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The XO

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The XO

It was written in another thread that for a quick battle the XO was deleted from the OB to save points.

Still a rookie at the game I am trying to work out how the command and control works.

What is the XO good for? Is it just fluff?

Is it just to take over the battalion if the CO dies or as a spotter of artillery?

In CM1, I would sometimes detach a group from the main body using a company commander, say an engineer squad, a rifle squad and a bazooka and put them on a flank or make them a special assault force.

I'm guessing this can't be done in CMBN (?)

And if not why not? Cannot the battalion commander say "Major I want you to take some men and knock out those mortars" or "I want you to take some men and make sure no one gets past our right flank." Or is that Hollywood talking and things like that never happened in real life?

Does loosing the XO disrupt the chain of command?

Here is something I googled up:

Created here is a basic guide that should help FSB XOs accomplish the myriad tasks with which they are faced. First, listed verbatim, are the 12 chief of staff (XO) duties specified in Field Manual 101-5, Staff Organizations and Operations, Chapter 6 (Staff Officer Duties During Preparation for, and Execution of, Operations). Each duty is followed by some techniques that can help accomplish that duty in the brigade support area (BSA). Finally, there is a more detailed discussion of the processes of each of those techniques.

Executive Officer's Duties (FM 101-5, page 6-2):

1. Informs the commander, staff, and subordinate commanders of the progress in preparation for, and execution of, the operation through periodic intelligence and operations summaries.

Techniques -- Radio Net Calls, Tenant Meetings, and Battle Update Briefs.

2. Ensures the staff provides the commander updated estimates and plans for future operations.

Techniques -- Battle Update Briefings, Battletracking.

3. Coordinates efforts among the staff to anticipate requirements and develop recommendations to the commander for correcting shortfalls, actual or forecasted, in resources or mission accomplishment.

Techniques -- Staff Meetings, Orders Process.

4. Supervises the staff's synchronization of the operations vertically, horizontally, chronologically, and geographically.

Techniques -- Orders Process.

5. Supervises the integration of risk management during the operation, identifies hazards, and recommends control measures to reduce risk.

Techniques -- Risk Management Procedures.

6. Supervises information flow in and out of the staff, including the analysis and assessment of all information and submission of recommendations to the commander.

Techniques -- Orders Briefs, Communications Plan, Shift-change Briefs, Internal TOC Information Flow.

7. Supervises time management by setting and adjusting time lines.

Techniques -- FM 101-5, Time Line.

8. Supervises the movement of command posts.

Techniques -- Movement of the BSA.

9. Ensures the continuity of staff support and communication under all circumstances.

Techniques -- Communications Plan.

10. Ensures the staff gets adequate rest and is placed where they can best support the commander.

Techniques -- Shift Changes, Battalion ALOC Set up, Unit Ministry Team Set up.

11. Maintains contact with the commander and keeps him informed of critical information, regardless of where the commander places himself during the operations.

Techniques -- CCIR, Communications Plan, Information Flow.

12. Knows who can make "what" decisions in the absence of the commander.

Techniques -- CCIR, Wakeup Criteria, Staff Roles and Responsibilities.

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It's seldom known that XO stands for eXpendable Oaf. The HQ squad consists of both the HQ team itself and the Oaf team. The Oaf himself is not a commander until the CO is dead, and normally doesn't have a radio operator with him, so his capabilities are usually limited. Note: if he replaces the original CO and doesn't have a radio, it is possible to make him radio-connected by placing him in a radio equipped vehicle.

Normally it's good to keep the Oaf close to the CO, so that if you need to protect the CO then the Oaf can act as a rifle team. Their eyes also count, so the Oaf could be sent to observe a flank or do rear guard. Depending on the situation, they can also act as recovery teams for dead guys, although I personally prefer to have my rifle squads buddy aid their own men. That way, they can recover their ammo and special weapons. And finally, if need be, they can deliver ammo to front units, although again I find it better to splinter teams to do this or to use organic ammo bearers.

Normally, though, the best use for the Oaf is to act as a decoy for the CO. Your enemy has to keep guessing, is this the CO or is it that one? And even if he guesses it right, your eXpendable Oaf now becomes the Commanding Oaf. So remember, don't keep your Oafs in one basket!

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