By William S. Frisbee Jr.
This list is a short list and description of possible military missions that can be used as a backdrop to a story. The list is broad and is only to help you get started, this list is by no means complete and each mission has countless variations.
AMBUSH: The unit is sent out to set up an ambush. This is more complex than it sounds. Ambushes have different purposes besides killing enemy. One purpose is to gather information, another purpose is to delay reinforcements, supplies, information, ect.
ASSASSINATION: This is not a standard military mission. However, it can be when dealing with an enemy commander, intelligence officer or other notable military figure. Less scrupulous militaries might target civilian officials and/or police.
ATTACK: The unit is tasked with attacking an item, objective (see target/objectives) an area or closing down operations on a route, like a highway. How this is done depends on what is to be attacked and how the enemy is defending it.
BODYGUARD: This is not a usual mission. Sometimes however, when more specialized units are not available a regular unit is tasked with protecting a visiting dignitary or protecting a foreign politician.
CAPTURE: This mission is to capture personnel (prisoners), documents, information, a vehicle, equipment, uniforms, radios, computers, ect. These items can have multiple uses. For instance if a ship is captured it can be used to deceive enemy forces elsewhere, same with uniforms and radios. Prisoners, documents, data, computers, ect, is for intelligence purposes.
DATA RAPE: A more futuristic mission that involves penetrating an enemy computer network to steal, destroy or corrupt information.
DEFEND: The unit is tasked with defending an item, objective (see target/objectives) an area or a route, like a highway. How this is done depends on what is to be defended and how the enemy is likely to attack.
DESTRUCTION OF AN OBJECT: This is an all out attack to destroy a target of some kind. Upon the destruction of the object the unit will remain in place or proceed and attack another object. See Target/Objectives.
DIVERSION: This is an attack of some form used to distract the enemy from a more important attack elsewhere. It can also be an attack used to conceal the purpose of another action. For instance, a mission designed to capture an important officer that is disguised as a regular attack on a facility.
FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO TEAM X: The unit is sent into a hostile area to find out what happened to a previous unit or element. The investigators will very likely be more heavily armed or very lightly armed and relying on stealth rather than fire power.
FORWARD OBSERVER/FORWARD AIR CONTROLLER: This is more of a stealth mission. The unit, usually a very small team sneaks into an area where they can observe the enemy. With the enemy under observation artillery, mortars or attack aircraft are directed onto the enemy with pinpoint precision. The FO/FAC then assesses what kind of damage was inflicted.
GUERRILLA: The unit is assigned to operate behind enemy lines and prey on enemy supply vehicles, command centers, police stations, supply depots and the like. The unit is not tasked with engaging main military forces except in a hit and run capacity because the unit will likely be outnumbered.
HARRASSMENT: This mission is similar to the Guerrilla mission except that fewer personnel are available. The unit plants mines and booby traps in areas frequently traveled by enemy troops. Snipes at them when the opportunity arrives and bombs them when possible. The survival of the operatives is the key here. Dead operatives are useless.
INVESTIGATE OCCURENCE: Military personnel are not police investigators. However, military personnel might be sent out to investigate reports of enemy activity in the area and if so to take action against them.
MEET FRIENDLIES/ALLIES: This is a contact mission where a unit is sent out to link up with another unit, usually in hostile territory for the purpose of mutual support, information or an attack, set up a defensive position, ect.
PLANT BUGS, BOMBS, SENSORS, ECT: This mission is becoming more and more common as electronic sensors and receivers become more available. Sensors are excellent intelligence gathering tools depending on the type and deployment. A unit, usually a very small one (to avoid detection) sneaks into enemy territory to plant the sensors. Detection of the team can sometimes compromise the mission.
RAID: This is a quick hit and run. Extraction is planned as meticulously as insertion. See Target Objectives and Insertion/Extraction.
RECONNASAINCE: The unit, usually a very small team, is sent to map, test, and scout out an area in preparation for an assault. Stealth is paramount and being discovered by the enemy is the worst thing that can possibly happen because then they will be prepared. A unit can conduct a reconnaissance of a specific point, like a bridge or building, an area several kilometers wide or a route, like a road or trail.
RECOVER ITEM/EQUIPMENT/VEHICLE: This is a mission to rescue or retrieve something that was lost in enemy territory. An example is the flight recorder from a fighter or drone. Maybe a expensive, top secret aircraft or tank was lost or shot down in enemy territory.
RESCUE: This is a mission to save a captured personnel from hostile forces. It is similar to a raid in that careful planning goes into all facets of the operation, from insertion to extraction.
SABATOGE: The unit is assigned to sabotage a certain target so it will fail enemy forces in time of need. One example is to replace ammunition with faulty ammunition that will explode when used, like mortar shells (which will explode in the tube). This can cause serious morale problems among enemy forces. See target objectives.
SEARCH AND ATTACK PATROL: Another common patrol where a combat unit is sent out to find and attack the enemy. This is most commonly used in a guerrilla war where the enemy is elusive and his location is unknown.
SECURITY PATROL: This is a very common patrol where a combat unit travels across the front of a unit in the defense. The Security Patrol provides early warning of an attack to the commander and when possible attacks the enemy.
T.R.A.P. (Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and/or Pilot): This is a fast mission to rescue a pilot or aircraft that was shot down in enemy territory. The aircraft is usually targeted for more complete destruction and the pilot is to be rescued. Enemy forces are often very interested in capturing pilots because these officers provide good intelligence.
TRAIN LOCALS/INSURGENTS: The unit is tasked with training a local group in combat operations. If it is behind enemy lines the group will be trained in guerrilla operations in order to disrupt and destroy the enemy infrastructure. If the mission is in friendly lines, the group may be trained like a regular combat unit to be used against the enemy.
TRANSMISSION ALTERING (or MIJI): This is a more technical mission with broad application. MIJI stands for Meaconing, Interception, Jamming and Intrusion. A small team (usually) sneaks into enemy territory to Meacon (move or alter beacons) Intercept (spy on) or jam enemy radio/data transmissions. Intrusion is to actually transmit on the enemy net to confuse and demoralize enemy units.
VENGENCE: This is not a typical military mission and it is rarely approved by higher authorities. It is included here because it would make a pretty good story line.
WIN HEART & MIND: This is a mission of a more long term duration. The unit is tasked with protecting and helping a group in order to deter guerrilla insurgents from influencing the group. It can also be used by an invading military to prevent an insurgency.
ã By William S. Frisbee Jr. All Rights Reserved.
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