The engineer brigade should be assigned and should train with a tele-engineer kit allowing reach-back to U. Doctrine should identify specific USACE assets to be attached to the engineer brigade for transition to SASO operations, to include prime power experts, real estate managers, and infrastructure experts.
The brigade also needs dedicated civil affairs support capabilities in SASO. In general, this configuration worked well, permitting C 2 of the brigade on the move. Recommendation: Engineer brigade commanders must be resourced with more combat capable and survivable C 2 platforms to permit them the ability to move about the battlefield to the decisive place for engineer operations and to control the close engineer fight.
Issue: Fighting combat engineers and survivability Discussion: Engineer combat vehicles are not survivable under the fighting conditions we encountered in OIF. One sapper was killed and three wounded when an RPG round hit a squad M; in contrast, no RPGs penetrated any of the Bradleys or tanks in 3ID M , and our maneuver survivability to tenacious attacks is a major lesson of this campaign. On multiple occasions BCT commanders wanted to leave combat engineers behind during an attack because of our lack of survivability, but each time concluded they could not because of the need for responsive combat engineers to reduce possible obstacles forward.
Combat engineers must fight forward to execute the wide variety of important combat tasks carried out in this campaign, such as removing obstacles, clearing and marking routes, emplacing a wide variety of expedient obstacles, and providing additional security forces for tasks such as manning blocking positions. In addition to conducting their fundamental sapper tasks focused on assured mobility, on repeated occasions during OIF combat engineer line companies served their task forces as fighting engineers and established enemy prisoners of war EPW cages, conducted presence patrols, secured and defended bridges, cleared buildings, and attacked to clear routes.
Enemy dismounted forces in buildings and from fortified foxholes viciously attacked our sappers throughout the campaign. Combat engineers responded with devastating effect, firing at enemy forces with crew served weapons, Javelins one of the most important equipment additions to the force, providing both antiarmor capability and thermal imaging , and fighting from the M cargo hatch with small arms. For those units that had trained extensively in Kuwait before combat, their realistic training proved invaluable.
Weapons ranges focused on moving and shooting as opposed to typical small arms targetry. In addition, platoons conducted extensive training on displaced civilians and EPWs. Moreover, military operation on urban terrain MOUT training conducted at home station prior to deployment proved crucial in familiarizing sappers with the problems of fighting as infantry in urban terrain. Recommendation: Place combat engineers in a vehicle platform of equal survivability to that of maneuver forces. Completely revamp the current EQT to replicate shoot and move Tables, incorporating mobility tasks with the need to fight while attacking.
Maintain this training by introducing into the METL basic infantry training, such as fire control and dismounted infantry operations. Focus training on the quick transitions between engineer and infantry missions.
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This included an extensive review of commercial off-the-shelf COTS countermine equipment to pursue in case of deployment. As a result we focused primarily on mobility tasks in preparation for combat, to include route marking and signing and traffic control not enough military police [MPs] were available to handle both EPW operations, manage traffic, and conduct bridge recons and seizures. But because we faced relatively few obstacles throughout the campaign, our major mobility tasks were focused on overcoming natural obstacles and difficult roads and terrain, as well as disposing of UXO and enemy weapons and ammunition caches.
One of the BCTs encountered a meter deep minefield astride Highway 8 north of the junction with Highway 1. This obstacle was covertly breached by sappers in order to execute a mission and was subsequently deliberately breached after being reseeded. Another minefield along Highway 8 just east of BIA was meters deep and required considerable engineer effort to reduce. Additionally, the enemy used unconventional obstacles in several locations, including destroyed vehicles and other expedient roadblocks. Engineers also encountered several partially damaged or destroyed fixed bridges.
This would give us a common chassis that works much better than the trailer-mounted version. Recommendation: The assured mobility concept should be enshrined in doctrine now. Current training emphasis in the training base, at home station, and at CTCs on emplacing minefields should be dramatically reduced and replaced with an emphasis on assured mobility operations, to include route and bridge reconnaissance, route marking and signing, traffic control at FPOLs, river and gap-crossing, and maneuvering in constricted terrain. Defensive training should focus on situational obstacles, point minefields, and the kinds of tasks listed above, with a heavy emphasis on road craters used fairly extensively to contain certain cities during the attack , wire obstacles, and field expedient obstacles and berms to control traffic.
Issue: Bridge seizures and doctrine Discussion: Because of the constrictive nature of the terrain at the river crossing sites, the division was forced to plan its two potential river crossing operations as brigade-level tasks, rather than true doctrinally deliberate river crossings. Difficult approaches at crossing sites made it was essential we cross close to the fixed bridges to facilitate the momentum of the attack. While the preferred river crossing technique was bridge seizure, we found little doctrinal references to bridge seizure TTPs, even a METL task for an airborne unit seizing a bridge presumes the bridge is not prepared for demolition.
All the training elements required for this operation exist, but there is no doctrinal framework. Bridge classification training aided planning for bridge seizures and enabled execution. The tele-engineering kit TEK proved essential to complete technical evaluation of multiple damaged bridges after partial damage to explosives.
Include counter demolition training to support bridge seizure as a focus of EQT and engineer tactical education system. Continue bridge classification training at the current level of emphasis. Augment engineer battalions with one TEK per battalion in order to train on its multiple capabilities for advanced technical reconnaissance. Augment engineers with LRAS devices for independent standoff reconnaissance capability.
As a result, the division suffered delays and confusion at its several FPOL operations, largely because units ignored or were unaware of control measures, while engineers and MPs sorted out traffic jams and congestion on the ground. During the crossing of OBJ Peach, engineers templated engineer equipment parks and engineer regulating points, but despite this fact, the bridge company arrived at OBJ Peach to find several other units occupying these sites.
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Also, a considerable amount of traffic blocked access to the river crossing site, precluding crossing site reconnaissance and delaying bank preparation for several hours. The addition of a corps level engineer battalion headquarters with a combat engineer company and bridge companies to the crossing area BCT was essential to the success of the river crossing operation. This battalion provided the necessary additional staff and personnel to conduct the detailed and complex planning and execution of a river crossing. A single engineer battalion supporting a BCT would be hard pressed to plan and execute an operation of this magnitude.
In both cases where the division prepared to execute a river crossing, 3ID M forces attacked over extended distances 50 km or more on only fair roads that rapidly deteriorated under maneuver traffic. By the time the following MRBCs passed through, they became mired in soft sand and arrived at the crossing site several hours late. If we had needed to conduct a river crossing, we would have waited a long time for the MRBCs to catch up. Further, we found that time needed hour for bank preparation was much greater than anticipated.
Consider doctrinal grouping of FPOL, river crossing, and breaching in a capstone framework using river crossing area control measures as a common reference, to facilitate standardizing these similar tasks. These additional units gave the division the capability to execute the full range of required wartime engineer tasks, but the numbers of units assigned were inadequate to complete all assigned engineer tasks. Due to the engineer shortage, we task organized based on capabilities, not unit assignment.
Hence, different combat heavy construction modules were assigned numerous tasks to accomplish sequentially along their axis of advance, with specified disengagement criteria to ensure time-sensitive tasks were completed.
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However, the distances quickly out-stripped communications capabilities and, combined with congestion on over-crowded LOCs and insufficient haul, many construction assets did not catch up to their elements until days later. We planned to reconsolidate engineers at OBJ Rams, the one location where the division would stop for a short period of time, ultimately allowing engineer assets to catch up and to re-task organize assets to support critical mission sets such as the Euphrates river crossing.
EAD engineers should be re-designed into more functionally capable modules able to execute discreet mission sets. Centralized logistics haul assets are inadequate for the assigned construction assets and must be assigned to the supported engineer unit. The engineer brigade planned and prepared for and executed these tasks.
During the planning process, the corps engineer work line CEWL typically the division rear boundary or forward was not clearly specified for the various portions of the operation. The CEWL delineates the area where corps engineer assets execute missions so that divisional assets can focus forward. Several times during operations, the division sent personnel and pieces of equipment well behind the CEWL and the division rear boundary in order to accomplish missions.
These tasks were particularly difficult, as they usually took no account of support relationships and requirements, communications ability, coordination for security in the battlespace, or feasibility of execution.
During OIF, difficulties arose when engineer headquarters determined a mission requirement, but did not have the resources to execute. In all cases, these tasks pulled the units back and diverted leader energy away from the close fight and the strategic objective of seizing Baghdad.
During OIF, it was critically important that key assets meet timelines and move to the proper location at the designated time. Recommendation: Headquarters of all levels should follow established doctrine regarding engineer work lines and not assign tasks to units outside of their battlespace, especially in an engineer-resource constrained environment. This is even more critical over the extended distances faced in OIF. Furthermore, all headquarters should carefully specify the command and support relationships of subordinate units, and then respect those relationships.
Missions required by the higher headquarters should be clearly established prior to the operation, or should at least be published in time for subordinate units to react and execute. Issue: Critical engineer assets lacked transportation haul to move them forward rapidly Discussion: There are numerous pieces of engineer construction equipment graders, scrapers, dozers, etc. TF 94E lacked the organic haul assets to upload all of their equipment, and was not able to move all of their equipment at one time, requiring them to either leave equipment behind or to be resourced with additional haul.
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That process would have taken assets out of the fight for several days as trucks went back and forth on congested routes over km long. The division also received four D9 dozers, an exceptional asset that could only be moved about the battlefield on HETS, however the HETs and crews initially assigned to the D9s were pulled in the first week of the operation. In theory, logistics doctrine fulfills this shortfall with EAD haul, but this never materialized. HETs and other haul assets were allocated to other priorities, leaving over twenty pieces of engineer construction equipment back behind the border, never to get into the fight.
Recommendation: The feasibility of our centralized logistics doctrine needs a careful review, as the critical path in almost all supporting operations throughout this fight was haul capability. All engineer units should be resourced to move themselves in one lift. Assets must be resourced at the level from which they come. Though this company was tasked almost to its maximum capability during offensive operations, it was able to sufficiently accomplish its mission when augmented by combat engineers. Ammunition management and removal, as opposed to demolition, was of great concern.
Countless weapons caches, combined with densely populated urban areas heavily laden with UXO where explosive disposal was difficult, exacerbated the danger to innocent civilians and proved a heavy burden. Though not specifically trained in UXO destruction procedures, combat engineers were critical to the removal and destruction of UXO and weapons caches. Units could not bypass the caches for fear of allowing enemy forces to go back and police up the weapons to use against us. Nor could they afford to put guards on the caches until an EOD team could make it to the site.
Although combat engineers supplementing and augmenting EOD was an essential expedient, this tactic presented considerable safety concerns. More than once, engineers trying to destroy weapons and ammunition ended up not using enough demolitions or placing it improperly. As hostilities end and units transition to SASO, they must be augmented with additional EOD support another company per division , particularly if the division is operating in urban areas.
If the Army does not increase the EOD support to divisions, then the EOD and combat engineer communities must develop training doctrine to allow combat engineers to dispose of unexploded ordnance and weapons caches in order to augment inadequate EOD assets. An important component of gaining local populace trust and confidence is to quickly remove the UXO and Class V threat.
Over the course of the war, many components of the national infrastructure especially electricity, water, and sewage utilities were damaged or destroyed. Much of the damage was as a result of looters and vandals in the immediate aftermath of regime fall and all would have to be rebuilt. This was most immediately apparent at BIA. Although this airport and numerous other objectives around Baghdad were specified, the division had been given no plan to occupy the city and transition to SASO. Multiple military and interagency organizations vied to set up operations at BIA, but the BCT controlling BIA was too engaged in continuing combat operations to coordinate this adequately.
After occupation by several thousand soldiers for several days, BIA was on the verge of a sanitation crisis. Upon arrival at BIA, the engineer brigade set up a Joint Facilities Utilization Board to manage the real estate and utility needs of each of the multiple tenants, and this forum became the center for all coordinated activity on BIA well after responsibility for BIA transferred to the th Engineer Group. As BIA began to function independently, the security situation in the city calmed and restoring utilities to the over five million residents of Baghdad became an urgent priority.
Infrastructure reconstruction was vital to gain the trust and confidence of the locals as a demonstration of our willingness and ability to help restore a safe, secure, and functional urban environment. These critical infrastructure nodes were assessed by various elements from the battalions, then at the engineer brigade this information was exchanged at daily engineer fusion cell meetings, where the brigade decided on allocation of priorities and resources. The engineer brigade also coordinated and tracked UXO disposal and Class V removal, as well as force protection, route clearance, and forward operating base living standards for the BCTs.
In coordination with CFLCC's, TF Faijr, which was charged with restoring the power, water, and sewage utilities nationwide, the engineer brigade organized and energized local Iraqi electrical, water, and sewage authorities to slowly repair and restore damaged utilities. Close cooperation between TF Fajir, a 35 man headquarters, and the engineer brigade was essential as neither unit had adequate resources for their common task of restoring utilities.
The two established a combined engineer operations center at Baghdad South, a key city power plant, using the enlisted terminal attack controller ETAC and TF Fajir personnel. TF Fajir tied in intelligence on the national grid, coordination with the interagency countrywide, worked U. Close cooperation was especially critical since multiple security issues, such as thieves, vandals, and UXO, prevented access to many of the facilities and transmission lines, and required constant coordination with 3ID M and the BCTs to correct.
However, starting this process was prolonged and complicated because three major elements 3ID [M], 1st MEF, and st ABN Div [-] occupied different parts of the city, each dealing with separate groups of Iraqis trying to fix the infrastructure. As 3ID M consolidated control over the entire city, a vetting process was conducted to bring the various groups together. In addition to TF Fajir, which provided the most significant capability to energize restoration of utilities, the engineer brigade was aided in this effort by several unique U.
Army Corps of Engineers elements and capabilities. V Corps sent some prime power experts to help restore power to BIA and a facilities engineer detachment to assist with technical assessment, repair, and coordination in Baghdad. All of this came together less as part of a plan, than as the result of emergency coordination and requests once 3ID M was in Baghdad and the critical nature of the requirements was recognized. Recommendation: If the final objective of an operation includes restoring utilities operations to an existing infrastructure, the tactical unit occupying the ground needs to understand the plan and organization that will execute the restoration of utilities within the goal of a safe and secure environment.
Technical engineer experts from specialized units such as prime power and facilities teams should be echeloned well forward to begin work as soon as possible. Additionally, higher-level plans and teams designated to rebuild civilian infrastructure need to be clearly established, made known to all units involved, and must be on the ground immediately. This is particularly important for non-military agencies charged with the political authority to make decisions with potentially long-ranging impact, such as designating which personnel we will recognize and work with.
Various battalions used different techniques to apply this concept. The 2IC also proved to be a much more reliable source of information than the company TOCs because he was forward with the maneuver forces monitoring actions on the ground. Recommendation: Continue to develop and utilize this valuable asset while in the offense.
Issue: Employing and integrating engineer reconnaissance teams ERT with task forces Discussion: An ERT provides enormous advantages by placing engineer expertise well forward of the main body. The ERT can give the commander mobility intelligence of the battlefield so he can make better decisions to maintain offensive momentum. However, they provided limited engineer intelligence, as the enemy did not significantly obstacle our approaches. In Baghdad, they were consolidated under battalion control to recon utilities in the city.
ERTs tremendously aided infrastructure intelligence as the unit focused on restoring utilities to pre-war levels.
Recommendation: The ERT should be added to the MTOE, but needs specific training to be more effective, to include obstacle reporting, bridge reconnaissance, use of the laser range finder, TF scout integration, bridge reconnaissance and assessment, obstacle marking, and route reconnaissance. Team stabilization is critical to maximize habitual relationships with TF and BRT and to maintain training level. Issue: Task organizing Volcano systems in mechanized engineer battalions Discussion: Two of the three engineer battalions consolidated Volcanos under a platoon leader assigned to the HHC commander because situational Volcano obstacles are typically brigade level or higher targets.
Although no Volcano minefields were emplaced during this operation, the Volcano platoon gave the engineer battalion commander a highly flexible asset. Two thirds of our Ms downloaded their Volcanos to make room for extra haul of engineer supplies and equipment, given the unlikely need for a family of scatterable mines FASCAM minefield. We were fortunate in this campaign to fight an enemy incapable of organizing a coherent attack against us, thanks in large measure to our dominant air power, overwhelming fire superiority, and armored vehicles protecting us from enemy fires. This does not mean we should cast aside our situational obstacle capability, but perhaps make it more flexible and supportable by changing the organization as suggested here, as well as changing the platform.
Ms are old, limited in haul capacity, and lightly armored, while HEMTT cargo trucks can complete the Volcano mission with far greater flexibility for the force with greater haul capacity and higher maintenance reliability. Issue: Maintain field craft and assembly area AA operations skills developed during OIF Discussion: In training on set engineer qualification tables, we have lost valuable training in basic soldier tasks.
Field problems focus on the major engineer tasks. Valuable field craft gained in platoon bivouacs and field training exercises have been lost. Platoon sergeants have to train platoon leaders on the fly. We have now trained ourselves in these areas, and we need to ensure that they remain a training objective when we execute field training. Recommendation: Once a quarter platoons should complete a 3 to 4 day field training exercise. Assembly area procedures, convoys, and field craft will all remain important training objectives of these events.
Platoon sergeants need to serve as the primary platoon trainer for these areas.
We used the Panther as an additional armored security vehicle to great success. Even without the main gun turret, the local population respected the Panther. Recommendation: Continue to use the Panther as an additional armored platform. In some cases this meant that engineer CPs, brigade, group, battalion, and separate company, operated over km apart. The brigade struggled mightily to get HF radios to work, and while we were able to get over half operational, we were never able to talk over extended range in the green, although we could occasionally talk in the clear.
We obtained several Iridium phones useful for commander-to-commander discussions, but they proved largely unreliable. Reporting through engineer channels is critical, as these reports contain more specific and detailed information, allowing the engineer brigade to assemble and track a mobility common operating picture MCOP for the division. These reports allow the engineer brigade and division engineer to assess the information, balance it with division requirements, and make informed recommendations and decisions. Additionally, this engineer specific information must be passed to the corps engineer.
By MTOE, the units in engineer brigade have limited long-range communications capabilities. FM relay extends the range of the FM net, but it only does so in one general direction. Retrans was not a viable option due to the security situation. The division engineer could talk to the CG, but he could not always accurately portray the engineer picture and make recommendations because he could not routinely receive reports from and talk to his subordinate commanders.
The failed crossing of the Rapido River in Italy and the successful crossing of the Irrawaddy in Burma are the two historical case studies examined. Operational art considered for each campaign shows the importance of the planners' and commanders' understanding and communication of not only the tactical requirements of a gap crossing but also how the crossing is part of the larger operation to achieve the strategic goats.
Current gap crossing doctrine is tactically focused and should remain tactically focused. This monograph determined operational planners and commanders at the division and corps must understand operational art and incorporate it into the planning of a gap crossing like any other tactical action to facilitate the success of a campaign. Although recent conflicts have placed emphasis on the counterinsurgency fight, potential conflicts still may include combined arms gap crossings.
Gap crossings by American forces under direct fire of the enemy have not been done since Vietnam, and the last combined arms crossing during an operation was in against only nature as an enemy. Over the last century the U. Army has undergone several changes in river crossing techniques and equipment, engineer force structure, and gap crossing doctrine. The tactical requirements of a gap crossing are well documented but with the completion of modularity, U.
Army corps and divisions have significantly fewer engineers and thus river crossing assets. Does the reduced force structure still have the ability to conduct a deliberate gap crossing in accordance with the latest doctrine? The last deliberate gap crossing, a type of combined arms operation, conducted at the division level was before modularity. More importantly the current update to gap crossing doctrine FM ,12 Combined Arms Gap Crossing Operations is tactically focused and does not incorporate the operational art of FM Operations.
The focus of this thesis is to determine how U. Army divisions ensure deliberate gap crossings, a type of combined arms operation, are planned using operational art. The current gap crossing doctrine is tactically focused; it will be up to the commander and the operational planners to incorporate operational art to conduct a successful gap crossing to facilitate the success of the campaign. The analysis of historical case studies in their strategic context with tactical outcomes using the definition of operational art to compare each will show the importance of the planners' and commanders' understanding of not only the tactical requirements of a gap crossing but tying the crossing to a larger operation to achieve the strategic goals.
The current gap crossing doctrine is tactically focused; it will be up to the operational planners and commanders at the division to incorporate operational art to conduct a successful gap crossing to facilitate the success of the campaign. Progressive Management: For over a quarter of a century, our news, educational, technical, scientific, and medical publications have made unique and valuable references accessible to all people.