Chapter 2. COUNTERMOBILITY FUNDAMENTALS. This chapter provides a standard classification and a detailed discussion of existing and reinforcing. Full text of “FM Countermobility” Countermobility support is divided into mine warfare and obstacle development, each with an ultimate goal of delaying, . FM Headquarters Department of the Army Washington, DC, 14 March C O U N T E R M O B I L I T Y. he foundation for engineer doctrine in .
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This chapter provides a standard classification and a detailed discussion of existing and reinforcing obstacles. The principles of terrain evaluation and the employment of all of obstacles to reinforce existing terrain are also presented. An obstacle is defined as any obstruction that stops, delays, or restricts movement or maneuver. Obstacles can exist naturally such as a river or a cliff, or can be man-made such as a minefield or tank ditch. Obstacles are grouped into two general categories, existing and reinforcing, as shown.
Existing obstacles are already present on the battlefield and not placed there through military effort. They may be natural such as lakes or mountains, or they can be cultural such as towns or railroad embankments. Reinforcing obstacles are placed on the battlefield through military effort and are designed to strengthen the existing terrain to slow, stop, or canalize the enemy.
Reinforcing obstacles are limited only by imagination, time, manpower, or logistic constraints. They include blowing a road crater, constructing a log crib, or installing a minefield. Scatterable mines are reinforcing obstacles emplaced by various delivery systems such as artillery or aircraft.
FM 5-102 Countermobility
The terrain, as it exists, can be a significant asset to the commander who is best able to analyze and use it advantageously. Terrain is not just the field where the battle is fought–it is very much a part of the battle itself.
The commander at any level who makes the terrain work in a positive manner against the opponent will most likely win. There are many things a counntermobility needs to know about the terrain on which US and enemy forces must move, maneuver, and fight. Some of the more obvious items are:. The commander’s course of action will largely depend on the characteristics of the terrain and intended use of it.
The commander’s action includes movement, maneuver, and weapons siting to destroy the enemy. All ground movement, friendly or enemy, will be dictated by existing obstacles. A good analysis of the terrain in the areas of influence and interest should answer the following questions:.
These questions are not inclusive, but if answered and analyzed, they will provide significant information on how to prepare the battlefield and allocate combat power. Determining existing obstacle locations coutnermobility a key element in terrain analysis. The most critical questions are how and where do we get information concerning terrain and existing obstacles. The best source is an on-the-ground reconnaissance accomplished by the units who will fight the battle.
However, this is not always possible due to lack of resources or enemy control of the areas about which we need information. Corps and division terrain teams organic to the Theater Army Topographic Battalion collect, analyze, and provide important topographic, hydrologic, and climatic data.
Terrain analysts assess observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles to movement, key terrain, and avenues of approach.
Input to the force engineer and G-3 is especially important for obstacle planning. Engineer terrain analysts work as a team with intelligence analysts to collect raw terrain information and convert it into processed intelligence.
Topographic units provide a variety of products including cross-country movement maps, overprinted maps, and various scale tactical maps. Topographic support is invaluable in making a thorough terrain analysis. Analysis of terrain and existing obstacles should focus on the mobility of tanks. Tactics of enemy combined arms forces are designed around the mobility of tanks.
The tank is the primary vehicle we want to restrict, delay, stop, and kill. This antitank orientation of terrain analysis and obstacle development narrows our focus and makes the task more simple.
By focusing on the tank, the terrain analysis team can assist the commander in identifying those existing obstacles that restrict, channelize, delay, or stop the mobility of tanks. Systematic terrain analysis using all assets available reveals the existing obstacle value of the terrain.
Conditions which should be considered when analyzing terrain include drainage features, slope and relief, vegetation, cultural features, and climate. The obstacle value of each condition is evaluated individually in conjunction with trafficability. Then, their combined effects become the obstacle value of the terrain.
Drainage or surface water features include rivers, streams, canals, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, and bogs. Such features are obstacles whenever the water becomes deep or turbulent enough to threaten the safety of soldiers and the operation of vehicles. Drainage features are also obstacles when swamps, marshes, bogs, and the like make soil conditions impossible for cross-country movement.
Large, unfoldable rivers are formidable obstacles because they must be crossed by tactical bridging, swimming, ferrying, or special deep water fording. Ease of crossing these rivers is determined by the width, depth, velocity, turbulence, bank and bottom conditions, rapid tactical bridging available, and existing bridges.
Minor fordable rivers, streams, and canals are much more numerous than major rivers and their tactical value as obstacles should not be overlooked. These features are variable in effectiveness as obstacles. Careful planning is required to integrate them into the obstacle system.
Watercourses frequently constitute elongated obstacles in terrain which may otherwise be excellent for movement. Drainage also influences the orientation of the road net and direction of movement in an area.
The destruction of a few selected bridges can force cross-country movement or long detours. During floods, minor rivers and streams can become major obstacles. They can cause conditions which extend the obstacle effect for a considerable period by damaging temporary and expedient bridges, and by deepening the original channel of the river or stream, thus making access or egress difficult or impossible. Although streams are normally small and slow during periods of low precipitation, and large and rapid during periods of high precipitation, the relationship is not always this simple.
Melting snow, for example, may cause high water downstream even in regions where rainfall is low. Continuous below-freezing weather can reduce stream flow even though precipitation may be high.
In winter, ice may be strong enough to support vehicles; then, instead of being obstacles, water bodies may become the preferred avenues for movement.
Movement on ice is risky, however, because of weaknesses caused by water flowing from springs and other areas of swiftly moving water. In arid regions, dry stream channels maybe preferred avenues for movement during periods of little or no flow. However, there may be quicksand or other soft places where vehicles bog down.
FM Countermobility – Chptr 7 Denial Operations
Also, there is the danger of flash floods. Fordability of a stream expresses how easily it may be crossed without the means of bridging or ferrying.
Fordability depends on characteristics of both the vehicle and the stream. The significant characteristics of streams are:.
FM Countermobility – Appendix D
These characteristics may vary independently so that fording of even the smallest stream requires selecting a site where favorable conditions coincide. A stream is a minor hindrance when a ford is available and usable with little or no improvement.
A stream is a major hindrance if a suitable ford is lacking, or if fording requires considerable preparation of approaches, reinforcement of bottoms, or the use of special equipment on vehicles. A tank can bridge stream channels less than 3 meters wide; however, wheeled vehicles do not have this capability. Once the self-bridging capability of tracked vehicles is exceeded, streams can be crossed only by bridging, ferrying, or fording.
Although the width of a stream is significant to bridging, it is relatively insignificant to ferrying provided it is wide enough and fording. However, the wider the stream, the greater the hazard involved. For fording, the permissible maximum depth of water for most tanks is between 0. Vehicles can be equipped with deep water fording devices that will enable them to cross water bodies as deep as 5 to 6 meters 17 to 20 feet.
Often, a ford may be negotiated with minor difficulty by the first few vehicles, but the ones remaining will be unable to cross because bottom conditions or approaches have deteriorated with use. Stream velocities should be less than 1. The bottom of stream channels must be firm enough to support vehicles. Bottoms made up of fine-grained material can prevent fording even though the water may be only a few inches deep. Suitable bottoms are restricted to those that are sandy, gravelly, or rocky; but even sandy bottoms may give way under the weight of vehicles, or boulders may prevent vehicular movement.
Countermobility on the Battlefield
The banks also are important. Hard, vertical banks will be obstacles to tanks, if bank height exceeds 1. Greater heights can be tolerated if the vehicles can get adequate traction or if assistance such as winching is used. The type of the material composing the banks may be significant.
Banks made up of fine-grained soils may fail under repeated traffic. Sandy and gravelly materials usually provide adequate strength and durability. Adequate information river studies, special maps is commonly available on large streams, but generally not for the small streams. Ground reconnaissance is always the best source of information; for many areas, it is the 5-012 reliable source.
If on-site recon is fj possible, then topographic and geographic maps, reports, and aerial photographs are often the only sources of information available.
Occasionally, useful data can be found in publications on geology, agriculture, soils, and forestry. Large lakes make counterrmobility obstacles. They are usually unfordable, unable to be bridged, and must be bypassed. Smaller lakes and ponds in themselves are not difficult to bypass; however, when connected by streams, they are easily integrated as part of an obstacle system. Because lakes can be crossed by amphibious vehicles or boats, beach and underwater obstacles should be used to discourage enemy ferrying efforts.
When lakes are frozen, they may lose their value as obstacles. Swamps, cluntermobility, and bogs severely restrict mobility and force the canalization of vehicular movement onto causeways, greatly increasing vulnerability to air attack, artillery, or direct fire weapons.
Historically, swamps have been avoided by attacking armies. Swamps and marshes over 1 meter deep maybe more effective obstacles than rivers, since causeways are usually more difficult to construct than bridges.
Soil trafficability, especially when considered in countermobiilty with climatic conditions, is a very important factor in evaluating cross-country movement. Obtaining the necessary information, however, is difficult and time-consuming; and, properly evaluating trafficability strength cm soils is a complicated process. Engineer soils analysis personnel and qualified photo-interpreters are capable 5-10 estimating soil.