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Employment of light units with heavy and special operations forces is a combat multiplier. The battalion may be augmented with armored vehicles (light/heavy) or cross-attached to a heavy brigade (heavy/light). (FMs 71-2 and 71-3 discuss heavy/light operations further.) SOF provide the commander with the potential to receive time-sensitive information. This appendix focuses on the planning considerations, tactics, techniques, and procedures used when the battalion is task organized with subordinate armored assets or when it works with SOF.

Section I


Light/heavy unit operations take advantage of the light unit's ability to operate in restrictive terrain such as urban areas, forests, and mountains. These operations also increase the unit's survivability and takes advantage of the heavy units' mobility and firepower. Infantry leaders must know the tactics, techniques, and procedures used by the heavy force. An infantry battalion becomes a strong combat multiplier when it is augmented with a heavy force. The battalion must be able to conduct light/heavy operations in any environment or type of conflict.


The following definitions apply to light/heavy operations:

a. Light/Heavy Operations. These are conducted by a task force or team made up of infantry, mechanized infantry, and motorized or armored forces under the control of a light headquarters.

b. Heavy/Light Operations. These are identical to light/heavy operations, except that the forces are under the control of a heavy headquarters.

c. Heavy Forces. These are friendly mechanized infantry or tanks.

d. Special Operations Forces. These may be special forces, rangers, PSYOP, civil affairs, or SOF personnel from other services.


Tactics and techniques explained in this appendix are for infantry working with armored vehicles such as the M551, M60A3, M1 (series), M2, M3, and M113. The techniques often apply also to armored fighting vehicles of allied nations such as the Warrior IFV and the Leopard. Infantry leaders must know the tactical doctrine for employing a heavy company team (FM 71-1), a tank platoon (FM 17-15), and a mechanized infantry platoon (FMs 7-7 and 7-7 J). To effectively employ any armored vehicle, the leader must know the specific capabilities and limitations of the vehicle and its weapon system.

a. Tanks. The M1-series and M60A3 tanks provide rapid mobility as well as excellent protection and lethal, accurate fires. These tanks are most effective in open terrain with extended fields of fire.

(1) Mobility.

(a) Capabilities. The tanks' mobility comes from their ability to move fast either on or off the road. The ability to cross ditches; to ford streams and shallow rivers; and to push through small trees, vegetation, and limited obstructions allows tanks to move effectively in various types of terrain. Tanks provide tremendous firepower and shock effect for use against the enemy.

(b) Limitations. Tanks are noisy (especially the M60 series). During cold weather or when thermal nightsights or radios are used, the tanks' engines must be run at least 30 minutes every 2 to 4 hours to keep the tanks' batteries charged. Because tanks lack bridging equipment, they can only cross bodies of water less than 4 feet deep.

(2) Firepower.

(a) Capabilities. The tank's main gun is accurate and lethal at ranges out to 2,500 meters. The stabilized gun allows effective fires even when the tank is moving cross-country. The best antitank weapon on the battlefield is the tank. The various machine guns (the tank commander's .50-caliber and 7.62-mm coax machine guns and the loader's 7.62-mm machine gun on the M1) provide a high volume of suppressive fires for self-defense and provide supporting fires for the infantry. The tank's ability to acquire targets exceeds that of all other infantry battalion systems.

(b) Limitations. The tank's top, rear, and flank is vulnerable to lighter antitank weapons and (especially) to handheld antitank weapons. The top is also vulnerable to precision-guided artillery or air-delivered munitions. Antitank mines can destroy or disable the vehicle. Fighting with closed hatches reduces the crew's ability to see, acquire, and engage targets.

(3) Protection.

(a) Capabilities. The tank provides excellent protection. Across the frontal 60-degree arc, the tank is safe from all weapons except heavy antitank missiles or guns and the main gun on enemy tanks. When fighting with the hatches closed, the crew is safe from all small-arms fire, artillery rounds (except direct hits), and antipersonnel mines. The tank's smoke grenade launcher and on-board smoke generator provide fast concealment from observation (other than by thermals).

(b) Limitations. The tank is vulnerable from the flanks, top, and rear to lighter antitank weapons and especially to hand-held antitank weapons. The top is also vulnerable to precision-guided munitions (artillery or air-delivered). Antitank mines can destroy or disable the vehicle. However, fighting with their hatches closed reduces the crew's ability to see, acquire, and engage targets.

b. Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The M2/M3 BFVs provide mobility and protection against small arms fire and shrapnel; they also provide excellent firepower. These vehicles operate best on terrain that works well for mounted maneuver. However, to best employ IFVs, commanders must consider their limited protection. Each BFV is designed to carry a 9-man squad.

(1) Mobility.

(a) Capabilities. The M2/M3 has a mobility capability similar to that of the tank, except that the M2/M3 can swim large bodies of water in slight current when entry and exit points are available. If required, each IFV can carry soldiers inside and outside.

(b) Limitations. The M2/M3 uses a lot of fuel, especially in offensive or fast-paced operations. Also, IFVs are noisy. During cold weather or when thermal nightsights or radios are used, the IFV's engines must be run periodically to keep the vehicle's batteries charged. The noise, smoke, dust, and heat generated by IFVs make surprising the enemy difficult.

(2) Firepower.

(a) Capabilities. The M2/M3 has a 25-mm chain gun as its main weapon. It also has a TOW missile system and a coaxially-mounted machine gun. The chain gun is accurate and lethal against lightly armored vehicles, bunkers, trench lines, and people out to 2,000 meters. Its stability allows the gunner to fire effectively even when the vehicle is moving cross-country. The TOW system provides an effective antitank weapon for destroying enemy tanks or other point targets out to 3,750 meters. The 7.62-mm coax machine gun provides a high volume of suppressive fires for defense and supporting fires for the infantry. The combination of the stabilized turret, the thermal sight, the high volume of fire, and the mix of weapons and ammunition (TOW missiles, 25-mm APDS arid HEI-T, and 7.62-mm) makes the M2/M3 an excellent fire support asset for suppression in support of an infantry assault. The M2/M3 can acquire targets better than other infantry battalion systems. The thermal sight allows the crew to observe, reconnoiter, and control fire. This sight can also be used during the day to identify heat sources (people and vehicles), even through light vegetation or other concealment.

(b) Limitations. The M2/M3 thermal sight, when operated with the vehicle's engine off, clicks loudly enough to be heard at a good distance from the vehicle. Depending on the number of vehicles attached and on the amount of POL and ammunition expended, logistical resupply of Class III and V may be difficult and external support might be required.

(3) Protection.

(a) Capabilities. The M2/M3 provides good overall protection. When fighting with the hatches closed, the crew is safe from small-arms fire, fragmentation munitions, and antipersonnel mines. The vehicle's smoke grenade launcher and smoke generator conceal the tank quickly from observation by all but thermal means.

(b) Limitations. The M2/M3 is vulnerable in all directions to antitank weapons, especially to those on enemy tanks. Antitank mines can destroy or disable the M2/M3. Also, when operating with the hatches open, the crew is vulnerable to small-arms fire (especially to sniper fire).

c. M551 Sheridan. The M551 is a light reconnaissance vehicle that provides good firepower and mobility but little protection for an armored vehicle.

(1) Mobility. The M551 Sheridan's mobility is comparable to that of the M2/M3.

(2) Firepower.

(a) Capabilities. The M551's main weapon is a combination gun and missile launcher. The 152-mm gun fires HEAT and HEP rounds; the launcher fires antitank missiles. The M551 also has a 7.62-mm coax machine gun and a .50-caliber machine gun for suppression.

(b) Limitations. The M551 is ineffective against enemy main battle tanks, even with its antitank missile launcher, because the turret is not stabilized and the fire control system is outdated.

(3) Protection. The M551 has less protection than the M2/M3.

d. M113. The M113 is a lightly armored personnel carrier that combines good mobility with fair firepower and protection.

(1) Mobility.

(a) Capabilities. The M113 can carry a nine-man squad inside and more soldiers on top if required. The M113 uses fuel more slowly than the M2/M3. It can also swim deep bodies of water if the current is slow (1.5 meters per second or less) and if entry and exit points are available.

(b) Limitations. The M113 moves slower and is less able to negotiate obstacles than the M2/M3.

(2) Firepower.

(a) Capabilities. The M113's main weapon system is the .50-caliber machine gun, From a stationary position, this weapon is effective against area targets out to its maximum effective range of 1,800 meters. A tripod and T& E mechanism are also available for dismounting the weapon and firing from a well-prepared fighting position. Although heavy, the weapon system can be broken down into lighter loads and carried cross-country.

(b) Limitations. The M113 is not stabilized, is inaccurate when fired on the move, and exposes the gunner.

(3) Protection.

(a) Capabilities. The M113 provides limited protection from small-arms fires (7.62-mm coax machine gun and smaller) and fragmentation munitions.

(b) Limitations. The M113 is vulnerable to all fires heavier than small-arms fires.


Infantry leaders at all levels should know the safety precautions to take when the battalion operates with armored vehicles or with SOF. Leader awareness and involvement is especially important for an infantry unit that has had little training with armored vehicles. All personnel in the unit must know what precautions to take and must remain alert during light/heavy operations to prevent unnecessary casualties. Before engaging targets, infantry forces need to know the locations of SOF.

a. Armored vehicle crews, especially those in tanks, are blind to infantry soldiers near their vehicle. This limitation is worse during limited visibility or when the hatches are closed. This causes the crew to focus on the enemy or on potential enemy locations rather than on infantry moving close to the vehicle. Therefore, the infantry soldiers must remain alert and must maintain a safe position relative to the vehicle.

b. Infantry soldiers near armored vehicles are exposed to the effects of any fire the enemy directs against the vehicles. This is true whether the soldiers and vehicles are moving or stationary. Also, the soldiers are less able to avoid detection when they are near the armored vehicles. However, even when they are providing security or close support to the vehicles, the infantry can usually maintain enough distance to avoid much of the effects of fires directed against the vehicles.

c. The high velocity, armor-piercing discarding sabot round fired by tanks and by the 25-mm gun on the M2/M3 presents a safety problem.

d. The temperature of the M1's exhaust may be over 1,700 degrees. Soldiers following behind the tank must be to the side of the exhaust grill or at a safe distance away if they are moving directly behind it.

e. Infantry may ride on top of armored vehicles, but must be aware of several safety concerns. (FM 7-8 provides more information on this subject.) The main concern is the soldiers' exposure to any weapon the enemy may direct against the vehicle. If soldiers ride on the vehicle, they have given up their best protection--the ability to move with stealth and avoid detection. The only advantages gained are speed and increased haul capability. Infantry should ride on vehicles only when the risk of enemy contact is low or when the need for speed is great.

(1) Soldiers should avoid riding on the lead vehicle; it is the most likely to make contact and can react quicker without soldiers on top.

(2) Infantry leaders should be positioned with the armored vehicle leaders. Contingency plans for chance contacts and danger areas should be discussed and prepared. Infantry should dismount and clear choke points or other danger areas.

(3) Air guards and sectors of responsibility for observation should be assigned. All personnel must remain alert and be prepared to dismount immediately. In the event of contact, the armored vehicle crew immediately reacts to protect their vehicle. The infantry on top are responsible for their own safety. They should rehearse rapidly dismounting the vehicle.

(4) Infantry leaders should consider loading soldiers' rucksacks and excess equipment on the vehicles and having the soldiers themselves move on more suitable terrain near the vehicles. This is better use of the terrain and reduces the soldier's load.


The heavy force is best employed on terrain that allows it to maneuver and to use its longer range weapon systems effectively. Tanks are employed for their speed, firepower, and shock effect. The armored force is most effective when the heavy and light forces achieve mutual support and complement each other.

a. Armored vehicles support infantry--

(1) By providing accurate long-range supporting fires, day or night, even during movement.

(2) By suppressing or destroying enemy vehicles, weapons, and personnel to allow the infantry to assault.

(3) By fixing or suppressing enemy forces to allow the infantry to breach obstacles or maneuver to the enemy's weak point.

(4) By breaching any obstacles they can such as chain link fences or wire obstacles.

NOTE: Soldiers traveling with tracked vehicles that must breach concertina or barbed wire obstacles should stop occasionally to clear wire that has wrapped around the vehicles' sprockets. Otherwise, the wire may destroy the sprocket bearings.

(5) By attacking independently and linking up after the infantry has assaulted by air or infiltrated.

(6) By carrying the infantry in or on the vehicle to increase mobility.

(7) By using the on-board smoke capabilities to provide limited obscuration.

(8) By providing long-range observation and target detection, especially at night.

(9) By helping with casualty evacuation and providing a haul capability to manage the soldiers' loads.

b. Tanks support the infantry--

(1) By leading movement; by using their firepower and mobility, and their ability to protect the infantry, to quickly develop the situation on contact.

(2) By following the infantry to the objective after a lane is cleared.

(3) By leading the assault too provide protection for following infantry when the enemy antitank capability is limited.

(4) By destroying enemy armored vehicles, especially tanks.

c. Infantry supports armored vehicles--

(1) By clearing or breaching obstacles and marking lanes, especially in minefields, to allow the armored vehicles to exploit their speed and mobility.

(2) By destroying, suppressing, or neutralizing antitank weapons; or by destroying bunkers.

(3) By following the tank assault closely to protect the rear and flanks of the tanks from hand-held HEAT weapons, to clear the objective, or to reduce bypassed enemy forces.

(4) By securing or clearing choke points such as towns, forests, stream crossings, or narrow defiles.

(5) By providing close security at night or in restrictive terrain.

(6) By conducting reconnaissance to support the heavy unit's maneuver.


The battalion staff must be proficient in the conduct of light/heavy operations. If possible, an officer from the parent heavy unit is attached to the light battalion. If not, the commander of the heavy unit recommends how his unit should be employed. Specific staff officer responsibilities, such as performing resupply, reporting casualties, and enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice are based on the command relationship directed by the higher headquarters. The battalion staff officers must know the abilities, limitations, and requirements of the heavy force and must integrate these factors into their planning and into their recommendations to the commander. Specific planning considerations include command and control, maneuver, fire support, mobility and survivability, intelligence, CSS, and air defense. (FM 100-25 and FM 7-10 address planning considerations for working with SOF.)

a. Intelligence.

(1) Reconnaissance and surveillance plans that integrate heavy force requirements are developed.

(2) Commanders should use the light unit's night vision and dismounted reconnaissance capabilities and the heavy unit's thermal imagery and long-range night vision capabilities.

(3) The heavy force commander should provide input to the S2's PIR recommendation.

(4) The use of an infantry for the screening force to find the enemy and a mobile heavy force to destroy him should be considered in a counterreconnaissance mission.

b. Maneuver.

(1) Infantry units often conduct operations during limited visibility to gain surprise and reduce their vulnerability.

(2) The difference in mobility between heavy and light units should always be considered and terrain assigned based on the unit's capabilities. The timing for every operation must be planned to avoid leaving either force, especially the light force, in a vulnerable position.

(3) The strengths of both heavy and light units should be used to advantage; appropriate tasks should be assigned and each unit fought to capitalize on these strengths.

(4) Each force should compensate for the limitations of the other throughout the operation.

(5) The tactical signature of each force should be considered. The heavy force is more easily detected in any situation. As a result, accompanying infantry may be targeted even if it is not detected. If infantry with the heavy force can effectively accomplish the mission from a more secure location, they should be allowed to do so.

(6) Armored vehicles and infantry can provide mutual support without being located together.

(7) The characteristics of heavy forces must be considered to prevent friendly casualties. These characteristics also must be considered in the planning of fire control measures.

c. Fire Support.

(1) The heavy force commander/FSO must be involved in the fire planning.

(2) The target-acquisition capability of the heavy force's integrated sights (thermals) should be considered when either the priority of fires or the responsibility to fire certain targets is assigned.

(3) Tank platoons have no FOs.

d. Mobility, Countermobility, and Survivability.

(1) Heavy forces defend from prepared firing positions. If engineer assets are unavailable, the concept and the terrain allocation must allow either for protection through maneuver or for the use of hide positions.

(2) A common obstacle plan is developed to fully integrate the requirements for both forces.

(3) The S2's terrain analysis addresses the requirements of both forces to allow the S3/engineer representative to develop an effective plan.

(4) Range disparities between weapons should be considered when handing over obstacles.

e. Air Defense.

(1) The heavy force presents the most lucrative target to enemy aircraft.

(2) The mobility requirements for the heavy force are more similar to those of the HMMWV-mounted Stingers than to those of the infantry.

(3) The heavy force's vehicle weapon systems may be employed in an ADA role.

f. Combat Service Support.

(1) Light/heavy operations increase the requirement for CSS supervision. As second in command, the battalion XO must monitor the status of CSS.

(2) The light battalion S4 must also, in all cases, integrate the heavy unit's CSS slice into the battalion trains. The light battalion S4 must ensure in all cases that the heavy unit knows the situation and that all logistical actions conducted in the battalion's area of operations are coordinated, to include the following:

    • Routes, locations, and timings to be used for conducting the heavy force LOGPACs.
    • Casualty evacuation plan.
    • Vehicle evacuation plan.

(3) The light battalion S4 must ensure that the CSS slice is adequate for the situation when the heavy unit is attached to the light battalion. If not, he should request more assets from the heavy force's parent unit or through his brigade S4. The S4 also must assume control of the CSS slice and, based on the heavy unit commander's recommendation, coordinate the integrated CSS plan. Normally the heavy force CSS slice consists of the following:

(a) Company combat trains (M88 recovery vehicle, a M113 maintenance vehicle, and an M113 MEDEVAC vehicle).

(b) Maintenance support vehicles for the UMCP (two trucks, one for parts and one for tools).

(c) Two fuel HEMMTs.

(d) At least one cargo HEMTT.

g. Command and Control.

(1) The heavy force is OPCON only to the battalion because the battalion cannot sustain the heavy force logistically, In some situations, the heavy force may be attached for short times-for example, when it brings sufficient CSS to sustain itself or when the parent unit cannot provide the support.

(2) All units must know the frequency and call signs the heavy force will use.

(3) The commander/S3 should consider the following when task-organizing a heavy force (company) into the battalion:

(a) The heavy force commander should retain control of most of his unit to use his expertise.

(b) A tank company is most effective when employed in mass.

(c) Task organizing should occur at platoon level or above to ensure an effective chain of command and to allow the heavy unit to fight as trained.

(d) Task organizing by sections may be reasonable in certain situations such as MOUT or LIC. Individual tanks or armored vehicles should not be task organized. They need a like vehicle to allow them to maneuver with mutual support.

Section II


Effective light/heavy offensive operations apply the fundamentals discussed in Chapter 3. The only other requirement is to effectively integrate the heavy force into the battalion's operation. The estimate of the situation conducted by the commander and the battalion staff provides critical information to help the commander decide how to use his available resources. Every tactical situation is unique; a thorough estimate conducted by a capable, trained staff provides the most effective concept for each situation.


The commander should provide some planning guidance early in the staff planning process concerning the employment of the heavy force. The amount and detail of guidance for light/heavy operations vary but may include the following:

a. Task organization options for the heavy force.

(1) Maintaining the heavy force as a pure company (when suitable avenues of approach are very limited).

(2) Cross attaching platoons to provide two company teams (when two or more good mounted avenues of approach lead to the objective).

(3) Using all or part of the heavy force as the battalion reserve--

(a) If the enemy can produce a sizeable counterattack force.

(b) If the heavy unit is a tank company.

b. Considerations for using the heavy force in the attack, such as mounting a supporting attack by fire, conducting a feint or demonstration, or using an exploitation force.

c. Specific areas of concern for each staff officer such as--

(1) S2. The potential for armored vehicle mobility in certain areas.

(2) S4. The adequacy of the logistical support.

(3) S1/medical platoon leader. Medical support for the heavy unit.

d. Specific courses of action that the commander wants developed.


The infantry and armored vehicles can operate in the attack in many ways. This paragraph discusses some of the most basic methods for conducting light/heavy attacks. The battalion commander, supported by the recommendations of his staff, must decide if the light/heavy attack would be more effective if conducted by company teams or by a closely integrated heavy company and infantry company maneuver. The following methods can all be used in either case, but the specifics of the tactical situation determine how decentralized the attack will be:

a. Armored vehicles initially attack by fire, then move forward rapidly and join the infantry for the assault. In this method, the vehicles first suppress the objective from hull defilade positions while the infantry moves to an assault position. When the infantry masks the vehicle fires or on a prearranged signal, the armored vehicles move forward quickly and join the infantry in the final assault.

(1) This method should be used only with tanks in the assault. Other armored vehicles should assault with the infantry only when the antitank threat is small. When they cannot assault with the infantry, the armored vehicles can instead isolate the objective area and, once the objective is secure, support the consolidation of the objective. During the assault, tanks and infantry may move together, or the tanks may move slightly ahead of the infantry.

(2) This method is used when the enemy has prepared obstacles on the mounted avenues of approach. When this happens, the infantry must first breach the obstacles and clear a lane for the tanks to reach the objective. Time is needed for careful coordination and preparation of a detailed supporting fire plan. Because they can move forward at their own speed, tanks using this method are exposed more briefly to enemy fire than those using the other method. This method is also safer for infantry, because the infantry is not endangered by enemy fire directed at the friendly tanks. Also, this method may provide the tanks with a better chance to approach the objective undetected.

b. Infantry and armored vehicles advancing together try to advance at the same speed (Figure D-1). The vehicles may advance rapidly for short distances, stop to fire, then move forward again as the infantry comes abreast. Although tanks are best suited for assaulting under fire, other armored vehicles may be used if the threat of antitank fires is small. The infantry almost always leads and the vehicles follow as closely as needed to provide fire support.

(1) This method may be used when the enemy situation is vague; when the objective is very large and consists of both open and restrictive terrain; or when visibility, fields of fire, and tank movements are restricted--for example, in fog, in towns, in woods, and at night. When this method is used, the vehicles provide immediate, close, direct fires and the infantry protects the armored vehicles from individual antitank measures.

(2) The infantry may follow closely behind the tanks to gain protection from frontal fires when the main threat is small-arms fire. From there, they can protect the flanks and rear of the tanks from handheld antitank weapons.

(3) The infantry and tanks may advance together in operations that require long arid fast moves; the infantry rides on the tanks until they make contact with the enemy. This method is quick, but increases infantry exposure to enemy fire, especially to airburst munitions. Also, having infantry riding on them interferes with the operation of the tanks. This method should be used only when the chance of enemy contact is small and the need for speed is crucial.

c. Armored vehicles may attack by fire while the infantry assaults the objective. When this method is used, vehicles fire from hull-defilade positions until the infantry can mask tank fires (Figure D-2). This is the best method for armored vehicles other than tanks. However, this method may also be used with tanks when antitank weapons or obstacles block movement to the objective.

(1) A feint may be used with this method to deceive the enemy as to the location of the main at lack. If this is done, the heavy force supporting attack by fire is timed to divert the enemy's attention from the infantry force's assault. The fires of the heavy force may also cover the sounds of the infantry approach or breach. Close coordination between the heavy and light force commanders is vital to ensure effective fire control.

(2) Another variation of this method may be used when the terrain or the enemy disposition limits the heavy forces' ability to support the infantry assault by fire. In this case, the heavy force may be tasked to suppress or fix adjacent enemy positions or to accomplish other tasks that isolate the objective area.

d. Armored vehicles and infantry may converge on the objective from different directions and assault at the same time. The infantry elements must often move out first so both forces can close on the objective. This method--

(1) Provides surprise, increases fire effect, and maximizes shock action.

(2) Works extremely well when tanks are used. As stated earlier, other armored vehicles are less suitable. Open or partially open terrain free of mines and other tank obstacles is vital. Effective neutralization of enemy antitank weapons by supporting fires and smoke is also necessary. However, neutralization is needed only during the time required for tanks to move from their LD to the near edge of the objective.

(3) Requires coordination between tanks and infantry to provide effective fire control on the objective. When armored vehicles cannot advance quickly, infantry should accompany them to provide protection.


The light/heavy attack is conducted like any other attack. The fundamentals, principles, and concepts discussed in Chapter 3 apply.

a. The supporting fire plan must be flexible enough to permit changes during the action. Unforeseen incidents must be expected. Fire control measures are developed based on the capabilities of heavy force weapons. Engagement priorities should be established based on the capabilities of the vehicle systems and on the enemy threat. Tanks or IFVs destroy enemy armored vehicles, automatic weapons' positions, and other hard targets. When they can, tanks or IFVs also breach antipersonnel obstacles. The infantry protects the tanks from enemy personnel and antitank weapons, and breaches antitank obstacles.

b. The infantry company team assaults the objective after fire superiority is established and members of the team can maneuver themselves into a good position. The assault may be made by infantry, tanks, or both. Infantry and tank elements can best exploit the full firepower and shock action of the team by assaulting together. Normal supporting fires are lifted for the assault. The tanks give the team a heavy volume of direct fire not otherwise available. In the assault phase, the team increases its rate of movement and volume of fire. The tanks suppress the objective with machine gun fire and use their tank cannons against suitable targets

c. The plan must ensure that obstacles are rapidly cleared or breached so that, even if they are delayed from joining the infantry in the assault, they can still join the infantry as soon as possible. If tanks assault alone, the commander uses all available supporting fires from infantry as well as supporting weapons to cover the tank assault.

d. The consolidation of the objective must effectively integrate the heavy force; it should be as simple as possible to rapidly secure the objective. The heavy force may be used against the mounted avenues of approach into the objective or as a mobile reserve.

e. The wounded from both infantry and heavy units are evacuated through the brigade evacuation system. Heavy vehicles are used for evacuation only if they already are moving to the rear for other reasons.


Exploitation in battle follows success. Commanders and leaders should take full advantage of the enemy's lack of organization to defeat and destroy him. The heavy company, especially if it is a tank company, is usually the commander's most capable exploitation force. Exploitation is conducted to destroy all enemy personnel and installations in the area. A common combination is the tank company reinforced by an attached infantry platoon( s), engineers, and other supporting units. The infantry may be transported in armored vehicles or trucks, or they may ride on the tanks. Riding on tanks may be the most desirable method since it reduces road space required, decreases supply problems, and keeps the members of the team together. The infantry company commander and platoon leaders ride with the corresponding tank unit commanders. Each rifle company platoon is loaded on tank platoon tanks. The command groups of the infantry company headquarters are loaded on the tank company headquarters section tanks.


Vital information can often be obtained only through attack; contact must never be lost. Hostile resistance may be encountered that cannot be overcome or enveloped. When an uncertain situation such as this occurs, the only way to develop it may be to conduct a reconnaissance in force (Figure D-3). When expedient, tank companies, platoons, and individual tanks may operate with appropriate groups of infantry.

a. The infantry's method of advance depends on the type of action expected and on whether or not tanks lead initially. When enemy resistance is met, the situation is developed and the attack launched just as it would be in other offensive actions.

b. Units conducting a reconnaissance in force usually make local attach with limited objectives. The plans of higher unit commanders should include reinforcing leading elements and counterattacking to hold objectives seized and to exploit success.

Section III


The commander should consider of the heavy force's mobility, shock effect, and firepower when assigning its defensive mission. The heavy force may be assigned to counterattack or it may be assigned to cover an engagement area into which the light unit will canalize the enemy. If the situation calls for a capable reserve, the heavy reserve may form its center. The size of the heavy unit employed in the defense depends on the terrain, the extent of the front held, and the enemy situation. In general, wide fronts and open terrain support the use of the heavy force in mass; narrow fronts and close terrain justify more dispersion. The heavy unit will require attached infantry forces in some situations--for example, a heavy unit defending in terrain with dismounted avenues of approach may require an extra infantry company. Sometimes the heavy force may require infantry augmentation.


Tanks can defend much like the infantry, but they are most effective when employed in a mobile situation that exploits their speed, shock, and firepower. Tanks are most effective if the enemy is unaware of their presence and has planned to fight only against the infantry forces that he has identified.


Armored vehicles other than tanks in the defense mainly provide direct-fire support, mobility, and limited protection. They can conduct mobile operations, but are more vulnerable than a tank unit. Vehicles in a mobile operation that lack organic infantry must have a dismounted company team. Though they are effective without infantry as a direct-fire support asset, heavy-force vehicles are vulnerable in many situations. In addition to mobile operations, these armored vehicles can--

a. Defend battle positions or a sector.

b. Augment an infantry platoon or company sector.

c. Conduct many of the same tasks as an infantry unit.

d. Conduct counterattacks.

e. Act as a battalion reserve.

f. Provide mobility support to an infantry force.

g. Help the infantry unit with CSS activities.

h. Provide the infantry commander a capable, versatile force in the defense.

i. Destroy enemy forces in an engagement area.

j. Conduct the counterreconnaissance fight.

k. Conduct a counterattack, or provide a mobile reserve.


The best mission for tanks in the defense is counterattack, whether alone (to destroy an enemy who is forming for an attack [spoiling attack]) or along with other soldiers (to eject an enemy who has penetrated the battle position). Chapter 4 discusses the principles and details of counterattack planning. When these attacks are conducted with armored vehicles other than tanks, they should counterattack by fire. This allows them to move where they can place effective fires on the enemy force without getting into a close fight.

a. A tank spoiling attack is conducted to disrupt an enemy force forming for an attack. The terrain in the area of the attack must be suitable for tank action. Also, no strong hostile forces of tanks or antitank weapons should be present. Tanks may conduct a spoiling attack alone or supported by fires of the infantry and artillery. The attack stops at the range of that support.

b. A counterattack exploits the strongest characteristics of tank forces--high mobility, armor-protected fire power, and shock effect (Figure D-4). Infantry may take part in this type of counterattack. The commander must prepare a coordinated plan that includes both direct and indirect fires. He coordinates his counterattack plans with the tank commander. If time permits, the counterattack is rehearsed over the area of most likely enemy penetration. At the least, routes and fire plan should be rehearsed by key personnel.


Armored elements can provide security to the infantry force. Their mobility and firepower equips them to perform screen and guard missions, to provide route security (convoy escort), and to help in counterreconnaissance operations. When assigned these missions, tank units should be augmented by infantry. Observation posts are established to screen the BP, to deceive the enemy as to the unit's location, and to slow the enemy's advance. Soldiers in these posts can also perform delaying actions. Figure D-5 shows three possible schemes of employment for tanks in support of infantry in an OP. Plan 1 involves either direct fire from hull-defilade positions. Plan 2 is a quick, direct thrust from concealed positions against the across the route of the enemy advance. Plans 2 and 3 must be strongly supported by artillery.


The purpose of a delaying action is to gain time while avoiding decisive action. Armored forces are employed against hostile elements and on avenues of approach that most seriously threaten the success of the operation.

a. Fundamental movement techniques used in a delaying action or withdrawal are fire and maneuver, and a bounding overwatch, both in reverse. Armored sections with small infantry units mounted in combination with infantry reconnaissance platoons and antitank elements move to subsequent delay lines under the cover advancing enemy. Plan 3 is a surprise flank attack of mutually supporting fires.

b. Armored vehicles may also be used to cover a withdrawal. A daylight withdrawal is conducted only if deferring the action until dark would result in disaster to the command.

c. All tank attacks for delaying purposes have strictly limited objectives and must be strongly supported by artillery and all units present in the covering force.

Section IV


Towns or other urban areas are considered restrictive terrain, so close teamwork between infantry and tanks is critical. If SOF are working in the same area with conventional forces, the battalion commander and S3 should consider this when they develop the scheme of maneuver. In MOUT, infantry company teams may be used to encircle, to penetrate the outer defenses of, or to fight house-to-house within the town.


Armored vehicles operating inside the built-up area are vulnerable to enemy ambush or fires at close ranges. This degrades the strengths of the armored vehicles. Their target-acquisition capabilities, effectiveness of long-range fires, speed, and mobility are limited by the restrictive nature of this terrain. Armor protection is degraded by the close ranges of engagements. Hand-held antitank weapons or explosives employed from the roofs or upper floors of the buildings can easily penetrate the tops of armored vehicles.


Any operation conducted in a MOUT environment is fought mainly with infantry. Tanks and other armored vehicles can be effective when used as mobile fire support assets, but their survival requires the close support of the infantry. Therefore, the armored force is usually task-organized into infantry heavy company teams. In this environment, tank (or armored vehicle) sections also are commonly task-organized to an infantry platoon.


Light/heavy operations in a MOUT environment are planned the same as in any other terrain. If possible, the armored force is employed in terrain that allows the greatest potential for offensive maneuver. In some situations, the use of armored forces exclusively around the perimeter of the town may be possible. Armored vehicles can operate outside a small town or village and still provide adequate fire support to the infantry.


The battalion conducts a light/heavy attack by isolating the area, seizing a foothold, and clearing an area.

a. The armored force can help with each of these steps. Its offensive role in MOUT is as follows:

(1) To isolate the area. The area may be the entire village or small town, or it may be part of a larger built-up area. The armored force is usually effective in this phase of the operation. Operating outside the town allows the heavy force to use its long-range fires, speed, and mobility. Since the defender often positions much of his force outside the town at first (to disrupt an attack, limit reconnaissance, and prevent bypass), the armored force may be able to prevent him from withdrawing into the town. For an isolation plan to be effective, it must support the next step: seizure of a foothold. Sometimes, to provide armored vehicle support to each infantry company within the town, the task organization may be changed after the objective has been isolated.

(2) To seize a foothold. The armored force can support this phase of the operation by using their sights/thermals to initially conduct a longer-range reconnaissance. The armored force may provide the most effective means for locating enemy positions/vehicles during limited visibility. Once enemy weak points have been located, the armored vehicles can provide fire support for the infantry assaulting to secure the foothold. This assault is conducted like any other light/heavy assault. As an option, the heavy force (or a part of it) may divert the enemy's attention away from the point of the main attack. Vehicles with an on-board smoke capability can provide concealment for the infantry assault.

(3) To clear the objective. The armored vehicles continue, once the infantry has seized a foothold, to provide close supporting fires while the infantry clears each building. Due to the danger of ambush, tanks support by fire from cleared positions rather than move ahead of the infantry. The tanks may be able to provide fire support without entering the town. Armored vehicles in the town must be closely controlled by the infantry leader. Target identification and fire-control measures change rapidly as clearing progresses. The vehicles provide suppressive fires to allow the infantry to establish a foothold in each building. To isolate the building, the vehicles engage known or suspected enemy locations. Once the infantry is inside the building, the armored vehicles may continue to suppress other floors within the building or may shift their fires to adjacent buildings.

(a) Visual signals are the most effective and reliable means of communication between the infantry force and the armored vehicles. Targets can be identified with tracer fire, grenade launcher rounds rounds, smoke grenades, or arm-and-hand signals. Specific actions, such as initiating fires, lifting or shifting fires, moving forward to the next position, or providing smoke obscuration, can be directed in a similar manner.

(b) Communications between the armored vehicles and the infantry leader may also be by FM radio or by landline. Radio communications may be disrupted by the terrain. Landlines are an option only when the leader can operate while walking behind the vehicle. To use landlines, soldiers must run the wire to the inside of the vehicle through the hatch or to the sponson box on the rear of the M2/M3; the leader then uses TA-1s to relay fire control instructions from the assaulting infantry force to the tank commander.

b. Specific actions of the armored force include the following:

(1) Firing into the upper stories of buildings to drive the enemy to the basement, where the infantry traps and destroys him. The weapon systems on the armored vehicles may be limited in their ability to engage upper floors of buildings.

(2) Suppressing and destroying enemy weapons and personnel.

(3) Providing antitank protection.

(4) Making openings in walls and reducing barricades with cannon fire. The main tank round (APFSDS) makes only a small (l-inch diameter) hole in the wall. If available, HEP is used to destroy emplacements and blow access holes into buildings.


Armored forces defending in a MOUT environment have the same weaknesses as attacking forces. Therefore, they also require the close support of infantry forces. Armored forces can support the infantry defense of an urban area by defending or delaying forward of the town, fighting a mobile battle around the town, or defending within the built-up area along with the infantry.

a. Fighting forward of the built-up area, the armored force can either delay the enemy, disrupt his attack, or prevent him from conducting a timely reconnaissance of the defenses within the town. When fighting outside the town, the heavy force requires infantry augmentation. The heavy force may delay the enemy while defenses within the town are completed. After this, they may withdraw into defensive positions integrated into the MOUT defense or outside the town to prevent the enemy from enveloping or bypassing the town.

b. Fighting on the perimeter of the built-up area may enable the heavy force to use terrain that is more suitable to their capabilities. They can also prevent the enemy force from isolating the town (or part of town) they plan to assault. Conducting spoiling attacks or counterattacking against enemy forces may also be easier from the perimeter. To avoid detection, the heavy force can occupy a concealed location outside the built-up area before conducting the counterattack. The heavy force can produce decisive results if it prevents the enemy from seizing a foothold or if it times the attack so part of the enemy's force starts clearing into the built-up area.

c. Fighting within the built-up area, armored forces may be employed as fire support for infantry positions or strongpoints or as a mobile defense where the terrain allows. Defenses may be shaped to draw the enemy into position where part of his forces can be destroyed or cutoff by a mobile armor-heavy counterattack. Depending on the type of construction in the built-up area, armored vehicles may be able to reduce buildings to rubble or burn them to develop routes for movement. When used for direct-fire support of infantry positions, armored vehicles operate most often in sections and at other times as individual vehicles.

Section V


Light/heavy forces, whether working with SOF or not, face other types of special situations in addition to mobile operations in urbanized terrain.


The decision to employ tanks with the assault echelon in a night attack is made after consideration of their capabilities and limitations. Tanks have excellent night-vision capabilities and may be effective in the assault if control and close mutual support between infantry and tanks is maintained. When not accompanying assault rifle units, tanks use fires to isolate and suppress the objective. Then they join the infantry on the objective after it has been secured or just before daylight. Maintaining direction, leading soldiers, and moving become more difficult in the dark, which places more responsibility on the small-unit commander.

a. The infantry company team can attack a strongpoint at night if it has time for daytime reconnaissance and detailed coordination. Night attacks offer tanks the important advantage of protection against long-range antitank weapons. They also may increase the shock effect of an attack; the enemy may not be able to see the tanks but will hear them coming for some time. Often, when a daytime attack would have resulted in high casualties, the same objectives are taken with few losses at night. However, night attacks make tanks more vulnerable to enemy close antitank measures; to protect the tanks, accompanying infantry must be especially alert.

b. Detailed plans for a night attack are made early enough to allow thorough reconnaissance by all units. Definite objectives and boundaries are assigned to each unit and control measures are perfected. Control is simplified; only one direction of attack is assigned and communications are coordinated between the assault units. Direction is maintained by compass, by flares, by tracers, by illuminating shells fired behind the objective, or by a combination of these methods. If time permits, the attack is rehearsed on similar terrain so the tank commanders and squad leaders know what each must do during the actual attack. Before the attack and in daylight, artillery is closely coordinated and other supporting weapons are laid on definite targets.

c. The tank elements of the infantry company team must be in position by daylight to help repel counterattacks. When conditions prevent the tanks from moving with the assaulting infantry, tank unit leaders may accompany the leading infantry elements on foot to reconnoiter routes, plan movement around obstacles or through minefield, and select tank firing positions. The tank unit leader then leads the tanks to the selected positions.

d. The tanks and infantry reorganize after capturing the objective the same as they do during daylight. Because of reduced visibility, the effectiveness of tank fire against a counterattacking enemy is limited. The movement of the tanks to firing positions should be controlled by infantry guides or a dismounted member of the tank crew.


Tanks provide direct-fire support and antitank protection during the first stages of a river crossing. They cover probable enemy armor approaches on the far side of the river. The infantry clears the far side of the river to prevent direct fire on the crossing site. This allows the engineers to begin bridging/rafting operations. To help the infantry secure a bridgehead, some tanks may be rafted across the river in the early stages of the operation. As soon as crossing facilities are available, the tanks move from their direct-fire positions over previously reconnoitered routes to an assembly area near the crossing site. So they can quickly join the infantry soldiers to support the attack, tanks are given a high priority for use of the crossing facilities. During a night crossing, tanks can be used for fire support. Tank platoons seldom accompany infantry battalions during the actual crossing, but after the river is crossed, they operate as they would in any other type of attack.


Combat in any close, difficult, wooded terrain shares characteristics with jungle operations, so most of the same combat methods apply. The considerations for employing armored vehicles and infantry in this type of terrain are similar to those for employing them in the MOUT environment. Armored vehicles require infantry support to fight and survive in a jungle environment. They normally follow the infantry closely enough to provide effective fire support; the infantry in turn protects them from enemy hand-held antitank weapons.

a. Tank canister (for M60-series tanks only) and machine gun fires often clear enough jungle growth for bunker openings to be seen. HEAT rounds are designed to destroy bunkers.

b. The rate of advance in the jungle is slow, tanks must pick their way through the jungle growth. If open ground is encountered, tanks can move rapidly with close and continuous support from the infantry.

c. Tanks are committed to combat in jungles--

(1) Against definitely located resistance that has been holding up the infantry advance.

(2) In sufficient numbers to ensure a continuing effort and to make full use of the tank's own powers of fire and maneuver.

(3) After a thorough reconnaissance has been made by personnel who know the capabilities and limitations of tanks.

(4) After detailed planning for coordinated action of the combined arms forces taking part in the attack. This planning is conducted down to the lowest infantry unit/tank crew operating closely together.

d. Infantry fire support should be close and continuous to prevent the enemy from destroying or damaging tanks.


Each tactical group within a terrain compartment makes its main effort in mountain operations along the crests and slopes or by a combined advance along heights and valleys. The initial advance may be made by infantry along slopes and ridges so they can outflank resistance in defiles. The technique used to force a defile depends on how it is held and on the accessibility of its flanks. To advance on a broad front and outflank defended areas, small forces can move through or around the obstacles creating the defile.


Light armor units may take part in the airborne assault. These units may be delivered by LAPES or by airlanding C-130 or C-141 aircraft. Tanks (M1s) may be delivered into the airhead by C-17 aircraft.


Infantry battalions may operate near or with SOF. The command relationship will be determined by a higher headquarters. Special operations personnel normally provide a liaison team (a SOCCE--special operations command and control element) to interface at brigade or battalion level and control the SOF within the area of operations. Most often, SOF personnel precede conventional forces into an area of operations. (FMs 7-30 and 100-25 provide more information can organizations, capabilities and limitations, missions, and planning considerations for operations with SOF.)

a. Information and assistance the SOF may be able to provide the infantry battalion areas follows:

  • Enemy movement patterns within an area of operations.
  • Cultural background information.
  • Interface with the indigenous population.
  • Interface with other US agencies within the area of operations.
  • Civil affairs guidance.
  • Limited PSYOP support.

b. Infantry battalions may be tasked to do the following when operating with SOF:

(1) Provide additional combat power to an SF-supported indigenous combat force or host nation force during counterinsurgency operations.

(2) Provide a reaction force or reinforcements to SOF during direct action or special reconnaissance operations.

(3) Conduct linkups and reliefs in place with SOF (Chapter 6).

(4) Deny enemy access to or reinforcements of areas where SOF are operating.

(5) Provide support to civil affairs and PSYOP personnel.

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