Archive for January 17th, 2007

MS 101 Understanding Combat Power

January 17, 2007

U.S. Army, Field Manual 100-5, 1994 (Unclassified) … Combat power is created by combining the elements of maneuver, firepower, protection, and leadership. Overwhelming combat power is the ability to focus sufficient force to ensure success and deny the enemy any chance of escape or effective retaliation. … Overwhelming combat power is achieved when all combat elements are violently brought to bear quickly, giving the enemy no opportunity to respond with coordinated or effective opposition. … Commanders seek to apply overwhelming combat power to achieve victory at minimal cost. … They attempt to defeat the enemy’s combat power by interfering with his ability to maneuver, apply firepower, or provide protection. Commanders multiply the effects of combat power through the integrated efforts of combat, CS, and CSS arms, as well as the forces of the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy. … Four primary elements – maneuver, firepower, protection, and leadership – combine to create combat power – the ability to fight. Their effective application and sustainment, in concert with one another, will decide the outcome of campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements. Leaders integrate maneuver, firepower, and protection capabilities in a variety of combinations appropriate to the situation. … Maneuver Maneuver is the movement of combat forces to gain positional advantage, usually in order to deliver – or threaten delivery of – direct and indirect fires. Maneuver is the means of positioning forces at decisive points to achieve surprise, psychological shock, physical momentum, massed effects, and moral dominance. Successful maneuver requires anticipation and mental agility. … Firepower Firepower provides destructive force; it is essential in defeating the enemy’s ability and will to fight. It is the amount of fire that may be delivered by a position, unit, or weapon system. Firepower may be either direct or indirect. Integrated as part of the commanders concept, firepower includes the fire support functions that may be used separately from or in combination with maneuver to destroy the enemy. The extended range and precision of direct and indirect fire weapon systems, using laser-guided munitions and integrated target acquisition systems, make firepower more lethal than ever before. Firepower can be integrated with smoke or electronic warfare systems to disrupt or disorganize the enemy, producing specific physical and psychological effects. … Protection Protection conserves the fighting potential of a force so that commanders can apply it at the decisive time and place. Protection has four components: The first component of protection is OPSEC [Operations Security] and deception operations, which help keep the enemy from locating friendly units. Skillful reconnaissance and counterreconnaissance aid force protection … Proper dispersion helps reduce losses from enemy fires as does the use of camouflage, discipline, counterreconnaissance, security operations, and fortified fighting positions. These measures help commanders protect their force from enemy observation and are used throughout the conduct of operations. … These are mostly passive measures, but they should also be combined with such active measures as cunning, guile, and craftiness. … The second component of protection keeps soldiers healthy and maintains their fighting morale. It includes guarding their equipment and supplies from loss or damage. Tactical commanders take care of their soldiers’ basic health needs and prevent unnecessary exposure to debilitating conditions. They consider the welfare, morale, and spirit of soldiers as they build cohesion and esprit in units. They supervise preventive maintenance and quick repair of equipment. … The third component of protection, safety, is part of all combat operations and operations other than war. Commanders at all levels should embrace safety as a principal element in all they do. Sustained, high-tempo operations can put soldiers at risk. Strong command and high levels of discipline and training lessen those risks … Safety in training, planning, and operations is crucial to successful combat operations and the preservation of combat power, … The fourth component of protection is the avoidance of fratricide – the unintentional killing or wounding of friendly personnel by fire. The destructive power and range of modern weapons, coupled with the high intensity and rapid tempo of the battlefield, increase the likelihood of fratricide. Commanders must be aware of those tactical maneuvers and terrain and weather conditions that increase the probability of fratricide and take measures to reduce those probabilities … Commanders seek to lower the probability of fratricide without overly constricting boldness and audacity in combat. … Leadership The most essential dynamic of combat power is competent and confident officer and noncommissioned officer leadership. Leaders inspire soldiers with the will to win. They provide purpose, direction, and motivation in combat. Leaders determine how maneuver, firepower, and protection are used, ensuring these elements are effectively employed against the enemy. Thus, no peacetime duty is more important for leaders than studying their profession, understanding the human dimension of leadership, becoming tactically and technically proficient, and preparing for war. These help them understand the effects of battle on soldiers, units, and leaders. The regular study and teaching of military doctrine, theory, history, and biographies of military leaders are invaluable. … Commanders are selected for their tasks because of their moral character, firm willpower, and professional ability. They must imbue their commands with their ideas, desires, energy, and methods. … Professional competence, personality, and the will of strong commanders represent a significant part of any unit’s combat power. … all leaders must demonstrate character and ethical standards. Leaders are first soldiers, and they must know and understand their subordinates. They must act with courage and conviction in battle. Leaders build trust and teamwork. During operations they know where to be to make decisions or to influence the action by their personal presence. … Strong leaders and trained, dedicated soldiers are the greatest combat multipliers. When opposing forces are nearly equal, the moral qualities of soldiers and leaders … provide the decisive edge. … Once the force is engaged, superior combat power derives from the courage and competence of soldiers, the excellence of their training, the capability of their equipment, the soundness of their combined arms doctrine, and, above all, the quality of their leadership. …

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