This guide will aid you in utilizing your Army Platoon Terrain Model Kit and show you how to use the components to build a successful terrain model to brief your OPORD.
You receive an order to conduct a deliberate ambush on ENY Soldiers establishing a landing zone in the open field (OBJ Sky) North of Village IVO VQ 717 009.
While creating your WARNO, you can direct your RTO to begin construction of the macro terrain model that encompasses your current location and location of the OBJ. You can see below that the RTO has identified the grid lines, locations, road, and the pertinent cluster of building south of the OBJ.
After your WARNO has been briefed, you can begin analyzing your mission in greater detail to identify a an ORP & RP site, probable locations for assault, security, and support positions. Utilize your included SMART card from the Ranger Handbook on how to conduct a deliberate ambush so that no steps are omitted from your order or rehearsals.
Once you have tentative locations set, you can place the appropriate markers on the terrain model and begin to write your OPORD while visualizing the operation. At this time, you also can instruct your RTO to construct a larger scale terrain model of just the OBJ.
While writing your OPORD, your RTO should begin to scale the locations you’ve set on the macro terrain model to the OBJ terrain model. In this case, it is just an open field, but if there were buildings, you would want to ensure those were to scale utilizing MRE boxes and other components.
From this point, you are ready to brief your AO, movement to the ORP, and begin a more detailed visualization on the OBJ. It is an excellent TTP to brief your order while moving the pieces and then during backbriefs and rehearsals observe your squads and team leaders utilizing the same model to ensure there is a common understanding of your intent and the operation.
For example, below is a photo of a mid-movement brief where the assault position is bounding across to search the OBJ after the ambush. Important things to note here would be the shift/lift fire commands and PACE plan, last covered and concealed position, and any relevant TRPs for the SBF.
Next, the assault position has reached their LOA. From here the PL can brief how he wants to reset security, search the killzone, treat friendly casualties, and then withdraw the assault element from the OBJ. For example, in this operation due to the location of the security and SBF elements and expected ENY reinforcements from the South, the A&L and EPW teams will both come from A team to the North while B team maintains security to the South.
It is incredibly valuable to actually talk and walk through the rehearsals of what the assault element will do if they have a casualty, how they will come off the OBJ, etc. In addition, depending on the time constraint, these models allow an opportunity to brief contingency scenarios such as an ENY attack from the west that engages the security element and what each corresponding SQD would do.
The last TTP I will mention is that the point of a terrain model is not to demonstrate that you could leave the Army and become the world’s greatest cartographer or painter of micro figurines, but rather to provide a visualization tool to aid in communicating to your formation how the mission will be conducted.