20-08 - Musicians of Mars IV: The Mustangs’ War (Deliberate Attack)

By Center for Army Lessons LearnedMay 12, 2020

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The nations of Bolcavia and Arcania, including any references to cities, towns, or other locations, are fictional, as are the characters of the story. Any reference to actual names or places is coincidental and not intended. References to U.S. and coalition forces and previous combat operations are provided only for context of the fictional scenario.

This vignette was written to emphasize critical synchronization tasks, combat leadership principles, and factors for consideration. Its primary audience is junior leaders at battalion echelon and below, but it is also applicable for professional development programs at all other tactical-unit levels. The importance of integrating and synchronizing available combat power, both lethal and nonlethal, in the decisive action environment against potential hybrid threats is critical to unit success on the battlefield. The authors acknowledge that it is somewhat lacking in representation of all warfighting functions (WfF), but this was a result of both space constraints and the directed target audience.

When this project started, the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) identified specific tasks from ADRP 1-03, The Army Universal Task List, dated October 2015. These tasks applied to offense, defense, and stability operations in decisive action. These tasks were coordinated with the Maneuver Center of Excellence to emphasize specific areas of importance. Current doctrinal references, applicable to the principles of offense, defense, and stability operations, were applied in the context of the story. Many of those documents are listed in the references. In addition to those listed, principles and tactics, techniques, and procedures from Army Techniques Publications (ATPs), Training Circulars (TCs), and Field Manuals (FMs) applicable to all WfF were used in development. The specific tasks applied to the scenario are:

  • Conduct Tactical Maneuver, ART 1.2
  • Conduct Passage of Lines, ART 1.2.8
  • Occupy an Attack and Assault Position, ART 1.5.2
  • Occupy and Establish a Battle or Defensive Position, ART 1.5.3
  • Overcome Barriers, Obstacles, and Mines, ART 1.6.1
  • Conduct Breaching Operations, ART
  • Conduct Gap-Crossing Operations, ART
  • Enhance Movement and Maneuver, ART 1.6.2
  • Conduct Counter-mobility Operations, ART 1.7
  • Conduct Reconnaissance, ART 1.8
  • Conduct Maneuver Support Operations, ART 1.10
  • Integrate Fires, ART 3.1
  • Employ Fires, ART 3.2.1
  • Conduct Surface-to-Surface Attack, ART
  • Employ Close Air Support, ART
  • Employ Air and Missile Defense, ART 3.4
  • Provide Combat Casualty Care, ART 4.3.1
  • Provide Medical Evacuation (Air and Ground), ART 4.3.2
  • Prepare for Tactical Operations, ART 5.1.2
  • Reorganize Units as Part of a Reconstitution Effort, ART
  • Conduct Public Affairs Operations, ART 5.7
  • Conduct Electronic Warfare, ART 5.9.2
  • Synchronize Information-Related Capabilities, ART 5.12
  • Conduct Civil Affairs Operations, ART 5.15
  • Prepare Fighting Positions, ART
  • Prepare Protective Positions, ART
  • Implement Operations Security, ART 6.10
  • Assault an Objective, ART
  • Conduct a Counterattack, ART
  • Conduct an Area Defense, ART 7.2.2
  • Attack by Fire an Enemy Force or Position, ART 7.5.1

Through the mission command philosophy, commanders understand that subordinates and staffs require a clear intent to guide their actions. Leaders must be able to clearly portray intent to subordinate leaders, enable and empower subordinate leaders to execute critical tasks, and continue to lead and assess throughout execution of missions to ensure success at all levels.

Training at individual and collective levels sets the conditions for synchronization. Standards must be met or set. Leaders must integrate key assets and enablers into collective unit training plans. In many cases, this requires creativity and initiative to account for those assets that may not be organic to the training unit. Leaders must identify the critical mission tasks across the spectrum, actively pursue available resources for training, and execute training to the established standards. Each piece of the orchestra must practice individually and then collectively in order to achieve the harmony of synchronization.

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