Having just read a somewhat mind boggling piece in the ADTN about combined arms obstacle integration I was curious about a few things. Most of which I probably shouldn't ask as it's a restricted piece...

The one of most concern though was, as a chap who has seen lot's of lovely teeth arm equipment but little of the corps, that I didn't have a scooby what these obstacles might be.

Three types were listed in airy passing, Minefield, Anti-tank ditch and crater (?)... what I am curious about is how these all work and whether there are further types of obstacle to be utilised, as in this example, by a commander.

The one thing that did confuse me was the use of minefield, as someone has mentioned that we're required to mark up every minefield we lay. If this is the case, barring areas of limited exploitation such as bottlenecks, is the effect therefore of minefields not simply limited to diverting an enemy from their chosen path to the limit of your own minefield?
Man,where do we start on this one?????..ok...basics first...If properly covered by fire,even a small obstacle such as a ditch or embankment can seriously disrupt the movement of armoured forces: the resultant loss of momentum in the advance,attack or counter move can have serious consequences.
Obstacles-Obstacles stop, channel, delay or restrict movement. They may be:
a. Natural obstacles, for example rivers, slopes or woods.
b. Man made obstacles, such as road, railway or motorway embankments, canals or buildings.
c. Artificial obstacles constructed to support a commander's plan, such as anti-tank ditches, berms, minefields or demolitions.

BIG emphasis on covered by fire on all the above. Minefields can be incorporated into a commanders plan by channelling the enemy into a killing zone where direct and indirect fire can be brought upon him. Ok,...Crater- normally a large hole in the ground a few metres deep by a few more wide...usually formed by engr plant or explosives..used for closing minefield breaches/safe lanes and route denial. Depending on the width of road/track dictates how many craters are required. For a cherry on the top they are normally improved by way of adding mines(-:=
An obstacle can be added to an obstacle belt...which is basically a group of them in a particular area(or goose egg) relating to a certain plan.
An anti-tank ditch is again usually made by engr plant or armd engr vehicles...they can be incorporated into another obstacle to increase it's effectiveness and be a bugger for the enemy to breach if he has limited breaching capability. They too can be improved, again by adding mines and normally by adding a berm (or mound of earth) alongside the ditch on the home side. If you want a good example of some of these check out some pics of what the Russians were doing in the defence of Moscow in WW2 (eek...by hand!!)
As you can imagine an obstacle could be anything an engr can get his hands on in certain situations to prevent an enemy from advancing...trucks,cars,building debris, the whole shooting match. A few more you might hear mentioned (deffo in BATUS) are...Abatis-normally made up of trees or timber felled or placed in a herringbone pattern facing the way of advance. Normally found in route denial of heavily wooded/forest tracks areas where a route through the wood or forest is impassible by armour due to the thickness of the trees....Beam post obstacle...as it says on the tin!..normally railway lines or steel beams cut and placed/dug into the ground to various depths along the width of the track/road in route denial tasks. The abatis and beam post are again laced with mines/booby traps or barbed wire to make them a bit more awkward to breach. Obstacles around Derry prior to Op Motorman are a good example of this.
I hope this is some use to you...and excuse any errors to any knit picking knockers that find fault with any of the above..hahaha...
105AVRE, that was very helpful. It's given me a good basis to ask further questions when I manage to get hold of a Sapper next. Out of interest, are the assets to create these Artificial obstacles controlled only at Bde+ level?
mmm....might be getting above my station on this one...but...the planning for a minefield/obstacle plan normally comes from brigade or higher due to the nature in which it will be used...the same applies to bridge demolitions....this is because it will become crucial to the commanders plan in how he expects the battle to pan out. Div or brigade will pass the task down to the engrs via the normal channels and they will then put the task into action. Assets as far as completing the task are held at tp/sqn level. If a major defensive task was required you'd probably find it might be a regiment plus that carries it out...it all depends on the size of task and the amount of work involved. You might find further info on this by posting on the officers board or get lucky and a recce sgt maybe able to fill in a few more details as far as the big picture of minefields goes. Hopefully this will have been some help


CAOI is badly named as by including the word 'Obstacle' it ends to be thrown into the sapper domain. It is better explained as Combined Arms Effects Integration, as the traditional obstacle is only one part of what is being achieved. It is original form it was an expression of a commander's intent on a manouevring opponent - usually in terms of Block, Disrupt, Fix or Turn, related to where he wanted the effect to take place.

From the Sapper perspective therefore the CAOI will inform the siting, density and type of obstacle to be produced (a disrupt obstacle for example being less dense than a block, and laid out differently), should one be needed. But the critical thing is that the effect is integrated with ISTAR and other combined arms actions, coordinating and timing close and deep indirect fire, combat arm manouevre, etc.

There is plenty of material on this in the doctrine blurb and within LWCTG. You will find that both Div HQRE's, and the Bde CS and Div GS Engr Regts will be able to provide more information from their SOIs.
Unfortunatly Chimera, being a part time soldier for the next two years (degree) I only have access to what my unit provides me and my Bde training team. This includes the Electronic battle box, which i'll have a gander at later, but passed that I wouldn't know how to speak to any engineers above the ones I speak to in training and they tend to be pretty new to the game.

I do find it all fascinating though, sad I know ::oops::, but information like this helps me understand the wider concepts I'm being taught through the army and has the bonus of giving me a little extra insight within my degree.

Finally changing the name to CAEI has actually brought open a new bag of tricks which were trinkling in from 105AVRE's posts. I'm assuming now that you end up with an effects map in the appropriate HQ similar to that which would be devised through the 7 questions but using the 4 questions (IIRC) that Bde+ use?


antphilip said:
Finally changing the name to CAEI has actually brought open a new bag of tricks which were trinkling in from 105AVRE's posts. I'm assuming now that you end up with an effects map in the appropriate HQ similar to that which would be devised through the 7 questions but using the 4 questions (IIRC) that Bde+ use?
Spot on. All tied together on a DSO of some sort.
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