The Operation Order (OPORD) provides a format which will help all you leaders to better prepare your plans and your players for a game. It is designed to cover all the aspects of an operation (hence the name Operation Order). Use the Operations Order to provide all the information for a game, mission, scenario, or even tourney.
The Operation Order is divided into 5 sections called "paragraphs:"
V: Command and Signal
Start the Operation Order with what unit the order is for, and how that unit is composed. This will usually be pretty obvious, but sometimes changes will occur and you want to be sure everybody is aware of that before starting the order.
Paragraph I: SITUATION
This paragraph provides essential information for understanding the situation regarding the Operation.
A: Opposing Forces (OPFOR)
1: Weather and general forecast for the entire operation. Temperature, sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, moon phase, illumination, wind speed, wind direction. Obviously, most of this stuff isn't important -- only include what is pertinent. If the sun isn't going to rise or set during the Operation, then you don't need to include that. If it's not a night game, who cares what phase the moon is in or the illumination. Only relevant information -- do not overload your subordinates with useless info.
2: Terrain. Use the acronym OCOKA to analyze the terrain. OCOKA stands for:
O: Obstacles and Mines (impassable hills, rivers, hedgerows, etc...)
C: Cover and Concealment
O: Observation and Fields of Fire (visibility and line of sight)
K: Key Terrain (hilltops, ridges, bunkers, urbanized terrain a.k.a. buildings)
A: Avenues of Approach (paths, roads, etc...)
3: Composition of OPFOR. What is the OPFOR made of, what kind of markers do they have, what is their overall skill level, what team(s) do they have, how many are there, do they have any special equipment such as tanks, mortars, etc....
4: Location and activity of OPFOR.
5: Activity of OPFOR. Are they attacking, defending, patrolling, etc....
6: Probable course(s) of action on contact. Will they fight, disperse, retreat, attack, etc....
B: Friendly Forces
1: Mission and concept of the next higher unit (taken from paragraph II of that unit's OPORD) also to include higher leader's Commander's Intent (paragraph III)
2: Location and planned actions of units adjacent to yours during the Operation.
3: Units providing support. This includes units directly supporting your Operation, and units that will provide support by fire: Mortars, artillery, tanks, snipers, recon, and other regular units directly supporting. This will be different than units adjacent to yours, as adjacent units may be conducting separate Operations and therefore are not considered supporting units.
C: Attachments and Detachments
Attachments: Anybody not normally a part of your unit that is going with your unit for the Operation.
Detachments: Anybody normally part of your unit that is not going with your unit for the Operation.
Paragraph II: MISSION
This is a clear, concise statement of the unit's task(s) to be accomplished and the purpose for doing it (who, what, when, where, why, and how). THe mission is always stated twice in full.
Paragraph III: EXECUTION
A stated vision that defines the purpose of the Operation. This affords subordinates the ability to accomplish the mission in the absence of direct supervision or communication from the Commander and other leaders.
A: Concept of the Operation
This section describes, in general terms, how the unit will accomplish its task(s) from start to finish. It should identify all mission essential tasks, the decisive points of action, and the main effort. This section should be no longer than six sentences. Here is where you tell a quick, general story about how you envision the mission step-by-step from the AA (assembly area), to the Objective, and the end of the Operation.
B: Tasks to Units
Cover special teams in this area. Go over the names of the people on the team and task and purpose for each team: Assault, support, security, recon, etc.... Also, detail your instructions to individuals such as pointman, rear security, etc....
C: Coordinating Instructions
This section lists the details of coordination and control. Items that might be addressed include:
1: Order of movement, formations, and movement techniques (example: Platoon line squad wedge, 1st squad left flank, 2nd squad center, 3rd squad right flank, traveling overwatch)
2: Actions at halts (short and long)
3: Routes (primary and alternate)
4: Rally points and actions at rally points. This includes the ORP (Objective Rally Point).
5: Actions at danger areas (roads, clearings, etc....)
6: Actions on contact
7: Time schedules: Training, backbriefs, inspections, movement. Give who must be where, when, and what they are doing.
8: Rules of Engagement. There's obviously nothing like "do not fire unless fired upon," but there may be some rules along the lines of "do not engage the hostages, who are dressed in orange," etc....
Paragraph IV: SUPPORT
This paragraph gives the critical logistical information required to sustain the unit during the Operation.
A: Material and Services
Supply: You will need to list the uniform for your players (jersey, ghillie, etc.... Whatever you want or have) as well as special equipment that may be needed for the Operation. Food, water, paint, air, etc....
Resupply: Resupplying units covered in Paragraph I, section B. This section, however, will cover methods of resupply.
Paragraph V: COMMAND AND SIGNAL
This paragraph states where command and control elements are located during the operation and communication details.
1: Location of key personnel and type CP during all phases of the operation.
2: Succession of command. Give this down to the last person. You may want to institute a ranking system to help expedite the process of choosing the succession of command.
1: Frequencies that will be used for communication and call signs
2: Challenge and password
3: Number combination
4: Running password
For those who don't know what the last three items are...
Challenge and password: This is what the 101st AD used during Operation Overlord which I am sure most of you are familiar with. The whole "Flash" "Thunder" thing. What this basically means is that if you are unable to identify a person as friend or foe, you will say a word, a challenge, (e.g. "Flash") and they will respond with a word, a password, (e.g. "Thunder").
Number combination: With this one, it is the same idea as the challenge and password, but instead the two parties (the "aggressor" and the "unknown") must make a combination of numbers by addition which will equal the number set out in the OPORD. In other words, if the Number Combination is set as "7," then the first person will say a number, say, "2," and then the second individual will say another number that will equal the Number combination, in this case, "5." The first person could have said 1 and then the second person 6, or 3 and 4, or 0 and 7. One little thing you might want to remember with this is that using an odd number is preferable to an even number. The reason is that if, for example, the number combination is 8 and the aggressor says "4," if the unknown is not an ally they may simply respond with the same number, "4," which equals 8. If you have an odd number then this is impossible.
Running password: This is if you have individuals being routed or the like and is entering friendly lines and does not have time for a challenge and password or number combination because they are being pursued. This is basically where the party entering simply yells the running password, which is typically just one word (for example you might have the word be "rabbit" or "house" and if you heard somebody running towards you guys yelling that running password you would know they were friendly). After it is used for the first time, you typically want to change it and be sure that all units know it is changed, as the person who used it most likely yelled it loud enough for the OPFOR to hear and possibly assumed it was the running password, hence you need to change it so that you don't run into that issue.
Well, that is your OPORD. Check out the Troop Leading Procedures to see exactly how you use this.
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Practical Leadership Applications: Operation Order Lessons from the Army
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