Field Manual Headquarters
No. 3-50 Department of the Army
Washington, DC, 4 December 1990
DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
* This publication supersedes FM 3-50, 25 July 1984.
No. 1 Department of the Army
Washington, DC, 11 September 1996
1. Change FM 3-50, 4 December 1990, as follows:
Remove old pages: Insert new pages (attached)
3 through 4 3 through 4
97 through 98 97 through 98
54-A through 54-D
2. New or changed material is indicated by a
3. File this transmittal sheet in front of the publication.
DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
By Order of the Secretary of the Army:
DENNIS J. REIMER
General, United States Army
Official: Chief of Staff
JOEL B. HUDSON
Administrative Assistant to the
Secretary of the Army
Active Army, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve: To be distributed in accordance with
the initial distribution number 110743, requirements for FM 3-50.
Field Manual 3-50 provides US sustained as necessary to defeat the smoke correctly and is experienced
Army units with doctrine, tactics, enemy’s electro-optical systems and in limited visibility operations will
techniques, and procedures to use create a "one-way mirror" — one be more agile and respond faster to
smoke and obscurants to attack and which our forces can both see and changing situations.
sors, target acquisition systems, battle. couraged to recommend additions,
weapon guidance systems, and Smoke is a double-edged sword. changes, or comments to this
other enemy electro-optical devices. Smoke conceals troop movements, manual. Key your comments to the
Also, it describes techniques to slows attacking forces, disrupts com- pages, paragraphs, and line(s) of
reduce friendly degradation in mand and control, and reduces the text in which you recommend the
smoke. vulnerability of critical assets for changes. Provide reasons for each
The scope of this manual is smoke both friendly and Threat forces. comment to ensure understanding
operations at the operational and Combat operations in World War II and complete evaluation. Prepare
tactical levels of war. The target and the Korean War demonstrated your comments on DA Form 2028
audience is maneuver unit com- that the proper use of smoke enhan- (Recommended Changes to Publica-
manders and staff officers, par- ces mission success and force sur- tions and Blank Forms) and for-
ticularly the G2/S2, G3/S3, FSO, vivability. In recent times, US forces ward them directly to Commandant,
and chemical officer at corps level have reinforced the positive benefits US Army Chemical School, ATTN:
and below. Most of the examples of large-area smoke use at the com- ATZN-CM-NF, Fort McClellan,
depict smoke support for brigade- bat training centers at Fort Irwin, AL 36205-5020.
level operations. California; Fort Chaffee, Arkansas; Unless this publication states
The focus is on synchronized and Hohenfels, Federal Republic of otherwise, masculine nouns and
smoke planning — smoke integrated Germany. pronouns do not refer exclusively to
into the commander’s tactical plan, In battle, the side that employs men.
2 FM 3-50
FM 3-50, Cl
11 September 1996
DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
FM 3-50, Cl
Common sense tells us what can and target acquisition (RSTA) ef- protect your force and deny the
be seen can be hit and killed on the forts. It also uses smoke to protect Threat the ability to acquire and
battlefield. The US Army uses the force and to support tactical engage it.
smoke and obscurants to attack deception operations. By combining
Threat reconnaissance, surveillance, obscuration with maneuver you can
Armies have used smoke to con- resulted in over 3,000 bombs falling aircraft. Elements of the 133rd Pan-
fuse and deceive their enemies harmlessly in and around the area. zer Brigade penetrated CCA's
throughout history. We can find in- The use of smoke and other man- defenses. Two tank destroyer
dications of smoke operations from made obscurants can give a com- platoons and a medium tank com-
as early as 2000 B.C. when the burn- mander an edge if applied properly. pany engaged the 133rd Panzer
ing of damp straw was a common Natural obscurants can also be used Brigade. The fog worked to the
way to smoke enemy positions. to friendly advantage. The actions defender’s (Allied forces) ad-
The War Department proposed of Combat Command A (CCA), 4th vantage, as the limited visibility
the use of smoke to President Lin- Armored Division, during the Lor- negated the superior range of the
coln during the War Between the raine Campaign, in September 1944, German tank guns. As the fighting
States. The idea was not taken demonstrated the use of fog as a surged back and forth through the
seriously at the time and smoke was combat multiplier. fog, CCA’s tanks and tank
used sparingly. Documentation of On 13 September 1944, CCA destroyers used their mobility to out-
the period reflected in the Cavalry forced a crossing of the Moselle maneuver and ambush the larger
Journal historical archives suggests River north of the heavily defended Panzers.
that "...a little smoke, judiciously city of Nancy. On 14 September, From 20 to 25 September, the
laid down, could have changed the CCA was ordered to bypass Fifth Panzer Army directed the
entire course of history. Had the Chateau-Salins and exploit the weak- lllth Panzer Brigade and the llth
South used smoke, Federal forces ness to the south. By 1900 hours, Panzer Division into a series of at-
may not have been able to stop CCA began to draw into a tacks against the Arracourt posi-
Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg even perimeter defense around the town tion. Each assault followed the
though the Federal force was great- of Arracourt. This allowed the Ger- pattern set on 19 September. The
ly superior...." mans to strengthen their position Panzers attacked under the cover of
The use of large-area smoke in- around Chateau-Salins and as- morning fog, only to be thwarted by
creased drastically during World semble forces for a major counterat- CCA’s mobile defense and driven
War II. The British used smoke to tack against the XII Corps right off by armored counterattacks of
effectively screen harbors, factories, flank. The Fifth Panzer Army company or battalion strength.
and large cities in the United moved north, striking at CCA’s ex- The defensive actions fought
Kingdom from the Luftwaffe’s posed position around Arracourt. around Arracourt stalled the Ger-
relentless bombing. In 1943, US for- The ensuing battle was one of the man offensive. The 4th Armored
ces used smoke to protect the sup- largest armored engagements fought Division claimed 281 German tanks
ply facilities and invasion fleet at on the Western Front. destroyed, 3,000 Germans killed,
Bizerte Harbor in North Africa On the morning of 19 September, and another 3,000 taken prisoner in
from attacking German aircraft. a heavy fog concealed the German the fighting. For the German offen-
The smoke blanket placed over this movement, giving them tactical sive, the ground fog represented a
area by smoke generator units surprise and protection from Allied double-edged sword. It provided
FM 3-50 5
them concealment but ultimately it proved to be a significant combat
led to their demise. For US forces, multiplier.
Description of Smoke and Obscurants
Obscurants are man-made or burning or vaporizing some defeat the visible through far IR;
naturally occurring particles product. An example is the vaporiza- multispectral obscurants defeat the
suspended in the air that block or tion of fog oil to produce smoke visible through millimeter wave; and
weaken (attenuate) the transmission from a mechanical smoke gener- special purpose obscurants defeat
of a particular part or parts of the ator. We classify US and Threat specifically targeted portions of the
electromagnetic spectrum, such as smoke and obscurants, both current- electromagnetic spectrum.
visible light, infrared (IR), or ly fielded and developmental, as Appendix G describes the charac-
microwaves. Fog, mist, dust, smoke, visual, bispectral, multispectral, or teristics of smokes and obscurants,
and chaff are examples of special-purpose obscurants. Visual how they work, and what
obscurants. obscurants defeat the visible obscurants are in the US inventory.
Smoke is an artificially created through near IR portion of the
obscurant normally produced by spectrum; bispectral obscurants
Uses of Smoke and Obscurants
We can render some electro-opti- What can be seen can be hit and defeat the enemy’s battlefield
cal (EO) target acquisition and killed. viewers; weapon guidance systems;
sighting devices ineffective; others We use visual obscurants to defeat radar systems; and high-energy,
we can degrade significantly; some the enemy’s battlefield viewers, such microwave-directed energy weapons.
we cannot affect at all. As a result as binoculars, weapon sights, night Table 1, on the next page, is a tac-
of the development of IR and radar observation sights, and laser range tical decision aid for selecting the
devices during World War II and finders. We use bispectral type of smoke to defeat a particular
subsequent technological advances, obscurants to defeat the enemy’s EO system. Detailed information
EO devices have supplemented con- battlefield viewers and weapon concerning the types of smokes and
ventional visual methods of target guidance systems such as command obscurants and their effects on EO
acquisition and aiming weapons. line-of-sight or terminal homing sys- systems are in Appendixes G and
Precision-guided munitions and tems on antitank and air defense B, respectively.
sophisticated sensors provide the ul- missiles. When developed, we will
timate in lethality on the battlefield: use multispectral obscurants to
How and Where To Use Smoke
Smoke aids in deceiving the What do I want smoke and deny mine, but my thermal sights
enemy, conceals maneuver, and in- obscurants to accomplish? are unaffected).
creases your potential force-on- (Degrade target acquisition? Con- When might on-call hasty or
force ratio when your target ceal the movement of my main at- deliberate smoke benefit me?
acquisition systems can see through tack? Aid in deception?) (Where does my decision support
the smoke and the Threat’s cannot Where and for how long am I tree indicate I may be exposed and
(see Chapter 2). For smoke to do willing to sustain this smoke cloud? need immediate smoke to obscure
this, you must develop a plan to use (Over my own position? Between the enemy?)
smoke synchronized with your tacti- my unit and the enemy? On the How will countersmoke help me?
cal plan. enemy?) (If the enemy uses smoke, where
Use the military decision model How much restriction in my own and how should I retaliate with
from FM 101-5 as general guidance mobility can I accept? (Visibility 50 smoke to interfere with their
for planning and executing smoke meters or less? More?) synchronization?)
operations. Commanders must How much restriction in my own
routinely give planning guidance to target acquisition and engagement
the staff that answers the following capabilities can I accept? (If I deny
questions: another’s laser designators, I also
6 FM 3-50
Categories of Smoke Operations
There are two general categories
of smoke operations: hasty and
Hasty smoke operations are smoke
operations conducted with minimal
prior planning. They are normally
executed by the projected, on-
board, and smoke generator units
(company- and smaller-size ele-
ments) on hand at the time of the
engagement. This does not mean
that hasty smoke operations are not
planned; rather, plan hasty opera-
tions as on-call smoke in your
deliberate smoke plan. Use hasty
smoke operations to support a com-
bined arms force to counter an
enemy action or anticipated enemy
action of immediate concern to the
commander. Hasty smoke opera-
tions generally cover a small area
for a short duration.
Deliberate smoke operations are
conducted with detailed planning
and are executed by either on-hand
smoke assets or with those on hand
augmented by corps and theater as-
sets. Deliberate smoke operations
normally are synchronized with
specific times, events, or locations
on the battlefield (for example,
when we are within 1,500 meters of
the objective, fire six battery volleys tion). Deliberate smoke operations to support the operations of
of 50-percent high-explosive and 50- normally include multiple pre- brigades, divisions, and corps.
percent smoke munitions onto the planned smoke operations. They
objective to obscure enemy observa- cover large areas over long periods
Each echelon of command plans as the tactical plan: mission, enemy ligence, and whether the unit has
for smoke employment to support situation, terrain, weather, troops successfully operated in smoke pre-
both current and future operations. available, time, and distance. Mis- viously.
Integrate smoke into the overall tac- sion considerations include unit The G3/S3 has primary staff
tical plan, synchronized with key capabilities, detailed planning and responsibility for planning smoke
events or decision points. Base preparation, employment tech- operations in coordination with the
smoke planning on the same factors niques, communications, intel- fire support officer (FSO), G2/S2,
FM 3-50 7
G4/S4, smoke unit commander, need to plan and fight the close Threat integration. This is the
chemical staff officer, and staff and deep operation. Both proces- development of situation, event, and
weather personnel. When planning ses, conducted simultaneously, incor- decision support templates. For
smoke operations, the primary focus porate intelligence preparation of smoke planning we input the
must be to attack enemy EO sys- the battlefield (IPB) and the intel- priority intelligence requirement
tems and degrade enemy combat ef- ligence cycle functions. Situation (PIR) and extract actual findings
fectiveness without significantly development enables commanders from the decision support template.
degrading friendly command, con- to see and understand the bat-
trol, or target acquisition tlefield in sufficient time and detail Smoke Estimate
capabilities. to employ their forces and weapons
Staff officers must constantly plan effectively. In situation develop- Preparation
to integrate smoke into the tactical ment, the G2/S2 uses IPB to When the G2/S2 performs the
plans for both current and future produce a description of enemy IPB, the chemical officer, in coor-
operations. Planning ranges from force disposition on the battlefield dination with the G3/S3, FSO, and
deliberate plans to provide smoke in terms of location, size, type, smoke unit commander, will
support for future operations in a direction, rate of movement, and ac- prepare the smoke estimate. This es-
48- to 72-hour window to hasty plan- tivity. For smoke planners, situation timate will go to the G2/S2 and tar-
ning for current operations. development provides information geting officer for inclusion into the
Staffs must develop estimates that about weather, terrain, enemy dis- target value analysis (TVA) for fire
define enemy capabilities and our position, and composition in the support planning and to the G3/S3
own courses of action, analyze area of interest. FM 34-1 provides a and chemical staff for smoke target
smoke targets, and prioritize smoke more detailed description of situa- planning.
resources. They must finally recom- tion development procedures. The chemical staff officer pre-
mend courses of action for the IPB provides a basis for ac- pares a smoke estimate to recom-
commander’s approval. When the complishing situation and target mend courses of action for
commander approves the staff es- development. IPB orients the mis- attacking enemy targets with smoke
timates, the staff prepares orders sion planning, collecting, processing, and obscurants. Besides supporting
that combine smoke with combat and disseminating efforts of situa- the commander’s estimate, the
power. Appendix A shows a smoke tion and target development. The smoke estimate assists the chemical
estimate format and a smoke annex IPB process includes— staff, FSO, and G3/S3 in determin-
to plans and orders. Threat evaluation. This is a ing the detailed plan for smoke
detailed study of enemy forces and employment. FM 101-5 contains
Situation and their composition, organization, tac- detailed guidance on the military
tical doctrine, weapons, equipment, decision-making process and es-
Target Development and supporting battlefield functional timates.
Targeting begins with the systems. For smoke planning, we
commander’s guidance and con- focus on enemy EO and smoke
capabilities as listed in Chapter 2 Smoke Support Plan
tinues through the development of a
prioritized list specifying what tar- and Appendix B. Development
gets to attack and when to attack Evaluation of areas of interest
and operation. This is a study of Simultaneous with preparing the
these targets (DECIDE) and acquir- smoke estimate, the staff chemical
ing high-payoff targets (DETECT) enemy order of battle (OB) for a
specific area of the battlefield. For officer develops a draft smoke sup-
and what will defeat these targets port plan. The procedures for
(DELIVER). This process con- smoke planning, we focus on num-
bers and probable locations of EO preparing a smoke support plan
cludes with the commander’s are —
decision on which course of action systems.
Terrain analysis. This is an Coordinate with the commander
he will select to engage the various and staff prior to smoke support
targets: maneuver, fire support, and analysis of the military aspects of
the terrain in a specific area. For planning. Obtain the restated mis-
smoke unit support, or a combina- sion.
tion thereof. There are two basic smoke planning, we focus on the ter-
rain effects on smoke. – Obtain required fire and smoke
processes in the targeting process: planning information such as task
situation development and target Weather analysis. This is an
analysis of the impact of weather on organization, smoke delivery sys-
development. tems, objectives, axis of advance or
Situation development and target both terrain and friendly and enemy
capabilities. For smoke planning, we sector, and commander’s intent.
development are the processes that – Recommend smoke support coor-
provide commanders the intel- focus on the weather effects on
smoke. dinating measures such as key time,
ligence and targeting data they place, and event and no smoke
8 FM 3-50
areas and target allocations (smoke – Modify the plan as agreed. enhances rather than degrades mis-
unit targets, artillery targets, and – Ensure the plan is logistically sup- sion success.
mortar targets) based on available portable and sustainable. Commanders must control smoke
information such as restrictive fire Brief smoke support plan to ob- in their area of operations. Use
line (RFL), coordinated fire line tain concurrence from the com- decision points based on IPB and
(CFL), no fire line (NFL), munition mander (or G3/S3 as required by human feedback to control when
availability, and priority of fire. local policy). you start and stop smoke. Smoke
Update status displays. –Brief requirements for fire sup- unit leaders monitor the communica-
– Plot locations of maneuver ele- port engagement with smoke. tions nets for the supported unit as
ments and objectives. –Modify the plan as agreed. well as internal nets. This ensures
– Plot locations of agreed targets. –Decide the support. the commander has an immediate
Develop a smoke support plan. –Decide the time. response to start or stop smoke at a
– Get target lists from the FSO. –Decide which smoke delivery particular point or time.
– Modify target lists as necessary. unit (s) will engage. Plan to minimize friendly force
Use the smoke target analysis proce- –Finalize the target list. degradation from our own use of
dures in Appendix A as guidance. Coordinate the fire support plan smoke. Rehearse those contingen-
– Develop a list of smoke delivery changes with the commander or cies. An antitank position with clear
assets. G3/S3 and the FSO. fields of fire may be valueless in
– Decide the type of support re- – Inform or brief them concerning dense smoke unless the gunner or
quired (for example, smoke versus changes made in coordination. section leader has rehearsed move-
EO system effectiveness). – Modify the plan as agreed. ment to previously prepared alter-
– Decide the time support is re- Coordinate the smoke support nate positions (limited visibility
quired. plan with adjacent units. positions).
– Decide the best delivery system – Inform or brief them concerning The preceding paragraphs estab-
to engage. the plan. lished the "Why" and "How" of
– Decide the best delivery unit to – Modify the plan if required. smoke support. The remainder of
engage (for example, smoke gener- Confirm coordination with the Chapter 1 answers the "When and
ator unit, direct support (DS), 155- commander or G3/S3 and with the Where" and "What" and explains
battery). FSO. with what delivery systems and
– Prepare and consolidate target Brief the smoke unit leader(s) on delivery units we make smoke. The
lists. the smoke annex to the OPORD. remaining chapters outline Threat
– Assign smoke target numbers. Ap- (Chapter 2) and provide doctrine,
pendix A outlines the procedure for Smoke Support Plan tactics, and techniques for smoke
numbering smoke targets. employment in the offense (Chapter
Coordinate the smoke support Execution 3), defense (Chapter 4), and other
plan with the FSO. The extreme impact of smoke on operations (Chapter 5). The
– Inform or brief requirements for tactical operations mandates close manual concludes with smoke sup-
fire support engagement with smoke. coordination, control, and planning port sustainment planning considera-
– Obtain target numbers for targets for contingencies. Command super- tions (Chapter 6).
requiring fire support asset engage- vision and staff supervision are es-
ment. sential to ensure the use of smoke
Operational Concept for Smoke and Obscurants
Smoke and obscurants themselves another means to meet the impera- Enhancing friendly weapon sys-
are not lethal. However, when tives of the AirLand battle by– tern effectiveness.
synchronized throughout the depth Degrading the enemy’s ability to The Comprehensive Smoke Study
of the battlefield they enhance the see. analyzed what happened when US
maneuver commander’s ability to Disrupting the enemy’s ability to forces used smoke and the adver-
maneuver. They concentrate combat communicate. sary used smoke, and the net effect
power against enemy vulnerabilities Concealing friendly forces. on combat effectiveness when both
at the critical time and place. They Deceiving the enemy. sides used smoke and obscurants,
also reduce his own vulnerability to Providing a means to identify and The lessons learned indicate –
enemy intelligence and target ac- signal. Smoke favors the attacker. Our
quisition. Smoke and obscurants Degrading or defeating directed- force exchange ratio improves 25 to
provide the commander with energy weapons. 80 percent.
FM 3-50 9
Projected smoke is important to tive of smoke employment is to in- In the defense, obscurants support
success, but resource intensive. crease the effectiveness of US disruption of enemy activities and
Firing units require 400 percent operations while reducing the vul- enhancement of friendly operations
above normal basic loads. nerability of US forces. throughout the battlefield. Smoke
Large-area smoke is beneficial. Obscurant use supports battlefield will isolate attacking echelons and
There is up to a 30-percent in- deception and enhances friendly conceal friendly unit locations. It
crease in our force exchange ratio. combat operations by— will screen friendly maneuvers, sup-
Combined with artillery-delivered Increasing friendly force sur- port deception, and interfere with
WP smoke gives a 75-percent in- vivability by— enemy movement and communica-
crease in our force exchange ratio. – Concealing friendly mass and tions. Obscurants help to preserve
You should avoid smoke on maneuver. forces essential to the mission.
friendly antitank guided missile – Degrading Threat weapon system Smoke supports tactical objectives
lines of sight. effectiveness. by selectively denying air and
– Attenuating energy weapons. ground routes and by forcing the
Operational Level – Increasing friendly-to-enemy enemy into tightened tactical forma-
force ratio. tions, which are easier targets.
of War – Increasing Threat force vul- In a nuclear environment, tem-
Operational objectives within a nerability by — porary massing of friendly forces
theater of war include the marshall- – Decreasing Threat rate of may create a particularly lucrative
ing and sustaining of forces and advance. target. Dense smoke provides both
materiel to conduct successful cam- – Disrupting Threat command and concealment and some measure of
paigns. Commanders and staffs at control. protection against thermal radiation.
this level of war will plan and con- – Deceiving Threat intelligence col-
duct smoke operations to— lection. Commander and Staff
Deceive the enemy as to friendly In the offense, the commanders
force location, status, and movement. can achieve surprise and protect Considerations
Defeat enemy air and satellite their force by combining obscurants Commanders must be prepared to
reconnaissance efforts. with maneuver and firepower. use smoke to their advantage
Reduce the effectiveness of Obscurants allow us to reduce our regardless of whether it is employed
enemy fire and air attacks. vulnerability through concealment by friendly or Threat forces. Com-
Defeat enemy precision-guided as we mass forces to attack. manders and staffs at all levels—
weapons. Obscurants will conceal friendly Consider the use of smoke to en-
Increase force survivability. movements and screen breaching of hance friendly scheme of maneuver.
obstacles and river crossings. They Avoid developing a predictable
will also negate the stand-off pattern of smoke use.
Tactical Level of War capabilities of enemy long-range an- Anticipate and plan to counter
Obscurants can support the move- tiarmor weapons and interfere with enemy smoke and countersmoke
ment and positioning of forces on enemy guidance and acquisition sys- measures (see Chapter 2).
the battlefield and the provision of tems. Smoke supports tactical objec- Train for limited visibility opera-
fire support. They can also conceal tives by deceiving the enemy as to tions to minimize friendly force
the logistical support of forces the exact location, timing, and size degradation.
before, during, and after engage- of the main attack. It also isolates
ments with the enemy. The objec- units for piecemeal destruction.
Smoke and obscurants disrupt the peacekeeping operations. Smoke sys- Conflict
enemy’s ability to locate, acquire, terns may be particularly useful in
and defeat our forces across the segregating or isolating violent ele- Use smoke in conflict to support
operational continuum. Use smoke ments. This creates a sense of isola- all types of military operations.
in peacetime, conflict, and war. tion among the people. In Smoke is useful in insurgen-
counternarcotics operations, use cy/counterinsurgency and peacetime
Peacetime smoke to restrict use of airfields contingency operations in support
and to conceal the movement of of tactical objectives. Smoke sys-
Use smoke in peacetime in sup- law enforcement personnel. terns may be particularly useful in
port of security assistance opera- concealing initial insertion of forces.
tions, show of force, and
10 FM 3-50
This would provide surprise and War hostilities to protect the force, alter
security for our forces. force ratios, conceal maneuvering
Use smoke in war to support all forces, and give leaders an added
operational and tactical operations. dimension of flexibility.
Smoke is useful from the onset of
Spectrum of Conflict
The Army recognizes that under by law enforcement or counterter- tion points. This is particularly im-
low-intensity conflict (LIC) condi- rorist forces. portant when special operating for-
tions indirect, rather than direct, ap- Support peacekeeping operations. ces are being inserted.
plications of military power are the Smoke use can protect our forces – Use emplaced smoke such as
most appropriate and cost-effective by screening our forces from Threat smoke hand grenades to conceal
ways to achieve national goals. If observation. It can also restrict the entry into the facility once their
US involvement requires military ac- effectiveness of combatant target ac- presence is known.
tion, force protection and identifica- quisition or weapon guidance sys- – Use projected or emplaced
tion of Threat RSTA means are tems. Marking smokes are effective smoke to conceal their exfiltration
critical. In LIC, use projected, for signaling and early warning. In route and allow them to break con-
generated, and self-defense smoke addition, we can use smoke and tact.
to – obscurants to segregate or isolate In high-intensity and mid-intensity
Support counterinsurgency opera- forces in conflict. conflicts, US forces face large,
tions. Smoke use can protect the Support peacetime contingency rapidly maneuvering formations on
force in all phases of counterinsur- operations. Smoke use can protect battlefields characterized by sophisti-
gency operations. In addition, when our forces, particularly in a show of cated weapons, high-consumption
identified we use smoke to attack force or demonstration. In strikes, rates, and extended time and dis-
Threat RSTA means. Smoke raids, and unconventional warfare, tance. Smoke supports all types of
creates a psychological feeling of use smoke to attack known Threat military operations in mid- and high-
isolation. This may reduce the RSTA means. For example, in a intensity conflict.
insurgent’s will to resist. raid on a suspected Threat com- Using smoke and obscurants
Support terrorism counteraction. munications center, friendly forces across the spectrum of conflict will
Smoke use can restrict use of air- would— positively influence the outcome of
fields or facilities and conceal the –Use projected smoke (for ex- any operation. Chapters 3 through 5
movements of counterterrorist for- ample, mortars, rifle grenades, or outline tactics for smoke employ-
ces. Use smoke to conceal objec- aviation-delivered smoke rockets) to ment to meet the challenges of the
tives prior to assault or occupation obscure guard posts and observa- spectrum of conflict.
Smoke and obscurants disrupt command and control at key addition, we can air transport the
enemy combat operations decision points. Deep attacks are chemical company of an airborne
throughout the depth of the bat- conducted to create "windows of op- division to support airborne opera-
tlefield. One of the key concepts in portunity" by disrupting or destroy- tions in the deep battle.
AirLand battle is the entire bat- ing follow-on echelons. Smoke Current artillery-delivered
tlefield consists of one single battle systems that support the deep battle obscurants will seldom have a direct
fought by one commander with one include aviation, artillery, smoke impact on deep strike capability. In
plan. Obscurant operations must generator, and armored vehicle the far term, millimeter wave
support all levels of command in smoke systems. obscurants delivered by rockets
fighting a unified battle of deep, Army aviation assets deliver onto radar sites will be effective to
close, and rear operations. smoke rockets from attack helicop- suppress enemy air defense and
ters to obscure enemy observation, counterbattery abilities. Similarly,
Deep Operations degrade target acquisition, and special purpose obscurants that
mark targets for close air support block certain regions of the electro-
Deep operations disrupt the aircraft. Medium-lift helicopters sup- magnetic radiation will be more ef-
enemy’s movement in-depth, destroy porting airmobile operations can fective in disrupting hardened
high-value targets behind the move chemical units with smoke command and control centers than
enemy’s lines, and interrupt enemy generators behind enemy lines. In high-explosive munitions.
FM 3-50 11
Deep attacks with armored battle preparations, denying enemy tank parks, assembly and staging
columns may require the use of intelligence information, and con- areas, and critical portions of main
smoke self-protection systems. Com- cealing maneuver and counterat- supply routes.
bat vehicle defensive obscurant sys- tack. Units conceal areas for real At the operational level, the
tems include vehicular launched and decoy battle positions during in- protection of key transportation and
grenades and vehicle engine exhaust itial preparation and camouflage. logistics activities is critical to sus-
systems. The prime constraints will Before the battle, mobile units pro- taining the force. Echelons above
be logistical support (fuel and arma- vide smoke in multiple areas until corps must plan for obscurants in
ment). the battlefield is fully prepared. the defense to conceal static opera-
Use smoke and obscurants aggres- tions. Ports and terminals; fixed rail
Close Operations sively to assist the unit in regaining facilities such as bridges, tunnels,
the initiative. Obscurants isolate and rail yards; logistics-over-the-
In the defense a covering or enemy echelons, conceal movement shore sites; dams; locks; trailer
screening force occupies a sector of counterattacking forces, and transfer points; and critical points
far enough forward of the forward deceive the enemy about friendly in- along main supply routes must be
edge of the battle area (FEBA) to tentions. Smoke from smoke units, covered. Obscurants may also pro-
prevent surprise, to force the enemy smoke pots, and enemy smoke lines vide limited protection for nonstatic
to deploy their forces, and to gain conceal movement of friendly for- operations such as water transport,
sufficient time to respond to the ces. Artillery- and mortar-delivered railroad operations, inland water-
Threat. Extensive use of concealing smoke blinds enemy armored and ways movement, and convoys. Com-
and deception smoke helps to antitank elements while friendly for- manders and staffs must carefully
develop the situation by forcing the ces attack targets from the flanks plan operations to ensure that the
enemy to deploy. It also denies in- using thermal viewers. Obscurants use of friendly obscurants at one
formation about disposition and separate enemy echelons to logistics facility does not impede ac-
composition of friendly forces, preclude supporting and overmatch- tivities at another.
degrading enemy target acquisition. ing fire and to facilitate their Smoke can assist in defeating or
Defending forces fill valleys and piecemeal defeat. delaying enemy airborne and air-
terrain defiles with visual Obscurants in the defense of the mobile operations. Place smoke
obscurants to force enemy helicop- MBA require careful preparation to over potential drop zones and land-
ters above the obscurant cloud, preclude an ill-conceived deception; ing zones in rear areas to conceal
while ground fire is adjusted, using disruption of friendly activities; or them and force the enemy aircraft
thermal viewers. Use visual and in- poorly-timed, low-visibility to remain exposed to our air
frared defeating smokes to support retrograde operations. Obscuration defense assets longer. This is par-
countersurveillance and counter- will slow friendly activities. Com- ticularly useful when you have sig-
reconnaissance. manders and planners should plan nificant intelligence indicators that
Smoke provides concealment for additional time for movement under airborne or airmobile operations
maneuver and counterattack and smoke and obscurants. are imminent, as smoke may deny
reduces the effectiveness of enemy the enemy the ability to insert those
target acquisition. It also deceives Rear Operations forces at all.
the enemy about the true intentions In the event of enemy break-
of our forces and creates conditions Because support units normally through, freed sites and some rear
necessary to surprise them. Smoke remain fixed over a period of hours area forces will not be able to
enables the covering force to delay or more, smoke units will normally maneuver away from an attacking
the Threat advance more effectively. maintain a large-area haze over Threat force. They will have to
When advanced positions can no brigade and division support ac- defend in place. Placing smoke on
longer be retained, the security tivities throughout the early part of rear operations will conceal them
force must quickly and efficiently the battle. Based on command from observation. However, this will
conduct a passage of lines. It must priorities and resources, brigade degrade their operations. Smoke
hand the battle off to the main bat- and division support areas may be may be placed on the Threat for-
tle area (MBA) units. Smoke pots, concealed by obscurants from the ces, in coordination with electronic
smoke generator units, and beginning to the end of the battle. warfare and deception assets, to iso-
projected smoke conceal friendly Obscurants used in rear operations late the Threat units and prevent
forces and routes during battle include deception and screening of resupply, relief, or reinforcement
handoff. vital targets. Such targets include prior to their destruction.
Obscurants support the decisive communications centers, ammuni-
battle in the MBA by concealing ion supply points, motor pools,
12 FM 3-50
Battlefield Applications of Smoke
Smoke has four battlefield applica- key assembly areas, and supply visual through mid-infrared portions
tions that support combat opera- routes. There are three visibility of the spectrum depending on the
tions: obscuring, screening, categories for screening smoke that concentration of the smoke.
protecting, and marking. the supported unit commander uses
to establish the visibility require- Protecting Smoke
Obscuring Smoke ment for a smoke mission. These
are — Protecting smoke is smoke used to
Obscuring smoke is smoke Smoke haze. A smoke haze is a defeat enemy guidance systems or
delivered directly on or immediately light concentration of smoke placed to attenuate energy weapons on the
in front of enemy positions to blind over friendly areas to restrict ac- battlefield. Smoke and obscurants
or degrade their vision both within curate enemy observation and fire. have the ability to reflect, refract,
and beyond their location. Use It is not dense enough to disrupt or absorb energy. When enemy gun-
obscuring smoke to attack and friendly operations within the ners have already fired ATGMs or
defeat enemy target acquisition and screen. A smoke haze is defined as have used laser designators, use
guidance systems at their source. a concentration of smoke that protecting smoke to immediately
Projected means, such as artillery, would allow an individual to iden- screen vehicle movements and
mortars, rockets, and rifle grenades, tify a small tactical vehicle between defeat enemy guidance links. In an
generally deliver obscuring smoke. 50 and 150 meters away, but no far- active nuclear environment or when
For example, smoke delivered on ther than 150 meters. threat of nuclear weapon use is
an enemy antitank guided missile Smoke blanket. A smoke blanket high, use protecting smoke to at-
(ATGM) position may prevent the is a dense, horizontal development tenuate the thermal energy from
system from acquiring or sub- of smoke used over friendly areas nuclear detonations.
sequently tracking targets, thereby to conceal them from enemy When the enemy possesses
reducing its effectiveness. Employ- ground and aerial observation. A directed-energy weapons, use smoke
ment of obscuration smoke on an at- smoke blanket may hamper opera- or obscurants to degrade the effects
tacking armored force may cause it tions of friendly troops by restrict- of those weapons. Directed-energy
to vary its speed, inadvertently ing movement and activity within weapons include lasers; high-power
change its axis of advance, deploy the screen. It provides maximum microwaves; particle beams; and
prematurely, and rely on nonvisual concealment. It is a concentration non-nuclear, directed electromag-
means of command and control. of smoke that would allow the iden- netic pulse. A detailed description
tification of a small tactical vehicle of the effects of smoke and
Screening Smoke from 0 to 50 meters but no farther. obscurants on directed-energy
Smoke curtain. A smoke curtain weapons is in Appendix B.
Screening smoke is smoke is a dense, vertical development of
delivered in areas between friendly smoke. It is placed between friendly Marking Smoke
and enemy forces or in friendly and enemy positions to prevent or
operational areas to degrade enemy degrade enemy ground observation Marking smoke includes smoke
ground or aerial observation or of friendly positions. Since the used to mark targets, identify friend-
both. It also defeats or degrades smoke curtain is not placed directly ly positions, and provide for prear-
enemy EO systems. In general, use on friendly troops, it will not ranged battlefield communications.
screening smoke to attack enemy hamper friendly operations. Com- The smoke means used for iden-
target acquisition and guidance sys- manders should use smoke curtains tification or signaling smoke are nor-
tems by placing smoke between the when friendly forces have air supe- mally projected means and smoke
friendly unit and the sensors. riority or air parity. It does not hand grenades. For example, use
Generated means, such as smoke prevent aerial observation; however, helicopter-delivered smoke rockets
generators, smoke pots, and smoke it may force aircraft to fly higher in to mark a target for destruction by
hand grenades, deliver screening order to see behind the curtain, close air support aircraft, artillery,
smoke. thus increasing vulnerability to air or mortars. Use smoke hand
For example, employ screening defense weapons. In general, smoke grenades to signal aircraft.
smoke to conceal ground maneuver, curtains will defeat sensors in the
breaching and recovery operations,
FM 3-50 13
Smoke Delivery Means
The primary factors that affect ward observers. Also, use them for smoke to provide depth of coverage
delivery of smoke onto a target are initiating screening smoke forward throughout the battlefield.
the smoke weapon system (delivery of an attacking force that smoke Generated smoke can cover small
means and smoke agents) and ter- generators will sustain. and large areas for up to an in-
rain and weather conditions (steer- definite period of time based on the
ing winds and temperature Self-Defense Smoke availability of logistical support, par-
gradients). Appendixes C and G Self-defense smoke is smoke ticularly fuel.
detail smoke delivery means and produced by smoke grenade launch- Smoke pots and smoke grenades.
smoke agents, respectively. ers and the vehicle engine exhaust You can pre-position these. They
smoke system (VEESS), which we do not require an operator. You
Smoke Delivery mount on most armored vehicles. can ignite them manually or electri-
An advantage of this system is cally. Use these smoke devices in
Systems hasty smoke operations because of
rapid smoke production and respon-
In general, there are three means siveness to the small unit leader. their relatively short burn time and
for producing smoke: projected, Disadvantages include danger to dis- ease of access. The ideal battlefield
self-defense, and generated smoke mounted troops with the grenade applications for smoke pots are in-
devices and systems. launchers, interrupting your own tar- itiating screening smoke, marking
get acquisition while taking evasive smoke, and providing smoke unit
Projected Smoke maneuvers, and additional fuel con- self-protection. Smoke hand
Projected smoke is smoke sumption for VEESS. grenades are best for small-area
produced by artillery or mortar The ideal battlefield application screening smoke (squad-size
munitions, naval gunfire, helicopter- for self-defense smoke devices is to maneuver) and marking smoke.
delivered rockets, and bombs and conceal armored vehicle movements Smoke generators. Smoke gener-
generator smoke from fixed-wing and to reduce vulnerability to attack ator units produce large volumes of
aircraft. The advantage of using by enemy antiarmor weapons. The smoke to support hasty or
projected smoke munitions is you devices function as follows: deliberate smoke operations. Smoke
can place smoke directly on a deep, Armored vehicle smoke grenade generator units require a stand-off
close, or rear target. launchers. Mounted on M88, M113, distance from the target based on
The disadvantage of projected M60, Ml, M2, and M3 families of wind speed and direction. Smoke
smoke is that most projected smoke armored vehicles, smoke grenade generators are ideal for large-area
devices and munitions are lethal; launchers provide rapid obscurant smoke missions of long duration.
they cannot be used on or near production to assist the vehicle in They require detailed planning for
friendly forces. Most unit basic self-defense. The launchers deliver logistical support. The ideal bat-
loads for munitions are insufficient the obscurant in front and/or to the tlefield applications for smoke gen-
for sustaining smoke on a target. flanks of a vehicle by smoke erators include screening,
The exception to this is generator grenades electrically fired from the protecting, and sustaining obscuring
smoke from fixed- and rotary-wing vehicle. smoke.
aircraft, which is considered a Vehicle engine exhaust smoke sys- There are two concepts for
projected smoke system because of tem. The VEESS injects diesel fuel employing smoke generators:
its ability to obscure deep targets. into the engine exhaust system. The mobile and stationary.
Projected smoke can support both fuel then vaporizes and is released Mobile smoke is smoke produced
short- and long-duration missions into the air, where it condenses and while the system is on the move.
based on the availability of ammuni- produces smoke Vehicles that cur- Mobile smoke units normally are
tion. Combine use of projected rently have the VEESS include the positioned well forward on the bat-
smoke munitions with other smoke AVLB. LEV, M88A11, M60, Ml, tlefield. They have the advantage of
employment means throughout the M2, and M3 families of combat maneuver, but are exposed to more
battlefield. vehicles. enemy weapon systems. They have
The ideal battlefield applications a self-concealment ability that en-
for projected smoke systems are Generated Smoke hances their survival, and they can
producing obscuring smoke, initiat- make smoke from a freed position
Generated smoke is smoke or while moving. Mobile smoke sys-
ing screening smoke, and marking produced by smoke pots, smoke
targets. For example, use projected tems rely heavily on passive opera-
grenades, and smoke generators. tions security (OPSEC) measures to
smoke systems to place smoke on Steering winds deliver generated
enemy intelligence gathering assets, enhance their survivability.
smoke to a target. Combine
ATGM positions, and artillery for- generated smoke with projected
14 FM 3-50
Mobile smoke is supplied by units Stationary smoke is smoke height, density, duration, and travel
equipped with M1059 mechanized produced from a fixed location, nor- distance of smoke. There are three
smoke carriers or motorized M157 mally by units equipped with M3A4 types of temperature gradients:
smoke generators. mechanical pulse jet smoke gener- lapse, neutral, and inversion.
The M1059 is an M113 armored ators mounted on M998 HMMWVs Since steering winds carry smoke,
personnel carrier (APC) equipped or M151 1/4-ton vehicles with smoke usually follows the contours
with the M157 smoke generator set. trailers. Units move their vehicles of the earth’s surface. On flat, un-
This system can support armored and smoke generators into positions broken terrain and over water
and mechanized forces well for- on a smoke line and then produce (open terrain), smoke streamers
ward. It is less vulnerable to small smoke. These units are limited by take longer to spread out and mix
arms and indirect fire than wheeled their mobility and require more with other streamers. Obstructions,
systems due to its armored plating. time to set up and depart an area. such as trees and buildings, tend to
Its tracked chassis provides it with They are well-suited for large-area break up smoke streamers. The
the ability to move with its sup- smoke missions conducted in rear streamers may then re-form, cover
ported unit both on and off the areas. a larger area, and create a more
road. uniform cloud than over open ter-
The motorized M157 smoke gener- Weather and Terrain rain. Large hill masses and very
ator is an M1037 HMMWV rugged terrain cause strong cross
equipped with an M157 smoke gen- Effects currents of wind and tend to create
erator set. This system can provide Steering winds actually carry the holes and uneven dispersal of the
mobile smoke to light infantry and smoke and determine its direction, smoke cloud.
specialized units. This system is vul- speed, and downwind travel dis- Appendix F details the effects of
nerable to small arms and indirect tance. Temperature gradients are weather and terrain on obscurants.
fire. normally based on the time of day. It also gives a summary of the best
Temperature gradients affect the and worst employment conditions.
Smoke generator units are as- lines the smoke coverage limiting exposure of smoke assets to
signed to chemical battalions under capabilities of smoke platoons. that fire.
chemical brigades at corps, to
chemical battalions at TAACOMs, Tactics, Techniques, Tactics, Techniques,
and to divisions. Detailed informa- and Procedures
tion concerning the modified or Procedures, and
living tables of organization and The commander that "owns" the
Unit Guidelines terrain is responsible for controlling
equipment (MTOEs/LTOEs) and
capabilities of these units is in Ap- Smoke tends to draw enemy atten- the smoke. Place smoke before the
pendix D. tion and fire especially when used enemy can pinpoint targets. Employ
The platoon is the lowest echelon over friendly areas. The effect of smoke during hours of darkness
of command for smoke units that is enemy fire can be minimized by and limited visibility periods (rain,
self-sufficient. Table 2, below, out- detailed planning, synchronizing all fog, ice fog, snow, sleet) to enhance
smoke assets with firepower, and its effectiveness. Synchronize all
smoke assets for maximum impact
FM 3-50 15
against the enemy. Coordinate smoke. Rehearsal of displacement cal unit. This organization permits
smoke employment with adjacent under smoke will help you avoid close control and the most produc-
units and all units in the operation- confusion and disorientation and tive use of all assets. The com-
al area to minimize friendly unit rapidly restore engagement mander continuously monitors the
degradation. capability. progress of assigned tasks. He shifts
Understand that smoke compres- elements where the need is greatest
ses the battlefield by limiting Unit Guidelines throughout his area of operations.
visibility. Training soldiers to Smoke units are vulnerable to On the other hand the supported
operate in smoke reduces the enemy direct fire weapons. Use the unit commander at the lowest level
degradation caused by smoke. It following guidelines when employ- gets greater responsiveness when
also reduces psychological impact ing smoke generator units. Smoke the chemical unit is under his direct
such as confusion, fear, and isola- units should, whenever possible, control. He determines the task or-
tion on troops. avoid prominent terrain features ganization and gives missions direct-
Smoke cloud size should be large and locations that would permit ac- ly to the units under him.
enough to prevent the enemy from curate map firings or fire through Providing smoke units in a com-
saturating the entire smoked area adjustment from a known point. mand or a support relationship is a
with fire. The target should be off- Do not use mobile smoke vehicles balance between the needs of the
set from center within the smoke. A to lead the attack. Use them to higher commander for flexibility
rule of thumb is for the screen to screen the flanks or main body and the needs of the subordinate
be five times the size of the target. maneuvering forces. Do not employ commander for responsiveness. The
Avoid patterns for smoke employ- smoke units less than a platoon-size corps may provide each committed
ment. Avoid placing smoke over the element. Use stationary smoke units heavy division with one motorized
center of your target every time. to conceal rear area facilities and and one mechanized smoke com-
Maneuver using the flanks and light infantry forces. pany. Light infantry divisions are
edges of the smoke alternatively normally provided a dual-purpose
with the center. smoke/decontamination company.
To support tactical deception, Command and Support Units are provided in either a com-
employ smoke over other likely Smoke units operate under two mand or support relationship.
areas to dilute the volume of fire types of relationships: command For brigades already in contact or
and draw attention to the areas of and support. A command relation- when contact is imminent, it is also
little or no importance. The smoke ship reflects the chain of command appropriate for the division to allo-
should approximate the principal and degree of authority. A support cate chemical units in an OPCON
smoke cloud in size. Establish and relationship represents the manner or attached status. Brigades, in
enforce mobile smoke control in which the maneuver unit is to be turn, can provide chemical assets
measures. The smoke control of- supported. directly to their battalion task for-
ficer controls the smoke operation In the tactical planning process ces only when they receive the
from a vantage point allowing target the staff recommends the ap- chemical assets from the division in
observation, ensuring it is complete- propriate command or support a command relationship. Otherwise,
ly concealed by smoke. When using relationship between the chemical the chemical unit commander
self-defense smoke, ensure the en- unit and the supported unit. This deploys his subordinate elements
tire squad, section, or platoon uses relationship defines the specific based on his estimate.
the smoke simultaneously to pre- responsibilities between supporting At each echelon, commanders use
clude drawing attention to a lone and supported units. Generally, organizational principles, derived
vehicle. smoke units at corps and division from the AirLand battle impera-
Start the smoke mission prior to levels establish support rather than tives, to guide the employment of
operation start time and continue command relationships. Direct sup- chemical units. These principles in-
well beyond the end of the opera- port (DS) is the preferred support clude the following:
tion. For example, a river crossing relationship for company-size and Task organize to meet require-
is scheduled for the time from 0500 larger chemical units. Attachment is ments. Mission requirements drive
to 0700. Start smoke at 0400 and the preferred command relationship size and composition of task forces.
stop smoke at 0800 to confuse the for chemical platoons. A mix of chemical units is often
enemy as to the exact crossing time necessary to achieve the proper
and size of the force. balance of capabilities.
Limited visibility positions, Organization Task organize by platoons.
preplanned and previously pre- and Principles Give priority to the main effort.
pared, will minimize degradation There are not enough chemical as-
caused by friendly or Threat use of Smoke units work most efficiently
under the control of a parent chemi- sets on the battlefield to handle all
16 FM 3-50
tasks. Chemical units are not spread operation. This commander must ex- smoke plan, in coordination with
evenly across the battlefield but are ecute coordination with all units par- the FSO and smoke unit com-
concentrated with the main effort to ticipating in or influenced by the mander. The procedures for smoke
ensure its success. smoke operation. He defines smoke planning have been discussed. The
Integrate chemical support with support requirements to include— procedures for monitoring execu-
maneuver and fire. The scheme of His intent. tion are—
maneuver governs the use of smoke Visibility criteria within the smoke. Direct the chemical staff in
and reconnaissance assets. Location and size of the smoke monitoring the smoke support plan.
Do not hold smoke units in target. Monitor planned smoke engage-
reserve. Smoke assets are too Time for effective smoke to be ment by fire support assets:
scarce and valuable to be held out on the target. – Coordinate with FScell.
of the fight. They must refit quickly Duration of effective smoke on – Determine whether planned fire
and return to their primary mission. the target. was executed.
Make logistically sustainable Security of smoke assets. – Make changes as necessary.
plans. Resources are always limited. Immediate support available for – Report changes as required.
The availability of fuel and fog oil the mission. – Update status displays.
restricts chemical unit ability to ex- Preparation of a smoke annex for Monitor planned smoke engage-
ecute smoke missions. Conduct the operation. ment by smoke unit assets:
detailed planning for chemical unit – Monitor the smoke unit net.
sustainment and supporting logistics. Smoke Unit Commander’s – Determine success (Smoke on tar-
Maintain effective command and Responsibilities get on time? Did it achieve pur-
control. Effective plans use all avail- pose?).
When the smoke plan calls for sup- – Make changes as necessary.
able controlling headquarters and port from a smoke generator unit,
hand off operations smoothly be- – Report changes as required.
the commander of the smoke unit is – Update status displays.
tween them. responsible for all activities concern- Monitor planned smoke employ-
ing establishing and maintaining ment by maneuver units (for ex-
Responsibilities smoke on the designated target. ample, VEESS and smoke pots):
When supported by a smoke gener- Based upon information from the – Monitor the appropriate com-
ator unit, both the maneuver unit maneuver commander, the smoke mand or maneuver unit net.
commander and the smoke unit unit commander performs the fol- – Determine success (Smoke on tar-
commander have specific sets of lowing tasks: get on time? Did it achieve pur-
responsibilities for planning and Plans for map, air, or ground pose?).
coordinating the smoke mission. reconnaissance. – Make changes as necessary.
Smoke missions involve close coor- Coordinates the mission with sup- – Report changes as required.
dination between the supported unit ported and adjacent units. – Update status displays.
commander and staff and the Selects and coordinates smoke Monitor immediate calls for
smoke unit commander. Com- lanes (mobile smoke) or smoke smoke:
manders must use the same troop- lines (stationary smoke). –Monitor the appropriate net
leading procedures for smoke assets Coordinates communications nets. (FScell and smoke unit).
as they will for their maneuver Provides input for the smoke – Determine if smoke support is re-
units, ensuring smoke unit com- annex. quired.
manders have adequate time and Identifies additional support re- – Determine the best asset to
resources to plan and prepare for quirements within the limitations of engage. (Note: Fire support assets
smoke support. command or support relationships. have the quickest response time.)
– Respond if necessary to coor-
Maneuver Unit Commander’s Chemical Staff Officer’s dinate smoke support from other
Responsibilities Responsibilities than fire support assets.
The chemical staff officer plans – Update status displays.
The maneuver unit commander is
responsible for the overall tactical and monitors the execution of the
FM 3-50 17
US forces may have to fight countries. These are excellent refer- established smoke lines up to 100
enemies ranging from sophisticated ences for unit organization and kilometers long, maintaining them
armored forces of Warsaw Pact and equipment, operations and tactics, for several days, weeks, and months.
the more advanced emerging and specialized warfare. The Soviets state that smoke car-
countries to unconventional forces The smoke capability of our poten- ries more importance today than in
of the Third World. The reconnais- tial adversaries ranges from field ex- World War II. This is due to the
sance, surveillance, and target ac- pedient methods to extensive growth of highly sophisticated, long-
quisition (RSTA) capabilities of our smoke-producing equipment and or- range target acquisition systems that
potential adversaries range from ganizations in the field. Clearly the relatively inexpensive smoke and
binoculars and night vision devices most significant Threat smoke obscurants can defeat. They believe
to laser and thermal imaging sys- capability resides within the Soviet that smoke and obscurants can
tems. We must focus our training, Union. Their continued emphasis degrade and potentially defeat the
doctrine, and tactics in smoke and on adapting existing smoke assets to use of optical, laser, night vision,
obscurants on degrading and poten- tactical missions and the develop- and even thermal imaging systems.
tially defeating these types of sys- ment of new smoke systems allows For this reason the Soviets plan
tems. Soviets to employ smoke in depth that they will use smoke whenever
The training begins with identify- and in large areas for extended and wherever the tactical situation
ing the location, types, capabilities, periods. permits.
and employment procedures of Historically, the Soviets relied For these reasons, our intelligence
enemy systems on the battlefield. heavily on smoke. In many instances preparation of the battlefield (IPB)
The FM 100-2 series covers the smoke use was directly responsible must include both Threat RSTA
Soviet Army and North Korean for operational success. One Soviet and smoke capabilities. This chap-
Army. The Cuban Forces Hand- writing states that during an offen- ter outlines Threat RSTA and
book, DDB-2680-62-86, dated May sive action smoke screens can smoke employment doctrine. Chap-
1980 and similar handbooks for reduce their losses of combat ters 3 through 5 outline doctrine
other countries are excellent sour- vehicles by 60 percent to 80 per- and tactics to attack Threat RSTA
ces of information on Third World cent. In World War II, the Soviets efforts and protect the force.
Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition
The effective employment of bat- Threat RSTA encompasses all Aerial reconnaissance sources are
tlefield smoke and obscurants re- methods, such as photographic intel- the satellites, front/army aviation as-
quires an understanding of Threat ligence (PHOTINT), imagery intel- sets, rotary-wing aircraft, and
RSTA capabilities and how these ligence (IMINT), and human remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs).
capabilities support Threat opera- intelligence (HUMINT). The most Ground reconnaissance includes
tions. The Soviets define reconnais- reliable methods and therefore the long-range reconnaissance units of
sance as the collection of most used methods of RSTA are front/army and divisional organiza-
intelligence information about the also easily defeated by smoke and tions and special reconnaissance,
location, disposition, composition, obscurants. The Threat groups such as NBC, engineer, and medical
number, armament, combat these methods into three major reconnaissance.
preparedness, character of ac- areas (aerial, ground, and artillery) Artillery reconnaissance uses artil-
tivities, and intentions of the enemy that encompass the strategic, opera- lery observation posts through
in the interests of combat. tional, and tactical depth of the bat- direct observation, supplemented by
tlefield. radar, sound, and flash ranging, and
18 FM 3-50
information resulting from can transmit their information in- The BRM is a BMP variant
electronic means. flight. High-performance aircraft mounting the TALL MIKE ground
Threat forces will conduct recon- and helicopters can be equipped surveillance radar. Some units will
naissance to acquire information on with laser range finders and desig- have the PSNR (portable informa-
US nuclear weapons, force disposi- nators. tion gathering station), a man-pack
tion, and intentions. In the Soviet Reconnaissance aircraft fly at a radar, or a mixture of both.
ground forces, dedicated reconnais- high speed and low altitude, out to Detailed information on the recon-
sance units will conduct aggressive 600 kilometers beyond the forward naissance units’ organization and
RSTA for commanders from the edge of the battle area (FEBA). equipment can be found in
front down to regiment. However, certain reconnaissance FM 100-2-3.
aircraft, such as the FOXBAT B Ground reconnaissance is primari-
Aerial Reconnaissance (with visual and IR cameras) and ly the concern of the tactical com-
the FOXBAT D (with SLAR), may mander at division and below. His
Satellite, or "cosmic" reconnais- perform their missions at high al- or her interest is the enemy and ter-
sance, includes photography and titude without having to cross their rain to the immediate front, out to
television. It is controlled by the forward line of own troops (FLOT). 100 to 150 kilometers. Tactical
GRU (general staff’s main intel- Front and army RSTA assets may ground reconnaissance units
ligence directorate). One reconnais- include a squadron of drones, com- operate out to 50 kilometers in
sance satellite version contains a monly the DR3. Drones may have front of the division. Airborne
video system on which images are vertical and side-looking cameras, reconnaissance teams can operate
stored and later retransmitted to using visual and IR film. A drone out to 100 kilometers.
Soviet ground stations. may also carry a video with real- The information gathered directly
Aerial reconnaissance is the prin- time down-link, though this would supports the plan of fire and
cipal method of gathering target in- reduce its range. One drone maneuver. Reconnaissance units will
telligence. It provides the most squadron could launch 20 missions operate as patrols of two to three
timely and reliable information on a day. vehicles. The greatest effort will be
the character and location of tar- Aerial reconnaissance is particular- directed toward suspected enemy
gets, particularly those in the enemy ly critical to the initial air opera- strength and primary axes of ad-
rear. Aerial reconnaissance recog- tion. Predesignated strikes are vance. These patrols will avoid com-
nizes four major categories of tar- planned in detail. Maps and terrain bat if possible. They will
gets: models are used to familiarize concentrate their efforts on finding
Nuclear weapon systems and pilots, plan approach and departure enemy units, determining their
storage depots. routes, and determine attack techni- strength, disposition, and weapons.
Active and potential airfields. ques and routes. The vulnerability As the battle is joined, these patrols
Defensive positions and systems of high-performance aircraft to will attempt to penetrate the FEBA
(AD, C3, EW). ground-based air defense neces- to report on rear area activities,
Reserves, logistic facilities, and sitates a low-altitude (ideally, 50 to movement of reserves, and location
approaches. 100 meters), high-speed approach of supply routes.
Front air forces normally include in minimum time. The pilot has In addition to dedicated reconnais-
an air reconnaissance regiment, but three to six seconds to identify his sance units, the organization of the
may have as many as three. These target. Helicopter squadrons at regiment in march maximizes recon-
regiments are self-contained and army and division level will fly mis- naissance. To maintain the momen-
process the information they collect. sions in support of engineer, chemi- tum of the attack, the regiment in
There are 24 to 40 aircraft per regi- cal, and artillery reconnaissance. march allocates its combat power
ment. Their collection capabilities forward in increments of one-third.
include fixed-frame and strip Ground This march formation assures that
photography, infrared (IR) photog- the main body is not impeded by a
raphy, television, and side-looking Reconnaissance small enemy force.
airborne radar (SLAR). An ex- Reconnaissance units are assigned The first element is the combat
ample is the FOXBAT B, which car- to all echelons of the Soviet force reconnaissance patrol (CRP), con-
ries five nose-mounted cameras and structure, from regiment to front. sisting of a reinforced platoon. En-
IR linescan equipment. It provides Reconnaissance units are equipped gineer and NBC reconnaissance
a coverage corridor of up to 70 with tanks, BMPs, BTRs, and assets usually will be attached to
kilometers. The aerial television BRDM2 scout cars, and reconnais- the CRP. The CRP engages enemy
with down-link does not give the sance variants of each. Specialized units to determine strength and dis-
resolution of still photography, but vehicles perform engineer and NBC position. If the CRP cannot over-
it is near-real time. About half of reconnaissance. come the enemy, it will attempt to
the Soviet reconnaissance aircraft
FM 3-50 19
fix the enemy in place to facilitate bat vehicles fleetwide. This for target acquisition, topographic
the employment of its parent, the capability increases the Threat, be- survey equipment for location data,
forward security element (FSE), cause reconnaissance and combat and a fire direction computer.
consisting of a reinforced company. units will be able to detect and Battlefield surveillance radars also
Next follows the advance guard, a engage friendly units using these support target acquisition and fire
reinforced battalion. devices. adjustment. The PRP3 mobile obser-
Target acquisition for direct fire vation, a BMP variant, is found in
begins early in the battle. A PRP3, Artillery each howitzer battalion. It carries
with its SMALL FRED target ac- the observation devices of the
quisition radar, will be found with Reconnaissance ACRV and the SMALL FRED
the advance guard, if not sooner. A network of observation posts radar, which detects targets and ad-
Most Soviet combat vehicles carry controls artillery fire. Artillery obser- justs fire out to 20 kilometers. The
active IR for night vision and fire vation posts locate targets and refer- BIG FRED battlefield surveillance
control; many are equipped with ence points. They transmit the data radar, mounted on an MTLB, a
laser range finders. Laser range back to the firing batteries and ad- light transport combat vehicle, is
finders in vehicles and artillery units just fire. Some observation posts found in the target acquisition bat-
are usually Nd: YAG (Neodymium: will be located with the advance tery of the artillery regiment. The
yttrium aluminum garnett) operat- maneuver elements. Armored com- MI2 HOPLITE from the division
ing in the visible spectrum at 1.06 mand and reconnaissance vehicles helicopter squadron is also used for
microns. Some Third World (ACRVs) (which function as fire target acquisition and fire adjust-
countries are capable of and have direction centers as well as observa- ment.
installed thermal imagers rather tion posts) carry day/night observa-
than active IR optics on their com- tion devices and laser range finders
Combined Arms Operations
The Soviets believe the tank to be both improved and more extensive of Israeli armored vehicles in one
the keystone of the combined arms obscuration capabilities and tactics. week. Their doctrine reflects this
operation. Their concern about Soviet writings often cite the Arab- concern over defeating enemy an-
NATO antitank capabilities gives Israeli War of 1973, in which titank weapon systems.
them great incentive to develop ATGMs destroyed over one-third
Threat Smoke Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures
In addition to the three battlefield Use decoy smoke at one or more Use smoke to screen the ac-
smoke applications, we can expect likely crossing sites in an attempt to tivities of engineer units when clear-
the Threat to follow several deceive our forces. ing minefield and to mark passages
guidelines when using smoke. These Use smoke to conceal aerial refer- through engineer barriers.
include the following: ence points. Use smoke to screen logistics
Cover an area five times the size Use smoke to conceal important routes and activities that are within
of the target, with the target off cen- locations and possible targets such range of our fire and observation.
ter within the smoke. as troop concentrations, crossing Use smoke to mark targets for
Light dummy fires or use flares sites, bridges, railroad junctions, aircraft, artillery preparation, and
within the smoke to give the false and unloading areas. signaling purposes.
impression of a hit when enemy fire Screen flanks of attacking Use blinding, camouflage, and
falls within the smoke. echelons. decoy smoke to conceal the direc-
Initiate the smoke two to three Use illumination rounds in con- tion and time of attack to minimize
hours before starting the operation; junction with blinding smoke to losses.
sustain the smoke along a wide destroy night vision on the objective Note: Reliable communication and
front to conceal river crossing and illuminate the target.
operations. Screen fronts of advancing continuous coordination among
Place smoke on both sides of the maneuver echelons. units making smoke, units using
river during crossing operations. Screen movement of guns and smoke, forward air warning assets,
Make maximum use of floating other weapon systems into firing and air defense systems are essen-
smoke pots and smoke barrels to positions and from position to posi- tial.
cover the crossings. tion.
20 FM 3-50
Threat Offensive Smoke Use
Threat smoke doctrine states that After a Threat attacking force forward elements is 1,300 meters.
they will use smoke whenever and passes through the FLOT to our The CRP is part of the reinforced
wherever the tactical situation per- side of the FLOT, use consecutive motorized rifle company (MRC),
mits. The extent they use smoke in lines of fire with HE and WP/PWP which is part of a reinforced MRB.
any offensive operation depends lar- to provide additional blinding The mission of the FSE is to destroy
gely on the amount of time avail- smoke. our reconnaissance forces and to
able to plan and coordinate for the Use VEESS/grenades on the US destroy or fix our lead company,
use of smoke in support of the side of the FLOT only on command thereby fixing our force in position.
operation. Smoke usage is also de- of the company and battalion com- Twenty minutes behind the FSE is
pendent on other variables, such as mander when required for addition- the reinforced MRB (minus the ad-
weather, terrain, and the tactical al protection. vanced guard) that is to actually con-
situation. Nevertheless, we can duct the attack.
deduce several doctrinal norms for Threat Smoke Example At H-hour supporting artillery
our IPB in regard to Threat smoke The following example illustrates deploy and fire a WP round from
use in the offense. Expect the the Threat’s use of smoke in the of- each of two 122-millimeter guns to
Threat to— fense. The example does not in- mark the enemy’s flanks. The FSE is
Use an intense initial artillery clude consideration of either terrain moving forward and will establish
preparation with HE and smoke or local meteorological conditions; the FLOT along the screen line of
munitions fired for shock and sup- therefore, it is largely mission, the CRP. The advanced guard is
pression enemy, terrain, troops, and time moving forward at a rate of 30
Use sustained HE fire to cause at- available (METT-T) independent. kilometers per hour.
trition to defenders; this also The example centers around the The artillery and mortar units begin
creates large quantities of dust that type, extent, and time frame in their fire at H + 1 minute, using HE
stay aerosolized after three to four which the Threat would use rounds on the objective. The FSE
volleys. obscurants. The example does not has deployed along the FLOT with
Place blinding HE dust and consider our countermeasures and its attached tank platoon in the north-
smoke on or in front of defensive does not represent US Army ern sector.
positions. doctrine. At H + 9 minutes, the FSE’s com-
Use smoke to deny acquisition, In meeting engagements, the bat vehicles initiate camouflage
degrade armor or antiarmor Threat attempts to seize the initia- smoke with their VEESSs (Figure 1,
guidance systems, and with toxic tive to either overwhelm or force next page). The artillery and mortar
smokes create casualties. the opponent into the defensive. units increase their rate of fire. Two
In the main attack area, make These tactics generally occur when minutes later (H + 11 minutes) the
smoke three to five times wider covering forces, guard forces, two platoons in the northern sector
than the zone of attack. patrols, and units moving to contact shut off their VEESS and fire a half
On the Threat side of the FLOT, encounter the enemy, either inten- volley of their smoke grenades. These
use smoke pots and generators and tionally or unintentionally. They are two platoons will distract attention
limited VEESS smoke to normally conflicts of a few hours from the advanced guard, which will
camouflage and protect the attack- duration. A meeting engagement conduct the actual attack along a
ing force’s advance from long-range will probably occur more frequently more southerly axis.
helicopter and indirect fire. than any other encounter and in- At H + 12 minutes, the MRB (-)
On the US side of the FLOT, volve the least amount of deliberate arrives at the FLOT and attacks
use HE-created dust, projected use of smoke and obscurants. through the area where the two
WP/PWP smoke, and on-board A Threat reinforced motorized rifle motorized rifle platoons are still
smoke to degrade acquisition and battalion (MRB) has penetrated our generating camouflaging smoke with
armor or antiarmor guidance sys- defensive positions. A second- their VEESS. Each of the two tank
tems. echelon unit has exploited the platoons from the attacking force
Increase artillery tempo as attack breakthrough by continuing the now fires a half volley of grenades.
force approaches the FLOT march into our rear area. At H - 9, The units that had previously fired
Shift HE and smoke fire to iso- both sides have located each other, their grenades to distract attention
late the zone of attack when the at- with neither screening force large fire the rest of their grenades and
tacker is 400 to 1,000 meters from enough to initiate combat. Therefore, begin to move forward.
our defense. they remain in contact until either At H + 13 minutes, the tanks
Conduct the final assault unen- side can bring forward a larger force. from the main attacking formation
cumbered by their own obscurants The distance between the opposing fire the rest of their grenades as they
FM 3-50 21
continue to attack The mortar and artillery units start
forward. The feint firing an HE/WP mix at H + 15
has stalled and is minutes.
now unobscured. At H + 16 minutes, Threat fire
HE rounds are shifts to the rear of the defensive posi-
still falling on the tions to isolate our force.
objective (Figure For a list of total obscurant and ar-
2, below). tillery assets used by the Threat in
this example, see Table 3.
Threat Defensive Smoke Use
Threat defensive smoke use can To ensure flank and maneuver Smoke to Disrupt
be grouped into two broad security.
categories. These are smoke for To mislead our forces on the dis- and Defeat
protection from fire and smoke to position of second echelons and Advancing Forces
disrupt and defeat advancing forces. reserves and planned counterattack
directions. The Threat also will use smoke
Smoke for Protection To conceal the withdrawal of the while in the defense to slow, dis-
battle outpost. rupt, and defeat our advancing for-
Examples of Threat smoke usage To counter our reconnaissance, in- ces. Several Threat writings
for protection include the following telligence, target acquisition, and expressed concern over identifying
To camouflage the maneuvers of weapon guidance and control sys- targets set against forest or brush
their subunits of tanks, infantry, and tems. backgrounds. For this reason, the
artillery. To protect targets from laser Threat developed techniques involv-
To conceal engineer activities designators. ing the use of smoke and illumina-
from our observation. To blind our observation posts tion rounds to serve as an artificial
To screen replacements of first- and forward observers. background. This makes target iden-
echelon units and subunits under To conceal engineer breaching tification easier. These techniques
conditions of good visibility. operations. involve firing mortar and/or artillery
To camouflage the approach of To conceal aerial reference points. smoke rounds 50 to 100 meters
their subunits for counterattack. To defeat the light and heat ef- beyond our advancing forces. Then
fects of nuclear weapons. they place illumination rounds just
22 FM 3-50
beyond the smoke to illuminate the Threat Smoke Example When their forces have identified
background from the rear. This our axis of advavce, they begin to es-
The best illustration of Threat tablish an obscuring line, using WP
creates favorable conditions for ob- smoke use in the defense is a
servation and acquisition. Threat hasty defense versus a friend- and illumination rounds approximate-
Also, Threat doctrine states that ly 150 to 200 meters in front of our
ly deliberate attack. In the following FLOT. When our attackers emerge
smoke deprives our units, when scenario, Threat forces have attack-
shrouded in smoke, of the from the smoke, Threat forces engage
ed and are well within our territory. them with ATGM weapon systems.
capability to conduct observation of Threat forces have already made an
the field of battle. Smoke will make unsuccessful attempt to attack from The Threat will establish a second
fire control and navigation more dif- obscuring line approximately 900
a position in contact. meters in front of our FLOT, using
ficult. As a result, our attacking for- The Threat force commander is
ces can stray off course from the preparing to conduct an attack from HE and WP fire. Again, ATGM fire
specified directions and get mixed a position in contact. Before he can will engage our attacking forces when
up with each other. There is poten- initiate this attack we attack. Two we emerge from the smoke. As our
tial for us to reduce or not aim our minutes after our forces begin their forces reach the point 1,000 meters
fire, creating favorable conditions preparatory fire, Threat artillery uses from the the Threat’s FLOT, they
for Threat second echelons and counterbattery fire with HE onto our will engage us with HE munitions
reserves to deploy, seize the initia- scout platoon. from a 122-millimeter multiple rocket
tive, and counterattack. launcher.
Even the most sophisticated Extent of enemy smoke employ- Example 2 shows that the Threat
weapon systems are limited by ter- ment. use of smoke degrades the enemy’s
rain and weather. Prior planning by Directed-energy weapon own force combat power when we
the S2/G2, S3/G3, and the chemical capabilities of the enemy force. have ATGMs with thermal sights
officer can increase the limitations We use smoke and obscurants to (for example, TOW II). TOW II
of enemy systems with man-made attack Threat EO systems and to can see and shoot through most
obscurants. The commander will protect our force. Smoke and smokes. This increases our force
have to decide how smoke and obscurants can change the number ratio (2.5:1) over that depicted in ex-
obscurants will affect his ability to of effective weapon systems avail- ample 1 (1:6.4) by removing all
conduct the direct fire fight. Given able to either force. Once the com- Threat long-range direct fire
the various types of EO devices and mander decides to use smoke and weapons while not significantly
the number of visual and bispectral obscurants, the outcome of the bat- degrading friendly long-range tank
obscurants that will be common on tle and the proficiency of his intel- main gun (M1) and missile shots
any future battlefield, the answer to ligence, operations, and chemical (IFV and ITV).
this question is not easy. The officers will determine the effective- In example 3, we use smoke
Soviets may not have thermal im- ness of his weapons. against a high-technology threat.
agery sights on their weapon sys- The four examples in Figure 3, on Our use of smoke degrades the
tems. However, other potential the next page, illustrate how smoke Threat’s combat power when we
adversaries are attempting to ac- affects the number of enemy have the TOW II. The force ratios
quire or already have the systems. weapon systems that can engage the are the same as in example 2. In ex-
During any future conflict, you must combat battalion. Example 1 ample 4, we use smoke against a
know your enemy, "What?" depicts the force ratio when smoke low-technology threat. This
"When?" "Where?" "How?" and is not used. In this example, the eliminates the Threat’s ability to
"With how many?" will always be standard force ratio is Threat forces fight the direct fire fight since none
the questions to answer. Other 6.4:1 over friendly forces. In ex- of the enemy’s long-range fire sys-
PIRs to determine the effects of amples 2 through 4, the same size tems can see through smoke. In this
obscurants are the— force uses equal amounts of smoke case, our force ratio significantly in-
EO system capabilities of the and puts it in the same location. creases (8:1). Friendly forces are
ememy force. However, the force ratio changes in able to engage the Threat’s entire
Extent of their employment: each example based on the relative force.
whether on reconnaissance systems, abilities of opposing weapon sys- We could describe an infinite num-
direct fire systems, or all systems. tems to see through the smoke and ber of combinations of smoke and
Smoke delivery capabilities of the engage targets. weapon usage; therefore, com-
FM 3-50 23
24 FM 3-50
manders must consider the follow- Threat direct fire systems to see your enemy to see and fire through
ing principles when using smoke: and shoot through smoke. smoke. Plan the battle accordingly
Smoke usage can change the num- Employing smoke improperly can and never leave smoke employment
ber of effective weapon systems degrade friendly combat potential. to chance.
available to either force. When in doubt, employ smoke only
Smoke effectiveness is directly re- when you can see and fire through
lated to the relative ability of it. Know your ability and that of
US Countermeasures to Threat Use of Smoke
Threat smoke and obscurant use Dispersion using thermal imagers and direct
has the potential for significantly fire weapon systems.
degrading both our defensive and of- Dispersing our forces laterally and
fensive operations. In general, there in depth places a greater burden on Engagement
are two options available to counter attacking fire. Combining dispersion
enemy smoke use: Move to aler- with rigorous counterreconnaissance of Enemy Forces
nate positions on the battlefield to measures forces the Threat to ex- in March Formation
continue unimpaired operations, or pend more resources and take
use EO devices that allow opera- greater risks in conducting attacks. The Threat does not plan as much
tions to continue under smoke. The more dispersed you are, the smoke to protect the force while
Our forces must first understand more difficult and costly it is for they are still behind the FLOT. If
Threat doctrine regarding use of the Threat to bring blinding smoke we engage enemy march formations,
smoke and obscurants to anticipate fire on your positions. Additionally, less enemy smoke use should en-
when and where the Threat will dispersing in depth aids in obtain- hance our fire.
employ them on the battlefield. ing flanking fire where the Threat
Next, our commanders must train smoke is much less concentrated. Limited Visibility
their units to operate in periods of Positions
limited visibility where target ac- Deception
quisition, navigation, and command Threat doctrine calls for the
and control are confusing and dif- Tactical deception can cause the Threat to lift all smoke when they
ficult. Finally, we must train and Threat to ineffectively use smoke as- come within 1,000 meters of their
use tactics, techniques, and proce- sets. For example, an effective ruse objective. Using alternate positions
dures that overcome or minimize might cause the enemy to expend forward of your main defense will
the effectiveness of Threat smoke greater resources in attempting to cause attrition in their attacking
and obscurant usage. blind friendly gunners and force and disrupt their timetables,
camouflage tank movement. This creating surprise and confusion
Obstacles would reduce overall smoke effec- when they emerge from their final
tiveness. Using deception means smoke screen. However, the use of
Obstacles placed along the may also cause the enemy to attack any alternate positions increases the
enemy’s most likely avenue of ad- in the wrong direction and become need for countersurveillance and
vance can slow them, disrupting silhouetted against their own smoke, counterreconnaissance measures.
their timetables. Preplanned fire on allowing us to effectively engage Occupation of reverse slope posi-
these positions can be an effective their force without smoke degrading tions coupled with alternate or
means of engaging the enemy even our line of sight. dummy positions on the forward
in dense concentrations of smoke. slope can cause the enemy to waste
Acquisition devices that are less Friendly Countersmoke artillery assets and give friendly
sensitive to smoke and obscurants defenders more time to react when
can acquire the enemy at choke Friendly forces can use smoke and enemy attackers emerge from their
points and/or barriers and then obscurants to counter enemy use of own smoke.
direct engagement by direct and in- smoke as control measures or phase
direct fire. Obstacles can delay one lines. Friendly visual obscurants can
flood the area between friendly Stay-Behind Forces
element of the attacking force, draw-
ing an adjacent element into an defensive positions and enemy Stay-behind forces using nonlinear
engagement area, unable to receive smoke lines to disorient the enemy tactics can engage an enemy from
supporting fire. Separation of forces and deceive them as to the actual their flanks and rear where they are
may also occur due to the enemy’s battle positions. At the same time, often unobscured.
own use of smoke. friendly units can engage the enemy
FM 3-50 25
Positioning Ground Surveillance Preplanned
of Observers and Radar Disengagements
Observation Devices Employ ground surveillance radar Execute preplanned disengage-
Position forward observers, warn- (GSR) with maneuver elements to ment based on remote signal
ing systems, and ground/vehicle direct, identify, and locate targets in devices rather than visual cues. Use
laser locator designators smoke. Ensure our own obscurant a thorough IPB to establish the key
(G/VLLDs) where they are less like- operations do not mask GSRs with event for disengagement on your
ly to encounter obscuration during millimeter wave obscurants and that decision support templates.
the battle. The highest point of a GSRs can continue to provide tar-
battle position normally offers the geting data to commanders when Air Defense Positions
best lines of sight for laser desig- smoke obscures other surveillance
nators. However, because of the vul- means. Position air defense assets where
nerability of these G/VLLDs to they obtain the most benefit from
smoke and obscurants, commanders Use of Threat Smoke enemy smoke. Emplace systems re-
should attempt to avoid blinding by quiring visual target acquisition (for
to Conceal example, Vulcan and Stinger) on
placing these devices on the flanks
of a battle position. Our Maneuver high ground clear of the smoke.
Use them to look over the smoke
When the Threat uses smoke be- and engage low-flying helicopters
Targeting tween their forces and ours, we can and aircraft that silhouette against
of Enemy exploit the fact that they are as like- the smoke. Emplace air defense sys-
ly to be unable to see through it as tems using thermal or millimeter
Smoke Assets we. We can use their smoke to aid wave acquisition in the smoke to
In addition to passive counter- in obtaining surprise for our own at- mask missile launch points.
measures, we can also take active tack or counterattack.
steps to reduce the obscurant
threat. Using IPB with a thorough Use of Friendly
understanding of how the enemy Aviation
employs smoke assets, we can deter-
mine the location of those smoke as- Use friendly aviation assets to
sets. Once located, enemy artillery identify gaps in smoke coverage.
and smoke generator units are ex- Target hand-off procedures must
tremely vulnerable to friendly fire. facilitate air and ground target
26 FM 3-50
The offense is characterized by and obscurant use multiplies the type of offensive operation at any
violence, concentration of friendly commander’s ability to project com- level because smoke generally
forces, disruption of hostile forces, bat power at the critical time and favors the attacker.
and rapid transitions between dif- place to defeat the enemy. Smoke
ferent types of operations. Smoke and obscurant use will support any
The most recent and perhaps prepared Israeli positions defending munications centers, airstrips, and
most significant example of smoke the west bank of the Suez Canal. artillery positions (Figure 4).
in a combat multiplier role oc- The Egyptians initiated the attack Within moments, Egyptian artillery
curred during the 1973 Arab-Israeli by deploying 200 attack aircraft into opened up with a massive barrage
War. On 6 October 1973, at 1400 the Sinai to destroy Israeli com- of high-explosive munitions and
hours, Egyptian forces attacked blinding smoke. The Egyptians in-
ability of the Is-
raelis to engage
targets and ad-
just artillery fire
with that blind-
ing smoke. It ac-
results; it in-
duced a feeling
of total isolation
ing Israeli units.
The fear caused
by the addition
of yellow smoke
to the artillery
fects of isola-
FM 3-50 27
Minutes later Egyptian armored These actions demonstrated the Israeli ability to acquire targets and
and artillery assets began to deploy tremendous impact of smoke when spot for attack aircraft.
forward to firing positions on their synchronized with a combined arms The Egyptian Army was eventually
side of the canal. These units assault. Within the first 24 hours of driven back and sustained consider-
engaged the Bar-Lev strongpoints the attack, the Egyptians ac- able losses. Nevertheless, their
with direct fire while infantry units complished the almost impossible: forced crossing of what the Israelis
conducted a forced crossing in din- They had moved five divisions, believed to be the largest tank ditch
ghies under the cover of canister- 100,000 men, 1,020 tanks, and in the world was a complete suc-
generated smoke. Air-mobile 13,500 vehicles across the canal and cess. The effect that smoke played
operations placed commando units established a bridgehead six miles in that operation was significant.
10 miles into the rear to disrupt into the Sinai. The Israeli forces While the crossing may have been
reinforcing echelons. Egyptian en- lost 150 tanks, almost one-tenth of effective without smoke, the Egyp-
gineer units emplaced bridges over their total in the Sinai. The blinding tian forces could have sustained far
the canal. Smoke from artillery, smoke placed on the Bar-Lev greater casualties, and the crossing
canister, and smoke generator as- strongpoints effectively reduced the could have taken far longer to com-
sets supported the engineer effort. plete without the cover of smoke.
The National Training Center Provide additional firepower by— Use
(NTC) is an area where smoke – Changing friendly to enemy force
training is possible on a large force- ratios by using thermal imagers and Smoke and obscurant use in the of-
on-force scale. MG E. S. Leland, millimeter wave acquisition devices fense requires careful planning and
former commander of the NTC, such as radars to see through visual execution to prevent interference
stated, "Smoke is a far more sig- smokes and using smoke to isolate with movement, assault operations,
nificant battlefield factor than I defending and second-echelon for- or target acquisition; to retain the
used to believe. It simply must be a ces. element of surprise; and to avoid sil-
major planning consideration in – Defeating enemy counterrecon- houetting or drawing undue atten-
terms of both friendly employment naissance efforts. tion to friendly forces.
and reaction to enemy use." – Enhancing friendly target Smoke use is not without risks.
Key insights from the NTC for the acquisition efforts by silhouetting Our use of smoke must increase
offense include the following: enemy vehicles with smoke and friendly force survivability without
Smoke favors the attacker. using smoke and obscurants we can seriously degrading operational
Smoke tightens attack formations. see through but the enemy cannot. capabilities. It must decrease Threat
We must capitalize on thermal im- Disrupting enemy maneuver and force command, control, com-
ager capability. reinforcement. munications, and intelligence gather-
We must plan command and con- – Disrupting the enemy’s ability to ing capabilities (C3I).
trol without visual cues. communicate. In addition to the general employ-
Training and rehearsal are the Protect the force by— ment techniques detailed in Chap-
keys to success. – Reducing friendly force vul- ter 1, techniques to minimize
Smoke and obscurants integrated nerability by concealing support interference in the offense include
throughout the offensive framework forces from enemy observation and the following:
provide major contributions to com- defeating enemy reconnaissance ef- Use covered and concealed
bat power in deep, close, and rear forts. maneuver techniques. Assume the
operations. In the offense, use – Concealing obstacle breaching. enemy can see through the smoke.
smoke to— – Defeating enemy weapons by Do not take unnecessary risks with
Support maneuver by— defeating enemy target acquisition the force.
– Concealing maneuvering forces efforts, defeating enemy guidance Time smoke delivery with
from enemy observation. systems, and negating standoff decision points. Conduct a
– Providing tactical surprise and al- capability of enemy long-range thorough IPB and time your use of
lowing the commander to set the direct fire weapons. smoke to key decision points in
terms of combat. – Degrading or defeating enemy your tactical plan: for example,
– Allowing the commander to mass directed-energy weapons. "When we reach Hill 285, we will
forces unobserved. call for A Battery to fire smoke and
Defeating enemy surveillance efforts. HE onto target XY1007 and sustain
– Supporting the deception plan. that fire to obscure enemy observa-
28 FM 3-50
tion of our flanking of Objective Goal your units. Begin making smoke
White." prior to crossing the line of depar-
Use unobscured weapons to over- The main focus of smoke in the of- ture to confuse the enemy as to the
watch. The overmatching elements fense is to defeat enemy RSTA ef- actual location and size of the force.
should have target acquisition forts, conceal maneuver and Protecting smoke. Use protecting
devices such as thermal imagers support forces, and contribute to smoke as required to defeat enemy
that can see through our own tactical deception operations. Our ATGMs and air defense systems.
smoke and engage the enemy. This intent is to deny the enemy informa- Obscuring smoke. Use obscuring
prevents surprise and enhances the tion about the disposition and com- smoke to defeat enemy reconnais-
ability to suppress enemy fire position of our forces, which sance and counterreconnaissance ef-
during the assault. provides surprise and security. It forts. Use projected smoke means
Do not let your own smoke sil- also allows the commander the to deliver smoke mixed with high-ex-
houette your forces. Never overrun flexibility to mass the forces re- plosive rounds before the enemy
your smoke cloud prior to the final quired to conduct attacks. The next can pinpoint your units. Plan obscur-
assault. "Walk smoke in" towards section presents the tactics for ing fire based on decision points for
enemy positions wherever possible. using smoke in offensive operations. the enemy, isolating and confusing
This ensures your forces remain con- Appendix A contains tactical their reconnaissance forces.
cealed and confuses the enemy as decision aids for determining which Marking smoke. Use smoke to
to your exact location and intent. smoke delivery means to use against mark enemy targets for rapid
Plan to engage through or the specific smoke targets covered destruction or to reduce the poten-
around the smoke. Plan to use by these tactics. tial for firing on friendly forces.
weapon systems that can acquire Smoke for deception. Use this
and fire through the smoke. Plan Phases smoke to draw attention to areas of
limited visibility positions for those little or no importance. Create large-
systems that smoke degrades (for ex- The phases of the offense are area smoke away from the main
ample, position target acquisition as- preparation, attack, exploitation, body. Consider using smoke mixed
sets on flanks or above smoke). and pursuit. with high-explosive rounds to con-
Plan for enemy countermeasures. duct preparatory fire on dummy ob-
Enemy forces will counter your Preparation jectives.
smoke use. Plan to intensify your The preparation phase of offensive Figure 5, on the next page, il-
counterreconnaissance and air operations involves the concentra- lustrates smoke employment in the
defense efforts. The enemy may use tion of attacking forces and as- preparation phase.
countersmoke to confuse your com- sociated support elements into
mand and control, so avoid reliance contact with the enemy. Attack
on visual signals. The enemy will in- The overriding imperative in a A hasty attack will normally imme-
crease use of indirect fire weapons movement to contact is initiative. diately follow a movement to con-
when direct fire target acquisition is Use smoke to – tact. If the contact reveals an
ineffective. Therefore, plan artillery Conceal movement of maneuver overwhelmingly superior enemy
counterbattery and countersmoke and support forces, allowing the force, or our hasty attack is unable
fire after crossing the line of depar- commander to mass forces unob- to either outflank or overcome the
ture/line of crossing (LD/LC). served. enemy defense, we will conduct a
Plan for additional maneuver Provide tactical surprise, allowing deliberate attack. In the attack
time under smoke. Smoke slows the commander to seize the initia- phase, use smoke to—
maneuver. Base the planning factor tive and set the terms of combat. Provide tactical surprise, allowing
on METT-T and the proficiency of Defeat enemy reconnaissance and the commander to seize the initia-
your unit to operate under smoke counterreconnaissance efforts. tive early.
as shown in previous combat (or Conceal obstacle breaching or Conceal movement of maneuver
training) operations. crossing. and support forces, allowing the
Verify enemy locations (respon- Smoke employment tactics in the commander to mass forces unob-
sibility of reconnaissance). The preparation phase are the following: served. Smoke must provide the
enemy can use both our smoke and Screening smoke. Use screening commander with the ability to con-
theirs to conceal movement to alter- smoke to conceal maneuver and centrate the maximum possible
nate positions or to break contact. obstacle breaching or crossing. Use shock and violence against the
Aggressive reconnaissance before smoke in the main body area and enemy.
and during the engagement will along the flanks to conceal move- Ruin the enemy commander’s
allow you to shoot and remain in ment. You must carefully control synchronization.
contact. the smoke to prevent silhouetting
FM 3-50 29
Conceal obstacle breaching or tion of reserves. Use self-defense names as for the preparation phase,
crossing. and generated-smoke means to but read on.
Defeat enemy target acquisition, deliver smoke across danger areas Obscuring smoke. Use obscuring
weapon guidance, and directed-ener- and to the flanks of the force to smoke to isolate the objective and
gy weapon systems. limit enemy observation and engage- complement countermobility efforts.
The overriding imperative in hasty ment. Use it also to defeat enemy target
attacks is agility. Therefore, smoke Marking smoke. The tactics are acquisition and guidance systems
use in a hasty attack must assist the the same as in the preparation and defeat reconnaissance and
commander to fix and contain the phase. counterreconnaissance efforts. Use
enemy, deploy into combat forma- Protecting smoke. The tactics are projected smoke means to deliver
tions, and maneuver additional for- the same as in the preparation smoke mixed with high-explosive
ces to the flank and rear where the phase. rounds in front of the objective, be-
enemy is destroyed by fire or as- Deceptive smoke. The tactics are tween enemy formations, on iden-
sault. the same as in the preparation tified forward observers, and on
Smoke employment tactics in a phase. ATGM and tank unit positions
hasty attack include obscuring The overriding imperative for the before the enemy can pinpoint your
smoke, screening smoke, marking deliberate attack is synchronization. units as targets. Use smoke mixed
smoke, protecting smoke, and Therefore, smoke use in the with scatterable mines for counter-
deceptive smoke: deliberate attack must assist the mobility behind enemy positions.
Obscuring smoke. Use obscuring commander to fix and maneuver Use it also between the enemy first-
smoke to isolate the objective, against the enemy and prevent the echelon, reserve, and second-
defeat enemy target acquisition and enemy from breaking contact. It echelon forces. The critical activity
guidance systems, and defeat recon- must also force penetration of the in planning obscuring fire in the
naissance and counterreconnais- enemy’s defense and prevent reinfor- deliberate attack is synchronization
sance efforts. Use projected smoke cement or counterattack by enemy of all direct fire, fire support,
means to deliver smoke mixed with reserves or second-echelon forces. smoke support, and engineer assets
high-explosive rounds in front of Smoke employment tactics in a to create maximum combat power.
the objective; between enemy forma-
. deliberate attack have the same
tions; and on iden-
tified forward ob-
server, ATGM, and
tank unit positions
before the enemy
can pinpoint your
units as targets.
to isolate the objec-
tive can significant-
ly interfere with the
smoke to conceal
maneuver as you
bypass small pock-
ets of resistance
obstacles. Use it
also along the
flanks to protect
the force and in the
rear to conceal dis-
position and composi-
30 FM 3-50
Screening smoke. Use screening pressure, compound their disor- Marking smoke. Use marking
smoke to conceal maneuver as you ganization, and erode their will to smoke to mark targets for destruc-
cross the line of contact, bypass resist. The overriding imperative in tion, identify bypass routes, and sig-
small pockets of resistance, or exploitation is depth. In the exploita- nal for battlefield activities. Use
bypass or breach obstacles; along tion phase, use smoke to— projected smoke means to deliver
the flanks to protect the force; and Ruin the enemy commander’s smoke onto identified enemy
in the rear to conceal disposition synchronization. strongpoints or larger formations
and composition of reserves. Use Isolate enemy forces, allowing the and to signal forces to consolidate
large-area generated smoke to con- commander to keep the enemy in on a particular objective or rally
ceal passage of lines and confuse contact and under pressure. point. As exploitation force com-
the enemy concerning the disposi- Conceal movement of maneuver manders rely heavily on air cavalry
tion and composition of your force. and support forces, allowing the units for reconnaissance, helicopter-
Reconnaissance of enemy obstacles commander to protect logistical delivered smoke rockets will pro-
is critical to ensure timely employ- units and convoys required to sus- vide the best delivery system. Use
ment of large-area smoke to con- tain the momentum of the exploit- generated-smoke means to mark
ceal breaching or crossing of ing force. bypass routes (for example, scouts
obstacles. Use self-defense and Defeat enemy target acquisition, could drop smoke pots at 100- to
generated-smoke means to deliver weapon guidance, and directed-ener- 200-meter intervals along a bypass
smoke across danger areas and to gy weapon systems. This is par- route).
the flanks of the force to limit ticularly important as the Protecting smoke. The risk of
enemy observation and engagement. exploitation force bypasses or con- nuclear weapon use increases when
Marking smoke. Use marking tains small groups of enemy forces. conventional means are ineffective
smoke to mark enemy targets for Smoke employment tactics in the in stopping our advance. If the
rapid destruction or to reduce the exploitation phase use the same five enemy has known or suspected
potential for firing on friendly for- types of smoke as follows: nuclear or directed-energy weapon
ces. Use projected smoke means Obscuring smoke. Use obscuring capability, concealing your logistics
such as helicopter rockets to mark smoke to complement counter- activities in oil smokes may at-
close and deep targets for engage- mobility efforts, defeat enemy target tenuate some of the energy.
ment by close air support aircraft. acquisition and guidance systems, Supporting smoke for tactical
Protecting smoke. If the enemy and isolate enemy forces for deception. Use supporting smoke to
has known or suspected directed- piecemeal destruction. Use keep the enemy off-balance and to
energy weapon capability, conceal- projected means to deliver smoke draw attention away from critical
ing your force in a blanket of oil mixed with high-explosive rounds sustainment activities. Use
smoke will attenuate some of the onto targets between enemy forma- generated-smoke means to deliver
energy. In the far term, using large- tions, onto enemy units as they at- smoke to multiple locations to the
area projected smoke containing mil- tempt to regroup, and in front of rear of the exploitation force to
limeter wave obscurants directly on enemy strongpoints as you bypass force the enemy to expend resour-
the enemy positions will reduce our them. Use smoke mixed with scat- ces to target logistical activities.
vulnerability to directed-energy terable mines behind moving enemy
weapons, formations to impede their ability to Pursuit
Smoke for deception. Use sup- break contact and to compound As the enemy becomes demoral-
porting smoke to draw attention their disorganization. ized and their formations begin to
away from the main effort to areas Screening smoke. Use this smoke disintegrate, exploitation may
of little or no importance. Use to conceal maneuver and support develop into pursuit. Commanders
generated-smoke means (in a forces and defeat enemy target ac- attempt to annihilate the enemy
deliberate attack, the best means quisition and guidance systems. As force using a direct pressure force
may be smoke pots and generators) protection of supplies and support that keeps the enemy units in flight
to create smoke away from the units is essential to maintain the and an encircling force to envelop,
main body. The deception story rapid tempo of the exploitation, cut off, and destroy or capture the
must be integrated into the overall priority of effort for smoke assets fleeing enemy force. In the pursuit,
tactical plan for smoke use to be ef- must go to sustainment activities. use smoke to—
fective. Use generated-smoke means to Ruin the enemy commander’s
deliver smoke onto key logistics ac- synchronization, denying the enemy
Exploitation tivities and to protect convoys. Use time to reorganize a cohesive
Commanders should plan to fol- self-defense and generated-smoke defense. If the enemy is able to es-
low every attack by bold exploita- means to conceal maneuver units as tablish a perimeter, smoke must
tion to keep the enemy under they bypass or harass enemy forces. help to defeat enemy target acquisi-
FM 3-50 31
tion, weapon guidance, and directed- force towards the enemy to obscure force can conceal their maneuver.
energy weapon systems. their observation while giving the en- However, since smoke draws atten-
Isolate enemy forces, allowing the circling force freedom of maneuver. tion, you may risk losing the ele-
commander to keep the enemy in When in place, the encircling force ment of surprise. Use self-defense
contact and under pressure. could use generated smoke towards and generated-smoke means to con-
Conceal movement of maneuver the enemy to obscure our forces, sil- ceal maneuver units as they bypass
forces, allowing the commander to houette the enemy, and generally in- or attack enemy forces.
envelop the enemy force. crease the enemy commander’s Marking smoke. The tactics are
Smoke employment tactics in the synchronization problems. the same as in the exploitation
pursuit include the following ap- Screening smoke. Use screening phase.
plications of the five basic smoke smoke to conceal maneuver forces Protecting smoke. The tactics are
types: and defeat enemy target acquisition the same as in the exploitation
Obscuring smoke. The tactics are and guidance systems. Since the en- phase.
the same as in the exploitation circling force generally advances on Smoke for deception. Use this
phase. Additionally, use generated parallel routes, screening smoke smoke to keep the enemy off-
smoke from the direct pressure along the flanks of the encircling balance and to support hasty at-
tacks if the enemy is able to
establish a perimeter. Use
smoke generators to deliver
smoke to multiple locations
creating false passage points
and to draw attention away
from the main effort.
Figure 6, below, illustrates
smoke employment in the
exploitation and pursuit
The following scenario il-
lustrates possible smoke
employment options in the
offense, from the prepara-
tion through the pursuit
phases. It depicts a
mechanized infantry heavy
brigade conducting the
movement to contact. The
brigade is the 2d Brigade,
54th Infantry Division (M).
Smoke delivery means in-
clude the direct support ar-
tillery battalion, battalion
mortars, smoke generator
platoon, VEESS, smoke
pots, smoke grenades, and
aviation assets on-call. Field
expedient smoke delivery
means include smoke pots
strapped to armored
vehicles with electrical igni-
tion wires running inside
2d Brigade will conduct a
movement to contact com-
mencing at H-hour today.
The commander’s intent is
32 FM 3-50
to reestablish contact with the enemy, The fire support plan also calls for tillery and mortar units increase their
seize the brigade objective, and ex- aviation assets to use smoke rockets rate of fire.
ploit any success onto the division to mark the gaps between the enemy At H + 45 minutes, the main body
objective. The brigade objective is Ob- CRPs and FSEs. The S3 (air) has crosses the LD. The main body
jective Fox. The brigade’s follow-on coordinated for the attack helicopter maneuvers to the west of the smoke
objective is Objective Jack. The squadron to carry extra WP rockets along the bypass route (Figure 7, on
division objective is Objective Midas in their first two sorties. The smoke the next page).
some 40 kilometers beyond the line platoon initially travels with the main Attack Phase
of departure. body and has on-board capability to
Intelligence indicates that the make smoke for 70 to 140 minutes. The movement to contact has
enemy is the 1st Guard Motorized At H-hour, our forces cross the line developed into an actual engagement.
Rifle Division, 2d Combined Arms of departure. The commander seizes the initiative
Army, which relieved another Thirty minutes !ater, aviation recon- and orders the brigade to attack
motorized rifle division and is con- naissance sights the lead elements of toward Objective Fox. The main at-
ducting a meeting engagement from the enemy CRP. When the CRP is tack is in the west along Axis Andy.
the march. The enemy is marching within 3,000 meters of the security The supporting attack is in the east
by regiments, with three regiments in force, the artillery battalion fires HE along Axis Tony. The brigade will
front and a combined arms reserve and smoke (HC) in front of each consolidate on the objective and con-
instead of a second echelon. Terrain CRP. tinue the attack towards the division
is fairly open to the west of Hill 268 At H + 35 minutes, the security objective.
but is restricted to the east of Hill force sights the CRP through the At H + 46 minutes, the artillery
352. The enemy has excellent observa- smoke using thermal imagers. The shifts fire from the area between the
tion and fields of fire from both security force then attempts to fix the CRP and FSE to the area between
hills. Figure 3-6 illustrates the disposi- CRP by engaging it with direct fire the FSE and advanced guard (AG),
tion of forces as of H-1 hour. weapons through the smoke. obscuring the target with a mixture of
At H – 24 hours, the commander is- At H + 36 minutes, the security HE and HC. Also, the mortars shift
sues the restated mission and his force will also locate and mark fire from the CRP to between the
planning guidance. The brigade bypass routes. The security force ig- CRP and FSE, obscuring with a mix-
chemical officer, S2, and FSO go to nites smoke pots and drops them off ture of HE and WP.
the intelligence cell and begin target at 200-meter intervals to mark and When the main attack has cleared
development. conceal the bypass. the LD, the security force elements in
The brigade chemical officer has The smoke platoon moves toward the west turn off their VEESS. At the
completed his estimate at H – 18 the LD at H + 36 minutes. NOTE: same time the supporting attack force
hours and provides a draft target list The smoke platoon should always engages the enemy FSE and AG
to the FSO. While the brigade chemi- remain behind the security force. with flanking fire.
cal officer briefs the commander, the At H + 38 minutes, the aviation At H + 50 minutes, the artillery
brigade chemical NCO continues reconnaissance and security force shifts fire from the area between the
smoke target analysis in coordination sight the enemy FSE. The FSE is FSE and AG to the area between the
with the smoke platoon leader. moving forward to establish the AG and the main body in the west,
At H – 15 hours, the brigade chemi- FLOT along the screen line of the and onto the objective in the east.
cal officer, FSO, and smoke platoon CRP. The artillery continues to fire a mix
leader finalize the smoke support At H + 39 minutes, the maneuver of HE and HC.
plan. This includes a draft smoke battalion mortars begin to fire HE Also at H + 50 minutes, the mor-
support annex to the brigade OPORD. and WP on top of and in between tars shift fire from the area between
the CRPs. The artillery battalion the CRP and FSE to the area be-
Preparation Phase shifts fire to the area between the tween the FSE and AG, obscuring
(Movement to Contact) FSEs and CRPs, obscuring with a with a mix of HE and WP.
Prior to H-hour the security force mix of HE and HC. At the same time, the smoke
and flank security elements prepare The smoke generator platoon begins platoon stops making smoke. This
expedient smoke devices using smoke to make smoke at H + 40 minutes will ensure the objective itself is un-
pots strapped onto their vehicles. The at the LD. In addition, the flank obscured during the assault.
fire support plan includes quick security force on the eastern flank ig- The main attack force is in position
smoke to isolate the enemy combat nites and dumps its smoke pots to make the assault on the objective
reconnaissance patrols (CRPs), so within 500 meters of the LD. at H + 55 minutes. The artillery
WP and HC smoke ammunition is At H + 40 minutes, the security shifts fire to the regimental main
pre-positioned forward of the artillery force combat vehicles initiate screen- body beyond the objective, now firing
battalion in the security force area. ing smoke with their VEESS. The ar- only HE. The rnortars shift fire onto
the AG in the center and in the west,
FM 3-50 33
obscuring and isolating them
with HE and WP mix.
At H + 1 hour, the main
attack force assaults the ob-
jective. Artillery and mortars
continue to fire on the
enemy main body, isolating
the objective from external
The enemy resistance is
crumbling. 2d Brigade has
significantly disrupted the
enemy's synchronization and
has the initiative. Upon secur-
ing the brigade objective, the
brigade rapidly consolidates
and the commander orders
them to continue the attack.
The brigade’s follow-on ob-
jective is to secure Objective
Jack and destroy the rem-
nants of the enemy division
artillery group (DAG). The
main attack is in the east
along Axis Stef, with the sup-
porting attack in the center
along Axis Gay.
At H + 1.25 hours, the
mortars begin to fire on the
remaining regimental main
bodies, obscuring them with
a mixture of HE and HC.
At the same time, the artil-
lery begins to fire scatterable
mines and HE and HC mix
into the area behind the first-
echelon regiments. This iso-
lates the first echelon from
the combined arms reserve
and delays their retreat.
At H + 1.5 hours, the
smoke platoon begins to
make smoke in the west of
the sector to isolate the rem-
nants of the easternmost first-
echelon regiments from the
other first-echelon regiment.
This further disrupts the
The main and supporting at-
tack forces begun moving
towards Objective Jack, keep-
ing the enemy under pressure.
They will bypass any enemy
34 FM 3-50
forces they encounter, with the resistance has crumbled. The enemy the entire enemy formation. The en-
brigade follow-on forces containing is now in full flight. circling force commander now estab-
and destroying pockets of enemy for- Upon securing the brigade follow- lishes a hasty defense, blocking the
ces bypassed by the main body. on objective, the brigade rapidly con- enemy’s escape route.
At H + 1.75 hours, the mortars solidates, and the commander orders At H + 3.75 hours, the smoke
and arti!lery shift to fire behind the them to conduct the pursuit. The platoon starts its third mission. The
first-echelon regiments and onto Ob- direct pressure force moves rapidly smoke platoon begins to make a
jective Jack, respectively. Both mor- forward along a!l available roads, smoke curtain across the enemy’s es-
tars and artillery will fire a mix of bypassing small enemy pockets of cape route, while the artil!ery and
HE and WP for obscuration and resistance. The encircling force plans mortars from the direct pressure force
lethality. to move rapidly to the division objec- stop firing smoke. This allows the
The mortars shift fire onto Objec- tive and cut off the enemy retreat. direct pressure force to engage the
tive Jack at H + 2 hours, and the ex- At H + 2.50 hours, aviation assets enemy with direct fire weapons that
ploitation force positions for the final locate and mark the !arger enemy for- are unobscured while concealing the
assault on the objective. mations with WP rockets. The mor- encircling force’s preparations.
At H + 2.10 hours, the mortars tars and artil!ery assets with the At H + 4.25 hours, the enemy is
and artillery shift fire beyond Objec- direct pressure force then fire succes- forced into an engagement area be-
tive Jack. The main attack force as- sive belts of scatterable mines behind tween the direct pressure and encir-
saults the objective, destroying the these larger formations. They also cling forces. The smoke from the
enemy DAG. fire HE and HC mix onto the forma- smoke generator platoon silhouettes
tions to further slow them and com- the enemy force for attack by the
Pursuit Phase plicate command and control. direct pressure force. At the same
By H + 2.25 hours, it is obvious At H + 2.75 hours, the encircling time, the encirling force is able to
that the enemy can no longer main- force leaves its assembly area, engage enemy forces through the
tain their position, and 2d Brigade is moving rapidly along the western smoke or as they emerge from the
capturing significant numbers of sol- flank towards the division objective. smoke on the other side. The enemy
diers and equipment. The enemy By H + 3.5 hours, the encircling is destroyed and forced to surrender.
force has bypassed and outdistanced
FM 3-50 35
Defensive operations retain commander’s ability to disrupt will support any type of defensive
ground, gain time, deny the enemy enemy attacks, seize the initiative, operation. Used correctly it will
access to an area, and damage or and project combat power at the overcome any initial advantage of
defeat attacking forces. Smoke and critical time and place to defeat the the attacker.
obscurant use multiplies the enemy. Smoke and obscurant use
During World War II, large-area and dusk and during red alerts for mechanical smoke generators. The
smoke denied the Germans observa- antiaircraft defense. The Luftwaffe technique resulted in the produc-
tion for directing accurate, indirect made at least one raid each night tion of a light haze between the har-
fire onto the US Fifth Army at until mid-February, when the artil- bor and the front lines. The haze
Anzio. The 24th Decontamination lery fire increased. The Allies used was thin enough to permit normal
Company landed at Anzio on D 8-inch howitzers to demolish operations within it and thick
day, equipped with Ml smoke gen- farmhouses suspected of harboring enough to prevent German observa-
erators, M4 smoke pots, and eight German observers. They fired tion from the encircling hills.
Navy Besler generators. smoke from chemical mortars and On 18 March 1944, the 179th
On its first night ashore the unit small-caliber artillery onto nearby Smoke Generator Company moved
smoked the beaches and anchorage. ridges and towers. from the harbor to forward posi-
Within two days they had set up a Yet, enemy observers had an un- tions. The smoke line formed a 15-
smoke line nearly 2 miles long. As restricted view of the entire harbor mile arc around the port (Figure 8,
the beachhead forces expanded, from the mountains in the back- on the next page), with 22 possible
other smoke troops, including a ground for pinpoint firing with long- positions on land. Based on wind
British unit and the US 179th range guns. Although the entire direction, 19 of those 22 positions
Smoke Generator Company, moved beachhead was within range of had smoke generators. Also, two
to Anzio to increase the size of the enemy guns, the Allies failed to generators were mounted on Navy
cloud. Initially, smoke at Anzio was obscure the beachhead itself in patrol craft in the harbor. The
intended to be part of the an- January and February. The air smoke generator positions were at
tiaircraft screen. This included defense, artillery, and naval com- 1,000-meter intervals just beyond
making smoke at night, when flares manders were afraid that smoke on the antiaircraft positions of the port
dropped by lead planes appeared to the beachhead itself would interfere and just short of the field artillery
be extinguished as they dropped with observation for friendly fire observation posts. The latter
into the smoke. and with unloading the ships at prevented enemy observation from
The Fifth Army’s VI Corps began anchorage. From 22 January to 10 the flanks of the concave harbor.
an end run that bogged down. The February alone, the Allies took The smoke sections began opera-
Germans contained the beachhead average daily losses of almost 28 tions ½ hour before dawn and
from its establishment on 22 tons of ammunition from enemy made smoke until 14 hour after sun-
January 1944 until the Allied long-range fire and bombing. set every day from 18 March until
breakout the following May. Ex- To reduce these losses, the corps after the breakout in May 1944.
perience showed that a favorite chemical staff and chemical unit During this period, the Allied
enemy tactic was low-level bombing commanders, with the approval of troops at Anzio were able to un-
attacks at dawn and dusk. Conse- the VI Corps commander, MG load an average of 3,500 tons of sup-
quently, it soon became standard Lucian K. Truscott, developed a plies daily.
practice to smoke the port at dawn new technique for use of the
36 FM 3-50
The National Training Center Uses Chapter 3 for additional ways to
(NTC) is an area where smoke support maneuver.
employment is possible on a large Smoke and obscurants integrated Use smoke to provide additional
force-on-force scale. Key insights throughout the defensive framework firepower by disrupting enemy com-
from the NTC for the defense in- provide major disruptions to enemy mand and control and forcing the
clude the following synchronization providing windows enemy to mass, thus providing a
Smoke compresses the battlefield of opportunity for our forces to lucrative target. Other ways are
with engagements fought at shorter seize the initiative and set the terms identical to those in offensive opera-
range. of combat. In the defense— tions. See Chapter 3.
We must use alternate weapon Use smoke to support maneuver Use smoke to protect the force
positions in smoke. by– in the same way as in offensive
Smoke employment requires – Concealing disengaging and operations. See Chapter 3.
more detailed planning. moving forces. In addition to the general techni-
Smoke can be used in deception, – Slowing and disrupting enemy ques listed in Chapters 1 and 3,
at night, and for obstacle reduction. movement. techniques to minimize interference
Units that do not train in smoke – Isolating attacking echelons. in the defense include the following
do not perform well. – Concealing engineer operations Verify enemy locations (respon-
and defensive preparations. sibility of reconnaissance).
In addition, use the guidance in – The enemy can use both our
smoke and theirs to conceal move-
FM 3-50 37
ment to alternate positions or to to observe and adjust direct and in- maneuver and support forces. Our
break contact. direct fire at targets. intent is to deny the enemy informa-
– Aggressive reconnaissance before Plan for enemy countermeasures. tion about the disposition and com-
and during the engagement will Enemy forces will counter your position of our forces. That allows
allow you to shoot and remain in smoke. The enemy may use us to gain time, concentrate forces
contact. countersmoke to confuse our com- elsewhere, control key or decisive
– You can use aviation assets to mand and control, so avoid reliance terrain, and wear down enemy for-
spot and mark enemy targets for on visual signals. The enemy will in- ces as a prelude to offensive opera-
destruction by indirect and direct crease use of indirect fire weapons tions.
fire. when direct fire target acquisition is Our overall goal is to improve the
Plan and use all sensor and ineffective. Therefore, plan artillery commander’s ability to retain his in-
viewer capabilities. Consider plac- counterbattery and countersmoke itiative in operations against a poten-
ing ground surveillance radar, air fire when you stop or delay the tially numerically superior force.
defense weapons, and target acquisi- enemy. Appendix A contains tactical
tion radars on the flanks or high decision aids for determining which
ground to acquire targets through Goal smoke delivery means to use against
the smoke. Maintain communica- the specific smoke targets covered
tions between these systems and As in offensive operations, the by the tactics for using smoke in
both direct and indirect fire ele- main focus of smoke in the defense defensive operations.
ments. Use the acquisition element is to defeat enemy target acquisition
and reconnaissance, and to conceal
Elements of Defense
The five complementary elements Security Force force. Use smoke as an active
of the defense are deep operations counterreconnaissance measure to—
forward of the FLOT, security force Operations Fix the enemy reconnaissance
operations forward and to the The fundamental purposes of force.
flanks of the defending force, defen- security force operations are to Mark the enemy reconnaissance
sive operations in the main battle defeat and destroy enemy reconnais- force for destruction with direct
area (MBA), reserve operations in sance forces, force the enemy to and indirect fire weapons.
support of the main defensive ef- deploy, confirm the direction and Deny the enemy reconnaissance
fort, and rear operations. strength of the enemy attack toward force information about the disposi-
the main body, and buy time for the tion, composition, or intent of
Deep Operations main body to deploy forward and friendly forces.
laterally. Use smoke in security Smoke employment tactics in
In the defense, deep operations force operations to— counterreconnaissance are the fol-
are aimed at preventing the enemy Conceal movement of maneuver lowing:
from concentrating overwhelming and support forces, allowing the Screening smoke. Use screening
combat power by disrupting their commander to mass forces unob- smoke to conceal maneuver and
momentum and destroying the served. obstacle emplacement. Use smoke
coherence of their attack. In deep Provide tactical surprise, allowing in the security force area and along
operations, use smoke to — the commander to seize the initia- the flanks to conceal movement.
Force the enemy to deploy into tive and set the terms of combat. Use smoke forward of the battle
our strength. Defeat enemy reconnaissance and hand over line to allow the security
Defeat or disrupt command and counterreconnaissance efforts. force to disengage. You must care-
control efforts. Conceal obstacle emplacement. fully control the smoke to prevent
Isolate reinforcing echelons from The first part of the defensive bat- silhouetting your units.
the assault force. tle that the friendly commander Protecting smoke. Use protecting
Smoke employment tactics in deep must win is counterreconnaissance. smoke to defeat enemy antitank and
operations are identical to those in Counterreconnaissance is an in- air defense systems.
offensve operations (preparation tegral part of the security mission. Obscuring smoke. Use projected
phase). See Chapter 3. The focus of the Threat’s reconnais- smoke mixed with high-explosive
sance is to confirm or deny the dis- rounds before the enemy can pin-
positions and intentions of our point your units. Plan obscuring fire
based on decision points for the
enemy to isolate and confuse their
38 FM 3-50
reconnaissance forces. Plan obscur- Main Battle Area Once the enemy is in the engage-
ing fire during the battle hand over ment area of our choosing, prevent
to allow the security force to dis- The decisive battle usually takes them from breaking contact so we
engage and pass through friendly place in the MBA. The defender can destroy them immediately.
lines unobserved. concentrates the strongest possible Smoke employment tactics in the
Marking smoke. Use marking forces for decisive action against MBA are the following:
smoke to mark enemy targets for the enemy main effort. Use smoke Obscuring smoke. Use obscuring
rapid destruction or to reduce the to – smoke to isolate the engagement
potential for firing on friendly for- Defeat enemy target acquisition area and counterattack or spoiling
ces. Aviation reconnaissance assets efforts without degrading our own attack objectives, defeat enemy tar-
are particularly useful to spot the ability to acquire and engage. get acquisition and guidance sys-
reconnaissance force and mark it Create opportunities for com- tems, and defeat reconnaissance
with helicopter-delivered smoke manders to seize the initiative local- and counterreconnaissance efforts.
rockets. ly and attack. Use projected smoke means to
Smoke for deception. Uses are Slow the advance of the attacking deliver smoke mixed with high-ex-
identical to those in offensive opera- force. plosive rounds in front of the objec-
tions (preparation phase). See Chap- Separate and isolate the attacking tive; between enemy formations;
ter 3. Figure 9, below, shows smoke echelons. and on identified forward observer,
employment in security operations. Force enemy infantry to dismount. ATGM, and tank unit positions
Disrupt the enemy’s ability to ex- before the enemy can pinpoint your
ercise command and control. units as targets. Using projected
FM 3-50 39
smoke as countersmoke and to iso- smoke employment for reserves in a enemy to deploy prematurely, seize
late the objective can significantly in- counterattack or spoiling attack role the initiative, and conduct local
terfere with the enemy are the same as smoke tactics for counterattacks to destroy the enemy
commander’s synchronization. the preparation phase of offensive force.
Screening smoke. Use screening operations. For reserve forces in a Intelligence indicates the enemy is
smoke to conceal maneuver as you reinforcing role, the smoke tactics the 1st Guard Motorized Rifle
move to new positions; conceal the are the same as those for security Division, 2d Combined Arms Army,
force as you bypass, breach, or force operations in the defense. which relieved another motorized
cross obstacles or small pockets of rifle division and is conducting a
resistance in counterattack or spoil- Rear Operations meeting engagement from the march.
ing attack; along the flanks to The enemy is marching by regiments,
protect the force; and in the rear to We conduct rear operations to with three rrgiments in front and a
conceal disposition and composition allow the commander freedom of combined arms reserve instead of a
of reserves. Use self-defense and maneuver and for continuity of second echelon. Terrain is fairly
generated-smoke means to deliver operations, to include continuity of open to the west of Hill 268 but is
smoke across danger areas and to sustainment functions and command restricted to the east of Hill 352. The
the flanks of the force to limit and control. Use smoke in rear enemy has excellent observation and
enemy observation and engagement. operations to— fields of fire from both hills.
Identifying smoke. Use the same Conceal support forces, facilities, At H – 48 hours, the commander is-
technique as in the security force and activities. Reducing enemy ob- sues the restated mission and his
operations. servation reduces the necessity to planning guidance. The brigade
Protecting smoke. If the enemy move frequently. When necessary, chemical officer, S2, and FSO go to
has known or suspected directed- conceal movement of support forces. the intelligence cell and begin target
energy weapon capability, conceal- Deny the enemy use of landing development.
ing your force in a blanket of oil zones and/or drop zones. The brigade chemical officer has
smoke will attenuate some of the Isolate enemy forces in the rear completed his estimate at H – 42
energy. area. hours and provides a draft target list
Smoke for deception. Use this Defeat rear area Threat acquisi- to the FSO. While the brigade chemi-
smoke to draw attention away from tion efforts and support base, base cal officer briefs the commander, the
the main defensive effort and the cluster, and rear operations brigade chemical NCO continues
counterattack or spoiling attack to response to the Threat. smoke target analysis in coordination
areas of little or no importance. Smoke tactics in rear operations with the smoke platoon leader.
Use generated-smoke to create are also dependent upon the At H -36 hours, the brigade chemi-
small- to large-area smoke away commander’s intent and the threat. cal officer, FSO, and smoke platoon
from the main body. In general, use smoke to attack leader finalize the smoke support
enemy target acquisition and engage- plan. This includes a draft smoke
Reserve Operations ment efforts when identified. The support annex to the brigade OPORD.
smoke employment tactics are At H -33 hours, the brigade com-
The primary purpose of the re- similar to those for a hasty attack. mander approves the final OPORD.
serves in the defense is to counterat- Figure 10, on the next page, il- The brigade commander and staff
tack, to exploit enemy weaknesses, lustrates smoke use in rear area issue the order to the commanders
and to reinforce forward defensive operations. and specialty unit leaders.
operations. Use smoke in reserve Three hours later, the smoke
operations to— Example platoon makes smoke to conceal
Deny the enemy information obstacle emplacement.
about the location and strength of The following example depicts a At H – 24 hours, the brigade chemi-
reserve forces. mechanized infantry heavy brigade cal officer finalizes smoke support
Conceal movement of reserve for- conducting the movement to con- coordination with all units. This in-
ces, allowing the commander to tact. The brigade is the 2d Brigade, cludes coordination with adjacent
mass forces unobserved. 54th Infantry Division (M). Smoke units that might be affected by smoke
Provide tactical surprise, allowing delivery means include the direct if the wind shifts.
the commander to seize the initia- support artillery battalion, battalion At H – 20 hours, the brigade chemi-
tive and set the terms of combat. mortars, smoke generator platoon, cal NCO verjfies with the FScell that
The employment tactics for smoke VEESS, smoke pots, smoke the additional smoke munitions for
support in reserve operations grenades, and aviation assets on- the artillery and mortars are on hand
depend on how, when, and where call. 2d Brigade will defend in sec- and prepositioned.
the commander chooses to use his tor, commencing at H-hour. The
reserves. In general, the tactics for commander’s intent is to force the
40 FM 3-50
The brigade chemical officer enemy information and confuse them allow the security force to disengage.
receives a brief back from the smoke as to the location and disposition of The smoke platoon makes smoke at
platoon leader and assistant S3 our force. the battle hand over line to conceal
(operations) officer at H -18 hours. Thirty minutes later, the security the rearward passage of lines.
These officers verify rehearsals in the force engages the enemy reconnais- At H-hour, aviation reconnaissance
smoke platoon and maneuver units sance with direct fire weapons. Artil- identifies elements of the division
(for on-board smoke use). The lery and mortar fire shift to behind main body entering the brigade area
FScell and chemical cell also check the enemy reconnaissance force. This of operations. The security force has
communications circuits at this time. shifting of fire silhouettes the enemy, done its job and forced the enemy to
At H – 15 hours, aviation reconnais- isolates the enemy, and prevents deploy along the western approach,
sance spots enemy divisional recon- obscuration of our own direct fire avoiding the high ground on Hill
naissance assets. Helicopter-delivered At H – 8 hours, the security force 352. The artillery begins to fire on
rockets mark this enemy element for identifies elements of the enemy FSE the flanks and forward elements of
destruction by CAS aircraft. moving into the brigade area of the enemy AG and main body. The
At H – 12 hours, the security force operations. Aviation and artillery as- mortars begin to fire on the flanks
encounters enemy reconnaissance as- sets mark targets with WP for attack and forward elements of the enemy
sets. Based on the commander’s by CAS aircraft. FSE. Both use a mixture of HE and
decision support template, the DS ar- The security force, at H – 6 hours, WP. This will isolate the enemy for-
tillery battalion begins to fire a mix- identifies elements of the enemy AG ces and serve as good reference
ture of HE and smoke (HC) onto moving into the brigade area of points for adjusting indirect and
identified targets. Mortars moving operations. The smoke platoon stops direct fire.
with the security force also fire a mix- smoke at the obstacle emplacement. At H + 30 minutes, the enemy
ture of HE and smoke (WP) between At H – 2 hours, the security force main body has entered the engage-
the security force and the reconnais- begins to withdraw. Security force ment area. Our indirect fire has
sance assets. This will deny the mortars fire HE and WP mix to caused attrition to their FSE and A G
and forced the main
body into our strength.
The brigade commander
now orders the artillery
to fire FASCAM mixed
with HC behind the
engagement area to delay
reinforcements and to iso-
late the main body for
At H + 1 hour, the
direct fire fight has
begun. Artillery fire
switch to HE and HC
mix. Mortars fire HE
onto the enemy and WP
onto the flanks. Our
GSR teams pass target
to the TOW sections of
each company. Our for-
ces use thermal sights to
acquire and engage the
enemy, who cannot see
through the smoke.
By H + 2 hours, the
enemy commander is un-
able to maintain his
momentum and begins
FM 3-50 41
Other Tactical Operations
Other tactical operations cover a Relief-in-place operations. Jungles.
wide range of special-purpose opera- Passage of lines. Urban terrain.
tions undertaken routinely during of- Linkup operations. Deserts.
fensive and defensive operations. Breakout from encirclement. Winter zones.
While these operations are not the River crossings. Nuclear, biological, and chemical
main focus of the commander at Obstacle breaching. (NBC) conditions.
the tactical level of war, smoke may In addition, there are special con- Finally, because smoke draws at-
support these operations as well. ditions and environments we must tention, we must consider smoke
These operations include– consider: support for tactical deception.
Retrograde operations. Mountains.
Smoke and obscurants integrated techniques listed in Chapter 3, spe- such as winter zones with deep
throughout the battlefield and opera- cial techniques to minimize inter- snow.
tional continuum provide major con- ference include – Use smoke to mask terrain from
tributions to combat power in deep, Know the limitations of your aerial observation. With the excep-
close, and rear operations. In other delivery systems. Smoke munitions tion of jungles, much of the terrain
operations, the major contributions do not behave the same in all condi- described in this chapter affords
are the same as those in offensive tions or environments (for example, good aerial observation. By masking
smoke tactics. See Chapter 3. the jungles of Central America ver- key terrain features you reduce
Smoke and obscurant use in other sus the woodlands of Europe). Plan your vulnerability as targets of op-
tactical operations requires the for differences in coverage. Some portunity for high-performance
same careful planning and execu- munitions combinations such as HE aircraft.
tion as with the offense and and WP are not effective under cer-
defense. In addition to the general tain environments or conditions
A retrograde operation is a move- – Providing tactical surprise and al- Use smoke to provide additional
ment to the rear or away from the lowing the commander to set the firepower by–
enemy. terms of combat. – Defeating enemy counterrecon-
Retrograde operations gain time, – Allowing the commander to mass naissance efforts.
preserve forces, avoid combat under forces unobserved. – Disrupting enemy command and
undesirable conditions, or draw the – Defeating enemy surveillance ef- control.
enemy into an unfavorable position. forts. – Disrupting enemy maneuver and
In retrograde operations– – Supporting the deception story. reinforcement.
Use smoke to support maneuver – Slowing and disrupting enemy – Disrupting the enemy’s ability to
by– movement. communicate.
– Concealing maneuvering forces – Isolating attacking echelons. – Forcing the enemy to mass, thus
from enemy observation. – Concealing engineer operations providing a lucrative target.
– Concealing disengaging and defensive preparations to the rear – Changing friendly to enemy force
moving forces. ratios by using thermal imagers and
42 FM 3-50
millimeter wave acquisition devices the force. Use projected means commander to mass security forces
such as radars to see through visual to deliver smoke between the unobserved.
smokes and using smoke to isolate delaying unit and the enemy Defeat enemy reconnaissance and
defending and second-echelon for- force. Use smoke to conceal counterreconnaissance efforts.
ces. obstacle breaching or crossing. Conceal obstacle emplacement,
– Enhancing friendly target acquisi- The priority of effort is to breaching, or crossing and hinder
tion efforts by silhouetting enemy mobility operations; therefore, pursuit by the enemy.
vehicles with smoke and using carefully control the smoke to Conceal designated withdrawal
smoke and obscurants we can see prevent slowing or silhouetting routes, traffic control points, and on-
through but the enemy cannot. your units. order assembly areas.
Use smoke to protect the force. Protecting smoke. Use protecting Create opportunities to disengage
(See Chapter 3 under Offensive smoke as required to defeat enemy the force.
Smoke Tactics.) ATGMs and air defense systems. Smoke employment tactics in the
Use protecting smoke to avoid withdrawal include the following:
Delay decisive engagement. Screening smoke. The tactics are
Obscuring smoke. Use obscuring the same as those under Delay. Ad-
In delays, units give ground to smoke to defeat enemy reconnais- ditionally, use projected means to
gain time. Delaying units inflict the sance and counterreconnaissance ef- deliver smoke between the security
greatest possible damage on the forts. Use projected smoke means force and the enemy force.
enemy while preserving their to deliver smoke mixed with high-ex- Protecting smoke. The tactics are
freedom of action. plosive rounds before the enemy the same as those under Delay.
In the delay, use smoke to– can pinpoint your units. Attempt to Obscuring smoke. The tactics are
Conceal movement of maneuver force the enemy into early deploy- the same as those under Delay.
and support forces, allowing the ment. Marking smoke. The tactics are
commander to mass forces unob- Marking smoke. Use marking the same as those under Delay.
served. smoke to mark enemy targets for Supporting smoke for tactical
Provide tactical surprise, allowing rapid destruction or to reduce the deception. Use supporting smoke to
the commander to seize the initia- potential for firing on friendly for- draw attention to areas of little or
tive and set the terms of combat. ces. no importance. Create large-area
Defeat enemy reconnaissance and Smoke for deception . Use sup- smoke away from the main body.
counterreconnaissance efforts. porting smoke to draw attention to
Conceal obstacle emplacement, areas of little or no importance. Cre- Retirement
breaching, or crossing. ate large-area smoke away from the
Conceal designated withdrawal delaying force. Consider using In a retirement, a force not in con-
routes. smoke mixed with high-explosive tact moves away from the enemy in
Maintain contact with the enemy rounds to conduct preparatory fire an organized manner. In a retire-
but preclude decisive engagement. of dummy objectives. ment, a heavy rear guard will con-
Smoke employment tactics in the duct delaying actions to slow the
delay are the following: Withdrawal advance of the enemy and allow the
Screening smoke. Use screening main body to increase the distance
smoke to conceal maneuver and In withdrawals, a force in contact between itself and the enemy. In
obstacle emplacement. Use disengages from the enemy. The general, use smoke to support the
smoke along withdrawal routes force may be assisted by another rear guard in its delaying opera-
and along the flanks to conceal force or unassisted. In the tions. The tactics for employment of
movement. Begin making smoke withdrawal, use smoke to– smoke in support of the rear guard
prior to departing your existing Conceal movement of maneuver are the same as for the delay.
position to confuse the enemy as and support forces, allowing the
to the actual location and size of
Relief in Place
In a relief in place, a unit in con- Mark the enemy reconnaissance tion, composition, or intent of
tact is replaced by another that as- force for destruction with direct friendly forces.
sumes the missions of the outgoing and indirect fire weapons. Conceal the movement of reliev-
unit. Use smoke to– Deny the enemy reconnaissance ing forces. This is critical as disper-
Fix the enemy reconnaissance force information about the disposi- sion of forces in a relief is difficult.
force. The enemy may exploit the massing
FM 3-50 43
as a time to attack with NBC ment. Use smoke forward of the sance forces. Plan obscuring fire
weapons. FLOT to allow the relieved force to during the relief to allow the
A special consideration for reliefs disengage. You must carefully con- relieved force to disengage and pass
is to maintain the illusion the force trol the smoke to prevent silhouet- through friendly lines unobserved.
has not changed. Obtain the ting your units. Marking smoke. Use marking
relieved force’s smoke annex. In Protecting smoke. Use protecting smoke to mark enemy targets for
planning the relief, attempt to dupli- smokes to defeat enemy antitank rapid destruction or to reduce the
cate patterns of employment for a and air defense systems. potential for firing on friendly for-
brief period. Obscuring smoke. Use projected ces. Use aviation reconnaissance as-
Smoke employment tactics in a smoke means to deliver smoke sets to spot the enemy
relief in place are the following: mixed with high-explosive rounds reconnaissance force and mark it
Screening smoke. Use screening before the enemy can pinpoint your with smoke rockets.
smoke to conceal maneuver. Use units. Plan obscuring fire based on Supporting smoke for tactical
smoke in the reserve force area and decision points for the enemy, isolat- deception. The tactics are the same
along the flanks to conceal move- ing and confusing their reconnais- as in the withdrawal phase.
Passage of Lines
A passage of lines is a coor- Conceal obstacle breaching or units. Plan obscuring fire based on
dinated movement of one or more bypass. decision points for the enemy, isolat-
units through another unit. Units Smoke employment tactics in pas- ing and confusing their reconnais-
conduct passage of lines to continue sage of lines are the following: sance forces. Plan obscuring fire
an attack or counterattack, envelop Screening smoke. Use screening during the passage of lines to allow
an enemy force, pursue a fleeing smoke to conceal maneuver and the force to pass through friendly
enemy, or withdraw a security or obstacle breaching. Use smoke at lines unobserved.
main battle force. Synchronization the contact point, along passage Marking smoke. The tactics are
is the overriding imperative. Use lanes, and along the flanks to con- the same as those under Relief in
smoke to— ceal movement. Use smoke forward Place.
Conceal movement of maneuver of passage points. You must careful- Supporting smoke for tactical
and support forces, allowing the ly control the smoke to prevent sil- deception. Use supporting smoke to
commander to mass forces unob- houetting your units. draw attention to areas of little or
served. Protecting smoke. Use smoke to no importance. Create large-area
Provide tactical surprise, allowing defeat enemy antitank and air smoke away from the main body.
the commander to seize the initia- defense systems. Consider using smoke mixed with
tive and set the terms of combat. Obscuring smoke. Use projected high-explosive rounds to conduct
Defeat enemy reconnaissance and smoke means to deliver smoke preparatory fire of dummy objec-
counterreconnaissance efforts. mixed with high-explosive rounds tives.
before the enemy can pinpoint your
Two friendly forces are joined in Deny the enemy information con- units as they bypass or harass
linkup operations. Units conduct cerning when and where the linkup enemy forces.
linkup operations to complete an en- will occur. Marking smoke. Use marking
circlement of an enemy force, assist Smoke tactics for linkup opera- smoke to mark the CFL or RFL,
in breakout of an encircled friendly tions are the following: mark targets for destruction, iden-
force, or to join an attacking force Obscuring smoke. The tactics are tify bypass routes, and signal for bat-
with a force inserted into the enemy the same as those for the exploita- tlefield activities. Use projected
rear. tion phase of offensive operations smoke means to deliver smoke onto
Use smoke to– (Chapter 3). identified enemy strongpoints or
Mark the coordinated fire line Screening smoke. Use screening larger formations and to signal for-
(CFL) or the restrictive fire line smoke to conceal maneuver and sup- ces to consolidate on a particular
(RFL) to prevent fires being set by port forces and defeat enemy target objective or rally point.
friendly forces. acquisition and guidance systems. Protecting smoke. If the enemy
Conceal movement of the linkup Use self-defense and generated- has known or suspected nuclear or
force. smoke means to conceal maneuver directed-energy weapon capability,
44 FM 3-50
concealing your logistics activities in Smoke for deception. Use this balance and to draw attention away
oil smokes may attenuate some of smoke to keep the enemy off- from critical sustainment activities.
Breakout from Encirclement
A breakout from encircled forces Obscuring smoke . Use obsuring the force to limit enemy observation
differs from other attacks only in smoke to isolate the rupture objec- and engagement.
that units must maintain a simul- tive, defeat enemy target acquisition Marking smoke. Use marking
taneous defense of other areas of and guidance systems, and defeat smoke to mark enemy targets for
the perimeter. reconnaissance and counterrecon- rapid destruction or to reduce the
Use smoke to– naissance efforts. Use projected potential for firing on friendly for-
Aid in establishing a deception smoke means to deliver smoke ces.
story. mixed with high-explosive rounds in Protecting smoke. If the enemy
Isolate and segregate enemy for- front of the objective; between has known or suspected directed-
ces to create gaps or weaknesses in enemy formations; and on identified energy weapon capability, conceal-
the encircling force. forward observer, ATGM, and tank ing your force in a blanket of oil
Conceal movement of maneuver unit positions before the enemy can smoke will attenuate some of the
and support, allowing the com- pinpoint your units as targets. energy.
mander to mass the rupture force Screening smoke. Use screening Smoke for deception. Use this
and main body unobserved. smoke to conceal maneuver as you smoke to draw attention away from
Defeat enemy reconnaissance and bypass, breach, or cross obstacles the main effort to areas of little or
counterreconnaissance efforts. or small pockets of resistance, along no importance. Since the diversion-
Conceal obstacle emplacement, the flanks to protect the force, and ary force is critical to the breakout,
breaching, or crossing and hinder in the rear to conceal disposition consider making it the priority for
pursuit by the enemy. and composition of both the reser- smoke support. Use generated-
Create opportunities to disengage ves and rear guard. Use self- smoke means to create small- to
the force. defense and generated-smoke large-area smokes away from the
Smoke employment tactics in means to deliver smoke across main body.
breakout from encirclement in- danger areas and to the flanks of
Units conduct river crossings as project combat power across the Protecting smoke. Use protecting
part of a higher headquarters river. smoke as required to defeat enemy
scheme of maneuver. The Smoke employment tactics in river ATGMs and air defense systems.
commander’s objective is to project crossings include— Obscuring smoke. The tactics are
his combat power to the exit side of Screening smoke. Use screening the same as in the preparation
the river quickly to maintain the smoke to conceal maneuver and ac- phase for offensive operations
unit’s momentum. The overriding tual river crossing sites. Use smoke (Chapter 3).
imperative is synchronization. Effec- in the main body area and along Marking smoke. Use marking
tive command and control are criti- the flanks to conceal movement. smoke to mark enemy targets for
cal for success. Apply all techniques You must carefully control the rapid destruction or to reduce the
to minimize the interference caused smoke to prevent silhouetting your potential for firing on friendly for-
by smoke. Use smoke to– units. Begin making smoke prior to ces. Aviation assets can deliver
Conceal the movement of the ini- conducting the initial assault to con- smoke onto identified enemy posi-
tial assault force. fuse the enemy as to the actual loca- tions for destruction by indirect fire
Isolate the exit bank of the river tion and size of the force. Use or the follow-on force.
for rapid occupation by maneuver projected-smoke means to deliver Smoke for deception. The tactics
forces. the initial screening smoke to iso- are the same as in the preparation
Conceal emplacement of crossing late the exit bank objectives and phase for offensive operations
means such as engineer bridges. give other smoke delivery means (Chapter 3).
Isolate follow-on objectives to time to build effective smoke.
allow the commander to rapidly
FM 3-50 45
Units breach obstacles when they Conceal movement of the breach- Screening smoke. The tactics are
cannot bypass them at an ad- ing, initial assault, and support for- the same as those under River
vantage. The commander’s objective ces. Crossings.
is to project his combat power to Conceal emplacement of crossing Protecting smoke. Use protecting
the exit side of the obstacle quickly means such as engineer bridges or smokes as required to defeat enemy
to maintain the unit’s momentum. demolitions. ATGMs and air defense systems.
The overriding imperative is initia- Isolate the exit side of the Obscuring smoke. The tactics are
tive. In general, platoons and larger obstacle for rapid occupation by the same as in the preparation
formations breach obstacles, with maneuver forces. phase for offensive operations
most smoke planning consisting of Isolate follow-on objectives to (Chapter 3).
immediate fire requests for covert allow the commander to rapidly Marking smoke. The tactics are
or hasty breaches or detailed plan- project combat power across the the same as those under River
ning for all potential smoke assets obstacle. Crossings.
in deliberate breaches. Smoke employment tactics for Smoke for deception. The tactics
Use smoke to— breaching include– are the same as in the preparation
Isolate the exit side objective. phase for offensive operations
Special Conditions or Environments
Weather and terrain have a sig- Delivery Means servers may require mountaineering
nificant impact on smoke employ- Mountainous terrain is generally equipment to get to the best posi-
ment as previously stated. The hard and rocky in the summer with tions, or they may be airlifted. Ter-
following paragraphs present special intermittent areas of deep snow. In rain sketches and visibility diagrams
climate considerations, employment the winter, the terrain is mostly are essential to deliver fast, ac-
tactics, and techniques to overcome covered with deep snow. curate fire and to identify blind
difficulties under these conditions: Snow. The phosphorus in WP spots.
Mountains. can burn undetected in snow for up Use ground surveillance radars
Jungles. to four days. and remote sensors to acquire tar-
Urban terrain. Rocky terrain. Smoke is effective gets. Use smoke to—
Deserts. Deny enemy use of narrow pas-
Winter zones. to deny the enemy the use of nar- sages, valleys, roads, and usable ter-
row passages, valleys, roads, and rain.
Nuclear, biological, or chemical usable terrain.
(NBC) conditions. Winds. Swirling winds make Isolate enemy formations for
smoke employment very difficult to piecemeal destruction.
Mountains adjust and maintain. Close coordina- Obscure routes that can be used
tion is required with adjacent ele- by the enemy to attack, withdraw,
In combat operations, mountains and resupply.
generally are characterized by ments to ensure that their vision is Obscure likely position areas for
rugged, compartmented terrain; not obscured or they are not high- indirect fire assets, command and
steep slopes; and few natural or lighted. control elements, CSS assets, and
man-made lines of communication. Adjusting fire. Distances are dif-
ficult to judge. Observers tend to observation posts.
The weather spans the entire Conceal terrain that is subject to
spectrum from extreme cold, with underestimate upslope distances snowslides, flash floods, and rock-
ice and snow during winter, to ex- and overestimate downslope distan- slides.
treme heat in some areas during ces.
summer. Although these extremes Jungles
are important planning considera- Problems
tions, the variability of weather over Mortars are ideal because of their Usually, jungle operations are car-
short periods of time, and from high-angle fire. They can deliver ried out by light forces that can get
area to area, also significantly in- fire on reverse slopes and over inter- into and out of areas by helicopter.
fluences maneuver, fire support, mediate crests. Fire support may be limited to in-
and smoke support operations. Position observers on high ground direct fire and air support. Because
and spread them to overcome ter- small-unit operations are com-
rain masks and compartments. Ob-
46 FM 3-50
monplace, greater challenges accrue observer can estimate the range to fire. Ground surveillance radars and
to the chemical officers and fire sup- impact. The speed of sound is ap- remote sensors must be used.
port coordinators (FSCOORDs) at proximately 350 meters per second. Use smoke—
lower levels such as the company The speed of sound varies accord- To conceal maneuver to the
FSO and the battalion chemical of- ing to temperature, wind speed and front, flanks, and rear.
ficer. direction, relative humidity, and air Along roads and trails to deny
density; but 350 meters per second enemy use.
Delivery Means should be used as a start point. At likely ambush sites to obscure
In jungle terrain, most contact The observer and smoke control enemy observation and fields of fire.
with the enemy will be at extremely officer must determine their loca-
close ranges. If the friendly force tions and ensure that the TAC CP Urban Terrain
has a substantial advantage in fire and FDC have them plotted. If the
support, the enemy will most likely observer or smoke control officer’s In urban terrain, ranges are drasti-
try to come in as close as possible initial position locations are way off, cally reduced. There are three
and maintain that close contact so the smoke will be way off too. Use major types of terrain in nearly
that the friendly force cannot the initial smoke to determine the every built-up area:
employ their fire support advantage observer’s own location. Obstructions, such as buildings
without inflicting casualties on their Vietnam and World War II also and heavily wooded parks.
own troops. showed that the first projected Flat, open terrain over water,
In the triple-canopy jungle, HC round in adjustment must be WP such as rivers and lakes.
smoke is ineffective. WP is effective smoke. Because the observers are Flat, open terrain over concrete
as a marking round and in initial ad- not sure of their own location or or asphalt, such as parking lots, mul-
justments. ICM and FASCAM will that of other friendly elements, WP tiple-lane roads and highways, and
hang up in the trees and endanger was always fired first to avoid inflict- open lots.
friendly forces that later move ing casualties on friendly personnel. Air currents are unpredictable.
through the area. Illumination Creeping fire was also used exten- Obstructions tend to break up
rounds are ineffective because the sively in Vietnam and World War smoke streamers, which re-form
chutes get caught in the upper II. The observer adds 300 to 400 into a more uniform cloud. Convec-
canopy. meters to his target location in case tion currents over open areas cause
The triple-canopy jungle makes ob- his own position location is wrong. smoke to rise. There are many ob-
servation beyond 25 to 50 meters Then he makes corrections of no servation points at multiple levels,
very difficult. The jungle also makes more than 50 meters until the fire which allows an enemy to observe
map reading and self-location, tar- is on target. In Vietnam, this from either above or below smoke.
get location, and friendly unit loca- process sometimes started with an
tion determinations very difficult. aerial observer and was taken over Delivery Means
by the ground observer once he was Downwind coverage is often less
Problems able to see the rounds. The aerial due to obstructions breaking up the
observer was often required to relay smoke, unpredictability of air cur-
Experience from World War II fire requests from the ground be-
and Vietnam showed that observers rents, and smoke following street
cause the terrain severely limited patterns. The Berlin Brigade ob-
and smoke control officers must be the ranges of radio communications.
able to adjust smoke and mortar served that open areas in cities tend
Because of the close combat, laser to cause smoke to rise and obscure
and field artillery (FA) fire by range finders may not be of great
sound because they often cannot key observation points. This is a par-
use; however, night vision devices ticular problem over water, garden
see the rounds to adjust them. This are extremely critical. Avoid using
sound adjustment is very difficult plots, and wide expanses of con-
projected smokes during limited crete.
and requires wide experience. visibility periods to preclude
By taking the recommended adjust- Smoke diffuses well at night but
degradation of these devices. Aerial tends to rise to rooftop level about
ments of two or more observers in observers help direct CAS assets
different locations, some accuracy one hour after sunrise until one
against enemy targets. Because hour after sunset. Burning rubble
can result. The battery fire direc- ground observers cannot see the
tion center (FDC) can help by an- degrades the screening efficiency of
whole battlefield, the aerial ob- smoke. Smoke pots weigh between
nouncing SPLASH to let the server marks targets for the CAS
observer know when the round 27.5 and 33 pounds (M4/M5),
sortie (flares, WP, smoke). Radars making it difficult for infantry
should impact. The observer then are extremely effective in the jungle,
counts the seconds until he hears squads to employ without transpor-
since most indirect fire is high-angle tation assets to move them forward
the round detonate. Multiplying the
seconds by the speed of sound, the first.
FM 3-50 47
Smoke hand grenades make Sweep and clear operations to Smoke pots and smoke grenades
smoke for only 60 to 150 seconds. eliminate enemy forces acquiring are effective for concealing move-
Squads need to carry four to six our soldiers as targets. This is excep- ment of small units. An example of
per person for concealment. Be- tionally effective in reducing or an employment scenario follows:
cause of the height and closeness of eliminating sniper activity and in Squad members come under fire
buildings and other obstructions, breaching obstacles. However, your from snipers in upper floors. They
CAS and artillery fire is degraded. soldiers must be careful to avoid use a grenade launcher to fire smoke
Mortars and high-angle artillery are burning debris since this tends to and HE rounds into upper floors,
still effective. reduce concealment. blinding enemy observation. They
Plan for enemy countermeasures. emplace HC smoke pots or several
Problems Enemy forces will counter your smoke hand grenades downwind of
Smoke and obscurant use in smoke use. Plan to intensify your and in between themselves and the
military operations on urbanized ter- counterreconnaissance and air target area or building. Concealed by
rain (MOUT) requires careful plan- defense efforts. The enemy may use the smoke, they maneuver to assault
ning and execution to prevent countersmoke to confuse our com- the target. Upon reaching the target
interference with movement, assault mand and control so avoid reliance area, they cease to make smoke to
operations, or target acquisition; to on visual signals. allow them to operate undegraded.
retain the element of surprise; and The enemy will increase use of in- Start the smoke mission prior to
to avoid silhouetting or drawing direct fire weapons when direct fire operation start time and continue
undue attention to friendly forces. target acquisition is ineffective. well beyond the end of the opera-
Time smoke delivery with decision Therefore, plan artillery counterbat- tion. For example, you have
points. Conduct a thorough IPB tery or countersmoke fire after planned a canal crossing for 0500 to
and time your use of smoke to key crossing the LD/LC. 0700 hours. Start smoke at 0400.
decision points in your tactical plan: Reconnaissance must verify enemy Stop smoke at 0800 to confuse the
for example, “When we reach Sec- locations. The enemy can use both enemy as to the exact crossing time
tor Al, use grenade launchers to our smoke and theirs to conceal and size of the force.
smoke the open area and conceal movement to alternate positions or Built-up areas nearly always have
movement of B Company as they to break contact. Aggressive recon- civilians/noncombatants occupying
emplace smoke pots.”) Ensure you naissance before and during the them. When planning the type of
target key terrain to deny the engagement will allow you to shoot smoke weapon system, and you
enemy the use of it. and remain in contact. suspect noncombatants are present,
Use unobscured weapons to over- Understand that smoke compres- give consideration to the lethality of
watch. The overwatching elements ses the battlefield by limiting the system before employment. For
should have target acquisition visibility. Smoke drastically reduces example, artillery-delivered smoke is
devices such as thermal imagers engagement ranges. Training your useful around the periphery of a
that can see through our own soldiers to operate in smoke city. However, you should switch to
smoke and engage the enemy. This reduces the degradation caused by less devastating systems in the cen-
prevents surprise and enhances smoke. It also reduces psychological ter of the city, such as smoke muni-
your ability to suppress enemy fire impact on troops such as confusion, tions from grenade launchers,
during the assault. This is particular- fear, and isolation. The Israeli smoke pots, and smoke hand
ly important for observers in upper Army successfully used phos- grenades.
floors of buildings, enabling them to phorous rounds in Beirut to screen Smoke units are extremely vul-
observe enemy movements while their forces and isolate the enemy nerable in urban areas due to
friendly forces move unobserved. (enemy forces tended to congregate smoke generator signature. In addi-
Limited visibility positions, in the city). The use of smoke tion, stationary smoke positions
preplanned and previously produced enemy casualties and need to be closer to the target than
prepared, will minimize degradation generated the psychological effects over other terrain, bringing smoke
caused by friendly or Threat use of of fear and isolation. generator elements within range of
smoke. Rehearsal of displacement Urban terrain causes smoke enemy small arms weapons. Mobile
under smoke will help you avoid streamers to break up quickly, creat- smoke systems are best. Stationary
confusion and disorientation. It will ing the uniform phase closer to the smoke systems make large volumes
also rapidly restore engagement smoke source. You can place of smoke but require additional
capability. smoke sources closer to target areas. security support. Employ smoke gen-
The best tactical application of Ensure the entire squad, section, erator vehicles in groups of three,
smoke in urban areas is smoke or platoon uses the smoke simul- with two vehicles making smoke
blankets for concealment. Use taneously to preclude drawing atten- and one vehicle overwatching.
smoke blankets prior to assaults. tion to a lone vehicle or element.
48 FM 3-50
Deserts also be shot into the air. The use of Neither shadows, horizon, nor
marking rounds as discussed for clouds are discernible. The sense of
There are three types of deserts: jungle operations also can help for- depth and orientation is lost. Only
Rocky plateau deserts. ward units self-locate. very near, dark objects can be seen.
Sandy or dune deserts. Laser range finders must be used, Whiteouts occur over an unbroken
Mountain deserts. (Munitions ef- especially when heat waves degrade snow cover and beneath a uniformly
fectiveness for mountain deserts is distance estimating by conventional overcast sky. Blowing snow can
the same as for any mountainous means. Observers can detect targets cause the same effect.
region except that the considera- by observing dust clouds created by Greyout. This is similar to
tions of snow are usually not ap- moving enemy forces. Employ whiteout except the horizon is distin-
plicable.) smoke behind the enemy to sil- guishable under greyout conditions.
It is important to recognize the houette them. The similarity of It occurs over a snow-covered sur-
specific terrain of each, because colors in the desert makes specific face during twilight conditions or
munitions effects will vary according targets hard to spot. At night, il- when the snow is close to the
to desert type. Desert battles tend lumination rounds burning on the horizon. There is an overall grey-
to be more centralized. Brigade and ground behind the enemy have the ness to the surroundings. When the
battalion commanders often per- same effect. sky is overcast with dense clouds,
sonally coordinate the interaction of Usually, air observation is highly there is an absence of shadows,
maneuver and firepower. Engage- productive; however, the absence of resulting in a loss of depth percep-
ments are often fought at long ran- landmarks in some areas degrades tion.
ges. this capability. This problem is en- Ice fog. This is common around in-
In rocky plateau deserts, projected hanced because aerial observers habited areas during cold weather
smoke and illumination rounds may tend to see the battlefield in a two- below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Water
be degraded by high winds, but may dimensional perspective. vapor created by humans and
be used to silhouette the enemy. Lack of trees and hills makes vehicle exhausts may appear around
HE/PD is extremely effective, creat- aircraft more vulnerable to enemy soldier and equipment concentra-
ing extra shrapnel by splintering air defenses. Use smoke to force tions. Ice fog obscures vision and
rocks. FASCAM is very effective enemy aircraft to fly higher, making discloses locations by presenting a
and should be employed with acquisition easier. Radars are highly visible cloud to the enemy.
smoke and the natural terrain to effective in the desert. Use them to In winter zones, HC smoke and
force the enemy into unnavigable aid in adjusting smoke onto targets. generator smoke are effective, and
terrain. Use smoke to— colored smoke may be used to sil-
In sandy or dune deserts Complement ICM and FASCAM houette the enemy. However, some
projected smoke and illumination for obstructing and denying enemy of the canisters may be smothered
rounds are effective and can be use of roads. in the deep snow. WP is effective;
used to silhouette the enemy. HE, Silhouette the enemy, comple- however, phosphorus may burn un-
PD, ICM, FASCAM, and delay are ment illumination fire at night, and detected in the snow for up to
smothered by deep sands, making increase the background contrast three to four days and may be a
them ineffective. for sensors to acquire targets. hazard to friendly troops sub-
Location determination is often Priority targets for HC and WP sequently moving through the area.
very difficult in rocky plateau and smoke munitions and for generator HE/PD, HE/delay, ICM, and FAS-
sandy or dune deserts. Maps are smoke are likely enemy OPs, CAM are ineffective in deep snow.
often inaccurate, dunes shift, and ATGM systems, and enemy air At least 40 percent of the blast
heat waves hamper distance estima- defense systems. from these munitions is smothered
tions. The Israelis help forward ele- by the snow.
ments determine their own location Winter Zones Weather and terrain conditions
by using artillery survey teams at cause disorientation; changing ter-
two or more points, putting The extreme weather conditions in rain and poor maps make self-loca-
searchlights on those points, and, arctic and subarctic regions are tion difficult. Use marking rounds
upon request, shooting a beam of dramatic and severely impact on ob- or searchlights and pyrotechnics
light into the air. The forward ob- servation, mobility, and delivery of from surveyed positions to help ob-
server can then shoot an azimuth to fire. Specific weather phenomena servers and smoke control officers
the beams of light and perform a with which the smoke and fire sup- orient themselves. Bright sunlight
map resection. The beam of light port personnel must be concerned reflecting off snow-covered
must project straight up, and the ob- include whiteout, greyout, and ice landscape causes snow blindness.
server must shoot an azimuth at the fog. Amber filters on binoculars and ob-
lowest visible point on the beam. Whiteout. The observer appears to
With this system, pyrotechnics may be in a uniformly white glow.
FM 3-50 49
servation devices reduce the in- NBC Conditions or to estimate ranges for adjust-
cidence of snow blindness. ments.
Use of laser range finders is ex- The physiological and psychologi- Hear. Hearing is degraded. This
tremely critical because of lack of cal effects of NBC conditions im- is a significant problem on certain
depth perception due to weather pact on all elements of combat terrain, such as jungles, where fire
and terrain conditions. Use limited power. These conditions, docu- and smoke are adjusted by Sound.
visibility positions to prevent degrad- mented in FM 3-100, create special Communicate. Communication is
ing these systems. Use aerial ob- problems when either the enemy or more difficult, as speakers and lis-
servers because they can see deep friendly force use smoke and teners often perceive that they can-
and are not as prone to disorienta- obscurants. Encapsulation in full, in- not enunciate or hear as well. This
tion as are ground observers. Fre- dividual protective equipment sig- has significant impact on adjusting
quent poor weather reduces nificantly reduces a soldier’s ability fire or positioning smoke units.
availability of CAS. Plan smoke use to— React to stress. Sustained opera-
from CAS aircraft during windows See. Peripheral vision and visual tions are much more difficult, as en-
of opportunity for good weather. acuity are restricted. Observers and capsulation severely taxes human
smoke control officers are not able bodies. Leaders are at the greatest
to accurately judge smoke on target risk of combat ineffectiveness.
Employed smoke draws attention Protecting the force performing obscuring, protecting, or marking-
to the area it covers. This charac- the deception. all apply. Use smoke to obscure,
teristic makes smoke use significant Making two-dimensional decoy screen, protect, or mark a dummy
in supporting the deception story. material look real. or imaginary tactical smoke target
However, never plan to use smoke Planners must provide enough area. Both the deliberate and decep-
by itself for deception. resources so that smoke support for tion mission should have the same
Tactical deception draws the the deception mission lasts as long visibility requirement and resources.
enemy's attention from the area of as the deliberate mission. The key Plan to use projected smoke exten-
the main attack. The object is to to a successful smoke deception is sively.
make the enemy commit forces to to make the enemy believe that the Planning considerations include–
the deception and not the main at- smoke support is for the main ef- Ensure you place smoke on
tack. fort. However, smoke support for similar targets for both the main ef-
Smoke supports tactical deception the deception force should not be fort and deception. Deception and
operations by— so large that it divides or degrades main effort smoke target areas
Drawing attention to the decep- the effectiveness of support for the should be Similar in size.
tion activity. main effort. Shift smoke assets to the main ef-
Limiting the enemy’s ability to Plan to attack the deception target fort only when assaulting the objec-
identify the deception for what it is: just as you would in any other tive and when immediate smoke is
a ruse, feint, or demonstration. operation. The standard battlefield required to protect an element of
applications of smoke—screening, the main effort.
50 FM 3-50
Sustainment planning for smoke sible. Artillery and mortar basic Plan direct delivery from supply
use in tactical operations must loads of smoke ammunition are to user. When you expect very high
focus on the sustainment impera- limited. If your plan calls for sus- rates of ammunition or POL con-
tives: anticipation, integration, con- tained projected smoke, you may sumption, coordinate for direct
tinuity, responsiveness, and need to pre-position ammunition delivery from the COSCOM CSS
improvisation. There are several forward to sustain the operation. asset to the user unit. This requires
critical factors planners must con- You may also want to pre-position intensive coordination to ensure
sider to sustain smoke support in smoke pots or WP main gun rounds. transportation assets are in place at
any given operation: Use preplanned or preconfigured the critical time, as well as coordina-
Number and types of smoke push packages (LOGPAC) of essen- tion for delivery locations.
delivery systems and the quantity of tial items. For missions where Chemical companies, smoke gener-
available resources. smoke requirements exceed existing ator companies, and platoons in par-
The commander’s priorities for assets, the commander should con- ticular do not have sufficient
support. sider tailoring the LOGPAC to ob- organic logistics assets to sustain
consumption factors of the tain the required items of combat operations. Because of this,
delivery system and large-area ammunition or fuel. chemical units heavily rely upon the
smoke assets for the type of opera- Plan for rapid resupply. If pre- supported unit for CSS. When or-
tion you are planning. positioning is not possible, plan to ganized under a chemical battalion
Critical smoke delivery systems, rapidly resupply artillery and mor- or brigade, the parent headquarters
whose continuous operation is cru- tar units. Configure ammunition in acts as an intermediary between the
cial to the battle’s success. the ammunition supply point (ASP) chemical company and the division
Major tactical contingencies such for rapid sling load or truck or corps support command for sus-
as exploitation, pursuit, and transport to user units. Coordinate tainment support.
withdrawal. with the division or corps support Both the chemical unit and the
Real estate management (for ex- command for dedicated transporta- supported unit conduct planning to
ample, the location of delivery sys- tion assets for a specific period of sustain large-area smoke. Planning
tems and combat service support time to support the operation. for smoke operations must ensure
[CSS] assets). This involves resolv- Upload as much materiel as pos- the smoke element has the following:
ing conflicts in unit/base positions sible on unit transportation assets. Maintenance, supply, and
of several units in the same area or Use existing assets to carry specific recovery support (fixing and supply-
sector. mission needs, and down load items ing).
Commanders and their planners that can be brought forward later. Transportation assets available
must plan to sustain all smoke Plan real estate management. En- (transporting).
delivery means that are in their tac- sure the pre-positioned stocks and Tactical resupply of Class III (for
tical plan. Planners must consider the terrain around these stocks are example, fog oil, packaged POL,
the following: earmarked for the user unit. The and MOGAS) (fueling).
Plan for continuous support. division support command (DIS- Sufficient personnel (manning).
Forward positioning of essential COM), corps support command Fire support, to include tactical
CSS, such as ammunition and (COSCOM), or area support group resupply of Class V, and security
petroleum, oil, and lubricants (ASG) is the focal point for resolv- (arming and protecting).
(POL). Execute this at night if pos- ing conflicts in unit/base positions.
FM 3-50 51
Maintenance, Supplies, and Logistics
Smoke generators are very limited Supporting Units can be effected. The basic load is
in number on the battlefield. Smoke approved by the commander. The
generators are also resource-inten- The smoke unit commander basic load is not a fixed quantity; it
sive items of equipment. Chemical specifies the items for inclusion into may be altered as situations dictate.
brigades and battalions do not have a “push” package. The CSS unit For example, a smoke unit conduct-
a support platoon to manage, pick specified in the plan will configure ing a prolonged smoke operation
up, and deliver supplies. Chemical supplies for rapid distribution to may have its basic load of smoke
units, and smoke units in particular, the smoke unit. Normally, support pots increased for that particular
are very dependent upon the sup- to smoke units is on an area basis. operation.
porting CSS structure to configure When providing this support, sup- One method of easing the resupp-
and deliver “push” packages of sup- port units use varying combinations ly requirements of smoke units is
plies. Appendix E outlines smoke of unit distribution such as long- tailoring of the basic loads. Ex-
sustainment planning guidance. range patrol (LRP) and supply tended smoke operations away from
It is essential that commanders point distribution procedures. the main force can be given larger
and planners consider logistical sup- Unit distribution is the preferred or different basic loads of fuel,
port for smoke units in the overall method for resupplying smoke parts, or other necessary supplies.
tactical plan for an operation. The units. The supporting unit delivers Use the consumption tables in Ap-
plan must specify– supplies to the smoke unit’s area pendix E as a guide for preparing
Support relationship between the using preplanned or dedicated unit basic loads.
supported unit and the smoke unit. transportation assets. The support-
Which activities (TAACOM, ing unit generally arranges this Fog Oil Resupply
COSCOM, ASG, support group, transportation, although the
DSA, BSA, or field trains) provide transportation assets may be dedi- Fog oil is a packaged POL
what type(s) of support for the cated to resupplying the smoke unit product arriving in 55-gallon drums.
smoke unit: for a particular mission only. The Support units can bulk fog oil by
– Class I, II, IV, VI, and VII. supporting unit should plan for transferring the fog oil from the 55-
-- Class III package (fog oil and throughput whenever possible. gallon drums to fuel pods or tank
other packaged POL). An alternate means of resupply is and pump units. The fog oil used in
– Class III bulk (MOGAS, diesel). supply point distribution. The sup- smoke operations comes through
– Class V (small arms, mines, porting unit issues supplies from a the corps and division support
grenades, and explosives). supply point to the smoke unit. The areas. It may be delivered as far for-
– Class VIII and general medical smoke unit uses its own limited ward as the brigade support area by
support. transportation assets to move the the supporting CSS unit. From here
– Class IX intermediate level main- supplies to its area of operations. the smoke unit’s fuel supply ele-
tenance support, less smoke When determining the type of dis- ments pick up the fog oil. Based on
generator specific parts. tribution to be used to support the type and duration of the smoke
Consumption rates for the smoke units, logistics planners at all mission, the fuel supply element
specified mission such as amount of levels should consider– either establishes a forward fuel
fog oil and other POL needed to Availability of personnel and supply point or keeps stocks
sustain smoke operations. equipment to deliver and pick up uploaded on organic vehicles. For
“Push” packages to support com- supplies. rear area missions the smoke-fuel
mitted units (for example, delivery Missions of the supported forces. supply point may be supported
times and locations, quantities, and Adequacy of road networks in from existing Class III or other
frequency). the area of operations. supply activities.
Transportation support: Priorities for use of the roads. There are two methods for fog oil
– Availability of transportation as- Anticipated distances between resupply on-line resupply and off-
sets. supporting and supported forces. line resupply.
– Preplanned deliveries to provide Locations of the supported forces. On-line resupply. Stationary
the “push” package. Threat to road and rail networks. smoke points are resupplied on line
Priorities for support of units or during a smoke mission. This re-
areas. Basic Load quires the fog oil and MOGAS
resupply squad to move to each
Basic load is the amount of equip- point as needed. The resupply
ment and supplies required by a squad or section will move tank and
unit to sustain itself until resupply pump units (TPUs) to the line,
52 FM 3-50
drop the drums of fog oil at the resupply squad or section and the 1 to 2 kilometers to the rear of the
smoke point, or pre-position drums smoke point. smoke line. You can also resupply
at a follow-on smoke point. This in- Off-line resupply. Mobile units are stationary units that are displacing
creases the vulnerability of the resupplied by rotating individual sys- in this manner.
tems through a fuel resupply point
Fire Support and Security
When planning for the use of for the crew and are less vulnerable and FSO. Integrate the smoke unit
smoke in support of combat opera- to indirect fire than wheeled smoke fire plan with the supported unit
tions, it is essential commanders systems. fire plan. Fire support planning
and operational planners recognize Lessons learned at the NTC consis- must consider—
the vulnerability of smoke units. tently demonstrate that mechanized Priorities of fire support.
Smoke generator units conducting smoke systems suffer high-loss rates Availability of smoke rounds
smoke operations leave a very recog- when they are among the lead ele- (mortar and artillery).
nizable signature on the battlefield. ments of armored assaults. While Named areas of interest (NAI)
Smoke by its very essence attracts improper employment at the NTC and target areas of interest (TAI)
attention. An observer only needs serves as a valuable training aid for of the maneuver unit.
to follow the smoke streamer to its commanders, the same mistake in Coordination with fire support as-
source to target the individual combat will result in the loss of a sets for the primary, alternate, and
smoke-producing device. Smoke gen- significant and scarce combat multi- supplemental smoke operations
erator operators and smoke unit plier. areas or points.
commanders are acutely aware of Reconstitution of battlefield losses On-call targets (nominated by the
this and utilize every measure avail- will be slow. They may not occur at smoke unit).
able to reduce this signature. all based on the availability and
Some of these steps include – priority of distribution for such a Security
Making maximum use of natural limited asset. In a rapidly moving
cover and concealment. armor assault, the commander may Plan for the security for smoke
Using reverse slope positioning. wish to plan for additional smoke units based upon availability of the
Using self-protecting smoke (for support from his indirect fire artil- supported unit’s assets and
example, smoke pots upwind of gen- lery using WP or HC smoke projec- priorities. When security forces are
erator positions). tiles integrated into preparatory provided for smoke assets, coordina-
Continuously moving mobile sys- fire. This fire placed on or in front tion measures include –
tems within designated areas to min- of the objective may accomplish the Determining needed duration of
imize effective targeting. desired result and not expose security support.
Staggering positions of generators. mechanized systems to unnecessary Determining size of security ele-
Digging in or hardening. risk. ment.
Making smoke from flanks and Locating overwatch positions for
stand-off positions whenever pos- Fire Support security elements.
sible. Determining smoke and security
While the above actions will en- Supporting smoke assets coor- element leaders understand the
hance the smoke unit’s survivability, dinate with the supported unit for commander’s concept, fire support
proper employment by the sup- fire support. plan, and communication proce-
ported unit is essential. As an ex- Fire support is based on artillery dures, and are aware of smoke tacti-
ample, mechanized smoke systems availability and the coordination cal resupply locations.
provide some small-arms protection that takes place among the smoke
unit, chemical staff office, S3/G3,
Smoke support occurs in many ments. They consider visibility con- (IPE). Heat buildup becomes criti-
types of terrain under different straints and heavy work rates during cal to the welfare of the soldier.
weather conditions. Operations may smoke missions. Specifically, it is dif- This is especially true when the
occur in NBC-contaminated areas. ficult to see in smoke. It is more dif- operator of the M157 smoke gener-
Leaders balance mission require- ficult to see in smoke when in full ator set is “buttoned-up” inside the
ments against protection require- individual protective equipment M1059 mechanized smoke gener-
FM 3-50 53
ator in full IPE in support of a and distribute their units as the Replacement planning.
mechanized or armored division. commander requires in his task or- Limited visibility has a significant
Smoke generator crews may be dif- ganization, yet conserve their fight- impact on sustainment operations.
ficult to replace in future conflicts. ing strength. Leaders must give It increases the time and decreases
Therefore, you must focus on main- special consideration to— sustainment responsiveness. Support
taining the available force at peak Health services. and smoke units should thoroughly
combat effectiveness. Leadership is Administrative support. rehearse sustainment activities prior
the key to maintaining the strength Morale and welfare activities. to execution of the plan.
and spirit of the fighting force. Discipline.
Leaders must assemble, transport, Stress management.
54 FM 3-50
FM 3-50, Cl
Today virtually every nation and non-state The M56 Smoke Generator System (Figure 7-1)
organization has access to— mounted on an Ml113 HMMWV is organic to
advanced tactical sensors for target acquisition motorized smoke units and dual-purpose
(thermal imagers) and intelligence gathering smoke/decontamination units. The M56 can produce
surveillance systems (ground and air reconnaissance). 90 minutes of visual/near infrared obscurant and 30
precision-guided munitions delivered by artillery, minutes of infrared obscurant without resupply. This
missiles, and aircraft that operate in the IR region of system can produce obscurants while mobile or
the electromagnetic spectrum. stationary.
These capabilities are available through internal The M58 Smoke Generator System (Figure 7-2)
manufacturing or purchase on the world market. mounted on the M113A3 APC is organic to
These thermal imaging sights allow them to acquire mechanized smoke units. The M58 can operate
and engage targets through visual smoke, at night, mobile or stationary. It can produce 90 minutes of
and under adverse weather conditions. To counter the visual/near infrared obscurant and 30 minutes of
increasingly sophisticated sensor threat, the M56 and
M58 smoke generator systems provide maneuver
commanders the capability to control and dominate
the visual through far infrared (IR) portions of the
electromagnetic spectrum using visual (fog oil) and
infrared (graphite) obscurants.
infrared obscurant without resupply. Chassis
improvements allow the M58 to keep pace with
mechanized and armor units. The systems are
equipped with a driver’s thermal imager and an NBC
contamination particulate filter unit.
Each system can selectively produce visual obscurants
(vaporized fog oil) to defeat acquisition in the visual,
and near infrared and infrared obscuration (graphite
flakes) to defeat target acquisition devices that operate
in the mid and far infrared. The two obscurants may
be employed simultaneously or separately. If
employed simultaneous y, the threat force’s capability
to acquire targets with day sights and thermal imagers
will be degraded. If employed separately, the visual
obscurant will degrade day sights and the IR
obscurant will degrade the thermal imagers.
Visual and infrared obscurants have distinctly
different effects on friendly and threat force sensors.
FM 3-50, Cl
Therefore, commanders and staffs must understand plan to integrate smoke and obscurant assets into the
the opportunities and limitations associated with each. operational plan. The goal of the obscurant plan is to
Employment of infrared obscurants is a double-edged defeat critical threat sensors and seekers. For
sword. A maneuver commander may want the added example, the IPB process has determined that the
concealment offered by an infrared obscurant threat possesses a significant thermal imagery
(graphite), but must accept the fact it will also capability located with his reconnaissance assets. The
degrade his own systems. Commanders and staffs smoke plan would likely focus on employing IR
must identify the threat sensor/seeker systems to be obscurants whenever and wherever the threat might
countered, determine the obscurant to be employed, attempt to utilize his reconnaissance assets.
and identify impacts on their own systems. Table 7-1 The doctrine for IR obscurants is different from the
depicts the types of sensors and seekers found on doctrine for visual obscurants. IR obscurants provide
today’s battlefields and the relative degree of the capability to defeat a significant threat
degradation caused by various natural end man-made asset—thermal imagers. Visual obscurants are used
obscurants. primarily to provide force protection from a threat
having limited electro-optical capabilities such as first
VISUAL-INFRARED generation FLIR or with an even lesser capability
OBSCURANT CONCEPTS such as systems that can only operate in the visual
Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Overall, IR
determines how the threat arrays sensors and seekers obscurants will be employed directly on the threat or
on the battlefield. After the IPB process has been between the threat and friendly forces. Visual
accomplished, the chemical battle staff develops a obscurants are employed on friendly forces to provide
FM 3-50, Cl
protection while still allowing for the ability to essentially the same for visual and infrared screens.
maneuver within the obscurant cloud. However, at night, actual observation of the infrared
cloud requires a thermal viewer. Without an IR
Offense sensor, smoke control officers will rely on the fog oil
cloud to adjust target coverage or on information
Employment of an infrared obscurant in offensive provided by the supported maneuver unit.
operations gives the maneuver commander an
additional element of combat power. IR obscurants
are able to defeat threat sensors and seekers. Two Coordination Measures
missions should be considered. One is to utilize the Infrared obscurants offer additional options to the
IR obscurant as a screen to prevent thermal ground commander: visual only, IR only, or visual/IR
sensors from detecting and identifying friendly obscurants. The chemical battle staff must assist the
forces. Another is to utilize the IR obscurant to commander in recommending the appropriate type
obscure threat sensors. In this mission, given obscurant based on IPB. Limiting factors may be
favorable weather conditions, the smoke plainer based on planned friendly activity, the need to
would employ the IR obscurant directly on the threat prevent signaling a friendly presence to the threat
sensors. force, or danger inherent to friendly operations that
might result in increased fratricide.
IR obscurants in the defense will provide protection Smoke Control Graphics
from smart weapons and prevent those weapons from Smoke target numbering systems and graphic control
acquiring their targets. Although the employment of techniques will be increasingly important as
IR obscurants reduces the friendly ability to commanders and staffs come to rely more heavily
maneuver, the commander may choose this option to upon digitization. Battle staffs will maintain
increase the survivability of his forces in the event electronic overlays of planned smoke missions
that other resources are unavailable to defeat the (similar to trafficability overlays) to allow for
threat’s smart weapons. For example, IR obscurant coordination of mission planning with adjacent and
would provide considerable protection from smart higher organizations. With the fielding of large-area
weapons for rear area operations such as port infrared smokes, graphic control aids must be
facilities, logistical sites, and airfields. developed to portray no smoke areas, visual only
smoke targets, visual-infrared smoke targets, and
Cloud Dynamics infrared only targets. Target numbering procedures
should be standardized to enable adjacent units to
Infrared obscurants are subject to the same weather recognize immediately smoke missions that may
and terrain considerations as visual obscurants. For adversely affect their operations due to wind shifts,
planning purposes, the IR obscurant cloud will travel the cloud traveling farther than anticipated, or flank
approximately the same distances as a visual cloud units perhaps being silhouetted. Although subject to
and will cover the same size target area. Visibility local SOPs, visual only smoke target numbers should
criteria in terms of haze, blanket, and curtain are not begin with a V followed by five digits. IR only smoke
true for IR obscurants. Infrared clouds are defined in target numbers should begin with IR followed by four
terms of transmittance value in relationship to digits. Visual-infrared target numbers should begin
percentage of probability of detection. Given wind with VIR followed by three digits.
speed, source strength, and downwind distance
(Annex H), chemical staffs are able to estimate
probability of friendly forces being detected when Troop Safety
screened or protected by infrared obscurants. The same masking requirements and procedures for
fog oil employment apply for infrared (graphite)
Smoke Control obscurants. Overall, carry the mask when
participating in operations that include the use of
Generally, smoke control is the function of the smoke infrared obscurants. Mask when passing through or
platoon leader or the smoke company commander operating in a dense cloud. If duration of exposure
under the direction of the maneuver commander, a will exceed 4 hours or breathing difficulties occur,
breach or river crossing site commander, or a facility masking is required.
commander. Smoke control procedures will be
FM 3-50, Cl
LOGISTICAL SUPPORT consumption rate of 5 pounds per minute, the system
Logistical support for chemical smoke units requires can produce 1 hour of IR obscurant. If the
special consideration with the addition of infrared consumption rate is 10 pounds per minute, the system
smoke material (graphite). One 5-ton truck is capable can produce 30 minutes of IR obscurant.
of carrying the weight (and volume) of 9 barrels of
fog oil and up to 4,350 pounds of IR obscurant CONCLUSION
simultaneously. If two 5-ton trucks are used to The M56/M58 smoke generator systems provide
resupply 6 generators, the travel time to a supply commanders and staffs an additional element of
point, reloading with fog oil and IR obscurants, and combat power. IR obscurants in any operation can be
returning to the mission site must not exceed 75 employed to protect the force, screen friendly
minutes. When consecutive infrared missions are maneuvers, or to obscure and attack threat sensors
desired to support maneuver operations, the chemical and seekers. IPB is critical in planning infrared
staff with the G4/S4 anticipates resupply requirements missions by identifying threat sensors and seekers and
and ensures that the smoke plan is supportable. Use how they are arrayed in theater. The chemical battle
the consumption table (Table 7-2) as a logistical staff, by participating in the IPB process, war
planning tool for visual infrared smoke operations. gaming, and rehearsals will facilitate an effective
Planners should keep in mind the M56 and M58 obscurant plan to support the commander’s intent.
smoke generator systems have a variable setting The IPB process, focusing on how the threat arrays
capability for both IR (graphite) and fog oil modules. his sensors and seekers on the battlefield, are critical
This allows the operator to control the rate graphite steps in planning the employment of IR obscurants.
and fog oil is consumed. For example, at a
Chapter 1 describes the general timate format (Figure 11), smoke Chemical staff officers must coor-
considerations for planning smoke target list work sheet (Figure 12), dinate all smoke support with the
support. This appendix provides pro- and a smoke annex format (Figure G3/S3, FSCOORD, and lateral
cedures for preparing smoke plan- 13). In addition, Figure 14 shows a units. These planning document ex-
ning documents and gives some coordination checklist for chemical amples contain several mechanisms
examples. The smoke planning docu- unit commanders to use when they to help staff officers verify such
ment examples include a smoke es- receive orders for a smoke mission. coordination.
Target Analysis Procedures
Coordinate with the commander Close air support assets. smoke engagement with other than
or G3/S3 to determine obscurant re- Naval gunfire. fire support assets.
quirements for the unit. Coordinate Other delivery means. Coordinate with the FSO for the
with the FSO, and nominate targets Plan targets, to include the follow- final target list and schedule of fire.
for obscuration. Identify targets ing considerations: Designate the person, event, or
within the FSO’s capability. Also Which delivery means to use. For time that will initiate the smoke mis-
identify targets not within the FSO’s guidance, see the employment sion. Coordinate with adjacent
capability. matrixes. units, and check weather conditions.
Record targets on the target list Which obscurant to use. For Add or delete smoke missions on
work sheet. guidance, see Appendix B, Figure the basis of available assets and
Identify smoke delivery means to 16, page 73. weather and terrain factors. Coor-
support the operation: Duration of smoke on each target. dinate with any adjacent units not
Smoke generator unit(s). Time to fire or make smoke. previously affected, but which may
Mortars. Coordinate with the G3/S3 for the now be affected by smoke.
Maneuver combat vehicles. final target list and schedule of Prepare the smoke support annex
Field artillery unit(s). to the OPLAN/OPORD.
Smoke Estimate Smoke Target List get number for fire support pur-
poses. Fire support target numbers
Format Work Sheet may be recorded in the remarks
After receiving the restated mis- Mandatory entries in a smoke tar- column. Smoke target numbers are
sion and planning guidance from get list work sheet include — five characters in length. The first
the commander, the chemical of- Smoke target number. Assign a character is a letter; the final four
ficer prepares a smoke estimate control number to identfy the are numbers. Divisions and higher
(Figure 11). smoke target. The smoke control field headquarters may assign a
number contains five characters. specific group of numbers to or-
The first character is a letter; the ganizations (for example, 1st Bde is
following four are numbers. A local A1001 through A1999; 2d Bde is
SOP will establish how to assign B2001 through B2999). These num-
these numbers. They are not the tar- bers provide the chemical staff of-
ficer with a brevity code for smoke
Target description. Write a brief Priority. This is the priority of at- G3/S3 and G4/S4 officers,
description of the target (for ex- tack based on fire support’s target FSCOORD, and smoke unit leaders.
ample, combat reconnaissance value analysis.
patrol). Remarks. Self-explanatory. Smoke Mission
Target location. Enter the center
of mass UTM grid coordinates for Coordination Checklist
Smoke Annex to
the target. Smoke unit commanders or
Size. Give the dimensions of the OPLAN or OPORD leaders use this checklist to verify
target in meters. The smoke annex to a plan or coordination with the supported
EO system. This is the system order implements the commander’s unit and any adjacent units that
you will attack with smoke/ decisions concerning how to use might be affected by the smoke.
obscurants. smoke in the operation. The chemi- The chemical staff officer provides
Delivery means. Identify potential cal staff officer prepares and coor- most of the information (such as
delivery means for the smoke. dinates the smoke annex. He or visibility criteria and target loca-
Type of smoke. Identify the type she, as a minimum, provides copies tion); but, the smoke unit leader
of smoke/obscurant to employ. to subordinate and adjacent units must personally finalize coordina-
(if affected by the smoke), the tion, whenever, possible.
Use the seven employment the appropriate delivery means for deliberate attack, defense,
matrixes (Tables 4 through 10, specific smoke targets. The tables retrograde, special operations, and
pages 65 through 71) to determine cover general, hasty attack, MOUT situations.
56 FM 3-50
FM 3-50 57
58 FM 3-50
60 FM 3-50
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62 FM 3-50
FM 3-50 63
64 FM 3-50
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66 FM 3-50
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68 FM 3-50
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70 FM 3-50
FM 3-50 71
Smoke and obscurants influence natural obscurants. By-product or munitions as described in Chap-
the visual portion of the electromagn- obscurants on the battlefield result ter 1 and Appendixes D and E. We
etic spectrum. They also provide from combat actions. Examples in- use these specifically to attack
protection for our forces by in- clude the smoke caused by the burn- enemy electro-optical (EO) systems.
fluencing frequency ranges we do ing of buildings and equipment, Figure 16, on the next page, shows
not normally perceive with our sen- dust raised by maneuvering units, the effect obscurants have on target
ses. and the airborne dust and particles acquisition and guidance systems
All sensory equipment (to include thrown by exploding artillery and from the visible through the mil-
the human eye, viewers, vision en- mortar fire. limeter wavelengths of the
hancement devices, trackers, and We produce artificial obscurants electromagnetic spectrum.
seekers) requires a certain amount with smoke production equipment
of energy (a minimum threshold)
before they can perform their func-
tions. A sensor will also fail to func-
tion if the level of energy, in the
frequency range the device is
designed to work within, is too
great (a maximum threshold).
Smoke and obscurants provide us a
means to render sensors ineffective,
by decreasing or increasing the
amount of energy available to the
device or sensor (Figure 15).
There are three categories of
obscurants: natural, by-product, and
artificial. We can use natural
obscurants advantageously if we cor-
rectly forecast the weather. Dark-
ness, fog, sandstorms, and
precipitation are examples of
Sensors and Effects
On the AirLand battlefield, what Target Visibility The degree of illumination of the
is seen can be hit and killed. area, the background setting, and
Precision-guided munitions and When you conceal an object by angle of observation have an impor-
sophisticated sensors that provide smoke, a number of factors deter- tant effect.
new means of observation and mine the degree of obscuration. The overriding factor in smoke
detection have appeared on the bat- Physical properties of the object, screen effectiveness is the total con-
tlefield. Smoke and other such as size, shape, color, bright- centration of smoke and the path
obscurants can degrade the effec- ness, and reflecting properties of and length of the smoke cloud be-
tiveness of sophisticated precision- various parts of the surface, deter- tween the observer and the target.
guided weapon systems. mine the density of the smoke re- Thus, one observer may detect the
quired for effective obscuration.
72 FM 3-50
target, while a second observer may through light rain, snow, and fog). Sensors and Viewers
not, because of extended line of Night vision devices use the IR rays
sight through the smoke to the tar- produced by or reflected from an As a result of the development of
get. object. Active IR is radiation IR and radar devices during World
When considering target visibility, produced by an illumination source War II and subsequent technical ad-
it is important to distinguish be- and then reflected from an object; vances, electronic sensors have sup-
tween the sighting of an object and heat radiates from an object. IR plemented conventional visual
identifying that object as an enemy radiation depends on the type of methods of target acquisition and
target. The prevention of detection radiating material and its tempera- aiming. The introduction of
is the severest test of a smoke ture. With an increase in tempera- electronic techniques has also en-
cloud. Although most detection ef- ture there is an increase in hanced our ability to detect and at-
forts in the past were in the visible radiation. In hazy weather, IR tack targets at night and in adverse
spectrum, modern technology has devices can give a two- to four-fold weather.
extended the useful spectrum increase in range over visible We can degrade the performance
beyond the visible wavelengths. spectrum devices. In foggy weather, of electronic sensors by using
Infrared (IR) rays have properties IR devices suffer a marked obscurants (smoke and dust). Some
similar to those of visible light. How- decrease in range, but are still supe- of these devices can be rendered in-
ever, IR rays may readily pass rior to visual devices. Many of the effective; others can be degraded
through materials that lessen visible restrictions noted for IR also apply significantly; still others will not be
light (for example, IR rays pass to military laser range finders and affected at all. However, to effect
more readily through the atmos- seekers. sensors we must use the right kind
phere than visible light, even of obscurant at the right place, at
FM 3-50 73
the right time, and in sufficient dust will decrease this contrast and the viewer for a few seconds. Such
quantity. brightness by attenuating light hot spots may also divert or decoy
The eye is the basic receiver for reflected from the target. Rain, thermal-tracking missiles.
several types of EO sensors. Four snow, fog, and haze will also Most smoke attenuates thermal
sensors that rely on the eye are the degrade the performance of these radiation less effectively than visual
naked eye itself, the telescope, the systems. To use an obscurant radiation, so more smoke is re-
television viewer, and the image in- against these sensors, place the quired to degrade thermal viewers;
tensifier. Sensors can be active or obscurant in the line of sight be- the relative amount depends on the
passive depending on the tween the target and the observer. agent employed. However, some
mechanism they use to detect and Obscuration use in moonlight can smoke (for example, HC and fog
intensify the images. also degrade the contrast of target oil) is not very effective against ther-
and background. We can further mal viewers. High concentrations of
Operational Considerations degrade the contrast of a target WP and RP and black smoke are
The eye, the telescope, the with its background by the light more effective against thermal
television viewer, and the image in- from the sun that fails directly onto viewers.
tensifier all require illumination of the obscurant and is then scattered
the target and its background. The into the line of sight. The amount Command-Guided
sun, moon, stars, or illumination of degradation depends on the posi-
tion of the sun and the depth of the Missiles
rounds may provide this illumina-
tion. The eye detects reflected light obscurant cloud. Degradation is Most command-guided missiles
and is dependent upon the contrast greatest when both sun and target are command to line of sight
between the brightness of the target have about the same line of sight to (CLOS) missiles, which operate in
and its background. The telescope the observer or viewer. Consider- one or more spectral regions. The
improves the capability of the eye able degradation can also occur oldest of CLOS missiles are visually
by enlarging the target image. when the sun is directly behind the and manually controlled, requiring
Television viewers are used to pro- observer or viewer. the operator to track both the mis-
vide viewpoints from distant, hos- sile and its target, while simul-
tile, or awkward positions. Thermal Viewers taneously guiding the missile to the
Television viewers can also function target (for example, the Soviet Sag-
as image intensifiers or to enhance Passive thermal viewers use the ger). Tracking the missile can be
contrast. Image intensifiers electroni- natural thermal radiation differen- aided by putting a beacon on the
cally magnify the light received, in- ces between target and background missile. This guidance scheme has
creasing it to a level the eye can to form an image – hence the name been relatively easy to defeat, since
see. Contrast enhancement electroni- thermal viewer. Another name for a either the target or the missile can
cally increases the brightness of the thermal viewer is forward looking in- be obscured, and a miss results. In
target, making it easier to see. frared (FLIR). These thermal addition, the flash from an explod-
Passive sensors use available viewer systems require no external ing HE or smoke munition could
natural light. We use passive sys- source of radiation and can success- serve to distract the gunner, again
tems when the available light is suffi- fully operate on a dark night if the resulting in a miss.
cient to illuminate the target. An targets are sufficiently warmer or The next type of missile control is
active viewer system consists of a cooler than the background. The semiautomatic CLOS (for example,
viewer and an illuminator, which thermal viewer is used in fire con- the Dragon). In this case, the
floods the target with light. Il- trol systems, in some thermal operator or gunner only tracks the
luminators for different active view- homing missiles, and for surveil- target; the missile is automatically
ing sensors include lasers, lance purposes. guided. This reduces the burden on
searchlights, or flares. We use ac- Reducing the apparent contrast be- the gunner and increases the ac-
tive sensors when there is not tween the target and its background curacy. However, to cause a miss it
enough light to illuminate the target. may degrade the effectiveness of is only necessary to obscure either
the thermal viewer. Obscurants the missile beacon or the target; fur-
Effects of Obscurants degrade sensor performance by at- ther, the sensor tracking the missile
tenuating the target radiation signa- may be blinded for a short period
Placing obscurants between the tar- ture reaching the viewer. The
get and the viewer will degrade the of time by the flash of an exploding
thermal radiation produced by the munition. Many systems using this
performance of these sensors. Tar- cloud may also degrade perfor-
get acquisition and identification type of guidance use a beacon and
mance of the sensor. The initial tracking sensor that operate in the
depend on the contrast between the burst of a munition will also
target and its background and the near IR. With visual target tracking
produce a hot spot of thermal radia- this presents no difficulty. However,
brightness of the target. Smoke and tion, possibly saturating or blinding
74 FM 3-50
with the advent of thermal imagers sile. The wire is not susceptible to region. The most common seekers
a situation known as spectral mis- obscuration; however, severing the operate in the IR. Passive seekers
match can occur. In this case, and wire (for example, by shell frag- operating in the visible or IR
under obscured condition, it may be ments) will result in a miss. Some regions may be either imaging or
possible to see a target with the CLOS missiles receive guidance nonimaging.
thermal imager but not to hit the commands by a radio link in the Passive imaging seekers have es-
target because of obscuration of the radar or millimeter portions of the sentially the same susceptibility to
missile beacon. spectrum. These commands are dif- obscuration as any imaging sensor,
A third type of guidance is auto- ficult to degrade using conventional although far IR imaging seekers
matic CLOS. Both target and mis- obscurants. Of more importance is may look on a WP cloud that is hot-
sile are tracked automatically, the effect of the electromagnetic ter than the target and track the
usually by different sensors. This radiation emitted during an HE cloud as the target. This type of
type of CLOS guidance is the most detonation. This radiation may seeker may also be blinded by the
sensitive to obscuration, especially cause the missile to miss its target. flash from a detonating munition
with sensors operating in the As a rule, it is easier to obscure the and therefore miss its target.
shorter wavelengths. target tracker of a beamrider sys- Nonimaging IR seekers often use
A more recent type of guidance tem than the laser beam that guides two spectral bands. These two
command for CLOS missiles is the missile. This target tracker is bands are used to discriminate be-
beamrider guidance. Here, a gunner usually a viewer or a thermal tween real and false targets (such
tracks the target either manually or viewer. as fires or hot rocks). These seekers
automatically while illuminating the Obscuring the target tracker can be decoyed by the difference in
target with a beam of light. Usually (viewer or thermal viewer) usually obscuration effects upon the two
this beam is provided by a laser, causes a miss and may even prevent spectral regions. This difference
and most beamriders operate in the the gunner from launching the mis- may cause the seeker to think the
near and far IR spectrums. Most do sile if the target cannot be seen. target is a rock (and ignore the tar-
not use the visible portion to The flash of an exploding munition get) or to think a fire is the target
prevent exposing the firing position. behind the missile may blind the (and attack the fire). Semiactive
Sensors on the rear of the missile tracking sensors on the rear of the seekers use energy reflected from
look back at the beam projector. missiles, causing the missiles to miss the target for tracking. Usually, the
These sensors track the beam, and the target. target is illuminated by a laser
the missile guides itself to the tar- operating in the IR. Target illumina-
get. Beamrider guidance suffers Terminal Homing tion does not have to come from
from the same obscuration limita- the launch point or site. This type
tions as conventional CLOS missiles Missiles of seeker may be defeated by
with a beacon. As a rule, the lasers This guidance is characterized by obscuring the beam, either before
used in beam projectors have more a missile with a seeker at the front or after it is reflected from the tar-
power than the equivalent beacon that tracks the target and guides get. If obscuration is placed closer
on a CLOS missile. As a result, the the missile to the target. There are to the laser than to the target, suffi-
laser beam is harder to obscure. two categories of terminal homing cient laser energy may be scattered
Beamrider missiles are built so missiles: those that lock on the tar- by the cloud to cause the missile to
that the spectral mismatch is not get before launch and those that track the obscurant cloud rather
the weak link in terms of suscep- lock on the target after launch. Mis- than the real target.
tibility to obscuration. If you track a siles that lock on after launch are
target using the visible portion of generally more susceptible to Radar and Millimeter
the spectrum, guidance is per- obscuration effects than missiles ac-
formed using either the IR or mil- Wave Sensors
quiring lock before launch. Ter-
limeter wavelengths. Similarly, if minal homing seekers operate in We can use radar and millimeter
target track is carried out with a one or more of three modes: active, wave sensors to determine the posi-
thermal imagerj the missile is passive, or semiactive. tion and/or velocity of the target.
guided using a far IR or millimeter Most active seekers operate in the Since these form only poor images
wavelength. In effect, the target- radar and millimeter wavelength of the target, we do not get recogni-
tracking element of the beamrider regions. These seekers are not, as a tion and identification in the usual
system is usually the most vul- rule, adversely affected by obscura- manner.
nerable to obscuration. tion, although they may be blinded Dust and conventional smokes do
Most CLOS missiles receive momentarily by the detonation of not effectively degrade radar and
guidance commands by a wire con- an HE or smoke munition. Passive millimeter wavelength sensors. How-
necting the launcher and the mis- seekers may operate in any spectral ever, other highly effective counter-
FM 3-50 75
measures exist. A munition dust or very near, the line of sight. In enemy positions, to degrade radar
cloud does produce obscuration for the far term, we will use millimeter and millimeter wave sensors.
a few seconds when the burst is in, wave obscurants, projected onto
Directed-energy weapons differ in vehicle-mounted mode; and all fire High-Power
operation and effect from all other support team members use the
weapons. They include lasers; high- GVS-5, binocular-type, laser range Microwaves
power microwaves; particle beams; finder. Electric ammunition fuzes and
and non-nuclear, directed Additionally, artillery survey par- many missile electronic guidance sys-
electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Ex- ties use laser devices for surveying tems can be damaged by
cept for lasers and high-power gun positions. Scout platoons are microwaves. Unprotected soldiers
microwaves, directed-energy equipped with GVS-5 laser range may experience warmth, pain,
weapons are in the early stages of finders. USAF and Navy aircraft headaches, fatigue, weakness, and
development. (F4, A7, F111, F105, F16, and A6 dizziness.
Directed-energy weapons transmit aircraft) may also carry laser target Terrain masking offers some
energy at or near the speed of light designators. Although these are not protection from microwaves. The
in the form of subatomic particles intended as weapons, accidental eye high-power microwaves operate in
or electromagnetic waves. This ener- damage can occur if someone the millimeter wave spectrum; thus,
gy impacts on the target as heat or moves into a laser beam path and smoke and dust have virtually no ef-
shock. Directed-energy weapons looks directly at the beam, or a fect and should not be used solely
can damage soft targets and soft laser beam reflects off a shiny sur- to degrade their performance. A
components of hard targets, such as face into someone’s eyes. A high- munition dust cloud does produce
lenses, electrical and electronic comp- power laser beam striking in front obscuration for a few seconds when
onents, and eyes. New equipment of an EO device such as night the burst is in, or very near, the line
will have built-in defenses against vision devices or thermal imaging of sight. In the far term, we will use
known directed-energy weapons. systems may also damage com- projected millimeter wave
We will fit older equipment with ponents and electrical circuits or obscurants onto known or
protective devices. In the near term, cloud the lens. suspected enemy microwave
we will use smoke and obscurants To avoid engagement by laser weapon locations to block or ab-
to reduce the impact of attack by weapon systems, use artillery, mor- sorb the energy at its source.
directed-energy weapons. tars, or direct-fire weapons to sup-
press known or suspected laser
device locations. Smoke can tem- Particle Beams
porarily defeat some laser devices. A particle beam is a directed flow
As of 1990, no army is known to When operating within the enemy’s of atomic or subatomic particles
have laser devices fielded for use line of sight, protect vulnerable sys- transmitted in a series of short pul-
specifically as weapons. However, tems by providing them cover or ses; it delivers large quantities of
laser target designators and range concealment. Cover sensor systems energy to targets in millionths of a
finders are in the inventories of all when not in use. If the mission re- second. The beam penetrates bad
major armies, and their numbers quires movement, block the line of weather and smoke better than a
are increasing. Any of these laser sight between friendly forces and laser beam and is much more
devices can be used as a weapon. enemy location with smoke, and/or destructive. The particle energy im-
Laser weapons are effective against use routes with minimal exposure pacts in the form of heat, which
optical and EO systems: specifically, time. Shoot-and-move tactics help melts or fractures the target. Par-
eyes and fire-control sights. prevent friendly positions from ticle beams may also create gamma
Laser range finders are used on being pinpointed and targeted by and X ray when they strike metal.
the M60A2, M60A3, and Ml series laser devices. When searching with Millimeter wave obscurant and
tanks and our artillery units. Artil- optical or EO devices, use as few type 3 IR obscurant may lessen
lery fire support teams for airborne, as possible. Protect unused devices some of the energy but will not be
ranger, and special forces units use until they are needed. more than slightly effective. If a par-
the lightweight target designator; ticle beam weapon is developed for
fire support teams for mechanized, ground combat, use the defensive
infantry, and air-assault units use measures taken against other direct
the ground-locating laser designator fire weapons.
in either the ground-mounted or
76 FM 3-50
Electromagnetic Pulses can damage or destroy unshielded needed at the moment should be
electrical equipment. disconnected; small, electronic
An EMP is a surge of electromag- To protect electronic equipment items should be placed in empty am-
netic radiation generated by a against EMPs and microwaves, all munition cans. Millimeter wave
nuclear detonation or a pulse gener- cable and entry points must be obscurant and type 3 IR obscurant
ator. An EMP travels hundreds of shielded. The equipment should be may lessen some of the energy but
miles in a fraction of a second and completely encased in metal. Extra will not be more than slightly effec-
equipment or equipment not tive.
FM 3-50 77
Means of Delivery
Smoke can be delivered to the tar- ators. Your choice of delivery tance to the target, and the
get in numerous ways, from artillery means will be determined by the availability of resources.
and aircraft to grenades and gener- amount of smoke needed, the dis-
The field artillery provides effec- smoke mission to screen a small Special Smoke
tive systems for rapidly placing area of 150 to 600 meters for a
smoke on distant targets. They use period of 4 to 15 minutes. The objective of a special smoke
HC, WP, and RP projectiles. mission is to conceal a large area to
Use artillery-delivered smokes to– Immediate Smoke protect or conceal maneuver forces
Obscure enemy observers and tar- for an extended period of time. Con-
get acquisition and guidance sys- The objective of an immediate sider a special smoke mission when
tems (for example, CLOS ATGMs). smoke mission is to obscure the the size of the cloud makes a quick
Isolate or segregate enemy forma- enemy’s vision immediately. Use an smoke mission impractical. This
tions. immediate smoke mission to type of screen can vary from 400 to
In projecting smoke onto the bat- obscure a point of 150 meters or 2,400 meters in length.
tlefield, the field artillery uses three less within 30 seconds for 1 1/2 to 5 Table 11 lists characteristics of ar-
types of missions: quick smoke, im- minutes. tillery smoke munitions.
mediate smoke, and special smoke.
The objective of a quick smoke
mission is to obscure the enemy’s
vision or to conceal maneuver ele-
ments. The quick smoke mission
equates to the normal HE adjust
fire mission. Obscuring the enemy
is required, but the urgency of the
situation does not require immedi-
ate smoke procedures. Use a quick
Mortars can provide good initial tive indirect smoke delivery means such as CLOS ATGMs, and to iso-
smoke coverage because of their available to the maneuver com- late or segregate enemy formations.
high rate of fire, but their small mander. Table 12, on the next page, lists
basic load limits the size and dura- Use mortar-delivered smokes to characteristics of mortar-delivered
tion of the cloud they can provide. obscure enemy observers and target smoke munitions.
They are the most rapid and effec- acquisition and guidance systems,
78 FM 3-50
AH/lS and AH-60 helicopters can Obscure enemy observers and Table 13 lists characteristics of at-
deliver smoke munitions using the ATGM and air defense (AD) sys- tack helicopter-delivered smoke
Hydra 70 rocket launcher system. terns. rockets.
The Hydra 70 fires a 2.75-inch rock-
et, which has a WP warhead
Use helicopter-delivered rockets
Identify/mark targets for CAS
aircraft and artillery.
The M52 helicopter smoke limited air defense assets. The sys- The UH1 helicopter is the
generating system is still in the US tem contains a fog oil tank, an airframe for this system. It is effec-
Army inventory, but in January electrical pump to transfer fog oil tive when the UH1 flies at speeds
1982 the Army Materiel Command to the spray apparatus, and jets on less than 90 knots and at heights
(AMC) type classified it as Stand- a spray ring to direct the fog oil not to exceed 50 feet; this makes
ard B. However, it is a very effec- into a hot exhaust. There, the oil is the helicopter extremely vulnerable
tive smoke delivery method against vaporized into a thick, dense, white to air defense systems. This system
a low-technology enemy or one with smoke. has application for uses in various
low-intensity conflict operations (for
example, counternarcotics opera-
tions, peacetime contingency opera-
tions, and counterinsurgency
operations) when the enemy has
relatively few air defense systems.
Table 14 lists the characteristics of
Rifle grenades can deliver smoke green smoke, and M716 yellow Provide immediate suppressive
to point and area targets up to 350 smoke cartridges. smoke to degrade enemy weapon
meters away from individual sol- Use rifle grenades to– guidance links or tracking.
diers. The M203 and M79 grenade Obscure snipers, enemy fighting Conceal the movement of small
launchers and the MK19 automatic positions, and heavy weapon tactical units (squad or smaller).
grenade launcher all can fire smoke emplacements. Table 15, on the next page, lists
grenades. The smoke cartridges in- the characteristics of the 40-mil-
clude the M713 red smoke, M715 limeter grenade launcher.
FM 3-50 79
S m o k e Pots and Smoke Hand Grenades
Smoke Pots either manually (M4A2 and ABC- grenades are not effective for
M5) at the emplacement site or screening smokes for units larger
Smoke pots produce large volumes electrically from remote positions than one or two squads. Emplace
of white or grayish-white smoke for (ABC-M5 only). The pots can be smoke hand grenades by hand or
extended periods. They are the fired individually, simultaneously, or manually ignite them with a trip
small-unit commander’s primary in a long-burning chain. Smoke pots wire. This technique is effective to
means of producing small-area are used by all services. deceive the enemy with a diversion.
screening smoke. Pots are necessary Table 16 lists the characteristics of The average soldier can throw a
for employing smoke on water, as US Standard A smoke pots. grenade 30 to 35 meters. White
the M4A2 floating HC smoke pot is smoke grenades are most often
the only smoke-producing system Smoke Hand Grenades used to conceal individual vehicles;
that floats. colored smoke grenades are used to
Emplace smoke pots by hand, Smoke hand grenades produce mark or spot positions. All services
drop them from vehicles or helicop- either white smoke or colored have and use smoke grenades
ters, use them as a field expedient, smoke for short periods of time. Be- Table 17, on the next page, lists
or fasten them to the outside of ar- cause they only produce small current smoke hand grenades and
mored vehicles. Ignite smoke pots amounts of smoke, smoke hand their characteristics.
The M4A2 smoke pot must be vented for five minutes within 24 hours prior
to ignition. Vent each M4A2 pot by folding back the tape from at least two
of the emission holes.
80 FM 3-50
The mechanical smoke generator
is a device that vaporizes smoke
generator fog oil number 2 (SGF2).
The vapor released condenses in
the air as a white smoke. Currently,
mechanical smoke generators are
the only large-area smoke devices
type classified Standard A. Table 18
lists generator systems and their
Armored Vehicle Grenade Launchers
Three types of launchers for tanks
and armored reconnaissance
vehicles are designed to rapidly
generate small amounts of smoke to
conceal or screen individual
vehicles. The vehicle commander
launches the grenades as soon as he
is fired upon, so the driver can take
evasive action behind the smoke.
The launchers fire either AN-M8
HC and M34 WP grenades (M176
launchers) or L8A1 RP and M76
IR grenades (M239 launchers).
Table 19 gives the characteristics
of these self-defense grenades.
Vehicle Engine Exhaust System
The VEESS is a vehicle-mounted In a heavy brigade-size combined the 1- to 2-kilometer range
smoke system that produces smoke arms force scenario, the VEESS decreases as much as 80 percent. In
by vaporizing fuel with the exhaust provides a significant reduction (up summary, the lethality of enemy
system. Vehicles that currently have to 20 percent) in the vulnerability tanks decreases about 20 percent at
the VEESS include the AVLB, of MIs, M2/3s, and Improved Tow close range. Self-defense smoke
CEV, M88A1, M60, Ml, M2, and vehicles. When our forces use the provides significant protection in
M3 families of combat vehicles. VEESS, the lethality of BMPs from the close battle.
FM 3-50 81
Safety with smoke and smoke smoke and safety for the weapon or measures for US smoke and
delivery systems depends primarily delivery systems. Tables 20 and 21 delivery systems.
on two things: characteristics of the identify safety constraints and
82 FM 3-50
US Smoke Organizations and Capabilities
Most chemical command and con- company-sized elements or smaller. This appendix describes the
trol headquarters are Reserve Com- Task organizing platoons from these capabilities, limitations, and struc-
ponent organizations. In the active companies provide the commander ture of chemical command and con-
Army, there are few battalion-level a mission-tailored mix of assets nor- trol headquarters, smoke units, and
chemical organizations. Most corps mally associated with battalion and chemical unit task organizations.
and division-level smoke assets are higher levels.
Chemical Command and Control Headquarters
The two major chemical command can provide limited administrative headquarters and headquarters
and control headquarters are the support, logistics, mission/opera- detachment and two to five chemi-
corps chemical brigade (HHD) tions planning, and execution super- cal companies. The battalion can
(TOE 03-4721) and the corps chemi- vision for the chemical battalions. provide limited administrative sup-
cal battalion (HHD) (TOE 03- The chemical brigade does not have port, logistics, mission/operations
476L). organic supply and transportation planning, and execution supervision
assets for sustaining its assigned bat- for the chemical companies. The
Chemical Brigade talions. chemical battalion does not have a
support platoon; therefore, it has
Chemical brigades normally are as- Chemical Battalion no organic supply and transporta-
signed one to each corps. Each tion assets for sustaining its as-
chemical brigade is composed of a Chemical battalions usually are as- signed companies.
headquarters and headquarters signed to a chemical brigade at
detachment (HHD) and two to five corps, or one per TAACOM. Each
chemical battalions. The brigade chemical battalion is composed of a
Smoke Generator Units
The major smoke generator unit mored Cavalry Regiment (TOE 03- the company is 100-percent mobile
tactical organizations are– 377L). and is completely air-transportable.
Corps Chemical Company (SG) There are two different types of Motor smoke units equipped with
(Motorized) (TOE 03-067J). motorized systems and one the M157 have 36 to 48 smoke gen-
Corps Chemical Company mechanized smoke generator sys- erators mounted on 18 to 24 M1037
(Smoke/Decon) (TOE 03-257J). tem. The M3A4 and the M157 are HMMWVs. This company, also, is
Corps Chemical Company (SG) motorized, and the M1059 is 100-percent mobile and is complete-
(Mechanized) (TOE 03-077J). mechanized. ly air-transportable.
Heavy Division Chemical Com- Motor smoke units equipped with Mechanized smoke units equipped
pany (Mechanized Smoke Platoon) the M3A4 have 36 to 48 smoke gen- with the M1059 smoke generator
(TOE 03-387). erators mounted on 18 to 24 M998 carrier have six (heavy division com-
Division Chemical Company (Air- series HMMWVs or M151 series 1/4- pany) or seven (mechanized smoke
borne/Air Assault) (TOE 03- ton trucks with trailers. These company) M1059s per platoon. This
027J500/03-057L). smoke systems provide stationary element is 100-percent mobile on
Chemical Company smoke only. Depending on terrain, any terrain and is completely air-
(Smoke/Reconnaissance/Decon), Ar- transportable.
FM 3-50 83
Corps corps Division
Chemical Company Chemical Company Chemical Company
(SG) (Motorized) (SG) (Mechanized) (Airborne/Air Assault)
The motorized smoke generator The mission of the chemical com- This company provides smoke and
company provides large-area smoke pany (smoke generator-mechanized) decontamination support to the air-
support for tactical and rear opera- is to provide smoke concealment borne or air assault division. This
tions. The two platoons of the for maneuver units and other criti- company has three dual-purpose
motorized smoke company have cal areas. This company was platoons. Each of the three
three squads each. There are 24 developed because motorized com- platoons can provide both smoke
smoke generators per platoon. Each panies lack the necessary armor and decontamination support. How-
platoon (if weather, terrain, and the protection and mobility to operate ever, the platoon can do only one
situation are favorable) can support forward to support close operations mission at a time. Each platoon has
up to a maneuver brigade. in mid- and high-intensity conflict. two dual-purpose squads and one
It is organized into three smoke resupply squad. The company has
Corps platoons. Each platoon has 14 36 generators – 12 per platoon.
smoke generators. (Two generators The most difficult task of this com-
Chemical Company are mounted on each armored pany is the transition from decon-
(Smoke/Decon) vehicle.) The seven vehicles form tamination to smoke support (or
seven mobile point sources. the reverse). This transition can be
The corps smoke/decon chemical carried out at the company CP or
company or dual-purpose company in the BSA.
provides smoke and decontamina- Heavy Division
tion support to the light infantry Chemical Company
division or units located in the Chemical Company
division or corps rear area. This (Mechanized
company has four dual-purpose Smoke Platoon)
platoons. Each of the four platoons Armored Cavalry
The smoke platoon of the chemi- Regiment
can provide both smoke and decon- cal company (heavy division) gives
tamination support. However, the the division a large-area smoke This company provides smoke and
platoon can do only one mission at capability. It also provides limited decontamination support to the ar-
a time. Each platoon has two dual- site selection for decontamination mored cavalry regiment. The com-
purpose squads and one resupply squads. The platoon has six M1059 pany has one dual-purpose platoon.
squad. The company has 48 smoke smoke generator systems. Each of Unlike other dual-purpose platoons,
generators — 12 per platoon the two smoke squads has three this platoon has seven M1059
The most difficult task of this M1059s with six smoke generators smoke generator systems. The
company is the transition from per squad. platoon can provide both smoke
decontamination to smoke support and decontamination support. How-
(or the reverse). This transition can ever, the platoon can do only one
be carried out at the company CP mission at a time. The platoon has
or in the BSA. two dual-purpose squads and one
resupply squad, with a total of 14
Chemical Unit Task Organizations
The three unique chemical unit Chemical-Engineer platoons and is particularly useful
task organizations are– when the platoon is supporting
Chemical-engineer task force. Task Force obstacle emplacement or covering
Chemical company team. The chemical-engineer task force force operations.
Chemical battalion task force. attaches one or more smoke or dual-
purpose chemical platoons to the
division engineer battalion. This
provides a habitual association for
logistical support for the chemical
Chemical Company pany for command and control brigade could be attached to a par-
during a particular mission. ticular chemical battalion when that
Team battalion is supporting the corps
The chemical company team at- Chemical Battalion main effort. For example, if a
taches one or more platoons to a division had to conduct a river
Task Force crossing as part of the corps
chemical company for specific mis-
sions. For example, a smoke The chemical battalion task force scheme of maneuver. The corps
platoon from a corps motorized attaches one or more platoons or commander might task organize
smoke company could be attached companies to a chemical battalion most of his smoke generator com-
to a heavy division chemical com- for specific missions. Every smoke panies under one battalion for
company in a corps chemical direct support of this mission.
Tables 22 and 23 show smoke and types of generators or point kilometers; and the prime movers
platoon area coverage based on the sources.. The coverage is given in are listed for the generators.
type of platoon and the number
FM 3-50 85
Smoke Support Sustainment Planning Tables
The tables in this appendix pro- sustainment requirements for smoke tion planning on smoke unit struc-
vide smoke pot spacing guidance missions. ture, smoke duration, and fuel
and ammunition and fuel consump- Base your ammunition consump- delivery packaging.
tion data. Use the tables to deter- tion planning on target size and
mine ammunition or fuel smoke duration. Base fuel consump-
Smoke Pot Consumption
Table 24 is the spacing guide for (decimals) to the next larger whole know the length of the target area
smoke pots. When using Table 23 number. in meters and the spacing between
to determine actual spacing require- Table 25, below and on the facing pots in meters, plus how long the
ments, round up all answers page, is the smoke pot consumption target must be smoked.
guide. To use this table, you must
86 FM 3-50
Enter the table from the left– Under the spacing find your target and the smoke time row intersect
smoke time. Locate the spacing be- length. The cell where this column contains the number of pots needed.
tween pots at the top of the table.
Fuel Consumption Tables
Use Tables 26 and 27 to deter- sumptions of a smoke generator single M3A4 or M157 smoke gener-
mine fog oil and MOGAS consump- platoon running all generators simul- ator, multiply the planning figure by
tion for smoke generators. These taneously. When a crew operates a 0.5.
tables are based on normal con-
FM 3-50 87
Ammunition Consumption Tables
Use Tables 28 through 31, below, Start with the wind speed, rate of and use the table to discover the
to determine consumption rates for fire, (or weapon and target size) number of rounds required for the
artillery, and mortarmunitions. and duration of smoke requested, mission.
Weather and Terrain
Environmental factors and terrain ing winds, temperature gradients tant for accurately predicting smoke
affect smoke cloud behavior. Steer- and the type of terrain are impor- cloud travel.
Meteorological conditions that Wind direction determines where face. They are the winds that actual-
have the most effect on smoke smoke must be released and where ly carry the smoke and determine
screening and munitions expendi- it will travel. Basically, there are the direction of smoke travel.
tures (including the deployment of four different types of wind direc- Wind speed has as much influence
smoke generators) include wind, tions that affect smoke operations: on smoke behavior as wind direc-
temperature gradients, humidity, head winds, tail winds, flanking tion has. Low wind speed or calm
precipitation, and cloud cover. winds, and quartering winds. conditions allow smoke to remain in
Favorable wind directions in rela- the target area for a longer period
Wind tion to the smoke objective are the of time. In addition, some types of
tail, quartering, and flanking winds smoke behave differently at dif-
The weather condition with the (see Figure 17). ferent wind speeds. For example,
greatest impact on smoke opera- Head winds are those blowing WP tends to pillar if winds are less
tions is wind. Both wind direction from the smoke objective directly than 9 knots (17 kilometers per
and wind speed play a significant toward the smoke source and are hour). HC smoke rises when the
role in almost everything that deals unfavorable for smoke generator wind speed is less than 4 knots (7
with smoke operations. These fac- operations. kilometers per hour), and it is torn
tors are important in estimating Tail winds, the most favorable for apart by wind speeds over 13 knots
equipment, munitions, and fog oil smoke operations, blow toward the (24 kilometers per hour). Smoke
requirements for a smoke opera- smoke objective from behind the from mechanical smoke generators
tion. smoke source. may be effective in higher wind
Flanking winds blow speeds because of the great volume
directly across the produced.
smoke objective and
the smoke source and Temperature Gradients
are generally favorable
for smoke operations. Temperature, by itself, has no
Quartering winds direct relationship with making ef-
blow between the fective smoke. It does, however,
other winds toward have an indirect relationship, which
the smoke objective. is a result of temperature gradients.
It is important to Temperature gradients are deter-
make the distinction mined by comparing the air
between those surface temperature at .5 meter above the
wind directions just ground with the air temperature at
discussed and steering 4 meters. Three types of tempera-
winds. Steering winds ture gradients influence smoke: un-
occur between 6 stable (lapse), neutral, and stable
meters and 200 meters (inversion) (Figure 18, next page).
above the earth’s sur-
FM 3-50 89
Unstable. An unstable (lapse) con- may reduce visibility at ground snow reduce visibility; therefore,
dition exists when air temperature level. Inversion conditions are excel- smoke is rarely needed for conceal-
decreases with an increase in al- lent for smoke hazes and smoke ment during those conditions. When
titude. This condition is charac- blankets but only if there is enough used during periods of precipita-
terized by vertical air currents and wind to carry the smoke over the tion, smoke tends to remain close
turbulence. Thus, smoke tends to target area. to the ground and spread out over
break up and become diffused. a large area.
Lapse conditions are best for Humidity
producing smoke curtains. Cloud Cover
Neutral. A neutral condition exists Practically all smoke particles ab-
when air temperature shows very lit- sorb moisture from the air. Mois- The amount of clouds in the sky
tle or no change with an increase in ture increases particle size and gives an indication of how smoke
altitude. Neutral conditions also density and makes the smoke more will act on the battlefield. The
exist when the wind speed is effective. Most smoke munitions general rule is when the sky is
greater than 9 kilometers per hour. produce a denser (thicker) smoke covered with clouds, the atmos-
Under this condition, vertical air when the humidity is high than phere is relatively stable, and the
currents are very limited. Neutral when it is low; therefore, high conditions are generally favorable
conditions are best for smoke hazes humidity is generally favorable for for making smoke.
and smoke blankets; however, this smoke employment (Table 32). Table 33, on the next page,
is not the most favorable tempera- provides a summary of favorable
ture gradient for smoke. Precipitation and unfavorable conditions for
Stable. A stable (inversion) condi- smoke production.
tion exists when the air temperature Since light rains
increases with an increase in al- decrease visibility,
titude, This condition greatly limits less smoke gives
vertical air currents. A smoke cloud concealment
produced during inversion condi- during these rains.
tions lies low to the ground and Heavy rains and
Since smoke is carried by the coverage will be in a specified area. Flat, Unbroken Terrain
wind, it usually follows the contours Smoke will act differently over the
of the earth’s surface. Therefore, different types of terrain. and Over Water
the type of terrain over which the On flat, unbroken terrain, and
smoke travels has a tremendous im- over water, the individual smoke
pact on how effective the smoke streamers take longer to spread out
90 FM 3-50
and mix with other streamers. Large Hill Masses Slopes and Valleys
Therefore, the uniform phase will
usually develop a greater distance and Mountains In areas where there are valleys
downwind. Steep hills and mountains tend to and other types of slopes, the
climatic conditions are usually dif-
split winds. The winds eddy around ferent at different times of the day.
Obstructions the hills and mountains as well as These areas are characterized by
over them. Large hill masses and thermally induced slope winds that
Obstructions, such as trees and rugged terrain cause strong cross
small buildings, tend to break up currents. These currents disperse occur throughout the day and night.
smoke streamers. These streamers During the daytime, the heating ef-
smoke excessively and create holes fect causes these winds to blow up
re-form, cover a much larger area, and unevenness in the smoke
and eventually create a more screen. In addition, thermally in- the slope, and they are referred to
uniform screen. This uniform screen duced slope winds occur throughout as up-slope winds. At night, the
develops much quicker and closer the day and night. These conditions cooling effect causes the winds to
to the smoke source than if the ter- make it extremely difficult to estab- blow down the slopes, and they are
rain were open. A wooded area, lish and maintain a smoke screen. called down-slope winds. This is a
which contains an abundance of Wind currents, eddies, and tur- very general rule; however, it is one
obstructions, is the most favorable bulence in mountainous terrain which needs to be kept in mind
type of terrain for smoke generator must be continuously studied and when planning smoke operations.
FM 3-50 91
Obscurants and How They Work
Obscurants are particles obscurants (such as fog); by- the general characteristics of
suspended in the air that block or product obscurants (such as dust); obscurants, how they work, and
attenuate a portion (or portions) of visual smoke (such as WP); and what obscurants the United States
the electromagnetic spectrum. The bispectral multispectral and special has in its inventory.
six types of obscurants are natural obscurants. This appendix describes
Obscuration occurs when there is Smoke, placed between a target Grayish or white smoke obscures
a decreased level of energy avail- and viewer, degrades the effective- in the visible range by reflecting or
able for the function of seekers, ness of that viewer by interfering scattering light, producing a glare.
trackers, vision enhancement with the reflected electromagnetic During bright sunlight you need a
devices, or the human eye. Bat- radiations. The amount of smoke re- lower concentration than with black
tlefield visibility can be practically quired to defeat that viewer is high- smoke to effectively obscure a tar-
defined as the distance at which a ly dependent upon meteorological get. At night or in limited visibility,
potential target can be seen and conditions, terrain relief, available considerably more than black
identified against any background. natural light, visibility, and the ab- smoke is needed.
Reduction of visibility on a bat- sorption effect of natural particles Years of experience with white
tlefield by any cause reduces the in the atmosphere. Other factors in- smoke technology have shown it to
amount of smoke needed to clude smoke from battlefield fires be superior to black smoke for
obscure a target or objective. and dust raised from maneuvering most applications. Available white
Obscuration generally is not as- vehicles and weapon fire. smoke producers include WP and
sociated with combat power be- The ability to detect and identify a RP compounds, HC, and fog oil
cause it is not a lethal tool on the target concealed by such a smoke (SGF2). WP, RP, and HC are
battlefield. However, the deliberate cloud is a function of target-to-back- hydrocopic (that is, they absorb
use of smoke and the inadvertent or ground contrast. Smoke clouds water from the atmosphere). This in-
planned use of dust and/or adverse reduce target-to-background con- creases particle diameters and
weather conditions on the bat- trast, making the target more dif- makes them more efficient in scat-
tlefield have always been of value to ficult to detect. tering light. Fog oils are nonhydro-
units in the field. The effectiveness of obscuration scopic and depend upon
In general, smokes are composed depends primarily upon charac- vaporization techniques to produce
of many small particles suspended teristics such as the number, size, extremely small diameter droplets
in the air. These particles scatter and color of the smoke particles. In that absorb and scatter light.
and absorb (attenuate) different the visible range, dark or black Smoke produced by a smoke gen-
spectra of electromagnetic radia- smoke absorbs a large proportion erator unit or from a series of
tion. This absorption reduces trans- of the electromagnetic waves strik- smoke pots has four distinct phases:
mittance of that radiation through ing individual smoke particles. streamer, build-up, uniform, and ter-
the smoke. When the density (con- Dining bright sunlight you need a minal (see Figure 19, on the next
centration) of smoke material be- higher concentration of black page).
tween the observer or EO device smoke to effectively obscure a tar- Streamer phase is the smoke
and an object exceeds a certain min- get because black smoke particles cloud formed by a single smoke
imum threshold value (Cl), the ob- are nonscattering. At night or in device before it begins to blend
ject is considered effectively limited visibility, considerably less with the smoke from other sources.
obscured. black smoke is needed.
92 FM 3-50
Build-up phase is
the stage of smoke
streamers begin to
Uniform phase is
a uniform smoke
cloud that occurs
have merged. This
is the phase com-
manders want over
the target area.
Terminal phase is
the stage of a
smoke cloud in
which the smoke
has dispersed and
concealment is no diffusion on the battlefield Continuous line sources (such as
longer effective. originates from four basic smoke a series of smoke generators set up
The diffusion of smoke particles source configurations: crosswind).
into the atmosphere just above the Continuous point sources (such Area sources (such as munitions
earth’s surface obeys physical laws. as smoke release from a smoke gen- that scatter smoke-generating sub-
Wind speed, turbulence, atmos- erator or smoke pot). munitions like the armored vehicle
pheric stability, and terrain all Instantaneous point sources (such smoke grenade launchers).
govern diffusion of smoke. Smoke as bursting of a WP projectile).
Natural obscurants are produced can operate at near-normal efficien- ly effectively obscure all observation
by nature and are therefore no cy during periods of reduced and target acquisition devices with
drain on our assets. However, they visibility or darkness. the possible exception of ground
are uncontrollable and may aid the surveillance radars and other re-
enemy as much as friendly forces. Fog lated devices operating in the
We can use natural obscurants to microwave region of the electromag
our advantage if we accurately Fog can be an effective form of netic spectrum.
predict the weather and if there is a obscuration for use on the bat-
firm understanding of the impact of tlefield. Fog has the capability of Precipitation
that weather on the battlefield. providing a good obscurant on the
Natural obscurants will create large battlefield because it will attenuate Precipitation can definitely
recognition and identfication visual and near infrared signals in obscure battlefield viewers depend-
problems. Examples of natural the same manner as visual smoke. ing on the concentration. Rain,
obscurants are darkness, fog, Ice fog can also be a very effective mist, sleet, or snow will degrade bat-
sandstorms, and precipitation. obscurant because it degrades sys- tlefield visibility greatly. When these
tems that operate by the use of a elements are present in heavy con-
Darkness longer wavelength such as thermal centration, there is no need to
imagers. Fog also degrades laser produce smoke. These elements can
Darkness is the most common range finders and target designators. reduce visibility by themselves. The
form of obscuration found on the use of image intensfiers, active in-
battlefield. Darkness will degrade Sandstorms frared systems, thermal imagers,
visual observation and target-acquisi- laser range finders, and ground sur-
tion devices that are not equipped Sandstorms are encountered in veillance radars can be degraded
with active infrared, image inten- arid and semiarid regions and can and possibly defeated when the con-
sification, or thermal imaging. Sys- have a dramatic effect on military centration of precipitation is heavy.
tems equipped with these devices operations. These storms will usual-
FM 3-50 93
By-product obscurants that Degrading performance of
produce concealment are a result of precision-guided
other activities associated with bat- munitions and EO
tlefield operations. They are often sensors. HE dust
inadvertent; however, when under- can be used to in-
stood, they may be planned and terfere with the tar-
used to the advantage of friendly get acquisition
forces. Examples of by-product sequence or to
obscurants are smoke from burning break "lock-on" of
vehicles and buildings and dust an acquired target.
caused by vehicular movement and Dust, depending
artillery/mortar fire. on how it is
By-Product Smoke obscure different
portions of the
Smoke produced by fire on the electromagnetic
battlefield will obscure viewers. This spectrum, in either
fire can be man-made or naturally the visible, infrared
produced by elements such as light- millimeter wave, or
ning. Other methods of generating radar portions.
fires that may result from a man- Dust is often
made device are fires produced by produced inadver-
mortar or artillery rounds. Whether tently by bombing,
naturally produced or man-made, gunfire, and
this obscurant will decrease visibility vehicular move-
on the battlefield. ment. However, we
can plan and use
Dust dust to the ad-
vantage of friendly
Battlefield dust is like the prover- forces. Dust
bial two-edged sword: its presence degrades the per-
and use can cut both ways. For ex- formance of sen-
ample: dust can be used for — sors and
Concealing details of military for- precision-guided
ces and movement. Dust is often an munitions.
indicator of movement of troops
and equipment. If the amount of
dust generated is large (perhaps
deliberately so), details of troop
movement can be obscured. If no
dust is desired, a simple expedient
is to keep the road wet, which can
be done if sufficient equipment and
ample water are available.
Blinding enemy observation
points to deprive him of the oppor-
tunity to adjust fire. Artillery volleys
or naval salvos can be used to tem-
porarily obscure a narrow field of
view for a short period of time. HE
dust clouds are generally only effec-
tive as obscurants for several
seconds but may be effective up to
a minute or more.
94 FM 3-50
Munition-Produced Dust and infrared portions of the weather conditions. Dust clouds
When HE munitions are used, spectrum. created by HE have three succes-
dust will be produced. The amount As a rule of thumb for drier soils, sive phases: impact, rise, and drill
produced depends on the size of dust generally has less effect on IR and dissipation.
the munition, its point of detonation sensors than on visual sensors such Impact phase. Upon munition im-
(above or below the surface), and as the eye. For moist or very sandy pact, two parts of a dust cloud are
the state of the soil. The initial ex- soils, the two sensors are often af- created instantaneously. One part is
plosion throws up a variety of fected equally, and under some con- the hot dust or fire ball, which has
crater materials. From small clumps ditions the IR sensors are obscured an initial size of 4 to 6 meters and
down to individual soil particles, more than the visual sensors. In is close to the surface. The dust or
obscuration will occur at all frequen- general, infrared sensors will usually fire ball is initially several hundred
cy bands of the electromagnetic offer some advantage over visible- degrees hotter than its surround-
spectrum (assuming the explosion is radiation sensors when looking ings. Most of the dirt and dust are
on or near the line of sight). through dust. contained in this initial dust or
Obscuration times are generally 3 Figure 20, at left, shows the fireball. The second part is the dust
to 10 seconds in the millimeter phases of a munition dust cloud. skirt, which has a greater horizontal
wave portion of the spectrum; this The initial phase lasts only a few extent of 6 to 10 meters high, and
is the amount of time required for seconds and quickly blends into the has nearly the same temperature as
the small clumps and large particles rise phase that lasts about 10 its surroundings.
to fall back to the ground. The seconds or less. The degree and Rise phase. The initial dust or
remaining airborne dust that forms time of obscuration depend on the fireball begins to rise and expand,
the drifting dust cloud continues to dust cloud drift and dissipation cooling as it rises. The dust cloud
provide obscuration in the visible phase of the dust cloud with top may reach heights of 10 to 30
respect to the line of sight and the meters in less than 10 seconds. The
dust skirt does not rise but will con-
tinue to diffuse outward.
Drift and dissipation phase. The
entire dust cloud, both the buoyant
part and the nonbuoyant dust skirt,
begin to drift. Wind causes the
upper portion to move out ahead
while the lower dust skirt lags be-
hind. As the dust cloud drifts, it dif-
fuses, becoming thinner and
The amount of dust produced by
vehicular traffic depends on the
weight of the vehicle, the number of
wheels (or tread area), the speed of
the vehicle, and the state of the
soil. Because vehicles kick up the
smaller particles present on the soil
surface, vehicular dust does not ef-
fectively attenuate the radar or the
millimeter wave portions of the
spectrum. However, vehicular dust
clouds can provide effective obscura-
tion in the visible and infrared por-
tions of the spectrum. Vehicular
dust can be divided into two
phases: generation and drift and dis-
sipation (Figure 21).
Generation phase. In this phase,
the dust is thrown up or lifted off
the surface by the vehicle’s wheels
FM 3-50 95
or treads and is swept up in the tur- Drift and dissipation phase. After depend on the position of the dust
bulent air under and behind the the dust has been swept up behind trail with respect to a line of sight
vehicle. The total amount of dust the vehicle, it begins to drift and dif- and the weather conditions.
produced increases with the speed fuse with the wind. As before, the
of the vehicle. degree and duration of obscuration
We cannot control the behavior ces into the air where it condenses phorous particles being highly incen-
of natural and by-product into a dense white smoke. This diary. This makes phosphorous
obscurants with the degree of cer- smoke can produce effective smoke excellent for harassing
tainty required to defeat enemy obscuration of the visual through enemy personnel and starting fires,
RSTA efforts. While natrual and by- near-infrared portions of the as well as its having excellent smoke
product obscurants block or at- electromagnetic spectrum. properties.
tenuate portions of the Phosphorous smoke burns so hot
electromagnetic spectrum, we must Hexachloroethane Smoke
produce obscurants artificially to at- HC is a pyrotechnic composition
tack enemy electro-optical systems. of hexachloroethane, zinc oxide, Caution
We classify US obscurants as visual, and aluminum powder. A pyrotech- Phosphorous smoke produces
bispectral, multispectral, and spe- nic starter mixture usually ignites phosphoric acid. Soldiers must
cial.. the burning reaction. The smoke wear respiratory protection, such
While 98 percent of all current bat- produced is zinc chloride during as protective masks, if exposed to
telfield viewers operate in the visual burning. This zinc chloride reacts phosphorous smoke.
portion of the spectrum, future sys- with the moisture in the air to form
tems will acquire and engage, using a zinc chloride solution in tiny
IR and millimeter wave tech- droplets: smoke. When first that it tends to form a pillar of
nologies. This will require integra- produced, HC smoke is very hot smoke, which rises rapidly. While
tion of each class of US obscurant but cools rapidly and has little ten- this pillaring reduces the efficiency
to attack and defeat these systems. dency thereafter to rise. HC muni- of phosphorous smoke, the by-
The following portions of this ap- tions generally have definite burn product of the heat is that it
pendix describe the militarily sig- times, which are useful for planning obscures from the visual through
nificant, artificially producted purposes. the far-infrared portions of the
obscurants. electromagnetic spectrum. The
Phosphorous Smoke three phosphorous smokes are WP,
Visual Smoke PWP, and RP.
WP is a spontaneously flammable
Many years of experience with natural element. It ignites on con-
smoke technology has shown white Caution tact with air and is relatively un-
smoke to be superior to black HC is carcinogenic. Soldiers must stable in storage. WP burns at 5,000
smoke for most applications. Cur- wear respiratory protection (for ex- degrees Fahrenheit, making it the
rently we have no black smoke most effective smoke agent to
production agents, although the US ample, a protective mask) while in
HC smoke. defeat thermal imagery systems.
Navy does have black smoke PWP is a formulation of white
production capability. The three phosphorus and some other agents
principle agents for producing white Phosphorus is a flammable solid (for example, butyl rubber) to stabi-
smoke are oils (SGF2 and diesel), that burns to form solid particles of lize the smoke agent fill and slow
HC, and phosphorous. phosphorous pentoxide in the air: the burning. This slowed burning
smoke. The phosphorous pentoxide tends to produce a more coherent
Oil Smoke then reacts with moisture in the air smoke cloud with less pillaring.
We make oil smoke by vaporizing to form phosphoric acid. We use RP is not spontaneously flam-
fuel oils in mechanical smoke gener- phosphorous smokes in instan- mable, requiring ignition to burn
ators or engine exhausts. The gener- taneous-burst munitions (for ex- and make smoke. RP burns at a
ator or engine exhaust vaporizes ample, artillery and rifle grenades), lower temperature – 4,000 degrees
either SGF2 or diesel fuel and for- with the showers of burning phos- Fahrenheit – which produces a
96 FM 3-50
more coherent smoke cloud with the visual and infrared portions of degrade multiple portions of the
less pillaring. It is less incendiary the spectrum. Other bispectral electromagnetic spectrum. Challen-
than either WP or PWP, making it capabilities include type III IR ges associated with this technology
safer for use in smaller cartridges obscurant, which is a micropul- include preventing the inadvertent
(for example, 40-millimeter verized metal compound. Currently suppression of friendly force EO
grenades). Some munitions such as we use this bispectral obscurant in systems. In the mid-term we will
the M825 155-millimeter howitzer self-defense systems only (for ex- have and use multispectral
cartridge use felt wedges saturated ample, the M76 smoke grenade for obscurants.
with RP to produce an even dis- armored vehicle grenade launchers).
tribution of smoke agent around the In the near term we will have and Special Obscurants
point of burst. use a large-area bispectral
obscurant capability. Special obscurants will defeat
Bispectral Obscurants specific portions of the electromag-
Multispectral netic spectrum.
Bispectral obscurants defeat or
degrade two portions of the Obscurants
electromagnetic spectrum simul- AS implied by the name, multi-
taneously. As previously stated, spectral obscurants will defeat or
phosphorous smokes defeat both
FM 3-50 97
FM 3-50, C1
PROBABILITY OF DETECTION
FM 3-50, Cl
FM 3-50, Cl
New reference material is being published all the 3-101, Chemical Staffs and Units
time. Present references, as listed below, may become 6-20, Fire Support in the AirLand Battle
obsolete. To keep up to date, see DA Pam 25-30 (on 17-95, Cavalry Operations
microfiche). 25-100, Training the Force
34-1, Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Operations
Required Publications 71-3, Armored and Mechanized Infantry Brigade
Required publications are sources users must read to 71-101, Infantry, Airborne, and Air Assault Division
understand or comply with this publication. Operations (HTF)
100-2-1, Soviet Army Operations and Tactics
Field Manuals (FMs) 100-2-2, Soviet Army Specialized Warfare and Rear
3-6, Field Behavior of NBC Agents (Including Smoke Area Support
and Incendiaries) 100-2-3, The Soviet Army Troops Organization and
100-5, Operations Equipment
101-5, Staff Organization and Operations 101-5-1, Operational Terms and Symbols
Related Publications Soldier Training Publications (STPs)
Related publications are sources of additional informa- 3-54B1-SM, Soldier’s Manual, MOS 54B, Chemical
tion. They are not required to understand this Operations Specialist, Skill Level 1
publication. 3-54B2-SM, Soldier’s Manual, MOS 54B, Chemical
Army Regulations (ARs) Operations Specialist, Skill Level 2
310-25, Dictionary of United States Army Terms 3-54B34-SM-TG, Soldier’s Manual, Skill Levels 3/4 and
310-50, Authorized Abbreviations and Brevity Codes Trainer’s Guide, MOS 54B, Chemical Operations
Field Manuals (FMs)
3-100, NBC Operations
98 FM 3-50
AA – assembly area. spectrum (such as visual and in- DEW – directed-energy weapon
frared). (such as high-energy microwaves,
AAR – after action report. lasers).
blanket – See smoke blanket.
abn — airborne DISCOM – division support com-
BMNT – beginning morning nauti- mand.
ACR – armored cavalry regiment. cal twilight.
ACRV – artillery command and DPICM – dual-purpose improved
bn – battalion. conventional munition.
BSA – brigade support area. DS – direct support.
aerosol — fine particles of solids or
liquid suspended in air. build-up phase – the second stage DSA – division support area.
of smoke cloud production; oc-
AD – air defense. curs when the individual smoke EA – engagement area.
AG – advanced guard. streamers start to merge. EENT – ending evening nautical
AICV – armored infantry combat CAS – close air support. twilight.
vehicle. CCA – Combat Command A. eff — effective.
AirLand battle imperatives – key CEOI – Communications- electro-optical system — a device
operating requirements for suc- Electronics Operation Instructions. that detects targets by converting
cess on the battlefield to ensure the electromagnetic radiation
unity of effort; anticipate events CEV – combat engineer vehicle. (visible, infrared, microwave)
on the battlefield; concentrate CFL – coordinated fire line. given off by the target into
combat power against enemy vul- electric current; this current is
nerabilities; designate, sustain, CFV – cavalry fighting vehicle. amplified, then used to power a
and shift the main effort; press CLOS – command to line of sight. viewer or targeting system; this
the effort; move fast, strike hard, devise can detect targets not
and finish rapidly; use terrain, CMO – civil military operations. visible to the naked eye.
weather, deception, and OPSEC; COSCOM – corps support com-
conserve strength for decisive ac- EMP – electromagnetic pulse.
tion; combine arms and sister EO – electro-optical.
services to complement and rein- CP – command post.
force; understand the effects of EW – early warning.
CRP – combat reconnaissance
battle on soldiers, units, and patrol. FA – field artillery.
CRSTA – counterreconnaissance, far infrared – electromagnetic ener-
AMC – Army Materiel Command. surveillance, and target acquisi- gy with wavelengths of 8 to 14
APC – armored personnel carrier. tion. micrometers.
arty – artillery. CSS – combat service support. FASCAM – family of scatterable
ASG – area support group. curtain – See smoke curtain.
FDC– fire direction center.
ASP – ammunition supply point. DAG – division artillery group.
FEBA – forward edge of the battle
ATGM – antitank guided missile. decon – decontamination. area.
attenuate — reduce the effective- deliberate smoke – characterized by FFL – free fire line.
ness, amount, or force of. integrated planning; may be used
for extended periods for station- flank wind – a wind that blows
bispectral obscurant – an obscurant ary or mobile missions. directly across a line between the
that blocks or attenuates two por-
tions of the electromagnetic det – detachment.
FM 3-50 99
smoke objective and the smoke HE – high explosive. found. For smoke operations, the
source. HMMWV – high-mobility multipur- state is defined as unstable. This
FLIR – forward looking infrared. pose wheeled vehicle. condition is normally the most un-
favorable for the release of smoke.
FLOT – forward line of own troops. head wind – wind blowing away
from the smoke objective and LC – line of crossing.
fog oil – petroleum compounds of
selected molecular weight and directly toward the smoke source. LD – line of departure.
composition to facilitate forma- HUMINT – human intelligence. LIC – low-intensity conflict.
tion of smoke by atomization or
combustion; the resultant smoke ICM – improved conventional muni- LOGPAC – logistics package.
is white. tion. LRP – logistics release point.
FScell - fire support cell. IFV – infantry fighting vehicle. LTOE – living table of organization
FSCOORD – fire support coor- IMINT – imagery intelligence. and equipment.
dinator. individual streamer – the initial m – meter(s).
FSE – forward security element. phase of a smoke cloud, before marking smoke – smoke employed
the streamers from the point sour-
FSO – fire support officer. ces merge. to relay prearranged communica-
tions on the battlefield.
g – gram. inversion — an increase of air Frequently used to identify tar-
gen – generator. temperature with increase in gets, evacuation points, and
height (the ground being colder friendly unit perimeters.
GS – general support. than the surrounding air); this
condition usually occurs on clear MBA – main battle area.
GSR – ground surveillance radar. or partially clear nights and early mech – mechanized.
G/VLLD – ground/vehicle laser mornings until about one hour
locator designator. after sunrise, but sometimes per- METT-T – mission, enemy, terrain,
sists longer. When stable troops, and time available.
hasty smoke – characterized by min-
imal planning; used for short conditions exist, there are no con- mid-infrared — electromagnetic ener-
periods to counter enemy action vection currents and, with wind gy with wavelength in the range
or anticipated enemy action of speeds below 5 knots, little of 3 to 8 micrometers.
concern to the commander. mechanical turbulence. Therefore,
stable conditions are the most min – minute(s).
haze – a light concentration of favorable for ground-released mm – millimeter(s).
obscuration that restricts accurate smoke.
enemy observation from the air MOGAS – motor gasoline.
and ground. This prevents ac- IPB – intelligence preparation of
the battlefield. MOUT – military operations on ur-
curate enemy target acquisition, banized terrain.
but does not disrupt friendly IPE – individual protective equip-
operations that require limited ment. MRB – motorized rifle battalion.
visibility, such as river crossings. MRC – motorized rifle company.
A smoke haze allows limited ir — infrared.
visibility that reduces the recogni- ITV – integrated TOW vehicle. MSR – main supply route.
tion of personnel and equipment MTOE – modified table of or-
from 50 to 150 meters. k – knot(s)
ganization and equipment.
HC – a pyrotechnic smoke-produc- km– kilometer(s).
multispectral obscurant — an
ing composition of kmph – kilometer(s) per hour. obscurant that blocks or at-
hexachloroethane, zinc oxide, and tenuates more than two portions
aluminum powder employed in LAMPSS – large-area mobile
projected smoke system. of the electromagnetic spectrum
certain smoke munitions; has a (such as visual, infrared, and mil-
sharp, acid odor; toxic if released lapse – a marked decrease of air limeter wave).
in sufficient quantities in enclosed temperature with increasing al-
places; the smoke is cool burning titude (the ground being warmer NAI – named areas of interest.
when contrasted to white phos- than the surrounding air). During NBC – nuclear, biological, and
phorus. unstable or lapse conditions, chemical.
strong convection currents are
100 FM 3-50
NBCC – nuclear, biological, and OPSEC – operations security. enemy forces to degrade enemy
chemical center. ground and aerial observation;
PD – proximity detonator. used to conceal ground
NCO – noncommissioned officer. phases of smoke – see individual maneuver, breaching, and
near infrared — electromagnetic streamer, build-up phase, uniform recovery operations, as well as
energy with wavelengths of 0.7 to phase, and terminal phase. key assembly areas, supply routes,
3 micrometers PHOTINT – photographic intel- and logistic facilities.
neutral – a meteorological condi- ligence. selected area – as used in this
tion that exists when conditions PIR – priority intelligence require- manual, an area to be concealed
are intermediate between lapse ment. by smoke.
and inversion; neutral conditions SG – smoke generator.
tending toward lapse favor PL – phase line.
production of smoke curtains; plt – platoon. SGF2 – smoke generator fog num-
neutral conditions tending toward ber 2; also called fog oil.
inversion favor smoke blankets or POL – petroleum, oils, and signature — the visible or audible ef-
hazes. lubricants. fects produced when firing a
night-vision device — a viewer ena- protection smoke – smoke weapon or operating a piece of
bling an operator to see in the produced to defeat or degrade equipment, such as noise, smoke,
dark; also called night-observa- target acquisition or guidance sys- flame, heat, or debris; also, an
tion device. tems or the effects of electronic emission subject to
NFL – no fire line. directed-energy weapons. detection and traceable to the
PWP – plasticized white phos- equipment producing it.
NTC – National Training Center. phorus. silhouette – the outline or general
OB – order of battle. quartering wind – a wind that shape of something contrasted
blows between tail and flank against a lighter background.
obj — objective.
winds, toward the smoke objective. SLAR – side-looking airborne radar.
obscurant – chemical agent that
decreases the level of energy avail- RAG – Regimental Artillery Group. smoke – a particulate of solid or liq-
able for the functions of seekers, rd – round. uid, part of low-vapor pressure
trackers, and vision-enhancement that settles out slowly under
devices. recon — reconnaissance. gravity; in general, smoke par-
obscuration smoke – smoke placed red phosphorus – a form of phos- ticles range downward from
on or near enemy positions to phorus not spontaneously about 5 micrometers in diameter
minimize enemy observation both flammable. to less than 0.1 micrometer in
within and beyond the position diameter; also means the suspen-
area. RFL – restrictive fire line. sion of small liquid or solid
RISTA – reconnaissance, intel- particles in air; the filling for
oil smoke – see fog oil. ligence, surveillance, and target smoke munitions, such as bombs,
OP – observation point. acquisition. shells, and grenades; to produce
signaling or screening smoke with
OPCON – operational control. RP – red phosphorus. any munition; generally, any artifi-
RPV – remotely piloted vehicle. cial aerosol.
operational continuum – the
strategic environment within each RSTA – reconnaissance, surveil- smoke blanket – a dense concentra-
theater, consisting of a variety of lance, and target acquisition. tion of smoke established over
political, military, and economic and around friendly areas to
conditions and a range of threats S1 – adjutant. protect them from visual observa-
that result in a wide range of S2 – intelligence officer. tion from the air and visual
operations conducted within a precision bombing attack, or es-
continuum; consists of three S3 – operations officer. tablished over an enemy area to
general states: peacetime competi- S4 – logistics officer. protect attacking aircraft from air
tion, conflict, and war. defense fire. Blankets can also be
OPLAN – operation plan. screening smoke – smoke employed used at night to prevent enemy-
in areas of friendly operation or observed air attack by flare light,
OPORD – operation order. in areas between friendly and A smoke blanket reduces visual
FM 3-50 101
recognition of personnel and process of situation development TOC – tactical operations center.
equipment to less than 50 meters. and intelligence preparations of TOE – table of organization and
the battlefield. equipment.
smoke control officer — the officer
designated by the maneuver unit SOP – standing operating proce- TOW – tube-launched, optically
commander to coordinate and dure. tracked, wire-guided.
control the smoke operation. sophisticated weapons — precision- TPU – tank and pump unit.
smoke curtain – a vertical develop- guided munitions, equipped with
ment of smoke that reduces the infrared, electro-optical, or laser TVA – target value analysis.
enemy’s ability to clearly see what seekers/trackers with or without uniform phase–phase of smoke
is occurring on the other side of command links; munitions with during which the uniformly
the cloud; visual recognition high accuracy and, hence, high obscuring cloud exists – the
depends on the curtain width and probability of kill against a target. streamers have joined and
smoke density. special smoke — an obscurant that breakup of the cloud has not
smoke generator – a mechanical blocks or attenuates a specific begun.
device that vaporizes fog oil and portion of the electromagnetic unstable — see lapse.
releases it to condense in the air spectrum (such as visual, in-
as a white smoke. frared, and millimeter wave). UTM – universal transverse mer-
smoke haze — a light concentration spt – support.
of smoke placed over friendly in- VEESS – vehicle engine exhaust
stallations to restrict accurate sqd – squad. smoke system.
enemy observation and fire, but stable — see inversion. visibility – the distance at which it
not dense enough to hamper streamer – the smoke cloud formed is possible to distinguish a
friendly operations; density of by a single smoke source. prominent object against the back-
haze is equivalent to that of light ground with the unaided eye.
fog. synchronization — the coordination
of activities in time, space, and visibility criteria — the unit
smoke munition — a device that is purpose to achieve maximum com- commander’s requirement for
either discharged from a weapon bat power at the decisive point. minimum visibility in a smoke
or thrown and that makes smoke. cloud. For example, in obstacle
TAA – tactical assembly area. emplacement by engineers, the
smoke point source — the point
from which a smoke munition or TAACOM – theater Army area maneuver brigade commander
smoke device generates an in- command. may want to conceal the engineer
dividual streamer of smoke. TAC – Tactical Air Command. operation without hindering their
work. He establishes a visibility
smoke position – location of a TAI – target areas of interest. criteria (such as 150 meters) for
smoke pot or mechanical smoke the smoke.
generator. tail wind – a wind that blows
toward the smoke objective from visible spectrum — the portion of
smoke pot – an expendable bucket- behind the smoke source. the electromagnetic spectrum
or pot-like ammunition that lying between 0.4 and 0.7
produces a dense smoke by burn- temperature gradient – comparison micrometers.
ing a smoke mixture. of the air temperature at .5
meters above the ground with the white phosphorus — a spontaneous-
smoke projectile – any projectile air temperature at 4 meters ly flammable solid that burns to
containing a smoke-producing above ground; see also inversion, form solid smoke particles of
agent that is released on impact neutral, and lapse. phosphorus pentoxide; the phos-
or upon bursting; also called phorus pentoxide then reacts with
smoke shell. terminal phase – that stage of a moisture in the atmosphere to
smoke cloud when the cloud has form droplets of phosphoric acid;
smoke shell – see smoke projectile. thinned out and the cover is no
longer effective; see also smoke the dilution depends on the rela-
smoke target analysis — the process tive humidity.
of selecting the optimal smoke blanket.
delivery system to attack specific WP – white phosphorus.
EO systems. thermal infrared – electromagnetic
energy with a wavelength range
smoke target development — the of 3 to 20 micrometers.
102 FM 3-50
A Countermeasures, US Obscurant effects, 73.
See Threat, US countermeasures. Particle beams, 76.
Applications curtain Radar wave sensors, 75.
See Obscuring, screening, protect- See Screening smoke. Sensors and effects, 72,
ing, marking. Sensors and viewers, 73.
Artillery smoke D Terminal homing missiles, 75.
See Smoke sustainment, Ammuni- Darkness Thermal viewers, 74.
tion consumption. See Obscurants, how they work.
Deception, 50. F
Deliberate smoke operations, 7. Fog
Battlefield, 11. See Obscurants, how they work.
Close operations, 12. Delivery systems, 14.
Armored vehicle grenade Fog oil consumption
Deep operations, 11. launchers, 14. See Smoke sustainment, Fuel con-
Rear operations, 12. sumption.
Battlefield applications Generated smoke, 14.
Obscuring, 13 Generators, 14. G
Screening, 13 Mobile smoke, 14.
Projected smoke, 14. Guide, smoke pot spacing
Protecting, 13 See Smoke sustainment.
Marking, 13 Self-defense smoke, 14.
Blanket Smoke pots and hand grenades, 14. H
See Screening smoke. Stationary smoke, 15.
VEESS, vehicle engine exhause Hasty smoke operations, 7.
Breakout from encirclement, 45. Haze
Building effects smoke system, 14.
Weather and terrain effects, 15. See Screening smoke.
See Terrain effects, Obstructions. HC smoke
By-product smoke Delivery, means of
Aircraft-delivered smoke, 79. See Obscurants, how they work.
See Obscurants, hews they work, Hill masses effects
By-product. Armored vehicle grenade
launchers, 81. See Terrain effects.
C Artillery munitions, 78. Historical perspective, 5.
Generators, 81. How and where to use smoke, 6.
Chemical battalion See also Uses of smoke and
See Command and control head- Mortar munitions, 78.
Rifle grenades, 79. obscurants.
Chemical brigade Rockets, 79.
Smoke pots and smoke hand See Weather effects.
See Command and control head-
quarters. grenades, 80. J
Chemical staff officer responsi- Vehicle engine exhaust systems, 81. Jungle effects, 46
bilities, 17. Description of smoke and
Chemical unit task organizations, 84. obscurants, 6. L
Cloud cover Desert effects, 49 Linkup operations, 44.
See Weather effects. Dust
Command and control headquarters See Obscurants, how they work. M
Chemical battalion, 83. E Marking smoke, 13.
Chemical brigade, 83. MOGAS consumption
Conditions, special, 46. Electro-optical systems, 72. See Smoke sustainment, Fuel
Deserts, 49. Command-guided missiles, 74. consumption.
Jungles, 46. Directed-energy weapons, 76. Mortar smoke
Mountains, 46. Electromagnetic pulses, 77. See Smoke sustainment, Ammu-
NBC conditions, 50. High-power microwaves, 76. nition consumption.
Urban terrain, 47. Lasers, 76. Mountains effects
Winter zones, 49. Millimeter wave sensors, 75. See Terrain effects.
FM 3-50 103
O Security, 53. Smoke units, 15.
Obscurants, how they work, 92. Situation and target development, 8. Chemical staff officer’s respon-
Artificial Obscurants, 96. Smoke estimate format, 55, 57. sibilities, 17.
Bispectral obscurants, 97. Smoke mission coordination check- See also Smoke organizations.
By-product obscurants, 94. list, 56. Command and support, 16.
By-product smoke, 94. Smoke target list work sheet, 55, 59. Commander’s responsibilities, 17.
Characteristics, 92. Supplies, 52. Organization and principles, 16.
Darkness, 93. Support plan development, 8. Responsibilities, 17.
Dust, 94. Support plan execution, 9. Tactics, techniques, and
Fog, 93. Supporting units, 52. procedures, 15.
HC smoke, 96. Sustainment, 51. Unit guidelines, 16.
Multispectral obscurants, 97. Target analysis, 55. Special conditions
Natural obscurants, 93. See also Smoke sustainment. See Conditions, special.
Oil smoke, 96. Precipitation Spectrum of conflict, 11.
Percipitation, 93. See Obscurants, how they work.
Phosphorous smoke, 96. See also Weather effects. T
Special obscurants, 97. Protecting smoke, 13. Tactics, defensive
Visual smoke, 96. See Operations.
R Target analysis
Obscuring smoke, 13.
Obstacle breaching, 46. Reconnaissance, surveillance, and Situation & target development, 8.
Obstructions target acquisition, 18. Procedures, 55.
See Terrain effects. Aerial recon, 19. Target list, 55.
Oil smoke Ground recon, 19. Terrain effects, 90.
See Obscurants, how they work. Artillery recon, 20. Flat, unbroken and over water, 90.
Operational concept Relief in place, 43. Large hill masses and mountains, 91.
Command and staff considera- Retrograde, 42. Obstructions, 91.
tions, 10. Delay, 43. Slopes and valleys, 91.
Operational level of war, 10. Retirement, 43. Threat, 18.
See also Operations. Withdrawal, 43. Aerial recon, 19.
Tactical level of war, 10. River crossings, 45. Artillery recon, 20.
Operational continuum, 10. Defensive smoke, 22.
S Ground recon, 19.
Conflict, 10. Safety, 82.
Peacetime, 10. Offensive smoke use, 21.
War, 11. Sandstorms Smoke tactics, 20.
Operations See Obscurants, how they work. US countermeasures to Threat
Defensive, 36. Screening smoke, 13. smoke use, 25.
Defensive tactics, 37. Smoke blanket, 13.
Smoke curtain, 13. U
Offensive phases, 29. Smoke haze, 13.
Offensive tactics, 28. Urban effects, 47
Operational concept, 9. Slope and valley effects Uses of smoke and obscurants, 6.
See also Battlefield. See Terrain effects. See also How and where to use
See also Hasty and deliberate. Smoke and obscurants, smoke.
Categories of, 7.
P Smoke Capabilities, 85. W
Passage of lines, 44. Smoke estimate Weather effects, 89.
Phosphorous smoke Preparation, 8. Cloud cover, 90.
See Obscurants, how they work. Format, 55. Humidity, 90.
Planning, 7. Smoke generator units, 83. Percipitation, 90.
Basic load, 52. Smoke organizations, 83. Temperature gradients, 89.
Estimate preparation, 8. Smoke sustainment, 86. Wind, 89.
Fire support, 53. Ammunition consumption, 88 See also Terrain effects, Large hill
Fog oil resupply, 52. Fuel consumption, 87. masses and mountains, Slopes &
Logistics, 52. Smoke pot consumption, 86. valleys.
Maintenance, 52. Smoke pot consumption guide, 86. Winter zones, 49
Personnel sustainment, 53. Smoke pot spacing guide, 86.
4 December 1990
By Order of the Secretary of the Army:
CARL E. VUONO
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff
THOMAS F. SIKORA
Brigadier General, United States Army
The Adjutant General
Active Army, USAR, and ARNG: To be distributed in accordance with DA Form 12-11E-R, require-
ments for FM 3-50, Smoke Operations (Qty rqr block no. 743.
C U.S. Government Printing Office 1993—342-421/81771