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Posted on Aug 17, 2011 in Tactics101, War College

Tactics 101 063 – The Concept of Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

Second Shot (Bad). An enemy security element is blocking Big Valley, Red Pass, and Granite Pass. The enemy main body is defending further to the west of these blocking forces. They have an infantry company in Red Pass. They are in position to hinder movement through the pass and also down the Big Valley. The enemy also has a mechanized battalion consisting of two mechanized companies and an armor company blocking Granite Pass. We will remove these forces from the chokepoints in order to pave the way for the division to continue the attack on the enemy main defense off to the west. We will rally at midnight; assuming our initial attack positions on our side of the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA). The 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams will assemble to our north. Our Brigade Combat Team will take Objective 1 with the light battalion; Objective 2 with the mechanized battalion task force, and Objective 3 with an armor battalion while another mechanized battalion task force pins down Objective 2. This will allow the other brigades of the division to attack the rest of the enemy motorized rifle regiment. Our infantry battalion will go first, at 0200, to clear Objective 1 (Red Pass) of the defending infantry. While they are attacking, the BCT(-) will preposition for their attacks. Their attack on Red Pass will maximize our ‘own the night’ capabilities. Once they are successful, the rest of the BCT will swing into motion when one of our mechanized battalion task forces heads to the north side of the ridge to place fires on the enemy in Granite Pass. When they are in place and putting effective fire on the Granite Pass defender’s defense, our other mechanized battalion task force will take the southern end of the pass, hold it, and fire on the defenders at the northern end of the pass. While the remaining enemy is under fire, our armored battalion task force will close in on and finish the remaining enemy at the northern end of the pass, thus securing the entire forward area of the enemy security belt of the enemy defensive area. I expect us to take enemy artillery fire so be prepared to close your hatches during the fight. Infantry should move off the low ground as well. We may also see enemy close air support, so be prepared with stingers and small arms for air defense. We will have to look west for any enemy attempts to reinforce this forward position, but will also have to look east in order to guide the follow on forces through our newly seized positions. We may also have to fight enemy recon in the high ground all around us so be prepared to send your infantry up into the hills. I want this to be a fast and furious fight and I want the way open for our fellow brigades. We will collect casualties on site and we will await orders from the division as to what we are to do after the other brigades pass through us. In the end, we will control both passes and the division will be able to pass though us and attack the MRR to the west.



  • Are the tasks clear?
  • Did the order follow a logical flow?
  • Were the added details at the end necessary?
  • Was it clear, concise, and precise
  • Was this an order or a travel-log?

In today’s language, you would say Too Much Information! This is the mini order embedded within an order. It is a common mistake to think that the concept of the operation has to explain everything. When you attempt to do this you end up with a novella that is rambling, confusing, hard to follow, generating more questions than answers. The concept of the operation is supposed to be an executive summary of the most important aspects of the mission. The details are found elsewhere.

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