Tag Archives: Lieutenant

Analyzing Military Aspects of Terrain (OAKOC)

When briefing an operations order the Platoon Leader (PL) must go beyond merely making observations or regurgitating what the commander passed down to him or her. The PL must arrive at significant conclusions and make deductions about how a factor will affect friendly forces (FF) and the Enemy.

O – Observation and Fields of Fire (FOF)

A – Avenues of Approach (AOA)

K – Key Terrain (KT)

O – Obstacles and Movement

C – Cover and Concealment

What is the Key Terrain for both friendly and enemy forces?

Keep in mind observation, fields of fire, cover, and concealment when analyzing this crucial question.

With regard to AOA the PL must locate “intervisibility lines” (terrain that inhibits observation from one point to another). FM 3-21.8

The PL must not use predictable AOA. For safety concerns, the platoon must travel a route that the enemy would not think of. Friendly forces (FF)  need to avoid high speed AOA or natural lines of drift. Natural lines of drift can be detected due to high foot traffic that preceded your presence (i.e. trampled down grass, or goat trails). FF should travel via the “hard right” over the “easy wrong,” and patrol regularly irregular.

Observation and FOF – What are the capabilities of our weapons systems? The enemy weapons systems? (Importance of a Red Check book) Be able to depict maximum effective range of weapons systems and FOF on operations order.

“Cover is protection from the effects of fires. Concealment is protection from observation but not direct fire or indirect fires.” (FM 3-21.8) Concealment is vulnerable to recon by fire. The goal is to find clear FOF against the enemy and effective cover and concealment from the enemy.



Lt. Remington Longstreth

“As a leader responsible for every American in the platoon, plus Abdul our interpreter, I had to project confidence around my men at all times. Truth was, half the time that was the last thing I was feeling inside. I had come to know my men and their families. I knew that their wives and parents, children and friends had entrusted with me the safety and well-being of their loved ones.” Sean Parnell – Outlaw Platoon

“I was a leader in a combat zone, entrusted with the role after the army had invested millions of dollars in my training. Any decision I made could have unseen consequences. I second-guessed myself constantly, concealed it from the men, and did my best to absorb every lesson thrown my way.” Sean Parnell – Outlaw Platoon

“For a young lieutenant still trying to find his way, such leaders are pure gold. A good platoon leader is one who will let his sergeants mentor him.” Sean Parnell – Outlaw Platoon