OBUA

#1
With the new, to me, training element of OBUA coming this monthand the prospect of receiving a command appointment during it (Plt Commander, Plt Sgt, Section IC, 2ic) I was hoping that the vast experiance on Arrse might be able to help me.

Wanting to make any effort as good as possible any tips, good drills, points to remember when in command, aide memoirs to create etc would be wonderful. I have a copy of the AFM Urban ops but doctrine can never replace the insights by those that have been there and done it.

As always any help appreciated.
 
#3
The word "operations" replaced the words "fighting in" some years ago.
Probably the work of some pedant annoyingly pointing out that not all urban ops involve actual fighting...
 
#4
Believe it's gone back to FIBUA for the pointy end stuff.

Advice, stay away from windows and make sure your link men are squared away.
 
#5
Antphilip

There really is too much to post on here!

Get hold of PAM 45. It's no longer doctrinally pure but it's better than the new pams in respect of teaching the basics.

In 'what' to do in your command appt: Learn 'off by heart' the phases of the offensive battle and the zoning in the defensive battle and always apply them. For example for defensive zoning - i.e. perimeter force, disruption force, strong points etc - you'd be thinking OP or standing patrol, QRF or anti-personnel ambush, main defensive area (with your prinicples of defence you've already learnt) for the zones mentioned. If you're a commander at a level too low to task, then link in with those that cover that task.

In 'how' to do it - always have limited objectives. C2 always goes to ratshite, so emphasise timely reports, linkmen, etc. Even if it's a command appointment, rehearse room clearances on the hoof, even if it's a quick talk through on the LD with your section/section commanders, whatever. Remember the three main principles of offence at your level - surprise, security, momentum. Given this is a command appointment, and the level you'll be commanding at, security (watch your flanks) and momentum are the big ones for you.

Best of luck, and tell us all how it goes.
 
#6
Thanks for clearing that one up. It was FIBUA & DIBUA in my day. Good fun but hard work.

Rule 1: call in an air strike.
Rule 2: call in Arty barrage.
Rule 3: If there's anything left, becareful.

Remember Monte Cassino, when we made the ruins easier for the Hun to hide in! Seriously, in your orders, remember Refugees, CIVPOP, resupply is hard at low level, Blue on blue very likely, booby traps, nasty nail things inside windows, bangs in buildings are much louder, ...happy days.

Good luck!
 
#7
Ammunition - you will never have enough.

Casualties - you will have loads.

Communications - won't work.

Kit - carry as little as possible because you'll be carrying loads of other shite (ladders etc).

Chaos - expect it. Keep your plan very simple, limit your objectives and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Stay low, move mast, only use hard cover and have a great looking corpse.
 
#8
As always re-supply is a bugger but even more so when everyone is spread out all over the shop and you are getting through the ammo V fast.

Chalk is good for marking walls / on the hoof models etc.

Don't forget your scaffolding pole for those first floor window entries.....
 
#10
Once when we were defending against a Company of Gurkhas, our plan went completely to ratsh*t when their Diversionary attack met limited resistance so by the time the main push started, they'd occupied most of the village, including the houses we were supposed to die gloriously in.

So we used the tunnels to get into the top floor of the highest building that was available and barricaded ourselves in.

Happily sniping at them and lobbing pyro as they cleared all other buildings in turn before a couple of them came up and took us out.

Reality is we would have got more attention sooner, but it was a great laugh, plus good demo of how it's supposed to be done.

At Endex, don't forget to sweep up and use light - it's amazing what you find when you are collecting brass, I was left with an American Right Angled torch once having reunited Mags etc with careless owners. Wow!

btw, OBUA now renamed as FISH , or perhaps more accurately BUSH & DISH.
 
#11
Ant,

Urban Ops are incredibly demanding, both physically and mentally. A discussion about the key components of Urban Ops could very well spawn a never-ending thread, but IMHO the critical component is Command and Control.

I have also jotted down my thoughts on a number of other issues culled from my experince of OBUA (mostly from Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq - each very different).

Exercise URBAN RAM 02 PXR said:
Command and control was very difficult due to poor comms and situational intensity and must be exercised in short burst. Section commanders must be given time and space to carry out their tasks and not interfered with unless they have gone too far 'off course'. It is paramount that every member of the platoon and company understands the commander's plan, intent and end state so that they can exercise initiative to achieve the aim.
Urban Combat Movement Skills: Buildings, rubble and obstacles restrict movement in urban areas. The difficulties of observation and location of enemy positions and weapon systems further limit movement. In training for urban operations, individuals must focus on the 360 degree, three-dimensional threat.

Preparation of Individual and Vehicle Fire Positions: A critical defensive task is the preparation of fighting positions. Positions are often constructed inside buildings and should be selected based on an analysis of the area in which the building is located and its individual characteristics.

Urban Camouflage and Concealment: The changing patterns of terrain and characteristics of individual buildings make the task of blending with the urban terrain challenging. In training, soldiers should be given the opportunity to experiment with camouflage techniques and assess their effect. The most common failings include:

1. Vehicle tracks or other signs of movement.
2. Shine and shadows.
3. Unnatural colours and textures.
4. Muzzle flash, smoke or dust from weapons fire.
5. Unnatural sounds and smells. (Human sh!t really REALLY stinks in an urban environment).
6. Movement.
7. Weapons Effects and Structures:

Weapon Effects: While not unique to urban operations, there is a requirement for a basic understanding of the effects of modern weapons on construction materials. In particular, the brisance (or shattering) effect is markedly different in urban terrain, and can be utilised accordingly; to focus and re-channel the effect towards the enemy.

Command and Control Measures: Urban operations are difficult to control. Dispersion and disruption can seldom be avoided in a mass of buildings and streets. The complexity of urban operations and the potential high casualty rate (30% per day), with commanders particularly vulnerable, demands simple, well rehearsed drills.

Control is best exercised by dividing built-up areas into sectors using report lines and boundaries.

1. Sectors should be clearly defined and recognisable by numbers or letters.
2. Report Lines should be easily identifiable landmarks, normally selected streets or railway/tram lines at right angles to the axis of advance.
3. Maximum use should be made of linkmen to relay information and facilitate control, particularly when communications are degraded.
4. Boundaries should be identifiable but not obvious. To help avoid fratricide consideration should be given to utilising boundaries as restricted fire lines (RFLs).
5. Collection Points should be established at sub-unit level. It is to, and from, these points that combat supplies are delivered and casualties and PWs collected.

In conclusion (cos I'm getting carried away!):

1. LINK MEN!!!
2. Rehearsals.
3. LINK MEN!!!
 
#12
Check your mission verbs. There is a clear difference between "Destroy" (the need to fix the enemy) and "Clear". This effects how you assault into buildings. (i.e. Bottom up or Top Down). In reality more than 90% of house clearing occurs Bottom Up (quicker entry, it FIXS the enemy).

Avoid bunching, don't have whole sections rush across the street and hang around outside of the entry point, go over in pairs.
 
#13
Rgtl_Stick_Insect said:
btw, OBUA now renamed as FISH , or perhaps more accurately BUSH & DISH.
Que?

I knew it as FISH (Fighting in Someone's House) and CHIPS (Creating Havoc in Peoples' Streets).

msr
 
#14
isleofwightrifles said:
Check your mission verbs. There is a clear difference between "Destroy" (the need to fix the enemy) and "Clear".
IOW bloke, nothing wrong with your intent here - you are quite correct, however 'Destroy' and 'Fix' are quite separate mission verbs; which are again separate from the Core Functions in Combat. We 'Find, Fix, Strike and Exploit' relative to our enemy.

It is theoretically possible to destroy an enemy without first fixing him (a nuclear weapon would do it quite nicely - or a rapid airstrike in the early hours onto an opportunity target).

Anyway - you're right about bunching up when crossing the pavement, but the point you don't make about clearing 'bottom up' is that it denies the enemy an extraction route - this makes them fight harder. Believe me. :D

We could discuss this all day... :D
 
#16
Hmm, that's enough serious advice for a bit, I think. Since my OBUA experience is limited to falling expertly through hard-to-see trapdoors in Paramali Village, I have only the following to offer.

1. Movement: If there happens to be a bus which goes up your axis on the way to the high street, for god's sake get on it. If done properly, this will save you a lot of time. All your soldiers should take off their helmets, hide their gats, and sit very quietly as you trundle past the enemy positions; they'll just think you're a bunch of old biddies on the way to the Bingo. Don't worry about the conductor; if he gives you any trouble just double tap the officious b*stard and move on.

2. Entry Drills: When it's time to make your entry into a building, have a quick look at the guys in your section. If there are a high proportion with regional accents, you might be better off going round the back, as the householder won't thank you for letting the Jones' at number 23 see a bunch of Geordies charge through his front door. If you happen to be a Kingo, then you probably won't need to bother with kicking the door in; they'll have it open for you in 6.3 secs, though it should be borne in mind that OBUA is difficult enough without half your section clambering through the rubble with VCRs under their left arm....Don't worry about this 'mouseholing' lark that the inf lads keep going on about...they won't be nearly large enough, I mean, mice are frikkin' tiny, aren't they...

3. Deception: Forget feints, smoke, diversions and all that sort of sh*t. What's the one thing guaranteed to bring normal urban life to a standstill? That's right, the beloved Dingly-dongly-ding-dong-ding of a passing ice-cream van. If you're having trouble dislodging a particularly tenacious sniper, bring everyone back behind cover, and for God's sake have a condor moment. It isn't worth sending the ginger guy in your section forward to draw fire if you can simply call up the Cornetto man, and watch as the sniper's little face lights up with joy and he rushes down from his perch into the street, hopping from foot to foot with excitement. Then, while he's checking his pockets to see if he has enough change for a Mr Whippy and a flake, hit the b*stard with everything you've got. Once he's slotted, move on. You might as well pick up an ice-cream for yourself, while you're there, but that's optional. Don't lose valuable momentum because Cpl McGlaughlain wants a tutti-frutti Solero, and they've only got summer fruits - this is war for f*ck's sake, and he's just going to have to deal with it...

There's definitely some more of these, I had a dream about them...
 
#17
Calypso said:
isleofwightrifles said:
Check your mission verbs. There is a clear difference between "Destroy" (the need to fix the enemy) and "Clear".
IOW bloke, nothing wrong with your intent here - you are quite correct, however 'Destroy' and 'Fix' are quite separate mission verbs; which are again separate from the Core Functions in Combat. We 'Find, Fix, Strike and Exploit' relative to our enemy.

It is theoretically possible to destroy an enemy without first fixing him (a nuclear weapon would do it quite nicely - or a rapid airstrike in the early hours onto an opportunity target).

Anyway - you're right about bunching up when crossing the pavement, but the point you don't make about clearing 'bottom up' is that it denies the enemy an extraction route - this makes them fight harder. Believe me. :D

We could discuss this all day... :D
In this context if your mission verb is "Destroy" rather than "Clear", then you must Fix the enemy. In this context it means seizing control of the ground floor (to stop them exitting and to dominate the area behind the Black side of the building with fire). Yes it makes the fight harder, but it's what you've been told to do. :(

Of course, if we were Russians we could just use a Thermobaric weapon and kill them all from 300m away. :twisted:
 
#18
Best tip for FIBUA is to read Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor.

Thermobaric - sooner the better. A shoulder-launched weapon with the destructive effect of a 130mm HE round...

FIBAR... fighting in bars and restaurants..
FIWAF.. fighting in wigs and frocks ( usually RM )

Etc.
 
#19
Bravo_Bravo said:
Best tip for FIBUA is to read Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor.

Thermobaric - sooner the better. A shoulder-launched weapon with the destructive effect of a 130mm HE round...

FIBAR... fighting in bars and restaurants..
FIWAF.. fighting in wigs and frocks ( usually RM )

Etc.
I don't think our friend from Sandhurst will be allowed to chop up members of the Gurkha demo company with sharpened entrenching tools. Black Hawk Down (despite the film) isn't a bad read either.

Thermobaric is the way ahead. Just have to look at the OA, and the mess the Russians left of Grozny. Mind you the mess the Cechnyans [sp?] left of a Motor Rifle Regiment was also quite impressive.

Best bit of OBUA I've seen was on 'Guns and Roses'.

Cadet Platoon Commander: Right, I want everyone to smash down that barricade and get in through that window.
Cadet Section Commander: But won't that be a bit dangerous.

Still makes may blood boil, silly cow.
 
#20
A critical point is to be sensible with your manpower. All the casevac, resupply and PW handling will take a great deal of manpower and you'll have lots of G4 types telling you that it is essential to do it now. Make sure you've got some blokes left to use the things that make the bang.