Monday, March 10, 2014

Tutorial 2.2 - Rifle Company conducts night attack on urban area(cont).

Question 3: What do I know about the enemy?

The answer to this question will always be a mix of known facts, assumptions and application of enemy templates.  You have to take the three and try to determine how the enemy will fight given the terrain, his strength and his own mission (as interpreted by you).  For this scenario we can put this picture together:

Facts:    1. Under strength Motorized Rifle Company with combat losses.  Usually 3 rifle platoons with 2 squads and AT section each plus a machine gun platoon, equipped with BTRs.  I could get into the indicators that satellite imagery, over-flight recon, etc would pick up and give the S2 boys that sort of picture but I won’t.  Maybe later or in the Forum if anyone is interested.
2. Only a few BTRs seen on the Objective.
3. The MRC is most likely in a stand down mode with no real defense mission assigned.

Assumptions:    1. The “under strength” piece means the loss of one platoon or its equivalent.   MRC platoons are smaller than US platoons so I am looking at attacking with a 2 to 1 advantage.  Not ideal, particularly in an urban environment but doable against poorly trained, low morale troops.
                2. A nearby armored counterattack force does not exist or will be destroyed by coalition air as soon as it starts moving.
                3. Enemy commander will have adopted a rather laid back, “safe” posture and will not have fortified or placed obstacles designed to fight from the town.
                4. The objective buildings will most likely be occupied by enemy forces since they are the most logical to house troops without displacing civilians, even though most have fled north.  These buildings are also all key terrain with the exception of the police station.  (This is just a rationalization for the objective buildings being marked as such in the scenario.)

Enemy Template:  This is a template designed by intelligence sources to describe and usually graphically illustrate how a particular enemy will fight based on past experience, their own FMs and training and their equipment capabilities.  Since most opponents you will face in CMSF, including the AI, will in no way stick to a template of a military organization anywhere in the world, you can just throw this helpful tool out the window.

Given all of that, I think this is what the enemy will look like.  

Very little outside security, if any, due to lax posture.  The squads are templated in the areas I expect them to be, not in the specific buildings.  For example, I don’t expect a squad and a HQ in the actual hotel, but most likely in it or in the immediate area.  Normally to make such an enemy sitemp (situation template, as this is called) complete you would have to assign a task and purpose to each enemy unit which would help solidify your idea of what the enemy is going to do.  Since this enemy has no clear mission and will simply be reacting once we make contact with them, we cannot assign a task and purpose.  I can however assume that the commander will push his BTRs to reinforce whatever unit is under attack, though this may take some time.  Once he discovers he is under attack by a superior force, he will most likely attempt to consolidate his forces at the Government Building and either hold on for as long as possible or withdraw north.

Now a little theory.  You may be asking yourself why all of this is necessary.  Why not just formulate a quick plan and go with it?  We can change it up as we need to once we make contact with the enemy, right?  No plan survives enemy contact, blah, blah, blah.  Study Napoleon, Sun Tzu or any of the other giants of military thought and you will discover a common theme.  YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR ENEMY.  OK got it, why?  Because understanding your enemy and knowing how he fights and developing a plan based on that knowledge is what separates the real warfighters from the amateurs.  Once you understand how an enemy fights you get a feeling for his systems and and techniques.  This is called his decision cycle.  Plan, action, event, assess, reaction, plan, action…  You get the picture.  With that knowledge you can formulate an idea of what he will do given any situation.  You can then break his decision cycle, which will hopefully throw his plan and ability to carry out his plan into disarray.  From that point on he is reacting to YOU, not fighting his plan.  Now that is most easily seen at the strategic and operational level.  How do I apply that to the tactical level?  Well that’s what the rest of our questions are about.