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.