Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tutorial 2.3 - Rifle Company conducts night attack on urban area(cont).

Question 4: What forces do I have at my disposal?
This is a lot more than just a list of the units and vehicles you have available.  It includes an inventory of crew served weapons (MGs, AT wpns, etc), Artillery and Air assets, and strengths and weaknesses of your armor assets.  All of this information will then get placed into a Task Organization.  The key word in this phrase isn’t “organization,” as one might think, but “task.”  Task is what drives the allocation of forces.  For example, you don’t want to assign a platoon a simple blocking position that a squad can handle.  Assign a squad and free the rest of the platoon up to be assigned a different task or as reinforcements for another.

In this scenario:

Three rifles platoons (each with 3 rifle squads, 2 M240s, a javelin, and a HQ), an AT platoon (5 HMMWVs armed with 2 TOWs, a M2, a M19, and M240), a sniper tm, a FO, and a Co HQ.
CSWs include 6 M240s and 3 Javelins

Support assets include 105mm Howitzers and a 60mm Mortar section.  Both with the capability to fire smoke and HE missions.

Our AT platoon, while very powerful in the amount of firepower they can put out, is very vulnerable to RPG and up due to very thin armor.

Final breakdown:

Given this information, once I have a task list made I can begin assigning tasks to each HQ and then assign subunits for them to control.  The C2 rules in CMSF can make this a challenge though it is not that applicable to US/NATO forces since they are rarely out of comms with their HQ in game terms.

5.  At what point do I begin to win the battle (decisive point)?

This is a question that can be answered and defined a hundred million ways and is extremely subjective.  The key is understanding that it is this question that really drives everything else in your plan.  Basically the decisive point is that point in the battle where you think you will have reached a DECISIVE advantage over your enemy.  In a lot of cases this will be nothing more than the point where you have eliminated all enemy resistance on the objective.  If you deem that is the case, than the answer is pretty simple and you can move forward with your planning.  Sometimes, however it is a little less obvious.  

For this scenario:

My final objective is seizing the four buildings in the town marked as valuable.  Decisive to the operation could be the seizing of all four buildings.  Yes, once I have done that I have definitely won the battle.  But is there something I need to achieve prior to that?  Something that if I FAIL to do, it will make my mission extremely difficult or impossible to achieve?  I would argue that if I fail to achieve a foothold in the town without taking significant casualties, I will most likely be unable to clear the rest of the town and seize all the objective buildings.  I could go with the final four as my decisive point, assuming that I have to do all of this other stuff to seize the buildings anyway.  But that would ignore the real value of determining the decisive point.  The decisive point helps me determine where I need to focus my combat power.  Everything I do prior to the decisive point needs to be focused on achieving the decisive point.  Everything after that flows from that point.  I will designate establishing a foot hold with minimal casualties as my decisive point .

6.  How can I most take advantage of the enemy’s weakness?

This questions plays to the point about the enemy’s decision cycle that I brought up earlier.  His weakness may or may not be related to the decisive point or even to your objective.  But by somehow exploiting or attacking it you can create a lot of “friction” for your opponent, swinging the battle in your favor.
I assess my opponent’s weakness in this fight to be his dispersal.  By having to defend four buildings with limit resources he is spread pretty thin, with little or no reserve or counterattack force.  So one of my tasks will be to maximize that weakness by doing my best to pin down his individual assets and destroy his units piecemeal.

7.  Can I deceive the enemy to my intentions in any way?

This is a component of battle as old as time.  If you can get your enemy to think you are doing one thing and actually do something else than the element of surprise can be decisive in its self.  I will most likely conduct a preliminary limited attack on the town from a direction other than my main attack.  This will accomplish two things: (1) it will deceive the enemy to the location of my main attack, hopefully causing him to commit his BTRs early and (2) it will pin down his forces in the sector that I attack.

8.  Where do I want to focus my combat power?

We already know we want to focus our combat power at the decisive point from a theoretical standpoint.  What about on the actual battlefield?  Now we go back to the terrain and enemy analysis and come up with a course of action.  I know that AOA 2 is preferable because I can easily isolate the initial buildings from reinforcement or withdrawal.  I can also suppress the majority of the key terrain that can influence AOA 2.  I can get fairly close to the outer two story building (labeled A12) utilizing cover and concealment.  

By establishing Support by Fire positions outside the town on the left and right flanks of building A12 I can efficiently suppress and isolate it by fire.  Once I have a foothold and a base of fire established in A12 I can isolate buildings A13-A17 and seize them sequentially from the treeline.  With that side of the block secure I can then assault across the street (once I have the suppression and isolation conditions set) and seize A18 and A19.  These two buildings will then serve as the fulcrum as I swing northeast and seize the govt building, the police station and the school in that order.  I elect to save the school for last because it will serve as my deception/pinning objective.  I will initially open the attack by having my AT platoon conduct an attack by fire on the school in order to pin down enemy forces and hopefully destroy the BTRs reported there.  Once I move my forces north of A18 I will have to shift fires to the east of the school to prevent any fires from the ABF position interfering with my own forces moving north and east.  (This, of course, is not a real concern in CMSF but its best to keep in mind and play it real.)  Answer to Q number 8: Focus combat power on sector A1 IOT gain foothold and advance deeper into town, with a secondary focus on sectors B1 and B2 to deceive and suppress enemy forces.