Smoke planning is an important part of the overall tactical plan. Base the planning phase on the following
factors: mission, threat, terrain, weather, time, available troops, equipment, and supplies. Plan to use smoke
during darkness and other periods of reduced visibility to reduce enemy observation. Smoke has the ability to
increase the overall effectiveness of chemical and conventional munitions. It also has the added effect of reducing
the thermal effects of nuclear weapons. However, to be effective, smoke operations must start at the right time,
cover the objective, and stop quickly on order. In addition, the weather, terrain, and situation must be favorable
before smoke can be effectively employed.
Learning Event 2
PREDICT EFFECTS OF TERRAIN ON SMOKE
Smoke travels with the least interference over level, unbroken surfaces. Over rough surfaces, smoke
dissipates more rapidly because of the greater turbulence and greater variability in wind direction. In wooded
areas, smoke tends to disperse evenly and remains in the area longer than the smoke in an open area.
Wooded areas are regions with trees in full leaf. The term "heavily wooded" is used to denote
jungle or forest with canopies of sufficient density to shade more than 90 percent of the ground
surface beneath them for purposes of large-area smoke operations. Areas containing scattered
trees or clumps of bushes are considered to be open terrain.
An analysis of terrain is an important prerequisite for a smoke mission. This requirement helps to ensure
proper coverage of the target area. You cannot adequately accomplish the terrain analysis by use of a map only.
Maps do not contain enough detail of the actual terrain to properly plan smoke coverage. You must perform a
physical reconnaissance of the target area to accurately evaluate terrain features.
their effects on smoke. Use the following list to assist in planning a smoke operation.
Over flat, unbroken terrain and over water there is little interference with the smoke. Obstructions on the
surface of the earth (such as trees and small buildings) tend to break up smoke streamers, causing them to re-form
and cover a larger area and to create a more uniform screen, as shown in Figure 2.