FM 3-50: Smoke Operations
Official US Army Field Manual in Acrobat PDF file format.
Field Manual 3-50 provides US Army units with doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures to use smoke and obscurants to attack and defeat specific enemy targets, sensors, target acquisition systems, weapon guidance systems, and other enemy electro-optical devices. Also, it describes techniques to reduce friendly degradation in smoke.
The scope of this manual is smoke operations at the operational and tactical levels of war. The target audience is maneuver unit commanders and staff officers, particularly the G2/S2, G3/S3, FSO, and chemical officer at corps level and below. Most of the examples depict smoke support for brigadelevel operations.
The focus is on synchronized smoke planning — smoke integrated into the commander’s tactical plan, sustained as necessary to defeat the enemy’s electro-optical systems and
create a "one-way mirror" — one which our forces can both see and shoot through to set the terms of battle.
Smoke is a double-edged sword. Smoke conceals troop movements, slows attacking forces, disrupts command and control, and reduces the vulnerability of critical assets for both friendly and Threat forces. Combat operations in World War II and the Korean War demonstrated that the proper use of smoke enhances mission success and force survivability. In recent times, US forces have reinforced the positive benefits of large-area smoke use at the combat training centers at Fort Irwin, California; Fort Chaffee, Arkansas; and Hohenfels, Federal Republic of Germany.
In battle, the side that employs smoke correctly and is experienced in limited visibility operations will be more agile and respond faster to changing situations.
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