CHAPTER 5: The OPFOR in the Offense

5-1 Forms of Tactical Maneuver.

    Maneuver is a basic component of combat. It is an organized movement during combat that puts the OPFOR in a more advantageous position than the BLUFOR. The OPFOR uses maneuver to seize and hold the initiative and defeat the BLUFOR. The most common forms of OPFOR maneuver are frontal, close, deep, and double envelopment.

    a. Frontal Attack. The frontal attack is directed against the BLUFOR’s frontline forces. Its goal is to penetrate BLUFOR defenses along single or multiple axes. Its success depends on superiority of forces and firepower. An OPFOR unit conducting a frontal attack attempts to create openings for subsequent exploitation. The frontal attack, by itself, is the least preferred form of maneuver. Normally, it is used in combination with a close or deep envelopment. A frontal attack may be appropriate when the OPFOR has the element of surprise, and may be used to fix BLUFOR defenses while other OPFOR units maneuver to attack from the flank.

    b. Close Envelopment. A close envelopment is a flanking maneuver that strikes BLUFOR units in their flank or rear at a relatively shallow depth. The goal of the close envelopment is to attack the BLUFOR from the flank, avoiding a frontal attack. Forces conducting the close envelopment and those conducting a simultaneous frontal attack need to coordinate fire support. (See Figure 5-1.)

Figure 5-1. Close envelopment combined with frontal attack.

Figure 5-2. Deep envelopment combined with frontal attack.

    c. Deep Envelopment. A deep envelopment is a flanking maneuver executed at a greater depth. The goal of deep envelopment is either to attack the BLUFOR from the rear or to seize key-blocking positions thereby preventing the BLUFOR's withdrawal and ensuring its destruction. The deep envelopment is conducted in tactical coordination with the forces advancing from the front. (See Figure 5-2.) Forces assigned to conduct a deep envelopment receive additional fire support.

    In an attack against a defending BLUFOR, a battalion or brigade-sized forward detachment could conduct a deep envelopment for a brigade or division; the forward detachment would be inserted through a gap in forward BLUFOR defenses after first-echelon forces in the main attack achieve a penetration. The depth of a deep envelopment for a mechanized infantry or tank battalion can be more than 15 km. A brigade may conduct a deep envelopment to a depth of up to 50 km. That depth can be significantly greater in a meeting battle or in a pursuit of the BLUFOR. The OPFOR may also employ heliborne forces for the deep envelopment.

    d. Double Envelopment. The OPFOR prefers a double envelopment, which can be a combination of two deep envelopments, two close envelopments, or a deep and a close envelopment. It expects to achieve the most success with a deep envelopment of both flanks, encircling the BLUFOR rear. Combining envelopments creates favorable conditions for attacking the BLUFOR's flanks and rear. The OPFOR's goal is to encircle BLUFOR groupings, split them, and then destroy them. Heliborne assault troops can also land simultaneously in the BLUFOR rear, assisting in the accomplishment of a double envelopment. Forces carrying out close, deep, or double envelopments ordinarily maneuver in a march or prebattle formation when BLUFOR resistance is light enough not to require the use of battle formation. The enveloping force can transition from march to prebattle to battle formation as the situation dictates.

Any changes from the 1998 OPFOR Battle Book are depicted in GREEN printing.  Last updated on 01 March, 1999
For any comments, additions, deletions, or modifications for this Battle Book contact
LTC Bill Bryan.

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