Operation plan

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Sample of a stylized operation plan
Operation plan of a PzGrenBtl
Operation plan of a PzGrenBrig in defense. FP: field posts; WMi: mine barrier, SP: focus; GefStd: Command post; SFR: lock-free space; FSt PzArt: Armored artillery firing position
Exemplary operational plan for delay combat and counterattack
Division of forces: submissions and charges

An operation plan is a plan for conducting a military operation .


It presupposes an assessment of the situation and a decision by the management and determines how the available staff are structured and which tasks they receive. In addition, there is spatial planning in graphic form with the definition of guide lines and boundaries.

An operation plan is divided into phases, whereby in the initial phase, ( initial operation ) advance forces occupy key areas in advance or try to gain time against attacking enemy by giving up space and the main forces deploy. In the subsequent operation , a decision is sought against the forces of the enemy, including his reserves .

The planning of operations is often based on the pattern "Steer - Place - Hit", i. H. the responsible troop leader determines where and how he wants to force a decision against the enemy. He includes the intentions, goals and possibilities of the enemy in his assessment of the situation . The types of combat for the total or partial forces are determined by the higher-level management according to operational phases.

It is characteristic of successful operations that although they are based on an operation plan, it is only adhered to as long as the actual development of the situation justifies it. Communication between the troop leader and the emergency services is therefore of crucial importance, as this is the only way to properly assess the respective development of the operations.

Tactical leadership is guaranteed through the implementation of operational plans and operational orders. The operation plan is dynamically adapted to the constant development of the situation and the respective assessment of the situation (BdL). The operation plan is based on the decision and the interaction of the available forces and resources in a spatial and temporal order. The operation plan is shown graphically on a map with the help of tactical symbols. Certain time windows are necessary to create operation plans. The following rules of thumb apply: for a corps up to 96 hours, division up to 72, brigade up to 48 and a battalion within 2 to 24 hours.


Larger operational plans were originally referred to as battle or war plans. For example, Plan XVII of the French Army from 1913 or the German Schlieffen Plan from World War I or the color-coded war plans of the United States have become known . Operation plans often have cover names such as Operation Overlord , Operation Rolling Thunder , Operation Red Dawn (Iraq War), Operation Urgent Fury ( US invasion of Grenada ), Operation Desert Storm , Company or Instructions Barbarossa , Company Typhoon , Operation Masher / White Wing, Operation Prairie , Operation Cedar Falls, and many others. In the US military, modern operation plans (OPLAN or OPPLAN) are mostly complex, linked military operations that require the cooperation of the army and air force , as well as sometimes the navy . They are developed by TRADOC , among others . US operation plans that are at least partially published and accessible to the public are, for example, OPLAN 5027 (Korea), OPLAN 5029, OPLAN 8044, OPLAN 8010 or OPLAN 1003-98. Most operational plans, however, are subject to the highest level of military secrecy and are kept under lock and key. The Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) was of particular importance for a planned nuclear war between the two superpowers from 1961 to 2003 . A distinction is made between OPLAN, OPCOM (Operational Command) - operation command, OPORD (Operational Order) - operation command and OPCON (Operational Control) - operation control.

Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact had worked out different operational plans for different war scenarios in the course of the Cold War , each based on an attack from the other side. These operational plans were continuously modified and adapted to the new circumstances in accordance with military doctrine, the respective threat situation and the further development of the weapon systems. The General Defense Plan is the operation plan of a NATO Army Corps for defense operations.

Development of an operation plan

Operation plans regulate the following aspects, among others:

  • March of own forces from the disposition area into the commanded position areas
  • Spatial planning: troop division, battle structure and leadership lines
  • Area of ​​responsibility of one's own unit (combat patrol) as well as left and right neighbors
  • Type of operation attack
    • Time of attack: approach, break-in and fight through the depths
    • Attack targets (main and intermediate targets)
  • Defense type of operation
  • Type of operation delay
  • Leadership of the fire fight
  • Name the focus and key area
  • Combination of all forces of combat and combat support troops
  • Intended use of operational reserves, etc.

Example operation plan PzGrenBtl (Bundeswehr)

Own location PzGrenBtl

Order: PzGrenBtl 72 was assigned the defense area DAHLENBURG as part of the higher-level management of PzGrenBrig 7 in order to conduct the defensive battle against an enemy attacking from the east along the front edge of the defense (VRV) up to 03 1230 Z OCT 83. Left neighbor: Homeland Security Brigade 96 Right border: Panzer Brigade 41


2. Guards Armored Army attacks after previous battle reconnaissance presumably in the 1st season with two reinforced independent tank regiments through the Enge BROCKEBURG towards LÜNESTEDT. The attack on TARNSTADT is probably just a deception attack. Enemy attacks with strong armored forces, front-line aircraft as well as intensive fire preparation with pipe and rocket artillery.

Commander PzGrenBrig decided

Phase 1: PzGrenBtl 72 defends from 02 0030 Z OCT 83 defense area DAHLENBURG with two companies side by side. Center of gravity (SP) under surveillance of the forest area GÖHRDE is expected on the right in the armored terrain near HIMBERGEN. Armor- piercing weapons ( PALR ) are increasingly being deployed here. Strong reserves are held in the ALTENMEDINGEN room.

Phase 2: PzGrenBtl 72 immediately breaks off the temporary defense in the course of VZL MEISE, protects right flank with battalion reserve and, starting on the right, slowly goes back fighting to ensure the connection with the conduct of operations with the right neighbor.

Phase 3: PzBtl 74 immediately attacked the enemy with frontal binding with two PzKp - here the main focus - over eastward ELLERBECK - bridge - SOHNDORF on the flank of the enemy and destroyed him, in order to create favorable conditions for the subsequent fighting.

Phase 4: Beginning of the delay battle by PzBtl 71 between Bundesstrasse 15 and SEITENKANAL (VZL MEISE to VZL AMSEL). The aim is to slow down the enemy's advance, determine its intent and center of gravity, wear out its forces and create the conditions for further operations.

Operation plan PzGrenBtl

Operation order PzGrenBrig 7 as a higher-level command to individual battalions within the limits of their combat strip. The operation plan is compared with the current development of the situation, from which new decision-making is derived.

  • Individual orders to PzGrenBtl 72, PzBtl 74 and PzBtl 71, as well as subordinate combat support troops
    • Acting troop leader: Commander PzGrenBtl 72
    • Activity of the troops and type of operation: defended with 3./- and 4./- from the current position
    • Force approach, focus and implementation
    • Time of execution: by 02 0030 OCT 86
    • Space, direction and local destination
    • Purpose of action
  • Artillery fire plan
  • Lockdown plan of the tank pioneers


  • Army service regulation (HDv) 100/100 "Troop leadership of the land forces", Bonn 2000 (military regulation that is classified as classified - only for official use )

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Schlieffen Plan. The German war plan had only one flaw. World. History. August 6, 2014
  2. OPLAN 5027 Major Theater War West on GlobalSecurity.org
  3. OPLAN 5029 Collapse of North Korea on GlobalSecurity.org
  4. ^ US Nuclear War Plan Updated Amidst Nuclear Policy Review
  5. US Central Command OPLAN 1003-98. Major Theater War East on GlobalSecurity.org
  6. ^ NATO Command and Control for the 21st Century
  7. ^ Jan Hoffenaar, Dieter Krüger and David T. Zabecki: Blueprints for Battle: Planning for War in Central Europe . University Press of Kentucky. 2012. ISBN 978-0-8131-3982-1 .
  8. ^ Helmut R. Hammerich: Defense at the Forward Edge of the Battle or rather in the Depth? Different approaches to implement NATO's operation plans by the alliance partners, 1955–1988 . Journal of Military and Strategic Studies. 2014