Ospery, the bird of the Selous Scouts.Selous Scouts "Pamwe Chete" title block.Ospery, the bird of the Selous Scouts.






























Employment of Forces

Table of Contents
  1. Section 1: General
  2. Section 2: Infantry
  3. Section 3: Armour
  4. Section 4: Cavalry
  5. Section 5: Artillery
  6. Section 6: Engineers
  7. Section 7: Telecommunications
  8. Section 8: Logistics
  9. Section 9: Air force
  10. Section 10: Paratroops
  11. Section 11: Navy
  12. Section 12: Police
  13. Section 13: Auxiliaries



  1. Military success in ATOPS is dependent on the correct use of well-balanced (but predominantly infantry) ground forces against the enemy. This force will need the support of the air force to fulfill its task, and, when applicable, that of the navy.
  2. The primary role of the army is to seek out and destroy the enemy. This is done by isolating him from the rest of the community, and be preventing him from taking sanctuary in neighboring areas, thus forcing him out into the open and into battle.
  3. In the initial stages of. ATOPS, the army must be prepared to operate in sub-unit and smaller groups. This calls for good junior leadership, high morale and proper training. Success at platoon level will invariably determine the success of the whole operation.


  1. Infantry will invariably be the dominant arm during ATOPS because:
    1. The inherent characteristics of infantry make them ideally suited for employment on any unconventional task, under any circumstances, with or without the support of other arms.
    2. The nature of the operations, terrain, climate and the characteristics and tactics of an irregular enemy will often make the employment of other arms tactically impracticable and uneconomical.
  2. The roles in which infantry are employed are described in detail in the following chapters of this manual.



  1. Because of their characteristics, tanks are generally unsuitable for employment in ATOPS. Therefore this manual deals only with armored cars and infantry combat vehicles. It should be noted, however, that some of the tasks mentioned could equally well be carried out by tanks, especially in urban areas.
  2. Restrictions. The use of armored vehicles in ATOPS is restricted by the following factors:
    1. Vulnerability. The nature of the terrain normally favors the use of even homemade weapons against armor. This calls for increased infantry protection.
    2. Dispersed deployment of units. This factor causes a heavy burden on the supply of fuel and complicates the proper maintenance of armored vehicles.
    3. Lack of mobility. In parts of the country, the vegetation is so dense that armored vehicles are restricted to roads and tracks. If forced to go cross-country, they have a very limited field of vision and movement will be very slow.

Armored Care

  1. Tasks. Armored cars have been used successfully in ATOPS in various countries. Their tasks may include:
    1. Show of force. Armored cars can be used to show force in a certain area, or to make a sudden appearance at a trouble spot.
    2. Protection of sensitive points. Armored cars in cooperation with infantry can be used to protect sensitive points. Thorough coordination between infantry and armor is essential.
    3. Road escort duties:
      1. Armored cars are suitable for escorting convoys.
      2. Armored cars used for this task provide protection and support.
    4. Patrolling. The following can be included:
      1. Road patrols to keep roads open.
      2. Patrols in certain areas to carry out specific tasks, for example, control of the population of an isolated community.
      3. Boundary or area isolation patrols, including mobile patrols during border control operations.
      4. Patrolling of certain areas as part of an encircling cordon, curfew, or controlled area operation.
    5. Road blocks. Armored cars will normally establish emergency road blocks, and road blocks which prohibit or control entrance, during a specific operation.
    6. Offensive action. Armored car weapons can be used for neutralizing or destructive fire when offensive action is required. They can be used independently or in support of the infantry. Normal fire and movement tactics are used. The direct fire capabilities of armored car weapons are ideal to support infantry in close proximity to the enemy.
    7. Illumination. Armored cars are provided with flexible and/or coupled spotlights and could also be fitted with other illuminating equipment, including infrared, if so desired.
  2. Additional tasks. The following tasks can also be carried out where sufficient armored cars are available:
    1. The provision or supplementation of the communication systems.
    2. Traffic control.
    3. Reinforcement of threatened areas.
    4. Encircling operations.
      1. Form part of the encircling force.
      2. Be employed as stops.
      3. Patrol the area behind the main encirclement positions.
    5. Provision of a mobile reserve.
    6. Provision of fire support for infantry attacks and destruction of enemy strongholds.

Armored Personnel Carriers (APC)/Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICV)

  1. Tasks. Mechanized infantry can be used to carry out all of the tasks required of normal infantry in ATOPS when dismounted. Due to their vulnerability in close country the employment of APCs/ICVs should be restricted. However, their characteristics permit them to operate as follows:
    1. Rapid movement into, through or near objectives or trouble spots. APCs/ICVs enable troops to be moved speedily and with comparative immunity from distant assembly or forming-up places and be delivered, fit and fresh, in or near the trouble spot.
    2. Use as a fire support base. When in close contact with the enemy and when the infantry have debused, the APCs/ICVs could be used to provide supporting fire to the infantry.
    3. Roving operations (mobile columns). During ATOPS, units will often be responsible for security duties over large areas in which disorders may break out simultaneously in several centers. Mechanized infantry can be used to provide mobile columns to:
      1. Show the flag and advertise the presence of troops in certain areas.
      2. Suppress, by prompt offensive action, any disturbances beyond the control of the local civil authority.
      3. Control an area in which troops are not normally stationed.
      4. Be a reserve.
      5. Patrol an area or given stretch of road.
    4. Protection of sensitive points. For this task the infantry will be debussed and deployed while available APCs/ICVs can be used as follows:
      1. By day.
        1. To cover the sensitive point and/or approaches with fire.
        2. To patrol certain areas or stretches of road around the sensitive point.
      2. By night. Sited in positions to illuminate the sensitive point, or certain approaches to it, with headlights and to cover these approaches with machine-gun fire.
    5. Road escort duties. In large scale ATOPS, convoys, administrative echelons, or vehicles will invariably require some form of armored escort. APCs/ICVs fully or partially manned are suitable for the task.
    6. Shock action. The appearance of mechanized infantry with their APCs/ICVs on the scene of a disorder may in itself have the necessary salutary effect on terrorists or rioters.



  1. Characteristics. Experience has taught us that cavalry can be effectively used in fairly open country to reach inaccessible and remote areas. The characteristics of cavalry are:
    1. Radius of action. An increased radius of action for patrols, especially where units have large areas of responsibility.
    2. Speed. Mounted patrols have greater speed than normal foot patrols.
    3. Surprise. The speed at which mounted patrols can move may lead to the achievement of surprise.
    4. Shock effect. Speed of movement and surprise may have a shock effect on the enemy. This will also result in a psychological effect on the enemy, especially if the mounted men are able to engage the enemy with fire while on the move.
    5. Ability to follow up. Because of greater speed, mobility and endurance, mounted units have a better follow-up capability than troops on foot.
    6. Endurance. Mounted patrols, with the addition of pack animals, can be self-supporting for periods of up to ten days. It must be borne in mind, however, that the addition of pack animals will reduce the speed and mobility of the mounted patrols.
    7. Psychological effect on local population. It is a generally accepted fact that a mounted man has a psychological advantage over a dismounted man.
    8. Dual role. Depending on terrain and local conditions and the tactical requirement, cavalry units can be employed in the dismounted role. For example, the mounted unit can reach an area which is inaccessible to vehicles, etc., dismount and then carry out operations as a dismounted force.
    9. Adaptability to terrain. The movement of mounted patrols need not necessarily be confined to roads, tracts, etc. They have the capability of moving rapidly over open terrain and with ease over most other types of terrain.
    10. Ability to sense danger. The horses instinct will often provide the rider with early warning of danger or anything unusual.
    11. Carrying capabilities. The horse is capable of carrying loads that are not usually carried by a man.
  2. Capabilities. The capabilities of mounted patrols are as follows:
    1. Mounted patrols can operate up to distances of 150 to 250 kilometers with relative ease in most types of terrain.
    2. These patrols can move at an average speed of six to seven kilometers per hour in most types of terrain.
    3. Mounted patrols can be on the move for six to eight hours daily, giving a daily operational radius of approximately 30 to 50 kilometers. For maximum performance they should rest one day in four.
    4. They can be self-supporting for periods of up to five days. This period can be increased up to ten days by making use of pack animals.
    5. They are useful in capturing and/or rounding up scattered elements of the enemy or population.
  3. Limitations. These are as follows:
    1. . Difficulty in moving through dense bush.
    2. Difficulty in moving through marshy areas, swamps or muddy areas.
    3. Slowness in crossing major water obstacles, e.g., large rivers.
    4. Increased logistic support of cavalry units because of the quantities of fodder and water that have to be carried to provide for the horses.
    5. Difficulty in maintaining silence. Natural horse noises, such as blowing through their nostrils and the jingle of equipment, make a silent approach difficult.
    6. Certain geographical areas may be denied to horse-mounted patrols because of certain animal diseases or sicknesses, e.g., areas of tsetse fly infestation.

Tactical Employment

  1. From experience gained it has been found that mounted units can be employed on the following tasks:
    1. Patrolling. This can be in the form of long-range or short-distance patrols either as fighting or reconnaissance patrols.
    2. Follow-up operations. Because of its characteristics, the horse can be effectively employed in the follow-up role.
    3. In support of other units. mounted patrols can be used to support other units either as additional patrols in the normal patrol program or by patrolling normally distant and inaccessible areas.
    4. Control of population. Because of their characteristics, mounted patrols may be used for certain aspects of population control and for visiting populated areas to maintain contact with the locals.
  2. Troops employed as mounted patrols must be trained to fire their weapons while mounted. This will assist, should the enemy appear suddenly, in having a shock effect on the enemy and in gaining the initiative. In this case, elements not actually involved in the action can rapidly react and surround or pursue the enemy.
  3. It must be generally accepted, however, that the horse is merely a means of conveyance and that normally the troops will dismount and fight on foot. In this case, adequate precautionary measures must be taken to safeguard the horses and men detailed to remain with them against possible enemy action.
  4. Movement of mounted patrols must not be limited or restricted to roads, paths, etc. The commander must select his own routes, direction, etc., for normal patrolling. While moving, the patrol should not be bunched but spread out, the formation being dictated by the nature of the terrain. This will reduce the effect of ambushes, mines and booby traps.
  5. Mounted patrols should always operate over a large front and in depth. it may often be necessary to superimpose their patrol program over that of the normal foot patrols, thereby ensuring better coverage and a greater area.


  1. Advantages. Field artillery offers certain distinct advantages over air support. These are as follows:
    1. The use of guns is not restricted by bad weather.
    2. Artillery can operate equally well by day or night.
    3. Artillery is capable of a more sustained effort, and when required, can give round-the-clock support over several days.
  2. Limitations. The employment of field artillery in its conventional role will often be restricted by:
    1. The nature of the operations which:
      1. May render the employment of artillery impractical owing to the difficulty of locating suitable targets.
      2. For legal reasons (minimum force), may preclude the use of artillery altogether.
    2. The lack of suitable roads and deployment areas. In difficult terrain this will prevent the placing of the weapon within firing range of the target, unless the weapon is air-transportable by helicopter.
    3. The problem of observation. The control of fire by means of ground observation will always prove difficult in bushy terrain. Therefore. more use would have to be made of air observation posts. Predicted shooting would become the rule and not the exception.
    4. The proximity of own troops to the target, as infantry contact with the enemy is invariably made at distances within the danger zone of the weapon.
  3. Tasks. Artillery can be employed in its conventional role to carry out the following tasks:
    1. Flushing. In difficult terrain the enemy can be flushed by artillery fire.
    2. Harassing. Harassing fire can be used to keep terrorists on the move when their whereabouts are known, or to harass them generally by methodically searching an area.
    3. Blocking escape routes. When troops are engaged in follow-up operations after a contact or incident, artillery fire can be used to dissuade the enemy from using certain likely escape routes.
    4. Deception. Artillery fire into an area away from that in which troops are operating may deceive the enemy as to army intentions, giving them a false sense of security and covering the noise of movement made by troops.
    5. Destructive shoots. Artillery fire can be used to destroy located enemy bases, hideouts, barricades, houses or huts.
    6. Counter-bombardment. Artillery fire directed against enemy mortar and artillery positions.
    7. Illumination. By firing illuminating shells at night, areas can be illuminated for short periods.
    8. Target indication. Colored smoke can be employed to indicate targets to strike aircraft.
    9. Show of force. The value of artillery in this role must not be forgotten. Guns located in populated areas and firing in full view of the inhabitants may have a marked effect on civilian morale.
    10. Protection of convoys. Artillery units can be employed to provide convoy protection by providing fire support to the convoy covering the whole route from a static position, or from preselected positions should it be a long route, or by accompanying the convoy. An artillery officer with the necessary communications and assistance will accompany the convoy, acting as a forward observation officer. His task will be to call for the required artillery supporting fire. This fire support can either be preplanned or impromptu.
    11. Border control. In certain cases and certain areas it may be possible to use artillery fire to cover possible crossing places or known areas through which the enemy normally moves once he has crossed the border. This type of task does create certain problems for the artillery such as finding suitable observation posts or accidentally firing across the border into the other territory. With the introduction of sensory devices to detect enemy movement, it is possible to have the artillery fire units linked to these sensory devices and providing responsive fire should movement be detected.
    12. Weapon locating. Mortar locating radar could be employed in the more advanced stages of ATOPS.
    13. Leaflet dropping. The carrier shell can be used for the distribution of propaganda leaflets.
    14. Covering fire. Under certain special and unusual circumstances for ATOPS, covering fire from field artillery may be possible. Particular consideration must be given to the need for security (e.g., ranging shots) and the proximity of stop groups.
  4. Local protection. Security arrangements for the protection and security of gun positions, command posts, observation posts and wagon lines must always be made. Artillery personnel must be trained to undertake their own local protection.


  1. As in all other forms of warfare, the engineers will be in great demand, particularly as enemy activities expand.
  2. Tasks. The primary tasks for the engineers are:
    1. Construction, improvement and maintenance of roads, bridges, and military bases.
    2. Construction and improvement of defensive works including minefields in and around sensitive points, including booby traps.
    3. Repair of damage caused by enemy sabotage.
    4. Water supply.
    5. Construction and maintenance of temporary landing grounds and strips.
    6. Assistance in crossing water obstacles.
    7. Clearing and neutralizing enemy mines and booby traps.
  3. The engineers may also be called upon to repair and maintain public utility services such as waterworks, power stations, etc., and assist the civil administration in tribal areas to provide basic amenities to the local population.


  1. Units deployed over large areas, and the vulnerability of line communications, make the radio an essential means of communicating.
  2. Dispersed deployment and the type of terrain call for great ingenuity on the part of the radio operator, and relay stations on vantage points (including aircraft) must be regarded as common practice.
  3. Deployment of bases and headquarters are often dictated by communication requirements, and commanders at all levels must seek the advice of their signals representatives on this matter.
  4. Climatic extremes adversely affect the life of radio batteries, and require proper planning and replenishing arrangements.
  5. Voice procedure and security cannot be ignored in this type of operation. It is known that terrorists have been using standard commercial radios for interception purposes, and might very well be monitoring army transmissions.


  1. The logistic support of widely dispersed units in small groups cannot be done by conventional resupply systems, and the points listed below should be considered in planning operations against terrorists.
  2. Each isolated unit, regardless of its size, must be made as self-sufficient as possible. This includes resupply, medical and maintenance aspects.
  3. When possible, maximum use must be made of local resources, but not at the expense of the civilian population of the area.
  4. All logistic moves in an area of operations will call for protection and escorts -- this may heavily tax a commander's combat resources.
  5. The air force may be called upon to replenish supplies (air-landed or dropped) on a permanent basis to units deployed in inaccessible areas. Casualty evacuation by air will also receive a high priority.


  1. It should be the constant aim in all ATOPS to make full use of the advantages that stem from the ability to use air power with little enemy interference. During ATOPS the air force can provide a quick reaction to requests for offensive air operations, casualty evacuation and logistic support.


  1. Paratroops are basically infantry troops, but have the special capability of being deployed to their area of operation or onto their objective by means of the parachute. There are, however, a number of advantages and disadvantages when deployed by parachute.
    1. Advantages
      1. Surprise.
      2. Shock action.
      3. Mobility provided by the aircraft to reach distant objectives.
    2. Disadvantages
      1. Delay in regrouping and vulnerability during this phase.
      2. Very limited transport; consequently all movement will be on foot and all stores and equipment manpacked. This immediately results in a limitation on equipment and ammunition carried.
      3. Limit of duration of action unless immediate, and, if necessary, prolonged air support is available.
      4. Employment subject to weather conditions and availability of air transport aircraft.
      5. Fire effectiveness almost entirely confined to small arms and mortar fire.
  2. Tasks. Bearing in mind their limitations and that they are specialists in their own right, paratroops will be tasked at the highest level to gain maximum benefit and results from their capabilities. Possible tasks could be the following:
    1. Securing special points of tactical or strategic value prior to major troop movements, e.g., passes, bridges, crossing places.
    2. Relieving or reinforcing pinned-down or surrounded military forces that may be difficult to reach in time or because of strong enemy opposition.
    3. Acting as stops or cut-off groups in positions that cannot be reached in time by ground forces.
    4. Employment as a force reserve.
  3. It is considered that the dropping of parachute troops by parachute will be very rare, being used only when normal infantry cannot be deployed by helicopter.


  1. General. The role of the navy during ATOPS assumes greater importance when it is possible to employ naval elements. Nevertheless the navy will carry out missions that may have a direct or indirect effect on ATOPS.
  2. Tasks. During ATOPS, naval tasks can be:
    1. Security and coastal maritime defense by patrolling, and coast guard duties in coastal waters to prevent disembarking, resupply or evacuation of the terrorists by sea.
    2. Security and defense of coastal and inland shipping through control and protection.
    3. General transport and logistic support to the armed forces and civilian authorities by maritime or inland shipping.
    4. Amphibious operations, both primary and secondary, employing sea borne forces and appropriate naval means.
    5. Cooperation with the other services in land operations, employing sea borne forces, when the situation requires it.
    6. Supporting naval gun fire to land operations conducted adjacent to the coast. g. Psychological and socioeconomic actions in coastal and inland waters.


  1. General. In both counter-insurgency and internal military operations, police essentially remain responsible for the maintenance of law and order and for the investigation of crime. The conduct of military operations against an armed enemy is outside this function.
  2. Roles. In ATOPS, police functions will take the form of:
    1. Obtaining, collating and disseminating intelligence which is vital to the success of ATOPS.
    2. Detailed interrogation of terrorists to obtain maximum intelligence.
    3. Regular briefing of force commanders in regard to the terrorist threat, in particular, the presence and intention of terrorists.
    4. Patrolling the fringes of the operational areas with the aim of:
      1. Checking reports of terrorist activity.
      2. Checking movements, i.e., the establishment of road blocks and checking vehicles, tracks and public transport.
      3. Dissemination of propaganda.
      4. Allaying fears on the part of the civilian population.
    5. Prevention or detection of unauthorized entry of persons through ports, airports and across the borders. Also to establish counter-sabotage measures to prevent the transmission or carriage of adverse information and/or subversive literature and propaganda and the smuggling of arms and explosives.
    6. Investigation of crimes committed by terrorists.
    7. Provision of guides and interpreters in support of the military forces.


  1. Depending on their loyalty to the government, and degree of terrorist influence and control, the local population, could be of great assistance to the military, either as individuals or in groups:
    1. Individually
      1. Guides/trackers.
      2. Interpreters.
      3. Translators.
      4. Intelligence agents or informers.
      5. Propaganda agents.
      6. Workers.
    2. Collectively
      1. Labor units.
      2. Units for self defense (militia).
      3. Combat units.
  2. It must be borne in mind that the training and arming of selected members of the local population for the defense of their own villages and other key points is not to be initiated at unit level, but is subject to military or government policy.




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