Mission Planning: Combat Estimate Guide: Part 1

The intent of this post is to give guidance on the Combat Estimate. The Combat Estimate is included in ‘Contact!’ and is a version of the MDMP (Military Decision Making Process). However, unlike the clunky MDMP, which is very much a process aimed at military staff members,  the Combat Estimate (CE) is designed t be completed by an individual commander. It will also be included, along with tactical check notes, in the MVT Tactical handbook, which is currently under construction.

The CE is used during the training of infantry leaders. It is designed a s a tool that can either be sat down and completed formally, but also as tool that will train your thinking, or the logical planning and decision making process. So for example, as a young cadet at Sandhurst, you will find yourself initially conducting various ‘TEWT” exercises (Tactical Exercise Without Troops) where you will be taken out to a training area, given a  scenario on real ground, and asked to conduct a CE. This could be defensive or offensive in nature. You will be expected to explain your working in your CE and give your preferred ‘COA’ (Course of Action). This will then lead to the writing of sets of operational orders for the operation, which are also laid out in ‘Contact!’

Later, you will conduct field training exercise with blank fire, where as the nominated platoon leader, you will be expected to conduct a ‘Quick Estimate’ under a simulated combat situation, and then write a set of ‘QBOs’ (Quick Battle Orders). You will then lead your simulated attack.

So the CE is a tool that helps to develop your critical thinking as an infantry commander. It can be done in slow time, or formally if you are explaining an operation for a  secured area. It can be done fast, the result of a trained and logical mind. It can form a  ‘running estimate’ where factors are changing. I have written before about decision making and the fact that you will never have perfect knowledge……..

Read the rest, and Part 2, on the MVT FORUM.

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