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Tactical Mission Tasks

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Original Post by Zumorc

Tactical Mission Tasks & Mission Statements

Tactical Mission Tasks or Task Verbs describe the results or effects a commander wants to achieve – in other words: the What and Why of a mission statement.


A mission statement (generally) contains the "5 Ws", the Who, What, When, Where, and Why associated with a specific operation/mission. The What and Why of a mission statement are not the same thing and both are needed, they can be considered the "core" of any mission statement.

The What is the task that is issued, so in other words an Effect (that is normally measurable), plus an optionally specified Activity. The Why is purpose of the task, so in other words the reason for the mission. For example:

35th MECHINFBN counter-attacks to seize OBJ OGG IOT (in order to) regain lost ground.

Here "35th MECHINFBN" (Who), "counter-attacks to seize" (What), "OBJ OGG" (Where), "IOT regain lost ground." (Why). In this example the Task (Why) contains both an effect ("seize") and an activity ("counter-attack"). The purpose is typically preceded by the term "in order to" (IOT). The When is intentionally left unspecified for better understanding.

Another example:

K/3-2 CAV delays ENY forward of PL BANK for 48 hrs IOT create conditions for the defense of the river ENNS.

Here "K/3-2 CAV" (Who), "delays" (What), "forward of PL BANK" (Where), "for 48 hrs" (When), "IOT create conditions for the defense of the river ENNS." (Why).

This format of the mission statement is not only found in the 2. MISSION paragraph of the Operations Order, but is also used to issued as Task(s) to Subordinate Units in the 3. EXECUTION paragraph. Furthermore general format and verbs are, where possible, also used in verbal Fragementary/Battle Orders, in order to ensure clarity and avoid misunderstanding.

List of Task Verbs

The following list will provide a brief overview over some of the most common tactical mission task verbs and their graphic, while Steel Beasts can depict the majority of them properly, in ArmA often other means must be used to visualize the intended task. This list depicts the task verbs, as they are defined by NATO. While all NATO members and many Partnership for Peace member forces have adopted them, they often continue to use indigenous variations that might differ from the allied definition. This list is not comprehensive, but meant as a brief introduction into the most important tasks, for a full list see the links at the bottom.

Graphic Term Definition Notes
Tmt ambush.png Ambush Conduct a surprise attack by fire from concealed positions on a moving or temporarily halted enemy.
Tmt Attack.png Attack Take offensive action against a specified objective. A general all-embracing term to describe offensive operations. Use a more specific task when possible.
Tmt attack by fire.png Attack by Fire Engage an enemy with direct fires, supported by indirect fires, without closing with him. Attack by fire excludes assaulting or occupying the objective.
Tmt block.png Block Deny enemy access to a given area, or to prevent his advance in a particular direction. A blocked force can move in any direction other than the obstructed one.
Tmt Breach.png Breach Break through or secure passage through an enemy defence, obstacle, or fortification.
Tmt clear.png Clear Remove all enemy forces and eliminate organized resistance in an assigned area.
Tmt counter attack.png Counter-Attack Attack against an enemy attacking force. An imprecise task, open to wide interpretation. Normally better to specify the effect required.
Tmt delay.png Delay Prevent an enemy force arriving at a specified location either: for a specified length of time; or until a specified time or event.
Tmt deny.png Deny Prevent enemy use of a specified thing.
Tmt destroy.png Destroy Damage an object or an enemy force so that it is rendered useless to the enemy until reconstituted.
Tmt fix.png Fix Prevent an enemy from moving any part of his forces from a specified location for a specified period of time
Tmt locate.png Locate Determine the position of a specified thing.
Tmt neutralize.png Neutralize Render an enemy element temporarily incapable of interfering with the operation.
Tmt screen.png Screen Observe, identify, and report information on threats to the main force. Only fight in self-protection.
Tmt seize.png Seize Clear a designated area and obtain control of it
Tmt support by fire.png Support by Fire Engage the enemy by direct fire in support of another manoeuvring force.
Tmt suppress.png Suppress Temporarilydegrade an enemy capability to enable a friendly action. Effect is temporary and usually only lasts while friendly force is firing.

References & Further Reading

Further Links


Keep in mind that this is not meant as a comprehensive guide that covers the entire topic complex, but just meant as an aid for those that want some basic orientation on the topic to enhance mutual understanding.