The aim of the attack is to disrupt, disorganise and destroy the enemy.
The principles of the attack are as follows:
1. The CoG must be targeted
2. Fire-and-manoeuvre must be exploited
3. The attack must be organised in depth
4. The attack must be launched from a firm base
5. The start of the attack must be secured
6. The tempo and momentum of the attack must be maintained
7. The attack must be supported by maximum firepower
8. Assault forces must move close to supporting fire
9. Support weapons must be brought forward as soon as possible
10. Relentless execution.
The CoG must be targeted: The enemy’s Centre of Gravity and those strong points that protect it must be located and targeted. Their destruction will bring about a weakening or a collapse in the enemy’s defences. The destruction of the CoG is a key to victory. (The COG must not be confused with the Trinity of Gravity in unconventional warfare)
Fire-and-manoeuvre: The ability to manoeuvre and utilise direct and indirect firepower to achieve advantageous positions in relation to the enemy must be exploited at all times. All engagements are reliant on fire-and-manoeuvre. Fire without manoeuvre and manoeuvre without fire is of no value. Fire-and-manoeuvre adds to momentum.
Depth: Depth in the attacking forces ensures momentum, provides flexibility, space and options for manoeuvre and additionally reduces casualties amongst the attacking forces.
Firm bases: The attack must begin from a firm base and as the attack develops, commanders must continue establishing firm bases (overwatch positions). This allows the attacking forces to maintain “one foot on the ground” and thus retain balance during the attack. Firm bases make it difficult for the enemy to launch successful counter attacks. Firm bases are established on terrain that provides the attacking forces an advantage in terms of fire and observation.
Secured start: The attack must be launched from a secure position to prevent assault forces from making immediate contact with the enemy as this will make deployment difficult and derail fire plans, especially indirect fire plans. Starting an attack from an unsecured position will give the enemy the initiative, adversely affect own forces morale, create casualties and confusion within the attacking force and disrupt the attack plan.
Tempo and momentum: Maintaining the tempo and momentum of the attack will ensure sustained pressure on the enemy. Sustained pressure will prevent the enemy from being able to reorganise and counter the attack, bring his reserves forward or prepare new positions. Aggressive execution will result in a rapid, relentless attack
Maximum firepower: Effective, sustained direct and indirect fire will inflict casualties and reduce enemy resistance. Fire support is vitally important where exposed assault forces move across open terrain or breach obstacles without adequate cover.
Moving close to supporting fire: The assault forces must move as close as possible to the supporting direct and indirect fire. This will prevent the enemy from reorganising or reacting once the supporting fire is lifted.
Support weapons rapidly to front: The aim of the attack is to destroy the enemy, capture and occupy the objective and defend it. It must be expected that the enemy will try to launch a counter attack as soon as possible to recapture terrain it has lost. Support weapons should rapidly be brought forward to strengthen positions that have been captured from the enemy.
Relentless execution: Once the attack begins ie the attacking forces cross the start line, the execution must be relentless. Relentless execution will enhance momentum, weaken enemy resolve, add speed and tempo to the attack as well as unbalance the enemy.
The above principles are relevant to all types of conventional infantry attacks, regardless of whether they are launched in the day or at night, mounted or dismounted.
The commander who applies the principles of the attack will create the necessary space in which to manoeuvre his forces, exploit his firepower, grasp the initiative from the enemy and develop advantages as they occur.
Note: This posting has been taken from the book I am currently writing and is an extract from Chapter 15: The Attack