Field Manual 90-13 *FM 90-13

Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-17.1 MCWP 3-17.1
Headquarters
Department of the Army
Commandant, US Marine Corps
Washington, DC, 26 January 1998

River-Crossing Operations

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page
Preface......................................................................................................................................... vi

Chapter 1. Concepts ................................................................................................................ 1-1

General.................................................................................................................................. 1-1
Types of Crossings ............................................................................................................... 1-1
Hasty ................................................................................................................................. 1-1
Deliberate ........................................................................................................................ 1-3
Retrograde ....................................................................................................................... 1-4
Crossing Fundamentals ....................................................................................................... 1-4
Surprise ........................................................................................................................... 1-4
Extensive Preparation ..................................................................................................... 1-4
Flexible Plan..................................................................................................................... 1-5
Traffic Control .................................................................................................................. 1-5
Organization..................................................................................................................... 1-5
Speed................................................................................................................................. 1-6

Chapter 2. Terrain and Enemy .............................................................................................. 2-1

General.................................................................................................................................. 2-1
Estimate of the Situation................................................................................................. 2-1
Tactical Requirements ..................................................................................................... 2-1
Terrain .................................................................................................................................. 2-1
Characteristics ................................................................................................................. 2-1
Military Aspects ............................................................................................................... 2-2

DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
*This publication supersedes FM 90-13, 30 September 1992.

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FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Page
Current ............................................................................................................................. 2-2
Water Measurements....................................................................................................... 2-2
Water Changes................................................................................................................. 2-3
Obstructions ..................................................................................................................... 2-3
The Friendly Shore .......................................................................................................... 2-4
The Enemy Shore............................................................................................................. 2-4
Intelligence ........................................................................................................................... 2-5
Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIR)....................................................................... 2-6
Information Collection ..................................................................................................... 2-6
Threat ................................................................................................................................... 2-6
River Defense ................................................................................................................... 2-6
Offensive River Crossing ................................................................................................. 2-8

Chapter 3. Command and Control ......................................................................................... 3-1

General ................................................................................................................................. 3-1
Organization ......................................................................................................................... 3-1
Control Elements.................................................................................................................. 3-1
Division Headquarters..................................................................................................... 3-1
Brigade Headquarters ..................................................................................................... 3-3
Communications................................................................................................................... 3-5
Control Measures ................................................................................................................. 3-5
Release Lines (RLs).......................................................................................................... 3-5
Crossing Areas ................................................................................................................. 3-5
Waiting Areas................................................................................................................... 3-5
Engineer Equipment Parks (EEPs) .............................................................................. 3-10
Traffic-Control Posts...................................................................................................... 3-10
Engineer Regulating Points .......................................................................................... 3-10
Crossing Plan ..................................................................................................................... 3-10
Crossing Control................................................................................................................. 3-11
Assault Across the River................................................................................................ 3-11
Crossing-Area Operations ............................................................................................. 3-11
Transfer of Support Forces to Division ......................................................................... 3-12
Movement Control.............................................................................................................. 3-14
Retrograde Crossings ......................................................................................................... 3-14

Chapter 4. Planning ................................................................................................................ 4-1

General ................................................................................................................................. 4-1
The Planning Process........................................................................................................... 4-1
Analyzing the Mission ..................................................................................................... 4-2
Developing COAs ............................................................................................................. 4-4
Analyzing COAs ............................................................................................................... 4-5
Comparing COAs ............................................................................................................. 4-5
Producing Orders ............................................................................................................. 4-6

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FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Page
Chapter 5. Division Deliberate River Crossing .....................................................................5-1

General..................................................................................................................................5-1
Phases of a Deliberate River Crossing ................................................................................5-1
The River Crossing ...............................................................................................................5-1
Advance to the River (Phase I) ........................................................................................5-4
Assault Across the River (Phase II) ................................................................................5-6
Advance From the Exit Bank (Phase III) .......................................................................5-8
Secure the Bridgehead Line (Phase IV) ..........................................................................5-9
Continuation of the Attack ............................................................................................ 5-11

Chapter 6. Retrograde Operations .........................................................................................6-1

General..................................................................................................................................6-1
Retrograde Types..................................................................................................................6-1
Delay .................................................................................................................................6-1
Withdrawal .......................................................................................................................6-6
Retirement ........................................................................................................................6-6
Denial Measures ...................................................................................................................6-6
Planning ............................................................................................................................... 6-7

Chapter 7. Crossing Sites........................................................................................................7-1

General..................................................................................................................................7-1
Crossing-Site Selection.........................................................................................................7-1
Planning ................................................................................................................................7-2
Requirements........................................................................................................................7-2
Entry/Exit Routes or Paths .............................................................................................7-2
Routes and Approaches....................................................................................................7-3
Waiting Areas...................................................................................................................7-3
River Conditions...............................................................................................................7-4
Banks ................................................................................................................................7-4
Bottoms .............................................................................................................................7-4
Enemy Situation...............................................................................................................7-4
Site Analysis .........................................................................................................................7-4
Field Calculations.................................................................................................................7-5
Measuring the Current’s Velocity ...................................................................................7-5
Determining Slopes and Degrees ....................................................................................7-6
Measuring the River's Width...........................................................................................7-7
Calculating Downstream Drift ........................................................................................7-7
Rafts ......................................................................................................................................7-9
Site Preparation ...............................................................................................................7-9
Rafting Sites .....................................................................................................................7-9
Rafting Operations ......................................................................................................... 7-12
Maintenance and Refueling ........................................................................................... 7-13

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FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Page
Bridges ................................................................................................................................ 7-13
Site Organization ........................................................................................................... 7-14
Night Operations............................................................................................................ 7-15
Actions Under Fire......................................................................................................... 7-15
Vehicle Recovery ............................................................................................................ 7-16
Other Gap-Crossing Equipment........................................................................................ 7-16

Chapter 8. Assault Crossing ................................................................................................... 8-1

General ................................................................................................................................. 8-1
Types of Assault Crossings .................................................................................................. 8-1
Rubber-Boat Crossing...................................................................................................... 8-2
Air-Assault Crossing........................................................................................................ 8-2
Vehicle-Swim Crossing .................................................................................................... 8-3
Organization ......................................................................................................................... 8-3
Support Force ................................................................................................................... 8-3
Assault Force.................................................................................................................... 8-4
Engineers.......................................................................................................................... 8-7
Preparation Phase of the Operation.................................................................................... 8-7
Far-Shore Reconnaissance .............................................................................................. 8-7
Far-Shore Preparation..................................................................................................... 8-8
Nearshore Reconnaissance ............................................................................................ 8-10
Assault-Force Rehearsal................................................................................................ 8-10
Execution Phase of the Operation ..................................................................................... 8-11
Attack-Position Procedures ........................................................................................... 8-11
Embarking Procedures .................................................................................................. 8-12
Tactical Control Afloat................................................................................................... 8-13
Watermanship................................................................................................................ 8-14
Obscuring With Smoke .................................................................................................. 8-16
Direct-Fire Reaction....................................................................................................... 8-17
Indirect-Fire Reaction.................................................................................................... 8-17
Debarking Procedures ................................................................................................... 8-17
Boat Return .................................................................................................................... 8-17
Motor Procedures ........................................................................................................... 8-18
Cargo Procedures ........................................................................................................... 8-19
Casualty Procedures ...................................................................................................... 8-19
Safety .................................................................................................................................. 8-20

Chapter 9. Engineer Operations ............................................................................................ 9-1

General ................................................................................................................................. 9-1
ERP Operations.................................................................................................................... 9-1
Rafting Operations........................................................................................................... 9-2
Bridging Operations......................................................................................................... 9-3
Swimming Operations ..................................................................................................... 9-4

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FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Page
Engineer Contingency Bridging Operations ....................................................................... 9-4
Assault Bridges, Long-Term Use .................................................................................... 9-5
Maintenance .....................................................................................................................9-5
Anchorage .........................................................................................................................9-5
Protective Systems ...........................................................................................................9-6
Approaches .......................................................................................................................9-7
Long-Term Gap-Crossing C2 ............................................................................................9-8
Multirole Bridge Company (MRBC) ................................................................................... 9-8
Organization.....................................................................................................................9-9
Basic Concept ...................................................................................................................9-9
Implications .................................................................................................................... 9-10
Training .......................................................................................................................... 9-10

Appendix A. Metric Conversion Chart .................................................................................. A-1

Appendix B. Engineer-Planning Calculations ...................................................................... B-1

General................................................................................................................................. B-1
Engineer Planning............................................................................................................... B-1

Appendix C. Crossing Means ................................................................................................. C-1

General................................................................................................................................. C-1
Descriptions of Crossing Means.......................................................................................... C-1
Fording Vehicles.............................................................................................................. C-2
Amphibious Vehicles ....................................................................................................... C-2
Aircraft............................................................................................................................. C-2
Boats ................................................................................................................................ C-2
Assault Launched Bridges .............................................................................................. C-2
Rafts ................................................................................................................................. C-2
Bridges ............................................................................................................................. C-3

v
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

PREFACE
Field Manual (FM) 90-13 describes how divisions and brigades conduct river crossings. It
shows the relationship to corps operations, where appropriate, and includes details for lower
echelons to support the brigades. It provides doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures
(TTP) in one reference to accomplish this special operation.

The corps assigns missions and provides the necessary support and equipment. The divi-
sions normally assign bridgehead objectives and control movement across the river. The bri-
gades are the bridgehead forces that execute the crossings, either independently or as
elements of a larger force.

River-crossing skills and knowledge are highly perishable. As with many other tactical oper-
ations, they require constant practice in planning and execution. There are relatively few
opportunities to train with the frequency needed to keep a high degree of proficiency in this
tough operation. For that reason, this manual includes considerable detail on techniques
and procedures.

A river crossing is a special operation in that it requires specific procedures for success
because the water obstacle prevents normal ground maneuver. It demands more detailed
planning and technical support than normal tactical operations. It also features specific con-
trol measures to move the force across a water obstacle. This obstacle may be a river, a lake,
or a canal. Unlike other obstacle types, the water obstacle remains effective during and after
the crossing operation. See FM 90-13-1 for other counterobstacle operations.

As in the past, the United States (US) Army conducts river crossings within the context of
its basic doctrine. This manual applies the current Army-operations doctrine described in
FM 100-5 to river crossings. It incorporates recent developments in command and control
(C2) for command-post (CP) facilities and the military decision-making process. It also aligns
US doctrine more closely with ongoing standardization efforts in the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO).

Appendix A contains an English to metric measurement conversion chart.

The proponent of this publication is HQ TRADOC. Send comments and recommendations on
Department of the Army (DA) Form 2028 directly to Commander, US Army Engineer School,
ATTN: ATSE-TD-D-WC, Fort Leonard Wood, MO 65473-6650.

This publication implements the following international agreement: Standardization Agree-
ment (STANAG) 2395, Edition 1, Opposed Water Crossing Procedures.

Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns and pronouns do not refer exclu-
sively to men.

vi
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

PREFACE
Field Manual (FM) 90-13 describes how divisions and brigades conduct river crossings. It
shows the relationship to corps operations, where appropriate, and includes details for lower
echelons to support the brigades. It provides doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures
(TTP) in one reference to accomplish this special operation.

The corps assigns missions and provides the necessary support and equipment. The divi-
sions normally assign bridgehead objectives and control movement across the river. The bri-
gades are the bridgehead forces that execute the crossings, either independently or as
elements of a larger force.

River-crossing skills and knowledge are highly perishable. As with many other tactical oper-
ations, they require constant practice in planning and execution. There are relatively few
opportunities to train with the frequency needed to keep a high degree of proficiency in this
tough operation. For that reason, this manual includes considerable detail on techniques
and procedures.

A river crossing is a special operation in that it requires specific procedures for success
because the water obstacle prevents normal ground maneuver. It demands more detailed
planning and technical support than normal tactical operations. It also features specific con-
trol measures to move the force across a water obstacle. This obstacle may be a river, a lake,
or a canal. Unlike other obstacle types, the water obstacle remains effective during and after
the crossing operation. See FM 90-13-1 for other counterobstacle operations.

As in the past, the United States (US) Army conducts river crossings within the context of
its basic doctrine. This manual applies the current Army-operations doctrine described in
FM 100-5 to river crossings. It incorporates recent developments in command and control
(C2) for command-post (CP) facilities and the military decision-making process. It also aligns
US doctrine more closely with ongoing standardization efforts in the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO).

Appendix A contains an English to metric measurement conversion chart.

The proponent of this publication is HQ TRADOC. Send comments and recommendations on
Department of the Army (DA) Form 2028 directly to Commander, US Army Engineer School,
ATTN: ATSE-TD-D-WC, Fort Leonard Wood, MO 65473-6650.

This publication implements the following international agreement: Standardization Agree-
ment (STANAG) 2395, Edition 1, Opposed Water Crossing Procedures.

Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns and pronouns do not refer exclu-
sively to men.

vi
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 1
Concepts
GENERAL
The purpose of any river crossing is to project crossing, as it must break its movement
combat power across a water obstacle to formations, concentrate at crossing points,
accomplish a mission. A river crossing is a and reform on the far shore before continu-
unique operation. It requires specific proce- ing to maneuver. The tactical commander
dures for success because the water obstacle cannot effectively fight his force while it is
prevents normal ground maneuver. It also split by a river. He must reduce this vul-
requires detailed planning and control mea- nerability by decreasing his force's expo-
sures and different technical support than sure time. The best method is to cross
other tactical operations require. The nature rivers in stride as a continuation of the tac-
and size of the obstacle, the enemy situation, tical operation, whether in the offense or
and available crossing assets limit the tacti- retrograde. Only as a last resort should
cal commander's options. the force pause to build up combat power
or crossing means before crossing. This
The challenge is to minimize the river's chapter introduces river-crossing opera-
impact on the commander's ability to tions by discussing the characteristics of
maneuver. The force is vulnerable while this special, difficult, and dangerous task.

TYPES OF CROSSINGS
Units expected to conduct a river crossing companies being controlled at corps level.
anticipate and plan for it in advance. All That support is only available when those
river crossings require detailed planning. headquarters have taken purposeful action
The planning requirements and engineer to position the assets at the right time and
technical support are similar, whether the place to make a brigade hasty crossing fea-
crossing is hasty, deliberate, or retrograde. sible. Coordination for support must be
made early in the planning process.
HASTY
A hasty river crossing is a continuation of Small gaps that prohibit vehicles from self-
an attack across the river with no inten- bridging are encountered more frequently
tional pause at the water to prepare, so that than large gaps that require extensive
there is no loss of momentum. This is possi- bridging. Each maneuver force should
ble when enemy resistance is weak and the task-organize itself with organic mobile
river is not a severe obstacle. crossing assets that enable it to install
bridges quickly, cross small gaps, and
A hasty river crossing is preferable to a recover the bridges for future crossings.
deliberate crossing. A hasty river crossing Follow-on bridges, such as the medium-
features decentralized control at the bri- girder bridge (MGB), may need to be posi-
gade level. The brigade may use organic, tioned before assault bridges are removed
existing, or expedient crossing means, but at these minor gaps. The two types of
additional support from the division or hasty crossings are the dry- and wet-gap
corps is often necessary due to the bridge crossings.

Concepts 1-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Hasty Dry-Gap Crossing slope that the swimming vehicle can over-
Antitank (AT) ditches and craters are nor- come. When selecting a fording site in a
mally what maneuver forces encounter as a wet-gap crossing, the depth of the water is
dry-gap-crossing obstacle. Dry riverbeds the most significant factor. The depth of the
may also present a crossing problem. water in one crossing area may change due
Maneuver forces can use the M9 armored to bottom surface mud or irregularities
combat earthmover (ACE) to push down the (boulders or pot holes). The AVLB is ideally
sides of ditches or to fill in craters. Substan- suited to allow hasty wet-gap crossings,
tial fill material placed in the dry gaps requiring only that the supported maneuver
allows the passage of combat tracked vehi- force eliminate enemy direct and observed
cles. The crossing site can be improved and indirect fires. The crossing means will need
maintained for wheeled-traffic use by fol- to be replaced by other bridging assets as
low-on forces. soon as possible to allow the AVLB to
remain with its supported unit.
The armored vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB)
If possible, the force crosses the water
is particularly suited for spanning stream-
obstacle at multiple points across a broad
beds, AT ditches, craters, canals, partially
front. It makes the crossing as soon as its
blown bridges, and similar obstacles. It can
elements reach the obstacle, whether by day
be launched and recovered in less than 5
or night. As the bulk of the force crosses the
minutes. The AVLB, like the M9 ACE, is
water, minimum forces remain to secure the
organic to combat engineer companies for use
crossing sites.
in hasty crossings of short gaps. The AVLB
should be left in place across the gap only as Expedient crossing means may be used if
long as it takes to cross the maneuver unit it readily available and can be transported to
is traveling with, then replaced with other the crossing site. The reconnaissance party
fixed bridging, if necessary. should note material or existing features
Hasty Wet-Gap Crossing that could be used as expedient crossing
devices. These include culvert pipe, lumber
The depth and width of the wet gap, bank or cut timber, or war-damaged equipment.
conditions, and the current’s velocity will The pipe fascines system (PFS), which con-
determine if the maneuver force can cross sists of bundles of 8-inch, high-density, plas-
by fording, swimming, or employing the tic pipes chained together, can fill gaps up to
AVLB or if other bridging assets are 9 meters deep and support up to 70 tons.
required. Identifying wet gaps early and The PFS is transported by an AVLB after
deploying the required resources allow the bridge is downloaded and emplaced into
hasty crossings of known or anticipated the gap.
gaps to occur. Two factors should be consid-
ered when swimming vehicles through wet A well-practiced standing operating proce-
gaps—the current’s velocity and the bank dure (SOP) reduces the necessary planning
conditions. and preparation time. A concise order,
clearly articulating the commander's
Because vehicles drain rapidly when exit- intent, allows exploitation wherever subor-
ing, initially firm banks tend to deteriorate dinate units successfully force a crossing.
rapidly from multiple uses of the same exit When possible, advance elements seize
point. The existence of mud or surface irreg- existing crossing means intact and ahead of
ularities further degrades the percent of the the main body.

1-2 Concepts
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

When facing negligible or light enemy resis- • A maneuver-support force that consists
tance on both banks, the force does not have of corps combat engineers, bridge com-
to clear all enemy forces from the river to panies, military police (MP), and chemi-
conduct a hasty crossing. It capitalizes on cal units which provide crossing means,
the speed of the crossing and the limited traffic control, and obscuration.
ability of the enemy to effectively oppose the • A bridgehead force that attacks from the
crossing. far-shore objective to secure the bridge-
DELIBERATE head, eliminating direct fire and
observed indirect fire on the crossing
A deliberate river crossing is conducted area.
when—
• A hasty crossing is not feasible. Once the river crossing is complete (bridge-
• A hasty crossing has failed. head line is secured), a breakout force
crosses the river behind the bridgehead
force and attacks out of the bridgehead.
Opposition from a strong defending enemy This force is normally not a part of the unit
can require a deliberate crossing. A deliber- that conducted the river crossing.
ate river crossing is an attack across the
river after a halt to make the detailed prep- The two types of deliberate crossings are
arations necessary to ensure success. It is wet- and dry-gap crossings.
characterized by—
Deliberate Wet-Gap Crossing
• A significant water obstacle.
The deliberate wet-gap crossing is divided
• Strong enemy resistance. into the following three phases: assault,
rafting, and bridging. These phases may
• The necessity to clear entry and/or exit
occur in sequence or concurrently. The
banks of enemy forces.
objective in deliberate wet-gap crossings is
to project combat power to the exit bank at
A deliberate river crossing involves the fol- a faster rate than the enemy can concen-
lowing: trate forces for a counterattack. To do this,
• Centralized division planning and control. the commander may elect to first construct
rafts for nonswimming vehicles while swim-
• Thorough preparations, to include the ming the fighting vehicles across. Bridge
time to perform extensive reconnais- construction is started when observed indi-
sance and full-scale rehearsals, develop rect fire has been eliminated. If the tactical
alternate traffic routes, and stockpile situation allows the elimination of the raft-
logistics. ing phase, bridging efforts should begin
• The massing of forces and crossing immediately. This may be a suitable option
equipment. considering the high speed of employing
systems like the ribbon bridge.
The deliberate river-crossing organization is Deliberate Dry-Gap Crossing
as follows:
Deliberate dry-gap crossings are generally
• An assault force that seizes the far-shore determined by the strength of the enemy's
objective and eliminates direct fire on defenses or the magnitude of the gap. If
the crossing site. possible, using the M9 ACE or the AVLB is

Concepts 1-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

preferred. The MGB, the Bailey bridge, contact with the enemy. The forces con-
the M4T6 dry-span bridge and, in the near ducting the crossing establish a defense on
future, the heavy dry-support bridge the exit bank or continue the retrograde to
(HDSB) are used to span larger dry gaps. the defensive positions beyond the water
These assets are labor-intensive and obstacle. A retrograde river crossing fea-
expose personnel to enemy fire during con- tures centralized planning and control
struction but provide stable gap-crossing because of the limited crossing means. It
support for continuous operations. has the same amount of detailed planning
as for a deliberate offensive crossing. Fail-
RETROGRADE ure of a retrograde crossing may lead to
A retrograde river crossing is a movement losing a significant amount of friendly
to the rear across a water obstacle while in forces.

CROSSING FUNDAMENTALS
River-crossing fundamentals are the same • Exposing the force to fires while on the
for all river crossings, but their application water.
varies. For example, traffic control is a key Surprise minimizes these disadvantages;
fundamental. The commander maintains it forces that fail to achieve surprise may also
in a hasty crossing by using the unit’s SOP fail in the crossing attempt.
and a fragmentary order (FRAGO). In a
deliberate crossing, he uses a traffic-control A deception plan is a key element of sur-
organization, such as the MP, that imple- prise. It reinforces the enemy's predisposi-
ments a detailed movement plan. Crossing tion to believe that the force will take a
fundamentals must be applied to ensure particular course of action (COA). The
success when conducting a river crossing. enemy usually expects a crossing; however,
These fundamentals include— it does not know where or when. A deception
plan that employs reconnaissance, site prep-
• Surprise.
arations, force buildup, and preparatory
• Extensive preparation. fires at a time or location other than the
intended crossing area may delay an effec-
• Flexible plan. tive enemy response to the true crossing.
• Traffic control. The usual operations security (OPSEC) mea-
• Organization. sures are also important. Commanders
enforce camouflage, noise, thermal, electro-
• Speed. magnetic, and light discipline. In particular,
commanders closely control movement and
SURPRISE concealment of river-crossing equipment and
The range and lethality of modern weapons other obvious river-crossing preparations.
allow even a small force to defeat a larger Despite modern intelligence-gathering
exposed force caught in an unfavorable posi- technology, the skillful use of night, smoke,
tion. A river provides this possibility by— fog, and bad weather for obscuration is still
effective.
• Limiting a force to a small number of
crossing sites. EXTENSIVE PREPARATION
• Splitting the force’s combat power on Comprehensive intelligence of the enemy’s
separate banks. composition and disposition and crossing-area

1-4 Concepts
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

terrain must be developed early, since plan- • Alternate crossing sites and staging
ning depends on an accurate and complete areas to activate if enemy action closes
intelligence picture. the primaries.
• Crossing equipment held in reserve to
Supporting forces, which typically include replace losses or open alternate sites.
engineer battalions, bridge companies, air-
defense batteries, smoke-generation compa-
nies, and MP companies, must link up early. TRAFFIC CONTROL
They immediately begin crossing prepara- A river is a significant obstacle that slows
tions and are available to train the crossing and stops units, thus impeding their ability
force during rehearsals. to maneuver. Units are restricted to moving
in column formations along a few routes
Commanders plan and initiate deceptive that come together at the crossing sites.
operations early to mask the actual prepa- Traffic control is essential to cross units at
ration. These operations should conceal the locations and in the sequence desired.
both the time and location of the crossing, Maximum crossing efficiency is achieved
so they begin before and continue through- through traffic control. It also prevents the
out the preparation period. formation of targets that are susceptible to
destruction by artillery or air strikes. In
Work necessary to improve routes to handle addition, effective traffic control contrib-
the traffic volume of the crossing operation utes to the flexibility of the plan by
should occur early enough not to interfere enabling commanders to change the
with other uses of the routes. This requires sequence, timing, or site of crossing units.
a detailed traffic plan carefully synchro- The traffic-control organization can switch
nized with the deception plan. units over different routes or hold them in
waiting areas as directed by the tactical
Full-scale rehearsals are essential to clarify commander.
roles and procedures, train personnel,
inspect equipment, develop teamwork, and ORGANIZATION
ensure the unity of effort. Commanders use the same C2 nodes for
river crossings as they do for other opera-
FLEXIBLE PLAN tions. These nodes, however, take on addi-
Even successful crossings seldom go accord- tional functions in river crossings. For this
ing to plan. A flexible plan enables the reason, commanders specify which nodes
crossing force to adapt rapidly to changes in and staff positions have specific river-
the situation during execution. It allows the crossing planning and control duties. This
force to salvage the loss of a crossing site or may require some temporary collocation of
to exploit a sudden opportunity. A flexible headquarters cells (or individual augmenta-
plan for a river crossing is the result of thor- tion) and an increase in communications
ough staff planning, not chance. Such a plan means.
features—
The tactical commander organizes his units
• Multiple approach routes from assembly
into assault, maneuver-support, and bridge-
areas (AAs) to crossing sites.
head forces. He organizes support forces
• Lateral routes to redirect units to alter- consisting of engineer, MP, and chemical
nate crossing sites. units, as well as other combat-support

Concepts 1-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

units, into a crossing organization. This lucrative targets for indirect fires and
organization reports to the tactical com- enemy air attacks.
mander’s controlling headquarters. Since
SPEED
this is a temporary grouping, procedures
that the controlling headquarters estab- A river crossing is a race between the cross-
lishes must be clear, simple, and rehearsed ing force and the enemy to mass combat
by all elements to ensure responsive sup- power on the far shore. The longer the force
port of the plan and the unity of command. takes to cross, the less likely it will succeed,
as the enemy will defeat, in detail, the ele-
Terrain management is an integral part of ments split by the river. Speed is so impor-
the crossing operation. The controlling tant to crossing success that extraordinary
headquarters assigns space for support measures are justified to maintain it. The
forces to work on and for assault forces to commander must allow no interference
concentrate on before crossing. Otherwise, with the flow of vehicles and units once the
they interfere with each other and become crossing has started.

1-6 Concepts
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 2
Terrain and Enemy
GENERAL
Commanders maneuver their forces into The far-shore terrain must support mission
positions of advantage over the enemy. accomplishment; otherwise, crossing the
Engineers analyze the terrain to determine river there serves little purpose. Crossing
the maneuver potential, ways to reduce nat- sites must also support the rapid movement
ural and enemy obstacles, and how they of units to the far shore, or the enemy can
can deny freedom of maneuver to the win the force buildup race. Commanders
enemy by enhancing the inherent obstacle balance the tactical use of the far-shore ter-
value of the terrain. rain against technical crossing require-
ments at the river to determine suitable
ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION crossing locations.
Commanders and staffs develop estimates
of the situation, described in FM 101-5, dur- Nearshore terrain must support initial
ing the military decision-making process. assault sites, rafting and bridging sites,
Terrain and enemy aspects that are applica- and the assembly and staging areas used
ble to estimates for river-crossing opera- by the force. Routes to and from the river
tions are discussed in this chapter. Much of must support the quantity of traffic that is
this information directly applies to the necessary for the operation and for the sus-
intelligence preparation of the battlefield tainment of the force in subsequent opera-
(IPB). Refer to FM 34-130 for more informa- tions.
tion on the IPB process.
The enemy’s disposition of forces may limit
TACTICAL REQUIREMENTS
options for the commander. Because the
Although terrain characteristics have a river physically splits his force, he should
strong influence, tactical requirements ulti- execute his crossing operation where the
mately determine the location of the cross- enemy is most vulnerable or least able to
ing site(s). River conditions must allow the react. This gives the commander time to
employment of available crossing means mass his force on the far shore before the
and the tactics required for the operation. enemy can concentrate against it.

TERRAIN
The engineer is the terrain expert. He must cannot be bypassed. Meandering bends in
work closely with the Intelligence Officer rivers provide far-shore defenders with
(US Army) (S2) during the planning pro- opportunities for flanking fires and observa-
cess to determine advantages and disadvan- tion of multiple crossing sites. The
tages the terrain gives to both friendly and combined-arms team, as normally config-
enemy forces. ured for combat, needs special preparation
and equipment to carry it across river obsta-
CHARACTERISTICS cles. After the attacking force crosses the
Rivers form unique obstacles. They are gen- river, it remains an obstacle for all follow-on
erally linear and extensive and normally forces.

Terrain and Enemy 2-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

A formation cannot breach a river wher- control of a heavy raft difficult; therefore,
ever desired, as it can with most field landings require skilled boat operators and
obstacles. Likely crossing sites can be few raft commanders and more time.
and equally obvious to both the attacker
and defender. Current causes water pressure against
floating bridges. Bridge companies use
A river provides excellent observation and boats or an anchorage system to resist this
fields of fire to both the attacker and pressure. The higher the current the more
defender. It exposes the force on the water extensive the anchorage system must be.
and makes it vulnerable while entering Higher currents provide velocity to floating
and leaving the water. It is also an aerial objects, which can damage or swamp float-
avenue of approach, allowing enemy air- ing equipment.
craft low-level access to crossing opera-
tions. Current can be measured easily (for exam-
ple, by timing a floating stick) but is nor-
Force buildup on the far shore is a race mally not constant across the width of the
between the defender and the attacker. river. Generally, it is faster in the center
The river can be an obstacle behind the ini- than along the shore. It is also faster on the
tial assault force, allowing the enemy to outside of a curve than on the inside. A fac-
pin and defeat it in detail while preventing tor of 1.5 times the measured current
rapid reinforcement. should be used for planning purposes.

MILITARY ASPECTS WATER MEASUREMENTS
Terrain analysis for a river crossing The depth of the water influences all
includes the following military aspects of phases of a river crossing. If the water is
terrain: observation, cover and concealment, shallow enough and the riverbed will sup-
obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of port traffic, fording is possible. If the force
approach (OCOKA). However, many details uses assault boats and the water becomes
are peculiar to river crossings. These details shallow in the assault area, the force will
include the specific technical characteris- have to wade and carry their equipment.
tics of the river as an obstacle. Shallow water also causes difficulty for
swimming vehicles, as the rapidly moving
CURRENT tracks can dig into a shallow bottom and
The current of a river is a major limiting ground the vehicle. The water must be
factor. It imposes limits on all floating deep enough to float bridge boats and
equipment, whether rubber assault boats, loaded rafts on their crossing centerlines
swimming armored vehicles, rafts, or and deep enough in launch areas to launch
bridges. The current’s velocity determines boats and bridge bays. The depth of the
the amount of personnel/equipment each water is not constant across a river. It is
type of floating equipment can carry or if it generally deeper in the center and in high-
can operate at all. Current affects the dis- velocity areas. Either a bottom reconnais-
tance that the floating equipment will drift sance with divers or sounding from a
downstream. Therefore, commanders must reconnaissance boat is necessary to verify
either select an offset starting point the depth.
upstream to reach a desired point on the
far shore or take additional time to fight The width of a river is a critical dimension
the current. High current velocities make for bridges (especially, when it determines

2-2 Terrain and Enemy
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

how much equipment is necessary) and for along the shore and on the inside of the
rafts. The distance a raft must travel deter- curves of a river, but they can be anywhere.
mines its round-trip crossing time, which in Since they cause problems for swimming
turn determines the force buildup rate on vehicles, assault boats, outboard motors,
the far shore. bridge boats, and rafts, troops must find
them through underwater reconnaissance
WATER CHANGES or sounding.
A swell is the wave motion found in large
bodies of water and near the mouths of riv- Rocks damage propellers, boats, and float-
ers. It is caused by normal wave action in a ing bridges and ground rafts. They cause
larger body, from tidal action, or from wind swimming armored vehicles to swamp if the
forces across the water. A swell is a serious vehicle body or a track rides up on them
consideration for swimming armored vehi- high enough to cant the vehicle and allow
cles and is less important for assault boats, water into a hatch or engine intake. They
heavy rafts, and bridges. Hydrographic data can also cause a fording vehicle to throw a
and local residents are sources of informa- track. Rocks are found by underwater recon-
tion on swells. Direct observation has lim- naissance or sounding.
ited use, as a swell changes over time with
changing tide and weather conditions. Natural underwater obstructions and float-
ing debris can range from sunken ships to
Tidal variation can cause significant prob- wreckage and snags. The current in large
lems. The depth and current of water waterways can carry significant floating
change with the tide and may allow opera- debris, which can seriously damage boats
tions only during certain times. Tidal varia- and floating equipment. Usually, debris can
tion is not the same every day, as it depends be observed after flooding or rapidly rising
on lunar and solar positions and on the cur- waters. Underwater reconnaissance or
rent's velocity. Planners need tide tables to bottom-charting sonar is the only way to
determine the actual variation, but they are locate underwater obstructions.
not always available for rivers. Another
tidal phenomenon found in some estuaries Man-made underwater obstacles can be steel
is the tidal bore, which is a dangerous wave or concrete tetrahedrons or dragon's teeth,
that surges up the river as the tide enters. wood piles, or mines. The enemy places them
It seriously affects water operations. This to deny a crossing area and designs them to
reverse flow may require that float bridges block or destroy boats and rafts. Underwater
be anchored on both sides. reconnaissance or bottom-charting sonar can
locate these obstacles.
Rivers may be subject to sudden floods due
to heavy rain or thawing upstream. This Vegetation in the water can snag or choke
will cause bank overflow, higher currents, propellers and ducted impellers on outboard
deeper water, and significant floating motors and bridge boats. Normally, floating
debris. If the enemy possesses upstream vegetation is not a significant problem.
flood-control structures or dams, it can Thick vegetation beds that can cause equip-
cause these conditions also. ment problems are found in shallow water
and normally along the shore. As thick veg-
OBSTRUCTIONS etation must extend to within 30 to 60 centi-
Most rivers contain sand or mud banks. meters of the surface to hinder equipment,
They are characteristic of low-current areas it can normally be seen from the surface.

Terrain and Enemy 2-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

THE FRIENDLY SHORE • Potential staging areas that can support
Concealment is critical to the initial assault large numbers of tracked and wheeled
across the river. The assault force must vehicles without continual maintenance.
have concealed access to the river. It must • Helicopter landing zones (LZs) for
also have concealed attack positions close to embarkation of the assault force.
the river from which to prepare assault
boats. The overwatching unit prepares con- THE ENEMY SHORE
cealed positions along the friendly shore,
taking full advantage of vegetation and sur- River meanders form salients and reentrant
face contours. Overwatching units must be angles along the shore. A salient on the
in position to engage the most likely enemy enemy shore is desirable for the crossing
position(s) on the enemy shore. area, as it allows friendly fires from a wide
stretch of the near shore to concentrate
Dominant terrain formed by hill masses or against a small area on the far shore and
river bluffs provides direct-fire overwatch limits the length of enemy shore that must
positions. If the dominant terrain is along be cleared to eliminate direct fire and obser-
the shore, it also covers attack positions, vation (see Figure 2-1).
AAs, and staging areas. Air-defense (AD)
sites should be located on terrain that domi- Dominant terrain is undesirable on the
nates aerial avenues of approach (one of enemy shore. Any terrain that permits
which is located along the river). When direct or observed indirect fires onto cross-
selecting a crossing site, consider the follow- ing sites is key terrain. Friendly forces must
ing: control it before beginning the rafting or
bridging phases.
• Dismounted avenues of approach that
allow silent and concealed movement of Natural obstacles must be minimal between
assault battalions to the river. the river and the bridgehead objectives.
River valleys often have parallel canals, rail-
• Concealed attack positions that are very road embankments, flood-control structures,
close to the water along the dismounted swamps, and ridges that can impede more
avenue. than the river itself. Obstacles perpendicular
to the river can help isolate the bridgehead.
• Approaches from the attack positions to
the water that have gradual slopes and Exits from the river must be reasonably good
limited vegetation to allow the assault without preparation. Initially, the bank
force to carry inflated assault boats. should allow the assault force to land and dis-
• Bank conditions that are favorable. Dis- mount from the assault boats. This requires
mounted forces must be able to carry shallow banks with limited vegetation. The
assault boats to the water, and engineer assault force also requires concealed dis-
troops must be able to construct and oper- mounted avenues up from the river. Bank
ate rafts with little bank preparation. conditions must allow vehicles to debark
from rafts and move up from the river. If
• Road networks that feed the crossing banks require earthwork, at least one unim-
sites and support the lateral movement proved crossing site must allow the landing
of vehicles between sites. These road net- of earthmoving equipment. The most impor-
works must be well constructed to carry tant far-shore requirement is a road network
large amounts of heavy vehicle traffic. to carry high volumes of heavy vehicle traffic.

2-4 Terrain and Enemy
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Reentrant

Salient

Friendly shore
Enemy shore

re
Riv
Figure 2-1. Salient and reentrant on the enemy shore

2-1
INTELLIGENCE
Detailed knowledge of the river and adjacent terrain can be analyzed and used to develop
terrain is critical to both tactical planning decision-support products for the com-
and to engineer technical planning. The keys mander.
are early identification of intelligence
requirements and an effective collection plan. The terrain database is the starting point
Space-based imaging and weather systems for obtaining terrain information. Hydro-
can provide invaluable information to the ter- graphic studies exist for most rivers in
rain database. Multispectral imagery (MSI) potential theaters of operation around the
from satellites can give the engineer terrain world. Many of these studies have sufficient
detachment a bird's-eye view of the area of detail for identifying feasible crossing sites.
operations. Satellite images, the largest 185 Modern information-collection and -storage
by 185 kilometers, can be used to identify key technology permits frequent revision of
terrain and provide crossing locations. These existing data.
images can provide information concerning
the depth and turbidity of the river and can Engineer terrain detachments at corps and
be used to identify the line of site for weapons division maintain the terrain database and
and communications systems. With MSI provide information in the form of topo-
products, prospective construction materials, graphic products. These products are used
the locations of existing crossing sites, and with other tools, such as computers and pho-
nearshore and far-shore road networks can tography, to develop terrain intelligence for
be identified and exploited. staff planners. The planners, in turn, deter-
mine initial crossing requirements and esti-
When the MSI is combined with satellite mated crossing rates from their terrain
weather receivers, data processors, and the analyses.
terrain database, it can be used to identify
mobility corridors and establish floodplain Early in the mission analysis, planners iden-
trafficability. When these space systems are tify further terrain-intelligence needs for the
used together, the effects of the weather on crossing. They provide this to the Assistant

Terrain and Enemy 2-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Chief of Staff, G2 (Intelligence) (G2) for inclu- • The height, slope, and stability of the
sion in the intelligence-collection plan. The bank.
plan specifies that intelligence systems are
used to gather essential terrain information • The condition of nearshore and far-shore
for a more detailed analysis. Information on road networks.
specific river segments and the surrounding
• Previous enemy tactics for defending
terrain is obtained and verified by aerial and
water obstacles.
ground reconnaissance.

PRIORITY INTELLIGENCE • Floodplain trafficability.
REQUIREMENTS (PIR)
INFORMATION COLLECTION
The following tactical and technical infor-
mation is often PIR for executing a success- Engineer units have the primary responsi-
ful crossing: bility to collect the terrain information
needed for river crossings. If the river is
• Enemy positions that can place direct or under friendly control, engineer units col-
observed indirect fires on crossing sites lect river, bank, and route information. If
and approaches. it is not, space- (satellite) or computer-
based intelligence should be accessed, or
• The location and type of enemy obsta- maneuver units with attached engineer
cles, particularly mines, in the water reconnaissance teams should conduct
and on exit banks. reconnaissance operations to obtain
needed information. Engineer light diving
• The location of enemy reserves that can
teams obtain far-shore, nearshore, river-
counterattack assault units.
bottom, and underwater-obstacle informa-
• The location of enemy artillery that can tion. Local inhabitants provide additional
range crossing sites, staging areas, and information about bridges, the flow of a
approaches. river and the stability of its banks, road
networks, ford sites, and other river condi-
• The location and condition of existing tions. Aviation assets can provide aerial
crossing sites. and video reconnaissance to greatly
enhance the IPB for river-crossing opera-
• The width, depth, and velocity of the river. tions. Normal intelligence-collection assets
develop the picture of the enemy’s defense
• The condition and profile of the river’s that is necessary for templating.
bottom.
THREAT
Leaders who understand enemy tactics Army Training and Doctrine Command
can defeat the enemy at the river for a suc- (TRADOC) Pamphlet 350-14 for details on
cessful crossing. Many potential enemies an OPFOR defense and TRADOC Pam-
use doctrine from the former Soviet Union, phlet 350-16 for OPFOR water crossings.
making their tactics the most likely ones
US forces must overcome during a cross- RIVER DEFENSE
ing. Therefore, the discussion in the follow- The threat considers a water obstacle to be
ing paragraphs describes an opposing- a natural barrier, enabling a strong defense
force (OPFOR)-style defense and an attack on a wide front with small forces. Units
at a river as the most likely threat. See US must be prepared to conduct operations in a

2-6 Terrain and Enemy
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

high level of mission-oriented protective force. Threat engineers also emplace obsta-
posture (MOPP). The threat prefers to cles along approach and exit routes, includ-
defend on a riverbank that is under its com- ing the riverbanks. As time and assets
plete control. It can, however, defend for- permit, they add obstacles such as floating
ward or to the rear of a river. Its choice mines and underwater obstructions to fur-
depends on the terrain, the forces available ther disrupt crossing efforts.
to it, and their strengths. The threat consid-
ers the defensive characteristics of the ter- First-echelon defensive forces maneuver to
rain. It weighs the severity of the obstacle, bring maximum defensive fire on the cross-
the effect of lost crossing sites, and the pos- ing force. These defensive forces engage the
sibility of severed supply lines. crossing force with all possible organic and
support weapons at crossing sites while it is
The threat may defend forward when the crossing. Their mission is to defeat the cross-
terrain is favorable, when it has sufficient ing force before it can establish a bridgehead.
reserve combat power, or when it plans to
resume the offense immediately. When Second-echelon battalions, astride major
defending forward, it intends to defeat the egress routes from the river, block assault
crossing force before it reaches the river. elements so counterattacking forces can
The threat will place its defensive forces as engage and destroy battalion or smaller
far forward of the river as possible. assault elements. Second-echelon regi-
ments occupy positions 4 to 5 kilometers
First-echelon regiments of a division in the behind the first echelon. They provide depth
main defensive belt forward of a river estab- to the defense. It is from this area that the
lish initial defensive positions 10 to 15 kilo- threat launches local counterattacks.
meters from the river. Second-echelon
regiments occupy positions within a few The threat undertakes a defense to the rear
kilometers of the river. These positions are of a river when time or terrain precludes a
astride major avenues of approach to block defense forward of the river or on the exit
attacking forces so that a counterattack can bank. In this situation, security elements
destroy them. deploy on the exit bank to harass and dis-
rupt the attacker's assault and support
When defending along a river, the threat forces. These security elements delay the
places most of its forces as close to the exit attacker to provide time to establish the
bank as defensible terrain permits. Their main defense.
mission is to protect the crossing sites and
defeat the crossing force while it is divided A significant threat capability against a
by the river. The arrangement of defensive river crossing is artillery. Therefore, if the
belts is similar to the defense forward of the S2 indicates that the threat has formed
river, except that the distance between first- artillery groups (regimental artillery groups
and second-echelon regiments may be less. [RAGs], division artillery groups [DAGs], or
This concentrates more force to defeat Army artillery groups [AAGs]), then it has
assault forces on the exit bank. the capability to saturate crossing sites. In
this case, it is not sufficient to eliminate the
Threat engineers destroy existing bridges threat’s observation of the river before
and mine known crossing sites. They keep building bridges, as the concentration of
only a few sites open for the withdrawal of artillery fires can deny an entire bridging
the predominantly amphibious security site without the necessity for observed fires.

Terrain and Enemy 2-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

The threat can also place rafting operations • Timely advance of crossing resources.
at risk, as it can place artillery fires on the
entrance bank, the exit bank, and the raft • Personnel and equipment control at the
centerline simultaneously. Therefore, this crossings.
requires counterbattery fire to be planned • Strict compliance with safety measures.
and coordinated to counter threat artillery
attacks on the crossing sites. Threat doctrine calls for relentless pursuit
to prevent the opponent from disengaging,
OFFENSIVE RIVER CROSSING to seize available crossing sites quickly, and
The threat's offensive river-crossing capabil- to cross the obstacle on the heels of with-
ity has a significant effect on retrograde drawing forces. Forward detachments and
crossings by US forces. Threat doctrine advanced guards have a large role in this.
espouses direct and parallel pursuit. The A forward detachment reaches the water
threat's ability to force a crossing on a flank obstacle as quickly as possible, bypassing
and cut off friendly elements before they can strongpoints, and captures existing bridges
complete the retrograde crossing is a major or river sections suitable for an assault
concern. crossing. It crosses the water, seizes key ter-
rain on the opposite bank, and holds it until
The threat is well prepared to cross water the main force arrives.
obstacles. On the average, it anticipates that
a formation on the offense will cross one The threat achieves protection from its
water obstacle of average width (100 to 250 opponent along routes to the river by using
meters) and several narrower ones each day. concealing terrain and creating vertical
It considers the crossing of water obstacles to screens out of vegetation and metallic cam-
be a complex combat mission but regards this ouflage nets. Once the crossing begins, the
as a normal part of a day's advance. threat uses smoke and thermal decoys to
defeat precision-guided munitions.
The threat has two assault-crossing meth-
ods. The first one is an assault crossing Threat tactical doctrine recognizes that
from the line of march. This it does on the time is a decisive factor in the success of
move, having prepared its subunits for the an assault crossing from the line of march.
crossing before they approach the water The threat anticipates that it should take
obstacle. The other method is the prepared a forward detachment (battalion) 1 to 1 1/2
assault crossing—the main forces deploy at hours, a first-echelon regiment 2 to 3
the water obstacle and cross after making hours, and a division 5 to 6 hours to cross
additional preparations. The success of the a river of moderate width (100 to 250
threat's crossings is determined by the fol- meters).
lowing:
When an assault crossing from the line of
• Careful preparation. march is not feasible, the threat uses the
• Reconnaissance of opposing forces and prepared assault crossing. Here, the main
the water obstacle. force deploys at the water obstacle with sub-
units in direct contact with the opponent.
• Surprise. The threat then makes more thorough prep-
• Air superiority. aration for the crossing. Success depends
on covertness, so the crossing usually takes
• Destruction of opposing forces by fire. place at night.

2-8 Terrain and Enemy
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 3
Command and Control
GENERAL
Unity of effort is established by the C2 apply the tactics discussed in Chapters 5
emplaced on the maneuver units, the crossing- and 6. This chapter covers the techniques
force headquarters, and the supporting and procedures used to establish the cross-
units. Unit organization and traffic control ing organization, maintain control of forces,
are fundamental to successful river-crossing and hand off responsibilities between eche-
operations. They enable the commander to lons as the operation progresses.

ORGANIZATION
Division and brigade commanders orga- combat engineers, bridge companies, MP,
nize their forces into assault, maneuver- and chemical units that provide crossing
support, bridgehead, and breakout forces means, traffic control, and obscuration.
for river-crossing operations. Assault Bridgehead forces secure the bridgehead.
forces seize the far-shore objective to elimi- Breakout forces cross the river behind the
nate direct fire on the crossing sites. bridgehead forces and attack out of the
Maneuver-support forces consist of corps bridgehead.

CONTROL ELEMENTS
Division and brigade commanders are or movement routes to the river between
responsible for crossing their formations. brigades as the battle develops. The DTAC
They organize their staffs and subordinate is the crossing-force headquarters.
commanders to help them control the cross-
ing (see Table 3-1, page 3-2). Division and bri- The division main CP (DMAIN) prepares
gade headquarters operate from echeloned the river-crossing plan. It also directs the
CPs. They are the tactical, main, and rear division's deep operations to isolate the
CPs and provide the staff and communica- bridgehead from enemy reinforcements and
tions support for planning and executing counterattacking formations. As a guide,
river crossings. The CPs may need some tem- the DMAIN displaces across the river after
porary augmentation or realignment of inter- the division reserve. For division crossings,
nal staff elements for the crossing. Figures 3- a traffic-control cell schedules, routes, and
1 and 3-2, pages 3-3 and 3-4, show the neces- monitors traffic behind the lead brigades.
sary control elements for deliberate and ret- The cell collocates with the DMAIN. The
rograde river-crossing operations. Each of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (Logistics) (G4)
control elements is discussed below. provides the cell nucleus.

DIVISION HEADQUARTERS The division rear CP (DREAR) sustains the
The division tactical CP (DTAC) controls the crossing for other division operations. Once
lead brigades' (bridgehead force) attack the DMAIN displaces across the river, the
across the river, since this is the division's crossing becomes a rear operation that the
close fight. It may reallocate crossing means DREAR controls.

Command and Control 3-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table 3-1. CP tasks (deliberate crossing)

Phases Assault Secure the
Advance to the Advance From Continue the
Across the Bridgehead
CPs River the Exit Bank Attack
River Line

DTAC Coordinates the Coordinates the Coordinates the Coordinates the Controls the
(crossing lead brigade’s lead brigade’s lead brigade’s lead brigade’s breakout force’s
force’s seizure of dismounted seizure of exit- seizure and attack out of the
headquarters) nearshore assault of the bank and securing of bridgehead and
objectives river to seize the intermediate bridgehead passes the
far-shore objectives objectives and crossing force’s
objectives prepares to responsibilities
cross the to the DREAR
reserve brigade
(breakout
forces)

DMAIN Coordinates Coordinates Coordinates Coordinates Coordinates
deep operations deep operations deep operations deep operations deep operations
to isolate the to isolate the to isolate exit- to isolate the to isolate the
division’s crossing area bank and bridgehead enemy’s attack
advance to the and the far- intermediate against corps
river shore objectives objectives objectives

DREAR Sustains the Sustains the Sustains the Sustains the Assumes the
fight fight fight fight role of the
crossing force’s
headquarters

BTAC Coordinates the Coordinates the Coordinates the Coordinates the Prepares to
lead TF’s dismounted TF’s attack to TF’s seizure and reorganize and
seizure and assault crossing seize and securing of follow the
securing of of the river to secure exit- bridgehead breakout force’s
nearshore secure the far- bank and objectives attack out of the
objectives shore objectives intermediate bridgehead
objectives toward the
division’s deep
objectives

BMAIN Moves into the Coordinates Controls follow- Controls the Passes
(crossing-area crossing area to assault crossing on TFs passing passage of the crossing-area
headquarters) provide traffic means for TFs through the brigade’s units control to the
control, dismounted and crossing area through the supporting
crossing controls into attack crossing area corps’s
means, and obscuration of positions and prepares to engineer
obscuration the crossing cross breakout battalion
sites forces

Crossing-Force Commander (CFC) Crossing-Force Engineer (CFE)
The division commander normally desig- A crossing division receives support from a
nates an assistant division commander CFE, who is normally the commander of an
(ADC) as the CFC to take charge of control- engineer group from the corps engineer bri-
ling the division crossing. gade. He provides additional staff planners

3-2 Command and Control
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

RL
RL Bridge-
Bhead
r i d g eh ea d
XX
lline
i ne

x
CS C
RB
RB T AC

X x
Mai n
Main
CA C
CAC

xx
xxx
CA E
xx
TAC
CF C
CS C
RB
RB
xxx
CF E

X

X

Crossing
Cr os s i ngarea
a re a

Figure 3-1. Control elements for a deliberate crossing (brigade focus)

for the CFC and coordinates engineer sup- the fight for exit-bank, intermediate, and
port to the crossing-area commanders bridgehead objectives.
(CACs).
The BMAIN controls the crossing of the
BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS rest of the brigade. It prepares the brigade
Each brigade headquarters operates from crossing plan and provides the staff
echeloned CPs, the brigade tactical CP nucleus to coordinate it. For brigade cross-
(BTAC), and the brigade main CP ings, the Supply Officer (US Army) (S4),
(BMAIN). The BTAC controls the advance assisted by the supporting MP unit leader
to and the attack across the river. It dis- or engineers if available, organizes a
places across the river as soon as practical small, temporary traffic-control cell collo-
after the assault across the river to control cated with the BMAIN.

Command and Control 3-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

RL RL Holding
line
XX

CSC
RB

x
TAC

x
X Main
CAC

xxx xx
CAE
CSC
RB

xx
TAC
CFC

xxx
CFE
CB T

X

X

Crossing area

Figure 3-2. Control elements for a retrograde crossing (brigade focus)

Crossing-Area Commander • The movement and positioning of all
Once the lead battalions assault across the elements transiting or occupying posi-
river and secure the far-shore objective, tions within the crossing area.
the crossing area is activated. The CAC, • Security elements at crossing sites.
normally the brigade's executive officer
(XO), controls the movement of forces • Maneuver-support forces, such as engi-
inside the crossing area. The BMAIN con- neer, MP, and chemical units within the
trols the maneuver-support force that con- crossing area.
sists of corps engineers, bridge companies,
and MP and chemical units. This leaves Crossing-Area Engineer (CAE)
the brigade commander free to direct key Each forward brigade will normally be sup-
activities while an officer who is directly ported by a direct-support engineer battalion
responsible to him runs the crossing. The from the corps. The engineer battalion com-
CAC controls— mander is responsible to the CAC for the

3-4 Command and Control
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

engineer crossing means and sites. He operating the site. He commands the engi-
informs the CAC of changes, due to technical neers operating the crossing means and the
difficulties or enemy action, that render a engineer regulating points (ERPs) at the
crossing means inoperable or reduce its call-forward areas for that site. He main-
capacity. He commands those engineers tains the site and decides on the immediate
tasked to move the force across the river; action needed to remove broken-down or
they remain there as the attack proceeds damaged vehicles that interfere with activi-
beyond the exit-bank objectives. The division ties at the site. He is responsible to the CAE
engineer battalion focuses on supporting the and keeps him informed on the status of the
lead brigades at exit-bank, intermediate, and site.
bridgehead objectives and is not normally
involved in the river crossing. Unit-Movement-Control Officer
Each battalion and separate unit com-
Crossing-Site Commander (CSC) mander designates a movement-control
Each crossing site has an engineer, either a officer, who coordinates the unit's move-
company commander or a platoon leader, ment according to the movement-control
who is responsible for crossing the units plan. He provides staff planners with
sent to the site. Normally, the CSC is the detailed information on the unit's vehicle
company commander for the bridge unit types and numbers.

COMMUNICATIONS
Figures 3-3 and 3-4, pages 3-6 and 3-7, division and corps in the deliberate-crossing
depict the communications networks within example. Wire is the preferred means of
a crossing area. In the hasty-crossing exam- communications in a river crossing when
ple, a brigade making a supporting attack there is sufficient time to prepare it. The
conducts a crossing with its normal slice of corps engineer battalion will establish wire
combat-support forces plus a corps bridge communications with the nearshore cross-
company. More assets are available from the ing area according to the crossing plan.

CONTROL MEASURES
The commander uses control measures to CROSSING AREAS
delineate areas of responsibility for subor- Crossing areas are controlled access areas
dinates and to ease traffic control. Figure that decrease congestion at the river. This
3-5, page 3-8, illustrates the control mea- permits swift movement of forces. Each lead
sures described below. brigade has a crossing area on both sides of
the river that is defined by brigade bound-
RELEASE LINES (RLS)
aries and RLs. Crossing areas normally
As used in river-crossing operations, RLs extend 3 to 4 kilometers on each side of the
are used to delineate the crossing area. RLs river, depending on the terrain and the
are located on both the far and near shores anticipated battle.
and indicate a change in the headquarters
that is controlling movement. RLs are nor- WAITING AREAS
mally located within 3 to 4 kilometers of Waiting areas are located adjacent to the
the river and on easily identifiable terrain routes or axes of advance. Commanders
features, if possible. use the following waiting areas to conceal

Command and Control 3-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

x

Assault
xx TAC
forces

Holding
areas

River

Crossing
... sites

Maneuver-
support
forces
... CAE
MP

xxx
RB

... EE P
EEP

Call-forward
areas
Main body
1 TCP

X Ho lding
X areas
XX
Main
(-)
... TCP
Staging areas
MP 2

AA

X X

XXX Main

CFE
CFE
TCP
3

Figure 3-3. Communications for a deliberate crossing

3-6 Command and Control
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

x

Assault TAC
xx
forces

Holding
areas

River

Crossing
... sites

Maneuver-
support ... CAE
CAE
forces MP
MP

xxx
RB

... EE P
EEP

Call-forward
areas
Main body
1 TCP

X Ho lding
X areas
XX
Main
(-)
... TCP
Staging areas
MP 2

XX

XXX Main

CFE
CFE
TCP
3

Figure 3-4. Communications for a hasty crossing

Command and Control 3-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

TCP
1
RL Pear RL Pear

Attack position
Green 34
RP
2-3 km Crossing area
Green

RP Holding
4 Site Green 2
area ER
P (swim)
Site Green 3
(raft) Centerline Centerline
Centerline Middle East River
River West

)
TCP ic oonnlyly)
2 ineeeerr traaffffi c
Enngg
((E 6
TCP ER
EEP P
Green 35 3
Alt
ERP TCP
1 1 Alt Call-forward
2-3 km area
Green 21
TCP
6
Call-forward area
Green 33 TC
7 P

(Engineer To site Green 1
traffic only)
Holding area
3 TC Green 32
P
RL Apple
RL Apple
8
TC
P NOTE: Arrows
parallel to roads
show the direction
2 ERP of traffic
9 T movement.
CP

Staging area Green 31

Figure 3-5. Control measures

3-8 Command and Control
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

vehicles, troops, and equipment while wait- movement from the call-forward area to the
ing to resume movement or to make final crossing site and on to the far-shore attack
crossing preparations: position. As a minimum, each CSC operates
his own call-forward area. Call-forward
• Staging areas.
areas—
• Call-forward areas.
• Are located to support the crossing plan.
• Holding areas.
• Are company size within the crossing
• Attack positions. area.
• AAs. • Are easily accessible from routes.
Staging areas • Are planned with a minimum of one per
Staging areas are battalion-size waiting crossing site.
areas outside the crossing area where forces • Have ERPs collocated with them.
wait to enter the crossing area. The brigade
traffic-control cell handles units’ movement • Are used to organize units into raft loads.
into staging areas. The CAC controls move- • Are the final preparation areas before
ment from the staging areas into the cross- going to the crossing site.
ing areas. MP operate traffic-control posts
(TCPs) at staging areas according to the • Are normally operated by engineers.
crossing and traffic-circulation plans. They Holding Areas
emplace temporary signs along the route
from the staging area through the crossing Holding areas are waiting areas that forces
area to guide convoys. Units make crossing use during traffic interruptions. Units move
preparations and receive briefings on vehi- into these areas when directed by TCP per-
cle speed and spacing in the staging areas. sonnel and disperse rather than stay on the
Staging areas— roads. Holding areas are battalion size out-
side of the crossing area and company size
• Are located to support the crossing con- within it. Far-shore holding areas are used to
cept. organize return traffic. MP and engineers, if
• Are far enough back to permit the available, operate holding areas according to
rerouting of the battalion along other the crossing and traffic-circulation plans.
roads or to alternate crossing sites. Established as needed on both sides of the
river, holding areas—
• Are easily accessible from major routes.
• Are used as call-forward areas for return
• Have sufficient area for dispersing a
traffic from the far shore.
battalion-size unit.
• Provide concealment. • Are located to support the crossing plan.

Call-Forward Areas • Are easily accessible from routes.
Call-forward areas are company-size wait- • Have sufficient area for dispersion.
ing areas located within the crossing area.
Engineers use them to organize units into • Provide cover and concealment.
raft loads, or crews use them to make final
• Are defensible.
vehicle swimming preparations. The CAC
controls movement from the staging area to • Maximize traffic flow with minimum
the call-forward area. The CSC directs control.

Command and Control 3-9
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Attack Positions movement of units and convoys. TCP per-
Attack positions are the last positions occu- sonnel relay messages between the cross-
pied or passed through by the assault eche- ing-area headquarters and moving units.
lon or attacking force before crossing the The provost marshal identifies locations
line of departure. Within the bridgehead, that need or require TCPs. MP or engi-
the attack position is the last position neers, if available, operate TCPs on both
before leaving the crossing area or bridge- banks of the river to control traffic moving
head line. toward or away from it. TCPs are addition-
ally operated at major or critical crossroads
Assembly Areas and road junctions, staging areas, holding
AAs are areas in which a force prepares or areas, and ERPs.
regroups for further action.
ENGINEER REGULATING POINTS
ENGINEER EQUIPMENT PARKS (EEPS) ERPs are technical checkpoints which are
EEPs are areas located a convenient distance used to ensure that vehicles do not exceed
from bridging and rafting sites for assem- the capacity of the crossing means. They
bling, preparing, and storing bridge equip- help maintain traffic flow. Vehicles which
ment and material. They are at least 1 will not be allowed to cross are removed so
kilometer from the river and hold spare that they do not cause a traffic backup at
equipment and empty bridge trucks that are the actual crossing site. Engineers man the
not required at the crossing sites. EEPs ERPs and report to the CSC. TCPs are collo-
should be located where they do not interfere cated with the ERPs to ensure that all vehi-
with the traffic to the crossing sites and cles clear the call-forward areas. An
where equipment can be concealed and dis- additional duty of ERP personnel is to give
persed. Ideally, routes leading from EEPs to the drivers final instructions on site-specific
the crossing sites are not the same routes procedures and other information such as
used by units crossing the river. speed and vehicle intervals. As a minimum,
each crossing site requires an ERP at its
TRAFFIC-CONTROL POSTS own call-forward area. If sufficient engineer
In river crossings, TCP personnel assist assets are available, ERPs may be estab-
the crossing-area headquarters in traffic lished at far-shore holding areas to regulate
control by reporting and regulating the rearward traffic.

CROSSING PLAN
The crossing plan is integrated throughout (see Figure 3-6). The crossing synchroniza-
the division's and brigade's operation tion matrix is a tool to adjust the crossing
orders (OPORDs) and is as detailed as time plan as the battle develops. It shows cross-
permits. The crossing annex to the OPORD ing units in relation to their planned cross-
contains much but not all of the plan. It has ing times and locations. See Appendix B for
the crossing overlay and the crossing syn- an example matrix.
chronization matrix.
The task organization paragraph and para-
The crossing overlay shows the crossing graph 5 of the OPORD contain the organiza-
areas, the crossing sites, the routes leading tion and command portions of the crossing
up to them from waiting areas, and all the plan. For more information on the develop-
control measures necessary for the crossing ment of the crossing plan, see Chapter 4.

3-10 Command and Control
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

RL
RL Grape
541D 541D Apple
541D
xx xx xx
23 AD 23 AD 23AD
Holding area Site Red 1
Holding area
1 TCP 4 TCP 3 EERP
RP
TCP 5 TCP TCP
Route 2 Staging
1 ERP
ERP Attack
Red 21 area position
AA Maple Red 22 Holding Site Red 2
x area Red 25
Red 23
R

Red 24
ou

1 Call-forward
te

CBT

501
Mai n area TCP
3

TCP CA C CAE 6 TCP TCP ERP ERP
E R P 10
8 2 Site Red 3 4
3 7 TCP
Attack
position
Holding Staging Holding Red 35
area area area
Red 31 Red 32 Red 33 21
Red
Site Red 4
Call-forward area
1 1 Crossing area Red
x x 1
3 3 x
RL Grape PL 3
River RL Apple

Figure 3-6. Crossing overlay

CROSSING CONTROL
Commanders use control measures to oper- security or supporting the crossing occupy
ate, delegate authority, and lead from any AAs and prepare for movement across the
critical point during the river-crossing oper- river.
ation while synchronizing other critical
actions throughout their area of operations. CROSSING-AREA OPERATIONS
After the assault across the river, the brigade
ASSAULT ACROSS THE RIVER has an initial position on the far shore and is
Battalion task forces (TFs) conducting the no longer fighting to seize the exit bank. The
assault across the river move to it under the brigade needs its follow-on forces across as
direct control of their brigade commanders. quickly as possible. The battalions can now
The assault TFs using rubber boats 15 cross without engaging in combat at the
(RB15s) follow the procedures in Chapter 8. river. The brigade commander activates the
The brigade commander keeps the remain- crossing area to move forces rapidly and effi-
der of the brigade back from the river to ciently. The urgent need to get tanks across
avoid congestion. Elements not engaged in the river means the rafting stage often

Command and Control 3-11
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

begins before terrain on the far shore is In the call-forward area at site Green 33,
secure to the planned RL. Therefore, the ERP personnel organize individual vehicles
crossing area is initially limited to the near into raft loads. They guide the raft loads
shore. The first fighting vehicles swimming down to the raft centerlines as the CSC
or rafting across under this circumstance directs. In the call-forward area at site Green
have limited space to regroup before commit- 21, vehicle crews make the final vehicle
ment to the fight. swimming preparations. ERP personnel send
the vehicles down to the swimming site when
As the initial battalions cross, they gain ter- directed by the CSC.
rain to the necessary depth, and as control
elements cross to the far shore, the brigade Vehicles remain under the control of the
commander extends the crossing area out to CSC until they are on the far shore. There
the planned RL. Thereafter, units move com- they proceed to attack position 6, where
pletely through the crossing area under the they regroup as a company/team. When
CAC's control and exit it in a tactical move. ready, the TF commander, under the tacti-
cal control of the brigade commander, con-
When rafting, the crossing flow for the fol- trols the movement of the vehicles.
low-on units is generally from a staging
area, through the call-forward area and During bridging operations, the CAC nor-
crossing site into an attack position, and mally directs the follow-on battalions to
then on to a subsequent objective. While move in company serials from the staging
bridging, the flow is from a staging area, area. Each serial moves down to the bridge
through the crossing site, and then out of site, crosses the river, and continues on to
the crossing area. the attack position. The CAC directs an
interval between serials that keeps contin-
Figure 3-7 illustrates the traffic flow for a fol- uous traffic across the bridge without gaps
low-on battalion TF during the rafting. This or traffic jams. A call-forward area
procedure avoids congestion close to the cross- remains established in the event that the
ing site and helps maintain unit integrity bridge becomes damaged and units must
while the battalion rafts. The battalion occu- be held until raft operations resume.
pies staging area Green 31 and organizes an
internal unit crossing order based on its mis- Units in the support-by-fire position on
sion on the far shore. When concurrently the near shore are already inside the cross-
swimming and rafting vehicles of the same ing area when the crossing operation
battalion, the swimming vehicles form up sep- starts. They remain in this position until
arate from nonswimming vehicles for move- the CAC directs them to cross the river,
ment to the crossing sites and reform into a and then they move directly to previously
tactical formation at the far-shore attack posi- selected call-forward areas or start points
tion. ERP personnel at the call-forward area (SPs) by company or platoon.
check to determine the correct load classifica-
tion and proper loading sequence for each TRANSFER OF SUPPORT FORCES TO
vehicle. When instructed by the CAC, the DIVISION
battalion sends one company at a time (or the Once the bridgehead forces are across the
equivalent) from the staging area. TCP per- river, the crossing sites are relatively
sonnel guide the company's movement en secure. Since ground maneuver is no longer
route to a call-forward area where it comes close to the crossing area, the operation at
under the movement control of the CSC. the river becomes predominantly a bridging

3-12 Command and Control
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

TCP

RL Pear RL Pear

Attack
position
6 RP

Holding
area 4

River
River
Site Green 2
Site Green 3 (swim)
(raft)
TCP
Call-forward
6
area
ER
P Green 21
TCP 3
1 E RP 1

TCP
2
Call-forward area
Green 33 TC
3 P

Holding area
Green 32

RL Apple
RL Apple TC
4 P

NOTE: Arrows parallel to roads
show the direction of traffic
2 ERP movement.
TC
P
5

Staging area Green 31

Figure 3-7. Follow-on-TF crossing during a rafting phase

Command and Control 3-13
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

and traffic-scheduling problem. The division another officer, normally the CAE, who
headquarters moves the RL at the rear of becomes responsible for the crossing area.
the bridgehead force to the far shore. The The CAE then reports through the CFE to
crossing areas come under direct division the ADC at the DREAR. The CAE's unit
control. As the ADC directs, the brigade headquarters becomes the crossing-area
commander turns over his crossing area to headquarters.

MOVEMENT CONTROL
Movement control is vital to efficiently move the Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations
units and material up to the crossing area and Plans) (G3) and the G4 establish. The
in the sequence needed by the commander. S4 prepares the brigade movement plan
The traffic-control cells at the division and according to the priorities that the Opera-
brigade headquarters exercise movement tions and Training Officer (US Army) (S3)
control through TCPs. The division controls establishes. Each unit-movement officer,
movement from its rear boundary up to the normally the battalion S4, provides the
brigade rear, and the brigade controls move- unit's vehicle information to the planning
ment from the rear boundary up to the headquarters.
bridgehead line.
The movement plan normally consists of a
The division transportation officer (DTO) traffic-circulation overlay and a road-movement
develops the division movement plan table found in the movement annex to the
according to the movement priorities that division's or brigade's order.

RETROGRADE CROSSINGS
A retrograde river crossing has most of the When the river is in the division’s rear area
same control features as an offensive cross- at the start of the retrograde, the crossing
ing. The commander responsible for a begins as a rear operation. The senior corps
crossing area has the same authority as he engineer commander supporting the divi-
does in an offensive crossing. When a bri- sion becomes the CFE and establishes divi-
gade establishes a defense along the river sion crossing areas with corps engineer and
concurrent with the crossing, the com- MP units. He identifies engineer command-
mander coordinates crossing activities to ers, as directed by the commanding gen-
avoid conflicts with defensive prepara- eral, to quickly organize the crossing areas
tions. For this reason, the responsible and initiate crossing control. These cross-
officer and his staff should be familiar ing areas correspond to the brigade bound-
with both the delaying and defending com- aries planned by the G3 for the defense
manders' tactical plans. He coordinates along the river.
optimum use of crossing sites by delaying
forces. As the delaying forces disengage, Each brigade commander establishing a
they must rapidly pass through the defend- defense at the river appoints an XO to con-
ing force and cross the river. The com- trol the crossing area in his sector. When
mander responsible for the crossing area the river is in the brigade's sector at the
reports to the division CP controlling the start of the retrograde, this officer can
operation. If the main CP is forward of the immediately take charge and organize the
river, C 2 is usually at the DREAR until the crossing area. If the division initially orga-
main CP displaces behind the river. nizes the crossing area through the CFE,

3-14 Command and Control
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

it directs the defending brigade to take mutual agreement or when directed by the
charge of the crossing area once it has brigade commander. Simultaneous handoff
established its hasty defense at the river. between or within defensive sectors is not
Then the engineer who was responsible for essential. Depending on the tactical situa-
the crossing area becomes the CAE. The tion, the division commander may not
brigade XO coordinates with the DMAIN, allow crossing equipment to remain in
which retains centralized control of the place, even though the defending brigade
crossing until only the defending brigade's commander desires its retention. Nor-
units remain to cross in that area. The mally, the CAC retains control of the cross-
crossing area is used until the commander ing means until delaying forces cross the
directs the bridges to be destroyed or river. He then orders the removal of the
removed. At that time, the crossing area tactical bridging assets. Control of the
ceases to exist. remaining fixed bridges then passes to the
defending commanders. They are responsi-
Turnover of the sites from the CAC to the ble for their defense and ultimate destruc-
defending battalion commanders is by tion, as discussed in Chapter 6.

Command and Control 3-15
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 4
Planning
GENERAL
Units plan river crossings the same as any assists the division engineer section with
tactical operation, with one major differ- detailed crossing plans. The lead brigade
ence. Force allocation against enemy units develops the tactical plans that it will exe-
has an added dimension of time. Friendly cute. It develops the crossing objectives in
forces can only arrive on the battlefield at order to attain its mission objective.
the rate at which they can be brought
across the river. This rate changes at differ- The headquarters of the corps engineer
ent times throughout the operation. This battalion, assigned to support each bri-
chapter outlines the detailed planning nec- gade crossing, develops the detailed cross-
essary because of this difference. ing plan. The battalions develop the
tactical plan necessary to seize assigned
The corps allocates support elements to the objectives.
division and provides terrain and enemy
analyses. It assigns mission objectives to The actual planning process for a river
the division. For operations where the corps crossing is the same as for any tactical oper-
is crossing the river, it may assign the ation. Differences occur primarily because
bridgehead line. of the complexity of crossing a river (which
makes extensive calculation necessary) and
The division assigns mission objectives to the need to balance tactics with crossing
the brigades and specifies the bridgehead rates.
line. It may assign bridgehead objectives to
the brigades. The division allocates maneu- Planners do crossing calculations twice.
ver and maneuver-support forces to the bri- Crossing calculations are critical to COA
gades and develops coordination measures, evaluation. They are required to ensure
such as movement schedules, that apply to that force buildup supports the COA. For
more than one brigade. The division also initial planning, simple calculations and
provides terrain and enemy analyses to the rules of thumb are used to produce quick
brigades. force-buildup information. Once a com-
mander selects a specific COA, planners
The senior corps engineer headquarters, make detailed crossing calculations to pro-
allocated to the division for the crossing, duce the crossing plan.

THE PLANNING PROCESS
The staff planning process produces a best In the following paragraphs, the planning
possible solution to accomplish the unit's process is described in steps and by eche-
mission. This chapter discusses those parts lons. The shadowed text in the tables shows
of planning that are necessary for a river the step in the planning process being dis-
crossing. It does not attempt to discuss the cussed, with the battle staff and engi-
larger planning process necessary for full neer planning requirements alongside. A
mission accomplishment. detailed discussion that is primarily aimed

Planning 4-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

at the division and brigade echelons follows. missions to the division. The corps plan will
In general, the corps identifies the crossing then provide river-crossing assets to the divi-
requirement and provides assets, the divi- sion and may specify crossing the river as one
sion conducts a detailed terrain analysis of the tasks assigned to the division. If the
and develops rough crossing plans, and the mission the corps is assigning does not
brigade develops detailed crossing plans. require a division-level river crossing, it may
not specify a crossing. The troop list includes
ANALYZING THE MISSION necessary crossing assets, however.
The first step is to recognize that a river
crossing is necessary (see Table 4-1). Once Normally, if the corps identifies the require-
the mission is received, the staff develops ment for a river crossing, its warning order
and conducts a mission analysis. This is (WO) includes it. The topographic company
done to— supporting the corps provides detailed river
data and crossing-area overlays. The topo-
• Understand the purpose of the mission
graphic company automatically provides
and the intent of the commander and the
necessary topographic data to the division
commander two levels up.
terrain team. See FM 100-15 for more
• Review the area of operations. details on planning at the corps level.
• Identify tasks (both specified and
implied), assets available, constraints, The division discovers that it must cross a
restraints, and an acceptable level of river by receiving a specified task in the
risk. corps’s order or by developing an implied
task during mission analysis. The division
A mission analysis is conducted according to engineer’s section always examines all riv-
FM 101-5. Corps planners normally identify ers in the division’s area of operations dur-
river-crossing requirements when assigning ing the mission-analysis process. The

Table 6-1. Step 1 - receive the mission
Table 4-1. Step 2 - analyze the mission
Military Decision-
Actions to be Taken
Making Process

Receive the mission The battle staff—
• Identifies critical facts and assumptions.
Analyze the mission
• Conducts an initial IPB by—
Develop COAs - Identifying key terrain affecting the crossing.
- Templating enemy river defenses.
Analyze COAs - Estimating the crossing capability of the area to be crossed,
using terrain data and available crossing means.
Compare COAs
- Calculating force crossing rates for each crossing area, using
Approve a COA the troop list.
- Templating enemy obstacle systems.
Produce orders - Reviewing available bridging assets.
• Determines specified, implied, and essential tasks.
• Recognizes that a river-crossing operation is necessary.
• Issues a WO.
• Determines the CCIR as pertaining to the river crossing.

4-2 Planning
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

division terrain team maintains a terrain Reconnaissance teams seek information to
database that includes river data and fill those requirements. Obstacle templates
potential crossing sites for the division’s are verified by active air and ground recon-
area of operation. naissance, as directed in Chapter 2.

NOTE: Upon identifying a river- Friendly Troops
crossing task, the division engineer The division engineer coordinates for corps
and terrain team immediately deter- engineer units to cross the force, using the
mine potential crossing sites. simple rule of thumb that every forward bri-
gade requires two bridges. Insufficient
Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield bridging assets limit possible COAs.
The battle staff, including the staff engi-
neer's help, analyze the existing situation. The brigade engineer identifies the crossing
This analysis includes the enemy, friendly sites required for the brigade and for each
troops, terrain, and time available for the battalion based on the number of vehicles.
mission. This step is primarily designed to This calculation is based on simple assump-
acquire the data necessary for the following tions. From it, the brigade engineer deter-
planning steps, but some early analysis is mines the approximate time necessary to
necessary to generate critical information. cross the entire brigade (see Appendix B).
The engineer staff officer must very quickly The crossings required are important during
convert raw terrain data and friendly infor- COA development. The brigade engineer also
mation into crossing rates. This allows the determines the amount of bridging available,
planners to make intelligent decisions about the number of possible heavy rafts, and the
supportable schemes of maneuver. number of assault boats. This information is
forwarded to the CAE, who is responsible for
As a part of the IPB process, the G2 leads the control of all crossing means.
the staff development of a defensive situa-
tional template along the entire river that Terrain
the division must cross. The template The division engineer ensures that ade-
focuses attention on possible areas of weak- quate information is in the crossing-site
ness, counterattack forces, and artillery. database for planning at brigade level. The
division terrain team generates crossing-
The G2, with the division engineer’s help, site overlays, site data files, and road and
develops obstacle templates from the line of cross-country-movement overlays for the
contact through to division objectives. He crossing areas.
provides the templates to the brigade intel-
ligence sections for their planning and anal- The division engineer ensures that suffi-
ysis. The division engineer provides enemy cient assault, raft, and bridge sites are
obstacle information (particularly along the available within each assault-brigade area.
river) to the brigade engineers. Generally, a main attack brigade requires
assault sites for two dismounted battalions
The division provides the brigade staff with and at least two raft or bridge sites.
templates that it refines and further develops
for the enemy force in its area of operation. The brigade engineer, coordinating with the
The S2 develops intelligence requirements CAE, evaluates all potential crossing sites
and a detailed intelligence-collection plan, from both technical and tactical consider-
with specific emphasis on the far shore. ations, including—

Planning 4-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

• Entry- and exit-road networks. that potential COAs can be devised with
crossing objectives. The operations planners
• Cross-country movement.
combine this knowledge with the crossing-
• The width, velocity, and depth of the site comparisons and enemy templates to
river. develop possible COAs.
• The conditions of the bank. DEVELOPING COAs
• The vegetation along the shore. The G3, along with key members of the bat-
tle staff, sketches out possible COAs to
• The obstacles in or along the river. accomplish the mission of the division (see
• Possible attack positions and routes to Table 4-2). COAs must include—
the river. • Assigned crossing areas for each bri-
• Possible call-forward areas. gade.
• Brigade boundaries that include terrain
The brigade engineer, coordinating with the which is necessary to defend the bridge-
CAE, then analyzes each site to arrive at a head against enemy counterattacks.
rough crossing-rate capability and the
effort necessary to open the site. Opera- Looking two levels down, the division staff
tional planners use this information to plans an assault-crossing site for each antic-
develop possible COAs. ipated assault battalion in a brigade’s area.
A brigade should also have two bridging or
The division engineer, coordinating with the rafting sites within its boundaries.
CFC, ensures that the crossing require-
ments of the lead brigades and breakout The S3 looks closely at the avenues leading
force are adequately resourced to satisfy to brigade mission objectives, particularly
each COA. at crossing sites feeding the avenues.
Developing practicable COAs is normally
The BMAIN evaluates the terrain along the an iterative process. The division staff first
river in terms of OCOKA. The intent is to develops a scheme of maneuver to take the
understand the terrain along the river so final objective, then verifies that the force

Table 4-2. Step 3 - develop COAs
Military Decision-
Actions to be Taken
Making Process

Receive the mission The battle staff—
• Sketches out, with the commander’s assistance, several COAs to
Analyze the mission develop.
• Develops the scheme of maneuver, fire plan, and support plan for
Develop COAs
each COA, considering crossing capability and the order of
Analyze COAs crossing.

Compare COAs The engineer selects sites, determines rafting and bridging configura-
tions and bank-preparation requirements, and task-organizes the
Approve a COA engineers for each COA.
Produce orders

4-4 Planning
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

build-up rate across the river is adequate - If it takes longer to open a crossing
for the scheme of maneuver. If so, the S3 site.
expands the COAs to include the tactics - If damage slows progress over
required for the crossing. entrance and exit routes.
The tactics required for the crossing are - If the conditions of the river change.
based on enemy defenses near the crossing
• Considers what will happen if enemy
sites, enemy reaction forces and earliest
action shuts down a crossing site or
employment times, and crossing rates at
forces its relocation.
each site. The COAs must include exit-bank,
intermediate, and bridgehead objectives. • Must consider the consequences of equip-
ment failure or loss to enemy action.
The S3, working with the brigade engineer
and CAE, develops the control measures, • Evaluates the most likely of these
crossing graphics, and crossing time line for against all COAs and develops, within
each COA (see Figure 4-1). his means, necessary counters to include
alternate sites and routes.
ANALYZING COAs
The staff at both the division and brigade COMPARING COAs
war-game each COA against likely enemy The division staff examines each COA
reactions (see Table 4-3, page 4-6). They against both the immediate and follow-on
then attempt to counter each enemy missions (see Table 4-4, page 4-6). The divi-
response. sion is particularly concerned with the
movement of reserve and support forces and
The engineer— compares COAs against these requirements.
• War-games against other variables out- The brigade staff considers the ability of
side his control, such as terrain difficul- each COA to handle enemy responses, sup-
ties and crossing-equipment losses. port follow-on missions, provide brigade
flexibility, and allow for crossing redun-
• Considers what will happen—
dancy.

H-1 H H+1 H+2 H+3 H+4

Assault 1 TF 1-1

Site 1 Prep TF 1-2

Site 2 Prep TF 2-1

Assault 2 TF 2-2

Not used
Site 3

Figure 4-1. Crossing time line

Planning 4-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table 4-3. Step 4 - analyze COAs
Military Decision-
Actions to be Taken
Making Process

Receive the mission The battle staff war-games each COA against possible enemy
responses.
Analyze the mission
The engineer war-games each COA against terrain changes and
Develop COAs equipment loss.

Analyze COAs

Compare COAs

Approve a COA

Produce orders

PRODUCING ORDERS the crossing-synchronization matrix as a pri-
The battle staff converts the selected COA mary execution tool for the S3 (see Appendix
into a plan with sufficient detail for synchro- B). He also helps the traffic-control cell work
nized execution (see Table 4-5). The staff out the traffic-circulation plan.
engineer conducts an extensive analysis to
develop a unit-by-unit crossing plan and While detailed planning is underway, the
movement schedule in conjunction with the CAE initiates far-shore and nearshore
G3, G4, and DTO. From this analysis, he reconnaissance to develop sufficient detail
develops the crossing-capability chart (see for battalion-level planning. He converts
Appendix B) and the crossing overlay (see this planning into a detailed engineer task
Figure 3-6, page 3-11). These are his primary list and develops an engineer execution
execution tools. The staff engineer develops matrix to synchronize it (see Appendix B).

Table 4-4. Step 5 - compare COAs
Military Decision-
Actions to be Taken
Making Process

Receive the mission The battle staff—
• Compares and evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of
Analyze the mission the COAs.
Develop COAs • Recommends one COA to the commander.

Analyze COAs The commander selects a COA and issues a FRAGO.

Compare COAs

Approve a COA

Produce orders

4-6 Planning
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table 4-5. Step 6 - produce orders
Military Decision-
Actions to be Taken
Making Process

Receive the mission The battle staff converts the selected COA into an executable plan.

Analyze the mission The engineer develops a detailed crossing plan.

Develop COAs

Analyze COAs

Compare COAs

Approve a COA

Produce orders

Planning 4-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 5
Division Deliberate River Crossing
GENERAL
A division deliberate river crossing is an A deliberate river crossing is costly in terms
operation conducted as part of an offensive of manpower, equipment, and time. It is gen-
operation. The intent of a deliberate river erally conducted against a well-organized
crossing is to quickly cross a river and rap- defense when a hasty river crossing is not
idly secure the bridgehead line. It is meticu- possible or when one has failed. A deliberate
lously planned and coordinated with all river crossing requires the concentration of
concerned elements. A deliberate river cross- combat power on a narrow front, capitalizing
ing requires thorough reconnaissance and on the element of surprise. The phases, eche-
extensive evaluation of all intelligence. It lons, organizations, and C2 of a division delib-
requires detailed planning and preparation, erate river crossing are discussed in detail in
centralized control, and extensive rehearsals. this chapter.

PHASES OF A DELIBERATE RIVER CROSSING
An offensive deliberate river-crossing opera- exit-bank and intermediate objectives
tion has four phases. They are distinct that eliminate direct and observed indi-
phases for planning, but there is no pause rect fires into the crossing area.
between them in execution. The phases are
as follows: • Secure the bridgehead line (Phase IV).
The final phase involves units that
• Advance to the river (Phase I). The first secure bridgehead objectives to protect
phase is the attack to seize the near- the bridgehead against a counterattack.
shore objective. This gains additional time and space for
the buildup of forces for the attack out of
• Assault across the river (Phase II). The the bridgehead.
second phase involves units assaulting
across the river to seize the far-shore These phases are followed immediately by
objective, eliminating direct fire on the an attack out of the bridgehead by follow-
crossing sites. on forces to defeat enemy forces at subse-
quent or final objectives. Figure 5-1, page
• Advance from the exit bank (Phase III). 5-2, relates the crossing phases to the
The third phase is the attack to secure objectives described in this chapter.

THE RIVER CROSSING
The following section describes a deliberate A division is normally the smallest organi-
river-crossing operation from the division's zation that can conduct a deliberate river-
and brigade's perspectives. It details the crossing operation. It is usually an implied
actions that are required in deep, close, and task in a larger mission given by the corps.
rear operations by phase (see Figure 5-2, The river crossing is not the objective but
page 5-3). is part of the scheme of maneuver and

Division Deliberate River Crossing 5-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Crossing
area

xx

Crossing
site Bridge-
head
obj

Int Final
Far-shore
obj obj
obj

Exit-
bank Bridgehead line
Near- obj Alpha
shore
obj

Rive r-Crossing Phases
Phase I Phase II Phase III Phase IV Continuation of
the Attack
Advance to Assault Advance from the Secure the Continue offensive
Phase the river across the exit bank bridgehead line combat operations
river

Seize the Sieze the Secure exit-bank and Seize and secure Continue the attack
nearshore far-shore ob- intermediate objectives bridgehead objectives to on to the division's
objective jective, elimin- to eliminate direct and protect the bridgehead and the corps's
ating direct indirect fires on the against counterattacks objectives
Mission fire on the crossing area and create time and
crossing space for the buildup of
sites forces for the attack out
(activate the of the bridgehead by
crossing breakout forces; extend
area) the crossing area
Assault Rafts Bridges
Bridging boats (begin constructing
Assets (begin con- float bridges)
structing
rafts)

Figure 5-1. Deliberate river crossing

overall offensive action against the enemy. maintain its momentum through the cross-
The enemy will normally use the river as a ing.
tactical obstacle system to slow and gain
positional advantage against the division's Mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time
advance. The intent of the division is to available (METT-T) dictate the force

5-2 Division Deliberate River Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

allocation required during each phase of the requirements to execute a believable decep-
operation. Aside from the normal planning, tion so that the enemy does not know where
detailed march tables are required for the the division will conduct the deliberate
rapid passage of units through the crossing river-crossing operation.
area into the bridgehead. Detailed plans are
disseminated before the execution to ensure To conduct the deliberate river crossing, the
an uninterrupted operation. River-crossing division requires augmentation from the
operations normally restrict movement to corps. The corps must provide bridge compa-
four to six routes. This requires disciplined nies that are in direct support to the division
and controlled movement to ensure that for the river-crossing operation in addition to
combat power builds in the bridgehead faster other combat engineers that are required to
than the enemy's ability to react. operate assault boats, provide C2, and so
forth. An assault float bridge (AFB) company
An integral part of the river-crossing opera- must have an engineer group or ad hoc bat-
tion is the deception plan. The corps will talion staff that can support the deliberate
plan, resource, and control all of the river-crossing operation and can remain in

xx
x x
xx
Main TAC
Far-
Rear
shore Exit-
xx obj bank
xx Int Bridge-
Near- obj
shore obj head Bridgehead
Main TAC obj
obj l ine Alpha
xx

x x
x
Main
Near-
x x
AA x shore Bridge-
obj Exit- Int head
Main Far- bank obj
TAC TAC obj
shore obj
obj

xx
Crossing RL
RL area

The BTACs control close operations to seize the nearshore, far-shore, exit-bank,
intermediate, and bridgehead objectives.
The BMAINs control smoke, traffic flow, and crossing assets inside the crossing area.
The DTAC coordinates close operations between committed brigades.
The DMAIN controls deep fires to isolate the bridgehead from counterattacks.
The DREAR sustains the fight.

Figure 5-2. Division and brigade CP functions

Division Deliberate River Crossing 5-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

place after the division continues the attack in regulating the traffic and conducting
to subsequent corps objectives. Engineer route security in the crossing area. The
groups should include one corps combat engi- corps also allocates additional smoke units
neer battalion and two AFB companies for to assist the division chemical company in
each lead brigade. The corps normally pro- obscuring the river-crossing area. Finally,
vides a corps engineer light diving team to— the corps will provide short-range air-
defense (SHORAD), high-to-medium-
• Conduct nearshore and far-shore recon- altitude air-defense (HIMAD), and air-
naissance. defense artillery (ADA) support to protect
• Perform bottom-composition surveys. the bridgehead from air interdiction.

• Neutralize underwater obstacles. ADVANCE TO THE RIVER (PHASE I)
Once the division has planned the opera-
• Construct underwater bridge structures, tion, the first phase is initiated (see Chap-
obstacles, and floating barriers. ter 4). The division will attack to seize
• Perform in-water repair to bridges and nearshore terrain that includes favorable
watercraft. crossing sites and road networks. Nor-
mally, the division advances with two bri-
• Recover sunken equipment. gades abreast and a reserve brigade
trailing. The cavalry squadron can provide
• Search for and recover casualties.
a forward or flank screen (see Figure 5-3).
Additionally, the corps normally provides The DTAC controls the efforts of the lead
a corps MP company to assist the division brigades (see FM 71-100).

xx
II

x

Near-
shore
x
obj

x
xx

EA
x
SP
Near-
x RP shore
obj
AA

SP RP xx

The lead brigades attack in zone to seize and secure nearshore objectives.
The reserve brigade moves into the AA in the division's rear.
The cavalry squadron screens the division's advance.

Figure 5-3. Advance to the river (division focus)

5-4 Division Deliberate River Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Well before the division reaches the river, the (CAS), and support of the division aviation
cavalry squadron moves ahead of the main brigade against deep targets. By effectively
body to conduct a reconnaissance of the near using these assets, the DMAIN fights the
shore and predetermined crossing sites. deep battle and isolates the bridgehead.
Engineer reconnaissance teams may need to
be allocated to the division cavalry squadron The DREAR sustains the division's
to assist in the reconnaissance of crossing advance. It ensures that key classes of sup-
sites. If the tactical situation prohibits the plies are pre-positioned forward. Priority is
cavalry squadron from moving to reconnoiter shifted to the maintenance of the bridging
the crossing sites, one or both of the lead bri- assets and those of the units supporting the
gades must conduct the reconnaissance. As crossing area.
the division arrives at the river, the lead bri-
gades establish security on the near shore. The BTAC controls the fight of the TFs
The lead brigades develop hasty defensive within its brigade. The brigade travels in a
positions to protect the crossing area and formation that is METT-T driven. The bri-
cover the crossing sites with direct and indi- gade seizes objectives that secure the near
rect fires. shore (see Figure 5-4).

During the advance to the river, the DMAIN Each BMAIN is the crossing-area headquar-
coordinates counterfires, close air support ters. The crossing area is bounded by RLs

xx
x

Main Near-
shore
obj
x

x

TAC
Near- Far- Exit-
shore shore bank
obj obj obj
AA
x

RL RL

The attacking brigade leads with two TFs abreast to seize and secure nearshore crossing sites.
The TF designated as the main effort prepares to conduct a dismounted assault of the river.
The reserve TF moves into an AA to prepare to cross the river and seize the far-shore objective.

Figure 5-4. Advance to the river (brigade focus)

Division Deliberate River Crossing 5-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

on the friendly and enemy sides of the river. Patriot and Hawk support. The division
The RL on the friendly side is usually set 2 AD battalion provides local AD coverage.
to 3 kilometers from the exit bank, out of The river creates lucrative targets at rela-
the range of enemy direct-fire weapons. The tively fixed locations that are easily tar-
RL on the enemy side delineates an area geted by enemy air. Therefore,
large enough for forces to occupy battalion- approaches; holding, staging, and call-for-
sized attack positions. The BMAIN is ward areas; and crossing sites along the
responsible for controlling units that pro- river are the highest priority for AD dur-
vide the crossing means, traffic manage- ing the crossing. AD units occupy positions
ment, and obscuration. Normally, corps to engage aircraft with massed fires before
assets are task-organized by the division in the aircraft can reach weapons release
direct support of the forward brigades to points (RPs).
perform these functions. The BMAIN con-
trols these assets. Once the brigade has The DTAC coordinates the actions of the
secured the near shore, MP and engineers brigades conducting the assault across the
mark routes from the staging area to the river (see Figure 5-5). The crossing sites
crossing sites; lay out staging, holding, and are chosen because of available conceal-
call-forward areas; and set up ERPs and ment, a good route system, and sufficient
TCPs. space for AAs on the near shore. These
sites also have defensible terrain on the
Once the near shore is secured, the DTAC far shore of the river to provide a secure
becomes the crossing-force headquarters base for continuing the operation.
responsible for coordinating the close opera-
tions of the committed brigades within the The DREAR begins to push packages of
bridgehead and crossing area. The bridge- Class IV and V supplies to support the
head is the area on the far shore that is hasty defense to secure the bridgehead
required to provide space and time for the line.
buildup of combat power to continue offen-
sive combat operations. The crossing area The BTACs control their own respective
is the area, bounded on either side of the assault-crossing elements, which normally
river by RLs, in which units move on prede- consist of dismounted infantry. A corps
termined routes and use the time tables combat engineer company, operating
that are specified in the division's order. assault boats (RB15s) from the corps
bridge companies, transports the dis-
The DTAC coordinates the efforts of the mounted soldiers of the assault force to
lead brigades as they prepare to assault the far shore. The dismounted element
across the river. crosses the river and secures terrain for
the reinforcing armored vehicles. The
ASSAULT ACROSS THE RIVER assault across the river can also be an air-
(PHASE II) assault operation. The dismounted assault
The DMAIN continues to control deep-fire forces are supported by the tanks and
assets to isolate the bridgehead. As units infantry fighting vehicles from their TF
advance, deep fires shift to subsequent tar- and by other combat units in support-by-
gets. The division coordinates with the fire positions. Heavy rafts are prepared to
corps for SHORAD and HIMAD coverage transport tanks and infantry fighting vehi-
to protect the bridgehead from enemy air cles to the far shore for reinforcing the dis-
interdiction. The corps normally provides mounted infantry. M9 ACEs/dozers are

5-6 Division Deliberate River Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Crossing
area
xx
xx
xx
x
TAC
Main Far- Exit-
shore bank
obj obj A
xx xx
x
xx TAC
Rear
xx

Main x
x
x
xx

xx xx
Main xx Exit-
Far- bank
x TAC Main shore obj B
TAC obj

AA

xx
RL (LOA)
RL

The lead brigades conduct a dismounted assault across the river to secure a far-shore
objective, permitting the crossing of armored assets on heavy rafts.

Figure 5-5. Assault across the river (division focus)

transported to prepare the far-shore exit approaches to conceal the actual crossing
sites. Rapid reinforcement of dismounted locations, but not as to obscure the bridge
assault forces with armored vehicles may be crewmens’ vision. The crossing-area head-
so critical, based on the METT-T, that it jus- quarters uses smoke generators, smoke
tifies using any expedient method to get the pots, and smoke munitions from the divi-
first few armored vehicles across. This sion and corps. The BMAIN controls the
includes winching, towing, or pushing the use of MP and corps engineer units to
first ones across normally unsuitable places establish nearshore waiting areas, mark
while engineers improve entry and exit routes to the crossing sites, and begin con-
points for the rest. structing heavy rafts and/or bridges.

Each BMAIN controls smoke to obscure The intent of this phase is to rapidly place
crossing sites on the river. When combat power on the far shore to eliminate
employed, the smoke blanket covers sev- the enemy's direct fire onto the crossing
eral kilometers of the river and river sites and secure terrain for attack positions.

Division Deliberate River Crossing 5-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Brigades normally establish limits of Once the exit banks are secured, the division
advance (LOAs) and fire-support coordina- cavalry squadron crosses either by swimming
tion lines (FSCLs) for the dismounted TFs or rafting their cavalry fighting vehicles.
conducting the assault. These lines estab- They then conduct normal screening opera-
lish an LOA that encompasses the far- tions for the division as the armored rein-
shore objective. Enemy indirect fire into forcements are crossing the river and
the crossing area will probably continue; preparing to advance from the exit bank.
however, each crossing site within the
crossing area must be isolated from direct The DTAC controls the coordinated attack of
fire to enable the construction and opera- the lead brigades and the cavalry squadron
tion of rafts. These rafts will then be used to seize exit-bank and intermediate objec-
to transport armored vehicles for rapid tives. The DMAIN controls deep fires that
reinforcement of the dismounted infantry aviation, artillery, and CAS provide to block
TF. Within the crossing area, secured enemy counterattacks into the bridgehead as
attack positions allow units to form into requested by the DTAC.
combat formations before continuing the
attack. The DREAR prepares to push packages of
Class III and V supplies that will support the
Commanders may consider immediate con- attack out of the bridgehead. They also begin
struction of a bridge during this phase to push Class IV and V supplies for the hasty
without ever conducting rafting opera- defense during the last phase of the river-
tions. The advantage is that combat crossing operation.
power can be massed on the far shore at a
much faster rate. The risk that the com- The BMAINs control the movement of
mander takes in making this decision is their follow-on TFs from the staging areas
that a large amount of bridging assets is across the river to their attack positions
exposed to enemy fire before the elimina- on the far shore. They control the upgrade
tion of enemy indirect fires on the crossing of crossing sites from assaults boats
area. (RB15s) to heavy rafts and/or bridging to
ensure that the force buildup can support
ADVANCE FROM THE EXIT BANK the advance from the exit bank to interme-
(PHASE III) diate objectives. MP and, if available,
The division continues its attempt to secure corps combat engineers assist in move-
the bridgehead line by attacking to seize ment control through the crossing area.
and secure exit-bank and intermediate
objectives. The intent is to eliminate direct During this phase, limited two-way traffic
and observed indirect fires from the cross- begins to return disabled equipment and
ing area (see Figure 5-6). casualties.

The division commander selects exit-bank The BTAC controls the movement out of the
and intermediate objectives based on attack positions to exit-bank and intermedi-
METT-T. The river splits the attacking ate objectives. Exit-bank objectives are those
force, limiting massed direct fires beyond positions that, when seized, eliminate the
the exit bank. Therefore, these objectives enemy's ability to use direct-fire weapons on
are usually smaller and not as far from the the crossing area. Intermediate objectives
attack positions as the objectives used in are those positions from which the enemy
other offensive operations. can provide observation for indirect-fire

5-8 Division Deliberate River Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

xx x
x Bridgehead
line Alpha
TAC
Main RP Exit-
SP
Int
bank
Attack obj obj
x Bridge-
xx head
RP obj
xx

Main SP x II
xx
xx
x x
x TAC
Rear SP TAC Exit-
RP bank Int Bridge-
x Main
x Attack obj obj head
obj
AA RP
xx SP
RL
RL
Crossing
area

The DTAC controls the lead brigades as they pass through the crossing area into secured attack positions
within the far-shore objective. The lead brigades then attack to seize and secure exit-bank and intermediate
objectives to eliminate direct and observed indirect fires into the crossing area.
The BTAC and DTAC reposition forward to maintain control of close operations.

Figure 5-6. Advance from the exit bank (division focus)

weapons. This enables the expansion of holding areas on the far shore to ensure
SHORAD coverage, allowing more time to rapid transit within the crossing area.
engage aircraft in air avenues of approach on
the far shore (see Figure 5-7, page 5-10). SECURE THE BRIDGEHEAD LINE
(PHASE IV)
The TF that conducted the dismounted The bridgehead must be defendable and
assault across the river continues to cross large enough to accommodate forces that
armored vehicles and remount their dis- will break out to continue offensive combat
mounted soldiers in preparation for contin- operations. The lead brigades attack to
ued offensive operations. secure the final objectives within the
bridgehead to prevent the enemy from suc-
The brigade commanders establish the cessfully counterattacking against forces
order of raft loads based on the division's within the bridgehead line by rapidly
crossing priorities. Bridge companies run building enough combat power to establish
heavy raft sites and begin to construct rib- a hasty defense in the sector. The cavalry
bon bridges. MP mark routes and control squadron conducts a screen mission. The

Division Deliberate River Crossing 5-9
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Crossing
area
xx
x
x
Main
TAC
x

Exit- Int
xx ll
RP bank obj
SP
(-)
obj A
TAC AA Attack
position
SP
x
RP
RL
RL
The BMAIN controls the movement of follow-on TFs into secured attack positions on the
far-shore. The follow-on TFs then attack to seize and secure exit-bank and intermediate objectives to
eliminate direct and observed indirect fires into the crossing area.

Figure 5-7. Advance from the exit bank (brigade focus)

lead brigades maintain continuous far-shore mediate objectives (see Figure 5-8) to provide
security to prevent bypassed enemy elements space for the breakout forces. Once the bridgehead
from infiltrating back to the river and dis- line is secure, the DTAC controls the movement of
rupting activities at the crossing sites (see the breakout forces through the crossing area to
Figure 5-8). attack positions within the bridgehead. During this
phase, specific bridges and/or rafts are designed
The DTAC controls the lead brigades and the for full-time return traffic. This ensures that resup-
cavalry squadron as they secure the bridge- ply and the evacuation of wounded soldiers and
head objectives (see Figure 5-8) and prepare disabled equipment occur.
to move the reserve brigade or other corps
forces (breakout forces) into attack positions The DMAIN controls the aviation, artillery,
within the bridgehead. Once the bridgehead and available CAS sorties to screen the
objectives are secured, the lead brigades flanks and interdict enemy counterattacks.
establish a hasty defense in sector. Deep operations play a key role in the bridge-
head defense by targeting enemy formations
The DREAR begins to push forward Class III as they move to counterattack. They also
and V supplies that are needed for the attack eliminate effective artillery fire within range
out of the bridgehead. of the bridgehead and destroy other enemy
artillery forces moving up to the fight.
The BMAIN continues to upgrade and monitor the
crossing sites and control the movement of forces The lead brigade elements that secure the
through the crossing area. The far-bank RL, defin- bridgehead line must control the avenues of
ing the crossing area, is moved just past the inter- approach into the bridgehead and be large

5-10 Division Deliberate River Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Crossing
area Bridgehead line
Alpha
xx
x x
xx
Exit-
Main bank TAC
Main obj Int x
R P obj Bridge-
head
RP obj
xx
Attack
SP x TAC
xx SP
x RP
SP
Attack
xx

Rear
RP Int x
Bridge-
x Exit- head
x obj
bank obj
SP Main obj x
AA

xx
RL RL RL

Figure 5-8. Secure the bridgehead line (division focus)

enough to defeat counterattacks. After the forces from the corps must come forward to
bridgehead is secure, the division com- relieve the lead brigades from their bridge-
mander commits the breakout force to head security mission.
attack position within the bridgehead. The
bridgehead needs enough space (20 to 30 As the breakout force crosses into attack
kilometers deep) to accommodate both the positions, the DTAC begins to focus on the
lead brigades and the breakout force with attack out of the bridgehead. Therefore, the
their combat service support (CSS). The DREAR assumes the role of the crossing-
bridgehead line must also be deep enough to force headquarters. This allows the DTAC
employ AD systems against hostile aircraft to focus completely on the attack out of the
before they reach weapons RPs to attack bridgehead, which is usually led by the divi-
crossing sites. sion cavalry squadron.
CONTINUATION OF THE ATTACK The DREAR controls the breakout force's
Once the division has secured the bridge- movement through the crossing area to the
head, the division river crossing is com- attack positions and two-way traffic facili-
plete. Crossing-area control will be passed tating the return of wounded soldiers and
to the DREAR and ultimately to the corps. disabled equipment. The corps must pro-
The breakout force must complete its pas- vide other forces for bridgehead security
sage before continuation of offensive opera- before the lead brigades reorganize to
tions. The lead brigades must reorganize resume their mission as the division
and prepare to follow the breakout force as reserve.
the division or corps reserve. Security

Division Deliberate River Crossing 5-11
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 6
Retrograde Operations
GENERAL
The goal of a retrograde river-crossing oper- • All existing bridges and other crossing
ation is to cross a river while preserving the sites are available to the retrograde force
integrity of the force. A retrograde operation to expedite the crossing.
is an organized movement to the rear or
away from the enemy. • Relative combat power favors the
enemy in most cases. Units conducting
This chapter describes only those tactics retrograde operations then must
and techniques used by a division in a ret- retain a mobility advantage over the
rograde river-crossing operation that are enemy.
different from those used in an offensive
Deception is always planned and executed
crossing. A retrograde crossing features
to deceive the enemy and to protect the
centralized control at division level.
force during a retrograde operation. As a
Detailed planning and preparation of engi-
minimum, these plans seek to conceal the
neer assets are a critical consideration
extent of the operation and the actual cross-
within the time available. A retrograde
ing sites. Smoke, electronic deception, and
crossing differs from an offensive crossing
dummy sites reduce the enemy’s capability
in several aspects:
to disrupt the crossing.
• Both banks of the river initially are
under friendly control. Accordingly, The same control measures are used in ret-
detailed information concerning the rograde operations as in offensive opera-
river and the area over which the retro- tions. Figure 6-1, page 6-2, shows an
grade is conducted should be readily example. See Chapter 3 for a discussion of
available to the commander. each control measure and a C2 diagram.

RETROGRADE TYPES
A retrograde operation may be forced by area for a subsequent counterattack. A
enemy action or by a higher headquarters. delay is an operation in which the unit,
A well-planned, well-organized, and ag- under enemy pressure, trades space for
gressively executed retrograde operation time by inflicting maximum damage on the
provides opportunities for the division to enemy without being decisively engaged in
inflict heavy damage on enemy troops and combat. Flexible planning allows the units
equipment while continuing to maintain its conducting a river crossing to adapt
fighting integrity. The three types of retro- quickly to changes during execution. Some
grade operations are delay, withdrawal, important features of a flexible plan
and retirement. include—
DELAY
• Multiple approach routes from battle
Units conduct delays when their strength positions to crossing sites.
is insufficient to attack or defend or when
they want to maneuver the enemy into an • Lateral routes between crossing sites.

Retrograde Operations 6-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

RL
RL
11 TCP E4 ERP
River TCP
2
1 ERP TCP Holding
1 a rea Staging
Call-forward area
area

3 TCP
TCP 12 TCP 5 ERP
Holding
4 TCP 5 a rea

TCP Staging
Call-forward area 6 area
2E ERP 7 TCP

6E ERP 13 TCP
E3 ERP

Call-forward 10 TCP
Staging
area
area
8 TCP TCP
TCP Ho lding 14
9 a r ea

Crossing area

Figure 6-1. Control measures

• Alternate crossing sites if enemy actions Each phase is separate only in planning;
close primary sites. they overlap during execution. Employing
military crossing equipment in the retro-
• Crossing equipment held in reserve to grade is the reverse of the method used in a
replace losses or open alternate sites. deliberate, offensive river-crossing opera-
• Preplanned engagement areas (EAs) to tion. Figure 6-2 relates the retrograde
block enemy advances. sequence to the crossing stages.
Delay Phase
A delay combined with a retrograde river
crossing has the following phases: The delay phase provides security for the
main body and allows the delaying force to
• Delay. gain enough time for the main body to
accomplish its mission (cross the river). For
• Crossing. this reason, delaying forces take some risk.
The delaying force must deceive the enemy
• Defense. and keep it from the river, allowing the

6-2 Retrograde Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Terrain Terrain
within within
direct-fire observed
indirect-fire Enemy
distance
of crossing distance
site of crossing
site

Holding line
Bravo

Retrograde Defense Crossing Delay
sequence
Fixed bridging
Crossing Risk Tactical bridging
stages Risk Rafting
Swim

Figure 6-2. Retrograde planning

main body to cross and establish the exit- force must be strong enough to hold the
bank defense. enemy until other forces establish the
defense. The defending force assumes
The division commander establishes a hold- responsibility for the battle as the delaying
ing line on defensible terrain between the force completes a rearward passage of lines
river and the enemy. Its location precludes through the defending force.
direct and observed indirect fires in the
crossing area. Figure 6-3, page 6-4, shows an example of a
retrograde crossing. In this case, the 3rd
Forces not assigned tasks in the delay, brigade is the delaying force. It occupies
including those forces with a mission to sup- battle positions to the rear of the 1st and
port crossing areas or establish the defense 2nd brigades at RL Plum, the initial-delay
on the exit bank, execute a planned retire- position (IDP), to help them withdraw. The
ment or withdrawal and cross the river as 3rd brigade delays the enemy forward of the
rapidly as possible. To preclude early enemy holding line until the rest of the division
detection of the retrograde, the forces follow crosses the river and the 1st and 2nd bri-
a movement-control plan that supports the gades reestablish the defense along the
deception plan. river.

The delay phase continues until the battle is Crossing Phase
within communications and fire-support In contrast to normal offensive crossing
range of the exit-bank defense. The delaying operations, friendly forces initially control

Retrograde Operations 6-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

RL Plum
(IDP)
FEBA
River
Holding line
xx
xx
xx

x1
1
x x
1 3 2
1 x
x 2
2

x2 xx
FEBA
xx
xx
RL Plum
Holding line
(IDP)

Figure 6-3. Retrograde crossing

retrograde crossing sites, which may be Traffic control up to and through the crossing
insufficient in number. The enemy usually area is a critical problem in crossing opera-
knows where the logical crossing sites are tions. For this reason, plans for movement
and attacks them early in the operation, but must be detailed, and movement control is
it must not be allowed to capture them. essential. This control is exercised by the
Friendly forces should develop additional CAC with assistance from the delaying-force
sites to provide flexibility against this possi- commander (brigade commander). The CAC
bility. controls all movement within the crossing
area to include retrograde forces.
The commander should attempt to salvage
tactical bridges and rafts for future use; how- It is the responsibility of the CAC to ensure
ever, it may be necessary to use them for the the continuous and orderly flow of the ret-
crossing and then destroy them to prevent rograde elements across the river. His con-
capture. Fixed bridging must be prepared for trol includes both the ERPs, which ensure
destruction and also be protected against that all vehicles are of the proper class and
ground and air attacks. This requires close size, and also all waiting areas that feed
coordination with the delaying force to pre- vehicles through the crossing area. To
clude cutting off friendly forces or allowing assist the CAC, MP and, if available, engi-
enemy seizure of sites intact. neers establish and operate TCPs to man-
age the traffic flow. CSCs oversee the
The BMAIN, commanded by the brigade XO crossing means. The CAC and his staff
(CAC), is responsible for the passage of all must synchronize the crossing plan with
units through the crossing area. the commander's tactical plan.

6-4 Retrograde Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Activity within the crossing area begins with and support initial preparation of exit-bank
two-way crossings by CSS units evacuating defenses. Engineers focus on enemy engi-
nonessential supplies or restocking the neer breaching assets and the interdiction
delaying force. During the early stages of the capabilities needed to support enemy
retrograde, the existing crossing means may maneuver.
be supplemented by tactical bridging. As a
minimum, additional tactical bridging assets Defense Phase
must be planned and available. The defense phase stops the enemy by keep-
ing it out of the crossing area, denying it
Initially, the force crosses on fixed and crossing sites upstream or downstream, and
floating bridges. It crosses on bridges as destroying its attempts to cross the river. In
long as possible, since this is the most particular, the defense phase targets poten-
rapid means. Once the bridges become vul- tial enemy crossing assets. Whether continu-
nerable to capture, air attack, or observed ing the retrograde further or defending along
indirect fires, they may be converted to the river, the division establishes a strong
rafts or removed. Vehicles continue to cross exit-bank defense. The defending force pro-
by using rafts or by swimming. The cross- tects the delaying force as it crosses the river
ings are made under the suppressive fires of after battle handover. The rearward passage
the defending force's direct- and indirect- of lines by the delaying force is a normal
fire weapons. defensive operation, complicated by the river.

The forces cross the river in an orderly flow Initially, the defending force is small. It con-
while conserving combat power. The retro- sists of combat and combat-support units not
grade crossing begins as a rear-area opera- involved in the delay as well as augmenta-
tion for the division. Initially, it is a traffic- tion from corps reserves. Because enough
scheduling problem, centrally controlled forces are not available to defend all points
by the division. The division establishes along the river, the defense depends on rapid
crossing areas before crossing maneuver lateral movement to concentrate at vulnera-
brigades. Crossing-area operations are the ble points. In particular, it orients on and
same as for offensive crossings (see Chap- protects the crossing sites against the
ter 5). Even when the division has to estab- enemy’s forward detachments and heliborne
lish the crossing areas quickly, under forces.
adverse circumstances, it synchronizes
crossing-support activities with those of After battle handover from the delaying
the defense force that is preparing to close force, the defending force is responsible for
the routes in the crossing areas. the area between the holding line and defen-
sive positions on the exit bank. The defend-
Crossing sites need the highest priority for ing force masses fires to help its elements in
AD. This is particularly critical when the contact forward of the river to withdraw,
enemy has air superiority or when air parity thereby complicating the retrograde crossing.
exists. The sequence for crossing AD units
should account for the need to provide con- The defending force accepts battle hand-
tinuous coverage of crossing sites. over from the last of the delaying force at
the holding line and covers its crossing
The division engineers are fully committed over a fixed bridge that is prepared for
to the delay. As a result, engineers under demolition. Friendly forces at the river pre-
the control of the CAE run the crossing sites vent the enemy from crossing at the site of

Retrograde Operations 6-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

a demolished fixed bridge so that compa- obstacles, indirect-fire targets, and routes in
nies securing the crossing site can safely the sector must be coordinated before con-
withdraw in turn. ducting the passage of lines. The assisting
unit provides mobility support along cleared
WITHDRAWAL routes and corridors in its sector for the
A withdrawal differs from a delay in that it passing unit.
is an operation in which the unit in contact
disengages from an enemy force and moves Engineers must complete clearing opera-
to the rear. Withdrawals are executed tions before the passage begins. The assist-
when the commander desires to withdraw ing unit also closes the lanes once passage is
to control future tactical operations with- complete. The passing unit must plan and
out being forced to do so by enemy pres- organize for conducting internal breaching
sure. A withdrawal follows the same and river-crossing operations before initiat-
sequence as a delay. The only difference is ing the passage of lines. This should ensure
that the unit may or may not be in enemy responsive mobility operations if the enemy
contact. blocks routes during the passage.

During a withdrawal, the enemy usually RETIREMENT
does not pressure withdrawing units. Also, Retirements are rearward movements
other friendly units do not normally assist away from the enemy by a force not in con-
in withdrawals. Care must be taken to tact. Typically, another unit's security
ensure that the enemy does not try to iso- forces cover their movement as they con-
late and encircle units during river-crossing duct a tactical road march. A retirement
operations. If a unit has difficulty breaking follows the same sequence as a delay.
with the enemy in a withdrawal, it can Speed is important; therefore, engineers
request help from a higher level. The should focus on mobility for the retiring
assisted withdrawal will be a rearward pas- unit and expect operations such as route
sage of lines. Exchange of information on clearance and route repair.

DENIAL MEASURES
Denial measures are actions taken to hinder enemy. The CAE controls the engineers who
or deny enemy use of resources or facilities. prepare those targets. The timing of their
In retrograde crossings, the commander destruction depends on their use in support-
includes bridges and crossing sites in his ing the crossing. When the tactical situation
denial measures. dictates that crossing sites are no longer
needed or the risk of capture outweighs their
The laws of war require that denial opera- usefulness, the defending force must destroy
tions, particularly against civilian resources them.
such as existing bridges, be carefully consid-
ered and that execution authority to destroy Use of bridges in the retrograde requires a
the structure be maintained at the highest redundant means of bridge destruction and a
level. robust demolition guard with an engineer
demolition party (see FM 5-250). Engineer
A defending-force commander is responsible light diving teams can be used to survey and
for preparing existing bridging and other emplace, prime, and detonate explosives on
crossing means in his sector, such as ferries, bridge supports to deny enemy access during
for destruction to prevent their use by the retrograde operations. Because of the severe

6-6 Retrograde Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

consequences of a premature decision to the engineers recover military bridges early.
destroy a site, the division commander usu- In addition, the denial of major existing
ally designates sites as reserve targets and bridges can be so important that the com-
issues specific orders stating under what con- mander may choose to destroy them early
ditions and by whose authority this destruc- and rely on military bridges to cross the
tion can be done. remainder of his force. The ribbon bridge is
preferred for this crossing because of its
Engineers destroy military bridges that recovery speed. Engineers either recover
they cannot recover quickly. Bridge stocks lines of communication (LOC) bridges well
are in short supply; therefore, if existing before the enemy arrives or destroy those
bridges are sufficient to support the retrograde, left in place after the delay.

PLANNING
The division commander identifies the hold- The commander may consider retaining
ing line and the units required to fight the fixed bridges in defense of the river line if
delay and defense battles. The division engi- he anticipates future counterattacks back
neer, in conjunction with the G3, identifies across the river. He may also partially
crossing sites and required crossing assets. destroy bridges to ease restoration in
The division staff coordinates for additional future offensive operations, weighing this
corps assets. The staff uses the planning decision against the enemy’s use of the
process identified in Chapter 4. bridges.

The commander uses deception to conceal Denial operations are somewhat restric-
the extent of the operation and the actual tive. Only those civilian targets with a
crossing sites. Smoke, electronic warfare, clearly identified military value can be
and dummy sites reduce the enemy’s capa- destroyed or removed. Coordination
bility to disrupt the crossing. OPSEC keeps between the theater command and the
the enemy-intelligence collectors from iden- host-nation government is important in the
tifying the time and place of the crossing. policy-development process.

Retrograde Operations 6-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 7
Crossing Sites
GENERAL
The following paragraphs supplement the • Availability and capabilities of crossing
general descriptions of acceptable crossing means.
sites in Chapter 2. Selection of crossing sites
is primarily based on the— • Availability of engineer support.

• Existing situation and anticipated
Conflicts between tactical and technical
scheme of maneuver.
requirements frequently occur. Command-
• Physical characteristics of the available ers evaluate the factors bearing on the
sites, road networks, and surrounding problem to determine the best overall solu-
terrain. tion.

CROSSING-SITE SELECTION
Each crossing means, except air assault, The goal when selecting assault sites is to
requires a type of crossing site. They can be pick those that allow the lead battalions to
identified as fording, assault-boat, swim- cross unopposed and seize far-shore objec-
ming, rafting, or bridging sites. Assault bat- tives rapidly. If unsuccessful at finding
talions use either a fording or an assault- undefended crossing sites, the lead battal-
boat site (or sometimes a swimming site) as ions cross under enemy fire while over-
an assault site. watch units provide direct and indirect
suppressive fires. Assault sites may or
Both the desired scheme of maneuver and may not coincide with rafting or bridging
available crossing means influence crossing- sites.
site selection. The division assigns a cross-
ing area to each lead brigade. The brigade When selecting swimming sites, the goal is
chooses which crossing sites to use within to pick those that permit fighting vehicles to
its area. When a particular site is important rapidly enter, swim across, and exit the
to the division's tactical concept, such as for water with minimum assistance.
the movement of breakout forces, the divi-
sion either coordinates with the affected bri- The goal when selecting rafting and bridg-
gade to open that bridge site or moves a ing sites is to pick those that support the
bridge to that site once the brigade hands greatest volume of vehicle traffic consis-
over the crossing area to the division. tent with the scheme of maneuver. Rafting
and bridging sites are usually on or near
Brigade commanders select final crossing major roads to minimize route preparation
sites based on tactical intelligence and their and maintenance. When the sites are
desired schemes of maneuver. Each site's located close together, the bridging site
physical characteristics, required engineer must be upstream of the rafting site. This
support, and available crossing means influ- will avoid potential damage that may be
ence the decision, but tactical requirements caused by disabled rafts drifting into the
are the most important. bridge.

Crossing Sites 7-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Regardless of the crossing means, each site • Covered and concealed access to the
needs engineer reconnaissance swimmers or river's edge.
an engineer light diving team to cross early,
reduce obstacles, and develop exit points on • Firm and gently sloping banks that
the far bank. Riverbanks at otherwise suit- allow rapid entry and exit at multiple
able crossing sites often need work for points.
access to the river. Most natural soil Initial and subsequent entry points can
becomes unstable under heavy traffic. This vary. Available locations seldom have all the
condition worsens as fording, swimming, desired tactical and technical characteris-
and rafting activities carry water onto it. tics. The best routes through the crossing
The required engineer effort varies with soil area normally cross the river at the techni-
type, crossing means, and vehicle density. cally best crossing sites. The best technical
An engineer vehicle that is capable of main- sites may not be the best tactical sites
taining the exit bank should be one of the because they are well known and are
first vehicles across. heavily defended by the enemy. Forces ini-
tially crossing at less desirable locations are
Natural conditions vary widely. Banks may most likely to avoid detection and gain sur-
require little preparation, or they may be so prise. Moving laterally along the exit bank,
restrictive that they limit feasible sites. forces attack the flank or rear of enemy
Desirable site characteristics include— units to seize the better crossing locations.
• Minimum exposure to enemy direct-fire Use of these sites allows rapid buildup of
weapons. combat power.

PLANNING
Planners need information of potential • Impact of forecasted or past seasonal
crossing sites to evaluate their compatibility weather conditions.
with proposed crossing plans. Generally,
• Location of defensible terrain, covered
planners need to know—
and concealed areas, and natural or
• Friendly and enemy capabilities and enemy-emplaced obstacles on both sides
probable COAs. of the river.
• Site capacity for the crossing of troops, • Amount of time and effort that is
equipment, and supplies using various required to develop sites, assemble rafts,
crossing means. and construct bridges.
• Engineer support that is required to • Entry/exit routes and off-road trafficabil-
develop, improve, and maintain each site. ity.
More specifically, planners need to know • Road networks.
the—
• Capabilities of friendly forces to deny
• Condition of the bottom, banks, and observation, suppress fires, and provide
water of the river. site protection.

REQUIREMENTS
Discussed in the following paragraphs are ENTRY/EXIT ROUTES OR PATHS
some of the requirements necessary for A desired feature of all sites is readily acces-
crossing sites. sible entry/exit routes or paths on either

7-2 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

bank. The approaches to the banks are • Bridging. Bridging sites require devel-
checked for their ability to support the oped road networks to sustain the cross-
requirements (width, slope, and trafficabil- ing capacity.
ity) of the wheeled and tracked vehicles of
the crossing element. Covered and concealed Depending on the vehicle that is used, the
approaches enhance surprise and surviv- following considerations must be given to
ability; however, multiple routes, free from routes and approaches:
obstruction, will increase crossing speed and
flexibility. Exit-bank conditions often take • Wheeled vehicles. In general, wheeled
precedence over entry-bank conditions until vehicles require 3.5-meter path widths
equipment and troops can be crossed to and 3.5 meters of overhead clearance.
develop and improve the site. See Table 7-1 Dry, hard slopes of 33 percent can be
for depth requirements. negotiated; however, slopes less than 25
percent are desired.
ROUTES AND APPROACHES
• Tracked vehicles. Tracked vehicles
Depending on the crossing operation that is require up to 4-meter path widths and
used, the following considerations must be 3.5 meters of overhead clearance. Tanks
given to routes and approaches: can climb 60 percent (31-degree) slopes
• Fording. Dismounted forces may use on dry, hard surfaces; however, slopes
approaches with steep slopes and heavy less than 50 percent are desired.
vegetation, while vehicle fording requires
paths or roads to approach fording sites. WAITING AREAS
Numerous waiting areas are required for
• Assaulting or swimming. Assault-boat
equipment and troops preparing and pro-
crossings may use more rugged
tecting sites and for troops and vehicles pre-
approaches than amphibious vehicles.
paring and/or waiting to cross. These areas
• Rafting. Multiple approach routes to should be dispersed, provide cover and con-
rafting sites permit the relocation of cealment, and be accessible to road net-
rafting upstream or downstream. works near the sites.

Table 7-1. Depth requirements
Table 7-1. Depth requirements
Draft in
Operation Item Remarks
Meters
Fording Personnel 0.10
Wheeled vehicle 0.75
Tracked vehicle 1.20
Assaulting/ M113 (APC) 1.50 The water should be deep
swimming M548 2.00 enough for the vehicles being
used.
M2 1.07
Rafting/bridg- Power boat (27 feet) 1.00 The water should be deep close
ing LTR 0.60* to the bank to preclude ground-
ing of the raft or bridge.
M4T6 0.75*
Ribbon 0.60*
NOTE: *Power boat draft may govern depth.

Crossing Sites 7-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

RIVER CONDITIONS Table 7-2. Bank requirements
Table 7-2. Bank requirements
In general, currents less than 1.5 meters
Equipment Ramp Articulation (raft)
per second (MPS) are desired. Narrow seg-
ments of the river decrease equipment Up Down
requirements, crossing time, and exposure
time. However, resulting increased current M4T6 Not adjustable
velocities may offset any advantage. As the Class 60 Not adjustable
current’s velocity increases, it decreases the
Ribbon 1.7 meter*
ribbon bridge's ability to handle heavy mili-
tary load class (MLC) vehicles. More boats NOTE: *An approach ramp 2.1 meters (7 feet)
will be required to keep the bridge in place long provides extra roadway for loading and
and allow for heavy MLC vehicles to cross. off-loading vehicles.

BANKS
Ford banks may be steep and rugged for dis- swim-site bottoms must be free from
mounted troops; however, vehicles require obstructions that interfere with boats or
slopes less than 33 percent and firm soil the tracks of amphibious vehicles. Rafting
conditions. Assault or swim banks may be sites must be free from obstructions that
steep when using assault boats for dis- could interfere with boat operations.
mounted troops. Amphibious vehicles may Bridges emplaced for lengthy periods (4
be able to enter over low, 1-meter vertical hours or more) or in strong currents
banks, but they require sloped exits. Verti- require suitable riverbeds for anchorage.
cal banks of about 1 meter may be accom- Engineer light diving teams from the corps
modated by bridge or raft ramps (see Table Army may be used to—
7-2). Vertical bank heights for bridges using
• Conduct river-bottom reconnaissance.
the equipment listed in the table do not
change for ribbon bridges. For M4T6 and • Emplace shore and midstream anchor-
Class 60 bridges, the height of the bridge age for debris and antimine and
deck can be adjusted to accept a difference antidiver nets to ensure the success of
in bank heights; however, the limiting fac- the operation.
tor may become the longitudinal slope of
the bridge. ENEMY SITUATION
Sites masked from enemy observation
BOTTOMS enhance surprise and survivability by
Ford bottoms must be free from obstacles, degrading the enemy’s ability to see. Using
firm, and uniform. Riverbeds may be existing sites reduces preparation time but
improved with rock fill or grading equip- requires caution in that the enemy may
ment. Guide stakes make the crossing of have emplaced obstacles and registered
the river easier for boat drivers. Assault- or artillery on the site.

SITE ANALYSIS
A ground reconnaissance refines and con- detailed reports, planners may develop
firms information gathered from other charts or overlays to compare alternate
sources. Training Circular (TC) 5-210 con- sites. Unit SOPs may prescribe specific
tains details for conducting and reporting comparative methods. See Figure 7-1 for an
site reconnaissance. From this and other example.

7-4 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Bank Preparation Time
• Describe the height, slope, and stability of the bank.
• List the amount of time and effort required to overcome signifi-
cant natural and enemy-emplaced obstacles.
• Include day, night, or other reduced-visibility constraints.

River Conditions
• Specify the width, depth, velocity, and bottom conditions of the
river, as appropriate.
• Include variations or unique factors (such as sandbars, turbu-
lence, or water depth at the bank).

Vegetation
• List areas suitable for work sites and AAs and available cover
and concealment.

Full Crossing Rate
• Describe foot-, wheeled-, and tracked-movement capabilities on
roads, trails, and cross-country.
• Describe the maximum crossing rate for fording, swimming, or
rafting.
• Include the overall assessment of the crossing site’s potential.

Figure 7-1. Crossing-site requirements

FIELD CALCULATIONS
Some common relationships and field- 30-inch (or 76-centimeter) step, equates to
expedient calculations that are useful dur- 1.5 MPS. Other approximate correlations of
ing a ground reconnaissance include— 1.5 MPS include—
• Measuring the current’s velocity. • 5 feet per second (fps)
• Determining slopes and degrees. • 3.5 miles per hour (mph)
• Measuring the river’s width. • 5.5 kilometers per hour (kph)
• Calculating downstream drift.
Determining the current’s velocity is critical
to effective and safe crossing operations.
MEASURING THE CURRENT’S VELOCITY When it is high, more boats are required to
Correlating the desired maximum current stabilize the bridge, particularly when
velocity of 1.5 MPS with a familiar compar- anchorage is not used. A reasonable estima-
ative unit of measure may help in estimat- tion involves measuring a distance along
ing the current’s velocity. The quick-time the riverbank and noting the time a floating
march rate of 120 steps per minute, with a object takes to travel the same distance.

Crossing Sites 7-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Dividing the distance by the time provides unit of measure (such as meters or feet).
the current’s velocity (see Figure 7-2). The final step is to divide the elevation
(rise) by the distance (run) and multiply
DETERMINING SLOPES AND DEGREES the result by 100 to get the percent of
The slope of terrain is significant (for exam- the slope (see Figure 7-4).
ple, slopes of 7 percent or more slow move-
ment and may require vehicles to operate in
a lower gear). Slope, usually expressed as a
percentage, is the amount of change in ele-
vation (rise or fall) over a ground (horizon- Vertical
change
tal) distance (see Figure 7-3). or rise

The means to determine the percent of the
slope include—
Horizontal distance or run
• Clinometers. These instruments mea-
sure the percent of the slope and are Formula:
organic to most engineer units down to The rise divided by th e run multiplied by 100 equals
the platoon level. the percent of the slope.

• Maps. In this method, first measure the (% slope = rise/run x 100)
horizontal distance along the desired NOTE: The rise and the run are expressed in the
path, then determine the difference in same unit of measure (meters or feet).
elevation between the starting and end-
Figure 7–3. Slope calculation
ing points of the path. The next step is to
ensure that both figures are the same

Current

D E
1 60

Floating
object
0
14

0

Shoreline
12

A B

Example :
0 100 200 m
Measure AB.
Throw a stick or another floating object upstream of Rise = 165 - 120 = 45 meters
the starting point D. Run = 200 meters
% slope = 45 x 100 = 22.5%
Record the time the object floats from D to E.
200

Current = Distance AB (meters)
Time DE (seconds)

Figure 7–2. Measuring the current’s velocity Figure 7–4. Terrain slope

7-6 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

• Line of sight and pace. This method uses
Far shore B
the eye-level height above ground (usu-
ally from 1.5 to 1.75 meters) and the 325o
55o
length of standard pace (usually 0.75
meters). While standing at the bottom of
the slope, the individual picks a spot on
the slope while keeping his eyes level.
He paces the distance and repeats the
procedure at each spot. Adding the verti- 45o 45o
0o
cal and horizontal distances separately
provides the total rise and run. C A D

Slope may also be expressed in degrees; Original observation from A to B reveals 0
however, this provides angular measure- azimuth. Move toward either C or D. When
ments. The method is not commonly used the azimuth is 45 degrees different, the
because the relationships are more complex distance AC or AD equals AB (the river's width).
than desired for field use. Figure 7-5 lists
some relationships of the percent of the Figure 7–6. River’s width
slope to the degree of the slope.

MEASURING THE RIVER'S WIDTH than powered boats and rafts; the latter has
a greater capability to negate the effect of the
A field-expedient means of measuring the
current’s velocity by applying more power.
river's width is with a compass. While
standing at the waterline, fix your sight on a
Amphibious vehicles and nonpowered assault
point on the opposite side and note the mag-
boats are generally limited to current veloci-
netic azimuth. Move upstream or down-
ties of 12.5 to 2 MPS and 1 MPS respectively
stream until the azimuth reading to the
fixed point on the opposite bank is 45 (see Figure 7-7).
degrees different than the original reading.
The distance from the original point to the Far shore D
final point of observation is equal to the
river’s width (see Figure 7-6).
CALCULATING DOWNSTREAM DRIFT
A
Current causes all surface craft to drift down- C
stream. Each vehicle has a different formula B
for calculating downstream drift. Amphibi-
ous vehicles and assault boats drift more

Near shore
Slope Degrees
100% 45 Current's velocity (A)
x the river's width (C) = downstream
60% 31 Crossing speed (B)
40% drift (D)
22
20% 11 NOTE: All measurements must be in the same unit of
measure (meters or feet).
Figure 7–5. Relationship of slopes
to degrees Figure 7–7. Amphibious drift

Crossing Sites 7-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

When crossing with amphibious vehicles compensate for the current’s velocity (see
and pneumatic boats, compensate for the Figure 7-10).
effect of the current (see examples below).
In all three examples, the craft's speed rela-
Example 1 tive to the current’s velocity is constant,
Entry is usually made upstream of the assuming the engine revolutions per minute
desired exit point. The vehicle or boat is (rpm) or paddling rate remains constant.
aligned, or aimed, straight across the river,
creating a head-on orientation that is per-
pendicular to the exit bank. However, the
current produces a sideslip, downstream
Far shore Exit
forward movement (see Figure 7-8). This
technique requires operator training in con-
tinual adjustment to reach the objective Current
point on the exit bank. This technique
results in a uniform crossing rate in the
least amount of time and is usually the
desired technique.
Example 2
If the operator continues to aim the vehicle
at the desired exit point, the orientation of
the craft at the exit point will approximate
an upstream heading. The craft’s path is an
arc in proportion to the current’s velocity Entry
(see Figure 7-9).
Example 3 Figure 7–9. Constant aim point
To exit at a point directly across from the
entry point requires an upstream heading to
Far shore Exit

Far shore Exit

Current

Current

Entry
Entry

Figure 7–8. Downstream sideslip Figure 7–10. Constant heading

7-8 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Terrain conditions may restrict the location as it nears the exit due to the current’s veloc-
of entry and/or exit locations. Enemy situa- ity. Use of this technique may be favored
tions may require alternate techniques. For when the enemy has a better observation of
example, when aiming at the downstream the entry bank rather than the exit bank.
exit point, the craft moves at a greater speed Watercraft moving fast and at a changing
relative to the banks after entry than it does rate are more difficult to engage effectively.

RAFTS
The assault force seizes a far-shore objec- after neutralizing observed indirect fire.
tive and then clears in zone to secure the Massed enemy indirect fire can cover an
crossing sites from direct fire. Quick rein- entire rafting site. The force neutralizes
forcement with armored fighting vehicles is observed indirect fire by suppressing it and
critical when the initial assault is dis- obscuring the crossing sites.
mounted.
SITE PREPARATION
Given the vital need to rapidly build com- The brigade commander also decides when
bat power on the far shore, the lead bri- bank preparation can begin, or he may dele-
gades should swim the fighting vehicles of gate this decision to his CAE. The decision
the follow-on battalions whenever practical is based on the estimated time required to
to save the rafts for the tanks. Rafts are secure the area. By initially spending extra
usually the initial means for crossing non- time and effort preparing a bank, mainte-
swimming vehicles, particularly tanks, on nance problems can be avoided during raft-
wide, unfordable rivers. It may be possible ing operations.
to bridge immediately after the assault
across the river; however, rafting is nor- The key to rapid and effective bank prepa-
mally first because rafts— ration is good engineer reconnaissance,
which permits engineers to arrive at the site
• Are less vulnerable to enemy air and
early, organized and equipped to perform
indirect fire due to their size and maneu-
specific tasks to improve the approach. The
verability.
same is true on the exit bank. Poor bank
• Are quicker to assemble. conditions require early priority for raft
movement of engineer equipment across the
• Offer more flexibility in operation, par- river. Time spent preparing the exit banks
ticularly in site selection and subsequent before passing heavy traffic greatly reduces
movement between sites. maintenance of the crossing site and speeds
• Can use existing road networks and force buildup later. Two entry and exit
banks where access and exit routes are points per centerline make it possible to
not aligned opposite of each other. alternately use one while maintaining the
other.
Raft assembly begins on order, not accord-
ing to a preplanned schedule, even though RAFTING SITES
the crossing plan has an estimated start Each lead brigade should have at least two
time. Unless the division commander rafting sites, each of which has one to three
directs otherwise, the brigade commander, raft centerlines. The terrain, routes, and
advised by his CAE, decides when to begin tactical plan determine their location. How-
rafting. This is always after eliminating ever, they should not be closer together than
enemy direct fire on the site and usually 300 meters to avoid congestion and the risk

Crossing Sites 7-9
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

that enemy artillery concentrations will reduced. However, spacing centerlines far-
impact on more than one site during a bar- ther than 300 meters apart stretches the
rage. Engineers prepare alternate sites as ability of one’s unit to control both land
soon as possible to permit the relocation of approaches and water operations. Each
rafts in case of enemy action or bank deteri- crossing site has at least one alternate cen-
oration. Each rafting site also contains the terline. The CSC switches to the alternate
control and operation structure that is nec- centerline when necessary due to enemy
essary to conduct rafting operations (see fire or bank maintenance.
Figure 7-11).
The centerline has an embarkation point
Engineer platoon leaders are in charge of on the near bank, a debarkation point on
rafting sites. Each site has one to three the far bank, and rafts operating between
active centerlines spaced 100 to 300 meters these two points. The number of rafts on a
apart. With the 100-meter minimum dis- centerline depends on the river's width and
tance between centerlines, collisions the unit's control (see Appendix C). Main-
between rafts on adjacent centerlines are taining bridge-unit integrity on center-
avoided and the effects of artillery are lines and crossing sites is critical. It

Current

Alternate
centerline

Centerline

Site commander

Call-
forward Centerline
area
Holding Safety line Holding
area area
Raft-
maintenance
site
EEP Safety boat
Unit-
maintainance
collection
point Hospital/aid station

Figure 7–11. Rafting site

7-10 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

simplifies the maintenance and operation of the embarkation or debarkation point.
rafts and significantly improves control on The two markers are 91 centimeters
the water, as all raft commanders and boat apart, and the marker farthest from the
operators have trained together. On any cen- river is 60 centimeters higher than the
terline, rafts must be the same type and con- other. The raft has the correct approach
figuration. to the bank when the markers appear to
be in a straight line, with one above the
Centerlines are marked to guide vehicles other.
approaching and leaving the water and to
guide rafts to the correct landing points. • Raft-landing markers depict the left
Marker stakes or panels are used during and right limits of the embarkation or
daylight, and dim lights (covered flashlights debarkation point.
or chemical lights) are used at night (see
Figure 7-12). The raft commander desig- • Vehicle-guide markers are used to align
nates the location of the markers depending raft loads with the raft and are visible to
on the terrain and the current’s velocity. both the raft and the vehicles.
Markers include the following:
Each rafting site contains at least one safety
• Raft-guide markers, at a 45-degree angle boat, normally a bridge-erection boat (BEB),
upstream, are used to guide the raft to for troop and equipment recovery. The bridge

Raft-guide markers 1.5 m

Raft-landing markers 1.5 m

Vehicle-guide markers 3m 91 cm
7.6 m

Current

7.6 m 3 m 91 cm
1.5 m
1.5 m

Figure 7–12. Centerline marking and operation

Crossing Sites 7-11
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

company provides a crew for the safety boat, • A fuel heavy-expanded mobility tactical
including a boat operator, a boat commander, truck (HEMTT) to refuel boats.
a medic, and a lifeguard (two, if possible). • One or more interior and exterior bays to
The lifeguard-qualified swimmer does not use as replacement parts.
wear boots or load-bearing equipment (LBE).
The safety boat also has a float with an The maintenance area is continuously
attached line for rescuing troops in the manned with—
water, a boat hook, rocket-propelled lifelines • Two mechanics with tool boxes.
(if available), and night-vision goggles (for
• Two fuel handlers.
the boat commander, primarily). It has a
radio on the bridge company net. The safety • The operators of the various pieces of
boat maintains its station 50 meters down- equipment.
stream of the rafting site. • A site supervisor.

As soon as possible, a safety line should be RAFTING OPERATIONS
run across the river 100 meters down- Units begin their preparations for rafting
stream from the last centerline. This line is operations at a staging area. There, they
fastened to the banks and kept afloat by life receive briefings, conduct inspections, and
jackets attached to the line every 30 rehearse the rafting operation. Personnel
meters. This rope acts as a catch rope for will be issued life jackets and given instruc-
troops who may fall overboard during raft- tions on what to do upon loading onto the
ing operations, especially during limited raft.
visibility. The safety line does not replace
the need for a safety boat but helps in case When ordered to begin rafting, the site com-
several soldiers fall into the river. mander directs personnel at the ERP in the
call-forward area to begin sending raft loads
Each crossing site requires an EEP located forward. Units proceed from a staging area
where the equipment will be accessible to to the call-forward area where engineers at
the crossing site. Traffic between the EEP the ERP organize them into raft loads and
and the riverbank should use a separate send them down to the river. Any points
route to avoid congestion with the crossing. along the route that may cause confusion,
such as intersections, are either manned
Each rafting site requires a place along the with a guide or are marked to ensure that
friendly shore, downstream of the center- the vehicles do not get lost. Once a raft load
lines, for immediate raft repairs. The main- nears the river, the platoon leader directs it
tenance area requires an access point to the to the appropriate centerline. The platoon
river for the removal and launching of bays leader controls the flow of traffic to the cen-
and boats. Additional equipment desired at terlines to ensure that there is a smooth
the maintenance area includes— flow of traffic and that centerlines are nei-
ther congested nor underused. He estab-
• A bridge boat to move damaged bays and
lishes the timing required so that raft loads
serve as a spare boat.
leave the call-forward area and match up
• A crane to remove nonrepairable equip- with a returning empty raft.
ment from the water.
When a raft load reaches the riverbank, it
• A bridge truck to transport damaged is met by an engineer centerline guide. He
equipment to the EEP. stops the raft load 3 meters from the edge

7-12 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

of the water and holds it there for the raft lines from the fuel to both bridge boats and
commander. The raft commander guides fuel them simultaneously. If no major defi-
the vehicles of the raft load onto the raft. ciencies are identified, the entire process
The raft crew chocks the vehicles and requires 20 minutes. If major deficiencies are
ensures that all passengers are wearing identified on the boat, it is removed from the
life jackets. The passengers do not dis- raft and replaced with an awaiting spare.
mount from their vehicles. All hatches are The boat will then be removed from the
opened to allow quick exit of the vehicle in water and sent back to the EEP for repair.
case of an emergency. Upon reaching the When refueling and maintenance operations
debarkation point, the raft commander are finished, the raft returns to its centerline
guides the vehicles off the raft. After the and another raft is directed in for mainte-
raft load debarks, the raft commander nance and refueling.
checks with the centerline guide for any
return vehicles and returns to the embar- Since the maintenance and refueling opera-
kation point. tion is continuous and requires removing a
raft from the operation for up to 30 minutes,
Once on the far shore, the centerline guide it is important to account for this reduction
directs the raft load to the far-shore holding in capabilities when planning the operation.
area where it re-forms. The passengers Generally, it is unnecessary to refuel for the
remove their life jackets, which are collected first two hours after rafting begins. Once
and returned by an engineer team to the raft maintenance and refueling begin, one of
staging area for future loads. the six rafts in each bridge company is
unavailable for carrying vehicles across the
MAINTENANCE AND REFUELING river at all times.
During rafting operations, rafts require
stops for refueling, preventive maintenance, When a raft becomes damaged and needs
and minor repairs. The efficiency of the immediate repair, the raft commander
crossing depends on all rafts having enough moves it to the maintenance area. If a raft
fuel and minimal lost time for refueling and loses a boat and cannot make it to the main-
normal maintenance. This efficiency tenance area without assistance, the raft
requires the bridge company to intensely commander contacts the maintenance
manage raft maintenance and to operate supervisor, who sends the maintenance boat
the maintenance area much like a pit crew out to assist. If a raft is still carrying a load,
in an automobile race. When directed, a raft the raft commander decides on which bank
pulls off the centerline and moves to the he will disembark the load. Once in the
crossing-site maintenance area. maintenance area, mechanics determine the
extent of the damage. If the damage
With the raft secured, the crew begins refuel- requires significant repair, the raft will be
ing and maintenance operations. Mechanics removed and replaced with a spare.
assess and repair any minor damages to the Lengthy equipment repairs are done at the
raft and the boats. Fuel handlers run fuel EEP.

BRIDGES
Bridges replace or supplement rafts once while keeping other rafting sites in operation
enemy-observed indirect fire is eliminated. until a second bridge is in place. Bridges have
Each lead brigade should convert at least one greater traffic-flow rates than rafts. The rib-
rafting site to a bridge site as soon as possible, bon bridge is the preferred initial bridge,

Crossing Sites 7-13
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

since it is faster to assemble and easier to alternate sites and position spare equip-
move than other types. Once assembled, all ment nearby in case of enemy action.
float bridges have a crossing rate of 200 vehi-
cles per hour, with a vehicle speed of 15 mph. As the danger from enemy action lessens,
As with rafts, bridge assembly begins on engineers use the more slowly assembled
order, not according to a preplanned sched- LOC and M4T6 bridges to augment and
ule. Since vehicles cross rivers much faster then replace the tactical bridges (ribbon
on bridges than on rafts, early bridge assem- bridge or AVLB). They do this as soon as
bly is desirable but must be weighed against possible to move ribbon bridges forward to
the risk that the enemy can still bring indi- other crossing operations.
rect fires down on an immobile bridge. The
brigade commander decides when to begin, Enemy bridges captured by the lead bri-
with advice from his engineer. He may dele- gades are a bonus and speed the crossing.
gate this decision to his CAE. Engineers with the lead brigades neutral-
ize explosive devices and reinforce weak or
Bridges need protection. AD, counterfires, damaged bridge structures whether the
and ground-security elements are neces- damage is above or below the waterline.
sary to defeat enemy attacks. Booms on the Commanders rarely base the success of an
river protect bridges from damage caused by operation solely on the seizure of intact
waterborne munitions and debris. Antidiver bridges.
nets are placed upstream and downstream
to protect bridges from swimmers or under- SITE ORGANIZATION
water demolition teams. Engineer light div- A bridging operation requires a continuous
ing teams may be employed to reduce debris traffic flow to the river. Units must be quickly
along the debris-collection side of the briefed and moved to the crossing site. To
upstream boom using portable hydraulic accomplish this, units receive briefings in the
chain saws. staging areas from traffic-control personnel.
There is no intermediate call-forward area.
Bridges are vulnerable to enemy long-range To control crossing vehicles, the engineers
artillery fire and air attack even after the from the bridge unit set up an ERP at the
assault force clears enemy forces from the bridge’s access points on each side of the
exit bank. For this reason, ribbon bridges river. These engineers guide vehicles onto
are used for a limited period of time, nor- and across the bridge, ensure the proper
mally two to four hours, before engineer speed and spacing of vehicles on the bridge,
bridge units break them apart and move and prevent vehicles too heavy for the bridge
them to other sites. When the division uses from trying to cross.
this pulse-bridging tactic, its units wait to
cross in staging areas and surge across A recovery team is stationed on the far
when bridges are in place. shore to remove any damaged vehicles from
the bridge. The recovery team consists of a
Enemy air superiority over the river may medium or heavy recovery vehicle and crew,
prohibit bridge assembly. A sustained with sufficient winch cable to reach across
enemy air attack forces engineers to break the bridge. A typical site setup is shown in
established float bridges into rafts. This Figure 7-13. The bridge site must have sev-
minimizes the destruction of scarce bridging eral possible centerlines with adequate road
assets yet enables the crossing to continue, networks from the unit’s staging areas.
though at a slower pace. Engineers prepare Individual centerlines are spaced greater

7-14 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Current

30 m 30 m
30 m 30 m

30 m 30 m
30 m 30 m

Figure 7–13. Bridge-crossing site

than 300 meters apart to reduce the effect of Guides carry flashlights or chemical lights
enemy artillery and air attacks. to guide the vehicles. The first guide
momentarily stops the vehicle at the ramp
Any method can be used to mark the route and guides it onto the bridge. He then
to the bridge as long as markers are visible shields the lights with his body and steps
to the operators of the vehicles and are out of the roadway. The second guide,
masked to observation from above. As the spaced about 30 meters farther along the
vehicle approaches the bridge’s edge, mark- bridge, unshields his lights and directs the
ers are spaced 30 meters apart to assist vehicle to his location. When the vehicle
operators in visualizing the required vehicle operator sees a guide shield his lights, he
interval on the bridge. looks further down the bridge to pick up the
next lights and is guided to them. When the
NIGHT OPERATIONS vehicle reaches the guide, he shields his
At night and during limited visibility, bridge lights and steps aside so that the next
company soldiers guide the vehicles across guide can pick up the direction of the vehi-
the bridge to prevent them from driving cle. This procedure is continued across the
over its side and to help them to maintain bridge.
the correct crossing speed.
ACTIONS UNDER FIRE
WARNING If the unit comes under fire while on the
Soldiers must not ground guide vehi- bridge, those vehicles that are on it continue
cles by walking in front of them. moving to the other side and leave the area.
Instead, soldiers should be placed as Vehicles that are not yet on the bridge stop
guides in stationary positions at rea- and go into a herringbone formation or take
sonable intervals along the bridge. up concealed positions. Once all vehicles
have cleared the bridge, the bridge crew will

Crossing Sites 7-15
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

break it into rafts and disperse them to cable from the far side and drag the vehicle
reduce their vulnerability to incoming fire. off the bridge. The recovery vehicle will not
move onto the bridge and tow the disabled
VEHICLE RECOVERY vehicle off since the critical requirement is
If a vehicle breaks down on the bridge, the to clear the bridge and maintain traffic flow;
bridge crew will immediately attach a winch loss of the vehicle is far less important.

OTHER GAP-CROSSING EQUIPMENT
The AVLB allows the maneuver force to con- fire, and a nuclear, biological, chemical
duct a hasty short-gap crossing without (NBC) environment. As the situation permits
requiring bridging assets from the corps. and the enemy threat is reduced, the MGB
The AVLB allows vehicles up to 70 tons to would replace the AVLB to allow greater traf-
cross over a 15-meter gap. During the fic across the gap. Eventually, the MGB
launch, the AVLB presents a high profile would be removed to be relocated forward
that will reveal the breaching location. The and replaced by other standard or nonstand-
bridge can be launched on the near shore ard bridging.
and then recovered on the far shore and
used again. Additionally, the AVLB can be As the danger from enemy action lessens,
overlaid on an understrength bridge allow- engineers use the more slowly assembled
ing heavy tracked vehicles to cross. In such LOC bridges to augment and then replace
instances, the AVLB must be cribbed to the tactical bridges. The primary use of the
avoid damage to the bridge. The AVLB can Bailey bridge is a temporary LOC bridge.
be placed on a stream bottom to assist vehi- It can be used in forward areas to replace
cles fording over soft or rocky material, but assault bridging and the MGB. This bridge
caution must be used not to cause severe system can also be assembled as a railway
damage or bottom suction, rendering the bridge, thus providing a relatively rapid
bridge unrecoverable. repair capability. In some cases, the Bailey
bridge is the only tactical bridge suitable
Overlapping several bridges and interlock- for long spans and heavy loads because it
ing them can allow vehicles to ford rivers of can be assembled in multiple heights and
greater width, but this works best when the widths. Currently, there are large opera-
only limiting factor is the depth of the river. tional stocks of the Bailey bridge in
In the near future, the AVLB will be Europe, but there are no plans for addi-
replaced by the Wolverine, which can pro- tional procurement. Many allied nations
vide a 24-meter gap-crossing capability for have fielded the Compact 200 Panel Bridge
MLC 70 vehicles. It will be transported, that is similar to the Bailey but uses
launched, and retrieved by an Abrams chas- advanced alloys which give it greater
sis with the turret removed. strength.

The primary role of the MGB, a hand- Enemy bridges captured by the lead bri-
erectable, heavy-duty bridge, is for tactical gades are a bonus and speed the crossing.
bridging in the forward main battle area. The Engineers with the lead brigades neutral-
key advantage of the MGB over other fixed ize explosive devices and reinforce weak or
bridges is its speed and ease of erection and damaged bridge structures. Commanders
little, if any, site preparation. During assem- rarely base the success of an operation
bly, soldiers will be vulnerable to small-arms solely on the seizure of intact bridges and
fire, indirect artillery fire, direct weapons should not incorporate it in a site-crossing

7-16 Crossing Sites
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

plan. Targeting of such bridges for direct or enough for heavy vehicles such as tanks. If
indirect fire is relatively simple as both used in defensive or retrograde crossings,
sides know the locations. In many cases, the civilian bridges should supplement other
load classification of civilian bridges is not crossing techniques.

Crossing Sites 7-17
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 8
Assault Crossing
GENERAL
An assault across a river normally begins Forces normally conduct an assault at night
with an attack to secure terrain on the exit or during limited visibility due to the vul-
bank. This may involve an air assault, but nerability of forces in small boats on open
the bridgehead force normally conducts an water. If an assault must be conducted dur-
assault by using pneumatic boats or by ing daylight, the assault site must be iso-
swimming amphibious vehicles. lated by fires and smoke to reduce the
force’s vulnerability.
The assault force normally crosses in waves,
as sufficient boats are seldom available to This chapter describes an assault-boat
carry the entire force across at once. It is a crossing. It focuses on conducting the cross-
very complex operation, requiring synchro- ing at night. It defines the organizational
nization and skilled application of technical elements required to conduct an assault
procedures. Success requires training and across a river and the necessary supporting
extensive rehearsal. techniques and procedures (see Figure 8-1).

TYPES OF ASSAULT CROSSINGS
Each lead battalion in a ground assault site big enough to accommodate two compa-
should have at least one ford or assault-boat nies abreast.

1. Engineers conduct far-shore reconnaissance. 13. The boat groups carry the boats to the river and
2. Assault and support forces conduct nearshore launch the boats.
reconnaissance. 14. The company flotillas cross the river.
3. The assault force conducts a rehearsal (day). 15. The support force provides suppressive fires, if
4. The assault force conducts a rehearsal (night). required.
5. The assault force moves into the AA. 16. The assault force places smoke on the river, if
6. The company guides link up with the engineer required.
boat platoons. 17. The assault force debarks, deploys, and
7. The engineer boat platoons move into the attack attacks.
position. 18. The second-wave force moves to the river.
8. The support force moves into support-by-fire 19. The boat groups return to the near shore.
positions. 20. The engineers mount the motors, if required.
9. The engineer boat platoons distribute and pre- 21. The second-wave force and cargo are loaded
pare the boats. into the boats.
10. The company guides bring the assault force to 22. The second-wave force crosses the river.
the attack position. 23. The far-shore aid station is established.
11. The boat teams man the boats. 24. The assault force seizes the objectives.
12. The preparation teams prepare the far shore. 25. The assault force establishes the hasty
defense.

Figure 8-1. Assault steps, summarized

Assault Crossing 8-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Fording vehicles are more likely to be used For an assault using rubber boats, each com-
in a hasty crossing than in a deliberate pany requires at least 200 meters along the
crossing because they allow the force to con- river to disperse the boats and ideally 300
tinue across the river without pausing to meters between companies. This is a total of
acquire other crossing means. A ford site 700 meters for a battalion assaulting with
should have 300 meters along the near bank two companies abreast.
at the entry point for deploying the support
force. Control is very important, particularly at
night when boats can easily become sepa-
RUBBER-BOAT CROSSING rated or lose their direction. Combat experi-
The following factors should be considered ence has demonstrated that engineer and
when using rubber boats in a crossing. Rub- infantry boat rehearsals before the crossing
ber boats— attempt are mandatory for success. The
rehearsals should begin as soon as the unit
• Offer great opportunity for surprise in a receives the WO without waiting for the
silent-paddle crossing. detailed crossing plan.
• Are a relatively fast means of crossing,
AIR-ASSAULT CROSSING
especially when using outboard motors.
The following should be considered when
• Maneuver well in the water. using air-assault asset in a crossing. Air-
• Require limited, if any, entry-bank prep- assault assets—
aration—none is required on the exit • Require indirect approaches to avoid
bank. detection.
• Require the separation of mechanized • Provide the element of surprise.
troops from their vehicles and equip-
• Give greater flexibility to emplace per-
ment.
sonnel and equipment.
• Have limited carrying capacity, particu- • Provide the rapid insertion of forces to
larly AT weapons. the area where the enemy is located, if a
• Provide limited protection, mobility, fire- LZ is available.
power, and communications on the exit • Are greatly affected by weather condi-
bank. tions.
• Must be a high AD priority at the river,
The unit protects itself during a rubber-boat
requiring suppression of enemy AD
crossing by moving silently, during periods
effort.
of limited visibility, and crossing at a loca-
tion where the enemy does not expect a • Require the separation of mechanized
crossing attempt. troops from their vehicles and equipment.
• Are vulnerable to armored counterat-
Generally, an infantry platoon uses three
tacks and require a quick ground linkup.
rubber boats for its personnel and attached
elements. If short of boats, the dismounted Planning and execution are the same as for
elements of an infantry platoon equipped other air-assault operations (see FM 90-4).
with the M2 Bradley vehicle can fit in two As with assault boats, rehearsals are neces-
boats. Allocating one squad per boat, when sary, particularly for troops not familiar
possible, preserves unit integrity. with air-assault operations.

8-2 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

VEHICLE-SWIM CROSSING • Requires suitable entry and exit points.
Against little or no resistance, swimming • Requires vehicle preparation.
the fighting vehicles may be practical in the
• Requires training in vehicle-swim opera-
assault stage. Swimming the fighting vehi-
tions.
cles—
• Has minimal effect on troop organization Rapid reinforcement of dismounted assault
and control. troops with armored vehicles is so critical
that it justifies using any expeditious
• Provides troop protection, mobility, and
method when swimming the first few fight-
firepower on the far bank.
ing vehicles across. This includes winching,
• Provides early AT capability on the far towing, or pushing the first ones across nor-
bank by vehicle-mounted tube-launched, mally unsuitable places while engineers
optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) prepare better entry and exit points for the
missiles. rest.
• Reduces the number of vehicles to be
rafted. The space required to swim vehicles on line
is 200 meters of front per company with 300
• Is a slow operation. meters between companies. Less is required
• Is considered risky because the vehicles if they cross in a column. Commanders plan
maneuver poorly in the water and are entry and exit sites to account for down-
extremely vulnerable to antiarmor stream drift when swimming the fighting
weapons. vehicles.

ORGANIZATION
The specific organization used depends on be positioned early enough to develop a
METT-T factors, particularly the size of the detailed fire plan. The assault-force com-
bridgehead, the distance to exit-bank objec- mander directs the support-force com-
tives, and the nature of the enemy’s defense. mander to lift or shift suppressive fires as
Regardless of these factors, the assault bat- necessary.
talion’s TF organizes into support and
assault forces and are assisted in the The support force normally consists of the
assault by other brigade units in support- tanks and infantry fighting vehicles of the
by-fire positions. dismounted infantry conducting the
assault. If an attached light infantry bat-
SUPPORT FORCE talion is conducting the assault, tripod-
Each assault company has a support force mounted heavy machine guns and AT mis-
under its control. This force covertly estab- sile systems (augmented by infantry fight-
lishes a support-by-fire position along the ing vehicles and tanks) provide supporting
friendly bank before the assault. It uses fires. The company XO controls these
night vision and thermal sights to locate direct-fire weapon systems; however, the
enemy positions. It also develops a fire company commander gives the firing com-
plan to engage these positions and to pro- mands.
vide suppressive fires on all suspected posi-
tions. When directed to engage, the Supporting artillery battalions and mortar
support force destroys all known and sus- platoons provide indirect-fire support. The
pected positions. The support force must assault force has priority of fires from at

Assault Crossing 8-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

least one artillery battalion during the AD teams deploy along the near shore of the
assault. The artillery battalion does not nor- river to cover the crossing. Once in place,
mally fire a preparatory fire mission for they remain until the brigade releases them.
covert assaults. The assault force assigns the They can move across the river and link up
batteries priority targets that they fire on with the assault force only after other
upon request. This normally occurs after the SHORAD systems have taken position to
initial wave is ashore or upon discovery. If cover the river. The crossing sites remain the
the assault is not covert, the battalion fires priority AD area throughout the crossing.
preparatory fires that continue during the
crossing of the first wave, lifting on com- ASSAULT FORCE
mand when the boats approach the exit The first assault wave moves the bulk of the
bank. dismounted force across covertly. This force
attempts to provide sufficient security on
Graphic fire-control measures are essential the far shore so that the second and later
because of the danger of firing on friendly assault waves can cross after surprise is
forces. Boundaries between companies lost. The first assault wave carries—
should run along terrain features that are • Rifle platoons.
easily visible in the dark to help control indi-
rect fire during the dismounted assault. • Attached assault engineers.
Counterbattery fire is imperative to the • Forward observers.
success of the river crossing. The target-
• The command group.
acquisition-battery-radar team deploys to
cover the area before the assault crossing The organization of the first wave permits
begins. rapid deployment of the force into a tacti-
cal formation on the far shore. Individual
Smoke may not be used to support the first boatloads retain unit integrity at the low-
wave of a covert crossing because of the risk est level. The two basic boatload configura-
of losing surprise but should be used to hide tions are the rifle-squad boat and the rifle-
later waves as they cross. If the crossing is platoon-headquarters boat (see Figure 8-2).
opposed, a smoke haze should cover the first
wave before it enters the water to reduce Each boat contains an engineer boat crew
direct-fire effectiveness. The assault-force and a rifle squad. The squad boat also car-
commander initiates smoke obscuration. If ries an engineer assault team, while the
smoke generators are available, they are platoon boat carries the platoon headquar-
deployed to obscure a large length of the ters. The boat-force commander is the
river. Additional smoke along multiple sites senior occupant. He commands the force
on the river conceals the true crossing area. up to the attack position and after it
This additional smoke may be from smoke debarks on the far shore. The coxswain is
pots if nothing else is available. the "pilot in command" and commands the
force from the point that it mans the boat
If units must fire smoke onto the far shore in the attack position until it debarks on
to cover the crossing area, they fire it on the far shore.
the command of the assault-force com-
mander after surprise is lost. Mortars are First-wave boats carry only critical cargo,
the primary means of indirect-fire smoke. such as AT weapons, machine-gun ammuni-
Direct-support artillery is generally tion, demolitions, and engineer tools that
reserved for supporting fires. are required for reducing obstacles.

8-4 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Bow gunner
Bow gunner

Stroke Stroke
paddler paddler
(engineer) Rifle (engineer)
Rifle squad
squad
FO

Assault RTO
engineer Squad leader
team (compass)
Squad leader
(compass) Medic
Boat Boat
commander commander
(platoon leader)

Coxswain (engineer) Occupied boat position Coxswain (engineer)

Squad boat Vacant boat position Platoon boat

Figure 8-2. Boat-load configurations

Platoon boats form a boat group of three The first wave of the assault may consist of
boats that are spaced 20 meters apart on three company flotillas crossing on line.
the water. The boat group forms into a "V," Battalions do not have a prescribed crossing
with the platoon leader's boat acting as the formation. Each company crosses in its own
guide boat in the center. The two engineer zone and attacks it own objectives.
assault teams are from an engineer squad,
with a squad leader commanding the team All undamaged boats return to the near
in the right boat and an assistant squad shore after carrying the first wave. The
leader commanding the team in the left senior coxswain of the group will consolidate
boat. The assault teams re-form into a the boats and stroke paddlers into one (or
squad upon debarking. more) boat and daisy-chain the other boats to
the lead boat to expedite the time required
Platoon boat groups form into company flo- for the boats to return to the near shore. The
tillas (see Figure 8-3, page 8-6). The com- second and later waves carry across the
pany commander commands the guide boat remaining troops and materials that are nec-
in the center platoon. The company com- essary to seize the far-shore objective.
mand group disperses between boats, fill-
ing in vacant boat positions. Platoon guide The second wave carries company aid sta-
boats maintain a 40-meter interval (two- tions and may include the battalion com-
boat interval) between boat groups. mand group. Since sufficient AD systems

Assault Crossing 8-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

20 meters 40 meters

Figure 8-3. Company flotilla

are in place to cover the crossing area, the actions. As vehicles carry all heavy AT
brigade may release some or all of the bat- weapons, engineers concentrate on forcing
talion AD teams to cross in the second a few critical vehicles carrying heavy weap-
wave. ons across immediately after the second
wave. They hand carry heavy weapons, if
The second wave also transports additional necessary, even before direct fire and
material and ammunition that is not observed indirect fire has been removed
required for the initial assault but neces- from the crossing area. Vehicles cross by
sary to establish a defense. This may swimming or fording or are dragged or
include antiarmor weapons, mortars, rafted across.
ammunition, laser designators, mines, or
pioneer tools. It normally includes tripod- CAEs begin bank preparations on both the
mounted weapons, such as M2HB .50- near and far shore, using hand tools and
caliber machine guns, TOW AT systems, equipment where possible. They swim an
Mark 19 40-millimeter grenade launchers, M9 ACE or deep ford a bulldozer to get a
and the ground-laser location designator winch capability to the far shore. Bradley
(GLLD). vehicles either swim or ford, with towing
assistance if necessary. A BEB can tow
If secrecy is not required for the second Bradleys if the current’s velocity is too
wave because the first wave is in combat, or high. Using a block and tackle fastened to
if the enemy has begun to fire on the cross- a tree or picket holdfast, a BEB can help
ing area, then outboard engines are used to Bradleys leave the water over unprepared
propel the boats so that paddlers are not banks. If high-mobility multiwheeled vehi-
necessary. cle (HMMWV) weapon carriers are avail-
able, they can be waterproofed and pulled
The immediate movement of some heavy across on the bottom with a winch cable. If
AT weapons across to support the dis- absolutely necessary, rafting can be used,
mounted assault battalion is essential. This but this risks destroying equipment that
is critical enough to justify extraordinary will be critical later in the crossing.

8-6 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

ENGINEERS • Improve exit and entrance banks for
Engineers supporting the assault are rafts and boats and assist with crossing
attached to the assault unit as described in the initial heavy weapons.
previous paragraphs. Each assault com- • Come from the engineer battalion that
pany receives an engineer platoon that will remain on the river operating the
accompanies the assault force to its objec- crossing area.
tive, helping it fight through obstacles and
prepared defenses. The engineers help the Two boat engineers are assigned to each
assault force establish hasty defenses after assault boat. They are the coxswain and the
it has seized its objectives. Engineers nor- lead paddler on the right side of the boat
mally come from the division engineer bat- (stroke paddler). The stroke paddler controls
talion that supports the brigade. the stroke cadence during the assault cross-
ing. The boat engineers paddle the boats
Boat engineers— back for the next wave. Outboard motors nor-
mally are used during the second wave.
• Operate the boats and cross the assault
force. Normally, an engineer platoon must operate
• Are in direct support of the assault bat- the boats for a first-wave assault company.
talion until it has secured its objectives. An engineer company can cross the assault
battalion of a brigade. Each assault company
• Remain on the water after the assault requires 9 boats plus a safety boat. The
force has crossed and continue to carry assault battalion requires 30 boats to carry
men and materials across in assault the assault companies plus 1 for the battal-
boats until heavy rafts can take over the ion commander. If less are available, some
mission. companies may not cross in the first wave.

PREPARATION PHASE OF THE OPERATION
Similar to conducting a deliberate breach of night. If a diving team is unavailable, then
a complex obstacle, river-crossing opera- a swimming reconnaissance team is made
tions require intelligence collection, detailed up from the engineer unit supporting the
planning, and preparation. These must all crossing. Strong swimmers (Red Cross-
be synchronized to allow the force to main- certified lifeguards or water-safety instruc-
tain its momentum and surprise the tors) from the engineers supporting the
defender at the point of penetration. crossing make up the reconnaissance
party if divers are not available. Two swim-
FAR-SHORE RECONNAISSANCE mers make up a reconnaissance team to
Tactical reconnaissance of the far shore scout a company crossing area.
must cover a broad front to a significant
depth to determine the details of the ter- The reconnaissance team carries heavily
rain and the enemy's defenses. This lubricated weapons and wears LBE. They
should occur early and cover sufficient ter- wear subdued face masks and running
rain to disguise the actual crossing area. shoes and use swimming fins. Divers must
wear Class 5 life jackets as flotation
Engineers conduct a technical reconnais- devices (US Army flat foam-filled life jack-
sance of the far shore, focusing on the ets will not serve). The divers camouflage
immediate crossing area. An engineer light their faces and hands and tow any neces-
diving team conducts a reconnaissance at sary equipment in bundles.

Assault Crossing 8-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Divers must carefully avoid splashing. If where raft and bridge centerlines can be
necessary, they wear weights to ensure installed.
that kick strokes are underwater. The
party enters the water far upstream from Far-shore reconnaissance is conducted early
the actual crossing site and floats with the and at multiple sites along the shore to gen-
current while crossing. Divers use the side- erate information necessary for planning and
stroke, facing each other and observing selecting the most suitable areas. Maneuver
behind the other diver. This allows 360- units, with support from the engineers, con-
degree observation and communication by duct far-shore reconnaissance.
hand and arm signals. When the divers
approach the shore, they switch to the FAR-SHORE PREPARATION
breaststroke so that they can observe the The far shore is prepared immediately
landing area. Divers must use stealth and before the assault crossing. The prepara-
caution when approaching the beach. They tion team consists of a two-man reconnais-
must keep a low profile in the water and sance team and a two-man cargo team
also on the beach. with an inflatable reconnaissance boat;
both teams are from the supporting engi-
When the divers reach shallow enough neers. The reconnaissance team that con-
water and determine that the situation is ducted the far-shore reconnaissance is
safe for landing, they remove their fins. If normally best-suited to do the far-shore
they can immediately enter the woods upon preparation. The preparation team
leaving the water, they do so in a rush. If installs landing markers for the flotillas. A
the woods are a distance from the water, separate team normally marks each com-
one diver remains in the water just at the pany zone to speed up preparation.
waterline and covers the other as he moves
quickly across the beach. Once the inland The reconnaissance team and the cargo
diver has reached the edge of the woods, he team are equipped the same as the recon-
covers his partner, who is moving across naissance party and use the same tech-
the beach to the same position. niques. The reconnaissance team crosses
first, floating downstream to the landing
Critical information requirements include— site with the current. Upon landing, they
move to the correct landing site for the
• The characteristics of the bank at assault landing and signal for the cargo
assault-boat landing areas. team to cross. The reconnaissance team
installs transit lights to guide the cargo
• The depth of the water to a distance of team as it crosses.
4.6 meters off shore.

• Any obstacles along the shore. Signaling is accomplished by sending a
prearranged Morse Code letter using a
• The locations of enemy observation flashlight equipped with an opaque filter.
posts. The transit lights consist of either two
flashlights with opaque filters and direc-
The reconnaissance team checks potential tional cones or two chemical lights in their
areas identified from the near shore and foil wrappers with small areas torn open
evaluates each based on its ability to support to release light. The team installs the
assault boats and disembark troops. The lights so that one is about 1 meter above
reconnaissance party also checks areas the water and the other is about 2 meters

8-8 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

above the water and 2 meters behind it, current. Normally, if the current is less than
facing 45 degrees upstream. 0.5 MPS, the lights are set perpendicular to
the river. If the current exceeds 0.5 MPS,
The cargo team waits until signaled to the lights are set at a 45-degree angle to the
cross. It uses a three-man reconnaissance river, facing upstream. Double transit lights
boat as a flotation device to carry marking mark the center boat group’s landing area,
materials, mine detectors, night-vision gog- and single transit lights mark the flank
gles, and a radio. The reconnaissance boat group’s. If colored lights are available, green
is covered with a camouflage net section and lights mark the right boat group’s landing
is partially deflated after loading so that it area, white the center’s, and red the left’s
floats low in the water to reduce its signa- (see Figure 8-4).
ture. The camouflage net is secured to the
lifelines to aid in holding the cargo in the The preparation team also makes a final
partially submerged boat. The cargo team examination of the landing areas for
crosses oriented on and swimming slightly mines or obstacles. If it discovers isolated
upstream of the transit lights so that it can mines, it marks them and the routes
drift into the shore with the current, limit- around them. If the team finds a major
ing the noise and the splash. minefield that will significantly hinder the
landing at a site, it either notifies the
The preparation team installs landing assault force and moves the site upstream
markers as its first priority. These are the or downstream to avoid the mines or
same types of markers used to guide the attempts to reduce the minefield. Once the
cargo team. They must be adequately visible preparation is complete, the team signals
to the assault force but dim enough not to the assault force to begin crossing, initiat-
harm night vision. If flashlights are avail- ing the movement of the first wave carry-
able, they have opaque and/or colored filters ing the boats from the attack position. The
installed to limit the light output. Chemical preparation team then finds cover near the
lights remain in the foil wrappers with only landing area for the center boat of a predes-
enough foil removed to provide the neces- ignated boat group (generally the center
sary light. All landing markers are transit boat group) and awaits its arrival. This boat
lights that mark the position and help the group is especially alert for linkup with the
boats set the proper course relative to the preparation team. While waiting, the team

R
REED
D W
WHHIITTE
E G
GR
GREEE
ENN

Left Center Right
Left Center Right
boat boat boat
boat boat boat
group group group
group group group

Figure 8-4. Landing marker lights

Assault Crossing 8-9
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

continues to watch for enemy activity and Before rehearsal, the boat crews and infan-
alerts the assault force of any significant try train together in the actual boat teams
changes. assigned for the crossing. Soldiers receive
their boat assignments and practice in
NEARSHORE RECONNAISSANCE their assigned positions until the boats
Units must be extremely careful to hide can move effectively on the water. The
reconnaissance elements conducting near- training must include carrying and launch-
shore reconnaissance in the crossing area or ing the boat, embarking, watermanship,
to deceive the enemy about what they are emergency actions, debarking, and hasty-
doing. defense preparations.

Battalion and company command groups NOTE: After the rehearsal, boat assign-
must conduct a daylight reconnaissance of ments must not be changed.
the crossing area. They must see the
embarkation and debarkation points and During training, the coxswain forms the
key landmarks to help guide the force boat team. He forms the crew members in
when crossing. They must also see the a column of twos in the relative positions
attack position and the routes from it to that they will occupy in the boat, with pas-
the river. Company guides must walk the sengers at the rear of the two columns. He
routes from the dismount points to the then numbers the crew. The right-side pad-
boat-group positions within the company’s dlers are 1, 3, 5, and 7, and the left-side
attack position. Engineer boat coxswains paddlers are 2, 4, 6, and 8 (both sides from
must see the routes they will traverse bow to stern). The stroke paddler is always
from the attack position to the water. number 1, and the coxswain is always
number 15, regardless of the number of
Support-force leaders and vehicle command- paddlers used. Passengers are numbered
ers must covertly select firing positions and consecutively from bow to stern starting
locate concealed routes into the positions with number 11, who is always the bow
for their vehicles during daylight. They gunner. The coxswain addresses all crew
should identify sectors of fire and conduct members by number. When the coxswain
extensive observation within the sectors to wishes to address a command to a pair of
acquire specific targets. paddlers, he uses their numbers together,
as in "1 and 2" and "3 and 4."
ASSAULT-FORCE REHEARSAL
An assault-boat crossing cannot be con- Figure 8-5 shows only 8 paddlers. The boat
ducted effectively in the face of opposition can carry 15 soldiers. If fully loaded, the
without thorough rehearsal. If possible, the boat requires 10 paddlers. Boat-position
force should conduct two rehearsals. One numbers do not change.
should be during daylight to learn the pro-
cedures, and one should be at night under All forces participating in the assault
actual assault conditions. crossing rehearse together. The support
force moves into position, and the assault
The rehearsal area should be similar to the force crosses in the same waves it will use
actual crossing area but away from the for the actual crossing. The rehearsal
river to preserve secrecy. Generally, a rear- should cover the AA through to the seizure
area river is the rehearsal area. of the assault-force objectives.

8-10 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Paddlers
Stroke
paddler
3 5 7 9
Bow gunner
1

11 12 13 14 15 Coxswain

2
4 6 8 10

Paddlers

Figure 8-5. Boat numbering

EXECUTION PHASE OF THE OPERATION
The objective of an assault river crossing is • Be accessible to trucks or carrying par-
to project combat firepower to the exit bank ties bringing the assault boats.
without being detected by the enemy or, • Be concealed from hostile ground and
once detected, project it at a faster rate than aerial observation.
the enemy can concentrate forces for a coun-
terattack. The use of air assets is desired; • Be connected with clearly defined foot
however, there are normally not enough routes to the river.
assets available, or the risk of being • Be within 100 to 200 meters of the river.
detected is to great. To maintain momentum
• Be in defilade from hostile flat-trajectory
and allow maximum combat power across
fire.
quickly, the maneuver force negotiates the
river on a broad front. Detailed planning Trucks carry assault boats and life jackets
and specific responsibilities allow units to as far forward as possible without compro-
cross and quickly establish a tactical foot- mising secrecy. They are met at the desig-
hold on the far side to— nated unload position by the engineer
platoon and company guides from each
• Prevent the enemy from indirect-fire
attack position, who will unload the truck
observation.
and carry the boats into place. The platoon
• Allow rafting and bridging operations to can carry two at a time, so this will require
begin. five trips. If possible, HMMWVs moving at a
low speed to minimize noise can carry sev-
ATTACK-POSITION PROCEDURES
eral boats at a time into the attack position.
The attack positions must be large enough
to accept a dismounted infantry rifle com- Within the attack position, boat crews dis-
pany. They should— perse assault boats and life jackets along

Assault Crossing 8-11
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

the boat-group routes to the river. The up during all boat operations to prevent
safety boat is positioned as the last boat in punctures. The teams then await the com-
the downstream boat group. The remaining mand to proceed to the water.
life jackets for passengers and the coxswain
are arrayed behind the boat. EMBARKING PROCEDURES
On order of the company commander, the
After the boats are prepared, each engineer paddlers of the boat crew carry the boats to
squad provides a guide to bring each pla- the river. They make no unnecessary stops
toon from its AA to the nearshore crossing from the time of departure from the attack
site. The platoon leader sends the guide position until the boat reaches the bank.
party to the AA, where each guide links up The coxswain directs either "Low carry" or
with his boat group. The remaining engi- "High carry." In low carry, crew members
neers establish local security around the lift the boat to about knee height, by the
attack position and await the boat groups. carrying handles while facing forward, and
carry the boat at arms length. In high carry,
Soldiers arrive in the attack position with crew members lift the boat to about head
their weapons cocked on an empty chamber, height, place it on their inboard shoulders,
selector switch on SAFE, and magazines and carry it while gripping the carrying
removed. Squad leaders must verify this in handles with their outboard hands. Nor-
the AA before moving to the attack position. mally, high carry is used for long distances,
The soldiers are organized, without the boat and the boat is shifted to low carry when
engineers, into boat teams and boat groups approaching the bank. Paddles remain in
in the AA. They travel as boat groups. When the boat during carry procedures. Remain-
they arrive at the attack position, their ing crew members follow the boat to the
guide leads them directly to their boats. water.

When the boat team arrives at its boat, the The boat crew may launch the boat either
coxswain commands, "Crew, boat stations." bow first or stern first; however, bow first is
Each team member takes his proper boat the preferred method. The boat is
position, with passengers lining up to the launched—
rear. The coxswain then directs the team to
• Bow first whenever the water is shallow
load and check weapons. The team inserts
enough for the team to wade in carrying
the rifles' magazines and verifies that they
the boat at low carry.
are seated. However, the team does not
chamber the rounds. All weapons remain on • Stern first when the water is too deep for
SAFE. Squad leaders verify that all weap- wading or when the launch point has
ons are on SAFE. The coxswain then directs steeply sloped banks.
the team members to sling their weapons
and don their life jackets. Paddlers sling Bow-First Method
their rifles diagonally so that the barrel On the coxswain's command, "Launch
extends up over the shoulder which will be boat," team members perform a low carry
away from the boat when standing alongside and move into the water at a fast walk.
and facing forward. Odd-numbered paddlers When the depth of the water is such that
sling their rifles over their right shoulder, the boat floats free of the bottom, all
even numbered over their left. This allows hands continue pushing it into the river,
carrying the boat at high carry and reduces remaining at their relative positions along-
interference with paddling. Muzzles must be side the boat.

8-12 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

As the water reaches the knees of the first the boat in to shore stern first after the
pair of paddlers, the coxswain commands, boat is manned and holds it in place either
"One and two in." The first pair of pad- by a line to shore or by holding bottom.
dlers climb into the boat, unstow their pad- Two engineers wade to the boat carrying
dles, and give way together. The coxswain its motor and mount it on the transom.
orders each pair of paddlers into the boat
in succession by commanding, "Three and TACTICAL CONTROL AFLOAT
four in," "Five and six in," and "Seven and The coxswain navigates the boat and directs
eight in." The pairs climb into the boat on the paddlers. He controls the movement of
command, break out their paddles, and the boat in the water as well as embarka-
pick up the stroke of the stroke paddler. tion and debarkation from it. He ensures
that the guide boat maintains the proper
The coxswain orders the passengers into the station. The boat commander sits in front of
boat after the paddlers by commanding, the coxswain and directs the boat in an
"Eleven in," "Twelve in," and so forth. Pas- emergency. He also commands the boat
sengers board over the stern and move for- occupants upon landing until the unit has
ward in the boat to their positions. The re-formed. The boat commander directs
coxswain enters the boat last and sounds fires from the boat, if necessary.
off, "Coxswain in, hold water."
Each platoon has a platoon guide boat,
Stern-First Method which contains the platoon headquarters.
On the coxswain's command, "Launch boat," Other platoon boats position themselves to
team members perform a low carry and either side of the platoon guide boat as
carry the boat stern (rear) first to the wingmen to maintain a 20-meter interval
water's edge. They launch the boat by pass- for protection against fires and to allow
ing it back along the line of team members. dispersion on landing. They follow the
When the stroke paddler can no longer help guide boat and land when it does. They
pass the boat back, he moves to the bow of open fire from the boat when the guide
the boat and handles the towing bridle. boat does.
Other team members follow suit, taking
their places along the towing bridle between Each company has a C2 boat, which carries
the stroke paddler and the boat. the company commander and leads his flo-
tilla. Platoon guide boats position them-
When the boat is in the water, the coxswain selves at double-boat intervals from the C2
enters the boat and takes his station. He boat, maintaining a 40-meter spacing
orders the boat team to load, starting with between boat groups. The C2 boat is nor-
the rearmost left-hand paddler, by com- mally the lead boat of the center platoon.
manding "Eight in," "Seven in," "Six in,"
"Five in," "Four in," "Three in," and "Two The battalion command group remains on the
in." Passengers embark next as he com- near shore until the assault wave has landed.
mands, "Fourteen in" and "Eleven in." When The commander controls the nearshore direct
the coxswain is ready to cast off, he allows fires and directs changes in landing points if
the boat to drift back and turns it to face elements of the first wave encounter difficul-
across the river. ties. He also directs changes for the following
wave. The commander has his own boat
If motors are to be mounted before the and crosses on his own schedule, but he
first-wave crossing, the coxswain brings normally crosses with the second wave.

Assault Crossing 8-13
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

The command group normally does not drift in with the current. To do this, they
cross in a single boat but is distributed align so that the lower transit light points
among several boats. slightly upstream.

Guide boats in all boat groups are responsi- If the force is conducting a crossing where
ble for ensuring that their group lands at smoke is necessary on the water and it
the proper place. Landing marker lights are obscures the far shore, other navigation
installed as transit lights to assist naviga- methods it could use include stringing ferry
tion on the water. The coxswain will see two lines across the river for the boats to follow,
lights, one above the other. If the boat is using floating markers, or traveling on a
moving straight to the landing, the lights compass heading.
will be straight in vertical alignment. If
not, the lower light points in the direction WATERMANSHIP
the boat must go to be exactly headed for Watermanship includes all the skills that
the landing. The boat will not head directly the boat crew must exhibit to properly con-
for the transit lights except when the river trol its boat in the water. It includes individ-
has no current. The boat heads for the far ual paddling skills, responsiveness to
shore so that the boat's true course is commands, and the skill of the coxswain.
directly for the lights (see Figure 8-6).
Individual paddlers use a paddling tech-
Normally, the boats will cross slightly nique where they push the paddle vertically
upstream from the landing so that they can into the water, roughly 1 meter to their
front, and then power it back through the
water by pushing with the upper hand while
using the lower (guide) hand for control. At
the end of the power stroke, they remove the
paddle from the water, turn it outboard and
parallel with the water's surface (feather-
Boat
Boat ing), and move it forward for the next
heading
heading stroke. The stroke is silent, with the pad-
dlers careful not to strike the side of the
Actual
Actual boat or to splash.
movement
movement
direction
direction
The stroke paddler sets the pace to control
Current
Current
the paddlers. He receives oral commands
from the coxswain and establishes and
maintains the paddling pace. All paddlers
TT aa n
Trrr aan nssiss ii ttt
llliii g
g
gh h ttts
t ss
match the stroke of the paddler in front of
them except for the number two man, who
matches his stroke with the stroke pad-
dler. If the boat crew has difficulty pad-
dling in unison, the coxswain can exercise
oral control by calling cadence. The nor-
mal paddling speed is 10 strokes per
minute for stealth and 30 strokes per
Figure 8-6. Boat course minute for speed.
8-6

8-14 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

The coxswain uses the following commands The coxswain can make minor adjust-
to control the boat: ments in the boat's speed by directing,
"Slow the stroke" or "Speed the stroke."
• "Hold water." Paddlers hold their pad-
dles motionless in the water with the The coxswain must take the current’s
blade perpendicular to the direction of velocity into account when trying to hold a
motion. course. In low-velocity current, the boat
• "Give way together." Paddlers stroke in can travel a relatively straight course
unison following the rhythm set by the across the river by crabbing slightly
stroke paddler. upstream. To do this, the coxswain aims
the bow of the boat slightly upstream
• "Slow stroke." The stroke paddler pad- while sighting on the land mark. If the
dles 10 strokes per minute. mark remains on a constant bearing (it
does not drift upstream or downstream),
• "Fast stroke." The stroke paddler pad- the boat is crabbing correctly and is
dles 30 strokes per minute. headed directly for the landing.
• "Backwater." Paddlers paddle backward
If the current's velocity is too high for suc-
in unison with the stroke paddler.
cessful crabbing (over 0.5 MPS), either the
• "Rest paddles." Paddlers rest their pad- boat must start upstream or the coxswain
dles across their legs. must steer a figure-eight pattern. In both
cases, the boat should approach the land-
• "Hold bottom." Paddlers thrust their ing heading into the current to avoid the
paddles straight down into the river’s danger of broaching. If the boat is
bottom and hold them against the side of launched from far upstream, it generally
the boat as a temporary anchor. follows a course similar to the dotted
course in Figure 8-7, page 8-16. If the cox-
• "Land boat." The stroke increases to 30
swain follows a figure-eight course, he
strokes per minute, with each paddler
steers upstream until aligned with the
digging deep into the water for power to
transit lights, then lets the bow drop down-
drive the boat up on shore. The stroke
stream and guides by using the lights
paddler stows his paddle as soon as the
until he reaches the landing point. He
boat grounds, then disembarks and
then steers upstream to the landing marks
secures the towing bridle to the shore.
(see Figure 8-7, solid line). These tech-
• "Right, backwater, left, give way niques minimize the amount of time the
together." When paddlers execute these boat will be traveling slowly against the
commands, the boat turns rapidly to the current while near the enemy shore.
right. When the boat has turned to the
new desired course, the coxswain com- The need for a figure-eight course is deter-
mands, "All, give way together." mined during reconnaissance. The flotilla
command boat sets the figure-eight course,
• "Left, backwater, right, give way completing the downstream turn in align-
together." When paddlers execute these ment with the transit lights. Remaining
commands, the boat turns rapidly to the boats simply maintain station until the
left. When the boat has turned to the last turn upstream toward the landing
new desired course, the coxswain com- area. Boat groups then head directly for
mands, "All, give way together." the transit lights.

Assault Crossing 8-15
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

h
Current
Current

FFaarr
ssh
ho orree

T Trra
Tr rr a sii ttt
annssi
lli i g h t
tts
ll i g h ts s

Figure 8-7. Figure-eight course

Eddy currents (eddies) occur at channel • Obscuration
bends, near points of land, and at places
where the bottom is uneven. Eddies can be • Screening.
dangerous to small boats. The coxswain • Marking.
must be alert for them.
• Deception.
OBSCURING WITH SMOKE
The purpose of smoking the crossing site is It is particularly important not to produce a
to achieve a haze over the water that can column of smoke above the water that can
render direct and indirect fires less effec- pinpoint the crossing location. For this rea-
tive. Smoke may be used during river- son, smoke is not used if conditions will not
crossing operations to— hold it close to the surface.

• Conceal the movement of the initial Smoke production depends on wind direc-
assault force. tion. If the wind is blowing from the near
shore toward the far shore, smoke genera-
• Isolate the exit bank of the river for
tors or support-force vehicles can effectively
rapid occupation by maneuver forces.
smoke the crossing. If the wind tends to
• Conceal emplacement of crossing means, blow parallel to the river, nearshore smoke
such as engineer bridges. should not be used, as it will make a smoke
wall that will silhouette boats on the river.
During river-crossing operations, smoke In this case, floating smoke pots anchored
may be used for— across the width of the river can produce

8-16 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

effective smoke. If the wind is blowing from Shallow Water
the far shore to the near shore, smoke pots As the boat nears the landing point, the cox-
or mortar smoke on the far shore can be swain directs the boat toward the landing
effective. and orders, "Land boat." As the boat
DIRECT-FIRE REACTION grounds, paddlers stow paddles and disem-
bark over the side into the water. They then
If the boat is subjected to heavy direct fire hold the boat for the passengers to disem-
while crossing, the boat commander may bark. The stroke paddler secures the boat
direct all personnel, except the bow gunner, and awaits to return it.
to stow their paddles, slip over the side
while holding the safety line, and propel Deep Water
the boat to shore by kicking with their feet. As the boat comes along the shore, the cox-
swain orders, "Stroke out." The stroke pad-
All boats have a designated gunner at the dler stows his paddle and, with towing
bow that is armed with either a squad bridle in hand, gets out of the boat onto the
automatic weapon (SAW) or a bipod- shore. He then pulls the boat up close to the
mounted machine gun. The gunners do not shore and secures it if he can. Otherwise,
fire unless the boat commander orders crew members will have difficulty debark-
them to. If ordered to fire, the gunners ing. The other crew members stow their
engage the most dangerous target or sup- paddles. The coxswain then directs debark-
press the landing area. More often, the ing by number, beginning with the passen-
gunners engage enemy weapons firing on gers, then the shoreside paddlers, and
the assault force by firing back up the line finally the riverside paddlers. The coxswain
of enemy tracers. If two passengers are is the last to leave the boat. He and the
available to be boat gunners, the second stroke paddler secure the boat and await to
back from the bow should be armed with a return it.
grenade launcher.
Immediately upon leaving the boat, the boat
To preserve their night vision, all paddlers team forms a hasty perimeter. The bow gun-
observe the paddle of the man to their ner moves directly forward, roughly 10
front. They do not look at the enemy shore meters, and drops prone, observing to his
from where the muzzle flashes are coming. front. The left-side squad members move up
and form a prone semicircle to his left. The
INDIRECT-FIRE REACTION
squad leader takes charge of his squad and
If the boat is subjected to heavy artillery directs all soldiers to drop their life jackets.
fire while crossing and the boat commander He then awaits orders from his platoon
directs, the coxswain turns the boat down- leader.
stream and propels it at a fast stroke with
the current out of the artillery impact area. BOAT RETURN
If the boat is equipped with a motor, it is As soon as the boat team has formed a hasty
started and the paddlers stow their paddles perimeter and dropped their life jackets, the
and maintain a low posture. stroke paddler recovers them and returns
them to the boat.
DEBARKING PROCEDURES
The manner in which the coxswain orders The boat engineer squad leader (the senior
the boat team to land the boat depends on engineer with the boat group) takes charge
the depth of the water at the landing point. of all three boats in the boat group. He

Assault Crossing 8-17
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

supervises the tying off of all three boats in situation, the motors can be started imme-
a trail and loads all six engineers into the diately if the crossing is discovered. The
front boat. They then paddle the boat back motors are also available for returning the
to the friendly shore, towing the other two boats after the first wave.
boats (see Figure 8-8).
If a covert crossing cannot be achieved, the
On the return, the boat group travels in a first wave may cross the river powered by
relatively straight line to gain distance from motors. In this case, the motor is mounted
the enemy shore as rapidly as possible. This before the boat crew and passengers carry
will cause the group to drift downstream. the boat to the shore. Two additional engi-
Upon reaching the near shore, the boat neers are provided to help carry the stern of
group turns upstream and travels close the boat to the shore. The crew paddles the
inshore until it reaches its original depar- boat while the coxswain starts the motor in
ture point (see Figure 8-9). A guide from the order to reduce exposure time on the river.
engineer platoon headquarters guides them This technique must be practiced during the
in for the next wave. rehearsal.

If the boats have outboard motors, all three If time permits or the distance to the water
boat crews start their motors on command is great, the two-man team of engineers
of the boat engineer squad leader and from the crossing-area engineer battalion
return independently to the near shore. carries the motor to the water and mounts it
on the boat. The boat is manned and held
MOTOR PROCEDURES with the bow toward the river and the stern
If motors are available, they speed the to the shore. If the bottom is shallow, the
crossing significantly. Normally, the first paddlers hold bottom. If the water is too
wave uses paddles to cross covertly. After deep or the current too strong, a line is fas-
the boats return from carrying the first tened to the boat stern to hold it against the
wave, the motors are mounted. If the boats shore. The mounting team wades out to
can be placed in the water without enemy place the motor on the stern and fastens it
observation (in a lagoon or barge basin, for in place. The coxswain directs the paddlers
example), the motors are mounted on the to give way together after the motor is
boats before the first wave crosses. In this mounted. He then starts the motor with the

Figure 8-8. Boat return

8-18 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Enemy

Current

Guide

Figure 8-9. Operation of boat group

boat under way. If the boat has too few occu- waterline at the boat launch point to await
pants to move effectively by paddles (during the return of the boats. When the boats
the second wave, for example), the boat return, the porters load and secure the cargo
remains at the shore until the coxswain to the boat. If the cargo includes heavy or
starts the motor. pointed items, a temporary plywood floor is
placed in the boat before loading.
Preparation is critical for success with out-
board motors. The primary problem is hard Porters accompany the cargo to the far
starting. All motors are started and run up shore to unload it. The cargo is unloaded
to operating temperature during prepara- into caches until carrying parties are sent
tion. If any are difficult to start, replace- back from the assault force to get them.
ment motors are substituted (the hard-
starting motors become backups). After CASUALTY PROCEDURES
mechanical checks and warm-ups, the fuel Platoon medics accompany assault forces in
tanks are completely filled with the correct the first wave. They carry their medical
fuel and oil mixture to eliminate condensa- bags and night-vision goggles but do not
tion. In cool or cold weather, the motors are have litters. They treat wounded where
kept warm until needed, using a warming they fall, sending walking wounded back to
tent, ambulances with medical markings the landing area and leaving more severely
covered, a heated building, sealed wrapping, wounded where they were treated.
or other means.
The second wave carries senior aidmen with
CARGO PROCEDURES equipment to establish a far-shore casualty
Porters detailed from the assault force bring collection point in each company zone. The
the cargo forward. They carry it to the aid station should provide a blackout shelter,

Assault Crossing 8-19
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

such as a tarpaulin or small tent, for patient wounded back to the collection point. The
examination along with emergency medical senior aidman at the collection point per-
supplies and quantities of intravenous fluids. forms triage and treats patients. Priority
The second wave also carries litter teams patients are evacuated by assault boats as
formed from the headquarters elements of they become available. All other patients
the assault force. The litter teams carry wait until rafts are available.

SAFETY
Safety is as important in combat as it is in rifle slung diagonally over all. Rifle slings
peacetime training. Procedures are estab- are turned around so that the free end is
lished and soldiers are trained in peacetime always away from the weapon. This allows
to be safe in combat. Loss of a soldier to an rapid jettison of the rifle in the water by
accident in combat is just as intolerable as pulling the free end of the sling to release
losing a soldier in peacetime and is poten- the fastener.
tially far more dangerous to the force.
Safety procedures are particularly impor- Weapons are always carried in the boats
tant when considering the risks during with the bolt forward on an empty chamber
assault river crossings, where the lost sol- and the weapon on SAFE. The only excep-
dier may be the key to mission success. tion to this is the bow gunner, who will
Therefore, all safety procedures must be fol- charge his weapon in the boat when
lowed in combat. directed to fire. He must put the weapon on
SAFE before debarking, and the squad
The most important safety procedure is leader must verify this by touch. The soldier
building a well-trained force. Nothing is a can immediately engage the enemy, upon
greater safety risk than allowing a force of landing, by simply taking the weapon off
untrained soldiers to undertake a complex, SAFE and charging the chamber.
potentially hazardous task where the well-
being of all depends on each soldier knowing WARNING
his job. Peacetime training should never be The soldier must NOT take the
avoided because of the potential hazards of weapon off SAFE and charge the
a necessary combat task. Training to stan- chamber before leaving the boat.
dard in a controlled environment is the only
way to surmount the hazards and build con- A safety boat is always used during an
fidence in the soldiers' ability to accomplish assault crossing. One safety boat is used for
their mission. every company flotilla. It contains at least
one lifeguard-qualified swimmer (two, if
Life jackets are always worn when using possible) to assist soldiers that may fall into
assault boats. If Class 5 life jackets (German- the water. This lifeguard will not wear boots
army style) are available, they are worn or LBE. The safety boat will also contain a
over LBE and the diagonally slung rifle. boat hook and a float with an attached line
The Class 5 life jacket will support a soldier for rescuing troops in the water. Rocket-
so equipped and hold his head out of the propelled lifelines will be included, if avail-
water. If a life jacket providing lesser flota- able. At a minimum, the boat commander is
tion is used, such as the standard US Army equipped with night-vision goggles. The
flat foam-filled life jacket, it is worn over crew of the safety boat comes from the sup-
the uniform. The LBE is worn over the life porting engineer force that provides the
jacket, with the belt unfastened and the boats and boat crews and consists of eight

8-20 Assault Crossing
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

paddlers, the coxswain/commander, a medic, while its crew looks for troops who are in the
and one or more lifeguards. The crew should water or who are caught by the safety rope.
also have a radio tuned to the company's
frequency. If a soldier goes in the water, he should
immediately remove his helmet and
The safety boat crosses parallel with a flotilla release it. He should then roll onto his
and about 40 meters downstream. Its crew back. If he is wearing a Class 5 life jacket,
pays out a climbing rope fastened to the near he retains his rifle and LBE. If he is wear-
shore as a safety rope and attaches life jack- ing a lesser-quality life jacket, he releases
ets as floats every four boat lengths (see Fig- his rifle and LBE and drops them. He then
ure 8-10). When the crew reaches the enemy allows the current to carry or float him to
shore, it ties off the safety rope and then the friendly shore. He stays alert for the
moves back to the center of the river. If a man safety rope and safety boat. If he reaches
goes in the water or a boat capsizes, the the safety rope, he wraps his arms in it or
affected boat group makes a quick radio call clips a snap link to it on his LBE (if he is
on the company’s frequency, indicating the wearing LBE). He either waits for the
number in the water and the boat group call- safety boat or moves along the rope to the
ing. The alerted safety boat holds water nearest shore.

Float
F lo a t

Figure 8-10. Safety boat and guard rope

Assault Crossing 8-21
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CHAPTER 9
Engineer Operations
GENERAL
A river crossing requires specific procedures across the river to be unhindered. Engineer
for success because the water obstacle units provide positive control and the neces-
inhibits ground maneuver in the usual way. sary equipment to ensure maneuver forces
It demands detailed planning and different successfully and safely cross the river in a
technical support than other tactical opera- timely and synchronized manner.
tions. Extensive use of corps engineer assets
are required. It is critical for supporting Contingency operations may require that
corps engineers to be totally involved in all assault river-crossing assets be used for
facets of the river-crossing operation from longer periods of time because fixed bridg-
initial planning through preparation and ing is not feasible or readily available. Engi-
execution. neer units must implement techniques that
allow the long-term use of assault bridging
Traffic control is the most vital component assets without heavily affecting operations
of a river-crossing operation. ERPs are used or damaging equipment. These topics will
to control traffic flow and permit movement be discussed in detail in this chapter.

ERP OPERATIONS
ERPs ensure the effective use of the cross- smooth and rapid flow of vehicles to the
ing means. ERPs and TCPs may be colo- river. In this case, it is essential to main-
cated to provide control for the river tain communications between ERPs.
crossing. The CSC uses them to rapidly
organize and move the unit through the Typically, an engineer squad mans an ERP.
crossing area. This maintains unit integrity and provides
sufficient personnel and equipment for con-
The CSC establishes ERPs at the call- tinuous operations. The crossing-site head-
forward area and, if enough engineer quarters establishes direct communication
assets are available, at the staging area with ERP personnel to control raft-load or
and the far-shore holding area. He uses individual vehicle movement. Depending on
additional ERPs only when specific site the location and purpose of the ERP, it can
conditions make it necessary for crossing- be used for the following functions:
area control. ERP personnel need suffi- • Briefing crossing-unit personnel on pro-
cient space to mark an area the size of a cedures, including safety.
raft (mock-up raft), brief crossing proce-
dures, and conduct necessary inspections • Demonstrating ground-guide signals.
and rehearsals. A hardstand, such as a
• Inspecting equipment to ensure that it
rest stop or parking lot, is ideal for this
meets the load-class capability of the
purpose but lacks the overhead conceal-
crossing means.
ment usually desired. Some ERP functions
may be done at separate ERPs to ensure a • Organizing vehicles into raft loads.

Engineer Operations 9-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

• Conducting rehearsals. staging area is an ideal place to do this,
• Controlling vehicle movement. minimizing the time and effort spent orga-
nizing a crossing unit in the call-forward
area. Otherwise, a separate ERP should
RAFTING OPERATIONS
handle this task.
ERP personnel configure vehicles into raft
loads and send them to the river to coincide Figure 9-1 is an example of an ERP at the
with the arrival of an empty raft. Engineers call-forward area. The engineer squad leader
brief crossing units before their arrival in positions himself where he can best control
the call-forward area to make this happen vehicle movement from the call-forward area
as rapidly as possible. The briefing covers to the river line. He establishes communica-
the— tion with the crossing-site headquarters. As
a crossing unit arrives, the assistant squad
• Route and its markings through the
leader contacts the unit’s commander, who
crossing site.
determines the order in which his vehicles
• Road speed and interval. will cross. The assistant squad leader then
configures individual vehicles into raft
• Loading and unloading of rafts.
loads, while ensuring that the vehicles do not
• Location of passengers while rafting exceed either the weight limit or the maxi-
across the river. mum dimensions of the raft. He has a space
marked out in the exact dimensions of a raft
• Configuration of the vehicles for the
(mock-up raft) for this purpose. An engineer
crossing.
squad member guides the vehicles onto this
• Actions to take for disabled vehicles and mockup raft, using the same procedure to be
the location of the maintenance collec- used at the raft’s embarking point on the
tion point. river. At the same time, another engineer
inspects the vehicles for the proper load clas-
• Hand and arm signals and signaling sification and dimensional clearances and
devices. chalks the raft-load number on the vehicles.
• Arm bands or other identification of Once cleared through the mock-up, an engi-
guides and traffic controllers. neer squad leader releases individual raft
loads to the river as directed by the crossing-
• Issuing, wearing, and returning of life site headquarters.
jackets.
Items useful for running an ERP could
• Location of holding areas and alternate
include—
routes.
• Location of the casualty collection point. • A TA1 field phone and an RL39 with
wire.
• Actions to take in the call-forward area.
• Two rolls of engineer tape and six stakes.
• Actions to take in case of enemy fire.
• Ten traffic markers.
• Regrouping of the company in the far-
shore holding area. • Flashlights with colored filters.
An engineer from the squad running the • Chemical lights.
ERP can brief vehicle crews and rehearse
the movement signals with them. The • Signal flags.

9-2 Engineer Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Rafting operations

One raft load
Mock-up
raft

Engineer tape

NCO establishes
raft loads

Squad leader

Ready lane
Traffic-control
Traffic control
information
information
Call-forward
Call-forward area
area
Traffic markers

9-1
Figure 9-1. ERP layout

• Chalk. To accomplish this, engineers brief at stag-
ing areas and check vehicle load classifica-
• Camouflage nets and poles. tion and dimensional clearances. The
• Night-vision goggles. briefings include the following rules:

• Sandbags. • Vehicles will maintain a maximum speed
of 9 kph while crossing the bridge.
BRIDGE OPERATIONS
• Vehicles must not stop on the bridge.
A bridge operation requires a continuous
traffic flow to the river. Units must be • Operators must not shift or make abrupt
briefed and sent to the crossing site quickly. changes in speed on the bridge.

Engineer Operations 9-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

• Vehicles will maintain the interval indi- inspections. Crossing units are responsible
cated by signs on the side of the road. for most preparations, but ERP personnel
can assist with operations at the predip
• Operators will follow the signals of engi-
site that is established nearby and provide
neers at ramps and intervals along the
recovery assets. A briefing on swimming
bridge.
operations should include—
ERPs may be established along the routes
• The layout of entrance and exit markers.
to the crossing site to regulate traffic. A
mockup bridge is not necessary at the ERP. • Swamping drills.
SWIMMING OPERATIONS • Rescue procedures.
For swimming operations, ERP personnel
have the necessary briefings and vehicle • The actions to take in case of enemy fire.

ENGINEER CONTINGENCY BRIDGING OPERATIONS
Organizing and training for war fighting planning should include the possibility
remains the primary mission of Army engi- that forces committed to contingency opera-
neers. However, engineers can be called on tions may become involved with combat
to conduct contingency operations. For operations. The engineer commander tai-
example, US Army operations in Bosnia lors engineer support based on contingency-
included the mission to bridge the Sava operation requirements, which may be
River near Zupanja, Croatia, in December radically different than supporting com-
1995. This mission was the largest river- bat operations. In many cases, the only
crossing operation since World War II and difference between a wartime and an engi-
was conducted under extreme conditions. neer contingency operation is the threat
Seasonal weather caused the Sava river to level.
swell from its normal width of 300 meters
to more than 600 meters. Despite harsh con- Contingency operations may require the
ditions, engineers used Chinook helicopters same or a greater level of logistics support to
to deploy ribbon-bridge sections into the engineers as wartime operations. Combat-
river while other engineers rebuilt the ant commanders tailor logistics support to
approaches and successfully bridged the engineers based on theater needs. Logistics
efforts are integrated with host-nation or
Sava river to allow elements of the 1st
local resources and activities. Engineers
Armored Division to cross. As the floodwa-
invariably get involved with a wide variety
ter receded, engineers built a causeway
of gap-crossing operations that may need
across the floodplain. As operations in the
flexible logistics support. Critical engineer
area continued, the ribbon bridge remained
logistics considerations during contingency
the only crossing means for both military operations include—
and civilian traffic while preparations were
made for fixed bridging. • The availability of construction equip-
ment.
Versatile engineers provide unique per-
sonnel and equipment capabilities that • A direct-support maintenance capability.
can effectively support complex and sensi- • Repair-parts supply.
tive situations in any contingency opera-
tion. Therefore, engineer force-projection • Class IV construction materials.

9-4 Engineer Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

ASSAULT BRIDGES, LONG-TERM USE replacement bays and boats and stage them
Ribbon-bridge operations normally last no before closing the crossing site. Daily checks
longer than 72 hours. Having the ribbon of the bridge throughout the operation, con-
bridge remain in operation beyond that time siderations of the current's velocity and the
frame presents problems for the engineers amount of debris that may affect the
that normally would not be experienced dur- bridge's operation, and maintaining vehicle
ing a short duration. Equipment mainte- speed across the bridge are critical to pre-
nance, anchorage systems, constant changes vent damage to the bay's lower-lock devices
in the water level, and repair of approaches and roadway-to-bow portion latches.
must be considered for long-term use of ANCHORAGE
assault bridges.
All military bridges must be held in position
MAINTENANCE by some anchorage system. Short-term
As equipment remains in use during cross- anchorage is normally used for assault
ing operations, maintenance services bridges, but if the bridge is required to
become more difficult to manage. Time remain operational for a longer period, the
must be made to allow boats and bays to anchorage must be upgraded to provide
be recovered from the water and com- long-term support.
pletely serviced and checked for unusual
wear. The techniques discussed in Chapter The design of any anchorage system is influ-
7 are applicable but must include complete enced by several factors, including the—
recovery of the equipment and movement
• Width of the river.
back to the EEP where the services can be
done. To accomplish maintenance services • Current's velocity.
without jeopardizing bridging operations,
boats and their replacements must be care- • Depth and bottom conditions of the river.
fully managed. This may require procur- • Height and slope of riverbanks.
ing more boats than authorized by the
table(s) of organization and equipment • Conditions of the soil.
(TOE) to permit continued crossing opera-
• Depth of the groundwater table.
tions without distribution for maintenance.
• Availability of equipment.
To check and service interior and end bays
of the ribbon bridge, it must be broken Anchorage of the ribbon bridge must occur if
apart and replacement interior and end the bridge is used for long-term operation.
bays emplaced. Time for such actions During short-term crossings, boats maintain
should be incorporated into the bridge- the bridge's stability against the current's
crossing time line and maneuver units noti- velocity and keep the bridge from being dam-
fied when the crossing site will be shutdown aged. However, as time permits, an anchor-
temporarily. Synchronization of alternating age system must be emplaced to provide
times for crossing sites to be closed for main- continuous stability and provide relief for the
tenance can proactively re-route traffic flow number of boats required. Initially, the
and prevent major disturbances in move- anchorage may consist of a combination of
ment across the river. To expedite the time shore guys and boats. This method can still
required to replace bays needing mainte- allow the bridge to be broken and permit
nance and quickly allow traffic to resume barge river traffic access. Eventually, a semi-
crossing operations, engineers prepare permanent anchorage system, such as an

Engineer Operations 9-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

overhead cable system, should be emplaced attach kedge anchors to every float and a
to keep the bridge secure. shore guy to every sixth float.

The three basic components of all long-term Overhead Cable
anchorage systems include approach guys, An overhead cable system consists of one or
an upstream anchorage system, and a down- more tower-supported cables spanning the
stream anchorage system. Approach guys are river parallel to the bridge. Each end of the
cables that prevent the bridge from being overhead cable is secured to the shore, pref-
pushed away from the shore as a result of the erably through the use of a deadman. Bridle
impact of vehicles driving onto the ramps of lines are used to connect each bay of the
the bridge. The upstream anchorage system bridge to the overhead cable. The cable func-
holds the bridge in position against the force tions like a cable used in a suspension
of the current's velocity. The downstream bridge, except that its final working position
anchorage system protects the floating is inclined toward the bridge because of the
bridge against reverse currents, tidal condi- force of the current on the bridge.
tions, eddies, and high winds or storms that
might temporarily alter or reverse the natu- TC 5-210 provides the specific criteria for
ral flow of the river. The following types of the design of an overhead-cable anchorage
anchorage systems can be used for stabilizing system, to include the cable design, tower
a bridge: design and placement, and deadman
Kedge Anchors design.
Kedge anchors lie in the streambed and are PROTECTIVE SYSTEMS
secured to the bridge bays with anchor Floating bridges, particularly those that will
lines. They are designed to sink with the remain in place for long periods of time,
stock lying flat and the fluke positioned to must be protected against severe weather
dig into the bottom. On hard bottoms, the conditions and enemy destruction. If flood
kedge anchor is useless. conditions or heavy debris hamper bridging
Shore Guys operations, removing of interior bays will
reduce the lateral pressure on the bridge
Shore guys are cables attached from the and allow the debris to pass downstream. If
bridges to a deadman or similar holdfasts losing the bridge is imminent, release an
on the shore. Shore guys can be upstream or end section and securely anchor the bridge
downstream provided that the maximum parallel to the shore until conditions permit
anticipated current (or reverse current for resuming bridging operations. As the river's
downstream systems) does not exceed 0.9 width increases, simply add more interior
MPS. Shore guys can be used for any length bays to the bridge to compensate.
of floating bridge provided that a 45-degree
angle be maintained between the shore guy The enemy may attempt to destroy floating
and the bridge centerline. bridges in a variety of ways, including air
attacks, land attacks, underwater demoli-
Combination of Kedge Anchors tions teams, floating mines, or assault
and Shore Guy boats. It is necessary to construct floating
A combination system may be used for protective devices to prevent waterborne
upstream or downstream anchorage systems forces from damaging or destroying the
in currents less than or equal to 1.5 MPS. bridge. The three types of floating protective
When constructing a combination system, systems are as follows:

9-6 Engineer Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Antimine Boom approaches down and make them unusable.
This device is designed to stop any mines Engineers incorporate repair of the entry
that are sent downstream toward the bridge. and exit banks and the approaches lead-
The antimine boom is placed far upstream to ing to the crossing site into the crossing-
protect the other protective devices as well as operation plan. Initially, the approaches
the bridge. It consists of a number of logs or may be suitable to receive heavy traffic
other large floating structures attached to a with little effect, but implementation of
cable running across the river. Concertina is reinforcing the approaches must be done
normally placed along the length of the boom. for long-term traffic. When inspecting
approaches, consider the following:
NOTE: Before using timber logs or rail-
road ties, ensure that they are not • The steepness of the approaches.
waterlogged and will float.
• The ruts or gullies along the approaches,
Impact Boom particularly in a floodplain area.
The impact boom is designed to withstand
• Water-level conditions and expected
the impact of large natural or man-made
changes due to weather or seasonal con-
debris and stop the enemy from attacking
ditions.
the bridge by boat. It is constructed by plac-
ing a series of floats and cables across the • The location of alternate approaches
river. The cables absorb the impact of the (alternate crossing sites) to allow for the
debris or boat and restrain it until it can be repair of existing approaches.
removed or destroyed.
Antiswimmer Net Matting and rock or gravel are the best
suitable materials to use to support the
This net is used to stop swimmers or under- approaches. Maneuver units that will have
water demolition teams from reaching the to conduct long-term crossing operations
bridge. The net can be constructed by sus-
should develop procedures to requisition
pending a mesh or net barrier from an
and deliver these materials to identified
anchorage cable to the river’s bottom. Con-
crossing-site locations. Reconnaissance
certina may also be connected to the cable
teams can locate local quarries where rock
and net to prevent swimmers from climbing
and gravel can be obtained through coordi-
over the net. The net must be firmly affixed
nation with the host country.
to the river's bottom or enemy divers can eas-
ily go under the net. The antiswimmer net
New techniques for constructing bridge
should also be placed on the downstream side
approach roads include using fabric as a
of the bridge to prevent enemy divers from
reinforcement across soft soil. An impervi-
reaching the bridge from downstream.
ous, neoprene-coated, nylon-woven mem-
brane can be placed between a stone
Army diver teams can assist in emplacing
aggregate and the soft-surface soil to allow
the protective devices and test them to
ensure they are able to prevent penetrating the ground to withstand heavy traffic. The
the bridge. most important feature that a reinforcing
fabric membrane can offer is improving soil
APPROACHES stability and strength, which creates
Over a period of time, traffic flow at the smaller deformations from vehicle traffic
same location will eventually wear the than soils acting alone.

Engineer Operations 9-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

LONG-TERM GAP-CROSSING C2 Traffic-Control Measures
More than any other mobility task, gap Staging- and holding-area control must be
crossing involves managing combat power, maintained. These areas must be located far
space, time, and terrain. The controlling enough away from the gap to facilitate
headquarters must be flexible enough to rerouting and the use of alternate roads to
react to any changes in the tactical situation crossing sites. Staging and holding areas on
and scheme of crossing. This is particularly the far shore must be developed to handle
difficult when involved with long-term oper- the traffic as vehicles travel back across.
ations in the same area of operations. Man- New routes may be constructed and existing
agement of the crossing site, enemy routes upgraded to improve traffic flow.
considerations, traffic-control measures, Staging areas must be able to provide the
and CSS must be synchronized for long- following:
term activities and must not be based on • Cover and concealment.
less than a 72-hour period.
• A sufficient area for vehicle and equip-
Management ment dispersion.
Traffic and movement control remain the
• Easy accessibility.
responsibility of the C2 headquarters. Activ-
ities may direct that another unit take over • Sufficient trafficability to prevent delays
the crossing operation and equipment as a caused by increased traffic flow within
whole or bring their own crossing equip- the area of operation.
ment and personnel to relieve the existing
units and permit them to move forward. All Combat Service Support
aspects of the operation must be covered In a normal gap-crossing situation, the com-
when handing over the crossing site to the mitted combat forces will be temporarily
gaining unit—just as though they were con- separated from their full CSS. For long-term
ducting the crossing for the first time. gap-crossing operations, increased traffic
flow for the service-support vehicles must be
Enemy Considerations considered and controlled. Sufficient cross-
Operation of a single crossing site over an ing sites and designated crossing times can
extended period of time increases the possi- ensure that priority is given to field trains
bility of enemy interdiction. The possible use and ensure that timely resupply operations
of nuclear or chemical weapons against are not hindered. Recovery of nonmission-
friendly crossing activities impacts on control capable equipment presents an additional
procedures. To prevent the friendly elements problem for recovery teams transporting the
from becoming targets, forces must cross the equipment back to the near shore for direct-
gap as swiftly as possible to minimize the support maintenance support. Additionally,
concentration of forces on either side of the recovery resources should continue to be
gap. The controlling headquarters also varies provided at both sides of the crossing sites
the crossing-site location to reduce enemy so they can quickly recover a vehicle unable
threat interdiction. to cross and prevent delays.

MULTIROLE BRIDGE COMPANY (MRBC)
Today’s Army must be able to respond to an the new integrated information-processing
increasing array of potential employments systems, river-crossing opportunities will be
in war or in contingency operations. With quickly identified and execution will rely

9-8 Engineer Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

heavily on the rapid-response capability of an equipment maintenance section, and a
bridge companies. bridge-site section. The new bridge trans-
porter, the improved common bridge trans-
Current bridge companies are tailored porter (ICBT), is specifically designed to
around their specific floating or fixed-span function in the MRBC. The palletized-load-
bridges, without regard for their inherent system (PLS) trailer will be procured as a
conceptual, operational, and organizational part of the HDSB to allow the transporting
commonalty. Both types of companies are of both bridges simultaneously.
similarly organized with a company head-
quarters, two bridge platoons, and a support BASIC CONCEPT
platoon. The fixed-bridge company cannot A typical operational mission would begin
transport ribbon-bridge sections on its 5-ton with a platoon responding to a mission
dump trucks, nor does it have the required with an initial basic load of the desired
bridge boats. The float-bridge company, on bridge. When it completes the bridge, the
the other hand, can readily transport fixed- platoon moves to the next site, either pick-
bridge components on its transporters, but ing up the next required bridge along the
only if the loads are palletized. way or finding the bridge cached at either
the engineer bridge park or the site it will
Whenever both types of bridges are needed, be emplaced. As the forces advance, the
both types of companies must deploy. Since bridges become the responsibility of the
a company owns it own unique bridge, suffi- engineer units in the communications
cient companies must be deployed to cover zone. As prefabricated bridging is replaced
all possible gaps. When a bridge company by nonstandard or more permanent bridg-
has expended its bridging materials, it ing, the platoon responds to bridge-
reverts to a transportation mission. retrieval missions. Retrieved bridges will
reenter the supply system or be stored in
The MRBC is a modular company with both the unit’s bridge supply yard. Bridging
dry- and wet-gap capabilities that will sets are a supply commodity and are han-
employ both types of bridges as needed, dled as any other Class VII supplies
based on METT-T. Each bridge platoon can (major end item).
transport and employ both types, as
ordered. The MRBC is a versatile, flexible, The MRBC’s capabilities will give com-
and modular unit that can meet the manders the ability to quickly maneuver
demands of the maneuver commanders. The and respond, through either fixed or float
developmental HDSB is also fully compati- bridging or a combination of bridging
ble with the MRBC concept. The HDSB will appropriate for the mission. This newly
replace the MGB as the primary fixed structured MRBC operates within a “lane”
bridge employed by this company, relegating on the battlefield (an area defined by a
the MGB to a supplemental role. maneuver brigade’s area of operation) and
provides the necessary bridging for multi-
ORGANIZATION ple axes of advance. Trailing closely
The MRBC will be a combination of a MGB behind combat forces, the MRBC moves
company and an AFB company. The MRBC’s forward when necessary to support assault
structure consists of a company headquar- crossings. Additional MRBCs, provided
ters, two bridge platoons (one MGB and one from corps assets, may be assigned to the
AFB), and a support platoon. The support lane when gap-crossing requirements
platoon consists of a platoon headquarters, exceed the capabilities of a single MRBC.

Engineer Operations 9-9
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

IMPLICATIONS TRAINING
Because bridge sets are exceptionally Engineer units' training must reflect the
heavy and tall and have many parts (some dual bridge capability. Currently, bridge
are small and easy to lose), they should be crewmen receive advanced individual train-
placed on pallets and shrink wrapped for ing on both fixed and float bridges. However,
transportability and accountability. The once they are assigned to a unit, their collec-
procedure to requisition and deliver tive training is only on the single-type bridge
bridges is essentially unchanged. The num- of that company. Under the MRBC concept,
ber of bridges needed is unaffected, since individual bridge crewmen and leaders must
it is based on METT-T and not the bridge- maintain their proficiency on both types of
company organization. bridges. Bridge specialists must continue to
be proficient in all types of prefabricated
Bridges are loaded on bridge adapter pal- bridges. Critical branch interaction during
lets and boats that have the improved boat war-gaming exercises must consider employ-
cradle, which allows the loads to be placed ing the MRBC in current training by imple-
on the ground without damage. The pal- menting a variety of missions, either
lets and cradles remain at the EEP until sequentially or simultaneously, to become
the bridge or boat is recovered. Treating more accustomed to its employment. Addi-
bridging as a commodity instead of a tionally, engineer company-grade officers and
bridge company TOE property emphasizes noncommissioned officers (NCOs) will have
the critical maneuver planning that is increased responsibility and will need to
involved by the maneuver staff and not improve their technical proficiency.
exclusively the engineer staff. MRBC engi-
neers cannot exist on the battlefield with- Final decisions as to the size and end-state
out support from the following branches: composition of the MRBC are not being
implemented yet; however, many units can
• Quartermaster—to order and track expect to have the HDSB and the improved
bridge stocks. ribbon bridge carried on HEMTT-chassis
transporters. Interim organizations will
• Transportation—to haul replenishment
include basic loads of the medium-girder,
bridge sets forward to engineer bridge
Bailey, and ribbon bridges, which are carried
parks.
on their current transporters. Whatever the
• Ordnance—to repair transporters, erec- organization’s development stage, the MRBC
tion boats, and bridge components. will not be dedicated to only one bridge type.

9-10 Engineer Operations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

APPENDIX B
Engineer-Planning Calculations
GENERAL
This appendix addresses the detailed engi- through B-8 and Tables B-1 through B-4,
neer planning necessary for a river-crossing pages B-4 through B-13. The H, as used in
operation. The charts and overlays that are the figures in this chapter, stands for H-
used to synchronize and control execution of hour; this is the specific hour the assault
the crossing are shown in Figures B-1 phase begins (see FM 101-5-1).

ENGINEER PLANNING
Initial engineer planning at corps and divi- B-5, provides planning factors for assault-
sion levels focuses on providing sufficient boat operations.
engineer assets to handle crossing require-
ments. The terrain teams at division and Rules of thumb for making this determina-
corps levels maintain the terrain database tion follow:
that provides potential crossing sites and • A brigade requires 31 assault boats to
river widths. The division engineer uses this cross a battalion with three companies
information to construct a site overlay (see in the first wave. With 70 boats, it can
Figure B-1, page B-4). He labels assault and cross two battalions at once. Generally,
rafting or bridging sites and shows the site the boats with the corps bridge compa-
capacity and the estimated preparation nies can handle these requirements.
time for each site (from the terrain data-
• A brigade requires two bridges or the
base).
equivalent bridging configured into
rafts.
Preparation time is the time required to
improve routes and riverbanks to support The engineer planner uses the above rules
the units that will use the site. It also of thumb to task-organize engineers that
includes the time required to construct rafts are supporting each crossing area. The divi-
and bridges. Rafting-site capacity is the sion engineer then develops a rough cross-
number of raft round trips per hour. The ing time line using pure battalions. This
engineer calculates rafting-site capacity by provides sufficient information for division
multiplying the number of raft trips per hour planning, without requiring detailed knowl-
by the number of rafts and the number of edge of the brigade’s plan. Table B-3, page
centerlines at the site (see Table B-1, page B- B-5, provides necessary planning factors
5). Centerlines must be at least 100 meters (field trains are not included). Figure B-2,
apart. Each assault company needs 200 page B-6, illustrates a crossing time line
meters of river frontage. Figure B-1 shows using 6-float rafts.
the determination of rafts per hour and the
capacity of the assault site for the division The brigade headquarters does the major-
crossing overlay. The site overlay provides ity of planning for the detailed crossing.
additional details necessary to ensure that During the mission analysis, the brigade
each brigade has sufficient potential crossing engineer also develops a crossing time line
sites within its boundaries. Table B-2, page to provide initial buildup-rate information

Engineer-Planning Calculations B-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

to the maneuver planners when they outline it into a detailed plan. The engineer devel-
possible schemes of maneuver. This time ops a vehicle-crossing-capability chart.
line is the same as the time line that is
developed at the division and may be pro- He starts by displaying the capabilities of
vided by the division engineer. each crossing site in terms of raft loads per
hour (rafting operations) or vehicles per
Once the commander identifies the COAs to hour (bridging operations). Since the cross-
develop, the staff engineer develops crossing- ing rate for rafts is less during darkness,
area overlays for each (see Figure B-3, page each site shows total raft trips separately
B-7). These overlays are developed by using (during day and during night). An example
information from the site overlay, along with of the product of this first step is shown in
additional terrain data. The crossing-area Figure B-5, page B-10).
overlays show staging areas, holding areas,
call-forward areas, and routes for each cross- The engineer determines the crossing
ing site included in the COA. A crossing- requirements using the factors from Table
area overlay is necessary for each COA. B-4. He then blocks out the crossing peri-
The overlay for the COA eventually ods for all units based on site assignment,
selected is later modified by adding ERPs, site capability, and the crossing order in
TCPs, and crossing-area-headquarters infor- the scheme of maneuver. After adding the
mation and is used to support the operation. units’ crossing periods to the chart, he
coordinates the plan with the S3 to ensure
When maneuver planners develop COAs, that the units will arrive on the far shore
they assign crossing sites and the order of by the times they are needed (see Figure B-
crossing to units and task-organize the pure 6, page B-11). If not, the S3 and engineer
maneuver battalions into TFs. The engineer work together to adjust the crossing order
uses this information to construct a crossing of subordinate units. The basic technical
time line for each COA. He calculates the information remains constant as different
number of vehicles and raft loads for each crossing sequences are checked until one
unit using pure company figures from Table meets far-shore requirements. The vehicle-
B-4, page B-8. The company’s raft require- crossing-capability chart is the primary
ments do not include the field trains. The tool for finalizing the crossing plan.
engineer then calculates the crossing time
for the unit by using the crossing capacity of After the crossing order has been estab-
the site assigned to it. The crossing time lished, the engineer develops the crossing-
line shows these crossing periods, by site, synchronization matrix (see Figure B-7,
based on the order of crossing. The engineer page B-12). This is the tool that the CAC
then develops a detailed crossing time line and CAE will use to synchronize the execu-
based on the task organization (see Figure tion of the crossing. It is constructed as a
B-4, page B-9). chart, with the unit’s locations and activi-
ties displayed by time on the upper half and
During the comparison of the COAs, the terrain occupation displayed by time on the
engineer uses time lines, brigade-site over- lower half. The staff can follow each unit's
lays, and crossing-area overlays to demon- location as the operation progresses and can
strate the differences in the crossing easily see potential conflicts resulting from
plans. After the commander has selected changes. The matrix also provides critical
the COA for the mission, the staff converts information for traffic control.

B-2 Engineer-Planning Calculations
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

The crossing synchronization matrix is con- The staff immediately resolves any conflicts
structed backwards by first portraying the they discover while preparing the matrix.
units' crossing times established from the
vehicle-crossing-capability chart, then by The final engineer planning step is develop-
using road movement times to show route ing the engineer execution matrix (see Fig-
usage and staging-area times. The time re- ure B-8, page B-13). It displays subordinate
quired for the crossing of the assault force is units' task assignments by time. It is useful
also included. Once all of the units are dis- both for tracking unit execution and for aid-
played, the same information is transferred ing decisions if changes to the plan are re-
to the lower terrain portion of the matrix. quired.

Engineer-Planning Calculations B-3
Site River River Number Number Raft Total Prep Time/
Width in Front- of of Round Raft Total Raft/ xx
Meters age Rafts/ Center- Trip/ Round Hour
Center- lines Hour/ Trip/
line Center- Hour
line
1-hour prep Site 1
1 175 300 2 3 5.4 32 32 rafts/hour
Assault 3-hour prep 2 co Site 2 and Assault A
A and 2 180 410 2 4 5.4 43 43 rafts/hour
0.5-hour prep Site 3
3 160 400 2 4 6 48 48 rafts/hour
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Assault 1-hour prep Site 4 and Assault B
B and 4 140 600 1 6 6.7 40 40 rafts/hour 3 co
1.5-hour prep Site 5
5 150 250 2 2 6 24 24 rafts/hour
2-hour prep Site 6
6 150 310 2 3 6 36 36 rafts/hour

B-4 Engineer-Planning Calculations
0.5-hour prep Site 7
7 165 300 2 3 6 36 36 rafts/hour
Assault Assault C
C 150 400 NA NA NA NA 2 co
xx
2-hour prep Site 8
8 150 350 2 3 6 36 36 rafts/hour
Assault 0-hour prep Site 9 and Assault D
D and 9 160 610 2 6 6 72 72 rafts/hour 3 co
0-hour prep Site 10
10 170 375 2 3 6 36 36 rafts/hour
Assault Assault E
E 175 650 NA NA NA NA 3 co
1-hour prep Site 11
11 180 300 2 3 5.4 32 32 rafts/hour
Assault Assault F
F 175 685 NA NA NA NA 3 co
1-hour prep Site 12
12 170 250 2 2 6 24 24 rafts/hour

NOTES: xx
1. Obtain the river's width from the terrain database and/or reconnaissance.
2. See Table B-1 for the number of raft round trips per hour per centerline and the
number of rafts per centerline.
3. Determine the amount of available river frontage from the terrain database and/or rec

Figure B-1. Division-site overlay
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table B-1. Raft-centerline data

River Width in Round Trip in Number of Raft
Meters Minutes Trips per Hour Number of Rafts
75 7 8.6 1
100 8 7.5 1
125 9 6.7 1
150 10 6.0 2
175 11 5.4 2
225 12 5.0 2
300 16 3.75 3 to 5
NOTE: Planning times are for current velocities up to 1.5 MPS

Table B-2. Boat-planning factors
River Width
Equipment Characteristic 75 150 300
Meters Meters Meters
Pneumatic assault Minutes per round trip 3 4 5
boat with an OBM Trips per hour 20 15 12
Pneumatic assault Minutes per round trip 4 6 10
boat without an Trips per hour 15 10 6
OBM
NOTES:
1. Factors are averaged based on load/unload time and safety.
2. Planning times are for current velocities up to 1.5 MPS. For faster current veloc-
ities, classification must be reduced to a caution or risk crossing, and an engineer
analysis must be made of the actual site conditions before planning times may be
assessed.

Table B-3. Unit rafting requirements

Raft Trips Required

Units Vehicles 4 Bays 5 Bays 6 Bays
Armored battalion 161 119 101 86
Mechanized battalion 153 112 65 55
FA battalion 165 97 61 52
Engineer battalion (ERI) 139 77 59 50
ACR 208 171 110 98
NOTE: Assume that current velocities are less than 0.9 MPS and that battal-
ions/regiments are at 100 percent MTOE strength.

Engineer-Planning Calculations B-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

H H+1 H+2 H+3 H+4 H+5 H+6 H+7 H+8

B-6 Engineer-Planning Calculations
1st brigade Armd bn FAFAbnbn
Prep (32
Site 1 32 raft/hour (86 rafts) 32 rafts)
rafts

Site 3 48 raft/hour Mech bn Engr bn
Prep Armd bn
(55 rafts) (50 rafts)
2nd brigade Mech FA
Prep
Site 8 36 rafts/hour bn bn

Site 9 72 rafts/hour Armd Mech Engr bn
bn bn

Figure B-2. Rough division-crossing time line
xx
Site 3 Attack
Call- position
forward
area

Route 3 Call- Assault B
Staging forward
area 3 area
Holding area Site 4

Call-
Route 5 forward
area Site 5
Staging Attack
area 5 Holding area position
Call-
forward
area

Site 7
Route 7 Call-
Staging forward
area
area 7
Call- Attack
Holding area
forward position
area Assault C

x

RL
RL

Figure B-3. COA crossing-area overlay
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Engineer-Planning Calculations B-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table B-4. Pure company rafting requirements

Rafts Required

Units Vehicles 4 bays 5 bays 6 bays
Tank company 15 15 14 14
Mechanized company (Bradley) 15 14 7 7
Armored TF HQ 6 4 4 3
Mechanized TF HQ 6 4 4 3
Mortar platoon 8 3 2 2
Scout platoon 6 3 2 2
Engineer platoon 5 3 2 2
Division cavalry troop 24 23 16 16
ACR troop 27 25 18 17
ACR squadron HQ 6 4 3 2
155-SP artillery battery (division) 18 16 9 9
ACR tank co 15 15 14 14
FA battery (ACR) 13 13 10 7

B-8 Engineer-Planning Calculations
H H+1 H+2 H+3 H+4 H+5 H+6 H+7 H+8 H+9 H + 10
Site 1 Not used

Site 2 Not used

Site 3 Prep Mech TF-1 Engr
Engrbn
Bn

Assault B TF-1

Site 4 Prep Alternate site

Site 5 Prep Armd TF-1 Armd TF-2 FA

Site 6 Not used

Site 7 Prep Mech TF-2 ADA

Assault C TF-2

Figure B-4. Brigade-crossing time line for a COA
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Engineer-Planning Calculations B-9
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Trips/Hour Beginning Morning Nautical Twilight
Crossing
Site
Means
Day Night H H+1 H+2 H+3 H+4 H+5 H+6

8 six-bay
ribbon

B-10 Engineer-Planning Calculations
3 rafts; con- 40 26
vert to Site prep Const
26 rafts 40 rafts Bridge
bridge & const bridge

200 200

5 Bridge
Vehicles/ Site prep/ 200
hour const bridge vehicles Bridge 200 vehicles/hour

6 six-bay
ribbon
7 rafts; con- 36 24
vert to Site prep Const
24 rafts 48 rafts Bridge
bridge & const bridge

Figure B-5. Initial vehicle-crossing capability
Trips/Hour Beginning Morning Nautical Twilight
Crossing
Site
Means
Day Night H H+1 H+2 H+3 H+4 H+5 H+6

8 six-bay Engr
Mech TF-1 bn Follow-on forces
ribbon HQ
3 rafts; con- 40 26
vert to Site prep Const
& const 26 rafts 40 rafts bridge Bridge
bridge

200 200 Armd FA Armd
Field trains
TF-1 bn TF-2
5 Bridge
Vehicles/ Site prep/ 85 200 Bridge 200 vehicles/hour
hour const bridge veh vehicles

6 six-bay
Mech TF-2 Follow-on forces
ribbon
7 rafts; con- 36 24
vert to Site prep Const
& const 24 rafts 48 rafts bridge Bridge
bridge

Figure B-6. Final vehicle-crossing capability
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Engineer-Planning Calculations B-11
H-5 H-4 H-3 H-2 H-1 H H+1 H+2 H+3 H+4 H+5 H+6
Staging area 3
Mech TF-1 Route 3
Support assault B Assault B Crossing site 3
Staging area 7
Mech TF-2 Route 7
Support assault C Assault C Crossing site 7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Staging area 5
Armd TF-1 Route 5 Route 5
Support assault B Crossing site 5
Staging area 5
Route 5 Route 5
Support assault C Crossing site 5

B-12 Engineer-Planning Calculations
Mech TF-1
Staging Engr bn HQ
area 3
Follow-on forces
Armd TF-1
Staging
area 5 FA bn Follow-on forces
Armd TF-2
Mech TF-2
Staging
area 7 Follow-on forces

Site 3 Mech TF-1 Engr Follow-on forces
Site 5 Follow-on forces
Armd 1 FA Armd 2
Site 7 Mech TF-2 Follow-on forces
Route 3 Mech TF-1 Engr bn HQ Follow-on forces
Route 5 Armd TF-1 Armd TF-2 Armd TF-1 FA Armd 2 Follow-on forces
Route 7 Mech TF-2 Follow-on forces

Figure B-7. Crossing-synchronization matrix
H-3 H-2 H-2 H H+1 H+2 H+3 H+4 H+5
Move to Prep RB15s. Execute assault-boat operations;
site B. assault site B. Perform route maintenance of route 3.
A/237 Move to Establish Prepare si te 3. Operate crossing site 3.
site 3. ERPs.

Move to assault Position and Execute assault-boat operations
B/237 prepare boats. assault site C. Perform route maintenance of route 7.
site C.

Move to Establish
C/237 site 7. ERPs. Prepare site 7. Operate crossing site 7.

Move to Establish Prepare site 5. Perform route maintenance of route 5.
D/237 site 5. ERPs. Operate crossing site 5.

Deliver Move to Build Construct
203 AFB co assault equipment rafts, Operate rafting site 3.
bridge, site 3.
rafts. park 3. site 3.

Deliver Move to
204 AFB co assault equipment Construct bridge, site 5. Operate bridge;site
Operate bridge site 5.
5.
rafts. park 5.

Deliver Move to Build Construct
205 AFB co assault equipment rafts, Operate rafting site 7. bridge,
rafts. park 7. site 7. site 7.

Figure B-8. Engineer execution matrix
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Engineer-Planning Calculations B-13
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

APPENDIX C
Crossing Means
GENERAL
Crossing means is the equipment used to • Normal crossing—the vehicle's classifi-
carry a force across a water obstacle. This cation number is equal to or less than
equipment is specially designed to operate the bridge's, vehicles maintain 30-meter
within certain limits, and commanders intervals on fixed or floating bridges,
must understand these limits if the force is and the vehicle's speed must not exceed
to cross safely. 24 kph. Sudden stopping or acceleration
is forbidden.
A safety matter that affects operational use
• Caution crossing—vehicles with a classi-
is the load capacity of rafts, bridges, and
fication exceeding the capacity of the
equipment. The quantities shown in Table bridge by 25 percent are allowed to cross
C-1, page C-4, are the normal capacities or under strict traffic control. The caution
the design capabilities. In exceptional cir- classification number of standard fixed
cumstances, certain safety factors or mar- or floating bridges may be obtained from
gins allow an increase in the load. These FM 5-34, TC 5-210, or other appropriate
capacities have been deliberately omitted technical manuals (TMs). The crossing
here because they are not intended for use requires that vehicles remain on the cen-
in operational planning. The standard or terline and maintain 50-meter intervals.
design capabilities are provided for normal The crossing requires that vehicles do
crossings. The exceptional category is not exceed 13 kph, stop, accelerate, and
intended for special situations using the shift gears.
terms caution or risk crossings.
• Risk crossing—may be made only on
In addition to the command decision standard, prefabricated fixed and floating
required to employ caution- and risk- bridges and in the greatest emergencies.
crossing loads, commanders must consider The vehicle moves on the centerline and
the physical status of the equipment. is the only vehicle on the bridge. The
Thus, crossing-area or crossing-force com- crossing requires that vehicles do not
manders obtain a professional judgment exceed 5 kph, stop, accelerate, and shift
from an engineer. The commander weighs gears. The vehicle's classification number
these factors with the tactical needs must not exceed the published risk classi-
before directing an increase in the load, fication for the bridge type being crossed.
keeping in mind that the equipment may After the crossing and before other traffic
be lost for future use. River crossings is permitted, the engineer officer rein-
have three categories: spects the entire bridge for any damage.

DESCRIPTIONS OF CROSSING MEANS
This appendix supplements a general as well as equipment-capability tables use-
description of the crossing means discussed ful in selecting crossing means and plan-
in Chapter 3. It provides a pictorial review ning crossing operations.

Crossing Means C-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Available crossing means dictate both cross- AIRCRAFT
ing operations and the force-buildup rate on Army aircraft are the primary crossing
the far shore. Before the commander devel- means for dismounted infantry. Helicopters
ops his tactics, he must understand how the also lift other crossing assets from rear areas
available crossing means impact his ability to the river and carry essential combat sup-
to mass forces on the far shore . port and critical resupply across it. See Table
C-2, page C-5, for characteristics of external
The following are the crossing means that loads for aircraft.
the military use to cross a river:
BOATS
• Fording vehicles. Pneumatic assault boats are the alternate
• Amphibious vehicles. crossing means for dismounted infantry and
accompanying elements. For light infantry,
• Aircraft. assault boats may be the only means
required if air resupply is available. They
• Boats. carry 12 assault troops and a two-man engi-
neer crew in a silent or powered crossing.
• Assault launched bridges.
ASSAULT LAUNCHED BRIDGES
• Rafts.
The AVLB is an organic engineer asset that
• Bridges. travels with maneuvering armored and
mechanized infantry formations and can
FORDING VEHICLES quickly gap up to 15 meters for 70 MLC
Combat vehicles can ford shallow rivers vehicles. The assault launcher can launch
that have a limited current velocity and sta- the bridge without exposing bridge person-
ble beds. Some vehicles have kits to nel to enemy fire and can retrieve the
increase fording depth. Fording is possible bridge from either end (see Figure C-1 and
for current velocities that are less than 1.5 Table C-3, page C-6).
MPS. Riverbeds at fording sites must be
firm and free of large rocks and other The Wolverine will eventually replace the
obstructions. Vehicle-operator manuals con- AVLB. The Wolverine will consist of an M1-
tain specific depth capabilities and required series Abrams tank chassis modified to
adaptations. The AVLB and Wolverine can transport, launch, and retrieve a MLC 70
be used to assist fording vehicles in deep bridge. The bridge will be capable of span-
water. ning at least a 24-meter gap (see Figure C-2
and Table C-4, page C-7).
AMPHIBIOUS VEHICLES
Some combat vehicles can swim. Bank RAFTS
entry and exit points must be clear of Heavy rafts are often the initial crossing
obstructions and have slopes consistent means for tanks and other fighting vehicles.
with the vehicle's capabilities. The cur- They are faster to assemble than bridges and
rent's velocity sets limits. Crews of can operate from multiple sites to reduce
amphibious vehicles prepare and inspect their vulnerability. The two types of heavy
each vehicle before entering the water. rafts in the Army system are the ribbon and
Engineer assistance, including recovery M4T6 (see Figures C-3 and C-4, page C-8,
vehicles and standing cables, maximizes and Tables C-5 through C-9, pages C-9
swimming opportunities. through C-12). The ribbon raft is fielded to

C-2 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

engineer units while the M4T6 is maintained important operational consideration (see
in war stocks only. Figures C-8 and C-9, page C-17, and
Tables C-14 through C-18, pages C-18
BRIDGES through C-21). The primary role of the
Rafts alone cannot handle the total volume of MGB is for tactical bridging in the brigade
traffic in the needed time. Floating bridges area, while the Bailey bridge is used pri-
are the primary means to cross the force and marily as a LOC bridge. As the tactical sit-
its supplies rapidly. The same units that pro- uation permits, the MGB is removed and
vide heavy rafts also provide float bridges. replaced by Bailey, timber, or steel bridges.
They often assemble bridges from the rafts
used earlier. The Army is currently in the process of
developing the HDSB to replace the MGB.
The ribbon bridge is the primary assault The HDSB provides tactical bridging for a
bridge because it is quick to assemble (see gap-crossing capability of 40 meters with-
Figures C-5 and C-6, page C-13, and Tables out intermediate supports for wheeled vehi-
C-10 and C-11, page C-14). The M4T6, cur- cles up to MLC 96 and tracked vehicles up
rently maintained in war stocks only, would to MLC 70 (see Figures C-10 and C-11,
replace the ribbon bridge to allow the ribbon pages C- 21 and C-22).
bridge to continue to move forward with the
advancing force. Because it is man-power The M2 Bailey bridge is a truss bridge man-
intense, the M4T6 is slower to assemble ually assembled by connecting panels end to
than the ribbon bridge (see Figure C-7, page end. It is used in forward areas to replace
C-15, and Tables C-12 and C-13, pages C-15 assault bridging and the MGB. The Bailey
and C-16). Preassembly of the M4T6 floats bridge system is highly labor intense but
in rear areas significantly reduces the final also highly versatile. In some cases, the
assembly time on the river. Bailey bridge is the only tactical bridge suit-
able for long spans and heavy loads because
Fixed bridges rest on the riverbanks and it can be assembled in multiple heights and
intermediate supports instead of floating on widths. The Bailey bridge is maintained in
the water. They span ravines as well as riv- war stocks both in the US and outside conti-
ers. They have limited use for the initial nental US (OCONUS). The bridge system
assault because they are slow to assemble can also be assembled as a railway bridge,
and vulnerable to enemy action. Where thus providing a relatively rapid-repair
appropriate, fixed bridges supplement or capability (see Figure C-12, page C-22, and
replace float bridges. Engineers also use Table 19, page C-23).
fixed bridges to repair existing damaged
bridges. In arctic regions and areas that experience
seasonal winter weather, a consideration
The rapid construction characteristics of that cannot be overlooked is "ice bridging".
the MGB versus the Bailey bridge provide Ice bridging is the use of bridging over a
it with a better capability that can be used thick layer of ice that covers a wet gap,
well forward in the main battle area. Since such as a lake or river (see Figures C-13
the Army does not currently have a tacti- through C-15, pages C-24 and C-25, and
cal dry-gap capability longer than 60 feet, Tables C-20 through C-23, pages C-25
using the MGB in this role becomes an through C-27).

Crossing Means C-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-1. Equipment-characteristic chart

Assembly/
Remarks/
Equipment Allocation Transportation Capabilities Propulsion
Limitations

Pneumatic, L-series TOE pro- A 2 1/2-ton truck The boat can Inflation time is The maximum cur-
15-man vides— can carry 20 carry 12 sol- 5 to 10 min- rent velocity with pad-
assault • 18 per ribbon deflated boats. diers and 3 utes with dles is 1.5 MPS (5
boat bridge co. engrs with pumps. fps).
• 27 per corps An inflated boat paddles or 12
float bridge co. can carry 8 soldiers and 2 Paddle speed A 20 percent exit
• 9 per sep bde men. engrs with an is 1.5 MPS (5 slope is desired.
engr co. OBM or 1,531 fps).
• 27 per corps A deflated boat kg of equip- Three pumps and 11
ribbon bridge weighs 132 kg. ment. Speed with an paddles are included
co. OBM is 4.5 with each boat.
• 80 per assault- MPS (15 fps).
boat team. OBMs must be
• 21 per MGB co. requested separately.
• 21 per M2 co.

Pneumatic, L-series TOE pro- The boat is car- The boat can Inflation time is The maximum cur-
3-man vides— ried by back- carry 3 sol- 5 minutes with rent velocity is 1.5
reconnais- • 3 per combat pack (1-man diers with a pump. MPS (5 fps).
sance boat engr co. carry). equipment or
• 18 per corps 306 kg of Paddle speed One pump and 3 pad-
float bridge co. The boat and equipment. is 1.0 MPS (3 dles are required per
• 12 per div ribbon backpack fps). boat.
bridge co. weigh 26 kg.
• 18 per corps rib- The boat cannot be
bon bridge co. used without an
OBM.

APC M113 J-series TOE pro- The APC— The APC can Preparation The maximum cur-
vides— • Is self- carry 12 sol- time for swim- rent velocity is 1.5
• 12 per engr co of propelled. diers with ming is 10 MPS (5 fps).
engr bn. • Is a Class 13 equipment. minutes.
• 1 per inf co vehicle. Drift (meters) =
(mech) (BIFV). The APC is
• 3 per inf co track- current  river width
-------------------- x 
(mech) (M113). propelled in 1.6 [ meters ] 
• 9 per armored the water.
engr co (ERI).
Swimming
speed is 1.6
MPS (5.3 fps).

The APC can
ford up to 1.5
meters (5
feet).

BEB-SD L-series TOE pro- The boat is car- The boat can Launch time The draft is—
vides 14 per corps ried by one 5- carry a 3-man from the cradle • 56 cm for normal
ribbon bridge co. ton bridge truck crew and 12 is 5 minutes. operations.
with a cradle or soldiers with • 66 cm when fully
one medium-lift equipment or loaded.
helicopter. 1,996 kg of • 122 cm for a
equipment. launch from the
The boat weighs cradle.
3,992 kg.

C-4 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table
Table C-1.C-1. Equipment-characteristic
Equipment-characteristic chart
chart (continued)

Assembly/
Remarks/
Equipment Allocation Transportation Capabilities Propulsion
Limitations

BIFV J-series TOE pro- The BIFV— The BIFV can Preparation The maximum cur-
vides— • Is self-pro- carry 10 sol- time for swim- rent velocity is 0.9
• 14 per inf co pelled. ders with ming is 18 MPS (3 fps).
(mech) (BIFV). • Is a Class 24 equipment. minutes.
• 12 per cav troop vehicle. Drift (meters) =
of an ACR. The BIFV is
current
• 19 per cav troop track- -------------------- x river width 
2  [ meters ] 
of a div cav propelled in
squadron. the water. Drift (feet) =
• 80 per assault-
boat team. Swimming current river width
--------------------x
speed is 2 6.6  [ meters ] 
MPS (6 fps).

The BIFV can
ford up to 1.1
meters (3.5
feet).

Table C-2. Typical external loads

Weight in
Equipment Kilograms Remarks
(pounds)

M4T6 fixed spans Components are assembled in 8-foot
23 feet 4 inches, Class 100 5,851 (12,900) 4-inch and 15-foot 0-inch incre-
30 feet 0 inches, Class 65 7,076 (15,600) ments. They may be transported in
38 feet 4 inches, Class 35 8,528 (18,800) packages to reduce the load.
45 feet 0 inches, Class 25 9,480 (20,900) Load class may be increased by
varying the deck size.

Pneumatic assault boat 131 (290) Boats are transported in a bundle or
in an inflated mode.

27-foot BEB-SD 3,084 (6,800)/ Boats are lifted in the bow-and-stem
3,992 (8,800) configuration.

M4T6 float-bridge components Loads are placed on the water or
Float without deck 3,039 (6,700) shore for further assembly.
Float with deck 5,307 (11,700)
Two floats with partial deck 7,666 (16,900

Ribbon-bridge bays Bays are placed directly on water
Interior bays 5,443 (12,000) surfaces.
End bays 5,307 (11,700)

Crossing Means C-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Figure C-1. Armored vehicle-launched bridge

Table C-3. Characteristic/operation of the AVLB

Limitation/
Allocation Transportation Emplacement Capacity Class
Remarks

6 per engr co, The AVLB— The AVLB— The total length of The scissors
ACR • Is carried on a • Can be launched the AVLB is 19.2 launch requires 10
launcher (a mod- in 2 to 5 minutes meters (63 feet).* meters (32 feet) of
6 per engr co, ified M48A5 or by a buttoned- overhead clear-
separate heavy an M60A1 chas- up 2-man crew. The AVLB is capa- ance.
brigade sis). • Can be retrieved ble of holding a
• Weighs 15,000 from either end. Class 60 vehicle The maximum
4 per engr co, kg (15 tons) • Requires that across— launch slope is—
heavy division (bridge only). one man be • A 17.4-meter • 28 percent uphill.
exposed to guide (57-foot) gap • 19 percent
4 per engr co, The spare bridge is and connect with unprepared downhill.
corps (mech) folded on a 25-ton while retrieving. abutments. • 11 percent on a
lowbed trailer with a • An 18.3-meter side slope.
10-ton tractor (usu- (60-foot) gap
ally consolidated at with prepared
corps or theater abutments.
level).

NOTE: *For crossings on the AVLB that exceed MLC 60, see the current safety message.

C-6 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Figure C-2. Wolverine

Table C-4. Characteristics of the Wolverine

Limitations/
Allocation Transportation Emplacement Capacity Class
Remarks

6 per engr co, The Wolverine— The Wolverine— The Wolverine— The launcher and
ACR • Is carried on a • Can be • Can hold a bridge has a maxi-
launcher (a modi- launched in less Class 70 vehi- mum speed of 83
6 per engr co, fied M1-series than 5 minutes cle. kph.
separate heavy Abrams tank by a buttoned- • Expands to a
bridge chassis.) up 2-man crew. total length of The Wolverine—
• Weighs 12,500 kg • Can be 24 meters. • Can ford up to a
4 per engr co, (12.5 tons) retrieved from depth of 122 cm
heavy division (bridge only) either end. (w/o a kit).
• Can be recov- • Will replace the
4 per engr co, ered in less AVLB one for
corps (mech) than 10 min- one.
utes.

Crossing Means C-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Figure C-3. Ribbon raft

Figure C-4. M4T6 raft

C-8 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-5. Launch restrictions

Free Controlled High-Bank
Characteristics
Launch Launch Launch

Minimum depth of water Ramp bay 112 (44) 76 (30)1 76 (30)2
required in centimeters Interior bay 92 (36)2
(inches)

Bank-height restrictions in 0-1.5 (0-5) 0 1.5 - 8.5 (5 - 28)
meters (feet)

Bank-slope restrictions 0-30 percent 0-20 percent Level the ground
unless the front of
the truck is
restrained.

NOTES:
1 This is the recommended water depth. The launch could technically be conducted in 43 cen-

timeters (17 inches) of water.
2 The launch is based on a 10 percent slope with the transporter backed into the water. The

required water depth for a 30 percent slope with a 1.5-meter (5-foot) bank height is 183 centime-
ters (72 inches). Interpolate between these values when needed.

Table C-6. Allocation of ribbon bridge
(L-series TOE)
Components Per Corps
Ribbon Company

Bridge platoons 2

Interior bays 30

Ramp bays 12

BEBs 15

NOTE: The longest bridge that can be constructed is
215 meters (705 feet).

Crossing Means C-9
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-7. Ribbon-raft design
Load Current Velocity in MPS (fps) and MLC
Assembly Space Classi-
Raft
Time in in fication 0-0.9 1.2 1.5 1.75 2 2.5 2.7 3
Types
Minutes Meters (0-3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
(feet)

3 bays 8 6.7 L 45 45 45 40 40 35 30 25
(2 ramps/ (22) C 45 45 35 25 15 10 0 0
1 interior)

4 bays 12 13 L 70 70 70 60 60 60 55 45
(2 ramps/ (44) C 60 60 60 55* 40* 30* 15* 0
2 interiors)

5 bays 15 20.1 L 75 75 75 70 70 70 60 60
(2 ramps/ (66) C 75 70 70 70* 60* 50* 25* 0
3 interiors)

6 bays 20 26.8 L 96 96 96 96 96 96 70 70
(2 ramps/ (88) 80 80 80 70 70 70 70 70
4 interiors) C 96 96 96 70 70 55 30
wheeled/ 70 75 70 70 70 55 30 0
tracked

NOTES:
1. When determining raft classification, L refers to the longitudinal rafting and C refers to conventional rafting.
2. If the current’s velocity in the loading/unloading area is greater than 1.5 MPS (5 fps), then conventional rafting
must be used.
3. The roadway width of a ribbon raft is 4.1 meters (13 feet 5 inches).
4. The draft of a fully loaded ribbon raft is 61 centimeters (24 inches).
5. Vehicles should only be loaded on the interior bays.
6. Each raft requires a minimum of two BEBs for propulsion.
7. The assembly time for a raft increases by 50 percent at night.
*Three BEBs are required for conventional rafting of 4, 5, or 6 bay rafts in
current velocities greater than 1.5 MPS (5 fps). Conventional Longitudinal

C-10 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-8. Raft-crossing capabilities

River Width Number of
Minutes per Rounds Trips
Rafts per
Round Trip per Hour
Feet Meters Centerline

246 75 7 8 1

328 100 8 7 1

410 125 9 6 1

492 150 10 6 2

610 188 11 5 2

738 225 12 5 2

861 263 14 4 3

964 300 16 3 3

1,148 350 18 3 4

1,312 400 20 3 5

1,476 450 22 2 5

1,640 500 24 2 5

1,968 600 26 2 6

2,296 700 29 2 6

2,824 800 32 1 6

2,952 900 35 1 6

3,280 1,000 38 1 6

3,808 1,100 41 1 6

3,936 1,200 45 1 6

NOTES:
1. This table is valid for ribbon and M4T6 rafts in current velocities up to and
including 1.5 MPS (5 fps). This data is based on the use of crews under ideal con-
ditions.
2. Round-trip times include the times required to load and unload the raft.
3. Crossing times will take 50 percent longer at night.
4. If the river width falls between 2 columns, use the value found in the next
higher column.

Crossing Means C-11
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-9. M4T6-raft design and classification
Current Velocity in MPS
(fps) and MLC
Raft Types Assembly Times Crossing Load Space in
Types Meters (feet) 1.5 2 2.5 3.5
(5) (7) (8) (11)

4-float raft: 2 1/4 hours Normal 15.7
5 bridge trucks (when preas- (51.6)
2 BEB-SD sembled, (wheeled/ 50 45 40 30
1 platoon 1 1/2 hours) tracked) 55 50 45 35

Reinforced 11.6
(38.3)
(wheeled/ 50 50 45 35
tracked) 55 55 50 40

5-float raft: 3 hours (when Normal 20.3
6 bridge trucks preassem- (66.6)
2 BEB-SD bled, (wheeled/ 55 50 45 35
1 platoon 1 1/2 hours) tracked) 60 55 50 40

Reinforced 15.2
(50)
(wheeled/ 60 60 55 45
tracked) 65 65 60 50

6-float raft: 3 3/4 hours Reinforced 16.2
7 bridge trucks (when preas- (53.3)
2 BEB-SD sembled, (wheeled/ 65 65 65 45
1 platoon 1 3/4 hours) tracked) 70 70 70 50

NOTES:
1. For methods on constructing an M4T6 raft, refer to TC 5-210.
2. The roadway width for an M4T6 raft is 4.2 meters (13 feet 10 inches).
3. The draft of a fully loaded M4T6 raft is 66 centimeters (29 inches).
4. The assembly time for a raft increases by 50 percent at night.

C-12 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Figure C-5. Ribbon bridge

The number of interior bays =

Gap (meters) - 14
6.7

or

Gap (feet) - 45
22

NOTES:
1. Two ramp bays are required for all ribbon bridges.
2. During daylight hours, a ribbon bridge can be con-
structed at the rate of 200 meters (600 feet) per hour and
during nighttime hours, at the rate of 133 meters (437
feet) per hour.
3. Two hundred vehicles per hour, with 30-meter spac-
ing at 16 kilometers per hour, can cross the bridge.

Figure C-6. Bridge design

Crossing Means C-13
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-10. Determination of bridge classification

Current Velocity in MPS (fps) and MLC
Crossing
Types 0-0.9 1.2 1.5 1.75 2 2.5 2.7 3
(0-3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)

Normal:
wheeled 96 96 96 96 82 65 45 30
tracked 75 75 70 70 80 60 45 30

Caution:
wheeled 105 105 100 100 96 75 50 35
tracked 85 85 80 80 80 65 50 35

Risk:
wheeled 110 110 105 105 100 82 65 40
tracked 100 195 90 90 90 75 65 40

Table C-11. Number of boats needed for anchorage of a ribbon bridge

Number of Boats:
Current Velocity in
Number of Bridge
MPS (fps)
Bays

0 to 2.0 (0 to 6.5) 1:6

2.0 to 2.6 (6.5 to 8.5) 1:3

2.7 (9) 1:2

Over 2.7 (over 9) Bridge must be anchored
using an overhead cable sys-
tem.

NOTE: Anchorage of ribbon bridges is normally accom-
plished by tying BEBs to the downstream side of the
bridge. The number of boats required is shown in the
table.

C-14 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

1. The corps float bridge company (M4T6) includes six sets
of M4T6s and six BEBs.

2. One set provides—
• 43 meters (41 feet) of normal bridging
or
• 29 meters (96 feet) of reinforced bridging
or
• One 4-float normal raft
or
• One 5-float normal raft
or
• One 4-float reinforced raft and one 5-float reinforced
raft
or
• One 6-float reinforced raft.

3. The M4T6 is normally transported using a 5-ton bridge
truck. One bay of a disassembled bridge can be loaded on
one 5-ton truck. Bays can also be preassembled and flown
to the river using medium-lift helicopters.

Figure C-7. Allocation and transportation factors
for the M4T6 bridge

Table C-12. Bridge classification for the M4T6
Current Velocity in MPS (fps)
Crossing and MLC
Types 1.5 2 2.5 3.5
(5) (7) (8) (11)
Normal
Normal:
wheeled 45 40 35 25
tracked 55 50 45 30
Caution:
wheeled 58 54 49 35
tracked 59 55 51 37
Risk:
wheeled 66 62 59 43
tracked 67 63 60 45
Reinforced
Normal:
wheeled 75 70 65 27
tracked 75 70 30
Caution:
wheeled 80 79 73 43
tracked 45
Risk:
wheeled 90 90 87 59
tracked 60

Crossing Means C-15
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-13. Determination of site and personnel requirements
for the M4T6 bridge

Length for
Number of
Normal Units Needed Time in
Assembly
Assembly in for Assembly Hours
Sites
Meters (feet)

45.5 (150) 1 company 2 4

61 (200) 1 company 2 5

76 (250) 1 company 2 6

91.5 (300) 2 companies 3 4

106.5 (350) 2 companies 3 5

122 (400) 2 companies 4 5.5

152 (500) 2 companies 5 6

183 (600) 3 companies 6 4

213 (700) 3 companies 6 5 to 7

244 (800) 3 companies 6 6 to 8

305 (1,000) 3 companies 6 7 to 10

366 (1,200) 3 companies 6 8 to 12

NOTES:
1. For methods on constructing an M4T6 bridge, refer to TC
5-210.
2. The construction time for a reinforced bridge should be
increased by 50 percent.
3. The construction time for bridges should be increased by 50
percent at night.
4. The draft of an M4T6 bridge is 101.6 centimeters (40 inches).

C-16 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Figure C-8. MGB

1. The corps MGB company includes—
• Four bridge sets.
• Two reinforcement sets.
• Two erection sets.
2. Each MGB set requires seven 5-ton dump trucks and seven 4-ton bolster trailers for
transportation.
3. Each link reinforcement set requires one 5-ton dump truck and one 4-ton bolster
trailer for transportation.
4. Each erection set requires one 5-ton dump truck and one 4-ton bolster trailer for
transportation.

Figure C-9. Allocation and transportation factors for the MGB

Crossing Means C-17
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-14. Work parties for MGBs

Bridging Activity Work Party

4 and 5 bay SSB (7.9 to 9.8 1 NCO and 8 personnel
meters or 26 to 32 feet)

6 through 12 bay SSB (11.6 to 1 NCO and 16 personnel
15.2 meters or 38 to 50 feet)

All DSBs 1 NCO and 24 personnel
Anchorage party (if required) 8 personnel

All DSBs with a link reinforce- 1 NCO and 8 personnel
ment party

Table C-15. SSB length and classification for the MGB

Bridge Length
Number of Bays MLC
Feet Meters

26 7.9 4 70

32 9.8 5 70

38 11.6 6 40

44 13.4 7 30

50 15.2 8 30

56 17.1 9 24

62 18.9 10 20

68 20.7 11 16

74 22.6 12 16

C-18 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-16. Building times (good conditions) for
the MGB

Bridge Bridge Daytime Nighttime
Types Sizes Hours Hours

5 bays 0.50 0.75

Single story 8 bays 0.75 1.00

12 bays 1.00 1.50

4 bays 0.75 1.25

8 bays 1.00 1.50
Double story
12 bays 1.50 2.00
without LRS
18 bays 1.75 2.75

22 bays 2.00 3.00

13 bays 2.00 3.00
Double story
18 bays 2.75 4.00
with LRS
22 bays 3.00 4.50

NOTES:
1. A 25- by 20-meter assembly site is required.
2. Only MBG company personnel are required for assem-
bly/disassembly.
3. The assembly time for bridges should be increased by
20 percent for untrained troops and 30 percent for inclem-
ent weather.

Crossing Means C-19
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-17. DSB length and classification for the MGB
Bridge Length 2E + Number MLC

Feet Meters of Bays Without LRS With LRS

37 11.3 1 70 --

43 13.1 2 70 --

49 14.9 3 70 --

55 16.8 4 70 --

61 18.6 5 70 --

67 20.4 6 70 --

73 22.3 7 70 --

79 24.0 8 70 --

85 26.9 9 70 --

91 27.7 10 70 --

97 29.6 11 70 --

103 31.4 12 70 --

109 33.2 13 50 70

115 35.1 14 50 70

121 36.9 15 40 70

127 38.8 16 40 70

133 40.5 17 30 70

139 42.5 18 30 70

145 44.2 19 24 70

151 46.0 20 24 70

157 47.9 21 20 70

163 49.7 22 16 70

C-20 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table 18. Estimated time for assembly of the MGB

Construction Type

Span in SS DS TS DD TD DT TT DT TT
Meters
(feet) Construction by Manpower Only One Crane

12 (40) 1 1/2

18 (60) 1 3/4 2

24 (80) 2 2 1/2 3

30 (100) 2 1/4 3 3 1/2 4 1/4

37 (120) 3 1/2 4 5 6 3/4

43 (140) 3 3/4 4 1/2 5 3/4 7 1/2 11 1/4 10 1/2

49 (160) 5 6 1/4 8 1/2 13 1/4 19 11 3/4 16 1/4

55 (180) 7 9 1/2 14 3/4 21 1/4 13 1/4 18 1/4

61 (200) 16 1/4 24 14 1/2 20 1/2

NOTES:
1. A 20- by 30-meter assembly site is required.
2. In addition to bridge company personnel, an assembly crew is required.
3. For more information, see FM 5-34 or FM 5-277.

Figure C-10. HDSB

Crossing Means C-21
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Description

• The launcher and bridge components are on an ICBT, which is a HEMTT-
based vehicle.
• The HDSB provides fast support bridging for LOC (from the brigade to the
communications zone).

Capabilities

• One set can bridge a 40-meter gap.
• The set can be constructed in 90 minutes by 14 soldiers.
• One set can be constructed into two 20-meter bridges.
• Bridge components are transportable by a CH-47.
• The MLC for a 40-meter bridge is 96 wheeled/70 tracked.
• The bridge can span a 40-meter gap without intermediate support.

Requirements

• The minimum depth of the gap can be no less than 2.7 meters below the
height of the bank.
• Vehicles of MLC 100 wheeled/80 tracked can cross under a caution cross-
ing.
• The weight load should not exceed 10,659 kg on the M1077 palletized-load-
system flat rack.
• The bridge sections will have a service-life monitoring system.

Figure C-11. HDSB characteristics

Figure C-12. M2 Bailey bridge

C-22 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-19. Classes of the M2 Bailey bridge

Type of Span in Feet
Rating
Construction 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210
N 30 24 20 20 16 12 8
30 24
C 42 36 33 30 24 20 16 12
SS
37 34 31 29
R 47 40 36 33 30 24 19 14
42 38 35 32 30
N 75 75 60 50 40 30 20 16 12 8
70 65 60 55 45 30
DS
C 83 77 68 60 50 37 30 23 18 14
76 73 69 60 50 39 32
R 88 85 78 66 55 42 34 27 21 17
84 79 75 64 55 44 36 30
N 85 65 50 35 30 20 16 12 8 4
80 65 55 40 35
TS
C 95 74 57 47 38 31 24 18 15 10
90 75 60 49 41 33
R 100* 82 64 52 43 35 29 22 17 13
90* 82 66 54 45 38 31
N 80 65 45 35 30 24 16 12 8
80 70 55 45 35
DD
C 86 72 57 47 39 32 25 19 15
90 76 61 50 42 35
R 96 80 64 53 44 36 30 24 18
90 83 68 56 48 40 33
N 90 75 55 45 35 30 20 16 12
90* 80 60 55 45 35
TD
C 100* 83 65 57 47 37 31 24 18
90* 90* 72 62 51 41 34
R 100* 91 74 64 54 45 37 29 22
90* 90* 80 70 58 48 40 32
N 70 70 60 55 45 35 30 20 16
80 70 60 55 50 45 35
DT
C 80 80 77 69 57 48 39 32 25
90* 90* 85 78 64 58 43 36
R 90 88 85 80 64 55 46 38 31
90* 90* 90* 89 74 60 51 43 35
N 80 70 55 45 35 24
75 70 60 55 40
TT
C 100 80 66 59 48 38
90* 90* 75 66 52 43
R 100* 90 77 68 55 46
90* 90* 87 77 62 51
Notes: N = Normal C = Caution R = Risk
1. Upper figure represents wheeled load class.
2. Lower figure represents tracked load class.
* Limited by roadway width.

Crossing Means C-23
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

2
T ×C×S
Class (wheeled) = -------------------------
25

2
T ×C×S
Class (tracked) = -------------------------
20

Legend:
T = Ice thickness in inches (see Table C-20)
C = Color factor (see Table C-21, page C-26)
S = Strength factor (see Table C-22, page C-26)

Figure C-13. Determining the class of ice

C x S = 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4
60

50
Vehicle class

40

30

20

10

0 30
10 20 40 50 60
Ice thickness in inches

Figure C-14. Required ice thickness for wheeled vehicles

C-24 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CXS = 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4
60

50

Vehicle class 40

30

20

10

0 30
10 20 40 50 60
Ice thickness in inches

Figure C-15. Required ice thickness for tracked vehicles

Table C-20. Ice-depth requirements
Ice-Thickness Requirements in Inches
Personnel
Strong Medium Weak
C=1, S=1 C=0.8, S=0.8 C=0.7, S=0.6

On skis 1.5 2 3

In a file formation with 3 4 5
2-meter intervals

On snowmobiles 3 4 5

Crossing Means C-25
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table C-21. Color factor
Factor Characteristics

C=1 Ice is clear (transparent)

C = 0.9 Ice is semiclear

C = 0.8 Ice is white

C = 0.7 Ice is discolored (stained brown
or yellow)

Table C-22. Strength factor
Factor Characteristics

S=1 Ice is solid, and temperatures have remained at or
below freezing for the previous week.

S = 0.9 Ice is solid, and temperatures have been above
freezing during the day but drop below freezing dur-
ing the night.

S = 0.8 Ice is solid, and water is running on the surface
from runnoff or overflow.

S = 0.7 Ice is not solid, and water or air pockets are found
in between layers of ice.

S = 0.6 An air pocket is under the ice, so the ice is not float-
ing on the water underneath.

C-26 Crossing Means
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Table B-23. Method for determining vehicle distance
Table C-23. Method for determining vehicle distance
Distance Between
Vehicle Class Required Ice Thick- Vehicles in Meters
(wheeled or tracked) ness in Centimeters (about 100 x ice thick-
ness [in cm])

1 11 11

2 15 15

3 18 18

4 21 21

5 23 23

10 33 33

15 40 40

20 46 46‘

25 51 51

30 56 56

35 61 61

40 65 65

50 72 72

60 79 79

70 85 85

80 91 91

Before using the table, see remarks below:

1. If the air temperature has been above freezing for more than 6 of the past
24 hours, multiply the vehicle class by 1.3 to obtain the required ice thickness.
If the air temperature stays above freezing for 2 hours or more, the ice starts to
lose strength, and the table no longer represents safe conditions. A rapid and
unusually large temperature drop causes the ice to become brittle, and travel
may not be safe for a period of 24 hours.
2. For the distance required between two vehicles of different classes, use the
distance required for the higher class.
3. If you plan to park for extended periods, multiply the vehicle class by 2 to
obtain the required ice thickness and maintain at least the original distance
requirements. Drill a hole through the ice near the vehicle, and move if the ice
begins to flood.
4. The ice must have water support. Be very careful close to the shore. Very
often the water level will drop after freeze-up. When this happens, the ice
close to the shore may no longer have water support.
5. Cracks are either dry or wet. If dry, they do not penetrate ice cover and can
be ignored. If wet, multiply the vehicle class by 2 to obtain the required ice
thickness, and try to drive straight across the cracks (avoid going parallel to
wet cracks).

Crossing Means C-27
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Glossary
AA assembly area

AAG Army artillery group

ACE M9 armored combat earthmover

ACR armored cavalry regiment

AD air defense

ADA air-defense artillery

ADC assistant division commander

AFB assault float bridge

alt alternate

APC armored personnel carrier

armd armored

AT antitank

attn attention

AVLB armored vehicle-launched bridge

bde brigade

BEB bridge-erection boat

BIFV Bradley infantry fighting vehicle

BMAIN brigade main CP

bn battalion

BTAC brigade tactical CP

C2 command and control

CAC crossing-area commander

Glossary-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CAE crossing-area engineer

CAS close air support

cav cavalry

cbt combat

CCIR commander’s critical information requirements

CFC crossing-force commander

CFE crossing-force engineer

cm centimeter(s)

co company

COA course of action

const construction

CP command post

CSC crossing-site commander

CSS combat service support

DA Department of the Army

DAG division artillery group

DD double double

div division

DMAIN division main CP

DREAR division rear CP

DS double single

DSB double-story bridge

DT double triple

DTAC division tactical CP

2-Glossary
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

DTO division transportation officer

EA engagement area

EEP engineer equipment park

engr engineer

ERI engineer restructure initiative

ERP engineer regulating point

FA field artillery

FEBA forward edge of the battle area

FM field manual

FO forward observer

fps foot (feet) per second

FRAGO fragmentary order

FSB forward support battalion

FSCL fire-support coordination line

G2 Assistant Chief of Staff, G2 (Intelligence)

G3 Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations and Plans)

G4 Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (Logistics)

GLLD ground-laser location indicator

HDSB heavy dry-support bridge

HEMTT heavy-expanded mobility tactical truck

HIMAD high-to-medium-altitude AD

HMMWV high-mobility multiwheeled vehicle

HQ headquarters

ICBT improved common bridge transporter

Glossary-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

IDP initial-delay position

inf infantry

int intermediate

IPB intelligence preparation of the battlefield

kg kilogram(s)

km kilometer(s)

kph kilometer(s) per hour

LBE load-bearing equipment

LOA limit of advance

LOC lines of communication

LRS link reinforcement set

LTR light tactical raft

LZ landing zone

M meter(s)

MCWP Marine Corps Warfighting Publication

mech mechanized

METT-T mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available

MGB medium-girder bridge

MLC military load class

MO Missouri

MOPP mission-oriented protective posture

MP military police

mph mile(s) per hour

MPS meter(s) per second

4-Glossary
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

MRBC multirole bridge company

MSI multispectral imagery

MTOE modified table of organization and equipment

NA not applicable

NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NBC nuclear, biological, chemical

NCO noncommissioned officer

obj objective

OBM outboard motor

OCOKA observation, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and
avenues of approach

OCONUS outside continental US

OPFOR opposing force

OPORD operation order

OPSEC operations security

PFS pipe fascines system

PIR priority intelligence requirements

PL phase line

PLS palletized load system

prep preparation

RAG regimental artillery group

RB ribbon bridge

RB15 rubber boat 15

RL release line

Glossary-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

RP release point

rpm revolution(s) per minute

RTO radio telephone operator

S2 Intelligence Officer (US Army)

S3 Operations and Training Officer (US Army)

S4 Supply Officer (US Army)

SAW squad automatic weapon

SD shallow draft

sep separate

SHORAD short-range AD

SOP standing operating procedure

SP start point

SS single single

SSB single single bridge

STANAG Standardization Agreement

TAC tactical CP

TC training circular

TCP traffic-control post

TD triple double

TF task force

TM technical manual

TOE table(s) of organization and equipment

TOW tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided

TRADOC United States Army Training and Doctrine Command

6-Glossary
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

TS triple single

TT triple triple

TTP tactics, techniques, and procedures

US United States

veh vehicle

w/o without

WO warning order

XO executive officer

Glossary-7
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

References
SOURCES USED

These are the sources quoted or paraphrased in this publication.

Army Publications
FM 5-34. Engineer Field Data. 14 September 1987.
FM 5-250. Explosives and Demolitions. 15 June 1992.
FM 5-277. M2 Bailey Bridge. 9 May 1986.
FM 34-130. Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. 8 July 1994.
FM 71-3. The Armored and Mechanized Infantry Brigade. 8 January 1996.
FM 71-100. Division Operations. 28 August 1996.
FM 90-4. Air Assault Operators. 16 March 1987.
FM 90-13-1. Combined Arms Breaching Operations. 28 February 1991.
FM 100-5. Operations. 14 June 1993.
FM 100-15. Corps Operations. 29 October 1996.
FM 101-5. Staff Organization and Operations. 25 May 1984.
FM 101-5-1. Operational Terms and Symbols. 21 October 1985.
TC 5-210. Military Float Bridging Equipment. 27 December 1988.
TRADOC Pamphlet 350-14. Heavy Opposing Force (OPFOR) Tactical Handbook (S&I by
USACAC). 15 September 1994.
TRADOC Pamphlet 350-16. Light Opposing Force (OPFOR) Tactics Handbook (S&I by
USACAC). 15 September 1994.

Standardization Agreements
STANAG 2395. Opposed Water Crossing Procedures (Edition 1). 27 October 1994.

DOCUMENTS NEEDED

This document must be available to the intended users of this publication.

DA Forms
DA Form 2028. Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms. 1 February 1974.

References-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

Index
A B
AAGs. See Army artillery groups (AAGs). BEB. See bridge-erection boat (BEB).
AD sites. See air-defense (AD) sites. BIFV. See Bradley infantry fighting vehicle
ADA support. See air-defense artillery (BIFV).
(ADA) support. boat-carrying methods
ADC. See assistant division commander high, 8-12
(ADC). low, 8-12
AFB company. See assault float bridge (AFB) boat-launching methods
company. bow first, 8-12
air-defense (AD) sites, 2-4 stern first, 8-13
air-defense artillery (ADA) support, 5-4 boat-load configuration, 8-5
anchorage systems, 9-5 boat team, 8-1, 8-10, 8-12, 8-13, 8-17
kedge anchors, 9-6 bottom-charting sonar, 2-3
overhead cable, 9-6 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle (BIFV), C-5
shore guys, 9-6 breakout force, 1-3, 3-1, 5-10, 5-11
antitank (AT) bridge crossing site, 7-15
craters, 1-2 bridge-erection boat (BEB), 7-11, C-4, C-5,
ditches, 1-2 C-15
APC. See armored personnel carrier (APC). bridgehead line, 1-3, 3-2, 3-3, 3-10, 3-14, 4-1,
approach guys, 9-6 5-1, 5-6, 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, 5-11
armored personnel carrier (APC), C-4 bridges, 1-1
Army artillery groups (AAGs), 2-7 armored vehicle-launched (AVLB), 1-2,
assault float bridge (AFB) company, 5-3 1-3, 7-14, 7-16, C-2, C-6
assault wave, 8-4 Bailey, 1-4, 7-16, C-3, C-22, C-23
first, 8-4, 8-5, 8-7, 8-18, 8-19 heavy dry-support (HDSB), 1-4, 9-9,
second, 8-5, 8-6, 8-13, 8-19 9-10, C-3, C-21
assembly areas, 3-10 M4T6, 1-4, 7-4, 7-14, C-5, C-15, C-16
Assistant Chief of Staff, G2 (Intelligence) medium-girder (MGB), 1-1, 1-4, 7-16, 9-9,
(G2), 2-6, 4-3 C-3, C-17, C-18, C-19, C-20, C-21
Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations and ribbon, 1-3, 7-14, 9-4, 9-5, 9-9, C-5, C-9, C-
Plans) (G3), 3-14, 4-6, 6-7 13, C-14
Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (Logistics) (G4), Wolverine, C-2, C-7
3-1, 3-14, 4-6 bridging operations, 7-13, 7-14, 9-3
assistant division commander (ADC), 3-2 brigade main CP (BMAIN), 3-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5,
AT craters. See antitank (AT), craters. 5-6, 5-7, 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, 6-4
AT ditches. See antitank (AT), ditches. brigade tactical CP (BTAC), 3-2, 3-3, 5-5, 5-6,
attack positions, 2-4, 3-2, 3-9, 3-10, 3-12, 4-4, 5-8
5-6, 5-7, 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, 5-11, 8-1, 8-4,
8-9, 8-10, 8-11, 8-12 C
AVLB. See bridges, armored vehicle- C2. See command and control (C2).
launched (AVLB). CAC. See crossing-area commander (CAC).

Index-1
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

CAE. See crossing-area engineer (CAE). aircraft, C-2
call-forward areas, 3-5, 3-9, 3-10, 3-12, 4-4, amphibious vehicles, C-2
5-6, 7-12, 7-14, 9-1, 9-2, 9-3 assault launched bridges, C-2
cargo team, 8-8, 8-9 boats, C-2
CAS. See close air support (CAS). bridges, C-2, C-3
centerline, 7-9, 7-10, 7-11, 7-12, 7-13, 7-14 fording vehicles, C-2
CFC. See crossing-force commander (CFC). rafts, C-2
CFE. See crossing-force engineer (CFE). crossing overlay, 3-10
Class 5 life jackets, 8-7, 8-20, 8-21 crossing site
clinometers, 7-6 planning, 7-2
close air support (CAS), 5-5, 5-8, 5-10 requirements, 7-2
COA. See course of action (COA). selection, 7-1
combat service support (CSS), 5-11 crossing-site commander (CSC), 3-5, 6-4,
command and control (C2), 1-5, 3-1, 3-14, 5-3 7-10, 9-1
command post (CP) tasks, 3-2 crossing types, 1-1
command post (CP), 3-1, 3-3, 3-14 deliberate, 1-3, 5-1
company flotilla, 8-5, 8-6 dry-gap, 1-3
concealment, 2-4, 3-9, 5-6, 7-3, 7-5 wet-gap, 1-3
control measures
hasty, 1-1
crossing area, 3-5, 3-9, 3-10, 3-11, 3-12,
dry-gap, 1-2
3-14, 3-15
wet-gap, 1-2
engineer equipment park (EEP), 3-6,
retrograde, 1-4, 3-14, 6-1
3-10, 7-12
delay, 6-1
engineer regulating point (ERP), 3-5,
retirement, 6-6
3-10, 7-12, 9-1, 9-2
withdrawal, 6-6
release line (RL), 3-5, 3-12, 3-14
traffic-control post (TCP), 3-9, 3-10, 3-14 CSC. See crossing-site commander (CSC).
waiting area, 3-5, 7-3 CSS. See combat service support (CSS).
course of action (COA), 1-4, 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, current, 2-2, 7-4, 7-5, 7-6, 7-8
4-6
analysis, 4-5 D
comparison, 4-5 DAGs. See division artillery groups (DAGs).
development, 4-3, 4-4 deception plan, 1-4
coxswain, 8-4, 8-5, 8-7, 8-10, 8-12, 8-13, 8-14, deliberate river-crossing phases
8-15, 8-16, 8-17, 8-18, 8-19, 8-21 I, 5-1, 5-4
coxswain’s commands, 8-15 II, 5-1, 5-6
crossing-area commander (CAC), 3-3, 6-4 III, 5-1, 5-8
crossing-area engineer (CAE), 3-4, 4-6, 6-6, IV, 5-1, 5-9
7-9 division and brigade command post (CP)
crossing-area overlays, B-4 functions, 5-3
crossing capabilities division artillery groups (DAGs), 2-7
M4T6, C-11 division main CP (DMAIN), 3-1, 3-2, 3-15,
ribbon, C-11 5-5, 5-6, 5-8, 5-10, 5-11
crossing-force commander (CFC), 3-2 division rear CP (DREAR), 3-1, 3-2, 3-14,
crossing-force engineer (CFE), 3-2 5-5, 5-6, 5-8, 5-10, 5-11
crossing fundamentals, 1-4 division tactical CP (DTAC), 3-1, 3-2, 5-4,
crossing means, C-2 5-6, 5-8, 5-10, 5-11

2-Index
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

division transportation officer (DTO), 3-14, HIMAD. See high-to-medium-altitude air de-
4-6 fense (HIMAD).
DMAIN. See division main CP (DMAIN). HMMWW. See high-mobility multiwheeled
downstream drift, 7-5, 7-7 vehicle (HMMWV).
DREAR. See division rear CP (DREAR). holding area, 3-9, 3-10, 5-9, 7-13, 9-1, 9-2, 9-8
DTAC. See division tactical CP (DTAC). holding line, 3-4, 6-3, 6-5
DTO. See division transportation officer
(DTO). I
ICBT. See improved common bridge trans-
E porter (ICBT).
EEP. See control measures, engineer equip- ice
ment park (EEP). color factor, C-26
ERP. See control measures, engineer regu- strength factor, C-26
lating point (ERP). thickness, C-24, C-25
executive officer (XO), 3-4, 3-14, 3-15, 6-4 ice-depth requirements, C-25
IDP. See initial-delay position (IDP).
F improved common bridge transporter
field calculations, 7-5 (ICBT), 9-9, C-22
figure-eight course, 8-15 initial-delay position (IDP), 6-3
fire-support coordination line (FSCL), 5-8 Intelligence Officer (US Army) (S2), 2-1, 4-3
floating protective systems, 9-6 intelligence preparation of the battlefield
antimine boom, 9-7 (IPB), 4-2, 4-3
antiswimmer net, 9-7 IPB. See intelligence preparation of the bat-
impact boom, 9-7 tlefield (IPB).
fording vehicles, 8-2
FSCL. See fire-support coordination line L
(FSCL). limit of advance (LOA), 5-8
full-scale rehearsals, 1-3, 1-5 line of sight and pace, 7-7
lines of communication (LOC), 6-7
G LOA. See limit of advance (LOA).
G2. See Assistant Chief of Staff, G2 (Intelli- LOC. See lines of communication (LOC).
gence) (G2).
G3. See Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Opera- M
tions and Plans) (G3). M9 ACE. See M9 armored combat earth-
G4. See Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (Logis- mover (ACE).
tics) (G4). M9 armored combat earthmover (ACE), 1-2,
graphic fire-control measures, 8-4 5-6
guide boat, 8-5, 8-13, 8-14 maps, 7-6
guide stakes, 7-4 markers
raft-guide, 7-11
H raft-landing, 7-11, 8-8
HDSB. See bridges, heavy dry-support vehicle-guide, 7-11
(HDSB). METT-T. See mission, enemy, terrain,
high-to-medium-altitude air defense troops, and time available (METT-T).
(HIMAD), 5-4, 5-6 MGB. See bridges, medium-girder (MGB).
high-mobility multiwheeled vehicle military police (MP), 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 3-1
(HMMWV), 8-6, 8-11 mission analysis, 2-5, 4-2

Index-3
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time operations, 7-12, 7-13, 9-2
available (METT-T), 5-2, 5-5, 5-7, 5-8, 8-3 refueling, 7-13
mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP), site, 7-9, 7-11, 7-12
2-7 rafts, 7-9
mock-up raft, 9-2 M4T6, C-2, C-8, C-12
MOPP. See mission-oriented protective pos- ribbon, C-2, C-8, C-10
ture (MOPP). RAGs. See regimental artillery groups
Morse Code, 8-8 (RAGs).
MRBC. See multirole bridge company reconnaissance
(MRBC). far-shore, 8-7, 8-8
MSI. See multispectral imagery (MSI). ground, 7-5
multirole bridge company (MRBC), 9-8, 9-9 nearshore, 8-10
multirole-bridge-company (MRBC) concept, team, 8-7, 8-8
9-10 regimental artillery groups (RAGs), 2-7
multispectral imagery (MSI), 2-5 rise, 7-6
river-crossing categories
O caution, C-1
observation, cover and concealment, obsta- normal, C-1
cles, key terrain, and avenues of ap- risk, C-1
proach (OCOKA), 2-2 river-crossing organization, 1-3
obstructions, 2-3 assault force, 1-3, 1-5, 3-1, 7-9, 8-4, 8-9
man-made underwater, 2-3 bridgehead force, 1-3, 1-5, 3-1
mud banks, 2-3 maneuver-support force, 1-3, 1-5, 3-1, 4-1
natural underwater, 2-3 RL. See control measures, release line (RL).
rocks, 2-3 rubber boats, 8-2
sand, 2-3 run, 7-6
vegetation, 2-3
OCOKA. See observation, cover and conceal- S
ment, obstacles, key terrain, and ave- S2. See Intelligence Officer (US Army) (S2).
nues of approach (OCOKA). S3. See Operations and Training Officer (US
Operations and Training Officer (US Army) Army) (S3).
(S3), 3-14, 4-4 S4. See Supply Officer (US Army) (S4).
operations security (OPSEC), 1-4, 6-7 safety boat, 7-11
OPSEC. See operations security (OPSEC). SHORAD. See short-range air-defense
(SHORAD).
P short-range air-defense (SHORAD), 5-4, 5-6,
PFS. See pipe fascines system (PFS). 5-9
pipe fascines system (PFS), 1-2 slopes and degrees, 7-5, 7-6
PIR. See priority intelligence requirements smoke production, 8-16
(PIR). smoke, 8-4
pneumatic, 15-man assault boat, C-4 staging area, 3-9, 3-10, 3-12, 9-2
preparation team, 8-9 Supply Officer (US Army) (S4), 3-3
priority intelligence requirements (PIR), 2-6 support force, 8-2
swimming operations, 9-4
R
raft T
maintenance, 7-13 TAC. See tactical command post (TAC).

4-Index
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1

tactical command post (TAC), 3-6 V
TCP. See traffic-control post (TCP). vehicle-recovery team, 7-14
terrain, 1-6 vehicle-crossing-capability chart, B-4
analysis, 2-2
characteristics, 2-1 W
detachments, 2-5 waiting area, 3-9, 3-10
management, 1-6 warning order (WO), 4-2, 8-2
traffic control, 9-1 water changes, 2-3
traffic-control post (TCP), 3-9, 3-14, 5-6, 6-4, floods, 2-3
9-1 swell, 2-3
transit lights, 8-8, 8-9, 8-14, 8-15 tidal variation, 2-3
WO. See warning order (WO).
U
underwater reconnaissance, 2-3 X
unit-movement-control officer, 3-5 XO. See executive officer (XO).

Index-5
FM 90-13/MCWP 3-17.1
26 January 1998

By Order of the Secretary of the Army and Commander of the Marine Corps:

JOEL B. HUDSON
Administrative Assistant to the
Secretary of the Army
04286 DENNIS J. REIMER
General, United States Army
Chief of Staff

DISTRIBUTION:

Active Army, Army National Guard, and US Army Reserve: To be distributed in ac-
cordance with the initial distribution number 110312, requirements for FM 90-13/
MCWP 3-17.1.