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Decisive Action Operations Primer
 by SFC Vincent Taijeron

 

Controlling your units.  Coordinating your units is an art.  Use the phase lines on your map to control movement of your units.  By using the phase lines you can keep units “in line” and not let them get to far ahead.  If one of your units prematurely initiates an attack other units may not be in position to support it.  You also have coordinating points available in the graphics editor.  I haven’t used them much, but I believe you can use them to mark points on a route, mark attack positions or resupply areas, etc.

Establish an attack position before you make contact with the enemy.  Simply draw another phase line that puts your units far enough from the enemy so you aren't engaged by his ground forces, basically you want a position where you won't be harassed.  This attack position is where you organize for combat, position units, resupply, plan artillery positions to support the attack, using your UAVs get another look at the defense, etc.

Targeting priorities.  High Value Targets or HVTs are targets the enemy commander needs to accomplish his mission.  For example, through your analysis of the enemy you may determine that his artillery units are critical to his success; he has a lot of them, and feels that without them he will fail.  This is a HVT, attack and destroys it, and you are halfway there.  So, plan your targets accordingly and commit the right resources to defeat it.

Define unit boundaries. Unit boundaries help maintain the cohesiveness of your units by keeping together.  For example you don’t want to mix units from the 1st ID (M) with units from 1st AD.  Likewise you want to keep your brigades within their own boundaries as well.  Remember this is not a rule, in some cases you may want to “stack” your brigades one after the other.  You decide, the bottom line is you must be able to manage your units, and the area they are operating in.

Maneuver units must be coordinated in their attack and maneuver.  You don't want to send them in piecemeal, like General Franks (VII Corps Commander during the Persian Gulf War) said you want to hit them with a fist.  Don't tickle the defender with one unit at a time; crush him with your whole body.  Maneuver means getting your units into a position of advantage usually in the rear or flank of the enemy.

Artillery must be in position to support the attack.  That's why I advocate attaching your direct support or DS artillery units to your maneuver brigades or battalions.  DS units are Field Artillery units that “belong” to a division.  Each division has a Division Artillery or DIVARTY that consist of four battalions, three DS battalions, and one General Support or GS battalion.  The DS battalions provide direct support to the three maneuver (infantry or armor) brigades within the division; by attaching the DS battalions directly to the brigades they are able to provide more responsive fires to the supported unit.  The DIVARTY GS BN usually MLRS will shoot SEAD or Counter-Fire (CF) missions for the division.  In addition to DIVARTY units you may also be assigned Corps Artillery or CARTY units.  These units are GS units and can augment the fires of the DIVARTY units.  They will normally shoot CF and SEAD missions, but can shoot in interdiction mode, except for MLRS.  In real life MLRS would not normally shoot interdiction fires.  But this is a game so you can do what you like.  I can tell you that MLRS is most effective against ARTY (CF) or ADA (SEAD).

Conduct a thorough recon.  Remember recon is continuous, it never stops.  The moment you lose "sight" of the enemy something bad will happen.  That's why maintaining some kind of contact is so important.  Using your recon units, and in some cases maneuver units, to establish a security screen to prevent the enemy from getting his recon units "eyes" on you.  This is known as counter-recon.  If you can, try to destroy these units, but don't become decisively engaged until you are ready.

NAIs or Named Areas of Interest are used to confirm or deny enemy presence or actions.  You could place your NAIs around the objective, or you could place them in key terrain.  What is key terrain?  Key terrain would be any piece of ground that could offer the enemy some kind of advantage.  For example the NTC map has a number of mountain passes, if the enemy were holding one of those passes it would be a nice thing to know.  Roads or main avenues of approach (usually in restrictive terrain) are also key areas to watch.  A great place for an NAI is a bridge, or some other “chokepoint.”

TAIs or Target Area of Interest is where you plan to kill the enemy.  TAIs offer a combat bonus to air strikes, ARTY, and helos, so you definitely want to plan them carefully.  In the offense your TAIs are usually around your objective, but they can be placed along key areas of your route.  You always want to use your helos in conjunction with TAIs.  If you are going to commit a huge combat multiplier like your atk helos then you must maximize their effectiveness.  You do this by engaging targets within TAIs.  Remember you can reposition your TAIs, but they won't become effective until the next turn.

Units must be re-supplied before they go into combat.  That's why you must pause to re-supply prior to initiating contact.

ADA units must be "networked" to cover a majority of the force, or you may assign them to critical units.

Attack Helos must also be synchronized with the force to deliver their blow at the right moment.  For example on the approach march prior to contact you might send your atk helos in for a raid taking out critical points in the defense.  Remember don't make your atk helos flying targets by not assigning them a target type.  Assign target types at the beginning of the game just in case you forget during the heat of the battle.

Close Air Support or CAS should also be coordinated with the attack.  Use them in conjunction with atk helos and artillery.  If your air sorties are limited choose only the most critical targets.

UAVs. Your UAVs are an invaluable asset, use them to "trace" the main defensive belt, and use them deep to identify critical targets such as combat service support or CSS, and unit HQs.  Use a zigzag pattern working towards you to get the best coverage.  You will lose your UAVs at some point in the game; it's just a fact of life.  

Sergeant First Class Vincent "TJ" Taijeron, USA, originally from the island of Guam, joined the Army at 17 and plans to retire from it at the end of 2001 at the completion of 20 years duty.  He has served as Cannon Fire Direction Specialist, Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Crewman in units including 9th ID (Motorized) " 1/11 FA  Ft. Lewis, WA;   3rd ID (Mech)  A Btry 76th FA (MLRS) Bamberg, Germany; 18th FA BDE (Airborne),  3-27 FAR (MLRS) Ft. Bragg, NC; 2nd ID A/6-37 FA (ATACMS) Camp Stanley, Republic Of Korea.

SFC Taijeron's decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (3), Army Commendation Medal (3), and Army Achievement Medal ( 5). 
 
You can write to TJ at taijeron@hpssims.com

 

 

 

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