Glossary of OPFOR
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- OPFOR Principles of War are:
- - Selection and Maintenance of the Aim
- Activeness and Speed
- Action Throughout an Enemys Depth
- Offensive Action
- Protective Measures
- Selection and Maintenance of the Aim
In selecting the aim of any combat action, OPFOR commanders are taught to
- emphasize the destruction of the enemy. Tactical commanders will have their aim closely defined by senior commanders, and they will have little latitude to vary it. The OPFOR commanders at brigade and battalion level will be expected to demonstrate much greater initiative as to how to achieve their aim; this could be considered a style of mission command.
Surprise is considered an increasingly important component of victory.
- OPFOR regulations lay down a mandatory requirement for commanders at all levels to complement all operational and some tactical plans with a deception plan.
- Activeness and Speed
This principle is comprised of four parts:
- Significance of the Initiative.
- Significance of the Initiative. The OPFOR considers that all the strengths of a good defensive position are
- outweighed by the advantages of possession of the initiative that an attacker will have. An attacker dictates the course of events and usually has better morale. The OPFOR endeavours to maintain an offensive state of mind in its commanders.
- Constant Pressure. Offensive action must be pursued around the clock, regardless of weather.
- Where necessary, momentum is maintained through the acceptance of casualties, as physical losses are more acceptable than the loss of time, which is seen to be the most precious commodity in modern war.
- Speed. In the offense, the conduct of high-tempo operations will unbalance the enemy and disrupt C2 arrangements, paralyzing the subordinate commanders and isolating forces for their subsequent destruction.
- Bypassing is preferred to assaulting, with the transition to the pursuit being sought as early as possible. In the defence, emphasis is placed upon rapid regrouping and reaction by reserves. In both phases of war, great stress is placed upon the speedy reactions of air, missile, and artillery strike systems as well as the use of air mobility to carry the battle to the enemy's depth.
- Commander's Initiative. Commanders are made aware of their superior's concept of operations and are expected to seize any opportunity to further his aims.
- Nonetheless, while the "how" will often be left to subordinates, the "when" and "where" will still tend to be closely controlled.
- MAIN ATTACK force ratios desired by OPFOR are:
- 5-6:1 superiority in tanks and IFVs;
- OPFOR Secondary Attack:
- 3:1 superiority in tanks and IFVs;
- OPFOR Pinning or Deception Attack:
- a ratio of 1:1 is adequate to give the impression of a serious attack; an
- Passive Sectors: OPFOR
- will accept risk in these sectors to a 1:2 ratio in order to create sufficiently favourable ratios in principal attack sectors. Achieving Correlation of Forces.
- OPFOR Offense Manouvre
- Manoeuvre. Using manoeuvre to concentrate forces in the offense, and given operational surprise, will destroy an incompletely prepared and unbalanced enemy in a series of meeting engagements.
- OPFOR DEFENCE MANOUVRE
- In defence, manoeuvre is even more important, as a superior enemy cannot be defeated in an attritional struggle. Only using manoeuvre to create counter-concentrations, surprise, and aggressive countermoves will bring success.
- OPFOR Deception.
- An enemy must be persuaded, through deception and feints, to concentrate his forces on false axes, thus reducing his combat density on the chosen axes.
- OPFOR Concentration of Fire.
- The use of preparatory fire and electronic attack, coupled with precision weapons, will reduce a defender's strength. It will also disrupt an attacker, making him vulnerable to countermoves. At all levels, a commander must be allocated sufficient resources necessary for success.
- OPFOR March Separately, Fight Together.
- Manoeuvre units will advance rapidly from dispersed locations and converge at the last minute in the chosen sector, choosing to attack from the Line of March. The aim is to achieve surprise, focusing on time and not space. The most dramatic method is the use of air mobility.
- OPFOR Dispersal.
- Concentration areas are large to minimize the effect of enemy strikes.
- OPFOR Action Throughout an Enemys Depth
- The need to attack the enemy simultaneously throughout the entire depth of his deployment is an established principle. Key to destabilizing the defence are the disruption of enemy C3 and logistic support, the fixing of operational reserves, and the early seizure of vital ground in depth.
- OPFOR Offensive Action
- A surprise, in-depth offensive pursued at a high tempo will prevent the enemy from organizing his defence and effectively utilizing long-range weapons. Even in defence, offensive action against enemy C3 and deep strike systems will be critical to reduce losses and maintain an effective, balanced posture.
- OPFOR Protective Measures
- Passive protection measures such as camouflage, concealment, the use of deceptive groupings, dispersion, the use of night and bad weather to cover movement, and security (especially electronic) are considered crucial to survival at all levels of war. The enemy's attention must be diverted away from what should be his primary areas of concern, and stereotyping in the planning and execution of missions should be avoided at all costs.
- OPFOR COMMAND AND CONTROL
- sr comd will closely coord the actions of subordinates to exploit conc use of force - reqr initiative - tac gps are to exploit without waiting
- OPFOR MAIN EFFORT
- Coms will have to clearly indicate the main effort
- OPFOR FOCUS ON ENEMY
- FOCUS ON EN NOT TERRAIN
- OPFOR - BOLD DECISEIVE EFFORT
- Take battle to en in rear areas
- OPFOR - AVOID STR ATTACK WAEAKNESS
- seek out and penetrate through his weak spots
- OPFOR FIRE AND MANUVRE
- conc firepower to get maneuvre
manuvre to get fire on critical points
- OPFOR Reserves
- use reserves to break an en on the brink
- OPFOR COmmand from front
- Self evident
- OPFOR AVOID STEREOTYPE
- Do not be the same way all the time - innovate!
- The Administrative March
- is used when enemy contact is considered unlikely. Vehicles will be grouped together in packets determined by speed and movement capability, rather than true combat groupings. When a commander considers enemy contact likely, he will order the march to adopt a tactical posture. This march formation is called the Tactical March.
- The Tactical March allows a commander to deploy rapidly
- from column, in pre-formed groupings tailored for combat, directly into battle. The Tactical March formation normally begins in an assembly area, where formations and sub-units 'shake out' from their Administrative March and carry out any last minute maintenance, logistic and administrative tasks
- The roles of the Advance Guard are:
- - to prevent an attack from striking the main body before it can deploy.
- to drive back enemy recce.
- to clear minor opposition from its axis.
- if strong opposition is met, to seize a favourable line to support the deployment of the Main Body into battle.
- The Advance Guard consists of three main components:
- - a Combat Recce Patrol (CRP). A platoon-sized element, usually reinforced with either NBC, engineer recce, artillery C2, or even EW assets.
- a Vanguard. A company-sized element, usually reinforced with an artillery or mortar battery, AT elements and engineers.
- Main Guard. This is a tank or infantry battalion / Battle Group minus; it is minus because it has given up the assets that form the CRP and Vanguard.
- March Security
- If the Advance Guard makes contact with an enemy element, it will try to brush it aside. If the CRP and/or Vanguard cannot move the enemy, it will fix the enemy in place to allow the main guard to pivot to an enemy flank or rear and destroy it. This is known as: FIX - PIVOT - DESTROY. The same routine is used between the Advance Guard and the Main Body.
- The majority of FPs are normally platoon-sized and may have either NBC
- or engineer recce assets included within the grouping. However, the FP can be as small as a scout section, or indeed a single scout vehicle.
- Forward Patrol. Forward Patrols (FPs) are the most common form of March Security and can be found
- throughout the Tactical March formation. Thus, the Vanguard of first echelon battalion Advance Guards, Main Guards, Forward Detachments, etc., will all probably be led by FPs
- Flank Security Patrol. Flank Security Patrols (FSPs) can be deployed in appropriate tactical security situations.
- Normally, they will comprise of a MR/tank platoon, which may be reinforced with Engineer and/or NBC recce assets.
- Rear Security Patrol. Rear Security Patrols (RSPs) can be deployed in the appropriate tactical security situation. Normally, they will comprise of a
- MR/tank platoon, which may be reinforced with Engineer and/or NBC recce assets.
- Scout Section/Scout Vehicle.
- This is the minimal March Security element. A scout section or vehicle may be sent ahead of the CRP/FP to act independently. Scout Sections are also frequently deployed on the open flanks of sub-units.
- Rear Guard. Rear Guards have a similar role and are similar in size to that of the Advance Guard formations.
- However, full Rear Guards are only deployed when there is a serious threat from the rear or where elements are conducting a withdrawal.
- Rear Security Group.
- If the threat to the rear is weak, then a Rear Security Group (RSG) may deploy instead of a full Rear Guard.
- Flank Detachments. A Flank Detachment is normally a company grouping found on the flank nearest the enemy.
- It is usually augmented with AT, engineer (MOD) and AD assets. If the threat is especially great, an AT Battalion may be deployed. Flank Detachments can either move in bounds from one blocking position to another, or March in parallel (5-10 kilometres laterally) with the head of the Main Body of the formation.
- Movement Support Detachment. Engineer assets will provide a Movement Support Detachment (MSD) for each axis that is being exploited.
- The composition of each MSD will vary according to the importance of the axis and the problems that it expects to encounter. Its primary mission is to enhance freedom of movement.
- Mobile Obstacle Detachment. A Mobile Obstacle Detachment (MOD) will normally come under the control of the AT unit; consequently, the MOD will often be found in a Flank Detachment or with the ATR. Its primary mission is
- the laying of man-made obstacles and the enhancement of natural obstacles to restrict the freedom of movement of the opposing forces.
- Flank Security Group.
- Flank Security Groups (FSGs) are deployed on a potentially threatened flank but where the threat does not warrant a Flank Detachment. An FSG may be reinforced with AT/engineer (MOD) assets.
- There are four principal types of attack used by the OPFOR:
- Attack from the Line of March.
Attack from a Position of Close Contact.
- Attack from the Line of March.
- Such an attack is executed by a force which has not been in direct fire contact with the enemy beforehand. It is mounted against a defending enemy, usually from an assembly area in the depth, but it is increasingly likely to happen unexpectedly in the fluid conditions of future war. In either case, there is no pause in an attack position; the troops flow directly from march formation into pre-battle and battle formations.
- Attack from a Position of Close Contact.
- This attack is conducted by a force already in close contact with the enemy. The OPFOR believes it will be less frequent than attacks from the march in future war, when manoeuvre will predominate.
- Meeting Battle/Engagement.
- A meeting battle or engagement is an attack on an enemy who is also on the offensive. The OPFOR believes that this will be the most common form of combat on the manoeuvre-dominated, ever-changing battlefield of the next war.
- The Pursuit.
- This is an attack on an enemy attempting to withdraw, in order to disrupt and destroy him before he can break contact.
OPFOR can attack in two echelons when the enemy is defending in depth and while attacking on OPFORs main axis
- The first echelon unit(s) mission is to achieve the immediate objective. When this is achieved, the commander may commit the second echelon unit to attack towards the subsequent objective. OPFOR is not tied to using two echelons
- Tactical Exploitation Echelons. At the tactical level, exploitation echelons are used to unhinge the defence, attack key targets and destroy the cohesion of the defence.
- Thus, tactical exploitation echelons pave the way for the subsequent committal of operational level exploitation groupings, which will convert tactical success into operational success.
- Four principal types of tactical exploitation echelons are:
- Raiding Detachment.
Forward Detachment (FD).
- Raiding Detachment . A Raiding Detachment is
- a BG, inserted into the depth of the enemy, to destroy and disrupt enemy C2, Reserves, Artillery, AD and other targets.
- Forward Detachment (FD). FDs are organized at division/brigade level and usually comprise of a BG, with the mission to
- penetrate deep into the enemys rear and seize key terrain or targets (e.g., river crossing points, nuclear delivery means, fuel dumps, or link-up with air assault detachments).
- Outflanking Detachment. Outflanking Detachments are formed at division/brigade level. These are
- companies or BGs, formed to carry out a shallow attack on the enemys flank or rear.
- Air Echelon. Air Assault Troops have missions similar to the other echelons above and are used
- when penetration of the enemys depth on the ground is not possible.
The difference between an echelon and a reserve as far as OPFOR is concerned is that
- reserves do not receive specific missions when a battle is planned. They are created with an eye to increasing the offensive effort, reinforcing or even replacing elements of the first echelon, undertaking missions unforeseen that always arise, often suddenly, during the course of an operation. OPFOR forms six different types of reserve, though not all may be created for every battle.
- Tactical Reserve. At division/brigade level, and even at battalion level where there are four manoeuvre units, the commander will always form a tactical reserve.
- It will differ from the echeloning units in not being pre-tasked, as its mission is essentially unforeseeable. In an infantry company, the support weapons platoon can provide fire support, two platoons can attack in two echelons (one up) or in one echelon (two up), leaving the third platoon in reserve.
- Airmobile Reserve. Even at the tactical level, it is usual to form an airmobile reserve. This will almost always be
- the divisional or brigade light infantry battalion or elements thereof (not found in MRDs). This may be used to seize vital ground in the enemys depth, execute raids, conduct vertical envelopment, help to counter enemy air landings, and form or reinforce a flank detachment or group.
- Anti-tank Reserve (ATR). OPFOR brigades have an AT company and battalions have AT platoons. These are used at formation unit level to
- repel counter-attacks and/or provide flank security. They also have some capability for dealing with enemy air landings. ATR units provide an economy of force grouping that can deal with developing armoured threats, without having to weaken an attack echelon or CA reserve and thereby compromise its viability.
- Mobile Obstacle Detachments (MOD). These are engineer groupings with
- rapid mine-laying, ditching and other obstacle-creating means. ATR are normally supported by a MOD
- Anti-landing Reserve (ALR). The enemy will, like OPFOR, mount airmobile and air assault raids on deep fire resources, headquarters, etc., and may attempt to
- disrupt the actions of second echelons/reserves, with air-delivered forces. To cope with such threats, all formations create an ALR to deal with those elements that succeed in penetrating ADs. This is usually based on the light infantry battalion.
- Special Reserves. OPFOR formations usually create recce, AD and engineer, chemical defence and medical reserves. These are usually employed to
- reinforce efforts on the main axis and/or to cope with unforeseen problems.
- OPFORs doctrine promotes the belief that offensive action is the decisive form of combat in achieving victory on the battlefield.
- Consequently, units only go on the defensive in order to create conditions favourable to resume the attack; the defence is a temporary phase.
- OPFOR forces will adopt a defence for the following reasons:
- Economy of Force
When the Enemy is Considerably Superior.
- DEFENCE Economy of Force.
- To permit the concentration of the requisite superiority for an attack in one sector, some formations will often be responsible for long passive sectors.
- DEFENCE Counter-attacks.
- During offensive operations, counter-attacks will usually be repulsed by defensive action.
- DEFENCE Attrition.
- When a unit or formation outruns its logistic support and/or suffers such serious losses that it can no longer sustain offensive action, it may have to transition to defence.
- DEFENCE WHEN EN STRONG
- When the Enemy is Considerably Superior. Even during the course of an offensive, the enemy may concentrate a stronger force on a given sector, or inflict such attrition on an attacking grouping through long- range fire, that it is forced onto the defensive. Defeat in a Meeting Battle will force a grouping onto the defensive (and often adjacent units as well).
- DEFENCE CONSOLIDATION
- Consolidation of Captured Areas. Forward and airmobile detachments will generally be required to seize and hold ground in the interests of the main forces advance. Captured enemy large towns and cities may also be held in order to retain strategic goals.
- The Positional Defence
A positional defence is the norm when adequate forces are available to achieve an efficient density of weapons (especially AT), key areas must be held, and the terrain lends itself to this form of defence. A positional d
- that every metre of the forward edge is to be defended to the death and, if necessary, retaken by automatic counter-attack.
- OPFOR accepts that penetration is inevitable. It designs its defence to ensure that a break-in cannot be converted into
- a penetration which will enable the enemy to generate tactical, let alone operational manoeuvre, to ensure that a breakthrough is achieved. The aim is to ensure that penetrations are only achieved on axes acceptable to OPFOR and at a cost in time, casualties, disruption, and loss of momentum unacceptable to the enemy.
- The aims of a defensive battle will include some or all of the following:
- repel an attack or counter-attack by superior forces;
inflict maximum losses on the enemy;
support the development of an attack in an important direction;
hold vital tactical or operational lines or areas;
cover the flank of a higher formations main grouping;
restore the combat capabilities of the formation or unit when it has taken such heavy
casualties that it cannot continue to attack; and
create favourable conditions for the initiation of an attack, either by the defending
grouping or by other formations.
- The manoeuvre defence is now a co-equal form, intended to economize forces on less important axes and/or to buy time for the deployment of forces from the depth and/or passive sectors, in order to create
- a positional defence in depth, or mount a decisive countermove. In manoeuvre defence, the aim is to wear down the enemys strength and deny him operational momentum by defending on successive, deeply echeloned lines, but refusing to become decisively engaged on any of them.
- The manoeuvre defence will often aim to delay on successive lines. Each defended position should be strong enough to repulse an attack from the line of march, with AT Reserves and MODs plugging any penetrations into or between positions. The enemy will t
- with detailed preparation.
- The purpose of the security zone
- is to provide security and early warning to forces developing the MDA, to delay the enemy in order to provide additional time for defensive preparations, and to engage in counter-reconnaissance operations to limit an enemys ability to identify and define the MDA.
- Whenever OPFOR establishes a Main Defence Area (MDA),
- a security zone between two and 20 km deep will be established in front of the forward positions.
- Within the security zone, OPFOR will employ covering forces with the following missions:
- - determine the enemys strength, composition and axes
- force the enemy to deploy prematurely
- canalize the enemy into the strongest part of the defence
- force the enemy to concentrate and offer a massed target
- deceive the enemy as to the true location of the main defensive area
- wear down the enemy.
- There are three principal types of covering forces at the tactical level that will operate within the security zone.
- Combat Security Outpost (CSO)
Forward Positions (FPs).
OPFOR Defensive Operations
Forward Detachments (FDs).
- Combat Security Outpost (CSO). A battalion/BG commander may well order that a second echelon company temporarily detach a platoon to form a CSO on an approach not covered by a forward position (FP).
- Sited up to two kilometers in front of the forward edge, the CSO will defeat enemy recce and prevent an attack taking the first echelon by surprise.
- Forward Positions (FPs). FPs are ordered by division or brigade, but planned in detail and provided by first echelon battalions/BGs. They are a
- reinforced company in strength, deployed 3-6 kilometers beyond the forward edge on the most threatened axis for their parent unit. The troops in the FP are tasked with the defeat of enemy recce, the repulsing of probing attacks, and thus with misleading the enemy as to the true location of the forward edge.
- Forward Detachments (FDs). A FD is organized at division/brigade level, and only when there is no covering force out in front. It is formed from the
- first echelon lower formation, in whose zone it is operating, and its battle is controlled by that headquarters. It will normally consist of a battalion/BG, reinforced with artillery, engineer, AD and AT assets.
- The tasks of the first echelon are to:
- (1) repel enemy attacks with maximum losses;
(2) prevent penetration or channel it into a pocket for destruction;
(3) hold vital ground if penetration cannot be avoided; and
(4) support the second echelon or reserve in carrying out countermoves.
- The tasks of the second echelon are to:
- (1) reinforce the efforts of the first echelon;
(2) conduct counter-penetration; and
(3) launch counter-attacks.
- DEFENCE Tactical Reserves. The tactical reserve is fundamental to the maintenance of
- stability in defence. It may replace combat ineffective elements of the first echelon, conduct counter-penetration, destroy raiding detachments, mount its own counter-attacks or join in those mounted by the second echelon, or, using elements of its composition, carry out deceptive moves or impart animation and realism to dummy groupings.
- DEFENSE Anti-tank Reserves (ATR) and MOD.
- These provide the first line, counter-penetration forces: it is hoped that their timely committal on threatened axes will be enough to stabilize the situation and thus preserve the reserve or second echelon. They are also important in covering the deployment and supporting the committal of countermove forces and in providing flank protection.
- DEFENCE Anti-landing Reserves (ALR).
- The enemy will undoubtedly try to destabilize the defence through vertical envelopment and air-mobile raids. Each division or brigade, and where possible each
unit, will form an ALR.
- DEFENSE Airmobile Reserve.
- Where a formation has guaranteed lift for its separate light infantry battalion, an airmobile reserve is formed. This can be used not merely for counter-penetration but also for raiding actions in the enemys depth. If, being on a minor axis, a formation is unlikely to have lift made available, the light infantry battalion may form part of the second echelon or ALRs.
- DEFENCE Special Reserves.
- Recce, AD, engineer and chemical defence reserves will usually be held to plug gaps, replace losses and support countermoves.
- A counter-attack is an offensive turn in a defensive operation or battle: i.e., it is mounted against an enemy who still possesses the initiative. It is used to wrest the initiative from the enemy and achieve a turning point in the battle. It will only be made if its outcome will substantially influence the future course of the battle and if it is all but assured of eliminating the enemy penetration.
- Counter-attacks may take three forms:
- With a Decisive Aim.
With a Limited Aim.
The Destruction of Air Landings.
- C ATK With a Decisive Aim.
- This counter-attack has a decisive aim of destroying an enemy grouping wedged into the defence, thus restoring the stability of the defence.
- COUNTER ATTACK With a Decisive Aim.
- This counter-attack has a decisive aim of destroying an enemy grouping wedged into the defence, thus restoring the stability of the defence.
- COUNTERATTACK The Destruction of Air Landings.
- OPFOR stresses the early destruction of air-landings. If this is not achieved, the defence will be disrupted or even unhinged and troops will be tied down in containing the landing force.
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