When we speak of administrative means, we are focused on the utilization of what is called physical evidence (sounding like CSI). A prime example of physical evidence would be for a unit to craft an operations order for a fictional mission. Then, through a believable scenario enable your opponent to somehow get their hands in it. Another example would be to craft up a false status report on your forces (showing combat strengths, etc.) and again allowing the enemy to gain access to it. Administrative means are a challenge to pull off. The difficulty is making your enemy believe his coup is legitimate and that the operation order is factual.
As we discussed earlier, there are four primary deception techniques available to a commander. These are feints, demonstrations, ruses, and displays. Let’s discuss each in detail.
The most commonly used deception technique is the feint. A feint is a type of offensive attack used as a deception technique with the purpose of drawing your opponent’s attention from your main effort attack. This could include moving his reserve or repositioning units such as his field artillery or second echelon forces. Because of the nature of a feint, it requires some contact/engagement with the enemy. That is the only way you will be able to sell the deception. Feints can take the form of a raid or even a supporting attack.
As discussed earlier, the goal of the feint is divert the enemy’s attention from the main effort attack and to persuade him to use resources that may normally be used elsewhere. Some of the key actions you would like the enemy to do in reaction to the feint are:
Prematurely deploy some of his second echelon forces which may be presently focused in the sector of your true main effort.
Vice versa, a feint may cause the enemy to keep forces focused on the area where the feint is being conducted instead of shifting it to the main effort.
If the enemy feels the feint is significant enough, he may deploy his reserve.
He may shift his supporting fires away from your main effort and focus them on the feint. This obviously makes the going a little easier for your main effort.
The maneuver of the feint forces can cause the enemy to impulsively fire his weapons. This can tip his hand as to his defensive posture and layout.
Two key decisions you must make in regards to the feint is where you will conduct it and at what time. Let’s discuss each below:
The first thing is that it must fit the total deception story. A feint is only part of the story. To make it viable in the enemy’s eyes it must be part of a package of methods. Thus, the feint must take place in an area that is tactically sound.
A feint must take place in terrain that is of interest to the enemy. After all, if the terrain the feint is occurring at is not truly important to the enemy; he will not commit resources to it.
You want to make sure that the area utilized for the feint does not interfere with the attack of the main effort. If the proximity for the attacks is too close, it will make it difficult for the enemy to distinguish the feint form the main attack. It is likely the enemy will consider it all one attack.
One good way to select an attack axis for a feint is to choose an axis that may have been discussed as a potential axis for the main attack.
A feint can take place at any time during the operation. Thus, it could occur before, after, or even at the same time as the main attack. There are several key factors in determining the timing of the feint attack. The driving determinant is the planned time for the main attack.
Another consideration in the timing of the feint is how long it would take for your enemy to react with his anticipated actions. If you believe the enemy will shift second echelon forces to react to the feint; then you must determine how long it will take him to do this. You must give him time to react.
You will usually conduct a feint before the main attack to have your opponent shift significant forces and resources towards the feint.
You will generally conduct a feint with the main attack to have your enemy divert some of his forces away from the main attack. Additionally, the feint adds another action into his thought process and could slow his decision cycle down significantly.
You will normally conduct a feint after the main attack to cause the enemy not to commit additional forces/resources against the main attack.
A demonstration is similar to a feint in many ways, but is far less resource intensive and the expectations are not as great. Within a feint, you are still conducting an attack again aimed at drawing your opponent’s attention from your main effort attack. However, there are some key distinctions.
First, the main difference is that you do not want to make contact with the enemy (get in an engagement). This can be a challenge at times. The risk is that you will become decisively engaged and cannot break contact.
Second, and tied directly to the first point, is that since you do not want to get into a fight with the enemy; you will normally utilize far less combat power in a demonstration.
Third, the goals of a demonstration are usually less than that of a feint.
Fourth, because you are not using as much combat forces, you will find more use of simulations in a demonstration.
Fifth, because most opponents are not dumb, they are likely to determine that a demonstration is a deception effort quicker than a feint is.
Just the word itself, exudes of deception! In basic terms, a ruse is a ploy intended to deceive the enemy to gain a subsequent advantage over him. During a ruse, you will deliberately expose false information so that your enemy can collect upon it. It is hoped that this information will be analyzed by the enemy as truthful.
Ruses can be executed at all levels. For example, at the lower levels it could just changing vehicle bumper numbers. For those World War II enthusiasts out there, you know that the War was filled with ruses on both sides. The amount of misinformation planed by both sides was simply incredible! The more elaborate the ruse – the more time is needed to potentially pull it off.
A Factitious OPORD can be of Great Value in Executing a Ruse
The final deception technique is the display. Just as the name suggests, a display is a static presentation aimed to deceive the enemy. The display is focused on your enemy’s sense of sight. Thus, it could be geared to his radar, various types of cameras, and of course, the human eye. A display can take the form of simulations, disguises, or portrayals. Obviously, if you can effectively utilize a combination of these; your chances of success are improved. Below we will address each:
Simulations – When utilizing the simulation technique, you are attempting to make the enemy believe there is something on the battlefield that is not actually there. Typical things that are replicated in this technique are logistics nodes, airfields, bridges, and field artillery or air defense artillery emplacements. As you can surmise from the above, simulating these locations takes some extensive work and resources. However, the benefit can be large. Many times, an enemy deceived by the simulation will expend large amounts of his resources to destroy these false locations.
Disguises – We all know what a disguise is. Within military deception the concept is much the same — you are striving to alter something (disguise it) to make it look like something else to your enemy. There are two customary ways of using disguises. First, you can disguise a vehicle/unit etc… of value to you to something that does not appear valuable to your enemy. Second, you can disguise a vehicle/unit … not of real value to you to something that appears valuable to your enemy.
Portrayals – In a portrayal, you are attempting to deceive your enemy as to the actual existence of a unit or to its’ type. For example, an excellent case of portraying a fictional unit was the Allied deception effort OPERATION FORTITUDE SOUTH, prior to D-Day. We discussed this operation in last month’s article. On the other hand, you may use particular vehicles from a cav unit to portray an armor unit. When executing a portrayal, it is extremely beneficial to use simulations and disguises in the operation.