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Posted on Jan 9, 2008 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 023 – Defense of a Built Up Area

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

MOUT Defense.Any discussion of defense starts with a brief review of the fundamentals relevant to any and all defenses. The first question is, why defend?

Purpose of the Defense.

Cause the enemy attack to FAIL.
Gain time.
Concentrate forces elsewhere.
Control key or decisive terrain.
Wear down enemy forces as a prelude to offensive operations.
Retain operational or tactical objectives.

Advantages of the Defense

Occupies defense positions before the attack.
Strengthened positions.
Knows the terrain.
Time to rehearse and continue familiarization of the terrain.
Prepared fires and obstacles.


Characteristics of the Defense

Preparation. You’re first on site and you own the turf. You can shape it.
Security. You can hide. You can also put eyes forward to spot the attacker on the move.
Massing effects. You can disperse your troops, yet concentrate your fires. You can build an engagement area that enables you to mass your effects.
Disruption. You’re set; he is in motion. You can break up the attacker’s formations.
Flexibility. Use of alternate positions and placement of a reserve allow you to respond to enemy initiatives.

Urban Defense

We won’t review urban IPB, city classification, building classification, urban analysis or any of that…we covered that in past editions of Tactics 101. We’ll get right down to business. The most defining questions we need to answer is where is the enemy headed and how can he get there (objective and avenues of approach). The ‘where’ is the more difficult question to resolve. Is he headed for a communications hub (TV station) or transportation hub (rail yard), political hub (government building) or is he just passing through (looking for egress). Once you determine where the attacker is headed, then it’s pretty easy to figure how he’ll get there, especially if he is mounted. In the cities, he will use the roads unless he has lots of time and extensive engineering capability.

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