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Concept of Operation for Battlefield and Battlespace


Oct 24, 2012
That will be nice,if you put forward Article on that topic, when you are free enough. Don't forget to quote me.

Concept of Operation for Battlefield and Battlespace


Some months ago, I was asked the difference between Battlefield and Battlespace, unfortunately, I was working on something back then and not been able to answer the question. So I am writing this article to answer that question.

This article will illustrate a brief view on the following topics

1.) Concept of Battlefield

2.) Concept of Battlespace

3.) Fundamental Difference between Battlefield and Battlespace

4.) Area of Operation (AO) and Battlefield

5.) Area of Responsibility (AOR) and Battlespace

6.) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Predictive Battlespace Awareness (PBA)

Upon reading this article, reader would have a basic understanding of the above topic. So, let's get started.

Concept of Battlefield


From the beginning of warfare, battle was fought in different location throughout the world, those place, we called "Battlefield" is the linear interpretation of a battle. A time and place representation to be brief. Any given battlefield can be a 3 dimensions battlefield, or a "Combine" Operational Area.

As said, Battlefield is the linear interpretation of a battle. Basically a relationship between location and time. Which unit in command of a battlefield would be commanding the immediate Area of Operation (AO)

That defined the basic of battlefield, which is simply a Time and Place when the battle occur.

Concept of Battlespace


Battlespace is a united definition of all factors dictate how a battle progress. What that mean is a combination of different layer of factor that affect how a battle progress and when you connect all the layer together, you have yourselves a battlespace.

There are currently 5 different layers of Battlespace in modern battlefield, they are Air, Sea, Land, Information and Cyber. While each one has its own consideration. Both tactically and strategically.

Battlespace, like Battlefield, could be (and most likely) a 3 dimensions concepts. However, there may not have all 5 elements within the same battlespace, but a battlespace would have the maximum amount of elements in it.

Fundamental difference between Battlefield and Battlespace


Most people confused between battlespace and battlefield, even to most military planner. The concept is not stayed in between a single dimension moved to a multi-dimension. Such as from Land Warfare to Multi-purpose warfare. In fact, this is not correct.

While battlefield were linear, but by no mean they are 2 dimensional. The linear relation come from the location and time. However, Joint Operation were also considered within the boundary of battlefield with the overall commander control 1 or more factors within the battlefield.

The basic different between a battlefield and battlespace is that battlespace is the final product from processing all the information and form a full spectrum battlefield. While normal battlefield relation ends when one unit out of their area of operation. Battlespace would replace unit with according to their linear (Time and Space) relationship to a full spectrum awareness interconnect to other unit that may or may not operate on their AO.

While a single AO can have multiple unit to coexist to each other, the concept of battlespace would put all the unit together under the same Area of responsibility (AOR) and each unit will operate in response to other units action, the engagement, the terrain as well as fire support.

Example : Say you have 3 unit operate in the same Area. Unit A, B and C. While they operate in the same Area, each unit were given their own Area of Responsibility. To which Unit A, B and C would have their own AO. Where they are interoperable but they are not in communication to each other, or in military term, they are not in sync.

Now, for a better battle understanding, it would have been good if Unit A, B and C all talked to each other and draw a complete picture of the overall battlefield. However, for that to work, all units have to be bounded by the same restriction and operate together, which would mean share intelligence and share responsibility.

How does that works? Say Unit A and B are infantry unit, while Unit C is an aviation unit. When the 3 units remain separate entities, they could still communicate with each other, and Unit A can call Unit C into their AO (Overlapping AO) to maybe Casevac Unit A's casualty or Unit B can call in Unit C to overlap with their AO to provide RSTA function. But since the AO was not combined, each unit do not know what the other was doing, tasking and opposing in real time.

A Battlespace concept would mean all 3 units operate under the same banner, called Area of Responsibility. Within the AOR, the unit itself does not have its own boundary, instead, all the unit located (or co-located) within the same AOR would share their objective, responsibility and information. Hence building a Full Spectrum Combat Environment.

Area of Operation (AO) and Battlefield.


While we keep talking about AO, yet I have not yet started to explain what is an AO. Each unit have its own area of operation, in which the unit have their own objective, their tactical and strategic contribution to the overall war. An AO most commonly known as Tactical Operational Area (TOA) when refer to in a command level communiqué.

A Single Unit can locate in someone else's AO (overlapping) or a single AO can have several unit co-locate within (as with Joint Operation)

For a Unit Commander, Unit operate within its own AO require extensive C2 (Command and Control) requirement to maintain an operational AO, where the unit commander would have to understand basic battlefield information process in order to plot the enemy (or enemies) location as well as your own unit location and chart the process

The immediate objective for any Unit is to maintain their Area of Operation by securing objective, or expelling enemy force, the AO can be contested by your enemies.

AO are linear in term of combat relationship. It is a real time relation between location and troops (as oppose to battlefield time and location). What AO entail is a picture of where you are and where your enemies on the same location bounded by the operational parameter.

Area of Responsibility (AOR) and Battlespace


An AOR, is in a way the having the same parameter of an AO but at the same time, it also gives a different interpretation of situation of a give battle. The different here is basically an AOR have all set of AO within its boundary, while everything not concern everything else, it also basically provide a full spectrum solution from land to air to information of all the situation located within its AOR.

As ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) ability improved, the ability for each unit to report and provide a combine image of the battlefield have set into a new level. Communication and ISR today almost done real time with network centric warfare, information obtained by all means can not process in real time to give full awareness of the battlespace.

As said, ISR in battlespace is the utmost important, more so than Command and Control (C2). Without prompt and accurate ISR element, a full awareness situation cannot be build over the location of AOR.

Building an AOR depends on sensory technique, which can only come from SIGINT, IMGINT and HUMINT. Any type of contact report and any type of early warning will keep the battlespace update.

AOR also provide troops on ground a common goal, instead of each unit and AO responsible for their own objective, with AOR, every unit on that AOR work their way into the common objective shared by all other unit occupied the AO, thus mutually increase the awareness of each unit.

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Predictive Battlespace Awareness (PBA)


Why the change? You might ask? What is better from using the battlespace concept than battlefield?

This alone is a study point for most (not gonna say all) military academy and this has been a talking point for many military analyst around the world, so I am just going to pick one of the advantage and briefly talk about it.

What ISR contribute into battlespace is enormous, it is the basic building block for the whole Battlespace concept. ISR gives a complete solution based information to a field commander on it's own AOR. Where the commander can then not only utilize their own asset, but also all available asset have turn into a sensor and work toward the ISR requirement for the battlespace.

What great with Battlespace Concept? Someone once said, he who control the information, control the battlefield. Battle are fought and won with basically he, who knew the battleground best. Every friendly movement, troop movement, enemy movement, geographical feature and any sort of intel will help a commander build a more complete knowledge of a battleground, thus affecting his/her decision.

Hence, Predictive Battlespace Awareness had been a hot point of military studies at the very recent level. What PBA entail is for the same awareness model to apply in every troop located within the AOR. Where everyone fighting for the same objective would have first hand information of the changing battleground. It gives the onsite commander a complete picture to predict and react to the change of battlefield.

Basically, with more info on hand, a commander can understand the battle a bit more detail and armed with that knowledge, they can more clearly digest the battlefield and chart their next move ahead of what your enemy can anticipate.

Say for example, if you were given a complete, up to date battle information from your Combat Management, commander can notice enemy build up, enemy ambush, identify firing point(FP), vulnerable point(VP), enemy logistic hubs and also they can use to identify friendly position to co-ordinate attack/defence. Or simple where to stay away from combat. All this information, would come in handy when you plot your progress in a given battlefield.

That's all on Battlespace and Battlefield I can explain at this moment, feel free to comment on this post and if you have any question, please do feel free to ask them and I will try to answer them as much as I can. After all, I ain't no saint, nor god of war, I cannot answer every question one may have....So, I hope you enjoy read


Jun 10, 2008
Very educational.
Can u give us an idea of the type of tactical attacks used in battalion level and under? i mean like flanking attack,frontal attack,envelopment attack or infiltration attack and what sort of forces would be employed in the different roles in these actions?


Oct 24, 2012
Very educational.
Can u give us an idea of the type of tactical attacks used in battalion level and under? i mean like flanking attack,frontal attack,envelopment attack or infiltration attack and what sort of forces would be employed in the different roles in these actions?
lol mate, those are a totally different set of question then the article :)

Anyway, not much I know about Battalion level stuff, as they are staff officer (Major/LTC and up) material...I wasn't trained for it as I was only a Captain when I went out...I can tell you about company level manoeuvre.

Basically, in the US Army, company level employs small unit tactics. Which I have wrote an article before, but focus on the communication and decision making instead of actual tactical decision.

Now, an infantry company have 3 Platoons and a HQ element. Where almost (except for light infantry company or SF company) will include 2 Rifle Platoon and 1 Heavy Weapon Platoon. The US Army have a fluid flow manoeuvre type warfare aimed to maximize the effective against number. Meaning too more with less.

So, basically the first thing you do as a company is to task your platoon into a separate but mutually supported force. Unless your platoon were called to "attach" to other company, you never put your platoon(s) into a situation where they cannot be mutually supporting each other.

Now, the second thing you want is the communication, you want to maintain a 3 ways communication between Your Unit -> Headquarter -> Supporting Unit (Draw a triangle instead of seeing it in arrows.) With that you can chart or command your unit also you will have a good deal on support.

Then, depends on what you want to do, or what sort of situation you are into.

For Assaulting a Static/Fixed Position

Fire and Manoeuvre - Basically I will use my heavy weapon platoon to pin down the position, then move my 2 rifle platoon as left and right hook for a flanking attack. Or use them to conduct a frontal assault supported by friendly artillery or airstrike

Infiltration - Basically I will try to probe the enemy line/defence and test out the weak point. Or if I have my sitrep, I will position my force behind the enemy and while leaving one or more platoon to fire from the front as a distraction, and my assault platoon sneak in the back

Siege - Basically I will try to encircle the enemy with all my element and form a 360 perimeter and wait it out.

For Assaulting a Mobile Force

Ambush - Basically use one platoon to bait the enemy while the other guys set up on a prepared position. That is when you think your enemy will come to you (Either they think you are numerical inferior or whatever reason they want to come after you)

Sweep - Basically when your enemy do not want to come to you, you form a battle line and sweep thru the enemy area

Pincer - Basically you use one platoon (usually the HWP) to pin down your enemy and use both rifle platoon on their two flanks.

Hammer and Anvil - Same concept with 2 platoons lay down suppressing fire with one platoon roll up one of the enemy's flank.

In Defence

Refusing flanks - Pull 2 of your platoon abreast and pull one platoon angled to protect your flank

Defensive line - Pull all 3 of your platoon into a single line and hole the position

V-Formation - Form a "V" shape from the 3 platoon with the HWP be the base of that V. That would create a kill zone inside the V.

inverted V formation - An Inverted V would in turn guard your egress route.

Well, that's all I can think of at the moment, do bear in mind, I have not commanded anything for nearly 10 years. This is the best I can do just top of my head, if you want anymore than this, I would need to do some research


May 24, 2011
1. Conventionally the army is taught and trains in fol ops of war:
a. Advance to Contact.
b. Attack.
c. Withdrawal.
d. Defense.
2. Then there are many other activities which are not ops of war but essential minor tactics, etc. I give only few examples.
a. Infiltration / Ex-filtration.
b. Patrolling - can be of various types like Fighting Patrol, Reccee Patrol, Standing Patrol, listening post, etc.
c. Ambush.
d. Raid.
3. There are a whole lot of other items to discuss in this vast subject. Each of the above have variations according to day or night, climate/weather, terrain.
4. One more point I want to add before going off to sleep. We are in the midst of WW III. This is a war sans dimension. This is a new phenomenon where old human values like honor or ethics are totally absent making no difference between man and beast.

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