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Posted on Feb 6, 2008 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 024 – The Attack of a Built Up Area

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland


Within the above types of offensive operations, there are different missions a unit may be assigned to execute. In today’s lexicon, there are various names (some doctrinal, some not) for these missions. We will just stick with the basic doctrinal names. Below, we will highlight these missions and provide a graphical representation.

Search and Attack

A unit is assigned this mission when it has little knowledge as to the location of the enemy and needs to gain contact with them. What you do know about the enemy is that it is relatively unorganized and probably can not mount a strong attack against you. Consequently, you can afford to take some risk in trying to find the enemy. This type of mission normally results in a quick hasty attack. As you can see from the graphical portrayal, you want to break up the built-up area into smaller zones. A higher headquarters will usually control the maneuver of smaller units throughout the specific built-up area. If contact is made with an enemy force the result is likely a hasty attack. When conducting a search and attack, you must thoroughly plan for the command and control and support of forces involved in this mission. Since you may very well have several smaller elements involved in the mission (at various locations), your ability to mutually support one another is a challenge.


Attack on a Single Axes

This mission is generally assigned when you have identified and verified a specific enemy strongpoint that you want to attack. When looking at the potential objective area, you determine there is really one maneuver corridor to the objective and intelligence verifies it is weakly defended by the enemy. Based on these considerations, you decide to mass your combat power on one single attack axes. This is really a brute force attack! You are foregoing flexibility and enabling your opponent to focus his combat power in essentially one direction. However, it does provide you the ability to mass the preponderance of your combat power at your decisive point. The graphics below show you the lead battalion task force seizing OBJ 22. They will then pass the second battalion task force through them and they will seize OBJ 21. Once OBJ 21 is secure, the task force will continue to seize OBJ 23. The trail unit is utilized as a reserve prepared to assist if the forward task forces have difficulty achieving their objectives or to exploit success.

Attack on Multiple Axes

If the terrain and enemy situation allow it and you possess the resources; you want to attack the enemy from different directions. Obviously, this forces the enemy to channel his energy and resources in different directions. Undoubtedly, this attack is a challenge to not only command and control, but for a higher headquarters to provide support to its’ subordinate units if required. In the graphic below you see a brigade conducting a deliberate attack on OBJ GOLD. The brigade has decided to attack GOLD on multiple axes. They will utilize an air assault task force in a supporting effort to seize OBJ C (isolating OBJ GOLD) and on-order maneuvers on the ground to seize OBJ D. An infantry task force as a supporting effort seizes OBJ B. The brigade’s main effort, an infantry task force seizes OBJ A. The commander has several moving pieces here, but this attack surely puts the enemy at the horns of a dilemma.

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1 Comment

  1. i want ask about artillery in defence on obua operation