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Posted on Sep 2, 2006 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 007. Combat Multipliers

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland


Conversely, countermobility operations aim at denying mobility to your opponent. Countermobility includes construction of obstacles to delay. canalize, disrupt, and kill his opponent and his systems. The maneuver commander utilizes countermobility to increase his target acquisition time and make his direct and indirect fires that much more effective. The use of countermobility also can have a huge psychological impact on an opponent. Do not forget that countermobility operations can be used effectively in the offense.


• Plan to emplace obstacles during movement. Look for likely places where the enemy can counterattack into your flank. Have assets and materials ready to emplace obstacles if needed. Do not forget the psychological effect a few well-placed mines can have on your enemy.


• Instead of holding claimed ground with many Soldiers, augment a smaller number of personnel with obstacles.

• Artillery delivered minefields is an excellent way to slow or stop an enemy counterattack force.

• Emplace obstacles to contain bypassed enemy units or to prevent them from withdrawing.


• The old adage, “Cover every obstacle by fire (direct or indirect)’’ is probably a good one to heed!

• You never have enough engineers (and time) in the defense. The wise commander is the one who can prioritize the efforts of his engineers.

• When you emplace an obstacle you must ensure everyone knows where it is. If not, it could very well delay, disrupt or even destroy your own forces.

• If forced to withdraw from a defensive position, consider the use of artillery delivered mines to buy you time.

• Well –positioned minefields can persuade the enemy to go into the engagement area that you want.

• Nothing works better than tying in manmade obstacles with natural terrain obstacles.

• In order to build obstacles, you must have the materials (mines, wire, pickets, etc). You must have a plan to get them where you need them.

• Place dummy obstacles/minefields far forward of your main engagement area to cause the premature commitment of your enemy’s breaching assets.

• During planning, determine potential landing zone sites the enemy may use for air assault operations. It the probability is high that they will conduct an air assault; you may emplace obstacles in the areas.

Combat Multipliers in use

Okay, it’s your turn! We want you to review the scenario and do a little work. For a little refresher review the articles on purpose and task to get back up to speed. (Below you will find a slide that details the purposes and tasks for our units). After reviewing the scenario and course of action, jot down some potential ways on how indirect lethal fires, smoke, mobility, and countermobility can truly be combat multipliers for you. In a couple of weeks, we will share our recommendations in the Tactics 101 Forum.


In summary, the use of combat multipliers has and will continue to be critical on any battlefield or environment. Commanders at any level must be experts on the employment of every combat multiplier. If you are not, you better become so. You can be sure your counterpart on the other side knows how to utilize his combat multipliers!

Next month, we will key in on the use of the reserve. We will discuss why you need one and how and when to employ it. Now get to work and we will talk to you on the forum in a couple of weeks.

Discuss this article in the forum now!

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  1. Good ole Ft. Irwin right there. Even the blueforces know the name Tiefort Mountain.

    Served as OPFOR and a deployment with the 11th ACR in 2005-2006. Good Times.

    Also im loving these articles. Decided to start from the beginning and going strong!

  2. This is a question that I have with regard to Articles 1-7. For all the subsequent articles I have a rough estimation of the relevant Field Manual that provides more in depth consideration of the topics. However with regard to the topics dealt with by Articles 1-7 is there any FM or related document that one can refer to?

    • Depending on your needs, I would humbly suggest a dated reference:


      While of a different era, I find the planning portion that I have read so far to be very helpful for my sim purposes (SB Pro PE).

      • Thanks for the same.