RECONNAISSANCE FORCES IN SUPPORT OF FRONT OPERATIONS
Another version of a description of this subject.
I. Responsibilities of the front commander and staff for the
organization of the command and control of reconnaissance
The front commander specifies the following:
- The aim of reconnaissance;
- The basic tasks of reconnaissance;
- The reconniassance troops and means to conduct reconnaissance and collect
information prior to the commencement of combat operations;
- What reconnaissance information (data) is to be collected and when it must be
- On which objectives, areas, and directions the main efforts of reconnaissance
must be concentrated.
The commander listens to the reports of the chief-of-staff and
chief-of-reconnaissance concerning the organization of reconnaissance
planning. He also specifies the additional troops and means that are to
be employed for the accomplishment of reconnaissance tasks.
The front chief-of-staff is responsible directly for the organization of
reconnaissance. He is obliged to carry out the following tasks:
- To specify concretely the reconnaissance tasks assigned by the commander and
the sequence of their execution, as well as, to specify the allocation of
troops and means for the accomplishment of each task;
- To specify coordination among the differenct types and methods of
- To specify the time and method of collection of reconnaissance information
- To designate the reconnaissance reserve troops and means;
- To specify the time at which the reconnaissance plan and combat instructions
of reconnaissance must be forwarded to him for his approval and endorsement.
II. The basic measures concerning the organization of reconnaissance in
a front offensive operation
Based on the front commander's and chief-of-staff's instructions, the
chief-of-reconnaissance begins to organize the reconnaissance for the
operation. The measures and actions taken by the front's chief of
reconnaissance include the following:
- Issuing the reconnaissance combat mission to various reconnaissance troops
and the designation of the time for accomplishment of missions, as well as the
time and method of reporting reconnaissance information; - Designating the
coordination (interaction) measures among the various reconnaissance actions
conducted at the front level;
- Issuing instructions to reconnaissance troops about the method of their
movement to the area of deployment;
- Instructing the front's reconnaissance staff on the planning and
working out the reconnaissance plan;
- Controlling the accomplishment of assigned missions.
III. The contents of the plan of reconnaissance in a front
The essence of reconnaissance planning is the rational and best allocation of
troops and means relative to the missions and objectives in close consideration
of the capabilities of all types of reconnaissance means and troops.
The reconnaissance plan is worked out and prepared graphically on the map with
written instructions as its annex or it is prepared in written form with a map
annex. The reconnaissance plan includes the following:
- The aim of the reconnaissance;
- Reconnaissance tasks;
- Allocation of troops to conduct the reconnaissance;
- The time for carrying out reconnaissance missions.
The reconnaissance plan has the following annexes:
- Calculations of reconnaissance troops and means in relation to the
- Instructions on communications;
- Instructions on material (rear service) support;
- Instructions on coordination (interaction).
In offensive operations the reconnaissance plan is worked out for the entire
period of the preparatory phase (preparation of operation) as well as for the
phase of accomplishment of the immediate mission and the subsequent mission.
IV. The conduct of reconnaissance during the preparation phase for a
front offensive operation
In the preparatory phase for the offensive operation the main efforts of
reconnaissance are concentrated on disclosing the time of initiation of enemy
combat operations, the assessment of enemy groupings of forces, their
composition, numbers (identification), and the intentions of the enemy force.
The main efforts of reconnaissance are concentrated, in this phase, on the
direction of the front's main attack. In this phase the most
important reconnaissance missions should be executed by operational agent
(agenturnaya) reconnaissance, radio and radio technical reconnaissance, and
also by air reconnaissance without violating international boundaries.
V. The organization and planning of reconnaissance during an Army
The characteristics of the organization (planning) phase of reconnaissance in
an army's defensive operation depend on the conditions and method of taking up
(assuming) the defense used by the army. As the experience of military
operations indicate, the army may assume the defense after the accomplishment
of the offensive operation (by the achievement of the mission) or to repel the
enemy's counterattacks. The army may also take up a deliberate defense at the
beginning of the war. Therefore, the organization and conduct of the
reconnaissance in a defensive operation will have the following
- All of the army's reconnaissance troops might have been infiltrated into the
depth (rear) of the enemy's disposition as a result of previous operations
(special reconnaissance and operational reconnaissance troops);
- The reconnaissance troops may have suffered casualties in personnel and
equipment, and resupply will be required before employing them to execute new
- The depth of reconnaissance operations in defense are far less than those
conducted in offensive operation. Therefore, the main efforts of all
types of reconnaissance operations will be concentrated to disclose the enemy's
striking groupings (main attack), the time of the enemy's initiation of the
attack, and the likely concept of the enemy's combat operations.
The reconnaissance plan in support of an army's defensive operation is prepared
and organized to cover reconnaissance operations during the entire preparatory
phase and a further 5-6 days of combat operations conducted during the army's
defensive operation. At the same time the execution of reconnaissance
missions in support of the army's resuming the offensive operation should be
anticipated in the plan; since the defense, as a type of combat operation, is
only of a temporary nature and should be followed by offensive operations at
the first possible and feasible opportunity.
VI. The most likely composition of the enemy's group of armies and its
operational formation in defense
At the present time our potential enemy maintains a prepared grouping of
forces, in a high state of combat readiness, in the theater of strategic
military actions. In the Western theater of strategic military actions
the NATO alliance has already deployed two groups of armies: northern
group of armies, and central group of armies. Each group of armies
consists of ll divisions and several separate brigades and regiments.
According to the plan of the NATO command, a group of armies in defense will
have l5-l7 or more divisions in its composition and will establish its
operational formation in a defense disposed in one or two echelons (lines).
In the first echelon of each group of armies, there will be eight to ten or ll
divisions while another five or six divisions will form the second echelon
forces and reserves of the group.
The combat operation of the group of armies is supported by tactical aircraft
which are grouped into the Second unified tactical air command and the Fourth
unified tactical air command. Each tactical air command consists of
600-800 aircraft including 200-500 nuclear-armed aircraft (aircraft with
nuclear attack capabilities).
The main tactical and technical characteristics of LANCE guided missile:
- Range: l20/5 kilometers;
- Nuclear yield of warhead: 20-l50 kilotons;
- Accuracy (offset distance): Within 300 meters;
- Location of launching positions: 8-l2 kilometers from the FEBA;
- Time required for their deployment and preparation for launch: 30 minutes.
VII. The likely composition of the tactical air force groups supporting
the enemy's group of armies in offensive operations
In the NATO unified armed forces, all tactical aircraft are grouped and
integrated (in terms of organization) in unified tactical air commands which
usually cooperate with groups of armies in offensive and defensive operations.
NATO countries have organized and deployed two unified tactical air commands
(OTAK) in Western theater of strategic military action: 2nd unified
tactical air command and 4th unified tactical air command which support the
NATO northern group of armies, and central group of armies, respectively.
Unified tactical air commands are composed of those NATO countries' tactical
aircraft, the armed forcces of which are deployed in the theater of strategic
military actions under the command of unified command of NATO forces. For
instance, the 2nd unified tactical air command includes tactical aircraft of
the following NATO countries:
2nd Unified Tactical Air Command:
Belgian tactical air command: l44 aircraft including 36 nuclear armed
Dutch tactical air command (TAK): l60 aircraft, including 60 nuclear
West German tactical air command (TAK): l60 aircraft, including 36
nuclear armed aircraft;
British Royal Air Force (RAF): l32 aircraft, including 60 nuclear armed
TOTAL in 2nd (OTAK): Up to 800 aircraft including 200 nuclear armed
4th Unified Tactical Air Command:
American tactical aircraft (l7th Air Army);
West German tactical aircraft;
Canadian tactical aircraft;
British 3rd Air Army;
Total in 4th OTAK: 800 tactical aircraft including 400-500 nuclear armed
VIII. The types of defense according to the doctrine of the potential
enemy (defensive lines, belts, and areas)
According to the military doctrine of the potential enemy, there are two types
of defense, mobile defense and area defense.
- Mobile defense
This type of defense is applied when enemy forces consist of mobile
(mechanized) and tank units with high maneuvering capabilities, and also when
the enemy has relative superiority in the air.
The basis of mobile defense is maneuver and counterattack of the enemy.
Therefore, when organizing this type of defense, the friendly forces are
grouped into defending troops and strong reserves and second echelon
troops. This type of defense is recommended in situations where nuclear
weapons are employed in support of combat operations.
- Area Defense
This type of defense is applied for deliberate holding of terrain. The
conduct of such type of defense is preceded by preparation of defensive areas,
positions and lines with use of engineer equipment well in advance.
The area defense is divided into the following:
- Security area (zone) l5-50 km in depth;
- Main defensive belt 200 km or more in depth;
The security area (zone) consists of a number of intermediate delaying
positions l0-l2 km apart from each other. They are defended by brigades
(reconnaissance units) from corps reserves and second echelon forces.
Defensive belt consists of a number of defensive lines (areas) each 30-50 km in
The first defensive line of the forward defensive area: The defensive area of
first echelon divisions and positions of corps reserves.
The defensive area of first echelon divisions consists of first echelon
brigades' defensive positions (forward defensive area) l0-l2 km in depth, and
positions of divisional reserves, l5-20 km from FEBA.
A unified system of command and control and communication is set up to provide
command and control for the air defense system. This system not only covers the
command and control of air defense guided missiles but also of fighter aircraft
included in the composition of the 2nd and 4th unified tactical air commands.
To facilitate the coordination (interaction) between air defense guided
missiles and fighter aircraft, specific areas of operation are allocated to
each, different altitudes are specified (allocated) to fighter operations and
air defense guided missiles.
IX. The likely composition of striking air formations (US
aircraft carrier task forces) according to enemy doctrine and combat
An American striking air formation (aircraft carrier task force) is composed of
an aircraft carrier ship of the Forrestal type and up to 40 other types of
Each aircraft carrier may base more than 80 naval aircraft, including 40-50
nuclear armed aircraft (aircraft with nuclear capabilities). Each nuclear
armed aircraft is allocated 3 nuclear bombs, 2 kept in the aircraft carrier and
the other on transport means.
The striking air formation is appointed to deliver nuclear and conventional
strikes, by naval air force units, on permanent targets in the enemy's
territory. It is also employed to fight enemy submarines and other ships.
Tactical and Technical Capabilities of the Aircraft Carrier
- Total capacity 78,000 tons
- Length 3l8.l meters
- Width 39.5 meters
- Cruising speed 30-34 knots
- The number of aircraft based on the carrier
- 90 of which 50 are nuclear armed.
Tactical and Technical characteristics of Phantom F-4E aircraft:
- Crew: 2;
- Maximum speed: 2240 km/h;
- Practical altitude of flight: l8,500-20,000 meters;
- Range: 2700 km;
- Armament: 3 x 20 mm guns, 4-6 missiles;
- Bomb capacity: 6800 kilograms.
X. The organization of NATO's air defense system in the NATO central
region (Western theater of strategic military action)
For the purpose of organization of the air defense system, the central region
is divided into the following air defense sectors: the area of
responsibility of the Northern Group of Armies and the area of responsibility
of the Central Group of Armies. The following air defense units are
deployed in the above mentioned sectors:
- Air defense guided missile "Hawk" battalion: The number of
"Hawk" battalions is as follows:
In American forces command: 9 Hawk battalions (each battalion consists of
24 launching pads; in modernized battalions - 27 launching pads);
In Dutch forces: 5 "Hawk" battalions;
In Belgian forces: 2 Hawk battalions;
In West German forces: 7 Hawk battalions;
Each "Hawk" battalion deploys in an area 20 km in front (width) and
25-30 kilometers in depth. They can destroy targets flying at altitudes
from l0 meters up to l8 kilometers.
- Nike Hercules Battalions: The number is as follows:
American forces: 5 battalions (each battalion comprises 36 launching
Dutch forces: 2 battalions;
Belgian forces: 2 battalions;
West German forces: 5 battalions;
The NIKE Hercules battalion can destroy targets flying at altitudes between
l500 m and 30 km. Its maximum range against air targets is l60 km.
NIKE Hercules battalions are deployed 40-60 km apart from each other.