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No Plan Survives First Contact With The Enemy - Planning Tutorial

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Hi Combatintman,

 

Respect for this post, and thanks for the dedication in writing/explaining this all!  :rolleyes:

Hanging to your every word.

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I'm skipping straight to Question 8: when will you ever get to the part when you actually start attacking??? Or is this some HQ induced plan to lull the enemy into complacency?

 

;)

 

In all seriousness, what you're doing is an outstanding example of how all pre-mission planning should be conducted. It minimizes casualties, and maximizes the opportunities for success. Very solid: you should show your bosses what you're doing.

 

I appreciate your sharing all this.

 

Thanks,

Ken

Edited by c3k

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Again, thanks for the comments gents and hopefully the plan will resemble the genius of Paulus's avatar but I can't guarantee execution will minimise casualties as C3K predicts ... there will be some attacking though. Anyway ... in the spirit of a drill lesson 'I left you in this position' (being Question 2, What have I been told to do and why?). On with the rest of it ...

 

Mission Analysis Step 3 – Analyse tasks.

 

Here you look at specified tasks and identify implied tasks. A specified task is generally stated in the order. In this case there are none which is no biggie because we can come up with plenty of implied tasks from what we have worked out from all of the previous steps. So here’s how it looks:

 

Remember my mission is to secure the woods to the SW (or as I have called them – Main Wood) and my intelligence analysis has identified that the enemy is likely to be in those woods. Given all of this some implied tasks are:

 

Task 1 - Clear Main Wood because I cannot secure the wood without clearing it and the enemy is likely to be in there.

 

Task 2 - Clear Village A because the enemy has been reported there and it provides overwatch of the road to the Main Wood (this links into my understanding of the two up and one up –  my force cannot launch an attack onto our off-map village from Main Wood if the enemy can call fire onto it.

 

Task 3 - Clear Wood E because it is likely that there will be some form of enemy there but the main reason is because it will be difficult for me to clear and secure the Main Wood without clearing Wood E.

 

Task 4 - Clear Wood M because this is part of me making such disposition as to prevent destruction of loss of the Main Wood by the enemy. Also within the context of the Main Wood being a form-up point, if I put some form of reconnaissance element or outpost there it will provide early warning of an enemy counter attack and allow me to disrupt or delay it.

 

As I have been using the term, it is probably best to define it so that you understand what is meant by ‘Clear’. The definition is:

 

 ‘to clear terrain of enemy direct fire and keep clear until handed over to another unit/formation’.

 

To save you trawling back through the thread - here is the BAE graphic with all of the annotations on it again:

 

post-63534-0-43409700-1439881432_thumb.j

 

Mission Analysis Step 4 – Determine freedom of action.

 

Here we look at what we can and can’t do and identify any opportunities. Again this requires a bit of analysis because not everything is stated. Within the CM context we don’t need to do this ad nauseum. It goes something like this:

 

I must secure Main Wood NLT 0800 hours.

I cannot cross my assigned boundaries (eg the extent of the map)

I have complete freedom of action within the AO.

 

Mission Analysis Step 5 – Identify critical facts, judgements and assumptions.

 

Some clarification here on the terminology:

 

Critical facts are statements of information that are known to be true.

Judgments are statements of information that are believed to be true and are substitutes for facts.

Assumptions are statements for which no proof is currently available and are substitutes for judgments. Note that all assumptions should be turned into facts by generating an information requirement which would then form part of the intelligence collection plan.

 

Critical facts:

 

There was an enemy presence in Village A last night

The wind is from the west and is very strong.

Friendly force is at 90% CE.

Friendly force dismounts have a full ammunition load.

I have only 2 x mortars.

The AO is 1km x 1km

 

Judgements:

 

There is an enemy presence in Village A

Smoke will likely be ineffective due to wind strength

Accuracy at long range will be affected by crosswinds

Other weather conditions will have no adverse effects on friendly and enemy operations

Vehicles will have to manoeuvre carefully over damp ground

Main Wood is restricted terrain

I am unlikely to be able to employ indirect fire effectively in Main Wood.

Coy HQ, one manoeuvre platoon and some support elements will not arrive until 0705 hrs at the earliest (note that this is a ‘fact’ in the briefing but in real terms would be a judgement and still might be a judgement if SeinfeldRules has done a varied arrival time for this reinforcement in the mission editor).

My mortars are unlikely to arrive until 0710 hrs (note that this is a ‘fact’ in the briefing but in real terms it would be a judgement and still might be a judgement if SeinfeldRules has done a varied arrival time for this reinforcement in the mission editor).

My mortars can only provide four minutes of indirect fire each.

I have sufficient direct fire weapons and ammunition to be able to suppress targets in LOS.

 

Assumptions:

 

The enemy is of approximate platoon strength

The enemy lacks armour and significant heavy weaponry

The enemy can call on or has an indirect fire capability

There are no manmade obstacles in the AO

The enemy is unlikely to have sufficient ammunition to conduct a sustained defence.

 

For Question 2 .... that is it - all done (no outputs at this stage but the results of Mission Analysis are recorded and will be used as inputs for flashes of brilliance later on in the process).

 

Question 3 will be the subject of the next post so stay tuned ....

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This is great. I try and think ahead and plan but usually overlook something or blunder into a mess I should have avoided. Thanks for this.

 

I always blunder into stuff myself - to be honest this is the first time I've gone into a mission and planned it properly. Some of my blundering is due to lack of consideration of all of the planning factors and some of it is because of poor execution drills - there are some real pros out there who have mastered fast, pause, hide, target briefly orders combos whose skill I just marvel at. Anyway, the proof of this pudding will be in the eating when I get down to the execution phase.

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My worry with planning to this depth is who is responsible for keeping it updated as the battle unfolds and your information solidifies? Are you planning on keeping it updated and confirming or ruling out your assumptions as you play the scenario?

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QUESTION 3 – WHAT EFFECTS DO I WANT TO HAVE ON THE ENEMY AND WHAT DIRECTION MUST I GIVE TO DEVELOP A PLAN?

 

This step is all about the commander and is his opportunity to articulate his battle winning idea and direct the staff. In this situation, where we are in effect a Coy HQ, the 2nd part of this question is essentially redundant because the Coy Comd would likely be going through this process himself. For the purposes of education though, I will dwell on the direction piece.

 

The sort of direction given will vary according to the situation and the factors creating those variables. A couple of factors revolve around the amount of time available and the experience of the planning staff. As a general rule, where there is little time available and an inexperienced staff, the more hands-on the direction is likely to be from the commander.

 

The tool used to convey the effects on the enemy part of Question 3 is the Intent Schematic.

 

The following graphic is my Intent Schematic for this mission:

 

post-63534-0-86553000-1439984504_thumb.j

 

The accompanying amplifying direction given by the commander in relation to this schematic is:

 

Clear (1) to prevent enemy observation and disruption of friendly forces.

Clear (2) to prevent enemy observation and disruption of friendly forces.

Clear (3) to prevent enemy observation and disruption of friendly forces.

Secure Main Wood to defeat the enemy (MAIN EFFORT).

Screen to identify enemy reinforcement.

 

As the term hasn’t been explained before, ‘Screen’ is defined as ‘observe, identify and report; only fight in self-protection’.

 

The term ‘Defeat’ is defined as ‘to diminish the effectiveness of the enemy to the extent that he is unable to participate further in the battle or at least cannot fulfil his intention’.

 

The important things here are the effects and their purpose – by articulating these clearly it allows a plan to be developed by the staff which will meet the commander’s intent. Additionally, by employing this method, it gives the staff sufficient latitude rather than pushing them into a scheme of manoeuvre early. The commander’s main effort is also designated at this stage and clearly articulated to the staff – it should be the focus of the plan.

 

Having seen the Intent Schematic and looking at some of the deductions that dropped out of Question 2, you might be thinking …. A lot of this stuff was covered off there. You would be right in thinking that, the Question 3 ‘value add’ is the commander’s direction – he has used his experience to extract those elements of the previous analysis that he deems to be the most important and has either modified or discarded those that he deems to be less important. The commander could also give firm direction about use of:

 

Firepower

Manoeuvre

Deception

And how much risk he is prepared to carry

 

In CM, you are the commander so this is an internal process and is likely to be influenced by your experience (eg your playing style – taking the illustrious Bill Hardenberger as an example – you will see from his AARs that he places great emphasis on reconnaissance).

 

The other thing that should drop out of Question 3 is direction to recce, the body of this will be in the form of finalised Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIR). PIR are enemy or environment focussed and should relate to information/intelligence that will be vital to planning and successful execution of the mission. As previously stated when discussing NAIs in Question 1 – PIR should be carefully selected and pared down to the absolute minimum required to facilitate collection of the information, avoid overtasking limited assets and to prevent information overload. As an example, it would be nice to know the enemy commander’s name but it is hardly critical to planning or executing this mission.

 

So with all of that said, my PIR are:

 

Where is the enemy main position?

What is the composition of the enemy’s outpost line?

What is the trafficability of the Main Wood for my vehicles?

How quickly can the Main Wood be reinforced from the SE?

 

Anyway that’s is a brief trot through Question 3 – it will come as no surprise to you that Question 4 will follow in the next post.

 

 

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My worry with planning to this depth is who is responsible for keeping it updated as the battle unfolds and your information solidifies? Are you planning on keeping it updated and confirming or ruling out your assumptions as you play the scenario?

 

Why do you think I gridded the map Bill? ;)

 

The tools I will use to battle track will be:

 

The gridded map.

An enemy force kill chart.

A friendly force casualty tracker.

The synchronisation matrix.

Possibly a combined decision support overlay/matrix.

 

Inevitably I will cover these at the appropriate time but very briefly the main tool for executing the plan will be the synch matrix along with map plots. Enemy battle tracking will be mainly from the map.

 

Hope that eases your concerns ;) .

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My worry with planning to this depth is who is responsible for keeping it updated as the battle unfolds and your information solidifies?

Well people are always looking for somehow for the XO and 2IC units to do, sounds like a perfect job for them :)

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I find your own force analysis very interesting, Combatintman.

I don't recall every considering before a battle starts the experience and other factors of my individual units. Sure I'll buy a few individual units with higher experience because I intent to use them for some particular task, but you've gone and looked a each unit in detail and used that information to make choices. That makes perfect sense. How easy it is to look at what we do as "it's just a game" but in reality a real commander would need to consider all the things you mentioned.

Of course I consider what forces to purchase and how I want to use them before I even buy them or deploy them, but you've taken it a level beyond that and it's something I will want to try to consider in the future.

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I find your own force analysis very interesting, Combatintman.

I don't recall every considering before a battle starts the experience and other factors of my individual units. Sure I'll buy a few individual units with higher experience because I intent to use them for some particular task, but you've gone and looked a each unit in detail and used that information to make choices. That makes perfect sense. How easy it is to look at what we do as "it's just a game" but in reality a real commander would need to consider all the things you mentioned.

Of course I consider what forces to purchase and how I want to use them before I even buy them or deploy them, but you've taken it a level beyond that and it's something I will want to try to consider in the future.

 

It is a critical part of the process - and as you say many people do a form of own force analysis, it is particularly relevant for QBs so you can maximise your points allocation. Also I think many people do it during execute, the best example I can think of is for indirect fire missions - you're generally going to pick your best observer/HQ to call those missions in to minimise the time to call it in and to reduce the chances of dropping short. Talking soft factors, for real it is one of the reasons a commander must know his subordinates well. If he knows who his top performers are, you can guarantee they will be the people getting the most difficult missions/tasks.

 

The relevance of the hard factors you will see later in the process, particularly when I do Question 5, which is all about resourcing.

 

In my example analysis, those hard and soft factors will add value later and you'll find that some of the analysis may not be used in the final plan. In this instance, the lack of resources means that I may have to go for sub-optimal solutions - as it is never a perfect World, this is where the commander accepts risk or mitigates it by adding resources, synchronising effects or using some other means such as surprise or deception. But it is only until you do the analysis that you understand those risks and your strengths and weaknesses versus those of the enemy.

 

Stay tuned to see how they come into play ..

Edited by Combatintman

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QUESTION 4 – WHERE CAN I BEST ACCOMPLISH EACH ACTION OR EFFECT?

 

Question 4 is really all about refining some of the previous outputs, the most important being the Commander’s Intent Schematic developed in Question 3. The other previous product is the Event Overlay which was produced in Question 1 and showed draft NAIs and timings. The refined product from Question 4 is the draft Decision Support Overlay (DSO). Here is what mine looks like for this mission:

 

post-63534-0-60054600-1440055932_thumb.j

 

A word about the symbology conventions – a box with a triangle in the top left hand corner is a Target Area of Interest (TAI) and each relates to an effect. The boxes without triangles are Named Areas of Interest (NAI) and these are where we look in order to acquire, confirm or deny information.

 

First off the TAIs

 

TAI 1 correlates to my previously identified NAI 1 and the Commander’s ‘Clear 1’ direction on the intent schematic.

 

TAI 2 correlates to my previously identified NAI 2 and the Commander’s ‘Clear 2’ direction on the intent schematic.

 

TAI 3 correlates to my previously identified NAI 3 and the Commander’s ‘Clear 2’ direction on the intent schematic.

 

TAI 4 correlates to my previously identified NAIs 4 and 5 and the Commander’s Clear 3 direction on the intent schematic.

 

TAI 5 is the Main Wood and encompasses my previously identified 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 and the Commander’s Secure direction on the intent schematic and of course the Secure (in CM terms ‘Occupy’) objective specified in the mission.

 

TAI 6 corresponds to the Commander’s Screen direction on the intent schematic. Note that there is an argument for this being an NAI (where I look) but my deduction is that I have to put troops there so I have made it a TAI.

 

Now the NAIs

 

NAI 1 is the previously identified NAI 6.

NAI 2 is the previously identified NAI 7.

NAI 3 is the previously identified NAI 8

NAI 4 is the previously identified NAI 9

 

Strictly speaking, because these sit within TAI 5 these NAIs probably wouldn’t appear on the real DSO but for this purpose I have kept them in. They may disappear later on as I develop the plan.

 

And as they say in the cartoons ... That's all Folks!!! (Well for Question 4 anyway)

 

 

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<Snip>  Named Areas of Interest (NAI) and these are where we look in order to acquire, confirm or deny information. <Snip>

 

Thanks for the refresher course Combatintman. LOL  I feel like I am back in AIT at Ft Hauchuca. :)  

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I think basically, and I am searching far back in my memory banks now... ;) NAI are areas that you want to look at to satisfy an intelligence requirement (drives the recon effort), while TAI are areas where you expect to have to engage the enemy... basically the same thing, but TAI specifies to the commander on the ground to expect enemy contact in these areas...

Combatintman will be along shortly to correct me I'm sure.

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stikkypixie - sorry for not making it clear. Bill is essentially right and not the only one drawing on memory banks!!. So to eliminate confusion I decided to look it up, here is what the good book says:

 

Named Areas of Interest (NAI). A point or area along a particular avenue of

approach through which enemy activity is expected to occur. Activity or lack

of activity within an NAI will help to confirm or deny a particular enemy course

of action. These are points and areas in the AO where the recognition of

particular events and activities associated with the threat will confirm, or deny,

the threat’s intentions to pursue a specific COA. Once an NAI has been

identified, the event or activity that will focus attention on the NAI should be

clearly defined and recorded. NAIs should be covered by ISTAR assets or

form a serial in the ICP for action by higher formation.

 

Target Areas of Interest (TAI). The geographical area or point along a mobility

corridor the successful interdiction of which will cause an enemy to either

abandon a particular course of action or require him to use specialised

engineer support to continue and where he can be acquired and engaged by

friendly forces. Not all TAIs will form part of the friendly COA; only TAIs

associated with higher payoff targets (HPTs) are of interest to the staff.

These are identified during staff planning and wargaming. TAIs differ from

engagement areas in degree. Engagement areas plan for the use of all

available weapons; TAIs might be engaged by a single weapon. TAIs are

points and areas in the AO where the commander intends to target the threat

in order to achieve a specified effect. They are identified during COA

development and form the focus for the integration of resources to achieve

the desired effect.

 

I've employed them pretty loosely, I've highlighted and underlined the parts of the definition which best explains my rationale in employing them in this tutorial. 

 

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Thanks for the descriptions, very helpful. I was a SIGINT analyst so never used TAIs in anger, even though I did a lot of course of action analysis.

Do you have a list of the effects you hope to achieve at each TAI? Or did I miss that somewhere?

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Thanks for the clarification. Although I think I get the gist of what you're doing some nuances do go over my head. Very interesting read though :-)

 

Don't be afraid to ask mate - that's the point of the thread. PM me if you don't want to post your questions.

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QUESTION 5 – WHAT RESOURCES DO I NEED TO ACCOMPLISH ACTION OR EFFECT?

 

So onto Question 5 which again is conceptually simple. This is all about working out the forces you are going to need for the effects and is where the scheme of manoeuvre starts to be put together. Accordingly I will break this into two steps – resourcing TAIs and then draft schemes of manoeuvre/COAs. The important point here is, while you need to keep within the boundaries of the forces available to you, this should not be an absolute constraint. In this example for instance I basically have two platoons, a heavy weapons platoon, a flak vehicle and some mortars but I have five actions/effects to accomplish. This doesn’t mean that I stop resourcing at my third or fourth action/effect (when theoretically I have run out of assets/resources). I should also resource my Main Effort first

 

This process, like pretty much everything we’ve done so far, draws on the analysis from previous steps. Remember we have to start with the Commander’s Main Effort effect first which is TAI 5.

 

TAI 5

 

The most important consideration is the effect which to remind you is ‘Secure’ (to gain possession of a position or terrain feature, with or without force, and to make such disposition as will prevent, as far as possible, its destruction or loss by enemy action). It doesn’t take Einstein to work out that this will probably require a fair amount of resources.

 

Next let’s return to our Question 1 analysis because once we know the size of the enemy in each TAI we can make deductions about the forces required to achieve the effect. From that analysis we assessed that the bulk of the enemy force will be in this TAI.  Total strength worst case will be the whole platoon with all three LMG and ATR teams. Even at best case the force level drops only by a scout team, LMG and ATR team.

 

Using our military experience we know that a successful attack needs a 3:1 force ratio to stand any chance of success. The following table details the resourcing:

 

post-63534-0-13406100-1440193101_thumb.j

 

Notes for all tables:

For the number count I am not going to be slavish but only include the relevant numbers. For example:

Vehicle crews and their personal weapons are not included

Pistols have been ignored for weapon comparisons

Indirect fire team crews and their personal weapons are not included

MG42 teams in 4 Platoon are counted as HMG because they can be tripod mounted

Some figures have been rounded for simplicity

 

TAI 1

 

This is a ‘Clear’ effect (‘to clear terrain of enemy direct fire and keep clear until handed over to another unit/formation’) IVO village A.

 

Factors from Question 1 to consider are the ground – the village provides both cover and concealment to the Enemy – and the assessed Enemy force which was a scout team plus an observer team. This is far easier than TAI 5 as I can do this with a platoon pretty easily.

 

post-63534-0-31834500-1440193164_thumb.j

 

TAI 2

 

This is another ‘Clear’ effect IVO Wood C. From Question 1 it was identified that this would be a possible fall-back position for the scout and observer team.  Again a small enemy force here which should be easily solved by throwing a platoon at the problem.

 

post-63534-0-50361800-1440193215_thumb.j

 

TAI 3

 

Another ‘Clear’ effect IVO Complex D. The enemy here at worst case will comprise a scout team, LMG and ATR team. Like TAIs 1 and 2, this should be solved by a platoon sized force

 

post-63534-0-39381200-1440193267_thumb.j

 

TAI 4

 

This is yet another ‘Clear’ effect IVO Wood E. At worst case the enemy will have a couple of scout teams, a couple of LMGs and a couple of ATRs. This again should be well within the capabilities of a platoon-sized force.

 

post-63534-0-18371800-1440193340_thumb.j

 

TAI 6

 

This is the ‘Screen’ effect (as ‘observe, identify and report; only fight in self-protection’). There should be no enemy there so I should be able to resource this with a squad/section

 

post-63534-0-37350000-1440193402_thumb.j

 

I also need to resource the NAIs which at this stage will get a platoon each. I appreciate that this seems a bit course grained but I will be able to refine this later if I need to – they may get discarded in the final cut. Some key deductions that drop out of this process are that I can possibly combine TAIs 2 and 3 due to their geographic proximity and that I cannot do everything at once because I need pretty much all of my force to Secure TAI 5 and I need at least a platoon for most of my other TAIs and realistically I only have two manoeuvre platoons, although I generate three at a stretch. It is only now that we start to think about a scheme of manoeuvre, although this can be directed by the Commander at Question 3, particularly if the staff is inexperienced or where planning time is short. I have left it until now not only because doctrinally this is where the scheme of manoeuvre should be drafted, but also to illustrate the value of going through the process.

 

So that is resourcing – part two of Question 5, where I look at draft COAs/schemes of manoeuvre will be the subject of the next post.

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Don't be afraid to ask mate - that's the point of the thread. PM me if you don't want to post your questions.

 

No worries, I think all we be clear as we go through the process. Right the confusion for me at least comes from the fact that going through the process, consecutive steps don't appear (at first glance) to differ much from the previous one. For example NAI vs TAI. Once the whole process is laid out, I think all will fall into place.

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