The following is the submission of “John” for my recent TDG series in which students planned recon of an objective, received results of their reconnaissance, and drafted a final assault plan.  Feel free to comment and discuss his answers

 

Recon Plan Submission from “John”

First I want to state that since the locals are friendly I would have already set up a relationship with all nearby folks. Even going so far as to assist them in establishing an underground resistance movement. So for this mission the first order of business will be to call in a few favors. Here is what I will request from the locals:
Location of any enemy posts or road blocks or even local businesses that the enemy frequents if known. Any knowledge of patrols and their frequency.
I will ask the underground for the loan of any personnel that would be willing to act as guides or is willing to help guard the base during the recon mission.

Does the enemy purchase any supplies from the locals? Are they delivered? Do any locals have any legitimate access to the fuel depot and can they get us specific info of the interior or can they get any of my people in?

THE MISSION
I split the squad into two teams GREEN and PURPLE.
GREEN consists of myself, radio operator, one fire team, plus the automatic rifleman and his assistant from the split up fire team
PURPLE consists of one fire team plus the rifleman and team leader from split fireteam.
Each team gets two night vision sets.
Depart just after sunset.

SEE MAP team green recon


GREEN travels north to hill marked A. There I leave an automatic rifleman and assistant. They get one of the night vision goggles. Their job is to watch over the road to the depot, the road to our patrol base and the entrance to the depot itself. (This point actually should be manned at all times as it seems to be a good general lookout position for the patrol base.)
Also from this position I can check out the line to our west marked by symbols that look like the NATO map symbols for civilian balloons with the EPLRS symbols along for the ride. SEE INSERTS 1&2. Don’t know what they are and so I’ll find out.
If safe GREEN moves west using the he hill for cover and moves to position B. Team leader and rifleman remain at B while radio operator and myself proceed to location C with night vision goggles. I am
curious about the flat area marked by the question mark. Could a vehicle conceivably use that as a launch area for ramming the fenceline?

SEE MAP team purple recon

PURPLE team departs west and moves north up like he west side of the depot using hills as cover unti it gets to point A on the map (white letter may be hard to see)
From here the leader decides the best way to conduct observation. The two dotted lines mark areas I want to know more about
specifically do those wooded areas provide sufficient cover to hide an attacking force. Has the enemy taken specific measures to address this issue? More troops, patrols, barriers, evidence of land mines?

My plan is to spend the night gleaning as much information as possible and avoiding any contact with the enemy. Strict noise, light and radio discipline. Two hours before sunrise we move out back to the patrol base.

I want reports from the following:
GREEN team unit at point B
GREEN team unit left at point A
PURPLE team leader and his unit’s appraisal of the west side of the depot.

Everyone is to report back to me the following;
Number, location, activity, weapons, and other equipment of enemy.
Physical barriers and potential breeching locations.
Location of targets (fuel trucks, tanks, bladders, valve locations)
My people will know that I prefer to use firebombs when possible to conserve on supplies that may be difficult to replace. So they will look for any hindrances to such a plan.

 

Recon Results from Mike

John,
Thank you for the reply!  You put a lot of effort in, so I will do my part and endeavor to give you an equally thorough reply.
Your plan of working with the locals is a good one.  However, in this scenario the Russians have only been in the area for a few days, so most civilians would still be buttoned up in their homes or evacuating North East to flee the fighting, so they wouldn’t be able to provide you with anything this early into the conflict.  However, a nearby farmer says he heard some explosions in the direction of the depot/gas station a couple days ago during the first day of the invasion.
Results of Recon team GREEN
You mentioned that your teams would spend the night observing, so I assume you patrol to your OPs after dark.  You arrive at hill “A” but discover that there are too many trees obstructing your view.
You improvise, moving NE along the ridgeline until you get a more clear view.  You observe the below images, first through night vision and then through binoculars:
Unfortunately, it’s too dark for binoculars to give you a clear image, and your PVS-14 isn’t magnified.  Luckily, one of your guys has an ACOG, which is night vision compatible.  You hold your NVG in front of the ACOG and get the following images:
You notice what appears to be two soldiers roaming around the depot casually in full battle rattle.  No vehicles approach the site, but you can occasionally hear a truck engine start and run for about 10 minutes every hour.  You sense a smell of diesel fuel, even from this distance.  You assess the terrain on the west side of the depot as very open between the tree line and the objective for about 300m.  You also observe that the enemy fuel depot is roughly 50m west of the civilian gas station.
Looking to the West, you see that the symbols on your map marked wind turbines:
You patrol further to point “B,” but discover that it is on the opposite side of the ridge as the depot, and lower down (if you look at the contour lines, you will see that the main E/W road follows the ridgeline).  You cannot observe anything from there, and so you move on.
At point “C” you observe that the terrain is mostly open plains in the “?” area marked on your map, and quite suitable for a 4WD vehicle:
However, there are a few civilian buildings on this side of the depot, so a ramming attack from this angle is not likely to succeed.
Results of recon team PURPLE
As they cross the road, team PURPLE notices several destroyed civilian vehicles at the gas station.  It appears to have been bombed.
Team PURPLE arrives at their point “A” but they don’t stick around, the hilltop completely lacks vegetation and they’re too exposed.  They report back that they successfully reconnoitered both colored routes.  The treeline along route yellow has sufficient cover to approach within 100m of the objective undetected up to a fence.  There is no enemy presence on this side of the village, and no evidence of minesor other obstacles.
During the night, team GREEN reports one enemy convoy passed through the depot heading NW but did not stop.  Approximately 5 vehicles, no sound of tracks and light engines, so likely an administrative convoy of unarmored vehicles.  All information about the enemy position you must deduce from the images provided.
Notes:
– Your recon plan was thorough and sought to answer specific RFIs.  For this I applaud you.  You stayed on task when it would be easy to get sidetracked or vague with your directions, and thus got the most out of your recon.
– You took a lot of guys for a recon patrol.  You generally want to keep the number of guys in a recon group to a minimum, normally 2-6.  More guys on patrol are easier to detect.
– You split up your force several times in the dark, when not everyone has night vision.  This is a recipe for friendly fire incidents, unless you have a challenge and pass set up ahead of time.  Even so, avoid having too many moving parts in any plan, especially at night.
– Both your recon teams crossed the road at some point, a clear and obvious danger area.  This is not necessarily wrong (in your case well worth the risk for the info you got out of it), but I want to make sure you’re aware of how risky this is.  You don’t know if the enemy has observation posts out, but if they do they will surely be watching the road at night, not to mention the risk of moving across a well-traveled enemy MSR.  The risks can be mitigated by, again, sending fewer men across, and proper training to deal with linear danger areas like roads.
Thank you for your submission and the effort you put into it.  If you have any questions feel free to ask.
God Bless,
Mike

Final Attack Plan (5-Paragraph Order) from “John”

Situation: We have 3 fire teams vs a small detachment of enemy soldiers only two of which seem to be ready to immediately respond to an attach. If these can be neutralized quickly we should be able to effectively destroy any responding forces.

Mission: The primary objective is to destroy the fuel or render it unusable. After that is accomplished the next order will be to destroy or remove enemy equipment.

Execution: Three fire teams will be labeled Purple, yellow, and green.
I and my radio operator will accompany purple and yellow teams.
All teams will depart in order to launch attack just before dawn. Purple & yellow will move out first and arrive at rally point north and west of target. Green will set up south by south east in woods overlooking road. When in position units will broadcast CINDY to inform all of being in pre attack position. (See map Cindy)

When the diesel engine is started for it’s 10 minute run all units will advance quietly to positions marked on map JAN and radio code word Jam that they are in position and ready to attack.

Atack begins with command MARSHA MARSHA MARSHA
Green unit is blocking force and bins firing on depot. Purple and yellow move in to either engage with enemy or begin destruction using Molotovs, any available explosives, or simply opening valves and dumping fuel on ground.

Once fuel is destroyed enemy equipment is either destroyed or collected for our own use. If prior arrangements exist for disposing of enemy prisoners then such persons will be taken and turned over to higher authority. Otherwise prisoners
will be stripped of equipment and secured to prevent their following our unit when we withdraw.

All units will exit the depot to purple’s CINDY location and return to base.

Admin & Logistics: I will lead purple and yellow teams and be overall commander of operation. Green will be lead by their team leader.
Transportation is on foot.

Command & Signal: Teams are IDd by their assigned color.
Commander call sign is Pallet
Sign/Counter sign is BIDEN/SUCKS
Rally position notification sign is CINDY
Attack position notification is JAN
Attack order is MARSHA MARSHA MARSHA
Withdraw order is GREG

Hopefully that should work if we don’t get in each other’s cross fire which is a real concern I have.

So that is my contribution to the assignment. However, if more time were available the idea of surreptitiously contaminating the fuel so as ti immobilize the tanks would be a much better option.
Quite honestly it is what I would prefer to do but I have no idea if our unit has that ability and necessary supplies for such an undertaking. I don’t even know how that could be done. Sugar in the fuel tank is an old anecdote about sabotaging an engine but I do not know if that actually works nor how much is needed per liter of fuel. Packing in several hundred pounds of sugar and spending hours trying to pour it into fuel tanks in the dark of night without getting caught seems unrealistic. But IF it could be done the risk/benefit ratio is definitely tempting.

Looking forward to hearing back as well as reading other’s contributions.

Again I thank you for your efforts.

 

Notes from Mike

Nice work John!  A few notes on your 5-paragraph order:
-Your mission statement should include the phrase “in order to” to provide your subordinates a sense of purpose for the mission.  In this case, you could have added this phrase to the end of your mission statement: “in order to delay the arrival of enemy armored forces reinforcing Oreokastro and buy NATO some time.” This keeps your men informed about why they are risking their lives in this attack.
-Good use of pro-words to keep your radio communications short and discreet.
-You are right to be concerned about friendly fire in your assault.  There are two ways you can mitigate this risk.  First, you could arrange another signal, radio or otherwise, for your support by fire element (in this case team Green) to cease firing while your assault element(s) close on the objective.  The second method is geometries of fire planning.  This simply means planning your lines of fire such that they are as close to 90 degrees as possible from other lines of fire or avenues of approach for assault elements.  Even before you begin your assault, there is a friendly fire risk from team Green’s rounds skipping off the ground into your other teams’ pre-attack positions.
-Consider adding a casualty handling plan to your Admin & Logistics paragraph.
God Bless,
Mike
If you’re interested in learning more about what goes into being a small unit leader, my next Team Leader class is on July 10th.  Shoot me an email at [email protected]  
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