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Instructor Notes:
Author: Jalali, Sloan, McJoynt, Wardak
Date: July 1990




1. General: This hour long lesson describes the structure of Soviet headquarters and staffs, and the duties of the commander, chief of staff, and chief of operations.

2. Sublesson Introduction: This first hour will also serve as the general introduction to the two days of classes. Instructor should hand out the course instruction schedule and point out to the students the highlights. Emphasize that only the first seven hours are on theory, after this brief preparation the students will be expected to participate in practical exercises by making the decisions and preparing the plans for front, army, and division operations.

3. Teacher Learning Objective: Provide students with general background knowledge on the organization, structure, and functions of Soviet headquarters with particular focus on the operations planners to prepare students for roles of commander, chief of staff, and chief of operations at division, army, and front levels.

Task: Describe the structure of Soviet front, army, and division headquarters.

Condition: Given reading assignments and class handouts.

Standard: Instructor will show the diagrams of the front, army, and division headquarters. He should point out that the Soviet definition of the "staff" is much different than the US Army's, however the same functions are performed, although in a different manner. He should also discuss the Soviet command post in terms of location, structure, layout, etc. He should show how the staff is organized to man several command posts.

Task: Analyze the duties of Soviet front, army, and division commander, chiefs of staff, and chiefs of operations as well as the general responsibilities of the members of the operations directorate or section.

Condition: Given reading assignments and class handouts.

Standard: The instructor will call on students to discuss the duties of these key individuals based on their reading of the extracts from the Handbook on Soviet Staff Planning. They should compare and contract the Soviet responsiblities with those of comparable US officers. Although planning reconnaissance, artillery, air, and several other functions are separate courses, they should be included in a general way here to show how they relate to the duties of the chief of operations. Several of the more important relatively separate activities of the chief of operations, such as desant, maskirovka, and radio electronic combat, will also be topics for individual courses.

Task: Describe and discuss the Soviet categories on staff procedures.

Condition: Given reading assignment and class handouts.

Standard: The instructor should present the material describing the content of Soviet staff procedures as a general introduction and outline of the content of these functions. Indicate how they may differ from similar functions in U. S. headquarters. This discussion provides an opportunity to give a general overview of the individual functions performed by the commander and staff and how they interrelate. These activities will be taken up in more detail in latter lessons.

4. Level of Instruction: Familiarization.

5. Method of Instruction: Lecture and discussion.

6. Author's Intent: In the first half of the lesson the instructor should elicit as much participation from the students as possible by having them respond to questions or comment on their reading about the organization of a Soviet headquarters. However, he will probably have to carry the main load in getting accross the point that a Soviet headquarters is organized somewhat differently than a US one, while accomplishing essentailly the same functions as any military headquarters must accomplish. Be sure to show how the staff sections are split between the main, alternate, rear, and forward command and control posts. Point out the importance of the Soviet chief of rear services and the chief of technical matters and armament, even though they are not members of the Soviet "staff". Although this course is on planning operations and focuses almost exclusively on the role of the operations officer with the commander and chief of staff, in this hour the instructor will have his only real opportunity to stress how the operations section must interact with all the other staffs to prepare and control combat actions.

7. Equipment/Materials: View graphs.

8. Homework: None.

OUTSIDE READING: See reading list in general introduction.

FM 100-2-1, Chapter 9
Text Voroshilov lectures on front and army operations and on troop control.
Text on Soviet staff procedures
Text on responsibilities of Soviet staff officers
Text on Soviet decision making process.
Extracts from Handbook on Soviet staff showing headquarters structures and duties of commander, chief of staff, and chief of operations .

9. Annexes:

Discussion agenda
Lecture notes
List of viewgraphs



20 min I. Organization of Soviet headquarters and staff:

The headquarters includes all the officers and personnel which make up the troop control functional element. In terms of location they are divided between several locations. The main and alternate command posts are the principal controling elements and the majority of the operations directorate officers are at these. The rear control post is the location from which logistics functions are controled by the chief of rear services and the chief of technical matters and armaments. The forward command post exists for the purpose of providing the commander with a location from which to continue his personal control of combat actions while gaining a closer and more direct observation of the battlefield. It is manned by personnel, the majority of whom accompany the commander when he moves there.

In terms of functional elements the Soviet headquarters is divided between the staff proper, which contains only the operations, reconnaissance, communications, and some specialized functions; and the directorates of the chiefs of combat arms, special troops, and services, (artillery, air defense, engineer, chemical, technical services, rear services, etc.)

Front; (show diagrams)

Army; (show diagrams)

Division; (show diagrams)

20 min II. Duties of commander, chief of staff, and chief of operations:

The Soviet commander exercises complete control under the principle of "one man command". He is ultimately responsible for everything that happens and does not happen in his organization. Although Soviet terminology designates several individuals as "First Deputy", the chief of staff is the only officer authorized to sign orders in the name of the commander. He is the commander's real "right hand man" and alter ego. The chief of staff generally is the "brains' of the organization as well. He is responsible for seeing to it that everything runs right and happens according to the commander's wishes. The chief of the operations directorate in turn is the deputy chief of staff and the number three man as far as operational planning goes. However the various deputy commanders who are chiefs of their speciality departments such as artillery or engineer, or rear service enjoy direct access to the commander and considerable independent responsibility for their own affairs.

10 min III. Staff procedures

Soviet officers think of their functional duties falling into the categories of various procedures. These are organization of the planning, preparation of information for the decision, conveying missions and documents, planning the operation, interaction, organizing all around support, and organizing control



VG1 - Course introduction - outline of course contents

VG2 - Outline of lesson 1

VG3 - Front headquarters & staff

VG3 - Main components of front headquarters

VG4 - Composition of front command post

VG5 - Composition of front forward command post and front rear control point

VG6 - Front headquarters support troops

VG7 - Army headquarters & staff

VG8 - Composition of army command post

VG9 - Composition of army forward command post

VG10 - Composition of army rear control point

VG11 - Army headquarters support troops

VG12 - Division headquarters and staff

VG13 - Division command post composition

VG14 - Division command post dimensions

VG15 - Duties of commander

VG16 - Duties of chief of staff

VG17 - Duties of chief of operations

VG18 - Duties of chief of reconnaissance

VG19 - Duties of chiefs of combat arms

VG20 - Duties of chief of rear services

VG21 - Organization of staff procedures

VG22 - Procedure to prepare information for the decision

VG23 - Procedure to convey missions and documents

VG24 - Procedure to plan the operation

VG25 - Procedure for interaction

VG26 - Procedure to organize support

VG27 - Procedure to organize control



I Organization of headquarters and duties of staff 1 hr

II Interaction of commander and operations chief 1 hr

III Tactical and operational calculations 3 hrs

IV Documents and maps 2 hr

V Practical exercise on planning at front 2hrs

VI Practical exercise on planning at army 4 hrs

VII Practical exercise on planning at division 3 hrs



organization of headquarters and staff

dimensions, locations, and configuration of control points

duties of front commander, chief of staff, and chief of operations

duties of army commander, chief of staff, and chief of operations

duties of division commander, chief of staff, and chief of operations

staff procedures



training - combat readiness

mobilization - staffing

combat capability

troop control

clarify mission

estimate situation

make decision

organize interaction

issue instructions on combat support

control preparation

assist subordinates

predict changes and report situation



deputy commander - issue orders

responsible for staff

brief staff and set duties

know situation

interaction measures


sign documents




prepare orders and plans

prepare calculations of friendly forces

organize radio electronic combat

organize maskirovka

interaction documents

organize command post

troop preparation

control combat




information on enemy and terrain

calculations on enemy and on reconnaissance capabilities

control reconnaissance units

organize reconnaissance and prepare plan

coordination of reconnaissance





information on their forces and analogous enemy


troop control

plan employment of forces and means

report situation




combat readiness

clarify mission - logistics plan

assign missions

supply material

maintain supply routes

medical support






chief of staff

network of planning and preparation (calendar plan)









operations directive

combat instructions



prepare map





staff duties

coordination on terrain







control system

control posts

information system

traffic control

secrecy and security







Troop control is an important subject in its own right in Soviet military art and science. It includes a much broader set of functions and activities than does the American concept of troop control. The instructor should briefly outline the content and tasks of troop control, the requirements placed on troop control in modern warfare and the structural organization of the principal elements of the troop control system.

Troop control consists of knowledgeable leadership and control of subunits, units, formations, and large operational formations by the commander, the deputy commanders, staffs, and political officers; thorough and timely organization of troop combat operations; and logical and consistent direction of their effort until the successful accomplishment of the assigned mission.

The contents and tasks of troop control in an offensive operation are as follows:
----- Maintaining the state of high morale of the troops and their constant readiness to accomplish assigned combat missions and new tasks arising during the operation.
----- Continually collecting, processing and analyzing information about the situation and disclosing the intention and aim of the enemy.
----- Making timely decisions and assigning combat missions to subordinates.
----- Planning the operation.
----- Guiding and controlling subordinate troops in accomplishment of their combat missions.
----- Troop control in the course of execution of the operational missions.
----- Organization and implementation of all types of supporting measures to support the combat action of the troops in the operation.
----- Organization and continued retention of coordination and interaction.
----- Control of the accomplishment of troops assigned missions and extending assistance to them.

The contents of each task depends on the character of the offensive operation, the conditions of preparing the operation and the availability of time for the preparation of the operation.

In contemporary conditions the solution (accomplishment) of these missions would differ in preparing the initial and subsequent operations.

In case the enemy launches a surprise attack or when the enemy overtakes the friendly forces in preparation, the commander and staff should adjust quickly the mission of the troops and adjust the deployment of the troops in (FUP) areas simultaneously with the bringing troop preparation to the state of full combat readiness.

The Principal Requirements of Troop Control in Modern Times

1.Activeness and Vigilance of Troop control:

In contemporary times the maneuver capability of the troops has widely increased. Combat situations change rapidly. This affects the time element. The struggle to gain time and overtake the enemy in action has a critical effect on the outcome of the operation. Therefore special attention on the part of troop control organs must be paid to the need for activeness and vigilance.

2.Resourcefulness of Troop Control:

The knowledge, ability and extensive experience of commanders and staffs in making rational decisions, delivering them quickly to subordinates, and taking appropriate measures on all round support of the operation are important requirements of troop control.

3.High Combat Readiness of Troop Control Echelons, Command Posts and Control Systems:

Prior readiness, timely deployment and consistent operation of all troop control echelons, from front down to company and platoon level; high combat readiness of all command posts and communicationsystems as well as the system of collection; scientific analysis along with rapidly and correctly deriving deductions (conclusion) from the information about the situation are important prerequisites of modern troop control.

4.Continuity of Troop Control:

Continuity of troop control is provided by thorough awareness of the commander and staff of the situation and prediction of likely changes in the situation; by maintaining reliable and continuous communication with subordinates; by timely relocation of the command posts and by constant exchange of information between the subordinate headquarters and the adjacent headquarters.

5.Firmness of Troop Control:

Firmness implies the implementation of the decision to accomplish the assigned mission along with high morale and great perseverance on the part of the commander and staff in implementation of the decision and strong determination to eliminate problems and obstacles. It is shown by continued influence of the commander and the staff over subordinates by his extending assistance to them in control of their operation.

6.Flexibility of Troop Control

This is ensured by the great capability of the commander and staff in quickly influencing newly arising situations and in their adjustment of previously made decisions or making new decisions in accordance with the new situation. They also constantly control the accomplishment of assigned missions by constant efforts to collect new information about the situation, analyze it and take quick and correct measures according to the situation.

7.Centralization of Troop Control

This implies the unification of subordinate units' operations and concentrating their efforts according to a unified plan in order to achieve the general objective of the operation as defined by the higher command and staff. The participation of various types of troops and different combat equipment along with the wide dimensions of the combat operation creates the requirement for centralized Troop control and concentration of all arms and means to meet the aims of the operational mission.

8. Initiative

One of the important characteristics of modern combat and operations is the large capability for maneuver and drastic and rapid changes in combat situations. This requires rational initiative of the subordinate commanders to continue the operation in the absence of signal communications with higher commanders. Those who are unable to destroy the enemy are not guilty but the guilty ones are those who are afraid to take responsibility in the time of need and who fail to use all available troops and means to destroy the enemy and accomplish the mission.

9. Secrecy of Troop Control

The development of detection and reconnaissance means by the enemy necessitates strict observation of secrecy of troop control. Secrecy of troop control is insured by:
----- strict observation of security rules
----- observation of concealment requirements and concealed deployment of command posts
----- strict observation of security rules by the responsible officers who participate in troop control.
----- limiting the number of people who are called to participate in preparation and planning of the operation.


The Structure and Organization of Front Field Troop Control

l. Troop Control Organization

This is a number of responsible persons who are organized under a unified troop control structure to accomplish specific missions of troop control of subordinate troops.

The troop control structure of large operational formations organic to different services of the armed forces are organized on the basis of one-man command. In this context the troop control is exercised by a single commander through his staff. The troop control organs of large operational formations include the following elements
----- the commander
----- staff (including the Chief of Staff)
----- political affairs department
----- chiefs of combat and combat support arms and services and their staffs
----- chief of rear services.

2. The staff

The staff is the principal troop control organ and it is considered a more senior organ than the other departments. The staff is responsible for organization of troop control of combat operations and constant and firm troop control of the subordinate units. The staff organizes all operations on the basis of the instructions received from higher commanders and staff. The staff includes the following elements:
----- operations department
----- reconnaissance department
----- signal and communications department
----- organization and mobilization department
----- 8th dept (secret code cryptography)
----- topography section
----- radio electronic warfare services section
----- the signal communication security and service elements of the headquarters




Duties and responsibilities of the front commander

l. The front commander is the principal organizer of the combat operations of the front and he personally or through his staff commands and controls the troops in combat. The commander accomplishes the following tasks:
----- conduct of training to insure high combat readiness of the troops, combat arms and services, and troop control organs of the front to accomplish likely combat missions in the future;
----- control and supervision of the procedures used to bring the front to full strength in terms of personnel, weapons, equipment, technical and material requirements and other supplies.

2. The commander is responsible for the combat capability of subordinate troops, the organization of combat operations, the maintenance of undistrupted troop control, and successful accomplishment of combat missions.
3. The commander clarifies the combat mission by himself or jointly with the chief of staff and the chief of the political affairs department. He instructs the chief of staff on preparing the combat arms, supporting arms, and services as well as the staffs for combat and gives his instructions about the timing of preparations for the attack and combat operation. The commander estimates the situation by himself or he listens to the reports and suggestions of the chiefs of combat and combat support arms and services about the employment of their troops. He listens to the suggestions of the chief of staff about his deductions from the estimate of the situation and proposed decisions. Accordingly he makes his rational decision, issues combat missions to subordinates and gives instructions about planning the operation.

4. The commander organizes coordination among the troops, supporting troops, adjacents, and other elements of the armed forces operating in the front area of responsibility.

5. The commander issues instructions about all-round support of the operation.

6. The commander personally or through his staff controls the preparation of combat arms and combat support arms and services for the operation and for the accomplishment of the assigned mission. He extends necessary assistance to subordinate troops .

7. The commander is obliged constantly and thoroughly to evaluate and to analyze the situation during the course of the operation and to predict likely changes in the situation. Under any circumstances the commander is to make a rational and timely decision in accordance with the changes in the situation and to issue new combat missions to subordinate troops.

8. The commander should always be prepared to report to the supreme command or general staff about the situation, status and character of operations of the friendly and enemy troops, and his current decision.

9. The commander briefs the chief of staff about his concept and intention and aim. He also briefs the chief of staff about any instructions he personally issued to subordinate troops.


Duties of the chief of staff

l. The chief of staff is the first deputy of the commander and the supervisor of the front staff. Only the chief of staff is eligible to issue in the name of the commander instructions and orders to operational formations, and large units, the chiefs of combat and combat support arms and services, and other responsible officers directly under command of the front commander. He should report to the commander about all orders he has issued. The chief of staff accomplishes the following tasks or duties.

He is responsible for all duties to be accomplished by the staff.

The chief of staff briefs the deputy commander, chiefs of staff departments, and chiefs of combat and combat support arms and services about the mission and gives instructions about the preparation of preliminary warning orders, calendar plans, and calculations for the decision-making process. He sets the deadlines for their preparation.

The chief of staff is constantly obliged to know the situation and to predict likely changes in the situation and to be prepared to report the following items to the commander:
----- (1) situation and status and character of friendly and enemy forces' operations;
----- (2) deductions from his estimate of the situation and his proposed decision; and
----- (3) measures on organization of command and control, coordination, and support of the combat action of friendly troops.

2. The chief of staff coordinates the operation of the staff and specifies the coordinating measures to all chiefs of combat and combat support arms and services concerning troop control organs and adjacents. He coordinates the operation of all organs and controls their performance.

3. The planning of the operation is conducted under the leadership of the chief of staff. The chief of staff personally prepares some important documents such as the combat directive and participates in preparation and working out of some other issues and documents. He supervises the process of their preparation.

4. The chief of staff should be aware of all orders and instructions issued by the commander and should control their execution.

5. All directives orders and instructions that should be issued to operational formations and large units as well as all plans and important combat documents are signed or approved by the chief of staff.


Duties of the chief of operations

l. The chief of operations is one of the most important department chiefs. He is responsible for training and the preparation during combat of the operation. He has the following duties:
----- preparation of warning orders, calendar plans, and sometimes personally writing the combat directives and preparation of other important documents;
----- preparation of calculations required for the commander to make the decision;
----- planning the front operation and preparing the annexes to the plan such as the plan of the initial nuclear strike, operational concealment plan, plan of protection of troops against mass destructive weapons, plan of restoration of troop combat capabilities. The plan of employment of air assault operations, plans of movement and deployment of front troops and FUPs etc.

2. He is responsible for the issuance and conveyance of combat missions to subordinate operational formations and large units;
----- collection, study and analysis of situation information;
----- timely presentation and dispatch of information about the situation and regular situation reports to higher headquarters, dispatch of information about all changes in the situation to subordinate unit staffs, the combat and combat support arms and services, the headquarters of coordinating elements, and adjacents;
----- organization and maintenance of continuous coordination and preparation of documents on coordination;
----- organization and deployment of command posts and their relocation during the course of the operation;
----- organization of signal communications and designation of the command and control signals;
----- control of the preparation of troops for combat operations;
----- control of accomplishment of combat missions by subordinates and extension of required assistance to them-prepare combat documents about troop control.


Duties of the chief of reconnaissance

l. The chief of reconnaissance is responsible for the training, and insures the high combat readiness of the reconnaissance troops. He exercises troop control over them and supervises the conduct of the operation of reconnaissance units and subunits. He is responsible for the following items:
----- collection, study, and analysis of the derivation of deductions from reconnaissance information about the enemy and terrain and timely presentation of the important information to the chief of staff and higher commander and staff;
----- derivation of the aims and tasks of reconnaissance and the allocation of required troops and reconnaissance means to accomplish these;
----- preparation of the reconnaissance plan and issuance of missions to the reconnaissance department staff. The reconnaissance plan is signed by the chief of staff and approved by the commander.
----- coordination of all efforts of different reconnaissance means in terms of their missions and objectives;
----- preparation of units and sub-units (groups) (GRG from SPETZNAZ) at army level which has two sections each with 4 groups. front level battalion has 35 to 40 groups operating up to 800 km deep.
----- preparation of unit and subunits assigned to conduct reconnaissance and insuring their all round support;
----- control of the execution of assigned instructions and orders and practical assistance to staffs and commanders of units and sub units in accomplishment of reconnaissance missions;
----- organization of continuous communications with units and subunits (groups) assigned to combat reconnaissance and also with the headquarters of subordinate operational formations and large units;
----- reception of reconnaissance reports from aircraft;
----- organization and conduct of actions about the protection of reconnaissance units, subunits, and groups against mass destruction weapons;
----- communication of reconnaissance information inside the staff and to subordinate, adjacent, and coordinating headquarters.


The duties of the chiefs of combat arms, special troops, and services

The chiefs of combat arms, special troops, and services are responsible for the training, command and control and high combat readiness of their respective operational formations, large units, and units. They are obliged to accomplish the following duties:
----- report to the commander information on the capabilities of the enemy in their respective specialties, as well as information on the capabilities and strength of their own operational formations, large units, and units along with suggestions regarding the combat employment of their respective troops;
----- prepare the required calculations for the commander to make the decision;
----- assist the commander in troop control of troops during preparation and in the course of the operation;
----- on the basis of the commander's decision, conduct the troop control of related operational formations, large units, and units of combat and combat support arms and services;
----- plan combat employment of subordinate troops and have the plans signed by the commander;
----- issue and convey combat missions to their subordinate troops based on the instructions of the commander;
----- organize coordination and all round support of their respective subordinate units;
----- along with the staff, and chiefs of other combat and combat support arms and services, control the correct understanding of the combat mission and also control and supervise the timely accomplishment of assigned missions as desired.

2. In the course of combat the chiefs of combat and combat support arms and services are to follow the situation and status of their subordinate units and always be prepared to report to the commander and chief of staff the information about the situation of their subordinate units.


Duties of chief of rear service -deputy commander of front for rear services

The chief of rear services is at the same time the deputy commander of the front for logistics matters. He is responsible for the training, troop control, and high combat readiness of logistics large units and installations. He is obliged to accomplish the following duties:
----- maintenance of constant combat readiness of front rear services to support the front`s large operational formations, large units, and units related to combat, and combat support arms and services with all kinds of supplies and medical services;
----- clarification of mission, preparation of the initial data for the rear services plan, making the decision, and organization of planning of logistical support;
----- timely assignment of missions to rear service large units and installations;
----- supply of all material to the troops and timely establishment and maintenance of the specified stores and their undisrupted transportation to the troops;
----- preparation and maintenance of supply routes and transport means along with the establishment of provost and traffic regulation services along the main central routes;
----- collection, evacuation and repair of damaged or disabled vehicles equipment and weapons;
----- provision of medical assistance and treatment of wounded and sick personnel, creation of measures against epidemics, and prophylactic measures during the operation;
----- preparation of mobile technical bases for rocket and missile units and depots for rocket fuel;
----- organization of protection and defense and security of logistic installations and maintenance of order in the rear services area;
----- veterinary support, lodgement, and boarding of troops and exploitation of local economy (captured supplies);
----- insure the maneuver, movement and extension of supplies, transportation vehicles and location of repair and evacuation units, medical installations, mobile technical bases of rockets, railroad units, pipeline units, and motor routes in accordance with the situation and the advance of front troops;
----- continuous control of accomplishment of the given logistic orders and instructions and extension of assistance to logistical units, large units, and installations.

For lecture notes read the papers on Soviet staff procedures and on duties of command personnel. In addition see chapters one through four of the Handbook.