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Posted on Oct 4, 2007 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 020 – Urban Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland


• Centralized planning and decentralized control are the norm for urban operations.

• Communications are tough in the urban fight.  Radio communications are hindered, pyrotechnics difficult to see, and voice coms are hard to hear because of noise levels.  The answer?  Good detailed graphics, units who know their battle drills, rehearsals, and initiative encouraged by leadership.

• Graphics should be dominated by phase lines and boundaries (normally streets) and limits of advance.

• Just like the World War I and II days, messengers may be your most effective means of communication.

• The time required to establish communications systems in the urban fight is far greater than other environments.


• Just as in any other operation, the key to a commander’s ability to make decisions is formulating his own Commander’s Critical Information Requirements (CCIR) (See previous article on the subject).

• You must be media sensitive at all times.

• Commanders and units at all levels must execute a mindset shift when planning and executing urban operations.



We have covered quite a bit of stuff this month.  We believe this primer will set the conditions for us in getting more detail to you in the future months.  As you already knew, the urban fight is a huge challenge.  It is intense and probably captures the human dimension of war better than any other environment.  A commander must determine what is decisive to achieving victory and focus his assets in obtaining that decisive point.


In our next article, we will focus on IPB of the urban area.  As we discussed, intelligence is paramount in the urban fight and extremely challenging to collect in a timely manner.  We will discuss some techniques on how to meet this challenge.

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