ENGINEER SUPPORT OF FRONT
The following information was extracted from various lectures and is
provided for the reader's information pending completion of a chapter on
Engineer support of Front offensive operations is organized on the basis
of the Front commander's decisions and his instructions about the
organization of engineer support, as well as in accordance with instructions of
higher echelon's chief of engineers. The Fronts' chief of engineers works out
the engineer support plan of the offensive operation on the basis of the
Front commanders decision, his concept of operation and his instructions
on engineer support, as well as on the basis of the instructions of higher
echelon chief of engineers. The engineer support plan is worked out on the map
with written details.
I. Preparation, contents and employment of communications routes in
Front offensive operations, mission and capabilities of road
construction and traffic control brigade
The communication system is one of the vital pre-requisites in Front
offensive operations. In such operations wide use should be made of all routes
and communications lines (railroads, water and air routes, motor routes and
pipelines). The Front has two to three Frontal railroads and two
to three lateral railroads (parallel to Front line), which are required at the
rear services area of the Front with a total capacity of 70 pairs of
trains in 24-hours. In the course of conducting the operation, one to two
railroad directions, with a capacity of 30 pairs of trains in 24-hours, must be
established (restored). The rate of restoring railroads, by employing two
railroad construction brigades, is 40-45 km in 24-hours (in case of partial
destruction). In case of massive destruction this rate is decreased by half,
i.e. 20-22 km in 24-hours. Each army is allotted two to three distribution
stations (P/C) and one to two alternate (reserve) distribution stations. Each
army is also allotted debarkation (unloading) stations (B/C) on the basis of
one station to each organic division and tow to three stations to army mobile
(forward) base. One to two temporary debarkation (unloading) stations are
established at the Front level.
Water ways (routes)
A distribution port (P/M) to the Front and a debarkation (unloading)
station to the army are allocated.
Front military motor routes
These connect the Front bases with their departments and with armies'
mobile (forward) bases. One military motor route is prepared at the rear of
each army. Each Front military motor route has the traffic capacity of
l0,000 vehicles per 24-hours.
Major field pipeline
This transports POL from permanent and Front depots to the forces (the
Front main grouping of forces), meaning that it is stretched to the
direction of main attack.
Air communication routes
These are established by airfield supporting elements (AMO). Seven to eight air
communication routes are established at the Front level.
It is important that use of all available transport means should be made in the
Front. For this purpose a unified system of communication lines is
established and its cover is organized.
Road construction and traffic control brigade
This brigade is employed to prepare, restore and maintain Front military motor
routes and to conduct traffic control on the routes. The brigade is capable:
- To maintain 900 km of road;
- Deploy three complete of service centers;
- Establish l60 traffic control posts.
The brigade can accomplish the following tasks in 24-hours:
- Construction of under water bridge - ll0 meters in length (60 ton capacity);
- Construction of pontoon bridge - 400 meters in length (l6 tons capacity); -
Digging works (excavation) - 4500 cubic meters;
- Road repair - up to 90 km;
- Repair of pavement - up to ten km.
II. Missions of engineer support in Front and army offensive
operations and the organization of their accomplishment
Engineer support of army's offensive operation is organized to create favorable
and necessary conditions for initiating the attack by the troops and for the
development of the offensive at high speed and also to protect personnel and
combat equipment against the effects of weapons employed in modern combat.
This aim is achieved through the accomplishment of a number of engineer support
missions during the preparation, as well as during the offensive operation. The
basic engineer support tasks are the following:
During preparation for the operation:
- Engineer fortifications of first-echelon divisions (starting positions for
- Engineer fortifications at the area of second-echelon units and reserves
- Engineer fortifications in SSM, SAM and artillery deployment areas for
- Construction and further improvement of roads for the deployment of army
- Engineer support in case of repelling enemy's possible aggression;
- Concealment measures;
In the course of conduct of the operation:
The following are illustrated on the engineer support plan of the offensive
- The basic task of engineer support;
- Timing and locations of accomplishing each task;
- The units employed to execute engineer support tasks;
- Method of movement (relocation) of engineer troops in course of the conduct
of the operation;
- Organization for supplying the units with engineer equipment and material.
In the written part of the plan, detailed information and calculations are
In order to accomplish engineer support tasks, the grouping of engineer troops
is established in the army which includes the following elements:
- Engineer troops attached to first-echelon divisions;
- Engineer troops directly under army control and employed to execute
centralized engineer tasks;
- Mobile obstacle detachment;
- Engineer reserve.
On the basis of the engineer support plan missions are designated to the
subordinate units. Engineer missions are assigned to motorized infantry (tank)
regiments and divisions through combat instructions.
III. Engineer support in preparing the army's defensive operations,
tactical and technical capabilities of fast-moving trench-digging vehicle
Engineer support of defensive operation is organized to create favorable and
necessary conditions for ensuring the strength of the defenses, to protect
personnel and combat equipment from the effects of firing weapons, as well as
to enhance the effectiveness of the employment of combat vehicles, equipment
Engineer support in preparing the army's defensive operation is dependent on
the method of taking up the defensive action (passing into defense) by the
army. Thus when the army is taking up the defense in the course of offensive
operations, engineer support of defensive operations begins with taking
measures to support the regrouping of the troops for defense and covering of
exposed and dangerous flanks by antitank weapons and means. When the army is
assuming a deliberate (planned) defense, in absence of close contact with the
enemy, engineer support of army's defensive operation will start by taking
measures to support the movement of troops and occupation of specified
defensive areas by them.
Basic engineer support tasks during preparation of the defense:
- Engineer construction in defensive areas of first-echelon divisions;
- Construction of army's defensive belts, alternative positions, reserves and
army troops deployment (positioning) areas;
- Engineer construction of SSM and SAM units positions;
- Construction of obstacles and destruction system;
- Preparing of maneuver routes;
- Engineer works of army's command posts;
- Concealment measures.
Engineer fortifications of defensive belts and defensive positions, and
positions of rocket and artillery units are prepared by the army's large units
(divisions) and units (regiments, brigades) themselves. For the purpose of the
speedy and full accomplishment of engineer constructing works, the army large
units (divisions) defending on the axis of the enemy's main attack, as well as
rocket (missile) units are reinforced with trench-digging units from the
trench-digging battalion of the army's combat engineer regiment.
The obstacle system includes the following:
- Obstacles and barriers created in front of/and in the main defensive belt;
obstacles and barriers constructed in depth of army's defensive zone; obstacles
and barriers, established in course of the operations by mobile obstacles
detachment and engineer reserves.
- The obstacles on the main defensive belt are constructed to be in the first
state of readiness, while the obstacles in the rear of the army's defensive
zone are constructed to be in the state of second readiness (the limits of such
obstacles are marked to indicate the area of their location).
Road system in defense includes Frontal supply and evacuation routes,
constructed on the basis of one or more routes to each division, lateral
communication lines (routes) and maneuver routes for the movement of
second-echelon forces to their lines of deployment for launching
counterattacks, constructed on the basis of one to two routes to each regiment.
Tactical and technical characteristics of fast-moving trench-digging vehicles:
- This vehicle is employed to carry out mechanized digging of trenches and
communication trenches. They are organic to divisional engineer battalions and
the trench-digging (fortification) battalion of the army's combat engineer
The vehicle can dig 300-400m long trench in one hour:
- Weight: 27 tons;
- Speed: 35 kmh;
- Range (on the basis of one refill): 500 km;
- Range (on the basis of track life): 3500 km;
It is mounted on an artillery towing vehicles (ATT).
Engineer support during the conduct of Front offensive
operation, composition of Front engineer troops
Engineer support during the conduct of Front offensive operation is conducted
to provide favorable conditions for the development of offensive at a high rate
of speed and for the protection of personnel against the impact of modern
The basic tasks include the following:
- Supporting the passage through enemy's security zone, breaking through the
enemy defense and development of attacks of first-echelon armies;
- Supporting the movement and deployment of Front's second-echelon
forces into combat;
- Supporting the river crossing operations;
- Supporting the actions of SSM and SAM units;
- Supporting the consolidations and fortifying of seized objectives (lines);
- Supporting the landing and combat operation of assault air landing forces;
- Supporting combat operations of Front air force;
- Taking measures to eliminate the effects of the employment of nuclear weapons
and restoring the combat capabilities of Front forces;
- Organization of supplying the troops with engineer equipment, stores and
To provide engineer support in the Front's operations, the following engineer
troops are included in its disposition:
- Road construction and bridging engineer brigade: 1;
- Combat engineer regiment: 1;
- Pontoon bridging engineer regiment: 1;
- Assault river crossing engineer battalion: 1-2;
- Engineer obstacle battalion: 1;
- Engineer obstacle clearing battalion: 1-2;
- Command post construction engineer battalion: 1;
- Engineer concealment battalion: 1;
- Engineer repair battalion: 2-3;
- Engineer plant apparatus repair battalion: 1-2;
- Rear services engineer company: 2-3;
Depending on the organization (composition of the Front, theater of
strategic military action, and missions assigned to the Front), it can
be further reinforced by the following units:
- Engineer bridge construction brigade;
- Combat engineer brigade;
- Pontoon, river crossing, fortification and obstacle clearing units.
V. Engineer support in assault river crossings by armed forces;
tactical and technical characteristics of pontoon bridging park
Depending on the nature of the TSMA, the army elements will be forced, in the
course of conducting offensive operations, to cross the large rivers where the
enemy defends and attempts to delay the attack of friendly forces. Therefore,
in order to prevent the enemy from establishing organized defenses on the
rivers, the basic form of river crossing is assault crossing from the march.
Engineer support in assault river crossing is organized for the following
- To provide favorable conditions for the destruction of enemy units and
movement (approach) to the river (water obstacle);
- To support units in assault river crossing;
- To develop the attack at the far bank.
The above mentioned purposed can be achieved by the accomplishment of the
following engineer support tasks:
- Engineer reconnaissance of the enemy and water obstacle (river);
- Construction of routes leading to the river and crossing sites;
- Construction of installations and establishment of crossings (crossing
- Organization of traffic control and provost service on the crossing sites;
- Protection of crossing sites against the enemy destructive actions.
The first-echelon divisions are reinforced by sufficient crossing assets and
troops to ensure their crossing operation without decreasing their speed of
The norms of crossing time for different elements are as follows:
- Forward detachment crosses the river in one to one-and-a-half hours;
- Division's main body (forces) accomplish their assault river crossing in four
to five hours;
- The army accomplishes a river crossing in l0-l5 hours.
The forward detachment, on arrival to the river line, initiates crossing by
assault crossing vehicles, as well as by rafts and by means of its active
actions at the far bank, supports the river crossing operations of division's
To conduct crossing operation of the division's main forces, assault river
crossing sites, raft crossings, bridges and underwater tank crossing sites are
established. For each first-echelon division, four to six assault crossing
sites, four to six raft crossing sites, one to two bridge crossing sites and
two to five underwater tank crossings are established.
The army, employing its organic river crossing means, can accomplish a river
crossing at the above-mentioned speed when the river is 200 meters wide. To
support crossing operations over wider rivers, or to support crossing
operations over a second river, the army is required to be reinforced by more
assault crossing means, rafts and bridging equipment.
The first-echelon large units (divisions and crops) are normally reinforced by
river crossing assets at the time when missions to conduct assault river
crossing are assigned to them.
The engineer reserve is established of a size sufficient to be able to
construct one bridge for the division.
Tactical and technical characteristics of pontoon bridging park
The pontoon bridging park is employed to construct rafts and bridge crossing
sites (crossings). Such parks are organic to the division engineer battalion
(1/2 park) and army's and Front pontoon bridging regiments (2 parks in each
regiment). One pontoon bridging park can construct the following combination of
rafts and bridges in a specific period of time:
- A bridge 227m long with a capacity of 60 tons in 30 minutes;
- A bridge 382 meters long with a capacity of 20 tons in 50 minutes.
One pontoon and bridging park (complete) can form rafts in these combinations:
- Sixteen 40 ton rafts in eight minutes;
- Ten 60 ton rafts in ten minutes;
- Eight 80 ton rafts in 12 minutes.