November 22, 2015

METT-T Analysis

I have written about METT-T before in my Estimate theSituation  post, but I thought a more thorough explanation with a few examples would be valuable.

Prior to every battle, and in some cases during the battle, I will conduct a METT-T analysis.  METT-T (pronounced: met-tee) stands for Mission, Enemy, Terrain and Weather, Troops, and Time.

Conducting this analysis will give you a fairly complete picture of your mission, the ground you are fighting on, the enemy force compared to yours, and the time available to conduct the assigned task. 

I highly recommend you go through this analysis at least in some way prior to starting any scenario, a sentence or two on each will be far superior to just jumping in and starting a game without taking a few minutes to think about it first.

An example of a rudimentary METT-T analysis was done for my Germans v SMGs in Woods AAR with C3k , in this scenario I just took a few minutes and made some short comments to give me a more complete feel for the task before me:

Delay the enemy in zone and cause as many casualties as possible while trading space for time. Basically make it uncomfortable as possible for my opponent, who I know is very aggressive. I hope to use that against him.
The enemy force is made up of one complete SMG Company, plus one extra SMG Platoon in support. That adds up to 127 enemy soldiers, all equipped with SMGs.
The map is a cropped down version of the map Elvis and I played on in the BETA AAR. When cropping it I concentrated on ensuring that most of the playable area was wooded so we would be forced to stay true to the test.
Looking at the map, it really has two main avenues of advance. I expect Ken to break his force into two parts and attempt to spread my defending force thin... however, I plan on concentrating on one side, with only a split squad on the other as an OP/LP. The goal is to concentrate on one enemy force, annihilate it and then switch to the other, a mini-Tannenberg if you will.
I was bringing two Fusilier Platoons to the party, my force make up was:
88 soldiers, only 20 of which have SMGs, there are a total of 6 LMGs, and 4 HMGs (2 per platoon). The rest are armed with single shot rifles.
Not that it matters, but we had one hour allotted to fight it out.

This amount of detail is normally sufficient for most scenarios; it forces you to at least think a little about your assigned task.

Note that in the above example that I created this scenario as a test so I had a much more complete breakdown of the enemy force than you normally will.  In most cases you must glean from the scenario briefing any clues on the enemy force composition you can find.  The enemy force composition breakdown should be added to, confirmed or corrected as you play and uncover enemy units.

The example that follows as I explain each component of METT-T is from my CMFI BETA AAR against ChrisND, Clearing theNiscemi Highway.  In this case the battle had been ongoing for quite some time before I sat myself down to think about what I was facing and why I was struggling (I had been losing to this point).  This also coincided with my German reinforcements that came in to support the on-map Italians who were way over-matched by Chris’s American force.

MISSION – when analyzing your mission you need to ask yourself several question, and attempt to honestly and realistically answer them.  If you can answer any of the following make a note of your answers to each.
  • What is the main mission of the scenario?  For example, defend the town, attack the ridgeline and clear the zone, etc.
  • Are there any mission specific tasks?  For example, kill the enemy armor; do not lose more than 15% of your force, etc.
  • What are the mission essential tasks?  For example, what objectives need to be captured or defended, what is the type of each objective (i.e. touch, occupy, preserve, etc.)?
  • What constraints and limitations does your force have?  For example, is your force mainly leg infantry, while your opponent has a mostly armored force?

Example of a Mission analysis (from Clearing the Niscemi Highway AAR :


What are the maneuver objectives?
·         The Orchard - Achieved, but abandoned - Must re-occupy
·         Secondary: The Hill -       Heavily occupied - Somewhat attritted - Forward slope position
·         Main: The Villa - Strong defensive position - Will require strong attack by fire element to enable a force to capture
The mission briefing:
“Capture the three terrain objectives. Inflict heavy losses on the enemy while sustaining little of your own.”
The initial Italian force has taken severe casualties, so the second half of the mission objective is off to a bad start.
I have occupied the Orchard objective, but was forced to pull off of it because it was becoming a tenuous position and every minute I stayed there cost me more of my combat power.
Capturing the other two terrain objectives will be a tough chore. I must wait for my final reinforcements to arrive before that is going to be even remotely possible, mainly due to the quality disparity between the forces, especially the armored components.

ENEMY – the questions you ask yourself about the enemy must be continuously revisited as you come into contact and uncover information.  I cannot emphasize that enough.  At game start you only have the scenario briefing to rely on and often the enemy force composition is incomplete or even misleading.  Use that as a basis then correct, confirm, or add to it throughout the game.  Always maintain as clear a picture of the enemy order of battle (OB) as possible.  Use the game’s scenario editor to compare the recovered enemy OB to different organizations to attempt to determine the type of force you are facing.  This can also help you predict what you have yet to find and will most likely still have to face.

Continuously ask yourself these questions:
  • What are his intentions?
  • What do you know about his force capabilities?
  • What do you know about the enemy order of battle (OB)? Note: you will continually add to your knowledge of the enemy OB as the game progresses.
  • Does the enemy have any strengths that you know about (i.e. is he expected to field Tiger tanks)?
  • What do you know about the equipment he is using?
  • Does the enemy have any weaknesses you know about (i.e. is the enemy entrenched, thus immobile)?
  • What are the enemy’s most obvious Courses of Action (COA)?
Example of an Enemy analysis (from Clearing the Niscemi Highway AAR:

Note, this analysis was conducted partway through the game and is a good example of an in-progress recovered enemy OB.  Note entries in parenthesis and with a question mark.. these are elements that have not been spotted, but because I have a template of the PIR Battalion OB I know what should be present and I plan for those elements being present whether they turn out to be there or not.


Current recovered enemy OB:
·         Battalion PIR HQ – overall command – Villa
·         Demolition Platoon (-)
·         Plt HQ – eliminated
·         Bazooka Team – eliminated
·         Demo Section
o   Team A – eliminated
o   Team B – eliminated
o   Team C – still kicking, one known casualty
·         Parachute Company (-)
§  Bazooka Team – Hill
§  Pack Howitzer A – right side – Hill
§  Pack Howitzer B – left side – KOed - Hill
§  HMG Team - Villa
§  Airborne Platoon
·         Platoon HQ – Hill – moved off the Hill
o   1st Squad – Hill – moved to Villa
o   2nd Squad – Hill – possibly moved off the Hill
o   (1st Team MMG) - ?
o   2nd Team MMG – Hill – possibly moved off the Hill
o   3rd Team – Light Mortar – Hill
·         Reinforcement #1
§  Sherman Platoon – (only one seen so far) – located on the ridge at the back end of the map. If only one came in then I can expect the rest of the platoon to arrive with the second batch of reinforcements
§  MMG Team – last seen heading towards the Villa
§  Assault Gun Platoon
·         (HQ Team) - (?)
·         (1st Halftrack) – (?)
·         2nd Halftrack T30 HMC – Hill/Villa
·         3nd Halftrack T30 HMC – Hill/Villa

Analysis: the American force has proven to have overall superior firepower and lethality to my Italians. The T30s are deadly, though if I can get some mortar fire on them they can be knocked out. I have nothing on the map that can take on the Sherman right now. Until I get something that can engage it with a chance of taking it out I will avoid the sector that it oversees.

TERRAIN – analyzing the terrain is probably the most important component of METT-T in my opinion.  Understanding the lay of the land and the obstacles it imposes along with the benefits you or your enemy can get from it can win you battles.   I will include as many maps as I think are necessary to complete the picture of the terrain.

What type of terrain are you operating in? For example, mostly urban, mountainous, wooded, etc. Note: this will get more detailed treatment in the OCOKA section. 
  • Where are the objectives? 
  • Where are the main heights? 
  • Where are the lowest elevations? 
  • What terrain can be determined to be “Key terrain”, that is, what terrain could turn out to be too important to be ignored? 
  • What areas have the furthest lines of sight (and thus perhaps the best ability to contain long range fire assets)? 
  • What are the enemy’s likely main avenues of approach? 
  • What are the your best main avenues of approach? 
  • What terrain is most defensible? 
  • What is the weather? 
    • What is the temperature (i.e. hot, warm, cold, snow, rain)? 
    • From which direction is the wind blowing and how strong is it? Note: this is very important information and should be referred to when plotting smoke missions and predicting how quickly dust and smoke will dissipate.

Example of a Terrain and Weather analysis (from Clearing the Niscemi Highway AAR :


Elevations and Objectives
Looking at the terrain it becomes clear where the high ground lies (blue contours) and the lowest ground (red contours). In this image the three objectives are also illustrated.

Key Terrain

Key Terrain 1 (KT1) dominates the entire southern part of the map and from it Normal Dude can deny my use of any southern approach.
KT2 is still advantageous ground.. the problem I had before is that I could not place enough firepower on it from which to dominate the US positions in the Villa and on the Hill objectives. It still looks down on both of these objectives and can be used as an attack by fire position.
KT3 is one of the few covered high points on the northern approaches that will allow me to lay fire on both objectives.
KT4 could provide a covered approach to the objectives, as well as numerous hull down positions for my armor support assets

Avenues of Approach  

I have identified three main avenues of approach:
Avenue of Approach 1 (AA1) takes advantage of the low ground to try to close with the enemy.
AA2 is more exposed but could allow a fast moving force to close onto the objectives.
AA3 currently is closed by the enemy tank located on KT1. It is the most exposed route.
Using AA1 and AA2 exclusively provide the only routes that are not exposed to the tank that is on KT1. Any movement down these routes will need to be covered by anti-tank assets in order to deny him the chance to easily move his Sherman out of position. If he does maneuver against my movements on AA1 and AA2 with his Sherman, then that will open up AA3. I need to keep that threat as a possibility in his mind.

TROOPS – analyzing your own force might not seem like an important task, however unless you understand your capabilities you will not understand the most effective means to use to defeat your enemy. 

The questions you ask about yourself should be penetrating, honest, and realistic.  Try to determine where your strengths lie and where your capability is deficient.
  • What is your order of battle?
  • What equipment do you have available?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What resupply capabilities do you have?
  • What courses of action (COA) are available to you? I n the example I included this in the Terrain analysis section. It doesn’t really matter where it occurs, just ensure that you keep your capabilities in mind when determining courses of action.
Example of an own Troop analysis (from Clearing the Niscemi Highway AAR :

Note, in this example I did not do a breakdown of my capabilities, I really should have done this and I encourage you to attempt that analysis in your battles as well.


The next part of the METT-T analysis is analyzing your own troops. Mine have taken a beating as can be seen in this table. But my German forces are untouched and have yet to engage ND's forces.

TIME – Understanding and keeping in mind the time available to complete your mission is extremely important. 
  • What is the time schedule that you have to work with?  In other words, how long is the scenario, is the end time variable, etc.?
  •   At what time of day does the scenario take place?

Example of a Time analysis (from Clearing the Niscemi Highway AAR :

·         This battle is 1.5 hours in length. That is the time I have to complete my tasks. The battle is now 20 minutes old, so I have another hour (plus) to go. I should receive my final reinforcements in about 5 minutes (at the 25 minute mark) My first set of reinforcements came in 4 minutes ago and I have already lost a crucial part of that (the Semovente) so I will need to be careful when I maneuver the remainder of my force.
·         Normal Dude will be getting the remainder of his reinforcements in 5 minutes as well, so I need to be in position before those arrive and upset the apple cart.

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