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Combat Employment of Engineer Troops in Army Offensive Operations


Aims of Engineer Support in Army Offensive Operations

Aims of engineer support in army offensive operations include the following measures:
----- - establishing necessary conditions for timely movement and deployment of army troops for the attack;
----- - protecting army troops against all enemy means of destruction;
----- - repulsing possible enemy attacks;
----- - conducting attacks at high speeds under conditions of mass-destruction.

Aims are achieved through accomplishment of a number of engineer support missions. The content and volume of these missions depends on the concept of the operation and the concrete conditions of operational situations under which army offensive operations are prepared and conducted.

Engineer Support Tasks During Preparation of Operations

The following are elements of engineer support tasks during preparation of operations:
----- - engineer support for departure (FUP) areas and preparation of first-echelon large units to initiate the attacks;
----- - engineer installation (preparation) for deployment areas of second-echelon large units and army reserves;
----- - engineer installation (preparation) for position areas of rocket, air defense rocket, and large units;
----- - preparation of routes which support movements of second-echelon's large units, rocket troops, air defense rocket troops, and command posts (control points);
----- - engineer installations (preparation) for army's command posts (control points) deployment areas;
----- - conducting measures for engineer support of repulsion of likely enemy counterattacks;
----- - preparations for conduct of engineer measures which eliminate consequences of enemy nuclear attacks;
----- - conducting measures on operational concealment and deception.

Principle Missions for Engineer Support During the Conduct of Army Offensive Operations

The principle missions for engineer support during the conduct of army offensive operations are as follows:
----- - support of movement and deployment of army troops during attacks and while passing through obstacles;
----- - support of breakthroughs of enemy defenses and development of attacks of first-echelon large units passing through obstacles and areas of destruction;
----- - engineer support for combat actions of rocket and air defense rocket large units;
----- - engineer support during crossings of water obstacles;
----- - engineer support for movement and commitment of second-echelons into engagements;
----- - engineer support for combat actions of tactical airborne assaults;
----- - engineer installation (preparation) for army command posts (control points);
----- - conducting engineer measures for elimination of consequences of enemy nuclear attacks;
----- - support and supply of troops during preparations and while conducting operations, by engineer armament, equipment and material, and by providing technical support for engineer troops.

The aforementioned tasks are conducted by engineer troops, as well as by motorized rifle and tank large units.

Groupings of Engineer Troops in Army Offensive Operations

The following are groupings of engineer troops in army offensive operations:
----- - engineer troops being attached to first-echelon large units and rocket and air defense rocket troops;
----- - engineer units conducting army engineer support missions;
----- - one to two mobile obstacle detachments;
----- - engineer reserves.

The grouping is not a permanent structure. The grouping changes during the course of the operation in accordance with the situations.

Missions and Assignment of Army Engineer Troops During Army Offensive Operations

Missions and assignments of army engineer troops during army offensive operations are as follows:
----- - combat engineer regiment (ISP): Reinforces engineer capabilities of first-echelon divisions to which it is attached;
----- - engineer road construction and bridging regiment (IDORMP): Employed at army level to conduct missions in support of maneuver of second-echelon troops, and construction of supply and evacuation routes;
----- - pontoon bridge regiment (POMP): Attached to first-echelon divisions and assigned to establish army crossing sites;
----- - assault crossing battalion (DesPB): Attached to first-echelon divisions to establish crossing sites;
----- - engineer obstacle battalion (IBZAG): Assigned to form mobile obstacle detachments (POZ) and to establish obstacles in the depths of attack areas;
----- - engineer company of command posts (control points) (IRPU): Assigned to establish and construct army command posts (control points);
----- - engineer company of repair and evacuation (IRER): Assigned to conduct repair and evacuation of engineer equipment;
----- - engineer company of rear service (IR Tiel): Assigned to establish and conduct army rear service control points.

Organization of Combat Employment of Army Engineer Troops in Offensive Operations

Organization of combat employment of army engineer troops in offensive operations includes a number of measures conducted by the chief of army engineer troops and his staff. They plan combat employment of engineer troops and all-around engineer support.

The most important measures on preparation and combat employment of engineer troops in army offensive operations are as follows:
----- - making decisions and planning engineer support;
----- - conveying engineer instructions and missions to combined arms large units, engineer units, and subunits;
----- - grouping of engineer troops during preparations of army offensive operations and during its conduct;
----- - preparing attack departure (FUP) areas for the army, divisions, and command posts;
----- - collecting and dumping engineer equipment, armaments, and material means;
----- - organizing political work in engineer units and subunits;
----- - organizing types of combat support measures including engineer support;
----- - preparing engineer troops for execution of assigned missions;
----- - maintaining high combat-readiness for conduct of combat actions.

Organizing engineer support and combat employment of army engineer troops in support of offensive operations is conducted on the basis of the following:
----- - concept of the army commander's decision;
----- - the army commander's instructions on engineer support;
----- - instructions of the chief of front engineer troops.

Based on the concept of the decisions of the army commander, his instructions on engineer support, and instructions from the front's chief of engineer troops, the chief of army engineer troops organizes the engineer plans for offensive operations. This is done after an all-around clarification of the assigned missions and estimate of the situation.

The plan for engineer support of army offensive operations is the principal document of the army engineer staff. It is considered part of the army's plan for offensive operations. The engineer plan is prepared on a 1/200,000 or 1/100,000 scale map with written instructions. The plan is signed by the chief of engineer troops and the chief of staff of the army. It is approved by the army commander. The graphic part of the plan includes the following: ----- - principal tasks of engineer support during preparation of operations;
----- - principal tasks of engineer support during conduct of operations;
----- - areas and times of conduct of these missions and engineer troops assigned to accomplish them;
----- - areas of deployment of engineer troops in attack departure (FUP) areas and their movements during conduct of operations;
----- - organizing support and supply of troops in terms of engineer equipment, armaments, and materials;
----- - brief description of enemy forces, means, and character of his likely (possible) actions;
----- - operational formation (postroenie) of army troops and divisions in attack departure (FUP) areas, the immediate and long-range missions of the army, and the immediate, subsequent, and daily missions of divisions;
----- - areas of breakthrough of enemy defenses;
----- - lines of commitment of the army second-echelon into engagement;
----- - command posts of the army in attack departure (FUP) areas and their relocation (movement) during the conduct of offensive operations;
----- - army boundaries and boundaries between divisions;
----- - likely (possible) assault crossing sites at water obstacles during the conduct of offensive operations;
----- - likely lines of launching of enemy counterstrikes.

In written instructions the following points are reflected:
----- - combat composition and groupings of army engineer troops and distribution of engineer troops amongst divisions, and elements of combat formations, and their distribution in terms of combat missions, and regroupment of engineer troops during operations;
----- - availability and distribution of engineer armament and equipment in terms of different missions and among divisions;
----- - composition of mobile obstacle detachments, movement support detachments, and engineer reserves;
----- - measures on protection of troops against enemy mass-destruction weapons.

Engineer Support During Assault River Crossings During Army Offensive Operations

During the conduct of offensive operations army troops will be forced to assault-cross water obstacles where the enemy puts up resistance and conducts combat actions. This is an attempt to delay the advance of attacking troops. Therefore, the enemy must be prevented from establishing defenses on water obstacles.

The principle form for crossing water obstacles is assault river crossings from the lines of march (from movements). The aims of army troops assault river crossings are the following:
----- - support approaches and troop arrival at water obstacles;
----- - unhindered (uninterrupted) crossings of troops from water obstacles;
----- - develop the attack on the far bank.

Tasks of Engineer Support

The tasks of engineer support during assault river crossings are as follows:
----- - conduct of continuous and active reconnaissance of water obstacles and the enemy on approaches to water obstacles and on far banks;
----- - wise selection of crossing sites;
----- - making timely decisions on assault river crossings and conveying missions to troops;
----- - destroying and suppressing enemy forces defending water obstacles;
----- - seizing available crossing points, river areas suitable for assault crossings, and seizing areas of the far banks;
----- - extending routes to water obstacles and to crossing areas;
----- - timely movement and approach of crossing means to water obstacles;
----- - quick establishment of the crossing sites, wise (effective) maneuver of crossing means;
----- - close concealment (maskirovka) of real crossing sites and creation of deceptive crossing sites;
----- - organizing traffic control (commandant) service at crossing sites;
----- - troop crossings on a wide front at high speeds;
----- - reliable air defense of crossing sites and support of crossing forces by aircraft, artillery, and rocket troops;
----- - protecting crossing sites from enemy destructive actions;
----- - protecting crossing sites and crossing troops from enemy mass-destruction weapons.

The army organizes assault crossings over medium size water obstacles. Smaller rivers (less than 60 m wide) are assault crossed by divisional means. In order to insure a high speed of attack (advance), assault river crossings must be rapidly organized and conducted.

Forward detachments cross in 1.5-2 hours. First-echelon divisions cross in 5-7 hours. The army crosses during a 12-15 hour period of time.

To achieve this aim (to meet the aforementioned time) in the assault river crossing areas the following are established:
----- - assault crossing sites;
----- - raft crossing points;
----- - bridges;
----- - fording sites.

Army second-echelon and army troops (other than first-echelon forces) are crossed over bridges established by the army. To insure a high speed of attack the following crossing sites are established for each first-echelon division:
----- - at least 4-6 assault crossing points, i.e., 1-2 points for each first-echelon battalion;
----- - 4-6 raft crossing points;
----- - 3-4 underwater or fording crossing points for tanks;
----- - one bridge crossing point.

Groupings of engineer troops for support of assault river crossings from lines of march (movement) are designated and established during assignment of missions prior to attacks. It is reconfirmed during conduct of attacks.
Engineer subunits assigned to support forward detachment assault crossings move within the composition of forward detachments. Subunits assigned to support crossings of main forces of first-echelon divisions move behind forward detachments or in the composition of main forces. This means that when the enemy weakly occupies the river's far bank, the engineer subunits assigned to support the crossings of the main forces of first-echelon divisions move behind the forward detachments. But, if the far bank is strongly occupied by the enemy forces, these engineer subunits move within the composition of the main forces of first-echelon divisions.

First-echelon divisions normally cross wide rivers by using assault crossing and raft crossing means. Depending on the situation army second-echelon units cross by bridges, rafts, or assault crossing means.

Organization of traffic control (commandant) service at crossing points is provided by engineer subunits. Such service during movement toward crossing points is organized and provided by motorized rifle units.

Engineer Support for Commitment of Second-Echelon (Reserves) into Combat

The aims of engineer support for commitment of second-echelon troops into combat are as follows:
----- - to insure timely arrival of second-echelon troops at the line of commitment;
----- - effective support of deployment of second-echelon troops during their movement for the attack;
----- - protection of these troops against enemy flank strikes.

Engineer Tasks During Commitment

Engineer tasks during commitment of second-echelon troops into combat are as follows:
----- - conduct of engineer reconnaissance of terrain in areas of advance, as well as, in areas of commitment of second-echelon troops;
----- - preparing roads to support movement and deployment of second-echelon troops for combat;
----- - breaching lanes in enemy obstacles in areas of deployment of second-echelon troops and during their commitment into combat;
----- - covering of second-echelon flanks by engineer obstacles in areas of enemy threats.

The movement of second-echelon troops from assembly areas is normally conducted on routes prepared in advance. During this phase second-echelon troops may also use roads prepared by first-echelon divisions during the conduct of attacks. The second-echelon troops composed of one division will need two to three routes for movement to lines of commitment. Preparation of routes are conducted in a limited time. The speed of their preparation must be coordinated (harmonized) with the speed of advance of first-echelon troops. For the preparation of each route one engineer road construction company is assigned. Therefore, to prepare all routes of movement for second-echelon divisions the following are required:
----- - one engineer road construction and bridging battalion;
----- - pontoon and bridge construction subunits.

Simultaneously, one or two alternate routes are prepared.

When the volume of work to support crossing through obstacles and areas of destruction is great, bypassing routes are prepared by using engineer reserves.

To support deployment of second-echelon troops each battalion will require one to two routes. This task is accomplished by organic engineer subunits which also breach lanes in enemy mine obstacles.

Sometimes the situation will require second-echelon troops to be committed into combat on an unexpected new direction. In this case the chief of engineer troops works out the details with the chief of operations directorate. They then accomplish the following:
----- - study information about possible new routes;
----- - conduct helicopter reconnaissance;
----- - assign engineer road construction and bridging subunits to each route;
----- - employ engineer reserves to meet new requirements.

The covering of second-echelon flanks in areas of commitment into combat is conducted by the employment of mobile obstacle detachments (POZ) in interaction with antitank reserves.

Engineer Support for Preparation and Conduct of Army Defenses

The aims of engineer support for army defensive operations are the following:
----- - establish necessary conditions for organization of defense;
----- - protect personnel and equipment against the effects of enemy weapons and means of destruction;
----- - enhance effectiveness of employment of combat equipment;
----- - establish favorable conditions for holding (retaining) defensive lines and defensive positions;
----- - inflict maximum losses on enemy attacking groupings.

Engineer support for preparation of defensive operations depends on the conditions of the army assuming the defense. When defense is assumed during the conduct of offensive operations, the engineer support of the defense begins from support of regroupment of troops and covering of threatened (dangerous) flanks by antitank reserves and mobile obstacle detachments (POZ). While assuming the defense in the absence of direct enemy contact, engineer support will obviously begin from support of movement of troops and occupation of their assigned attack departure (FUP) areas.

The principle engineer support tasks in defensive operations are as follows:

During Preparation of Army Defenses

The principle engineer support tasks of army defense are the following:
----- - preparation of engineer establishments for first defensive belts occupied by first-echelon divisions;
----- - engineer preparation for army defensive lines, blocking (switching) positions, and areas of deployment for reserves and army troops;
----- - engineer preparation for position areas of SSM and air defense rocket troops, and rocket technical bases;
----- - establishment of obstacle and demolition systems in front of the forward line and in the operational depth;
----- - preparation of routes for maneuver of troops and routes to support counterstrikes of army second-echelons;
----- - engineer preparation of army command posts;
----- - deception (maskirovka) measures;
----- - engineer measures on elimination of consequences of enemy use of nuclear weapons;
----- - extraction and purification of water.

During the Conduct of Defensive Operations

Measures taken during the conduct of the defensive operation:
----- - development and improvement of installations of defensive positions and belts;
----- - expansion of engineer obstacles on directions of enemy attacks, at boundaries, and open flanks;
----- - engineer support measures on launching army counterstrikes;
----- - improvement of deception (maskirovka) measures;
----- - support of combat actions of rocket and air defense rocket troops;
----- - improvement and development of installations of army command posts.

Engineer Installations

The following engineer installations are prepared by engineer troops organic to army large units and units:
----- - defensive belts and defensive lines;
----- - position areas of rocket and artillery troops.

In order to shorten the time of preparation and fully prepare engineer installations, large units operating on directions of enemy main attacks, as well as rocket troops may be reinforced by trench-digging engineer subunits from trench-digging (fortification) engineer battalions organic to army combat engineer regiments.

Obstacle Systems

The obstacle system includes the following:
----- - obstacles and demolitions established in front and within first defensive belts;
----- - obstacles and demolitions prepared in the depth of army defenses;
----- - obstacles and demolitions established during the conduct of defensive operations by elements of mobile obstacle detachments and engineer reserves.

Obstacles in the main (first) defensive belt are prepared as part of the first priority work (state of readiness number one). Obstacles in operational depths of the defense are termed as (state of readiness number two). The obstacle areas termed as state of readiness number two are marked by signs so that obstacle areas are known.

Road Systems

The road systems in army defensive areas includes frontal roads going to the front. One or more of these are prepared for one division. They are used for supply and evacuation. The road systems of army defensive areas also includes maneuver routes prepared (1-2 routes for each regiment) to support the movement of army second-echelon troops to deployment lines for launching counterstrikes.

Aims and Missions of Engineer Support for Army Long Distance Marches

The conduct of operations in TVDs is directly connected with deployment and expansion of efforts of armed forces of first operational echelons. Most military districts are located quite a distance from state borders. Moving of these troops, as well as armies formed during mobilization at the outbreak of war will require conduct of long distance marches to areas of military action. The conduct of such long distance marches requires a large number of engineer support measures.

The aims of engineer support for long distance marches are the following:
----- - establish necessary conditions for uninterrupted advance o the army;
----- - protection of the troops against enemy means of destruction in rest areas.

Missions of engineer support in long distance marches are as follows:
----- - engineer reconnaissance of march sector and march directions, daily (nightly) and twenty-four hour rest areas, assembly areas at the end of the march, and march objectives;
----- - engineer support of assembly areas and march departure areas;
----- - preparation and maintenance of roads within sectors of army long distance marches;
----- - engineer preparation of rest areas and command posts during marches;
----- - preparation of crossing points at water obstacles along march directions;
----- - engineer preparation of assembly areas or march objectives to be reached at the end of the march.
----- - coverage of open flanks by mobile obstacle detachments;
----- - operational (maskirovka) of troops in rest areas, at river crossing points, and in other important points;
----- - support of troops in terms of water resources during marches in rest areas, and in assembly areas;
----- - participation in elimination of the consequences of enemy nuclear attacks.