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Posted on Jul 28, 2006 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 006. Main and Supporting Effort

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

We will start by designating our main effort. Since we have determined that the decisive point is the terrain around Hill 781, we will give our main effort that task and purpose. As the higher headquarters, we will assist the main effort by allocating additional resources to them. This could include engineer assets to build obstacles, priority in artillery support, or even air assets.


Now that we have designated the main effort, we can now shift to the supporting efforts. Our unit in the north will assist the main effort by ensuring the enemy does not use East Range Road and is funneled to the decisive point. Our unit in the center is focused on defeating any enemy that may leak out of 781 or from the east. They could very well assist our main effort if problems occur (flexibility!). Finally, the unit in the south is our reserve. They are prepared to assist where necessary.



One note on the designation of the main effort. As we have discussed, the battlefield is constantly changing. Thus, the main effort can change as well. If during the battle, the situation changes, we may very well change the main effort. For example, if the enemy completely disregards the northern sector and maneuvers from the east towards South Boundary Ridge, we may make the unit positioned near there our main effort. We will then assist them with additional assets to accomplish defeating the enemy. Additionally, it is also common to make the reserve the main effort once you have ordered them to execute one of the be- prepared purposes and tasks we asked them to prepare for.

In summary, the main effort is the unit that we assign to accomplish the task and purpose at the decisive point. This is the unit we envision winning the battle for us. We will assign supporting efforts that will shape the battlefield in order to help the main effort succeed. Remember to keep in mind: 1) Do not have any wasted efforts on the battlefield. Resources are too precious! 2) You (The Commander) will normally position yourself with the main effort. 3) The battlefield is always changing and consequently, your main effort and supporting efforts could change. You (The Commander) must see this and make the change. That is the art of command.

If you are having any problems on putting this in context, send us a note on the forum. We are happy to discuss this with you! Next article, we will discuss how to better utilize your combat multipliers. This is truly an area where you can waste your critical resources!!

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