Terrain Analysis using OCOKA
OCOKA is used to analyze the terrain in and around the Area of Operations. We all know that terrain can greatly affect the course of an engagement. Terrain analysis consists of 5 components:
Observation and Fields of Fire – Essential to your overwatch and support by fire elements. Good observation means good overwatch and solid fields of fire mean good support by fire. Analyzing which terrain will reduce the amount of blind spots by overwatch or SBF elements will result in more effective overwatch/SBF.
Cover and Concealment – Sending troops out into the open completely exposed to enemy fire is a quick route to failure. Analyzing terrain and identifying locations that will not only maximize cover for friendly troops but also provide minimum cover for enemy troops to use is optimal.
Obstacles – If you are attacking, what existing or man-made objects will restrict your ability to maneuver? If you are defending, what existing or man-made objects can you use to tie in with your defensive plan? How will the light and weather affect the obstacle’s ability to disrupt, turn, fix, or block the enemy?
Key and Decisive Terrain – What terrain in your area of operation, if controlled by you or the enemy, would give a marked advantage during the fight? Where is the high ground and does it afford a tactical or strategic advantage? Is any of the key terrain decisive terrain? How will the weather or light affect your ability to seize, secure, or defend key and decisive terrain?
Avenues of Approach – An avenue of approach is a route or axis of advance to an objective or to key terrain. You must always consider speed versus protection when selecting avenues of approach and try to find a happy medium.
If you are attacking, which avenues of approach will give your Rangers their greatest protection? Which avenues of approach will place you and your Rangers at your enemy’s most vulnerable spot? Which avenue of approach offers the best speed to enhance the element of surprise? How will the light and weather affect your ability to move, shoot, and communicate along your avenue of approach?
If you are defending, which is the enemy’s most probable avenue of approach? Which avenue of approach would be the most deadly to your defense? Do you have the right weapons to cover the enemy’s most probable or deadliest avenue of approach? Anticipate what the enemy may do. Ask yourself, “If I were attacking, how would I do it?” How will the light and weather affect the enemy’s ability to shoot, move, and communicate on the avenue of approach? Which avenues of approach can you select that will support a counterattack?