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Tactical Mission Tasks

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Tactical Mission Tasks

Using proper Task Verbs for proper Orders


Some of you might remember the post I made a while back on Attack by Fire (ABF) and Support by Fire (SBF). At the time the two tactical mission tasks were utilized in a somewhat improper/unclear fashion by many.

Nowadays I have the feeling the two terms are understood by most of those talking leadership positions.

With the advent of ArmA 3 and the prevalence of Zeus, I thought it might be handy to provide a brief overview over the most common Tactical Mission Tasks in order to enable proper reading, writing, understanding and issuing of orders.

Especially with Zeus the Game Master and the leadership need to issue and disseminate orders in a more "on-the-fly" and generally only verbal fashion, so using the proper terms is essential to ensure mutual understanding and avoid misconceptions.

This is of course just as (or even more so) applicable to the Steel Beasts environment.



Tactical Mission Tasks & Mission Statements450px-Missionstatement-stanag.png


Tactical Mission Tasks or Task Verbs describe the results or effects a commander wants to achieve – in other words:  the What and Why of a mission statement. 

A mission statement (generally) contains the "5 Ws", the Who, What, When, Where, and Why associated with a specific operation/mission.

The What and Why of a mission statement are not the same thing and both are needed, they can be considered the "core" of any mission statement.


The What is the task that is issued, so in other words an Effect (that is normally measurable), plus an optionally specified Activity.

The Why is purpose of the task, so in other words the reason for the mission. 

For example:




35th MECHINFBN counter-attacks to seize OBJ OGG IOT (in order to) regain lost ground.



Here "35th MECHINFBN" (Who), "counter-attacks to seize" (What), "OBJ OGG" (Where), "IOT regain lost ground." (Why).

In this example the Task (Why) contains both an effect ("seize") and an activity ("counter-attack").

The purpose is typically preceded by the term "in order to" (IOT). The When is intentionally left unspecified for better understanding.


Another example:


K/3-2 CAV delays ENY forward of PL BANK for 48 hrs IOT create conditions for the defense of the river ENNS.



Here "K/3-2 CAV" (Who), "delays" (What), "forward of PL BANK" (Where), "for 48 hrs" (When), "IOT create conditions for the defense of the river ENNS." (Why).


This format of the mission statement is not only found in the 2. MISSION paragraph of the Operations Order, but is also used to issued as Task(s) to Subordinate Units in the 3. EXECUTION paragraph.

Furthermore general format and verbs are, where possible, also used in verbal Fragementary/Battle Orders, in order to ensure clarity and avoid misunderstanding.


List of Task Verbs


The following list will provide a brief overview over some of the most common tactical mission task verbs and their graphic, while Steel Beasts can depict the majority of them properly,

in ArmA often other means must be used to visualize the intended task. This list depicts the task verbs, as they are defined by NATO.

While all NATO members and many Partnership for Peace member forces have adopted them, they often continue to use indigenous variations that might differ from the allied definition.

This list is not comprehensive, but meant as a brief introduction into the most important tasks, for a full list see the links at the bottom.

Graphic Term Definition Notes
175px-Tmt_ambush.png Ambush Conduct a surprise attack by fire from concealed positions on a moving or temporarily halted enemy.  
175px-Tmt_Attack.png Attack Take offensive action against a specified objective. A general all-embracing term to describe offensive operations. Use a more specific task when possible.
175px-Tmt_attack_by_fire.png Attack by Fire Engage an enemy with direct fires, supported by indirect fires, without closing with him. Attack by fire excludes assaulting or occupying the objective.
175px-Tmt_block.png Block Deny enemy access to a given area, or to prevent his advance in a particular direction. A blocked force can move in any direction other than the obstructed one.
175px-Tmt_Breach.png Breach Break through or secure passage through an enemy defence, obstacle, or fortification.  
175px-Tmt_clear.png Clear Remove all enemy forces and eliminate organized resistance in an assigned area.  
175px-Tmt_counter_attack.png Counter-Attack Attack against an enemy attacking force. An imprecise task, open to wide interpretation. Normally better to specify the effect required.
175px-Tmt_delay.png Delay Prevent an enemy force arriving at a specified location either: for a specified length of time; or until a specified time or event.  
175px-Tmt_deny.png Deny Prevent enemy use of a specified thing.  
175px-Tmt_destroy.png Destroy Damage an object or an enemy force so that it is rendered useless to the enemy until reconstituted.  
175px-Tmt_fix.png Fix Prevent an enemy from moving any part of his forces from a specified location for a specified period of time  
175px-Tmt_locate.png Locate Determine the position of a specified thing.  
175px-Tmt_neutralize.png Neutralize Render an enemy element temporarily incapable of interfering with the operation.  
175px-Tmt_screen.png Screen Observe, identify, and report information on threats to the main force. Only fight in self-protection.  
175px-Tmt_seize.png Seize Clear a designated area and obtain control of it  
175px-Tmt_support_by_fire.png Support by Fire Engage the enemy by direct fire in support of another manoeuvring force.  
175px-Tmt_suppress.png Suppress Temporarily degrade an enemy capability to enable a friendly action. Effect is temporary and usually only lasts while friendly force is firing.



References & Further Reading


If you want to digg further into the topic I really recommend this article series by Major Philipp Heger (AT), he very nicely describes the various Task Verbs, and gives examples for their use

in a mission statement.

Further Links


Keep in mind that this is not meant as a comprehensive guide that covers the entire topic complex, but just meant as an aid for those that want some basic orientation on the topic to enhance mutual understanding.

Feel free ask questions, add further explanations and critique.Sorry for the bad formatting, the forum wysiwyg-editor is killing me.

Edited by zumorc

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