3/2 SBCT and the countermortar fight in Mosul.On 3 September 2004, a military police (MP) platoon attached to 2d Battalion, 3d Infantry (2-3 IN) established a countermortar observation post (OP) in Mosul, a city of approximately 1.8 million people. The platoon saw a team of four members of the anti-Iraqi forces (AIF AIF Annual Information Form
AIF Apoptosis-Inducing Factor
AIF Agence Intergouvernementale de la Francophonie (French: Intergovernmental Agency for Francophony)
AIF Australian Imperial Force ) in a yellow Volkswagen Passat The Volkswagen Passat is a family car built by Volkswagen AG ("VW"), produced in various forms since 1973. It falls between the Volkswagen Golf/Jetta and Phaeton in the current Volkswagen line-up, and is currently produced in Volkswagen's plants in Emden, and Mosel/Zwickau, fire three 60-mm mortar rounds at a nearby US forward operating base An airfield used to support tactical operations without establishing full support facilities. The base may be used for an extended time period. Support by a main operating base will be required to provide backup support for a forward operating base. Also called FOB. (FOB FOB 1) adj. short for Free on Board, meaning shipped to a specific place without cost. 2) Friend of Bill (Clinton). (See: Free on Board) ).
While the MP platoon engaged the AIF, another platoon maneuvered to the point of origin (POO) to assist. The AIF engaged the patrol with small arms small arms, firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms
The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent. fire but were immediately overwhelmed by superior firepower as the MP's crew-served weapons disabled the vehicle, killing one insurgent INSURGENT. One who is concerned in an insurrection. He differs from a rebel in this, that rebel is always understood in a bad sense, or one who unjustly opposes the constituted authorities; insurgent may be one who justly opposes the tyranny of constituted authorities. and critically injuring the remaining three.
A debriefing de·brief·ing
1. The act or process of debriefing or of being debriefed.
2. The information imparted during the process of being debriefed.
Noun 1. revealed interesting tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) used by the 60-mm mortar cell. The AIF insurgents Insurgents, in U.S. history, the Republican Senators and Representatives who in 1909–10 rose against the Republican standpatters controlling Congress, to oppose the Payne-Aldrich tariff and the dictatorial power of House speaker Joseph G. Cannon. remained in their vehicle with the rear passenger opening the door and direct laying Laying in which the sights of weapons are aligned directly on the target. Normally used in conjunction with mortars and sometimes artillery. See also lay. the mortar tube from inside the vehicle. Occupation, launch and march-order occurred in less than two minutes.
The 3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team The brigade combat team (BCT) is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branched maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. (3/2 SBCT SBCT Stryker Brigade Combat Team (US Army)
SBCT South Bend Civic Theatre
SBCT Sam Bass Community Theatre
SBCT South Baldwin Community Theatre
SBCT San Benito County Transit
SBCT Standardized Bible Content Test ), the Arrowhead SBCT, deployed to Northern Iraq in January 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF OIF Operation Iraqi Freedom
OIF Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (French: International Organization of Francophonie)
OIF Office for Intellectual Freedom (American Library Association) ) after a series of combat operations in Sammara. The Arrowhead Brigade occupied the division-sized battlespace in northern Iraq formerly occupied by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
Mosul, the provincial capital Noun 1. provincial capital - the capital city of a province
capital - a seat of government
city, metropolis, urban center - a large and densely populated urban area; may include several independent administrative districts; "Ancient Troy was a great city" of the Ninewah Province, served as the focal point focal point
See focus. for the organization, consolidation, supply and transit of AIF in the province. Not unexpectedly, the majority of attacks against US and Coalition Forces occurred within Mosul proper.
Second only to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), indirect fire attacks were the next largest casualty producer of Coalition Forces in Mosul; in excess of 150 coalition Soldiers were wounded or killed over a period of 10 months. AIF attacked US FOBs with mortars and rockets in more than 300 separate incidents.
AIF employed several different weapons systems, including light, medium and heavy mortars (60-mm, 82-mm and 120-mm) and light and medium rockets (57-mm, 107-mm, 122-mm and 127-mm). The predominant type and volume of fire consisted of 60-mm and 82-mm mortars firing one to eight rounds per attack. The use of the 120-mm mortar was limited by the amount of time it took to march order and displace the system, resulting in the employment of one to two rounds per attack.
Due to the complex urban nature of Mosul, the brigade commander restricted the use of all lethal counterfire to reduce unnecessary and likely disastrous collateral damage collateral damage Surgery A popular term for any undesired but unavoidable co-morbidity associated with a therapy–eg, chemotherapy-induced CD to the BM and GI tract as a side effect of destroying tumor cells or ill will on the part of the local populace. By restricting lethal counterfire, any indirect fire attacks on civilian infrastructure could be attributed to AIF indirect fire cells. This was a crucial component to the brigade information operations (IO) campaign against AIF indirect fire activity and gave the commander legitimacy when refuting negative reports of coalition-inflicted casualties and infrastructure damage. Winning the hearts and minds of the local populace was deemed vital to success in Mosul, and any coalition activity impacting this effort was scrutinized in detail. Despite the absence of a lethal reactive counterfire program, the joint fires and effects cell (JFEC JFEC Japan Federation of Economic Organizations ) focused on the countermortar fight and capturing or killing AIF insurgents.
Capabilities of the SBCT. The SBCT is an infantry-centric unit with 3,600 Soldiers combining the best characteristics of the current Army force while exploiting technology to fill the gap between the capabilities of the Army's heavy and light forces. The SBCT enjoys increased operational and tactical flexibility and can conduct missions across the full spectrum of military operations.
The SBCT employs an impressive array of organic assets. It has a cavalry squadron for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition For the RSTA/ISTAR/STA doctrine, see .
For Artillery STA, see .
For the USMC snipers, see . (RSTA RSTA reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (US DoD)
RSTA Rindge School of Technical Arts
RSTA Recinto Santo Tomás de Aquino
RSTA Reston Swim Team Association
RSTA Rockford Science and Technology Academy ); a Field Artillery battalion; a brigade support battalion; a military intelligence company; an engineer company; a signal company; an anti-tank company; and a robust headquarters company and brigade staff, in addition to three infantry battalions.
The SBCT leverages advanced command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance may refer to:
The SBCT also fielded a number of force modernization projects. Specifically, the Raven small unmanned aerial vehicle A powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload. (SUAV SUAV Study of Unmanned Air Vehicles
SUAV Small Unit Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ) and lightweight countermortar radar (LCMR LCMR Lower Cape May Regional (Cape May, New Jersey)
LCMR Lightweight Countermortar Radar ) augmented the brigade's capabilities by improving acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities.
To achieve decisive action in various types of terrain, including urban settings, the SBCT incorporates impressive combined arms capabilities at the company level. Doctrinally, Stryker Brigade infantry companies consist of the following assets: three Infantry platoons, a mobile gun system (MGS MGS Mars Global Surveyor
MGS Metal Gear Solid
MGS Microsoft Game Studios
MGS Ministry of Government Services (Ontario, Canada)
MGS Maryland Geological Survey
MGS Malaysian Government Securities
MGS Minnesota Geological Survey ) platoon, a mortar section (consisting of two 120-mm and two 60-mm mortars), a fire support team (FIST) and a sniper team. Designed to achieve decisive action through dismounted assault, these infantry companies support themselves with enhanced organic direct fires from their vehicle-mounted primary weapons systems as well as via indirect fire support from mortars and artillery.
SBCT Fire Support Assets. The strength of the SBCT's fire support acquisition capabilities is anchored in the two organic Firefinder radars. A Q-36 (Version 8) and Q-37 (Version 6, Package 11) provide immediate and accurate artillery, mortar and rocket POOs and probable points of impact (POIs).
During deployment, the SBCT was augmented with A Battery, 2d Battalion, and 131st Target Acquisition Battery (TAB) from the Texas Army National Guard The Texas National Guard comprises both Army and Air National Guard components. The Constitution of the United States specifically charges the National Guard with dual federal and state missions. . The battery supplemented coverage with a battery headquarters, the target processing section (TPS (1) (Transactions Per Second) The number of transactions processed within one second. TPS is a better rating for the performance of hardware and software than the common MHz and GHz rating of the computer. ) and three Q-36 radars (Version 5). As part of the Army Force Modernization Program, the addition of two LCMRs proved a valuable complement to the indirect fire effort.
Because of the threat within Mosul, all radars were positioned on US FOBs for security reasons. The collective effort provided redundant coverage over the entire city.
One shortfall to the radars' positions was the dominant terrain. The elevated altitude created many dead space areas, allowing the enemy to fire 60-mm mortars and the rockets in direct fire mode. We were unable to acquire most of these direct fire attacks as their trajectories either did not have enough time for the radar to track them or fell under the radars' beams. To counter this developing threat and overcome the terrain constraint, the JFEC revised the brigade's counterfire battle drill and developed a comprehensive maneuver-centric countermortar program. (The keys to the countermortar program's success are listed in the figure.)
Countermortar Set. Following a significant increase in 60-mm mortar attacks against US FOBs in June 2004, the JFEC, S2, and S3 collectively developed a countermortar "set" to address the threat. This is a set of assets synchronized to track down and destroy AIF mortar teams based on intelligence.
The brigade staff determined that the strength of the enemy mortar crew was his ability to retain the initiative (choosing when, where, who and how to attack). To address this ability, the countermortar set was specifically designed to deny the enemy the use of terrain, disrupt his decision cycle and force him to act under pressure. The desired endstate was the reduction of casualties and damage to infrastructure.
Infantry patrols, traffic control points (TCPs) and the integration of scout weapons teams (SWTs) served as the primary assets to find, fix and destroy the enemy. Additional SBCT assets, such as Shadow UAVs and Air Force fighter aircraft, provided sensors that allowed increased observation of potential enemy firing points.
Psychological operations (PSYOP) teams also were integrated into the countermortar sets. PSYOP patrols were sent to areas of concentrated enemy indirect fire activity to collect intelligence and inform local residents of reward programs for reports that led to the killing or capture of indirect fire cells. Intelligence gained by PSYOP through face-to-face interaction included types of vehicles used in attacks and TTPs used by the enemy while employing indirect fire assets. The integration of nonlethal effects and the information provided by these patrols were extremely beneficial and excellent combat multipliers.
The enemy proved a capable foe, adjusting quickly to the brigade's actions and establishing or coercing support from Mosul neighborhoods. The enemy's ability to adjust his TTPs proved the need to continuously analyze and adjust friendly courses of action. However, we firmly believed that the considerable risk to the enemy posed by our adaptive countermortar set would force him to make more and more exploitable mistakes.
Importance of Analysis. Analysis of AIF mortar and rocket activity was crucial to the conduct of the SBCT's successful countermortar operations in Mosul. The brigade counterfire officer developed a comprehensive assessment of enemy activity through Firefinder acquisitions, strike reports, human intelligence (HUMINT HUMINT Human Intelligence ), computer analysis tools, terrain analysis from the brigade terrain team, and analysis from the brigade S2 and battalion fire support elements (FSEs). The JFEC facilitated cross-staff analyses by posting all products on the 3/2 SBCT secure internet protocol router network (SIPRNET) web page, allowing the brigade staff and subordinate units the opportunity to down load current analyses and historical records.
Strike reports were an important tool for enhancing our analyses of enemy indirect fire attacks, providing information to compare the actual POI to the radar generated POI. In addition, the report facilitated a comparison of the back azimuth azimuth (ăz`əməth), in astronomy, one coordinate in the altazimuth coordinate system. It is the angular distance of a body measured westward along the celestial horizon from the observer's south point. from crater analyses to the radar POO.
The Iraqi Ordnance Identification Guide and National Ground Intelligence Center The National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) is part of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command. The NGIC provides scientific and technical intelligence (S& TI) and general military intelligence (GMI) on foreign ground forces in support of the war fighting databases provided both the brigade and subordinate units with pertinent information which, when coupled with accurate POO reporting, allowed the expansion of the historical record and facilitated enemy TTP TTP (thymidine triphosphate): see thymine. analyses and subsequent countermortar set planning. If a counterfire radar did not detect an indirect fire round, this data provided information to conduct a Firefinder position analysis system (FFPAS) analysis and predict the likely cause of the non-detection.
The JFEC maintained historical records of all confirmed indirect fire acquisitions in Mosul using a Microsoft Excel impact tracker spreadsheet. The spreadsheet permitted easy manipulation of data and produced graphs, pivot tables and statistics with little additional effort.
Falcon View provided the means to conduct detailed analyses of these historical records. Using both plotted radar acquisitions and crater analysis reports, a visual representation of firing trends emerged. The pictorial generated detailed POO analysis and permitted proactive POO prediction.
Detailed analyses provided the SBCT with the means to note changes to enemy TTPs and recommend adjustments to the countermortar set, allowing the SBCT to apply constant pressure on the enemy. The deputy effects coordinator (DECOORD) presented recommended countermortar set changes to the task force S3s, brigade IO coordinator (IOCOORD), brigade S2, brigade S3 and brigade deputy commander (DCO DCO Demande Chimique En Oxygène (French)
DCO Digitally Controlled Oscillator
DCO District Coordination Officer (Pakistan)
DCO Defence Community Organisation (Australia) ) at the weekly SBCT targeting meeting. Changes were discussed and applied for the next week. Emergency changes during the week were developed and applied as soon as possible after discussion by the S2, S3, DECOORD and DCO. These aggressive measures were instrumental in allowing the SBCT to adjust to the enemy and continue to disrupt his decision-action cycle.
Applying Pressure with Constant Change. Over time, the JFEC discovered that maneuver patrols were the countermortar system of choice, effectively denying the enemy terrain and forcing him to use longer range weapon systems, such as rockets (107-mm, 122-mm) and larger caliber mortars (82-mm and 120-mm). To avoid confronting US patrols, the enemy began emplacing rockets on improvised launchers under timer control. This allowed the AIF to continue indirect fire attacks against FOBs and minimized the risk posed by the countermortar set within the city. AIF also used long-range mortar systems, minimizing their own risk with stand off-capability.
The brigade determined that the optimal way to neutralize the rocket and long-range mortar cells was by employing aggressive presence patrols and sniper teams and adjusted accordingly.
Faced with an equally adaptive US combined arms threat, the enemy reverted to short-range mortar attacks, becoming more vulnerable to coalition identification and interdiction INTERDICTION, civil law. A legal restraint upon a person incapable of managing his estate, because of mental incapacity, from signing any deed or doing any act to his own prejudice, without the consent of his curator or interdictor.
2. . However, the AIF began to change its method of attack. Attacks with 60-mm mortars increased in frequency yet decreased in volume of fire. When a radar acquired a POO, the brigade was able to vector US combat power to it within three to five minutes. However, due to the complex urban environment and the abundance of high-speed avenues of approach, AIF mortar teams were able to displace before a response force arrived.
To address this rapid exfiltration The removal of personnel or units from areas under enemy control by stealth, deception, surprise, or clandestine means. See also special operations; unconventional warfare. capability, the JFEC, using its historical database, conducted predictive analyses of favored firing points and recommended the establishment of TCPs to control escape routes. The brigade staff assessed that enemy mortar teams were reluctant to attack if denied easily identifiable escape routes.
Thus began a period of wargaming actions and reactions where each adjustment of the countermortar set was countered by a corresponding change in AIF tactics. Steady analyses and changes on the part of the SBCT exponentially increased risk to the enemy each time he adjusted his TTPs. This was fully evident when the enemy was finally forced to resort to 60-mm attacks at precariously close range. As related in the vignette at the beginning of this article, the SBCT anticipated AIF actions, identified a mortar team during occupation and totally destroyed it.
Lessons Learned. Countermortar operations in an urban environment proved to be a uniquely challenging mission. Challenged daily by an enemy who routinely melted into the city and attacked US FOBs with multiple explosive munitions mu·ni·tion
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.
tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions. , the SBCT was forced to create a highly detailed solution for an indiscriminate and dangerous enemy.
With lethal counterfire lacking effect and detrimental to the overall effort, a synchronized and combined arms effort was paramount to the denial of enemy indirect fire attacks. Using a multitude of available assets, careful and thorough analyses on the part of the JFEC helped refine countermortar sets and keep pressure on the enemy indirect fire effort.
The countermortar fight in a nonlinear environment is, therefore, little different from the counterinsurgency coun·ter·in·sur·gen·cy
Political and military strategy or action intended to oppose and forcefully suppress insurgency.
coun effort as a whole. Denied traditional means of response, we must, through continuous analyses and TTP refinement, use all assets to apply constant pressure on the enemy. This forces the enemy to assume an unsustainable amount of risk and, ultimately, to ensure his own destruction.
"Constant pressure must be maintained against insurgents by continuous and vigorous combat patrolling. This keeps the insurgency on the move, disrupts their security and organization, separates them from their bases of supply, weakens them physically and destroys their morale." FM31-2 Operations Against Guerilla Forces, 1951
Because of the sensitivity of ongoing combat operations in Mosul, individuals interested in receiving classified tools, products and more detailed after-action report (AAR Aar, river: see Aare. ) comments can go to the Counterstrike Task Force (CSTF CSTF Cleavage Stimulation Factor (molecular biology)
CSTF Cumulative Stress Transfer Function
CSTF Combat Support Task Force
CSTF Counter Strike Task Force
CSTF Computer Support Task Force (Best Buy) ) SIPRNET at https://counterstrike.army.smil.mil.
RELATED ARTICLE: Keys to Countermortar Success
1. Apply constant pressure on the enemy.
2. Synchronize combined arms assets (countermortar set).
3. Use nonlethal information operations (IO) assets, such as psychological operations (PSYOP), as a force multiplier.
4. Conduct detailed analyses to provide the information necessary to disrupt the enemy's decision-action cycle.
By Captain Roger M. Stevens and Major Kyle J. Marsh
Captain Roger M. Stevens is a Brigade Joint Fires and Effects Cell (JFEC) Battle Captain for the 3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team (3/2 SBCT), Fort Lewis, Washington, returning from a 12-month tour in Iraq in October. His other assignments at Fort Lewis included serving as Fire Support Officer (FSO (Free Space Optics) Transmitting optical signals through the air using infrared lasers. Also known as "wireless optics," FSO provides point-to-point and point-to-multipoint transmission at very high speeds without requiring a government license for use of the spectrum. ) for C Company, 1st Battalion, 23d Infantry (C/1-23 IN) and Executive Officer for B/1-37 FA.
Major Kyle J. Marsh is the Deputy Effects Coordinator (DECOORD) for 3/2 SBCT at Fort Lewis, returning from a 12-month tour in Iraq in October. His previous assignment was as an Army Exchange Fire Support Observer/Controller at the Command and Staff Trainer (North), Catterick Garrison, United Kingdom. While in Great Britain, Major Marsh deployed in support of Operation Telic, the British operation supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. He commanded B/3-6 FA, 10th Mountain Division (Light) Infantry), Fort Drum, New York This article is about the U.S. Army base in New York State. For other places with a similar name, see Fort Drum.
Fort Drum is a census-designated place and U.S. Army military reservation in Jefferson County, New York, United States. .