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Chapter - II - 8


Employment of Engineer Troops in Front Offensive Operations


Aim of Engineer Support in Front Offensive Operations

The aims of engineer support in offensive operations are the following:
----- - to create necessary conditions for timely and concealed (secret) movement and deployment of front forces for the attack;
----- - maintain and enhance protection of personnel and equipment against all enemy means of destruction;
----- - repulse likely enemy attacks and strikes;
----- - support of high speed attacks in obstacle and mass-destruction areas.

These aims are achieved through the accomplishment of a number of engineer support tasks. The content and volume of these tasks depend on the concept of the operation and the concrete operational and strategic situation under which the offensive operation is prepared and conducted.

Engineer Support Tasks During the Preparation of Front Offensive Operations

The following are engineer support tasks during the preparation of front offensive operations:
----- - engineer reconnaissance of the enemy and the terrain;
----- - engineer support of the preparation of the offensive operations of first-echelon armies;
----- - engineer preparation of facilities (fortification) for the position areas of rocket troops and air defense rockets;
----- - engineer preparation of facilities for deployment (assembly) areas of second-echelon troops and front reserves;
----- - establish road networks to support the maneuver of front troops;
----- - engineer preparation of facilities for troop control points;
----- - conduct engineer measures in support of operational maskirovka;
----- - engineer support for departure (initial) airfields of front aviation;
----- - engineer supply of front troops and technical support of engineer troops;
----- - prepare defensive lines on desired directions to repel enemy attacks, in case of the explicit threat of enemy aggression;
----- - make preparations regarding the conduct of engineer measures to eliminate the consequences of enemy nuclear attacks.

Engineer Support Tasks During Conduct of Front Offensive Operations

These tasks are conducted to establish favorable conditions for the development of the attack at high speed and protection of personnel against enemy means of destruction. They are as follows:
----- - engineer reconnaissance of the enemy and the terrain;
----- - engineer support for the attack of first-echelon armies during their passage through enemy security zones, breakthroughs of enemy defenses, and development of the attack in the depth of enemy defenses;
----- - engineer support for major river crossings;
----- - engineer support for movement and commitment of front second-echelon troops and reserves;
----- - support for consolidation of important lines and repulsion of counterstrikes of large enemy groupings;
----- - support for landings and combat actions of airborne and seaborne assault forces;
----- - engineer support for front aviation combat actions;
----- - engineer support for actions of rocket (SSM) and air defense rocket troops;
----- - establishment of front command posts;
----- - operational maskirovka;
----- - extraction and purification of water;
----- - elimination of the consequences of the enemy's use of mass-destruction weapons and restoration of combat capabilities of front troops;
----- - organization of the supplying of troops with engineer equipment and material.

Combat Composition and Capabilities of Front, Army, Division, and Regiment Engineer Troops

Front Engineer Units and Large Units

1. Engineer road and bridge construction brigade (IDORMBR): Consists of the following units and subunits:
----- - three engineer bridging battalions;
----- - three engineer road construction battalions;
----- - one engineer reconnaissance company.

2. Combat engineer regiment: Consists of the following units and subunits:
----- - three combat engineer battalions;
----- - one engineer position battalion;
----- - one engineer maskirovka company;
----- - one engineer reconnaissance company.

3. One or two pontoon bridging regiments (?).

4. Engineer maskirovka battalion: Consists of the following subunits:
----- - two maskirovka companies;
----- - one engineer technical company;
----- - one platoon of radio maskirovka.

5. One or two assault river crossing battalions.

6. One or two obstacle breaching (clearing) engineer battalions.

7. Engineer obstacle battalion.

8. Engineer battalion to construct command posts.

9. Two or three engineer battalions.

10. One or two engineer repair battalions for the repair of major assemblies (aggregates) of engineer equipment.

11. Two or three engineer companies of rear service.

Army Engineer Units and Subunits

Army engineer units and subunits consist of the following:
----- - pontoon bridging engineer regiment;
----- - engineer road construction and bridging regiment;
----- - combat engineer regiment;
----- - engineer obstacle battalion;
----- - assault river crossing battalion;
----- - engineer repair and evacuation company;
----- - engineer company to construct command posts;
----- - engineer company of rear service.

Motorized Rifle Divisions Engineer Units

Combat Engineer Battalion

Engineer Subunit of Motorized Rifle Regiment

The engineer subunit of motorized rifle regiment consists of the following:
----- - combat engineer company.

During the offensive operation the following additional engineer units and large units may be attached to the front and army:

To the Front
----- - two to three engineer bridging regiments;
----- - two to three combat engineer brigades;
----- - two to three engineer road construction and bridging brigades or regiments;
----- - pontoon river crossing, trenching and position digging, breaching obstacle, and other units.

To the Army
----- - one engineer regiment or battalion of pontoon bridging;
----- - engineer assault river crossing battalion;
----- - one to two combat engineer battalions;
----- - one to two engineer road construction and bridging battalions;
----- - engineer battalion of breaching obstacles;
----- - other engineer units.

Organization of Combat Employment of Engineer Troops in Front Offensive Operations

The organization of combat employment of engineer troops in offensive operations includes a number of measures conducted by the chief of engineer troops and his staff on planning and all-around engineer support of the offensive operation. The most important elements of organization of combat employment of engineer troops are as follows:
----- - making decisions and planning engineer support;
----- - assigning missions and engineer instructions;
----- - grouping the engineer troops during preparation for offensive operations and during conduct of offensive operations;
----- - preparing attack departure (FUP) areas and command posts (control points);
----- - collecting and dumping engineer equipment, armament, and material;
----- - organizing political work in engineer units and subunits;
----- - organizing all types of supporting measures including engineer support;
----- - preparing engineer troops for combat action;
----- - maintaining high combat-readiness for conduct of assigned missions.

Engineer support of the offensive operation is conducted on the basis of the following:
----- - the concept of the decision of the front commander;
----- - the front commander's instructions on engineer support;
----- - the instructions of the chief of engineer troops of the higher echelon.

The chief of front engineer troops organizes the plan of engineer support of the offensive operation based on the aforementioned.

Plans for Engineer Support

The plans for engineer support of offensive operations are prepared on a 1/500,000 or 1/200,000 scale map with written instructions. The plan reflects the following:
----- - principle tasks of engineer support:

1. engineer support tasks during preparation of operations;

2. engineer support tasks during the conduct of the operation.
----- - areas and times of the conduct of the aforementioned missions and troops assigned to accomplish them;
----- - deployment areas for engineer troops during the conduct of the operation;
----- - method of relocation of engineer troops during the conduct of the operation;
----- - organization of support and supply of troops by engineer equipment, armament, and material.

Graphic Part of the Plan

The graphic part of the plan reflects the following:
----- - brief assessment of the strength, means, and likely character of enemy actions;
----- - operational formation (structure - deployment) of the front and armies in the departure (FUP) areas and the immediate and long-range missions of the front and armies;
----- - areas of breakthroughs in the enemy's defense;
----- - lines of commitment of second-echelon forces of armies and the front into engagement;
----- - command posts (control points) of the front and armies in the departure (FUP) areas and their relocation during the operation;
----- - boundary lines between armies and with adjacent fronts.

The written instructions include information and necessary calculations such as the following:
----- - combat composition, grouping and distribution of engineer troops among armies, elements of combat formations and different missions, and regroupment of engineer troops during the operation;
----- - availability and distribution of engineer equipment and material in terms of missions and among armies;
----- - measures on protection of troops against enemy mass-destruction weapons.

Grouping of Engineer Troops

Engineer troops are grouped as follows to conduct various engineer missions in front offensive operations:
----- - engineer troops assigned to conduct engineer support missions at front levels;
----- - engineer troops attached to first-echelon armies;
----- - engineer troops being attached to front surface-to-surface and air defense rocket troops;
----- - one to two mobile obstacle detachments (POZ);
----- - engineer reserve.

The grouping of engineer troops is not a permanent structure. Depending on the actual situation it is changed and reformed during the conduct of the operation.

On the basis of the plan of front engineer support missions are assigned to the following:
----- - troops;
----- - motorized rifle and tank formations;
----- - large units.

They are assigned through instructions on engineer support to engineer units and large units through combat instructions.

Engineer Support During Assault River Crossings of Front Forces

Engineer support for assault river crossings over wide rivers is organized to create favorable conditions for the following:
----- - rapid arrival of troops to river obstacles on a wide front;
----- - their crossing at current speeds of attack;
----- - development, without halt, of the attack into the depth of enemy defenses.

During the process of making decisions the following are assessed:
----- - width, current velocity, depth, nature of the river beds and banks;
----- - presence of hydrotechnical establishments, bridges, crossings, fords, communication routes;
----- - seasonal characteristics;
----- - time of day;
----- - other factors.

Crossing over small rivers (60 m wide) is organized by division commanders using divisional forces and means. Crossing medium rivers (60-150 m wide) is organized by army commanders using army forces and means. The front commander organizes crossings over wide (major) rivers (more than 150 m wide) using front forces and means.

In the Western TVD it will be necessary to cross 2-3 wide (major) rivers before reaching a depth of 600-800 km. In case of the destruction of dams, the number of rivers of that size to be crossed by the front may increase.

The wide (major) rivers are crossed from the move (without stopping). If crossing from the move (line of march) does not succeed, crossing is conducted after brief preparation. A planned (deliberate) crossing over wide (major) rivers is conducted when our own forces initiate the crossing from a position of direct contact with the enemy on the river.

While making the decision, the front commander in addition to other common issues specifies the following points:
----- - assault crossing areas of first-echelon armies;
----- - methods of troop river crossings;
----- - employment of crossing means and their maneuvers;
----- - location of front crossing points, time of their preparation, and form of their use;
----- - organization of air defense at assault river crossing areas and conduct of other supporting measures.

Engineer support of wide (major) river crossings conducted at front levels includes the following:
----- - engineer reconnaissance of rivers to the entire depth of the front offensive operations, roads leading to rivers, and enemy defenses on water obstacles;
----- - support of rapid and organized movement of troops to water obstacles;
----- - establishment of crossing points and crossing support for first-echelon armies, rocket troops, air defense rockets, second-echelon troops, reserves, and rear service elements;
----- - organization and conduct of traffic, commandant, rescue, and evacuation services at crossing points;
----- - establishment of departure (FUP) areas of troops for river crossings and positions of air defense rocket and antiaircraft artillery units which cover crossing points;
----- - establishment of underwater bridges, bridges to replace floating bridges, and establishment of deceptive crossing points;
----- - providing security for crossing points against floating mines and enemy saboteurs.

The front may cross a wide (major) river by using its organic means including the following:
----- - 11-12 sets of pontoon bridge park (PMP);
----- - 210-260 floating (amphibious) transport means (PTS);
----- - up to 110 floating (amphibious) ferry means (GSP).

Additionally the front may be reinforced by one to two pontoon and bridging construction regiments.

In the division the following may be established:
----- - 4-6 ferry (raft) crossing points;
----- - 3-4 underwater tank crossing points or fording points;
----- - 1 bridge crossing point.

With such arrangements, forward detachments may cross in 1.5-2 hours. First-echelon divisions may cross in 5-7 hours. The army may cross in 12-15 hours.

The following combat employment is specified on the basis of the front commanders decision:
----- - pontoon bridge construction;
----- - assault river crossings;
----- - engineer bridging units.

When available means are limited crossing means are attached to armies operating on main directions or where success has been achieved and part of the crossing means such as one sixty ton bridge are retained at the front level as reserve.

Engineer Support of Commitment of Front Second-Echelon Troops into Engagement

Commitment of front second-echelon troops into engagement is planned during the initial planning of front offensive operations. During the conduct of the operation, the time and the line of commitment of the front's second-echelon is reconfirmed.

The aim of engineer support of commitment of second-echelon troops into engagement is to provide for the following:
----- - timely arrival of second-echelon troops in specified areas (lines of commitment(;
----- - support of their advance;
----- - their deployment;
----- - their protection against enemy strikes from the flanks.

The engineer support of the movement of the front's second-echelon troops and their commitment into engagement includes the following measures:
----- - engineer reconnaissance of the movement area of the second-echelon army and the direction of movement of reserves;
----- - establishing deployment (assembly) and daily (nightly) rest areas;
----- - establishing troop movement routes;
----- - engineer support for preparing crossing sites at water obstacles, during advance, and for movement of the second-echelon;
----- - supporting deployment of large units during commitment into combat;
----- - breaching lanes in areas of enemy obstacle, deployment, and commitment of second-echelon troops into engagement;
----- - covering troop flanks during their deployment and commitment into engagement by mobile obstacle detachments and antitank reserves of the front and armies;
----- - conducting measures on operational deception (maskirovka);
----- - conducting measures eliminating consequences of enemy nuclear weapon use.

The movement of second-echelon troops from assembly areas is usually conducted on available roads prepared in advance. Roads stretched by first-echelon armies during the operation may also be used. To support the movement of a second-echelon army at least two routes are required for each first-echelon army division and at least one route for army troops. Thus, depending on the number of divisions moving in the army's first-echelon a total of at least five to seven routes will be needed for the movement of the front's second-echelon army for commitment into engagement. Routes are prepared for use in a limited time. The speed of their preparation must be coordinated with the speed of advance of the first-echelon armies. On each direction one engineer road construction company is needed. For all directions (roads) one engineer road construction and bridging regiment and pontoon and bridge units are required. Simultaneously, one to two alternate (reserve) routes are also established.

If the terrain is rugged and if there is alot of obstacles and destruction, the engineer reserves are also employed to construct bypassing routes.


Engineer Support for Front Defensive Operations

Aims and Missions of Engineer Support for Front Defensive Operations

The aims of engineer support in front defensive operations are the following:
----- - create favorable conditions to hold vital operational lines and areas by front forces;
----- - inflict decisive losses on enemy groupings.

Aims are achieved by accomplishing a number of engineer support missions. The content and volume of these missions depend on the following:
----- - concept of the operation;
----- - terrain conditions;
----- - operational and strategic situation under which front defensive operations are prepared and conducted.

Principal Tasks

The principal tasks of engineer support in defensive operations are as follows:

During Preparation of Defensive Operations

Principal tasks during preparation of defensive operations are as follows:
----- - establishment of engineer obstacles in front of the forward line of defense, at flanks, and in the depths of defense;
----- - establishment and extension of routes for the maneuver of troops including the routes to support counterstrikes of the front;
----- - engineer installations (preparation) of command posts (control points);
----- - engineer installations (preparation) of positions of rocket troops and air defense rockets;
----- - engineer installation (preparation) of positions of rocket troops and air defense rockets;
----- - engineer installations (preparation) of front aviation airfields;
----- - engineer installation (preparation) of front reserve deployment areas.

In addition to these, during preparation, as well as during conduct of defensive operations the following engineer support missions are also conducted:
----- - operational deception and concealment of troops (maskirovka);
----- - supply of front forces by engineer armaments, equipment and material, and providing technical support of engineer troops;
----- - engineer measures related to elimination of consequences of enemy nuclear weapon use;
----- - extraction (production) and purification of water.

During the Conduct of Defensive Operations

Elements of engineer support during the conduct of the defensive operation are as follows:
----- - development of fortifications of defensive belts;
----- - expansion of engineer obstacles on directions of enemy main attacks;
----- - support of combat actions for rocket troops and air defense rockets;
----- - support for launching front counterstrikes;
----- - engineer establishment (preparation) of areas of deployment of front command posts (control points) and front auxiliary command posts;
----- - engineer support for combat actions of front aviation forces.

During the Conduct of Counterstrikes in Front Defensive Operations

The aim of engineer support for counterstrikes in front defensive operations is to create favorable conditions for movement and deployment of front second-echelon forces and successful conduct of counterstrikes.

Engineer support for front counterstrikes includes the following points:
----- - supporting movement of large units assigned to launch counterstrikes to lines of deployment;
----- - covering flanks of counterstriking large units by obstacles during their deployment;
----- - timely reinforcement of large units conducting counterstrikes with engineer units and subunits.

Movement routes to deployment lines are usually prepared by front troops during operational preparation. During the conduct of counterstrikes engineer troops maintain these routes in a prepared status. Direct engineer support of moving troops is provided by advancing troops themselves.

A complicated situation develops when counterstrikes are launched in unexpected directions. In such cases one engineer road construction company is assigned on each direction (road). These companies can construct eight to ten kilometers of route per hour.

If two divisions are employed in the first-echelon of counterstrikes, three engineer road construction battalions and three engineer bridge construction battalions are needed to support the movement of troops to lines of commitment into engagement.

Mobile obstacle detachments (POZ) cover the flanks and normally operate jointly with antitank reserves.

If the counterstrike develops into a meeting engagement, mobile obstacle detachments operate jointly with antitank reserves to contain enemy troops and create favorable conditions for second-echelon troops launching counterstrikes.