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Synchronization against a high tempo enemy offensive


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Current US Army doctrine seems to rely a lot in synchronizing battlefield assets to ensure the delivery of massive firepower into the enemy.

Synchronization at the operational level seems to be where US doctrine makes the most emphasis, but nonetheless it appears to be important at the tactical level too.

At the tactical level, synchronization appears as a no-brainer. The most gun tubes pointing at an enemy formation at the same time, or the most directions from where to threaten the enemy at the same time, off course the better. When I am able to synchronize my forces, life is good. But at least in my humble experience when I attempt synchronizing my forces and it doesn't work (as usually happens under my incompetent command) the results are a complete disaster.

Three important notes.

1) I mostly command company-sized blue forces. I like scenarios where I am outnumbered, defending against a WP OPFOR.

2) For the offline simmer like me, SBProPE doesn’t feature orders delays, or blue units getting lost. In an enemy-empty battlefield, if I want two blue tank platoons to synchronize the time they assume ABF positions from two different saddles with shared fields of view, it is entirely doable and friction-free. That’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is how to achieve synchronization in a battlefield that rapidly changes, forcing the units I want to synchronize to take care of ever-changing threats that are unrelated to the tactical maneuver I want them to pull out.

3) Most of the time I tend to place my units relatively dispersed. Not so dispersed that they couldn’t support each other in a reasonable time frame, but dispersed enough to compensate for the lack of combat reconnaissance patrols (I rarely can afford to have that). This may be a character flaw of mine but I am not fond of my command when my troops look like a parade-bound formation. Maybe that’s the key to success?

In some SBProPE scenarios the battlefield changes completely in a matter of minutes: a counterattack that appears to be the mother of victory right now will be my doom five minutes later. To make matters worse, the very decision of launching a counterattack is not one that you can mull over for half an hour or so. So, I let my counterattacking virtual troops out "on a track and a prayer", hoping that they will make it. That's not exactly calculated risk, indeed it’s military gamble.

I have the impression that the when outnumbered and in the defensive, my only hope to achieve synchonization in a counter-attack is to “cool down” the battlefield (i.e. fix the enemy) and then start thinking about synchronizing anything.

Anybody can offer me some advice?

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You've got all the time you need to plan your battle beforehand. Experiment with the mission editor. If, for example, you intend to hold a reserve force to be committed to one of two alternate engagement areas, place your reserve in a position between the two EAs with embark if routes that are controlled by triggers. End those routes just short of the reserve subunits' battle-positions overwatching the EAs. Set embark if routes to the battle-positions conditioned on all units being in place at the ready waypoints so that the reserve subunits will assume battle-positions at the same time. You can also run through your routes to get the timing down. Running the time to travel the expected threat route, you can set a trigger point at which you activate your reserves once the approaching threat forces reach the trigger point. If you were to plan a deliberate defense in RL, this is the kind of stuff you'd try to figure out, why not use the editor to run through a few rehersals and simulate it as well? You can plan various courses of action in response to what the threat might do. Being able to control your forces with triggers will relieve some of the micromanagement pressure.

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Thanks Gary for the advice.

I never re-hearsed a plan with the editor. That's a great idea.

I always had a hard time figuring out enemy most likely/most dangerous COAs during the planning phase. Enemy COA becomes clear after contact :biggrin:, but then is too late to do anything about it.

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Talking about enemy's course of action: what's the best source regarding tactical doctrine of WP forces?

There used to be plans to publish FM 7-100.4 (Opposing Force Small Unit Tactics). I tried to find it in the web some time ago but never found it. Was it published? Or it is not in the public domain?

Thanks in advance.

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There seems to be a problem with newer versions of PowerPoint (?). The files opened fine with an older PowerPoint version my wife has, I don't recall which one. But they won't open in my office's Mac. The files with problems to open have a portrait orientation in many slides, maybe that's the problem.

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