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The Russians consider the headquarters to contain six basic elements. These are the commander, the staff, the political section, the special (counterintelligence) and legal sections, the sections of the chiefs of arms and services, and the section of the chief of rear services. This organization is shown in the following table.

Unit Regiment Division Army Front
Elements Commander Commander Commander Commander
2 Staff Staff Staff Staff
3 Political subsection Political section Political department Political directorate
4 Agents of special section Special section Special section Special section
Investigators Military Prosecutor - Tribunal Military Prosecutor - Tribunal Military Prosecutor - Tribunal
5 Deputy commanders or chiefs of arms and services Deputy commanders or chiefs of arms and services Deputy commanders or chiefs of arms and services Deputy commanders or chiefs of arms and services
6 Deputy commander for rear service Deputy commander for rear service Deputy commander for rear service Deputy commander for rear service

Command Posts

The Russians emphasize the extreme importance for the proper functioning of the headquarters that it be correctly echeloned, arranged, and equipped. The site must be carefully selected and skillfully camouflaged. Movement from one site to the next is carefully planned by the staff and prepared for by special engineer and signal units.

The command post is located in a place convenient for directing subordinate units during the operation. Generally this means that it must be a convenient location for establishing reliable wire and radio communications. Another important feature of the command post area is that it should afford convenient routes of approach to and from subordinate forces. The command post is located near the concentration for the main effort. The Soviets emphasize the necessity for taking advantage of natural camouflage and natural obstacles in locating the CP. They warn against locating the CP in any readily identifiable area such as conspicuous hills or crests, edges of woods or in conspicuous clearings or groves. Often the CP is located on the reverse slope of an elevated area covered with bushes,

The main components of the command post are the commander's command center, the operations group, the communications center, and the service group. Depending upon the terrain, the command post is arranged generally as indicated in figure --. Dugouts, covered shelter trenches, open trenches, and weapons emplacements are all used to shelter command post personnel and installations.

The command post operations group is composed of those officers and staff sections directly concerned with the direction of combat operations. These include: the commander, deputy commander, chief of staff, operations section, intelligence section, topographic section, communications section, cryptographic section, artillery commander and staff, chiefs of arms and services and staffs, a staff officer from the rear service area, liaison officers, and the staff duty officer.

The communications center includes the installations and units primarily concerned with providing communications for the commander and staff with higher, lower, and adjacent headquarters. The commander of the signal unit is the director of the communications center. All units servicing the communications center are subordinate to him and he in turn is subordinate to the chief of communications at the headquarters. The communications center includes the radio center, central telephone-telegraph station, landing strip and air ground communications point, message center, and reserve communications supplies and personnel.


The Command Post Guard and Defense System

The all around protection of the command post area is provided by organizing a guard system and a defense system. In combat, the command post is located in an area which is protected from ground attack by the troops of subordinate units and from air attack by the unit's air defense units. However, the command post also plans its own guard and defense systems. This planning is accomplished mainly by the operations section, and execution of the plan is supervised by the headquarters commandant. In addition to personnel from the headquarters commandant unit, staff personnel also participate in the command post defense, especially in the event of an enemy breakthrough. In this case, the guard and defense system is often reinforced with small infantry, artillery, and engineer units.

An important part of the command post administrative organization is the duty officer system. In order to assure continuity of the command post work, to provide rest for the command and staff personnel, and to facilitate the sending and receipt of messages and documents, duty officers are appointed to vital command post positions every 24 hours. The duty officer system includes the operations section duty officer, the communications duty officer, and the message center duty non commissioned officer.

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Location of Command Posts

Soviet regulations provide general norms for the location of command posts under various conditions. Commanders must locate themselves as far forward as possible in order to exert personal control of the most important combat actions. The following table indicates the approximate distance from the front lines to the forward and main command posts and the rear service control point.

In the attack In defense
Forward CP Main CP Rear CP Forward CP Main CP Rear CP
Regiment -- 4-6 12-15 2-3 OP 5-7 12-15
Division 4-6 10-12 30-40 6-8 12-15 30-40
Army 10-15 30-50 40-60 15-20 40-60 50-70
Front 35-50 100-150 120-170 45-65 100-150 120-170

These distances are subject to considerable change owing to varying circumstances in combat. The command posts are displaced in a planned, orderly manner in order to remain within prescribed normative distances from the advancing troops. The formula for determining how long a command post may remain in one location in relation to the rate of advance of the front line is given in Chapter Six.