November 6, 2015

Pressure on adversary requires refuel on the move

By Sgt. Shawn Zandy
Supply and Transportation Troop, RSS, 11th ACR
Troopers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment fuel their vehicles at a refuel on the move (ROM) point in the training area here.

The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment has a reputation for being the most formidable contemporary operating environment force in the United States Army.

Troopers maintain this reputation by being experts in their craft and masters in maneuver warfare as they challenge rotational training units at the National Training Center. In order for the 11th ACR to continually be masters in maneuver warfare their vehicles require fuel – a lot of fuel.

The Supply and Transportation Troop is responsible for all bulk fuel requirements for the 11th ACR. The regiment needs this fuel as quickly as possible to minimize down-time for its brigade tactical group, which ‘fights’ the RTU. In order to do this, Supply and Transportation has implemented the use of the refuel on the move system.

The ROM is an essential part of tactical resupply. It is designed to be maneuverable, flexible, and placed as far forward on the battlefield as the tactical situation permits. This allows maneuver forces to refuel during operations with minimal down time. A ROM can provide re-fueling with the use of one or two 5,000-gallon tankers, depending on the configuration of the fuel point.

A ROM differs from standard convoy refuel operations in three major ways. First, vehicles are timed by how much fuel they get at a point. Vehicles are allotted a predetermined amount of time to refuel, therefore they typically will not receive a full tank of fuel, but enough to continue the battle. Second, in normal refuel operations, vehicles are required to shut off their engines, whereas in a ROM, vehicles stay running to make the process more efficient. Third, during standard refuel operations the driver or TC (vehicle commander) can refuel the vehicle, whereas in a ROM, the driver does not exit the vehicle and the TC or another passenger/crew member refuels the vehicle. Convoys approaching a ROM will normally stage in a marshalling area where they are divided into serials that equal the number of fueling points. Once refuel is complete, the serial moves to a second marshalling area where they will return to their combat formations as the next serial moves in for refuel.

When selecting a location for a ROM site there are several factors to consider both tactically and environmentally. As with most fueling systems, low ground or areas between hills should not be selected as the fuel vapors will collect here, making it toxic and explosive. Since the ROM should move as the battle progresses, the time it takes to camouflage using traditional camouflage screening systems impedes its maneuverability. Instead, natural terrain, such as tree lines, mountains, hills and even the shadows from these terrain features should be used to conceal the fuel source. Marshalling areas should likewise be established away from view of the enemy at a minimum of 25 meters from the ROM.

A system should not be setup on a road as this makes a perfect target for enemy artillery and air support. The system should be close to the battle, but far enough that the enemy cannot easily see the operations. When the battle moves forward, so does the ROM; it may have to move several times until a combat force halts progress and needs total resupply.

Having a ROM close to operations allows combat units to rotate elements to and from the fight, providing quick refuel to keep the pressure on the enemy until an objective is taken.

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