Wanted to do a quick AAR on this mission, I wasn't the leader, but this mission played out pretty similar to the last time we played it, with OPFOR (attackers) bogged down in a heavily forested area and BLUFOR (defenders) able to maneuver on their flanks to inflict casualties outside of the objective. We ended up taking the town by the skin of our teeth, essentially what turned into a depleted squad hunting down a fireteam of BLUFOR.
I wanted to examine what might have been done different, and common problems I see from the attacking side in a lot of our TVTs, and hopefully give future attacking CO a few things to consider in the future.
Lets examine the compositions.
Mounted Infantry Platoon
Machineguns, RPGs, and UGLs organic to squads.
Single armed vehicle with Machinegun and Automatic Grenade Launcher.
Mortar support (basically easy-mode point and shoot AI controlled)
Firepower: When brought to bear OPFOR has a clear firepower advantage to blufor. The grenade launcher on the vehicle can outrange every weapon BLUFOR has, and can inflict casualties on infantry in defilade or behind cover. Mortars also bring a similar advantage, they can hit infantry behind cover and potentially destroy enemy fortifications or buildings. Additionally squads each have a medium machiegun (PKP) which can engage further out than BLUFOR can with 5.56mm rifles and LMGs.
Maneuver: Being motorized, OPFOR can move around the battlefield faster than BLUFOR, additionally the GAZ Tigr offers moderate protection against some small arms for its passengers.
Numbers: Larger force than BLUFOR, means that they have more men to maneuver and put fire on the enemy with.
Understrength Dismounted Infantry Platoon
LMGs, Disposable AT, UGLs organic to squads.
Cover: BLUFOR is located inside a village with ample cover in the form of buildings.
Depth: With a large forest to the north, BLUFOR can engage OPFOR far our from the objective if they attack through the forest, and have a concealed route from which to either withdraw or entrap OPFOR. The objective itself is also quite large, meaning a greater ability to maneuver to respond to attacks from multiple directions.
Coordination: Ease of control when the defensive force is largely static, even when casualties are taken, the nature of being on the defense means a smaller force that loses it's leadership can still be effective.
OPFOR chose to attack dismounted from the north through the wooded areas and on into the town. The armed Tigr was to provide right flank security on the west side of Chokepoint Cuba. Once clear of the choke point the two squads would then maneuver onto the town and clear it from there. Heres a few issues that arose when we put the plan into action.
Flank Security: Probably the number one issue we run into as the attacking force in a TVT. While attacking through the forest offers us concealment and cover on the approach, it also offers the same to the enemy. The fact that we have to maneuver while they can remain static means that it is much harder for attackers to identify defenders positions, and once engaged, the defenders can fix and flank the attackers far easier. Forests also disrupt platoon and squad leadership's ability to control their squads while moving, while defenders can detach small teams to ambush OPFOR and the retreat back to the relative safety of areas they know are secure. The large blue arrows represent the ease in which the defenders could maneuver and ambush the attackers.
Placement of Fire Support: Another common issue on the attackers, fire support is often not able to accompany the attackers all the way to the objective, or are often placed in areas that offer no actual support to the maneuver elements. Even on more open and unobstructed terrain, the fire support is left to suppress an area of the objective that isn't even being attacked, so the defenders simply move to an area outside the fire support's ability to engage. While the Tigr could use it's weapons during the movement through the chokepoint, once through it and in the heavier woods it would be impossible for it to engage without possibly hitting friendlies. The large black lines illustrate how the forest easily masks the defenders from outside fire support and observation, and even upon reaching the town, the forest blocked any fire support from reaching the side of the town being attacked.
Attacking the "Long axis" of enemy defenses: Often times attacker's seem to want to spread themselves out as much as possible when actually attacking an objective like a town or fortification. On the surface this may seem logical, the larger numbers attackers typically have means they can simultaneously attack multiple approaches. The issue arises that a defender has the inherent advantage in preparation and cover that typically negates the pure numbers an attacker can bring to bear. This means that likely a defender can support adjacent elements, or a single element can simply cover a large swath of the objective. The small blue arrows all represent potential covered firing positions that the defenders could utilize when attacked from the north.
Here we see a potential attack from the west instead of the north. This addresses some of the issues with the previous attack. The motorized nature of OPFOR means they can quickly and relatively safely cover the open ground to the step off point, and the terrain they attack over lets them utilize all of their advantages against BLUFOR.
Flank Security: Placing yourself in more open terrain indeed sacrifices some concealment from the enemy, but in return you get clear lines of sight to your flanks that means the enemy will have difficulty maneuvering beyond their actual objective. They could still engage from the forest to the north, however the fire support has a clear line of sight on the entire stretch of forest, and the automatic grenade launcher is particularly effective when hitting trees and exploding above an enemy.
Fire Support Placement: Fire support is posted directly behind the axis of advance, meaning they can accurately engage enemy defensive positions that would impede the advance of the maneuver elements. While still closer than ideal to the objective, they could still likely overwhelm any defenders who choose to try and engage from either the buildings or the forest. Likewise, as the infantry advances, the fire support can follow directly behind to engage targets further into the town. Clear lines of sight into the objective also means that mortars can be observed from a further distance, taking advantage of their range to pick specific defensive positions to destroy or suppress.
Attacking along the "short axis": Here we can see the difference in firing positions defenders can use while engaging the attackers, a smaller amount of buildings means they are easier to suppress and faster to clear. It also means that flank security can be more easily held as the attackers advance through the town, taking away the enemies ability to maneuver anywhere but to their rear.
Would this plan have worked better? Who knows. However I hope it sparks some interest in those who take command of missions to best utilize your advantages against the enemy.
Edited by j0zh94, 2017-02-14 @ 10:47.