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Posted on Jul 8, 2007 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 017 – Breaching Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

Step 6 – Task Organize your Assets to Execute the Breach.

With the knowledge obtained from the above steps, you can now organize your breaching assets and determine your composition of your support, breach and assault forces. A good thought process to use is:

1. Review friendly actions on your ultimate objective and how you should look at endstate.

2. Based on this, determine the size and composition of your assault force. They could be your main effort in seizing this objective.

3. Knowing the composition of the assault force, you can now be specific in the number and location of lanes you need through the obstacle. The assault force will drive this. Assign assault force objectives.


4. Knowing the number and location of lanes, determine the size and composition of the breach force. Assign breach force objectives.

5. Review the enemy’s ability to interfere with the breach. Based on this, determine the size and composition of the support force. Assign locations for the support force.




• A Brigade Task Force requires at least two lanes to pass through.

• An engineer platoon with appropriate assets can create the initial lane through an obstacle.

• The Assault Force should have a 3 to 1 weapon system ratio over the enemy on the far side of the obstacle.

• Use 50% redundancy on breaching assets requirements. This allows for assets lost to enemy fire and the inevitable maintenance problems.



In regards to breaching, we have thrown many acronyms out there to describe the fundamentals of breaching. For the purposes of this article, let’s use SOSRA.

S (Suppress) – Utilize direct and indirect weapon systems to prevent the enemy from placing effective fires at the breach area. Will you be 100% successful – No! However, the better you do, the easier life becomes.

O (Obscure) – The use of smoke is critical during breaching operations. It conceals movement, protects your breaching elements, and hinders the enemy’s ability to use fires on you. Smoke can be of the artillery, generator, smoke pot, or vehicle variety. As discussed earlier, it is a difficult task to manage. Units must ensure the use of smoke is a multiplier and not something that adds to your confusion.

S (Secure) – It is essential a unit secure the areas in and around the breach area as soon as possible. It is difficult enough to simply breach an obstacle. Allowing an enemy to place indirect and direct fires at his discretion truly makes it a difficult challenge. A unit must ensure they set the conditions by first securing the area to enable the breach force to do its work. Then it must secure the far side of the obstacle to enable follow-on forces to continue the attack to the unit’s ultimate objective.

R (Reduce) – This is the act of creating the maneuver space through the obstacle to enable forces to continue maneuver. Critical in this reduction process is determining the number of lanes needed and the width of lanes you create. This determination drives assets required at the breach and will directly influence the time used at the breach site. You can do everything else right, but if you can not effectively reduce the obstacle in a timely manner; everything else does not matter.

A (Assault) – The objective of any breach is to set the conditions for the assault force and follow-on forces to move rapidly through the obstacle and maneuver to the objective. The assault must be conducted swiftly, but under control. If you do not come out of obstacle under control, you never regain the momentum of the attack. The assault must be conducted so you can form your maneuver formations quickly and continue to the objective. Unfortunately, many times this takes too long and unit’s become artillery magnets on the far side of the objective.


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1 Comment

  1. Hello!!!! I am First Lieutenant Christian Mondine of Argentine Marines. I am in a military school and I need your help. you know same historical example of breaching operations in recent conflict or from the past because i am making a work Classroom. Thank you very much.