppressing NEP
A2 peels up the hill to achieve 90 degree angle then gets online
Once online A1 uses rapid fire while A2 assaults NEP taking trucks and cutting off retreat of OEP
At this point A1 moves back up the hill to engage OEP while A2 protects flank and A1 then resumes assault
I just hope I didn’t embarrass myself too much.
September 6, 2016 at 7:06 pm #109650
Average Joe: Ok, first you need to realize that nothing you say is wrong.
Let’s look at what you came up with, pros and cons:
1) In the slides, it says that A1 are pinned down, taking cover in th rocks and firing in two directions. It also says that the OEP is pretty much suppressed by A3.
2) Don;t forget that chaos of this situation. No one has perfect knowledge and communication may be poor. Only with personal radios is communication going to be any way decent, and the quality of that communication depends on the presence of mind of leaders on the ground, and what they are able to assess of the situation.
3) Once A2 opens fire at the NEP, it all depends to what extent they can suppress it, or not. Squad leader in A1 is pinned down until that happens, not really that situationally aware. We may have casualties at any moment.
4) Once we get a result from A2 opening fore on the NEP, we will see what the squad leader is able to do with A1. He may choose to simply take the opportunity to break contact – remember the situation has changed since he did his quick combat estimate and decided on the original assault.
5) Instinctively, I think that A1 is an a bad place to now assault any of the enemy positions, because either way they go, they have enemy,a although suppressed, on their flank. The simplest plan in the confusion is for A1 to remain in place, and A2 to assault, assuming they can win the firefight on the NEP to allow them to do that.
6) Anything more than that requires a lot of coordination of movement in chaos.
7) It is possible that an initial break contact by A1, like you state, can turn into a repositioning of A1 and then an assault. That may likely require a face to face between the two team leaders in the gully to coordinate.
September 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm #109651Average JoeParticipant
Understood and thanks….
Understanding that it is impossible to have perfect knowledge, would something like this be better?
SOP would include the use of different colored smoke as a signal with white or green used as part of a standard type of movement but then use red smoke as a signal of a unit in trouble.
With that SOP in place once A1 finds itself in trouble and pinned down they could pop red smoke to signal A2 and A3 of their situation. Once the red smoke is seen, A3 and A2 could increase their rate of fire to supress both enemy postions. Once A1 hears the increase in the rate of fire it can do a break contact drill and extracte themselves off the ‘X’ into a more favorable postion for a reevaluation of the situation.
September 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm #109652
No reason not to have signal SOP, including smoke / whistle / flares etc. Back up to any radio comms you may have. Don’t forget night – pen flares? Make sure everyone has the equipment and everyone knows what the meanings are and actions on.
September 7, 2016 at 10:07 pm #109653hellasParticipant
This SIT directs for Immediate Break Contact for A1, very likely with casualties on the process.
1. A1 pops smoke in the direction of Original Enemy Position.
2. Requests Friendly SBF (A3) to increase volume of Fire on OEP.
3. Breaks contact from OEP in a Southern direction through the (dry)
creek and returns to the Right Side of A2.
4. TLs of A1 & A2 access the SIT and proceed accordingly.
This is the initial reaction, next move according to Enemy reaction
September 8, 2016 at 9:19 am #109654RRSParticipant
Since I’m cautious tactically I’ll go with hellas option.
Off in the weeds time I’ll use the Custer example of a man dividing his force.
September 8, 2016 at 9:32 am #109655
RRS: i think there is an misunderstanding here over dividing your force. Attacking from a flank, or worded differently at right angles to your support by fire, is an extremely important tactical principle.
If you split elements in order to flank, and to provide flank protection, you are enhancing your chances of success and also your flank protection. Versus attacking with all your forces ‘hey diddle diddle straight up the middle.’
In a flank attack, you are concentrating your force on the objective, and all your elements remain mutually supporting. This is not the same as having elements totally separated and unsupported.
You could relate this to what Tango is saying about multiple firing points, or to satellite patrolling, or to separate stop and kill groups in an ambush. All mustually supporting within the range envelopes of organic firepower.
If you are going to the flank and run into unknown/new/more enemy, then this is situation changed and you will need to reassess, including potentially moving from an assault to a break contact plan.
September 8, 2016 at 5:17 pm #109656RRSParticipant
Last screen shot if they are mutually supporting then they are not divided, my oversight. I am just overly cautious and would want the shortest most secure line of comms between units. I think I would drill that in a situation like this the groups in maneuver coalesce.
September 9, 2016 at 2:19 pm #109657hellasParticipant
My thinking is that the assaulting team found its self in an ambush like sit. Thats why my decision is to break contact, as this decision lesens the risk of friendly casulties and keeps the C2 at an acceptable level.
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