desirable. The limiting factor of map reconnaissance is the lack of terrain detail. Microterrain features, such as
groups of trees, rocks, newly erected structures, and additional possible access routes, are not shown on most
military maps. However, maps are a vital source of information and should be used in conjunction with a
physical reconnaissance (ground or air). Circumstances such as area threat, or lack of time, vehicles, and aircraft,
may limit the smoke planner to a map reconnaissance only. If this should occur, you should conduct
reconnaissance for additional information as soon as the mission allows.
A ground reconnaissance is the preferred means of gaining information. This allows you to see the selected
area and all the microterrain features that would have to be compensated for during a mission based on map
reconnaissance alone. When time and support allow, an air reconnaissance should be conducted. An air
reconnaissance allows an overall view of the selected area. Additional benefits consist of the ability to view the
rear of terrain features and discover enemy emplacements not visible from the ground.
In planning a platoon smoke mission, use the following ten steps to conduct smoke reconnaissance.
Step 1. Select
an appropriate reconnaissance
or air) based
on the time and assets that are available.
Whenever possible, a ground reconnaissance should be conducted.
Step 2. Locate the selected area. The area to be covered by smoke is looked at to determine the extent of the
smoke coverage required.
Step 3. Determine the squad positions. Select and designate areas of responsibility based on the selected area,
existing terrain, and weather conditions. Divide the area to be screened into sectors to provide for area coverage
regardless of wind direction. You may assign squads to cover each sector around the area or assign them to cover
those sectors perpendicular to the direction of the prevailing wind.
Step 4. Select and
designate smoke lines. Based
requirements for generators, designate
location and length of the smoke lines. The smoke line is an imaginary line on the ground along which smoke
generators and smoke pots are located. Because of limits imposed by the terrain, the smoke line is not necessarily
straight or evenly curved around the selected area.
Step 5. Locate the control points. Select sites for the smoke control points (these should let you see the area to be
screened) and observation posts. Existing OPs, already established by combat units, may provide adequate
coverage. You must maintain observation over the selected area so that generators may be moved to cover any
gaps in the smoke screen. If no sites are found, coordinate for aircraft support.
Step 6. Locate communications positions. Locate your
at the smoke control point.
Direct your communications personnel to select wire routes, switchboard locations, and locations for radio sets to
ensure continuous communication.