Soldiers from F Troop, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment replicated an insurgent training camp at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, Sept. 6, in order to prepare the Rotational Training Unit for typical enemy targets they might encounter for their upcoming deployment. This situational training exercise lane is a real life replication of operations Coalition Forces may face every day while deployed to a combat zone.
The search and attack lane involved the use of multiple squads and fire teams coordinating their actions to make contact with the enemy. Platoons attempt to find the enemy, and then fix and engage them. They combine patrolling techniques with the requirement to conduct hasty or deliberate attacks once the enemy has been found. The 11th ACR’s F Troop provided a professional “enemy” against which the RTU to hone their tactical and operational level skills under near-combat conditions.
Soldiers from F Troop, 2/11 ACR transformed into the capable and highly trained opposing force that operate in the difficult mountainous terrain while coping with the sweltering heat in order to provide the RTU the best training possible.
“I used a simulated rocket propelled grenade to fire at troops in the open and at the lead vehicle in the RTU’s convoy,” said, Sgt. Darryl Warnke, a Trooper with F Troop, 2/11 ACR. “Being in the opposing force grants us a unique perspective on the enemy and better increases our combat readiness by understanding the capabilities of the weapon systems commonly used by insurgent forces.”
The search and attack lane featured multiple observation posts that defended the entrance to a simulated insurgent training camp that also had a small underground bunker system for the RTU to clear and conduct tactical site exploitation. The opposing force worked in two to three man cells to better replicate tactics being used in current contemporary operation environments.
“My mission as the opposing force is executed with the same military precision and tactics that we would use in a conventional war,” said 1st Lt. Jeremiah Wertz, a platoon leader in F Troop, 2/11 ACR. “The limits that are placed on the opposing force, in size and capabilities, do not change the tactics that we as Soldiers use.”
The goal is to provide the most realistic scenario that forces the RTU to make decisions in real time that will have immediate consequences on whether or not they can achieve their objectives. It’s taught him some of the challenges he would expect to face downrange, Wertz said. No plan lasts the test of battle, if you want to be successful you have to be adaptable and think on your feet.
The 21st century battlefield is currently fought here at the NTC. The 11th ACR’s unique mission is vital to the readiness of our Army. To train America’s Army for future conflicts, the Blackhorse Regiment provides a capable and highly trained opposing force that can replicate highly intricate insurgencies as well as fielding a combined arms heavily armored force. The 11th ACR provides the United States Army the most capable and lethal combined arms opposing force in the world, and is the Army’s premier maneuver unit.