This manual is part of the FM series, which describes a contemporary. Opposing Force (OPFOR) that exists for the purpose of training U.S. forces. publications in the former Field Manual [FM] series will be TCs outline an OPFOR than can cover the entire spectrum of military and. First, the armor- and mechanized-based and infantry-based OPFOR modules . Likewise, some types of OPFOR described in FM can.

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The objective of the strategic and operational march is to insure that the military forces designated for specific optor arrive on time, intact and combat-ready, at the appropriate location. The three doctrinal imperatives for successful strategic and operational march are speed, security, and surprise. To achieve these ends, the General Staff and theater CINCs, where applicable focus on measures to ensure timeliness and the use of all available means of movement. Before war begins, most or all of the OPFOR’s strategic and operational first echelons occupy positions within the State, perhaps hundreds opflr km from the border.

In order to build a strong strategic grouping to mount an offensive in one theater or to ensure defense of a threatened theater, the General Staff must mobilize and redeploy forces from one or more other theaters. A timely decision to begin mobilization and strategic redeployment is critical. Once a decision is made, rapid mobilization and movement of units assumes primary importance. The outcome of initial operations, which can shape the rest of a war, usually depends on which side wins the race to mobilize its forces, concentrate them in the area of conflict, and deploy them for battle.

If both sides adopt an offensive strategy, the winner seizes the initiative, with his opponent being caught off balance. If one side opts for the strategic defensive and wins the race, it can face the enemy with a dense defense in prepared positions, backed by strong operational reserves.

The attacker may find gaps or weak spots in the defender’s combat formation, and use preemptive attack to avoid the need to expend precious time and resources for a penetrating operation. Planners at the General Staff and theater headquarters, where created prepare in advance for strategic movement. Preparations include the following:.

Planners should take full advantage of the march capabilities of units, as well as the transportation infrastructure in the area of the march.

When planning combined rail and road marches, planners must closely coordinate the movement of heavy equipment by rail with road columns. In preparation for a strategic operation, top priority goes to the deployment of ground elements of aviation units, long-range missile units, air defense units, and key combat service support elements.

The OPFOR needs to hold these at constant readiness to execute important tasks, starting with the long-range fire strike. Next in priority is ground maneuver forces, artillery forces, key engineer units, and communications assets.

The engineer units are needed to prepare for movement. Following these in priority are medical support units, other engineer assets, and theater reserves of all types. The primary goal of information warfare IW activities during the march is to minimize the enemy’s ability to collect information and analyze the OPFOR’s force structure, movement, and objectives.

Another goal is to reduce or negate the enemy’s ability to disrupt or delay the movement. Beginning prior to the initiation of hostilities, the OPFOR continuously conducts offensive and defensive IW activities throughout the duration of a march.

Specific emphasis shifts as OPFOR units prepare for their initial movement, and as they transition between movement and halts. Prior to hostilities, the emphasis is on providing a false or misleading picture to the enemy.

Once hostilities begin, the emphasis is on minimizing the available picture. Perception management efforts are most critical prior to hostilities. The OPFOR recognizes that it will not be able to hide the large-scale mobilization and movement of its forces. The enemy may detect movement in the operational and strategic depth of the OPFOR, given the quality and variety of sensors available to him. The OPFOR describes initial movement as routine internal redeployment or exercise activity, supported by public pronouncements and diplomatic communications.


Protection and security measures are critical during the march. Accurate and complete reconnaissance is imperative. The reconnaissance effort must provide the OPFOR with the required knowledge of march routes, enemy forces, and obstacles to forward movement. At the same time, counterreconnaissance activities attempt to disrupt, destroy, or at the least deceive the enemy’s reconnaissance plan.

Units continuously dedicate time for the effective use of cover, concealment, and camouflage during movement and at halts. In addition, the OPFOR undertakes a number of operational security measures to reduce the amount of information the enemy may gather, such as Radar corner reflectors and deception jammers target enemy airborne and ground-based radars.

These deception systems provide the false signatures of additional vehicles or columns, thereby concealing the true size and location of OPFOR units, as well as the actual march routes. They also provide the additional benefit of targeting airborne radar-aided bombing and navigation systems, supporting force protection efforts. In order to successfully mislead enemy intelligence analysts and planners, false targets must be consistent with associated norms, such as false movement rates, column intervals, and the locations of rest areas.

Enemy analysts look for such “norms”, and are more easily deceived by a false pattern that meets those expectations. Deception efforts must target multiple sensor types. Deceptive communications traffic emanating from the areas of the false units and routes, along with simulated thermal signatures, can contribute greatly to the impression the false OPFOR units are real.

While the OPFOR continues the attempt to mislead the enemy as to its intentions, as commitment approaches the emphasis shifts towards force protection and increased use of cover, concealment, and camouflage to deceive him. However, sufficient time may allow the OPFOR to analyze enemy activities to determine whether or not the deception efforts have succeeded.

Shortened timelines resulting from closure with the enemy do not allow for this in most cases.

Electromagnetic spectrum operations ESO conducted by the marching unit are primarily passive during mf. The focus is on identifying the composition and intentions of enemy units along or near the route of advance.

File:FM 7-100.1 – OPFOR, Opposing Force Operations (December 2004).pdf

Activities supporting deception, such as radar corner reflectors, deception jammers, and dummy radio nets also contribute to the ESO counterreconnaissance effort. Rigid adherence to signals security procedures and the proper use of communications security COMSEC equipment and techniques will minimize information the enemy may collect through signals intelligence.

Physical destruction missions targeting command and control and opdor assets are critical to ensuring the enemy does not disrupt or delay movement. The enemy must not have sufficient time to reconstitute them with minimal interruption of his defense or offense.

Road marches with or without combination with rail marches result in a more rapid concentration than pure rail moves, especially for distances under km.

However, the combined use of road and rail marches can offer the optimum solution as described later. OPFOR divisions have the opfoor to cover 1, to 1, km over difficult march routes, with a daily march rate of from to km. It is the rule to conduct these marches at night for concealment. Figures and show the norms for the average speed of OPFOR columns and their expected daily performance.

File:FM – OPFOR, Opposing Force Operations (December ).pdf – Wikimedia Commons

Travel in mountains, deserts, arctic, and marshy areas might reduce performance sharply. During fog, reduce day speed 25 to 30 percent. Daily march performance calculations assume that units march from 10 to 12 hours of each day. The remaining 12 to 14 hours are spent as follows:.

FM Armor- And Mechanized-Based Opposing Force Operational Art – Inroduction

During a march of over 1, km, there is likely to be at least one rest day, for essential repair and maintenance work. Long road marches impose considerable wear and tear on tracked and heavy equipment.

The problem is most acute in the case of tanks and, to a lesser extent, self-propelled artillery and infantry combat vehicles. One way to solve this problem is to transport tanks and other tracked and heavy equipment on heavy equipment transporters HETsat least to the final assembly area. Of course, the use of HETs limits the number of usable routes. Adverse weather may make unpaved roads unsuitable. Also, HETs need bridges with a load capacity of 80 to metric tons to cross rivers.


During a march from the depth to the final assembly area, an army allocates from two to four routes to each division and one to the remaining army troops. Thus, with only five routes available, an army can move with only two divisions in its first echelon.

With seven, it can deploy three divisions in the first echelon. The latter is preferable, since it is desirable to have a strong first echelon in going over to the attack. For the same reason, it is desirable to have three routes per first-echelon division in the march from the final assembly area to the line of commitment to the tactical area.

Figure illustrates the march routes and stages of an army in an administrative march. The OPFOR uses administrative march columns when the chance of contact with the enemy is nil, or at least confined to airborne or heliborne forces. Tactical march columns are used when moving into or through a battle area. The OPFOR typically deploys march security elements, even in the depth of friendly territory, since diversionary, airborne, and heliborne threats are always present.

However, the acceptable size of such security elements is generally smaller than in the forward area. The main purpose for moving in columns at this point is administrative convenience. Thus, vehicles of similar type, speed, and cross-country capability may move together in packets rather than mixed with other vehicles as they are when prepared for combined arms combat.

Tracked vehicles, and heavy equipment such as SSM launchers, usually move on one route preferably pavedwhile wheeled vehicles move on another route possibly an unimproved dirt road. Figure illustrates the typical march columns of a first- and second-echelon division and other army elements.

There can, of course be many variations on this theme. The OPFOR is keenly aware of the importance of tempo and the likelihood of meeting engagements battles on the modern battlefield. Therefore, it emphasizes that, when contact becomes possible, march organization must reflect the desired organization for combat. There is no time to stop in assembly areas to marry up battle groups.

This can help to beat the enemy to the punch in a meeting engagement and to surprise a defending enemy through the speed with which the OPFOR can mount an attack.

Once in the combat zone, the OPFOR deploys stronger march security, especially on any open or threatened flank. It may form forward detachments in readiness to conduct deep battle. Movement support detachments MSDs, see Chapter 12tailored to the terrain and the degree of enemy route-denial effort, follow immediately behind the forward security element or possibly behind advance guard battalions.

If the OPFOR anticipates a meeting engagement battlean attack against an ill-prepared or overextended enemy, or a pursuit, the first echelon is normally tank-heavy at both tactical and operational levels, and forward detachments can probe ahead. The army artillery group AAG usually moves in the first echelon so its deployment is unhampered and timely; in the same way, the division artillery group DAG often moves at the front of a division’s main body.

However, artillery groups might not always move as a single march unit. They may be dispersed in smaller groupings throughout a march column. This dispersion reduces vulnerability to enemy attack and also increases the area covered by responsive fire support.

At both operational and tactical levels, antitank reserves and mobile obstacle detachments MODs, see Chapter 12 move on a threatened flank or forward within the main body and to be ready to deploy to either flank. Second echelons and CPs normally move on the main axis at either level. Figure illustrates a tank division and other army elements moving in a variant of tactical march formation.

The column lengths and intervals depicted in Figures and are examples for “typical” situations.

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