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CHAPTER 3

TACTICAL MOVEMENT

The purpose of tactical movement is to move units on the battlefield either to initiate contact with the enemy or to reach a destination when contact with the enemy is likely. Movement is not maneuver. Maneuver happens once a unit has made contact with the enemy.

This chapter focuses on the movement techniques and formations that combine to provide the platoon leader with options for moving his unit. The various techniques and formations have unique advantages and disadvantages. Some are secure but slow, while others are faster but less secure. Some formations work well in certain types of terrain or tactical situations but are less effective in others. The command and control, position navigation, and night vision equipment available to the SBCT infantry platoon significantly enhances the platoon's ability to conduct effective tactical movement, both day and night.

Many times the platoon must plan, rehearse, and execute a combination of mounted and dismounted movement. The platoon operates with and without vehicle support, so section and platoon leaders must understand how to move and maneuver in either tactical situation. Movement during dismounted operations is similar to mounted movement but requires more command and control due to the decentralized nature of the task. Compared to mounted operations, dismounted movement techniques and formations require as much--or more--detail during the planning phase.

3-1. MOVEMENT FORMATIONS

The platoon leader uses formations for several purposes: to relate one vehicle or squad to another on the ground, to position firepower to support the direct-fire plan, to establish responsibilities for sector security among vehicles or squads, or to aid in the execution of battle drills and directed COAs. Just as they do with movement techniques, platoon leaders plan formations based on where they expect enemy contact and on the higher commander's plans to react to contact. The platoon leader evaluates the situation and decides which formation best suits the mission and situation.

a. Choices. It is not necessary for the platoon formation to be the same as the company formation unless directed by the company commander. However, the platoon leader must coordinate his formation with other elements moving in the main body team's formation.

b. Factors. Sometimes platoon and company formations differ due to METT-TC factors. For example, the platoons could move in wedge formations within a company vee.

(1) In planning and executing movement, leaders must consider the fluidity of formations. Spacing requirements, as well as other METT-TC considerations, require the platoon to adapt basic formations. Leaders must stay ready to adjust the distance of individual vehicles based on terrain, visibility, and mission requirements.

(2) The platoon usually moves in formation when using traveling or traveling overwatch. When it uses bounding overwatch, the bounding element makes the best use of the terrain rather than adopting a precise formation. Only in this way can it move effectively while maintaining adequate security. See Figure 3-1 for a legend of symbols for company personnel and elements.

DRAFT Figure 3-1. Legend of platoon symbols.

DRAFT Figure 3-1. Legend of platoon symbols.

NOTE: The formations shown in the illustrations in this chapter are examples only. They generally are depicted without METT-TC considerations, which are always the most crucial element in the selection and execution of a formation. Leaders must be prepared to adapt their choice of formation to the specific situation.

3-2. DISMOUNTED MOVEMENT FORMATIONS

a. Platoon Formations. Platoon formations include the platoon column, the platoon line (squads on line or in column), the platoon vee, the platoon wedge, and the platoon file. The leader should weigh these carefully to select the best formation based on his mission and on METT-TC analysis.

(1) Platoon Column Formation. This formation is the platoon's primary movement formation (Figure 3-2). It provides good dispersion both laterally and in depth and simplifies control. The lead squad is the base squad. The column formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It provides excellent control and fires to the flanks.
  • It permits only limited fires to the front and rear.
  • It is easy to control.
  • It provides extremely limited overall security.
  • It normally is used for traveling only.

Figure 3-2. Platoon column.

Figure 3-2. Platoon column.

NOTE: METT-TC considerations will determine where the weapons squad or machine gun teams locate in the formation. They normally move with the platoon leader or platoon sergeant so he can establish a base of fire quickly.

(2) Platoon-Line, Squads-on-Line Formation. This formation allows the delivery of maximum fire to the front but little fire to the flanks (Figure 3-3). This formation is hard to control, and it does not lend itself well to rapid movement. When two or more platoons are attacking, the company commander chooses one of them as the base platoon. The base platoon's center squad is its base squad. When the platoon is not acting as the base platoon, its base squad is its flank squad nearest the base platoon. The weapons squad may move with the platoon, or it can support by fire. This is the basic platoon assault formation. The platoon line with squads-on-line formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It permits maximum fires to the front or rear, but minimum fires to the flanks.
  • It is difficult to control.
  • It is less secure than other formations because of the lack of depth.
  • It is the most difficult formation from which to make the transition to other formations.
  • It may be used in the assault to maximize the firepower and shock effect of the platoon. This normally is done when there is no more intervening terrain between the unit and the enemy, when antitank systems are suppressed, or when the unit is exposed to artillery fire and must move rapidly.
  • It affords excellent security for the higher formation in the direction of the echelon.

Figure 3-3. Platoon on line, squads on line.

Figure 3-3. Platoon on line, squads on line.

(3) Platoon-Line, Squads-in-Column Formation. The platoon leader can use this formation when he does not want to deploy all personnel on line and when he wants the squads to react to unexpected contact (Figure 3-4). This formation is easier to control, and it lends itself better to rapid movement than the platoon-line or squads-on-line formation; however, it is harder to control than platoon column and does not facilitate rapid movement as well as a platoon column. When two or more platoons are moving, the company commander chooses one of them as the base platoon. The base platoon's center squad is its base squad. When the platoon is not the base platoon, its base squad is its flank squad nearest the base platoon. The platoon line with squads-in-column formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It permits maximum fires to the front or rear, but minimum fires to the flanks.
  • It is easier to control than platoon line and squads-on-line.
  • It facilitates rapid movement better than platoon line, squads-on-line.
  • It is difficult to transition to other formations.

Figure 3-4. Platoon-Line, squads-in-column.

Figure 3-4. Platoon-Line, squads-in-column.

(4) Platoon Vee Formation. This formation has two squads up front to provide a heavy volume of fire on contact (Figure 3-5). It also has one squad in the rear that can either overwatch or trail the other squads. The platoon leader designates one of the front squads to be the platoon's base squad. The platoon vee formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It permits immediate maximum fires to the front or flanks, but minimum fires to the rear.
  • It is difficult to control.
  • Movement is slow.
  • It provides excellent flexibility that allows rapid fire and movement upon contact from the flank.

Figure 3-5. Platoon vee.

Figure 3-5. Platoon vee.

(5) Platoon Wedge Formation. This formation has two squads in the rear that can overwatch or trail the lead squad (Figure 3-6). It provides a large volume of fire to the front or flanks. It allows the platoon leader to make contact with a squad and still have one or two squads to maneuver. The lead squad is the base squad. The wedge formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It permits excellent fires to the front and good fires to the flanks.
  • It is easy to control.
  • It provides good security to the flanks.
  • It can be used with the traveling and traveling overwatch techniques.
  • It allows rapid transition to bounding overwatch.

Figure 3-6. Platoon wedge.

Figure 3-6. Platoon wedge.

(6) Platoon File Formation. This formation may be set up in several methods. One method is to have three-squad files follow one another using one of the movement techniques. Another method is to have a single platoon file with a front security element (point) and flank security elements. This formation is used when visibility is poor due to terrain, vegetation, or light conditions (Figure 3-7). The distance between soldiers is less than normal to allow communication by passing messages up and down the file. The platoon file has the same characteristics as the fire team and squad files. The platoon file formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It provides excellent control and fires to the flanks.
  • It permits only limited fires to the front and rear.
  • It is easy to control.
  • It provides extremely limited overall security.
  • It normally is used for traveling only.
  • It is the fastest formation for dismounted movement.

Infantry squads normally move mounted until the situation requires them to dismount or until they reach the dismount point or assault position. The squad moves alone or as part of the platoon's dismounted element. The rifle squads then use a variety of formations to complete their mission.

Figure 3-7. Platoon file.

Figure 3-7. Platoon file.

b. Fire Team Formations. The term "fire team formation" refers to the soldiers' relative positions within the fire team (Table 3-1). Each type of formation has advantages and disadvantages. The leader weighs these against his METT-TC analysis.

MOVEMENT
FORMATION
WHEN MOST
OFTEN USED
CHARACTERISTICS
CONTROL FLEXIBILITY FIRE CAPABILITIES
AND RESTRICTIONS
SECURITY
FIRE TEAM
WEDGE
Basic fire team formation Easy Good Allows immediate fires in all directions All-round
FIRE TEAM FILE Close terrain, dense vegetation, limited visibility conditions Easiest Less flexible than wedge Allows immediate fires to the flanks, masks most fires to the rear Least

Table 3-1. Comparison of fire team formations.

(1) Wedge Formation. The wedge (Figure 3-8) is the basic formation for the fire team. The interval between soldiers in the wedge formation is normally 10 meters. The wedge expands and contracts depending on the terrain. Fire teams modify the wedge when rough terrain, poor visibility, or other factors make control of the wedge difficult, The normal interval is reduced so that all team members can still see their team leader and the team leaders can still see their squad leader. The sides of the wedge can contract to the point where the wedge resembles a single file. Soldiers expand or resume their original positions when moving in less rugged terrain where control is easier.

Figure 3-8. Fire team wedge.

Figure 3-8. Fire team wedge.

(2) File Formation. When the terrain precludes use of the wedge, fire teams use the file formation (Figure 3-9).

Figure 3-9. Fire team file.

Figure 3-9. Fire team file.

c. Squad Formations. The term "squad formation" refers to the relative locations of the fire teams. Squad formations include the squad column, the squad line, and the squad file. Table 3-2 compares squad formations.

MOVEMENT
FORMATION

WHEN MOST
OFTEN USED

CHARACTERISTICS

CONTROL

FLEXIBILITY

FIRE CAPABILITIES
AND RESTRICTIONS

SECURITY

SQUAD COLUMN

The main squad formation

Good

Aids maneuver; good dispersion laterally and in depth

Allows large volume of fire to the flanks but only limited volume to the front

All-round

SQUAD LINE

For maximum firepower to the front

Not as good as squad column

Limited maneuver capability (both fire teams committed)

Allows maximum immediate fire to the front

Good to the front, little to the flank and rear

SQUAD FILE

Close terrain, dense vegetation, limited visibility conditions

Easiest

Most difficult formation to maneuver from

Allows immediate fire to the flanks, masks most fire to the front and rear

Least

Table 3-2. Comparison of squad formations.

(1) Squad Column Formation. The squad column is the squad's main formation (Figure 3-10). It provides good dispersion both laterally and in depth without sacrificing control, and it facilitates maneuver. The lead fire team is the base fire team. Squads can move in either a column wedge or a modified column wedge. Rough terrain, poor visibility, or other factors can require the squad to modify the wedge into a file for control purposes. As the terrain becomes less rugged and control becomes easier, the soldiers assume their original positions. (In Figure 3-10, RFLM indicates the rifleman or designated marksman.)

Figure 3-10. Squad column, fire teams in wedge.

Figure 3-10. Squad column, fire teams in wedge.

(2) Squad Line Formation. The squad line (Figure 3-11) provides maximum firepower to the front. When a squad is acting as the base squad, the fire team on the right is the base fire team.

Figure 3-11. Squad line.

(3) Squad File Formation. When not traveling in a column or line, squads travel in file (Figure 3-12). The squad file has the same characteristics as the fire team file. If the squad leader wishes to increase his control over the formation, to exert greater morale presence by leading from the front, or to be immediately available to make key decisions, he moves forward to the first or second position. Moving a team leader to the last position can provide additional control over the rear of the formation.

Figure 3-12. Squad file.

Figure 3-12. Squad file.

c. SBCT Infantry Platoon Digital Enhancements. The position navigation system, night vision systems, and the commanders tactical display (CTD) assist the platoon leader, VCs, and squad leaders in tracking their location in relation to other squads and platoons. This is not the sole means for controlling the platoon's formations. Position updates do not give the exact location of every element at every moment; instead, positions are given at regular intervals. When moving at normal dispersion intervals, the leader relies on digital voice communications and visual contact to control movement.

3-3. MOUNTED FORMATIONS.

The platoon uses the column, wedge, line, echelon, coil, and herringbone formations when it is mounted (based on METT-TC factors).

a. Column Formation. The column is used when speed is critical, when the platoon is moving through restricted terrain on a specific route, or when enemy contact is not likely. Each vehicle normally follows directly behind the vehicle in front of it. If the situation dictates, however, vehicles can disperse laterally to enhance security (Figure 3-13). The column formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It provides excellent control and fires to the flanks.
  • It permits only limited fires to the front and rear.
  • It is easy to control.
  • It provides extremely limited overall security.
  • It normally is used for traveling only.

Figure 3-13. Column formation with dispersal for added security.

Figure 3-13. Column formation with dispersal for added security.

b. Wedge Formation. The wedge formation (Figure 3-14) is often used when contact is possible or the enemy situation is unclear. In the platoon wedge, the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant are in the center of the formation, with their wingmen located to the rear of and outside of them. This is not true in all tactical situations. If the weapons squad is on the platoon leader or platoon sergeant's vehicle, it would not be an advantage to have the weapons squad in the lead. The wedge has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It permits excellent fires to the front and good fires to the flanks.
  • It is easy to control.
  • It provides good security to the flanks.
  • It can be used with the traveling and traveling overwatch techniques.
  • It allows rapid transition to bounding overwatch.

Figure 3-14. Wedge formation.

Figure 3-14. Wedge formation.

c. Line Formation. The line formation (Figure 3-15) is primarily used when assaulting a weakly defended objective, crossing open areas, or in a support-by-fire position. The line formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It permits maximum fires to the front or rear, but minimum fires to the flanks.
  • It is difficult to control.
  • It is less secure than other formations because of the lack of depth.
  • It is the most difficult formation from which to make the transition to other formations.
  • It may be used in the assault to maximize the firepower and shock effect of the platoon. This is normally done when there is no more intervening terrain between the unit and the enemy, when antitank systems are suppressed, or when the unit is exposed to artillery fire and must move rapidly.

Figure 3-15. Line formation.

Figure 3-15. Line formation.

d. Echelon Formation. The echelon formation (Figure 3-16) is used when the company wants to maintain security and or observation of one flank and enemy contact is not likely. It normally is used when a platoon is to cover an exposed flank of a larger force. The echelon formation has the following characteristics, advantages, and limitations:

  • It is difficult to control.
  • It affords excellent security for the higher formation in the direction of the echelon.
  • It facilitates deployment to the echelon flank.

Figure 3-16. Echelon formation.

Figure 3-16. Echelon formation.

e. Coil and Herringbone Formation. The coil and herringbone are platoon-level formations, employed when elements of the company are stationary and must maintain 360-degree security.

(1) Coil. The coil (Figure 3-17) is used to provide all-round security and observation when the platoon is stationary. It is also useful for tactical refueling, resupply, and issuing platoon orders. Security is posted to include air guards and dismounted fire teams.

Figure 3-17. Coil formation.

Figure 3-17. Coil formation.

(2) Herringbone. The herringbone (Figure 3-18) is used to disperse the platoon when traveling in column formation. It may be used during air attacks or when the platoon must stop during movement. It lets the platoon move to covered and concealed positions off a road or from an open area and establish all-round security without detailed instructions being issued. The vehicles are repositioned as necessary to take advantage of the best cover, concealment, and fields of fire. Fire team members dismount and establish security.

Figure 3-18. Herringbone formation.

Figure 3-18. Herringbone formation.

3-4. MOVEMENT TECHNIQUES

Movement techniques are not fixed formations. They refer to the distances between soldiers, teams, and squads that vary based on mission, enemy, terrain, visibility, and other factors affecting control. As the probability of enemy contact increases, the platoon leader adjusts the movement technique to provide greater security. Digitized and limited-visibility equipment provide the leader with a clearer, more real-time update of the situation. Based on the most recent update, the leader executes either the traveling, traveling overwatch, or bounding movement technique. For example, if the platoon leader receives an enemy update from higher headquarters showing the enemy much closer to the platoon than originally anticipated, he immediately switches from the traveling to the bounding technique.

a. Traveling Mounted. Traveling mounted is used when contact with the enemy is not likely and speed is required (Figure 3-19). The leader analyzes the latest enemy spot reports on his CTD and determines if contact with the enemy is unlikely. Because units generally move faster when traveling, mounted leaders must be aware of the increased potential for breaks in contact.

Figure 3-19. Traveling, platoon mounted.

Figure 3-19. Traveling, platoon mounted.

b. Traveling Overwatch Mounted. Traveling overwatch mounted (Figure 3-20) is used when contact is possible. The leader designates one of his subordinate elements to provide security forward of the main body. In some cases, the security element may increase its distances from the main body as a result of improved enemy and friendly situational information or decrease their distance from the main body due to terrain or visibility restrictions. Leaders track the movement of their forward security elements and use position updates to ensure the forward security element is on azimuth and does not exceed the range of supporting direct fires. Likewise, the security element leader confirms his location and direction using position navigation (POSNAV) information. This means more to the nondigitized platoon than it does to the digitized platoon. Should a break in contact occur:

(1) The leader or detached element uses GPS aids to reestablish contact with the main body.

(2) The platoon's main body can use an infrared or thermal source to regain visual contact with the element and link it back to the main body.

Figure 3-20. Traveling overwatch mounted.

Figure 3-20. Traveling overwatch mounted.

c. Bounding Overwatch Mounted. Bounding overwatch mounted (Figure 3-21) is used when enemy contact is imminent. The leader initiates bounding overwatch based on planning information received earlier from the enemy situation and SITREPs received during movement. The leader bounds his elements using successive or alternate bounds.

(1) Before bounding, the leader shows his bounding element the location of the next overwatch position. Ideally, the overwatch element maintains visual contact with the bounding element. The leader of the overwatch element can use his computer to track the location of the bounding element without maintaining visual contact. This provides the bounding element more freedom in selecting covered and concealed routes to its next location.

(2) Once the bounding element reaches its overwatch position, it signals it is ready to overwatch using voice communications or a visual signal. The bounding element also may use an infrared visual signal, such as a GCP-1 or Phoenix flashing light. The platoon leader must not allow the bounding element to exceed the weapons range of the element even though the infrared and digital technology allows the leader to control movement beyond the range of his organic direct-fire weapons.

Figure 3-21. Bounding overwatch mounted.

Figure 3-21. Bounding overwatch mounted.

d. Traveling Dismounted. Traveling dismounted is not used often when contact is unlikely because the platoon normally remains mounted unless it has situational intelligence updates from higher. The platoon will frequently have missions that require the rifle squads to operate independent of the vehicles. The traveling dismounted technique (Figure 3-22) is normal for the trailing rifle squad in a company formation. The element's formation is adjusted to fit the situation. The rifleman at the rear of the formation is the designated marksman and may be placed anywhere in the formation, threat dependent.

Figure 3-22. Traveling, squad dismounted.

Figure 3-22. Traveling, squad dismounted.

e. Traveling Overwatch (Dismounted). Rifle squads normally move in column or wedge formation (Figure 3-23). Ideally, the lead team moves at least 50 meters in front of the rest of the element.

Figure 3-23. Traveling overwatch, squads dismounted.

Figure 3-23. Traveling overwatch, squads dismounted.

f. Bounding Overwatch Dismounted. When the platoon leader expects contact and the terrain prohibits mounted movement, or when the rifle squads move separated from the vehicles, the platoon (-) bounds with the squads deployed.

3-5. ACTIONS AT DANGER AREAS

When analyzing the terrain during the troop-leading procedures (during his METT-TC analysis), the platoon leader may identify "danger areas." When planning the route, the platoon leader marks the danger areas on his digital concept sketch and overlay. The term "danger area" refers to any area on the route where the terrain would expose the platoon to enemy observation, fire, or both. Examples include large open areas, roads and trails, and bridges or crossing sites over water obstacles. If possible, the platoon leader plans to avoid danger areas, but sometimes he cannot. Navigational aids help, but when using them, the platoon and squads should always know their own location. Naturally, when the unit must cross a danger area, it does so as quickly and as carefully as possible. During planning, the leader designates near side and far side rally points. If the platoon encounters an unexpected danger area, it uses the en route rally points closest to the danger area as far side and near side rally points.

a. Crossing Large Open Areas (Mounted). If time and terrain permit, the platoon should dismount infantry to reconnoiter the movement route and secure the far side of the open area. However, the distances between covered and concealed positions may make the use of dismounted infantry impractical. If time constraints prevent the platoon from bypassing a large open area, then the platoon uses a combination of traveling overwatch and bounding overwatch to cross the open area. When the platoon has to move across large open areas with limited cover and concealment, the platoon leader should consider the factors of METT-TC before firing indirect or direct fire while the platoon moves. Also, indirect-fire weapons can provide concealment by firing smoke alone or mixed with suppressive fires.

(1) Traveling Overwatch. The lead element moves continuously along the covered and concealed routes that give it the best available protection from possible enemy observation and direct fire (Figure 3-24). The trail element moves at variable speeds, providing continuous overwatch, keeping contact with the lead element, and stopping periodically to get a better look. The trail element stays close enough to provide immediate suppressive fire and to maneuver for support. However, it must stay far enough to the rear to retain freedom of maneuver in case an enemy force engages the lead element.

Figure 3-24. Crossing large open areas mounted (traveling overwatch).

Figure 3-24. Crossing large open areas mounted (traveling overwatch).

(2) Bounding Overwatch. When expecting contact, the platoon should use the slowest, most secure movement technique (Figure 3-25). If any enemy force engages the bounding element with direct fire, the platoon can suppress it at once with its own direct fire. With bounding overwatch, one element is always stopped to provide overwatching fire. First, the trail element occupies a covered and concealed position where it can overwatch the lead element. As soon as the lead element completes its bound (movement), it occupies a similar position and becomes the overwatch element. It overwatches while the new trail element (formerly the overwatch element) bounds forward to the next overwatch position. The platoon uses the folds in the earth and any other concealment to mask its movement. The platoon can execute a bounding overwatch using one of the methods discussed earlier in this chapter.

Figure 3-25. Crossing large open areas mounted (bounding overwatch).

Figure 3-25. Crossing large open areas mounted (bounding overwatch).

b. Crossing Large Open Areas (Dismounted). When the platoon lacks the time to bypass a large open area, it uses a combination of traveling overwatch and bounding overwatch (Figure 3-26). It uses traveling overwatch when it needs to save time. Wherever the platoon expects possible contact, or after the squad or platoon moves within small-arms range of the far side (within about 250 meters of it), the platoon uses bounding overwatch. Once past the open area, the squad or platoon reforms and continues the mission.

(1) Far-Side Rally Point. The squad bounds by fire teams into the wood line and clears an area large enough for the entire squad. The squad begins bounding overwatch when it is within effective small-arms range (about 250 meters).

(2) Near-Side Rally Point. The platoon should use the traveling overwatch formation. The platoon should not clear the rally point like a separate linear danger area. Teams and individuals increase the interval between them.

Figure 3-26. Crossing large open area.

Figure 3-26. Crossing large open area.

c. Crossing Small Open Areas (Dismounted). When crossing an open area small enough to bypass in the time allowed for the mission, the platoon uses one of two techniques (Figure 3-27).

(1) Detour Bypass Method. The squad or platoon turns 90 degrees to the right or left around the open area and continues to move until it reaches the far side. It then continues the mission. The distance of the planned route does not include the pace count of the offset and return legs.

(2) Contouring Around the Open Area. Using the movement azimuth, the leader designates a rally point on the far side, decides which side of the open area to contour around (after considering the distance, terrain, and cover and concealment), and moves around the open area. He uses the wood line and vegetation for cover and concealment. When the squad or platoon arrives at the rally point on the far side, the leader aligns himself with the azimuth to the objective area, then continues the mission.

Figure 3-27. Crossing a small open area.

Figure 3-27. Crossing a small open area.

d. Crossing Linear Danger Area (Dismounted). The platoon crosses a linear danger area in the formation and location specified by the platoon leader (Figure 3-28). When the lead team signals "danger area" (relayed throughout the platoon), the platoon halts. The platoon leader quickly moves forward, confirms the danger area, and determines what technique the platoon will use to cross. The platoon sergeant (or designated NCO, if the platoon sergeant remains with the ICVs) also moves forward to the platoon leader.

Figure 3-28. Crossing a linear danger area.

(1) The platoon leader informs all of the squad leaders of the situation and identifies the near-side and far-side rally points. He reconnoiters the danger area and selects the crossing point that provides the best available cover and concealment.

(2) The platoon sergeant directs positioning of the near-side security (usually conducted by the trail rifle squad). The near-side security element observes the flanks and overwatches the crossing. When the near-side security element is in position, the platoon leader directs the far-side security element (a fire team from the lead squad) to cross the danger area.

(3) The far-side security element clears the far side. The far-side security element leader establishes an observation post (OP) forward of the cleared area. The cleared area must be large enough to allow full deployment of the remainder of the platoon. The team leader signals his squad leader that the far side is clear. The squad leader relays this message to the platoon leader

(4) The platoon leader selects the method for the remainder of the platoon to use to cross the linear danger area. Once the platoon crosses the linear danger area, the main body begins moving slowly on the designated azimuth. The near-side security, controlled by the platoon sergeant, crosses the linear danger area where the platoon crossed. The platoon sergeant ensures that everyone in the platoon has crossed and sends a report to the platoon leader.

(5) The platoon leader ensures accountability and resumes movement at normal speed.

e. Making Enemy Contact at Danger Areas. An increased awareness of the situation helps the platoon leader control the platoon when it makes contact with the enemy. If the platoon makes contact in or near the danger area, it moves to the designated rally points. Based on the direction of enemy contact, the leader still designates the far- or near-side rally point. During limited visibility, he can also use his AN/PAQ-4B/C or AN/PEQ-2A to point out the rally points at a distance. If the platoon has a hard time linking up at the rally point, the first element to arrive should mark the rally point with an infrared light source. This will help direct the rest of the platoon to the location. In an M2A3-equipped unit, the platoon leader uses the rally point graphic control measure in the CTD and then sends the data to his VCs and squad leaders. During movement to the rally point, position updates allow separated elements to identify each other's locations. These updates help them link up at the rally point by identifying friends and foes.

3-6. SECURITY DURING MOVEMENT

Security during movement includes whatever the platoon, vehicle crews, or squads do to secure the unit or the larger force. Information about his location, the tactical situation, and the enemy is available to the leader via the FBCB2 (CTD) or land warrior system (LWS). However, nothing replaces personal observation (head out of the vehicle, scanning the terrain, and looking for the enemy).

a. Terrain. When planning movements, the leader must consider how terrain affects security. The company commander should receive a copy of the modified combined obstacle overlay (MCOO) of the AO from battalion. The platoon leader may ask the company commander for a copy of the MCOO for his AO. Once he receives this, he uses it and the commander's results of terrain analysis to analyze the terrain to find the best covered and concealed route for his mission. At the same time, he considers the other factors of METT-TC.

b. Formations and Movement Techniques. When choosing a movement formation or technique, the leader considers the most recent situational update and the level of C2 needed for the mission. He chooses the option that will provide the greatest security, and the one that will most likely result in mission accomplishment. During individual platoon movement, the platoon leader places a small element forward to allow the platoon to make contact with the smallest element possible. This gives the rest of the platoon freedom to maneuver.

c. Light Discipline. If soldiers need more illumination than an image intensifier can provide in infrared mode during dismounted movement, they should also use other infrared light sources. The combination should provide the light needed with the least risk of enemy detection. When using infrared light, leaders must consider the enemy's night vision and infrared capabilities. For instance, an enemy with night vision capability can send infrared light signals, and he can concentrate direct and indirect fire on a platoon that is using infrared light.

3-7. MANEUVER

Maneuver provides the foundation for battlefield employment. At the platoon level, maneuver is the use of movement in combination with fire (or fire potential) employed to achieve a position of advantage with respect to the enemy and to facilitate accomplishment of the mission. Maneuver forms the heart of every tactical operation and task. The platoon leader maneuvers his mounted element and rifle squads to close with, gain positional advantage over, and ultimately destroy the enemy. One of the key strengths of the SBCT platoon is its ability to move out of direct contact to a position of advantage over the enemy. The platoon leader then can choose to make contact at the time of his choosing.

a. Base-of-Fire Element. Combining fire and movement requires a base of fire. Some platoon elements remain stationary to provide protection for bounding elements by suppressing or destroying enemy elements.

(1) When possible, the base-of-fire element occupies positions that afford good cover and concealment, a clear view, and clear fields of fire. Once in position, the base-of-fire element suppresses known, likely, or suspected enemy elements and at the same time aggressively scans its assigned sectors. It also identifies previously unknown elements and then suppresses them with direct and indirect fires. The base-of-fire element allows the bounding unit to keep maneuvering so it can retain the initiative, even when the enemy can see and fire on it.

(2) Because maneuver is decentralized in nature, the platoon leader determines from his terrain analysis where and when he wants to establish a base of fire. During actions on contact, he adjusts maneuver plans as needed. Making maneuver decisions normally falls to the leader on a specific part of the battlefield--the one who knows what enemy elements can engage the maneuvering element and what friendly forces can provide the base of fire. Within a platoon, a section would provide a base of fire. Within a section, an individual vehicle or squad would do so.

b. Bounding Element. Maneuver is inherently dangerous. Enemy weapons, unknown terrain, and other operational factors all increase the danger. When maneuvering, the platoon leader considers the following.

(1) The bounding element must take full advantage of whatever cover and concealment the terrain offers. By enforcing and applying the principles of terrain driving, leaders and drivers, respectively, can enhance security. For example, they should always use intervening terrain and avoid "skylining."

(2) All crews involved in the maneuver must maintain all-round security at all times. Crewmen in the bounding element must continuously scan their assigned sectors of observation.

(3) Factors of METT-TC dictate the length of the bounds. However, the bounding element should never move beyond the range at which the base-of-fire element can effectively suppress known, likely, or suspected enemy positions (two-thirds of the effective range of the weapon system). Taking this precaution lessens the bounding element's exposure to enemy fires.

(4) In severely restricted terrain, the bounding element makes shorter bounds than it would in more open areas.

(5) To clear intervening gaps or dead spaces, the bounding element may have to dismount infantry squads or teams. Although doing so usually forces the element to make a tactical pause, it will slow the operation less than losing a vehicle and crew to a hidden enemy element.

(6) The bounding element must focus on its ultimate goal--gaining a positional advantage. Once achieved, the element uses this advantage to destroy the enemy with direct fires and dismounted infantry assault.

c. Relationship of Tactical Movement and Actions on Contact. The purpose of tactical movement is to move units on the battlefield to prepare them for contact with the enemy. The process they use to evolve from tactical movement to maneuver is "actions on contact." Refer to Chapter 4, Section IV, for a discussion of Actions on Contact.



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